Thursday, October 8, 2015

STRAIGHT OUTTA KELTNER:  Your 15 finalists for Rock Hall of Fame this year are:
  • Chicago
  • Cheap Trick
  • Deep Purple
  • The Cars
  • Janet Jackson 
  • N.W.A. (3rd nomination)
  • Nine Inch Nails (2nd nomination)
  • Yes
  • Chic (10th nomination)
  • The JB's
  • Chaka Khan
  • Los Lobos
  • Steve Miller
  • The Smiths
  • The Spinners
Who ya got? I suspect Janet Jackson is the only absolute lock in that bunch.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

HIS LIFE GOT FLIPPED-TURNED UPSIDE DOWN: When did Will Smith stop being cool? "Because while it is essentially still impossible not to like Will Smith (he is SO good at being likable), it’s become easy to ignore him. And that’s VERY bizarre to think about, especially if you grew up during his arrival to stardom."

[We may have touched on this topic before.]
DEL FUEGO/KIDS MUSIC STAR/BIOGRAPHER IS A HECK OF A TRIPLE THREAT [UPDATED. IT'S HIS BROTHER. ONLY 2/3]: Dan  Warren Zanes has penned a new biography of Tom Petty, with his cooperation but not authorization. Big reveal: Petty was a heroin addict in the 1990s, and hopes telling his story will save others. Zanes on Petty:
Tom Petty has had too many hits for some critics to be fully comfortable with him. The old, art commerce divide where people go, “oh, it’s too commercial.” The other thing, I was just talking to somebody who was watching a live Tom Petty concert on a computer, no between-song banter. He didn’t ever get a trampoline out and do a backflip. No, he goes out and plays the songs that he wrote. That extends to interviews. He’s just not a self-promoter. He couldn’t go from music into politics, and Bruce Springsteen could. And that’s not a judgment on Bruce. There are times I wish that Petty was more of a self-promoter if only so that his songs could travel a little more widely. Because they’re so good.
Be It Resolved That: this blog remains fond of Tom Petty.
"DON'T LOOK UP":  Yes, rightly, Cubs 3B Kris Bryant should win NL Rookie of the Year, but 2nd place is certainly Matt Duffy.  Here's a great little essay Duffy wrote of his start in the bigs, and a lot of the attitude is not only why Giants fans love the guy, but also a bit about why Giants have done a good job of making sure their homegrown talent succeeds when they get to the Show.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

PALPATINE '16: "[T]here are a number of serious problems with the Galactic Senate."
THE GREAT STATE OF CABLE:  The ABC Family channel will be known as "Freeform" starting in 2017 2016, which is as meaningless and stupid as SyFy or Spike or truTV, right?
“Freeform evokes the spirit and adventure of our audience," ABC Family/Freeform president Tom Ascheim said in a press release explaining the change. “Becomers represent a life stage rather than a generation,” and include both the younger end of the millennials as well as kids now in high school. Rather than keep focusing exclusively on millennials, the new Freeform will also aim to get their younger brothers and sisters to watch, since “in five years, millennials will be less than half of the [advertising] target,” the network says.... 
"The audience's identity and experience are fluid as they explore endless possibilities and their passions take shape.  Freeform personifies this fluidity and will deliver ideas, forms of content and ways of interacting with the brand."
Maybe I'm in a mood today, but what kind of nonsense word salad is that?
FOR FANS OF MUSTACHES AND GRIT:  The National Baseball Hall of Fame has released the names of the ten men to be considered by its Veterans Committee from the Pre-Integration Segregation Era this December.

On the other end of the timeline, Jonah Keri awards this year's hardware -- including a very difficult NL Cy Young race.
NONE OF WHICH FEATURE THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOKS WORD FREAK AND A FEW SECONDS OF PANIC:  Vulture picks "the one podcast to listen to" if you're looking for a great podcast in each of 24 genres.
FOR EVERYTHING THE NORTH GIVES, IT EXTRACTS A PRICE IN RETURN:  Just in time for the album's twentieth anniversary (remember the concert, Cosmos?), and possibly in celebration of noted Springteen fan Adam C's third straight ALOTT5MA FLB title, the AV Club's Ron Hart pens an appreciation of The Ghost of Tom Joad:
“The American story is transience and the idea of over the rise,” Springsteen told Costas in that 1995 interview. “Which is less now I suppose, but I think it’s an ingrained part of not just the American spirit but human spirit in general. My characters have always been on the move going someplace. Searching for something, whether its a better life or running from something or its the idea that moving might somehow make you better. It’ll heal you inside.”

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday, [a] Harvard postdoc joined some like-minded aesthetes for a playful protest outside the Museum of Fine Arts. The rally, which mostly bewildered passersby, was organized by Max Geller, creator of the Instagram account Renoir Sucks at Painting, who wants the MFA to take its Renoirs off the walls and replace them with something better. Holding homemade signs reading “God Hates Renoir” and “Treacle Harms Society,” the protesters ate cheese pizza purchased by Geller, and chanted: “Put some fingers on those hands! Give us work by Paul Gauguin !” and “Other art is worth your while! Renoir paints a steaming pile!”
THAT'S GOOD EVEN BY MAVIS BEACON STANDARDS:  When 538 statistically analyzes the lyrical density of Hamilton, noting that it averages 144 words per minute (2.4 words a second), you'd better believe we'll link to it.  
BALLPARK DELICACIES DESK:  Among the special items offered at post-season Texas Rangers games: a one pound bag of Cheetos(R) sliced open and topped with brisket, sour cream, cheese, and jalapenos, and "a brownie that's rolled in Rice Krispie treats, dipped in funnel cake batter and fried."

Friday, October 2, 2015

BEST. NIGHT. EVER.  With MLB's regular season ending with 15 simultaneous games Sunday at 3:05pm, we recall September 28, 2011.  As Joe Posnanski wrote, "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn’t. And that’s what makes it great."

[Our thread, in the wee hours of the morning, is here, and Nate Silver did the math here: "Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way."]

added: Suppose -- purely hypothetically -- that you were trying to explain the narratives and highlights of this season to someone who barely paid attention this year because the Phillies sucked and my dad died and it's been really hard to get back into things -- such that the reader would be prepared for the playoffs.  What should he know?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

SWING MAN: Sad to see Jeremy Affeldt retire, but he's had an absolutely stunning career as a middle relief guy and has one of the best post-season ERAs of any pitcher ever.  He did have a few parting words for baseball during his retirement presser of the five things he would not miss about baseball. Most notably, for this crowd:

The City of "Brotherly Love"

"Hang on, I know what you're thinking: Jeremy, do you have any idea how dangerous it is to insult the entire city of Philadelphia?! And yes, I know. I know all too well.

So first, let me be clear. Philly is a great sports town, with passionate fans and a palpable energy. The problem, though, is that the city, more than any other I've played in, seems to condone and almost revel in its fans crossing the line. Nowhere else in this country—again, based on my experience as a 14-year major leaguer and the conversations I've had with other players—is the opposition treated in such a repeatedly vile and borderline threatening manner.

We are out here to play a game, and even though we are paid handsomely to do so, professional athletes should not be subject to vulgarity, personal attacks or epithets. Sadly, in Philadelphia, this kind of fan conduct is far too typical. The irony is, while Phillies fans succeed in making many players dread traveling there, they also (not surprisingly) impact the decision-making process of those same players in free agency.

Sure, it's great to play for a rabid fan base, but after experiencing firsthand how powerful that fervor can be when it is channeling extreme negativity, it really makes you think twice about where all that collective anger comes from, and whether you want to subject yourself and your family to that all the time."


He also has unkind things to say about Wrigley Field. Well, mostly the player's locker rooms which sound about as adequate as a 40 year old high school.

IT'S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON!  A not necessarily complete list of "pumpkin" scent variants currently available at Bath and Body Works:

  • Pumpkin Apple
  • Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Cupcake
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake
  • Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow
  • Caramel Pumpkin Swirl
  • Pumpkin Pecan Waffles
  • Cranberry Pumpkin
  • Apple Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Pumpkin Coconut
  • Heirloom Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte
How are you celebrating?  (Also, my neighborhood Target already has multiple rows of holiday decor and wrapping paper ready to go, if you're planning ahead.)
BUT I LOVE IT:  This week's return of Black Simon & Garfunkel (& Garfunkel), plus this winning bit of Matt Damon acting out all his roles with James Corden (yes, including The Adjustment Bureau), plus all the new hosts out there invites a check-in post: what late night shows are you watching?

Right now, while I'm DVR-ing Colbert nightly, I'm only really watching the bits which get buzz. (I'm surprised that this Colbert persona is so close to the Comedy Central version; I was expecting more sincerity, less artifice.)  I'm trying to watch Trevor Noah's opening segment each night, and ... needs work, but the writing is strong. And I'm still DVRing and watching @Midnight pretty much every day, because that's a joke machine which always, always works. Even without Funches.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BEST BUY HAS NOT YET SIGNED A PRODUCT INTEGRATION DEAL:  Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21/22 Jump Street, Last Man On Earth) have optioned rights to develop a fictional series set behind the scenes of Serial as they investigate a case.
IT'S THE WAY WE ARE FEELING:  Fox's Grease! Live!  is plainly going to be using the movie as the template for things, as it will open with Jessie J doing "Grease," and Carly Rae Jepsen will play Frenchy.