Saturday, January 24, 2009

1984 WON'T BE LIKE 1984: Today marks 25 years since the Apple Macintosh launched, as announced in what may be the most famous Super Bowl ad of all time. With Microsoft having increasingly taken steps toward Mac-itizing its interface (seriously, Windows Vista feels a whole lot like OSX/Leopard), while Apple gains market share, particularly among students, how has the Mac improved your life?
DEPARTMENT OF UNSOLICITED ADVICE: If you're operating a movie theatre (particularly a highly trafficked one in Manhattan) and have made the quite wise decision to invest in one of those snazzy electronic signs to hang over the box office and indicate what films are playing at your establishment, two thoughts:
  1. Make sure to configure the board so that all movies showing at your theatre appear on the board, so as to avoid questions from folks about whether particular movies are playing there. If necessary, use the boards to alternate lists of movies. Yes, it would have been easy enough to check a newspaper/the Internet/a cell phone to see if what a patron wanted to see was playing at that particular theatre or the other one down the block, but you should not overestimate your patrons' competency. In particular, do not have tons of blank lines on the board when movies are not listed.
  2. As soon as a movie has sold out, alert the appropriate people, and promptly have them flip the switch to show that movie as sold out. This will avoid folks getting up to the window and asking to see a movie for which you have already sold all available tickets, and give them a chance to decide on an alternative while in line rather than while standing at the ticket window.
In addition, unrelated to the electronic sign-board--I know you may have contractual obligations to play certain films in your largest auditoriums, but if movies are consistently selling out during the day on Saturday, consider reshuffling auditoriums, moving the successful ones into a larger auditorium. Also, when assigning auditoriums, consider that movies that have recently been in the news (for instance, getting an unexpected Best Picture nomination) might be of particular interest to your audience, and assign an appropriately-sized auditorium, rather than playing Underworld 3 on your biggest screens (subject to contractual obligations, of course).
50 BILLION PEOPLE ARE DEAD, FELIX, AND YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR LEG?: Although I like the fact that Kara Thrace still has her eye on the ball, one of the charms of BSG is how it shows just how quickly folks can become focused on their own petty problems. The outrage early on about what a bad guy Tom Zarek (who, by the way, looks exactly like my Uncle Bob) in the wake of Armaggedon itself was a hint of that.

Here, Felix Gaeta -- with a set up of some big action to come -- is in a headlock with the injustice of his own actions. Toadying up to the Cylons on New Caprica, Letting himself get shot on Starbuck's walkabout. He needs redemption from somewhere. I don't recall him being a believer in the Gods, nor in the Cylons, nor in the Church of Baltar. So, now he's going to try to find redemption in this world. Interesting is that, throughout the series, he's taken comfort from being within a chain of command. On New Caprica, of course, but also when the Old Man was in a coma and Tigh was frakking things up. And now, he seems quite ready to bust out of that singular solace to get that redemption.

What's on the other side of the equation? The future of humanity. The only thing that's kept him together. I'd hate to see him ride the lead express like Dee, but I don't see how this ends well for him. But, if he stays in character, I don't think he'll ask himself the question again. It's all about Felix, because that's all he has left.

It wouldn't suck if Felix sang a few bars about it, either.

Also, comment away about the complex life in the maternity ward, the less complex relationship of the Admiral and the President, and just how the frak do they bring Gaius Baltar back into the mix before this is all over.

Friday, January 23, 2009

THE WORLD'S GREATEST GAME OF 'WHERE'S WALDO?': I've seen some awesome technology in my day, but this 1,474 megapixel-sized photo of the Inaugural Address by David Bergman, comprised of 220 separate snapshots, is just mind-blowing in its scope and detail.

This seating chart (PDF) can help you get your bearings; if you're looking for me, I'm obscured by the tree in front of the reflecting pool on the far-right side of the screen in the infamous Purple Section. TPE has suggested, quite rightly, that the only thing which could make this better would be the ability for all of us to annotate the photo to indicate who's where. In the meantime, just tell us what you see.
AND I'M SORRY THAT I BROKE ... THAT I HURT YOU: Apparently, last night's Grey's episode has left a lot of men concerned and rushing to the Google. Meanwhile, and as discussed further on the GreysWriters blog, we've finally got forward momentum in the Izzie/Denny world (thank you, Shonda!), with the question moving from is she? to okay, so what is she ... ? Still, not enough of Lucius Vorenus, M.D. for my liking.

In other tv/doctor news, George Clooney is making a final trip to County General.
TECHNOLOGY IMITATES ART: Watching comments appear and disappear, I'm left to assume that somebody cranked the magical underground gear and to wonder whether it's me or Haloscan that's traveling backward and forward through time.
I EXPECT ONE-HUNDRED-AND-TEN PERCENT F'N PERFECTION EVERY F'N TUNE: Buddy Rich, the Lee Elia of drumming, has been chosen the most influential drummer of all time by Rhythm Magazine, beating out John Bonham, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Animal among others.
YES, I AM COOLER THAN YOU, EVEN THOUGH YOU DIDN'T ASK: It's been nearly 4 years since Ayelet Waldman's infamous "I Love My Husband So Much" essay appeared in the NYT, and we've all been wondering, can she top this in self-absorption? Yes, we can! Witness Waldman's chronicle of her adventures at the innagural, leaked (and snarkily commented on, naturally) by Gawker.
THEY FIGHT AND BITE: Coming to the big screen -- a CGI'd into the real world Tom and Jerry feature film. Let me be clear -- I like my Tom and Jerry violent and unkind, from the era that led to seven Oscar awards in ten years for Best Animated Short Subject (more than any other character-based theatrical animated series). No redemption, no hugging, no buddy-buddy.

This, sadly, is not going to be that. Instead, it's "an origin story that reveals how Tom and Jerry first meet and form their rivalry before getting lost in Chicago and reluctantly working together during an arduous journey home." Yuck.

I'm also going to guess that, understandably, Mammy Two Shoes is out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

THE PLATINUM LOUNGE IS OPEN: NBC has announced that Steve Martin will host the January 31 episode of Saturday Night Live, his fifteenth time in the role. Of note from the press release:
Martin has won Grammy Awards for his comedy recordings and for his banjo work on Earl Scruggs' 75th Anniversary album.... Martin will also release his first full-length music album, "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo" on January 27, 2009. The bluegrass-flavored album has been 45 years in the making, and will feature special vocal appearances by Mary Black, Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Dolly Parton and musicians Earl Scruggs, Pete Wernick and Tony Trischka.
CATCHING UP WITH THE CAMPBELLS: When last we checked in with the parents of Adolph Hitler Campbell, the briefly birthday-cake-deprived boy, the state of New Jersey had taken Adolph and his sisters in protective custody. Now the Campbells are speaking out (defying a gag order from the judge in the case, natch), saying among other things that they are not part of the Aryan Nation or fans of what Hitler is famous for and that the swastika tattoo her husband displays on his arm is simply art. It's Adolph's aunt who has the money line in the story, though, noting, "What about tomorrow night when the President of the United States stands up and say, is forced to say, my name is Barack Hussein Obama. How’s that going to hit the world?...I'm saying the one with the middle name he has, was a terrorist."

And we've met the kids, the parents and the aunt, but it turns out, perhaps the most colorful member of the Campbell clan is granny, who, accompanied her son and daughter-in-law to court recently only after sneaking a few shots of schnapps--and this despite De Fuhrer being a famous teetotaler.
WHO WANTS TO DRIVE A TANK FOR THE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY? Apparently, the Dallas Cowboys are going to offer one of their 80 training camp slots to the winner of a reality television contest. None other than [ETA: the version of] Howie Long [that existed in my own mythology]* was a walk-on, and this might be interesting, provided they get quality contestants who stand a chance, and that they don't require these guys to confess a loyalty to Dallas, rather than to NFL football itself.

*See comments.
CARLY CARIOLI IS THE BRAVEST MUSIC CRITIC IN AMERICA: Among his hundreds of colleagues, The Boston Phoenix writer alone was brave enough to cast a vote for Miley Cyrus' Breakout in this year's Village Voice Pazz and Jop poll, landing the Hannah Montana star some 758 slots behind this year's album winner, TV on the Radio's Dear Science. Taking the singles crown was M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." (Miley fared much better in the singles category, with four songs earning votes, including "See You Again," which tied for 68th.)

And huge, huge, ups to the coders and designers at the Voice, who for the first time have all 1,685 albums and 1,762 singles listed on individual-view Web pages (please, take note Time and EW!)
GIVING THE FOLKS AT PRICE WATERHOUSE SOMETHING TO DO IN A RECESSION: Oscar nominations are out, and the two big toplines are Dark Knight only getting a supporting actor nomination in the major categories, and Benjamin Button leading all comers with 13 nods. Analysis to come and begin doing so in the comments.

ETA (1): Complete list now available.

ETA (2): Some analysis:
  • Complete snub for Gran Torino, with Richard Jenkinis taking the Eastwood slot in best actor. Also substantially snubbed is Revolutionary Road, with only a Supporting Actor nod for Michael Shannon.
  • Even though Winslet was pushed for Supporting Actress in The Reader and Lead in Revolutionary Road, her sole nomination is Lead Actress for Reader, which is the surprise 5th nominee for best picture.
  • Slumdog Millionaire and Doubt kind of mirror each other. Slumdog has nominations in a bunch of categories, including picture, director, screenplay, 2 songs, and score, but no acting nominations. Doubt has all four principals nominated for their performance (Phillip Seymour Hoffman is supporting) and a screenplay nomination, but is not in the big dance and has no technical nominations.
  • Complete match for picture and director nominees for the first time in a while, with Stephen Daldry nominated for The Reader where Chris Nolan was expected to be in.
  • Big snubs in the song category, where they only nominated three this year ("Jai Ho" and another from Slumdog, and "Down to Earth"), include the Miley Cyrus song from Bolt and anything and everything from HSM3.
  • Among the odder films which can now bear the "Academy Award nominee" banner? Wanted (Best Sound Editing), Tropic Thunder (Best Supporting Actor, RDJ), Iron Man (several technical nods), and Hellboy 2 (Best Makeup).
YOU CAN’T SPELL ‘LOSEAH’ WITHOUT L-O-S-E: Honestly, the palpable sense of injustice that the other cast members expressed about Ariane’s Top Chef elimination was gratifying. Are there any native Italian speakers in our readership who can provide a reliable close translation of Fabio’s clap-slap-wave gesture towards Hosea on the patio? Immediately contemporaneous dialogue that might have provided context seemed to be omitted from the edit, but if I read the general idea correctly … Ouch.

There followed an impressive edition of Restaurant Wars (in a bad way). The leadership vacuum was more or less perfect on both teams. Radhika could not even commit fully to her supremely correct decision to focus on the front of the house and let Jamie take charge of the kitchen, and Leah was apparently unable to bone a fish much less cook one. When the judges sent that plate back it should have been the end of the world. Simply astounding that a Reverse Marshall Plan of Southern European Charm and Northern European Execution could rescue Humpty and Dumpy from their own distracted semi-competence and send the judges to the diners’ review cards for a decision. Fabio, man, he could sell flashlights to the blind.

Finally, speaking of monkey ass on a clam shell (and you knew we would), less is certainly more in the Toby Notbourdain department.

That’s all I’ve got. Likely more than enough.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

LET'S GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE THOSE FLAMING ARROWS KILL GUY! Other than the glaring omission of a writer's credit for our own Isaac Spaceman, who obviously wrote Hurley's speech to his mother, not much was missing from Because You Left and The Lie.

Just a few miscellaneous comments and questions before a flash of white light carries us into the comments:

(1) Faraday's record player explanation was a nice touch, given this show's propensity for showing record players in its season premieres.

(2) Given Richard and Locke's conversation tonight, why did Richard leave so angrily when he visited young Locke last season?

(3) Does Hurley really not know about hot pocket sleeves?

(4) Did no one warn Josh Holloway that he was going to spend a lot of time shirtless this season and that he might want to buy an Ab Roller for use during the off season?

This is going to be a fun season.
TBBBBHT: It being the day before Oscar nominations are announced, it's Razzie nomination time for the worst pictures of the year--this year's films of distinction include:
  • The Love Guru--Worst picture, worst actor, worst actress, 2 worst supporting actor (Troyer and Kingsley), worst director, and worst screenplay
  • The Happening--Worst picture, worst actor, worst director, and worst screenplay
  • In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale--Worst picture, worst supporting actor, worst supporting actress, worst screen couple, worst screenplay, worst director, and worst career achievement.
  • Disaster Movie and Meet The Spartans--Jointly nominated for worst picture, worst supporting actress (Carmen Electra for both and Kim Kardashian for Disaster Movie only), worst director, and worst screenplay.
Nominated folks have previously been honored with Oscar wins or nominations, including Worst Actor nominees Al Pacino and Eddie Murphy, Worst Actress nominees Kate Hudson and Annette Bening, Worst Supporting Actor nominees Ben Kingsley and Burt Reynolds, and Worst Screenwriter and Director nominee M. Night Shyamalan.
THE HARMONIC CONVERGANCE IS UPON US: In a rare nexus of the Sorkinverse, Whedonverse, and Abramsverse, Sorkin Family Player Bradley Whitford is apparently about to sign for a lead role in Cabin in the Woods, a horror/thriller to be directed by Drew Goddard (who wrote Cloverfield as well as a bunch of episodes of both Lost and Alias, and who played "Fake Thomas Jefferson" in Dr. Horrible) and co-written by Goddard and Whedon. (Perhaps even stranger is that the movie will co-star Richard Jenkins.)
SO I AM HEREBY RAISING MY SELTZER: Twenty-four hours from now, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will be announcing its nominations for the annual Oscar awards. It is time for you (and, yeah, I know all the ballots are in already, but let's deny that reality for a moment) to make your last-minute pleas to the voting members of the Academy for nominations they might otherwise not make.

In my case, I think you know it -- I want recognition for Rachel Getting Married beyond Anne Hathaway's performance and for screenplay, best supportings and, yes, Best Picture. I want The Dark Knight in the Best Picture mix because it's time for Big and Fun to be recognized again, and it's a hell of a good movie. As for a curve ball, I'm just going to say that Jeff Bridges still doesn't have the number of nominations which would be commensurate with his talent, and since Heath Ledger's winning Best Supporting Actor anyway, why not throw Bridges a nomination for Iron Man?

PILOT: So, we have a little time and the auto-pilot’s on. How ‘bout you tell me about the island?

JACK: Well, we lived on the beach, mostly, except for the time we lived in the cave with the skeletons and the time we lived in the secret underground bunker with the lending library and the time we lived in the village built by the scientists that the people who don’t age gassed to death with the help of their leader, my third nemesis, the nebbishy con man with spine cancer, which we took over when the freighter people came to kill everybody. We ate wild boar and fish, and then the supplies stashed in the storeroom of the bunker, and then the scientists who the people who don’t age gassed to death were nice enough to replenish our food by airdrop, but only once, but that was okay, because the people who don’t age had some agriculture that we completely ignored while we stood in front of their refrigerators with the doors open. And I saw my dead dad just hanging around on the island, which I didn’t think too much about because I was preoccupied with the smoke monster and the baby stealing and the mind games with the nebbishy guy and my TOTALLY AWESOME tattoo which got my ass kicked in Thailand and the power struggle with my second nemesis, the formerly paralyzed bald survivalist mystic, who was, frankly, nuts.

PILOT: Nuts, you say?

JACK: Yeah, man of faith, thought the bunker wanted you to punch Hurley’s lotto numbers into the computer every few hours, and I was like, it’s a GAME, you lose, sucker.


JACK: So he finally came around after the shipwrecked sailor who lived in the bunker for two years told him that you had to punch the numbers, which obviously meant you didn’t have to punch the numbers. Which, come to think of it, I guess he was right in the first place. Missed the numbers, cratered the whole freaking bunker, knocked the guy who used to live there right into last Tuesday. Literally.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my dead father came back and kidnapped my secret sister.

PILOT: Um, okay. So … happy to be getting back?

JACK: Yeah, you know, I’m looking forward to having the time to grow a beard.

PILOT: How about you, freckles?

KATE: Don’t call me that.

PILOT: Sorry.

KATE: You know, I’m a convict. I didn’t even want to get off the island. I killed my boyfriend.

PILOT: So what was so good about the island?

KATE: Well, when my boyfriend and I …

PILOT: The dead guy?

KATE: What? No, Jack. My boyfriend and I had a good thing going on the beach and in the cave and in the bunker, except for everybody dying and the smoke monster. And then our friend led us into a trap, even though we knew it was a trap, but it was okay, because while we were captured I got it on with my boyfriend in a cage …

PILOT: With Jack?

KATE: What? No, Sawyer. Jack was watching, though. Anyway, I got back together again with Jack, kind of, but he was really into this doctor that the gassy people kidnapped from Oregon, and then I got back together again with Sawyer, and then I left him for Jack. I forgot to mention that I had a nice proper date with a new dress and dinner on the beach …

PILOT: With Jack or Sawyer?

KATE: What? No, with the nebbishy spine cancer con man who loves me – KEEP UP. But it didn’t go well, which is why I ended up having sex in the cage in the zoo.

PILOT: There was a zoo on the island?

KATE: What? No, different island. The polar bears on our island were free-range.

PILOT: Well, at least I understand how you have a baby.

KATE: What? No, he’s not mine. The island is actually a contraceptive, THANK GOD.

PILOT: Okay, forget it. You, what’s your story?

SUN: Pretty simple, really. I was trying to run away from my emotionally abusive hit-man husband, but he was on the plane with me when we crashed. So I pretended not to speak English for a while, and then I got pregnant and he’s really just a sweetheart, really. Just my luck, though, he missed the helicopter when he and our friend who killed our other friends and later went undercover on the murder-freighter on behalf of the nebbishy guy took too long unsuccessfully trying to defuse the giant bomb. So I’m going home to buy my asshole dad’s conglomerate with funding from the guy responsible for blowing up my beloved ex-soon-to-be-ex-husband, the father of the long-lost lover of our time-traveling sailor friend who was living in the secret bunker.

PILOT: Is this a joke?

HURLEY: No, all of the jokes around here are mine.

PILOT: Oh, great, tell me a good one.

HURLEY: What has two thumbs and is dead?

PILOT: I give up.

HURLEY: My girlfriend and my best friend and the French paramilitary lady and her daughter and Arzt. Wait, that’s eight-to-ten thumbs.

PILOT: Ouch.

HURLEY: But at least I got to hotwire a 20-years-abandoned VW bus, because 1970s VW electrical systems never go bad when untended in humid weather, and drove it over Big Tom, the murderous teleporting gay non-aging gasser who sometimes wears a fake beard and wool cap that he keeps in a locker in the abandoned medical and child-care bunker.

PILOT: Okay, last guy. What’s your story?

SAYID: I tortured a shitload of people.

PILOT: I meant on the island.

SAYID: I tortured a shitload of people.

PILOT: That all?

SAYID: Got tortured.

PILOT: Well, new day, and all that. What are you going to do now?

SAYID: Go to work for a guy I tortured.

PILOT: Doing what?

SAYID: Torturing, mostly.

PILOT: Say, look at the time, gotta get back and check on the autopilot.

JACK: Wait, what did we miss when we were on the island for a flexible length of time?

PILOT: Every financial institution you’ve ever heard of is out of business, America fell in love with a gay cowboy movie, and we elected a Black college professor President instead of a war hero.

JACK: We find your story implausible.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A CUP OF KINDNESS? ANYBODY HAVE A CUP OF KINDNESS NOW? Hey, whoops, there was an episode of HIMYM last night, and we keep forgetting to get to it. Sepinwall thought the Marshall-Lily stuff rang true but didn't like the Ted-Barney plot. I was mildly amused by some, not all, of the Barney stuff but continue to be put off by Marshall and Lily's schmoopiness. I am a little creeped out that Ted, who is now nearing 30 (?) and is not a cartoon superhero like Barney, is hitting on 20-year-olds. I doubt that the marching band, even the Arizona Tech marching band, looks like that. I found Hannigan's pregnancy distracting and the prominent featuring of Smulders's two-calzones-nailed-to-a-coat-rack baby bump (under a tight sweater and pants) an unusual choice by the wardrobe department. I believe that David Cook could make a version of Auld Lang Syne on which Spacewoman would gladly spend $1.29.

That's all I've got. Commence your Big Bang Theory threadjack now.
ALOTT5MA TRAVEL ADVISORY: For those of you trying to get around Washington, here's the rundown:

Subway: Blue, Orange, and Green Lines are closed due to congestion. All stops on Red Line are closed except Friendship Heights. All stops on Yellow Line are open but expect 43-hour delays.

Buses: All buses are currently full but will make regular stops to facilitate market trading in bus seats.

Cars: No autos may start or stop. Autos traveling prior to the start-stop ban will be grandfathered with proper documentation. Traffic police will be enforcing strict all-lanes-must-turn-right rules at all intersections.

Pedestrians: All streets whose names are numbers, letters of the alphabet, States of the Union admitted prior to January 3, 1896, Presidents, wealthy persons, or legal documents are closed to pedestrian traffic.

Bicycles: Three-day bicyclist hunting licenses will be issued for a nominal fee at the Department of the Interior. Hunters bagging undersized bicyclists will be fined.


Other: We have reports of inauguration attendees attempting to travel on clouds of euphoria. We strongly discourage this. Expectations are spiking dangerously high today and could create both obstructions and severe puncture risks.
WE INTERRUPT THESE FESTIVITIES TO FOCUS ON ISSUES OF TRUE NATIONAL IMPORTANCE: One of the things I enjoy about having Alan Sepinwall around here is that, when he gets the chance to talk to people like Damon Lindelof, he asks the questions that have been on the ThingThrowers' minds for months or years. And so we get to find out that yes, the fascinating inquiry into the origin of Jack's tattoos did actually serve a purpose:

But more importantly, if "Stranger in a Strange Land" -- which, universally, is (considered) the worst episode we ever produced -- had not been produced, we would not have been able to convince the network that, "This is the future of the show: how Jack got his tattoos. Everything we've been saying for two years about what's to come, is now all here on the screen. You argued that an hour of Matthew Fox in emotionally-based conflicts, it doesn't matter what the flashback story is, it'll be fine. But now that we're doing his ninth flashback story, you just don't care."

So yes, all our chatter around here concerning the show's pacing was accurate, and I suspect that we are in for a great ride over the remaining two seasons. Read the whole interview, if you have a few minutes -- it's a good one.

(I do wish that Alan had harnessed the power of the ThingThrowers when formulating his list of questions for the lightning round -- personally, I would love to know whether we're ever going to get any explanation regarding the kidnapping of Waaaaalt and what Ms. Klugh was doing with him over on the four-toed side of the island. Feel free to suggest other yes-or-no "will X ever be revisited" topics for Alan's next fireside chat with Mr. Lindelof.)

'TIS THE GIFT TO BE SIMPLE, 'TIS THE GIFT TO BE FREE, HALF-OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY: Eschewing all political discussion, I just wanted to note a significant cultural moment from the Inauguration: the world's oldest Benetton ad performs "[Air and] Simple Gifts."

Video currently unavailable, but inevitable. ETA: video.

Monday, January 19, 2009

THE FUTURE LOOKS HOH-HOH-HOH-HOH-HOT: I'm giddy -- Ashford & Simpson's "Solid (As Barack)" is even cheesier than you imagined. Video's worth it just because you get to see the Manic Bumper Driver photo again. (Okay, now you don't have to watch. Just listen.)

Part of the AV Club's 70 Songs About American Presidents, a list you should feel free to comment or or supplement, including but not limited to noting Twisted Sister's Jay Jay French modifying an earlier hit to create "I Want Barack."

Howard Kurtz - Time's and Newsweek's Survival Strategy After Recent Cutbacks -

JUST DEMONSTRATING, YET AGAIN, WHY THE ECONOMIST IS BETTER THAN BOTH PUT TOGETHER: The WaPo's Howie Kurtz explores how Time and Newsweek have evolved in recent years, "turning out weeklies that are smaller, more serious, more opinionated and, though they are loath to admit it, more liberal ... pursuing a more elite audience, in print and on the Web, abandoning the old Henry Luce notion of catering to the masses."

"Both magazines have moved away from the health and pop culture covers that were so prevalent in the past," Kurtz notes, and Time's Rick Stengel is explicit about his goals: to "make Time lead the conversation, not follow it. To speak stronger with a point of view. To mix more analysis with reporting. Not to ask questions, but to answer them on the cover." Do you still subscribe to either? Rely on them?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

COME ON UP LAY YOUR HANDS IN MINE: We've previously discussed what the most embarrassing (in retrospect) Grammy winner for Best New Artist was--but this afternoon's performance of "The Rising" reminds me that it's worth discussing some embarrassments in the Album of the Year category:
  • 2003--"Come Away With Me" over "The Rising" and the Dixie Chicks' "Home."
  • 2002--"O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack over "All That You Can't Leave Behind."
  • 1997--Celine Dion's "Falling Into You" over The Fugees' "The Score," "Odelay," and "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"
  • 1995--"The Bodyguard" soundtrack over "Automatic For The People"
  • 1992--Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable, With Love" over "Out of Time," "Luck of the Draw," and "Rhythm of the Saints."
  • 1985--Lionel Richie's "Can't Slow Down" over "Purple Rain"
  • 1981--"Christopher Cross" over "The Wall"
  • 1963--Vaughn Meader's "The First Family" over "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music"
One of those the biggest crime, or can you do better (or worse, depending on how you look at it)?
FORTUNATELY, MELLENCAMP DIDN'T OPT FOR "OUR COUNTRY:" Let's try and keep it non-political, but I suspect a thread for discussion of the inaugural concert being simulcast on HBO (and unscrambled) is in order. I'm only halfway through, and the high point is clearly Bruce doing "The Rising" with full gospel choir, and the low point being Jamie Foxx's demand that "Chicago people stand up!" And while I applaud efforts to be diverse, Kal Penn and George Lopez? Really?

ETA: Clearly, I posted mere minutes too early, as the inexplicable trio of Sheryl Crow, Will.I.Am, and Herbie Hancock attempting to channel Bob Marley just created a new nadir in the broadcast. (Contrast with the Taylor/Legend/Nettles "Shower The People," which was much more effective.)
WE CAN BUILD ON THIS: There will be no Five Stages of Eagles Grief post from me today, because I'm not grieving.

This was a flawed, lucky team playing with house money that had no business being in the playoffs in the first place. Today, the Cardinals had one great half, and we had one great half, only their half was a little bit better, and their borderline-in Hall of Fame quarterback made a few more plays than our own sturdy signal caller. It's a shame that it took so long for the Eagles to figure out how to pressure Warner (while the Cardinals were harassing McNabb all day) and had tackling issues for most of the day, but that's life.

No anger, no depression. As I wrote after the 2006 season (the loss at New Orleans), "I'm only asking for one title. (And a Democratic president on 1-20-09.)"

Well, we've got that title, and we'll have that President as scheduled. Pitchers and catchers report in twenty-seven days.
SPEED-THE-PLAYING: Rarely do I find the NYT Sunday Styles "A Night Out With ..." column to be compelling reading, but today's Fred Armisen, girlfriend (!) Elizabeth Moss and Raúl Esparza play Rock Band deserves an accompanying video.

As long as we're talking Armisen, discussion of last night's "hey! I think Rosario Dawson is Latina!"episode of SNL is welcome. Enjoyed the "Aladdin: Ten Years Later" and "La Policia Mexicana" skits, but overall a weak episode. Line of the night goes to Weekend Update: "On Thursday, New York water taxis accomplished in half an hour what the creators of Lost haven't been able to do in five seasons."