Friday, August 14, 2009
This recap brought to you by Draper Herbal Essence: Philander, rinse, repeat. Set your DVRs for August 16.
- Seriously, a chef specializing in Asian food who cannot identify Hoisin Sauce by taste? In fact, all these "Masters" did pretty damn poorly in the taste-test. (Half couldn't recognize peanut butter?)
- Rick Bayless continues to be awesome, as does Hubert Keller, though the panel's man-crush on Keller is all-too-evident.
- This was the first time this season that personal drama took the front seat, rather than the cooking. Did that make for better or worse television?
- Michael Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Adam loudly proclaimed last night on C-SPAN that "Donovan McNabb is my quarterback," but perhaps there are differences of opinion here, or just a desire to echo Adam's sentiment.
- Guitar virtuoso and technical innovator Les Paul died yesterday at 94. The obit gives a nice description of Paul's achievements, and notes that up till less than two months ago, Paul was continuing to play a weekly show at a small jazz club in Manhattan. Pretty damn impressive.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
But Cosmo Boy's absolute faaavorite aspect of Sesame Street is something that I gather is new this past season: Murray Has a Little Lamb. Murray is the "What's the Word on the Street" monster, whose relevance I had questioned whenever I saw him in passing last season. (Apparently he's the crossover monster who hangs out in the real world. Kind of like International Grover only sticking to the five boroughs instead of, say, Bangladesh.) But now he's got his own gig with little lamb Ovejita, who I gather beat out Rosita, la Monstrua de las Cuevas, for the role of primary spanish-speaking muppet. (I smell a Title VII lawsuit.) There's actual stuff going on in the sketches, for which muppet wiki can give you the deets, but the thing that has Cosmo Boy rolling in the aisles is Ovejita's tendency to run into the camera frame unexpectedly, much like the mahna-mahna guy does. Some stuff is just funny, whether it's 1979 or 2009. The song is catchy, too.
(Sorry, no youtube at my office, but I suspect that one of my co-bloggers can help a monster out.)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
- He's joining the writing staff for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, due to his very funny blog. (And I'm sure ALOTT5MA is ready, willing, and able to sell out if the price is right.)
- For the cover story in this week's NYT Magazine, he was tasked with profiling Harmonix, the development of Rock Band: The Beatles, and how Rock Band is changing how we experience and buy music.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
[Previously on: Josh Hamilton: Josh Hamilton was the first player taken in the 1999 amateur draft, a can't-miss prospect if ever there were one, but his career and life imploded in the minor leagues as, or because, he spiraled into drug addiction. Several years later, he became a born-again Christian and recovering drug addict. After the Reds acquired him basically for free (later trading him to the Rangers for whatever the opposite of free is), Hamilton revived his baseball career too, and quickly became one of both the best offensive players and the best feel-good stories in baseball. Last weekend, Deadspin posted some months-old pictures of him falling off the wagon, both drinking and flirting with women (he's married) in a bar. Within days, Hamilton authenticated the pictures and talked candidly and at length about the struggles of a recovering addict (he had already discussed the matter with both his family and his employers, right after the incident).]
This exchange followed:
Isaac: It's news. And while obviously this isn't the reason they ran them, arguably the threat of publicity might be an added deterrent to future issues. I have to say, he handled it extremely well -- it's easy to root for him.
By the way, would you have asked people not to publish or report on Joe Namath trying to kiss Suzy Kolber? No pictures of Mischa Barton in free-fall? Nothing about Mel Gibson's issues? Whitney Houston? Pete Doherty? Amy Winehouse? Drew Barrymore? Those are all people who either have acknowledged or appear to have serious substance abuse issues.
Adam: It's news, but not news that makes me happy, and Deadspin is supposed to be about the happy. So that's part of what's going on here.
I think there's also a public/private line that obviously puts Namath on one side of it away from Hamilton, who wasn't on live tv when this was all happening. I guess it's that the series of pictures make it real in a way that even "OMG, what happened to Barton's face?" doesn't, and if it's true that he blacked out and didn't even remember any of it, it just makes me sad.
He doesn't deserve to be a laughingstock for this. He's a human being with weaknesses, and he deserves support.
Isaac: He is a public figure. I think what's making you touchy is that, like I said, it's easy to root for Hamilton. Easier than for, say Barton. But I don't see how you treat them any differently. Also, I'd say that Deadspin did more to ruin Jamal Anderson or Sean Salisbury, in both cases possibly unfairly, than Hamilton.
Adam: It's more than that it's easy to root for him -- it's that there's a difference between someone who knows what he's getting into -- the Leinart photos -- and a guy who put himself into a vulnerable situation where he slipped. And, to be fair, maybe he intended to. But this takes Deadspin out of the role of "scrappy upstair afflicting the comfortable" and puts it in the role of bully, and I don't like it.
Anderson got arrested. That's public interest. Salisbury sexually harassed colleagues. What Hamilton did had no victims other than himself.
Isaac: Except that it's not clear Salisbury sexually harassed colleagues. Nobody's ever seen the supposed picture. And with Anderson, I'm not talking about the drugs -- I'm talking about all the insinuation that he's gay.
Anyway, Deadspin hasn't been the scrappy upstart for a long time. The notion of "without access or favor" motto is a joke. It has access and grants favor. It has been a bully for a long time. But it also is required to be a bullshit detector, and the Josh Hamilton redemption arc probably needs the air let out a bit.
Adam: No one's seen the Salisbury picture, but we do know that he was fired. As for Anderson ... yeah. They haven't really had much fact to back up the insinuation.
It's like the debate at the end of Primary Colors -- is there such a thing as a piece of sleaze reporting that's just so sad and human that you shouldn't use it?
Isaac: [Deleted reflection on an unrelated piece of sleaze reporting close to home.] ... But still, I don't think that it shouldn't have been used. I just wish nobody had watched it.
As for Hamilton, he is a public figure and he was in a public place and he was very publicly doing two things at odds with the public image he's been selling of himself -- clean and God-fearing. I wish it didn't happen, and Deadspin's glee about it is shameful (that's Daulerio's attitude, by the way -- Leitch would have run the photos but with more reflective text, I think), but it happened and I don't see the point in not reporting it.
Adam: If it were knowing hypocrisy, that's one thing -- if Curt Schilling gets outed as a steroid user, I'm all for it. Your example reminds me of Todd Solondz's film Happiness, and the whole notion that most people who do evil things don't think of themselves as evil, aren't consciously twisting the ends of their mustaches, but are fucked up for one reason or another and stuck in pathologies they can't control. Obviously, someone who's a danger to others needs to be exposed and stopped regardless of his intent, but again, that doesn't seem to fit Hamilton.
Isaac: It doesn't even have to be hypocrisy. Just a relevant data point. Would you have been okay with it if Leitch had done a piece for a print publication talking about how sad it was?
Adam: Probably. The number of photos made it a piling-on offense.
Isaac: One thing on which I hope we can both agree is that if one guy is going to have the kind of public relapse that Hamilton had -- and we both wish he hadn't -- then one couldn't possibly handle it better than Hamilton did. No excuses, no dissembling, no anger, and no sense that his apology was leading some kind of agenda. Just a guy who adequately conveyed that, for him, his long-term struggle to succeed is too important to get overly worked up about media attention to any particular failure.
Adam: Agreed. No "I'm sorry if I hurt...," no blame on anyone else. That's how you do it.
[Related audio: Dan Levy talks to AJ Daulerio about his decision to run the photos.]
So when you hear of a Jr. or a III or a XIV these days, do you think "ah, what a nice refreshing return to tradition"? Or do you think "sheesh, what a lost opportunity to bless the naming canon with another brand-new-from-whole-cloth name"?
p.s. I find it morally offensive to have linked to someone who thinks that David Daniel Otunga is Jennifer Hudson's "fiancee," but that's the first place I saw it reported, so I'm sticking with it. xox the spelling police
It's an outdoor, public-invited multiple-hour event at an elementary school, including a race, so I'm looking for fun, upbeat music with lyrics that are fine for a large spectrum of kids (there are always toddlers and preschoolers at the event, and it's aimed at kids).
It's in memory of a young classmate whose favorite song was by Green Day and who liked U2, so we want interesting pop/rock, not pap and not "kid's music" ( I know there's plenty of good kids' music out there - we used to own a big stack of Dan Zanes et al. -but that's not what they played last year and not really what's wanted). During the race we'll play particularly energetic music. Some Latin-influenced music would be a plus (I've got Ozomatli's "Can't Stop" and am looking to see which of their songs in Spanish would be good). And we definitely don't want sad songs.
I've got a decent list of songs to start with but I really need more current stuff and more ideas in general. My knowledge of current music is not so good, so I've been combing other lists I've seen, and I've found some good songs by bands I didn't know (Arcade Fire's "No Cars Go," Those Dancing Days' "Run Run"). I've looked at the prior years' "songs of the summer" lists, and think I'll include "Sweet Escape" and "Umbrella," but definitely not "Cape Code Kwassa Kwassa," for example. I've looked at other lists of songs that inspire, songs to run to, etc. Winnowing out the ones that aren't kid-friendly and aren't upbeat has been the biggest challenge there. Help from the immensely talented and musically knowledgeable ThingThrowers would be so much appreciated.
Monday, August 10, 2009
And if that doesn't interest you, please justify the modern version of The Heartbreak Kid without using the words Neil or Simon.
But, seriously? Aura, Miata, Diamante, Corolla, Altima, Odyssey, Camry, Avalon, Sienna, Carrera, Cayenne, Spyder, Bonneville, Catalina, Firebird, Escalade, Seville, Explorer ...