Saturday, December 11, 2010
But add to that this story: Szczur is also a baseball prospect. Last season, years after having been encouraged by his football coach to be tested, he found out he was a 1-in-60,000 stem cell match for a toddler suffering from leukemia and sacrificed ten baseball games last season to donate the necessary bone marrow. After the season, he became a fifth round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs, and had a 960 OPS in low-A ball this summer. "Anybody can go out there and play football or baseball," Szczur said, "but there's not too many people who get a chance to save a life."
I understand someone else won the Heisman.
Overall, what a nicely ambitious series, and a real demonstration that sports documentaries could move beyond Ken Burns/talking heads format into something with more authorial voice. Yes, there were some stinkers towards the end, but given how generic so much of ESPN feels these days this was, overall, an unexpected pleasure.
Thank you. Never even missed it ... you are very kind. Maybe I can return the favor someday.So here's the question: do I just hope that he pays it forward some day, or can I make an explicit suggestion that he do something in return, like make a charitable contribution of whatever amount he deems appropriate to some worthy apolitical cause of my naming? Does the fact that it's The Holiday Season increase or decrease my ability to make such an ask?
Friday, December 10, 2010
In the nearer term, I see two major related consequences. First, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson almost certainly have heard the first verse of this song a million times in AI auditions. Second, the biggest loser here is the band that owns the rights to the song previously used by every male AI contestant with a preference for inoffensive mainstream rock -- "Drops of Jupiter."
Community did something I usually don't like -- an animated episode -- but by acknowledging its animatedness mined both emotional stakes (part of the point of this episode was how tenuous Abed's grip on reality really is, and how his friends want to protect him from that) and comedy (Professor Duncan: "You're grabbing me in real life!"). And [SPOILER ALERT] the reflection of the live-action characters in the claymation TV screen at the end was really cool.
30 Rock -- that was just damn funny. I don't think this show has done this many jokes per minute since its glorious second season. The Tracy story didn't really pay off for me, but virtually every word and glance among Liz, Jack (angrily: "or other things"), Colleen, Milton, and Avery was golden, and I even liked how the show used Jenna and Paul's mostly straight (pun intended) but so weird "O Holy Night," where he was in drag singing the high harmony and she was in blackface as Lynn Swann.
The Office was the other slice of bread in this happy meat-on-sad sandwich, but the part that really got me was the effective and overt Dwight-Jim psychological thriller subplot. You expect things like that from Community, but I don't remember this show ever doing it. Enjoyable.
And commercials reminding us that last season's best comedy, Parks and Recreation, is back in January? It's a Christmas miracle.
The slim, fit-looking president of Botswana -- considered one of Africa's most eligible bachelors -- says he is finally ready to get married but made it clear that overweight women need not apply.Alright, I'll taste the soup.
President Ian Khama, 57, has never been married, but at a political party meeting last month he said his top requirement for a future wife is that she needs to be tall, slim and beautiful – in a country known for short, heavy set women....
Khama claims he's been too busy running the country to find a wife, and has dispatched presidential aides to find a suitable mate.
The president's status as a bachelor is of general national concern. Khama, elected in 2009, is not only president, he's also the chief of the Bamangwato people, Botswana's largest ethnic group. Marriage is a requirement of tribal tradition, something that Khama, so far, has defied.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
[Also, wow: Kathy Bates' new show lets her litigate against a two-armed Rocket Romano? Awesome.]
[Related: does anyone refer to the Triboro as the RFK Bridge?]
- As I noted over on Twitter, Lima, Ohio and William McKinley High School seem quite vulnerable to several Establishment Clause claims. (Though they were careful to choose only non-expressly-religious Christmas songs to appear in the episode.)
- As noted over at HitFix, if you had Brittany in your office pool for "most three-dimensional character of the season so far," you've turned a nice profit. (And Coach Beiste is probably running in the top 3, alongside Kurt.)
- We get a passing reference to Rachel's Judaism, but Puck's goes unmentioned?
- Even by the relaxed standards of Glee, the Kurt/Blaine number, while lovely, had absolutely no narrative tether to the rest of the episode.
- Apparently, Brittany S. Pierce and Hermione Granger share a deep and abiding dedication to the welfare of elves.
- We established last year that Will's parents apparently live nearby--they've apparently disappeared, since Will spending Christmas alone was a major plot point.
- For all the problems I had, there was a lot of funny stuff--Mike Chang's wish that supplied the post title, Will's list of potential gifts to give to Sue ("1. Dog Robot 2. A Soul")--and some authentically heartwarming stuff (the final scene, "I don't hate Christmas. I just hate you.").
At its best, the show remains a ton of fun, and even when it's misfiring, there are enough moments that work that I'm not going to abandon it any time soon, despite a shaky start to this season as they try and figure out a way to balance the overly large ensemble while at the same time adding even more characters to the mix--seriously, the show now has 15 performers billed as regular (though some do not appear in every episode), plus Mike, Sam, Figgins, and Blaine, who are regulars in all-but-title, which is way too many.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Well, that year is coming to a close, and the piper would like to be paid. $10/month, to be exact.
There is a lot to like about Echo -- the multiple login options, the use of avatars, the "like" button, threaded comments and the ease of moderation from our end. At the same time, its synchronization feature is erratic -- yielding multiple days on which comments aren't accessible from many devices -- and we do have issues like triple-posting and the like.
Also, this blog is a hobby and a lark for all of us -- we have never accepted advertising or sought any revenue from this, but nor do we necessarily want to be spending money on it either. It may be an irrational distinction, but I think to have to start to paying for this would change they way we experience doing it.
Still, I wrote back to the Echo folks, $120/yr is a bit much for the value you provide to us. How about $50, and if service improves we'll consider a full fee next year?, to which they responded, basically, "That's nice. Here's some other platforms you may want to consider instead." (They've been quite friendly, in fact.) Intense Debate was one, and obviously we could use Blogger.com's own commenting functions.
So here's where we need your help. What we're looking for in a commenting host is the following:
- It should be free.
- It should be simple and clean as a layout matter.
- It should not require a complicated login, and must protect the pseudonymity/anonymity of our users.
- It should synchronize with our existing comments, which reach 2,000/month.
- It should allow comment reading and posting from all mobile devices.
- It should allow for easy moderation/editing/spam protection.
- Ideally, it would allow for threaded comments, "like" buttons, etc.
- It should reward its bearer with riches beyond his or her wildest imagination.
What was nice for me about this brief, engaging, surprisingly measured and thoughtful season of The Walking Dead is that it postponed that choice as long as it did. (Hopefully, I'm not spoiling the choice the show made.) Alan Sepinwall's summary of this season was that it was more prologue than story, and that seems exactly right: the direction next season is going to take necessarily will be different from the thread of this short season. So bring on next season.
Also, as usual, I will root for the zombies.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Want another oddball winner? Two chief contenders: The Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" (yes, because of this) and a celebrity cover (Billy Bragg!) of John Cage's "4'33"" (which will include remixes).
[For those unclear with what we're getting when X-Factor hits the States next fall, meet Jedward.]