Saturday, January 14, 2012

THIS CHAMBER SUPPORTS MATH:  I spent this weekend at the [No Politics Rule] state committee meeting to lead a training on [that stuff I do], but I need to remark on one element of the endorsement meeting for statewide candidates held at the end. According to Rule 16 of the rules governing the meeting, endorsement by the Party required "a two-thirds majority, 66 percent of the total votes cast."

So you can imagine my delight (really, given my history you can) that a state committee member from the south-central part of the Commonwealth rose on a point of order to suggest that 66% was actually short of two-thirds, and that only 66 2/3% should be deemed sufficient to qualify a candidate for endorsement. Her point was, thank goodness, accepted by the chair.
TEBOWIE:  Jimmy Fallon awesomeness, again.  (Open thread for all football discussion this weekend.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

IT'S ALL IN THE GAME, YO (ANSWER KEY): Answers for the least-played game of all time, Wire Character or Real Person or Non-Wire Fictitious Character or Product or Thing after the jump. Newbies: to prevent spoilers, I will identify Wire characters by affiliation (e.g., "Barksdale Organization" or "Felix Arellano Cartel") but will not say anything about their role or characterization.
EVERYBODY HOP IN THE DELOREAN: Particularly since I'm not a big sports person, perhaps my favorite feature at Grantland is "Rembert Explains the 80s," in which the older members of Grantland's staff select a YouTube video from the 80s for 24 year-old writer Rembert Browne to watch and comment on. This week, he takes on a random episode of Double Dare. Prior installments have included such 80s artifacts as ALF, Manimal, and Bosom Buddies, and are collected here.
IT'S ALL IN THE GAME, YO: Vets and newbies, Barksdales and Natural Police, Greeks and Docks: It's time to engage in that timeless pastime, Wire Character or Real Person or Non-Wire Fictitious Character or Product or Thing?. Newbies: no commentary here, but if you consider names to be spoilers, don't play. The Internet is cheating.
HER SMILE THAT REMINDS YOU OF CHILDHOOD MEMORIES IS NOT PROBATIVE EVIDENCE: Somehow, W. Axl Rose managed to get on a civil jury in California, which apparently reached verdict rather than spending 15 years arguing about what the verdict should say and who should be included in the credits.
1 ACROSS, FIVE LETTERS: "JENNA MARONEY'S FIRST NAME":  Welcome back, 30 Rock. I missed you.  (Favorite freeze-frame: on the movie theater marquee: "The Help 2: Still Helpin'").  And the Timeless Torches is a real thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

RES IPSA LOQUITOR:  The CW has ordered ten episodes of an "extreme musical chairs" game show it is titling ... wait for it ... Oh Sit!
THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT ADVOCATE OR CONDONE THE EXTINCTION OR BETRAYAL OF EWOKS: Exactly what happened to the mass of debris created by the destruction of the Second Death Star, so close to the Forest Moon of Endor? Theoretical astrophysicist Curtis Saxton explains (and that the article is titled "Ewok Holocaust" may spoil the ending), and it's one of six movies discussed in Cracked's 6 Horrible Aftermaths Implied By Movies With Happy Endings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

THAT'S A DEALBREAKER: Quick recommendation to pass along, which I learned via Isaac and Spaceboy 1.0 during my visit to Greater Fairyland last fall—if you've got a child age 7+, Monopoly Deal is a super-addictive card game involving tons of strategery, and is a great gateway drug to Monopoly proper. Isaac will appreciate that by Game 3, she already was playing a Just Say No to my Just Say No on a Dealbreaker.

If you have recommendations for games, toys and whatnot for the young ones, or slightly older or younger ones, do share.
SOMETIMES STATE QUARTERS KNEW ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN HIS YOUNGER DAYS, WHEN HE STILL WENT BY DICK WHITMAN:  The Hairpin reviews the fifty state quarters (and DC), as we did in November 2008.
NO, OFFICER PRYZBYLEWSKI, HE DID NOT "PISS YOU OFF." HE MADE YOU FEAR FOR YOUR SAFETY AND THAT OF YOUR FELLOW OFFICERS: The remarkable thing to me about episode two of our Wire Wednesday recaps, "The Detail," is just how less-that-awesome these police officers are. Yes, we've got our team together, but on the whole what an unimpressive bunch of rejects and knuckleheads. So when Herk, Prez and Carter make their way to the high rises at night for no reason I can discern, bad things inevitably happen.

The other thing, of course, is that we have a meeting between McNulty (and Bunk) with D'Angelo Barksdale, far earlier than I would have expected in the series. There's no lengthy stalking-and-avoiding, just a casual sitdown in the middle of the low-rises where they sit, talk ("Why can't you sell the shit and walk the fuck away? Everything else in this country gets sold without shooting people behind it"), and arrest just for the hell of it, where some elementary-level interrogation deception (with the picture and the false story about Gant) almost leads somewhere with the letter ... and then it doesn't. D'Angelo may think he's playing a smart game with the police, but sometimes you need to lawyer up.

Other topics of note for the comments: Chicken McNuggets; the awesomeness of the red hats. Yes, the smartest thing done on the police side this week was a scheme by their junkie informant. Welcome to Baltimore.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I WANT TO GO TO THERE:  As part of his rundown of the duck-centric menus at NYC's Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Wong, new NYT restaurant critic Pete ("Dexter's Dad") Wells describes a Wong soup thusly:
It looks like the kind of wan consommé you’d feed an invalid who was too weak to come to the table. But this little cup swings like a heavyweight. It’s profoundly rich and concentrated, and floating on top of the broth is at least a quarter-inch of hot duck fat.

Repeat: a quarter-inch of hot duck fat.

The fat coats your lips and your tongue, and then as you drink the broth it all mixes together into a cup of soup richer than any I’ve ever encountered. In fact, it is nearly as rich as hot chocolate. Not hot cocoa, which is for amateurs, but hot chocolate of the kind served in France, luxurious in heavy cream and cocoa butter. What we have here is a savory duck hot chocolate.
CAREFUL THE FILMS YOU MAKE, CHILDREN WILL WATCH THEM: Into the Woods is arguably the most accessible Sondheim musical, and given its fairy-tale roots, I'm actually surprised that it hasn't made its way to the big screen yet, but Disney is apparently putting it back on the fast track, this time in a Rob Marshall-directed version which will allegedly get new Sondheim songs. I'm wondering if they've finally got a concept that works--the show uses a narrator who inserts himself into the action, which is tricky to do in a film, and I assume we can expect a star-studded cast. (Obligatory suggestion--NPH and Anne Hathaway as Baker and Baker's Wife.)
I CAN FEEL IT BURNING: John Parr has reworked his 1985 hit "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" as a tribute to Tim Tebow. The results of "Tim Tebow's Fire" are pretty much what you'd expect.
ALTHOUGH THIS WORLD IS A CRAZY RIDE, YOU JUST TAKE YOUR SEAT AND HOLD ON TIGHT: In recognition of Jay-Z's "Glory," Buzzfeed collects the videos for 22 songs written about the artist's son or daughter.  (Songfacts tallies 102.)
DONTCHA WISH YOUR GIRLFRIEND HAD CHARISMA 18? Sadly, the online version of the NYT story about the upcoming reboot of Dungeons & Dragons doesn't include the photo of d20 Burlesque, the only (I assume) burlesque troupe devoted to the gaming community.
I SUPPOSE WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO A PUBLIC EDITOR COLUMN ON THIS ONE: So, Sunday's NYT crossword contained the clue "Wack, in hip-hop," with the answer being ILLIN, which led to an exchange between Will Shortz and a hip-hop fan over the correctness or lack thereof of the clue.
WHAT A PISSER: NYMag presents an abbreviated history of fourth-wall breaking:

Monday, January 9, 2012

ALL THAT AND AN IKEA JOKE: I love David Fincher. I loved Fight Club, liked Panic Room, loved Social Network, know I will love Zodiac once I see it (Adam, why didn't you tell me this was any good?), love his signature touches (the dim taupe palette, the heroic credit sequences), and love his furtive sense of humor. Example: In Fight Club, Tyler Durden tells a possibly fabricated story about how he used to work in a theater and splice single frames of male anatomy into the movies so that the audience would receive them subliminally, and then, as Fight Club reaches its climax, Fincher does the same thing. It's just about a frame, barely enough to notice; not enough to interrupt the narrative; plenty enough to insinuate himself, and maybe you, into Durden's japery.

Spacewoman and I have decided, therefore, that Fincher was sharing a little in-joke with readers of his source material when, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first thing Mikael Blomkvist does is order a sandwich. The sandwiches! This is an exceedingly violent movie, but there probably are more sandwiches than guns. Well played, David Fincher.
WELCOME TO IMMORTALITY, WHICH REMAINS A SCHLEP FROM THE MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Congratulation to Barry Larkin, elected today to the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 86.4% of the vote. (Our vote tally is here.) He will be inducted along with the late Ron Santo this July.

Jack Morris (66.7%), Jeff Bagwell (56%), Tim Raines (48.7%), and Alan Trammell (36.8%) each gained more than 10% this time around; Mark McGwire remains stable (19.5%); Bernie Williams (9.6%) remains under consideration for another year, while two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez (4.0%) falls off the ballot after his second year of eligibility.
I HATE GREEK DRAMA, YOU KNOW, WHEN EVERYTHING HAPPENS OFFSTAGE: I only started watching Downton Abbey about two weeks ago (that's a lot of Edwardian drama to shovel into just a few days), but am now firmly in the (side)saddle and eager to discuss the season 2 premiere. Just a few thoughts on my end to kick things off (noting, however, that if you have never watched Downton but have the intention to do so at some point in your lifetime, you shouldn't read this post any further lest there be spoilers) :
  • I am a big suspender of disbelief, but there is something bothering me. I can buy the fact that Matthew Crawley is sufficiently dense not to realize that Mary is sending "Dude I Still Love You, You Nitwit" smoke signals from her tormented eyes, but is there really any universe in which Mary wouldn't have told Cora -- at some point during the two years that have elapsed since Season 1's conclusion -- that Edith was the one who spilled The Secret to Pamuk's father?
  • I was glad to see from the pre-show interview with Elizabeth McGovern that her odd Americo-Brit accent on the show is in fact Elizabeth McGovern's own odd Americo-Brit accent, stemming from years of living in London and picking up that weird British intonation thing that all Americans living in London for more than 15 minutes seem to be affilicted with, rather than a studied dialect decision.
  • Lady Sybil is to-die-for gorgeous.
  • This show has an odd habit of making all of its characters reasonably well-rounded except for those who we are intended to roundly dislike, who are one-dimensionally awful. Thomas, O'Brien, Edith . . . not a redeeming characteristic among them. The good news, however, is that Bates's surprise visitor would seem to make the usual suspects seem nuanced and three-dimensional.
  • Lack of Verisimilitude Department: After also having watched Jude Law in Contagion this weekend, I am struck by the fact that Downton Abbey apparently employs the best dentist in all of England.
Who's watching?
GREEN FOURTEEN COSMOPOLITAN: Originally, I wasn't going to post anything about Beyonce and Jay-Z's baby naming decision, but then I overheard a heated discussion among several checkout ladies at my supermarket on the subject, and it was clear that this was Major News. So, yes, Blue Ivy Carter it is, and if you believe the chatterati, she's named for her daddy's favorite color and her mama's favorite number. Deep. (And do people actually have favorite numbers once their age hits double digits?)

(I personally have no particular affection for the initial, incorrectly reported variation of Ivy Blue Carter, as it sounds a bit too much like the girl whose eyes were as blue as the Bonnie Blue flag.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

AS ONE OBSERVER TWEETED, IT TOOK LONGER TO EXPLAIN OVERTIME THAN TO PLAY IT: Yes, that was something. Pure coincidence that the Denver quarterback finished with 316 yards in the shortest overtime in NFL history.
JUST FOR ONE DAY:  In honor of David Bowie's 65th birthday today, The Mirror (UK) recounts 65 facts and myths regarding the Thin White Duke, runs 65 pictures, and explores his present mostly-retirement in New York.