Thursday, April 15, 2004

STILL TO COME -- ROBERT KLEIN AND ARSENIO HALL: Our good friend Alex Gordon at A List a Day is doing a great job charting Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Standups of All Time list.

Check it out. Join the discussion in the comments there.
BURNETT, VOL. II: One more week of Pagonging, then the real game begins. Give Mariano credit -- only Richard Hatch and Rob Cesternino have ever played the game this well before. (Although, arguably, if you don't win the game, you can't have played it well enough. Discuss.)
FYI: For those curious about what I'm doing all day, take a look at the Hoeffel Blog, which is part of my responsibilities, and enjoy this flash ad, which one of my colleagues put together. We're having fun.
IT WAS THE FIRST CHOICE, AFTER ALL: I don't want to spoil the Apprentice finale for those who haven't seen it yet -- but the Comments section is fair game -- but I do want to say this much.

Kudos to Mark Burnett for doing such an awesome job of translating the Survivor formula into this environment, and it really showed in this episode. Complete with the almost-imperceptible fade from the taped boardroom to the live reveal (which originated with Survivor: Africa, I believe), the reunion show and, of course, much Trumpy boasting.

One fair criticism of the show is that despite the diverse backgrounds of the competitors, in the end it was the two candidates who were already the most credentialed and least needing of Trump's help that made it to the end. I think that's due to a flaw in the game -- because you're eliminating the least worthy each week, as opposed to hailing the most worthy, consistent achievement isn't as important as What Have You Done For Me Lately, and what's most important is just not seeming like the Least Sucky Person In The Room when you're in the boardroom. (In particular, I thought Amy got screwed in the end given how well she had performed in individual tasks.)

My solution? Some kind of immunity necklace -- do well one week, and not only are you not in the boardroom that week, but that team's Project Manager can't be eliminated the following week.

Final note: If I were [the candidate who lost], I'd have said, "Mr. Trump, you said you had two openings. You gave the winner his choice. I'd like to be considered for the other job."

Thoughts? The floor is open.
OVERCONFIDENT EAGLES FAN ALERT: Seriously, is there a two-game stretch in the Iggles' 2004 schedule that I should be worried about?

12-4 is in reach.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

2 GOOD NOT 2 B TRUE: Okay, so everyone knows that Prince wrote "Nothing Compares 2 U", made famous by Sinead O'Connor, "Sugar Walls" for Sheena Easton, and countless songs for The Time and Sheila E., and that Cyndi Lauper's "When You Were Mine" was a cover of a Prince song from Dirty Mind.

And I vaguely remembered, and confirmed today, that he wrote the Bangles' "Manic Monday" -- which, when you think about it, sounds like it could've easily been on Around the World in a Day or Parade.

But am I the last person in the world to find out that he co-wrote Stevie Nicks' "Stand Back"? Yeesh, that's an odd one.
DAMN! I WISH I WERE YOUR LAWYER: Hey, everyone: a Sophie B. Hawkins sighting!

Up next, Jill Sobule and Tevin Campbell resurface.
SAVE GEORGE HUFF: Seriously, yo, that was not his best performance, but he's still the best male singer in the competition. That song is cursed on the show, and he's in trouble because nobody was down-and-out awful who isn't always awful-but-gets-votes-anyway. This may have been his "New Attitude" night, I fear.

Fantasia rocked my world on "Summertime", and the people who normally annoy me (the Johns, Jasmine and Diana) clearly still belong in dead singer storage.

But the big revelation of the AI3 night was judge Quentin Tarantino. Seriously. A judge who has watched the show before and knows something about the performers. Who isn't afraid to judge. What a concept.

But, as Jen points out, the best part of Movie Night was this: no f*cking immigrant mouse song.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

THE TRUE NORTH: Israel and the Palestinians. China and Taiwan. India and Pakistan.

And now, Canada and Denmark.

Yes. As reported by political scientist and cross-the-hall-freshman-year-dormmate Danny Geffen and others, our polite Tim Horton's-lovin' neighbors to the north are engaged in a fierce territorial dispute with the indecisive, clean-furniture-designin' Danes over Hans Island.

Could this be our blog's new muktuk? Do they eat muktuk on Hans Island? Will the Comments thread to this post descend into a series of jabs at Canadian and Danish stereotypes? (Are there Danish stereotypes?)

Wait and see.

Monday, April 12, 2004

WE BUILT THIS CITI: You know that scene, late in Rudy, when Ned Beatty comes through the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium and proclaims the field to be "the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen"?

Well, visiting the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park today for the first time wasn't quite that.

Yes, it's a good park. And there are really nice touches -- a spare, Deco clock in dead center field; old school pennants proclaim the Phillies' few memorable seasons; wonderfully helter-skelter looking walkways connecting the left field upper deck with the scoreboard section; all the seats face home plate; and, more than anything, a sense of angularity. This place has corners all over the place, and it's neat. (I wish there were pictures I could link to; sorry.)

But there's some problems, and not just that the park isn't in Center City where it belongs. The concourses lack tv monitors to let you watch the game while waiting in line for food, and they feel way too confined, although that may have been accentuated by the combination of crowd and precipitation. The food's undersized and overpriced, as you'd expect. The scoreboards provide batting average and runs batted in statistics, but not on-base or slugging percentages. You can't see the bullpens from a lot of seats. And, in general, the Phillies' upgrade in accomodations didn't come with an upgrade in game-day production -- same tired songs, tired video segments, tired Phanatic shtick.

But the biggest problem is this, and it's the same thing I said after they opened the Linc: if the team is going to lose, it's not magically more pleasant because they're losing on natural grass now.

In the end, a winning stadium is a happy one, even at the Vet, and a loss is no less painful for having occurred under brighter lights and prettier seats. If the team doesn't win, this place will be as empty as PNC or Miller Park is -- Philadelphia fans are way too savvy to spent good money attending bad baseball.

This is a playoff-caliber team, but 1-6 is no way to start a season.