Saturday, November 1, 2008

PRAY, WHO BE THIS 'TRACY JORDAN' THOU SPEAKEST OF? Where does ("ALOTT5MA fave?" -- we need to vote) Tracy Morgan end and "Tracy Jordan" begin? Both the New York Times (with audio clips) and New York magazine try to figure it out.
NO ONE CARES IF YOU UPSET A DROID: Via Russ, an a capella tribute to Star Wars and the music of John Williams.

Consider this an open thread to post links to other random stuff you think folks should see.

Friday, October 31, 2008

RADIO SILENCE: Literary giant and radio legend Studs Terkel died today. He was 96 and a vibrant fixture on local public radio here in Chicago almost to the end (WBEZ's web site has a sample of some of his work over the year). If you've never read one of his oral histories (I recommend Working or Division Street America--do yourself a favor and pick one up this weekend.

Week 9 of the MLB Fantasy League - NFL Week 9 of the MLB Fantasy League :

THE REAL BATTLE: Mere days after fanning Eric Hinske to win the 2008 World Series, Brad Lidge has to face him again on Sunday in week 9 of a MLB players' fantasy football league. Both Lidge and Hinske are a decidedly imperfect 3-5 in the league, and between Lidge's reliance on Tyler Thigpen as an injury-replacement QB and Hinske's apparent belief that you can trust Maurice Jones-Drew ... yeah, they should stick to baseball.
AND MY DAUGHTER NOW KNOWS WHAT "CONFETTI" IS: This is not the typical view outside my office:

Parade: awesome. Simple, exuberant, massive.

However, SEPTA FAIL. An unexpected shutdown of southbound service on the Broad Street Line meant there was no way for me and Lucy to join the (extremely delayed) rally at Citizen's Bank Park -- basically, you have hundreds of thousands of people in Center City ending an event at around the same time, and no plans on how to disperse them. I mean, I'm not saying cities can reasonably prepare for such an event, but public transportation simply failed today.

Anyway, I'm watching the rally right now. Burrell just spoke. I'm getting misty.

e.t.a. CHUTLEY! has now made local broadcasters very interested in the Supreme Court's upcoming handling of FCC v. Fox Television Stations.
COPS AND ROBBERS: In what's the most odd (and interesting) cop show pairing I've heard in a long time, NBC pilot Off Duty will apparently star charter member of the Sorkin Family Players Bradley Whitford as a formerly legendary police detective on the downslide, and Apatow Player Romany Malco as his new partner, a young cop on the rise.
DUE TO MY STRONG PERSONAL CONVICTIONS, I WANT TO STRESS THAT THIS POST IN NO WAY ENDORSES A BELIEF IN THE OCCULT: Let's celebrate Halloween with Michael Jackson. (And while we're at it, Jennifer Garner dancing like Michael Jackson.)
FREE ODIE:In these trying economic times, what do people want from their newspaper? Apparently, the answer is Garfield, as when the Denver Rocky Mountain News dropped the strip (perhaps for not having been funny or original in years), it immediately got more than 2,000 letters, e-mails, and calls demanding the strip's reinstatement. Personally, I prefer my Garfield with fewer cats and much more existential despair.
LIFE HAS A WAY OF KEEPING YOU HONEST: Roger Ebert's rules for film critics.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

MR. HORNBURGER, I WOULD THANK YOU TO COME PICK UP YOUR WIFE AT SOME POINT. MR. JORDAN, I SAW YOU STEAL MY SINK. HARLEM GLOBETROTTER, DOES THAT NAME MEAN NOTHING TO YOU? AND MISS LEMON, I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT BEFORE LAST NIGHT I HAVE NEVER, EVER SEEN GRIZZ OR DOT-COM CRY: With what online grouping of highlights would you like to refresh your recollections in advance of tonight's belated 30 Rock season premiere? We've got a top ten list from the National Post, or a video-annotated top 30 list via Paste Magazine. (Tracy Jordan's Jefferson trailer needs to be higher. Bring me my horse. Bring me Caractacus!)

e.t.a. Thread open for talk of this week's dong-slaying 30 Rock and Joker's Wild episode of Office as well. (Go Big Red!) Actually neither episode was all that this week -- after a great pre-credit Halloween sequence, The Office just depressed me, and 30 Rock ... as the previews suggested, set up the plot lines for this year without bringing enough of the funny. Free Tracy Jordan!
BRING A PKE METER: As we near All Hallows Eve, the Times provides us with helpful tips and stories concerning ghost removal, yet somehow manages to overlook the most obvious answer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Nothing was stopping them tonight. Not Joe Buck's anti-jinx on Rays' rightfielders. Not the invocation of The Curse. Leadoff double, driven in. Leadoff double, driven in. CHUTLEY! with a man-sized play to nail Bartlett at the plate. And then (okay, aside from the leadoff single and the steal) LIGHTS OUT LIDGE.

More to come. I think I'm going to head out to South Street for a bit and absorb it all. It's been a long damn time. WHOO!
TANGERINE, TANGERINE, LIVING REFLECTION OF A DREAM: The talk about how chilly it's going to be for today's World Series gamelet reminds me that what I love most about winter is absolutely nothing. I get that if you're an avid skier, ice skater, hockey player, or dogsledder, this is your favorite time, but I'm not and it's not. I don't like winter coats, hot toddies, dangerous road conditions, brown snow, or forced-air heat. I am a known Scrooge. When I lived in Chicago and Connecticut, I hated choosing between travel chill and destination sweat; when I lived in Seattle I hated the never-ending light rain and gloom; when I lived in Los Angeles I hated the 50-degree nights. I hate weeks like this one, when it's dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home. About 90% of everything I have ever said about astronomy is that I hate Orion, because you only see it in winter.

"Absolutely nothing" is an exaggeration, of course. As far as I can tell, there are exactly two things to like about winter. One is the NFL playoffs, and the other is the easy-to-peel sour-sweet orange family. The first batches of clementines (the ones that come in the orange mesh bags tucked into blue boxes) are in the stores now, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I will eat 8-15 of these every day for the next few weeks. My fingernails are already yellow with pulp, and again, I'm not exaggerating. I will stop only when the main event gets here -- the organically grown satsuma oranges, with their tenuously-attached peels and overstuffed wedges and peppery undertones. I can understand why people raised on the Florida navel and box-of-juice variety of orange would be skeptical, but if you like things like flavor, refreshingness, and joy, you ought at least to try a satsuma this year.
MGMMIRAGEHARRAH'S: Time offers a litany of helpful suggestions for things to do in Vegas other than gambling, including restaurant suggestions, their top show pick, and even helpful advice for visiting less savory segments of the town. Supplement it below.
OH, IT'S ON: New England has declared war on Seattle -- visit AdAge has more on the campaign, which begins with this :30 spot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ANNIE HALL: Wow. It started off just as a damn good Cuddy-centric visit to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, plus some nice time with Thirteen and Taub. But then ... oh, my. I was not ready to go there. And I'm kinda giddy.
SHIVER IN MY BONES JUST THINKING ABOUT DAVE WEATHERS: It has not rained in South Philadelphia since at least 5pm tonight. The current radar is totally clear. Good going, Bud.
IN OTHER WORDS, JUST FROM FIGURING OUT WHETHER THERE ARE ENOUGH LYRICS IN THIS LINE TO FILL A BREATH OR WHETHER MORE MAY BE NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT THE ENTIRE OXYGEN SUPPLY WILL BE USED BY THE SINGER BEFORE NEEDING TO INHALE AGAIN AND DELIVER HER NEXT LINE, A PERSON CAN DEVELOP A COLD: I am almost without words at this particular bit of news: Lauren Graham will portray Miss Adelaide on Broadway starting in February. And if my husband has not already made a mental note to get tickets for the first preview, then he's some alien who has taken over control of my husband's faculties. (How's that for harnessing the power of the blog for personal reasons?)

I just did a search of our archives only to discover that I have apparently never posted about how much I love Guys and Dolls. I love love love it. Every song is glorious (with the asterisked exception of "Follow the Fold"). The characters -- all of them! -- are wonderful and the dialogue is, as you may more than somewhat have come to understand from your dealings of this nature, both Runyonesque and funny. (Bacardi!) The soundtrack from the 1976 all-black Broadway production with Robert Guillaume was one of the first CDs I ever owned, and man did I run that disc into the ground. (I dearly would have loved to see the over-the-top gospel rendition of Sit Down.) The 1992 production with Nathan Lane, Faith Prince, and Sandy Cohen is one of the highlights of my theatregoing career. Let me see only one musical in my life, and Guys and Dolls is it.

And I don't think it's any great secret that there are some pretty serious fans around here of Graham's work as Lorelai Gilmore. But is she Miss Adelaide? Here's a pretty good audition tape for the Lament.

I am just beside myself.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: Not since the end of the Party Ball has Coors so let us down. Zima - the Crystal Pepsi of malt beverages - is no more.
VISIT THE TWELVE-MILE CIRCLE: With the Tampa Bay Rays quartered in Wilmington, Delaware for the foreseeable future, and wanting to maintain Philadelphia's reputation of hospitality to visiting clubs, I asked long time reader and infrequent commenter George -- a native of the region -- for some advice:
So Tampa Bay Rays:

You're stuck in a hotel room in Delaware, probably for two nights. Rather than abusing the minibar, here are some things you can do.

1) Take advantage of Tax Free Shopping. As anyone who enters the state can tell you, Delaware has few things to be proud of. The two most important are that it beat Pennsylvania in the race to ratify the US Constitution, making it the First State, and it has no sales tax. Go to the Concord Mall and support the "Home of Tax Free Shopping."

2) While you're in the area, go to the Charcoal Pit for burgers and milk shakes.

3) Mike's Famous Harley Davidson is having a big bike blow out. Skip the team bus and go to the game in real style.

4) See where the du Pont family and company got their start and helped save the country by helping us blow things up. Visit the Hagley Museum.

5) If you're into fine china and antiques -- and what ballplayer isn't? -- Winterthur will appeal to you.

6) The Delaware Museum of Natural History has a fine collection of sea shells and birds.

7) Head over to the Federal Courthouse and see what's going on. Then you can share a drink with the old court reporter at the Hotel du Pont bar. The man is a legend.
e.t.a. The AP brings the details from, yes, the Hotel du Pont:
Some players spent much of the day sitting in their rooms resting, watching TV or visiting with family and friends. Others went shopping at the mall and set out looking for places to eat lunch and dinner.

Reliever Grant Balfour got a "good burger at the tavern down the street."

Bench coach Dave Martinez went off to get dry clothes for his children because they got soaked in the steady rain Monday night....

[J.P.] Howell joked that he hadn't done much of anything.

"What's there to do in Delaware?" he said. "We're nervous to go outside. This isn't our territory."
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO CHUCK: Product placement of the year (so far?) goes to last night's Chuck, where Chuck and Morgan joke about how uncool the Zune is before grabbing Morgan's iPod. If your whole campaign is about making your product cool and your whole problem is how cool your dominant competitor is perceived to be, that kind of a quick, knowing, cutting, and irrefutable dig on television can be devastating.
INDOOR LIVING: Nasty turn in the weather out here... Winter suddenly on the brain... Prospect of long colorful afternoon walks disappearing into seasonal oblivion... Activities that can be performed in proximity to a radiator becoming more attractive... Coincidentally, orgtheory presents a light but youtube-rich retrospective on DJ QBert, a justly godlike figure to an entire generation of bedroom DJs. Maybe this is the year I finally get those turntables... (Ha.)
#26 -- THE SPORK: Some smart person attempts to list the twenty-five most significant innovations of all time.
EEEEEEEEEEE-VAH, EEEEEEEEEE-VAH: It's not just a chant for Citizens Bank Park anymore: Hollywood studios will mount a major push for box office favorites like WALL-E, The Dark Knight and even Iron Man to receive Best Picture consideration on Oscar night.

Monday, October 27, 2008

EX SHOW: CBS has yanked the solid (but clearly not CBS-appropriate) Ex-List, effective immediately. I was generally enjoying the show, if just for the snappy dialogue and the chance to ogle Elizabeth Reaser (who I hope gets a new show quickly), though I had my doubts about the premise's sustainability, and the backstage drama was worrisome. Actually, wouldn't it be a good fit on the CW?
INTERRUPTUS: I don't know that there were any good answers for the umpires tonight -- this game could not be completed under these conditions, nor was a World Series game (let alone a clincher) going to be called final after less than nine innings. Even were there no formal rule about it, the Commissioner's inherent powers would have prevented that outcome.

So the only real question is whether it should have been called sooner, and whether it's a fool's errand to even try to play tomorrow given what's being predicted. And then we can wonder if this game ends up being remembered like the Fog Bowl in the Screwed By Weather annals, and start mapping out Phillies bullpen strategies depending on whether it's a Tuesday or Wednesday return -- there's no obligation to announce, for example, that we might start with Moyer if we don't come back until Wednesday ...

[Also, does a resumed WS game get a new National Anthem, or does Oates' still govern?]

[Via Jayson Stark: "And now for yet another complication: The Rays checked out of their hotel in Center City Philadelphia, in anticipation of flying home after the game -- and they can't get back in, because the hotel is sold out. They're scrambling to find rooms -- somewhere -- as we speak."]
JOHN OATES? Wow, that was a terrible rendition of the National Anthem. Local or not, ugh.

Consider this an open thread on World Series Game 5. And, on behalf of upper management, Go Phils.
LIKE AQUAMAN, IT'S ALL WET; LIKE QUEENS BOULEVARD, YOU CAN FOLLOW IT FOR A LONG TIME WITHOUT SEEING ANYTHING; LIKE MEDELLIN'S ESCOBAR, IT'S BLOATED AND SELF-ABSORBED: The moment when Highlander II: The Quickening went from a spectacularly bad movie to one of the worst movies of all time was when Connor MacLeod (of the Clan McLeod) and Sean Connery (playing a Spanish immortal with a wicked Scottish accent) were trapped under some kind of whirling blade that was going to kill them, and then Connery just made the blade stop, and when MacLeod asked him how he did it, he said "it's magic" ("mah-jik!") and they went on their way. A few moments later, Virginia Madsen got trapped in a small alcove by sniper fire. The next we saw of her, she was running free. How did it happen? Mah-jik!, I guess.

Two significant things happened in last night's Entourage (what keeps me watching? Mah-jik!, I guess). First, an unemployed cheeseball hanger-on got an attractive, well-known actress to, ahem, lend a helping hand on an airplane. Second, a superagent nominated for a $10MM studio head job convinced the CEO to hand the job to a 35-year old who appears to be working for a production company and whose last studio job was as a junior or mid-level development exec. In deft creative hands, we would have seen how both of these improbabilities were accomplished, and that would have been the bulk of the episode. Sadly, because this is Entourage, both of these acts of seduction took place off-camera (instead, we got another insidery cameo). How? Mah-jik!
ON THE VERGE: Really, is this what it was going to feel like? When I think about other title quests -- the Sixers in 2001, the various Eagles squads of this decade or the Red Sox teams which won the World Series in recent years -- I think about playoffs filled with on- and off-the-field drama, emotionally wrenching affairs.

And this hasn't been that. Sure, there have been dramatic games like Saturday night's rain-delayed 5-4 thriller, but it's been more about solid execution throughout this past month in which they've gone 23-6. From Cole Hamels and the starters to the solid-as-hell bullpen (Ryan, you can throw that fast?), and, thank goodness, at bat, even with runners in scoring position.

Followers of my Twitter feed have some sense as to what it was like, but really, it was better than that tonight. Just the growing realization that we were really going to win this game, and nothing was going to derail us. Really: Joe Blanton hits a home run? Ryan Howard hits two?

But still, it's weird: we didn't have to beat the Mets or Braves in the playoffs, missed the Cubs and aren't facing the Red Sox or Yankees in the World Series. That aspect of it is weirdly unsatisfying. And yet we are one win away from everything. Cole Hamels, at home, tomorrow: couldn't ask for a better set-up.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE: With Adam otherwise occupied this evening, it falls to me to open up a Race thread. Aside from an awful lot of yelling "Fast fast!" and the editors' best efforts to create drama despite one team being at the back of the pack from start to finish, a fairly bland episode all around.
SHE INTRODUCED ME TO SO MANY THINGS -- PASTEURIZED MILK, SHEETS, MONOTHEISM, PRESENTS ON YOUR BIRTHDAY, PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE ... Quick question about this week's Office episode, "Crime Aid" -- was there really no reaction by David Wallace to the fact that Michael rehired Ryan Howard? I mean, the man did the fraud the company, resulting in criminal sanction and all ...

Also, nobody steals from Creed Bratton and gets away with it. The last person to do this disappeared. His name? Creed Bratton.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE BIRTH: Has there ever been an SNL as special-guest and musical-guest driven as last night's? Not only did we have three songs from Coldplay, but three performer special guests--Maya Rudolph, John Slattery, and Elisabeth Moss (though the last two were basically wasted, unless they had appearances later on, and interesting that Slattery got entrance applause while Moss did not). I'm sure there were some last-minute shuffles and reworking due to external events (though she did have a brief appearance in one of the pre-taped bits). Credit also is due for being willing to go with Don Draper's Guide To Picking Up Women, a sketch that I assume was completely impenetrable to those not already familiar with Mad Men. Will be interesting to see how they cope next week for their first Poehler-free episode in years.