Friday, August 27, 2010

WHERE IT SAYS, "WHAT I GOT YOU GOTTA GET AND PUT IT IN YOU," HOW ABOUT JUST "WHAT I LIKE IS I'D LIKE TO HUG AND KISS YOU"? In honor of Cee-Lo's impending lyrical alterations to his magnificent new NSFW song, here's a list of other songs which may or may not have benefited from a radio-friendly edit. (Do you, in fact, like 'Primus'? Are you messing with a 'broke, broke'?)
HIS HATE WAS LIKE GOOD MEDICINE: The profoundly weird comedy of Will Forte -- noteworthy for MacGruber, the Falconer and Jon Bovi -- will not be returning to SNL. Below the fold, Will Forte likes his potato chips, and he will help organize your closet:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MATT HASSELBECK, ALEX SMITH, A.J. FEELEY AND ... DEREK ANDERSON? I can't remember any division in any professional sport projecting as badly as the NFC West does right now. 9-7 clearly wins it, and maybe 8-8, right?
I DON'T BELIEVE IN A LOT OF THINGS, BUT I DO BELIEVE IN DUCT TAPE: This Sunday night, the television community will gather for the 2010 Emmy Awards, which as always will do a mediocre job of recognizing the actual best work in the medium over the past year, but never fails to disappoint in terms of giving us amusing things to talk about. (We discussed the nominations at length here.)

For the first time, I believe, the Awards will be broadcast live coast-to-coast, and we plan to be here at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT to Cover It Live yet again. Please join us, and your early bets on the Necrology Applause-O-Meter are welcome. (John Forsythe? Gary Coleman? Rue McLanahan? Capt. Phil Harris? Dixie Carter? Peter Graves? Robert Culp? Ken Ober? Soupy Sales? List of possibles here.)

Also, let's be clear: if they don't honor David Mills during the In Memoriam segment, there will be hell to pay.

From the archives: Our 2009 coverage anchored by Matt and Kim, and then live-in-the-comments blogging from 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005. Yes, we've been doing this for awhile.
QUEL DOMMAGE, WHAT A LOSS / HERE WE GO, IN THE SAUCE: Peel-and-eat shrimp, hardshell crabs, ribs -- I like my summer foods messy. Others don't find it to be worth the effort. You?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THIS WAS A GREAT MAN, A MAN OF VISION AND GUTS. AND THERE ISN'T EVEN A PLAQUE, OR A SIGNPOST OR A STATUE OF HIM IN THAT TOWN: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that in November, it will present Francis Ford Coppola with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and give honorary Oscars to British film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, French new wave director Jean-Luc Godard and veteran actor Eli Wallach.
YO, TEACH! A&E's first promo for the apparently non-exploitative-but-possibly-heartwarming "Tony Danza teaches at Northeast High" reality series is now online.
NOW PLAYING LEFT FIELD AND BATTING IN THE FOURTH POSITION, NUMBER 44, ROY OSWALT: I've been on a streak of attending Cole Hamels starts lately -- so I knew to expect solid pitching and minimal run support, and for the first time since May 21 all eight Phillies position players in the starting lineup. I just didn't expect to see 16 innings worth of madness.

There's a certain type of mania that seeps in after you cross the 10th, 11th and 12th innings and head towards the 14th Inning Stretch. Among other things, they ran out of film clips to use, exhausting nothing is over until we decide it is! and the like by the 12th, with the Varsity Blues Van Der Beek slow clap speech capping it off. After about a five-inning hiatus, the Phanatic came back in the 13th or so and just started doing random shtick with the fans, pulling one guy's top off and placing random hexes on players.

And then Ryan Howard got ejected, losing his cool worse than I've ever seen. We were out of position players. Hence, the title to this post, and when the first batter lofted a lazy fly ball in his direction ... bedlam. Look at that smile on his face. We won't talk about the rest.
YOUR CRYSTAL BALL AIN'T SO CRYSTAL CLEAR: Pitchfork lists & embeds The Top 50 Music Videos of the 1990s.

Interesting list, to be sure, but where's "Jeremy"? (The serpent was subtil!) And while Björk and Spike Jonze are well-represented on the list, where's "It's Oh So Quiet"?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

FOR THE GOOD OF ALL OF US, EXCEPT THE ONES WHO ARE DEAD: Wabash College is one of many that has a required introductory humanities course, and this year, they're apparently shaking up the required reading, by requiring students to play Portal as a jumping off point for discussions of "what it means to be human and how we understand ourselves, our relationships, and our world."
WATCH THIS: If you've forgotten what it was like to watch Season Two of "The West Wing" for the first time, The AV Club's Steve Heisler just completed his summer-long recap with "18th and Potomac" and "Two Cathedrals" yesterday:
There he stands, hands in his pockets, a grin forming on his face just as Mrs. Landingham had noticed. So much of this show has been complicated, but the final moment of "Two Cathedrals," one of the finest I've ever seen on television, is deceptively simple. The essence of The West Wing is that the most complicated problems always have the simplest answers. Why answer 14 or 15 questions at once when you only need to answer one?
30 MORE? When the final dayenu is said for Bill Simmons' career, ESPN's 30 for 30 series will probably be the second verse. If all he did was bring a smart, pop culture-savvy fan's voice into sports commentary and executive produce and curate as fine a series of sports documentaries as we've ever seen -- that, indeed, would be enough for anyone.

At this just-past-halfway point, I'd say my favorites have been "Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks," "June 17, 1994," "The Two Escobars" and "The U," with "The Guru of Go" (on Loyola Marymount) being a favorite for sentimental if not film-making reasons. The only two clunkers, IMHO, were the Jimmy the Greek and history of rotisserie baseball films, but even the former had its moments just from some of the archival footage.

The series resumes tonight with Ron Shelton's "Jordan Rides the Bus", about 23's year in Birmingham.

added: Alan Sepinwall was disappointed by tonight's entry: " The story ... is strong enough to carry even the most generic treatment. And in part because Jordan declined to be interviewed for the film, generic is about what Shelton provides."

Monday, August 23, 2010

LICENSE TO BLOG: That the City of Philadelphia is demanding bloggers who seek advertising to pay $300 for a Business Privilege License plus taxes on any profits made is not the reason why we've never sought advertising ... but it doesn't help, either.
"HAIRSTYLE INSPIRATION" IS A PLAUSIBLE ANSWER: With her latest movie bombing and news that she will return to TV opposite her former co-star as a guest star on Cougar Town, it's time to ask what Jennifer Aniston should be doing with herself. Should she content herself with being a mid-range movie actress--too famous to really do supporting roles, but not famous enough to open a movie? Is there a movie role that she should be looking for? Should she return to TV--and if so, in what capacity--a sitcom, a drama? Can this career be saved? Should it?
AN AUTOGRAPH IS A F*****G VALUABLE THING: Two interesting tidbits from this Chicago Sun-Times article about ex-Governor Blagojevich's unannounced appearance to sign autographs at the Chicago Comic-Con:
  • At least under Blago's pricing structure, his autograph is worth $50, more than Richard Roundtree ($25) or Avery Brooks' ($30), but less than Shatner ($75).
  • There is an individual with a very large tattoo of the former governor on his upper thigh. Left unclear from the article is if the individual just happened to be attended Comic-Con or came after hearing of the former Governor's appearance.
LIVEWRONG: Let's assume that it's all true, that Lance Armstrong knowingly conspired with his teammates to defraud his fellow competitors, his sponsors and the public by engaging in a massive doping scheme to enhance their racing performance. Let's also stipulate -- as we must -- that prosecutors believe they can prove this behavior constitutes violations of federal criminal law which can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Still, prosecute?

The New York Times yesterday focused on the more obvious angle for mercy here, that such a prosecution could cripple his charitable efforts for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and, in turn, impair its efforts to provide support for people living with cancer. And while Charity Navigator doesn't give the LAF its 4-star rating, it's still not exactly Yele and clearly does good in the world.

The second question is the more subtle one, though it's related to the first: do we need to believe in the myth of Lance Armstrong so strongly -- that he was able to recover from testicular cancer, with a tumor that had metastasized to his brain and lungs, and through chemotherapy and sheer force of will not only recover but become legendary in his sport -- that we just can't let this one come tumbling down? Baseball could survive McGwire and Bonds (but not, perhaps, a Cal Ripken-PED revelation) because everyone sorta figured those home runs weren't being caused by magic. And while cycling has always had its scandals, there's something so powerful about what we'd like to believe Armstrong has accomplished that this would, indeed, be crushing. And adults need fairy tales too.

Yes, laws are laws. But I try to picture Armstrong in a prison cell, and the years of prosecution which would lead to that point, and my inner Chicagoan just recoils at the waste. More societal good is done by keeping the myth alive than by confirming unsettling truths, and I am not convinced that this is a place where federal criminal law needs to go.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

KEEP LOOKING UP: Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer (nee Star Hustler), one of the great champions of public astronomy has died. Sure, it's nice to see Neil DeGrasse Tyson emerging to fill the niche once held by Carl Sagan, but Horkheimer provided simple, direct stargazing advice: this is up this week, check it out! in bite-sized, 1- and 5-minute bits. He will be missed.