Saturday, November 19, 2011

CAREER PATH INTERCEPTED: Yale senior Patrick Witt, previously discussed here, today chose the Harvard game over his Rhodes Scholar interview, in part because he believed he couldn't pursue an NFL career if delayed by time in Oxford.

Harvard impressed them with their prowess, did, winning 45-7 today. Witt went 24-39 for 226y, 1 td and 3 interceptions, and can re-apply for the Rhodes next year.
WHY DO I GET THE FEELING YOU'RE GOING TO BE THE DEATH OF ME? (but it's SFW!) lists five noteworthy contemporary actors whose once-promising careers may have been derailed by the film franchises they chose to join.

Friday, November 18, 2011

TOPOGRAPHIC TORTURE:  Forget about the birds and the pigs and the agricultural undead -- 3 Slices is free, simple, and addictive.
GIVE JOON PAHK A REMATCH:  The Philadelphia Inquirer explains the methodology of this year's Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner, someone about whom we've written before.  (You will rarely see a game shift as dramatically as what this competitor pulled in Double Jeopardy in the first part of the finals.)
PENNY CANNED? It's been a bad week for Abed. Not only is Community going on hiatus, but Cougar Town doesn't have a spot on ABC's midseason lineup. Of note:

  • Cross-dressing comedy Work It! replaces Man Up! on Tuesdays, with Celebrity Wife Swap filling for Dancing With The Vaguely Famous Results until The River (creepy found footage show from Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli) takes over the slot in February for a short run.

  • Winter Wipeout leads off Thursdays for a while, until it gets replaced with Ashley Judd/Sean Bean thriller Missing.

  • GCB (fka Good Christian Belles, fka Good Christian Bitches) replaces Pan Am out of Desperate Housewives, though ABC may return to Pan Am for a second season.

In addition to Cougar Town, no slot yet for Our Friend Shonda's new crisis management show Scandal, which, if I were a betting man, winds up Thursdays at 10, with Private Practice wrapping its season a little early, or takes the slot from Body of Proof on Tuesdays. Also not scheduled--Don't Trust The B***h In Apartment 23, which I'm guessing they're holding if Work It fails or to launch out of Modern Family.

HIS FIRST CLIENT WILL BE JUKT MICRONICS:  A reader points out that for the first time in eleven years, the California Supreme Court will be reviewing a case of whether someone's moral character makes him unfit for the Bar, and that someone is Stephen Glass, whom the New York Bar previously refused to admit on said grounds.

This article reviews the opinions below, which do not otherwise appear available online, with the majority citing character witness testimony in his favor by "two law professors, an owner of TNR, an investigative journalist, four attorneys (including a partner of the firm where Glass is employed), and a founder and CEO of an educational software company who was a Rhodes Scholar," as well as "declarations of five witnesses, including three lawyers, a director at Human Rights Watch, and an International Relations Officer for the U.S. Department of Labor." A dissenting judge noted, however:
Although he provided evidence of some rehabilitation, the Committee proved that five years after his initial public fraud, Glass was not truthful on his application for admission to the New York Bar. In that 2003 application, he expressed remorse for his lies and promised to be honest. Yet, to gain admission to practice law in New York, Glass understated the number of articles he had fabricated and exaggerated his efforts to help the magazines identify those articles. At a time when he should have been scrupulously honest, he presented an inaccurate application because it benefitted him—the same behavior as his earlier misconduct. And as late as 2005, Glass told one psychiatrist that he was still in the process of understanding and accepting his past misconduct. Just two years later, in 2007, he applied for admission to the California bar.

This record does not demonstrate Glass’s complete rehabilitation. If he is admitted to practice law, California courts and others will rely on his word as an officer of the court... Indeed, if Glass were to fabricate evidence in legal matters as readily and effectively as he falsified material for magazine articles, the harm to the public and the profession would be immeasurable. Given the magnitude of his misconduct and his subsequent misrepresentations on his New York Bar application, Glass has not shown proof of reform by a lengthy period of exemplary conduct which ‘we could with confidence lay before the world’ to justify his admission.
[Also per our earlier discussions on this topic, that other author's name still does not appear among those admitted to practice in New York State (though she did pass the bar exam), nor does her name appear on the website of the firm where she is employed.]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

JOSE CRUZ WEEPS:  Major League Baseball has confirmed that the Houston Astros will move to the American League West in 2013, joining the Texas Rangers there, and as early as next year (but no later than 2013) there will be a second wild-card team added to each league, with the two wild cards facing in a one-game playoff.

I'm actually fine with the latter, because I like the idea of creating incentives for winning one's division, but a pair of 15-team leagues? Ugh. Interleague play should be a rare midseason treat, not something which occurs every week of the year. From what I've been able to piece together, we're likely instead looking at 18 games against each divisional rival (total 72), 6x each for the other 10 teams in the league (60), and 30 interleague games -- basically, doubling the number of interleague games and inexorably leading us to the destruction of the American and National Leagues as distinct entities and the introduction of the designated hitter into all games. Boo!
LET THEM ENTERTAIN YOU: EW's already started polling for the "audience" choices for its Entertainer of the Year issue, so time for us to start some irresponsible speculation:
  • Melissa McCarthy--Sure thing for the Top 10 with the Emmy win and turn in Bridesmaids, but no way she goes to #1, right?
  • Daniel Radcliffe/Harry Potter--If he'd gotten a Tony nod, maybe, but they already honored Rowling when Deathly Hallows came out in book form.
  • Adele--Another sure thing for the Top 10, but #1? Tough sell, even as inescapable as "Rolling In The Deep" and "Someone Like You" have been. A boatload of Grammy nominations will help her case, and they'll be news right around the time the issue comes out.
  • Game of Thrones--Has both a successful TV series and top-selling books, but is it too geek? True Blood draws a bigger audience.
  • Twilight--God, I hope not, but it sells magazines to stick them on the cover. (That said, they're doing a Breaking Dawn cover this week--would they do two that close together?)
  • Emma Stone--Several big movies this summer, and "starlet of tomorrow."
  • The cast of Modern Family--Swept the Emmys, big critical and commercial hit? Seems like a recipe for success.

Anything I'm missing that's blatantly obvious, or that should be there?
NOW, HE IS KNOWN ONLY AS ... THE FALCONER:  The Awl lists Thirteen Notable Traditions Found On UNESCO's List Of Intangible Cultural Heritage, In Order, but in truth the whole list is pretty neat. The United States doesn't participate in the process of adding "intangible heritage practices and expressions" to the list, but it's not hard to think about what we might suggest—the blues and square dancing, perhaps?
NAME ONE OTHER MASSIVE HIT SINGLE THAT DOESN'T HAVE A CHORUS BUT DOES HAVE A MANDOLIN:  I read about them in Time magazine—Jessica Winter annotates (and suggests replacements on) the R.E.M. forty-song retrospective, Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SURE TO BE BETTER THAN THIS YEAR'S OTHER MOVIE ABOUT A ZOOKEEPER: Fox is pulling a surprising move with We Bought a Zoo--it's not blinking from a December 23 release date (which puts it up against Tintin, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and the wide release of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, with War Horse following two days later)--instead, it's going to sneak the movie for paying audiences next weekend to try and build up goodwill. This seems to me a silly decision--if the movie's ready, why not release it earlier (say, this weekend, when the other wide options are Happy Feet Two and Sparklevamps Finally Get It On, or any other weekend in December, where the mainstream adult options are pretty thin)?
OFFICER LOCKSTOCK IS ENFORCING THESE NEW RULES: Starbucks, in an effort to cut maintenance costs, is apparently reducing or eliminating public bathrooms at many of its Manhattan locations. It's a privilege to pee, my friends, a privilege to pee.
MAKING C&S FUN: Those of us who went to law school likely remember the glory days of cite and substance checking, which at least as of 2002, when I was running it, still involved sending 2L's off to scour random libraries to get copies of the hard copy material. Westlaw and Lexis were not OK, much less "well, I put it into Google." I paid many a trip not just to the main NYPL on 42nd Street, but the Science, Industry, and Business Library, and other random locales. However, it seems new students of journalism have never gained that skill, so a NYU professor of journalism has come up with a treasure hunt to force students to learn how to navigate a library and find things in those dusty stacks.
GODDAMNIT BABY YOU KNOW I AIN'T LYIN' TO YA I'M ONLY GONNA TELL YOU ONE TIIIIIIIIIMEAHHHHHHHYEAAAH! The Hollywood Reporter reports that the original lineups of both Black Sabbath and Van Halen (ok, with Wolfgang van Halen replacing Michael Anthony) have signed deals to record new albums for release in 2012 and tour again.
ALOTT5MA GRAMMAR RODEO: BONUS WEDNESDAY EDITION: A profile of popular British historian Lucy Worsley in the current New Yorker contains the following sentence:
To learn about fifteenth-century hygiene, she forwent showers for a week and brushed her teeth with powdered cuttlefish bone.
Forwent? For real?  Google had 137K hits for "forwent" (and 120K for "forewent"), 143K for "foregoed," and a whopping 967K for "chose to forego," which I'd employ rather than either of the prior formulations.  (Ngram prefers forwent.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WHY FOOL AROUND WITH HAMBURGER WHEN YOU HAVE STEAK AT HOME?  The Awl's Anne Helen Petersen explains why the career of Paul Newman proves that "hotness and decency are not mutually exclusive."
I'M EDWARD KIMBERLY, THE RECLUSE BROTHER OF MY SISTER ANTHEA: NYMag supercuts memorable cross-dressing reveals in film history, and since it includes the one from The Crying Game, it may not be safe for your office.

Monday, November 14, 2011

SHUFFLE THE DECK CHAIRS: It's no shock that NBC is doing major schedule renovation come January, but some of the moves are surprising. Of particular note:
  • Parenthood will wrap for the season in February and be replaced by a Project Runway ripoff. Inexplicably, despite its severe ratings erosion, they're sticking with two hours of Biggest Loser to open the night.
  • Wednesday gets a thorough scrubbing--we still start with a comedy block (now, Whitney and Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea?), with Rock Center replacing Harry's Law (which moves to Sundays).
  • Thursday gets a reshuffle--30 Rock, Parks and Rec, The Office, Up All Night are the new "Comedy Night Done Right," with The Firm getting the 10 PM slot. Community is being "put on the bench" with no specific return date, though Sony is clearly going to make a push to get through season 4, which gives them 100 episodes for syndication.
  • NBC's post-NFL Sundays? Dateline, Harry's Law, Celebrity Apprentice.
  • Total of 8 hours of reality and 3 hours of newsmagazine in 19 hours of non-scheduled reruns in primetime.
  • Also not on the schedule--Awake (the much touted Inception-y series starring Jason Isaacs, which I had assumed would get Thursday at 10), Fear Factor (which will apparently be used as Holiday season filler, because nothing says Christmas like "eat some slimy bugs!"), or Prime Suspect, which appears to be a goner.

ETA: Also announced--TAR will not be back on Sundays, at least for a while, once this race ends--they're giving that slot to Undercover Boss, making the night an utter whiplash of tone/audience, and new Rob Schneider sitcom ¡Rob! is getting the coveted slot out of Big Bang Theory on Thursdays.

LET THEM EAT CAKE: In the most wonderful news I've heard all day, the NBA owners made their bottom-line final (note: probably not bottom-line; probably not final) offer to the players' union, and the union rejected it. That means there may not be, and probably won't be, an NBA season this year. The dispute in a nutshell:
  • The owners correctly understand that they have a present monopoly in government-subsidized professional basketball facilities and IP (trademarks and all of the team loyalty that come with them), with high barriers to entry for potential competitors for player labor. The owners also have legally-sanctioned cartel status (which prevents the development of a free market in player labor) and legacy contracts that impede player mobility. The owners want to leverage their monopoly and legal-cartel status to set a below-market rate for labor.
  • The players correctly understand that they have a present monopoly in a specialized good (elite-level basketball ability), with legally-sanctioned cartel status and natural scarcity creating a high barrier to entry for potential competitors in that good. The players want to leverage their monopoly in that good to extract monopoly rents for it.
This is a textbook -- and by that I mean, literally, "of the type that appears in textbooks" -- economic conundrum: How do you allocate returns among two monopoly goods that cannot be sold except in conjunction with each other? If I remember correctly, the answer is that the two sides play chicken, and either one side bails out or they crash and burn together.

I'm rooting for the crash and burn, because, ugh, the NBA. No group of owners has so greedily squeezed fans and governments, and no group of players has been so frequently placated by huge salaries into indifference to substandard product. The NBA (and particularly NBA owners) are counting on their losses being small enough for the duration of any lockout that they will make it back quickly with the benefit of a new labor model and the corresponding increase in franchise values. What I hope is (a) that fans remember that NBA owners would rather murder fans than give up a penny of revenue; and (b) more importantly, that local governments realize that the lockout-loving NBA is the same NBA that, when the lockout is over, will promise endless economic bonanzas to induce arena subsidies and tax breaks for NBA teams. Hey, cities: what's Oklahoma City's return on its $210 million investment to steal the Sonics going to be this year?
DO THEY PARTY TOO? I was already quite interested in Don't Trust The B**** In Apartment 23 (Krysten Ritter as the title character? James Van Der Beek playing "James Van Der Beek?"), but having Kiernan Shipka play "Kiernan Shipka?" Sold! (And of course, linkage to the YouTube clip that provides the headline.)
IS THIS THE TRIPLEDOWN? So, what do you add to the McRib to make it even more delicious? Bacon and fried cheese, of course! (Disclaimer--I actually kind of like McRibs.)
SEE, IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE SHE SAID "CHOCOLATE WASTED!:" Armond White (previously known as one of the three critics who gave a negative review to Toy Story 3), explains in great detail why Jack & Jill is better than any Apatow movie.
LIKE NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD: Mental Floss suggests eleven sounds our children have probably never heard.
HOW NOT TO BE A TEACHER:  Can we talk about other modes of "creepy teachers" yet?

Because I have, from time to time, written about the stalkertastic video for Lionel Richie's "Hello," for which I and any number of sculptors have great affection. Well, Grantland's 24-year-old Rembert Browne just watched it for the first time, and has captured his moment-by-moment observations:
He doesn't just do one or two creepy things in this video. Remember, this is Lionel Richie we're talking about. Instead, he pulls out every stop and crosses every line of teacher-student conduct that isn't a federal offense.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I THOUGHT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET SEXY STUFF: I don't know why SNL saves its best stuff for after Update. If you didn't see it yet, Bridal Shower Gifts is pretty much perfect in every way; Technology Hump is exactly what belongs just before the end credits; and Les Jeunes de Paris and the Adele skit are, sadly, not on Hulu (presumably, music rights issues).
IN THE BILLIARD ROOM WITH THE LEAD PIPE:As part of Hasbro's continuing effort to cross-merchandise every one of its board games (seriously--Battleship?), a 5 part mini-series called Clue arrives on The Hub tomorrow night. Of course, the 1985 film still has a devoted following, with its multiple endings and random casting (Jane Weidlin as a singing telegram?), so I'll stick with that.