Saturday, February 9, 2013

CAN'T BE AS GOOD AS HERR'S OLD BAY, BUT WHAT IS?  Lay's is market-testing and accepting consumer voting on which of three consumer-proposed flavors will remain in stores: Sriracha, chicken-and-waffles, or "cheesy garlic bread."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ESTROGENIC FUN-HOUSE RIDE:  Look: this blog's bias in favor of All Things Shonda is clear, but that's not going to stop me from linking to Mark Harris' EW thoughts on Scandal:
You should be watching Scandal, the weird, addictive hypersoap that is currently flying in the face of everything we officially revere about the neo–golden age of TV drama. Scandal is, one might argue, ludicrous and indefensible trash, but if so, it’s trash with a capital T, a bedazzled R, an anarchy-symbol A, a neon S, and an H that stands for “Holy s—, I can’t believe they did that!” It is also, against all odds, the most original drama on network TV right now.
BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW COOL THE TOYS WE HAVE AVAILABLE TO US ARE IN THIS EVER-EXPANDING MEDIA PLAYGROUND, SOME KIDS WILL ALWAYS HAVE BIGGER LAWYERS: Today's post contains a link with two acts and some smutty text: in Act One, Melissa Gira Grant complains about a letter she received from Chicago Public Media's lawyers challenging the title of her by-sex-workers, for-sex-workers podcast, This American Whore; in Act Two, Ira Glass responds to the complaint as only Ira Glass can. Stay with us.
THE LEES WERE PUTTING THEIR AUDIOPHILIC NECKS ON THE LINE TO PROP UP WHAT WAS, ESSENTIALLY, A FASHION COMPANY:  Great Gizmodo not-too-long read on how the father and son behind Monster Cable got beat by Dre (and Jimmy Iovine) in their premium headphone collaboration.
BEST. COLUMN. EVER.  Gene Weingarten has some complaints about modern English usage, such as:
Before the Internet, obfuscatory language was mostly limited to the small world of the interoffice memo, where everyone conspired to be as vague and process-driven as possible — promising nothing concrete while sounding businesslike. Today, however, terms such as “optimize,” “prioritize,” “initiative,” “parameter,” “implement” and “effectuate” have become common parlance on the Web, used unabashedly in endlessly intriguing combinations. There are hundreds of instances of “prioritize the implementation of,” “implement the prioritization of,” “effectuate the implementation of,” etc. The expression “implementation of prioritized initiatives” alone appears on the Internet 2,100 times, more often than some of Pablo Neruda’s lesser-known love poems.
I'M THE FIRST MAMMAL TO WEAR PANTS, YEAH:  WTF, Evolution?, a Tumblr "honoring natural selection's most baffling creations," including the star-nosed mole.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ARACHNOPHOBIA DESK: We loved ourselves Mansquito, Sharktopus, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, and many others.  But are you ready for Big Ass Spider?
ONE PLACE YOU CAN STILL SEE GUARANTEED BOOTY ON TELEVISION: Next week, the MLB Network debuts a new reality series, Who Wants To Be A Knuckler? (okay: "The Next Knuckler"), in which Tim Wakefield tutors former college and pro quarterbacks in the art of the fluttery pitch. Winner gets an invite to Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring training and a chance to pitch in a spring training game; competitors are John David Booty, Josh Booty, Doug Flutie, David Greene, and Ryan Perrilloux.

Yes, Doug Flutie is 50 years old.
CBS Program Practices advises that all talent appearing on camera please adhere to Network policy concerning wardrobe.

Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples. Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible “puffy” bare skin exposure. Please avoid commercial identification of actual brand name products on T-shirts. Foreign language on wardrobe will need to be cleared. OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST. This as well, pertains to audience members that appear on camera. Finally, The Network requests that any organized cause visibly spelled out on talent’s wardrobe be avoided. This would include lapel pins or any other form of accessory.
IT'S TIME TO RETIRE THE SCARVES: NYMag's Rachel Shukert, on Smash's return:
It seems like it’s an actual show made for actual television, as opposed to a repetitive saga you act out with your Barbies when the babysitter is ignoring you (although, if anyone wants to make that a TV show, you know where to reach me; but I’m warning you, we’ll have to pitch it to cable because there will be a lot of nudity). Smash, like the classics of musical theater it both apes and pleads ignorance of, has always dealt in character archetypes: the wide-eyed ingénue, the slutty second lead, the wolfish authority figure, the devious climber. Under Safran’s direction, these tropes feel more knowing, more skillfully deployed. Some of them even make jokes that are supposed to be funny.
I was generally underwhelmed, as was Noel Murray, but I like this universe too much to give up on it. Maybe Derek will catch up to the early 1990s and learn about sexual harassment. Maybe Leo will find his sister during his neverending college tour. Maybe "Brooklyn" is as magical as it seems. Maybe they'll stop with all the awed reaction shots which try to convince us that what we're seeing is awesome, when it's not. Maybe they'll give J-Hud a plot, and maybe, just maybe, they'll recognize that the audience wants Megan Hilty, not Katherine McPhee or Debra Messing, to be the star of this show.
BUT I WANTED SALÉ AND PELLETIER AND ORSER AND BOURNE AND KRAATZ AND CHOUINARD AND MANLEY AND STOJKO AND BROWNING ALL AT THE SAME TIME:  One year from today, the Winter Olympics will begin in Sochi, Russia, the Games so packed with new events that the Opening Ceremonies won't even take place until the next evening, in order to ensure that everything can still end on that final Sunday.

Among the new events? You'll be excited to hear that luge team relay and a figure skating team event are involved ... until you get to the details, which involve the most boring possible version of what you might have otherwise conjured. Luge relay does not have sleds running into sleds halfway to hand off a baton halfway through the course, but instead functions as "when one gets to the bottom, the next one starts," and team skating is not an Ice Capades spectacle but some nonsense where they just aggregate the scores of separate performances in the various disciplines. Bleh.
HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH AUTHORITY AND A DEEP-SEATED RESENTMENT FOR THOSE THAT HAVE IMPEDED HIS PROGRESS PROFESSIONALLY: Aw, crap. We've been conditioned to expect that it's the penultimate, Pelecanos-penned episode of a Wire season where all the bad stuff goes down, but in "Clarifications" (Sepinwall, AVClub, THND) David Simon starts handing down harsh fate one episode sooner. We're now five years from when this first aired, but in the interest of full spoiler protection, let's talk about what happens when it turns out you're not really the hero ....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

NEOLOGISM DESK:  Am I the only one who can't stand the increasingly-used word "selfie" to refer to a (usually poorly taken) self-portrait on a cell phone camera?  (And honestly, we don't need a lengthy series of self portraits from you.)
NOT HERE, BABE... TORTUUUUUUUUUURE: I remember seeing this list in print in the Chicago Reader in 1995, and somehow stumbled upon it today: Bill Wyman's 100 Greatest Moments in Rock History.  Bonus: all on one page!
OMAR, YOU'RE MY OLDER BROTHER, AND I LOVE YOU. BUT DON'T EVER TAKE SIDES WITH ANYONE AGAINST THE FAMILY, EVER AGAIN: Someone tried to recast The Godfather with a contemporary, largely African-American cast, headed by Morgan Freeman in the Don Corleone role. (Except Jamie Foxx is already 45; Pacino was more than decade younger when he played Michael, and that makes a big difference in terms of the awakening-into-the-business part; can Tristan Wilds handle it?)
THE SO-CALLED "JERSEY LEFT": Having already replaced most of its traffic circles, the Garden State is finally considering a ban on the future construction of jughandles.
CONSIDER QUESTIONING AUTHORITY, PLEASE:  I took a one-week break from my HIMYM moratorium because, well, Robin Sparkles IV, and that was pretty adorable. Tim Horton's, eh?

Monday, February 4, 2013

The bar I was in is not a Beyoncé bar. It's a Bad Religion, Bleeding Rainbow, Tiger Army type of bar. Occasionally, you'll hear Run-D.M.C. or Billy Idol or Kurtis Blow. At halftime, when the lights ceremoniously dimmed in the Superdome, they also dimmed in the bar. You could hear a hairpin drop. Like very good politicians, great pop stars bring us together without irony or apology. They're all the pleasure, none of the guilt. That's Madonna. That's Michael Jackson. That's Prince, whose sublime 2007 halftime show Beyoncé came this close to eclipsing.
If you hadn't seen Beyoncé do those sorts of video effects before, watch this. It's really something.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

WIN IT FOR BUNNY COLVIN. WIN IT FOR DOOKIE:  That was a weird, wonderful football game.

Pitchers and catchers report next Tuesday.
GONE FOR GOODE?  Whatever happened to the tradition of super-awesome tv shows occupying the post-Super Bowl slot? From the pilots of Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wonder Years to supersized Friends and Office specials to ... an ordinary episode of Elementary? Really?