Friday, December 27, 2013

GOT TO. THIS AMERICA, MAN:  Two years ago, a bunch of us made a New Years' resolution to watch The Wire already, all of it, and fourteen months later we had completed our epic journey through Baltimore's corners, police rooms, schools, and docks.  (We're not talking about The Sun, ok?)

I am game for a new group quest for 2014, and am open for nominees. Ideally, the show should be available on Netflix, Amazon Prime streaming, or HBO GO.  Maybe Homeland, which I've never seen, but I gather we may want to stop after season 1? Am willing to go for non-recent series as well. Tell me what you think.
NO ONE IS LISTENING TO GEORGE PLIMPTON: Please waste your Friday playing every Atari 2600 video game through your browser.  And when you are done with that, play Colecovision, Atari 7800 or Astrocade.  No Intellivision, alas.  Or Vetrex.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

SCAMORZAMANIA:  Bon Appetit's The Foodist predicts ten foodie trends of 2014: pancakes for dinner!
A TRADITION UNLIKE ANY OTHER:  Congratulations to Jeff Mandell, who this weekend became the third straight #6 seed to win the ALOTT5MA fantasy football league, now in its fifth season and with its fifth different champion.

After a 2-5 start, Jeff won eight of his last nine games. He relied heavily on Zac Stacy and Bobby Rainey down the stretch alongside Josh Gordon (#1 WR) and Jimmy Graham (#1 TE), and made ridiculously smart decisions along the way like benching Andy Dalton for Alex Smith in week 15 (outcome determinative). Also, he didn't let the fact that he spent half his draft budget on Trent Richardson ($47), Julio Jones ($35) and Darren McFadden ($19) hamstring him. Awesome. See y'all in 2014.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

OUTER.  SPACE!  Movie time!  I saw Inside Llewyn Davis today, and while I loved the music and Oscar Isaac's performance, I found it inferior to the Coen Brothers' Barton Fink and A Serious Man in their Let Us Now Study Men Not Achieving Their Desired Levels of Success series. Things happen, but (without spoiling) it feels less like an arc and more like a circle.  The film may be saying something about the distinction between a good man and a good artist, and maybe the cat's just a cat and not a giant metaphor ... I have a feeling this one's going to linger in my mind for awhile, but I'm not sure where.

What have you seen?  What are you looking forward to seeing?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

DO THEY KNOW IT'S META TIME AT ALL?  I forget where exactly I saw this idea, but I find it fascinating: thanks to the records we're leaving on social and other online media, our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and generations far beyond them will know a heck of a lot more about our daily lives and interests than what any prior generation has made permanently and readily available about itself. The ramifications are ... well, I just hope they do actually look at some point, I guess.

Monday, December 23, 2013

* * *
At 8pm tonight is the finale of our beloved little a cappella show. The ratings? Mostly meh, with a little bright spot of the repeat show on Saturday night: though it only got a 0.6 rating with 2.89M viewers, it bested Two and a Half Men, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and helped NBC win the night even before the big SNL numbers. Not bad for the little a cappella engine that could.

So let's discuss what we think will happen tonight. I thought it was pretty clear from the beginning that we'd be down to Ten, Home Free, and Vocal Rush in the Finale - and I think it's obvious who our winner will be. Home Free is the perfect marketing opportunity for a label. They've got country (which still sells albums, Beyonce notwithstanding), cute boys, good personality. They'll do well, especially if they can break into that Straight, No Chaser adult fan base. If Ten had been able to get together a little in advance of the show and coalesce slightly more before filming, I think they might have had a shot at the win. But Home Free has the right niche and a proven ability to tour. Expect to see Nick, Shawn, Ben, and Jewel singing with the groups, as well as a finale-boosting appearance by Season 3 winner Pentatonix.

Last week, they announced that there will be a Sing Off tour, coming soon to a medium-sized auditorium or casino possibly near you. The schedule looks really rough (no days off for three months other than travel days) which makes me worried for the health of the voices on the tour. No word yet on which groups will be touring, but hopefully even the college groups will get to do a few days on break or near them.

So tell me, while we wait for tonight, what was your favorite performance this season? I'm partial to Vocal Rush, so I'll choose "Bottom of the River" as the winner for me. It was their first performance, and a strong introduction to what the high schoolers could do.