Saturday, September 13, 2014

PAGING MARILYN HAGERTY! PAGING ROBERT IRVINE! Sure, you can just read the articles about it, but it's a lot more fun to actually page through the 294-slide presentation a major investor prepared on Olive Garden's failings, and how to fix them. Some highlights:
  • "Now Olive Garden serves dishes that are astonishingly far from authentic Italian culture, such as burgers & fries, Spanish tapas, heavy cream sauces, more fried foods, stuffed cheeses, soggy pasta, and bland tomato sauce."
  • "'Buy one entrĂ©e, take one home' and other recent promotions appear to be inconsistent with Italian culture – not to mention the extreme portion size is inconsistent with authentic Italian values and creates enormous waste."
  • "If you google 'how to cook pasta', the first step of Pasta 101 is to salt the water. How does the largest Italian dining concept in the world not salt the water for pasta?"
  • "Soup preparation: We believe Darden should bring the base in and add a few ingredients in the restaurant, not cook from scratch at each individual restaurant as it currently does, since it gets little credit from customers for its 'homemade' soups."
  • "We will no longer disregard sound nutrition. Nutrition will not be the driving force, but it will now be carefully considered while greatly improving the taste and appeal of every dish.... Portion sizes may be gradually reduced, as guests will begin to equate Olive Garden’s value proposition more with quality and excellence at fair prices, than with massive quantities of barely edible fried items, excessive cheeses, and heavy cream sauces."

Friday, September 12, 2014

FISHMONGERS AND GROGGY TAGI:  I spent some time last night recording an episode of the Purple Rock Podcast, as part of their review of all Survivor seasons past. If you've never listened before, Survivor fans, duh, start with this one.

We discussed Borneo, All Stars I, Guatemala, and Thailand, so there's a lot of talk about Survivor's icky history in dealing with sexual assault, but also my pontificating on all the things which made Borneo groundbreaking television, evolution in the show and Jeff Probst's role over time, whether All Stars was disappointing given how many fan favorites left early, and why certain seasons (and participants) are canonical.  Below the fold, what I had sent them for my overall season rankings:

WHY WON'T YOU COME TO YOUR SENSES? The Eagles are playing Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.  Opening for them?  The little known JD & The Straight Shot, which makes sense when you realize that the band is fronted by MSG owner (and Knicks fan whipping boy) Jim Dolan.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THAT'S THE NEWS, AND THEY'RE STICKING TO IT:  Weekend Update will have a different anchor team in a few weeks.  Surprisingly, it's Cecily Strong, and not Colin Jost, getting the axe, with Strong being replaced by Michael Che, who'll be Update's first African-American anchor.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

THIS IS THE SOUND A DOGGY MAKES. MR. CONNERY?  Returning with a new season of Jeopardy! next Monday night? The Trebek Stache, for the first time since 2001.
THANK HEAVEN FOR LITTLE GIRLS:  Despite being a beloved movie musical, Gigi was not a hit in its prior Broadway production.  Is a new production starring Vanessa Hudgens going to change that?
WHAT IS ENTERTAINMENT?  NBC is developing a sitcom based around friends who play at a weekly pub quiz.  Somehow, I have not yet been retained as a consultant, even if I am trying to round up a multi-state all-star team for next year's Geek Bowl (it's in Albuquerque next year, so ready the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul jokes).
AWESOME SAUCE:  Vulture's Margaret Lyons makes the reasonable prediction that Chris Pratt should host the SNL season-opener on September 27.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

OBVIOUSLY, THIS PERSON HAS NEVER FLOWN USAIRWAYS:  In a classic example of the #slatepitches genre, J. Bryan Lowder wishes you'd dress up a bit the next time you took a flight:
As everyone knows, travel these days can be practically barbaric: Space is cramped, in-flight meals are lackluster, and premiums are charged for everything from checking bags to watching TV to munching snacks. The weary traveler has little control over these things, but he can control his own outfit—and feeling handsome amid all the inhumanities can be powerfully heartening. What’s more, traveling, despite its continuing degradation, should be exciting—it’s a special occasion! Just as you might buy yourself an in-flight cocktail or a frivolous magazine at the concourse newsstand to brighten the experience, you should wear flattering clothes as a small way of marking travel as a singular experience.
ONE MORE PROBLEM:  Inescapable pop earworm artist Ariana Grande has some very specific requests about how she is to be photographed and interviewed.
I NEED HIM LIKE THE AXE NEEDS THE TURKEY:  If you've never seen The Lady Eve, good god, what are you waiting for?  Perhaps my favorite romcom ever. (That, or His Girl Friday.) The Dissolve is giving it a week's worth of discussion, which is well worth your time. Scott Tobias' keynote:
There’s a playful subversion to The Lady Eve casting its lot with the temptress and sinner, and Sturges’ casting of the lead roles really makes it pop. As the title character in 1937’s Stella Dallas, the gold standard of melodramas about female self-sacrifice, Stanwyck played another woman with no regard for social mores, despite her ambitions as a garish status-seeker. She isn’t tentative in pursuing her desires, she doesn’t shrink in the name of propriety, and she’s in full possession of feminine powers—a modern woman, often bracingly so. By contrast, Fonda, who had never done comedy, so throughly embodied forthrightness and down-to-earth decency that he was cast as Young Mr. Lincoln two years before. To stick with the Biblical theme, Sturges found an actress who represented the “sin” in cinema, and an actor who made it seem like he’d never done anything wrong in his life. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

ON A MIDNIGHT RADIO:  Your next Broadway Hedwig?  Michael C. Hall.