Friday, February 09, 2007

 

Open Thread

Dance away the heartache...dance away the pain.

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Friday Trivia!

I am throwing out five questions that will cover a range of topics. It's Friday, so I know you aren't really working. First person to get all five correct in the comments wins...bragging rights (hey, I've got two kids. You weren't expecting money, were you?).

Have at it:

1. In baseball, who was the first American League player to make $100,000 per year?

2. What was the headline on the Chicago Daily Tribune on Wednesday, November 3, 1948?

3. Who sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" for the 1966 cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas!?

4. Which former U.S. president was in a train accident (which killed his 11 year old son) just 47 days prior to his inauguration?

5. What do the drug heroin and a group of jellyfish have in common?


ANSWERS:
1. Joe Dimaggio
2. "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN"
3. Thurl Ravenscroft
4. Franklin Pierce
5. Both heroin and a group of jellyfish are referred to as "smack".

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I'm Nancy...Fly Me

I don't begrudge Nancy Pelosi her need for a military plane. But is there a reason why she is so damn tone-deaf on how badly her in-public haggling looks?

And, everyone's favorite non-Majority Leader John Murtha threatening the Pentagon's appopriations budget if it doesn't cough up "Pelosi One" in a timely fashion!

Well, it's good that the Democrats do support SOME military purchases!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

 

Far Out Space Nuts (Snicker-less edition)

Madscribe:
Dagnabbit!! I was supposed to be concentrating on training this month. However, there are always too many events in the news not to laugh about. Furthermore, regular commenter Rob and I couldn't seem to agree on what song was appropriate for NASA's current dilemma. After a good night's sleep, I think I finally hit on the song that almost everyone can agree fits nicely with a Navy Captain/Astronaut that would drive 900 miles to allegedly harm a paramour rival.

Title inspiration here. Runner-up Record Here.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

 

My Old Boss

Newt Gingrich is visiting the Big Apple twice this month. Next week, he is going to be in a conversation with Charlie Rose at the 92nd Street Y. Tickets can be purchased here.

Then, at the end of the month, he'll be involved in an interesting dialogue with Mario Cuomo, moderated by Tim Russert. The idea is to commemorate Lincoln's famous Cooper Union speech. Cuomo recently wrote a book on Lincoln, so Newt thought that this would be a good base to have a discussion on issues that goes beyond the usual sound-bite faux debates that occur during election years. Details can be found here.

I'm planning on attending both events, but am especially looking forward to the Cooper Union event.

UPDATE: My friend and former colleague, David Winston, explains the importance of the the Cooper Union exchange.

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Kudos To Terry Moran

Good catch from ABC reporter: Clearly, politicians will have to examine blogs fully before inviting the blogmaster onto the campaign. (hat tip: Instapundit)

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

 

Resisting A Nice Bar With Nuts

So, the one ad I mention in my Super Bowl review is the one that becomes controversial. Less than 24 hours after the game, Snickers yanked its "manly" ad after complaints that it -- and particularly the "alternate endings" versions online-- was homophobic.

Once people referred to the concept of anti-Semitism without Jews. Here, we had a supposed example of anti-gay sensibility -- without any reference to gays.

My thought was when I saw the ad that ran during the game was that the joke is on guys who have a very narrow idea of what "masculinity" or "manhood" is supposed to be about: They are so scared they might not be manly, they start ripping out their chest hair. Dumb? Yeah, but hardly homophobic.

Anyway,
this gentleman has the best sense on the need to rein in the PC horses:

Well I, for one, am a gay American — how, exactly, can one person be G, L, B and T anyway? — who has suffered a hate crime, and I am more disturbed by the gross overreaction of these overly earnest gay rights groups.

The version of the Snickers ad that aired during the game was funny, if not exactly guffaw-inducing. Funny, as in funny ha-ha. Remember that, activists? This isn't Isaiah Washington cursing a gay colleage or Michael Richards unleashing a torrent of angry "N-words."

This was a silly ad for a candy bar in which two unattractive, middle-aged mechanics accidentally kiss and then have a comic overreaction. Do we really believe impressionable youngsters will learn life lessons from these two? They are the butt of the joke, after all, not gay people.

Let's not forget, too, that this same-sex kiss didn't just run in prime time, but on Sunday afternoon in the most-watched television event of the year. Long after the short ad spot is forgotten, a taboo has been broken, the "shock value" of a gay kiss has been lessened, and that's ultimately of more cultural influence than the mechanics' macho morality
Indeed.

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Faith In Percy

TV productions thematically tied to Black History Month usually revolve around a rotating group of about a dozen or so "greats" and continually rehash their achievements. Tonight, PBS's Nova breaks out of that with a docudrama on Percy Julian, one of the great chemists of the 20th century:

The “Nova” filmmakers’ effort to revive Mr. Julian’s legacy is not only riveting, but also one of the most ambitious projects in the 34-year history of “Nova.” His work included discoveries in the synthesis of cortisone, an anti-inflammatory used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many other conditions. In 1999 the American Chemical Society recognized his synthesis of physostigmine, a glaucoma drug, as one of the top 25 achievements in the history of American chemistry. He was the first black chemist ever elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Never heard of him? Well, I hadn't until recently either.

Check out "Forgotten Genius" as your schedule permits. This being PBS, it will most likely be replayed a few times this month.

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Some Post-Super Bowl Thoughts

Now that the "big game" is over, time for a few ruminations on it:

MVP: If I could hand out an MVP award, I would give it to the Colts secondary. Maybe a co-MVP between Kelvin Hayden and Bob Sanders? If I have to choose only one player, then I give it to Bob Sanders, since he added a forced fumble to his interception.

If I had to choose an offensive MVP, I would take Dominic Rhodes, who had as many touchdowns as Peyton Manning (one), but no fumbles or interceptions (Manning had one of each). Add in 113 rushing yards, and Rhodes walks away with it.

REX GROSSMAN: Everyone's goat, for good reason. If the Bears start next season with Grossman under center, they are fools.

BEST COMMERCIAL: I liked the Doritos "Live the flavor" ad in the first quarter (link
here).

HALL OF FAME SELECTIONS: How does Michael Irvin get in before Art Monk? They both played in three Super Bowls, but Monk did it with three different quarterbacks. Monk's career stats were better than Irvin's:
Art Monk: 940 catches, 12,721 yards, 68 touchdowns
Michael Irvin: 750 catches, 11,904 yards, 65 touchdowns

Just because Irvin toots his own horn louder doesn't mean he deserves it more.

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Walking On "Sunshine"

OK, watched Little Miss Sunshine tonight. It's nominated for Best Picture. Given the perversities of Hollywood, it could win. It's a weird cross-genre movie -- part family flick, part road trip, with a twist at the end that had me roaring with laughter for five minutes.

It's not for everyone, but it is a well-made, crazy film with some fine performances. Abigail Breslin is deserving of her Supporting Actress nomination.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

 

Yeah, Sure, Call it Super...

What a "nice" game: Sloppy, but exciting first-half (reminiscent of the Florida/Ohio State BCS championship game with the eventual losing team running back the opening kick-off for a touchdown -- and then being unable to do much on offense for the rest of the game); Manning overcomes his early jitters and manages the game; the Colts, amazingly turn out to be both the better rushing team AND the better defensive squad.

After years of halftime shows that wavered between T&A exercises (Janet Jackson's "Nipplegate") and musical acts for the Geritol set (Rolling Stones & Paul McCartney), The Artist Formerly And Once Again Known As Prince gave one of the best "live" performances (even allowing for the prominent backing tracks) ever: A mixture of classic hits -- starting off with "Let's Go Crazy", plus classic rock tunes ("Proud Mary" and "All Along The Watchtower" -- more Hendrix version than Dylan); taking the Foo Fighters "The Best of You" and making it his own -- and finishing up, of course, with "Purple Rain." We went nuts at my local bar.

The Man Upstairs must be a Prince fan, because while the players and the fans might not have liked the ongoing downpour during the game, it sure was fitting for His Royal Badness' finale. He may be in his 40s and he may have dropped the naughty stuff for God (Prince is now a Jehovah's Witness), but he proved that he can still "bring it" live, charismatic as ever, even in a huge football stadium, performing for millions across the globe.

And, then, the second half, it was just going through the motions: It was pretty evident from the middle of the first half that the Bears offense (Evil Rex showed up at quarterback) wasn't going to be scoring any points. Meanwhile, the Colts did just enough -- including two key interceptions (one returned for a touchdown).

After the game, with the Vince Lombardi trophy presented finally presented to the long-suffering Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, the coach once again made a comment that shows why he is so widely respected.

While CBS sports commentator Jim Nantz asked Dungy to speak to the "social significance" of becoming the first black coach to win the Super Bowl, Dungy adroitly stayed focused. I'm paraphrasing here, but he essentially said that while he was proud "on behalf of African Americans" to be in this role, he was even happier that he and Chicago's Lovie Smith had managed to make it to the Super Bowl coaching in a "Christian" manner without profanity or or negative behavior.

There you have it -- on the biggest televised event in America, the winning coach manages to make a statement that encapsulates the hot buttons of both sides of the political divide that has haunted the country since 2000: If you're living in a blue state, you've got to be happy that a proud black man finally coached a team to a Super Bowl championship; if you live in the red states, you should be pleased as punch that that man also testified to his Christian faith getting him AND the losing coach to that point.

Now, that is cool.

The ads, this year, to my mind weren't that memorable. My personal favorites were the Chevy ad with various celebrities singing verses from songs that mentioned Chevrolets, the bare-chested guys doing the car wash (just to get their hands on a Chevy); the Jim Gaffigan spots for Sierra Mist; and the subtle Coca-Cola salute to Black History Month (with its allusion to the Dungy-Smith event). None of them really had a "Wow" factor, but they were, well, pleasant. (The sole exception was the perversely clever Snickers ad with two heterosexual guys unnerved after they find themselves kissing after sharing a Snickers bar.)

In a sense, the ads fitted the game they sponsored.

UPDATE: Written last night after a long game (and a beer or two), this post -- particularly the blue state/red state passage -- could have been clearer: Generalizations are just that -- generalizations. I was speaking broadly about the stereotypical perception of a liberal "blue" state and a conservative "red" state. Obviously, there are people of faith living in blue states, folks very concerned about diversity in red states -- and combinations of both across the country.

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On The Seventh Day, God Punted

A few weeks back, Ragged Thots made this observation:
Satellite distribution of NFL games have turned sports bars into a secular polytheistic church-going experience for many Americans on Sunday: The games are the preachers; the fans are the congregation; the bartenders are the acolytes: Everyone gathers there to "worship" their preferred deity. Would this communal experience continue if the NFL "released" rights to all games to platforms other than DirecTV?
Geez, not enough that the NFL had basically sacked organized religion on Sundays -- just as it crushed the other previous national pastime -- now, it has to do a victory dance in the endzone to rub religion's nose in it:
Farmland Friends on Friday joined churches nationwide in abruptly canceling its Super Bowl party for fear of violating a federal copyright law that prohibits public venues from showing NFL games on big-screen TVs.

Sports bars are specifically exempted. Churches are not.

The law has been widely ignored for years. Churches routinely draw hundreds of fans to annual Super Bowl parties; some denominations openly use the events as tools for evangelism. The Christian magazine Sports Spectrum even markets a Super Bowl party kit for churches. This year, however, a celebration sponsored by Falls Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis caught the attention of a National Football League attorney, Rachel L. Margolies.
Forget about church-state barriers -- the state says a place that serves alcohol of all sorts has greater power on Sundays than some place that only serves a glass of wine (if that)!

In a related note, the NFL also gave notice of its intent to sue the Catholic Church on the grounds that the phrase, "Immaculate Conception," implicitly infringed on a major aspect of the league's intellectual property.

Oh well, remember to fill the collection plate in your respective houses of worship as the service begins at around 6:20 this evening.

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