Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rextasy Is Back

All the way back. Blog Crush II:
"We have a game Sunday? Fuck, I didn't even know. They don't tell me when the games are played. I just run out onto the field and start aiming lasers for fucking Saturn, you know what I mean? If there's a defense there, whatever. Sexy Rexy is more than happy to spray hot passes all over the defense's chest. Who are we playing? The Lions? Pfft. Those guys aren't sexy. . . .

"What's that color the Lions wear? Honolulu Blue? Yeah, well I nailed six Hawaiian Tropic girls last week. So while those assholes are busy wearing Honolulu, I'm busy fucking it. Wore my mesh practice top the whole time, too. And in front of a mirror. Ever stick your finger up your own ass? God, it just felt so right.

"Jesus, now that you told me I'm playing Detroit, I'm all fucking hot. God dammit. I gotta go throw something. Now. I just... I just can't take the anticipation. It's driving me buc wild. Such a depleted secondary. So many long, long throws. You know I accidentally fucked Olin Kreuntz once? True story."

On Blogs, Bloggers, and Pat Conroy

Joseph Rago had an excellent little essay about blogging in yesterday's Opinion Journal. His criticisms of the blogosphere are all precisely on target, the main thrust of them being,

The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps. . . .

Every conceivable belief is on the scene, but the collective prose, by and large, is homogeneous: A tone of careless informality prevails; posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion . . .

[J]ournalism as practiced via blog appears to be a change for the worse. That is, the inferiority of the medium is rooted in its new, distinctive literary form. Its closest analogue might be the (poorly kept) diary or commonplace book, or the note scrawled to oneself on the back of an envelope--though these things are not meant for public consumption. The reason for a blog's being is: Here's my opinion, right now. . . .

This element--here's my opinion--is necessarily modified and partly determined by the right now. Instant response, with not even a day of delay, impairs rigor. It is also a coagulant for orthodoxies. We rarely encounter sustained or systematic blog thought--instead, panics and manias; endless rehearsings of arguments put forward elsewhere; and a tendency to substitute ideology for cognition. . . .

Naturally, many bloggers objected to this criticism, although in general, the mode of their objections tended to support, rather than refute, Rago's thesis. To take just one example, conservative cartoonist Chris Muir, who combines the intellectual curiosity of Gary Trudeau with the wit of Aaron McGruder, penned a strip attacking the Rago thesis for a missing period. The punch line to the strip was a rip-off of the "Halp us Jon Carry" banner that conservative bloggers touted so often in the days before the 2006 election. One could hardly think of a better example of either solipsism or derivation.

As far as the rest of Rago's arguments go, I will not, as a courtesy, provide links, but I would encourage readers to think back to the early days of November--and even on Election Day--when many parts of the conservative blogosphere pronounced, over and over and over, about how wrong the polls, the "experts," professional journalists, and the mainstream media were going to be about the impending midterm election. One could hardly think of a better example of a mob based on a collective delusion.

What bloggers always seem to miss in their angry reactions to criticisms such as Rago's, is that the criticism is of the medium, not the writers. When most "professional" writers ply their art on blogs, the results are little better. As Exhibit A, I would point to this useless blog. But if you need Exhibits B, C, D, and E, I'd suggest looking at the blog-work of professional journalists such as Gregg Easterbrook, Lee Siegel, Andrew Sullivan, and James Wolcott--whose blogging careers have been so terrible that they have at least damaged, and perhaps even destroyed, their reputations as serious people. And as a counterexample, I'd suggest looking to the non-blog writings of bloggers such as Scott Johnson and Dean Barnett, which are often quite valuable.

In other words, the criticism of blogs as a medium is not a personal criticism of bloggers, it is an intellectual argument about the nature of things. That so many bloggers cannot understand that distinction is, again, an argument in support of it.

(It should go without saying, of course, that not all blogs are worthless and not all traditional writing is valuable. One can admit and enjoy exceptions while still making reasonable generalized arguments.)


On a vaguely related topic, yesterday my friends Dean Barnett and Scott Johnson both linked approvingly to a Pat Conroy essay drawn from his memoir My Losing Season. It is understandable that conservatives would search for any port in a storm, but Conroy is one port from which they should probably steer clear. This is not for ideological reasons, but because Conroy's "memoir" is not 100 percent true. I'll quote at length from Dave McKenna's January 10, 2003 Washington City Paper report on another famous incident from My Losing Season:

Alums of one of D.C.'s oldest prep schools have been buzzing ever since the Washington Post printed an excerpt from My Losing Season, the new memoir by Pat Conroy. . . .

The biggest buzz created by the Post excerpt came not from Conroy's academic portrayals but from the vivid description of a brawl that the writer recalls as having taken place in the Gonzaga auditorium in May 1961, during the annual athletic banquet and awards ceremony. The unquestioned king of the Daddy Dearest novel writes that the brouhaha really got going after he was knocked out for the second time that night by--no surprise here--his dear old dad. According to the text, his father decided that the boy deserved the double beat-down for playing a prank on another student.

"The second backhand caught me on the left jaw, harder than the first, and I went down to the floor again," Conroy writes. "Then a free-for-all began." In the book, the younger Conroy came to just in time to drag his bad dad out of the auditorium and save him from other Gonzaga fathers--"an angry mob of men"--who wanted a piece of the perpetrator of a very visible act of child abuse.

"They had no idea who my father was and did not care," Conroy writes. "They saw a stranger knock a Gonzaga boy to his knees and came roaring to my defense."

A public man-boy pummeling? Two knockouts in one night? Sure sounds like memorable stuff, and it will no doubt make for some fine movie scenes. But the all-hands brawl Conroy describes doesn't have a big place in Gonzaga lore. In fact, until the Post story ran, it apparently didn't have any place.

"I think Conroy got everything else about Gonzaga right, so I don't know why this wouldn't be right, too," says John Carmody, Gonzaga's general counsel and one of four generations of Carmodys to attend the school--the gym is named after his father. "But I'd never heard that story before.

Carmody suggests that William Bennett would be able to confirm Conroy's account. In the book excerpt, Conroy places himself behind Bennett, the high-profile moralist and member of Gonzaga's class of '61, during the fateful awards ceremony.

"Mr. Bennett says he was at the function, but he can't recall that scuffle," says Jeff Kwitowski, Bennett's spokesperson. "He can't verify any scuffle."

Chris Warner, a Gonzaga classmate whom the excerpt places next to Conroy earlier in the banquet, also says he didn't see any fight.

Buchanan, who keeps close ties to the school and is involved in the alumni organization, says he'd never heard about the big brawl, either. "That's quite a story, though, so after I read it [in the Post], I asked some of my brothers about the brawl, and they said they'd never heard it, either," says Buchanan, one of seven siblings to attend Gonzaga. He then adds with a laugh, "But he's some writer, isn't he?"

"This is such a personal memoir, we didn't do any fact-checking," says George Solomon, the Post's sports editor. "We trust Mr. Conroy, with his reputation, for its accuracy."

One Gonzaga-ite who had heard about the banquet brawl is Danny Costello, class of '72, now vice president for development at the school. He got it right from the horse's mouth.

"Pat Conroy came here about 12 years ago and I walked the halls with him, and he told me a story of his father's kicking his ass at a school dinner," says Costello. "I'd never heard that story from anybody before or since, until the book came out."

Costello says he understands why the Post piece left some Gonzaga alums wondering why they'd never heard more about the brawl. He hasn't been able to answer their questions.

"I see why some people could question the account [that appeared in the Post]: He describes being dazed and not aware after getting hit, yet he also describes in great detail everything that was going on around him. How the hell does that happen?" Costello says. "But was there a rumble, and did the brawl happen the way the book says it did? I guess only one man knows all the answers, and that's Pat Conroy. But I really think it's irrelevant. That's the way he remembers it. Everything he writes, his dad beats him up--I know he gets pounded in The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides--and stories about his dad beating him up are in every article that's ever been written about the guy. So nobody should be surprised that he gets beat up in this book, too."

Buchanan says he's also ready to let Conroy's brawl story stand as written. But he admits that the episode reminded him of the travails of Gonzaga alum Joe Ellis, class of '61. Ellis, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, had his career derailed when it came out that he'd padded his resume with a fictional stint with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. As the press was piling on Ellis, it also came out that he'd bragged to the Boston Globe about catching a game-winning touchdown pass in his final game on the Gonzaga football team. Ellis never played football.

"But now, whenever anybody brings up the Joe Ellis touchdown story," Buchanan says, "I just tell them I [threw] that pass."

After being asked through e-mail and phone messages to confirm his account of the Gonzaga free-for-all, Conroy responded through his literary agent, Marly Russoff. "No one saw him get hit," Russoff says, "and he did not discuss it with anyone."

Conroy was scheduled to appear at a book signing in downtown D.C. shortly after McKenna's article appeared. He canceled the appearance.

If the Andrew Sullivan experience taught bloggers nothing, it should have been the valuable lesson that some allies aren't worth having.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No Blogging Today

For me, the grief is still too near.

Go Nuggets.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Big News

Expect increased coverage of arena football on SportsCenter.

You're Living in Fuck City!

Just came across this Talk of the Town item on the William Beaver House, a condo complex going up in New York's financial district. The hook for the WB is, well, here's Lauren Collins's description:
William Beaver House, a fifty-two-story condominium “specially designed,” its promotional materials assert, “for New York’s highest achievers.” Beaver—who is actually a spiffy cartoon rodent, given to international travel and fine brandies—is the project’s mascot as well as proto-inhabitant. His high achievements extend to every field but one: monogamous relationships. Recalling a coed dorm or the stew zoos of the nineteen-sixties, Beaver House is meant to be a place you can bring someone (or someones—many units include showers big enough for three). If not, pickup opportunities are part of the floor plan. See you at the sunken conversation pit!

If you still don't get it, go to the William Beaver website, click on "The William Beaver Experience," and check out the weird, sort-of-safe-for-work anime renderings of life at the Beav.

Of course, all of this is ripped from GOB Bluth's brilliant ideas:
GOB: 52% of the country is single. That's a market that's been dominated by apartment rentals. Let's take some of that market. I call it "Single City."

GOB: It's, like, "Hey, you want to go down to the whirlpool?" "Yeah, I don't have a husband." I call it "Swing City."

GOB: How do we filter out the teases? We don't let them in. This goes for the guys, too. Because sometimes the guys are tapped out. But check your lease, man. Because you're living in Fuck City!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Quick Media Aside

Mike Kinsley is being hired to write an occassional column for Time. Howie Kurtz has the story here. Kinsley has the following to say about his new employers, who are already cutting 550 jobs and are expected to cut more. Time, he says,
"has a bigger bounce than you would expect. They're also paying me well and it's secure."

First, condescend to your new employer. Then brag about your salary. Then rub it in the noses of the people at the magazine who are about to lose their jobs.

Does anyone else remember the summer of 1998 when Si Newhouse offered Kinsley the editorship of the New Yorker? Kinsley, not content to simply say yes and take the best job in all of letters, needed time to think about it. He hemmed and hawed. Newhouse, sensing that Kinsley wasn't really into it, withdrew the offer. Kinsley said he wouldn't discuss the incident.

He promptly went and sent a nearly company-wide email detailing the entire courtship process, concluding with this bit of (counterintuitive!) gentility:
Maybe 15 minutes later I get back to the hotel room and there's a message: Call Si Newhouse. I call and he says, You seem reluctant. I say, It's a big decision, but if I do it I assure you I'll be energetic and enthusiastic. He says, I'm starting to feel reluctant too. I think it would be better to call it off. No apology.

After some stunned mumbling, I say, This is going to be embarrassing to both of us. He asks me to say that I had withdrawn my name. I say I'm not going to lie about it, but I'll decline to discuss it. He mumbles something and I mumble something and we hang up.

On reflection (about two minutes' reflection), I decided I was not inclined to do him the favor of not discussing it.

I mention all of this not because you or I should shed a tear for Newhouse, but to note that this could have no effect other than to demean whoever did eventually get the New Yorker job by making it publicly known that they were, at best, the second choice.

At least that story has a happy ending because you know, David Fucking Remnick.

Who's basically Proust, Batman, and Tom Brady rolled into one.

Still, that Kinsley's a class act.

The Mamba Gets Jealous

Winnger for Most Ironic Comment Ever goes to Kobe, who said this after Gilbert Arenas dropped 60 on him while the Wizards beat the Lakers in L.A.:
"First of all, he shot 27 free throws. We as a team shot 30. Think about that. But him individually, it's funny, he doesn't really seem to have that much of a conscience. I really don't think he does. Some of the shots that he took tonight, you miss those, they're just terrible shots, awful shots. You make them and they're unbelievable shots."

The mind staggers to try to find a comparison. Make your own.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dumbest Harry Potter Interpretation Ever?

Galley Reader P.G. sends us this short piece about new Harry Potter David Yates, who's at the healm of the film version of Order of the Phoenix. Here's a clip from the piece:
"Phoenix," the fifth book in author J. K. Rowlings's series, is by far the most ideological, and seems allusive to post-9/11 politics. Harry knows that the evil Lord Voldemort has been reborn and is building an army, but the wizarding government, the Ministry of Magic, refuses to believe him. At Hogwarts, a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the ministry's Dolores Umbridge, won't teach the students actual defense spells, under the pretense of protecting them. As the world grows more dangerous, and Umbridge restricts more and more of the students' personal freedoms, Harry and his pals form a secret club to teach themselves how to battle Voldemort and his minions. "It's like the French Resistance movement of the 1940s," Heyman says. Which is right up Yates's alley. "There's a really interesting principle at the heart of this story," says Yates, in an exclusive NEWSWEEK interview. "The ministry is this bureaucratic authoritarian regime trying to impose a fundamental doctrine on this liberal wacky school. The ministry isn't very good at accepting the beauty of differences. Everything has to fit in a box, and if it doesn't fit, it must be removed. The wonderful thing this story tells kids is that it's OK to be different."

Except that that's exactly not the point of Order of the Phoenix. The message is more properly understood as: The world is a dangerous place and sometimes, no matter how deep in the sand you try to stick your head, bad people will try to kill you. If you refuse to fight back, you're a willing accomplice to evil. Hogwarts isn't a whacky liberal enclave--it's Sandhurst, where Churchill is teaching a rising generation of warriors how to fight the battle their parents shirked. And the Ministry of Magic isn't John Ashcroft's Justice Department or the Catholic Church or whatever other repressive, patriarchical, neanderthal hive Yates might want to equate it with: It's the frackin' League of Nations.

At least, that's what I took away from Order of the Phoenix. But maybe I'm just a neocon warmonger. Tell me where I'm wrong.

The Last Word on Tom Brady

It belongs, of course, to Blog Crush Classic:
This chick might as well go gay because no dude is gonna wanna follow Tom Brady. He won the Super Bowl three times, he's richer than most countries and he looks like a damn model. I made a list of the guys who have more to offer a girl than Tom Brady:

1. Bruce Wayne

And that was pretty much it.

The Nintendo Difference

This piece on the corporate structure of Nintendo could have (should have) appeared in the WSJ. Highly interesting.

How to Bake a Tragedy

(1) Take fresh injury.

(2) Add insult.

(3) Mix well.

It keeps getting worse. The Inky is now reporting:
As the 76ers decide when and where to trade Allen Iverson, they are seeking the advice of former 76ers coach Larry Brown, who is acting as a consultant to team president Billy King as the latter sifts through the many offers for the temperamental guard.

Brown moved back to the Philadelphia area weeks ago after being fired as coach of the New York Knicks last summer. . . .

Brown's longtime agent, Joe Glass, confirmed that Brown was again working with the Sixers.

"He's a friend of the family," Glass said. "I guess that's the best way to put it. He's good friends with Billy, with Mo [Cheeks], with Ed [Snider, the team's chairman]. I guess they want to pick his brain. It's as non-exotic a situation as you can have. They're just picking his brain, which is good."

Because Brown only, you know, WRECKED THE FUCKING FRANCHISE with this fickle trades back when he was with the team. And then left the team in the lurch after limp-wristing them through a playoff series with his future employer. And then, after being given a free-pass out of his contract by the Sixers organization, publicly trashed Iverson, helping to push his trade value down.

This is like the Secret Service reanimating the corpse of Lee Harvey Oswald to consult with it on presidential security.

Bonus: Galley Brother B.J. writes:
Am I the only one who wouldn’t be even remotely surprised if Brown traded AI for a 2nd round pick then took over as head coach of the team he just traded Iverson to? You wouldn’t be shocked if he screwed the 76ers again to help his career would you?

Update: So Iverson is leading the East in all-star ballotting for guards. How awesome would it be if the Sixers keep dangling him, the all-star break comes, and Iverson starts the game wearing a generic Eastern Conference jersey?

Thursday, December 14, 2006


What could make you love Blog Crush II even more? How about this:

"What, like a guy wearing a $10,000 suit isn't making the playoffs? Come on!"

Great News, Sad News

Both from the same story. The sad news is that Lindsay Davenport announced yesterday that she has "no plans to play again." Davenport was an impossibly likeable player, one of the few grownups in the women's game, and a great champion. Hard not to love her.

The good news is that she's leaving the game just as she's become pregnant. Tell me this isn't the best way to retire:
"I hate the word 'retirement,' but this season was such a struggle physically for me, and I can't imagine playing again," Davenport said by phone from her home in Southern California. "I can't say there's any sadness, yet, about missing tennis. My life is with my husband and my future child.

"I feel like the second part of my life is about to begin, and I feel so lucky that if everything goes well, I'm able to go out like this. The timing couldn't be better," she said.

Good for her.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Matt Damon = The Real Deal

Pajiba sends us to this excellent clip of Matt Damon doing a stone-cold impersonation of Matthew McConaughey.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Easterbrook Donnybrook

Blog Crush II takes aim at Gregg Easterbrook. It's way too mean to be a simple drive-by. My guess is that the Christmas Ape knows Easterbrook and requested the hit.

Still, it's kind of awesome:

I'm So Classy, I Say Cognomen Instead of Nicknames: Reader Frank Johnson of Greenwich, CT, writes, "TMQ, you are so smart. I wish I could be smart like you. But I'm not. I want to hang myself. Anyway, in an attempt to sound as erudite as you, I propose nicknaming the Denver Broncos the Denver Kimchiwannawannnadingdongs, which is ancient Mandarin for 'horses that run'. I'd also like you to use this nickname at all times so that readers won't know what team you're talking about." Mr. Data, make it so!

Here's the giveaway line, though, that shows a tiny bit too much insider knowledge of TMQ:

Wacky Food Of The Week: Last week, TMQ ate at Citronelle, a four-star restaurant in DC that commoners like yourself wouldn't be allowed in. But, since I'd like to identify with you, I want to tell you about the wacky things on the menu! Like the venison with truffle ragout! Doesn't that sound crazy?! It sure does to TMQ, though TMQ knows damn well that venison and truffles are an inspired pairing. Your haute cuisine frightens and confuses me, Mr. Chef man. But not really.

Oh Ye Mortals, Trifle Not With The (Clearly Christian) Football Gods: Pittsburg of Kansas ran up the score again! TMQ is fucking pissed! Football is for learning! The coach of Pittsburg is clearly a point-grubbing Jew.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Milan--Worse than Philly?

Are Milan's opera fans worse than Philly sports fans? You be the judge:
MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- Top tenor Roberto Alagna stormed off stage after he was booed in the middle of a performance at Milan's La Scala opera house, forcing a costumeless substitute to replace him and drawing criticism from organizers.

"There has been an obvious lack of respect towards the public and the theatre," La Scala's artistic director, Stephane Lissner, said in statement on Monday, calling the incident regrettable.

French-born Alagna, known as "the fourth tenor" and hailed by some critics as the new Pavarotti, had been playing the lead male role in Franco Zeffirelli's lavish production of Verdi's Aida, which launched La Scala's new season last Thursday.

But minutes into the show's second performance on Sunday night, a small section of the audience began booing Alagna, who had just finished singing an aria, apparently displeased about comments he had made about La Scala's demanding audience.

The 43-year old, already upset by some of the reviews he earned for his performance on the opening night, raised his fist defiantly and walked out, leaving stunned fellow singer Ildiko Komlosi to sing "a duet on my own."

After a few moments of embarrassment, with some in the audience shouting "Shame on you!", understudy Antonello Palombi jumped in and carried on singing wearing a pair of jeans and a black shirt for lack of a costume.

Bet La Scala doesn't give up Alagna for Jerry Stackhouse and Austin Fucking Croshere.

Moorestown, Triumphant?

Remember back in July of 2005 when Money magazine named Moorestown, NJ the #1 town in all of America? I went on a somewhat unbecoming tirade because, while I love my hometown and would suggest it as a great place to live and have a family, it clearly isn't the best town in South Jersey, let alone America. (There was a part 2 to the tirade. Just for good measure.)

On Saturday, The Pig sent along this story about drugs in Moorestown's high school:
A search at one of the most elite public high schools in the region turned up "significant" amounts of cocaine, amphetamines, diet pills, marijuana, prescription drugs, and drug paraphernalia, school authorities said last night.

The drugs were found at Moorestown High - a school flush with Advanced Placement courses, where 94 percent of students go on to college and where most participate in extracurricular activities.

After an investigation by school officials, six students were questioned by authorities Wednesday, searched, and given drug tests and arrested, interim district Superintendent Timothy Brennan said. . . .

"I sense that the results of the high school administration's investigation are an indication of a larger problem," Brennan said.

The mood in Moorestown High, which has about 1,300 students, was edgy, Brennan said.

"There's been more of a sense of unrest at the high school," he said. "Some of the students are upset and surprised that this happened at their school. Some are wondering what the future holds."

I'll be the editors at Money are thrilled this morning that they didn't name Moorestown America's #1 town this year.

Bonus: If you want more dish, there's a Fark comments thread on the story.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Galley Brother B.J. sends a link to this story with the advice: "Never go swimming in Corpus Christi. Ever."

Sounds about right to me.

Geek Alert

Here's Jane Espenson talking about the two episodes of BSG she's written.

I need a cigarette.

Letters From Iwo Jima

The great Todd McCarthy reports:
"All Quiet on the Western Front" was about Germans in World War I, but from a pacifist p.o.v.; "Tora! Tora! Tora!" included the Japanese angle on Pearl Harbor; the central characters in "The Blue Max" and "Cross of Iron" were Germans. Scattered other examples certainly exist. All the same, there are few moments in Hollywood cinema of any era as oddly unsettling as the one here, in which an American Marine charges toward the protagonists and is so manifestly perceived as the enemy.

That unfortunate young man is bayonetted to death by his Japanese captors. But the film's true intent comes across the second time a Yank is nabbed by the doomed members of the Imperial Army, when the injured grunt movingly establishes an unlikely bond with his aristocratic Japanese interrogator. There were compelling reasons why the war was fought, but the unusual focus of "Letters" is the humanity of the Japanese soldiers who longed for home just like anyone else, knowing they would never leave the tiny strip of land alive.

Naturally, U.S. war films of the era painted the Japanese as the most maniacal and barbaric of fighters, and many veterans and historians, Americans, Chinese and others, insist this was true. Pic might have done well to mention the emperor's endorsement of the "Death Before Surrender" edict of early 1945. But "Letters" makes the case that even the Japanese were divided among themselves.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Fug Girl Heather on some actress you've never heard of:
She looks a bit like the eccentric costume master of a high-school drama department, who is method-prepping for this year's production of Oliver Fame--the heartwarming story of an orphan and his merry band of pickpockets who are punished for trying to rob a bakery by being tossed into a prestigious song-and-dance academy. Oh, sure, it damages their street cred, but slowly these young rapscallions melt under the tutelage of Debbie Allen. They stop stealing cash and start stealing hearts, learning important lessons about honesty, rhythm, the true meaning of family, and jazz hands.

LiLo, Brit-Brit, and Paris on NFL QB's

Blog Crush sister blog With Leather sends us to this unbelievably vile, incredibly funny, skit. As they say, this is technically safe for work. But wow . . .

Robert Smigel is going to wish he'd come up with this first.

Stallone = Awesome?

To be honest, I'm pretty jacked up to see Rocky Balboa. There, I said it. It looks all kinds of awesome. Particularly since Mason "The Line" Dixon looks uncannily like Terrell Owens. Seeing TO getting beaten to pulp by Rocky on the bigscreen is the closest thing Philly fans are going to get to catharsis this year.

But even if you haven't bought in for this latest installment, you'll want to read AICN's Q & A session with Stallone. Sly is so funny, honest, and interesting that you'll think the whole thing was made up. (It's not.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Screech Porn Is Here

Just in time for the holidays. This link is a safe-for-work summary written by someone who's been exposed to the stuff. There follows a not-safe-for-work link to the film itself.

Click if you dare.

Trailer City

Is this trailer for In the name of the King an elaborate joke?

The Transporter, Henry Hill, Leelee Sobieski, orcs, ninjas, Matthew Lillard, and . . . wait for it . . .

Burt Reynolds!

Massive Atari Archive

The geniuses at Intellectual Delinquent have posted a set of classic games you can play right in your web browser, including Frogger, Moon Patrol, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Donkey Kong, and Star Castle.


‘A Christmas Story’: The Museum

Somehow I managed to get to age 27 without ever having seen The Christmas Story--despite the fact that my best friend was nicknamed "Ralphie." Now the NYT reports on Recreating ‘A Christmas Story’ Museuem in Cleveland.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Pig Is Back!

The Wershovenist Pig is back with posts on what the Taco Bell outbreak means for your portfolio and a babe-a-licious, barely-safe-for-work story from the NYT about . . . the Salvation Army. Seriously. Go check out what the enterprising NYT photo editor was up to.
There's no question what the Big Story of the Day is: NASA's announcement that we will be returning to the Moon to set up a base on its polar cap. Now even for science buffs like myself, there are many unanswered questions. For instance, why the polar cap? Won't it be freezing up there?

Secondly, is NASA really ready to return to the Moon? After all, its last venture there ended in tragedy. You've blocked it from your memory, haven't you? It was 1980 and the Americans and the Soviets launched a joint lunar mission to collect rocks and soil samples when suddenly two men and a woman were seen flying around in black plastic outfits (it may have been vinyl). One by one, the astronauts were killed and the three suspects continued on to Houston, Texas.

I really hope that doesn't happen again.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Death, Taxes, Sword of Beerzlewag

The government, eager to get its mits on every cent that changes hands, everywhere, no matter what, wants to start taxing the purchase of virtual goods in MMOGs. What does that mean? It means that if you're playing World of Warcraft or EverQuest and you buy virtual power-ups, the taxman will treat them as property.

It's like we're living in Soviet Russia. Get the CATO people on line one...
The PigTM sends a link to this delightful piece by Bryan Curtis.

Click and enjoy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Android 207

If you have 10 minutes to kill, check out this stop-motion short, Android 207.

Part Prince of Persion, part Steamboat Willie, it's a real testament minimalist story-telling. And a real glimpse at the promise of digital video and internet distribution.

Sony, Nintendo, etc.

For those of you who've been bothered by my near-obsession with the run-up to the launch of the next-generation videogame consoles, the reason I've paid so much attention to the industry is because (1) It's typically covered poorly by most mainstream press outlets, who don't understand the business; (2) The PS3 is going to be seen in retrospect as an enormous story, since it is going to hobble the entire Sony corporation; (3) The industry itself is fascinating on its own terms. (Actually, I think that's true of most industries: The closer you look at automakers or airlines or coffee products, the more interesting they are.)

You're now starting to see the effects of the launch. Yesterday Sony fired the head of its PlayStation unit. Barely two weeks after the launch of the PS3. It's difficult to overstate the importance of this move: Remember, just a few years ago PlayStation was accounting for more than half of Sony's profits.

How big a deal is this for Sony? This morning we have an industry press piece suggesting that Sony might be forced out of the hardware business altogether. It sounds like an outlandish charge, but maybe not--Sony actually responded by put out a statement saying that they're still committed to making a PS4. That they even have to give that reassurance is a sign of how dire the situation is for them.

And on the other side of the coin is this New Yorker item about the Nintendo Wii, which notes how smart the company's business model is:
Sony and Microsoft are desperate to be the biggest players in a market that, in their vision, will encompass not just video games but “interactive entertainment” generally. That’s why the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 are all-in-one machines, which allow users not just to play video games but also to do things like watch high-definition DVDs and stream digital music. Sony and Microsoft’s quest to “control the living room” has locked them in a classic arms race; they have invested billions of dollars in an attempt to surpass each other technologically, building ever-bigger, ever-better, and ever-more-expensive machines.

Nintendo has dropped out of this race. The Wii has few bells and whistles and much less processing power than its “competitors,” and it features less impressive graphics. It’s really well suited for just one thing: playing games. But this turns out to be an asset. The Wii’s simplicity means that Nintendo can make money selling consoles, while Sony is reportedly losing more than two hundred and forty dollars on each PlayStation 3 it sells—even though they are selling for almost six hundred dollars. Similarly, because Nintendo is not trying to rule the entire industry, it’s been able to focus on its core competence, which is making entertaining, innovative games.

Expect to see more stories like this one in the coming weeks--and keep an eye on Sony. It's a giant corporation in an enormous heap of trouble.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Consider this yet another public service announcement: If you are a Galley Slave reader within the National Capital Area, the above advertisement is for you. That's right, the one, the only, Rob Van Winkle will be performing at McFadden's bar tonight. Which sort of reminds me of that great parody in The Onion about Corey Hart.

(Those who do attend tonight's performance may be in for a real treat. One friend confessed to me her most embarrassing concert experience was at a Vanilla Ice show in the early '90s. The artist not only danced but humped the stage, and when he stood upright, well, he was really upright.)

Football Chicks

KSK asks if getting girls into football is a good thing:
Perhaps that last example isn't the best representative of today's female fan. The new NFL woman knows her shit, and -- as the argument goes -- isn't it better that potential objects of sexual desire can share in the raw, base enjoyment of the NFL?

To which I say: not particularly. It's already hard enough finding a woman who's hot and smart but still shallow enough to make fun of ugly people with me; I don't need the extra degrees of difficulty that come with screening out Steelers and Rams and Cowboys fans. Could you love a woman who cheered for T.O.? Only on the outside, friends. Only on the outside.

Of course, he's never met Jenny. So you have to cut him some slack.

Trailer City

The new Smokin' Aces trailer is up. I'm a little confused. The Dreadnoks are there, but I don't see Zartan anywhere.

The Nativity Story

AICN has a fabulously funny review:
This time around Jesus is being pursued by the ancient world version of a Bond villain, simply named Herod, who, knowing of Jesus’s amazingly bad assed ability to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ (I mean, really, he’s like Roman era John McClane) that he’s gonna try to kill him before he’s even born. So he sends out an army of Roman soldiers to try and find the unwed mother pregnant with the savior of humanity.

I know, I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. I liked this story a lot better when it was called The Terminator. I guess someone at New Line thought that it would be better with Roman soldiers instead of killer robots. Which is exactly why James Cameron is a genius. Everything is better with killer robots. . . .

[H]aving seen a film [The Passion] in its original historical language, watching another from the same time period performed in English seems to remove all authenticity. Remember how in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor all the ewoks suddenly spoke English rather than their original dialect of Yub Nubs? Remember how wrong and disconcerting that was? It’s kinda like that. It just doesn’t feel right.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Evolution of Video Games

This video takes a series of video game genres and traces them from their origins to the latest incarnations. Totally great.

And boy, do I miss "Jordan vs. Bird." Best sports game of all time? Maybe.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

F--k It. I'm Throwing It Downfield.

After giving us genius Eli-talk yesterday, the fellows at Kissing Suzy Kolber--who are becoming my new blog crush--have this internal monologue from Rex Grossman:
Is that Berrian? I think he's triple-covered. You know what? Fuck it. I'm throwing it downfield.

Yeah, I see Jones open on the flank. But fuck that. Dumpoff passes are for faggots. I'm fucking Sexy Rexy Grossman. I can get that ball in there. And, even if I can't, I bet I'll be able to pull it off the next go round. I like throwing the ball long. It makes my dick hard.

What's that? I should throw a quick slant? Fuck that. That's gay. Button hook? Gay. Flare out? Gay. Screen pass? Kevin Spacey gay. This is fucking football. You can't just expect wins to come to you. You can't massage that shit. You gotta grab that game by the throat and rape the ever-loving shit out of it. You think a 5-yard out is gonna win you a game? You're a pussy. This ain't John Shoop running this offense. Sexy Rexy's got the arm. The dragon. You gotta unleash the dragon. . . .

This is Rex Grossman we're talking about here. We're talking 210 lbs. of twisted steel and sex appeal. I'm not just a gunslinger. I'm a cumslinger. Throwing that ball long tells all the Rexettes that I am fucking out there. On the edge. Where I gotta be.

A Heat reference and everything? C'mon!

KSK is the only remaining source of NFL pleasure this season.

PS3 Launch Look-back

From Galley Reader P.G.:
Holy shit, get a load of this report: Sony projected 400K PS3s for launch and delivered 125-175K, including 15K for kiosks!

If this were an auto manufacturer, the CEO would be shitcanned within a week, heads would roll, and stock prices would plummet.

If this trend continues and Sony can only deliver 30-50% of their projected units by the end of the year, I expect to see some very serious changes at Sony. So far the media is mostly caught up in the hype of the horsepower of the PS3; they have yet to comprehend the business failure that the PS3 represents. So here’s my longshot prediction for 2007:

Prices remain too high on the PS3 and with the expected Xbox 360 price drop and success of the Wii, the PS3 will see sales dwindle by mid-2007. At this point Sony will halt production on the PS3. By late summer rumors will fly of a trimmed-down version of the PS3 (perhaps with a little less horsepower, perhaps they abandon the doomed Blu-Ray format) which will sell for $300-$400 dollars. This unit will be easy to manufacture and will be ready to be mass produced by late fall/Christmas. This unit will be a success because by then the game catalog will be far more impressive than the pathetic launch titles available.

What really bothers me is how Sony abandoned everything that made the PS2 good in making the PS3. They treat consoles the way Microsoft treats software: they don’t give the consumer what the consumer wants or needs, they gave them a bloated piece of crap. Just wait a few months until Vista comes out and everyone says “holy crap this thing sucks."

Of course, not everyone in the media is buying the PS3 hype. The NYT has this devastating review last week:
Even after Microsoft took the lead in the video-game wars a year ago with its innovative and powerful Xbox 360, Sony blithely insisted that the PS3 would leapfrog all competition to deliver an unsurpassed level of fun.

Put bluntly, Sony has failed to deliver on that promise. . . .

The PS3, which was introduced in North America on Friday with a hefty $599 price tag for the top version, certainly delivers gorgeous graphics. But they are not discernibly prettier than the Xbox 360’s. More important, the whole PlayStation 3 system is surprisingly clunky to use and simply does not provide many basic functions that users have come to expect, especially online. . . .

“What’s weird is that the PS3 was originally supposed to come out in the spring, and here it came out in the fall, and it still doesn’t feel finished,” Christopher Grant, managing editor of Joystiq, one of the world’s biggest video-game blogs, said on the telephone Saturday night. “It’s really not the all-star showing they should have had at launch. Sony is playing catch-up in a lot of ways now, not just in terms of sales but in terms of the basic functionality and usability of the system.” . . .

And so it is a bit of a shock to realize that on the video game front Microsoft and Sony are moving in exactly the opposite directions one might expect given their roots. Microsoft, the prototypical PC company, has made the Xbox 360 into a powerful but intuitive, welcoming, people-friendly system. Sony’s PlayStation 3, on the other hand, often feels like a brawny but somewhat recalcitrant specialized computer. (Sony is even telling users to wait for future software patches to fix some of the PS3’s deficiencies.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Eli's Cry for Help

Kissing Suzy Kolber has Eli Manning's secret thoughts:
Do you see now, people? Have you finally fucking figured it out?

I do not like football. I don't know how much clearer I can make that point. This sport blows. Everyone's running around and hitting each other... yikes. All I wanted when I was a kid was to hang out with my mom in the kitchen and make some zucchini bread. But nooooo, everyone's all like, "You're a Manning. You should play football!"

Fuck that. You should hear my dad in interviews. "We never pushed football on the boys..." Yeah right, old man. I just fell into this shit naturally. It had nothing to do with the family football games we played every afternoon for SEVENTEEN FUCKING YEARS, Dad. Or the film study sessions after dinner. No, that was for fun. Ass.

And Peyton! Guhhhhh, what a fucking dickwad. "Hey, Dad! I've memorized the playbook!" "Hey Dad, want to go look at your old game films?" "Hey Dad, I audibled to a slant-and-go pattern!" Fucking brownnoser. Hey Peyton, I just threw two picks and blew a game to Tennessee because I'm not as good as you! Isn't that exciting? Fuckface.



Galley Brother B.J. had these comforting thoughts last week:
Got an interesting email from my friend T.R., who said that he thought an era was ending in Philly when McNabb left the game on the cart. I hadn’t taken it that badly. I’d felt like it was another year wasted, but that the Eagles would be back & competing next year.

But, I’m thinking about it now. McNabb is 30, he’s in his prime, he was having an MVP season, and I still think he’s the best QB in the league. McNabb probably has 1 or 2 years left to still be in his prime where he can continue to carry teams deep into the playoffs and an additional 3-4 years of being a good-maybe-great QB, but not elite. Will the Eagles have enough talent in either of the next two seasons for McNabb to carry them into championship contender status?

The Eagles weren’t healthy enough this year to be able to gauge whether or not they currently have the talent (the secondary was too banged up the first few weeks), but injuries are a part of the game and the Eagles didn’t have enough depth. Statistically, the Eagles are in the top 1/3 of the league, but as Parcells says, “you are your record.”

B.J. went on to give a detailed analysis of the Eagles' prospects on a player-by-player basis. I'll cut through that to make this deeply painful point:

Here are McNabb's career stats. Note that since 2001, he's only played a 16-game season once. He's averaging 12 games per season over the last 5 years.

Compare that with the other two elite QBs, P. Manning and Brady. Since 2001 they've missed two games between them.

Put three of them side-by-side and you'd never think that McNabb would be the more injury-prone. He's a tank and the other two are drinks of Evian.

I love McNabb. I think he's the third-best QB in the game today (at least) and has the potential to be regarded someday as the Elway of his generation. But Elway didn't miss a lot of games. He averaged 14.6 games per season for his entire career.

But if McNabb is going to keep getting hurt--something for which he bears no blame whatsoever--then this franchise has no future in its current configuration.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'll Take The Rapists for $600 . . .

There is some talk about the performance of Sec. Ed. Margaret Spellings on Celebrity Jeopardy:
What’s more embarrassing than being Secretary of Education and having your ass handed to you on Celebrity Jeopardy? Being Secretary of Education and having your ass handed to you on Celebrity Jeopardy by Lenny from “Laverne & Shirley.”

Not to sound like an elitist prig, but anyone who's followed the celebrity quiz show circuit would know that Michael McKean is damn near a genius. He's got an amazing mind for trivia and is awfully smart to boot. I wouldn't bet against him on the normal version of Jeopardy.

So here's the thing: I suspect some clever producer actually sand-bagged Spellings by putting her on the same show as McKean knowing that he would have her for lunch.

Kind of awesome.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PS3 on eBay

Galley Reader P.G. writes in about the speculators who were lining up to buy PS3's:
Don’t buy the hype; PS3s are not going to $2K+ on eBay. I checked this morning and found that the average PS3 is going for $1,000-$1250 with a game. So demand must be high right? WRONG! The Xbox 360 was going for $1500 for weeks after it was released, and that was for the $400 model and a game. I found some PS3s going for $900 without a game on eBay, kinda sad. So evenly with the insanely low supply and all the hype, the average resale/eBay markup is 50-100%, a far cry from the markup of the Xbox 360 which was 250-400%

I think by the end of the decade the PS3 will go down as one of the biggest marketing disasters of the decade.

Galley Brother B.J. notes that the PS3 list on eBay has already seen the average price drop to around $1,000.

Andre Waters, RIP

Another part of the best NFL defense of all time is is dead: Andre Waters killed himself yesterday. With Reggie White and Jerome Brown already gone, you've got to wonder what bizarre curse was placed on that team. (Don't forget the Fog Bowl.)

Also, who would have thought that Buddy Ryan would out-live a third of this defensive starters?
The video of Michael Richards on Letterman is up. It's all very important and serious.

But has anyone else noticed how much he now looks like Pete Postlethwaite?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Forgot to mention last week my attending the opera to see Madama Butterfly. A terrific performance all around, even if a bit heavy on the kabuki. Tatiana Borodina was a powerful Cio-Cio-San right to the end while Carlo Ventre capably handled the role of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton. Just a few other observations:

1. The premiere of Madama Butterfly in 1904 was a catastrophe. The audience actually booed, hissed, and laughed. Puccini subsequently reworked it into a smash hit.

2. Madama Butterfly is supposed to have inspired Miss Saigon. If so, where's the helicopter?

3. The story could not work today as Cio-Cio-San admits to being 15 years old, making her American husband a pedophile. It would have to take place in Bangkok.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Watch Porn

The noun, not the verb.

Has anyone else out there caught the new Franck Muller Aeternitas? Here's a quick look:

If you're at all into mechanical watches, here's the rub: This monster has a perpetual calender based on a 1,000 year cycle. And it has, by my count, ten complications. Very nearly worth the [pause, lift pinky to corner of mouth] One meeelllion dollars!

I first came across the Aeternitas in the NYT's October annual watch supplement to their Sunday magazine, which is so pornographic that it should probably be illegal. It's one of the few bits of casual reading that can make you look down on a Patek Philippe (Precise!). But my favorite part of this year's issue is the back page, which cautions people against the evils of counterfeit watches. What makes it interesting, is how they try to reach readers.

The essay opens with a cautionary tale:
The woman was in tears, standing in the Cartier boutique. She had brought her prized Cartier watch in for service only to be told it couldn't be repaired. No, it wasn't broken beyond repair. It was counterfeit.

Aha! Imagine the shame of having been exposed--right there in the middle of Cartier--as having bought a fake? Of not having enough money to buy a real Cartier! The embarrassment! The humiliation! How could you ever again show your face in Nieman's?

A few paragraphs later, the author cautions:
Bottom line, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Walk away. We buy watches for a number of reasons--for how they feel on our wrists, how they make us feel and for the statement they make to other people. If you buy a counterfeit watch, what does that say about you?

It's like a Bobo version of the '50s film reels on social diseases. Only grosser.

Makes me wish I could buy a fake Aeternitas.

In Praise of George Michael

No, not that George Michael. Not the Bluth, either. But rather, the George Michael of Sports Machine fame. The Post's very excellent John Maynard reports that Michael, who's been a sports anchor in DC since 1980, is leaving his job at the local NBC affiliate. Why?
Michael said he rejected a new contract after he learned that some of his staff members would be laid off as part of larger moves by parent company NBC Universal.

George Michael has been with Channel 4 since 1980. He cited layoffs of some of his staff members as his reason for leaving the anchor desk.
George Michael has been with Channel 4 since 1980. He cited layoffs of some of his staff members as his reason for leaving the anchor desk.

"NBC made me an extremely, extremely beyond-my-wildest-dreams offer to stay and sign a new deal," Michael, 67, said by phone yesterday. But he added: "If I have to lay somebody off . . . I have to take the first bullet. It's that simple."

Someone should give him a medal.

Taser Video

Galley Reader J.H. sends along this link to video that claims to be police tasering a student at the UCLA library. The video isn't as hot as you might think, but the comments from the students in the peanut gallery--"I want your badge numbers"; "Here's your Patriot Act"--are pretty awesome. There's an LA Times story on it, too.

I'll be honest, I've got very little sympathy, because that's how we rolled at the Hop. Only it was students tasering each other, there was no political aspect to the violence, and the library was built six levels underground. No sunlight. No escape.

True story.

PS3 Violence

1 Shot in Conn. Playstation Waiting Line.

Expect to see more stories like this today, particularly since many stores aren't even able to fill the pre-orders they took months ago.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Aries Spears, the Rich Little of Rap

The geniuses at Pajiba send us to this video of a guy named Aries Spears. He does rap impersonations which are, as my homegirl T-Dub would say, redonkulous. He goes from LL Cool J to Snoop to DMX to Jay-Z--really, you've got to watch it to believe it.

Totally safe for work.

Man of the Year: Larry King

Greatest News Ever:
Last night CNN’s Larry King confessed to Roseanne Barr that he’s never used the Internet. King expressed doubt that the Internet was a viable political medium because “there’s 80 billion things on it.” When Barr said she liked the Internet, King acknowledged that “I’ve never done it, never gone searching.”

Barr said King would love the internet if he tried it. King replied, “I wouldn’t love it. What do you punch little buttons and things?”

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

PS3 Launch Debacle, cont.

Last Boss looks at the PS3 flagship launch title, Ridge Racer 7. Turns out that the game was released last year for the Xbox 360 as Ridge Racer 6. Last Boss puts frames from the two games side by side:
Ridge Racer 6 was released about a year ago for the Xbox 360, and Ridge Racer 7 was released just days ago for the PlayStation 3, but guesssss what game looks better? 360 FTW! Both games maintain a framerate of 60 frames per second, and yes, Ridge Racer 6 only runs at a resolution of 720p, while Ridge Racer 7 runs at 1080p, but check out the picture above. Notice how the 360's graphics are not only better, but entire pieces of the game have been left out of the PS3 version. It's not just one place in the game either, there's plenty more pictures to prove it.


Blockbuster Taps Out

Variety has the scoop on the Weinstein Company's new deal with Blockbuster: Basically, for four years, Blockbuster will be the only renter to distribute flicks from the production company. In return, Weinstein films will get a heavy push from Blockbuster and the chain is also guaranteeing payments "that amount to a certain percentage of the box office."

This looks like panic on the part of Blockbuster. Faced with a declining market share of a potentially-soon-to-be-obsolete market, Blockbuster is making a bid for relevance. And if they had lassoed a major studio, say Disney or Sony, then it would have been a strong move. But when an industry leader tries to throw its weight around and all it gets is the Weinstein Company--that's weakness.

Here's a list of the projects they've got lines up:

The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Escape from Planet Earth (2008)
The Great Debaters (2008)
Hellraiser (2008)
Inglorious Bastards (2008)
Knight Rider (2008)
The Meerkats (2008)
Outspoken (2008)
Scary Movie 5 (2008)
Untitled Kevin Smith Horror Project (2008)
Tropa de Elite (2007)
My Blueberry Nights (2007)
Sin City 2 (2007)
Grindhouse (2007)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007)
Chasing Temptation (2007)
Hannibal Rising (2007)
Fanboys (2007)
The Last Legion (2007)
Awake (2007)
The Equalizer (2007)
Fletch Won (2007)
Four Knights (2007)
Hua Mulan (2007)
Igor (2007)
Journey Into the Unknown (2007)
Kung Fu High School (2007)
My Enemy's Enemy (2007)
The Nanny Diaries (2007)
Outlander (2007)
Spring Break in Bosnia (2007)
Toyer (2007)
Factory Girl (2006)
Fast Track (2006/I)
Miss Potter (2006)
Arthur and the Minimoys (2006
Unknown (2006)
La Citadelle assiégée (2006)
Fade to Black (2006/I)
Train Wreck! (2006) (V)
School for Scoundrels (2006)
Breaking and Entering (2006)
Shut Up & Sing (2006
Black Sheep (2006/I)
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Penelope (2006)
Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland (2006)
DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
Bobby (2006)

See a lot of sure-fire winners in there? A lot of movies that Blockbuster should be paying up-front for?

I always thought that Blockbuster's lame and much delayed response to Netflix was a sign of really poor management. If you needed any further proof, this is it. Don't be surprised if Blockbuster doesn't even exist ten years from now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The PS3 Launch Begins!

If you leafed through the ad circulars in your Sunday paper, you probably saw big ads for the new PS3 being run by the big box electronics stores. They were pretty funny.

What's so funny, you ask? Remember, Sony admitted in September that they would only have 2 million PS3 units total for Japan and the U.S. before the end of 2006. And that they would only have 400,000 PS3's in the U.S. for launch. So let's do some quick math.

There are roughly 750 Best Buy stores, 630 Circuit City stores, and depending on what you believe from Wikipedia, somewhere between 2,200 and 3,300 Wal-Marts. If these three retailers were the only people selling the PS3, that means that each store would have (on average) between 85 and 111 PS3 units on hand when it goes on sale this week. And even if somehow Sony actually hit its 2 million target (which they've already admitted they might not), and gave none of these consoles to Japan, American retailers could expect, at most another 555 units to come in between now and New Year's Day.

The reality, of course, is that most stores will get nowhere near that many units to sell because there are lots of other electronics and game retailers who will get stock and Japan will suck up a good bit of the available supply. So the average retailer is likely to have many, many fewer than 500 units to sell for the rest of the year.

And if you want a clue as to how low that number could be, the fine print in the Circuit City circular promised that each store would have a minimum of 15 PS3s at launch.

Meanwhile, the PS3 has already launched in Japan, where the full supply of 80,000 units sold out in a couple of hours. Many of these were speculators who are re-selling the PS3 for up to 4x sticker price. For the most depressing stat, see Last Boss, which notes how few games were actually bought.

Update: Galley Brother B.J. suggests that since the total number of games sold in Japan seems to be less than the total number of PS3s sold, either: (a) The PS3 is so expensive that consumers can't afford to own both the system and games, or (b) Many of the PS3s were bought not by consumers, but by speculators.

If the answer is (b), isn't this how bubbles are blown?

Update: Forget all of that math up top. Reports are now that Sony will have closer to 750,000 units in the U.S. total beforee the end of the year.

And this site lets you check inventories in your area. Around me, most Best Buys are claiming that they'll have between 26 and 60 unites; Wal-Marts 10-25; EB Games/Game Stop 5-20; Targets will have between 5 and 15 units.

Buyer's Market?

Thanks to Galley friend P.L. for sending the realtor's link to Troy Aikman's home in Plano, Texas, which is up for sale. The pricetag is $4.9 million (does that include closing costs?). Hefty in this market, sure, but it does come with a six-car garage, six fireplaces, and, if you click on to the photo gallery, a lovely entertainment room complete with pool table and a glass case to fit all your Super Bowl trophies.

Submit to Borat

On the heels of the runaway success of Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen has signed on to the Tim Burton-directed Sweeney Todd--as Pirelli.

Not since Phantom of the Opera came to the big screen has there been such great news.

Can we get over SBC already? Please? Or do we all have to pretend that he's the greatest comic genius in the history of the world for another couple of years before his schtick gets old? Because eventually, he's going to come back to earth and settle somewhere in the firmament between Chevy Chase and Robin Williams.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Trailer City

Looks like White Power Bill has dirty ears!

Against my better judgment, I'm going to predict that Let's Go To Prison is more Arrested Development than Up Periscope. Because it's got a topless Chai McBride and the line, "I ain't gonna lie to you, this next part is gonna feel like someone's parking a Greyhound bus . . ."

Bonus: Where, oh where, is Warden Gentles? Also, I let my fists do the fisting.

myspace = slightly evil

The John Basedow myspace page. Oh, and turn your speakers up, because the theme song may or may not be the work of The Hasselhoff.

Jersey Complex

So here's what pisses me off: ESPN is running a caption this morning saying, "Think Jersey was pumped Thursday night? The Empire State Building glowed Scarlet red and unbeaten Rutgers rocked third-ranked Louisville 28-25, ruining a Big East national title darling."

So how is it that Rutgers, which is undefeated, has ruined the national title hopes of another undefeated team from the same fucking conference!?!

If you don't love this Rutgers team, then there's something wrong with you. For sobbing out loud, their kicker, Jeremy Ito, is nicknamed "The Judge."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No, I have not dropped off the face of the planet. Nor have I sunk into a postelection depression. But I have been mired in an iTunes dilemma: A few months ago, I finally left America Online. But while I had an AOL account, I purchased 77 songs from the iTunes store. Now that I no longer have this account, those 77 songs have been "deauthorized." They cannot be played on my computer or on my iPod. If I click on the track, a message tells me as much and says I need to enter the password for my AOL account. Which I no longer have. So I enter the old password and, big surprise, it is treated as invalid. Please don't tell me I have to repurchase those songs? (Okay, so maybe I won't get Dan Hartman's "Instant Replay" this time around.)

Just consider the above a public service in the event you are about to switch accounts. And if anyone knows a way out of this mess, let me know.

The PS3 Juggernaut

Sony is now cancelling or delaying PS3 launch titles. Nothing new there--it happens every time a new console launches.

But how bad is it for Sony? In Japan, the PS3 is hitting stores with five game titles. And talk about killer aps! Genji, Resistance, Ridge Racer 7, Gundam and Sega Golf Club.

Makes you want to run out and drop $600, no?

Cowboy Nation

If they still had managers in the WWE, this guy would be the Bobby Heenan.

Ovechkin = Jordan?

For all my newly-minted hockey homeys, Galley Friend B.W. sends along this great story about Alex Ovechkin making up insults in order to get himself fired up.

To all of you Jordan obsessives out there, this is candy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

PS3 First Game Review

IGN has the word on PS3's Genji: Days of the Blade. They give it a 6 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Night

Sure, everyone else is watching politics, but TNT just started rolling the Law & Order episode where Briscoe and Green find the remains of a student radical who was murdered in the '60s by an undercover cop and McCoy is all, "You don't understand--it was a different time!"

And Abby is all, "Yeah, a different time where filthy fucking hippies ruled the earth, Jack. The bastard got what he deserved."

So hot.

Faith Hill = Kanye West

Blog Crush has the video from the CMA's. Just skip to the 35 second mark and watch Faith Hill flip out when Carrie Underwood's name is announced. Someone, somewhere, must have the rest of that footage . . .

Gilbert Arenas: The Assassin

Every once in a while, magazine editors do something so right that you have to stop and doff your hat to them. Washingtonian editors did just that by getting Fred Barnes to do this super-fantastic profile of Gilbert Arenas.

If I was King at a big newspaper, I'd do this sort of cross-specialty assigning all the time, getting my best political writers to occassionally do big sports pieces, my sports writers to do some movie reviews, my movie critics to do some literary criticism, etc. Think of how much fun it is to read Anthony Lane doing Wodehouse or Tony Kornheiser doing real estate or Barnes, here, doing sports.

Monday, November 06, 2006

How Big Was Borat?

Brandon Gray puts it in perspective:
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan packed an estimated $26.4 million from around 1,100 screens at 837 theaters, boasting the highest-grossing wide opening ever for a picture playing at less than 1,100 theaters (The Blair Witch Project did $29.2 million at 1,101 sites). The closest recent comparison in terms of release pattern and style was Fahrenheit 9/11, which started with $23.9 million at 868 venues.

Blair Witch and Fahrenheit 9/11 are pretty amazing company to be in.

In other box office news, The Departed registered a 19 percent decline over last weekend, putting it over the $100M mark.

Friday, November 03, 2006


The F-117, the world's first stealth fighter, is being retired. That site is a great resource and if you want a short history of this fruit of the Skunk Works, follow the "F-117 History" link on the left-hand column. It's like a cross between The Right Stuff and The X-Files. For instance, there's this story about one of the first test flights:
Flight test of the Have Blue initially went fairly smoothly, and the fly-by-wire system functioned well. The landing speed was quite high (160 knots), as expected because of the lack of flaps or speed brakes. However, on May 4, 1978, Have Blue prototype number 1001 was landing after a routine test flight when it hit the ground excessively hard, jamming the right main landing gear in a semi-retracted position. Pilot Bill Park pulled the aircraft back into the air, and repeatedly tried to shake the gear back down again. After his third attempt failed, he was ordered to take the aircraft up to 10,000 feet and eject. Park ejected successfully, but he hit his head and was knocked unconscious. Since he was unable to control his parachute during descent or landing, his back was severely injured on impact. He survived, but was forced to retire from flying. The Have Blue aircraft was destroyed in the crash.

It's amazing stuff.

In Praise of Baywatch

This story comes courtesy of Galley Sister MAL, who writes:
My favorite part is where Hasselhoff says "I think the secret of its success was that is was always about saving lives, not taking lives." Hmmm, yes, that was the secret of their success.

Gaming Humor

This is basically like Chris Rock doing a riff on the difference between Japanime RPG games and first-person shooter titles. I know, that sounds weird and esoteric, but it's unbelievably funny if you've ever spent even 10 minutes on a Playstation.

(Language is not safe for work, so put on your headphones.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Drew Bledsoe's Blog. Not since Harriet Miers has Blogger proved so valuable.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Does this guy have the greatest Halloween costume ever?


Courtesy of Galley Friend B.W.

"Brick"--not the movie

But the new Microsoft system update for the Xbox 360.

The fact that Microsoft may have uploaded a buggy system update points out how very different this next generation of game consoles is: The product you buy will change. There will be updates to the software and the hardware over the life of the system. Whereas the Nintendo you bought in 1986 was the same one you would buy in 1988, the system you buy this Christmas will be different from the system you buy in Christmas of 2008. At least the software running the system will change and I suspect that the console makers will be adding bits to the hardware packages--more hard disk space, extra flash or HDMI ports, etc.

This means that (1) new game systems are taking on more and more aspects of PCs; (2) that there may be some incentive to not buy the first iteration of a new systems; and (3) that the life span of the next-gen consoles could be much longer than the life spans of the last couple generations.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Pajiba has a list of their Favorite Craptastic Horror Films. It's pretty great.

The Lagging Edge

Have you heard of PCRetro? They sell old and obsolete computers--for less! How do they do it? Volume.

This isn't a joke, mind you. Have you been wishing you could find the old G4 Mac Mini? They've got 'em, for only $499.

How about an old Compaq Deskpro Pentium 3? It's yours for only $39.95! Hurry, while supplies last.

Monday, October 30, 2006

All Hail the Internet

This will make no sense unless you grew up in the Philadelphia area between 1980 and 1983. But if you did, it turns out that there's a StarStuff fan site.

And also a MySpace page.

And also a Youtube gallery.

The Interweb may be lousy for all sorts of reasons, but it make indulging in childhood nostalgia deliciously easy.

PS 3 Wins?

GameDaily constructs what is probably the strongest case to be made for Sony's PS3 prospects. I still don't find it all that convincing.

Bonus: Here's the new PS3 ad. Watch it and tell me if it makes any sense to you. Maybe the problem is that I'm not Japanese.

Extra-Bonus: By comparison, check out this fantastic early Dreamcast ad for Sega's NFL 2K:

Trailer City

What are the two biggest surprises about Smokin' Aces?

(1) That this thing is not directed by Tarantino, and

(2) How much Ben Affleck looks like Freddie Mercury. Why did we never see that before?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Superman Soars!

Alert Gally Readers will recall that WB prexy Alan Horn said last summer that unless Superman Returns topped $200M domestically, there would be no sequel. We now have proof that where there's a will, there's a way:

Last weekend, on its 117th day of release, Superman Returns cracked the $200M mark.

Today, after 121 days in theaters, Superman Returns is sporting a titanic $200,028,903 in domestic box office.

Just how much corporate will did it take to accomplish this feat? For the last few weeks, Superman Returns has been playing in about 300 theaters and averaging--get this:

Between $16 and $277 per theater!

You don't see corporate commitment like that every day.

A Film by Emilio Estevez

The set up to the joke is pretty great: Harry Belafonte, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, David Krumholtz, Ashton Kutcher, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, and Elijah Wood walk into a bar . . .

But the punchline seems so lame that it's kind of depressing.

The Departed: Best Picture?

I've been meaning to say something about The Departed for a while now, but I kept putting it off until I could see. I still haven't seen it, but that isn't going to stop me from pointing out its impressive box office run.

The Departed opened to relatively little fanfare--it got good reviews, but the ad push preceeded the release by only about two weeks. Certainly, it's the lowest-profile Scorsese picture in a very, very long time; probably since The Color of Money (if you discount the artsy Kundun). Consequently, it opened to a relatively modest $26M. (Although that's a career-best for Scorsese.)

But if you look at the numbers since then, Departed is showing fantastic legs, with weekend declines of 29.2 percent and 29.3 percent. It's already got $80M in the bank domestically and I suspect it will chug along to at least the $100M mark--and that's before it gets a nomination for Best Picture.

Again--I haven't seen the movie yet--but just from the externalities, The Departed has all the makings of a BP nominee: an artistically ambitious, but popular, movie that succeeds over long period of time and is directed by a revered figure who's been overlooked by the Academy. A movie with that pedigree is a lock for a nomination, even if it stinks.

Keep watching the daily grosses for The Departed. It's been the #1 movie nearly every weekday since its release. That's a sign that, even three weeks out, it's prepared to keep running.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Game Theory

Ever wonder what the top-rated game system launch titles are? Sure you did.

Note the supremacy of Dreamcast. Damn you, Sony.
This video (thanks to Galley friend P.L.) has apparently been making the rounds. Laugh all you want, but I always knew those ballerinas were filthy.

To all my homeys in lockdown at the Firm:

This Kirkland & Ellis recruitment video is priceless. Sample: "I fill my day as much as possible, I go home, I have dinner with my family. And then I go work again, as necessary." Remember, this isn't a warning, it's the sales pitch.

Bonus: Check out the podcast pitches at Anonymous Law Firm.

Trailer City, 2

Turns out Casino Royale isn't a remake of Casino Royale, it's a remake of From Russia, with Love.

Trailer City

So sure, I'll see anything with Emma Thompson. But a movie with Emma Thompson, Buster Bluth, and Edna Mode?

Game on.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Poetry of the Macho Man

"I've been in the Danger Zone east of the Pacific Ocean, west of London, England, south of Mars, and north of Hell."

That's a shout-out to all my homeys. You know who you are.

Feel free to nominate your favorite Randy Savage moments.


From Galley Brother B.J.:
mmentators kept talking about whether Parcells could put Bledsoe back in. I was dieing to see Parcells go over to Bledsoe to tell him to go back in, only to have Bledsoe laugh at Parcells (or hit him with the Stone Cold Stunner) flip off the crowd and walk off the field.

Romo had a chance to become my favorite non-Eagle player in the league. He hit a wide open (as in no one within 10 yards wide open) Owens in the hands on 4th down halfway through the 4th quarter, and Owens dropped it. If Romo would have bitched Owens out on the sideline, he’d have become a superstar in my book.

The Giants pretty much won the NFC East last night.

Kornheiser needs to get dropped from MNF. Not because he’s a bad color analyst (which he is), but because every piece of his I’ve read or appearance of him on PTI I’ve seen since he started MNF has consisted of him bitching about doing MNF. Either he’s groaning about holding back on being snarky and making empty promises to change next week or he’s complaining about how he doesn’t have time to follow anything else because he spends all of his time on a bus looking at football stats.

Wii Nugget of the Day

From IGN:
Microsoft debuted Xbox 360 with a miniscule amount of systems. Sony is set to do the same with PlayStation 3. But Wii will kickoff in America on November 19 backed by a whopping one million units and a steady flow of more shipments. By the end of the year, approximately four million Wiis will be available around the globe and the chances are extremely strong that they'll all go sold. Nintendo has delivered a lowball estimate of six million Wiis available by March 2007, but insider reports suggest that as many as 12 million pieces of hardware could be available by that time period.

Monday, October 23, 2006

PS3 Shortages, continued

Sony to ship 2 million PS3 units by close of 2006.

Or maybe not. Says Sony's Jack Tretton, "The honest answer is it's more of a target."

But the 6 million units by March 2007 is still written in stone! (For now.)

Fly, Eagles, Fly (Part II)

Gally Brother B.J. does not agree with my sunny assessment of the Birds:
We have very different views on the Eagles.

They're driving me insane this week because aside from the game against Dallas, they haven't played any full games. They'll play for a half or a quarter and dominate the other team (2nd half vs. Green Bay; 1st half vs. NYG; 1st half vs. SF; 3rd quarter vs. NO; 4th quarter vs. Tampa Bay; 2nd and 4th quarters against Houston), but the rest of the game they're awful and they practically try to give away the game (the 4th quarter collapse vs. NYG; the near collapse vs. SF; losing in the 1st half to Green Bay). You watch one of their games and you end up spending part of it thinking they're Super Bowl contenders and the rest of the game expecting them to go 4-12. That fucks with your head.

The Eagles final drive at the end of the second quarter was brutal to watch because with 1st and goal at the 5 with 10 seconds left, you knew the Eagles weren't going to score. (Andy Reid why are you calling anything other than a fade to the back corner? And Donovan, what the fuck are you thinking throwing to someone on the 2 with 3 defenders right by him--and not seeing the guy who looked pretty fucking open 7 yards behind that receiver in the end zone?)

Speaking of McNabb, I hate to do this, 'cause he and Westbrook are almost the entire offense (and the offense is the entire team), but the loss goes almost entirely on his shoulders. In addition to the above mentioned meltdown at the end of the 2nd quarter, Radio Active Man threw two pick 6's. The rest of the blame goes on Fallout Boy for not taking a knee on the 1, or waiting at the goal line and not crossing until a Tampa defender got within 5 yards on the Eagles' last offensive play. Because if you're a real Eagles fan, you knew the defense would give up a last-second field goal

I can't blame the defense for the loss. Despite getting zero pressure on Gradkoski (on Tampa's final play before the field goal, he had enough time to trip over himself, get up, and still make a read or two), unless you count the sack where they were called for a 15-yard facemask, they only gave up 9 points. They only gave up about 20 yards on Tampa's final "drive" and they forced a shaky kicker to make a 62 yard field goal with the game on the line.

(Fun fact: Tampa's kicker was 0 for 3 on field goal attempts of 40 or more yards going into the game, but 2 for 2, including the 62 yarder, yesterday. In the span of 6 days, Arizona loses a game because its kicker, who set a bunch of records last year, misses a 40 yarder and the Eagles lose because a kicker makes a 62 yarder.)


Not Bigelow. Galley Favorite Angela Lansbury is returning to the White Way in, of all things, a play about tennis. Sign me up.

Fly, Eagles, Fly

The good news is that the Eagles just killed the Bucs by the numbers. I mean, outgaining them 506 yards to 196 yards? 22 first downs to 14 first downs? 7.7 yards per rush to 3.7 yards per rush? 8.3 yards per pass to 3.0 yards per pass? That's Eagles football, baby.

What's that, you say? The final score? Sure, the Eagles may have lost the game and some people may get bogged down with that sort of linear thinking, but there's a deeper way to look at yesterday's debacle:

The Eagles are, as I've been saying to anyone who would listen, a bad team. This is a 6- or 7-win squad. If they finished 8-8, it would be a real achievement. The first six games were fool's gold. Here's the combined record of the teams the Eagles have beaten: 9-14.

Go ahead and look at the schedule. Find the wins remaining on the board. Tennessee? Remember, they'll be playing the Vince Young Titans, not the team that started the season winless. Washington? Mabye the home game. Jacksonville? Maybe. Those are the three best chances for victories. Everything else looks like a stretch.

So why was yesterday not terrible? Because if you look at the Eagles as a 6-10 team, not a 4-2 team, then you can find the positives. You can be happy about the comeback and about how great McNabb looked in the second half. When bad teams lose flukey games, there are positives to be found. You shouldn't have expected them to win in the first place.

P.S.: I'm not hating on the Birds. Actually, I think that this team is eminently lovable. They're fun to watch and they have great characters. And, like a cancer patient in remission after chemo, you can't help but rooting for them. And hope that by next year, they'll be back to 100%.
Joey Lauren Adams: auteur.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Pajiba Love

An excellent round up of all sorts of news, including this awesome bit:
In The Break-Up news, Jennifer Aniston is attempting to send a message to Hollywood that she’s more than just a pair of breasts attached to a spinal cord: She’s also an important actress, damnit. And what better way to demonstrate this than to produce and star in a film based on a study found in a Deepak Chopra book?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Madden Wii

Galley Friend P.G. sends us this video link to EA developers talking about Madden '07 for Wii. You might salivate.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

No Disrespect

But I have about zero interest in seeing Borat. But I do have the love for S.B.C.. Check it.
Actor Wesley Snipes has been indicted on no less than eight counts of tax fraud and may face 16 years in prison. Federal prosecutors claim Snipes failed to file his returns for six years and owes the government close to $12 million. Not even Willie Mays Hayes can outrun these charges. No roundhouse kick will knock down these allegations. White Men Can't Jump but they sure can find a way to send you to jail. U.S. Marshals will soon be knocking on his door. Let's just say The Money Train will be making one last stop--to Riker's Island! To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar!

Okay, enough already. This is serious stuff. But let me add that if the feds end up putting Snipes away, there will most definitely be an increase in the population of vampires.

That Terrible Chevy Ad

Seth Stevenson is all over it:
Maybe the red-state viewer, to whom the ad is likely directed (I assume that's the main target market for pickups), interprets the overall statement as an optimistic, can-do, morning-in-America kind of thing: We've come through the bad times and we're ready to kick some ass again. But to me, this spot feels more like the advertising equivalent of Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech. It arrives at an awkward, unsettled moment in the American psyche (underscored by the 9/11 and Katrina imagery in the montage), and it almost seems the ad hopes to capture the essence and feeling of that moment. Dredging up all these depressing incidents in our recent past, and then saying, "This is our country," sure seems like an effort to address our "crisis of confidence."

I guess I'd ask Chevy: How'd that strategy work out for Carter?

Grade: D. Automotive blog Jalopnik reports that an early version of the ad included footage of a nuclear mushroom cloud. Well, that would have brightened things up. I wonder if they could squeeze in the Rodney King beating and the Abu Ghraib photos, too.

Trailer City

Here's the German trailer for DOA: Dear or Alive. Is this the greatest film since Mortal Kombat? Probably.

You should click on that link. It's amazing. Like D.E.B.S. meets Van Damme's Street Fighter. You've never seen anything like it.

Bonus: Here's the U.S. trailer. The plot seems to make less sense in English.

Also, there's Chris Guest's new For Your Consideration, whose play-within-a-play is called Home for Purim. Try to stop laughing. The trailer also has the great Fred Willard telling a gag about blind prostitutes. "You know what they say about blind prostitutes, don't you? You've really gotta hand it to them?"

Wha' happen!

Hi-Def Clarity

Galley Friend and Early Adopter S.B. is worked up over this less-than-lucid piece in USA Today:

According to USA Today's Michelle Kessler, "Problems with high-definition DVD players are dragging down the entire high-end television market." Intrigued, but skeptical, I took a look at the piece. I was so confused at the end of it that my head kind of hurts now . . .

The analysis starts by showing that high def DVD players are selling more weakly than expected; instead of 4.5 million units being sold, only 1.5 million have sold. None of this is particularly surprising since, a.) consumers are wary about investing many hundreds of dollars in a player when either HD-DVD or Blu Ray will obsolete in two or three years, and b.) the Blu-Ray's primary inroad, the PS3, has yet to hit the shelves (and when it does, it will do so with far less units than originally anticipated). OK, fine, I'm with her so far.

But then comes this headscratcher: "The problems have been brewing for years. They're starting to have a financial impact now since players are finally in stores. And they're affecting:

* Programming. Since high-definition TVs and players aren't yet mainstream, content for them remains limited. On TV, HD is generally limited to sports, news, prime-time shows and premium channels such as HBO. Only about 100 HD DVD and 50 Blu-Ray DVD titles are out."

To which I responded with a resounding 'Huh? What does one have to do with the other?' What does the number of HD/Blu Ray DVDs have to do with the programming options? Furthermore, people have been buying HDTV sets for the last couple of years before next gen DVD players had even been released, let alone become widely available/affordable. How could it possibly make sense that a wider variety of HD movie-watching options would hamper the growth of the market? People may be confused about which next gen DVD player to buy, but I don't know why the new options would deter the purchase of a television itself, since whichever format wins will work with any HDTV.

Kessler finally gets to the point at the end when she says that 60% of HDTVs are bought by sports fans, and that only 1 in 5 HDTVs is sold with a corresponding DVD player--"Presumably a must-have for a movie fan." But I say: poppycock. I'm about as big a movie fan as there is, and if you have a decent progressive scan DVD player to go along with your HDTV (especially if it's a model featuring 1080p) you're just fine for now without an HD DVD/Blu Ray player. We're not talking about audio cassettes vs. CDs, here. The difference in picture isn't big enough to justify the outrageous current cost. In a few years, Blu Ray or HD DVD will probably become the standard, especially since they're both backward compatible, but at this point the cost vs. the benefit is pretty small.

Furthermore, the piece's overarching point that HDTV sales are off is clearly contradicted by the chart included with the piece. I see a pretty steady 45 degree climb between 2003 and the end of 2006 (1.2 million HD homes to a projected 9.4 million HD homes). Once again, I don't doubt that next gen DVD sales are off; you'd be a sucker to buy one before the dust settles (never forget Betamax!). That being said, nothing at all suggests that the lack of a legit high def DVD format is slowing growth in the market, because the growth of the market isn't slowing! Yeesh. Kind of shoddy story.