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.