Friday, March 30, 2007

How Many Regent Grads Does It Take to Run a Country?

Guess how many graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University are working in the Bush administration?

Go ahead, I dare you.

I Make It Rain

Strap on your Compton hat for this crazy amazing Jeffrey Goldberg piece on Wal-Mart.

How great is Goldberg? You can drop him into Kurdistan to report on terrorists or Arkansas to report on the world's largest retailer and he gets the goods either way:

It became clear to me in Bentonville that Wal-Mart’s senior executives had been tightly scripted. When I talked with John Menzer, a company vice-chairman, a spokeswoman named Sarah Clark, my official escort there, told me that the conversation would be limited to the company’s new Jobs and Opportunity Zones concept, which is designed to help smooth the arrival of new stores in urban areas. (A company source told me that the Zones idea was intended by Edelman as a public-relations maneuver to soften Wal-Mart’s image among minority communities; the entire budget for the program is five hundred thousand dollars over two years.) Menzer, a slender man with a thin smile, explained the company’s attraction to underemployed inner-city residents, saying, “One of the biggest opportunities a person has at Wal-Mart is to be part of this growth company. There are always opportunities for promotion, learning, and education, and people know they can build a career here.”

When I asked about the “open availability” policy, Clark interrupted, while Menzer stared at me. “I can certainly take that one,” Clark said. “I’ll make a note of that. We’ll talk about that later. We don’t have ‘open availability.’ ” Menzer continued as if the question had not been asked. “Now we’re expanding outside our four walls to invest in the community, so let me add that in as another step we’re taking,” he said. (Sometime later, Clark suggested that I interview an employee about flexible scheduling, and she provided the name and number of one who would talk to me: Latoya Machato, a cashier at a Texas Supercenter. I called the store and asked for Machato, but was told that “cashiers can’t come to the phone during work.” I called later and was told that Machato could speak to me on her break, but would not be allowed to call long-distance from a company phone. I asked Clark if Machato could talk to me after her shift, but Clark said that that would be impossible, because the store would have to put her “on the clock,” and thus file the paperwork to get her paid an extra hour’s wage.)

Go read it all. It only gets better.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

That QT Movie

I'm not really feeling Grindhouse, but if the movie is half as entertaining as this review, then it'll be worth at least a matinee ticket. Seriously, this is like Matt Labash, in New Orleans, on crank:

PLANET OF TERROR is directed by Robert Rodriquez, which is all I need to say. In fact, instead of his name on poster saying, “Directed By”, he can legally change his name to a picture of a naked Viking woman on a snowmobile with flamethrowers out the back and the flamethrowers are killing a Yeti. That’s the level of guaranteed quality his name brings to stuff.

Then there’s three other trailers – one by Rob Zombie that involves Nazis and werewolves (more factual research), one by Edgar Wright that made me laugh harder than seeing an old man give the finger to a fat kid, and then one by Eli Roth that Eli Roth should make.

Actually, the fake trailers are kind of a bummer, because I really wish they weren’t fake. Maybe the government will put some “don’t be a pussy” drug in the water supply, and everyone will go see this instead of PILLOW FIGHT AND SCENTED CANDLES AND BOREDOM, or whatever Sandra Bullock movie’s coming out, and they’ll make more of these.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Top 20 Matches in Wrestlemania History

It is so on.

Somehow, they clock Hogan-Andre the Giant in at #18. Ridiculous. But they do have this tidbit:

Hulk Hogan on what would've happened if Andre refused to lose the match to him at Wrestlemania III: "I'll tell you, Hulk Hogan would've turned into a bad guy a lot quicker. My good guy run would've been over that night if I didn't beat him. I would've got up, shook Andre's hand, then hit him over the head with a steel chair and beat the hell out of him. It would've changed everything."

Somehow, Triple H only makes the list once. Discuss.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Short Cuts

Two other items of note:

First, Galley Friend M.R. sends us the web comic "Breakfast of the Gods". You'll laugh, you'll cry. It's amazing stuff.

And then, Galley Friend B.W. gives us this clip of the best basketball finish of the weekend--the Div. II championship game. Now that's a collapse.

Go Joe!

Okay, these two amphibious assault vehicles are just ridiculous. Here's the run-down on the big one:

Lockheed Martin has conceived a new class of high-speed amphibious combat craft with a top speed of up to 50 knots on water and up to 80 miles per hour on land. Significantly, the vehicles can make the transition from land to water and vice versa in five seconds and will be capable of traveling 50 miles on sea and then 100 more on land without having to refuel.

The little one, a two-seater called the Terraquad, looks like this:

The question is, which one would COBRA get? Since they got gyped on the Whale/Water Mocasin deal, it seems only fair that they get the ACC/R.

Hoyas, Heels, Wins, and Losses

For some, it isn't enough to simply go to HoyaSaxa.xom for full coverage of last night's stunner against UNC. They've got to do the analyzing themselves. And so now, with guest commentary from Galley Friend Joseph Bottum, a review of last night's win:

Georgetown didn’t win; North Carolina lost--or so friends from down South have been calling to insist. The Hoyas played well down the stretch and through the overtime, they admit, but just look at the Tar Heels’ collapse: a stretch of 1 field goal in 14:37 minutes and 23 misses on their final 25 shots.

That sure does look like a collapse. But is it true that North Carolina’s failure decided the game more than Georgetown’s success did?

Some obvious things should be said here: Teams don’t collapse without a lot of help from their opponents. When good shooters start clanking their shots at the end of a game, it often comes from tiredness that playing against a well-coached team induces. A strong defense inside forces a team into low-percentage shots outside, and after a stretch of that outside game, even average shooting starts to look very cold.

That said, North Carolina didn’t manage even average shooting down the stretch and through the OT. They took 4 three-pt shots in the final six minutes of regulation--by my count, 3 of them good, reasonably open looks--and missed all 4. Along the way, they hit 1 of 3 strongly contested two-pt shots and had Hansbrough fouled twice for 4 free throws.

That’s 6 points from inside play for nine possessions over six minutes--which isn’t really too bad. The question is why they took and missed 4 three-pt shots during that same six-minute stretch. Part of the answer has to be Georgetown’s defense: The Tar Heels tried to get the ball inside on 3 of those 4 possessions and just couldn’t manage it. The other part of the answer is panic--induced by the fact that the Hoyas’ offense over the last six minutes was something close to perfection.

Look at it this way: At 6:03, Georgetown is still down 10. They score on eight of the next nine possessions, for 16 points in six minutes:

6:02 Green hits 1 of 2 free throws
5:37 Sapp layup
5:09 Green hook
4:19 Hibbert dunk
3:15 Wallace hits 2 of 2 free throws
2:43 Ewing lob from Green
2:13 Sapp layup
1:25 Green misses layup
0:35 Wallace three-pt. shot
(10th possession, with 2 seconds left: no shot)

Well, who wouldn’t panic? North Carolina was ahead through all of this until Wallace tied it at 0:35, but the feeling of the game had shifted entirely to Georgetown, and the Tar Heels were obviously burdened by it. North Carolina got no offensive rebounds during this stretch, and that was all: 10-point lead disappears, and the game heads into overtime with momentum all on Georgetown’s side.

Interestingly, in overtime, the reverse is true: Georgetown’s defense was better than its offense. The Hoyas did allow three offensive rebounds and turned the ball over once immediately after a defensive rebound. But they closed down the inside completely until Hansbrough was fouled at 0:31 after an offensive rebound, and they strongly contested the first 4 three-point shots North Carolina took.

Meanwhile, the Hoyas’ offense was very good during the OT, but not the perfection you might expect from the lopsided scoring. Georgetown had 10 possessions in OT, but 6 of them came in the final 1:38, with Summers’ dunk the only basket and the other 5 producing foul shots after deliberate fouls by North Carolina (all by Summers and Sapp, with Summers 4 for 4 and Sapp 3 for 5).

So Georgetown’s offense in OT essentially came down to the first 4 possessions, after which a scoreless North Carolina was in a deep hole. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Green miss, ball out of bounds on NC, Wallace scores on backdoor cut at 4:22. (G’town 1 for 2 shots.)
2. Loose ball, scramble, Summers stuffs at 3:57. (G’town 2 for 3.)
3. Green banks it in at 2:53. (G’town 3 for 4.)
4. Lost pass, Green blocked, Sapp misses 3-pt shot at 1:54. (G’town 3 for 6.)

That’s excellent basketball--6 points in 3 minutes, 50% shooting--but not the high-speed perfection I felt it to be while watching it live.

Turns out that what was high-speed perfection in OT was the defense. Hibbert, in particular. North Carolina got some second chances--preventing offensive rebounds has to become a higher priority for the Hoyas--but Georgetown shut down the interior and contested the low-percentage outside shots that the Tar Heels didn’t make.

So, did Georgetown win or North Carolina lose? The Hoyas’ amazing 8-for-9 run at the end of the regular game makes it look as though Georgetown won, while the Tar Heels’ 4 missed three-pointers (three of them good looks) over that same stretch make it look as though North Carolina lost.

But the Tar Heels had reasons to miss those shots: tiredness, panic, and a Hoya zone defense that confused them at the end. That’s enough to make it definitive: Georgetown won.

JVL adds: I agree completely with poet, intellectual, Civilization Grand Master, and Hoya Super-Fan Joseph Bottum.

Four things typically happen when a team "collapses" in basketball: (1) They turn the ball over at an alarming rate; (2) They go stone-cold from the field; (3) They miss free throws; and (4) The opposing team starts raining 3-pointers. Only one of those things happened during regulation in the UNC game. UNC certainly could have played better down the stretch, and in overtime they looked ashen even before the tip. But they didn't choke in the conventional sense of the phrase.

What happened is that Georgetown played efficient, controlled, and very, very smart basketball. They pounded the ball inside, they passed up 3-point shots (except for their final score in regulation), they played excellent defense, and they managed their substitutions brilliantly, getting the most out of Hibbert and Ewing Jr. It was a cool-headed, cerebral performance and the guy who deserves the most credit is John Thompson III. The impact of coaching is often over-stated, but to my mind, that win is almost entirely on him.

(If you've followed Georgetown basketball for the last 20 years or so, imagine just for a moment how a team coached by Thompson the Elder would have behaved under similar conditions.)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

About that travel...

To my colleague Mr. Last:

Of course he traveled. No question about it. But did the refs notice and let it slide? I certainly didn't notice (probably because I passed out). These things happen. Like the game I caught a few years ago that Georgetown lost against Villanova in which the Wildcats had six players on the floor and won. Nobody saw that, not the refs, and definitely not our incompetent and now-former coach.

But as regards the Post, you must have missed John Feinstein's column in the same issue (probably because it was tucked away on page E13). Now you know Feinstein is not exactly a Hoya superfan. You know his gripe about Georgetown refusing to play in the BB&T classic (a legitimate gripe at that). But here is his take:

There will be a lot of debate about whether Green switched pivot feet as he spun into the lane on his game-winning shot. The answer to that question is: It doesn't matter. The officials aren't making that call at that juncture of the game unless the movement of his feet gets him into better shooting position. Green was double-teamed with a third player running at him and still made an off-balance shot. If college basketball officials called every switched pivot foot, every carry, every extra step, no one would ever score. Green made a big-time play to win a big-time game. Leave it at that.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hoya Motherfrackin' Saxa

I want to get this in before Matus starts his campaign of disinformation:

For the record: I had Georgetown last night. I have them all the way into the championship game. So I had a vested interest in them beating Vanderbilt. Further, I like Georgetown. I grew up loving the team and school. They produced The Answer. As Marv Wolfman used to say, 'nuff said.

But last night's win was a travesty. With 2.5 seconds on the clock and Georgetown down a penny, Jeff Green walked. This isn't a judgment call. It's not calling a foul, where the ref uses discretion. Green planted his pivot foot, he did a number of jab steps with this other foot. Then he planted the free foot, and started jabbing with the foot that was the initial pivot. Referees not calling that walk is like giving a football team a fifth down. It's an affront to the very foundation of the game.

But what's really, really disgusting is the coverage in today's Washington Post. The paper ran three stories on the G'Town/Vandy game and only one of them hinted at the call which handed the game to Georgetown. Here, then, is the Post's full account:

There were cries that Green had not reestablished his pivot foot, and therefore traveled. But basketball minds much wiser than us surmised you can't make a call like that to end a taut thriller.

What an embarrassment. I'm not saying the Hoyas should resign from the tournament or play UNC wearing hairshirts, but they should be ashamed of themselves for carrying after the game like they'd won the Super Bowl, instead of having it handed to them unfairly. And the Post should be ashamed of whitewashing the worst call of the tournament. A black-and-white, no judgment required rule call, which changed the outcome of a game.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Ninja Warrior

Galley Brother B.J. sends us this ridiculous look into the Japanese phenomenon "Ninja Warrior."

Seriously, this makes the American Gladiators look like a bunch of pansies. Will someone remind me how we beat them in a war?
Although I was quite, um, excited by the new Hanes ad featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt, I've been quite baffled by the new Hanes commercials, prominent during March Madness, featuring Michael Jordan and Kevin Bacon. For one, I didn't know they were friends. Secondly, where are they? In the Hanes members-only Lounge? An in apartment? If so, are we to assume they live together? And what's with Jordan trying to block all of Bacon's shots in the waste paper basket? At least with the Love ad, we knew she was in a photo shoot. Here, with all the stark white walls, we could be in another dimension. Give me a backstory!

Lawyer/Wrestling Humor

I'm a big fan of Above the Law and a few other legal blogs because they manage to be both serious and frequently very, very funny. (I suspect the soul-crushing ethos of the Big Firm life is to legal humor what heroin and poverty is to song writing.)

Anyway, go read this awesome post on AUSA Tad Dibiase. Then, scroll down to the comments and watch "Virgil" run wild on you.


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Galley Brother B.J. sends along these two bits of satisfaction.

Bit the first: is now getting blown out by This is good news not just because my full-time job is part of the Murdoch-Fox-News Corp Empire. I suspect that the next step in the fall of ESPN will be Fox Sports Radio overtaking ESPN Radio. Steve Czaban's First Team on FSR is one of the best sports talkshows you'll ever hear--particularly compared to the ESPN's flagship Mike & Mike in the Morning, which is kind of like the Family Circus of sportstalk.

We can only dream of the day the Fox Sports network can seriously challenge the ESPN Family of Networks, which have become all but unwatchable.

Bit the second is more bad news for the PS3. Follow the link if interested.

End of the Celebrity Sex Tape?

The Kim Kardashinoplousanova tape is (finally) out and the Blog Crush thinks it might be the end of an era:

I don’t know what I was expecting, but this thing may officially kill the novelty of the “celebrity” sex tape. Not only is it boring, but the chick in it is only a celebrity because she has a celebrity sex tape. That’s circular logic, at best. A boat show in Iowa has bigger celebrities than this tape. And since she’s only famous because some dude fucked her after checking his lighting, I’m almost positive that makes her a porn star. So that’s how this needs to be judged, and on those merits, this chick would barely crack the top 100 (just after Jenna Haze but well before Wifey). Today’s porn has hotter chicks, more deviant sex and even more exotic locations. "Buttman & Rocco's Brazilian Butt Fest" has everything this tape does, but with more star power and at one point they interview a girl next to a pretty fountain. Three minutes later they shove unspeakable things inside of her, of course, but the fountain was a classy touch.
Two things of note this morning. First is Matus with a primer on what Fred Thompson's movies hint at for his presidency. Awesome.

Second is the AICN pointer that Gerard Butler is near being cast for Watchmen. They won't say for which part, but the obvious choice would be Doctor Manhattan, no?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

While doing other work, I stumbled across this old Tad Friend profile of Roy Lee. It's miniature, and perfect. It may be the single most insightful look into the film industry since Adventures in the Screen Trade (not counting The Big Picture, which is enlightening on a financial, as opposed to personal, level).

Print it, read it, love it. You can thank me later.

When Comics Attack 2

Blog Crush has another video of Comedy Central darling and erstwhile pitchman Carlos Mencia stealing jokes--this time from Bill Cosby, circa 1983.

The funny thing is, Cosby is so much better that the whole thing is a little weird. It's one thing to steal material from someone because you think you can make it better, but this is just plain weird.

Best TV Opening Credits Sequences

Galley Friend M.C. sends us this fine AV Club rundown of the best opening credits sequences in TV history--complete with video samples of them all (except for the Taxi credits, which are recreated via the magic of GTA).

I was particularly thrilled to see Buck Rogers make the list, part of the Erin Gray double-feature that made me feel so funny as a young lad. But I'm a bit surprised they couldn't throw some love toward BSG, which does a lot with their credits.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Analysts Catch Up with Sony

Following up on yesterday's post on Sony's PS3 sales we have this word from Deutsche Bank analyst:

To put the PS3's situation in context, Patel said, "PS3 consoles are available at retail but sales are lackluster. Its 130K units sold in February was less than Xbox 360 sales last year (160K) and even less than the original Xbox sales of 140K in Feb-2002."

That's right: The PS3 isn't just selling worse than xBox 360--it's selling worse than the original xBox.

In the same vein, the Wershovenist Pig sends us this entry:

Nintendo changed the playing field in the handheld wars by taking risk - by changing the input (stylus) and introducing the two-screen layout - while Sony focused on graphics and processing power. The results thus far are conclusive - and damning - for Sony. The big question is whether or not the proposed changes are meaningful enough to tip the competitive balance, and if they are truly going to result in a handheld player with mass appeal.

As noted above, it appears that as goes the handheld market so goes the console market, with the Wii continuing to trounce the PS3 by a 3:1 margin. Further, another interesting tidbit are the latest web traffic stats for the "Big Three" native sites -, and is up 91% year-over-year, while is down 8% over the similar period (FYI, is up a healthy 47% YoY). Conclusive of Sony's defeat? Of course not. But are the trends disturbing for Sony? Absolutely. At some point Sony has to get the joke: is it super hi-tech and niche or mass market? Because right now it is straddling two worlds and not serving either one - or its shareholders - particularly well.

So Easy a Caveman Could Do It

The great Seth Stevenson has a fabulous piece on the Geico Caveman ads. Stevenson groks that the spots are made great by the tiny, tiny details:

In one dialogue-free spot, we see a caveman riding an airport people-mover. He glides past a Geico billboard with the "So easy a caveman could do it" slogan, and he sighs in disgust. This surface joke is fine. But what I adore here is the sparkling precision of the art direction. The soundtrack is bouncy synth-pop from the little-known indie band Röyksopp. The caveman (en route to or from a vacation) totes a wooden tennis racket in a canvas shoulder bag. The implication of these careful cultural signifiers: The caveman has grasped not just literacy and reason but also the affectations of the modern hipster aesthete. (That knowingly antiquated racket might easily have been stolen from a Wes Anderson set.)

At the campaign's ancillary Web site, (it lets you poke around their apartment), we learn that the cavemen are into (among other things): blogging, Tolstoy, yoga, smoked Hungarian paprikash, and Paddy Chayefsky movies. They have poetry magnets on their fridge … in Esperanto.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sony, PS3, etc.

Because it's fun. From Last Boss:

I'm not sure what Sony's plan in this fight is. They slightly missed their goal of 2 million PS3s shipped by the end of 2006, then got scared and changed their prediction of 6 million PS3 shipments by the end of March to just 4.5 million shipments instead. Since then, Nintendo has continued to fall behind the voracious demand for their Wii console, and have achieved a substantial early lead over the PS3.

There's talk that Nintendo already reached 6 million console shipments, but if demand is really that high, then the number of shipments should equal the number of sales, and according to VGCharts they're still a little short of their six million goal. It also lists Sony at barely beyond the 2 million PS3 sales it reached in January.

How about that chart of videogame console sales? Here it is, and it's pretty rough.

Car Porn

From Galley Friend M.G. comes this video of a Bugatti Veyron reaching its top speed--253 mph.

Bonus style points for the use of "Duel of the Fates."

Friday, March 16, 2007


Just a few days ago Matus and I had our annual bracket lunch. Looking at my initial picks, I said to him, "But this is crazy--I've picked chalk everywhere with almost no upsets. That can't happen." So I went back to the drawing board to find the upsets that were obviously hidden in the field.


So if you need a distraction too, check out this positively insane story about an Aussie guy who built himself a flight simulator. What's that, you say? How interesting could that story be? Check out the teaser photo:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Law & Order

As previously noted here, CNN is reporting that Law & Order may be on its way out. It will be a sad, sad day for America when the axe finally falls.

(Note to CNN editors: Law & Order has spawned four spinoffs, not two. In addition to SVU and Criminal Intent, both of which are still on the air; Law & Order also begat Law & Order: Trial by Jury and Conviction.)

Captain America, R.I.P.

For whatever it's worth, this is the most fun I've ever had as a writer.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Last Porn Queen?

Jenny's intern has the scoop on the new sex tape from Keeley Hazell. I normally keep reasonably close tabs on these sorts of things, but even I have no idea who Kelly/Keeley or that Kim Kardashianopolis chick are.

So I ask the following question: Will the "accidental" celebrity sex tape ever go away, or has bittorrent insured that it will be a permanent feature of the cultural landscape for the rest of our lives?


One of the many reasons Gilmore Girls became all but unwatchable to me was the introduction of Logan Huntzberger, the hard-partying Yale student who was the scion of a media titan. It says more about me (and none of it flattering) than it does about the Sherman-Paladinos that I found this sort of fictional nepotism so infuriating.

Real life, of course, is stranger, or worse, or something, than fiction. To wit:

LAST Monday, Jared Kushner, the boy publisher of The New York Observer, was nestled in a wingback chair in the book-strewn office of the newspaper’s longtime editor, Peter Kaplan. They were talking about Mr. Kushner’s latest acquisition, the Web site “The more stuff he buys,” Mr. Kaplan, said, leaning back, “the happier I am.”

Happiness can take time to grow, both men know. Back in October, when Mr. Kushner invited Mr. Kaplan to a Yankees playoff game three months after buying The Observer, the gray-templed editor, who has been a mentor to waves of young journalists in New York, wasn’t so confident things would work out with his new young boss.

Mr. Kushner, 26, the scion of a troubled New Jersey real estate family, who is also a full-time graduate student, had dabbled in Boston-area condominiums, not publishing, while an undergraduate at Harvard. The sum total of his journalism experience was writing an article about dorm food for a student magazine. In the short time he owned The Observer, Mr. Kushner had found little time even to meet with Mr. Kaplan.

“It was tense,” Mr. Kaplan, 53, recalled of their early relationship. That October night, there was a rain delay of hours. As other fans sought cover in the tunnels of Yankee Stadium, Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Kushner remained in their field-side seats, drinking Bud Lights and talking newspapers. Mr. Kushner told Mr. Kaplan he had been at a game two weeks earlier and sat next to the owner of another New York news media property, and he was astounded at his disdain for his staff.

Surely this sort of thing goes down better with a bit of arsenic.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Premiere Magazine, R.I.P.

I was saddened by the news that Premiere is shutting down print operations. I haven't read the book in a long time, but back in the day, it was one of the best parts of the Celebrity Industrial Complex. Premiere did the fawning star stuff, but less of it than, say, Vanity Fair, which aspires to seriousness every so often.

The old Premiere deserves a lot of credit for publishing some of William Goldman's great essay work (which is fortunately now collected; treat yourself, you'll thank me), "Libby Gelman-Waxner" neé Paul Rudnick, and Jewel Shepard.

For those of you not familiar with Jewel Shepard, she's a former B-movie queen--one of the pretty girls who came to LA with dreams of grandeur. It didn't quite work out for her. She did some stag magazines. And some movies such as Hollywood Hot Tubs. But it turns out that she's also a gifted, funny writer with a surprisingly soft touch. Someone smart at Premiere gave her a chance and she wrote a series of great pieces for them.

Those essays are hard to find now--what with the elitists prigs at Nexis not including Premiere in the Great Database of Western Civilization. But you can find some reproductions of them on the web. A sample:

From "I'm Naked on eBay":

Every time I log on to eBay and do a search on myself, I find a little piece of my past:

“Jan. 1983 Issue of Easyriders magazine with Jewel Shepard on the cover and inside. Jewel Shepard is famous for her appearance in Hollywood Hot Tubs and The Return of the Living Dead movies.” That's a real one. In case you've never seen a copy—and I don't know how you could not have—Easyriders is one of those successful lifestyle publications. In this case, the lifestyle is riding the biggest, noisiest motorcycle you can afford, with a beer and a babe who flashes her tits and tattoos at UPS drivers. Each issue features a photo spread of a nude lady and a Harley, both displaying their trim.

I have only the vaguest recollection of how I wound up being one of those nude ladies . . . Must have happened during those drug years that neither I nor the Republican candidate for president can recall. I do remember thinking the pics would be off the newstand in short order, never to be seen again. That was before eBay. The Easyriders issue offered there went for 50 bucks—probably about what I got for the photo shoot.

I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, it's flattering to know that enough guys out there want me badly enough to jack the price up that high. On the other hand, it's annoying to discover your own body priced out of reach.

Or this essay on movie press junkets:

I didn't set out to write about junkets per se. I set out to write about Mark Burger, a likeable guy who is the film, theater, and video critic for the Winston-Salem Journal, published in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A member, as it were, of the media non-elite, who also happens to be a fairly accomplished junketeer.

He gets lots of free stuff: T-shirts, sweashirts, hats, bags, and even soap—most recently, pink soap, courtesy of the makers of Fight Club. (The first rule of Fight Club is: You don't talk about Fight Club—unless they send you pink soap.)

More importantly, he gets to be up close and personal with many famous people, some of whom he has admired for years. He also gets to see a whole bunch of movies, and—as he tells me several times—“movies are my life.” Wanting to see precisely what that life consisted of, I made arrangements to meet him in New York and tag along for a particularly big junket weekend. It was pretty surprising to learn that movie studios both major and minor, which normally engage each otherin pit bull-like competition, actually cooperate in the scheduling of their junkets, co-ordinating things so that all the journalists they gather from far and wide can cover more than one movie on their trip to fabulous Gotham or Los Angeles or wherever. Kind of restores your faith in the brotherhood of man and all that stuff.

Go read the rest of that one, it's the best look you'll ever see into how studios make those print ads with all of the quote snippets from local papers.

Anyway, pour some for Premiere tonight. And if you edit a magazine and want some great culture pieces, give Jewel Kilcher a call.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Get Your Fresh CulturePulp!

M.E. Russell is back, with Attack of the MUFOlogists!

Whedon Watch

IGN has a good interview with Joss Whedon. Lots of "Buffy Season 8" and more:

GN Comics: Will this season be as dark and moody as Seasons Six or Seven?

Whedon: No, you gotta bring the goofy on… a little bit. The goofy is where an enormous amount of the fun lies. Like the show itself, the series will ping pong. It will go from Greek Tragedy to French Farce between issues and sometimes between panels. Having the characters just talk, just yak at each other, is just so glorious for me. I love their voices and that's always really fun. But Brian is doing the Faith arc and that's not without the darkness. Drew Goddard is coming in and he's not without the silly. It doesn't mean that each won't have some of the other, but yeah not a Season Six kind of comic. That would be pretty much all blacks with word balloons.
Great news, everyone. Hanes model and actress extraordinaire Jennifer Love Hewitt can now be seen online promoting the new All-Over Comfort Bra. As always, Love came to the shoot loaded with energy, overflowing with enthusiasm and cheer. Why, she could barely contain herself!

Watch how Love is uncomfortable modeling in those annoying generic bras, wires sticking out, straps falling off her shoulder, itchy tags chafing her back. Enough! she said, as she returned to her trailer, threw the old bras in the waste basket, and put on the All-Over Comfort Bra.

If only my job was to take out the trash.

Starbuck: Unplugged

Read this if you dare. I'm staying pristine until Season 3.0 hits DVD.

Human Pole Position

From Last Boss. Don't ask questions, just play the video. (And yes, sicko, this is a totally safe for work.)

Monday, March 05, 2007

More Sony News!

Sony has been hyping the release of Warhawk as one of the games to look forward to for the PS3. Oops.

The long-running rumour that Incognito Entertainment’s tilt-controlled PS3 title Warhawk has now become a download only title have finally been confirmed by the game’s developer.

In an interview with IGN, Incognito admits that the single-player element of the title has been cut as it was judged as being far weaker than the multiplayer component. The final release will be a smaller game than the one first aired at E3, with its size having been trimmed to ease its download time over the PlayStation Network.

Sony has yet to announce a release date for Warhawk . . .

UFC Watch

It's huge in Columbus. Best tidbit:

"Something like 80 percent of our guys have graduated from college," White said. "Compare that to boxing where it’s always the same old story — the guy grew up on the mean streets and he would be dead or in prison without boxing."

One UFC fighter with a master’s degree, Rich Franklin, began fighting while employed as a high-school math teacher in Cincinnati.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Leave it to the New York Observer to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to the Oscar wrap-ups. The Transom reports not just from a Thursday pre-Oscar party at Mondrian, but from the men's room,

which was rapidly being permeated by a fetid odor. "Jesus!" said a curly-haired man at the front of the one stall, scrunching his face in disgust. "Oh man--that's awful!" gasped another, burrowing his head inside his trench coat. "Lawd-a-mercy!" cried still another, and then: "Check out those shoes," pointing to the black suede loafers peeking out from under the stall.

After about 10 minutes, the stall's occupant began jiggling the apparently jammed door, with increasing aggravation. The Transom helped wrench it open, only to encounter oil heir Jason Davis, the larger, lesser-known brother of Brandon, dressed all in black, with a white scarf and platinum hair.

Before The Transom could compliment Mr. Davis's performance and inquire as to his influences, the latter man made for the door--no doubt much lighter on his feet than before.

Kudos to The Transom for sniffing this story out!


I'm not sure how this fits with the blog, but here's Fr. Neuhaus on the passing of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.:

Nonetheless, Arthur Schlesinger was a delightful interlocutor. It was simply that he had not had a fresh thought for years. Our last encounter was at Princeton in 2004 at a conference occasioned by the twentieth anniversary of my book The Naked Public Square. I’m not sure he had ever read the book, but he used the occasion of what he understood to be its argument to blast the Bush administration for being the most dangerously religious presidency in American history. He was then age eighty-six and somewhat frail, and the other speakers at the conference were gentle but firm in trying to set him straight. But I had the impression that Schlesinger wasn’t listening. At that point, and for many years before that point, he had made up his mind.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dorm Room All-Stars

Galley Friend L.B. gives us this wiggedy-whack Vandy hoops highlight reel. You won't be sorry.

Holla T. to the Double E.

Will Perdue represent.

More on Antonella Barba

Jenny's still dogging the story. The wet T-shirt at the WWII Memorial pics are actually kind of morally repugnant. I don't mean to sound more prissy than usual, but isn't posing semi-nude in the fountain of a memorial to the 405,000 men and women who died protecting your country kind of out of bounds? I'm just saying.

Although I'm also just saying that if Antonella could handle a snap, maybe Jenny wouldn't be into this story . . .

Everything Old Is New Again

Chris Anderson has a provocative post on the future of webdom:

I propose that things that are paid will become free and vice versa. So music and books and other media are turning from paid products to free marketing, while free-to-air video and radio become a subscription or on-demand product for a fee. If I explain any more the premise will fall apart, so I'll stop here. It is now A Law. Obey.

He's just thinking out loud, so there's no sense in trying to pick this apart, but as a conversation starter, I think it's pretty interesting. Also, it seems to me that it may be at least half right: The half about things that are now free becoming paid.

I've spent the last couple years preaching that newspapers and magazines should be charging for at least a portion of their online content. If I were running the web operations of a big-city daily, I'd follow the Wall Street Journal's model: Give away the stuff that other people do for free ( and charge like a mofo for the stuff that only you provide (everything else in the paper, which is locked down at It's not obvious to me why this wouldn't work for the Baltimore Sun or the Kansas City Star. Take the op-ed pages, supplement them with some opinion writing by your editorial staff that only appears online, trim down the national and world covereage in the paper, and throw lots and lots of resources into reporting the heck out of local news, business, technology, politics, and sports. And don't give any of that away for free.

Few newspapers would be able to get away with charging what the charges, but why couldn't they charge something smaller, say $19.99 a year. And if more newspapers and magazines move to this formula, they'll increase each others' pricing power, because as the freebie alternatives dry up, consumers should be more inclined to pay. (Consequently, I also suspect that having a paying audience of readers would increase the value of online advertising at a site.)

(I remember back about six or seven years ago, the holy grail of online news was the idea of micropayments--that everyone would have some PayPal-ish version of an EZ Pass and all articles would carry some tiny price tag, say $0.05. And then readers would pay as they go. I suppose that's still theoretically possible, but I suspect that the evolution of payment for news is much more likely to follow the traditional subscription model than an iTunes model.)

Not to over-analyze the psychology of media executives, but it seems to me that they've become so brainwashed by the constant claims that journalism is worthless, the Old Media is dead, MSM = Big Evil, dinosaurs, sail power, blah, blah, blah, that they've lost the confidence to even consider charging for the work they do when it appears online. This has allowed a huge market of bloggers and news aggregators to spring up and make space for themselves, in many cases off the back of the reporting work done by traditional newspapers and magazines. (Churchill would be unsurprised to see that failure of nerve cripples industrial empires as surely as it does military and cultural ones.)

If newspapers and magazines are to survive and thrive, eventually they'll have to take the plunge and find the courage to charge for the work they perform.

The other half of Anderson's argument, that paid programming today (books, music, video?) will become free is also interesting, although it seems less obvious to me. The bellwether here may be Google's attempt to digitize and distribute books, thus making a profits on other people's copyrighted material. Will individual authors and artists be cowed into not enforcing their copyrights? I would guess not.

But there are certainly signs suggesting that they might.