Category Archives: The Vast Wasteland

Five Facebook groups I’d like to join

  1. Admit it – you have a man crush on Barack Obama
  2. 1,000,000 Facebook members who think Hitler was a not a very nice chap
  3. I rode the D train between 7:00 and 7:30 AM on April 26, 1979
  4. I store chocolate in my navel for emergency snack purposes
  5. Bernard Madoff for Mayor of Wasila, AK

Super Bowl XLIII: Best and Worst Commercials

Best: Alec Baldwin for hulu.


The football game was pretty good too, though I was disappointed it didn’t go into overtime.

Obama’s Deal with Detroit

President-elect Obama has already weighed in more than once on his desire for a BCS playoff.  In that spirit, as part of approving any bailout for the U.S. auto industry, he should exact the follow concession:  The Detroit Lions need to give up hosting a football game on Thanksgiving.  It’s an old tradition, but come on, who really wants to waste a national football-viewing audience on the Lions?  This is a team that has won exactly one playoff game since the creation of the Super Bowl 40+ years ago.  A sad metaphor, perhaps, for what’s happened to the domestic auto manufacturers during the same era.

A Gust of Fresh Air From Nu Yawk Hits Lake NPR

The voices one hears on NPR tend to be afflicted with a somnolent* sameness, so it was refreshing this morning to be driving to work and hear an interview with retail consultant Howard Davidowitz.  This guy could make spoken-word CDs for homesick New York expatriates or actors trying to master an authentic Nu Yawk accent.

It’s not just the stereotypical pronunciations, but the now-you-hear-them-now-you-don’t phonemes, the volume, the in-your-face emphasis, and the brusque politeness.  Right to the end, when he closes with, "And thanks so much for inviting me."  Classic.

* – This is the second time I’ve used the word "somnolent" in writing in the past two days and probably the second time ever.  The first time was in an email describing Jason Castro.

It’s This Simple

If Kristy Lee Cook is voted off tomorrow night, then the terrorists win.

Why Writers Matter

Though the TV and movie writers union is on strike, the actual effect of their absence is somewhat abstract because almost all of the affected shows have shut down production.  Without replacement writers to provide a basis for comparison, there’s no tangible sense of what writers actually contribute to the production of a television show.

That’s why I found it illuminating last night to watch some bonus material on the Not Just the Best of The Larry Sanders Show DVD, specifically the interview with Jeremy Piven.  Piven, who is best known today for his brilliant, steal-every-scene performance on Entourage, is borderline incoherent in the interview.  Practically every other word is "y’know", with a liberal sprinkling of "like".  In between the filler, most of what he had to say was how fabulous and amazing everyone was.

Perhaps he was having an off-day when he taped that interview, but the difference between him there versus when he has the benefit of Doug Ellin‘s words to say could not be more stark.

SNF Thoughts

What’s the deal with Faith Hill?  She can’t act, she can’t dance, and while I imagine she’s a pretty good singer, she adds nothing to the Joan Jett original that NBC pays her to rip off.

The Patriots are pretty scary in their dominance.  I can’t imagine how any team doesn’t get psyched out before they even walk out on the field.  My one concern about them — if I were a Patriots fan — is that because of their margins of victory, their kicking game hasn’t really been tested in pressure situations.  If you’re a believer in the old adage (which for years I believed was coined by George Allen Sr. but for which credit is claimed by Marv Levy), "Offense sells tickets, defense wins games, kicking wins championships", it’s something to think about.