Saturday, March 17, 2007

Men's March Madness: 2007

As you know, I missed my chance to get into any competitive pools. So, here are my lonely little stats, so far. It's hard to root for myself because if I do really well, it means I missed out on either a lot of money, or a little bragging rights:

1st Round: 23 games correct out of 32 (71% correct)

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Netflix Snapshot: March 16, 2007

Big Love: Season 1: Disc 3
The Awful Truth (1937)
Must Love Dogs
Big Love: Season 1, Disc 4
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Hustle & Flow
Big Love: Season 1, Disc 5
That 70s Show: Season 2, Disc 1

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Men's Tourney Picks, 2007

I used to be an avid women's college basketball fan. I was a feverish, devoted, team-colors-wearing jump-up-and-down in the bleachers sneak-into-the-good-seats Stanford fan. I used to go to all the games, socialize with the players on occasion, and I even made it to the Final Four once. But, since leaving San Francisco, I haven't followed the tournament much in recent years.

This year, I wanted back in the game. I got excited about doing a bracket. I even worked my way into a high stakes betting pool for the men's tournament. But then, oh yes--I missed the deadline to submit my bracket. I saved it til the last minute, lost track of the date (I thought I had one more day) and then overslept the morning of. I didn't even make it into the no-stakes just-for-fun pool my friend was doing. Sigh. As North Texas will soon be saying..."there's always next year..."

Since I couldn't get in on any competitive bracket action--which totally pisses me off, by the way--here are my men's picks, just for the record.

Grandma's Bracket:

To the Sweet Sixteen:

Florida over Arizona
Maryland over ODU
OR over Notre Dame
Wisconsin over UNLV
Kansas over Kentucky
Va Tech over Southern Ill.
Duke over Pitt
UCLA over Indy
UNC over Marquette
Texas over USC
WSU over GW
Georgetown over Texas Tech
Ohio over BYU
TN over VA
Louis. over T A&M
Memphis over Creighton

To the Elite Eight:
Florida over Maryland
Wisconsin over Oregon
Kansas over Va Tech
UCLA over Duke
Texas over UNC
Georgetown over WSU
Ohio over TN
Louis. over Memphis

To the Final Four:
Florida over Wisconsin
Kansas over UCLA
Texas over Georgetown
Ohio State over Louisville

Texas over Florida

Let the games begin!

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

God in Basketball Shoes

I love sports. I love athletes. These are my favorite athletes of all time:

Walter Peyton (#34; "Sweetness is knowing that you are loved for who you are, and not for what you've done.")
Larry Bird (#33)
Jamila Wideman (#10)
Andre Agassi
Michael Jordan (#23)
Doug Flutie (#2)
Teddy Bruschi (#54)
Tom Brady(#12)
Isiah Thomas (#11)
Martina Navratilova
Joan Benoit Samuelson

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Product Placement

Congratulations to NBC's Heroes for reaching a new level of ick factor with product placement in tonight's episode. Windows Vista "sponsored" the (annoyingly revealing) teaser scenes for next week. Ewwww. Vomit. Hurl.

Oh, and an iPod nano got a long, slow close-up while sitting in a pool of blood. But compared to the Vista thing, it was a nonevent.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The State of the Union, in Television, rebuttal, technobabble

Received this today from my dear friend (who I would like even more if he weren't a Buffy fan), Eric. I'm sharing it with his permission. For more of his TV rants--I mean, insights--check out his blog.

(My responses to Eric's remarks are italicized.)

>>You are correct in all things you say about the premiere of 24 this year.... except the bit about "attempting to blow something up", as the premiere ended with a nuclear suitcase bomb going off in Venice, CA. (and really, who would miss it)? Higher stakes as Jack avoids the nuclear snow-flakes, even though Jericho (which I've never seen) beat them to it. Plus, there was a fascinating discussion by two CTU agents about how angry they were about the formatting of a database ("I wanted columns, not comma delimited!" "I work best in comma delimited, you clod!"). You also forgot to mention "suburban family will be torn assunder by the works of a terrorists right in their midst" -- which also happened again. But the bad guy Kumar from "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" so, you know, it was almost to be expected.

And none of that matters, because 24 is a roller-coaster ride rocking good time. Once they got rid of the dumb-ass daughter, it became a masterpiece of plotting on top of plotting on top of plotting. It's the only super-hero show left on the air. Jack Bauer is the nation's personal Batman/Buffy/Peter Parker/Punisher/and Don Johnson era Sonny Crocket all rolled up into one. Its also sadly more plausible than the other "roller-coaster" shows like Prison Break and LOST (tho I'm sure Jack would break out of the prison and I'm sure he'd knife Henry Gale in his cancerous spine if it meant saving the country.) >>

See--I knew "24" would be predictable. And for my money, dull. And yet, here's someone with relatively discerning taste ("Battlestar Gallactica" not withstanding) who calls it a "roller-coaster rid rocking good time." I do NOT get it. At least they got rid of the slutty but annoying daughter, Kim. Did they kill her, or what?

>>If you're going to hate technobabble on a show, Alias always had 24 beat. Marshall was full of shit. None compare to good 90's era Star Trek, of course. >>

The difference is that Alias, at least the first two seasons, was a GOOD show. And the technobabble was entertaining. Marshall was a quirky character inventing amazing gadgets like a bug that looks like a bug or a lipstick camera or a parabolic microphone that looks like a purse. The gadgets--like the disguises--made the show fun and exciting. Tab-delineated databases? NEVER fun or exciting. Never.

>>Best/worst technobabble on the air today: HOUSE. Plus, it's as formulaic as they come. Tho I did enjoy his recent jousting with the obsessed police officer. (Runner up: Numb3rs. Honorable mention: Law & Order.)>>

You've inspired me to add a new category: "Worst Formulaic Show on TV." See below.

What about Brian is still on the air? Christ. I watched the first "season" of six episodes but couldn't come back for more. It's no Felicity, nor Thirtysomething. (I once got to personally yell at Bob Iger for canceling Thirtysomething in its prime. True story.) >>

Dude, seriously--it really is still on the air. My back-up VCR is set to tape it and I haven't bothered to tell it to stop, so I've still been watching it here and there. The hot but smart and totally together stripper girlfriend--I mean, "wife"--is nice to look at, at least. She has such pretty hair.

>>Show that should not be on the air : Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
And What About Jim.
And Two and a Half Men.
And Dancing with the Stars
And Til Death
And ER.>>

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip may have the worst name in television, but it deserves to be on the air. Certainly if Ghost Whisperer can be on the air, that can. Amanda Peet? Love it. And even though the show is basically The West Wing in a TV studio, it's well done.

As for those other shows, I don't have any explanation for shows as bad as What About Jim and Two and A Half Men. They are like JAG or Bob Sagat hosting America's Funniest Videos for all those years--I just don't understand how anyone can stand it. When I talk about television, I just don't even include those shows because I prefer to pretend they don't even exist.

As for ER, talk about beating a dead horse. NBC is desperate, but really--please, let it go already. When you killed Mark Green, you killed ER. It's time to bury it.

>>All shows suck compared The Shield and The Wire and Battlestar Galactica (which is almost completely technobabble free).>>

Yes, cable is where it's at. My new favorite is Weeds. But I don't get that in my TV. I have to wait for the DVDs.

>>Best boobs on TV: Katherine Heigl. >>

Definite oversight on my part, but in my defense, they're always hidden under scrubs.

>>Best shoulders: Evangaline Lilly>>

She's not only got the best shoulders, she's got the cutest face and is in the running for best hair. And I also nominate her for best action hero.

>>Stars most in need of a sandwich: Ellen Pompeo>>

Seriously, although Calista Flockhart is back on the air, you know.

>>The perfect woman: Jenna Fischer. Or, more specifically, Pam Beesly.>>

umm...I'm gonna have to disagree. That makes her all yours.

>>eric "tv addict" G.

PS: And remember, just about ALL TV -- even What about Brian -- is better than most movies these days. (but not What about Jim.) >>

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Monday, January 15, 2007

The State of the Union, in Television

Tonight, in honor of the Golden Globe Awards, (and because I have a deadline, so I'm procrastinating) I present to you...The State of the Union, in Television

Category: Most overrated show currently on the air

The Nominees: "24"; "Ugly Betty,"Two and a Half Men"

The Winner: "24"

The Why: The first season was fantastic television, definitely. It was original and compelling. I watched every episode practically on the edge of my seat. But then, it just got old. The fact that people are still watching this show baffles me. The fact that it's still getting so much praise from so many people—not just people who watched America's Funniest Videos with Bob Sagat and liked it, or people who are prone to enjoying stale plot lines and done-to-death stories, but discerning people--is almost beyond my comprehension.

Here's what I can say about this:

I haven't watched an episode of "24" since I gave up on the second season and that stupid presidential campaign plotline. [Once Nina's betrayal was revealed (a true shocker) and the wife axed, the show just stopped being interesting.] But, I'm willing to wager a fair sum that the much-touted season premiere will involve all of the following:

non-white terrorists attempting to blow something up, probably with a dirty bomb or stolen nuclear device; their plot will be discovered with barely enough time to stop the attack, and the only one on the planet who can possibly stop it is...Jack Bauer; a "twist" whereby some relatively minor but not totally insignificant character turns out to be working for the other side (the audience is expected to be shocked); lame dialogue vaguely referencing hardware, military equipment, or some sort of dull technology crucial to the detonation or transport of said bomb; an explosion; a gun fight; some painfully bad melodramatic acting on the part of victims and CTU staff; the frequent and urgent uploading of data; a constipated-looking hero, scruffy but undeniably handsome, grunting rapid instructions into a radio or cell phone to someone who has to do what he says or they'll die—wait, no, the whole world will die; tension between characters based on something from the past, that something is supposed to pique viewers' interests when it fact it's nearly impossible to care; poorly dressed CTU agents processing data as fast as they can in rooms that seem to be made entirely out of dark concrete and metal; men and women in navy blue clothes; Jack Bauer in a white tee-shirt.; a desperate middle-aged female; desert-like locations, such as scrubby California hillsides or "terrorist encampments" somewhere like Afghanistan; guns; sweat; blood; planes; SUVs; and a threat to the survival of the United States of America, which will somehow--in just one hour--be thwarted until next week, when all of these things will happen again. And again. Until someone finally takes the goddamned show off the air.

The Category: Best Boobs in a Sitcom or TV Drama

The Nominees: Jennifer Love Hewitt, "Ghost Whisperer"; Salma Hayek, "Ugly Betty,"; Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives," Katherine Heigl, "Grey's Anatomy"

The Winner: Jennifer Love Hewitt, "Ghost Whisperer"

The Why: This show is sheer crap, but Jennifer Love Hewitt has the best rack in television.

The Category: Most Surprising to Still Be on the Air

The Nominees: "What About Brian," "Ghost Whisperer," "Ugly Betty," "Men in Trees"

The Winner: "What About Brian"

The Why: I began watching this show because JJ Abrams was attached to it. And it stars a single thirty-something person, surrounded by married or coupled friends, which I can relate to. I still watch it every week, but it should have been canceled a long time ago. It's like "thirtysomething," only duller.

The Category: Best New Show
The Nominees: "Brothers and Sisters," "Ugly Betty," "Heroes," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"
The Winner: "Heroes"
The Why:
This is the best new show since "Lost."

The Category: Best Show in Syndication
The Nominees: "That 70s Show," "King of Queens," "Sex and the City," "Seinfeld," "Friends"
The Winner: "That 70s Show"
The Why:
Because I love it. Because I continue to enjoy episodes even after I've seen them three times. Because I'm nostalgic for the basement I spent my teenaged years in. Because its the perfect cast. Because Donna is so hot. Because the writing, acting, sets, costumes, and directing are brilliant. And because I miss having it be on the air.

The Category: Worst Formulaic Show on TV
The Nominees: "House," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order," "CSI: New York," "CSI: Miami," "Numb3rs," "Bones," "Crossing Jordan"
The Winner: "House"
The Why:
While other shows, such as "Bones" and "Crossing Jordan" just suck out loud, and CSI: NY is actually painful to watch, primarily due to a shitty casting job, "House" takes the cake because it is the most strict in its formulaic approach, and because it wastes so much great talent in the process. Give us a new approach: stat.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

See Naomi on the Radio

Short video clip of Bread and Roses appearance.

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