Cleaning out my net news wire...

• Alex Ross on your many classical music options available via internets. A series of musical tubes!

• Ladies and gentlemen, The Commodore. Maybe I'll go make one after I get done typing this.

Rail to LAX v. subway to the sea. Much as I like the idea of a subway to the Westside I suspect this is more practical. Predictably the LA Times story doesn't come with a map. Other good LA Times bitching can be found here.

Catapults!. (Apologies in advance to linking to boing boing, which is only more popular than the internet itself. But catapults!)

Colby Cosh likes Miss Manners, as do I.


Is it too early to be on the Borat backlash? That's what I thought when I saw him on SNL. I also had these two thoughts:

1. I don't think Sasha Baron Cohen uses his voice as well as he could. What I mean by this is that he doesn't get enough out of the "instrument." I also thought that in "Talladega Nights" -- he had the right attitude, and he was funny, but I wanted his voice to be funnier.

2. This is just a dirty "now are the foxes."

Then I remembered: because he's on NBC he can't be anti-Semitic, and I think that's kind of at the heart of the character; all the "sexy time" stuff is funny, just like any dialect stuff is funny (cf. "tooth hurty"), but what's really got Cohen pissed off is casual anti-Semitism, and that's the fuel the character is running on.

All of which is to say that I'm still sky-high for the "Borat" movie, but I think there's probably a greater chance than I thought that I will, somehow, be disappointed. Oh, and SNL wasted Hugh Laurie, I thought. Now there's a guy who knows how to use his voice.


I saw this over to Crooked Timber:

It seems that for Western Europe to regain its dynamism, it has to move to a freer market economy, higher rates of childbirth, higher immigration, and greater religiosity.
I wish I could figure out why I find this so funny. Maybe it's the naked utilitarianism -- it makes Pascal's Wager look like the Port Huron Statement, or something. Maybe I'm just imagining little Francois early on Sunday morning in Lyon:

"Do we hafta go to church?"
"Yes" [literally, "But yes." -- ed.]
"Because the conseqences of a reduction in the overall rate of growth are too horrible to contemplate."

I think this will be rather less successful as a motivator than the idea of Hell. But then I am not an economist.



I'm fond of rye whiskey myself in my mixed drinks, such as a Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned (which I make in an idiosyncratic way, muddling a lemon slice with my sugar and bitters. My father makes his with orange marmalade.) It's nice that the author singled out Wild Turkey since that's tops on the affordability/quality scale. You can get it at BevMo. Why, I think I'll have some now...


You are here

is a site by a guy in Stuttgart, devoted to Downtown LA. LA Observed plotzes. As they should

Cleaning out my net news wire...

• Kevin Vranes is bringing it: Here's a good post on Rove, and did you know that the President reserves the right to appoint the unqualified to FEMA? I'm not saying "are you surprised" by that fact, just whether you knew it or not.

• Drinking: The high cost of esoteric ingredients. I've got a bottle of Peychaud's Bitters gathering dust, myself. Also Pernod, which I really can't stand, but fortunately my dad (Father Delicious, I should maybe call him) always has some when he comes around.

• And Billmon, of course:

to me it looks as if a conscious, corporate decision has been made to try to hold (or win back) the conservative "red state" audience even if it means losing the liberal "blue state" audience. Whether this is because the conservative audience is larger and more affluent, or because the strategists at Viacom, Disney, GE and Time Warner have decided that liberals are less likely to change channels when their ideological beliefs are offended, or because the more demographically desirable blue state audiences have long since "self selected" their way out of old media's reach all together, I don't know. But when Mark Halperin promises Bill O'Reilly he will feel his pain, or the CBS Evening News gives every conservative nut job in America a spot on "Free Speech," or NBC refuses to accept an ad for the Dixie Chicks because it disrepects Shrub, or Time puts Ann Coulter on the cover, I think they're making economic statements as much as journalistic ones.
I completely agree and, if pressed, I guess B -- liberals don't get as pissed off. I choose B because I've been watching Fox cover baseball and it's obvious they don't give a shit about baseball fans because, after all, where are we going to go? So I think that permeates the whole corporation.

Sportings: rain rules all the time, please.

On BP, Nate Silver offers some "rain rules" that MLB could use in the event of cold weather. I think they should happen all the time:

Between-inning breaks are shortened from 120 sections to the usual 90 seconds. Any missed commercial time would be made up to the sponsor during the next season's All-Star Game.
The seventh-inning stretch is limited to two-and-a-half minutes. If you still want to sing God Bless America, by all means go ahead and do so. But none of the Ronan Tynan, seven-minute remix version.
Each team is limited to three mound visits over the course of the game that do not result in pitching changes.
If more than one pitching change is made in the same inning, the second relief pitcher is limited to three warm-up pitches.
The home plate umpire is given broader leeway to award a strike or ball based on excessive delay on the part of the batter or pitcher, respectively, including superfluous pick-off throws.
Finally and most importantly, FOX and MLB should jointly pledge to Americans that under no circumstances shall alternative programming during rain delays involve Michael Rapaport.
I can't stand the God Bless America myself, but I'm not into the patriotic self-love. Did they sing it during the seventh-inning stretch at the '43 World Series? Then why are you doing it here? (A similar case is Ike not saluting when he was saluted once he was President and therefore civilian. Post-Reagan presidents, though, think they're all CNC and shit.)

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that MLB has become the NHL, and you can stumble around in a fog all year and still win the World Series. Actually, it's worse than the NHL -- the team that stumbles around and gets in at the last minute usually winds up losing in the Cup Final (Edmonton, Anaheim, Calgary, Washington).


Annals of capitalism, campaign division

LA Times, on the race for California controller. Strickland's the R, BTW:

In recent days, Intuit has placed $1 million into a committee called the Alliance for California's Tomorrow. That group has spent $66,000 on Strickland's behalf so far...Neither Intuit nor the tribes siding with Strickland would discuss their motives. Instead, they issued statements.

Intuit supports "candidates of both parties who are champions of good public policy." The tribes' statement said they are "just helping to move California forward by supporting strong leaders — Democrats and Republicans — who will move the state in the right direction."

The tribes and Intuit each have one reason to support the GOP nominee: taxes.

The state controller sits on the Franchise Tax Board, a three-member panel that oversees state income tax policy...The controller also serves on the five-member Board of Equalization, which oversees sales and property tax issues. Additionally, the controller votes for that board's chairman, who also sits on the Franchise Tax Board. Whoever wins the controller's race Nov. 7 will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the boards.

Intuit has inserted itself into the controller's campaign as part of its fight to block the Franchise Tax Board from simplifying the state income tax filing process. From his post on the Board of Equalization, Chiang embraced "ReadyReturn," a program designed to remove some of the agony of tax season by having the government complete low-income Californians' tax returns....If it were to be fully implemented, ReadyReturn could threaten sales of one of the company's most successful software programs: TurboTax. Facing a fierce lobbying effort by Intuit, the Legislature this year blocked the state from spending money on ReadyReturn.


While we're on LA

This makes me laugh just because the mayor sounds like every other person who's ever been to a more efficient country:

"We've got to start rethinking—," he began, then paused and restarted unprompted: "Los Angeles has to recommit to itself to great architecture. You go to great cities to see great architecture...We've got to reimagine what L.A. looks like. We can and should have great architecture here." He also called LAX all but a joke compared to airports in Asia and was wowed by the bullet trains and other transit modes he saw: "America has got to catch up to everybody in its commitment to infrastructure...Asia is on the move."

In his excitement at seeing transit lines that actually connect to places of interest, the mayor expounded that "we need to connect the Green Line to the airport." That position runs counter to his own airport's chief, Lydia Kennard.

I got nothing today

Just working on New Project #937. Although I saw an awesome arrow guy today -- you know, the guys who twirl arrows on the corner. He was getting so into the twirling it was clear that he either didn't care or had forgotten where the insurance office was he was ostensibly pointing to. Then he sat the arrow down and began to row alongside of it -- with a grin that was all, "Yeah, that's right, I'm pretending I'm in a rowboat. What do you got, asshole?"

Oh, and I agree with Kurt Andersen, although not as much as he agrees with himself, of course.


Should I waste away from cancer? Or should I treat it by stabbing myself?

Here's the goddamn article:

If the traditional broadcasters are to save themselves, the main argument boils down to a question of investment. Should the networks respond to the new environment by cutting their losses and surviving as leanly as possible, as NBC seems to be doing? Or is now the time that executives should be investing heavily in development, trying to suss out the next generation of hits that will enable them to stem the encroachment of new media?
Do we think that this crew of development people is going to suss out anything successfully? It's like, the only thing that can save us from being the Tampa Bay Devil Rays is to be more like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. (All the extra money would just go to Aaron Sorkin anyway, or hacks like me.)

Plus, didn't NBC order, like, 80 comedy scripts a few years back? How'd that work out? I appreciate the idea that you should try harder, but when you have a ton of pilots, it just spreads the limited frosting of comedy acting talent thinner across a bigger cake, among other things.

I think the networks would achieve more by trying less hard. Let go. Have a cocktail. Let the writers choose their own supporting cast without interference. Don't make people rewrite story outlines when they should be writing actual scripts. Remember that we writers are more likely to get you executives a bigger house than the other way round.

On Irritation

I've been working on a bigger post about this, but when I work on bigger posts nothing ever seems to happen, so I'll just put it out there.

After the failure of the pitch our pod partners have graciously tossed me an idea that's floating around one of the networks. And in working on it I realized what a central sitcom emotion is: irritation. Think about it: Lucy irritates Desi. Ted irritates Mary and Mur. Oscar irritates Felix. Everything irritates George Costanza. Conflict is the essence of drama, hubris is the essence of tragedy, but irritation is the essence of sitcom -- the grain of sand that produces the 22-minute pearl.

Oh, and I had this exchange with an executive:
Me: "Well, I'm not officially pitching this, but it seems like this could be a good idea to be purely silly."
Exec: "I get it, but that would never get on the air."

See? What they're not selecting for is comedy.

Further note on the LA Times

I was going to blog something from their excellent "Channel Island" column (about NBC giving up the 8 o'clock hour), but I can't find it anywhere on the website. Their website stinks. I find a lot of good articles in the LA Times, but the presentation and management reeks of people who think their jobs beneath them.

An example of what happens when you exercise the Crap Option

Peter King:

You know there's been a shift in the tectonic plates when, while working a bit Saturday night, I choose the fourth quarter of Rutgers-Pitt over the opening of the World Series.
I attribute this solely to the quality of the Fox broadcast. I mean, all sports television has been crapped up, and I imagine the producer who says, "Let's simplify" getting fired, but I think the noisy way Fox chooses to do its broadcasts turns off baseball fans.


The Los Angeles Times thinks I'm an idiot

I agree with Kevin Drum: the LA Times news-reduction redesign does nothing for me.

What drives me nuts about the LA Times is that they're still chasing the dream of being in every driveway in the Southland, which means they get dumber, as opposed to being a product for a specialized group of people who like consuming news, which means they'd get smarter. (Their op-ed page is beyond the pale.)

All would be forgiven, however, if they'd just print letters to the sports section every day. That shit cracks me up.


Cleaning out my net news wire...

I like to start the week with a clean soul, but I like to start the weekend with a clean feed reader (long "e" sounds are funny -- e.g. Ned Schneebly, Mike White's character in "School of Rock"):

This is disgusting to me. Washington sure as hell didn't think his civilian overlords were taking orders from God. And what if God is joking? It wouldn't be the first time.

• Whereas this is just sad and wistful. Farewell, old friends.

• Climate: a nerdy discussion which I can't follow about wind power, here. Yet it leaves me feeling strangely optimistic.

• LA's disrespect for transit, here. It is getting a little better, though. Once gas goes up to >$3/gal again I bet there'll be another push to spruce up the system.

NBC layoffs

No news here -- the "no scripted programming in the 8 o'clock hour" seems chilling, especially to comedy, but it's kind of what they're doing anyway. I do want to note these two quotes from Variety (sub required, probably). First, from the Zucker article:

More than cost-cutting, Zucker said NBC U 2.0 is about a new way of doing business. He pointed to the net's hit of the fall, "Heroes," which airs on NBC Mondays; goes online with advertisements the following day; is then made available for download via iTunes for $1.99; and finally heads to the Sci Fi Channel, where a rerun airs on Friday.
Then, from the Reilly article:
Meanwhile, with talk of a writers strike continuing to percolate, Reilly said the industry should "tread carefully."

"We're on thin ice as an industry," he said. "A strike can take us right through that ice."

Reilly said he agreed that talent must be properly compensated -- "They're the lifeblood. We're all for that. But we're all trying to get a piece of a (new media) model that's very unclear."
It doesn't sound so unclear to me!

As far as comedy, I think that the nets (NBC especially) are too infected by fear of failure. Because most of them fail, and the ones that don't look like they're failing get so noted (out of love!) that they stop seeming simple and natural and then they fail.

My crackpot idea is that they should, Rove-style, go on the offensive and take a low-risk night like Saturday and schedule four sitcoms -- multicams, probably, because of the expense involved.

And at least one of the multicams should be as unprofound as Green Acres! That kind of thing is definitely not being done now.

Dark as a dungeon...

...way down in the Bush Administration. (via WSJ):

President Bush on Thursday went around the U.S. Senate to put a longtime coal industry official in charge of the federal agency that regulates mine safety.

Bush waited until the Senate had recessed for next month’s election, and re-nominated West Virginia native Richard Stickler to be assistant secretary of labor in charge of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Twice this year, the Senate sent Stickler’s nomination back to the White House without a vote, citing opposition from the United Mine Workers and other safety advocates, along with this year’s spike in coal-mining deaths.
That's the Republican-controlled Senate. He's too anti-labor for Republicans. Just another spot of black lung on the body politic.

Okay, so let's talk about this piece

Why cities succeed:

At least part of the answer stems from their underlying cultures. In his "Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia" (1979), E. Digby Baltzell argued that Boston Brahmins, with their belief in authority and leadership, embraced a sense of responsibility for civic life, while Philadelphia Gentlemen, with their inward but judgmental Quaker ways were deeply unconcerned about their city's welfare. Over the course of the 19th century and well into the 20th, they abdicated their role in government and watched indifferently as Philadelphia became, by the 1960s, the worst run city in the nation. The Brahmins might have been intolerant and unpleasant while the Philadelphians were open and charming, but the Brahmins cared about their city -- and so, subsequently, did the Irish politicians with whom they warred and the Italians who replaced the Irish.

I have no idea if this is true -- it's not supported in the piece. And just the fact that it's on an editorial page of the Wall Street Journal makes me think it's probably wrong. But it does fit my prejudice -- that elites matter. Indeed, modern conservatism to me is nothing more than an ideology that tells elites that they should be selfish and irresponsible, that they are owed rather than they owe something.

I also want to note this:
What flourishing cities often have in common, instead, are two crucial cultural characteristics: combativeness and cunning. New Yorkers, for example, fought back from their 1975 bankruptcy with every tool at their disposal, fair and unfair...

Yet New York armed itself with brilliant leadership, cut its bloated operating and capital budgets, cajoled the federal loan guarantees from Congress, poured money into fixing up thousands of units of abandoned housing, fought crime and graffiti -- and emerged triumphant. It might have done even better: It barely reduced its onerous tax burden, regarded by many analysts as the highest in the country. Indeed, one of New York's most notorious, anti-enterprise taxes is the 4% unincorporated business tax, which was targeted at wealthy physicians but which instead hits every bodega and small business. Surely this tax has done serious harm, if not enough to force its repeal. Somehow New York's entrepreneurial spirit drives forward, scattering even the grossest of obstacles -- almost against reason

See? See? Taxes don't matter as much as the conseratives tell you they do. The wealthy physicians and bodega owners may also like having big public parks and lots of police (the police per-capita figure in NYC is like twice LA's, I think). So the anti-enterprise tax may be seen as a tax that gives them an environment that make enterprise worthwhile.

Not that I love taxes, or anything -- I just paid my property tax, which is low, but as an unemployed dude is sure didn't seem low. But I'm not afraid of them, and those of us who feel that there needs to be a strong public thing to both promote and stand against that sorcerer's apprentice capitalism need to argue for them as well.

The Wall Street Journal is free today

Some promotional stunt. Go read it. If I only had to take one paper, it would be the WSJ, even though it has no sports section, even in spite of its editorial page, which I have after long training learned not to read. (It helped when they moved the Arts page away from editorial.)







Miami and FIU weren't the only college football teams involved in a brawl last weekend -- players from Dartmouth and Holy Cross fought at the end of their game when the teams lined up for postgame handshakes.

The fighting started on Dartmouth's Memorial Field after Holy Cross won 24-21 in overtime Saturday.

After Holy Cross players celebrated atop the Dartmouth ''D'' painted on the field, fights broke out between the teams when the Division I-AA teams lined up for customary handshakes.

Witnesses said some players were thrown to the ground and kicked. Coaches, campus security and Hanover police broke it up.



What's wrong with TV

I think I should start a little list of my bitches about that sweet bitch TV. Here's number 1:

The demise of theme songs that tell you the premise of the show. It's hard to pitch premise-y shows now, because the feeling is you numbskulls out there can't follow something that begins with a complicated story (e.g. Gilligan). Well, of course it is -- if you're not telling the complicated story in song! That this also gives you a little marketable property to sell is completely lost on them, also.

I never have commenters, but if I did, they would be invited to leave their own bitches in comments.

More Public Thing notes

Here's a post by my boys at CT about "The Great Risk Shift," a book that I'm not going to read but am willing to debate and summarize, like so: The conservative revolution means that, while we could have a goverment ease your worries about the end of your life or when you get sick, it won't -- your worries are good for you. The point that's made in the post (and more clearly in comments) is my favorite point for universal health care: it helps entrepreneurship by making it possible for you to quit your job without being scared that your kid will bankrupt you if he/she falls off his/her bicycle. Instead, with universal health care, you can start your own business, become rich, and your kid can bankrupt you by becoming a hopeless, worthless drug addict! (But that's just an argument for an estate tax right there.)

While I'm bullshitting (as I find myself to be) I might as well add that I don't believe higher marginal tax rates really act as a disincentive, unless they're crazy high. People like to succeed for the money, but there's more to success than just money. Put it this way: if you're running GE you're going to have a primo mistress no matter what the top marginal rate is, and that's going to be plenty of incentive for most of your captains of industry right there.

• So you can torture the shit out of your fellow citizens now. I see via the Daou report that some dudes think this is not a big deal, since we're obviously not turning into a totalitarian state. No, but, if we decide not to stand for anything, we're turning into something else: just another empire. Not Mao's China, but Philip II's Spain. And necessarily then we go the way of all those empires.

Reprint: a comment I had at Delong's place

We could have mashed up the brains of John Quincy Adams and Dean Acheson, shoved them into the hole in Henry Kissinger's soul, let that guy run the Iraq war, and it still would have been screwed up, because the idea that we could bring in an imperial army into Mesopotamia and not come to ruin is absurd. This is a very old folly that we are repeating.

Cleaning out my net news wire...

Annals of capitalism, union-busting edition.

• A short anti-libertarian defense of capitalism.

Annals of cocktails: "First of all, it has to be Coca Cola, Coca Cola. Not Cola Pumba or Super Cola, if you really want to drink the kalimotxo. Other brands’ colas have a too sweet taste that destroys the mix, it is very easy to recognize them." You really have to read the whole thing.

Three rhetorical sports questions

Could low MLB postseason ratings have anything to do with the fact that MLB has allowed Fox to shit up its product?

Could the out-of-whack price levels for hockey tickets have anything to do with low attendance (Also: the Kings stink. And they're in trouble at the B.O. I know this because I now get mail from them twice a week with new ticket specials.)

Why us?


Cleaning out my net news wire...

Blunt talk from the "I Dislike Your Favorite Team" squad about NASCAR and the Confederate Flag.

• Annals of Capitalism, Regulatory Capture division:

Here’s [utility executive] Dick Kelly on his “top-of-mind issue”: “ We have gone to the regulators and the state legislative body and have it written in law that we’re going to recover our investment before we spend a dime. We’ve got about $5 billion worth of projects that we’re going to recover before we actually start spending the money. If you have that kind of up-front support, then you can go to investors and they’ll lend you the money.” (Translation: Xcel's bad credit rating has limited its financing options, so Xcel requested that ratepayers assume the risk of the coal-fired plant which Xcel freely admits in filings is being built to satisfy Wall Street; regulators like COPUC Chairman Greg Sopkin attend utility meetings where he learns, according to the Denver press, “how utilities can win a rate case.” Sopkin’s shindigging in fancy hotels with the utilities clearly worked for Xcel.)
• Bob Cringely thinks YouTube is not the future of television. I still think it hurts comedy some (more so than drama or reality, which leverage the resources of professional TV more.)

Every 52 seconds, someone cites a bullshit statistic.

• Two Defamer things: Those Fox menus are pretty funny. I worked there for a little while and was starting to collect them. Also:
China suspends the premieres of Miami Vice, World Trade Center, and, potentially, Casino Royale to clear room for the propaganda films scheduled for--and we're not making this up--"October Golden Autumn Excellent Domestic Film Exhibition Month."

Quick crackpot theory on the decline of the sitcom

Theories of comedy are kind of a subordinate hobby of mine; I don't think I've shared too many of them on this site but maybe I'll throw in some more.

This is a new theory, though, not one of my hobbyhorses. (That is, they look like hobbyhorses to you. To me they look like magnificent sleek warhorses.) And it's about why you can't get audiences to look at the ol' multicamera sitcom much anymore. My theory: children's television is at fault, in two ways:

1. Children's television is actually pretty funny. I see plenty of jokes on "Fairly OddParents" or "SpongeBob," which, while a tad obvious, I would be glad to have written. And you have an audience that starts out watching this, switches to adolescent fare like "Beavis" (back in the day) or "South Park" or "Simpsons", and when they finally hit their mid-20s, have jobs, and are ready to become watchers of prime time television, there's...nothing. Prime-time shows aren't as funny as the shows they grew up watching. (And the networks don't select for funny, they select for "relateableness" or whatever the fuck it is.) So who needs it?

2. Note that none of these shows are sitcoms, even if they have sitcom rhythms at times. When I was a kid, a million years ago, you kind of had to watch "Dick Van Dyke" (still the best version of "Raymond") or "Lucy" or, in my house, "Barney Miller." Sitcoms were my TV cradle-tongue. Nowadays, my kids don't ever watch a multicam show; I suppose, when they're a little older, they might watch some of those "Hannah Montana" Disney Channel shows. But that just associates the multicam format with kid stuff. It's starting to seem unnatural.

Anyways, I freely admit this is a crackpot theory and am willing to fold if a good countertheory is proposed. But I'm just throwing it out there.


Annals of Capitalism (4)

We're appalled by Chinese repression, except when we aren't:

China is planning to adopt a new law that seeks to crack down on sweatshops and protect workers’ rights by giving labor unions real power for the first time since it introduced market forces in the 1980’s

The move, which underscores the government’s growing concern about the widening income gap and threats of social unrest, is setting off a battle with American and other foreign corporations that have lobbied against it by hinting that they may build fewer factories here.

Schwarzenegger Bullshit Watch (24)


Read, as they say, the whole thing

You ask, "D.P., with all these terrible things going on in the world, how does one cope?"

Here's how (WSJ):

Cash-strapped consumers are eating out less often, leading Bennigan's, Applebee's and other so-called casual-dining chains to lean harder on some of their most profitable menu items: alcoholic drinks.

Beer, wine and liquor-based concoctions often have profit margins more than double those of food -- making them just the ticket for a restaurant's sagging bottom line. And the timing is right: Americans' alcohol consumption, after dropping for nearly two decades, is on the rise again -- due in large measure to recent effective marketing campaigns by wine and spirits makers.
The thing I love about the Wall Street Journal is that there's no hand-wringing about the "cash-strapped consumers" -- it's more a question of, "How can we still make money?" This sounds sarcastic but I really mean it. The LA Times, in particular, does a lot of that "Blacks, Jews Suffer Most" handwringing, and there's a place for it, but one doesn't want it in every goddamn newspaper you pick up.





Dear Tamar Jacoby


...But in recent years, healthy differences of opinion have been giving way to unhealthy polarization — unnecessary, overly emotional or unbridgeable disagreement that's deadlocking our politics and making it impossible to reach the kind of consensus we need to solve the problems before us.





Weather Channel gets religion

Not really, but all through the 90s, while I was worrying about climate change, it irritated me that the Weather Channel didn't say a mumbling word about it. Well, just in time to be behind the curve, they've launched their own site devoted to it.

Once climate change gets the cool endorsement of the Weather Channel, there's no stopping it!

Hello again

I'm only back briefly, because I'm still pitching my project and also trying to figure out if a harebrained (note proper spelling) scheme I'm working on is a MILLION DOLLAR IDEA. Plus the fam. and I were in the beautiful South for a wedding (the advantage of unemployment is that extra time can be taken for weekends like this, at least until the money runs out).

In the meantime I wholeheartedly support this idea. LA needs a tabloid.


I guess Todd Jones's mom isn't very hot

Tigers reliever Todd Jones ups the metaphorical ante:

“As we were walking in, they were handing us wild-card hats and wild-card shirts,” Jones said yesterday at Yankee Stadium. “It was worse than kissing your sister — it was like making out with your mom. There was no enjoyment, nothing. It was horrible.”

Nietzsche Family Circus

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

Here. A random Family Circus panel is paired with a random Nietzsche quote. I know, I know, it's too easy, but at least it's not as snotty as that Marmaduke thing.

(Via Franklin Avenue.)


This is how we do it in Hollywood

From Variety (sub, natch):

Paramount has closed a $300 million film financing deal with international investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort for production coin that will fund 30 films for the studio.
See? The movie business is all about getting people with money to forget that one of the reasons they have money is that they never went into the movie business. It works with people from back East and it works with the Japanese and, remarkably, it still works with the Germans. Good going, Brad Grey!

Another thing about the Foley scandal

Someone needs to make a joke about Hastert being a former wrestling coach.

Why WFMU's "Beware of the Blog" should be on your newsreader

Because of stuff like "The Long Hair Fad".

You know who's pissed at the Foley scandal?

Bob Woodward. When you're a powerful Washington journalist, I bet you start to think you can control the weather and stuff, and then your revelation-stuffed book is kicked to the curb by a dirty-minded congressman. It's just not fair!


Off Wing:

Yes, I know I haven't been keeping up with all the preseason news the way that I should, but I've been on something of an extended vacation since the week before last, and I've wanted to get some more rest before the start of the regular season on Wednesday night.
The NHL season starts Wednesday? I'm nowhere near ready! I'm not even at my I-don't-really-care-till-after-the-holidays level of caring! It's still 85 degrees here!

This is ridiculous. Rooting for the NHL is like rooting for the Buick division of GM.

BREAKING: Plaschke is right, blind dog finds bone

Bill Plaschke is one of the worst columnists I've ever read, so I all but spit-taked all over his column today:

The news that the drug hounds have finally been unleashed on Roger Clemens sent me to the guy who knows something about being chased.

So, I asked Barry Bonds, do you think Clemens will have his heels nipped and his neck poked and his breath shortened like you have?
"I like Roger, I respect Roger, so I won't comment on that," said Bonds, smiling. "But I'm feeling your question."

On the eve of the steroid era, a 34-year-old pitcher is sent packing from his longtime team because, his boss says, "He's in the twilight of his career."

One year later that pitcher increases his strikeout total by 35, throws the most innings in the last 10 years, and wins a Cy Young Award.

And Roger Clemens is not above suspicion?

In the middle of the steroid cleanup period, a 44-year-old pitcher sits out the first two months of the season while contemplating retirement.

Then he shows up in June and fashions the fourth-best earned-run average of his career, finishing decimal points short of his career average of strikeouts per nine innings.

And Roger Clemens skates?

[...]Although Clemens' and Bonds' careers have taken the same arc toward eternal athletic life, they are perceived as differently as, well, white and black.

America does not want to believe the dirt on Clemens because he is a nice guy, a family guy, a good ol' guy and, let's be honest here, a Caucasian guy.

America likes its sport villains dark and moody and everything that has always been Bonds.
(Note that he hasn't become a better writer just because he agrees with me.)

But, here's the other thing I think: how evil is this? I was reading this SI.com piece and this quote jumped out at me:

Both Clemens and Pettitte are notorious workout freaks, and both have many backers among teammates and close friends. Some Houston teammates were stunned that Pettitte, especially, was named in the Grimsley affidavit.

"Andy Pettitte is one of the finest individuals I've ever been around," said Lance Berkman. "You could knock me over with a feather if this is true."

I have no way of knowing if Andy Pettitte is a fine individual, of course, but the point is that I can't figure out how bad this is. I'm sure it's not as bad as the MSSM (mainstream sports meida) are making it out to be.


Your LA subway system

In about 70 years from now. (Via Green LA Girl, also check out the discussions, some of them peevish, at metroblogging la and curbed LA.)