snap culture: October 2004

  1. Worth watching ben, 10/29/2004
  2. the Economist picks Kerry ben, 10/28/2004
  3. Pizzagate ben, 10/27/2004 31 comments
  4. Hobbits once roamed Earth Sam, 10/27/2004 1 comments
  5. Whoops! William, 10/27/2004 0 comments
  6. Obama's Kenyan lifeline William, 10/25/2004 0 comments
  7. Desperately Seeking Decency Gretchen, 10/21/2004 0 comments
  8. Give My Regards To... Gretchen, 10/21/2004 0 comments
  9. american sports keep getting better and better Gretchen, 10/21/2004 0 comments
  10. How very sporting! William, 10/21/2004 0 comments
  11. Harry, Harry, quite contrary William, 10/21/2004 0 comments
  12. New Day Coming Gretchen, 10/21/2004 0 comments
  13. That explains it ben, 10/21/2004 0 comments
  14. Please make it stop! Gretchen, 10/20/2004 0 comments
  15. Evenly divided? ben, 10/19/2004 1 comments
  16. Six Degrees Subverted Gretchen, 10/18/2004 1 comments
  17. Ay Romerito! ben, 10/18/2004 2 comments
  18. Princess Diana's Memorial Gretchen, 10/17/2004 0 comments
  19. Hucka-What? Gretchen, 10/17/2004 0 comments
  20. Clerks William, 10/17/2004 0 comments
  21. From Sunday's Post: Sex! William, 10/17/2004 1 comments
  22. From Sunday's Times: Food! William, 10/17/2004 0 comments
  23. I've said it before, and I'll say it again William, 10/17/2004 0 comments
  24. Lewd Lips Sink Ships--or do they? William, 10/17/2004 0 comments
  25. Mrs. Federline Speaks Gretchen, 10/16/2004 1 comments
  26. The Revenge of the Teen Drama Gretchen, 10/16/2004 0 comments
  27. The Next Harry Potter? Gretchen, 10/16/2004 0 comments
  28. Tying a bowtie is hard! ben, 10/16/2004 0 comments
  29. Tales From The Blogverse: CelebritySnark Edition Gretchen, 10/15/2004 0 comments
  30. Stop the Poncho Madness Gretchen, 10/15/2004 0 comments
  31. First Limbaugh does drugs... William, 10/14/2004 2 comments
  32. It can't be true! William, 10/14/2004 0 comments
  33. I feel your pain ben, 10/13/2004 0 comments
  34. "Tax Windfall May Not Boost Hiring" Sam, 10/13/2004 1 comments
  35. Bush = Nixon? William, 10/11/2004 0 comments
  36. Superman vs. Doperman William, 10/11/2004 0 comments
  37. This is not your ordinary football player in possession of his weight in pot scenario meghan, 10/08/2004 1 comments
  38. Martha, Martha, Martha William, 10/08/2004 0 comments
  39. Saving Afghan hounds (and cats) William, 10/07/2004 0 comments
  40. Laces out, Siegfried! ben, 10/07/2004 0 comments
  41. Break out the baby Cavs gear William, 10/06/2004 2 comments
  42. One interesting dude William, 10/06/2004 0 comments
  43. What the world needs now Gretchen, 10/06/2004 2 comments
  44. will he get some respect upstairs? ben, 10/05/2004 1 comments
  45. it's a beautiful thing ben, 10/05/2004 2 comments
  46. Whither the Expos? William, 10/04/2004 0 comments
  47. Britney Spears, Harvard Class of 2004 Gretchen, 10/04/2004 0 comments
  48. support for the Grays ben, 10/03/2004 2 comments
  49. playoff fatigue Gretchen, 10/03/2004 2 comments
  50. A high-scoring affair William, 10/03/2004 0 comments
  51. musical conspiracy Gretchen, 10/02/2004 0 comments
  52. And The Season Pass goes to... Gretchen, 10/02/2004 3 comments
  53. Ikea Redux Gretchen, 10/02/2004 0 comments
  54. Swap meet William, 10/01/2004 0 comments
  55. Brad DeLong has got it going on ben, 10/01/2004 0 comments
  56. Best Line of Yesterday Gretchen, 10/01/2004 0 comments
  57. Best Line of the Night Gretchen, 10/01/2004 2 comments

10/29/2004

Eminem has an anti-bush video for his song "Mosh" available through the link. Powerful stuff. Certainly more convincing than "Vote or Die!", and worth five minutes of your time. ben

10/28/2004

I think this is big news: The usually awfully stodgy and conservative Economist magazine has endorsed John Kerry. While I wouldn't say their endorsement is glowing in any sense of the imagination, they make some good points about how change is needed right now. They conclude:
John Kerry, for all the doubts about him, would be in a better position to carry on with America's great tasks.
See, like I said, not glowing. What more can you ask for though, this is a magazine that endorsed Dole in 1996 and Bush in 2000 (which is when I decided I wouldn't give them another penny until they supported a Democrat). But this will hopefully give pause to some of their U.S. readers who don't like the President's cut-taxes-and-spend policies or his bullheaded foreign policy but think that we should still "stay the course". I suppose I can renew my subscription now, but with the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Economist all on my coffee table, I'd never get any work done... ben

10/27/2004 Add a comment

Quite a row in the British press over the rumors that Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson had soup and sandwiches thrown at him by an "opposition player" after his team's win over Arsenal.

Then the tabloids found out that pizza may or may not have been involved. The Daily Mail tries to set the record straight:
"Reports have pointed the finger of blame at [Man U player] Ashley Cole for throwing pizza. ... It is alleged that Cole had been aiming the slice of pizza at striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and had hit the United boss accidentally. Spanish youngster Cese Febragas has also been mentioned as the other chief pizza-throwing suspect."

Okay, so it wasn't some renegade Arsenal player who snuck into the dining room. But this is quite a story. It's already been dubbed the "battle of the buffet". We may never know the true pizza throwers. More details as they emerge. ben

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  31. Anonymous debt consolidation: Okay, so it wasn't some renegade Arsenal player who snuck into the dining room. But this is quite a story. It's already been dubbed the "battle of the buffet". We may never know the true pizza throwers. More details as they emerge. 2/24/2010  

10/27/2004 Add a comment

Homo floresiensis, presumed to be a descendant of Homo erectus, lived on Flores Island in Indonesia alongside a golden retriever-sized rat [see picture], giant tortoises and huge lizards – including Komodo dragons – and a pony-sized dwarf elephant called Stegodon that the little hominids may have hunted.

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10/27/2004 Add a comment

When you are Gourmet Magazine and you haven't published a cookbook in 50 years, and you decide to change that with a monster of a book, you'd think you'd pay careful attention to every single detail. Unfortunately, the first run of 250,000 copies features a pretty major flaw: the recipe titles are printed in a very faint yellow color that makes it difficult to find specific recipes. William

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10/25/2004 Add a comment

A very interesting piece in the NYT today about the Kenyan relatives of U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama. Seems that the relatives--whom Obama has only visited twice in his life--think that Obama's inevitable election (he's easily leading GOP challenger Alan Keyes) will bring improvements to their village area, including a new road, school improvements and an airport. William

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10/21/2004 Add a comment

CNN tells us that the American Family Association [it pains me to link to them, but I'll do anything for my loyal snapculture readers], which I guess is one of those family friendly groups with 8 gazillion members who crawl out of the woodwork only to send countless angry emails, has targeted Desperate Housewives for its salacious scripts, smutty sex scenes, and scandalous short skirts. They've gotten Tyson Foods and Lowe's to pull out their advertising. According to ABC, it's no big deal--there's already a wait list for the show's advertising slots. The AFA says they're targeting Life As We Know It next. To which countless people replied, "What?"
Gretchen

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10/21/2004 Add a comment

If you're not watching baseball, then the only decent excuse I can imagine is that you're busy watching Broadway: The American Musical, a fabulous long-form documentary currently running on PBS. Not only is it hosted by the divine Julie Andrews, but it's a wonderful tour through American history and the luminaries of musical theater. Tonight brings the end of the series and moves us from the witty lyrics and complex music of Stephen Sondheim to the 80s glam musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber and into the Disney era of today. This is the part of Broadway history I'm most excited about and, since we have the advantage of better technology, I'm hoping that there will be plenty of clips from the original stage productions. (Prediction: there will be a long clip of Betty Buckley hitting the money note in Memory in the original production of Cats.) The entire thing is being rerun this weekend, at least on my PBS station, and it's very worthwhile.
Gretchen

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10/21/2004 Add a comment

There must be something in the stars, because on the heels of the Red Sox pennant comes news that Paul Hamm, the darling squeaky-voiced gymnast who won the men's all-around gold at the Olympics, will get to keep his medal. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (how do I get a job working there? That would rock) dismissed the appeal by the South Korean gymnast who challenged the title. Now, I do have some sympathy for the South Korean gymnast. After all, the judges gave his parallel bars a start value of 9.9 instead of 10.0, which in the bizarre gymnastics world, was enough to kill his gold medal ambitions. But the South Koreans waited to challenge the scores until after the competition had been concluded (probably because Paul Hamm's spectacular fall early in the evening seemed to take him out of contention) and by then, it was too late. The other important aspect of this debate is that reviews of the video from the event show that the judges were making technical errors on everyone, failing to note and deduct points for things like shakiness on the bars or slight errors in the release timing. I think Paul Hamm deserved his medal and I'm happy that he gets to really celebrate, finally. Now the world of gymnastics? They may have some explaining to do.
Gretchen

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10/21/2004 Add a comment

You know, the Sports Guy is an incredibly lucky guy. His rise in Web/sports prominence coincided directly with two distinct sporting trends: the rise of the Patriots as a modern football dynasty (as close as they can get these days), and, even more importantly, the renewal and exponential growth of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Without those two things, and maybe without just the Sox-Yankees, the Sports Guy is just another dude writing a column. But now he has to be one of the most well-read columns on the web, sports or not.

His take on the Sox-Yankees series is almost a defining moment. For a few brief moments most of America is Red Sox Nation. This is instructive: The Yankees are at the same time the favorite team of the most people (because NY is so large and they win a lot) and the most despised team of the most people (because everyone else views them as a threat to their own team's viability).

I once read/heard (and probably from the Sports Guy) a great line that rooting for the Yankees is a lot like rooting for the house in Blackjack. So true. It's also, if I may venture, a little like supporting the GOP. Both have a ton of money and seem to throw around their weight and influence like a God-given right. When you look at the difference in appearance between the Red Sox and Yankees, you notice that the Yankees are the buttoned-up, classic pin-striped team while the Red Sox are the hairy, loud ruffians. It's old versus new, serious versus easygoing. The Yankees will face a dour offseason, and the Red Sox will still be smiling, regardless of the World Series outcome. William

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10/21/2004 Add a comment

Britain's Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, got in a bit of a row outside a London nightclub early this morning. He tangled with a photographer trying to snap his picture, and both ended up with bruises, Harry to the face and the photographer with a cut lip. Now that's the kind of take-no-guff leadership the U.K. needs on its figurehead throne! William

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10/21/2004 Add a comment

The dateline on the AP Wire announcing that the Red Sox had won the ALCS in an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime comeback? 12:00 AM. It's a new day in Red Sox Nation, my friends.

Best line of the night goes to my friend D, who claims he called the first Johnny Damon homer by yelling "Redeem us, Jesus!" at the TV when he went up to bat.

I'm exhausted, but man, that was so amazing and so worth it. I love Boston and I'm so happy for this team.
Gretchen

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10/21/2004 Add a comment

Boing Boing has the answers: Dubya's bulge was an iPod.

Also check out their links to great t-shirts about rumors on the internets. I need that t-shirt! ben

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10/20/2004 Add a comment

I need this election to hurry up and get over so I can start focusing on something--nay, anything--else (namely, the monster-paper that is eating my brain. I thought I went to law school so I wouldn't have to write papers anymore! Alas.) In the meantime, since my brain is mush, here are links to two very smart people who explain my frustration with the media much better than I can, despite my vain attempt in the comments below. Go read them!
Gretchen

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10/19/2004 Add a comment

I'm sorry, but saying that the young vote is evenly divided between Kerry and Bush is a joke. First, current polling has the gap at TEN POINTS, Kerry 52, Bush 42. Second, no homes with cell phones as their main numbers are being contacted for polling, which has to be skewing the under-30 vote somehow. If half of young people think Bush is going to institute a draft, and only 8 percent think Kerry will, how is this evenly split? Come on CNN, at least try to tell a story that isn't a "nation evenly divided" load of crap. ben

Comments

  1. Blogger Gretchen: This is one of the things I most despise about our current media. The quest for objectivity does not mean that we should balance both sides of the story. Sometimes, there are facts. There are actual physical facts--and those need to get covered. Todd Gitlin documented a whole history of anti-Vietnam protests with hundreds of thousands of people, being covered in the New York Times as one side of an evenly split story. The fifteen pro-war demonstrators got equal time as the masses on the other side. This is utterly ridiculous and it has nothing to do with objectivity. And in this current election year cycle, I want the media to do a better job of speaking truth to power. During the debates, it was impossible for both Kerry and Bush to have been telling the truth about Iraq, financial support to the troops, the cost of Medicaid. So why won't the media step up and say, "He's wrong. He lied."? It's an abdication of responsibility in the name of "objectivity" and it makes me ill. 10/20/2004  

10/18/2004 Add a comment

That famous saying about how we're all six degrees of separation apart? Turns out that in 1973, at least, we were twice as close to each other. The Handbook of Communication, published in 1973, included an article by Ithiel de Sola Pool arguing that the entire American populace could connect to anyone else with an average of fewer than three intervening steps. So how did we somehow leap from three degrees to six? Did the population get that much bigger, or did we just butcher this idea in its transition into popular culture? Can I just figure this out instead of writing my 1970s retro urban development paper? Most of all, does this mean that I'm really only three steps away from Zach "so dreamy" Braff?
Gretchen

Comments

  1. Blogger William: A recent issue of US Weekly (Hey, stop looking at me like that!) linked him with Mandy Moore. She's, like, 14 or something. 10/19/2004  

10/18/2004 Add a comment

The Times has a great piece on old South American soccer superstars who blew all their money during their careers and have been lured to NYC with the offer of a plane ticket, an apartment, and a job (working construction). What does the generous benefactor ask in return? That they play on his Queens league over-40 soccer team.

Great story. They aren't busters either, these guys are soccer legends; they've played on teams with Pele and Maradona. How cool would it be to be a Paraguayan or Chilean living in NY and have a national soccer hero work with you at your construction job? It's like hiring Ryne Sandberg to work in your office or something. I suppose it's kind of sad that none of these guys were able to put away enough money for retirement, but the author makes it sound like they're having a blast living in New York, playing in the over-40 league and drinking a few Coronas afterwards. It'd be fun to check out one of their games. ben

Comments

  1. Blogger Gretchen: I'm in New York for interviews next week. Shall I organize a Snapculture Field Trip? 10/18/2004  
  2. Anonymous Pablo: I know it's I'm late, i found this article while i was searching for goals of Romerito, a legend that scored a bicycle kick against brazil in brazil for that matter for the Copa America championship, any it's really said that he has to resort to construction abor I mean that's how hopeless it is in my country(paraguay). I think the lesson here is invest your money don't squander it all away, this isn't the first case. If you know soccer you might know about Garrincha, He won 3 world Cups and was the brains of the Brazilian squad that had an inspired Pele anyway he also died in poverty and it's a real shame that these legends have to go like that. My dad actually played in that paraguayan over 40 squad they refer to as "veterano" in flushing meadow park and it hurt him to see his hero someone he looked up to have a job in the construction field working off the books. 2/10/2006  

10/17/2004 Add a comment

Kathryn Gustafson, the creator of the much-maligned Princess Diana memorial fountain in London, talks about what it was like to become the subject of so much ire and how it felt to watch her creation become ground zero for the worst in human behavior.
Gretchen

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10/17/2004 Add a comment

A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes ago has a helpful and informative itemized list to help you distinguish between I Heart Huckabees and Huckapoo. (If you're as confused as I was, read this article in the Times for further clarification.)
Gretchen

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10/17/2004 Add a comment

Can't believe I hadn't heard about this yet: An October Vanity Fair article about Bush v. Gore relies on Supreme Court clerks' accounts of the election brouhaha. Clerks are usually supposed to stay hush-hush, but these anonymous clerks for Democratic-appointed justices felt it was important they break their silence. William

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10/17/2004 Add a comment

The fundamental disconnect between a sex-for-voting scheme is there is now way to assure follow-through on the second half of the pledge. This story doesn't talk about that, though. It just uses the sex-for-votes trading as entree into a larger article about hipsters, etc., using parties for politics. Tease! William

Comments

  1. Blogger William: Also in Sunday's Post: Food!

    Tom Sietsema's annual dining guide.
    10/17/2004  

10/17/2004 Add a comment

A tale of one city, two restaurants. More often than not, people choose Bob Evans over a great local place with character. Why, oh why?! Bob Evans arranges the food on your plate according to a diagram hanging on the wall! Also, ugh at this quote:
"Going out to eat is risky," said Steve Govey, the Bob Evans regional manager for the Ohio Valley. "You never know what you're going to get. But at Bob Evans, that's not true. Our strategy is being completely predictable, something people know they can count on."

This must be why one of the Bob Evans patrons said he would vote for George Bush because it was "just too dangerous to change stride now. It's best to leave well enough alone."



Also, why are American diets so faddish? Why will Americans drop carbs at the drop of a hat?

And, some regional dishes reconsidered by six writers from across the U.S.

Finally, food on the campaign trail, or eating burgers in public and Indian in private.
William

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10/17/2004 Add a comment

Frank Rich is just so damn good. This week, he nails everything on the Bush administration and the media, from Sinclair Broadcasting to Rupert Murdoch's empire. William

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10/17/2004 Add a comment

They are a bit late, but the NYT addresses the broader question of whether raunchy talk in TV writers' rooms lead to better comedy. If you remember awhile ago, The Smoking Gun posted a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former "Friends" assistant that alleged gross sexual talk in the workplace. The case is now before the California Supreme Court, and some argue that a win by Warner Bros. Television (Owners of "Friends") would open up all "creative" workplaces to vulgar talk and mean fewer successful sexual harassment lawsuits. William

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10/16/2004 Add a comment

From Snapculture's ongoing Britney Spears coverage, we are pleased to inform you that the infamous Letter of Truth is now available on Britney's website. Sample quote: "It's amazing what advisors will push you to do, even if it means taking a naive, young, blonde girl & putting her on the cover of every magazine."
Gretchen

Comments

  1. Blogger William: "My prerogative right now is to just chill & let all of the other overexposed blondes on the cover of Us Weekly be your entertainment... GOOD LUCK GIRLS!!"

    So this is where she got the inspiration for covering Bobby Brown.

    This was not the letter I was hoping for--after all, didn't she say working on the letter made her feel like a Harvard student? To me, this seems like "GED candidate."
    10/17/2004  

10/16/2004 Add a comment

Ten years after My So-Called Life debuted on ABC and was quickly cancelled, ABC seems to be trying to make up for it with their new teen drama, Life As We Know It. The Boston Globe calls it a male-oriented version of MSCL, for starters. And not only do we have the similar names, but check out the show logos. I can't find an uploadable image of the Life As We Know It logo, but click here for lots of examples. And then click here for the MSCL logo. Similar font, same white lettering, same blocking, everything. Coincidence? I think not, especially since Entertainment Weekly just published an article lamenting the premature demise of the show. My theory? ABC is repenting for the tragic cancellation of the Claire Danes teen drama by pushing this dreck. Well, it won't work, ABC! You're still not forgiven! I want to know what would have happened with the letter!

If anyone can help me figure out how to upload images into this post, shoot me an email or leave me a comment. Thanks!
Gretchen

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10/16/2004 Add a comment

New Line, the studio that turned Lord of the Rings into the definitive film event of the decade (okay, so far...), has bought the rights to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the British fantasy novel by Susannah Clarke. That's great and all, but what I want to know is why New Line is busy buying new rights when they haven't even released their production of His Dark Materials, perhaps the greatest fantasy series of all time. Let's focus, New Line!

And along these lines, can someone please explain to me why Britain is the home of major fantasy writing, particularly for children? I know there are lots of American genre writers, but very few of them have crossed over into serious literature.* The Brits--all the way back to Alice in Wonderland and Lord of the Rings--seem to have a monopoly on fantasy as literature. What's up with that?

*Yes, I know that L. Frank Baum and the Wizard of Oz novels might fit into this category. But my point still stands. Gretchen

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10/16/2004 Add a comment

If you watch only one more thing this Presidential campaign, be sure to watch Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire. This link has the full 13 minute clip. Stewart takes Begala and Carlson to task for lowering the bar on political discourse, Tucker calls him "unfunny" and says "I wouldn't want to come over to your house for dinner", to which Stewart replies, "You won't". He also calls Crossfire "theater" and says that Tucker Carlson is a "dick on this show and anywhere else he is", or something like that (it's around the 12:15 mark, tough to hear but listen closely).

Fantastic stuff. Jon Stewart is completely right, and it takes balls to go on that show and tell those guys off to their faces. If I wasn't getting paid to learn, I'd drop everything and try to get a job with the Daily Show. ben

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10/15/2004 Add a comment

Snapculture is proud to bring you the second in an occasional series of tales from the blogverse, a snapshot of blogs and webpages I'm reading on any given theme. Today, CelebritySnark! What is snark, you ask? Heidi Julavits [in]famously defined it in the inaugural edition of The Believer as "an opportunity for a critic to strive for humor, and to appear funny and smart and a little bit bitchy, without attempting to espouse any higher ideals." The brilliant Television Without Pity describes it as sarcastic commentary. Whatever it is, it's hilarious and it's all over the Internet.

Fametracker does it best, with features on different celebs and biting, often cruel, always funny forums posting the latest paparazzi photos of "Downward Spiral Britney" (note that there are over 750 pages of Britney commentary!), analysis of whether Sarah Michelle Gellar's lovey-dovey photos with The Grudge co-star Jason Behr mean that they're more than friends, and perennial critiques of J-Lo, Gwyneth, and Jennifer Garner.

But it doesn't stop with Fametracker. Go Fug Yourself is a daily dose of reality in the midst of celebrity overload. It's best when critiquing celebrity fashion choices, but is also pretty entertaining for bad celebrity photos. Snarkywood posts longer, often-chronological accounts of celebrities and their fashion mishaps. And then, of course, there's Defamer.

If you've got any additions to this list, post it in the comments!
Gretchen

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10/15/2004 Add a comment

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10/14/2004 Add a comment

now O'Reilly is sued for sexual harassment. The Smoking Gun has the lawsuit details. William

Comments

  1. Blogger Gretchen: Eww. Also, apparently O'Reilly doesn't know the difference between a falafel and a loofah. 10/15/2004  
  2. Blogger William: Yes, and what he wanted to do with the falafel probably would not feel too good or get the desired reaction from the woman. 10/17/2004  

10/14/2004 Add a comment

21-year-old Nicky Hilton is seeking an annulment from her two-month-old marriage to Todd Meister, 33, a longtime family friend. We certainly couldn't have seen that one coming. They looked so in love! William

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10/13/2004 Add a comment

No one understands the pain of being a Red Sox fan quite like the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, formerly the "Boston Sports Guy" before he moved to ESPN Page 2. He'll be keeping minute-by-minute diaries of each of the ALCS games (though they aren't available minute-by-minute, they're available on ESPN.com the next day. Probably to edit out all the swearing).

There's always something in his columns that cracks me up. Usually a old t.v. or movie reference, or an old-school baseball reference (this column: Kenny Lofton playing for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1938). Also there's always something that pisses me off (this column: stupid gambling similies).

Always worth a read. Let's hope the Sox can pull it together behind Pedro tonight. ben

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10/13/2004 Add a comment

So says the The Wall Street Journal:

Big companies will use much of their windfall from tax legislation passed this week to reduce debt, buy back shares or make acquisitions, although they lobbied Congress for the measure on the grounds that it would spur job growth.

Sam

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10/11/2004 Add a comment

Frank Rich knocks one out of the park with his analysis of the first presidential debate and why Bush did so poorly. One mantra to remember: "Those who live by Fox News can die by Fox News. (Rich's publication schedule didn't allow for him to write about the second one.) Also, I'm going to add a perma-link to Rich's Sunday columns. He so magically captures the intersection between politics and culture. William

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10/11/2004 Add a comment

It's a little ironic that the man who was Superman and a man who wanted to be Superman both died on the same day. Reading Caminiti's obit, it's clear that some people strained to say something nice about him. William

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10/08/2004 Add a comment

I can not believe the NFL only suspended Jamal Lewis for 2 games! The man got off easy with a 5 month jail sentence in the first place. He was caught dealing cocaine! The NFL is not making a strong enough statement to football fans, particularly all the pee-wee and high school football players who look up to Lewis, one of the best running backs in the NFL. A two game suspension is a slap on the wrist.

This is just one more reason to hate the Ravens in case Art Modell and Neon Deion wasn't enough. meghan

Comments

  1. Blogger ben: yes, i too miss the days when all NFL players did was get caught hauling trailers filled with their weight in pot. a 2 game suspension is a joke...the league's policy on this is pathetic. 10/09/2004  

10/08/2004 Add a comment

Snap Culture friend Roz Helderman writes a dispatch in the Post about Alderson, W.Va., the town where Martha Stewart has begun serving out her prison sentence. The prison and town sound like a perfect fit for Martha as each Christmas the townies collect yarn scraps for inmates to turn into mittens for needy children. Those children should try to figure out which ones Martha made and then sell them on eBay. They could probably buy 100 pair of mittens from the profits they made selling Martha's. William

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10/07/2004 Add a comment

The Washington Post's Kabul bureau chief, Pamela Constable, is using her freetime there to help start an animal shelter for cats and dogs. It leads to an interesting journalism question that has been debated on many levels: To what extent should journalists be helping those they cover? Should a photographer in Africa give food to a starving child? Most people would say yes, but some journalists are very concerned about getting in the way of the stories they cover. And when the starvation is so widespread, how fair is it to favor one child?

Constable seems to stay on the uncontroversial side of the line. She's not directly reporting on Kabul's animals (although I haven't done a search), and she's not covering the Afghan PETA, were there such a thing (although maybe there is). William

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10/07/2004 Add a comment

This is one of the weirder stories you'll ever hear. A former NFL kicker is wanted for shooting a shotgun at Siegfried & Roy's house. Cole Ford's 3-year NFL career didn't go so hot, so he decides to take it out on lion tamers? What the hell is going on? Only in Vegas, baby! ben

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10/06/2004 Add a comment

LeBron James is a new father. What is up with athletes fathering kids so early (and, usually, so often) in their careers? Did LeBron miss the "Welcome-to-the-NBA-don't-knock-someone-up" class? He isn't even 20 years old! Wait a little bit! Enjoy your young, rich life! Don't settle down until you've finished sewing your wild oats! Kobe learned this the hard way. Perhaps LeBron and the baby and the baby's mama (a long-time girlfriend, though, really, how long-time can she be if they're only 19?) will live a perfectly normal, well-adjusted life. But history for young men in LeBron's situation isn't on his side. (Read: Shawn Kemp)

William

Comments

  1. Blogger ben: Clearly whoever has been teaching the "don't knock anyone up" class to NBA rookies has failed for the last, oh, 40 years. From Wilt to Dr. J to Kemp and now LeBron, there's quite a storied history of baby mama drama. Maybe the NBA is trying the old Republican standby, abstinence education. ha!

    And LeBron's quote about this being "a wonderful opportunity in life" is priceless. Give me a break. Seeing the Eiffel Tower when you're 19 is a wonderful opportunity. Having a kid isn't.
    10/06/2004  
  2. Blogger Gretchen: There was a great article several years ago in the Post about a young basketball player recruited straight out of high school. He was having lots of difficulties adjusting to his new, rich, grown-up life. The article pointed out that while the NFL does an excellent boot camp for its athletes (the wear-a-condom-don't-get-girls-pregnant-keep-your-money-in-the-bank lectures were apparently a big hit), and while MLB tends to have older athletes who have gone through college and the minor leagues, the NBA has very young athletes with very little training--apparently, their classes aren't as interesting as the NFL classes. 10/07/2004  

10/06/2004 Add a comment

Marc Horowitz is a conceptual artist who pulled a neat trick on Crate and Barrel. Working as a photo assistant on their latest catalog, he embedded his phone number in a picture and is now fielding calls for dinner dates around the country. His goal is to hit all 50 states. He's also got some wacky ideas for other things he'd like to accomplish. William

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10/06/2004 Add a comment

is not a new album by Minnie Driver. She's currently promoting both the new CD and her new movie musical, Phantom of the Opera. What they don't tell you is that in Phantom, her singing voice is dubbed. Isn't it ironic?
Gretchen

Comments

  1. Blogger William: If her album is anything like her singing cameo in Goldeneye, in which she played Russian mobster Valentin Zukovsky's (Robbie Coltrane) mistress and sang "Stand by Your Man" in a bad Russian accent, causing James Bond to ask, "Who's strangling the cat?", then I hope no one buys it. 10/06/2004  
  2. Blogger William: This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. 10/06/2004  

10/05/2004 Add a comment

Rodney Dangerfield dead at 82. Sad day for everyone. Go rent one of his movies. I guess he's on ESPN's front page right now because of classics like Ladybugs, with Jackee.

Oh, or Caddyshack. :-)

Rodney, you're all right. Seriously. ben

Comments

  1. Blogger William: I thought to post the exact same thing. Beat me to the punch.

    Oh, and what a great day for baseball: Cardinals and Red Sox win, and Yankees lose!
    10/06/2004  

10/05/2004 Add a comment

Nothing quite like listening to two guys who each make over 10 million dollars a year bicker about who's going to pick up the check. But that's what Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield seem to be arguing about. Oh, and that whole steroids issue as well. Maybe that's why they're so angry. Some choice quotes:

-Soon after Sheffield arrived in San Francisco, the friendship between him and Bonds began to sour. Bonds insisted that Sheffield stay at his house and not rent a car. He insisted that Sheffield not pay for anything, though Sheffield did bring his personal chef. "I'm not a child. I make $11 million. I can buy what I want."

-"I was going to pay for the plane, the flight, pay for the limo service, the hotel," Sheffield says. "He gets my mail. He looks in my mail and sees he can get better seats, so he gets better seats. He can get a better flight, so he gets a better flight. He can get a better limo service. And he can get a better hotel. So basically my plan, in trying to do something in return, he wound up doing it. And [that sort of behavior] just escalated."

-"He complained the whole drive," Sheffield says. "'Man, I could have drove. We would have gotten there a lot faster.' The whole time. And I'm saying to myself, Never again. Never again."

-Sheffield flew home to Florida with his [personal] chef. The chef told him, "Gary, I want to confess something. [Bonds] made an offer to hire me: He'll get me a car, give me a place to stay and pay off my student loan."

Great stuff on Bonds's kiss-ass inner circle, and how even when you make 11 million dollars a year, your friends will still treat you like crap. If I could think any less of Barry Bonds, I would. ben

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10/04/2004 Add a comment

We haven't talked much about the other end of the Expos-to-DC story. Halfway down his column, ESPN's Jayson Stark has a wonderful snapshot of the weirdest moments in Expos history. In my own experience at Stade Olympique, for an early regular-season game between the Cardinals and Expos a few years ago, there was another moment that would have fit in with Stark's remembrance. During a snowy late-April weekend, snowflakes started falling from the roof during the game! The PA system began playing "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and "Let it Snow."

Regardless of the weather, attending a game in Montreal was a unique experience, and I'm sad that it'll be gone, replaced by a glittering new stadium with all the usual retro-and-modern frills. For about $6 US, you could buy a ticket and sit anywhere in the stadium (with an entire row to yourself) except for the 15 or so rows closest to the field. Fans would show their appreciation by slapping the seats next to them up-and-down in a Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! that made the 4,000 fans sound closer to 34,000. There were the cheers in French that sounded strangely at home. There was the fuzzy orange Youppi who doesn't resemble anything. And then there were the minor-league games -- a too-old pitch-speed monitor, beanbag tosses -- and concessions --poutine! (fries, cheese curd and gravy) -- on offer in the stadium's bowels.

Yes, Stade Olympique, you will be missed. William

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10/04/2004 Add a comment

Britney Spears apparently feels like she has some explaining to do. She's writing a letter to her fan club, entitled "Letter of Truth: I Hope You Can Handle It," which will give her a chance to explain the shotgun wedding in Vegas, the cancellation of her tour for a knee injury that seemed to require a whole lot of Cheetoes as a form of physical therapy, the recent marriage to Kevin Federline (who honored his new bride by donning a sweatsuit that told the world that he was a "pimp"), and the parade of recent and hideous photographs of Britney barefoot in gas station bathrooms, wearing nasty cutoff shorts, and generally NOT looking like America's Sexiest Woman. Whoa.

And here's the kicker: she says that she's working so hard on the letter that she feels like she's at Harvard.

I've written before about Britney's impending meltdown. Will this be the final straw? Will the Letter of Truth announce her retirement from show business? Has she finally told her mom to get out of her life? Is she pregnant? Only the letter will tell. I, for one, can't wait.


Gretchen

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10/03/2004 Add a comment

People are jumping on the Grays bandwagon as the name for the new DC baseball team. Not that I started it, but Michael Wilbon continues with a compelling story why it shouldn't be called the Senators (summary: they were losers), and why it should be named the Grays (summary: honors Negro leagues, team was successful, encourages African-American fans in a predominantly African-American city).

A columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carries the torch even further, quoting DC Mayor Tony Williams as saying "Give us two senators and I'll be happy to call it the Senators." Right on Tony! No team-naming without representation!

The PPG also links to something you can do to change things:
Sign the petition at rememberthegrays.org to support naming the new team the Washington Grays. I did! ben

Comments

  1. Blogger William: And Grays can be a symbolic easing of racial tensions in a city notorious for them. Just as races intermix over generations, Washingtonians of all colors can support a team whose name signifies a blending of colors. 10/04/2004  
  2. Blogger William: This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. 10/04/2004  

10/03/2004 Add a comment

But Gretchen, you say, the playoffs haven't even started!

Doesn't matter. I remember last October--twelve nights spent pacing and praying, in bars and in my living room. I became a Red Sox fan in 1999, which makes me a baby compared to most fans. But I didn't become a real Red Sox fan until last October, when I hoped and prayed and sat on the edge of my seat and spent hours trying to get playoff tickets and wore the cap backwards and forwards and whichever way I thought would bring them the magic. I didn't become a real Red Sox fan until I was at a Lucinda Williams concert during one of the division series games against the As and found that I'd rather be in the back room, screaming for the Sox, than in the front room, rocking with Lucinda. I didn't become a real Red Sox fan until I realized that espn.com and mlb.com and redsox.com were the first sites I visited, every single morning.

The ALCS of 2003 broke my heart. We were so close. It should have been us.

In some ways I was relieved when baseball ended last year. I couldn't take the pressure, the tension! I was an emotional wreck! And now that we're going back in, I'm not ready for the pacing and the praying, another round of the edge-of-your-seat games. But I want to believe. I'm reading espn.com again; I'm watching NESN 24/7; I'm blocking out evenings for Red Sox games; I'm even tracking down the Red Sox fans with whom I watched that climactic fifth game in the division series. I'm just not sure I'm ready to go through this all over again.
Gretchen

Comments

  1. Blogger ben: Gretchen, you get no sympathy from my broken Cubs heart. We put together the best team we've had on paper since 1984, we're up a game on the wild card with a week left, and we lose 6 of 7 to blow it, three in extra innings, against teams that had nothing to play for. I'd rather be looking forward to the playoffs rather than wondering why my team self-destructed.

    Nonetheless, I'm of course rooting for the Red Sox now. For the next month I'll call him "Nomah" for you.
    10/03/2004  
  2. Blogger William: Gretchen, your plight sounds a lot like The Sports Guy's a week or so ago. You have many fellow travelers.

    I can only be a half-traveler, as I will cease rooting for the Red Sox if they face the Cardinals in the playoffs.
    10/04/2004  

10/03/2004 Add a comment

Rice and San Jose State set a single-game, non-overtime combined scoring record when San Jose State beat the Owls 70-63. What's most interesting is the different approaches the two teams took on offense, perhaps fueled by what they saw as the other team's weakness. San Jose State had 372 yards passing and just 83 yards rushing, a pass-heavy offense one would expect from such a high-scoring game. Rice, however, was the complete opposite, gaining only 64 yards through the air and a whopping 570 yards on the ground. William

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10/02/2004 Add a comment

So after reading the New York Times Magazine article about Nonesuch Records, I think, "Hey, I like all these artists. I wonder what else they record?"

My ENTIRE RECORD COLLECTION. That's what they record. It's a conspiracy, folks! How is it that all of these amazing artists--Sam Philips, Audra McDonald, the Magnetic Fields, Joni Mitchell, Steve Reich, Gipsy Kings, Wilco--all of the artists that made my record collection eclectic and diverse--are actually recording for the same corporate entity? It's freaky. Also, can I please get a job with Nonesuch?
Gretchen

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10/02/2004 Add a comment

Lost!

It's been an exhausting few weeks. Not only have I been busy with finding a job and surviving this semester, but I've also been checking out the fall's new shows. How's a girl supposed to study when Veronica Mars, Kevin Hill, Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Jack & Bobby are all getting fabulous reviews? Not to mention my old favorites--Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, America's Next Top Model, and, of course, the reruns of My So-Called Life. Something's gotta give--and soon (Jack and Bobby, your clock is ticking.) But the real winner so far, in my book? Lost. It's everything this Buffy-and-Alias devotee could want in a TV show. Hot guys? Check. Oh, and Check. Smart chick with a secret? Check. Scary sci-fi-the-world-is-not-what-it-seems vibe? Check. The cast is enormous--which should encourage those of you who are worried that castaways on a deserted island is a limited premise for a weekly show. It's the only show that I've seen this fall that lives up to Alias or even to Buffy for sheer discussability. For those of you who haven't yet gotten Lost, it's on tonight at 8 in a full two-hour presentation of the first two episodes. Trust me. Watch it. It's the one new show that's definitely earned its season pass on my DiVo.
Gretchen

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10/02/2004 Add a comment

Crate and Barrel, the home store whose wedding registries have consumed half my disposable income in the last three years, has gone low-budget. With their new CB2 website, they offer cheap furniture, "funky" dishes, party supplies, stationery, and lots of other things that defy categorization. I had them nailed as Ikea redux until I saw their ME section, which is like Urban Outfitters without the hipster-for-the-masses clothing. I'm not sure what niche they're going for, but if you need a plastic chicken or an uglydoll ice bat (?), you now have a place to turn.
Gretchen

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10/01/2004 Add a comment

This is a pretty intelligent take on the spouse-swapping shows (ABC's "Wife Swap" and Fox's "Trading Spouses") populating network TV these days. What is pretty amazing about watching these shows is that they have conformed the participants to gender stereotypes. Why no gay man for straight woman partner-swapping? William

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10/01/2004 Add a comment

Here's a breakdown of the 18 lies that Brad DeLong says Bush told during the debate in a special feature on his blog called Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by This Liar?

Brad is right on all counts. I'm proud to have pointed out a few of these in real time by yelling at the t.v., but I was nowhere near as comprehensive... ben

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10/01/2004 Add a comment

“I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged,” said Justice Antonin Scalia. Do we think there's an error in the transcription? Or does Justice Scalia just have hidden depths to his philosophy of sex? (Thanks to Crescat Sententia for the link.)
Gretchen

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10/01/2004 Add a comment

From Jon Stewart's interview with Rudy Giuliani: “And again, boy I hate to harp on it, but don’t you think that what he believes is the mistake is how we went about the war, not the actual idea of disarming Saddam? I think what he was saying was that he felt Saddam could have been disarmed without us invading. And actually, I guess what I would suggest is that he was actually disarmed, because there weren’t actually the weapons we thought were there.” Jon's interviews are usually the weakest part of The Daily Show, but at least in this moment, he was dead on.
Gretchen

Comments

  1. Blogger littleboxes: We here at littleboxes actually think he's a better interviewer than either Leno or Letterman. But that does not deny your point that his interviews are the weakest part of the show. So, well, nevermind. An informal poll suggests that over 70% of our staff "absolutely positively loves your website." The remaining staff members were equally divided between "absolutely loving" and "stone cold drunk."

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    10/02/2004  
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