Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Meet sexy singles!
Meet sexy singles!
Monday, February 16, 2009
The video of the "woman going insane after missing flight" (almost sounds like a painting title, doesn't it?) is the latest example of public humiliation extending far beyond the locale in which it occurred.
Before the woman going insane after missing flight, there was the skier who lost his pants in a chairlift mishap in Vail, Colorado. An enterprising photographer nearby snapped a photo of the man's exposed buttocks as he hung suspended from the chairlift. From its publication in the local media, the naked skier photo quickly went viral on the internet, humiliating the skier not merely at the resort but throughout the world.
Of course, no story comparing the woman who goes insane after missing her flight to other public temper tantrums and mishaps going global would be complete without mention of Britney Spears. Spears has been the subject of number viral videos from her public mental breakdowns to her various publicly photographed panty omissions.
Is there a lesson to be learned from the woman who goes insane after missing her flight? Public behavior is no longer the fleeting blip on the radar screen it once was. When someone like the woman who went insane after missing her flight loses control in public, readily available technology- from cell phone cameras, to video cams, to security tapes- may capture a lasting and permanent record of the embarrassing, out of control behavior. And with the internet as the new town square, the "gossip" spreads virally throughout the entire world with video and audio evidence that will never go away.
Overall Ranking under the Microscope of 64 Historians
C-SPAN undertook a second ranking of the first 42 United States presidents. Its first attempt at ranking the best and worst presidents took place in 2000. The name at the top is Abraham Lincoln, making him one of the best presidents ever. His top dog position is unchanged. The spot of worst president once again goes to James Buchanan, another ranking that remains unchanged.
A somewhat surprising change is Bill Clinton, who in 2009 ranks 15th on the 1-42 list, while in 2000 he ranked 21st. As Mr. Clinton's star is rising, Rutherford Hayes is on the decline. In 2000 he was ranked 26th; in 2009 he only commandeers the 33rd spot. What has he done differently in the last nine years? Not a thing. He is a victim of time and perspective.
Grading criteria for the best and worst presidents were the abilities of public persuasion, leadership in times of crisis, management of the country's fiscal health, moral authority (which earned Bill Clinton a rather unfavorable rating), foreign policy, administrative prowess, bipartisan government, a definable vision, and an eye on equality. Allowances were made for what the historians termed "performance within context of times."
The Five Best Presidents
C-SPAN identifies the five best presidents as being Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.
The Five Worst Presidents
It names the five worst presidents as being Warren Harding, William Harrison, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan.
Partisanship and the Best and Worst Presidents Rankings
It is clear that James Buchanan's failure to act during Southern secession talks and his unwillingness to stop the Civil War discredited him and caused him to be named as the single worst president of our times.
A democrat in favor of slavery, he regarded the growing discontent of his country as one that could be solved with the power of the Supreme Court, a tool still employed today by more recent presidents. Yet even just a cursory trip back into recent history shows how entering a war, just like averting it, can draw the ire of splinter groups everywhere. Financial mismanagement and the calls for impeachment rounded out his presidency.
Is George W. Bush the Modern Day James Buchanan?
Unlike so many other presidents who get whitewashed over time - or whose accomplishments are not fully recognized for their scope until one or more generations have passed - James Buchanan and George W. Bush may in the future vie for the bottom rung of the ladder.
Brought on in part by ignorance - Lancaster Online reported that not even Buchanan's fellow Lancaster residents really know anything about him - and in part by failing to appreciate the difficulties faced by one man in the seat of highest office, I cannot help but wonder if Find Law's John Dean was not correct when he suggested that ranking the best and worst presidents is truly just a "parlor game" that relieves intellectual boredom.
On the other hand, could a more thorough examination of James Buchanan by American voters have led to a defeat of George W. Bush in 2004? Should future presidential contenders take a hint from these rankings and incorporate them into their campaigns?
Sunday, February 8, 2009
While that's a good first step for the NFL, I have an even better idea for 'fixing' the Pro Bowl: shoot it and bury it ten feet deep in the woods and never talk about it ever again. If anybody comes around to build condominiums in a few years (right!) on the site that its buried, send Tony Soprano and a shovel to move it to another place.
For what is widely considered the king of all sports in the United States, the NFL has always had the weakest 'All Star game'. Football has never been a sport conducive to a 'friendly' competition the way baseball and basketball can somewhat be. A great pitcher can face a great hitter and both can give maximum effort in an All Star game. A great dribbler can go one on one against a great defender in a basketball all star game and we can at least see one aspect of true competition in an otherwise meaningless game. In football, however, the game is so highly predicated on game plans and brute physical force that an All Star game simply doesn't work.
Once upon a time, the Pro Bowl had a place, albeit a minor one, on the sports landscape. When the event was conceived, the explosion of ESPN, the Internet, satellite TV and even VCR's could hardly be envisioned. Fans had rare chances to see the best in the league: they'd either catch them on the local over the air broadcast or maybe a snippet on the evening sports report. So the chance to see the best players all together on one field, even in an exhibition, was something of a novelty.
Now, it's just stupid.
There is simply not a lack of opportunity anymore to watch any team, and any player, that you would like to. It is now possible to watch, and re-watch, every play of every game online, over the TV or even on your handheld wireless device, while they participate in TRUE competition.
The NFL is all about tactics and strategies; conditioning and strength; teamwork and leadership. NONE of those qualities, except maybe arm strength, matter in the Pro Bowl. NONE. Worse yet, the Pro Bowl comes precisely a week AFTER the crown jewel of not just the NFL, and not just of sports, but of what some would say all of American pop culture: The Super Bowl. All the attention and time that is focused and spent on that game is justified. To spend anymore a week later on the lamest 'major' event in pro sports would be asinine.
So next year, the game will come the week BEFORE it. Yawn. Fine, it's a dead week anyway. But by definition, none of the Super Bowl participants will be in the Pro Bowl game. So the two best teams, or at least the two teams with a chance to win the Vince Lombardi trophy, will have nobody in what is supposed to be a showcase of the best players in the league? What in the world is the point of this? Why?
Who is watching this thing anyway? I'm sure there are some degenerate gamblers, home bound seniors, and people whose two year old baby broke the remote. But why is the NFL doing this to its brand? WHAT is the point?
I know what some of you are thinking. "Well, then, just don't watch it, what do you care?" Fair enough. Nobody forces me to watch it and I don't. I can't even tell you who the starting quarterbacks are on either team. But for an entity as image conscious, as careful with its brand and as intelligently marketed as the NFL is, this is the hokiest and most insulting thing it can do. Any notion that anybody should spend three hours watching this nonsense is just plain dumb.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
The late 50's and early 60's brought along shows for children that were actually engaging and required an attention span, unlike much of today's garbage. Kids were treated to a veritable cornucopia of programs that used live hosts playing games or telling stories. Some of the best of that era include Shari Lewis, Paul Winchell, and for those of us who lived in the Northeast, an engaging Sunday morning show named Wonderama. A number of these new programs were puppet shows geared at the young male audience and actually had plots, shows like "Fireball XL-5", "Supercar", "Stingray", "Thunderbirds" and "Captain Scarlett", and some of them, most notably Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlett, featured special effects by a young man named Derek Meddings who eventually worked on such big screen movies as "Superman".The term "situation comedy", when compared to the history of television, is relatively new, but actual sitcoms have been around since the so-called "Golden Age" of commercial TV, led by "The Life Of Riley", "The Honeymooners", and "I Love Lucy". For the most part, those shows were really funny, and the laughter heard during them was actually people reacting to what they saw. Anyone who's been to a TV taping recently then saw the show later on the home screen knows that today the producers add "canned laughter" and applause because their live audiences just can't give them enough reaction to lackluster, unfunny scripts.
Other stars of the period also became experts at juggling the restrictions. One of the most brilliant crews on TV back then was the team of writers who worked on "Your Show Of Shows", starring Sid Ceasar and Imogene Coca. The writing talent included Neil Simon and Mel Brooks, who both went on to great careers in film and stage, and developed phony foreign vocabulary for some of the skits. The fake language was so well done that many people who only spoke English were convinced the words were genuine.
Small screen language and morals are evolving rapidly, and recently the FCC approved use of the "F" word as long as it isn't used merely "to shock the audience" and happens after prime time. In the days of Lucy and Donna Reed, scenes shot in the parents' bedroom always showed two beds, implying that for a married couple to share a bed was morally wrong. Today we can see mixed couples and even threesomes in bed together and no one raises an eyebrow any more. When we first heard Archie Bunker flush his toilet on "All In The Family", some viewers were outraged. Who knew so many people considered a toilet flushing to be obscene? Makes you wonder what
Pundits are blaming a lot of today's violence on television. That may be a bit of a stretch. Back in the 50's and 60's there were violent shows too, although most of our modern youth won't remember them. Let's refresh your memory by dropping a few names: "Have Gun, Will Travel", "Wanted: Dead Or Alive", "Racket Squad", and "The Untouchables". Even the cartoons were openly violent. For sheer action and violence, it's hard to beat Tom And Jerry, Heckle And Jeckle, or Mighty Mouse, characters who often beat each other senseless or dropped anvils on each other's heads. Looking back on the news of that time, you will find very few reports about kids imitating what they saw on TV and getting hurt or killed.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
One thing about huge sporting events, and the Super Bowl definitely counts as one - they generate a lot of trivia and interest in trivial statistics. Not like the baseball guys who go a bit overboard in their spare time with crazy stats like: What left-handed relief pitcher born on a military base at night stuck out the most right-handed batters during a home day game at Fenway Park, only to see the game called because of rain? Nothing like that. But the Super Bowl does have reams of information available for the determined and the scholarly, the curious and the guy trying to win that bet or office pool.
The following trivia was gleaned from ESPN.com, About.com, Sportsline.com, Wikipedia.org, Wiki.answers.com and CBS Sports:
This year's Super Bowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers starts off with some interesting facts, even before the game begins. According to CBS Sports, Mike Tomlin, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach is the youngest coach, 36 years old, to take his team to a Super Bowl. Being black, he will also be the youngest black coach to take his team to the Super Bowl (Tony Dungy took the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl two years ago, Super Bowl XLI, and won, so Tomlin won't be first in ether of those categories). This is the Steelers' seventh appearance, which is not a record, but, if they win, they will have won six Super Bowls - and that is a record.
The Arizona Cardinals have never been to the Super Bowl. Ever. So everything they do will be a Super Bowl team record. The Cardinals franchise never went to the Super Bowl while in St. Louis, either. And the four years previous to that, when the Super Bowl was called the World Championship (before the American Football League merged with the National Football League), they were spectators as well.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who already has a Super Bowl ri ng from Super Bowl XXXIV when his St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans, holds the Super Bowl record for most passing yards with 414. He also won the MVP award for that game. His team, the Cardinals, also have the distinction of allowing the most points per game (26.6) than any other team to make it to the Super Bowl. They face a team, the Steelers, who led the League in defense during the regular season.
NBC is the hosting network for Super Bowl XLIII and are charging a record $3 million for a 30-second commercial slot, a record - even in these harsh economic times. NBC is tied with CBS with the most number of Super Bowls broadcast: 16.
This is the fourth time Tampa has hosted the Super Bowl, the second time it has been held at Raymond James Stadium. The Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans has hosted the most Super Bowls: 6. The city of Miami has hosted the most Super Bowls: 10. They will host Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 as well.
A couple of other interesting trivia facts that could come in handy to decide ties in that office pool:
San Francisco 49ers Jerry Rice set a record in Super Bowl XXIII with 215 receiving yards against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Devon Hester of the Chicago Bears is the only player in history to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown, which he accomplished against the victorious Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
The Buffalo Bills have been to four (and those four were consecutive) Super Bowls without a victory, the most of any team in the NFL.
The Dallas Cowboys have been to the most Super Bowls: 8. They have won five Championships.
The only Super Bowl starting quarterback from West Virginia University appeared in Super Bowl XXV. Jeff Hostetler started for the winning New York Giants against the hapless Buffalo Bills.
College with the most starting quarterbacks (not counting multiples, such as Joe Montana's and Terry Bradshaw's four trips and wins, which makes them the quarterbacks with the most victories and the most victories without a loss): Univerity of Alabama - 3 (Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler); Notre Dame - 3 (Darryl Lamonica, Joe Montana, Joe Theismann). However, there is a distinction to be made in that not one of the Alabama quarterbacks lost a game in four Super Bowls (Starr played in the first two, when it was known as the World Championship), while Daryle Lamonica lost in Super Bowl II against Starr and Joe Theismann lost in Super Bowl XVIII against the Raiders. Notre Dame quarterbacks have started 7 Super Bowls; Montana won 4, Theismann won 1).Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills lost more games without a win than any other quarterback: 4.
No Super Bowl has ever seen two quarterbacks from the same college start a gainst each other.
There have been only three starting left-handed quarterbacks: Ken Stabler (Oakland Raiders), Boomer Esiason (Cincinnati Bengals), and Steve Young (San Francisco 49ers).
There are five active professional NFL football teams that have yet to play in a Super Bowl: Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the New Orleans Saints.
There's plenty more trivia out there for the imaginative and the curious. By the end of Super Bowl XLIII, there will be plenty more.
This spring brings TV viewers a mix of fantasy and reality, with mostly drama and not quite enough comedy. Shows may start out promising, but the viewing public can be fickle. Ratings can quickly deci de if Spring TV newcomers can stand up to the existing players and make it through to the next season.
Spring TV shows face the challenge that a new restaurant may face on an overly-crowded street. Everything better be good for the first show, or there will be no repeat viewers. Here are five TV shows premiering this spring that should be given a chance to build an adoring fan base and audience.
New Spring 2009 TV Shows That Should Not Be Canceled
In the Motherhood
With so few comedies on the spring schedule, and so few shows about women, and even fewer about moms it would be a shame to see In the Motherhood cancelled. This show has built a web audience that could be parlayed into a TV audience. ABC has a lineup that is set to reel the viewers hungry for some much-needed comedy.
In the Motherhood treats fans to a sit com favorite, Megan Mullally, of Will & Grace fame. The show will focus on stories moms can relate to, as they struggle to juggle work, house and kids with not enough hands, just as the characters on the show will.
In the Motherhood premieres on on Thursday March 26, 2009 at 8pm on ABC.
Fans of Nathan Fillion can sit back and enjoy a little mystery with him on Castle. Nathan Fillion has appeared on Desperate Housewives, as Dr. Adam Mayfair. On Drive he was Alex Tully. Previously he had a stint on two Joss Whedon shows: Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
A little drama, a little mystery, a la Monk, but without the crazy may be just the show viewers want this spring. Nathan Fillion shows don't have a good track record, so maybe his time has come. The inclusion of the enticing actress, Stana Katic, who played a vampire on 2008's The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice can only help this show's chances of survival.
Moving into a world that seems slightly unbelievable is Cupid. If this sounds familiar, beyond the Greek mythology reference, it is. The show had a trial once before, in a death-to-any-show time slot, Saturday night.
The previous incarnation starred Jeremy Piven, who actually believed himself to be cupid. This incarnation features Bobby Cannavale as Cupid. The first incarnation had Rob Thomas as the show's writer who had a following with his previous shows Veronica Mars and Dawson's Creek.
A better time slot and more physically appealing lead may keep this show on the air.
Cupid premieres on Tuesday, March 24, 2008 at 10pm on ABC.
The Doll House
More Joss Whedon. Fans are grimacing, grinning and hoping for the best from the latest Joss Whedon show, The Dollhouse. The show stars Eliza Dushku, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The beauty played Faith.
The premise makes the show sound like a cross between Point of No Return, The Bourne Identity for hot folks, and the novel He She It by Marge Piercy. The show already has an audience in Joss Whedon fans, and if the FOX and Friday night audience can understand the show, they may keep tuning in.
The Dollhouse premieres on Friday, February 13, 2009 at 9pm on FOX.
The Unusuals takes two interesting actors, Harold Perrineau (Michael from Lost) and Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia) and mixes them up in a cop drama. Cop dramas are nothing new, but these two talents may be enough to keep the audience tuning it.