Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Return of the Haterade Express

This essay about the Sex In the City movie is Anthony Lane at his best - even the title is stylish and funny.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Please Kill Me Now

There is a scene in the new Sex and the City movie in which Carrie Bradshaw says that she is so depressed that she will never laugh again. The other girls reassure her that she will laugh again, as soon as something really, really funny happens. Then, Charlotte wet-farts in her pants, and Carrie starts to laugh.

Does that sound funny to you? Does that sound like part of a movie that's become such a cultural phenomenon that women are referring to it simply as 'The Movie?' Does it bother anyone else that all of the characters on this show are shrill, cliched monuments to consumerism? Don't the millions of women who watch this show realize that the characters are pre-feminist movement stereotypes?

I can't wait until every movie theater in the city is throned with women lining up, trying to hide flasks of weak cosmopolitans in their purses, excitedly whispering about all of the sex toys that the Samantha character almost inspired them to buy. Good riddance.

P.S. Roger Ebert's review of Sex In the City is a must-read.

The spurs are dead

Long live the spurs

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pork and Beans

I never know quite what to make of Weezer. They're very talented musicians who make classic music videos every time out. On the other hand, their lyrics make no sense and have no emotional resonance other than a vague whininess.

One of my good friends - a big Weezer fan - told me that I was probably too happy in high school to really "hear" Weezer - sort of like how in White Men Can't Jump Woody Harrelson was too white to really "hear" Jimi Hendrix. Regardless, I think that Weezer's new music video is really funny:

Book Stuff, Redux

Filming 'The Road'
The New York Times article about the shooting of the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' was surprisingly non-shitty. Among the unexpected surprises are the casting of Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and, most significantly, Michael Kenneth Williams in supporting roles. Apparently, when the apocalypse comes, Omar and a couple of cockroaches are going to be all that survive.

Now He's Only Hunted By Cameras

I usually hate these 'over a lunch of steak tartare and french fries at an Upper East Side restaurant' celebrity profiles (because, I mean, who gives a fuck?) but this recent NY Times profile of Salman Rushdie was pretty interesting. As I have previously mentioned, his 'Midnight's Children' and 'The Ground Beneath Her Feet' are CSD favorites. I'm glad to see that he has apparently regained his old form after the relatively unsuccessful 'Fury' and 'Shalimar the Clown.'

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Finally, A Post Not About How Hillary Clinton Is Ruining Our Country, Or Basketball

Actually, it sort of is about basketball.


2-Year-Old Donkey Called Up To Pro Donkey Basketball League

"Memory Lapse"

Hendrik Hertzberg's article on Hillary Clinton and the popular vote is a must-read.

“We’re winning the popular vote,” Hillary Clinton said last week, after prevailing in the Kentucky primary by a margin bigger than that by which she lost in Oregon. “More people have voted for me than for anyone who has ever run for the Democratic nomination.” These statements must be read with the sort of close grammatical and definitional care that used to inform her husband’s descriptions of his personal entanglements. They are not quite true in the normal sense, but if made under oath they would not be prosecutable for perjury, either.


Really, who wants to live through four more years of this crap? Everybody who knows anything about politics - as opposed to, say, people who just listen to sound bites on the 6:00 network news - knows that Hillary is only winning the popular vote if you include Florida, a primary that doesn't count, include Michigan, where Obama would have defeated Clinton is his name was ever allowed onto the ballot in the first place, and if you do not include Iowa, Washington, and other states who use caucuses, instead of primary elections, to allocate their delegates.

The more you hear her speak, the most you realize that her desperate struggle for the Democratic nomination isn't merely bad for the Democratic Party, but potentially catastrophic for the United States of America.

In an eerie echo of the “Brooks Brothers riot” depicted in the HBO movie, when shouting Bush operatives and Republican congressional staffers who had been dispatched to Florida managed to shut down the Miami-Dade County recount, CNN reported on Thursday that Clinton supporters “are planning to swarm the capital in a little over a week to pressure Democratic Party leaders as they gather to decide the fate of the Florida and Michigan delegations.” In 2000, the candidate most willing to deploy principles and trash them, according to the tactical needs of the moment, was awarded the prize. In 2008, maybe not.


If that is true, it raises any number of disturbing questions. For instance:

Can the United States as we know it really survive having two elections in eight years decided in large part by the intimidation of angry mobs of paid political operatives?

If you are paid to use the threat of force to effect the outcome of an election, are you any better than Robert Mugabe?

If the most hated woman in America becomes the President of the United States, what effect will that have on the next two generations of young women?

If Hillary claims to be winning the popular vote, at how many revolutions per minute is George Orwell spinning in his grave?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Game Four

I've caught only the second half of Game Four, so you'll have to fill me in on what I missed. Here are my thoughts on what I have seen:

1) Tim Duncan is one of the most fundamentally sound players every to put on sneakers, so why does he resort to a right-handed one-armed fall away when he spins to his right shoulder on the low block? A left-handed jump-hook would be more accurate, more difficult to block, and far less . . . awkward looking.

2) I don't know if any team has ever had three forwards who pass as well as Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton.

3) The Spurs have had a couple of ugly turnovers in the fourth quarter, particularly the cover-your-eyes-and-cringe Oberto-Ginobili handoff and the Brent Barry-led 3-on-2 break that resulted in his throwing the ball over Bruce Bowen's head and two rows deep into the stands. Even if the pass hadn't been too high, is Bruce Bowen really the guy you want to feed in the open court? The Spurs have won four titles in the past nine years because of their ability to execute, but that skill has deserted them here in the fourth quarter.

4) All of Tony Parker's floaters and tear drops went in against the Suns, and they're all clanking off the rim against the Lakers. Sometimes you don't know nothin'.

5a) WONDERFUL decision by the Spurs not to foul after that Ginobili 3-pointer with 45 seconds left.

5b) Kobe Bryant just tried to be Michael Jordan. How'd that go for you, Kobe? Pass the damn ball!

5c) A forty-five foot outlet pass from Tim Duncan leads to an easy layup by Tony Parker (on which they could have called an and-one.) Man, I love the Spurs - one of the signs of a great team is how it plays when its off its game, and the Spurs are acquitting themselves well tonight.

6) Best indicator of the Lakers' depth: they don't have a set crunch-time lineup. They trust seven or eight different guys to be on the floor in the last three or four minutes of the game, allowing them to play their best match-ups, instead of merely their best players. That's a luxury few teams can afford.

7) The Spurs had the Lakers exactly where they wanted them - the ball out of Kobe's hands, Derek Fisher taking a low-percentage shot on what could have been the Lakers' last possession . . . and Robert Horry kicks the rebound out of bounds.

8) Not the look the Spurs wanted at the end of the game - Brent Barry five feet behind the three-point line. Derek Fisher made a very un-veteran play to leave his feet and commit a clear foul against Brent Barry, and the referees made a terrible no-call. Admittedly, the Spurs have attempted far more free throws than the Lakers so far this series . . . but come on, that last call was a clear foul.

9) Ginobili was a non-factor tonight and a couple of his turnovers were jaw-droppingly bad. Perhaps his ankle is hurting him worse than he's letting on, and Game 3 was just a fluke.

10) The Lakers whipped the Spurs tonight by getting loose balls, offensive rebounds, and other 'hustle' plays. Are they hungrier than the Spurs, or are the Spurs just out of gas?

Sydney Pollack, Dead at 73

Sydney Pollack died yesterday, at the age of 73. His contributions to film were among the most significant of his generation, but I'll always remember him for making Tootsie, one of the greatest comedies ever made.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Galifianakis, Showwalter Strive For Indie Cred

This video is awesome.

Book Stuff

After four or five months with very few noteworthy releases, a number of our favorite authors have released new books in the past couple of weeks. Here's a quick rundown:

1) Over the course of the next week, the Barnes & Noble on Union Square, Salman Rushdie, David Sedaris, and Fareed Zakaria are all having readings and book signings.

2) Rushdie's new novel, The Enchantress of Florence, hits bookstores on Tuesday. Rushdie's past couple of books haven't sold particularly well and received lukewarm reviews from critics, but two of his books, Midnight's Children and The Ground Beneath Her Feet, are two of our favorites.

3) Tony Horwitz - author of CSD favorites Confederates in the Attic and Blue Latitudes, received not one, but two glowing New York Times reviews for his new book, A Voyage Long and Strange. Horwitz has basically created his own nonfiction genre - he visits historic locations and compares his observations on them to original source material written by those who participated in the historic events that took place there. Part Bill Bryson, part Shelby Foote, Tony Horwitz is just the man - I've started A Voyage Long and Strange and can't recommend it highly enough.

4) David Sedaris's new book, When You Are Engulfed In Flames, hits bookstores on June 3rd. "Letting Go," one of the essays from When You Are Engulfed In Flames, was recently excerpted in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

5) Janet Maslin of the New York Times says that, with his most recent book Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey has "stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Presidential Reading Material

I love this picture.
Barack Obama, all-around cool guy and the next President of the United States of America, reading Fareed Zakaria's "The Post-American World."

I wonder what John McCain is reading right now? He seems like a "Flags of Our Fathers" sort of guy. Hillary Clinton is reading . . . what? "The Prince," by Niccolo Machiavelli, if I had to guess. Or perhaps I should say "re-reading" - it appears as if she has already learned its lessons.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Woman Needs To Be Stopped

After months of making openly racialist appeals to white voters, Hillary Clinton recently stated that the reason she is staying in the presidential race, despite Barack Obama's insurmountable lead in delegates and overwhelming support among independents is because Robert Kennedy was assassinated during the 1968 presidential primary, implying that she needs to stay in the race in case Barack Obama is assassinated between now and the general election. In light of her racialist appeals, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock's old jokes about the first black president being assassinated no longer seem very funny.

For months now, I have been saying that Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of herself. I'm beginning to think that, at this point, her remaining supporters should begin to feel ashamed of themselves as well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

can someone please explain to me why I need a rather lengthy article in the NYT teaching me how to row better? Are you serious? Did they get a memo from corporate that said "we need more elitism?" This is part of a series! Do you see any articles with detail descriptions of how to bike safely in traffic? how to shoot a jumpshot? How to catch a bass? The poor fashion/style editors did the only math they were capable of: harvard+(new england preppy sport) = NYT Gold!

Game One

Did anybody else think that the referees blew two big calls down the stretch last night?

The rebound that Duncan lost out of bounds with about 30 seconds left should clearly have been a foul on Gasol. Gasol's attempt to knock the ball away from Duncan resulted in his karate-chopping Duncan on the right elbow. Tim Duncan doesn't just lose defensive rebounds out of bounds during crunch-time in the Western Conference semi-finals. The game was tied at that point; had they called the foul on Gasol, Duncan would have had two opportunities to give San Antonio the lead.

On the next Spurs's possession, there was a scramble for a rebound during which Lamar Odom tripped and fell on top of Manu Ginobili, keeping him from getting to a lose ball, which Sasha Vujacic, who made two free throws to push the Lakers' lead to four.

Before the series, NBA conspiracy theorists suggested that the referees would give the Lakers the benefit of the doubt, because the Lakers would draw much greater tv ratings than would San Antonio. Its hard to think that, in the heat of the moment, the referees would take all of that into account. But you never know.

Violet Hill

I'm a single guy who lives in the West Villge, likes the new Coldplay single, and likes to open a bottle of red wine when he watches Top Chef with his roommate.

Some jokes write themselves.

D'oh!

In case you had forgotten, John McCain is the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States, and he became so in large part because he put his foot in his mouth less than the other serious candidates such as George Allen and Mitt Romney.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The National's New Releases

The National has released a joint DVD/EP, called "A Skin, A Night, and The Virginia EP."

"A Skin, A Night" is a documentary about the making of their album "The Boxer" and the tour that followed the album's release. The oddly named "The Virginia EP" is actually 50 minutes long, which makes it longer than either of their two previous LPs. Its mainly B-sides and covers, but one of its original songs, "You've Done It Again, Virginia" is as good as anything the band has released thus far.

I'm about as big of a fan of The National as you're going to find, and I didn't hear about this album until reviews started popping up online. Two years ago, a particular law school friend of mine would have hooked me up with an bootleg copy months ago. I guess its a sign that I'm getting old.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Food Art That Will Freak You Out

Big ups to Lola's Ephemera for finding this awesome blog about food art. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Edge of Seventeen

The roommate and I watched School of Rock tonight. I had entirely forgotten how funny it was, and, if I made movies for a living, I would find a way to incorporate Joan Cusack into every film I made. Also, John Goodman and Clarke Peters, but that's another story.

The scene in which Jack Black and Joan Cusack bond over Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" is a favorite of mine. I think that, from now on, that scene should be "Edge of Seventeen"'s official music video, because the original . . . pretty much sucks.


Now "Gypsy" . . . that's how you make a music video.

R.I.P. blue truck

so my truck died. that is sad. It was a beautiful blue 1992 V6 manual transmission ford ranger. I bought it for $800 in 2004. 3.5 years and 25k miles later, the rear end and transmission failed. It carried all of my belongings 2,000 miles to canada and carried them all back after 2 year of -35 degree winters. but it is dead now. i shifted into 3rd gear, it shook violently and was undrivable. I could not have asked it to perform longer or more reliably than it did.

Friday, May 16, 2008

You Know You Love It

Can you really fault a guy for thinking of the Beach Boys on a rainy Friday morning in the late spring?

If this clip of the Beach Boys performing on the long-running British music television show Ready, Steady, Go! doesn't spring a smile to your face, then I don't know what to tell you. The Beach Boys are so lovably American, and the program is so lovably British - the announcer's clipped accent, the neatly sweatered schoolgirls, the fact that they make the band actually perform, instead of merely lip-synch, as they did on American Bandstand.



The rest of these clips aren't bad, either:


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Who Said the Spurs Were Boring?

If Allen Iverson or Baron Davis made these plays, everybody would rave about how exciting they are. Instead, the Spurs are boring and traditional and old school. Watch this highlight reel and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Missed Opportunity

I'm kicking myself for forgetting to post this on Sunday. In the year 2 P.B. (pre-blog), I sent this video out as a mass e-mail which got forwarded around so much that professors stopped me in the hallway to ask me where on earth I found it (my response: "uh, the internet?") and about half of my former classmates still have it committed to memory.

Monday, May 12, 2008

All For Spinning You Around

After a long day of work, nothing hits the spot quite like Neko Case vocals and slow-motion close-ups of a dude doing push-ups over a moving jump rope. Just trust me on this one.

Facebook In Real Life

When you put it that way, it sort of lame and sad and intrusive - don't you think?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

And They're All Tied Up

Both Western Conference playoff serieses are now tied at two wins apiece, and we've already had two truly great basketball games - Game 3 of the San Antonio-New Orleans series and Game 4 of the Los Angeles-Utah series. This is why they play seven games - over time, the breaks even out, coaches make adjustments as foul trouble and injuries take their toll, and role players make names for themselves.

Both western conference match-ups, as well as the Boston-Cleveland series in the eastern conference, have atmospheres more similar to that of the Stanley Cup Playoffs than they do to recent NBA seasons. The crowds have been raucous (especially Utah's), home teams are winning a disproportionately large number of games, and good, hard fouls have been the reward for anyone who takes the ball to the basket.

A couple of quick thoughts on today's games:

1) San Antonio proved once again that they are virtually unbeatable when they are firing on all cylinders - here defined as any game in which they can control the tempo, Thomas/Oberto defending the opposing team's big man well enough to allow Duncan to play his traditional "centerfielder" role instead of on the ball, and their reserve wing players knock down their open shots. Watch a Spurs game closely, and count the number of times they take a contested shot outside of the lane - it almost never happens.

2) In Paul Millsap, Matt Harpring and Ronny Price, Utah has a bench that's deeper than just about anybody other than Los Angeles.

3) The Lakers are at their best when Derek Fisher is on the court. Back-up guards Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic have been getting a lot of attention, but Fisher runs the triangle better than anybody else, and Kobe and Gasol get more open shots when he's playing with them.

4) San Antonio Spurs' coach Greg Popavich has been on fire this series - his adjustments have been terrific, particularly his decisions to switch Bruce Bowen from Chris Paul to Peja and increasing Ime Udoka's minutes as an undersized small forward.

5) When Utah is able to turn its steals into fast breks, there are few teams in the NBA that are as much fun to watch.

Game Four

Game 4 of the Western Conference semi-finals series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz begins at 3:30PM this afternoon. The Jazz played really well in game three, led by Carlos Boozer's 28 points and 20 rebounds, and yet the Lakers kept it close until the final three minutes, which says something about the amount of talent the Lakers have on their team this year.

People forget that the Lakers and the Jazz have a lot of playoff history between them. Ten years ago, in the 1998 Western Conference Finals, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek and a bunch of no-names like Adam Keefe and Kurt Humphries swept the Los Angeles Lakers in a defeat as total as I have ever seen - really, the only meeting of two teams so one-sided that late in the playoffs was the San Antonio-Cleveland finals series last summer. Admittedly, that Lakers team was a couple of years away from becoming a dynasty in its own right, but it still featured an impressive roster of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant (who airballed an open jumper on the last possession of the series' only close game), Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Nick Van Exel, and Elden Campbell. Nobody ever gives those late-90's Jazz teams enough credit - they were one big, athletic wing player away from winning multiple championships; I will always believe that.

Twenty years ago, these same two teams faced off in the Western Conference Finals, one of the first playoff serieses I remember watching and perhaps still one of the greatest playoff serieses of my lifetime. The Lakers won in seven games, on their way to the last of their five championships in the Magic Johnson era. Oddly, the series ended on a set play designed to get Michael Cooper - not Magic, Kareem or James Worthy - a jump shot from the top of the key.

Here are highlights - my favorite is John Stockton's full-court pass to Malone around the 3:20 mark:

Friday, May 9, 2008

want to bang on the drum all day

I have a question: why is there an unbreakable link between interesting, intellectually challenging work and ridiculous hours? I am no slacker; I just don't like being in the office 60 hrs a week. hell, I don't even think I want to eat jelly donuts 60 hrs/week. I don't necessarily care about whether I get the important title. I don't need to drive a fancy car. I do like my job. I just want to do what I do, but go home at 5. does such a job exist? And don't say "teach," because university teaching takes more time than that, and I tried secondary education and it is all socio-emotional. the extra intellectual gears just kindof get in the way and confuse the kiddies.
I can't imagine that I am the only one who feels this way. this seems like a big opportunity for a company. Instead of paying big bucks to own someones life, why not find two guys like me, pay us a little less than half and pocket the difference?
thoughts?

Tonight in Basketball

Tonight's game between the San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Hornets was played at an exceedingly high level and was the most entertaining game of this year's playoffs since Game 1 of the Phoenix-San Antonio series. Chris Paul and Tony Parker played point guard just about as well as it can be played; Tony Parker finished with 31 and 11; Chris Paul had 35 and 9 and 1 turnover on 15-for-25 shooting, Manu popping off for 31 points, David West's floor game, the Spurs whipping the ball around and finding open shooters . . . just a great basketball game.

On the other hand, the rugby game that occurred in Boston between the Celtics and the Cavaliers was almost enough to turn me off from basketball forever. After two games of this series Lebron is 8-for-42 from the floor. But he's the chosen one, so the NBA is going to continue to force him down our throat. Watch him go to the foul line 25 times during Saturday night's game.

Three other quick thoughts:

1) Does anybody else think its fishy that David Stern spoke to the officiating crew in person before Wednesday night's Lakers-Jazz game, which then saw the Jazz's two best players get into foul trouble and the Jazz's coach get a technical foul all in the first six minutes?

2) I want to know why the Lakers teams from earlier this decade were considered exciting, but the present-day Spurs are not. Last night's game featured some of the best ball movement I've seen - long outlets, half-court bounce passes, rotations around the perimeter to get open corner 3's. One of my favorite plays is when Tim Duncan goes to the block and posts up, the other team fronts him, then the Spurs shoot a forward (Robert Horry in past years, Fabricio Oberto in recent years) to the high post for a catch and immediate touch-pass down to Duncan, who is now between his man and the basket. That sort of simple-but-elegant play is what all basketball aficionados should enjoy about watching San Antonio play.

3) After game 2, I told a friend that Chris Paul was too quick for anybody on the Spurs to guard one-on-one, so instead of leaving Bruce Bowen - one of the great defenders in the game today, but, at 6'8" too tall and a step too slow for the explosive the 6'0" Paul - on Peja instead. In game 3, that's exactly what San Antonio did. Chris Paul went off against Tony Parker in a big way, but Peja was contained and the Spurs won by double-digits.

4) Kobe Bryant was a poor choice for MVP - the Lakers were headed or the lottery before the Pau Gasol trade, at which point they shot up to first place in the western conference. How does that qualify Kobe as the MVP? My vote would have gone to Chris Paul - he carried New Orleans like no other player this year carried his team, except possibly for LeBron, whose team finished with a worse record in a weaker conference. A poor choice by the voters.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Momofuku

Elvis Costello has a new album out, on which Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis provides backing vocals. Its safe to say that we here at CSD headquarters may have some interest in this record.

I'll post some videos from Momofuku once they're released. Or, failing that, once they're bootlegged and posted on YouTube. In the meantime, the Onion A.V. Club's excellent review can be read here.

It Never Gets Old

If you think about it, there has probably never been a longer-running joke than the Simpsons' show-opening couch gags. This video features every one of them in rapid-fire succession.

The New Coldplay Single

I like Coldplay. There, I said it. They've just released a single called "Violet Hill," from their upcoming album. Its . . . decent. Apparently there's no music video for it yet, but here is the song:



For the record, I think that Coldplay's "The Scientist" is one of the better music videos I've seen. Here it is:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Don't Be Jealous . . .

But Jennifer Connelly and her husband are moving to my neighborhood. I've had a crush on her since I was 11 years old, and in no way is that depressing. they are paying $7 million for a penthouse at 288 West, which is a curious address (in my view, its a little too close to the teenage black gay prostitute no man's land along the West Side Highway), but hey, there are only so many $7 million penthouses in the village and nobody, not even Academy Award-winning actresses, can be that picky.

This is a sad day for my old neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, which is losing its most beautiful (and two of its most famous) residents. The house they are moving out of, at 17 Prospect Park West, is totally ridiculous. Sotheby's expects it to bring a price of $8.5 million. (!!!) You can check it out here.

Wha Happened?

I'm feeling a little bit like Mike LaFontaine today, because I'm at a loss to explain what's happening in the Spurs-Hornets series. The things that woried me before the series began haven't gone to pass - Chris Paul has played very well but hasn't really gone off, the Spurs don't look old, particularly, and the Spurs reserves are hitting their shots - and yet, the Hornets have beaten the Spurs by more than 15 points twice in a row. Wha happened?

ESPN's Bill Simmons frequently criticizes Hornets coach Byron Scott, despite the fact that he was almost unanimously chosen to be the coach of the year, and had taken his teams to the NBA Finals twice since 2002. Anyway, Scott is doing a great job in this series - dropping smaller players down to double-team Tim Duncan from unexpected angles, getting open 3-pointers for Peja (who's 24-for-39 so far this playoffs), and making judicious use of the match-up problems his athletic bench can create.

I love how the Hornets play. Chris Paul can do whatever he wants with the basketball, and I don't know if any point guard has ever had a better eye for the alley-oop pass. Tyson Chandler looks like the next Marcus Camby. And they're built for the playoffs - Peja is a floor-spacer who can close out games from the free-throw line; Jannero Pargo is a "playoff guard" who can carry his team's offense when the starters are on the bench and/or have gone cold; they get to the free-throw line and shoot a uniformly high percentage (other than Chandler, all New Orleans regulars shoot better than 80%), and their help defense is amazing - the Spurs aren't getting all of the easy lay-ups and dunks they got against Phoenix. And the New Orleans crowd has been amazing - they're loud, they stand at the right time, they start chants and sing along to songs during timeouts, and I love - LOVE - the guys who runs around with the giant-Peja head-on-a-stick thing every time he hits a 3-pointer. Just wonderful.

Before the series, I went on the record to some friends in saying I thought that the Spurs would win this series in seven games, but that Hornets would win the western conference for the next few seasons. That may be one year too late.

Monday, May 5, 2008

under-advertised cultural stuff you should do

Go see "The Good Egg" at the Yale Repertory theater in New Haven.

It is a play about the issues surrounding the genetic screening of embryos and the motivations for single parenthood. It is written by a dear friend of mine, Dorothy Fortenberry. Read an interview with her here. It is playing on may 10, 13, 16, and 18. It is her thesis show at from the playwrighting program at the Yale School of Drama. I have read the play and it is excellent. She describes it as being "like the movie "Baby mama" but without the cop-out ending so you have to cry as well as laugh."

you can buy tickets here. So if you are in new haven this weekend or next, or just like good , engaging, modern theater, take yourself and your friends to it.

I'm Feeling A Little Kiley Today

Its Impossible To Even Take Her Seriously Anymore

George Stephanapoulos: "Senator Clinton, can you name one economist who supports your plan to suspend the gasoline tax?"

Hillary Clinton: "I'm not going to put in my lot with economists . . . Elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantages the vast majority of Americans."


Then, of course, there's this campaign advertisement. Who knew Hillary Clinton was actually raised on the frontier?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Clear Your Calendars

Tonight is Game 1 of the second-round playoff series between the New Orleans Hornets and the San Antonio Spurs. It is difficult to overstate how excited I am about this series. San Antonio has won four of the past nine NBA championships, including three of the past five. This year's playoffs seem to be ensuring San Antonio star Tim Duncan's place as the best player of his generation and one of the ten best players of all-time; the focal point of the ruthlessly efficient Spurs dynasty. Meanwhile New Orleans' Chris Paul is not only establishing himself as one of the premier basketball players in the world, but may be, in the words of ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, "re-defining the ceiling of the point guard position." Before this season, the best point guard performances of all-time were authored by Magic Johnson, who could grab a defensive rebound or a loose ball and single-handedly into a fast break on the other end of the floor, destined more often than not to end with a James Worthy or Byron Scott slam dunk. But this season Chris Paul is breaking defenders' ankles, getting into lane, and throwing alley-oop passes from every conceivable (and some previously unimagined) angles to dunkers who seem to appear out of nowhere. For basketball fans, it is a joy to watch the contrast between two teams that are each so good at their particular style of play. Clear your calendars for the next two weeks or so - all I want for Christmas this year is for this series is go to seven games.

This seems like as good of a time as any to mention that the Milwaukee Bucks, who I followed closely in law school and for whom a good number of my close friends continue to root passionately, drafted Andrew Bogut instead of Chris Paul with the first overall pick in the 2005 draft. There's nothing wrong with Andrew Bogut as a player - he averages 18 and 10 and is a solid NBA starter - but he should never have been the #1 pick in the draft. Here is a funny video of Bogut high-fiving non-existent teammates after his real-life teammates ignored him after he made a free throw in a game against the Atlanta Hawks (who, by the way, could also have drafted Chris Paul, with the #2 overall pick that year.)

Friday, May 2, 2008

The End of An Era?

I've written extensively in the past about how much Bill Simmons annoys me at times, but, having said that, his most recent article, "Setting Suns," is really fantastic. It explains how the Phoenix Suns changed from an exciting, unconventional, fan-friendly, 62-win team and potential dynasty to a pedestrian, aging team with no identity that's falling apart at the seams. It happened over the span of four years due to ill-advised free agent signings, the packaging of draft picks in return for aging former all-stars, a too-strict adherence to league orthodoxy, and the owner's reluctance to spend money to make money. One thing the article rightfully stresses is that the players Phoenix has acquired in recent years were nominal upgrades over their previous players by traditional NBA standards, but were horrible fits for Phoenix's system, coaching staff, and existing personnel. Its really a shame, because they were the most exciting team in the NBA to watch, and I say that as a serious San Antonio Spurs fan.

Totally unrelated, but so far in the playoffs Chris Paul is averaging 24.6 points, 12 assists, 5.6 rebounds and only 1.20 turnovers per game. You read that right - in round one, Chris Paul had 60 assists to only 6 turnovers. You can't play point guard any better than that - its impossible.

Criminals Are Stupid

A Texas man was arrested for trying to cash a $360 billion check. He had weed and a .25 caliber gun on his person at the time.

I deal with assholes like this every day. As my job. You can see how I have such a sunny worldview. Thanks to Jimmy Chitwood for the link.

In other news, I was riding the elevator in Kings County Criminal Court today, when I overheard a very funny conversation. In case you've never been to Kings County Criminal Court - and I hope you haven't - imagine the sort of people who spend time at the Chambers Street subway station, mix in a few of the guys who run sidewalk 3-card monte games, and you will get a feel for the patrons of that fine institution. Now, imagine spending 10 floors packed like sardines into a little elevator car with these people. I've seen people literally push other people further into the elevator to make room for themselves - apparently, no car is full enough. Every one of them is wearing a hooded sweatshirt and baggy pants to their day in court - just the thing to wear if you want a judge to have mercy on you! Man, criminals are awesome.

Anyway, I got onto the elevator today with a defense attorney who I've had a number of cases with over the past few months. We were both wearing suits. Nobody else on the elevator - fourteen or fifteen perps altogether - was wearing a collared shirt. Seeing us walk in wearing suits, some perp asked the defense attorney "are you a lawyer?" She said that she was. He said "what kind of lawyer?" This is a stupid question for a number of reasons. She responded by saying "a good one," which made me smile (in the words of Captain Keane, its funny because its true). He then asked her for her business card. "When's your court date?" She asked. "Today." he said.

Think about that - this asshole got arrested, released without having bail set, and shows up for his next court date without a lawyer, planning to hire one in the courthouse. Man, what an asshole.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Tina Fey Effect


From the "learn something new everyday" file:

Apparently, the phrase "The Tina Fey Effect" is a term of art in competitive eating, applied specifically to the context of hot wing eating competitions.

The Tina Fey Effect: "They don't look hot at first, but with time they get hotter and hotter."

***

I distinctly remember declaring my love for Tina Fey at my lunch table sophomore year of high school (when she first became the "Weekend Update" anchor on SNL) and getting shit from my friends; nonetheless, I'm glad the competitive eaters are finally coming around, even if they are a bunch of Johnny-come-latelies.

Is A Dream A Lie If It Don't Come True?

My favorite Bruce Springsteen song is "The River." I've seen him in concert three times, and he's played it twice. At the risk of sounding nit-picky, the problem I have with his contemporary performances of The River is that the song has, in the words of Emperor Joseph II, too many notes. Five minute long violin and harmonica intros, extended clap-and-chant along outros, and dramatic lighting can all rock when used properly, but when taken together they offend the senses, and show that The Boss is overselling a song that has, for 27 years, sold itself just fine.

Last night, I found a great recording of one of Springsteen's earliest live performances of "The River," from the foreign leg of his Darkness On the Edge of Town tour, when it was just another good song, and not a crowd-participation focal point of every concert. Its amazing how fresh it still can sound.


Its especially informative, I think, to listen to "The River" in conjunction with this great Tom Waits cover: