Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hey! SNL Made A Funny!

Viewed objectively, its pretty lazy for Saturday Night Live to continue to use Don Draper jokes every time Jon Hamm hosts the show . . . but, as long as they are as funny as this callback to the "Sad Don Draper" facial expression, I won't complain. Also, I loved the line "My name is Robert Sims, not 'Fat Guy Gets Owned.'"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Red Shirt Guy - An Internet Meme Waiting To Happen

I know that approximately one million people have already made this joke, but this kid totally PWNED the World of Warcraft creators and made them look like total NOOBZ.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All The Way Across The Sky!

There is a brand of gourmet ice cream in the San Francisco bay area called "Double Rainbow." WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

How Good Is Tom Brady?

For the past ten years, the media has spoken of New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady in reverent tones. Brady was considered to be an excellent individual player who was unflappable in high-pressure situations, and raised the level of his play in the games that mattered most. In his first four NFL seasons, Brady's Patriots won three Super Bowls, and beat the arch-rival Indianapolis Colts the first six times he played them. The conventional wisdom was that Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning was the better individual player, but did not have what it took - leadership, courage, fortitude, grace under pressure, trust in his teammates - to win big games, whereas Brady, with good, but not spectacular individual statistics, had all of the intangibles that Manning lacked.

After the 2006 season, the New England Patriots acquired Randy Moss, the most talented wide receiver to ever play in the NFL, and one of the most productive. Moss had played on several of the highest-scoring offenses in NFL history. Moss' rookie year, the Minnesota Vikings led the NFL in scoring, and 35 year-old Randall Cunningham, long thought to be washed-up, led the league in passer rating and was voted first-team All-Pro. In 1999, Jeff George, long though to be washed-up, took over from an injured Cunningham and posted the third-highest passer rating in the NFL and was second, behind only superstar Kurt Warner, in yards-per-attempt. In 2004, Daunte Culpepper passed for 4717 yards - the second-highest total in NFL history at that time - and a 110.9 QB rating. Moss played only 13 games that season, and caught 13 touchdown passes, despite constant double-teams. After Moss left the Vikings in 2004, Culpepper never posted a QB rating higher than 78.0, and was out of football by age 32.

With Moss, the Patritos went undefeated, and scored 589 points, an all-time record. Tom Brady passed for 50 touchdowns and a 117.2 rating - both all-time single season records - and led the league with 4806 passing yards. That season, the Patriots went to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the New York Giants in one of the most famous football games ever played.

The following season, Tom Brady was hit on the knee in the first quarter of the first game of the season, and would not play again that year. His back-up, Matt Cassell, had not started a game since his senior year of high school. Predictably, his first couple of games were unimpressive, but he rallied to finish the year with 3693 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, good for an 89.4 rating. In other words, Cassell's season would have been the fourth-best season of Brady's career, and may have even been the second-best season, after Brady's 2007 campaign, if you excluded the first two or three games of the season, when Cassell was still struggling to find his sea legs, and the rest of the Patriots were struggling with the loss of their leader. This is not to say that anybody could have done it, but it does show that Brady's receivers, offensive line, and coaching were a significant factor in his success.

Brady returned in 2009, and played very well. But, once again, he had Randy Moss, Wes Welker, one of the best offensive lines in football, and, since Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, and Tony Dungy had all retired, the undisputed best coach in the NFL.

This season, Randy Moss, upset over the Patriots' refusal to extend his contract, became somewhat of a problem child in the Patriots' locker room, and allegedly mocked Tom Brady for getting what looked like a woman's haircut. Two weeks ago the New England Patriots traded Moss -- the single-most talented and one of the three most productive wide receivers to ever play football -- to the Minnesota Vikings. Since then, Brady has thrown for 159 yards, 1 touchdown and an 82.7 rating against the Chargers and 292 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and a 69.5 rating against the Baltimore Ravens, numbers that can best be described as pedestrian. Meanwhile, Moss has scored touchdowns in each of his first two games with the Vikings.

Make no mistake, Tom Brady is good. But I do not believe he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, which seems to be the consensus among broadcasters and NFL analysts. I believe him to be a very good player on a great team, who benefitted from playing under a great coach who was always able to devise an offense that put Brady into situations that made the most of his skills. Brady is a cool customer, and has played very well in the Super Bowl and the playoffs, but has not won many big games since the Patriots' defense stopped being the class of the league, and there is a legitimate argument that Brady has never been the best player on his team. He is a very good player whose looks, media savvy, and early-career success have given him a reputation as being an all-time great and a plucky upstart, two things that should be contradictions in terms. He is a top-five quarterback in the NFL, and probably a top-20 quarterback in NFL history, which is impressive. But he's not as good as the media makes him out to be.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Superchunk (!) on ABC News (?)

I don't watch network news anymore, because I'm both an adult and not retarded, but their "Lunch with Superchunk" feature (?) was really well-done. The interviewer was well-versed in the band's music, and the profile captures Superchunk's unaffected normality, in a setting (the East Village's Momofuku Noodle Bar) that seems like exactly the kind of place where hip 45 year-olds would get lunch on a weekday if they didn't have anything better to do. Superchunk are anti-rock stars, but not in the affected, Kurt Cobain anti-rock star way; they've just never had any interest in it. I'm glad that Majesty Shredding has been so well-reviewed, and it appears to moving units based on word-of-mouth recommendations, which are the best kind of reviews.

One last thought: my excitement over seeing Superchunk get the attention they've long deserved is mitigated by the fact that one of our three major networks considers an interview with a group of 45 year-old indie rockers to be news.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nat King Cole + Mad Men + RJD2 = Awesome

I don't really have anything to add. This is just cool.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Triumphant Return of ZMF

Zodiac Motherfucker has released a new installment of his "Great Moments in Ownage" series. I've never seen this particular Steven Segal movie, but I do plan to use the idiom 'to fuck up ugly' in the future. E.g. "In today's game, the Pittsburgh Steelers fucked the Bills up ugly."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It Has Officially Gone From Bad To Worse

Gregg Easterbrook, Buffalo native and author of ESPN's weekly "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column, writes that the Buffalo Bills are the worst team in the NFL this season:

Buffalo doesn't have a quarterback in training, or anything else. There isn't a single player on the current Bills roster who would have started for any of the Bills' Super Bowl teams of the 1990s.

After posting decent defense in 2008 and 2009, Bills' management dismissed defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who teaches the 4-3 Tampa Two, and brought in George Edwards, who teaches the trendy 3-4. Buffalo is now last in the league in scoring defense while the Giants, now run by Fewell, have the league's No. 1 defense. What a canny move by Buffalo management to show Fewell the door! Buffalo threw the 11th choice of the 2009 draft out the window on Aaron Maybin, who is so awful he doesn't even play special teams. Management won't admit the blunder because this would mean admitting Maybin's $15 million signing bonus also was thrown out the window. Owing to the declining health of owner Ralph Wilson, who turns 92 this week, the franchise has been leaderless at the top for years. "Befuddled Buddy" Nix -- his initial Big Decision was to do nothing in the offseason about the quarterback position, then panic and waive starter Trent Edwards once play began -- looks like yet another Bills' manager who has no idea what he's doing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Somebody Is Trying To Get Fired

The darkest and, perhaps, the best Simpsons open of all-time:


ADDED: This ten-second clip from an old episode of The Simpsons is a bit of a pre-cursor to this past week's opening.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend Links

New Yorker writer and CSD-favorite Lawrence Wright's latest column, "Intolerance," is fantastic.

For reasons that should be very obvious, New York Magazine's "Curators of the New Brooklyn" piece was widely circulated around CSD headquarters this week.

The AV Club's Noel Murray has a new regular feature, "A Very Special Episode," analyzing classic television episodes that capture "the spirit of [their] time and the properties that make television a unique medium." Two recent installments, on The Brady Bunch's "Dough Re Mi" and Homicide: Life on the Street's "A Doll's Eyes," were particularly noteworthy.

Superchunk played a concert at the 9:30 Club a couple of weeks ago, and, as always, NPR's All Songs Considered was there to record it.

A few months late, Best Week Ever's listing of "My 10 Favourite British Announcer Calls During the World Cup" is a lot of fun, even if I would have put the "Velvet and Instant" line in the top three and found a way to include Martin Tyler's fantastic "the Dutch are trying to spike the Spanish guns" line from the World Cup final.

Surprisingly fun internet meme: The Smiling Cigar Guy, from a Daily Mail photograph of the spectator's gallery from the Ryder Cup.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This Is Kind of Awesome

As long-time readers of this blog know, we love Buffalo Trace bourbon. We like it because it tastes good, but we love it because of the crazy-ass narrative on the back of the bottle, a crazy tall tale of westward expansion that all but begs to be read out loud in your best Sam Elliott-impression voice.

So, you can imagine my excitement when my lady friend Amber Waves brought me a can of Kick Ass Coffee. Kick Ass is roasted in Invermere, British Columbia, and it is very strong coffee (at least the blend that I tried). But, once again, the selling point was the narrative on the back of the can, which, because its Canadian, is written (hilariously) in both English and French:

In the summer of 1858, James Hector set out to discover the Kicking Horse Valley. His expedition took him through some of the most beautiful and rugged country in the West. During a river crossing, one of the pack horses kicked Hector so hard that others in the expedition mistook him for dead. As they began to bury poor old James, they noticed his eye twitch. The legend says it was a stiff cup of Kick Ass Coffee that brought him back to life!

Au cours de l'ete 1858, James Hector part a la decouverte de la vallee du Kicking Horse. Il parcourt alors les regions les plus belles et les plus sauvages de l'Ouest. En tentant de traverser une riviere avec les betes de somme, JAmes recoit une ruade si violente que ses compagnons le croient mort. Alors que ceux-ci s'appretent a enterrer le pauvre JAmes, ils remarquent un clignement de paupiere. Selon la legende, c'est une tasse de cafe Kick Ass bien corse qui le ramena a la vie.