IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

1. “We are the Nation/We are the Children…”

Nation, our fearless leader, @StephenatHome, signed off last night (but he did gain immortality, and not just from the Museum of Television and Radio). Besides the grand finale sing-along for “We’ll Meet Again,” our favorite moment was when he noted that he’d started a “revolution” and that a revolution is actually one full turn of a 360-degree circle, which is to note that we are right back where we began in 2005.

Pull-quote? “My first impression of immortality? Kinda lonely, a little snacky. Overall, I can see why God went this way.”

My not-quite-but-nearly-complete guest list of those celebrities who participated in the sing-along:

Jon Stewart, Randy Newman (playing piano), Alan Alda, Bob Costas, Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, Keith Olbermann (in a pink dinner jacket), Matt Taibbi, Yo Yo Ma, Katie Couric, Michael Stipe, Gloria Steinem, Andrew Sullivan, Willie Nelson, Tom Brokaw, Smaug, Dean Kamen, Neil Degrasse Tyson, David Gregory, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mike Huckabee, Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman, Pussy Riot, Stone Phillips, Ric Ocasek, Big Bird, Elijah Wood, Jeff Tweedy, Patrick Stewart, JJ Abrams, Cyndi Lauper, Vince Gilligan, a space station astrounaut, Ken Burns, Tim Meadows, Bryan Cranston, Arianna Huffington, Paulina Porizkova, George Lucas, James Franco, Eliot Spitzer, Alexei Lalas, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Cookie Monster, Cory Booker, NYC Mayor Bill Deblasio, Mandy Patinkin,  aaaaaaand Stephen’s longtime nemesis, Barry Manilow.

2. Rondo is Gondo!

The Boston Celtics trade Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks.

3. TESLA roars

Wall Street analysts call it “the stock of 2015.”

4. Michelle Caruso Cabrera in Cuba

If you have to be a journalist covering the events in Cuba, aren’t you happy that it’s in December and not July?

5. “Serial” Killer

Didn’t listen to the final episode of Serial or any of the other episodes because I don’t yet listen to podcasts (Hey! Get off my lawn!), but I hope to someday. I think Spencer Hall summed it up best when he tweeted, “(Host) Sarah Koenig admitting she was The Zodiac Killer was undoubtedly my favorite part of Serial’s finale.”

*This (2-5) is what happens when you accidentally press “Move to Trash” instead of “Publish.” Thanks so much, Tim Cook (because why would I blame it on my own stupidity?)

Remote Patrol

Seahawks at Cardinals

Sunday 8:30 p.m. NBC

Will either of these two NFC West powers return to this stadium in early February for the Super Bowl? Depends if either can win in Green Bay, most likely.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

I’m not even making this up: a theater in Dallas will show “Team America: World Police” gratis on Xmas Day in lieu of “The Interview”

1. The Interviewention

So, here are my points to ponder:

–The U.S. government isn’t forbidding anyone from seeing this film. A bunch of theater owners who are in business to make money are. Maybe they thought December 25, Christmas, might not be a good date to have their theater chain associated with a terrorist attack. Maybe they didn’t want to hire security detail because, even though the likelihood of an attack is low, what happens if you DON’T hire security and something happens? But if you do, your profit margin lowers.

–Our version of free speech is producing a film such as The Interview. Someone else’s version is hacking into your computers and revealing private information. Potato, Po-tah-toe.

–Let’s admit that this is more than a little bit about the cult of personality. Seth Rogen has stoner-cool cred and Kim Jong-Un is a ruthless dictator. But people are behaving as if this is a free speech issue. Really? Would the reaction be the same if Mel Gibson were producing a film about bombing the Holy Land? I think not.

2. Havana Good Time, Wish You Were Here!

It’s been a good week for both the Cubs and Cuba

The Twitter account of @PourMeCoffee said it best, “We cannot normalize relations with oppressive regimes” –sent from my iPhone.

Interesting that Sports Illustrated put the Cubs on its cover this week as Cuba makes big news.

3. My Kinda (Navrati) Lova

Czech mate (I know, TOO easy)

That’s 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, 58, and her new spouse, former Miss U.S.S.R. Julia Lemigova (There’s a lot of “ova” in this relationship, in more ways than one…yes, I love plural Latin puns), 42. It’s the first marriage for one of tennis’ all-time greats, which means that there is hope for the rest of us (and if it happens to be a former Miss Russia 16 years my junior, so be it).

4. Today In B1G Coaching

From Faux Pelini to Foe Pelini

“Bo Peeps!” would normally be all you’d need to sate your desire for nutty news.

Today, in addition, we have “Harbought”: Will Michigan alumnus Jim Harbaugh accept his school’s offer of a reported six years and $48 million to turn its program around?

5. That’s How I Got to Memphis

Zach Randolph had 21 points and 21 rebounds in last night’s win, but refuses to go on the Marc Gasol Diet

Beware the Grizzlies, who took down 21-2 Golden State on Tuesday and then beat, in three overtimes, defending NBA champs San Antonio in S.A. the following night. Memphis and Golden State are following the same model: find a solid core (here, Z-Bo, Mike Conley and Skinny Gasol) and give them a couple of seasons to blend.
Recall, last spring, Memphis maybe ousts OKC if Russell Westbrook does not make that steal late in Game 5 (?). The Grizz (21-4) are for real.

Remote Patrol

The Colbert Report

Comedy Central 11:30 p.m.

Nation! Our star-spangled host signs off after nine years tonight–and then he’ll take the next nine months off. Nice work if you can get it.

 

 

Jilly B. Returns!

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

Gaol should’ve entered The Biggest Loser, Pro Athletes Edition. The seven-footer has lost at least 50 pounds and –shocker!–is playing the best ball of his career.

1. Memphis Bellwether

The two teams with the NBA’s best records met last night as Golden State (21-2) visited Memphis (19-4). Not sure the last time two teams with a combined 40 wins and only six losses played. Anyone? Oh, thanks, Elias. They say that it was the fifth time two teams with a combined .870 win percentage had met this late in the season.

The Grizz won, 105-98, thanks in part to Stephen Curry shooting 1 for 10 from beyond the arc. Also, the Grizz went on a 20-0 run to begin the second quarter, all while Steph was seated on the bench.

Skinny Marc Gasol scored a game-high 24 points, but Zach Randolph remains a freak of nature. Thus endeth GSW’s win streak at 16 games.

Oh, and yes, this is a walk year for Gasol. That’s one way to be motivated to stop snarfing pretzel burgers.

2. Orange County Prodigy

Among Orange County teens, Landon is without peer

Your humble scribe got dragged to a sushi happy hour joint on a Monday night in Orange County. Did not expect much from the raw fish, much less the live entertainment. And then this 18 year-old takes the stage with his guitar and blows us away. He’s got the looks, he’s got a powerful voice, and he wields the axe like John Mayer. His name is Landon Longard and he’s one of six kids (three boys, three girls, perhaps a maid named Alice).

Remember his name.

3. “The Interview/This Is The End”Double Feature

Wait until we learn that Jonah Hill 1) was behind the entire prank and/or 2) is Marc Gasol’s weight-loss coach.

It’s getting more interesting as America braces itself for the premiere of The Interview on Friday. Guardians of Peace, the group that has claimed responsibility for the hacking (two thoughts: 1) Same initials as GOP and 2) Isn’t it refreshing to hear of a terrorist organization hacking without lopping off heads?) has pledged a “9/11-style attack” at theaters that air the Seth Rogen-James Franco vehicle.

It’s so bizarre. Usually the movie bombs. Not vice versa.

4. Havana Good Time

Happy New Year!

So apparently the USA only holds a grudge for 55 years, as President Obama is considering lifting our embargo on Cuba, which is only the largest and nearest to the U.S. Caribbean island. Like…duh!

This should happen just in time for New Year’s Eve, so we may all celebrate Michael Corleone-style: “I know it was you, Fredo! You broke my heart. You broke my heart.”

Related: Hollywood has yet to lift its embargo of Cuba Gooding, Jr.

5. Assuming We Finished 21st Last Year

So, the Washington Post published a list of the 20 Most Popular Web Sites each year since 1996. Fascinating. Penthouse, kudos, you were once in the Top 20. And I cannot believe AOL remains in the Top 25 –AOL users, you DO realize you do not need to pay for email, etc., don’t you?

*********

Of course, if you have a surfboard, you can do this…

 

Rule No. 2: “Diving into a wave is safer than running away from it. Dive into waves.” *

That may or may not be metaphorical.

Remote Patrol

 White Christmas

AMC 8 p.m.

Seriously, everyone here is straight

Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye save an inn in New England by singing and dancing with George Clooney’s aunt. Seriously. Also, this is the last known inn in New England not owned by either a gay couple or Bob Newhart.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

Pox on FOX, and Fox in Sox, as reported by UpRoxx

1. Hackers Give AJ Chicken Pox

So reportedly hackers, upset that they went ahead and made the film Unbroken, found a way to give the film’s director, Angelina Jolie, chicken pox. Okay, I’m just being goofy. They didn’t do this. They did give Sidney Crosby the mumps, though.

2. Vanilla Funk

The Yankees are practically giving away $13 million a year contracts. It’s as if Crazy Eddie AND Jos. A Bank are the general manager.

Chase Heady (“That’s Headley!”). Really, New York? He’s a nice ballplayer, I guess. The nice thing about the four-year, $52 million deal is that the Yankees are not asking the third baseman to lose weight.

3. For Pete’s Sake

His jokes, her jumper. What a family.

SNL Rookie of the Year Pete Davidson –at least in the early voting– is six-foot-three, which is something you’d never consider when you see him slouch at the “Weekend Update” desk. Posture, my man! Anyway, his younger sister, Casey Davidson, is a five-foot-ten high school senior who averaged 23.7 points per game in her first three games of the season thus far for Staten Island St. Joseph’s By-the-Sea, which is really kinda by where New York Harbor meets that sexy part of the Atlantic Ocean that leads to the Atlantic Highlands.

Anyway, mom is proud.

4. Why Does Roger Goodell Hate Mike Tirico & Jon Gruden?

Saints 31, Bears 15.

Packers 43, Falcons 37 (it was a huge blowout for most of the game)

Dolphins 16, Jets 13.

If it seems as if Sunday Night Football has been getting far superior games than Monday Night Football this season, that’s because it has. Since Week 1, there has not been one MNF game that featured two probable playoff teams. The closest thing to a quality matchup was Patriots at Chiefs and that game was a posterior-whuppin’, as the Chiefs rocked the Fighting Garoppolos, 41-14.

5. Jimmy John’s

Last year Kimmel’s elves turned the Krasinski-Blunt domicile into a winter wonderland complete with carolers and a Guillermo

Jimmy Kimmel, John Krasinski and Krasinski’s actress wife, Emily Blunt, have a pretty good Yule duel of pranks going. This clip reviews its history and reveals the latest shot fired. Good stuff.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

1. It’s Been a Swell Day

“Charlie was crazy. His hero was Don Quixote, an old man who fought against incivility by pretending he was a knight…His religion was decency, and he spent a lifetime fighting its enemies. You were a man, Charlie. A great, big man.”

One thing that I overlooked in my Newsweek story on The Newsroom that a few sage readers reminded me about in the Comments section. This show was never about Left or Right and it bent over backward to demonstrate that truth and integrity mattered far more than whatever color (red or blue) you associate with. As one Commenter wrote, recalling a classic Will McAvoy line, “It does not make you a Democrat just because you accept that hurricanes are caused by low pressure and not gay marriage.”

Part of what The Newsroom endeavored to do was to show that truth should never be politicized, although it has been done throughout history. Witness the climate change expert. He was so matter-of-fact and defeated about the horrors of climate change, as if to say, “Human nature (i.e., denial) versus Nature? It’s no contest.”

I also love the Commenter who noted, “Those who offer a prophetic voice to the world have always been received with hostility.”

Lots of viewers are upset that the show is ending after three seasons (really, 2 1/2), especially when painfully average shows such as The Walking Dead stumble on forever. I’d say, “Enjoy what we had. Treasure it. And, if you’re in the mood, pick up a guitar.”

Good evening…

2. Mamba Passes Jordan (By Not Passing)

Mamba demonstrates his perfect form

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant. The top three scorers in NBA history have 1) all worn a Los Angeles Laker uniform and 2) names that begin with a “K.”

Although everyone knows that the most prolific scorer in NBA history, on and off the court, was Wilt Chamberlain (No. 5 on the career list).

Love Kobe (will always prefer Michael Jordan, the man he passed last night by scoring 26 points in a 100-94 win at Minnesota, where the Laker franchise originated). Worth noting: Of the top five all-time scorers, here are their career FG%’s : Kareem, 55.9%, Karl, 51.6%, Kobe, 45.2%, MJ, 46.5%, Wilt, 54%. Granted, three of those five were low-post type players. Still, Kobe has MISSED more shots than anyone in NBA history.

This season, he is 3rd in the NBA in Points Per Game but is also the only player in the Top 50 in that category who is shooting below 40% from the field.

3. Johnny Rotten

Two interceptions and zero TD passes in a loss in a game played near a Great Lake on Sunday. Johnny Manziel? Yes, but also Aaron Rodgers, who is the frontrunner for NFL MVP today. So buck up, Johnny. Sure, the Browns lost 30-0, but it was your first start. This was the Cincinnati Bengals, not the University of Florida (that was a 20-17 loss, and JFF didn’t throw a TD in that game, either).

4. The Empire Strikes Back

I don’t see the press tour making a stop in Pyongyang

Wow. You have to wonder if Sony will think twice about green-lighting the next script about an evil, tyrannical leader and a plot to “take him out.” (And with that I put a match to my own work in progress, “The Cheney Podcast”). And how unpopular is Seth Rogen in Hollywood these days? The Oscars cannot arrive soon enough.

Here is a brief review of the Sony leaks

Meanwhile, think what you want about North Korea (“think what you want about North Korea?!?”) but you have to admire the hackers here. This was their way of saying, “We had this power all along, but this time you pushed us too far.” Even if the hackers are too sophomores at Cal Tech, it’s pretty damn funny.

5. Morgan Martin Freeman Hosts SNL

The Office: Middle Earth, with Smeagol as Gareth.

He’s gone on to bigger things (Fargo, Sherlock, The Hobbit Trilogy-plus-One), but he’ll always be Tim from The Office to me. Freeman hosted SNL for me and some cheeky bloke took the piss out of the original BBC series and The Hobbit with this sketch. I don’t actually LOL much, but this did it.

Remote Patrol

American Country Countdown Awards

FOX 8 p.m.

The Voice

NBC 8 p.m.

Florida Georgia Line. I think it’s minus-7 for the Dawgs, but we saw how that worked out.

An excuse to watch some of the year’s top-selling country artists or an excuse to watch Adam Levine bicker with Gwen Stefani. Not my (or Kermit’s) cup of tea, but it may be yours.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

I’ll not be near a computer tomorrow so in the great tradition of magazines you have to actually pay for, I’m going to arbitrarily declare this a double-issue and make you feel grateful that you’re getting even more material than you’d normally not pay for (even though you’re not). Anway, we’ll see you Monday…

Sampat returns from Venezuela with Bigfoot? Make it happen…

1. Good Will McAvoy

One of my favorite shows signs off on Sunday after three seasons and about 2,000 nasty reviews. Oh well, leave it to this guy (two thumbs pointing to chest…So how am I even typing?) to be the contrarian who defends the The Newsroom.

2. Well, He Is a Doctor

Dr. Dre’s bank account is also pumped up

According to Forbes, Dr. Dre earned $620 million in 2014, thanks mainly to his sale of Beats by Dre to Apple. That’s not only more than five times more than the next-best remunerated musical artist, Beyonce ($115 million) earned, it’s the most in a single year by a musician all-time in a single year. And I’m not even sure if Dr. Dre put out any new music in 2014.

3. Are SNL‘s Current Writers Ripping Off SNL‘s Former Writers (Probably)?

Two great guys…

This is a funny bit from SNL that only made it on-line (What does it say about Lorne Michaels at this stage of his career that the show’s most daring sketches can now only be found on-line?). Anyway, the parody on a VH-1 trope is funny, except that it was done years ago by a former SNL writer, John Mulaney, and a few friends.

4. I Cannot Wait To Read This

No, Katie, this is my Christmas card

You know what’s funny about the film Boogie Nights? The 70s disco classic  “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave does not appear in it. Anyway, the Paul Thomas Anderson classic was on two nights ago and I watched about 20 minutes of it. You have to love that the actor who played Bookman on Seinfeld says, “I’m a simple man, Jack. I like a little butter in my ass and a lollipop in my mouth, but that’s just me.
Anyway, Grantland has an oral history, and while this conceit has gotten a little faded (an oral history of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? please), this is the perfect movie for such a device.

5. The Flighter

Bale warns Pharoah that the dark night returns

Because if there is one film that begged to be remade, it was The Ten Commandments, so now Christian Bale stars as Moses (yes, a Christian playing a Jew) in Exodus: Gods and Kings. It’s the story of an oppressed people who flee to another land for a better life, where the man in charge there grants them amnesty, but only if they’ve been wandering around the Sinai Desert for 40 years (it’s not that vast a desert; you people and your poor sense of direction). And there’s also a Bush, but it’s burning.

Remote Patrol

Cavaliers at Thunder

TNT 8 p.m.

LeBron shows off his post-Heat physique

When you have at least five All-Stars on the court at once –Durant, Westbrook, LBJ, K-Love and Kyrie–that’s worth watching. All five of those guys were born and raised in the U.S.A., which is a rarity now among NBA All-Stars (at least in a group of five). Remember that the Cavs were once 5-7 while the Thunder were 4-12. They are a combined 12-1 since.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

Have we all recovered from the randy ramblings of Olivia Thundersaddle? Dear Lord, Katie, I had five nightmares last night, all of which included that line from Airplane: “Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”

On with the show…

1. Victor? Victoria

Adriana and Alessandra

Last week’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show from London aired on the CBS last night and someday soon we’ll laugh about the fact that this ever appeared on tape delay (just like the 1980 NBA Finals did). VS has figured it all out, accompanying much of the runway segments with live performances from big name acts (Hozier, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, some schlumpy ginger dude who looks like the guy you studied with for the Econ final [Ed Sheeran]).

They’ve also turned the models –Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Candace Swanepoel, Karlie Kloss–into rock stars themselves. And they’ve dubbed them “Angels” because dubbing them “Unnaturally thin and busty babes who probably have eating disorders” is tougher to fit on a curtain.

This is exactly the reason, back when I worked at SI, that I tried to never walk the hallway at the same time as Josh Elliott

This will be an event held in an NBA arena-sized venue in a few years. It’s like the pro version of Miss Universe. I do hope Mr. George Michael (not the Sports Machine guy, Davo) receives his due for launching this phenomenon. And look how far we’ve come….

2. Mad Bum Phillips Milk of Magnesia

Bumgarner: Out standing in his field.

So Sports Illustrated named San Francisco Giant October ace Madison Bumgarner as its Sportsman of the Year –narrowly edging out the Ebola Fighters. It’s not a bad choice –his postseason numbers are historic (0.25 career World Series ERA in 36 innings, including 0.43 in 21 innings versus the Royals in October) for a minimum of 25 innings, although David Ortiz’s offensive numbers in last year’s postseason were no less historic –.688 batting average– for a minimum of 25 plate appearances. But Madison Bumgarner has to be the first SOtY who ever went on a date with someone who shared the same full name as he does, so that almost earns him the honor on its own.

Tom Verducci’s profile is excellent.

This trio, plus Pop, would have gotten my vote…

What I’m more peeved about is that SI made the effort to compile an Anti-Sportsmen of The Year photo gallery (solid idea) and yet omitted Tony Stewart. Whaaaaaa? I mean, sure, Donald Sterling is a racist and Ray Rice punched out his fiancee, but neither of them killed anyone while taking part in their sport. And it was, you know, kind of accidental.

3. A King and His Court

LeBron commits a touch foul on the House of Windsor

It was two nights ago, but I’ll always happily take a day off when Katie’s commercial actress schedule allows us to grab her for a day, so herewith a note about Monday’s regal NBA game in Brooklyn (if only it had been played in Queens). The lineup:

King James: (Lebron)

Prince William

Jarrett Jack

Beyonce (a Queen…it’s NYC, so I’m sure she wasn’t the only queen there)

A Duchess: Kate Middleton

A Duke alum: Mason Plumlee

Not in attendance: Lorde, Lady Gaga, former Cav Brevin Knight.

4. A Christmas Carol O’Connor Cook

Your cast: Mark Linn-Baker, Jefferson Mays, Jason Danieley & Marin Mazzie and Bill Kurtis

If you want to try something different besides watching Christmas specials that were rendered half a century ago (I love them all, too; too bad no one has improved upon them since), try this NPR broadcast of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that was performed a couple of nights ago in NYC. You can watch it, or just turn out the lights, light a fire in the hearth, and listen. It’s excellent.

5. Cow Girls

GetAttachment

This pic comes to us courtesy of Division III’s most enthusiastic sports information director, Dick Quinn of Williams College in northwest Massachusetts (Williams is the college that most Ivy League schools pretend to be). Anyway, sorry it’s out of focus, but these are the ladies of the Ephs’ women’s soccer team that advanced to the NCAA national championship game and lost on Penalty Kicks to Lynchburg. Bummer.

Don’t you hate the idea of a championship being decided on PKs? MH does not pretend to know too much about soccer, so take this suggestion for what it’s worth, but we’d play a sudden death OT and then, if no one scores in 30 minutes, each side must peel away one player until it gets decided. WAAAAAAY more entertaining AND legitimate than PKs, no?

Remote Patrol

The Sure Thing

TCM 8 p.m.

No, I don’t have the Cliff’s Notes for “Beowulf”

I was a freshman in college on a Midwest campus when this film starring John Cusack –in the first of many roles in which he played me and thousands of guys just like me–was released. If you are under 30 years old and your name is Nick, this movie may be the reason why. Another solid job of directing by Rob Reiner, who really made a ton of great films in the Eighties and Nineties (this, The Princess Bride and This is Spinal Tap, for starters). Also, there’s a character named Gary Cooper. I wonder if Sorkin stole this or uses it as an homage…

 

And It’s Not Even Wednesday

By Katie

Some idiot once said, “You only regret the things you didn’t do.”

This is almost as bad as “Everything happens for a reason”.

I regret everything that came out of my mouth between 6th and 12th grade. I regret every tank top I’ve ever owned. I regret the year I was a redhead.

I regret letting some ding-dong with visions of comedy dancing in his humorless head talk me into doing his stupid video web series.

If you stopped by here yesterday, and if you actually clicked on the video my dear friend John posted of me acting like a right jackass (I wrote that in a Scottish accent) you know what I’m talking about. If for some reason you didn’t watch it, (a reason like you have a job or you rightly suspected it was not a cat video and therefore not worth your time) praise Allah.

I feel defensive enough to offer an explanation to you kind people, who came here looking for sports and got that instead.

Many years ago, a young Midwestern girl had lots of older siblings who were good at everything; they were writers, actors, painters and jocks. She wanted to be just like all of them, so she did all the things they did, but poorly. The only thing she wanted as much as to be like her siblings was a sweaty coupling with Daryl Hall, and she still has the diary entries to prove it.

To quote my cousin Dennis, I, I mean she, was a moron in a family of geniuses. (He didn’t say it about her, he said it about himself, and she co-opted it—another example of her unoriginality. Also it isn’t true about him.)

An example:

Her older sister, an amazingly talented artist, painted the walls of her bedroom with enchanting scenes from Mother Goose. The effect was that of an alternate world, where no harm could ever come and life was a magical hug of tranquility. People came from blocks away to see it–their parents had dinner parties just so they could show it off.

So, our young girl painted her own bedroom walls with giant Don Martin heads from Mad Magazine, sloppily and with black house paint. The effect was an Easter Island nightmare. Her parents wall-papered over it, using the excuse that it “disturbed the baby’s sleep” (it was a shared room, natch).

Imagine an eight-year-old’s rendering of this, only 5 feet high and all in black.

 

That baby grew up to be another sister who was also better than her at everything, but by the time that became clear, our heroine was a full-tilt alcoholic and didn’t mind as much.

Her lack of talent didn’t stop her, however.

She liked painting, and writing silliness, and talking in funny voices on the radio, so she did all those things all the way into her adulthood, embracing the philosophy “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.”

They were fun, and kept her occupied and out of the kitchen, an added bonus for her discerning children. They also put a few bucks in her pocket, which was really nice since the only thing she truly hated was real work.

Then one day, an incredibly horrible on-camera job she took showed up on the interweb, so she drank a large glass of Drano and took a nap that lasted forever.

Just kidding. About the Drano nap. All that other stuff is true, except the part about being an alcoholic. I can stop anytime I want to.

Yes, I am a commercial actor in a small market. Some of the jobs are good, some are not so great, but in the maybe-not-wise words of Ms. Lisa Rinna, “I don’t say no very often. I say yes.”

Let’s start saying no

 

How have you guys been?

I can’t do a starting five today. Coming up with a real list involves reading the news, and I don’t feel like doing that. I know– you’re used to a higher standard; John does it and more, every single day, but he’s what is known in the industry as  a “pro”. He is also, if his Christmas cards are to be believed, a wildly imaginative cross-dresser.

John’s Christmas card from last year. I know! I wasn’t expecting it either.

Five Reasons I Can’t Come Up With a Starting Five

1) I’m too busy pondering why Angelina Jolie and Amal Clooney hate each other.

It seems so wrong that they do, but it feels so right. 

2) I’m pulling the cat out of the Christmas Tree

Some day, when I have a personal assistant, this will be their job. Until that day, I have to do it.

3) I’m hungover

Fittingly, my agent’s annual Holiday soiree was last night, and I had two margaritas. Then I came home and ate 317 Christmas cookies, yet here I am, ten hours later, hungry. The human body is truly a miracle.

This is a selfie I just took

4) I’m binge-watching Nashville

Several family members have been encouraging me to watch this show, assuring me it’s right in my wheelhouse. How well they know me! I can’t get enough.

I’m a massive fan of this little spitfire

5) I’m writing erotica under the pen name Olivia Thundersaddle

This isn’t true, at least not yet. But it’s on my list for 2015, so in another month it will be true. I’ll have to change my pen name now, since the whole idea behind it is so no one will ever know it’s me and I just told you that it is.

I will spend the rest of today coming up with pen names. Suggestions most welcome.

Add this to the list of things I wish I’d thought of

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

Where’s the top and where’s the bottom?

1. CFB’s Escher Print

Did the Selection Committee get it right? It all depends how you look at the picture:

–Ohio State, whom this writer predicted WOULD make the four-team playoff back on September 8, two days after it lost to Virginia Tech, is one of the four best teams when it feels like. I sincerely believe that, and 59-0 versus Wisconsin makes that point (shh, we’ll just forget those narrow home wins versus Indiana and Michigan last month). However…

–TCU has been very impressive all season long, perhaps even more so; was No. 3 in the SelCom rankings after last week and won by 52 on Saturday; and its only loss was due to a 4th-quarter hiccup in Waco that was abetted by one missed PI and one called PI (both of which were extremely questionable)…

–and Baylor beat TCU, which makes it the only team of the three with a W over a Top 6 opponent as well as it being the only one of the three whose loss came on the road (and to a better team, West Virginia, than the Va. Tech team that defeated Ohio State).

Art Briles asks Bob Bowlsby if it is really necessary to cut the baby in two…

So, yes, it’s exactly like an Escher print (and exactly unlike that Drake song). You start at the top but when you get to the bottom you’re back at the top. Disorienting.

I can’t fault the Selection Committee. Two schools were going to get hosed either way. Better to piss off one faction (Big 12) than two: a Big 12 school who’d have a legit gripe PLUS the B1G. Meanwhile, no one came off worse than the Big 12 by touting a “One True Champion” slogan all season long and then naming co-champions. Kids, please let this be a lesson to you: just because someone has a better title, better home and higher income than you do doesn’t mean they possess more common sense. In fact, they may be hindered by their politically-based decisions. Horrible move, Bob Bowlsby. Baylor beat TCU head to head, so “crown their ass.”

Best quote of the weekend comes from Baylor QB Bryce Petty on whether Baylor deserved to be in the four: “That’s above my pay grade. The only thing I’m not paid to do is play.”

Second best quote of the weekend comes from Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who begged his QB, Jameis Winston, “Let me call the game!”

p.s. If you REALLY want to know what I think, scroll through my tweets the last two days. Too many nuggets of thought to reproduce here. Thanks.

2. Charlie Company

(SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen this episode of The Newsroom and plan on doing so, eye-muff this item)

“You’re older than you think. Don’t learn that the hard way.” Solid advice.

My favorite things about last night’s episode:

1) How Aaron Sorkin and his writing staff completely fooled me with The Sixth Sense treatment for Will. I should’ve seen that coming. Did you? If you didn’t, as I didn’t, it makes you want to watch the entire episode again to pay closer attention to the character’s lines (and I should’ve realized they never touch and we never learn the other inmate’s name. Well done).

2) Sloan Sabbith’s takedown of the Gawker-ology of the world. I’m sure the very blogs that Sorkin excoriated will find a way to turn this screed on him, but she’s right/Sorkin’s right. I happened to be in the HBO audience the night in 2008 when Buzz Bissinger pulled out a can of whupass on Will Leitch and I recall so many people who are in my audience/sports realm thinking that Bissinger was the crank. I never did. He was spot-on. As Buzz told Will, “I gotta be honest with you, I think you’re full of shit…”

(By the way, I like that Sloan is no longer awkward this season. Best character jump in the series. She’s been the best part of Season 3, and it isn’t close.)

What time are the Falcons and the Packers on tonight, she wonders?

Buzz then proceeded to point out that Will’s site wasn’t about making celebrity athletes seem real, it was about humiliating them. It was about humiliating them so that the losers who read the site and lap up this stuff can forget that it’s their own faults they’re not doing better in life. Envy.

I always found it interesting that Will had already planned a parachute jump from Deadspin before that show aired, that he pretty much left Deadspin that week for New York mag and that now he himself works on the “respectable” side. I loved when Sloan told the blogger guy to “Name X,” name the income amount at which it becomes acceptable that celebrities no longer have a right to privacy. Great scene.

3) I’ll miss Charlie Skinner (I loved him; he reminds me of Weisman, one of the best people I ever met in TV sports) but there were plenty of hints this was coming. He’d been steadily allowing Lukas Pruitt to raise his blood pressure the previous two episodes, and then he’d decided to play ball with Lukas in order for everyone to save their jobs. As he blared in his final minutes, “IS THIS A MUTINY?” “No,” replied MacKenzie, “it’s an intervention.”

He got it, finally. And then it was all over.

4) How bizarre that Don’s visit to Princeton and the rape accuser airs the same week of the Jameis hearing and the Rolling Stone/Virginia coed fiasco. Wow, this is going to cost Jann Wenner LOTS of $$$$.

Anyway, a few East Coast Elite media critics, such as Emily Nussbaum (does not work with her hands…well, except when she’s typing) of The New Yorker, fell over themselves attacking last night’s show because they didn’t like what Aaron Sorkin had Don saying in the Princeton dorm room. Because, in their opinions, the show was no longer about art but it had to become a PSA on rape.

Honest question: Isn’t it possible that no one is lying? Don’t you think the writers intentionally introduced the idea of a college student doing tequila, mollies, coke and mushrooms (AJ, are you reading this?!?) to demonstrate that this was NOT, despite she told Don, the easiest rape arrest of all time? It’s not that the dude isn’t sketchy or that she isn’t, as she sits in her room, credible. It’s this: Who knows what her mental state was at the time of the incident? Does she?

To propose that question doesn’t make rape any less heinous or serious. It’s simply to make the point that Don understands this isn’t as simple as she thinks it is. And that this will make great TV but horrible jurisprudence.

5) Please don’t ask me to comment on Jim and Maggie. I just hope they’re Havana good time.

3. Oh, the Humanity!

37 people died in the tragedy (okay, not really; just checking your historical reference points)

This item is a leftover from last week, but the in-arena blimp at Portland’s Rose Garden Moda Center (really? The Moda Center?!? How are we supposed to keep up?Thank God the Romans just always called it the Colosseum) crashed into the seats during last Thursday night’s game between the Indiana Pacers and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers won, I think…

4. Katie, Warrior Princess

I have no idea what Katie is doing here, but my guess is that the patient is now wearing a toe tag.

If, like me, you’ve been missing the fabulously talented Katie McCollow on this site every Wednesday, well, I wish I had better news. Apparently, Katie is a TV star now (that dame is TOO talented) and she’s promoting All Whites Egg Whites through non-lethal means. See if you can spot which person she is in the ad (hint: she’s not stepping on a scale). Also, if you happen to see an ad for Burnsville Dodge, (“We are the KING of RAM!”)that voice may be familiar. Go, Katie, go!

5. Stuffed Animals

And a man volunteered to be eaten alive by one of them…

At the Midwest FurFest Convention in Chicago, attendees were forced out of their hotel overnight due to a gas leak, which authorities say was intentional. Which is hilarious, since hundreds of costumed humans were then forced out into the street. I don’t know if this makes more or less sense than watching an anaconda eat a man on TV (Was he unaware that anacondas usually suffocate prey before killing it?), but I did enjoy catching Morning Joe early this morning as the host explained to Mika what Furry is all about…

Remote Patrol

An Affair To Remember

TCM 8 p.m.

For God’s sake, Deb, look BOTH ways before crossing 34th Street. Any rube knows that.

Stop everything! The paragon of all RomComs, the one every other RomCom aspires to be. I can do without the third act, to be honest, but I do believe that the opening scene in which Deborah Kerr first meets Cary Grant is the best example of flirtatious banter onscreen I’ve ever come across. At least catch that.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

 

1. Polar Bears

A week ago, in this very space, I discussed TRIBES. The concept that people would rather side with their tribe than to concede even an ounce of truth on the other side. And it was all relating to Ferguson, although one week later we now have the added tragedy of Eric Garner to consider.

And so my question is, Why do we need to be so polarized? Why do we need to be polar bears? Why does former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani feel the need to appear on FOX and mention how many black-on-black murders the NYPD has hypothetically prevented by being tougher on crime? Even if that is true –kind of difficult to prove or disprove a non-event, other than noting that numbers are down–what is the connection between that and the circumstances of Eric Garner’s killing?

On the other end of the spectrum, why is it racist to note that, even if you underline 1,000 times that the police completely overreacted and went directly from zero to fatally excessive use of force in the case of Mr. Garner, even if you shout from the highest skyscraper that the grand jury in Staten Island did everyone a grave disservice (one that will ultimately result in the deaths of more innocent people, I’m certain), why is it not okay to note that there needs to be a mentality of not treating police officers like basketball referees who called you for traveling?

There’s no excuse for what the cops did in Staten Island, and there’s definitely some ambiguity as to what happened in Ferguson. But, as minor as the infractions the two men were committing were, by committing them they gave the cops cause to talk to them. And once that happens, why talk back? Now, by printing those words I have invited a segment of the readership to assume I condone what happened, which I don’t. Not for a moment. But I cannot change people’s prejudices about what they think I am or what I think. I can only write the words that I write.

It would be easy to assume that, hey, he’s a middle-aged white sportswriter so he’s completely out of touch. But the truth is, I earn less than six figures (thanks, Chris); I work regularly for half the year at a restaurant in which I interact both during and after work with a wider range of ethnic backgrounds, sexual preferences and income levels than probably any sports writer I know; I have a couple of friends who are felons (and who are smart enough not to talk back to cops); I live in NYC, which means that in most situations I am the minority.

But this is the problem. It shouldn’t be, pardon the phrase, all black and white. There’s no defending Officer Pantaleo and his cohorts and I am in no way interested in doing so. But to completely ignore every other aspect of the situation is to be leaning so far in the other direction as to go out of your way to be politically correct at the expense of being honest. And that’s the dialogue problem we have here, IMO. To ask a legitimate question on the other side of where your tribe has pitched its tent is to be seen as a complete apostate.

To be Charles Barkley is to ask a legitimate question or two, but because you’re black and you haven’t chosen the scripted Al Sharpton (what a clown and a charlatan, by the way) scripture on what you should be saying, the entire content of your argument is dismissed. And while I’m not black, I can write 10,000 more words about what a travesty the grand jury in Staten Island was, but if I dare mention in one sentence that, you know, maybe you shouldn’t talk back to cops (or, IF….IF….IF what happened in Ferguson is accurate, you shouldn’t tell a cop that “you’re too much of a pussy to shoot me.”) then I’m just Sean Hannity in a cheaper suit.

Yesterday a young African-American woman scolded me on Twitter because she interpreted what I wrote as saying that it’s okay to be shot dead for stealing. Seriously? I cannot reason with minds like that. Equating Michael Brown’s theft of cigarillos (and his theft was one-tenth as bad, in my mind, as the way he bullied the store clerk) with his being shot is like saying he was shot for living in Missouri.

Listen to the actual words people are writing or saying, people. Get past what you think they are saying based on their tribe. There’s room for nuance here. I can be 100% against what befell Mr. Garner while still wondering why a man tells cops, “I’m sick of this” especially when he knows that, as minor as it is, what he is doing is technically illegal. Does that make their use of force justified?

Of course not.
But if I follow the other side of the logic, that cops should just leave people alone when they tell them “I’m not going to take this” or “You’re too much of a pussy to shoot me,” especially when in these two cases they gave cops cause to confront them, let me ask you, Are we headed to a better society then? If cops are afraid to confront people? Of course they should have handled both situations with more discretion, with more calm, with more of a Sheriff Taylor mindset. Of course. These two men should not be dead. And at least in the case of Staten Island, there is no ambiguity in my mind that the cop should be indicted.

But we polar bears need to get off our ice bergs. We need to explore other ice bergs and see other sides and perspectives. We need to be looking for the truth, not for an argument that makes us feel better about who we are.