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Archive for August 2004

Olympic Product Placement?

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Dead horse, the commercialization of the Olympics. It gets to like “Who cares…” after awhile. But this, for sure, is a new low – at least if it is what I think it is.
Costas was just interviewing Michael Phelps after he won yet another event, 100 meter butterfly I think it was. Six golds, Mark Spitz, all the rest. Seems like a nice enough guy, in a mildly dumb jock sort of way. And then this, complete non-sequitur:

Costas: Five seconds. What did you have for breakfast this morning. We’ve seen those big stacks of pancakes and Egg McMuffins.
Phelps: Ah, no… Nothing big this morning.
Costas: Light this morning?
Phelps: Light this morning. This morning it was just some oatmeal and some fruit. But tomorrow morning it will be McDonalds for sure.

Seems to me like the not quite invisible hand of product placement has had a touch in this, no? Just out of nowhere, turning the topic to breakfast like that, toward McMuffins and lobbing it up for Phelps to hit it, as it were, over the Golden Arches. And weirder, the thought that NBC and Costas and Phelps and McDs were all in on it together…
I guess it might be inspired by the whole Superbowl / “I’m goin’ to Disneyworld” awfulness. But what’s next? Maurice Greene giving us the old “Tomorrow night, I’ll be watching Scrubs on Fox. Oh yah!”
(BTW – have to give the wife props for this one. She spotted it dozing off in bed in the next room…)

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August 20, 2004 at 11:52 pm

Posted in sports

Six Feet Under

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Just got around to watching this Sunday’s episode of Six Feet Under. It’s not been a good season so far – for a lot of reasons, so many that it’d take too long to get into it right now. But Dale Peck’s done a good job of explaining what’s wrong here – which probably won’t be up for long so hurry up and look at it.
Peck’s right – taking a look at American Beauty – one of the most seriously fucked movies to come out in awhile – is the first thing to do to understand what’s going wrong with SFU now.
But watching Sunday’s episode tonight, there was a glimmer of hope. Quickly extinguished. But for a second, I thought they were going to open up the whole “Nate killed Lisa” line of thought again. All last season, up until the very end, I thought that the show had something totally brilliant up its sleeve. Starting from the first episode, Nate’s “near death” experience, it seemed like they were hinting at the idea that the entire season was some sort of safer, alternate world created on the death bed as an act of contrition or something… That marrying Lisa was a dream-life alternative to his tawdry existence in the sway of Brenda. But a dream-life which quickly took a turn for the sour, the boring. And thus, just as his marriage to Lisa had been dreamed into existence, her death too was Nate’s doing as well…
I was so convinced that this was what was up last season. I was so hoping that they were reopening this line tonight. But not so…
A. Ball, it’s not too late to save your show. To do something honest and a little bit revelatory with it!

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August 19, 2004 at 1:05 am

Posted in Television

NY Hiroshima

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Nice bit of news to hear today in Kristof’s column:

Graham Allison, a Harvard professor whose terrifying new book, “Nuclear Terrorism,” offers the example cited above, notes that he did not pluck it from thin air. He writes that on Oct. 11, 2001, exactly a month after 9/11, aides told President Bush that a C.I.A. source code-named Dragonfire had reported that Al Qaeda had obtained a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon and smuggled it into New York City.
The C.I.A. found the report plausible. The weapon had supposedly been stolen from Russia, which indeed has many 10-kiloton weapons. Russia is reported to have lost some of its nuclear materials, and Al Qaeda has mounted a determined effort to get or make such a weapon. And the C.I.A. had picked up Al Qaeda chatter about an “American Hiroshima.”
President Bush dispatched nuclear experts to New York to search for the weapon and sent Dick Cheney and other officials out of town to ensure the continuity of government in case a weapon exploded in Washington instead. But to avoid panic, the White House told no one in New York City, not even Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

I mean, I guess in retrospect they were right… panic etc… And, ultimately, there was no bomb. But also, ahem, a little cavalier sounding… Like if they get super credible information that somebody’s got a nuke in a parking lot somewhere in Manhattan during the RNC, they’ll just Saigon ’75 out the VIPs and cross their fingers???
Also interesting to know now in retrospect what was ultimately perhaps behind the general level of insane freakout we were all feeling back in Oct 2001.

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August 11, 2004 at 10:13 am

Posted in Current Affairs

Krugman Trembling

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I really hated to see Krugman’s fingers trembling while up against O’Reilly. Not his fault… TV is scary, I’m sure… But still disheartening to see it…
Here’s a clip – watch for the fingers…

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August 10, 2004 at 12:26 am

Posted in Politics

Code 46

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Saw Code 46 last Friday night, its opening in NYC. Super excited by the reviews that I saw.
A few comments:
Terrific to set it in Shanghai. Had a little squealy moment when Tim Robbins is walking in a park that just so happened to be the park right at the foot of my hotel a week or two ago. And it just so happens that as I was walking through that part a week or two ago, I muttered to my partner in Asiatic adventure “This park feels like the future.” So, same wavelength as Winterbottom or whoever picked it. Squeal.
Strange to have Hong Kong stand in for Seattle, though.
What else? Though I almost instinctively feel the need to defend the film – it just looked so good, had such a brutally cool feel – I had to agree with my better half who expressed some confusion as to the many little plot balls up in the air, not all of which were fully put to use. Immigration, cloning, sino-copying, tech, love, everything at once.
Trying not to spoil…
Really enjoyed the movie, but definitely agree with whatever reviewer it was who said that the movie felt skimpy-short, deserved another half hour or so…

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August 10, 2004 at 12:03 am

Posted in Film

First Post

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I had another blog, but I’m an academic. An academic of the grad student variety. Of the grad student variety who will soon be seeking work. So, wasn’t too comfortable with google bringing the site to anyone who entered my name. And I have an uncommon name. So… A new, completely anonymous, site for me.

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August 9, 2004 at 11:40 pm

Posted in Personal