Friday, October 20, 2006

Some new stuff that I am watching and reading and listening to

What am I watching?

I am a TV guy. I enjoy shutting my brain down for a few hours a night after long days at work where I am forced to make about ten thousand decisions. Also, work has not been nearly as much fun as it was when I started with this company so TV in the evenings is my escape. There are three new shows I have been watching this year with great enjoyment and I wanted to share them with the three people who still read this blog regularly.

The first one is Dexter on Showtime. Michael C. Hall, plays a forensic blood spatter specialist who moonlights as a serial killer. He only kills evil people, which is explained through a series of flashbacks. It is well written and unique. The uniqueness of it is what I find really compelling. An original idea is SO rare these days, so when I find one I really treasure it. I want to really give Showtime some credit. It took them awhile to get their act together, but they have stepped it up. Sleeper Cell was amazing last year and they are bringing it back. Weeds makes me laugh out loud every week. Brotherhood, which I have not seen is on my must rent list as soon as it comes out on DVD. They have really tried to pick up the gauntlet that HBO has thrown down over the last few years.

Of course, being the Aaron Sorkin devotee you all know my to be, I am watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip diligently. The writing is as good as ever, but I find myself not embracing Studio 60 the way I loved Sportsnight or revered The West Wing. I think a lot of it has to do with something that the Annoyed guy and I discussed awhile back. He postulated that the show, unless it was a mega hit would not be around for long because the cost to produce would be absolutely staggering. I could find no fault with this argument and I think that has been nagging in the back of my mind through each episode and knowing I could lose the show at any moments has really prevented me from loving it.

Lastly and perhaps most guiltily Heroes has made it on to the MUST SEE agenda. I grew up a comic geek and this show is literally and figuratively a comic book come to life. It isn't star studded like Studio 60 and it isn't socially important like The Wire. However, it is as well written a show as I have seen in my lifetime. It is mysterious and thoughtful. It is as unique an idea as Dexter is in its own way and I am finding it absolutely enjoyable.

That's some of what I am watching. What are you watching?


What am I reading?

I just wanted to call out a couple of new blogs I have been reading religiously and share them with you.

1. Is everybody crazy, or is it just me? A thoughtfully written toe dip into the blogosphere by No Wife of Consequence. In her first three posts she has lamented about our adopted home state of Georgia and its marked lack of Italians, called me a retard because of my lack of musical knowledge, and bashed the US government for banning online poker. Stay tuned, it is only going to get better.

2. From the neck up - Another well written jump into the e-journaling medium by the better half of the esteemed author of People Places and Things that tend to Annoy me . She is honest and smart, two of the key ingredients of a good blog. Definitely check her out.

3. Why don't we get drunk and blog? The guy is funny. There is no getting around it. He also posts often, which more than I can say for myself these days. I have made him a twice daily check in because I usually laugh each time I pop on over there.

I terms of my literary pursuits, I don't usually have a lot of time to read. However, the last business book I read, Blue Ocean Strategy is the best thing I have read in a long time. It is uniquely presented with real world examples of marketing success. I am not in the marketing field, but anyone with even a passing interest in business will appreciate it's cerebral insights and case studies.

What are you reading?


What am I listening to aside from Sirius Satellite Radio?

I am not one to write much about music, save for how little I know about it or how I don't have as much an apreciation for it as a lot of people I know. However, after reading about this Israeli rapper named Subliminal, I asked NoWife to download a bunch of his stuff onto my MP3 player. My ability to speak Hebrew has atrophied to the point where I can barely understand a word here or there, but there is no mistaking the guy is talented. I have absolutely enjoyed listening to his stuff over the last couple of weeks. Check out his website. It is hip hop mixed with this middle eastern sitar flavor and I think it is awesome. The website has two tracks embedded in it. You can get a sample, just by navigating over there. There is some bad language in English, so I wouldn't do it at work or around children.

What are you listening to?

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, October 16, 2006

Democracy - Rest in Peace

I read this article today. If you don't have time to look at it, the short version is that despite a lot of raw polling data that says the republican party is in trouble come the mid term elections in a few weeks President George Bush and his minion Karl Rove are bopping around Washington inexplicably upbeat. They don't believe they will lose the house and although statistics indicate that as many as 25 house races are in jeopardy for the GOP the evil dynamic duo are laughing it up.


Good question. The answer could very well be that the races have been pre determined with the republican candidates coming up victorious.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. There is some hinky stuff going on with our electoral system lately and NO ONE is really talking about it.

No Wife of Consequence hates when I link to things in my blog but I emplore you to read this Rolling Stone article by Robert F Kennedy Jr. Your first question should be why are articles like this in Rolling Stone and not in, you know, Time, Newsweek, USA Today... mainstream press?

Our press has failed us in very much the same way our government has failed us. The sheer vastness of the failure is what makes it so daunting. The United States of America is as much an idea as it is anything else. A government, by of and for the people that was once within our reach is now a distant memory. The idea of this country has become a distorted mess cloaked in false patriotism, religious fundementalism, greed, and outright lunacy.

Why wouldn't the press of this country seize on the massive voter irregularities in Ohio in 2004 and if nothing else drive the government to investigate itself? Wait a minute, the government did investigate itself. This 107 page report from the GAO confirms massive voter fraud in 2004. Our own government's oversight office, stepping up and saying, "Hey, umm, the guy who is in the White House, technically, not the president."

In general the people who read this site are well informed and intelligent. How come nothing happened? Our country, for lack of a better term, suffered a coup d'etat and collectively the people and press shrugged their shoulders and said, "oh well."

Where is the action? Where is the outrage? Where is the press, defender of the people? These stories are relegated to "free press" internet sites and magazines few people read. One of the fundamental organizing principals of the United States is the right to vote. That right was usurped in Florida in 2000, it was usurped in Ohio in 2004 and now, when things are looking bleak for the GOP, Pinky and the Brain are skipping around like nothing is wrong.

Are they going to screw this country again? Are they going to disenfranchise legitimate voters and fraudulently shift election results? Based on what I have read and the overwhelming evidence in support of that hypothesis I say they are.

Will anyone stand up? Will our press or any of the men and women with the power to do so that have sworn an oath to The Constitution of this nation step forward and act to protect the people. Will they protect our right to vote, our quintessential freedom? I don't think they will.

Democracy, if not dead in the United States, withers before our eyes.

No 1 of Consequence

Sunday, October 08, 2006

SuperTeam, no more

For all of my lamenting as a sad sack Jets fan, I also have the pleasure of rooting for the New York Yankees in the baseball world. My Yankees fandom started early in the 70's. For some reason my father, a lifelong National League fan, began putting the games on for me on my transistor radio. Many nights of my youth were spent listening to Phil Rizzuto give the play by play as Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, Mickey Rivers, Reggie Jackson etc, went to the World Series in 1977 and 1978. I was imprinted with the pinstripes at that time and my love of them has never waned.

There have been some lean times. 1982 to 1993 were awful. The Yankees were a pathetic mess. 1994 was ashame because they Yankees were awesome and were on a collision course with the juggernaut Indians in the playoffs. Also, the Montreal Expos had the best record in the National League before the strike and I was very excited for their long suffering fans. 1995 marked the Yankees return to the playoffs and I was lucky enough to witness one of the greatest playoff games of all time which included Don Mattingly's only postseason homerun and a game winning home run by Jim Leyritz in the bottom of the 15th inning. The Yankees ended up losing to the Mariners because Randy Johnson was an assasin and Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Junior were absolutely unstoppable, but there was no denying that Yankees were back. The return to glory was imminent.

Joe Torre took over the team in 1996 and the Yankees won the World Series. A fresh faced Derek Jeter was the rookie of the year and it was like Camelot for Yankee fans. 3 more World Series championships followed in 4 years and it was an embarrassment of riches. The New York Yankees were the kings of baseball and all was right with the world as far as me and baseball were concerned.

Yesterday the New York Yankees completed yet another series in which they choked very hard against an opponent they should have dispatched. I am not going in to a deep analysis of the series, but there is no way they should have lost to that Tigers team. The Yankee pitching imploded and their vaunted bats went silent. It has happened to them far too often in recent years at critical times. We have become the Atlanta Braves of the American League and the Yankees need to be fixed.

The Yankees manager in 1995 was Buck Showalter. In 1996 Joe Torre took over and the Yankees got over the hump to win the World Series. 10 years later, with a heavy heart, I think the Yankees have no choice but to part with Joe Torre. There are rumors Lou Pinella would replace Torre and while I don't think he is a great choice, there are worse ones. His personality is almost the diametric opposite of Torre's and I think the Yankees need a kick in the ass.

I am going to try and put together a "Fixing the Yankees" series of posts, but work is as insane as ever and I don't know how much time I am going to have to write.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The unbearable lightness of being a Jets fan

The Jets lost to the Colts this week in a game that could only be described as exciting. After falling behind early the Jets charged back and tied the game and then held the lead multiple times in the second half before losing in the final moments because Peyton Manning is clutch during the NFL regular season and the Jets just aren't that good.

Here is what makes being a Jets fan so difficult. At no time during the game did anyone who truly understands the Jets think they were going to win. Yet, at various points during the game, glimmers of hope arose in even the most jaded and cynical Jets fans. (Me and my brother for those keeping score at home) In the end our hearts were broken, yet again.

There was a crucial situation. The Jets had the ball near the Colts goal line. They didn't get it in and soon it is 4th and goal. Eric Mangini, the Jets young head coach decides to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a chip shot field goal to take the lead. They failed. At the time I thought it was a bad move, but as No Brother pointed out to me that wasn't the turning point of the game. The turning point took place late in the 4th quarter when the Jets defense failed to stop Manning and the Colts offense on two consecutive drives despite yeoman performances by the Jets offense and special teams to retake the lead in critical situations.

At one point in the second half when the Jets took the lead my phone rang. (My phone rings about 20 times a game and 18 of those times NoBrotherofConsequence is on the other end of the line. The other two times are usually telemarketers who get an earful. I have even considered learning Hindi so I can annoy these people in their native language, but that is a different post for a different day) My brother starts to say that if the Jets win this game they would be 3-1 and could really be considered a playoff contender. I stop him mid sentence because it is midway through the 3rd quarter and I can't even fathom such an event and even if it were true saying it outloud isn't something you want to do. Football karma can be a difficult thing to navigate.

When the Jets special teams ran a kick back late in the 4th my phone rang again. All I could say after looking at the clock was that there was too much time left and Manning would beat us. There was and he did. It is the lot of being a Jets fan. Not only do you have very little hope of victory you can almost script your own doom before it takes place.

I remember going to see the Jets play the Patriots with my father some years ago. The Jets jumped out to a huge lead, 21-0 in the first half.

At halftime I turned to my dad and said, "Can you believe this?"

He laughed and said, "They have us right where they want us."

Of course, they did, and the Jets blew the game.

J - E - T - S


No 1 of Consequence