Jordana Spiro plays the lead character on My Boys, a new show on TBS about the Cubs beat reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and her male buddies.
As far as I know, the cast is a bunch of nobodies (although Spiro's voice sounds exactly like Laura Prepon, who played Donna on That 70s Show).
The program is pretty "girly," but I was drawn to the idea of the show, since sports journalism could play a big role. (The last journalism-related show I saw, Tabloid Wars, was a bit like the film The Paper, only edgier and with uglier people.)
Through two episodes, the only journalism-related moments on the show have been reporters joking around in the press box, joking around in the locker room and joking around at the local pub.
Seems pretty realistic to me.
November 30, 2006
Jordana Spiro plays the lead character on My Boys, a new show on TBS about the Cubs beat reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and her male buddies.
Seeking to please tall people and computer users, Southwest Airlines is reducing the recline of many of its seats (see Wall Street Journal graphic).
If a three-inch recline in the seat in front of you is still too much for your knees, you could always invest in the Knee Defender. This $14.95 gadget attaches to your seat and blocks the seat in front of you from reclining.
I'm pretty short, myself, but I have major leg-room issues. I'm very uncomfortable in movie theaters, and I can't go long without fully extending my legs.
But even so, I really don't mind the guy in front of me reclining his seat.
November 29, 2006
November 28, 2006
Despite my distaste for Capital One and its "no-hassle" credit cards, Wisconsin will play for a second straight year in the Capital One Bowl (formerly the Citrus Bowl).
But wait, it gets worse.
Capital One Financial is one of several companies in the running for the naming rights for D.C.'s new baseball stadium, the Post reports. The other companies are: Sprint Nextel, Chevy Chase Bank, Geico, XM Satellite Radio and America Online.
I hope XM wins, since it is based in the District and helped pay for the Metro stop at New York Ave.
November 27, 2006
Inspired by good reviews of a play based on the David Maraniss biography on Vince Lombardi (yes, that's a play based on a book based on a person), I began reading the book this weekend.
In the preface, Maraniss uses the phrase "frozen earth at Lambeau Field" rather than the more common "frozen tundra at Lambeau Field," popularized by ESPN's Chris Berman.
"Frozen tundra," you see, is a redundant phrase. After all, tundra by definition means permanently frozen earth. (Interestingly, when Berman says this phrase, he's imitating the legendary John Facenda of NFL Films. But Facenda himself never used that wording.)
November 25, 2006
The Departed sure had a great plot for a cell phone ad, I wrote last month.
Meanwhile, Stranger Than Fiction is a two-hour commercial for Chicago's bus system (specifically, the fictitious "Kronecker" route). Given how much on-screen time is spend getting around town on public transit, it's surprising that the only time anyone in the film finds a use for the subway is to track down a payphone.
The film also goes out of its way to tout the Timex T56371 watch.
Anyway, I enjoyed the movie. And as a side note, Regal Gallery Place has increased its price from $9.75 to $10. That extra 25-cents makes a big difference psychologically.
November 24, 2006
A year ago, in Mexico City, I had a native tour guide who introduced himself as Eric (pronounced "EHH-deek").
In my Spanish classes over the years, I had learned that the Spanish name for Eric is Enrique. Thus, I figured that Eric was just Americanizing his name for me.
But after an embarrassing exchange, I discovered that Eric's given name was actually Eric.
It turns out Mexicans have the name Eric too.
November 22, 2006
It's been awhile since I have been home for Thanksgiving.
In fact, I had a little streak going:
2004: Virgin Islands
Anyway, it has been awhile.
And so today I was reminded the hard way of an obvious lesson: don't go grocery shopping the night before Thanksgiving.
November 21, 2006
Even if Lauriol Plaza is indeed overrated, I wrote in April, that just means it should be rated a bit lower — not that it should be discarded entirely.
Last month, we gave up waiting for a table there after being told it was a 10 minute wait just to get one of the buzzer things (after which point it would be an hour's wait).
Amy & Jeff, our dinner companions, were surprised Lauriol has stayed popular for so many years. After all, trends usually change and people move on to other hotspots. But restaurant trends have a longer shelf-life in D.C. because of the high population turnover.
In a "normal" city, the crop of young 20-somethings would get bored with Lauriol Plaza and gravitate somewhere else. But in D.C., there's always a fresh batch of 20-somethings.
Meanwhile, Marnie & I found a new weapon against Lauriol's long waits — we met friends last week at Straits of Malaya, a Malaysian place located right across the street from Lauriol with good food and plenty of available tables.
This spring, while watching the NCAA Tournament, I discovered that the Air Force has cheerleaders. Then I saw for myself last month that Navy has cheerleaders too.
It stands to reason that the Army has cheerleaders. And they do, as seen in this picture taken before last week's Army-Notre Dame game.
November 20, 2006
Suburban malls combine the best of the big-city experience (intersecting streets and storefronts at every turn) with the suburbs (air conditioning and tons of parking). That's why I enjoy Chinablock's Gallery Place Mall. It brings the best of the suburbs (big spacious areas serving no particular purpose) into the city.
Meanwhile, do you remember when the Mall of America was a big deal?
These days is no longer among the world's top 10 largest malls.
(It is exceeded in size by 13 other malls.)
November 19, 2006
O.J. Simpson's new book is titled, "If I did it, here's how it happened."
But since he says it didn't happen, the title should use the conditional tense: "If I did it, here's how it would have happened."
Simpson was a professional broadcaster for ABC and NBC, but I blame the book's editor for this error.
(Evidently, Marnie thinks the same thing.)
November 17, 2006
Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and chairman of HDNet, has been an outspoken critic of Google's $1.65 billion buyout of YouTube. In fact, he said that calling the purchase "moronic would be an understatement of a lifetime."
The Toronto Sun tried to get ahold of him to talk basketball, but he turned down the request, saying, "I no longer do interviews about the NBA, or anything that helps market the NBA. I leave that to the geniuses at the NBA."
I know how the newspaper feels.
Cuban turned down a similar request from me a few weeks ago.
Here's what he told me, over e-mail:
cant do blog intvws. i get dozens a day. sorry
November 16, 2006
The last two episodes of Studio 60 have taken place in Pahrump, Nevada — a small town west of Las Vegas known for housing legal brothels.
(That is, if it's known at all. I had never heard of it until this month.) (Not that I have to have heard of something for it to be well known.) (I'm just saying.)
Anyway, Pahrump made the news this week when its town board voted to make it illegal to fly a flag unless it is the U.S. flag or is accompanied by a U.S. flag.
Violators are subject to a $50 fine and 30 hours of community service, reports the USA Today.
November 15, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- At the Miami-Maryland game this weekend, I sat in 50-yard-line seats. As you can see, I don't mean simply that I was near midfield, the way some people round up — I was actually straddling the line and could lean into either team's territory.
I wouldn't have minded being a bit lower, of course. I was in the top row of Byrd Stadium's upper deck.
One advantage to sitting so high is that it provided a magnificent view of the campus and surrounding area. From my seat, I could see the National Cathedral; the Washington Monument; the Catholic University's Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; and my beloved Brightwood "Eiffel" Radio Tower.
My only two complaints:
- I could have done without the "get the body bags" chants struck up by some of Maryland's classier fans. The reference, of course, was to Miami Hurricanes lineman Bryan Pata, who was murdered four days earlier.
- Fans storming the field at the end of the game was strange, given that Maryland is a Top-25 team and was favored to win. The Hurricanes fell to 5-5, making Maryland's win hardly worth tearing down goalposts.
We discovered the Henson Memorial while en route to the Maryland-Miami game, the subject of my next billion posts.
During its lame-duck session, Congress may take up a bill to give D.C. voting rights in the House (but not the Senate). The proposal would expand the House by two seats, from 435 seats to 437, giving D.C. one seat and Utah a fourth seat.
The Washington Post said: "President Bush said during a news conference last week that he would review the legislation, although he stopped short of pledging his support."
That characteristization of the president's stance is strange, since it seems to imply that Bush likes the bill but isn't quite sure yet whether he'll sign it.
Take a look at Bush's entire statement on this matter:
Meanwhile, JQB points out that the proposal itself may be unconstitutional. Specifically, it may violate Article I, Section 2, Clause 3: “Representatives … shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included in this union."
"It's the first I've heard of it. I didn't know that's going to come up from the lame duck. Yes, well, it may or may not come up. I'm trying to get the Indian deal done, the Vietnam deal done, and the budgets done. But I'll take a look at it. It's the first I've heard of it. Thanks."
November 14, 2006
November 13, 2006
College football has a plethora of stupid little trinkets that serve as trophies for various rivalries. Wisconsin and Minnesota play for the Paul Bunyan Axe, for instance. Michigan and Minnesota play for the Little Brown Jug.
Anyway, some idiot decided in 2004 to have Wisconsin and Iowa start playing for the Heartland Trophy. Wisconsin won this thing over the weekend and carried it off the field at Kinnick Stadium.
Now, I'm no biblical scholar. But didn't we learn a lesson in Exodus about not putting too much value in a golden calf?
At least they didn't make this thing out of the earrings of Iowans and Wisconsinites.
(That we know of.)
November 11, 2006
November 10, 2006
The last time I discussed Lucky Strike, a majority of you folks said the dress code was racist.
Walking by the other day, I noticed they've trimmed down the list of banned items.
Still, I don't even know what "MC colors" are.
What if I'm wearing them right now?
November 09, 2006
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) won re-election on Tuesday.
I wondered what the "M" stands for, so I looked to Wikipedia for the answer.
Evidently, she was born "Mary Carolyn Reavis."
(She took the name Rell from her husband Lou Rell.)
Meanwhile, where did the "Jodi" came from?
November 08, 2006
After arriving with Marnie & me into National Airport last month, the Ham pointed to a map of the airport terminal that included an arrow pointing to "Abingdon Plantation."
Granted, National Airport's Terminal A is pretty antiquated, but I was surprised to learn that the airport dates back to colonial days.
On Sunday, with an hour to kill while I waited for my bag to arrive from a separate flight, I toured the Abington site.
Somewhere in between Parking Garage A and Parking Garage B, Captain John Alexander (for whom the city Alexandria is named) built a home called Abingdon in 1746. George Washington's stepson John Parke Custis bought Abingdon in 1778, and the site was the birthplace of Washington's granddaughter .
The plantation burned to the ground in 1930.
November 07, 2006
MADISON, Wis. -- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright drew up plans for the Monona Terrace in 1938. In 1992, voters passed a ballot initiative to finally build it (it opened in 1997).
I loved the picture that Jeremy R. took of the building's windows facing Lake Monona (the top image on this page) so much that I tried to copy it (bottom image). My problem was that I couldn't capture the reflection of the clouds.
Still, it's a pretty good recreation of Jeremy's shot, given that I couldn't remember what it looked like.
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin's first Trader Joe's opened last month. The store's loyal customers often sing its praises, but nothing can top what the grocer itself says about its Charles Shaw wine label: It is the best selling wine in the known universe.
November 06, 2006
MADISON, Wis. -- A few weeks ago, Marnie ran into Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D), who was shaking hands with potential voters before a Badgers game. This weekend, I ran into Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who was drumming up support outside the Camp Randall Arch, and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R), who was on my plane back to D.C.
November 04, 2006
MADISON, Wis. -- Madison isn't particularly well known for its bagels.
But maybe it should be.
Madison-based Bagels Forever is wildly popular to the point where the Madison Whole Foods sells Bagels Forever bagels in its bakery section rather than the Whole Foods proprietary bagels that it sells everywhere else. (Does the Columbus Circle Whole Foods in NYC sell H&H bagels?)
I was pleased to discover this phenomenon today, since I love Bagels Forever. But I wonder how this has affected business at the Bagels Forever factory just a few doors down on University Avenue.
November 03, 2006
November 02, 2006
I'm not really a coffee drinker, but I'm pleased to see that a coffeehouse is set to open across the street from my house.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Cafe Cozy Corner. If you turn out to be a nice place, I'll look past the fact that you aren't located on a corner.
BALTIMORE, Md. -- The Navy Midshipmen may know a lot about orlops, but they don't know how to cheer properly.
What bothers me is that they use "thunder sticks" (sometimes known as "bang sticks"). You know — those annoying blow-up sticks that fans clap together at sporting events.
See for yourself in this crude video I shot last week:
November 01, 2006
Appearing last week on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Madonna said she didn't know that her recent adoption of a Malawi baby had become controversial since she doesn't keep up with news.
“I don’t read newspapers or watch television," Madonna told Oprah.
There's something insulting about one of the world's biggest music icons claiming not to be a consumer of media.
Does she avoid listening to music too?