Saturday, January 07, 2006

Friday, January 06, 2006

your new drug

Have fun, bitches.

My fastest time at home was 30 seconds and change; I plateaued at around 21.5 seconds at work, where I think it runs a little bit faster on a better computer.

scene from a dry-cleanery

Me: Uh, the suit has some stains on it.

Dry Cleaning Lady: What are the stains?

Me: ... That would be vomit.

Dry Cleaning Lady: [Business-like silence]

end scene

culture wars! tonight, 9/8c, only on nbc

As Terry points out, the religious right is apparently making The Book of Daniel into the newest cultural battleground.

For those of you who don't watch promos during the credits for My Name is Earl, The Book of Daniel is a new dramedy (yes, I just typed the word "dramedy") about an Episcopal priest (Aidan Quinn) who rides around town with Jesus in his passenger seat (no word yet as to whether Quinn wears a "Jesus is my Co-Pilot" trucker hat; personally I'm hoping for a "Damn Seagulls" or "FBI: Female Body Inspector" hat). He's got a messed-up family and a wacky cast of supporting characters, making it look an awful lot like it's network TV's long-overdue attempt at ripping off Six Feet Under (the main difference being there's only one dead guy on the whole show, and it's Jesus).

The Book of Daniel premieres tonight on NBC, which tells you all you need to know w/r/t how they feel about its prospects. Friday nights on NBC have been Godless even since they buried the original Star Trek in 1969; sensing this, the religious right has revved up its well-oiled outrage machine to a steady purr. Conservative Christian groups have already pressured two NBC affiliates to pull the show.

First of all, I disagree with Terry; the religious right is not stupid. He's correct in saying that their outrage has generated more buzz around the show than the mighty My Name is Earl ever could. My suspicion is that when these groups tilt at windmills like this, it spreads righteous indignation like a disease - and the only cure for the infected is to break out the checkbooks.

Second, I've noticed that a popular tactic in parrying the thrusts of the right is to be passive-aggressive and say something like "protest it because it sucks, not because of the whole 'Jesus' thing." The left does this a lot in all arenas of debate, and it bugs me for some reason. We haven't even seen the show yet, and even though it looks unfunny and uninspired, it might be good. True, the writers really seem to have been lazy in assigning each character his or her flaw ("hmmmm... How about, the priest is addicted to pain killers!" "Ooh, I like that... and his daughter, she doesn't just use drugs, she sells them too!" "Brilliant!"). But I think the concept of having Jesus as a recurring character on a show is pretty cool, and if executed well could be both entertaining and thought-provoking. Who knows - a recurring Jesus character on a TV show might even get some people interested in religion. Whether The Book of Daniel drops the ball on this or not, the left, in meekly trying to outflank shrill conservatives, risks one day giving up on something that's actually worth defending.

Lastly, it's not my place to decide what other people should or shouldn't get offended by. But really, comparing The Book of Daniel being on TV (before it's actually on TV) with the plight of blacks under Jim Crow is too ridiculous for words (I'm looking at you, Rob Kirkham), even if one accepts the debatable premise that Christians are somehow discriminated against in this country.

friday thoughts returns

Wow... it's been a while since I've done some real blogging (my exhaustive review of Narnia notwithstanding). I've just been trying to survive, man. It's been a rough month, but the three of you who read this blog probably know what's going on in my life anyway, so there's no need to rehash it all (no matter how witty and entertaining that rehashing would be). So let's get on with some Friday thoughts!

- I blame Kris for getting me hooked on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. True, its stories are absurd to the point that it makes recent seasons of the original Law and Order look like brutal realism. And many episodes end with all the main characters gathered together for a big "Clue"-style accusathon.

There's one main reason it's good TV, and his name is Vincent D'Onofrio. His portrayal of an eccentric, brilliant homicide detective is so exaggerated that even my grandmother imitates his trademark lean-and-head tilt at the very mention of the show's title. He's a lot of fun to watch, and in a world made bleak with the absence of Lennie Briscoe's wisecracks and Adam Schiff's fedora-and-lightswitch one-two combo, that lean-tilt is a ray of light.

- It's official - I've sold a kidney, and I can now go to the first Giants home playoff game in five years! Now, seeing as how there's a good chance the team will choose seats at random during the game and have the lucky winners come down and play linebacker, I have a bad gut feeling about the outcome (what else is new?). But Kris is coming, as is Man-Chris, and we're going to meet Spector and Lady Spector there, so it should be fun. It feels like the football equivalent of seeing your team make it to the NCAA tourney, only it's much rarer (at least, if your team is Penn); and relatively speaking, the Giants actually have a chance to win (again, if your team is Penn).

My only gripe is that it looks to be a mild 43 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday; this is my first NFL playoff game, and I want epic cold, dammit.

- For a multitude of reasons, is there any surprise in seeing Jerry Rice thrive on Dancing with the Stars? The main one being that Rice made his fortune in the West Coast offense, which is predicated on timing, rhythm, footwork and precision.

I'm just surprised at how relatively little being the greatest wide receiver in NFL history means in the world of celebrity. He's one of history's top athletes, and apparently in the hierarchy of reality TV that puts you on par with George Hamilton and the guy who played Jay Peterman on Seinfeld (though to be fair, I guess anybody who chooses to go on reality TV is by default on par with George Hamilton and Jay Peterman).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006