If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Week In TV - 9/28/14

Remember how I used to post about which comic books I bought every week, with comments about each book (or comics in general, or whatever else I decided was sort of related to them)? Well, I don't buy nearly as many comics as I used to (go back and read about my issues with the DC comics reboot that led to Superman's using his baby blanket as a cape). So, I thought I'd try something new: commentary on the TV shows I watch each week.

This is in part inspired by what a big week this was for my personal TV viewing, which I will get to. First, though, this won't be about my regular Monday-through-Friday shows -- consisting of the brilliant Keith Olbermann on ESPN2 and, of course, TMZ -- unless something in particular during those shows that I think needs attention. Nor will this be about telecasts of sporting events, again unless I feel it's warranted. So we'll start with the programs that aired between September 21 and 28. (I didn't necessarily watch them in their time slot. I usually DVR everything and skip through the commercials. Also, I hope future posts won't be as long as this one is turning out to be.)

Last Monday started with, thanks to the magic of DVR, two episodes of The Big Bang Theory on CBS, the two-hour third-season finale of Dallas on TNT and the premiere of the new series Gotham on Fox.

Big Bang has been on so long now that I'm sort of waiting for the dropoff in quality. Not sure it's happened yet, because they've been able to have the characters grow out of their established personas. It's very slow, but just enough (such as Raj finally being able to talk to women without alcohol) to keep them interesting. So we'll see. (Note: it's on Monday for a few weeks due to CBS showing some NFL games on Thursdays.)

The Dallas reboot has been surprising since the start. Although ostensibly starring the sons of J.R. and Bobby Ewing, so much of the show has featured the old cast, and killing off J.R. (necessitated as it was by Larry Hagman's passing) led to some of the best television of 2013. Season three ended with a shocking death, although the shock was lessened by the fact that it happened at the very end of the episode and was hyped by TNT: "One...Ewing...Will...Die." Better to kill the character in the middle so it's truly unexpected.

I had tremendous expectations for Gotham, the Batman series without Batman.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Boycott the NFL? What Says Lurie? Philly Media Asleep?

I've been increasingly disgusted with the NFL lately. Although I love football, the NFL and I have issues, such as their overreaction in stadium security which won't let me carry my little drawstring bag* with my phone charger, reading material for the subway/El, etc. into the Linc -- if I even actually got an Eagles ticket, which I can't afford anyway. And their claim that they want to make the game safer and reduce or prevent serious injuries, particularly head injuries, is completely at cross-purposes with their insistence that there be weekly Thursday night games, as well as their consideration of future expansion of the regular season from 16 to 18 games.

But that's nothing compared to the initial outrage over the pathetic two-game suspension originally given Ray Rice by commissioner Roger Goodell, and the league's response to the punishment's total inadequacy (especially when compared with longer bans given players who committed the horrible crime of smoking pot), followed by the responses of Goodell, the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens once TMZ acquired the video of Rice viciously punching his then-fiancee, now-wife in the elevator at the newly-defunct Revel Casino in Atlantic City, followed by the league's totally inadequate responses to domestic violence caused by other players (you MUST read this).

And on top of all that came the news that Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was charged with child abuse, after beating his four-year-old son with a tree branch until the child bled. For those who somehow think there's nothing wrong with such discipline, think about it. Pause on these words, stare at them for a minute or two until it sinks in: HE BEAT HIS CHILD AND DREW BLOOD. HE MADE A FOUR-YEAR-OLD BLEED!

That was followed by the Vikings' flip-flops on whether he should be allowed to play, deactivating him for one game, then announcing that he would be reinstated, then reversing course after team and league sponsors began distancing themselves from this mess.

And then came today (technically yesterday, since this won't be finished until after midnight).

Monday, September 15, 2014

WHAT THE HELL...Urban Outfitters

Really, Urban Outfitters? Trying to sell a "Vintage Kent State sweatshirt" with fake blood spatters and, after immediate outrage caused them to pull the product, claiming it was never intended to allude to the 1970 shootings by the Ohio National Guard on the Kent State campus, killing four people? Seriously? One, trying to sell it to begin with? Two, thinking anyone would believe this bullshit denial? Three, $129.00?



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quick Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

I really need to see more movies. (That would cost money, which I can't really spare in large amounts for movies right now. Help.) Almost half of the movies I've managed to see this year involve Marvel Comics characters. The most recent, Guardians of the Galaxy, presented a dilemma  It's one thing for me to see movies featuring Spider-Man, X-Men and Captain America. I'm at least somewhat familiar with the characters, even if I didn't read their comics. The Guardians of the Galaxy, on the other hand? Never heard of them. And I wasn't that impressed by the trailers.

Fortunately, it was a good movie. Solid, not especially brilliant, mainly due to a pedestrian story that, despite its characters being quite different than typical superheroes, still fits neatly into the Marvel movie formula. However, Chris Pratt was a great fit for the role of Peter "Star-Lord" Quill, abducted from Earth as a child who eventually ends up as head Guardian. And, as we're all aware by now, he buffed up for the role. I can never disapprove of that. My grade: B.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dilworth Park, The Councilman and I

(UPDATE: Eventually I was unblocked by Jim Kenney's Twitter account. I voted for him in the May 2015 mayoral primary and will vote for him in November 2015 in the general election.  Original post follows.)

If you follow me on Twitter you know that, besides the various things I get obsessed with (#EverySimpsonsEver) or angry about (#FireRuben), I can also get silly and snarky. However, I can also be quite sincere.

Let's face it: there are lots of problems, here and around the world. Members of Congress (especially Republicans). The Pennsylvania state legislature (ditto). The worst PA governor in my lifetime, who thankfully seems to be on track to be the first one-term governor of the state in over 40 years. The lack of funding for public education, especially in Philadelphia (see above re: PA governor and legislature).

The economic "recovery" in which so many people still struggle because the minimum wage isn't nearly high enough and huge corporations have seemingly every advantage thanks to the aforementioned Republicans and their servants on the Supreme Court. The health care system, slightly improved by the Affordable Care Act but still wildly inadequate and too expensive (just ask my friend Kurt, and while you're at it could you sign his petition, and maybe make a donation to help him get his new laptop? Thanks.)

The moronic fight against immigration reforms. The increasing havoc that climate change is having on our planet. Russia's efforts to take over Ukraine. Everything going on in the Middle East. And hey, did anyone #BringBackOurGirls or find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 yet?

Yet, as pessimistic as I can be about, well, everything, I also realize there are still good things happening. For example, there was another victory this week in the effort to make Philadelphia a nicer, greener, more lively and fun city. Already we've seen success on the Delaware River waterfront with the Race Street Pier. This summer brought the (seasonal) Spruce Street Harbor Park (with the hammocks!) and the (permanent) Washington Avenue Pier. And yesterday, Dilworth Park opened.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WTHIWWY: Cee Lo Green

Cee Lo Green
Let me see if I understand what you're saying, Cee Lo Green. So if a man sexually assaults an unconscious woman it's not rape because if the woman isn't awake to say "no" that's the same as giving consent? Really? Is that what you're saying, Cee Lo? You seriously think you can drug a woman in order to have sex with her?

And now your "reality" show's been canceled; whether it was because you're a pig or because of lousy ratings is possibly subject to debate. (Hey, NBC, can we kick the pig off "The Voice" permanently as well?)