a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Weekly Tendown July 24-30 2011

Dear Internet:

I hate a 13 year old boy.



Here's 87.


1. Okay, Maybe Not Hate, But I'm Sorta Rooting for Him to Pick Up a Drug Habit in a Half Dozen Years.
This is Jackson Murphy; each week, because I watch At the Movies with my Ladygal and am therefore not able to fast forward through the parts that make me crazy, I am subjected to his act.

I'm not categorically opposed to a 13 year old movie reviewer; I can't see a circumstance where I'd be interested in what he might say, as I don't have any interest in movies for children.  But were the boy to stay in that lane, as an articulate kid who knows enough review speak to talk about kids movies in a way that either made sense for other 13 year old kids or their parents, I guess there's a slot on the entertainment spectrum.

But that's not what he does - he's a general movie reviewer, reviewing movies no differently than say, Ben Lyons (not a compliment).  He's got absolutely nothing to say about any of them, no insight, no flair; were he 19 years old (absent the drug problem) and giving the same word for word reviews, he wouldn't be anywhere near my television.  There isn't a syllable that comes out of his mouth that would mean anything to anyone if he weren't a child.

And why should I care about that?  The At The Movies brand is supposed to be about intelligent discussion of film, which is why the Ben Lyons era was correctly seen as an ugly departure.  By and large, I've liked the relaunch; I now even think of Bill Curtis's voice as Roger Ebert's, as opposed to every other voiceover guy they've used who just reminds me of Ebert's physical circumstance.  I like Ignaty; I don't particularly agree (I think; my film IQ is low) with his cinematic sensibility; but he clearly has an informed point of view, and his type of film voice is what I'm looking for from At the Movies.

The boy's just a boy who speaks well.  He's tiny Ben Lyons.  Who I also don't want to watch.  And who could never, ever get hired to be on this version of At The Movies.  But yet, here's the boy.

Even then, it would only be a minor annoyance; I don't like that act, it's trifling, but inoffensive.

Until this week - this week, in reviewing one of those Green movies (Hornet or Lantern) that I'll never see, he criticized the trope of superheroes having girlfriends, saying something to the effect of that it would be more interesting if, as soon as he learned how to fly, his girlfriend left him - and here's the direct quote, "as most women would."


And that's where we need to stop the bus.

Because what's happening there is the little boy is making a statement pretty clearly outside of his area of knowledge, "let me tell you about the ladies" he grunts before a drag on his cigarette.  And he said it in the same trained parrot announcer voice designed to communicate authority that he uses to complain about the pacing of a rom-com.  Hey, he's on TV, that must mean he knows what he's talking about.

I'm not mad at the boy, but I think better of Ebert.

Who I no longer think better of is us.  I don't think its an accident that it was on Fox and Friends where Murphy made his national name.  Because those are full grown people who don't know an ounce more about the world on which they comment than the boy does about "most women."

Steve Doocy from Tuesday, taxing the wealthy is "so last week.

Brian Kilmeade from the week before, we should be supporting the mega wealthy, not punishing them.

And a month ago, Kilmeade called labor law complaints against military contractor Boeing anti-American.

Oh, okay - I don't want to leave out Gretchen Carlson, in June, she said "35 %" of the in state students at University of California schools are "illegals."  Turns out, undocumented immigrants make up .34%.  But what's a couple of decimal places among (Fox and) Friends?

Take the boy off the show, Roger.  Let him go be the smartest person on the Fox set.  I can't wait for his thoughts about the debt ceiling.

2. 55 games to go.
This week, the World Champion San Francisco Giants met the African-American President of the United States.  I barely understand that sentence.  Had you said that to me a half dozen years ago I would have given you the sideways dog head tilt.

We made two deals this week; we got Orlando Cabrera today.  He sucks.  His WARP (Clay Davenport version) is 0, just fractions below Tejada and Fontenot and ahead of Crawford.  We didn't give up a ton, but Cabrera's a guy you can find on the street.

And we got Carlos Beltran; my reaction to that deal is here.  I don't love it; I'm not morally opposed to moving Wheeler, but I want more than 60 games of 34 year old Carlos Beltran.

I wrote a lot this week.  I started the AFC in my look at all time football rosters with the Raiders;  looked at the 10 best football teams in Pac 10 history;   and awarded the July Athlete of the Month.

3. Do You Know What September 24 is?
No, not the day before my birthday; recall, I'm skipping it this year in order to turn 500 months old next May (as all people my age should do.  Spread the word) but instead, its the day the 200,000th major league baseball game will be played.

4. The Economy?  Read Robert Reich.
Two pieces this week.

One, ripping Obama.

In his inaugural address, Obama warned that “the nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.” In private, he professes to understand that the growing concentration of income and wealth at the top has robbed the middle class of the purchasing power it needs to keep the economy going. And it has distorted our politics.

Never once does he tell the public why reducing the deficit has become his number one economic priority. Americans can only conclude that the Republicans must be correct — that diminishing the deficit will somehow revive economic growth and restore jobs.

And two, the real economic crisis in the country.


Repeat after me: The federal deficit is not the nation’s biggest problem. The anemic recovery, huge unemployment, falling wages, and declining home prices are bigger problems. We don’t have a budget crisis. We have a jobs and growth crisis.


The GOP has manufactured a budget crisis out of the Republicans’ extortionate demands over raising the debt limit. They have succeeded in hoodwinking the public


5. Want to see the Debt Vanish?


Raise taxes.


6. Norway


A week ago, a fundamentalist Christian killed 68 people in Norway.

The initial reaction of the American right wing was that a Muslim must have been responsible.

The response was then that the killer couldn't have been a Christian, because real Christians don't commit terrorist acts.

Because when a Christian kills people in the name of his god, that's an individual act by a lunatic who has nothing to do with Christianity.  And when a Muslim kills people in the name of his god, thats an indictment of an entire religion justifying congressional hearings.

They had the stories ready to go, the "see, that's what Muslims do" stories - and then had to replace them with "he's not a Christian, and if you call him a Christian, then that's bigotry."

Meanwhile, the 68 dead in the Norway shooting is less than the every day gun related bodycount in the US.

I wonder the religion of the people who commit those crimes?

7. Runaway Groom

A week after her engagement party, and days before her bridal spread in Life&Style hit the stands - Kristin Cavallari got dumped by Jay Cutler.

For those of you who know one or the other but not both.  Here's your scorecard:

Cavallari was the first breakout from the 21st century wave of MTV reality shows, but she's long since been eclipsed and marrying a professional athlete would seem like a good career move.  Getting left at the altar by a quarterback could maybe give her another six months of juice.  I was always an LC guy; were they all traded on the stock market, I would have gotten that one right.

Cutler's a mid-level quarterback, currently considered a bit of an underachiever whose pain tolerance is maybe not as high as is ideal.  I don't much care about those types of slurs, but dude does throw his share of picks and yours too.  They're a good ex-couple.

Someone with fewer jobs could do a piece about what other reality show stars could break up with quarterbacks.  I'll start here.  Let's match...


Mandi, from the current season of MTVs the Challenge, always one of the great reality competition shows (she banged both CT and Wes, presumably, on the same Challenge, which shows the kind of flexibility and terrible judgment necessary to get dumped by a quarterback.)

With...


John Brodie.  A match made for TMZ.

Incidentally, if you aren't watching The Glee Project, you're making a mistake.  It's been the best reality competition show this year.  Glee's "we give voice to voiceless" ethos can come off as extra clumsy and calculated (not always, sometimes its just a good hearted show about gay kids singing) but Glee Project pretty squarely hits it on the sweet spot.  Oh, and Big Brother hasn't told us this yet on any platform, but you should expect one of the evicted houseguests to return, say a week from Thursday.  I think they've been prodding to get Jeff bounced in the hopes of having him return in that yet unannounced twist.

That's your reality show roundup.  

8. Inappropriate Test Responses from Children.



It's funny, 'cause no one is pretending they know anything about the anti-colonial subtext of Cowboys & Aliens.

9. Here's Greenwald.
Published like 20 minutes ago.

The reported deal on the debt ceiling is so completely one-sided -- brutal domestic cuts with no tax increases on the rich and the likelihood of serious entitlement cuts in six months with a "Super Congressional" deficit commission -- that even Howard Kurtz was able to observe: "If there are $3 trillion in cuts and no tax hikes, Obama will have to explain how it is that the Republicans got 98 pct. of what they wanted," while Grover Norquist, the Right of the Right on such matters, happily proclaimed: "Sounds like a budget deal with real savings and no tax hikes is a go."


It took Nixon to go to China.  It took Obama to gut Social Security.


10. 4 Years Ago Yesterday


Hard to believe Bill Walsh has been dead 4 years.  Time keeps grinding away on us all.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time, if there is a next time...

Your pal,

Jim