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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.

The Weekly Tendown December 25-31 2011. Happy Newdown.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dear Internet:



Last night, after midnight in Times Square CeeLo Green sang "Imagine."

Kinda.

As opposed to "and no religion to" the lyric became "and all religion is true."

I've thought for years "Imagine" had weirdly penetrated culture given the anti-establishment message, that it was the musical equivalent of Muhammad Ali, effectively neutered by commodification; once 7th grade choirs start singing about a world without personal property or national boundaries, its unclear what power is left in those words.

But I was a little startled by this; I didn't know that level of message change was fair game.

Consider CeeLo Green as Hamlet:

To be or not to be.


That's a pretty good question, I guess, but there are other questions one could ask.  What would you do for a Klondike Bar is a helluva question.  Especially the new Caramel Pretzel flavor.  I'd avenge your father's murder for one of those bad boys..  Now where's this Ophelia everyone's talking about?  The Prince of Denmark likes him some spooky chicks.  Enough of this melancholia crap; let's call Rosencrantz and Blake Shelton and get freaky Elizabethan style.  


Its Tendown 108.  107 is here.

1. Week 17
The most important game for me today?

Colts/Jaguars.

As I've written, I'm of a mind that Andrew Luck is Peyton Manning, or rather, if I had to pick one quarterback since Peyton Manning to put the full value of my franchise behind, it would be Luck.  I felt strongly enough about it that in my pre-season NFL preview (where I suggested a Manning-less season would mean the Colts would have the top pick) I offered that given a choice between 0-16 and a guaranteed Luck vs. losing in the NFC Championship game, I'd take the former.

By the time you read this, the 49ers will have beaten the Rams to finish 13-3 and earn the second seed in the NFC playoffs.  We may lose our opener to the Saints (who will probably be favored) but if seed holds we will, in fact, be losing the NFC Championship game.

And it's a legitimate 13 win team, our pythag is going to wind up at about 12-4, which would place this 49er team just outside the ten best Niner teams of all time.  We're just not as good as Green Bay.

It's worth revisiting the 0-16 vs. NFC Title losers today given that who we're playing is the Rams, as it forces a tougher present choice: do we want to win today?

A win gets us the second seed, second seeds have significantly higher likelihoods of advancing to the Super Bowl than do third seeds.  You want that extra chance.

A win means the Rams lose.  And if the Rams lose...and the Colts win...then Andrew Luck hits our division for the next 15 years.

The "guaranteed top pick" vs. "guaranteed title game loss" scenario is too easy, because as you lose game after game, you aren't guaranteed the top pick, just guaranteed a bad season - and when you get to the title game, you aren't guaranteed to lose, in fact, it might go the other way; as you approach each Sunday, deciding "should we win or lose" is trickier than the artificial construct posed in preseason.

So today, you want to win.  Even though a win still does not make it likely that we do any better than losing the NFC Title game.  Even though, in a curious twist, a win might mean Luck is beating us for years to come.

Go Jags.  Seriously.  Go Jags.

2. Football Freakonomics
Stephen Dubner's done pieces for NFL.com, they're rudimentary if you have any exposure to advanced football metrics, but they aren't wrongheaded.  It's here.

3. Why Did No One Tell Me About This?
You need to be watching Billy on the Street.  I'm disappointed that no one brought this to my attention before this week.

Here's the NYTimes review.
Here's the Youtube channel.  GET THE MEAT OUT OF THE DOG'S MOUTH!
Here's Billy Eichner on Funny or Die.

I've been walking around all weekend randomly yelling "Rooney Mara" with an insistent desperation to anyone in my path.  Billy Eichner is who you should be watching in 2012.

4. What You Should Have Watched in 2011


That's Liza with a Z singing to Paula Deen's chicken.  Earlier in the show, Paula remarked that she and Liza had a lot in common, my biggest laugh out loud moment of 2012.  Perhaps she meant a shared Vicodin habit.

The best film I saw in 2011 (with the caveat that I have seen relatively few) was Bill Cunningham New York; it's on Netflix streaming.  Consider AO Scott's 10 best movie list which can be found at the end of this piece.

The best television series of 2011 was Breaking Bad, with Mad Men on the shelf there's not a close second; 2011 is the year I began watching Big Brother UK, not as good a game as the US version, but a significantly better television show.  My Big Brother study reached unsettling levels in 2011, not only did I watch the US version, the US after dark version, the UK celebrity version, the UK general version, but now I'm watching the full UK 2008 season, as I'm unaware how it turns out (but my bet's on Mikey).  I recognize now I'm talking to the smallest possible audience, people who care enough about Big Brother UK to read this paragraph but don't care so much that they already know who won the 2008 season.  It would be like someone saying "I'm just now getting to that Phillies/Rays World Series, don't tell me how it turns out."

But that is what I'm saying, yes.  I don't know how it turns out.  So don't tell me.

5. While You're Looking at Top 10 Lists
There's a page devoted to them.

You can also see this compilation of the best viral videos of the year.

And this compilation of video moments from our friends, the Republicans.

My best addition to the year end lists would be this work in progress of the best professional wrestling matches of 2011; I have 3 significant matches left to watch, I'll get them early in the week, and then I'll largely make up some order for the best MOTY.

6. Hey, Look What's Happening Next Year
Van Halen, with Dave, is going on the road.

There's some space for a Van Halen revival, I think.  They should think about taking Sammy also.  And what they really need to think about is having some type of presence on these network singing contest shows; I can't recall hearing a VH song ever performed on Idol, for example, so my assumption is they haven't provided clearance.  Which is fine, particularly if you don't want CeeLo to sing I got it bad/so bad/I learn from teacher, but doesn't help you on ITunes.

7. The All Williams Starting Five


Take a look at the bottom of the New Jersey Nets roster.

They have 4 guys named Williams.  An off guard and they can put an all Williams five on the floor.  Reggie is sitting at home rehabbing an injury, perhaps a deal can be made with Charlotte.

The Shawne/Sheldon thing is weird, given their similar first initials, that they're on the same team (playing the same position essentially) means you need their full names to distinguish them, and last year, they both played for the Knicks.  I'm not entirely convinced they are different people.

8. Top 5 Williams' Of All Time:


1. Tennessee


2. William Appleman


3. Ted


4. Roger


5. Michelle


9. WWF Divas
You think the Rock has done well with his post-WWF career?

How about the WWF Divas from the same era?  First Keibler bagged Clooney and now Torrie Wilson is banging ARod.

I wonder if Trish is questioning her choice of husband.  She could have held out for Rafael Nadal or that one dude from How to Make it in America.

This is exactly why a year ago I coined The Jannetty.  Torrie was married to Billy Kidman.  He's the Jannetty. She wins the breakup.  Keibler used to sleep with Test.  She's with Clooney; Test is, well, not.

10. This Week from Mitt Romney
And if I'm elected class President, we'll ban pop quizzes and the students will take over the teachers' lounge!

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

Your pal,

Jim

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