Tuesday, January 30, 2007


This post has not been proofread in any way, and was actually written without contacts or glasses. Any accidental racial slurs or nasty comments, unless directed at someone you know I generally direct them to, are completely accidental and the result of bad eyes and a lack of time.

My general rule of existence when entering a new situation is to assume everyone is smarter than me until they prove me wrong. I adopted this attitude upon attending Notre Dame, where I assumed my meager West Shamokin education would leave me at a loss behind all the highfalutin private school kids with their fancy tutors and leather-bound books. It took me a while to realize that in no way did entrance to Notre Dame make you extremely intelligent, or even capable of putting together a quality argument on the spot, but I still enter every class or new group of people with that same basic mantra: I’m the dumbest one in the room until someone proves otherwise.

My superiors at Meet the Press are one of the first groups of people to make me glad I adopted that idea a few years back. If you could somehow transcribe their total accumulated knowledge and experience of politics, media and everything outside of those bounds into book form, Britannica would have some serious competition. What are the laws concerning the dates of presidential primaries? What’s it like being one of two people in the news room at New York when a plane goes down? Is John Edwards so overly nice in his efforts of politicking that he gets in the way on a Sunday morning? These are questions that don’t even have to be asked –well, the first one was – and as long as I’m willing to listen, there’s so much in the answers.

My experiences thus far in the city have opened me up to a side of politics I never really thought about, that being the objective side simply focused on who’s winning and why. Getting into issues always seems nasty – I can’t imagine a scenario where a pro-life and pro-choice person come to a happy medium, one simply doesn’t exist – and it always amazed me just how wrong people could seem when they’re firmly planted on one side, but there’s a certain joy in monitoring polls and analyzing why one candidate’s stock is soaring while another’s verbal faux pas just cost them all of the states south of the Mason-Dixon. I’m going to get into this in-depth sometime later on, but the connection between sports and politics is frighteningly eerie when you get down to it, and that couldn’t make me happier.

The internship is going very well, despite the fact there are some slow days thrown in, but since there’s television, internet, a dozen newspapers and an entire video archive of every important event over the last half century, it’s never that boring.

A few other things I’ve learned about DC:

1) Ben’s Chili Bowl is Washington, DC’s answer to Atlanta’s Varsity, only with chili. The surrounding area was also significantly scarier at two in the morning than the Varsity was during the day, but mmmm, chili cheese fries.

2) I miss driving. Mass transportation is efficient and quick in most cases, and I’m sure I would be loath to the stop and go-ness of traffic lights every block, but I can’t wait to bust the Mustang whenever I make it home.

3) I’m pretty good at grocery shopping, which makes me feel better at my chances of being a stay-at-home-dad, but actually paying for food made America’s obesity problem rather clear: healthy food is simply more expensive. You can buy bags of potato chips or cans of processed meat on the cheap, but a bag of oranges and some salad sets you back ten bucks immediately.

4) I was an hour off from crossing paths with Tony Kornheiser in the Washington Post building last night. That is a costly, critical mistake that will hopefully be remedied before the semester ends. If I ever get to meet him, I’m debating what I’m going to say, but “Is Joe Theismann really that dumb?” leads the pack at the moment.

5) After 24, I can’t get on the Metro without considering how fun it would be to kick someone out the back of it. The complete lack of security is a topic for another day, so perhaps we should have people channeling their inner Jack Bauer on the daily commute.

But yes, all things DC are going well at the moment, and John Edwards will be on the show Sunday morning, meaning I’ll be able to answer that above question on my own come the end of the weekend.

(Also, if Hillary, Obama, Giuliani or McCain are on the show over Junior Parent’s Weekend, my rage and vitriol will know no end.)


After the last two seasons and AFC Champions, I’ve pretty much given up on the NFL. I’m avoiding any non-Deadspin site that might make reference to the big game, and while I’ll watch it simply for the sake of the commercials and rooting for the Bears[i], I’m not pleased. Despite the fact I’m not watching any of the coverage, I’m assuming these would be my least favorite storylines.

1) The redemption of Peyton Manning!!

2) Negro Bowl I!!

3) Can Rex Grossman play well again?! (Despite the fact his two playoff games were better than the combined efforts of Manning, but whatever)

4) Will the Colts run defense be up to the task one more time!?

5) Dwight Freeney: All I Can Do Is Pass Rush, or, Jason Taylor and Julius Peppers Are Immensely Superior To Me

Bear down, Chicago Bears…


Oh, Hills, how I’ve missed you. Granted, episodes two and three were of the totally blah variety, and next week’s Heidifest proves to continue the downward slope, but the season premiere provided the realest moment in the history of Liz Gateley’s reality empire.

If you’re unfamiliar with how last season ended, LC, a budding fashion guru, chose to stay with her cokehead boyfriend in Malibu over the summer as opposed to going to Paris, which would apparently serve as the Mecca of the stylizing world. I didn’t understand it at the time, and it turned out to go as poorly as we all expected, with LC and Jason breaking up at the beginning of the second season.

However, in a move every boss/person in your life would do if you made that same decision, Lisa Love, Meryl Streep-in-Prada impersonator and boss of LC and the girl who went to Paris in her place, repeatedly made comments such as “You’ll forever be the girl who didn’t go to Paris” and “Didn’t you choose to stay on a beach with your boyfriend? How’d that work out for you?”. This whole season is worth it just for that one moment.


We’re starting Oscarfest 2007, with a long, long list of movies yet to see. Still remaining, in some sort of order of interest:

Notes on a Scandal: Judi Dench being creepy. This should be nearly as fun as Angela Lansbury being evil in the original Manchurian Candidate. The book it’s based on was apparently awesome, so a long pedigree of goodness here.

Little Children: Kate Winslet’s, one of the more under-appreciated actresses of our time, is involved, despite another 0% chance of winning Best Actress.

The Last King of Scotland: When we saw the trailer for this way back when, the consensus was “That looks amazing”. Now that Forest Whitaker is crossing the t’s on his Best Actor acceptance speech, now would probably be a good time to check it out.

Volver: Penelope Cruz in a Mexican ghost story that makes Salma Hayek happy? Si, senor.

Babel: Entertainment Weekly’s early favorite for Best Picture, it’s an international Crash that discusses communication instead of race. I have a feeling I’m not going to like this movie, but it will be, of course, objectively viewed.

The Queen: Zero chance of winning Best Picture, 99% chance of getting Helen Mirren Best Actress. This is more of a duty screening than anything, as monarchies generally make me feel uncomfortable.

Dreamgirls: Apparently you might get both Supporting wins out of this, along with a near guarantee on Best Song. This is literally at the bottom of the list.

Also will probably rent Devil Wears Prada (should have seen it when it was in theaters) and The Departed (because it was so good the first time, although we might just go see this again). As long as that list is, it’s two shorter than it was going into the weekend. After scouring the city for theaters, check marks went beside Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Children of Men

Both people I went to see this movie with didn’t like it, which is odd, because I enjoyed it immensely and it got a lot of hype as “The Film Oscar Snubbed”.

The apparent problem my co-viewers faced was a plot that left some burning questions after you exited the theater. While I’ll agree a bit more could have been explained, there was too much good about the film for me to get angry with it.

The first half of Children of Men is a lesson in establishing your own extremely unique and wonderfully thought-out setting, a dystopian Britain in 2027 where infertility among woman has plagued society for nearly nineteen years, the borders are closed, immigrants are being deported and the government is handing out suicide tablets in the ration kits. From the protestors and bombings to the propaganda and utter hopelessness of it all, a frightening new world is created.

The second half could be shown in filmmaking classes for the next fifty years – perhaps replace Citizen Kane, as this movie manages to both be technically magnificent and interesting – for the way extended scenes are shot. One battle scene towards the end is interrupted with blood splattering on the camera, an effect most likely by accident but one that works out in enhancing the violence of the scene. Clive Owen, an actor I’ve mocked since Closer, is your hero, and he does a great job of plodding along and doing whatever is necessary to complete his world-saving objective. Michael Caine knocks it out of the park in another supporting role, but since he’s Michael Caine and everyone just takes him for granted at this point, he doesn’t get nearly enough recognition.

Not a movie to see if you’re even slightly depressed and a sense of hopelessness might put you over the edge, but definitely worth seeing.

Pan’s Labyrinth

Pocz commented on my Oscar post and said that I really should see Pan’s Labyrinth, using the term “creative”, which upon reflection, is the best word to describe the film, along with “graphic”. It’s Alice in Wonderland mixed with Schindler’s List and A Beautiful Life, a fairy tale set against a WWII era dictator, only this time our enemy is of the fascist Spaniard inclination as opposed to your usual 1944 Nazi antagonist.

Anytime reviews describe something as “a fairy tale for grown-ups”, you don’t expect there to be multiple torture scenes, but as one review pointed out, they’re not unnecessary. The Captain that presides over the mill/military base where the movie takes place is a monster, and his violent acts throughout the first few stanzas of the film are necessary to establish this. Although this guy apparently eats children and has eye balls in his hands, I don’t think he’s as scary as our Franco supporter is:

There’s one crucial plot element involving the above character and the second task which simply doesn’t fit into the character of Ofelia, our child protagonist, but other than that and the rather graphic content – let’s just say there’s no way even the most open-minded parent lets their kid see this – Pan’s serves as both a good war movie mixed with a fantastical fairy tale, with the latter serving as an allegory for the former I’m very excited to read different takes on.

You may think, perhaps after reading this or watching the trailer, that this is one of the hundred horror movies currently in theaters. That is not true, because the only monster responsible for non-fairy bloodshed is indeed our demented Captain, so while you could call this a thriller and while you will cringe at times, it is certainly not a horror movie.


I want to discuss the Wizards, Veronica, How I Met Your Mother, Friday Night Lights, the new season of The Amazing Race and so much more, but I’m already behind schedule on today. If I catch back up, more posts forthcoming.

[i] The more I think about it, the more I realize the Bears winning wouldn’t be that bad. I wouldn’t have to deal with the majority of idiot fans at school until next August, when the lights of Miami and XLI would be far in the past, and of those I discuss the NFL with until breathless, perhaps the three I enjoy the most – Avants, Pocz and Jo Bu – all are Bears fans, and while I hated to see the degenerate Cro-Magnons of Steeler Nation win, it would be good to see another beleaguered franchise raise themselves from the grave at the benefit of some very good friends. We’re not here to start any trouble…

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