Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April: On Notice

As has been the regular, unedited and poorly written. Some day it'll become quality again. Some day...

Sorry for the lack of updating. I really didn’t think it’d been that long, with the waste of Easter weekend that involved nothing but the Masters and Flavor of Love and then my masterful work completing two of the three mega papers to close out this semester[i], and it is ten days between updates. My bad. Let’s catch up a bit with the “On Notice” board…

24 Hour News Cycle: Obviously the events that happened Monday in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech are terribly tragic. We can all agree on that, and existing outside of the bubble of Notre Dame really ratchets up the effects, between the newsroom at work buzzing and my speaker for tonight’s class canceling out because she was en route to cover the story, but it is days like today that make you question the need for nonstop coverage. Of course, we were tuned to MSNBC all day, and considering the circumstances, they did the best they could for a while.

But only for a while. Eventually, the ratio of “Air Time That Needs Filled: Information To Give Out” becomes so high that they need to just start filling time. It started this afternoon, with random guests on telephone or via satellite, from a guy who lost his stepson at Columbine (Do we really need to know how it feels to lose a loved one in such a way? I think everyone can assume, or at least doesn’t need to hear it at 1:00 this afternoon) to a screaming gun control advocate, they started filling up airspace. By the time the Token Bumbling Chief gave his press conference, I was in transit and at class, but word quickly spread of what the evening news shows were doing.

I got home in time to see Joe Scarborough talking to a random Reverend Graham about how the devil was behind this, then saw various levels of people trying to place blame. Gun laws, video games, movies, lack of security; some of these are relevant (Virginia gun laws are an absolute joke) and some completely pointless (I’m sure that somehow this is Jack Bauer’s fault, or at least was brought on by Halo 2), but was Monday night, less than 24 hours after the attacks, the right time to start placing blame? Obviously someone needs to question why the campus didn’t start to lockdown after the first double homicide, but that’s a different debate for a different time.

So what’s the lesson here? There are times for investigating, and there are times to just pray, explain what happened and try to calm down the public. There’s no need for grief counselors or former FBI profilers to rehash the same stuff the anchor just said. Give us the facts, try to keep the number of bloody pictures to a minimum and keep everyone in Hokie Nation in your thoughts and prayers.

(We will now digress to considerably less important and less somber things.)

Basketball Gods: I’m not sure whether or not my post-graduation travels will leave me in a city with a NBA team, but I was very happy for the thought of sharing the first round of this basketball postseason with Agent Zero and the Washington Wizards. Sadly, the Basketball Gods decided that their crown prince of hijinx – I think the tipping point might have been when he bet the opposing fan whether or not he was going to make the game-tying shot – was going down for the season, only days after taking his running mate, Caron Butler, out.

If the free-for-all the Wiz were in before the injuries started mounting wasn’t enough, Shaq being Shaq and the return of Dwyane Wade sentenced them to a first-round series with the blazing, exciting Toronto Raptors and a loss in five games (I assume Antawn Jamison goes off in one game). On the bright side, I’d imagine playoff tickets are rather cheap at this point, but from every other perspective, this absolutely sucks.

(On the bright side of things, the NBA Gods are trying to make amends with the rest of the first round action. In no particular order, they’re blessing the few remaining fans on the planet with, and this is all in the first round, Wade vs. LeBron, Dwight and Darko vs. Detroit, the perimeter prowess of New Jersey going against the Bulls, Good (The high-flying Nuggets) vs. Evil (The boring as sin Spurs), Kobe vs. The Suns II and if all goes well, the Golden State Warriors versus the Dallas Mavericks. I don’t want to bore you with too many NBA details, but honestly, I couldn’t be more excited about this Warriors team. If somehow the Nuggets or Warriors - or if things are going really well, both – make it to the second round, the world will be a wonderful place.)

(I wish anyone else cared about the NBA postseason that was reading it. Alas.)

TJ Lavin – Why didn’t anyone tell me Road Rules/Real World: Challenge: The Inferno III was starting!? Other than TJ Lavin still being mildly retarded in his hosting abilities, thoughts from the premiere episode:

  • Much like the Fresh Meat season, this format – two challenges to an elimination – begs for a hour every week. Is MTV too busy putting on junk liked Scarred to give it to them? Of course I’ll watch weekly, but it’s going to pay to watch this in Tivoed, marathon form.
  • I’m pretty sure South Africa looks a lot like the Pacific Northwest. How did they get Derrick there so fast? Was he just hanging out incase something happened? Do they always have reserves ready? Why did he lie to us about getting the phonecall?
  • This is the first time ever that cast members from a show currently running are on Challenge, right? Tyree, Jenn, Colie and Davis are pulling double duty, and I’m not sure that like I it.
  • Under what criteria is Danny a bad-ass? This really bothers me, probably more than the fact he’s on the show again.
  • Tyree vs. Alton this early, and due to poor editing, I know who wins (like I wouldn’t anyway)? I know I asked for it many moons ago, but not now.
  • No mention of Tonya’s softcore porn on Cinemax? Can’t wait for that to be revealed later in the season.
  • Seriously, how awesome is Alton? How is he not playing a professional sport? Like he wouldn’t be a fantastic play-making safety or lockdown corner somewhere.

Draftniks: After years of dealing with the NBA draft, I should be used to seniors getting overanalyzed while the exciting foreign and high school players go far too high simply on the glimmer of potential, but seeing Brady Quinn get picked apart just bugs the hell out of me. Here you have a freak of an athlete groomed by a fantastic NFL mind who took everybody’s best shot while playing with inferior teammates over the last three and a half years, yet the chic thing is to just blast away while supporting the Tremendous Upside Potential of JaMarcus Russell. They’ll be all sorts of stuff on this over at Rakes over the next week and a half, and I think Rob and I are going to liveblog the first dozen or so picks of the draft, but I just wanted to point out that while Quinn might not be a sure thing at the NFL level, Russell definitely isn’t either.

Original Movie Concepts: I say this in a good way, because of the top movies coming out this summer, nearly all of them are sequels. While a few original ideas are tucked away (I’m very excited for Fracture, Knocked Up looks like a comedic blast, The Kingdom will be great in August, and there’s some rando movie that looks a lot like The Princess Bride I’ll probably see), think about all of the follow-up goodness coming to us. The third versions of Shrek, Pirates and Spiderman drop in May alone, along with an additional Die Hard, another Harry Potter and for anyone who gives a crap, Rush Hour 3. I’d like to point out that the concept of sequels sort of turns movie franchises into pseudo-television series, but I wouldn’t want the cinema people to feel like they had to drop themselves down to the lowly level of television.

Buccos: We’re not going to spend a lot of time on this, but after starting 3-0, the Pirates managed to show off terrible offense up and down a board – draw a f’n walk – while losing 6 of 7 to the Reds, Cardinals and Giants in embarrassing fashion. They made some amends tonight behind the flamethrowing Ian Snell, but nearly fell apart before Albert Pujols crushed Solomon Torres into the….foul area right by third base. As he begins his defense of his batting title, Freddy Sanchez is batting .348 in the early moments of the season. A lot can change before September rolls around, but I’m sure pretty sure Freddy will remain the man.

Television Viewers: Thursday night’s NBC lineup garnered the worst ratings in years, and that’s with them tossing out excellent episodes of The Office and 30 Rock. The television networks are put in the position where the best shows they put on, such as Comedy Night Done Right, How I Met Your Mother and Friday Night Lights, don’t get great ratings. Do you go with quality, or just keep searching for junk hits like Deal or No Deal or American Idol? Television is a business just like anything else, but sometimes I just wish people were smarter so executives who greenlight intelligent television like Veronica Mars or Arrested Development don’t get punished for their efforts.

Song Girls: My ambiguous relationship with the University of Southern California Trojans is an interesting one. They’re an absolutely perfect rival to the Irish, and I’m glad we have them around, but I also wish someone could just catch them cheating. While the 2005 game will remain one of the best/worst afternoons of my life, and the Irish took a step back in last November’s game, I hold out hope that the trends stay the same and every year we’re privy to epics like the October 15, 2005 version.

Still, it’s hard for me to completely and totally hate them when they have the Song Girls. Oh, Song Girls, you are an unhealthy obsession, created either in a lab underneath the campus or in a specially crafted gym, filled with mirrors to remind you how perfect you are.

[i] These papers, they are not done well, mind you, but they are done. If you have a hankering for a review of the internet’s effect on American politics or the need for a federal media shield law, I’ve got thirty pages of joy waiting for you just an e-mail away.

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