The Weekly Rundown – March 1
Four Things to Watch This Week
1. 101 Gadgets That Changed the World (Friday, 8 p.m. CT, History Channel)
Should you be sick (it is the end of February, even if it feels like early May) or have limited social options on Friday night, this looks to be a sweet show to catch. I have not seen this show; my only hope is that duct tape will finally get its day in the sun.
2. North Carolina at Duke (Saturday, 6 p.m. CT, ESPN)
As good as these games always seem to be, the last one in the Dean Dome on Feb. 8 was one of the all-timers. Freshman guard Austin Rivers hit a big-money shot at the buzzer to cap the Dukies 13-point come-from-behind win. That game also featured one of the weirder plays I’ve ever seen: on a Ryan Kelly jumper, North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller went for the rebound and accidentally tipped the ball in.
By the way, I hate both these teams. But good basketball is good basketball.
3. Big East Basketball Tournament (Begins Tuesday, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN)
Syracuse! Georgetown! Jim Burr and the rest of the Big East officials figuring out how to screw up a game! Jim Calhoun press conferences where he makes everyone feel awkward! I love the Big East tournament, as presently constructed. I’m not excited for Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to exit, but am all sorts of jacked for Memphis to finally make the move in with the big boys.
4. Super Tuesday (Tuesday, 9 p.m., NBC)
Another in a long list of supposedly important days during an election year whose result has been a foregone conclusion for a while now. Barack Obama is going to be President for four more years, unless Mitt Romney suddenly galvanizes the country. That’s a dubious proposition at best. Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich… election fodder. We’re getting the guy with the dictator’s middle name for four more years; I don’t know what else to tell you.
Three Things I’m Reading (And You Should Too)
1. “The Last Real Season” by Mike Shropshire
Like almost no one I know, I’m nostalgic for a past I was never part of. If all you knew of 1975 was the account depicted in this book, you’d probably think it was pretty sweet too. Imagine a time where ballplayers behaved as brazenly as most of the fans, did drugs by the bucketful and earned the same wage as your average mechanic. At least my generation has two out of three.
This book is a must for baseball fans of all walks. I read it around this time every year, since spring training has begun and baseball is still seen as pure and child-like. By June we’ll have had scandal, cheating, doping and lying (and that’s just in the home clubhouse at Yankee Stadium), but now is the time for the purists.
2. “Inside Baseball” by Abe Streep
San Quentin has a baseball team. Not the town, which I’m sure is lovely and probably features a ball team of some sort. San Quentin the California state prison has a team comprised of inmates. Outsiders come in and play ball against the inmates, giving normal people a rare opportunity to draw a walk and have leisurely conversation with a serial killer at first base. I can only assume this is where Rick “The Wild Thing” Vaughn got his start.
This seems like a crazy fun thing to do; in fact, my only worry has nothing to do with the prospect of getting shivved for taking the extra base. I was always the kid that got nerves in the batter’s box standing in front of 30 parents. I’d probably pee myself if I dug in, only to get stared down from the mound by a guy doing 24 years for dealing meth. I’ve led such a sheltered life.
3. “The Hacker is Watching” by David Kushner
If you have a webcam, this story will make you think twice about leaving it on. This hacker managed to get so far into people’s systems he could control everything. And what did he do? Terrorized and blackmailed them by threatening to turn them in for something illegal or embarassing. Frankly, I’d rather he hacked my credit card info (not that he could get much) and left my illegal music downloads out of it.
I’m kidding, of course. I’m much more concerned with my insider trading.
Quote of the Week Interlude
Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
– Robert A. Heinlein
Two People to Follow on Twitter
1. The Drudge Report (@Drudge_Report)
Matt Drudge runs the DrudgeReport.com website, which basically serves as an AP wire for the world at large. It’s nice if you’re into that sort of thing; it seems like a lonely occupation for the dude. And don’t expect to be too impressed with his website; it really kind of sucks.
Reason to follow him: he usually knows what happens in the world faster than every other news service, so it’s like getting a head start on knowledge, if you classify knowledge as “knowing obscure things about policy in other countries.”
2. The Tennessean (@Tennessean)
This one is more for us middle Tennessee folk; no scary foreign policy to worry with here. Recent tweets include “Coach sues #Murfreesboro hair salon over knock-off products” and “UPDATE: Latest effort to end Tennessee helmet law fails.” That’s what we need in Tennessee: fake hair products and people getting their skulls crushed because they can’t wear a helmet.
Famous Dead Person of the Week
Pat Garrett (June 5, 1850-Feb. 29, 1908) – Best known for killing the outlaw known as Billy the Kid, Garrett journeyed skyward after getting shot twice by another dude because Garrett took offense to the man allowing goats to graze on his property. While perhaps not the OK Corral, it’s still a pretty manly way to go out.
I think I would be embarrassed to have lived in the old West if I hadn’t gone down in a blaze of gunshots. That would be like Tony Soprano living to a ripe old age and dying in some Boca Raton retirement community.
One Nationally-Relevant Rant
I know I lead this thing off every week by telling you things I think you should watch. I do this because it’s hard to find anything worth watching anymore, which seems implausible since we all have 200 channels now. I’m doing a public service.
Unless you’re desperately fascinated with the lives of people that aren’t you, it’s hard to find entertainment on TV. I remember when reality TV was the Saturday baseball game on FOX (cue old man music). Shit, the people on “Everybody Loves Raymond” reminded me just enough of my family that it seemed real.
Now, reality television isn’t real enough. It’s not enough to watch these buffoons behave like gorillas on crank; we have to participate via Twitter and other social media platforms. Never was this more apparent than with the news that Jersey Shore starlet Snooki’s deal with the Devil had expired and she had gotten knocked up.
I don’t have to sell you on why Jersey Shore is a ridiculous embarrassment of the northeast United States and America in general; if you’ve been able to read this much, I have to assume it means you have enough intellect not to watch that show.
So why were my Twitter/Facebook timelines abuzz with talk about the forthcoming bundle of joy for Snooki and whatever unemployed douche knocked her up? Probably because I need to adjust my settings so I don’t have to hear as much from stupid people. But people seemed divided into two camps: those who were excited that a stranger on television had gotten knocked up and those that were eager to make fun of a tramp (confession time: I’m probably in the latter camp. Sorry Jesus.)
I have to know why anyone cares that this dyslexic half-a-tard finally got knocked up (from what I gather, this scenario was a long time coming) when there’s actual shit to worry about. I’m not saying throw yourself into politics or start learning conversational German in your spare time, but there’s got to be something else we can do as a culture instead of watching over-tanned pygmy’s discuss squat thrusts. That’s not entertainment; it’s not even interesting. It wouldn’t be interesting if my friends were discussing it (it would be weird), let alone these strangers.
I’m dismayed, because reality TV is not going away; I realize now it’s here to stay. I’ll hold out as long as possible, but I’m sure in 50 years, I’ll be on Who Wants to Marry a Geriatric? in order to pay for my nursing home. My future sucks, mostly because it reminds me of someone else’s present that I despise.