Monthly Archives: December 2010

I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor after reading Patton Oswalt’s Wired essay on the end of geek culture:

We need to get serious, and Im here to outline my own personal fantasy: We start with lists of the best lists of boobs. Every Beatles song, along with every alternate take, along with every cover version of every one of their songs and every alternate take of every cover version, all on your chewing-gum-sized iPod nano. Goonies vs. Saw. Every book on your Kindle. Every book on Kindle on every Kindle. The Human Centipede done with the cast of The Hills and directed by the Coen brothers.
Thats when well reach Etewaf singularity. Pop culture will become self-aware. It will happen in the A.V. Club first: A brilliant Nathan Rabin column about the worst Turkish rip-offs of American comic book characters will suddenly begin writing its own comments, each a single sentence from the sequel to A Confederacy of Dunces. Then a fourth and fifth season of Arrested Development, directed by David Milch of Deadwood, will appear suddenly in the TV Shows section of iTunes. Someone BitTorrenting a Crass bootleg will suddenly find their hard drive crammed with Elvis Presleys lost grunge album from 1994. And everyones TiVo will record Ghostbusters III, starring Peter Sellers, Lee Marvin, and John Candy.
This will last only a moment. Well have one minute before pop culture swells and blackens like a rotten peach and then explodes, sending every movie, album, book, and TV show flying away into space. Maybe tendrils and fragments of them will attach to asteroids or plop down on ice planets light-years away. A billion years after our sun burns out, a race of intelligent ice crystals will build a culture based on dialog from The Princess Bride. On another planet, intelligent gas clouds will wait for the yearly passing of the Lebowski comet. One of the rings of Saturn will be made from blurbs for the softcover release of Infinite Jest, twirled forever into a ribbon of effusive praise.
But back here on Earth, well enter year zero for pop culture. All that well have left to work with will be a VHS copy of Zapped!, the soundtrack to The Road Warrior, and Steve Ditkos eight-issue run on Shade: The Changing Man. For a whilemaybe a generationpop culture pastimes will revolve around politics and farming.

Let’s get started right away on that Spencer/Heidi “Human Centipede” thing…

Call Him Mr. Tuesday

Perhaps it wasn’t worth it for the Vikings to beat the Eagles Tuesday night. They sacrificed themselves some draft position, and now my wife is mad at me.
The Purple, who played their best game of the year, bested the Green, who played their worst, for the first time in the six years that my wife and I have known each other, including Eagles playoff victories in 2004 and 2008. Mostly, the contest felt like a preseason game. Probably because IT WAS PLAYED ON A TUESDAY.
The real story was Vikings rookie quarterback Joe Webb, who completely flummoxed the Eagles defense. I was impressed, but lets not go crazy and anoint Webb the QB of the future. Sure, I could see him keeping the seat warm for whichever first rounder the Vikings draft next year, but more likely he’ll never be a full-time Vikings starter again and this will be forever referred to as “The Joe Webb Tuesday Night Game.”
However, the win may very well mean Leslie Frazier gets the “interim” tag taken off, and I’m all for that.
As for the Eagles, I’d attribute the loss to Vick’s injury at the start of the game, numerous defensive injuries catching up to them and the team’s penchant for throwing up an inexplicable stinker once a year (last year it was the Oakland loss.) They were likely the #3 seed regardless, so now they can rest starters in Week 17.
But regardless of anyone’s rooting interest, I think we can all agree the worst moment of the night was NBC’s inexplicable, Springsteen-scored Brett Favre montage, which made it look like Favre had died. It totally makes sense to devote so much attention to the guy who’s not even part of that game. And there was also a guy at the game, in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Vikings in which Favre did not play, wearing a Favre Packers jersey. WHY?

Against Restaurant Websites

Julian Sanchez points out a problem I’ve noticed:

On Twitter, my friends Shani and Erie are engaged in a bit of time-honored kvetching about the legendary and general awfulness of restaurant Web sites. Who thinks its good idea to blast annoying music at people going to your site? Why do they so often rely on Flash, which doesnt really add anything to the experience, when half the time people are looking up the site on mobile devices to get basic information? Why this bizarre preference for menus in PDF format?
The really strange thing to me isnt that restaurants would make these mistakes initially. These are, after all, mostly small brick-and-mortar businesses whose Web presence is pretty peripheral to what they do. The truly baffling thing is that people have been complaining about these exact same things for years; theyre universally acknowledged to be errors by anyone with a lick of design sense.

The Trend, RIP

In some local media news… the local Philadelphia newspaper The Trend, also known at various times as the Trend Leader, My Community Trend, and various other names, ceased to exist, at least in its editorial-containing form, earlier this month.
I worked there full time from October of 2005 until January of 2007, and continued as their freelance film critic until this month. I greatly appreciate my time there, as they actually hired me to do this writing thing for a living, and I had some great, great times. I got to run an edition of a weekly newspaper, essentially, myself, and I made several good friends there that I’ve retained to this day. And I never could’ve imagined, when I was offered the chance to stay on as film critic, that I’d still be doing it almost four years later.
Part of the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News family of newspapers- hence the address for my reviews- the Trend, remarkably, had four different owners during the five years I wrote for it- first Knight Ridder, then McClatchy, followed by the Brian Tierney-led Philadelphia Media Holdings group and finally the Philadelphia Media Network, aka “the bankruptcy creditors.” It was the latest sale to the fifth owner, which split the Broad Street Community Newspapers division off from the dailies, that finally did the Trend in.
However, all is not lost. Several of my Trend friends have joined, a recently launched nationwide network of local websites that is owned by AOL. Yes, AOL still has a function, and a very good one- they’re hiring journalists! And I’m along for the ride too- I’m going to be moving my weekly movie review (and sometimes more than one a week) over to Patch, and I’ll also be doing some local news stories as well.
North American Publishing Co. remains my full time job, I’m as busy as ever, and I’ll be off to CES in Las Vegas next week. But in the meantime, my first movie article for Patch, my Top Ten list for the year, will run later this week. You can still see my review archives at RottenTomatoes.