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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Um, yes. This is over. 

I just realized that I never gave DanNation -- or at least this incarnation of it -- a proper sendoff. So despite the fact that no one (naturally) reads the site anymore, I shall give it said farewell! Here's what's up:

1) I still would like to have a space where I express myself. Except when I hate the idea.

2) I kind of still want a blog, but I feel like blogs long ago had their day in the sun. And I'd rather play Scrabble and obsess about my fantasy baseball team.

3) I simultaneously want to blog about politics, and think it is the biggest waste of time known to man.

4) I kind of want to post more in-depth stuff on Facebook, but I don't need everyone knowing what I think. The element of anonymity provided by DanNation was enjoyable.

Where does that leave me? I have no idea. Except that I know that I had a blast doing this during its heyday -- from, say, 2004 to 2007. I had my few moments in the sun where major bloggers linked to my site and I got some big time traffic. But mostly it was a place to share with friends and family, have some lively discussions, and take the Friday Quiz.

So until I find the next venue for such things -- thanks for reading and for being a friend of D-Nation.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Maui 

Am in Hawaii, and I'm posting short scenery videos for my family on my YouTube page. If anyone would like to check them out, go here.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Well it&apos;s about time! 

Evidently Blogger now has an iPhone app. Last time I checked, they didn't. Maybe if they'd done this years ago, DanNation wouldn't be such a barren wasteland!

Perhaps there's hope...

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hardly worth the two month wait, but... 

I have come up with some headlines, stadium banners, chants, etc. that will be used in Texas and elsewhere, now that the Rangers have signed Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.

These are the best ones I could come up with in 30 minutes or less. If anyone's still reading this, feel free to chime in with some of your own!

1. Texas newspaper headline, the day after Yu goes on the disabled list and his AAA replacement is terrible: "Thinking of Yu."

2. New York Post headline after Yu's been a disappointment, is traded to the Yankees, and then pitches surprisingly well: "Happy To Be Stuck With Yu!"

3. Female fan in her 60's, holding sign at game: "YU MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A NATURAL WOMAN!"

4. Female fan in her late 30's, holding sign at game: "YU HAD ME AT HELLO!"

5. Chorus of song that will be played if Yu bats at PNC Park, and Vince Lascheid rises from the dead: "Is That Yuuuuuuu, Baby? Or Just a Brilliant Disguise?"

6. Group of guys who will soon be thrown out of Angel Stadium of Anaheim, holding banner: "FUCK YU." (Group wearing t-shirts that say "YUCK FU" may be allowed to stay, citing late 80's/early 90's "MUCK THE FETS" precedent).

7. Everyone at Rangers' Ballpark, singing in unison: "Oh baby YU! Yu got what I neeeeeed!" And then they should probably stop there, or it won't really make sense.

8. Entry music from the bullpen, if Yu becomes a closer and has sex reassignment surgery: The Smithereens' "A Girl Like Yu."

9. Entry music from bullpen, if Yu becomes a closer and remains a man: "Yu Shook Me All Night Long."

10. Stadium exit music after a Darvish loss: "Yu Can't Always Get What Yu Want(s)."

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall TV Pilots: 5 Nay, 1 Yay 

Anyone besides me check out any of the new shows on cable or broadcast this fall?

As longtime readers know, I love to sample, if only to know just a little more about these individual pieces of The Pop Culture.

First, my 2011 Fall Rejects:

Suburgatory, ABC: Watched one episode. Wasn't awful, but wasn't good.

Two Broke Girls, CBS: Watched one episode. Thought it actually was kind of awful. Apparently others do not agree, given the solid ratings.

New Girl, FOX: This was a tough one. Stopped after watching four episodes. It's exactly the kind of show I should like. And it certainly has moments that make me laugh out loud -- but they're too few and far between. It doesn't clear the bar for "can't miss" viewing -- pretty much the only kind of TV I accept.

Boss, STARZ: This pilot was beautifully done (directed by Gus Van Sant in a very cinematic way). And you can take it to the bank that Kelsey Grammer is going to be nominated for many awards for this show. But midway through the second episode, I couldn't stay interested in all the nitty gritty political stuff. There wasn't enough of an emotional connection to the characters for me. Plus I am tougher on dramas, since they take up more time. But Grammer is awesome.

X-Factor, FOX: Just watched snippets of a few episodes. Much as I love Simon and Paula, I can only handle one time-consuming reality show in my life, and that remains American Idol.

As for the success...

Homeland on Showtime.

It's a lot like 24 (government agents chasing terrorists), but less frenetic and more of a psychological thriller, with far more character development.

I was reasonably sucked in after the pilot -- then it got a little bogged down in CIA procedural stuff for an episode or two, before picking up big time. Digging it.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

The little-remembered "Popete, The Other Sailor Man" 


How do you misspell something this prominent in a listing? Not to mention the double "men's."

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pilot #2 

FOX's buzzed-about New Girl got some serious-ass ratings last night, actually building on its Glee lead-in.

And unlike 2 Broke Girls the night before, I have to say I'm digging it -- at least as far as you can dig something after a single episode.

Having been in Almost Famous, Zooey Deschanel gets my lifetime stamp of approval. But she in fact deserves the accolades for her performance here. It's not a perfect show, and some elements will hopefully end up on the scrap heap post-pilot. But I actually laughed out loud before the 60-second mark. Always a good sign.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let the Ratings season begin 

Was just reading CBS's news release about last night's ratings.

They of course lead with the crazy high numbers for Two and a Half Men -- which led to crazy high numbers for their new comedy, 2 Broke Girls.

They brag about this by pointing out that 2BG's 19.2 million viewers were the most for a comedy premiere in 10 years -- surpassing the ratings of "Inside Schwartz."

Yeah, because that turned out really well.

By the way, I watched 2BG and wasn't terribly amused. But we'll see if it can cash in on the high number of samplers from last night. And it's not on my Ted Marshall list, so I don't really care if it survives!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things still grind my gears 

Earlier this summer, Netflix pissed off a bunch of people by raising their prices. Apparently a not insignificant number of people followed through on their threats to quit.

I shall now, at the risk of confusing you, bash both the Netflix-bashers, and Netflix.

BASHING THE BASHERS: OK, yeah. My bill went up "60%" -- which is like six bucks. Quite frankly, in the grand scheme of things, I could give two shits, and I don't understand quitting over it (unless you were really on the edge of not using it enough to make it worth it). $20 a month for unlimited streaming AND unlimited two-at-a-time DVD's straight to my door is still, in my humble opinion, a fine deal. Back in the days of the (not so) friendly neighborhood Blockbuster, you were paying $4.50 for one DVD. And you had to get up off your ass and go there. Only to find they didn't have what you wanted. I daresay people are getting a tad spoiled.

BASHING NETFLIX: What does bother me is that the rate increase is part of a larger, not-so-clandestine effort to Jedi Mind Trick everyone away from DVD's by mail, to the Netflix streaming-only plans. This is not cool. I understand that all that mail is getting expensive. But they can't in good conscience pretend like their streaming offerings are actually an acceptable substitute for a DVD plan. The offerings are pretty awful. I don't know the percentages, but I feel like a truly tiny portion of TV shows and (actual good) movies are there for streaming. Almost every time I look something up, it's DVD-only. Yet they've changed several aspects of the website to steer us that way. I dare you to try to buy a Gift Subscription for someone that covers X months of a DVD plan. I believe the Netflix company line is that the higher fees will give them the money to add to their streaming offerings. We'll see. But for now, it pisses me off.

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Madden '12 released; I buy Madden '11! 

So, I balked last year at buying Madden '11, and played a second year of Madden '10. (While grumbling about the $60 price tag, I also told some kids to get off my lawn).

But with this week's release of Madden '12, Madden '11 has become 100% obsolete to real gamers. So I picked up a copy yesterday for a mere $14!

I am now rid of Santonio Holmes, Limas Sweed, and a host of other obsolete members of the Black and Gold. I was disappointed to find that Antonio Brown did not crack last year's roster, but I do have Emmanuel Sanders. I'm still stuck with Skippy instead of Suisham, but that means I can continue to lead the league in destroying gas station paper towel dispensers.

Also, I must say that the selection of Peyton Hillis for the cover of the new game is ridiculous. Aren't there like 10 better running backs in the NFL?


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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

At least I'm not the only one 

I believe that aside from Sean and Bram, no one I know still blogs. Several more of the links at left are dead.

Clearly the popularity of blogs (at least non-professional ones) peaked and then nosedived a while ago, thanks to Facebook and Twitter.

Is this because most of what people had to say in this format can actually be said in 140 characters or less? Or because we are now too lazy to come up with in-depth thoughts? Or because we are too lazy to read them?

I still blame Scrabble (and a re-emergence of my fountain pen hobbying) for my non-blogging. But maybe Twitter has had an insidious effect on my brain even though I don't really use it.

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What I Need To Catch Up On, Part I: Spring/Summer TV 

Back from my traditional Massachusetts summer vacation, and no, I haven't entirely quit blogging yet. Anyone still reading this??

Lots to catch up on. We begin with what we've been watching on the rectangular talking picture box:


More to come. And I'm actually not lying this time.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

So close, but no Marshall Cup 

After finishing 12th last year out of 104 entries in the Ted Marshall Open, I came even closer to victory this year. I ended up in a four-way tie for 3rd place, out of 87 entries.

Though I am proud to say that I know this year's winner, Sean! Great news that one of the folks JQ originally dragged into this has won the title.

The only show that I missed was Body of Proof, a seemingly undistinguished procedural drama starring Dana Delaney. It was supposed to debut in October, but got bumped to April, where it was apparently just promising enough to win a spot on the ABC fall schedule.

There's a decent chance it would've failed if it had premiered when it was supposed to. But I actually hope it succeeds. If it's gone by December, it'll just tick me off that it was a timing issue.

Damn you, Delaney!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NY Post, June 14 


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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Get thee to the motherfucking theater 

Went to NYC a couple of weeks ago for a Broadway triple-header.

I know most of my twelve or so readers are not huge theater fans, but unless you absolutely hate it, you need to see The Book of Mormon. That's the new musical by South Park masterminds Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

All I can say is that it is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, anywhere. And also hilariously raunchy. There are things said on that stage that you never thought you would hear uttered in a Broadway theater. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Basically, just imagine that the guys who wrote a song with the chorus, "Shut your fucking face, Uncle Fucker" have been allowed to write an entire musical. Because they have. But it's so much more than just raunchy. It's got a clever message, a brilliant score, and heart. Really, can't say enough great things about it. The cast recording came out today, and it's going to be playing non-stop in my car for quite some time.

Anyway, it's going to clean up at the Tonys, at which point you will hear more about it, if you haven't already come across it.

The second show we saw was Catch Me If You Can, the new musical based on the story that inspired the movie. It was just average. You'd think that with such an interesting basis for a plot, you'd be able to make a musical more thrilling than this. It wasn't bad, and had a handful of memorable songs, but it also had some major issues.

And the third show of the weekend was the new revival of Anything Goes, starring Sutton Foster (pictured---not the Mormon guy). I have a bit of a crush on her, and was happy to finally get to see her perform live. Though time constraints and the desire to not embarass myself kept me from saying hello at the stage door. Anyway, the plot of Anything Goes is a little dated and silly, as most 70-year-old musicals are, but when they're well done, these classics are still entertaining. And this definitely was. I'm not usually wowed by the big showy numbers, but there was some seriously entertaining choreography here.

That cast should also pick up some Tony hardware. Speaking of which, I will post my predictions here in a couple of weeks. Don't all shout for joy at once. Really, just control yourselves.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Trib writers: Evidently not big G-Lo fans 

This is taken directly from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Calendar of Arts Events (with my highlighting added):


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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Where the Streets Have No Business Being Named That 

Courtesy of Emily's friend who lives in NJ -- but I'm not sure where the streets actually are.


And apparently, based on the last three posts, this is now exclusively a penis-themed blog.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Most Poorly Hidden Double Meaning Ever? 

1. Vaseline has a product called Vaseline For Men.

2. Emily pointed out to me that they're running a sweepstakes that is ostensibly about football or something, but it's called the Keep Your Grip Challenge.

3. So, to recap, that's a lubricating substance marketed toward men, urging them to Keep their Grip. Is it just me, or is this absolutely ridiculous? How have comedians not noticed this?

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Good Bad Wood 

When I heard the Pirates had signed Brandon Wood, I knew the name sounded really familiar. But because I don't pay much attention to the American League, I had to look him up to remind myself.

He was a huge prospect with the Angels -- and was in fact Baseball America's #3 prospect in 2006.

But he's been freakishly bad in the majors -- so much so that an article in Baseball Prospectus today refers to him as "one of the least productive players in baseball history." Ouch. Looking at his minor league numbers vs. his major league track record, it really is bizarre.

But the good news is: His real name is Richard. So here's hoping Dick Wood becomes the greatest dumpster-dive in the history of the Pirate organization.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suddenly, I'm Captain Easychord 

No offense, Easy. But you do have a reputation for "Why I'm not blogging" entries!

Anyway, remember when I said that Scrabble might ruin my productivity? Well, it didn't, exactly. But it may have ruined this blog. It takes up all the time that I would normally use to post here. It didn't help that March was the month of fantasy baseball draft prep.

So, I'll give this one more try with a few Newses and Noteses...

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Monday, March 07, 2011

I cannot even imagine 

Charlie Sheen now wants to hire an intern.

I wonder if they'll push a giant ball of oil out of a window, or if any of the projects will involve a chicken.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Inventor of smoke detector = asshole 

So a computer can make Ken Jennings his bitch on Jeopardy, yet basic smoke detector technology still seems to be stuck in the 1960's.

We were up for about two hours one recent night -- before, during, and after the quest to find which smoke detector was beeping in our house.

Why do they make the beeps so infrequent when it's just in the early stages of dying? I mean, it's a good idea in theory. But in practice it's just freaking annoying. When the beeps happen once every 10 minutes or so, and it's nighttime, you first try to ignore it. Then you decide you need to shut it up, only you have to wait around for a couple of beep cycles until you can actually figure out which one it is. Unless you want to smash them all with a hammer, which seems shortsighted.

Wouldn't it be better to just program them so they work normally right up until the point where they have just a few days of safe use left, and then make them beep more regularly?

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Pearls Comes to Life! 

Soon after discovering Pearls Before Swine in mid-2008, I read the first two treasuries (each containing 18 months of strips, plus commentary) in short order.

Now, after some down time, I'm back into it whole hog (or more appropriately, whole Pig) and am finishing up the third treasury -- now listed in the "What I'm Reading" section.

I also discovered Stephan Pastis' blog, where I learned that some short animated Pearls cartoons have been made, and that there is talk of a feature film.

For any other Pearls fans out there: There are 16 of these cartoons, and they're all free to download on iTunes! It's interesting to see the choices they made for the voices and such. I laughed at this one, which is also (obviously) available on YouTube.


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Friday, February 25, 2011

The New Gadget Report, Part 2 

Several weeks ago we finally got XM Satellite Radio.

I've always been interested in trying it, but we only have one car, and neither of us commutes, so it didn't seem like we spent quite enough time in the car to make it worth it. But then I learned that you can stream online and on the iPhone (and therefore in the house via the soundbar), and I was sold.

It's only been a couple of weeks, but I'm already really enjoying the variety (and lack of commercials) and have pretty much not listened to terrestrial radio at all. For $15 a month, it seems well worth it.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The New Gadget Report, Part 1: Apple TV + Soundbar 

Better two months late than never, here's a report on a couple of new tech items in the D-Nation household.

First is Apple TV. This coaster-sized gadget streams HD Netflix, iTunes movies and TV shows to our television.

But the real reason we bought it is that it also acts as a little router, allowing you to stream music from your computer and your iPhone over WiFi. Of course, to do that, you need something to play the music on. So we hooked the Apple TV into........the above soundbar. Besides making our TV sound better, it becomes our primary stereo system on the cheap. And we can keep expanding it to other parts of the house as wireless speakers designed to work with Apple's AirPlay system hit the market.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

And I am not a television set 

I realize it's not new, but it's the first time I've ever heard of it: Lil Wayne has an album (and song) called "I Am Not a Human Being."

???

But that's not the most enjoyable part.

The first track on the album is "Gonorrhea." And a few songs later there's a track called "I'm Single." Which I suppose shouldn't surprise anybody, given that he's some sort of cyborg singing about a sexually transmitted disease.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

The Grammys: "Esmerelda who did what now?" 

My day-after-Grammys thought: The whole process of handing out music awards -- at least the cross-genre categories -- really seems like a waste of time.

There are so many types of music, and people's interest tends to be segmented. When it comes to film and television, few people only watch comedies or only watch dramas. But there are plenty of people who listen mostly or entirely to Top 40, Indie Rock, Jazz, Classic Rock, Metal, Rap, Classical, etc.

Also, partly because of this segmentation, I think music taste is much more subjective than film, television or theater. If you take the usual poll of 1,000 Americans, I believe more of them will like any given Best Picture winner than any given Best Album winner. And I think it wouldn't even be close. So this gives the Grammys an "irrelevant" sort of vibe for a lot of people. They're never going to make many people happy. (Generally, I think people watch for the performances, not the awards).

There's also the issue of balancing the "best" with "the best we've actually heard of." On the one hand, you certainly don't want to simply include only bestselling artists. On the other hand, do you really feel like you've done something useful when, after you announce your Best New Artist award, 99.5% of viewers are furiously typing "Who the hell is Esperanza Spaulding?" into Google?

And finally, I often think there's more elitism, snobbery and douchebaggery among music fans than perhaps any other entertainment genre, which makes the whole thing that much more silly.

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