Monthly Archives: January 2010

Cruising Complications

AKIE BERMISS: I’ve never been on a cruise. Never in my life even set foot on a cruise boat. But every time I get a brochure from Princess Cruises in my mailbox I give it considerable thought. The thing is, to someone like me, cruises seem like a really extravagant affair. You pack your bag, you go to the docks, and you basically check in to a floating hotel room for a week. And all your food is paid for. You’re waited on hand and foot. You sail around where its beautiful and sunny and warm. I could be wrong about all this, of course, as my knowledge of cruises is pretty much informed by what I’ve seen in movies.

STEVE MURPHY: I have been on roughly 7 kabillion cruises. Or at least that’s what it feels like. I’ve been to just about every island in the Caribbean, some multiple times, plus a number of other exotic locales. Or, that’s what the cruise lines would have me believe.
Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mark Sanchez: The Great Latino Hope?

JASON CLINKSCALES: When Mark Sanchez got drafted by the New York Jets last April, advertising and publicity analysts immediate salivated over his prospects. They were less interested in his prospects on the field, rather than endorsement and sponsorship opportunities if he essentially becomes the Mexican-American version of Joe Willie Namath.

Yet, despite admirable performances in three postseason games, the suggestion that he will be the one that takes the NFL into apparent unchartered territory with the Latino populous has a bit of problem; Sanchez has to win and win beautifully.
Continue reading

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

State of the Union Reactions

HOWARD MEGDAL: There is much that President Obama did well in tonight’s speech, though how much the speech succeeded will ultimately be determined by legislative action and the voters in 2010. But the most vital part of President Obama’s speech Wednesday night was placing the Democratic Party on the side of regulating Wall Street.

JESSICA BADER: The thing that struck me the most about Barack Obama’s first official State of the Union address was how comfortable, how in his element, he seemed while giving it. Even knowing what a gifted speaker the President is and the sense of calm he projects even when the going gets tough, I would have expected some amount of nervousness to seep through as he delivered this speech that will supposedly determine the fate of his presidency (at least until the pundits determine another pivotal moment to fixate on). Instead, he was witty and self-deprecating, not afraid to riff off of the reactions of the audience immediately in front of him even as he was explaining his agenda to the audience watching on a screen.

Like Obama has done throughout his time in the national spotlight, he found the right words, delivered them the right way and at just the right time. Continue reading

Posted in News & Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

24: The New Season

JESSICA BADER: While I greatly enjoyed the first few seasons of 24, I’m disappointed by what the show has become and I can’t bring myself to watch it anymore. There comes a point where a great concept is no longer enough to keep me as a viewer, and that’s a point that 24 reached a few years ago. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Netflix/Amazon/iTunes Suggests…

STEVE MURPHY: Websites have been trying to recommend things to me for years based on my prior activity, but they’ve never really been any good at it. Finally, Netflix and iTunes are stepping up their game. Finally, some recommendation engines that actually help me find things I’m going to enjoy… and warn me off those I won’t.

AKIE BERMISS: Read your science fiction, people. If there’s nothing else we’ve learned from various sci-fi doomsday scenarios, we should certainly know that you should never trust the machines. Machines are out to get you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday — those machines are going to take you down, man! And so, while I love gadgets and devices and artificial intelligences, I have a healthy cynicism for computer-to-humanity relations. And so I don’t trust any computer or program or algorithm to tell me what I like or may like or won’t like. I have good friends that’ve known me for years and still couldn’t really guess what I like or don’t like. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

State of the Union: What Is Wanted/Expected?

JESSICA BADER: As we gear up for Barack Obama’s first official State of the Union address (the speech he gave to a joint session of Congress around this time a year ago wasn’t technically a SotU as it came so soon after his inauguration), one of the major legislative priorities of his first year in office hangs in limbo.

CHRIS PUMMER: Demonstrating the resolve to continue pushing for your beliefs not only convinces the public the president has strength of character. It also reassures people that the man in charge believes the nation is on the right course, even if the road right now seems bumpy. That’s what Obama has to do on Wednesday.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Regardless of his tone or specific policy proposals beyond it, Barack Obama can only succeed in putting his party in position to at least minimize losses if he is seen as finally battling Wall Street. There is no other path to victory in 2010.

JEFF MORROW: After a difficult, potentially fruitless year of legislative wrangling, people really want to know whether President Obama and the Democratic Congress can actually govern. By its nature, that can’t be demonstrated at the podium. Continue reading

Posted in News & Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mets, Molina and Matthews

CHRIS PUMMER: Neither letting Bengie Molina slip away or throwing a few buck to the Angels for Gary Matthews Jr. is an awful decision in isolation. But when you add those moves together, what does it say about how the Mets spend money?

HOWARD MEGDAL: Chris Pummer, you live in a Bobby Kennedy Mets World, where you ask why not, rather than the reality-based Mets world, where I ask how to minimize paralyzing errors. In that world, Bengie Molina was a mistake. Continue reading

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Leno/Conan: The Last Late Night War

EMILY SAIDEL: The Leno-Conan debacle presents a soap opera whose main plot is the failed experiment of short-term planning. David Carr at the New York Times intelligently questions the continued relevancy of this television format and the changing styles of television viewing. But the core of the issue was short-sighted vision, compounded with a lack of understanding of the changing television environment.

HOWARD MEGDAL: The fascinating part of the Leno/Conan debacle, for me, is less about the serious series of miscalculations made by NBC, and more how within a few years, few people will understand at all the resonance of “The Tonight Show” at all. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Olympics Preview

AKIE BERMISS: People hate the Olympics. I’m not sure why. I know its really boring and there are (usually) no gunfights, or stabbings, or explosions.

TED BERG: This is a drum I’ve been beating a long time: The Olympics suck.
Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Compensation For Writers

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: It has recently come to my attention that the New York Times is planning on charging for access to its online content in the near future. Although I am a big fan of free, learning this filled me with relief.

STEVE MURPHY: Lots of people agree with Molly, and believe that high-quality content is so valuable, it shouldn’t be given out for free. But that assumes that value can only be set by the end user of the content. Continue reading

Posted in Arts & Culture | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments