Monthly Archives: February 2010

In Briefs: Olympics Liveblogging 2/26 (Updates throughout the evening)

JESSICA BADER: Tonight’s events (well, some of them tonight’s events, some of them today’s events on tape delay) include the women’s slalom, the four-man bobsled, and a handful of short track races (men’s 500m, women’s 1000m and men’s 5000m relay).…

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Health Care Summit In Review

CHRIS PUMMER: I’m sorry, but I didn’t watch the HCR summit. I didn’t have time, and even if I did, I wasn’t expecting much. Just skimming the recaps, it looks like it did when they first announced it: a waste of time orchestrated to provide some extra political cover for Democrats when they ram it down the GOP’s throat.

AKIE BERMISS: Unlike Chris, I DID watch the HCR summit and I can confirm that he didn’t miss very much. I made the painful commitment of watching from start to finish — which worked out to be something 10am to 5pm. And the majority of it was spent either completely watching President Obama and the Democrats react to the highly organized Republican talking points. In the press conference the Democrats held afterwards, Harry Reid opened by saying: “The most patient person in the world is Barack Obama.” Continue reading

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90s: The Golden Age of Music?

AKIE BERMISS: I should make it clear from the outset that it is not my position that the 90s was THE golden age of music. Just perhaps one of many golden mini-eras that come and go with the tides. And I should also make it clear that there is very little scientific evidence to back up the arguments I am going to presently make. What follows is, rather, a pseudo-scholarly attempt to draw up a basic outline of musical trends in the last half century or so.

I speak, of course, of music. Of the last great golden age of music: the 90s. But not as an isolated incident, rather, as a the most recent evidence of a decidedly unproven trend of artistic flowering under a Democratic presidency. It seems curious to me that we can so often think of artistic artifacts as being simply art’s domain when, in fact, we all know that outward influences are always at play. That often art is a sign of the times. Or art can act as a cultural and societal artifact as potently as an “artistic” one. Certainly anthropologists look to art in order to gauge the tenor and timbre of a civilization. Why shouldn’t we (albeit on a more micro-level)?

STEPHON JOHNSON: While the 90′s could be considered last real golden age for music, the way music was consumed and experienced back then might cloud our judgement of the decade. Continue reading

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AKIE BERMISS: In a story not unlike the Tavi narrative we dealt with last week, we’ve been drawn into a great debate over the nature of art by 17-year old Helene Hegemann and her critically-acclaimed and critically-decried new book, “Axolotl Roadkill.” Now, I haven’t read it and I so I can’t claim to have any understanding of whether her writing is excellent or piss-poor or whatever. But what we do know is she appears to have supplemented her own writing, in the book, with largely unattributed sections of other people’s writing. And when confronted with this accusation — on of blatant plagiarism — she counters with the excuse that she is merely “mixing” (as if she were a DJ or hiphop beat-maker).

Plagiarism is a simple crime. Like murder, you’ve either done it or you haven’t. Explain it away as you like: crime of passion, temporary insanity, self-defense. But at the end of the day — its done.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: When I was 17 I also invented weak excuses for my objectionable behavior, and I gave them to anyone who would listen to me. It’s what high-school students do well (apparently along with novel-writing, when they’re permitted to steal passages from other authors). Continue reading

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The Phillies, The Big Red Machine, and All Time Great Teams

CHRIS PUMMER: Three straight pennants and two titles would be impressive if the Phillies could pull it off. But it would probably still leave them plenty short of matching the Big Red Machine’s legacy.

DAVE TOMAR: Of course, the 35th best club in Yankees history probably competes pretty well with most Phillie rosters of the past. But in reality, the current Phillies are also not particularly far away from being considered as among the best teams in NL history. It is with this contention that I may have ignited a little bit of a controversy with my colleagues during this week’s debate. To my perspective, the threshold for all-time great teams begins with two World Series victories. Continue reading

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First Birthday Party

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The idea of throwing any kind of lavish celebration for a child’s first birthday seems excessive to me. Yes, it’s an exciting milestone, and it’s certainly an occasion that should be spent with friends and family…but does it call for ice sculptures?

HOWARD MEGDAL: If one-year-olds weren’t meant to have elaborate, lavish birthday parties, why do they make baby tuxedos? Continue reading

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Lost: Week 4

ZOË RICE : Lost may have found a pattern this season: A heart-thumping episode one week, followed by a quieter, perhaps relationship-driven episode the next. I am okay with this. “The Lighthouse” may have been punctuated by fewer instances of that familiar dramatic music, but I found it utterly compelling nonetheless.

TED BERG: I’m still trying to figure out how the alternate timeline fits into everything here. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Olympics Liveblogging 2/24 (Updates Throught the Day)

JESSICA BADER: I’m very much looking forward to all of the short track events tonight. It’s so fast-paced and beautifully chaotic, and Plushenko’s figure-skating sour grapes are NOTHING compared to South Korea’s long-standing beef with Apolo Ohno.


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In Briefs Olympics In Review: 2/22-2/23

JESSICA BADER: So, what are everyone’s thoughts about NBC devoting the prime-time coverage last night to ice-dancing and skiing and putting the US-Canada men’s hockey game on MSNBC? I feel like the people who are mad about this are overreacting…

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Brittney Griner: NBA-bound?

HOWARD MEGDAL: I believe a woman will play in the NBA in my lifetime. I see no reason to believe all of the varied skills that can lead a person to the NBA are inaccessible to women. Whether it is a sharpshooter with quick release, a freakishly tall center, let alone significant strength, that a woman could possess some of these skills at an NBA level strikes me as a matter of when, not if.

JASON CLINKSCALES: A shot-blocking, rebounding, 6-foot-8 presence with a penchant for dunking? It sounds like an amazing NBA prospect, but more so, it’s might be the dream basketball player to take the women’s game to another level. Brittney Griner certainly fits the bill. And while the YouTube legend she built in high school may have started conversations of her playing with the men in the future, she’s really letting her offensive game grow in her first collegiate season with the Baylor Lady Bears. Continue reading

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