Monthly Archives: July 2010

More Surprising: Andres Torres, or Jose Bautista?

HOWARD MEGDAL: While I couldn’t say that I saw Jose Bautista’s 2010 season coming, it seems to me that the more surprising breakout offensively has to be that of Andres Torres over the past two years.

CHRIS PUMMER: Torres’ breakout has been less surprising to me because when his minor league output is taken into consideration, his recent major league success seems like less of an anomaly. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 1 In Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The first image we see of Mad Men Season 4 Episode 1 is an unsettling close-up of the contorted, yet deliberately handsome face of Don Draper we know and love (or hate). I don’t know about you, but at the end of Season 3 I could not get the image of his now ex-wife, Betty, sitting confidently on a plane with her baby in her arms like a doe caught in the small overhead-lights on the airplane. I thought of her when Don’s prominent jawline popped onto my screen with the faceless voice of the ad agent asking “Who is Don Draper?” This question is clearly plaguing the mind of not only this walk-on agent, but also Draper himself, as Season 4 kicks off with some noticeable changes in the Draper’s fractured household and the infant corporation of Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I want to focus on a motif that appears to be new to the show in Season 4: Don Draper adapting. Continue reading

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Reflections on Shirley Sherrod

AKIE BERMISS: Let us take a minute and think about the amount of time that has elapsed since the first Shirley Sherrod video broke. Just about week ago the media/blogosphere was all a twitter over a video of the Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture[ speaking at an NAACP function and APPARENTLY confessing to having committed reverse racism. Just a week ago, but of course it seems like ages ago. What are we talking about today? Probably the final death throws of the not-so-important Wikileaks/Afghanistan story, right? I mean, before the Sherrod story broke, all the talk was about Charlie Rangel and the ethics committee. Before THAT scandal we were talking about how watered-down but symbolically-good the financial reform was going to be. We live in the age of the instant story, the instant story. The 24-hour news cycle and all the spin that is fit to print. Trouble is all this new coverage hasn’t led to MORE coverage or MORE news — its led to more coverage of less topics. Its almost fetishistic myopia.

JESSICA BADER: Of everyone even peripherally involved in the Shirley Sherrod saga, only three people – Sherrod herself and the white couple whose farm she helped save all those years ago – came out of it not looking bad in some way. In a slightly gentler universe, the story Sherrod had told at that NAACP function would be the inspiration for a saccharine Lifetime movie chock-full of important lessons. In the universe as it is, things took a far more depressing turn.
And so for a few days last week, Sherrod, the NAACP, Obama, and “reverse-racism” were the story burning on all cylinders. Continue reading

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The Dan Haren Trade

JASON CLINKSCALES: While this isn’t exactly Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown and others, this Dan Haren trade has quite a few baseball people upset. It’s understandable when you consider that Haren is a strikeout machine; a somewhat rare thing, even in this resurgent year for pitchers. However, it’s hard to say that this deal will immediately give the will-always-be Anaheim Angels the last piece of the puzzle to grab the Wild Card.

JESSICA BADER: Even with Dan Haren, the Angels most likely will be watching the playoffs on TV this year. Yet that shouldn’t obscure what a good trade this was for Anaheim and what an awful one it was for Arizona. Continue reading

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JASON CLINKSCALES: The target on ESPN’s proverbial back has grown with every property the network has acquired over the years. With Comcast hoping to leverage their potential purchase of NBC Universal to ramp up Versus and The Golf Channel and FOX Sports becoming the leading regional sports provider in the country, the new arrangement between Turner Sports and Sports Illustrated is more than another competitor throwing its name in the hat. It’s a symbol of how far Turner Sports has come.

HOWARD MEGDAL: The final point Jason makes is the key one, though I agree with the rest of his take as well: will quality journalism be enough to amass a huge audience to take on ESPN?

That’s a two-part question, really. Can TNT put together an entity that does this kind of journalism, and then, will quality be enough? Continue reading

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JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m not a naturally pretty girl.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Makeup has long been a mystery to me. How can some women end up wearing it every day, and others don’t know what most of it is? Falling into the latter category, I am both jealous and suspicious of women who wear make up all the time and who are good at applying it. How did they learn? Why do they do it? Should I be doing it? Should they stop?

ZOË RICE: For a while, back in 2004-2007, I was one of the internet’s go-to people for cosmetics and skin care reviews. I called myself “Real Girl,” because like you (perhaps) I was no expert, just a gal who happened to research product ingredients, experiment with application processes, and report back on every single product and article of makeup I tested. Continue reading

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The Seven-Week Itch

The following is a reader-submitted orphaned opinion.


JOHN CHRISTIAN HOPKINS: Sara and I are in our seventh week of marriage, and I’m sure many people are wondering…

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In Briefs: Ohs in Pop Songs

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: If you took the “Oooh Oooh” from California Gurls and played it right after the “Ooh Ooh Ooh” from Tik Tok, and the “Ooh OOh OOh ooh” from Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA….I think it’s almost the same noise. I would love it if someone put them all together, for the sake of furthering my cynicism and bitterness.

JESSICA BADER: I believe all three songs are from the same producer. Continue reading

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Double Portrait: Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes

AKIE BERMISS: As an ardent jazz fan, I have but one dirty secret: I hate piano duos. I know piano is like the mayonnaise on the sandwich of jazz… and being a piano player, you’d think I’d be all about piano duos. The more pianos the merrier! But the truth is, I’m not usually a big fan of huge piano sounds. Its so easy to over-power all the other instruments with a piano (especially in a recording environment) and sometimes the unambiguous harmonic landscape can be musically frustrating. Sometimes you just want the piano player to lay out and let the other instruments develop a dynamic.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Unlike Akie, I have no objection to the double-piano setup. I tend to think of it as akin to the writing found on Perpetual Post-divergent viewpoints on the same theme or idea. And Double Portrait is a glorious example of the form- a true musical marriage, apparent in every track on the album. Continue reading

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The following is a reader-submitted orphaned opinion.


JOHN CHRISTIAN HOPKINS: I’ve been thinking about racism and the Tea Party …
Stop me, if you think you’ve heard all this before. Continue reading

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