Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Random Notes, February 2009

+ I don't know about you, but I miss analog TV signals already. ;)

+ Being a history buff, I get a kick out of those lists where historians rank the US presidents. The latest list (courtesy of C-SPAN, released yesterday) doesn't reveal that many surprises; much like their 2000 survey Lincoln, Washington, and FDR cracked the top three while James Buchanan finished dead last. It should be noted that this is the first list of presidential rankings to include George W. Bush (as a rule, the sitting president is always excluded), who finished 36th out of 42. In determining Dubya's place in history --four weeks after leaving office, anyway-- this group of historians gave our 43rd president points for pursuing equal justice for all and crisis leadership, but demerits for international relations and economic management. The list was a bit more generous to President Bush's last five predecessors: Ronald Reagan cracked the top ten, while Gerald Ford finished 22nd, Jimmy Carter 25th, Bush 41 was 18th, and Bill Clinton coming in at 15th.

+ I wish I could say I was excited about this year's Academy Awards, but I'm still convinced that this is the weakest crop of nominees in recent memory. There were a handful of great performances this year (there's no way Heath Ledger is losing this Sunday) but the best picture category leaves something to be desired. The Reader has a 60% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, far and away the lowest of the five nominated movies; the film is a showcase (physically and literally) for Kate Winslet and she's the odds-on favorite to win best actress, but there's not much else about this Holocaust drama to merit being one of the top five movies of 2008. Harvey Weinstein is at least partially to blame; his smooth operating and one-man publicity blitz pushed The Reader ahead of Gran Torino and The Dark Knight for that final slot. On that note, I'm picking Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture, Danny Boyle for Best Director, and Rourke, Winslet, Ledger, and Davis in the acting categories.

+ Finally, after some internal debate I've decided to dip my feet back into the the cutthroat, no-holds-barred world of fantasy baseball. I signed up for the TV.com league at Yahoo! last week and we're holding our draft on March 14th. After finishing 5th out of 8 last year and losing consecutive playoff series to two "ghost" teams, I felt an uncontrollable urge for redemption. Wish me luck!


  1. I'd wish you luck, but as manager of the Kegtown Beanballers, that would be a serious conflict of interest and unheared of from our team's largely over-inflated ego & high opinion of ourselves! ;) Tho that does totally reek of Yankee Arrogance, so good luck, Stu!

  2. I wonder if FDR's rating will go down now that more people are saying the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression...

    And I'm not going to watch the Academy Awards, I agree with you about there not being much worth getting excited about.

  3. I don't think FDR's ranking will change much; his depression-era tinkering created jobs and stabilized the dollar but it was ineffectual in other places. Plus, he was one of the best war presidents ever.