Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back to the Sandbox

Iraq has become a greater Pandora's Box than anyone could have possibly imagined. Even though there was a worldwide consensus 12 years ago that Saddam Hussein must be ousted, the execution (in the broader sense) was botched, and nearly every attempt to remedy the situation has either stagnated or failed. There were reports of turmoil and potential terrorist activity after we pulled out four years ago, and now the region is on the cusp of chaos again. When even Glenn Beck is admitting that "the liberals" were right about not invading, you know the prospect of another invasion is universally unpopular. Another full-scale operation is as financially unfeasible as it is morally ambiguous. There lies the dilemma: ISIS must be quashed, but for once we might have to defer to someone else.

Other notes:

+ Speaking of war, while I don't agree with the methods that were used to rescue Bowe Bergdahl, there is no justifable reason to leave any American troops behind. The negotiation was not only five years in the making, but it was also a last resort. If Bergdahl is the deserter and space cadet that the media makes him out to be, than as a soldier he has the right to some type of trial or military tribunal.

+ Talk about perfect timing-- just as the school year ends, I find another temp job. To sweeten the pot, the job is not only within Chicago city limits but it's essentially temp-to-hire.

+ The Royals were in first place this late in the season for the first time in 11 years. As of this writing, they were on their first 10-game winning streak in 20 years... followed by a four-game schneid. Either way, you better believe I'm grinning from ear to ear.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Ninth Annual Fantasy Emmy Ballot

You know the drill. Even though the network television season ended three weeks ago, the deadline for Emmy contention is later this month. What better time than now to get the speculation started?

Writing in a Variety/Comedy/Music Series: (name listed is head writer) Opus Moreschi, The Colbert Report; Mike Sweeney, Conan; Steve Bodow, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Molly McNearney, Jimmy Kimmel Live; A.D. Miles, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; Bill Maher, Real Time with Bill Maher.
Outstanding Variety/Comedy/Music Series: "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central; "Conan," TBS; "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Comedy Central; "Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC; "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," NBC; "Saturday Night Live," NBC.

Outstanding Miniseries: "American Horror Story: Coven" (FX); "Bonnie and Clyde" (History Channel); "Dancing on the Edge" (Starz); "Fargo" (FX); "Rosemary's Baby" (NBC); "The White Queen" (Starz).
Outstanding Made for TV Movie: "Burton and Taylor" (BBC America); "Clear History" (HBO); "Muhammed Ali's Greatest Fight" (HBO); "The Normal Heart" (HBO); "Sherlock: His Last Vow" (PBS/BBC); "The Trip to Bountiful" (Lifetime).

Supporting Actress, Comedy: Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory; Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Anna Chlumsky, Veep; Kate Mulgrew, Orange is the New Black; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie.
Supporting Actor, Comedy: Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Max Greenfield, New Girl; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; Ed O'Neill, Modern Family; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family.
Supporting Actress, Drama: Christine Baranski, The Good Wife; Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men; Allison Janney, Masters of Sex; Dame Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey; Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones.
Supporting Actor, Drama: Jim Carter, Downton Abbey; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Woody Harrelson, True Detective; Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; John Slattery, Mad Men; Jeffrey Wright, Broadwalk Empire.

Lead Actress, Comedy: Lena Dunham, Girls; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly; Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation; Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black.
Lead Actor, Comedy: Louie C.K. Louie; Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory; Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Robin Williams, The Crazy Ones.
Lead Actress, Drama: Connie Britton Nashville; Claire Danes, Homeland; Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Kerry Washington, Scandal.
Lead Actor, Drama: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Matthew McConaughey, True Detective; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards.

Best Comedy Series: "The Big Bang Theory," CBS; "Girls," HBO; "Modern Family," ABC; "Orange is the New Black," Netflix; "Parks & Recreation," NBC; "Veep," HBO.
Best Drama Series: "Breaking Bad," AMC; "Game of Thrones," HBO; "The Good Wife," CBS; "House of Cards," Netflix; "Mad Men," AMC; "True Detective," HBO.

As always, I look forward to the debate that should ensue.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Through a Fourth Freshman's Eyes

For the fourth year in a row, I present my presumptive Mindset List for this year's high school graduating class. Since this year's college freshmen were mostly born in late 1995 and early 1996, it astounds me to think I'm closer to turning 40 than I am from earning my own high school diploma. With that said, 1996 was kind of a slow news year, so a lot of the tidbits I mentioned last year still apply.

So why do I keep writing this list every year? Because when Beloit College releases their annual list in August, they're always bound to miss something.

Without further ado, if you are an incoming college freshman...

...there have always been DVDs.
...O.J. Simpson has always been *cough* "innocent" of two murders.
...The Unabomber has always been under federal custody.
...Dean Martin, George Burns, Terry Southern, Yitzhak Rabin, Audrey Meadows, McLean Stevenson, Erma Bombeck, P.L. Travers, Jon Pertwee, Timothy Leary, Mel Allen, Ella Fitzgerald, and Claudette Colbert have always been dead.
..."ValuJet" has always been associated with plane crashes, safety problems, and all-around incompetence.
...Prince Charles and Princess Diana were never married.
...you briefly shared this planet with the first known 120-year-old person.
...Croatia has never had a civil war.
...Texas has always been threatening to secede from the United States.
...world champion chessmasters have always been playing against computers.
...you've never eaten an Arch Deluxe.
...the Dow Jones Industrial Average has never been below 5,000.
...you've never been to a Ramones concert.
...you've always associated Will Smith with movies, not TV, and only intermittently as a musician.
...there have always been at least three cable news networks, and they have always been differentiated by being conservative, liberal, and moderate.
...the first James Bond was Pierce Brosnan.
...the New York Yankees rarely miss the playoffs.
...there has always been NHL hockey in Arizona.
...there has always been an NFL team in Baltimore-- at least one that wears black and purple, anyway.
...the Dallas Cowboys have never won, much less played in, the Super Bowl.
...the United States has never hosted the Summer Olympics.
...Gregg Popovich has always been head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
...Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Derek Fisher, and Ray Allen have always played in the NBA.
...it has always been possible for an NHL team to win a Stanley Cup in its first year of existence.
...Northwestern University has always been known as a "football school."

Next Week: my 9th Annual Fantasy Emmy Ballot.