Finishing My Coffee

Community’s Brilliance In Two Lines

Basic GeneaologyAvery Edison brilliantly summarizes a lot of what makes Community so great, saying:

These two sentences sum up everything Community is. I’ve tried to break down everything this line accomplishes.

Full post »

[Via Timoni West]


Monopoly: The Wire edition

Monopoly: The Wire Edition

Why doesn't this exist?! I would absolutely purchase, if only to shout out sheeeeeeeeeit! every time someone landed on City Hall.


Omar Meets Hamlet

Michael K. Williams, photographed by Terry Richardson.

Ay yo. AyyyyyY YOooooo!

Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little in The Wire, as Hamlet for a photoshoot by Terry Richardson for Vice magazine.

Hamlet: Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.
Horatio: A fellow of infinite jest.


Ridiculous Salaries For The Hills

Cavallari is being paid $90,000 an episode, which is almost as much as Conrad was making: $125,000 an episode (or $2.5 million a year), according to a person with knowledge of the show’s contracts. Conrad’s deal stipulated that no other star’s salary could match hers while she was on The Hills, but those of supporting cast members Audrina Patridge, Lauren “Lo” Bosworth, and Montag come close: $100,000 a show. As for Pratt, his rate is a slightly less at $65,000 per show, because he only joined as a regular in 2008. (In comparison, the stars of The Real Housewives series receive a reported $30,000 a show.) In the case of Brody Jenner, Conrad’s BFFWB (Best Friend Forever With Benefits), he takes in $45,000.
The Hills are paved in gold


Happy Star Wars Day!

"Always in motion is the future." -- Yoda

"Always in motion is the future." -- Yoda

From my friend Brett:

May 4 is called Star Wars Day because of a pun or play on words based on the similarity between "May the 4th be with you" and "May the force be with you", a phrase often spoken in the Star Wars movies. In common usage the joke might be presented:

1: Happy Star Wars Day!

2: What?

3: May the fourth be with you!

Seeing as how this is a holiday and all, below are a few of my favorite bits of recent, Star Wars related humor...


Dollhouse: The Best Show On Television

Do dolls dream of electric sheep?

Do dolls dream of electric sheep?

C and I have been watching Joss Whedon's (Buffy, Firefly, the bat episode of The Office) Dollhouse all season. It was slow to take hold, but the most recent episode was so unabashedly brilliant that if you haven't been watching, I can only urge you to spend this weekend catching up. It's the best show on television*.

Dollhouse is . . . a show about consent. It's built around an organization - the titular Dollhouse - which erases volunteers' personalities and memories and renders them childlike and passive, in order to implant them with new, built-to-order personalities custom made for wealthy clients who wish to order the "perfect" person for a specific job.

Dollhouse is available on Hulu and, if you don't act soon, it'll likely be canceled. Smart science fiction, doomed to air on Friday evenings? Go figure.

Once you've watched a little bit, read this analysis of the show. The author has put a great deal of thought into their post, and does an excellent job delving into the depths of the metaphor.


Wisdom From The Wire (Part 1)

Presenting: Like Some Grown Fuckin' Men

Until then, Mr. Charles, we gonna handle this shit like businessmen. Sell the shit, make the profit, and later for that gangsta bullshit. Yeah?

Do The Chair know we gonna look like some punk ass bitches out there?

MuthafuckaIwill punk ya ass for saying some shit --

Yo, yo String... String!


Yo. Pooh did have the floor...

YouTube Preview Image

Chicago Is The New Baltimore

Indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Life, as predicted by art.

Indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Life, as predicted by art.

Clay Davis, fictional, corrupt state Senator.  Sheeeeit.

Clay Davis, fictional, corrupt state Senator. Clay, Rod. Rod, Clay. Sheeeeeeeit.

My very favorite thing about The Wire is that the series, taken as a whole, is a five season, 60 hour meditation on America's broken systems and corrupted ideals.

The series is cynical and brutally honest, but its creators --  among them Ed Burns, George Pelecanos and David Simon -- are correct. If they have a weakness, it is that they may be a touch too cynical, though even then, they are not off the mark by much.

By "correct" I don't mean just that I agree with them. I mean that The Wire's creators have put out a testable hypothesis, which has been proven true by subsequent events. The Wire is not guesswork or arguing or opinion. The Wire is tested, verified, repeatable fact. Their argument is not faith, not option, not fiction -- The Wire is Truth.

Rationale and Theory

Since WWII, key systems in America have been developed and driven by one fundamental belief, first put into action by IBM, Robert McNamara, and Ayn Rand: decisions should be based on reasoned and objective analysis of statistics.


Favorite Brand Names On The Wire

One of my favorite things about The Wire is how it's tied in so completely to contemporary Baltimore and then to the rest of the wider world. Over the course of the show's five seasons, the hoppers on the corners updated the brand name to fit with recent world events. The more ferocious the name, the more potent the drug. Just cause kids drop outta school and deal doesn't mean they're dumb. My favorites:

  • WMD
  • Pandemic
  • Bird Flu
  • Greenhouse Gas
  • Mistletoe
  • Sheed Wallace
  • Brokeback
  • Bin Laden

For more, read a discussion about Blue Tops at The Wire's forums. Even better, dealers in Philly have a brand of heroin called The Wire.

Did I miss any good ones? Let me know...


What A Rough Week

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

In more-or-less chronological order, here's a list of some of the ridiculous and troubling events that happened last week...

  1. Fannie May and Freddie Mac are bailed out by the Federal government. $500 billion dollars to take control of these quasi-governmental institutions, ruined in the "mortgage crisis." As an astute poster on mentions, why is it that there's no money for universal healthcare, yet the government can scrape together half a trillion dollars in no time flat to bail out financial institutions?
  2. United Airline's stock dropped from nearly $12.50 a share to $3 a share... for no good reason. Here's what happened: Google News' software found an old article in the Chicago Tribune about a 2002 United bankruptcy-court filing. As the old article wasn't properly dated, it was posted by Google News as though it were new news. Software used by stock traders to automatically buy and sell stock found the article and started to sell. And sell. And sell. This automated sell-off, combined with the Tribune article and pre-existing fears about the weakness of United's stock amid ongoing trouble in the airline industry caused the rumor to spread like wildfire. When the dust cleared later in the day, trading of United stock had been frozen at $3. The price went back up to $10.60 a share, but the damage had been done. $1.14 billion had been lost -- gone, evaporated, *poof*.
  3. McCain caught Obama in the polls. Sure, the RNC provided a bump, but the larger cause for the bump is most troubling. All Palin, all the time. She has minimal experience, her primary interaction with the public was a well-delivered speech written before her nomination, and until a Thursday interview with ABC, she refused to answer questions (for good reason; the VP should probably know what the Bush Doctrine is, at least well enough to BS an answer). Yet because she's a pretty woman selling herself as a religious frontier-mom, she's polling through the roof. McCain v. Obama? The actual contest? Who cares. In the popularity contest that is the Presidential election for much of America, Palin's revisiting her role as Prom Queen. Issues and experience be damned.
  4. David Foster Wallace hanged himself at home in Claremont, CA. I've read some of his essays, and had just started his masterwork, Infinite Jest. Only twenty pages in, I was already wondering how anyone could walk through life with such thoughts rattling around in one's head. It seems that over time, not even he could handle it. The greatest young author of the last hundred years is gone, dead at 46. Some who knew him offer tribute.
  5. A freight train and passenger train collide, head-on in California. At least 23 dead. Possible cause of the accident? One of the engineers may have been texting with teens interested in the railroad, as an education/public service task, just before the accident -- the worst of its kind in the region.
  6. Syria invades Lebanon. (Sadly, I'm guessing you may have heard about it here first.)
  7. Hurricane Ike pummels the Texas coast.
  8. The financial sector continues its slide to the bottom. Can the banks fall further? Apparently yes. "Merrill Lynch agreed to sell itself on Sunday to Bank of America for roughly $50 billion to avert a deepening financial crisis, while another prominent securities firm, Lehman Brothers, filed for bankruptcy protection and hurtled toward liquidation after it failed to find a buyer. . . . But even as the fates of Lehman and Merrill hung in the balance, another crisis loomed as the insurance giant American International Group appeared to teeter. Staggered by losses stemming from the credit crisis, A.I.G. sought a $40 billion lifeline from the Federal Reserve, without which the company may have only days to survive." Alan Greenspan, the former Fed Chief who could have done a lot to minimize this problem by raising interest rates a touch while he was still in office, now says that the economy is in a "once-in-a-lifetime" crisis. For a better understanding of what's going on and how we got here, Paul Krugman provides insight.
  9. To end on a positive note, Tina Fey and Amy Pohler did a great job leading off this year's SNL season opener.

[Photo via Waxin' and Milkin']