Not a Newsletter (15): What, are you flying to Japan?


Hello from the airport! For the first time in far too long (nearly three years?), I’m taking a vacation. Although I can’t even get that right, as I’ll be helping a friend move out east. So a “working vacation” of sorts.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’ll be nice to unplug — although I’m sure I’ll still be more attached to my phone and iPad than I should be. I’ll probably post more to Instagram than I should. Hopefully, a few of those photos will be worth a look.

Having not traveled — especially cross-country — for a long time, I overreacted with the amount of stuff I downloaded to watch during my flight. Plus, I’ll probably listen to a podcast or two and try to read a book or magazine (airport magazine stands are crack to me) so I’m not looking at a screen.

Maybe some of these can be watched during the drive back east.

– Three episodes of Ugly Delicious
Black Panther
Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives
Batman: Ninja
– Eight episodes of All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines
The Florida Project
– Six episodes of Somebody Feed Phil
John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
Chef’s Table, Christina Tosi episode

Yeah, I’ve really gotten back into food TV. (I know; I should be watching Barry and Westworld!) Mostly The Zimmern List, Ugly Delicious and Parts Unknown. Note how neither of those shows are on Food Network. What is that channel doing?

I could go into an extended lament over how much I regret not visiting Seattle more often during the nine years A. lived there. (And I probably will, at some point.) The past eight years in North Carolina didn’t exactly work out as planned. (For instance, being in North Carolina for eight years.)

It hasn’t all been bad, professionally or personally. (Three exceptional little nieces have definitely changed my life for the better.) But it’s time to do a little bit more for myself.

Words read

** This tracking of our relationship with coffee from early 20s to early 40s is uncomfortably accurate. (Although I think I still resemble the “Late 20s” stage here pretty closely.) [New Yorker]


** The Pistons waited a month too long to fire team president/head coach Stan Van Gundy. This is the sort of thing that happens when management doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on. [Yahoo]

** Since the end of last year, I haven’t gotten nearly as much use out of MoviePass as I should have. (I blame the need for reserved seating at many theaters now.) Maybe it’s time to just ditch my subscription? Jump before the ship sinks? [Vulture]

** Imagine you’re at a funeral parlor, mourning the death of a parent, and then you find out a Hall of Fame baseball player, maybe one of your favorites, runs the funeral home. Andre Dawson operates just such a business in Florida. [USA Today]

** I admit I haven’t watched too much baseball this year. (I’ll get back into it after Memorial Day, I imagine.) The lack of the ball being put in play with so many strikeouts, walks and home runs isn’t the main reason for that, but it’s a factor. [ESPN]

Words written

Not too much to show here this week. That’ll probably be the case for the next two weeks (if I even write up one of these damn “Not a Newsletters”).

** With Kid Gorgeous, John Mulaney is in his comedy prime, even mocking Trump with originality
** SNL mocks LeBron’s teammates in ‘The Other Cavaliers’ sketch that was cut for time
** This Week in Trailers: Teen Titans make fun of DC, another Robin Hood, Paul Rudd the spy

Not a Newsletter: 04/15/18


Last Sunday was WrestleMania, which served to remind me that my revived interest in pro wrestling has fizzled out. It’s probably part of a general malaise during which I haven’t been watching much on TV other than news (and punditry), but yeah, this foray back to a childhood love lasted about nine months.

However, HBO’s Andre the Giant documentary brought back plenty of memories of my wrestling fandom, and how fascinating it was not just to follow WWF, but the other wrestling companies and territories throughout the country like the NWA, AWA, Mid-South and so forth. I remember spending Saturday mornings at the old Community Newscenter in Ann Arbor poring through wrestling magazines and spending my paperboy paycheck on too many of them.

The film also reminded me how special it was to be in the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III, which I wrote about last year on the event’s 30th anniversary. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant was definitely the event of the day (though not the match I was most excited about), and as the documentary explains, gave WWF a huge cultural push. To hear how much pain Andre was in during that match and how the ending hadn’t been determined until the two performers were in the ring was surprising and sobering.

All right, here’s what we have to show for the past week. Not a lot of writing out of me, unfortunately. Just that kind of week.

The week’s reading


** Brian Michael Bendis’s DC Comics debut hits comic book shops this coming week with Action Comics #1000. I’m not sure if it was in an article or on his old Jinxworld message board, but I recall Bendis once saying Superman was a character he couldn’t get his head around. Or a character that didn’t work in modern times. Something like that. But he’ll be writing the Man of Steel’s adventures after helping to define the Marvel Universe for nearly the past 20 years. And I’ll be buying. [New York Times]

** The “new” Comiskey Park — now Guaranteed Rate Field — was the first of the new ballparks throughout Major League Baseball. But it could have been so much better, as Dayn Perry explains in this outstanding feature. (And you’ll learn something about ballpark architecture too.) [CBS Sports]

** There have been rumblings of concern for months over the welfare of Stan Lee and whether the people taking care of him have his best interests in mind. This story confirms those rumors, and unfortunately Lee’s daughter is one of the people mistreating him. [The Hollywood Reporter]

** Maybe the most amazing thing about this young baseball season (all of the rainouts are frustrating) is that Shohei Ohtani has lived up to the hype so far — both as a pitcher and a hitter. He’ll probably continue to be MLB’s most fascinating player throughout the season and at this point, I sort of feel like Ohtani is the only player I really want to watch. [ESPN]

** I feel like I’m pretty careful with my info on Facebook, but I’m sure I should be better.  I plan on downloading that info to open my eyes and realize what an idiot I’ve been. [New York Times]

** I miss Charlie Rose’s show, though I realize he should never work again. This story is kind of gossipy, but makes it seem as if Rose is still in denial (which he most certainly was after news of his many incidents of sexual misconduct was reported).  [The Hollywood Reporter]

The week’s writing


** Chewbacca is how old? 5 takeaways from the new Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer

** A Quiet Place once considered as a Cloverfield movie, according to writers

** What do sports fans actually want in a morning show? (Roundtable)
** Where does Shohei Ohtani go from here? Forecasting season stats for baseball’s new sensation (Roundtable)

** Rampage works because it doesn’t try to adapt the video game

Not a Newsletter: 04/08/18


Well, hello! After a shaky last couple of weeks, we’re trying to get Not a Newsletter back on track here at Casselbloggy HQ. I’d like to remain as computer-free as possible on my day off, so am getting this out early for the Sunday breakfast crowd.

This story about the mastodon skeleton at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History being moved as part of the museum’s relocation put me in a wistful mood. Growing up in Ann Arbor, the museum was one of my favorite places to go.

Like a lot of kids, I was really into dinosaurs and a place with skeletons from all kinds of those prehistoric creatures seemed like one of the coolest places on Earth. A Tyrannosaurus Rex skull. A pterodactyl skeleton. And so much more. They were just a bus ride away, which meant multiple visits throughout the year — especially during the summer.


I’m not sure when I stopped going to the museum. Probably at an age where I felt like I’d outgrown it. I bet I haven’t been back in at least 20 years. I couldn’t have gone back once?

Now that I live someplace else, I’ve often thought about how lucky I was and didn’t even realize it. I could go to that museum — and others on the U-M campus — any time I wanted to. I didn’t do this nearly enough, especially as I got older. Taking the little nieces there (one of whom likes dinosaurs) would be fun. Maybe someday.

OK, here’s what we have to show for the past week.

This Week’s Reading

** Dusty Baker shouldn’t have been fired as Washington Nationals manager after last season. But he’s apparently enjoying the time off, especially when watching his son play. J.T. Snow rescuing little Darren Baker, then a San Francisco Giants bat boy, from getting run over at home plate in the 2002 World Series was a touching moment. [Washington Post]

** I was vaguely aware of how much diapers cost before my sister had children. Now, as an uncle, I’m keenly aware — especially when taking my mother to Target or Walmart to buy diapers and help my sister out. (I don’t think that’s appreciated enough.) This feature underlines just how fortunate we are, and why diapers cost what they do. [Tampa Bay Times]

** John Krasinski’s life and career are about to change with the huge success (already!) of A Quiet Place (his third film as a director, by the way). And his Jack Ryan series will premiere on Amazon later this year. He’s been building to this in the five years since The Office went off the air. [Vulture]

** Don’t look at Micheline Maynard’s interview with Milk Street’s Christopher Kimball as a cooking article. There is a lot of smart, insightful advice in here about creating a media start-up and consumer venture, and what’s necessary for success in those areas. [Forbes]


** The first time I saw Alex Ross’s art in Marvels, I thought it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. Never had comic book superheroes come to life more than with his photo-realistic art. Ross has a new book, Marvelocity, featuring his Marvel art which I hope finds its way to my coffee table. [Entertainment Weekly]

** Chappaquiddick‘s Jason Clarke was totally cool when Amy Kaufman realized her recorder wasn’t on after a 90-minute interview.  [Los Angeles Times]

** This one is for Mom. The judges on MasterChef UK pissed off a lot of people when they  criticized a contestant for making Chicken Rendang (a signature Malaysian dish) with chicken that wasn’t crispy. It’s not supposed to be crispy; it’s slow-cooked. [The Guardian]

** I was late to the party on Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree. But it’s such a great example of what comic books are capable of and a testament to the passion of independent creators. Piskor is now taking that spirit and style to Marvel’s X-Men, trying to condense all of that mythology into a short series. [NPR]

This Week’s Watching

The death of Steven Bochco last week immediately made me think of Hill Street Blues. I probably listened to the theme song a dozen times over the past few days, thinking to myself “Be careful out there.” Best TV theme song ever? It has to be in the top five.

My friend A. suggested taking a vacation to watch old episodes of Hill Street Blues, which I believe is on Hulu. (So is ER, which would require another vacation.) That sounds like a great way to spend some time off.

This Week’s Writing

** This Week in Trailers: Frightening Westworld, Kodachrome road trip, superpowered kids, white voice
** Jim Brockmire joined the ESPN broadcast booth Sunday afternoon during the Cardinals-Mets telecast

** ESPN’s Get Up won’t make you change your morning TV routine yet, but it could get there

** What is your favorite Steven Spielberg movie? (Roundtable)

** These were the coolest moments from the first week of baseball season (Roundtable)

** Remembering Steven Bochco’s attempt at sports drama, Bay City Blues
** This Week in Trailers: Purge origin story, Haddish vs. Hart, zombie daddy, deadly Upgrade

** Alliance of American Football announces first team in Orlando, coached by Steve Spurrier
** HBO’s Paterno credits former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci as co-executive producer

Not a Newsletter: 03/18/18


We’re late with Not a Newsletter once again, after showing promise last week with an early posting. But after talking with friends and family, it was determined that one of the remedies for that which is currently driving me crazy is to try and unplug as much as possible on weekends.

As I’m sure is the case for many of you, that’s not easy for me. Work and leisure inhabit much of the same space. If I’m reading something, it’s probably online. (I really am trying to pick up books and magazines…) If I’m watching something, it might also be online, especially if it’s streaming.

Thus, a message from work or a topic that could make a story is only an alert or click away.  Then I look at the clock and I’ve wasted most of a Saturday or Sunday sitting at a computer. It’s not making me pleasant. Unpleasant may be my default setting, but there are degrees of unpleasantness. Unfortunately for those around me, I’ve been on the “very unpleasant” side of that spectrum.

So maybe this would have been posted earlier otherwise. But maybe — probably not, but maybe — I was also a more pleasant human being on Sunday.

This was watched

Since I’m online most of the day, constantly looking for story topics while editing and writing, most entertainment before 4 p.m. ET has to come in quick hits. Twitter and Facebook provide plenty of that, naturally, but YouTube has also become a reliable source for chuckles.

As a result, I’ve become a fan of WIRED’s “Answers the Web’s Most Searched Questions” series, in which celebrities answer the questions that people ask about them on Google. (Another favorite is Vanity Fair’s “Fear Box” series, in which celebrities reach into a box and try to figure out what they’re touching. Yep, I love celebrities.)

The cast of This is Us is adorable, and thus this episode of the WIRED series is adorable.

Words were read

Donald Glover is Lando Calrissian in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

** This is probably going to be the year of Donald Glover. He’s going to play young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story. There will probably be new music to come, though not from Childish Gambino. And Season 2 of Atlanta is playing now on FX, which is what most of this article — which took me longer to read than I’d like to admit — is about. [New Yorker]

** Until thinking about it a few years ago, thanks to my old editor Kevin Kaduk, I didn’t quite realize that Ichiro Suzuki is my favorite baseball player. Maybe not now, so much as several years ago. But it seems right that he’s back with the Seattle Mariners for the sunset of his career. But maybe it’s not as fun being Ichiro as many of us might have guessed. [ESPN]

** I had never considered this until my friend Mike McClary sent this along. But have retweets ruined Twitter? Are toxic tweets much more likely to go viral and spread throughout the network when the retweet button makes it so easy? Maybe it was better when we had to type out retweets ourselves. (Also, I don’t know if I’d turn off retweets from individual users.) [The Atlantic]

** If you enjoyed Black Panther and are now looking for comic books to take you back to Wakanda, Don McGregor’s “Panther’s Rage” storyline might be the best place to start. (The story can be found collected in trade paperback or digital editions.) Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin and Ta-Nehisi Coates are considered definitive Black Panther writers, but McGregor should probably top the list. [Vulture]

Words were written

* This Week in Trailers: Will Robinson’s alien playpal, Grumpy Grinch, wonderful Mary Poppins, overwhelmed Charlize Theron
* O.J. Simpson almost appeared on The Simpsons 25 years ago, according to producer


O.J. Simpson sure seemed to confess in Fox’s bizarre TV special. Did any good come from this whatsover?

* Maryann Turcke to become NFL chief operating officer after stint as president of digital media and NFL Network

* The American League could have some fascinating races. Who will come out on top? (Roundtable)

* Borg vs. McEnroe movie has new trailer, finally getting April 13 U.S. release
* Everybody’s screaming! 5 takeaways from final Avengers: Infinity War trailer

* UConn scores record 140 points, demolishing St. Francis in first-round NCAA Tournament matchup
* Jets set themselves up to get franchise QB by trading with Colts for No. 3 pick in 2018 NFL Draft

Not a Newsletter: 03/10/18


Rather than gripe about the things that got on my nerves and made me angry this week, which has become the favorite intro during the short life of Not a Newsletter, I thought I’d try to tell a story instead.

Timehop is one of my favorite apps, providing a daily social media nostalgia trip. I often enjoy seeing photos I took on that day, links to tweets, or even links to articles I wrote years ago that sometimes seem as if they were written by someone else who was more talented.

But this photo from five years ago popped up this week:


Of all the junk currently cluttering my desk to plant my geek flag and reconnect with my inner child, my Ron Swanson bobblehead is probably my favorite. My niece, then two years old, often enjoyed looking at it (surely entranced by the mustache) and making that head bobble.

But five years ago, she accidentally knocked Ron off my desk, causing his head to snap off. I wasn’t mad. It was an accident caused by a two-year-old. It was just a goofy keepsake. I knew some Gorilla Glue would fix it.

Little did I know that my niece was upset. She didn’t show it by crying or anything like that, though she was surprised when the doll broke. Maybe she expected me to yell at her. But later in the day, she was laying on the floor watching TV and holding Ron’s headless body. Ron’s head was right next to her.

I had to chuckle, but it kind of broke my heart too. I had no idea she was so attached (unlike Ron’s head). Or maybe she just felt bad. Two days later, Ron was restored and she was happy (maybe relieved). Everyone’s been OK ever since.

It showed me how much of a soul this kid has. Five years later, that’s still absolutely true.

The Listening

Normally, this would be “The Watching,” but nothing really gripped me this week. So instead, I’ll just share this, which I also posted on Facebook).

Current ranking of stuff I need to watch/finish on Netflix:

1. Jessica Jones, season 2
2. Altered Carbon (4 more eps)
3. Chris Rock: Tambourine (only watched the first half)
4. Ugly Delicious
5. The Punisher (I know!)
6. Queer Eye

I wanted to embed the new A24 Podcast featuring a conversation between Greta Gerwig and Barry Jenkins, but haven’t figured out how to do so. That’s annoying because this was a big reason I switched to WordPress. Also, it made me late in posting this week’s Not a Newsletter.

** All the Way Home with Barry Jenkins and Greta Gerwig

It’s fun to listen to these two talk about filmmaking, especially when neither originally intended to be a director. How Gerwig came to that realization, in particular, is a story that you would expect to see in a Greta Gerwig movie.

Also, A24 is a stamp of quality in today’s movie landscape. If they made it, chances are it’s a good film — much like Miramax in the early 1990s. With Lady Bird, The Disaster Artist, The Florida Project, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Good Time, A24 had a damn good 2017, making five of the year’s best movies.

The Reading


** Smart people can come off as awfully dumb when Silicon Valley types step outside their bubble, visit the Midwest, and act like they’re touring another country. (That probably goes for East Coast publications too.) Fortunately for them, those cities and states with far cheaper real estate and open space are all too eager for those entrepreneurs and businesses to move in. [New York Times]

** “We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards.” I’m OK with MoviePass knowing I like late-night grocery shopping if I save money on tickets. [The Outline]

** Burger-flipping robots are our future. That means the rest of us will get the “real jobs,” right? [Washington Post]

** C’mon, man. I’m trying to be good, eating low-carb. Don’t take my bacon away. (Yeah, yeah, yeah — chicken and fish. I know.) [The Guardian]

** Marvel has changed the movie business, establishing a cinematic universe other studios have tried to repeat and creating a brand that seemingly can’t misfire. But what if Marvel sold all of its characters to Sony, which was on the table 20 years ago? (Unfortunately, this is behind a paywall, but I’ll send it to you if you’d really like to read it. ) [Wall Street Journal]

** Former major league pitcher and Detroit broadcaster Lary Sorenson has quite a story, and not in a good way. But after doing time in prison and losing just about everything, he appears to living clean now. It could’ve been a very ugly ending for him, so hopefully he’s on a far better path. [Detroit News]

** Is it better to brush before breakfast or after you eat? What about flossing before or after brushing? Information for life. [Lifehacker]

** Apple’s Air Pods were maybe the first product that I jumped on as an early adopter. Although short supply kept me from buying them right away. (I love ’em, by the way.) I probably wouldn’t have bought them if I wasn’t able to use an Apple gift card I earned from trading back my old iPhone. But maybe I should’ve waited for version 2.0? [Slate]

The Writing


Charles Barkley on SNL: “I’ve been saying whatever the hell I want for 30 years, and I’m doing great”
Alex Rodriguez looks smooth, all smiles in guest appearance on SNL with Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley gets to play Star Wars in SNL sketch that was cut for time

* U.S. women’s hockey star Hilary Knight visited new hockey fan Leslie Jones on SNL, and… created controversy?
Takeaways from the 2018 Oscars: No surprises, not Kobe, Kimmel appreciation, Queen Frances, move on from the flub

* Penny Hardaway? Memphis Tigers reportedly ready for splashy coaching move to replace Tubby Smith

* Who are the playoff favorites in the National League? It’s a trickier question than you think (Roundtable)
* What American network and sport pairing is the most natural and iconic? (Roundtable)

* Rian Johnson did indeed toss out J.J. Abrams’ story for The Last Jedi, according to Daisy Ridley

Not a Newsletter: 03/04/18


Hello from the mountains of North Carolina! Last week’s Not a Newsletter was a bit whiny, as I was hit with a surprise cold that had me feeling lousy and thinking burnout. I’m not sure that was totally accurate, but it’s on my mind and I put it out there. But plenty of us are working a lot and slogging through.

As I finish this up, the Oscars are hours away. It’s one of my favorite events of the year, though I don’t think that interest is shared among many friends, except for a close few. Yeah, the Oscars are self-important and probably silly. But for those of us who love movies, it’s the culmination of the past year. And maybe some of us like knowing we have good taste; our favorites were named “The Best”!

Due to feeling sick for a few days, it wasn’t the most productive writing week here at Casselbloggy HQ. That probably meant more reading. But I did manage to pound a few articles out, including a ranking of the 2018 Best Picture nominees.

Here’s what we have to show from the past seven days. Be excellent to each other.

Read This


** So Trump was having a bad day and because he was in a pissy mood, he decided to put tariffs on steel and aluminum. Yeah, that seems rational. [NBC News]

** Jordan Peele is only the fourth African American to be nominated for Best Director. Could he be the first to win that Oscar? The Hollywood Reporter gathered those four filmmakers for a roundtable discussion. [THR]

** I’ve been a Detroit Tigers fan all of my life (or since my adolescence when I first took an interest in sports). It’s astounding to me that I didn’t know who the public address announcer at Comerica Park is. His name is Bobb Vergiels, and he drives from Central Florida to Detroit 12 times a year for that job. [Detroit News, hat tip Mike McClary]

** My pooping habits are quite normal, thank you very much. [Men’s Health]

** Hope Hicks was always the most mysterious member of the Trump administration. Maybe we’ll find out how important she was, now that she’s resigning. The Mueller investigation might keep her pretty busy, however. [Vanity Fair]


** I’m late on this, but if there’s one piece to read on why Black Panther is resonating and seems far more important than a “superhero film,” Jelani Cobb’s is the one to check out. [The New Yorker]

** Sally Jenkins absolutely crushes the United States Olympic Committee for profiting off the backs of amateur athletes and provide little support in return. [Washington Post]

** The costume design in Black Panther might be the most impressive thing about its production, a huge reason why it doesn’t look like other movies of its kind. Personally, I’m still obsessed with Lip Plate Guy. [Vulture]

** Ta-Nehisi Coates announced this week that he’ll write Captain America for Marvel Comics. He’s been writing Black Panther for the past two years and one demonstration of his commitment was his reimagining of Wakanda as a nation beyond words and lines on a map. [The Verge]

Watched This

Just three films into his career, Ryan Coogler is a director at the top of his game. The success of Black Panther will allow him to do whatever he wants, which is tremendously exciting.

This Vanity Fair video (hat tip, Jay Rigdon) provided a fascinating look at all the work that goes into a scene and how much thought is put into virtually every detail. It’s kind of exhausting to think about, but this demonstrates just what makes Coogler such a special filmmaker. He’s already reached must-watch status.

Note to self: It’s time to go see Black Panther again.

Wrote This

* This Week in Trailers: Angry Jessica Jones, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero return, and Danger, Will Robinson!

* Does Annihilation know what kind of movie it is? Let’s try to figure out its identity crisis

* Award-winning journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates will write Captain America comic book, in addition to Black Panther

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 10.28.35 PM

* Quentin Tarantino’s 1969 Los Angeles movie gets even more exciting with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio

* John Moody, Fox News exec who wrote controversial “Darker, Gayer, Different” Olympics column, retires from network
Ranking the 2018 Best Picture Oscar nominees: Get Three Billboards Out of The Shape of Water

* This Week in Trailers: Michael B. Jordan burns books, Sensei Johnny, too many pancakes, Elvis searching

Not a Newsletter: 02/25/18


Hey, we’re back! I really need to get my weekends under control. Working too much (and the results don’t necessarily show below, which is its own frustration), and I’m on my way to reaching out and touching burnout again. And I’d been doing pretty well with setting boundaries and taking better care with my personal life.

All right, that’s starting to sound a little whiny. February felt much more like 2017 than young 2018. But I’ll get it back. Strength. Power. Chill.

I apologize in advance if that Adam Rippon GIF is driving you crazy. But I wanted to put a GIF in this post, man. And I thought the thing I wrote about Rippon this week would draw more interest, but I don’t think the audience for that post gives a shit about figure skating.

Lesson learned. Onward. Here’s how the past week went at Casselbloggy HQ.



* Figure skater Adam Rippon declines opportunity to be Olympic correspondent for NBC
* This Week in Trailers: Mr. Incredible Dad, Sock ‘Em robots, Earn and Paper Boi return

* Michael Rapaport sends Barstool Sports a cease and desist letter over the Rapaport clown t-shirt

* Donald Glover helped out on the Black Panther script, leading to a Thank You in the credits

* Kirk Herbstreit will replace Jon Gruden on ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage
* These are the MLB free agents we are most surprised to see unsigned (Roundtable)

* HBO releases full trailer for Paterno, starring Al Pacino as the disgraced Penn State coach

* Game Night uses all its pieces well, notably Rachel McAdams, for a twisty story full of laughs


Nearly every day, I get pulled into a YouTube rabbit hole while looking for clips and highlights I can put into posts. This past week, it was clips from the old Shazam! TV show that got me.

I remember watching reruns, but was so young that I couldn’t tell you anything about it other than there was Billy Batson with an old man, driving a RV across the country. And Captain Marvel always seemed to be in a field when he arrived.

So this clip is probably originally from like 1975 or 1976. But the message fits for 2018. (Although a character named Isis delivering the public service announcement is probably less than ideal.)



** Oh yeah, there are gonna be some Black Panther links here for the next few weeks. Gotta catch up with all these think pieces. And some of you are probably still getting around to seeing it. Here’s one taking Erik Killmonger’s side, which is why I think he’s such a great villain. [Shadow and Act]

** “You’re not going to make the team by being here at quarter-to-six in the morning.” MLB teams are placing a greater emphasis on sleep and recovery. (I feel like the NBA went down that path first, but could be wrong about that.)

But I always figured baseball players did their spring training work early so they could play golf in the afternoon. [Associated Press]

** There have also been plenty of pieces written on why Black Panther is so meaningful to audiences who hadn’t seen themselves represented in superhero blockbusters before. As Carvell Wallace says here, the future had often been speculated by white writers. But Black Panther is an example of that changing.

Though the piece doesn’t say this, I also think it’s great that Marvel has taken the opportunity its success has afforded to serve different audiences. [New York Times]

** No disrespect to Mike Tirico, who’s done a very good job. But I kind of missed Bob Costas at the Winter Olympics. However, it’s totally understandable if he didn’t want to relive his pink eye episode at the 2014 Sochi Games. Even my mother figured that’s why he didn’t go back, even if that’s not true. Here’s an oral history of that ordeal. [Vulture]

** Brendan Fraser is about to start his comeback, starring in FX’s Trust — a longer, Danny Boyle-directed version of the John Paul Getty kidnapping story that Ridley Scott told in All the Money in the World.

So where’s Fraser been? (He was up for the role of Superman years ago, and there were rumors that the contract for that kept him from being in other films, in case the movie got made. That’s not mentioned here, though not getting picked for Superman did have an effect on him.)

Part of the issue was doing all those Mummy films beat the hell out of him. He also went through a divorce. And he lost his mother. That’s a lot of shit to deal with, man. [GQ]

** How many of you saw Terrence Malick’s 2012 film, To the Wonder? (I haven’t; Malick is one of those filmmakers I always say I’ll catch up on. I did a better job of that in the days when Netflix was DVD-only.)

But the movie lives on with never-used footage of real people telling their stories, some of which were horribly sad, to Javier Bardem’s character, a priest. [New Yorker]