Sunday, November 30, 2008

Familiar Faces

I'm catching up on my Eli Stone (which sadly got its plug pulled last week), and the 11/18 episode was maybe my favorite of the season (up there with the Katie Holmes episode). In addition to the episode succeeding on its own merits, it featured a barrage of guest stars. Steven Culp is always a welcome addition to any show, and it's a hell of a coup to have nabbed Taraji P. Henson as Patti's daughter. The fact that both appear to be down for longer-term arcs is even better.

But my favorite part may have been seeing Weeds' Tonye Patano guesting as a judge. The sight of Heylia James ruling on a case about medical marijuana was a great inside joke, intentional or not. It also reminded me of how much this season of Weeds suffered for the absence of Heylia and Conrad. And how I kind of want to be Heylia James when I grow up.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Smooth Joey Apollo's 2008 NFL Picks: Week 13

Last Week:
Aaron: 6-10 (0-1 vs. the spread)
Joe: 10-6 (1-0 vs. the spread)

Season to Date:
Joe: 114-61-1 (6-6 vs. the spread)
Aaron: 111-64-1 (5-7 vs. the spread)


Tennessee at Detroit
Aaron: With news that the NFL is moving the Pro Bowl to Super Bowl week at the home of the host stadium, there’s a new leader in the clubhouse for "most irrelevant game at an annual site." Booyah, Detroit! Pick: Tennessee

Joe: Wait, they're doing WHAT with the Pro Bowl? Anyway, blame stupid Brett Favre and the stupid Jets for ruining an 11-0 Titans vs. 0-11 Lions matchup here. Have you no sense of symmetry?? Pick: Tennessee

Seattle at Dallas
Aaron: It’s a miracle that I won in my money league last week with Tony Romo on the bench and Jay F****n Cutler as my QB (Michael Turner’s 4 TDs didn’t hurt). Anyways, I’m officially turning over the rest of my season to Romo. I think we all know how this will end. Pick: Dallas

Joe: This game has "3 TD effort from Marion Barber" written all over it. Pick: Dallas

Arizona at Philadelphia
Aaron: In the span of 48 hours, Eagles coach Andy Reid benched his starting QB, then his back-up. Lousy Phillies. This whole town could've been on suicide watch all winter. Thanks, Ryan Howard (eventually)! Pick: Arizona

Joe: Obvious joke, but: You think Donovan McNabb knew that QBs get benched in the NFL? And a side note -- sucks that the Thursday games are two no-brainers and the Eagles, who have burned Aaron and both enough times that we may never pick them again. Which adds up to three unanimous picks. I blame the media. Pick: Arizona

New Orleans at Tampa Bay
Aaron: If the Saints were an NBA team from the late '80s, they'd be the all-offense, no-defense Denver Nuggets. Remember them? Fat Lever? Ah, to hell with you kids. Pick: New Orleans

Joe: I know you all can't get enough of my talking about my fantasy football team, so you'll be fascinated to know that I have both Drew Brees and the Tampa defense (and riding both of them to a late playoff charge), so I'm hoping for a very specific point dispersal today, wherein the Saints score three touchdowns, all passing, and the Bucs return two punts for touchdowns. That's all! Pick: Tampa Bay

Miami at St. Louis
Aaron: The Dolphins have had exactly one convincing, blow-out win all season – when they debuted the 'wildcat' in week #3. Miami is not a good team. St. Louis is worse. Pick: Miami

Joe: But the Rams are playing at home! ...Yeah, doesn't matter. Pick: Miami

NY Giants at Washington
Aaron: Thank Allah the Giants (and Jets) have returned New York to the center of ESPN's Nation of Bloviation. Pick: NY Giants

Joe: You'd think with all that perfect weather you're always bragging about you wouldn't have such an inferiority complex, San Diddy. Sad. Pick: NY Giants

Carolina at Green Bay
Aaron: That was some kind of ugly courtesy of the Packers' nonexistent Monday Night defense. Thankfully, Jake Delhomme is about 50% of Drew Brees. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: I'm not calling for a Carolina swoon, per se, but a second-straight loss here puts the NFC South completely up for grabs. As it should be. Pick: Green Bay

Indianapolis at Cleveland
Aaron: I think Derek Anderson is due for one last strong performance before his December ineptitude sinks the team for the 2nd straight year. Pick: Cleveland

Joe: I think I'm down with this Peyton Manning and the Juggheads team even more now that Anthony Gonzalez has made the leap as the Little White Wideout of '08. Pick: Indianapolis

San Francisco at Buffalo
Aaron: There's an old saying amongst us elitists: "Correlation does not equal causation". Yet, the moment Joe stops believing in his Bills, they put up 54 points and snap a four game losing streak. Pick: Buffalo

Joe: That's a nice bit of reverse psychology there, friend, but you're not getting me to pick the Niners on the road. Pick: Buffalo

Baltimore at Cincinnati
Aaron: Before the season, there was a schism in the Ravens' locker room over who should be the starting QB. Good thing the Ravens' defense never learned how to spell "schism". Pick: Baltimore

Joe: I'd almost like to take the Bengals here, if I didn't think Joe Flacco would easily outrush their entire team. Pick: Baltimore

Atlanta at San Diego
Aaron: As long as the Broncos continue to sleepwalk thru the season – while two games up on San Diego – the Chargers are ostensibly still "in it". As such, every San Diego loss is potentially the one that ends their season. It's like that Groundhog Day movie, but 100x more awesome. And, I loved that movie! Pick: Atlanta

Joe: Two ways this game goes: Michael Turner burns his old team en route to ending their season or the Chargers keep their longsuffering and maligned fanbase strung along for yet another week. I'm going with the option that would post please Cam. Pick: San Diego

Pittsburgh at New England
Aaron: Just so we're clear: Matt Cassel has not "arrived" until he beats a team with a decent defense. To quote a little-seen, 15-year-old movie, "Let's not start suckin' each others…", well, if you don't know the rest, go rent it. Not sure, but it might still be available on VHS. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: Wow, stealing Bill Simmons's material? I thought I knew you. Pick: Pittsburgh

Kansas City at Oakland
Aaron: I don't believe in this Raiders team. Pick: Kansas City

Joe: That's not gonna work for both of us, dude. Pick: Kansas City

Denver at NY Jets
Aaron: We're almost there, America! The Jets have ascended to #2 on most every so-called "power rankings" system. Brett Favre's inevitable season-ending self-immolation is almost upon us. Just a few more weeks! Pick: NY Jets

Joe: Eeeeeee! It's gonna be better than Christmas! Pick: NY Jets

Chicago at Minnesota
Aaron: Does an 18-point road win against an underachieving Jaguars team mean anything for the Vikings in the grand scheme of a long season? I kind of think it does. Well, for this game, anyway. Pick: Minnesota

Joe: Hmmm ... Gus Frerotte as a playoff QB? Can the Cowboys (or Bucs) be so lucky?? Pick: Minnesota

Jacksonville at Houston
Aaron: If we've learned nothing else this season, it's that Sage Rosenfels will find a way to lose football games. Last week, notwithstanding. Pick: Jacksonville

Joe: Jesus H, is this the Monday Night game? What did Mike Tirico ever do to deserve this? Oh, right. Pick: Jacksonville

The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread
Aaron: Atlanta (+4 1/2) at San Diego

Joe: Denver at NY Jets (-7.5)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Week in TV

As you may have noticed, I've been trying to keep the sidebar more up-to-date. I realize it's hard to get a conversation going in that gargantuan comment thread, though, so I'm going to reprint the TV blurbs here so you can discuss them if you'd like. Hopefully I can make this an every week kinda thing.

Rock of Love: Charm School (11/23)
That shit was INSANE. The "Charm School" brand is totally not as good as last season, mostly because rather than a halfway respectable venture about honestly improving some lives, and this venture is just another Bad Girls Club. But you know how much I love The Bad Girls Club. Brandi C.'s drunken tequila rampage was astounding, nearly worthy of Ripsi status. And I seriously want to start calling people "Mrs." like Sharon Osbourne does.

24: Redemption (11/23)
Well, for the fifth straight season, here I am starting off the season with 24. I've only made it through a full season twice. But Cherry Jones as the president is Cherry Jones as the president, so here I am. Once again, the politics are annoying (behold the cowardly and treacherous U.N. rep! Smile as Jack Bauer saves all the little African children!) and it's super easy to spot the characters who will end up being traitors (hint: it's all of them), but I'm invested. For now. And Eric Lively as the First Hot Piece son of the President? Where has he been all my life?

Grey's Anatomy (11/20)
I hate the phrase "jump the shark," mostly because it's ridiculously overused, to the point of incoherence (in this way, it's like that bane of my existence, the "Chosen One" designation on American Idol). But it's the only phrase I can use to describe the INSANELY STUPID "Izzie fucks a ghost" storyline on Grey's. No, by all means, Shonda Rimes, take your show over the cliff simply because you feel you have to placate your whiny-ass fans who still pine for stupid Denny. Who was a crappy, wish-fulfillment-for-lonely-women character to begin with THERE I SAID IT.

Ugly Betty (11/20)
While I've come to terms with this series' weaknesses (all too often: Betty herself), I maintain my devotion, and this week's episode is a perfect example. As I have said before, there are characters and relationships and stories on this show (Betty and Marc's rivalry, Justin and Hilda) that you don't see anywhere else on network TV. To draw characters this broadly and then have them reveal their humanity bit by bit is tremendously rewarding for a viewer. And I might as well just say it: Marc St. James is easily in my top 5 favorite characters on TV, and Michael Urie was so dynamite this week.

Survivor (11/20)
It's been a pretty underwhelming season thus far, but this week's episode might have made up for it entirely. The Smiting of Randy the Jerk was wholly satisfying in every way, from Randy's smug overconfidence getting deflated to Crystal shouting her vote to the camera. And honestly? It might just end up being a good strategy move, too, if Sugar can use her newfound closeness with Bob to get the jump on the Kenny/Crystal/Susie alliance.

30 Rock (11/20)
Not the best episode in the world (it's weird how I find Steve Martin so underrated as an Oscar host but overrated as an actual comedic actor), but I liked Tracy's Menendez-inspired patricide paranoia, and Kenneth street-dancing was pure gold. Plus: "Hornberger!"

Top Chef (11/19)
God help me, I might like Fabio a bit. He's Italian, he can't help coming off a bit like a jerk. They're still in the process of winnowing out the boring ones (which makes it extra-unforgivable they dumped Patrick last week), but I'm really into Radhika and Jamie, and it's good to see the chefs are finally coming prepared with some dessert recipes after four seasons now.

America's Next Top Model (11/19)
That might be the least likely final two ever on this show. And I was just starting to acclimate to the idea of Sam winning since she has kinda been driving the narrative the last few weeks. So of course McKey wins, after which the show made the bizarre decision to give you all the reasons you might've cared about McKey if the show had bothered to focus on her even a little bit before this week. Also, I've said for a long time now that runway needs to be a bigger presence during the middle weeks of the season, and this week's hunching, lurching, walking advertisement for scoliosis screening is the latest example.

Gossip Girl (11/17)
The A and B plots (Serena/Aaron and Blair) were mostly losers -- Serena created a totally bullshit obstacle for herself, and are we ready to give Blair something to do besides whine? -- but I liked the Nate plot, anything having to do with Eric and Lily is always a winner, and this may have been the hottest Chuck has looked in the whole series. I'll take it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Smooth Joey Apollo's 2008 NFL Picks: Week 12

Aaron: 11-4-1 (0-1 vs. the spread)
Joe: 9-6-1 (0-1 vs. the spread)

Season to Date:
Aaron: 105-54-1 (5-6 vs. the spread)
Joe: 104-55-1 (5-6 vs. the spread)


Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Aaron: The media’s awkward, passive-aggressive acknowledgement of NFL gambling in the immediate aftermath of last week’s Steelers game has been a kick to watch. Me thinks the spread won’t be in doubt in the 4th quarter here. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: Hey! Total points is totally the 11th tiebreaker criteria! It could come into play! Now that Cincy's gotten their 1.5 wins for the season, it's Pittsburgh's time to shine. Pick: Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay at Detroit
Aaron: F*ck it. This might be the Lions' best shot for a win thanks to the Bucs' ability to play down to their opponents. The euphoria should last until Detroit's annual Thanksgiving whippin'. Pick: Detroit

Joe: Quick 'n' Hungover picks this morning? You bet! Looks like now it's MY turn to gain some ground while AARON picks the Lions. Happy holidays to you to, sir! Pick: Tampa Bay

Philadelphia at Baltimore
Aaron: Donovan McNabb is the type of personality who could turn a week's worth of talk-radio mocking ("There are ties in the NFL?!") into motivation for a huge game. Assuming Ray Lewis doesn't rip his heart out. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: I had this whole thing planned about how I'm totally done with Donovan McNabb and the entire Eagles team after my faith in them was met by ... whatever it was they did last week. Which ... I guess I just said all that, so: yeah. Pick: Baltimore

Houston at Cleveland
Aaron: The Browns have put up 30 and 29 points, respectively, in Brady Quinn's first two starts at QB. "But, look who he was playing", you retort? "Applies here, too", I fire back. Pick: Cleveland

Joe: Uh-oh, he's arguing with himself again. Pick: Cleveland

San Francisco at Dallas
Aaron: 15 years ago, this was arguably the greatest rivalry in sports. Where have you gone Mark Tuinei and Merton Hanks? Pick: Dallas

Joe: Aw. Merton's freakishly long neck still occasionally haunts my nightmares. Pick: Dallas

N.Y. Jets at Tennessee
Aaron: Right on time, Brett Favre has suckered the sports-loving populace into thinking its 1997 again. A win here would only add to the ebb and flow of Favre's weekly legacy as texted by Favre to SI's Peter King. Pick: Tennessee

Joe: If the Jets do win, good luck hearing about anything else in the sports world this week. Pick: Tennessee

Minnesota at Jacksonville
Aaron: The Jags looked pretty good for the first 30 minutes of their loss to undefeated Tennessee last week. That's about twice as long as they'll need to dispatch a Vikings team that can't win on the road. Pick: Jacksonville

Joe: I'm not sure the Jags can dispatch ANYONE quite that handily, but I agree with the general premise, yes. Pick: Jacksonville

Buffalo at Kansas City
Aaron: Joe and I disagreed whether or not ESPN went overboard with all the references to Scott Norwood after the Bills missed a 47-yard FG as time expired last Monday night. Pretty sure we'll disagree here, too. Pick: Kansas City

Joe: You'd think so, wouldn't you? Pick: Kansas City

New England at Miami
Aaron: This can't be right. The last time the Pats lost to the same team twice in the regular season was to Miami in 2000?! 2008's shaping up to the year that all kinds of crazy sh*t happened. Pick: Miami

Joe: Hmm ... Miami's been riding the razor's edge as of late, while New England, even in losing to the overrated Jets, have looked like the AFC East's best team. You know, again. Pick: New England

Chicago at St. Louis
Aaron: The Bears looked awful in last week's loss to the Packers. Combine a bruised ego with some postseason urgency and a cupcake for dessert…Bears score 200 here. Take it to the bank. Pick: Chicago

Joe: Here's where Devin Hester finally breaks one long, all while riding the bench on Joe's Underachieving Fantasy Team. Pick: Chicago

Oakland at Denver
Aaron: Once upon a time, there wasn't a greater Raiders fan on earth than me. Now, I'm just quietly ecstatic that I've got Jay Cutler in my money league. Psst, Jay. The key to beating the Raiders is to show up. Pick: Denver

Joe: Mike Shanahan himself rushes for 100 yards in this one. Pick: Denver

Carolina at Atlanta
Aaron: Has anyone else noticed that the Jake Delhomme I scooped up after his impressive showing in Week #1 has looked an awful lot like the Jake Delhomme who went undrafted in my fantasy league and was still available after Week #1? Anyone? Pick: Atlanta

Joe: Yeah, Carolina's been asking for it for a couple weeks now. Atlanta finally obliges. Pick: Atlanta

Washington at Seattle
Aaron: The Redskins have already had their NFC East-mandated "inexplicable loss to a terrible team" when the Rams beat 'em earlier this season. Pick: Washington

Joe:: While a single tear runs down Seneca Wallace's face, the Seahawks lose again. A high draft pick in April could be really beneficial for them (it won't take long to turn them around), so fans shouldn't despair too much. Pick: Washington

N.Y. Giants at Arizona
Aaron: Lots and lots of "upset" talk following this game, but Aaron ain't biting. As you know, I've been aboard the Giants' bandwagon since Week #10. Pick: NY Giants

Joe: And hanging off the side of it like one of those shoulder-padded freaks in Mad Max. Which, given your Raider Fan status, is pretty fitting. Pick: NY Giants

Indianapolis at San Diego
Aaron: Peyton Manning's 2008 is the greatest discrepancy between the talent level of a team's QB and the entirety of the roster around him. That said, I like the Chargers here. What? Pick: San Diego

Joe: Ugh, I have no idea. Home team default. Pick: San Diego

Green Bay at New Orleans
Aaron: Drew Brees throws for 400 yards…other team wins. Always pick what you know. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: I hope someone in New Orleans eventually tells them about what happens to your team once you indefinitely bench/trade Jeremy Shockey. You hate to see them floundering with him when they could flourish without him. Pick: New Orleans

The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread:

Aaron: Tampa Bay at Detroit (+8)

Joe: Chicago (-7.5) at St. Louis

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prince: Homophobe. ...Huh.

How much longer can the New Power Generation stay silent on this issue?

P.S. Has the above photo made it on Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians yet?

[ETA: Yes.]

'Round Springfield XXXII

First of all, get thee-selves over to Roommate Mark's blog, The Critical Condition, to get my take on the Frost/Nixon trailer and its lack of impulse control when it comes to music selections.


The Film Experience has a new podcast up in which m'boy Nat chats up Happy Go Lucky star Sally Hawkins. Who seems totally delightful, by the way. Still haven't seen her movie, but perhaps this week.

And speaking of Nathaniel, he and Nick Davis present the latest episode in their utterly addictive series Best Picture From the Outside In. This installment features The English Patient and Gone with the Wind, which is just a whole lotta movie, right there. Love, love, love these posts.

Finally, The Onion A.V. Club tackles the issue of albums that have provoked the most musical argumnents. The A.V. Club is always a great read, and this time around it's especially nice because they manage to take up such unpopular (in cooler-than-thou music writers' circles) causes as Justin Timberlake and Fall Out Boy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wanda Sykes: One of Us! One of Us!

I didn't think I could appreciate Wanda Sykes more. I was wrong. Apparently she came out today at one of the Prop 8 rallies in Las Vegas. Not that she hadn't already been pretty outspoken about gay rights, especially recently, but this is definitely news. At least early in her career, Wanda would talk about her (then) husband. Now, I'm not saying I buy into the idea of negative experiences with the opposite sex "turning" someone gay. But this couldn't have helped.

Anyway, here's a clip of Wanda talking not about gay rights but about prescription drugs. Why? Because whenever I see Sally Field hawking Boniva on TV, I start to giggle, and I think you all should know why.

Watchmen Book Club: Chapters XI and XII

Okay, it's taken me WAY too long to put these up, so here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna open up the floor to discussion in the comments, then add my own takes to the main post as I make them. Sorry I flaked on this so bad, you guys. Momentum is everything with these projects, and I just lost mine. Simple as that.

So let's kick things off with one question: It's been rumored that Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie filmed an ending different than the one we get in the book. The supposed change comes in the form of the type of calamity that Ozymandias sets loose upon New York City. Is it going to bother you if Ozy's giant squid ends up MIA in the movie?

Smooth Joe Apollo's 2008 NFL Picks, Week 11

Last week:
Aaron: 10-4 (1-0 vs. the spread)
Joe: 10-4 (0-1 vs. the spread)

Season to Date:
Joe: 95-49 (5-5 vs. the spread)
Aaron: 94-50 (5-5 vs. the spread)


N.Y. Jets at New England (Thurs)
Aaron: For all of the talk about Brett Favre’s renaissance (such as it is) and Matt Cassel coming into his own (well, I’m sure they’re saying it in the Boston papers) the bottom line here is that if there’s ONE team the Pats get up for from now until the end of time, it’ll be the one coached by Eric Mangini. Pick: New England

Joe: Time's a-wasting, so I'll just say: if they tie 0-0, does that mean they have to forfeit their
seasons? I'm gonna root for that and hope I'm right. Pick: New England

Denver at Atlanta
Aaron: It's only taken me eleven weeks to quit picking Denver on the road and believe the Falcons were really da bomb-diggity. I don't like to rush into these things. Pick: Atlanta

Joe: With Roddy White and Jerious Norwood on the ol' fantasy roster this week, let's hope the Broncs continue to be so friendly to opposing offenses. The good news for Denver fans is that a loss here won't really derail their plans for a 7-9 division title. Pick: Atlanta

Minnesota at Tampa Bay
Aaron: The Bucs' most impressive wins of the season have come at home and their three losses on the season were by a combined 11 points. They're the best team no one takes seriously. Stupid east coast bias. Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: That's all well and good except that I'm not sure how they're able to run the ball in this game. Pick: Minnesota

Baltimore at N.Y. Giants
Aaron: Last week, even the referees joined the league's pro-Giants conspiracy. Damn it, Ravens, don't you even think about showing up when I'm finally picking the Giants. Pick: NY Giants

Joe: With four games upcoming against the old NFC East (Arizona included), this is the closest the Giants are gonna get to a trap game all year. Pick: Baltimore

Oakland at Miami
Aaron: With all of the Dolphins' trickeration, this has the makings of turning into the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals. "He's spinning the ball on his finger! Just take it!" Pick: Miami

Joe: When the entire AFC East finishes at .500 or better and then must watch helplessly while an AFC West division winner waltzes into the playoffs with a record that could qualify for a top-10 draft pick ... it's just gonna suck, is what I'm saying. Pick: Miami

New Orleans at Kansas City
Aaron: For all you Dolphins fans clamoring for the heyday of Dan Marino's gaudy numbers and his team's accompanying 8-8 record, I give you Drew Brees and his Jive Time Band! Pick: New Orleans

Joe: After a hard-fought loss to the Jets, comeback loss to the Bucs, and last week's 2-point conversion miss against San Diego, the last three weeks, for Chiefs fans, has to have been incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking. Or it would have been if the seven weeks before that hadn't driven all Chiefs fans away from the sport. Pick: Kansas City

Detroit at Carolina
Aaron: Despite the return of Tony Romo AND a monster game from m'man Jay Cutler last week, I'm going with Jake Delhomme in my money league on Sunday. It's kinda lonely out on this limb. Pick: Carolina

Joe: Against Detroit, it's not much of a limb. Pick: Carolina

Philadelphia at Cincinnati
Aaron: One thing about the Eagles: they've owned every awful team they've played this year. All of 'em. Look it up. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: The Eagles looked better losing to the Giants last week than most teams do winning. I'm back to thinking they're playoff-caliber. Pick: Philadelphia

Chicago at Green Bay
Aaron: Bears fans…you're pining for the return of Kyle Orton! Tell your team to draft a damn quarterback next spring! Pick: Green Bay

Joe: The Packers' last three losses have been by a combined 7 points. Does that mean this is a 7-2 team in a 4-5 team's clothing or can they just not win the close ones? ANSWER ME! Pick: Green Bay

Houston at Indianapolis
Aaron: The Texans always give the Colts a good game, but Peyton Manning has strapped this team on his back and is singularly willing them through one last hurrah. Fight on, you goofy rube. Pick: Indianapolis

Joe: I kinda like Houston in this game, but I'll be damned if I go down with that ship again. Especially not on the road. Pick: Indianapolis

Tennessee at Jacksonville
Aaron: I refuse to play "guess when the undefeated team will lose". It's gonna happen. We all know it. I'm just not going to turn the next six weeks into "this is the week"! Pick: Tennessee

Joe: This ain't the week. Pick: Tennessee

Arizona at Seattle
Aaron: Nothing like the lack of bye weeks to make these picks more tedious than usual. Pick: Arizona

Joe: Matt Hasselbeck back under center makes a LOT of difference, and this is a team that's been getting closer and closer to winning lately. Pick: Seattle

St. Louis at San Francisco
Aaron: I love how the media continues to defend 49ers head coach Mike Singletary's me-first coaching/ranting and inept clock management with the "maybe he's TOO intense" explanation. Pick: San Francisco

Joe: I don't trust this spin that Singletary is a loose cannon. I mean, have you seen him? The man WEARS GLASSES! How can he not be mild-mannered? Pick: San Francisco

San Diego at Pittsburgh
Aaron: The city of San Diego has completely turned on the Chargers which can only mean that San Diego inexplicably shows up against Pittsburgh's banged-up offense. Snow is actually in the forecast, so I'll set my air conditioner to 68 and really accentuate the HD. Pick: San Diego

Joe: I'm nervous Pittsburgh's crappy pass protection has turned Ben Roethlisberger into Mr. Glass, but I still like them at home against San Diego's crappy defense. Pick: Pittsburgh

Dallas at Washington
Aaron: Tony Romo has to show he's healthy, while on the other side, Clinton Portis may be more hurt than he's letting on. Bet the under. Pick: Washington

Joe: The Redskins are at home, but with the names "Shaun Alexander" and "Rock Cartwright" prominently involved in their backfield this week, my money's on the rejuvenated Cowboys. Pick: Dallas

Cleveland at Buffalo
Aaron: Since Precocious Joe Reid declared in this very space "I do believe in this Bills team", Buffalo's gone 0-3. How 'bout one more syrupy proclamation for the road, Joe? Pick: Cleveland

Joe: For the record, I didn't give up on the Bills. The Bills gave up on me. Pick: Cleveland

The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread

Aaron: Tennessee at Jacksonville (+7)
Joe: Philadelphia (-9) at Cincinnati

Friday, November 14, 2008

Message Board/Blog Comment of the Day

I'd do more of these except for how fucking depressing it is to read message boards and comment threads for more than a minute and a half. Anyway, I was perusing through the Vulture archives, trying to decide whether I thought their running David Archuleta Fan/David Cook Hater commentary was 100% tongue in cheek or based on actual events (I can never quite tell how not serious they're being), when I came across this update about Mssr. Cook, via one of the comments:

"David lost respect from many of his fans when he started dating kim caldwell."
That? Is DELICIOUS. On so many levels. As straight-up fan obsession, for one. That the Idol fanbase still hasn't given up its psychotic hard-on for hating Kimberly Caldwell for another (it's been, like, six years, people; she was pretty and blonde, and i know how offensive that is, but it's over now). That the fans got all Claymate on David's ass and turned on him when he destroyed the fantasy that he'd one day turn his sensitive-rocker, kohl-eyed gaze their way. The use of "lost respect" as a way of gussying up their psycho-stalker tendencies so that it seems like a matter of morality and ethics that David Cook will not be fucking them anytime soon.

This is why I'm gonna continue to write about American Idol even though i won't be getting paid for it anymore.

'Round Springfield XXXI

By the by, if you're looking for stills from that new Watchmen trailer, Jason's got some at My New Plaid Pants.

The saddest news I've heard today is that Fire Joe Morgan just posted their swan song. Does this mean Cousin Mose is about to get a big ol' storyline on The Office?? That'd be the only consolation I'd accept. Godspeed, you angry little stat monkeys. Hey Cam'ron, I think I see a void on the web you're perfectly suited to fill!

Jezebel comments on the historic appointment of the first female four-star general. She's incredibly admirable and she mentions the doors that were opened before her, but I can't help noticing that she fails to give credit to one of the true pioneers in her field:

And finally, I need to pose this question to you all. Is this commercial the best work Brooke Shields has done in her entire career? Because I kind of think it is.

New, NEW Watchmen Trailer

It won't embed for me, so just watch it here.

If the teaser trailer released last summer -- all vague-yet-iconic images of the characters, no real explanation as to WTF is going on -- was to get the hardcore fans fired up, then this clip is definitely geared towards pulling in the uninitiated. It's the smart marketing decision to make, and you know how I love smart marketing decisions, but I can't help but prefer the earlier, Smashing Pumpkins-scored teaser. It's just too hard to condense this plot into two and a half minutes without sounding crazy.

That's not to say that there wasn't much to love. Patrick Wilson as the dowdier version of Dan Drieberg was unrecognizable at first (which means he's playing it right), and the music at the end is already growing on me after only a couple listens (I'm sure some kind soul here will enlighten me on the song title). I was a bit weirded out to find that Dr. Manhattan's voice is gonna sound just like regular Billy Crudup. I had always imagined his voice had an otherworldly echo to it. But honestly, if making me listen to Billy Crudup talk to me for a couple hours is the worst thing this movie does? I'll be fine.

Your thoughts?

P.S. I know I have been unforgivably derelict in getting the last of the Watchmen book club entires up. I will get something up this weekend, I promise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Have a Sunny Day

I'm a week behind the new episodes at the moment, but after seeing the episode from two weeks ago ("Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack"), I am in an especially "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" mood. Please accept these clips as my gift to you.


You Always Knew Broadway Was Full of Gays

Tonight, we all helped prove it (and we shut that mother down!). We managed to be spirited but not volatile. Fed up but not petty. And no one got run over by a cab (though it was looking pretty dicey at 65th and Columbus).

Pics of tonight's protest/march for marriage equality (and taxing the churches who would strip us of our rights), including these first two where I essentially stalked Dan Savage (he totally doesn't mind, I'm sure):

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 Fall Movie Preview, Part 4

Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Movie: Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)
High-Concept Synopsis: A teenage orphan in Mumbai is about to play for the grand prize on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" is suspected of cheating, so he has to tell his life story.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who have heard the seriously fantastic reviews and advance buzz that this movie transcends a premise that sounds like it could hedge fairy-tale-ish. Fans of the inexplicably underrated Danny Boyle. People who like to pronounce the word "Mumbai" over and over until their lips go tingly.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who won't see a movie without a recognizable movie star. People for whom the missed opportunities in Sunshine (and memories of the lost opportunities in The Beach and A Life Less Ordinary) have allowed them to sour on Boyle. Regis Philbin haters who couldn't get past the "Millionaire" part of the synopsis before passing into a rage coma.
Why I'd See It: If the word on the street is to be believed, this is one of THE films to see this year. I can't wait. November 12

Movie: Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster)
High-Concept Synopsis: James Bond. Out for revenge.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the Daniel Craig-ified Bond in Casino Royale. The Soup's Joel McHale and all his fellow Judi Dench fantasists. People who enjoy the impenetrable ridiculousness of the film's title.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Bond purists, of whom I hear there are some who aren't crazy about the new, not-entirely-crappy films. Audiences who found Casino Royale kinda overrated, Daniel Craig's wicked hotness notwithstanding. People less amused at having to look up the words "quantum" and "solace" before deciding whether they want to see this movie.
Why I'd See It: I don't really have much enthusiasm for it, strictly speaking, but I'll definitely end up seeing it. It's Daniel Craig in a tux, what do you want from me? November 14

Movie: Twilight (Catherine Hardwicke)
High-Concept Synopsis: Sexy broody vampire stalker teen angst romance drama novels fanfic Cedric Diggory.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Every teenage girl and psycho message board poster you've ever heard of. Folks looking to ogle the unnaturally pale flesh of Robert Pattinson, Cam Gigandet, Kellan Lutz, and Peter Facinelli. Gaywads the world over.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People with an ounce of self-respect. People who have read the books and described them as professional fanfic. Cooler-than-thou contrarians the world over.
Why I'd See It: I made a big deal a few months ago about how I was probably gonna get sucked (no pun intended) into this movie's orbit, but now I'm not so sure. The fans are really crazy, you guys. I don't want any part of that. Usually when I end up liking something that has a psycho fan community it's either because I got there before I realized it (Buffy) or else the property is of good enough quality to justify it (Lord of the Rings). This doesn't seem to qualify. Plus it has Elizabeth Reaser in it. BOO! November 21

Movie: Australia (Baz Luhrmann)
High-Concept Synopsis: Baz Luhrmann gives the Old Hollywood treatment to the story of his homeland in World War II.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, The African Queen and any number of other classics Luhrmann is lovingly stealing from evoking. Fans of either the A-list charisma and acting chops or impossibly rugged good looks of Hugh Jackman. Nearsighted Nicole Kidman fans.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Paul Hogan, jealous that his status as his nation's standard-bearerin America is about to be eclipsed. The ghost of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin who: ditto. Nicole Kidman fans who have had their vision corrected and can see what's become of her beautiful face.
Why I'd See It: Despite my weird initial resistance, everything I've seen of this has been exhilarating. I'm crossing my fingers Baz can manage to bring something new to all these stylistic throwbacks, but I'm super willing to see him try. November 26

Movie: Four Christmases (Seth Gordon)
High-Concept Synopsis: Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn are forced to spend the holidays with all four segments of their respective families rather than avoid them by going on vacation like normal people. Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Sissy Spacek, and Kristin Chenoweth costar.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the steel magnolia and iron-willed world-conquerer Reese Witherspoon. Like-minded family haters. People who were initially dubious at the thin concept but then saw the Seth Gordon also directed the deeply awesome King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Non-fans of the overrated and plays-exclusively-assholes-for-a-reason Vince Vaughn. Christmas-haters. People uneasy with the height differential between Vaughn and Witherspoon.
Why I'd See It: I pretty much wouldn't but for three reasons: 1) I remain loyal to Reese even when she makes dodgy-looking projects; 2) I really did love The King of Kong; and 3) I'm really interested in catching moments where the reported on-set tensions (i.e. seething hatred) between Reese and Vince bleeds through to the finished project. November 26

Movie: Milk (Gus Van Sant)
High-Concept Synopsis: Groundbreaking gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk is elected to public office whereupon he set about the fool's errand of ensuring civil rights for everyone. Clearly, this meant he deserved to die.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Who should be seeing it is anybody looking for actual heroism in public service. Also, fans of the always-interesting Van Sant and the ridiculously talented cast (Sean Penn, James Franco, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Victor Garber).
Who Won't Be Seeing It: know I don't like to speculate about people's motives and hateful, hateful prejudices. Maybe they just don't like movies about the '70s. I'm sure that's it.
Why I'd See It: There is no movie opening this year with more upside and potential to make me fall in love with it than Milk. Given how emotionally invested I've become in just the trailer, I'm expecting a lot. November 26

Movie: Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard)
High-Concept Synopsis: Film version of last year's Tony-winning play about a disgraced Nixon and an ambitious TV reporter meeting for a historic interview. Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, and Sam Rockwell star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the play, which won Langella a Tony for playing Nixon. Fans of writer Peter Morgan, who won many accolades for scripting The Queen. Audiences eager to once again be reminded what a sweaty ogre Nixon apparently was.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Non-fans of director Howard, whose films never end up being as interesting as they sound. Broadway audiences dubious as to how the closed-in play will translate to the big screen. People who remember that Peter Morgan also wrote the "Other Boleyn Girl" screenplay, and also that the script was the weakest part of "The Queen."
Why I'd See It: Nixon really is a fascinating subject, which is why I don't mind the movies returning to him so often. The only thing Ron Howard's done that I've truly liked has been "Arrested Development," though, so while I'm definitely seeing it, I'm not expecting too much. December 5

Movie: The Reader (Stephen Daldry)
High-Concept Synopsis: A May-December romance among the Nazis, starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Feinnes.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Kate Winslet fans, looking for the first of her awards-baiting double dip this season. Men who nursed Eva Braun fantasies as children. Fans of Daldry's previous Oscar-nominated films The Hours and Billy Elliott.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Co-producer Scott Rudin, who washed his hands of the movie when Harvey Weinstein strong-armed it onto the 2008 schedule when Rudin (and Winslet...and Feinnes, for that matter) had other Oscar projects to promote. Illiterates. Pessimists who figure Kate's bound to deliver a stinker one of these days.
Why I'd See It: Despite the ready-made bad buzz of the Rudin/Weinstein affair, word on this has been very, very good the last few weeks. Either some publicity flak is working overtime or else the movie's too good to be sunk. December 10

Movie: Doubt (John Patrick Shanley)
High-Concept Synopsis: Adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play where Meryl Streep's Catholic-school nun embarks upon an inquisition of sorts when a priest is accused of abuse. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis, and Amy Adams co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the stage play and happy that John Patrick Shanley is getting to adapt his own work. Meryl Streep fans who figure one year without an Oscar nomination is long enough. Old-school Catholic schoolers eager to see the tables turned and the be-frocked faculty turn on each other for once.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Cherry Jones fans pissed she wasn't able to hold onto her Tony-winning stage role. Fans worried that expectations -- and predicted Oscar nominations -- are going to prove too weighty for such a small film to support. Catholic fatheads who like nothing better than to be offended by movies about Catholics.
Why I'd See It: I'd have killed to have seen the play when Cherry Jones was still in it, but Streep stepping into the role isn't exactly a downgrade. The trailer makes it look pretty sparkling, too. December 12

Movie: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Scott Derrickson)
High-Concept Synopsis: Keanu Reeves is an alien come to Earth to save us from destroying the environment or some such something. Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Kathy Bates co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the original, pioneering sci-fi flick who aren't too sore about the prospect of a remake. Moviegoers who appreciate Keanu, particularly when he's cast shrewdly, as he seems to be here as an emotionless alien. Mad Men fans scrambling for every last shred of Jon Hamm they can find during the offseason.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences unimpressed by the rather dull trailer and preview footage. Global warming deniers who liked it better when we were all gonna die in a mushroom cloud rather than done in by some pussy thunderstorms. Moviegoers straining to remember the last time Jennifer Connelly was any good onscreen.
Why I'd See It: It seemed like a great idea for a remake, and I still believe the Keanu casting was genius, but not one thing I've seen in the preview footage has been at all interesting. And it's not like I'm going to lack for other movies to see. December 12

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Several Open Letters to Several "Twilight" Cast Members

Dear Cedric Diggory,

Watch it with the hair, dude. We've already got one Russell Brand too many. Get that shit under control.

...Okay, too much.

There we go. And nice work in the "I'm such an aggressive kisser" interview. That's totally the press-interview equivalent of "my greatest flaw is that I work TOO hard."

Dear Cam Gigandet,

...Seriously, is this a joke? We're not in this for your face by any stretch of the imagination. Winter clothes are not for you, Torso Boy.

Dear Evan Rachel Wood,

Congratulations for finally -- FINALLY -- breaking up with Marilyn Manson. That shit was gross.

And yes, I realize it's Kristen Stewart and not you in Twilight, but nobody else does, and I didn't have anything to say about her.

Smooth Joey Apollo's 2008 NFL Picks, Week 10

Last week:
Aaron: 11-3 (0-1 vs. the spread)
Joe: 9-5 (1-0 vs. the spread)

Season to Date:
Joe: 85-45 (5-4 vs. the spread)
Aaron: 84-46 (4-5 vs. the spread)


Denver at Cleveland (Thursday Night)
Aaron: Shout out to my local CBS affiliate for airing the Broncos/Dolphins game last week. That up close and personal look at Denver’s horrific defense was a darn fine reference point for this pick. Pick: Cleveland

Joe: Brady Quinn in his first NFL start in a primetime nationally sporadically-televised game would seem to be a buffet invitation for an NFL defense. Lucky for him, he's not facing an NFL defense. I want to pick the Broncos here, but I also want to stick to my one-on, one-off strategy for picking Browns games. Football is hard! Pick: Denver

Tennessee at Chicago
Aaron: One bandwagon insists the Titans are for reals. The other is calling for a Bears "upset" win this week. I say they're both wrong. Brain teaser! Pick: Tennessee

Joe: Yeah, I think I've finally turned the corner and am now pulling for the Titans to go 16-0, followed by a humiliating home loss in the AFC playoffs. At which point I will coin the phrase "Music City Mega-Choke" and I will laugh and laugh. Pick: Tennessee

Jacksonville at Detroit
Aaron: When a rusty Rex Grossman is able to come of the bench and lead a comeback win against the Lions last week, it's time to consider forfeiting next season. Pick: Jacksonville

Joe: They're gonna get a win sometime. The question is, does Jacksonville drop two straight to winless teams? Not to Daunte Culpepper, they don't. Pick: Jacksonville

Seattle at Miami
Aaron: As a rule, teams from the west always lose road games when traveling to the east, especially when the team from the west is Seattle. Pick: Miami

Joe: Is Miami really about to go 5-4? One more win after that and they're bowl eligible! Pick: Miami

Green Bay at Minnesota
Aaron: After a long stretch of dormancy, that Vikings offense has looked quite spry lately. They're the NFL equivalent of McCain's concession speech. Eh? Eh? And, how 'bout Michelle Obama's "victory" dress? Did you see that big 'X' across the front? The first letter I thought of was "why"? The next four were "WNBA". Eh? Screw you guys. I'm still funnier than DL Hughley. Pick: Minnesota

Joe: The Packers always do well in the Metrodome, right? I have these images of long Brett Favre TD passes and such. Big day for Aaron Rodgers this week ... just in time for me to play against him in fantasy ball. Damn it! Pick: Green Bay

Baltimore at Houston
Aaron: Home or road, the Ravens have beaten every average-to-awful team they've played this year. I think it's safe to say the Texans fall within that realm. Pick: Baltimore

Joe: Baltimore better hope they can win this one; their schedule gets retarded after this one. And honestly? I like the Houston offense here. Pick: Houston

St. Louis at N.Y. Jets
Aaron: Back in September, everyone predicted that Brett Favre would ultimately break the hearts of Jets fans. The script says he needs a little mid-season renaissance to set up the audience for his tragic third act. Can't wait! Pick: NY Jets

Joe: I can't tell whether it's my gut telling me to go with the Rams or my heart wanting to see the Jets get beat. I can tell that Marc Bulger had an awful game last week and Steven Jackson is once again not playing. Pick: NY Jets

New Orleans at Atlanta
Aaron: My theory here is that the Falcons had their life-force sucked out of them after playing Oakland's collection of corpses and zombies last week. Implausible? Prove me wrong. Pick: New Orleans

Joe: I agree the Saints probably win here, but the Falcons are for-realsies. Pick: New Orleans

Buffalo at New England
Aaron: The Bills have scored just 17 points or less in three of their last four games – a stretch that followed their 4-0 start and coronation as the new kings of the AFC East. "Who dares interrupt my coronation?!" "Coronation, Starscream? This is bad comedy." Pick: New England

Joe: NERD! Pick: Buffalo

Carolina at Oakland
Aaron: Lament of a Raiders fan – I forgot to swap out Jay Cutler (who started on Thursday) for Jake Delhomme in my money league this week. Trapped at work – where ALL things "fantasy" (trust me, ALL of her them) are blocked, I'll have to settle for nothing from this game. Pick: Carolina

Joe: Jay Cutler: 447 yards passing, 3 touchdowns. Who knew the Raiders made their FANS suck at talent evaluation too? Pick: Carolina

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh
Aaron: The only way the Steelers lose this game is if their 11 defensive players fall victim to 11 separate misfortunes and are unable to play Sunday. Three misfortunes? That's possible. Seven misfortunes? There's an outside chance. But, 11 misfortunes? I'd like to see that! Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: Considering Pittsburgh is starting the cast of George Romero's next "...of the Dead" movie on offense, I'm going to stick with the Colts here. Pick: Indianapolis

Kansas City at San Diego
Aaron: The Chargers are due for one of those blowout wins that signals their eighth or ninth resurgence this season. This is that game. Again. Pick: San Diego

Joe: Dear LaDanian Tomlinson's Toe: Please accept this gift of a soft, squishy Chiefs defense and let it nurse you back to health. Pick: San Diego

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia
Aaron: I'm beginning to think I've been wrong about the Giants. But, I'll need another week of convincing. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: And I continue to thank you for your doubt. Pick: NY Giants

San Francisco at Arizona
Aaron: So, when a player intentionally usurps the spotlight from his team = bad…when it's 49ers head coach Mike Singletary = good? Pick: Arizona

Joe: Please don't ruin the Mike Singletary Experience for me like you rained on El Carnivale de Ocho Cinco for three years. I don't ask for much. Pick: Arizona

The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread

Aaron: San Francisco (+9 1/2) at Arizona
Joe: St. Louis (+9) at NY Jets

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We Will Be Citizens

So I had this whole post plotted out about Prop 8 passing and how it was threatening to harsh my Obama buzz; how civil rights apparently aren't for everyone and how the hope of minority classes didn't extend down the ticket; how I'll probably never live to see myself reflected in the President of the United States the way so many people get to do right now.

But I'm glad I held off.

Not because the results changed -- I make it a rule not to hold out hope for provisional ballots. But I saw a friend proudly and defiantly display his wedding band on his Facebook page, and I read a fantastically on-point piece by Andrew Sullivan, and now I'm sitting down to Angels in America and taking a moment to remember that the world only spins forward.

Yes, it's frustrating and disheartening and infuriating, but it's not forever. There will be a tipping point, and when that happens, we won't, to appropriate Roommate Mark's keen insight, be able to stop that avalanche. If Obama's election, forty long years after the death of Martin Luther King, teaches us anything, it's that history takes time. It doesn't mean we wait passively, but it does mean we don't let the setbacks break us. The saddest thing about homophobes and bigots is that they're already on the wrong side of history. History's just not here quite yet.

And I swear to god I'm gonna post about finger puppets soon enough, because even I think Profound Joe can get a little tedious.

Last Night, Last Night (or, The Embers Never Fade in the City by the Lake)

[I was gonna post about Prop 8 first thing this morning, but since it's gotten a lil' bit closer, and since I'd rather start things off on a happy note, I'm holding off. For the moment.]

So I've got MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on, which I can take or leave usually. But their music choices for intros and outros are kind of amusing me. "Viva La Vida" playing over footage of John McCain is pretty funny, as is "More Than a Feeling" in any context. A few minutes ago, they were welcomed back from commercials by the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight." I chuckled happily the way I do whenever I hear music from my late-'90s salad days. But then I listened to the words -- in this case, the bridge:

We'll crucify the insincere tonight (Tonight)
We'll make things right, we'll feel it all tonight (Tonight)
We'll find a way to offer up the night (Tonight)
The indescribable moments of your life (Tonight)
The impossible is possible tonight (Tonight)
Believe in me as I believe in you,
Anybody who ever got mocked for calling Billy Corgan a prophet, your day of vindication is here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Time for a Break

God knows there are more important things to talk about today, but for the record, Brooke Smith getting canned from Grey's Anatomy on no notice ticks me off for several reasons, not the least of which being that a) Brooke Smith is one of the best actors, if not THE best actor on that show, and b) that Callie-and-Erica-are-sudden-lesbians storyline had JUST reached the point where it felt real and relatable and emotionally affecting. So...awesome work, whoever made that call.


So I have a new Congressional district! Just in time to vote in the general election, I changed my address to reflect my most recent move, and am now a part of New York's 12th Congressional District. Not knowing very much about the NY 12th (The Fightin' 12th!), I went to my all-purpose source of knowledge: Wikipedia. Oh, snicker all you want, I'm not writing a term paper on particle physics here.

Anyway, the NY 12th includes parts of three boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens), twice elected Socialist party candidate Meyer London (and we're bringin' it back this year! Woo!), and way back in 1968, we (unearned appropriation alert!) elected one Shirley Chisholm, making her the first black woman elected to Congress.

The fact that it was from Shirley Chisholm's New York 12th that I cast my ballot this morning for Barack Obama is no more than a coincidence, but it stuck with me. A last-minute reminder that what you and I and all of us do behind that curtain today matters and reverberates throughout history. I voted for Obama for a million reasons, big and small, and while the historical nature of his possible election wasn't a big one, it's one I'll be happy to have gotten to be on the right side of, years from now.

Let me just say, too, that the line at my polling place at 7:45 this morning stretched around the block and was only getting longer after I left. Inside, it was bedlam, and even long-time residents were saying they'd never seen a polling place this crowded before, which is good news, turnout-wise. By the time I left, they'd pretty much gotten everything down to orderly lines, so don't be scared away by the crowds. The lines move fast.

So go on and vote, if you haven't already. Starbucks is giving away free coffee! And to all my California readers voting No on 8 today like I know you will: you have my thanks. And keep voting late even if it starts to look like we east-coasters have stolen your thunder. Sorry, we always seem to do that.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Smooth Joey Apollo's 2008 NFL Picks: Week 9

Last week:
Aaron: 9-5 (0-1 vs. the spread)
Joe: 12-2 (0-1 vs. the spread)

Season to Date:
Aaron: 73-43 (4-4 vs. the spread)
Joe: 76-40 (4-4 vs. the spread)


N.Y. Jets at Buffalo
Aaron: It's telling – to me, anyway – that even Brett Favre's staunchest supporters (SI's Peter King, the ESPN family of networks) seem a little less sure of his lily-white façade. I'm expecting Evil Brett to have a nice little midseason run of malevolence. Pick: NY Jets

Joe: Yes, America, that was one truly bad game by the Bills last week awful. Sloppy and loose and miserable. No other team in the league has had any games like that this year. The season is over. Pick: Buffalo

Detroit at Chicago
Aaron: Thanks, schedule makers. I needed to conserve on keystrokes this week. Pick: Chicago

Joe: Is anybody else a lil' bit concerned that the celebratedly sieve-like defense of the Lions has only given up 25, 28, and 12 points in the last three weeks? How am I supposed to plan my fantasy starters around THAT? Pick: Chicago

Jacksonville at Cincinnati
Aaron: The Bengals have the look of a team that stopped caring six weeks ago. As such, I'm not picking 'em the rest of the way. I'll trade the seven times I'll be right, for the one time I'll be wrong. Pick: Jacksonville

Joe: Yeah, that team that looked frisky against the Giants, Cowboys, and Jets doesn't seem to be there anymore. Take a long, hard look Future No. 1 Draft Pick Whose Name I Don't Know Because I Haven't Been Paying a Ton of Attention to College Ball This Season! Pick: Jacksonville

Baltimore at Cleveland
Aaron: After a couple of impressive showings, I'm forced to pick the Browns until their next random bed-wetting. I'm sure they'll save it for one of their eight remaining Thursday/Sunday/Monday night prime-time games. Pick: Cleveland

Joe: The thing with Baltimore, I think, is that they suck except for when they don't. My guess is the Browns will keep trading wins for losses until the end of the season, when Brady Quinn will get his first NFL start, play like it's his first NFL start, and be summarily dismissed as a bust immediately. Pick: Baltimore

Tampa Bay at Kansas City
Aaron: The Bucs haven't played too well on the road against beatable opponents, while the Chiefs aren't nearly as bad as they looked earlier this season. F*ck, I just talked myself into it. Wait, just found out Larry Johnson's been suspended. Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: While, yes, the Bucs do tend to play up (or in this case down) to the level of their opponents, they should feel the appropriate urgency to win this one, given how good Carolina is playing in their division. Pick: Tampa Bay

Houston at Minnesota
Aaron: It's not every day that an inter-conference match-up is as uninteresting as its baseball inter-league cousin, but there ya go. Pick: Minnesota

Joe: It seems like for the last three years, every time I pick against Minnesota, they win. Sorry, Houston. Pick: Houston

Arizona at St. Louis
Aaron: OK, any pre-game mouth that opens discussion of this game with "The Cardinals make their return to St. Louis…" 20 years after they left for Phoenix, should be shot. Shannon Sharpe, Michael Strahan, your move. Please. Pick: Arizona

Joe: Not gonna be much defense in this one. In the end, Warner has more weapons at his disposal. But make no mistake, I -- and my Boldin, Breaston, Avery-laden fantasy team -- want touchdowns and plenty of 'em. Pick: Arizona

Green Bay at Tennessee
Aaron: Enough with the "…there are no great teams in the NFL, except maybe Tennessee…" talk, media. Even that back-handed praise is too much. The Titans are not great. They're just not. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: And my picking them here is purely an attempt to jinx them. Pick: Tennessee

Miami at Denver
Aaron: I'm down to Jay Cutler in my money league, thanks to bye weeks and injuries. Combine that with a Broncos defense that's been a sieve all season… Pick: Miami

Joe: I don't know about Miami on the road. And while that Denver defense is garbage, the offense is strong. Pick: Denver

Dallas at N.Y. Giants
Aaron: The next time Giants fans are blowing up call-in radio shows and bitching about PSAs and good hygiene, I hope they thank the football karmic gods for clearing their team's path of healthy and/or good opposition all year. Pick: NY Giants

Joe: Yeah! Stupid lucky Super Bowl champions who keep winning games. Pick: NY Giants

Atlanta at Oakland
Aaron: Let's see…root for my Raiders to pick up a meaningless win in a forgettable season or root for Falcons RB Michael Turner to score some meaningful points for my fantasy team. This is hard! Pick: Atlanta

Joe: This is a good Atlanta team who will be a threat in the playoffs ... next season. Pick: Atlanta

Philadelphia at Seattle
Aaron: Unrelated to this game, but how is 25 years considered "suffering" for Philly sports fans? Did I miss a parade in Cleveland since 1983? 1973? Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: For as bad as this Seahawks team is, if they had Hasselbeck healthy, they'd be a threat to go 8-8 and win the division. I almost want to pick them here. Pick: Philadelphia

New England at Indianapolis
Aaron: Last Monday night's game against the Titans was the last shovel of dirt on the Colts' remarkable run. But, wait! There's Peyton Manning's right arm popping out of the grave, all dramatic and sh*t! Pick: Indianapolis

Joe: Yeah, not so fast there, gravediggers. Matt Cassel is no Kerry Collins, I can tell you that. Pick: Indianapolis

Pittsburgh at Washington
Aaron: If there were just ONE weeknight primetime match-up for me to pick wrong in the next few days, let it be this one. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: Isn't this that superstitious game where if the Redskins win then the Democrat wins the election, and if they lose, they might not make the playoffs? Pick: Washington

The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread:

Aaron: Dallas (+9) at N.Y. Giants

Joe: Tampa Bay at Kansas City (+9)