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Everything posted by smith_chip

  1. Great post, Russ. I also love that scene. Nope, I moved to Pittsburgh to go to CMU, and then stuck around for 5 years after graduating. The time that I mentioned in the above post was mostly spent in Garfield, but also in East Liberty and Larimer.
  2. I didn't mean to sound like "people didn't cuss" in the inner cities. I meant that colloquial double-meanings while teaching each other how to play chess is most definitely how people do NOT talk in real life. Sorry. I know. I went to a high school in the inner city, and I was a part of the chess club there. Never did the posse-members and the chess geeks meet. That is a great scene, precisely because it sets up the conflict of the thinking man in the drug trade. D is not a normal "posse-member." But the game is not made up of just corner boys. Talented, intelligent men (mostly) get involved, rise to the top, and are required to think strategically about their "business." Part of the tragedy of the game is the way that those corner boys are seen as disposable, both by respectable society and by the Stringer's and the Barksdale's. Kind of like chess. When I was working in urban Pittsburgh neighborhoods, there was a group of older black men who established a little ministry teaching gang-bangers to play chess. They didn't use the same kind of language that DeAngelo, Bodie, or Poot use in that scene, but when the teens were hanging out together, they certainly did. They stop spending time in Orlando's after season 1. The locale that take's Orlando's place is quite a bit different! It definitely feels to me more like "Look, we're on HBO" than "we better throw some nudity on the screen to keep the audience's attention." The whole approach of The Wire is the slow build. I'd be the first to say that The Wire is not for everyone. You might want to read some kind of recap of season 1 before jumping into season 2. If you are going to try again, committ to watching at least 5 or 6 episodes before making a judgment on the show. It might not take that many episodes to decide that watching the show would not be beneficial to you, but the only way to understand the story is to give it that much time.
  3. One of the blogs at The New Republic has a list full of links to a lot of Wallace's articles, essays, and fiction that are online.
  4. I think I'm with Alan on this one. I thought it has enough potential to keep watching for a couple of months. If for no other reason, it will be good to watch Noble and Reddick. I'm not so sure about that magical negro thing. Maybe it started to turn that direction at the very end, but he sure started out behaving, rather than just walking, like he had a stick stuck somewhere a stick does not belong. (I do recall reading that Reddick had some kind of back injury in the past which contributes to his unique posture)
  5. So, for the first in my fantasy football career, I have a true fantasy stud on my team. You know, the kind of player that can almost singlehandedly carry your team to a winning season. The kind that can make up for all kinds of injuries and mistakes with the rest of your roster. And his entire season lasted about half of one quarter. Nice.
  6. This is a funny way to begin the college football season. I guess that from the air, one football stadium looks like any other. As the article states, it's good that nobody got hurt (or that the Duke game had already begun)
  7. I like h2h, and I am terrible at any pick-em type games. I suppose the next question is how many people would be interested. It would be nice to have a few more participate than last year.
  8. Anyone interested in another season?
  9. I started watching Mad Men during the writer's strike, when AMC replayed the first season late at night. Like many people, there were times when the negative aspects of the nostalgia (the smoking and drinking while pregnant, the misogyny, the fear of the divorcee, etc.) brought me out of the story. I don't know if this was the writer's rubbing our nose in all of the bad things about the good old days, or if our culture has changed so much that an honest depiction of New York in the 1950's must be shocking. I loved the characters, though. Jon Hamm as Draper was excellent. The questions about just how naive Betty really is. Peggie navigating the challenge of being a talented woman in that office. Did you watch the premier of season 2 last night? The story picks up about 15 months from where season 1 left off. Little happens in this episode from a plot standpoint, but there are a lot of moments that show what has (or has not) changed in the characters. There are still a lot of lies being lived, but it seems that at least a few of the characters are shown being slightly more honest with themselves, if not to the world. If this episode sets the tone for season 2, then there won't be any sophomore slump for Mad Men.
  10. That works out to two 22-23 episode seasons if each episode is the typical length while giving them some extra minutes to occasionally do one of those extra long episodes. Sounds about right to me.
  11. You definitely had to learn how to watch The Wire. I have no doubt that fans of The Wire (which always had a small audience) will be fine watching Generation Kill, but part of the objective of this miniseries seems to me to introduce the American public to this generation of Marines. I agree with something I read somewhere, it wouldn't hurt to have a scene where the reporter is introduced to the members of the battalion. I like it that Simon refuses to hold his audience's hand, though. I didn't feel too lost. I imagine that now that they have left Camp Mathilda, it will be easier to keep everyone straight. Last night's episode just set the stage. James Ransone's character is not very far removed from Ziggy, although Ziggy was not nearly smart enough to be in a recon unit. It took me out of the story every time his character said something that I could imagine coming out of Ziggy's mouth. Other than that, it made me excited to watch the rest of the series.
  12. Generation Kill starts tonight on HBO. It is based on the Evan Wright book of the same name. Wright was an embedded journalist with the Marines' First Recon Battalion who were the "tip of the spear" in the Iraq invasion. Sepinwall's preview can be found here. Another TV blogger, Maureen Ryan, recommends having some references handy while watching Generation Kill, especially at first. She posted links to things that HBO sent to critics (glossaries, maps, organization charts, rosters of the Marines, etc.) It kind of makes me wonder how successful the miniseries is if you need all of these other references to understand what's happening, but I guess we can find out tonight.
  13. For anyone thinking about starting to watch the greatest television show in history, or wanting to rewatch it, you should know that TV critic Alan Sepinwall is doing a weekly commentary on Season 1 at his blog this summer. He is doing two versions, one for newbies and one for veterans. Here's his description: He is up to week 3, and will post a new commentary each Friday. The discussion in the comments section is also enlightening. Even though I've watched all seasons but the last one several times, rewatching while reading his blog has helped me to see things that I had missed before. All the pieces matter.
  14. I think I'm feeling worse now after 4.12, the "mid-finale" (I don't know how to designate it)... That's all I can say without spoilers. However, anyone else who has seen it may want to read these comments from Jane Espenson. Argh! Is it 2009 yet? Yeah, that break is nothing compared to next six (or however many) months. Fans who have watched up through Revelations (mid-season finale seems to work as a descriptor) might also be interested in Bear McCreary's blog (I'm particularly thinking of you, Peter). McCreary is the composer for BSG and writes about the process of scoring each episode. That does mean that his blog is full of spoilers, but for the most part you can avoid them unless you click "Read the rest of this entry" hyperlink for each post. The following is how he opens his post about Revelations.
  15. I bet it's Andy. The last scene would provide plenty of motivation for him to leave the Scranton branch. He's relatively new to the cast, and never became as integral to the Scranton office as Pam. Toby is played by one of the show's writers who is very self-conscious about his acting (which works for that character) and I can't see a show being built him. I suppose it could be Ryan (who is also played by one of the show's writers) after his time in jail (and rehab)
  16. Saletan has published another article that he's entitled "Rethinking race and genes."
  17. Before watching the final episode of the series tonight, Alan Sepinwall's column would be a great read. It details a few of the great scenes, with their sometimes years long setup, of The Wire. There are :spoilers: in the part of his column that I quote below.
  18. It does pick up mid way through the season, but hasn't that been true in the previous seasons, too? One of the two themes of the season, do more with less, certainly applies. Simon is trying to wrap up the series , and bring a number of different plot threads to a conclusion, all the while HBO cut him back from 13 episodes down to 10. That's having a big impact of the show, I think. There was more exposition in the first couple of episodes than I am used to from The Wire, and I can see how the compressed schedule forced the writers to tell more than show. Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to judge a season of The Wire in midstream. I have watched through episode 8, and have a feeling that the final two episodes will determine if the entire season is a success or not. What I like about
  19. I like to read the blog of the TV critic Alan Sepinwall. He likes the CBS version.
  20. I don't particulary care for the Islay Scotches, I guess I can only stand a small amount of peat. I think that a Bunnahabhain is about the only one of those I would drink. Has anyone tried a Laphroaig? I had at the end of a tasting flight which worked from the less peaty up to the Laphroaig. I didn't mind it in that context, but later tried it on its own and could barely get it down! It tasted like dirt to me. Among the younger Scotches (which is really the only kind that fits my budget) from the Highlands, a favorite of mine is the 10 year Aberlour. It's much more interesting than the 12 year Glenlivets and Glenfiddichs and a pretty good value. I also echo Anders' recommendation of Dalmore.
  21. Not that this is a surprise, but he's also a classless jerk. He couldn't even stay on the field until the game was over.
  22. ? The actor Lance Reddick plays Daniels on The Wire. On Lost, he was
  23. I was surprised at the amount of nudity, though. Ziggy, man...geez. The whole mail-the-photos-to-Valchek gimmick was hilarious, I must say. The good news for you, is that season 2 is generaly considered to be the weakest. It only gets better for you as you watch the rest of the series! And watching the entire series in a relatively short amount of time is a great way to do it. There have been several things from season 2 that have popped up again in the current season. Some are central to the narrative, and one that I caught in episode 4 is just a character from season 2 showing up in the background of a scene. There's no attention paid to it, but just his presence continues the storyline. I have noticed that the amount of sex and nudity has decreased as the series continued. I don't know how much of that is Simon getting the freedom of being on HBO out of his system, and how much is
  24. Anyone watching yet? Like the previous seasons, Season 5 starts slow. I think it suffers a bit from HBO shortening the season from 13 episodes down to 10. There is a lot more exposition that I remember from earlier seasons. Episode 3, which was on last night, really starts to pick things up. I watched episode 4 today on HBO OnDemand, and it's great! I'd say more with the spoiler tags, but if nobody else has watched any of season 5, then I'll wait for you to catch up.
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