Wednesday, January 31, 2007

English 3080 Ethics Example...with Monkeys!

A perfect introduction to the concept of business communications ethics.

Friday, January 26, 2007

An open letter to the folks at ESPN

Dear ESPN,

For several years now, I have enjoyed top-notch sports journalism both on your TV stations and online at Commentators like Chris Berman and ad spots like the "This is SportsCenter" series have been some of the highlights of my viewing experience, and I say that with my unholy addictions to "24" and "Lost" well in mind.

That being said, whoever was responsible for last night's highlight reel of the Jazz-Nuggets game in Salt Lake is a pathetic, biased rube who deserves to be run out into the street naked and beaten with a variety of rubber hoses, sporting goods and seafood items. In short, your segment sucked.

When I got home from last night's game, I got online to see your highlight compilation of the contest, looking forward to seeing some up-close footage of some of the action I saw from the upper bowl. But of somewhere between eight and ten seperate highlight clips, every single one showcased a Denver play, usually of (surprise) Allen Iverson or Carmelo Anthony. Every. Single. One.

Just in case you missed it, the Jazz won the game.


Now, having attended the game myself, I am well aware that there were a number of highlights on Denver's side tonight, and yes, the majority of them came at the hands of Denver's explosive combo. (Or is that "combo about to explode"?)

But the Jazz had a few highlights as well on their way to outscoring the league's hot duo, highlight's I would think might be SportsCenter-worthy.

There was that towering dunk by Jazz rookie Ronnie Brewer. You remember Brewer, don't you? He was the rookie that pretty much single-handedly turned the game around after Denver managed to put together an eleven-point lead in the third quarter. Brewer was the guy that was hitting all those dramatic reverse layups you guys forgot to patch into your highlight reel. He was also the guy that picked Carmelo's pocket like he was frozen in place.

Maybe you just don't like the idea of patching in rookie highlights. Heaven knows the refs don't like giving them calls. Maybe you could have used the shot of Paul Millsap blasting Carmelo's supposed breakaway layup out of the air. Oh, wait, Millsap's a rookie, too. Too bad.

I guess you guys just have to stick with the story, right? The "how are Carmelo and Iverson going to co-exist" angle? Well, here's the story, boys: Carmelo and Iverson co-existed just fine last night; right up until the moment they lost the game.

At least you guys got the final score right.


The Professor

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jack's Back

A few thoughts on last weekend’s “24” premier…

1. I was tempted to write “a few thoughts on last weekend’s long-awaited ‘24’ premier”, but I’m not sure that would have been honest. It’s nice to have a new episode to look forward to every week instead of having to endure periodic repeats—shows like “24” and “Lost” are so dependent on rhythm, anyway—but I wonder if having such a long stretch between seasons (May-January, seriously!) dilutes viewer interest a bit too much.

2. This factor just adds to the already dubious challenge faced by “24” producers—how do you up the ante every season when you’ve already given us nerve gas and potential nuke threats? Well, according to Monday night’s episode, you nuke Valencia, California.

3. Incidentally, Valencia may have been the first place I would have chosen to fall to an accidental nuke tragedy, next to Afton, Wyoming. I had a mission companion from there that made me go to Walgreen’s every day to pick up little stickers for the postcards he’d send home to his girlfriend. Any protest on my part was met with the justification, “you don’t understand”. I still don’t.

4. No matter what happens this season, I’m still going to be disappointed that the producers decided to just release Jack from the Chinese instead of make Season 6 an epic rescue mission led by Curtis. Essentially “24” pulled an “Episode III” and cut to the end of the Clone Wars instead of letting us experience what it could have been.

5. To a degree, “24” roped me in by introducing this season’s “I can’t believe Jack just did that” moment, when our hero literally “goes for the jugular” in order to free himself from the bad guy’s torture room. I’ll need some time and perspective to make a final call, but right now I’m trying to decide whether this moment matches or exceeds John Cusack killing the Hungarian hit man in “Grosse Pointe Blank” by stabbing him in the neck with the pen the lawyer had given him at his 10-year high school reunion.

6. Yeah, I’m sticking with Cusack at this point.

7. OK, Curtis’ death was a blow, but it’s starting to mark an unfortunate trend. I know that the “24” guys have tried to establish since Season One that “no one is safe” in order to raise the tension of the series. But now the message that’s coming through is that not only is Jack completely safe, but EVERYONE ELSE IS GOING TO DIE. Seriously, who’s left from Season One? Two? Three?

8. Curtis-related comment #2: Unless Curtis miraculously survived Jack’s shot to the neck (is this going to be the “Neck Season” for “24”?), my theory that the “24” producers are going to kill Jack and make Curtis the go-to guy for the show is in the can. Oh well.

9. Is Wayne Palmer old enough to be President?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My New Year's Resolution: Don't write a New Year's Resolution column next year

Here are the reasons I don’t want to write a New Year’s Resolution column:

1. Everyone else is doing it.
2. I don’t want my four readers to think I’m losing my originality.
3. New Year’s is an obligatory holiday.

Here are the reasons I’m going to write a New Year’s Resolution column, anyway:

1. I don’t feel like writing reviews for the two movies I’ve seen in the last three weeks.
2. Writing a column that suggests resolutions for public figures would be even lamer that listing my own.
3. I only have four readers.
4. If I don’t post something soon, those four readers will go elsewhere.
5. If I don’t at least feign an attempt to set some goals in my life, I’ll be saying the exact same thing next year.

Here then, are the actual resolutions, with the understanding that none of them are legally binding in any degree, and I will in fact deny anything that follows if it comes back to haunt me in twelve months. At the same time, I will pat myself on the back vigorously if any of these resolutions manages to change my life. Or yours.

1. Attend my gym often enough to reduce my current per-visit rate from $17 to $2.
2. Exercise the bits that actually need exercise.
3. At least once this year, pay full-price for a video rental at Top Hat, instead of hang around the store for forty-five minutes until the 50-cent rate kicks in at 9pm.
4. Publicly acknowledge my deep platonic affection for Rod Stewart.

5. Break the “Del Taco Tuesday’s” cycle.
6. Towel my car off after washing it instead of just jumping on the freeway.
7. Limit use of real swear words to drive time.
8. Remember: My happiness is NOT connected to the win/loss record of the Utah Jazz.
9. Stop skipping General Conference talks when they pop up on my iTunes random play list.
10. Downgrade blind date skepticism from “I hate this, please kill me” to “I hate this, isn’t there a Jazz game on?”
11. Spend more time with the less fortunate, especially if the “less fortunate” is Kate from “Lost”.
12. Attend the temple more often than Red Iguana.

13. Stop using the “Fortune Cookie Method” of daily scripture study.*
14. Donate a pair of my “good pants” to the DI.

15. Do my part to preserve the memory of James Brown by screaming, doing the splits, and rambling incoherently in public at all times. While wearing a cape.
16. No more grading papers on the can.
17. Stop referring to country as “the Special Olympics of music”**.
18. Embrace my fellow Wal Mart shoppers instead of making jokes about how they are androids employed by management to preserve that “down home” Wal Mart image.

19. Stop counting rock concerts as home teaching visits.
20. Mail writing submissions to real publishers instead of griping about low blog readership.

Oh, by the way..."The Pursuit of Happyness" is good, but makes you feel like returning your Christmas presents, and "Casino Royale" is the best Bond movie in twenty years, even though the new guy goes after two lame "Bond Girls" and leaves the cutest one behind the reception desk at a club.

"Innerspace" was better than both of them. Happy New Year.


*The “Fortune Cookie Method” is where you open your scriptures at random, find the closest highlighted verse, and use it as your “personal revelation of the day”.

**For the record, I did not coin the phrase “Special Olympics of music”. That distinction belongs to a stand-up comedian from the early-90’s whose name I have long forgotten. I also claim no liability for Special Olympians who are offended at being compared to such a lame form of artistic expression, and certainly deserve better.