8/31/10

Emmy Dramatic Acress Nominee Stats



The other night when we were watching the Emmys, my wife pointed out that there was something pretty interesting about all of the nominees for the Best Lead Actress in a Dramatic Series- that they are all older women! In a Hollywood that glamorizes youth above all else this seems to be a curiosity. So I made a chart, documenting the average age of the nominees for the last 10 years. In only two of the years was the average age under 40 (Tamblyn!) and the average age reached in peak in 2008 with thanks to the sexagenarian duo (a good pilot name?) Close and Field.
In any case, when it comes to getting nominated for an Emmy in dramatic roles, it helps to have been in the business for a while. It also helps to have been nominated for an Oscar- Close, Field, Hunter all have, with Field and Hunter winning. Below are the raw numbers if anyone wants to dig deeper. Winners are in bold.


Actress Name Birthday
Sally Field 11/6/1946
Glenn Close 3/19/1947
Frances Conroy 11/13/1953
Lorraine Bracco 10/2/1954
Geena Davis 1/21/1956
Sela Ward 7/11/1956
Holly Hunter 3/20/1958
Marg Helgenberger 11/16/1958
Allison Janney 11/19/1959
Edie Falco 7/5/1963
Mariska Hargitay 1/23/1964
Amy Brenneman 6/22/1964
Kyra Sedgwick 8/19/1965
Julianna Margulies 6/8/1966
Connie Britton 3/6/1968
Patricia Arquette 4/8/1968
Rachel Griffiths 12/18/1968
Minnie Driver 1/31/1970
Jennifer Garner 4/17/1972
January Jones 1/5/1978
Elisabeth Moss 7/24/1982
Amber Tamblyn 5/14/1983


Telecast Date: 8/29/2010
Kyra Sedgwick 45
Connie Britton 42
Glenn Close 63
Mariska Hargitay 46
January Jones 32
Julianna Margulies 44

45.3
9/20/2009
Glenn Close 62
Sally Field 62
Mariska Hargitay 45
Holly Hunter 51
Elisabeth Moss 27
Kyra Sedgwick 44

48.50
9/21/2008
Glenn Close 61
Sally Field 61
Mariska Hargitay 44
Holly Hunter 50
Kyra Sedgwick 43

51.80
9/16/2007
Sally Field 60
Patricia Arquette 39
Minnie Driver 37
Mariska Hargitay 43
Edie Falco 44
Kyra Sedgwick 42

44.17
8/27/2006
Frances Conroy 52
Geena Davis 50
Mariska Hargitay 42
Kyra Sedgwick 41
Allison Janney 46

46.20
9/18/2005
Patricia Arquette 37
Glenn Close 58
Frances Conroy 51
Jennifer Garner 33
Mariska Hargitay 41

44.00
9/19/2004
Jennifer Garner 32
Allison Janney 44
Edie Falco 41
Mariska Hargitay 40
Amber Tamblyn 21

35.6
9/21/2003
Edie Falco 40
Jennifer Garner 31
Frances Conroy 49
Allison Janney 43
Marg Helgenberger 44

41.4
9/22/2002
Jennifer Garner 30
Frances Conroy 48
Allison Janney 42
Amy Brenneman 38
Rachel Griffiths 33

38.2
11/4/2001
Lorraine Bracco 47
Sela Ward 55
Amy Brenneman 37
Marg Helgenberger 42
Edie Falco 38

43.8




Year Average Age
2001 43.8
2002 38.2
2003 41.4
2004 35.6
2005 44
2006 46.2
2007 44.17
2008 51.8
2009 48.5
2010 45.3

Mortgage Interest Deduction History Lesson

Tax wonks (like me?) like to rail about how dumb the mortgage interest deduction is. It's regressive and it subsidizes purchasing homes that are too big and too expensive. Many, many commentators think that the mortgage interest deduction was some sort of deliberate decision to subsidizing housing and promote a version of the American dream in which we all own our own homes. However, that's not the case:

The first Federal Income tax in the US was passed in 1894, and subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court. This led to the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment (ratified in 1913), that empowered Congress “to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.”
With this new power, Congress imposed the first taxes. Rates started at 1%, and rose to a whopping 7% for taxpayers with income in excess of $500,000. This applied to relatively few people, with less than 1% of the US population paying any income tax.
As an offset for the taxes, any interest paid (for any reason) was deducted. These were considered business expenses. Indeed, taxes on rents from real estate was a large revenue source. The financing costs of purchasing such rent producing property — a/k/a interest payments — was a ordinary cost of doing business, and hence, deductible.
Keep in mind that during the pre-WW1 period, there was very little interest expenses paid by individuals. Home owners typically owned their houses outright (except for farmers, who either financed or leased the land). There were no credit cards, HELOCs, revolving credit, or student loans.
The deduction on interest was never intended to be a salve to the middle class. It was not designed to encourage home ownership. Indeed, when the interest rate deduction was first considered, home financing was non-existent, and home ownership was not thought of as a public policy. It is not part of any grand scheme of social engineering, as some have called it. It simply has existed since the Federal Income tax came about a century ago.
Indeed, the entire home mortgage deduction is little more than a historical anachronism, a carry over from when all interest payments were deductible.
And as we all know, historical anachronisms like this deduction and the filibuster are sure to be swept away now any day with little political fuss will damn us all forever and ever.

8/30/10

Who cares about the answer? Just pour another drink!

Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

Someone Else's Take on the Emmys

Some key paragraphs:
The most shocking win of the night, to me, was Edie Falco's victory for Nurse Jackie. Like she said in her acceptance speech, she's not funny and while she sure has the acting chops, she doesn't have half the comedic genius of the other ladies she was up against. And Nurse Jackie isn't even a comedy! It's more of a serious drama. Sure, it has some yuks, but just as many as one of the more clever episodes of Mad Men. Just because it's 30 minutes doesn't make it a comedy.
But for every surprising award, there were a bunch of really predictable ones. Mad Men, Bryan Cranston, The Daily Show, and an original movie that HBO made all won again. Oh, and the acting awards for the original movies and miniseries went to big Hollywood stars. What a shock! I also feel like Jane Lynch's deserved win for playing Sue Motherfucking Sylvester on Glee is going to enter Bryan Cranston territory. The first year she wins, it's an unexpected nod, but then year after year they just keep handing it right over to her.
And:

The rest of the broadcast has some serious issues though. It's not that it's too long, it's just that it is too boring! All of the awards for comedy and drama, the two sections the audience cares about the most, were finished by 9:15. That means there was still another hour and 45 minutes of things that are tedious. And why do they spend all that time on TV movies and miniseries when reality shows are only give one category. As Kim Kardashian sang, reality shows are the only things anyone watches anymore. What they show during the telecast makes no sense anymore. They announce the nominees and winners for Best Guest Actor, but don't let them give speeches. Either have them on the show or not, don't do this silly cocktease. And if you do that for Guest Actor, why no do the same for Reality Show Host? Is it because the television crowd still has a stick up their ass when it comes to non-scripted shows?
Why not either mix all the genres together or at least leave the drama categories for the end of the show so we have something to look forward to? During the long slog before we get to Best Comedy and Drama, we get bumpers at the bottom of the screen saying "George Clooney in 7 minutes" or "The cast of True Blood in 14 minutes" as if they're saying, "Yeah, guys, we know this sucks, but just stick with it. The things you really want to see are coming up any minute. We promise."
The absolute worst—even worse than January Jones' dress—is the TV movie portion of the evening. HBO wins everything, and this year it was just one HBO movie, the excellent Temple Grandin, that got a lion's share of the acclaim. Snoozeville. It's not like people are even watching any of these movies or miniseries, at least not in huge numbers. There hasn't been a TV movie like Roots to capture the national interest since, well, Roots. Sure, the original movie categories are an excuse to give Al Pacino (and his Phil Spector haircut) another trophy and it gets Claire Danes in a stunning dress on your stage, but come on people. Maybe if TV could stop kissing film's ass for about 7 seconds some of this might get relegated to the "Creative Arts Emmys." And why is there even a Best Miniseries category anymore? There were two nominees. Even rock, paper, scissor has three options! Continuing to have this category is just archaic and silly, like giving out an Oscar for Best Black and White Cinematography.
And finally:
But when all is said and done no one is even going to remember the Emmy winners in a week. Well, no one but the networks that air the winners. Watching the Emmys this year just put a nail in the coffin of the idea that these awards have anything to do with what we actually watch or what we will watch. Yes, that's we the people at home buying the products that fund the commercials that pay these people's salaries. TV has become too big of a thing for one awards show to do it justice. It is a giant sniping Hydra that contains The Pacific, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and everything in the spectrum between the two. How can you fit all that under one umbrella? More and more viewers are finding what they love on the tube is not represented at the Emmys—whether that's one of the million CSIs, HGTV shows, Dancing with the Stars, that Barefoot Contessa lady, or SportsCenter. This one show can no longer contain the multitudes, all it can do is show TV professionals that they convinced a bunch of their friends to vote for their show this year. That's great for them. For us, we'd rather just watch regular old TV.

Bike Sharing, Tourists and Access

There are some parts of DC where it's really difficult to bike, mostly because the infrastructure isn't there. For example, the area down by the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial. Here's a map indicating the problem area:
Here's the problem for commuters coming from Arlington to downtown:
14th Street Bridge seems the best connection from the Mt. Vernon Trail and the rest of the great trails in Arlington, TO the eastern side of DC - Union Station, Gallery Place, the ball park, Capitol Hill, etc. it's better than beating through pedestrians around on the Mall to get to the Memorial Bridge. But this connection has major problems, particularly in the direction from Arlington to DC, from where you come down off the 14th St. bridge, to where you can pick up better bike routes on the Mall or in the neighborhoods in SW (Water St., e.g.).

Bikes using the 14th St. Bridge are funneled down one little stretch (in orange below) where there are tons of pedestrians, and we're boxed in by highways on one side and the Tidal Basin on the other. Southbound you can ride in the road, but the cars move much faster than bikes on East Basin Drive, and northbound your have no choice but to either a) ride on the sidewalks or b) take a huge long-cut through Hains Point. Roads in this area are very inhospitable to bikes, and there's not many good alternatives.
The fact that it's extraordinarily difficult to bike in this area has been recognized by Capital Bikeshare. Here's a map of their stations near the 14th Street Bridge:
There are stations at the Smithsonian and L'Enfant Plaza metro stations and then another station near 7th and I, SW, but nothing west of 395. This is a wasted opportunity! With a little investment in bike infrastructure around the Tidal Basin area and an added station or two between the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, this would be an absolute tourist money-trap goldmine. It's very scenic. It's set back from DC car traffic along the Mall and it would be the fastest way to get from one monument to the other. It's not just a question of commuter access, but a real missed opportunity to get a ton of DC tourists, or at least the more adventurous and actives ones on bikes. I doubt, however, that DDOT and the National Parks Service are capable of working something out because I really think that were this possible, it would have already happened.

8/29/10

A Library in the Desert

Food deserts, areas in which there are no grocery stores, are horrible things in that they limit the food choices for the urban poor. Without easy access to supermarkets, the choices are limited to corner stores or fast food. Obviously, more supermarkets in urban areas will help, but Baltimore is trying something new: using libraries as the locus for food deliveries. In so far as this can remedy a public health issue, it's a good idea. Here's how it works:

Under a new city program, patrons can order groceries online and pay with cash, credit or food stamps. The orders are filled by Santoni's supermarket, a longtime Baltimore grocer. They deliver the items to the library the next day. Tates says she loves the convenience.
"I pay with my charge card. They swipe it right here. I come back to the library tomorrow and they'll have it all bagged up and ready to go," she says.
It seems pretty straightfoward- I just wonder how long it will be before some behavioral economists can get in there and take it over and start giving the patrons "nudges" towards healthier choices. I'm not sure that the entirety of the health problems related to food can be fixed just through increased availability of a variety of choices.

8/27/10

Modern Family Creator Hates Hulu

I know that today has been heavy on the television news, but here's some more. Steve Levitan, creator of Modern Family, which is funny, is not laughing about putting free tv content online. (With lines like that, I could totally write for a classy publication like Tv Guide someday). He has a few complaints, some of which of less coherent than others. I think his suggestions are more interesting than his gripes (which are essentially about money and content producers not getting a big enough cut). Here's his idea about how to put shows online:

THR: What kind of business model would you like to see online for "Modern Family"?
Levitan: 1) Show "Modern Family" online, but include all the same commercials. The CW sold its 2010-11 upfront ad inventory this way and was able to charge higher rates than if the spots were on network alone. 2) Make those online viewership numbers readily available to everyone. 3) If some people want to view the show without commercials, then, by all means, allow them to do that for a fee.

Why the (BLEEP) Didn't I Watch This Show?

Apparently, Investigation Discovery (the cable network formerly called Discovery Times- since it was partnered with the New York Times at one point)  premiered a show last night called Who the (BLEEP) Did I Marry? and the show was the #1 series premiere in the network's history. In case the premise isn't totally self-explanatory:
Explore stories of men and women who thought they were happily married until the day they uncovered a shocking secret about their spouse that would leave them asking Who the (BLEEP) Did I Marry? From bank robbers to bigamists to spies, these compelling and sometimes startling characters will have viewers shaking their heads in disbelief and wondering how the truths behind these scandalous spouses were kept hidden for so long.
I like the show's webpage, which amongst other things, has some celebrities BLEEPS including John Edwards and Tiger Woods. It also has Brynn Hartman, who shot and killed her husband, an order of (BLEEP) of an entirely different magnitude. I know that Elliot Spitzer and Jesse James were bad spouses, but they didn't murder anyone!

Fenty Sold Us Out on Penn Ave Bike Lanes

Umbrage! From an interview with Greater Greater Washington:
Fenty replied that while he sometimes gets involved in high-level policy issues in transportation or education, he leaves specific engineering details to the experts, and thinks like firing a principal are the equivalent of engineering. But then what about the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, where the experts designed an arrangement which the traffic analysis backed up, but then DDOT ripped it out before even launching it?
Well, that time, Fenty did intervene in engineering, but that's because the first draft hadn't taken everything into account, he explained. Maybe so. Though some people are pretty sure Michelle Rhee has made a few decisions that didn't take everything into account either.
Boo!

Urban Bike Concept Store

Love bikes? Ambivalent about lycra? There's a new bike store coming to DC that will cater to you:
Just what is this concept?  Forget the stereotypical spandex and lycra image, this is normal bikes and gear for normal people who have discovered the convenience of getting around by bicycle.  Co-owner and bicycle visionary Philip Koopman describes it as “creating community in the center of the city” by hosting fun events such as free bike rides to introduce residents and visitors to the world-class cycling facilities in Northeast and Southeast Washington DC, rolling away the display fixtures and hosting community events at the store, providing world-class bicycle service by career mechanics like Paul Reighard, who has over 25 years of experience and sets impeccable quality standards, and introducing the community to bikes that fit its transportation and health needs by carrying everything from cargo bikes which are designed to carry several suitcases (or shopping bags) to hand-made Brompton folding bikes, to the finest active clothing and accessory lines available. Koopman knows as much about using a bicycle as a daily means of transportation as anyone in the area, having served on the Bike To Work Day organizing committee for the past 20 years and having commuted over 100,000 miles by bicycle in the past 25 years.  “Everyone recognizes that cycling is quicker and more economical than driving, but it reaches a new level of enjoyment when you look and feel great on the bike, and arrive at your destination energized” adds Sales Manager David Dorn.  “People will be amazed when they see the range of options available to facilitate their ride.”

Nothing says normal like a Brommy. I'd also love to see the "world-class cycling facilities in Northeast and Southeast Washington DC." Anyway, I'll probably check it out next time I'm cycling near downtown, which is quite rare. I do, though, applaud the idea of a "normal" bike shop and "bikes for the rest of us," even if this article is a bit lacking.

8/26/10

Canceling Cable

For reasons that I can't fully and lucidly explain, I really want to not pay for cable anymore. Maybe it's because Comcast is a bane on our existence, maybe it's just because the internet makes it so entertainment should just be free or purchased piecemeal. I don't know. I watch very few programs on an appointment basis, and while I do a lot of time-shifting (recording a show on the DVR to watch it later in the same evening), I'm just not able to make the leap. However, if you're a braver person than me, here's some advice from Salon. I'm particularly enraptured by EyeTv, which basically uses your computer as a DVR. While I don't know if I'm such a big fan of leaving my computer on and plugged in for extended periods of time, I guess I'm leaving my cable box on for the equivalent amount of time during the day. At $150, it's basically 10 months of Comcast DVR, so there's some potential for long-run savings. The bigger savings would come if I scrapped cable all together, lived an over-the-air existence and watched everything else either online or via iTunes. It's doable, but I'd have to give up some great cable programming from the likes of the Science Channel to drift asleep to. There's also ESPN, but I could probably content myself watching non-ESPN sports content.

Candid Camera

WMATA is installing cameras to record bus drivers. I'm really surprised that the union went along with this, but I'm guessing that camera footage will not be allowed to be used for disciplinary action.

What the 18-34 demographic watches on cable during the summer

Basically, it's Jersey Shore. The four episodes from this summer were the first, , third, fourth and fifth most popular shows in the demographic. The non-Jersey Shore show that scored in the top 5 was LeBron: The Decision. Other popular shows include The Hills and Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. Conclusion: Young adults love beaches and narcissism.The whole list is really quite interesting.

Also of note- US/Algeria was the second highest ranked sporting event of the summer in the demo, with an overall rank of 32.  The highest, at rank 20, was the Home Run Derby. Seriously- who watches the home run derby?

8/25/10

Battle of Espresso

If you care about this sort of stuff, you probably have a job and relatively few other worries in your life. Or, you have a serious coffee problem and you should check into a rehab facility (not UCLA- it's expensive). In any case, here's a highlight:

So the darkly suave Milos is visiting from the birthplace of espresso for a year to gauge the state of coffee in the United States, illy's largest customer outside Italy, and he has quickly learned how seriously Americans take their coffee. Call it a storm in a demitasse: He elicited a frothy response when, while blogging for theatlantic.com in May, he commented that American baristas not only need more training but are using so many different, unorthodox methods to pull shots you'd wonder if they'd ever sipped the drink in its country of origin.
"What is called espresso here sometimes really isn't espresso," he wrote. (The response from readers made him qualify that, saying that any drink pulled on an espresso machine is 'technically' an espresso, but baristas shouldn't be playing fast and loose with the traditional water-coffee-temperature-time formula.)
One barista from San Francisco huffed that Milos' article was culturally irrelevant and "American baristas no longer look to Italy for context." Americans, he said, are creating their own traditions, such as making espresso with single-origin beans – i.e. beans that come from one farm or estate, to highlight the characteristics of that place – while Italian espresso is made from blends that often include some lesser-quality – i.e. Robusta – beans. In illy's blend there are no fewer than nine bean types.
"It's not bad to do something a bit different," Milos says of the concoctions coming out of coffee shops across the country. "But in order to create something new, you have to follow the baseline, to know how to do something the real way. Then try to do something different. In Italy we have a saying: Learn to walk before you run."
Basically, America rules and Italy is sad about it. 

The Real Reason to Avoid the Green and Yellow Lines...

A Hispter Robot Bike Army in Columbia Heights! It's only for a movie, but it does sound terrifying:
Description of Movie:
DROIDSTER is a action/drama short set in Columbia Heights, DC. Robot hipsters are operating out of basements in the neighborhood, abducting unsuspecting preppies and turning their insides into oily mechanics. These aren't your father's evil robots, however -- they ride fixed gear bikes, wear skinny jeans, jeggings, christmas socks, and big sunglasses. They also suck at life.

8/24/10

What if Don Draper was a sheriff in a post-apocalyptic world?

Then maybe it would be something like AMC's new show, The Walking Dead. I'm not usually a big fan of zombie-themed entertainment, but I thought the trailer had some wit to it and I'll probably tune in. Then again, I said that about Rubicon and I haven't made much progress with that. Live blog?

Glad I Don't Work There Anymore

Kaplan and The Washington Post team up for the ethically dubious behavior:

The editorial, Hawkins said, speaks to the paper’s wider “lack of attention … to the circumstances that brought about these proposed rules,” on its opinion pages and in its news reporting. “Based on the editorial, which adheres closely to the same message points repeated ad nauseum by industry lobbyists, we are left to assume that decisions about what (not) to report about this issue are being made with an eye toward the bottom line,” he said. “The adoption of such message points in a full editorial do not convey the weight of the problems at hand, and the Post’s inattention to them compromises the journalistic process.”
How fair can the journalistic process be, Asher asked, when its ultimate survival depends upon the financial success of a business it’s expected to cover skeptically?

Music from Laughable Movie Trailer Played in Background of Compilation of Web Videos

When I saw the trailer for The Social Network, I laughed because of the sheer ridiculousness of the background music. Now, we can all laugh, thanks to its application to internet memes in this video.

8/23/10

Live-ish Blogging “The Great Food Truck Race”


I take reader suggestions seriously. So, here goes my first experiment live-ish (it’s On Demand, the actual show aired yesterday) blogging The Great Food Truck Race. I don’t know very much about the show, other than it’s hosted by Tyler Florence, who in the bottom-right-hand corner promos I’ve seen looks too much like Bobby Flay. For the sake of timing, I’m going to ignore what minute the action I might (or might not) be describing is taking place. I’m not Bill Simmons, so it’s unlikely I’ll be able to keep pace with the show, but I’ll so my best. Here goes:
-       I’m starting with Episode 2. Why? I accidently selected it. It’s called Sante
-       I see adobe. Ok, last week’s rehash. Seven teams leave Los Angeles. It’s the ultimate culinary (not coo-linary) road trip. Oh wait, they didn’t leave Los Angeles, but San Diego. These twists are insane! There were struggles. It was brutal. Some Vietnamese people won! The Nana Queens (offensive?) were sent home.
-       Ok, the intro. It’s a sort of AC/DC inspired 80s rock sounding guitar heavy theme song, with a montage of the teams and their team names. I think the Vietnamese team was called Nom Nom. LOLz offensive?
-       There’s a team wearing newsboy caps. I hate them. I know nothing else about them.
-       Back-seat strategizing. This guy has a Canadian accent. He’s ordering gross food, like escargot and sweet breads. Whatever.
-       Nom Nom is connected to local press (I can haz newspaper ad?).
-       Food trucks have arrived. Everyone looks very excited to be in Santa Fe?
-       $50,000? What’s the point? The prize doesn’t seem to match the difficulty of the actual challenge. I mean, couldn’t a really successful food truck business just make $50,000? With a good location and if your product is really good, you don’t have to go on a reality show.
-       Cajuns! X-Men has taught me that they’re wily and probably play cards, mon cher. Cajun Stephen looks like a he’s drunk. Just saying.
-       They’ve only been given $300. This will prove impossible. The next 40 minutes should hopefully see us some busking or some petty larceny.
-       Teen Wolf (for all the Bill Simmons fans)
-       Subtitles. There’s a foreigner afoot. Good thing they’re not in Arizona. I think he’s French. He’s comprehensible, but I don’t think he’s making very much sense about his seed money.
-       I love reality show awkward laughing. It’s better than real-life awkward laughing, because I imagine if they don’t awkwardly laugh enough on the first take, the contestants are forced to keep awkwardly laughing over and over and over again and it just keep becoming more forced and even more awkward.
-       I don’t think this show is carbon neutral. I’m not sure if there are any actual rules, either. Someone is calling a meat purveyor.
-       The Frenchies’ food truck is busted. Like the Maginot line. (Topical humor is not my strength). The must be French-Canadian, because the other guy is unambiguously Canadian.
-       One of the Cajuns looks like Victor Garber.
-       The people from Austin make sandwiches. Keep pastrami weird, Austin!
-       Crepes Bonaparte- not the team of the Frenchies, believe it or not. It’s the hat team. Will Santa Fe be your Waterloo? This live-blogging is really taking on French military defeats.
-       Everyone is outraged by grocery store prices. Welcome to America.
-       Bigger tomatoes are easier to slice. I’ve learned something about cooking on the Food Network!
-       There’s an epic alliance of all time forming between Austin and some other Grill team!
-       Frenchies are waiting for Nom Nom Vietnamese team to help them. Remember Dien Bien Phu!
-       Santa Fe Police are callous, but ultimately helpful. Allez, allez!
-       Nom Nom is setting up in front of a gelateria. Nothing makes me want gelato more than banh mi.
-       The alliance between Austin and (probably) Brooklyn is a match-made in a (showerless) heaven.
-       The crepe-ists are descending on the alliance. Ninja Acne Keanu is ripping on the newsboy cap, vest-wearing crepe-ists. They cut to him talking about slashing tires with his beard-o teammate.
-       Nom Nom made the paper! Definitely not FAIL!
-       Blonde Cajun airquotes “brilliant” to describe the Nom Nom’s strategy. I don’t think she gets airquotes.
-       The frenchies are buying restaurant food instead of grocery food. This saves money…?
-       The Cajuns are not succeeding against the Nom Noms. Who knew that shouting at potential customers who are 15 feet away with a bullhorn would backfire?
-       A Cajun is ragin’! (true to type)Blonde Cajun(e) has some serious French tips.
-       Frenchie (true to type) is chortling at the ladies. But, they don’t want to sample his escargot lollipop? Por quois?
-       The Cajuns are leaving. Wolf Blitzer Cajun has a good feeling about it. I predict they’re the team going home. Wait, he just said “we’re gonna lose.” They probably won’t lose now.
-       3 hours left in Santa Fe. Tyler Florence is calling a “truck stop” which is some kind of weird challenge. It’ll involve cooking with chiles! Everyone has iPhones. Take that Droid! One member of the team has to find chiles, create a new (special) dish and add it to your menu. Then the best chef in Santa Fe (an obese gentleman) will sample your dish (SECRETLY) and the team with the best dish gets IMMUNITY.
-       Hipster stoner rocker Brooklyn burger guy already bought chiles. And they’re making a burger with it! Don’t tell Red Robin.
-       Blonde Cajun’s name is Jazmin. With a Z. That’s clazzy, with two z’s.
-       French Canada is probably the team going home. Santa Fe “surf and turf” sounds terrible.
-       Noms are turning down the challenge. Is this arrogant? Probably.
-       Ninja Keanu Austin guy (aka Austin Justin Long) is gonna make Green Eggs and Ham. It’s inspired by the last book he read.
-       The Crepes Bonaparte people don’t seem very good at making crepes.Or defeating English yeoman longbows at Agincourt!
-       Secret chef challenge: Austin is very good. Crepe-ists are missing both chipotle and avocado! Obese chef is disappointed. He like’s the burger from stoner Brooklyn rockers! I don’t see how these teams don’t know he’s the secret chef, since he appears to be the only person going anywhere near the food trucks. He likes the Frenchies and likes the Ragin’ Cajuns. He goes to Noms and asks about green chiles. They rebuff him. He wonders if they did as well as they think they did and could afford to skip the challenge. 
-       Crepe truck is trying to make everything count. They can’t spell omelette. They’re doing a scramble, but maybe only because they can’t spell omelet.
-       Cajun Blitzer is (drunkenly) exhorting passers by. How soon til he’s arrested by the callous cops?
-       Brooklyn stoner “hijacked” a tour bus. A magical meaty mystery tour ensues. They serve many burgers and it culminates with him laughing scarily at camera.
-       33 minutes remaining! What an arbitrary amount of time!
-       Food trucks are all done. Who will be in the bottom? We’ll find out at 10:04 the next day. This show is oddly specific about times.
-       Austin Justin Long is sweating.
-       Who has the most sales and who is going home? Cajuns feel pretty good, at least drunk Blitzer Cajun.
-       Nom Noms served many, many noms and won! Orbitz gives them plane tickets to Santa Fe. Yay?
-       Second place (but with only half as much money) are stupid hat crepe-ists.  Third is Stoner Rocker grill guys.
-       Austin Justin Long can’t go home yet, he says earnestly. Probably because he’s still subletting his mom’s basement. I wonder what the people in his (yet unmentioned) band think about this whole food truck tv show. They come in fourth. Many hugs all around. French Canada looks worried. Same with Cajuns. Apparently, my anti-Gallic blogging vibe has been an accurately reflection of the show itself.
-       One of the bottom two teams got immunity from Santa Fe chef! From second–worst to first-ish. It’s no longer about the money- it’s about the food!
-       Chef is back. He sort of looks like a very larger version of Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who looks sort of like Rep. Pete King. That’s pretty weird.
-       Ok, here’s the let-down. Peter King loves them both, but it’s the Frenchies! The Cajuns are going back to the bayou (Happy Katrina 5 year anniversary!) It’s the end of the road for the Cajuns. They’re all appropriately disconsolate.
-       They’re going to Ft. Worth, Texas! That’s right, the Fort Worth, Texas! See you next time everyone!
-       All in all, this show is not a very good competition show. The rules seem too arbitrary (someone took out a newspaper ad) and I didn’t get much sense of the food that any of the teams were actually making. It was a lot of scenes of people standing outside asking gawking pedestrians to try their food. And aside from “cook something with some kind of chile in it,” there’s no real common denominator by which we can judge the teams. There’s no real attempt to adjust for market forces (maybe there’s no banh mi in Santa Fe and the scarcity was the reaon they sold so much) to create anything like a level-playing field. The contestants range from mostly unlikable to totally forgettable. I know that food trucks are supposed to be all of the rage right now, but I think that the Food Network missed with this one.

If Only the Government Had Intervened...

Cato no longer likes "liberaltarians." Dave Weigel, of the Dave Weigel ouster, reports:
The libertarian Cato Institute is parting with two of its most prominent scholars. Brink Lindsey, the institute's vice president of research and the author of the successful book The Age of Abundance, is departing to take a position at the Kauffman Foundation. Will Wilkinson, a Cato scholar, collaborator with Lindsey, and editor of the online Cato Unbound, is leaving on September 15; he just began blogging politics for the Economist.
I asked for comment on this and was told that the institute does not typically comment on personnel matters. But you have to struggle not to see a political context to this. Lindsey and Wilkinson are among the Cato scholars who most often find common cause with liberals. In 2006, after the GOP lost Congress, Lindsey coined the term "Liberaltarians" to suggest that Libertarians and liberals could work together outside of the conservative movement. Shortly after this, he launched a dinner series where liberals and Libertarians met to discuss big ideas. (Disclosure: I attended some of these dinners.) In 2009 and 2010, as the libertarian movement moved back into the right's fold, Lindsey remained iconoclasticjust last month he penned a rare, biting criticism of The Battle, a book by AEI President Arthur Brooks which argues that economic theory is at the center of a new American culture war. 

The Event

Promos for the NBC show The Event vs. Mitchell and Webb's The Event. In either case, remain indoors!

Profiles in Courage

It should come as no surprise that (some) medievalists are willing to stand up for their beliefs and protest the Medieval Academy of America's decision to hold its conference in Arizona:
The members who wrote the latest letter said they would boycott the conference and withdraw from the academy. They said they were concerned that the potential impact of the Arizona law—which expands the state's role in cracking down on illegal immigrants—aligns closely with the construction of "otherness" that they study.
"Once a group of people has been repeatedly depicted as not quite human, their mistreatment is to be expected," the members wrote in the letter. "We cannot stand silently while these acts occur, as to do so would be, through our silence, to voice our implicit consent."
Medievalists are braver than the average scholar because it takes considerable courage to look directly at the job prospects and decide you want to pursue medieval studies anyway. 

First Day of School

It's the first day of classes here and to celebrate, here's an article about how "velcro" parents are annoyances to university bureaucrats. That's my take on it at least. Here's an example:

Moving their students in usually takes a few hours. Moving on? Most deans can tell stories of parents who lingered around campus for days. At Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., a mother and father once went to their daughter’s classes on the first day of the semester and trouped to the registrar’s office to change her schedule, recalled Beverly Low, the dean of first-year students.
“We recognize it’s a huge day for families,” she said. Still, during various parent meetings on Colgate’s move-in day, which is Thursday, Ms. Low and other officials plan to drop not-so-subtle hints that “activities for the class of 2014 begin promptly at 4,” she said.
Haven't seen too many parents around campus this morning, but I'll be sure to give them not-so-subtle hints if need be. 

Cooking Channel: Now Less Hipstery

The fall lineup for the Cooking Channel is out and I'm not sure whether the network has given up on being different from the Food Network or if they're just desperate for programming, but you'll see from the selected descriptions below that they're not exactly trailblazing:

Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day
Premieres: Saturday, September 25 at 3pm ET
Her first show in nine years to be solely food-focused, Week in a Day is based on Rachael Ray’s bold new cooking concept for busy families – one day of cooking, five days of eating. Rachael shares her secrets for creating an entire week’s worth of meals, from scratch, in just one day.  Using her recipes, strategies and tips, viewers will learn the tools to eat well every night.
Brunch @ Bobby’s
Premieres: Saturday, October 16 at 2pm ET
Bobby Flay is passionate about brunch – and Brunch @ Bobby’s celebrates his favorite Sunday morning menus. From a relaxed Hamptons kitchen, Bobby is the quintessential host – totally in his element whipping up dishes sweet and savory.  From French breakfasts and Italian brunches to his own family recipes, Bobby’s take on these delicious recipes all reflect his creativity and love of the meal itself.
 Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay are very popular tv hosts and food personalities. But I'm not sure that they live up to the raw, foodie, unadorned cooking vibe to which the network aspires.