Tony Kornheiser Must Die!

Have you ever played that “game” where you sit around with a bunch of friends and talk about who you’d kill if you could get away with it? OK, so it’s more “drunken rambling” than an actual game… but still, I think every group of friends has, one boozy night in a bar, sat around and talked about people they’d shoot in the head if they knew they could get away with it. And last night, my friends, I found the person I’d kill: Tony Kornheiser.

Tony KornholeTony Kornheiser (detractors predictably call him Tony Kornhole) is a sportswriter and ESPN talk show host. Worse yet, he’s been a member of the Monday Night Football crew since 2006. And he’s one of the most annoying people on the face of the earth.

I was watching the Steelers squeak by the Ravens on MNF last night. Mike Tirico was doing his usual great job calling the game. Jaws occasionally hit us up with his incredible football wisdom. And Tony was there with his lame non sequitors and random “observations”.

Who the hell is this guy, really? And how does he have a job on Monday Night Football? I mean, I never ever thought I’d ever utter the phrase “Bring back Dan Dierdorf!”, but here we are. Tony has made me that way. Tony Kornhole is so fucking annoying that I don’t want him fired from MNF… I don’t want his vocal cords removed and his hands chopped off so he can longer communicate with the outside world… no, I want him dead, so he a) cannot create little Kornholes that might one day follow in his father’s annoying footsteps; and b) Kornhole would not be able to communicate using a complex system of foot taps or eye blinks.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “gee, that’s kind of harsh. I mean, with all the strife in the world, why not kill someone more meaningful, like Richard Gere or our current president?”. Well, you’d have a point. In the greater scheme of things, Tony Kornhole is pretty insignificant. And he really doesn’t ever say anything controversial, like “I don’t think Michael Vick did anything wrong”. It’s not like he’s the Rush Limbaugh of the sports world or anything. He’s just… annoying. I don’t know how much ESPN is paying Kornhole, but if all they wanted was someone to say inane things like “The Bears treat offense as if it’s bubonic plague”, they coulda hired me for far less money!

Amusingly, for someone that’s gone through life as a critic, Kornhole just can’t seem to take any criticism himself. When Stephen Rodrick wrote an article for Slate asking why Tony was allowed to argue aimlessly on television, and also asking why Kornhole’s Washington Post column “was being used to plug side projects rather than gather news from cited sources”, Kornhole called on Slate, and The Washington Post, to fire him. When Paul Farhi wrote in The Washington Post that Kornheiser had “emphasized the obvious, played third fiddle, and was reminiscent of Dennis Miller ‘in a bad way'”, Kornheiser called Farhi a “two-bit weasel slug”. Nice! So you can sit there an criticise others, but not take it yourself, Tony? What a jackass!

Enough rambling for today… I just… hate Tony Kornheiser in a way that I’ve never hated a broadcaster before. Well, any human being, really. Tony must die!

Mad Men: “Six Month Leave”

Marilyn Monroe has died. Don learned about it the following morning thanks to the newspaper left at the door of his room in the Roosevelt Hotel… so no, Betty hasn’t let him come home yet.

At the office, all the “girls” are weepy about Marilyn’s death. Peggy, who took the elevator up with Don, says that she’s glad Playtex didn’t go with the “Jackie\Marilyn” campaign, since Sterling Cooper would have to do some massive damage control. Don agrees.

At his first meeting of the day, Don listens as Ken, Paul, Sal and Harry discuss that day’s blood drive. Interestingly, Don is all for the drive, and even gives Paul some pointers to help increase the number of people participating. One of Don’s ideas is a cash bounty… which causes Paul to ask if the bounty is for him or for the people giving blood. “This is for mankind, Kinsey”, Don says. At that same meeting, Harry invites Don and Betty to a Mitch Miller concert hosted by NBC. Don declines (being on the outs with Betty), saying that one of his kids is sick.

Back at his office, Jane gives Don the rest of his schedule for the day, then admits to screwing up: Sally called the office yesterday, wanting to know when Daddy would “come home from his business trip”. Jane, not knowing what to say, told her Wednesday. Don quietly lets Jane know that the matter is personal, and that he doesn’t want her getting involved in his life in any way. He doesn’t even want her giving him concerned looks:

Meanwhile, Pete, Peggy and Sal are in Freddy’s office having a walkthrough of the presentation they’re about to give to Samsonite. Freddy, who is such an alcoholic that no one even notices he’s drunk anymore, turns away from the other workers and then pees in his pants… just before passing out at his desk. Pete and Peggy take control of the situation: Peggy will do the pitch, Pete tells Sal to go to the conference room and look as if he’s been waiting, and also tells Peggy to tell “Freddy’s girl” about the situation.

Continue reading “Mad Men: “Six Month Leave””

Heather Locklear Gets a DUI

Heather Locklear was popped for a DUI Saturday night. According to published reports, Locklear tested negative for alcohol but was “acting strangely”, including “driving back and forth over a pair of sunglasses on the pavement and revving her engine”. She later “stopped her car on the street and stumbled into the traffic lane”:

I don’t know about you, but that mugshot makes me think she’s definitely under the influence of something!

Read more about it here.

The Chick List – with pics!

In early July, I posted this list of “Top 10 Celebrity Breasts”. As you may recall, the list was originally created by InTouch magazine; I only re-ordered their list to fit my personal preference.

Shortly after posting that, a longtime reader wrote in to chide me for not posting pictures with my list. Here’s the thing: I met this guy through the forums at Ars Technica. Ars has a long and storied tradition of requiring pictures in certain threads, especially in threads about women, kittens, deadly insects, or some type of “massive fail” – a flooded server room or spectacularly wrecked car, for example. Ars might not have invented the “this thread is useless without pics” meme, but they certainly made it a requirement for posting.

So anyway… around a week ago, I posted this list of celebrities I’d like to sleep with. The backstory on the list is this: I was at a bar with Lisa and some friends, and everyone started going through their list of celebrities they’d sleep with… you know, like the episode of Friends where everyone talks about their “Freebie List”. Only yours truly was having a brain fart and couldn’t think of anyone at the time. I went home and opened a Notepad window, in which I’d type up the names of celebrities as I’d think of them. After keeping the window open for a week and a half, I had this giant list. I quickly divided the list up into two teams (“The Varsity Team” and “The JV Team”) and also divided each team into “first string”, “second string”, and “practice squad”.

I hadn’t actually planned to post the list on this site. I was originally going to post the list as a MySpace bulletin. But Lisa and I were going on a brief vacation, and I needed (OK, wanted) to come up with some stuff I could quickly “cut and paste” into a few “vacation posts” that would run while I was out of town. And the “Chick List” was perfect for that.

I guess you know what’s coming next. The same guy that emailed me about the “Celebrity Breasts” posts complained about my lack of pics in the “Chick List” thread. So… to appease not only him (Hey Chip!), but also the Gods of Ars Technica, you’ll find an updated “Chick List” now with pictures… after the jump!

Continue reading “The Chick List – with pics!”

Catch Up with AMC

If you haven’t been paying attention lately, AMC has two of the best shows on TV right now: Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

If you read this site at all, you probably already know all about my obsession with Mad Men, a show based in a New York advertising agency in the 1960s. So I won’t waste your time. Just click the “Mad Men” category on the sidebar to learn all you could ever want to know about the show.

I haven’t said nearly as much about Breaking Bad, which features Bryan Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) as a high school chemistry teacher who finds out that he has inoperable cancer. He wants to take care of his family financially after he dies, so he teams up with a former student to sell the best crystal meth known to man. It sounds serious (and it is), but the show has lots of humor to take the sting out of Cranston’s situation. Cranston, for example, is as square as they come… so even though he knows everything he needs to know about actually making the drug, he has no idea how to sell it… which leads to a lot of “fish out of water” humor. It’s a great show, and one totally worth watching.

I mention all this because AMC is running marathons of both Mad Men and Breaking Bad in the next few days. The network will run the first 8 episodes of Mad Men season 2 today, starting at 4pm. Next Wednesday, AMC will run the all 7 episodes of the first season of Breaking Bad starting at 8pm.

Look, folks… this is great TV. Mad Men just won the “Best Drama” Emmy, and Cranston just won the “Best Actor” Emmy for Breaking Bad. It’s incredible stuff… so check it out!

BREAKING: Jammie Thomas verdict overturned

Jammie Thomas, the first “victim” of the RIAA’s legal jihad, is temporarily off the hook. Thomas, who was found guilty of copyright infringement and ordered to pay $222,000 in damages to the RIAA last October, was given a reprieve by Judge Michael J. Davis, who decided to overturn his previous ruling due to an “error” he made in giving instructions to the jury. As Ars Technica reports:

In a 43-page decision released late Thursday, Judge Davis wrote that the jury instruction in question was inaccurate. At issue was what he described as the “plain meaning” of distribution. “The Court’s examination of the use of the term ‘distribution’ in other provisions of the Copyright Act, as well as the evolution of liability for offers to sell in the analogous Patent Act, lead to the conclusion that the plain meaning of the term ‘distribution’ does not includ[e] making available and, instead, requires actual dissemination,” reads Judge Davis’ opinion.

The legal issues under consideration are far too complex to get into here. Suffice it to say that the RIAA’s main legal weapon – that simply having a file in a shared folder is copyright infringement, whether anyone actually downloads the file or not – has had a wrench thrown into it by Judge Davis.

The Border Blasters

Teenagers these days have almost limitless sources for finding new music: legal services like iTunes or Amazon MP3, illicit services like FrostWire or Bittorrent, social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, music blogs, band websites, YouTube, music videos on demand and music channels from their cable provider, satellite radio… even “old fashioned” technology like MTV. It seems that the original “information superhighway” – terrestrial radio – has been all but forgotten these days.

But back in the 50s and 60s, AM radio was the Internet. Teens relied on their radios to bring them the latest music from faraway places like Liverpool, England or Memphis, Tennessee. Music began to bloom everywhere like wildflowers. Entire genres of music, like soul and R&B, were exposed to mainstream white audiences for the first time. And no single radio station and no single DJ did more to help spread the gospel than XERF and Wolfman Jack.

To understand how XERF and Wolfman Jack changed the world, we unfortunately have to start with science and politics.

Below is a sample of a radio wave:

FM radio works by modulating the frequency of the radio wave (hence, FM = “frequency modulation”). The peaks and troughs of the radio wave get closer together or farther apart, depending on what’s being broadcast. In other words, you could stretch the right and left edges of the above picture (or squeeze them together) to “see” what an FM wave would look like. FM radio waves are short and cannot travel very far, nor can they penetrate tall buildings or mountains. This is why you lose an FM station when you enter a tunnel, for instance.

AM radio, by contrast, works by modulating the amplitude of the radio wave (hence, AM = “amplitude modulation”). With AM, the peaks get higher or lower, depending on what’s being broadcast. So you could take the image above and stretch the top and bottom sides (or squeeze them together) to “see” an AM wave. Unlike FM, AM waves are very long, and can easily pass through buildings or mountains. In fact, AM waves are so long that they can bounce off the earth’s ionosphere at night and travel in all sorts of directions. If you’ve ever listened to a nighttime call-in show on a local talk radio station, you might have heard people calling in from several states over. This is because the radio waves are bouncing off the ionosphere and landing hundreds of miles away. But more on that later.

In the early part of the 20th century, the United States, being an industrial giant, took a commanding “lead” in the number of radio stations it had versus Canada and Mexico. For this reason – as well as the usual American arrogance – when it came time to pass the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement in 1941, the US had made into law what had already been practiced for two decades: a huge chunk of the available airwaves went to the US. Canada received the lion’s share of the remaining bandwidth, and Mexico received… next to nothing. The Mexican government, miffed at being snubbed by the Yanquis, decided to fight back by allowing their radio stations to broadcast at up to 500,000 watts, although most stations drew the line at 250,000. This was several times the power of any American radio station, which were limited to 50,000 watts by the FCC.

Continue reading “The Border Blasters”