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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Timing is Everything

You are about to bear witness to a very rare phenomenon.

A pre-shower blog entry. I am a meticulous morning shower-er but I have yet to partake in my watery rebirthing ritual yet today. Perhaps, I cannot bear to tear myself away from the yummy breakfast sandwich I am currently enjoying (yes, 12:55 PM is breakfast time in college). Perhaps my morning rituals have been disturbed by a painful 10:00 AM fire drill. Or perhaps I am just so excited about today's blog entry that I can tolerate my own stink for another 30 minutes or so.

I would like to think it is the ultimate of that list. 

I have now seen 3 of the 5 Best Picture Nominees or the Oscars. I had a ball at Slumdog Millionaire and I loathed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (seriously, just watch Big Fish or Forrest Gump again). I solemnly swear to never watch The Reader because it stole The Dark Knight's rightful nomination and I will be watching Milk tonight at the Athena. Astute readers will notice that I left one film off of that list, and that is the one film that I would like to speak about right now: Frost/Nixon.

I loved Frost/Nixon.

I thought it was wildly entertaining, thought-provoking and quietly epic. As a matter of fact, I think Frost/Nixon is my favorite film I have seen this year that isn't named The Dark Knight or Wall-E. I could ramble on and on about why I love Frost/Nixon but that isn't the true purpose of this blog entry (readers who would like some insight as to why I love it should read this old post, however). No, the point I am trying to get across is this: I think Frost/Nixon is a wonderful movie and I think it is by far the best of the 3 Best Picture nominees that I have seen so far...but I do not think it should win Best Picture.

I can hear the collective "Whaaaa.......?" all the way over here, so let me take a moment to explain my reasoning. If Frost/Nixon was viewed in a vacuum, it would be the most powerful and excellent of the five nominees. But, unfortunately, we cannot watch movies in vacuums. We watch movies in a certain collective mindset and perspective, influenced by the culture around us and the time that we live in. And while Frost/Nixon is a powerful film, it does not quite have the resonance within the current culture that we occupy that other films have. David Frost is no longer a consequential voice in Western society and Richard Nixon has long been six feet under, both metaphorically and figuratively. This is a new age of American life where Hope is in a constant struggle and Fear and Insecurity and this is an age in which people are beginning to seriously reconsider their priorities in life and their way of viewing the world.

The themes and images of Frost/Nixon are timeless, but that is not always the way that movies should work. I believe that a Best Picture nominee should be a time capsule that we can hold up to future generations and say: "this was us in the year 2008 and this is what we chose to represent how we felt." Frost/Nixon is a superior work of art and think it is the best Best Picture nominee I have seen so far...but it isn't "us" this year. Slumdog Millionaire and its frenetic, exciting blend of Bollywood and Dickens-like orphans fits the bill closer for 2008.

It is a shame because I think Frost/Nixon is viewed completely different in the mid-2000s and is the perfect movie for a different era of politics and American culture. I think if this movie is released anytime between 2003 and 2006, it wins the Best Picture Oscar, no question, and probably goes down as one of the most acclaimed movies of the decade. 

Oh well, I guess it just goes to show that timing is everything.

Enough thought and introspection, I need to go wash my rancid body now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Best of Athens....According to Me pt. 2

It's that time again.

Yep, it is time for me to verbally masturbate The Athens News.

I get in these moods every now and then when I feel the need to laud this quality newspaper. And that mood has struck once again.

In this Monday's edition of The A-News, the paper continued what I have come to understand is a time-honored tradition: they handed out 2009 Best of Athens Reader's Choice Awards. The Athens News has been handing these out for quite some time now. I know this because many restaurants and stores I frequent in A-Town proudly display their Best of Athens *Insert Year Here* plaques. It is a very simple concept. The Athens News has readers vote, via an online poll, for their favorite bits and pieces of Athens in seven categories: Dining, Places, People, Nightlife, Commerce, Miscellaneous and Students Only. But for as simple as it is, it is equally brilliant.

Case in point: there is no way in hell I would miss this issue and leave it the news-rack. And I know there aren't many people out there who could resist picking it up either. We are shallow creatures obsessed with rankings and knowing what the "best" is. We want to know what the best movie/restaurant/town/sports team is. We want to know what aspects of life are worth our preciously brief time. Not only does The Athens News attempt to fill this ranking void for the Athens community, but it also enlists their reader's help. This way the reader's feel like they have a stake in their community and can help catalogue and record the best that this community has to offer. And, of course, there is the added bonus of restaurants, stores and businesses all over town having a plaque that reads "The Athens News" displayed in their building.

In the sacred words of those creepy cut-out guys from those Guiness beer commercials: Brilliant!

So, now that I have thoroughly convinced you that The Athens News Best of Athens Awards are the most meaningful and legitimate awards since the Oscars (which I will probably end up watching despite my pledge not to), let me take a moment to examine this year's awards a little more in-depth.

What I Liked About the 2009 Best of Athens Awards
Commerce - I even found Athens Underground fascinating and I am a heterosexual male who despises fashion. I remember seeing a Jesus action figure outside of Artifacts...excellent window display.
Miscellaneous - I will go out on a limb and say that Halloween was the best Local Event of the year, seeing as it was the only one I attended. Oh Chauncey, you are so delightfully annoying, wherever you are.
Nightlife - Who am I kidding? I have never been outside past 9:00.
Students Only - I like Kent Smith, he sends very friendly stock e-mails. I wonder if I will ever walk in on an Alden Library hook-up.

What I Didn't Like About the 2009 Best of Athens Awards
Commerce - Target is not that great and I don't think you should openly pine after one. I don't remember seeing Avalanche pizza advertisements anywhere but The Athens News...maybe that is why they won.
Miscellaneous - Ryan Dunn? I think I'm the best local media person! I don't think the media snoozed on Roderick McDavis at all, case in point
Nightlife - Who am I kidding? I have never been outside past 9:00.
Students Only - "Hangover" beats "Sleeping in" and "Sex" for best excuse for skipping class? This campus has its priorities COMPLETELY mixed up. "My House" is not a good party spot, trust me.

Well, those are my thoughts on the Athens News awards. I hope that in the next three or four years I can get Big Mama's burritos to number one on every list and have "sleeping in" and "sex" reclaim their rightful throne over "hangover."

Only then will order be restored to the world.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Best of Athens...According to Me pt. 1

It's that time again.

Yep, it is time for me to verbally masturbate The Athens News.

 I get in these moods every now and then when I feel the need to laud this quality newspaper. And that mood has struck once again. 

In this Monday's edition of The A-News, the paper continued what I have come to understand is a time-honored tradition: they handed out 2009 Best of Athens Reader's Choice Awards. The Athens News has been handing these out for quite some time now. I know this because many restaurants and stores I frequent in A-Town proudly display their Best of Athens *Insert Year Here* plaques. It is a very simple concept. The Athens News has readers vote, via an online poll, for their favorite bits and pieces of Athens in seven categories: Dining, Places, People, Nightlife, Commerce, Miscellaneous and Students Only. But for as simple as it is, it is equally brilliant.

Case in point: there is no way in hell I would miss this issue and leave it the news-rack. And I know there aren't many people out there who could resist picking it up either. We are shallow creatures obsessed with rankings and knowing what the "best" is. We want to know what the best movie/restaurant/town/sports team is. We want to know what aspects of life are worth our preciously brief time. Not only does The Athens News attempt to fill this ranking void for the Athens community, but it also enlists their reader's help. This way the reader's feel like they have a stake in their community and can help catalogue and record the best that this community has to offer. And, of course, there is the added bonus of restaurants, stores and businesses all over town having a plaque that reads "The Athens News" displayed in their building.

In the sacred words of those creepy cut-out guys from those Guiness beer commercials: Brilliant!

So, now that I have thoroughly convinced you that The Athens News Best of Athens Awards are the most meaningful and legitimate awards since the Oscars (which I will probably end up watching despite my pledge not to), let me take a moment to examine this year's awards a little more in-depth.

What I Liked About the 2009 Best of Athens Awards
Dining - Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Places - The fact that the people of Athens had the balls to say there was "nothing" good about Albany, I must visit this boring place. The Athena Grand is on par with all the movie theaters back home.
People - It tickles me that they called Roderick McDavis "boring."

What I Didn't Like About the 2009 Best of Athens Awards
Dining - Bob Evans is the best breakfast ever! Big Mama Burrito shall be "runner-up" to no restaurant.......none. Buffalo Wild Wings has good wings but the best wings in Ohio are on the other side of Court Street at Broney's Alumni Grill. Oh, and we all know that Donkey Coffee is the most wildly overrated establishment in the history of humanity.
Places - I like being a student of Ohio University...but I don't know if I would ever want to work here. The East Side of Athens is nice but come on, downtown Court Street is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting (and out of a Hunter S. Thompson novel on Friday nights). 
People - Who am I kidding, I don't know any important Athens figures.

The rest of the rankings don't come out until tomorrow, at which point I will be sure to blog about my tiny little thoughts.

In the meantime, I am going to continue to watch Cleveland Indians re-runs on Sports Time Ohio. I love watching these re-runs.

Because the Indians never lose!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Release the Balloons!

Well, readers, we have finally done it. We have reached blog #100.

Of course, by "we" I mean, I slaved over hundreds of thousands of words in 100 days worth of ill-conceived diatribes and you logged in every other week to pretend to read them. I feel like we have a good thing going here. The reason I wanted to acknowledge my 100th post (other than to begin by alienating all my loyal readers), was to simply take a moment to remark on where I've been, where I currently am and where I will be. But I promise it won't be as lame as that previous sentence.

When I started this thing, my only goal was to write, write, write, write and write some more. To be perfectly honest, I didn't care so much about getting my opinions out there, being eloquent or trying to influence any type of policy or even be remotely intriguing or entertaining. 

Mission accomplished.

The Collective(ly) Unconscious has, at the very least, been what I wanted to be: a medium where I can force myself to write on a regular basis. I have always held a not-so-secret desire to be a writer and felt like I had an aptitude for the art. The main thing I lacked was motivation. Every journal I attempted to begin in my life ended after about a week's worth of entries and every book or movie script I ever attempted to undertake never made it past the initial idea. I was painfully lazy wanting to go into an industry where lazy people are quickly swallowed whole and never heard from again.

Then in my Journalism 101 class, my professor, Bob Stewart, gave us all some sage advice. "Start a blog." It seemed so simple and it really was. I had considered starting a regular blog before but was always scared away by (what else) the workload. Some part of me must have known, however, that if I wanted to be a writer, I should probably, you know, WRITE. So Bob Stewart's words clicked somewhere in my tiny brain and I began my meager little blog.

I can talk about my maturation process as a writer, or can talk about how I feel about the quality of the blog, but I don't think now is really the time for that and I am not the one to judge it. There are some entries I am very proud of, and there are other entries that I feel I made painfully obvious I didn't really care about that particular day. But in the end, I now stand at 100 posts, and as far as I am concerned that is a success.

My opportunities and workload today, however, are much different than when I started my little corner of the Internet. Back on September 11th, 2008, I was brand new on campus and was still a "free agent." I mean to say, I hadn't committed my time or energy to any campus activities, clubs or organizations. That couldn't be any more different now. For the time being, I write for Bobcatblogs (hence the little link to the right), am a member of the OU chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and maintain another weekly blog at 

Then there's Backdrop Magazine. To the casual reader, it may not even seem like I am affiliate with Backdrop. Sure, I have their Facebook group as a link on my Blog but I have never really spoken of them and nothing I have written has been featured in their magazine. Perception is quite different from the reality though. I am getting a stronger and stronger feeling everyday that Backdrop is going to be the backbone of my college writing experience. I originally started this blog so that I would have something to write everyday and could continue to be productive even if The Post or Athens News or ACRN or whatever I chose to involve myself in didn't pan out. But Backdrop seems to be that medium I have been looking for to prove myself in and to write for. Their actual website will be launching in a little under a month now and when it does I will have a regular weekly "blog-type" feature on it that I do not want to spoil right now and will have another 800-1000 word story featured on it that I wrote last fall. In addition to the website, there is also a fairly strong chance that the story I am working on now will make the spring edition of the Magazine. Fingers crossed!

So things are far different for me now than when I started all these shenanigans. But I am grateful for this blog and the constant it has been for me since I entered campus as a young, inexperienced pup. I truly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read my long-winded rants and I thank you all for your feedback. The Collective(ly) Unconscious has been everything I could have hoped for up to this point and I look forward to many more posts in the future. Things may change format and content-wise in the near and distant future for this blog, but I will try to maintain the original spirit in which I started it. 

Again, reader, thank you and I hope to hear from you come Wednesday for post #101 and the return to business as usual.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Morning Links pt. 19

I am now an Apple-lifer.

Steve Jobs has his tether-hooks deep in my flesh and is not letting go for anything. How fitting is it that on today, the 25th birthday of the Macintosh computer, my own Macbook was brought back to life by the heroes at the Lyndhurst Apple store? 

It turns out, I was a little bit off when I assumed my darling Macbook required complex surgery to bring it back from the clutches of Colonel Panic. I arrived at the Apple store around 1:00 and was met with a scene that looked like Ellis Island circa 1913. The place was PACKED. I was mildly peeved that the only time available to seek help from the Genius Bar was 4:40 that same day, but at the same time it seemed to be a brilliant business decision. By putting only one Apple store in a crowded metropolitan-suburban area like Northeast Ohio, the Apple corporation is ensuring that the Apple store will ALWAYS be slamming, making it appear that everyone and their mother is using a Macbook or iPhone. Touche, Apple, touche. 

Anyway, when I returned at 4:40 I was aided by a smooth-talking dynamo known as "Joe." Joe not only kicked Colonel Panic's ass in about ten minutes, he did it without having to delve into my Macbook's guts and even found time to flirt with a pretty lady on the other side of the store. That, friends, is a hero. I might as well get an Apple tattooed on my chest. 

I have gone Mac and I will not go back.

Here are your links for the week.

- So Joaquin Phoenix is a rapper now. Makes perfect sense.......

- I am a total sucker for "big ideas" and Newsweek presented me with a doozy recently. In the new Obama America, just who the hell are we?

- If you had any doubts that Bill Simmons was one of the finest sportswriters of this generation, then just read this piece. It is about his family dog of 6 years having to be put down and it sounds like prose written by Hemmingway or Dickinson about the face of sorrow after the loss of a soulmate.

- The Vatican says that seminaries are doing a good job...they could just stand to be a little less gay.

- Thank God I don't have this woman for a wife. And Thank God my girlfriend is a chubby chaser.

That's all I have. Time to get ready for one of the busiest weeks of my life. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Colonel Panic Strikes

Everything I touch I destroy.

Here I am, home for the weekend in scenic Twinsburg, Ohio, trying to relax and enjoy myself. So I do what I usually do before I go to bed: I listen to a nice smoothing podcast on my Macbook Pro and look up information on baseball players via Wikipedia (yes, I am that big of a nerd). Problem is, my Macbook is getting antsy becaue it hasn't updated itself in quite some time. So the annoying little system update screen pops up and begins yelling "Update me!!! Please udate me!!!"

"Fair enough, Macbook," I say, "I rarely update you and you seemed to have earned it." So I click the little update button and go on my merry baseball-researching way. Of course, merely pressing the button is not enough for Macbook. I forgot that Macbook always wants to restart in order to update. So I mournfully close out my iTunes and my Safari browser and let Macbook do its thing.

But I am not a patient man. And as I watch the progress monitor slowly crawl to 10% after about 10 minutes, I decide to abort this tedious process. So, like the idiot I am, I turn the laptop off, assuming that I can just resume the update process when I am ready to go to bed. I then turn on the Macbook.

And my heart breaks.

I have been Colonel Panicked. The correct term for what is actually happening to my precious laptop is technically Kernel Panic Mode, but I prefer the phoenetic pronunciation of "Colonel Panic". To me it suggests that there is an angry Army Official inside of my computer named "Colonel Panic" that is wreaking havoc with the machine's guts. After about 57,290 attempts to reboot my Mac, only to see the same damn Colonel Panic message every time, I called my girlfriend to ask fo help. She did some research on her own "Panic" free laptop and found out that Kernel Panic Mode is essentially a cancer that inflicts Mac operating systems from time to time. I knew I was in trouble when I looked at the "Kernel Panic" Wikipedia entry this morning and Wikipedia obliged me to see its "Screens of Death" page as well. There is nothing that I can do to fix my poor little Macbook Pro, I have to take it to the nearest Apple store and beg Steve Jobs's slaves for some help.

Why, Colonel Panic, did you have to come in the night for my Mac's soul? I needed that freaking computer! Everything I have written for the past year is in that hard-drive and all the websites I need for my Sunday Morning Links is in there as well. Take my eyes, my hands and my feet but don't take my laptop away from me!

I would drive the 20 to 30 minutes to the Apple store in my area and find some help, but in two hours I get to head up to C-Town (that's Cleveland, to you out-of-towners) and watch my little brother's band play at the House of Blues for Battle of the Bands. They are called Saints and Poets (a name developed by yours truly) and they will own your soul if you ever cross their path. It is a small concession that I will be able to eat and enjoy good live music a few hours from but I have to take what I can get when Colonel Panic systematically tries to destroy my life.

Thankfully, my family someone has a total of 4 computers in this house (counting my laptop). I have no idea why we need 4 computers fo 3 people,, but I think it shows you where our priority lies...especially when you consider we only have two working TVs. I would actually say that for every hour of TV I watch in my life, I spend another three hours on a computer.

So Colonel Panic definitely hit me where it hurts. Hopefully, next time you hear from me I will be typing from my Mac. If not, may God have mercy on my soul.

Actually, may Colonel Panic have mercy on my soul.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Gut-Punch

So America just elected its first black President and the Oscars couldn't find the courage to nominate a summer blockbuster for Best Picture?

I am not watching the Oscars.

That's it. That's all I have to say. I have made excuses for them for years and I have dutifully watched every single ceremony for as long as I can remember.

But I will not watch this one.

I love movies. But it is becoming increasingly more clear that the Oscars don't. I am writing this reaction mere seconds after I learned that The Reader.....yes, The Reader, the movie that currently has a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie that stars Kate Winslet as a Nazi seducing a young boy who later grows up to be Ralph Fiennes (I did not make that synopsis up), the movie that is the very definition of Oscar-bait received a Best Picture nomination and The Dark Knight did not.

Look, Oscars, I try my damndest to support you. I told other people that you were legitimate even though you repeatedly shot yourself in the foot, year after year. But this is just crazy. I don't have to tell you how good The Dark Knight is or why it should have been nominated because you already know. At the end of the day, you were just too afraid to nominate a movie that was....gulp, POPULAR! 

Can you imagine the horror if the Oscars had actually nominated a movie that the general public gives a crap about? It would be anarchy! So its really best they didn't. They wouldn't want to jeopardize their image as a old institution of cranky old white men who are completely out of touch with the viewing public. Thank God, they still have that image or they actually might have made themselves matter in the new age of America.

Oh well, they will still have the same ten or twelve snobs who actually watch the show every year watch it.

I just won't be one of them this year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I Feel Like My Heart is Going to Burst...Because it's Full of Rainbows"

It is 3:15 on a Wednesday and I kind of feel like I am standing in the linchpin of human existence.

Much has happened in the past 24 hours and even more will happen in the next 24 but here I stand in the eye of the storm, the middle, no man's land. Let me just use this time in the eye of the storm to reflect on what has already happened and get prepared for what is yet to come

First off, yesterday was kind of a big deal.

I don't know if you heard but we inaugurated our first African-American president. Millions (yes, millions) gathered in the Mall in Washington D.C to witness the historic event, including the eyes of every nation, billions more on the television and Internet and every major media organization that exists on the planet. So how did I watch it? Just like your everyday 18-year old American male in college probably did: by having the TV turned to CNN and taking a cursory glance every now and then between my college-like activities. My college-like activities that morning just happened to be stripping down and gathering my shower caddy for my morning shower before class. 

Barack began his speech around noon and I witnessed a good ten minutes of it before I was off to the showers. When I returned, he was just wrapping up. College is college, I suppose and my P Sc 100 class certainly didn't care how sexy or amazing Barack Obama was, it just wanted me there to learn about the Universe. When my children ask me what I was doing at the moment our first black president (we will probably have a consecutive streak of 3 more old white guys by then) gave his inaugural address, I will just have to tell them that I was getting ready for class then ask them how they thought I paid for this house if I spent all my time CNN when I should be getting ready for class. I will then light a $100 bill on fire with my cigar and tell those kids to get back to sweeping the chimney.

But in all seriousness, I did not see enough of President Obama's speech to pass any judgements on it and I know several other local bloggers attended the Inauguration live and in person and should have wildly more insightful things to say than I do. All I can say is that the consensus I seemed to be hearing on Cable news networks and online is that Barack gave a speech that was far more pertinent to our time and the current struggle we are going through than it was a reflective speech that talked about the struggle of the past or our legacy in the future. If that indeed was the case, then I can only say "kudos" to Barack. Monday was a day to reflect on the past and today is the day to think about the future, but Tuesday was all about the N-O-W.

More "kudos" go out to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who proved that their importance and their place in the media will not die out with George W. Bush's era in office. Jon Stewart did the previously unthinkable and compared Barack Obama's inaugural speech to George W. Bush's and noted the similarities. There was a hilariously awkward moment when the audience wasn't sure whether they should laugh or cry and "White House correspondent" Jason Jones begged Stewart not to ruin this moment for him while Jon Stewart apologized profusely for doing his job. Brilliant. Also brilliant was Stephen Colbert's reaction to the preciousness of the inauguration in which his conservative, blow-hard persona was won over by Obama's speech, the adorableness of his little girls, and the rhyming passages by the lovely old black preacher-man. You know what, I can't do it justice. If you haven't seen it, just go watch it.

But enough about the past, regardless of how awesome and racially harmonious it may be.

Tomorrow brings the day that I have been waiting for for the better part of a year. Tomorrow we finally get to hear the Academy announce the Oscar nominations. Oscar noms, baby Oscar noms. The more I think about it, the more I am worried that I got every single nomination wrong in my original predictions. Entertainment Weekly's Oscar genius Dave Karger seems absolutely convinced now that Clint Eastwood is going to get a Lead Actor nomination for Gran Torino and even thinks that he has a shot at winning it. I just assumed that Gran Torino was too little, too late for the Academy but everyone else's insistence he will be nominated is beginning to worry me.

I also thought that the same Academy that gave American Beauty an Oscar for Best Picture would certainly give a nomination to Revolutionary Road over the overtly political Milk but Karger thinks that Revolutionary Road may not even get any acting nominations. Now THAT would surprise me. Oh well, too late to change my picks, I just have to pray I was right (I am the kind of guy lame enough to pray I was right on Oscar nominations, trust me)

I guess that's all...but I get the feeling I am forgetting something. Isn't there some show or something coming back on tonight. I could've sworn it was the one where at the end of every episode the screen abruptly cuts to black and then the text reads......

L    O    S    T

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Little Bit of Cosmic Timing

About 18 or so hours from now, America will officially inaugurate her first President of African descent...whoa, whoa, wait a minute! We actually elected a black guy?

I know it has been two months since Barack Obama was officially elected, but it is still hard for me to wrap my head around. I remember hoping to see a black president in my lifetime and even coming close to believing I actually would. Then I would remember that end of slavery was only about 150 years old, and that the "separate but equal" doctrine had ended during my parents lifetime, and that the L.A Riots had occurred during my lifetime, and that race still seemed to be a touchy issue that no one wanted to talk about, and I would re-think its plausibility. Pre-Barack Obama, I was even on record as believing that America would sooner elect a woman or a Latino-American before an African-American.

Looks like I was way off.

Now here we stand. Tomorrow is  a another stop (hopefully one of the last necessary stops) on a Civil Rights train that started 50 years ago. And isn't it only fitting that today, the day before this monumental stop, is Martin Luther King Jr. day. 

If you think that we are throwing a big party down here on Earth with our transcontinental train trips, Bruce Springsteen concerts and Hip Hop Inaugural balls, you had better think again. This has to be nothing compared to the party that is going on up in Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla, The Other Side or wherever it is good men and women go when they die. For surely, Martin Luther King Jr. is the most popular guy on any extraterrestrial plane right now.

"Hey Marty," they are probably saying, "check out your progeny down there. Look how much he means to them."

Then M.L.K probably readjusts his party hat, wipes the punch off of his mustache with a napkin and laughs contentedly.

I can't help but think it is a little cosmic wink that Barack Obama's inauguration comes 24 hours after the day we chose to honor a man who dedicated his life to fairness, equality and racial harmony. Present circumstances being what they are, we can today safely think on the past and be remorseful for the anonymous faces in America's history he were held down by racism and were led to believe they were second class. 

Then tomorrow we can just freaking party. 

I like the idea of a new American racial landscape beginning as a three day process. Today we remember the past. Tomorrow we party like it's 1999 (the actual 1999 partying was very disappointing, we need a do-over) and on Wednesday we do what all Americans always do: get the hell back to work. 

As a college student, my next three days skew a little differently (mostly work, work, work) but I will do my best to reflect on the past, live in the present and prepare for the future. Barack Obama has done nothing yet and could end up being a royal disappointment, but he has done well up to this point and deserves our respect. In any case, today and tomorrow are not his days. They belong to Marty L. King and all the good folks who gave themselves for this day to come.

I would like to leave you with a quote from esteemed scholar Tracy Morgan:
"Welcome to post-racial America. I am the face of post-racial America. Deal with it, Cate Blanchette!"

M.L.K himself couldn't have said it any better. 

Deal with THAT, Cate Blanchette.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Morning Links pt. 18

Maybe I really am just a superficial person.

The M.O (I have NO idea what that stands for) of my blog since I have started it has been long, deliriously boring and rambling, self-indulgent essays. At the end of each blog, I would even Word Count it just to see that it fell in the 800-1200 word range. If it did, great. If it didn't, I had some more writing to do.

I know longer didn't equal better and I know that it was horribly hypocritical of me to expect readers to read such lengthy diatribe when I start tuning out around word 400 myself on other blogs. I just couldn't seem to kick my long-winded habit.

Now, I finally seem to have subconsciously gotten the message. My blogs this week have been painfully short by my standards. Trust me, it pained me to hit the Publish Post button every time this week knowing that the Word Count was probably going to be significantly less than 800-1200. But I had to. 

It wasn't because I had made the conscious decision to go shorter and it wasn't because I was finally done with being a hypocrite. 

I just had shit to do.

I would get ready to add 300 more needless words, then I would realize that there was Health 202 homework staring me in the face that wouldn't go away anytime soon. 

So, enjoy the new, shorter The Collective(ly) Unconscious blog. It is probably an easier read and far better than the older entries. Just don't let my ego figure that out.

- This is what I want my wedding to be like.

- This is by far the most charming and hilarious videos I have seen in quite some time. What does the plot of Star Wars sound like coming from some one who has never seen the whole trilogy?

- You know Beer Pong is officially dead when Rick Reilly writes what seems to be a Master's Thesis on it.

- Sounds like a good deal to me!

- And finally, Barack Obama knows what he's doing. Win the Press over early, kiddo.

That's all for now, I have a life to go re-examine!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The "Beast List" Gains a Valued Entrant

My brother and I once had an honored tradition.

We called it "The Beast List." The Beast List was a running list of men and women (okay, mostly men), who had earned themselves the designation of "Beast." How does one become a Beast, you may ask? Well, I am of the opinion that one cannot become a Beast, one must be born a Beast. And the qualities that these "Beasts" display is nothing short of consistent and wall to wall awesomeness. It is hard and intangible quality to nail down, but once you encounter a will know

A Beast may be a fictional character or a real flesh and blood person. But a Beast must always and forever display the qualities of Beastliness. Mr. Eko, on Lost used to be a Beast, but then he was killed by a cloud of black smoke like a bitch. And dead bitches certainly cannot be Beasts. If you are having trouble nailing down the concept of Beast here is a brief list of Beasts to help you understand the qualities necessary in being a Beast:

Captain Malcolm Reynolds is a Beast
LeBron James is a Beast
Jack Bauer is a Beast

So why do I bring up the concept of a Beast and the Beast List? I bring it up because yesterday, we followers of Beastdom (i.e me and my brother, Ian), gained a new member.

Meet Chesley B. Sullenberger, a man so mind-bogglingly Beastly that he may someday be on the cover of the Beast List. "Sully", as his friends know him, is a U.S Airways pilot. Yesterday Sully happened to be flying an A320 Airbus when wouldn't-you-know-it a wayward flock of geese got sucked into the jet's turbines, immediately disabling both engines and turning the aircraft into a very expensive flight-less tube filled with 155 doomed individuals. 

Most men would have accepted the inevitability of their and their passenger's demise. But Chesley B. Sullenberger is not most men, Chesley B. Sullenberger is a B-E-A-S-T. Sully coolly placed the plane gently into the Hudson River. One passenger even remarked that the impact felt like nothing more than a rear-end collision. Sully guided a flight-less stick full of people gently into the Hudson River on a 20 degree day and thanks in part to quick-acting rescue teams, not a single life was lost. Apparently, one woman broke both of her legs and Sully is probably on top of Mt. Sinai right now praying for her legs to heal....he is just that much of a Beast.

Ladies and gentleman, when "miracles" happen it is often tempting to thank God or Allah or Divine Intervention or Fate or whatever other celestial force floats your boat. But today I think we must all take a step back and thank some good old-fashioned human ingenuity and competence. 

Chesley B. Sullenberger, may you retire softly to the Hallowed Halls of Beastdom.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Human Pharmacy

I may have spoken a little too soon about my Hudson experience.

The nice doctors there did plenty for me. They took my temperature (101.1), they asked me plenty of probing questions (diarrhea to the max), they gave me some medicine (Promethazine for nausea) and then they sent me on my way. The whole ordeal took a little over an hour and I felt like I was in pretty good hands.

Then I got home.

From 3:00 in the afternoon to around 9:00 at night I believe I had much more in common with the dead than the living. I plopped down in my bed, gathered some water bottles around my bed and figured I would have plenty of time to do my homework for the entire week. But it turns out that writing yesterday's blog entry was the last productive thing I would do for about 24 hours. I put my computer down, threw the blankets over my feverish body and simply died.

I was unconscious for the next 5 or 6 hours and was interrupted only on a few occasions by my girlfriend who would dutifully try to feed me. She was even nice enough to make me some chicken noodle soup (no sodaontheside). I ate about 3 bites, then insisted that she take it away and yelled at her for interrupting my bear-like hibernation for good measure. You know something is wrong when I, the guy who thinks that 2,500 calories a day is a "diet", refuses to eat.

So I was dying. And I imagine if I had any semblance of my conscious remaining, I would have been a little peeved at Hudson for leaving me to die in my single dorm room, friend-less, drug-less and alone. Then my girlfriend did what Hudson could not. For those of you who think the story is about to get dirty, I apologize: she simply gave me four Ibuprofen. I don't know how she thought of it. Maybe her undying love for me in her soul led her to my unused bottle of Ibuprofen in my drawer. Maybe she just wanted to be my living will since I was surely going to die soon. Or maybe she just had the common sense that Hudson didn't have to realize that simple over-the-counter pain pills like Ibuprofen help sick people. Whatever the case was, I took the four Ibuprofen.

And they rocked.

After a brief hour or so of sleep, I awoke feeling like I could run a triathlon while simultaneously fighting Evander Holyfield. I could actually stand up and go to the bathroom; a feat that seemed impossible just hours ago! I could even eat some more chicken noodle soup (bringing my calories for the day up to about 212). Had the underlying cause of my sickness gone away, whether it be a virus, food-poisoning or the Flu? I don't really know, and I don't really care. All I know is that Ibuprofen is now being left everything in my Will. I may succumb to severe internal sickness any second now but thanks to Ibuprofen I won't be feeling any pain.

This whole experience got me thinking about superheroes (as most experiences do in my simple mind).  If a high dosage of a simple over-the-counter drug can bring me back from the dead, why can't it turn a normal, healthy person into a superhero? Think about it, in the day of modern medicine, we don't need a radioactive spider, futuristic technology or exposure to a meteorite to become superheroes. We just need drugs!

If I were a half-way artistic man, I would totally pitch this idea to Marvel, DC or whatever other comic book companies exist. Here's the vision:

 There's this guy who is dissatisfied with his life and all the crime on his streets.
So one day he decides to take the law into his own hands by becoming a masked vigilante! But instead of using any traditional weapons or acquiring superpowers, he using modern medicine to improve himself. When he needs super strength, he takes a steroid. When he needs super healing, he takes a pain reliever. When he needs super focus, he takes ritalin. And when he needs a super crazy X factor, he takes LSD. His name is: THE HUMAN PHARMACY.

I think this idea is golden, Internet. Unfortunately, I don't have the time, talent, or drive to make it happen. So I am bequeathing it to you, creative minds of the Interweb. Do the best you can with this idea. The royalties and copyright can be all yours. All I ask in return is that you comment my blog every now and then. So when the reaper does finally come for me, he will see I popular I was!

Now if you'd excuse me, I need to go eat some crackers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Take Two and Call Me in the Mornin....Oh, Just Don't Die

I am sick.

Like really sick. Like I-owe-my-girlfriend-a-new-rug-after-redecorating-it-with-my-insides sick. Like spend-70-hours-a-day-on-the-toilet sick. Like we-are-going-to-need-a-stool-sample sick. Whatever sicknesses exist, I have them and it sucks.

I was originally going to try and make some type of witty comeback based on my sickness, but I don't really have the energy or mental capacity right now. I think I am going to just start writing and not stop until I succumb to my illness, pass out or puke all over my Macbook.

Up to this point in my life, I have been a fairly fiscally conservative person. I don't mean that I rarely spent my money, because I did: too much of it and too frequently. But whenever the political issue involving money came up, I usually stuck to the G.O.P party line, i.e "stay the hell away from me, Uncle Sam." 

I frowned upon those crazy Canadians up north and their Socialist healthcare system. Those commies are just weighing the system down with long waiting lines, improper care and well, communism-ness. But now that I live on a liberal public campus, I have gotten a closer look at a socialized health care system. And to borrow a quote from someone I am not sure exists or ever said anything like this (did I mention I am very sick?): "it aint so bad, man."

And it aint so bad (man), as a matter of fact, I would describe my experience as pretty good. I walked into the Hudson Student Health Center expecting an apocalyptic scene: mothers in shawls holding crying babies, harried doctors running back and forth down halls rubbing their temples, heroin addicts shooting up in elevators. But the environment was a touch more relaxed than that. I put my information into a computer, talked to a receptionist, turned in my medical history, answered questions and then was seen by a doctor (wearing a comfy looking sweater). 

Five steps to get to a doctor seems like a bit much, but it was better than I expected (obviously, if you read my expectations). Plus, I would rather be getting something constructive done than waiting 45 minutes in one room like I usually do at my family doctor back home.

So where am I going with this? I have no idea.

Canada, you keep being you, baby. Obama, I will at the very least consider what you have to say about Healthcare. Katie, I am sorry about your rug. I don't even really know what I am saying at this point. I don't know if I can write much lloooooooooooo

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Morning After/Redemption

So about those Golden Globe predictions....

I don't want to say that was the sorriest display of Award Show predicting of all time, but if there were a shadowy-group of individuals that kept track of Award Show predictions, I think I would have my blog taken away from me for using it so irresponsibly.

Of the 16 categories that I took a stab at guessing (I mean really, who cares about best supporting actor in a TV mini-series?), I guessed 8 correctly. 50% isn't bad, right? Well, I would love to tell that to my parents when they see I have an F on my report card. I got 50% of the points in the class, mom! (Dear mom and dad: I do not currently have any Fs and do not, repeat, DO NOT spend my time capriciously blogging when I should be studying). 

50% aside, I am even more upset by the fact that I missed so many of the Movie categories. TV is easy, the Emmys were held not four months ago and the Golden Globes usually do not deviate too radically from TV's highest honor. Mad Men was obvious, as was 30 Rock. Tina Fey has won every award in the galaxy (rightfully so) and there was no way that the Golden Globes were going to snub the modern day Lucille Ball. John Adams was fairly obvious and I should have seen Alec Baldwin coming from a mile away but I got cute and said that the HFPA would choose David Duchovny instead. 

Actually, when I think about it, there were only two real surprises in the television category and those were the lead Drama actor and actress categories. Gabriel Byrne won Best Actor and Anna Paquin won Best Actress. I correctly guessed on Anna  Paquin, assuming that the HFPA would be on the lookout for fresh meat after so many female leads have gone missing from prime-time. If True Blood maintains momentum, Anna Paquin can be the Agency's go-to-girl for the next few years. I must admit, however, that I was completely blind-sided by Gabriel Byrne. If I had ranked all the actors before-hand from 5 to 1 in order of chance of winning, the list would have looked like this:
5. Jonathan Rhys Meyers
4. Gabriel Byrne
3. Hugh Laurie
2. Jon Hamm
1. Michael C. Hall

But on the TV side of the equation, I managed to end up with a respectable 5 out of 7. 

Then came the movies.

Oh Lord, what happened? I can count on one hand the categories that I guessed correctly in the Movie section of the show. I guessed Vicky Christina Barcelona right (pretty easy considering its only competition was the lukewarmly-received In Bruges). I guessed Heath Ledger correctly (an obvious choice, but I cannot undersell how powerful a moment it was or how touching Christopher Nolan's acceptance of the award was anyway). And I guessed Kate Winslet as Best Actress for Revolutionary Road correctly. Everything else....completely, inexcusably, 100% wrong on every single category. 

How did this happen? Well, I cannot defend it and I cannot change it but I can at least explain my reasoning. A few of the winners I fully expected to win the Oscar for their respective categories (Mickey Rourke for Best Actor, Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture, Danny Boyle for Best Director) and I thought the Golden Globes would go in a different direction. I figured the HFPA knew that Rourke, Slumdog and even someone like Viola Davis would most likely win the Oscars, so they would deliberately choose someone else. Apparently, I was wrong, very very wrong.

"Alright, smart guy," I hear you ask, "if you know so much about how the Academy picks its winners then why didn't you just predict the Academy awards?"

Well, that is how I plan to seek my redemption. The Golden Globes has brought me down, shamed me, made me less of a man. And my only hope to retrieve my reputation is through the Oscars. That redemptions starts today, right here, right now. I am making a Custer-like last stand to maintain my standing in Pop culture knowledge and understanding by predicting the Oscar nominations. Mind you, I will not pick the winners just yet because the REAL nominations haven't been made public but I can get a head start at the very least. Ladies and gentleman, here are who your 2009 Oscar nominees will be in the 6 "big" categories.

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire
The Dark Knight

Best Director
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Sam Mendes - Revolutionary Road
Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight
David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Gus Van Sant - Milk

Best Lead Actor
Sean Penn - Milk
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Richard Jenkins - The Visitor

Best Lead Actress
Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky
Cate Blanchette - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Josh Brolin - Milk
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
Ralph Fiennes - The Duchess
Brendon Gleeson - In Bruges

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis - Doubt
Kate Winslet - The Reader
Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Taraji P. Henson - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I hope I am right, for redemption: thy name is Oscar!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Morning Links pt. 17

After witnessing a Ravens win and having to face the possibility of a Pittsburgh-Baltimore AFC Championship, I really don't have the passion or will to write a quirky little diatribe here.

Why have you forsaken me, my God, why?

Let's link it up:

- I thought this was fascinating. It is a New York Times narrative from an author with a sex addiction (I know you just saw the word "sex addiction" and immediately clicked on the link. Pervert.)

- How did I miss this on New Year's Eve? And how did this man NOT die?

- Looks like the Mormon's in California got Ohio pastors all hot and bothered about the rainbow menace in Cleveland. Lock your doors!

- It has always been my life's goal to hug a Panda bear (I am not joking). Even news like this won't deter me.

- It's a battle royale! Who will capture the imaginations of America more? The economy or the Middle East?

Well, that's all for this week.

I am going to go back to vetting Eric Mangini.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Golden Globe Predictions 2009

It is time to honor the Oscars' ugly step-sister: the Golden Globes.

Maybe "honor" is too strong of a word. It is time to acknowledge the existence of the Golden Globes in 2009. There, that's much better. Suffice it to say, I am not that big of a Golden Glove fan this year. The GG's have always gone with a smaller, inde-type films and shows but this year just feels like they have gone too far. In a year in which the Godfather of superhero films (The Dark Knight) was released and one of the finest TV shows ever had its last season (The Wire), the Hollywood  Foreign Press chose instead to include fare like The Reader and In Treatment.

That's just all kinds of unfair! But still, I am a culture nerd (or snob) and can't help but be invested in the results of said award show. After all, the Golden Globes are the last stop on the road to the Granddaddy of Them All: the Oscars

Here is who will be taking home statues on Sunday night. Winners are in bold and keep in mind this isn't always who I think SHOULD win but who WILL win.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Leonardo Dicaprio - Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn - Milk
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas - I've Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road

Best Motion Picture - Comedy
Burn After Reading
In Bruges
Mama Mia!
Vicky Christina Barcelona

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy
Collin Farrell - In Bruges
Javier Bardem - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Brendan Gleeson - In Bruges
James Franco - Pineapple Express
Dustin Hoffman - Last Chance Harvery

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Rebecca Hall - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand - Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep - Mama Mia!
Emma Thompson - Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Robert Downey Jr. - Tropic Thunder
Ralph Fiennes - The Duchess
Tom Crusie - Tropic Thunder
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams - Doubt
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Viola Davis - Doubt
Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler
Kate Winslet - The Reader

Best Director - Motion Picture
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry - The Reader
David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
Sam Mendes - Revolutionary Road

Best Television Series - Drama
In Treatment
True Blood 
Mad Men

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
Gabriel Byrne - In Treatment
Michael C. Hall - Dexter
Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Hugh Laurie - House
Jonathan Rhys Meyers - The Tudors

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
Sally Field - Brothers and Sisters
Mariska Hartigay - Law and Order (SVU)
January Jones - Mad Men
Anna Paquin - True Blood
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
30 Rock
The Office

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
Steve Carrell - The Office
Kevin Connolly - Entourage
David Duchovny - Californication
Tony Shalhoub - Monk

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Christina Applegate - Samantha Who?
America Ferrera - Ugly Betty
Tina Fey - 30 Rock
Debra Messing- The Starter Wife
Mary-Louise Parker - Weeds

Best Mini-series or Movie Made for Television
A Raisin in the Sun
Bernard and Doris
John Adams

There you have your 2009 Golden Globe winners.

Oscar nominations can't be announced soon enough.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Post Grows a Pair

I think it is about time to return to my Journalism-mud-slinging roots.

As I have previously documented, I would count myself as more of a fan of the Athens News than the Post, but when there are props to be given, I must dish them out, regardless of preference (one of my grandmother's oldest sayings: "dish out them props, boyyyyy!"). And today, the Post has earned some props.

One of my biggest issues with the Post is its perceived independence. Its editorial policy says it is run completely independently of the University and even has a sub-header that reads "The Independent Voice on Campus and in Athens (italics added by yours truly)" but I have always had a hard time believing that. Maybe its the fact that its headquarters are located in the student center, maybe it is the fact that professors and University figures frequently contribute editorials, or maybe it is because I just stereotypically view student journalists as less aggressive than professionals, but I have always felt The Post has treated the bureaucracy with mittens instead of gauntlets.

Then I saw today's front page.

Today's front page of the Post seemed to be specifically constructed for skeptics like me. Usually on Thursdays I grab the end of the week edition of the Athens News, but today I grabbed the Post instead, wanting a lighter, quicker read before enduring Health 202. The sight that met me when I picked the rag up was my University's current president's smiling mug. But poor Roderick McDavis (if you shorten his name to "Roddy" from "Roderick" he really sounds like a made up alias) wouldn't be smiling if he knew the text next to him read "UNPRECEDENTED RAISE." 

This wasn't necessarily news; I have been reading about Roddy Mac's salary bump since Pre-college. It was the graphics below it that revealed the true newsworthy item. Several Presidents and executives of higher learning institutions across the country have been either refusing their pay-raises or re-investing the money back into the school. The front page graphic even produces an eclectic and diverse list of a few men (and only one woman) who have done exactly that. The awkward presentation of the McDavis graphic robs the story of some impact, but the message that the Post wants to present is present non-the-less. 

Is it fair? That is certainly to be debated. I certainly feel that both Roderick McDavis and the Post are in the right. McDavis can do whatever he pleases with his money (and I am not so sure that it would ever occur to me to give a raise back to my place of employment if it were struggling) and the Post can also point out to Athens that "hey, it doesn't have to be that way." You can tell argue that a front page, above the fold spectacle wasn't the right medium to present this information but I admire the gumption. If you are going to present controversial information that might rub the higher-ups the wrong way, why not scream it loud and proud on the front page?

Also on the front page was an article about the lack of females on OUPD staff, an article about the revitalization of the wild bobcat population and an article about Indiana Point Guard Armon Bassett transferring to Ohio's men's basketball team. I can definitely live with a front page like that. As a matter of fact, if I were running a newspaper (a big if, admittedly) I would like to structure all of my front pages like the Post structured this one. You have two hard-hitting, and potentially controversial journalistic pieces, one light and fluffy piece for the kids and a sports story. 

It must be said also, that the quality of the articles for the most part matched their high concepts. I generally enjoyed the OUPD article especially the pull-quote ABOVE the headline that read "I'm sorry, here, but one officer is pure tokenism." It takes some courage to even publish the word "token" in a periodical. I thought the story about the bobcats was great (did you know that bobcats are completely solitary creatures? I knew I picked this school for a reason!) And the Armon Bassett story handled his transfer just right: describing his arrival and not down-playing his previous transgressions while allowing him a chance to confront some of the allegations against him.

Well done, Post, I am finally willing to acknowledge that you aren't Ohio University's puppet.

Some one hand me an A-News now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Picking on the Peacock...Again

Dear NBC,

It's me, Scrubs

Scrubs, NBC, Scrubs! You have to remember me, I was on your network for seven years. I was that quirky little live-action comedy about a hospital that began way back in 2001. I would love to tell you what time I aired on but I honestly don't really remember. I think I was on Tuesdays at one point, then Thursdays then back to Tuesdays, then to 9:00, then to 9:30...really, you moved me around so much I had a hard time keeping track!

Anyway, I didn't write to you to bitch and moan (at least not yet), I just have a few questions to ask of you. I know things ended kind of awkwardly and abruptly between us and I just need some closure. So I must know: why did you give up on us, NBC?

Things started pretty well. My first season was a critically-acclaimed blend of fantastical comedy and gritty hospital drama. I didn't light exactly light the world on fire with my Nielsen ratings but I did pretty good. I drew about 12 million viewers and finished 4oth in the rankings. I thought that was pretty satisfactory, especially for an off-beat comedy in its first season, and especially for a Tuesday night show. You moved me to Thursday night prime-time the next season, which I greatly appreciated and I did even better! I was watched by 16 million people this time and was 15th in the rankings. Now, I don't want to sound immodest but if that season aired on NBC right now, it would be your highest ranked show.

But this is where things went South between us, NBC. I did my best to bring viewers and advertisers to your network and you left me out in the cold. You moved me to a different time an hour ahead on Thursday. I wonder how many people missed out on seeing the episode because it was aired an hour later. About 6 million, according to Nielsen. I dropped in the ratings like a rock because you moved you and you wouldn't promote. Most networks would be happy to have a funny sitcom ranked 15th in its second season and would attempt to promote that show even more to reward it for its success, but you wouldn't, NBC, you just wouldn't.

Then you kicked me back to Tuesday like a dog without an explanation. I took this abuse because I had no other choice and you just continued to exploit me. You kept me at that time for all of two seasons before throwing me over to Thursday again without bothering to tell any of my viewers that you had. How are TV watchers supposed to keep up with their show when they have no idea when it will be on? The answer is that they don't. By seasons 5 through 7, I had fallen to 6.4 million viewers and had hit as low as #115 in the Nielsen. I was your Golden Boy, NBC, and I was the 15th most watched show in America but you didn't treat me right and I fell apart.

You don't have to tell me why you did this; I will never understand the machinations of your twisted heart anyway. I just want to tell you right now that I have bounced back. I have found a network that truly cares about me and will take care of me. Maybe you have seen one of my many advertisements on ABC. They know my needs and they are proud of me, I wish I could have said the same about you. Now you have to sit back and watch me become great again after you held me back for so long. You probably didn't watch the two episodes that aired yesterday because well, you just don't care, but ask anybody and you will find out that I ROCKED. 

Good bye, NBC, and good luck getting out of dead last place. 


Monday, January 5, 2009


A wise man once said: "it's the journey, not the destination." I believe that this man also designed my girlfriend's GPS. 

Sure, I am safe and secure in the Jewel of the Hocking right now (if that nickname isn't copyrighted now then I call "dibs"), but the trip to get here wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. For the first couple of hours, things ran smoothly. Twinsburg turned into Macedonia which turned into Route 8 which turned into Route 77 which turned into a long and boring but smooth journey. I was was riding shotgun in my girlfriend's car while she diligently followed the instructions of her Garmin's British delivery. Admittedly, I was a little emasculated by this little box one upping me with its navigation prowess (in a British accent, no less) but I made my peace with it. 

Then, around the 3/4 point of the journey, Garmin decided that it was done with the highway and ordered us to pull off into winding country roads. How country? Well, I knew we were in the sticks when Garmin had us turn right at a house with a rusted pick-up out front onto an uphill road that was all gravel. "Continue straight ten miles," Garmin's British dominatrix commanded. My girlfriend gripped the wheel so tight that her knuckles looked like they were trying to escape her skin and we both silently prayed that her ancient Kia Sephia wouldn't break down from all the rocks being skipped into its engine (score one for Korean engineering: it didn't)

In the end, Garmin hadn't gone "Skynet" on us and led us to our certain doom, instead it brought us home to Athens, albeit in a circuitous path. But true to that wise man's old adage, I discovered something very traumatic about myself on that journey: I am completely worthless without a cell-phone. 

You see, I kept my cool throughout the whole ordeal as Garmin did its best to kill us. I was fine with everything...until I looked at my cell-phone and saw that I had no service. Immediately I felt naked and exposed. The world went from seeming like a benign little place where everyone is there to lend a helping hand to an enormous uncontrollable jungle where danger lurks at every corner and I have no map, no weapon and no food. It was then that I realized just how much I had come to rely on this little tool and how lost I was without it. If Garmin led us astray and I had cell-phone access, I could simply log online to look for other directions, call local services for directions, text my mom to look up directions from a street address on Map Quest or simply listen to some music until I got back on track. But when I thought about what I could do without a cell-phone, the only option that came to mind was "get lost, starve to death and have remains eaten by vultures."

But now I am back in society and am attending classes again. Surely, I have no pressing need for a cell-phone in such a small, urban environment. I thought so too but this morning during my first class of the new quarter, the professor informed us that use of a cell-phone would be completely prohibited in that classroom and I panicked again. I didn't think I would get lost in the class, starve to death and have my remains eaten by vultures but I did feel distinctly uncomfortable not having access to my phone for a 2 hour period. 

I suppose I should be shocked and disgusted by society's reliance on technology, cell-phones in particular, but I am actually fine with it. From the dawn of time, humanity has created technology to make tasks easier and their lives less complicated. I can't think of a better example of a "simplifier" than cell-phones. As long as my cell-phone is in working order, I am a relatively happy camper. I have immediate access to the outside world in my pocket as long as it is on. It is only when my battery is running low, or I am in a situation that precludes me from using my phone that I begin to feel distressed. And I can definitely live with that kind of simplicity: device on; calm, device off; distressed.

Should I live a painful and exposed life at the hands of Earth, humanity and fate or should I just have my happiness dictated by a little magic box that stays in my pocket?

Let me kill the suspense: I prefer the latter. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Morning Links pt. 16

You are now reading posts from an Athens blogger. 

In the blink of an eye I went from having a Northerner's perspective to being a Southern voice. Feels good, I suppose. The bags are unpacked, the new Dark Knight posters are up and all that remains is the first Sunday Morning Links of Winter quarter.

- If I had a penny for every time this thought ran through my head, I would be a millionaire...I also would be spending life in prison.

- I can't tell you how long I have been waiting for this. The best film critic on the planet, James Berardinelli released his top ten list of 2008. Read it, his opinions mostly mirror mine and his reviews and analyses are fair.

- Looks like Cleveland's first homicide of 2009 came just minutes after the New Year. Good luck, Northeast Ohio!

- Now I am back in Athens, it is time to rep that Bobcat pride. And I can't think of any better way than to link one of Peter King's best articles of the year (an article that probably decided the outcome of the NFL MVP race).

- And finally, here are your box office winners of 2008!

That's all I have for now.

Stay classy, Athens.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Journalism Week: Newsrooms in Entertainment

Well, Journalism Week has finally come to an end.

Pretty soon I will be in Athens, Ohio and my entire life will consist of one Journalism Week after another. But don't worry, I won't subject my readers to any more of my half-baked musings and ideas. I would like to thank you, for joining me on this magical journey though. We shared some laughs, some tears and some factual inaccuracy and it was all a good time. Now, as a reward for enduring Journalism Week, I would like to present to you, reader, a short collection of some of my favorite depictions of the Journalism industry in movies and television.

The Wire: Season 5
Truth be told, this is probably the catalyst that got Journalism Week started for me. I have been watching The Wire's final season for about a week now and have marvelled at the gritty, somewhat horrifying depiction of The Baltimore Sun's newsroom. The Wire began as a cop show but then branched out to cover all of society's flawed institutions and it is print Journalism that gets star-billing for the final season. Just like everything else in The Wire, there are good reporters, bad reporters, gray areas in-between and the always ever presence of soul-crushing and creativity-inhibiting Democracy. But what makes a good guy and a bad guy in this newsroom are very different than what makes a good guy and bad guy in other literature. In David Simon's world the good guy is simply the one who gives enough of a damn to wake up at 12:00 in the morning afraid that he may have transposed a couple of numbers making a story slightly inaccurate. And the bad guy is simply the one who tells a white lie here or there until whole stories are fabricated and the lies take on a life of their own. Gritty, powerful stuff.

All the President's Men
If modern Journalism has its version of Odysseus or Bible stories, then Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation of Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal are it. Woodward and Bernstein are Journalim's answer to Batman, Superman and other costumed heroes. Only instead of dressing up in tight-fitting outfits and fighting crime, they dress up in thick wool sports coats and comically 70's hair and fight corrupt Presidents. All the President's Men is a phenomonal acheivement because it shows that Journalism movies and TV shows can be exciting and intriguing. Never is a punch thrown or a bullet fired in this movie but there is action. Woodward and Bernstein follow leads, find sources, knock on doors, investigate paper trails, make phone calls, meet in dark parking garages; they are men of action and men of motion and it is a very easy watch. The story of Watergate is a familiar one now but All the President's Men is still a must-watch for any Journalist or wanna-be Journalist. Just sit back relax and let Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman show you how its done.

Shattered Glass

If I may be bold for a moment: Shattered Glass is my absolute favorite Journalism movie or tv show. There is no other way to describe this than absolutely horrifying. Remember that quaint little and easy to follow rule of Journalism, "don't lie?" Well, what happens when a compulsive and remorseless liar finds his way onto one of the most renowned political magazines in the nation? Shattered Glass answers this question and in terrifying fashion. Shattered Glass is the true story of young reporter Stephen Glass's time at The New Republic (the in-flight magazine of Air Force One, everyone likes to say in the film). The film details the eventual discovery of Glass's fraudulence and all the destrcution it brings. 27 out of 41 of Glass's stories were found to have contained false information in them and a few were even entirely made up. How does something like that happen under an editor's nose? It is simple, really: Stephen Glass is just a charming dude. Hayden Christiansen plays him as a slight effeminate and immature, yet intelligent child who turns frequently to his co-workers for their advice and their help and projects an image of constant innocence. This is a hugely underrated film and should be required viewing at every Journalism school in the country.

And finally, I have one bonus entry for you. If you can find MTV's reality show The Paper online, I highly urge you to watch it. It is clearly heavily edited, alterred and ingenuine but it is also absolutely riveting. Anyone who has ever worked on a High School paper will see more of themself in this show than they are willing to admit.

Thus concludes Journalism Week. Next week I will be writing from the jungle known as Athens, Ohio. Until then...

Good Night and Good Luck.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Journalism Week: Generation Wiki

Democracy is a great thing...unless you are a Journalist in 2009.

To a Journalist, more Democracy just means there are hunters out there in the news jungle with guns that are just as good as theirs. Democracy means that someone can use new technologies to produce a quick catchy story and produce it for free. Democracy means that instead of whispering stories for the public to hear, you will have to shout them over the cacophony of the millions of other voices yelling for attention. To the 21st Century Journalist, Democracy sucks.

The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate (duh.) No longer do citizens have to sit idly by and wait for the fedora wearing men with 5 o'clock shadows and press passes to break stories. Any citizen with an Internet provider and a dream can log onto the World Wide Web and broke any story they'd like themselves. I primarily maintain this little blog of mine for analysis of media coverage, world events and Western culture but if I looked out my window and saw metal tyrannosaurus rexes with lasers for eyes terrorizing my neighborhood then you should damn well know that the headline of The Collective(ly) Unconscious would read "Metal Tyrannosaurus Rexes with Lasers for Eyes Terrorize Northeast Ohio Neighborhood" that day.

The point is: I would not call The Plain Dealer, The Akron Beacon Journal, CNN, or Barack Obama (I have homeboy on speed-dial). I would simply publish my own story thanks to this magical tool known as the Internet. The information is free and it is there for the taking and there for the publishing. I have been born into an entire generation of human beings who are not only accustomed to fast, cheap and nearly unlimited information but are also accustomed to the idea that they OWN the information. We are Generation Wiki: the generation does not let any good information go to waste.

So how does the crucial American institution of Journalism combat and keep up with with Generation Wiki. This is usually the part where the Journalism "expert" tosses out powerful phrases like "innovation" or "stream-lining" or "market researching." But those phrases bore me and are a wildly inaccurate solution to the problem. The only solution to the Generation Wiki menace from a Journalistic standpoint is: quality.

Just be better.

Democracy is a pain for Journalism right now because the model has been so skewed in the favor of the printing press for so long. Now it is time to show why Journalists collect paychecks and hack bloggers such as myself work for wage labor at an indoor baseball facility. Journalists (hopefully) represent the ultimate in training, experience and natural talent in their field. They are the best researchers, writers and investigators that money can buy. As I've said before, the information is out there for the taking and if a professional wit ha considerable grasp of the English language gets a hold of that information, then that information can be refined into something more than the some of its parts, it can be crafted into a story.

Compiling and reporting is fun and dandy for us lay-people on the ground. But at a certain point that information must be compiled into a readable and perhaps even entertaining medium for mass consumption. Plus, that whole business with the grammar and the style guides and the rules of rhetoric is just a plain ol' pain in the butt. If we can pay a professional to polish off the information out there with words and present us a viewpoint of the world through fair, yet stylistic lenses, then why the produce the news ourselves? People have paid for the news for centuries and now even as the news becomes cheaper and free, people will still pay for long as it is presented in good fashion.

Don't believe me? Check out the interesting little social experiment going on over at is a website that is engineering the idea of Community Funded Reporting. It puts the Journalist and the Reader into direct contact with each other so that their communication can yield the result of a news story. Reporters pitch story ideas to readers, who then decide whether they would like to make a donation for that story to be researched and written, then the Journalist uses those funds to write that story. It is an ingeiously simple concept and it answers the question: "will readers pay to read news stories?" The answer is a resounding "yes", as long as the story is of consequence and well-written.

I know my answer of "be better" is frustrating and overly simplified. And the message is probably hypocritical from a teenager who has never worked in a newsroom and therefore does not know how hard reporters are working. But unfortunately, I believe that "better quality" is the only solution any one can offer now. The mass media business is the Wild West right now and if you want to survive you simply have to be the best. If you are the best at what you do then the competition just doesn't stand a chance, regardless of whether they see metal tyrannosaurus rexes with lasers for eyes or not.

Take that, Generation Wiki.