A couple of years ago, when a terrible break-up left me desperate to fill up all of my newfound free time with social interaction, I went over to a friend's house and watched him play Grand Theft Auto. After I saw him drive through a bunch of beautifully-designed streets, rob some girls with digits-in-all-the-right-places, and shoot a rocket launcher at a fleet of cop cars, I went home. I learned a valuable lesson that mind-numbing night: No matter how perfectly-orchestrated the sound, no matter how artistically-chiseled the graphics, no matter how hair-trigger the gameplay, watching someone else play a video game is boring.
That is exactly what watching Alfonso [...]
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful sequence ever aired on television:
This essay is part of a series about our favorite TV shows past.
Previously: You, Me And "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
It's the opening scene for episode two of "Carnivàle." I've probably watched it 100 times. I know every motion, piece of furniture, item of clothing, dialogue snippet, and character backstory. I know the song playing is Ruth Etting's 1929 hit "Love Me or Leave Me."
And yet still, I have absolutely no idea what's going on.
That was kind of the experience of watching the show. Trying to [...]
Of the 17,808 players (and counting) who’ve run up the dugout steps and onto a Major League field, only 974 have had one-game careers. In baseball parlance, these single-gamers are known as "Cup of Coffee" players. The number fluctuates slightly throughout each season as new prospects get called up to fill in for injured veterans, or when roster size expands in September. (Last year, for example, Braves rookie Julio Teheran was a Cup of Coffee player for the eleven days between his MLB debut and a spot start.) But staying on the list for an extended period of time is generally not a good sign. It's an ominous [...]
Once again: For this particular annual death pool (now in its fourth year!), points are awarded for each “correctly” chosen person at a rate of 100 minus age at death. This may account for some skewing youthward. There were 31 entries this year.
Last year, the pool correctly predicted the deaths of Kim Jong-il (13 lists), Elizabeth Taylor (13 lists), Amy Winehouse (10 lists), Steve Jobs (6 lists), Christopher Hitchens (5 lists) and Gerry Rafferty (4 lists). It was wrong in the cases of Michael Douglas (37 lists), Aretha Franklin (32 lists), Lindsay Lohan (17 lists) and a whole bunch more. So then, who will “mark” this year? [...]
Jotham Sederstrom, 34, freelance reporter: On September 10th, my friends took me out for birthday drinks in Chicago. I was out until three or four, I think, at a place called "The Hideout." Among other places. I didn’t wake up until about noon, at which point everything had changed.
George Spyros, 44, executive producer: I got married the weekend before. We had a bunch of friends and family from out of town, and went out Monday night for dinner. My wife and I were supposed to fly out on September 11th for our honeymoon. On top of that, it’s my birthday.
Michael Wright, 44, editorial director: September 11th has always [...]
1. Would you rather die right now, painlessly, or live another 30 years with an increasingly debilitating ailment, with the last 10 years of your life spent entirely bedridden and in extreme physical pain?
On The One Hand: You won't have to experience the physical pain, which—as anyone who’s been in pain before can attest to—sucks. You also don’t have to experience the mental anguish that comes with growing old, i.e., friends dying; relationships ending; the realization creeping upon you that you can’t trust anyone or anything; the inevitable mark in time when you understand that the time you spent advancing your career goals was only a glorified diversion [...]
There was a slight chance we were being indoctrinated into a cult.
The night before, during a tough trivia night at the Pig and Whistle, my friend Michelle had scribbled a name and address on a cocktail napkin. “Go to 580 California Street, head up to the 16th floor and ask for the Jejune Institute.”1
“What is it?” I asked.
“I can’t tell you anything but that. Trust me, you’ll like it.” She saw me wavering. “It’ll take fifteen minutes. If you want to stop after that, you don’t have to do anything else.” And so with a few hours to kill on a rainy Saturday, my [...]