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A Baltimore doctor did a three-year study in which he determined that men will put off emergency room visits until the end of a sporting event. At first I scoffed, but then I thought to myself: Suppose the Jayhawks were about to win the NCAA championship? And suppose I had severed my thumb on a beer can pull-tab? I’d probably pack that sucker on ice and watch the last five minutes, is what.

If you look at the pictures below, you’ll see that this has been an issue for longer than we might have guessed:

General: “My lord, you’ve lost a great deal of blood! We must get you to the palace physician!”

Rasputin: “Whoa, whoa, dude. The Bills are in scoring position! I swear, if Norwood misses this kick, I’m going to jump in the damn river, I don’t care how cold it is.”

Arthur: I told you I had no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight! I fear you will die now. Is there anything I can do to make your final moments more comfortable?

Black Knight: Yeah, move ovah and let me watch Game 6, you retahd!
Ah, for tha love of christ, Bucknah! I ain’t got no arms or legs and I still could have made that catch!
Go ahead and lop my head off, ya limey bastid – it can’t hurt any worse!

Cop: I can’t hear very well with all this blood in my ear canal. Why does he keep repeating “The Giants blend the tenant! The Giants blend the tenant!”?

Soldier: Oy, sir! That lig wound looks pyneful! Shall we get you to a midic?

Officer: Yes, Sergeant, let’s. The Shark is up six strokes on Faldo – he’s got it in the bag now! Only the most epic collapse in golf history could stop Grig from winning this one!

Soldier: As if, mate, as if! Haw haw!

On second thought, if I sustain an injury during any KU first-round NCAA game against a lightly-regarded mid-major opponent, perhaps a quick trip to the ER would save me a lot of grief.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Yeah, we were just joking around in the comments section over at 82 Sluggo Win. Innocently enough. Talking about the most excellent movie “High Fidelity”. Some call it minor Cusack, but I say nay! Have you not seen “Serendipity”? Or his small role in “Con Air”? That is minor Cusack. This is a worthy entrant in the canon.

But then this question floated my way:

jonathantu said 49 minutes ago:

Extrapolator, top five fashion crimes perpetuated by Jimmy Johnson in the ’80s and ’90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great coach for his hair spray sins, is it better to volumize or fade away?

I laughed. But then I actually thought about it. That is a perfect end-of-the-week post, I said to myself, and set about to answer the question through the magic of Google image search.

Here are the answers:

jjmontage12.png

jjnumber2.jpg

jjhat.jpg

So there you have it, J-Tu. Now go back and listen to your old sad bastard music. See if I care.

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catfight.jpgSome of you may have been wondering, saying “Self? Why is Extra P. pumping up this Burly Sports Video business?” And here’s why. When I was approached about becoming affiliated with Burly, they mentioned a setup where sports fans could reply to one another via video. That sounded like exactly the sort of thing my friend MCBias has been lobbying for all year long. So here it is:

Burly Sports Hotbox

The first video-rant target is, predictably, Charlie Weis. But you can take on any subject you want, including the guy who made this video, right? At least in theory. So I say go test that theory. The more dialogue we have, the better. And the graphics are way snazzier than YouTube.

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Who Knew I Was So Trippy?

This is what came up when I randomly decided to type “Extrapolater” into youtube:

I’m going to the kitchen to check and see if the bread is moldy, because that tripped me out.

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Gin N’ Juice, Texas Style

OK, I put this in my VodPod over to tha raht. However, it is so damn funny, I have to give it a feature.

Austin’s The Gourds bring you Gin N’ Juice:

How did we ever get through a workday before YouTube was invented?

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vabook07.gifI live in Charlottesville, VA, which is a big-time literary town. A long list of writers call this area home, including John Grisham and Rita Dove. There are many more. The town hosts an annual printgasm known as the Festival of the Book, with lectures, readings, book signings, etc. The fest coincides with the first blush of spring in this notoriously beautiful area, so it’s an incredible way to spend a few days.

This year one of the keynote presentations featured David Simon and George Pelecanos, discussing their experiences in writing the HBO series The Wire. The show has been rightly praised as the best show on television, and I attended the lecture hoping to gain some insight as to how these two men were able to get such an iconoclastic idea on the air, even at Home Box Office. I was not disappointed.

Rather than try to synthesize the moderated Q & A into an article, I’m going to present the most interesting Qs and distill the A from what both writers said.

wireposter.jpgQ: Why not follow one storyline or set of characters? The show’s creators imagined this as a novelistic exploration of the problems we face as a society. They found them all contained in the city of Baltimore. That thematic thread binds together the seasons, which jump around between cops, criminals, education, politics, and (upcoming) the media.

Q: How did you get HBO on board with this notion? They didn’t. They sold season one in toto as a cops and robbers show. After that season was a modest success, Simon returned for a second season pitch in which he laid out his true vision for the story arc. Everyone in the room chuckled when he recalled an HBO suit complaining “Wait… is that the same show we bought?”

Q: How do you get the dialogue right? Writer Ed Burns was a member of the Baltimore police force. After retiring, he became a teacher in the Baltimore school system. His familiarity with cops, criminals, and kids from the area really helps. The most interesting part of the answer to this question was the notion that cops have a slang that is peculiar to them, and a little outdated. There was a lot of nuance to picking the right slang elements to include in dialogue. They noted that they try to avoid flash-in-the pan slang terms, because they make an episode seem out of date within about six months.

nightgardenercropped.JPGQ: Why don’t you use/why did you kill my favorite character? Several reasons. Because these guys do die. Because no matter how beloved, a character gets stale if he/she is used too much. Simon referred to his time with the show Homicide when the Pembleton character in the box with a suspect became the dominant paradigm of the show. The show as a whole was not an audience favorite, so Simon was not able to deviate much from what was working, but he did win the battle to incapacitate Andre Braugher’s character with a stroke, essentially taking away the tools that made him formidable (intellect and speech) for one season. With The Wire it was known from day one that audience demand would not drive character actions. The writers actually used the term “We were determined to give viewers what they need, instead of what they want”.

Other memorable discussions:

homicidecover.jpgAs much as viewers like the McNulty character, he was in danger of becoming a one-note drone. In real life, this type of guy is a Don Quixote, trying to do a job that is full of sleaze and bring down a hydra by cutting off just one of its heads. These guys don’t win in real life. The writers made a conscious choice to keep the character on a back burner for a while in order to make him more multifaceted later on. The line was “In order to build his character, we had to make him disappear for a while”. When one female audience member bemoaned the lack of McNulty, Simon said “You’re leaning into the punch that makes network television so predictable”. Great line.

In general, this was a wonderful way to present the topic. The two writers sat at a table in a modest performance venue on Charlottesville’s downtown mall, and the place was packed. Since we weren’t on grounds of the University, it was nice to be able to buy a beer at the bar and sit back and just listen to the speakers as if it were an extended episode of public radio’s Fresh Air. While I long ago gave up any pretense of writing fiction or screenplays, I still learned a lot about how to write, and how to make decisions that might be painful in the short run that are right for the long-term health of a project, by listening to these two veterans.

This is exactly the kind of thing I love about living in a college town. I get a decent amount of intellectual stimulation, good music, and unique events without the hassle of living in a city.


Get Hip to the Charlottesville literary scene by reading Cville Words. They really delve in and explain this town’s love of words far better than I can.

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Hollywood – Audiences raised on the thriller “The Silence of the Lambs” will be in for a nasty shock when they pack the multiplexes for the opening weekend of the prequel “Hannibal Rising”. Apparently the good Doctor has let success go to his head, and allowed a wealth of product-placement to clog the screen.

Product placement has long been used to generate advertising revenue for Hollywood blockbusters, as actors routinely hold cell phones with prominently-displayed logos, or take ostentatious swigs of name-brand beverages during intimate scenes. Some say a practice that was only irksome to very observant moviegoers has crossed a line in this latest installment of the popular serial-killer series.

hannibalhanes.JPG“It was bad enough that Dr. Lecter bought all of his various murder implements at Home Depot, which didn’t even exist in the late 1940’s, but when he started carving up his victims with a Ginsu brand knife, I couldn’t watch any more.” said longtime Hannibal fan Ron Dotson “I mean, the man is a snob, he’d at least use a nice set of Henkels.”

While the visual impact of product logos has a jarring effect on viewers, an even more powerful form of in-film marketing places brand names in the mouth of the main character, giving the product immense pop-culture resonance. Preview audiences gasped audibly when the Hannibal character uttered the following line of dialogue: “I ate his McRibs, with Supersized crispy golden french fries and a Shamrock Shake… I’m lovin’ it!”.

Veteran film producer Terrence Halden says audiences might not like it, but product placement is here to stay. “If I can get AT&T to give me a few grand for exclusivity, I can add a few more explosions to my summer blockbusters. And who doesn’t like explosions? But if you’re the subtle type, see how this grabs you: In the next Indiana Jones movie, Indy is fighting a Nazi jailer in front of a sign for the office of the GAOL COMMANDANTE. First of all, the Nazi swings at Indy and misses, knocking off the part of the sign that spells “mandante”. Then Indy connects and a splatter of blood smacks right between the L and the C. Then we quickly knock off the G, maybe with a bullwhip, and you have an ad for AOL.COM in a period piece. You might call it contrived, but I call it genius!”

The Writer’s Guild initially opposed the move, but relented when language was added to the standard product placement contract promising that Guild members’ novels and blogs would also be featured in upcoming films.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, originator of the delectably evil Hannibal Lecter character, has derided the latest effort as “A cheap cash-in, devoid of nuance”, as well as “crass, product-placement hell”. He did, however, admit that the film left him with an overwhelming desire to try the new Saucy Sweetmeats Platter at Applebee’s.

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bestpitcher.jpgHollywood, CA – The entertainment industry was rocked today by news that Best Pitcher nominee White, with little blue flowers would be withdrawn from contention just one day after nominations were announced. No reason for the abrupt change of course was announced, but the gossip grapevine has been going full-tilt since early this morning.

“Sure, it was a great pitcher, but there were problems even in the early going” said Hollywood insider Matt Vlasic. “It was always sitting around in a private trailer, getting sloshed and wetting the carpet. In my opinion, it was only a matter of time before it fell all the way off the wagon and got completely smashed. But the studio’s just going to have to pick up the pieces and try to move on. You can’t waste time crying over spilt milk in this business.”

The pitcher was Williams-Sonoma’s best hope for critical success in a year that saw the bottom fall out of several worthy projects. With this latest failure, WS President Timothy Beltran finds that his recommendations don’t carry much water in Hollywood any more.

shalit.jpg“I’ve been instructed by the board to cut costs this year. Do you know how hard it is to compete when you have no money? Every other studio is turning out these big-budget flying saucer blockbusters, and I’m stuck making small pitchers with no frills. I mean, I’d definitely like to have something like the Potter franchise, but we just can’t afford those kinds of special effects any more. The shine is off, and the cracks are starting to show. If we can’t turn this thing around, we’re going to be left without a pot to piss in.”

The pitcher has drawn critical raves, which lessens the sting of low attendance. Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim Emerson called White, with little blue flowers “An elegant vessel-filled to the brim with sublimeade”. Gene Shalit was predictably succinct in his praise, trumpeting “What a crock!”.

Beltran is still hopeful that Williams-Sonoma can recover their investment in the pitcher. “I think we can repackage it and try to recoup some of our losses in the overseas market.” he grinned. “These kinds of old-fashioned pitchers are doing very well in Greece and China right now”.

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