The highlight of the new season of Arrested Development came about ten seconds in

Cinco de Cuntro

I first want to apologize that this post is a little late. I only just finished the new season of Arrested Development. As chronicled last time I wrote explicitly about the show, I decided to re-watch the entire thing just as Season 4 was released on Netflix. I figured it was a low-risk move, because even if I hated the new season, I’d still have enjoyed the first 3/4 of what I just watched. And I think one month is pretty respectable, given that I have a full-time “job”… and given all the time I waste writing here.

Fortunately, I didn’t hate the new season, though I understand if you got that sense from the title of this post. I mean, it was certainly different from Seasons 1-3 — it felt like the storyline of a single episode played in really, really slow motion — and, I would be willing to admit, worse. But really, the original series was a pretty high bar to clear, and I didn’t expect Season 4 to reach that standard going in, so I finished up mostly pleased with the results. My apologies to those of you who believe it was a travesty. Ask for your money back, I guess.

In any event, let’s get to that highlight I promised. There were certainly plenty of other “moments” throughout the fifteen new episodes, but after I noticed the joke I’m about to share, I knew the season would turn out alright. As Episode 1 begins, Ron Howard introduces his viewers to Cinco de Cuatro:

It was May *clears throat* it was May 4, and in the bayside town of Newport Beach, the annual celebration known as Cinco de Cuatro was underway. The Holiday started as a particularly vicious response by a young Lucille Bluth to the Mexican Holiday… of Cinco de Mayo.

And so, before we get a glimpse of the original characters we’ve waited years to see, the viewers are treated to Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, and Dr. Seuss. Even as someone who just said he was mildly pleased with the overall product, I’m willing to admit this was a lame opening. So what in that bit do I consider the highlight of the entire season?

Cinco de Cuatro: May the Fourth (be with you). What’s the joke here? Well, there’s the obvious Spanish fail: “Fifth of Fourth” is probably not what Lucille was going for. And Barack Obama was roundly ridiculed for making the same mistake back in 2009 [note that the two most-liked comments on that video, as of the time of this writing, are "He made a huge mistake," and "Hello darkness my old friend"]. But these are all pretty silly — is there anything more to see here than a cheap gag?

I believe Yes — a cheap, dirty gag:

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ABC loses all sense of what constitutes a news headline — and news


Friday morning, ABC ran a story its anchors introduced as follows:

“This morning, a visit to a hidden gem of Upper Manhattan: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que founder and owner John Stage makes us a sandwich and talks about what makes barbecue oh so special.”

“This is guaranteed to make you want barbecue for breakfast.”

Watching the video that ensued did not make me want to consume barbecue for breakfast, or at any other time. I want my money back. [Editor's note: Yes, I'm aware I paid only in opportunity cost.]

I’ll be honest: I don’t watch a lot of TV, and when I do, I certainly don’t watch a lot of TV of this sort. So I’m not so much here to complain about the topic — maybe it was a slow news morning, maybe it was a Friday, or maybe this is just what TV has become — but about how ABC went about titling the video online:

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Who’s got two thumbs and liked all of last week’s Supreme Court decisions? These guys

arrested development cabin

As you probably heard, last week was a big one for American politics. The Senate passed its immigration reform bill, Wendy Davis stood around for a really long time in Texas, and the Supreme Court handed down four eagerly-anticipated long-awaited cases: Fisher, Windsor, Perry, and Shelby Co. — in addition to some less-noticed but possibly nearly-as-important decisions like Koontz.

And while the week-after is typically too soon to fully evaluate the legal ramifications of those SCOTUS decisions — they should generate law review articles for years to come — one thing is clear: nobody seems to be perfectly happy with how everything went down. Even the all-powerful Anthony Kennedy filed a dissent in Perry.

Except, I’d venture, the guys throwing a party in the basement of my building on Thursday evening:

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Now we can all see those photos of bin Laden

osama bin laden

In 2011, I met an American diplomat of some sort attending Chabad’s seder in Kathmandu. I have his card somewhere — assuming it’s his real card — but the one fact about him I remember without even looking at it is where he was stationed: in Pakistan. He traveled all the way to Kathmandu to celebrate Passover presumably because he didn’t trust the kashrus in Isalamabad.

One week after Passover 2011 drew to a close, Osama bin Laden was caught and killed by the United States. I like to imagine my new acquaintance, and the interesting week/month/year/[however much longer he was in Pakistan] he had for himself.

I was probably among the last Americans on this planet to find out about the strike. Living in a remote Nepali village, without electricity, without television, and without the internet made keeping up with the outside world somewhat difficult. Apparently, the passal (where we took all our meals twenty minutes up the road) carried Obama’s speech live — but it was a cold and rainy night, and the volunteers all stayed home. All that was reported to us the next day was that President Obama had been on television — which was actually impressive, given that many of the people in our village did not recognize the name Obama (or find Nepal on a map of the world).

Being so far away from the United States at such a tumultuous time was interesting for another reason as well: rather than celebrate the event with my American friends (firing AK-47s into the air and handing out candy, I’m sure), I experienced it in the company of Nepalis. To them, it was something that happened. Whatever. And as I recounted in my blog, they weren’t entirely clear on the details of what had gone down with the body.

As it turns out, neither was the rest of the world. The military reportedly disposed of Osama’s body over the side of a ship, and the Obama administration refused to release photographs in an effort to prevent the image from inciting riots that would put Americans abroad at risk (just look at what happened in Benghazi! – and all from one little movie ;-)):

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Standing up for my major: Why we need Biology in schools

Corn snake

Anyone who went to college in the United States — or just knows how to read — is probably familiar with the debate over whether a liberal arts education serves any sort of practical purpose.

On one side, you have English professor Verlyn Klinkenborg’s passionate defense of the English major in the pages of the New York Times. On the other, you’ve got Avenue Q:

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Guest post: Stalking a Barnard grad all over the internet

Barnard girl

By: Zviiiiiiiiiiiiiii

I remember being impressed by the sheer number of people in the graduating class my year at Penn. Much of my graduation was spent looking out over the crowd to see how many friends and acquaintances I could pick out (Editor’s note: not many, but based on the photographic evidence below, min=5).

Here’s a herd of gazers, including me with an umbrella under my chin (because rain had threatened earlier — Editor’s note: “and I have a weak neck”):


Fortunately, no professional photographers captured the moment, or we could have soon become symbols for academic malaise and anxiety — which is precisely what happened to one Barnard graduate:

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With Aaron Hernandez, the warning signs were there — if you just knew where to look


And I’m not talking about this article featuring Aaron Hernandez joking about ‘hits’.

With the news today that Hernandez is being investigated for possible involvement in a year-old double murder — meaning he might have played a year in the NFL as a double-murderer and thereby set a new record to go along with his franchise record for most receptions by a rookie tight end — it’s worth investigating whether someone should have figured out something was up sooner than they did.

The answer, obviously, is Yes. Just take a look at his filmography:

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