How badly did Bill O’Reilly miss the point in his attack on Beyoncé?

Bill O’Reilly has rightfully drawn criticism for his recent efforts to blame Beyoncé for teen pregnancy. Behold, the offending quote, excerpted with the help of FOX’s ever-helpful transcription service (wish Stewart and Colbert had one of these):

Continue reading How badly did Bill O’Reilly miss the point in his attack on Beyoncé?

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The smartest joke on John Oliver’s brand new show got no laughs — just like he planned

Thanks to his alleged success filling in for Jon Stewart this past summer, John Oliver landed himself a brand new The Daily Show-style show on HBO. Last Week Tonight lasts half an hour — just like The Daily Show — but thanks to the business model of its corporate host, it doesn’t need to pause to pay the bills.

Even though Oliver gets the benefit of thirty minutes uninterrupted, trying to fit a full week’s-worth of news into that slot can be challenging. Oliver devoted the first few minutes of his show — viewable in its entirety here — to the usual suspects, like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling (although that pair probably has an altogether different conception of “the usual suspects”), before — somewhat unexpectedly — proceeding to a detailed dissection of India’s ongoing Presidential elections.

Oliver focused on the candidacy of Narendra Modi, and particularly on allegations that he bears some share of responsibility for religious riots that killed approximately 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, over ten years ago. Oliver made an earnest case for why Americans and their media “should care about this story”:

Continue reading The smartest joke on John Oliver’s brand new show got no laughs — just like he planned

Stephen Colbert could also stand to bring Nate Silver on the show

Last week, Jon Stewart committed an egregious offense against math that prompted me to suggest he recall Nate Silver to serve as something like an in-house mathematics expert. Now, it looks like Stephen Colbert could stand to make a similar move.

Last Tuesday, Colbert devoted the middle segment of his show to disparaging the “Common Core” federal education standards. To further his points, he held up two sample test questions for ridicule. Here’s the second of those two questions:

Mike saw 17 blue cars and 25 green cars at the toy store. How many cars did he see? Write a number sentence with a [grey box] for the missing number. Explain how the number sentence shows the problem.

Colbert’s response?

Continue reading Stephen Colbert could also stand to bring Nate Silver on the show

Airport spas now drawing inspiration from crazy Nepali truckers

Trucks in Nepal are a lot more personalized than they are in the United States. Here, the degree to which trucks vary from one another is helpful only if you’re playing the license plate game on a long road trip. But in Nepal, studying trucks can make for a good way to keep entertained under any circumstances.

I’ve previously shared one of my favorites, courtesy of Michael Grumer:

Punk is not dead
Relax.
Be relax.
Do relax.
Sexy, sexy, sexy.

So you can imagine my delight when I came across the following in Boston’s Logan Airport:

Continue reading Airport spas now drawing inspiration from crazy Nepali truckers

Jon Stewart needs to get Nate Silver back on the show

Monday night, Stephen Colbert interviewed a sexy mathematician, so it was disappointing to see the very first moments of Jon Stewart’s show the next evening succumb to some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad math.

It all started when Stewart aired part of an interview featuring Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius speaking about Obamacare, way back in September 2013:

I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014.

As you may have heard, the end of March 2014 has now come and gone, and Barack Obama immediately took to the airwaves to proclaim that his program had not only met, but exceeded the goals it set at the outset:

7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces. 7.1.

Stewart’s analysis?

Continue reading Jon Stewart needs to get Nate Silver back on the show

Your obligatory post-atrocity reminder post, Part II

Newtown made headlines again recently when it was revealed that the most recent shooter who killed three people and injured sixteen more at Fort Hood was known to have vented about Adam Lanza, the individual who — as you well know — brought an assault rifle to Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot 26 people and then himself. Some people blame easy access to guns for enabling these tragedies. Other people blame this country’s treatment of mental illnesses. I think they’re both right — but I also don’t think that the existence of one problem excuses dealing with the other.

What follows is a selection of statuses that appeared in my Facebook newsfeed following the events of that fateful December event. I’m citing them as a representative sample, since I’m way too lazy to search the internet for others. But I’m sure you’ve seen this sort of thinking before, so I’m not going to lose too much sleep over being somewhat less than scientific:

Continue reading Your obligatory post-atrocity reminder post, Part II

The filmmakers wanted to call their movie about geocentrism a documentary; IMDB didn’t cooperate

So maybe Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek) didn’t mean to endorse the idea that the sun revolves around the Earth when she agreed to narrate The Principle. Maybe she did. I don’t care, what they’re going to say… facts never bothered her anyway.

Wait, I’m getting off track. I really just don’t care.

I don’t much care about what Mulgrew believes because I’m much more interested in what to make of the film itself. As you can see from the trailer that is at the center of the present controversy (Mulgrew speaks the first few words: “Everything we think we know about our universe is wrong”), the movie is plainly meant to be considered a documentary film:

Which is why I am delighted to share with you how IMDB chose to classify it:

Continue reading The filmmakers wanted to call their movie about geocentrism a documentary; IMDB didn’t cooperate

Trying to make some sense of RGIII’s brand new logo

One was a prodigious college quarterback some experts thought should have gone first in the NFL draft. The other was a washed-up minor league second baseman forced to transfer when his original college team decided it was time to move on.

The rights to draft one second were acquired at the cost of a fortune in draft picks: three first-rounders and a second-rounder. The other wasn’t chosen until the third round, four picks after Jacksonville selected Bryan Anger, a punter (a selection that continues to burn many Jaguar fans with Anger).

One was coronated franchise quarterback on draft day. The other had to muddle through a three-way quarterback competition before earning the starting job midway through the preseason schedule.

One has now muddled through two seasons of injuries, showing flashes of brilliance mixed with evidence he still has a lot to learn about quarterbacking in the NFL. The other just won the Super Bowl and non-ironically declared that he plans to one day be the QB of all time.

All time.

Russell Wilson and RGIII entered the NFL at roughly the same time. And while media narrative initially centered on RGIII and actual number one overall pick Andrew Luck, by the time Wilson and Griffin met in the playoffs their rookie years, Russell had forced himself into the conversation about the best rookie QB in the NFL.

ESPN declared, “The numbers suggest Griffin and Wilson are interchangeable from a production standpoint.” I personally disputed that notion then — and continue to do so now — but I think it’s at least fair to say that Russell Wilson has had more success as an NFL quarterback to this point.

Which means RGIII has a lot of catch-up to do. He has to do his best to become at least as good as Russell Wilson. But how does he plan to pull that off?

Yesterday, he gave us a hint; specifically, he unveiled his new logo on Instagram:

Continue reading Trying to make some sense of RGIII’s brand new logo

James Franco incident provides wonderful opportunity for a most appropriate advertisement

James Franco recently tried to lure an adoring fan to pay him a visit. A movie star trying to pick up women — a guy trying, unsuccessfully, to pick up women — doesn’t typically make headlines. But in this instance, said woman was actually a girl. She was adolescent. She was not of age. She was a minor. Yes, she was almost 18, but there is a line, and she had yet to cross it — and as a result, Franco almost did.

Said young lady subsequently used the internet — the same internet Franco had used to contact her — to share the preceding story with the world.

That story was in turn picked up by various news outlets, including one that inputs stories directly onto my phone, Newser. I imagine Newser imagined this story would be of considerable interest to parents of young women interested in protecting their daughters from 35 year old men. Not being a parent myself, I was personally more interested by the advertisement Newser opted to embed alongside the article — though it was presumably intended more for those concerned parents than for viewers like me. Enjoy:

Continue reading James Franco incident provides wonderful opportunity for a most appropriate advertisement