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Archive for May, 2013

Bachman to Leave Congress, Forego Re-Election in 2014

Would it shock anyone if I said that as a Republican, I for one am glad to see her go?

(Yeah…didn’t think so.)

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservative firebrand whose bid for president last year ended after the Iowa caucuses, will not seek re-election to her Minnesota congressional seat in 2014.

Making her announcement in a video posted to her campaign website early Wednesday, Bachmann stressed she had no plans to fade from public view.

“Looking forward, after the completion of my term, my future is full, it is limitless, and my passions for America will remain,” she announced.

Bachmann, who’s in her fourth term representing Minnesota’s 6th District, promised that there “is no future option or opportunity” that she “won’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation for future generations.”

Bachmann staved off a tougher-than-expected challenge for her seat last November against Democrat Jim Graves, winning re-election by just under 5,000 votes. Graves has announced he will seek the seat again in 2014.

In her video announcement, Bachmann said her decision was not influenced by any concerns about winning reelection.

Sure…and I’m sure that recent PPP Polling showing her losing 47% to 45% to Graves had nothing to do with it.  (Not!)

To call Bachman a firebrand is to probably put it lightly.  She relished the attention, liked being a target, and loved every second of it.

She also a headache of the insanely painful migraine kind.  She was reportedly a horrible boss, has an ego the size of her home state, and frankly her leaving makes electing a Republican to the traditionally conservative suburbs of the Twin Cities much, much easier.

(I haven’t even mentioned the likelihood of the Federal Elections Commission about to go gangbusters on her for a number of violations related to her 2012 presidential campaign…)

Reid Wilson over at National Journal points that out this morning:

Her political troubles made her one of the few members of Congress who would be more difficult for her party to defend than an open seat would be. That is, Republicans would rather run a fresh candidate without Bachmann’s baggage than try to defend her suburban Twin Cities district. In 2012, Mitt Romney took 56.5 percent of the vote in Bachmann’s district; Bachmann eked out a win over Democrat Jim Graves by just 1.2 percentage points, or about 4,300 votes.

Bachmann may have been the loudest member of the class of 2006, the one who inspired the most heated arguments. But she will hardly be the most consequential; her enduring legacy may be the lessons she taught in how to lose friends and become completely uninfluential.

With her exit, Democrats lose a potent fundraising tool. Republicans lose a headache they would just as soon do without.

The DCCC is crying today.  Anyone who says otherwise is only fooling themselves.

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“Arrested Development” Season 4 Review

And I thought he was a knob when I saw him bail early on a press / fan airing of Joss Whedon’s “Serenity” at a theater in Waukesha in 2005…

Journal Sentinel film (and later TV after the let go the late Tim Cuprisin), Duane Dudek says he’s not much of a fan of “Arrested Development,” and poo-poo’s its return this weekend on NetFlix.  He also admits, he never got the show during its original 2003-2006 run.

Sorry. Unlike the cool kids, I was not a fan of the quirky Fox show that was canceled after three seasons and whose cult following resulted in new episodes being produced and released Sunday on Netflix.

When it originally aired, I watched out of curiosity and then a sense of obligation as I tried to figure out just what it was about the show that I didn’t get that everyone else did. I must have been wrong.

Over the years, rumors popped up about a film being made of the show. But it eventually found a home on Netflix, the movie and TV streaming subscription service, whose algorithms showed a demand for new episodes and a road to profitability. As with “House of Cards,” the original drama series that premiered earlier this year, Netflix released 15 new episodes all at once, suitable for binge and leisurely viewing.

To prepare, I again started watching the original series on Netflix, but again lost interest.

Wow, given the show’s not-too-hidden liberal agenda, you’d think Dudek would have loved it.

Honestly, I never got into “Arrested” myself until the start of the second season.  In an attempt to break from its mold, they actually did a recap episode (Ep. 202, “The One Where They Build a House.”)  to allow for new viewers to jump on board.  After that, I got the first season on DVD and was a regular weekly viewer.

I understand why people have a hard time getting into the show.  It is also the reason why fans love it:  The sitcom isn’t written like a sitcom; it’s written like a drama where improbable and comedic situations come into play.  This makes for great fodder for running gags, inside-jokes and long-game comedy as something small in Ep. 10 becomes something huge in Ep. 13.

It also makes it impossible to just “jump right in” like most sitcoms should allow you to do.  That if anything, is “Arrested” biggest fault as a series.  While it rewards longtime viewers and fans, it punishes those who missed an episode every once in a while.

While it has been said that “Arrested” is the ultimate hipster comedy, the reality is that its plot (either season by season, and eventually the entire series) played out more like a puzzle.  Except in this case, the puzzle was being put together by ten people at ten different place, with the entire picture being filled out in time.  This allowed the writers to play with the timeline of events.  As well as do repeats of the same scene, but at different angles and viewpoints of different characters.  (This comes into play a lot in the new season.)

In essence, it is almost impossible to have shows like “30 Rock” or “Modern Family” without there being an “Arrested Development” beforehand for their show runners to use as an example on how to do comedic storytelling.  “Arrested” helped define what is the modern sitcom as we know it in more ways than one.

(Unless of course you only watch CBS, then it’s all “In Chuck Lorre We Trust” over there.)

Beyond that, the “Arrested” cast  has become some of the biggest comic actors in the past decade.  It pretty much resurrected Jason Bateman’s TV career.   No one had ever heard of either Tony Hale or Will Arnett before it, now you can’t watch anything it would seem without running into Arnett.  Michael Cera is so concerned over his success in “Arrested,” that he was reluctant to return for the reunion season because he’d rather be remembered for things like “Superbad!” “Juno,” and indie flicks like “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.”

As for the new season, I did spend eight hours in front of my NetFlix this weekend and I can say I as a fan of the show, I was kind of disappointed with it.  Here’s the reasons why (Spoilers Included):

1) They turned Michael from “The Good Son” into “Just another jerk in a family of jerks.”

Part of what made the first three seasons grand was watching the characters of Michael and George Michael try to navigate their lives in the chaos of the rest of the Bluth family.  By the end of the first episode, any and all sympathy one had built up for him was gone by the number of things they had him doing which seemed out of character.

2) Why did we need Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig as “Young George Sr.,” and “Young Lucille” anyway?

While the two gave great performances, (And on what cutting room did the scene where Rogen played a “Young Oscar,” George’s free-spirited, pot-addicted twin end up on exactly?)  it felt like they were forced guest star appearances.  Have the schedules of Jeffery Tambor and Jessica Walter gotten so busy that they couldn’t play their younger self’s…just like they did during the first three seasons?

3) Way too much Ron Howard going on for a show not about him.

Okay, the subplot about the movie rights was a great inside gag for fans, but it got old quick and for an actor/director/producer best known for only being the narrated voice of the show, it was a little odd seeing him in front of the camera “playing himself” time after time.

4) It lost steam with itself.

Instead of building towards a finale like usual, it only built to a storyline and conclusion to what is clearly implied to be carry-over plots to a movie, which might not even happen. (G.O.B. is now gay with Tony Wonder, played by Ben Stiller, Michael and George Michael are seeing the same woman — who is Ron Howard’s illegitimate daughter, Michael working to get the movie approved, George Michael must deal with Anonymous for his non-existent anti-piracy software, Lindsey’s running for Congress against the very girl she once faced off against in high school, Buster’s in prison charged with murder, George Sr. is dealing with his complete loss of testosterone, Maeby’s now a sex offender for being a 23 year-old high school senior, Tobias is a domestic terrorist [or blown up], and Lucille is an emotional mess as she finally realized her entire family sees her as nothing but a villain.)

5)  The guest stars got tiring.

Mind you, I have nothing against recurring characters coming back from the original show.  But the new season seemed so heavy with Hollywood A-listers it felt like every co-worker the cast has had in the seven years since its cancellation asked to play some sort of bit role.  I love the comedy of Maria Bamford, but did they really need to rely on a non-actress (She’s a stand-up comedienne) to push through not one, but two arcs of the season?  Was it any wonder the Tobias storyline felt hollow?

6) No Franklin.

Did they lose the puppet?

All in all, I’d give the new season a solid “B,” but it could have been better.  It could have accomplished what it wanted to do without making fans feel like they were just setting up for the movie.  But in the end, I’m not complaining.  How many shows which were canceled got a second life out of them?  After “Star Trek” and “Firefly,” the list is incredibly short.

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This is Why All Who Touch My Comics Wear Haz-Mat Suits

I’m kidding there.

They wear gloves.  Unless it’s the trade paperbacks, then they can use their hands.  (Those are worthless.)

A Minnesota man has found “The Holy Grail of Comics,” Action Comics no. 1; the first appearance of Superman from 1938 while renovating a fixer-upper he bought.  The comic was being used as part of the home’s original paper insulation.

In his decade of working construction and home remodeling, David Gonzalez always dreamed of finding some hidden treasure in the demolition work. He’d even put dollar bills in new walls for folks to unearth in the future.

So he chalks up to karma the 1938 Action Comics No. 1 book he found amid old newspapers used to insulate a wall of a fixer-upper he was gutting in Elbow Lake, Minn. The old comic book, from June 1938, features a new character named Superman lifting a car on its cover.

“I knew it was worth money,” said Gonzalez, 34. “But I had no idea how much.”

But it doesn’t end there.

While showing off the book to his family and friends, tragedy struck.

When his wife’s aunt grabbed the comic book amid all the excitement of the discovery, he grabbed it back and tore the back cover. Experts downgraded the comic book’s condition to a 1.5 on a 10-point scale. To put that in comic-book context, a 9.0-grade Action 1 fetched more than $2 million recently.

“That was a $75,000 tear,” said Stephen Fishler, co-owner of ComicConnect, a New York City online auction house that is selling Gonzalez’s treasure. He says the comic book would have graded out at 3.0 without the rip.

Action Comics No. 1 (Vol. 1), is an incredibly rare comic.  For starters, it is 75 years old, so that only adds to the value.  The other is that there are said to be less 100 known, readable copies still to be in existence.   Many were lost to recycling drives during World War II and other things over the passage of time.

For a book to be found this way, is just impressive.

For a book to be damaged by mishandling, is a miscarriage of justice.

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Quote of the Day

From former Brewers, and now Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, in a post-game meltdown for the ages.

Keep in mind, Yost was just asked about what the team was going to do in regard to the struggles of Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who currently has an abysmal batting average of .174.

Yes, that’s not a typo.  He’s batting as of today, 5/24/2013, .174.

For the seven days, he’s batting average is .050.  That’s 1 for 20 folks.  Rickie Weeks hasn’t even hit that low…yet (1 for 16 for those wondering.).

Anyway, here’s Ned.

“You know what?” Yost said. “Maybe when we get home, I can go to the third base tree and pick another third baseman. … Obviously, third basemen who can hit and hit with power, they must grow on trees.

“They’ve got to. Like relief pitchers. And starting pitchers. Right fielders. Left fielders. First basemen. All of these guys must grow on trees, and you must be able to just go get another good one. A ripe one. Make sure it’s ripe.

“Those trees are at a hidden location but, obviously, they’re somewhere. Because that’s what everyone wants to do. Let’s just go pluck another one out of the tree. That’s the nonsense that really ticks me off.”

Epic.

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Rodgers: “Packers Should Retire Favre’s Number”

Well…that is one man’s opinion.  And I’m sure it carries a lot of weight at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

Honestly, I’m not there yet.  Perhaps I never will be.

Aaron Rodgers said Wednesday that it’s time for the “healing process to begin” between the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre, adding that he hopes the quarterback’s No. 4 can be retired by the team before he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Rodgers, in a radio interview with “The Jim Rome Show,” said he’s “excited” about the prospect of Favre and the Packers reuniting in some way.

“It’s been too long,” Rodgers said. “You know, our country and the state of Wisconsin, these people are a people of second and third and fourth chances. I think it’s time to let the healing process begin for those who are still upset for what went down.”

The relationship between Favre and the Packers has been frayed since 2008, when the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets after he came out of retirement, choosing to go with Rodgers as their quarterback. Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers’ NFC North archrival, a season later, further weakening the bond between the star quarterback and the team.

Favre and Rodgers made a surprise joint appearance at the NFL Honors awards show earlier this year to present Peyton Manning his Comeback Player of the Year Award. Rodgers said the reunion between the two former teammates “felt great.”

“I was totally OK with being out front of that, and I’m very secure of the things I’ve been able to accomplish with the team and individually here in Green Bay, and excited about the chance to see him again and get his number retired here before he goes into Canton,” he said.

Amazing how in five years, ESPN is still doing revisionist history for Favre.

Nothing on the, what was it $15 or $20 million(?) he was offered to be “Mr. Packer” after he retired the first time?  The one that which was labeled “Go Away Money” by his dick of an agent “Bus” Cook.

Or the plane the Packers chartered in March 2008 after Favre called them up when he was reconsidering his retirement (again, the first one) and the team was ready to take him back?

According to two NFL sources, Favre informed the Packers during the annual NFL meetings in late March — less than a month after his tearful March 6 retirement news conference — that he wanted to play again. FoxSports.com‘s Jay Glazer first reported that information Friday afternoon.

The State Journal’s sources along with Glazer’s sources said that, at the time, Packers coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson told Favre they would welcome him back, and plans were made for him to return — a colossal commitment to a player who had just publicly said he no longer wanted to play anymore, wiping away tears while saying he didn’t have “anything left to give.”

In fact, Thompson — he has been criticized publicly by Favre’s agent, James “Bus” Cook, and by members of Favre’s family for supposedly not wanting the quarterback back — made the final call on whether the team would welcome Favre’s return. Thompson agreed to bring back Favre, even though it meant forcing heir apparent Aaron Rodgers to sit yet another year behind the future Hall of Famer.

The Packers went so far as to charter a plane to Mississippi to finalize the agreement.

But two days before the meeting was set to take place, Favre called and informed McCarthy that he had changed his mind yet again and had decided that he wanted to stay retired.

Don’t forget the three-straight off-seasons he was playing “Will I, Won’t I?” with Chris Mortensen regarding retirement?

Or dividing all of Packers Nation in half into those in Favre’s camp and those into the team’s camp?

Favre has never had to answer for all of that in the five years since the first retirement.   While I respect him for everything he did in a Packers uniform on the field, it is the off the field antics which have made me question his honesty, his integrity, his maturity and his loyalty to his teammates.

It is impossible to look at this without the viewing the two years in Minnesota as nothing more than Favre’s personal vendetta of revenge against Green Bay, its fans, and team management.  Maybe I’m asking for too much when I say I’d like some sort of apology to the fans for that.

Maybe Oprah can pencil it in…or ESPN.  Lord knows they’ve been handling most of his public relations for the past decade.

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