Media, Sports

Entertaining NFL Schedule Releases

Apparently a memo to make the typical mundane schedule release for the upcoming season more interesting was sent around the NFL. The teams–for the most part–played their part really well by creating animations in a variety of styles. Below are the ones I personally found the most engaging.

Chicago Bears
Its Monsters of the Midway video game theme was my favorite of the bunch. Not too long, and the one-liners for each opponent were good. Good choice on the background music too.

Houston Texans
The cutest of the animations. I like the Peanuts-esque characters, and how their sayings or objects they were shown with pulled from memorable moments in their careers to this point. It was just a smidge too long for my taste.

New York Jets
You can’t really do wrong with some Mario Kart nostalgia.

Tennessee Titans
Winner of the Chamber of Commerce award. Features a quick hit of a tourist destination for every city on the schedule, including home games. Also, possibly has the best picture quality of all the videos.

Detroit Lions
I’m not a Lions fan, but I suspect this one played really well to its fans specifically because of all the behind the scenes focus on the players and team personnel.

Kansas City Chiefs
Best use of current media watching culture. Using a couple of their star players getting ready for a pseudo-Netflix binge was cute.

Los Angeles Chargers
I’m still not used to that “Los Angeles” in front of the Chargers’ name. Anyway, they decided to be shameless and employ puppies for their schedule reveal. I mean who’s not going to watch a video with cute puppies?

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Media

My Reading List of 2017

I started out the year wanting to add some non-fiction to my readings because last year was really fiction heavy. It ended up with me going on a bit of a biographical to semi-biographical kick over the course of the year.

The biography that impacted me the most is called In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park, who escaped with her mom when she was 13 (she’s just 24 now). The book is extraordinary not because it’s hyperbolic and propagandist (which to be clear it isn’t), but because the situations she found herself in were so unlike anything most people would ever experience. And — as far as biographies go — it was an easy read. No filler.

Sophia Loren’s autobiography was really good too. I knew a little about her and was familiar with a few of her films, but I didn’t realize she had been through so much. It was kinda like a few years ago when I read Susan Lucci’s autobiography on a whim despite not being a soap opera fan. It turned out to be one of the more engrossing books I read this year.

When it comes to the fiction portion of my annual reading list, I read my fair share of a lot of different stories, including a couple of Karen Robards mystery suspense stories and a couple Danielle Steel novels per usual.

My favorite of all the books I read this year, however, is Basketball (and Other Things) by Shea Serrano.

I actually read two books by Shea this year. BAOT and The Rap Yearbook, the latter of which I finally got around to after wanting to read it for a few years now. In both cases, once I picked them up they were hard to put down. In fact, I bought BAOT the week it came out — a rarity for me. I really enjoy Shea’s irreverent, casual style and how much info is delivered in a non-tedious way.

In total, I read 30 books this year. That number doesn’t include any Audible books either. Not a bad literary year, I’d say. Continue reading “My Reading List of 2017”

Media

Classic Movie Musical Number Pick Me Ups

Found myself in a classic movie mood recently. More specifically, in the mood to watch two of my favorite classic movie musical numbers.

The first is “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” featuring Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers from the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade.

The second is the infamous dance break in Stormy Weather (1943) featuring the Nicholas Brothers, considered by many to be the best dance break ever. It’s the crescendo that ends Cab Calloway’s “Jumpin’ Jive.”

Each time I watch these numbers, I’m a bit happier than before I pressed play. They both exude joy to me.

Media, Sports

Who Gets To Be the Star of Their Own Story in Sports Media?

The secret’s not in the mayonnaise by the way.

That quote makes no sense without watching Toronto Star writer Morgan P. Campbell’s TED talk titled “Race, Sports and Telling True Stories.”

In his speech, Morgan does a great job breaking down who gets to be the star of their story versus who routinely gets relegated to a prop within a narrative. It’s a good listen.

Media, Sports

Previewing the 2017 Daytona 500

I made what is becoming an annual appearance on the Know the Score podcast to talk NASCAR this past week.

This year’s episode is a standalone. No other sports topics were discussed, just about an hour of me and three guys talking racing.

The topics touched on, included:

  • Jimmie Johnson’s run to a 7th title;
  • Carl Edwards’ sudden withdrawal from Cup;
  • Dale Jr.’s return;
  • Changes to the points system;
  • The Daytona 500; and
  • Who we want to see win this season.

Also, find out what scenario the social anthropologist in me kinda hopes occurs during the 2017 season.

It was a lot of fun to record, and I hope you enjoy it!

Media

3 of My Favorite Movie Scenes Ever

Since we’re in the midst of awards season, I decided to reminisce about 3 of my favorite movie scenes ever.

The first is the Juke Joint scene in The Color Purple. The older man on the cane, along the musicians, knowing what’s up before it even happens cracks me up. It’s also a strange kind of funny to watch someone call Oprah out her name, even within the context of her playing a character in a movie, knowing the mogul she would later become. In addition, Celie (Whoopi Goldberg’s character) sitting peacefully while chaos reigns around her works so well in the scene.

Continue reading “3 of My Favorite Movie Scenes Ever”

Media, Music

A Few Faves From 2016

Below are a few things I enjoyed entertainment-wise this year.

TV

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Atlanta
This FX series mainly following a Princeton-dropout turned wannabe music manager to his cousin was tonally perfect. It showed a part of the city many don’t get to see, unless its in a stereotypical way without any nuance. The series does a good job showing the day-to-day goings-on for its main characters in a real and not shined up way. (P.S. Listen to the Atlanta recap episodes from the podcast Where’s My 40 Acres? if you really want to get into what made the episodes of this series so special.)

The Get Down
I liked a lot of series on Netflix this year but I’m going to spotlight The Get Down, a series on the rise of rap in the Bronx during the late 1970s. The 6 episodes making up part 1 of the first season is all that’s out now (it’s supposed to come back soon to conclude its first season). It starts a little slow, particularly the initial episode, but the last few episodes are must watch.

Music

Mad Love
It’s hard to hit or exceed expectations when your next project has been anticipated for years. Somehow JoJo made it work. Mad Love is my favorite album that came out this year hands down. The whole thing is great, but the 3 song stretch from “Like This”, continuing with “Edibles,” and ending with “High Heels” is simply 🔥.

Sleeping With the One I Love
However, when it comes to singles, Fantasia served us classic soul realness with this song from her latest album. Using a sample of James Browns’s “It’s a Man’s World,” it gives old-school vibes without sounding dated.

Continue reading “A Few Faves From 2016”