I saw "Inside Llewyn Davis" last night and it was good and interesting and funny and charming and weird, just like you'd expect from the Coen Brothers. I was out too late and drank too many Old Fashioneds to write a proper batch of mid-week Twins notes for today, so instead here's an updated ranking of my 10 favorite movies directed by the Coen Brothers:
1. "No Country For Old Men"
2. "The Big Lebowski"
4. "True Grit"
5. "Inside Llewyn Davis"
6. "Barton Fink"
7. "Raising Arizona"
8. "Miller's Crossing"
9. "A Serious Man"
10. "Blood Simple"
I kind of want to see "Inside Llewyn Davis" again to think about it rather than just enjoy it. Oscar Isaac was exceptionally good in the leading role, singing his ass off and also somehow remaining likeable against all odds, and John Goodman stole the show in a supporting role. Go see it.
Also: Old Fashioneds are much better with bourbon than rye. I'll listen to arguments regarding the above movie rankings, but will not budge on that being a fact.
I'm probably forgetting one or two because I didn't put a whole lot of thought into the initial list, but I might spend a little more time on it and come up with a top 50. Also, looking at those 10 movies apparently I only like comedy on television.
• Setting aside the fact that he didn't actually tag the runner, this is a pretty amazing play by a 6-foot-5 catcher.
• As someone who recently lost 150 pounds strictly through diet/exercise and is now struggling to keep the weight off I'm fascinated by Chris Christieopting for surgery. I don't blame him, since I considered doing the same at times when obesity felt impossible to conquer, but the relapse rate for surgery is frighteningly high and trying to keep the surgery secret suggests he's not thrilled with what the choice says about him. Beating obesity sadly isn't as simple as losing weight.
• During my weekly appearance on KFAN with Paul Allen we discussed the Twins, but also the etiquette of following and unfollowing people on Twitter. And also how my mom is stalking him.
• As far as Ron Gardenhire quotes go, I think I like "we're heroes on the internet" even more than "fire it through the internet." Also, he's officially too self-aware now. Not as much fun.
• I'll watch any video in which comedians make jokes while drinking too much, especially if they star Kyle Kinane:
"Just a case of the spits."
• Todd Barry's podcast is only three episodes old, but it's already become one of my favorites. Good, laid-back conversations with funny, interesting people who aren't regulars in the comedy podcasting world. This week's chat with Julieanne Smolinskiwas particularly enjoyable.
• "Community" fans should definitely check out "WTF" with Marc Maron this week, because he talked to Gillian Jacobsone day and Alison Briea couple days later. They were both great.
• Netflix documentary recommendation: "The Restauranteur" about businessman and restaurant mogul Danny Meyer, featuring "Top Chef" judge Tom Colicchiowith hair.
• "Parks and Recreation" creator Michael Schur, who's also known as Ken Tremendous from his "Fire Joe Morgan" blogging days, has created a new FOX show co-starring Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Chelsea Peretti and the always great Andre Braugher.
• Oh, and NBC renewed "Parks and Recreation" for another season.
• After five years as the Twins beat writer for MLB.com Kelly Thesierhas left the job for a new gig as a communications manager with the LPGA. I was (too) tough on Thesier when she first started at MLB.com, but her improvement over the years was remarkable and she always took my criticisms in stride, or at least managed to act very friendly the few times we met in person. Best of luck to Kelly in the golf world and thanks for five years of Twins coverage.
Thesier's replacement is Rhett Bollinger, who's been helping to cover the Angels and Dodgers for MLB.com since graduating from USC in 2008. I don't know much about him beyond that, but I definitely recognize his name from various MLB.com bylines over the years. Actually, that isn't entirely true. I can also confirm that Bollinger has exceptional taste in bloggers and/or is smart enough to suck up to the jerk who was often critical of the person he's replacing.
• I'm sad to note that Nate Doggpassed away at age 41. His mid-90s peak coincided perfectly with my getting into music and after my dad got me a CD player boombox for my 11th birthday "Regulate ... G Funk Era" was one of my first purchases. Seventeen years later I still have all the words to "Regulate" memorized and marvel at Nate Dogg's ability to turn the phrase "and it's going real swell" into a viable rap lyric. Hopefully his next stop is the East Side Motel.
• Terry Ryan and Bill Smithmay provide some insight into why only three current MLB general managers are former MLB players.
• For years Jon Krawczynski has been the most underrated sports writer in Minnesota while covering the Twins, Timberwolves, Vikings, and seemingly every other local team in the relative obscurity that comes with being part of the Associated Press content machine. Now he's finally getting some attention, but unfortunately it's because NBA referee Bill Spoonerfiled a lawsuit against Krawczynski for this January 24 post on Twitter:
No one will ever confuse me for a lawyer, but I can't imagine how someone could win a lawsuit over that. How does Spooner prove he didn't say that, let alone prove damages and whatever else is required to win the case? Beyond that, by suing Spooner has ensured that thousands and thousands of people read Krawczynski's original tweet, which was initially seen by at most his 2,000 followers and was only re-tweeted a dozen times before the lawsuit news broke.
• Speaking of the Associated Press, they'll now be asking Krawczynski and other MLB writers to pen "hometown" versions of game recaps in addition to standard stories so local newspapers not staffing games with their own writers can better use the content. That helps newsrooms that have suffered through big staff cuts, but it'll also lead to even more cookie-cutters recaps. Or as AP sports editor Terry Taylorsaid: "They were more concerned with just getting it fast."
• Everything you ever wanted to know and more about Adrian Beltreand head rubbing.
• My latest podcast discovery is "The Best Show On WFMU" hosted by Tom Scharpling, who is somehow consistently entertaining and funny while doing a three-hour show with zero breaks. He rants about various topics, takes calls from an odd and amusing cast of regulars, breaks in and out of an ultra-sarcastic persona, often has big-name guests from the comedy and music worlds, and sprinkles in fake guests played brilliantly by Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.
"The Best Show" is truly unlike anything I've ever listened to before and I'd probably classify it as an acquired taste because of the quirkiness and many inside joke-like aspects, but I've very quickly burned through two years of the decade-long archive and am convinced Scharpling is a genius. Along with hosting my new favorite podcast, he was a "Monk" writer/producer, wrote NBA articles for Slam magazine, and is doing a new television series with Paul F. Tompkins.
• In a rare trip to the movie theater I saw "The Adjustment Bureau" last week. I'm a sucker for that type of science fiction plot and the overall conceit of the movie was very intriguing, but the actual execution was disappointing, especially in the final half-hour or so. Despite some solid performances from Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, and especially Anthony Mackie it left me feeling like Philip K. Dick's story had been wasted. Grade: C-plus.
• Jim Nantz may be CBS' lead announcer, but for me there's no question that Gus Johnson is the true voice of the NCAA tournament and Greg Bishop of the New York Timespenned a very good profile of the undisputed king of exciting calls.
• Also in the New York Times this week, Grant Hillwrote an excellent response to Jalen Rose regarding the portrayal of Duke players in ESPN's new Rose-produced "Fab Five" documentary. Hill's entire piece is really good, but the last line is spectacular.
• I'll be rooting forTim Collins this season, at least whenever he's not facing the Twins.
• I don't watch many network television shows at this point, but four of the spots on my DVR are filled with Thursday night NBC comedies and I'm thrilled that "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" have both been renewed for next season along with "30 Rock" and "The Office."
• Tim Lincecum spent the offseason trying to put on weight and revealed his methods, which led to a wholebunchofbaseballscribeswritingarticles about how he often got three double-doubles, two orders of fries, and a half-chocolate/half-strawberry shake from In-N-Out. I guess that's a lot of food for someone listed at 165 pounds to put down, but as a longtime fatboy it hardly seems worthy of such shocked coverage. On a related note, I've started another diet.
• I'm writing some lengthy season preview articles over at Hardball Talk, including this one on the AL Central's worst team and this one on J.J. Hardy's new team. Check 'em out, please.
• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Regulate" by Nate Dogg and Warren G:
• Rob Neyer is for me what Bill James was for many baseball fans in the 1980s, shaping the way I watch and write about the sport to the point that I've basically been attempting to do a semi-passable Rob Neyer impression for the past decade. He's the first online writer I read on a regular basis and I remain a huge fan, so much so that I've never really gotten over being starstruck when I see him each year at the Society for American Baseball Research convention.
When it comes to bringing sabermetrics to a mainstream audience Neyer has been the single most effective baseball writer of all time, and that includes James. This week, after 15 years of great work at ESPN.com, he decided to make a change and is now the national baseball editor at SB Nation. And not only didn't he take even one day off between jobs, Neyer is churning out more content than ever at his new home. Congratulations and good luck to one of my heroes.
• I'm willing to help Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Jenna Fischerreach her goal.
• An unlikely radio partnership between friend of AG.com Phil Mackey and longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse has been so successful that 1500-ESPN has decided to expand their show by another hour each afternoon. In addition to more Mackey they smartly also lured Judd Zulgadaway from KFAN, where the fantastic Star Tribune reporter had been an exclusive Vikings analyst. It almost makes up for the times they mistakenly put me on the air.
• As a lifelong Minnesota it takes a lot to impress me regarding winter driving, but this did it:
If you look carefully, I think the other car has a "Geek Squad" logo on the door.
• Eric Stonestreet is outstanding on Modern Family, but his greatest contribution to society will always be snapping a picture of Minka Kelly and Sofia Vergara posing together at the Golden Globes and posting it on Twitter.
• Twins president Dave St. Peter is now on Twitter, so you should probably follow him.
• Based on this lengthy article in New York magazine I clearly picked the wrong type of website to start nine years ago.
• I finally saw "The Social Network" this week. I liked it a lot, and the script and acting were so good that I would've happily watched it go on for another five hours, but for whatever reason it struck me as just short of being great. My primary takeaways from the film: 1) Rooney Marais responsible for everything, ever. 2) Guys named Zuckerman should never interact with Aryan twins. 3) Don't throw beer. Grade: A-minus.
• Apparently the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com liked "The Social Network" too.
• Seth Stohs' annual "Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook" is now available for purchase and you should buy it. Seriously. I can't stress this enough: You should buy it. Not only is it a great read and an amazing value at $14.95 for 170 pages, Seth has spent thousands of hours and most of the past decade churning out good baseball writing that can be enjoyed for absolutely free. Paying him 15 bucks for a good product seems like an easy way to show support. Do it.
• My latest podcasting discovery is "Pop My Culture" with Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland, which is basically hour-long, mostly silly conversations with various comedians and actors. For instance, here's one with longtime Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Linda Cardellini.
• Last weekend I had dinner at Mix Fusion Bistro in Eden Prairie and the food was every bit as good as when I reviewed the restaurant after it opened in July, with an added bonus that lots of people were there this time. Chalk one up for customers eventually finding a good product.
• I've done a 180-degree turn on the Super Bowl, going from initially believing in the Steelers as small underdogs to now thinking the Packers will win and cover the 2.5-point spread. For a slightly more comprehensive analysis of Sunday's matchup, read this.
• In what can't possibly be merely a coincidence, my 28th birthday was Monday and that same day Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis announced her breakup withlongtime boyfriend Macaulay Culkin. The wheels are in motion, people!
• Speaking of Kunis, her co-star Natalie Portmangave an accurate answer when asked what the makers of Black Swan did to ensure that both women and men would want to see a movie about ballet: "A lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that." And sure enough, the movie has already grossed over $50 million after being made on a $13 million budget.
• Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com tells the story of how a baseball blogger helped get Bert Blyleven into the Hall of Fame after 14 years on the ballot. I'm guessing there's a good chance Blyleven will thank Rich Lederer in his induction speech.
• Hurley Reyes won $114 million playing 4-8-15-16-23-42 in the lottery on Lost, but in real life so many peopled used his numbers that they each got just $150.
• If you watch only one video this week starring a man with "a head like a f***ing orange," make it this one:
• Now that Andrew Luck has decided to stay in school for his senior season, teams at the top of the draft should really consider making Maria Menounostheir top quarterback target, if only because the old "she'd look good in a [fill in the blank] uniform" cliche applies to all 32 teams.
• Good forBoston Herald columnist Steve Buckley, although I'm still curious how long it'll take before one of the players he writes about does the same.
• I finally signed up for Netflix steaming and highly recommended it for $8 a month, especially if you use this website to help find stuff worth watching. Some early recommendations: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Super High Me, Restrepo, King of Kong, I Am Comic, Hard Eight.
• Finally, because I'm slowly but surely starting to appreciate Bruce Springsteen in my old age this week's AG.com-approved music video is The E Street Band with a live version of "Rosalita" from five years before I was born:
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