Saturday, August 31, 2019

Football Counter-Programming 2019: Week 2

Welcome back to another week of Football Counter-Programming. It's my seasonal attempt to get you doing something other than watch Saturday college football by disrupting your alumni social media feed with something other than sports. How well do I accomplish this? Well, you tell me. Are you reading this on Saturday afternoon rather than waiting through another Home Depot commercial to see your favorite school pound a week 1 cupcake opponent?

I sincerely hope that is the case.


So, I'm sure that you've heard the big cinematic news of the month--the breakdown of profit-sharing talks between Sony and Marvel Studios over the film rights to the Spider Man character.

Not since we learned that Kenneth Branaugh was going to direct a movie about Thor have the Marvel fans been so worried. How can Tom Holland survive? The news says that he'll still make Sony-created, stand-alone Spider Man movies, but it won't be connected to Marvel? (And to be clear, I am a big fan of Holland's Sony movies. I've appreciated his narrative connection to the MCU but I really like what has been happening with this new version of Peter Parker on his own.

But the fact remains that unless Kevin Feige and Disney back down from their initial aggressive profit-sharing demands, our boy Tom Holland may never show up as a new Avenger in the future and he won't be spending time with Falcon and Ant Man. How do we solve this problem?

If I understand things correctly, Sony isn't granting the right for their Peter Parker/Spider Man intellectual property from appearing in a Marvel movie. But does that prevent Tom Holland the actor from being in an MCU movie--as long as he doesn't wear a Spidey suit and no one ever calls him Peter Parker?

(I don't know how the language of his contract is written, but play along with me and just assume that Sony doesn't have lawyers that are so good that they can tell Holland what to do with his time as a professional actor 24/7/365.)

If my assumption is okay, then I can think of two options--

One--Holland becomes the MCU "guy in the chair" with a new code name. He never uses his own spider-powers again--at least not when he's around the Avengers. This turns him into a  Barbara Gordon/Oracle type.

Two--Disney works out a compromise with Sony and lets Holland join the scrap heap of deceased Spider Men actors that litter the past two decades The other part of that deal is that the MCU is integrated into the "Into the Spiderverse" verse. Imagine the press write-ups that spend so much time praising the technological wizardry on display when, ten years from now, Black Panther III features an animated Miles Morales! Imagine all of the befuddled Ant-Man jokes Paul Rudd gets to deliver when he encounters an animated Spider-Man! It would give a whole new spice to Phase V of the MCU--exactly when Kevin Feige needed it most!

But if that isn't what you want, how about enlisting a new Marvel character to serve as the replacement for Spider-Man within the MCU? If Tom Holland is lost and no amount of cleverness can bring back the relationship, then how does Disney and Marvel reconcile the plot thread where Peter Parker was being set up as the replacement for Tony Stark? My next idea offers up a character who is also young like Peter Parker, who has a hip comic book that is popular, who brings much-needed diversity and femininity to the MCU . . . and who happens to already be deep in the corporate clutches of the Disney + streaming universe.

I'm talking about Ms.Marvel, Kamala Khan, the star of the comic The Magnificent Ms. Marvel.

Her character is located in New Jersey, so it is close to the center of a great deal of Marvel action--conveniently (I guess?) across the river from Avengers Tower.

She has worked with the Avengers before. She recently acquired a costume upgrade (courtesy of an alien world encounter) that shows some self-aware/AI capabilities that work well within the Stark Industries/Jarvis/Friday/Karen mental suit "system" that we've grown accustomed to.

But don't get her mixed up with Captain Marvel--though I wouldn't blame you if that happened because Kamala Khan and Carol Danvers are definitely intertwined.

(And as I was searching around for images, I saw more than one web story that already backs up my--very obvious--idea.)


So, there you have it. Crisis averted.

Until next time, remember that I'm available next week to help your alumni's offensive coordinator whip those young men into shape before the important conference games begin in October. They have to be doing more than give the old-college-try to beat their old rivals on Homecoming week!

Go outside and pick some apples!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Football Counter-Programming 2019: Week 1

First, let me apologize.
When I sat down to write last week's preseason post, I automatically and without thinking started looking for a marching band image. But once the post was up, I realized I had fallen down on the job and not gone far enough to set this new season of Football Counter-Programming apart from last.

And that is on me.

If I am not going to set a high standard for this bit of weekly nonsense, who else is? I know it isn't really accomplishing anything because college football continues on its merry way each and every week of the fall every trip around the sun. Everyone continues to expect Alabama to win and everyone puts The [c.] Ohio State University in the preseason Top 5. EVERY. YEAR it keeps on happening. And the boosters say inappropriate things and do semi-illegal things. And EVERY. YEAR your televisions fill up with oblong sports ball. And its always just a prelude to professional National Football and every year, every year, every single year!

So, no. I am under no delusions that my little blog experiment will make anything change ever.

Especially when, last week, I had a clear set of ideas for what I might write about on week 1. But tonight when I sat down to start typing, I quickly realized that I had no idea at all. (Which you should all be expecting by now . . . as that is my modus operandi.)

But yeah, I sat down to try and determine what my visual theme would be--since I wasn't going to duplicate last year's theme again this season. I'd already done "football + nerd" and "football + band", then "weird imagery", and then just straight-up "marching band".

So, I am going to try using the keywords "anti-football" as that is the spirit of my experiment. And wouldn't you know I get lots and lots of soccer. But I won't be leaning on soccer every week. And maybe I'll find a better keyword search at some other point when inspiration happens to strike. (And I guess it's not a violation of the theme if I am saying upfront that the theme might end up being "no theme?")

What else?

I haven't committed to start the Fall TV Preview posts yet. That may get done before September comes and goes. As I've said in the past, it is harder to craft a border around that idea now that TV has so thoroughly atomized itself into individual quarks of entertainment. Maybe I can be the Einstein that spends the rest of my fruitless life trying to craft the General Theory of Televised Entertainment? (Or maybe I come up with some half-baked science theme for this years Fall TV posts? If you have suggestions, I would appreciate a commented direction . . . if you are even reading down this far in the post.)

Anyway. I guess that is it for tonight. It's a lackluster start. Just like your alma mater's less than perfect performance against a mediocre opponent. But just remember, all that matters in the first part of the season is that you show up and don't screw up. Let muscle memory take over and help get you limbered up for when it really counts in Month 2.

Until next time!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Football Counter-Programming 2019: Preseason

Are you ready?!

It's the time of year when I blog the most. When you combine together my annual effort to distract you from slavishly watching college football all weekend long AND the tradition of talking about upcoming television shows . . . you get me trying to be publicly creative in an outmoded medium of self-expression.

But then again, you could say that I am an out-moded medium of self-expression.

I might look at you quizzically when you say that to my face. But, then again, I'm thinking it in my head right now as I type this. So how can I convincingly make thsi seem unexpected? You know, this might work better as an audio joke. But as I try to prolong it even more by typing it, and backing up to fix my mis-spelling and grammar and everything. Just trust me that if you were hear watching this appear on a screen, you'd already be tired of it.

ANYWAY . . .

The point of this post is to inform you that I am preparing to start up another season of Football Counter-Programming. Each Saturday during the college football season I will try to craft some blog post on some random topic of my choosing that will be so inventive, so dazzlingly creative, so undeniable that you will set aside everything and give up the culture of football to read my blog post.



Now . . . I know that I just said that the topic would be of MY choosing. But I want to be upfront with you and say that if you have an idea for something you want me to write about, I would love to hear it. Please drop me a comment on this blog post or leave me a social media mention with some ideas. I will consider these suggestions and hopefully live up to your expectations.

If you DON'T have any suggestions, I'll just be forced to sit down in front of a blank screen and start typing with my fingers and see where it takes me. And if you read the paragraph above about the stream-of-consciousness joke writing, then maybe you want to prevent that?

If you are new to this, however, and want some samples of past efforts, I'll link to a few of my favorites below.

2014 Week 1: certainly not the best, but definitely the first entry in the theme

2015 Week 2: in which it was revealed that the Twin Peaks Log Lady was the world's greatest fan of the Dark Knight

2016 Week 3: where I make public one of my best ideas ever

2017 Week 2: when I recounted the time I got involved with the local cops

2017 Week 6: where I worked on complaining less and becoming a more positive person

2018 Week 1: featuring a ranking of top-5 fictional presidents

2018, Week 10: featuring a GoPro video of Grace's marching band sophomore year show "Full Circle"

And remember . . . until I see you again on the first football Saturday of the season. The preseason college rankings have about as much truth behind them as a presidential election poll 16 months before Election Day.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

50 Greatest Celebrities of All Time

As a way to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Why Won't You Grow, I'm going back to a bread and butter topic of this blog that I used to write about lots and lots of time in the past.

Celebrity and fame.

Using work already started by The Ringer Web site, I've got "a" list of the greatest celebrities of All Time provided below, along with a podcast focused on this debate. If you've got the time and interest, I suggest you listen.

But if you want to skip that, I've reproduced their list below--ranked from No. 1 to No. 50. And I'll try to provide my own reaction to each choice . . . if I recognize them.

Happy reading!

1. Oprah
I guess I'm not surprised by this. Everyone is always saying that Oprah is successful and rich and influential and famous and stuff. If all of that doesn't add up to you being the best celebrity, what is it all for?

2. Beyoncé
I guess I'm not surprised by this either? But there is a part of me that chalks this up to recency bias. And maybe that part of me just doesn't care that much about her music?

3. Muhammad Ali
My children's generation will have no connection to Muhammad Ali whatsoever. And I'm sure that when they are in charge, he would never get ranked in the top twenty, and absolutely never within the top 5. I have no direct connection to Ali personally. But I know enough to know what a pivotal cultural role he played at a tumultuous time.

4. Princess Diana
Come on. I reject this. But even so, I can't deny she matches up with the notion of "celebrity" which is being famous for being famous.

5. Tom Cruise
If the Top Gun: Maverick trailer had not come out two weeks ago, would Cruise's ranking have slipped further down the top 10?

6. Madonna
This is the opposite of recency bias, I guess? What has Madonna done in the last twenty years that justified such a high ranking? Or am I simply discounting how BIG she was in the 1980s? But then . . . what about Michael Jackson? He was definitely as influential as Madonna--as well as being controversial. But maybe it is the nature of the controversy that priviledged Madonna?

7. David Bowie

8. Rihanna
I don't get it.

9. John Lennon
I do get it.

10. Jesus Christ
I see what you did there. And I cannot fathom that Rihanna is ranked higher than Jesus H. Christ!

11. Marilyn Monroe
Perhaps the embodiment of the modern media celebrity?

12. George Clooney
It is so much harder to be a celebrity if you aren't i.) handsome/good looking and ii.) charming. Take those two things away from George Clooney and what is he? Mark Ruffalo?

13. Cher
Okay. Cher has been famous for a long time.

14. Brad Pitt
See George Clooney, but subtract a significant amount of the charming part and bump up his acting skill level.

15. Leonardo DiCaprio
What makes him famous? "Titanic"? His man-about-town status?

16. Jack Nicholson
True fact about me. I always have to mentally pause and think Jack Nicholson . . . the actor? Or Jack Nicklaus . . . the golfer? Nicholson is definitely the bigger celebrity of the two--thanks to Nicholson's own personal and professional choices, for sure. But don't sleep on Nicklaus. He's been a damn good, historically great sports figure for all of his adult life.

17. Prince
No way am I okay with Prince being so much lower than Rihanna here.

18. Arnold Schwarzenegger
It's naht a  misprint! (And Stallone must be really angry about this.)

19. Lady Gaga
If you are willing to wear a meat dress in public, you get inside the top 20, I guess.

20. Elizabeth Taylor
What is the contemporary equivalent of Elizabeth Taylor? My mind immediately went to Anne Hathaway. What say you?

21. Jennifer Lopez
Too bad it wasn't made of meat. (If you're reading this on mobile, go to the Web version and click the link.)

22. Joan of Arc

23. Michael Jordan
Being the unquestioned best at the top-level achievement of your profession is not--apparently--as significant as being famous and media-worthy. Skill does not equate to fame.

24. Bruce Lee
At the risk of offending people, this feels a bit like tokenism and also . . . if "Once Upon A Time . . . In Hollywood" wasn't just released?

25. Ariana Grande
The highest-ranking Disney Channel kid? Or Nickelodeon kid? Promise you that the Ringer staffers who made up a lot of this list have an average age of 25.

26. Will Smith
Big Willy Style can't be more historically inspirational than being guided by voices, right Joan? And it helps to be a martyr. If Joan had avoided being burned at the stake, she would have been eventually penalized for the historical equivalent of "Wild Wild West." (Never outlive your fame, I guess.)

27. Napoleon Bonaparte
I know at least one person that is going to be salty about this number.

28. Aretha Franklin
Let me be the millionth person to make the joke that Aretha ain't getting enough R.E.S.P.E.C.T. on this list.

29. Kanye West

30. Elvis
Southern tokenism

31. Paul Newman
Deserves to outrank Ariana Grande on the basis of "Cool Hand Luke" alone. PLUS his post acting charity work. AND for the fact that he may have the only good Hollywood marriage in recorded history.

32. Drake
Canadian tokenism? And if he'd been a child actor on an American network . . . what then?

33. Tom Hanks
Probably ranks lower than he should because he is also hit by the Michael Jordan issue (fame trumping actual skill). But maybe also Hanks benefitted from having incredibly good timing? He was in the biggest, most influential movies at a very specific and intense time in Hollywood history. Is he that skilled of an actor is you are being brutally honest? Rember that Hollywood success is driven a lot of networking and timing--and if the timing isn't right the networking won't work at all.

34. Nicolas Cage
See? Based on a pure evaluation of fame (but not acting skill, mind you), I think that Cage edges out Hanks. Cage is just willing to play the celebrity bizarre card more than Hanks ever has--or will.

35. Michelle Obama
This is just a straight-up insult to First Ladies. Michelle Obama has tried to do more to help people with her recognition and her notoriety than Nick Cage EVER. Stop it.

36. James Dean
Your grandfather's celebrity of choice. But why not John Wayne? (Left Coast bias, Ringer staff?)

37. David Beckham

38. Meryl Streep
Again, it's pure Jordan Rules that ended up pushing Streep below David freakin' Beckham here. And truthfully she'd probably be ranked even lower if not for her recent run as the Academy Awards audience meme lord.

39. Jane Fonda
Barbarella gets no love. And has America already forgotten that she taught us how to aerobicize?

40. Frederick Douglass
Wow. Unexpected and insulting simultaneously.

41.Shaquille O’Neal
Well, at least the great abolitionist reformer and historical influencer outranked the Diesel Shaq Daddy.

42. Michael J. Fox
He did more for puffy vests than anyone!

43. Mariah Carey
Go peddle your vocal flourishes somewhere else.

44. Dwayne Johnson
This low ranking will only propel him to more insane bicep dimensions. You've all made a terrible mistake.

45. Diplo
Definitely, Lego is better.

46. Sophie Turner
Without Instagram, she would be nowhere on this list.

47. Joan Didion
I wonder how she feels about being ranked below her son Diplo?

48. Cara Delevingne
I cannot begin to explain this position for Cara. Is being a former friend of Taylor Swift + getting a John Green bump matter THAT much?

49. Guy Fieri


50. Jamie Foxx

Monday, August 12, 2019

Happy 15th anniversary to WWYG?!

Did you know I started this blog a decade and a half ago?
It's true.

I don't have much else to add right now about that. But maybe I can think about it more later today or possibly tonight.

Much, much, MUCH has changed in my life since that August day so long ago. And the balance of time is skewed very strongly in my favor, to be sure. If I want to find things to be upset about, that is on my to be focused on the wrong things.

Here is to another many years of ignoring this site . . .