Archive for November, 2010

The Drawing Board: Negotiating with Terrorists

The world is full of things we take for granted. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but there are examples, trust me.

One example is that it’s wrong to negotiate with terrorists. We’ve all heard it before, whether it’s some politician on television, or a badass cop on a hit TV show, or maybe even a friend who’s somehow on television. Man, TV rules! But even though our government does negotiate with terrorists, we all like to pretend that we don’t, and that this is a good thing. There are several reasons we might do this, but when you consider them, I think you’ll agree it’s time to head back to the drawing board, which is where we are, so let’s do this. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Cutthroat, Week 7 Power Rankings

“Let’s be honest: Cara Maria’s cute and she’s way more fun than the other girls. Of course, that plays a role in my decision.” —Abram


“They have the team that they wanted now, but I’m sorry—I don’t think that’s going to be good enough.” —Camila

 

The theme of last night’s episode was “proving yourself.” There was debate about what constitutes proving yourself, who had done it, and how much that should matter. Most of those surrounded Camila who, after last week’s fiasco, is as on the outs with her team as anyone can be. Tori, Brad, and Paula had all vowed to send Camila into the Gulag at every opportunity.

And yet, as several people pointed out in last night’s episode, Camila was really the only girl who had “proven herself.” In addition to winning the Gulag twice (while no other girl on her team has won even once), Camila has also been the strongest girl in challenges. Last night was no different: In a challenge that involved tight-rope walking in pairs across two skyscrapers, Camila was the only girl on her team to make it across. Paula fell off (and brought Dunbar with her), and Tori didn’t even try, since by then Red had already lost. Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: “Stuck in the Middle”

“It does look like a king and queen situation. But Sash is more a queen and I’m more a king.”

—Brenda, apparently channeling Shannon

“What do I have to lose? Something has to change, and it has to change soon.”

—Holly

We finally got our shakeup episode of Survivor: Nicaragua, coming one week before I thought it might* and two weeks before it did last season. “Stuck in the Middle” was a classic case of an alliance crumbling, precisely because it failed to properly buttress itself.

*Equivocate much?

“Stuck in the Middle” started with a “Previously on…” that was careful to mention the two Hidden Immunity Idols still in play and an image of stars that, like Kirsten Dunst, was crazy/beautiful. That’s what we call scene-setting, kids, what with Holly and Jane sneaking away from camp in the middle of the night to discuss their big strategic maneuver: what would later be referred to as “Operation: Take Out Brenda.”* Holly had some quick takers. With Marty gone, Jane could finally vote for someone else, and she considered Brenda “a villain” by this point.** Benry called Holly’s idea “a wake-up call,” which is odd considering Marty basically told Benry the same thing last week, and it was presumably a wake-up call then, too. NaOnka was the biggest possible get for Holly, with Na referring to her one-time closest ally Brenda as “Marty, Jr.” The one person who was resistant was Chase, who thought Benry should be the next to go.

*Ooh boy, I’d like to take out Brenda…to like a nice dinner, maybe a romantic comedy. I hear that Morning Glory is good. We’d have a nice time.

**Jane’s last non-Marty vote was for Dan, and she did it because “that’s what Coach wanted” one week after Jimmy Johnson had been eliminated.

Continue reading

This Day in Revisionist History

*This Day in Revisionist History: A new feature where Jake talks about something that could be cool or whatever if it happened in history.

(Editor’s note: In case you missed our historic introduction of Jake earlier today, this is a classic from Jake’s archive. Tune in next week for the current edition!)

October 18:

“Wait, was that a bear? No dude, I’m not kidding, I think I just saw a f*cking grizzly bear!”

–General Lovell Rousseau on the morning of October 18, 1867, shortly after accepting the transfer of the Alaskan territory from Russia on behalf of the United States.

Nowadays almost everyone knows Alaska has bears, but as they say: Hindsight is 20/20. Now granted, this doesn’t make sense, because 20/20 is just the de facto standard; recent studies have suggested that optimal visual acuity occurs at about 20/8. But hey, when they came up with that expression, they didn’t have the benefit of…okay, you see where I’m going with this (and that’s called foresight, which strangely enough no one measures, not even metaphorically).

In any case, William Seward certainly didn’t know that the winter wonderland he had purchased in the spring of that year was overflowing with more bears than present day New York City has people, and so it was with great confidence that he signed the treaty with Russia’s minister to the United States, Baron Edouard de Stoeckl, who had risen to prominence in Russia despite his Turkish birth after developing what many industry experts now recognize as the most approximate precursor to the toaster strudel. Continue reading

Introducing…Jake!

Recently, NPI has begun internal discussions about taking on additional staff. It’s not that John, Josh, Tim, and Pierre can’t handle the workload, but recently NPI’s revenues have gotten so excessive that we literally don’t know what to do with it all. We decided to put some of our more indigent friends and relatives on payroll, but it turns out that–according to the IRS–sometimes we have to publish them if they’re on payroll. Rather than risk tarnishing the overall quality of NPI, though, we subjected them all to a rigorous interview process. The only survivor was Jake, whose interview is included here:

An NPI Artist Rendering of Our Newest Contributor

What are your qualifications? In other words, who do you think you are?

A small bit of personal background: while this disclosure will almost certainly fuel the accusations of rampant nepotism at NPI, I attended college at the college of Duke, more accurately known as Duke University. In my free time I majored in English, delightedly consuming and artfully abusing what is indisputably the greatest language in the world. I am the defiant answer to Vampire Weekend’s insolent query: “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?”

Professionally, I’m a humorist whose style was once described simply as “abstract” by a very terse observer. I like to think I’m at least 19 times as funny as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but I write for a much narrower audience. Like most journalists, I can’t be taken seriously, but unlike most journalists I consider this my top selling point. Continue reading

Live Blogging 2 Hours of ESPN’s 24 Hours of College Basketball

You may remember that last year NPI brought you live-blog coverage of 22 of the 24-hour ESPN Season Tip-Off Marathon. So why aren’t we being as extensive this year? Chill out, we have things to do! And Tim already brought you a 2010-11 season preview, and a breakdown of the NCAA Vault. What more do you want? But we couldn’t let tonight’s Duke game go by without a live-blog, so Tim and John S will be here to break it down for you.

I wonder what Coach K is telling him...

TIM: Miami (Ohio) probably won’t win the MAC. That’s really what I take away from this game.

JOHN: Final thoughts: Duke looks pretty good, huh?

TIM: Who or what is a Todd Zafirovski?

JOHN: I was more mocking Patrick than Miles’ toughness. And how insulted must Seth Curry be to be in with these scrubs?

TIM: Easy for you to sarcastically mock. Dislocated fingers hurt A LOT, John. A LOT.

JOHN: Mike Patrick after Miles Plumlee’s dislocated finger: “He gets a pass on the two missed free throws. And anything else he wants for that matter.” Man, how entitled is Miles going to be tonight? “I demand the flesh of a virgin! I had a busted finger!”

TIM: Well, I’ve been faithful to the game we’re supposed to be watching. What I did see of the Butler-Louisville game earlier was that the Bulldogs hadn’t established an offensive flow yet. Matt Howard was in foul trouble–what else is new?–and no one beyond Shelvin Mack could do anything. It doesn’t surprise me a lot; Louisville will be a bubble team and Butler had a slowish start last season, as well. They need Howard to be closer to the player he was two years ago if they’re going to be a Final Four contender again.

JOHN: Adamantly opposed. I don’t even understand the logic. Is that supposed to be more intimidating? And how surprised are you that Butler is getting killed by Louisville? Is it possible people were too quick to dismiss Louisville this year?

TIM: I’m upset with the Duke defense, as well. The RedHawks have scored almost a point a minute this half. ALMOST A POINT A MINUTE!

You cool with the lack of a space between Red and Hawks? What’s your feeling on that? Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read on our $200 million-per-day Indian vacation…

  • Why are Publius, Rick Reilly, and Bill Simmons discussed in the same article? Find out!