Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Books and Whatnot

Before I call it quits on a fairly long day, and in between the Pens winning a close game with the Bolts (a lot of Pittsburgh fans in the Bay area right now, probably just to see the Buccos and maybe catch a 'Guins game; also, I really dig the banner right now over at PensBlog), the Pirates destroying the Yankees on FSN during what appeared to be a WQED telethon asking for donations towards the Pirates season ticket plans (I don't want to put too much stock in spring training stats and performance, but Bobby Crosby looks damn good and Delwyn Young's bat seems a whole lot quicker this year), and then the Roethlisberger/Arnie Palmer stories coming out of the woodwork (me thinks we'll be seeing more and more people dragging BB's name through the mud); I haven't been all that busy.

But I've been meaning to do a roundup of some quick thoughts on what felt like many, but is in fact only one book I've read recently; and then some TV I might suggest towards a few of my faithful readers (all three of you).

I finished Portnoy's Complaint about a week ago, and to be quite honest, I was a little disappointed. I mean, I enjoyed reading it and found it funny as hell, but I wasn't expecting the main focal point to be about sexual frustration; unfortunately, the final two-thirds are filled with the ramblings of a sexual deviant. Even so, that part of the book was well done (if not a little overwhelming). But I enjoyed the first third much more, as it focused on his family (including his father who can't pass a decent bowel movement to save his life, and his mother who I'm pretty sure I've met before) and his upbringing in Newark, NJ.

Needless to say, this book is a great gift for any young man's Bar Mitzvah. But if I were suggesting a solid read regarding Jewish consciousness (including the whole guilt part), I would pick Stern, which is less known but just as funny and a little easier to swallow.

Just a head's up, the best comedy cartoon ever (yeah, you heard me Family Guy and The Simpsons) will be back this Wednesday at 10:30 on Comedy Central, and their first topic for the new season: Tiger Woods. It's gonna be awesome.

Also starting up again is Breaking Bad, which will be at 9 pm this Sunday on AMC. I'm catching up on the second season On Demand and suggest you do as well, and if you haven't seen the first season, it will take you one night to finish (there were only seven episodes). It's like Weeds, but with more invested, not as light-hearted, and better.

The Pacific began last night, and all though it didn't really pull us out of our seats the way that the trailers were able to, it was awesome (Band of Brothers took a few episodes to really get going as well). Finally I have something to look forward to on Sunday nights. Quick side note; how sweet does Al Pacino as Dr. Kevorkian look in You Don't Know Jack (could possibly be his best role since... um... Scent of a Woman? He's done some terrible movies in the past 15 years), and if you're not excited for Boardwalk Empire, I really don't want to be friends with you.

In other "HBO Knows it's Shit" news, How to Make It in America is a nice little entertaining show, it won't knock your socks off, but it's sure as hell better than Entourage. It will also make you want to immediately travel to NYC and hang out with your friends who are most likely having a better time than you around much better looking people. Also, Luis Guzman is the tits.

Finally, I've been meaning to give this show some good words in this space for quite sometime, but Parks and Recreation is the funniest sitcom on television right now (partially because It's Always Sunny is on hiatus). I've been trying to put my finger on it for sometime, and I realized that it's not just the writing and great comic actors that pack the show (including South Carolina's native son, Aziz Ansari), but it's the timing.

Apparently, the first season of P&C was not well received and flat-out awful depending on who you read or talk to, but now it is in it's second season and really hitting stride. The show is a lot like The Office, back when it was actually funny. See, The Office was really funny for about two or three seasons, but then the characters got stale (which is also why the introduction of Ed Helms's character Andy Bernard was so important; now probably the best character on the show) and the story lines got old (it's an office, and you can only promote or make someone fall in love so many times).

I'll still watch The Office, but I rarely laugh out loud like I do to Parks and Recreation. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant were right on the money with this one, a good sitcom's life range is about two seasons (see: the original Office, and Extras), which is why we should enjoy P&C while we can, because sooner or later, NBC is going to push and push until there's little left to laugh about.

One last link; how can I mention Parks and Recreation without linking to Ben Schwartz, who plays Jean-Ralphio on the show; one of the funniest characters I have ever seen on TV (there are links to his scenes on Ben's website).

Alas, alas... I will get off my white person's soap box and go to sleep. If there's one thing white people love to do, it's to ram their interests and opinions down other people's throats (especially when it involves literature or TV).

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