Category Archives: Let’s Get A Few Things Off My Chest

Let’s Get a Few Links Off My Chest: The Challenge Hibernation Edition

To my few loyal readers who may not be as interested in the minutia and the “inside the competitor’s studio” unrelenting coverage of all things The Challenge, do not fear: my pop culture and sports identity has not lost its mojo (a fair presumption). The reality of covering the “Fifth Major American Professional Sport” (that also happens to be a TV show) full-time is that other writing takes a little bit of a backseat. With so much going on (NBA Playoffs! Game of Thrones! Colbert taking over Late NightThe remarkable cultural ascendancy of Billy on the Street!), I thought I could at least send you to the right places.

Without further ado, let us get a few links off my chest…

I am not sure I would call this the “greatest shot in playoff history” as some have suggested…

(greatness demands higher stakes than Game 2 of a first round series), but I would be hard pressed to find a more incredible basketball play and the replays only make it look better.

Beno Udrih’s reaction non-reaction (at 0:18) says everything.

For the record, this remains my favorite playoff basketball play that I ever seen (you are really watching what greatness is all about)…

Speaking of Larry Legend, Jalen and Bill have an interesting chat about LeBron’s place in the “greatest forward of all-time conversation…

They both reluctantly argue (and subsequently mourn) that if LeBron wins his third championship this season, he passes Bird on the all-time forward list. I may not be there yet, but this is not an erroneous argument by any means. LeBron, beginning the playoffs in his eleventh season, is already right there. Incredible.

While were still in the land of Larry, somebody finally got into a fistfight with Lance Stephenson, and, not so surprisingly, it was Evan Turner (not exactly anyone’s favorite teammate). Despite a decisive game 2 victory against the Hawks, Pacers championship aspirations are in a whole lot of trouble. At least Roy Hibbert isn’t for sale on Amazon.Roy-Hibbert-Cover

I had the pleasure of watching the epic game 1 showdown between Houston and Portland. Is there a more fun glue guy/crowd pleaser/enforcer in the league right now than Patrick Beverley? This is his response to being hit with a Mo Williams flagrant foul.

Thunder fans may object, but you have to love what this guys brings to the table.

If Patrick Beverley had played in 1980s, he would have been a perfect insertion to the Pistons. I certainly loathed the “yellow, gutless way” they did things, but it is hard not have some respect for the Bad Boys of Detroit as a compelling and dynamic basketball team (I had forgotten how eloquent Isiah Thomas is and how bizarre Adrian Dantley seems to be).

There have been many great 30 for 30 documentaries, but I am not sure one resonated (or provided a greater opportunity to relive and reminisce) more than this one.

Thank goodness for Robert Parish’s revenge enactment (start at 0:17). Amazingly, he was not ejected. Respect.

That’s what you do, Paul Pierce. That’s why the Celtics miss you so much.

On to the other spectrum popular culture, Season 4 of Game of Thrones has already been responsible for its share of reactions (SPOILER ALERT!) and has further proved why Westeros is apparently the worst place to have a wedding. This week brought out some mixed opinions about the transfer of a book scene to television. I am still ruminating on the ramifications of the scene in question and as a television viewer first and foremost (I have only read the first book and aim to stay at least two books behind because I enjoy watching the television show too much), I will wait to see where Mr. Weiss and Benioff take me, but for now, if you are watching, read Andy Greenwald because he writes amazing things about an amazing television show.

My feeling after watching this video: I think we may be witnessing the birth of a political star…

The future of late night is bright with these two. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight debuts Sunday night on HBO. I remember his final The Daily Show with a nostalgic fondness.

Speaking of Late Night television, I admittedly have never been a Letterman guy. This is entirely a byproduct of my age (too young), my sensibility (I appreciate a different type of comedic irreverence), and my late night habits during formative late night habit-forming years (I have been a loyal follower of The Daily Show, an affinity that first awakened to the brilliant laughter and learning combination in college). Notwithstanding, I get it. I get why and how Letterman inspired a generation and why he is justifiably a comedic and television legend. Bill Simmons carves out a beautiful piece of prose to put all in perspective. Stephen Colbert (a Daily Show disciple on his own right) is the worthiest of replacements and will add to the already thriving renaissance of the medium.

Yes, they may not be the most incredible pre-publicity images I have seen, but they are still images from Jurassic World!Jurassic World

Bryce-Dallas-Howard Director-Chair

While on the subject of Steven Spielberg properties…will a collaboration with Tony Kushner be his next project or will it be a collaboration with Tom Hanks? I will gladly take both.

Coldplay is making me very excited for their new album, Ghost Stories, out May 19-20. Every song they have put out thus far simultaneously sounds entirely unique and yet eerily connected to one another as if from some carefully constructed masterwork. The latest release (as a live BBC performance) of “Oceans” furthers this trend:

I have tried and failed to read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter follow up, The Casual Vacancy, four times now. The “right timing” stars have never aligned. Maybe this just announced HBO miniseries will quell the trend.

The Leftovers debuts this summer on HBO and has Damon Lindelof’s stamp written all over it. The long awaited return to television by The Lost showrunner presents something extraordinary.

Finally, two games in, and LaMarcus Aldridge’s 2014 postseason is OUT OF CONTROL. Whether the Blazers win the series or not (Houston is heading back to Portland down 2-0), Aldridge’s rise to one of the game’s elite players (and mid-range jumper master) has already happened.

Let’s Get a Few Links Off My Chest

I am usually on top of the major sports and pop culture news and able to comment in a timely fashion, but the past several days have flooded my inbox of disposable time.  Let me try to reconcile…

The final Game of Thrones season four trailer was released yesterday. The devil is inside indeed. Bran needs to make it. Arya must be careful because Brienne is after her. Why have the Gods made Jamie love a hateful woman? Have I ever been more excited for the return of television series? Answer: probably not.

Chris Martin is the new mentor this season on The VoiceInteresting move for the Coldplay frontman with their new album, Ghost Stories, out in May and the “best band in the world” championship belt up for grabs. The Voice has been a wise career move when you are not at the top of your commercial and cultural game, but when you are, it seems a little ill-advised.

Speaking of the “best band in the world championship belt,” first Billboard reports that a new U2 album and tour would be delayed until 2015. Then The Guardian said hold up, 2014 is still in play. Hey Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam – can we get some intel on this, please? I am trying to figure out my travel plans. In the meantime, Steve Hyden has some great career advice for U2, Lady Gaga, and some other side-stepping musical acts.

Woj feels that the Phil Jackson experiment will only work in Knicks land if James Dolan gets lost.  Fair.

Speaking of Phil, the new (Nate Silver’s new ESPN statistical journalism platform) uses data to show why Phil Jackson should hire Phil Jackson as coach. His success rate as an NBA head coach is astounding.

There is reason to rejoice! BD Wong and his under-utilized Dr. Henry Wu (a much more interesting character in the original book) will be in the forthcoming Jurassic Park IV.

I am not going to lie. I really wish I had thought of thisRank Everything: Muppet Show Music Numbers.

Seth Meyers spoke to Jason Sudeikis last night on Late Night and announced the “Second Chance Theater,” a compilation of old SNL sketches that were too sketchy to make it to air. Brilliant.

Despite showrunner rationalization, the quality of kid acting performances wasn’t the only disturbing part of this week’s Walking Dead episode.

and finally, Twitter is a force…

Let’s Get a Few Things Off My Chest: Groundhog Day Edition

From time to time, I need to get a few things off my chest…this is the second installment of 2014.

• Last night’s Super Bowl, a 43-8 Seattle defensive annihilation of Denver’s historically good offense, was a bit of a surprise for all.  It wasn’t as much about what they did, but more so how they did it.  From the opening offensive play safety, to the Peyton Manning cold weather lob interceptions, to the second half opening kickoff return by Percy Harvin who managed to complete a game without injury for the first time this season, there was just a whole lot of weird (Russell Wilson’s consummate game management aside) going on.  Even “talk of the nation” and notable Stanford grad Richard Sherman was carted off the field in the early fourth quarter before he could have a fair shot at an Erin Andrews post-game interview reprise.  On the non-football end of things, the national anthem was delivered by an opera singer not exactly aligned with the pulse of the football viewing audience (Renée Fleming was stunning.  It just speaks to how different one of the world’s best classically trained singers is compared to your average pop star.  On the converse, it speaks to how good Whitney Houston is compared to other pop stars.).  The halftime show, featuring an admittedly exhilarating performance by Bruno Mars, managed to fit in a brief Red Hot Chili Peppers cameo that made no sense next to the retro Motown stylings of Mars.  The New Jersey winter weather, promoted as a major Super Bowl headline, was a non-factor during the game.  Again, there was just a whole lot of weird going on.  In many ways, I am glad that the New England Patriots sat this one out.

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show

• One Super Bowl moment lost in the shuffle of strange was a commercial for the new U2 song “Invisible.”  Released yesterday during the day as a free download for 24 hours, Bank of America, an at times challenging pillar of American big business, will donate $1 to (RED), Bono’s incredible organization attempting to put an end to the AIDS crisis in Africa, for every download.  “Invisible” is announced to be a track on U2’s long awaited (five years next month since their last studio album release, No Line on the Horizon) 2014 album (When? Who knows.  June, maybe?).  The song itself, although not cutting down any Joshua Tree’s as “The Fly” once did, is my favorite “first song from a U2 album” release since All That You Can’t Behind’s “Beautiful Day1” (sorry “Vertigo” and “Get on Your Boots”).  We can all hope that this will be a harbinger for the album to com

• I finally got around to see Frozen this weekend.  I usually try to be on the precipice of a pop culture phenomenon as the Disney animated feature and the “Let it Go” movement have become, but on this one I missed the reindeer ride.  Over two months after its original theatrical release, it was so well worth the wait.  A little late for its own post, here are a quick five things you need to know about Frozen:

1. The direction by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee is outstanding and some of the best I have ever seen in an animated feature.

2. The songs by the Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are classic and indelible melodies that will quickly find their way into your humming, whistling, and shower singing selves.

3. Kristen Bell has a gorgeous voice and plays Anna most beautifully.  Idina Menzel continues to be a vocal force.  In a career of musical hits, could “Let It Go” be her most beloved?

4. Olaf the snowman, performed brilliantly by Josh Gad, is the best comedic sidekick in a Disney animated feature since the Timon and Pumbaa tandem from The Lion King.

5. Frozen is a movie, that along with Tangled, would fit perfectly in the Disney animated feature renaissance row ofThe Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and the underrated Pochahontas.  It’s physical form will someday reside on my DVD shelf.

Bill, Amy, and Seth

• Saturday Night Live said goodbye to Seth Meyers this week as he prepares for his new gig at Late Night, beginning later in the month.  As is SNL tradition, some old family members came by to honor his departure.  Amy Poehler, as she often does, said it best when she described him as “the heart of this program for the past twelve years.”  He will be missed.

• Mostly a teaser for what is to come, the exes arrived on Real World: Ex-Plosion this week in the last segment of the episode.  I will share some of my thoughts after the next episode.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

• And finally, I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.  One of my first posts on this site was a “Five Things You Need to Know” on The Master.  I described him as “America’s (qualifying the nationality of Daniel Day-Lewis) best living film actor.”  I stand by what I wrote at the time.  There was no one better.  My heart goes out to his family and friends, especially to his three young children.  What a momentous loss.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company.

  1. It’s just a great song. 

Let’s Get A Few Things Off My Chest: MLK Day Edition

From time to time, I need to get a few things off my chest…this is the first installment of 2014.

• I have never been a regular viewer of network Late Night television (SNL is the exception) and struggle with the traditional monologue/guest/guest/lesser known guest format, but this may have to change (at least through the DVR access point).  I watched the Jimmy Fallon Best of Late Night Primetime Special last week and was thoroughly entertained and impressed.  He does some hilarious things, especially with any form of musical parody, any collaboration with Justin Timberlake, and any time the Roots are involved (I never would have known that the band I struggled to connect with on those spring days on Foss Hill at Wesleyan would become the house band of The Tonight Show!).  I am all in on Jimmy as the host of The Tonight Show and am ready to see what Seth Myers will do with Late Night.  In the branches of the Lorne Michaels tree of comedy prosperity I trust.

Here are some of my favorite Jimmy Fallon clips:

An a cappella version of “Can’t Stop”:

The “Sesame Street Theme” with childhood instruments:

A lip sync battle between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Stephen Merchant:

The “History of Rap” performed by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon:

The “Reading Rainbow” theme sung by the Doors:

• Yes, yesterday’s Patriots AFC Championship game loss to the Denver Broncos was a disappointment (and a crushing blow to a potential Super Bowl hosting party gig), the grieving period will be short-lived.  As a lifelong Boston sports fan, I have both experienced my share of devastating losses (I am looking at you 2008 Super Bowl, 2003 ALCS, 2010 NBA Finals…I could go on) and thankfully, an embarrassment of the richest successes beginning with the first time Brady and Belichick combined forces almost twelve years ago.  The 2013-2014 New England Patriots overachieved amidst a who’s who of best player loss to injury (Gronk, Wilfork, Mayo, and most recently, Talib), free agency (Welker, Woodhead) and incarceration for murder (the increasingly vile tale of Aaron Hernandez).  The defensive offsides penalty had already been thrown on much of this free play of a season, so to even be within one win of the Super Bowl was something to celebrate.  Yesterday, the best football team won.  As Bill Belichick’s full calendar of 2014 draft preparation already shows, it is time to move on to next season.

• The Oscar nominations woke up the West Coast Thursday morning with some surprise inclusions, notable omissions, and endless questions about what the rationale behind the decision to have Chris Hemsworth (“a super hero amongst us”) announce them could have been.  My strongest lingering takeaways:

The Academy dug The Wolf of Wall Street.  With acting nominations for Leonardo DiCaprio (an on the fence possibility going in) and Jonah Hill (considered to be even further on the outside looking in), Martin Scorsese’s eighth directing nomination, and a Best Picture nomination among the field of nine, there is a renewed momentum for this relative latecomer to the awards season party.  After his Golden Globe win and facing a field that does not feature once thought to be juggernaut competition from the likes of Tom Hanks and Robert Redford, I think he has a legitimate shot at winning his first Academy Award.

Speaking of Tom Hanks, his exclusion from the Best Actor race is the hardest omission for me to stomach.  His performance in Captain Phillips (nondescript New England accent aside) was vintage Hanks and deserved to be recognized.

I was most pleased that Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen were nominated for Best Song, but it made me uncomfortable when Cheryl Boone Isaacs had to say, “You may know them better as U2.”  Would she have had to similarly qualify the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

I have six movies to see before the March 2 ceremony in order for me to have fulfilled my viewing quota in the six major categories (Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director).  Those movies are, in order from “I want to see you” to “this matinee feels like a chore”: 1. Her (always on my list), 2. Dallas Buyer’s Club (I am all in on the “2014 Year of McConaughey” train), 3. August: Osage County (my all-time favorite stage play but not sure about the film version), 4. Nebraska (“Will Forte!”), 5. Philomena (one of those trailers that does not inspire, but the words from mouth that I have heard have been universally praising), 6. Blue Jasmine (I am not sure I want to have a relationship with Woody Allen pictures going forward).

• The second episode of Real World: Ex-Plosion may have been slightly more tolerable than the first, but I am still struggling.  Any chance that Doug will return for more tomfoolery?

• Sherlock came back to US audiences last night and was a most welcome return.  Perhaps as a consequence, it took me two sittings to get through the second episode of the more melancholic and morose True Detective.  I couldn’t help but think that I had already watched the true detective.

• In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, this lullaby of hope never loses its power.  It’s also by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen:

Finally, welcome back Captain Rajon Rondo.  We missed you.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company.

Let’s Get a Few Things Off My Chest – Boston Celtics Edition

From time to time, I need to get a few of things off of my chest…this is the second installment…

 The extreme surreality of yesterday’s Celtics live viewing experience is staggering to think about.  As I recall each iteration of the 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM EST telecast a day later, I remain dumbfounded.  Beginning with the sudden announcement of the late game scratch, to when the news of Rajon Rondo’s ACL tear went from twitter rumors to Doris Burke confirmations (courtesy of Celtics PR guru Jeff Twiss), to watching Bill Simmons bury his head during the half-time show in fear of the worst, to how Celtics’ on-court play kept matching the defending champs in regulation and then into two overtimes in what had to be the biggest win of the season, and finally to post game questions about who knew what when, I am still awestruck by all that happened.  Although we are not sure which dominoes are now going to fall in wake of the devastating Rondo injury news, January 27, 2013 will always be one of the most unforgettable and emotional days etched in my long history with the Boston Celtics.
• It is no surprise that Jackie MacMallun was at the center of the information flow on this infamous day.  Based on her account, she was responsible for sharing the news with Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat bench and even more bizarrely, with Rajon Rondo himself (who had yet to hear the MRI results).  Again, this is another bizarre element to this story.
• One of the most dramatic aspects of yesterday’s information flow concerned the Celtics players who did not know about Rajon’s season ending injury until after the game.  Watch Paul Pierce’s reaction when Doris Burke shares the fateful news…
• Where do we go from here?  I am choosing, at least for a few days, to take a breath (yesterday took a lot out of me) before I can properly put into prospective the ramifications that this injury may have on our current version (and the KG era for that matter) of the Boston Celtics.  If you want to read what the smartest NBA writer alive has to say, read Zach Lowe here on  Be warned: much time is given to scenarios in which Paul Pierce is traded.
• Removing my intellectualized viewing of the NBA and looking at this situation as just a pure fan, I am going to miss watching Rajon Rondo play basketball for as long as he is injured.  There is no player in the modern NBA who I enjoy watching more.  His incredible court sense and passing ability are wholly unique and can only be matched by a handful of players in the history of the league.  Let us hope that Rondo is made of the same ilk as Adrian Peterson (if anyone is, it is Rondo), and can recover quickly and even better than before.  It is no surprise that Rondo was walking on a torn ACL for a few days and just thought he was nursing a minor hamstring.
• Finally, the Boston Globe sneakily released this article on Robert Parish a few days ago.  It is a must read for any fan of the 1980s Celtics who have wondered what ever happened to the Chief.  This is pretty sad stuff, especially his feelings about his ex-teammates.
It is a sad day in Celtics nation.  Rajon, get better soon.
David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.  He writes weekly TV columns on and his weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings can be read on Derek Kosinski’s

Let’s Get a Few Things Off My Chest…Episode 1

From time to time, I need to get a few of things off of my chest…this is the first installment…

• In a span of just a few days last week, Britney Spears announced that she will not be returning to the X Factor (not a surprise, she was a disaster), that her engagement to Jason Trawick was off, and that she may be signing on to headline her own Las Vegas show.  All of this is troubling news for a person who seemed to be mounting a promising career comeback.  I wish her the best.

• For all you Celtics doubters out there, Avery Bradley’s return has finally allowed the Danny Ainge offseason roster blueprint for success to take flight.  Rotations are crisp, players seem to understand their roles from night to night, the bench has been reinvigorated (especially Jeff Green, Sully, and Courtney Lee and Jason Terry at least in the M.L. Carr role off the court, his on court play has left something to be desired), and the defense seems to finally be coming around (even without KG on the court).  Speaking of defense, please watch Avery Bradley play on ball defense.  I was at the Rockets game the other night and his work on James Harden was simply incredible (James Harden by the way is even more of an offensive stud in person).

• I hope Rajon Rondo “adapts” because he is just too special of a player to be missing games every few months because of his uncontrolled emotional tomfoolery (although his arm grab of Kris Humphries in KG’s defense remains a season highlight – Humphries has been pretty much MIA in Brooklyn ever since).

Rajon Rondo after the Kris Humphries altercation

• Brian Billick may be the worst football color analyst I have ever heard.  His comments this weekend in Atlanta was either comically inaccurate or painfully obvious.  Why is it that the NBA seems to find incredible on-air talent (Barkley, Jeff Van Gundy), but the NFL coach or player transition yields so few breakout stars?  Thank goodness Ray Lewis will be joining the media ranks next year (and hopefully immediately after Sunday’s game).

• This year’s Golden Globes ceremony were quite enjoyable.  Tina and Amy could not have been more wonderful as hosts (although why they couldn’t have been more active in the latter half of the show is an awards show conundrum – no offense, but is anyone pining for a Jeremy Irons intro?) and the program had its share of memorable moments.  I was struck by the elegance of Daniel Day-Lewis, the grace of both Ben Affleck and his beautiful wife Jennifer Garner, how Bill Clinton was the biggest star in the room, and how uncomfortable Quentin Tarantino makes me feel.  Jodie Foster’s speech was something special, but to say I fully understood it would be a house of lies (congrats Don Cheadle on your unexpected win!).  Also, what was going on with that Mel Gibson stuffed animal hamster moment besides creepiness?  Here is my highlight of the night:

• The Oscar nominations had their share of omissions (Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director) and pleasant surprises (Beast of the Southern Wild had a nice go of it), but one point of true disappoint are the zero nominations for The Dark Knight Rises.  It may be an imperfect motion picture that to many (of which I am not one) did not live up to The Dark Knight, but Christopher Nolan’s epic trilogy conclusion deserves some sort of recognition.

• Speaking of Christopher Nolan, excitement for Interstellar has officially begun.

• Wednesday nights (and my week for that matter) are just not the same without The Challenge.  I would love the suits at MTV to finally create a seasonal structure for this unofficial fifth professional sport (a fall and spring season perhaps).  Why hasn’t this happened yet?

The are missed
The Challenge…you are missed

• Girls is back (season 2 premiered on Sunday night while simultaneously winning some Golden Globes) and if you haven’t joined the party yet, it is time.

• The NBA Countdown pre-game show on ESPN featuring Michael Wilbon, Jalen Rose, Magic Johnson, and Bill Simmons has wrestled the “best pre-game show” crown from Inside the NBA (still struggling when Shaq expresses himself verbally).

• FInally, here is an assignment if you have cable: do a search for Fuse network or Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street and sign up for a season pass.  You will not laugh harder over a thirty minute period than watching Billy’s incredible on the street games and conversations.  For now, here is a “Quizzed in the Face” from a recent episode:

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.  He writes weekly TV columns on (next up, Fox’s “The Following”) and his weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings can be read on Derek Kosinski’s