January 4, 2014 |
If the NBA playoffs started Sunday, they would include one team five games below .500, two other teams with losing records at home and a fourth team that has gone 0-5 in its division. In what kind of an insane realm does this mishmash of mediocrity qualify as success, and where do the Lakers sign up? It's called the Eastern Conference, with membership confined to mostly poor, huddled masses yearning to wheeze free. Eleven of the 15 teams have losing records. Toronto's 16-15 record is good enough to lead the awful Atlantic Division, where the second-place team will probably be high in the draft lottery.
January 2, 2014 |
Henry Ford said that "failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. " That's a sentiment shared by some of Hollywood's top directors, including Paul Greengrass ("Captain Phillips"), J.C. Chandor ("All Is Lost") and Nicole Holofcener ("Enough Said"). At the recent Envelope Directors Round Table , those filmmakers - along with Spike Jonze ("Her"), John Lee Hancock ("Saving Mr. Banks") and Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") - talked about how and what they've learned from their mistakes.
September 30, 2013 |
Danica Patrick was heard swearing in frustration at one point during Sunday's NASCAR race in Dover, Del., and who can blame her? The mediocrity that is Patrick's rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series rolls on, the popular driver struggling to place her No. 10 Chevrolet even in the top 20 each week. The AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway was no exception. She finished 29th in the 43-car field, six laps down from winner Jimmie Johnson. With an ill-handling car from the start, "it was just a frustrating day," Patrick said in notes released by her Stewart-Haas Racing team.
August 30, 2013 |
UCLA is trying to redefine itself. It used to be that keeping the USC drum major from sticking a toy sword in the Rose Bowl turf constituted a victory over the Trojans. Leaning on the Pac-12 Conference to remove from its promotional video the clip of the drum major doing his stick shtick was considered a highlight. Complaining about USC placing quarterback Matt Barkley's smiling face above Westwood was the closest thing the Bruins got to a billboard campaign. What a difference a year made.
July 30, 2013 |
Right down to the brute functionality of its title, "The Smurfs 2" may be the platonic ideal of a major studio sequel - no markedly better or worse than the first and with just enough difference to lay claim to being something new. Just as with the 2011 film "The Smurfs," the new "The Smurfs 2" is a passable mediocrity. Again mixing live-action with computer animation, the story this time revolves around the bad wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who has been performing as a magician in modern-day Paris, kidnapping Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry)
May 31, 2013 |
After a month of mediocre early-season apricots, the prime varieties, sweet, juicy and flavorful, are here or will be soon. Beyond the celebrated Blenheim, there are other worthwhile varieties, and a few are even better. Here are the leading apricots and apricot-like hybrids, in order of ripening, rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for flavor. The crop is about a week early this year and looks good in size and quality. • Apache (5 rating). Season typically May 5-25. Introduced by Ledbetter, USDA, 2002; has Royal and Perfection in its pedigree.