As a consumer of media and news about the media, it’s disconcerting when a voice like former NBC executive Warren Littlefield still carries significant weight. Deadline reported in a fluff piece Friday how Littlefield is rounding up his former colleagues at The Sarnoff Creation to discuss the network’s “worst rating performance ever”.

Yes, the network has been abysmal the last six years. I’m not denying shows like “The Playboy Club” or “The Event” were god-awful or didn’t have enough time to find their groove. But the mindset of Littlefield’s era has become horribly antiquated in the last decade.

To review, Littlefield left NBC in the 2000-01 season. The fact the network was struggling on nights that weren’t Wednesday or Thursday notwithstanding, (some of) the television landscape facets of the time include:

  1. Cable, whose programming output was a fraction of what it is today. Neither AMC nor TNT was producing drama, USA was presenting mostly sci-fi and game shows, and FX’s signature show was “Son of the Beach”. Even HBO was not scheduling the amount of original programming it does now, to say nothing of Starz or Showtime.
  2. Neither Hulu nor Netflix existed. For that matter, network websites only housed information.
  3. DVR was in its infancy, and was more novel than practical.
  4. DVDs hadn’t proliferated. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m obsessed with maps.  As I write this from my living room, there is a map of Mahoning County on the wall to my left and one of Ohio to the right.  I’m completely fascinated by them, and this fascination is the main reason I chose geography as one of my specializations (think minor).

It’s no surprise that I was amazed when I found Eric Fischer’s study of racial breakdowns in America’s largest cities.

Fischer was inspired by a map created by Bill Rankin in 2009 that shows Chicago’s racial breakdown by community.  The map is simplistically elegant and informative, showing the stark racial boundaries between neighboring communities in an easy-to-interpret design.

The map that started it all

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Mike Vick is officially reclaiming his spot as a starting quarterback in the National Football League, or at least for the next 24 hours. It has been made official that with Kevin Kolb out with a concussion, Michael Vick is primed for a return to glory. If you had a chance to check out Philadelphia last week against Green Bay then you know that Vick brought the Eagles back from the dead. The Eagles looked defeated at the beginning of the second half when Vick took the reigns after Kolb got ruled out with a concussion. He wasn’t the rusty old wildcat specialist anymore, he was the Mike Vick we remember, the Mike Vick with the S on his chest.

The Eagles went into the third quarter down 20-3. Vick used his legs to rack up 103 yards on the ground, and he showed flashes of the touch he used to have on the ball throwing for 175 yards and a touchdown. Although the Eagles couldn’t come away with a victory, it was apparent that Michael Vick was the X-factor that gave them a chance. This week the Eagles head to Detroit to take on the Lions who have also lost their starting quarterback. Both teams are looking for their first win, and for Michael Vick this is going to be one of his most important starts as a professional football player thus far. If Vick can come out, get a win, and remain a difference maker on the field then I believe he’ll be the starter come week 3. Vick has been given a blessing in disguise. Kolb’s injury has given number 7 what he has been waiting on. A chance.


So as we’re aware, it’s getting close November and that means everyone’s favorite thing: Political Ads! It’s actually not close to November at all, but in the political mud slinging world, it’s October 31st. But I’ll put aside my frustrations for all of that for a second in order to address my greatest irritation of the year. Political Ads. Let’s be honest for a second. All politicians have at some point done something that some person somewhere considers dishonest. However, politicians seem to have this inherent need to smear their opponents with all kinds of “bad press” in order to make themselves look better. In all honesty, I think the real politician is not the one who can sling the most mud, but is in fact the candidate who can make themselves stand out from the others but backing up their ideas and views with concrete proof they’ll stick by their claims. However, if you don’t believe me that political ads are ridiculous, just take a walk with me through some of the craziest I’ve seen in recent years.

So of course we’re all aware of the controversial ad that Johnson aired only once against his Republican opponent, Goldwater. I’m a democrat and have never claimed otherwise. However, I’m in agreement with most individuals that blowing up a girl playing in the flowers in a pretty extreme way of pointing out the flaws in your opponent. I’m not claiming what he was saying was wrong, but come on. Anyone who sees a girl and then a nuclear explosion isn’t going to want to support any candidate you say is the cause. It was a cheap shot that worked, and even though in our time they would have been crucified, in the 60s’, everyone blamed Goldwater and we see how it turned out.

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Austin, Texas. The booming, progressive and erudite capital is a world apart from the roughneck, conservative culture of the rest of the Lone Star State. City Limits, Film Festival, and the emergence of South by Southwest have cemented the city as an arts destination.

Count another outlet on its resume. Poster Cabaret plays host to dozens of artists, specializing in concert poster art that looks as good in your room as it would outside a club.

Having recently moved into my house in Columbus, I started scouring in search of something cool/nice/relatively inexpensive to add some color to an otherwise bland room. But when in search of something ‘alternative’ as opposed to another AC/DC or Doors poster, the site usually turns up that picture of Death Cab for Cutie where Chris Walla makes some shape with his hands. It can be a little underwhelming.


So you want something that lets everyone know how much you love Transatlanticism, but want to appear unique as well? You could try this…

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From the outside it may appear that everyone in Ohio is a Buckeyes fan.  Ohio State probably gets more publicity than all the other institutions in Ohio combined, and for a long time it was the only Ohio school in a BCS conference, so it’s easy to see why some may believe this.

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been an Ohio Bobcats diehard since the day I stepped on campus in September 2008.  Coincidentally, my hatred for Ohio State, which had laid dormant during my grade school years, has awoken while on the campus of another university.  This is partially due to the fact that on game day I see more scarlet and grey jerseys in campus bars than green and white ones in the stands of Peden Stadium.  This article in Ohio University’s student newspaper pretty much sums up my opinion on the Ohio State issue.

It’s hard to be a fan of a non-BCS school (unless that school is a perennial power like Boise State, TCU or Utah).  The mainstream media only reports on our team if something really amazing or really terrible happens, and you won’t see Lee Corso putting on a Bobcat head anytime soon.  The only times our games are shown are early in the season when we pick up our paycheck to play one of the BCS schools or during the conference season on a Tuesday night on ESPN U.

I decided to document my experiences this past Saturday as my beloved Bobcats opened Mid-American Conference play against the Toledo Rockets in an attempt to describe what it’s like to root for a school big enough to play at the same level as the big boys, but small enough to remain off the mainstream radar.

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Track Listing and Download Link After the Jump.

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Penn State travels to Tuscaloosa to battle Alabama in the nightcap of an excellent second Saturday of college football.  Penn State enters the game ranked 18th in the AP poll and 14th in the Coaches after a 44-14 win over Youngstown State.  Defending National Champions Alabama sit atop both polls after their 48-3 thrashing of San Jose State.

This game is yet another National Championship rematch, the 1979 Sugar Bowl, when #2 Alabama stopped #1 Penn State on the goal line to give Bear Bryant his fifth National Championship.

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None of us have forgotten the last time these teams clashed in the 2003 National Championship game. You would think after seven years these players wouldn’t look to that game as a source of inspiration, but the ‘U’ is out for vengeance. None of the 2010 Hurricanes were even out of high school yet, being somewhere between 10-14 years old when the Buckeyes took down the favored Miami team in a double-overtime 31-24 upset that prevented the ‘U’ from back-to-back titles. Even still, the Miami Hurricanes of today haven’t forgotten about the loss.

still hurts after all these years

Defensive end Olivier Vernon told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “It’s revenge time. Nobody’s forgotten about that. I feel like I was playing in that game.”

For the Buckeyes what happened in 2003 simply happened in 2003. Even Jim Tressel claimed to be puzzled by the idea that this game holds a sense of revenge for Miami. As for the superstar quarterback of the Buckeyes, the game wasn’t even important enough at the time for him to watch.

Terrelle Pryor, originally from Jeannette, Pa., said, “I’d be lying if I said I watched that game”.

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If this were earlier in the decade, a nation would’ve turned its eyes on this match-up. A regular season clash between Florida State and Oklahoma? If Saturday Night Football existed then, this game would’ve been a no-brainer. Possibly the most important match-up of the season!

But it isn’t 2001 or 2002. In 2010, a Florida State-Oklahoma match-up gets to be a national TV game, but it’s scheduled opposite the more hyped Ohio State-Miami game, and the prime time slot belongs to Penn State-Alabama.

Like its afternoon counterpart, these two teams also met in a championship game. The 2001 Orange Bowl, where Oklahoma beat an FSU team that leapfrogged Miami in the BCS standings 13-2, was their last meeting. Unlike the Fiesta Bowl re-creation though, this is no grudge match. It’s pitting two teams battling back to respectability.

Miami, 2001.

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