And thus we slog to the end of another NFL season, and the end of another TMQ season. Surprisingly (at least to us) TMQ avoids any discussion of unrealistic television shows, but there’s a lot of discussion of books. Speaking of which, did you know TMQ had a new book out?
One of my Christmas presents was a box of smoked meat from Goode Company Barbecue in Houston. The meat itself has been very good so far. But included with the meat was a loaf of Goode Company’s Jalepeno Cheddar bread.
I was warned in advance: “This stuff is addictive. You’ll find yourself eating the whole loaf in one sitting.” Well, I wasn’t quite that bad (it took two sittings to finish the loaf), but it is very very good bread. I wouldn’t put it at the “crack cocaine” level; that’s reserved for Caramel deLites (or Samoas, depending on which part of the country you’re in). It is even better if you toast it and spread some of Trader Joe’s Pub Cheese on the toast, but that’s a digression.
This is a story that has everything: a dying child, an impossible request, and a gruff but kind hearted hard-drinking city editor. It is almost as if someone took many of the cliches of 1950s journalism and rolled them into a single morality tale.
He listened to the problem and told me to telephone the Secretary of Agriculture and have him clear the peaches when they arrived.
“It’s close to midnight,” I argued. “His office is closed.”
“Take this number down,” Reck said. “It’s his home. Tell him I told you to call.”
It is the most celebrated letter to the editor and its reply the most celebrated editorial in American journalism.
Yes, that one.
In the summer of 1897, 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon sent a letter to The New York Sun asking if Santa Claus was real. An editorial writer named Frank Church was assigned the task of answering Virginia’s letter. Church’s response, published anonymously Sept. 21, is a Christmas classic.
Or you could read it on the Newseum website. On on the New York Daily News website. Or any number of other places where they don’t charge you to read something that (I strongly suspect, but you never know with US copyright law) is in the public domain.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I loved the “worst” lists published in various places. Jeff Millar‘s worst movies list in the HouChron. Siskel and Ebert’s “worst movies of the year” episode. High points, things I looked forward to every year.
(On a side note, it fills me with delight down to the bottom of my coal-black little heart that Siskel & Ebert.org has the complete 1992 worst up on their site. This is the year that Roger lost the coin flip and picked Shining Through as his worst movie of the year, complete with the interminable strudel scene. Really. I kid you not. Melanie Griffith just goes on. And on. AND ON. Here, watch for yourself:
The Shining Through section begins at about 15:30, but you should really watch the whole thing.)
But things have changed. Siskel and Ebert and Millar are all dead. For a while, the AV Club was an acceptable substitute.
But this year’s AV Club is a little off. Take their worst movies of the year, for example. I admit I have not seen Planes (I don’t care for Pixar films) or A Good Day to Die Hard. But were they really among the worst movies of the year, in a year that included The Purge and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone? Worse than Last Vegas or the Carrie remake? At least Battle of the Year made their list. (Didn’t see it, but saw the trailer for it.)
Smurfs 2 came out this year. It isn’t on the AV Club list. Enough said.
Likewise, a “worst TV” list that doesn’t include Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, or Raising Hope is pretty much worthless, and tells me that the AV Club writers are either on drugs or taking payoffs from Fox.
But there is one thing I can count on, although it technically isn’t a “worst” list (except maybe of family disasters): the Carolyn Hax Hootenanny of Holiday Horrors. The 2013 edition is here.
All of the sudden she stuck out her hand and bellowed “SPOOOOOON!” at which point someone meekly handed her a spoon and she proceeded to stir the gravy.
(And dryer lint really is great for starting fires. Especially with a flint and steel. At least, that’s what I learned in the Boy Scouts.)
Edited to add more: someone on the AV Club posted a link to “The Dissolve”, aka “Where Many of the AV Club’s Most Interesting Writers Went to Languish In Obscurity”. And they have their own worst list, which I find…kind of credible.
Yeah, okay, the Die Hard movie is on it, and Smurfs 2 isn’t, but they do get points for reminding me of some other candidates for year’s worst movie. For example, The Internship, aka “A Two Hour Long Commercial for Google”, and Movie 43. Might be worth keeping an eye on this site in 2014.
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