Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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61 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Word in the MMA community is that Lesnar is planning on going back to the UFC. Hopefully it’s true and hopefully they will be smart and start him off with an unranked opponent because MMA has changed a lot since he left.

    What that might mean is that the WWE has to phase him out somehow. I don’t follow wrestling anymore but it seems logical that they would do it at Wrestlemania since reports are that he isn’t renewing his contract which (I think) is over in April.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Then that makes sense. They tried to mix MMA and Wrestling back in the late 90’s with Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn but legit scary doesn’t necessarily translate to communicating “scary” to the cheap seats. They finally get someone big enough who can do both and… well, they don’t have anyone that can take him on.

      Where have you gone, Ric Flair?

      Mojo Mitchell had a great reminiscence back in 2002 that imagined what a 1988-era Ric Flair would have said to Brock Lesnar: “Yeah, you’re big and bad and your arms are really impressive but ask around, big boy. I specialize in Big Tough Guys. That’s because I’m Ric Flair, and I’m a sixty minute man. When the match hits that twenty minute mark, that thirty minute mark, that forty minute mark, and your big arms and big chest are heaving (Flair starts taking really big breaths) I’ll just be getting started. You’ll be mine, all night long! Wooo!”

      Ah, sigh.

      Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. The MMA/Wrestling crossover.

      They’re two very, very different worlds. It can be difficult for a guy who, legit, beats the crap out of people for a living to be told to stand still for a Stinger Splash before lying down.

      Though I suppose being told to fake losing after a Stinger Splash is a lot less rough on your body than being in the ring with another guy who, legit, beats the crap out of people for a living…Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        Ah Rick Flair – his longer matches were so friggin’ epic back in the day. I remember a best of 3 match with Ricky Steamboat for the title back in the NWA days (my favorite organization). Went the full three falls and it was glorious. Flair definitely knew how to put on a show.

        I think pro wrestling is pretty hard on the body, but obviously in a different way. Bobby Lashley did it. David Batista had one MMA fight. It remains to be seen how that turns out. CM Punk is now crossing over. Lesnar was a legit martial artist (if you consider wrestling a martial art) before WWE so it was no surprise he did so well.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, when Brock first got in MMA, he gave an interview where he cut a promo on his opponent which turned *EVERYTHING* topsy-turvy. People were apologizing left and right, press releases were released to the press, everything coming out and saying “We do not support Brock Lesnar’s comments” and Brock was flabbergasted thinking “What? They asked me and I was building publicity!” and he needed to have it explained that he needed to be like Bill Belichick explaining that he knows his opponents are fierce competitors, he knows that he has to bring his lunch, and he can’t take anything for granted because the Jacksonville Jaguars can’t be underestimated.

        So they didn’t let Brock talk in the UFC either.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I watched The French Connection for the first time on Friday night. I can see why it was revolutionary in the early 1970s but I grew up with movies did all of its grit and violence to an even greater extreme so it seemed kind of uninspiring to me. I wasn’t thrilled by the scenes where Gene Hackman is chasing down an elevated subway in a car to catch a bad guy. Plus the shoot out scene possibly copied the end of the Naked City so it was not completely new. It is always fun to look at NYC before I was born and see how it holds up to the NYC of my childhood and young adulthood.

    Last night I watched the Gary Oldman version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy again. This was the third time. The first time I watched it, I had no idea what was going on. The second time, I got the plot. This time I caught a lot of little details (like at the begging of the movie when Jim Peridoux realizes he is being set up because the Hungarian waiter is sweating a lot in cold weather) and understood it from start to finish.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Have you ever seen the BBC version of TTSS? It’s much easier to follow, having much more room to present the story.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’ve seen the BBC version with Alec Guiness (and Patrick Stewart as Karla in an unspeaking role!) I’ve also read the book which covers nice little details about the political backgrounds of the Circus. I believe Roy Blunt started as a socialist firebrand who lectured at Eastern European universities before being recruited by British Intelligence. Also in the novel, Smiley recruits Esterhase instead of Control and there is less of an implication that Esterhase collaborated with the Nazis during WWII.

        I am still trying to figure out why the filmmakers for the modern version decided to make Peter Guillam a closeted homosexual. It wasn’t a bad choice and it did not distract from the movie but it was a clear addition that was not in the book and there were clear implications of bisexuality for another main character in the book and BBC TV version. Maybe it was just trying to make something more relevant for a modern, post-Cold War audience?Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yeah, given how intricate the story is, I was impressed that the Oldman version was comprehensible at all, with only a few big deviations from the novel.

      Is the BBC version streaming anywhere?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Here is an example of interesting changes from 1970s NY to modern NY. In the French Connection, there is a scene where Gene Hackman is tailing the lead French baddie through the NYC subway (I think they are at Times Square). On the subway tracks, there are all these stands selling drinks and snacks. Gene Hackman orders a grape drink that gets served to him in a paper cone cup and also a candy apple that he eats on the subway to look inconspicuous.

      I’ve seen newspaper stands that sell candy, canned and bottle soda, and magazines. I’ve never seen a stand that sold candy apples or drinks from a fountain. I wonder when those went away and why.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I agree that French Connection hasn’t really held up, I saw it a few years ago and it didn’t do much for me either. Maybe at the time the moral (and visual) murkiness was a revelation, but nowadays, eh. The car chase is decent, but you can just watch that on YouTube, and save yourself an hour and a half.

      My surprise of the week: I was not aware that Disney, in 2013, started making new Mickey Mouse shorts. They apparently won some Emmys and IMO those were deserved, because this is the best TV animation Disney has done in forever (Disney has more or less maintained quality when it comes to their films, but their TV work has mostly stunk, managing to be both ugly/cheap-looking, and also totally dull and saccharine).

      For these, they harked back to the original character designs and movements (like, “Steamboat Willie” style), but updated with some brilliant and beautiful color schemes and backgrounds (think something like Samurai Jack) for shorts of heavy slapstick (lots of improbable physics and exaggerated violence going on) with just a touch of slightly naughty, Ren and Stimpy-style grotesquerie (read: a shambling rotting zombie Goofy with flies circling him; lots of humor revolving around butts). It may be targeted at international markets, since one episode took place in Tokyo, and another in Paris. My kids were really digging it, and so was I.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        Where did you watch these shorts?

        Also, feel both of you on French Connection. They recently added it to Netflix streaming, and I didn’t make it all the way through. I used to love it, but hadn’t seen it since the late 90s or early aughts.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        They were airing them on Disney at 7 AM on Saturday in half-hour blocks (which may be why I didn’t know about them, since we try not to have the TV on so early; but my daughter was up, so I took her in the back bedroom to watch cartoons to try to let the rest of the family sleep, since we’ve all been either sick, or getting sick, or getting over being sick).

        I hate “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”, and “Doc McStuffins” and “Special Agent Oso” are nearly as dire (though to be fair, “Phineas and Ferb” is pretty good) so I was shocked to see these.

        She was far more involved in these than she has been in any of the others, as soon as they were over she demanded to watch them again; I checked VOD and many of the individual 4-minute shorts were there, and we worked our way through all the ones they had. Then we watched them with her brother later and he was cackling (though to be fair, butt humor will do that to a 5-year old).

        These give an idea:

        There are lots more on YT, or go here:

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        I spent the weekend going through Netflix’s entire cartoon catalogue with my son’s little brother, so I’m really looking for anything, anywhere.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Oh, and I recommended this last week I think: Cartoon Network did a fairytale miniseries called Over The Garden Wall that was just fantastic, check your listings for that or see if you can find it online.

        My son also watched something on Netflix called Ernest and Celestine that he really liked, but I didn’t see much of it.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        No cable here, so it has to be online. That’s why we spent so much on Netflix.

        Cartoon Network has a bunch of its shows from a decade or so ago on Netflix now. The 6-year old enjoyed The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy as much as my son did when he was six.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        So much time* on Netflix.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Glyph says:


        Those seem like they were originally made for a European audience.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Glyph says:

        Get your kids on Steven Universe. Good luck not getting sucked in yourselves.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      It is always fun to look at NYC before I was born and see how it holds up to the NYC of my childhood and young adulthood.

      Hvae you seen The Taking of Pelham One Two Three?Report

  3. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    I remember watching Bryan Danielson DVD’s in the early aughts, but the hate that his fans have for Reigns, simply because the WWE might push him, makes me want Reigns to eliminate him in three seconds, and for Bryan to be stuck in the pre-Mania battle royal, if they have that this year.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Reigns has an amazing look but isn’t that great of a wrestler and his promos are at their best when they’re under a dozen words.

      The boos that he got when he won the Rumble were surprising.

      I worry that they’ve got another Batista.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

        I suspect the writers are concerned that the WWE has, for the most part, only one type of story line that goes over well with the live audiences these days — good guy gets beat down, again and again, then eventually wins it all. The people are showing up and/or tuning in to see if tonight’s the night the bullies get their comeuppance. They don’t have that many athletes who can sell taking that kind of beating at house shows six nights a week — Ziggler, Bryan, Cena, maybe Ambrose. The Bray Wyatt oddball character had a lot of potential up to a point, but was too odd to push to the kiddies. One of their championships is held by Lesnar, a monster who hardly ever works.

        That’s a tough set of constraints to labor under.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’ve been at house shows where heels won (and quite regularly). There were two matches that the faces won every time, though.

        The big tag team match where they had the bad officiating (ref missing the tags the faces made, ref missing the heels heeling, ref lecturing the faces for trivia while the heels were using tablesaws behind his back, that sort of thing) and that match *ALWAYS* had the faces win after the hot tag and the Send Them Home Happy match where the biggest name came out and whupped up on the 2nd biggest name. Now there were also a handful of other wins by faces that night but the heels had a number of wins as well. (Maybe 1 out of 3 matches.)

        I guess they know that people pay money to boo.Report

  4. Avatar Glyph says:

    Also, I hope that anyone who watched Justified this week will join me in cbhevat bhg n pbyrfynj, va erpbtavgvba bs, gehyl, gur Raq Gvzrf bs Qrjrl Pebjr.

    Ur jnf n zbebavp enpvfg zheqrevat 4-xvqarlrq vzorpvyr, ohg ur jnf bhe zbebavp enpvfg zheqrevat 4-xvqarlrq vzorpvyr.Report

  5. Avatar Fish says:

    Nearly finished with the third volume of Gulag Archipelago. It’s fantastic.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Fish says:

      I have a complicated relationship with that czarist jerk (see his plagiarism accusations against one of my favorite early Soviet authors, e.g.), but have you read August 1914? Because it is spectacularly awesome, and if you take the bulk of God’s oeuvre to be saying, “This is where we ended up,” it is the beginning of a trilogy in which he says, “and this is how we got there.”Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        It’s not a trilogy, exactly, but the fourth part has never been translated into English. Which baffles me; surely someone with a bit of spare cash would be interested in sponsoring that.Report

      • Avatar Fish in reply to Chris says:

        I haven’t, but I’ll add it to the list. I have A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich queued up as well.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        You know, I’m not sure I knew there was a 4th part, or at least I didn’t remember.

        I’m not sure the 3rd part has ever been translated, in fact. If it has, I can’t find a translation. Searching just now, I found an article suggesting that unless someone wealthy comes along and pays for it, neither will be translated.

        The Red Wheel is available in other European languages, such as German, French and Swedish, while Russian speakers can download the while thing for free from the official Solzhenitsyn website which is run by his widow, Natalia. Edward Ericson, a noted Solzhenitsyn scholar who edited the one volume edition of The Gulag Archipelago and co-edited The Solzhenitsyn Reader is pessimistic that The Red Wheel will ever appear in English. “That would take a rich benefactor,” he says. “It’s never going to make a profit. I don’t even think the sales would pay the cost of the translation. And so this great work is lost to us”

        I really need to learn Russian. November (October) 1916 is easy to get, though. That wasn’t the case a few years ago, when I first started looking. Now there’s even a Kindle edition.

        A Day in the Life is a wonderful, and wonderfully depressing little book. If I could read it for the first time again, I’d want to read it alongside The House of the Dead. Cancer Ward and the book we read here at OT not so long ago, The First Circle, are also nice reads.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        Day in the Life could be finished in a long afternoon. (You’ll see a lot of the themes we explored in First Circle before they were fully fleshed out as well.)

        The failure to translate those books makes no sense to me. You’d think that that’d be a doctorate waiting to happen for some grad students in some Russian program somewhere.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        The Koches could fund it out of petty cash. Don’t they want to further discredit communism?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

        What would Santelli say?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chris says:

        *ahem*. No politics?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        Yes. I agree with Kolohe.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

        *ducks head* sorry.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        The failure to translate those books makes no sense to me. You’d think that that’d be a doctorate waiting to happen for some grad students in some Russian program somewhere.

        Reading about the translations of the first two books, apparently August 1914 was first translated by some grad students, and Solzhenitsyn was none too pleased with their work (neither, it seems, were the critics), resulting in a costly second translation several years later (a translation good enough for Bloom to include it). This may have made his family reluctant to let students translate what I imagine is a fairly difficult, extremely long work, into English.

        One of the thing that makes August 1914 so amazing, as a work of literature (rather than as a nationalist historiography), is that you can almost feel the lament in the prose as the Russian military higher-ups commit fatal mistake after fatal mistake. It’s as though every paragraph begins with the heave of a heavy sigh.

        Of course, the historical irony of the battles undertaken therein is that they likely saved the West (for the time), even as they doomed Russia. Without the invasion of East Prussia and the massive redeployment of crack German troops from the West to the East, France likely falls by late 1914 or early 1915, Britain and Germany come to a separate peace, and the next 30 years, possibly the next 100, look very, very different.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        Yeah, sorry.

        Ummm, we could start a Kickstarter if we weren’t worried about crowding out Zach Braff movies.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        When you say “costly”, how much are we talking about?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        If I contribute $100 to the Kickstarter, can I do a voiceover for the trailer?

        “In a world… where it’s really, really cold, and the sailors are just sitting around in the harbor, in the cold, getting antsy and political… did I mention it’s cold?”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        Ugh. I didn’t know that about August 1914.

        Now I’m wondering if a bad translation would be worse than no translation.

        It’d have to be a pretty bad translation…Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        The article suggests that they’d never come close to recouping the costs in sales. I really have no sense of how much a book like this would sell (I know I’d buy a copy, possibly one print and one electronic), but however much that is, a lot more than that.

        I imagine we’re talking about thousands and thousands of hours of work, given that both books are likely be at least 1000 pages in English (it looks like March 1917 is in 4 volumes, while November 1914, is in 2, at 1040 pages, though I’m not sure how he divided up the volumes and whether that relates at all to length), and neither is going to be particularly easy. It’d require a fair amount of historical work along with a familiarity with past translations.

        Now, if someone is willing to fund my studies for the next 5-6 years, including immersive learning in, say, St Petersburg for a year or two, I’d be happy to do it. Should be ready to go by 2026 or so.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        I guess everyone in Sweden promised to buy 100 copies each.Report

  6. Avatar Reformed Republican says:

    I went to see Madame Butterfly yesterday, and I got home after the show was over. I only had time to watch all the matches before the actual Rumble before I had to go to bed. The triple threat was pretty awesome, and it was worth my $9.99. I already read the spoilers for the Rumble match. Sounds like they angered the fans worse than last year. It will be interesting to see how things shake up, since CM Punk cannot quit again.

    I think Reigns has long term potential, but he is not ready to be the Top Guy. There are plenty of other guys on the roster that are better choices to main event Wrestlemania right now. I think Reigns would have benefited from another year. I cannot buy him as a credible threat to Lesnar, even if they continue to sell his injuries from last night.Report

    • Part of the problem is the whole “WWE Style” thing they’ve got going on. Someone like Seamus (or Sheamus now) is seen as a blue chipper and someone like Daniel Bryan is seen as a vanilla midget.

      We’re now living in a world where blading is seen as a biohazard and head shots are illegal as hell, so the little guys can’t do as much to be as impressive to the cheap seats as the big guys do… but you’d think that the office would care more about the people who set the crowds on fire than the guys who look like the guys who, back in the 80’s, sold tickets.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, I finally saw the Rumble match last night. Maybe I had lowered expectations because of all the kvetching, but I enjoyed the match. I still think Reigns is too green to be a believable threat to Lesnar, or to main event Wrestlemania, but I thought the match was laid out well.

        I also think the WWE creative team are happy to have gotten some extra time to figure out what to do in response to the fallout.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah, I kinda enjoyed the Rumble. We were laughing and yelling at the television and pretty excited. If I had a couple of complaints, they’d be vaguely minor.

        The women’s match wasn’t very good and it wasn’t very well booked. (It also should have taken place between the triple threat and the Rumble itself.) The wrong guy won the Rumble (and didn’t Dave win last year?).

        Other than that, it was a fairly pleasant way to spend a Sunday night.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:


        (Assuming Roman Reigns as victor) Exact same finish with Kane and Big Show both feuding and Reigns tossing them out. Rusev runs in, Reigns superman punches him, tosses Rusev.

        Kane and Big Show and Rusev all walk dejectedly up toward the stage while Roman Reigns does the victory thing at all four corners. HHH and Steph come out and start yelling at Kane, Big Show, and Rusev and point at the ring. The big guys walk to the ring while HHH and Steph walk to the bottom of the ramp. The big guys surround the ring and Roman puts up his dukes and there’s a standoff… until Sting comes out at the top of the ramp and points at HHH and Steph. Sting goes on to point at the three big guys. The three big guys abandon the ring. Sting goes back to pointing at HHH and Steph.

        Go to the WWE symbol.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        I didn’t realize Sting had finally come over to the WWE. Absolutely my all-time favorite wrestler (unfortunately my little brother was on the receiving end of many Scorpion Deathlocks when we were kids). I heard they were trying to make it happen before he retired but didn’t know it was a done deal. Cool to hear.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        He’s showed up a handful of times and done nothing more than point at people.

        It usually results in the roof being blown off the place along with “this is awesome” chants.

        (He’s also a playable character in WWE 2K15, if you’ve got a console. Synergy!)Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        Huh, even when he was younger and more fit, it doesn’t seem like he’d have the bulk to really kick butt.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        He practices tantric wrestling.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        He always did like to point at people during the NWO days, though is he still using a fungo bat when he does it?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        The bat is gone. (Also, from what I understand, the trademark of “Sting”, at least in the US, belongs to the ‘rassler and not to the singer, though Sting graciously lets Other Sting use it.)Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        I remember a million years ago reading some wrestling magazine that had a feature where people would suggest fantasy tag team pairings and creative names. Someone suggested the Big Bossman and Sting and of course they would be called The Police.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        There was a far-too-long period where they made matchups just so Gorilla Monsoon (peace be upon him) could say something dumb.

        Irwin R Shyster vs. The Undertaker? “Death and Taxes.”
        Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. George “The Animal” Steele? “Beauty and the Beast.”
        The Dream Team vs. The Hart Foundation? “The Hammer vs. The Anvil.”

        Good God, do I miss Gorilla Monsoon…Report

  7. Avatar Maribou says:

    Sadly, I mostly slept through the Rumble due to adjusting to some medication changes … bummer because the parts I was awake for were fun.

    Otherwise I have been watching Misfits, still, and also How I Met Your Mother still. (The Librarians got put off a week because a) Royal Rumble, b) after we watch the 2 hour finale we will be out of episodes to watch.) Jay and I just started Season 6 of Burn Notice and, a few episodes in, I want to say it is a *really* good season.

    Been reading fairly randomly as I tidy up my home library and hit the children’s section (stuff like Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas that, once I touch it, I kinda have to reread it), plus books for therapy, plus Thomas Page McBee’s really good but very painful Man Alive, plus some fluffy fantasy novels (Juliet Marillier, who is excellent, and Colleen Houck who has enough page-turning-itis that I keep wanting to read her books despite how many things I don’t like about them). I read Lord Hervey’s Memoirs last week; I now feel like I know a lot more about the early 18th century AND like I absorbed a lot of his unsubstantiated but rhetorically compelling (and hilarious) gossip, whether or not I really wanted to believe it.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

      Oh, also both Tomboy by Liz Prince and How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis are recent, critically acclaimed graphic novels that more than lived up to their hype. (Other than that, they don’t have much in common.)Report

  8. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    You’re trolling us, right?Report