January 17, 2013
These Media Organizations Didn’t Pick Up A Phone

This is a list. It contains the names of 21 news organizations/papers/publications who all failed to step away from the allure of Notre Dame football and check out whether a human being was indeed a real person.

1. Us.

2. You. (Jack Dickey and Timothy Burke excepted)

3. Sports Illustrated.


5. The South Bend Tribune

6. Bleacher Report

7. The Chicago Tribune

8. The Chicago Sun-Times

9. The Sporting News

10. USA Today

11. The Boston Globe

12. CBS Sports

13. The New York Post

14. NBC Sports/Notre Dame

15. Yahoo

16. The Associated Press

17. The Palm Beach Post

18. The Miami Herald

19. The Tampa Bay Times

20. Grantland

21. The Los Angeles Times

*List Source: MGoBlog

November 7, 2012

Four years ago, John McCain lost, but did so gracefully and respectably. While I don’t doubt Mitt Romney is generally a nice person, he failed to act like an honorable man during the campaign. He lost, and lost badly. I respect how much of their lives they plunge into the campaign, but the Romney campaign was one of distraction, deceit and vitriol. Tomorrow Mr. Romney will go back to private life and President Obama will go to work.

Natural order remains.

Nate Silver/Zombie Lincoln 2016 !

November 5, 2012
Get Back In the Game

Soon the noise will stop. Its half life will decay just enough to where we can stick our heads above ground for long enough to survey the world we will live in for the next four years. American elections are no small thing anymore; Indeed, they swallow up the bulk of the intellectual — and rational — capacity of this country for about 18 months, and often leave us more broken than when they started. The process itself is enough to wipe away any decency we thought we had regained or even grown from the seeds of our mutual desire to make things better for ourselves. 

I don’t buy into the oft-used refrains that this one will be different. That it will change everything. Magically erase the vitriol, hatred, greed and malaise. We aren’t dumb people — in fact, quite the opposite. Americans know just what we want, but don’t usually agree on the means to ascertain our goals. By and large, an election is a chance for the people themselves to directly push the country to one of two visions for the role of its government. Anything beyond that is just part of the noise that blares on all sides until Election Day. However, over the last 20 years those two visions exhibit less and less dichotomy as we descend into a gridlocked genital-measuring display of incompetence. No, this one won’t be different, but it stands at the apex of the forces within our own control that can dictate whether, going forward, it will be really, really difficult, or not.

The last few months, I walked away from a lot of it. For a time, ignorance was bliss. I struggled to find the impetus to show vested interest in the goings on of government, society, and culture. My sentiment extended beyond politics as well, wondering if I’d ever regain the enthusiasm for things I hold dear. It didn’t feel like apathy — more of a voluntary check-out. But that’s not to say there weren’t occasional dabbles in things academic and political.

It’s hard to keep caring when the burden of disappointment and loss of hope pulls so strongly in the opposite direction. I felt so beaten, I stopped enjoying my surroundings and socially withdrew. Few people were in my life and enjoying the company of others was more chore than delight. And I let it beat me. I gave up on my goals and prospective life — willingly, because I didn’t want to deal. It was easier to observe from a distance and not get too involved or take the risk of getting enthused about something besides getting out of bed. It ate away at me and I found nothing to fill that hole because I didn’t want to look or try.

As the summer waned and leaves began to turn, I realized that it wasn’t going to get better, and perhaps my own happiness was linked to giving a damn about things. And I give a damn about this election. 

An election should be approached with a sense of duty. So much of our political environment is toxic, and about ruining the other man or woman rather than letting ideas be the guiding force for disagreement. We all live in the same country, what good comes out of a person saying they hate another human being because they believe in raising taxes or giving women control over their own bodies? What good comes out of branding an advocate for safer schools or stricter gun regulations a big government-loving socialist? I checked out because the decency gets buried. Facts get shaped into statements of convenience. Not one promise I’ve listened to from Governor Romney is rooted in any sort of reality, it’s more about saying the opposite of whatever Mr. Obama promises. If the president promised to give all first graders a free yellow pen, Mr. Romney would decry yellow pens as government intrusion and instead promise their parents he’d shut down the yellow pen program and let them choose their own color, granted that pen came from a private company.

Not only will our children have the freedom to choose their own color of pen, by gum Mr. Romney is going to do so many things on day one of his hypothetical presidency, there won’t be any need for a day two.

But to hear people say they hate Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney, that’s just…not helpful. What did they ever do to you? Mr. Romney didn’t cause you to lose your health insurance, Mr. Obama didn’t cause your parent to lose their job. I believe both of them *care* but why the hell would someone purposefully and personally make someone else suffer? It’s the paralysis of government that causes the suffering of its own people. Government is inherently flawed because it relies on the good judgment of its caregivers to make it work to the best of its ability. Remove the sense of duty and we have modern politics. Greed has replaced doing the right thing, thus our presidential debates turn into bickering over a transcript of one sentence of one speech out of hundreds on one day. 

Do I think Mr. Obama will win tomorrow? Absolutely. The Besieged One, Nate Silver, has guessed a comfortable victory, by about 40 electoral votes. We’ve devolved into the practice of caring more about three states’ votes from an obsolete political device that, at its inception, was designed to compensate for the lack of technology and geographical proximity to major centers of commerce. I’m sure the people of rural Virginia will be thrilled to see their state’s whole vote count go for Obama when half its population voted for the other guy. If that’s fair in the modern age, we have more work to do. And that’s the ruse: the country is basically split down the middle but most voters probably couldn’t name more than one difference between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney on an issue like how to end a war that has lasted two administrations. In the grand scheme of things, who we vote for is only part of the equation. We’re relying on flawed people to run a flawed country…it isn’t impervious to oversight and neglect.

Give a damn tomorrow and give a damn the next day. I’m back in the game, all because of that sense of duty and the recognition that when we hold an election it’s bigger than all of us. Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney don’t control where the country goes. We do. Everything else is just noise.

September 18, 2012
Little something I whipped up today.

Little something I whipped up today.

September 18, 2012

Mindy Kaling


Mindy Kaling

August 22, 2012
AlanShotFirst: Where Have All the Jedi Gone?


Much has transpired in that time and much of it has put an interesting context around the community I’ve been a part of.  Some of that context is good, but some of it leaves me scratching my head and wondering what the future holds.

For starters, it is still hard for me to comprehend that the same game that seemed to have an unstoppable momentum has already been slated for a free-to-play model and just today I snagged three copies of SWTOR for $7.49 each. 

July 24, 2012
TDKR & Its Allegiance to Batman’s Comics

I prepared myself for The Dark Knight Rises by re-watching the other two movies, playing Batman: Arkham City on my computer, and even watching a chunk of the Joel Schumacher Batman movies (shudder). Batman has always been my favorite, because he’s not the same superhero archetype. He’s a man who built himself into a symbol and protector, with a very layered and dense character history. 

TDKR is a successful closure to Christopher Nolan’s three movies, but don’t expect a review here. Instead, I began to think about some of Nolan’s storytelling choices for TDKR and how they related to the lore in the Batman comics and animated series. It had to be expected that some parts of the lore would be combined with others, and what we got was a nod to the Batman lore with some liberal use of the characters to connect everything.

Did Nolan discard the Batman lore in order to make his movie work? No. He enhanced it to make us further forget about those horrid Schumacher movies (yes, the Tim Burton ones are actually not terrible). Well, that and to make some pretty awesome storylines. 

Here is where you should look away because SPOILERS LOOK AWAY OHMAGERD.

Bane is the obvious point of contention. Traditionally he’s a henchman-type that works for other criminal lords. I think Nolan read between the lines and gave Bane the brain he deserved, and made him more human instead of a maniacal brute, more clever than expected. It wasn’t much of a stretch to place Bane as a mastermind yet in the employ of some powerful people looking to destroy Gotham. But in a few comic stories Bane led an entire criminal organization while going after Batman, and in the key scene where he succeeds in breaking the Bat, in the lore that was done in the Batcave.

How awesome would it have been to have those two battling underneath Wayne Manor? And it would’ve fit because Bane knew Batman’s identity all along. Bane’s origin story isn’t fully fleshed out in TDKR, but the connection to Ra’s Al Ghul is a loose one, yet it’s not explicitly made in the movie. And the League of Shadows is a bit different than the comics’ League of Assassins. But there Bane is, placed in the mysterious South American prison that was his birthplace, and shares mentors with Bruce Wayne. Crazy thought: wonder if Nolan ever considered having Bane be the cause of Batman disappearing for 8 years, since he didn’t bother to explain why he quit. And no, it wasn’t because of the events in The Dark Knight.

Selina Kyle/Talia Al Ghul and their romantic involvement with Bruce Wayne couldn’t have been easy to cut down, so it appears Nolan just gutted it entirely with a few allusions to these characters’ connections to the dark knight. In Arkham City Talia is a former flame of Wayne’s and acts as a sometimes-ally, but in TDKR we’re not sure of her character’s motives until the end of the movie. She is so much more than her brief exposition in TDKR. I remember the episodes of the animated series that had Catwoman in them, and Selina Kyle had the feel of a relationship of convenience for Batman. Nolan made them a bit more intertwined, almost like he was flip-flopping hers and Talia’s positions within Bruce Wayne’s life.

The alleged Robin of TDKR is where the most confusion occurs. We get John Blake instead of Tim Drake, with a tweaked backstory, and it’s possible Nolan combined the Nightwing/Robin characters into one body. You know, for that time when Warner Bros. will dump a pile of money on Nolan’s doorstep begging him to make a Robin trilogy. To which the loyal fanbase of his Batman movies will respond: “Sigh.” But then again, if you were making a Batman movie and had to figure out a way to insert a well-known character without destroying the character development of the title character, you’d probably scrap Dick Grayson’s orphan of circus performers story and make him into a badass with a different name. Just sayin’. I don’t doubt Nolan could probably make one cool Robin movie, but the nature of the character in TDKR is way more nuanced than the comics’ character. Robin isn’t a tortured soul like Bruce Wayne, but we didn’t get enough information about him, and by the time his identity was revealed, it was too late to build anything. D’oh! 

CRAZY SPECULATIVE SENTENCE OF BASELESS SPECULATION: Bruce Wayne was Dick Grayson all along, and gave John Blake the keys to the kingdom to become Robin where he will surpass the legend of Batman and save Gotham over and over. Mind. Blown.  

July 10, 2012
Response to the Power of the Consumer

Pleasantly surprised to get a response from Kellogg’s the next morning from when I sent them my letter. I was far from an irate consumer like most of the letters they probably get (after all, what company on earth gets more positive letters than angry ones?). Small confession: I hoped they’d send me a case of pop tarts for my trouble, but alas. Thanks to Danny Chavez at the company for giving me a chuckle.

We appreciate your interest in Kellogg’s® Pop-Tarts® Strawberry and are glad to help you in your search for your childhood favorite. 

We would love to have every store carry all of our products. As you can imagine, stores have limited space and have to select the products they think their customers will enjoy most. 

While there is no secret bunker supply being hid for a zombie attack or any strawberry crop shortage, I found store information in your area where this product has been sold in the past 90 days. We have included the phone number if you would like to call ahead to confirm the product is currently on the store shelves.

It doesn’t matter how big the company, people become loyal to you when treated like this. 

June 19, 2012
The Power of the Consumer

*I decided to write a letter to Kellogg’s because I’ve been unable to find a box of unfrosted strawberry pop tarts for years*

To the good people at Kellogg’s:

There comes a time in a man’s life when he wakes up in the morning and has an epiphany. An epiphany or moment of clarity, if you will, when he decides enough is enough, and an injustice must be corrected. That moment has arrived, and I must come to the defense of my beloved Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts as a product that represents the best of Kellogg’s. Also, I’m doing this for America.

I reflect on my childhood and my formative years fondly, and a part of that were my morning breakfasts. Imagine a young me, stressed and overwhelmed by the pressures of high school life. Buy young me had a small moment of bliss before facing the day: pop tarts. The unfrosted, true original of ideal breakfasts. They were perfection in toaster-based pastry form, and gave me the delight of the morning enjoying two unfrosted strawberry pop tarts with a hint of butter on top, setting me forth into the world a satisfied youngster. Yet now in my adult life, I can’t find said pop tarts, a prized relic of younger and happier days, anywhere. 

It saddens me to go to the various grocery stores in my area, and go to the cereal and breakfast aisle, hopeful of finally locating a box of the only pop tart flavor I’ve ever eaten, and coming up empty. Where has this country’s supply of unfrosted strawberry pop tarts gone? Are they being kept in a secret bunker to be used when a zombie attack occurs? Have they been harvested for their strawberry goo in light of a strawberry crop shortage? Only you have these answers, not me.

Everyone knows the unfrosted strawberry pop tarts are still the best of all the varieties. Hot Fudge Sundae, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Confetti Cupcake are not pop tarts flavors, they’re dessert flavors disguised as breakfast foods. How can I be expected to get nutrition out of your product when I can’t get the product I prefer? Not to mention the unfrosted strawberry have lower calorie, sodium and sugar content than the others. An important consideration when it has been proven time and time again that a kid’s diet filled with sugar and fat dramatically increases the risk of heart disease or diabetes.

Do the right thing and bring back the timeless classic that is the unfrosted strawberry pop tart. You’ll have restored the faith of at least one hungry consumer who grew up on the product that defines your company just as much as your cereal. Long live the bedrock of delicious breakfast food, and here’s to hoping they show up on my store shelves.

June 14, 2012



A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know. Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community, with two seasoned fellows that I’m sure are quite nice - actually, I have it on good authority they’re quite nice, because…

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