Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Humor

After opening with acknowledgments of first responders on Wednesday night, The Daily Show shifted to "reports" from downtown Manhattan and Times Square. If you are not familiar with The Daily Show, these segments originate from a green screen inside the studio, in front of which the news team members stand (I do not know where they get the camera shots that show up on the green screens). Al Madrigal, Jessica Williams, and John Oliver combined to make light of the situation in Manhattan after Sandy.

I think this segment of The Daily Show was in bad taste; however, based on a Twitter search, I was not joined in this opinion. Madrigal joked that he was only alive because he had a machete, and Oliver described a real crisis in Times Square as Serendipity was out of mocha sprinkles. While I don't believe there are any Sandy-related deaths in Manhattan, it was out of line to make it seem like downtown was under martial law when there are much bigger problems and actual deaths throughout the region. I understand that one can make fun of people who never lost power or a loved one and are complaining about trivial matters, a la John Oliver, but I don't think that sentiment is out there right now.

When you have a dangerous situation that doesn't take lives, such as the failed Times Square and Federal Reserve bombings, it is fine to make fun of those because the terrorists failed. The Colbert Report did a great job on Wednesday sticking to what these shows do best: satirizing politicians and the news media that cover them, including two pleas to donate to the Red Cross.

On another angle, stores in the areas affected by Sandy tried to capitalize on the event and make up lost business by offering sales in Sandy's wake. American Apparel (image via Forbes) offered 20% off in nine states (what, no Washington, D.C.?) "in case you're bored during the storm" while their competitor, Urban Outfitters, offered free shipping with the coupon code "ALL SOGGY." The two companies were coming from a good place, but the execution was horrible. It is a great idea to give a price break to those who might need it, but their choice of words made them seem callous. In addition, American Apparel could have given a longer time frame than 36 hours to take advantage of the sale, so people have a chance to clean up from the storm before they go shopping. These companies would be better off trying to use the excuse that their websites were hacked. When in doubt, use language that does not relate to the storm at all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


There are a lot of talking heads filled with hot air talking about where Peyton Manning is going to sign. This has finally become a real issue due to his release from the Colts and apparent health as shown in the Zapruder film cell phone video of his practice at Duke. From my perspective, after listening to many of the arguments, there are less than five locations that actually make sense. Let's go team by team, starting with the easy ones.

The Giants, Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Falcons, Lions, and Ravens all went to the playoffs this past season and are comfortable with their quarterbacks. The Saints could be added to that group if they signed Drew Brees to a long-term contract, but they used the franchise tag on him and will not go for Peyton. The Panthers and Bengals had great performances from their rookie quarterbacks. The Bears, Chargers, Cowboys, and Eagles had underperforming and injured quarterbacks last season that are all entrenched in their positions and are stars of their teams. And, of course, the Colts released Peyton and will most likely be drafting Andrew Luck.

The next tier of teams could be benefitted by signing Peyton, but it's not going to happen. The Rams play their home games in a dome like the Colts, but Sam Bradford is a good player and deserves the chance that they will be giving him by trading the number two pick. Ryan Fitzpatrick received a big contract extension from the Bills, and Peyton will not want to play in those elements. The Titans have Jake Locker waiting in the wings, possibly to start at the beginning of this upcoming season. And let's get this one out of the way: the Jets talk is out of control, and despite Woody Johnson's infatuation with the star quarterback (see: Favre, Brett), Mark Sanchez is a capable quarterback and Rex Ryan would not want the spotlight off of him. Kevin Kolb was injured last season and has a lot of guaranteed money still coming to him, so it will not be easy for the Cardinals to cut or trade him. The Browns would be better off with a young quarterback through the draft or Matt Flynn in their rebuild, and the Vikings will be going with second-year player Christian Ponder. The Raiders should probably try to get something out of Carson Palmer to justify that huge mid-season trade.

Another group of teams could create openings at their starting quarterback position even more easily, but will not be seeing Peyton play for them. The Texans and 49ers both have decent quarterbacks, but Matt Schaub has only one year left on his contract and Alex Smith is a free agent who had his only good season in this past one. While they will seemingly be in the running, they are focused on their defensive prowess which is complimented by decent quarterback play, meaning Peyton will not fit as a star. The Chiefs will be holding a competition between Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel, and the Buccaneers will likely want to keep developing Josh Freeman with a head coach new to the NFL. The Broncos are an interesting case, with noted lightning rod Tim Tebow at the helm, but this is not an ideal location for Peyton in the elements of Denver. Another team that the media is pushing as a favorite for Peyton is the Redskins, especially due to Dan Snyder's deep pockets. However, if the Manning brothers do not want to play in the same conference to supposedly block one from the playoffs or Super Bowl, they were certainly not be playing in the NFC East together. The Redskins should spend their time trying to trade up for Robert Griffin III instead.

That leaves three teams that will be in the running for Manning's services. The Dolphins appear to be the favorite with an owner that has shown to be crazy and willing to throw around money, but he may not be able to woo Peyton as was the case with potential head coach Jeff Fisher. The two Chads, Henne and Pennington, are not inspiring much confidence in Miami, but Pennington would be a serviceable backup. CBS would be foaming at the mouth to air at least one Peyton Manning-Tom Brady matchup, with the other likely being taken by NBC or ESPN. The Dolphins played the Giants last season, so they will not be facing each other again for four more years, in case the Mannings do not want a showdown. The Seahawks have no viable options at quarterback, but they do play in the NFC, which would make Peyton a closer competitor to Eli. Pete Carroll would love to have a star quarterback to coach in the NFL since he saw many of them during his time at USC. The Seahawks are not guaranteed to face the Giants until 2014, but could play them in 2013 if they finish in the same standings position as the Giants in this upcoming season; they are not scheduled to play each other in 2012. The Jaguars are a big dark horse candidate with a new owner who wants to sell enough tickets to prevent local blackouts even without tarps covering much of the upper-level seating. Their rookie quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, did not show much last season, and there is familiarity being in the same division as the Colts for the last several seasons. It's hard to say whether Peyton would relish the chance to play against the Colts twice per season as Brett Favre did against the Packers, but it probably doesn't make a difference to Peyton either way as the parting with the Colts was pleasant. As another AFC team candidate, this will be one to watch. Their next game against the Giants will be in 2014.

After all is said and done, I expect Peyton Manning to in fact be taking his talents to South Beach for the 2012 NFL season.