What we watched: Terra Nova, the addicting yet atrocious Fox series about futuristic humans transporting to the Jurassic age and restarting civilization. It's an episodic show that lacks any discernible overarching storyline and refuses to satisfy my humans-riding-dinosaurs fantasy. Otherwise, it's great.
The real problem with television is that I can't just watch one episode. I have to finish the season, reassess, and determine whether another wasted 12 hours is in order. Except, reassessment always leads to watching every episode, as I did with Heroes. For those of you pure enough to still maintain your Heroes' virginity, I'd only recommend the first three seasons. Eventually the show turns into an abusive boyfriend that you'll crawl back to without fail. So, if you're feeling courageous, know when to get out. I'm still struggling with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit - I think I'm on season 57 now. Even Stabler has managed to escape the monotony of:
1) Crime committed.
2) Police accuse the wrong person.
3) Randomly key piece of evidence buries the real perpetrator.
4) Expensive lawyer gets him off on a legal technicality.
5) Semi-attractive lawyer for the People screws the perp on a second, more favorable legal technicality.
Even Maureen Dowd is weighing in: "Like the Roman Catholic Church, Penn State is an arrogant institution hiding behind its mystique. And sports, as my former fellow sports columnist at The Washington Star, David Israel says, is 'an insular world that protects its own, and operates outside of societal norms as long as victories and cash continue to flow bountifully.'" [NYT]
As is Susan Orlean: "There is no real solution. College athletics are so entrenched and enjoyed by so many people that they will never be discontinued or substantially changed. I know that. I just pity the people caught in that tender trap. And most of all, I pity those kids." [New Yorker]
And James Fallows, too: "The specifics of the moral choice for onlookers obviously differ: in China, it was a random assortment of people faced with an out-of-nowhere decision in a few seconds of real time. At Penn State, it was stewards of an organization convincing themselves to turn a blind eye over a period of years. But the results — implicit decisions to distance oneself from responsibility for other people's suffering — are similar. And while the Penn State case could be a trigger for larger concerns — about bigtime sports culture, about the God-coach tradition of which Joe Paterno has been a main example, about unaccountable male-run hierarchies that seem to attract pederasts — mainly we're reminded of human failings again. I tell myself that I would never have walked by an injured toddler — or that I would never condone an episode like the one at Penn State quoted after the jump. But people who think of themselves as 'good' did these things, which is mainly a sobering reminder of what we're all capable of. Mon semblable, mon frere." [The Atlantic]
Hope, however minimal: "The NBA Players Association has rejected the league's latest labor proposal and asked for one more bargaining session before a 5 p.m. deadline Wednesday that, according to commissioner David Stern, will cause the offer to vanish if there's no agreement. Flanked by the player representatives from 29 teams and roughly 15 more players who showed up for Tuesday's union meeting in New York, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher announced that the player reps backed their recommendation to snub the NBA's offer from the weekend, which Stern says will be replaced by a far less appetizing offer if the sides can't reach an accord by the stated deadline. ‘Our orders are clear,' Fisher said. ‘The current offer that is on the table from the NBA is not one that we can accept.'" [ESPN]
Signs of wealth: "Prizefighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. must perform 40 hours of community service after he angered a federal judge in South Carolina who learned Mayweather was actually burning money in a nightclub on the day he was supposed to give a deposition and not resting up from injuries he sustained in a fight, as he had claimed. Mayweather must help the Las Vegas Habitat for Humanity Project by the end of January or face further penalties, U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. ruled Monday. Mayweather, along with his production company and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. are being sued by Anthony Dash, who accused the boxer of stealing a beat he created in 2005 for a song Mayweather used as he entered the ring at wrestling events in 2008 and 2009." [AP]
Feeding the homeless leads to good karma: "Last season with the Minnesota Wild, Eric Nystrom scored just four goals in 82 games, which is one reason he's no longer with the Minnesota Wild. After clearing re-entry waivers last month, Nystrom was traded to the Dallas Stars. After nine games in Dallas, Nystrom has already matched his goal total from last season — including his fourth of the year, this goal of the year candidate in the Stars' 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals in D.C. on Tuesday: ‘I just came across on a slash, picked it up off the wall. When I picked it up, I was thinking about the 'D' coming across and that I'd maybe shoot it. But [the puck] was spinning. So I put the brakes on. It's hockey. You just instinctively think of something. I just got in position, saw the goalie, tried chipping it over. And it went in,' he said. For Nystrom, it's been an emotional last two months. In the preseason, he made contact with Oilers defenseman Taylor Fedun on an icing play, who slammed into the boards and broke his femur. Nystrom was harassed on social media over the play, expressing his sincere regret. Soon after, he was put through waivers and then traded to the Stars. ‘I've worked so hard this summer to improve my game. And I've been practicing so hard. And it pays off. I didn't really get a chance earlier this year in Minnesota. It's a blessing,' said Nystrom. The 28-year-old winger felt so blessed that he decided to pay it forward while in Washington, D.C. Nystrom said he took leftovers from the Stars' pregame meal to a local park, handing it over to two presumably homeless gentlemen. ‘Gave them the best meal they had in a long time,' he said." [Puck Daddy]
Your Field Hockey Stickwork Interlude:
Carl Pavano is worth $231: "Twins pitcher Carl Pavano owns a home in Ludlow, Vt., which was devastated by flooding, and he reached out to offer this: A meet-and-greet for four people at Target Field on a mutually agreed-upon date next season. The winning bidder gets four pre-game field passes, courtesy of Carl, and tickets for that day's game." [Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund, via @Buster_ESPN]
Bob Costas has a new platform from which to inflict himself on America: "The NBC Sports Group's overhaul of the Versus network will continue next year with Bob Costas hosting a monthly interview show and quarterly town hall meetings similar to the ones he held during the years worked at HBO Sports." [NYT}
No suspensions until the offseason, please: "Tennessee Titans player representative Jake Scott says the NFL should wait until March to deal with HGH testing. The league and NFLPA tentatively agreed in the contract that ended the lockout to implement testing for human growth hormone. But the union had to approve testing procedures and has not done so, saying it wants more information. Scott says a solution would be ‘if we ... do it in March when players can sit down and the league can sit down and you don't have the stress and the strain of a football season going on to deal with it.'" [ESPN]
Merch: Managing editor Tom Scocca and contributing editor Drew Magary have both written books. You can buy Scocca's Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future here, and Magary's The Postmortal here. Now do it.