What we watched: A Christmas Carol, with Mr. X/Captain Kirk or whomever.
It's actually not that bad. JLP does a pretty good job—as does McNutty, who plays his nephew—and, really, the subject matter is pretty hard to mess up. Redemption and Christmas? Sign me up.
What we're watching (all times EST, unless noted): Pro Football: Giants at Jets at 1:00 p.m. (FOX), Philadelphia at Dallas at 4:15 p.m. (FOX), Baltimore at San Diego at 8:20. College Football: Nevada vs. Southern Mississippi at 8:00 p.m. (ESPN). Christmas: A Christmas Story at 8:00 p.m. (TBS).
Is it a wonderful life?: "And finally-after trashing the room, apologizing sincerely for his abusive behavior, and then instantly transforming that apology into further abuse ("Janie, go on, I told you to practice. Now go on, play!"), George escapes, heading out to throw himself off a bridge and be rescued by an angel. Obviously, the whole point of It's A Wonderful Life is that the title isn't ironic-Clarence shows George how much he's meant to everybody in Bedford Falls, and the movie concludes with unbridled optimism and good cheer. And it being Christmas as this piece goes up, I don't really want to bring everybody down. But I gotta say that while the ending works as intended, those beaming smiles and wing-heralding bells don't linger for me nearly as powerfully as the impotent rage George gets consumed by here. The expression "Capra-corn" fails to recognize the degree to which this director's crowd-pleasing epiphanies hinge upon the depths of utter hopelessness into which his characters first plunge. The real question is this: Has the movie become a holiday classic because people don't notice how bleak and despondent it is, or because they do?" [The A.V. Club]
Simple enough: "If Indianapolis loses at Jacksonville on Jan. 1, they would finish with at least a share of the league's worst record at 2-14 and have the top pick in the draft by virtue of strength-of-schedule tiebreaker. Both St. Louis and Minnesota are 2-12 heading into Saturday's games, but the Colts' .547 strength-of-schedule percentage is going to only worsen after playing the 4-10 Jaguars. The Rams' percentage is .587 and the Vikings' .587. If the Colts beat Jacksonville and the Rams and Vikings lose their last two, the Colts would not get the top pick. If the Colts beat the Jags and St. Louis and Minnesota also finish 3-13, the No. 1 pick would go to the Colts." [ESPN]
"It flapped up on him" [pukes]: "Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin is having surgery on his knee Thursday to deal with slightly torn cartilage. Coach John Harbaugh said the veteran wideout will miss the final two weeks of the regular season and be able to return for the playoffs. The Ravens will not reveal which knee is injured. Lee Evans is slated to start with Boldin sidelined. Dr. James Andrews is performing the procedure in Birmingham, Ala. The 31-year-old Boldin has 57 receptions for 887 yards and three touchdowns this year. 'He's got a slight tear in his meniscus. It flapped up on him, I think it was Tuesday night after the walkthrough,' coach John Harbaugh said. 'He's going to have to get it repaired. It's two weeks and he'll be back for the playoffs, whatever round we happen to play in. It will be a little bit tighter if we have to play in the first round.'" [WaPo]
Your Drake talking about the chick who tattooed his name on her face Interlude:
Organization who broadcasted amateur athlete making announcement indicating he intended to remain an amateur, later reports that he originally was not going to remain an amateur. Crazy!: "USC quarterback Matt Barkley made waves throughout the college football world Thursday when he announced he planned to stay for his senior year and chase a national championship for the Trojans in 2012 instead of entering the NFL draft. But it turns out he didn't always plan to stay for his senior season. In an interview on 710 ESPN's "Mason and Ireland" show Friday, Barkley said his original plan was to depart early for the NFL draft following a dramatic close to the 2011 season. 'At first, I was pretty much positive that I was leaving right after the season because I was on such an emotional high," Barkley told host Mark Willard. "I figured I was going. But after looking over everything — and we gathered every fact we could to help make the decision — I ultimately knew in my heart that I was coming back to USC.'" [ESPN]
Poker champion Jonathan Duhamel got ripped off: "'Two men broke into my house and I was physically assaulted and robbed. After being threatened with death and having given them everything I had, I was bound and hit repeatedly in the face and body before my attackers left.' Among the items stolen was his World Series of Poker champion's bracelet. 'I won't deny that these two items have a value much larger than money to me, and I hope with all my heart that we will be able to recover them in the near future,' Duhamel wrote. Both attackers were described as white men, with one of them being approximately five-foot-eight and weights 180 pounds. They are reportedly still on the loose. 'The investigation is still ongoing,' said police spokesman Mark David. Duhamel didn't sustain any severe injuries, but he's said to be "hurting all over." Police aren't sure whether or not he was a target, or a victim of a random attack. His total poker winnings to date gross more than $9.5 million." [Sports Interaction]
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