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Start Christmas Sentimentally

By Timothy Butler | Nov 29, 2019 at 3:33 PM

A couple of holiday commercials released this week pull all the right levers to make them tear-worthy and, really, almost mini-Christmas specials. If you are looking for a short break from the hustle and bustle this weekend, check out these two instant classics from Comcast and Apple.

The Quiet Liturgy of Mister Rogers

By Timothy Butler | Nov 27, 2019 at 11:32 AM

Ryan J. Pemberton writes:

Enter Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “We had a director who once said to me, ‘If you take all of the elements that make good television, [and] you do the opposite, you have Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’” Margaret Whitmer, one of the show’s producers, shares in the 2018 documentary. “Low production value, simple set, unlikely star. Yet, it worked. Because he was saying something really important.”

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is so counter to almost everything we would say a children’s television program — much less TV in general — “should” be. The resurgence of interest over the course of the last two years via last year’s documentary and this year’s Tom Hanks-starring drama show that we often have a pretty poor sense of what “should” be.

The Procrastinator's Last Minute Gift Guide

By Timothy Butler | Dec 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM

So, the time for shopping is quickly coming to an end. Even if you are headed to a Christmas party later in the week, it still may be hard to order something online. Here are some great last minute ideas that you can pick up at many retailers and will not feel very last minute at all.

Federer Asks If We’ve Forgotten Kinshasa, 1974

By Jason Kettinger | Sep 04, 2012 at 10:25 AM

I’d like my crow steak medium-rare, Roger. The greatest tennis player of all time showed us why when he played at Wimbledon. Quite frankly, Andy Murray never really had a chance. And when he did, he was the one who cracked. Federer had an edginess about him; he dared Murray to play the match of his life, the match of the tournament, really, betting that he couldn’t do it. And he was right.

The View from Mudsock Heights: The More Political Scandal Changes, the More It Stays the Same

By Dennis Powell | Jul 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Time passes so quickly. I’ve had chance once again in recent weeks to be startled by that fact, as I watched history repeat itself and noticed the number of people who weren’t born when it happened the first time.

The View from Mudsock Heights: The Exciting New Flying Car -- Invented in the 1950's

By Dennis Powell | Jul 07, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Persons of sufficient age will remember how, 50 or so years ago, we looked forward with excitement to a truly remarkable future. There were from time to time world’s fairs which demonstrated how things would soon be. We couldn’t wait to get there.

Boom and Bust

By Timothy Butler | Jul 04, 2012 at 11:32 PM

The night is filled with the pop-pop-pop and occasional, ever satisfying thud of fireworks. For someone who has spent every Fourth of July with a punk in his hand since he was old enough to shoot off fireworks, those sounds seem a bit out of place tonight. None of them were coming from my fireworks.

The View from Mudsock Heights: It’s a Delicious Cereal! No, It’s a Packaging Material!

By Dennis Powell | Jun 03, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Have you ever stopped to watch — really watch — cereal commercials on television? My favorites are those aimed at children. The punchline is always “part of this complete breakfast,” which is accompanied by a picture of a breakfast setting that would be no less complete if the cereal disappeared entirely. The cut up fruit and the eggs and bacon and toast and glass of milk do not really need little orbs of puffed sugar with a crunchy sugar coating to fulfill their nutritional aspirations.

It’s A Different Kind Of Window, But It’s Still Closing

By Jason Kettinger | May 28, 2012 at 11:57 PM

By now, regular readers of my sports columns here know my schtick: I say something provocative, make a prediction about an upcoming contest that is completely, utterly wrong in retrospect—thank you Patriots, Steelers, and Miguel Cotto for nothing—and we talk about the thing behind the thing.

The Summitt of the Game

By Jason Kettinger | Apr 30, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Sports and sports journalism are replete with overwrought praise, military imagery, and hero worship. I get that. I’m a theologian; when the excesses of this sort of thing get really out of hand, few feel worse about it than me. But I’ll take the risk now, and I won’t dare try to be objective. Pat Summitt is the reason women’s college basketball matters, and why it matters to me.

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