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Monthly Archives: October 2011
Someday, The Simpsons is going to end.
As a diehard fan, even one who has some significant misgivings about the current state of the show, that’s a tough pill to swallow. The Simpsons has been on as long as I’ve been watching television. Even at its lowest lows, it’s been the small screen version of comfort food for me, and sooner or later our favorite family will sign off for the last time.
If show runner Al Jean is to be believed, that might not be for another twenty-five years. Still, the day is going to come, and I think it’s close on the horizon. With the recent contract negotiation, standoff, and finally renewal through Season 25, the end of the show appears to be on the minds of those who work on and produce it. Whether it’s threats to pull the plug in order to prompt salary cuts or requests for a share in the back end profits of the show, those involved seem to have a not-too-distant endpoint in mind.
This begs the question – how do you end a show that will have been on television for a quarter of a century and produced more than five-hundred episodes? How do you sum up, honor, and conclude twenty-five years worth of adventures? It’s a tall order to say the least.
Many scoffed when I questioned Jason Garrett’s offense in my prior article, Five Reasons Jason Garrett is the Wrong Kind of Guy to be the Dallas Cowboys’ Head Coach. Many of the problems I have with Garrett’s offense, like difficulty holding a lead, difficulty withstanding a comeback, or failure to use the team’s offensive weapons to their highest potential, are difficult to quantify. Some issues, however, can be illumunited through looking at the numbers the offense has put up under Jason Garrett. To that end, I put together a chart with some key statistics from JG’s five years as the Cowboys’ Offensive Coordinator that shows one of the biggest problems with Garrett’s tenure as OC – that his offense can gain yards, but has trouble scoring points.
Each cell in the column contains the relevant statistic. The number in parentheses to the right of the statistic shows where that year’s Cowboys team ranked in the NFL in that particular category. Obviously the data for 2011 is incomplete at this point, and with nine games left to play, those numbers could change dramatically. Nevertheless, they demonstrate the problems the team has been having this year and how those problems are consistent with what has come before.
Certain bumps in the road are expected when embarking on a European vacation. Jetlag is a pain; the language barrier is always tricky, and doing one’s best to enjoy, but not offend, the culture of another country can be a delicate tightrope walk. You plan your trip, read your guidebooks, and do your best to prepare for these foreseeable hurdles. Some difficulties, however, take you by surprise, and all you can do is scramble, improvise, and cope. These are inconveniences like…
It’s sad when a vibrant man dies of cancer at the age of fifty-six, whether he is the C.E.O. of a multi-billion dollar company or just somebody’s father. Steve Jobs is no exception. Whatever one’s feelings about his life or his work, another human being has passed, and that is worth a moment of pause.
But as I read the lionizing facebook statuses and the glowing retrospectives recounting Steve Jobs’s life, I am puzzled by the emotional attachment to this man with whom few us had any real connection. I did not know Steve Jobs. I have never met Steve Jobs. He has had hardly any impact on my life beyond the iPod I purchased a number of years ago. Though his passing gives me a brief instant of sad reflection, I am otherwise largely unaffected.
Apparently, I am in the minority. And it’s not the first time.