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NFL Picks, Week 17
Published on December 29, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 17 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


The Holiday Scramble
Published on December 24, 2011 by Sara Foss

In my column over at the DG, I write about the hectic Christmas season, again.

Here's an excerpt:

"As usual, I’m struggling to find time to go Christmas shopping or write Christmas cards.

It’s Wednesday as I type this, and I’ve only written about half of my Christmas cards and purchased just two presents. Since this happens every year I’m fairly confident I’ll get everything done, but that doesn’t make my 11th-hour frenzy of shopping and writing any less stressful.

But it does focus the mind.

Every time I sit down to write a card, I think about the person I’m writing to and the reasons they’re still in my life. The same is true of buying gifts. Each purchase makes me consider the recipient, their likes and dislikes, and my desire to give them something they’ll appreciate. Both activities provide an opportunity to renew relationships and reinforce bonds. Many of my cards suggest getting together in the coming year, and I’m always deadly serious."

Click here to read the whole thing.


Message From the Publisher
Published on December 23, 2011 by Sara Foss

We are on vacation through New Year's. Happy holidays!


NFL Picks, Week 16
Published on December 22, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 16 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


Watching "J. Edgar"
Published on December 21, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new Clint Eastwood film "J. Edgar."

Click here to read it.


Yoga for the Solstice
Published on December 21, 2011 by Sara Foss

My friend Shirin has written a piece on yoga and the winter solstice over at blisspassport.com.

In her essay, she explains that "yoga studios often make an event of performing 108 sun salutations to mark the summer and winter solstices. The number 108 is considered significant in Eastern religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism."

Click here to read the entire piece.


Bests of 2011
Published on December 20, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I list my favorite music and movies of 2011.

Click here to read it.


Tebow vs. Brady
Published on December 19, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I offer my thoughts on Sunday's Broncos-Patriots showdown.

Here's an excerpt:

"I like Tim Tebow. He seems like a nice enough kid, friendly and enthusiastic, sort of like a puppy dog quarterback. No, it’s not Tim Tebow I have a problem with. It’s his most ardent fans, and the ridiculous sports coverage that accompanies his every move. The build-up for the Patriots-Broncos game was intense, and I knew things had finally gone too far when ESPN posted a poll asking the utterly absurd question: 'Who would you rather have at quarterback, Tim Tebow or Tom Brady?'

Um, I’ll take the Hall of Fame quarterback with three Superbowl rings over the quirky guy with seven pro wins and the weird throwing mechanics. I mean, seriously. Why is this an actual question? Is it because people like Jerry Angelo, the general manager of the Chicago Bears Football Club, say utterly ridiculous things when asked about Tebow, such as: 'I believe that there is some divine intervention associated with what’s taking place.' Or Chuck Klosterman writing, 'His faith in God, his followers’ faith in him — it all defies modernity. This is why people care so much. He is making people wonder if they should try to believe things they don’t actually believe.' Really? Tim Tebow’s 7-2 record has the power to trigger a religious conversion? Maybe Denver just has a good defense, and has benefited from a soft schedule."

Click here to read the whole thing.

 


Bemused at Christmastime
Published on December 19, 2011 by Sara Foss

In my weekly column at the DG, I share my thoughts on Christmas, and the alleged war on Christmas.

Here's an excerpt:

"My friend Hanna recently sent me an email with the subject 'Question for a Christian.'

Hanna, who is Jewish, often comes to me with questions about why Christians do the things they do. This time, the question concerned Christmas food traditions. A food writer, she was looking for fodder for her blog but coming up empty.

'I’ve just visited three dozen local church websites and it sounds like the heartiest meal on the community calendar is a cookie tray served after caroling,' Hanna wrote. 'Do churches not mark Christmas in some edible way? Do most families eat their geese in private?'

I hit reply and typed, 'We eat Chinese food, just like you!'

Since Hanna wrote her master’s thesis on why Jews like Chinese food, I assumed she would appreciate this joke. In college, she taught me that many Jews mark Christmas by eating Chinese food because Chinese restaurants are among the few places open that day; when Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was asked what she did on Christmas during her confirmation hearing, she said, 'You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.'

Anyway, back to Hanna’s question. I had no idea how to answer it. I wracked my brain trying to think of a Christmas-related food tradition observed by virtually all Christians and soon concluded that there wasn’t one. So I suggested she focus on Christmas cookies. 'There are about 1,001 kinds of Christmas cookies,' I wrote. 'My mom makes at least six different kinds, plus fudge.'"

Click here to read the whole thing.


Top Reads of the Week
Published on December 16, 2011 by Sara Foss

Music: Brian McElhiney on album reissues

Sports: Sara Foss on college sports

Comics: Eric J. Perkins on the year's best comics

Parenting: J LeBlanc on hunger

Movies: Sara Foss on "The Descendants"

Etiquette: Sara Foss on what not to say to someone giving a speech


The Year in Hackery
Published on December 15, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at Salon, Alex Parenee is listing the biggest media hacks of the year. Click here to find out who in the punditry really sucked in 2011.


Bad Trend Alert
Published on December 15, 2011 by Sara Foss

Chatter about the shrinking middle class and rising poverty is more than just a bunch of crazy talk.

According to the latest Census data, one in two Americans are poor or low-income.

Reports the Associated Press:

"The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

'Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify,' said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

'The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,; he said. 'If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.'"

In related news, six members of the Walton family (the original owners of Wal-Mart) have more wealth than the bottom 30 percent of Americans.

 


NFL Picks, Week 15
Published on December 15, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 15 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


Photographing Famous Athletes
Published on December 14, 2011 by Sara Foss

Sports Illustrated photographer is best known for his pictures, but in an entertaining magazine piece he writes about what it's like to photograph Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Tiger Woods and LeBron James.

Here's an excerpt:

"I won't do negative stories on athletes I know. Get someone else. It would destroy all trust. I want to make athletes look strong and heroic, like comic-book superheroes. Sometimes I'm the opposite of a writer, who tries to humanize them.

My top five athletes of all time? John Unitas, Arnold Palmer, Jim Brown, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana. I love Joe Montana. He's a real guy's guy. I don't know any man who would not like Joe Montana.

Jim Brown would argue he's the best of all time, of course. One time I shot him for SI when ESPN was doing its top 100 North American athletes of the 20th century. They were down to the top 10, and it was all very secretive. Jim came in with his hat on for our shoot. I figured I'd provoke him and see what happened. So my first question was, 'Are you in the top 10?' And I could just feel his hair rise.

He said, 'Top 10?!'

I said, 'You know, I think you're in the top five, Jim.'

He said, 'Name the other guys ahead of me.' And then he starts naming them. 'Michael? He played one sport. Ali? One sport. I was the greatest lacrosse player. No doubt the greatest running back.' And it's true. Jim beat everyone at everything he ever did. He truly believed he was the greatest athlete of the century—as would Michael, probably, and Ali. But Jim may be right.

As far as photography goes, Jordan and Kevin Garnett are the best I've seen in front of a camera. They never change their posture or their faces. If I put a camera up to you, you're going to worry whether you're in the wrong position or whether you look like s---. They understood the camera, and they knew they looked good."

Click here to read the whole thing.


Chewbacca Sings "Silent Night"
Published on December 14, 2011 by Sara Foss


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