Monday, July 27, 2009

The New York Mets continue to be a joke

Oh man. I just watched one crazy press conference. In all my years of watching sports and even political press conferences I have never seen anything like it.

The New York Mets just fired Tony Bernazard today. It was a firing that was well overdue. He was the Vice President of player personnel. Not only did he suck at that he just kept getting involved in one instance after another. He reportedly was jumping around in the hallways of the team hotel last year when the team fired their manager Willy Randolph. He's undermined the manager of the team on multiple occasions. Credit to Adam Rubin of the NY Daily News who first broke the news of his most recent incidents. The Mets have handled this situation really bad from the start.

Right in the middle of the press conference Omar Minaya accused NY Daily News Mets beat writer Adam Rubin of pretty much trying to take down Bernazard because he wanted his job. Really Omar? What on earth was that? That was cheap. If Minaya doesn't lose his job over this he will NEVER hear the end of it. He just cost a man his job. There is no way Rubin can continue covering the team now. Minaya was horrible throughout the press conference. His answers weren't convincing at all...and pretty seemed like he rehearsed them ahead of time. He was a friend of Bernazard's but this was just insane. Just don't go out and do this if you can't handle the pressure. Minaya's answers today weren't convincing at all. I just heard Rubin on SNY and I have to say I lean towards believing him. It looks like ownership can be in on this too. Rubin in speaking to the media afterward said he had conversations Jeff Wilpon a while back but never Omar directly. Did the Mets really just try to kill a reporter's career in order to save their own butts?

Only the Mets can botch one PR move after another. When the latest Bernazard reports surfaced he should have been fired immediately. Instead they drag it on until it becomes a public relations nightmare. They finally fire the man but instead creating a bigger story in the process? Go figure. I was on the Omar bandwagon before today....but now have to say that this man has to be fired.

I'll try to find the clips and post them as I find them.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

TMZ has the video of LeBron getting dunked on.

TMZ does it again. They got a hold of that LeBron tape. What were Nike and Lebron thinking? Surely they knew it was going to come out one way or the other. LeBron comes across looking like a baby and a sore loser. Just like he did when he walked off the floor without shaking hands this year in the playoffs. Memo to LeBron, if you want to come and play in New York, you're going to have to get a thicker skin then this. If you thought this was embarrassing and was going to cause you troubles. Just wait till you fail in New York.

TMZ will be airing this tonight

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

LeBron James Majestic Player Name and Number Cleveland Cavaliers T-ShirtLeBron James adidas Name and Number Cleveland Cavaliers T-ShirtLeBron James adidas NBA Maroon Authentic Cleveland Cavaliers Jersey

Monday, July 20, 2009

The 140 Character Project

Inspired by Twitter I am undertaking a little assignment which I am calling the "140 character project" for now. Over time I am going to go back through the major events in history and essentially put together Tweets for those events using obviously using a maximum of 140 characters. I am going to start on the day Twitter was launched and then go back from there.

If you had Twitter when JFK was shot...what would you have Tweeted? How about on 9/11? When Challenger exploded? How about Pearl Harbor? How about the Revolutionary War? This is not just an American or North American thing either. Do create Tweets for events that happened around the globe.

You get the concept. Simple enough. 140 characters limit. You can send these to me via e-mail to Just put "140 Character Project" in the subject line so the e-mail doesn't get lost in the shuffle. I am compiling a list of my own too. Your submissions may be used elsewhere by me. If you don't want me using your suggestions elsewhere please just don't make them. You can also post these on Twitter by sending an @reply to @sahyder1. I will also monitor the hashtag #140characters. Lets have some fun with these.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

How do you grade Barack Obama at 6 months?

It has been 6 months since Barack Obama took office. How do you grade him?

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

A Giant leap for Mankind

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Its been 40 years since those words and the more famous "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." were spoken allegedly from the surface the moon. Granted I am a conspiracy theorist from time to time as far as this subject is concerned but I am a big time NASA "fan" as far as manned missions are concerned and have become more of a believer the last few years.

I took a drive out to to the Kennedy Space Center in an attempt to see the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor a week ago yesterday only to have it be postponed due to weather. I did get a chance to see the launch from Orlando Airport when it eventually happened and even from about 50 miles away it was an amazing site to see.

It is easy for people to dismiss the Apollo program and the Space program as a waste of money but it is far from that. The technological and medical advances that came as a result of the space race are still felt today. Who knows what advances a trip back to the Moon or even Mars bring?

Will we ever go back? Everyone knows how much I disagree with George W. Bush on pretty much everything but I applauded his call for a return to the moon as far as manned flights are concerned. I hope to see it happen during my lifetime.

I don't know if you are aware but a speech was prepared for Richard Nixon just in case the mission failed and the astronauts were stranded in space. Take a look at the speech here.

Tune in to the History Channel today. Some really good programming on the way. They are airing the original live broadcast of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. How cool is that? That is followed by a 2 hour show that follows the Apollo 11 crew from training to the end of their mission.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

Journey to the Moon: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11Apollo 11: The First Moon Landing

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Would you walk away from $1.2 Million?

Can you imagine a scenario where you would get the chance to win $1.2 Million but would willingly walk away? Keep in mind that I'm not asking you to do anything illegal for that $1.2 million. Confused? Remember the name Ross Fisher. It is a name you might hear for a very long time to come. By the time you wake up this morning this story might have already been played out but read on anyways.

Ross Fisher is a professional golfer. Chances are you've never heard of him. But Mr. Fisher finds himself in a situation where he is willing to pass up on the $1.2 million in prize money that he would receive for winning the British Open. The win would be the biggest of his career by a long shot and would come at a tournament that you can easily argue is the biggest in his sports. He comes into the 4th and final round this morning just 1 shot off the lead. Tiger Woods didn't make the cut. Phil Mickelson isn't playing in this tournament and several big names also failed to qualify for the weekend's play or are so far back that they are non-factors at this point. Seems like he has a legitimate enough shot at the win doesn't it? Just one slight problem though. Fisher's wife is expecting the couple's first child. Talk about timing. Ross Fisher has said that his priority is to be there with his wife in England. The tournament is being held in Scotland so obviously not a long flight over.

It is very much possible that Fisher could be in the lead in the final round and about to wrap up the biggest win of his career....but walk away from it. Can you blame him though? How can you not root for this guy? We hear so much about selfish athletes who care about nothing but money, it really is nice to hear of a guy who's willing to leave so much money on the table.

This got me thinking....any other scenarios under which you would walk away from $1.2 million?

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

Contracted line-holders and Washington Lobbyists

Would you stand in line at a public hearing overnight for $11 to $35 an hour? Even better question is should you be allowed to?

The trend in Washington seems to leaning towards so called "Contracted line-holders." A lot of lobbying groups it turns out are paying homeless men and women in Washington to stand in line outside hearing rooms and save them a spot. These "Contracted line-holders" stand in line overnight, cash it in and are replaced by actual lobbyists in the morning. Is that fair? Does it make any sense?

I first heard of this trend a couple of years ago when Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri introduced a bill opposing it. Earlier tonight I asked her if there is progress with the with bill under this new congress because I hadn't heard anything. I am waiting for a response.

Kudos to CNN for bringing this to light again today.

I just can't think of a reason why this practice should be legal. Where else can you get away with this with there being a big commotion or fight? Can you paying someone to stand in line for you at a Black Friday sale? Same goes for highly sought sports or concert tickets. What would your reaction be if the last seat went to someone who was just in there to make a few bucks?

I'm sorry, but getting homeless people some money is not a good enough to justify this. If anything it is an exploitation of these people.

Has President Obama chimed in on this yet? I don't remember this having come up with him during the campaign or since he took office. A quick Google search didn't turn up anything for me. Didn't he crack down on lobbyists when he first took office? How is this any difference then lobbyists taking congressmen out for lunch or buying them gifts? These companies are paying large sums of money and getting into these hearing and getting to air out their views to lawmakers at the expense of the public? Why is there not a bigger deal made out of this? Surely I'm not the only one bothered by I?

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Barack Obama/Corzine (09!) Rally

I just got back from my trip to Orlando today at 4:30 AM but....I am not blogging about that just yet. I'll try to do that tonight or tomorrow.

What I did today might be one better. I got a chance to attend my first political rally. Those who know me know how much I love politics but somehow I had never taken the opportunity to go to a rally or a protest. Well I finally put that to rest today. I should mention that I am not a NJ voter. I am not even an American voter. I was born and raised in Pakistan and then lived in Toronto, Canada and thus hold Canadian citizenship.

President Barack Obama was in New Jersey to campaign for Governor Jon Corzine. Despite every attempt by the unorganized Corzine team the event did turn out great. Little advice to the Governor's team (and pretty much anyone else organizing an event of this scale....and involving the President of the United States) might be a good idea to fill in the staff, security and volunteers about what is actually going on so they can keep the crowd under control and not create chaos.

The rally was originally supposed to take place at Rutgers University (more on that in a bit). Then they changed it to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Some genius at the Corzine camp it turns out thought that it would be a great idea to not accept the RSVPs done by excited Obama fans like myself. What that created was just pure chaos.

I got there around 11 AM and that is when parking opened. I didn't make it in to my seat until 2:30 PM. You do the math. It seemed like the staff and volunteers through no fault of their own were just winging it as they went along. I was in line at the will call window and just a few feet away when one of the volunteers looked at the RSVP I had in my hand and said that the piece of paper wasn't good enough and would not help me get in. He directed me to another line. About half an hour later a different volunteer moved the entire line from one spot to one a decent distance away. Fair enough. If that helps the crowd be it. But, just a little while later they moved the line AGAIN!. Then an actual paid employee of the campaign came up to us and said we could move over to the outdoor lawn area and watch on the big screen or stay in line for a shot at the tickets. I chose to stay in line. Along the way I met a wonderful couple who were in the same boat as me (I will edit in their names just as soon as I get in touch with them). The 3 of us and plenty of others decided to tough it out in the heat with the mindset that we had to get in. About 15 minutes later and about 50 yards away from the Secret Service checkpoint a member of the event staff announced that there were no more tickets and that we either had to watch from the lawn or go home. Keep in mind that a large chunk of those people had printed e-mails with their RSVP information. This couple got out and decided to head home. I decided to walk right around and take a shot. I got back into the line that was going to the security checkpoints. I got to the security checkpoint with the RSVP to be told that it was not good enough and I would have to go over to Will call. Yes, the same will call from which they moved me hours earlier. So I get back into line at will call and they tell me they don't have me on their list and told me they couldn't do anything for me. After a little arguing over the meaning of the term "RSVP" I decided to just go back home and watch on TV when I ran into the couple from earlier. They directed me to another member of the event staff who had what looked like hundreds of tickets in his hand. They had received two from him. I went up to the same man and without checking my RSVP or any ID he just asked me how many I needed. I was there by myself but requested 6 from him and got them. Four of them I was able to turn over really quickly to a family that had been in another line. The 5th one I ended up giving to this older woman (pictured below) who kept us entertained all through the wait process. How this woman had this energy in the heat and with all the chaos around us I'll never know but she was drawing a crowd. The atmosphere in the lines was electric. Just random people all in the same boat and making instant connections. There were stories being told by those fortunate enough to be at the inauguration and then there were many like me who just soaked it all in for the first time.

I got in and was amazed by how awesome my seats were. I just could not believe that after all the frustrations of the day a seat that good was actually available to this event.

The crowd despite the long wait was into it from the start. Published reports put the crowd size at 17,500 and it definitely felt that way. The energy was just amazing. The place was loud and buzzing even before the main event. I got a chance to speak to Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent for the Washington Times and she said this crowd reminded of her of the Obama'08 campaign. Corzine kept his speech short and sweet. I know he's not exactly the most popular man in New Jersey but he is the right man for the job at this time. The economy is in shambles and I respect his background here. Depending on who you want to believe he probably was on the short list for Treasury Secretary.

I understand the uproar over the Rutgers University budget cuts but isn't that pretty much a sign of the times? Some like me even speculated whether the switch in location had anything to do with a potential Rutgers student protest. The school has been facing funding cuts for years while tuition goes up but does anyone really expect that to change under Christie? People here complain about the University expanding the football stadium by 12,000 seats this summer as the program grows every year but fail to understand that a large chuck of that is money that the athletic department raised. Not to mention how much money the football program brings in for the school. The exposure the team has received nationally via ESPN has helped bring in more and more students to the school. The school will have a record high in enrollment next year. One thing the large chunk of this decade has shown is that Republican leadership just didn't cut it. I want a Democratic governor, especially one with Corzine's financial background working with Obama. I have lived in Central NJ since 2000. I think the infrastructure here has improved dramatically over the last couple of years.

What has Christie ever done that impresses people? What exactly is his resume? He was a US Attorney nominated by George W. Bush....that alone should be reason to not vote for him. Did you guys love him approving the tracking of people via their cellphone GPS? How about his dealings with Ashcroft?

What is up with the video message from Christie today?

Barack Obama was just phenomenal. The man can hold any crowd anywhere in the palm of his hands. Even little scripted details like him taking off his jacket on a really hot day come across as genuine. The energy he brings to the table is amazing. He gave a shout out to Mayor Cory Booker of Newark. Keep an eye out for him. This man will be a senator or governor from NJ someday. Really happy that I did take the opportunity to go today. To borrow a little phrase from the campaign he had the crowd "fired up and ready to go". The ovation when he took the stage was just insane. There is no other way to describe it. That place was loud....about as loud as any outdoor facility can be. I really do hope he comes down here again this election cycle as it looks like we just maybe headed for a close election here. Just the announcement of him showing up got Corzine a 4 point bump in the polls and despite what some are saying he will get a major bump after this event.

I sat in a group that was pretty diverse. There were people who were old and young, black, brown, white...and everything in between. Looking around the section I was it just struck me right away how much the average person connects with Obama right away. I had these 2 guys sitting in front of me in a suit and tie who were fiddling around with their blackberries throughout the Obama speech while most of the other people spent most of the speech on their feet. Young and old alike.

People around the country should catch today's speech too. The President covered his health care plan in detail.

Corzine will definitely benefit from the Obama appearance. Definitely helped him raise some money today. I fully expect Obama to be back in NJ before November. The buzz around the place today was that Michelle Obama is coming next month. Who is the big name Republican that Christie can counter with?

A change from previous campaigns....Corzine is actively seeking campaign funds.

Probably will add more to this later but for now....all I can is that it was an amazing experience that everyone should take part in.

As always you can reach me here, by e-mail or via twitter.

Some Pictures:

My Seat

Marine One

From left to right....Me, some random guy, funny old woman (people just couldn't stop taking pictures of that hat), and the people who helped me get my seats.

Yes, that is Jon Corzine carrying away Obama's jacket when he took it off because of the heat. Completely made me think of that West Wing episode.

Me with Chritina Bellantoni of the Washington Times (who it turns out is a fellow 49ers fan)

Turns out that is Maureen Dowd of the Ny Times....appearantly she likes to show up to these things and hide.

The campaign has put up the speeches up on Youtube.

Jon Corzine

Barack Obama

By the People: The Election of Barack ObamaInside The Obama White House

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Sarah Palin/Mark Sanford Saga

What a day! Went into today thinking we'd see a Republican Governor who once was mentioned as a 2012 Presidential candidate. About an hour ago word comes out that Sarah Palin is stepping down. Man I'm good! Wait....Sarah Palin? What happened to Mark Sanford?

With the 4th of July weekend here I figured we would get Sanford's resignation on this "take out the trash day." If you are not familiar with the term in politics you generally release bad news/scandal/failures on a Friday or long weekend as the understanding is that people are less likely to follow the news over the weekend.

I was pretty much disconnected from the rest of the world for 5 hours as a result of NBC's major fail and came back to this. These potential 2012 GOPers are dropping flies....speaking of which, has anyone heard from Bobby Jindal lately?

Mark Sanford better capitalize on this and step down this week. As Jon Stewart said on the Daily Show last night "God killed Michael Jackson for you" and now Palin steps down? How lucky can this man get? Step down now. I have a feeling this Palin story has more information coming very soon.

Back to "take out the trash" day. Why did Sarah Palin pick today of all days to make her announcement? When I first found out I thought immediately that this was her crazy way of jumping into the 2012 race. I mean, just look at all the other GOP front runners for 2012 and how they are dropping. But now Andrea Mitchell is reporting that she is out of politics all together? What is really going on here? You immediately have to think of a scandal that is about to be revealed and this was just the preemptive move. Why wasn't Palin more clear in her speech today? Actually at this point I'm not even sure you can call that a speech. It was just words....put together....sometimes in random order. It didn't make much sense though. What is the over/under on the weeks(days? hours? minutes?)until a scandal does break out here? When the Sanford story first broke most of us thought something was up. I am getting the same feeling here.

Have you watched the announcement yet?

I really am intrigued now as to what really is behind this announcement. As skeptical as people like me want to be regarding the reports of her quitting politics...I do trust Andrea Mitchell enough to believe that she wouldn't report that if there wasn't really something to it. The question now is did she make that decision on her own or was made for her?

Does Palin seriously want to complain about politics being a blood sport? This is the same woman that tried to paint Barack Obama as a terrorist right?

She was in way over her head from the get go. Being a mayor 8000 people had in no way prepared her for the real world. Who can forget the infamous Katie Couric interview?

Or her fumbling with the Bush Doctrine?

She tried anything and everything. Her handling of the Letterman situation was a joke. Trying to exploit her kids yet again for political gain. Anyone with half a brain knew Letterman wasn't talking about the 14 year old kid.

If there really isn't anything to this story and she's just stepping down to focus on 2012....the GOP needs to get all their strategist in one room and light the room on fire. Who honestly believes quitting your current job is showing the public that you're ready for prime time? What would she do as the President?

Some great stuff on this story courtesy of Twitter:

Would Palin be resigning now if she were veep? Once again, the solid judgment of John McCain is confirmed

When we yelled, "Governor, it's time to resign," we meant SANFORD.

Palin resigning -- is that like McCain suspending campaign?

Interesting that GOP governors celebrate Father's Day with adultery, and July 4th by resigning from office.

Is she being heckled by ducks? Priceless. Even nature wants her

If Palin does return to run for higher office, might I suggest "When the going gets tough, Sarah gets going" as a slogan?

As always you can reach me here, by e-mail or via Twitter.

Let's just sit back and watch this story unfold.

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NBC Sports and The Wimbledon Fail.

I absolutely HATE NBC Sports right now. It is a long weekend here in the US for most and with that of course comes lots of sports. One of the biggest worldwide sporting events of course is Wimbledon. There is a potentially great semi final going on right now on the other side of the pond between American Andy Roddick and the local favorite Andy Murray. The match up has all the potential to be a great one. But me and lots of other people who live in the US aren't watching the match right now.

Yes, apparently they can't skip Martha Stewart's show for a day. I've mentioned in the past and I'll say it again, I love the NBC does sports. I love their broadcasts from the top down. But, tape 2009? Seriously? I hate it when they do this with the Olympics, but I'm willing to excuse them for that most of the time given how big of a time difference there is and the good events happening in the middle of the day US time. Fair enough. But today is just inexcusable. Like I mentioned before it is a long weekend here. Most people have access to a TV, especially if you are in the Northeast with all this rain. Why kill the buzz to what could be a great sports day?

The Roddick/Murray match up started around 10:30 AM eastern time. ESPN is not allowed to show it because under the TV contract they sign along with NBC sports they each get to pick one semi final to show. Fair enough.....but someone forgot to mention to them they should be showing it live. Again, its shouldn't be that complicated. NBC will start their coverage on the east coast at noon. That is a full 90 minutes after the match started. Do they jump right into the coverage of the match or will they show the Women's doubles semi final from earlier today involving the Williams sisters first?

If you were like me and thought to go to and try to catch a live feed there...well it turns out NBC can't air the match there either until noon eastern because ESPN still holds the Wimbledon rights until that time even though their match ended over an hour ago and right now they are showing the 5th set from last year's epic final. Why couldn't they put tennis on USA Network until they were ready to go over to NBC? Was a NCIS marathon really that important? Don't even get me started on what is on the other NBC Universal networks like Bravo and Scifi.

I really can't believe that these 90 minutes really help NBC that much. I can understand not wanting to cancel the "Today Show" but airing Martha Stewart's show is just insane. So an idiot like me who actually wants to watch this match up in its entirety is supposed to cut off from the world, not go to any news or sports website. Can't turn to any sports channel or even news channel. Can't go online because I'm bound to get the result spoiled via Facebook or Twitter. Once again...epic fail in the year 2009.

Sucks even more if you are in the west coast. NBC won't start their broadcast there until noon local time....which of course is another 3 hours later. Pure genius NBC. Let your audience go get the results elsewhere so they don't tune in. What do you know, I thought the NBC was gonna hurt me this weekend was with lack of news on MSNBC. This my friends is reason #345321143 why I want to be back in Canada.

You can reach me here, by e-mail or via twitter.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

West Wing Recap

A few us from Twitter have started a little project. If you are a fan of politics and/or The West Wing join us there as we go back and review the series. I'll post the reviews here too but the majority of the discussion will be over there. Hope to see you there.

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West Wing Pilot Review

Here we go. Like I mentioned before, everyone will review these episodes in their own way and have their own styles. This first one pretty much will be how I will do all of mine. I will probably find new things to add and adapt over time but this will be the basic look of it. I will try to add time stamps in parenthesis so if you want to go back and look at a scene you can. I will try to add some screen shots as well. I will also be looking to add little tidbits from websites like Without any further delay lets jump right into it.

Love the opening sequence here. At 4:37 it was probably the longest teaser of any episode in the series. If someone can think of a longer one please mention it. Sorkin magic at its best. Multiple plot lines developing even and getting you thinking even before you have any clue what on earth is going. Who's Josh? Why is he being fired? I love how every staff is finding out very early in the morning about "POTUS in a bicycle accident." Keep in mind that this was 1999 and as Aaron Sorkin mentions in the commentary of this episode this was before terms like POTUS, VPOTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS, etc. became common knowledge.

For those not aware when this pilot aired they went straight from the teaser into the scene with Leo walking into the White House. There was no commercial break. Yes, as we do this I will try to insert tiny, useless, crazy, funny tidbits that I've run across over the years as I've watched the series multiple times and read up on it just as much. The "walk and talk" is an art that this show mastered. I haven't seen it done as perfectly by any TV show or movie....ever. I'm pretty sure I never will either. Major credit to Thomas "Tommy" Schlamme who directed a lot of the episodes in this series. I love Leo interacting with a lot of the junior level staff. Honestly and surprisingly I can't remember any other time that Leo and Donna ever spoke to each other (except for maybe one other point that is coming up in another episode in season 1) but this scene always comes back to me when I look back at the West Wing. They did a great job casting the character of Donna Moss. I really can't picture anyone else in that role. She played it perfectly as it evolved over the years. Another reason I love the "walk and talk" is because I believe it captures the White House life perfectly. Now I've never been to the White House but as you can see with all the issues that get touched on before the Chief of Staff even makes it into his office. It's a fast paced life and the way this show captures it is perfect.

Ok, back to the scene. We meet Mrs. Landingham in the Oval Office. I think I'll just turn this into a little game. She's another of those characters that was cast perfectly. I can't imagine anyone else in that role. In your feedback to this episode list if there are other Actors/Actresses that you think could have portrayed each of the stars in this series as good or better. I love I love Josh's little "split finger" comment. At about 9:30 into the episode right behind Leo's desk you see a little electronic device. In the commentary of this episode Tommy Schlamme refers to it as "a toaster". I think they made this error in one other scene. What that device does is give the exact location of the entire First Family and other key figures. So obviously it shouldn't be facing out like that where everyone can see it.

"Let's talk about Josh." There it is again. Just what is it that they keep teasing here? And there it is. The crazy people on the right again. I have to say this show, especially during the Sorkin years handles religion related issues very well. I love the banter between the staff. Makes the White House "normal" if you will. Sorkin had you caring about the characters even before you knew what they stood for and what they had done in their pasts. (15:17)

There she is. Mandy. It's a shame they never defined her role more clearly. I loved her work on the show. A smart, politically savvy woman who spoke her mind. Back inside the White House we see Leo getting completely polar opposite predictions of where the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be in a year. They're showing you how pretty much every conversation in Washington has two different sides and just as they're discussing a relatively serious issue, they bounce back to the Cubans and manage to inject some humor into the scene. Again, I love how Sorkin managed to do that throughout his years with the show. The show handles the balancing act between drama and comedy very well. In that brief little period they want from a political discussion with a reporter, to an economic meeting, to the Cubans off the shore of Miami, to Josh's future with the administration to a possible primary challenge. By the way "is that the same suit you wore yesterday?"(18:12)

Oh man...fellow political nerds! If this episode was shot in 2009 instead of 1999 we would see see them send a little tweet before going up to the two of them in that cafe. You just never know where this show will turn to next. The press secretary walks in as the Chief of Staff is arguing with someone over at the New York Times? By the way, can you spell Gaddafi? Did you notice that they mentioned the President there? Where is he anyways? (21:26)

There's Ed and Larry. Honestly to this day I have no idea which one is which. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if at some point during the series they swapped their names too as an inside joke. Gotta love how they setup the future scenes. Kathy (I don't think we ever learn her last name) walks in to give a message from the Chief of Staff's wife. If you have the DVD or have this episode recorded pause at the 23:06 mark as Sam's pager goes off. Notice who that is in the background in Toby's office? Go ahead...check it out. I'll wait.


How cool is that? For those who don't have the episode handy here is a screen shot.

Dedication. As is mentioned on the commentary right from the get go there was a total commitment to make show work. Main stars working as extras in a scene? Gotta love it.

Back to the show. Uh-oh. Sam got his pager switched. Thank God for the advances in technology. Those pagers did use to look all the same. Thankfully cellphones don't have the same problem. It's crazy that is only 10 years ago and pagers are the common thing and not cell phones. How crazy does that sound in 2009? Even the cell phones that are there (see Toby in the opening scene) look ancient. Back to the pager. So what we know so far about this Sam guy is that he gets in trouble with women a lot! First the Chief of Staff's wife....and now a call girl? Great start. Fits right into Washington (or a Governor's mansion....zing!). There's the Josh thing again. Is he being fired? You think they could have saved some of the troubles the staff was getting into for episode 2.(25:05)

Wait, a religious Democratic politician? What? God likes Democrats too? Don't tell the right wing that. We haven't even seen the President yet and he already wants one of his aides fired? Awkward Sam moment....seems to happen a lot. (28:47)

Let's take a tour of the White House? Imagine having to do anything to do with your boss' daughter. A tour of the work work place? To Sam's credit his version of White History is probably more entertaining then the real one you get while on tour. Look...there's CJ and Toby again in the back ground at 32:06.

Gotta love it. Nice little recap of his day. Oh...and that's Leo's daughter? Guess he screwed that one up! (33:31)

That guy looks like Jerry Falwell. Gotta love how Sorkin handles the transition here. Typical Washington fake outrage. Go crazy and feel violated on TV while behind the scenes you're spinning it to your advantage. Can I just say how much I love Toby in this scene (even with his factual error....keep reading for more on that)? Look who it is! The President FINALLY makes an appearance at the 37:05 mark. Speaking of which, love his entrance into the show here. Crazy to look back in retrospect and know that the President wasn't supposed to be a regular on this show. The show was supposed to revolve around the supporting cast with Martin Sheen only appearing every 4th or 5th episode.

I love the closing sequence here. First with Bartlett's little talk to Josh, to Mrs. Landingham to the overhead shot of the Oval Office. Great camera work. And of course who can forget "What's next?"

What a pilot episode! So they covered the President's bicycle accident, low poll numbers, a political gaffe, Cubans on a raft, the Christian right....did I miss anything else? Looking forward to your feedback as well as reviews from other people.

Before I wrap this up thought just want to add some little tidbits. These are courtesy of


* Aaron Sorkin based the character of Sam Seaborn on George Stephanopoulos, President Clinton's Communications Director and 1992 campaign adviser.
* In the argument over the commandment "Honor thy father", it is first claimed that it is the first commandment, and Toby corrects them and says that it is the third. In fact, neither is correct, "Honor thy father and thy mother" is the *fifth* commandment (Exodus 20, verse 12).
* Sam tells the fourth grade class that the Roosevelt Room was named for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Mallory corrects him, saying that it was named for Theodore Roosevelt, whose picture is on the wall behind him. In fact, the room is named in honor of both men.
* Sam mispronounces Toby's last name when he talks to the fourth graders.


*C.J.: You can have a normal life. You’d be amazed at how normal I can be. See, it’s all about budgeting your time. This time, this hour, this is my time. Five a.m. to six a.m. I can workout, as you see. I can think about personal matters. I can meet an interesting man. Her beeper goes off The trick is...

* Bartlet: Now I love my family and I’ve read my Bible from cover to cover so I want you to tell me from what part of Holy Scripture do you suppose the Lambs of God drew their divine inspiration when they sent my 12-year-old granddaughter a Raggedy Anne doll with a knife stuck through its throat? You’ll denounce these people, Al, you’ll do it publicly, and until you do you can all get your fat asses out of my White House. CJ, show these people out.
Mary Marsh: I believe we can find the door.
Bartlet: Find it now.

* Mary: I can tell you that you don't believe in any God I pray to, Mr. Lyman. Not any God I pray to.
Josh: Lady, the God you pray to is too busy being indicted for tax fraud.

* Sam: No. No. What I was gonna say is this: Is it possible, that in addition to
being a law student and part-time bartender, that you are what I'm certain would
have to be a very high-priced call girl. I, by the way, making no judgments.

* Sam: Ms. O'Brien, I understand your feelings, but please believe me when I tell you that I'm a nice guy having a bad day. I just found out the Times is publishing a poll that says a considerable portion of Americans feel that the White House has lost energy and focus. A perception that's not likely to be altered by the video footage of the President riding his bicycle into a tree. As we speak, the Coast Guard are fishing Cubans out of the Atlantic Ocean while the Governor of Florida wants to blockade the Port of Miami. A good friend of mine's about to get fired for going on television and making sense, and it turns out I accidentally slept with a prostitute last night. Now. Would you please, in the name of compassion, tell me which one of those kids is my boss's daughter.
Mallory: That would be me.

* Laurie: Tell your friend POTUS he's got a funny name, and he should learn how to ride a bicycle.
Sam: I would, but he's not my friend, he's my boss. And it's not his name, it's his title.
Laurie: POTUS?
Sam: President of the United States.
* Toby: Mind-boggling to me that we ever won an election.
* Van Dyke: Show the average American teenage male a condom and his mind will turn to thoughts of lust.
Toby: Show the average American teenage male a lug wrench and his mind’ll turn...

* Leo (on the phone): Seventeen across. Yes. Seventeen across is wrong. You’re spelling his name wrong. What’s my name? My name doesn’t matter. I’m just an ordinary citizen who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I’m telling you, that I’ve met with the man twice, and I’ve recommended a preemptive Exocet Missile attack against his airforce. So, I think I know how to...

* Mrs. Landingham: I don’t understand. How did he...?
Leo: He’s a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your President’s a geek.
Mrs. Landingham: Mr. McGarry, you know how I feel about that kind of talk in the Oval Office.
Leo: I apologize.
Mrs. Landingham: Just in this room, Mr. McGarry. That’s all I’m asking.

* Leo: He was swerving to avoid a tree.
Donna: What happened?
Leo: He was unsuccessful.

* C.J.: Is there anything I can say except 'The President rode his bicycle into a tree.'?
Leo: He hopes never to do it again?
C.J.: Seriously, they're laughing pretty hard
Leo: He rode his bicycle into a tree. C.J., what do you want me...'The President, while riding his bicycle on vacation in Jackson, came to a sudden arboreal stop'. What do you want from me?
C.J.: A little love, Leo.

* Leo: Margaret, please call the editor of "The New York Times" crossword and tell him that "Khaddafi" is spelled with an "h" and two "d"s, and isn't a seven letter word for anything.
Margaret: Is this for real, or is this just funny?
Leo: Apparently, it's neither. edit »

* Toby: We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle series L10-11. It came off the line twenty months ago. It carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system. Are you telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?


* The original Josiah Barlett, a physician in New Hampshire, spelled his last name Bartlett; his direct descendant spells his name Bartlet.

* This is the only episode of the series that does not have a teaser.

* Music: The song playing in Mandy's car when she gets pulled over is Bif Naked's "Moment of Weakness".
* Life imitated art when President George W. Bush had a biking accident at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

* Awards and Nominations:
This episode was a 1999 DGA Award Nominee for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series Night.

This episode won three 2000 Emmy Awards: Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.

This episode was a 2000 Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

This episode was 2000 ACE Eddie Award Winner for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television.

This episode won the 2000 ADG Award for Excellence in Production Design for a Television Series Episode of a Single-Camera Series.

Won the 2000 Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting in Drama.

Won the 2000 ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Mini-Series'/Pilot.

Won the 2000 Eddie Award for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television.

Won the 2000 Shine Award in the scene stealing category. edit »


* Toby: What to do when the Nina, the Pinta, and the Get-Me-The-Hell-Outta-Here hit Miami.

Reference to the ships that Columbus took with him on the way to the New World (the Americas). There were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

* Sam: 'Cause Alger Hiss just walked in with my secret pumpkin.

Alger Hiss was imprisoned in the 1950s after being convicted of spying on Americans for the Soviet Union. The documents he allegedly recorded during his "spying" were kept in a hollowed out pumpkin. The use of this allusion is just a spy joke to reference the fact that he thinks that Laurie is spying on him in the bar.

While listening to the commentary also found that Allison Smith who plays Mallory is the longest running "Annie" in the history of broadway.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them here, by e-mail or via twitter.

What's next?

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