Feb 03

Running Diary: Super Bowl XLVII

It’s been a while … actually about a year – the last was the 2012 Grammys … since I last put together a running diary piece for the blog. Since the Grammys are out next Sunday (with USC playing Washington in hoops at the Galen Center), and I was sticking around the house in recovery mode from a long few days in Phoenix for a work event/party, today’s Super Bowl seemed like a decent opportunity. After all, it combines one of sports’ biggest days with a binge of advertising – the profession I cover professionally (I do profess!) – making it a near-perfect viewing experience.

So, starting with the 3 p.m. Pacific time telecast kickoff, here we go:

Super Bowl XLVII, Baltimore vs. San Francisco

Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, broadcast on CBS

3:00: An apparently sober Joe Namath leads the broadcast. Already a big upset win for CBS.

3:10: The Raven mascot salues Baltimore’s “The Wire” legacy by dancing at midfield while under the influence of any number of drugs.

3:13: “Four-time Super Bowl participant Steve Tasker.” Ouch, Buffalo.

3:14: “… and The Honoring of America.” Hey, Jim Nantz, should’ve gone with “America. Fuck Yeah!”

3:15: Maybelline just dropped $2m for 15 seconds well before most women are paying attention.

3:15: L’Oreal at least brought the Beyonce tie in for their $2M just moments later

3:16: I’m guessing most sports fans agree: Hyundai deserves credit for bringing Gus Johnson to the table. “Hot Sauce!”

The Sandy Hook School Chorus was a great idea during the pregame.

The Sandy Hook School Chorus was a great idea during the pregame.

3:18: A possibly perfect moment with the Sandy Hook School Chorus is ruined by Jennifer Hudson’s 593rd consecutive appearance during a major televised event, all as the No. 3 act at best. #AttendstheOpeningofanEnvelope

3:19: Someone alert Fox News: the Sandy Hook kids are lip synching. #truthers

3:22: The hair on the sign language guy for the “America. Fuck Yeah!” segment is pretty fantastic.

3:24: Ray Lewis celebrates the line “land of the freeeeee!” That’s wholly unsurprising since he’s playing in the Super Bowl and able to tell people that he doesn’t have to talk about a murder he likely played a role in.

3:40: The Ravens strike first with an easy TD from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin.

3:45: The Hyundai “Team” ad followed by Doritos’ goat is the strongest double during a break so far.

3:50: I’m still waiting for Nantz and Phil Simms to discuss “Swag” for the first time.

3:54: Niners’ K David Akers makes one from 36 yards. 7-3 Baltimore … not bad for SF with how shaky they’ve looked.

3:56: Just two ads in and I’m already filled with hate for Bud Black Crown. “Our kind of beer”? Right.

3:57: It’s been brought to my attention that 17 minutes ago, Ryan Seacrest tweeted, “That’s so Ravens.” He has 8.8 million followers, most of whom likely enjoy him. This immediately becomes the current leading example of what’s wrong with America.

4:04: Enough with the “Coach Jim” and “Coach John,” Nantz. You’re announcing a game that’s televised. We can see who you’re talking about.

4:05: Wow, the Niners’ Chris Culliver was awfully hands-on in that coverage based on his comments earlier this week.

4:07: Nice new ideas, Hollywood. “Fast & Furious 6”? Jesus. That’s close to Seacrest’s Tweet, but not quite.

4:08: The more ads for CBS comedies, the more I realize why I watch no CBS comedies.

4:09: Wow! The Harbaugh family is AT THE GAME! No way!

4:14: Culliver is NOT going to be a fan of that Calvin Klein ad if he’s TiVoing the game.

4:21: Flacco turns a LaMichael James fumble into a TD drive. 14-3 Baltimore.

4:23: #ThatAwkwardMoment where Stevie Wonder sold the soul of “Superstition” to Bud Light.

4:26: Shit, Sherlock Holmes is the villain in the new “Star Trek” flick?!

4:30: After Jim Harbaugh calms the hockey-style fracas (cough), the Niners need a stop to keep this from getting ugly.

4:32: Very professional look, “hat sideways on the sideline” guy, listening to Colin Kaepernick.

The Ravens tried for an early kill with this fake field goal that was stopped just short of a first down.

The Ravens tried for an early kill with this fake field goal that was stopped just short of a first down.

4:35: Gutsy call on the fake FG from the Ravens. Just short. Will Baltimore regret that?

4:35: If there was a time for Baltimore to go for the killshot, it was then. They’re still up 11 and have SF buried deep. Almost got it, but good work by SF D to scramble to stop it.

4:37: I don’t know why I found VW’s rasta white guy so funny. “Land of Ten Tousand lakes!”

4:44: Watching Culliver’s act throughout this game, it’s really not shocking he’s such an uninformed human.

4:48: The Taco Bell ad would’ve been much more enjoyable if I didn’t know what a shitty liive band “Fun.” is. Oh, and Taco Bell marketers – Spanish speakers aren’t really the ones buying your tacos.

Jacoby Jones embarrasses Chris Culliver (again) during SB XLVII.

Jacoby Jones embarrasses Chris Culliver (again) during SB XLVII.

4:48: What a shame that Culliver got beat on that play. I’m not really rooting for the Ravens, but that dude deserves bad shit to happen. 21-3, Baltimore.

4:53: This Tweet, courtesy of the always funny @SklarBrothers, rocks: “Culliver letting a lot of guys get behind him. He’s getting his ass reamed out there. #SB47 #sklarbowl”

4:57: “There’s nothing there.” Jim Nantz, quoting Tom Brady’s repeated deflections of Nantz’s romantic advances.

4:58: And everyone thought Akers was the Niners’ weak link. His FG makes it 21-6 Baltimore at the half.

5:03: I think Boomer Esiason lost his voice in the first half screaming at Kaepernick’s poor play.

5:11: Appropriately, Beyonce is stripping for her top strip-club hit.

5:17: Don’t ever let anyone tell you Beyonce doesn’t believe in herself. #beyoncewithbeyonceholograms

5:19: Who knew the other members of Destiny’s Child were still alive … Errr, umm, I meant available for this?

Beyonce turned out the lights at Super Bowl XLVII, perhaps in more ways than one.

Beyonce turned out the lights at Super Bowl XLVII, perhaps in more ways than one.

5:25: I’ll say this about Beyonce: that was a HUGE step up from Madonna’s performance last year.

5:26: “2 Broke Girls.” Comedy writers and show runners with old, inane, broke ideas, but millions of simpletons watching. That’s what I call the real “Honoring of America.”

5:32: Jacoby Jones, best dancer of the day. It’s 28-6 Baltimore after a 109-yard TD on the second half kickoff.

5:37: Highlight of the night! Someone finally got so sick of Phil Simms, they yanked his mic and knocked out half of the Superdome’s lights!

5:39: Is this the darkness Mercedes Benz has been promising leading up to the game?

5:46: This is slowly turning into the always enjoyable “sports journalists attempt to cover a news story.” If only it was on ESPN, we could really see it get butchered.

The Darkness, Charlie Murphy ...

The Darkness, Charlie Murphy …

5:48: Finally, a way that a huddle of game officials can look more incompetent – adding a bunch of NFL execs in suits with walkie-talkies to the group during a blackout.

5:52: Clooney, Pitt and the rest of the 11 are currently taking Harrah’s New Orleans for all it’s worth.

6:06: Why did power have to be restored to the Nantz/Simms press box?

6:10: “Third down and 13, let’s go!” Awesome work, head referee!

6:24: Michael Crabtree takes two big shots after the catch and goes in for the 31-yard score anyway. It’s 28-13 Baltimore halfway through the third.

6:26: Shocking it took til midway through the third quarter for the first Gangnam Style-themed ad. Thanks for not letting us down (and, by that, I mean letting us down), pistachio salespeople.

6:28: CBS’ ad campaign touting all of its “No. 1” shows really makes the American TV viewer look bad.

6:32: Ted Ginn punt return, Vernon Davis catch, Frank Gore run. NFL blackout controversy brewing. Baltimore 28-20, 4:59 to play in the third.

6:35: Is Beck’s Sapphire trying to split the douche vote with Budweiser Black Crown? #bombdiggity

6:38: What a great Budweiser Clydesdale ad, which was shot right outside my apartment building a couple weeks ago! I walked over to Walgreen’s for some items right through the heart of that fake parade while they were shooting it. I love living here.

6:43: There’s the Akers that SF fans were afraid of, as he shanks another FG attempt. But a running into the kicker penalty gives him another shot.

6:44: And he knocks this one through. Niners within five with 3:10 left in the third.

6:48: Right when the Ravens were in trouble, there’s Culliver letting Boldin get open and then getting seriously stiff-armed for a 31-yard gain. Bad coverage is so ga- err, unfortunate.

6:51: Deion Sanders as Leon Sandcastle. Strong entrant in the ad race from the NFL itself.

6:52: Jack in the Box “Hot Mess” ad was another amusingly solid effort during that break. Though I am kind of a sucker for the Jack ads.

6:55: Something about Phil Simms saying the word “possum” just seems right.

6:57: The Ravens take the field goal this time and lead 31-23 with 13 minutes to play.

6:59: Paul Harvey and Dodge tell all of us just trying to enjoy some football and laughs to go fuck right off.

Colin Kaepernick's TD run got the 49ers to within 2 early in the 4th quarter.

Colin Kaepernick’s TD run got the 49ers to within 2 early in the 4th quarter.

7:04: Kaepernick lopes in for the score, but the 2-point pass sails high. 31-29 Ravens, with just under 10 minutes left.

7:06: Was that a KIA ad or the story behind Scientology?

7:08: @BaileyLAKings is having a special day on Twitter. Great effort from a championship-level mascot.

7:11: Culliver’s at it again, rubbing his body all over another man’s for a PI call to give Baltimore a huge first down.

7:14: Great Tide spot, from all angles. “Jesus on toast” must be pissed.

7:21: Tucker’s second FG makes it 34-29 Baltimore with 4:19 left.

7:22: Good casting with Dafoe as Satan, but Mercedes spent a lot to build up to a spot that was, essentially, a chuckle at best.  It kinda fizzled, just like the lights at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

7:27: Kaepernick has an absolute rocket arm. Wow, that throw to Crabtree.

7:30: Rudd and Rogen, love these guys.

7:34: Fourth and goal … Incomplete, and Jim Harbaugh is dying for a holding call. Maybe he should have been dying for his team not to fall behind 28-6?

7:36: Phil Simms still believes there is no holding, ever. Now, apparently, on both sides of the ball.

7:37: “The more angles I see, the more confused I get.” – Phil Simms, coming clean after all these years.

7:41: And Dan Donati just got effed in his own Super Bowl squares pool with that safety.

7:45: Ball game. Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31. Turned out to be a helluva game. And no lame Nantz pun at the finish.

7:47: And now, one of my favorite things: the unexpected F bomb on live TV. You’re definitely my MVP, Joe Flacco.


"God is always right." Uh, ok.

“God is always right.” Uh, ok.

7:58: Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was much less creepy than after the AFC title win. He did, however, essentially thank New Orleans for having so many cocktails.

8:01: If I was a believer, Ray Lewis would be very close to making me hate god.

Good night everybody!

Feb 13

The 54th Grammy Awards: A Running Diary

With a nod to Bill Simmons and every other writer who’s done this before for any number of major events, I kept a running diary of last night’s inexplicably “tape-delayed on the West Coast” Grammy Awards which took place — you guessed it — on the West Coast. At Staples Center in Los Angeles, to be specific.

Prior to the immediately overhyped and not wholly shocking death of former pop great Whitney Houston at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday night, the 54th Grammys looked more intriguing than normal, with Bruce Springsteen slated to open the show with his scathing new populist anthem “We Take Care Of Our Own,” tributes to a re-formed Beach Boys and Alzheimer’s-stricken Glen Campbell, and the return to the stage of current music “it” girl Adele from throat surgery five months ago on a night she was expected to be showered with Grammys for her album, “21,” and more specifically, the thundering blue-eyed soul of its biggest hit, “Rolling In The Deep.”

The West Coast tape delay made a live blog from someone who lives less than a dozen miles from the Staples Center seem silly. So, instead, I kept a running tab and turned it into a diary. So … let’s get going!

7:59 p.m.: It’s me and my laptop and CBS here for the Grammys. And a local news promo with a shot of the Beverly Hilton touting, “Stars backstage at the Grammys remember Whitney, tonight at 11.” Of course, CBS2. Of course.

8:01: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “America, are you alive out there?” And there’s a 99.9% chance it’s ALL downhill from here.

8:02: The Grammys are the only way the E Street Band would ever appear at Staples Center nowadays. Can’t wait for the L.A. Sports Arena on April 27.

We Take Care Of Our Own

Bruce led the E Street Band through a rousing live debut of “We Take Care Of Our Own” to kick off the telecast.

8:04: “We Take Care of Our Own.” More of a challenge than a statement of fact.

8:05: Audible “Bruuuuuuuces” from the industry-laden crowd. Must’ve been as good in the house as it was on TV.

8:06: LL Cool J leads a prayer for Whitney Houston. Doin’ it, doin’ it and doin’ it well.

8:07: How’d Lady Gaga get that giant staff past security? And what the hell does she need with it?

8:10: LL Cool J is creeping on Adele in his opening … And now he’s a football coach giving a pre-game pep-talk.

8:12: Bruno Mars, impressive Motown vibe — and Morrissey haircut. Also, we now have had about a half-dozen more folks singing live (counting background singers) in the first 12 minutes of the Grammys than in the entire Super Bowl halftime last week.

8:15: Bruno’s no James Brown, but he’s a pretty bad man, it appears.

Bruno Mars’ Grammys performance called to mind James Brown and the Motown era.

8:20: Alicia Keys stole Bruno Mars’ hair.

8:22: A couple of great voices — Keys and Bonnie Raitt — in salute of Etta James, and now, awkwardly, they will get up to present an award.

8:23: A thought for Lady Gaga: Being yourself really doesn’t require such hard work.

8:24: Bruno Mars flipped his shit there. Wow, way to not lose gracefully.

8:25: Is Lil’ Wayne holding a miniature skateboard? Does he have any idea who Adele is? How high is he? So many questions.

8:26: What sport did Chris Brown letter in at Brown High? Boxing? Also, it appears our “live singing” streak has been broken at two acts.

8:27: Chris, I’m pretty sure the music is turned up.

8:29: I wonder if his performance dragged on like this the night he smacked Rihanna around?

8:35: America, collectively: “I can see Fergie’s underwear!”

8:35: Thanks, Marc Anthony, for definitively agreeing with Fergie’s LL Cool J statement. You added as much to this presentation as you likely did to J-Lo’s career.

8:37: Reba? When did the broadcast suddenly switch over to the WB?

8:37: I think I know why this is music’s biggest night? Because you keep telling us so! Of course, when two of the biggest current talents around (Kanye and Jay-Z) don’t show, it’s a bit tougher sell.

8:38: To speak generally, the majority of current-day pop country music flat out sucks.

8:39: Quite a crash diet Kelly Clarkson’s been on since her SNL appearance. Girl can sing, but it’d be nice if she made better career decisions.

8:41: To Kelly and the dude in the cowboy hat: I only want to stay a little while if you put on another song that doesn’t sound like some focus group of producers crafted it to cynically sell singles on iTunes.

8:42: Hey, voiceover girl, is Adele coming up? What about Katy Perry?

At the 54th Grammy Awards

Dave Grohl rocking the Slayer shirt for the Foos’ stellar performance of “Walk.”

8:47: Why do they always send the Foo Fighters outside Staples?

8:48: Dave Grohl’s Slayer t-shirt rules.

8:49: I love rock-and-roll. And the Foos know how to do it. Well. And all while walking the fine line of street cred and mass popularity.

8:56: No one loves a “Grammy moment” like LL loves a “Grammy moment.” Sell Sell Cool J.

8:57: Alert: I’m a dude who likes Coldplay, so I probably won’t be as harsh about this next stretch as you’d expect.

8:58: Rihanna just got HECTIC! And in the role of Matt Kemp, this dude in black leather.

9:00: Did they really just give Chris Martin a super? Did they think we were all in an epileptic seizure after Rihanna and couldn’t figure out who he was?

Who's that?

Yes, CBS dropped a super over Chris Martin when he appeared to duet with Rihanna.

9:01: Coldplay in dayglo.

9:03: Yep, I’m still looking forward to May 4 at the Hollywood Bowl. And not afraid to admit it.

9:09: Chipotle ad: Willie Nelson? VERY nicely played. And now I feel better about my burrito bowls.

9:11: That’s Mario FUCKING Manningham to you.

9:15: How perfectly appropriate and true to what this show is really about: In the middle of a passionate Dave Grohl speech about the true value of heart, soul, talent and musicianship, the Grammys play him off with some LMFAO and introduce the talentless, inoffensive-t0-the-point-of-offense robot Ryan Seacrest. Now THAT is a REAL Grammy moment.

9:16: And now Seacrest took Bruno Mars’ hair from Alicia Keys.

9:18: Nice touch by Adam Levine and the kids from Foster the People on the striped shirt homage to early Beach Boys’ TV appearances. Not generally a Maroon 5 guy but a solid effort by both groups.

9:20: I don’t fucking need Ryan Seacrest to sell me on the Beach Boys. It’s THE BEACH BOYS.

Beach Boys Tribute

Adam Levine should stand next to the extra-douchey Mike Love all the time. Let’s hope Brian Wilson is getting PAID for this reunion tour.

9:24: Good lord, I hope dealing with Mike Love for the next year doesn’t kill Brian Wilson. Love is SUCH a tool.

9:25: Who knew John Legend was a closet Beach Boys freak?

9:31: Stevie Wonder with the harmonica — always a crowd pleaser.

9:34: Paul McCartney — selling records like Hallmark sells cards! Joe Walsh — not high? Diana Krall — how much are they paying me for this?

9:36: Did Common beat down Drake for this Taraji P. Henson pairing? And just how many Taraji Hensons are there that she needs that P. in there?

9:37: Taraji, if this is the revolution being televised, we’re all more screwed than I could possibly imagine.

9:38: Nice half hug from Taraji for Chris Brown, no doubt hoping he didn’t beat her over the head with that Grammy.

9:38: The Civil Wars aren’t funny. But, they may be musically talented.

9:40: And now for five one-liners on Taylor Swift’s performance.

9:40: Taylor Swift, coming to you live from the Great Recession.

With Mildred Pierce

Man, that Kate Winslet is inexhaustible.

9:41: Taylor Swift, new lead singer for Mumford & Sons.

9:41: Taylor Swift, poor but frisky.

9:42: Taylor Swift, symbolizing pure sex for the Dust Bowl set.

9:43: Taylor Swift, now with Mildred Pierce on fiddle.

9:45: Please, Taylor, stop acting age-13-level stunned every time people cheer for you. You’ve sold a zillion records and won a bunch of awards. It’s just not remotely believable anymore.

9:51: Fergie is THRILLED for everyone! Hacienda Heights in the house!

9:52: Adele and her writer are so freakin’ British! Very enjoyable.

9:53: Holy Moses, Kate Beckinsale is HOT.

9:53: Katy Perry  has nothing remotely original. Amazing, I know. We Will Rock You? Really?

9:54: I was hoping my TV was breaking, but it was part of the show. Dammit.

9:55: No shock here: divorce is a career move. What professional songwriter decided what her feelings about it were and set them to music for her?

9:55: Stamos on guitar. That dude knows how to move in on the needy one quick. Good work, Uncle Jessie.

9:56: Yep, Taraji, this sure is the revolution. The revolution of pap. FIRE! FIRE!

9:59: How many nominees are in the country category? As many kids as there are in the average home that owns these records?

10:02: Girl Scouts thin mints! FTW!

10:04: The talking Tostitos bag is stupid and creepy and annoying. I know I’m late. Just wanted to be on record.

The Big Night

It’s rare to see the Grammys get things so right, but Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” made it hard for anyone to get it wrong.

10:06: Could we have had it all? Blue-eyed soul, indeed.

10:09: Damn, damn, damn. We definitely could have had it all. This song is undeniable. A classic.

10:17: The Band Perry – emo country dudes and one helluva skirt.

10:19: The banjo girl wants to get it in with Blake Shelton.

10:21: Every time they show Lady Gaga, she appears to have no clue who anyone is, nor perhaps even where she is. I can’t believe the tuna nets finally caught her.

10:23: Rhinestone Cowboy is pretty stellar. Except for the emo country kid with the drawstring cords.


You’ve heard of Rhinestone Cowboy. How about Drawstring Corduroy?

10:23: To go back to my previous point about current-day country pop: see how well Glen Campbell did it in the 1960s and 1970s without appealing directly and overtly to its culture’s lowest common denominators?

10:31: I’d love to see Bennett make a move on Underwood right now.

10:32: Boom! The hand around the waist! Bring it, Tony!

10:33: And Nicki Minaj is brutally disappointed by Bon Iver’s triumph. But she didn’t go all Bruno Mars, at least.

10:34: Bon Iver, bringing the awkward back. Also, we didn’t have to listen to him thank Jesus or Whitney. Sweet hookup!

10:43: Clarence Clemons, miss you big man.

10:43: Um, who forgot to cut Etta James and Don Cornelius into the “In Memoriam”?

10:43: And now, Jennifer Hudson doing what she does best: singing other people’s songs.

10:45: I must’ve missed where Dolly Parton died.

10:46: Goddamit, Paul McCartney. You’re JBL’s valentine. Say, say, say.

10:51: Chris Brown is, um, slightly overexposed at this event. And apparently trying out for Run DMC.

10:52: I’m not going to Miami for another 10 days, but if I turn the lights off, turn the TV up, and down a 5-hour and three Makers-on-the-rocks, I can feel like I am already there right now.

10:55: Can someone get Lil’ Wayne over to that Foo Fighters stage, STAT?

10:58: DeadMau5 is freaking me out. But that blonde is hoping Grohl notices her, really badly.

11:00: Have we reached the 55th Grammy Awards yet?

11:04: Yep, Common won the rap battle. Drake had no Taraji — or anyone else — to join him for his Nicki Minaj intro.

Grammy Awards

Nicki Minaj makes the same face her “performance” likely caused most viewers to make at one point or another.

11:05: You know what else is not well, old lady? Whatever’s happening right now on CBS.

11:06: Hey, let’s go to Rome! Um, or not.

11:09: Nicki Minaj must’ve really had some odd experiences in Catholic school.

11:10: I have nothing else snarky, sarcastic, witty or otherwise to add about Nicki Minaj’s “performance.” I’m not offended by it or confused by it. It just wasn’t very good.

11:11: The glasses guy in Lady Antebellum is a douche.

11:12: Silvio Dante, with the front row hookup.

11:19: And a special welcome to Diana Ross’ hair!

11:20: Is Rihanna dressed as a crack whore tonight? Is that her way of saluting the memory of those departed?

11:21: I feel like Adele is the actual kind of nice that Taylor Swift is always trying so hard to portray.

Grammy Awards

Springsteen, Walsh, McCartney, Grohl … yes, please.

11:23: Paul McCartney is LL’s homie. Enough said.

11:24: The Golden Slumbers medley TOTALLY makes up for that lame Valentine song. And then some.

11:27: Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh and Bruce Springsteen join on guitar. Now, this would qualify as a “moment,” Grammys or not.

11:30: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Few better ways to close than that.



*Images courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and the Los Angeles Times.