Skip to main content

The ‘Star Wars’ filibuster, flying through Rio, and more in this week’s Staff Picks

Staff Picks 4/20

Jeff Van Camp: A hilarious week in Star Wars news

I’ve never been a huge fan of Patton Oswald. He’s definitely a B or C rate comedian. But hey, everyone has their moment. Oswald’s moment was on Parks & Recreation this week. It may be his magnum opus. In a completely improvised filibuster, he lays out his entire vision for the upcoming Disney Star Wars sequels, and holy crap do they sound awesome. His 8-minute vision starts with Boba Fett escaping from the Pit of Sarlacc, and is followed by a love triangle with Lando, a severed Chewbacca head, and, yeah, even Tony Stark.

If the Star Wars filibuster isn’t enough to give you a nerdgasm, maybe this will. Harrison Ford has been trotting around doing interviews for 42, the new Jackie Robinson biopic. On Jimmy Kimmel’s show, though, things got a little awkward when Chewbacca showed up.

Caleb Denison: Get a wing-up on this

Daredevils are an elusive breed of human, but one thing you can always count on them for is a spirit of one-upmanship. These people have an innate need to do it harder, faster, higher, louder, and longer than the next person (wait … what are we talking about again?). It’s the sort of dysfunctional trait that makes YouTube as awesome as it is. And I love it.

A few weeks ago, we took a look at an incredible video that showed Norwegian daredevil Jokke Sommer taking a wingsuit flight through Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What makes the video such a spectacle (aside from the fact that the guy is, ya know … flying through the air supported by little more than some strategically-placed nylon) comes toward the end when Sommer narrowly zooms between two towering skyscrapers. The whole thing seems wildly reckless until you realize that the flight must have been painstakingly calculated, otherwise Sommer would surely have wound up a bloody mess on the 35th floor window of some investment banker’s office.

I was certain Sommer was destined for some sort of “Wingsuit Flight of the Year” award until I stumbled on the video below. What you’re about to see is Wingsuit/Base-jump athlete, Alexander Polli, make Sommer’s flight look tame by comparison. Sommer had about a 25-foot wide window through which to fly between the Ventura Corporate Towers. Polli, however, threaded his needle through an opening no wider than he is tall. Enjoy your shot of vicariously-induced adrenaline in 3…2…1…

Ryan Fleming: The Onion sums it up with ‘Jesus, This Week’

There is truth in satire. Satire can help us easily and concisely make sense of things that defy reason and logic. It can also help us examine heartbreaking events in a way that makes it less painful to look at. We can smile in the face of horror and analyze our thoughts in a way that won’t inflame passions, but rather present the facts from a less direct angle.

The Onion is a master at this. For years, it has been breaking down current events and reassembling them with a comedic slant that even people that disagree with the point can laugh at. We need humor in weeks like these, when reality seems to mercilessly pummel us with tragedy.

To concisely portray the feelings of so, so many Americans this week, The Onion yet again nailed it with its story bearing the headline: “Jesus, This Week.” That about says it all.

Andrew Couts: Google and Wikileaks collide

Seeing as it’s the weekend and all, I’m just going to assume that you have about two hours of free time during which you hope to enrich yourself with some obscure knowledge about the world … because that’s exactly what you’ll need for this massive transcript of a five-hour-long conversation between two unlikely meeting partners, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. It’s an insightful, enlightening, and completely weird read.

The meeting was recorded by Schmidt on June 23 of 2011 for his book, The New Digital Age, and was just posted to Wikileaks on Friday. During the conversation, the pair discuss everything from airline travel to the nuts and bolts of a Wikileaks leak. At one point, Assange even asks Schmidt to leak some Google data to Wikileaks – such as data requests made under the Patriot Act. Schmidt balks at the suggestion, but says that he will “certainly pass on your request to our general counsel.”

If nothing else, it’s interesting to see two unique characters of our digital age hash it all out. I just hope you have some time on your hands.


Amir Iliaifar: NBC shoots and scores!

“Oh.My.God.” said the biggest football (fine, soccer) fan in the room when I read earlier this week that NBC was dishing out $250 million for the next three years of the English Premier League’s (EPL) broadcasting rights.

Now if you’ve just joined us, the EPL is without question the most popular soccer league in the world. And it just so happens to be the home of the best team on the planet – dare I say the universe – Arsenal FC, and also the very worst team, Man Unit … something or other. It’s not important. What is important is just how much footie madness is headed our way thanks to the corporate bigwigs at NBC.

So what does $250 million get us? Well, how’s about all 380 EPL season games! According to Business Insider, all matches will be shown live on TV in some form or fashion, with all games available for streaming on the NBC Sports Extra website and app. Of the 380 games, it looks like 154 will be shown on NBC Sports Network, 22 will air on other NBC Universal channels, and 20 will air on NBC itself. That leaves another 184 games to air on various channels, so long as you have NBC Sports Network.

Taking a cue from the 2012 London Games, NBC will air matches on non-sports channels, too. So expect overflow games to show up on Esquire (weird), Bravo (weirder), and SyFy (weirdest). Truly, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am and what great news this is for American soccer fans. Right now, EPL matches air over the weekend on Fox’s Fox Soccer Channel, with the occasional game licensed out to ESPN. But those typically only involve the top five teams, and even those teams’ matches aren’t aired every week. Naturally, I’ve turned to the seedy underbelly of less-than-legitimate Internet streaming to get my fix, watching games in languages I didn’t even know existed. But not anymore! I suppose it wasn’t all bad, though. At least my Russian was coming along quite nicely…

soccer_Ronnie Macdonald

 [Photo via Ronnie Macdonald/Flickr]