Michelle Obama’s Brother Gets Beat by Cal Bears

The Cal Bears are peaking at just the right moment for the NCAA Basketball tournament. We manhandled the Oregon State Beavers tonight (77-63), handing Craig Robinson (Michelle Obama’s brother) his fourth loss in a row:

Oregon State coach Craig Robinson cheers on his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against California, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Berkeley, Calif.

He certainly looks like his sister. Three games left to go in the regular season. Go Bears!

Furniture Blogging Gary Locke, Tim Geithner, and Xi Jinping

What in the jumping jehosaphat is going on here:

Gary Locke, Tim Geithner, and Xi Jinping

Okay, I get it. They are modeling marshmallow furniture. No? I had better read the caption:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (C) and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (L) meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

What are they sitting on? Sort of a Little Miss Muffet meets the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland?

The Caterpillar, Alice in Wonderland

But with a Tea Party feel?

Tea Party

Oooops, not that Tea Party. This Tea Party:

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

(Please do not discuss this other Tea Party which I was not invited to, harumph):

Johnny Depp, Michelle Obama, President Obama, Tim Burton, and the kids, White House Alice in Wonderland Party

Of course, Gary, Tim, and Xi have slightly larger chairs:

Lily Tomlin

Well, not quite that grande/venti. These are Tea Party chairs:

Tea Party Chair

Just don’t forget the back support:

Marshmallow Mattress

Furniture blogging, it’s not only for couch potatoes. . .

Hell on Wheels

Hey, I thought westerns were supposed to be dead! Apparently not. Case in point: Hell on Wheels. The new show, premiering on AMC this Sunday, looks like it could be interesting. From the official release:

Anson Mount, Hell on Wheels, AMC

“Hell on Wheels” is a contemporary Western that centers on former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, portrayed by Anson Mount, whose quest for vengeance has led him to the Union Pacific Railroad’s westward construction of the first transcontinental railroad.

Developed by Endemol USA and produced by Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures, “Hell on Wheels” is created, written, and executive-produced by Joe and Tony Gayton (Faster, Uncommon Valor, The Salton Sea, Bulletproof.)

The series premieres Sun, Nov. 6 at 10/9c.

I’ll bite. I don’t recognize any of the show’s stars. (Although Colm Meaney’s been around. A British meanie, right?) The players:

In addition to Mount (City by the Sea, Cook County, ABC’s Line of Fire), “Hell on Wheels” stars musician-actor Common (Just Wright, Date Night) as Elam, Dominique McElligott (Moon, The Philanthropist) as Lily Bell, Colm Meaney (The Conspirator, Get Him to the Greek) as Durant, Ben Esler (The Pacific) as Sean, Phil Burke (Mercy) as Mickey, and Eddie Spears (Into the West) as Joseph.

Anson Mount, rapper Common, Hell on Wheels

Hmmm. Reading the above, I recognize Common. But I forget where. I know he is a rapper, but is he a good guy? (Good guy definition: does not contribute to the degradation of society.)

Let’s head over to rap-a-pedia to check him out. Cut and pasted for your reading pleasure:

1. Common was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to appear at a poetry reading on May 11, 2011 at the White House. This caused furor with the New Jersey State Police and their union, who disagreed with his lyrical content. The president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association voiced concern to the White House. They cite the song “A Song For Assata” about a member of the Black Liberation Army and step-aunt of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur named Assata Shakur, previously known as Joanne Chesimard,who was convicted in 1977 of the first degree murder of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster.

The rapper Common, in a fuscia v-neck sweater

2. Common used to be vegan, but is now a pescetarian. In addition, he is a supporter of animal rights and PETA. He appeared in a print advertisement for PETA titled “Think Before You Eat.”

3. Common is a Christian and has been a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago led by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright since his childhood. Following the controversy over one of Wright’s sermons, Common criticized the American news media’s coverage of the incident as having “an agenda.”

4. At a poetry reading, Common said, “flyers say ‘free Mumia’ on my freezer,” a reference to Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was controversially convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

Okay, AMC chose a controversial rapper, who may/may not be able to act, as one of the stars. I don’t agree with his life choices. Fine. I will still watch the show. We need westerns now, more than ever.

But this makes me question the casting. Let’s look into this Anson Mount guy. Wait, he appeared in a movie with Britney Spears, called Crossroads. Britney Spears? Aww c’mon:

Anson Mount and Britney Spears in 2002′s Crossroads, Anson Mount in Hell on Wheels

What does Anson have to say about his brush with the pop princess:

“At the time, I just saw it as a great work opportunity and a chance to make some money that I could use to go on vacation,” he tells the Associated Press. “It was everybody else who put me in this sort of good-looking, next-big-leading-man category.”

For once, I wanted to write a snark-free post. A feel-good, true-blue, pre-review. But I am still optimistic. Perhaps this one will turn out okay. . . A semi-semi-militant rapper and Britney Spears’ co-star. And a new western. I’ll take the latter and ignore the casting. The trailer looks great.

The rapper Common and Anson Mount. Looking Westernish. On AMC, Sunday nights

Update: A talented techie from the show commented on this post. His blog. His $0.02:

I’ve been involved with “Hell on Wheels” from the pilot through the first ten episodes. It’s not “Deadwood”, but it’s also trying very hard not to be that (though unfair comparisons are inevitable). The attention to detail and to history are top notch and the stories and characters get better as it goes along. It takes a train a while to build up steam, as with any endeavor. Give this show a chance and you’ll be rewarded. It surely is better than the vast majority of what’s on TV these days. I enjoyed the Hell out of every miserable, mud filled day I had on the set and I imagine anyone who likes westerns will be well pleased to have a new one to watch.