THE AUTHOR

Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC. He is an editor at The Comeback and Awful Announcing

Previously, he has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, MLive.com and SB Nation. In addition, he was a lead baseball writer for Bleacher Report. 

You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook, where he craves your attention.

He still plans to write that novel someday. 

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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Tuesday
Jun162015

The last 10 films I've seen

It's been almost two months since I posted one of these lists, but I can fill one up pretty quickly these days. With the summer movie season under way and trying to keep up with things for The AP Party, I'm seeing most of the big current releases and writing reviews of them. 

Here are the last 10 films I've seen (with links to reviews I wrote), as of June 7, 2015. 

Spy - Paul Feig, 2015
Entourage - Doug Ellin, 2015
Aloha - Cameron Crowe, 2015
San Andreas - Brad Peyton, 2015
Tomorrowland - Brad Bird, 2015
Poltergeist - Gil Kenan, 2015
The Road Warrior - George Miller, 1981
Mad Max: Fury Road - George Miller, 2015
Mad Max - George Miller, 1979
Avengers: Age of Ultron - Joss Whedon, 2015

The moviegoing is very blockbuster-heavy, as you might expect this time of year. So I haven't seen as many of the smaller, indie releases as I would like, but tried to move in that direction over the past couple of weeks. Still not getting to the movies as often as I'd prefer, though. 

Sunday
Jun142015

The week's writes and reads, 06-14-15

All right, I felt like I got back in the groove this week. For one thing, I finally finished the Cameron Crowe post I've been wanting to write, even before the disappointment of Aloha became public. That got a good response from readers and friends, which I'm happy about. Also, I got to write a NFL-related post for Bloguin's This Given Sunday, which I'm hoping to do more of through the summer and into next season.

Yet as the week ends and we go into the next, I think about the post I didn't get to write, which is a review of Jurassic World. If I don't catch a Thursday night screening, it becomes difficult to write a review by Saturday, at the latest. For those who care. 

So here's what I wrote and the articles I enjoyed reading over the past week. Thanks for popping in!

WRITTEN:

Sunday
Watch: Richard Sherman runs from dinosaurs in 'Jurassic World' promo - Awful Announcing
Watch: Andy Samberg's hair is spectacular in '7 Days of Hell' teaser - Awful Announcing

Monday
CEO Tim Cook: Apple will pay ransom for Brandon Moss' 100th HR ball - The Outside Corner
'Spy' gives Melissa McCarthy the big-budget showcase she deserves - The AP Party
Watch: In 'The Martian' trailer, Matt Damon 'sciences the s***' out of Mars - The AP Party

Tuesday
Surprise! Cubs sign Rafael Soriano to minor league deal - The Outside Corner
Marvel's 'Daredevil' casts Jon Bernthal as The Punisher for season two - The AP Party
Watch: Rajai Davis leaping catch robs David Ross of home run - The Outside Corner

Wednesday
Let's not overreact about Royals dominating All-Star vote, OK? - The Outside Corner
Lamenting the slow, painful decline of Cameron Crowe's career - The AP Party
Chris Hemsworth will be the new Ghostbusters' receptionist - The AP Party

Thursday
Should the Patriots already be concerned about Jimmy Garoppolo? - This Given Sunday
New 'Ant-Man' posters remind you he's a Marvel character - The AP Party

Friday
Watch: Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong in 'The Program' trailer - Awful Announcing
Red Sox running out of time, answers for manager John Farrell - The Outside Corner
Watch: Chris Pratt shows Conan O'Brien his acting range for 'Jurassic World'  - The AP Party
Watch: Miguel Cabrera destroys a Danny Salazar pitch to deep center - The Outside Corner

READ:

-- "I have actually convinced myself that buying books is the same as reading. I know exactly what you mean, Judd Apatow. [New York Times]

-- Vanity Fair's Bryan Burrough (along with Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine and CNN's Brian Stelter) has been all over the Bryan Williams beat, with most of the reporting indicating that there's no way the NBC Nightly News anchor gets his job back. Could NBC stick him someplace else on the network? [Vanity Fair]

-- Will a labor shortage among coffee pickers in Colombia make the cost of our daily fix go up? There's also some illuminating stuff in here about the conditions laborers have to work under, and how punishing the work is, which should probably make all of us think as we sip from our cups each morning. [Reuters]

-- I go back and forth on ClickHole, The Onion's BuzzFeed parody. Sometimes, I think its satire is dead-on and brilliant. Other times, it misses the target badly and it feels like they're trying too hard. But I guess that's the game. But the site has been a success, and Dan Kois got a behind-the-scenes look at the how the staff comes up with story ideas and goes through the process of figuring out what's funny. [Slate]

-- I finally paid off my student loans last year, and probably sacrificed some current comfort to get rid of that massive debt. But prior to that, I would have listened to any argument for forgiving or defaulting those crippling obligations. In some ways, I admire the stance Lee Siegel took here. In others, I'm resentful. [NY Times]

Wednesday
Jun102015

This editor is gun-crazy, man

I've noticed this before and meant to say something, but it seems I have a preference for images of people pointing guns. I'll have to go back and check how many times I've picked a photo of someone pointing a gun for a featured image at The AP Party

I suppose it's one of my biggest contradictions. Guns terrify me and I'd love to see measures for stricter gun control in our culture, but I obviously enjoy the power that they present in still images and movies.

Go figure. Maybe there's something else to be examined here. 

Sunday
Jun072015

The week's writes and reads, 06-07-15

I felt like I was off my game this week. Stuff like doctor appointments and helping with babysitting my nieces, along with some poor planning in terms of balancing editing with writing prevented me from getting more work than I should have — or would have — liked to. There's one article I definitely should have published this week, but just could not get it finished.

I'll chalk it up to one of those weeks, as long as it doesn't begin a pattern. I'll just get back to work this week, man.

OK, here's what I wrote and the articles that made for the most interesting reading during the past seven days. 

WRITTEN:

Monday
Documentary aims to tell story of never-made George Miller Justice League film - The AP Party
Caitlyn Jenner is Vanity Fair July 2015 cover story - The AP Party

Tuesday
Nationals need Michael Taylor to produce in Jayson Werth's absence - The Outside Corner
Dwayne Johnson gearing up to remake 'Big Trouble in Little China' - The AP Party

Wednesday
'Entourage' gives fans of the series exactly what they want - The AP Party
Mariners get Mark Trumbo, D-Backs receive a haul in return - The Outside Corner
'Furious 7' director James Wan signs on to helm 'Aquaman' - The AP Party

Thursday
Jason Alexander explains why 'Seinfeld' killed off Susan, later feels 'officially awful' - The AP Party
Watch: Stephen Colbert sheds his 'Colbeard' in 'Late Show' teaser - The AP Party
CBS Sports Network to get a piece of the MACtion - Awful Announcing

Saturday
'Hannibal' begins third season showing why it's like nothing else on TV - The AP Party
Watch: Key and Peele spoof the NBA and its TV announcers - Awful Announcing

READ:

-- I don't know how I've gone this far without watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It just began its sixth "season" online. (We even have a writer recapping the show for The AP Party.) I gotta get on this. And here I consider myself a Jerry Seinfeld fan. Anyway, the whole venture is a pretty savvy career reinvention by Seinfeld. [NY Times]

-- Something else I need to watch is the R.E.M. by MTV documentary. One guy who likes the film quite a bit is Michael Stipe, who looks back at what the band did and didn't do well in this interview with Steven Hyden. I feel the need to re-listen to New Adventures in Hi-Fi. [Grantland]

-- This is probably overstating the case, but would there be a Marvel cinematic universe if not for the Ultimate Marvel line of comics in the 2000s? Comic book reboots can be housecleaning cash-grabs, but the Ultimate line modernized characters like Spider-Man and the Avengers successfully without pandering, providing the blueprint for the movies to follow. [Vulture]

-- How would it feel to see one of your old prom photos used as a stock image on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver? Jeremy Olshan experienced that last week. Very cool that he was able to pose for another photo with his prom date 23 years later. [MarketWatch]

-- A no-hitter always makes for a great baseball story. But Johan Santana's on June 1, 2012 — the first and only one in New York Mets history — has a compelling subplot to it: Did Santana ruin the rest of his career by throwing 134 pitches that night, one year removed from reconstructive surgery on his shoulder? His manager still feels guilty about it. [Sports Illustrated]

-- "What Americans see as healthy has evolved. Subway hasn’t." A very interesting look at the decline in Subway's fortunes, though it still feels like plenty of people eat their food and the locations are everywhere. But I don't eat there anymore, mostly because of the bread. I wonder how many others feel the same way? Or is it just that getting Subway always feels like a last resort? [Washington Post]

Sunday
May312015

The week's writes and reads, 05-31-15

I suppose it was bound to be a slower week with writing, coming off the Memorial Day holiday. But I also basically lost a day to transcribing an interview and helping out with my little nieces. (These two circumstances were not related.)

But that interview with Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson was easily the highlight of the week. That ran at Awful Announcing on Thursday, and the link is posted below. AA has provided the opportunity to interview the SNY Mets broadcast team and EJ in recent months, and I certainly hope there will be more to come. 

WRITTEN:

Tuesday
'Tomorrowland' is hopeful and fun, better than critics are saying - The AP Party
Arnold Schwarzenegger will play Conan the Barbarian again, 33 years later - The AP Party

Thursday
AA Q&A: Ernie Johnson - Awful Announcing
Watch: Trevor Noah gets ready to take over 'The Daily Show' - The AP Party

Friday
Tigers' starting pitching woes make losing Max Scherzer more lamentable - The Outside Corner 
Watch: Matt Harvey discusses Jacob deGrom's hair on 'The Daily Show' - The Outside Corner
'San Andreas' wastes Dwayne Johnson amid ridiculously impressive CGI destruction - The AP Party

Saturday
'Aloha' is a mess that Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone can't save - The AP Party

READ:

-- Lisa Schwarzbaum's lede here, about the overuse of the word "icon," hits home with me because I encountered an article this week that referred to a comic book character as "iconic," which seemed to be massively overstating the case. I'm sure I've been guilty of abusing the word too. [New York Times]

-- Back in 1988, David Foster Wallace wrote a short story titled My Appearance (published in Playboy and the Girl With Curious Hair collection) about a guest waiting to appear on Late Night with David Letterman. [Vulture]

-- I'm a big fan of Dwayne Johnson. Who doesn't love The Rock? If you don't love him, maybe that says less about him and more about you. Anyway, it's kind of hard to believe that Johnson hasn't headlined many movies on his own, as he did this weekend with San Andreas. [New York Times]

-- Loved this piece by Erik Malinowski about the work that went into redesigning the Milwaukee Bucks logo. [Rolling Stone]

-- Joe Posnanski's sportswriting career has taken some interesting turns in recent years, whether it's jumping from job to job or having his Joe Paterno biography hijacked by the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. I wish he'd gotten into some more details, but that's probably his business, not ours. [Still No Cheering in the Press Box]

Sunday
May242015

The week's writes and reads, 05-24-15

Another busy week with editing led to a bit less writing from me. Again, a nice problem to have, especially when we had two big cultural events with the Mad Men series finale and David Letterman's final broadcast. I was happy that we addressed both of those quite well at The AP Party, arguably making for our best week.

There was also a solemn occasion during the week that had me struggling with balancing work and personal life, and I'll probably write about that later. Though whether or not to write about it was part of that dilemma. 

In addition to this week's writes and reads, here are two of my radio appearances via podcast. 

103.7 The Game in Lafayette, LA - Friday
750 The Game in Portland, OR - Friday

WRITTEN:

Monday
Jeffrey Loria's latest managerial farce shows Marlins have no plan - The Outside Corner
Thinking more about where we left Don Draper in the 'Mad Men' finale - The AP Party

Tuesday
Dianna Russini latest D.C. sports anchor jumping to ESPN - Awful Announcing
Watch: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' remade into 8-bit short - The AP Party

Wednesday
Video: 'Late Night with Seth Meyers' recreates 'Late Night with David Letterman' opening - The AP Party
Watch: Jamie Foxx does Doc Rivers impression on 'The Tonight Show' - Awful Announcing

Thursday
Astros surprising, but can get better with prospects like Carlos Correa - The Outside Corner
Watch: Why Foo Fighters and 'Everlong' were perfect for David Letterman's final show - The AP Party

Friday
Even without comparing to original, 'Poltergeist' remake feels pointless - The AP Party
'Late Show with David Letterman' sets already being dismantled - The AP Party
Watch: 'Hannibal' season 3 trailer opens door to 'Red Dragon' - The AP Party

Saturday
ESPN covering National Spelling Fee Finals with new interactive features - Awful Announcing
Video: Netflix releases trailer for Bill Murray's 'A Very Murray Christmas' - The AP Party
Watch: 'The Unbreakable Imperator Furiosa' mashes up Mad Max and Kimmy Schmidt - The AP Party

READ:

-- It's probably self-indulgent to link to an article from a site I edit, but Matt Zemek's writing about Mad Men is the best stuff we've run on The AP Party. Of course I'm biased, but his piece on the series finale was one of the best I read on the subject. [The AP Party]

-- Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the best essayists and cultural commentators in the country. But he's also a comic-book geek, which makes me admire him even more. As you might expect, Coates has compelling thoughts on why superheroes are so resonant now. This was published a month ago, but I only just got to it. [New York]

-- A headline like "Why Children Are Abandoning Baseball" is certainly going to get my attention. Is it because baseball is a slower, boring game for kids? Are soccer and lacrosse easier, perhaps less expensive sports to play? Does this come down to parents being more involved in kids developing their skills? Personally, I'm glad that addressing youth engagement is one of new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's priorities. [Wall Street Journal]

-- The 1961 chase betwen Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle is one of my favorite baseball stories (depicted so well in Billy Crystal's movie 61*), particularly the fact that the two teammates were friends, but the media tried to portray them as rivals. I'd love to see how the modern baseball and sports media would handle something like this now. [New York Times]

Sunday
May172015

The week's writes and reads, 05-17-15

A little bit of a lighter week for me, writing-wise, as more of my time was spent editing articles for Bloguin's pop culture site, The AP Party. But that's a good problem to have, as it means we're getting more content to run. 

Also, I had the delight of babysitting my little nieces last week with my mother, as their preschool was closed on Friday. As you'll see, there wasn't much work done that day — at least as far as writing goes. Actually, I had to scuttle three radio appearances as well. But it was worth it to hang out with those adorable kiddos. So much fun.

Earlier in the week, I did call in to The Maximus Show on XERSradio.com, however. Here's a link to that podcast.

The Maximus Show, XERSradio.com - Tuesday

WRITTEN:

Sunday
Jay Mariotti attacks Bill Simmons and "fanboy media" in baffling, out-of-touch rant - Awful Announcing

Monday
Watch: Max Kellerman sticks up for Manny Pacquiao fighting injured - Awful Announcing
James McAvoy's Professor Xavier finally bald, per Bryan Singer's Instagram - The AP Party

Tuesday
Josh Hamilton signs baby's butt before rehab game with Triple-A Round Rock - The Outside Corner
Kenan Thompson confirms he's returning to 'SNL' for 13th season - The AP Party
Watch: Elvis Andrus must touch Adrian Beltre's head after home run - The Outside Corner
Marvel Comics reveals identity of new, female Thor - The AP Party
Video: ABC is bringing back 'The Muppets' Tuesday nights this fall - The AP Party
Watch: Phillies' Sean O'Sullivan snares line drive with bare hand - The Outside Corner

Wednesday
As Rockies crumble, Tulowitzki contemplates trade request, setting bleak future - The Outside Corner
Watch: New 'Crimson Peak' trailer terrorizes poor Mia Wasikowska - The AP Party

Thursday
Video: First look at CBS' 'Supergirl' series is cheesy, but fun - The AP Party
Watch: Samantha Bee breaks up sausage fest in teaser for new TBS show - The AP Party
Video: 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' trailer continues CW publicity blitz - The AP Party

Saturday
'Mad Max: Fury Road' is glorious, thrilling freak show, unlike anything you've seen - The AP Party

READ:

-- I don't know how much interest the general public has, but those in media are extremely intrigued by the Bill Simmons-ESPN split. James Andrew Miller is kind of the authority on the behind-the-scenes happenings at the network after writing his book, Those Guys Have All the Fun. He might have another book on his hands with the Simmons situation. This could be his version of Bill Carter's The Late Shift. [Vanity Fair]

-- One of Marc Maron's best WTF interviews was with Judd Apatow. Apatow got to switch roles and interview Maron just before season three of Maron premiered on IFC. [Vulture]

-- Among the many curiosities of Mad Max: Fury Road (my review of which is linked above) is that Hugh Keays-Byrne — who was the bad guy, Toecutter, in the original Mad Max — reunited with director George Miller to play a new villain, Immortan Joe, in the latest version of  post-apocalyptic road race/freak show. [Business Insider]

I'll have to get some more reading done next week. I'm slacking!

Sunday
May102015

The week's writes and reads, 05-10-15

I can't begin a post intended to compile what I wrote during the previous week withouth acknowledging how none of this would be possible if not for my mother. Her support and encouragement has been crucial in my writing career. Without her, I doubt I would have stuck with it, even when it was what I wanted more than anything. Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Hopefully, we're enjoying a fine meal right now. 

Kind of a slower week, as I had to spend some time taking my car to a body shop for repairs (following a minor collision and a frustrating, disheartening exchange with the other driver's auto insurance provider, whom I hope has driven off a bridge by now) and renting a vehicle to get me around for a few days. Well, at least it felt that way. 

WRITTEN:

Monday
Here's the 'Suicide Squad,' courtesy of director David Ayer - The AP Party
Jim Harbaugh just discovered Lou Holtz left ESPN and isn't happy - Awful Announcing
Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' parodies Orioles broadcast to address Baltimore riots - Awful Announcing
Watch: Vanity Fair 'Star Wars' photo shoot reveals new characters - The AP Party

Tuesday
Attempting to make sense of the AL East pile-up - The Outside Corner
Watch: Ryan Gosling pays tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator - The AP Party

Wednesday
Manny Pacquiao faces multiple class-action lawsuits over shoulder injury - Awful Announcing
Watch: Channing Tatum and gang are back in 'Magic Mike XXL' trailer - The AP Party
Watch: Pedro Martinez recounts Manny Ramirez spiking drinks with Viagra - The Outside Corner

Thursday
No Wainwright, disappointing Heyward, but Cardinals are best team in baseball - The Outside Corner
Bill Simmons says Roger Goodell lacks 'testicular fortitude' to make Deflategate decision - Awful Announcing
'Jimmy Kimmel Live' will air rerun May 20 opposite David Letterman's finale - The AP Party
CW's Arrow/Flash spinoff series gets title: 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' - The AP Party
Watch: Delmon Young robs Alex Rodriguez of home run No. 661 - The Outside Corner
Video: Alex Rodriguez hits career home run No. 661 - The Outside Corner

Friday
A conversation about 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' safe houses and Black Widow - The AP Party (roundtable)
Watch: 'Vacation' red-band trailer follows new Griswolds heading to Walley World - The AP Party

READ:

-- Ever since my surgery and weight loss, I have really been wanting to try yoga. Partially because I think I'd be better at it now, but also I want to mix up my workouts a bit more. However, maybe some of that guy mentality has kept me from doing it until this point. Here's a pretty good story from two men who decided to give yoga a try. [Washington Post]

-- As someone who's been sporting a beard since January (growing my "trauma beard" after surgery), I wasn't thrilled about reading that I could have a wretched hive of scum and villainy on my face. As it turns out, however, saying beards carry germs is somewhat misleading. Compared to the rest of your face and body, that is. [Slate]

-- The Star Wars machine began cranking out some publicity for The Force Awakens last week with the Star Wars Celebration convention and May 4 being "Star Wars Day." I'm glad that Lucasfilm and Disney have seemingly pushed director J.J. Abrams to do more press, such as this interview, rather than hide everything in his "mystery box," which worked so poorly during production of Star Trek Into Darkness. [Vanity Fair]

I'll try to have more reads next week!

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