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, 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)
Powered by Squarespace

Entries in pop culture (9)


The week's writes and reads, 01-31-16

I almost made it until February without catching a full-blown cold, but being snowed in last weekend probably gave those germs a chance to gestate and emerge. So kind of a slow writing week for me, between being zonked out on cold medicine for a couple of days along with quite a bit of editing work. 

That should change in the coming week with a couple of movie reviews, helping out on Super Bowl coverage, the approach of spring training, and I'll be recapping FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson. (Will I regret that decision?) 

Here are this week's writing and reading links. As always, thank you for checking in! 


The relief of Roger Goodell: No awkward trophy handoff to Tom Brady - The Comeback
Mets re-signing Yoenis Cespedes affirms fans' faith in building World Series contender - The Outside Corner

ESPN's Mike Greenberg challenges Olympic officials to swim in polluted Rio waters - Awful Announcing
Dick Vitale met The Rock on the Ballers set; How was your Tuesday? - Awful Announcing
Legendary NASCAR voice Barney Hall passes away - Awful Announcing
Report: Darth Vader will appear in Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One - The Comeback

An updated Scooby-Doo? DC Entertainment is rebooting old Hanna-Barbera cartoons - The Comeback
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce to star in E! reality dating show - Awful Announcing


-- Here's a good explainer on how the Iowa caucuses work (compared to the primaries most states use for voting). I wish I'd have participated in one during my two years in Iowa (though didn't want to change my voter registration). [Washington Post]

-- It often fascinates me when people root for teams outside where they grew up or live now. But TV and the Internet have changed regional loyalties, allowing fans to develop affection for any team he or she can follow. (I still can't get into any North Carolina teams, myself. Even with the Panthers' success.) [New York]

-- Slack has become a big part of my working life. I enjoy it, but do people really hate e-mail? It feels a bit more stable to me. [Bloomberg Business]

-- So if you follow politics, you've surely heard plenty of reporters and commentators say that the past seven months have shown that nothing follows a traditional pattern anymore. That even applies to Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight, with regard to Donald Trump's chances. (By the way, I miss Silver and FiveThirtyEight at the New York Times.) [Slate]

-- I've probably said this in one form or another during the past six or seven years, but I really am trying to get into the NBA again. (This time around, my job might force me to.) So I've certainly been following the Kristaps Porzingis phenomenon closely, and enjoyed this look at how he ended up with the Knicks. [Yahoo Sports]

-- For most of my childhood, I wanted to work in comic books. So I'll always be interested in the process of making them. Watching how a page of The Fade Out gets created from script to finished page was fascinating. [The Art of Sean Phillips]


Jean-Claude Van Damme believes in us

This AP Party thing appears to really be happening, since I've now written my second post for Bloguin's new pop culture site. 

Since watching GoDaddy's new ad featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. (Perhaps I need a bigger life with more hobbies.) I've seen it at least a dozen times and told several friends they must watch it for themselves.

Usually, when something like this happens, I'm grateful for a blog so I have an outlet to pin my thoughts down. This time, of course, I'm extremely fortunate to have another site that's actually interested in those kinds of musings. I wrote about the ad in my latest post for The AP Party:

My friend A. asked, "How over JCVD doing the splits is everyone in the world by now?" after I compelled her to watch the ad. Perhaps it was a predictable move, capitalizing on an image that's played out. But you can't have Van Damme in a commercial and not have him do the splits, right? Having him roundhouse-kick a bag of flour wouldn't convey the right message. Maybe Van Damme beating and kneading the flour could have been done. However, that would've missed the point of this story. 

I suppose there's one school of thought that says I'm helping GoDaddy by basically providing free advertising for them. But hey, they made a great commercial and I'm happy to celebrate it. Apparently, I'm a soft touch for ads lately, since I also love Bud Light's "Quinoa" ad.

I'm suddenly thinking of Bill Hicks' infamous bit, "By the way, if anybody here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously." I feel like I'm letting him down. Or maybe Bill would've come around. Doubtful, but maybe. 

Please follow @TheAPparty on Twitter, if you're interested. (Can you imagine what Bill Hicks would've thought of the internet and social media? Oh, man.)  


New gig! Ain't no party like The AP Party

Here's an announcement that I've been waiting to make for quite a while. I'll be writing for Bloguin's new pop culture site, The AP Party, which launched this week. 

When I was looking for a new baseball-writing gig, Ben Koo and Bloguin stepped up right away to recruit me. One of the most appealing parts of Ben's offer was the possibility of contributing to this new site.

As you know if you read this blog or follow me Twitter and Facebook, I'm a pretty voracious pop culture consumer and the opportunity to write about it — and cover something else besides baseball — was extremely intriguing. We've had a few starts and stops, as you might expect. But it's exciting to finally get the site rolling. 

You can read my first post, about the tricky, overwhelming nature of binge-watching television, on the site now. 

But 10 hours of TV can still be pretty daunting, especially on a weekend when college football started and baseball's playoff races are entering their stretch run. Personally, I don't think binge watching can be done every week. Maybe not even every month. The mind and body have to prepare for all that consumption. And you really do have to effectively tune out the outside world. 

The article was mostly inspired by my intention to watch the first two seasons of BBC America's Luther before season 3 began this week. It's a show that my friend A. has been nudging me to watch for years on Netflix. I'm finally getting there. But I still probably have at least three or four different shows to catch up on with her. 

(This just as easily could have been prompted by Orange is the New Black, the last show I binged on. I'd also like to get up to speed on The Walking Dead before the new season begins in October.) 

Other stuff to check out on the site includes Ben Heisler's podcast interview with W. Kamau Bell and Reva Friedel's ranking of online dating sites. Oh, this is going to be so much fun.

You can also follow @TheAPparty on Twitter. 


Even Batman might not have a blanket this cool 

I'd never considered buying a Snuggie before. A blanket with sleeves? Are you kidding? If you have to go into a CVS to buy something other than vitamins, drugs, cosmetics, pop or candy, you're probably making a poor decision. 

I did consider buying one as a gag gift for my sister's husband a couple of years ago. I wanted to see if he would completely miss the irony and think it was a cool gift. But I couldn't bring myself to do it and ended up getting him something else instead. Probably a Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler movie on DVD. 

But I might have to reassess my position on Snuggies. Clearly, this company is not content to maintain the status quo with its blue and red models. No, they're exploring the space that a blanket with sleeves allows. And in that space, there is definitely room for a Batman snuggie

Actually, I don't think this is an official Snuggie. It's listed as a "comfy throw blanket with sleeves" on Amazon. But that's cool. If Snuggie fell asleep at the wheel, it's reassuring to know someone had the vision to seize an opportunity. Also offered are Spider-Man and Wonder Woman models. (I'm suspicious of the Spidey model, however, since it looks Photoshopped over the Batman guy.) 

Would I use a Batman snuggie? Hell, yes. Especially if I got to use it in a Pier 1 setting like the guy in the picture does. But I get cold watching TV at night. I have blankets. But none with Batman on them. 

No, I would probably never enjoy the company of a woman again with a Batman snuggie. That's something to consider. But would I want to be with a woman who didn't see how cool — or hilarious — a Batman snuggie is? Well... if she was a woman hanging out at my place, then yes.

But I would at least extend the courtesy of offering her a Wonder Woman model to use. 

(via GeekTyrant)


'Are you making more movies with that orangutan then? Those were brilliant.'

Clint Eastwood chatting with P.J. Harvey. Wouldn't you love to have heard some of this conversation?

I suppose there's also a chance the conversation lasted approximately 30 seconds.

Harvey scoring an Eastwood film would be pretty cool, though. Worlds colliding would make me giddy.

(via Awesome People Hanging Out Together)


Hopefully, This Cake Doesn't Smell Bad on the Outside

I don't think I'd ever heard of a groom's cake until my sister got married.  Sure enough, it's kind of a Southern thing.  I can't remember if there was a groom's cake at my sister's wedding or the rehearsal dinner.  And the whole thing seems kind of unnecessary to me.

But I might warm up to the idea after seeing this:

That, my friends, is a cake of a dead Tauntaun, with Luke Skywalker hanging out of its belly.  The cake was created by a local chef, which is what made it a story for

The only thing that might make this better was if Bill Hader served the cake while doing his impression of a Tauntaun.

Here's more on the cake from The Official Star Wars Blog.


Patrick Swayze at His Best

In honor of Patrick Swayze, who passed away today, it seems fitting to remember one of his best performances. Point Break was good, and I love Road House. (Love it.) But was Swayze ever better than when he was locked in battle with Chris Farley for the last spot with the Chippendales on Saturday Night Live?

Sure, the comedy of Farley gyrating and undulating to Loverboy is hilarious. But what really makes the skit is Swayze selling a guy who didn't realize what he was in for, who knows he can't keep up with what Farley is bringing to the stage. Loverboy's "Working For the Weekend" doesn't hurt either, of course.

(Obviously, the skit also carries a melancholy tone, now that both players are no longer with us.)

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze. May you and Farley can revive this skit in the afterlife.

(This link probably has better video and sound, but it doesn't run the entire skit.)


The Hugh Jackman School of Acting

I saw this comic in the latest issue of New York magazine yesterday, and had to post a clip from it.  It's about Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig starring in a production of A Steady Rain on Broadway.  The two of them play Chicago cops.

How might each of them approach the material?  Well...

You can read the whole comic here, if you don't find your way to a newsstand this week.  And here's a link to the production's official site, if you want to catch some Wolverine and James Bond stage action.

Now if Jackman ever played a Bond villain, we'd really have something...