Schwarzenegger Fights His Way Through Thugs to Pick Up Social Security Check: Recent big-budget action flicks "Non-Stop" and "Three Days to Kill" were the latest example of a trend of aging male actors -- among them Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme -- trying to seem ultra-macho by beating up on stuntmen who practice allowing themselves to be beat up.
"Three Days to Kill" made Kevin Costner, 59 years of age, seem a youthful martial-arts champion. In "Non-Stop," his fourth musclebound-hero role, 62-year-old former actor Liam Neeson practically had superpowers. On "24," 47-year-old Kiefer Sutherland, though shackled, needed mere seconds to overcome four heavily armed guards. On "The Blacklist," 54-year-old James Spader had half a dozen scenes of his character effortlessly slaying several younger, stronger men.
As long as audiences suspend disbelief and buy tickets or watch TV shows, studios are happy. But movies and shows like this seem mainly about flattering the stars' egos by creating an illusion of youthful masculinity. Compare to Clint Eastwood, who played tough-guy roles when young -- then has aged graciously, portraying limited, graying men or directing younger actors.
Next You'll Say the Pope Blogs -- Wait, He Does: How did the world learn Mexican drug lord El Chapo had been apprehended? Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto sent out a tweet. To evade a previous capture attempt, El Chapo ran through a sewer. If only he'd used an air shaft!
This Really Must Be the 21st Century: "Girl Scouts of the USA is presently conducting limited tests to engage girls and consumers in online and mobile Girl Scout Cookie Program experiences. In 2014, two Girl Scout councils -- in Houston, Texas, and Minneapolis, Minnesota -- will offer girls the ability to sell cookies online and from mobile handheld devices."
The Curse Lives: Sports Illustrated put Peyton Manning on the cover, and a short time later the Broncos were crushed in the Super Bowl. Sports Illustrated put Doug McDermott on the cover, and the next day favored Creighton lost the Big East title game. Johnny Manziel was on the cover in the week before the NFL draft and dropped to the 22nd player selected.
The NBA Should Have an Eastern Conference, a Western Conference and a Tanking Conference: Going into the 2013 NBA draft, the Philadelphia 76ers traded Jrue Holiday, their best player, to New Orleans for a 2014 first-round choice and Nerlens Noel, a promising but injured player who could not take the hardwood for a year. The Sixers' plan was to tank the 2013-14 season. In winter 2014 with Philadelphia at 15-40 -- the plan was going well! -- the team traded recent lottery picks Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes for the oft-injured Danny Granger, some backups with expiring contracts, and draft choices. The 76ers' interest in Granger was that he could be gotten rid of: a few days after the trade, Granger was waived, along with one of the backups. In less than a year, the Philadelphia 76ers exchanged three good players for a net of a 2014 first-round choice, lower choices, an injured guy who's never touched the ball in the NBA, cap space and a motley crew attractive solely because it could be offloaded. TMQ maintains the essence of NBA management is getting rid of players. The 76ers are Zen masters!