Friday, December 28, 2007

Movie Reviews: National Treasure and Charlie Wilson's War

Yeah, so it seems this is the time of year where I end up seeing an assload of movies. If I have to see that fucking video for The National Guard by Three Doors Down that they play before the previews one more time, I'm going to hunt down their lead singer and punch him in the balls.

Anyways, I decided to combine two movies into one post since one is utter shit and doesn't really deserve that much space. Which one was shit? You guessed it, the one with Nick Cage. Seriously, has this guy ever met a script he didn't like? As long as you pay him he will appear anything. I deem that the Samuel L. Jackson corollary.

I'll be honest, I enjoyed the first National Treasure movie. It was stupid as hell, but it was a good popcorn flick that injected some tidbits of American history in the fat faces of America. Sadly, this movie was just a dull retread of the first movie with even more implausible action set pieces (plus Nic Cage's hair, seriously that thing on his head is freaky). Even if you mildly enjoyed the first movie, skip this one.

On to the much better popcorn flick: Charlie Wilson's War. I had high hopes for this one , because it makes sense to turn a complicated geopolitical situation into a sex comedy. Fuck, it's the American way. It sounds like it could be a horrid misstep, but everyone really shines in this one. Phillip Seymour Hoffman steals the show as the crude CIA guy. Every time he is on the screen, you just can't help but laugh. If I had a vote, I'd give him the Golden Globe for best supporting actor.

The only thing that was a semi stumble for me on this one was the lack of discussion about the fallout from Charlie's actions. Most people know that the "freedom fighters" we armed during the 80s came back as the Taliban and our bestest buddy Osama later on. The movie gives you a couple scenes to drive this point home (best done in the scene in Afghanistan with Doc Long screaming "Allah Akbar"), but it needed more.

So in the end, what did I learn? Nic Cage is still a toolbag, and I would like to have drinks with Charlie Wilson. I'd say that it was a successful week at the movies.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 Music Retrospective

After a lot of thought (sort of), I figured I should uphold my status as a nerd and actually put down some thoughts on the year in music, since MK did such a fantastic job with the movie review side. First off, usually I care more about tracks, and this year is no exception - to facilitate that, I put together a 'mixtape' of some of my favorite songs (and mixes) from this year. Obviously it isn't exactly complete - how could it be, in 80 minutes? - but it should get things started:

RC's 2007 Mixtape Extravaganza

As far as albums, this year proved a bizarre one, with great albums springing up in odd categories. It would be nearly impossible to go through them all, but the ubiquitous and probably irrelevant Top 10 analysis is what blogs were made for, so pretty much FU.

Honorable Mention: The Hood Internet, (Mixtape No. 1) (which is just unreal - check these guys out here, it's the mash-up given new life as a remix . . . )

10. Okkervil River, The Stage Names
Where Black Sheep Boy traded in rough edges and some degree of inconsistency as endearing for the listener, The Stage Names works a borderline-melodrama into a much smoother, more consistent shape. A fantastic album, with a solid premise that never falls into "hokey" even though it could have at any point.

9. Simian Mobile Disco, Attack Decay Sustain Release
Originally, I found myself surprised this was so low on my list - I would guess that at least three singles off this album ("I Believe", "Hustler" and "Sleep Deprivation") had to be in the top-25 most listened to in my car this year. However, as an album, it falls into the "Electronic Music Trap": it just doesn't flow, the connectivity wains, and it begins to sound like a collection of singles instead of an album. This CD just didn't have the staying power for me - although the raw strength of it keeps it solidly in the top 10.

8. Spoon, Ga ga ga ga ga ga
Putting Spoon on lists like this is old hat - you just sort of pencil them in whenever they release something new, at this point. However, Britt Daniel's ego and songwriting benefited greatly from the inclusion of Jon Brion in production (and on bass), giving Spoon's stripped-down sound a sheen and depth that makes tracks like "The Ghost of You Lingers" work and not flop. Besides this, the album finishes with its two strongest songs ("Black Like Me" and "Finer Feelings"), which earns brownie points in my world.

7. Blitzen Trapper, Wild Mountain Nation
An oddball choice, to be certain - these guys are all over the map, sounding alternately like a retard Grateful Dead ("Wild Mountain Nation") and a '90s alt-rock cover band ("Sci-Fi Kid", which might be the best song released all year) and everything in between . . . but somehow it works.

6. Panda Bear, Person Pitch
My favorite 'review' of this album came from Bradford Cox of Deerhunter, who said that he hated this album when he first listened because it was "too perfect" . . . and it might be. A modern equivalent of all the best Brian Wilson Beach Boys materials, but with a sensibility and scope unlike really anything else released this year. Originally I wrote this off as a 'summer album' (something like The Boy Least Likely To last year), but I'm pleased to say out loud that I was completely wrong. This one just makes you feel better about everything when you listen.

5. MIA, Kala
If there was an award for being the favorite on the car stereo, this would be MIA's second such victory. Not really "rap" in the truest sense, nor "techno" in any reasonable sense, Kala strikes me as the ultimate evolution of the Baltimore Gutter scene fused with modern indie music - a connection that doesn't seem intuitive, but makes perfect sense when performed by a radical revolutionary who can't spell well enough to keep a MySpace blog (or get a visa into the US). "Paper Planes" also reaches the short list for best song of the year - really, it's everything that Kanye's "Stronger" did for modern radio rap, on a smaller scale.

4. Burial, Untrue
Burial makes dubstep for people who have never even heard of dubstep, and the results could not be any better. Whereas last year's self-titled album came off as creepy, rumbling and fresh, Untrue produces better songs and a nearly ghostly vibe. The haunted, echoing, chopped "vocal" samples can be hard to work with if you're not used to this sort of thing, but on the whole, this is an electronic CD that produces an album feeling better than almost any other out there. Dark, moist, dreary music that becomes beautiful in an unexpected fashion.

3. Justice, [Cross]
Likely the party album of the year, Justice makes sounds that should not come out of good speakers and somehow make the whitest white kid indie geek shake his/her ass. Among the static and the harsh tones comes Daft Punk reincarnate, with a sense of melody and proportion that rival the most immense of the French DJ set. Quick tip: the singles get the most attention, but "DVNO" is the track that gives me the biggest thrill when it comes on.

2. Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?
An early-year release that blew the doors off my expectations - while some have considered Of Montreal a sort of novelty act, Hissing Fauna instead became Kevin Barnes's coming-out party. A quick, short move into a freakshow version of the glam-rock that infected mainstream radio, as well as a soul-searing separation from his wife produced an album that pleases the ears beyond previous Of Montreal work, as well as lyrics that produce both wonder and satisfaction to support the tracks. This CD is simply a blast to listen to, and has given me so many great listens over the year that it is amazing this can only rise to #2.

1. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
Then again, the #1 album just blows everything else out of the water. James Murphy, under the LCD Soundsystem moniker, has produced some of the best singles of the past 5-10 years . . . but until now, the concept of "album" has eluded him just as the concept of "cohesive, insightful lyrics" often flew by the wayside. Sound of Silver fixes both problems, producing a series of tracks that jump off the album and gain notice. A beautiful album about growing old, staying cool, finding yourself, rediscovering things like friends and music, and just living, Sound of Silver produced more spins than any other album in my collection in 2007. A worth champion, to say the least, and an album that should appeal to a broad base of music lovers, no matter whether they lean to the rock, electronic, indie or "other" sides of the aisle.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Top Movies of 2007

So I can't give a final list yet since I'm not a critic and can't watch early screenings of a few movies I really want to see. Specifically There Will Be Blood and Charlie Wilson's War. So this is my list that could be updated after I see all the movies I want to see. Without further ado, my list for best movies:

1.) No Country For Old Men:

I'm a huge Coen Brothers nerd, so I was looking forward to this after their semi stumbles (although I didn't think Intolerable Cruelty was as bad as they say, but that is for another day). Plus Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite writers nowadays so I think this was a great choice for them. The result is an amazing thriller that is not only intense but also thoughtful. The whole cast gets it just right and the script has a pitch perfect black comedy streak.

2.) Michael Clayton:

Intelligent, quiet character study/thriller with what I believe is the best villian in recent memory. If Tilda Swindon doesn't win something for that role, it will be a damn shame.

3.) Atonement:

After reading Ian McEwan novel, I had no idea how they were going to film this, but they did a damn fine job. I'm impressed they kept the ending intact seeing as it is pretty devestating, but they handled it well. The 5 minute tracking shot on the french beach is worth the price of admission alone.

4.) Juno:

To tell the truth, after the first five minutes, I was ready to punch this movie in the face. It was getting a little too quirky for me. However, after awhile it eased into the story and was pretty enjoyable. Not to mention that Michael Cera is great in anything. Again, the ending was what sold it to me. They didn't sell out and give it a happy one, and I think everyone involved could take something away with the bittersweet ending. Except Jason Bateman's character, he was just a creepy dick.

5.) Superbad:

I don't care what anyone says, this was the funniest movie of the year. I don't think I laughed harder at anything. The entire almost sex scene with Michael Cera had me in tears. If you can't find that uncomfortable comedy both painful and funny then you are truly dead inside.

Movie Review: I Am Legend

Let me preface this review by saying that I have read the book by Richard Matheson and think it is an excellent little horror story with a very satisfying ending. Of course they had to go and make the movie again, but this time move things to New York and cast Will Smith as Neville. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge Will Smith fan. He has ruined some good ideas (Wild Wild West) and tends to be more annoying in roles than impressive. So entering into this I was a little apprehensive.

Well, if this movie did little else, it at least convinced me that Will Smith can act and can easily hold the screen by himself for an hour or so. Most of the first half of the movie is just Will Smith and his dog. This is the part of the movie that I enjoyed the most. The shots of an abandoned New York were amazing and haunting and Will Smith actually conveys some emotion as a man trying as hard as possible to keep a grip on his sanity. Really, for me the movie ends when (spoiler) his dog Sam dies and he goes after the zombie/vampire/CGI shit monsters.

After that point, where they introduce God and tack on an annoying happy ending, it really is just a sucky summer blockbuster. I thought they might have had something, but of course they had to fuck it up in the end. I knew they couldn't have used the ending of the book (too much of a downer) but the ending they had and the way they tried to explain the title were just piss poor.

Note: Another huge problem I had with this movie is the CGI shit monsters. They looked just awful and not realistic. Did they really have to use CGI? Why not use makeup? CGI does not equal a better movie. They could have done a much better job and spent a lot less.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Today = not good

Today, the Mitchell Report will be released in about 15 minutes. As a baseball fan, it's a terrible day; here are a few people (or groups of people) who stand to be hurt by this:

1) George Mitchell: previous to this, he had a near-sterling reptuation (besides being a lobbyist for Big Tobacco). Now? How many people will look at him as a shill for Major League Baseball and Bud Selig? How can you be a director of a MLB team and be the lead in a process like this? How can you publically accuse players of taking steroids when you have, in some cases, just 2nd hand stories and a near lack of witnesses and proof?

2) Baseball players: this is obvious; from reports, it seems like the release of the report will be the first time many players realize their names are contained in the report. How would you like to wake up one day, turn on the TV, and find out you're being accused of cheating at your job? How about find out you've been accused of abusing certain substances? Becoming an outsider from the game you've played for so many years because you are accused (notice, not proven) of taking steroids, HGH, or other similar substances. Of course Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and others stand to lose their place in history, but what about lesser stars or players?

3) MLB owners and Bud Selig: I'm lumping them together because their fates will be intertwined after the release of this report. When the smoke starts to clear, how are things explained? Where does this really leave MLB? Will the release of names really change things?

4) The fans: unfortunately, this seems to just be the start of a terrible lead-up to spring training. Get ready to see the knocking down of some sports heroes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Guantanamo Bay Case in Supreme Court

Arguments have begun in front of the Supreme Court in the newest batch of appeals by Guantanamo detainees. For me, one of the most intriguing aspects of this specific case is the matchup of opposing counsel, pitting the current Solicitor General (Paul Clement for the US) against a past Solicitor General (Seth Waxman, who was SG under Clinton and is now a partner at WilmerHale). Kennedy looks to be the crucial vote in this case (but then again, what else is new), and it will be very interesting to see how the Court comes out on this.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Podge Belgian Imperial Stout - Two Thumbs Up

So I'm a bit of a beer nerd; my wife went into Boston yesterday, and I had asked her to pick up a few bottles of Rogue, Chimay, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, and others that you generally can't get around my house. One of her friends suggested Podge Belgian Imperial Stout; upon trying it last night, I found a new beer to add to my list of favorites.

It came in a single, 11.2 ounce bottle, with an alcohol content of 10.5%. The first thing I noticed was a light smell of chocolate. I was prepared for a taste much like the chocolate stouts I have tried previously, but here the chocolate taste was more subtle, with an unexpected kick of carbonation. The sugar used added to the sweetness and the finish, but I did not find it overpowering by any means.

I have to admit, the carbonation took a couple of sips to get used to, but that did not take away from any of the enjoyment. If you're not used to strong brews, this may not be a good first beer to try, but experienced beer drinkers should pick up a bottle.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nats 1, Mets 0

The Mets traded Lastings Milledge today to the Nationals in exchange for catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church. Yes, you read correctly; the Mets traded a 22 year old, high-ceiling outfield prospect for one of the worst regulars in baseball (Schneider) and a good #4 or #5 outfielder (Church).

Whether you want to believe it was because of some perceived attitude problem, or Schneider's exaggerated defensive reputation, or some infatuation with Church, the Mets made an awful trade.

However, in the grand scheme of things, it was not the worst choice on earth; in fact, I thought of a few worse potential choices:

1) Hiring Michael Vick as your dog-sitter
2) Mentioning "Billy Beane" or "Moneyball" in front of Joe Morgan.
3) Challenging Bartolo Colon to a pie-eating contest.
4) Trying to get Brett Hull to talk about something besides, well, Brett Hull.
5) Playing "Guitar Hero" with Joel Zumaya.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NL MVP Voting

I'm about sick of complaining about the voting tendencies of the baseball writers. This year, they got it for the most part right (A-Rod, Sabathia, Pedroia and Peavy). Even with the first one they got wrong, an argument could be made that Braun was a better choice than Tulo (although I'd go with Tulo because of his sick defense). The Gold Gloves are, well, a joke, so I won't even go there.

However, votes like today's NL MVP totals still bug the heck out of me. That Pujols and Wright finished so low is inexcusable. Congrats again to the writers for getting it wrong.

*Start slow clap*

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Indictment of Barry

In case you hadn't heard, or just slept through yesterday, Barry Bonds was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. It was the moment everyone was waiting for, even if it occurred later than expected. ESPN has actually had some decent coverage on this; Roger Cossack discussed the indictment on ESPN Radio last night, and Lester Munson has a piece on, which includes thoughts as to why the indictment took this long (the removal of the US Attorney from the start of the case, changes in the Justice Department, etc.). Although it seems unlikely Bonds would serve any long jail sentence, what with a clean criminal record up to this point, those who wanted their pound of flesh are about to get it.

I put myself in the Peter Gammons camp in reaction to this; it's a sad day for baseball. As a baseball fan, one of the main reasons you follow the game is the chance to see the next great player accomplish the next great thing. You watch the hitting streak to see if it reaches 56 games. You watch the perfect game going into the 9th to see if the pitcher can finish it.

Barry, for all his unpopularity, was putting up some amazing numbers; even with less playing time last year, he was one of the top handful of hitters in the game. He had broken the home run record, could have gotten 3000 hits this year (although that milestone is a bit overrated), and could have pushed the home record even further. Even before the allegations of steroid abuse, he was one of the top 2-3 players in baseball, a great hitter who was also a standout defensive left fielder.

Bonds was greatness, in a baseball sense, and now it looks like that could be over. While the man may be difficult to embrace, his contributions to the game are easy to see, and it's sad to think about what could have been.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Random thoughts

So it's been a crazy past couple of months; between my job, 4 classes at law school, and working on one of the journals at the school. As a result, my blogging duties have slacked completely. Since it's been a while, here are some random thoughts:

- So Joe Torre ended his tenure as Yankees manager by rejecting a (cough "lowball") offer for 1 year, $5 million. He ends a 12 year period where the team made the playoffs every year, one 4 World Series titles, went to 2 more Series on top of that, and was the face of the team. He ends all this to go to the Dodgers; people with a sense of baseball and Yankees history will find it funny that he left for the team that was, for much of the 50's through the 80's, the team's National League rival. From a nostalgia standpoint, it's sad to see Torre go, but I'm more concerned about the choice of Girardi as manager. For a team putting so much stock in its young pitchers, you'd think they'd at least look at the way the Marlins pitchers broke down last season after a year under Girardi. Also, when someone leaves a job, and NO ONE has anything good to say on the way out, shouldn't that tell you something?

- If I were the Yankees, I would have offered A-Rod the $300 million. I don't think it's even a tough decision to re-sign the best player in baseball, especially when you're about to move into a new stadium.

- UConn football lost last weekend, starting the worst weekend of football in recent memory (ended by the Giants loss at the hands of the Cowboys). Still though it's incredible to me that the Huskies have stuck around in the Top 25 for this long, and that they are in line for their second bowl game in a handful of years. I remember vaguely Cliff Robinson playing for UConn basketball in the mid-late 80's, and I was 9 when UConn made its first trip to the Elite 8, losing a close game to Duke. It was very cool to be a fan of the men's basketball program as it rose to prominence, and it would be just as cool to be a fan of the football program as it tries to do the same thing. Obviously, the Big East will never be the SEC, the ACC, or any of the big football conferences, but it's still fun to have major college football in Connecticut.

- Read Basketball Prospectus; it's brought to you by the same guys as Baseball Prospectus. If you read and like John Hollinger's stuff on, it will be right up your alley.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What an odd night

So the Yankees have finally succumb to the obviously superior Indians. Although I will say that having Borowski as your closer has to make you want to vomit every five minutes. Jesus, that was scary at the end last night and I am not even an Indians fan.

I did enjoy what was possibly A-Rod's last at bat as a Yankee and he did what everyone accuses him of: hitting an ultimately useless home run. Good for you Alex, good for you.

Thankfully, we don't have to be bombarded with FOX shitting themselves over a Red Sox/Yankees ALCS. Personally, I don't think I could take that again. 2004 was just about enough for me.

Meanwhile, in football world the Buffalo Bills had their first MNF showing in 13 years and boy was it something. Our defense actually showed up and basically personally assraped Tony Romo. Thanks to what I think was inept coaching (really? Trent Edwards throwing on third down when you are up by 11? Just run the fucking ball!) we of course lost the game due to a 53 yard field goal. Like there was any ever doubt the Bills would blow it.

First off: Fuck Dick Jauron. Fuck him in the ear. He sucks and looks like death. Take your Yale degree and go coach pee wee football. That is about what you are worth. Second: If I ever have to see Jerry Jones jumping up and down in Ralph Wilson Stadium again, I might jump out a window. Third: Tony Romo is a dick. Seriously, his post game comment about "great qbs" overcoming adversity was utter crap. Stop listening to ESPN slurp on your balls. You aren't that good.

Monday, October 1, 2007

JD Drew did not rape your mother

Among other bad things, JD Drew does not get as dirty as some fuckfaced retards (COUGH COUGH) would enjoy - he also takes a lot of pitches, almost never swears on the field, practices wikka, has never (to my knowledge) railed a stripper or dragged Jacoby Ellsbury's drunken ass off a bar stool at Fanuiel, and went home to be with his 18-mo.-old son instead of getting wasted on the mound with a naked Papelbon last week.

He did not, however, rape your mother, nor did he rape the Red Sox out of $14 million.

After the dust settled, JD Drew finished with a season-long composite of .270/.373/.423 (for a .796 OPS) - this is not exactly worth $14 million on the whole, but this compares similarly with such stalwart players as Jermaine Dye (who some idiots wanted to replace Drew at the trading deadline), Miguel Tejada and Michael Young. By most measurements Drew played decent defense (with the exception of Zone Rating, which is always f-ed for Fenway's bizarre RF) to offset the positional issues. He was worth about 4.6 wins according to WARP3, and was certainly a positive contributor for the Sox this season.

More striking, Drew has amped it up in September, to the tune of
.342/.454/.618 (OPS of 1.072). In the second half, he went .286/.379/.462 (OPS .841), which includes a brutal month of July. If you take away his May and July bed-poopings, he played four months of .900+ OPS baseball - Manny Ramirez has an OPS of just about .900 exactly this season. When you look at that division banner and think about the Yankees' inevitable run this month, you have JD Drew to thank for helping fend off the Scourge's Surge.

With the usual adjustment to the AL, as well as the severe personal issues Drew has gone through, this season and his hot streak heading toward the playoffs should be viewed as a massive positive - booing this man should result in a punch in the anus, when Certified Hard Workers (r) like Trot Nixon struggle to sub-.700 OPS numbers in a platoon role.

So the next time Simmons makes a cheap crack about Drew wilting in a prime role or taking a called third strike think about this:

Drew's OPS for the year: .796
RISP: .784 (league: .780/RS: .829)
RISP/2 out: .831 (league: .753/RS: .792)
Tie game: .863 (league: .764/RS: .825)
Close/late: .763 (league: .723/RS: .745)
Plus, Drew is third on the team in WPA for hitters - if you don't know what that is, bitch you better ask somebody . . .

Then, after properly smart-ifying yourself, inform them kindly that they should a.) eat uncooked pork and get trichinosis and/or b.) stop being the Massholiest of all Massholes, and embrace a guy who has worked hard and fought through 2 very tough months to be a productive player who may wind up the centerpiece of the Sox playoff run. If nothing else, his September indicates he could be the middle-of-the-order fixture the Sox wanted him to be for years to come.

JD Drew is not a problem on the 2007 Red Sox. Should the Sox get some breaks, I fully expect to see Drew on the mound, dancing with Paps and looking like these guys:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Five New Shows That Might Not Suck

Amazingly, TV in the past few years has been more consistent and entertaining than a good number of the movies released (Daddy Day Camp anyone?). So with the upcoming fall season, there are a decent number of shows that I will give a chance before flipping over to midget porn. Below are five that I am most looking forward to:

1.) Reaper (CW, Tuesdays at 9pm): Parents sell a kids soul to the devil and on his 21st birthday the devil comes to force him to work collecting escaped souls from hell. Uh ok.

Why it might not suck: The mix of the supernatural and the comedic always intrigues me. Few shows shoot for it straight on. The only one that I can think of was "Dead Like Me", but that tried too hard to be like "Six Feet Under". Plus the devil is always a hoot.

Why it might suck: Same reason. Comedy/Supernatural in a sitcom on the CW? I just made that face you make when you just finished a burrito from Chipotle and realize you are about to shit your pants.

2.) Pushing Daisies (ABC, Wednesdays at 8pm): Piemaker (what the fuck?) can bring people back to life with a single touch, and a second touch sends them back to a dirt nap.

Why it might not suck: Well it is by the "Dead Like Me" dude, and I was probably the only person to ever watch that show and enjoy it (I want to fuck the main character, I still can't figure out if she is hot or not). It seems pretty quirky and whimsical from the previews, which could be a plus.

Why it might suck: Did you read the plot synopsis? Quirky and whimsical doesn't usually go well in the flyover states. Most of them will just get hungry for pie and stumble into the kitchen to stuff their faces without watching the show.

3.) Bionic Woman (NBC, Wednesdays at 9pm): Remake of the 70s show that I'm not sure if that was a spinoff or ripoff of The Million Dollar Man.

Why it might not suck: Serial shows about people with superpowers are the new black. Heroes was amazingly awesome, and if this is half as good it might make it past the first season.

Why it might suck: The actress who plays the main character seems to be extremely terrible. I saw a preview and she had the personality of a drugged up Paris Hilton. So, that could cause it to be laughably bad.

4.) Dirty Sexy Money (ABC, Wednesdays at 10pm): Soapy show about rich people with too much money. I hope someone accidentally kills a hooker or two. That's always fun.

Why it might not suck: Peter Krause is pretty awesome, as is Donald Sutherland. Plus, anytime the preview includes a character using "you are all poor" as a retort gets a thumbs up in my book.

Why it might suck: Soapy shows get out of hand quickly. Just ask David E. Kelley.

5.) Chuck (NBC, Mondays at 8pm): Computer nerd has government secrets downloaded into his head (no it isn't Keanu Reeves) and helps sexy agent fight terrorism. Whoa.

Why it might not suck: The guy who did the O.C. did this show. Now, I didn't watch the O.C. (I swear!) but everyone else our age in America pissed their pants over the show. So I guess it might be good. The chick is really hot and geeks are in nowadays.

Why it might suck: The guy who did the O.C. did this show. 'Nuff said.

So with that list in place, I can now lie on my couch with my hand down my pants, prepared to declare what sucks and what doesn't.

If you watch this you will go to hell

I like to consider myself fairly handicap friendly. I volunteered at the Special Olympics and heard a stirring Karaoke rendition of "Feel Like Making Love". This little nugget would make Cartman blush. If you haven't seen Boys on Wheels, it is not for the faint of heart. The first time I watched, I thought I was watching some new Kids in the Hall sketch. Is that Scott Thompson mumble-singing? Is that Paul Bellini playing keyboards? What are those funny noises coming out their mouths?
I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Obviously they are in on the joke. They are getting paid to exploit their handicap. I know this could never happen in the U.S. and that's too bad. Just like Timmy and the Lords' of the Underworld, they are making people deal with something that most of us would prefer to look the other way at. I don't know if this group has much of a future but hopefully they will be coming to a bar near you soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Observations made at Yankee Stadium

So yesterday I was back at the buzzsaw that is Yankee Stadium with three Yankee fans in tow. Scary huh? Yes, very scary.

Some thoughts:

1.) There weren't as many Red Sox fans as last time I was there. I was kind of surprised, I thought more would come out of the woodwork to do a little gentle ribbing of Yankee fans.

2.) There were a ton more of those "26-6" shirts. Yes, I am well aware that the Yankees won 26 World Series and the Red Sox have only won 6. Insecure much?

3.) Most fans in the upper deck seemed more intent on watching a fucking squirrel on top of the foul pole. I swear they were cheering louder for the squirrel than anything else. The morons in front of me literally had a 20 minute conversation about the decision making process of the squirrel and when it would come down. I swear to God. I was quietly hoping it would jump to it's death.

Seriously, the fans didn't really seem into the game. As noted by the guy next to me, "I can't even get a Boston Sucks chant going". Geez, what is the world coming to nowadays?

4.) J.D. Drew hates the following things: America, freedom, puppy dogs, swinging the bat, etc.

Seriously, I hope he dies in a fire. He sucks so bad that he made Manny make that error. (Note: Not really, Manny was also distracted by the squirrel. After the game he chased it around the field for two hours.)

5.) After Johnny Damon hit his home run, one of the moron fans in the row in front of me turned and actually said:

"He used to play for you!"

Wow. Did he think I didn't know? Was I supposed to be surprised? Seriously, that is the best you can come up with? With cutting wit like that he can probably work for YES. I'm pretty sure that is more intelligent than anything Michael Kay has said in at least two years.

6.) Another gem from the fans in front of me, who I started to suspect might be mentally retarded:

After Dice-K gave up a run in the first: "I'm glad we didn't pay him all that money. Geez, what a waste."

The utter stupidity of that statement almost made blood shoot of my nose. Actually Kei Igawa stopped selling peanuts and smacked him in the back of the head. I think that guy should work for the Yankee front office. Actually I would give him a letter of recommendation.

7.) Joba is a stupid name. Where in the fuck are parents coming up with these names? I'd rather abort my child than have my wife name it Joba.

So that was my adventure at Yankee Stadium. As always, the fans showed class and intelligence. To quote Rodney Dangerfield, "Lovely boy -- Now I know why tigers eat their young."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Understanding in a FFL trainwreck

OK - the dust has settled, and I'm finally able to discuss the hot mess that was my first Fantasy Football draft of the year. I'm also going to attempt to post more here, and this is as good a start as any . . . it's that time of year, to make money off retards (aka "friends").

The squad (obviously "Bad Newz Kennels") shaped up as such, starting with the #5 overall pick in a 12-team money league with only about 2 real decent players and basically standard scoring with a slight emphasis on TD passes (QB yardage could also be huge, but tough to exploit):

1. (5) Joseph Addai RB
2. (20) Maurice Jones-Drew RB
3. (29) Chad Johnson WR
4. (44) Lee Evans WR
5. (53) Donald Driver WR
6. (68) Philip Rivers QB
7. (77) Chris Cooley TE
8. (92) LenDale White RB
9. (101) Vernand Morency RB
10. (116) D.J. Hackett WR
11. (125) Donte' Stallworth WR
12. (140) Alge Crumpler TE
13. (149) Stephen Gostkowski K
14. (164) Byron Leftwich QB
15. (173) Oakland DEF

Note that at #5 I had the choice of Gore or Addai - although Pro Football Prospectus's KUBIAK ratings have Gore #1 overall (Addai is still top-5), I couldn't pull the trigger, instead choosing the (relatively) steady production that has followed Colts skill players over the last few years. This pick may come back to haunt me.

The lap back essentially made me choose between Jones-Drew and Chad Johnson, which really wasn't difficult considering the league includes scores for special teams TDs to the actual player, and plus I got Ocho Cinco on the way back anyway (because I play with tards - +EV uber alles).

My plan this season in FFL is to go for low-risk players at the top of the draft for RB/WR, then try to take a flier on a QB - the hope was that either McNabb or Vince Young's stupid ass would fall to me in the 5th, which may be slightly greedy, but I know pretty much exactly what I'll get out of Rivers every week so I'm not quite punching myself in the sack (yet).

Also, I want high-variance, high-reward backups as filler - guys like Morency and White are probably only playable against the very worst defenses, but luckily I have a fantastic subscription to to fill me in on when this will happen (COLTS), i.e. the Ron Dayne Corollary.

Hackett and Stallworth are veritable shots in the dark, as I'm not 100% sold on Driver in the WR/RB hole - hopefully one gets hot and I can ship ship mcgipp for a RB in that slot. Matchups are really weak at WR (unless, you know, Champ Bailey), so I've kind of hamstrung myself there, but obviously it will be super easy to cut any of those schmoes for the flavor of the week.

In this league I also made a stark error by not playing for an earlier defense - BAL and CHI outscored all but about 10 players last season by the scoring system we're using, and while neither will repeat that, I should have done a little more homework. Oakland's D should benefit from a craptacular schedule, though, and could be a solid sleeper here. Alternately, I'll just play the "whoever plays the Texans/Browns" game at DEF and should wind up OK.

Many of the ESPN "sleepers" were getting ripped really early - I would read everything on and pay attention, and devalue your own expectations to match. A guy like Lee Evans is somehow undervalued, while (non-rapist) Chris Henry went in the 7th and Vincent Jackson in the 8th.

Monday, August 20, 2007

RIP Phil Rizzuto

Phil Rizzuto recently passed away at the age of 89, and since his death there have been thousands of words written about his importance to the Yankees, both as a player and later as a broadcaster. This post probably will not break any new ground, but instead be a rememberance from my childhood and early years as a Yankees fan.

When I think about my first experiences watching Yankees games, the first thing I think of is Rizzuto's voice as he called the games. Scooter, Tom Seaver, Bill White and Frank Messer called the games and were, in my opinion, the best announcing team the Yankees have compiled in my time as a fan. Rizzuto was the ultimate homer; he had played for the team during the glory days of the 40's and 50's, and did nothing to hide the fact that he was rooting for the Yanks to win every game. It was through his announcing that I learned about the team, to root for Mattingly, Winfield, Randolph, Tommy John, and later, Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter. His exclamations of "Holy Cow!" and "Can you believe it?!" were hardly original, but didn't sound the same to us Yankees fans if they were coming from anyone else (Cubs fans and others, feel free to disagree). He'd talk about local restaurants, where to find the best cannolis, his beloved wife Cora, and his need to leave during the 7th inning to beat the traffic (or sometimes, the thunder and lightning storms he so feared).

Mostly, though, he'd talk about his love of the Yankees. His stories, combined with my dad's rememberances from his childhood, set the basis for my interest in the team's history, about guys like Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, but also players largely forgotten by history, like Tony Kubek, Gene Woodling, and Joe Page. His presence connected the present day Yankees to the classic teams, especially important during the near-misses of the late 80's and lean years of the early 90's. During that time, when such luminaries as Andy Hawkins took the mound, all the Yankees had was their history.

Somehow, Yankees games weren't the same once he retired, and now, the Yankees won't be the same because he is gone. Rest in peace Scooter, and thanks for helping make me a lifelong Yankees fan.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Should I start watching Soccer?

The question popped into my head today. At first I was horrified and thought that perhaps I have some terrible brain disease that will slowly turn me into Hugh Grant only more gay. Then I thought some more, and realized that everyone outside this country is madly insane about this "sport". Is there something to it? I watched the World Cup, and it was sorta exciting. I mean I fell alseep during most of the matches, but I do the same thing on Sunday's during football season (unless the Bills are on, then I curse and throw things).

Since the EPL just kicked off their season, maybe I should check it out. I need to choose a team though. I know that Bill Simmons did his whole, "vote on which team he should root for" and we all know he probably hasn't watched a match since. Plus, no one reads this I doubt anyone has an opinion. I need someone to point me in the right direction.

I started by reading David Hirsey's closer on Deadspin today, and I was happy I could sorta understand what he was talking about. I need to find some season previews and perhaps start watching the EPL channel on Time Warner.

My only rules for myself are that I can't root for Arsenal, Man U, or Chelsea. We all know that is like rooting for the Yankees or Lakers while you have no connection to either team besides the fact that they win and rape white women (or men in A-Rod's case). My boss does that, and I doubt his manhood.

So that leaves:

This might be difficult.

Oh noes! Blog Neglect

So yeah, seems like no one has been updating this lately. I am going to try really hard to do a better job at least updating it with something once a day, even though no one reads it, nor should they.

Here is what you missed if you live under a rock like that guy in the sprint commerical:

1.) A giant headed monster who hates you broke the homerun record. I was sleeping when it happened, then when I saw the highlights on ESPN and I was just happy that Pedro Gomez could see his family again. Not really, I actually hope Pedro kills himself.

2.) The Yankees are creeping closer to the Red Sox. At the moment, four games out. We picked up Eric Gange and he promptly shit the bed and the bed next to him. I'll be over here banging my head against the wall. Feel free to join.

3.) Michael Vick continues to be fucked. Proper fucked, as he is suspended the entire year.

4.) I went home to Arizona to visit the folks. My dad has his first drink at noon. Good for him, I want to retire.

5.) I saw The Ten and Bourne Ultimatum. Matt Damon rocks some shit, and somewhere Ben Affleck masturbates while crying to an old copy of the Good Will Hunting screenplay. The Ten has flashes of brilliance followed by sheer oddness that aren't that funny. Note: Don't let anyone tell you that the prison rape sketch isn't funny. They are lying, prison rape is always hilarious.
6.) Mitt Romney is gaining steam and apparently Hil-Rod is as well. Both frighten me on some level. Sorta like those face grabbers in Aliens. I'm pretty sure Mitt Romney has some secret plan to attach to my face a lay Mormon eggs in my chest, then on election day it will explode from chest and vote republican. The horror.

More to come.....

Monday, July 30, 2007

Celtics trade

Garnett to the Celtics in a deal including Al Jefferson? Danny Ainge, say it ain't so.,

Edited to add: Ok, Bill Simmons brought up a good point, that the Celts basically were able to wait out a higher price, in that they reportedly offered Jefferson and the #5 pick earlier this summer, and were turned down at the time. I'm still a bit skeptical on how the team will do with no other supporting cast, but it should be interesting at the very least.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Worst Week in Sports Ever?

It really seems like this past week was a pretty shitty one for professional sports. Let's recap:

1.) Michael "Ookie" Vick gets indicted on dog fighting charges. Seriously, the details in the case are horrific. Electrocution? Beating deaths? Drownings? I mean, I was never a Michael Vick fan, but this guy really seems like a monster. How can he ever play a game for the Faclons or for any NFL team again? The only hilarious thing about this whole mess is that the Faclons totally fucked themselves by trading away the Schwab. I bet Petrino is really excited to have taken this job. Jesus, almost like choosing to be a postman in the Ninth Ward in July 2005. Too soon?

2.) The NBA gambling scandal. Tim Donaghy can eat a bag of dicks. I haven't been a fan of the NBA in a long time, but I still follow the Suns from time to time. To think that it is possible that Donaghy had a bias in the Spurs/Suns series (and really if you watched, how could you not think that?) really just kills any interest I had left in the NBA. I really feel like a good number of casual fans will probably never take the NBA seriously again. Really, Stern better be scared. This very possibly could be the beginning of the end.

3.) Barry Bonds still on the verge of breaking the home run record. Yeah, he still sucks. Can't he hurry and break it so that ESPN can stop having a season long orgasm over this? Thanks.

4.) Tour De France. Not that this really counts as a sport, but apparently everyone keeps getting caught doping and they are blowing up pieces of the course with small bombs. Nice going France. You can't even handle a non sport properly. Kill selves.

5.) NASCAR. This should be on every list of why sports are going down the drain. IT IS CARS GOING IN A FUCKING CIRCLE. Doesn't anyone notice this? Why in this country are there millions of jacktards willing to sit and watch cars GO IN A CIRCLE? Are we that stupid? Wait, don't answer that.

So, yeah. Hopefully something good happens next week. Probably not.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stay Dan Patrick...or at least take Cowherd with you...

Dan Patrick is leaving ESPN, as I'm sure everyone has heard by this point. ESPN personalities have received quite a bit of criticism over the years, a lot of it deserved, but Patrick has been great for a number of years. As I've said before on this blog, I grew up in Bristol, so I was surrounded by ESPN for most of my life, and I was lucky enough to cover them for the local paper for a handful of stories. I was able to speak with a number of the big personalities over there for interviews; some were extremely friendly (Karl Ravech, Rob Dibble, Rich Eisen, Charley Steiner, Berman) and some were not (Olbermann, Stuart Scott). Patrick goes squarely into the nice category, as he took a half hour after a press conference to speak with me about sports journalism, the life of a SportsCenter anchor, and all the responsibilities and commitments that go with it. Two years later, I talked to him for another story, and he remembered speaking with me, asking me where I was going to college, and giving me encouragement to continue pursuing a journalism career.

Throughout the years, while other ESPN personalities seemed to sacrifice their journalistic integrity and bleed more onto the entertainment side, Patrick kept a measure of integrity, both on TV and on radio. He was one of the few who seemed to understand how to blend in the entertainment element without losing sight of ESPN being a sports network. I don't think any of the other big-time ESPN personalities (save for Peter Gammons) would have been able to pull off the interview with David Stern after the Phoenix-San Antonio "Steve Nash body-check" game. Patrick didn't back down, and was able to ask some tough questions, questions that are all-too-rare from the biggest of the ESPN personalities these days.

ESPN will be worse off without Patrick, and hopefully he finds success in his next opportunity.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Lost in the hullabaloo over the pirating of the final installment of the Harry Potter saga is the fans reaction. Most of the negative comments I have been reading are from the publisher about how much money this is costing them. Due to their medium (paper) and length, books don't translate as easily to the digital world as music does. But if a book should come around that everyone positively must have, don't be surprised if some loser takes the time and risk to steal a book and photograph every single page. Just like sex addicts, the extreme fans of the book won't care where they can get it, just that they get it. I will still read the book in print form but I will most likely read the chapter summaries on wikipedia beforehand.
As a bonus, the fan fiction for Harry Potter will begin shortly after this last book drops. Depending on who dies, (my pick is Ron and Hagrid, the least photogenic of the main characters), this could lead to a whole new world of fun. The trekkies have been creating episodes of their beloved Star Trek for years and what better way for a budding young writer to get started than to write a short story about Hermione being raped by the mystic pygimies of Malfortunin and Ron having to avenge this injustice with his raging rod of red fury. Some titles to throw around are Neville Longbottom and the Water Closet of Fortune, Luna Lovegood and the Flail of Fertitility, and of course Ron Weasley and the Curse of the Hairy Palm.

Just wrong search of the day: Alex Mack Nude

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Movie Review: Transformers

Holy fucking shit, that movie sucked.

I mean, I was actually stupider for having watched that. This is coming from a guy who has watched National Lampoon's Dorm Daze all the way through (I have serious problems). What I can't believe is that this movie got decent reviews. Is everyone on crack? Or did Hasbro pay critics off with toys to give this steaming pile a good review?

I'd give a plot synopsis, but nothing really happens in this movie that makes a lick of sense. John Turturro (who blackmailed him to be in this turd?) gets doused in some sort of fluid from a transformers crotch. Yes, you heard me right. I think the plot might have involved some sort of cube that creates life in inanimate objects. Or something. I was too busy laughing hysterically whenever Optimus Prime spoke. Since this is a Michael Bay movie, I was hoping he would tell Shia he would "take pleasure in gutting you, boy". Sadly it was not to be.

The only saving graces of this movie is the animated performance of Shia Lebouf and the ridiculous hotness of Megan Fox. I'd probably watch this movie again if I could just splice all of Megan Fox's scenes together and play the soundtrack from the original animated movie in the background.

So, don't watch this movie. Just play with your Transformers in your mother's basement you freaking loser.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Automatic TP Dispenser

Be prepared to see the world of tommorrow, today in your public bathroom stall!

The next step in the automatization of the world is upon us. No longer happy with just automatic sliding doors, Segways, and day-time running lights, the inventors of today have developed an automatic toilet paper dispenser. Contrary to other inventions that usually associate laziness with pollution, this new development should actually make the Earth healthier. According to inventor Richard Thorne, Americans use twice as much toilet paper as Europeans. This is fascinating. Now I know that not only does European shit not stink, they also make less of it. It also saves money.

When I first saw this article I was intrigued by the possibilities. Could this machine measure the mass, firmness, and consistency of the feces and automatically discharge the right amount of tp for the job? Unfortunately, Mr. Thorne did not invent that kind of magical device. Apparently 5 sheets of toilet paper is enough. Most Americans use a full arms length. Considering Americans consume an unhealthy amount of KFC, Big Macs and Hot Pockets, this is not surprising.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Bronx is Burning

I just watched the first episode of "The Bronx is Burning" on ESPN. I waited a day to watch mostly because the Home Run Derby ran longer than Roots. Jesus, did that really need to take 3 hours? To steal from Lewis Black, the Home Run Derby is like candy corn. I always forget I hate it until I make the mistake of partaking in it again. Fuck is it boring.

Anyways, if you don't know I'm not exactly a Yankee fan. I do have a strange fascination with George Steinbrenner. Maybe it is because of he was portrayed on Seinfeld or the fact that I can't believe such an unbelievable asshole hasn't been shot in the face, but I get a kick out of the guy. So I figured I would tune in to see what Oliver Platt (who is awesome in Huff) could do with the role. I'd have to say he does a decent turn as Georgie, even if he kinda reminds me of Baby Huey. Hopefully it gets more insane as it goes on.

All I can say for now is that there are the pieces of a good miniseries in there. The story and the characters are more than you can ask for. I guess the way the shot it just makes it look pretty cheap. I dunno if ESPN decided to spend all their money doing promos for "Who's Now?" (oh fuck you Stuart Scott, fuck you in the eye), but the production values are a bit lacking.

I'm hoping it picks up a little bit in later episodes, especially with Da Jesus as Billy Martin. I guess we have to see and hope that Jason Giambi doesn't show up again as a cab driver.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sabres getting assraped

Today the Sabres lost both of their captains today.

Briere signed with the fucking Flyers for an 8 year 52 million dollar deal and apparently Drury is going to be signing with the Rangers.

Seeing Briere sign with the Flyers is horribly painful. I have a really strong hatred for Philly for numerous reasons. However it isn't as painful as seeing Drury go. As most people know he is my favorite player, not just because he is awesome but he also played for BU last time they won the championship. I guess the good news is that I will get to see him play more since he is coming to NYC, but I really don't think I can bring myself to root for the Rangers in any particular way.

Thus is the dilemma of being a small market team. You can't keep your players with huge contracts because you just don't have the money. The big boys swoop in and sign all your good players to huge contracts. The only thing I can hope for now is that the Flyers are still a ridiculous joke this year. I think they will be. Briere will help, but their problems are vast and he won't solve them all. Meanwhile, the Rangers should be pretty formidable with the addition of Drury.

Well, godspeed Drury and eat a dick Briere. Thus continues the painful life of a Buffalo fan.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Groups I Can't Blast in my Car Without Feeling Shame

Summer. It smells like a strange mix of Coppertone, stinky shoes, and BO. That may just be my car, but to air that sucker out I roll down my windows and cruise the streets in wind blown freshness. When doing this, I need to be careful of what I have in my cd player. I could be getting some glances from fellow drivers or walkers that heard what I was listening to and shaking their heads in shame.

Any chance of me being considered a badass disappears when these groups are on.

Hall and Oates: With vocals so smooth they must be covered in crisco and synths so cheesy they get me constipated, Hall and Oates are the ultimate guilty pleasure. I may get laughed at for digging their sound but their music is so expertly crafted and professional it is almost impossible not to admire.

John Mayer: It may be uncool because I have testicles but I can't resist his earnest lyrics and killer guitar. He may have the voice of a pre-pubescent girl but he writes tunes with good hooks and he has played with Eric Clapton. I still sound like a wimp when I turn "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" up to 11.

Kelly Clarkson: Once again an artist that would be ok for a tween girl to listen too, but not so much for a mid-20's male. Yes, she won American Idol but that was a long time ago. Three albums into her career and she has already fought with record industry fogey Clive Davis. She is a rebel but a safe one. Like Green Day.

Scissor Sisters: The only way to find a gayer act in today's society would be if you saw Leather Daddy Tobias F√ľnke singing "It's Raining Men" at the Gothic Asshole. Totally trashy and freakin' outrageous, I can only listen to this in the privacy of my own home.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Book Review: The Falling Man

I've always been torn on Don Delillo. I know I am supposed to herald him as a genius, bow, and kiss his feet, but I just can't do it. I finally got around to reading White Noise a few years ago, and let me just say, "meh". My main problem with him is the fact that his characters in that book were never fleshed out past what he really wanted them to say. Some of the things that fall out their mouths is just a very flimsy cover for what the author wants to express.

That continued with Falling Man which is Don Delillo's stab at capturing 9/11 on paper. The title comes from the disturbing picture of the unnamed banker plunging to death off the World Trade Center. The book follows a man and his family after he survives the attacks and stumbles back home to his ex wife.

I can't say I didn't enjoy the book. It is quite beautifully written and it kind of all floats out like a dream. Going in I should have just realized this was going to be Don Delillo's 200 page poem/essay about the attacks. The most realized character in the book is actually Mohamed Atta, the supposed ring leader of the terrorists. The interesting parts of the book are about his preparation and horrifying deconstruction of life leading up to the attacks drawn against the main characters deconstruction of life after 9/11. Delillo amazingly and sort of hilariously draws some interesting parallels between fundamentalist Islam and playing poker (yes Rob, you hate freedom).

So, can I recommend it? Yes I guess I can. As long as you realized it isn't really a novel and more just a thesis about the state of America after the start of the "War on Terror".

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Top Five Dugout Characters

So, if anyone reads this blog (probably not), they know I am pretty much convinced that The Dugout is the funniest thing on the web. Turns out a lot of other people feel the same way as the guys at The Dugout have started linking blogs with their top 25 Dugouts. Now, I don't think I could do that, seriously they are all genius in my mind. However I can easily give you the top five Dugout characters.

Now as a warning I have to tell people that on the Dugout most of the ballplayers have wildly exaggerated personalities and there are also a ton of re-occurring non ballplayers. So without further ado:

5.) Zombie Pavano- I love making fun of Pavano, and the fact that the Dugout turned him into a zombie that seems to only harass Melvin Mora, is pure genius. REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

4.) Manny Ramirez- I'm pretty sure this character is pretty close to how Manny actually acts. So Manny is a retarded child who every time he shows up he ends with some variation of "Manny ____ Manny". Probably my favorite running catchphrase joke.

3.) Kyle Farnsworth- Farnsworth is apparently what sparked the idea for The Dugout, so he has to be on this list somewhere. He is portrayed as a giant asshole who hates everyone and has an extremely inflated self worth. So he fits well on the Yankees. He also has some of the greatest lines in Dugout history. He literally destroys anyone who comes up against him, as seen below.

2.) Bill Pecota- A soothsayer and magician who guards over the Royals from evil mostly in the form of David Glass. SILENCE PECOTA SPEAKS.

1.) Jim Thome- There is no way Jim Thome doesn't top this list. Every time he appears, he is pretty much pure hilarity. There are a few Dugouts with him where I have literally laughed so hard I cried. He is basically an overgrown child who has a very odd way of speaking.



Saturday, June 9, 2007

Dear ESPN...

(Before I start, I just want to point out that starting Will Nieves and Miguel Cairo in the same starting line-up is almost going to guarantee a loss. I don't think I'm going out too far on a limb with that one...)

Dear ESPN,

I am a concerned fan. Now, I have been a longtime listener and watcher of ESPN; I grew up in the same town where ESPN started, and I was always proud to watch as the network became more and more powerful. I was there for the launch of ESPNews (literally there, interviewing Derek Jeter, Dan Patrick and others at the launch event), and I wrote a series of stories for the local paper on the network's 20th Anniversary, talking about the impact the network had locally, nationally, and internationally.

However, it seems you have become too big for your britches. Credibility is slipping slowly, and in an era where there are more media reporters and bloggers, any misstep will be quickly noted. There are, however, a few simple things you can do to re-build some of that credibility.

1) Fire Colin Cowherd: Now, I know I'm not the only one saying this, but this college drop-out has gone too far. In the past couple of years, he has plagiarized material, blamed a pro wrestler's death on steroids (with no proof), and called on his listeners to flood a blog, shutting it down. It's not the controversial opinions he espouses that bother fans; Dan Patrick, Mike and Mike, Erik Kuselias, Doug Gottlieb, and any other number of ESPN's hosts have been able to give controversial opinions without violating journalistic integrity. There are a lot of great radio hosts out there; ESPN needs to do the right thing and bring someone else in.

2) Don't be so obvious about your business interests: Ok, so if you want to start airing Arena Football, that's fine. But, don't go for the hard sell so much (immediately inserting it into "Top Plays," having Mike and Mike mentioning it constantly on their show). A little more subtlety would go a long way, especially when you're trying to keep some journalistic integrity.

3) Embrace different sides of sports: I applaud ESPN's decision to bring on Jonah Keri as a baseball contributor, and the additions of people like Will Carroll and John Hollinger show an ESPN that is looking for the cutting edge of sports analysis. Keep it up. While it can be nice to hear from former athletes like John Kruk, Greg Anthony, and Joe Morgan, more and more sports fans are becoming interested in deeper analysis (stastistical analysis especially). Additionally, there are some great bloggers out there with humor and insight, who could possibly help (, ESPN: The Magazine, and in other formats). Don't be scared of looking outside the usual places for talent.

I really want ESPN to continue to succeed, and become even better at meeting the needs of sports fans. There are more of us out there, more educated watchers/listeners/readers who want a sports network on the cutting edge of things. Be that network; be all the ESPN you can be.

Concerned ESPN Fan

Movie Review: Knocked Up

I'll be the first one to admit it, I've never seen "Freaks and Geeks". I'm pretty sure this makes me the worst person to ever live. However, I have seen "40 Year Old Virgin" and I loved it (I wasn't a huge fan of "Undeclared" but that is another post). Judd Apatow is really good at combining a sweet touching story with amazingly hilarious filth.

So you can I see that I was quite excited to see Knocked Up, especially since Seth Rogen is a model jew for all us out there looking to sleep with really hot blond chicks. I have to say that this movie delivers in the same way as "40 Year Old Virgin". It even has the same back and forth with Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd on the whole subject of who is gay. The one thing I do think they improved upon in this movie is the back and forth with the wider group of friends. I really believe they should make a sequel of just Seth Rogen and all of his friends.

Seth Rogen fits pretty well as a leading man, even if he is an unlikely one. On the ladies, I really think that Apatow's wife really outshines Heigl. I mean, the five minute rant in front of the club had me rolling. Don't get me wrong, Heigl does a good job as a serious foil to Rogen, but besides that I wasn't that impressed.

In the end I felt the same way about this as 4o Year, it is hilarious at points, but they definitely could have cut out a half an hour without losing too much. Oh and I did learn to have a spotter if I was going to masturbate with a noose.

P.S. Don't do a google image search for "Knocked Up" with the safety filter off. I'm going to go cry in the corner now. Stupid Interwebs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The summer mix tape (10 years later)

I thought back today that, since I'd just turned 26, it marks the 10-year anniversary of my first driving mixtape . . . clearly the first of dozens that now litter the trunk of my car, desk drawers and various friends' cars. The summer mix is really a right of passage in so many ways (similar to Boone's Farm, waking up outdoors, or pooping in the bar), and as I threw together one more today while waiting for a guy making $500/hr to send me a rough draft (DIE DIE DIE) I thought I should post it - but why just type, when you can share? As I went through the list, I started to realize that each song really made the list for a definite reason, kind of reflecting on summers past and the common garbage we all (used to) do when the weather got warm. It wasn't really that sappy, fuckers, I swear - it's just that obvious.

Phoenix, "Run Run Run"

You have to start with French guys who sound American, ripping off Britpop. Just a great, chill summer-y track, giving a great mix of Beach Boys-esque pop and bizarre, random indie rock lyrical nonsense - perfect opening track, obv.

Sonny Jim, "Keep on Moving"
I've long contended that one of the greatest summer albums ever was the patchwork pastiche of the Avalanches' "Since I Left You" - Sonny Jim updates it here, giving an odd mix of ELO, disco and the Scissor Sisters minus the leather chaps. Feel-good for reals.

P. Diddy, "Tell Me" (Phones remix)
Phones is putting out some great electronica, but none of you care. This song is just a great driving banger - like when you were kids, and you were heading to the party just crazy excited to be out, drinking and having fun. Those days, the anticipation was usually the best part of the party - in the car, rocking some rap, fit about 10 white kids wide into a shitty Buick. Diddy's flow is so shitty in the 'real' version of this song that Phones remixes it in 7/4 time, which makes it SO much better - just feel it, you'll get it even without being all geeky. I'm a nerd, but this is my 'head-nod, laugh in car, prep for a night' track this summer.

Secret Mommy, "Kool Aid River"
Upbeat, bizarre, vocoder'ed - there might be a theme starting with this song. I won't really say. Memories of the water, the pool, golfing, dicking around with no cares - this song brings it right back - and the choppy verses and beat resemble memory in that way, too. Lucky us.

Simian Mobile Disco, "Hustler"
Just like spring breaks, summers usually wind up with anthems. Often, these anthems are shitty techno remixes of Petey Pablo, or Usher tracks that 'get the party moving' when you're one of 10 people in the bar on Wednesday. "Hustler" is like a good version of all those - and the vocals even make you want to sing along a little bit.

Bloc Party, "I Still Remember (SebastiAn remix)"
So this great band puts out a mediocre album with a solid single, about young love. It's about gay boys in England, but resonates with straight boys in America. How do you improve? You send it through SebastiAn, the best producer/DJ on Earth right now - and the chopped-up result is an absolute monster. The song suddenly becomes intense, longing and pressing - everything you remember about those missed chances at house parties in high school, or your co-workers after freshman year, ready to rock the fuck out in the car.

Jack Penate, "Second Minute or Hour"
Oh God - I love it. The sound of lo-fi, upbeat and just happy to be there. How many of those 'great' pseudo-ska tracks from, say, 1997 fit this exact profile, of a happy song about a sad subject, with a sort of hopeful lilt where you know it's just not that big of a deal? Kind of like summer - it's over soon anyway, who the fuck cares?

Ghosthustler, "Parking Lot Nights"
Similar to the SMD track, except geared toward exactly suburban childhood . . . accessible for a techno track (prob b/c it's by American dudes), and more rocking than you'd think, it'll bring you back to sitting at the grocery store lot waiting for everyone else to show up, knowing you're either too cool or not cool enough to be there (but totally unsure of which).

Black Moth Super Rainbow, "Melt Me"
Kind of cheating, because it's explicitly about the summer - but still, Beck has always been the bard of cheap ass beers where I'm from, and these guys are on that same path. Both weird, rocking, melodic and upbeat (and even with some more vocoder to boot), it's total patio music (or putting down the windows at night and getting loud).

Vampire Weekend, "Oxford Comma"
This seems the right spot for it - this track is clearly mandatory. God, it has it all - the best opening line ever ("who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?"), springy beat, and a Lil' Jon namedrop. Perfection.

Matthew Dear, "Pom Pom"
This song is so '80s it bends my mind - in a good way. If you've ever been "rickrolled" but still listened to the entire track, you'll be way up on this shit - it bounces, drops the beat, then leaves you with some thoughts . . . "It's such a tricky thing/can include diamond rings"? Good/bad/nonsense?

LCD Soundsystem, "Someone Great"
The obligatory summer breakup song - whether it was going back to school, going away to school, or just growing apart under the lazy stars, everyone's been there. Well, "Someone Great" just blows everything else away - a transcendent track, but still upbeat enough to make the tape. RESPEK

Menomena, "Muscle 'n Flo"
A song about being in the middle of everything: of life, of problems, of waking up. The piano line and spaghetti-western guitar interludes add to the effect, giving you that post-hangover sense of thought, then the chorus jars you back to "pick up your hustle" and ending hopeful. Nothing reminds me of my shitty summer jobs more.

Monsieur Leroc, "Cooley McCoolsen"
Nothing screams summer nostalgia like a song that is literally about nostalgia, for better and worse. The beat is simply ridiculous, too, leading to really the summer song perfect storm.

Of M0ntreal, "Gronlandic Edit"
Well, I think this is the best song released so far this year, so obv it's in - but it's more than that, even. The cut between the upbeat song and 'acceptance' of Barnes in his plight, leaving an impression of very 'meh' confusion, paranoia, boredom and longing . . . really, like every boring day when you've already watched SportsCenter, no one wants to golf, and "physics makes us all its bitches."

Prodigy, "Mac-10 Handle"
Dirty ass NYC rap from the more talented of the Mobb Deep guys - just listen to the baseline drag, while Prodigy menaces all over the track. This is every night I spent driving with four buddies while the sober girlfriend got pissed at us (but still took us to get food). The best gangster rap I've heard in forever - "Make it Rain" would make the list too, but you already have that, don't you?

Robyn, "Konichiwa Bitches"
A Swedish chick steals a line from Chappelle's seminal Race Draft skit, then makes a sex song and just randomly throws the line in as the title. It's like "My Humps" for smart people, which pretty much means it's the best song on the CD (at least by theme). If you ever listened to the Thong Song in a shitty beach-themed bar, hook this fucker up.

Apples in Stereo, "Same Old Drag"

Saturday, June 2, 2007

From one Yankee fan to the others...

I tend to get a lot of grief as a Yankees fan, so I thought I would explain a little bit how I came to love the team, and how I've stuck with them through everything. Maybe it's the fact that I have writers block while I'm trying to pound out a Moot Court brief, maybe it's the A-Rod signed baseball I got from my Uncle as a get-well gift, or maybe it's the display I just saw against the Red Sox, but here goes...

I have been a Yankees fan for my whole life, since my dad told me about about Don Mattingly, who had recently been named MVP, in 1985. I was looking through a stack of baseball cards my uncle had given me, and was reading the backs, and centered in on Mattingly's numbers. My dad told me what a great player he was, and what a great team the Yankees were, and, well, I was hooked.

I started watching games, and was immediately hooked, even as a kid. When I started watching the Yankees, I immediately noticed Ron Guidry's delivery, started wondering how someone as old as Tommy John could continue pitching, and remember cringing whenever Cecilio Guante entered a game. I remember when Jose Cruz Sr. was supposed to provide the team with an extra bat off the bench, when Rafael Santana was the hope at shortstop. I remember how the team was so close in 87 and 88 to becoming a contender, and how quickly the team fell in 89 and 90. I remember seeing Billy Martin briefly manage the team, and instantly understanding why my dad was such a fan. I remember Dave Righetti coming into the 9th inning, and automatically thinking the game was over. I remember Dave Winfield sending line drives all over the field, and always thinking that, if I stayed up a little longer, the Yankees would win every game and make the playoffs.

I remember hearing about Billy Martin dying in a car crash, and as an 8 year old, feeling extremely sad for someone I never met. I remember the dark days, when Dallas Green, Stump Merrill, and Bucky Dent took over, and the team made its slow slide into oblivion. I remember seeing Donnie Baseball start the quick slide towards retirement, and seeing one of baseball's best fade away. I remember being angry at Kevin Maas that he would replace Donnie Baseball, and then being angry at Kevin Maas when he ended up being a total void on the roster. I remember the last-place season, the number one pick of Brien Taylor, and then Taylor promptly fading away in the minors. I remember Andy Hawkins losing a no-hitter, Chuck Cary trotting out to start games, Lee Gutterman leading the team in victories, Rickey Henderson being traded for nothing, and Roberto Kelly being the next big thing. I remember thinking that the Yankees would never win a World Series, and savoring my father's stories of being in the stands for the 78 Series, believing that it was as close as I would get to a Yankees championship.

Then, I remember the renaissance under Buck Showalter. I remember going to a Yankees game, seeing Don Mattingly hit a home run against the Texas Rangers during the Wild Card season, and yelling so hard that I lost my voice. I remember Jimmy Key coming through in every big game, John Wetteland and his sweat-stained cap, and Mo Rivera as the shut-down set-up man. I remember seeing Donnie Baseball make the only October of his career a memorable one, and I remember feeling profoundly disappointed when Ken Griffey Jr. crossed the plate to end the playoffs, and my sports hero's career.

I remember seeing the Yankees make a complete turnaround from that point, winning World Series and again coming to the top of the baseball mountain. I remember interviewing Derek Jeter for my local paper in high school (I grew up in the same town where ESPN is based), and knowing that he would go on to great things. I remember watching the final games with my dad, celebrating with handshakes, and going to Boston University as the guy who rooted for the team that always won.

Now, the Yankees are fallible again, and it is a disappointment. Today was no exception, and it's frustrating to see a team that cost so much money play so poorly. Will they make the playoffs this year? I have my doubts, and think this will be a tough season (and offseason) for the Yankees.

But, I have hope. I have hope because there is Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Philip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Jose Tabata, Robinson Cano, and any other number of contributors on the major and minor league levels. I have hope because I'm a true Yankees fan, and that will never change, no matter the turmoil.

Friday, June 1, 2007

LeBron James = Awesome

I consider myself a casual NBA fan, in that I enjoy watching the games and following the sport, to a point, but there are very few games that I will go out of my way to watch. I also tend not to get too excited over big performances; I think everyone remembers Tony Delk's 60 point game...

However, what LeBron James did last night was absolutely ridiculous. I have never seen an athlete completely take over a game like he did against the Pistons. For those not familiar, he scored his team's last 25 points, and was hitting absolutely everything. He was sinking fall-away jumpers over Tayshaun Prince throughout the second half, and just completely put the team on his back.

If you have any way of seeing tape of the game, or at least the second half and two overtimes, I recommend you do so. I now understand how people felt watching MJ go for 60+ against the Celtics in the playoffs.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A-Rod likes "she-males"; In other news water is apparently "wet"

Today's Daily News had probably the most beautiful quote I have ever seen in a New York newspaper:

A petite stripper at the Hustler Club said A-Rod "likes the she-male, muscular type. They brought me up to the champagne room one time. I spun around once and that was it. I'm not his type."

This was after pictures were in the Post yesterday of A-Rod leaving a strip club in Toronto with a mystery blond. Supposedly Alex likes the strip clubs but not the feminine ladies. Uh, yeah that's totally normal. I usually go to strip clubs and ask for the stripper with the five o'clock shadow and an adam's apple. *cough* gay *cough*

At this point, there is really no where to go with this. I mean the jokes write themselves. For everyone who hates A-Rod with a passion this just gives them so much more ammunition (personally I am giddy for what The Dugout will do with this). The guy really can never win in New York. No matter what he does the press jumps all over him.

I am surprised that the media ran with this story. I mean, don't most ballplayers cheat on their wives? I just assumed based on Major League, and we all know movies don't lie. I figured that the media just had an understanding with most sports stars to stay away from these stories. Not that I mind, I think everyone should have their dirty laundry aired on the front page of New York Post. If you are famous, don't be a fuck up and do stupid shit. Otherwise, deal. I hope this all leads to more stories about sports stars involved in torrid affairs such as:

- The Manning Brothers caught in bed with each other. Turns out Eli is actually the top.

- Manny and an inanimate carbon rod he thinks is a woman.

- Maria Sharapova dying tragically due to exhaustion after 23 hour sex marathon with me.

- Michael Vick torn apart by rabid highly evolved dogs.

Ok that last one doesn't really work, but I hope to see that story in the paper someday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Kobe asks for trade, Buss asks for breathalyzer, Shaq backs Kobe...what's going on?

So Kobe has asked to be traded; besides the bizarre fact that he announced on the Stephen A. Smith show, it's not all that surprising that the situation has gotten to this point. The Lakers front office has been a mess, and it was only a matter of time before leaks started blaming Kobe for the team's position. So, you have arguably the best player in basketball on the market.

Who makes the deal for him? There has been talk of a deal with Chicago involving Luol Deng and Ben Gordon; they would probably have to involve Ben Wallace to make the money work, and it would be interesting to see if LA threw in anyone else. LA has another big bargaining chip in Andrew Bynum, who a lot of people in the league like; he's young and was playing reasonably well at the beginning of the season.

It should be an interesting summer though, to see how quickly this gets resolved, and whether Kobe is still a Laker when training camp rolls around.