Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I have:

- been sober
- cleaned the house (save for the mess that is my bedroom)
- gone mini-golfing
- stayed up 'til 4 a.m. on the phone
- stayed in on a Friday night
- been working out at least 3 times a week at the gym
- become addicted to text messaging
- been thankful that this summer (usually my favorite season) is nearing a close

Um... who the hell am I???

I guess there's other stuff going on in the world right now. Bombings, conventions, trials, speeches, tennis, etc. But it all feels like one giant din of noise screaming at me through the radio and internet. I'm tired. Tuesdays blow. Send money.


Monday, August 30, 2004

Words defy 

Coming to you from the black eye region of the country--

a case of beer: $12
assumed risk when driving drunk: $1,000 gajillion
arriving home with your friend's decapitated and bloody body dangling out the car window and not losing any sleep over it: fucking drunk

"Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor," police said.
No shit.


Saturday, August 28, 2004

Q. "Where are you from?" A. "Gold medal" 

Argentina, folks. This country hadn't won a gold medal since the 1952 games in Helsinki. Today, they won the two most prolific team events: soccer and basketball. The soccer victory was of little surprise, as this squad seemed the overwhelming favorite to storm to gold from the start. However, Argentina has carried that mantle before. This time, they were finally able to deliver on the pitch. Kudos to silver medalist Paraguay, by the way, for capturing their nation's first medal... ever. Iraq, incidentally, got 4th place, losing the bronze game to Italy.

Gold in the world's most popular sport earlier in the day, the Argentines would take gold in the world's second most popular sport later in the day, beating a surprise Italian team for the gold. The US men managed to unseat forever bronze medalist, Lithuania, as... well... the bronze medalist. It's only the third time ever in a non-boycotted games that the US hasn't won men's basketball gold. Watching the medal ceremony, you could tell that the US players were well aware of their underachievement -- as they should be. But take no credit away from Argentina who looked very good in capturing the prize. This edition of the basketball tournament was perhaps the most tightly contested ever and an indicator that the world has caught up to not only the US, but other emerging basketball nations. The US lost three games for the first time in any tournament. They had previously only lost a total of two in their Olympic history. European champion, Serbia and Montenegro failed to progress out of the preliminary stages. Neither pool group winner -- Spain and Lithuania, both of whom went unbeaten in pool play -- ended up with a medal. And gold medalist Argentina actually lost two games in group play. Yes, I'd say that Olympic basketball has become far more exciting than just watching the Americans steamroll everyone.

So the big news today is Argentina. I'm sure the party in Buenos Aires is ridiculous right now.


Friday, August 27, 2004

The Union... it's coming... 

So this meeting last night at the Writer's Guild (WGA). It may sound petty to gripe about having a fun job in television, but the fact is that not being granted access to the union severely hurts us in terms of pay, health care, screen credit, excessive overtime hours with no compensation, time-off, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on forever. The guy running the meeting works for the WGA and is, by trade, a union organizer. Negotiations between the network/movie execs and the WGA are currently underway and one of the WGA's sticking points is that reality tv writers be covered in the agreement. It's been on the table for years now, but people are really starting to crack. I'm making pennies compared to what I'm entitled and my bosses know it. And the 30+ people who showed at the meeting are going through it, too. Which in a way makes me feel a little better that I'm not the only one trudging through these poor conditions. Some of the stories I heard there... true horrors. Working 40 days straight, 18 hour days (unless you're in production, this is outrageous) So we've got a grass roots movement in the works. There's support in numbers and that's the only way our demands will be met. It's funny, the guy heading the meeting kept drawing all these parallels between us and garment workers. It's sad how accurate those analogies can be, given that we're engineering the biggest craze in the most profitable industry around and only getting a sniff of a sliver of the pie. It is on. It is on like Donkey Kong.

But its cool. They put up a picture in one of the bathrooms and gave us ice cream today for some reason. That'll make it all better... monsters.

By the way, how the hell did I end up in this situation? One second I'm smoking a bowl, the next I'm banging my fist on a board room table arguing about labor negotiations. Oh well... Shit happens and then you become an activist.


Bronze if they're lucky 

Just as quickly as The Bad Dream Team's fortunes turned for the better versus Spain, they sank like a stone against Argentina. Brick city. They couldn't buy a bucket and -- just a tip -- you won't win any games in which you allow your opponent to shoot 54%. The most recent team to down the US, Argentina was also the first to do so when facing a full NBA-laden squad back at the World Championships in 2002.

Manu Ginobili scored 29 points to lead his nation to another victory over the country that used to dominate the sport, an 89-81 win in the Olympic semifinals Friday night.

A lot has changed, hasn't it?

So now, the US is stuck between a rock and a hard place with either Lithuania or Italy to be their opponent in the bronze medal game. Both teams have beaten the US.


An "Ambitious" Experiment 

I don't even know what to make of this. Science is both freaky and incredible. What an amazing world.

Otto: Hey Gunther, how's it hanging?
Gunther: Oh, good, I suppose. Hey! Check out this fucking jaw growing out of my back! Is that bitchin' or what?


The invalidation of a "sport" continues 

This whole Paul Hamm fiasco is just plain ugly.

Ueberroth said the USOC considers the case closed, based on the FIG ruling that the scores cannot be changed. He also cited a statement from International Olympic Committee (news - web sites) president Jacques Rogge, who said the IOC (news - web sites) would stick with the results turned in by the federation and wouldn't step in unless there were clear signs of impropriety.

"We are not going to give medals for so-called humanitarian or emotional reasons," Rogge said.

These words are important to note as they are in flagrant contrast to the following which is absolute bullshit.

In a dispute over scores that has turned into a political squabble, the head of the International Gymnastics Federation suggested in a letter to Hamm that giving the all-around gold medal to South Korea (news - web sites)'s Yang Tae-young "would be recognized as the ultimate demonstration of fair play by the whole world."

This is just stupid.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Awful Truth 

Tonight I'm going to the Writer's Guild after work for a meeting aimed at giving reality story editors and assistants recognition for their work. Suffice it to say, we deserve our due.

This excerpt from a recent interview in a trade magazine:

On reality shows, story editors, whose job is where writers say most of their work is done, make between $1,200 and $3,500 a week. For a writer on a half-hour prime-time network show covered by the guild, the minimum base pay is $3,376 a week, plus big perks if first drafts are used. Such a writer whose story and teleplay are used pulls in a minimum of $19,603. Plus there are the benefits: health care and pensions, which the reality shows do not offer.

"The overwhelming majority of writers on these shows are not guild members -- they're in their mid-twenties to thirties. It's a young genre and young person's genre, and the level of exploitation inflicted on them is real," said Petrie of the WGA. "They're being used."

Did you catch that last sentence? Used. Preach on! How chincy is my company? Put it this way, the minimum earning listed above for a reality show seems like a good chunk of change.



Well looky here. The US shoot 12-22 from 3, lead by a star performance by Stephon Marbury (who has looked dreadful), and all of a sudden US men's hoops is in contention for a medal. So let's see. If you shoot the ball well, you'll cruise in international basketball. Interesting how that works.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

US Soccer's brightest spot 

Nice piece on the core of the US women's national team lead by Mia Hamm. I don't really follow the women's game at all, but the national team has given this country reason to pause, shaping the mold of the female athlete into a legitimacy amongst a new generation of little girls. This gold medal match against Brazil will be their send off. Call them what they are: pioneers. Many will point to World Cup '94, hosted in the US, as the first time soccer was really galvanized in this country. I agree, they'd be right. But while the men's team floundered in the 90s (they've improved dramatically), it was the women who managed to keep the sport in the public's view. Kudos to them. Another gold is almost a sure thing.


Mazel Tov, Wave 

We Jews tend to scrutinize our own and can be very critical of what we determine to be successful. So imagine the release that Gal Fridman must be feeling now that he's captured Israel's first ever Olympic gold medal. Even if it is sailing, good for him. He's done a people proud.


Not-so-friendly Russian skies 

Sad news today of the two Russian jet liners crashing almost simultaneously, leaving no survivors. The FSB is investigating any link to terrorism right now. Word is that it could be a Chechen attack and with the Kremlin-backed politicians poised to win another round of elections preserving the old guard, the thought might be that the Chechens still feel the need to exercise their voice another way. One that counts lives taken rather than votes.


I got to second base with Jill Sobule 

Okay, so I'm not even all that familiar with her music, but this teany, quirky, funny blonde girl definitely put on one of the most entertaining, fun performances I've ever seen live. She's just so much damn fun. It's ridiculous. The show was helped by the fact that the venue was Largo, which is a great little bar/restaurant/club. Very chill.
But The Sobule! Oh man, so good. She'll be back in town (Los Angeles) Sept. 14 for her record release "party." I'm there.

The highlight, or lowlight as it were, was this middle-aged, overweight, obnoxious balding guy who sat about a foot away from where Jill was performing. He was draped in an Hawaiian shirt and shorts that were probably just a bit too short. We'll call the guy, Fatty McFat. Anyway, F McF is a die-hard fan of The Sobule as you could tell by the way he sang along to nearly every song, save for the new ones on her upcoming release. Jill also has a rep for taking several requests from the audience. She did so about four times. Each time, Fatty would yell, "Cinnamon Park." First two times, no biggie. Third time, maybe she'll get to it later. Fourth time, ok shut up. We get it. You want to hear Cinnamon fucking Park.

Finally, in the first of her two encores, The Sobule gets around to "Cinnamon Park" and invites anyone who knows the lyrics to come up on stage and sing with her. Naturally, Fatty goes warp 7 to the stage. As my friend Asa pointed out, the shit-eating grin on his shiny face informed us that this point in time was the happiest moment in McFat's life. Ever. In the history of the universe. So he's singing along with a couple other clowns on stage and then Jill gives him the mic to solo. Nails across a chalkboard, my friends. Not only was he off-key (horribly) but he also flubbed the lyrics. A catastrophe for McFat if ever there was one. Still it deterred neither him nor I from enjoying the hell out of this show.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Gymnastics, you are a farce 

All the controversy surrounding the events at the men's high bar competition last night make it exceedingly difficult to take this sport seriously. Any sport that is determined by judges is automatically at a disadvantage as far as credibility goes. Competition may be fierce, yes, but there is no objective winner. Even in the face of that, the big story of last night isn't that the Alexei Namov got screwed on his score. No, its that the judges folded to pressure from the crowd of all things and changed his score. Never ever ever has a football or basketball referee or a baseball umpire changed a call because the fans were booing. So absurd. So how must it feel to be Paul Hamm. You have achieved your wildest dream while at the same time being unwillingly caught in a scandal that invalidates any credibility your sport has? Craziness. It's just plain stupid. Reminiscent of skate-gate '02, only those judges were on the take. The ones in Athens just seem to be incompetent.

Also, looks like the Iraqi dream for gold is over. Their soccer team will play Italy for the bronze medal. Gold medal match is a South American affair. Argentina (mega-favorite) vs. Paraguay.Good run for the Iraqis.


Courtesy of your friends at Craigslist 

This website, I swear, is endless entertainment filled with only the seediest and oddest entities that LA has to offer. We found our housemate there! Anyway, here is an Olympic-spirited listing that I'm sure everyone can enjoy:

Are you a swimmer for an olympic team? - 26
What are the odds that someone from an Olympic swimming team would be taking a moment right now to read LA's Craigslist?

I'm tired of the standard bling-bling that LA guys have to offer. I want a hairless chest with a few gold medals draped across it. Hell, he could have a silver or bronze medal and it would still beat a Rolex.

My Olympic swimmer would be famous and probably get to go to the Oscars in some Vera Wang designed Speedo.
Damn, that's so hot.

AND, if you really want to boil it down, with all the endorsements coming his way, an Olympic swimmer could be driving some posh SUV with a few TVs in the back for watching his swimming races (and porn.)

So...if you are a swimmer for an Olympic team, could be the US, could be Australia (you don't have to speak English, we can communicate through government sponsored translators,) I want to ride your body like an Olympic equestrian. Let's shave together and really get into water sports!

I will also accept other gold medalling sports such as trampoline (you can jump right on me,) archery (hit me with your best shot,) synchronized diving (make my threesome fantasy a reality,) and handball (smack my ass, oooh you're such a bad minton...)


Songs To Wear Pants To 

For your listening pleasure, I give thee zany hilarity brimming with genius. Some of the songs may be very short or exceedingly bizarre, but it takes a lot of talent to be able to pull any of them off. These requests are insane. I should send one in, myself.


Monday, August 23, 2004

Tikkun Olam 

Nice bit from Steven Spielberg's not-so-recent interview with Katie Couric that I only now, for some reason, just came upon:

Out promoting the 10th anniversary DVD release of "Schindler's List", Steven Spielberg told Katie Couric on the Today show that he didn't take any of the profits from the film.

"It is blood money. Let's call it what it is," he said. "I didn't take a
single dollar from the profits I received from Schindler's List because I
did consider it blood money. When I first decided to make Schindler's List I
said, if this movie makes any profit, it can't go to me or my family, it has
to go out into the world and that's what we try to do here at the Shoah Foundation. We try to teach the facts of the past to prevent another Holocaust in the future."
Spielberg continues, "We have a thing, we say in Hebrew, "tikkun olam," which means, "the world always needs fixing and we as Jews, we as all people, have a responsibility to help fix things when they're broken and I think Schindler's List and the Shoah Foundation does exactly that."

Wonder if Mel Gibson will be taking the phenomenal profits of his "Passion" and doing the same thing. Yeah...


Champions of the Southern Hemisphere 

I'm sure it's obscure to most of you, but I need to take some time to bask in the national pride of my native land winning the Tri-Nations championship for the first time since '98. For those not in the know, this is the biggest tournament in the rugby world behind the World Cup. Nothing more satisfying than beating the Kiwis and the Aussies.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

8 Medals -- 6 Gold 

He did it. Michael Phelps did it. And he didn't even have to swim the last race to earn that final medal. Relay madness!

This mark of eight medals, additionally, is far more impressive than the eight gained by Aleksander Dityatin in 1980 'cause guess what? These games weren't boycotted.


Saturday, August 21, 2004

4 point play 

The late 3-pointer+ foul shot from ex-Maryland Terrapin, Sarunas Jasikevicious, was the turning point in this game, tying the score at 84 and leading the way to Lithuania's (aka: Forever Bronze) 94-90 victoy over USA hoops. As of late, this might not qualify as a story given how disappointing US basketball has been, but this was a very tight game and -- gasp! -- the US played with intensity. They actually had a 9 point lead in the third before crumbling to the impecable shooting of the Lithuanians. That short international three point line does wonders. The Lithaunians couldn't miss from the outside and dominated from the foul line. So even though the US won the turnover battle and the rebound advantage, this difference once again came down to shooting. The US is shooting 16% from three point land in these games. That's by far the worst of all the men and all the women. This loss also marks the first time an American side has ever lost two games at a single Olympics. It was encouraging, though, to see this team play with at least some emotion. They'll surely knock off Angola to reach the quarterfinals, but once there they could end up facing an undefeated Spain who, lead by NBA star Pau Gasol, are playing as well as anyone.


Iraq are in the semis! 

That's right. No doubt spurred by the love of Bush's re-election campaign, the boys from Baghdad knocked off the Aussies in the quarterfinals in soccer. Iraq, (Iraq!) is in contention for A MEDAL. Wow. Just... wow. They'll play the winner of Korea and Paraguay in the semi. Olympic soccer has had its fair share of upsets in recent history. The previous two gold medal champions -- Nigeria in '96 and Cameroon in '00 -- were decided surprise underdogs. But while each of those nations traditionally fields better soccer squads than Iraq, they are proof that anything can happen once you step onto the field. Your history and tradition don't matter once the whistle blows. Yet another reason why I love sports. I still think Argentina are overwhelming favorites for gold, but you never know.


The benevolent one 

He's already the king of these Olympics, but Michael Phelps has shown his generosity by surrendering his place in his final relay to allow Ian Crocker a chance to redeem himself. With only this final race to go, Phelps certainly has those 8 projected medals in the bag -- 6 of which will be gold. Amazing. If not for Crocker's horrid performance in the 200 relay, Phelps would have equalled Mark Spitz's mark of 7 golds in a single games and would've been splashing around in $1 million courtesy of Speedo. Another reason why his decision to let Crocker have his spot in the 400 relay speaks volumes of Phelps' character.


Friday, August 20, 2004

The Olympic Village 

Last night, I saw M. Night Shyamalandofnuhdfgjkdngdjfg's "The Village." Thankfully, it was a free screening. The movie isn't bad so much as it is pointless and frustrating. I'm sure you can all wait to see it later if at all. Seriously, no rush.

Asa and I, however, have created a far superior version of the film. Just to give it some added flavor, we made it topical. But beware, our version contains spoilers. Proceed with caution as we present to you:

The Olympic Village

Bela Karoli: *walks in with Kerri Strug in arms* I not believe her dead. It make wonder why we chose settle here, but we did, and now we never leave, even if becomes exceedingly clear that this idea horrible. After all, Athens is a heap.

Mary Lou Retton: I love you Michael Phelps.

Michael Phelps: *busy winning gold medal*

Carly Patterson: You love me Michael Phelps.

Michael Phelps: It's true, let's get married! *wins gold medal*

Carly Patterson: Mary Lou Retton will settle for The Thorpedo. He's like a torpedo that swims!

Bela Karoli: Carly Patterson, I know you love him, but Michael Phelps ask to leave Olympic Village. We suspect he see Romanian Gymnastic Team We Do Not Speak Of and use Dope We Do Not Use.

Paul Hamm: My voice is sooooo high that even as an Olympic champion, nobody will sleep with me. You love Carly Patterson. *stabs Michael Phelps*

Michael Phelps: *wins silver medal*

Carly Patterson: I love him! Let me go to the towns.

Bela Karoli: Don't scream Carly, but I must tell you that Romanian Gymnastic Team We Do Not Speak of is false. Rumors of Romanian Team in these woods, but we coaches wear unitards to scare the other Olympians. Now take Credit Card We Do Not Speak Of (American Express), and go to towns.

Carly Patterson: It seems preposterous that I should be able to walk through these woods blind, but I guess love is guiding me or something stupid like that.

Paul Hamm: ARGHH! I am Dragulescu, a top Romanian Gymnast!

Carly Patterson: *Kills Paul Hamm*

Paul Hamm: *Releases helium from skull*

Bela Karoli: It is actually 2004!

Olympians: We know, all the signs say Athens 2004.

Amanda Beard: *Gets hot and heavy action in the hot tub with Aaron Piersol and Catelin Sandeno*

M. Night Shyamalan: In case you were wondering, here is some exposition. I think I have a point, but now it is hopelessly muddled. Look at me in that artsy reflection! I'm so hot right now.

Carly Patterson: I have returned with medicines!

Michael Phelps: *Wins gold medal*



Thursday, August 19, 2004

Iraqi soccer for Bush 

Opportunistic at every turn, the incumbent Chief of Staff has seized another moment of honesty and goodness to twist unto his own disgusting image. Behold the disgruntled, liberated, protests. Pretty low, W. How can you justify such a crass advertisement when our troops are still deeply entrenched in gunfire and chaos?



That was the difference between gold and silver in the mens 100m freestyle in the pool last night. South African Roland Schoeman lead for most of the race, but was just sniffed out by van den Hoogenband at the last second (.06 of a second, as it were). Still, he's made the country proud adding this silver to his gold in the men's relay. Incidentally, Schoeman along with three of the other S.A. swimmers from that gold medal relay team trained and attended University of Arizona -- alma mater of yours truly. Go Wildcats!


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

36 bottles of bear on the wall 

Smokey the Bear: National Wildlife spokesman; drunkard. How freaking hilarious is this story?


Flavor concoctions 

One of my co-workers picked up lunch for me and asked if I wanted any chips with the sandwich I was getting. I say, "Yeah, surprise me." So she comes back with sandwich and chips. The chip flavor? "Yogurt and Green Onion." Yogurt and green onion??? Are you kidding me? That's real?! I knew I shouldn't have asked for anything from Whole Foods. But I'm starving at this point. So I have some yogurt and green onion chips. Funny thing is they taste nearly identical to sour cream and onion. They're quite good, actually. So there you have it. Yogurt and green onion: they mix.


Soccer in Los Angeles 

This is very bizarre to me. Seems that MLS, which has been struggling a bit lately, believes that one city can support two clubs. So of the 12 teams competing in Major League Soccer next season, two will roost in LA. But the kicker is that the "expansion" team is an established club... from Mexico. Chivas are one of Mexico's most storied franchises, but I'm very confused as to how a team can just up and switch countries, let alone leagues, in which they play. That's like if the Lakers decided to go play their ball in the Italian league. Very strange. Obviously, there are a very large contingent of LA-based Mexican fans and the many of them have taken to the Los Angeles Galaxy (strong MLS team) pretty well, but I guess expansion within this city is what Don Garber believes the market is dictating. This isn't like basketball, though, in as much as LA has two NBA clubs in the Lakers and Clippers. The NBA is established, cemented. MLS has been around less than ten years and, while I love soccer, the league hasn't turned this densely populated sports nation on it's ear.


Republicans in New York 

With the Republican National Convention drawing closer, New York is preparing for what could be a very impassioned, heated four days. The odds of New York falling to Bush come election day are slim. But if there was any doubt over how welcome Dubya might feel once in the Big Apple, it can be layed to rest by viewing this masterpiece.

If the page doesn't load up instantly, give it a second. It's worth it.


Seems like all I can talk about these days is Athens 

US Bball eeked out a victory against Greece. They played like crap and it shows as they barely beat a team that's only in because it's the host nation's team.

This group of C-level "stars" will not medal. Repeat. US men's hoops will not medal. It'll be the first time ever in a non-boycotted games. Yes, that is due to the fact that our best aren't there, but more importantly, their impending failure can be attributed to the fact that this isn't a team. It certainly isn't assembled to have everything a champion needs. Namely: more big bodies, ANY outside shooters, good ball-handling, defensive hustle. Take Tim Duncan off this team and they'd lose every game by 25. Of course, if you throw Kidd, Garnett, McGrady and Shaq on this team they'd be winning every game by at least 15.

And what an incredible race in the pool last night! The 200 mens relay: awesome. All the credit in the world to Klete Keller for being able to hold off Ian Thorpe down the stretch. Add another pair of gold medals to Michael Phelps' collection. He's now 5 for 5 as far as medalling goes. I do believe he'll get all 8, tying the record for most medals earned by an individual in a single Olympics.


Monday, August 16, 2004


Check out what my main man, Doug, is all about. The guy's a photo wiz, capable of bringing the world to it's knees if given sufficient time. Industrial Decay. Spread the word. One word that comes to mind at present is "scrumptrulessent."


Girls have cooties 

Funny stuff from Athens. It appears that tennis champ Andy Roddick is a marked man. Oh to be in his shoes right now...



My boys smash the old mark set by the Aussies in 2000 by .5 seconds. All smiles over here. They absolutely annihilated the rest of the field. In a word: lekke.

Michael Phelps was on the US relay team which seems to be on the decline. They'd won gold in every mens 4x100 relay since '96. Then they were beaten by Australia in Sydney and only managed silver. This year they were downgraded to bronze. So while Phelps won't be able to get eight gold medals, he's still in contention for eight medals.

As for the former champion Aussies? A disappointing 6th place in last night's race. What happened?

Oh, and for the record, its spelled Pieter van den Hoogenband. The Dutchmen helped his relay team to silver.

South Africa! Brilliant!


Sunday, August 15, 2004

Olympic notes: first weekend 

Okay, I've got the fever. It's got me and it's not letting go. I went to bed at something like 5:30 this morning because the roommates and I were watching live round the clock coverage.

Now, given that I'm watching the summer games in America-vision, there are a few events I have yet to see that have already taken place. For example, the mens 4x100 men's freestyle relay in swimming. After watching the heats, I'm super excited about South Africa's chances to medal. They are thought to be a darkhorse behind the USA and Australia, but I'll be damned if they didn't nearly break the world record in the semi-final heat. Go Boks!

Speaking of the pool, how freaking dominant was Michael Phelps in the 400 IM? He killed everyone and broke his own world record in the process. He's in eight events and, so far, is 1 for 1 in golds. I'm really excited to see perhaps the best, most talent laden race on Monday -- the 200 meter freestyle -- in which Phelps goes against Ian "Thorpedo" (coolest nickname) Thorpe and defending Olympic champ Peter Vanden Hoogenbam of Holland. I might've flubbed the spelling on Peter, but oh well. Still, that three way showdown may be the premiere event in these games.

The Iraqi soccer team continues to amaze. They have one game left to play in group action, but regardless of the outcome they've already qualified for the quarterfinals thanks to their win over Costa Rica. I watched that match and have to say, Costa Rica looked like the better side for the first 75 minutes of the 90 minute bout. but Iraq got the breaks.

The other end of the spectrum from Iraqi soccer's thrills are US hoops' lows. They look pathetic . Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is not thought to be a medal contender, yet they toyed with the sluggish US team in the same fashion as the Harlem Globetrotters abused the Washington Generals. Easy layups, easy spot up shots. They went on a 15-2 run. They held the US to 7 points in the second quarter. 7! The Americans proved further that they have no outside scoring threat from the perimeter and also that they can't defend. Well, that's not fair actually. They do play defense. But they wait until they're down 22 points and the game is almost over. Yeah, its worth it then. If these guys played a full game with any sort of intensity, they have at least some sort of respect. But they don't. They don't care. This is their first Olympic game. Nerves and adrenaline should be running off the charts. The US looked flat as a board. What if they had a guy who could hit 3s on this team. Imagine if Rip Hamilton accepted a spot on the team or if Michael Redd was selected or if Stephon Marbury wasn't running the point guard and turning the ball over every chance he had. Andre Miller would've been a better fit for the international game. Ugh... so bad.

Oh, and also pathetic is the Iranian judo champ who withdrew from competition after drawing an Israeli as his first round opponent. Further proof that Iran, in its entirety, is worthless. Sadly contrary to the Olympic spirit. To hell with them.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Fuck you, Friday the 13th! 

What a lovely day.

Vomit-face had to go to a wedding, so she's gone today. One of the other story editors left late this morning. That's awesome. I get to do everything. And I have done everything. I don't think I've ever been this productive at work in my life (save for this current post).

So whatever. Ass-loads of work heaped on me. Fine. However, my cell phone for some ungodly reason has gone retarded. I can't get any tone on it. Which means I can't hear anybody on the other end of the conversation and can't retrieve my messages (at least not until I check the booklet at home that says how to get them from an outside line). So that's fucked. I hate the fucking phone. Inexplicable malfunction. Friday the 13th.

Top it off with this piece of shit happening and I'm just about ready to go off on some dumb ass. Bloody Michael Owen bails on Liverpool on the eve of the new Premiership season for fucking Real Madrid. Oh how I fucking hate that club.

Rumours that Owen was to leave Anfield intensified earlier this week, just days after the player claimed he was 'closer than ever' to signing a new Liverpool deal.

That piss-ant tease. Stringing us along like that. Screw him.

Could you imagine a better way to head into my first full weekend of sobriety?! Fuck all.

Oh, and the icing on the cake? Time cards are late. Will I get paid next week? Hell if I know.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Why the Olympics are worthwhile 

To start, I'm no fan of Iraq (interpret that as you will), but its nice to know that through every travesty and struggle, whether they be political or social, sport can liven the soul. Take Iraq's Olympic soccer team (please). There's a number of reasons why this group shouldn't even be in Athens. Certainly the chaos and war engulfing the nation is chief among them, but also they simply aren't any good. Their qualification to the summer games came through an improbable run of upsets that included knocking off perennial regional power, Saudi Arabia.

And here they are today, upsetting one of the medal favorites, Portugal, 4-2. This isn't supposed to be happening. There's every reason in the world as to why this group should still be in Baghdad. This lone victory over the Portuguese is a relative gold medal. They could -- and probably will -- lose their next two matches, but it won't matter. Their qualification is enough to satisfy. This single win on the field is enough to send all their countrymen into euphoric states of celebration, far distanced from the realm of politics. Often times, people need those distractions. They need those dreams. They need to be reminded that not everything is tragic and that there is still reason to be proud. They need.

It's stories like that which we will all become more familiar with over the next sixteen days. They may not all be as severe as Iraq, but they will all certainly inspire and vitalize our spirit. Personally, I'm cheering for the Italians in soccer. But the Iraqis, hate them or not, are a nice story. What a bonus it must be for them to not have to worry about the tyrannical abuse of ex-sports minister and sub-human, Uday Hussein.


Don't see this every day 

I don't know if this is really shocking (which is kind of sad. thank you latter 20th century), but definitely interesting. The problem in this scandal is that the now former New Jersey governor will probably get more flack for being gay than he will for cheating on his wife


Added incentive 

Cash bonuses for medal winners? Sure. Seems like a side-step around the "amateur" notion of the event, but why not? Plenty of professional athletes get paid for accomplishing less. Olympians, the vast majority at least, come from very modest backgrounds and after these games are over many will return to routine day jobs. Just like you or I.

This from the Associated Press:

Famous face
The Greek post office is joining a growing lineup of cities and countries offering to compensate athletes who win medals.

The Chicago and New York marathons are offering $500,000 to any American man or woman who wins the marathon at the Athens Olympics, while Russia's Olympic committee promised to reward gold medalists with $110,000.

Not to be outdone, Greece's postal service is not only promising riches but a stamp dedicated to winners.

Every Greek athlete who wins a medal in the Athens Games will win up to $122,000, while their image will be printed on a new stamp.

The post office will pay $122,000 to gold medalists, $61,000 to silver medalists and $30,500 to bronze winners.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Athens 2004: It's here 

The opening ceremonies take place on Friday, yes, but competition is officially underway as of today thanks to soccer. Mia Hamm set the tone for the US women to make another run to the gold (they got an agonizing silver in '00 to follow up their gold in '96). Meanwhile, Argentina look like big favorites on the men's side of the draw as they thrashed Serbia and Montenegro 6-0. Ouch. Only threats to the Argentinians are Portugal and Italy -- in that order.


Cash Milliondollars lives in Mastodon City 

Okay, so everyone should be checking out Mastodon City. It's a concoction of my housemate, Asa. The guy's on his way. Got some very cool art work on there, some comics, and best of all... a weekly strip dedicated to Cash Milliondollars.

I put this site on the sidebar under "I'm here" 'cause, well, that's my guy. That's my character. I gave him his look, his swagger, his personality. Asa has kindly taken it a step beyond. You can find me in da club -- err -- Mastodon City.


Dad update 

Old man loved the card. He laughs, "At first, I thought you were a shmuck and accidentally got me a card for a grampa. Then I opened it and I nearly wet myself." That's good stuff. Funnier yet is that it took my mom a second to realize what was happening. Apparently, she was panicked for a second. That? That's funny. I win.


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Dad is 59 

59?! Today? Fuck me. I sent him a birthday card that he should be receiving today. The card is actually for a "grandpa" -- whatever that is -- and has this stupid little teddy bear writing I love you and Happy Birthday to the bestest grandfather. Inside the card I wrote that I got some girl pregnant and now, dad, you actually are a grandfather.

We'll see how he responds to the "joke." I'm sure he'll like it. I can pretty much get away with anything (save for perhaps impregating a girl out of wedlock. He might frown on that).

But I'm so glad that he's still around. Just found out last night that a friend of mine lost her dad due to heart troubles. All the world's strength to her. And even though he doesn't read this, Happy Birthday Wolfie.


Monday, August 09, 2004

See this movie 

I loved Collateral. A surprisingly tense, fluid, and extremely entertaining ride. I was actually kind of amazed at the depth of the characters, both Foxx and Cruise. I've been a fan of Jamie Foxx the actor for some time (Foxx the comedian, so so), but he's really terrific in this movie. The scene in the club is just freaking great. One minor problem that I won't spoil for anyone, but otherwise it's top-notch. Easily one of my favorites of the year.

As for Michael Mann, he's back. I really like "Heat" and love "The Insider," but was really down on him after the boring disappointment that was "Ali." Collateral is most reminiscent in terms of style to Heat. See this movie.

Interesting note at the box office. Though I've yet to see it -- and still plan on seeing it -- things look very bad for M Night Shyamalamadingodfouighdfjegjkhd's The Village. It opened at $50 million last week and dipped to just over $16 million. That's awful. Word of mouth surrounding this movie hasn't been good either. Still, I'm a fan of Night's work and would like to see for myself.

See Collateral. The website is pretty neat, too.


The Experiment 

I have made a decision, effective yesterday. Aside from a glass of wine to compliment a nice dinner, I'm giving up alcohol for the rest of the month. It will very much be an experiment. There isn't really any one event or moment that I can point to that made me commit to this. Just a very damaging trend that's been building for a very long time.

Saturday night was an awesome time. A friend of mine from work had her birthday party at a this bar, classy place, Cafe Noura. Tons of people there and the beverages were flowing. The layout to this place is fairly deceptive. At first, you don't realize how deep the bar extends. It flows seamlessly from outdoor patios to cozy interiors. You'd better have excellent depth perception if you're going there because everything is lined with mirrors. You would be amazed at how many drunks that night walked face first into a wall. I can proudly say that I wasn't one of them, however, I was heavily intoxicated. Add the heavy pre-partying beforehand and I was pretty lit. Have no fear, folks, there was no driving on my part. We took cabs everywhere. That includes one ride up to the Hollywood Hills for an "after party" that was a big "waste of time." Regardless, I end up back at home and crash some time after 5 a.m.

I'm not conscious again 'til I get a phone call alerting me that it's 1 o'clock and people have already begun showing up for the barbecue my housemates and I are hosting. What do I do? I shrug it off, fall back asleep. My head is pounding and there's no way I can deal with lots of people right then. About 45 minutes later, I stir awake and lay motionless in the middle of my queen size bed, my khakis and belt from the night before still on. As I lie there I think to myself, "No one should be drinking as much whiskey as I regularly do. No one." I never got sick, but I felt like shit. This is killing me both financially and literally. Again, there's no one thing I can single out for me making this choice, but those few minutes in bed before I dragged my sorry ass into the shower seemed to be the clincher. I guzzled water yesterday like my life depended on it and I was fine with that.

The BBQ, incidentally, went off splendidly.


Saturday, August 07, 2004

Gotta talk Lakers. Payton's gone. 

I'm sure most will say that Kobe Bryant had everything to do with Gary Payton being traded to Boston yesterday, but I don't think LA comes out with that bad a deal despite the lack of name power they're getting in return.

While Gary Payton is the best player in this 5 man deal, I think the Lakers will probably benefit a good deal from his departure. Payton diminished in skill so much between January and June that you'd hardly recognize him as a former all-star. Rick Fox, incidentally, is worthless now. An also-ran last year who was plagued by injury. He's of no value to LA.
What Boston sends in return is mostly junk, yes, but I'm high on Marcus Banks. Banks is a very attacking point guard, likes to push the floor, and won't have a problem feeling the need to score "his" points like Payton will. He's got the potential to blossom into a better version of Derek Fisher. Point guard for the Lakers is a question mark as far as who will be starting. I like Banks, but rookie Sasha Vujacic and journeyman Chucky Atkins (also acquired in this trade) will challenge for that spot.
Chris Mihm? What a giant bust that guy's been. Still, I'd rather have him on the roster than Fox if only for the fact that he isn't older than dirt and can fill in at center which is something LA sorely needs even after signing Vlade Divac.
This trade is pretty much a wash as I can't imagine Boston improving that much from this trade.


Rick James, bitch! 

Also yesterday (look, I'm not some sort of compu-dork that sits in front of the monitor all day. you'll have to forgive if I'm not right on top of the current events), the Super Freak himself died of "natural causes." Natural causes? Yeah? Consider that the guy was only 56. The only thing natural about his death was that all the crank he shot into his system finally caught up to him.

I'm sure Dave Chappelle is taking note right now. This unfornate event is ripe with comic possibility. How easy would it be for Chappelle to capitalize on his James impersonation and set a sketch at the man's funeral? Could be hilarious.

Speaking of Chappelle, $50 million! That's incredible. No basic cable stars get that kind of money. Especially from Comedy Central who is notorious for being stingy with their wallets. It's amazing that they realize Chappelle is the best thing to happen to them in a loooonng time and that they're willing to fork the cash to keep him. Chappelle's a genius. His show -- get this -- is the highest selling tv show on dvd this past year. Wow.



No sooner do I rail on the US hoops team than yesterday they crush the defending world champion Serbians. See guys, this is what happens when you play defense. You know? Defense? Still, that Serbia and Montenegro team that took the court yesterday was a second string side. They're not revealing anything to one of their biggest competitors before Athens. So, for that reason, I'm still not sold on the US.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

USA not okay 

You know this US basketball team? The one filled with third tier NBA stars? The one that promised gold in Athens? They suck. Long gone are the days of 1992 and the greatest team ever assembled in probably any sport ever; the only team actually worthy of the monacher "Dream Team."

So the US is making the rounds on their pre-Olympic warm-up tour. They start off the European leg by getting pasted 95-78 against an unheralded Italian side. It's the worst defeat in US basketball history since they started loading the team with NBA stars. The Italians, for the record, have no NBA players on their Olympic team. This sort of drubbing is just embarrassing. Co-captain Allen Iverson (the fact that he's a captain is laughable. Aside from his seniority, he is NOT a leader of men and quite easily one of the most immature players in the league) called the loss to Italy a "wake up call." Some wake up. How do they follow that disgraceful performance? A last second shot to beat Germany -- a nation that didn't even qualify for Athens.

You wouldn't know it from the US reaction, though. Did you see their over-the-top celebration after Iverson hit that shot?! It's like they just won the fucking Olympics! But all they actually accomplished was barely squeaking past a team that has no plans to be in Athens in a meaningless exhibition! This team is so fucked. They're incredibly thin at the power positions, have no pure shooters to break down zone defenses, and they can't play consistent defense. More over, they're just plain young. Save for Tim Duncan, no one on the roster has the mentality for international basketball. Maybe they're just sluggish from the travel and the fact that they've only been together for a little over a week, but I tell you the disasters of the 2002 World Championships were no fluke. This team has a looooooooong way to go if Carmelo Anthony's promise of gold is going to come true. Frankly, at this point, I don't see it happening. Especially now that the rest of the world has narrowed the gap in talent that the US once proudly held.

It's a shame, too. The US undoubtedly has the largest talent pool to choose from when it comes to hoops. But whether it be fatigue, lack of security, being on trial, or just plain lack of enthusiasm, all of the NBA's elite declined invitations to play. Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson are the only two original selections still on the squad. Of course, if this team has Shaqille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Jason Kidd, etc, etc, etc, there's no question they'd be gold medal bound. But they don't and instead are forced to trot out some poor excuse for an NBA all-star squad. Very sad.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Garden State 

It occurs to me, now, that I never mentioned here what I thought of this film. In short, I enjoyed it. Didn't flip for it, but its good.

After a trailer like that, its hard to maintain expectations. As much as I liked GS, I can very easily see why anyone would think it's dumb.

It feels to me like a story I've written over a million times in my head, yet the plot itself is very thin and at times rushed (particularly the final half hour). However, I thought the characters were all pretty well-defined in the brief time we knew them and, for that alone, I found a lot of sincerity in the movie. It rings true to me. Maybe that's indicative of my sentimentality (which has inexplicably grown of late), but Large's (Braff's) actions -- motivated or not -- all seemed to make sense to me. He's disaffected and essentially sleepwalking; a theme most disillusioned twenty-somethings can identify with.

The music is awesome. Couple of well-placed songs got me drifting off in my own little world.

Garden State is a bit rough around the edges, but I'd recommend it to most anyone. Particularly anyone in their 20s who will find it so easy to relate to coming home after a long absence. Coming back to realize that in spite of their accomplishments in schooling and their career, they've been lead by the hand throughout their lives. It's honest.


Merits repeat viewing 

Know what movie gets better every time you watch it? "Say Anything." John Cusack is absolutely perfect in that movie. Joe lies when he cries.


Stink update 

My car still has the faintest of offensive odors lingering around the seatbelt. It's all clean and 97% okay to breath, but I had to load up on air fresheners to subdue the remaining 3%

Off-topic, something I forgot to mention from the wedding that was endlessly entertaining -- watching this fat 11 year old follow the guy serving hors d'oevres like he was being paid to do so during cocktail hour. The guy had a tray of bite size grilled chicken. After the server left one time to refill the tray, the husky, portly, ginormous boy was quoted as saying, "I'm going to wait right here so I can get more." And that he did. No cocktail server was safe from this boy's appetite. Twas no man, twas a merciless eating machine.


Sunday, August 01, 2004

Every wedding has an "And then..." 

You're all knodding your head in agreement right now. You, too, are aware of the "And then..." portion of any story related to a wedding. Inevitably, something will always go awry. This wedding, however, was close to flawless. I carpooled there with my three dates, of whom all four of us were friends and former co-workers of the groom. For their own anonymity, we'll call them girls #1, #2, and #3. They all look gorgeous. I'm looking pretty dapper, myself; sporting a pinstripe suit and thin black tie.

We're driving up in my car from Los Angeles to Augora Hills. For those who don't know, that's about an hour drive thanks to Saturday traffic on the inept 101 Highway. But the location of the wedding was this mountain country club which is nigh impossible to find unless you have x-ray vision. Long, windy, mountainous, single lane roads with poor street markings stood between the highway exit and our destination. Needless to say, we missed the turnoff the first time and ended up driving an extra 15 miles down to the Pacific Ocean before realizing, "Well, shit. We clearly missed that street sign that doesn't exist." So I make a u-turn and not much later we see Cornell Way, the road we were looking for. Sure enough, the sign coming from the opposite direction (the way we were originally going) had fallen off. So we finally find it and proceed to take a myriad of curvy, windy roads that lead down to a lake and the country club. Huzzah! According to our watches, we were a half-hour late. However, nearly everyone was late. That road sign is a bitch. So the ceremony, which was a lovely outdoors affair overlooking the afforementioned lake and surrounded by lush greens and hills, started about an hour later than scheduled. No biggie.

On to the reception! Possibly the most fun I've had at a wedding. Yes, I was driving, but who can resist the temptation of an open bar? If you answered either A) no one or B) Communists, then you're correct. Plus I figure I'll have plenty of time to sober up before we actually leave. So my dates and I as well as a couple more work friends are all seated together, drinking, dancing, enjoying the food, good times all around. When you have three "dates" at these kind of things, though, you have to be sure to spread the dances out evenly, otherwise their could be some unrest. So I did just that and my feet were killing me by the time it was all over. Anyway, the drinking is fully underway and girl #1 is already drunk off a glass and a half of white wine. She's flying. She's that girl. And she's having a great time and we're all very happy for her. In her defense, though, none of us had eaten all day so the alcohol hit her that much faster. As the evening progresses we all have our fair share wine and champagne. I step outside for a brief moment to get some air in an attempt to relieve a minor headache; staring off at the lake as my mind wonders a little. Girl #1 is still loopy. It's only towards the end of the party the Girl #2 starts to feel unwell. She steps outside to take a breather, then rushes into the bathroom to get sick. Girl #3 is there to make sure #2 is okay. After booting in the bathroom, poor thing reveals that she has a migrane. It's right about then that the four of us decide its time to call it a night. Just as well, too, because it was midnight and the party, itself, was coming to a close.

I blame myself a bit for the next phase of this story. I stupidly had perhaps one or two more drinks than I should have. I'm not a fan at all of letting other people drive my car, but I knew that Girl #3 was sober so I bestowed the keys to her. The plan now is head home to Girl #1's apartment so that we can drop her and Girl #3 off, while I have a chance to sober up (didn't need much) and drive Girl #2 back to her place. The scene in my car: driving -- Girl #3, passenger seat (reclining all the way due to her migrane) -- Girl #2, passed out in back right -- Girl #1, struggling to stay awake so that I can provide directions in the back left seat -- me. Remember how twisty and curvy and winding those roads were that I mentioned? Well, their twistiness and curviness is amplified greatly when you're drunk. Fortunately, as I mentioned, Girl #1 was passed out and Girl #2 was pretty much lying down and getting a steady stream of fresh air. We're almost to Girl #1's apartment... AND THEN...

We needed to make a left turn on to Girl #1's street, but Girl #3 -- our driver, ladies and gentlemen -- starts puking! I immediately think to myself, "Oh great, here we go." She tries her best to hold in the first wave and we swerve slightly into oncoming traffic. My heart skips a beat. Thank god that Girl #2 realized what was happening and nudged the stearing wheel to get us out of harm's way. By now, Girl #3 is just throwing up all over. We miss our turn off, but she manages to make the next left, parks immediately and unloads all the chicken, salad, pasta, and alcohol in her system all over the drivers seat, the dash, the wheel, the seatbelt, and finally the street. We stop and I immediately bolt out of the back seat to check on her. Girl #3 is a veritable sea of vomit, mortified beyond belief. We're all out of the car by now attending to her. In tears, #3 apologizes to me profusely. I assure her that its okay. That these things happen. That she isn't the first. And by "isn't the first" I do of course mean, "isn't the first to get sick in my car." Although she is the first to do it while driving, so gold star for her. Frustrated and grossed out at her current state, #3 rips off her chunk-ridden skirt and, pantless, is escorted by #1 (thought to be the drunkest and yet the only girl not to get sick) to #1's place so that she can get cleaned up and bring cleaning supplies back to me. Girl #2 stays to keep me company. #1 returns with some Windex and paper towels. Its something. So I do my best to wipe down and spray away the nastiness. While I'm doing this, #2 is starting to feel ill again (probably from the nauseating smell) and #1 takes her back to her place so that she can get sick. She comes back to me again with more cleaning supplies, as I've already exhausted the first batch. "I can't believe I'm drunk," she says, wishing that she could be more useful. Sweet girl. She's done everything that I could ask of her which are take care of our primary concerns -- our sick friends. The car is secondary.

We walk back to her place so that I can get some water in my system and clean some of the backlash off of my pants. #2 and #3 have been sick again since I saw them last. #3 is laid out in some of #1's clean clothes on the bedroom floor, still apologizing. She felt terrible. Again, I assure her that the only important thing is that she's okay and cleaned up. #2 requests that I take her back to her place, saying she'd recover easier in her own bed. I acquiese, thanking #1 for her help.

It's a little after 2 a.m. #2 and I get back to the car which, now, absolutely wreaks to high heaven. I reach for my seat belt and pull back a hand of sludge, not realizing that #3's projectile assault covered the seat belt, too. So its windows down, no seatbelt for me. No problems getting #2 back safely.

Called them all this morning checking to see if they recovered alright from last night. Sounds like they're all fine even though I was only able to reach #3's voicemail. So how did I spend my Sunday, you ask? Cleaning the interior of my car, incessantly trying to rid it of the awful puke stench. You all know that smell. It lingers forever. I've gone through many lengths to erase it, but I'm still not convinced that its gone. Side note, my car interior hasn't been this clean in months.

Know what's going to be fun? Going to work tomorrow and spending the day with #3. Yay! She's going to feel so embarassed. Boo! Poor thing. I feel bad for her. My car hurts, but not nearly as bad as she does.


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