Thursday, December 30, 2004

Top 10  

Every film dork has one and here's mine, for now. Still haven't seen Hotel Rwanda, The Sea Inside, Ray and a few others, but probably enough to run off a list.

Top 10 Films

1. Closer - The best ensemble of the year. This film has men and women down cold. Mike Nichols knows what he's doing. Clive Owen is my hero.

2. Collateral - The only film this year that made me say, "Wow, that was awesome" as the credits rolled. For all the praise Jamie Foxx is receiving for Ray, it's hard to imagine him topping his turn in Collateral. Los Angeles has never been shot so beautifully. Excellent excellent thriller.

3. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster - Simply the most intimate portrait of a band ever. All access; nothing is off limits. It's most effective in showing the deep vulnerability of the band and how year's of infighting have fractured the personal relationships of many of the members. It also cements Metallica as one of the world's super groups and perhaps the biggest band in the last 20 years.

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Tragical romantic. I'm a sucker for Charlie Kaufman scripts and Michel Gondry's aesthetic had me engaged the whole way. Really good stuff.

5. Shaun of the Dead - At first you think this is a "guilty pleasure" movie; a movie that isn't really that great but you really really enjoyed it. Then you step back and realize that it is, in fact, great. Funniest movie of the year? Quite possibly. Also some very tender moments, too. Immensely entertaining.

6. A Very Long Engagement - Jeunet is really a master of time and space and in this film he really calls on that as there are a myriad of rich characters. Probably the most beautifully photographed film of the year. It's also a rare case of where the mystery within the film has a very satisfying resolution.

7. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 - It's really everything I wanted Vol. 1 to be. People say you can't have one without the other. I say those people are wrong to a degree. If Vol. 1 was about and hour long, then you could lump them together. See, in Vol. 2 there are stakes (!) and characters (!). Really an expertly done movie with one glaring plot hole (the gunshot wound).

8. Sideways - Best character piece out there. It's Swingers for 40 year-olds, only in this version Mikey is kind of an asshole. Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, and Virginia Madsen are all excellent. Kudos to Alexander Payne for making a film dealing largely in wine culture -- something incredibly narrowcast -- so accessible. Very honest, very sincere film.

9. The Aviator - The best I've seen of the many many biopics that came out this year. The ending is a bit duvious, but I suppose the real story is over at that point. What can you say that hasn't already been said about Scorsese? What truly caught me off guard was how good Leo DiCaprio was. Tour de force performace from him probably worthy of an Oscar. At times in the latter part of the film, I was reminded of Citizen Kane in terms of the protagonist's struggle with the public. Cate Blanchett might be the most charming thing in movies this year. And Alan Alda! Alan Alda, people! The guy is brilliant in a supporting role.

10. Kinsey - God, that Bill Condon can write (and direct). Another great movie littered with fantastic performances. Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Peter Sarsgaard are all excellent. Quite the sexposee (oh boo, that was awful. sorry). Sexual barriers are broken down, though. It toes the narrow line between interesting story and full-on biopic mode. The final scene, in particular, is very sweetand saves the movie from laboring on and on.

Good, but... (no particular order)

Million Dollar Baby - There are too many flaws in this movie for me to really really like it. The relationship between Eastwood and Swank evolves into something very lovely and Swank's preformance is excellent, but I felt like the plot of the film wasn't quite there. The first two acts feel very formulaic (it's a sports movie at that point -- it can't help it), and the third act -- a surprise, I suppose -- comes right out of left field and deals with an issue completely unrelated to the film at that point (even if it does transcend the Eastwood/Swank bond). It's all handled well enough, but I never felt that emotional spark and I thought the boxing within the movie was beyond ludicrous. There were so many instances in Swank's marquee fight, as well as everything else with "The Blue Bear," that warrant as instant disqualification that it's absurd.

Friday Night Lights - Again, good movie. But it's a sports movie and as avid a fanatic as I am about sports, I still haven't seen a film that matched up to the real thing. FNL, however, is the most accurate gameplay I've ever seen which is a major accomplishment. The action scenes are incredible. The four subplots, however true they are, still feel rehashed.

The Incredibles - Best family movie of the year without question and entirely entertaining. Too bad there isn't a single original idea in the film.

Anchorman - I laughed a lot in this movie. I thought Will Ferrell was genius and his supporting cast sometimes upstaged him. I just couldn't put it as one of the best films of the year. So very funny, yet so unworthy of a mention on that list.

Team America - See Anchorman. I laughed my ass off during this movie (the puppet sex scene is unreal), but the message of the film that claims to have no message gets muddled by the end. The laughs also really drop off with about 30 minutes to go.

Fahrenheit 9/11 - Still a really good film, even if Moore does lead you by the hand during the Iraq portion (he's not physically there, but his presence in the editing room is far more profound). It's sad that it feels so dated. I imagine that the rewatchable value of F9/11 can only diminish.


Life Aquatic - Can't help but lead this category off with a film that I had the highest of expectations for. To be clear, I still "like" it, but only in the sense that it's passable. It's funny and pretty, but somehow unengaging. I think the problem lies in the supporting cast. Anderson was bent on making this an ensemble piece when, really, none of the supporting characters were interesting at all. I would rather have seen a film that focused strictly on the character of Steve Zissou who is so immensely complex and yet reveals so little of himself. Also, Owen Wilson's character has perhaps the worst payoff of anything in 2004. He's served a great injustice and it's frustrating for an audience member who has invested in him. "Frustrating" pretty much sums up the latter half of this movie.

Ocean's Twelve - The twist ending is soooo stupid that it completely invalidates the entire movie. I'm not kidding. The reveal happens and you think to yourself, "I just threw away two hours of my life." Plus I hate movies that are cool for the sake of being cool.

Finding Neverland - Boring. Sorry, you're better off watching Peter Pan. You'll get the same gist of it and you'll be far more entertained. Johnny Depp is top notch and the kids are actually pretty good, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

The Village - Maybe the biggest disappointment of '04. This movie would be so much better if there weren't a twist. The final act is nothing short of incipid.

Other good flicks (I don't feel like writing all of these up)

The Bourne Supremacy
Garden State
Mean Girls
Napolean Dynomite
The Terminal
Spider-Man 2 (with reservation)
Supersize Me
Coffee and Cigarettes
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
In Good Company
The Punisher (surprise)

Trainwrecks you can enjoy at a base level

The Girl Next Door - It's really funny, but really bad.
The Day After Tomorrow
Flight of the Phoenix

Not good

A Home at the End of the World
Man on Fire - Literally unwatchable

The awful (would you believe I saw these two on the same night?)

New York Minute - Why? WHY?!
The Passion of the Christ - Beautifully photographed, completely self-indulgent.

Damn, I didn't think I'd mention everything I've seen so far. Meh.


Monday, December 27, 2004

"Why is it that the people most against abortion are the last ones you'd want to fuck anyway?" 

One of my heroes has checked himself into rehab. I really loves me some George Carlin. Easily one of the greatest comic minds ever. Thankfully, the problem doesn't sound too serious.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

The most upset I've ever been 

Just a couple hours ago, I received a voicemail from my dad that my brother had been in a car accident. Apparently, some asshole ran a red light and broadsided him. Unfortunately for me, I was out with friends and didn't receive the message until about 1:30 a.m. -- an hour after it was left. In the message, my dad left the cross-street of where it was the accident occured and said he was picking up my brother. An hour late or not, I rushed over there as soon as I could. Little surprise that my brother and dad weren't still there, but the cops were. As was the truck that was towing away the shambles left of my brother's car. Also there... the guy who ran the red light. He was draped in a blanket, watching the tow truck take away his pick-up and my brother's totalled car. Two police officers stood beside him and surveyed. As I drove towards the intersection, I could see the shattered glass littered all over the street. I screeched my car to a halt upon getting there, rushed out, and gasped for breath as I saw what used to be my brother's car. Being in a wreck about two and a half years ago, I know what it's like to go through this sort of stress. The last thing I want is for my little brother to go through it. I rush to the site and the cops ask if they can help me. I ask what happened to the guy in the blue car and they say his father picked him up and that he had a bum knee, but was otherwise okay. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief, then asked if they had the guy who hit him. He was standing right beside me. Draped, as I said, in a red blanket and wearing a green hat with a yellow "A" on it (not an Oakland A's cap), I made eye contact with him as the cops pointed him out to me. His guilty, beedy eyes met mine and I stared him down for a good twenty seconds before asking, "Are you happy with yourself?" The cops interjected immediately before I was able to escalate the situation further, telling me that the guy fessed up to everything on the report and had the decency to stick around. The decency? Like he's a fucking saint or something?! Rather than risk arrest, I stared the guy down further before storming off to my car and speeding home, going about 90 mph in a 65. My brother does seem to be alright, though my parents both tell me that he was in quite a state when the accident occured. We're going to have him checked out tomorrow to make sure he's okay. I swear to God and anything else a person might find sacred, if not for those cops I would've ripped the red light runner's head off and shit down his neck, then ripped him apart limb from limb. The cops say there was no alcohol involved, but I don't care. He smashed into my brother. He wrecked his car. He could've killed him. One hell of a mistake. Some people say it's wrong to wish death upon someone. I must tell you, I don't much care about being "wrong."


Saturday, December 25, 2004

Kobe -1, Shaq 0, Wade 5 

Just finished watching the game in the NBA this year. That obviously being Shaq's return to LA. The Lakers had it. They, typically, blew it. Heat win 104-102 in overtime.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the way this team manages to lose games. It's enough to make any Laker fan want to rip their hair out and peel their skin off. It's fucking ridiculous! Consider the following:

- Kobe scores a season high 42 points

- Shaquille fouls out with over 2 minutes to play in the 4th quarter

- Shaq's 24 point, 11 rebound performance is matched by Lamar Odom

- The Lakers hit 14 three pointers (even though they heaved up 36!)

... and they lost. Why?

- Dwayne Wade. The guy's a superstar beyond a shadow of a doubt and proved today that he can carry this team without Shaq. With regularity? Who knows.

- From the time Shaq fouled out of the game, Kobe didn't score a single point. Not one fucking point!

- Within the final 45 seconds of the 4th quarter, the Lakers got a shot clock violation, turning the ball over. Why? Because Kobe, like he had all game, was too busy playing a one-on-one game and ran too much time off the clock.

- Miami scored 100 points first. For some reason, the Lakers just don't win when that happens. This game was over when Miami went up 100-96. I know LA had a last second shot to try tie/win the game, but I knew in my gut it was over when the Heat hit the century.

Is it all bad for LA? No. The had a strong effort today, especially from Chris Mihm. I love this guy's hustle. He's one of the best garbage players in the league and if it weren't for his strong play this year, the Lakers would be below .500. He's no Shaq, but he helps a lot. Also, LA was without suspended scorer Caron Butler. You wouldn't have known from watching the game. His absence was almost imperceptible. Guess who I'd put on the trading block if I were LA?

The Heat deserve credit for the win, but still, I have to count this one as another -- another -- poor loss for the Lakers. Thing is, this team is capable of being so much better than they currently are and often have been able to hang with, if not outplay, some of their tougher competition. The problem is that they lack a killer instinct. We've seen them collapse (and I mean absolutely fold) twice after building big time leads against the league-leading Phoenix Suns. They follow up a blowout victory over a tough Sacramento team last week with losses at home to Washington and Memphis. Ack! And they even lost to Chicago earlier this season! Ack! Then comes this afternoon where they had a slim lead over Miami when Shaq fouled out of the game and were unable to put the final nail in the coffin to seal the victory. The Heat are no slouch. This win for them was their 11th straight. I think that right there is what pisses me off so much. They're one of the league's elite clubs and LA can beat them.

Yeah. My patience with this club is diminishing rapidly. I know that half of the team wasn't even in town last year and that the chemistry is still coming together, but c'mon. Progress better begin Tuesday against Toronto. I'm still predicting between 46-48 wins for this season with a playoff seeding between 6-8. I'd love to see them make some trades, though. A couple guys on the block who I think would be stellar grabs right now are Nene in Denver and Eric Snow in Cleveland.

Get Nene and you have a solid, talented inside force that sures up your interior defense in a hurry. Get Snow and you have a veteran point guard capable of running an offense and making sure the ball gets to Kobe and Odom, not to mention a player that outclasses Chucky Atkins.

So Shaq vs. Kobe I is over. Know what? Their still won't be a single NBA topic that gets more press than this, even now that it's over. Not the running Suns, not the shocking Sonics, not LeBron's excellent season, not the Pacers suspension fiasco, the first round of the playoffs, nothing. It's still about about the drama with Kobe. March 17th is the next "important" game in the NBA. It's when Kobe and the Lakers travel to Miami.


Tis the season for oversights 

I suppose the sentiment behind this ploy is all well and good and if I were to pick up a newspaper with such cheerful content I'd have to laugh and say, "that's pretty great." However, the news is supposed to cover the entire spectrum of light to dark. The "bad" news is still happening even on Christmas. It's your responsibility as a newspaper to be on top of those stories. All in good irresponsible fun, I guess.


Thursday, December 23, 2004

The movies of 2004 

Well, by all accounts, its been a pretty down year. But like any other, there are always a few gems. Some of the critics groups have already announced their winners. The Golden Globe nominees are out -- even if they are empty. The National Board of Review named Finding Neverland the best film of the year -- what a joke. I've already got a rough top ten in my head, but I still have about three or four movies I'd like to see before I set it. Of course, it's folly to make a top ten list because your opinions of the films will forever be changing. Still, I need to at least see The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Hotel Rwanda, and Ray before I can make up my mind. Ebert put up his best and worst list which I always find interesting if for no other reason than I think he's the best film reviewer in the country.


The Hand 

For months, the denizens of Mastodon City have slaved and labored away on a comic of epic proportions. Now, finally, they are ready to unveil their spawn of love and hardship. I give you, The Hand. Enjoy it, won't you? Then await the next installment with giddy anticipation.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I was playing soccer with dinosaurs and then my arm fell off 

I feel compelled to share this bizarre dream I had last night. So here it is in all it's absurdity. Perhaps it was the glass of wine I had at dinner that triggered it. Hmm... Ah, no matter.

Robosaurs and Man Living in Harmony

I find myself in what looks to be a crude baseball stadium. There's a very minor league feel to the bleachers and there aren't really any walls surrounding the playing field. It seems like more of a nice stretch of green grass not uncommon at a neighborhood park, but nevertheless, it feels like a stadium. Anyway, I'm playing a pick up soccer games with a few other people and our robot dinosaur friends. Yup. Humans and robosaurs: totally friends. Think Transformers, only with dinosaur robots. The teams are mixed, too, in the interest of fairness. For some reason I'm playing goalie. I hate being goalie. I've never been good at it. Yet I somehow am able to deflect all three shots I face (two of them I actually used my face -- it stung).

One of the balls I bat away rolls out of bounds, so the Robo-Brontosaurus goes to take the thrown-in. Just as Robo-Bronto is set to put the ball back in play, I notice a plant sculpture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, sort of like the lawn sculpture from Edward Scissorhands. That T-Rex sculpture wasn't there before, but I'm noticing it now and, for some reason, so does Robo-Bronto. He hesitates for a moment before throwing in the ball and, as he does so, T-Rex turns from plant into flesh and bites his head off. Robots aren't supposed to bleed, but the vacancy left by Robo-Bronto's head resulted in a geyser of blood that splashed all over the field. Suddenly, there are real dinosaurs running rampant all over the stadium, devouring humans and robosaurs alike, leaving nothing to chance. I rush into the bowels of the stadium in a mad dash to avoid the dinosaurs of which even the herbivores were feasting on meat. I see other faceless people decapitated all around me and hear the muffled shrieks of agony and horror from within the stadium. Suddenly, there's a T-Rex inside there with me, chasing after me.

The roof caves in and we all die.

I stir awake at that point. I haven't opened my eyes yet, but I want rub my lids before I do so. My right hand gets there... still waiting on the left. Dude... left hand, where you at? I realize, then, that I can't feel anything below my left shoulder. Nothing. I can sense the synapses that are firing to maneuver my digits, but see no result. I pick up my limp left limb and throw it around the bed trying to knock some feeling into it. For about thirty seconds, I know what it's like to be an amputee. Then my brain kicks in and says, "Hey, you drunken moron, you slept on your arm. God, you're such an ass." Then I say, "Oh yeah."

Alright, I admit that you won't feel any smarter for having read this. But you did, so there. Booyeah!


All Star games are worthless 

but the selection of the teams always makes for good fodder. The AFC and NFC announced their rosters for this year's Pro Bowl -- the dullest exhibition of them all. Though the NFL at least has the sense to announce their All-Stars at the end of the season rather than in the middle of it.

Of course, with any Pro Bowl selection there are snubs and chief among them this season, without a doubt, is Corey Dillon of the Patriots. Yes, I understand how awesome LaDainian Tomlinson is and that he got jobbed last year, but I'm sorry, Dillon is having a first team NFL caliber year with mentions earlier this season of being in the MVP race (since faded) and considered the biggest free agent factor (e.g. guy who has improved his team the most) to Terrell Owens.

Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, I felt, was also deserving. Though earlier this season I voted for Tom Brady along with Peyton Manning and Drew Brees (yeah, I did the stupid fan vote), I definitely have to change my stance. Roethlisberger, if he weren't a rookie, would be getting some serious run as an MVP runner-up to Peyton Manning. He's got rookie of the year in the bag.

People love Michael Vick, but I, like John Clayton, can't justify him being in the Pro Bowl over Brett Favre. The latter has better numbers and has provided a dominant season for his trio of wide receivers while the only benefactor of Vick's aerial game is stud tight end, Alge Crumpler.

Speaking of Favre's receivers, I applaud Javon Walker's selection to the NFC roster over Randy Moss. Both have put up big numbers, but Walker has also played more games than Moss (yes, that really matters when you're talking about who is the best over a season). It's nice to see that the old boys club widely associated with picking the same players over and over for the Pro Bowl, even if they weren't deserving, didn't overlook Walker's career year.

The old boys club did make it's presence known, however, in the form of Denver corner Champ Bailey. The guy has been abused this season by every top wideout he's faced. Why is he being honored?


I love the AP poll 

This is absolutely fantastic! By separating themselves from the biggest farce in all of American sports, the AP has effectively torn the B(C)S in half, thus leaving college football in no better shape than it was when the ridiculous system was put in place back in 1998. To me, the AP poll always carried the most weight out of any colege football poll because

1) It's the job of AP writer's to be as informed and knowledgable about the sport as possible.

2) The coaches poll is a joke, often filled out by a nobody like the waterboy's assistant. Coaches often dismiss this poll as a waste of time and by the very nature of their job (which has some of the most demanding hours anywhere) are simply unable to keep up with how every program around the nation is doing.

3) It's not a computer that renders the entire regular season meaningless because of pre-determined bias. Really no different than playing NCAA 2005 for playstation and simulating all the games.

I salute the Associated Press. Their withdrawal brings college football one step closer to the self-realization that their sport is, by all accounts, a joke and entirely lacking in credibility.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The method behind his madness 

It's the offseason in baseball and no one is shaking things up more on their roster than my boys, the Oakland A's. The last couple moves have been a little distressing -- that being breaking up the "big 3" rotation of Zito, Hudson, and Mulder. Trading away Hudson, I can live with, but Mulder too? And just two days later? We're talking about a 27 year old who just finished runner-up in the Cy Young balloting. Ah, but the man pulling the strings is none other than Mr. Moneyball himself, Billy Beane. So while I'm getting nervous seeing this kind of talent exit Oakland, I have faith that the other shoe will drop soon. After all, this is the heart of Beane's genius: discovering overlooked talent while shipping big names at their highest possible trade value. ESPN has some analysis on the sitch in Oak-town (notice that Joe Blanton -- one of Beane's steals in the 2002 draft -- figures to be in the starting rotation now). Also, a big thanks to Alex for dialing me into the enemy's perspective via this write-up from U.S.S. Mariner.


Monday, December 20, 2004


This has been a top story for a couple days now, but I still can't get over the depravity of this Kansas woman. Human beings are disgusting.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

Forgot to mention something awesome 

Seriously. Know what is really really really awesome? When your CD player dies about an hour in on a six hour car ride through the desert. That's just awesome. I should know, it happened to me.

These first couple days back in Phoenix have been pleasant, I suppose. Played a great deal of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PS2. That game is... just... wow. My brother is way further ahead than I am and among his arsenal of weapons he possesses (if you're under the age of 18, you should stop reading) a double-headed, foot-long, purple dildo. He can beat people to death with it. Like a billy club, only its a dildo. He found it in the shower room of the police station (the implication being that these cops are totally gay. uh huh). I've gotta say, the rampant violence and bloodshed and swearing in this game doesn't phase me a bit. Hell, I embrace it! The dildo may be a little bit of a stretch, though. You might say that that's the clincher on whether or not this game is fit for kids under 14. I'm not about to run around petitioning that or anything, but it's up to parents to know what their kids are not only watching, but playing. Still, San Andreas rules!

Anyhow. Haven't got much writing done which is a bit disappointing. But I have time. Right now, I'm going to get set to watch the UofA vs. Marquette game. Loves me some college bball. I only hope Shakur can keep his composure today against Travis Diener. That's an intimidating matchup and probably will be the key to the game assuming the Wildcats ignore my words of wisdom once again and fail to feed the ball down low to Channing Frye at least 12 times.


Thoughts on NBA hoops and 82games.com 

Statistical analysis is like crack for depraved sports junkies. To be able to scrutinize, compare, contrast, and pontificate on a player or team's production accounts for at least 80% of all sporting broadcasts. 'Player X is shooting 55% from 3-pointland on the back end of games played on consecutive nights,' etc. It's one of the reasons that Moneyball has become such a phenomenon in the baseball world, as it debunks a lot of statistical information and prioritizes what stats are crucial to winning ball games. Now, pro basketball has their own version (unofficially). 82games.com keys in on something my friend Brent and I theorized a few years back: a +/- category. The NHL uses one. Why not the NBA? You can track the efficiency of your team by looking at which players have the most impact on the court and off it. It's just one of the many facets of minutiae this site hones in on. Delve in further and see for yourself.

While we're talking about the Association, lets have a little round-up, shall we?

My thoughts on the Vince Carter trade can be summed up by saying, "It's just another trade."

1. Vince Carter is the single most overrated player in the NBA. Period. "He's an All-Star talent, but not an All-Star player," as NBA pundit Tim Legler accurately states.

2. Though he fits well with Jason Kidd in New Jersey, the Nets are far from being a threat. The landscape of the Eastern Conference is left relatively unchanged by this move. Carter will benefit from not having to be the "go-to-guy" which, as we all know, he's pathetic at. Toronto is actually a better team without him on the floor. He's absolutely nowhere in the last two minutes of tight games. He can't defend. So you see, having the pressure diverted to Kidd may help him just a little.

3. Though Toronto got relatively little personal-wise in the deal (Mourning with his troubled health and the scrubs Williams) the two first round picks they acquired could be huge down the road. In the long term, it seems as though the Raptors may have the better of the deal, especially since they couldn't win with Vince Carter in the lineup to begin with.

4. What exactly is it that the Nets are doing? If you're going to shell out that kind of coin and draft picks for a guy like Vince Carter, why didn't you just keep Kenyon Martin this past summer? Two contradictory moves. Martin stands to make only $5 million more this season.

Switching gears.

After watching Phoenix nip Seattle last night, I have to say that I'm a believer in the Sonics. I've been skeptical of their success all season up until last night. They're just a solid club that can run the floor and shoot the lights out. Turns out that last night the Suns were able to do it 2 points better. I used to think Seattle would fade, but I don't think that'll happen. The team I (and everyone else, really) pegged in the pre-season as the team to finish last place in the entire Western Conference will make the playoffs -- even if they don't keep up this amazing winning pace.

After only a month, there has already been a lot of talk about the MVP. Steve Nash's name has come up frequently after he nabbed NBA player of the month for November and can be pin-pointed as the difference between last year's dismal Phoenix squad and this year high octane offense commanding the best record in the league. Still, this is far too early to be discussing MVP. However, in the interest of conversation, this is, as of today, what my top 5 ballot would look like.

1. Kevin Garnett
2. Amare Stoudemire
3. Tim Duncan
4. Steve Nash
5. LeBron James

Also in the running are Allen Iverson (if Philly should improve), Shawn Marion (though he takes a backseat to Amare and Nash), Ray Allen (who is leading the surprise team of the year with big numbers), and Kobe Bryant (leading the league in scoring, carrying the playoff-bound Lakers right now). Oh right, plus you've got Shaq and Dwayne Wade in Miami to consider.


Thursday, December 16, 2004


I present to all of ye: comic genius.


Darling, it's better down where it's wetter 

The sentiment behind this stunt is, how you say, a little less than friendly. I have to sheepishly admit, though, there is something kinda funny about it. Well, this line specifically:

The burka incident is just the latest of a slew of mishaps that have befallen her.

I just love the idea that The Little Mermaid is constantly under attack and all she can do in defense is lay about on that large chunk of granite. Such venom against her, too! All she wants to do is walk, people! She just wants to be one of us. Is that so wrong? Should we condemn her back to the sea for having such dreams?

Sure, go for it.

Incidentally, it does look as if Turkey will enter the EU.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Next time I write something here 

I'll be doing it live from Phoenix, AZ. Valley of the Sun and home of the dry heat. I suppose that makes it similar to hell. The folks are there, the brother is there, some good friends are there. Right now, I'll be in AZ for a little under two weeks. Chances are, however, that I'll have lost my mind after day four. So drink up for your old boy Alan. He'll need it... maybe... probably not... okay, maybe. At least I'll have a car down there.

Kung Fu Illin'
Dope Fly Chillin'
I Murder Like A Villain
I Ate Bob Dylan
Soulful Killin'
I'll Have Another Beer While I Eat some Chicken



Sunday, December 12, 2004

"Stop Snitching" 

Oh my god. How much worse is it going to get for the NBA before fans start to care in earnest? Regardless of whether or not Carmelo Anthony actually says anything in this DVD, it is clear that he associates himself with this particular lifestyle and the messages expressed within it.

Oh NBA... why can't you just clone Magic, Larry, Michael, and Isiah? You'd be so likable.


Whoa, what?! 

Okay, I've heard of feuding amongst teammates in sports, but I had no idea about this.

Frankly, I heard the radio interview Kobe gave last week where he guessed that Malone wasn't coming back to the Lakers this season. There really wasn't any content in there that Malone should've found offensive. Ah, but now we see there is a deeper root to the bickering: a woman!


An announcement 

I am now an associate member of the Writers Guild of America. Progress is being made.


Saturday, December 11, 2004

Two unrelated thoughts 

1. Whiskey starts the night off as your friend and by morning transforms into your undoing. Then the next night, you accept him back and absolve him off any wrong-doing from the night before. I didn't get sick last night, but who knew that 6 shots during pre-party followed by copious amounts of Jack Daniels could lead to a craving for greasy food and immobility the next day? Haven't been that hammered in a while. Fortunately, I was able to avoid making a total ass of myself... I think.

2. The scene between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in Closer is the best in film this year. You know which one I'm talking about. The scene. This movie is quite brilliant. Excellent performances across the board, especially Clive Owen.


Thursday, December 09, 2004


I just blurbed about this on Begum, but hey, why not throw it on here as well?

Saw Life Aquatic last night with Asa and it was oddly disappointing. I know! I don't get it either. It has all the sensibilities of a Wes Anderson film -- the look, the humor, the sense of desperation bubbling just below the surface of it's offbeat characters -- but somehow I felt empty when the end credits rolled. Can't put my finger on why, exactly. The pacing felt pretty slow even though, in retrospect, it was probably paced at the same pace Royal Tenenbaums moves along. But Tenenbaums pops. It clicks right along. Not really the case here with Aquatic. Asa mentioned it last night, but the reason could be that Owen Wilson did not co-write this effort with Anderson as he did in the previous three. The characters don't feel engaging at all, either. There's interesting stuff happening on screen, but I'm just vaguely bored watching it, even if the occasional one-liner grabs me.

Still worth seeing, but you'd be wise to drop those expectations just a little.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Steven Gerrard, I could kiss you 

An incredible game tonight for Liverpool as they launch into the next round of Champions League play. It's one of the finest efforts in the club's history. With Monaco killing Deportivo in the other group match, Liverpool had to win to advance -- and win by two clear goals due to tiebreakers.

An excerpt from the Liverpool FC homepage:

Liverpool continued to press forward but when an unmarked Kewell headed into the arms of the keeper 15 minutes from time you sensed it was not going to be our night.
But not one player in a red shirt gave up the fight and when Mellor came off the bench and made it 2-1 on 80 minutes Anfield exploded.
The Greeks were visibly shaken and the red tide surged forward. Time continued to tick away and as the clock moved onto 86 minutes Gerrard unleashed a 30-yard screamer that whistled into the far corner of the net.
It's debatable whether this famous old ground has ever known scenes like the ones that followed and with a place in the last 16 of Europe's premier cup competition secured, let's hope more will follow.
We've heard all about the legendary European occasions of the past against Inter Milan and St Etienne.
This was as good, if not better!


Seeing Life Aquatic tonight! 

I'm psyched for the new Wes Anderson flick so I feel extra happy to be seeing it a couple days before it's release. If nothing else, these last couple weeks have presented me with the opportunity to see several advance screenings. But I wasn't exactly allowed to see all of them. Let me explain.

About a week ago, there was a guy handing out passes for free movie screenings in front of the gym. I got one, saw the movie, done and done. The film, incidentally, is the forthcoming In Good Company which is thoroughly "okay." Nothing's wrong with it, it's mostly entertaining, but it didn't have that punch for me to run out and recommend it.

At any rate, I'm back at the gym a couple days later and this same guy is handing out passes to a "kid's movie." I'm curious and ask which one. It's the Jim Carrey, Series of Unfortunate Events. I say, "hey sure, I'll grab one." But the guy hesitates for a moment and asks if I have kids. "Um... no. But... I... uh... have some nephews!" Are they under 14? "Uh... I think so? Why?" The guy proceeds to explain to me that if I don't have kids under age 14, I can't go to the show. So, rather than concoct a hair-brain scheme to abduct two children and take them to a movie, I let it go.

Right next to the movie guy, though, is a woman also passing out movie passes. She's distributing for Spanglish, the new Adam Sandler, James L. Brooks movie. I like Brooks a lot, so I say, "Yeah, I'll take one." She's about to give me a pass, then stops and asks, "Are you 35?"
Me: Uh, no. Why?
Her: Oh, well do you have a girlfriend or a wife who is 35?
Me: Well... ah, no.
Her: Oh that's okay, maybe you could just bring a friend?
Me: Do they have to be 35 or older?
Her: Yeah. Sorry.

Damn it, since when did I have to fit into a demographic that wasn't male age 18-49? Stupid target audiences.

So yeah. Life Aquatic! Whoo!


Jesus is very creepy 

It's a simple question, really. Why hast thou forsaken me? Oh god, the horror. Play around with the cursor while trembling at the site of this horrible head. I promise you'll feel your skin crawling.

Note: Make sure the sound is on.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Forgone conclusion 

Yesterday I did something I almost never do: watch sports. Now I'm talking about them. Man, I never do that. Anyway, the title of this post is in reference to the Philadelphia Eagles chances of playing in the Superbowl this year. You may as well pen them in as the NFC representative. Yesterday, they dismantled Green Bay in a game that was supposed to showcase the two best teams the NFC had to offer. Philly was up 35-0 at halftime, 47-3 after three quarter, and finally 47-17 winners. For my money, Green Bay is still the second best team in the NFC. That's how much of a gap there is between the Eagles and the rest of the conference.

I stand by my preseason prediction of New England over Philly in the Superbowl. Pittsburgh is playing well, yes (and Roethlisberger was able to lead an impressive drive yesterday, keying a win over Jacksonville despite the absence of "PFJ" on his shoes), but I think they'll lose to a Patriots side that has Corey Dillon in the mix.

What about Indianapolis? Yeah, what about 'em. The offense in on fire and will probably earn Peyton Manning MVP honors, but they can not put up 40+ points against the like of New England or Pittsburgh or even Baltimore for that matter. In the end, the Colts will be an also-ran.


Know what's not stupid? College basketball. 

Caught the Wooden Classic yesterday and am relieved to say that Arizona didn't pick up their third loss of the season before mid-December. Actually, much like the Wake Forest game, the Cats dominated for about thirty minutes before collapsing on defense and allowing Mississippi St. back into the game. If not for some tremendous moves by high-flying Hassan Adams and a dominating performance from Channing Frye, MSU probably would've taken it. God knows Arizona gave them chances. The Wildcats turned the ball over seemingly at every possible moment in the last ten minutes. My friend Kenneth pointed it out yesterday and I'm sad to say I agree with him: UofA is a first half team. At least at this stage they are. Miss. St. had no business losing by only four, especially when All-American Lawrence Roberts was completely shut down by Frye. It really was a great effort from Frye. He owned Roberts at every turn in the game. Owned him. Has a deed and everything.

Second matchup was a great look at what Boston College is capable of this season and what UCLA will be able to put together next season. BC won the game going away in the end, but it was tightly contested. Craig Smith is a guy I've known to be a stud for a long time, but for obvious reasons he doesn't get much publicity out west. Let me tell you now, though. This guy can play in the pros. UCLA is incredibly young. They had four freshman running the floor at several points yesterday. Tell you what, though, keep an eye on them come later this season. When Pac 10 play gets under way, I think UCLA will be a dangerous opponent. They've got a legit shot at a top three finish. We're starting to see Ben Howland's touch on the court with his latest recruiting class. Their backcourt impresses me, especially. Jordan Farmar is gifted. The guy has great court vision and more poise than he really ought to for a freshman. His partner at shooting guard, Arron Afflalo, has a lot of potential, too. If UCLA gets consistent play from the frontcourt, watch out for them to make a serious move in February and pencil them in as a serious Pac 10 contender for next year.

Not in the Wooden Classic, but how about the last two games George Washington University has rattled off? Upset wins over Michigan State (very overrated, but still) and Maryland. Looks like the Colonials could be pegged as this year's Cinderella, although I've never thought that the Atlantic 10 conference merited "Cinderella" status. They're definitely better than that, as St. Joe's (in for a rough year) and Xavier proved definitively last year.

Just for the hell of it, my Final Four as it stands today.

Georgia Tech
Oklahoma St.
North Carolina


College Football is stupid 

Of course, this should be nothing new to anyone with a passing interest in college football. The final BCS rankings released yesterday just reaffirm what I've been preaching for a long long time: the college football season is, essentially, a waste of time. Consider the following.

Auburn finished the season undefeated and were champions of the SEC conference which was far and away the toughest conference in America this season. Not even a question. Easily the most difficult. Among Auburn's victims this season were defending co-national champ LSU, Georgia (whom they dismantled), Alabama, and Tennessee (twice!). Yet Auburn, despite doing everything they were asked to do in order to get a chance to play in the national title game (the Orange Bowl this season) will have to settle for the Sugar Bowl. The meaningless Sugar Bowl. There, they'll play a Virginia Tech squad that never really factored into the national picture all season long.

Oklahoma, instead of Auburn, will play USC in the title game. USC has been #1 since the start of the season and are unquestionably deserving of a place in the championship game. Oklahoma? Well, this is two seasons in a row, now, that Oklahoma is "that team" that probably doesn't deserve to be playing in the national title game, but will because of their name recognition. OU rolled in a pretty weak Big 12 conference this season with their only marquee victory coming over Texas (more on that fiasco later). Just Texas. That's it, really. They beat a relatively miserable Colorado team for the Big 12 title. Colorao? Who cares! Fact is that Oklahoma fattened up on a mediocre conference and were tested mightily by the likes of Oklahoma St. and Texas A&M. Two years in a row that they've caught an undeserving break.

Speaking of undeserving breaks, how about Texas? The Longhorns were fifth in both polls behind California. Due to the convoluted, bureacratic crapper that is the BCS, Utah's inclusion in the top six meant that there was only room for either Cal or Texas to get the final BCS birth (there are 8, for all you playing at home). Going into this past Saturday, Cal, as mentioned before, was ahead of Texas in both the AP and Coaches poll as well as the B(C)S. Cal defeated a game Southern Mississippi team on the road. Texas did not play. So tell me, then, how is it fair that Texas jumped probably the second best team in the country (Cal) in the BCS? It's not! It makes no sense. It's not right. How do you tell a team that they were better off not playing than winning a tough road game? It goes against every single competitive tendancy known to man. Cal's only loss? USC. A game that Cal, by all rights, should have won! Texas' only setback was to Oklahoma. Yup, the Big 12 is getting a free pass this year for no apparent reason.

Because no bowl games besides the Orange Bowl matter this year (no game besides the "title" game has ever mattered since the advent of the BCS), the conference champions have filled out the other BS affiliated bowls.

Orange: USC vs. Oklahoma -- probably will be a good game.
Sugar: Auburn vs. Virginia Tech -- if Auburn wins, they should be co-champs even though they were never given the chance to be outright champs.
Rose: Michigan vs. Texas -- Cal should be here and instead goes to the worthless Holiday Bowl. What an insult! Also, this game? Who cares.
Fiesta: Utah vs. Pittsburgh -- talk about a crap matchup. The ratings will tank and tank hard for this one. Pitt is mediocre at best, but won the Big East which probably isn't even as good as the Mountain West Conference. Speaking of the MWC, Utah (also unbeaten!) is about as attractive a team for a new year's day bowl as Edward James Olmos is a beauty queen. The Fiesta is going to lose lots of money this year and I'll be cheering all the while as it happens.

Again, I can't see any reason beyond having an affiliation to one of the schools that anyone would give a crap about a game that isn't the Orange Bowl this season. They're exhibition games. They don't matter. Auburn or Texas or Utah will not have a chance to progress to the next round of playoff competition and fairly have a chance at a championship. All things being equal, this season is no different that playing a video game and simulated all the matchups for your school instead of physically playing. It's true for Cal who got screwed despite winning this weekend and it's true for Auburn who only went undefeated a won the toughest conference in America decisively. Too bad for them that preseason favoritism was on the side of Oklahoma.

My largest complaint with college football has always been that the regular season has more significance than the post season. There is no other sport in the world where this is the case (and there shouldn't be because every freaking idiot knows that the playoffs are what matter and the regular season should dictate seeding for the post season). Now, however, it appears that I'm wrong. Not even the regular season matters.


Saturday, December 04, 2004

All things being equal, no higher power really cares 

The NFL has ordered Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to remove the letters "PFJ" from his shoes during games. "PFJ" stands for "Play For Jesus." Yeah, 'cause Jesus really gives a rat's ass if you beat Jacksonville this Sunday.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

The prison system finally puts it's foot down 

They pulled violent video games from prisons in Missouri. Here's my question, and bare with me on this one: It's a prison, right? Jail? So tell me, why the fuck are they even allowed to play video games at all?!

If I had my way, prison would be a labor camp. No one's playing PS2 or watching cable in my jail.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Bloody Hell 

Can you believe it's already December? Cripes. No biggie, though. This year has kinda blown anyway. 2004: Always leave a man behind. Looking for 2005 slogans, currently. At the moment, "Everything is face," seems to be the frontrunner. Suggestions? But still, time flies. No real purpose to this post other than to say hello to all of you in the land of the living. Yes, that's right. I'm dead. Well, maybe bored is more like it. Just watched Illinois demolish Wake Forest in college hoops (something Arizona couldn't do) in what was supposed to be a, uh, "great matchup." I assure you, it was not. Illinois, right now, best team in the country. Their three guard combo reminds me an awful lot of the '97 champion Arizona squad.

I'm going Jean Pierre Jeu-NUTS over here. Rewatched Amelie again today after seeing A Very Long Engagement this past weekend. Both films are excellent. The latter is definitely one of this year's best. That Jeunet, he's good. Yup.

If there are any comic book fans out there, you should read "Preacher." Chances are, if you're into comics, you've already read it and are saying to yourself, "Pfft, already read it, ass!" If that's the case, hey, suck it. But I was only introduced to it not long ago. That Garth Ennis sure as hell knows what he's doing. Check out "Preacher." It's quite the page turner.

Continuing on the random tip, don't you hate it when you call someone and leave them a message, then when they call you back, they tell you they didn't listen to your message? That really bugs me. Why the hell did you bother calling me back, then? Maybe I didn't have to talk to you, just leave you a message. Or maybe you could take five seconds to listen to your stupid voicemail. Conversely, if someone were to call me and not leave a message, hell if I'm calling them back. If it's important, you leave a message. So when the hell did I turn into grumpy Jerry Seinfeld? Eh, whatever...

I totally vacuumed my room today.


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