Monday, February 28, 2005


I guess the Academy really doesn't like Martin Scorsese. As trivial a matter as it is, Eastwood receiving best director last night proves there is no justice in Hollywood. That's not even a slight on Clint, per se, but rather an observation that by all rights Scorsese should have three Oscars on his mantle. Utterly stupid. Compounding the oversight is the fact that The Aviator also won for editing and cinematography, two categories that traditionally (if both are claimed by the same film) fall in line with best director. Ri-god-damn-diculous.

Other thoughts on last night --

- All winners with the exception of director were very predictable (you'll notice below that I got all but that one)

- Chris Rock is a very funny man (still)

- Sean Penn is a pretentious asshole (still)

- The "minor" categories (i.e. makeup, costumes, sound, etc) should feel very insulted for either having to stand in line on stage and wait for them name to be called or not even have the chance to go to the podium at all. I know people tune in to see the stars, but is anyone really going to turn the broadcast off because it took an extra minute for the best short animated film winner to walk up to the stage and say thank you? No. These people put in as much effort into filmmaking as any other part of a production. The least the Academy can do is afford them the right to feel recognized.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

The good son 

Sorry, no Culkin in this post. The "good son" in this case is me. But really, the "smarmy son" would be more accurate. Why? Today is my parents' 27th anniversary and on top of the cards and other arrangements I have already sent to them, I sent the following message on an egreeting:

Dear Mom and Dad,

If the two of you never got married, I wouldn't be here. So even if you're kind of tired of the whole marriage thing, now, you have to figure it was worth it if only for me. Have a happy happy happy anniversary and thank you both for everything.


It's short. It's sweet. It's true. Tell me you can do better and I'll buy you a nice shiny treat. Like a half a loaf of day-old bread or something exciting like that.

Enjoy your Saturday.


Friday, February 25, 2005

Thank God it's Friday 

I know you're with me on this one. Yeah, it was a short work week, but I'll be damned if I'm not really tired right now for some reason. Feh.

Anyway, last night Arizona survived a poor performance against Washington St. Probably too busy looking ahead to tomorrow's conference decider against Washington. In the win last night, Lute Olson tied John Wooden for most Pac 10 victories.

On the pro scene, the trade deadline passed yesterday. Marc Stein dissects. Couple thoughts on the NBA trades:

- Vin Baker is still in the league?!

- Is Antoine Walker returning to Boston Danny Ainge's way of saying, "Yeah, I don't really know what I'm doing?"

- What the hell is Golden St. doing with Baron Davis? They'll waste his talent.

- What the hell is Golden St. doing with Nikoloz Tskitishvili? Most overrated "commodity" in the league.

- Isiah Thomas is hell-bent on destroying the Knicks.

- Keith Van Horn to Dallas. Who cares?

- Aside from 76ers robbing Sacramento blind and grabbing Mr. Regular Season, Chris Webber, I think the Spurs had the next best move acquiring Nazr Mohammed. San Antonio look a solid bet to win the title.

Oh yeah, Oscars are this Sunday. Haven't put too much thought into these picks, but here they are.

Best Picture
Winner: Million Dollar Baby -- It's the darkhorse, but everyone seems to be falling all over themselves for the tearjerker. Can't say I agree with it, but I wouldn't be shocked.
Runner-up: The Aviator -- Definitely the favorite to win (a Hollywood story about Hollywood), but maybe being too giant a project might turn off some voters.
Rooting for (seen 4/5): Sideways

Best Actor
Winner: Jamie Foxx -- Did you see his Golden Globes speech?
Runner-up: Leonardo DiCaprio -- Absolutely terrific performance. Might curry favor with older crowd enamored by Howard Hughes.
Rootin for (seen 4/5): Don Cheadle

Best Actress
Winner: Hilary Swank -- I'm so close to changing this to Annette Bening because she's "owed one" (whatever that means) and Swank has won in the past, but Swank is amazing and carries MDB. I don't buy the nobody saw "Being Julia" argument, though. Nobody saw "Blue Sky" either, but Jessica Lange still won.
Runner-up: Annette Bening. Don't count out Catalina Sandeno Moreno, though. Swank and Bening could split the vote, leaving Moreno an opening.
Rooting for (seen 2/5): Hilary Swank

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Morgan Freeman -- Always the toughest category to pick every year, but this is essentially Freeman's lifetime achievement award. One top notch performance after another and while this role might not match up to those of his past, it's probably worthy of a statue.
Runner-up: Alan Alda -- Perfect in The Aviator. An old favorite in town. Golden Globe winner Clive Owen (probably my favorite performance of the year) also has a fighting chance.
Rooting for (seen 5/5): Clive Owen

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Cate Blanchett -- Overwhelming favorite. Charming as hell. An Oscar performance.
Runner-up: Laura Linney -- Honestly, Blanchett leaves everyone else in the rear view.
Rooting for (seen 5/5): Cate Blanchett

Best Director
Winner: Martin Scorsese -- Finally!
Runner-up: Clint Eastwood -- Everybody loves Clint. I think if there's a split this year between Picture and Director then he'll have to settle for only taking best picture. Poor guy... Plus he already has a best director.
Rooting for (seen 3/5): Martin Scorsese

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Charlie Kaufman -- Genius finally acknowledged. Having the WGA award under his belt is a good omen, too.
Runner-up: Brad Bird -- Maybe no bigger crowd pleaser than "The Incredibles." But it's animated which, unfortunately, is a strike against it.
Rooting for (seen 4/5): Charlie Kaufman

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor -- It won't win best picture, so the critical praise for "Sideways" will manifest itself into a best screenplay award.
Runner-up: Paul Haggis -- You just never know. "Million Dollar Baby" might have people under a mystic trance.
Rooting for (seen 3/5): Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor

Phew! Covered the gammit there. Cheers.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

It's a House of Cosbys 

This gem courtesy of the mastodons who grabbed it off Channel 101. Really, it's hilarity must be shared with all. I'm Dancin' Cosby.

**You'll want audio for this.


Can it be that the Silver & Black is back? 

Could be the biggest acquisition the NFL has seen in the last five years: Randy Moss to the Raiders? His agent says it's done. Really, it seems like a natural fit. The Raiders like to air it out on offense and there's no better receiver in the game -- baggage and all -- than Moss. Plus he's a bad seed, the Raiders used to have a bad boy image. Fits, no? Oakland still need to address a long list of concerns before they get better. Giving up Napolean Harris depletes the linebacking core immediately as he was their best and they still don't have a running back -- something that #7 overall pick in the draft could've gone a long way to helping. But they resigned Porter who would combine with Moss (if the trade happens) for a spectacular receiving duo and put the franchise tag on Charles Woodson. So at least a couple key players will be around next season.


My night at the WGA Awards 

Okay, this happened last Saturday, but I'm only getting around to it now. Thinking about it, though, I wonder how good a story it makes? Could be kind of blah, so I offer a preemptive apology. "Sorry, I guess..."

First off, I was invited to the Palladium as a guest of the WGA along with a score of others involved in the big reality campaign. So, really, I felt pretty honored and was happy about not having to pay a $115 fee for a seat. It would've been far too much to pay for the niblet of chicken and the four mini-roasted potatoes they served at dinner. Dinner, by the way, was served at 4pm. Awesome. Barely enough time for the first couple of cocktails to kick in.

We're dining and drinking and having a good time. A friend and I saunter around the room with wine glasses, so nouveau riche in our wide-eyed enthusiasm at mingling with celebs. Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy are dining already. To my left I spy Dennis Haysbert, also known as President Bonesaw McGraw from 24. To the right I see Rachel Bilson, also known as the chick on The O.C. who dressed up as Wonder Woman. Mmm... Give me a second here...

Okay. We're back.

As we take our seats, there are copies of The Hollywood Reporter and Written By on our seats. My friend looks at the table immediately next to us and points out a man, about 5'8" with short black hair seated next to Sandra Oh. She asks me, "Who is that?" I pick up my copy of Written By and point my finger at the face on the cover. "That's Alexander Payne." Now that is serendipity, people! Also seated at Payne's table is this 14 year-old boy (which I can only assume must've been his son) with long flowing blonde hair down to his back and an unusually feminine complexion. It took a few of us at my table a little while to realize that it was actually a pubescent boy and not some Hollywood harlet all gussied up for the ball.

Every awards show has a host and, unfortunately, this one is no different. However, the host didn't quite have the star quality you might expect. It was Jay Peterman from Seinfeld. Not the actual Jay Peterman (duh), but the actor who played him -- John O'Hurley. Since no one in the universe recognizes the name "John O'Hurley," we'll stick to calling him "Jay Peterman." After all, that is how he was introduced by the PA announcer (Yes. Really!). Much like Billy Crystal at the Oscars, Jay Peterman insisted on doing a song and dance routine to open up the evening. I don't think I have to tell you how absurd this is, but the difference between imaging such a debacle and actually seeing it is vast. Very very vast... vast. The jingle that followed in which Jay Peterman claims to have invented the phrases "Don't I know you?" and "Fade to black" left half the audience cackling at how dumb this all is and the other half talking loudly (and I mean loudly) amongst themselves.

The rest of the evening carried on in standard awards fashion. Though, it was a speedy 2 1/2 hours. You have no idea how draining those commercials are. At one point I excused myself to head to the restroom. On the way there, I noticed the pubescent 14 year-old harlet boy from Payne's table a few strides in front of me. As we're heading into the bathroom, an elderly man probably in his 100s is heading out. He stops Harlet Boy and says with astonishing conviction, "This is the men's room. You can't go in there." The boy doesn't pay him mind and continues. Again, the old man bellows, "Hey, can't go in there! It's a men's room!" I'm doing all I can to not laugh in both of there faces and double over on the floor. I and another gentleman had to assure the old man that Harlet Boy was, in fact, a boy. The look of incredulity on his geriatric face was unparalleled to anything I've seen in recent years. He walked off in a huff while a couple other guys in the bathroom teased Harlet Boy that maybe it was time to get a haircut. Good times.

The night ended pleasantly. Big winners were Charlie Kaufmann (yes!) and Alexander Payne. It was all over by... oh my, 7:30. Splendid. I then proceed to drink and smoke until five in the morning, forgetting occasionally that I was even at the show at all. Delightful. I have to reiterate just how awful Jay Peterman was: He was awful.

Not satisfied? Okay, try this one. I've had a pair of suspenders and a red bow tie sitting in the back seat of my car for five months. And they're not even mine!



Bubble talk 

ESPN calls this week "Judgement Week." Last week was "Rivalry Week" and soon we'll be in (gasp!) "Championship Week!" If you're totally lost, I am of course referring to this current stellar college basketball season. It's make or break, do or die for a lot of programs as we head down the stretch. Last night alone provided a myriad of games with significant post-season implications.

- Not a bubble team at all, but Oklahoma St. got upset at Nebraska. Stunning. Could affect their bid for a 1 seed.

- LSU is playing their win into the tournament and no one seems to be paying attention. Brandon Bass is the real deal in the SEC and last night's freaking awesome buzzer beater over Alabama, in my mind, puts LSU in the field of 65 right now.

- North Carolina St. has been making a push of late, but were unable to overcome giant NC.

- Still in the ACC, there's no team in the country that is more perplexing than Maryland. None. How can you sweep Duke and then get swept by Clemson?! NC State has beaten them twice, too. I don't get the Terps. If they get into the tourney, it should be as a 10 seed or below.

- Miami (still ACC) beat Florida St. Hurricanes are fortifying their surprising resume. Teams with low expectations entering the season that overachieve usually find a place in March.

- Texas Tech beat Texas. Two programs going in opposite directions.

- Hottest team in the Big 12 took a hit last night. Iowa St. fell to Texas A&M who, believe it or not, still has a chance of making the tournament. The Aggies need a strong finish and at least one victory in the conference tournament to get there.

Hey, this past Monday, Kansas lost a third consecutive game -- the first time that's happened in eleven years!

Coming up this week, Pac 10 showdown: Arizona visits Washington. The conference title hangs in the balance. Oh, and for the record, UofA's Salim Stoudamire (not Duke's J.J. Redick) is the best shooter in the country. Period. My boy went crazy last Sunday from 3 point land against Oregon St. Redick would have to hit eighty-some-odd consecutive 3s to match Stoudamire's proficiency. Guess what? Ain't gonna happen.

I love prognosticating the field for March. Here's ESPN's latest Bubble Watch.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What's an NHL? 

As a sad juxtaposition to the post below, here's a strong piece from Bill Plaschke out of Sunday's LA Times, bemoaning the casualties of the good guys in this horrible mess of a labor dispute. Not even Gretzky and Lemieux could save it. This league? Totally pooched.


Do you believe in miracles?! 

Today is the 25th anniversary of the most important game in American history and, in my opinion, the greatest game of all time. Period. To argue against this is to misunderstand everything in the world and admit a deeply, deeply profound ignorance.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

And the buffalo roam... 

One of the best authors, and certainly one of my favorites, just put a bullet in his own head. Perhaps the most unique, funny, and provocative voice of his era has
silenced himself.
Truly revolutionary.

Man... and so soon after Arthur Miller, too. The saying goes that they come in threes. Hurm...

R.I.P. Hunter


Friday, February 18, 2005

This country is screwed 

No, not the USA (although check back in a couple years for a real horror show). I'm talking about the homeland. I can just imagine Mbeki now. 'Hey, if we pretend HIV/AIDS isn't a big deal, then it isn't! Wait, what's this? Our mortality rate has rocketed into another stratosphere in the last five years? Well, I don't understand why. Argh... I don't know what I'm doing.'

But hey, there's hope isn't there?

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, speaking on Friday before the Stats SA figures were released, said the government was doing its best amid confusion about the extent of the disease and numbers of people needing treatment.

"Give me a country that has precise figures. Everybody is working on projections and we were working on projections too," she told reporters in Cape Town.

"You really are working in the dark ... so you just give the medicines hoping God will help us and be on our side."

So screwed...


Trust your instincts? 

Between Ebert's review and the cream of the crop at Rotten Tomatoes, it would appear that my gut reaction to Constantine was dead on. But the only two people I know who have seen it say that's not the case. Well, guess I'll have to see it for myself if I really want to know. Bad movies tend to hurt less when you see them for free. I'm sure I'll have time to check it out over the long weekend.


I find it disturbing... 

... that the cursor on the Lakers homepage is a McDonalds icon. Seriously. Product placement has found yet another avenue to assault you.

The Lakers are coming off a win over Utah on Tuesday, but limp into the All-Star break having lost five of their last seven. Thankfully, five of their next six opponents when they come back from break are sub .500 (two of those are against Boston who, I just checked, is one game above .500 -- but it's Boston).

Additionally, thank goodness Kobe is back. Lakers are clinging to the 8th and final playoff spot, right now, but fading fast. Kevin McHale assuming coaching duties in Minnesota seems to have sparked the T-Wolves. Memphis is playing well and Houston is absolutely on fire heading into the break, owners of an 8 game winning streak.


I heart college basketball 

Any night that features a stunning upset over your most hated of all sports entities and a sound walloping over one of your conference rivals is a great one.

As I've said many times before, I just love it when Duke loses. Call it pettiness. Call it contempt. Call it blind envy. I just love it. It's enough that they're simply unlikable, but ESPN has the biggest hard-on for them, too. So practically every Duke game -- even the ones against lowly Davidson -- are televised nationally. They're just going to shove the Blue Devils down your throat and force you not to like them. Any Duke fans out there? Kiss my ass. Even with this stunning loss to a surprising Virginia Tech squad, Duke is overachieving so far this season. But it won't last. Why? Blue Devils have trouble rebounding and are plagued with a short bench. Even the Hokies figured it out:

Behind 14 points and 18 rebounds from Coleman Collins, Virginia Tech outrebounded Duke 49-32. The Hokies got J.J. Redick in foul trouble for the first time this season and they blocked 12 shots, making All-America candidates Redick and Shelden Williams work extra hard for shots.

As far as Arizona demolishing Oregon, it's nice to see an all-around effort like this from the Wildcats. Granted, when you shoot lights out, nobody can stop you. But I was relieved to see that Salim Stoudamire didn't simply quit on the game after a sluggish start and excited about Channing Frye's dominating output.

Oregon might be the most disappointing program in the nation. I was one of many who figured the Ducks could have been shooting for a top 4 spot in the Pac 10 and a shot at an NCAA invite. Well... looks like they'll be struggling for an NIT spot.

Bracket Buster Saturday is tomorrow! Contrived? Yes. Good exposure for the little guys? You bet! The following three games are the ones you should pay most attention to, as each of the six below 1) should make the tournament and 2) definitely have the ability to play Cinderella and wreck some office pools.

Vermont vs. Nevada
UTEP vs. Pacific (ranked 19 this week)
Miami (OH) vs. Wichita St.

Selection Sunday is exactly one month from this Sunday. I'm so ready.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hit list 

The voices in my head are shouting. They span the spectrum. Here's what they say:

- "Syria out, Syria out!" scream the Lebanese. Suddenly, we're looking at a possible rehash of 1975-1990. Attention NATO: Why haven't you dealt with Syria? Clearly a nation that stands as the foremost roadblock to peace.

- I know I'm probably the only one, but a single tear will shed as soon as the NHL announces today (finally) that the season has been lost. Though there were last ditch efforts to impliment a measly 28 game regular season as recently as yesterday. What the crap is that worth? The players association did finally realize that the league won't survive without a salary cap. I suppose that's a good sign that this thing will be resolved in the summer. I'll be there when the NHL comes back. I just can't imagine that anyone else will. All online polls show that "I don't care" is the most common response to "What will you miss most once the NHL cancels their season?"

- There's no better place to spend Valentine's Day than at Jumbo's Clown Room in Los Angeles. Let me preface by saying that a bunch of us were there for a birthday party as per the birthday girl's request. Jumbo's is a hole-in-the-wall strip joint that may or may not feature transvestites. None of us who were there can be 100% positive, but I think that of the six dancers we can agree that at least one -- this really busted he/she wearing a collar to cover her adam's apple -- was once a complete "he." Jumbo's is a lot smaller and far more brightly lit than I ever imagined. The fun of the place, really, isn't so much watching the girls dance as much as it is giggling with your friends about which one may or may not have a penis. Fun times.

- Importance of family can never be taken for granted. The more family-related deaths I encounter from other people (and it seems that there has been an unfortunate slew of that lately) the more prominent this is. Take a minute and appreciate.

- "Oh, you're Alan. Wait... The Alan? Oh my gosh! I've been hearing about you since freshman year of college." Here's the catch, I didn't go to college with this girl. I've never seen or heard of this girl. The birthday party I was at on Saturday night is the first time (everyone had their birthday within the last three weeks, by the way) I'm meeting her. Has this ever happened to you? You show up at a party where you only really know the girl of the hour and no one else, yet people recognize who you are? It's strangely unsettling, especially when you ask what exactly they've been hearing about you for all these years and they don't tell you anything specific except to say, "Good things" and grin devilishly. Eeep. I always prefer knowing why, exactly, I have fans.

- One month to the NCAA tournament. OhmygodIcantastethesweetsweetgoodnessrightnow! My favorite annual event. Mmm... college basketball. The last couple nights have been nothing short of awesome. Two top 5 teams dropping in as many days. First Texas Tech beats #2 Kansas in double overtime in what surely has to be one of the best games of the season, then last night #3 Kentucky gets ambushed on the road against South Carolina. The intensity level around the nation picks up right now. God, I love it.

- Apparently, at the end of last Friday night I said someone was going to masturbate to her favorite band after she got out of the car and could still hear me. I should probably clear that up with her as I was blasted off six Jack & Cokes and a couple beers. Also, I must've have been joking, right? Right? I remember being there, but not saying anything malicious. Well, I do hear that the others in the car found it funny. Okay, have to clear that up.

- I saw a preview for this coming Sunday's episode of The Simpsons in which Springfield legalizes gay marriage. "Parental discretion is advised." This is of course, sadly, to avoid any legal trouble FOX might encounter for the episode. To the ass-faces in Tennessee and Nebraska and anywhere else that holds so-called morality above all else, I understand that there's a lot of "sensitivity" around this issue, but I also know that ignorance breeds intolerance and hate. Get off your sheltered high horse and enjoy the ride. The world is full of diversity.

- Why does the Westminster Dog Show illicit any attention from SportsCenter? Do I really have to explain my position here?

- If you come back from a weekend in Vegas and blab to me that you saw the producer's assistant -- who I care little about -- being a drunken ass like he always is, then proceed to tell me an elaborate story about it, don't follow that up with, "Oh yeah, and we saw Tom Cruise at the Bellagio." Why, you ask? Well, it seems obvious to me which story you should lead with. One's vaguely interesting.

- If you manage to obtain a quote from a co-worker such as, "My asshole didn't get ripped nearly as big as I thought it would!" You would be wise to print it out and display it all over the office. Your bosses will toast to you in the hallways and the grunts will suck up to you in the kitchen.

- I leave you with this: Part of being a dick is having fun.


Monday, February 14, 2005


There are so many better "V" words than "valentine." I'm sure I don't have to tell you what some of them are. You just giggles quietly while contemplating all the possibilities. If today matters at all to you and you're totally hopeless, use these "gems." I kind of find that article funny in a "You sorry sack, she'll love you no matter what -- just try not to think about how she'll leave you because you don't have any money" sort of way. Kind of like when you were in 4th grade and for some unknown, bizarre reason made ash trays for your parents (sometimes for Valentines Day! What?!). That always made me think twice for a couple reasons.

#1 My parents don't smoke and neither do I. Cripes! I'm only ten! So what the hell do I need a freaking ash tray for?

#2 Your parents will be "proud" of just about anything you "made for them out of love." Even if it's a cruddy piece of clay meant to contain cigarette butts that looks like pieces of a cow's heart. "Oh thanks, Jr. I always wanted to ash into a left ventricle. It's the thought that counts."

C'mon. You knew when you were ten and you should definitely know now that "she'll love it as long as it's from the heart" rings kind of hollow.

Now, I don't want to give the wrong impression here. Just because I don't care about Valentine's Day (and why should I? I'm not in a relationship) doesn't mean I hate it. So, while I'm not speaking to anyone specific, I just want to pass this message along to everyone I run into today who compulsively whines (and I mean genuinely upset that it's Feb. 14th) about how much they hate today: Shut up. Seriously. Please. Just shut the hell up. I don't care. No one cares. Just shut up. Keep it to yourself. Everyone's miserable. We don't need the constant updates.

Thing is, if you are alone today and are really bummed about it you have to check your priorities. Why does it matter so much? Because you want to be like every other Hallmark couple you see on TV giving each other Stover's chocolates and roses and having romantic dinners. Because you want to be "normal" like everyone else. Well, here's a clue: in the real world, normalcy can be mostly equated to solitude and loneliness. While I'll say that companionship is incredibly important, I'm not about to throw myself off a bridge just because I'm not with anyone on this, one of the most contrived days of the year. It'll come. Be patient. Don't fret.

To anyone who lacks patience... Hey, I'm sure you can find a bridge. I won't stop you from jumping. It'll be just that much noise that the rest of us no longer have to be subjected to. In fact, while you're in mid-descent you should pop the below mix tape into your walkmen and enjoy.

Appropriate Soundtrack For Today

Happy by The Wrens
She Has No Time by Keane
Nothing Better by Postal Service
Lose You by Pete Yorn
Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead
Why Bother? by Weezer
Dry Your Eyes by The Streets
Gone For Good by The Shins
This Place is a Prison by Postal Service
No Surprises by Radiohead
This Year's Love by David Grey

Have a nice V, people. It isn't the end of the world. It isn't the end of apathy, either.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Meta-post modern-fantasy-surrealist-sports 

So now we all know what ex-slugger Bobby Bonilla has been up to... I guess? File this one under the, "What? This isn't really that bizarre, but it's making my head explode. How did this fluff slide by the editor? And holy crap does this so-called journalist want to flaunt the fact that he's friends with an ex-ball player" category. All of that. You file it under there. Then again, it is fantasy sports, which is to say, it's all fluff. But not this way -- not like this.

*Note: As to how I came about this tidbit. If you read the headline, "Bonilla: T.O. killed me" then you're obligated to investigate. And now you know... the rest of the story.


It's not like they're making this up 

You know, I still have a lot of respect for former NBAer Hakeem Olajuwon. I'll even give him the benefit of the doubt when he says he was unaware of where his charitable donations wound up. Here's a guy who, both as a basketball player and a humanitarian, has displayed the utmost integrity while in the public eye. Still, the whole world knows that some of these Muslim-based charities, unfortunately, are fronts. As outlandish as television shows like 24 make this out to be, it is still very much an issue and very real. It's sad that it happens, but it happens. I feel sorry for Hakeem. Seems like he was deceived. What's worse is, now, suppose he wants to send relief down to Africa. How can he be sure his charity will be used for good?


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

This will put a smile on your face 

The show I work on is the subject of a lot of fanaticism on message boards. Zealous viewers go above and beyond the call of duty to voice their opinions on the cast. One of the female castmembers on the season that is currently airing -- a promiscuous drama queen with a case history in pretty much every "Yeah, this could really mess up a person's life" area is, well, taking a beating on the boards. Though I can't say it's totally undeserved seeing as how she's pretty damn unlikable.

"She looks like one of those people in high school who always let out silent but deadlies. She just has the air of someone who smells like an old cooter fart.

And DUH those guys didn't want to bang you. They're British, all British men are gay. Plus, you smell like farts and you're a selfish whore."

Apologies to any British readers, merely casualties in the attack on this girl.


The beginning of the end? 

This is pretty significant. It looks on the surface like some actual damn progress. Within the same article are several reasons to be skeptical.

In the first reported violation of the truce, Palestinians opened fire on a car near a West Bank Jewish settlement after nightfall Tuesday and fired and threw firebombs at an army force that came to investigate, the Israeli military said. No one was hurt. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah (news - web sites) movement, claimed responsibility.

"What we agreed upon today is simply the beginning of the process of bridging the gap," Abbas said.

Sigh... so what you're saying is, "We agree that the idea of the ceasefire is a good one, but don't feel the need to adhere to it." Great. That's just great. Don't ever speak about "moral highground" ever.

Oh, and even though Israel released hundreds of prisoners last week, there's this gem:

The first crack in the optimistic front came from the violence Islamic Hamas, responsible for dozens of suicide bombings that killed hundreds of Israelis.

Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, said Israel did not fulfill Palestinian demands to release prisoners and halt aggression. Therefore, he said, the truce is not binding on Hamas.

Yeah, that bodes well.


Monday, February 07, 2005

My friend, John 

What do this guy and this guy have in common? Well, they're the same person. Watch my boy bust a move!


Aww, for me? 

In honor of the weekend that was, the Israelis and Palestinians have reached an agreement in my honor. Thoughtful of them. Really.

The birthday shenanigans began with a 1/3 of a bottle of Jack on Friday and ended with one of the worst hangovers of my life Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, I was in better shape by the time the Superbowl came on. Pretty good contest. Again, no surprises here. A really pathetic offensive game plan by Philadelphia really undercut their chances of playing a balanced, mistake-free game. Absolutely ridiculous that they didn't take advantage of McNabb's mobility and utilize Brian Westbrook more. Granted, the Patriot defense was solid, but it took Philadelphia forever to figure out how to protect against the blitz and eventually they just gave up on running the ball altogether. Its absurd that they took that course since they never trailed by more than ten points. I do believe, however, that Philly will get a shot at redemption next season due to the NFC being so weak and the Eagles keeping an incredibly talented core intact. Similarly, the Patriots have a good shot of going back to the big one, but it'll be a tougher road in the AFC and an even tougher task replacing their two superb coordinators.

Some people didn't watch the Superbowl for the game itself. Others tune in for the commercials (which is really amazing when you think about it -- we HATE ads). A truly mediocre crop this year with the exception of the FedEx ad featuring Burt Reynolds. That was just awesome. It seems you're not earning your money on Madison Ave. if you don't go into Superbowl Sunday with a ridiculously self-reflexive attitude.

Keeping with the "This post is totally random" theme, I couldn't help but notice all the to-do over the upcoming election on The West Wing. I haven't watched the show in some time, now, but what a hype machine. I have a question to those who are watching: If Alan Alda (R) does win, doesn't that mean the bulk of the White House staff (read: the cast) will be fired?

Finally, a sad note. John Vernon passed last week. Many remember him as the crotchity old dean from Animal House, but I'll always think of him as the voice of this guy. There goes another small piece of my childhood.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

And the beat goes on... 

Car insurance went down today. Feel good about that. Also, this is about as nice a present as I could ask for. Thanks, UofA.


Friday, February 04, 2005

To all the Ah-Nuld fans 

Check out this gift I received this morning. I really really really really really can't stress enough how great it is; a mixture of horrible captions and irresistable charms. It hangs proudly in my office at work and makes me laugh.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It's a long shot 

Maybe I wasn't so crazy to think of Phil*. This would be such a coup if the Lakers are able to pull it off. No one would be more pissed about it than Shaquille O'Neal. Still, no matter how golden Phil Jackson is as a coach (and he is golden), the Lakers won their titles on the back of Shaquille.

After beating Portland last night, the Lakers are clinging to the 7 seed in the West (top 8 get in) and have fewer games played than Memphis, Houston, and Minnesota (who is shockingly on the outside looking in, right now) -- the three teams closest to them in the standings.

But hey, what would this franchise be without distractions and drama? Just another team. Kobe? Rudy? Phil? Questions? That's the Lakers.

* Check the Feb. 2nd section


You know work can't be bad when... 

... Your boss announces that she just received an email from the field producer saying that Guy-A and Girl-A had sex this morning. This is the business I work in.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

He's bored, folks 

It's Tuesday. At work, that means very little happens. Add that the season has just barely started and one finds a lot of time on their hands. So, naturally, I've had time this morning to goof off on the internet. Let's talk about... oh... I don't know - sports. I never do that. We lead with my beloved Lakers and some late-breaking news: Coach Rudy T. to step down? That's the word according to Ric Bucher. Two things:
1. Thank god it isn't Rudy's cancer making a return
2. If he quits, the season goes down the crapper.

My mind is racing to come up with a suitable replacement as coach for this team and no one pops to mind immediately besides Phil Jackson (and we all know that'll never happen as long as Kobe is in town). Lenny Wilkens? Nope, not the right fit. Hubie Brown? Burnt out. Look to the college ranks? And expect to reign in Kobe? Fat chance.

It's media day in Jacksonville, which I hate, but Sunday is getting closer and soon the Patriots will have their 3rd title in 4 years. These days, that's a dynasty and in football it is most certainly a dynasty. Why will the Pats win?
1. They don't make mistakes. Turnovers, penalties, nothing. They're the most fundamentally sound team out there.
2. This team knows how to make adjustments. The hallmark of any great coach is his ability to adjust and self-correct within the actual game. Bill Belichick just happens to be the best coach in the league. Case in point: their secondary has been dessimated all year, yet they completely shut down Indianapolis' lethal passing attack and put on a muzzle on Pittsburgh's, as well.
3. All around, there is more skill on the New England offensive unit than Philadelphia's. Not only that, but Corey Dillon is running like a man possessed. Additionally, if I could only choose one quarterback to send on to the field and win me a football game, I'd choose Tom Brady. Period. Some people don't think championship experience is a factor. Well, they're correct in as much as it isn't tangible, but that's a qualifier. Mentally, it's incredibly important.
4. The Eagles are happy just to be here. Did you see their celebrating after beating Atlanta? The monkey of the NFC championship game is finally off their back, I understand the relief there, but they have much bigger fish to fry. New England, by comparison, was all business after their win over the Steelers.
5. The question of Terrell Owens' health will still be a distraction. Even though reports are that he looked good in limited practice time.
6. Even if Owens does play (and I fully expect him to), I'll be very surprised if the Patriots' defense doesn't key in on Brian Westbrook. Hey, if you can eliminate both Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James in one game, surely you can take out Westbrook. The D will be playing their hearts out for Romeo Crennel who seems a lock to be the next head coach in Cleveland.
7. Adam Vinatieri: most dependable kicker in the game. If New England's two previous Superbowl wins are any indication, this game may very well come down to a field goal.

One of my favorites, Bill Simmons, is keeping a super blog for your reading enjoyment. If you can get past the Patriot bias, its a lot of fun.

Round up
- Staying in the NFL and on the topic of retirement, Emmitt Smith is finally going to hang 'em up. Consider me surprised that Smith had as good a season as he did this year. Sure is a change from the previous five where he appeared washed up. Just a bit of clarification. Emmitt Smith is not -- repeat, is not -- the greatest running back of all time. There's this guy, uh, Barry Sanders? Yeah. He never played with the best offensive line in pro football. He was better. I'll take Walter Payton and Jim Brown ahead of Smith, too. If you think Emmitt is the NFL's all time premier rusher, you probably also think Karl Malone was the best power forward in NBA history. That is to say: You're flat wrong about everything.

- The big news in baseball is that the Chicago Cubs appear to have rid themselves of locker room cancer, Sammy Sosa. What they got in return from Baltimore is modest, to say the least, but Sosa's absence will help team chemistry immensely. Sosa has never been known as a "team-oriented player" and it's well-documented that his goals have always been set on personal statistics rather than the good of the team. If his ego was elsewhere last season, the Cubs probably would've made the playoffs.

- Another proposal in the NHL labor talks -- this time from the owners. There is a proposed salary cap of $42 million. Unless the players take a cue from Jeremy Roenick and suddenly change their attitude towards the cap (an idea they flatly reject), this lockout will continue. I still can't imagine this season being salvaged.


Note to self 

Keep March 3rd and April 7th open for Sage Francis and Atmosphere (perhaps my two favorite hip-hop acts, right now) concerts in LA. Sage will be rocking The Henry Fonda which I still have yet to go to, but have heard great things about. Atmosphere's bumping at The Troubador. If you're down for either of these shows, let me know. I know Sage is a good time after seeing him last year. His new album, A Healthy Distrust, drops in a few days. I'm so there.


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