Thursday, June 29, 2006

What I've been laughing at the last two days 

And by laughing, I mean rolling-around-on-the-floor-desk-pounding-belly-aching-crying-out-of-pure-joy-can't-talk-because-it-is-too-damn-funny-laughing. At work, we conduct these interviews with cast members, see, and their very first ones are key to letting us story people know exactly what we're dealing with. In going through the introductions and asking, "Okay, tell us your name and a little about yourself?", a cast member will typically say, "Hey, I'm so-and-so. My job here in the office is blah blah. And, uh, I guess I'm kind of the perky, sassy one who likes to gossip, but takes their job very seriously type, etc, etc, etc." Point is, their answers tend to be fairly vanilla. Often times, in their banality, they'll tend to be fairly guarded about what information they share with the camera because, you know, this is going to be on TV.

If those folks are vanilla, then ladies and gents, the following is a full-on orgy of flavor. This is during the first day of shooting. It should be noted that his only two prompts were, "Introduce yourself" and, at the paragraph break, "Oh... tell us about that..." Please note that the elipses do not indicate any sort of abridging of text, but are rather intervals of thought between phrases. Also, this transcription is lifted directly from our database that loggers contribute to, so, you know, if you see any grammar and spelling errors, then tough. Not my fault.

Without further ado... the deadpan confession of an unintentionally hysterical goofball:

I’m *****, I’m the technical assistant here at ******** and I’ve been here for about 5 month… Um... I'm 21 years old I uh... I don't know... I like cars. Um... I’ve been trying to skate board, I really suck at it though. Um... I work here, I moved here like 6 months ago. Um... I’m originally from Tucson, Arizona. Uh... I went to rehab for like 6 months before I moved out here. Um... that's why I’m out here, in a half way house…In high school my friends got really into like oxicotton like I always experiment with drugs and stuff like that. Um... and uh, my senior year I got into oxicotton and started doing that everyday. And um... so I went uh, before I went to college, I went on a methadone program which is like suppose help you stop but it didn't really and I started doing heroine and Methadone, oxicotton and I went away to college for 3 months and I did drugs up there and but I couldn't get that many. And so I dropped out of college, I was going to Calpoly in San Louis Obispo. I was like doing mechanical engineering and shit. I always got good grade and stuff even though like I did a lot... of drugs. Um... so and uh, I dropped out of college after 3 months went back to Tucson, did heroine for about another four months. I did heroine and oxicotton for about 2 years. Um... and I went away to Hazleton in Minnesota which is like pretty well known. Its where the guy from a million little pieces went. And then I went to this like wilderness place in Washington for 5 months and they like march me through the woods for like a total of a month. And uh... it was pretty cool though I like learned a lot about being sober and what not and so then, I moved out here to go to a half way house and I still live in a half way house.

Living in a half way house is pretty weird. Uh... It uh... There's like 5 guys and like 10 girls and so, I don't know, I gotten in a lot of trouble there. Um... I relapsed once and got in trouble for that when I drug tested dirty and then they caught me having sex with a girl there. And they caught me hooking up with another girl there and like, their always... They kicked me off for like 3 days and I was like homeless for 3 days. I slept on my friends couches and stuff. Um... but its pretty crazy like there's a lot of drama like... I was telling them the last interview like they should definitely make a reality show about like a rehab or half way house or something. Cuz its like pretty interesting, people are like relapsing like every week and getting kicked out and having sex with each other.

You might call this a sad tale. You'd be wrong. If this means I'm going to "hell," then, fuck, hell is a pretty damn fun place to be. Everyone there has the greatest sense of humor!

Parting shot re: World Cup quarterfinals --
I'm taking Argentina over Germany, Italy over Ukraine, England over Portugal, and Brazil over France. I really, really hope that Italy and England win, as my interest in who becomes champion will evaporate entirely if they're both knocked out of the tournament. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!


Chapter 403,400,587,288,102,390 

It's just a shitty situation, isn't it?

Prayers to Eliahu Asheri.


Quick NBA Draft thoughts 

As with Superman, I wasn't seeking out analysis much on the Draft today, either. I merely had the little "Draft Cast" window open on my computer as the picks rolled out. Some thoughts...

- Obviously, I'm going to start with my Los Angeles Lakers. I was really hoping we'd draft a big man to help on the glass, preferably a power forward. What I got was a point guard. In the triangle offense run by the Lakers, point guard is quite easily the most useless position. However, there are two reasons why I'm okay with this selection. 1) It was Jordan Farmar of UCLA, the 2nd best point guard (to me) in this draft behind Marcus Williams. Farmar has all the qualities necessary to develop into a truly special floor leader in this league. 2) Who, on the Lakers current roster, is the other starting guard besides Kobe? Correct, it's Smush Parker. Who would I rather have on the floor, Jordan Farmar or Smush Parker? Look, it could be between a sack of dead bullfrogs and Smush Parker, I'm still not taking Smush. We'll see how it all pans out, but for now, I'm neither displeased nor thrilled with the Lakers' draft.

- Surprising no one, the Raptors took Andrea Bargnani with the #1 pick. The boss of Bargnani's old team in Italy, Bennton Treviso, has just recently come to Toronto as the team's new president/assistant general manager. Again, no shock here, but Bargnani isn't the best player in this draft. It remains to be seen whether or not the Italian joins the ranks Dirk, Pau, and Peja as star European players or if he flames out like freaking Nikolis Tskitishvilli, but for now, the best player in this draft is Adam Morrison. Hands down! Charlotte look the clear winner of this draft if only for their selection of Morrison. Can't wait to see what the Bobcats do with the young, talented lineup featuring Morrison, Felton, Okafor, and Sean May.

- Another huuuuuge winner in this draft: New Jersey. The Nets lucked out when Marcus Williams slid all the way down to 22. He's going to be a stellar point guard in this league and who better for him to learn from than one of the all-time best in Jason Kidd? Nabbing Josh Boone right afterwards strengthens their inside game, too, and don't dismiss their selection of Hassan Addams (UofA!!!!) in the second round. He may just be the best athlete in this draft class.

- The Duke players do not inspire me with confidence. I think J.J. Redick is going to be a tremendous flop in the NBA. I've said before that whoever drafts him is a sucker. I guess that makes Orlando a sucker. Redick isn't very athletic, can't create his own shot, and falters in big games. Welcome to nowhere, J.J. Why don't you go pick up another D.W.I. Meanwhile, Shelden Williams may have better prospects than his Duke teammate, but I think he'll settle into this league as only a role-player. I thought he was slightly overrated in college and benefitted primarily from never having to battle guys who were his size in the post. Plus, the guy's in Atlanta. That could ruin a player.

- Minnesota were almost genius when they drafted Brandon Roy, but then they shipped him for Randy Foye -- who is an excellent combo guard. Still, I don't see Foye matching the heights Roy will reach in the pros. Although, I have to temper Roy's expectations now that he and every player under the age of 20 are playing in Portland. That franchise has literally become the attic of lost toys.

- I think every single team in the league executed at least one trade tonight. What the hell?? By far, the most interesting swap was between Houston and Memphis: Rudy Gay for Shane Battier. Gay could be a star if he commits fully to the game -- something people doubt he will do. Meanwhile, Battier is an intelligent, veteran hustle player who instantly makes Houston (if healthy) a better team if only for his strong effort night-in, night-out.

- I want to see Mouhamed Saer Sene play. He's the 7-footer from Senegal who has only been playing basketball for four year. Seattle drafted him 10th overall. Let the experiment begin!


Almost 24 hours later 

And I still think that while it did entertain, Superman Returns failed to impress.

It's been a busy day and, consequently, I haven't sought out the scuttlebutt on what people's opinions are of this movie. I did feel today, as I was discussing it with some co-workers (who also saw it last night), that it really sounds like I hated the movie. That's not the case. There's a lot to like here. It just happens to be, you know, a Superman movie. Only without a climax. It looks pretty, the performances were fine (yes, even the much-sullied Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane), some of the set-pieces (THE AIRPLANE SEQUENCE!) are just flat out awesome, but when Superman Returns is all said and done... not much actually happened. Opening credits (done in the same style as the Donner films -- pretty cool) roll, John Williams' score blares (also cool) and then two and half hours later -- wondering for the last fifteen minutes when this thing is going to wrap up -- we find out that Superman is not alone on this world.

Okay. That's fine, I suppose. But what kind of tension could I possibly have expected? It's Superman! While I enjoy the character, he has perhaps the deepest flaw in fiction which is that he is infallible, unstoppable. The bad guy never has a chance. Know why? 'Cause it's freaking Superman! No one is going to get crushed by a falling building, no petty crooks are going to rob a bank, the guy saves the day continuously to the point where you're tired of him saving the day.

Maybe there are spoilers from here on
Superman can't die, either. I guess some people thought that his fate could've gone either way once he was admitted to hospital. I don't see how anyone could think it was in doubt. You can't kill Superman. And even if you do plunge a kryptonite dagger deep into his back and he crashes down to Earth from space, all he needs to recover is a kiss on the forehead. He wasn't administered any treatment because, you know, he's Superman and all.

Cyclops! Hey, I thought Cyclops was fine in this movie. I just kept wondering where the hell his visor was. Also, during the scene where Clark meets Cyclops, I so very badly wanted Lois to say, "Clark, this is my fiance, Cyclops." But alas, the rift between the DC and Marvel universes made it impossible.

There is some fantastic iconography in this film. Like I said, it's pretty well-made (save for not having a climax) and seeing things like Superman step out onto a baseball field after saving the day in dramatic fashion... it just makes me want to cry, it's so beautiful. What could possibly be more emblamatic of America than Superman (the immigrant tale) and baseball? Superb. And there are a couple shout outs to the Superman of the Max Fleisher cartoons from the 40s. I say that in reference to the physical positioning and posing of Superman's body 1) when he's turning back the inertia of the wayward plane by digging his fists into the nose of the vessel and absorbing it's force and 2) advancing on the criminal with the gatling gun and bullets deflect off his chest, the sound of machine-gun fire (almost exactly like in the Fleisher cartoons) echoing. Those things made me really happy. I like to think that was intentional.

Some yahoo in the crowd at Mann's Chinese, last night, yelled, "DO IT, BRYAN SINGER!" just before the opening credits. It got a big laugh and it's obvious why. Singer showed with X2 that he can connect with the super-nerd by appreciating the full scope of his projects. There are so many winks and nudges to the die-hards during Returns that it felt as though the whole movie was done with one eye permantly shut. Not necessarily a bad thing. Mainly just catering to the people who will appreciate this movie the most while trying to make it decent. The credits, the score, the use of actors from Superman series gone by, the famous last shot of Superman patrolling from space -- it's all fun. Definitely helps to blind us from how relatively uninteresting the story really is.

Brandon Routh did a pretty good job. He did a great impression of Christopher Reeve playing Clark Kent. Backhanded as that may be, he was very enjoyable to watch.

Anyway, yeah, it's a Superman movie. Whaddya want? Besides a fight scene?


Monday, June 26, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion 

It's a thoroughly average film. It entertains, sure, trucking right along, if not at a deliberately cumbersome pace. But I have to wonder why it necessitated a feature film. It's not much more than a live radio broadcast of the show with warm interstitials mixed in between. Had the movie been that and nothing more, I probably would've been more content with it. However, they felt the need to chuck in some stock characters that had little, if anything, to contribute. Namely, the roles played by Virginia Madsen (what a dumb storyline), Tommy Lee Jones (oooohh! aren't businessmen just awful? always wanting to make progress and turn a buck), and Kevin Kline (yes! even him! with his out-of-place Clouseau knock-off). It's enough, to me, that the "show" within the film happens to be at the end of it's run and thus opens itself to plenty of commentary about how they don't make radio like they used to. The story is paper-thin as it is, but it doesn't really need much more. Sadly, there was more...

Look, it is a warm sentiment that this movie brings to the table, but know that the happy little characters had Tommy Lee Jones killed. Uh, that would make them murderers. Good thing that angel was there to dispense her own brand of vigilante justice, ignoring that the money-hungry Texan hasn't actually done anything wrong short of being ignorant. And his death was in vain! It didn't change anything!


Having Madsen play an angel, alone, smacks of arrogance. "Hey. Hey! We've got angels on our side. Fucking angels! They'll murder for us, we're that good. Our show is so vital and important that angels will murder in cold blood for us."


Friday, June 23, 2006

48 down, 16 to go 

Pretty good column from J.A. Adande of the LA Times about how Team USA was, is, and will continue to be (at least for now) an afterthought in Germany. Contrary to what the Nike commercial featuring Eric Cantona may say, the world very much disregards us on the pitch.

We're into the knockout stages! Round of 16 kicks off tomorrow. I plan on hitting the King's Head pub in Santa Monica on Sunday morning for the England v Ecuador game. Should be a madhouse with all the ex-pats there. It's going to be awesome.

Ten of the sixteen teams are from Europe. Three hail from South America and there is one each from Africa, North/Central America, and Oceania. Asia has 0 reps in the second round -- the second time in the last three World Cups that has happened. For what it's worth, I picked 12 of the 16 second round teams correctly.

Germany v Sweden - Current form says to go with the hosts, but I'm sticking with my upset pick of Sweden. They're certainly capable of knocking off an overconfident German team.

Argentina v Mexico - Argentines win by three.

England v Ecuador - Should be a good one. Who knows how England will look game-to-game? They're obviously more talented than Ecuador, but will they be present mentally? I say, yes. Barely.

Portugal v Netherlands - The Portuguese have an advantage at head coach, but the Dutch are more talented and have played better in this tournament while also facing stiffer competition than Portugal. Going with the Orange.

Italy v Australia - Guus Hiddink has taught the world several times over never to underestimate his teams. Italy will not take this game lightly, and for all their fight, the Aussies succumb to one of soccer's superpowers.

Switzerland v Ukraine - A surprise quarterfinalist, either way. The Swiss have looked good so far and are playing consistently well on the defensive side of the ball. Ukraine looked erratic and unfocused in the group stages. So why am I picking Ukraine to advance to the quarters?

Brazil vs Ghana - How can you pick against the champs in this game? You can't. The Africans play admirably, but still lose by two.

Spain v France - The traditional underachiever versus a fading power. I think if the Frogs stick with the Henry/Trezeguet pairing upfront with Ribery giving service, the Spanish (untested 'til this point) will be going home early yet again. Picking the French here is actually a bit of an upset. Strange.

I like Argentina, Italy, Netherlands, and Brazil in the semis.


Never question anything 

Unable to grasp satire, the Washington Post lampoons The Daily Show for not being as eager to blindly trust our crooked politicians as some other conventional news programs are. Suddenly, younger eligible voters no longer voting. Definitely wasn't like that before Comedy Central even hit the air, or anything.


Things to do before I die. 

We're all getting older, folks. All of us. And one day... we're all going to die.

Today is June 23, 2006. I am 26 years, 4 months, and 18 days old. The following is a living, incomplete list of things to do before I die. From here on, it shall be known as "the list."

- Backpack across Europe
- Scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef
- Attend the 2010 World Cup in South Africa
- Injure a small animal... with my mind!
- Buy my parents a house
- Manage my brother's budding hip-hop career, then free-load off of him
- Rob a convenient store
- See Superman Returns (already have my ticket for opening night)
- Work for ESPN
- Own a professional sports franchise (preferrably soccer or basketball)
- Write, direct, and star in a teen comedy motion picture about a girl in high school who discovers she's pretty when the most popular guy at school (me, duh) takes off her glasses: She's The One 2: Electric Super Jew
- Perform stand up
- Take cooking classes (you know, for the morning after... AM I RIGHT, GUYS?!?! HUH?? HUH?!)
- Amend the Constitution so that I (a naturalized citizen) can become President of the United States. Then immediately resign upon being sworn into office.
- Raise a family
- When on my death bed, tell a slew of dead baby jokes.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blame it on the Black Star(s) 

Ghana 2 -1 USA

It's over for the Americans. Not a very good performance by either team. Some talking points:

1. Again, both teams looked pretty uninspiring. Each goal was the result of a defensive blunder. While the dubious penalty on Onyewu just before halftime that lead to the winning PK goal was, well, dubious at best, the US never really demonstrated a sense of urgency. Italy won handily, as expected, so the US have no one to blame but themselves. Additionally, I don't think anyone should be shocked at our failure to advance to the knockout stages. Our fate was sealed back in December when the draw was determined. Anyone still looking to the farcical FIFA rankings as a guiding light is just plain dumb.

2. Landon Donovan, our best player, was nothing short of pathetic this entire tournament. Your team only goes as far as your best player can take it. If that axiom is any indication, then it's no surprise that we finished bottom of the group.

3. The pattern holds true: since 1990, there has always been at least one African nation advancing to the round 16. It's as reliable as a 12-seed beating a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament. I said well before the WC that Ghana was the strongest African representative and they proved it. Congrats to them.

4. I know now that if I want to take diving lessons -- be it platform, cliff, scuba, whatever -- that Ghana is the place to be.

5. Viva Azzuri! Viva Italia!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dwyane Wade 

Simply put, he's the next legend of the NBA. Congrats to the Heat on winning the title (feels so weird that the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals concluded on back-to-back nights). I'm eating a lot of crow on this one. I said many times since he arrived in Miami that the Heat won't win a title with Shaq. I was convinced of it. And you know? I was almost right. If you watched this series, you have to agree that Miami won the championship in spite of Shaq. He was nowhere. Didn't look, at times, like he even belonged on the court. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade has officially elevated to that rare class of superstar. But while I eat crow, I'm not at all bitter as I'm still a fan of Shaq and I really dig D-Wade. Pat Riley still has a place in my Lakers heart, too. It's strange that Miami winning a championship is somehow easier for me to digest than if Dallas had won. Even though I picked Dallas, I was never convinced that they were the best team in the league (I just thought they were better than the Heat). I don't know. I still feel like the Spurs should've beaten them and there is no question that if Phoenix had Amare Stoudemire that they would've flattened the Mavs. Now, I suppose Dallas has two items on their off-season shopping list: a big man (still, don't tell me Dampier's the answer) and a defensive STOPPER (what's up Dwyane Wade destroys you at will???).


Added incentive to hate on Ghana this Thursday 

Apology for Israeli flag-waving at World Cup

Ghana apologized after one of its soccer players waved an Israeli flag at the World Cup. John Pantsil’s gesture during a weekend game against the Czech Republic was aimed at solidarity with the Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team, which he usually plays for, but it raised eyebrows among Arabs.

A Ghana Football Association spokesman apologized [*cough* PUSSIES *cough*] Monday and said Pantsil had been cautioned.

“He is obviously unaware of the implications of what he did. He’s unaware of the international politics. We apologize to anybody who was offended and we promise that it will never happen again,” the spokesman said. “He did not act out of malice for the Arab people or in support of Israel. He was naive.”

FIFA, the organization overseeing the World Cup in Germany, said it had no problem with Pantsil’s gesture.

Do I have to add anything? At least FIFA had the sense to call it a harmless gesture. This is so kazaam.


Monday, June 19, 2006

The greatest trophy in sports... 

Now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Kudos to the Carolina Hurricanes for winning the Stanley Cup. And kudos to me for predicting that they'd do it in seven games. Man, I'm a freaking genius (says the guy who didn't get even one semifinalist correct)! Crazy series. At multiple points, momentum shifted between Carolina and Edmonton and, when you get down to it, this was a three game series. Games 1 and 5 were won as a result of stupendous blunders (one for each team). Games 2 and 6 were absolute blow outs (one for each team), so they cancel each other out, too. That left games 3, 4, and 7 as the true barometer of who the champ should be. People forget that Carolina also had the top seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the last day of the regular season, but faltered and ended up with the 2-seed. Didn't matter much in the end, did it? Cam Ward, the 22-year-old rookie goaltender, won the Conn Smythe (MVP of the entire playoffs, not just the Finals. This is something that I believe every sport should adopt). Anyone else realize just how stunning that is? Here's an idea: the only two other rookie goalies to win the Conn Smythe are Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy. They're only arguably the best goaltenders in NHL history. So, you know, that's something.

This makes two seasons in a row, now, that the Stanley Cup was won by a team in the Southeast. There are a lot of "purists" and novices out there who don't like this one bit and firmly believe that the Cup should only be won by Canadian teams and teams with extensive hockey history, like Detroit. To all those people, I ask, "Do you even like hockey?" If the answer is "yes," then surely you're all for the expansion of the sport and it's efforts to extend it's fan base to the masses -- something hockey has notoriously failed at for several years. It took a guy by the name of Wayne Gretzky before this country (and I do, of course, mean people outside of Boston and Minnesota) even gave a fart about hockey. If the answer is "no," then why do you care at all? Go watch your retarded Nascar or something.


Parker Lewis can lose 

Corin Nemec is not dead. I'm sure you all thought he was and have spent much time pondering how his demise came about. But rest assured, he's starring in terrible SciFi channel original movies. One of his co-stars in S.S. Doomtrooper plays a supporting character named... Parker Lewis.

It's the simple pleasures.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

The worst ref in the world 

It's not a clever title or anything, but that says it all. The piece of Uruguayan shit that FIFA dug up to officiate the USA v Italy match is the worst ref in the world. Apparently, he wasn't allowed to referee in the 2002 World Cup because of "irregularies." I don't understand why that was lifted. Surely, he'll never call another game on this level. Surely. He, singlehandedly, ruined what was a perfectly good match and, potentially, derailed the United States' chances of advancement to the 2nd round. He should, in short, be strung up by his testicles while he watches his family get gang-raped and murdered below him. After witnessing that, he gets a bazooka in the face.

The red card on De Rossi - Completely warranted. No question he was just looking to destroy McBride's face.

The red card on Mastroeni - What an awful, awful, awful call. That tackle merited a yellow card, tops. To no other referee is that challenge deserving of a straight ejection.

Both yellow cards on Eddie Pope - They were simply fouls. I may give the first one, but certainly not the second and definitely not immediately out of halftime. Use some discression, you asshole! And after all this trigger happy card pulling, he shuts up for the last 20 minutes and doesn't call ANYTHING!

Beasley's disallowed goal - Let me tell you, we were all jumping around and screaming like crazy when it looked like the US went up 2-1 while only playing with nine men. It was a miracle. Until it wasn't. The announcers assured the viewers on TV that this call was legit and that McBride -- in a PASSIVE (read: not involved in the play) offside position -- was screening the goalie, thus making it obstruction. This is nonsense. Complete and utter nonsense. And there's one incident that springs immediately to mind that goes hand-in-hand with this disallowed goal: tuck rule. NFL playoffs, 2001, Tom Brady of the Patriots FUMBLES the ball. The Raiders recover. Game over. Ref dusts off the rulebook and says, no, Brady "tucked" the ball and thus was in a throwing motion. Fumble erased, incomplete pass ruled, Patriots go on to win. My point is that this is a rule that is completely counter-intuitive to the spirit of competition. So the United States, yes, got tuck-ruled. That is to say, we got hosed. We got tuck-ruled, and the world knows it.

Italy - Are very lucky to come away with a tie. Aside from the last five minutes of the match, when the nine Americans left on the field were absolutely gassed from running up and down a 90-yard field all game, the US carried the play. They were more aggressive, had more opportunities, and were better on the ball than the Italians. That Beasley goal should've counted. USA should've won 2-1.

Coach Arena - Why no third substitution? WHY?!?! You've got Eddie Johnson -- the only American worth a damn against the Czechs -- sitting on the sideline, waiting to score some goals, and you don't put him in?? You're telling me that subbing Johnson in for McBride up front wouldn't have perhaps created an opportunity in one of our several (shorthanded) rushes upfield? Give me a break.

DaMarcus Beasley - Man... Disallowed goal aside, he was a major disappointment. A starter last game, he was brought off the bench against the Italians to provide some sort of spark, an attack, but he was very passive for much of his time in the contest. On a few occassions, when he was literally walking the ball upfield, it was because his exhausted teammates couldn't muster up the strength to push forward after they'd all sprinted from the Italian penalty area 80 yards towards their own. But mostly, Beasley was soft. Disappointing from one of our best players.

The good news - Team USA can still qualify for the second round if they beat Ghana.

The bad news - In addition to taking care of business, they'll need help from Italy against the Czechs. Thus, their destiny is not in their own hands. All Italy need are a tie, but winning the group would enhance their chances of not having to face Brazil immediately in round two. So let's hope Italy use that as motivation. The Czechs looked toothless in attack against Ghana (because their best forwards are injured) so there is every reason Italy should win.

I feel strange. This is the one and only time in my life I have ever cheered against the Italians and I'm really dejected that the US had to settle for a tie. However, if both USA and Italy win on Thursday, I get the best of both worlds and both teams will move on to round two. Here's how it breaks down for the remaining matches in this group on Thursday and what each team needs in order to move on to round 2:

Team W L T pts Goal Difference
Italy 1 0 1 4 +2
Czech 1 1 0 3 +1
Ghana 1 1 0 3 Even
USA 0 1 1 1 -3

Italy v Czech
USA v Ghana

Italy - Advance to 2nd round with a win or a draw.
Czech - Advance with a win.
Ghana - Advance with a win or advance with a draw and Czech defeat.
USA - Advance with win and a Czech defeat.
* If both games end in a draw, Czech advances past Ghana on the goal differential tie-break. How huge is that blown third goal for Ghana, now?!?


Friday, June 16, 2006

Wow, how impressive was that?? 

As it my routine, I woke up again at 6 a.m. to catch World Cup before going to work. I watched Argentina clobber Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 this morning. That kind of scoreline I've seen before, but it's the way Argentina played that just floored me. Absolutely beautiful on every level. In the five World Cups I've watched, it stands out as perhaps the best single performance I've ever seen from a team on this stage. Every goal was a picture of fluid beauty, combination passing, one-touch give and go, clinical finishing... Wow. Maxi scoring on the run in the 6th minute, Cambiasso's goal off the backheel from Crespo (goal of the tournament! I think seven Argentines set that one up), Saviola finding Maxi for goal #3 before halftime. And the Serbs simply quit in the second half. They may as well not even have been on the field. For a team that surrendered just one goal in ten qualification matches... man, it was unreal how they were picked apart. Then Kezman gets red-carded and Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez get subbed on the field. Messi (MESSI!), the 18 year-old, had a goal and an assist in just 15 minutes of playing time. Tevez scored an excellent goal himself. Wow. Just wow. Maybe I'm just talking to myself, here, but Argentina played the beautiful game beautifully. Best of all, they left their typical whining and cheating in the locker room and just performed with class and skill on the field. And you know who was taking notes? Brazil. No way the champs are going to let their rival show them up. Come Sunday, watch Brazil come out inspired and explosive (look out Australia!).

On tap tomorrow, must-win for USA. Against Italy. Yeah... That's a problem. Oh, and in hockey, Carolina gave Edmonton a second life after the OT blunder in game five. The series heads back to Canada for game six, Saturday, and the Oilers are revitalized.

Also, when I have time in the near future, I have to have to have to dedicate a lengthy post to the Douchey Producer (prodoucher?) I mentioned in the last post. He "entertained" me for a solid 45 minutes to an hour last night and it was all gold. All of it. That will come when I'm not swamped. And it will be amazing, I promise. So help me, all I can be bothered to talk about, right now, is World Cup and the prodoucher.

God bless America.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Exchanges like these are fun 

So this douche of a producer -- the epitome of ignored middle management -- is running around the floor, seeing if people want to order pizza. He steps into my office, brimming with confidence.

Douche - Hey, you'll eat pizza, right?
Me - Man, I could house a pizza.
Douche - You could house a pizza?
Me - I could house a pizza.


Douche - That means you could eat a whole pizza, right?
Me - Yes.
Douche - Well, gee, Alan, I didn't realize you were so into the black lingo.


Me - Um, it's not exclusively black by any means.
Douche - It's not?
Story Producing Partner - No. It's even more of, like, a frat guy thing.
Douche - Oh.


Me - I could house a pizza.


Monday, June 12, 2006

I keep telling you, we are not elite 

#5 rated team in the world? I don't think so.

Czechs whipped US 3-0. I was expecting 2-0 Czechs. I wasn't able to see the game, but judging from the gamecast online and the match report, it sounded like a blowout. So, you know, not surprised that the US lost, but man did everyone get brought back to Earth. Now, the US has to win their next two games to assure a place in the next round. Tall order, especially with the Italians being next. But win both those games and they recover from this nightmare start. That's the only way they can control their destiny. The only way the US fails to progress even if they win their next two games is if two other teams (Czech and Italy) also finish with a 2-1 record and have a better goal difference. I think a draw with the Italians is possible, but not likely if the performance is anything like today. Unless the Italians play down to our level, this WC will be ending early for Sam's Army.

Finally, we can put this nonsense about being "#5 in the world" to rest. Any Americans still out there, clinging to the idea that the FIFA rankings are at all accurate, I hope you're paying attention.

Also, while it sucks for the US, I'm happy to see Italy win their opener. And huge congrats to Australia for netting three goals in the last ten minutes to beat Japan. That was exciting.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Break time is over 

The new gig starts tomorrow and, wouldn't you know it, I'm due at work right when the US kicks off their ominous World Cup campaign. Nuts. This weekend was full of soccer and little sleep, but first, damn y'all. Mayday was the goodness.

The screening on Friday was just awesome with perhaps only 1-2 movies out of 12 stinking up the joint. I'm telling you, it's the best crop of Mayday films to date. Team Lower Gatsby (that'd be me and the dudes) claimed three prizes: most erotic (which we tied for), best interpretation of title (which we owned because, damn, a movie titled "23" could only be about a guy who has to tell the 23 people that he has slept with that he has VD), and best performance for our star, Trumbot. Then Cell Fone took the stage and he did not disappoint. The boy was a menace to Norf $cott$dale if ever there was one. The one thing that bothered me about the evening was the exodus of about 80% of the crowd before the Cell went on. I guess they had anything else to be doing. But fuck 'em. No one cares about those people. And those who stuck around got a treat. They were the ones that mattered, anyway, and "C Finny" knew it all too well. I was actually kind of nervous for him, having never seen him perform and him being my brother and all. But he laid those fears to rest once he grabbed the microphone. Also, my senses were numb because I was drunk. A bottle of cheap wine ended up in my hand as a result of the awards. It was empty by night's end. I was wrecked. And just to prove how damn smart I am, myself and a couple others woke up to drive to a bar for a soccer game at 6 a.m. I mean, what a great idea that was.


Actually, it was a disaster. I got maybe two hours of sleep and was terribly hung over after finally being awoken by the phone. I guess I slept right through my alarm and the first four times that Trumbo tried calling me. Then, we finally get to the bar, only to endure what will surely be the dullest game of the tournament. England beat Paraguay 1-0, but I assure you, no one -- not even the half-dozen English ex-pats at the bar -- cared. How stupid of me to forget just how painful it is to watch Paraguay. But England looked bad, too! Raucous crowd? Nope. We were very much among a group of 15 or so people who were all too aware of how fucking early it was. Plus I was dying. After the game mercifully ended, it was back home to sleep for another 90 minutes or so before watching more World Cup.

Last night, I caught a film.The Heart of the Game is an excellent little movie. It's a documentary about a high school girls basketball team that focuses primarily on the relationship between a star player and her coach. One of my favorite films is Hoop Dreams and while The Heart of the Game will inevitably draw comparisons to it, the two feel like fundamentally different movies, though on the surface they have similar themes. Instead of the despair prevelant in Hoop Dreams, the new entry is more a tale of perseverance and inspiration. Great stuff. Highly recommended.

Then, up at 6 a.m. again for more World Cup. This time, sober. It was a much better experience. Iran decided it would be more fun if they quit for the last 15 minutes and just handed the game to Mexico, which I was fine with, poor Angola look absolutely clueless despite only losing 1-0, and man, the Dutch look good. Also, huuuuuge mad love to Trinidad & Tobago for getting shock draw against the Swedes.

Coach Arena hasn't named his starting lineup yet for Team USA, but if it was me, the eleven Americans on the field tomorrow would look something like this:
Goalkeeper - Kasey Keller
Defenders - Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope, Eddie Lewis, Carlos Bocanegra
Midfielders - Claudio Reyna (c), Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, John O'Brien
Forwards - Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson

Steve Cherundolo could very well start in place of Bocanegra, Pablo Mastroeni is a perfectly capable replacement for Reyna should anything happen to the captain, and Bobby Convey likely spells John O'Brien because O'Brien is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes. Team USA is historically lousy on European soil, but that shouldn't affect this team. We've got the speed to give the older, more physical Czechs problems. 6'8" Czech forward, Jan Koller, scares the crap out of me, though. It'll be all we can do to shut him down.

NBA Finals. It's halftime of game 2 and Shaq is still nowhere to be found in this series. What the crap? Shaq AWOL in the Finals? Miami doesn't have a prayer.

Before wrapping this up and waking up again at 6 a.m. tomorrow, I'm psyched about the return of both Deadwood and Entourage tonight. Thank you, HBO. Hopefully both are more satisfying than this latest season of The Sopranos. Man... what happened there?

I really enjoyed having my brother in town for the weekend. Especially being able to watch World Cup with him. It's something I've missed, watching the event with family, so it was nice to recapture some of that nostalgic feeling.

Okay. Bring on the job!


Friday, June 09, 2006

Cell Fone will teach you secrets about women 

I'm telling you, LA, pic up da fone! Cell Fone ravages the Mayday screening tonight. Beleee dat!


This is me trying to sleep 

But I just can't do it. Nope. I woke up four hours early. Why? Well, to quote the immortal words of Jesse Spano, "I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so... scared." Only I'm not scared, I'm just more excited. World Cup 2006 kicks off today.

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs gave the distinct impression that a Carolina sweep is a likely possibility and, despite the competitiveness of last night's game, the NBA Finals hold relatively little appeal for me this year (I've been actively rooting against both Dallas and Miami for much of this season. Even before the Mavs' win in game one, I picked them to take the crown in six games. Dirk will be the series MVP). It helps that both of these events are lowering their status on the "Man, I can't stop slathering my hot body thinking about sports" scale. And, fuck, I love World Cup.

Kick off for the opener, Germany v Costa Rica, is in four hours. If this were tomorrow, I'd be right on schedule for a planned outing to Big Wang's sports bar to watch England's opener against Paraguay at 6 a.m. or if it was most any other day for the next two weeks and the 6 a.m. (PST) games are the only ones I will likely be able to watch before shoving off to work (start that on Monday). So, as daybreak approaches in LA, here's a little rundown of who to cheer for as I try to get back to bed for perhaps another couple hours of sleep.

Group A
Germany - They're the host nation, but they're also responsible for one of history's greatest atrocities. Conventional wisdom says not to mention the war, but whatever. Screw that. This is not a typical German side, either, as they have glaring weaknesses which could be exposed in this tournament. I really think they get bounced in the round of 16 and disappoint.

Costa Rica - Underdogs, for sure. Have to cheer for them to beat Germany in the opener because that would just simply ruin everyone else's good time. Plus some more CONCACAF love couldn't hurt (American fans). They're not going to far, though. Out in the first round.

Ecuador - Completely ambivalent about this team. They showed a lot of fight in 2002, despite being eliminated in the group stage. I see the same happening this time around, as well.

Poland - I'm a quarter Polish, so this is my nation of choice in group A. They'll compete with the Germans for top of the group before likely bowing out in the round of 16 to either England or Sweden.

Group B
England - To Rooney or not to Rooney? That is the question. With the superstar striker, England are among the favorites to win the whole thing. Without him, they're still contenders, but their attack could stifle. I dig the English and the English game, so I've got a soft spot for them. Barring injury and perhaps boosted by a late return from Rooney, this team should make the semifinals.

Paraguay - An unfashionable South American outfit known for their tightness on the backline. Even with capable strikers, they're likely to slow the game down to a crawl and could sneak up on both England and Sweden. Underrated by everyone, the world over, I think they miss out on advancing by the slimmest of margins (goal difference?) and take third in the group. A tough out.

Trinidad and Tobago - Here we have the team that I believe will finish dead last in the tournament. They're as rank outsiders as Angola or Togo, but T&T are in a very difficult group and I think they'll be bombed out of the water in each game. It's sort of a miracle that the Soca Warriors are here at all, given that the population of the tandem island nation is barely over a million.

Sweden - No one is talking about the Swedes. Definitely, they have what it takes to beat England and make waves in the latter stages of the tournament. I think they spoil the host nation's party and knock the Germans out en route to a quarterfinals appearance. The trio of Ljunberg, Ibrahimovic, and Larsson makes their attack among the most potent in the tourney.

Group C
Argentina - Heading up this year's "Group of Death" are one of the favorites to win it all. The Argentines are pigs when it comes to sportsmanship and fair play. And they harbored (continue to harbor?) many of those who fled punishment after the war. Did I mention that they're pigs? I still can't get over how distasteful their performance was en route to a finals appearance in 1990. They've got tons of talent, though, and a healthy Lionel Messi (the next Maradona?) would go a long way to helping their cause. One of the teams that can beat Brazil, for sure, however, I see them fading in the quarters.

Ivory Coast - By now, you may have heard that Ivory Coast's qualification for it's first ever World Cup is directly responsible for the cease fire in the nation's civil war. Isn't that remarkable? How could you not cheer for these guys? I know I will. Sadly, for them, they got a really tough draw, but maybe Drogba & co. are this year's Senegal? That would be, in a word, "bitchin'."

Serbia and Montenegro - Now that Slobadan is out of the picture, it's smooth sailing, right? I don't know. The former Yugos are somewhat of an enigma to me. They'll hold their own in each match, but third place seems a likely finish for them. Perhaps if they were in a weaker group, people might expect more from them.

Holland - Here comes the darkhorse. Van Basten and the Oranje have looked stellar leading up to Germany '06. If they can avoid the injury bug (which seems to be creeping up on them, lately), why not the nation's first title? It could definitely happen.

Group D
Mexico - Sorry, if you're a US fan, you just cannot cheer for the Mexicans. I mean, they're simply not one of the top eight nations in the world deserving of a seed for the tournament. Certainly not over the US (who I wouldn't put in that category just yet, either). So feel free to boo Borgetti into a coma because Mexico simply don't deserve such a light draw. Especially compared to what we have to face. Out in the round of 16 and f 'em.

Iran - Fuck Iran. History's new great menace, President Ahmadinajedacrapistan, has said that he will travel to each game Iran play should they advance past the group stage. That's a problem because the EU has placed a ban on him traveling in the continent (something to do with advocating the destruction of Israel). I'll say it again, fuck Iran. Last place in the group.

Angola - The African newcomers have no chance. Shocking that they outlasted Nigeria in qualification, but the party will end quickly for them. Although, how freaking amazing would it be if they pipped their former colonial oppressors, Portugal, in their opening match. If that happens, Angola will declare a national holiday for, I don't know, the rest of the year. That game is their Superbowl.

Portugal - If the Portuguese don't win all three of their group matches, they suck. Surely, they'll improve upon the disappointment of '02, but probably out in the round of 16 if they have to face either Holland or Argentina. Tough pill for the European finalists.

Group E
Italy - Heading up the second toughest group is another strong contender for the title. Pressure is on the national team to deflect attention away from the country's domestic league scandal (match fixing, gambling, and such and such). I've been cheering for the Italians all my life (thanks, mom!) and will do so again this year except for one match. If they play the attacking style of football that their roster suggests they might instead of sitting on 1-0 leads, watch out! Remember, Italy have either been knocked out of every tournament since 1990 on penalties or (in 2002) on a ref disallowing two perfectly good goals. Unless the USA advances, hopefully Italy can avoid Brazil in the second round.

Ghana - The Black Stars, to me, are probably the best African team in the tournament. So it sucks that they have such an uphill battle as I tend to cheer for the sub-saharan nations given little chance by the pundits. They'll hang tough in each match, though.

United States - It's possible that we can play far far far far better than we did in 2002 and still get eliminated in the group stage. I think the American media will have a hard time understanding that, but it's likely. Even if we somehow manage to wriggle out of this harsh group, a likely second round game with Brazil awaits. Yikes! But this team has speed and athleticism in spades and that will keep it competitive against Italy and the Czechs. Not to mention top notch keeping from Kasey Keller. For the US, it all depends on the first match with Czech Rep. Get a result there, even a draw, and our fortunes for the rest of the tournament just got a whole lot brighter. I just hope that Eddie Johnson can regain the scoring form that he had early in qualifying because that will allow Landon Donovan to excel in attacking midfield. Cross your fingers that John O'Brien and Claudio Reyna don't get injured and that the US defense isn't torn to shreds. Breakout American star of Germany '06: Oguchi Onyweu. You can't miss him. He's the 6'4" black badass on defense who is going to kick a lot of ass and score a fat contract in a top European league (higher than the Belgian one he currently plays in) as a result.

Czech Republic - They could be one of the five best teams in the world, but they could also be this year's Portugal '02 or Colombia '04 -- that team people are billing to make a deep run, but flame out early. I think the former is more likely and perhaps a quarterfinal appearance could be the fruit of that. Koller, Baros, Nedved, Rosicky... the US has a handful to deal with here. It's up to our pace on the wings to keep us in the match.

Group F
Brazil - Welcome to the Brazil invitational, where the other three group F participants will be playing for second place. No doubts that the Samba Boys are the favorites to capture another title. They look nigh unbeatable. The quartet of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka, and Adriano will give every other team nightmares. They're so entertaining to watch, but for the sake of interest, I really, truly hope that they crash out early. Very early.

Croatia - I like their chances to come out as the second place team here. They'll probably be bounced in the next round. Remember when Croatia finished 3rd in France '98? I know, me neither.

Australia - Have to cheer for the Socceroos right, Togs? I'd like to see them do well and their coach, Guus Hiddink, did far more with far less talent in 2002 when he (along with side homecooking) guided Korea of all teams to the semis.

Japan - They play an attacking style of football that is sure to keep the Croats and Aussies on their toes, but could get them into heaps of trouble against Brazil. I think they come up just short, but why not Japan into round two? Remember when George Bush vomited on their president? Gold.

Group G
France - The French are a mystery and, unlike Ducktales, they're not likely to rewrite history. I think we'll see the underachieving side from '02 rather than the champions of '98. But I still like them to win this weak group. It'll be interesting to see if Thierry Henry can finally make noise on the world stage.

Switzerland - The Swiss are a rather unfashionable side, but they gave France all they wanted in qualifying. Still, something tells me they slip up and are perhaps a little over their heads. A showdown with Korea in the last group match will determine who finishes in second place.

South Korea - No way in hell do they make it back to the semis. It's completely ridiculous that they ever got there in the first place. But that's soccer. Anyway, I think they finish second behind France before going home in the round of 16. But the Swiss are playing very close to home and the Koreans generally suck ass when they're not getting suspicious calls in their favor in Asia.

Togo - I hope these newbies do well, I really do. Go Togo! They probably don't stand a chance, but there has to be at least one African team that advances out of the group stage.

Group H
Spain - Ah, the Spanish. Europe's punchline for futility and underachievement. They have so much talent! At every position! Yet they'll probably disappoint yet again! Out much earlier than they should be.

Ukraine - Can Ukraine continue their hot form from qualifying or will they flame out like Poland in '02? I think they'll win the group. Their coach is a raging racist! So is Spain's!

Tunisia - The only African team in Germany with any previous appearances. There's a lot of talk about how they could surprise in the early going. Not sure that I see it, just yet.

Saudi Arabia - They still suck. Good enough to make it back to the WC, sure, and it can't possibly get any worse than their dead-last finish in '02, but they suck. Their saving grace is that group H (along with, perhaps, group G) is the weakest in the field.

I will now try to sleep.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Really doesn't get better than this 

Short of going to overtime, game one of the Cup Finals had just about anything a hockey fan could ever want. Chris Pronger scored the first ever goal via penalty shot in a Stanley Cup Finals game. Rod Brind'Amour capped an unreal Carolina comeback thanks to a blunder by sudden Edmonton keeper Ty Conklin. Craziness. Conklin being thrown into the mix as a result of Dwayne Roloson's torn MCL changes the complexion of this series drastically. Roloson had played every minute of the playoffs up until sustaining his injury in the third period last night. Conklin's gaff with 31 seconds left in the game illustrates just how significant that is. If the Oilers don't win game two tomorrow, this one could be over in five, rather than my earlier prediction of seven. If tomorrow's game is anything like last night's, though, this may be the greatest Stanley Cup Finals ever.

*Crazy Hobo News*
There's a crazy homeless guy who lives on the corner of my street in the "Exaco" (formerly "Texaco" -- I'm not even kidding) station/chop shop. His favorite past times include sleeping, arranging his possession -- mostly bottles and soiled blankets -- on the sidewalk, and furiously shadow boxing a mailbox while viciously swearing at it. He was arrested today. Handcuffed, at least. By the time I got back from grocery shopping, he was sans police officers and very sedate in his corner of the chop shop lot. Is this the dawn of a kinder, gentler hobo?


I don't know. Dude is crazy.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Put this in your brainhole 

'cause that's where it's going. So get comfortable and act inviting.

That wedding last week? Yeah, it was awesome! Party of the year. Highlights include: chocolate fountain, 12 people passed out in a hotel room, and this guy. Mike, I don't usually do this (and by "this" I mean "personalize a blog entry"), but thank you. I just want to throw out there that I actually supplied you with water on a few occassions, thus turning the world on it's ear and making everyone but me an enabler. Mike's shining moment: when I went down to the hotel lobby bar in my wifebeater and shorts (it was that period of time after the reception when people were getting out of their formal wear in the hotel room and winding down) -- as requested by a couple people -- and Mike, grinning ear-to-ear, clearly having soooo much fun, comes up to me and giggles, "You're dressed very inappropriately. I'm very angry with you. You're so inappropriate, right now." To which I replied, "Here, have some water." Again, Mike, thank you.

Da Vinci Code got to get it get it
Saw this several days ago. I've never read the book and this is a story that could not possibly offend me in the spiritual/religious sense. Ever. That being said, it's an interesting story that just isn't very exciting to follow. I actually prefer the scenes of extended exposition more than the ones of contrived action and "suspense" (of which there was none). The film is shot beautifully, though, and surely no one can deny that. But it's silly. The intrusive score tries it's best to fool you into thinking something exciting is happening/is about to happen, but that's never the case. Brent actually summed it up to me perfectly: Da Vinci Code is a video game. Solve a puzzle, move on, solve the next one, etc. with no character development or tolerable dialogue. Oh, and Paul Bettany as the albino priest with a passion for murder and self-mutilation is completely out of place in this film. He's entertaining to watch, but definitely in the wrong movie. Another thing I found kind of amusing was the way Tom Hanks could "Beautiful Mind" puzzles the way John Nash did numbers. Ridiculous. This movie is thoroughly average.

Best preview ahead of this movie: damn right, it's the new Bond film. I'm pumped.

X3 is X Stupid
I'll put it this way: If you enjoyed X3: The Last Stand, you're stupid. I mean, seriously, this is a very dumb movie. It's one word description would be "sloppy." Every moment feels slapped together at the last second without a single moment of comprehensive thought put into any sequence. X3 is the blueprint on how to ruin a perfectly fine franchise. You actually don't care that just about everyone dies. If you're crying, now, that I may have spoiled the movie for you, trust me, I just did you a favor. At any rate, "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!"

Best preview ahead of this movie: well, it's probably the teaser for Snakes on a Plane, but I'd be lying if I said it was the most memorable. That distinction goes to the possibly catastrophic My Super Ex-Girlfriend where you find out a full 2 minutes! into the trailer that Uma Thurman is not only crazy, but also a superhero. What?! Suck me.

I'm a fan of this exchange:
Butthead: Uh, hey, Cher.
Cher: Uh, hey, Butthead.
Butthead: Um, weren't you married to that 'Bono' guy?
Cher: Bono, Sonny Bono.
Butthead. Oh yeah. Uh, wasn't he like... a cop?

That's good stuff, right there.

Shaquille O'Neal is back in the Finals
And Los Angeles is cheering for him. There's no bitterness here. If anything, the fallout of Shaq's departure has only served to remind us just how freaking awesome he was. At the happily-named "Big Wang's" sports bar, last night, everyone was applauding and cheering Shaq as Miami routed Detroit. There are no Miami Heat fans in Los Angeles.

Mmm... Stanley Cup Finals
It's set: Carolina vs Edmonton. In so many ways, a clash of the old and the new in the NHL. Carolina represents the new(er) sunbelt franchises that the NHL has, at times, received flack for trying to market itself in. The results have mostly been successful, but overexpansion and relocating franchises (Carolina by way of Hartford) did much to disenfranchise some hockey crazies. Meanwhile, there's no bigger hotbed for the sport than Edmonton, where five Stanley Cups and perhaps the greatest teams ever assembled (dynastic in the 80s) wrote themselves into the history books as one of the vanguards of the NHL.

It's likely, as well, that in a pre-lockout NHL world, this finals matchup would never have happened. Edmonton and Carolina are both small markets, financially speaking. If not for the salary cap and other revisions made that formed NHL 2.0, the Oilers could never even be allowed to dream of signing stars like Chris Pronger and Michael Peca. And Carolina? Not many free agents were breaking down their door. But credit to the Hurricanes who, upon losing star Erik Cole for the season, traded for Doug Weight (a former Oiler, himself) at the trading deadline -- something they probably would not have been able to achieve in the old days.

Edmonton was the 8-seed in the West, Carolina the 2-seed (only a point shy of being tops) in the East. For all of it's history, Edmonton actually has zero players on it's team that have won a Stanley Cup in the past. But those numbers mean absolutely nothing, now. Both clubs look inspired and are playing as well as they have all season. The Oilers are riding a veteran goalie in Dwayne Roloson who never has been known for his play in big games until this post season. Carolina is on the shoulders of rookie, Cam Ward.

If I may be so bold as to make a prediction, I'll say that this one is going the game 7-distance with Carolina coming out on top. Both sides have the guts, but the Canes have just a bit more talent and experience in the form of Weight, Brind'Amour, and Recchi. Could really go either way. I'm looking forward to it.

Oh, you didn't know?
Your ass better caaaaaaaaaaalllllll somebody. Yeah, that's right, Mayday screening on Friday the 9th. What's that? Sweeten the deal, you say? Done. I can do that. LA! Pic up da fone! That's right, Cell Fone will be making his California debut at the Mayday screening. If that doesn't make you all wet, then you suck. Like, a lot. Cell Fone is going multi-blackinum and he's taking Mayday with him. You've been told.


Thursday, June 01, 2006


There's been so much happening between today and last Thursday, my head is spinning (literally? you decide!). At any rate, while I catch my breath, a treat for everyone living in Los Angeles: Tacos!


Just eight more days 'til World Cup...


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