Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mind, Zapped. Ass, Kicked. Face, Melted

Flip Scoldjah and Excalibrah absolutely dominated the 40 Watt Club Friday night. Simply an incredible performance that every single person there enjoyed and will talk about for a long time.

Dude in the bathroom: Who were those guys? They were awesome!

Ice's dance-off? Amazing - and the crowd ate it up.

Nazgul pizza delivery, Immigrant Song? Pants-crappingly hilarious.

Wangs? Brought down the house. "That song was so fuckin' good!"

Can we get them to play more often? Please? I will not miss another concert with them. Also, Dr. Dog (who was pretty good), how's about playing until 2 if you're going to cut the earlier bands short? Hell, Flip and Brah should've been able to get back up and do 6 more songs after Dr. Dog. And it would've ruled. And everyone in the place would've loved it.

Simply awesome show. And now, I will go shit in a graveyard.


Soakin' in the Jircuzzi

I went with The Wrangler to the Dawgs-Mississippi State game yesterday. A few thoughts...

  • I like how Miss State are the bizarro bulldogs. Dude in my row was wearing a Fresno State sweatshirt. Odd that the guy was supporting via clothing a team called the bulldogs, but not either of the teams playing. Is Fresno State the bizarro-bizarro bulldogs?
  • About 4 rows up on the north side (opposite coaches), there's this dude who wears hilarious sweaters and pumps up the crowd constantly. He's hard not to watch. Anyway, anyone else noticed that dude?
  • Gaines had a rough first half scoring, but his defense is incredibly important to the success of the team.
  • Lots of people have noticed this - Humphrey created a whole lot by slashing to the basket and dishing. Here's hoping he can do that over the next two.
  • The Wrangler noted, and it's something I'd fear - if Georgia ran into an obnoxious officiating crew, the Dawgs could be in trouble on the front line.
I think they need two wins the rest of the way to make sure they're in the tournament. Beat UK and UT, I think they're a lock. Win one of them, and I think they need to win their opener in the SEC tourney. Win neither, I think the Dawgs need to get to Saturday at least (and probably need to win that one and make the selection committee save a spot for them regardless). I think they can do it.


Flick the Button

Oscar Night, so I should catch up on the backlog. I saw 4 of the 5 Best Picture nominees.

1. Firewall. Massive waste of time. Twists were seen miles ahead. Big bright flashing strobe plot arrows. Mixed in were literally dozens of obnoxious product placements (including one for Equifax of all things). The movie probably made money before it showed in a single theatre. You're fired.

2. Rashomon. I wasn't as impressed as I think I would've been had I seen it 50 years ago, though it's hard to look at it in that manner. Maybe I was waiting for the movie to blow my mind and it never got there. The "big idea" is supremely creative, and has been copied dozens of times, but I think it probably needed to be, as it almost seems like the organization and themes could've been more fully developed. For the effect on things, it's probably deserving of all the acclaim given, but it wasn't really the thing for me. Maybe I should've given it another chance. As of now, an incomplete You're Fired.

3. Croupier. This was such an odd film. It seemed really dated for a 1998 film. The sets, costumes, and style seemed more early 1990s than late - and there's a real difference. Owen shows all the promise he's fulfilled since. The screenplay was a little indulgent and could've used a few edits, though the final payoff was quite good. Kept my interest, though I wasn't crazy about it either. Just barely below Steak Knives, but still, You're Fired.

4. Oklahoma! Doesn't really fit the parameters of what I do here. It was funny, campy and silly. The Lady's seen it a bunch and she loves it. Now I get her jokes about Tom Cruise's daughter having a fringe on top. Gayer and better than Brokeback Mountain. Steak Knives.

5. Stander. This was a great surprise. If you've never heard of it, it's about a cop in 1980s Johannesburg, South Africa who starts robbing banks. Fast paced, clever, and most of all fun. Tom Jane is likable as hell. I'm not sure I buy the "result of apartheid" bit, but that didn't make the film any less enjoyable. Far more entertaining than any American action film I've seen this year (save The Departed). Sharp Steak Knives.

6. Music and Lyrics. Hugh Grant looks old, even in the videos that are supposed to date from 20 years ago. He was a little funny though. Drew Barrymore is kind of annoying. Everyone else really just looks like they're cashing checks. And this is ironic, since a major theme in the movie is about "not selling out and doing something just because you think that's what the consumer wants" - and that's precisely what everything about this movie was. You're Fired.

7. Flightplan. Kept us awake and the first 45 minutes are pretty good. The second half feels too rushed. They could've let Foster's character marinate a little longer - let her begin to doubt things. It just ends, too. I almost thought the Tivo had jumped ahead 15 minutes. Better made than Firewall and some other similar type thrillers, but it could've been a lot better. Also, The Lady Vanishes is much better. You're Fired.

Now, the Oscar choices... I wrote about Little Miss Sunshine before, which I liked probably second best among the 4 I've seen.

8. The Queen. A great screenplay, and fantastic performances. If it's an accurate portrayal of the royalty or not, it's far more interesting than anything I've read about them in tabloids and such. The Oscars made a massive mistake by failing to nominate Michael Sheen, whose Blair captured all the nervous brilliance of the PM in his early days. Steak Knives.

9. Babel. OK. I liked Amores Perros a lot better. This and 21 Grams are about the same in that they both feel like then needed things a little tighter and they needed fewer Oscar-reel scenes. The Mexico scenes were the most enjoyable. I don't know. Putting the problems of the world on horny kids seems like a waste of time. Or something like that. I just saw this today, so maybe it'll get better in my mind as I think of it. Right now, probably You're Fired, but maybe Steak Knives.

10. The Departed. I'm a sucker for energetic films, big performances, and twisty screenplays. This film isn't perfect (I might have a full post up on what I think are plot problems), but it's easily my favorite of the Oscar-nominated films. I will end up watching this movie probably a few dozen times. Every performance was fantastic. The direction was spectacular. A great film that I hope wins the Oscar. Cadillac.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Some things I like

1. Rob Huebel's myspace blog. "Welcome to the wonderful world of AIDS."

2. Luxury Ducks

3. Jigsawdoku

4. This picture:

5. The lady who dropped her O-ring laughing at the trailer for "Road Hogs" and further herniated herself laughing at all the moments previously seen in commercials during "Music and Lyrics" (don't ask... or do. It was hilarious. The lady, not the movie.)

6. How frequent LeBron James chews on his nails during games.

7. Season 1 of Veronica Mars (though season 2 much less so).

8. The Pac Man Jones strip club story.

9. Pissing The Lady off by watching the end of the Daytona 500 with genuine interest.

10. That baseball is just a month and a week away. I sleep better after a Braves win, and it's been too long since I've slept well.

One other big thing, but that'll take its own post.


OK, just one small taste of douchebaggery

So I was hunting through Michael's archives at Braves and Birds trying to find a comment thread where I was praising Valencia's lineup (lucky, not prescient... anyway, it's here). On my way spelunking around there, I spotted this post on a gem of an article by our favorite SI college football writer, Stewart Mandel.

The crux: 16 teams had a real chance to win the national title, in Mandel's opinion, based upon a number of reasons. One major reason appears to be mediocrity in the previous season:

While the past two seasons have played out largely as predicted, there have been three seasons since 2000 in which a team that finished with five losses the year before rose up to win a national title the following season: 2000, Oklahoma (7-5 the year before); 2002, Ohio State (7-5); and 2003, LSU (8-5). Auburn's undefeated 2004 team also went 8-5 the preceding season. All four teams started the year outside the Top 10. This year the Buckeyes, Texas, Notre Dame and USC sit atop the preseason coaches' poll, but the No. 1 team come January could just as easily be a lower-rated squad such as No. 11 Miami (9-3 in '05), No. 13 Louisville (9-3), No. 15 Michigan (7-5) or No. 17 Iowa (7-5).

That "five losses" bit should stick out like a sore thumb. Here's why. Of the 16 teams Stewart Mandel listed, half of them - EIGHT (!!!) - ended up with at least five losses in 2006. I'm no good at math, but I'd bet someone can put together a study as to what's more likely: bouncing from 5 losses to a national title, or going from 5 losses to mediocrity. Beer is on me if it's the former.

Some other fun facts:

  • Mandel listed 4 ACC teams with a chance at winning the national title. None won the ACC. OK, nobody on earth picked Wake to win the ACC. But the 4 teams Mandel did choose... each and every one of them lost at least 5 games by the end of the season.
  • Mandel only listed 2 SEC teams. Not listed is the eventual national champion. Listed is South Carolina, which finished 5th in the SEC East. Neither team listed made the SEC title game and neither played in a BCS bowl.
  • Mandel picked a random non-BCS-automatic-qualifying conference team, Utah. The Utes lost 5 games and finished 3rd in that non-BCS-automatic-qualifying conference.
  • 6 of the 16 teams had lost a game (putting them in dire position for qualifying for the BCS title game) by Saturday night, September 9.
What was the purpose of this list? I don't know. I don't understand preseason predictions at all. I think they're useless in terms of accuracy. What I do think this column was useful in doing: driving readers angry enough to increase readership and get fulminating emails for mailbags. But when it's August and we're all starving for some football, there'll be some big previews with words arranged in sentences posing as analysis. Ignore it. Seriously. It's pointless.



Been a while. Lots of reasons and stuff.

In the silence, I've had some odd thoughts about what I want to do with this space. I feel like I've been too negative. I get this feeling a lot. Sometimes I wonder if the feelings of guilt at being mean or negative or picky or exacting or whatever aren't guilt, but rather the internal struggle. Am I fighting the real me, who is a jerk?

Anyway. I want less anger. Less catharsis. More positivity. This won't be easy. Because, y'know, sometimes you can't fight who you are.

So, as a way to start, here's that adorable dog Murphy, that just happens to be my friend and cohabitant:



So... how's everyone doing 'round here?


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

If this weren't my son's wedding, I'd punch you in the face, you anti-dentite sonofabitch!

On the right hand of this blog, you'll notice several political blogs, and you'll notice that, like my rod, they lean to the left. But if you look through my archives, you'll note that I rarely write on politics. Mainly because I don't think you all are interested in my thoughts on politics.

But if you are a frequent reader at all, I do, in fact, write frequently about morons who talk about sports in the media.

Which brings me to this.


I'll be quick with it.

1) The presumption that criticism of Rex Grossman is unwarranted is idiotic.

Grossman sucked in the Super Bowl, and wasn't very good all year long. Grossman was 24th in QB rating this season when you only look at "qualified" (14 attempts per game) players. When you add in other QBs who hadn't had enough attempts, Grossman isn't in the top 50. Only two player threw more interceptions than Grossman this year (Kitna and Roethlisberger). He was 28th in completion percentage. Grossman was seriously poor this year.

The Bears won this year despite Grossman, by no means because of Grossman. The Bears led the NFC in takeaway margin despite finishing in the bottom half of the conference in giveaways. Considering how close the Bears were to a championship (made the Super Bowl, kept the game close for three quarters - until a Grossman INT was returned for a touchdown), it's normal - and completely fair to criticize Grossman and wonder what if a merely mediocre QB had been at the helm.

2) Assuming that criticism of Grossman isn't warranted, the idea that such criticism is driven by race-based animus is utterly ludicrous.

To determine what the motivation for criticism of Grossman is, let's use Occam's Razor. Could it be that he's not very good, and as a result of his poor play the Bears weren't able to win? That seems like a reasonable motivation, so it's clearly not correct.

No, it must be because Grossman's white. The media simply want to promote black quarterbacks. That's why there's been such a coordinated effort to discredit Grossman - to get him replaced with his African-American backups Kyle Orton and Brian Griese. Wait, what's that you say? Both those guys are white too? Weird.

No, it must be because Grossman's white. After all, the media's efforts at promoting Grossman's opposing QB were non-stop, before and after the Super Bowl. The constant media fluffing of Peyton Manning was just a result of the media's pro-black-QB agenda.

It must be because Grossman's white. The media won't let up on him. Compare him to how much positive press David Garrard had this year (we've all seen his Sprint/Mastercard/DirecTV commercials, right). Doesn't it surprise you that Garrard is way below Grossman in rating, completion %, yards per attempt, etc. Oh, wait. Garrard isn't behind Grossman in any of those categories. In fact, there were only 5 black QBs who qualified for stats. Only one was behind Grossman in passing statistics - Vince Young, who was a totally inexperienced rookie. If you asked 1000 Bears fans if they'd trade Grossman for Young straight up, if 5 said no I'd be stunned.

See, the thing is that Grossman was poor this year. And that's why people criticized him. In football, unlike politics, there are objective statistics and outcomes that just about anyone with a brain can understand and make informed judgments about. When you see a player suck, you can call him on it. You can say, this guy sucks because X, Y, Z. In politics, opinion and subjectivity come into play. If you don't like a particular politician, you can say that it's because you disagree with policies, but someone can infer that it's because you don't like his race/religion/haircut/etc.

Grossman is criticized because he sucks in the NFL (so far). The criticism isn't because he's white, any more than because he's the son of a dentist.


Thursday, February 01, 2007


Nope, sorry. Just have writers' block and been busy with work, etc. I've had time for comments elsewhere, but haven't felt inspired enough for full posts here.

Promise I'll have something worth reading sometime. More movies and things that make me look less cool. Less football because, y'know, football kind of ends in a couple days.

OK. Something this weekend. OK.