Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year

Just dropping in to wish everyone a safe and fun filled New Year's weekend. I've always considered NYE to be over rated, but any excuse to drink with friends is a welcome excuse!

Some wishes for the new year.

To DA: More of the same from 2009. It pleases me to know you're successful and thriving even if I'm stuck on the east coast freezing my ass off. Oh, and some time to finally fill me in on that story. You know....that story....

To Hammen: Another Jayhawks championship. I know it's the only thing you want this year, anyway. Or any year.

To Alex (who I think is Hammen's girlfriend, but it's tough to keep track with those two): More time to write. Loved your Grandma Wareheim story and laugh at many of your entries. Or, if you actually have the time and don't care about writing much, finally talking Hammen into getting that dog. Your choice.

To Trib: A 2010 summer filled with outdoor concerts so I can live vicariously through you when you post about them.

To Bigsby: A Twins World Series appearance. If they make it I'll be rooting for them, as well, mainly because it means the Red Sox are out of it.

To 10: Continued happiness with the new found girl. Or a round trip ticket to Boston so we can booze for a while. If you can swing both, well then....

To Rob: Continued success at the job and good health to your family.

To French: An internet connection so you can get back to posting. I know, you're busy, but I don't buy that you're that popular and pressed for time.

To Tiger: The courage to simply be yourself and stop hiding behind an army of image engineers. While your behavior is unseemly, it makes you much more interesting.

To Jason Bay: The movement of Citi Field's left field wall 20 feet towards home plate. You'll be missing the Green Monster by May.

To Theo Epstein: The ballsitude and finances to sign Matt Holliday. C'mon! Mike Cameron? Ten years ago I might have been persuaded, but in 2010?

To Jon and Kate: To finally stop talking about what's best for your kids and start doing what's best for your kids. Hosting 'The View' does not fall into that category.

To Balloon Boy: New parents.

To everyone without health insurance: That the politicians supposedly looking out for your best interest stop bickering about the details and get you the coverage you so desperately need.

To anyone else I forgot (and there are probably many of you - Sorry): Have a fantastic 2010. I'll admit it will be tough to top 2009 for pure spectacle.

Today's distraction: Get physically fit while being visibly drunk. Greatest idea for a diet, ever.

Enjoy another long weekend!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Sneers

As you can tell by the title, I am in a foul mood. Who better to take that foulness out on than the faceless, mostly nameless people who read this space? All five of you.

NOTE: I’m not complaining about the number of people who read here. In fact I have always subscribed to the quality over quantity philosophy. There are no better readers anywhere on the internet than the ones I have. That’s a fact, man!

NOTE #2: I am familiar with one face that reads here and it’s a beauty. And, no, Hammen, I’m not talking about you. Internet pictures don’t count.

In order to get more in the holiday spirit I’m venting my frustration about everything that’s basically pissing me off at the moment.

Bear with me while I purge my inner demons.

- What is it about the Christmas season that makes everyone stressed and miserable? Over the weekend I witnessed such incredible rudeness while shopping that I stopped and sarcastically wished the dick (and, in one case, dickette) ‘Merry Christmas to you, too!’ while they quickly rushed away. Get with the holiday spirit, motherfuckers! Pushing past me in the Target toy aisle to get one of the 155 available Transformer toys .003 seconds ahead of me does not constitute ‘nice’. I’m nearly certain of it.


Who wishes Santa was real? Like really real? There have been times (see above) that I wish he would materialize out of thin air whenever he spots douchy behavior. Someone runs over your feet with their cart and doesn’t apologize? BOOM! Santa shows up, bops the offender over the head with a sock full of broken glass and vanishes again. Actually, I want to be that Santa. Where do I apply?

- My youngest has had one of the ugliest head colds I have ever witnessed. He is manufacturing green snot like he was born to be it's factory. That he still doesn’t understand the concept of blowing his nose isn’t helping one bit.

- My eldest woke Monday morning and proclaimed his stomach hurt. I know what you’re thinking and I thought the same thing: Faker! The stomach ache was the best get out of school free card from my childhood. No way to prove someone was actually sick or just pretending. I got my answer when he vomited all over the living room. Having kids is great!

- Brett Favre’s out of control ego is back in the news. Yeah, you just knew he’d show up today, didn’t you? Apparently Sir Favre was upset with Brad Childress when he wanted to take Favre out of last weekend’s loss to the Panthers. Proving once again he thinks he’s bigger than the team, Favre has gone public with this disagreement to the point that the disagreement is becoming bigger than the actual decision.

Listen, Favre, Childress is your fucking head coach – for better and worse – and his main job is to put the ENTIRE TEAM in the best position to win as many games as possible. The game against Carolina was basically meaningless, a lost cause, and you were getting knocked around like a piñata. It actually made sense to take you out in order to achieve success (say it with me) for the team as a whole.

Like it or not, Childress is your coach. He says, you do. I get it; you’re a competitor and don’t like being taken out but there are times you need to put aside your ego and do what’s best for your team. You suffering a concussion in a game you can’t win and doesn’t even matter is not in your team’s best interest. If anything you are undermining your own coach by openly questioning his decision making.

You want another ring to prove you’re one of the best quarterbacks ever? Then shut up, play the game as well as you have all season and put your ego aside. This is no longer about you (as hard as that is to accept). This is about a fan base so starved for something positive that they’ve embraced you as a long, lost son.

Do everyone a favor and start living your life according to one credo: WWPD? What Would Peyton Do?

- First we had annoying pop up ads, then we had transparent ads that were nearly impossible to find that X exit marker for. Now we have the most devious and annoying pop up of all time; the moving box that won’t stay still for one fucking second so you can end the fucker. Surfing the web is becoming reflex conditioning. As soon as you see the box you try to close it before it gathers up speed and blocks you from what you’re actually trying to read. The next step is going to be an ad that moves away every time your mouse cursor gets near it. Stupid programmers.

- While out shopping Sunday night (what? I don’t wait until the last minute with the exception of every year in my life) I got a call from my brother in law who works security at the TD Bank Garden. ‘Want tickets to tonight’s game?’ Well, fuck yeah! So I grab eldest (pre-vomit edition) and headed into the game. By the time we arrived it was midway through the second quarter and the Celtics were romping. But, we had GREAT seats right behind the basket where I got to see the Celtic dancers up close. They are cute!

- I’m nearly certain my oldest son no longer buys into the Santa myth (sorry for ruining Christmas for you, Bigs) but doesn’t want to admit it because he thinks he won’t get presents from him any longer. Shrewd for a nine year old.

- Wifey and I only buy ourselves stocking stuffers rather than buying big gifts. When you’ve been married for as long as we have, it’s tough to buy the right gift. In fact, it’s becoming such a problem that I’m having a hard time finding just stocking stuffers. It would probably be easier if Celtic games didn’t keep popping up during my shopping time. Whatta ya gonna do?

- My crazy sister in law (who I heard is still on that god awful raw diet) flew into town yesterday. Rumor has it she may be staying at our place for a bit which makes me all warm and fuzzy with blinding rage. I’m going to make sure we bacon for breakfast, ham for lunch and steak for dinner every fucking day she’s there. Go ahead and eat your stinking weeds and herbs. I’ll need bread to soak up all the blood this meat left on my plate.

- In yet another attempt to get me to quit my job, our company is now requiring all company owned cell phone users to move to Verizon or AT&T. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue except I just went out and bought a new fucking phone for the T-Mobile account. And I had to go through our New York headquarters to get it approved. You think someone up there could have said ‘You know, why don’t you hold off for a couple of weeks?’ No, of course not. That would require some sort of forethought and competence in our New York office. That, my friends, is in very short supply.

- I’m sleepy.

- Just got a call from Wifey, who informed me that my eldest has strep throat and my youngest has a sinus infection. Happy Holidays!

- Mike Cameron? That’s the answer? Mike Cameron for eight million a year? Were we bidding against another team for him? I’m at a total loss as to what the Red Sox are doing this offseason. Unless there is some other move on the horizon and everything up to now was just getting all the pieces in place to help with the larger picture, I don’t know what – if anything – the concept is behind the team being constructed.

That’s enough bitching for one day. I’m off the rest of the week, so consider this your gift for the week.

Oh, nearly forgot. I’ve made it to my fantasy football finals. I’m going up against the dude who has lost one game all year. Fortunately his starting QB is Peyton who may be resting the final two games.

Winner gets $600. Loser gets $200.

Enjoy the long weekend, friends.

Today’s distraction: Another great series of emails between the greatest father ever and someone with no sense of humor. ‘Without a concise set of rules to follow we would probably all have to resort to common sense.’ That might be my 2010 slogan.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 In Review - Music

If nothing else, 2009 was a banner year for new music. Started off kind of slow and I was getting ready to complain about the dry spell before things exploded. I haven’t even had the time (nor resources – meaning money) to catch up on all of it.

Some of the releases mentioned below actually came out in 2008, but it took me a few months to follow up.

We’ll do it a bit differently today; each release I liked will get it’s own category. You’ll figure it out, I’m sure. I have the smartest readers on the internet (based on a very small sampling of one).

Let’s roll!


Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue: Jerry Cantrell has always been the driving force behind the group, anyway, but it was still a pleasant surprise to hear rumors of their return. Even more surprising is them releasing one of their best albums so far. New lead singer William DuVall is no Layne Staley (who is?), but he provides his own vocal punch while filling in those haunting harmonies with Cantrell. Musically, nearly all the songs could have been written 10 years ago.

And while we’re here…


Black Gives Way To Blue – Alice in Chains: A moving and surprisingly beautiful song that seems to be written from Staley’s point of view. ‘Fading out by design, consciously avoiding changes, curtains drawn – now it’s done, silencing all tomorrows’. With a wailing guitar and mourning piano accompanying the somber lyrics, the song – like Staley’s life – ends prematurely.


AC/DC – Black Ice: The aging Aussies show they haven’t lost a step or their attitude and give lessons to all the youngsters on how to simply rock out. Play this one loud with bass set to 10.


Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another: Coarse, crass, ragged, strange and my favorite album of the year. Be warned, this isn’t for everyone, but click here and listen to the first song on the list. If you enjoy that, you’ll like the rest. Listen to the entire song, though. Or hell, just pick one and make up your own mind.


Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown: On the heels of ‘American Idiot’ Armstrong and friends outdo themselves with an epic love story and some of the best songs they’ve ever recorded. Less political, yet a more complex and rewarding listen.


Living Things – Habeas Corpus: A scathing lyrical farewell to President Bush (referred to as ‘Snake Oil Man’ here) and a call to take action for the younger generation set to dark, bluesy riffs. Proof that outrage can be fun if applied correctly.


Mastodon – Crack the Skye: Thunderous, menacing and strangely enchanting. There’s no way to get around this: I fucking love this album. I bought the edition that has two versions of every song on it (one with singing, one just the score of the song) and I listen to both versions regardless of when they come on.


Metric – Fantasies: Lead singer Emily Haines can vary her singing between shy, intimidating, sweetly innocent, angry, and depressing. She’ll turn you on one instance, make you want to help her feel better (oh yeah!) the next, then make you fearful for you groin area the next. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a one woman show, though. The songwriting and musicianship is top rate.


Mount Eerie – Wind’s Poem: While I’m still not sure what this albums about, a majority of the songs are downright frightening; including one that seems to be their musical interpretation of an avalanche.


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Self Titled): Reminds me of the great college bands from the early 90s. Back when REM was first getting started and weren’t so full of themselves.


Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix: A friend of mine once asked why I wasn’t into pop music. My reply was ‘I like pop if it’s done right’. Well, here it’s done to near perfection. By the way things look, I’ll be sick of these guys by the middle of 2010. Until then, get a jump on everyone and get your toes tapping.


Porcupine Tree – The Incident: I’ve always been a ‘entire CD’ kind of guy and this single song (it’s been split into multiple tracks) rewards the old school listeners. Ever since iTunes began allowing people to buy individual songs off albums, the art of creating a full bodied – beginning to end – one song builds off another seems to be getting lost. Here’s one band that confirms (in spades) that it can still be done.


Stellastarr*- Civilized: Following up a subpar second release, this New York band seems to be finding its true voice. Stranger, more experimental and definitely more creative and fun than anything they’ve done before.


Tinsley Ellis – Speak No Evil: Flashes of Hendrix, Stevie Ray and BB King throughout, yet Ellis puts his own signature on everything. I will pay him my highest compliment: I would pay to see him in concert.


...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead – The Century of Self: After the promising creative leap they took with ‘Worlds Apart’, Trail of the Dead stall with a halfhearted, confused release that only momentarily reminds us why we liked them in the first place.


Silversun Pickups – Swoon: Disappointed with the first few listens before enjoying most of the songs before getting sick of them quickly before getting angry that they copped out before coming back around and deciding that maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. That an album could evoke such contradictory feelings in me could mean they made a true work of art. Or it could mean it was half assed effort. I’ll go with the latter choice.


TV On The Radio – Dear Science: Combining hip-hop, electronic, rock and roll, and nearly every other musical form in the universe, this band still manages to make toe tapping, thought provoking, thoroughly enjoyable music. Huge leap forward from their first which was very good in its own right.

And finally….


Them Crooked Vultures (Self Titled): A perfect combination of classic rock influences topped with present day sensibilities. Shades of Zeppelin, Cream, early Black Sabbath and even some Deep Purple chords are sprinkled throughout but the songs are driving by Josh Homme’s biting lyrics and Dave Grohl channeling his inner Jon Bonham.

Baroness – Blue Album: Heavy and hard yet unafraid to sprinkle downright beautiful passages into their songs. Between Baroness and Mastodon the future of heavy metal and hard rock is being created while we listen in awe.

That’s it for this year, my friends. I’ll follow up later today with a distraction. Have to get ready for work and drop my kid off at school. I should note it’s 15 degrees outside right now. Insert frown face…..HERE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009 in Review - Television

Let’s run down America’s true favorite past time today: Television. So many good new shows and some disappointing old ones. I’ll be spending time in my least favorite city (Hartford) today so I don’t have time to beat around.

Time is of the essence.


The Office: I had my doubts when Pam became pregnant and Jim got promoted, but this show hasn’t missed a beat. Even the wedding episode was fall off the couch hilarious. Right now, this is a series at its creative peak. Miss it at your peril.

Modern Family: It’s not often a comedy arrives on television fully formed. Usually it takes a few episodes to get rolling. Even ‘Seinfeld’ took a few seasons to really hit its stride. That’s why ‘Modern Family’ is such a pleasant, gut busting surprise. All the relationships are familiar; the family dynamic is caustically intimate; the one liners come fast and furious. Put it this way – I’ve had to rewind this show several times because I’ve missed the next punch line due to my still laughing at the previous one.

The Good Wife: Ridicule me all you want, but never has a series sucked me in so completely and efficiently in so few episodes. The individual cases are just as absorbing and interesting as the overall plot. Each and every character is fully formed, intelligent, human and acted to perfection. It’s also a blueprint on how to weave hour long stories into the overall arc of the series so they mesh seamlessly. Do you want me to say it? Because I will. The best drama on television.

Community: Another first year comedy that took off out of the gate. Unlike ‘Modern Family’ I’m not sure I can describe this one. Just watch one episode (Thursdays at 8 on NBC) and you’ll get the idea in the first 5 minutes. Deranged, biting, politically incorrect and funny as hell. Plus, it reminds us how funny Chevy Chase can be. He’s still got it.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Leave it to Larry David to reunite Seinfeld as a way to get his ex-wife back. Overall, it wasn’t as good as previous seasons, but the season finale was so perfect I had to put it here. ‘Do you respect wood?’

30 Rock: We seem to be in the golden age of comedies. If you want to laugh yourself sick, just watch NBC on Thursday nights. Fey, Morgan, Baldwin are still at the top of their respective games which makes this show funnier than ever. I wouldn’t have thought they could have topped last season but they’re heading that way in a hurry. As Jack would say, ‘O.M.F.G!’

Dirty Jobs: I don’t know what it is about this show, but if I run across one I haven’t seen before I’m glued to the set for 30 minutes. Even my boys are excited when it comes on, so it has universal appeal to males of all ages.

House (Last Season): I need to differentiate between the two halves of House for reasons you’ll see below. Last season’s surreal twist and unexpected (and as yet unexplained) suicide made House the most riveting show on television. Alas….


Lost: I know, I’m addicted to it. Just read my 40 something entries on it over the past two years. But I’m also objective enough to realize this season was the weakest of the entire series. I couldn’t help but get the feeling there were a lot of red herrings thrown about in an attempt to confuse viewers from what’s actually going on. I’m giving the Lost creators the benefit of the doubt, but I am fearful I will be let down in this final season. Which begins Feb 2nd, by the way! Oh, fuck yeah. I’ll be there.

Life: Yeah, I know this has already been canceled, but I finally caught up with the entire series on Hulu and am sorely disappointed we’ll never see this again. Highly addictive and entertaining. Time is limited, by the way. Hulu is only carrying this until January 10th. Get on it and crank them out while they’re free. Just watch the first episode and if you're not hooked when the camera pulls back on that final shot, I don't know what to say.

V: Since only a handful of episodes have aired, I can’t add it to the Best list. Although from what I’ve seen it could be great. Still a lot of unanswered questions and some possible dud storylines (the son and that hot alien being one) so hopefully when it returns it will be a lean, mean, TV machine.


House (current season): It starts off with one of the best episodes in House history (the music box excepted) only to stumble when it gets back to the hospital setting. The Cameron – Chase relationship is annoying and strange and House is becoming less funny and more of an asshole by the day. It seems to be getting it's footing back, but this has been a subpar season at best.

Bones: I still watch, but have been increasingly annoyed with the gimmick shows they’ve been pushing at us. The season finale was absolute bullshit with Booth dreaming about what life would be like if he and Bones were a married private investigation couple. Really? From the beginning we knew it was a dream but still had to sit through an hour of it. Terrible. This season has been spotty with the low point an episode that was basically an hour long ‘Avatar’ promo. Get your shit together, Bones (the show, not the character) or you’ll be off the DVR list.

Fringe: I got so sick of sci fi mumbo jumbo that I finally just stopped watching this. I can handle an X-Files clone, but it somehow made the bizarre seem mundane and repetitive.

FlashForward: Another one I had high hopes for only to be let down by the fatalistic, whiny and self serving behavior of all the main characters. It wasn’t until one of the main men took drastic measures to prove to everyone that you can in fact change your destiny that it became somewhat interesting. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have kicked anyone in the ass and they’re just as mopey as ever. All done. Thanks for stopping by.


American Idol: I’ll admit I get caught up in this. Having a flamboyant, borderline insane person like Adam Lambert certainly helps. I fear the loss of Paula Abdul will make the show much less entertaining. Part of the fun was watching her stutter and slur her way through a critique. Maybe the new girl will start doing drugs to compensate.

The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: This is a ‘kid’s show’ on the Cartoon Network that is so bizarre and hilarious I don’t even think I can do it justice. A young boy lives with a former adventurer (Captain Knuckles – pronounced with the K) inside a whale who talks. Their main purpose in life is to find Candy Island which leads to all sorts of hijinks. I’m tempted to watch this while high to see if I can decipher any hidden meanings, but I think I’d just wind up terrified.


The Bachelor: How is this show still on? This year brought us the first single father bachelor who proceeded to so totally fuck things up he probably traumatized his son and made every woman in America hate his guts. For the record, I actually didn’t see any of this but had to sit through play by plays while Wifey recounted every detail. She also seemed to hate it and love it at the same time.

Carrie Underwood/Jennifer Hudson Holiday Specials: Was anyone else unlucky enough to stumble across these two disasters? Underwood’s didn’t even strike me as a holiday concert and they made the strange decision to show backstage skits between the songs as if she were auditioning for her own variety show. Not funny. Just awkward and strange.

Hudson’s special seemed to be her riding around her home city of Chicago while lip synching some holiday songs.

To be fair, I only watched about 10 minutes of each show, but that was more than enough to gauge the damage these train wrecks were about to do.


Glee: Yeah, I’m going there. I tried. Honestly. I gave this more than one chance but I seriously hate this fucking show. I have always had an issue with musicals busting out in a song and suddenly everyone knows the lyrics and sings incredible, but I could forgive all that. I can appreciate the cast and some of the comedy is ok, but I just don’t get why that female gym teacher (who is hilarious in almost everything else) has such a problem with the Glee Club. Why? Her obsession over it borders on psychotic and I find the entire story line and most of the characters annoying. That I want them all to suffer tremendously should tell you where I’m at.

Also, if you're going to do a show like this, have them sing live (or at least live while taping the show). The lip synching drives me crazy!

Until next year. Let’s hope ‘Lost’ blows everyone out of the water this season and enters ‘Seinfeld’ status. If only….

Today’s distraction: Highjacking a post has never been so amusing. Sometimes people just ask for trouble.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 In Review - Movies

Is it me or has this year flown by? Seems like a month ago Obama was being sworn in while I had yet another liquid lunch at JJ Foley’s. Actually, that liquid lunch may have been a month ago.

Thankfully, you all have my half assed, ill informed, off the cuff year in review entries to occupy 20 minutes of your day. Hopefully I can spur you to watch movies you wouldn’t have otherwise or introduce you to bands nobody but Trib has heard of (or would even dare listen to) or get you to tune into some television show simply out of curiosity.

Let’s kick things off with the year in movies. To be frank, this year hasn’t been the best for Hollywood. Most of the films I’ve watched this year have been good, but not great. You’ll notice that Best of the Best section is rather sparse. Still, I haven’t seen a lot of the movies that were released into theaters (like ‘The Hangover’). I’m more of a DVD at home kind of guy mainly because the general population annoys the living crap out of me.

Off we go.


Gran Torino: One of the very few movies this past year that stays with you. Funny, complex, disturbing, touching and memorable. Supposedly this is Clint Eastwood’s final acting appearance and it’s a perfect way for him to retire his ‘rough around the edges’ persona. Plays out like a retired, corrupted and soiled Dirty Harry discovering his long anticipated redemption.

Role Models: With apologies to ‘Step Brothers’ this was simply the funniest goddamn movie all year. If there is any woman out there that wants to understand men in general, study this movie like it’s the Dead Sea Scrolls. A lot of what makes us tick is included. Including gorgeous, naked women, which, quite frankly, is a majority of what we’re about.

Slumdog Millionaire: Don’t be fooled by the feel good previews; this is dark and violent and can be extremely depressing. Slums in India aren’t the best place for a film to be based. Yet, there is an intelligent cynicism and undercurrent of hope and love that elevates this above standard films of our age. Nearly every character we grow to root for has at least one moment of abuse heaped upon them, but it merely makes them stronger and more determined. This film gets my best compliment: It far exceeded my already very high expectations. That almost never happens.

Up: Yet another Pixar movie that is more heartfelt, hilarious and human than 90% of the live action movies that are released by the boat load every year. I don’t know how they keep doing this but let’s hope Disney doesn’t dilute the recipe.

Sugar: A fantastic, realistic, eye opening movie about the Dominican dream of becoming a professional baseball player. While realizing that most of them won’t fulfill the dream of making it to the majors, never have I considered what becomes of the young men of fail to reach their potential nor the many obstacles they need to overcome simply to make get a shot.

Star Trek: Agreed; the plot is way more complicated than it needed to be (couldn’t they have just started the story from scratch?). But this is the most entertaining movie of the year. The new Kirk is actually charming, funny, unsure of himself and self depreciating. Bones is hilarious and JJ Abrams stays true to the vibe and philosophy of the original series while poking fun at it at the same time (check out the bravado of the red shirted crew member just before a ‘space jump’). Check your brains at the door and enjoy the ride.

Man on Wire: Fascinating documentary that includes home filmed practice footage of Philippe Petite; the insane man who decided his life’s mission was to tightrope walk between the tops of the two World Trade Center buildings. The narration is done by Petite himself with interviews of all his team members peppered in to clarify what was going on. It’s funny and strange and engrossing and unforgettable. The topper being news footage of one of the policemen who arrested Petite after he attempted his stunt. I’ll bet we never get a more honest interview with a policeman again.


The Wrestler:
A bit depressing and slow for me, but still well worth a watch. Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei are both incredible in this.

Ghost Town: A movie I enjoyed originally but has somehow grown and stayed with me. I just rewatched it on HBO and found I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Quantum of Solace: Stupid title, but very good movie made even more distinguished by a psychological twist that makes James Bond even more complex and disturbed than we ever thought. I hope Daniel Craig and this team make many more Bond movies because they’ve been two of the best of the series. Just think of a better title next time.

Step Brothers: Will Farrell + John C Reilly = funny shit.

The Reader: Strange and sexual and depressing. I had heard a lot about this movie, but it wasn’t all what I was expecting. All the praise Kate Winslet gets is deserved.


Wanted: Stupid, WAY over the top and thoroughly entertaining. Had way more fun watching this that I probably should have.

Rambo: Probably the most surprising movie of the entire year. No, it’s not great, but it’s much more intelligent, cynical and thought provoking than I ever thought would be possible. It’s also the most violent movie I’ve seen all year.

Speaking of which…


The number of very good horror movies went up astronomically this year. Check out any of the flicks below if you’re in the mood for some good gore or want to be creeped out.

Splinter: A couple gets taken hostage and discover that’s the least of their problems. This is how horror films should be made: lean (less than 90 minutes long), smart(ish), and extremely gory.

Feast: Blood soaked, unpredictable, darkly hilarious and paced like a machine gun. Sounds like a winner to me!

Quarantine: Claustrophobic movie that played it perfectly by never explaining what was going on and having the viewers experience everything through the people trapped inside.

The Signal: Suspenseful and highly unnerving. A strange signal is broadcast over all phones, television sets and radios that make a majority of residents in a city go gruesomely insane. Be warned, this is extremely gory but also has moments of comedy that relieves the tension. Make sure you watch the interrogation of a decapitated head and the perfectly rational explanation on how to get it to talk. Hint: It involves jumper cables.

Halloween: The Rob Zombie remake that makes Michael Myers more human, a lot scarier, and strangely super human (didn’t care for that part). By the way, I couldn’t figure out how the actress playing Mrs Myers was cast. She was just awful. Turns out it’s Zombie’s wife.


Milk: Yes, Sean Penn is good in this. Yes, this is a true story. Still this sure struck me as a ‘by the numbers’ biopic that I had little interest in. The climactic scene was horribly done, as well.

I Love You, Man: To be clear, I didn’t hate any of the movies in this section, I had just heard such good things about them I was expecting more. This one is ok and has some funny scenes, but when the funniest character is Jon Favreau’s brother in law and he’s only in about 20 minutes of the movie, there is a problem. Good, but ‘Role Models’ and ‘Step Brothers’ are both twice as funny as this one. Bonus points for bringing one of my favorite bands – Rush – back into public consciousness.

Drag Me To Hell: Sam Raimi, director of the ‘Evil Dead’ series, going back to his horror roots after the ‘Spider-Man’ movies? Score for us. Or so I thought. To be fair, this was entertaining enough, but there were several flaws I just couldn’t get past. First, we’re told in the opening minutes that it takes three days for the curse to fully kick in. This robs all suspense from any of the ‘scary’ scenes because we know nothing harmful can happen to the main character until day 3. I would still recommend it, but keep in mind this is more a comedy (several Looney Tune references throughout this movie, including a conveniently hanging anvil) than a true horror movie. Also, while the ending could be the most memorable part of the entire film, I felt it cheated. Didn’t the boyfriend, technically own the object in question? Speaking of the boyfriend, how does he ever have another relationship after that? Talk about traumatized.


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: I’m still pissed I had to pay for me and the boys to go see this in a theater. This is supposed to be a movie about robots in disguise but we get to spend time with Sam and his parents adjusting to his college life, Sam and Makala’s inability to express their feelings and the most confusing and intricate plot this side of ‘Momento’. And I would have forgiven all of it if there were some action scenes with the fucking robots thrown in to entertain. Sadly, in this movie, even some of the robots are annoying and overtly racist. To top it all off Optimus Prime is in the movie for about 20 minutes. Once again, Michael Bay has cemented his reputation as the worst successful director in history.

The Go-Getter: This was so bad I didn’t even finish watching it. Some whiny, little, bitch of a teenage boy steals a car, answers the cell phone left in it and strikes up an odd, sympathetic relationship with the girl that owns the car. If you want evidence of a director ruining a decent script, watch this.

Untraceable: Diane Lane and her supposed cracker jack crew of tech savvy crime fighters can’t catch a serial killer who somehow eludes capture while hooking up elaborate killing contraptions that murder victims quicker the more people watch. Did I mention he’s running his entire operation from three over the counter laptops? I stopped watching this when one of the crew members manages to give morse code clues by blinking as he’s being boiled to death in a vat of acid. It actually is more ridiculous than it sounds.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: A sequel so bad it manages to ruin the memory of the first three. Even the chase scenes, which includes – I shit you not – Shia LaBeouf swinging through the jungle on vines like Tarzan in order to catch up to two speeding cars are ridiculous. And I haven't even mentioned the involvement of aliens. Interesting that LaBeouf is in two of my least favorite movies this year. Come to think of it, I could easily add ‘Eagle Eye’ to this section.


Changeling: Eastwood redeemed himself with ‘Gran Torino’, but this one I just can’t get over. Angelina Jolie is annoying, the movie’s theme is dark, gruesome, and uncomfortably brutal for parents to watch, yet it insists on a tacky, unbelievable, illogical and falsely uplifting final twenty minutes. If there is an alternate ending to this movie that Eastwood intended, I would love to know what it was. Instead, I’m left wondering what the fuck everyone involved in this movie was thinking.

That’s it for this year, my friends. Coming tomorrow is the year in television.

Today’s distraction: Some of the more bizarre Santa pictures to get you in the Christmas mood. I would hang with the Pimp Santa.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week 14 Postmortem (Sort Of)

I'll hit on some NFL games, but have other thoughts to pass along, as well. Let's stop messing around and get to it! Mondays are no time for lollygagging!

- After my lengthy anti-Favre rant last week, the Vikings go out and win their most convincing game of the season. So either Favre can't play well without someone publicly doubting him or he's trying to reel me back in or it was simply a bad game or I'm just way over thinking this entire thing.

I'll let you decide.

- The Carolina Panther defensive players are publicly stating that Randy Moss quit on the Patriots yesterday. While Brady is playing the good teammate and sticking up for him, it was obvious to everyone watching that Moss was in a foul mood. It's also apparent that every team's mission going into a Patriot's game is to get Moss pissed off so he'll stop trying. The Panthers secondary players basically said that was their game plan and that they considered it a success. After being sent home Wednesday for arriving late to practice, it's becoming apparent Randy Moss needs to be treated like a four year old: constant positive attention or risk a pouting session if you put him in time out. You're a pro, Randy Moss, and a grown man. Sulking on the sideline because you're having a bad day isn't what men do. Next time suck it up and keep trying.

- It used to be the Red Sox would operate like they had some sort of plan in mind. Sometimes it wouldn't work out and they'd have to take Option B (Teixiera, Mark) but at least they knew what they were doing. This year I don't know what the hell is going on. They've made two offers to Jason Bay, but they won't add a fifth year onto either. Bay, in effect, will be playing somewhere else next season.

Then there are trade rumors that have Mike Lowell going to Texas for some fifth string catcher. Only the Sox will be paying 9 of the 12 million Lowell is due.

Then there was the rumor of moving Pedroia to shortstop and signing a short term fill for second base. NOTE: I loved this idea. Pedroia is one of the hardest workers on the team, is already a stellar defensive infielder and was playing shortstop when the Sox drafted him. Plus this would open up the possibility of the Red Sox signing one of my favorite, unheralded players: Orlando Hudson, who, I would like to point out, we know can play well in the AL East.

Instead we sign Scutaro, who is average (at best) and aging.

Maybe there is something else up their sleeves (sounds like they'll sign John Lackey soon), but so far this off season has been underwhelming. Get me Matt Holliday swinging for the Green Monster and I'll be happy.

- Everyone will be happy to know (or not) that I won my fantasy match yesterday (unless Vernon Davis explodes for 50 points tonight) which means I am in my pay to play fantasy playoffs. It was win or go home for me yesterday and Brees, Colston and especially Andre Johnson came through when I needed them most. Now I just need to figure out my running back situation. Kevin Smith is gone for the season, Marion Barber doesn't get the ball anymore and when he does (like yesterday) he can't pound it in from 1 yard out, Jonathan Stewart is useless unless DeAngelo Williams sits, and LeSean McCoy is doing nothing. I did pick up that Redskins rookie back who put up 22 points yesterday, but if I have to rely on him I'm in a world of trouble.

- While we're here, I was watching the pathetic display that is called the Dallas Cowboy's offense and have discovered what the problem is with Tony Romo: He doesn't see past his favorite targets. I lost count how many times either Marion Barber or Felix Jones was wide open in the flat and Romo either didn't see them or chose other options. The worst being a play during the final drive when Barber faked like he was going to block, then slipped through into the flat and stood there without a defender around him. He was so open no defenders could even be seen in the same wide television shot. At least 10 yards in every direction was empty. So, of course, Romo threw to nobody.

My buddy mentioned this halfway through the season, but I blew him off as being bitter about drafting Roy Williams. At the time he said 'Romo only throws to his friends. That's why Miles Austin was smart going to Vegas with Romo. They become friends and he becomes one of his favorite targets.'

Astonishingly, this looks to be true. Romo kept forcing throws to Whitten (his roomie) and Austin (his Vegas bitch) instead of just taking what the defense was allowing. Spread it around, Romo, or December will be another long, cold month in Dallas.

- Just read that the Blue Jays might be trading Roy Halladay to Philly. The Phillies will in turn send Cliff Lee to Seattle and someone else is involved somewhere. This is perplexing. Why get rid of Lee, who performed flawlessly for you last season? Halladay is 32 and looked rather long in the tooth towards the end of last season. Why risk this? You know how Lee reacts in the pressure cooker. You have no idea how Halladay will perform. I don't understand this move.

- Was all excited watching Vince Young taking off for a 35-40 yard run. Excitement turned to a 'what's he doing?' moment when he pulled up lame and quickly headed to the sideline. Not good for Vince fans. And, shockingly, I think I am one. How did that happen?

- Reason number 435 that you should never listen to your wife (or girlfriend). She had a company party on Saturday night and I asked 'Should we stop and get beer on the way up?'. She dismissed this and told me that there would be plenty of booze. Besides, we weren't going up empty handed as she was bringing treats and a nice bottle of wine.

So we arrive, I do the social 'please to meet you' requirement before heading to the back deck where I was told the beers were located. I open the cooler and there are a total of 7 beers. Four are some god awful Sam Adams Blackberry Wheat shitoberfest. The rest are Bud cans. Bud cans it is! But, of course, now I'm left to take my time knowing the supply is limited (and I'm driving, but priorities). When I go back all the Sam Adams are gone and two lonely Buds are left floating at the bottom.

I did the only rational thing (for me): I took both of them. Then proceeded to dare the guy I was with to check the fridge to see if there was another hidden supply. He didn't bite.

- There were a disturbing number of very (and I mean VERY) attractive young women at this party. It was disturbing because I was with wifey and didn't want to be caught ogling. That's much harder than I thought and I'm sure I was caught more than once. Ah, well. You can make the boy a man, but can't take the boy out of the man. I'm just keeping in touch with where I came from.

Holy shit, it's nearly 5:30. Time flies when I acutally have work to do and nothing to say, eh?

Starting tomorrow will be my 2009 review, so plan being semi entertained for about a third of the time you spend reading this space. That's a 33% increase from usual, just so you know.

Today's distraction: Six cat behaviors that have evil explanations. I thought of this article at the holiday party when the resident cat kept rubbing up against all the guests, spent time in an owner's lap, then spent the next 30 minutes meticulously cleaning itself. Find out why cats actually do that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crush of the Month

Frankly, this crush could be labeled full blown love.

Or a creepy obsession with a 27 year old hottie. Like that would be a first.

I’ve been holding back on this crush because my plan was to make her my Crush of the Year, but that would be unfair to the other ladies from past months. Instead I’m using this month to illicit some charitable donations. You know…the season of giving and all that crap.

So let’s get to it. I present to you BeachBum’s December Crush of the Month.

Who?: Jenn Brown! That’s who!

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, let’s just start there:

A thousand. And I can't think of one at the moment

Most of you know her from ESPN’s College Game Day, but I’ve been enjoying her turns on ESPNU’s ‘Road Trip’ where she and some dude who annoys me by talking and taking camera time away from Jenn go around the country and see how college football fans spend their game day.

Since she’s from Southern Florida like another hot ESPN reporter, she’s already being called the ‘next Erin Andrews’. There are worse labels to have. Believe me. I’ve been trying to shed mine since high school.

What Else?: Where to begin.
She does correspondent work for ‘Inside the NFL’ and has already had gigs for the Super Bowl, NBA All Star Game, ABC’s ‘SuperStars’, the Travel Channel’s ‘The Wild Side’ (dirty mental image of Jenn’s Wild Side), and CNN’s ‘Showbiz Tonight’. She also covers mixed martial art fights. So, basically Miss Brown is surrounded by horny, drunk and/or sweaty men nearly everywhere work takes her.

This should be the new Heisman Trophy

I mentioned she’s only 27, right? Do you feel like a slacker, yet? You will.

The lovely and talented Jenn still holds her high school record for receiving the most varsity letters of any girl or boy. That would be 14. Yeah, 14 varsity letters from 7 different sports. That’s approximately….let’s see...borrow from the one…14 more than I have.

She was walked onto the University of Florida’s softball team as a freshman and graduated as it’s captain. She really didn’t need a scholarship, anyway, since she was already attending on a full academic one.


And DAMN!!!

That All?: As if everything above wasn’t enough?

It just so happens there is something else. When Jenn was 19 her younger sister was killed in a car accident. As a tribute and a way to make a difference in other lives, her family has set up The Carrie Brown Foundation which awards scholarships to attend camps. They also help with special needs funding and take pride when noting ‘100% of the foundations proceeds are used to help less fortunate children’.

Hell, if you’re looking for a charity this holiday click her to donate to the Carrie Brown Foundation.

Congratulations, Jenn Brown, on being this month’s Crush. Not that I would ever think your Super Type A personality would allow you to sit for 2 minutes to read this humble entry.

But hope springs eternal.

Other things spring, as well!

Today’s distraction: Street art that uses shadows. This is a bit confusing to me because wouldn’t the use of shadows make the art relevant for about 10 minutes a day?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week 13 Postmortem

Do you now see the evil genius of Brett Favre?

Do you understand my consternation and doubt. All season I resisted buying into the Minnesota Vikings as actual contenders. Just look at their schedule so far. The three quality teams they’ve played – Ravens, Steelers (who may not be that good after all) and Cardinals – wound up being two losses and one near loss.

The Vikings have had far and away the easiest schedule in all the land.

Plus there was the entire Brett Favre mystique. Sucking you in only to turn around and bitch slap you to the moon. It happened in Green Bay in 2007. It happened in New York in 2008. Like the Cowboys collapse, Favre imploding is as inevitable as another shitty Hallmark Holiday movie debuting on Lifetime.

But I resisted. See, I could see tragedy coming. I would not buy into the Vikings. Sure they had Adrian Peterson. Sure they have a stellar defensive line. Sure they no longer had Tavaris Jackson over throwing receivers by 15 yards. But they had Brett Favre.

Still, they kept winning. And winning. And winning. Until finally I caved and officially regarded them as a championship caliber team.

And that, my friends, is the diabolicalness (it’s a word!) of Brett Favre. He waits until everyone has finally been sucked in to his vortex before throwing out a stinker like last night. He waits until the final doubter is silenced before yelling ‘gotcha again!’.

He got me again and I’m not even angry at him. I’m angry and disappointed with myself. I’m the one that should have known better.

I also know that this could just be a bump in the road. That maybe the Vikings needed a game like this to, in effect, throw cold water on themselves. Give them that sudden shock of ‘Man, maybe we’re not as good as we thought’. A wake up call, if you prefer clichés.

But I know better. Last night, Arizona – a team ranked 24th overall on defense – laid down the blueprint on shutting down the Vikings. The key is not Brett Favre. The key is Peterson. Shut him down (which is a chore in itself) and make Favre beat you. If you’re a lesser team, he just might. But lesser teams tend not to make the playoffs. Good teams with good coaching and good defenses make the playoffs (San Diego Chargers excluded).

That is what Favre will be seeing. Not the Bears or Lions or Browns or Rams or Seahawks.

Vikings play the Bengals next followed by the Panthers. Stay tuned.

Let’s run down some games.

- Halfway through second quarter of the Patriots – Dolphins game one thing became horribly clear: The Patriots could not stop Chad Henne. They weren’t getting any pressure, they couldn’t cover anyone, and Henne was simply throwing to the frighteningly wide open middle of the field play after play.

As thoughts tend to do when in the midst of despair, things snowballed. If they couldn’t stop Chad Henne, then maybe it wasn’t Drew Brees chewing up the Pats last Monday. Maybe the Patriots defense just stinks. And if that’s the case (and it sure seems like it is) then maybe the Patriots didn’t punt on fourth and two because they knew before anyone else that their defense stinks and didn’t want everyone to know that immediately.

Belichick takes the heat for a bad call but, in reality, he’s hiding the awful truth about his team: They can’t stop anyone.

The secret is out now.

- So the Raiders finally bench JaMarcus Russell and they’ve won two games in a row. Two impressive games at that. Against Cincy before taking down the defending champs at home! What is going on? Oakland is actually showing some grit. Tom Cable for Coach of the Year!! Or Coach of the Year with the best right hook at the very least.

While we’re here, nobody should be totally shocked that Brad Gradkowski is playing this well. It usually takes 2-3 full seasons before quarterbacks fully assimilate the position. There’s a lot of shit to learn. Gradkowski is still only 26 years old; typically the age when the QBs start peaking. Would it be ironic if the Raiders’ quarterback of the future isn’t Russell, but some castoff they signed because he was cheap?

Two other notes on this game:

1: The Raiders won despite flying east and playing in the early game. That hasn’t happened too often for any west coast team.

2: Gradkowski was born in Pittsburgh. Ouch, Steeler fans. Ouch!

- There’s a big deal being made about Michael Vick scoring his first touchdown since his release from prison. That he did it in Atlanta makes it bigger. However, I have to wonder about the thinking behind the Eagles coaching staff making sure Vick got his score. He played more than usual, which can be accounted for by the lopsided game, but it struck me as rubbing salt in the wounds of the Atlanta fans.

‘Look, Atlanta! Not only are we kicking your asses, but we'll have your once favorite son run it in for his first touchdown since the dog fighting scandal. Later we’ll have him in as QB and passing like crazy to get another. Later we’ll have him piss all over a bunch of your state flowers.’

That would be the Cherokee Rose, if you’re wondering.

- Three weeks ago I wrote that we would finally see what kind of coach Josh McDaniels is after the Broncos lost four in a row. Since then the Broncos have defeated the Giants and Chiefs by a combined 70 – 19. That would be highly impressive if they hadn't played the Giants and Chiefs.

- While we’re here, the Giants beating the Cowboys told us nothing. Can anyone figure out this NFC East division? It’s a friggin’ mess with a bunch of schitzo teams that lose when they should win and win when they should lose. More importantly, do any of those teams frighten you?

- I thought for sure the Titans would knock the Colts off the undefeated throne. I was openly rooting for Vince Young which is a strange feeling. It made me a bit uneasy, to be honest. Like I had eaten something that may give me botulism, but I won’t know for sure for 24 hours. I don’t think I’m doing it again.

- The Saints got bailed out of the prototypical letdown game yesterday. All Washington needed to do was kick a 20 something yard field goal to put things out of reach and they missed. Brees and company rolled down the field to tie the game and won it in over time. Typical of the way the season has gone for both teams.

- If you’re wondering, here are the final games for Indy and New Orleans:

Colts: Denver, at Jacksonville, Jets, at Buffalo

Saints: at Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa Bay, at Carolina

Something to keep in mind: By the time the final game rolls around, both of these teams should have home field wrapped up throughout the playoffs. Therefore, that final game will need to be won by the second stringers. You really think the Colts want Manning out in 25 degree weather against the Bills when nothing is on the line?

Fuck and No.

Same with Brees. Why risk injury when the main goal is to win the Super Bowl.

On the other hand, how great would this matchup be in the Super Bowl if BOTH teams were still 18 – 0? I don’t think I could sit still. For two weeks straight. No shit!

- I never thought I’d think this (let alone write it down), but Brady Quinn has looked pretty good recently. Sure, he’s no star, but if you consider the quarterback learning curve (see Gradkowski, Brad above) by this time next season Quinn could be one of the best young QBs in the league.

- And speaking of young QBs, if you had any doubt about Matthew Stafford take a peek at the perfect 70 yard bomb to Calvin Johnson against the Bengals yesterday. Just gorgeous. I’m already picking the Lions to be the sleeper team for next year. All the pieces are there on offense, they just need to shore up the line and get some defense.

Holy Shit Stat of the Week #1 (Patriots Edition): The Patriots lost consecutive games for the first time since 2006.

Holy Shit Stat of the Week #2 (Patriots Edition): Tom Brady threw at least two interceptions in consecutive weeks for the first time since 2003.

Holy Shit Stat of the Week #3 (Patriots Edition): Chad Henne entered yesterday’s game averaging about 164 yards passing. He passed for 174 yards in the second quarter alone.

Random Monday Night Prediction: Nobody outside of Baltimore and Green Bay will care who wins tonight’s game. Not much of a stretch there, but I’m done taking risks.

Today’s distraction: 82 Creative Products. I want those huge iPod earbuds for my office. In case anyone reading is looking for gift ideas. For me. Not for yourselves.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gossip Central

Some thoughts on recent celebrity gossip going around. Hey, why not me? I'm just as ill informed and stupid as any one on the E! Channel. Although I have yet to watch that Bruce Jenner show, so I may not be too bad. I heard Lamar Odom made a guest appearance which was nice. Those athlete/celebrities need to support each other.

Some thought on recent developments.

Tiger Woods: He leaves his house at two in the morning and immediately drives over a fire hydrant and crashes into a tree. Supposedly his smoking hot wife helps him out of the car by smashing his window out with a golf club. Why there is a golf club handy goes unquestioned. I mean, is he an enforcer for the mob or something?

Police take nearly a month (ok, a week) to conclude that this was a one person accident and that no charges will be filed. Woods will, however, need to pay a $120 ticket, which is like me paying a ticket with my navel lint.

The bigger speculation (complete bullshit) is that Tiger's wife wasn't trying to help him out of the car but was actually using the golf club on his smug face and that the accident was due to Tiger trying to flee his enraged wife. While I don't buy this plot, it is hilarious to consider Woods' fleeing his petite blonde assassin of a wife only to plow head long into a tree.

Those in Woods' tight knit Florida mansion community have testified they have seen no sign of spousal abuse. Considering their houses are only 2.4 miles apart with security barricades between all the properties, they must be considered reliable witnesses.

Now some Vegas waitress who has absolutely no ulterior motive to become famous or make money (she is a Vegas waitress after all!) has come forward to claim she's had a torrid, three year affair with Tiger Woods. She even has all the text messages between them to prove it. This announcement was made via a mass voice mail.

My Take: First, there is no way Tiger Woods could do anything with passion, so I'm suspicious of any affair described as 'torrid' involving him. Secondly, Woods' wife wouldn't be trying to kill her meal ticket with a golf club. Unless it was one of his caddy's clubs or a spare that one of the kids use. The first rule of the gold digging club is to never bite the hand that feeds. The second is not to beat the face attached to that hand into a bloody pulp. You simply file for divorce and take 75% of what he has.

Here's what I think happened. Woods' wife became suspicious of something, flew into a rage and started screaming and yelling. Woods figures he would do what he does best and drive. Only he's unaware that his wife has telekinetic abilities and used her mind to move the tree and hydrant in to the path of his car. Then she 'accidentally' hit him with the golf club while trying to extricate him from his vehicle. This despite the fact he was virtually unharmed and could open the driver side door easily.

She, of course, was just being overly zealous in protecting her loving and perfect (and fucking rich!) husband.

Isn't that obvious?

Meredith Baxter: One of the loves of my teenage life has come out of the closet and proclaimed she is a lesbian. For those unfamiliar, she is the mother on 'Family Ties' and I had many fantasies involving her, Mallory and tubs of melted butter...

...what was I talking about?

Family Ties! Right. Well, between Mallory becoming anorexic and Baxter now a 60 year old lesbian it's safe to say more than half of my teenage eroticism's look pretty comical. Wait, comical isn't the right word. Traumatic! Yeah that's it!

I should point out that Baxter announced her gayness after being spotted on an all lesbian cruise ship and went public before so she could tell her fans in her own words.

My Take: Considering her fans constitute nearly every male between the ages of 35-45, it really didn't matter where that information came from. I would like to point out that Baxter has been out of work and out of the limelight for quite some time. So, it's not like she would come out of the closet simply to get people talking about her again, right?

I mean, nobody would do that. That's just crazy talk!

Long live Mrs Keaton!!!

Jon and Kate Gosselin: Yup. Still around.

My Take: Still waiting for state of Pennsylvania to take custody of their kids. Any day now...

Ron Artest: According to an ESPN report, Ronny boy has claimed (in an interview with The Sporting News) that he used to drink at halftime of some of his games. Hennessy was his choice because it went great with the stale popcorn he would eat while on the bench (unconfirmed).

He also claims that there was nothing he could have done differently to prevent that Detroit riot/fight that has defined his NBA career. Well, until now.

My Take: Finally! I knew there was something he was holding back. That Detroit brawl wasn't because of the fans or the refs or the players. It was because of the booze. Think about it! Artest didn't go off and run into the stands until one of the Detroit fans threw beer on him. He wasn't upset at being dowsed. He was pissed because someone wasted beer! How dare they!!

You know what? I'm with Artest on this. Throwing beer is a tragedy. Drink, don't throw, people. Drink, don't throw!

Rhianna: Supposedly 'leaked' photos of her have popped up on the internet; both of the aftermath of her Chris Brown fight and nude photos she took while with an ex-boyfriend. She claims the release of these photos were 'humiliating and embarrassing'.

My Take (Warning: Cynicism Alert): While I would never condone beating a woman, it's a bit alarming to me that Rhianna seems to be playing up the angle on that entire situation. Don't believe me? Take a look at her latest album cover and decide for yourself. You can't tell me that pose isn't meant to invoke a certain sympathy. There was also her performance on the AMAs that began with her in metal mask which was dramatically removed before the song began. I'm sure that's just coincidence.

As for her nude photos, it sure seems convenient that they get 'leaked' just as her new album is released. An album title 'Rated R', for the record. Anyone famous or wanting to be famous should know better than to allow naked photos or sex tapes of themselves to be floating around anywhere. She claims that she sent them to her boyfriend at the time and that 'if you don't send nude photos to your boyfriend, then I feel bad for him'.

Really, Rhianna? If you don't send naked photos of yourself to your boyfriend it means you somehow aren't being a good girlfriend? How about just showing up in his room naked? That sure would be my preference. In an era of teenagers texting non stop, that is a fantastic message to be sending all the teenage girls who look up to you.

Quite frankly, the more I learn about you, the less I like. You may be young, rich and beautiful but you're still way too young to think you know it all. If anything, the last few months should have already taught you that.

Again, what Brown did is atrocious but I get the nagging feeling that in a few years he may be viewed in a much more sympathetic light than he is right now. Rhianna is getting confident enough to show her true self and it's a picture that gets murkier and more disturbing by the sentence.

Today's distraction: Five musical acts that need to find something else to sing about. Amen!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lessons Learned

I learned a lot last night.

I learned that I would rather lose in my fantasy league than watch the Patriots take the beating they took last night. While Brees was racking up points for me, I had my head in my hands; astonished how easily they dismantled the Pats’ defense. It was a clinic.

I – and many others – learned that the Saints are not only for real, but could be the best team in the NFL.

I learned that the Patriots are not ready for prime time. There is a lot of work to be done on both sides of the ball. Was it me or did Randy Moss quit on a few plays? It’s been a criticism of him since his Viking days, but I’ve never witnessed it since he’s been with the Patriots. Maybe it was just a bad game with poor communication. Or maybe we’re seeing the beginning of the end.

I learned that buffalo wings can still make your stomach feel like it’s filled with molten lava the next morning. Coco Puffs and milk do little to quench the fire, if you’re wondering.

I learned that some guys just don’t get it. There were two guys at the bar next to us who had a seat reserved for a third friend. The third friend showed up midway through the second quarter of the game, made small talk for approximately 20 minutes before spending a majority of time on his cell phone. Midway through the third quarter Sir Douche stands and announces, ‘I’m out. This game is over’. His friends look at him in disbelief. ‘Dude,’ one says ‘it’s not even fourth quarter.’ He makes his ‘Game’s over, guys’ excuse and leaves. A few minutes later I overhear his friends talking to each other: ‘Why do we even bother inviting him anymore?’ The lesson, gentlemen, is that an invitation to watch the game is simply a social invite. The game is secondary. Hanging out with your friends and drinking and giving each other shit is the point. Using the ‘This game is over’ excuse is the same thing as saying ‘I’m done with you guys and have more important things to be doing. There’s also a good chance I’m gay.’

I learned that I can still stay out late and be functional the next morning. I’m not ancient. Yet.

I learned that there is no end to the ways beer can be served. A group at a table behind us was served beer in a self serve mini keg thing. They just served themselves when their mugs were empty. Fucking genius!

I learned that Bud Light tastes much better on draft than out of the bottle. Don’t know what it is about Budweiser’s bottling process, but I hate Bud Light bottles. It has a weird after taste. Like its been sitting in the back of a truck for too long. But straight from the keg? Smooth and cold and yummy.

I learned Monday Night Football is much more enjoyable when you can’t hear the announcers.

I learned that GM seems to have learned nothing. While I don’t know the details, it sure looks like the bailout money we (meaning me and you reading this) gave them is being used for marketing and shoving their cars and trucks down our throats during every commercial break. Have they changed their business methods at all? When do we get our money back? And how much interest are they paying?

I learned that it’s well past time for our town to pick up recycling every week. Not every other week like it’s scheduled now. I had so many friggin’ cans and bottles and boxes and newspapers I needed three bins to fit it all. The problem being I only have one bin. I usually improvise with a second one, but needing three I simply placed bags on the sidewalk and hoped it didn’t fly away. Other cities pick up every week, why can’t we?

I learned that picking up a friend in a new car you didn’t say a word about provides its own entertainment. I called my buddy so he would in the parking lot of his apartment complex. I pull in and cruise past him. Since he’s still expecting the truck he doesn’t even look at me. I pull around and slide past him again. Real slow. I can see him looking the car over out of the corner of his eye. I stop suddenly and reverse quickly then screech to a halt right next to him. I yell ‘What the fuck are you looking at?’ He pauses, sees it’s me and relaxes. ‘You asshole,’ he says, ‘I was getting ready to either run or kick someone’s ass’. ‘Or get your ass kicked,’ I offer, ‘Don’t forget that option.’

I learned that the difference between a Toyota and a Lexus isn’t very much. Once my friend got into the new car he immediately asked how I could afford a Lexus. I told him ‘it’s a Camry, genius’. He looks it over and says ‘My sister in law just got a new Lexus and the inside looks exactly like this! There’s no difference other than hers having leather seats.’ The difference is in the price tag. I’m also betting her seats are preprogrammed and heated and massaging and provide happy endings.

I learned on the elevator news monitor that loneliness can make others feel lonely, as well. This makes loneliness the yawning of emotions; it’s contagious. So stop feeling so lonely, get out there and meet people. You big wuss. Start at the bars and leave your cell phone at home.

I learned that having three weeks of vacation can be a bit of a hassle. Especially when you figure out you have to burn 4 days in the last month of the year or lose them. Guess who’s not working a full week this entire month?

I learned that I may want to be working anyway. Remember psycho sister in law? She’s coming back for nine days around Christmas. I’ll be making excuses to come into work while she’s around. This time she’s bringing her kids, her husband, and waves of nausea with her. God help us all.

I learned that some men must shave their balls in the men’s room stalls. It’s the only way I can explain the disgusting amount of pubic hair I find on certain toilets.

I learned that what some people refer to as cynicism I refer to as realism.

I just learned that it's time to wrap this up. We'll catch up later in the week.

Today’s distraction: A real life invisible man. While this is impressive, I can’t help but think there might be something a bit off about this gent. I guess it’s the same with most other artists.