Friday, January 29, 2010

Hate List

Recent things that are driving me into a healthy rage. I feel it’s good to raise your blood pressure and vent some built up steam now and then. Don’t listen to your doctor; listen to me!

AT&T Ads: The ones that tout the advantages to their phones with ‘Our phones let you talk on the phone and surf the internet at the same time’. Well, gee, that’s fantastic. But wait! I can’t think of a single time when I’ve been on my cell and wished I could surf the web. Not once.

Knowing this, however, AT&T and a post binge, pre purge Luke Wilson give us an example of when you would need to use this: When a friend calls you from a game show needing an answer. Because that happens all the time!

Even if this situation arose and I had an AT&T phone, there is a ninety nine percent chance I would accidentally hang up on the person while shifting to speaker phone, then typing in an address on a teeny tiny keyboard.

In summary, get AT&T’s phones because it can do something you’ll have use for one time in a billion. Of course, that one time you’ll need to do it you’ll be out of AT&T’s coverage zone. Good luck with that.


Sidewalk Dog Shit: If I’m walking through someone’s back yard in an attempt to see her naked or hiking through the woods on my way to bury a body, I would watch my step in expectation of some droppings.

If I’m walking to the train station on a public sidewalk I don’t expect, nor want, to be dodging numerous piles of dog shit that some insensitive and lazy prick left for me to step in. Pick your dog’s shit up! I don’t care if there is five feet of snow on the ground. Snow melts. Dog shit doesn’t. And don’t tell me that ‘Hey, I don’t walk my dog I just let him out free’. Well then let him shit on your front sidewalk or your own backyard so you can accidentally step in it. The stupid, slobbering thing shouldn’t be out free, anyway, as my city has a leash law.

If you can’t take care of your pet then get rid of it.


People Running for the Subway: Why? Please explain this to me. Why do people sprint in a vain attempt to make a subway train that is just pulling into the station? The way they push people out of their way you’d think a terrorist attack had just taken place.

Let me fill you in on a little secret: If you miss this train there is another one 5 minutes away. Sometimes it’s only 3 minutes away. You running and flailing and pushing in a false panic is a waste of time and energy. And besides, you’re going to work. What’s the rush?

Exemptions: Running for a train that only runs once an hour I can understand. Nobody wants to hang out in a train station for an hour unless there is a bar nearby. I will also excuse anyone running for a subway when it’s 25 below and the station is elevated and in the open. Like mine was this morning.

And since we’re on the subject…

Winter: I was done with it before it was officially winter. Right around December 15th.

The State Of The Union Address: We’re in the digital age, Mr. President. You know this as you’ve released YouTube videos during your campaign. So why does the State of the Union still need to be live in prime time? Why can’t it be noon and broadcast over the internet? That’s where I get most of my information, anyway. I’ll bet that’s true for most other Americans, as well.

Don’t give me the ‘people are at work’ angle, either. Everyone is looking for excuses to get out of work all the time. And, frankly, with the economy the way it is, nobody is doing much work as it is.

Besides, if you cut out all the unnecessary standing ovations, this is technically a 15 minute speech stretched to an hour. I know this may be tough to hear for politicians, but let’s just cut the bullshit and get to the point. M’kay?

I should note that if this hadn’t interrupted ‘Modern Family’ I probably wouldn’t care.


The New Metro PCS Ad: Watch it here if you haven’t seen it. Not only is it not funny and a bit disturbing what with the extreme close ups and bizarre dancing at the end, I’m fairly sure most Indians would find it offensive. I’m referring to people from India, not Native Americans before you get all in my face with political correctness. Guess you should have watched the link, shouldn’t you have? Hmmmmm? Huh? That’s right – step away…


The Pro Bowl: I want to know who watches this. Anyone? I’m a huge NFL fan and I haven’t watched one of these my entire life. Not once. Now there is a big deal about it being before the Super Bowl which makes sense total sense when you consider the best players from the two best teams can’t participate. Well done, NFL. Way to make the most irrelevant All Star gathering even less interesting.


The Man: Despite our Gross Domestic Product experiencing more growth than any time in the past six years, unemployment rates are still hovering around the double digit percentage mark. This means that while companies are recovering from the self induced, half assed gimmick mortgage recession, they have yet to start hiring people for jobs.

‘Uh, what?’ you might be thinking? It means most companies are beginning to make money, but are still making their employees do more work for less money. In other words fuck you, that’s what.

Now would be a good time to point out that AIG executives gave themselves bonuses this year because the company experienced a twenty three billion dollar profit. Wait a damn second. Isn’t that the exact amount of money they got from us? Ha! Why, yes it is! But instead of paying us back, they’re giving it to the brain trust that ran their company into the ground and triggered one of the most catastrophic economic disasters since the Great Depression.

Since nobody really seems upset about this or cares in the least, I’m now considering the heads of AIG my new heroes. Well done, fellas! Way to fuck me over! Love it!


Toyota Leadership: I spend weeks researching, test driving, researching more and come to the conclusion that Toyotas are the way to go. I’ve just spent the last 9 years driving around in a Tacoma that I loved, so stick with what works, right? Camry here I come.

No sooner is the stupid thing in my driveway when rumors start circulating about potential gas pedal problems. Rumors like ‘the gas pedal sticks and can potentially kill everyone within a half mile radius before you realize what’s happening’.

A month later and a full blown, media frenzy, worldwide recall is issued and my new car is top of the list.

I should point out that I have not had any issues with mine, but if the possibility is there and I’m driving around with my kids in the car, it’s a concern. What really has me steamed (official medical condition) is Toyota still isn’t sure what the problem is. I got a notice about it, but they don’t have a fix. In fact, there is still some doubt as to whether there is even a mechanical problem with the car itself of if there is some other factor involved in some Toyotas racing off to commit suicide. Like demon possession.

Hey, want to hear what vehicle is not on the list? Tacomas. Yeah, they’re just fine.

Fuck me.

In a related note, way back in 2004 Fujito Cho, President and CEO of Toyota, was quoted as saying that demands of adjusting Toyota vehicles to local tastes (America, China, Europe, Japan, etc) that ‘Everybody is becoming extremely busy’ which could result in a lower level of quality.

Where were you in November, Cho? Where were you when I needed you?

Note: I just read Toyota does in fact have a fix. I learned this from the internet, Mr. President.


The Jay Leno Show: Do I need to say more? It sucks far worse than the word ‘suck’ can even describe. It’s the suckiest of all suck ass suck shows of suckiness. It doesn’t help that the producers make a point of having young people surrounding the stage when Leno comes out for his monologue, as if having college kids there will suddenly make him hip. You know what helps attracting young people? Being funny and not killing another, funnier guy’s career dream.


Massachusetts: My home state just imposed an extra 5% tax on satellite television customers. That would include yours truly. Keep in mind that this tax won’t be imposed on cable companies like ComCast or Verizon. Just DirecTV and Dish Network; two companies that don’t even use the utility company’s wiring or the city or state’s telephone poles. They are simply using the air surrounding the state to acquire a signal.

They’ll be taxing the air you breathe, next.

Kudos to both companies for joining forces and suing Massachusetts for passing this law. Fight the power!!!

Ok, I feel a bit better. Have a great weekend everyone. I’ll be trying to figure out how to survive a full weekend with no football. And, no, the Pro Bowl is not real football.


Today’s distraction: If movie posters told the truth. Hard to beat the very first one on this list.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lost Recap

Hello, fellow addicts. And apologies to those who will have to skip over these entries. Your loss.

Figure it’s about time to get back in ‘Lost’ mode. You know - that bizarre thought process that leaves you wondering about the paradoxes of time travel, course correction and whether it’s possible for a television show to melt your brain.

Less than a week until ‘The Beginning of the End’ kicks off so let’s remember where we are. Namely, in total confusion.


CAST OF CHARACTERS

Jack: Doctor with drinking/drug/daddy issues who went from skeptic to believer. Waking up in thirty years in the past can do that to a person. Last seen convincing Kate to blow up the island and leaving Sayid to bleed to death by the side of the van. Calls into question his credentials as both an M.D. and multitasker. Loves Kate (who doesn’t?), but not nearly enough to want things to remain the way they are.

Kate: Resident hottie/convict/murderess who ‘adopted’ baby Aaron after escaping the island only to turn around and give him to Claire’s mother before returning to the island. A bit of confusion as to where her loyalties lie, although she did team up with Jack to help him rig a big, fat, atomic bomb, so maybe it’s clear after all. Also has daddy issues.

Sawyer (aka James Ford): Bad boy/con man/nickname slinging/head of Dharma security who is Jack’s foil and – at times – ally. Straight talker who assumed leadership role for four years while stuck in the 70s. Wow, putting this in writing really makes me question my devotion to this show. Also has daddy issues.

Hurley: Lottery winner who believes he’s also cursed. Spent time in mental hospital to deal with his unhealthy relationships with dead people. Charlie, Mr Eko, and Libby all still make visits. Also had daddy issue, but those seemed to have been resolved when Cheech restored his car.

John Locke: Former paraplegic who started walking again after the initial plane crash. Ardent believer in the magic of the island, as you would be if you were miraculously healed. His one moment of doubt resulted in a big white flash that took Desmond’s clothing and gave him the ability to see the future. Hopefully he won’t make that mistake again. Temporary leader of the Others before having to leave to recruit the Oceanic Six to come back to the island. May be dead, but his form is still being used by something. While other characters have daddy issues, they pale in comparison to this sorry bastard.

Sayid: Former Iraqi Republican Guard who’s an expert in torture, assassinations, under cover lovin’, watching everyone he cares for die horrible deaths and shooting twelve year old boys. Although, that last one needs some work. A man of action, he was last seen bleeding from gunshot wound while the rest of the crew tried to blow the island to pieces.

Ben: Creepy leader of the Others who has spent most of his life on the island. Supposedly wants to protect the island from outsiders, but tends to take things a bit far. Did I mention he also killed his own father and gassed the entire Dharma Initiative? No? I probably should. He also kidnapped Rousseau’s daughter and pretended it was his own, strangled Locke to death then staged it as a suicide, and seems to know more about the island than anyone. Last seen stabbing Jacob in a fit of jealous rage, which, quite frankly, seems fitting.

Juliette: Fertility specialist originally recruited to figure out why all women on the island couldn’t have babies. Turned into Sawyer’s play mate and mechanical whizz while back in the 70s. Ben had the hots for her and even had her lover killed by sending him to do battle with Ana Lucia.

Sun and Jin: Korean married couple. She’s a schizophrenic femme fatale who had to leave Jin on the island so she wouldn’t die giving birth to a baby she immediately leaves behind to go BACK to the island when she learns Jin may be alive after all. He (Jin, is the he, in case you’re wondering) winds up back in the 70s doing odd jobs and perfecting his English to a disco soundtrack. Used to be a bad ass in Sun’s father’s company. His job involved beating up and killing people just because the boss said so. I heard the benefits were great, though.

Jacob: Not entirely sure, yet. We know he ages really well, sports a constant two day growth of beard, and spends time in a gloomy (and I imagine smelly) statue foot and has had some sort of ongoing feud with another really old dude. Also had previous contact with Jack, Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, and Locke. I’m betting there’s something to that.

Bernard and Rose: Married couple who were separated during the initial crash. Rose’s cancer goes into remission on the island prompting both of them to live in the jungle away from all the lunacy.

Desmond: Sailboat racing, former Scottish (right?) soldier who is the first to figure out this time traveling thing. Married to Penny who is the daughter of Widmore who we haven’t gotten to, yet. Calm down. Last seen being shot by Ben, brushing off that gunshot like lint and tackling then beating the living snot out of Ben. Also has a son named Charlie who we assume was named after Charlie Brown from the Peanuts comic.

Charlie: Oh, this Charlie? You think? Former rock star (Drive Shaft RULES!)/heroin addict/living person who sacrificed himself to save Desmond and the rest of the island inhabitants. Was in love with Claire and was father figure to Aaron thus handing down the daddy issue aspect to a new generation. Still enjoys hanging out with Hurley.

Claire: Mother of Aaron, love interest of Charlie. Disappeared for long stretches and only showed up to sneer and act all bitchy as a ghost figure. May be dead, may be between worlds or may just be having the worst case of post partum depression ever.

Faraday: Absent minded time travel expert who fried his old girlfriend’s brain with time traveling experiments and probably did something to himself at the same time. Last seen getting shot to death by his own mother after traveling back 30 years. That’s a long story.

Charlotte: Red haired, nose bleeding love interest of Faraday who was a child on the island before returning with Faraday and crew. Bad decision as her brain went POP while bouncing around time. Pity.

Miles (aka Psychic Asian Dude – PAD): Psychic dude (hence the nickname) who is also the son of the leader of the Dharma Initiative. See how everything links together? Yeah, me neither. Can ‘talk’ to dead people to find out how they died and their stories, which becomes less remarkable when you consider Hurley does the same thing while trapped in a mental hospital. Maybe he can talk to Jacob after he’s bled out. Might be the quickest way for this show to give us some answers.

Richard Alpert (aka The Ageless Wonder): Eye line wearing, ageless, metrosexual who has some deep connection to the island. A bit disconcerting to witness his confusion in the season finale. Helped Ben orchestrate the genocide of the Dharma Initiative. Never leads the Others, but is advisor to those who do. Doesn’t appear to have much of a sense of humor. Guess when you live forever you’ve heard all the good jokes.

Chick Hauling Around Locke’s Body (aka Iliana?): Don’t recall her actual name, but she was also visited by Jacob who informed her ‘a war is coming’. Seems to know a lot about what is going on including Locke ain’t Locke. Has a crew working for her and knows the answer to what lies at the foot of the statue (or something like that). That answer very well could be ‘Jacob’s lifeless corpse’.

Widmore and Mother Faraday: The initial power couple of the island who – it is implied – were ousted by Ben and his band of merry men. Let’s just say it’s gotten ugly between Ben and Widmore what with them killing (or trying to kill) each other’s daughters and stuff. Mother Faraday tutored Desmond on ‘course correction’ and grooms Faraday to be a math whiz, even prompting him to give up silly things like playing the piano and eating full meals.

Note: If you’re wondering why I’m including characters that have died, see below for my prediction on this upcoming season.


BIG QUESTIONS

Did Island Go Boom?: And, if so, who survived the blast? We’re assuming Juliette is dead since she fell hundreds of feet, was last seen trying to detonate a nuclear bomb by bashing it with a rock, and is now starring in ‘V’. Plus this will officially reopen the Sawyer-Jack-Kate love triangle, which is way easier to track than the Jack-Kate-Juliette-Sawyer love parallelogram that took place last season. I hate math.

If Bomb Blew, Has Anything Changed?: Or is this explosion ‘The Incident’ that Dharma folks refer to in the training videos? Perhaps this explosion triggers a chain of events that make Flight 815 crash land on the island again. See below for some thoughts on that. Keep in mind that last season’s finale was titled ‘The Incident’. While that seems way too straight forward for Lost, it just may be that simple.

Who Is Jacob?: And why does the other dude want to kill him?

What Was ‘The Loophole’?: Jacob refers to it just before Ben stabs him. ‘Guess you found the loophole,’ he says to fake Locke.

What Is The Cabin?: Two things here. First what was it? Second, what was the significance of the ring of ashes (or whatever) being broken when Locke went to find it the second time? My guess is this was a prison meant to keep in fake Locke (whoever that may be) and he managed to escape to plot Jacob’s murder.

Or something. If you haven’t guessed, I’m pretty much talking out my ass at this point.

What Are The Whispers?: Ben tells Rousseau to run the other way if she hears them. They seem to indicate super natural events are about to occur. Juliette sees a long lost friend; Sayid’s girlfriend (whose name I always forget) sees Walt’s ghost and gets shot by Ana Lucia only one of which should be considered super natural; Mr Eko gets dropped by the smoke monster. I could go on, but you get the point and I don’t remember any other examples.

Whose Side Is Whose?: Is Ben the good guy? Is Widmore the good guy? Do we even know if Corpse Carrying Chick (CCC) and Jacob are ‘good’? Is there even a good vs bad in all this or is it all just shades of gray? Nearly certain I just quoted a ‘Monkees’ song.

What Is The Smoke Monster?: Something has bothered me about Smokey since they first introduced it. We know it’s something that Ben can unleash. We see him unclog the worst toilet backup ever to release it.

But, when we first meet Smokey he chews up the pilot for Flight 815 and leaves his bloody corpse at the top of a tree. More importantly, two things have stayed with me since Season One:

1: When Locke is dragged by Smokey to the opening of that tunnel, there is a mechanical sound to it. Like the sound a roller coaster makes when it’s being pulled up that first hill. Does this mean it’s more a mechanical beast than spiritual?

2: The first time everyone realizes this is one strange island, we hear the monster (we assume it’s Smokey) and see trees being knocked over in the distance. One of the survivors says ‘That sound reminds me of home’ or something like that. When someone else asks where they’re from, they answer ‘Manhattan’. Or maybe it was ‘Coney Island’. Either way it was answered with a New York area. I have always found it odd this exchange took place and hope in means something. Otherwise I’ve had this memory rattling around in my head taking up space I could use for things like where I left my $100 Bose headphones or what year I got married.

Who Are Adam and Eve?: Jack finds two skeletons in Season One. Bernard and Rose, perhaps? Jack and Kate? Jacob and CCC? Kathy Lee and Frank Gifford?

What Is Walt’s Role In All Of This?: He sure seemed to get the interest in the Others when this show first started. They even blew up Michael’s raft, kidnapped him and put him through a battery of tests in an Other camp. Then he and Michael betrayed Jack and company and escaped rapidly approaching puberty on a boat. He makes brief appearances (the last was seeing Locke in NYC), but something tells me the show isn’t done with him.

What Is Aaron’s Role In All Of This?: Again, in Season One, much was made of a pregnant Claire visiting a ‘reader’ who told her the baby must be ‘raised by no other’. Did he mean ‘no Other?’ Or was he simply telling Claire not to put him up for adoption? The Others also made a big deal about him by kidnapping Claire and hanging Charlie from a tree, but they’re always kidding around like that.

Where Are The Children?: From the beginning all the children were snatched away by the Others (or someone) and all we’re told is ‘They’re safe’. But where are they? What are they doing? We see them stroll casually by when Jack and Kate are jailed in the bear cages, but that crazy woman only tells Jack is they are there to ‘Observe’. What’s that all about?

What Is Libby’s Role?: Three things we know about her: She was in the mental hospital with Hurley, she donated the sail boat to Desmond so he could sail around the world (or at least as far as the island), she learned the hard way pillows won’t stop bullets.

Think that’s enough for now. Onto my theory. I mentioned this last season, but let’s go through it again.

HALF ASSED THEORY (In bold to make it official)

Throughout last season I was bothered by several inconsistencies within the story arc. Things like:

- Sayid shooting little Ben in the chest only to have the bullet wound in his stomach when Kate finds him. Or was it Juliette? Whatever.

- Differences in phrasing in repeated scenes. For example Sayid telling Ben and Jack at the marina ‘If I see either of you it will be unpleasant for us all’. This is repeated later as ‘If I see you again it will be very unpleasant for us both’. I know, stupid, but bear with me.

Even Kate says something slightly different when she takes Aaron away from that same marina scene. One time saying ‘I don’t want either of you near my son’ while ‘I don’t want you near my son’ another time.

- Ben shooting Desmond on his way to kill Penny. When he first shoots him, it sure looks like it’s done at point blank range right into his chest. Yet, Desmond recovers in time to tackle and beat Ben senseless. Later, in the hospital Desmond appears to have an arm wound.

Now normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is Lost. The producers and writers of this show pay attention to every detail, which is why it’s noticeable.

Let’s add the entire concept of ‘course correction’ – something Lost took great care and several episodes explaining – to the mixture. The idea being that certain things are ‘supposed to happen’. Mother Faraday explains to Desmond her efforts at attempting to save a man from dying. She would save him from being hit by a bus only to have him choke to death the next day. As she said in that episode ‘I’ve lost count how many times I’ve tried to save his life’.

She was pointing out to Desmond that no matter how many times he saves Charlie’s life, Charlie was destined to die and die soon. She was proven right when Patch blew up the underwater hatch, taking Charlie with him. (Hey, what happened to that Russian bastard? Thought we’d see him again).

This leads me to believe that last season we were actually seeing different variations on the same events. I think our Lost friends are caught in a time loop that is desperately trying to ‘course correct’ something that has gone terribly wrong.

Let’s look at the time line: Flight 815 crash lands, everything happens as it we’ve seen it so far, Jack is convinced blowing up the island will stop things, he convinces his friends to help, they blow up the island (or not) and everything happens all over again. 815 crashes again on the island, the Oceanic Six escape, the freighter blows up, Oceanic Six come back in 1977, attempt to blow up the island. Round and round we go.

Each time events unfold, there are slight differences. Phrasing, bullet holes, who shows up where and when.

This means that there is something – whether it be a person, an event, something that should be said but isn’t – that needs to change in order to break the cycle. Maybe it’s Jacob’s death. When he is stabbed by Ben, does he somehow restart the cycle in order to prevent his own death? That would certainly explain why we see Jacob interacting with Hurley, Sayid, Kate, Jack, Locke earlier in their lives. Perhaps he needs to physically touch the people he whose timelines he needs to control?

Is it something more trivial? Is it Jack, Kate, Sayid, etc not leaving the island the first time? Is it the crash of Oceanic 815? Maybe Jack is correct in assuming that was never supposed to happen? Maybe they were supposed to crash during the second plane crash that carried CCC, Ben, and Locke’s dead body.

This could also mean that we may see a variation on Season One this year. Does Jack again wake in the jungle, run out to the beach to the wreckage of Oceanic 815? Remember when Jack, Kate, and everyone else were white flashied off the plane and landed in 1977? What if every time 815 crashes, he’s white flashied off the plane and placed in the jungle just like before? That Jack waking up in the jungle is the starting line for the course correction and this season will be a replay of the first only from a different point of view?

Frankly, I don’t know, but this concept makes the most sense out of something that truly makes my brain hurt. I’m sticking with it until proven otherwise.

This is it fellow freaks! Time to get pumped!!

Today's distraction: You think I'm obsessed? Check out Lostpedia which has complete run downs of every 'Lost' episode, character and theory you could ever imagine. I make it a point not to delve too deeply in here for fear I'll lose my mind.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekend Thoughts

Thoughts that entered my head during the past weekend:

- Poor Viking fans. A lot of good people in that area. I would say I tried to warn you, but that would be mean and insensitive and none of you want to hear it.

- Why is nobody talking about how the Vikings wasted 30 seconds on the last drive of regulation? They got the ball with exactly 2:37 left in the game, ran one play and let the clock grind down to the two minute warning. What the fuck? It’s not like they were in good field position, either. They weren’t even over the 50 yard line. Why waste that much time with your entire season on the line? Even after that there was a distinct lack of urgency to the entire last two minutes on the Viking’s sideline. Reminded me a lot of the Eagles in their Super Bowl appearance with Donovan McNabb dry heaving in the huddle.

- Wifey and I planned on a drinking game during the Saints – Vikings match: Every time they showed Kim Kardashian we would drink. Since she didn’t appear to be at the game, we quickly changed it to ‘Every time they show Favre’s wife, we drink’. I was pretty buzzed by the time the game ended and wifey had run out of wine.

- Watched ‘Doubt’ over the weekend and was once again frustrated by another film ending. I would recommend it, but after the final scene my first thought was ‘What was the point?’

- While the Colts’ head coach, Jim Caldwell, looks catatonic on the sidelines at times, he either must be a brilliant tactician or has surrounded himself with the right people. The adjustments Indy made at half time were perfect. While staggered blitzes and zone coverage by the Jets seemed to confuse them in the first half, the offensive line kept defenders well away from Manning the rest of the game.

- Kudos to the Viking’s defense. Even after five turnovers, they kept the team in it right until the end. If Indy wants to see how to contain New Orleans, just rewatch this game.

- Kudos, as well, to the Saint’s defense who beat the living shit out of Favre and focused on the main weakness of Peterson by trying to strip the ball every chance they got.

- Was it me or was Joe Buck openly rooting for the Vikings? He certainly had a hard on for Favre, who he labeled ‘super human’ at one point.

- After Garrett Hartley kicked the Saints into the Super Bowl, wifey and I witnessed one of his team mates talking privately to him. Wifey asked ‘Wonder what he’s saying to him?’ I answered ‘You are getting so much pussy tonight!’

Later, Hartley was interviewed with his helmet off and wifey offered ‘Oh, I don’t care if he won the game. He’s not getting that much love.’

- I had a sinking feeling watching the Jets celebrate the touchdown to Dustin Keller like they had already won the game. It was the first half, fellas. Not the end of the game. Sure enough, Manning and company strolled down the field and got their own touchdown in less than two minutes. It was like Manning saying ‘Oh yeah? Let me show you how it’s really done!’

- Anyone else totally convinced Jay Feeley was going to miss that opening field goal attempt just after NBC showed the graphic ‘Has Made 15 Straight Post Season Field Goal Attempts’?

- I can’t figure out if I’m more surprised that Mark Sanchez threw an 80 yard bomb to take the lead against the Colts or that it was Braylon Edwards that caught it perfectly.

- Since we’re starting a new decade, can we please retire the following phrases:

‘It is what it is’ – Of course it is what it is or it wouldn’t be what it isn’t. I hate this saying mainly because it means everyone has given up trying to change something nobody likes. We recently rolled out a new database application that every single person in my company despises. When there was a conference call on the subject this term was used to explain away bugs and limitations to the program. ‘No, you can’t do that, but it is what it is’.

Fuck you! Don’t give me that shit. If it doesn’t work, fucking fix it so it does work. ‘It is what it is’ is a cop out.

Replacement suggestion: ‘Whatta you gonna do?’

‘At the end of the day’ – I believe Troy Aikman said this during yesterday’s Saints – Vikings game about 35 times. Why does it have to be at the end of the day? How about ‘At the end of the night’ or ‘when the sun sets’ or ‘Bottom line’ or take the high road with ‘In summation’.

All work just as effectively. You can even mix them up throughout your day so at the end of the day you aren’t a boring, repetitive drone of a human being.

How about that?

- I’m starting a project to get all the best songs I have in my iTunes onto one playlist. Stage one begins after lunch this afternoon and it may take some time to get to that final stage.

- Saturday night I not only had plans, but I had backup plans. First plan was to get together with brother in law for drinks. His wife wound up with pneumonia so he couldn’t make it thus reconfirming women ruin everything.

Backup plans were to get together with some old high school friends for even more drinks. Only I couldn’t get in touch with anyone who was involved (or they were avoiding my call, which is a much more realistic possibility) and wasn’t sure where everyone was supposed to meet.

I wound up staying in and watching ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, which was at least thirty minutes too long and contained one of my main pet peeve of movies: having the story told by someone reading someone else’s diary. Why not just get right into the story. The hospital scenes with the mother and daughter didn’t add anything. Get rid of those and the movie is automatically twenty minutes shorter.

- The SAG Awards were last night and I didn’t even know it. Just looked up the winners and apparently they just gave whoever won a Golden Globe a SAG Award. Efficient, if unoriginal.

- Does anyone care about the Pro Bowl? Anyone at all? I’ve noticed that the ads don’t even tell you which channel is showing it. Just says ‘Check your local listings’. Does this mean it may not be televised? Shouldn’t the NFL Network just show it?

- We’re down to Colts – Saints. Frankly either team could pull it off and it wouldn’t be surprising. I’ll go with the Colts, though. They seem to have the better defense and more experienced team. I’ll be rooting for the Saints, though.

Later!


Today’s distraction: Nine words women use. I really could have used this when I was single. Especially that ‘Go Ahead’ one. Yeah, that would have been nice….

Friday, January 22, 2010

Social Networking

I know, I know. Another lost week for blogging. I don't know what in hell is going on but I haven't had a moment to breathe since the clock struck midnight on 2010. Not sure I'm going to enjoy this new decade if things keep up like this. Nor even survive it.

Only have time for a quick, pointless story.

Today at work I see one of our female bigwigs walking down the hallway towards me. When I say 'bigwig' I mean a woman who makes us a lot of money. Traditionally we are very friendly and get along well.

This woman possesses a type A plus personality with a D minus level of common sense. We all know the type; shrewd business women who's scatterbrained in every other aspect of existence. Big on ideas with little knowledge on how those ideas will wreak havoc on everyone else trying to implement them. She's a stream of consciousness and rapid fire talker who I find highly entertaining.

Anyway, she's heading my way, says hello, and I notice her hair is different. I say - simply in passing - 'I like your haircut.' Now, I'm not sure if 'haircut' is the proper term to use on a woman but, frankly, I could give a shit.

She says 'Oh...yeah....thanks' in a 'whatever' tone of voice, shoots me a look of disgust and scurries on her way. Well, what the fuck?

Since I'm friendly with the girl that works for her, I pass along the story and she says 'You know, I noticed something different but wasn't sure if she had just brushed it differently or it was actually cut'.

Therefore, I suspect several things have happened in that brief exchange.

1: She doesn't like the haircut and didn't believe my compliment.

2: She was preoccupied with some other crazy thought rattling around in her head that's chock full of crazy.

3: She actually didn't get a haircut and figured 'I don't have time to explain it to this idiot' and just said thanks as a way to get past the entire stupid exchange. This then proves - once again - that I should just keep my mouth shut.

4: I actually disgust her.

I find option 4 to be ludicrous and highly improbable. I'm lovely and charming even if I do leave a vapor trail of burrito tinged farts all over the office. Ok, that's not true. I'm nowhere close to being charming.

Still, how can anyone not like me?

Therefore, out of pure self denial, I've limited it to option 1, 2, or 3. Since it's hard to believe she's preoccupied with any thought, let's just cut it down to options 1 or 3.

My bet is option number one.

Which makes her more astute than I ever gave her credit for. I didn't actually like the haircut and was just being polite.

See where being polite gets you? Nowhere, that's where.

Enjoy the weekend. Will try to get back on track next week.

Today's distraction: It's the Trilogy Meter. Self explanatory, although I think the second Indiana Jones should be lower.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Thoughts

We have some catching up to do. Didn’t have a chance to post much last week since every one else’s New Year’s resolution appears to have been making me either do more work or making my current job more difficult. Work would be great if there weren’t other people involved.

Anyway, here are some random thoughts from the week that was.

- Happy now, Colts? Are you? Rolling over against the Jets while sporting a 14 – 0 record? Playing for your home crowd and just giving up when perfection is still an option? Are you fucking happy now? You play all out in that game and your next opponent probably doesn’t even make the playoffs. Now? Oh, well, now you get to play a team that KNOWS they can win at your arena, is over flowing with confidence and just beat the snot out of a team that bears a striking resemblance to yours.

Unwittingly you have set a chain of events into effect that has ended in my openly rooting for a New York team.

You read that right. I am going to be rooting for the Jets to beat the Colts. You had your chance Indy. You had a chance at history and decided to shrug your shoulders at destiny. ‘Whatever,’ you said, ‘we’ve clinched what we’ve needed, done what we can and now we want to stay healthy. Who cares what the other teams do?’

I can say for certainty the Chargers care. And you’ll be caring when Manning gets hit for the 10th time this weekend. I don’t care how good your team should be, you let the Jets in. You gave them confidence. You are responsible for them still playing. Confuckulations, Colts. You are now responsible for the monster you created.

Perfection is a distant memory; now you’ll be lucky to make it past next weekend.


- Now that I’ve got that out of my system, the Chargers let the Jets off the hook. Like all Norv Turner teams, they were undisciplined, sloppy and missed too many opportunities to count. First was the personal foul head butt that gave the Jets 15 yards, then came Vincent Jackson’s inexplicable kicking of the challenge flag which brought a great catch back 15 yards at the most critical point in the game (and deflated a home crowd and team that was finally rolling).

But worse was Nate Kaeding who self destructed in the most horrific playoff performance since last year’s Jake Delhomme implosion. It was painful to watch. Frankly, if you’re a Chargers fan, do you want Kaeding back on this team? Isn’t it better for both parties to just move on?

What’s frustrating is this Chargers team was once again enormously talented. But, like other editions of the San Diego franchise, they’ll be viewed as under achievers who unravel during pressure moments. Perhaps that’s appropriate.


- I’ll say this about the Jets: Defensively they are the best tackling team I’ve seen in a long time. After watching the Patriots unable to wrap up Ray Rice or Joe Flacco or any of the Raven’s cheerleaders, it was quite the contrast to witness every single Jet hit hard and take down their man on the first try. It really is the fundamentals that make the difference.


- As for the Cowboys, what the holy hell was going on in their secondary? Three touchdown passes to Rice and on two of them it looked like the man covering him never even knew where the ball was. On the first the guy was looking to the other side of the field as if he thought the pass was to someone else. On the last the defender just sat on the field with his arms in the air as if to say ‘What can I do?’

Once again Romo looked horrible during his final game of the season and now we have another week of having to listen to Brett Favre stories. Fucking great.


- By the way, Vikings, throwing for a fourth touchdown in the final minutes rather than simply killing the clock was sore winning. I know. I witnessed an entire year of it with the 2007 Patriots. Shit like that catches up to you. Call it karma. Call it the football entities watching down. Call it whatever you want, but you will be paid back with interest for that one. You’ll see.

Anyone else get the feeling that was a Favre audible? Might as well get another touchdown pass to pad the stats.


- Spent the weekend in Connecticut visiting my brother in law and his wife. Their three daughters and my two boys get along famously, so we went down, the kids disappeared for two straight days and BIL and I spent the weekend watching football. Good times.

The reason I bring it up is because I got to spend time with a real dog. It didn’t bark, it didn’t whine, it didn’t try to steal food from the table, it didn’t jump up and down incessantly in an attempt to drive me into a homicidal rage. It was simply acted like a normal dog. It did sit and stare at you while you ate and would go to the door when it needed to…you know…piss and shit, but it never did anything out of the ordinary.

Wifey, who loved the dog, came home and decided to make an attempt to turn our dog normal. She took it for a walk, gave it treats, then brought it into the living room to play with it. As usual the stupid thing wouldn’t sit still, kept jumping all over her in a frothing frenzy of insanity, then puked all over the rug. Welcome home!


- If you’ve never been to Connecticut there is a wrinkle in the laws down there that make most weekends an adventure in scheduling. See, all liquor stores close at 8pm. Every. Single. Night. This means you have to know what you’re in the mood to drink (BEER!) by dinner time or you’re gonna be one sorry mofo when you realize at 9pm on a Friday night that you only had three beers or half a bottle of wine left.

If you're wondering (and I was) the reason this law exists is due to some armed robberies that took place back in either the 50s or 60s. People were killed, money was stolen, and Connecticut over reacted like most states do and decided catching the killers wasn't simple enough and decided to just shut everything down as a preventative measure.

I asked the owner of the place we stopped how much business he thinks he loses by having to shut down at 8 and he said 'Hell if I know. I just enjoy getting to see my family at a reasonable hour'.

Well then!


- Boy, Tim Hightower’s opening 70 something yard run sure looked familiar didn’t it, Pats fans? The difference between the Saints and the Patriots was startling. Where the Patriots went into nuclear meltdown, New Orleans straightened up, brushed the dirt off, went to work, and corrected the mistakes they made the first time. In short, they looked and acted like a championship team.


- If Kurt Warner does retire this offseason, it’s going to be difficult to think that bone and teeth rattling hit he took didn’t have something to do with his decision. At least a little bit, right? Hell, if that was me I would have retired on the stretcher they carried me out on.


- If you’re not from New England, be thankful you’re missing the final weeks of the Martha Coakley – Scott Brown run for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. I am not exaggerating when I tell you every other ad on television is one of them saying something about the other. Or one defending themselves. Or one showing how great a family person they are. Or one showing what kind of truck he drives (not kidding!).

It’s become so bad that I now wish physical harm on both of them and will not vote for either. I don’t care if a third candidate believes he’s a conduit for an alien life force from Alf’s home planet. He or she has my vote.


- Apparently Mother Nature has an ironic sense of humor. We got three inches of the heaviest goddamn snow I’ve ever had the misfortune to shovel from Sunday night into Monday afternoon. Thus everything turned white on Martin Luther King day. Well done, Mother Nature. Well done.


- If you’re concerned about any karmic retribution about the above remark, I should point out that I was struck with that thought after I threw my back out shoveling my driveway.


- My back troubles started in my early thirties when I was – ironically, I suppose – in the best shape of my life. I pulled a muscle in my lower back moving a weight lifting bench. Not lifting weights, mind you, but moving a 15 pound bench out of my way. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.

As I’ve since learned, when you pull a muscle in that area or strain something, the muscle gets inflamed and grabs onto every other muscle in the surrounding area and takes them all on a lovely joy ride to Excruciating Painville by way of Please Just Paralyze Me And Get It Over With Avenue. Simply wiping my own ass became a problem. You can thank me for that visual later.

What made matters worse was my mistreating my own body. I always thought heat would ease back troubles, but when things are inflamed and spasming to the rhythm of a subway ride you should actually ice down the trouble spot. Once I got the hang of things, I’ve been doing much better.

I now always stretch before working out. I am always careful how I pick things up after I aggravated it picking up a laundry basket. An empty laundry basket. But some things just aren’t good for your lower back. Like shoveling a ton of snow. That’s very bad. Or sneezing while tying your shoes. Or turning back to look at a beautiful woman that has just passed you by and not noticing the curb you’re stepping off. Or trying to prove to your nine year old you can still lift him over your head in an attempt to add a dose of humility to his inflated ego after he beat your ass in Wii Sports.

These days I spot the warning signs. Things get tight and sore, but if I tend to it and be careful I can avoid the crippling, full blown effects that leave me wondering what death is like and trying not to cry like a little girl.

Know what else helps? Alcohol. So if you’ll excuse me it’s time for another gin and tonic. This time I’ll add a lime in order to get my daily vitamin C.


Today’s distraction: Apparently there is a new ‘beer heaven’ in Lovell, Maine. It’s approximately 155 miles from Boston, is super tiny and has officially dipped below a 5% chance of me ever getting up there. On the left side bar is a ‘Where To Stay’ if you wanted to try this place out. The address is listed as ‘Dirt Road off Rt 5’.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sporting Chance

Let’s get this out of the way.

The Patriot’s performance on Sunday was one of the most atrocious displays of so called ‘football’ I have ever seen. That this was a playoff game in Foxboro made it that much more confusing and stomach churning. My buddy and I were stunned by halftime. Stunned silent.

I can handle a poor performance. It happens. Even the best coached teams have bad days where things just fall apart. One mistake is compounded by another which leads to slight panic all over the team which adds to the urgency which leads to other bad decisions. Before you know it things have unraveled so completely you’ll be lucky to be holding whatever lint is left over.

What I can’t stomach is a team up and quitting on their season. Make no mistake, the second half (and fourth quarter especially) was the perfect example of coaches and players giving up. Punting from your own 45 yard line when down by two touchdowns? Check. Attempting a field goal with seven minutes left when you desperately need a touchdown to even have a puncher’s chance? Check. A star player half assing his assignments throughout the game? Check. Letting your opponent push you around all day on both sides of the ball? Check. Playing so poorly on defense that they didn’t even need a quarterback?

Check! Check! And double fucking check.

A lot is being said about the fans booing the Patriots and everyone calling us fair weather fans, but there’s a good chance I would have booed if I were there. Considering the prices for tickets, the cost for parking and food and drink once you’re in there, I would have been LIVID if this was the performance I paid to see. 14 - 0 in under 5 minutes. 24 – 0 at the end of the first quarter. Zero signs of life for the remainder of the game.

Now combine that with 10 degree temperatures and you can see how the fans would get testy. I was pissed while sitting in the comfort of my nice, warm house. What concerned me about this loss wasn’t that they played poorly but this looked alarmingly like a team that was woefully unprepared.

Dare I say, poorly coached? Sorry, Bill, but if you take all the credit for the wins you have to take blame for the losses and lapses. And this sure looked like a team not ready for prime time.


Other thoughts from the sporting world.

- In an attempt to get a head start for least surprising story of the decade, Marky Mark McGwire finally admitted to using steroids during his playing days. Only he really upped the idiot level by claiming he really doesn’t think the roids helped him hit 70 home runs or assisted in any way his ability to hit a baseball 650 feet.

Let’s figure this out together. Prior to 1995 (which encompasses approximately 150 years) exactly 2 players had hit 60 or more home runs. Between 1995 and 2003 2 players hit more than 70 home runs. Another hit 66. All three of those players have either admitted to using PEDs or are strongly suspected of using them. The growth of their biceps and craniums provide ample evidence to support such claims.

So let’s say PEDs had nothing to do with those inflated numbers. That means after testing was implemented in major league baseball, the numbers should have stayed the same, right?

Well, now, let’s see. Last year the leading home run hitter was Albert Pujols with 47. The year before that was Ryan Howard with 48. 2007? A-Rod with 54.

I’m not saying steroids had everything to do with all the home runs hit, it just leaves an immense, towering question mark surrounding the entire history of baseball. If McGwire was not on steroids would he have still be able to hit 70? Would Bonds have made it to 73? Would Sosa have made it to 66?

Would any of those three have made it to 62? Would the record have fallen legitimately; without pharmaceutical help? That’s the most frustrating part of all of this - we’ll never know.


- As for Sosa, what’s he thinking of all this? It would seem to me that if he were not using PEDs back in 1998 he would be hopping up and down and claiming ‘Hey, what the fuck? I hit 66 home runs clean and this motherfucker was using and hit 70? I call bullshit!!’ Which is why his silence speaks for itself.


- Some NFL stats for your consideration:

The Patriots held Joe Flacco to 34 yards passing and a 10 QB rating and lost by 19 points.

The Cardinals allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw for 422 yards, 4 touchdowns and a 121 QB rating and won by 6 points.

Ray Rice rushed for more than double the yards of the entire Patriots team.

Ray Rice rushed for 39 fewer yards than the Patriots offense put up in total.

Mark Sanchez passed 15 times for 182 yards. Carson Palmer passed 36 times for 146 yards.


- Pete Carroll waited and waited for the perfect NFL head coaching job and he picks…Seattle? It’s a nice city and all, but has he been paying attention to what’s been going on up there? Let’s hope Carroll has learned something during his time at USC because he didn’t exactly light up the NFL when he was with the Patriots. Considering the years since their Super Bowl appearance Seattle folks might be fine with 8-8 seasons. They better be.


- Are we to assume Dice K doesn’t suck now. Only that he’s immature, untrustworthy, deceitful and lazy? Good thing the Red Sox are only paying him ten figures.


- My quick (and sure to be wrong) predictions for this coming weekend.

Colts over Ravens in a game much closer than people expect. Remember the Colts haven’t played a competitive game in a month.

Fun Side Story: Pay close attention to the Raven’s head coach when the horrifying realization slowly dawns on him that Flacco will have to throw in order for his team to have a chance. There really should be a camera on him at all times to mark the event. Even a color guy to say ‘Yeah, right abouuutt…..HERE is when the Flacco Effect takes hold’.


Jets at Chargers: I might be crazy, but the Jets have a very good chance at winning this game. Sanchez is back home and in a warm climate with his confidence higher than ever, the Jets defense seems to be good again and last time I checked the Chargers are still coached by Norv Turner. Still, the Chargers are not the Bengals in any way, shape or form. Chargers win on last minute score.

Fun Side Story: Much has been made of Ryan mapping out the travel schedule for the Jet’s playoffs all the way up to the Super Bowl - meaning he thinks his team will go all the way. This was ridiculed last week by many announcers in a ‘Yeah, right’ winking kind of way. Watch how this story changes to a great motivational move by Ryan when things are tight late in the game. It will be the quickest ‘What a loon!’ to ‘He’s a genius!’ conversion in NFL history.


Cowboys at Vikings: Hard to know what to make of this game. Do you go with Romo who has traditionally killed his team in the playoffs or Favre who has traditionally killed his team in the playoffs? Do you favor Brad Childress or Wade Phillips? Fuck me, will you look at that Mensa matchup? I’ll just go with the team with the best player: AP. If the Vikings keep the ball out of Favre’s hands (especially late in the game) and just pound it, they’ll win.

Fun Side Story: Announcers gushing about what a ‘competitor’ or ‘warrior’ or ‘gunslinger’ Favre is. Wait, that doesn’t sound fun at all. Maybe make it a drinking game. Any time one of the following words is uttered, DRINK:

Gunslinger
Warrior
Veteran
Leader
Savvy
Competitor
Grizzled (finish your drink if ‘Grizzled Veteran’ is used)


Cardinals at Saints: I don’t care what’s going on this weekend. When this game starts I will be front and center at kickoff and won’t leave my seat until the final seconds tick away. If anyone is wondering, I’m am now rooting for the Saints to win it all. This will be step one. Take the over.

Fun Side Story: Try to guess which of the Cardinal players have been spending time out on the town. You’ll know them by the way they’re vomiting on the sidelines and have beads falling out of their helmets.

That’s all for today. Off to do work. In a related note I hate work.


Today’s distraction: Play ESPN’s Linebacker. When you get to the higher levels of the game you’ll know how the Patriot defenders felt trying to get to Ray Rice. I should also note that halfway through the second quarter I turned to my buddy and said ‘I want Rice on my fantasy team next year’. It will happen. Oh, it will…

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Movies of the Decade

Admittedly, choosing my favorite movies from the past ten years is daunting, but I’m going to give it a go. I know I’ll forget about a dozen movies that deserve to be here, but I figure if they didn’t leave a lasting impression how good could they have been?

Rules are simple: only 5 movies from each genre, which was harder than I thought.

I should point out that I still haven’t seen a lot of movies from 2009 that might make this list if I had seen them (‘The Hangover’, ‘Hurt Locker’ are two that come to mind). Nor have I seen every single stinkin’ movie from the past decade. For whatever reason (having two testicles) certain movies like ‘Mama Mia’ and ‘Sex and the City’ just don’t appeal to me. Don’t try to talk me into them, it just ain’t happening. I don’t care how well reviewed they are.

Without further ado here are my favorite movies from the zeros.

COMEDY

Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004): The defining comedy of the 2000s and possibly the defining movie. I know, ‘Old School’ set the table, but ‘Anchorman’ tipped that table on its side and started a food fight with everything that spilled onto the floor. Could be the most quoted movie of our lifetimes.

Shaun of the Dead (2004): Two losers so out of if they don’t even realize the zombie apocalypse is upon them until one stands drooling on their back door step. You'll never listen to Queen the same way again.

Superbad (2007): As disappointed as I was in ‘Knocked Up’, this one had me laughing out loud too many times to count. While I wasn’t sure it would hold up over repeated watchings, I find it as funny as ever.

Tropic Thunder (2008): This has been on HBO about 467 times over the summer and if I stumble across it I’m hooked until the end or one of my kids walks into the room. Bonus points for making me appreciate the dancing ability of Tom Cruise.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006): Wasn’t sure if this should be considered drama or not, but considering the number of times I laughed I’ll put it here. Could be a perfectly paced movie; slow to start, builds momentum, snowballs into epic series of events – each building on the other – and ends in the perfectly hilarious and unexpected scene that has been mentally branded onto my brain forever. When my sons are old enough, I’m passing along the grandfather’s advice.

Honorable mention: Role Models, Step Brothers, 40 Year Old Virgin, Old School, Ghost Town.


DRAMA

The Departed (2006): No, it’s not even Scorsese’s best movie, but it still puts most other movies on this list to shame. Plus the ending was so unexpected and disturbing it’s nearly impossible to not have it on this list.


Memento (2001): Still the best confusing movie ever filmed. The very first movie I bought on DVD because I knew I would watch it over and over and over…

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): One of the few Best Picture winners that I actually agree with. Taking a risk putting this here since I haven’t watched it more than once, but it still resonates months later.

Children of Men (2006): I have recommended this to many friends who have come back to me and asked why I like this so much. I don’t know what to say. It’s dark, harrowing, violent, and climaxes with the most exciting 15 minutes ever filmed. It’s sliver of hope at the end makes it that much more memorable. I guess this one isn’t for the faint of heart.


Almost Famous (2001): I’ve only seen this twice and the last time was more than five years ago, but I still vividly remember lines and scenes like it was yesterday. Debated putting this in the comedy section, but strikes me as more of a drama.

Honorable mention: No Country For Old Men (a movie I could write a book about at this point), Eastern Promises, The Pianist, Once.


ACTION/THRILLERS

The Dark Knight (2008): As good as I thought this was the first time I saw it, I was shocked to find it’s even better upon repeated viewings. Another movie I’m sucked into no matter where I pick up on it.

Oldboy (2003): If the world was on the brink of destruction and I was told I could only salvage five movies to watch for the rest of my life, this would be my second choice (see below) followed by days of figuring out the other three. At which point the world would probably have been destroyed and I would have evaporated while browsing my DVD collection. I suck.


Lord of the Rings Trilogy: I know, technically this is three movies, but they may go down as best trilogy movies ever. Move over original Star Wars, you have company. If you want me to pick one, I’ll select the first one mainly because it had me sucked in from the opening shot and didn’t have 18 different endings like the last one. Let’s hope they learn from Lucas and do NOT make any prequels.

The Incredibles (2004): Laugh all you want, but if you enjoy action movies you owe it to yourself to watch this one. Picture a kids version of ‘Watchmen’ only funny, touching and a hundred times more entertaining. It also contains some of the best action sequences you’ll ever see.


Casino Royale (2006): James Bond reinvented as a damaged, deranged, relentless force of nature who will do whatever (and whomever) it takes to win.

Honorable mention: Any of the Bourne movies, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Hellboy, Gladiator, Sin City, A History of Violence.


SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR

Serenity (2005): The movie adaptation of the television series ‘Firefly’. Places the old gunslinger western in outer space while sprinkling in humor, tragedy and truly horrifying creatures. Also has one of the most interesting villains film has seen in some time.

Star Trek (2009): Put it here purely based on how entertaining it was. Not the best plot, but certainly gets the blood pumping and has enough humor to carry things through. I may feel different in a few years, but I’m betting this stands up well.

The Descent (2005): I need to be clear about this one, because the version we had in the U.S. is not the version I’m referring to. Watch the original ending not the one released here. If you get the uncut DVD version it will have the original ending. I’ll try not to give it away, but the U.S. one stopped when she was in the jeep. The intended (and far and away better) ending has another few minutes after that scene. That’s the one you want. It will make sense.


28 Days Later (2002): Ushered in a new generation of zombie movies with style, intelligence and extreme violence. Still haunted by the scenes of Cillian Murphy’s character wandering the deserted London streets.

Honorable mention: Pitch Black (which may still be the only good Vin Diesel movie), The Host, Spider-Man (1 or 2), War of the Worlds, District 9.

And finally.

My single favorite movie of the past ten years. There’s a reason I only had four in the above section.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006): I don’t even know what to say other than simply demanding you see it. I think Stephen King described it best as a ‘fairy tale for adults’. It’s original, brutal, magical and haunting. Besides being my favorite movie of the decade, historically it may be looked back on as it’s best.



Think that covers it. I promise I’ve probably forgotten one great movie that I love, but I can’t think of it at the moment. Therefore, it doesn’t exist.

Enjoy your weekends.


Today’s distraction: Paste Magazine’s 50 Best Movies of the Decade. Frankly, I’ve never seen their number one movie (City of God) but I can’t imagine it topping ‘Pan’s Labyrinth. Still, I’ll give it a shot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

10 Predictions for the '10s

I’m stretching my predictive wings and giving you all a glimpse into the next ten years. Frankly if even one of these things come true I’ll be boasting about it for the following ten years. That’s not one of the predictions. That’s a promise.

Time’s wasting, let’s get on with it.

Prediction #1: Facebook will be rocked to its core by a scandal. I don’t mean something like the ‘Craigslist Killer’, either. My initial thought was something like a pedophile/serial killer scenario, but it will probably be more along the lines of Facebook mining everyone’s personal information for nefarious purposes. Maybe selling email addresses to spammers (which I guarantee is happening right now) or putting some file on your computer that tracks who you friend and other sites you visit. While most of you think ‘Yeah, so what?’ this will be on such a large scale it will jeopardize Facebook’s very existence.

Oh a related note, by 2020 we will be laughing at ourselves that Twitter even existed and became so popular.


Prediction #2: A star player in one of the major sports (Baseball, Football, Basketball) will have been attempting to either fix games or shave points. You can’t tell me that one of these guys doesn’t have a gambling problem. It may even be someone playing right now who confesses to it after he retires, but it will be a big name, we will all be shocked, and it will make the baseball steroid scandal seem quaint.


Prediction #3: Computers as we know them will be gone. Desktops will certainly be gone (or extremely rare) and laptops will be on the verge of extinction, as well. What I picture is these smartphones becoming our new computers. Everyone will have one and a docking station for it in their homes and offices. We simply plug it into the station so we can work on a full sized keyboard. That’s if we even need keyboards any longer. Voice recognition could be perfected and easier to use than old fashioned typing. Email, internet, GPS are already built into them and the memory and storage will only get larger.

And while we’re here…


Prediction #4: Computers will no longer be hard wired to the internet. Eventually wireless will catch up to fiber optic speeds and render cabling irrelevant. Everything will be hooking into wireless signals that will be available everywhere, to everyone, for free. Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and several other cities already offer free Wi-Fi in certain areas. This will expand along with private company’s wireless networks to provide virtually limitless wireless signals across the country.

If we combine 3 and 4 we should have something similar to this: Our smartphones will be hooking into these wireless signals no matter where we are to provide us constant data connections. My Blackberry already has Wi-Fi built into it so I can access signals from anywhere. I have it hook into my home wireless so I don’t use my minutes and the web browser loads quicker. Soon, our phones will be our computers both personally and professionally. Then we just plug those phones in at our desks and work off them that way.

Sadly, work will be with us everywhere.


Prediction #5: Despite the two above predictions, the number of people working from home will not increase. As it stands now most people can access their work files remotely, have online meetings to review proposals, check email, and participate in conference calls all from the comfort of their own homes. So why don’t they? Because the work place is becoming more of a social setting. It certainly helps that people work more efficiently if they’re away from their personal space (I know I do), but there is a camaraderie with the people you work with that can’t be replicated over a phone line. Most people come to work now simply to get out of their houses. Most will only come to the office 3 or 4 days a week, but they’ll still come.

And they’ll come because…


Prediction #6: The work place as we know it will be completely different. Let’s sum things up: desktops are mostly gone, everyone has either a laptop or smartphone version of a laptop, everything uses the wireless signal. This means the need for a static work space (your own cubicle) is gone. Instead corporations will setup ‘floating desks’. What I mean by this is desks or work spaces that anyone can use. You bring in your smartphone, find an available desk, sit down, plug in and off you go. That is your space for the day. Sure, there will still be the status symbol corner offices, but those will remain dark for the most part (just like now). Most areas will be flexible and – indirectly – impersonal and cold. At least now I can hang pictures on my wall and fill it will toys (no really, I have toys on my bookcase). With these floating spaces, you won’t be able to do that.

But you will be able to select where you sit. Which means you get near the people you enjoy working with, throw spitballs and ideas at one another and, in a round about way, become more productive. Would you want to stay at home if you actually enjoyed the people you work with?

I should probably note that just because I enjoy some of the people I work with doesn’t mean they enjoy me. This will probably lead to my sitting down at one area and everyone getting up and moving to another area after 20 minutes. Maybe the workplace won’t be so different after all.


Prediction #7: Obesity numbers in the United States will double. DOUBLE! Why? Because we’re a bunch of lazy shit sacks who can’t motivate themselves if they’re lives depended on it. And it does. I was watching ‘The Biggest Loser’ last night and every single one of the (frighteningly) large contestants cried at least once and stated ‘I can’t go on like this!’

Only they didn’t take matters into their own hands. They sat on their fat asses, shoving butterscotch burritos into their gaping maws hoping to be selected for a reality game show they probably watch while shoving butterscotch burritos into their gaping maws instead of taking a walk around the block. Look, I get it. You’re fat and you’re sick of being fat. Well guess what? You can actually do something about it. Get off your ass, start moving around for a little bit every day, start eating less while you’re moving around and you’ll be surprised how much weight you will lose.

Instead, they put their names into a reality television show and cross their fingers they’ll be selected out of a million other people. Put down the remote and malted milk shake and go for a walk. It will hurt at first, but the more you do it the better you’ll feel. Nike had it right: Just do it!


Prediction #8: We will discover a new planet that – theoretically, at least – will support human life. Not a clone of earth, mind you, but something so startling similar in makeup many will wonder if life in another galaxy isn’t just a possibility but likely. In fact, it will spark debate on whether a manned ship should be sent which in turn will kick off a search for new modes of interstellar transportation to get a crew to the new planet before they die of old age.

Was that one too specific?


Prediction #9: A failed or potential terrorist attack will force everyone to get rid of yet another standard traveling item. I’m thinking explosives molded into a bar of soap or a hollowed out toothbrush or a small detonator made out of an electric razor. Al Qaeda will then confess that they have been outsourced by the executives of CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite-Aid in a convoluted, violent attempt to raise revenues.


Prediction #10: Something will happen somewhere that will change the way we live our lives. Whether good or bad. That could mean the end of this endlessly entertaining and thought provoking space or alien life being found in a spot of mold or Jesus actually coming back from the dead to say ‘Uh…what the fuck happened here?’ before being mugged and stripped of all his clothing.

Just covering my bases.

Now if you'll excuse me I have an inexplicable craving for a butterscotch burrito. Wonder if I can get it with whipped cream?


Today’s distraction: 20 predictions of the future we’re still waiting for. I disagree with ‘The Answer Machine’ conclusion. The internet IS the answer machine. Not sure what the author means by ‘technology has outpaced this primitive technological prediction’.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Random City

An assortment of random thoughts for your consideration. Many of these will be the barely coherent rants of a madman, but that’s nothing new.

- I’m officially at a loss as to what the Red Sox are doing. They just signed Adrian Beltre to a one year, nine million dollar contract (option for next year) which is the exact amount they were going to pay the Texas Rangers to take Mike Lowell. I can defend the signing on the basis that Beltre is a fantastic defensive third baseman, but is he that much better than Lowell? Hell, is he that much better than Youkilis?

Offensively, Beltre’s prime (ahem…steroid induced) years are behind him; as are Lowell’s. But Lowell nearly matched Beltre’s numbers last season and he was playing on a bum hip for a majority of the year. If we are to assume Lowell is now healthy, than why not pay him the twelve million for his final year and let him go after the 2010 season?

Do the Sox know something everyone else doesn’t? One can only assume they consider Lowell a lost cause and that he won’t come close to his pre-hip injury days, which may be true. However, as it stands now, the Red Sox now have three potential Gold Glove third basemen on the team (I include Youkilis), two of whom are on the downward slope of their careers.

This signing certainly doesn’t address the screaming need for a potent bat in the lineup. At best Beltre will simply replace Lowell’s production. Are the Sox holding out hope Big Papi will return to form? If so, it’s looking like a long, deadly dull season of 2-1 and 3-2 games occurring at Fenway.


- Listen New England fans, stop blaming Belichick for Wes Welker’s knee injury. This was hardly a meaningless game. Pats win and they clinch the three seed (and possible home field in round three if things fall properly). They should have been playing to win. You can’t predict or prevent what happened to Welker. Hell it could have happened during practice.

As it turns out, the Bengals lost and the Pats got the three, anyway, but there was no way to know that at the time. Play to win. Especially heading into the playoffs where every advantage counts.


- And while we’re here, let’s take the Colts as the prime example of why that is. Heading into the final two weeks of the season, the Colts were 14 – 0 and on the cusp of making history. With the Jets and Bills coming up, the third undefeated season in NFL history was more than possible; it was nearly a given.

What do they do? Fold up the tents in an attempt to keep everyone healthy for the playoffs. I can understand the thinking – Manning gets hurt and there goes the season. But you had a chance at history and you didn’t even try! You could have been mentioned with the elite teams of all time and instead you rolled over and played dead.

Please, do not bring up the 2007 Patriots to me. Yes, I would trade another Boston ring for that 16 – 0 but don’t mistake the result of a ridiculous fourth down near sack/non hold call/ludicrous helmet catch while being mauled as an example of what happens to a team that hasn’t lost. The Patriots should still be considered one of the best teams in history, regardless of one of the luckiest plays in Super Bowl history. Yes, lucky.

The Colts had that same opportunity. 16 – 0. Heading into the playoffs with a true mission: accomplish what that Patriots team couldn’t. Undefeated. Super Bowl Champions. 19 – 0. Imagine.

By laying down they’ve accidentally kicked off the exact chain of events they were trying to avoid: Nothing short of a Super Bowl championship will satisfy their fans. They feel cheated from a perfect season, as well they should. If the Colts don’t go on and win it all (and even if they do) they will be second guessed until the end of time.

There is another aspect to this, as well. Taking in to account the bye week they’ve earned, the Colts will go four weeks without playing one competitive, meaningful football game. Four weeks! That’s a long time for an NFL player to not taste blood. Remember this when the Colts are fighting for their lives against one of the teams that had to claw and fight their way simply to be playing in January.


- Now might be a good time to mention I won my fantasy football league. Boo fucking YEAH! Seven hundred big ones coming my way. I would like to thank Andre Johnson and Jonathan Stewart for having HUGE games and should probably mention Marion Barber who finally rose from the dead in weeks 15 and 16. That was nice of him. I took extra pleasure in my victory by taking down the juggernaut who was 11-0 at one point and was 14-1 by the time I faced him.


- As we were enjoying the New Year celebration, both my boys were aghast at all the boys kissing all the girls. ‘Why do they do that, Dad?’ they asked. I wanted to say ‘Cause it’s fun and leads to even more fun!’ but settled for ‘Believe me, when you get to be older you’ll want to do the same thing.’

My youngest - who isn’t even five - made a distasteful face and declared ‘No WAY!’ as if kissing girls was completely out of the question. Just wait, grasshopper…just wait.


- Any bets on when Dan Snyder runs Mike Shanahan out of town? I’ll go with December of 2012.


- Lost in all the hoopla (a word we really need to get back into regular circulation this year) about the attempted terrorist attack on that airplane is the fact that this idiot didn’t even succeed. Anyone ever think that one of those reasons is because the security standards in our airports actually worked and he didn’t have enough explosives to complete the job? Instead we’re going to have to undergo even stricter check points and even slower lines. I’m still convinced drug stores around the world are behind this. Soon we’ll have to buy new toiletries in every city we fly into. Just you watch.


- The above said (or written), I am all for those full body screenings if only to plaster on an enormous (and sadly fake) penis so it dangles halfway down my leg just to see the looks on all the security personnel faces. Would be classic. Unless, of course, they think I’m smuggling something in it and I’m stripped searched and violated in ways I really don’t want to think about. Then...not so funny.


- Google’s attempt at world domination continues with the introduction of their own smartphone. They’ve made a fatal mistake, if rumors are to be believed: they priced the thing at $500! This means only the richy rich will be purchasing them….

…wait a second. This means Google takes over the wealthiest 10% of the world first. Fucking brilliant! I don’t know who’s running this operation, but James Bond would be impressed.


- Because you demand it with threat of heavy violence if it’s not delivered, here are my playoff picks:

Pats beat Baltimore despite Ray Rice running for 452 yards all by himself.

Bengals beat Jets because Mark Sanchez can’t play in 25 degree weather and throws 5 INT.

Cowboys beat Philly in the Most Obnoxious Fans Bowl.

Green Bay beats Arizona after Warner goes down with ‘old age’.

I’ll deal with the rest next week after all these predictions go up in smoke. I really hope Green Bay plays the Vikings again and ends the drama that is Brett Favre.

Until next time!


Today’s distraction: A new game from ESPN.COM (my life partner). Play home run derby. Can be infuriatingly inconsistent at times, but still good fun.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

In an effort to make this decade a bit more fun filled and lucrative than last, I'm going to test out if karma really works. I'll sporadically post some positive stories in an effort to make my life better.

I should probably note that admitting I'm doing this for purely selfish reasons immediately negates any karma pay forward option, but I'm convinced no behavior is entirely altruistic. Besides, my efforts here are purely to entertain.

I should also note that this past decade was very lucrative and fun for me, so I really can't top what just happened during the past ten years. I met some great people, got a good job, had two great boys who entertain me endlessly, made some lifelong friends (even if I don't see them as often as I would like), and have been healthy and happy.

In short the decade of the zeros was very, very good to me. Being a zero myself, I guess that's to be expected.

Two quick stories for you.

1: Wifey and I spent yesterday getting things ready for New Year's Eve by making sausage bread (which, if you haven't had, you must try) and getting apps and drinks together. I even took a nap (Remember, I AM old) in order to make it until midnight. Well, around 3pm Wifey gets hit with a migraine and spends the rest of the day and night in bed. It's me and the boys.

We start things off watching 'Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinasaurs' and I send them to bed at 9:30. I start watching 'District 9', but have to keep pausing it because one or both of the boys keep coming downstairs. By 11:30 I can still hear them talking to each other upstairs, so I figure 'Fuck it, better than spending NYE by myself' and call them down. We watch the ball drop and have a grand old time before heading to bed at 12:30. Even got to watch the Boston fireworks from their bedroom window. It was actually fun!

So much for planning things out. Maybe that's the lesson for the coming '10s; don't plan, just have fun. I'm down with that.

2: This decade's first distraction is this clip from a hospital in the Portland, Maine area called 'The Pink Glove Dance'. It's fun and a very easy way to make a contribution (just watch it!). Love the janitor in this.

If the clip hits a million watches Medline will make a substantial donation to the hospital and offer free mammograms to the women in the area (and men, too, if they want I would guess). It's my first effort to make karma pay me back in spades.

Pay me back, karma! You owe me!

Third note: If you've read here at all, you know I'm just messing around. I don't expect karma to pay me back at all. Mainly because I don't believe in any sort of cosmic sentient being overseeing our trivial little lives.

Wow, accidentally ended this as a bummer. Sorry!