Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 In Review - Movies

A few things before we get started.

In my music entry I wrote that I probably missed one album, but turned out I was wrong.  I missed two!

Transference - Spoon and The Chaos - The Futureheads.  Not sure how I forgot them as they're still in constant rotation on my iPod, but I'm basically an idiot so....yeah.

Also, for television I completely forgot to mention the 30 for 30 documentary series on ESPN.  Not all of them worked (the fantasy baseball one was nearly unwatchable) but for the most part they nailed it.  The SMU football program, the Esteban soccer one, the race car driver with AIDS (sorry, can't recall his name off the top of my head), and especially (for me) the Len Bias one which - while picking at old Celtic wounds - brought the tragedy to a much more personal level.

I debated even writing this entry since my movie watching habits are a year behind everyone else.  I don't enjoy going to the theater much due to annoying and/or obnoxious people so Netflix has become my movie land.

I reconsidered for what has become my single favorite movie of 2010, however.  Since most of you have probably never heard of it, I wanted to pass it along in the hopes I could convince one of you to check it out.  You can even watch it online if you have Netflix subscription.

Let's get to it.

SINGLE MOST ENTERTAINING MOVIE OF THE YEAR


The Good, The Bad, The Weird:  This Korean homage (the H is silent) to the spaghetti westerns is the most fun I've had watching a movie all year.  Paced like lightning, frequently hilarious, with exhilarating, over the top (do those guns ever run out of bullets?) action sequences and culminating in a chase straight out of a Mad Max movie. Just when I thought it couldn't get any more insane, the Japanese army is introduced.  Do yourself a favor and watch the first 15 minutes of this movie.  If you enjoy the train scene you'll get a kick out of the rest of it, as well.  Even the final showdown between the three main characters contains a punch line that I loved.  My Christmas gift to you.


FUNNIEST MOVIE I'VE SEEN ALL YEAR


The Hangover:  See what I mean?  Everyone else saw this in 2009. I saw this in January, but it still holds the place for funniest goddamn flick I've seen all year.  Rewatchability is off the charts and could be the most quoted movie of our life times.

Runner up

Get Him to the Greek:  While it turns into a bro-mance during the last thirty minutes, the first hour is hilarious.  See it for Sean (P-Diddy) Combs coming out party.  Whenever he's on screen, he's the funniest character.  'Do you feel my dick fucking your mind?'


BIGGEST INJUSTICE


DayBreakers:  How this original, film noirish vampire movie gets over looked for the Twilight saga bullshit is something I'll never figure out.  Extremely violent (especially the spectacular, blood soaked finale) yet haunting and emotionally involving in a way most movies could only wish to be.


MOST REALISTIC


North Face:  The true story of two teams trapped on the North Face of Eiger Mountain while trying to become the first to conquer it.  If you've ever wanted to know the challenges and vigors of mountain climbing from the safety of your living room couch, this is the movie to see.


BEST ACTOR


Michael Sheen:  Not only nailing it in 'The Damned United' (see below), but brought cocky vulnerability and hidden insecurity to his portrayal of David Frost in 'Frost/Nixon'.

Runner up


Timothy Olyphant:  Starred in one of my favorite movies of the year ('The Crazies') and completely stole the show in 'A Perfect Getaway' with his rouge, deranged yet charming performance as a possible serial killer hiking the Hawaiian outback.


BEST SPORTS MOVIE


The Damned United:  Micheal Sheen cements himself as one of the best actors on the globe with his portrayal of egotistical, out of control, selfish soccer coach Brian Clough.  I finally understand what is meant when people say 'a player's coach' because Clough is the exact opposite of that.


BEST MOVIE FROM BOOK


Shutter Island:  Completely absorbing even though I had read the book and knew the ending before hand.  Can't get any more complimentary than that.  Between this and 'The Departed' I think DeCaprio and Scorsese should only work with each other from now on.  And only film in the Boston area.  You're two for two, guys.  Why mess up a good thing?

Runner up

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:  This Swedish adaptation of the best seller remains faithful to the book while cutting out 100 pages of bullshit.  The rare example of the movie being better.


BEST CAMEO


Bill Murray in 'ZombieLand': 'Just played nine holes on the Riviera.  Just walked in.  Nobody there'


BEST THRILLER


The Ghost Writer:  Starts off harmlessly enough before layering on suspicion after suspicion; building to a climax that is shocking, logical in it's own way and highly disturbing.  This would also win for best ending of the year.  The final shot is still with me.  One other note: that Ewan McGregor comes off as charming and likable as he does here should be further proof that George Lucas is a terrible director of actors.  He barely had a personality as young Obi Wan in those Star Wars movies.


BEST ANIMATED MOVIE


The Fantastic Mr Fox:  Hip, hilarious, intelligent and much more uplifting than the depressing 'Toy Story 3'. Honorable mention to 'How To Train Your Dragon' for the delirious flight sequences.


BEST ACTION MOVIE


Kick Ass:  Violent, funny revenge tale put over the top with the addition of a deranged father and daughter crime fighting duo.  The little girl is as coarse and vulgar as any character ever put to film.  Not for everyone, but I really enjoyed this.


BEST SCENE


500 Days of Summer:  The scene after our male 'hero' exits his apartment after having sex with Summer for the first time.  He gets knowing looks from other women, high fives from random passing men, before the entire city around him breaks into dance routine.  Magic!


MOST DISTURBING


Waltz With Bashir:  While this was great movie making, it's hard to recommend it as required viewing.  It's sort of a documentary, but animated as many of the interviewees didn't want to be shown on camera.  The story involves the narrator trying to figure out why he's lost some memories of war.  The answer is not for the faint of heart (or stomach) and the animated style does nothing to ease the trauma.


WORST PLOT TWIST


Orphan:  Little girl adopted by upper class, annoyingly self centered family gets more than they bargained for when it turns out the 'little girl' is actually 35 years old.  See she suffers from 'dwarphism' so she looks little which doesn't explain why she likes pretending she's 12 and killing people.  Would have been more interesting if she was actually a psychopathic 12 year old.


MOST VIOLENT


Dead Snow:  Nazi zombies come back from the dead (uh...undead?) after their gold is stolen. Decapitations and intestines galore, but it's approached with humor and some legitimate suspense.  Not great, but if you're a horror fan, you'll enjoy this.


SCARIEST


The Orphanage:  You'll never view a game of 'red light - green light' the same way again.

Runner up

Paranormal Activity:  Legitimate frights (esp the footsteps in the talcum powder) as a couple records some strange activity in their house.  Once again, however, the alternate ending works better than the one released in theaters.


and finally....

SINGLE WORST MOVIE I'VE SEEN THIS YEAR


Knowing:  Nick Cage proves he will literally do anything for a buck by starring in this confusing and pointless flick about either A: the end of the world or B: aliens saving the human race.  Both movies suck.

Hope everyone enjoys their New Year's and got everything they wanted for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 In Review - Television

One of my favorite shows this year came at the very end and proves - once and for all - that the DVR could be the greatest invention of our lifetimes. 

Here's how it happened.  I get an email from one of my old high school buddies who tells me that there is a new show beginning that is based on one of his favorite comic book series.  Now, granted, this isn't a ringing endorsement for me, but I set the DVR and figured I could take it off if the show didn't do it for me. 

Bang.  I was hooked from the first 10 minutes. 

Television seems to be getting better and better lately.  I dare say the there are more quality television shows than there are quality Hollywood movies.  Yeah, I went there. 

Ok, let's get to it.  I'm going to try to put the correct channel and time the show is on to get you to set your own DVRs but I have a hard time figuring out when things are on.  I usually just hit 'My Recordings' and select the show I want to watch.  It really makes life so much more enjoyable. 

BEST OF THE BEST

The Walking Dead (AMC, Sunday 10pm):  This was the comic book show my friend alerted me to and I will be forever in his debt.  Sadly, there were only 6 episodes in the opening season but that also makes it easy for you to catch up on.  Maybe Hulu has the episodes? Yes, it's gory and there is one scene that is easily the most disgusting series of events (it involves masking human scent with zombie) ever put on television but it's the characters and acting that put this over the top.  The season finale had me rooting for the survival of characters I didn't even know I cared about.  Kudos to everyone involved in this violent masterpiece. 


The Good Wife (CBS, Tuesday 10pm):  I've written enough about this here already, so just friggin' watch it, will ya?  Each episode perfectly balances a stand alone court room trial with the ongoing ripple effects of a father/husband political scandal on every member of a family.  Last week's death trial episode is a great example:  how the decision of the trial changes the religious life of the daughter.  Interesting, too, that this is the first drama I can remember that has characters feeling apprehensive about religion.  Intelligent, funny, superbly directed, must see.

 
Modern Family (ABC, Wednesday 9pm):  I mentioned this to several people who all say the same thing: 'I don't watch it regularly, but when I do it's really funny'.  Well, watch it regularly then.  Why deprive yourself of the funniest show on network television since 'Seinfeld'? 


Community (NBC, Thursday 9pm):  While not as funny as the first season, this still provides plenty of laughs with pop culture references and satire riffing on all sorts of movies.  The episode where Troy and Abed built a fort, which becomes a college fad across the country is a highlight.  Although, frankly, the jokes come so rapid fire at times they can get lost unless you watch it again. 


30 Rock (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm):  Somehow this show keeps getting funnier.  To be fair, though, this could just be better with the subtraction of the god awful Julianne Moore character.  Twenty years ago, who would have ever predicted Alec Baldwin would be the funniest guy on TV.


Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sunday 9pm):  I had my doubts after the series opener, but this show built on each previous episode like a mammoth feature film.  Stellar acting from everyone, story arcs that are engrossing, violence, sex (fairly certain every female in the show is naked at some point) and character turns that are shocking even if - in hindsight - we should have seen coming.  Special shout out to the actor portraying Al Capone who brings vulnerability, humanity and humor to one of the most notorious gangsters in history.  Also intriguing is how the show treats the quiet trauma of the recently ended war.  Back when nobody 'discussed' bad things, physically and emotionally scarred men litter the shadows of every corner. 


Terriers (FX, Wednesday 10pm):  An alcoholic ex-cop and his low life former criminal/now best friend, inadvertently become private investigators and slowly uncover an enormous land grab scandal that has yet to play out.  Unpredictable, often funny, always human and - at times - uncomfortably real.  Didn't realize how much I looked forward to watching this until FX was gone from Dish Network for a few weeks.  Thought maybe it had been cancelled or was a short run series and was very happy to have everyone back in my life. 


HONORABLE MENTIONS

Cougar Town (ABC, Wednesday 9:30pm):  I know, but it's actually sort of strange, ensemble comedy that has two to ten great laughs an episode.  The title has little to do with what the show is actually about as the men are what makes this show hilarious.   

Detroit 187 (NBC, Tuesday 10pm):  Standard police drama that took a huge leap forward it's last few episodes which address the racial scars left behind from the riots of the early 70s.

House (Fox, Monday 8pm):  I had my doubts when Cuddy and House became lovers and 13 disappeared without explanation or follow up, but I rather enjoyed the breaking in of newbie (Joan of Arcadia) and the dismantling of her 'always tell the truth' philosophy.

The Office (NBC, Thursday 9pm):  Agreed, it's nowhere near as good as it's greatest seasons, but it still provides laughs and the snowball fight episode was it's best in a long time. 


GUILTY PLEASURE

Jersey Shore (MTV, on constant rotation):  Watching scumbags, douchebags and tramps frollic around should never be this entertaining.  That I find myself actually liking a few of these people is a testament to how well this show is put together. 


WORST SHOW OF THE YEAR

Outsourced (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm):  Really, NBC?  I couldn't get past ten minutes of this disaster. 


MOST FRUSTRATING

The Event (NBC, no clue):  Made it through four episodes before ditching.  Confusing, slow moving despite the constant 'action' scenes and improbable escapes in nearly every episode.  If this conspiracy has been so effective for decades how can they not stop one 20 something moron from mucking up the works.  Just shoot him in the head already.  By the way, my theory was that group of people are time travelers from the future.  Thus they can't say anything to anyone for fear of messing up their own present.  Butterfly effect, if you will.  Fortunately, I don't care if I'm right or not.  I'll just take comfort knowing my theory is probably better than what is actually going on. 


JUSTICE SERVED

Lone Star:  Despite rave reviews and a non stop promotional campaign from Fox, the show was canceled after three episodes.  I caught the first one and was left unimpressed.  When you ask viewers to sympathize with a con man living separate lives you better make sure you cast the perfect actor for the part.  Flashing an 'aren't I good looking?' smile does not equal charisma. 


MIGHT BE TIME TO SAY GOODNIGHT

Bones (Fox, Thursday 8pm):  Still better than most shows out there and I'll keep watching, but the love triangle is tired and the charm of the relationships seems forced.  Every now and then an episode captures that old magic which just makes the other shows pale in comparison.

American Idol (Fox, every friggin' night for eternity):  Does anyone outside of Fox think this show can work without Simon?  He was the reality check and I sure as hell don't think Steven Tyler or Jennifer Lopez is willing to carry that torch for him.   My only hope is a sex scandal involving Tyler and/or Lopez and 15 contestants. 


MOST SCHIZOPHRENIC

V:  What started off as a disturbing, fast paced allegory about terrorism and civil rights quickly veered into camp during the second half of last season.  I knew things somehow went wrong when I was rooting for the aliens (esp that hot, blonde one) to finish off the annoying human rebels. 

With that, my friends, we head into a new 2011 year.  I'm guessing there will be some new shows that we'll be discussing next year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010 In Review - Music

Another year has blown by.  Why does time seem to go quicker the older we get?  My eldest will be in middle school next year.  I don’t feel old enough to have a kid in middle school!  I’m certainly not mature enough. 

While I can’t stop the flow of time, I can revel in what it provides.  2010, if nothing else, gave us some great music.  I dare say it was one of the best years for tunes in a while. 

Without further ado, my favorite music from the year winding down.  These are in no order if you’re wondering.  I’m never that organized.

BEST OF THE BEST

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs:  When 2020 rolls around this will make many Best of the Decade lists.  I don’t care how many artists release great albums over the next ten years; it’s going to be nearly impossible to top this one.  A cohesive release from a band hitting their creative and musical stride.  Not a bad song to be found. 

Buy it for:  Just freakin' buy it already.  


The National – High Violet:  I’ve never been a huge fan of these guys until I heard ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ and Pacing the Cage posted one of their live videos on his blog.  Their earlier stuff was always a bit dull to my ears.  Not this one.  They still adopt a minimalist bent, but by no means is this boring.  They also provide the most wryly hilarious lyric of the year with ‘I’m a confident liar – I’ll have my head in the oven so you’ll know where I’ll be’. 

Buy it for:  ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’

Keep it for:  ‘Little Faith’; ‘Conversation 16’; hell - take your pick…


Male Bonding – Year’s Not Long:  Raw, energetic, while being shockingly melodic.  It sometimes seems the band is playing one song while the lead singer is singing another.  Somehow the pieces fit together in a fun, 1990 college radio way.  Yes, that’s a compliment. 

Buy it for:  ‘Crooked Scene’

Keep it for:  ‘All Things This Way’; ‘Weird Feelings’


Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man:  The veteran punk band comes back to show this generation’s young posers exactly how it’s done.  The energy and sound has barely changed, which, in this case is a very good thing. 

Buy it for:  ‘Turn Your Back On Me’

Keep it for:  ‘Devil in Stitches’; ‘I Won’t Say Anything’, ‘Ad Hominem’


Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart:  Shades of classic Black Sabbath, Cream and a host of other classic rock bands influence – but never over shadow - this release.  There is something inherently sexy about a woman’s voice singing over hard charging, aggressive rock music.  I have no idea what the co-lead singer looks like, but I’m in love. 

Buy it for:  ‘Let Spirits Ride’

Keep it for:  ‘The Hair Song’; ‘Old Fangs; ‘Buried by the Blues’


The Black Keys – Brothers:  Yet, another old fashioned, yet never stale, rock/blues hybrid from a bad that deserves more recognition then they are receiving.  Considering the already impressive amount of quality music these guys have put out it is well past time to pay attention. 

Buy it for:  ‘I’m Not The One’

Keep it for:  ‘Everlasting Light’; ‘Tighten Up’; ‘Howlin’ For You’


The Black Pacific – The Black Pacific:  Black is apparently the color for 2010.  I have no information on these guys or where they came from.   I can only tell you they tear through their instruments like Metallica while singing like Smash Mouth.  On paper it sounds strange; to my ears it sounds like nirvana. 

Buy it for:  ‘The System’

Keep…   At your own risk. 


These New Puritans – Hidden:  Beautiful, haunting, slightly deranged, and could be the start of a beautiful relationship between us.   While I’m no musical expert, I keep being drawn back to this over and over.  It could be the soundtrack to my dreams if I ever remembered them. 

Buy it for:  ‘Attack Music’

Keep it for:  ‘Orion’; ‘Canticle’; ‘We Want War’


Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History:  Take a large scoop of Phoenix, add a dash of Vampire Weekend, sprinkle in some Bloc Party and you have created a heaping pile of toe tapping, addictive awesomeness.

Buy it for:  ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’

Keep it for:  ‘Undercover Martyn’; ‘I Can Talk’; ‘What You Know’


Ray Wylie Hubbard – A: Enlightenment B. Endarkment…:  More rock then country but more blues than rock.  Whatever the fuck you want to call it, just know it’s a musician forging his own damaged legacy as we listen and enjoy. 

Buy it for:  The same reason you will listen to it over and over - every song on here. 


Menomena- Mines:  Quirky, off beat, yet highly accessible.  What I would imagine The National would have been if they injested massive doses of LSD. 

Buy it for:  ‘Queen Black Acid’

Keep it for:  ’Intil’; ‘Killemall’; ‘Five Little Rooms’


Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent:  Classic, metal rock sound that adds moodiness and some electronic elements while retaining an angry edge.  I just picked this up last week and can’t stop listening to it.

Buy it for:  ‘Endgame’

Keep it for:  ‘Honour The Fire’; ‘Here Comes The Singularity’; ‘The Great Cull’


The Flatliners – The Calming Collection:  This has been on constant rotation since I bought it back in June.  Nothing fancy here – just straight ahead rock and roll from Canadians who seem much too angry to actually be from Canada.  Don't be fooled by the title, there is nothing calming about this.  For adrenaline junkies only. 

Buy it for:  ‘Count Your Bruises’

Keep it for:  ‘New Year’s Resolutions’; ‘He Was A Jazzman’; ‘Monumental’


HONORABLE MENTION

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor:  Indy rock at it's finest.  A bit rough in spots, but can't wait to see what they do next.  

Citay - Dream Get Together:  A modern take on Fleetwood Mac laced with trippy California feel good vibes.  

A Day To Remember - What Separates Me From You:  Whoever fucked these guys up should be very afraid.  Combines hard core metal with pop punk with surprisingly strong results.  

Fang Island - Fang Island:  Instrumentally, these guys kick some ass while trying to make themselves accessible to the masses.  

Far - At Night We Live:  Veteran band that influenced Thursday and Blink 182 (among others) returns to prove age doesn't matter if you're still pissed off at the world.  Also contains the best cover of the year.  

Guster - Easy Wonderful:  Another band that gets little fan fare despite their consistently strong body of work. 

Fitz and The Tantrums - Pickin' Up The Pieces:  Throw back to the Motown days with modern sensibilities to give it that push towards originality. 


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown:  Why does this always happen?  A band hits it big with a song then tries to recreate that same song over and over again in a lame attempt to recapture that magic.  Of all bands, I thought for sure the Kings of Leon would avoid that trap.  Sadly, no.  Even they can't escape their own success.  


STRANGEST ATTEMPT AT HITTING IT BIG

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy:  Slipknot members without their masks as far as I can tell.  What amazes me is they nearly pull this off.  'Say You'll Haunt Me', 'Unfinished' and 'The Bitter End' kick ass.  But missteps like 'Hesitate' where they explore their sensitive, power ballad side sound forced.  Not terrible by any means, but they should stick with what they do best.  


BIGGEST SURPRISE

Idlewild - Post Electric Blues:  I had completely given up on this band after they ditched what made them great ('The Remote Part' is still one of my favorite albums of all time) and tried to jump into the mainstream.  Members have left and others added and they turned offensively bland.  So imagine my surprise when they emerge with yet another new lineup and crank out their strongest material in nearly a decade.  Welcome back.  


SINGLE WORST SONG I'VE HEARD THIS YEAR

Owl City - Fireflies:  For the life of me, I can't figure out how songs like this get constant radio play.  I hate this song with everything I am and will ever be.  If someone ever figures out time travel, I will risk my life to go back in time and stop this song from ever being recorded.  


BEST DISCOVERY

Legalsounds.com:  A strictly MP3 download site that charges about a buck an album and takes power away from iTunes.  It's a bit cluttered (although a recent upgrade has made things much more pleasant) and you need to know what you're looking for, but it's constantly adding to the library.  Even better the site will track your purchases so if you ever have your hard drive wiped out you can go back, login and re-download all the music you've bought through them.  How has iTunes never considered this?  Once again, a simple, convenient, customer friendly aspect from a competitor makes me realize how suck ass Apple really is.  

Sadly, I'm sure I missed something.  It happens every year.  I hit that Publish Post button and immediately realized I forgot a great album.  Apologies in advance.  


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Slacker!

Allow me to make the joke for you:

This blog should be renamed ‘BeachBum’s Occasional Diversions’.

Sorry, but I’ve been busy! Not only is work picking up at the exact time of year when things are supposed to slow down, but I’ve been bettering myself through education. I’ve been taking some classes in an attempt to get certified for some technical mumbo jumbo bullshit (what’s that acronym? STMJBS?)

Luckily for you loyal readers (all three of you), I have time to jot down some notes today.


- Let’s start with the news I’m MOST excited about: A certain Adrian Gonzalez becoming part of Red Sox Nation! Theo and company have been after him for years and finally managed a deal with the Padres to get him to Boston. While I’m confused why it suddenly only took 3 prospects to finalize the trade after all this time (what changed with the Padres?) and I spent Sunday bemoaning the rumors that the deal might fall apart at the last minute (ala Mark Tiexeira), I haven’t been this thrilled with a Red Sox move since….

…well, I can’t remember when. When we first signed Manny? Let’s go with that.

Spring training can’t come soon enough!


- I’m also riding high off the Patriots utter destruction of a supposedly championship caliber Jets team. Neither Sanchez’ nor Rex Ryan’s finest hour last night. I always enjoy watching big mouths get slapped around. That it was the Pats doing the bitch slapping made it that much more enjoyable.

I watched some of the pre game hubbub (how can ‘experts’ talk about one game for so long?) on ESPN and our local channel in Boston and became increasingly frustrated with most analysts view of the Patriots defense as one of the worst. Yes, statistically it is, but – and this is where these talking heads miss the bigger picture – this secondary is extremely young and has been playing much better as the season has progressed. With the secondary playing better, the front line is becoming more effective. So yes, the Pats do have a statistically awful defense up to this point, but they have improved week by week and not one person who spent all this time analyzing these two teams mentioned it.


- My crowning achievement this past weekend was scoring a PERFECT gift for Wifey. I give you the ColorNOOK. It’s one of those eReader things she’s been wanting for a while, only it has a web browser (so she can go on Facebook and tell everyone she got a new ColorNOOK), Pandora’s music service, and a number of free apps available from the Barnes and Noble site. That’s right, it’s more like an iPad than an eReader but it only costs half of what the iPad does ($250). Nothing puts a hop in your step than knowing you’ve picked out the exact right thing. And it wasn’t at the last minute for once! Will wonders never cease?


- Eldest son is asking for a cell phone for Christmas this year so tonight Wifey and I are heading to Verizon to see what sort of deal we can get. If we can score him a freebie while changing to a family plan, he’ll think we’re the greatest parents ever. And he’d be correct.


- There is also some controversy surrounding one of his other requests. He has ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ on his list and I initially told him he could remove it. I refuse to get a ten year old any game rated M. I allow T (for Teen) occasionally, but never an M game even though he insists on asking every time. Well, this weekend the new ads come in the Sunday Globe and he points out that the game for Xbox 360 is rated T. I check another ad and find it rated M for the Playstation. So what gives? Are there two different ratings for the same game? Does it depend on the system? Are they releasing an M and T rated version? I’m like my father finally: totally confused about what my son is asking for Christmas. Only took 43 years, but I made it.


- I’m considering a Droid. Either the HTC Incredible or the Droid X. Any advice out there on either of these? Currently using a Blackberry but the screen is beginning to flicker and flash.


- Just realized it’s December! Time to get cracking on my annual Year End Review. Unfortunately, I’ll be in DC for the next five days, so I may not have time to get to it until late next week. Stupid work.


- Rumor has it that the Red Sox offered Marino Rivera a three year deal. Can you imagine if they pulled that off?


- Thirty two year old Jason Werth gets a seven year, hundred billion dollar deal for two decent years in Philly? I’m officially putting all my retirement funds on getting my two boys into baseball full time. If I have to move to Texas, so be it.

By the way, this deal will look catastrophic in two years, never mind seven.


- I’ve been away from Saturday Night Live for a few years, but have returned thanks to my DVR. While I’ve only seen a few bits from previous seasons, I think I’m safe declaring this year an unmitigated disaster. Last week wasted Robert Deniro, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, and an hour of my life. There are sparks here and there, but mostly the skits are dreadful. What the fuck is going on?


- Want another reason to push your boys into baseball? Check out these pics from Big Papi’s charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. The first ten in particular show the wives of Papi, Pedroia and Darnell McDonald. I have only two words: Holy shit!


- Apparently WikiLeaks is causing world wide panic with all these confidential documents they’re posting on their site. While I can understand some concern, shouldn’t governments be required to operate with transparency? Democratic countries in particular have a duty to let their citizens know what they’re up to, right? We elected them, we pay their salaries.

Besides, why are they so upset that it’s leaked that Obama was pissed at certain countries because they still fund terrorist organizations or aren’t helping out? Don’t we want to know that stuff? If anything, it makes me feel better that Obama and the U.S. is still working tirelessly to prevent another terrorist attack anywhere in the world. Seems most of this ‘confidential’ information is mostly common sense anyway.


- Put up the Christmas Tree over the weekend and had the boys decorate it. All the ornaments are clumped together from my chest level down. As it does every year, Wifey’s obsessive compulsive disorder took over and she rearranged them all so they’re perfectly organized. Nothing trumpets in the holiday season better than a woman raging against clutter.


- What in holy hell is going on with the Redskins? Shanahan comes in and openly questions Haynesworth conditioning. Things start off ok, but sour when Shanahan benches Donovan McNabb because he was out of shape.  As a reward for getting benched and being out of shape McNabb signs a five year, 70 million dollar extension.

Next Haynesworth doesn’t dress for a game. He says it was coach’s decision or illness depending on who you talked. Now Shanahan turns around and suspends Haynesworth for the rest of the season. Without pay!

If you take into account the way Shanahan left Denver, there has to be some serious appreciation given for his ability to submarine his own team. He did the same thing with Jake Plummer halfway through his last season there and named Jay Cutler starter. Things quickly went south for the team from there.

Putting Shanahan together with Haynesworth probably wasn’t a great idea no matter which way you spin it, but I’ll side with the coaches on this one. Some reports are saying that Haynesworth wasn’t sick but hungover on the Friday before practice which is why he was benched for Sunday’s game.

The only two things I know for certain: Shanahan will not win coach of the year and there will never be another 100 million dollar contract in NFL history.


- Tomorrow night is our company holiday party and you can expect many many many many beers to be consumed by yours truly. Last year there was more money left over than the company expected so a buddy and I ordered a few very expensive shots of whiskey that tasted wonderful. I should be rich. I certainly enjoy the lifestyle.

Until next time, friends. Not sure when that will be, but soon.


Today’s distraction: T-Mobile sponsored some singers to greet travelers at Heathrow International Airport. Further proof that life is better with music.