Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Have I Typecasted Javier Bardem?

Javier Bardem is the youngest member of a Spanish family that is well-established in the film industry.  He has done 44 movies to this point in his career.  I have seen only three, and he played small to medium roles in two of those.  The other, however, is one of my favorites - No Country for Old Men

In No Country for Old Men, Bardem plays the role of Anton Chiguir.  Chiguir is a hired gun, tracking down a stolen suitcase full of money for a Mexican drug cartel.  He is ruthless, cold, and completely exempt of emotion.  Chiguir is completely without scruples, murdering person after person who gets in his way, and doing it without the slightest hint of emotion.  He is resolute and stoic, perhaps best represented by his weapon of choice: a captive bolt pistol most commonly used to kill livestock.  Chiguir murders people in the same way, and with the same emotion that a slaughterhouse worker kills a calf.

Bardem plays the part masterfully, convincing the viewer that he is a mass-murdering psychopath, completely believable in the role.  He is, in fact, so believable that I find myself unable to separate Bardem from Chiguir.  Sometimes this happens to actors and it completely ruins their careers.  They can't separate themselves from the character they played in one of their first films, so they only get similar parts to the initial role through which the public defines them.  The phenomenon is known as typecasting. 

Now I'm not saying that Javier Bardem has been typecasted by Hollywood, and that he will only be able to play serial killers from now on.  That's definitely not the case.  He is a very talented actor.  In fact, I thought his latest venture as Felipe in Eat, Pray, Love was a pretty solid performance ...

Except I couldn't help but expect him to pull out that cattle gun and blow a hole in Julia Roberts' forehead.  

Was I guilty of typecasting him?  Or was I guilty of projecting the direction I wanted the movie to go in? 

Still not sure.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Game of Thrones: Sci-Fi for Non-Virgins

I am a nerd.

To most of the people who read this blog, that isn't exactly a surprising revelation.  Most of you know me pretty well.  That is to say that you have probably heard me openly discuss my enjoyment of the Star Wars saga, debate different theories of the symbology in LOST, or you saw me playing Magic: The Gathering in middle school ...

... and possibly even in high school.


Like I said, I'm a nerd.  So when I express my excitement about a sci-fi drama that has been in production by HBO, you might be skeptical of my assessment.  I get it: my track-record of appreciation of things considered 'cool' isn't all that great.

But the buzz surrounding this show has been huge.  Don't believe me?  Check out Winter is Coming.  Fans of the novels (like me) have been checking that site for daily updates about the drama for a couple of years now, ever since news broke that HBO was interested in the franchise.  And HBO hasn't just picked up the series, they've put everything they possibly could behind it, spending $5 million per episode for what they think could be their replacement for The Sopranos.  In fact, Thrones has the 4th largest series budget in the history of HBO, behind only John Adams, Rome and Deadwood

Why did they do this?  Because Game of Thrones is not going to be like most sci-fi shows.  It will be, in many ways, much more like The Wire than Lord of the Rings.  It's not going to have the traditional LOTR type of storyline in which good defeats evil despite having enormous odds stacked against it.  The heroes aren't always going to win.  In fact, a lot of the time you're not even going to be able to tell who the heroes are. 

Unlike many of the sci-fi movies and television shows of the past, the characters will have complex personalities.  They will make decisions based on the politics of the moment, not on their worldviews - as real people are forced to do every day.  There will be characters of utmost moral aptitude, and others with absolutely none - and you will sometimes find yourself cheering for the demons, and sometimes against the saints.

My only issue with the series is whether or not the drama of the first four books will translate to the television set.  In fact, I don't even think that's possible.  Its just going to be hard to capture the complexities of George R.R. Martin's characters in an hour of t.v. every week.  But expect great things, because if anyone can do it, its HBO.

We'll get our first glimpse of the show this Sunday at 8:45.  HBO is doing a 15 minute preview of the series, which is set to debut this spring.

Friday, November 26, 2010

NBA Tattoo Manifesto Installment 1: Marquis Daniels

Name: Marquis Daniels

Team: Boston Celtics
Position: Guard / Forward
College: Auburn

Height: 6'6"
Weight: 200 lbs.

Marquis Daniels might have the most interesting tattoo combination in the entire NBA - and that is really saying something.  In a league filled with over-inked headcases, Marquis Daniels stands out for being especially crazy. 

That's no small task.

Exhibit #1: Chinese Symbols
Location: Left Forearm

"Those are my initials in Chinese, M.A.D."

No they're not.  In fact, that's not even possible.  Ya see, the Chinese language has a logographic writing system in which the symbols represent ideas rather than sounds.  So there are no characters for M's, A's, or D's.  What do Marquis' Chinese symbols stand for?

"Healthy.  Woman.  Roof."

I would suggest doing a little more research next time.

(On a side note: How similar is this to Andy Bixby getting "BIX" tattooed on his right tricep?)

Exhibit #2: State of Florida - 407
Location: Lower to Mid-Level Back

How appropriate that Daniels has a tattoo of a state that ranks 4th in violent crime on his back, considering he has had numerous run-ins with the law since he entered the NBA.  The most notable: an altercation at an Indiana night club during which his teammate, Stephen Jackson, fired a pistol into the air multiple times as a speeding car was flying toward him and Daniels. Daniels has also been under investigation for a sexual assault that occurred at a party at his home. 

And people say they don't like the NBA ...

Daniels got the tattoo to show the love he has for his home state - a respectable gesture (although no sane person would ever do it).  He also added the digits "407" over the image of the state, representing the area code for the Orlando Metro area.

... ... ... ... ...

And finally, la creme de la creme ... easily the craziest thing I've ever seen tattooed on the human body.  I've seen demons and the grim reaper, men with swastikas on their neck, chest, and face.  I've seen a black man with a tattoo of Robert E. Lee over his heart.  I've seen some crazy shit, but this is fucking nuts!

Exhibit #3: Shotgun Suicide
Location: Right Forearm

"Only the Strong Survive."

Thus is the inscription over an image of a man holding a shotgun in his mouth, and pulling the trigger with the big toe of his left foot while his brains spew out the top of his exploding skull.  Easily the craziest thing you will ever see tattooed on the human body (by anyone who is not serving multiple life sentences, at least). 

Granted, its a really nice piece of work.  The illustration, although gruesome, is very detailed, and the color scheme suits the image well.  But unless you're trying to mold your image into one of a paranoid, delusional psychopath, you're not emblazening the "Shotgun Suicide" tattoo on your body for the rest of your life. 

Or maybe that's just me ...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom Smykowski & My Version of the "Jump to Conclusions Mat"

Ladies and gentleman, Tom Smykowski. 

I love Tom Smykowski.  For those of you who don't know Tom, he's the neurotic, middle-aged guy from Office Space who hates his job and is eternally worried that he is going to get canned.  Tom eventually finds true happiness in life when he is disabled in a side-impact collision with a pickup truck helmed by a drunk driver.

How does he find true happiness out of this?  He never has to go to work again, of course.  Tom and I, in a lot of ways, are the same person.

Tom Smykowski will forever live on in the annals of great movie characters for another reason, however.  Ya see, out of his hatred for his job, Tom has been searching for a product idea that would make him a million dollars (so that he wouldn't have to go to work anymore).  Tom idolizes the guy who invented the pet rock because the man achieved Tom's goal.  So Tom's product idea is along the same lines, equally lame and somehow even cornier.

"Its a Jump to Conclusions Mat.  You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor... and would have different conclusions written on it that you could jump to."

... ... ...

"That is the worst idea I've ever heard, Tom."

"Yes, this is horrible, this idea."


Well, much like Tom Smykowski, I too have a dream of never having to work again. 

And I have a product idea that I am certain has a market and could make money - at least from the Pinkertons. 

I am envisioning a coffee table book with a target audience of 18-35 year old (mostly white) males who lack delicate sensibilities and/or enjoy entertaining themselves through the study of the lifestyles of professional athletes.  Each page of The Daily Anything's NBA Tattoo Manifesto will highlight a different NBA Player, explaining the significance of their various pieces, illuminating each of the player's personalities and providing the reader with a glimpse into the player's struggle to reach the Association.

The NBA: Where Barely Visible, Sometimes Offensive, Frequently Ridiculous Ink Happens

Installment #1: Marquis Daniels - Thanksgiving 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Natalie Imbruglia & A Moment of Sexual Opaqueness

Have you ever just been in the zone?  Ya know, one of those times when you're so focused on a particular task that you don't even realize what is happening around you.  You're like a zombie, unable to think about anything except your craving for human flesh. 

That was me Saturday night (well, metaphorically anyway), following the lights of the U-Haul in front of me as we travelled from Richmond, VA to Lowville, NY.  We had been on the road since 3:30.  It was 11.  We still had about 4 hours to go. I was tired of driving, unable to focus on anything but the tail lights in front of me, and beginning to allow my mind to wander.  My eyelids were slowly descending.  I was beginning to feel a little bit too comfortable. 

I started to worry that I might fall asleep and end up in the ditch on the side of the road.  I took a big drink of my Pepsi Max and turned the radio back on.  I had turned it off out of frustration when Syracuse fumbled on their own 4 yd line, but now I needed it to help me stay awake.  I checked the AM dial for a football game worth listening to, then realized that college football sucks.  So I turned it to the FM dial looking for some music. 

Country or Christian Rock ... Ugh.

I found a country station that I felt was promising, sang along with Kenny Chesney and George Strait, and then was subjected to the worst song I've ever heard in my life - "Soldiers & Jesus" by James Otto.  The chorus: "God only knows where we'd be without soldiers and Jesus." 


After about a minute and a half of that redneck rhapsody, I was fed up enough to try to find anything else.  I found a good light rock station playing Gin Blossoms, so I left it there.  They followed up with Tracy Chapman and John Mellencamp, some other good songs that I could jam out to.  I found myself singing along with each of the songs, 5 or 6 hits in a row that I knew every word of.  I was back in the zone, completely spaced out, focused on nothing but the lights in front of me and the songs playing on the radio.

Before I knew it, the set was over.  On came the d.j. to prep the commercials and introduce the next series of songs.  I didn't want to change the channel.  The d.j. began recounting the songs I had heard: "Follow You Down", "Fast Car", and "Small Town".  "Bright Lights' by Matchbox 20 ahead in the next set."

I began surfing for another station.  I like Matchbox 20, but I find that particular song a bit lame.  The next station down was a rock station playing U2.  I left it there for a bit, but as they switched from U2 to "About a Girl" by Nirvana, I decided to check on the station I had been listening to before.  I switched over just in time to hear the opening acoustic sounds of an unidentified song that I recognized, but couldn't quite wrap my head around.  Then the female voice came in:

I thought I saw a man brought to life.
He was warm, he came around, and he was dignified ...

I realized I knew the song - "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia.  What I didn't immediately realize is that I knew every word to the song.  That soon became quite apparent because I found myself singing along with each and every word. 


Ok.  "Singing" is not nearly a strong enough term to describe what I was doing.  I was belting that shit out.  I didn't even realize it until the song was over and I was suddenly asking myself questions like, "What just happened?" and "Am I gay?" 

The answers I came up with: "I don't know" and "Kinda"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Great Reason NOT to Build Fort La Presentation

For the past several years, some citizens of the City of Ogdensburg have been raising money to rebuild Fort LaPresentation. Ever heard of it? Neither has anyone who isn't from Ogdensburg.

Exactly why the citizens are doing this, noone really knows.

While I could create a long list of reasons why building Fort LaPresentation is a bad idea and a waste of time, I have been content to allow the town idiots to continue their exercise in futility as long as I am left to peacefully go about my own business.

"Live and let live," as the idiom goes.

Such has been my approach since this little idea got started, but I had an experience this weekend that convinced me of the need to stop this project where it is.

As I mentioned before, I travelled to Virginia this weekend to help a family friend move closer to home. On the way home, the traffic was so bad in D.C. that Jim and I decided to take a detour off of I-81 and take a different route north. As we got into Pennsylvania, Jim called me with the idea of stopping somewhere to eat. We agreed to stop at the next exit with food.

The next stop: Gettysburg

It was about 8 p.m. when we stopped to eat, and Jim and I were both eager to get back on the road - but not eager enough to eat fast food. We had already been driving for a few hours, so we decided to stop at the most convenient diner or restaurant we could find. The first one we saw was Friendly's. We parked just around the corner and walked towards the Friendly's. It was packed. So we decided to try walking across the street to find something that would allow for a more efficient dining experience. We decided on a little pizzeria called Dino's.

The food was excellent; the clientele sucked.

As Jim and I entered the establishment, we noticed that the majority of the others dining were clad in Civil War apparel. We were seated near three of them wearing Union uniforms, drinking sodas and waiting for their pizza. Jim and I ordered some subs and a beer and struck up a conversation with them, finding out that they were from all different parts of the country (Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania) and had come in to take part in the reenactment. They were nice guys, but their uniforms were covered in dirt and smelled like a mix between gunpowder and stale ass. They told horrible stories and talked about the Civil War like they had lived through it. It seemed to go on and on, each nerd taking his turn recounting different antecdotes about the battle as if we had paid them to be our living guides.

I wanted to change the subject. A simple "I don't care" would have done it, but I didn't want to offend the guys. After all, they were nice - just a little boring. I had to think of something funny that would easily shift the conversation in another direction or get them to figure out that I was getting bored.

Somehow the conversation got changed to Lincoln. One of the guys was talking about a specific line in the Gettysburg Address. I saw my opportunity, and when he finished I said:

"Ya know, after Lincoln got off the train he and Mary had dinner at the Friendly's across the street."

A corny joke to shift the conversation. Jim was laughing. I was laughing. The two other guys at the table were laughing. The guy who was talking about Lincoln? Dead silent. It was like I had taken a dump on his front porch. He wouldn't say another word to us. After a couple more minutes of awkward conversation, our food came. Jim and I ate our subs and finished our beers, paid the bill and got up to leave. On our way out, Jim offered a "Nice to meet you guys" just to kind of clear the air. The two guys were cordial, the Lincoln guy didn't even respond.

You want those tools hangin' around Ogdensburg?

Not that they'd come anyways.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Steve, Say It Ain't So

With my beloved Suns at 6-5 and having shipped out Amare Stoudemire to create cap space to overpay a young nucleus of poo-poo platter players, there seems to be speculation that if the club's record hasn't improved by mid-season it might be time to move Steve Nash to make room for Goran Dragic. 

Now I'm not so upset with the idea of sending Steve Nash elsewhere.  He's been great for the club since coming back in 2003 and I would like to see him have an opportunity to win a title. 

But more than that, he's been a great ambassador for the game.  In a league dominated by overpaid thugs with too many tattoos and enormous egos, Nash has been the Association's face at some of its lowest points.

Remember when Kobe got in trouble for not raping that girl in Denver?  That was a public relations nightmare for David Stern.  His league's brightest star was facing criminal charges, and despite overwhelming evidence that no crime was committed, the media wasn't giving Kobe the benefit of the doubt.

Why not?  Well, because Kobe's a dick.

Throw in the Brawl at the Palace and the landscape was looking dark for the NBA in 2004.  Stern's league was in trouble, reeling from the turmoil surrounding its biggest name, its most historic franchise, and the drama surrounding its defending champion Detroit Pistons.

Nash was there to pick it up, winning two MVP awards and becoming, for a while, the face of the NBA.  In fact, Nash has been an integral part in reshaping the league's image in the time since the Kobe trial and the Brawl at the Palace. 

A 6'4" white Canadian winning two league MVPs and becoming its posterchild?  What kind of P.R. campaign can we come up with to express how improbable that is?  I know:

"The NBA: Where Amazing Happens"

Even with Kobe's return to prominence and the rise of young talents like Kevin Durant, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, Nash has continued to be a major face of the NBA.  He remains one of the Association's golden boys - guys who Stern can always depend on to look out for the best interests of the league.

This brings us back to the present day and the speculation about Steve Nash potentially leaving the Suns for brighter pastures.  Just to reiterate, as a Suns fan I don't mind Nash leaving.  It makes sense for both sides: Nash can pursue a title and the Suns can look to rebuild. 

Along with the speculation about whether or not Nash will leave has come plenty of conjecture about where Nash might end up if he chooses to leave.  The biggest players for his services (at least according to reports) would be the Thunder, the Clippers, the Nets, the Magic, and the Knicks. 

Any of those destinations would be fine with me.

But what destination is Rich Bucher throwing around? 


... ... ...

There is nowhere in the world that I want Nash to go less.  I would rather he retired, moved home to whereeverthefuck in Canada he's from, and was never heard from again.  I would rather not see Nash play than see him play with those assholes on the Heat. 

I mean, what would it do to his image?  Look what moving there did to Lebron.  He went from being on top of the world, oggled by every sports writer in America and held up as a modest young athlete who had the world at his fingertips but could control his own ego despite his enormous potential and even bigger expectations.  Now the guy's a lepper, cast off by every sports fan in the country for having pulled the biggest "Fuck You" in the history of American sports.

I don't care how much Nash wants a title.  He can't go there.  Just to be associated with that group would make Nash one of the most hated players in the NBA by default.  He'd be just like Lebron: a talented player taking the easy way out by creating a "Dream Team". 

Steve, a title isn't worth throwing away all the good you've done over the past decade and a half.  Don't do it, Steve!  Don't do it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The NBA: Where Cheating with Teammates' Wives Happens

Eva Longoria filed for divorce from Tony Parker today.  This comes amidst speculation that Parker had apparently been cheating on Longoria for over a year, exchanging hundreds of text messages with one of the couples' "mutual friends."

"Mutual" might not be the appropriate term anymore.

According to People Magazine, Eva Longoria apparently told Mario Lopez that the "mutual friend" was the wife of one of his fellow San Antonio Spurs.

If the allegation is true, which Spurs player would you like it to be?  Feel free to comment below.

For obvious reasons, I hope its Duncan.  Not so fundamentally sound in the sack are ya, Timmy?

Some Thoughts on Road Trips

I went on a bit of a road trip this weekend, just a simple drive from Ogdensburg to Rochester.  I've learned to really enjoy that drive, perhaps because I associate the trip with the journeys I would make back and forth between home and college.  Maybe its because I know the route well, so I don't have to think much about what I'm doing.  I can just kind of zone out and focus on other things.

Whatever the reason, the expedition made me realize that the road trip is one of those unique life experiences that, for me at least, seems to only have the ability to go one of two ways.  That is to say that road trips have the potential to stir up either one sentiment inside of me, or its polar opposite: invigoration or exhaustion, placation or exasperation, exhilaration or agitation.

For me there is no in-between, and the difference between an enjoyable road trip and a miserable one can be easily swayed by the trip's most minute details.  A string of good songs on the radio, a trip to a fast food place that I haven't been to in a while, or some particularly beautiful scenery can have a major influence on how I experience a road trip.  At the same time, seemingly inconsequential events can have an equally significant and opposite impact on a trip.  Inclement weather, a close encounter with a furry friend, or an inconsiderate traveler can make a perfectly good trip go downhill in a heartbeat.

The road trip can be a fickle undertaking.  Your experience with it depends on your mood going into it.  If you dread it beforehand, it is more than likely going to be one of the longest experiences of your life.  If you're excited going into it, the road trip can be an enjoyable, even relaxing experience.  Unfortunately, controlling your feelings beforehand is nearly impossible because your excitement level almost always depends on your destination.  Travelling for a concert or a fantasy draft is almost certain to yield plenty of laughs and funny stories because the anticipation of the event raises everyone's excitement level, which in turn gives everyone a brighter outlook.  On the contrary, travelling a long distance to complete a menial task can be brutal.  The destination offers nothing redeemable, so the trip inevitably seems long and burdensome.

Trying to project how a road trip will turn out can be difficult for other reasons as well.  They can be predictable if, for example, you're travelling with a family member.  Since you already have a clearly defined relationship with that person, anticipating how well you will get along in a car for several hours should be relatively simple.  Members of my family, for example, should never be allowed in a car together for more than 45 minutes.  There are just too many big personalities.  The situation would inevitably devolve into a WWE-style "Hell in a Cell" match - a few foreign objects, a little blood, and a healthy dose of shame when its all over.

Its much better to travel with a group of friends whose personalities complement yours - people with a similar sense of humor or the same interests.  Ya know, people with whom you won't clash.  I, of course, am going to disregard my own advice this weekend and travel to Virginia with a high-energy, frequently whacky, middle-aged man.
Welp, at least it won't be a boring drive.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Top 5 Bush Moments

Gonna be gone all day tomorrow, so no new post coming.  On with the countdown.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Joakim, You Can't Say That

Last week, I wrote about the feud brewing between Charlie Villanueva and Kevin Garnett.  I made a few jokes at Charlie's expense, calling him the most boring quasi-celebrity on Twitter and establishing Villanueva and Josh Boone as the ugliest frontcourt in the history of college basketball.

I thought that would be the only article that I would feel compelled to write that would include a section about the attractiveness of NBA players. I couldn't imagine a scenario in which I would find it necessary to devote an entire post to NBA players' looks (especially within 7 days of my previous post).  I could have imagined posts about my favorite NBA tattoos, funny NBA player arrest stories, maybe even sharing stories about bankrupt NBA players and how they spent their fortunes.  I never imagined I'd be talking about this again.

But then, yesterday morning I woke up to find that Joakim Noah had reignited the K.G. controversy by saying that K.G. was "a dirty player." He added that Garnett was, "a very mean guy ... ugly, too."

Now I take no issue with Joakim Noah's assertions that K.G. is a dirty player and that he is a mean guy. Both of those statements are probably true.

The issue that I raise is with Joakim Noah calling Kevin Garnett ugly. That presents a "pot & kettle" situation that I feel needs to be resolved right now.

Society has unwritten rules, one of which is that one person cannot accuse another of anything for which the accuser is guiltier than the accused.

For example, a crack dealer is not allowed to call a weed dealer a scumbag. They're off limits.  Both essentially have the same job, except the weed dealer pedals a less dangerous, less socially acceptable form of contraband.  For a crack dealer to call someone a scumbag, they need to find a lower target than themselves - like a pedophile, or Glenn Beck.

Its a simple formula. Its easy to understand. Its unwritten, but very clear.

Applying this formula to the Kevin Garnett-Joakim Noah feud, Joakim has clearly overstepped his bounds. In fact, according to my rankings, there is only one person in the entire NBA who Joakim Noah is allowed to call ugly.

A Daily Anything exclusive, I present the 10 ugliest players currently in the NBA:

DJ Mbenga
Andre Kirilenko
Zaza Pachulia
Hedo Turkoglu
Marquis Daniels
Delonte West
Shelden Williams
Charlie Villanueva
Joakim Noah
Chris Kaman


You may call your colleagues whatever you want.  Call them inferior players.  Call them dirty, mean, cheap.  You just cannot call them ugly.

Well, unless its Chris Kaman.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Top 5 Bush Moments

I don't have to work tomorrow, so I won't have any new posts until Friday.  I was trying to think of a way that I could keep you entertained on days that I won't be posting, then I thought back to my favorite source of humor from ... well, ever. 

That's right folks.  Here comes The Daily Anything's George W. Bush blooper countdown:


I can say this about the man: he is agile.

New post coming Friday 11/12.

TCU to Big East? Unlikely.

  Recent reports have the Big East as the latest conference looking to expand, and the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University seem to be the prize upon which the Big East has set its eyes.

The reasons for the Big East going after TCU seem to be clear:

- They're a competitive program from a non-BCS conference that could add to the Big East's relevance and credibility as an automatic BCS Bowl qualifier.

- Texas is a hotbed for college football recruiting, and the addition of TCU might give other Big East schools an opportunity at some of the best recruits in the country.

TCU certainly has the potential to be a big prize for the Big East, a conference in constant fear of college football irrelevance, or possible dissolution, if one of its wealthier regional counterparts came calling for any of its big-time programs - Syracuse, Pittsburgh, or Rutgers. 

Bringing in a school like TCU has a lot of potential obstacles for the Big East, chief among which is the effect it will have on the conference's basketball schedule.  Can the Big East afford to add another hoops program to its already enormous 16-team league?

The consensus answer to that question seems to be no.  If TCU were to join, they'd probably have to find a conference home for the rest of their collegiate athletic programs - and something tells me that the Mountain West might not be waiting with open arms if they were to lose the revenue from TCU's football program.

Ultimately, TCU would be the best possible solution for the Big East - a competitive college football program with a strong recruiting base and a proven track record of success.

Unfortunately, I don't think its likely.

Besides the obvious travel issues with adding a university that's closer to Mexico City than New York City, TCU would be selling itself short if it committed to the Big East this year and then was forced to turn down offers from bigger, wealthier conferences in the near future.  By biding its time, TCU would be in a good position to take advantage of Big 10, Big 12, or Pac 10 expansion and reap the financial rewards that come along with such membership.

Sorry Big East, better luck next time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The 1/2 lb. Flamethrower GrillBurger from DQ

I am ashamed of myself.

As 25 year old males go, I'm about as careful about the things I put into my body as most others.  That is to say that I'm not very careful at all.  I guess I figure that I'm young, and that until my body starts showing me that I need to stop gorging myself with QuadStackers and Crunchwrap Supremes, I'm going to continue to be a fast-food glutton.

Today I think I may have had the epiphany that my body has been waiting for - and that epiphany came in the form of the 1/2 lb Flamethrower GrillBurger from Dairy Queen. 

The epiphany came when, after eating the aforementioned atrocity, I returned to my desk and promptly felt like I was going to fall into a deep, Terry Schiavo-like coma - zero brain function, no quality of life.  My stomach ached as if I had been speared by Ray Lewis while trying to catch a pass over the middle - except two days later when the original shock has worn off and the black and blue marks have fully manifested themselves to the point that even the slightest twitch makes you feel like vomiting from the pain.

That was my life from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. this afternoon.  It sucked.

You'd think that would be enough to convince me to stay away from the 1/2 lb. Flamethrower Grillburger for life.

And you'd be right - for now.

You see, these things happen to me all the time.  I eat some type of fast-food abomination, feel like crap for an entire day, then swear it off.  Then a week later, like an alsheimers patient, I revert back to my old ways - ordering the greasiest thing I can find on the menu of whichever vile, filth-ridden establishment I find myself in.

I can't even tell you how many times I've sworn off jalapenos at Subway,  General Tso's chicken, and Pizza Hut altogether.  And yet lunchtime came today and I completely abandoned the list of references I had piled up in the back of my mind which would have prevented me from having the type of afternoon that I did.

But instead, I thought about other things.

I imagined two thick and juicy 1/4 lb. burgers smothered in a fiery Tabasco-flavored mayo with pepper jack cheese, jalapeno bacon, thick-cut tomato and lettuce and served on a toasted bun.

I imagined a burger that, if combined with medium fries and a 12 oz. Coke, equates to a whopping 1,640 calories and 84 grams of fat.

I imagined how good it would taste, not how I would feel after I ate it.

This is the final straw.  I'm totally swearing off fast food for fear of feeling like I did this afternoon: exhausted,  overfull, ashamed.

I give myself til Friday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Doug Benson Interruption

"I'm not sure whether or not he's funny."

This was my assessment of Doug Benson shortly before watching the premiere of  "The Doug Benson Interruption" Friday night on Comedy Central.  TwoGun felt the same way.

Before watching the show I knew a little bit about Doug Benson, mostly from hearing him as a guest on my favorite podcasts - the Greg Fitzsimmons Experience and the Adam Carolla Podcast.

I knew he was the guy from SuperHigh Me, the spoof on Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me, in which Benson - rather than eating McDonald's for 30 days to prove how bad it is for you - smoked marijuana for 30 days in an effort to prove that its not all that bad for you.

Quite the resume.

I wasn't convinced.  I thought about changing the channel, maybe watching Lockup or Gangland (I know, pretty boring Friday night).

And I was even less convinced when I saw his first guest was Nick Swardson, the unfunny host of "Pretend Time" on the same network.  Swardson has a decent standup special and was funny in Grandma's Boy, but everything I've seen since has been garbage.

Mike and I reconsidered changing the channel.  We were both glad we didn't.

"Doug Benson Interruption" has a unique framework.  The guest comic appears on stage to perform his or her act, while Doug plays the role of an interactive audience member who is seated on the stage, interrupting (thus, the title) whenever he finds something clever to say about some aspect of the guest comic's performance.  The two comics then do improvisational humor, each playing on the other's jokes until the idea runs out of gas or the comic feels like continuing his set.

The result depends on the interaction of the comics, which from what I've seen, has been pretty good.  But it is ultimately Benson who makes the show work.  Benson's laid-back, stoner attitude usually gels well with his comic counterpart, allowing the two to take the conversation in a variety of directions.  The resulting spontaneity is what makes the show funny; the things the comics come up with take the viewer by surprise. 

The biggest problem with "Doug Benson Interruption" is ultimately its timeslot.  Friday at midnight isn't the greatest time to reach the audience the show is intended for (we're at the bar, Comedy Central).  However, until the show gets moved to a more convenient night, I would recommend giving it a spot in your DVR.

And oh yeah, I forgot:

Doug Benson is funny.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Charlie Villanueva is a Pussy; Kevin Garnett and I are Dicks

I've been following Charlie Villanueva on Twitter for approximately a year now.  He was one of the first people I started to follow on Twitter.  I don't know why.  It just happened that way.

In the time that I've been following him, Charlie has failed to post a single Tweet one might deem interesting.  I have been continually subjected to Tweets such as: "Yo, back in Detroit after tough weekend on the road, never give up hope" or "Going to Best Buy tomorrow, what PS3 game should I get?"

He is not funny.  He is not interesting.  He is, in fact, the most boring quasi-celebrity on the planet. 

... ... ...

And then I went to work Wednesday morning, turned on my computer and opened up my Twitter account to find this little gem:

CV31: "KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke."

Now, there are a number of things that make that post funny - cancer isn't one of them.  Here is a short list of things that I find funny about that post:

# 1. My buddies make Charlie Villanueva jokes all the time. Sometimes one of us will randomly throw out: "Quick, name the ugliest big man combination in the history of college basketball" and the inevitable response is "Josh Boone and Charlie Villanueva."

(I defy you to find an uglier 4-5 combo.  Can't be done.  I'm almost positive.)

We also like to throw out hypotheticals like: Do you think Charlie Villanueva has hair on his balls?  Would you rather have a disgusting amount of hair, like Joe Derrigo or Sasquatch, or no hair, like Charlie Villanueva?

Yeah, we're dicks.

# 2. A grown man, a professional athlete, is complaining publicly about being called a name by another player in his league - a league which is known for trash-talking tidbits like this (Deadspin):

"You fucking flaming faggot. You don't get a foul on a goddamn little touch foul, you fucking faggot. You don't bring that faggoty shit here. Get your goddamn ass back on the floor and play. I don't want to hear that fucking shit out of you again. Get your ass back and play, you faggot."

That little quote is from Michael Jordan ... ... ... to a team-mate ... ... ... during practice.

And he's complaining about KG saying he looks like a cancer patient?  Better get tougher skin than that, Charlie.

#3.  Finally, doesn't this finally prove that Kevin Garnett is the biggest dick in the NBA and has been for some time?  You constantly hear announcers praise Garnett for his intensity.  There's a fine line between being intense and being a dick.  Kevin Garnett's on the other side of that line.

That's ok though - cause so am I.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lowering the Deficit with Less Revenue - The Republican Plan for Governance

If you've been watching any of the cable news networks over the past couple of days, you've certainly heard a lot of hyperbole about what the 2010 election means. 

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell would like you to think that the election was a referendum on the president's policies - particularly health care reform and deficit spending.

Actually, Tuesday's voters are split on health care - 46% support it, 47% oppose it. Both Boehner and McConnell have expressed their intention to pass legislation repealing health care reform (a move that will undoubtedly be vetoed by President Obama if it ever reaches his desk). 

Playing one of the typical "Washington games" that Republicans so frequently complain about, the GOP-led House will still certainly try to pass that legislation in an attempt to pander to their base and drum up support prior to the 2012 presidential election.

Ignoring that inevitable exercise in legislative futility, the real attention turns to correcting the sluggish economy and balancing the federal budget.

In an interview on Meet the Press on Aug. 8, John Boehner recited the typical Republican party talking points to attack Democrats for their unwillingness to extend the Bush tax cuts:

"It's all the spending, it's all the debt, it's [the Democrats'] national energy tax, more mandates, higher costs, the healthcare bill. And if all that isn't bad enough, they want to raise the taxes on the American people."

The Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, cites the federal budget deficit as the key obstacle in the economy's recovery, saying in a recent FoxBusiness interview that "for the first time in my life I am in favor of raising taxes."

Citing Allan Greenspan's disillusion with borrowing money to pay for tax cuts, David Gregory repeatedly asked Boehner how the budget can be balanced while extending the cuts.  The next Speaker of the House continually dodged the question:

"Listen, what you're trying to do is get into this Washington game and their funny accounting over there.  You cannot get the economy going again by raising taxes."

Funny accounting, Mr. Boehner?  The man who guided the economy through the booms of the Reagan and Clinton administrations disagrees.

The point that Greenspan and Gregory were making is that the first step to fixing the broken economy is to balance the federal budget.  Rather than running deficits, the country needs to exercise fiscal responsibility and constraint (two major planks of the Republican platform).

There are only two approaches that can be taken to eliminate the federal budget deficit - raising taxes or cutting spending.

Since Boehner, as the new Speaker of the House and the leader of the Republican Party, ideologically opposes an increase in taxes, it will be interesting to see which programs Boehner proposes to cut in order to balance the budget. 

Does he intend to cut money from education?  From social welfare programs?  From the military?

By cutting funding in any of these areas, Republicans are likely to isolate a key constituency that they will need in the 2012 election - the elderly, members of the military, college students.

This is the issue that both parties face over the next 2 years.

But for Republicans, these issues are most pertinent.  After all, they're the group that just won an election by spouting off for the past 2 years about the need to decrease spending and balance the budget (even though they're the group that created the deficit in the first place).

This leaves them with a choice to make:

Republicans can opt to work with Democrats in a bi-partisan way to balance the budget.   This would probably mean a combination of tax increases and program cuts - ya know, that whole 'fiscal responsibility' thing they're always talking about but never delivering on.

They can either do that, and deliver on their campaign promises, or they can continue to be combative and blame the Democrats when Congress fails to deliver on a balanced budget over the next 2 years.

I'll bet they choose the latter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Notre Dame Disaster

Oh, how far the mighty have fallen.  Notre Dame, the former Goliath of college football has been reduced to no more than an average NCAA program over the past decade, despite having an immense amount of talent, high profile coaches and all the money in the world.  And things are about to get even worse.

As most of us already know, Declan Sullivan, a Notre Dame student-athlete lost his life last week when the scissor-lift he was filming practice on toppled to the ground due to high wind gusts. 

I've heard the tragedy discussed on Sportscenter and talk radio; I've read a number of articles about it.  Amongst the mainstream media there seems to be a lot of interest in whether or not Notre Dame's "investigation" will turn up any evidence that would warrant the firing of Brian Kelly.

What everyone seems to be ignoring is the fact that the result of the investigation shouldn't matter.

Notre Dame, as a football power, is in the midst of trying to reclaim its former glory.  In order to do that, it needs to be able to compete with the top football schools in the country (Alabama, Florida, USC, Texas, Oklahoma) for recruits - not an easy task.

If you've ever seen any of the speeches that college football coaches give to their players, you consistently hear them discuss the same themes - brotherhood, togetherness, family.  They preach these things so that young men, most of whom will never make a living playing football, will risk their livelihoods to win their coaches games.  They preach these things to young men - many of whom are susceptible to such a message because they come from poor communities and rough family lives - so that they will sacrifice their bodies to win a game from which they get nothing and their coaches make millions of dollars.  They preach these things to parents, so that mothers will feel comfortable sending their kids hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles away from home to go play football for some guy they're lucky if they meet more than once. 

This isn't meant to be an argument about whether or not some college coaches are sleeze-bags (see: Lane Kiffin, John Calipari), because the list of sleezebags is much smaller than the list of legit guys trying to do some good for a group of young men.  And I'm not trying to argue that Brian Kelly is a sleeze-bag.  I'm sure he's not.  I'm sure he's an honest guy who works very hard for his program and has good intentions.

Here's my issue with Brian Kelly: his credibility is gone.  His ability to preach that "family, brotherhood" crap is out the window. No parent, no young man can take his words as anything but a punchline anymore.

The press conference following Sullivan's death was brutal to watch - a series of "not my faults" mixed with fake emotion and bullshit.

Notre Dame's Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick, was more interested in protecting his own ass than providing any meaningful information about the catastrophe.  That's why when he was asked about Sullivan's Twitter posts (in which he expressed fear for his life an hour before the incident), Swarbrick offered no response and tried to escape culpability, saying "mine was a 5-minute perspective."

So there were 60 mph winds and Swarbrick didn't notice them?  Bullshit.

Say "I didn't see Declan up there."

Say "That's ultimately the decision of our football staff."

Say anything, but don't say that.

In his press conference, Brian Kelly emphasized the importance of a "productive practice".  Productivity at what cost?  Was having the practice on film going to increase the productivity of the practice so much that you were willing to risk a 20 year old kid's life?

That's not even the worst part about his portion of the press conference.  From what I saw, it seemed like Kelly barely knew the kid. 

Tough to preach 'family' after that.

I am not writing this post to take pleasure in the death of a prominent college football program. That's not my style.  In fact, I normally don't care about college football at all.  I am a Syracuse fan, which means that any interest I had in college football died when Donovan McNabb left Central NY.

What I am interested in is the recent disaster that occurred at the University of Notre Dame and the lack of an appropriate institutional response. 

No matter what the "investigation" yields, both Brian Kelly and Jack Swarbick need to be fired.  Because they're bad man?  No.  They need to be fired because they can't go into young men's homes anymore and say "we're going to take care of you son.  You're going to become part of the Notre Dame family."