Monday, December 31, 2007
When looking for my candidate, I want someone who is clean, honest, and stands for something. That leaves Huckabee and McCain. Up until yesterday morning at 10:29, I was ready to endorse Mike Huckabee. A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that Huckabee would get the nomination and since then he's become the front-runner. But then I saw his interview on "Meet The Press". The interview where he said (I'm paraphrasing but not much) that homosexuality is deviant and sinful and that even if one can be born gay, they should still make the "right choice." Plus, he said that there is no credibility in the viewpoint that life does not begin at conception. Plus, he stumbled all over himself on immigration. While he got off the great line in the YouTube debate about how we are a better country than to punish children for their parents' mistakes, he decided that his stance was to kick all illegal immigrants out and then they can apply for re-entry immediately (as long as they go peacefully). So a child of an illegal immigrant, born in the U.S. and therefore a U.S. citizen, would, in fact, be punished for their parent's mistake. Dude's crazy. In fact, after watching Huckabee with Tim Russert, I've actually decided that I'm pro-illegal immigration. I think everyone should just come on over. Tired, poor, huddled masses, etc. My endorsement goes to John McCain.
For me, it was down to Edwards vs. Obama. Every time I see Edwards on TV, he impresses me a great deal. But then (the theme here), I saw "Meet The Press" on Sunday with an interview with Obama. It struck me: I needed to institute the "Gary Kasparov" test. A few months ago, Kasparov, running for Russian President, appeared as a guest on "Real Time With Bill Maher". Everyone that I know who watched it (and Chris Matthews -- another guest -- and Maher) were so impressed that they immediately wished that Kasparov were our President. Hence the test; if we saw one of the candidates as the leader of a foreign nation, which one would make us think: "I wish they were my President." After watching "Meet The Press", the answer is clear. My endorsement goes to Barack Obama.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
- Representative of the Year:
- An explanation -- I think 2007 is going to go down as one of the stupidest years in memory. For the most part, we were concerned with Britney and the Iraq idiocy. This is the person who represents that stupidity.
- Lynn Spears -- I won't call out Britney. I'm going to call out the woman who was going to publish a book on good parenting after raising one train wreck of a daughter and having another get pregnant at 16.
- Caitlin Upton -- You've seen it a million times, but here it is again. Having just been in South Carolina, her answer becomes much less surprising.
- Chris Crocker -- So much of the news this year revolved around Britney that she merits two references here. Plus, she's Southern and dim-witted. But leave her alone, already. Leave her alone right NOW!
- Amusement of the Year:
- YouTube -- I link to it a lot, so you can tell. I find no end to the fun in laughing at other people.
- Guitar Hero III -- A great Chanukah present. The on-line play and "Guitar Hero Community" just add to the fun.
- Random Babbles -- It's a great release to put something down every day. I almost don't care if anyone reads this or not, it's cathartic.
- Wii -- It's just the "wow" factor. I played PS2 a bit, but once I got the Wii in July, that ended. Favorite games: Guitar Hero III, Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Sports.
- Catch Phrase of the Year:
- 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea." -- Bill O'Reilly was surprised that this wasn't being shouted in a black-owned restaurant he visited.
- "Leave Britney alone!" -- Yeah, that one again.
- "I am McLovin" -- Just one of many great quotes from the funniest movie of the year.
- "Deal with it!" -- I've used it at work, at home, with friends. Taylor's immortal words from "Kid Nation" ring so true.
- Memorable Moment of the Year:
- Bhutto assassinated -- The death of the front-runner in a burgeoning democracy shows us that maybe we were paying too much attention to Iraq after all.
- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby pardoned -- 71% of the country has yet another reason to disapprove of Bush. Still no answers on how implicated Cheney or Bush were in the Valerie Plame fiasco.
- It's Britney, bitch. -- Her again. Really though, she hung over everything and her performance at the VMAs was memorable, if horrifying.
- The "Sopranos" finale -- It was the most-awaited moment of the year and the most talked-about. People will talk about it for years.
- Person of the Year:
- Al Gore -- An Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize. Not bad. Maybe the world is better off with him not being President.
- J.K. Rowling -- She wrote the best book of the year and cemented her place in pop literature (and culture) history.
- David Petraeus -- From the "surge" to the MoveOn.org ad, General Petraeus was the embodiment of the Iraq War in 2007.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- Time completely disrespected the Iranian President's 2007. He hung over the world like nobody else. Whether it was hosting a Holocaust denier's conference, making the world think that his country was toying with nuclear weapons, making controversial visits to New York, or being a general thorn in Israel and America's collective side, Ahmadinejad stands out this year.
- Thing To Most Look Forward To In 2008 :
- The end of the Bush regime -- No runners-up to this one. Though it won't officially be over until 2009, the election in November will bring hope.
- Surprise of the Year:
- Jonah Hill -- Up until this year, the only place I can remember seeing him was as the fat guy in the trailers for Accepted. This year, he was a major force in two of the three funniest movies of the year.
- Musicals -- Since most recent musical movies have been more The Producers than Chicago, I was a little scared of the ones coming out this year. However, two of my favorite movies of the year were musicals.
- The Lookout -- I was intrigued by some buzz and saw it on DVD. Very Momento-esque, this is really a fantastic movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stands out as a brain-damaged kid tricked into a bank robbery plot and Jeff Daniels is great (as always) as the blind roommate.
- Transformers -- It may have won this award because my expectations were so very low. I called this "Michael Bay's Citizen Kane" because it's as close as he'll ever get. It was compelling at times, hilarious at times, nostalgia-inducing, and plain old awesome.
- Scene of the Year:
- The Penis Montage (Superbad) -- Nothing really needs to be said.
- Richie Roberts vs. Frank Lucas (American Gangster) -- This was given short-shrift in the commercials. After the drugs have finally been found, we see Frank step out of church and the camera pans around him to show Richie standing there, waiting.
- Night in the hotel (No Country for Old Men) -- Lewellyn sits there, terrified. And then comes the beeping, getting closer and closer, until the shadows of feet show under the door. They disappear and then the light goes out in the hallway. It doesn't get any scarier than this first meeting between the cowboy and his destiny.
- Acting Performance of the Year:
- Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) -- Depp makes the movie with his brooding, angry performance. Plus, he can sing!
- Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) -- This was probably the best-acted movie of the year. More than anything else in the movie, what stands out is how well the actors act while they are singing. She especially gets the nod for the song about their future together, which is the funniest part of the movie.
- Denzel Washington (American Gangster) -- This movie is mainly about Frank Lucas' charisma and Denzel is an absolute force. He's great in every role he plays, but great movies bring out that extra something in his performance.
- Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) -- You won't find much better acting in any year. He is pure, relentless evil incarnate.
- Action/Adventure Movie of the Year:
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End -- The final battle is edge-of-your-seat and you get some great Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- Daniel Radcliffe made "The Leap" in this movie as a legitimate actor. This was the second-best Harry Potter movie (to Cuaron's Prisoner of Azkaban).
- Stardust -- This was as close to The Princess Bride as you'll get. Special credit to Robert DeNiro as a gay pirate.
- 300 -- I had no idea what to expect, but this was one hell of a movie. Compelling, bloody, and, most of all, beautiful artistically.
- Comedy/Musical of the Year:
- Knocked Up -- It's really funny and Paul Rudd is great, as always, but I mostly have this here as an excuse to point out this year's greatest review, when I was quoted in USA Today.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street -- Tim Burton does it again with a dark, bloody opera.
- Hot Fuzz -- The second-funniest movie of the year. With even more accessible material than Shaun of the Dead, British comedy continues to shine.
- Hairspray -- I love this movie. It's fun, poignant, and really Baltimore.
- Superbad -- How about Seth Rogen writing homo-erotic undertones for the character based on him? The best high school comedy since Fast Times.
- Drama Movie of the Year:
- The Namesake -- I'm sure it's true for people of any minority culture, but this movie spoke to me. Really good acting as well, led by Kal Penn in his dramatic breakout role.
- American Gangster -- Did you really think that a movie starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington and directed by Ridley Scott wouldn't be good?
- No Country for Old Men -- I've already talked about it in the past week or two. Strong performances by Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin (also very good in American Gangster); cinematography that is as good as you will ever see; the Coen Brothers putting it all together. It was the best movie of 2007.
Friday, December 28, 2007
- Plot Twist of the Year: (Spoilers, obviously)
- "My Name Is Earl" -- Earl goes to jail. Gave them a chance to introduce some new characters like Michael Rappaport's Frank and a very funny Craig T. Nelson's Warden. Also led to the most controversial sitcom episode I can remember -- the gay gang leaders.
- "House" -- House fires his team and brings in a group of young doctors to compete. Allowed for some fresh faces and comedy, plus pushed along the subplot of Foreman basically being House II.
- "Heroes" -- The great villain of Takezo Kensei/Adam Monroe. David Anders was a great bad guy on "Alias" as well. Also, the "Five Years Later" episode aired in 2007.
- "Lost" -- What else? There is a Jewish song called "Dayenu", meaning "that would have been enough". If we only had the episode where Desmond sees the future, dayenu. If we only saw what happened to the Dharma Initiative, dayenu. If we only saw Locke's meeting with Jacob, and Ben's reaction, dayenu. But then, just when we were obsessed with what the !#@$ was going on and overlooking the basic question of will they get rescued, we find out they were. And it was the worst thing that ever happened to them. What will happen next?
- Disappointment of the Year:
- "American Idol" -- One good contestant (Melinda) and a bunch of very average talent. Boring.
- "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" -- Only one brilliant episode (the Eli Wallach/blacklist one) and the rest didn't make me care if the show stayed or went.
- Most of "Entourage" -- Until the last few episodes, the show was awful this year. What kind of cartoonish situation could they put Drama in this time?
- "24" -- Speaking of cartoonish! Isaac Newton would be proud because it was pure inertia that kept me from bailing mid-season.
- Acting Performance of the Year:
- Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey, "Grey's Anatomy") -- No matter how cheesy the show can get at times, Wilson is always the center of attention. She's different from the other people in this category because she dominates as part of an ensemble cast.
- Tony Shalhoub (Adrian Monk, "Monk") -- Don't sleep. "Monk" is quirky, engaging, emotional, and entertaining. It's the best show that nobody talks about and it's all for one reason -- Shalhoub's performance.
- Michael C. Hall (Dexter Morgan, "Dexter") -- With the inner monologue, this show literally depends solely on Hall, and he delivers, big time. He's probably even more surprisingly like-able than Tony Soprano.
- Hugh Laurie (Dr. Gregory House, "House") -- What can I say? Greg House is as good as it gets.
- Reality TV Personality of the Year:
- Yau-Man ("Survivor: Fiji") -- Who can forget his craziness when he found the hidden immunity idol? He was the man -- competing in challenges with much younger contestants.
- Taylor ("Kid Nation") -- Deal with it! She's the kid we all love to hate.
- Todd ("Survivor: China") -- The gay Mormon flight attendant! He joins Richard, Yul, and Earl in playing the best strategic games. Plus, he played it just about exactly as I would.
- Sanjaya ("American Idol") -- Sanjaya!
- Moment of the Year:
- Cut To Black -- The most memorable moment (maybe out of TV as well) of the year. David Chase plays his final, brilliant card.
- Show of the Year:
- "The Soup" -- As I've said before, a must-DVR every week. I get so much of my pop culture knowledge from this show and Joel McHale does a great job of walking the fine line between mockery and respect.
- "Curb Your Enthusiasm" -- Just remember this year, Leon = funny. The ones where Larry may be racist and with the "rat dog" were classic, as was the final 1:02 above. Even with one weak episode (the John McEnroe one), the show was good as ever.
- "Lost" -- The episodes that aired in 2007 just kept getting better and better. I've extolled its virtues earlier, but I'll say again that I can't wait until January 31st.
- "The Sopranos" -- This isn't a lifetime-achievement award. "The Sopranos" was TV at its near-best (only "The Wire" as the exception, which didn't air in 2007) and we were riveted to every second of every episode. From the fight with Bobby, through the collapse of organized crime, to the final family dinner; David Chase played out his end-game to perfection.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
- Sport of the Year:
- Professional Football -- Dungy and Manning finally win one after an epic comeback against the Pats. The Patriots and Tom Brady torch every record in their quest for perfection. Adrian Peterson breaks onto the scene. Favre is back.
- College Basketball -- Durant and Oden bring their games into March. The power teams advance in the tourney, leading to some very good late games.
- Professional Basketball -- LeBron leads his team to the Finals behind an all-time performance. Duncan and Parker continue their excellence. The Celtics put together three superstars.
- Major-League Baseball -- A great pennant race. The emergence of new stars like Holliday, Fielder, and Sizemore. Popularity as high as ever, with the Mitchell Report a) adding to that and b) actually stealing the headlines during the football season.
- Disappointment of the Year:
- New York Yankees -- The team struggled to the playoffs and then disrespected Joe Torre.
- Dallas Mavericks -- In position to finally win a title, the Mavs got smoked by the eighth-seeded Warriors in the first round.
- New York Mets -- Worst...Collapse...Ever.
- The Baseball Playoffs -- After the afore-mentioned great pennant race, losing teams won a total of four (!) games in the postseason, with three of those coming in the ALCS.
- Performance of the Year:
- Alex Rodriguez's April -- .355 BA, 1.297 OPS, 14HR, 34 RBI, late-inning heroics galore.
- Tom Brady's Season -- Through 15 games? 117.2 QB rating, 48 TDs, 8 INTs, 15-0.
- Corey Brewer's NCAA Tournament -- The numbers don't bear out his impact. Every time the Gators needed a play, Brewer was there, on his way to winning Most Outstanding Player of the Tourney.
- LeBron's Game 5 -- James scored 48 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit. Watch this for highlights. It's only rivaled by the Reggie Miller-Spike Lee game in terms of things I've watched live.
- Team of the Year:
- Indianapolis Colts -- Manning and Bob Sanders led the always-bridesmaids over the top.
- New England Patriots -- 15-0 at this point. Best regular season record ever.
- Colorado Rockies -- Baseball's Cinderella team.
- University of Florida Athletics -- The Gators won the football championship a few months before winning their second-straight basketball one.
- Game of the Year:
- Tennessee vs. Ohio State, March 22 -- The back-and-forth. The Oden block.
- Padres vs. Rockies, October 1 -- In a pennant race that went 163, San Diego sent Trevor Hoffman to the mound with the lead in extra innings, but Matt Holliday scored the winning run on his controversial slide/bloody chin.
- Patriots vs. Ravens, December 3 -- Of course, I'm biased because I was there. But this game was the classic boxing match with Brady sneaking in the last jab to Gaffney to get the decision.
- Athlete of the Year:
- Alex Rodriguez -- Became the first Yankee right-hander to hit 54+ HRs and the fourth overall (Maris, Ruth, Mantle).
- Tom Brady -- I said it before, he's been flat-out sick.
- Tiger Woods -- He'll always have a place on this list. Plus, he won the inaugural FedEx Cup.
- Peyton Manning -- He led the Colts to the title and got the monkey off his back. Why do I put him over Brady? Take a Marvin Harrison away from Brady and see if he still sets the records and wins as many games.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
- South Carolina has Charleston to thank for not being in the bottom five states. Poor? Check. Uneducated? Check. Lots of Ron Paul signs? Check.
- We're sitting in a movie theater on Christmas Eve at 1:05PM. Show starts at 1:10. A local further up in the theater asks why there aren't previews going on. (I can't believe I have to tell this story.) A friend explains that the previews come right before the movie at the start time. "So the previews start at 1:10?" the woman asks. Yikes, apparently the cinema is new to the Palmetto State.
- If ignorance is bliss, does that mean that bliss is ignorance? Or, is there a corollary, that "perfect certainty" is also bliss? You can try to figure out why I was pondering this while watching "The 700 Club" on Christmas night. To be fair, many Orthodox Jews (the Lubavitch come to mind) are also very happy. Still the same point.
- I tore through the "His Dark Materials" trilogy while away. Great stuff. Forgettable movie, but the really meaty stuff is in the second and third books anyway. It's like Chat Stew -- sooo meaty.
- And Steve, "Brave New World" is one of my favorites. Same thing with me, it was just sitting around and I figured I should read it.
- I'll return tomorrow with End-Of-The-Year-Awards.
- I leave you with this picture I took in Charleston. I saw it while walking by and did a double-take. Nobody came in or went out while we were standing there, so no confirmation as to what it really is:
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Other rants while Josh is still on vacation.
1) For those who like the show Best Week Ever, how could the band Journey not be a finalist for Best Year Ever? They were essentially irrelevant until the Sopranos finale brought them back into the mainstream. (Spoiler alert) They definitely had a better year than "Rehab".
2) Without John Stewart and The Daily Show on the air, I am averaging at least 45 minutes more sleep every night. Then again, I have no idea what is going on in the world.
3) Now that I have a few months of guitar lessons under my belt, I am amazed how easy many of music's greatest rock riffs are.
4) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley has been sitting on my bookshelf unread for six or seven years now. With a four day weekend soon concluding, I am ashamed I did not get to it earlier. A very interesting read.
Happy December 25th everyone!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
- Last week: 7-7, 1-0 on Thursday, Overall: 64-82-3:
- Dallas (-10.5) vs. Carolina
- Arizona (-10) vs. Atlanta
- Cleveland (-2.5) vs. Cincinnati
- Kansas City (+4.5) vs. Detroit
- Chicago (+8.5) vs. Green Bay
- Indianapolis (-7) vs. Houston
- Jacksonville (-13) vs. Oakland
- Minnesota (-6.5) vs. Washington
- Miami (+22) vs. New England
- New Orleans (-3) vs. Philadelphia
- N.Y. Giants (-2.5) vs. Buffalo
- Seattle (-11) vs. Baltimore
- Tampa Bay (-5.5) vs. San Francisco
- Tennessee (-8.5) vs. N.Y. Jets
Friday, December 21, 2007
- Huckabee's Christmas ad may have been quite over-religious, but at least it's not kind of creepy like Rudy's.
- You must see this week's "The Soup" as they count down #40-21 of the best clips of the year. If you have followed this blog, you'll understand why the last five minutes may be the funniest five minutes of TV this year, with no doubt the coolest cameo of the year.
- You know, when you go to Cold Stone and they won't mix crap in with your ice cream, it's really not even as good as some random ice cream from the grocery store. It's all about wasted expectations.
- If you didn't see Thursday's "Countdown", you can basically see it with the first five videos on this page. It was a retrospective of all of the "Oddball Plays of the Month" for the year. Very funny stuff.
- I'll drop at least my NFL picks tomorrow morning, but then Random Babbles may be going on a temporary hiatus. I'll be in South Carolina until Wednesday and it's quite possible that Al Gore hasn't introduced the Internets to that part of the world yet.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
- What I'm Watching/Listening To/
- Since I've been working from home much of this week, I've gotten a chance to watch a bunch of "Maury". "Avenue Q" has a song about schadenfreude, which is a German word meaning roughly "pleasure at the misfortune of others". That is the crux of "Maury". Be it paternity or lie detector tests involving trailer trash or other downtrodden folks, the show is truly a joy to behold. It's like a skeevier "Jerry Springer Show".
- By the way, today the guy WAS the father.
- Right now, I'm watching a special on the first four seasons of "The Wire". I'm sure I'll go crazy more and more as January 6th approaches, but let me say it again: "The Wire" is the greatest and most important TV show ever.
- Random Thoughts/Links:
- All through school, we're told that there's no such thing as a stupid question, but we all know that isn't true. I got asked one today. There are plenty of stupid questions.
- If you haven't seen Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad, enjoy. Nice use of the cross shape, divisive jack-ass.
- Alison Stewart, filling in for Olbermann, asked Chris Dodd on Tuesday why he would want to be President when he's such a great Senator. He really is.
- Your List Sucks!:
- Updated Best Films of 2007:
- 5. Hairspray
- 4. Superbad
- 3. American Gangster
- 2. Stardust: What a funny, beautiful movie. I'm sorry I didn't see it in the theater.
- 1. No Country For Old Men: Maybe the best movie in a few years. Hard to believe that anything will unseat this.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
- A fire broke out today at the Old Executive Office Building, in a room right next to the Vice President's office. Little-Known Fun Fact: Fire is actually Dick Cheney's natural habitat.
- The Vatican has officially condemned The Golden Compass. First of all, their take on the book is way wrong. Pullman is saying, among other things, that any true all-knowing, all-powerful God would mean destiny exists even though people may be tricked into thinking they have free will (which is not completely against what Descartes wrote); the absence of such a God would lead to a world full of hope. My big problem is the Church saying that the film is "anti-Christmas". I don't quite follow the connection there. I'm sure the Vatican isn't just using buzz words to get press attention -- they're much too holy for that. And I'm sure this has nothing to do with how the books are very much about how slow the Vatican is to accept progress and how it does its best to quash science that disagrees with it.
- A few weeks ago, I ranted about what a poor campaign Obama was running. Color me wrong. He's stuck by his guns: a positive vibe, being forward-thinking, being the candidate of change. This positive energy has carried him to the lead in race for the nomination. Hey, perception changes. He really may be the inspiration we've been looking for after these eight long, dark years.
- Tomorrow night: Pittsburgh (-7.5) vs. St. Louis
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Daily Wii Fitness Age: 22
- What I'm Watching/Listening To/
- Why is it that the live "Biggest Loser" finale is always so disorganized? "Survivor" tends to keep it together pretty well on the reunion show, the Jerri Manthey "Survivor: All-Stars" walk-out aside.
- Watched Paris Je T'Aime today. Granted, I didn't expect so much of it to be in French, but it was quite enjoyable. It's pretty cool to see all of the different styles. Alexander Payne wrote and directed the last part. I really admire his ability to get out-loud laughs from very subtle comedy. Think about it: the word I've most heard used to describe Election and Sideways is "perfect".
- I finished "The Golden Compass" this afternoon and jumped right to the next book in the series. What a fantastic book. I'm very disappointed that they apparently took all of the anti-Vatican stuff out of the movie.
- Random Thoughts/Links:
- On the tail of last night's bad Christmas sweater rant, here is a related video from QVC. On this week's "The Soup Presents", Joel McHale's comment on this backed me up: "Jews have good taste."
- Even with the writers' strike in full swing, the best two shows on TV start up over the next month or so: "The Wire" on January 6th and "Lost" on January 31st.
- No doubt Steve, the Ravens stink. Nothing else to say about it.
- Daily Rant:
- I'm actually going non-angry here. Spent a good amount of my day today at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Great place -- exceptionally nice, helpful people; free valet parking; very quick service. I thankfully haven't spent a lot of time in hospitals lately, but I can't imagine that's the usual deal.
Taking a look at the upcoming matchup of the undefeated Patriots versus the 13-time feated Dolphins one might think that this game will easily turn into a rout. Not so. In fact, one may say it is almost as likely that the Dolphins pull out a victory. Follow me here:
- The Dolphins running game - Assume Larry Czonka has invented a time machine, captured his 1972 self, and propelled himself into the future. The Pats can’t stop a good running back – Likelihood of Dolphins success = 2%
- The passing game – Unless Dan Marino is filming Ace Ventura 3 – Aces Wild, he represents the only talented Dolphins quarterback in the organization. Plus, he must be bitter that Brady just passed him on the list of Season Passing TD’s. Likelihood of Dolphins success = 4%
- Halftime adjustments – Tom Brady could spend too much time singing a reprisal of “Shi-poopi”. Peter Griffin would naturally then play on the offensive line giving the Pats first stringers a break. The Dolphins defense would run right over an animated character = Likelihood of Dolphins success = 21%
- Weather – game time forecast in New England will be in the low 40’s. Perhaps during the game the Pats will work on their tans and catch a few rays while the sun is still up. They’ve only played one game in the last two months that have started before the sun set. Likelihood of Dolphins success = 10%
- Management – Perhaps Scott Pioli, Patriots GM, would trade his entire team and coaching staff to Baltimore for the entire Ravens team and coaching staff. (Sorry Josh, it had to be said). Likelihood of Dolphins success = 0.00001%
Total likelihood of Dolphins victory = 36.00001%
Just like they say in Spaceballs: “Evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb”.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Daily Wii Fitness Age: 28
- What I'm Watching/Listening To/
- There's a push for me to try out for "Survivor". I think I may give it a shot. The only problem is that Todd played a game that is so similar to how I would play it that people would have their guard up more. The real challenge would be to play Todd's game without anyone thinking you're a liar in the end.
- I saw "Avenue Q" last night at the Hippodrome in Baltimore. It is so freaking funny. I'm really in awe of how talented the actors have to be for that show with all of the different voices and the puppets.
- I also saw Final Destination 3 over the weekend. Just full disclosure and all... I highly recommend the first two at least.
- Random Thoughts/Links:
- During the show last night, the actors got a huge response with jokes about the Ravens and George Bush. I figure, in Baltimore, jokes about either the Ravens, the Orioles, or Bush, are automatic laughs. Maybe you throw in Ehrlich too.
- Twelve-hour workday today. I know that all the extra work I'm putting in will pay off someday. With more long days. But at least I'll get paid for it at that point.
- Daily Rant:
- Weird crowd at the theater. I saw a good number of people I knew from various Jewish organizations, which caused me to look around a bit. Every person there was either Jewish or wearing a really ugly sweater. They were mutually exclusive and everyone fell into one of the categories. So what's up with gentiles and ugly holiday sweaters? Is it a joke that I don't get? Is it some kind of secret signal? I'm just flabbergasted. One woman had a sweater with lights on it. She wore this to the theater. Those crazy Christians. We Jews are too self-loathing to ever risk being seen like that. The whole idea of Christmas morning with Ma and Pa sitting around in reindeer and snowflake sweaters while the kids run around and open presents in their footy pajamas? Terrifying.
Did you catch the hidden Reunion Show moment? When Jeff asked Courtney about her Denise comment, Courtney gave Jeff the finger slyly. We rewound it and double-checked.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Daily Wii Fitness Age: 32 (my timing was horrible)
- Saw the hands-down best movie of the year today. No Country For Old Men is truly film-making at its best. The cinematography, sound, color, angles; it's breath-taking (literally -- there were scenes that took my breath away) just on a technical level. Javier Bardem is a lock for an Oscar nomination as an unstoppable force of death. The story will have people thinking for a while (I saw it because a friend at work has been dying to have someone with which to talk about the film) and the ending has stirred controversy. With an admission that this is quite different from their usual fare, if you are a Coen Brothers fan, go see it.
- There was a preview with the movie for Juno. Jason Bateman and Michael Cera in the same movie? Count me in. The Bluths live!
- Horrendous NFL Picks (last week: 7-8, 0-1 on Thursday, 0-1 on Saturday, overall: 56-75-3):
- Baltimore (-3) vs. Miami
- Cleveland (-5.5) vs. Buffalo
- Philadelphia (+10) vs. Dallas
- Green Bay (-8) vs. St. Louis
- Indianapolis (-10) vs. Oakland
- New England (-21) vs. N.Y. Jets
- New Orleans (-3.5) vs. Arizona
- N.Y. Giants (-4.5) vs. Washington
- Jacksonville (+3.5) vs. Pittsburgh
- San Diego (-9.5) vs. Detroit
- Seattle (-7.5) vs. Carolina
- Tampa Bay (-12.5) vs. Atlanta
- Kansas City (+3.5) vs. Tennessee
- Minnesota (-10) vs. Chicago
Friday, December 14, 2007
- What I'm Watching/Listening To/
- Another fairly predictable "Survivor". Todd is one challenge away. Still one of my favorite seasons.
- "Pushing Daisies" is really catching its stride. Very good show.
- I'm reading "The Golden Compass" on a number of recommendations. So far, it seems to be a cross between "Harry Potter" and "The Lord Of The Rings", which is not bad. I've heard it gets quite controversial by book three of the series.
- Random Thoughts/Links:
- Cincinnati (-8) vs. San Francisco. I really need a big game out of Palmer and Johnson.
- Breaking News: a giant spider attacked NASA.
- Your List Sucks!:
- Top 5 "Trilogy Part Threes"
- 5. Pirates of The Caribbean: At World's End: Sure, the ending was fairly depressing. This series really came out of nowhere to be very entertaining. The finale had huge special effects and a mind-blowing final battle.
- 4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Let's leave the upcoming part four to the side for now. Connery added a great foil for Indy and the movie provided some of the great lines in cinema history. "We named the dog Indiana!"
- 3. Back to the Future Part III: What a great capstone to a great series. Funny and suspenseful with a memorable last scene.
- 2. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: This won Best Picture as an homage to the body of work, but it was great in and of itself. The ending was a bit long (though not nearly as long as the book), but much of the film-making was stunning, from the great battle scenes to the showdown at the Cracks of Doom.
- 1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: I don't care if you say I'm cheating a little. For basically my whole life, I had been wondering what the first face-off between Obi-Wan and Anakin was like. "I must stop you, Anakin." "You'll try." The politics, the battles, the set-up for Episode IV, the brilliant parallel shots with Episode VI. It was the movie that truly saved the prequel trilogy.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
These are just a very few of the hundreds of names that weren't named in today's Mitchell Report and they are the reason that baseball will be just fine. Sure, there will be buzz for a while, but I really think the game will be even more popular for this. The public will put a lot of the speculation behind them and begin to celebrate the stars above who are basically deemed clean at this point. By March, it will be all about "Can Cabrera put the Tigers over the top?" and "Can anyone beat Boston?"
But the future isn't as bright for George Mitchell. The former senator was once a leading candidate for MLB Commissioner before Selig got the job. He'll be famous in baseball history for this report. But what will history think of the report itself? Let's be honest, once you get past the shock value of some of the names, it's pretty underwhelming. He delivered maybe one truly surprising name, Andy Pettitte, with just about everyone else having been a suspect at one point or another. More importantly, one has to question why he named many, if not all, of the names. Put aside the fact that Mitchell is a co-owner of the Red Sox and an over-proportional number of Yankees, current and former, were named. Review of the information laid out in the report shows an awful lot of one-witness uncorroborated accounts and hearsay. Mitchell potentially ruined people's lives with evidence that in many cases would not hold up in court.
What kind of investigation was this? With the promise of big names, Mitchell prepared his circus that would take the heat off of MLB for its long delay in dealing with its drug problem. Nobody will really defend the named players, who will be branded for at least the rest of their lives as dirty cheaters. Forget the notations on Bonds' and Clemens' inevitable Cooperstown plaques, there will be seventy-six obituaries that mention today's report. Make it seventy-seven -- when we read George Mitchell's we'll lump his most famous work in baseball with all the rest of the output of this tainted era.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
- The episode started with the job board mysteriously catching fire, as Mike became Paul Re-Weird, running through town to wake the kids up.
- When Jonathan informed them that the fire was staged (like much of the rest of the show), the kids decided to partake in some good old-fashioned book burning. I think this is how the Kid National Socialist Party started.
- All hell broke loose with the kids looting candy from the store. I thought bringing on Rodney King's kid to say, "Can't we all just get along?" was maybe a bit much.
- After sleeping off the candy and soda hangover, the kids were informed about a surprise gold star. Upon winning it, Zach (who we've discovered is an eighty-year-old Jewish man in kid's clothing) got veklempt.
- Greg told us that Zach could be in the "legislature." Blaine responded with cries of "Bully!"
- A catfight broke out between Taylor and Emily when Taylor finally decided to unveil her plans for a concentration camp for ugly people.
- Jonathan introduced the $50,000 gold stars by announcing, "Take a look at this! And this! And this!" On his last exclamation, there were screams of "Jonathan, no!" Morgan ran crying.
- Sofia used the word "gargantuous". Webster decided to re-think its choice of "w00t" as word of the year.
- "Hurry!" Jonathan screamed as the showdown came to its final minutes. The whip finally came out. Poor Mallory.
- During the showdown, Jared's appendix burst, but luckily Greg had performed an appendectomy before.
- They opened up the landfill for the trash and finally discovered where the kids who asked out ended up.
- The parents predictably showed up, but where was Jonathan? He mysteriously disappeared. Turns out he didn't feel too comfortable around adults; he "relates more with kids." Chris Hansen called (had to sneak one last one in).
- Weirdly, when DK's parents walked into town, Taylor's mom switched to the other side of the street.
- The douchebag line of the week: "Grab a seat, Zach's dad!"
- Migle's father doesn't speak English very well; he thought Migle won a star made of Skilandis.
- After their parents saw some footage, all of the kids were immediately grounded for the next 40 days.
- I'm not sure why they had to end it with the untended chickens dying of starvation. A little morbid.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Daily Wii Fitness Age: 23
- What I'm Watching/Listening To/
- Last night, when I was commenting on the lack of good TV right now, I missed that there was another "Deal Or No Deal" on tonight. Only six way-too-short days until NBC unleashes "Clash Of The Choirs". Will the world ever be the same?
- "Kid Nation" finale tomorrow night! Will Zach get his gold star? Will Alex have a second tooth grow in on the top? Will Taylor finally express her true feelings for Greg (she always speaks about him with a certain look in her eye)? Will Guylan express his true feelings for DK? Will Sophia go home or stay in Bonanza City where she can finally be boss of everyone? I'll actually be bummed when it's over.
- Finally getting rolling on Blaze, the latest Richard Bachman/Stephen King book. Creepy as hell.
- Random Thoughts/Links:
- Daily Rant:
The SBC article describes marriage as "the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime." It also notes, "The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. … A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. … A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."
The evangelical leaders' USA Today ad states to the Southern Baptist Convention:
"You are right because you recognized that the family was God's idea, not man's, and that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman for a lifetime.
"You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives.
"You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership.
"You are right because you affirmed that the husband and wife are of equal worth before God.
"You are right because you reminded us that children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.
"More importantly, you are right because your statement is based on biblical truth."
One of those 131 Baptist leaders was Mike Huckabee. Huck fact: Mike Huckabee will lead this nation into the Dark Ages.
Monday, December 10, 2007
On that note, I re-watched Hairspray (the new one) tonight. It really is great. It would be a shame if Queen Latifah didn't get an Oscar nomination.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Rudy was on "Meet The Press" this morning. He's really good at not really answering questions that could be incriminating. I guess they all are. Anyway, at one point he had on his glasses and looked eerily like an old, ill-mannered Jason Alexander. Henceforth, Giuliani shall be known as "Evil Costanza".
Awful NFL Picks (last week: 6-9, 1-0 on Thursday, overall: 49-65-3):
- Buffalo (-7) vs. Miami
- Cincinnati (-9.5) vs. St. Louis
- Cleveland (-3) vs. N.Y. Jets
- Dallas (-10.5) vs. Detroit
- Kansas City (+7) vs. Denver
- Green Bay (-10.5) vs. Oakland
- Baltimore (+9) vs. Indianapolis
- Jacksonville (+10.5) vs. Carolina
- Minnesota (-8.5) vs. San Francisco
- Pittsburgh (+10.5) vs. New England
- Philadelphia (-3) vs. N.Y. Giants
- Arizona (+7) vs. Seattle
- Tampa Bay (-3) vs. Houston
- San Diego (Pk) vs. Tennessee
- New Orleans (-3) vs. Atlanta
Saturday, December 8, 2007
- What I'm Watching/Listening To/
- I have to say -- I love "Survivor" this year. I think it's one of the best seasons they've had. Of course, I'm as big a junkie as there is. I'd be shocked if either Todd or Amanda don't win it.
- Great "CSI:" this week. For such a popular show, I'm always impressed with how willing the producers are to take chances.
- I'm glad to see that SoapNet is moving "90210" back to 5 P.M. Good, wholesome after-work viewing.
- Random Thoughts/Links:
- At some point in the next few weeks, I'll start a year-end recap. Suffice to say that Sherri Shepherd of "The View" is a pretty good representative for the quality of thinking that went on in the world this year. Here, she proclaims that all history began with Jesus.
- If you haven't heard about Alexis Goggins, she is one of the great stories of the year. Just wow...
- Looks like the Tigers may put up some challenge for the BoSox this year. I only question how D-Train and Cabrera will do in a new, more competitive league.
- Daily Rant:
I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life's blessings.
...We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It's as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation "under God" and in God, we do indeed trust.
We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'
Catch anything weird here? ROMNEY IS ONLY TALKING ABOUT MONOTHEISM! If I were Hindu or Atheist or if I freaking worshipped the Beatles, I would be offended by Romney's statements. He also (and I credit Keith Olbermann with pointing this out) says that if your religion is secularism, you're wrong. So every faith is good unless you don't believe in MY God? Obviously, Romney is pandering to the Republican base and we know that pandering is what Mitt does best. The National Zoo has all the "pander" I need in D.C. (sorry... PandaCam does rock though!). So let's make sure that we can all practice or not practice whatever religion or lack of religion we choose. Let's keep the Founding Fathers from finally rising from their graves to unleash their zombie righteousness on our bastardization of their political system. Let's make sure the only important Mitt anywhere near Washington is the one on Ryan Zimmerman's hand.
Friday, December 7, 2007
1) Start with several smaller tribes - Instead of 2 tribes of 8 or 9 people, try 6 tribes of three people. This way, alliances can not be truly built until later in the game. Two tribes face tribla council each week until we are down to 1 person in a tribe.
2) You can't vote for the same person in two straight tribal councils. This will add a bit of strategy to the voting.
3) Don't merge tribes when there are 10 people remaining - It's far too predictable right now, to the point where players plan for it.
4) Let people raid the opponent's camp. I am not talking about just once but as long as there are multiple tribes, everything should be fair game. If one tribe has flint or a large supply of food, they should guard it 24-7. Or, if one tribe wins a challenge, they automatically get to steal something from the other tribe, such as another person or food or a tool.
5) The longer you stay in, the less vote you have of the final winner if you wind up on the jury. Therefore, the first juror has 7 votes, the second juror has 6 votes, etc. This would cause people to have to really consider who they vote for earlier in the game because it could come back to haunt them later. It would also break up block alliances from advancing far into the game.
6) Revise all of the individual challenges - They are stale. Every year there is an obstacle course. Every year there is a endurance test where they have to stand somewhere or hold something. Get more creative. If you are in China, do some sort of Martial Arts competition or play ping pong. If you are on an island, the most fish caught may be the winner.
This is just a short list but other suggestions are welcome.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
- Random Babbles: I'm glad you were able to take time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us. No, sit, sit. Bailey, sit! Okay, thanks for joining us.
- Bailey: My pleasure. Thanks for the Snausage.
- RB: What do you do all day? You're confined to a small area with not much room to walk around, if at all.
- BLRF: I sleep. I actually need a lot to get through the day. I get enough exercise -- trots around the great wooded bathroom you call the outdoors; chasing various plush items around the apartment. Besides, aren't we all "confined" to our own "small area" of thinking? How often do you really get out and "stretch" your mind?
- RB: Fair enough. And in the evening when you lay around?
- BLRF: I'm a people-watcher. Maybe I'll keep an eye out the window in case a squirrel passes by, but I'm generally amused at what goes on indoors. Tonight, you watched a bunch of kids play cowboy and then Howie Mandel try as hard as he can to not touch a bunch of freaks and rednecks. I don't understand it, and I don't think it's because I'm a different species.
- RB: Let's go back to something that happened to you maybe four years ago. You underwent elective (though not on your part) surgery.
- BLRF: Elective... I was driven to a small building where a very nice lady removed my testicles. I thought I might have a reprieve because of a water main break, but it wasn't to be.
- RB: Hey, you made the front page of the Baltimore Sun for that!
- BLRF: They took my balls! What could make up for that?! My balls! Even Michael Mukasey would come down strongly against that!
- RB: Yet you still hump various legs and furniture.
- BLRF: Stephen Hawking wrote books by blinking. We all try to lead a normal life in the face of adversity.
- RB: Thanks for re-visiting that painful memory, which obviously hasn't kept you from leading a great life, and for joining us today.
- BLRF: You're welcome. Now stop typing that stupid thing -- I'm thirsty! (Noses water bowl)
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Daily Wii Fitness Age: 21
- What I'm Watching/Listening To/
- There are five men who have come forward to say that they had affairs with Larry Craig. The one who lives in DC called in to Don and Mike today for an interesting impromptu conversation.
- How about the "Heroes" finale? I called the big shocker ending about 5 seconds before it actually happened. It seemed obvious as soon as he stepped up. Great opening to Volume Three.
- Random Thoughts/Links:
- Can't Larry Craig just be honest with everyone, including himself? His true sexuality is a fabulous pink elephant in the room.
- I got Guitar Hero III for Chanukah. It rocks, big time.
- So the intelligence report says that Iran, in fact, is not trying to get nuclear weapons. At least we have a government that listens to the true intelligence when making a decision about going to war. I want to move to Canada.
- Your List Sucks!:
- Top 5 News(-Related) Shows:
- The Colbert Report (Comedy Central): Sure it's a one-note joke, but it's a really funny one.
- The Daily Show (Comedy Central): Jon Stewart's earnestness gives him the edge over his protege. Poignant, but funny, with great interviews. It's the all-time standard for news comedy.
- Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO): There are two rules to this list. Rule one: uncensored tops censored. Maher gets great guests to push their own limits. The result is always funny and fascinating.
- Hardball (MSNBC): Rule two: serious news tops comedy. Chris Matthews is the quintessential host -- unapologetic, brutally honest, and terrifying to people from both sides of the aisle. Best of all, he's not afraid to make fun of anyone, including himself.
- Countdown (MSNBC): Granted, I've been a Keith Olbermann fan since the Big Show on ESPN, but his mixture of disgust, humor, and righteousness make for a riveting show. It's on my DVR every night. It doesn't hurt that I pretty much agree 100% with his politics. Plus, he has Joel McHale (who makes Olbermann references on "The Soup") on once a week. Can't go wrong with that.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Driving around, running some errands today, I was listening to Fox Sports Radio's NFL show. Talking about the early games, one of them mentioned that they were seeing a lot of mediocrity. They sounded surprised; that's been the case all year. A bunch of 5-7 teams are still in the playoff hunt in the NFC.
If you were affiliated with a party that bashed our last President because he had an affair with an intern and may have been involved with a shady land deal, would you nominate a candidate who:
- Had an affair while married and in office;
- Hid the security charges for said affair in little-looked-at budget items;
- Hired a police chief that is now under major ethics investigation;
- Stood behind said police chief even though he had an affair in your security office;
- Allowed said security office to stay in a known terrorist target, hampering potential response when the target was attacked and the office was destroyed;
- Routinely exaggerated/made up statistics and stories about their previous posts?
NFL Picks (last week: 5-8, 0-1 on Thursday, overall: 42-56-3):
- Cleveland (+1) vs. Arizona
- San Francisco (+3) vs. Carolina
- Denver (-3.5) vs. Oakland
- Indianapolis (-6.5) vs. Jacksonville
- N.Y. Jets (+1.5) vs. Miami
- Minnesota (-4) vs. Detroit
- Tampa Bay (+3.5) vs. New Orleans
- Chicago (+1.5) vs. N.Y. Giants
- Philadelphia (-3) vs. Seattle
- Cincinnati (+7) vs. Pittsburgh
- San Diego (-6) vs. Kansas City
- St. Louis (-3) vs. Atlanta
- Houston (+3.5) vs. Tennessee
- Washington (-6) vs. Buffalo
- Baltimore (+20) vs. New England
Saturday, December 1, 2007
It goes like this: If your ancient, authoritarian, immutable belief system is truly threatened by a handful of popular novels, if your ostensibly all-powerful, unyielding creed is rendered meek and defenseless when faced with the story of a fiery, rebellious young girl who effortlessly rejects your stiff misogynistic religiosity in favor of adventure, love, sex, the ability to discover and define her soul on her own terms, well, it might be time for you to roll it all up and shut it all down and crawl back home, and let the divine breathe and move and dance as she sees fit. Don't you agree?