Monday, August 30, 2010

Five & 10s

Top 10 Actors Who Should Be More Famous
10. John Hawkes
9. Andrea Savage
8. Emily Mortimer
7. Anthony Stewart Head
6. Michael Fassbinder
5. Patrick Wilson
4. Rose Byrne
3. Sally Hawkins
2. Samantha Morton
1. Tom Hardy

Top Five Major Pizza Chains
5. Pizza Hut
4. Little Caesars
3. Papa John's
2. Domino's Pizza
1. Pizza Pizza

Top 10 Most Intrinsically Canadian Musical Acts
10. Gordon Lightfoot
9. Blue Rodeo
8. Rush
7. Sloan
6. Celine Dion
5. Robin Sparkles
4. Tom Cochrane
3. Susan Aglukark
2. Bryan Adams
1. The Tragically Hip

Top Five Worst Argument Habits
5. Answering one's question with a repeated, reverse version of the same question. ("How can you say something like that?" "How can YOU say something like that?!")
4. Needing the last word
3. I tell it like it is, a.k.a. "I give myself carte blanche to be a jackass"
2. Saying 'With all due respect' and then something utterly disrespectful. Or 'that being said,' like on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
1. Comparing the other to Hitler or the Nazis (sketch about politician who does this in debate with neo-Nazi and is called on it)

Top 10 Favourite Shakespeare Plays
10. A Winter's Tale
9. Richard II
8. Romeo & Juliet
7. Henry IV Part One

6. Macbeth
5. Twelfth Night
4. King Lear
3. Othello
2. Comedy Of Errors
1. Hamlet

Top Five Seasons Of 'The Wire'
5. Season Five
4. Season Three
3. Season One
2. Season Four
1. Season Two

Top 10 Talking Heads Records (live and studio albums)
10. Remain In Light
9. Talking Heads 77
8. Speaking In Tongues
7. The Name Of The Band Is Talking Heads
6. Little Creatures
5. More Songs About Buildings And Food
4. True Stories
3. Fear Of Music
2. Naked
1. Stop Making Sense soundtrack

Top Five Funniest Marge Simpson Lines
5. "Here comes the Shaq Attack!"
4. " Well, Bart, your uncle Arthur used to have a saying: 'Shoot 'em all and let God sort 'em out.' Unfortunately, one day put his theory into practice. It took 75 federal marshals to bring him down. Now let's never speak of him again."
3. " about...Ghost Mutt?"
2. "The only thing I'm high on is love...Love for my Son and Daughters. Yes, a little LSD is all I need!"
1. "Homer, the makeup gun is set to 'whore!'"

Top 10 Worst Seasons Of Otherwise Good TV Shows
10. Season 5 of How I Met Your Mother
9. Season 16 of The Simpsons
8. Season 3 of Angel
7. Season 5 of Trailer Park Boys
6. Any of seasons 12-15 of Law & Order (take your pick!)
5. Season 5 of The West Wing
4. Season 8 of The Amazing Race (the family edition)
3. Season 30 of Saturday Night Live
2. Season 7 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
1. Season 6 of 24

Top Five Music Acts Whose Names I Like But Whose Music Stinks
5. The The
4. Deftones
3. Nine Inch Nails
2. Massive Attack
1. The Doors

Friday, August 27, 2010

UFC 118 Predictions

* Randy Couture over James Toney, R1, TKO
I'm nervously confident about this fight. Randy's just going to take him down in the first 10 seconds, and get an easy submission or ground-and-pound win, right? Right? Some fighters I believe might be dumb enough to stand against a pro boxer just to prove they're tough, but Couture isn't an idiot. He'll just do what needs to be done (nay, the only strategy that can be done) to get the win. I'm not sure why this fight is happening. Nobody believes in the "boxing vs. MMA" rivalry debate, since it's pretty clear that nine times out of 10, the MMA guy will just use a takedown and take the boxer totally out of his element. This isn't difficult. It's even less difficult when it's a washed-up guy like Toney looking for a paycheck. I find it hard to believe that Dana White would risk the slight chance of Randy Couture, one of the signature legends of the UFC, getting knocked out and embarrassed by a guy in his first MMA fight unless he knew for sure that Couture was going to easily win and have Toney eat his words. I don't care how hard Toney has been working on his TD defense, a guy who's been training for a few months hasn't trained long enough for a lifetime wrestler like Couture to easily get him on the ground. This one is a cakewalk. Right?

* Kenny Florian over Gray Maynard, decision
Florian, for all of his wins, may actually be one of the more underrated fighters in the game. Let's face it; if B.J. Penn didn't exist, Florian would be the UFC lightweight champion right now and would be on a mighty unbeaten streak. I just think Kenny is too good to be beaten by anyone right now, even the very impressive Maynard. Some might argue that Maynard (who holds a dominant win over Frankie Edgar from two years ago) should've gotten the first crack at the champion since Maynard is only 9-0 in his career and 7-0 in the UFC, but Maynard unfortunately is the LW division's answer to Jon Fitch. Dull decision after dull decision; it doesn't make for an impressive highlight reel. I see Florian keeping the fight standing or doing enough off his back going for submissions to counter Maynard's wrestling advantage, and getting the hometown decision victory.

* Demian Maia over Mario Miranda, R1, submission
This is Maia's first fight since "the incident," spoken about in hushed tones in the Maia household. It was just last April that Maia was made to look silly for five rounds by a clearly unmotivated Anderson Silva, and yet even while Maia looked outclassed to the nth degree, he won over some fans simply by keeping fighting while Silva dicked around. Miranda's pretty light resume makes this fight seem like a build-back-up fight for Maia. Could be another submission-of-the-night award in the offing.

* Nate Diaz over Marcus Davis, decision
Ugh, can both of these douchebags suffer a double knockout? If Diaz had a brain he'd take Davis down and tap him out, but I can see Diaz standing and trading pitty-pat shots for three rounds with Davis in an effort to 'make the fight exciting.' The only victory here will be if the Diaz crew can avoid another embarrassing post-fight brawl.

* B.J. Penn over Frankie Edgar, R2, submission
Good news, everyone! B.J. is actually going to try in this one! Yes, the great Penn has suffered one of his rare losses, and thus has temporarily rededicated himself to training and actually giving a crap about the sport he competes in! All right! So, expect Penn to win here, take a couple more victories and then lose another fight due to laziness. This guy is a broken record. Edgar figured this out in April when simply by dint of working harder than Penn, he eked out a razor-thin decision to win the title. This time, presumably Penn will be smart enough to actually take the fight to the ground instead of standing and trading punches with Edgar all fight long. There is really no way Penn should lose this fight, but then again, I thought the same thing back in April.

* Joe Lauzon over Gabe Ruediger, R1, submission, LOL at Ruediger actually being back in the UFC
* Nick Osipczak over Greg Soto, decision
* Nik Lentz over Andre Winner, decision
* Mike Pierce over Amilcar Alves, decision
* Dan Miller over John Salter, R2, submission

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Bit Of Lost

You didn't think I was actually done with LOST posts, did you? Mitch please! The last new bit of LOST material ever is certainly worth a few comments.

After the finale, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were adamant that there would be no Lost spinoffs, movies, internet-only material, etc. "The End" was indeed the end. Perhaps in typical Darlton fashion, however, they backtracked already and produced a 12-minute bonus feature for the Season Six DVD (out two days ago) titled 'The New Man In Charge.' Now, far be it from me to dissuade you from buying the DVDs to see it for yourself, but the always-awesome Lostpedia site published a synopsis, and basically it seems like this segment exists to, as Ben says in his dialogue, "tie up a few loose ends." The segment answers some of the questions that the show didn't get around to answering during the sixth season. Y'know, because those episodes spent at the Temple were so interesting and was totally time well spent. (*dismissive wanking motion*) But nevertheless, this new segment answers such long-standing LOST mysteries as....

* Where the DHARMA food drops were coming from
* Why Pierre Chang uses an alias on every orientation video
* What caused the failed pregnancies on the Island after 1977
* What happened to Walt
* The purpose of Room 23
* The "Hurley-Bird," indirectly
* The purpose of the polar bears on the Island, though frankly, I always felt this was pretty clearly answered or at least heavily inferred on the show itself. Folks hung up over the polar bears weren't paying close enough attention.

Doesn't that sound interesting? This is all achieved in 12 minutes. This kind of question-answering efficiency is unheard of in the LOSTverse. Dammit season six!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cee-Lo Green Writes The Best Song In Years

As introduction, here's my friend Misha, about Outkast's "Hey Ya" (from the great Misha/Mark/Kyle album collaboration of 2008)...

"I was the Program Director for 106.9 The 'X' Urban FM my last year in College, and this album came out in the Fall of that year. We were having our weekly music meeting, where 5 of us would listen to new music which had been sent to us by the record companies, and we decided what we would add to our rotation and what would be left off. We would listen to the songs, discuss them, and (if necessary) vote. Because this album was divided into two sections (Big Boi's 'Speakerboxxx' and Andre 3000's 'The Love Below') we were sent two singles (one from each album). The first was Big Boi's 'The Way You Move', a very cool track that was going to be a solid hit. We all loved it, decided to add it and moved on to Andre's 'Hey Ya'. Remember, this is the first time any of us had heard this song, and from the second it started I was in love. It was exciting, catchy, funny, musically interesting, with massive hooks relentlessly assaulting me at every turn…just an awesome song. Once it ended, I looked around the room at a bunch of shocked faces. I was pretty sure I had the same look, but then, to my surprise (and disgust), the room filled with laughter, and a person who (for the sake of their reputation) will remain nameless said "I don't think so". Horrified, I looked around to find every other head nodding in agreement. At that point I knew what the one O.J. Simpson juror who voted Guilty must have felt like when they lost that vote 11 to 1. I kept asking why we weren't going to add this future #1 pop hit to our rotation and was told over and over again that 'it's not really us'. It was like everyone's ears and brains had shutdown simultaneously…they were like zombies. I went on an admittedly unprofessional, profanity laden rampage (I had a bit of temper back then) and stormed out. Within days (although it felt like seconds) of this meeting 'Hey Ya' was on every goddamn radio station on the planet…EXCEPT THE ONE LOCAL HIP-HOP STATION!!! I think it even made Country and Christian radio for Christ sakes!!! In retrospect I think my love affair with radio died that day, and I still cringe whenever I hear that song. Oh…good times."

In hindsight, I remembered this paragraph being less bitter about the state of radio and more about the rapturous delight of hearing a truly great song for the first time. Huh. But anyway, as Misha felt hearing "Hey Ya," I felt about Cee-Lo Green's modern classic, "Fuck You." Yeah, that's actually the name of the song. Don't play this at work, but for the love of Zod, play it as quickly as you can, then prepare for a month of it being stuck in your head.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Out-Of-Context Texts In My Phone Inbox, Volume VII

The identities of the texters will remain anonymous....that is, until I get my book deal. Then I'm spilling the beans on all of you suckers. I'll be laughing all the way to the bank! MWA HA HA HA HA!

"Why does golf insist on sabotaging itself sometimes?"

"Holy fuck."

"Do you have a friend named Dave Stewart?"

"Hmm. Long shot."

"We broke up a longggg time ago!"

"Fun! I just got my first car! When r u coming back to London? We can go cruising!"

"Thurs night??"

"Boot camp is until 7, so I can probably make it for 8ish. But if someone else wants to play I can come another week!"

"But --- Simpsons trivia! Enjoy London."


"Am just outside."

"Hi Mark! Just got your message. I'm on the train coming back from Montreal. Would like to see the flick but I have a dodgeball game tomorrow! Also, I doubt it will be as good as Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants TWO."

"Ummm yes. But no. :("

"I can't fucking believe that."


"They need a provision to 'cure' certain rules in certain cases. Like trials where they admit evidence that was collected in breach of the Charter."

"Pittsburgh is so friendly! Thank you!!"

"So, as discussed, I am in town next weekend. Saturday lunch w/ Louise and her friend sound good?"


"Montreal was a delightful feast! Also very much enjoyed the fully air conditioned hotel!"

"Yo is anyone coming other than family?"

"Making my way (in the world today). Where does trivia happen?"

"Lol! Well she is def dating him!"

"Call it 940."

"But which one? The main one?"

"When you back?"

"So sorry! I meant to send that to someone else!"

"Though again, how much worse would it be if he buried the putt and THEN this happened?"

"I'm in Toronto now. Can I call your cell?"

"28th? No, I could do that."

"Swell. Is there room for me?"

"NAILED IT. He fucking Watsoned that one."

"Ok! I was just testing your trivia and general knowledge."

"Oh my god."

"It sounds so familiar! I thought it was from you! But it's prob a pretty common name!"

"Imagine if he had made that."

"How can it be a bunker if the gallery has been standing in it all day?"

"Curtis hacked it lol"


"What a score!"

"I was all set to say yes to Monday, but then someone just asked me to take her Monday shift today! :( Lemme check my schedj and let you know."

"Yep, when and where?"

"Thanks again for the invite, entertainment and ride!"

"What is the team record for Ks?"

"Poor Watney, who just wants to get off-camera to cry but can't because he has to sign DJ's card..."

"This would be a fucking travesty..."

"Blah blah blah"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brett Favre Vs. Hamlet

Compare and contrast!


* Both are cripplingly indecisive.

* Favre played for years in Wisconsin, known for its cheese. Hamlet is prince of Denmark, known for its cheese. Likewise, Denmark and Wisconsin (plus New York and Minnesota) are known for being cold.

* "Hamlet," Shakespeare's play, has been endlessly analyzed for centuries by literary analysts and critics. Favre has been endlessly analyzed for what seems like centuries by NFL analysts and sportswriters.

* I own shirts promoting both --- a Favre Packers jersey and a Hamlet t-shirt from its production at Stratford ten years ago. That's right, I buy theatre shirts, I'm cool. It was a good production too. Good Canadian boy Paul Gross in the lead role, working hard in the corners, keeping his stick on the ice, etc.

* Hamlet is motivated by revenge against his uncle Claudius for the murder of his father. Favre is motivated by revenge against Packers general manager Ted Thompson for not letting Favre un-retire and play for Green Bay to so Aaron Rodgers could take over the starting quarterback job. (I'll save the Fortinbras/Rodgers comparisons for a future post.)

* Hamlet is faithfully followed by his pal Horatio. Favre is faithfully followed by Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Little-known fact: Shakespeare's original draft of the play included a long soliloquy from Horatio about the quality of Starbucks coffee.

* Rosencrantz and Guildenstern = Frank Winters and Donald Driver.

* Hamlet spends about 10 minutes dealing with two gravediggers. Favre spent 10 years playing with Gilbert "The Gravedigger" Brown, who is roughly the size of two normal men.

* Hamlet stages a play at the castle that is a mock retelling of Claudius' murder of the king. Favre stages a season with a green-clad team that is a mock retelling of his time with the Packers. Admittedly, Hamlet's performance worked much better.

* Hamlet delivers the famous "speak the speech" dialogue to the actors before the performance. Favre led the Vikings sideline in a rousing rendition of "Pants On The Ground."

* Hamlet has an on-again, off-again relationship with Ophelia. Favre has an on-again, off-again relationship with Cameron Diaz in "There's Something About Mary." In the end both women are driven to insanity and/or getting together with Ben Stiller.

* Favre takes apart the Oakland Raiders (399 total yards, four touchdowns) a day after his father's death. Hamlet takes apart the Danish court an indeterminate amount of time after his father's death.

* Favre, while a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, is more known for great performances that end in game-crushing interceptions. Hamlet, while he does ultimately gain revenge on Claudius, ends up taking a fatal stabbing from Laertes' poisonous blade. (No, I will not put a spoiler alert here, read the damn play, people.)

* Favre has started 285 consecutive games, an NFL record, and has a reputation for playing through pain. Hamlet, after taking the aforementioned lethal stabbing from Laertes, still wreaks much havoc on the Danish court.

* Hamlet unwittingly kills the blowhard Polonius. Favre is unwittingly killing the career of blowhard Vikings coach Brad Childress, not to mention the credibility of dozens of blowhard NFL broadcasters that praise his every move on the field.

* Laurence Olivier, who won an Oscar playing Hamlet in 1948, was in "War Requiem" with Sean Bean. Bean was in "North Country" with Richard Jenkins. Jenkins was in "There's Something About Mary" with, you guessed it, Brett Favre.

* Hamlet's indecisiveness is interesting to debate and analyze. Favre's is sure as hell not.

* Hamlet never sent cellphone pictures of his penis to Ophelia.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mini Movie Reviews

David Fincher is directing the American adaptations of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, but after seeing the first two Swedish-language films based on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire, I wonder why Fincher would even bother. Having not read the original books, I can't comment on how much director Niels Arden Oplev sticks to or doesn't stick to the trilogy's tone, but man alive, the Swedish films are terrific just as stand-alone movies. Both are methodically paced in the style of 1970's thrillers, yet there isn't a moment of boredom within the slow pacing; just more tension. As good a director that Fincher is, I worry how 'Americanized' the remakes will be.

Daniel Craig is apparently playing Mikael Blomkvist, which I can see, but lord knows who can be found to properly capture Lisbeth Salander. One rumour had Carey Mulligan up for the role, but she would be so preposterously miscast that the movie would degenerate into comedy. I wish Fincher luck in finding his Lisbeth, unless he has a time machine that can bring Fight Club-era Helena Bonham Carter to the present to play the role. That could work. It would also spare her from years of being wasted in Tim Burton movies, so Fincher should undertake this kidnapping for humanitarian reasons, if nothing else.


There's a very short list of old actors that can still be believably portrayed as bad-asses. Even if you give them a background like, for instance, former member of the British Marines, it takes a unique figure to be able to pull off being 70+ years old and still looking like you can throw down at a moment's notice against a punk who's a third your age.

Clint Eastwood is the king of this division, but Michael Caine is in the top ten. Harry Brown gets a lot of mileage out of the fact that Caine can tell a rambling story about his war days to a half-dead drug dealer before finishing him off and not have the scene descend into self-parody. There isn't much to the overall story that isn't somewhat obvious from the get-go, but if you're going to have a vicarious 'antihero beats up punks' story, you might as well cast someone as awesome and instantly likable as Caine. God forbid one of the punks had been Dutch, then you might've seen some serious mayhem go down.


Back in my summer movie preview, I noted that the eight writers credited to Dinner For Schmucks was 'somewhat of a red flag,' but the overall funniness of the Steve Carell/Paul Rudd comedy duo (not to mention a great supporting cast) should be enough to carry the day. Uh, yeah, scratch that. This movie never got out of the starting blocks. It kicks into farce mode way too quickly and ultimately falls victim to what Roger Ebert described as the Idiot Plot --- all of the plot's problems could be easily solved if the characters (namely Rudd's straight man) weren't all idiots. And, not to be too much of a spoiler, but the actual dinner with the schmucks is maybe 10 percent of the overall movie. To borrow yet another Ebert critical tool, the movie is much less interesting than a hypothetical 90-minute film just showing Carell, Rudd, Jemaine Clement, Larry Wilmore, etc. hanging around and riffing.


And finally, a coming attraction. The trailer for 'The Social Network' is so good in and of itself as a 150-second teaser that I'm almost afraid that the actual movie will be a letdown. Between David Fincher directing and Aaron Sorkin writing, we're probably in for a good film, but....goddamn, that trailer. That choral version of 'Creep' is just so, so, perfect for both setting a tone and for framing the Facebook subject. It's hilarious, Sorkin famously started a Facebook group basically just so people could give him their interpretations and feelings on what Facebook meant to them or even what the site 'was' in so many words. After thousands of messages and back-and-forth commentary, it's great that the creepiness of the site ended up playing such an important role in Sorkin's interpretation of what FB is all about. (Obviously he's not involved in the trailer production, but even still, it's a good hint about the film's direction.) Just a totally wild, pie-in-the-sky claim being made here on Friday the 13th of August: Justin Timberlake gets a best supporting actor nod for this movie. Call me crazy, but I have a hunch. Is this hunch fueled by a desire to see him hosting SNL again in support of this movie and his own nomination? Hell yes.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Jimmy Johnson ACTUALLY On Survivor?!?!?!

After coming close two years ago, Jimmy Johnson is now a full-fledged Survivor cast member for the upcoming Nicaragua season. That's right, the same Jimmy Johnson who coached the Cowboys to two Super Bowls, the Hurricanes to an NCAA title, and the Dolphins to.....uh, well, anyway, the Cowboys and Hurricanes.

I cracked jokes about Johnson on Survivor in my previous post, but now that he's actually a cast member, this begs a closer evaluation. First of all, he's now easily the biggest celebrity that's even come onto the show. Forget about Gary Hogeboom or Ashley the pro wrestler...Johnson is a legit big name in the sports world and is still widely visible from co-hosting the FOX NFL pregame show every Sunday. To put it this way, your mom probably knows who Jimmy Johnson is, or could recognize him if shown a picture of the man.

Johnson's celebrity brings an interesting dynamic to the cast. Hogeboom, you might recall, was so worried that the other players might use his NFL past against him in a "he's already rich, so let's vote him out" that he made up a fake name and background for himself. But Hogeboom was a pretty obscure player who'd retired 20 years earlier; Johnson, as I noted, is on TV every week either hosting pre-game shows or doing commercials. There's no hiding his fame. I'm not quite sure how this is going to effect him on Survivor since it's possible that he might get some votes against him due to the 'already rich and famous' logic, but it's equally possible that he might be kept along to the end simply because his pre-existing wealth makes him a good opponent in a final vote. The logic goes from "vote him out because Jimmy is already rich" to "vote for me because Jimmy is already rich." The danger of doing this in Johnson's case, however, is that you'd be going to the final vote against a man who has made a living making inspiring speeches, motivating people and reading human behaviour. It remains to be seen how Jimmy will do in the actual game of Survivor itself, of course, but based on his charisma alone, he seems like a dangerous guy to play an end-game with. Plus, Johnson isn't just a random celebrity casting choice --- he's an actual big Survivor fan who's been chomping at the bit for years to be on the show. Combine charisma with game awareness, and that's a good combination of skills.

The other factor in Johnson being on Survivor is his age (67), but given that this year's theme is Young vs. Old. One tribe is made up of people under 30, and the other is made up of people over 40. Jimmy is still the oldest guy out there, but only by four years. This new wrinkle somewhat cuts down on the usual Survivor strategy of eliminating the oldest and 'weakest' players first to keep the overall tribe strong. All Johnson has to do is outwork and outhustle at least a couple of others on his tribe and he'll prove his worth, so to speak, around camp.

Will he win? Probably not. I state this with the confidence of knowing that there's a 19-in-20 chance I'll be right, but even if Johnson marshals his coaching skills to take on a leadership role in his tribe, those guys always get the boot pretty soon anyways. I don't see him as a winner. Then again, as I noticed while testing my highly-unscientific method of trying to pick a winner based on the CBS contestant bios, a disturbing number of contestants have Russell Hantz as their 'Survivor I'm most like.' Jimmy could waltz to the million dollars if he ends up at a final tribal council against one or two Russell acolytes. If I had to pull a winner out of thin air, I'll go with Yve Rojas. Her 'Survivor I'm most like' was an intriguing combo of Danni Boatwright and Bob Crowley, and one of her hobbies is 'catching the last movie of the day,' which I do all the time myself. Dumb reasons for picking her as a winner? Probably. And they're about to get even dumber, since it should also be noted that this 41-year-old woman looks pretty fantastic. If it comes down to a challenge based on fitness in a bikini, Johnson is in big trouble.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

UFC 117 Predictions

* Junior Dos Santos over Roy Nelson, round two, knockout
Man, do I ever want to pick Nelson in this fight. There's not much to dislike about Big Country; he's a big ol' fat guy who also just happens to be a superb MMA fighter. He can trade with anyone standing, and if the fight goes down to the ground, Nelson isn't just a BJJ black belt, but one of his top strategies is to wrestle his giant gut on top of you in a crucifix and pummel you with elbows. I love it when MMA fighters have a 'finisher,' so to speak, and Nelson's Gut Crucifix is pretty high up on the list. While it wouldn't surprise me if Nelson won, it, well, would kinda surprise me since Junior just might be the best heavyweight in the world. JDS is on a monster roll and a win here will put him in line for the next title shot against the Brock Lesnar/Cain Velasquez winner. Though, to be fair, a win for Nelson would make him the next challenger as well. It'd be great to see Nelson pull it out, but Dos Santos brings just a bit too much to the table. Did I just make a 'bring to the table' joke in a fight involving a fat guy? Yep, that happened.

* Rafael Dos Anjos over Clay Guida, decision
As much as I dislike picking against Roy Nelson, I might dislike picking against Guida even more. It's hard to hate Guida, who's one of the most purely entertaining and exciting fighters in the sport. The guy has something of a lay-and-pray style, but he hides it with constant motion and activity, plus he's known to pull off the odd finish once in a while. Guida is also pretty much the definition of a gatekeeper, so this fight will tell us if Dos Anjos is a contender at LW, or is still just best known as the guy who got Popeye-kayoed by Jeremy Stephens two years ago. I think Raffy Two Angels does just enough to eke out a decision, and then goes on to fight another top LW contender like George Sotiropoulos or Evan Dunham.

* Jon Fitch over Thiago Alves, decision
Controversial pick for a Jon Fitch fight, I realize. Apparently the winner of this will get the next welterweight title match once St. Pierre and Koscheck are done with the next TUF season, which doesn't make sense for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Jake Shields is now in the UFC and is a fresh title opponent. Secondly, Fitch and Alves have both been destroyed by GSP in such convincing fashion that it's hard to see what a rematch would accomplish. Alves, in fact, hasn't fought since losing to St. Pierre at UFC 100 thanks to a variety of injuries. A win over Fitch would be impressive, sure, but does it make sense for him to go title loss, win then....another title shot? Fitch has at least gotten a few (dull) wins since his loss to GSP, but still, the last time they met, Fitch had his face tenderized for five rounds. Though this is a fight between the 2nd and 3rd best WWs in the world, it doesn't seem like that interesting a fight, to be honest. Fitch's dullness has even spread to fight scenarios, as well as the fights themselves. Unfortunate. Also, Alves missed weight yet again, so I'm hesitant to even consider him a welterweight at this point. Once Fitch beats him, maybe the fat bastard will finally move up a division.

* Ricardo Almeida over Matt Hughes, decision
Did someone invent a time machine and sent us all back to 2005 when we might've cared about this matchup? It's hard to see what Hughes brings to the WW division anymore, and it's not like Almeida is a young pup who can use the rub from beating a legendary name. Almeida has won three in a row, in fairness, so a win here sets him up nicely for a match against a contender in the fall. In fact, here's my scenario --- Almeida wins here, and then presuming that Jake Shields beats Martin Kampmann in October, Shields gets the next WW title fight and Almeida then battles the Alves/Fitch victor. I'd guarantee this scenario happens if Alves wins, given the aforementioned oddity of Alves getting another title shot so quickly. Would this be unfair to Jon Fitch? Probably. But he's boring. Maybe Hughes will win and then at least Fitch can console himself with facing a legend.

* Anderson Silva over Chael Sonnen, round one, murderdeathkill
There's been a lot of talk about why Silva occasionally loafs around in the cage, a la his last fight against Demian Maia. Some say he's bored by the lack of competition when he fights the likes of Maia, Patrick Cote or Thales Leites, but turns it up against tougher guys (i.e. Forrest Griffin or Dan Henderson). Some say that Silva takes it easy against fellow Brazilians like Maia or Leites and was content to ride out easy decisions rather than knock them out. Others say Silva is just a douchebag who's too into his own hype and doesn't give enough of a crap about the fans to bother giving a professional showing.

Whatever Silva's reasons might be, I think we can count on him giving a focused performance on this card since Chael Sonnen has gone and pissed him off. Sonnen has been giving WWE-style interviews left and right bashing Silva (as well as everyone from Lance Armstrong to liberals) and claiming he's going to teach Silva a lesson. It's possible Silva might learn a few things about hand bones if he breaks his hand on Sonnen's face, but otherwise, Sonnen is going to be eating his words. There is really nothing that he brings to the table that Silva won't be able to counter. Sonnen will attempt takedowns and try and ground-and-pound attack that led him to a surprise win over Nate Marquardt, but Silva will be able to submit him if they spent too much time on the mat. If they spent much time standing, Sonnen is being knocked cold, simple as that. I give credit to Sonnen for trying to promote the fight as best he can, but like the sign says, don't feed the bears. Vintage Anderson Silva is showing up at UFC 117 and Sonnen is getting finished. Just look at that MMA Weekly picture at the top of the post --- Silva is wearing a pink shirt and backwards cap and still looks like a complete bad-ass. Someone call an ambulance.

Undercard picks....

* Johny Hendricks over Charlie Brenneman, decision
* Stefan Struve over Christian Morecraft, round two, submission
* Phil Davis over Rodney Wallace, round two, submission
* Dustin Hazelett over Rick Story, round three, submission
* Tim Boetsch over Todd Brown, round one, knockout
* Ben Saunders over Dennis Hallman, round one, knockout