Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mark vs. The NFL Apparel Curse

On the afternoon of January 11, 1998, my 16-year-old self was eating lunch. If I had to guess, I'd say I was probably eating my traditional Sunday lunch of Portuguese bread & baloney sandwiches with the buns supplied by Angelo's (a.k.a. London's greatest market chain). The meal itself isn't as important as the drink that accompanied it, which was namely a big ol' glass of milk. And, specifically, it was milk in a very old glass that had strained under years of usage. So on this afternoon, when I went to pour milk into said glass, the thing just split apart under the pressure. Milk flowed like a lactation gone amok, spilling over the table and onto my shirt.

And not just any shirt. It was a Brett Favre jersey, one of the most-worn garments of my life. You see, I had the Favre jersey on since I was just about to head over to my pal Dave's place to watch my beloved Green Bay Packers face the 49ers in that year's NFC Championship Game. (You might wonder why I was eating before heading out to a football party, but again, I cannot stress enough how good those Angelo's sandwiches are.) With just minutes until kickoff, my Favre jersey was sopping wet, and obviously changing shirts was out of the question given the symbolic importance. Fortunately, I had no reason to literally cry over spilt milk. NFL jerseys are built for much rougher stuff than a bit of liquid, and the jersey proved lactose-tolerant enough to dry rather easily after a paper towel wipe. So with my Favre shirt a bit damp but overall in good shape, I headed to Dave's and rejoiced as the Packers indeed ended up beating San Francisco to advance to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

You might wonder why I remember this minor anecdote so vividly. It's because I've pinpointed this day as the beginning of an ongoing curse placed upon my family by NFL apparel. Now, I'm not directly blaming the NFL or their clothing line itself, since I doubt charges of witchcraft could stand up in a modern court of law. But still, the fact remains that ever since that fateful dairy spillage, any contact my family has had with NFL clothing has resulted in heartbreak.


* First, the Packers. You might notice that since Green Bay won that NFC title game directly after I soaked myself, that might serve as an immediate counter-point to all this curse talk. But curses, like an older computer, take some time to boot up. The curse didn't kick in until the Super Bowl itself, when the favoured Packers were upset by John Elway and the Denver Broncos. Given that Denver was 0-4 in Super Bowls before Super Bowl XXXII, I think most Broncos fans would agree that some kind of supernatural assistance was needed on that day. Green Bay hasn't been back to a Super Bowl since.

* Several years ago, I was in a local mall having a key copied at a key-cutting booth. The place sold various knick-knacks, including keychains shaped like various sports team logos and helmets. Seeing a Cleveland Browns helmet keychain, I bought one for my dad, a longtime Browns fan who gets eye-rollingly haughty when it is suggested that someone besides Jim Brown was the best football player ever. (Though this isn't exactly a controversial stance for a Browns fan. It's not like my dad is claiming that, like, Bernie Kosar was the best quarterback ever or something really outlandish.) My pops loved the little gift and it's currently hanging from the mirror of his truck to this very day. Now, like I mentioned, I'm not totally sure when I got this keychain, but it was definitely close to a decade ago. If I had to guess, I'd say it was probably after 2002, a.k.a. the last year the Browns actually made the playoffs. Though really, almost any date in the last decade will do given Cleveland's near-total mediocrity since the franchise returned in 1999. Even an object as small as a keychain carries with it the curse.

* My brother started really following the Baltimore Ravens about six or seven years ago, and thus has bought several pieces of Ravens paraphernalia. Hats, gloves, a Ray Lewis jersey, etc. It's no surprise that Baltimore hasn't won a Super Bowl in that stretch despite having one of the great defense of all time.

* Even my mother's own bit of flirtation with NFL gear has led to disaster. My mom is, at best, a casual fan whose enjoyment of the game was almost totally by osmosis given that she's married to an old football coach and has raised two football-mad sons. She cheered more for certain players than teams on the logic that players who seemed more likable deserved to win. For instance, she rooted for Joe Montana when he moved to Kansas City since 'Joe seems nice' and she felt he got a bit of a raw deal in San Francisco. (Hard to argue the 49ers' logic since they had Steve Young waiting in the wings, but I digress.) Anyway, in recent years, my mother had turned her football affection to, you guessed it, Tom Brady. That's right, a female football fan who likes Tom Brady. How unusual. My mother's admiration of the Patriots grew during their 18-0 season when she thought the team was being picked on for the so-called cheating scandal, and thus she jumped right onto the New England bandwagon on their march to perfection. As such, I decided to get my mother a Brady jersey for Christmas. Due to an online ordering snafu, the jersey didn't actually arrive until January...right before the Super Bowl. I think you all see where this is going. That's right --- the very first time my mother wears her Brady jersey during a game, the Patriots' perfect season was ended by the Giants in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. If that wasn't enough, the next time my mother donned the New England blue was for the Patriots' first game of the 2008 NFL season. In that game, Brady had his knee blown out in the first quarter and he ended up missing the entire season. Presumably if my mother ever wears that jersey more than once every few months, the stadium will be hit by a meteor.

* The curse even extends to teams that my family don't even support. Years ago, my ex-aunt returned from a trip to Jacksonville with a gift of a Jaguars t-shirt for me. The Jags haven't won a thing and the franchise is in danger of moving. My brother has an old Buffalo Bills toque that he wears during really cold days, and lord knows the Bills haven't done jack-all in over a decade. In perhaps the most prominent example, my uncle accidentally bought my brother a Vikings toque last Christmas since he got confused between the Vikings and Ravens' similar purple-and-yellow colour schemes. The toque wasn't exchanged until after Minnesota had already lost the NFC Championship Game to New Orleans.

So as you can see, this is turning into a real problem. There's no reason for half of a league to be cursed just because of a faulty milk glass in 1998. I've been doing loads of Hermione-esque research into the magical world to investigate how such a curse can be lifted, and I think I've discovered the answer. As you recall, the jersey in question was a Brett Favre jersey, and of course now Favre has turned heel on the Packers and plays for the hated Vikings. What did I spill on the jersey? Milk. You can't spell 'Minnesota Vikings' without M-I-L-K. (The L is provided by the Vikings' yearly playoff result.) What produces milk? A cow. What's a popular breed of dairy cattle? The Jersey cow.

Where am I going with this? Simple. To break the curse, I have to travel to Minnesota and challenge a herd of Jersey cattle to a flag football game. If my team wins the game, the curse is lifted and fans of the Packers, Browns, Patriots, Ravens, Jaguars, Bills and Vikings will be freed. If my team loses, then the curse continues for another 12 years until I can challenge the cows to a rematch. Or, a rematch could occur when Favre actually retires, but that's not likely to occur for another 12 years anyway.

Applications to be part of my cow-challenging team can be found in this pdf file. All applicants will be considered as long as you have either flag football experience (a plus) or experience at playing cattle in games of skill (a near-must). I caution you that during the game itself, wearing any NFL gear may result in that particular team being cursed in the case of a loss, so be warned. Also, wear thick boots, since there's bound to be piles of cow shit on the field. It's a sad inevitability, folks, I can't do anything about it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Do You Like Links?

Because if not, then shut your mouth and go along for the ride!


For old time's sake, here's a big LOST theory. If you're still rolling your eyes over the quasi-cheesiness (or just total cheesiness) or the 'glowing light at the heart of the Island,' then this theory gives a really cool explanation of what that light really was. The author kind of loses me a bit when he claims that both Dharma and the Others had some control over the time-manipulation, but other than that, it's a very solid and believable case. Man, am I ever going to miss dissecting this crazy-ass show.


Chris Jones is rapidly becoming my favourite Esquire writer. In the wake of his great interview/feature on Roger Ebert, here's a fascinating article about the infamous 'perfect bid' on The Price Is Right from a couple of years ago. It was the perfect storm of three uber-memorizers of PIR products, one of whom was on stage and two of whom were in the audience (and allegedly only one of whom was being observed).


Bill Murray. What a man. You have to believe he's joking in some/most parts of his recent interview for GQ, but it's a testament to Murray's odd brilliance that you sorta believe that he signed up for the Garfield movies under the mistaken belief that Joel Coen was involved. Frankly, the Coens should offer him a role in their next movie as a make-up. It's also amazing that Jennifer Love Hewitt has probably been proud of working with Murray for years, yet his total remembrance of her is as "the mind reader, pretty girl, really curvy girl, body's one in a million? What's her name?" This is topped only by the urban legend of Murray covering strangers' eyes with his hands, asking guess who, and then when they turn around, telling the stranger that nobody will ever believe the story.


That's all for today. Play me off, Keyboard Ron Livingston!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Old Studying

I have at least one avid blog reader who's a librarian. Michelle, I ask you, how did you not come up with this idea first? (Well, not the idea itself first, but rather the idea to rip it off first...I'm babbling.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

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

Before we begin this latest edition of out-of-contexts, I've opened the floor up to an e-mail from a reader! I've allowed him three, and only three, questions to ask about the process.

"Do you REALLY keep the names of the texters anonymous?"





Yes! Thanks for the illuminating questions about the inner workings of the creative process! They weren't at all repetitive! Hey look, it's a dead horse!


"p.s. kick some butt (and let me know how it goes). It's so dead up here and the only food place appears to be Arby's. Pray for mojo."

"You on your way?"

"Soccer blows."

"Chris says you can pick me up easily at this pub, so meet me here."

"It may be. 5XL gloves, holy shit. Brock needed a tuneup."

"At the Fox! It is awesome!"

"Thanks! :)"

"We are heading to meet with Lauren soon. If you're busy or tired you and I can just meet up tomorrow post-game."

"Swidgen! C**ksucker! Swidgen!"

"Did you write back?"

"Is Heather looking hot?"

"Haha, badass. We were just talking about that."


"Hey buddy, too much buffet on the company dime, feeling pretty sluggish...heading home, I think. Next time --- hope you enjoyed the game!"

"I actually called Lesnar by submission!"


"Well, looks like the Aztek can still do the job..."

"Are you sure??"

"Never heard of Green. Who does he play for?"

"You bet, man. Where are you?"

"What's the season ep and number? I'm glad you're liking it."

"Chris says you should come watch the game with us."

"Waiting for baggage now."


"By post A for arrivals, just by taxis and limos."

"The fat boy's laugh is the final insult..."

"Hey, I'm going a little stir crazy. Anyone want to grab a pint?"

"You can come over. We're just waiting for Greg who will not be here by 12:15."

"It hurts!"

"Ahhh, if you were here I was gonna say to join us."

"I will meet you on King and Strachan."

"You close?"

"Our message history just got erased on my phone?"

"On back patio of Keg."

"[Name redacted] sez if you are driving, a lot of roads are closed near her place."

"Looks like it. Carwin was gassed."

"Boo. Wish I was there instead of here!"

"Ok. Hahaha."

"We will be there NLT 2300."


"Or during, ha ha. I can text you if we're going somewhere."

"Like Lonnie Smith, Murphy is angered..."

"Nothing happening. Everyone sucks, Ha Ha. Playing ringer for Doc's team."

"I have never heard of that movie...but I hope it's the good twin, not the creepy one."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Alterna-Emmys

It's the Alterna-Emmys, the alterna-greatest night of the year for the TV altera-industry! As is the new policy, I'll present the actual nominees, followed by a couple of (in my opinion) snubs, and then I'll meld the two categories together to form a Frankenstein's monster of an uber-ballot. My ballot will then spend a year observing a Swiss family in order to learn human behaviour, but the ballot will turn violent when it's rejected by said family. It's quite a tragedy all-around, really. Anyway, I will pick a winner in each category, but keep in mind that it's only my choice as a winner, not who I think will actually win. Since, as you'll see, my opinions and those of the Academy are apparently very, very different.

(The full list of actual Emmy nominees can be found here, btw.)

Actual nominees: Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Good Wife, Lost, Mad Men, True Blood

Alterna-nominees: Dollhouse, Justified, Law & Order, Treme

Having never seen Good Wife or True Blood, those two can safely be shunted aside in place of Dollhouse and Treme. Now, you might remember that I've never actually seen Treme either, but consider it a make-up nomination for the fact that David Simon and company were never nominated for jack-squat for The Wire. L&O was included on the alterna-ballot solely because I suspected the show might get a token lifetime achievement nod for what ended up being its final season. This is actually an overall very strong category, and I'd be satisfied if any of the other four shows won --- in Lost's case, probably more as a lifetime achievement-type of thing, the other three all had exceptional seasons. While all three were great, Breaking Bad was the best show of 2010 and deserves the top prize most of all.

Will win: Mad Men (probably)
Should win: Breaking Bad


Actual nominees: Connie Britton/Friday Night Lights, Glenn Close/Damages, Mariska Hargitay/Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, January Jones/Mad Men, Julianna Margulies/The Good Wife, Kyra Sedgwick/The Closer

Alterna-nominees: Anna Gunn/Breaking Bad, Katey Sagal/Sons Of Anarchy

I'm pretty sure Gunn was submitted as a lead actress, which may have been a misfire given how her role was more of a supporting venture and she might've had a better shot at cracking that category. Regardless, she certainly should've been included here over such tired nominees as Sedgwick or Hargitay. (Since 'Sons Of Anarchy' and Sagal's performance in particular are supposed to be amazing, she gets on the ballot too.) Having watched only one of the nominated shows, technically I should give the award to January Jones by default, but....well, if you've seen Jones' legendarily terrible SNL hosting gig last winter, you understand my hesitation. Several of my friends have been talking up Friday Night Lights for years, and since Connie Britton (and Kyle Chandler) were both given long overdue nominations this year, I feel safe in giving Britton the alterna-Emmy.

Will win: Close
Should win: Britton


Actual nominees: Kyle Chandler/Friday Night Lights, Bryan Cranston/Breaking Bad, Matthew Fox/Lost, Michael C. Hall/Dexter, Jon Hamm/Mad Men, Hugh Laurie/House

Alterna-nominees: Timothy Olyphant/Justified, Wendell Pierce/Treme

Once again, lead actor in a drama is arguably the toughest category of the bunch. The great Bryan Cranston put in another superb effort on Breaking Bad this year but given that he's won the last two Emmys, it may be time to spread the wealth. Really, anyone other than Matthew Fox is a solid choice, and even Fox did a good job in the season-long rehab of Jack's character that was the final season of LOST. Take your pick between Hall, Hamm and Laurie as to which actor will/should be rewarded for their various iconic roles. I'll narrowly single out Jon Hamm just for how well he dealt with the revelation of his Dick Whitman persona.

Will win: Hard to say, but probably Cranston
Should win: Again, hard to say


Actual nominees: Christine Baranski/The Good Wife, Rose Byrne/Damages, Sharon Gless/Burn Notice, Christina Hendricks/Mad Men, Elisabeth Moss/Mad Men, Archie Panjabi/The Good Wife

Alterna-nominees: Jennifer Carpenter/Dexter, Cherry Jones/24, Olivia Williams/Dollhouse

I'd expect that this category is Elisabeth Moss' to lose, though Gless and Baranski are long-time Academy favourites who could easily win. It seems like every Emmy night at least one shoulder-shrug of a result and Gless or Baranski winning would seem to qualify as this year's edition. I'm somewhat surprised to see last year's surprise winner Cherry Jones get the shaft, given that this season, 24 gave her some actual decent material to work with by playing Macbeth to Gregory Itzin's Lady Macbeth. But still, Jones, Williams and Carpenter all get on the uber-ballot in place of Baranski, Gless and Panjabi. As usual, Rose Byrne gets to remain on the ballot due to Pretty.

Will win: Moss, Gless or Baranski
Should win: Moss


Actual nominees: Andre Braugher/Men Of A Certain Age, Michael Emerson/Lost, Terry O'Quinn/Lost, Aaron Paul/Breaking Bad, Martin Short/Damages, John Slattery/Mad Men

Alterna-nominees: Giancarlo Esposito/Breaking Bad, Vincent Kartheiser/Mad Men, Bob Odenkirk/Breaking Bad, Dean Norris/Breaking Bad, Clarke Peters/Treme

Talk about a hella-deep category. You can argue that Emerson didn't have much to work with this season on LOST and I didn't actually see Short's performance on 'Damages,' but still, it's hard to argue against either of those two winning. The other four nominees were also varying degrees of awesome. My alterna-ballot takes a deep breath and replaces Braugher with Peters (Braugher is excellent, but his show is pretty repetitive) and Short with Norris (basically the first half of Breaking Bad's season was devoted to giving depth to Hank's character and Norris just killed it). You can argue all day about who should be on the ballot, but #1 is clearly Aaron Paul. Now, you might wonder why John Lithgow isn't on this list since he would seemingly be the monster favourite for his amazing role on 'Dexter' this season. Lithgow, like Jimmy Smits last year on the show, submitted his name into the guest actor category, in spite of the fact that he was in every episode, was listed in the opening credits and was the season's major antagonist. I don't agree with the rules, folks, but even the Alterna-Emmys abides by them. (Though had Lithgow been in the supporting category, that would've cleared the way for Gregory Itzin to win a well-deserved guest Emmy for playing President Logan on 24. "THAT'S JACK BAUER!")

Will win: Braugher or O'Quinn in a 'goodbye to LOST' award to the show's most iconic actor
Should win: Paul


Actual nominees: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee, Modern Family, Nurse Jackie, The Office, 30 Rock

Alterna-nominees: Archer, Community, Parks & Recreation, Party Down

It took us long enough, but we finally have a classic Emmy 'WTF' category. Were I filling out a ballot, Modern Family and CYE would stay, but the other four would be jettisoned in place of my alternate nominees. Office and 30 Rock weren't bad this season, but not up the class of the other programs. I was under the impression that Nurse Jackie was a drama and my Jane Lynch love isn't quite deep enough to overlook the fact that "Glee" is pretty poorly written and acted. This category should've been a tough pick, but the weakness of the nominees makes Curb Your Enthusiasm the pretty clear choice. The extra year off really invigorated the show, and the 'Seinfeld reunion' storyline was just pure gold from start to finish.

Will win: Modern Family
Should win: Curb Your Enthusiasm


Actual nominees: Toni Collette/United States Of Tara, Edie Falco/Nurse Jackie, Tina Fey/30 Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus/The New Adventures Of Old Christine, Lea Michele/Glee, Amy Poehler/Parks & Recreation

Alterna-nominees: Lizzy Caplan/Party Down

Again, I was under the impression that 'Nurse Jackie' was actually a drama, though it might be one of those shows that falls into dramedy genre confusion. Whatever. The Academy's apparent love of it and its proven love for Edie Falco leads me to believe that Falco has a good shot at taking home her fourth Emmy. Either her or Lea Michele gets swept up in the 'Glee' gleefulness, or defending champ Toni Collette wins another somewhat out-of-nowhere trophy. As to who the winner SHOULD be, Amy Poehler should have this one in the bag. Hopefully she can at least snag an Emmy to make up for the otherwise total snub of her great show.

Will win: Falco or Michele
Should win: Poehler


Actual nominees: Alec Baldwin/30 Rock, Steve Carell/The Office, Larry David/Curb Your Enthusiasm, Matthew Morrison/Glee, Jim Parsons/Big Bang Theory, Tony Shalhoub/Monk

Alterna-nominees: Joel McHale/Community, Adam Scott/Party Down

This is as good a place as any to discuss the total omission of 'Community' from the list of major nominees. Sure, the show's ratings weren't great, but come on, not even one nomination? To make matters worse, Joel McHale was actually one of the actors (along with Sofia Vergara) selected to announce the Emmy nominations, so it's not like the Academy didn't know he existed. Instead, McHale is set aside for yet another goddamn Tony Shalhoub nomination? Weak. McHale would've been my hands-down choice to win, but since he's not even nominated, I'll instead toss a vote to Steve Carell for an overdue Emmy for playing Michael Scott. Given that next season will be his last on the show, he might actually have a shot at finally winning if enough Emmy voters feel the same way. Part of me admittedly would love to see Larry David win an Emmy for playing himself and frankly, that scene where he plays George Costanza needs some type of award.

Will win: Baldwin or what the hell, Shaloub
Should win: Carell


Actual nominees: Julie Bowen/Modern Family, Jane Krakowski/30 Rock, Jane Lynch/Glee, Holland Taylor/Two and a Half Men, Sofia Vergara/Modern Family, Kristen Wiig/Saturday Night Live

Alterna-nominees: Alison Brie/Community, Ellie Kemper/The Office, Megan Mullally/Party Down, Aubrey Plaza/Parks & Recreation

Not that it matters in the face of the inevitable Jane Lynch steamroller, but you can take all of my alterna-nominees can slot them into the ballot in place of everyone but Lynch and, oh, let's say Julie Bowen. Some pretty lazy picks from the voters in this category, I must say. C'mon Emmys, what's not to like about Ellie Kemper? And Alison Brie, America's new sweetheart! And Aubrey Plaza, America's other sorta-sweetheart? And Megan Mullally, you love her! Aren't these all better options than Holland frickin' Taylor?

Will win: Lynch
Should win: Lynch


Actual nominees: Ty Burrell/Modern Family, Chris Colfer/Glee, Jon Cryer/Two and a Half Men, Jesse Tyler Ferguson/Modern Family, Neil Patrick Harris/How I Met Your Mother, Eric Stonestreet/Modern Family

Alterna-nominees: Ted Danson/Bored To Death, Bob Einstein/Curb Your Enthusiasm, Donald Glover/Community, Ed Helms/The Office, Nick Offerman/Parks & Recreation, Ed O'Neill/Modern Family, Chris Pratt/Parks & Recreation, Danny Pudi/Community, Rico Rodriguez/Modern Family

Oh, supporting actor in a comedy. You always giveth and taketh away. On the bright side, the comedy duo of Ferguson and Stonestreet are the funniest part of Modern Family, so it's good to see them both get nominations when it was semi-assumed that they'd split the vote. Ty Burrell also deserved recognition. So that's three good ones and now, onto the three downers. The great NPH, as I've written before, didn't bring his A-game to HIMYM this season. I wouldn't recognize the guy from Glee if I ran into him on the street, so I can't judge. And Jon Cryer, come on. I'm going to make the rare move of substituting an altera-ballot of ALL alternate nominees....namely, Danson, Glover, Offerman, Pratt, Pudi and Rodriguez. Even with these alternates, it still leaves off the likes of O'Neill, Einstein and the 'Party Down' guys. This category really is just too damn deep to be wasting nominations on Cryer or the Glee punk.

Will win: Burrell or Cryer
Should win: Tie vote between Ferguson and Stonestreet

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Random Nonsense

Well, I don't want anyone to think all I'm good for is just posting videos and making MMA picks on this here blog. Heaven forfend. Time for a good ol'fashioned random nonsense post, led off by this gorgeous piece of fabric known as the Minnesota Wild's alternate jersey. Ain't she a beauty? How have I not noticed this jersey over the years? Sure, it's not like I'm watching a lot of Wild games or anything, but still. I'd almost be inspired to buy one were I not still boycotting the franchise due to their stupid, stupid nickname. The "Wild"? Good lord. I really think they should arrange to buy the 'Ducks' name from Anaheim (after all, the Mighty Ducks movies were set in Minnesota....hell, they can even bring back the adjective since 'Minnesota Mighty Ducks' sounds weirdly awesome) or simply reinstate the old North Stars name. The Dallas franchise can rename themselves the Lone Stars. Really, if baseball can have multiple teams named after different shades of Sox, there's no reason the NHL can't have a couple of different stars.


Aziz Ansari, Ty Burrell, Ted Danson, Neil Patrick Harris, Ed Helms and Jim Parsons. Just sitting around, talkin' 'bout' 'ginas. No, wait, talkin' 'bout comedy.


From a Facebook message to my buddy Trev....

Me: So, I had a dream last night. I dreamed we were hanging out at that Rail bar in Kilworth when you mentioned that you were house-sitting for (who else) Lex Luger. He owns a house in Kilworth, apparently, down near the river. So, I get it into my head to steal a vintage WCW U.S. title belt. I sneak over to Luger's place, break into the back window using my arm, and cut myself. I obviously need to grab something to stop the bleeding, and I go for a dishtowel. Inexplicably, removing the dishtowel causes the oven door to fly down with a big crash, thus causing the pots and pans in the upper shelf to fall out and also crash to the ground. This is when you stroll into the kitchen and say, and I quote, "Mark! What da fuck, man!" Then Lex Luger strolls into the kitchen as well, dragging one of those wheelie-suitcases behind him and wearing a Goofy-ears Disney hat. He says something like, "Hi Tre....whoa! What's all this? What the hell, Trevor?!" In summation, sorry I got you in trouble with Lex Luger.

Trevor: You are a strange person.



Check it out, it's the top 50 best-shot films of the decade (1998-2008), according to a poll from American Cinematographer. As you'd expect, big names like Kaminski, Deakins, Hall, Richardson and Elswit are all over this list, though picking "Amelie" at #1 is a bit of a surprise. If I'd had a vote I probably would've thrown in for "Children of Men," though it's still in the number-two position. "The Fall" also should've been a lot higher up, the photography was the only thing that film really had going for it. Every Oscar winner for cinematography from the time period is represented except for Russell Boyd's work on "Master & Commander," thus continuing my theory that I and Academy voters were the only people who really enjoyed that movie.


And finally, we celebrated Canada Day with some vintage Canadiana, but we certainly can't forget our neighbours to the south. Happy birthday, United States!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

UFC 116 picks

I'm skipping picking the undercard since good lord, this is one of the least-interesting undercards I've ever seen. So, just the PPV itself will be covered in the monthly bag o'wrong known as my UFC predictions.

* Chris Leben over Yoshihiro Akiyama, knockout, R2
That's right, pulling the upset right off the bat. Leben stepped up on short notice to take this fight last week after Wanderlei Silva pulled out due to injury, and Akiyama was capital-P pissed about it. You see, fighting is barely in the top five of Akiyama's leisure activities. The man has numerous businesses in Japan, he's got several endorsement deals, a modeling contract (hence the "Sexyama" nickname) and is even a pop star. Akiyama hasn't fought since last July at UFC 100 --- not because he was hurt or anything, but rather simply because he was waiting to face Silva, who's still a big deal back in Japan due to his PRIDE glory days. With Silva out with injury, however, Akiyama did some bellyaching about how he might pull out of the fight since he wasn't "inspired" to fight Leben and several more complaints that I'm sure were soothed by a cash bonus to keep him from pulling out of the co-main event. The bottom line is, in pure MMA skill, Akiyama should beat Leben without much problem. But I'm picking Leben because I wonder if Akiyama's heart is really in this fight. One thing you can say about Leben is that he always brings it, and that will especially be true in this case since he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. If he wins, then that's a three-fight winning streak for Leben, including one win just a few weeks ago at UFC 115. If he loses, no problem, he took the fight on short notice, what do you expect? If Akiyama was a pro he'd just go in there and take care of business, but I suspect he'll end up getting caught by a Leben haymaker.

* Chris Lytle over Matt Brown, submission, R3
Speaking of haymakers, holy cow, this one could be a slugfest. Both Lytle and Brown are tough guys who love to stand and trade, so there's a decent chance the knockout of the night comes from this fight right here. It's actually a rematch from a 2007 fight that they had in the independent fight circuit, and Lytle won that one with a second-round guillotine. I expect this fight to ultimately end the same way since Lytle has the edge on the ground. Of Brown's eight career losses, six have been by submission.

* George Sotiropoulos over Kurt Pellegrino, decision
Big fight for Sotiropoulos, who I'll just refer to by his first name to save typing. If he wins, he probably gets elevated into a #1 contender's match in his next bout. (A fight against the unbeaten Evan Dunham, for instance, would be a pretty sweet matchup to determine the next LW title contender, presuming it's not Gray Maynard.) Pellegrino might be in line for a title shot too, though in spite of his nice record, he's one of those guys who's always struck me as a bit of a gatekeeper. Beating George will give him a five-fight win streak, though, so maybe I should just get over it and admit that 'Batman' is a quality fighter. Maybe I'm hung up on that dumb nickname. You should only get to name yourself after Batman if you're either a truly elite bad-ass or you're a part-time vigilante. It's too bad the UFC cut Jess "The Joker" Liaudin, that fight just promotes itself.

* Krzysztof Soszynski over Stephan Bonnar, decision
Another remach, this one from UFC 110 back in February. Consonants was beating Bonnar after two rounds (in my opinion) when Bonnar accidentally got head-butted. It opened up a cut that resulted in the fight being stopped and Consonants being given the TKO win, in spite of the fact that it was an illegal blow that caused the cut in the first place. Both guys wanted a rematch to settle things and here we are. I wrote in my UFC 110 preview that Bonnar was barely even a third-tier LHW at this point, and I doubt he's improved much in five months. Consonants wins again, this time without controversy.

* Shane Carwin over Brock Lesnar, knockout, R1
You might be noticing that this isn't exactly the most interesting UFC PPV in history, and that's because of the headliner. Dana White has discovered that Brock Lesnar sells so many PPVs on his own that the undercard is an afterthought. Hell, Akiyama vs. Silva isn't much of a co-main event even before the injury switchout. But still, here we are with this admittedly very intriguing main event. So many factors at play in this one; Lesnar hasn't fought in a full year due to a career-threatening intestinal injury, Lesnar's vaunted wrestling skill might actually be tested by Carwin (a former NCAA Division II wrestling champ), all 12 of Carwin's pro fights have been ended in the first round so you wonder about his gas tank if the fight lasts a while, Lesnar has never really had his chin tested so you don't know how he can react to Carwin's giant fists....the storylines just keep on going. While Lesnar has had the big layoff, Carwin himself has only had two fights since the start of 2009 since his original title shot was continually postponed due to Lesnar's illness. So even my pick of Carwin winning due to Lesnar's ring rust might be out of whack. But I dunno, I just have a feeling that Carwin is going to keep his first-round streak going and put Lesnar's lights out. We've seen B.J. Penn, Lyoto Machida and even Fedor lose in the last three months, so we're due for another allegedly unbeatable monster to go down. (Yeah, I haven't forgotten the Mir loss, but still.) The next time Lesnar is on a PPV, he'll have to sell buys as the co-main event.

Friday, July 02, 2010

100 Best Insults In Film History

Needless to say, big-ass language warning on this one. I've got to say, having R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket), Peter Capaldi (In The Loop), Rodney Dangerfield and Groucho Marx in this is almost unfair. You could fill a top 100 just of those four guys alone.

(also, I didn't realize that 'nerf herder' was a Star Wars line. I thought it was just a random name picked by the band that does the Buffy theme song.)