Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't Screw With Captain Planet

Now, I don't want to say this is a ripoff of my "Poison Ivy is reimagined in the Christopher Nolan Batman universe as an eco-terrorist and probably played by Tilda Swinton" idea, but......well, okay, it's clearly not. Actually, Swinton vs. Cheadle is a pretty even battle of acting ability, so it's KIND OF a ripoff of my idea. Like, one percent of a ripoff is still technically somewhat of a ripoff. I'll stop talking. Gillian Jacobs appearance!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Day With The Cup

Hey, did I ever mention that I won the Stanley Cup? I got my hands on Lord Stanley's Mug for my role as the Boston Bruins' team hypnotist. Sure, my methods may have been controversial (and under investigation by the American Medical Association), but how else would the Bruins have won the Cup unless Tim Thomas had mentally coerced to play like Patrick Roy? The ends justify the means!

Anyway, while my hypnotism license may be up in the air, my status as a Stanley Cup champion is not. As per tradition, I was awarded my own singular day with the Cup to do with it as I pleased. Usually this is just reserved for players and coaches from the winning team but the Bruins made an exception in the team hypnotist's case…or, they were "convinced" to make an exception. Anyway, here's the account of my 24 hours hangin' with Lord Stanley.

0800: The Cup arrives at my doorstep, accompanied by its supervising trustee from the Hockey Hall Of Fame. It's even more beautiful than I'd imagined. (The Cup, not the trustee.) Upon being handed the Cup, a look of insane, crazed joy spreads across my face. The trustee takes a cautious step backwards.

0805: I ask the trustee if he'd like to see my walk-in closet, and before he can say, "Wait a minute, this is just a regular-sized…," I've shoved him inside and locked the door. Pfft, I don't need a chaperone!

0809: I drop the Stanley Cup down a flight of stairs, leaving at least three sizeable dents in the priceless trophy. Dammit! If only I'd had a chaperone!

0834: The girl manning the Tim Horton's drive-thru is a true hero and answers my request to "fill this up with a double double." She is also a star for calling the paramedics after I go into a minor coma from drinking that much sugary, creamy coffee.

0900: My heart restarts! Alright! The EMT says it's a miracle. I think he's referring to my revival, but it turns out he's referring to the inscription for the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes.

0940: I'm taken to the hospital due to that pesky "standard policy when someone is clinically dead for 20 minutes," but it ends up being a blessing in disguise. What better place than a hospital to show the Cup to some folks who could use a bit of inspiration to get them through a difficult time? With that in mind, I swing by the voluntary cosmetic surgery wing. It makes my heart swell to see a patient, undergoing her fourth collagen lip injection, use those giant smackers to lay a big kiss on the Stanley Cup. Truly moving.

1030: Released from the hospital, I head home for a nap. This carrying around a Cup is exhausting! As I lay down, I make a mental note that someone has broken down my closet door and escaped.

1316: Great nap! I decide to take the Cup to my hometown of London, Ontario for two reasons. Firstly, my hometown deserves a rare opportunity to see the Stanley Cup in person. Secondly, there may or may not be an angry trustee hunting the streets of Toronto for me. I hop on a bus, and Greyhound has the nerve to charge me for two tickets since the Cup will be taking up a second seat. How unpatriotic!

1430: Well, it's official. The "Hey baby, check out the size of my Cup" pickup line never works, even when you have the actual Stanley Cup sitting right next to you. Oh well. Your loss, random woman on the bus!

1530: Arrival in London. I swing by my parents' place to show off the trophy. My dad goes on and on about how the old-time players were so much greater than today's players. My brother snidely points out that the Maple Leafs haven't appeared on the Cup in almost 45 years. My mother says, "Oh, so you can bring home the Stanley Cup, but you can't bring home a girlfriend for us to meet at Thanksgiving?" This trip may have been a huge mistake.

1633: Stanley and I head to the local arena so the youngsters on the ice can get a glimpse of hockey's greatest prize. Some parents balk at the $60 "Cup maintenance fee" I charge for a picture with the Cup, but c'mon, look at all those dents. The poor trophy is in bad shape. By the way, if you're an American reader who thinks there wouldn't be a hockey practice going on in August….c'mon dude, this is Canada.

1730: Since the city of London rejected my request for a parade, my next step is to just drive the streets at 10 KPH with the Cup duct-taped to my roof. Doing this during rush hour may have been an error, but I'm choosing to interpret all those honks as compliments, and all those fingers as modified "You're Number One!" salutes.

1900: Dinner time! I have to give it up to the staff at Arby's --- most restaurants wouldn't be able to fill a three-foot trophy with loose meat.

2006: Back on the bus to Toronto. We make a quick stopover at the Brantford casino, where I bet the Cup on the 'red' space at the roulette table. Red hits, meaning the casino owes me equal value for my wager. All they have is the Grey Cup, lost by Anthony Calvillo the week prior in a spirited game of pai-gow. Since I'm from anywhere in Ontario besides Hamilton, I just use the Grey Cup to tip the dealer.

2243: Sadly, this is where my account is cut short. We may or may not have run into a massive OPP roadblock set up by, you guessed it, the trustee who claimed the Stanley Cup was "stolen." Come on man, overreact much? But anyway, the police took his side, and I spent the remainder of my 24 hours with the Cup WITHOUT the Cup, locked up in custody. Even worse, my cellmates weren't at all impressed about my story of winning the Stanley Cup, since they were too busy ogling some other guy in custody who was selling Juno Awards for packs of smokes.

While I feel like the NHL still owes me 10 hours with the Stanley Cup, even still, it was a day I'll never forget. And the best part is, I'll be immortalized forever when my name is engraved on the Cup just like every other team hypnotist in hist…hey wait a second...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

UFC 134 Picks

* Forrest Griffin over Shogun Rua, decision
Since this is our third go-around in the "How Will Shogun Recover From Major Knee Surgery" sweepstakes, let's look back at past history. When Shogun went under the knife for the first time, he looked slow and lethargic in his first fight back --- a choke out loss to, uh, Forrest Griffin. After his second surgery, Rua again looked slow and lethargic in his first fight back against Mark Coleman, but Coleman was also so lethargic by dint of the fact that he's 43 years old and washed-up, so Shogun still won the fight. In Rua's SECOND fight post-surgery, he scored a simple knockout of Chuck Liddell, which doesn't tell us a ton since I think a stiff breeze could've knocked out Chuck during the last two years of his career.

So, in his first fight back from his latest surgery, Shogun was thoroughly dominated by Jon Jones and lost the LHW title. This brings us to this next bout. I honestly can't pick Rua until I see with my own eyes that he's back to being himself, especially when he's facing a tough nut like Forrest Griffin. Say what you will about Forrest, but he's a tough out for anyone not named Anderson Silva. Griffin is just about the last guy you want to face if you have questions about your cardio, since Griffin can easily wrestle and outwork you until you break. If Rua runs out of steam like he did in their first encounter, Forrest will win again. A victory here gives Griffin a three-fight winning streak and probably at worst a #1 contender's match against someone like Dan Henderson or the Lyoto Machida/Phil Davis winner.

* Edson Barboza over Ross Pearson, decision
For almost a year now, the UFC has gone out of its way to make every preliminary fight available to the fans. Most prelims are shown online on Facebook, and two prelims are shown live on Spike TV in the hour leading up to the pay-per-view. This idea of a "pregame show" (and, let's be honest, a last-minute pitch to convince you to order the PPV) is a nice one. Lesser-known fighters have a much larger platform to wow fans rather than just hoping that there's enough dead time on the PPV for their prelim bout to make the cut. Fans get to see more action. The UFC gets a lucrative tie-in with Facebook. Spike appreciates the ratings. It's a win-win-win almost all the way around….except that since Spike obviously wants a good show, they'll pick the most appealing undercard bouts for the live audience. This means that sometimes, you get a semi-dud pushed up on to the PPV card itself.

This is my laboured way of saying that I have no interest in seeing this fight. Ross Pearson is a scrapper and a decent fighter, but his total lack of legitimate potential cools me on his future prospects. Barboza, at least, is a quality prospect and could get himself a nice highlight here if he can stop a tough guy like Pearson, but there are at least two other undercard bouts I'd rather spend PPV money on than this one.

* Stanislav Nedkov over Luiz Cane, KO, R2
There was a time when I thought Cane was going to be a quality LHW prospect, but in hindsight, that three-fight win streak over Jason Lambert, Sokoudjou and Steve Cantwell wasn't exactly murderer's row. Cane was dropped by Rogerio Nogueira and Cyrille Diabate and then saved his job by knocking out Eliot Marshall last spring.

Nedkov is making his UFC debut and I have no reference point for picking the man other than the fact that Cane is fighting for his job and fighting in his home country….and surely not everything will go fight for the Brazilian fans on this evening. The underdog takes this one.

* Brendan Schaub over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, KO, R2
Ugh. Big Nog is an MMA legend. He deserves more than to be unceremoniously knocked out in his home country by a second-tier guy like Schaub. But let's face facts --- Nogueira hasn't fought in 18 months, is coming off surgeries on his hip and both knees, his previously uncrackable jaw has been knocked out twice in his previous three bouts, and he might be the oldest 35-year-old on the planet. Seriously, when Nogueira fought Randy Couture last year, you would've sworn that Nog was the one in his late 40's. This all adds up to a sad end for the legendary Nogueira, finally fighting in Brazil again after all these years. Then again, Nog is also the same guy who recently said he wouldn't want to train with a gay student, so maybe Schaub can punch Nog into the 21st century.

By the way, is everyone ready for the spectacle that is Brendan Schaub, Heavyweight Title contender? I'm not joking --- if Schaub wins here, that's five straight victories. That's more than enough to make him the challenger to the Velasquez/Dos Santos winner, especially in the traditionally shallow HW division. The other alternative is that Schaub faces Frank Mir in a #1 contender's bout, but the rumour mill has Mir facing Brock Lesnar when Brock is eventually healthy enough to fight again. Geez, is there any doubt that either Cain or Junior would just KILL Schaub in a fight? Schaub isn't a bad fighter or anything, but he's clearly not in the class of being a championship contender.

* Anderson Silva over Yushin Okami, KO, R3
As the UFC hype shows have reminded us ad nauseum to drum up interest in this fight, Okami is indeed the last man to defeat Anderson Silva. Sure, it was five years ago and sure, it only occurred since Silva was disqualified for an illegal kick….but still, a win is a win, right? Right? Unfortunately for Okami, Anderson has a long memory, and now he has the opportunity to not just avenge that sketchy loss, but to do it in front of his home fans in Rio. It's very possible the east coast will take less damage from the earthquake than Okami's jaw will take from Silva's punches.

Okay, let's break down how Okami could win this. He's a solid wrestler, which Anderson has had trouble with in the past against the likes of Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson. Okami also has a solid guard and is good at avoiding submissions, unlike Sonnen. While Okami isn't a particularly good striker, he's good enough that he's racked up nine knockouts of his 26 wins and he can at least hang with anyone standing. So, with all this in mind, Okami's best chance of winning the fight is if Silva somehow injures himself on the way to the cage, since there's nothing Okami brings to the table that Anderson hasn't dealt with, and beaten, in better fighters. I see a committed Anderson Silva getting yet another impressive finish (Okami's only been stopped once in 31 fights) in his legendary career.

* Ian Loveland over Yves Jabouin, decision
* Paulo Thiago over David "Not The Star Of Peep Show" Mitchell, decision
* Dan Miller over Rousimar Palhares, decision
* Johnny Eduardo over Raphael Assuncao, decision
* Erick Silva over Luis Ramos, submission, R2
* Thiago Tavares over Spencer Fisher, decision
* Yuri Alcantara over Felipe Arantes, submission, R1…I usually don't talk much about undercard bouts, but man, Alcantara is 11-0 dating back to November 2009. Yeah, that's right, he's fought 11 times in under two years. He was 8-0 in 2010. Yikes. This is Alcantara's first bout in eight months, at least, so it's not like he's running on fumes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nooo, Not A Pacino Cameo!

A bit of background on the films referenced in this clip….

Released in 1979, "Hardcore" stars George C. Scott as a man who goes on a crusade to rescue his daughter when she enters (maybe or maybe not voluntarily) the world of snuff porn. It's an odd, disturbing film, probably most remembered for one climactic scene where Scott's character is shown a porno featuring two men having their way with his daughter. Needless to say, this is about the worst thing a person could probably see, and Scott really acts the hell out of his scene to illustrate the sheer anguish.

Released in 2011, "Jack & Jill" is a pile of shit.

Now, for the first time, these two very different movies are brought together in this one hilarious clip. I love that Scott's reaction is now becoming a meme.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grantland's Greatest Hits

It's odd that Grantland has drawn so many haters since the site opened a few months ago. I suppose it was to be expected given that there would be some who would automatically dislike the site solely because of Bill Simmons' involvement but still, Simmons is just one part of the Grantland package. If you don't like this stuff, then great, you can read the material provided by any of the other dozen columnists on staff. I applaud any attempt to create a website that serves as a warehouse of Good Stuff To Read, so in my books, Grantland has been a tremendous success.

To that end, here are some of my favourite articles from the first few months of Grantland's existence. You'll notice that none are by Simmons or Chuck Klosterman, the two biggest names attached to the project. This isn't to say that neither have done good work, but rather than I'm just sticking to the best here, and I'm afraid both Simmons and Klosterman might not be able of delivering A-plus material anymore. To use one of his beloved basketball analogies, Simmons at this stage of his career is like Michael Jordan with the Wizards, getting by solely on veteran wiles and a general admiration for what he's done in the past. As for Klosterman, it's hard to deliver a truly 'great' article when you do nothing but write in circular arguments. Or is it? (There, there's a standard Klosterman 'undermine my premise' modifier.)

Anyway, enough of my criticisms, here's the cream of the Grantland crop….

* Katie Baker's hilarious NUPTIALS system for scoring the New York Times' wedding announcements. Even if you've never read a wedding announcement in your life (like me), this is still a very funny and well-composed idea.

* Alex French and Howie Kahn's oral history of The National, a short-lived sports magazine from the late 80's that managed to employ almost every major sportswriter in America. As a side note, I love the 'oral history' format. Tom Shales and JA Miller's oral history of Saturday Night Live is one of my favourite books of all time. I think I'd read anything written in an oral history format, including an oral history of oral histories. (Bonus: Charles P. Pierce's essay about actually working at The National.)

* Anna Clark's visit to Ty Cobb's old home in Detroit, which blossoms into an examination of Cobb, the city and the relationship between the two.

* Michael Schur and Nate DiMeo watch, and try to understand, a cricket match between India and Pakistan during the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Schur (creator of Parks & Recreation, former 'Office' and 'SNL' writer, and also the co-creator of the 'Fire Joe Morgan' blog) may or may not be a personal hero of mine and is a funny, funny man. Nate DiMeo, sorry buddy, but I've got so many stars in my eyes that I'm going to totally ignore your contributions. You've been Ridgeley'd.

* Brian Phillips' look at FIFA's scandalous history. This almost sounds like the lead-in to a joke. "Boy, that FIFA sure is corrupt." "How corrupt is it?!" "FIFA is so corrupt that people are getting killed over soccer stadiums!"…..okay, well, I didn't claim it was a good joke, did I?

* Kent Russell's brief history of the Stanley Cup, tied together with the Dawson City Nuggets' challenge for the Cup in 1905 against the champion Ottawa Silver Seven. An utterly fascinating piece and probably my favourite of the bunch. This was back in the day when the Stanley Cup wasn't awarded via an annual tournament but was treated more like a championship belt --- challengers would bid to play for the trophy and then travel to the Cup-holders' home arena for the series. As Russell notes in the story, had the Nuggets won the series, that probably would've been it for the Stanley Cup as we know it: "If his team won the Cup, Boyle figured it would remain perched over the bar in his arena forever. Any team that dared challenge him would have had to cross the Chilkoot and Dead Horse passes roped together in antlike columns before walking hundreds of miles up the frozen Yukon River to Dawson City."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big Mac Attack

I haven't been posting much lately but it's been for a good reason. Would you expect Mozart to write a symphony if his favourite piano was out of tune? Da Vinci to paint a masterpiece if he lost his favourite easel? Judge Smails to win a $40,000 golf match without Billy Baroo? Likewise, I've spent the last week recovering after losing my top instrument, my beloved old MacBook. The collapse occurred a week ago today, and if you've ever had a computer suddenly just die out on you, you know how much it sucks.

So within the span of just a couple of hours, I went from a fellow owning a four-year-old MacBook to the proud owner of a brand-new MacBook Pro. It has all kinds of impressive new upgrades over the old model, such as the fact that it has a gray exterior, rather than a black or white one. And I guess it's also faster and has more programs and whatnot, but still, gray! (Editor's note: Mark is a not a computer guy.)

The worst part is that I never had a chance to say goodbye to the old model….well, no, actually, the worst part is that I didn't get a chance to back everything up, since I don't need to say goodbye to an inanimate object. The bright side of owning a Mac is that they're incredibly problem-free, though the downside of that is you also don't really get any indication of when they're suffering some internal problems. There was no gradual slowdown like with my old PCs years ago. It was working fine one day and suddenly dead the next, like John Ritter. I created a backup disc about a year ago so I've got all my *major* stuff saved in some respect, but the trouble is that unless the tech dudes at the store are able to salvage my old hard drive, I'm going to lose a lot of material I've built up over the last year. To wit…

* Fantasy sports stuff. For instance, I'm right in the midst of an ongoing draft for my "historical league" team, where we pick players from the past and run simulated seasons with these players in different stadiums, situations, playing-time arrangements, etc. and see how our teams fare. It is exactly as cool as it sounds, which is not very, but still, now I've lost all my information about my team from our simulated 1985 season! Noooo!

* List of films I've seen this year. Yes, I actually keep a running tally for the sake of my year-end "Markademy Awards" post. I've mostly been able to cobble the list back together thanks to IMBD, and for all the films I've forgotten….well, if I forgot them, they probably weren't fake award-worthy anyway.

* Music. This is probably the biggest one. My entire iTunes library, gone. Only about 20 of the hundreds of songs I had on my computer were actually downloaded, and the rest were copied from actual physical CDs in my collection. It's going to take a hell of a long time to load everything back onto this new laptop, and in some cases, I don't have the original CDs anymore; I just copied the few tracks I enjoyed onto iTunes and then sold the actual discs to a used music store. Also, I had a list of "YouTube songs," or rather a list of singles that I enjoyed and often listened to via YouTube videos with the intention of probably eventually buying them on iTunes. Hindsight being 20/20 I should've just created a YouTube account and saved the videos in a favourites file there, but well, I'm an idiot.

* TV. Nope! I never download or watch television from unlicensed internet sites! I get all my TV by watching it on the networks, thank you very much, or at the very least, stream the shows on official network websites or Hulu! Online TV piracy is for the birds, kids! Only dopes do dope! Moving on….

* Minor writing projects. Thank the lord for procrastination. Had I actually gotten around to starting the novel/play/screenplay that I've been claiming I'll get around to writing for years, I would've been beyond enraged at losing it forever to a computer crash. Fortunately my 'big' projects were all on my backup disc, but over the last year I've still had a few ideas that were in the development stage. By 'development stage,' of course, I mean writing down the one-line synopsis of the idea in a big text file called BIG IDEAS. To be perfectly frank, most of these ideas didn't deserve a file with such a bold title. It's like that old Seinfeld episode where Jerry writes down a punchline that seems hilarious at 2:30 AM but later on he realizes that what he wrote down isn't funny at all. Imagine Jerry wrote that punchline 200 times and you have my BIG IDEAS file.

* Blog posts. This is also part of the reason I hadn't posted in a week. Namely, a few blog ideas I'd scribbled down were lost, lost, lost forever. For instance, my preliminary "Best Survivor players ever, non-winners edition" post will have to be rewritten from scratch. Scratch! How will humanity live without knowing how highly I rank Rob Cesternino's contributions to the game? (Spoiler alert: rather highly.)

So yes, nothing truly catastrophic came of my laptop's death. I'd been thinking of getting a new computer anyway so this just sped up the process. But while this new MacBook Pro seems fantastic, I'll always have a soft spot for my old MacBook non-Pro (MacBook Amateur?). It gave me a lot of good years. I'll definitely have to pour one out for my old homie this evening….though I'll pour the liquor far away from my new system, since I have to buy another fucking computer in the span of a week, I'm going postal in the Mac Store.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Paul Rudd: Marketing Genius

I have a still-in-development theory that Paul Rudd is the most popular actor in the world. Not popular in the sense that all of his movies are instant blockbusters or anything, but rather that I'm not sure any actor is more universally "liked" than Rudd. He's popular with men and women alike, with the added bonus for the ladies (and gay males) that they also find him adorable. Everyone think he's a good actor, but not a great actor; this is a crucial step, since 'great' acting usually inspires quite a few haters. Like, Sean Penn is a great actor but his style of acting inspires some eye-rolling. (This is apart from his political beliefs and his general doucheiness, which also explains why a lot of people hate Sean Penn.) But Rudd is just an above-average, solid performer who can easily shift between dramatic pathos and zany comedy.

This is a long-winded introduction to a pretty simplistic Funny Or Die clip, but maybe that's further proof of my theory. Would I spend a long paragraph on just *any* actor?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Everyone Hates Tiger Woods

Stevie Williams is the toast of the town. To recap his story: Williams was unceremoniously fired from his long-time position as Tiger Woods' caddie a couple of weeks ago. Tiger said he fired Williams in person; Stevie said it took place over the phone. Still, it was stunning that Tiger was parting ways with the caddie who had carried his bag for almost all of his wins and major championships. Williams was open about how disappointed he was with the firing, claiming he'd "wasted two years of his life" defending Woods and how stunned he was that Tiger ended their relationship so abruptly.

Anyway, Stevie got (for the moment) the last laugh. Tiger made his big return to the PGA Tour last week after spending three months recovering from knee and Achilles injuries. He tied for 37th at the Bridgestone Invitational, a pretty middling performance considering he's won this tournament seven times in the past. As for Williams, he had a much better week....or, rather, his new boss did. Williams was hired by Adam Scott* and sure enough, Scott picked up the victory at the Bridgestone. Afterwards, Stevie said that this win meant more to him than any of the others in his career. Quite the dig at Tiger, no question, but also a dig at former bosses like Greg Norman and Ray Floyd, though I'm sure Williams only intended to insult his most recent employer.

* = As I've said many times, if Adam Scott would ever hit a long drive and then turn to the camera and say, "Are we having fun yet?", I would instantly become his biggest fan. I would shut down this blog and re-open it as an Adam Scott tribute site, complete with songs, poems and photoshopped images of Adam Scott inserted into famous moments in world history. "Hey John Hancock, save a bit of room for everyone else, since here's Adam Scott signing the Declaration of Independence!"

The odd outpouring of "yeah, way to stick it to him, Stevie!" running through the sports world leads me to a few conclusions. Firstly, Tiger Woods is apparently a huge asshole. Secondly, the greater golfing world, media and even the fans are hypocrites.

My first conclusion is not exactly an original one. I think if the last two years of scandal have taught us anything, it's that Tiger Woods is quite the douche. Stories and anecdotes about his icy/standoffish/awkward/hyper-competitive behaviour have abounded for years, though that didn't stop him from becoming one of the most popular athletes in the world. The difference is that now, Tiger isn't winning tournaments. One man's "in the zone" is another man's "acting like a dickhead." As the saying goes, it ain't bragging if you can do it, and since Tiger was devoting his life to winning 19 major championships and getting really close to that goal, well, hey, the man is simply doing what he set out to do. If anyone else set out to climb Mount Nicklaus, however, we'd roll our eyes if they suddenly shaped their entire personality towards being a single-minded golf cyborg. If you have an obsession and achieve it, congratulations, you're Alexander The Great. If you fail in your obsession, you're Captain Ahab. You might argue about Alexander's methods, but hey, "Great" is right there in his name, whereas nobody thinks Captain Ahab is a cool guy.

Tiger is such a dick, it seems, that people are forgetting the fact that for much of the last decade-plus, it's been Stevie Williams serving as the bad cop of the Tiger Woods family. Just mere months ago, it was Williams who was considered to be a douche for shushing fans, yelling at cameramen and acting more like Tiger's bodyguard than a caddie. Now, everyone is a Stevie Williams fan just because he showed up Tiger at the Bridgestone. The fans are the least to blame, since I guess for anyone who's been fired, the Scott/Williams victory represents a bit of vicarious joy over getting back at an ex-boss.

For the media and the golfing world, however, the "Tiger Woods Is A Douche" meme requires some introspection. Tiger's douchebaggery did not happen inside a bubble, no matter how private the man was and still is. It was the media, remember, who have championed the idea of Tiger's "single-minded focus on winning" as something to be emulated in all walks of life, not just golf. The Story was how Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer of all time. In the last several months, however, The Story has become Tiger's fall from grace, and thus the knives are out from all sides. Now that Woods is seemingly no longer the PGA Tour's golden goose, the media and larger golfing world are free to crap all over the man.

I'm not saying that this is undeserved, since as I noted, Tiger is an asshole. But man, the chorus of tut-tutting is getting tiresome. I'd reckon that there have been thousands of "Tiger needs to show more respect to the fans, the sport, etc." stories written that fateful night in November 2009 when Tiger's private life exploded, but what I'm interested in are the stories written along those lines BEFORE the scandal. At least a few writers had the balls to call Tiger out on his nonsense back when he was on top of the world, and after years of being accused of eating sour grapes, it turns out those guys were telling the truth.

Perhaps the biggest example of what I'm getting at is in the weeks immediately following the news of Tiger's marital infidelity and his subsequent hiatus from the PGA Tour. Tom Watson, as you would expect, was asked his opinion on what Tiger should do when he returned to playing, and Watson made the obvious point that Woods should be contrite about what he'd done. Then, Watson took a left turn and went off on how Tiger needed to live up to the professional standards of other golfing greats by not swearing or throwing clubs while on the course. This statement, if anything, told me that Tom Watson himself was also probably an asshole. This wasn't advice, this was Watson's pet peeve for the last 13 years, though only at Tiger's lowest ebb did he suddenly get the stones to bring it up.

It's very, very easy to take shots at Tiger Woods right now, as Stevie Williams showed in his post-victory interview. But, let's also take a moment to remember why Williams was being interviewed in the first place, since you see post-victory chats with caddies about as often as you see a pig fly. Woods is still the straw that stirs the PGA Tour's drink, a status that he achieved both by his incredible record and the fact that since 1996, the Tour and its media partners have been focused on hyping Woods as much as humanly possible since it meant money in the bank. Everyone seemed to know Tiger was an asshole in 2000-01 when he won four straight majors. Everyone seemed to know he was an asshole when he won the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Why is it that now, when Tiger isn't winning tournaments, that his being an asshole is suddenly an issue?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Random Nonsense

I'm out at a restaurant last week when what do I see but a man in an Antonio Banderas baseball cap. I'll repeat that again -- an Antonio Banderas baseball cap. A regular black cap, with Banderas' name written across it in a script font. To boot, 'Antonio Banderas' was also stitched into the sides of the hat. At first I thought it was some sort of a reference to one of Banderas' films, like, this guy was part of the technical crew for "Assassins" and received a hat with the names of the stars written on it. But no, it was just a hat that was straight-up celebrating the life and times of Spain's greatest contribution to the world of film.*

* = This isn't close to being true, but whatever, I don't want to break the flow of the post.

What a stunning development. Had I seen a nine-year-old girl wearing a Justin Bieber t-shirt, I wouldn't have blinked an eye. If I saw a grown man in a Dion Phaneuf jersey, okay, still no problem, since you're celebrating someone in a socially-normal way, wearing his signature garb. But man, an Antonio Banderas hat? What was the thought process here?

"Man, I sure do enjoy Antonio Banderas' movies. What a fine actor --- and by all accounts, a fine gentleman, to boot. If only there was some way I could publicly express my appreciation for him. Oh well, I'll worry about this later. I'll just keep passing my time browsing the shelves of this hat store. What a wide selection of HOLY FUCK I FOUND AN ANTONIO BANDERAS HAT! WHERE IS MY CREDIT CARD?!"

See, even that scenario seems odd since that would imply that a company is producing Banderas-centic hats, presumably as part of a line celebrating several other second-tier film stars. Could I get a JK Simmons hat if I so desired? An Amy Adams scarf? A pair of Willem Dafoe sneakers? Is this yet another fashion trend that I've completely missed the boat on, or is it not too late for me to buy a pair of Joe Pantoliano pants, a.k.a. Joey Pants Pants?

N.B. If I were Antonio Banderas and I came across a guy wearing this hat, I would be freaked out.


Personal hero Michael Schur (Parks & Recreation creator, former Office writer, FJM co-creator) sat down with the Onion AV Club to discuss P&R's third season, including a step-by-step look at each episode. It is thoroughly awesome. The interview was broken into four parts -- here's the link to the fourth part, which contains links to the first three sections. Am I seriously too lazy to insert the other three links myself? Yes. Yes I am.


Speaking of laziness, here's a link to another compilation. The Big Lead recently collected YouTube links of some of the greatest soccer goals of all time and really, since they were already nicely collected in one spot like this, who am I to include the links myself? It would be downright rude. I'll embed just one, this bit of cheeky brilliance from Robinho.


Is there a more thoroughly mediocre food than the fortune cookie? Who eats these things and thinks, "Mmm, that hit the spot" afterwards? The inventors of the fortune cookie clearly realized this, which is why they came up with the gimmick of inserting a fortune in the first place.

Because fortune cookies are so bad, people can't even be bothered to open the fortune anyway and pass them on to someone else in their dinner party. Say this person cracks it open and reads the fortune -- is this the future of the person who actually cracked the cookie, or is it the future of the person who originally had possession of the cookie in the first place? It sounds like a mere logistical question, but people's lives are at stake here, people! I think this should've been O.J.'s defense. "Your Honour, I certainly didn't want to kill Nicole and Ron, but the cookie said this was my fortune. Little did I know that this was actually Kato's cookie in the first place!"

So, to recap, that was a very Seinfeldian observation followed by an O.J. joke. This post may have been written in 1996.


And, since this is 1996, let's get right to discussing this Tito Ortiz-headlined UFC card. Since the show is beginning literally as I post this, I'll just give my quick picks without any real analysis. After all, the analysis will be wrong anyway, so why bust my ass on this?

Main Card
* Jorge Rivera over Constantinos Philippou, TKO, first round
* Dennis Hallman over Brian Ebersole, submission, first round
* Yoshihiro Akiyama over Vitor Belfort, decision
* Rory MacDonald over Mike Pyle, submission, third round
* Rashad Evans over Tito Ortiz, decision

* Alexander Gustafsson over Matt Hamill, KO, third round
* Mike Brown over Nam Phan, KO, second round
* Paul Bradley over Rafael "Not The Tennis Player" Natal, decision
* Nick Pace over Ivan Menjivar, decision
* Chad Mendes over Rani Yahya, decision
* Mike Pierce over Johny Hendricks, decision

Thursday, August 04, 2011

"Headline Should've Read, 'Spare Tire Crushes Unidentified White Man At Goal Line.' "

Charles "Bubba" Smith is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, has a retired jersey at Michigan State, was the first overall pick in the 1967 NFL draft, made two Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Colts, appeared in several TV shows, commercials and films as himself and in other roles, perhaps most famously starring as Officer Hightower in the 'Police Academy' series.

But to me, Bubba Smith will always be.....Spare Tire Dixon. I still use that "dropped you like third period French" line on a startlingly regular basis, despite the fact that I took French through my third year of high school. C'est vrai!

RIP Bubba

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"I'm A Stupid Cat"

I was a proud cat owner for years but while watching this video, let's just say the #nodsknowingly hashtag was out in full effect. Though my cat was at least smart enough to recognize both his name and the word 'cat,' which I believe he attempted to speak. GENIUS.