Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Random Nonsense

You know you're old when....during a discussion about Will Smith's music career, your roommate asks "Who's DJ Jazzy Jeff?"  Yikes.  I suddenly felt about 80 years old.  My roommate did know DJ3 (as all the cool kids call him) from his role as Jazz on Fresh Prince, of course, but even still, man.  Is this what 50-somethings feel like when our generation recalls O.J. Simpson only from the murder trial?  My dad does this sometimes --- he has literally said sentences like, "It was terrible how he killed those people…but man, O.J. was a GREAT running back."

I may or may not be writing a version of Amadeus starring Will Smith as Mozart as DJ Jazzy Jeff as Salieri. 


Women Laughing Alone With Salad.  Note that they're 'alone,' since you don't win friends with salad.


I've always been pretty modest about my singing voice, but I got a great compliment about it the other day.  I was called a 'male Adele.'  Wow!

It happened when I was sitting in a Quizno's, enjoying a pair of chicken carbonara subs.  I'd skipped lunch, so I was just chowing down, chomping away at them two-handed, making these loud lip-smacking/grunting noises* as bacon bits cascading off the sandwiches and onto my shirt.  I guess it drew attention, since another patron at the restaurant turned around in his chair, looked at me, and said "Way to go to town on those subs, Adele!"

I guess he must've recognized me from a karaoke night or something.  How about that!

* = 'Ford Noises,' as we Torontonians call them


Another batch of quality stories from the good folks at Grantland over the last few months.  To the links!

* Jordan Conn chronicles South Dakota State's run through their conference tournament to qualify for this year's March Madness.  I'm sure you could do one of these for just about every small school that gets into the Big Dance, but Conn really does a superlative job here.

* Chuck Klosterman on tUnE-yArDs, a somewhat-heralded indy music act whose day in the sun has probably already passed just as soon as hipsters got "over it."  Klosterman's circular argument writing style actually fits this premise well, given that he's essentially saying that Tuneyards (I'm not going the quirky spelling again, sorry) is destined to become a jokey cultural touchstone, no matter how good or bad their music actually may be.  Like, a "hey, remember the 10's?" kind of thing.  I'm guilty of this myself.  I'll hear something like Meredith Brooks' "Bitch" on the radio and think "Ha, this used to be a hit!  Wacky!" all the while not changing the channel and, in fact, singing along since I somehow remember all the lyrics. 

* James Verini looks at Bernard Hopkins, one of the more underrated completely fascinating athletes of our time.  To summarize, Hopkins  went from a five-year prison sentence to becoming one of the best boxers of all time, and is still arguably the best light-heavyweight in the game at age…..47!  Good lord!

*Brian Phillips retells the seems-like-an-urban legend-but-true story of Tom Molineaux and the first super-fight in boxing history.  It happened in a makeshift ring set up in a field in Copthorn, England, in 1840.  This is my favourite piece of the bunch and possibly my favourite article Grantland has published in their near-year online.  Man, why is boxing so much more fun to read about than it is to actually watch?


Just to get a Masters pick down before the event begins, I'll go with "the field."  As in, someone besides Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson will win the green jacket.  Non-golf fans may see this as a pretty safe bet given how I'm picking 100 guys against three, but trust me, those three will absorb at least 90 percent of the media coverage at Augusta this week. 

Picking the field is also somewhat of a spiteful move towards the golf media, easily the most blatant "I hate writing about this" group within sportswriting.  If you end up with two small-market teams in, say, the Stanley Cup Final, that will be a storyline but by and large, writers will just focus on the games.  In golf, however, any underdog victory will be largely ignored by writers who are upset they couldn't fall back on a "more interesting" storyline.

Take last year's Masters, for example.  It was one of the craziest Sunday finishes in history, with about 10 guys all jostling for the lead, Saturday leader McIlroy having a legendary collapse and Woods tying for the lead at one point and looking like his old self before fading down the stretch.  The post-tournament stories focused almost entirely on McIlroy and Woods.  The actual winner?  Charl Schwartzel, who, while not a big name, birdied the last four holes to capture the title.  I'll repeat that again, he BIRDIED THE LAST FOUR HOLES TO WIN THE MASTERS.  Can you imagine if Tiger, Rory or Phil had done this?  They would've erected a statue to them on the spot.  Rather than focus on this great story, however, Schwartzel's victory was basically just a footnote to the greatest Tiger-and-Rory drama. 

I'm pulling for Schwartzel to win again, just for the hell of it.  Or Angel Cabrera, who is making a career of being a killjoy of "most interesting" major storylines (Jim Furyk winning in his home state at the 2007 U.S. Open, old man Kenny Perry winning the 2009 Masters).  Or Mike Weir, just because I believe in miracles and Weir winning the Masters again would be one of the biggest miracles in….well, let's just say human history.


I've tried really hard to get #ByronPickupLines as a trending topic on Twitter, but either a) not enough Byronians are on Twitter or b) not enough Byronians are familiar with a local bakery.

Anyway, the line is "Hey baby, I work at the Guns-A-Plenty."  Then you flex.

I didn't say it was a GOOD pickup line.


Here's a very cool time-lapse of most of the "through the window" scenes from Rear Window (minus the most famous one for, I guess, spoiler purposes). 

Rear Window is almost certainly my favourite Hitchcock film, though I'm willing to think about Psycho because of Anthony Perkins' performance.  Admittedly, as much as I admire Hitchcock as a filmmaker, I do find that some of his movies are jussssst a little too dated.  "North by Northwest" kind of goes off the rails by the end, and I'll turn in my film student street cred right now by saying that I didn't even enjoy "Vertigo."

During my first-year film studies course, our professor quite famously lost it on our entire class (a near auditorium-full of 200-odd students) since most of us were openly laughing throughout Vertigo.  Now, this prof was one of the more laid-back guys you'll ever meet, so clearly our mockery of this beloved film classic really was just the last straw.  In fairness, if I was a teacher and showed "A Fish Called Wanda" to my students and they didn't find it hilarious, I'd probably re-institute rulers across the knuckles by the next class.

As it happened, Rear Window was also screened during that course and everyone totally loved it.  There were literal gasps of terror amidst the students during…er, how can I avoid the spoilers….the scene when a certain character looks up?  It was a fantastic reaction.  The only dated moment came during the super-cheesy fall from the window, but that was okay since it only happened in the closing minute of the film. 

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