Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Summertime means movietime.

Summertime is here and what that means for those of us who watch entirely too much TV, the network TV seasons are finished with no new shows until the fall. I am now forced to actually do something constructive or find something else to watch on TV. I have chosen the latter and I’ll make my summer, a summer of movies. I don’t necessarily mean summer theater blockbusters. Blockbusters that cost as much to see them as it did to make them, no I mean movies on my beloved DISH TV. I am speaking specifically about Turner Classic Movies and The Fox Movie Channel, with a dash of AMC and Independent Film Channel thrown in for good measure. Why do I love my DISH TV so? Because I have DVR capabilities and I can record movies without having to deal with stupid tapes, another reason is that DISH TV gives all movies a star rating. I know what movies, according to DISH TV, are the best movies to watch. I used to watch every 3 star movie that sounded interesting to me, but that was more than I could handle. So I now try to watch 3+ and 4 star movies that interest me and even some that don’t interest me.

I am trying to watch all the movies on the AFI top 100 years, 100 movies list. I am not hurtling through the list with the end in sight, but at 58 out of 100, I am making progress. I don’t want you to think that because I normally watch pre-1980 movies that I am a movie snob, on the contrary, I like stupid movies as much as I like great movies. The Big Lebowski is one of the greatest ever made, and that movie is not seen as a 4 star classic.

Why am I telling you this crap? Well, I thought that maybe I would give you a movie pick from time to time, a personal recommendation of a movie that I enjoyed and that I think you might enjoy. With that being said, I have two for you this week.

My first pick is The Longest Yard. Now, before you get ready to head to the theater, I am speaking of the classic movie, the original version starring Burt Reynolds. I watched it this past weekend and it is a movie that just gets better and better after every viewing. Burt Reynolds is the star and for about 5 to 10 years, he was THE STAR in Hollywood and one of my favorites. He is tough and cool, and except for the silly laugh, he is the perfect Hollywood star.

Reynolds plays a former quarterback who gets into some trouble with the law and is sent to prison. This is a prison that happens to have a semi pro football team made up of the prison guards. The warden wants Reynolds to coach the team, but Reynolds refuses and ends up putting together a team of inmates to take on the guards.

This movie has it all. It has a nice little car chase. It has all the elements of both a prison movie and a sports movie. If it only had a few naked women, it would be the greatest movie of all time. The acting isn’t exactly Oscar winning, but if you enjoy Burt Reynolds or sports, you will enjoy this flick. I haven’t seen the remake starring Adam Sandler in the Burt Reynolds role, but I find it hard to believe that Sandler can pull this off. I have to believe that the role has been changed a little to accommodate Sandler, but in any case, I plan on checking the remake out soon. I can’t envision the remake even coming close to the original, it’s that good.

My second pick is the movie called Charade. It stars the man who I believe to be the biggest and best star in movie history, Cary Grant. Audrey Hepburn also stars with Grant in a movie that has both equal parts mystery and comedy. Sounds like a strange combination, but it works. Audrey Hepburn is a widow whose husband, Charlie, has been murdered. Before his death, Charlie auctioned everything they owned and collected $250,000. Audrey Hepburn has no clue as to the whereabouts of this money. Money that everyone and their brother seem to be after.

This movie works as a romantic comedy and a great whodunit. The cast is great even beyond Grant and Hepburn. Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy co star in this movie and that is a great cast. I don’t know about you, but I find that I have a hard time not trying to figure a mystery out, so instead of just enjoying the movie, I am trying to figure things out before the characters. This movie is so good that I figured things out right at the same time as the characters. It is smart and funny.

This movie was also remade, and while I don’t know for sure that The Longest Yard remake is a hunk of crap, I do know that the remake of Charade is a hunk of crap. The remake was titled The Truth about Charlie and it starred Mark Wahlberg in the Grant role and Thandie Newton in the Hepburn role. By all means, avoid this movie. It has none of the charm of the original and it makes you wonder why anyone would release a movie this bad after the original was so good. The one good thing about The Truth about Charlie is that the DVD comes packaged with Charade. I recommend renting or buying the remake to watch the original, it will be worth it.

Curses, foiled again.

I'm not an overly superstitious person. I am not afraid of black cats, I have no problem opening an umbrella indoors, I will freely walk under any ladder I see, and I have no fear of Friday the thirteenth or the number 13 for that matter. I also do not believe in curses. Curses are just someone's way to explain bad luck, when bad luck is just simply life. That is the rational way to feel, superstitions are just a load of humbug.

Now, when it comes to watching sports, I have many different and irrational feelings. Feelings such as being able to control a game by what I do while watching said game. Feeling as though I can help my team win a game or the opposing team lose a game. For example: I believe that when commercials come on during a game in which my team is playing, that whether I stay on that channel or flip through the stations during the break, it will somehow help or hurt my team. I do not know which it will do until I try. Things like that seem irrational now, but in the heat of a game, you will do anything possible to help your interests.

As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe in curses. Curses to me always bring to mind the image of a witch standing over a bubbling cauldron or Snidley Whiplash, for those of you who are Dudley Do-Right fans. After the Red Sox won the World Series I thought that that was definitive proof there were no such things as curses. I believed that until a few days ago. I was checking out a ballgame on TV, enjoying my holiday weekend. What team was I watching? Well, the Chicago Cubs of course.

The Chicago Cubs, two words that cannot be used together without thinking of curses. The Cubs have not won a World Series championship since 1908, the longest drought for any team in baseball. The Billy Goat Curse is said to be the reason for this run of luck. The Billy Goat Curse is the most famous of curses in the sporting world. Apparently during a 1945 Chicago Cubs World Series game a man was ejected from Wrigley Field. Why I’m sure he must have done something to deserve this, and he did. This jackass was planning to share this playoff experience with his beloved billy goat. I don't have to tell you that the Wrigley Field officials didn't like the idea, so they kicked him and his goat out. That man then proceeded to curse the Cubs. He claimed that the Cubs would never win the World Series again. That is a pretty good steak of bad luck, if curses do not exist.

As I said I did not believe in curses, until that fateful day when I was enjoying a Cubs game. The Cubs best pitcher and what some Cubs fans deem the baseball savior, Mark Prior was pitching against the lowly Colorado Rockies. He was motoring along until he caught a comebacker. A comebacker is a ball that is hit right back at the pitcher, and I mean right back at the pitcher. Did I mention he caught this sharply hit ball with his elbow? Well, he did. He fractured his elbow and is now on the disabled list. I am not a Cubs fan per se, but I have watched the Cubs struggle and flail as if they were the castaways on Gilligan's Island. The castaways would figure out a way to escape the island only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and remain until they eventually had to turn to cannibalism to survive. Or something like that. Anyway the Cubs are the same way. Every year they think they have a shot at the playoffs and every year their raft seems to sink.

Possibly the last best shot they had to destroy the curse was in 2003 when they had the best pitching staff in the National League and a great hitting team and were just 5 outs away from the World Series. Some might say that is the exact time that the curse came into play and cost them that chance at the World Series in the bespectacled, geeky form of Steve Bartman. Bartman was the guy who interfered in what some say was a catchable foul ball by knocking the ball away form Moises Alou and thus ending the Cubs hopes for a championship and Bartman’s chance at living a stress free life. Of course it had to be the curse, right? It couldn’t have been that the Cubs went into a total defensive collapse after that play, no, it had to be a curse.

And that is how I felt until I saw Prior rolling around on the ground clutching his elbow. He was a true life picture of all the Cubs woes. He was motoring along, pitching a great game and then something that couldn’t happen again in a hundred chances happens. The Cubs have lost Sammy Sosa, they have lost Kerry Wood and Mark Prior for extended amounts of time this year, and if not for Derrick Lee, they wouldn’t score more than 2 runs a game. The Cubs are horrible even when they should be contenders; the Cubs have no chance, even when they look like the best team in baseball. They always seem to find someway to sink their raft.

The real sad thing about all this is that the fans used to love the Cubs as losers, they didn’t care if they won the World Series or not. The Cubs fans were just happy to be at the ballpark and were happy to be able to enjoy baseball, win or lose. Now that the Cubs have got the stink of contention on them over these last few seasons, what used to be lovable has now become loathed. The Cubs are now being booed and doom and gloom has taken a much bigger grip on the city of Chicago. I did not believe in curses until just recently, but in Chicago, it has been a way of life for 60 years and it doesn’t appear to be lifting anytime soon.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A tidal wave of crap...

While most of you were sleeping off the usual Sunday night party, I had to work today. Mostly against my will, but someone has to do it and if it's not me it literally isn't going to be anyone else.

I noticed some unusually heavy traffic flow on the road into town and I heard some rumblings of a tractor-trailer accident up on the main highway just outside of the city limits while I was waiting for our beloved Memorial Day parade to start. I snapped off a few photos and got another "grip and grin" photo that was so rudely scheduled for 10 a.m. on a national holiday and then I was off to see what the accident was.

As it turns out, the local landfill is a popular facility for not only our own garbage, but most everyone else's garbage in the southern states and eastern seaboard.

This particular semi was on it's way up from Nashville. It was carrying what is commonly referred to as sludge. While sludge is a pretty loose term since oil and grease is sometimes referred to as sludge, in this particular instance "sludge" was a somewhat nicer term for raw human sewage.

What caused this particular accident that ended with a large amount of "sludge" washing over the highway was that the driver apparently wasn't paying as much attention to the car in front of him as he should have. On that particular stretch of road it's mostly residential even though it is a busy highway. I'm sure he never assumed that anyone would stop and turn into one of the houses.

Come to find out, one person did in fact have to stop and turn into one of the houses or perhaps the oddly placed carpet outlet just south of town.

Since he wasn't paying very much attention, the driver had to brake very hard to try and keep his truck and its contents from becoming one with the passenger vehicle ahead of him.

This is the point in the story where everyone assumes that the truck jack knifes out of control and causes a horrendous crash, but this is not the case.

You see when he slammed on his brakes the contents of his trailer, being somewhat semi-solid and fluid-like, had the natural tendency to shift forward very rapidly. This is something that is expected to happen when a hard braking incident occurs.

However, when your trailer full of raw human sewage has nothing enclosing its top, it becomes a tidal wave of crap.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Our money found a good home at Haverty's today

For about a year now, JENNIFER and I have been passively searching for living room and bedroom furniture. Today, the search is over. We finally found, after some discussion and 4 hours of our life we'll never get back, a bedroom suit and living room furniture. The living room furniture is a sofa, chair and ottoman. It has fitted deep brown leather, we like it a lot. The bedroom furniture is dark brown, a sleigh bed with assorted dressers. Of the two beds on the website, it is the top one.

Piccu and Bratch can already begin to claim seats for the greatest Halloween movie marathon of all time.

Friday, May 27, 2005

My wife?

As "my husband" and I scanned the numerous postings of this wonderfully intellectual blog, one thing constantly grabbed my attention. I was alarmed by the many uses of the phrase, "my wife" by Merlin. When I refer to my significant other in the terms "my husband," there seems to be somewhat of a underlying condescending tone. So why would Merlin constantly refer to her as "my wife??" We all know her name!!


Hope all is well and good luck with the move!!

Bluegrass Music from across the pond...

Every now and again, through my job, I get a chance to meet some very nice people and today was one of those days.

Around 11 a.m. this morning, myself and the paper's intern rolled up to the metropolis of Rosine, Kentucky to interview a bluegrass band. Now we have God knows how many bluegrass bands in the county/area/region, but this one was different.

The band's name is the Morris Boys and they are here from England making a pilgrimage to the birthplace of bluegrass music, which everyone knows is Rosine, Kentucky. Population: 50.

So we met up with them at The Barn where they'll be playing tonight and visited with them for a good long while. We were looking at getting in and out in less than an hour to catch up with our editor for lunch, but before we knew it we had been there for over 2 hours discussing music, British politics, soccer and more music.

Dave and Glen Morris formed the band and did a lot of the talking while Jerry the fiddle player rolled his cigarettes in between stories. Their mandolin player stood off to the side and played the entire time so we had a sound track.

Not only were they some really nice guys, but they just love their music. It doesn't seem like they make much money, if any, in playing, but they have a passion for it. It seems like they put all of their efforts into going out and playing. They didn't say that they did much of any recording so they just play for the love of it and that's something that lost in many forms of music these days.

Most people won't stick with music unless they can make a living at it. These guys made their living so that they could have the luxury of playing the music that they love. They spoke about when Bill Monroe was in England playing and how thousands of people would be dead silent during the songs trying to figure out how they played that music like they did.

That's the funny thing about Bluegrass music, there isn't really any sheet music for it and you'd be surprised that probably 3/4's of the people that play it couldn't read sheet music if their lives depended on it. They just figure out how to play, just like the Morris Boys did.

You could tell that they really loved being in Rosine. They said that they liked how it hadn't changed since the last time they were there 4 or 5 years ago. Glen even said he would love to able to move to a place like Rosine. They all love the southern hospitality around here.

I've linked the title of this post to the British Bluegrass Music Association of which Dave Morris is a representative for one of England's southern regions.

It's about 3:15 in the afternoon at the moment and they'll be taking the stage at around 8. If I'm not side tracked I hope to head up that way and hear them play some more. Of course I'll have to get there at 6 be able to get in.

We are talking about "The Barn" in Rosine, Kentucky here. It's the happenin' place to be on Friday night.


I did so happen to make it to Rosine for their set. I got there around 7:30 since they were going on at 8 and I had to park a block away. Of course being Rosine that meant I was about 40 yards from the stage.

Anyway, they did not disappoint. They certainly weren't wasting anyone's time when they hit the stage. Everyone tried to get their picture so flashbulbs were going off pretty regularly and they got more applause than most anyone else. They're all wonderful musicians and I hope to see them again while they are on their little vacation here in the county.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Either be trained or be rich, we don't really care...

Apparently, the Miami Heat's often injured center Shaquille O'Neal is rich enough to be a cop. And a damn good cop.

For those of you who don't know, in this country, in order to be a police detective you must endure a lot of physical training along with class room work and years of on the job training to procure the skills needed to catch criminals. However, if you are really, really, really wealthy, all you have to do is catch a whim like Shaq and run to the local sheriff's office and declare yourself on the clock.

I don't know about you, but that scares me. I'm glad he's not playing ball anywhere near me. Celebrities like to do this a lot. They love to go on police drug raids and generally get into things that they wanted to do when they were kids. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line they decided that they'd rather be famous and make more in a year than an average policeman would make in a lifetime.

Personally, if I knew that my tax dollars were being used to entertain Shaq with the boys in blue, I'd be pretty upset. They say, in the article I linked in the title, that he's helping look for internet predators and that he would make a great undercover cop.

First of all, he's 7-foot-1 and weighs about 350 pounds. I'd love to see him "blend" in. Second of all, I wouldn't want to know that the cops are devoting any of their attention to showing him how they track internet predators instead putting all of their focus on getting the job done.

If any old Joe Blow walked in off the street and said, "Hey, show me what you do so that I can join in the fun," he'd be laughed out of the police station. Instead, Shaq will be a certified cop before too long and could legally carry a .40 caliber automatic pistol and make real arrests. Too bad a nasty bruise on his thigh will put him on workman's comp for 2 weeks.

I'm glad I don't plan on travelling to Florida.

The biggest problem I have with all of this is that Shaq said that when he's done "playing" (he never really said if that meant done playing basketball or done playing "cops and robbers") that he planned on being an undercover cop or a sheriff somewhere.

Yeah, that'll happen. This is also coming from a basketball player who once said in an interview that he didn't like losing because he had won at every level despite the fact that he never anything in high school or college and at the time I'm not sure he had even won an NBA championship.

I can honestly see Shaq becoming a sheriff possibly. All he has to do is get elected and that won't be too hard. Since sheriff's don't technically have to be trained to do anything but collect taxes, I'd say he's a shoe in. That county would probably be the only county without a real cop as a sheriff, but who needs training when you got money.

I've always said that.

Now for something different...

So this morning I'm getting prepared to head off to work and I'm flipping through the channels on the satellite. I think I landed on the History channel and they were discussing some things about tunnel rats the Vietnam War. Well, this reminded me of a website I stumbled upon a few years ago.

Now when I say stumbled, I literally mean I just happened across it. I have no idea what caused me to land on it, but I did. It is linked in the title of this post.

Anyway, this website revolved around a certain group of soldiers in Mike and H&S Companies during the Vietnam War. I guess they were trying to get in contact with each other again and having just looked at the site, that is exactly what they've done.

Some of the guys who had made contact with whoever posted the site have written some stories and memoirs about their tours in Vietnam. And these are stories of things that movie producers dream of. The things they speak of happening to them are unreal and I'm sure quite painful to re-tell.

Having just found the site again just a few minutes ago makes we want to read them all over again. And I'm not really much of a reader, but these stories are amazing.

About a dozen stories by Mike McFerrin are particularly powerful. Like the website says, McFerrin's story called First Firefight is unreal. What's amazing about these stories is the detail that is burned into their brain that they can conjure up in an instant.

Some of the stories on this site you'll find yourself reading with your jaw on the floor.

Lost and Alias left us something to think about over the summer.

Sweeps have come to an end for the networks and they ended with mystery, a surprise, and a bang. Lost continued its formula for gripping television by just giving us enough to keep us interested. We saw a continuation of flashbacks of the main characters and what they were doing prior to take off and how many of them came into contact with each other with most of them not remembering such events. The only question I have about these flashbacks are where is Michelle Rodriguez? Did she come on a for a one time cameo and a paycheck or will we see her on the island next fall?

The boys on the raft left us with the more satisfying cliffhanger when they encountered “the others.” Walt was taken and the rest were left to die. I am going to assume they all will survive and next season’s big plotline will be the search for Walt. The less satisfying cliffhanger was the blowing of “the hatch.” The hatch turned out to be a hole. Where does the ladder lead? To Hell? To “the others?” To China? We may never find out. That is what scares me most about Lost. All shows no matter how good they are, no matter how many viewers it brings in, all show come to an end. It would be a shame to have all these plotlines and questions out there and have Lost cancelled. I know they are definitely back for next season, but what about 5 years from now? Can they keep this up or will they have a run like The Sopranos or the BBC’s The Office? Does J.J. Abrams have a set number of seasons he wants to complete to wrap up everything and then ride off into the sunset? Only time will tell. All in all, I thought Lost was an excellent show. I understand the slow buildup, the flashbacks to give us a sense of who these people are and a reason to care about what happens to them. I can take a slow burn as long as it leads to a good payoff and I thought Lost did that this season. We know these people and next season should be less about their backgrounds and more about the island. One more thing, how cool was Art’s exit from the show? Brilliant.

American Idol wrapped up last night with an upset, as Carrie Underwood beat Bo Bice (frankly, it sounds made up). I was somewhat surprised, but we all know that both of them will get their own deal and last night’s final was a formality. In the future this may ruin the show. Why should people watch or vote if both of the finalists get the prize? Besides, the best shows are with the morons who come on and make asses of themselves.

On to my favorite of the shows last night and possibly my favorite finale this TV season (although Medium’s finale was pretty good). Alias was an action packed hour, as usual, and ended with a bang. What did we learn? Well, finally a Derevco sister is really dead (or so we think). We found out that during an end of the world crisis we can still find time to discuss future wedding plans and accept a proposal. We also found out that next season should be as good as this past season. Alias ended with Vaughn disclosing to Sydney that he had to tell her something and that it may make him a bad guy. Then the crash happened. I have to admit all four of us nearly shat ourselves and we all agreed that it was a very satisfying cliffhanger that left us wanting more, even more so than Lost. I hope it pays off because the lead up was excellent.

It was a good night for ABC and I can’t wait for Lost and Alias to come back next season. The biggest question for both shows are can they continue to draw good ratings at different time slots next season? Can Alias beat Joey and The O.C. in the ratings? Because we know that it can’t beat Survivor. I hope it will do well and continue on for many seasons. TV is over for a few months and ABC left us something to think about until fall.

If Scwarzenegger becomes president, he needs to look no further for his Surgeon General

Apparently, Tom Cruise, in addition to delivering impudent lines and looking cool in sun glasses, has developed a flare for treating post-partum (the time following pregnancy for you now medical people) depression. Cruise recently bashed Brooke Shields new book discussing her use of the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) for treating post-partum depression. Thanks Tom, the boys down in the research lab can cut out early today, looks like "vitamins" will do the trick. This is what happens when Cruise is allowed to discuss anything besides his next movie or his love life; Katie Holmes is losing cool points fast by the way. News flash Katie: when your boyfriend mentions going to hangout with the other scientologist-- run.

For many of you, you may have never heard of the long history scientology and psychiatry has. The apostle L. Ron Hubbard, was found making many accusation that mental health professionals were using ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) and pre-frontal lobotomy (a surgery once thought to treat schizophrenia effectively), both as methods to control people not in line with the whatever political view to control the world they were said to follow. Hmmm.... we do have a word for that in psychiatry: delusional.

A word on post partum depression (PPD). It happens in 10-15% of new mommies. The risk is much higher if she has had it before, been depressed without pregnancy before, a family history, negative life events around the delivery of the baby, or a lack of social support. PPD increases the risk of the mother hurting herself or the infant (both directly or through negligence). The preferred treatment is pre-emptive antidepressant use at the end of the pregnancy in women with risk factors and psychotherapy. Despite the fact that Tom is right in saying that theories currently lean toward a causation related to hormonal level, few studies support treating depression with hormones. Absolutely none support vitamin usage for PPD treatment ( unless you are niacin, vit B12, or thiamine deficient).

Never take advice from any ever known as Iceman.

JJ Abrams is a jackass

I did just read Bratch's review and I do completely agree with the whole Alias analysis. That was one of the best cliffhangers to date. The lulling music and then the big finish caught me so off guard it both literally and figuratively threw me off the couch. I was dissappointed when the whole zombie part of the show came into play. I liked that better when it was called Dawn of the Dead. Overall, Alias regained some of the points that I thought it was slowly losing.

As for the title of the post, the only thing that is LOST is the two hours I spent watching this episode. First off, there were so many commercials that it seemed like an hour episode with an extra hour of commercials interspersed. I admit a few mysteries were solved, but if it could have gotten them into the hatch it would have been much better for me. Essentially, I think that hatch aspect of the show had no surprise and was a let down to end on that. The part on the boat was pretty great, on the otherhand, as well as the necessary build up with the black smoke. Another cool part involved the science teacher and a stick of dynamite. I felt that the entire flashback scenario of them getting on the plane wasted a lot of time and could have better been approached by including that throughout the season. Then, I would have used the extra time to take the hatch a little further.

Abrams if you are reading this (along with the other millions we have daily); here is some advice:
1. You take brilliant scenarios and drag them out far, far too much. Close off certain doors in the plot then open completely new doors in other areas (you did this tonight on Alias, coming back from an inferior third and partially fourth season in many aspects)
2. Utilize hot chicks fighting more. (this is primarily Lost but Alias could never have too much)
3. Tone down the sentimental stuff; it isn't your strong suit.
4. Please see point #1 it deserves to be repeated.

Ok, maybe jackass was too harsh. I loved Alias and think Lost could have been better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The final round of season finales

Tonight marks the final night of season finales. For me at least. The final two shows are Lost and Alias and fully expect the final episode of Lost to be the best ever because they should progress the story a bit more.

The only problem I really have with Lost is that they have a different storyline going for a dozen characters. And everyone on the island has an outrageous back story, but no one really knows why and the writers aren't even giving suble hints as to why that might be.

Lost is a bit frustrating, but it's entertaining. I don't make time to watch it but Piccu and I do go over to some friends' house to watch it along with Alias.

Alias on the other hand is quite possibly the best show on TV. Spy stuff with a hot chick? What's not to like?

My friends and I have been on board with Alias since day one. It's way different now than it used to be, but now instead of having two or three issues hanging out all the time along with the main story, now they have a main story and the things that are hanging out are usually buttoned up in the same episode. For the most part they've created single story episode and then sometimes later in the season they'll tie them together. So they are in fact following a big story, but it's not nearly as difficult to follow as it used to be.

When Alias first debuted it was tough to jump in if you hadn't seen every episode from the beginning.

Anyway, I don't watch enough TV anyway and since all of these shows will be in reruns I'll be on the net even more than before.

I'm glad to see that Merlin is adding links left and right and I've check out most of them. I really dig Shrinkette's. It has some nice photos and is entertaining. I have noticed that Merlin is indeed jumping into this psychiatry thing with both feet since most of the blogs he's linked are psychiatry based.

I'm hoping that he knows these people, but I don't really know. I would like to be able to add a link to some friends of mine and Piccu, but they aren't exactly as ahead of the game technologically as we are.


Lost ended pretty solidly and we all pretty much enjoyed it. Alias on the other hand was completely and totally awesome in the way it ended making America's sweetheart Lost look like child's play.

Audioslave is very good, but not "super."

When a rock group is labeled a “supergroup,” I have found a couple of simple truths. A “supergroup” never seems to live up to the moniker and most of the music they produce is good but not up to the caliber you might suspect. Another thing I have learned, a “supergroup” is not going to be long for this world, whether the egos become too large to keep in check or other projects come up, they usually don’t last more than a few records.

The latest “supergroup” to form is Audioslave. The remaining members of Rage Against the Machine and the lead singer of Soundgarden formed a band a couple years ago and have now come out with their second release entitled "Out of Exile." While it is a very good album, it is not a great album, as is the case with most “supergroups.” “Supergroups” rarely live up to the hype and Audioslave is no different.

Most of the songs seem to have a laid back quality to them with only a few “rockers.” I kept waiting for a pure rocker to blow me away, and besides “The Worm,” I really never got it. I did enjoy most all of the songs, but they were not hard charging or punishing like many Rage songs tended to be. The “Rage” in Audioslave seems to have abated and lead singer Chris Cornell has mellowed them out. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing, mostly because I believe Cornell is the best singer in rock today, but I enjoy up-tempo, heavy songs. This cd seems to be more upbeat in its attitude than their first album and both Rage and Soundgarden releases. There are songs to lovers and children. Songs that sound weird considering the members past musical catalog, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I believe that besides Cornell being the best singer in rock today, that Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk are the tightest and funkiest rhythm section in rock. You can hear and feel every note Timmy C lays down and that along with Wilk’s driving back beat is the backbone of this cd. Tom Morello is as unorthodox as usual when it comes to his leads and I was glad that he had many chances to show off his unusual soloing ability.

I know it sounds like I do not like this cd, but I do. I enjoyed it and listened to it twice and will listen to it many times over the next few months and I highly recommend it. This cd, while not a great, is certainly up to the standards set by other “supergroups” and can be enjoyed by all types of music fans, whether they know the past history of the members or whether they are new to the group. Until a “supergroup” can come out with an offering that truly lives up the title “supergroup,” Audioslave is as good as it gets.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Star Wars and video games...

It's pretty safe to say that most of us liked Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but we didn't like certain things about the film. The complaint at the top of the list has been acting and the delivering of lines. While this is a legit complaint, I don't think all of the blame should be placed on the actors' shoulders.

As far as top directors go, many people would have George Lucas near the top of the list. This is most likely due to his films that make tons and tons of money. However, Lucas has never been a strong writer and when it comes down to it, he's never really done any films that weren't heavy with special effects.

He did direct American Graffiti, but let's be real here, that cast was great. Richard Dreyfus, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford and McKenzie Phillips is pretty much an all-star cast for that time. But this was a movie that he didn't write.

George Lucas is known for two things at this point. The Star Wars movies and his production company Lucasfilms. And when anyone talks about the Star Wars movies, most all of us agree that Empire Strikes Back was the best one and I believe that was the only one of the franchise that he had help in writing.

Episode I and II weren't the best movies in the world, but they still made money and were somewhat entertaining. Again the writing was horrible, but the special effects were awesome and Yoda fighting was too cool. Episode III was much better, but this was mostly due to Lucas taking time to write the script before starting to film the movie. It was said on several entertainment shows that during the filming of Episodes I and II that they were writing the script just days before shooting. Writer's block would have destroyed the production, so you might wonder how much better those films could have been.

It seems like he rarely directs a movie, but he does rake in the cash with Lucasfilm. Lucasfilm creates a huge animated film every now and again and they also have their hand in several video games for various console systems like the PS2 and Xbox. However, many of the games that Lucasfilm produces revolves around the Stars Wars movies. Star Wars: Battlefront was a pretty solid shooter. There really wasn't much to it, but fighting all of those old battles from the Star Wars movies were cool.

One of the reasons why Lucas is not be making many films these days might be due to the fact that the video game industry is a bigger industry than making movies. I know it seems hard to believe, but it is and I'm a product of it. A good video game is like a good book only the imagination is provided for you.

And on top of that, you don't have to pay actors $20 million dollars just to show up and provide crappy lines that you wrote yourself.

Instead a video game can probably be produced on a budget of just a couple of million dollars and big time actors can provide voiceovers for practically nothing. Then the games are sold for around $50. Muliply that by a few million copies sold and that's a healthy profit. That also might be just for the PS2. Add in an Xbox and PC release and it gets even higher. A company might be looking at a profit that's 75 times what it cost to produce.

And that's the formula for a billion dollar video game industry. An industry Lucas seems more at home in than movie making.

My 2 cents on Star Wars

Ok, I just watched episode 3. After reading Piccu review, I was a bit more vigilent while watching. I must say that I have to agree that Hayden's performance was sub-par at best in certain scenes. He couldn't consistently deliver lines throughout the two and a half hours. With that one major compaint aside, I liked the movie. Now, I have to go back and rewatch the old ones to get the most appreciation for all of them.

The previews were interesting as well. Fantasitic 4, Stealth, and even Narnia all have promise. I still have to see The Interpretor among others. One of next rentals is going to be the 13th Warrior, not because I have high expectations, but because I just read Creighton's book the Eaters of the Dead last week. The book was ok. My wife and I also listened to three books on tape while driving last week and this past weekend. I want to set this next admition by saying that we were each allowed to pick books. I chose Seizure by Robin Cook (it was just ok) and my wife chose The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants and The sequel. The Traveling Pants wasn't bad. So now we have to see the movie, which if Bridget is 1% as hot as the book makes her sound it might not be too bad.

Tonight is the finale of House, which I have I high hopes for. It doesn't have to live up to any build-ups, just deliver a solid episode. It usually does.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Eat a Sandwich, for My Sake

Did anyone else see Saturday Night Live this weekend? I TIVOed it and watched pieces of it. Lindsay Lohan was the host with musical guest Coldplay. Ordinarily I would be very excited to see Lindsay Lohan. She is one of the hottest girls in Hollywood. I was shocked at what I saw. I found it hard to watch. Lohan proved she wasn't the best SNL host and that was one reason it was hard to watch. The main reason it was hard to watch was the fact that Lohan looked like a crackwhore on a week long binge. My Lord she was skinny.

What's the deal? Why does it seem like the whole percentage of anorexic women in the world all reside in Hollywood? Why is this look sexy? It may just be me. I may be the only guy who likes to see women when they turn sideways. I may be the only guy who likes a girls to have some curves. What is sexy about a woman who looks close to death? I mean, what is wrong with some meat? Even actresses who look healthy and sexy get hammered for being overweight. Kate Winslet catches grief for her weight issues. As far as I am concerned the only issues she has is she is married and not living in Beaver Dam.

Lohan says nothing is wrong, and "I love food." Why is it that every Hollywood starlet who is accused of being anorexic always use that sentence? If you love food you wouldn't weigh 90 lbs. If you love food, wouldn't you think their would be some paparazzi pics of you eating? Ask Kirstie Alley, now there is a woman who loves food. I think the real problem may be you love Red Bull and vodka. Your problem may be that while you don't love cocaine, you really love to smell it. Something is going on here and I hope it doesn't end up killing all the sexuality Lohan ever possessed.

I'm sure our resident medical profession would have more to say about this, I'm just a guy who doesn't like the starving look. Lindsay Lohan at one time had breasts. They are gone and that is the biggest travesty of this whole situation. She went from hot to not in a few months of partying and not sleeping. Let's not also forget she is now blonde, but that's a whole other story (I love those red heads). I used to have Lohan high on the list (you know what list), but now she is sliding, sliding, sliding to the bottom. That is not just a shame for her, but that is a shame for perverts all over the world.

NBA, NHL, different organizations that may soon share the same fate.

Good news NBA haters, the NBA may be heading to a lockout this summer. I can’t imagine that commissioner David Stern or NBA union president Billy Hunter would allow this to happen. When people argue over millions, if not billions of dollars, bad things can happen. I am not going to pretend that I know anything about the current collective bargaining agreement or what is keeping the two sides apart (length of the players’ maximum contracts is the big reason). One thing I do know is that the NBA, while more popular than the National Hockey League, cannot survive a season long work stoppage.

The NBA is by far a more popular sport than the NHL, but it has trouble drawing in viewers on TV. The ratings for the NBA, while immensely better than the NHL’s, are nowhere near where they were when Jordan, Magic, and Bird were playing. I know what you are saying, “There is no Magic, Bird, or Jordan to help the ratings.” The NBA has plenty of superstars to build their league on and they have tried. Lebron is the next “Jordan” some have said. The NBA and Lebron’s “former” agents have made sure that Lebron is all over the place. Let’s not forget that Shaq, at this time, is the biggest superstar in the game. His little buddy Dwayne Wade is creeping into the superstar status, also. I am not saying that those players are on the same level as Magic, Bird, and Jordan, but the NBA does not have a shortage of stars. While the NBA is more popular than the NHL, they are not bullet proof from a volley of bad public relations and fan apathy. The example set by the NHL and how they handled the situation is just one reason why the NBA cannot survive a work stoppage. I feel there are two other reasons why the NBA is not as popular as it has been in the past and will not survive a season long work stoppage.

Players have what seems like an unending supply of million dollar bills, and that for some that is enough to not watch the NBA and a work stoppage will only make things worse. It doesn’t matter if the owners are the ones who cause the work stoppage, the players will shoulder the blame as well. Why do some hate the players and the money they make? It is just human nature. We all want what we want, but these players seem to be the only ones who get what they want. Why should they be able to have everything they want for just playing a game? Why can’t teachers or policeman have these huge salaries? They perform a service for humanity, while the players perform a service for entertainment. Greed and jealousy and a high rate of knuckleheads play a part in the low ratings.

We all would love to have their money and most never will approach that income level. It’s seems logical to me that I wouldn’t be able to watch these guys, these guys who complain about problems that we all would gladly take on for their paycheck. Look at Latrell Sprewell, earlier this season he was complaining about not being able to feed his family on less than $14 million. Excuse me? We have people who legitimately have problems like this and he tries to make himself out to be the one who has trouble making a living. I don’t think so. That does not sit well with many people and not just non NBA fans. If some fans already have distaste for the players and the money they make, then when the NBA shuts down because they can’t come to an agreement on millions and millions of dollars that will push many over the edge, never to come back.

While the money issue is a pretty good reason why some fans have quit watching the NBA, I believe the style of play is the biggest reason the NBA is in trouble. In the early 80’s the NBA was a scoring league. It was not uncommon to see scores in the triple digits in every game on the schedule. It was also not uncommon to never see a player play defense. In the late 80’s/early 90’s A man changed the game forever. That man was Pat Riley. Pat Riley was known as the man behind “Showtime” in Los Angeles. He then went to the opposite coast to New York and quickly realized that he could not win with the same philosophy. So for you Star Wars fans, Pat Riley took his Han Solo freewheelin’, runnin’ and gunnin’ style and changed it to Darth Vader methodical, oppressive, brutal style of play. The New York Knicks adopted a defensive scheme that would insure that no fan could enjoy a game the Knicks were involved in. It was not uncommon for the Knicks to score under 70 in a few games a year. It was putrid, and to the horror of the whole NBA fanbase, other teams, mostly the Eastern Conference teams, adopted this style of play. It is my belief that this slowdown, defensive style of play killed of fan interest, except for the hardcore fans. It seems to me that if you don’t have the horses, you have to figure out another way to win, and Pat Riley understood this when he became a defensive minded coach. While he was very successful, he put the NBA into a funk that it is languishing in to this day.

Fortunately a new movement is afoot, a movement that likes to run and gun and score 100 points a game. While the better teams who use this philosophy reside in the Western Conference of the NBA, quite a few teams are trying to make the game exciting again. Check out a Phoenix Suns game or a Dallas Mavericks game. It is exciting and has high energy. If one of these run and gun teams can get to the NBA Finals, I believe other teams will adopt this style of play. The NBA fears change, but if a change can produce more wins or a shot at the championship, then more NBA teams would adapt.

If the NBA decides to have a work stoppage, this new style of play will not get a chance because the fans will be turned off. The NBA has already lost some popularity over the last 10 to 20 years. Can they really afford to turn off more fans by allowing a work stoppage? I don’t think so. If there is a work stoppage you may just find out how easy it is to live without the NBA. Ask the hockey fans how it feels.

This is an ecclectic mix...

Where else can you get commentary on movies ,TV, sports, news and psychotherapy?

I can't think of any.

On the technology front, it seems as though Apple is allegedly looking into possibly running some Intel processors in its computers. I can say that many Apple purists will be upset by this, but all I can see is lower prices for me. Besides, speed is speed no matter how it gets done and most of the time good operating systems and a ton of RAM help tremendously.

It doesn't make any difference anyway because Mac OS X is always going to have a leg up on Windows simply because Apple writes the OS and they don't let just any company with a factory make hardware for them. If you don't have to worry about making 200 different sound cards, modems and video cards work with your operating system, you've eliminated one huge hurdle in the computer world... Hardware conflicts.

The only thing that Apple has going against it is that gaming isn't as easy and you will probably have to buy any software you use instead of pirating it from your neighbor. However, staying away from jail time and $250,000 fines isn't necessarily a bad thing and so is not having your computer crash constantly either. I have two Macs and haven't had one OS crash in almost two years. That's including video editing 11 gigs of video at one time and authoring 2 DVD's with bare minimum systems.

It's truly a shame that only 5% of the computing world gets to have this much fun.

"Shocking" News about Depression

Sometimes I can't believe what goes on in the health care system in this country. As a future psychiatrist, the disease depression is near and dear to my heart (no pun intended). It is abstract, mulit-factorial in causation, poorly understood, and often waxes and wanes on its own (making it difficult to know if the treatment actually helped or the episode just got waited out, so to speak). There is proof the medications, psychotherapy, and Electroconvulsant Therapy (ECT) do indeed help. The real area of investigation with a patient is to determine what will help the best for a given individual. For instance, in a patient with a long family history of depression and fluoxetine (Prozac) helped mom, grandma, and everyone else; that very same drug is an excellent starting place(with some psychotherapy and close follow-up). On the other hand, someone who has no family history, his wife just left him, he just lost his job, and his dog died; may need psychotherapy as the primary treatment with some adjunctive medication for hopefully a limited time frame.

This new vagal stimulator is a last ditch effort at best. I understand if you have tried multiple things and nothing has worked, then yeah lets move on to try this stimulator (which it is very important to note is not ECT). The fact is no research shows that it helps. So why is the FDA approving it (or likely doing so)? Well it is in all liklihood relatively safe, the fact remains that it doesn't seem to work.

I could go on about gastric by-pass in children, but that is a whole other can of worms.



I would say that if we have any links to post we'll just email them to you since you are the almighty webmaster of this blog and we are just lowly posters. However, if you are going to put he NY Times on the list of links you had better put the Washington Post on there so we can all get our Tony Kornheiser fix most every day.

Of course you could link to the big 3 Kentucky dailies for those who can't get enough of the AP news they get from the NY Times and Washington Post.

I'm glad to see that we're promoting the site now. It won't be too long until we rule the media world.

Blog House Keeping

Piccu & Bratch,
I have started adding links of friends with blogs and have asked them to reciprocate if possible. Please add all of the links you want. If you see a better way then feel free to add to or adjust the format. Depending upon what you add, we may consider movie links, music, tv, news, .... etc.; whatever we seem to use .

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I hate that show...

I too just finished the final epidsode of Desperate Housewives. Now, I really hate this show and some of my friends who were absolutely in love with it are beginning to hate it as well.

Why I hate this show was evident in the first 5 minutes when they went back and showed you everything that they could have built up all this season. I'm not going into detail since I know that Piccu hasn't seen it and I'll also warn him that Merlin gives a lot away in his post below. The show was completely built around the initial suicide of Mary Alice and they didn't really discuss much of anything along the way. Then BOOM, the season finale pretty much tells the entire story that they should have been building up to the entire season. And they did like 85 percent of that in the first 5 minutes.

If you had watched the very first show, the clip show and the finale, you saved yourself hours and hours of pointless TV watching. It was like watching a daytime soap. Like a daytime soap opera the story never progressed. Only in Housewives they would explain a teeny bit of something and then open up 3 other huge storylines that they couldn't take anywhere because too much was going on. I'm glad some definitive action was taken in the final episode, but I'll not be making time to watch next season. They had me for about six weeks this season, but lost me because it was creeping at a snails pace.

Then on top of all that, it's a depressing show. Nothing good ever happens and just when you think something good is going to come out of something they put a spin on it that not only doesn't make it good, but made it 10 times worse than it ever was to begin with.

It can seriously kill a nice weekend buzz and it usually does every single time. Either by not going anywhere or by beating down a character that was already on rock bottom. There wasn't once a happy ending and sooner or later I feel like people are going to be turned off by that.

A Desperate Suprise

I must say that I am very pleased with the way both shows I blogged about ended tonight.

First off, The Wives got to the point; set some completely new interesting spins (without leading you on too much); and ended thankfully without a "bang." I was impressed. The new mom and son will be interesting, although it is far too early to speculate beyond that. I am very, very interested in the Mr Mom switch too. I think it will prove to be the most interesting part of next season. As for my favorite wife, Bree, I know the turmoil is just beginning for her, and the possibilities are going to endless. Between battling her kids and the painfully slow discovery of why her husbands potassium went up, it will prove to be entertaining. The best part about this show was that it got directly to the point with the Dana situation while leaving the likely scenario that Zack will have a new dad....

Next Grey's Anatomy, in its Dawson's Creek kind of way was possibly the most entertaining episode of the season. Still it was unbelievable with autopsy (they would have had no idea what to look for, and would have been kicked out regardless of the discovery). I really liked how all of Meredith's secrets came out, yet we are set up for the season long issues with his wife.

All in all, I have been pleased with tonight, and to boot I just realized that season 5 of cheers came out last week. I think this is a good point to challenge Piccu to an all out one-on-one battle in my cheers trivia game which has never been played but needs to be.

Photos from Med School Graduation & Gala

Here are some of my Uncle Jim's photo's from my graduation. Piccu and Bratch are also in some of the pictures at the Gala.

Just click on the title.

Homebuying by Dummies

Why does investing feel so bad, when it should be so good? My wife and I took the plunge on Monday and closed on our first house. Hopefully this will primarily bring our renting to an end. The house is actually exactly what we need for now. It is big enough for our things with a little extra space, a small yard with minimal need for mowing, and it is less than five miles from work. It is still nerve racking to be in debt for that amount. We know that there is a 99% chance that we'll live there for five years then move, even if we decide to stay in Columbia, SC; which at this point is very unlikely. We're excited to be moving this coming weekend, but it will be a pain in the butt, nonetheless.

Gotta run it is almost dinnertime followed by meditation before "The Wives."

Desperate times call for Desperate measures

Tonight marks the beginning of the endings of this TV season. I have two on tonight with "The Wives" and Grey's Anatomy. I can't wait to see if Desperate Housewives will live up to its self-inflated finale build-up. I must say that this is one show I was reluctant to watch in the beginning. It was pretty great to start but has lost a lot of steam in my eyes. I realize that they haven't told everything yet, but maybe I just think I know what will happen. The advantage to this is that I will be set up for a huge surprise if it doesn't turn out how I expect it to; the disadvantage is if it is what I foresaw. I'm not going to spew propaganda about how I plan for it to end, and I would like to go on record as saying that I have absolutely no desire to be one of those people who pretends to have known the answer all through the movie/show. I HATE THAT! As if it makes you smarter to have figured any show out because a good plot can be twisted into virtually an infinite number of directions. But I digress.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have found myself discussing who my favorite house wife is. I am the only person I know in all of these little forums to pick Bree. First, it is not totally about the way she looks compared to the other wives, because she would have some stiff competition. I jsut think of all of the crazy, annoying characteristics of all of the wives, Bree is the one I could most deal with.

The second show is Grey's anatomy. I have previously commented on how watered down the show is. The medicine is faulty at best. I know there have to be advisors for the these shows, but hell I could do a better job than many of these idiots on this and my other favorite medical show, House. Nothing is perfect, and I don't watch medical shows to learn medicine or how to be a doctor. I like both of these shows for pure entertainment value; no more, no less. It is for this reason that these two shows never really let me down. It is the shows that are connected like Alias and Lost that I take the greatest issue with. I'm sure I'll have comments on those in the coming week.

The other aspect of Grey's anatomy is the similarity of my own life to the characters. I begin, as I have mentioned, my residency on July 1st. I know that it will be nothing like what they portraying. For one thing, I am going into psychiatry and they are surgeons. For another, they are just TV characters! The aspect of a gnawing fear that sits in every new resident's stomach does relate to me. I have a friend going from Lexington, Ky to Loma Linda for Surgery. He will average q4-5, which means he will spend every fourth or fifth night in the hospital for the next five years. So the aspect of all of the characters spending so much time in the hospital, can be very accurate. The thing about it that doesn't fit is that they would not all be in the hospital all it once together. They would be there a couple at a time. Letting go of all of this and their mispronouncing a few words, the show can be very entertaining. Though it will not blow me away tonight, I bet it will be entertaining and on par with the rest of episodes.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Graduation number 39 and photography

The local high school that just so happens to be my alma mater had its graduation tonight. Since I work for the newspaper I was somewhat obligated to attend.

Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of graduation ceremonies. They would be great if not for the 3,500 people crammed into a 2,500 seat gymnasium and the fact that none of them ride together. They all make sure to drive separately. People just park wherever they can find a piece of land where they can get out. And the heat! My God, THE HEAT!

Since I am a photographer, the biggest problem I have is with other photographers. Now I realize that I'm being a little selfish since these people are there to get a good picture of their friend/sibling/child, etc., but out of the hundreds that are jockeying for position, 1 of them had the proper equipment to get it done other than me and the other newspaper photographer.

Tonight I was carrying around over $1,500 worth of camera equipment including one of the best digital cameras money can buy and I was still struggling for a good photo. Not just interesting, but getting a nice exposure as well. Anyway, the gym has horrible lighting that is very dim and not good at all.

So I have a thousand dollar camera around my neck, but the 30 people around me with throw-away box cameras and point-and-shoot 35mm's aren't giving an inch and letting me move around to get a solid photo. They all truly believe that their $3 camera is going to get the photo of a lifetime of their loved one from over 50 feet away.

But I understand why they do it and I hope that they do get the photo of a lifetime that they were hoping to get. I got some photos worth using, but graduations aren't as emotional as they used to be. Now the kids see it more as early parole instead of their first huge step into adulthood and the dreaded "real world."

So for all of you future parents who can get a child to a graduation ceremony of some sort, here is what you need.

Nikon D70 Digital SLR, short zoom lens like a 18-70mm or 28-80mm zoom and a 70-200mm zoom for that far away stuff. Then slide a Nikon SB-600 flash on top of that bad boy and shoot away. You might look into a zoom lens out to 300mm which would help a bit more.

The D70 is one of the best, if not the best digital camera on the market and also one of the least expensive at around $1,100 with a solid 18-70 Nikon zoom lens. With the SB-600 speedlight or if you have natural light, you don't even have to be a good photographer to get great photos. This camera lets you concentrate on the subject instead of worrying if you have to shutter speed and f-stop set properly for a good exposure. And it's ridiculously fast as well. Almost as fast as you can manually pull the trigger.

Having said that, if you go out and spend $1,500 just to get some graduation photos, I want to be your friend.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Last Star Wars? That's Not Necassarily a Bad Thing.

I saw the latest episode of Star Wars on Thursday. I did not go in full Darth Vader regalia, just regular street clothes. I have to tell you, I am not so sorry that there will not be another Star Wars movie. I was fired up and excited to see the legend of how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. As the opening theme song hit the ears and the words “Star Wars” hit the screen I had goose bumps. It was a feeling that would not last the whole movie.

I have to admit that I am not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world. I do not own any costumes. I have never attended and Star Wars conventions or any sci-fi conventions. I do not own or have collected every Star Wars collectible, although I do have a few things (Darth Tater being my most cherished). I do not remember the first time I saw the Star Wars movies; I did not have a religious experience after my first screening. I just like the story, the mythos, the characters. I am a movie fan. When you are younger, the things you enjoy, the things that you love as a kid, become fond memories when you are an adult. When you come into contact with these things you flash back into your mind and tap into how those things made you feel. I did not get that with this movie.

I guess the biggest problem I had with this movie is the sub par acting. I have seen better acting in soap operas, bad soap operas. I found myself not caring for the characters. They didn’t make me feel what I believe George Lucas wanted them to make me feel. I just didn’t buy a lot of the stuff that was on the screen. It’s not like that has not been the case for episode I and II, but I was expecting more in the final episode. This was the story of the origin of Vader. I guess I expected Lucas to step up his game and give us dialogue that made us really believe in his story, his characters. I would think that Lucas would have grown as his audience has grown. I would say that most Star Wars fans are in their 30’s or older. We are not kids anymore, we have grown up. We like Sin City, we like Sideways. I am not saying that Star Wars should turn into Pulp Fiction, but I think that the story and the dialogue should become a little more mature. I will say that the film itself was beautiful and the action was exciting, but it would have been much better as a silent film.

I had my biggest problem with Hayden Christensen. I just couldn’t accept him as Vader. It may have been the wooden acting or the, what seemed like forced delivery of his lines that ruined it, but this did not seem like the Vader from the original three. I know, I know, this is his beginning; this is how he became the Vader of the original three. I just thought that he was a little too whiny to very soon become the supreme bad ass of the galaxy. Vader shows regret and remorse, sorrow. That is not the Vader I know. Maybe I am the only one who thought this; maybe I just don’t understand why Lucas made pre Vader such a whiner.

I know some of you have seen it and the hardcore fans are cussing me, but this is how I feel. I do recommend this movie for those who are fans and have followed this story throughout their lives. It puts everything together. However, if you have no background in Star Wars and are just wanting to watch an entertaining film, go see Kung Fu Hustle. I made myself like episodes I and II, even though they were sub par and I want to do the same for episode III. I just don’t think I can do it. I explained my problem with the writing, about how it seems more for kids than for a more mature audience and I realize that maybe that is the main reason I do not connect with most of these last three episodes. I have grown up and “put away childish things.” I take pride on being able to get lost in a movie whether it is bad or good, G rated or R rated. Maybe I am losing that ability, maybe the more adult, serious movies I have watched have killed the kid inside. Who knows? I know this, if a Star Wars movie can’t wake the little kid, than what will?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Megalomania? How about Trumplomania?

It amazes me how Donald Trump believes that since he's worth $4 billion that his personal worth automatically means his IQ is roughly 4 billion as well. He's an expert in everything now.

Case in point.

Since "the Donald" is worth $4 billion he has the onions to go throw his 2 cents into the rebuilding of the 110-story World Trade Center area in New York. In the 11th hour no less.

Trump has a better idea instead of the proposed Freedom Tower that would emit light into the New York sky at night as a memorial to those that died in the 9/11 attacks. Instead of the Freedom Tower he wants the WTC completely rebuilt... One floor higher.

Why one floor? Because that would make it HUGE. How huge? Trump-huge. That would make it Trump-tastic. And I'm sure it would be made out of pure gold. Trump gold.

Trump said that the Freedom Tower plan "looks like a junkyard, a series of broken-down angles that don't match each other. It is the worst pile of crap architecture I've ever seen in my life."

He also said that if we build back the tower with a skeleton (the Freedom Tower) at the top, the terrorists have won.

Donald Trump has a gazillion dollars laying around to hire architects to design a proper tower and the best he can come up with is a "This is Spinal Tap" tower that goes one floor higher?

So Mr. Trump why is it that your design is better than the rest? Why not come up with your own design that you would like to see built?

Trump– (long pause)–"This one goes to 111."

I'll bet the architectural firm was St. Hubbins & Tufnel based out of Squatney, England.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Idol Chatter and I'm Buying House

You will no doubt find that I am somewhat of a TV-holic. I spend most of my free time reading and listening to music and watching TV. In the fall my TV schedule is the shows for the new season of network TV. The network TV season is running down over these next few days, and that will take me into my summer schedule for TV. In the summer I “concentrate” on older movies I may have never seen or have heard great things about, whether from reviews or people I know. I spend most of my time on Turner Classic Movies and Fox Movie Channel. I am a geek, but better this my drug than other possibilities. I mean, I happen to live in the “crank” capital of the world.

So, I must say that there is no doubt that this year’s American Idol is the most competitive yet. Usually when they get to the final 3, it’s like Sesame Street, “One of these is not like the others…,” you get the picture. Normally I do not watch the whole song that the competitors sing. I TIVO the show and I listen to the first few notes, I then skip to the middle, and then on to the finish. I can watch an American Idol show in about 20 minutes. I listen mostly for the judges comments.

This past show was the first show that I listened to every song. I have to say that Bo Bice is a shoo-in, unless everyone thinks that way and they do not vote for him. What? Let me explain, Bo will get a record deal no matter what, he is a star, so some fans may vote for the two girls because they may need this win more than Bo. I think the girls are even, I would rather Vonzell make it to the final two, if only for no other reason that I hate country music, or “country pop” as Carrie sings. I would be willing to bet that Bo and Carrie will be the final two and Bo will go on and win the prize.

I would like to now recommend you check out the reruns this summer of a show called House on Fox. House has the same exact formula every time, but they make it work. It’s about a doctor who is a miserable, drug addicted, crippled, bastard, who has a team of young doctors and they take the medical cases that baffle everyone. Every show is the same, a patient comes in and they try to figure out what is wrong. They misdiagnose the patient’s ailment two or three times before finally realizing what is wrong in the last 10 minutes of the show. It works every time. This show has the same exact formula every time and the most frustrating characters that make you so uncomfortable you wonder why they don’t turn you off, but you get sucked in and you really buy into the whole concept. It is unexplainable, but you will love this show. The season finale is Tuesday May 24, but I recommend you not watch it and wait for the reruns or the DVD because you need a background on why these characters act the way they do and are the way they are.

Best. Pitcher. Ever.

I was listening to our local AM radio station 1600 WAIA the other day and as most of you know, it is an ESPN Radio affiliate, and the host of The Sports Bash was trying to spark some debate and/or controversy by saying that Roger Clemens was the best pitcher to ever play the game. That’s e-v-e-r, ever. At first I was concerned for the man’s mental well being, but as I thought about this more and more, I realized that this man was indeed correct. Roger Clemens is the greatest pitcher to play the game of baseball, bar none.

Some of you may now think that I have some mental defect, and while I can’t deny that fact, I can tell you that Clemens is the greatest of all time. The list of great pitchers is not that long. There have been many good pitchers, but the greats are the ones who go down in history, the ones who are talked about 75, 50, and 25 years after they have left the game. There is a difference between “Catfish” Hunter (good) and Walter Johnson (great). I am sure you have your own top 5 or top 10 lists of pitchers, but Roger Clemens should be at the top of the list. I won’t go through every great pitcher, but I will review some of Clemens accomplishments and compare them with other great pitchers, and in turn, convince you that I am right.

Roger Clemens is best known as one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game, even today at 41 years of age. He was top 5 in strikeouts every year of his career, except one in 1999. Even the greatest strikeout pitcher of all time, Nolan Ryan, had two years in which he finished in sixth place. Many people like to think Nolan Ryan is the greatest pitcher of all time, but he isn’t even in the top ten. He did not win a Cy Young award and only won 20 games twice. Ryan was 32 defeats from being a .500% pitcher. He is the pitcher you would like to see pitch in a game, but he can’t wash Clemens’ socks.

Clemens has the most hardware of any pitcher. He has 7 Cy Young Awards, 1 MVP award, and 2 pitching triple crowns (wins, ERA, and strikeouts). The closest to Clemens in Cy Young Awards is Randy Johnson. The Big Unit is good, but he hasn’t been good as long as Clemens. Johnson is already showing signs of falling off from his usual yearly performance. Clemens can only be compared to Barry Bonds in awards. Bonds has 7 MVP awards, but Clemens has never had to answer to any allegations of steroid use, while Bonds has tarnished his reputation and seems to have dropped off the face of the earth because of the constant questions about his use of steroids.

Clemens’ career ERA is not even in the top 100 all-time, but ERA can be misleading depending on the pitcher and the era in which they played. Do you happen to know who has the lowest career ERA all-time? It’s right on the tip of your tongue. Give up? It’s “Big” Ed Walsh with a 1.82 career ERA. That is low, but at that time period in baseball there were many low ERAs, some call this the dead ball era. A low ERA is nice, but it is not the only stat that makes up a pitcher.

Clemens pitched in an era known for juiced balls and juiced players. Clemens pitched most of his career in the American League which uses a designated hitter. There is no easy out in the American League; you can't expect an easy out when the ninth batter comes up. ERA is important, but depending on the era it may not mean as much as you think. By the by, Clemens is 3rd on the active pitchers list of ERA with a career 3.18 ERA. Many pitchers both American and National League would kill for that mark at the conclusion of their career.

The most interesting thing about Clemens, at least to me, is that the Boston Red Sox let him go in 1997 because they were convinced he was on the downside of his career. Little did they know that he would win over 136 games and 4 Cy Young awards. Clemens has a chance, if he continues to play and the Astros give him some offense, to perhaps move up as high as number 3 on the career wins list. He is already number 8 all time. Let me clarify that I do not mean that he can achieve this feat this year, but with a few more years he could do it. It is apparent that he is not slowing down. In fact, Clemens is a top 5 pitcher in the game right now at 41 and I would not be surprised to see him win another Cy Young award this year. The Astros have to score more than one run a game for him, but he has a chance to win 15 to 17 games which is enough to impress when you also take into consideration his low ERA and high strikeouts.

The defense rests. I have laid out a good case without going into extreme detail because quite frankly, I don’t have the space, I am lazy and don’t want to research anymore, and I don’t feel the need. I never brought up the Lefty Groves, the Walter Johnsons, the Tom Seavers, etc. I did not feel the need to discuss every pitcher that could be categorized as great. You can do more research if you want, but Clemens is as good as any you will find, the best according to my view. As a bonus, Clemens is a two time, two time, world champion and he is a player whose name you will only see on the sports page. He is not a player who gets into trouble with the law or scandal. He also is one of the most intimidating pitchers ever. When he stares down from the mound at the batter, you know more than a few were worried about catching one in the ribs. He has tremendous heart and if not for his family, I bet you would have to kill him to get him off the field. He is the best because he has the numbers, he has the heart, and he just wants it more than other players. The title says it all. Best. Pitcher. Ever.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Strawberries and stuff...

Strawberries are in season again. I really dig strawberries. In fact, through my job I had an opportunity to talk to a manager at the local RC Cola Distributer here and asked him if I could get any Nehi Strawberry somehow.

Unfortunately, I was denied and was told that I was out of luck there. Everyone loves Nehi Peach around here, but trust me when I say that Nehi Strawberry was always the way to go.

Getting back to strawberries, the folks that grow the particular strawberries I'm talking about grow some top notch stuff. The uncut funk for like $2.50 per quart. Maybe a few quarters more if they pick them for you. They grow them in place of the tobacco crop they used to grow.

Store bought strawberries are grown to look good, not taste good. Home grown berries are sweeter than 10 pounds of store bought berries. Ever notice how store bought berries always have to have sugar put on them to get the full effect? The berries I'm talking about don't. In fact, if you are diabetic, they can kill you.

I'm still hooked on podcasting. I've listened to the Daily Source Code all day today while I was getting the sports page together. I guess the reason I'm hooked on this particular podcast is because it's pretty much all about podcasting in general. Adam Curry is basically taking podcasting to the next level. He's promoting it and is pushing it hard. He seems to be fabulously rich so it doesn't seem like he's in it for the money, but he's gotten himself a 4 hour podcast on Sirius satellite radio called Podshow. It's not going to be him on it for 4 hours, but he's going to run 4 hours of podcasts. The show would be totally different every single day.

Apparently there are people that are going nuts and buying a ton of software, hardware, mics and headphones. If I were going to put it together, I would create it with whatever I had. The only problem with all of this podcasting stuff is that you can start one for nothing, but if it actually catches on, it could bankrupt you.

Curry's Daily Source Code is downloaded like 100,000 times per day. The MP3's he posts are all at least 15 megabytes in size. Multiply that by 100,000 and that's a lot of bandwidth and a lot of storage if you archive the files. The bandwidth will kill you because server hosts will charge you transfer fees if the bandwidth gets out of control because it's hogging the bandwidth that is available for the rest of their clients. And on top of that it would be for a stupid podcast and no one has really figured out how to actually make money with them.

Other than Curry that is.

For all of you Dads & Daughters fans out there, I have stumbled upon some software that may help me clean up the tracks on the current Dads and Daughters CD without wrecking my bank account. That means a Digitally Remastered version of Song Books and Pianos could be hitting the streets soon.

MTV Is Not Living Up to Its Name, But They May Have to Now

MTV has a problem. Apparently the ratings are slipping now that The Osbournes, The Newlyweds, and The Ashlee Simpson Show have all gone off the air. MTV is scrambling to find new shows to replace them. One show that MTV was hoping would draw in the coveted 18 to 34 demographic is Meet the Barkers. This show is about a punk rock star and his Playboy Playmate wife. Sounds exciting, I am picturing drugs, orgies, and violence. I am getting kids, a happy marriage, and an all around hunk of mule dung. I know couples in Beaver Dam, KY, who have a more exciting life than these two. Strike one, MTV.

MTV also has a show called Power Girls, a show about publicists, featuring Lizzie Grubman. I have never seen this show and it would that about 90% of the population is in the same boat as me. I know that a show about publicists (what the hell is so exciting about PUBLICISTS?!?) screams must see TV, but it seems to be failing. I could not be more pleased that this show is highly unsuccessful. The reason, you ask? The star of this show, Lizzie Grubman, besides looking like the mascot for The British Bulldogs, was asked to move her SUV out of a fire lane while at a club, and she became so enraged that she backed her SUV into a crowd of people hanging around outside of the club.. She injured 16 people and she got 60 days in jail, 60 frickin’ days for driving her SUV into a crowd of people. I hope everything she touches turns to crap and I hope she has been sued to the bejesus belt by the people she injured. Strike two MTV.

MTV has two strikes in my eyes, and the third strike is the fact that they play no videos. How can you call yourself Music Television if the only time in 24 hours you can see music videos is between the hours of 2 and 4 AM? Something is wrong here. VH1 is the same way, except for the fact that they are turning into a celeb crazy tabloid channel, instead of a celeb crazy reality channel like MTV. I just want a chance to see a music video every now and again. Is that too much to ask? The only chance you have of seeing a video during the daylight hours is on TRL, their countdown show. Instead of making the show long enough to show some videos, MTV shows us about 20 seconds of every video. For the longest time I thought Gwen Stefani’s latest hit was just called “Hollaback.”

Fuse has now turned into the music channel I want. Fuse lets me see videos; although I have noticed some silly I wanna be a VJ type shows. I can live with it if they continue to fill most of my day with music. I wonder if MTV’s rating decrease is proof that viewers tend to agree with me. Is MTV willing to go retro and try the crazy strategy of actually playing music videos? Unfortunately for them, instead of looking for the next celebrity reality show, they may have to actually live up to the title of their channel.

Monday, May 16, 2005


So I'm listening to "the father of podcasting" Adam Curry's podcast called Daily Source Code. I hate to admit it, but I'm impressed.

Yes, this is the same Adam Curry from MTV who hosted Headbanger's Ball for several years. He's gotten a little older and his hair has gotten a lot less poofy, but he's started a revolution, literally.

Basically, what he does is produce a radio show from his home with his computer and he saves this show in the beloved MP3 format and uploads it to his website for everyone to download and listen to. The particular show that I'm presently listening to is from last week and he just said that his podcast is downloaded over 100,000 times per day.

I'm sure that most podcasts don't offer nearly the high production value that Curry's Daily Source Code does, but Curry has a radio background if I'm not mistaken. Curry's podcast is basically like any other talk show in that he talks about whatever he wants to talk about. Until things change he talks mostly about his podcast and other podcasts since everyone bows to him when it comes to podcasting. He has also parlayed this into a deal with Sirius Satellite radio as well. I can say I would listen on XM if he would join up, but I doubt it will happen since Sirius has their grubby mitts on him, but then again I can still download it.

This is something that intrigues me. Curry sits up in his cottage in the UK or somewhere in Europe and makes a solid show using only his computer. He refers to it as a studio and I'm sure that it is, but I have a mic that costs 5 bucks and a Mac mini and I could be set up to record in about 5 minutes and it wouldn't sound bad.

Piccu and I have a bit of a background in radio which makes this even more interesting to us and the radio station we work/worked for is only 3,000 watts. It mainly broadcasts the local high school sporting events, but it's a blast to do. It's fun to try and act like you are getting paid well even though $25 per game is all you are getting for sometimes 3 hours of work.

Pretty soon advertisers will be jumping on the podcasting ship even though no one can guarantee that people will listen. I've had the show I'm listening to downloaded for a week and just decided to check it out today. And if advertisers did put a commercial on the broadcast, iTunes has a skip button that will jump ahead 5 or 10 seconds at a time. So even then there is no guarantee that a commercial will be heard even if the person actually listens to the podcast.

What will they think of next. I thought that Live365.com was cool, but this is even better in that you don't have to keep broadcasting. Live365.com was a website that offered free software for you to broadcast your own internet radio station. The problem with it was that you had to either broadcast something continuously or specifically tell folks when you were going to actually broadcast.

With podcasting you can simply record the show at any point during the day or in advance and people can just check your website or blog and download it when it comes available. Too cool.

Merlin, I'll bet you didn't count on Piccu and I to write this much. You are going to have to catch up after you are finished traveling the country.

A brief history of nearly everything (in Beaver Dam, Ky)

So as the team begins to assemble, I feel it is my duty to paint a picture of much of our back ground. We are all from a town of 5,000 people in Western, Ky. Piccu and Bratch are brothers and also my second cousins. We are all within 4 years of age and I can't remember a time I didn't know the other two. We have survived many battle royals, a couple of prince of darkness matches, countless numbers of wars and games in a sand dune hidden in the woods of western Kentucky known only as the "hideout", etc... We also were in a church youth group, which had the indisputable best youth group volleyball team made up of 13-16 yo's about 15 years ago. Since then the three of us and a few others in this group have gone different colleges, some returning to Beaver Dam, some yet to return (perhaps in the next few years), several children have come along. We are a veritable Brotherhood of the travelling softball bat or a Ya Ya brotherhood. Our combined IQ is good, but would be better if the self-proclaimed smartest man alive wasn't bringing the rest of us down. This could become the greatest blog ever known to man.

Fantasy Becomes Reality for Some of Us

It’s summertime and when the weather gets warm it’s time for some warm weather sports. My favorite warm weather sport is fantasy baseball. You probably thought I was referring to a sport you play outdoors. That’s not how I roll, homey. I like the outdoors and I like to play sports outdoors, like softball, but that isn’t happening in Beaver Dam (again, don’t get me started on that subject).
I admit it, I am a fantasy geek, not just baseball, but basketball as well. I don’t know how I got started on this path, but I have been a fantasy geek for over 10 years. That’s a lot of wasted time my friends, time that could have been better put to use by watching TV. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices, you know?
I got involved in a fantasy basketball league with a friend. This league cost money; I realized very quickly that fantasy sports are more fun when they are free, so I started playing Yahoo! Fantasy sports. I was introduced to the live draft and it was over. I am pretty good, I don’t win every league I’m in, but I won my fair share of Yahoo! League titles (toot, toot, goes my horn). No league title is more satisfying than when won in a league against friends. I don’t know what it is, but it is just much more fun to crush and humiliate your friends than to beat a bunch of strangers, but I’m sure you all feel the same way as I.
The problem began when I spent more and more time online agonizing over my teams. I would micromanage to the point that if a player on my team goes 0 for 4 in one game, I promptly cut him and look for a flash in the pan, hot player. I have learned that you need to wait at least a week before you undergo a massive overhaul.
I now manage my team with a more “laissiez faire” approach. I do spend some time during the weekdays on my four teams, but I rarely get online during the weekend to manage my teams. I also try to keep up with the hot players for the week, month, and season. You have to, to keep an edge. Sometimes you have to gamble on unproven players to succeed and 80% of the time it doesn’t work out the way you would have hoped. You have to just keep your ear to the ground, your nose to the grindstone, and whatever other body parts to whatever they need to be put to, to win a fantasy league championship. I seem to dominate and devastate and blow my competing managers away, so something seems to be working for me. Fantasy baseball is a passion that will never subside, I’m afraid.
Some of you who share my passion maybe interested in some tips I have learned over these many years in the game, while others may have quit reading after the first sentence, either way, I do have a few, use them at your own risk.

1.Draft good players.

2.Don’t trash talk the first week of the season. There is still plenty of time for me to come back and beat the brakes off you.

3.No matter the type of league you are playing in, whether you make daily changes or weekly changes, do not forget to make your changes.

4.Do not under any circumstances offer me a trade that a 2 year old knows not to take, for example: Alex Sanchez for Alex Rodriguez. Just because they have the same first name does not mean they are equal in value.

5.If you are able to make posts on a message board in your league, try to use words with more than four letters and DO NOT USE ALL CAPS WHEN POSTING MESSAGES. IT IS REALLY ANNOYING, SEE!!!!!!

6.If you are a fan of a certain team, don’t draft all your players from that team, for example. I am a Cincinnati Reds fan, if all my players were from the Reds, I would never win a fantasy championship. Think with your brain, not your heart.

7.If you can find a way to bend the rules or use the system to your advantage do it. My motto has always been, win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.

Those are just a few suggestions that I guarantee will lead to you to a fantasy championship, whatever the sport.
I really shouldn’t tell you this, but I have found a brand new and exciting game to play. It is not quite a fantasy sport, but it fun, addictive, and frustrating. It is called Beat the Streak on MLB.com. The game is played like this; you pick a player from any team everyday. Your object is too beat Joe DiMaggio’s hit streak of 56. If the players you pick put together a hit streak of 57 games in a row, you win $100,000. Check out MLB.com for more details. I and my friends having been “streaking” for a few weeks with varying degrees of success. You can create your own league and play against your friends or you can join my league. My league name is, of course, The OC Streakers and the password is octimes. If you are a fan of fantasy sports, I promise you will be hooked by this game.
Well, now you know how much of a geek I am, but I don’t care. I know for a fact that there are many out there just like me. Come, join us.

Should They Stay or Should They Go?

I would like to take this opportunity to announce my intentions to enter the NBA draft. While I have enjoyed my time here at Incongruent-Affair, I feel that I have accomplished everything that can be accomplished at this level. I have already hired an agent and have begun negotiations with the major shoe companies. I would like to thank all those who have supported me during my stay and hope that you will continue to support me in my new station in life.
That was pretty good, right? Isn’t that the same speech that all these kids give when they decide to go to the NBA early? How many times a year do we, the sports fans, hear this same speech? Nowadays it seems that mostly high school kids are giving this speech. Whoever is giving this speech, most of the time the player who does go to the NBA early has a strong belief that he will be drafted and is ready for the NBA grind.
I will tell you ahead of time, I am a huge UK fan. There isn’t any team, college or pro, that I follow with more passion than the Wildcats. As are some of you, I was somewhat surprised by the decision of Kelenna Azubuike to enter the NBA draft. The reason I was only somewhat surprised was because his father was just sent to prison and I wondered if the financial welfare of his mother and sister would cause a rash decision to be made. Azubuike claims that his father’s troubles had no bearing on his decision, but we all know something like this will mess with a young man’s mind. He is very talented, but he will not be a first round pick and will be lucky to be drafted at all. I know less about the NBA than anyone in the world, but the one thing I do know is that 6’5 swingmen are a dime a dozen in the NBA. Azubuike, unfortunately at this stage of his basketball career, is no more talented than any starter his size on any NBA team at this time.
With that being said, I sure hope Randolph Morris has access to a Whizzinator, preferably The Original Whizzinator, because it is obvious to everyone in the state of Kentucky that he is on something. Morris has made himself eligible for the NBA Draft, not the Italian league draft, but the NBA draft. I don’t know why a 6’10 player who averages more fouls per game than rebounds would declare himself eligible for the draft other than having ingested huge amounts of psychotropic drugs. Not only did Morris announce his plans to enter the NBA draft, but apparently the public found out about his plans before Coach Tubby Smith. Can you do that? I’m serious, check this guy out, he is obviously suffering from dementia.
The good news in the Morris situation is that supposedly he has not and will not hire an agent. He is just testing the waters, I assume. Would you like more bad news? He has allegedly left the campus. I am not sure what to believe, but I hope that Morris doesn’t believe that he can bluff his way into the first round. He needs to come back to UK to learn how to play, basically. He showed many flashes of greatness and potential, he just couldn’t string two halves of greatness together.
If Morris were to come back for one or two more years, I have no doubt that he will have a career in the NBA. Look at two perfect examples of Tubby taking a somewhat borderline talent and getting him prepared for the NBA. If anyone thought that Jamaal Magloire would go to the NBA and not only become a starter but a top 5 center, than you need to be a scout for the NBA. He is the only player of consequence on the New Orleans Hornets. If he could get off that sinking ship, he could really help a team go from playoff team to NBA championship contender. Speaking of NBA championship contender, Tayshaun Prince has quietly become a top player in the NBA.
Don’t believe me? Ask those in the know about the NBA, they will tell you about how he has become a shut down defender. Ask Lebron James how good a defender Prince has become; ask Reggie Miller how good a defender Prince has become. Prince has also added some offense to his game and he is really becoming a complete player and he will make a pretty penny in the next couple of years. That is something all young players would love to be able to say about their careers.
In defense of some of these players who leave early, I would probably make the same decision they did, IF I knew I would be a top pick and make a top salary. If you can’t get huge money it can’t hurt to stay and learn the game and get better. Unfortunately most young players do not have the patience or they believe there is no time to waste in getting to the NBA. Sometimes those players do get better and become NBA all-stars, while others become Kwame Brown, a former number one pick in the draft who has pretty much been told by his team, who were in the playoffs against a Shaqless Miami Heat, that they would rather lose without him than try to win with him. Very rarely do you find a young player who has the maturity of a Lebron James, a player who is truly ready to play and be a star in the NBA. Most kids need time, need coaching, and need to grow up. For this reason, I hope that Randolph Morris realizes that sacrificing his future earnings in the NBA is not worth it just so he can get there a year or two early. In fact, most young players would benefit from this advice; unfortunately most of them are too busy dreaming about dollar signs to listen to reason.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Say hello to Bill Gates future nemesis...

I was listening to America's Car Show on XM radio a few minutes ago and a gentleman named Thomas Kasmer was on the show. Thomas Kasmer has invented a device called the Hydristor. I dig cars which is why I was listening and the things that Kasmer's Hydristor can do is unbelievable, but very real.

Here's why Kasmer is going to be filthy rich.

Hybrid cars don't work. Why? Because I don't live in a big city and needless to say, there are many like me. Hybrid cars are built to go slowly in stop and go traffic, but once you get above 20-25 miles per hour the car has to work harder. So if you drive 30 mph or higher, your gas mileage will still be good, but not much better than the current high gas mileage cars like the Toyota Camry. And I've known several Geo Metro's that got over 45 miles per gallon.

Now, the reason why our current vehicles get such poor gas mileage is because while the engines are becoming very efficient, the process that the power generated by the engine has to go through to get to the ground and make the car go isn't efficient. You're transmission absorbs over 40 percent of the power generated by your car's engine.

Thomas Kasmer's Hydristor absorbs about 3% of the engine's power. That's 97 percent efficient power transfer. Kasmer also stated on the Car Show that the Hydristor can also stop the vehicle by itself and it can store all of the energy from the stopping process in a hydraulic storage tank. I can't begin to explain how this thing works, but it's pretty much a simplified automatic transmission with no gears.

The example he gave was that you could be driving 70 mph and come to a complete stop at a light. Then you could shut off the engine and still accelerate from 0-to-60 in 3 seconds from the stored energy from stopping.

He is currently working with Ford Motor Company to fit a Hydristor on a Ford Expedition. For those of you who don't know, an Expedition is one of the largest vehicles on the market today with a huge V-8 that weighs about 7,000 pounds. His Hydristor will supposedly double this vehicle's gas mileage which is probably about 16-20 miles per gallon in a vacuum. That's Honda 4-cylinder mileage out of a 5.4 liter chunk of American V-8 iron.

With the automotive industry being decades from putting together a vehicle that can satisfy our love of power with our hatred of high gas prices and geeky cars, Kasmer has created a device that could be installed on our current vehicles so we don't have to give up our beloved gas guzzling cars and trucks. He stated that his Hydristor could increase the world's average gas mileage from 20 miles per gallon to around 40-45 mpg. And on top of that, we could out-accelerate a Corvette Z06.

That is unless it has a Hydristor as well.