Thursday, June 29, 2006

My two cents on Superman Returns...

I'm not a Superman guy either, like Piccu. I guess it's because in the movies he doesn't have any big time flaws. His only real problem is that he's not very super when it comes to talking to women.

Batman saw his parents killed and is scared of bats and is a regular dude. Spiderman, well if you've seen the trailer for the third installment, Spidey has some serious issues.

And all of the masked heros have identity problems. They can't tell anyone that they are super heros. Granted, I guess Clark can't tell Lois he's Superman, but Superman can't tell Lois he's Clark either. It evens out.

Anyway, the movie was really good, but they flew passed the perfect comic book ending. See if you can spot it. It's still a very solid movie. I really dig the old school graphics work they did with the opening credits. Very 80's.

Of course, this movie is vastly superior to the old Superman movies. I kind of liked the movies when I was little, but nothing really stuck with me and I never really cared about seeing them again. Christopher Reeves will always be known as Superman and I guess he hit the nail on the head with the character, but I suppose I'm not a Superman fan because he's kind of dry.

I'll just say this, Superman Returns is a pretty good movie and you should go see it if for no other reason than because it's Superman for Pete's sake.

Howver, I don't think it touches Batman Begins.

What can you say, it's Britney being Britney...

I don't know what this chick's problem is, but she won't be scoring any points with this current little publicity stunt. Apparently, Britney Spears thinks that one way to prove yet again that she isn't a girl anymore is to pose nude for Harper's Bazaar magazine.

OK, I'll be the first to admit, I wouldn't mind seeing her naked and frankly every man feels the same way. However, naked and 6-months pregnant isn't scoring any point with anyone. I guess a magazine called "Bazaar" is appropriate for her though because there if there is a word that best describes her, that's it. Besides, didn't she already have a single released about being a woman or something. Probably named an album like that. I'm sure that's enough. After an album dedicated to your woman-ness, a 48-hour marriage/divorce and getting knocked up by a dude whose wardrobe consists of track suits and wife-beaters, we get it. You're a woman. Start doing things that makes us feel like you are smart.

And why is it that in what would be the most awkward moments any person could ever dream up she always has his goofy smile on her face? They probably got that in one shot.

Photographer: "OK, imagine you are 6-months pregnant, thought to be a horrendous parent already and about to be on the cover of a prominent magazine. You are also naked... (snap) Yep, that's the one."

Britney: "Gee, thanks Deb, that was really relaxed. I look like a good mommy now."

When Matt Lauer was grilling her in an interview she was practically giddy at the chance for Matt to ask her what it feels like to be made out to be a complete idiot on a daily basis by the media. Check out this photo from the interview, she has this look on her face like "this is gonna be great!" And we all knew it was a bad move. Britney is like the president, she should never be put into a situation where she has to think for herself. Especially when questions are being asked.

Her life is turning into a slow motion train wreck. Each new story is one more derailed car off the track. The difference is that I love a good train wreck, but this train wreck I'm bored with.

Go away.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns and does not disappoint.

Just got back from Superman Returns and I thought I would let some of you in on my thoughts. As if you care. As I have said before, I am not a Superman guy, I much more anticipated the new X-Men, Batman, Spiderman and even Hulk movies. I will say that as soon as you hear that familiar Superman theme music at the beginning of the feature, you quickly become a Superman guy, or gal.

You have probably already read stuff about it, either reviews or magazine articles. Superman returns to Earth after 5 years of searching for his home planet. Once he returns, things are awkward at first, but slowly begin to piece back together. Lex Luthor is the bad guy and who else would you want to be the bad guy in the first new Superman movie in 25 years.

The story is pretty good and involves Superman and Lois trying to figure things out between them. While that is going on, Lex is up to no good with a plot that will devastate the world. Personally I did not care too much for this plot of his, but it is what it is. Superman tries to save the day and you will have to watch the movie to see if he does, as if no one knows.

Brandon Routh played a pretty good Christopher Reeves playing Superman. I am not sure if he can go on to other roles and be successful, but then again Reeves never did either. I think he will make tons of money and should be having a Vince Chase-like life right about now.

I didn't like the sound of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane the first time I heard about it, but she is really good, and really hot. Kevin Spacey is always good, but actually he was just kind of eh for me. He did provide most of the comic moments in the film, all of which got a chuckle.

The action was good, lots of special effects, but every super hero movie has its share. Just seeing Superman fly around in some of the scenes is just amazing. It reminds you of the first times you ever saw the original Superman movies.

In other news, the first preview of the day was Spider-Man 3, a preiew you can check out if you scroll down a bit on this site. I have to say that I did not see Superman being gay as some media outlets have been saying. I did, however, see him as a messiah like figure. This story could match up very well with the Chronicles of Narnia. All in all, I think fans and non fans alike will enjoy Superman Returns and I bet this is the best popcorn event you will see all year.

From 65 to 128?!?!

The basketball coaches of the NCAA will meet this weekend to discuss expanding the NCAA tournament field from 65 to 128 teams. That’s genius.

The NCAA has proven time and time again that it loves to screw up things that work well. But I’m not going to spend time today talking about that. Instead I want to harp on the hypocrisy of the NCAA.

This is, I remind you, the same institution that claims a national playoff to determine its division one football champion would keep kids out of the classroom for too long. (while every other NCAA football division competes in the playoff format.) Now these coaches are saying that expanding the NCAA by another week or two won’t hurt? These kids start playing in November and don’t finish now until April. So finishing deeper into April or even in May is ok?

What’s the motivation for expanding the field? George Mason. Well kiddos, if you believe expanding the NCAA tournament to nearly twice its size is all about getting more opportunities for schools like George Mason then I’ve got some beautiful ocean front property in McLean County for you.

What they’re talking about is getting in MORE teams from the Big East. MORE teams from the ACC. MORE teams from the SEC, from the Pac-10, from the Big 10, and from the Big 12.

Sure, if you expand to 128 you pretty much would have to get schools like GMU and Hofstra in. But that’s not the primary motivation. The primary motivation is from people like Billy Donovan, the coach of National Champion University of Florida. Donovan claimed recently that South Carolina’s winning the NIT for the second year in a row proves they should have been in the NCAAs. Problem is, USC doesn’t do ANYTHING until they reach the NIT. Thus they were 18-15 (6-10) in the regular season and the SEC tournament before winning five in a row to take the NIT crown.

On the surface, this can’t happen. You have to think cooler heads prevail and we realize the idiocy and hypocrisy of this concept. But this is the NCAA. The masters of disaster. The architects behind the BCS. The geniuses behind aluminum bats in baseball. The creators of the “Play-In Game” in Dayton two days before the actual NCAA tournament begins in earnest.

If you think it can’t happen; if you think the NCAA and Myles Brand can’t ruin the single greatest tournament in the United States, then think again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Spider-Man 3 trailer online now.

Click the title for the link to the trailer for Spider-Man 3. It is coming summer of 2007. It looks pretty cool. The Sandman was there and so was Venom. This ought to be the most action packed Spider-Man yet. My only hope is that it can hold up on the story end of the movie like the first two did so well.

The price of information...

You have to wonder what kind of price we are paying for the ability to read or hear about the news minutes after it happens. Perhaps even seconds after it happens or even watch as it happens in some cases.

Back in the day, and that could be as recently as the 1980's to an extent, ignorance quite possibly may have been bliss. We are now in what is sometimes called "the information age" and many of the little details that would have never even been a blip on the radar 20 or more years ago is now front page news. And news organizations are trying their best to "one-up" the competition with no subject being taboo.

Here in the United States, the media likes nothing more than to dig up dirt on U. S. officials and their actions. Military or otherwise. Any little thing that comes out of a congressman's mouth gets out into the public. And now that we have these wonderful weblogs at our disposal, we don't have to wait for Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather to tell us what the news is at 5:30 on the nightly world news. Citizen journalism is now a buzz word. We can break the news ourselves if we like.

This really affects politics more than anything, but that's a big deal right now. When we have presidential elections that last weeks because they are so close that we have to recount the votes, that's stuff that can change the world.

But the fact of the matter is that we used to not hear about half of the things our government is doing and now you have to wonder about what it is that we don't actually get to hear about now. Back in the day we were all happy and ignorant of the craziness that was going on in the country and the world. Now Piccu, myself and all of our friends talk about politics and news in the world all of the time.

It used to be that during a war, we would hear about what happened during a large battle and perhaps a rough count of any casualties. Now we know how many of the enemy were killed and the name, rank, hometown and names and ages of all family members of each American soldier that dies each day. And that right there can change the way the public views a war.

Reading that two American soldiers were killed during combat can isn't nearly as painful as hearing that John Doe from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, father of two was killed along with Jane Doe of Fort Campbell, Ky. Or worse, having internet video of terrorists severing the head of an American soldier.

The news media sometimes used to somewhat protect the public from things that it should see or read. Now if it bleeds it leads as the saying goes.

You have to wonder if things really went smoothly before the internet and several 24 hour news stations on cable TV. Before the general public had too much "need to know" information.

But then again, those of us who keep up with the news chastise those that do not and chose to be ignorant.

I guess the question is, does the general public really need to have access to all of the information that is available in this information age?

Lord of the Rings fans rejoice!!! You are being taken advantage of.

Lord of the Ring fans get ready for the super long extended editions ready to roll out in August. Wait a minute, I already have the super long extended editions, or do I? It seems that yes I do. Apparently New Line and Peter Jackson are not content with the billions of dollars they have already made and knowing the obsessive nature of their fanboy geeks, they know they can sell any number of “new” and “super” editions.

It seems that these new editions will contain both the theatrical version and the extended versions of the film. I might add that all of these are already available for sale. What is new to the “new” editions? New documentaries on the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. As if there weren’t enough documentaries and making of features in the previous DVD editions.

I am all for loading up a DVD with great additions, I am looking forward to repurchasing the Dazed and Confused Criterion edition just for the extras, but enough is enough. As much as I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as of right now, I will not be plopping down my hard earned dough for something that I already own. It makes no sense.

This is the type of tactic that leads people like me to look into ripping and burning DVDs. When you have the movie, but you want the extras? Just go rent this edition and rip and burn, now you have all the editions. At least until they release the super never before seen unrated director’s cut in three collectible boxes featuring Frodo, Gandalf, and Sam.

Take a Bow Mr. Luckovich

The above political cartoon appeared recently in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Its creator, Mike Luckovich apparently now thinks the United States is comparable to Al Qaeda in the realm of torture. If the very thought of that doesn't turn your stomach then I wonder about you.

While the majority of Americans do not feel the same as Mr. Luckovich, a suprising number do. This sentiment echoes that of Ward Churchill, the embattled University of Colorado professor who compared the victims of the 9/11 attacks with Nazis. That's as asinine a statement as anyone could make, but Churchill stands proudly by it. Even when he's being terminated from his job at Colorado (although the listed reason for his suggested termination is academic misconduct.)

Churchill yesterday on FoxNews Channel's Hannity and Colmes show continued to compare American soldiers to Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Even when Shawn Hannity (rightly) said that there is no comparison between placing underwear on a prisoner's head (as was the case at Gitmo) and the stacks of dead bodies that Hussein had dumped in mass graves. Churchill was belligerent in saying sodomizing prisoners is just as bad.

There's a valid point in Churchill's mad ravings. We should be as outraged as he is when our soldiers treat prisoners like that. As Americans we have a right to expect better behavior and we should expect our soldiers to be above such disgraceful conduct. But saying that behavior is comparable to beheadings, torture rooms, gas chambers, and mass graves is just ridiculous.

Luckovich said his only regret about the above cartoon was that he should have waited a bit longer after two American soldiers were found savegely beaten and murdered in Iraq. Gee Mikey, ya think?

Freedom of speech is a great thing. No one should be thrown in jail for expressing a dissenting opinion. I believe dissension is not only acceptable, but necessary in a democratic society. However, there are consequences to such actions as Mr. Luckovich and Mr. Churchill have displayed. I'm glad Churchill is losing his job as easily as he's lost his mind. I would love to see Mr. Luckovich lose his as well, but I know the AJC better than that. But I hope advertising and subscriptions to the AJC drop like a stone.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Producer Dallas Austin picked the wrong country to sniff and/or smoke up in.

Ever heard of a producer in the music biz named Dallas Austin? Well, you may not hear anything from him for about two years. Apparently Mr. Austin was traveling to supermodel Naomi Campbell’s three day birthday bash in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Why Dubai? I have no idea. He went through airport security and then realized he had forgotten something on the plane. so he ran back to get it and when he came back, security decided to look at him a little further. Somewhere, on his person or in his urine or blood, security found a small amount of drugs. Dallas Austin is now in a Dubai prison and is looking at about two years in prison for wanting to smoke it up with Naomi.

Of all the places to travel to with drugs, why would he do this? Had no one ever told him about drug laws in foreign countries? I guess he never saw the movie Midnight Express. They can charge you with possession even if you took drugs before you entered their country. In fact, you can be sentenced from 4 to 15 years for even having drugs you can buy over the counter in the US. Even though an official said Austin would probably only do two years, this was not a good move for Austin.

While it seems as if Austin will not be charged with transporting drugs for sale, which carries a death penalty, he will be charged and he will do time. I can’t even imagine doing time in prison, much less a prison in the Middle East, especially when you are an American. It comes back to that old saying, "Why do you think they call it dope?"

Baseball has discovered the next Lou Piniella

I really do have to recommend the website to all the sports fans that check IA out. They have news and with the news, good ol’ fashioned snarky commentary. They also print some stuff that other news organizations will not. I’m not saying that is good or bad, I’m just saying. And to top everything off, they dislike ESPN’s Chris Berman as much as I do. They even have a special section devoted to him.

I saw this today as I checked out It is a clip from of minor league baseball manager, Joe Mikulik of the Ashville Tourists, throwing a fit at Appleby’s Park in Lexington, KY. I think I have been there before, anyway, the call he is arguing had something to do with Koby Clemens.

Here are some highlights, he reenacts a slide into second, he throws a base, he sweeps dirt on the plate and the umpire, he throws bats, he pours water on homeplate, he slams his water bottle onto home plate and then he returns to argue with the umpire some more.

Check the clip out, this has got to be the best manager tirade I have ever seen. No one, including the greatest tirade thrower in baseball history, Lou Piniella, has anything on this guy. Mikulik is the man.

World Cup Fever!? Count me in.

Yep, yet another poster on the Affect coming out in favor of the world's most popular sport.

If you've watched more than 10 minutes of any World Cup 2006 match and still are not a fan, check you pulse or hold a mirror under your nose. This is great, great stuff. And it's not just becaue there are 40,000 crazed maniacs in the stands. The skill level of your average World Cup participant is so far off the scale it boggles the mind. Mexico's lone goal in their 2-1 OT loss to Argentina is a great example.

To throw a ball with accuracy takes talent. To kick a ball with accuracy takes more talent. To "head" a ball with accuracy takes something I frankly ain't got.

This Cup has gotten me so excited I'm organizing a little friendly soccer match here in my town. That's right. I'm going to play soccer. I love it. It's now my third favorite sport behind basketball and football (that's football) and ahead of baseball and golf. Sorry baseball fans, but when people call soccer boring then tell me they watch baseball on TV I have to laugh.

But here's what I don't get. Why are people so passionate in their dislike for soccer? Honestly, if I'm listening to a call in show and they're discussing a sport I don't care about, I turn the channel. If they're discussing soccer, someone's calling in and they're going to go off. I just don't get that. If you like it, great. If you don't like it, fine. Why do people feel the need to campaign against soccer? If you've got answers I want to hear them. Until then, viva fifa.

Ozzie Guillen is nobody, compared to Brett Myers, but you can't tell that by the media coverage.

I listen to ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd on an irregular basis, mainly because he is no Tony Kornheiser. That being said, he can be very entertaining and sometimes he actually makes a lot of sense. This past week in baseball was a scandalous one, especially for Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Chicago White Sox. Guillen called Chicago Sun Times columnist Jay Mariotti a piece of s#*^. That’s understandable if you have ever seen Mariotti on Around the Horn on ESPN. He then went over the line and called Mariotti a homosexual slur that rhymes with bag.

Guillen has done something like this before and he tried to use the fact that this word means something different in his country and he is just an ignorant foreigner. Well, Ozzie, you have been in the USA for 20 to 25 years and have in fact just recently become a citizen of this country. I would think he would have learned the meaning of the word in this country, or at least not say it in front of the Chicago media.

Well, this was a controversy that raged the whole week and Guillen was fined by Major League Baseball and commanded to take sensitivity training. This whole affair was fodder for a million sports columns and it was on PTI and Around the Horn just about everyday. It seemed like the end of the world was here.

Then, on Thursday night of this past week, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers assaulted his wife, allegedly punching her in the face with a closed fist. Not only that, but witnesses saw him beating his wife and screaming at her. He was then allowed to pitch on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox. When asked to comment on the alleged incident, Myers’ said he was sorry this had to come out in the public. What? He is sorry he can’t beat his wife behind closed doors anymore? Is that what he is saying?

I have not heard near the clamor that had arisen after the Ozzie Guillen incident. I am sorry to those who were offended by Guillen, but this is a totally different situation. A more serious situation. When you have a MLB pitcher beating his wife for all to see and he is allowed to pitch a day or two after his arrest, it puts things back into perspective.

This is what Colin Cowherd opened his show with today and I have to agree with him. Ozzie is just stupid, but Myers is criminal. There is a huge difference, but you can’t see it in the amount written about the two incidents. I hope that Brett Myers gets some help, and if nothing else just divorces his wife and gets away from her if he can’t keep from becoming physical with her. Ms. Myers was not a member of the press like Jay Mariotti is, but perhaps the media will forget about trying to defend their own and help defend someone who has truly been hurt.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Iron Man is coming to theaters in 2008. Does anyone care?

Here we go, more comic book hero talk. I just read on Yahoo that the next big superhero blockbuster will be opening on May 2, 2008. Who is said superhero? Iron Man. Here is a superhero I have virtually no background information on. I have seen him, I have an idea what he looks like, but I don’t know his secret identity or his powers. I do believe that I had heard mentioned in a TV show that Iron Man is an alcoholic, but I am not sure on that.

I think Hollywood is coming dangerously close to ruining the comic book hero movie. I can understand wanting to bring back Batman and Superman and wanting to create a Spiderman franchise, but as we saw with Daredevil, Electra, and League of Extrodinary Gentlemen, if you don’t have a dynamite script and great effects, the lesser known heroes can fail miserably. I am still fuming over the clusterf*@k that is the Hulk because Hulk is one of my all time favorites, but a sometimes excruciating slow build and horrible effects ruined what could have been an exciting franchise.

I am not sure that there has been a rising clamor for an Iron Man flick and I am not sure that I will have much interest in one. I didn’t even see the Fantastic Four movie because of bad reviews and they weren’t a group of heroes that I had ever really cared about. Maybe I am wrong, maybe there is a huge fanbase for Iron Man, but I bet I am not the only one who is reading about the Iron Man movie and saying, “Who cares?”

The Baltimore Orioles are so bad they can't even get an intentional walk right.

I had a discussion with my cousin the other day about intentional walks in Major League Baseball. He asked if anyone ever hit an intentional walk pitch. Intentional walk pitches are generally thrown way outside of the plate and are definitely not meant to be swung at. I said that Bo Jackson once leaned over the plate and hit an intentional walk pitch out for a home run or to the warning track, I wasn’t sure on the landing of the ball. Bratch thought it was to the track. But it is usually something that never happens.

I was on the site today and saw this video courtesy of and thought I would link it so you could check out something that rarely happens in the majors. It is from a Baltimore Orioles vs. Florida Marlins game. The batter is Miguel Cabrera and he is being intentionally walked by the Orioles. Watch the video and you will see Cabrera swing at one of the worst intentional walk pitches I have ever seen. It resembled a slow pitch softball toss. It doesn’t quite get out of Cabrera’s reach and he swats it for a single that drives in a run for the Marlins, breaking a tie game and putting the Marlins ahead 6 to 5.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Gambling Addictions

I just went to a Grand Rounds (fancy word for a big lecture) on Gambling Addiction. It was very interesting especially that 80% of John Q public socially gambles. Now, I admit to having been a part of few poker games and have been to the "boat" a time or two, but there is legitimately a problem for some. Below is the diagnostic criteria for Pathologic Gambling per the DSM IV:

Maladaptive gambling behavior with five or more of the following symptoms-

1.preoccupied with gambling
2.needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the excitement
3.unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop
4.restless or irritable when trying to cut back or stop
5.gambles as a way to escape from problems
6."chasing losses" (returns to win back lost money)
7.lies or conceals extent of gambling
8.committed illegal acts to finance gambling
9. lost or jeopardized a relationship, job, or education because of gambling
10.relies on others to relieve a desparate debt from gambling or financial problem due to gambling.

Open Call for playlists.

I really like reading people's mp3 playlists and getting advice for a running playlist. So, here is my challenge: set me up with the perfect 40-60minute playlist for working out. I know piccu, Bratch and Travis will have strong suggestions. It can be all one album or a variety. Also, as I am new to the itunes downloading scene, what is the most cost-effective way to download.

The World Cup is over for the fifth ranked team in the world. Must have been a huge upset...not!!!

Shock and horrors abound in the World Cup as the 5th ranked team in all the world has been eliminated from World Cup play. If you don’t know who the 5th ranked soccer team in the world is, you would think this would have been a monstrous upset. Well, maybe if you are an alien from another planet or just a very naïve sports fan. Why do I say this? It seems that the 5th ranked team in the world of soccer is the USA. Sounds funny, right? We’re #5! We’re #5!

Today we lost to Ghana, 2-1. I never heard of them either, actually I have, but you would figure that the good ol’ US of A could defeat a team that no one could find on a map. The US also got pasted by the Czech Republic, 3-nil and tied Italy, 1-1. The US only managed to score one goal in the World Cup. I know it seems by the scores of their games that they scored two goals, but the US is so bad that Italy actually knocked the ball into their own goal to give us our score of 1 in their game.

Soccer heads have been trying for years to get regular dudes and dudettes on the soccer bandwagon. This was supposed to be the year that soccer broke through, although I had heard that many times. The US was 5th ranked and ready to win it all. Wrong! Wrong! The US ended up in a group nicknamed “The Group of Death.” I am not a soccer theologian, but I don’t think that is good news. The Czech Republic was supposed to be the better team in the group according to the rankings and they proved it by beating the US heartily in the first game. Unfortunately the Czechs seemed to lose to everyone else in the group proving that they suck, just not as bad as the sucksters they beat 3-0. I didn’t watch the game against the Czechs, but the commentators said the US played soft and I think there is a reason for that.

US soccer athletes are soft compared to the Europeans. In America you have basketball, football, and baseball, as well as other sports that take all the prime athletes from soccer. In Europe you have soccer and…well, nothing really. As Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio has been saying, the US athletes are 5’8 and 150 pounds. I just read in SI that DeSagana Diop of the Dallas Mavericks said that if he were not in the NBA that he would be a midfielder in soccer. Diop is 7’2 and 280 pounds. Pretty big difference.

US players do not have the size and athleticism of the Europeans and that is why we can never beat them consistently. I do think that the US is gaining in the skills department with the spread of youth soccer programs, but as long as the tallest kids go to basketball and the strongest kids go to football, soccer will never improve enough to be better than a fringe sport in the US.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Spiderman is his own hand!!

Here’s another comic book piece for you. I ran across this a few days ago. It seems that Spiderman has unmasked himself and told the world his secret identity in a press conference. HUH?!?! I know. Apparently it is the latest blow in a new series by Marvel comics called Civil War. In the story there has been a battle between super heroes and super villains and many innocent civilians were killed. The government now wants all super heroes to disclose their identity as a part of the Super-Hero Registration Act. Spiderman is obviously for the Act and Captain America is agin’ it. I guess Spidey and his crew will do battle with Cap and his crew. It’s good guy on good guy violence.

It sounds pretty interesting but once the cat’s, brrrrrrttt, out of the bag, can these “outed” superheroes ever go back? Also, isn’t this just every X-Men story ever written? I would like to see how this all plays out, but I have no idea how to get these comic books. I know of no local comics stores, I am assuming I can track them down on line, but it’s hot and I’m sweaty down here in the dungeon and, frankly, I’m too damn lazy to do it. Perhaps this could be crafted into a movie. It might be pretty cool to have all these different superheroes fighting each other and it would teach us about the importance of our civil liberties, but that goes without saying.

Superman Returns is the greatest movie ever...or so some think.

For someone who claims to not be a comic book reader, I have a couple of posts regarding, what else, comic book heroes. This is about the upcoming movie Superman Returns. I will admit right off the bat that I have never been a huge Superman guy. I don’t know why, I think it was because even though you pretty much cannot kill him, he seems like a wuss. I am more of a Batman, Spiderman, Hulk kind of guy. They are flawed, two are angry and they can be killed if they slip up.

Anyway, I have had mixed emotions about this new Super-movie and the trailers haven’t done anything to help that. I have just seen a story on Yahoo about the reviews from critics who have seen a sneak preview of the movie. By all accounts it seems that this is the greatest comic book hero movie of all time.

Newsweek called it a “gorgeously crafted epic.” They also said, “Next to Singer's champagne, most recent superhero adventure movies are barely sparkling cider."

Time magazine said, “The result is an action adventure that's as thrilling for what it means as for what it shows.” To see the whole piece, click the link.

It sounds like I should give this a chance. I liked the “old” Superman movies, even Superman III, but not like I loved the Batman movies or the Spiderman movies. I believe that my midweek movie crew and I will be going to our local IMAX Theater to see this, and by local, I mean E-ville which is about 80 miles away. I hope it is as good as the critics are making it seem, but I have been tricked by critics before.

I Should be in Pictures: That's a Wrap.

Today appears to be my last day on the set. I shot my last scene this morning and I am now finished. At least I think so. As I promised, I went and got my haircut because I was told my next scene would be the scene in which the two main characters meet at the café and it wouldn’t matter if I had a different haircut. I chopped it all off, and it is markedly different from my wedding day scene and my domestic dispute scene.

I got the call yesterday afternoon that I was needed on set at 7:30 in the morning. As soon as I heard that, I got a little sick to my stomach because as I said earlier, I didn’t think I did that well in my big speaking scene. But I was told that I would have no lines and would be just in the background.

I awoke and headed to the location at the end of the earth. I found out pretty soon that the scene I was shooting was the scene I thought was cut from the movie. This scene took place the morning of the wedding. I knew right away this could be trouble. I had a brand new hair cut and the hair I had in the wedding scene was about 5 or 6 weeks of growth. The assistant director and the costume lady decided I needed a hat. The only problem with this is I have a head like an orange on a toothpick, well not that bad, but I have a huge noggin. We found a hat we liked and had to slit the back of it to fit on my large bulbous melon. It was a goofy looking straw cowboy hat, but it looked kind of “farmy” which was my character. I got in my overalls and we were ready.

It is scene time and the main character and I have been out all night celebrating his last night of freedom and when we walk into the scene we are both smoking a cigarette. I lit one up, but realized I wasn’t even going to be seen from that particular angle, so that was one cigarette smoked. I then lit up another one while we rehearsed but smoked it all before we got to shooting. Third cigarette goes up and we shot one take and the director and others were laughing. I assumed it was me, and was right. The hat I was wearing was kind of goofy, but that wasn’t it. I guess during the scene, I never really looked at the two main characters; I acted a little too disgusted or too bored at what I was seeing, or sensing, as it were. After take two and more laughing, I was told this information. Take three comes and I actually looked at the characters and when the “tender” hug comes, that’s when I become disgusted. It was good and I am finished, unless something else comes up.

I did not feel as uncomfortable this time as I had before because I actually interacted with the crew and the other actors before shooting. Perhaps if I had done this on the day of my speaking scenes I wouldn’t have felt like I blew it. All in all it was a good time and I enjoyed it. I hope that I can do this again sometime. And maybe I will when I start my other project. Assuming I can get the gear I need and get Bratch involved in doing something instead of just saying, “We ought to do this or that.” I will keep my “fans,” all one or two of you, posted on the release of this sure blockbuster about the hard knock life of an old geezer in the OC.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The year's most anticipated sequel is coming soon.

It’s coming. The most anticipated sequel in the history of sequels. Jackass Number 2 is here on Sept. 22. I know, I know, Jackass is dumb and probably makes any who watch it dumber, but I love that stuff. Click the link for the trailer on Yahoo and watch the idiots hurt themselves in ways you have never seen.

Piccu's Quote of the Day

“I’m not sure about weeklies. Those are crazy people, I don’t trust them.” Colin Cowherd as he was asking for movie critics from DAILY newspapers to call in and give their opinion on Jack Black’s latest, Nacho Libre.

I personally could not agree more.

Mickey Mantle makes sports memorabilia fun.

I came across this on a site called Deadspin is a sports site with a very snarky tone to it. Click the link to see the best piece of sports memorabilia that I have seen in a while. Be warned, for those who cannot stand foul (ha,ha) language, you may want to think twice.

Here is some background on the piece. It is a baseball signed by all time great Mickey Mantle. Mantle has written a little message for the owner of the ball. It is going for about $9,000 right now. If you have the cash, I think it is well worth the price.

Friday the 13th the backdrop for Movie Mayhem II

This year it seems that the date of the second annual SC edition of Halloween Movie Mayhem will be set up for Friday the 13th. There is a new boat, which I will test out over the 4th of July. More will be discussed about the movie selection 2006 as the date approaches.

Joining the IPOD generation

My first father's day was marked by joining this ipod generation with a nano for running. I am actually enjoying it much more than I expected. I might even download some podcasts to it, as Bratch is so interested in. I listen to it while I'm reading and running. I know for travelling it will be nice too. The one complaint I have is that the arm band rubs my side when i am running, if anyone has a suggestion let me know. Otherwise it is great.

Frisbies: The New heroine

So, I have written about playing frisby (or disc) golf on several occassions. Last night marked the beginning of a new dimension of throwing frisbies for me: Ultimate Frisby. For those of you who haven't played, it is much like rugby without tackling and no extra points. You can't run with the frisby only pass it to other members of the team. If the frisby hits the ground then it switches to the other team.

Last night I went for a "friendly" game and joined this full on insane league. They were screaming throughout the game. Running plays on both offense and defense. I was able to run as fast and as long as most anyone out there, but for God's sake, I didn't know any of these plays or lingo. After the first play, the "coach" called a time out and chewed out the people who were in for not hustling. They were instructing on all of these things throughout the game and despite defeat we came back from a huge deficit.

I am not sure I am quite as hooked as the title might imply (noting that I have never used heroine), but I am hoping to enjoy the league.

I Should be in Pictures Part VII

I got the call Sunday night. I was to be ready at noon on Monday for my big speaking scene in the movie. I was ready to roll. For some reason I had trouble sleeping, I don’t think it was nerves, because I wasn’t nervous, at least not at that time. I think I got about 3 or 4 hours of sleep by the time I gave up and decided to hit the shower. Then I took off for the outskirts of the county located in the Branch.

I arrived and immediately felt the same uncomfortableness I felt on Saturday. I felt that I was an outsider and it wasn’t because of anything anyone on the set did, they just did what they always do. I just hadn’t spent any time with them. They had a rapport, a frame of reference so to speak. The director arrived and shot a scene between the two leads, and then it was my turn.

In the script, my character has two lines basically. I talked with Coach A on Saturday and he said that he had a few lines, but it turned into 7 or 8 lines, so I was ready to get more lines, at least I thought I was. I was dressed in my nice blue jean overalls with my white t-shirt on and my work boots. I had grease and dirt rubbed on my arms and face and shirt. I looked like I had just crawled out from underneath a car and for me that would definitely be acting.

We ran through the scene and the first thing that changed was that it took place outside instead of around the dinner table. The director started adding some lines to the main characters. We ran through it one time and it felt kind of forced and unrealistic. The director wanted me to goad Curtis into a fight with Aline, he wanted me to say more things like, “How do you put up with her?” Things of that nature. He wanted our conversation to be comfortable. It was just a little hard to sit and talk with your “best friend” if you do not even know the guy. I guess that’s why they call it ACTING!! Thank yow!! No, thank yow!!

Anyway we ran through it a few times because we had to nail it in one take because the end of the scene had the put upon wife dumping a pitcher of water on the abusive husband. We also find out that there is narration over the first part of our scene, so I and Curtis had to adlib a little conversation before we hit the important lines.

Action! Curtis passed me a beer, actually Diet Dr. Pepper in a washed out (I hope) beer bottle, then he passed me a cigarette and I lit up. I was asked if I smoked because they wanted me to have a cigarette in the scene. I said that I didn’t smoke, but I had practiced earlier in life. I lit the cigarette with the wooden matches praying the wind wouldn’t blow it out before I got lit. I would have really looked like a jackass if I had to make a second attempt at my cigarette. It lit and I began puffing away. We got into the main part of our lines, I threw in some adlibs such as, “Is she like this every day?” and “I don’t think I could put up with it.” Then the water came and splash. Cut! We were told good job by the director, but I felt like I didn’t do as good as I could, but oh well. If it looked ok then it should be alright.

I was relieved and I smoked that cigarette to the filter. My scene was over and I thought I was done. I could now get a haircut that was way over do and shave the scrounginess off before I return to work. I am not sure how my patchy 7 day beard would go over very well in the courthouse. I asked if I were done, as in for the whole movie and was told there was one more scene they needed me for. I am now in the café scene where Curtis first meets Aline. This will be my third scene, which is exciting but I was sure they wouldn’t let me cut my hair. I asked, they said they didn’t think it would matter, so today I am going to get shorn.

All in all it was a pretty cool experience, although a little nerve racking when the time came to put up or shut up. I guess I put up, but I kind of felt like I did a little shutting up. It’s not over yet, I should have another entry or two to go before this is over, then it is on to the next project.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Should be in Pictures Part VI

With about a 6 day beard growth and a good two weeks past a decent haircut, I finally got the call to the set. It was the big wedding scene for the main character and her no good husband and I was the no good husband's best man. I had no lines to speak of, but neither did anyone else, so me and almost all the others in today's scenes just kind of stood around.

I felt kind of weird as I arrived because this movie is more than half way finished with shooting and some of these "characters" have been together for weeks. It felt out of place that I was playing the best friend to someone I had never spoken to before and truthfully, I don't think I spoke to him today.

We shot the wedding party coming down the aisle, we shot crowd reactions, shot a band that was there playing a mixture of bluegrass wedding songs. We then moved on to filming the reception line down by a lake, all the guests came down the line shaking hands and smiling at those in the wedding party and finally the bride and groom. This was the best part because after some lines by the main characters, a woman playing the nosy neighbor was accidently pushed into the lake that the wedding party was standing by. It looked awesome. She launched herself into the drink and it should look pretty cool on camera.

So today was long (about 5 hours of standing around), hot (around 90), and not a whole lot of anything considering there was probably 4 or 5 minutes of actual shooting. I have been told that I will be shooting my scene in which I have lines to say early this week. I think that will go well and hopefully I can add a few more to the ones I have. Coach A told me he went from about 3 lines to 6 or 7 in his scene, so you never know. Then it will be on to my next project.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

There's no crying in baseball? Tell that to "former" Chicago White Sox pitcher Sean Tracey.

The big story on ESPN radio today is the whole Ozzie Guillen ordering a pitcher to throw at someone and that pitcher did not do it. Apparently in last night’s Chicago White Sox-Texas Rangers game, everyone’s favorite player, Chicago White Sox A. J. Pierzynski, got hit two times. White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen called in rookie pitcher Sean Tracey to hit Ranger Hank Blalock. The rook threw the ball close to Blalock twice, but never hit him. He then got Blalock to ground out.

Guillen was seen in the dugout slamming his water bottle to the ground. Guillen then yanked Tracey and then tore into him within full view of his team and the TV cameras. Tracey then pulled his jersey up over his eyes and appeared to be crying. Sean Tracey was then informed after the game that he was being sent back to the minors. Wouldn’t you hate to be this guy right now? Yikes.

There’s the situation and all morning long ESPN Radio has been talking about it. Was it right for Ozzie to ask this rookie, who only appeared in two games up until this point, to hit a batter? Was it alright for Ozzie to tear into him on the bench? Is it right for Ozzie to demote the kid? Is it alright to feel sorry for the kid?

My thoughts are that Ozzie was perfectly within his right as a manager to ask this kid to hit a batter. He was smart to pick a rookie because if Tracey got suspended, it’s not like losing your closer or another valuable middle reliever. The team would not miss Tracey for a few games if he were suspended. Ozzie also gave this rookie a prime opportunity to score some points with his teammates. This kid had a chance to show his more veteran teammates he had their back and was ready to go to war with them. How can this pitcher ever come back to the White Sox and pitch to his catcher, A. J. Pierzynski, the very man he was sent out their to hit someone for.

As for Ozzie tearing into the kid on the bench, I could go either way on that, but Ozzie Guillen is a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve and is not afraid to yell and cuss you anywhere, anytime. As the saying goes, it’s just Ozzie being Ozzie. If this were a more veteran pitcher, perhaps Ozzie would have held back, but this rookie not only embarrassed himself, but he embarrassed the whole team.

I do feel kind of bad for the kid, but he surely has been in this situation before. I can’t believe that he has played baseball most of his life and never had to plunk someone to get some teammate’s back. The kid is obviously not ready for the show yet, at least mentally, and this episode will not help. As I mentioned earlier, I do not think this kid can ever come back up with the White Sox. He has no respect from his teammates and I know A. J. Pierzynski will want nothing to do with him. He better pray for a trade to a more understanding team if he ever wants to get another shot at the bigs.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Has the Joker been cast in the next Batman? Or is the joke on the fans?

I know that for a self proclaimed none comic book reader, I sure seem to spend a lot of time on famous comic book characters and this post is no different. I heard this crazy rumor a few days ago and I have delayed posting it because I just did not want to believe it was true. It is news on the new Batman movie that is coming up and the casting of one of the greatest if not THE greatest villains of all time, the Joker. It has been reported, and I hope these reports are completely false, that Paul Reubens will be the Joker in the new Batman movie.

Yes, Pee Wee Herman will be portraying the legendary Joker. Who are the ad wizards that came up with this? I never liked Pee Wee Herman, but I do like Reubens' work in movies such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Blow. I cannot see him playing this role. I think you need someone bigger. I think that this person should be someone who is already seen as a funnyman or you go in the other direction with someone who never has played comedy. I definitely think you have to go for a known entity; you can’t pick a nobody out of the crowd to play this character.

I am not sure who could fit those parameters. I do not see Will Ferrell in the part. Perhaps Al Pacino? He is not someone who plays comedy often and he has a history of being completely over the top, which is good for the Joker. I am not sure I would be satisfied with that.

If Jim Carrey had not already appeared as the Riddler I would think he would be perfect, but I do not think you should retread actors. Unless you just go ahead and bring back Jack, as in Nicholson. He was perfect in the Tim Burton Batman. Could he pull it off 15 years later? I’m not sure.

Whatever the case, I hope that the right guy for the job can be found. I think Christopher Nolan has a chance to go two for two with Batman films if he gets the cast right.

Wal-Mart may start selling cds with explicit lyrics. Heaven forbid!!!

It appears that the all-mighty Wal-Mart may be softening on its ban of cds with explicit lyrics. Record labels are pressuring the #1 music retailer to start selling their explicit cds, especially the hard rock and rap labels. Wal-Mart has had this ban for as long as I can remember and it always seemed a little silly to me. All the cashiers have to do is card the buyer. If the buyer is 18 then they can purchase the “dirty” cd. No big deal.

Back in the day when the Guns n Roses' Use Your Illusions came out, I went to my favorite local record store to purchase them. This was around the time that this whole explicit lyrics sticker hit the industry. I had recently bought a 2 Live Crew tape there (don’t ask, I was young and dumb). I picked up the GnR cds and the cashier boy would not let me buy them because I was only 16. Is that so hard? That seems like a pretty good way to keep filth out of our children’s hands. I did however pay some dude $5 to go and buy them for me, but maybe kids these days are not as ingenuitive as I am, or something like that.

Instead of Wal-Mart being the defender of decency, they could dominate all other music stores in sales if they sold “nasty” cds. It’s not enough for Wal-Mart to drive out all local business, like grocery stores and other mom and pops, why wouldn’t they want to also drive out all the music stores that make all their money off indie and explicit cds?

I find Wal-Mart very hypocritical on many issues, but especially on this issue. Wal-Mart is fine selling unrated DVDs. Apparently it is ok to WATCH on DVD what these cds are only speaking about. Do they have any kind of policy regarding selling R rated or worse DVDs? I’m not sure.

I also think that Wal-Mart is hypocritical in the banning of the sale of magazines such as Maxim, Stuff, and FHM. Isn’t it weird that at my local Wal-Mart, you can go to the magazine rack and still get magazines such as King and other Maxim type mags only these mags are seemingly catered to the black male? The OC isn’t exactly the urban metropolis that you would think. We have about a 2% black population; I can’t understand what Wal-Mart has against looking at scantily clad women of all colors. I, on the other hand, am an all inclusive kind of guy.

So, here’s what America wants. We want Wal-Mart to sell us sex and violence in all media forms. We want violent and sexual cds, DVDs, and magazines; this is America for crying out loud. All Wal-Mart has to do is tell all the workers to look the purchasers in the face and see if they are over 18, if they are sell to them, if they aren’t call the cops.

I am not sure if I made this clear throughout my unintelligible rant, but I loathe Wal-Mart. I hope they do not start selling explicit cds because I do not want them to make anymore money. Unfortunately they will soon realize that they can and in the near future don't be surprised to see a hardcore porn section in the DVD aisle, if they think they could make an extra buck.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Gnarls Barkley uses the force on the MTV Movie Awards.

I told you a few weeks ago about my new favorite cd, Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere. Gnarls performed on the MTV Movie Awards the other night and besides a glimpse of Jessica Alba every now and again, they were the only reason to watch. Gnarls always dress up in costumes, mostly of famous or infamous movie characters, and the MTV performance was no different. Click the link to see it and see Cee-Lo as Darth Vader, DangerMouse as Obi-Wan, Chewbacca on the drums, Stormtroopers on the bass and guitar, Boba Fett is there also. Check it out for a great song and a great look.

The most memorably unpopular characters on TV.

I ran across this list as I was wasting time at work. It is the 13 most memorable unpopular TV characters of all time. Click the link to read the list and the commentary.

Here’s the list:

1. Scrappy Doo I have to say that of all the lists I have seen in recent months and years, this is the first number one that I think all can agree with. Scooby-Doo is probably the greatest cartoon of all time and Scrappy ruined any feel good you got from past memories of the old Scooby-Doo shows. He sucks, he sucks, he sucks.

2. Oliver Martin He is cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch. I didn’t dislike him as much as some, but he was very annoying and I always hoped that he would get run over or get a horrible disease so that we could enjoy a very special episode of The Brady Bunch.

3. Dawn Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer I never really watched the show religiously. I checked it out when I could. I have no opinion.

4. Livia Soprano Mama Soprano was such a horrible person, but when she passed you were sorry because we lost the daily battles between her and Tony.

5. Barney He sucks.

6.Steve Urkel He just goes to show that people who watch sitcoms are not the brightest in the world.

7. Pikachu, Pokemon I personally love Pikachu, so I am against this. Pikachu never hurt anyone.

8. Pat, Saturday Night Live Some of the Pat skits were funny, but to try and make a movie out of this is one of the worst ideas Lorne Michaels has ever had. And he has had a lot of bad ideas.

9. Ross Gellar, Friends The weirdest, geekiest, nerdiest, biggest goofball who got to sleep with the hottest chick on TV. That’s why TV is fantasy.

10. Brenda Walsh, 90120 I think her real life persona is being garbled with her onscreen persona. She is more unpopular in real life than on this show.

11. James Hurley, Twin Peaks Never watched the show, I have absolutely no opinion.

12. Coy and Vance, Dukes of Hazzard They should be number 2. The worst piece of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of your viewers. John Schneider and Tom Wopat are not exactly Pacino and DeNiro, but Coy and Vance make them look like Olivier in MacBeth. And you never heard from these actors again.

13. Wesley Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation Not a Star Trek fan and have never seen this dude in anything but Stand By Me. He is still annoying, though.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Steelers' quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, in bike crash and not wearing a helmet.

Ben Roethlisberger was in an accident this morning while riding his motorcycle. He was riding his motorcycle without a helmet. I just heard on The Herd on ESPN Radio that Roethlisberger was traveling West bound and hit a car coming East bound. It was said Roethlisberger went over the handlebars on his bike and traveled headfirst into the car’s windshield and then rolled off onto the ground. The reporter on The Herd said Roethlisberger was slowing down to make a turn at the time. It was also said that Roethlisberger did not know what city he was in when asked by the EMT’s attending to him right after the accident.

Hopefully this will all turn out to be fine, and early indications are that his injuries are not life threatening. I just do not understand all these athletes that make millions of dollars, who want to ride motorcycles during the off season and jeopardize their ability to earn or sometimes to even play again. How many times have we seen this? Jayson Williams of Duke/Chicago Bulls pretty much ended his career after a bike crash. Kellen Winslow, Jr. has lost a year of playing time and for a young guy who has rarely played so far in his career that is time that cannot be made up.

I know that athletes should be able to ride motorcycles if they want too, this is America, right? I just wonder why some do not wear helmets when they ride. Does this not make sense? I am not exactly a fan of laws that try to govern our personal freedoms like helmet laws or no smoking laws, but wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle just sounds smart to me. If you wear a helmet and fly head first into a car’s windshield, there will probably be less damage.

I guess it is not cool to ride around on your $20,000 bike with a helmet. I hope that not only athletes, but every bike rider will look at this and start wearing a helmet. It would be a shame that a famous athlete has to die before people realize that riding without a helmet is not cool, but deadly stupid.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A new Halloween sequel, X-Men spinoffs, just random movie news.

Here is a jumble of interesting movie news for you.

We have got another Halloween movie in the works. The director for this edition? Rob F. Zombie. Well, this should be interesting. I have not seen The Devil’s Rejects, but House of a 1,000 Corpses was not very good. It did have that old Texas Chainsaw Massacre grainy, home video look about it, but it did just not do anything for me. Zombie went to John Carpenter to get “permission” to take the helm on this movie. Carpenter said go for it. Zombie said that his version would be a bit of “a prequel and a remake, combined.” It is going to focus on the origin of Michael Myers and how and why he became the killer he is. Should be interesting.

I saw some info on the X-Men yesterday on G4. In the scroller running across the screen, it said that there are other X-Men characters besides Wolverine who will be getting their own stand alone movies. One character is Magneto. I am not sure what they would do because Magneto is basically a “bad guy,” but I guess they could make it interesting enough. I do not see a clamoring from fans for Magneto to have his own story.

I also saw that another character will be getting his own spinoff movie. This character has not even appeared in the X-Men movies. One of my all time favs, Gambit. Gambit can turn anything into an explosive and has a trademark of using playing cards as explosives. I saw that the producers were in talks with Josh Holloway, you may know him as Sawyer on Lost. Not sure about that, but I guess it could work. I have always wondered, out of all the X-Men characters added throughout the sequels, why Gambit has never appeared. He is definitely a favorite. I would be more interested in a Gambit movie than a Magneto movie. Get it done!!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

And now, a special message from Tenacious D.

The biggest movie of the year is coming. That’s right, Tenacious D and The Pick of Destiny. Here is the plot of the movie according to Yahoo, “Jack Black (JB) and Kyle Gass (KG) have formed a band the likes of which has never been seen, and they called themselves Tenacious D. This film is not just a list of things that Jables and Rage Kage have done in the past, but it's also a chronicling of their rise to power.”

Click the link for a little something something for the ladies from Jables and Rage Kage.

Barry Bonds breathes a sigh of relief, as Jason Grimsley unleashes armageddon.

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy baseball again. Barry Bonds has hit 715 and passed the Babe and now he has just kind of gone away. Roger Clemens is coming back and on his way he is going on sort of a retro barn storming tour with his first stop in Lexington. That was a special moment for fans in that area as well as baseball as a whole. Then you wake up to find that some journeyman pitcher named Jason Grimsley may be about to unleash hell upon Major League Baseball.

Apparently Grimsley received a package of illegal performance enhancing drugs and the Feds knew about it and came to his door the day he received it. Rather than cause a big scene Grimsley decided to cooperate with investigators. That included naming names of others using performance enhancing drugs and placing a call to his distributor with the Feds listening in. The Feds then wanted Grimsley to wear a wire and talk to other players and get some evidence on Barry Bonds. Whether this was for steroids, Bonds' alleged perjury charges, or for his alleged tax evasion was not made clear. Grimsley then talked to a lawyer and stopped cooperating.

About this time the court papers of his conversations with the government came out. You can find them online and read it yourself. The names of the players he named as having used performance enhancing drugs have been redacted or blacked out. According to some the number of players Grimsley named is anywhere from 8 to 15.

I listened to the Dan Patrick show yesterday and Keith Olbermann was on and they were discussing this situation. Patrick said that a source has told him some of the names that had been redacted and Patrick that those names would shock fans. Grimsley also said that since the drug testing in baseball has started, the players are now only using human growth hormone (HGH) because HGH cannot be detected by a urine test, which is the only test MLB uses.

Olbermann said that because MLB only takes urine for drug testing and this case seems to be dealing more with HGH, for which you need a blood test to discover, MLB needs to go as far as shutting down the rest of the season to get the player’s union to agree to blood testing. Another idea was to save the urine that had been taken and when there is a urine test for HGH to then retest the samples and those who are still playing that test positive would be suspended and those who are retired that test positive would be outed.

This whole thing is going to get worse before it gets better. I have already heard many in the media that say we will hear those names that have been redacted. Somehow, some way they will come out. Grimsley has played for 6 or 7 teams in his career, including the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Philadelphia Phillies. We may find out in the coming weeks and months just how prevalent steroids and other performance enhancing drugs were and still are in the Major Leagues.

We also should begin to realize that the steroid issue does not begin and end with Barry Bonds. He has brought most of this scrutiny and hardship on himself, but it will come out that he was one of hundreds of players who looked for an easy way to boost their numbers. And as Keith Olbermann suggested on the Dan Patrick show, if I were Jason Grimsley, I would hire a bodyguard because there are sure to be several players out there who are not happy with him, especially if they were one of the names named. It’s just like the mob, just when we think we are out, they pull us back in.

Are high test scores really worth it?

Sorry for the lengthy post, but these subject bugs me.

I had a talk with a person that shall remain nameless and we got to talking about the educational system here in the OC. Actually, some was based in the OC, but the main subject I'm going to be talking about applies to the entire state of Kentucky and not just here.

It wasn't all that long ago that I saw on the nightly world news that the state of Kentucky was leading the way in educational reform in this country. I don't know if that is still the case, but if it is, I'm worried.

Elementary schools in this state plan most of their year working toward the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) test. They do this because when this system was implemented each year every elementary school must reach a certain goal or score. If a school does well, they are rewarded and if they don't reach their goal or do poorly they can be sanctioned. Over $20 million have been distributed to high scoring schools in Kentucky.

I was having a discussion about this testing system and mentioned that one elementary school in the OC has astronomical scores in comparison to most of the other schools. They consistently score well above what their goal is set at every year. I asked a question about what would happen should their scores drop 10 points. They could still be well above a provided goal, but with a significant drop, how would that be perceived by the powers that be?

Test scores are going up in most every school I believe, but this school in particular has been outstanding from the beginning. One of the highest in the state.

When we were all in elementary school we remember coloring pictures and putting them on the wall for everyone to see and we remember the teacher making little things to put on the wall to help us learn our ABCs or our multiplication tables.

Here is what is interesting. There are regulations that must be followed when administering the CATS test. And one of those regulations, specifically 703 KAR 5:080 around page six, is that any posters or educational things that are decorating the walls of a classroom must not be taken down when the CATS test is taking place. The Kentucky Department of Education feels that stripping the walls of these posters would make the room feel "empty" and shock the students resulting in poor test results.

Are you reading between the lines? There is a neat little loop hole here. What this regulation is saying is that as long as the teacher plasters every inch of wall space with posters displaying core content information, the kids have it at their disposal when they are taking the CATS test.

Sound crazy? The good folks that came up with this loop hole knew what they were doing because they threw in a regulation that the students weren't allowed to leave their seats during the test meaning they can't walk around and get an up close look at the posters.

That means that the posters need to be big for those of you keep score at home.

So, the school I was talking about that has had astronomical test scores right from the beginning seems to have been the first school in the OC to take advantage of this loop hole, but trust me, the word is spreading and if you live in Kentucky, it's happening where you live too.

Here is what I found on the official board of education website for Ashland, KY. in the "Testing Tips for Teachers" section. Here is an abbreviated version of Tip #10 on that website so I can shorten this post a little bit.
Q: Why can posters stay on the walls during the state-required assessment... ?

A: ...KDE has made the conscious decision not to force teachers to remove things from walls and sterilize their rooms because of the time involved and the possible negative impact on students. Student's may be upset by a suddenly "empty" and blank room and not be able to perform to the best of their ability. The Administration Code for Kentucky's Educational Assessment Program 703 KAR 5:080 addresses this on page six of the regulation:

"Materials may be placed on classroom walls and bulletin boards for instructional purposes anytime during the year. Lesson plans shall contain documentation of the relationship between posted materials and instruction..."

I can appreciate showing the kids how to figure things about by using the posters over the course of the year, but providing them information that they could be tested on to be on the walls so that they can simply reference it instead of know it, bothers me. And I don't even have any kids.

The only reason these schools are putting these posters on the walls is so they can get high test scores, not because they feel that it is helping their students. They just want the rewards that come with the high scores so they can keep their jobs even if it means sacrificing the students quality of education. And don't believe that the students aren't being told to use those posters during the test and that teachers aren't encouraged to create the posters.

Another interesting aspect to this issue is that you can't display posters in a room unless that subject was taught in that specific room throughout the year sometime. Some schools have teachers that teach one subject to an entire grade whereas other schools have one teacher teach all subjects to a specific group of kids.

That being said, I asked the question, "How can the kids that go to different teachers for different subjects do well on the tests if they are moving from room to room like junior high and high school students do?" Because only a single subject would be taught in a teacher's room and who knows what room they'll end up in during testing.

The trick is that the students don't move around. They stay in one room and the teachers come to them so the posters are displayed in one specific room for those students.

This is just screwed up. But I'm very interested to see how kids will fair in junior high school after six years of:

Step 1: Read the question.
Step 2: Find the poster.
Step 3: Answer the question.

6-6-06 was pretty cool for me because of some minor leaguer named Clemens.

My cousin called about a week ago and asked what I was going to be doing on 6-6-06, I said besides waiting for the end of the world, nothing. He asked if I would like to attend a minor league baseball game in Lexington. At first I couldn’t understand why I would want to travel two and a half hours to see a bunch of kids I have never heard of play baseball when I could stay at home and watch the Yanks vs. Sox in HD. He then told me the magic words…Tuesday night is 25 cent hotdog night. I was there.

We loaded up on quarters and headed to Lexington to check out the Lexington Legends. We weren’t the only ones. It seems that the Legends ballpark has a capacity of 6,000 people but on Tuesday the capacity was upped to 9,000 people. We were packed in like sardines, well, some were.

Four of our group lucked out (including me) and got chair back seats and didn’t have to sit in steerage (or standing room only as it was known at the ballpark). It was a pitiful display to look across the wooden fence and see the scruffy, scroungy steerage fans in their rags watching the game. We were five rows off the field in $8 seats. I later found out that seats such as ours were going for over $400 a seat on eBay. It seems 25 cent hotdog night is a popular attraction.

In addition to 25 cent hotdog night, June was dairy month and Tuesday was dairy night. Outside the ballpark, the dairy council was giving away small Dixie cup size milkshakes and small cartons of milk. I was offered some free milk and I replied, “It’s so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice” and I refused.

When we first hit the scene we saw the funnel cake sellers. We all purchased one and mine and my cousins had so much powdered sugar on it, that it looked like a quick pick me up for Keith Richards circa 1972. It was damn good. On our way to our seats we spied the sausage cookers and they had the onions and peppers piled high on the griddle. It is a memory burned into my brain and I vowed to return and maul a bratwurst.

In the second inning we had a friend of my cousin’s run to the 25 cent hotdog tent. He came back later with four and we immediately sent him right back for more. I ended up eating three dogs. I still thought that if we waited long enough I could still tackle the brat, but my cousin’s special lady friend couldn’t finish her nachos and I was called upon to finish them off. Bye, bye brat. I couldn’t even think about food after that.

Anyway, we saw this kid make his first start of the season, Roger something or other. He had a cool nickname, like, The Missile or The Rocket or something. I’ve got to tell you, this kid has something. He was big and a hard thrower, he was a little long in the tooth for a Single A ballplayer, but he looked sharp. I expect him to move through the minor leagues very quickly and I predict he will make the big leagues by June 22. He struck out six batters in 3 innings, topping 90 miles an hour several times.

Somewhat seriously, Roger Clemens pitched 3 innings, gave up a huge homerun to one of the happiest 19 year olds on the planet, plunked one of the happiest 19 year olds on the planet, and left the game to a roaring ovation. He then came out for a curtain call and that was it for him.

Clemens purchased all kinds of clubhouse amenities for the team and I heard that he also made visits to local hospitals and visited kids while he was in town. That makes this whole story a little more special. He could have hid in a hotel room the whole time he was there, but he went out and showed his short time teammates how a Hall of Famer should act.

The Legends’ stadium was great looking and it had all the sights and sounds and smells that a baseball park should have. They had the usual minor league promotions. There was a dairy month Southern Belle of the Night contest to crown the Southern Belle of the Night. There were 6 to 7 girls on the field and they all had an ice cream sandwich and the first one to finish it was crowned the Southern Belle. I just assumed you would go by breast size, but I guess they didn’t have the proper equipment. Later on Clemens struck out his fifth batter and everyone in the crowd won a coupon for free windshield washer fluid. That is minor league baseball folks.

It was a good time had by all and a once in a lifetime moment for many people, including me. I will add this to the list of what may turn out to be my greatest year ever. I saw the sitting President of the USA throw out a first pitch, I am cast in a movie, and I have seen a future Hall of Famer pitch in a one time only game in what is quite possibly his last year. We have six months left in the year and I’d say that’s damn good.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Should be in Pictures Part V

I haven’t had an update in a while on my journey to Oscar gold because frankly nothing has been happening. I found out I had a scene on June 17. It was a big wedding scene. I assume I will be in it because I am the no good best friend of the no good groom. I also had to be in a real wedding that day in a town about an hour or so away. It is also a quasi-Catholic wedding, so you know that is going to last a few hours.

I called the producer to see if there may be a chance to do both weddings and she said that there wouldn’t be and they would just leave me out. I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by “leave me out,” so I asked and she said they would recast my part. I made sure to tell her I did not want to be recast and I would not be in my friend’s wedding. She took my name and said she was sorry about the circumstances and we said goodbye. After I began to think about it, I convinced myself that because we were on cell phones she may have misunderstood me and thought I backed out of the movie instead of the wedding.

I really got paranoid when I received no word from anyone for a week when I was told there would be a cast meeting and contracts would be signed and measurements for costumes would be taken. I was freaking out. I finally got hold of the producer and as far as the conversation went, I realized I was still in the movie and went to the set today to get my measurements taken. I was told that my wardrobe would consist mainly of a pair of overalls and a different shirt each scene.

The movie has already started filming and there are some pics from the first scenes on their website and they look pretty good. My first scene will be on Monday as the schedule stands now. I was told this would be a pretty quick scene and I wouldn’t be there that long. I have no lines written in the scene and as far as I now I will only be seen and not heard in the scene. Maybe I can wrangle my way into some lines, not sure if it will be possible, but I will try to hog some screen time. I feel like an actor already.

New trailers for some old favorites.

Click the title for a link to a site called The page linked has movie trailers that have been recut or remixed to form totally new visions of the movie. The Shining is now Shining and it is a heartwarming story of a foster dad and his kid. School of Rock is now a thriller/horror movie about an imposter that kidnaps some kids. Toy Story 2 is now a cross between Toy Story 2 and Requiem for a Dream. You see Woody and Buzz as you never have as they try to make the big score selling drugs.

The low budget horror movie Cabin Fever is now a movie about a dying friend and being there for them. Sleepless in Seattle is now a thriller about an unstable woman who is stalking a single father and his kid. Two other titles speak for themselves, Spongeback Mountain and Brokeback… to the Future. They are all very good, especially the Shining and School of Rock remixes. Check it out if you need a laugh today.

Friday, June 02, 2006

VH1's Rock Honors was awesome. Well, at least two bands were awesome.

Well, Metal Month has come to an end and I gotta tell you, it was pretty cool. We had the story of metal in a four part series, we had new Behind the Musics with Ratt and Pantera and on VH1 Classics had old school metal videos half the day. VH1 ended the month with a special Rock Honors on Wednesday. I watched it yesterday because I had DVR issues and couldn’t check it out live. Here’s the rundown.

The VH1 Rock Honors, honored Queen, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, and Kiss. The show started with Queen, the Foo Fighters did a version of Tie Your Mother Down, which sounded really weird with Dave Grohl on lead vocals. Then Queen with Paul Rodgers came out and played a few songs. I have to tell you, I watched the whole performance and I actually thought to myself, “I need to see these guys live.” Brian May has got a BIG guitar sound and I bet it is even bigger live. Paul Rodgers is not Freddie Mercury, but he serves his purpose. Queen rocked.

Now we come to Judas Priest and Godsmack did a little tribute to them playing a medley of songs like Hellbent for Leather, Electric Eye, and another that I cant’ recall. Sully Erna, lead singer of Godsmack, could not handle the vocal range, but who can. Priest hit the stage and rocked the joint. This is another band that I would like to see live. I bet their sound will strip the skin off your face. I watched the whole performance and rocked out the whole time.

Now it’s Def Leppard’s turn. Not a huge fan, but I thought the first two acts were really good, so I was interested. The All American Rejects played a tribute to Lep by performing Photograph. I skipped thru most of it, it just didn’t interest me. Def Lep hit the stage and played Rock of Ages. Joe Elliot sounded like crap. I skipped to the next song, hoping for High ‘N’ Dry, but they played 20th Century Boy by T Rex. It didn’t make sense, except maybe it is on their new album of cover songs, but who wants to hear new stuff at the rock honors? Not me, I skipped all the way to the next band.

Now we come to Kiss. Last time I saw them there was no Ace Frehley and no Peter Criss and they sounded like sh*^. I was hoping the whole group would be back together. Wrong! Wrong! The tribute portion for Kiss was a “supergroup.” Here are the names, Rob Zombie on vocals, Tommy Lee on drums, Gilby Clarke on rhythm guitar, Scott Ian on bass(and what looked to be a mini version of Gene Simmons' battle axe bass), and Slash on lead guitar. That is a band. And to put the cherry on top, Rob Zombie invited Ace out to play God of Thunder with them. It was chaotic, but a very cool scene.

At this point, because MTV and VH1 are notorious for not being able to keep their shows on schedule, my DVR cut off with about 10 to 15 minutes left to watch. I hate you VH1. I assumed Kiss sounded as bad as they did the last time I saw them, mainly because they seemed to have trouble starting Detroit Rock City. Someone came in too soon or came in too late and it just sounded slow. I will try to catch their performance later this weekend, but I am not holding out hope for a good show.

I realize now that this has gotten too long and if I hadn’t spent the time on it I would just delete it. The show was alright, Jamie Pressley is hot as hades and Queen and Priest ruled the night. Next year they need AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and perhaps Motley Crue. Those would be the bands I would go after. Until next May, keep your horns in the air and your feet in the grave or something like that.

Batwoman is coming out in July, Batman will be shocked.

I have never been a comic book guy, per se. I did love all the cartoons based on comic books, the Super Friends, Spider-Man, and the Hulk. I enjoyed all those. I now have a comic book I can get behind. The new edition of Batwoman will be coming out in July. And I do mean coming out. It seems that Batwoman is a lesbian. You would have to think of all the super heroes in the world, one of the them would be super gay.

Here is the description of the all new, all gay Batwoman. “The 5-foot-10 superhero comes with flowing red hair, knee-high red boots with spiked heels, and a form-fitting black outfit.” Sounds like a waste to male super heroes. I am sure that most male super heroes are like me and they love those red heads.

The creators say that they are not doing this just to have a gay character, it is all about diversity. If that were the case, then where is the gay male superhero? I would imagine that this comic will sell a bajillion copies if only for the curiosity factor and the hopes of all the fanboys that they will see some elaborate lesbian scenario between Batwoman and Wonder Woman. I wonder if this were Batman coming out or, like Batwoman, a lesser known male superhero who was gay, how well this would go over.

I am not sure the comic book universe is ready for a gay superhero of any gender. Maybe I am wrong; maybe comic geeks are the more evolved cult group of society. I just wonder if Batwoman takes off, will we then have Gay-man patrolling crime riddled streets or will the Green Lantern finally come out of the closet.

Politics in Kentucky. It's Fantastic!

Politics in my home state of Kentucky is the most backward ignorant brand of politics on the in the country. And I'm not even talking about small town local politics where the only thing you need to do to get elected is promise everyone you'll pave their road again and run them a water line. Despite the fact that funding for those things are limited and someone is going to get screwed no matter what. Sure unemployment is up and everyone is moving away, but we have such luxurious roads that only two people use on a daily basis and more and more people get access to our polluted water everyday.

But the fun doesn't stop at the local level. No, no. Our current governor, who just gave our county $30 million dollars simply because he thinks we like him, ran on a political platform in the last election to "clean up Frankfort." All I have to say is mission accomplished.

Not only did he clean it up, but he's effectively cleaned himself out of office by firing people in protected jobs and hiring his republican campaign supporters to fill these jobs. Leaving a paper trail the size of the Western Kentucky Parkway and enough e-mail that a 5th grader could track down anyone involved.

I guess Piccu was right when he said that democrats want money and republicans want power because Ernie Fletcher got himself indicted over all of this nonsense after he issued a blanket pardon for everyone involved except himself. He would have pardoned himself, but I guess he honestly believes that re-election is a possibility and pardoning one's self could give off a guilty vibe.

In the article linked in the title, our lieutenant governor, Steve Pence, was formerly a U. S. attorney was a fighter of corruption. He has formally announced that he's most certainly not running with Fletcher for re-election. I wonder why?

Not to be out done, Fletcher formally asked Pence to resign as lieutenant governor because it's "bad for Kentucky" and you'll see in the article that Pence pretty much told Fletcher to "GFY." Then on top of that, Pence also made it clear that he was not going to run for governor in the next election.

BUT, he's not ruling it out.

Can you imagine the smear campaign Pence could run against Fletcher in the primary. I'm sure that Pence would get destroyed in a general election seeing as how he was part of the first republican administration in Kentucky since 1971 and it has become the laughing stock of the country. The only reason I found this story was because Yahoo! had it in their "recommended" section. As if to say, "Check this sh#! out."

I've met both Pence and Fletcher and I gotta tell you that I actually voted for Fletcher in the last election. To me he seemed like the best man for the job and he or Pence actually showed up in the OC several times whereas his opponent showed up once with a gaggle of former UK basketball players and coaches to draw a crowd.

I don't know how many incumbant governors have ever not made it out of the primary, but unless strings are pulled to make sure no one runs, this one will.

Morons are going to come out of woodwork to face this dude.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A parent's worst nightmare.

I saw this piece on Yahoo! this morning. It sounds like something that would happen in a TV show. Apparently there was a bad car crash involving a group of college kids. All died but one. The girl that survived was in a coma and has just recently come out of it. Her parents noticed that she was saying some very confusing things. They consulted the doctor and later found out that the girl in the coma was not their daughter. Their daughter was one of the ones who died in the crash. The two girls were misidentified. Unbelievable. Click the link and read the rest of this crazy story.