Monday, May 28, 2007

AC Slate

I simply love Slate. Sorry for being repetitious, I have mentioned this before and I'll certainly mention it again. I haven't been reading as much Slate as I would like, certain decisions have taken a good deal of my time. Fortunately the Slate I have been reading has been superb.

Slate's TV critic, Troy Patterson, writes with a smugness that is both an obnoxious TV critic trend, and a necessity when writing about TV. He is, however, quite funny and his columns will clearly hold your attention, if not thoroughly entertain. He's clearly won me over (for the most part). Check out his insightful and probing column on a recent episode of Entourage and the large blip of melodrama and not funny that was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

For anyone wondering how silly and inane the network upfronts (their new shows for the upcoming television season) are, and simply curious about them, take a gander at Patterson's recent writeups from the events:
NBC Upfront
ABC Upfront
CBS Upfront
CW/FOX Upfronts

For me, Patterson seems to be at his best when he's skewering the empty, crass absurdity that is, unfortunately, much of modern television. The E! Network, always a sign of the apocalypse, recently debuted a reality series about a tanning salon. In his latest column, Patterson reviews Sunset Tan. It's a funny, sobering read. A mother takes her pre-teen daughter to the salon in preparation for her school pictures. Learning that Lindsay Lohan uses a particular procedure, the mother asks the young'n if she'd like to look like Lohan. The cost? $1300. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A little help ...

So after I get a six-pack lose a few more pounds, I'm going to be heading back into the wonderful world of online dating. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "online dating is for weirdos", "everyone lies", "yadda, yadda, yadda". First of all, that's not what you should be thinking. You should be thinking, "What? Doesn't a suave, charming, sophisticated man with a glorious hairy belly like yourself only date fashion models?" Sadly dear reader that is not the case.

Moving on. While my experience with online dating has been short, it has been rather normal. This might sound a little sad strange, but I actually like the idea behind online dating. You get to potentially meet a variety of people you might not otherwise run into at a local bar or similar place. It takes some time to get familiar with (for lack of a better term) reading profiles and tweaking your own profile (though some of us are far more clueless than others: I wasn't even smiling in my first photograph).

Anyway I still consider myself an online dating novice. I've only signed up for one website in the past, a medium sized network that affiliated itself with some popular, quality websites (The Village Voice, The Onion, etc). I believe a year or so ago it was bought by another company and changed quite a bit. They actually have a "most viewed profile" list now and while the men's side is peppered with professional 40-somethings with all their hair---Actually I just re-logged in to see how the lists look like now. Things have changed. The men's side actually has a majority of 30-somethings and in the top slot is a buff bartender (complete with tight t-shirt photos) who's looking for "Women for a short term relationship, a friend or play." Lol. The women's side is also filled with 30-somethings though skewing a little younger. The last time I regularly checked this website, the women's top spot was solidified by a very attractive lady in her late 20s who entered fitness model pageants and was a doctor --- I kid you not. She's no longer on the list. Looks like she found someone. I guess there's hope for us all.

In any case, I'm not sure if I should stick with this site (it's run by a company named FastCupid) or try a more popular site like or Yahoo! Personals. I know this is a personal matter, but if anyone out there has some advice or personal experience with dating websites than please leave a comment. Also, while I hate to admit it, what do people think of "match-making" sites like eHarmony and is's answer to eHarmony --- basically using a personality profile/quiz to match people up. I wouldn't use eHarmony because for some insane reason they don't match homosexual (or bisexual) people. Even though I am heterosexual (enter clever emasculating joke here) I'm not going to affiliate in any way with a company that blatantly discriminates. But what about Right now I think it seems a little too serious. But I guess I am a little intrigued by the idea of matching on similar views and interests. Though a well written profile should help do just that.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Fellow Americans

This is a bit of a political post. I thought I would just state that from the outset.

I'm not sure what Europeans, Asians, Africans, South Americans, my age specifically think about when they hear the words "American" and "USA." I don't know many people outside of North America, so it is difficult to tell what they must specifically think. I'm sure they see President Bush and other administration officials, and must be quite angry and cynical (and rightfully so) at the incompetence and corruption this administration has so successfully executed. I wonder if they conclude the administration is typical of the US, we did after all vote this administration into office twice (well, at least once). But I hope their view isn't so monolithic.

Broadcast laws in the United States have an Equal Time rule that makes sure if one political candidate gets air time, the other candidates get equal time. I wish there was something similar when it came to American voices overseas. For every time a Bush administration official would douchebaggedly opine things are going well in Iraq, equal time should be given to an American who genuinely upholds this nation's values.

Off the top of my head, I'd have the Tillman family, Jessica Lynch, and members of C.I.V.I.C. slotted in the counter programming.

The Tillman family and Jessica Lynch testified last month as to how the Army and Government lied about and manipulated events in order to quell the potential for military criticism (in the case of Pat Tillman) and to propel a military PR bonanza (in the case of Jessica Lynch).

Most Americans know at least a little about the everyday heroism of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. While Pat Tillman died by tragic friendly fire and not in the Rambo-esque, so-called "heroic" manner the military first claimed, he was already a hero. Here's a man who gave up a multi-million dollar NFL contract and joined the military to bring justice to the perpetrators of 9/11. He was a genuine everyday US hero, who like many Americans continued to read about his government's policies and, as his mother mentions, came (or seemed to be leaning) to the conclusion that the (at the time) nascent Iraq War was illegal and/or not in the US' best interest. (For more info on Tillman's political views during his stint in Afghanistan check out the wiki entry on him.) His family now heroically fights to get a thorough investigation of his death.

Jessica Lynch received a hero's welcome and rightfully so. Yet the publicized events surrounding her capture and rescue were greatly exaggerated by the US military, government, and news media. And we know this in large part because she told the truth and testified to it. It's a stark contrast to the "I don't recall" of the testimony of Attorney General Gonzales.

This past April 16th marked two years to the date that the world lost someone incredibly special. Marla Ruzicka would have been 30 today. She was a young firebrand who started the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC). She tirelessly advocated on behalf of the civilian victims of war and before her death was able to secure US Government funds for civilian victims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her wonderful mission continues today through the amazing organization she started.

Marla died along with CIVIC's Iraqi head Faiz Ali Salim by suicide car bomb in Iraq on April 16, 2005.

PS - If you do any online shopping from websites such as eBay, orbitz,, staples, target,, macy's,, etc. then check out CIVIC's FreePledge page. If you buy your merchandise by clicking through FreePledge, CIVIC will receive a portion of your purchase. FreePledge can be used with other non-profits as well.

PPS - Also check out Mixed Market. Mixed Market does the same thing as FreePledge but you cannot choose which charity your proceeds will go to. They evenly donate amongst 5 charities (4 permanent, 1 revolving). Special thanks to Yllwdaisies for suggesting Mixed Market.

PPPS - By the by, both FreePledge and Mixed Market are for-profit companies themselves. But they are doing a good deed and from what I've read, they're more efficient than those "good cause" ad campaigns retailers run ever so often. So the next time you shop online, think about FreePledge and Mixed Market ... I definitely will.

NBA Playoff Picks

I know no one cares, but I must make my picks before the Conference Finals begin. My second round predictions turned out quite bad. Out of 4 series, I picked 1 correct winner. So let's not dwell on the second round and move on to my next predictions which shall be magnanimous! Yes, that makes little sense.

Western Conference Finals:

This one is truly difficult as the Spurs are playing exceptionally well and look to continue their reign (1999, 2003, 2005) with another championship. However, I really like Utah. They are the younger team and playing with a cohesive passion that will make them very tough to beat. The smart pick would be the Spurs as they have home court advantage and are the (way) more experienced team. However it is difficult for me not to characterize their win over the Suns as tainted after the suspension incident. So I'm going with the Utah Jazz in 6.

Eastern Conference Finals:

This one is easy (sorry Yllwdaisies). Cleveland has King James, but that's about all they have. Detroit has a well-oiled basketball machine running on all cylinders. If BronBron shows up, he might win the Cavs a game or two. The Detroit Pistons in 5.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Harpo was the funniest

Sometimes the Onion is just too hilarious.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Dir: Neil LaBute
Writers: David Henry Hwang, Laura Jones, LaBute; adapted from a novel by A.S. Byatt
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Ehle, Jeremy Northam

Rating: ***** out of 5 stars

Before I begin I'd just like to say that if you are even a minor fan of Byatt, Hwang, Jones, or LaBute, and you've asked yourself why Hollywood has such trouble in capturing authentic romance ... then you'll want to stop reading this post and track down a copy of the film. It's really that good.

I'd stop short of calling the film a masterpiece and that's mainly because I'm guessing the novel (of the same name) by A.S. Byatt is almost certainly the true masterwork which birthed this charming cinematic gem. While I haven't read the novel, that it won the 1990 Booker Prize seems to support my guess that it's a darn good book. Now I'm certainly not a fan of the novel-to-screen process, as I've ranted on before. My main qualms stem from H-wood's insane focus on commercialization as well as the inherent differences between a novel and a screenplay. Novels are written quite differently (than a screenplay) and we (the public reader/viewer) experience them quite differently. I could go into more detail but this post is already getting long and I haven't even begun discussing the film. In any case, one of the main differences is that a novel's plot can detail and juggle numerous actions, sub-stories, and characters. Something that is a bit more difficult in a screenplay, which the super smart studio people understand so well that they immediately buy a bestseller and have Joe Hack screenwriter produce a 120 page screenplay. The sheer page/time limit is such an obstacle that the screenplay and movie become a complete bastardization of the original novel.

Of course POSSESSION is the exception that proves the rule. Having Hwang, Jones, and LaBute adapt Byatt's novel is a stellar start. They're skillful wordsmiths who have crafted an elegant screenplay. LaBute's artful direction brings the script to vivid, probing life. Now I understand certain folk find Gwyneth Paltrow to have a bit of a "persona" (for lack of a better word) but from her turns in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and POSSESSION, she is a terrific actor (and singer, the Aussie's are with me on this, lol). Paltrow and Eckhart are wonderful as the leads, while Northam and Ehle steal a scene or three.

POSSESSION will engage you with its literary history adventure, and completely enthrall you with its dive into the always tenuous triangle of romance, love, and relationships. And yes, I cannot wait to read the book.

IMBb entry of the film
Wikipedia entry of the book
Chicago Reader capsule review of the film

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Brady's Day Out

By now, most (if not all) of you have seen this. It is a photograph of one Tom Brady wearing a Yankees hat as he walks around with my future wife Gisele Bundchen. Anyway, if you haven't heard, the crazy people up in Boston nearly lost their collective minds to see their golden boy sporting a Yankees cap. Now I'm a long time Yankees fan so, yes, I am biased, but Tom Brady should be able to wear whatever hat he chooses. Was it a poor choice by Brady? Oh yeah. But he was in New York and who knows, maybe he's buddies with Jeter or A-Rod or something.

What he shouldn't be allowed to wear and definitely is a poor choice is the damn man purse!?!?! I mean how is this not the main story. And there is no ambiguity here, it is a "murse" that Brady is sporting. Hey Brady, can't go the whole day without your hair gel and make-up?

I read something kind of random that stated one of Brady's purported reasons for wearing the Yankees hat was to blend in and hide from photographers. Well what's the reason for the murse? To hide from heterosexual women?

Now I'm a very open-minded person and if a guy wants to carry a purse, more power to him. But let's get one thing clear, there's no way the man purse actually looks good. And I'm sure every metrosexual in Europe has one, but c'mon, doesn't a sleek back or shoulder pack look so much better? I mean check out Brady in the photograph. He's wearing shorts and sneakers! A nice columbia sportswear or timberland pack would fashionably accentuate his look here. Am I right people? I am.

[image sources: INF Daily and Just Jared]

Friday, May 04, 2007

Even More NBA Playoffs!

If anyone cares (and most of you will not), in the previous post I recap my first round predictions and the actual results. I also explain why I didn't update my first playoff post, which I will cut and paste below:

I was supposed to update my previous (and first) NBA Playoffs post but I thought I would spare everyone ration out my wondrous bball wisdom. The real reason is that I was lame and went with the lazy pick of the Mavs over the Warriors (the Bay Area team!) and then quickly (okay, okay, midway through the series, but after I actually watched a game) jumped upon the Golden State bandwagon. So why did I not post anything on this? Because if I had I would have jinxed the Warriors into losing the series. Some may call this a bit superstitious, we sports fans call it hard science.

So to recap, GO WARRIORS!!!! Whoooooo!!!!

Also, I want to post my 2nd Round predictions so that I can pat myself on the back when they, no doubt, come true.

Eastern Conference:

#5 Chicago vs #1 Detroit (Chicago in 6)

Everyone and their grandma is probably going to pick the Detroit Pistons. And while the Pistons are a solid team, it is the Baby Bulls that are going to be victorious. The Bulls have a great complete team (as does Detroit) and they have a solid interior defense thanks to acquiring Ben Wallace (which Detroit is now lacking). This series can easily go 7, and since Detroit has home court I'd say the Bulls have a 50/50 chance at winning it on the road. Therefore they'll take care of business in 6. This seems like it will be a very interesting matchup.

#6 New Jersey vs #2 Cleveland (New Jersey in 6)

I hate to go against Bron-Bron, but it seems this is not his year. The team just isn't gelling around him, more their fault (or the GM's), and he's also playing a bit injured. On the other hand, New Jersey is clicking on all cylinders and playing great. I still think King James will keep things close, but the Nets should emerge victorious, only to lose in the next round.

Western Conference:

#3 San Antonio vs #2 Phoenix (San Antonio in 6)

This could easily be the West Finals. Going into the playoffs San Antonio seemed to be playing the best, in my opinion. I still think so (but with Chicago and Golden State right there behind them). Phoenix does have a major inside presence (Amare Stoudemire) which they lacked last year when Amare was injured. I'm unsure how big of an impact Amare will be, and he could easily shift momentum to the Suns. But I'll stick with the impressive Spurs' defense and playoff experience.

#8 Golden State vs #? (Golden State in 6)

The Warriors are playing exciting, team basketball. It is really something special to see. Baron Davis is controlling the tempo and getting to anyplace on the court he wishes. The Warriors play a very constricting defense which forces many turnovers, which leads to their wonderful fast break points. Whether they play Houston or Utah, they are going to win and make it to the West Finals. GO WARRIORS!!

More NBA Playoffs!

I was supposed to update my previous (and first) NBA Playoffs post but I thought I would spare everyone ration out my wondrous bball wisdom. The real reason is that I was lame and went with the lazy pick of the Mavs over the Warriors (the Bay Area team!) and then quickly (okay, okay, midway through the series, but after I actually watched a game) jumped upon the Golden State bandwagon. So why did I not post anything on this? Because if I had I would have jinxed the Warriors into losing the series. Some may call this a bit superstitious, we sports fans call it hard science. Now that the amazing Warriors have pulled off the greatest upset in NBA history, I will be posting a bit more about them. I think they will make the Conference Finals, beating either Houston or Utah. But first let's check how my predictions did:

Eastern Conference:

#4 Miami vs #5 Chicago (Chicago in 7)

I was right about Chicago winning, but they swept the defending champs (Miami) in 4 games. I think the Baby Bulls will go very far. More on that later.

#8 Orlando vs #1 Detroit (Detroit in 5)

I did much better here. Detroit won in 4.

#7 Washington vs #2 Cleveland (Cleveland in 5)

Cleveland also swept in 4, though the deeply injured Washington Wizards went down fighting. I know the Cavs swept, but things don't look good for Bron-Bron.

#6 New Jersey vs #3 Toronto (Toronto in 6)

I got this series wrong. New Jersey actually won in 6. I should have known something was up when the Nets beat the Bulls in a very important final game of the regular season. But I thought Bosh would be big, and he was a bit iffy. In all fairness, it was his first playoff series ever and he is still a young player. New Jersey was simply the better team.

Western Conference:

#7 Los Angeles vs #2 Phoenix (Phoenix in 6)

Once again I was close, Phoenix actually won in 5.

#6 Denver vs #3 San Antonio (San Antonio in 5)

I actually got this right on the money. I'm a bit torn about A.I. and I think if he focuses on a more all-around (facilitator) game, then Denver will be very tough next year. That said, I truly believe he shot Denver out of at least 2 games. But to be fair, he took two big shots down the stretch in game 4 and both were in and out types, had they fallen maybe it's San Antonio in 6 instead of 5.

*Seriously, if you read this far you are a trooper and a good buddy! I thank you kindly.

#8 Golden State vs #1 Dallas (Dallas in 6)

Boy was I wrong on this one. It turned out that Golden State completed the greatest NBA playoff upset in 6 games. All I have to say is this: GO WARRIORS!!!!!!! Whoooo!!!!!

#4 Utah vs #5 Houston (Houston in 6)

This series is still active with game 7 scheduled for Saturday evening. I had a feeling it was going to go 7 games but I'm a big Houston (T-Mac and Yao) fan and I don't like their chances in a game 7. Yes they have home court and only the home team has won in the series, but I still think game 7 is 50/50 which isn't such a good thing for Houston who was favored at the start of the series.

So here's the wrap up:

Out of 8 total series, 7 have been completed. I picked the winners in 5 out of the 7. And I picked the correct winner and number of games in 1 of the 5. Even if the remaining game goes against my prediction, I'll be above 50% which isn't so bad. In any case, the predictions will be a bit more difficult in the next round. More on that in my next post.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Will Ferrell no pay rent

Yesterday while checking out the blog 'hood I discovered what might be the funniest vid in the history of the universe. Thanks to the super-fab Marcia, I came across this:
"The Landlord"