Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So I'm pretty sure "True Blood" is not very good. I'll continue watching (largely because the old lady is into vampire fare), but I'm starting to question Alan Ball's vision. The show is riddled with tonal irregularities. Often the acting is awkward. Tara is especially irritating. Almost every actor is unable to affect an accurate Southern accent. Aside from the occasional Bill/Sookie scene, the show is largely bad. I'm holding out a shred of hope but am not optimistic.


Paul Newman loved auto racing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Portland, OR

Following a weekend in the Twin Cities for a chum's wedding, I made my way to Portland to stay with my most famous friend, Sean McGrath. The inspiration for the trip was the opportunity to see the rare thing that is a North American Nick Cave show at the Crystal Ballroom. So I dropped a chunk of change on a plane ticket (it was a good thing I was able to consolidate the two trips...) and the ticket at face value that Tony Tonucci and J-Bone picked up the instant they went on sale (yeah, I still owe you the $35, Mark).

Now I'm poorer.

But I digress. I flew in Sunday, hung out with my boy, went to a play, inadvertently squirted clumpy hot sauce in Antigone's eye as a result of my untold strength, and fell asleep.

Monday, I got pumped. I ate lunch with some of the Austin boys at Greek Cusina, spent entirely too much money at Powell's, drank at $5 pitchers at Rocco's, supped with Sean and friend, and then embarked on a mission to the Crystal Ballroom. As we neared the venue, my excitement was almost causing nausea*. We met up with Noocher and Steenburgen (Sean getting to use the ticket that a certain clamato lover didn't deem worthy of putting off motorcycle repairs to be able to afford a plane ticket to Oregon for) at the bar near the club, where I claimed my ticket, and we all headed off through the labyrinth to get into the club.

*This nausea was probably complicated by the worrisome chance that we were possibly going to be able to get our way backstage as a result of the opening act (Ghost Writer) having been from Austin and knowing one of the other gents we were with. Honestly, much like Mark's younger brother having run into Tom Waits on the beach in Hawaii and electing not to speak a word to him, I, too, feared the worst: that we'd get backstage and Nick Cave would say something that would destroy me. Alas, much to my relief/disappointment, the opportunity did not present itself...

When we stepped into the ballroom, it quickly became evident that despite the fairly impressive surface appearance of the club's interior, the floor was going to collapse and we were all going to die. At least we weren't going to die seeing Great White in Providence. The impending death was an easy one to reconcile.

While the volume levels were more than appropriate during the Ghost Writer set, it took two songs of blaringly unintelligible instrumentation for it to become clear that the Nick Cave set was going to shatter ear drums. Now, I've heard others say that the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds shows they saw were also very loud, but this was borderline obscene. For the opener, "Night of the Lotus Eaters", all that was discernible was vocals and then racket. By the third song, everyone's sense of hearing had been so thoroughly defeated that some instruments were able to bear themselves out and emerge from the sludge.

Now sound issues notwithstanding, the show was outstanding. The tracks off the new album played great, and since the nature of the album is so much more of a rocker, I'd have to say I'm glad I saw them first on this tour, where Nick's presence came out in full force at the mic. Particularly affective were "We Call Upon the Author" and "Today's Lesson", which stuck out as being (at the very least) slightly more intelligible than some of their couterparts. Just as importantly, they played many of the classics that I desperately wanted to hear. "Deanna" fucking rocked. "The Weeping Song" played just as well as it does on Live Seeds, which is saying quite a lot. Nick Cave belted out "Red Right Hand" to the delight of his followers, while Mick, Warren, and Co. firmly had his back. And when I was sure during the fourth song into the encore that I'd miss out on some "Stagger Lee" action, Nick busted out his cocksure strut, put on his best badass front, and killed each and every person in the crowd, showing he was just as bad a motherfucker as Stag could ever be.

Even with the shoddy sound, Cave's stage presence more than made up for the fact that I thought my ear drums were actually going to explode during the third song of the encore, which I can't even remember the name of because I'm now brain damaged. Regardless, the show was great in spite of the sound.

As for what happened afterward, it's probably not a good idea to relate what else happened while in PDX. There was a travel scare, as Mark and Jeremy coincidentally ended up in line behind me at the security checkpoint only to have one of them get stopped for something (non-narcotic) being in their bag by accident that was a felony pre-9/11. Luckily, they were let through (hell, they'd gotten through the Austin airport without a flag being raised leading me to believe that the ABIA security is the most lax in the world) without said item and boarded their plane with about twelve seconds to spare.

I had my own travel snafu, as minutes before my plane landed in Austin at 10:28 pm, the power in the main terminal went out, and our plane, which was the first to land after the outage, sat on the tarmac for--no shit--over an hour and a half, while they restored power to our wing. Of course, every other plane that landed after us was able to go to their gates and deplane (deboard? Des Plaines?), but if there's one thing that my experiences at ABIA have taught me it is that I do not matter to them at all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Multimedia in your face

Red-band from my favorite Chiefs fan...

Missing Paul

Obviously, he hadn't been very active in Hollywood for about a decade, but I think everyone will miss Paul Newman. He was so charismatic. He seemed so amiable. His wide smile lit up the screen like no one else.

He embodied cool both on screen and in real life and managed to do what few in Hollywood have done, maintaining a marriage for 50 years with Joanne Woodward.

While his roles later in life garnered more than their share of critical attention, it was the slew of iconic starring roles in films such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Harper, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Slap Shot, The Verdict, Absence of Malice, The Hustler, and The Sting that emblazoned him into the collective consciousness. He made bold choices, repeatedly chose the part of anti-hero, routinely made those difficult characters easy to love.

I really enjoyed just about everything Paul Newman did and would probably rate him as my favorite actor ever, so it is today that I guess I have to hang my head and lament the fact that we've seen the last of Paul Newman on the big screen and the last of his generous philanthropic ways in the real world.

While his family mourns their loss, I can do no more than wish them well and hope that he went out without the pain we would associate with the cancer that ultimately beat him. We are all sorry for your loss and cannot possibly imagine how you feel.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Touching bases

So I'm in the midst of a week in which I'll be away from the computer for most of my time. Posts will come sparingly.

When I return, I'd imagine that the Royals will not still be riding a winning streak (seven and counting), the Chiefs will more than likely still be winless and well on their way to my revised prediction of 0 - 16. I'll also have entries about "Dreams from My Father", Burn After Reading, a Nick Cave concert in Portland, and other mishmash.

Be prepared.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

House 5.01

As the writers'-strike shortened fourth season ended (spectacularly, I might add), House lay in a bed having risked his own life to try to save Amber, Wilson's girlfriend, who had been critically injured in a bus accident after coming to House's drunken aid. Wilson stood at the door of the room House was lying in, having lost his love, and turned and walked away.

When we are re-introduced to the story, Wilson is returning to close up shop, having taken two months of bereavement leave to try to come to terms with Amber's death only to come to the conclusion that he needs to leave.

In addition to Wilson's pending departure, Thirteen's worst fear was confirmed with a positive test for Huntington's in the finale, and she finds herself confronted with the case of a mid-30's career woman whose presence allows for Thirteen to project all of her issues onto the patient.

These two things propel the narrative for the premiere.

Where the episode would at first seem to be fairly typical "House" fare for the first 40 minutes or so, the final segment is outstanding, complete with a sincerely apologetic House assuming blame for Amber's death and repenting to Wilson, who serves as the only affective humanizing force in House's life. The truly great moment of the episode is Wilson's revelation of the true reason he's leaving the hospital--a moment so shocking in it's bluntness that you actually feel sad for the largely unsympathetic House.

The ramifications of the final two minutes of the episode seem like they could pervade House's entire life and dramatically restructure the nature of the show, much like the exodus of House's team at the end of the third season forced the show in a different direction for the fourth season.

I am on edge waiting for the second installment of the fifth season.

At least Tivo means I can rewatch this in the mean time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Over before it began

I don't really know how much energy I can spend writing on the Chiefs.

Really, Whitlock, who I don't always agree with and isn't necessarily the greatest writer in the world, says what I want to here.

Honestly, I can't say whether or not I have ever seen a professional team play this poorly.

In any sport.

I'm a Royals fan.

I still stand by that statement.

The Chiefs are a joke in every aspect of the game. Well, except for punting. Dustin Colquitt is for the third straight season the team MVP. Bernard Pollard seems to be the only defensive player to have showed up to play for the second consecutive week.

I can safely say that I'll be glad to be spending next Sunday in airports rather than watching the Chiefs make me question my existence.

Clark, do what's right. Fire Carl Peterson. Don't wait. Do it now. Don't stop there, though. Fire Herm, too.

An Open Letter to the Barack Obama Campaign*

I hope this comment finds its way into the right hands.

I was reading "Dreams from My Father" this morning, listening to music, and was struck by a moment of unadulterated brilliance.

The campaign seems to be a bit stagnant right now. McCain seems to be gaining ground, and it would seem to be less and less related to a Convention bump as time passes. The Palin nomination, despite the fact that her qualifications and more importantly her job performance are questionable at best, seems to have captured much of the momentum. The Republicans are brazenly airing ads stating that she is a maverick because she was against the Bridge to Nowhere without being held accountable for the dubious nature of that claim. And people are eating it up.

It would seem the campaign needs to be reframed.

I believe it can be done through ads--not your typical political ads, either.

The concept came to me this morning in a vision of sorts.

The image of Barack Obama doing the work of the everyman. Living the life of the average American. Working on the assembly line in a factory. Helping an elderly person carry their groceries into the house from their car. Doing things that blue-collar middle Americans can and do every day of their lives. All of these things could be set to an epic post-rock score of someone like Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Ros.

For too long, the Democrats have allowed for the Republican Party to claim the working man as their voting block when that means the working man is voting against his best interests.

An ad campaign of wordless ads set to grand, sweeping music would be refreshing in both its departure from the tiresome malaise of the political ad and its framing of the candidate as an able-bodied everyman, connecting him to his rightful base of working, middle- and lower-class America.

It can show America he really is the man for the job without even having to say a word.

*I sent this to the campaign through their website as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nuggets While Internetting

Here are a couple of things I stumbled across while dinking around to take my mind off of the disappointment that I am now suffering at the hands of that fickle Hurricane Ike that has left Austin merely breezy after forecasters predicted a 100% chance of rain today...

Sarah Palin is a liar. About sports.

Also, does anyone else have a problem with the McCain ad airing during sporting events (maybe other times, too) painting both of them as mavericks that states the Palin was against the Bridge to Nowhere? Seriously. Just bold-faced lying in a nationally televised ad is brazen to say the least.

Another bit from With Leather: this one should appeal to fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and crazy-dancin' D-backs.

What is wrong with the world today?

The first three paragraphs here should explain to you why I'm rapidly losing my mind. And Rany also addresses the Kila Konundrum here.

And I'll end this by stating that the instant I get home today, I'll be watching the tivoed Iowa/Iowa State game. Go Hawks*!

*It's really been hard to see such a quick demise of a solid program. Iowa is only 3 1/2 years removed from finishing the season ranked 8th in the country (Drew Tate's sophomore year, capped off by an Orange Bowl victory over the Chris Leak-helmed Florida Gators with that dramatic last second bomb to Holloway--I think that's who caught that ball). Then we suffered through two progressively worse seasons under Tate and last season in which Ferentz's team was unwatchably bad and should have been sitting at home during bowl season. It's really shocking to have seen a team led by a guy pegged to be a head coach in the NFL every year fall so hard so fast. I will say that Ricky Stanzi moved the ball with confidence last week, something that Jake was unable to do. Maybe he'll be the key to reversing the hard times they've fallen upon...

And then I came across this, totally by chance while clicking on a link to an article on FoxSports. I don't think I've ever been weirded out more than I just was when I saw my friend Sean's visage on an ad on my browser.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We're talkin' sociology, Holmes

If there's one thing I've learned about the world since I added a sitemeter to the blog, it's that the Brits love soapy cocks. Not a week goes by that I don't get at least one hit because of a post I wrote months and months ago about that goddam Village People movie with The Gutt and Bruce Jenner (pre ridiculous plastic surgery) in which there is a shocking non-sexual shower scene in the middle of the YMCA number in which johnsons are a-danglin'. Honestly, I really thought very little of it when I wrote about the sudsed up units, but those English folks love their soapy cocks in all shapes and sizes and repeatedly search for them on Google.

Now, maybe I'm not writing enough about cocks in all their shapes, sizes, colors, and states, (and I'm sure that's my fault) but it does strike me as odd that those that look up into the sky and see the Union Jack would be as preoccupied with Jack's cock in all its soapy glory. So for the sake of a sociological experiment of sorts, I'm going to spend the next few lines here seeing exactly who likes what kind of cocks. Maybe the Swedes like curved dicks. Maybe the Germans like hairy dicks. I bet Brazilians (or Brasilianos?) like their cocks well-groomed. I'd be willing to bet that all the French hits will be for shorn scrotums (scrota?) and waxed pubic regions.

Only time and the trusty sitemeter will tell, but I'll try to keep you posted.

I'm sure you're dying to find out.


Now, let's have a moment of silence.

I haven't forgotten. Have you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading Rainbow: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman

Having recently read "Fargo Rock City" based on the recommendation (and lending of said book) of well-known Austin lover, KRD, I picked up "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" while perusing the sale racks at a bookstore while killing time. I won't go too in depth here about how great this book is, but if you are looking for a book that fleshes out the cultural importance of "Saved By The Bell"; examines the significance of cereal marketing to children; argues that the fame serial killers attain is more authentic than that of celebrities in general; asserts that Luke Skywalker within the confines of Empire Stikes Back was the blue-print for the GenXer; and compares Pamela Anderson's significance to Marilyn Monroe's once factoring in America's changing sexuality, and you want it to be laugh-out-loud funny, then this is your book.

If you know me at all, you know it's my kind of book.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Evolution of Vic Mackey

The final season of The Shield has begun airing on FX, which is nothing if not bittersweet. Over its run, there have been some unforgettable moments. There was maybe the most brutal fight I've seen on television this side of Deadwood when Shane and Tavon faced off in the show's third season. Aceveda, when still Captain, was raped at gunpoint, after which he found his own way to exact revenge. Wagenbach surprisingly strangled a cat after getting eaten up by a serial killer case. Shane unilaterally decided that Lem needed to be taken care of and dropped a grenade in his old friend's lap. IAD Lt. Kavanaugh (portrayed by Forest Whitaker) pursued Mackey voraciously for two seasons. Hell, Anthony Anderson used "The Shield" as a platform to show he could act.

All of these moments for all of these characters are all really window dressing, though. Since the show's inception, it has been propelled by the actions of Vic Mackey, who much to a certain friend of mine's chagrin is masterfully played by Michael Chiklis.

When the show began, we were introduced to a protagonist who ran things very crooked (the pilot ended with him shooting a departmental mole that had been placed on his Strike Team), but there did seem to be a cause for all the mayhem. As the conditions of the streets of Farmington (a fictional, crime-ridden barrio in Los Angeles) are brought to light, it becomes quickly clear that conventional police work will probably prove to be insufficient. Vic and the Strike Team make the city safer by allowing for the gangs to run things relatively unfettered by police interference as long as conflicts remain bloodless. Once a drop of blood hits the pavement, though, they will lash back at the gangs with an unholy force.

It is clear from the start that--regardless of the moral implications inherent in an oversight of this nature--the effectiveness makes it necessary.

As the show progresses, Vic ends up getting in deeper and deeper, drifting further from operating anywhere near a moral center. Greed starts to play into his motivations; the Strike Team knocks off an Armenian money train; more and more of his actions are driven by self-preservation, which becomes more and more convoluted the deeper he gets.

With the first two episodes of this season, the culmination of all of his shady dealings are (is?)coming to a head. With the Armenians having put out a hit on Vic's family in last season's finale (because of Shane selling Vic out to the Armenians, which Vic doesn't fully know), Vic saw fit to pit the Armenians (who now think that the Strike Team is out to help them) against the Mexican gangs in an all-out turf war, but that is already spiralling out of control, much like Vic's life seems to be.

His lies are catching up to him, and as time passes those lies are accumulating at an exponential rate. In the show's final run, we are sure to see something explode. Whether or not the explosion is as big as the mess Vic has made for himself over seven season is yet to be seen. It should be impressive.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Teeth a-sinkin'

So I wanted to write this entire blog while listening to the theme from "Doogie Howser, M.D.", but my computer is acting a little weird right now. Guess I have to scrap that plan.

This will more than likely be a whopper of a post covering a Posnanskian range of subject matter, so fasten your seat-belts, 90210 fans, you're about to get knocked up...


The Alan Ball vampire show, "True Blood", premiered tonight. Accents notwithstanding, the show was all right. Its pacing was a bit turgid at times, with seemingly little happening for a fair chunk of the show.

The teaser seemed to do very little to advance the plot. I guess it set up the show's premise, but whether it was engaging or not was an entirely separate matter, and the fangs on the bumpkin in the convenience store were comically bad.

Playing with the light in Merlotte's also seemed a bit odd, as the show is not solely told from the perspective of Anna Paquin's Sookie, so the departure from a reality in which she is telepathic to one in which all the lights dim took me out of the scene momentarily.

Stephen Moyer's turn as Bill, the new vampire to town, was also shockingly leaden, with his performance at times seeming much like he was channeling Mark Heap in "Spaced" while disregarding the tone of the show.

Past that, the show was all right. Nothing that was awe-inspiring. Nothing so pedestrian that I wouldn't watch a few more times.


I hated "Entourage" when it first began airing.

It wasn't funny, and I had problems with its glorification* of a phenomenon that I found to be slightly retarded. The entire notion of the entourage in Hollywood and the sports world is just something I couldn't be bothered to care about, let alone enjoy sitting through a program devoted to such a posse.

*I've also been watching "Gossip Girl" as Jackie has been getting discs in the mail, and I have to say it's glorification of the lifestyle of the spoiled rich kids is quite bothersome to me. In "Entourage", at least someone has done something to warrant the modicum of fame that is then abused by a few. In "Gossip Girl", the audience is supposed to give a fuck about self-absorbed rich kids who throw fancy parties and have no problems drinking at any bar in New York. Aside from that being a ridiculous presupposition to make, the characters are not anything other than milquetoast. Furthermore, they're not even attractive rich kids. At least the 35-year-olds in the original 90210 were attractive.

And while you're watching and hearing Kristen Bell's voice-over as Gossip Girl--the blogger that keeps tabs on all of Manhattan's best and brightest--you can't help but be reminded of how "Veronica Mars" was a show at least partially about the rich but managed to be entertaining and explored depths "Gossip Girl" could only dream of. It also had a stable of writers that was capable of putting a pen to paper and having the result be something not entirely consistent of chat-room diarrhea and "Sex and the City" punnery. But I digress...

Additionally, Turtle and Drama were completely irritating in every way imaginable.

I did not like the show.

Then the second season began airing, and as a result of its timeslot, Jackie and I would sit through it while waiting between shows. The weird thing was that the second season was actually good. I was shocked. It's not often that I make an about-face on a show like that, but with "Entourage", I did.

For reasons related to not having HBO and not caring enough to obtain episodes in less than legal fashion, I didn't see all of the last season. I've seen enough to have gotten the gist of what happened, and I saw the last few episodes, which pretty much got me up to speed.

We now find Vincent Chase at rock bottom, having starred in a historically bad Medellin bio-pic that was booed at Cannes and then gone into hiding on the beaches of Mexico. No one wants him. In fact, Vince is now nothing more than a pawn in negotiations where producers want other actors.

Drama is still aggravating--partially by design, partially by Kevin Dillon's acting. Past that the show seems like it has tapered off a bit since the heights it reached in its second and third seasons. Maybe it can recover. Hopefully it doesn't regress to the lows it occupied in its inaugural season.


Football completely took over my Sunday, and I don't feel good for it.

The Chiefs were not particularly good.

They had it inside the 10 with less than a minute to go and were unable to punch it in to tie the game.

Not surprising. Croyle went down, but the Chiefs were able to take out Brady first, so I guess there's that.


I recently finished two books: Lost Echoes by Joe R. Lansdale and Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson (and the grammarian in me really wants to underline those titles, but I can't figure out how to do that, so you'll have to settle for the italics).

Lost Echoes was a pulpy burner. Lansdale is always a very quick read, and this was no exception. Aside from his off-putting use of the word 'turd', he is a pretty solid writer. Texas native, Lansdale mines the depths of evil that humans are capable of without oversimplifying motives, which is often the fault of genre writers. Unlike some of his works, this one does incorporate a little bit of the supernatural, but it doesn't err to mummy territory like his best known work "Bubba Ho-tep" which was turned into the well-loved film.

Lansdale is also much less broadly comical in most of his work than he was in "Bubba Ho-tep", and Lost Echoes is much more in the vein of more serious work. Don't get me wrong, his down-home tone is still intact, but this is a drier work operating in a more believable reality than the casual reader may be expecting.

All in all, Lost Echoes was pretty solid. Definitely something I don't regret reading.

National Book Award Winner Tree of Smoke was a bit of a disappointment. I've read other Johnson and rather liked what I had read. While Tree of Smoke was not bad, I did feel like I read 650 pages of something with little to no pay-off. It took a full 150 pages for anything of note to happen.

Sure, there is the exploration into the meaninglessness and misspent resources of the Vietnam War that is fleshed out, but that in conjunction with the illustration of the wrong people getting ahead are the main points going for a book that often wallows in what could be described as aimlessness.

Don't get me wrong, Johnson's prose can be arresting. His dialogue is often outstanding.

My disappointment lies mainly in the fact that this won the National Book Award, which has generally resulted in my having been pleased with a book that I've read, but having read other Johnson and having this feel like a lesser work is kind of baffling to me.



I went to Bangkok Dangerous opening night.

Before I go into an in-depth review of the film, I should state that I am a big Nicolas Cage fan.

I'm sure you're thinking, "Oh, he must mean Nic Cage in Adaptation, Raising Arizona, and Leaving Las Vegas."

My answer to that statement is, "Fuck you. Stop putting words in my mouth. I'll like who I wanna like, dick."

I like new Nic Cage. The Nick Cage who does whatever fucking movie he wants to because it's a project he thinks he can have fun with. The Nic Cage who has hopelessly awkward interactions with ladies in films opposite of him. Barring the shittiness of Ghost Rider***, new Nic Cage has been extremely fruitful. We've been treated to his great ass-kicking of women leading to his death in the Wicker Man remake. We've gotten all the greatness that Chris Johnson/Frank Cadillac brought to the table in Next****. And say what you will, but the National Treasure movies have been better than The Da Vinci Code and Indy: KOCS combined.

***I blame this all on Mark Steven Johnson, who on top of denigrating the name of Minnesotans by churning out shit movies has managed to waste the talents of Ben Affleck and Nicolas Cage in the superhero movies he's conned studios into letting him direct. All of the Johnny Blaze moments in the film were awesome (because of Cage, of course) but as soon as CGI-Ghost Rider comes into the mix, the energy of the film is gone. That's a damn shame. Someone should write a new Ghost Rider movie and just let the Ghost Rider shit happen off screen, only to have Johnny Blaze react to what he did, maybe relating the story to an actress other than Eva Mendes, who frankly sucks.

****And as if I needed any further evidence to support my Nic Cage fucking rules argument, just witness the atrocious performance of Julianne Moore in Next if you need to see someone mailing it in. Holy shit is she bad in Next. Nic Cage makes this fucking movie work (well, the beautiful Jessica Biel doesn't hurt). Moore is well-regarded, and that reputation is mostly deserved. But while Nic Cage is acting his fucking ass off, Moore is delivering lines so ridiculously that you actually cringe.

Now hard-working Nic Cage sinking his teeth into vanity projects that are probably beneath an actor who has won an Oscar and been nominated for another may get overlooked by most, but seeing someone throw caution to the wind and take roles in whatever the fuck he wants to do regardless of artistry is bold. And I like it. Call me crazy, but I get to see Nic Cage in schlock, and sometimes schlock is fun.

Unfortunately, Bangkok Dangerous isn't that fun. It has its moments (like the first dinner he has with the deaf pharmacy girl), but unfortunately the film makers don't know how to liven up the film, and the finale is relatively lifeless despite the fact that Cage shoots a lot of people.

None of the film's faults lie at the doorstep of Cage, but Bangkok Dangerous remains a mostly forgettable Nic Cage movie, which is a line I never wanted to type.


That's all I got.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Neatsa Pizza

Here's a link to tide y'all over till I can post something.


And Carlos Quentin, plate-crowder extraordinaire, appears to be done for the season. From all accounts, he was actually crouched on top of the plate when hit by a pit. No, seriously, they're speculating that he punched a locker in Boston.

Regardless, this should spare me from having to wonder if something is going to drop from his ass while simulating a power dump in the batter's box before each pitch is delivered.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chiefs Predictions

Honestly, I can't be troubled to dedicate too much time to the Chiefs this year. I'll watch the games. I'll get pissed that Carl Peterson still has a job. I'll marvel at how bad the Chiefs are. I'll curse at the television. I'll cry myself to sleep each Sunday night.

All that being said, I'll give my brief predictions for the season.

Record: 3 - 13 (last place AFC West)

Pro Bowlers: 0

General Managers returning: 0

There is absolutely no reason to think this team will be better than last year. I think the offense will be so abysmal, perhaps even historically so, that anything the defense accomplishes (and I don't think there will be much good done on that end of the ball, either) will be entirely negated. The loss of Jared Allen will effectively kill their ability to penetrate the opponent's offensive line, and Dorsey clogging up the middle (for what one hopes will be 12 games) will not make up for the lack of an exterior pass rush.

It's not a good time to be a Kansas City sports fan, my brothers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sons of Anarchy

As the traditional TV season kicks off, new shows hit the airwaves at an alarming click. Just as soon, about two-thirds are canned, many having deserved the ax, and a few dying before their time.

I'll not be watching most of these shows. In fact, my viewing habits have become less and less voracious. Hell, I even managed to overlook the premiere of The Shield last night. Few shows look appealing enough to tune in; even fewer capture the imagination enough to tune in on a repeat basis. Moreover, I've begun to abandon shows once they seem to have lost their way (i.e. Lost and Heroes), which is something I was much more leery to do before having been burned by Alias.

As new shows that seemed interesting to me air, I may use this space to give first impressions.

The first such show this season is Sons of Anarchy, which premiered on FX tonight. Starring Charlie Hunnam, Undeclared alum, FX has the makings of something that could be good. Hunnam is Jackson (Jax) Teller, son of deceased motorcycle gang co-founder and step-son of the gang's living co-founder Clay, played by Ron Perlman. Having found a grief-driven manuscript recusing the ways of the gang penned by his late father shortly after having his son born ten weeks prematurely as a result of his ex-wife having overdosed, Jax finds himself questioning things.

With Jax being the heir apparent to the Sons of Anarchy throne, this threatens everything Clay has worked to build, and it seems that Jax's inner conflict will fuel the narrative as much as the gang's brewing battle with the Mayans, a rival motorcycle gang.

Of particular interest/surprise is Katey Sagal's turn as Jax's mother/Clay's wife, who thus far has channeled Lady MacBeth with shocking aplomb, reminiscent of Amy Madigan's turn in the first season of Carnivale.

Hunnam also walks the line between conscience and duty to the Sons of Anarchy deftly, and the show certainly seems to have set the stage for a season of tumult, although it would certainly seem as though the twist at the end of the season is going to be that Jax's father's death was no accident, thus setting off a war amongst the gang and estranging Jax from his devious mother. Hopefully, I'm wrong and the season's story-arc has more surprises than I'm expecting, but--regardless of plot originality--the characters are intriguing enough to keep watching for a while.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Kila Watch--Watch Kila

So to tide y'all over until Kila Kaaihue's debut in less than 24 hours, here's John Sickel's take on him. Oh, and here's some more Kila hype from Craig over at MVN. It's sad that this is what our season has become in one short, or rather, long month, and we may not even get a good look at what the future may hold. Smarter men than me think this will be used as an opportunity to get him a few at-bats.

What's the point?

I get that they may not want to rush him, but he's 24. I get that they may want to see what Shealy has to offer--wait, no, I don't really get that. He's not the future, and he's out of options. Gload has no place past a utility guy and a good clubhouse presence. Kila's a man--a man that absolutely crushed the ball everywhere he went this year. Treat him like one.

More importantly, give the fans something. We've been given very little this year. We're still watching. Give us a reason to keep going.


While I'm looking to the future, here's a snippet giving props to Moore and crew on scoring the biggest coup of the draft.


Lastly, is it just me, or has being a Royals fan over this past month made us all feel like the little girl in this video?


Since the subject of assholery is so freshly laid to paper, I'll continue on that thread for a moment.

A year ago, September 1st, 2007, I was best man in a wedding for one of my very best friends, John Patrick Weibel. As best man, I was to give a speech.

I don't know that it was particularly good.

It was probably in poor taste.

It wasn't especially nice.

And with the exception of a small segment of the reception hall, it didn't go over well. It was a very Catholic crowd.

Well, Ryan posted a link in the comments section to the file that he's put up on rapidshare. I am by no means advocating the downloading of this file, but if you feel compelled, it is available here.

Take it for what it's worth.

John didn't talk to me for quite a while, and I didn't feel like I should press the matter much, so I let him come back to me on his own terms.

I wish him the best.

"House, M.D." Season Four

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I love "House". This was not a program I watched from its inception. I saw an episode in passing during its first season and as I recall I kind of liked it. It was not anything I felt compelled to watch based on that viewing though, and a couple of years passed.

Last fall, I found myself watching reruns on USA on Fridays while waiting for something to do. As I watched a few shows, I found that--while each episode had self-contained cases for House and Co. to solve--there was definitely a story arc of sorts that ran through the episodes. I found myself caring about what was going on with each character, which led to my renting every disc of each of the first three seasons over the course of what couldn't have been more than a month.

I devoured it. It appealed to me in so many ways, and it completely set itself apart from the procedural medical shows like "E.R.", or the far too personally centered medical shows like "Scrubs" or "Gray's Anatomy"*.

*Is anyone else bothered by the fact that "Gray's Anatomy" is just a drawn out episode of "Scrubs" without any of the elements that actually make "Scrubs" watchable**? Seriously, the show is marked by the same overly introspective voice-over from the young learning about medicine and life at the same time, and each episode of both ends with a ridiculously sappy moral to tie the episode up into a nice little bow, complete with a sappy montage set to some song by a band, generally a bad one like that horrible band, The Fray. At least, the supporting characters in "Scrubs" are really great, even if we only get them in small doses...
**And I don't want anyone accusing me of being a huge "Scrubs" fan, so I'll clarify here. Many times, the first two-thirds of a "Scrubs" episode are really great, only to be undermined by its moralization. Sure, there have been great episodes, "My Screwup" comes to mind (yes, I looked the name of the episode up), but far too often they're ruined by a far too wise J.D. voice-over that almost always takes a degree of omniscience that this cartoonish character simply doesn't seem capable of. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but it is a little frustrating to watch, and frankly it's driven me away.

As a character, Gregory House is such a captivating figure. He's such an unabashed asshole that his interactions with everyone he comes across make for both dramatic and comedic gold. His presence as what seems to be the only atheist on television is refreshing on a personal level. His egocentrism operating in conjunction with his drug addiction and his wanton disregard for rules create situations rife with opportunity to stick his finger in the eye of just about anyone, whether they deserve it or not.

All that being said, I was a bit leery of how Season Four would play out, since the Third Season ended with Chase being canned, and Foreman and Cameron leaving the team. I knew a bit about what was to take place in regards to reforming a team, but the Fourth Season was executed much more deftly than I could have imagined, especially when taking into account its abbreviation at the hands of the writers' strike last year.

The selection of the fellows of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine was amusing to say the least. Playing off the reality show phenomenon, the viewer finds Dr. Gregory House narrowing down his field of candidates via ridiculously manipulative games and fool's errands. He finds new, increasingly insulting ways to offend almost everyone on his team--for instance, Big Love and Cut-Throat Bitch are the names he assigns to a Mormon and a competitive female candidate, respectively, for fellowships. Within a few episodes, Drs. Cameron, Chase, and Foreman are back, with Foreman rejoining the team after having proven himself to have been tainted by House's ways. We also find House growing more and more curious about religion, which comes up even more this season than it had in the previous three.

When Wilson finds a companion despite his efforts to hide his romance from his best friend, that's when we are treated to House at his best. His juvenile attitude towards the relationship and the ensuing hijinx that ensue, including a Cuddy-mediated custody battle and multiple date crashes, are endlessly amusing, even though you do find yourself rooting for Wilson finding some happiness.

What is particularly outstanding, though, is the two-part finale, which for the sake of preserving spoiler-free viewing for those who may not have seen it. While being perhaps the most technically demanding pair of episode in the series' run, it is without a doubt the most affecting, mining depths hitherto unimagined from the show.

Where it goes from its finale is obviously yet to be seen, but I am waiting with baited breath for next Tuesday to roll around, and I will no longer wonder what the hell Peter King is talking about.
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