Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fun With Google: Part Yet Again

And now, oh yet again, it's time to play "How the Hell Did You Get Here?" This game is brought to you courtesy of Sitemeter, that little tag at the bottom of this page which reads how individual readers were brought to Martians Attacking Indianapolis.

The recent Google searches delivered people to my Internet doorstep:

  • "buckhead betty"
  • "peter king wet himself'"
  • "buckhead betty's hbo"
  • "I've got this Christian girlfriend now and she's trying to get me to be a better man and reconnect with my son and I'm trying to get her to renounce God and fuck me and I just want to prove to her that I'm wort"
  • "nfl draft"
  • "jonathan coryell"
  • "benny parsons"
  • "i love him long time golden globes"
  • "rinko kikuchi i love him long time"
  • "myspace for what you dream of"
  • "artie lang death pool"
  • "arrested development 'what are the odds?' maybe tonight"
  • "Jerome Bettis Cock Size"
  • "deangelo hall talkin trash pictures for myspace"
  • "picture of edgerrin james kicking himself"
  • "seneca wallace myspace layouts"
  • "pinko kikuchi"
  • "Brian Duff Indianapolis"
  • "mel and the party hats"
  • "indianapolis emmys"
  • "nom de doom"
  • "moscone bail bonds shirt"


1) I had at least 30 folks - no exaggeration - come here due to some variation on Rinko Kikuchi's "love him long time" quote. I particularly like the one who spelled her name "pinko" and still got here because of my recent comment re: Superman being a communist.

2) The long, painfully dirty quote about a "Christian girlfriend" was taken directly from an episode of "Arrested Development." I quoted it months ago because, well, it was painfully dirty.

3) I'm glad somebody else out there is giving Moscone's Bail Bonds its due for being a leader in its industry. (Ok, fine - it was Joe Pantoliano's business in Midnight Run, and recently the name of my fantasy baseball team.)

4) I don't know Brian Duff. I do know Jonathan Coryell. And Peter King is a columnist for Sports Illustrated, but I'm not sure he has soiled himself recently.

5) I honestly don't know what "Buckhead Betty's hbo" refers to, but at least 10 people came to M.A.I. because of it.

6) I'm here for all of your Jerome Bettis cock size wants and needs.

7) Seriously, though: somebody out there actually went to Google and searched for "Jerome Bettis cock size," probably expecting to find something. What a weird world. (Yeah, I know. It was probably Dave.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bearly true

Just a week away from the Super Bowl, members of the Chicago Bears are speaking out on their team's underdog status.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher: "We're like the stepchild ... It's been like that all year for us. We like the underdog role. We've done well in it so far this season."

Center Olin Kreutz: "We have been the underdogs all year. We kind of relish that role. We will see what happens Sunday."

Coach Lovie Smith: "We are playing the Colts this week, and they have a lot of weapons, and I can see why we are in that underdog role. I have a harder time seeing how we've been in an underdog role all year with our record. We've met all the obstacles that have been put in front of us ..."

We see the well-crafted storyline, right? Repeat after me: The Bears don't mind being underdogs because it's been that way all year.

OK, fine, the Bears are seven-point dogs to the Colts this Sunday. Is it true, though, that they've been in this position all along?

I started picking games in the sixth week of the NFL season. Let's see how the oddsmakers felt about Chicago's chances:

Week 6: Bears favored by 10 1/2 @ Arizona.
Week 7: Bye week.
Week 8: Bears favored by 16 1/2 against San Francisco.
Week 9: Bears favored by 13 1/2 against Miami.
Week 10: Giants favored by one point over Bears @ New York.
Week 11: Bears favored by 7 @ New York Jets.
Week 12: Patriots favored by three over Bears @ New England.
Week 13: Bears favored by 9 against Minnesota.
Week 14: Bears favored by 6 1/2 @ St. Louis.
Week 15: Bears favored by 13 1/2 against Tampa Bay.
Week 16: Bears favored by 4 1/2 @ Detroit.
Week 17: Bears favored by 2 1/2 against Green Bay.
First playoff game: Bears favored by 8 1/2 against Seattle.
Second playoff game: Bears favored by 2 1/2 against New Orleans.

In the Bears' final 13 games, they were the underdog a grand total of TWO times - and never by more than a field goal. Both instances occurred when Chicago visited the home stadium of an eventual playoff team. In four games, Chicago was favored by double digits, a rare occurrence in these so-called parity-driven days of the NFL.

So Chicago: Shut up.

The "disrespect" card is one of the oldest, most overused, most obnoxious sports clichés, and that's just when it could be considered true. The Bears are playing it when they've been heavy favorites in almost every game. This team's whining is almost as embarrassing as their 1985 counterpart's "The Super Bowl Shuffle." And we all know how off-the-charts embarrassing that was.

Here's hoping the Colts make the Bears feel as persecuted as they imagine themselves to be.

Friday, January 26, 2007

No holds tard

Just a day after declaring Superman IV: The Quest For Peace as the worst movie of all time, the Internet Gods have conspired to slap me upside the head.

You see, while Superman IV might be awful, rancid and Crashish (a new word meaning "piece of shit movie"), it might actually be trumped in Crashitude by a little bonmot released in June of 1989: No Holds Barred, starring Hulk Hogan.

Thanks to for reminding me of this by running this very in-depth, hilarious review, which I came across today.

See, No Holds Barred isn't just any normal ol' Crashalicious flick. Uh, because - well, look up: that's ME looking all serious to the right of Hogan. Yes, with the brown hair, my mouth covered up by the shorter kid in front.

I was in No Holds Barred.

I didn't have any lines, and you won't find an IMDB page for me. Instead, I'm an anonymous (until now!) extra, there to show the audience that Hulk Hogan - excuse me, Rip - is a wrestler who just loves his child fans. (Incidentally, that's my sister under Hogan's right arm. The one that looks like she has Down's Syndrome. She grew up to be named one of Atlanta's 50 most beautiful people. Swear.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Superman bore

Christmas was good to me. In fact, you could say it was super.

Ugh, vomit. Anyway, point being, my dad bought me the 14-DVD Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition set. It's an absurd plethora of Kal-El goodness, with four discs dedicated to the 1978 original, three to the sequel, single ones to parts three and four, two discs for last year's Superman Returns, and three more to various documentaries and special features. Yep, it's super-deluxe.

Sorry. Dammit.

Right, so last night I broke out the collection for the first time, along with another gift: the Magnavox portable DVD player given to me by Sister's Boyfriend (because if you're dating my sister, staying on my good side is going to cost you.) I had left my book du jour (année?) at The Girl's house a few days ago, so what better way to go bed than with the Man of Steel? Which, yes, does sound gay.

Instead of putting me to sleep, though, opening that DVD box only made me jumpy. I mean, it was like Christmas morning all over again. Where to start?

I mean, do I go in order, watching the theatrical cut of the original, or maybe the cleaned up 2000 version? Or how about the recent recut of the first sequel? Maybe director Bryan Singer's video journals from the shoot of Superman Returns. Or hey, even the 1951 feature Superman and the Mole Men is included! Hell, classic Superman cartoons are among the choices.

Nope, I would have none of that. In fact, I started with 1987's Superman IV: The Quest For Peace - the only movie I hated when I was a kid.

I mean, I was 11 when it came out, and when I was 11, I loved everything. I saw Ernest Goes to Camp in theaters, and apparently liked it enough to see Ernest Saves Christmas a year later. I rode my bike over five miles to see Taking Care of Business, and never thought twice about it afterward. Hell, Big Shots was one of my favorite movies.

I remember walking out of Superman IV, though, utterly betrayed by what I had just seen.

Twenty years have passed since then, and I started to think that maybe IV wasn't actually that bad. I mean, it had Gene Hackman, who had at least shown the good sense to skip III. It had a story by Christopher Reeve himself. And hell, it was a freakin' Superman movie, so there had to be a limit to bad it could be.

Well, nope kids - there is no limit. Upon further review, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is not only terrible, it is the worst movie ever made.

It's beyond bad. It's poorly directed, lazily acted, horribly written, and its special effects more closely resemble those of 1951's "Adventures of Superman" TV series instead of the original film, already nine years old at that point.

I mean, it's so awful I now understand why God decided to paralyze Reeve.

Superman IV was almost lifeless from the start, due to immense legal tangles and producer changes between sequels. To get Reeve to appear in the suit again, the producers had to not only let the actor play against type in the gritty Street Smart, they also agreed to let him craft the storyline. And thus the anti-war Reeve decided to make Supes into a liberal wet dream: he's literally applauded by every member of the United Nations, fights an obviously Rupert Murdoch-inspired rich guy who buys the Daily Planet, and promises to deplete the world's military hardware by ridding "the world of All. Nuclear. Weapons." He even speaks Russian in the opening scene, which clearly makes him a communist pinko. (Ok, not really, but it's a nice additional detail.)

The five dumbest things about Superman IV:

1) Freshly sprung from jail by nephew Jon Cryer (basically doing an Evil Ducky), Lex Luthor decides to create an evil superhero - out of a petrie dish, tubes full of colorful bubbling liquid, and a strand of Superman's hair. So apparently "criminal mastermind" means "geneticist," "expert chemist" and, oh yeah, "God."

2) How does Lex Luthor get Superman's hair? He goes to - you guessed it - a Superman museum in a disguise consisting of, uh, a hat, and finds an exhibit that shows a single strand of hair supporting a 1,000-pound weight. How does he manage to get such a powerful follicle separated from its showcase? He snips it with a pair of hedge clippers. Yes, it can hold a half-ton weight, but cannot withstand the Power of Sears.

3) This is the bad guy:

Nuclear Man. He's a mullet-wearing George Michael by way of an ABBA concert. If Elton John had decided to pursue surfing instead of music, this would have been the result. Not the descriptions you're hoping for when creating your villain.

4) Superman keeps showing new powers he's never exhibited before. In IV, he seems to have "Mason Vision" when he somehow fixes a shattered Great Wall of China with a single glance.

5) By III, the filmmakers had finally realized Margot Kidder looked like a basset hound and Superman would probably fuck, oh, about 200 million other women before he worked his way down to ol' Flash. So the "new" love interest this go-round was Mariel Hemingway, playing a character not at all worth describing here. Her one interesting point: apparently she can fly into space with Superman and not be affected by the lack of oxygen.

6) Ok, fine, I said the five dumbest things. But this isn't dumb as much as it is creepy - Superman and Jimmy Olsen really look like they're about to tag team this kid.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My award show has a first name, it's O-s-c-a-r

The Oscar nominations are out - and Dreamgirls is your big winner. And, well, it's your big loser too.

The Broadway-based musical leads all films with eight nominations, but in perhaps the biggest surprises of the morning, it was snubbed for Best Picture and Best Director. Babel follows in the hit parade with recognition in seven categories, while The Queen and Pan's Labyrinth are in six.

The specifics:

Best Picture
The Departed
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

My prediction: 4 out of 5.

Just a month ago, Dreamgirls was considered nearly unbeatable. There were reports of dancing and raucous times had by preview audiences, and one high profile Oscar blogger proclaimed "Dreamgirls will win Best Picture." And here we stand, after the movie arrived and proved to be entertaining but average, there's not even a nomination in sight. Of course, while I'm happy the Academy didn't recognize an undeserving film, they didn't replace it with something exciting. I admit I haven't seen Letters From Iwo Jima - but c'mon, another Clint Eastwood film? It's just a little boring. I would have much rather seen it replaced by, yes, Children of Men, United 93 or, in a huge stretch for the Academy, Casino Royale.

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O'Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

My prediction: 4 out of 5.

Well technically, I guess you could say I was 5-for-5, but I said DiCaprio would be recognized for The Departed - and since I was rather pointed about it, I'm considering it a wrong call. Oddly, I think the Blood Diamond detail makes the race a lot easier to predict: Forest Whitaker is taking Mr. Goldy home next month.

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes of a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children

My prediction: 5 out of 5.

As I said yesterday, "It will be a huge shock if my prediction isn't 5-for-5 here." This one wasn't rocket science. I gotta see some of these films, incidentally. I've only seen Prada, and loved Streep in it. And Little Children still hasn't been released in Atlanta. Well, except for in hotel rooms.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

My prediction: 2 out of 5.

Ouch. Well, I'm very happy for Murphy and, especially, Haley. If Jack Nicholson had taken Haley's spot, it would have just seemed mean. I also had Brad Pitt and The Queen's Michael Sheen listed, but Wahlberg isn't a shock (I'm still pissed he wasn't even nominated for Boogie Nights.) And I guess Hounsou isn't surprising either, except he's playing the same exact character he's played in nearly every film. It's Prince Akeem's to lose.

Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes of a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

My prediction: 4 out of 5.

I went out on a long limb to mention Catherine O'Hara's name, thinking the Academy would take the chance to recognize a long career. Instead, it's Kikuchi - a Japanese actress who summed up her recent Golden Globes experience thusly: "I met Jack Nickerson. I love him long time." Seriously.

Best Director
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Babel
Paul Greengrass, United 93
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

My prediction: 4 out of 5.

I put forth a hopeful prediction of Children of Men's Alfonso Cuaron, but I am hardly upset by the inclusion of Greengrass - I'm thrilled United 93 got recognized in one of the major categories. Of course, now it's Eastwood v. Scorsese all over again.

Best Original Screenplay
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

My prediction: 4 out of 5.

Well, I made the call for one foreign language script to be included. I just called the wrong script (Volver instead of Iwo Jima.)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

My prediction: 4 out of 5.

Well, yay for Children of Men - it's better than nothing. And we have another Dreamgirls snub, replaced here by Borat. I don't think I even need to bring it to your attention the absurdity of a screenplay nomination for Borat. It may be more egregious than when Kenneth Branagh got one for his faithful-to-the-very-last-word Hamlet in 1996.

Best Foreign Language Film
After the Wedding
Days of Glory
The Lives of Others
Pan's Labyrinth

My prediction: 3 out of 5.

According to Academy rules, Apocalypto and Letters From Iwo Jima weren't eligible for this award, which probably means the name should be changed to Best Foreign Film or something. As far as the eligible films go, the shock is the absence of Volver.

Best Animated Film
Happy Feet
Monster House

My prediction: 3 out of 3. Sort of.

I made five predictions, but the Academy decided to only nominate three (they have done both in years past.) Cars, Happy Feet and Monster House were the three favorites - Flushed Away and Over the Hedge were clearly the filler. Believe me if you want, but I'm chalking this one up as 3-for-3. Suckas.

A complete list of the nominations is here.

So bad

According to this poster, the new film Because I Said So is about one of the following three things:

1) Diane Keaton is a mother amused by a big zit on daughter Mandy Moore's forehead.
2) Diane Keaton is a blind woman trying to tap a girl on the shoulder.
3) It's the long-awaited sequel to E.T.

Seriously, could they have made it even sorta appear that Keaton and Moore are actually standing together? My students - you know, the 5th grade ones - are apparently better at Photoshop than the people in the Universal marketing department.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Grouching about Oscar

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

As usual, most of the year's best films - in this case, Children of Men, United 93, Apocalypto, Casino Royale - aren't expected to be mentioned when the potential Best Pictures are announced. Instead, much love will probably go to a terribly overrated National Lampoon's Vacation-ripoff and a showy musical that's instantly forgettable beyond two fine performances.

Of course, once Crash won Best Picture last year, it became clear that a movie needn't even be decent to win the big prize. It just had to have a positive message poured neatly into a little spoon - and then that spoon had to be repeatedly stabbed into your eyeballs with the subtlety of a testicle-seeking jackhammer. Which is why Babel will probably be nominated, from what I hear (still haven't seen it, I must admit).

Here are my guesses as to what will be called out tomorrow morning. Please, make no mistake - this is not what I would nominate if it was my decision. This is just my prediction based on knowledge of an Academy which calls A Beautiful Mind and Chicago the "best" of anything.

Best Picture
The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

I have no problem with The Departed being here - it was one of the year's five best. However, Dreamgirls and Little Miss Sunshine aren't even among the top 20 of 2006. And I get a sneaky feeling that Sunshine is actually going to win. I haven't seen Babel or The Queen yet.

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O'Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Some are wondering whether DiCaprio is going to get nominated for The Departed or Blood Diamond (Academy rules state an actor can only be nominated once per category.) Let's see, knowing what you already know about Hollywood, consider that The Departed made well over twice as much as Diamond. Oh, and this race could get much more interesting if Borat's Sacha Baron Cohen replaces Gosling or Smith - and that could very easily happen.

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes of a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children

This list seems to have been set in stone for so long. It will be a huge shock if my prediction isn't 5-for-5 here.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson, The Departed
Brad Pitt, Babel
Michael Sheen, The Queen

As usual, the Supporting Actor category has the juiciest performances. Mark Wahlberg could sneak in for The Departed and Jackie Earle Haley - known to you and me as Kelly Leak in the original Bad News Bears - could get noticed for Little Children. I'm really hoping that happens, actually.

Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes of a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Catherine O'Hara, For Your Consideration

It's basically Jennifer Hudson and four women "just happy to get a nomination."

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Children of Men
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Babel
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Only once in the Academy's history has a movie won Best Picture when its director wasn't nominated (1989's Driving Miss Daisy.) I predict it will happen again this year when Little Miss Sunshine wins but co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are overlooked. (Cuaron's inclusion here, by the way, is probably wishful thinking - but I gotta hope the Academy does something right.)

Best Original Screenplay
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Best Adapted Screenplay
Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

The Devil Wears Prada seems a safer bet than Children of Men, but, again, wishful thinking.

Best Foreign Language Film
Black Book
Days of Glory
The Lives of Others
Pan's Labyrinth

I saw Pan's Labyrinth yesterday - a good film, but not the awe-inspiring, career-defining work I'd heard it was. Check your expectations a bit.

Best Animated Film
Flushed Away
Happy Feet
Monster House
Over the Hedge

Will the Academy consider Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, the "painted" film starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder? Well, I've seen it, and I'm not entirely sure it even is one of the five best animated films of the year. The two on this list I've seen - Cars and, especially, Monster House - were much more satisfying.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Today's forecast: Sonny, with a 100% chance of assface

Georgia governor Sonny Perdue is a douchebag.

If I invented a time machine, my first task would be to intercept myself at the polling booth and write in another name. Lewis Grizzard, maybe. Forget saving Lincoln, witnessing the birth of Christ, taking a ride on a triceratops - withdrawing my support for Mr. Purdue would be at the top of my Sonny-Do list.

Yesterday, Governor Purdue went on Atlanta radio station Q-100 and talked about his opposition to Sunday alcohol sales. Yes, ladies and gentlemen nationwide, Georgia is one of three states that still makes it illegal to sell adult beverages on Sundays.

State senator Seth Harp (R-Midland) recently sponsored a bill that, if passed, would allow voters to decide if beer and wine should be sold on Sundays. Hard liquor sales would still be banned on Sundays, which is another fight for another time, I guess.

... Perdue said the proposal before the General Assembly to allow such sales, "is going to have a tough time.

"I don't support that. I don't know whether it will pass the Legislature or not, but it will have a pretty tough time getting the last vote."

The "last vote" is Perdue's. If the House and Senate pass the bill allowing local voters to approve such sales, the governor can veto it.

"Think of it this way," the governor added in the radio interview. "It really helps you plan ahead for the rest of your life — buying on Saturday, rather than Sunday. Time management."

So according to the most powerful politician in Georgia, teaching "time management" is now a job of the government. Your modern Republican party, ladies and gentlemen.

Now, of course, the "time management" reasoning is horseshit. Purdue is a religious Republican, and is continuing to show his fundamentalist Christian stripes. Not many stripes are uglier when appearing on a politician, incidentally. They make a person assume they know what is better for you than you do.

The most egregious, asinine thing about this is Purdue is essentially refusing to let this come to a vote! Remember, the bill only allows the issue to go to the ballot box; it doesn't automatically mean I can get a 12 of Bud next Sunday. So thanks Sonny, I know I'm over 30, but I still need to be kept from making decisions for myself.

Now are Sunday alcohol sales the most important issue facing us? Of course not - but it is yet another example of politicians imposing their own beliefs using the police power of government. It's a sickening trend, one that has gotten worse in recent years. I used to think Republicans could be counted on to fight this, but now they are the worst offenders.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Betcha Bottom Playoffs: Week 3

I'm feeling saucy today. Let's go straight to the picks.

I did all my obnoxious showboating a couple of days ago, anyway.

New Orleans @ Chicago (-2 1/2). I haven't done drugs in years, but I fear I had a flashback last week. Did I actually type "Go Saints?" I mean, it was half way through the third quarter of last week's Saints/Eagles game, Drew Brees completed a pass - and I clapped. And then it hit me like, oh, maybe a hurricane or a strong, damaging, hilarious flood. I was rooting for the Saints! Immediately I tried to rectify the situation by warning my pug I was going to dump a cooler full of water on her, giving her a minute to heed my warning, dumping a cooler full of water on her when she stayed behind, and then praising her for being "brave" and a "survivor." No dice, though - I had been wrong. Well, no longer. Not only do I think Chicago is going to win this week, I want Chicago to win this week. And if that means cheering for Rex Grossman, so be it. The Bears will shutdown the Saints running game (causing a big fumble from Deuce McAllister at one point, or so the cards tell me), and Brees won't be able to pick up the slack. Plus, two more f'in weeks of "New Orleans is the team of destiny" stories will make me cut my wrists. And probably yours too. PICK: Chicago

New England @ Indianapolis (-3). The Patriots are the better team, and they proved they can win on the road - by beating a team much better than the Colts last week. Still, it has to be said: I fucking hate the Patriots. I hate the idea they might in the Super Bowl again. I hate their fans' smug attitudes and blinder-wearing dipshit mentality. I hate Tom Brady for obviously selling his soul to the dark lord Satan. I hate the Red Sox, and, well, the teams do have the same asshole supporters. I hate Bill Belichick for somehow causing me to read a really boring book about him. I hate the idea of reading Bill Simmons' 572nd column in which he flosses with Brady's pubes. I hate the fact they have me really wanting the University of Tennessee's all-time golden boy to win a Super Bowl just so New England fans will shut the fuck up about "owning" him (Saints aside, I'll always side with south over north in a superiority contest, even if it means judging a dick-size contest between Jerome Bettis and Danny Wuerffel.) And most of all, I hate them for forcing me to make a pick with my heart and not my head. Ok, not "most of all." PICK: Indianapolis

Last week: 3-1
Overall (playoffs): 5-3
Overall (regular season + playoffs): 99-88-3
Fake wagering total ($50 on every game, 10% juice on losses): up $110

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dead poolin'

Well, I spoke a bit too soon earlier today. Fidel Castro is still alive, and yet a Dead Pool player has already claimed an early lead.

Congratulations, Doug T., you heartless bastard. Benny Parsons is dead, and I'm sure your bad mojo had something to do with it. Well, that and the lung cancer.

Doug also has Castro, by the way. Could the pool be over by January?

An early lead?


Oh yeah.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A convenient truth

It is January 15th. Today's high temperature in Atlanta is 72. I'm wearing shorts.

And people are against global warming?

Al Gore can suck it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The five smartest things I said in my last NFL picks column

1) "The Patriots win this game." (Patriots upset Chargers 24-21.)

2) "The Ravens defense is good, but the Colts will find a way to pick it apart and win one on the road." (Colts win a defensive battle, 15-6.)

3) "Shaun Alexander keeps it very close." (Alexander rushes for 108 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-24 loss against the heavily favored Bears.)

4) "And I'm not confidant about anything this go-round - except the fact that an underdog will have a W by Sunday night." (Two underdogs have Ws by Sunday night.)

5) "... wangs ..." (Wangs.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

The sports lie

Yep, Bill Simmons reads Martians Attacking Indianapolis.

From my NFL picks column on Wednesday:

Terrorists @ Jack Bauer (-14 1/2). The sixth season of 24 starts this weekend, with two episodes on Sunday and two on Monday. Well, I've actually seen all four already - and good God, this show just keeps getting better. Sure, it's far-fetched, and the "real time" aspect of the show gets shoved aside more and more (Bauer goes from bearded and dirty to clean-shaven with a fresh set of clothes in about 45 seconds, for example). It's easy to forgive, though, when you have Kiefer Sutherland returning to his Lost Boys roots in the first episode, and then showing why his Best Actor Emmy was well-deserved in the shocking final minutes of episode four (seriously, somehow fasten your jaw to your face to avoid dislocation). The Jack Bauer Power Hour is back, baby. PICK: Bauer

From his NFL picks column today:

Jack Bauer (+13.5) over THE CHINESE
Two nights away. I'm giddy.
The pick (in body counts): Jack Bauer 23, The Chinese 0.

Any lawyers out there seeking an open-and-shut case?

And by the way, hasn't Simmons been able to figure out from - oh, I don't know, the five million "24" promos in the past week - that this season doesn't take place in China?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Dead Pool

Let the morbidity begin.

As of 12:01 this morning, the 2007 Martians Attacking Indianapolis Dead Pool has begun.

Eleven entrants have chosen 10 people they think might die in this calendar year. The rules were simple:

1) At least five of your choices must be under 50, and two of those must be under 30.
2) All of your choices must be celebrities.
3) None of your choices could have appeared in Cocoon or Cocoon: The Return. Except Steve Guttenberg.
4) One. Rapper. Only.
5) The entry fee is a mere $5 (to be paid at the end of the year).

If the results are to be believed, Nicole Richie will die in 2007. Richie, she of TV's "The Simple Life" and various eating disorder (alleged!) fame, came in first with appearances on five lists. Fidel Castro followed closely with four.

That's right, the 25-year-old socialite beat the 80-year-old socialist. I'm not sure if there has ever been a bigger wake-up call. To Castro, I mean - start taking better care of yourself, son! Other folks that ended up on more than two lists are Dick Clark, Lindsay Lohan and Mickey Rooney.

Anyway, the winner will end up profiting a cool $50, which probably should be donated to the closest church or charity as soon as possible.

First of all, my entry:

George Blanda, 79
Mel Brooks, 80
Fidel Castro, 80
Pete Doherty, 27
Roger Ebert, 64
Charlton Heston, 83
Harry Knowles, 35
Natasha Lyonne, 28
Kate Moss, 32
Mike Tyson, 40

Out of my 10, I regard under-30s Doherty and Lyonne as my most possible successes, which of course speaks volumes about them.

And here are the rest. I've put each participant's first name and last initial only, in case some folks may not want to be identified in such a tasteless endeavor. Feel free to reveal yourself to the world in the comments section.

Mark A.
Dom DeLuise, 73
Farrah Fawcett, 59
Corey Haim, 35
Lindsey Lohan, 20
Haley Joel Osment, 18
Terrell Owens, 33
Andy Rooney, 87
Tom Sizemore, 45
Abe Vigoda, 85
John Wooden, 96

Benjamin C.
James Frey, 37
The Game, 27
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 73
Whitney Houston, 43
Patricia Neal, 80
Peter O'Toole, 74
Nicole Richie, 25
Mickey Rooney, 86
Ally Sheedy, 44
Anna Nicole Smith, 39

Wade G.
Muhammad Ali, 64
Daniel Baldwin, 46
Sid Caesar, 84
Andy Dick, 41
Charlton Heston, 83
Artie Lange, 39
Lindsay Lohan, 20
Daniel Radcliffe, 17
Mickey Rooney, 86
Christopher Walken, 63

Sarah G.
Fidel Castro, 80
Dick Clark, 77
Betty Ford, 88
Lou Holtz, 69
Tank Johnson, 25
Star Jones, 44
Johnny Knoxville, 35
Natasha Lyonne, 28
Anna Nicole Smith, 39
John Wooden, 96

Kevin L.
Danny Bonaduce, 47
Fidel Castro, 80
Pete Doherty, 27
Kirk Douglas, 90
Betty Ford, 88
The Game, 27
Leif Garrett, 45
Karl Malden, 94
Ariel Sharon, 78
Odell Thurman, 23

Jamie M.
Dave Chappelle, 33
Dick Clark, 77
Kirk Douglas, 90
Bob Dylan, 65
Star Jones, 44
Lindsay Lohan, 20
Courtney Love, 42
Nancy Reagan, 85
Nicole Richie, 25
Mike Wallace, 88

Jerramy M.
Alan Alda, 70
Bob Barker, 83
Snoop Dogg, 35
Clint Eastwood, 76
Kid Rock, 35
Don King, 74
Willie Mays, 75
Steve O, 32
Jack Osbourne, 21
Nicole Richie, 25

John S.
Daniel Baldwin, 46
Jeff Conaway, 56
Jeff Curro (Jeff the Drunk), 39
Bob Dole, 83
Whitey Ford, 76
The Game, 24
Corey Haim, 35
Artie Lange, 39
Nicole Richie, 25
Mickey Rooney, 86

Matt T.
Muhammad Ali, 64
Bob Barker, 83
Kirk Douglas, 90
Michael J. Fox, 45
John Goodman, 54
Magic Johnson, 47
Evel Knievel, 68
Osama Bin Laden, 49
Michelle Rodriguez, 28
Young Jeezy, 29

Doug T.
Fidel Castro, 80
Dick Clark, 77
George Clinton, 65
Jeff Gordon, 35
Ruth Bell Graham, 86
Whitney Houston, 43
Benny Parsons, 65
Mary Kate Olsen, 20
Nicole Richie, 25
Kanye West, 29

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Last day for dead pool entries

Dead Pool submissions are due tonight at midnight (rules in the link).

Hopefully, I'll be able to post something tomorrow letting you know the details of the entries.

(I'll say this for now, though: A lot of people are going to be very happy if, uh, one particular simple life ends in 2007).

Betcha Bottom Playoffs: Week 2

Home field advantage has proven to be quite the - uh, advantage so far.

In the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, home teams were 4-for-4. Thousands upon thousands of football fans walked out of their stadiums with chests puffed, chins out and wangs mildly erect.

The trend won't continue.

This weekend's matchups are much more intriguing. I was damn confident the Patriots would beat the Jets, and the Eagles would take care of the Giants. And I'm not confidant about anything this go-round - except the fact that an underdog will have a W by Sunday night.

Indianapolis @ Baltimore (-4). The Ravens were my preseason Super Bowl pick, so it stands to reason I think they're going to win this game. But when have you ever expected reason from me? Peyton Manning looked like boiled ass last week, but I can't see him turning that out two weeks in a row. The Ravens defense is good, but the Colts will find a way to pick it apart and win one on the road. And as much as I'd like to see Peyton go to the AFC Championship, the thought of seven straight days of "Can Peyton finally win the big one?" stories are already making me want to puke. PICK: Indianapolis

Philadelphia @ New Orleans (-4 1/2). I've pretty much come full circle on the Saints. I hate to sound like a bandwagon guy or somebody who isn't happy about Hurricane Katrina's devastation, but I'm starting to root for this New Orleans squad. I still hate the city, don't get me wrong, but I like the guys on the team: Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, Marques Colston, this guy, etc. And it will be fun if the Falcons can beat the Super Bowl champion twice next year (echoing my recent "Go Florida!" chants). So go Saints. Whatever. PICK: New Orleans

Seattle @ Chicago (-8 1/2). The Seahawks are playing on borrowed time - thanks to one Mr. Carrie Underwood. Yep, Tony Romo - who was christened savior in the month following Thanksgiving - has now been transmogrified into the biggest Dallas goat since Leon Lett. And nobody is happier about Romo's downfall than original 2006 Dallas starting QB Drew Bledsoe. Hell, he says as much in his very candid blog. Ok, it's not actually Bledsoe's blog, but it is funny as hell. Also funny as hell, by the way, is the idea that any team quarterbacked by Rex Grossmann is favored by 8 1/2. The Seahawks are barely "good," and are miles away from any tags of "great" or even "very good," but the Chicago offense has been put-put-putting along and can't even be labeled "average." Shaun Alexander keeps it very close. PICK: Seattle

New England @ San Diego (-4 1/2). The Patriots win this game. I don't want them to. I like the Chargers, and really hope they get to the Super Bowl. LaDainian Tomlinson will miss next year because of the Madden Curse, so this is the time. And I hate all Boston sports, from the Patriots and the Red Sox down to the 6-year-old teeball teams. I hate 'em all, and hope each one of them suffers a torn MCL, ACL, aorta, whatever. But the Patriots win this game. Man, I want to be wrong on this one. PICK: New England

Terrorists @ Jack Bauer (-14 1/2). The sixth season of 24 starts this weekend, with two episodes on Sunday and two on Monday. Well, I've actually seen all four already - and good God, this show just keeps getting better. Sure, it's far-fetched, and the "real time" aspect of the show gets shoved aside more and more (Bauer goes from bearded and dirty to clean-shaven with a fresh set of clothes in about 45 seconds, for example). It's easy to forgive, though, when you have Kiefer Sutherland returning to his Lost Boys roots in the first episode, and then showing why his Best Actor Emmy was well-deserved in the shocking final minutes of episode four (seriously, somehow fasten your jaw to your face to avoid dislocation). The Jack Bauer Power Hour is back, baby. PICK: Bauer

Last week: 2-2
Overall: 96-87-3
Fake wagering total ($50 on every game, 10% juice on losses): up $15

That's unbelievable, by the way. I've "bet" on 186 games this year, and I am up fifteen dollars. (And that's with $435 lost in "juice" alone. It's a killer).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Mora the same?

With visions of Cam Cameron, Ken Whisenhunt and even Dan Reeves dancing in everyone's heads, the Atlanta Falcons went under-the-radar to hire Bobby Petrino as the team's next head coach. The text message came in bearing the news at 9:13 p.m. yesterday, and my immediate reaction: "Um, wow."

There was no exclamation point behind that "wow," by the way. Just a plain ol' "wow."

I was never a fan of hiring Jim Mora, and I was certainly supportive of his ouster. And if Mark Richt ever left my beloved Georgia Bulldogs, bringing Petrino in as his successor would have me exhausting my supply of ecstatic punctuation.

It's just, well, history ain't on the Falcons' side here. Let's review how a few above-average college coaches have fared recently in the pro ranks:

Rich Brooks: 13-19
Pete Carroll: 34-33
Butch Davis: 24-36
Dennis Erickson: 40-56
Nick Saban: 15-17
Steve Spurrier: 12-20

As Doug pointed out earlier today, only Dallas has seemed to get these kind of hires right.

Now Petrino does have NFL experience, and that's consoling (I hadn't remembered his stint as Jacksonville offensive coordinator at first, but then again, not much is memorable about Jacksonville's offensive output in any year). And there's no bigger fan of Petrino's right now than me. Let's play best-case-scenario here, and hope his playcalling mastery and offensive fireworks turn Michael Vick into the superstar he might be capable of being. Because let's be plain here: Vick is the test. Pass that one, and the hire was the right call.

I'm not sure any coach would have elicited an affirmative exclamation point, by the way. Whisenhunt would have gotten an "Ok, cool." Cameron, the same. Steve Mariucci and Mike Martz? "For fuck's sake." Dan Reeves? "No way, somebody's screwing with me."

So "wow." And here's hoping an exclamation point is on the way.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Children for the ages

Children of Men is the best movie of the millennium.

I'm still digesting the Alfonso Cuaron masterpiece, but I can say it really, truly is the best film since the 1990s. Go see it as soon as possible.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Late-breaking news

Apparently Bill Simmons went to his first college football game.

... there's really no comparison between attending a big NFL game and attending a big college football game. Between the tailgates, cheerleaders, marching bands and fight songs, the life-or-death mentality of the fan bases, the pace of the games, the purity of the experience itself ... it's just not close. College football crushes pro football as a spectator sport.

Wow, thanks for the keen insight there, B-Sim. In your next column, why don't you tell us all about that cool new show "The Sopranos?"

Betcha Bottom Playoffs: Week 1

What a long, strange, stupid trip it's been.

For the first time in five years, I didn't place a bet on a football game. Oh, sure, I was in the random pool here and there for $10 at a time, but there were no phone calls, no Internet wagers, and no ripping out my hair because of something that happened in the all-exciting Buffalo/Houston matchup. All things considered, I'm a much happier person than I have been in previous Januarys.

To fill the void, as many of you know, I started this NFL picks column. It gave me the chance to pick the games and care about covering, without actually losing nearly $1,000 in the process. Apparently it worked, even though the upcoming playoffs are going to make me feel like Ewan McGregor in his Trainspotting bed at times. With no dead babies on the ceiling, hopefully.

Next year, I plan on doing the same thing - and if you are a gambling man, jump on board. I had a winning record this year, but I feel something big a'brewin' in 2007. I've learned a few lessons, and the biggest thing is to go with my gut. I remember looking at the Jets team in the preseason, and thinking they were going to be much better than anticipated. Same with the Chargers. And the opposite was true with the Dolphins: I mean, I still don't understand where the hype came from, but I went with it because I was young and foolish. Now, three months later, I'm a hardened vet.

I mean, ahem, I did call the outright upsets of San Fran over Denver and Pittsburgh over Cincinnati last week. Oh yeah, I did. Of course, I also repeatedly told you Atlanta was going to win 12 games, but that was early in the season. Like I said, I'm a learned man.

So anyway, welcome to the playoffs.

Kansas City @ Indianapolis (-6 1/2). Ok, let's review what we know: Indianapolis can't stop the run. The Chiefs can run the hell out of the ball with Larry Johnson. Peyton chokes in big games. Chiefs coach Herm Edwards has very wisely filled his players' heads with the "disrespect" bug, and they'll come out firing. The most important thing we know, though, is what the 6 1/2 point spread means: take the underdog, no matter what. When Vegas wants you to take the favorite - and that's what they're saying here with the all-Indy-has-to-do-is-win-by-one-touchdown line - go the other way. PICK: Kansas City

Dallas @ Seattle (-3). If I were Bill Parcells, I would padlock Tony Romo to a chair with his eyes pinned open Clockwork Orange-style. He'd be shown game tape 24/7, and subliminal messages telling him to hate blonde girls. I mean, I can't imagine how pissed I'd be if I had a vested interest in the 'Boys - they're in the middle of a playoff hunt, and their untested QB is gallavanting around like he's Burt Reynolds in 1977. Dating "American Idol" chicks or Jessica Simpson or who-the-fuck-ever is for the offseason. I can't believe people aren't making a bigger deal about this, especially since his production has plummeted in recent weeks. (If Seattle is smart, they'll play video of Paris Hilton or Scarlett Johansson during Dallas possessions). PICK: Seattle

NY Jets @ New England (-9). Thanks Jets, it was cute. This will be the Laurence Maroney show, however. PICK: New England

NY Giants @ Philadelphia (-6 1/2). A very knowledgable sports guy just told me, without a shred of kidding in him, that Philly should trade Donovan McNabb if the Eagles go to the Super Bowl with Jeff Garcia. To which I saw, pshaw. Look, Garcia has been very surprising with the Eagles this year - hell, I would vote him third in the MVP race behind Brees and Tomlinson (in that order). There are a couple of huge details, though. First, it's not like McNabb is David Carr or something - the guy is damn good when healthy (I know that's a big "when," but still). But most importantly, McNabb just turned 30 in November. Garcia will be 37 next month. You can't trade a guy that will be your leader for five-plus years for a guy that might be around two more seasons. Might. Of course, if we were talking about Eli Manning instead of McNabb, I wouldn't have an argument. (Tiki will carry the Giants to a close loss, however). PICK: NY Giants

Last week: 9-7
Overall: 94-85-3
Fake wagering total ($50 on every game, 10% juice on losses): up $15

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dead pool sharks

Just a reminder - and you'll get a couple more in the days to come: You need to have your Dead Pool submissions in by the 10th.

Rules in the original post.

Four submissions in already, there are promises of more entries, my picks are finalized, and there are even hints of radio play as well. Join the morbid fun.

Minimum rage

Among the first things on the Democratic agenda for the 110th Congress - which begins today at noon - are crushing market freedom, ignoring states' rights, raising the high school dropout rate, and increasing unemployment.

In other words, they're just continuing recent Republican tactics.

10:30 p.m. update: No, this post isn't a ripoff of a current Fark headline. I submitted that one myself after writing it here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

By the time I get to Arizona

It's 10:15 a.m., and I've already been at work for three hours. Not only is this the first day back after the holidays, but my eyelids have cinder blocks attached to them.

Why am I so tired?

I was up until nearly 1 a.m. witnessing the best college football game ever played.

Seriously, ESPN Classic should create a second channel and run that son of a bitch on a loop. (And the fact it was a dagger-in-the-back to the BCS doesn't hurt either).

Monday, January 01, 2007

No bull

Apparently mixing Red Bull and alcohol is hazardous to one's health.

According to Clemens, some major concerns with mixing these two drinks include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular risk, impaired judgment, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation and rapid heart beat.

Impaired judgment, dizziness and disorientation after drinking Red Bull and vodka? Isn't that the whole point?

Coach killed

In a turn of events surprising absolutely no one, Jim Mora has been fired as the Atlanta Falcons head coach.

Fine, great. Let's go on record, though: As boneheaded as the Mora hire (or, more specifically, the Reeves firing) was in the first place, it will absolutely pale in comparison to hiring Mike Martz as his replacement.

Martz has been one of my least favorite NFL guys for years now, and I can't even fathom him in charge of my favorite team - especially since we're a running team, and he's so closely associated with the words "passing attack" I think he has them tattooed on his penis. Or at least "pa" because that's all he can fit.

See, just a mention of Martz, and I get infantile and disgusting. Imagine how it will be if he's actually hired.

Nobody wants that.

(Oh yeah, and Steve Mariucci would also be an awful choice).

Come on in, the water's fine

The 2007 Dead Pool is now open.

Here's the basic set-up: you pick 10 celebrities. If any of your chosen names die in the year 2007, you get a point. Whoever has the most points on January 1st, 2008 is the winner.

Ground rules:

1) At least five of your choices must be under 50, and two of those must be under 30. (Wikipedia and The Internet Movie Database can help with age verification).
2) All of your choices must be celebrities. "Ted's granddad" is not an option.
3) None of your choices could have appeared in Cocoon or Cocoon: The Return. (Except Steve Guttenberg. He's allowed).
4) One. Rapper. Only.
5) The contest starts on January 10th, so keep your Darrent Williams submissions to yourself.
6) The winner will get a $5 payout from all participants at the conclusion of the contest (the more people that play, the more moolah - so spread the word).
7) Final lists must be submitted to by January 10th. Once all lists are in, I will make them public on Ye Olde Blog. My list is already complete, and can be seen upon submission of yours (I don't want you to think I'm getting my ideas from you, punchy).

Yes, it's morbid. Just think, though: if you had played in 2006, you could have greeted the news of Gerald Ford's passing with an oh-so-slight fist pump while proclaiming that, yes, it was too bad.