Monday, July 30, 2007

Don't mess with Tex


I'm choosing to believe this is a line drive coming toward him, and he's catching it bare-handed. That's just how tough he is.

It appears the Atlanta Braves have acquired first baseman Mark Teixeira and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and three unnamed minor leaguers.

Love it. LOVE IT.

As anybody in my fantasy league can attest, I have a huge mancrush on Teixeira. Despite him being an alum of Tickle Pile U., I picked him up his rookie year, and have drafted him in the three years since. Only this year did my sister - my freaking sister - manage to swoop in before I could get to him. I have pouted about it ever since.

Teixeira will give the Braves a consistent big bat in, I'm guessing, the No. 5 hole. The way I look at it, whenever you can have a Jeff Francoeur batting seventh, the offense is looking pretty good. And the addition of Mahay shouldn't be overlooked. A left-handed reliever is sorely needed, and will thankfully spare us of any additional looks at Wil Ledezma.

Now Atlanta has one more move to make - a starting arm. And it better not rhyme with Bozay Bonsmeras.

2:01 p.m. update: Ok, I like this deal even more now that I've read ESPN.com's take: "Mets and Phillies fans, brace yourselves. The balance of power might have shifted south in the NL East."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Quote of the weekend

"Does that mean black people, or magic?"

- The Girl, reacting to a sign promoting Atlanta's Black Arts Festival

Random fact of the day

So did anybody else know the Tetris song was actually a Russian folk song from 1861?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Write the caption!

Here's The Girl at a party last weekend.

Leave your caption in the comments thread. And remember, of course, this is my girlfriend. Any lewd or otherwise off-color comments about her will be deleted, just prior to me using your own dick to carve out your larynx. I'm fair game, obviously.

Have fun, kids! The winner gets a big box of pride (except in Florida, as dictated by law.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dog day afternoon

This is my room five minutes ago:



Good lord, does anybody want a dog?

(C'mon #7, the pug is tougher than she looks!).

Bulldog fighting

I have been very quiet on this Michael Vick stuff, despite being the biggest Atlanta Falcons fan I know. Part of that is apathy, part of that is waiting to see what happens, and part of that is just being pissed at that turd for letting this happen. (Yes, he's guilty.) And part of it is that, as a huge Vick supporter until very recently, I can't stand the guy now and want him gone - and that doesn't require an entire post to express.

So in any case, if prognosticators are to be believed, the Falcons need to prepare themselves for a long season. I've seen numbers like 4-12 and 5-11 bandied about, and bandied about a lot. Personally, I think even without Vick, this could be a wild card team, but whatever - I'm a dumbass eternal optimist.

My point, here: Let's chalk this one up to be a non-winner, folks. Don't place any bets putting the Falcons in the Super Bowl. You should be wary of any point spread that puts them within two touchdowns, in fact. Let's at least, though, make all we can out of it.

And there's one way to make this season worth something.



Adjust your screen if you think that's Michael Vick. No, dear friends, that's DJ Shockley, currently #3 on the depth chart, but #1 in your hearts (and on his jersey, at that.) For you three out-of-town readers, I'll explain: he's a former University of Georgia Bulldog (my alma mater), and he lit up the 2006 preseason but never played a snap in any regular season contest.

Why not? Put him behind center and let's just see what happens. It could be a disaster, but it could also be a story for those proverbial ages. And plus, a radical adjustment to the playbook wouldn't be necessary, as Shockley and Vick are cut from a similar mold of quarterback.

Need I remind you who is currently the starter in anticipation of Vick's absence?



Are we really in any better position for a playoff run with Joey Harrington than Shockley? Let's make the move, and at least give us a positive storyline to care about.

Netflixed?

The Netflix website has been down since late last night, perhaps (or perhaps not) coincidentally following its stock plummeting to a 2-year low yesterday.

Well, if they're out of business, I'm damn sure keeping my copy of Zodiac.

Back to the future

Apparently, no one is more eager for Barry Bonds to break the home run record than the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This is the paper's webpage, just a few minutes ago:



Mind you, Bonds is still two home runs shy of the record. The AJC can lay claim to being first, though. Bravo.

I'm just glad all those Harry Potter fans were equally, if not moreso, excited about Bonds' future exploits than their prized book.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Hey, It's Friday, Let's Watch A Kick-Ass Music Video!"

A couple of weeks ago, The Girl sat through Transformers. Tonight, it's payback time.



Uh, yeah...

Well, I had meant for it to be payback time. I remember saying, "Ok, you sat through that crap, I guess I'll sit through Hairspray."

I think she's figured out my secret, though: I actually want to see Hairspray.

Dammit, I think it looks funny. I can't really explain why, either. Nothing with the description of "a musical starring Queen Latifah, some 'High School Musical' kids, and John Travolta in drag" should interest me. But there I was, looking at this morning's paper, thinking, "Sweet, Hairspray comes out today."

And now I don't get to use tonight as my get-even card. It's my fault. I should have scoffed at every commercial and mere mention of the film. I should have called it "faggy." I should have done something to convince her that tonight was a real sacrifice. But I didn't, and now I'm stuck with some true payback next week.

All's not lost, though. If I want to really justify tonight's moviegoing experience, all I have to do is utter one word: "Walken." Because we all know, the man can put his dancin' shoes.



So yeah, if anybody asks, I only went to Hairspray for The Girl and some Walken. In that order, of course.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mmmm... advertising gimmicks...

An oh-so-clever marketing ploy courtesy of Burger King and The Simpsons Movie - upload a picture of yourself to their server, and it will transform you into a Simpsons character.

I bit.



I added the background myself, of course.

3:23 p.m. update: Here's one of The Girl. Not bad, but she's much hotter in real life.

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Hey, It's Friday, Let's Watch A Kick-Ass Music Video!"

"I Drove All Night" is a Roy Orbison song.

"I Drove All Night" is not a Cyndi Lauper song.

"I Drove All Night" is not a Celine Dion song.

"I Drove All Night" is a Roy Orbison song.

OK, I'm glad we cleared that up. The thing is, Orbison recorded this amazing song - I consider it his best - in 1987, but didn't immediately release it. Two years later, Lauper released her own version, and it hit the Billboard Top 10 in North America.

Orbison's version was finally included on his 1992 album "King of Hearts." Sadly, Roy had died three years before, and wasn't around to film a video when it became a surprise posthumous hit. So what do you do when you want a Roy Orbison video but don't have Orbison to participate?

You get Jason Priestly and Jennifer Connelly to make out. Cool.

(When Dion recorded her own version in 2003, she passed up the opportunity to once again let Priestly and Connelly go at it. A shame.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sickomo

I saw Sicko, just like I've seen every previous Michael Moore film. As a conservative, I spend my time scoffing; as a filmlover, I admire his talent. And his new film is technically his best. It's affecting, moving, funny - and completely full of shit. Yet it's never boring.

Moore has said he won't announce his next topic in advance, because the health insurance field noticeably braced for him when Sicko was announced a couple of years ago. A recent quote, however, gave us a very strong hint.

“There is nowhere in the four Gospels where Jesus uses the word 'homosexual.' The right wing has appropriated this guy … and they have used him to attack gays and lesbians, when he never said a single word against people who are homosexual. Anyone who professes to be a Christian and does that is certainly not following the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

Homosexuality, and particularly the Christian right's abhorrence of it, could make for a damn good film. I'm a little concerned, though, that it will be too easy to make these people look absurd, and will only, um, preach to the choir. Still, I agree with Moore (for once): "I think it’s a very ripe subject for someone like me to make a movie about."

And not that I expect Moore to tackle both sides of the issue, but his instinct for parody would be perfect to tackle the same ideas as this classic Onion article.

"They kept chanting things like, 'We're here, we're queer, get used to it!' and 'Hey, hey, we're gay, we're not going to go away!'" Orosco said. "All I can say is, I was used to it, but now, although I'd never felt this way before, I wish they would go away."

Oh no, they didn't ... Oh yes, they did

Come on, AJC! Don't you realize there's no such thing as an "ex-Marine?"



Armstead held the man until police arrived to take him to the DeKalb County Jail. Steve Martin has been charged with armed robbery, according to police.

I can't believe it's come to that for Mr. Martin. It was obvious Cheaper By the Dozen 2 and The Pink Panther were only cries for help. Desperate, pathetic cries. We should have listened.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Martian morsels

          A little rainy day reading (well, it's raining here at least.)

          • Alright, so maybe last night's All-Star Game post was a little much. It may come as a shock, but I'm prone to spur-of-the-moment, outlandish, emotional comments; I know this. Especially after four beers, which was the case last night. Baseball isn't really in the shitter - it's just had a handful of recent absurd decisions made for the love of money, not the game. There's no reason the All-Star Game should count for anything, especially something as important as home field advantage in the World Series. It seems almost too obvious, but here it is: the team with the best overall record should get home field. That would keep teams from benching their stars down the stretch, and make the entire 162 game season exciting. But hey, it doesn't inspire a catchy slogan, so no go. (By the way, I still think LaRussa is a nutless corrupt drunk. Guess I'm still buzzed.)
          • Ms. Paglia is back, and I love her so - especially because she brings common sense to the global warming craziness. "Environmentalism is of vital importance to our future, but it cannot be based on lies," she writes. A great read.
          • I think this could be the coolest movie prop of all time.
          • A recent visit to Border's provided me with two new books, both of which I'm excited about - Tobias Wolff's Old School and Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which I want to finally get around to reading. The problem is that I've been in a bit of a reading rut, and the books I continue to buy are stacking up. Next to my bed sits twin towers of both unread pages and tomes with torn-paper bookmarks tonguing out around page 10. Lisey's Story, Will in the World, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Idiot, God Is Not Great, The Road (which I bought before Oprah recommended it), Lynch on Lynch - all collecting dust. And I have the new Harry Potter showing up next week. I should probably stop wasting all this time blogging.
          • I am about halfway through The Dangerous Book for Boys, but it's not exactly the cover-to-cover read I'd been led to believe. I think it will prove much more worthwhile when I have, you know, boys.
          • The Girl is out of town this week, so I've spent my free time doing all those wild and crazy things I always dream about: hanging out at my dad's insurance agency and watching Netflix. Watch out, world!
          • Speaking of Netflix, here's a quick reflection on my recent viewing. Stay far away from Smokin' Aces and The OH in Ohio, give Reno 911!: Miami a look if you're a fan of the show (it's basically the same, just R-rated), and, well, I don't know what to tell you about Black Snake Moan. I really liked it, but would definitely shy away from giving it a mass recommendation. And I've had Breach and Little Children sitting on top of my TV for about a month, but it always takes me a bit longer to watch dramas. All that thinkin' and stuff.
          • Oh, and I stand firm: Transformers sucked. My bestest friend Don Murphy, though, can sleep easy knowing just about everybody disagrees with me.
          • Got any good book recommendations?

          Corruption

          Aaron Rowand. Albert Pujols.

          Who would you rather have up in a game-deciding situation?

          I've just witnessed Tony LaRussa's decision. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, he decided to have Rowand bat.

          This is going to be brushed under the rug, but I am damn near sick to my stomach right now. If LaRussa's St. Louis Cardinals were in the playoff hunt right now, Pujols would have been batting.

          The fact the All-Star Game means anything is another reason Major League Baseball is going into the shitter (joining the NCAA's college football postseason.) You can't have it both ways; either the game is an exhibition and you change your pitcher every inning, or it's not and the game is played just like every other one. Sadly, this game meant something to everyone except the manager of the 40-45 Cardinals.

          I definitely wish the NFL weren't the best sport going, but I can't even attempt to deny it anymore.

          Bud Selig sucks.

          Friday, July 06, 2007

          "Hey, It's Friday, Let's Watch A Kick-Ass Music Video!"

          Apologies. I missed last week's edition of H.I.F.L.W.A.K-A.M.V., and that's unforgivable. You must have clawed at your ear drums and/or eyeballs without my video-choosing guidance.

          Truth is, the ol' blog was getting an unusually high amount of traffic due to the whole Transformers brouhaha, and I wanted that to be front-and-center instead of Flock of Seagulls, Hootie & the Blowfish, or whatever the hell else I would have picked. You understand.

          Have no fear, though. To make it up to you, this week I have two kick-ass music videos for your enjoyment. And there's even a theme!

          Both of the following videos have this in common:

          1) Both are from the summer of 1986.
          2) Both feature members of famous groups gone solo.
          2) They are my favorite kinds of '80s videos: from soundtracks, with clips of the respective films laced throughout.
          3) And most importantly, both feature relatively big-name artists doing the worst damn lip-syncing you will ever see this side of Ashlee Simpson. I mean, hilariously bad. I honestly remember making fun of these guys when I was 10 (all those episodes of "Puttin' on the Hits" trained my lip-syncing eye, I guess.) Enjoy.



          Thursday, July 05, 2007

          Engine trouble

          Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool. Brian Retkin is a tool.

          I sure hope Google links to this post.

          Tuesday, July 03, 2007

          Silent but deadly

          I'm cleaning house.

          Literally, actually. We've had workers in here all week, renovating the place inside and out, and my room in particular is a disaster. So while I'm in Hazel mode, I decided to put in a movie - not one to watch, but one familiar enough so I can just listen and follow along. Some people use music for this; I'm more visual-aural, if that makes sense.

          Looking through my DVDs for a cleaning soundtrack, I quickly decided on the red-blooded American classic that has spawned one sequel, one spin-off, comics, toys and perhaps most impressively, two governors.



          Predator.

          Arnold Schwarzenegger's best film. The film that gave Jesse Ventura his autobiography's title: "I Ain't Got Time to Bleed." And the movie that began perhaps the most underrated stretch by any single filmmaker: director John McTiernan's action trilogy of 1987's Predator, 1988's Die Hard and 1990's The Hunt For Red October. All classics, all in a row.

          I've seen Predator a number of times since I first snuck into the R-rated film 20 years ago. I've never just "listened" to it, though, and now I have an even greater appreciation.

          The climax of the film really begins at its one hour, 17 minute point. Schwarzenegger is on his own; his comrades are either dead or have fled to "the choppah." As he plunges into a jungle lake and subsequently gets covered in life-saving mud, he screams: "Oh, shit!"

          This is the dialogue that follows.

          1:21: "Couldn't see me."
          1:32: "Bleed, bastard."

          The dialogue picks back up at 1:36, beginning with the understated "You're one ugly motherfucker."

          So for a span of 19 minutes, from 1:17 to 1:36, the film has only five words of dialogue. Can you imagine one of today's big-budget summer blockbusters - which Predator was in 1987 - going damn near silent for 19 minutes? During the film's climax, no less?

          I assume I'm more impressed with this than others will be, but I admire McTiernan for allowing his visuals to tell the story, and not filling our ears with jokey Schwarzenegger lines or obvious exposition. It was a ballsy move, and one that obviously paid off seeing the film has maintained popularity two decades later.