Thursday, June 29, 2006

Marsellus Wallace was Right

The New York Times reported yesterday that USA Basketball is having difficulty getting the nation’s elite basketball players to come to the rallying call of Uncle Sam. The article notes that 10 of 15 players turned down invitations to play for the national team. Those numbers are nearly as bad as George Bush’s, and judging by recent national team output, the president may have more W’s than the USA team will.

In the article senior national team coach, and 2008 Olympics coach Mike Krzyzewski, in San Antonio for a national team training session, calls out seventeen-year-old Eric Gordon of North Central High School in Indianapolis saying that, “Eric Gordon…should actually be here.” Krzyzewski was a bit miffed that Gordon was actually taking part in the Indiana v. Kentucky all star series instead of Coach K’s Patriotism 101 class as noted by Krzyzewski who went on to say that, “"If a kid gets an opportunity to play for his country, whether you're playing at the Nike camp, the Adidas camp or the Indiana-Kentucky all-star (series), it should be no decision." Did I mention that Gordon verbally committed to Illinois after being told by Duke officials that, “I was their No. 1 target.” That might make J.J. Redick cry even harder.

Eric Gordon wasn’t the only top player to avoid the training session, and his is not the first story of a USA team forsaken for personal interests. (The Times story cited a phone interview with Gordon where he said, “I just haven't been that much interested in going, really.”) The real issue is that pride has stiff competition when it comes to the Division-1 recruiting process and current or prospective NBA careers.

Take any high school junior and spend six months to four years telling him that he’s “outstanding” – as Krzyzewski called Gordon – not to mention no doubt promising that this school decision is likely the most important of his life and see if he’ll jump at the chance to represent the red, white & blue while weighed down by such a big head. Oh, don’t forget that this kid has every delusion of a professional career and your “school” is most likely a means to an end. It’s get rich or die tryin’ these days and Uncle Sam’s wallet don’t shine like Mark Cuban’s. These kids aren’t looking for pride. They’re looking to get paid.

Illinois sports blog Illinitalk hits on excellent points about Coach K compromising his professional integrity to comment on a teenager’s loyalty to ma and apple pie. You want to blame someone Mike, look in the mirror at the guy in the suit courtesy of American Express. You’re a part of an engine that coddles these athletes as commodities then despises them when they act like the kids that they are.

Whiner with a capital K

I know that there are in fact patriotic athletes populating our high schools, and I do agree that citizens shouldn’t so easily shirk an opportunity to represent their country. But when you stack a professional career, national exposure, and an appearance on Cribs against a chance to play Argentina – and probably lose – you’re not going to win over a kid with a biology quiz and 30 D-1 coaches breathing down his neck. USA Basketball has a tall order ahead of itself. Chuck Daly called the 1992 Dream Team “majestic.” Eric Gordon and the others who turned down the national team may be outstanding, but basketball in America is far from majestic. Krzyzewski and his ilk calling these kids out with a scholarship in one hand and the patriot whoopin’ stick in the other will not improve the situation.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Comedy Sahara

Recently I went to the movies to see 'The Break-up' and I came out thinking it was one of the funniest movies to come out in the past few months. Then I caught myself and thought, "was it really that funny?". Have we collectively lowered the bar for humorous entertainment? Then taking a step back and surveying the landscape of comedic vehicles that are produced, things look stagnant. If it hadn't been for Vince Vaughn, that movie would have floundered and the same argument could have been made for 'Wedding Crashers'. Have you seen the coming attractions for 'Little Man'? Damon Wayans' career must be rolling over in its grave. Disgruntled, I went on a two week Lewis & Clark voyage for reliable yucks.

I started out by making my way to see some "comedians" live at a local NYC comedy stop. First they charge you like you are getting the works at a Chinese massage parlor from the best girl imported straight from Nagano. Cheapness aside it was time for them to pony up and put me in stitches. The sets consisted of two types, those just getting stuff off their chest or acts where you could tell they really really tried to perfect their craft. This was like putting sprinkles on dog shit. What even annoyed me further was the fact that the majority of comedians were in the bar area hanging out like acting like they should have been separated from us by a velvet rope. The only rope that should be involved with them is a nylon one, looped around their necks. Each one of them hoping every new patron was a hack comedian groupie or exec scouting them from NBC, UPN or PAX. The hunger for fame is almost deafening when you walk in to these types of places. Needless to say the comedy was no where near being up to par and in my fun things to do log, I ranked it slightly above the time I got my ball sack stuck in a neighbor's garage door. This was a far cry from the days when on a consistent basis Dave Attell, George Wallace, Brian Regan and a slew of other talent would be regulars on the NYC club circuit.

Other research was less time consuming and much more cost efficient. This portion was devoted to electronic mediums. In the TV category, CSPAN was at the top of the list when it came to entertainment for running highlights of former Ohio Senator James Traficant. CBS offered a program with Doogie Howser trying to be the alpha male then came on a show with Charlie Sheen and a poor imitation of the Man Show Boy. I would rather clean a White Castle bathroom at 4am than watch these programs for a second time. Other shows that actually do give me hope are the obvious ones like Family Guy, Late Night, Extras and The Soup. Throw in a Robot Chicken and Andy Milonakis and if you like that type of humor, you might turn off the gas and take your head out of the oven. A major untapped resource that has been growing is the old public access channels, which are amazing. Give it a chance and you will see its like the slow kid in class that is pushing the envelope trying to make everyone laugh so he can finally have friends show up at his birthday party. Overall TV across the board is about as stale as Elizabeth Taylor's follopian tubes.

The internet is a vast source of comedy potential and most of us being chained to a desk all day pop on to Al Gore's invention hoping for a break from the mundane. Aside from the random Google Video that spreads like gossip in an all-girl's school, rarely do you find a consistently updated article/site/blog where it makes you chuckle day in and day out, ahem plug plug, with the exception of BadIdeaBlueJeans and DeadSpin. On radio most talk stations are either political or sports talk that yammer on and on but nothing is ever resolved. Either they think Clinton caused the economic boom or one of the Bush twins was the catalyst. Boring and nothing ever gets solved. The only humorous show that I found in my travels is funny enough on XM 202 the Ron and Fez Show. I will not even attempt to describe that show because it comes at you from more angles than an air hockey puck. In the daily print publications, all we have is an occasional Dave Barry article that is so bad, I wouldn't stuff my wiffle ball bat with it for fear that it might cause me to suck like him.

In this fact finding mission I was able to determine that you have to pick your spots can not 100% rely on one source for your jokes and fodder. You have to work in a movie, a radio show, an article here and there but most of all you have to surround yourself with producers in your everyday life. You don't think the people at work have a joke or something funny about how the fax machine broke? Wrong, take them out for a post work drink and let the truth serum do its work. Family and friends are a major source that can keep you afloat. Again, for a good time, just add drinks. Something is bound to happen that will make you snot yourself. Suggestions or stories are welcome.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rick Majerus is not a big gay guy

A classic clip from College Gamenight. Watching Steve Lavin hold it together while he tries not to giggle like a 4th grader is the best part of the clip.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Video Ga Ga

Growing up, MTV was banned in my house. The regime of Mr. and Mrs. C did not approve of their son watching scantily clad women in rap videos, and they approved even less of scantily clad men in hair bands. They fell under the "do not watch" umbrella, right next to Married With Children and Pro Wrestling. My brothers and I devised a teamwork-based system to get our weekend wrestling fix, but as for catching a glimpse of music videos (or game shows involving Kari Wuhrer) I was on my own.

I distinctly remember hiding out in the basement one fall night in 1991. I had developed the perfect formula to keep the TV volume undetectable to any parental ears upstairs when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came on the screen. At that first viewing, I knew this was unlike any video I had ever seen before. It would come to shape my interest in music, video production, and in hiding in the basement even more, scanning through other channels to seek out other forms of televised independence that my fascist parents were no doubt keeping me from.

I was reminded of that experience when I saw the amazing list of 100 Awesome Music Videos put together by Pitchfork. It's lists like this that fully encapsulate just how much youtube has benefited everyone's life. If you have time, all videos on the list are worth checking out, but what follows are five stellar clips left off the pitchfork list. Also, this list excludes Don Johnson's "Heartbeat," which is on a completely different level from anything ever put on videotape. If you haven't seen and enjoyed that several times already in your lifetime, then chances are that I don't care for you as a person. On with the fab five!


Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, "Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959"
An amazing musical act, this husband, wife, and their daughter have become infamous for collecting other people's slide collections at various garage and yard sales, then concocting music and song lyrics to match up with the accompanying slides. The end result in infinitely entertaining, and frankly downright adorable. And yet at the same time, one can't help but be insanely jealous of the drummer and the fact that her childhood is clearly so much cooler than yours was.


William Shatner, "Rocket Man"
It's a clip that has become legendary. So often, events like these are remembered as being so much better than they actually are, and the myth or remembrance is usually far greater in your mind that it is upon another actual viewing. This is not the case here. Nobody sells a performance like Shatner. And give it up for the guys in the truck pulling off the double and triple-Shatner effect.


The White Stripes, "The Hardest Button to Button"
Directed by Michel Gondry
A perfect marriage between the most creative director in music video and one of the most creative bands in music video execution. What makes Gondry so great is that his direction is done primarily on set and in camera, as opposed to in the edit room with special effects afterwards. This video is a great example of what separates Gondry from his peers - who else would physically track down dozens of drum kits, amps, and mic stands to place all over New York City and shoot each of them as opposed to just dropping them in CGI style. It's also done with all natural light. And who else can wrangle a cameo from Beck to deliver an empty box to Jack White?


Radiohead, "No Surprises"
Directed by Grant Gee
One shot, one take, and Thom Yorke almost drowns! And yet he still comes off much cooler than David Blaine. Try and hold your breath with Thom and see who cracks first.


Nelson, "After the Rain"
Which video really personifies the ambition of the overly ambitious music video failure? As far as I'm concerned, you go Nelson or you go home. Have you ever watched something and thought, "It's like I'm watching my life on screen!" I remember the long nights when my alcoholic father would put me down, driving my bandana-covered mind crazy while I wept in my room. My only salvation came when I closed my eyes and dreamed of long-haired blonde guys rescuing me from the abusive hell of my life. The indian is a nice touch as well.


Miss it!

Watching the US open over the weekend it has dawned on me that the gallery needs some help with their cat calls. Tournament after tournament the classic call of "Get in the HOLE!" has been a crowd favorite after a player takes a swing, any swing. The more unlikely of a hole in one the better, like on a par five, 650 yard challenge with the wind in the striker's face. The pure absurdity warrants at least a guffaw. However, the saying should only come out from time to time when absolutely necessary much like Halle Berry's jugs.

This past weekend at the US Open at Winged Foot Country Club there were various cheers that were high on the cringe-o-meter. Don't get me wrong, taking an athlete down a peg in his moment is something that I openly support. Who are they to have someone guard them like the golden goose? Like I really want to get close to them so I can hear how their life is so stressful going from town to town, hanging out, not putting in a hard days work like the rest of us. No thanks pal, I have better things to do like stand on line to drain the lizard and finish the rest of my Twix bar. So, when we stick our necks out there to remind them they are mortal like the rest of us, it had better be a solid jab. In the 80's Darryl Strawberry would be drenched with chants of his name by crowds in various cities, Dennis Potvin used to be constantly reminded that he was a wife beater and the Yankee fans used to throw small immigrants at opposing out fielders. I don't know if golf galleries should go to those extremes but lets step it up here.

Golf tournaments are the only event where the common fan is given the forum where it is so silent, you can hear a mouse fart. In every PGA golf setting any line from Caddyshack will do (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080487/quotes) but originality and humor are key. It has to be short, to the point and most of all it has to have timing. I mentioned only PGA tournaments because if you were to do this at an LPGA event, the culprit would be on a Sportscenter loop either making the female golfer cry or you getting beat up Probert style by a woman. No one wants either of those because it will follow you to the grave, like a bad case of the herpes. I digress, the main objective is to make people laugh or to sting the professional (excluding the people's champ John Daily) and the same old tired lines will not suffice. One of the all time greats that works on short drives is, "Nice shot, does your husband play?". Others can be more individual driven, for example the Hefty Lefty might draw a "Manzere" or "Bro" chant between two parties. Finally there is the poor taste one; (turning to your friend and speaking loudly) "I thought he died in that plane crash?". If everything works out right you will get under the player's skin and cause him to lose his cool. If there is an altercation where it escalates into violence, the best thing you can shout is "Don't hit me, I'm a hemophiliac!". However you test the authority at the golf events please don't let your cell phone ring. That is just plain rude and ruins everyone's time.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Separated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 9

Both of these gentlemen are getting tons of ink lately. It's up to you to determine which one played Needles in Back to the Future II and which is going to put it to Sweden Wayne Rooney style.

"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves:
Britons never will be slaves."

Monday, June 19, 2006

"Your Hunt Ends Here"

Treasure Hunters, NBC’s answer to the Emmy-studded CBS stalwart, The Amazing Race, debuted Sunday evening with a mostly pedestrian two-hour episode. Treasure Hunters boasts itself as the thinking man’s reality show with oodles of codes to be broken and riddles to be unraveled but actually came off as a stodgy paint-by-numbers knock off of The Amazing Race.

Cliches to Your Mark, Get Set, Fall into Predictable Scenerios!
The first and most forgivable reality stand-by Treasure Hunters employs is an all too typical teams set-up. The ten 3-person teams are eerily similar to every reality show archetype and quickly reflect the most recent casts of The Amazing Race. There’s the Fogal family led by Pastor Brad shining in the image and likeness of the father-less Weaver family from The Amazing Race. Then we have Treasure Hunters Team Genius/tubby batch of dorks echoing the pastiness and nerdosity of Dave and Lori. And it must be noted that The Amazing Race had an African-American family named the Black family and Treasure Hunters has a set of African-American brothers belonging to the Brown family. From there you get your beauty queens, young professionals, ex-CIA, military, overt east coasters, mullet-sporting Texans, and three stunning women with six artificial breasts.

When it comes to players, not too much new here.

The First Team to Find Product Placement Wins
In this age of Tivo and satellite options, product placement is well entrenched in the television status quo. Treasure Hunters is no different. However these placement spots seemed so much more pronounced than The Amazing Race and then were non-existent in the remainder of the episode. The Motorola Razr phone played prominently in the “action” but at no point in the two hours did teams even begin to use their Visa cards or Orbitz.com. Teams lugged around manufacturer-less laptops only to use them once. Teams were more likely to wear clumsy Ask.com t-shirts than use Ask.com and its “special search enhancements.”

I’m curious to see how sponsor KY Sensual Mist will weave its product into game play.

There’s Such a Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever
Treasure Hunters is trying to be the smartest competition on TV, but its players and action fall well short of being either smart or a competition. The result of episode one was never in doubt. Two teams coupled on one bus were obviously racing themselves out of the game leaving the other eight to lope unexcitingly into the next round. Whereas The Amazing Race is lauded for packing tons of racing into one episode, Treasure Hunters had merely one clue in two hours that had any lasting impact on the result. Brown brothers drowning, Fogal daughter puking and whining, and Hanlon ineptitude really had no effect on the outcome.

One specific instance involving Team “Genius” showed Francis giving the Texans a six-digit code to open a “time capsule.” Francis then screwed up one of the digits when passing the code to his own team. Now you’d think this misstep might prompt some serious reality-worthy drama, but it never materialized. Team Genius bitched and moaned, fussing with the wrong code only to be shown a minute later opening a time capsule, saving the day, and never addressing Francis’s stupidity.

After two hours of watching, all of my fingernails emerged intact.


Dénouement
Treasure Hunters offers its audience a weekly chance to win $10,000 and a season long chance at $200,000. That’s a nice advance on its competition courtesy of sponsor Genworth Financial. I did participate, but I decided not to pay the 99-cent premium text-messaging fee. That’s probably why Frank Teste of Melbourne, FL beat me to ten large. Yet, this potential windfall will not rescue the show. Without some real action and game play, I don’t see Treasure Hunters catching the critical acclaim or audience loyalty of The Amazing Race.

Either way, I’m going to pay some attention at first and offer you my personal handicapping of the nine remaining teams.

Sure Bets
Ex-CIA
Team Southie
Air Force

Surprisingly Adequate
Brown Family
Grad Students
Miss USA

Hope You Enjoy the Ask.com t-shirt
Genius
Wild Hanlons
Fogal Family

Friday, June 16, 2006

Separated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 8

This Separated at Birth actually starts at birth. Freshly eliminated Costa Rican baller, Ronald Gomez, does have a wrinkled head that would make Shane Battier jealous. However, he holds a closer resemblance to this bouncing bundle below.


When it was a game


Mickey Mantle transcended baseball. At least this is what we've heard from Billy Crystal - the Mick was a little ahead of our time. He was the All-American boy, and he knew it. For the Mick, with this great power came great responsibilty. He played through injuries year after year, but as it turns out, this "play through the pain" attitude was carried through off the diamond as well.

We're proud to present the following back-and-forth documents sent between Mantle and Yankees reps in 1973. In this age of juiced statistics and multi-million dollar contracts, these documents serve as reminders of all that is truly decent and honest about the great american pasttime. His attention to details (right down to remembering the inning) prove tat the All-American Boy had a mind like a steel trap. Long live the Mick. (Click on the photos for full-sized images, but be aware that the Mick's language is a little blue.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Random Thought: NFL Headhunters



Every institution from local Cub Scout troops to GE each have one thing in common; leadership. This is the building block of success because it provides a vision and direction for underlings to follow. Way back when the NFL Combine was just finishing checking the last jock strap size for all college defensive tackles, it was reported that Commissioner Paul Taglibue was going to end his reign as warden of the trillion dollar business. Depending on the source, this was reported mid to late February and I’m sure the search began in the league office once the rumblings began. As press time the NFL has yet to name a successor.

Normally I wouldn’t gripe about such a delay in the search because I am aware that this is a process and the candidates must possess various high standard qualifications. Today my interests were piqued when the al-Qaida in Iraq appointed Abu Ayyub al-Masari to fill the recently vacated role on June 7th by the fan favorite al-Zawahri. You have to give their HR Department credit for acting swiftly in tapping the in house talent al-Masari. If you or any one of your co-workers have had to add a beneficiary to your medical plan, you know the foot dragging that goes on in most human resource departments. The impending counter point holds no water, “al-Masari doesn’t have to deal with labor talks, network deals or Chad Johnson. Essentially he can leave al-Qaida on auto-pilot like Barry Switzer in 1995”. To put it simply you just have to tip your cap to the radical Islamic group and hope that the NFL can hasten the process so that the number one sport in the nation can thrive with proper leadership and guidance for years to come. Just please, please, please do not sign Bud Selig an offer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Separated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 7

This unadulterated edition of Separated at Birth is brought to you by a goal in the 91st minute that lifted Germany over Poland 1 - 0 in today's World Cup action. It was one of the most fantastic final minutes I'd seen in some time with Poland a man down and Germany clanging rapid-fire shots off of the cross bar. However, I did want Poland to prevail as today is my old roommate Brzezinski's wedding anniversary. No lie.

Here they are, Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger and that guy from Deep Blue Something.

"And I said, what about, beating Poland in stoppage time?"

Germany kept trying to get touches for Bayern Munich star midfielder, Michael Ballack. They must have been pissed at him for razzing their buddies Chunk and Mouth because Ballack bears a strong resemblance to a certain reluctant Goonie.
Never mind the Ballack...
Here's Josh Brolin.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

JJ: If We Had Only Known

A very wise man once said "Hindsight is 20/20." Looking back at JJ Redick's career there were so many signs that he had a drinking problem; the weird poems he used as a release, the pasty white complexion, and above all his uneasiness with opposing fans' criticism - they say denial is the first sign you know. But most of all, these pictures should have told us all JJ had a problem...if we could only go back in time!







Seperated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 6

One plays like a bear, the other sleeps with one. Netherlands midfielder Phillip Cocu and BBC television superstar Mr. Bean (aka Rowan Atkinson) might not be rooting for the same World Cup winner but they sure as hell look like the only thing helping people tell them apart is a tweed blazer!






Separated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 5

The hits just keep on coming. In the next installment of Separated at Birth: World Cup Style we're hitting you up with two throwbacks. First and foremost is the 36 year old Brazilian defender and mononymic wonder, Cafu. His long-lost twin just happens to be that guy from Fine Young Cannibals.

You might have guessed it; Cafu drives him crazy! Like no one else.

Separated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 4

If you've tuned in to any games on ESPN-2 you may have been lucky to have heard the match called by Dave O'Brien and our latest paricipant in Separated at Birth, Marcelo Balboa. Former US star, Balboa, bears a strong resemblance to master magician (and dead guy) Doug Henning.

Ta da!!

Separated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 3

Philadelphia Eagle Donovan McNabb bears a strong resemblance to Oguchi Onyewu from the USA World Cup team. Not only are both of these guys cornrow sporting and physically imposing - Onyewu is a healthy 200 lbs. - but there's an even eerier similarity.

Neither of them played defense yesterday.

Separated at Birth: World Cup Style Round 2

One of these men is U.S. World Cup soccer coach Bruce Arena. One is fashion designer and self proclaimed "man of the streets" Tommy Hilfiger. It's unclear who was actually on the bench for the debacle against the Czech Republic on Monday, although I think we can safely rule out Beyonce as an option.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Tourgasm? More Like Bore-gasm!

Let me address this right off the top: I'm not a huge Dane Cook fan. That's right I said it - feel free to shun me or send me out into exile for not being one of his 1,000,000 myspace friends. I find him somewhat amusing, but there has always been something below the surface that bothers me about him. Perhaps it's the fact that I still remember his act from a couple years ago (before he was the flavor of the month) where he was running around in black wife-beaters with his hair slicked back and a drum kit on stage. He was the crazy comedian for the extreme Limp Bizkit-loving crowd at the time and I suppose I've never fully forgiven him for that. I mean seriously - look at that photo. In my book, you don't get a free pass for that no matter how you re-purpose your image as the guy who poses for pictures with your adoring fans or make exuberant hand motions with every word you say. Still, I tuned into the premiere of Tourgasm on HBO Sunday Night. The show is marketed as a documentary of life on the road featuring Cook and three unknown comedians. I figured if nothing else, it had to be better than the premiere of the new Louis CK sitcom that preceded it. (By the way, Louis CK's show might be the worst show EVER to air on HBO. EVER. Seriously, not only does this show makes Arli$$ look like Seinfeld, but it makes Real Sex 27 look like Real Sex 12! Oh yeah, it's that bad.)

So where do I start with Tourgasm. It has several problems. The first being that the three guys on tour not named Dane Cook aren't funny. This is a significant issue considering that they're comedians. Here's a sample of one of the "jokes" from "comedian" Jay Davis:

"The names they give hurricanes are too nice. They should name a hurricane after my ex-girlfriend; hurricane bitch!"

I would pause and let you get the laughs out of your system before continuing, but if you're laughing at that, you're retarded. I'm sorry to break it to you this way. If you didn't find it funny, don't worry - the first episode contained no more than 90 seconds of stand-up from each participant (but who wants to see comedians doing stand-up anyway?)

The larger problem with the show lies squarely on Dane Cook, who is not only supringly unfunny off-stage, but also serves as the director and executive producer of the show. For a look "behind the curtain" of life on the road for a comedian, the only thing I'm sure of is that these guys are boring. Guess what they do during their down time in Seattle? They go to the fish-throwing market that you might recall from EVERY SHOW IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION THAT FEATURES SEATTLE. Why not just visit a Starbucks, light a candle for Kurt Cobain, and let Shawn Kemp impregnate you while you're at it? I kept hoping Stephen from The Real World would show up and at least slap somebody in the face, but it wasn't to be. From a directing standpoint, Cook forces you to sit through long, boring arguments about pornography on the tour bus which a) couldn't be less funny, b) seem to have been created just for the camera, and c) result in a grown man crying on screen.

The bottom line is that the show fails on pretty much every level. Cook repeatedly states on-camera that there's never really been a show to go behind the scenes of stand-up life on the road. In fact, not only did The Comedians of Comedy already showcase this premise last year, but they did it in a much funnier and unique method than the cast of Tourgasm (probably due to the fact that it was shot and edited by an outside director.) With Cook being marketed as the next big thing in stand-up comedy, I imagine many people tuned in waiting to see what all the fuss was about. By the end of the episode, they were probably still waiting.

Separated at Birth: World Cup Style

Patrick Swayze in Point Break

Pavel Nedved of Czech Republic

Oh yeah. In case you didn't know. Czech Republic handed the Americans their asses today in the World Cup, 3 - 0. It's possibly going to take a Ghana miracle and the US actually showing up to get out of group play.

Big Ben pictures


Exclusive photos of Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle wreck earlier today. Let's hope this is one of those cases where things look worse than they really are.

Friday, June 09, 2006

She's All Growns Up

Japan loves Full House. Soak that up. A nation of over 120 million people that emerged from the ravages of WWII to at one point outpace the United States economy just can’t wait to “Cut it out.” (insert laugh track) I know what you’re thinking, “How wooood,” there’s no way that a country obsessed with motorcycles, blonde hair, and taxis with automatic rear doors would ever fall for a schmaltz-filled Bob Saget vehicle. Well somewhere in the late nineties it happened, and I was lucky enough to witness it first hand.

To tell you how deeply-set Full House is in the Japanese collective unconscious you need look no further than my friend Jennifer. At the time, Jen was a blonde-ish girl from Minnesota living in Japan and working as an English teacher. Needless to say, Jen was brought into contact daily with many a Japanese tongue that always had difficulty wrapping their pronunciation of her name around its adjacent consonants. Those that tried could eke out “Jen-nee-fuh,” and those less skilled might slip to “Jen-nee-fah-roo,” but more often than not Jennifer got something entirely different. These citizens, young and old, would incessantly call her, “Jeffanie” as in rhymes with Stephanie, as in the character portrayed by Jodie Sweetin on everyone’s favorite single dad and two uncles raise a house full of kids sitcom, Full House. They must have assumed that my friend was merely another example of a spunky, quick-witted, American middle child. Had Jennifer been black, they might have called her Vanessa.

I can’t seem to find any Japanese reaction to Jodie Sweetin’s latest romp into showbiz, mainly because I can’t read Japanese. It seems Jodie’s following a crystal meth rehab stint by hosting a show where people strip to their favorite music videos. Seriously. No word if it’s a game show or just more lonely voyeuristic television a la The Puppy Bowl. All I know is this thing should steamroll programming in the land of the rising sun.


So if you’re looking for Japan to lead the next cultural devolution, “You got it dude.”

The Hills...ARE ALIVE!



Can you believe its only 2 years ago that MTV blessed America with the paramount of guilty pleasure programming "Laguna Beach?" I can't either. I have to admit when those crazy kids graduated last year i thought the run was over. But no, MTV would not let us down. With some much uncertainty in the middle east, the economy still finding its legs, and gas prices skyrocketing, the Moonman said "Let's play it one more time." And thus, "The Hills" were born. Its a year after LC decided San Francisco wasn't the happening, hip spot she thought it was, so this time around she's hanging her hat in LA. Right there, huge upgrade. These days instead of having hot tub parties at the her parents house (probably the sickest house ive ever seen by the way and that's including 5 years of dedicated Cribs viewing) LC is going to fashion school and interning at "Teen Vogue." Right there you just have to admire her work ethic. Who did you know sophomore year that had an internship? Sure LC has some trouble in her first few days on the job, but really who doesn't. She's smart enough to take the computer farthest from the door and tilt it so no-one can see what she's doing, so right there she's showing the maturity of a well seasoned member of the work force. Expect more of that on the ball thinking to develop as the fall line comes out.
Of course no good spoiled rich kid reality show can survive with just one protagnoist. With the familiar faces of Kristin, Alex B, Alex G, Alex W, and Talon all gone on to bigger things like being engaged to Kimberly Stewart for 6 hours, MTV actually upgraded the mix so to speak with a new batch of wealthy underachievers. Right away we're swept away with LC's new roommate Heidi. A Kirstin look alike with the ambition to "Want a job where i get to go to parties," Heidi has the gumption to go after what she wants in life without making excuses. I admire her moxy. Here's a girl with no sign of cognative thinking, yet she's now the assistant to the assistant at a public realtions firm. Corporate ladder be damned, Heidi's in town and she's making waves. The third member of this modern day Josie and the Pussycats is Audrina. Although im not quite sure what her name is a mix of, i can tell you she is also quite ambitious. Currently, Audrina is employed as a recepionist at a trendy movie studio (code word for either Vivid productions or the studio that made SAW and SAWII) but she's not stopping there. According to her MTV bio, Audrina aspires to be a "mactress," the sultry combination of Model/Actress. I like her spirit. Of course no good collection of girls is good without their male counterparts. The Hills sports Jordan and Brian. Neither of these guys seem to have an occupation or much ambition, but hey everyone's still in college. I detect a deep spirituality with these two guys, perhaps a belief that our destiny is not our own, but rather at the hands of God, so in the meantime might as well max out your parents credit card on trucker hats and appletini's at trendy clubs right? Carpe Diem fellas.
All in all this show is top shelf. In the season teaser at the end of episode 1, we see the highs and lows that come with the world of "Teen Vogue," laughter, friendship, and even the return of Jason, who is not the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. As you can see that joke is getting old, which is why this whole new cast is worth their weight in gold - new jokes, new stuggles, new love, and a new way to spend Wednesday night. Yes "the Hills" truly are alive.

An Age Old Debate

Recently I attended a Pearl Jam concert in Boston. Now let me preface by saying when attending any event at the Boston Garden/Fleetcenter/TD BankNorth Garden there is absolutely no place to tailgate, so people just flock into the numerous bars that surround the area. I like thousands of other concert goers arrived in downtown Boston early to get a nice buzz on. Well much to my dismay when I walked into the first bar there was an actual Pearl Jam tribute band (the conversation of tribute band vs cover band can be had at a later date) playing on stage for a bunch of people who were about to go inside and watch the actual Pearl Jam. Now don't get me wrong, this band was surprising very good but come on I was about to go see the real thing, did I really want to tune up with a second rate tribute band? I think not. So we decide to head out to a different bar in the area. Well unfortunately for us at the next bar they were playing old Pearl Jam videos from concerts of years past on the big screens .

Now this got me thinking, what should people be listening to while tailgating, or in my case bar-hopping before a large concert. I say not the band you are about to see. I have no idea why I believe and try to live by this policy but I do. I think it is just a little too much of one thing. I don't want to listen to a CD when I am about to go in and hear something that should blow my CD out of the water. I have heard may any argument for both sides of this debate but I can not be changed. I will not listen to the same band I am about to see while tailgating. Unless I am forced to by bar owners.

And I am sure this problem will arise again when I head back to Boston for the Chili Peppers in October.

Best Drunk Songs: An Open Debate

Somewhere near the fall of 1998 I was a junior at Purdue University. Due to unexpected circumstances, my roommate and I were stuck in an apartment that bore closer resemblance to an efficiency, i.e. no bedroom. There were two concrete results to this mishap on the part of student housing: a) my roommate built “The Fort” with an intricate system of blankets in order to block out any transient noise and light from my late night romps (average bed time: 4:30am), and b) we ended up living across the hall from four swingin’ chicks.

Three of these girls were quite memorable, but only two of their names were equally memorable. Basically we had Laura, Danielle, the artsy anthropology major, and…alright one forgettable girl. Either way, these girls thought we were the bee’s knees and ended up partying heartily with us on numerous occasions. Isolated within one of the many Big Ten party experiences – and we’re talking big time here – was a jaunt home that ended up with my roommate hibernating in “The Fort” and me sloppy drunk and misty-eyed on the couch with Laura comfortingly in tow. The apartment’s overpowered stereo equipment lay at the ready, and I was more than willing to put Laura to work.

In my stupor - and mind you I was quite the lovey-dovey drunk in these days - I asked Laura to continually play two alternating songs from our myriad CD collection. Even now I can remember my arm dangling lifelessly from the 7-foot-long couch as I barked out melancholy instructions


“Disc number this, track 12. Then disc number that, track 2.”**


At the moment the choices seemed as liquid as my state of mind. I was in an inebriated bliss and more than willing to let the musical dynamic duo toss me about gleefully on their melodies. The night progressed from there. Laura sat preciously in a heap more than willing to play DJ to my shameless mess. It’s easily one of the best memories I could ever have.

So I want to know, what are the best songs to listen to when you’ve had too many. Do you get angry and agro like some Road Rules reject? Are you sappy and pensive? Or do you merely look forward to the next Thursday night at Pete’s and T.A. Toms? I know my macro-brew anthems have evolved over the years, but I’m still willing to toss out a few of my favorites. Please, for the sake of kids at state schools everywhere, tell me what grabs your fancy when you’re ready to pass out but not ready to let the party pass away.

“Let Down” – Radiohead
“Mexico” – Cake
“The Biggest Lie” – Elliott Smith
“Pink Moon” – Nick Drake
“Kathy’s Song” – Apoptygma Berserk (The Ferry Corsten Remix OF COURSE)


Do it for the kids. Do it for Laura, where ever she is.

**We had a 25-disc changer at our disposal.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Misplaced Modifier

Last week two men, Desmond Turner and James Stewart, entered a house in an impoverished and overrun neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis and left having murdered seven members of a blended family. This neighborhood is mere minutes from where I grew up, went to school, and delivered newspapers all through college. I drive through this neighborhood at least once a week and have traversed it twice today. The crime itself has been readily categorized as the worst murder case to befall Indianapolis in decades. The horrific details made their way to national news. In fact, I was in Washington, D.C. when the events unfolded and had to watch a hometown tragedy from a detached position.

Through what appears to be police work par excellence, both suspects were apprehended and in custody in 48 hours. The city was able to breath a sigh of relief, but cold comfort really with seven funerals, trials, and numerous questions that may or may not go unanswered are still on the horizon.

On Tuesday June 6, Marion county prosecutor Carl Brizzi held a press conference to announce his decision to definitely seek a death penalty for Turner and leave the option open for Stewart. Brizzi has multiple witnesses, eye- witnesses and even further accomplices to help him build his case against what is turning out to be two men with little or no regard for human life. Details of the investigation were released in a probable cause affidavit that will chill any reader with its precise details while at the same time reassure citizens that Brizzi’s case looks rock solid against the two men. Yet, Brizzi turned a phrase in his press conference that immediately got my ire. He noted that these crimes were, “a cowardly act. An act of terrorism.”

Hold the phone. Terrorism?

Now I can only see two logical reasons as to why Brizzi would have chosen these words to describe what is most certainly a cowardly act of the most heinous degree: a) he’s merely reflecting the liquid semantics of our cherished English language or b) he purposefully misused it for shock value.

In the Reconstruction South, southern sympathizers of the imposed northern forces were branded scallywags, a word that is now synonymous with any scoundrel, not just turncoats in Alabama. A troubled, oddly-built man used to walk up and down Arlington Ave. in Indianapolis – always clad in shorts – tearing down any garage sale or lost puppy sign posted on telephone poles. He was obviously unstable and quite an imposing presence. My family called him simply, “The Nazi.” Though he did wear jackboots, we never saw him profess any fascist ideals nor swear allegiance to the fatherland, nor ever claim to have been to Argentina. Throughout my youth, any individual purposefully set against the status quo or progress was quickly branded a “communist,” no matter what color his socks were.

Has terrorist mad the leap? Is it now a catchall for anyone we’d rather not have counted in our number? I hope not. One need look no further than Canada where officials unearthed a plot by 17 individuals to detonate a bomb larger than the one Timothy McVeigh set off in Oklahoma City and behead their prime minister in order to free all Muslim prisoners amongst other objectives. This happened hours ago. I think this example alone should preclude anyone from trying to forcibly evolve the nomenclature.

And it may seem academic, or bookish, or even down right snooty, but terrorism as it was used by Carl Brizzi does not mean what he intended it to mean. Terrorism is not defined by action as much as it is defined by intent. Those conspirators in Canada were not interested in killing people as an end, but as a means to coerce others into changing their beliefs, actions, or intent. Terrorism has at its root the desire to use force – often deadly force – as a means to impose the terrorist’s will. As counter-intuitive as terrorism is, it is what it is. I’m reminded of what David Letterman noted on September 17, 2001. “If you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any goddamned sense?”

Did Brizzi think he was shoring up his case against these two? I don’t think he needs to. According to the probable cause affidavit, Desmond Turner made public his intention to “kill everyone in the house” in order to rob them. Turner and Stewart killed people as do terrorists, but Turner had no agenda beyond sick greed. Turner is not the leader of a syndicate with revolution on their flag. Desmond Turner is a murderer. Thankfully, he is also behind bars and most likely will be for the rest of his life. We don’t have to reinvent our language because try as you might, what Turner and Stewart did still remains beyond words.

I very much doubt that Carl Brizzi was a victim of a language changing at the speed of Google. I also doubt that if Brizzi thinks something at the water cooler is hilarious he flashes up a quick LOL. I’d like to think Brizzi made a very poor choice of words for shock value, but he’s actually done this before. Why shock us? What is more shocking than three children face down on a bed murdered with an assault rifle? What is more shocking than a man who weeks earlier had confided in a friend that he was interested in turning his life around only to end up going on a murderous wild goose chase for a rumored safe full of money? Did anyone really need to have the severity and hopelessness of this murder driven home by calling some recidivist low-life a terrorist?

Yet still Brizzi branded Turner and Stewart terrorists, as he did with Terrance Anderson, a man who murdered two men in June 2005. (In fairness, Brizzi called Anderson an “urban terrorist.”) This misplaced, willy-nilly name calling for mere shock value flies in the face of Brizzi’s personal stance on the war on terror outlined on his website. Nowhere in his plan to fight terrorism does Brizzi address street level criminals and old-fashioned sons of Cain. The closest he comes is promising to deal swiftly with those who have false identification or make fake terrorist threats. Curious. Do us all a favor, Mr. Brizzi. Call these men what they are, murderers. Update your website while you’re at it.

I’m willing to let English evolve further, but we’re still not ready to label any rapscallion a terrorist yet. As of today, that word is still more concrete than clay. It’ll happen though, I’m sure. If you don’t believe me just remember that in 1945 Nazis were on trial for crimes against humanity. By 1995, nazis wouldn’t serve you soup if they damn well pleased.

What a world.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Chris Hansen is an egomaniac (not to mention a c*ckblock)

This man is Chris Hansen, professional a-hole. Wednesday night, NBC featured 2 full hours of Chris Hansen busting alleged pedophiles as they tried to close the deal on trysts with minors, all of which were arranged in online chat sessions full of graphic suggestions and several misspellings. I know what you're thinking. How could NBC be failing miserably in the ratings when they're spending the 8p-10p block showing Chris Hansen bust unsavory shady pederasts? Isn't there some variation of "Deal or no Deal" that they can just run 24 hours a day? Alas, Howie Mandel and his stable of skanks with suitcases cannot carry a network alone. (Incidentally, look for the spinoff, "Skanks with Suitcases" starting this fall on NBC following "The Office"!)

In this particular episode of Dateline, Chris Hansen traveled to Ohio. As Deadspin and The M Zone will tell you, the men of Ohio apparently love three things above all else:

1. THE Ohio State University Buckeyes
2. Moustaches
3. Underage tail

Time and time again during this self-proclaimed "Dateline exclusive" (can you really call it "exclusive" if this same stunt has aired over and over more times than "Joey?") a police informant posing as a minor would lure and entrap a naive adult male to a house, promising rewards of cookies and 13-year-old trim in exchange for Mike's Hard Lemonade and, one would assume, free moustache rides. Of course, when each social misfit would show up to the house, they were not greeted with the bounty of heavy petting in the swimsuit area, but rather the glaring stare of Chris Hansen, journalistic hack. As he gave the 3rd degree to each of the suddenly nervous offenders, Chris Hansen was always sure to ask 2 critical questions.
1. Do you know who I am? (The answer usually was a confused look and a few men guessing, "a cop?")
2. Do you ever watch Dateline NBC? (Sadly, it seems nobody gave the correct answer, "Yes, you're the "news" show that intentionally blew up trucks and called it investigative journalism.)

Kudos to you Chris Hansen, and to everyone at NBC "News". Some people may accuse you of spending thousands of dollars to rent a house, pay for the services of Perverted Justice, and work hand-in-hand with government officials to not only document a police sting, but in fact to be an active participant in an operation which - as unpleasant as the offenders are - borders on entrapment. Some would say that rather than reporting the news, you are in fact making the news yourself and disguising the exploitative sham as investigative journalism. But I think it's quite obvious that the good outweighs the bad. At the end of the day, there's really only one thing that matters: Making sure that as many child molesters as possible know who Chris Hansen is. Good luck and God speed. That move out of 4th place in the ratings is just around the corner.

Bartender, More Orbs for My Men

I have four sisters. Two older. Two younger. By August 2004, all but one of the younger two had been married off in quintessential churchy weddings having wrought me seven nieces and nephews. The final embarkation into marital bliss ended up being a destination wedding in the Florida Keys. Needless to say, I was in attendance, though I did wear flip-flops.

Beachside weddings, gazebos, and voluntarily bumped flights aside, I found myself in Key West amidst family members, Hemingway, and oodles of wild roosters and six-toed cats. (Key West is a happenin’ key, let me tell ya.) It doesn’t take too many romps down Duval St. to see numerous ads for the two local ghost tours because Key West boasts itself as almost as haunted as New Orleans. Tickets were purchased. Twilight set upon us. The ghost tour began.

Lucky for us – myself, the wife, the youngest sister, classification MCw/C* - we had chosen the less popular of the available tours. Evidently the kids that slid in from New Jersey and other environs were really jazzed about the opposing tour because it was lantern led! Well they can have their lantern in one hand and rove about in a teeming mob in the other. Our tour only had six or so people.

Intimacy, check.

We wove past many a historic locale with our well-informed yet slightly iffy guide which actually made me think she truly believed everything she fed us. The other lantern-led wags were following some dork in a cape and top hat…who happened to be my guide earlier in the day at Hemingway’s house. He’s obviously phoning it in, and Starla/Inquisiline/Lady Mysterio or whatever our guide’s name was, was just freaky and soft spoken enough to make me think there actually was a haunted doll that doesn’t like to have its picture taken without permission two stories above me. Hell, she had a binder full of photographs to prove it. Put that in your lantern and smoke it.

It was those photographs that sealed the deal. Along our tour, I was introduced to the world of orbs, mainly free-floating balls of light/energy/pixie dust that tend to reveal themselves only in developed photographs. Our guide had numerous examples of these otherwise harmless balls of light. Photographic anomaly, possibly, but when we stopped near an old church with an older graveyard behind I decided to throw reason out the window. We had run into a couple that after taking the tour earlier were revisiting some of the high points. With no preparation or coaxing the guide told them to take a snapshot of the precipice of the church with their digital camera. Bam. Orbs. Plain as day.

The tour progressed and by the end of the evening I was ready to change my name to Peter Venkman. We had too many run-ins with those not finished with this earth to recount in one post (Let’s just say we punctuated the evening by running hell-bent to escape the evil clutches of a haunted elevator). I emerged leaning farther over the fence toward the substantiation of
orbs, ghosts, specters and all things spooky.

Flash forward to last Friday. I’m at the Smithsonian looking at the flag that was hung over the scar in the Pentagon on September 12, 2001. It’s massive, so massive I had to scurry back to the edges of the hall, past the ubiquitous hordes of middle school students, to get the whole thing in one picture. 184 people died in the attack on the Pentagon. Did I mention I kind of believe in orbs? Have a look for yourself.


*Married, Child, with Child – accurate as of August 2004

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

EC F'N W



Who knew the world of wrestling would one day be saved by a promotion so "extreme" it was banned in several states. That the WWE, a company so lucrative they are based in Stamford CT, would rely on a grassroots circuit that encouraged fans to bring household items for use in their matches. Come this Sunday, ECW will finally be crowned as the savior of professional wrestling for all time. To understand ECW you need to understand that as a kid everyone believed wrestling was real. As time went on you noticed the Hulk Hogan punches weren't connecting, that Macho Man was using some type of blood packet, and that when a move actually was done correctly, people got seriously hurt.
But then ECW came out - and everything changed. The blood was real, the moves were real, a table wasn't just for the announcers anymore - it was a lethal weapon. The ropes were replaced with barb wire, there were no rules, weapons were welcome, and rivalries weren't started by just jumping someone, you humilated whoever it was AND their family. Oh yeah, and everyone entered to real hard rock music. This wrestling changed me as a fan. I couldn't wait for ECW to make its bi-annual trip to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center so i could bring an old baking sheet and watch New Jack obliterate some guy over the head with it. This is what it's all about!
Flash forward to 2000 when Vince McMahon bought out WCW. From then on it was a one horse race for wrestling dominance. ECW slowly began losing wrestlers to the combined product because of course that was the big leagues. But as insanely popular wrestlers like Tazz and the Impact Players moved into the spotlight, the fans at that level didn't embrace them. Instead people whispered "Who the hell is that?" At the same time, hardcore ECW fans were staying true to the product even though the wrestlers became more scarce and obscure. Finally when ECW folded you had a prominant promotion dead, with its life line of amazing wrestlers lost in the shuffle at WWE. So basically you had a roster of talent people loved with no outlet to showcase them.
This sunday however, justice will finally come. In a move that will undoubtably bring wrestling back to its popularity heights of 2001, ECW has been reformed with the big names that made it famous. Sandman, Sabu, RVD, Tazz, Ballz Mahoney, Axl Rotten, Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer, and many others have re-formed the most action packed, kick ass wrestling name ever. Any part of the arena is officially game, and not just for entrances. The blood is real, the broken bones real, the screams real, and the wins are real. There is nothing fake about ECW wrestling and that's why they don't have fans, but rather disciples.
If anything, the reformation of ECW will bring a lot of wrestling fans back, myself included. By putting on shows that defy what wrestling is all about, the gimmics will be left to the RAW crowd, while the hardcore components will once again fill small smokey arenas stockpiled with real fans who have no qualms yelling "You F-ed Up" when a wrestler just doesn't quite hit his mark. In the end, ECW should trumph over the WWE, in reality it did already. Thanks to the dedicated fans and the passion that burns in the hearts of the wrestlers that once cashed a paycheck signed by Paul Heyman, ECW never did die. Instead it laid low like so many of its superstars once did, and attacked when the WWE never saw it coming. EC F'N W!!!

So here's how i see it panning out. For one, I like Kurt Angle as part of ECW. He's a good wrestler, he can mix up, and he's a very believable bad guy. Angle defeats Randy Orton and messes the kid up pretty good in the process. For the main event, RVD is NOT losing. For the first time he will hold the championship belt and what better place then at the ECW pay-per-view. Expect John Cena to win over fans but mixing it up in the extreme, but in the end this is RVD's playground and he'll not only put on a show, but pull out a win. Rey Mysterio v Sabu could be the most entriguing match of the night. Two high flyers who can not only wrestle in a technical style, but also be creative in their assualts. Again, ECW should take this one since Sabu is much more seasoned in the aspects of extreme wrestling and lets be honest, some 5'5 guy isn't taking down the Homicidial, Genocidal, Sucicidal Sabu. If Tazz loses to Lawler he might as well start his own florist. And for the tag-team match, Mick Foley has loooong overstayed his welcome and its about time he pay homage to the man who actually started his gimmic - Terry Funk. The Funk/Dreamer connection will be one for the ages - nothing pretty - just bloody! I also think another big name superstar from the WWE will join ECW...and im thinking The Game! With Triple H always bordering on manical behavior, who better then the sledgehammer carrying King of Kings to help ECW once and for all take over wrestling. Whatever the case may be, tune in come sunday...It's going to be EXTREME!

6-6-6

An online betting service is currently giving 10,000-1 odds for anyone willing to bet that the apocalypse will happen today. These odds are intriguing enough that I was debating throwing down 5 bucks just out of curiosity. This passed quickly however, as I imagine that were I to actually win this bet, collecting my winnings would be difficult at best, what with the world ending and all. Luckily for me, I have experience in the area of waiting for the world to end.

The first semester of my senior year at college I took an English class entitled "“Literature of the Apocalypse,"” a course as cheery as it sounds. It was based on the writings by Nostradamus among others, asserting when the end of the days would come. My english professor, an otherwise very logical and smart man, seemed to be convinced that the world would end at midnight on January 1st, 2000. His not so subtle reminder of this belief was represented when he entered class every day and before doing anything else, he would mark the chalkboard with the dwindling number of days that we had left. We all got a good laugh out of this the first few weeks of the semester, but as the number on the chalkboard grew lower and lower, it led to some uneasiness among us. I'’m not sure if he actually believed that the world was ending or not, but whether he believed it didn'’t matter. The point was that he sold it repeatedly; never giving a wink or smile to indicate that he was putting us on. I enjoyed the class more and more as the semester went on. The awkward silences at the beginning of class when people looked up and saw "“27 days left" was infinitely entertaining to me. Plus we got to watch Rosemary'’s Baby one day, so that was awesome.

Needless to say, the world did not end when 1/1/00 came, although I would be lying if I said that the thought didn'’t enter my mind several times during my drunken New Years Eve. I silently wondered if maybe I should warn people. What if the apocalypse came and I kept the info to myself? Would that be frowned upon? I felt a sigh of relief when the clock struck midnight. After all, if I had seen Dick Clark broadcasting with angry green skies behind him, and frivolous party-goers strewn across the streets of Times Square with their eyes bulging from their skulls and genitals bleeding of their own accord, well, I would have been more than a little embarrassed.

So with my conscience clear today, don't say I didnt warn you, kids. And also, stay off the pipe.