Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Magic Hour

I missed my calling, I think. I should have become a magician. I have perhaps only a passing interest in the field, but it comes pretty naturally, and I'm often told I have real talent. Of course, my biggest trick was when, 5 years ago, I made my wife's taste in men disappear (*rimshot*), but I'm far from a one-trick pony, you can bet your sweet bippy. You want proof? OK then, watch as I pull off my thumb:

Not as impressive legerdemain as Darryl Unger/Joe Thanks's ability to seemingly make gerbils vanish into thin air, but I've found kids get a kick out of it. If you really want to knock their collective socks off, though, there's only one trick that'll do the, uh, trick: levitation.

The trick is easy, provided you have the right audience (ie. kids) and the right angle. I know many readers of this illustrious site teach children; if you do and want to wow them, have 'em sit in a chair, about 5-10 feet away, while you perform this trick. Turn your back to them slightly, so that you're facing away from them adjacently. Make sure you're wearing pants (which automatically disqualifies 90% of foreign teachers in SK...har, har), preferably black or dark grey, with closely matching socks. Then simply push yourself, slowly, up on tiptoe on the foot farthest from your audience, wobble a bit (but obviously not too much, lest they see your other foot), and finally come crashing down. The trick is to make sure you don't go too far off the ground. If you've done it correctly, they should be stunned. I tried it today on my daughter and a few of the kids in our building whom she occasionally plays with (all of whom are between 6-10 years old), and they ate it up. If you do it correctly, they'll be putty in your hands. Make 'em steal their dads' whisky and give it to you if they want to see it again.

Here's an (admittedly shoddy) example:

Note that the audience's eyes, if higher up from the angle shown here, should miss the right foot.

Hey, it beats hangman.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Save Chauncey Billups

You know how when TV shows such as Arrested Development or Freaks and Geeks are on the verge of being canceled, or cities such as New Orleans are decimated, people band together in an effort to keep hope alive? Well, I want to start my own campaign to keep this blog: http://chaunceybillups.blogspot.com going. I don't know what the guy's doing these days, but we (and by "we" I mean "me") need him back. After a long hiatus he returned, welcomingly, shortly before the start of the NBA regular season, but he disappeared again all too quickly. Damn.

If you enjoy basketball, hip-hop, or even if you like neither, do yourself a favor and check the site out. It's butter like Blue Bonnet.

Feels Like I'm Livin' In A Zoo

Emergency Code Red

Don't pass to this guy. He's a chucker.

The Heat are in trouble. Yes, Shaq has been out for the last 3 weeks, and maybe they still need some time to gel -- but there's one guy who, I'm regretably confident, just won't get it. He didn't get it in Boston, nor in Dallas, Atlanta, and back to Boston again; and he won't get it in Miami. He's a cancer, and Riles was a twat for trading for him.

An open letter to Antoine Walker:

'Toine, buddy, time for a check up from the neck up. You are not a point guard; there's no reason whatsoever that you should be dribbling the ball cross court, or in traffic. My grandma's got a better handle than you. You are slowly and steadily proving your critics right: you are a terrible decision maker; you always want to be the hero; and you don't deserve all the PT Stan Van Jeremy is inexplicably giving you. Why Shaq hasn't punched you in the face is beyond me. If you were my teammate, and if I were as big and imposing as Shaq, I certainly would. And I'd be doing the team a big favor.

In contrast, Jason Williams seems to have reigned himself in. He played a good game today against the Mavs, and didn't pull any of the dumbass moves (pull-up 3-point attempt with 20 seconds on the shot clock; fancy, unnecessary behind the back pass...) that have become his trademark. Here's hoping he continues to play sound ball like he did today, even though the Heat did lose to a superior Mavs team.

And just how good are the Mavs? Seriously, it's hard to pinpoint what makes them so scary. Their defence looks impenetrable, their players all seem to know their roles...and then there's Dirk, who should be the first name uttered as soon as MVP talk begins. Miami really never had a chance, and it appears the Mavs didn't even switch into second gear.

Some other NBA-related thoughts:

- What the fuck is wrong with the Pacers? Is it that hard for them to adjust with Ron Artest back? They have what should be the best team in the L that doesn't rhyme with Dan Pantonio, but so far they have been underachieving prodigiously. And I can't understand why.

- Will Chris Paul be an [Golden Ticket] All-Star this year? If he is, it would likely mean Sam Cassell won't, and if the Clips keep things up, that'd be a shame. By the way, has 'ol Bug-Eyes ever been an All-Star? I don't recall, but Chris Gatling has, so I guess anything is possible.

- Is Carmelo Anthony finally ready to rejoin the elite of his draft class? If he picks up more assists and improves his 3-point shooting (an atrocious 13% for the year) he is.

- Congrats to the Bulls and Wizards, who were able to hand home defeats to the Spurs and Pistons, respectively. Proper.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thursday, November 24, 2005

10 Years Too Late

I read today that Nas and DJ Premier will begin collaborating on an album together. At first I was genuinely excited; then I remembered that Nas hasn't made a great album since his first, 1994's Illmatic, and that Primo hasn't crafted a great beat since before -- perhaps -- the new millenium. Nas's last 3 albums range from "almost there" to "ugh, what a mess"; and anyone who has listened to Gangstarr's last (and apparently final) album knows that Primo these days makes beats like Gary Payton plays basketball.

I think it was announced a year or so ago that Chuck D and KRS ONE were going to make an album together. My reaction at the time was why the fuck didn't you two decide to do so when you were at the height of your powers/relevant? Even though that album never came to be, if it did I'm confident that I wouldn't have bought it. Because there's a 99% probability it would have sucked. That's how I feel about this recent Nas/Primo news. Nas's voice, much like Chuck D's, is wrecked; and his once poetic lyrics are watered down and have been for a long time (ever since It Was Written, in fact); and Primo, although I'm sure he can cook up a good beat in a pinch -- better than most of these knuckleheads currently ruining my ears, to be sure -- hasn't produced an entire, classic record since Gangstarr's Moment of Truth, and that was nearly 8 years ago.

In a perfect world, this proposed album will usher in a 2nd Renaissance -- one in which groups such as the Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy and De La Soul all create groundbreaking new albums. But, lamentably, that's just not going to happen. Sadly, the reason I keep my hopes up that it will is because there aren't many new faces helping to reinvigorate hip-hop.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Buggin' Out

I don't tend to eat breakfast in the morning, and after what happened today, I don't think I ever will again. Feeling unusually peckish, I filled a bowl with rice and went to the cupboard for some curry (the staple of any nutritious breakfast, to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson). The wife usually buys 3분, which is like 30 cents a box or something, but last Sunday we decided to splurge. Golden Curry, which I assume is a Japanese product (because it's got Japanese characters written all over the packaging...and it likes Alyssa Milano musical CDs), was on sale for 2000-something won, a slight markdown from it's regular 3000-something cost. So we bought 3 boxes, one mild, one medium, and one hot.

This morning I opened the hot, and was greeted by literally thousands of tiny ants. They swarmed over my hand and I dropped the box on the kitchen table. Using a pamphlet, I swept most of the colony (it looked like a writhing pile of beach sand) into the trash. Then I took this lame photo:

Not exactly Pulitzer material, but I think I can be forgiven seeing as how my hands and arms were covered with the little bastards.

The lesson? Look both ways before crossing the street. And don't buy "discount" curry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Well, I Didn't Want That Ricky Martin CD Anyway! Honest!


Now, I admit to having a few...ummmm... backup copies of songs on my iPod. But if the entertainment industry's hysteria over piracy (which was never as bad as they claimed) leads them to doing sleazy shit like this, then they deserve to have the book thrown at them.

This is on par with hauling in old ladies and thirteen year olds because they have Snoop Dogg on their PC somewhere.

By the way: Grannies = The most gangsta chronic fans you can find.

Monkey Business

Apparently the big film this Christmas will be Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong. I say "apparently" because I honestly don't believe that many people are excited about it. What is so great about King Kong, anyway? The story is silly (giant ape living on island battles dinosaurs, is captured and taken to New York, plays in the Jets backfield, falls in love with starlet, climbs Empire State building, falls...the end), and, besides, it's already been remade -- and with Jeff Bridges and Charles Grodin to boot! I adore Peter Jackson and pretty much everything he's done, but I have to ask what the hell he was thinking by taking on this project after just having filmed three adaptations. Does he still have to prove himself to the studio after that cash juggernaut? I've read that Kong (the original, natch) is his favorite film, and that this is his dream project, but you know what, The Brothers Karamazov is my favorite novel, but were I to become a famous novelist (and it's only a matter of time; my mom tells me I write "really good") I don't think I'd find it necessary to take on the planned sequel Dostoevsky had intended to write. Maybe that's just me.

I believe remakes and adaptations have a certain place in cinema (Spielberg's War of the Worlds, for example, worked because it took the premise of H.G Wells's novel and used it to focus on one family), but, and I go back to my original question, what is so interesting about King Kong? Am I perhaps missing some poignant theme in the story that makes it important, timeless? And, again, is anyone really that hyped to see this picture? I don't mean "are you excited there's a new Peter Jackson film coming soon?" I mean "does the story of a giant ape that battles dinosaurs and climbs the Empire State Building" get you hot? Probably not.

The film has also been reported to be nearly 3 hours long. So I guess that means we'll get the full story on Kong, find out what makes him tick. Maybe it will be more Raging Bull than Independence Day...but probably not. In all likeliness, the film will make a ton of cash and many will say it was decent, better than the original (because of course it's in color and has lots of CGI!), and then be forgotten like Roland Emmerich's Godzilla.

I hope I wind up eating crow. I hope Peter Jackson, that svelte man-muffin (http://postprodson.free.fr/kong/ubisoftkingkong.jpg), makes me care about a giant ape. If he can do that, I'm willing to concede that he can do anything -- slam dunk a basketball, find Jimmy Hoffa's corpse, write a workable Mid-East peace plan on a restaurant napkin, beat Craig G in a rap battle...you name it. After all, I didn't think the Lord of the Rings could be made into effective films, and I was dead wrong there.

Good luck, PJ. I'm praying for the best and expecting the worst (or maybe it's the other way around).

PS - Petey, if you read this blog (but what am I saying? of course you do), any chance of me scoring tix to an advance screening?

Monday, November 21, 2005


When Tibs locked up his comments because the alchoholic retard spammed him a few weeks ago, I emailed him and said, "Hey! I wanna comment! Let me into the treehouse!"

So he did, and the next day we both noted that I was now listed as a contributor to this blog. I discussed it with him, and he said, "Hey, you wanna post something? Go ahead. If anything, it'll piss off alchoholic retard." Personally, I think it'd be a great idea for Tibs to add a few more people. Make it a team blog ala Marmot... with less seriousness and pictures of Korean chicks in bikinis.

Anyway, I just wanted to take this time to say, "Howdy!" to everyone.



Um, yeah. That's it.

As you were.

A Hero Ain't Nuthin' But a Sandwich

Lawks a mussy, I know I try to find a silver lining in every cloud, but this is downright ridiculoid. Here's the full story(Reuters):

Po' boys and gumbo help revive New Orleans

By Kevin Krolicki
Sun Nov 20, 3:12 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - In New Orleans, a city still lacking power, water and most of its former inhabitants, many are tracking a more hopeful gauge of recovery measured in sales of po' boy sandwiches and gumbo.

About 320 restaurants have reopened for business in New Orleans, down from the 2,200 or so establishments of all stripes that gave New Orleans its reputation as a city serious about eating before Hurricane Katrina.

The most famous restaurants -- haute-creole destinations like Commander's Palace, Brennan's and Arnaud's -- remain shuttered as they work to rehire large staffs.

But smaller family-run shops featuring indigenous comfort food like po' boy and muffuletta sandwiches, gumbo, and red beans and rice have come back to standing-room only traffic.

"People were so happy to get gumbo. I talked to people who said thank you, because we just had to be back to some normality," said Vicky Patania, who has been washing dishes and operating with a skeleton crew at The Galley, a restaurant she owns with her husband, Dennis.

Sandy Whann, the owner of Leidenheimer Baking Company, which supplies crisp-crusted loaves for po' boys, said New Orleans restaurant owners like Patania "have a duty."

"They understand that the gift that they can give to this city is to reopen as a gathering place," he said.

The return of New Orleans' tourist economy also hinges on the success of its restaurants. Said Howard Moses, a local engineer who was at a po' boy shop for lunch recently, "Food is as important to this city as music and architecture."

The po' boy and the muffuletta, another New Orleans creation, are among the fare to dominate post-Katrina menus for those in a hurry.

The muffuletta, an Italian-style sandwich introduced by Sicilian immigrants, features sesame-coated bread stuffed with ham, salami, cheeses and marinated olive salad.

"Good ingredients and big portions, baby," said Norma Webb, who was back making sandwiches to go at Nor-Joe's Import.

The po' boy, called a submarine or a hoagie elsewhere, dates back to Great Depression, giving it a historical tie to earlier hard times.

"What's important about the po' boy is that it's the great equalizer -- rich or poor, regardless of culture, it's the essence of New Orleans," said Whann, who admits he and other locals can grow "mystical" when discussing the perfect po' boy.

"Soft hoagie or submarine rolls are wrong, and hard-crusted baguettes are too tough," said local food expert Celeste Uzee. "Po' boys require the right bread in the same way that a proper New York slice (of pizza) requires the right crust."

For the 100,000 or so now back in New Orleans, food and football remain dominant topics of conversation -- reminders of life before the storm.

"They are crazy about football in the fall, but they are crazy about food all year round," said Tom Fitzmorris, a New Orleans restaurant maven who hosts a three-hour food show five days a week on local radio.

Fitzmorris, who is tracking restaurant reopenings at www.nomenu.com, said food would ultimately bring New Orleans back. "If you go somewhere else, you might make a lot more money, but you won't have gumbo," he said.

Others see the region's strong bond to its favored foods strengthening as thousands of evacuees remain scattered.

"New Orleanians and people from all over Louisiana base their identities, in large part, on foodways," said Uzee.

"Rather than seeing those foodways diluted or eroded, I think instead the traditional things will experience a renaissance," she said. "When people have nothing left, they can always re-create their lost places through food."

Not exactly what I would call getting lemons and making lemonade. I think substituting "Po' boys" with "prostitutes," and "gumbo" with "gambling" would have been more effective. But maybe that's just me.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

All-Star Wars

I've always found it funny that the NBA conducts their All-Star balloting so early. I mean, we're what, 3 weeks into the season? Can we really guage just how deserving certain players are to start on an All-Star team? Michael Redd has been fire, but what if he (hypothetically; I realize the chances of it happening are pretty slim) suddenly cools off for the rest of the year? Would you really want him starting for the East? Then there's the issue that certain players will get voted in regardless of stats or injuries. If Shaq is healthy, you can bet your ass that he'll be the starting center for the East squad this year -- even though he doesn't deserve the honor, because of time missed due to injury and the fact that Jermaine O'Neal is simply better than him nowadays (although Jermaine is inconceivably a forward on the ballot). And don't even mention Wince Carter. There are players who are sure to make the starting lineups whether they deserve the honor or not: Kobe, Wince, Shaq, Yao, AI; the interesting part is when the teams' respective coaches (Flip Saunders and Pop-Daddy, by the look of it) choose the reserves. I'll leave that up to them. For now, here are my votes for the East and West starters. If you haven't done so already, head over to NBA.com and tell 'em who you think should start.

When the East is in the House...

It was only a few years ago that the West was the superior conference and many were complaining that the divisions needed to be re-aligned to make the Western Conference Finals seem less like the real championship series. Remember that? Well, except for San Antionio, the rest of the once-wild West apparently doesn't. The Clips are tied with SA for the conference's best record? Golden State is suddenly a powerhouse? The fuck out.

There's been a sea change, and now it's the East that's the beast. So who's representing them?


Jermaine O'Neal -- he really should be on the ballot as a center. But he isn't, so I have to vote him in at forward. A shame, because Paul Pierce deserves some love; and Dwight Howard has been making some noise recently.

Lebron James -- Duh. Still, maybe it's not as much of a no-brainer as it seems: his rebounds and assists are both down compared with last year. But the team's impressive start (after a rusty first few games), shouldn't be overlooked. Expect to see him voted in as an All-Star starter until, at least, 2020. That's scary: by then I'll be 29.


(aka "here's where Gilbert Arenas and Michael Redd get stiffed.")

Allen Iverson -- I don't like AI much, but I can appreciate what he does on the court. He's become a smarter player the last few years, and he's a warrior. I can't deny his skills, nor his competitiveness.

Dwyane Wade -- Sheet, did you have to ask? Flash is a lot closer right now than Lebron to averaging a triple-double. He's off to a monster start, and I believe his stats would be just as strong were Shaq still in the Heat lineup. Possible MVP. If he doesn't start I'm kidnapping Vince Carter's boyfriend.


Ugh. This isn't pretty. The only name that any sane person should check is

Ben Wallace

Best Western...

I'm really pissed that Amare Stoudamire went and fucked up his knee; let's get that out of the way. Now I have to start looking for teams in the West to like, because the new Suns team isn't much fun to watch. Stevie Nash is still being Stevie Nash, and Shawn Marion can be fun at times; but you also have Kurt Thomas's googly eye, Brian Grant's stupid dreadlocks (if I'm Mike D'Antoni, I make him cut those bitches...even if he maybe is a Rasta), and the "exciting" play of Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa. Jesus.


Tim Duncan -- Yet another player who should be on the ballot at center. What the fuck happened to the prestigious C spot? Dominant centers and compentent NFL quarterbacks are a thing of the past, apparently. And so I have to vote TD in here over Kevin Garnett. And that just ain't right.

Dirk Nowitzki -- Another early MVP candidate in my books. With the departure of Michael Finley, Dirk Diggler has taken on an even larger role this year; and despite the fact that he's playing with a bunch of scrubs (I'm looking at you, Mr. Dampier), his team is the early candidate as runner-up to the Spurs. Sorry KG.


Steve Nash -- Love those TNT commercials with Ali G.

Tony Parker -- I can't front, TP (has there ever been a better nickname?) is making moves. It probably won't last, but as of right now he deserves the nod.


Obviously Yao Ming is going to start, which proves that democracy doesn't work. Hell, if Ha Seung-Jin were on the ballot, he'd probably get more votes than the guy who thus far deserves it:

Marcus Camby

In other news:

- The wife and I watched Spielberg's War of the Worlds last night. Scared the living bejeezus out of us both. Good flick. Some minor gripes, and it's definitely NOT a movie you find yourself saying "that kicked ass!" about after watching, but it's a thriller in the strictest sense. Jarring film.

- The little girl came home from pre-school yesterday with two Christmas cards (one for Mommy, the other obviously for the mailman) which she made. Isn't it a bit early? I still haven't finished my shopping for Buy Nothing Day.

- This is too cool for words. Even if it is about He-Man:

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Comments Sense

For the foreseeable future, readers are unable to post comments -- as many of you might have noticed . That's right, I've gone all commie and shit. So if you're dying to share with me a kickass apple crumble recipe, or to let the world know I bufu pygmies, you'll have to send me an e-mail to register. And while I don't expect anyone will, I should ad that, for your troubles, you will receive a nifty Psychedelic Kimchi T-shirt (while supplies last), and a spectacularly unremarkable E-card on your birthday.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hell No!

Once again, it's not on (at least until sometime next year):



Cold World

Damn, it got cold but fast. One day I'm lounging on my balcony in my flip-flops and a codpiece, the next I'm dressed up like Ralphie's little brother in A Christmas Story. I know I say this every year, but the seasons are getting shorter and shorter. My father, a chemist whose true calling was meteorology, insists that isn't the case; the weather has always been fucked up, he reckons. He also has been known to sing I Will Always Love You to the dog after a single glass of wine, though, so take his conjecture with a grain of salt. After all, this is the same guy who claims it is impossible for one to get a sunburn through glass. Obviously, he's never been to Mercury.

Some quick thoughts:

1) I meant to write a review of the new Franz Ferdinand album, but because it's not a hip-hop album and I therefore can't (or shouldn't) use words such as "dope," and because I think it's a phenominal record and, admittedly, I only really enjoy writing reviews when I'm disappointed by an album/film/lunch buffet, I ultimately decided against it. But I will say this: why begin an album with what are (arguably) the CD's two best songs, and finish it with (again, arguably) its two worst? To paraphrase Dante Hicks, it ends on such a down note; only, unlike The Empire Strikes Back, not in a particularly good way.

Still, VFG album. It's not The Bends, or It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, but very few sophomore records are.

2) I made some harsh, erroneous predictions a week ago concerning the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Sacramento Kings. Please switch the two assessments around and pretend like I'm a genius.

Still, if Sacto can't get things going with the team they have (and that includes you, Kevin Martin; you're the most talented young, gay player the league has), Rick Adleman needs to be put out to pasture. If I'm the GM there (god, how I wish I were the GM there), I give Herr Adleman until late-November, possibly early-December. If shit's the same by then, start looking into what exactly Charles Oakley is doing these days.

(Yes, my one-man movement to make Charles Oakley an NBA coach is 100% serious)

3) Not that I ever have, but as a warning to anyone out there who might've: stop talking shit about Carrot Top. Don't let the mascara fool you; he's a behemoth, and he'll kick your ass:


Sunday, November 13, 2005

En Bee Aye

1) Dwyane Wade is a better player than Lebron James, both now and laters. Trust me. Wade is smarter both on the court and off, and his legacy will trump LBJ's. Bets?

2) Lurry Brown probably doesn't feel very special right now. Even his Flip Saunders voodoo doll doesn't work.

3) It's only a matter of time before Rob Babcock fires Sam Mitchell and replaces him with Charles Oakley. Which of course would be the greatest thing in the history of everything.

4) Larry Bird has never been what I would consider a terribly handsome guy, but these days he's beginning to look like one of those fucked up apple-head dolls. It also doesn't help that he hasn't smiled since Warren Harding was president.

5) The Pacers are scary. And I don't mean that in a "Ron Artest or Stephen Jackson will likely pull a sharpened toothbrush from his sock and shank someone before the All-Star break" way. The Jermaine O'Neal push for MVP will pick up steam in roughly 2 weeks. By the way, Sarunas Jasikevicius is the real deal...and he can out-Vlade the Vlade Divac what do you mean that's a foul? expression, complete with pleading, clapping hands. It's really a marvel to behold.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

100 Shots to the Dome

Some facts about Your Friendly Neighborhood Sparkles, for anyone interested in writing my biography:

1) I am Ishmael.
2) I can't tell the difference between Freddie and Eddie Shreddie.
3) My favorite Harper Lee novel is To Kill A Mockingbird.
4) I once admitted during a job interview, when asked what my biggest fault is, that I suck at peeling oranges. And tangerines.
5) I once had a pet mouse named "The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan."
6) I'm deathly afraid of violet wallpaper.
7) I can catch coins off my elbow better than Chachi Arcola.
8) I think Dead Presidents should be in the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Films.
9) The irony never escapes me.
10) I fear the commitment of owning fish, yet I have a wife and a child.
11) If I were a sports star, my jersey number would be 5.
12) I make a killer grilled-cheese-with-bacon sandwich.
13) On average, I wear a pair of jeans three times before washing them. Two times for T-shirts.
14) My favorite video game of all time is a tie between Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
15) When I woke up tonight I said Iiiiii'm gonna make somebody love me. Gonna make somebody love me. And now I know, now I know, now I know, I know that it's youuuuu.
16) I believe Emilio Estevez will win an Oscar in my lifetime (though possibly not in his).
17) I'm saving my last box of Kraft Dinner for Christmas Day.
18) I fuck like a jackhammer.
19) I ghost-wrote Charlotte's Web.
20) I can play Scrabble while blindfolded.
21) I once guest edited Reader's Digest under the pseudonym "Commodore Trout."
22) I own an extensive collection of Crayola crayons.
23) Once, while drunk, I got a life-size tattoo of Hervé Villechaize. It's been 7 years and no one has gotten the joke.
24) I played Munchkin # 2 in my pre-school's performance of The Wizard of Oz.
25) I once glued all of my toes together with Krazy Glue.
26) Contrary to popular belief, I am not 23 years old (though I find it flattering to be considered as such). I'm actually 47.
27) I smell burnt toast.
28) I like simple pleasures, like butter in my ass, lollipops in my mouth. That's just me. That's just something that I enjoy.
29) Number of times I've been arrested for arson: 4.
30) I can smell a lie like a fart in a car.
31) I once wrote 2004 - won championship in my fantasy basketball league on a resume. I'm still waiting for Isiah Thomas to call me back. It's only a matter of days.
32) I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
33) I wouldn't fuck Sandra Bernhardt with Bea Arthur's dick.
34) I nominated my DJ for president.
35) I'm allergic to bee-stings.
36) When I receive only 2 packets of ketchup at Burger King, I demand to speak with the manager.
37) I don't think there's a big difference between the smell of pine trees and the smell of cat piss.
38) I've never given a haircut to someone who didn't deserve it.
39) I sympathize with Cain.
40) I'm perhaps the only one who finds irony in the words Vin and Baker.
41) I see dead people.
42) I make molehills out of mountains.
43) I make this look good.
44) I start to think, and then I sink into the paper...like I was ink.
45) I left my wallet in El Segundo.
46) I often wonder if Jarobi is, or has ever been, employed.
47) The Count on Sesame Street used to scare the shit out of me. In fact, he still does. Maybe that's why I dislike math so much.
48) My favorite word to speak aloud is "tourniquet," followed closely by "prescription," "estimable," and "interrogative."
49) It's like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under. Huh-ah-ha-huh-huh-huh.
50) I Robot.
51) I used to be a Conquistador.
52) I am a compulsive nose-picker.
53) I've never made the pilgrimage to St. Petersburg.
54) I've beaten Billy Mitchell at Pac-Man. Twice.
55) I know all the words to Louie, Louie.
56) I can speak French, German, Esperanto, Armaic, and Moses Malone.
57) Myyyyy aunt is very sick.
58) My favorite brand of wine is Blue Nun.
59) Number of times I've been arrested for impersonating a police officer: 8.
60) I'm a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
61) I think Chuck D should host the Oscars.
62) I can't believe I ate the whole thing.
63) I will soon take Madison Ave. by storm.
64) The best investment I ever purchased? Easy: Juice Tiger.
65) Anthony Robbins calls me for advice.
66) I'm the motherfuckin' devil's son-in-law.
67) I had the idea for Jurassic Park first, but instead of dinosaurs, my manuscript centered around a theme park where robotic cowboys run amok.
68) I wrote a thesis on the significance of Weekend At Bernie's that was eventually published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
69) I believe that Gremlins deserved at least an Oscar nomination.
70) I'm a terrific spaeller.
71) I have a rap single, featuring Biz Markie, that is currently number 1 on the Billboard charts.
72) I don't know what the big deal is about steak.
73) I can achieve an orgasm if someone says the phrase "orange pylons are orange."
74) I think Kane Hodder was the best Jason.
75) Unfortunately, that is a magnum 44 in my pocket. I am not just happy to see you.
76) I think Kal-El is a dumb name for a kid, but Tashtego is pretty cool.
77) I think Ned Beatty has a pretty mouth.
78) I'm in deep debt to the Russian maffia.
79) I can make a serviceable wristwatch out of 3 tablespoons of mayonaisse, two sprigs of parsley, and an '82 Ford Mustang's steering column.
80) I think people who laugh aloud while watching TV alone deserve to be shot.
81) My will states that my head shall be shrunken and sold on EBay.
82) I regularly have long chats on the phone with JD Salinger. Although I promised not to tell anyone, I can withhold this secret no longer: he is currently writing the screenplay for the next Shrek film.
83) I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!
84) I was born in Ghana.
85) I believe the world is a better place for having known me.
86) These pretzels are making me thirsty.
87) These pretzels are making me thirsty.
88) When I'm alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall; and in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call.
89) I will never forgive Fox for canceling Werewolf.
90) I always had to be home by 10. Right before the fun was about to begin.
91) I can rip a phone book in two with my bare hands.
92) I have proof that Tupac is alive and living in Brantford, Ontario.
93) I leave everything on the court.
95) I am 100% convinced that Dwyane Wade will be considered a better player than Lebron James when all is said and done. He certainly is a better player right now.
96) I haven't stood with arms akimbo since May 28, 1997.
97) I wasn't born yesterday.
98) I write freelance articles for Cat Fancier and The Final Call.
99) I never half step, 'cause I'm not a halfstepper.
100) I always save the best for last.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Warriors -- Ultimate Director's Cut: Review

Apparently a lot of fans of The Warriors are up in arms over this DVD, which purports to be an "ultimate director's cut," even though it contains no new footage, as far as I can tell. Instead, animated, comic book-style transitions (and an animated intro, voiced by director Walter Hill, which likens the film's heroes to the army in Xenophon's Anabasis) have been placed between certain scenes. And an opening scene -- not in the original theatrical release but generally shown on cable TV -- in which Cleon discusses the upcoming meeting in the Bronx isn't included. So it's a complete debacle, right? Who died and made Walter Hill George Lucas?

Thing is, most of the "new" additions work (and as a brief aside, for as much flak as Lucas has caught from fanboys over his tampering with the original Star Wars trilogy, his "director's cut" of THX 1138 actually enhances the film -- though nobody ever seems to mention that fact. Because he's Satan, apparently. But the THX "director's cut" proves he isn't completely out of sound ideas; he just needs to quit tampering with perfection). Apart from the "holy shit! The Baseball Furies!" caption in one, I liked the comic book transitions. Does it enhance the film? Maybe. Maybe for those who have never seen it, it does. For me, it didn't take anything away from the original; and the transfer on this disc is a gazillion times better than the horrible bare-bones version that was originally released on DVD (though I wish the new DVD had kept the original poster art). Also, the aforementioned opening scene often shown on cable TV is completely unnecessary, and was likely added to broadcast TV to bulk up the film's length (it's only 93 minutes). Starting the film in daylight is unsound, and I can appreciate why Hill didn't want to open the picture that way.

If fanboys want to bitch, they should bitch about unexplicable things from the original, such as:

- why don't the warriors just hotwire a car (or 2) and drive back to Coney Island? I mean, that isn't too unethical for them, is it? They're a gang, right?

- Fox gets killed and he's barely an afterthought. In fact, I'm pretty sure Swan doesn't even know he's dead.

- Luther kills Cyrus for no reason whatsoever, only because he felt like it. And a fellow gang member is surprised at this revelation, even though he and the other Rogues took turns passing the gun down the line to him. Wouldn't this question have come up earlier? Did the other Rogues not know Luther was going to attempt to assassinate Cyrus? I generally eschew remakes, but when The Warriors is remade (and you know it will be), you can bet your sweet ass the writers will devise a solid motive for whoever offs Cyrus. In Luther's case, him being insane just doesn't cut it -- partly because of the lack of character developement, and partly due to David Patrick Kelly's acting range. I'm sure he's a fine actor, but Kelly is neither imposing nor mean enough (throwing candy wrappers at a shopgirl just doesn't cut it) to pull off the requisite nuances of a true lunatic.

Look, there's a reason The Warriors is considered a cult film. It has great atmosphere and a great premise, but it's a considerably flawed film. There are a ton of "what the fuck?" moments; moments I'm sure anyone adapting the film will either jettison, rectify, or expand upon (instead of being arrested, Ajax will play Sawyer to Swan's Jack Shephard, for one). If whichever studio owns Citizen Kane decided it'd be neat to re-release it on DVD, this time with CGI and a score by Blink 182, you can bet I'd be against it 100%. But the Warriors is no Citizen Kane, my friend. It's beautiful and ugly, sublime at times and totally inept at others. And the sparse make-up Hill and Co. have added (mostly in preparation for, I imagine, Rockstar Games's video game adaptation) does nothing to change that.

The Warriors is still a great, if not classic, film. Now can you dig that, sucka?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Memory Lane (Part III)

All I wanted to do was sleep. I had never been so tired in my life. My academic director, Krista*, kept asking me questions ("why did you decide to come to Korea?" "How long was your TESOL course?" -- questions one would think she should have asked before hiring me) which I answered distractedly. I seriously couldn't think of anything but a shower and a warm bed. My hair was greasy, I had BO, had been wearing the same jeans and shirt for far too long, and had the headache to end all headaches.

The original plan was to take me to the school to meet my fellow expat teachers, but Ethan, an American teacher who accompanied Krista in greeting me at the airport, seeing how exhausted I was mercifully suggested they take me to my hotel (the new apartment I would be sharing with Ethan and another teacher, scheduled to arrive the next day, wouldn't be ready for another week) so I could get some rest. God bless his soul. Krista was hesitant, but finally conceded.

Cultural mistake no. 1: upon arrival at my hotel room (actually a decent yogwan) I walked into the room with my shoes on. Oops. Krista was worried about me being on my own so soon after my arrival -- and me walking and looking like a zombie probably didn't help allay her concern -- but Ethan assured her that I'd be OK, telling her that he'd be by to take me to the school at around 2 o' clock. Problem was that, after they left, I couldn't close my eyes. I couldn't get over the fact that I was actually in Korea. I took a hot shower (bumping my head magnificently on the low bathroom doorway), popped a Gravol, and eventually fell asleep.

Reliably, Ethan showed up at 2. I was still sleeping and have no idea how long he must have been waiting at the door, knocking gently. I got up, groggily, and threw on some clothes. We took a ma-eul bus to the hagwon, a four-story institute in the heart of Hongdae. I met again with Krista, who went over the basics of the school and its curriculum. I remember wishing I had a pen and notebook. There's no way I'm going to remember any of this. Then she took me to the staff room to meet some of the other teachers who had already arrived that day for work. There was Rob, a 27-year-old Canadian from my home province, Ontario. Also from Ontario were Derrick, Jake, and Paul, who I was told looked remarkably like Bruno, a then-popular, Italian-born celebrity on Korean television. Patrick from Massachusetts arrived soon thereafter, having just finished teaching an early 1:30pm class. The only foreign female on the staff was Samantha, a red-head from Australia. She was the only foreign teacher younger than I was.

I observed Patrick's next class, then went to lunch with Paul.

"You like Korean Food?" he asked.

"I've never tried it before," I admitted.

He took me to a restaurant (I still remember the name: Do Cho, or 도초) where we had bulgogi. Awkwardly handling my chopsticks (I've since rectified that lack of skill) the ajumma/owner gave me a fork. She forked me. I was in Korea too short a time to be much embarrassed.

The rest of the day I spent observing the other teachers' classes. It was good because I had time to ask them a lot of questions, and I got to meet a lot of kids, whose questions to me, at the time, I could barely understand.

"Don't worry, you will soon," Jake reassured me.

That evening all of us, plus Krista and a few Korean teachers, went out for dinner. I wasn't very hungry and barely touched my food, but it was a momentous occasion of sorts: it was my first taste of both kimchi (which I liked instantly) and soju (which I was ambivalent towards, and pretty much still am).

Arriving back at my yogwan that night, I remember thinking this is pretty cool. Everyone seems great. And that impression hasn't changed a bit. Though I have only 2 years experience as an ESL teacher in Korea, I doubt there has been a better, more likeable bunch of expat teachers. I still keep in contact with some of them (I actually have a business relationship with one), but I have a fond memory of all of them.

The coming year would prove to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, year of my life.

* all names have been changed to protect the innocent

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's Fantastic (vol. 2)

In my free time I like to read, watch movies, masturbate with an ungodly proclivity, and follow sports -- specifically basketball. With the start of the NBA regular season, I've become somewhat caught up in all the games; and because they are blessedly showing a ton of games on Korean cable, book reading and movie watching have taken a back seat (I can still manage to masturbate, of course...during half-time). So be warned: if for obvious reasons this blog is scarcely about anything else save basketball until July, don't hate me.

It could be a lot worse. I could be writing about pro wrestling.

And with that, while I await my job offer from ESPN.com -- or possibly LESBN.com (NSFW!) -- I give you some more thoughts on the young NBA season:

1) Is Larry Brown on crack? Granted, I don't have one of the highest win percentages in basketball, so who am I to judge? But the substitutions he made in that game against Golden State were downright insane.

Is he purposefully trying to make his players hate him?

Speaking as a Jamal "Fades 'Em All" Crawford owner, I sincerely hope Lurry checks himself before he wrecks himself. What's the over-under on Starbury or Mally G pulling a Latrell on coach B before Christmas?

2) I take back what I said about the Kings (I believe I said they were screeeeewed, possibly with a few less or a few more e's). They handled themselves nicely in PHX against the run-n-gun Suns (hot cross buns/I had fun with your mum). Put Mike D in charge of that team and they're the 2nd best team in the Western Conference. Stop laughing, I'm serious.

3) Prediction: things are going to get worse in Cleveland before they get better -- though I sincerely hope they get better soon. I've never been to Cleveland, but my wish is that LBJ stays there his entire career (or at least until he retires and comes back for the 2nd time and tarnishes his legend). You can call me old school: I believe the true greats stay in one city for their entire career. Guys like Reggie Miller. Or Len Bias. I'm also worried that he'll wind up in a Knicks uniform somewhere down the road, and that look would be so wrong for him. It would totally NOT accentuate his eyes.

4) People sometimes compare Ron Artest to athletes such as Dennis Rodman or Terrel Owens; but Ron's on a completely 'nother level. Seriously, he's batshit crazy. Not Tara Reid crazy, but Sid Vicious crazy. I bet coach Carlisle's wife says to him in bed every night Rick, you don't have to do this. You're endangering your life and ours. Walk away! Please! Walk Away!

In 5 years Ron will be dead or starring in a Vivid porn DVD like Tom Sizemore. Hopefully not at the same time. But you never know. Ron is the NBA's Darryl Unger, only talented.

5) Radical Predictions:

NBA Champs: Spurs (duh)

Coach of the Year: Rick Adleman (please stop laughing)

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Bogut and Chris Paul (tie), though in a couple of years neither will be better than at least four of their fellow underclassmen

Comeback Player of the Year: TJ Ford. Shit, dude will be eligible for MVP if he keeps shit up.

Defensive Player of the Year: hell if I know. Ben Wallace, maybe? That shit's arbitrary, anyway. Much like...

MVP: Dwyane Wade. Go ahead and laugh some more, but mark my words: if Shaq is out for at least half of the season (and we both know he will be), and the Heat take the 1st or 2nd (possibly even 3rd) spot in the East, GQ is getting that trophy.

Friday, November 04, 2005

It's Fantastic (vol. 1)

I caught the Kings/Rockets game yesterday, and the Heat/Pacers game today. I'm such a lucky fucker. Here are some thoughts:

- Sacto is screeeeewed. If they make the playoffs I'll eat my shoe (but only if I can put ketchup on it). You know your team is in trouble when Bonzi fucking Wells is the one making all the sound decisions. Peja, I'm asking nice because you're on my fantasy league team, and becuase I had an ex-girlfriend in college who told me you were hot (minus the neck fuzz): you are in a contract year. Step your shit the fuck up. Jesus, you looked like a zombie out there. Problem is, your teammates looked worse, save for a sparingly-used 'Reef. I swear, there was a moment when watching that game where I was convinced that Mike Bibby is hooked on drugs. Someone should look into this. Seriously.

- Jon Barry played bananas. And dude looks buff. Jon, do your thing. You're a better player than that no-talent brother of yours, even if he does still have all his hair. And what the fuck is up with that? Brent and Daddy Rick must be fakin' the follicle funk, if you know what I mean. Props for keeping it real, JB.

- Dikembe. I was rooting for Sacto, but when dude came in during the 2nd and did his thing, I was as giddy as Joe Thanks wrestling his pillow after watching a tape of Wrestlemania IV. He's the oldest player in the L? The fuck out.

- Question: who tricked Yao into growing that horrible patch under his chin? C'mon, guys; he's been in the league 3 years. It's a tad late for an initiation prank.

- A week or so ago I wrote a post about Cage's new album, Hell's Winter. My biggest criticism was that there's a great album somewhere in there, but that it's flawed by some really bad decisions. That's how I feel about the 05/06 Heat. Jason Williams is Scenester, by the way.

- Apparently the big news is that Shaq has a sprained ankle. I saw the fall, but had no idea how bad it was -- because the fuckers at Star Sports kept talking over Craig Sager's locker room report.

Definitely not good having Officer O'Neal out, but I'm going to take lemons and make lemonade:

Maybe, just maybe, while Shaq is on the bench, he'll smack some fucking sense into that punk Jason Williams. Someone needs to. Here's the fact: JASON WILLIAMS WILL NEVER CHANGE. HE WILL NEVER STOP TAKING PULL-UP J'S WITH 20 SECONDS LEFT ON THE SHOT CLOCK AND NOBODY NEAR THE BASKET TO REBOUND. The sooner Riles realizes this, the better off we'll all be. You know it's bad when he makes Antoine "watch me stick my butt out while I chuck up this ill-advised trey" Walker look good by comparison.

- And speaking of 'Toine, nice foot on the line when the game is within reach, Mr. Busy Feet.

- You really know there's a problem when you feel relief (and not in the Ex-Lax way) that Jason Kapono (who?) is on the floor instead of either of those two. How soon until James Posey returns, again?

- GP played great. Somewhere Shawn Kemp is reading this blog and calling his agent, saying "Get me a tryout. I think we can make this work. Miami needs a little Rain, Man." And, god damn me, I'm all for that.

- Note to 'Zo: get your shit straight, quit practicing your "we're back in this!" face, and start practicing your free throws. You're not exactly too busy to do so, right?

- Dwyane Wade is the man, as always. I just wish that in crunch time he would say "fuck it, these guys suck" and play like he's the only dude on the floor. It works.

- And that last second shot? Gut-wrenching. The fucking thing went in, then preternaturally bounced back out. Kudos to Wade for shrugging it off. If it were me, I'd be on the court, pounding my fists until the ice underneath (they have a hockey team in Miami, don't they?) cracked.

- I never gave credence to the theory that Riles will supplant Van Gundy, but I'm a believer now. Even though I think it's a bad move, Van Gundy's gone before the All-Star break, mark my words. Riles is pissed; Phil Jackson has stolen his thunder for far too long, and shit's 'bout to change. Just remember, Pat: you were the guy who signed these chuckers. Reap what you sow, bitch.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Das Experiment

Occasionally, I leave for work later than my wife does. This morning was such a day. I was not two steps outside before I realized I had forgotten to turn off the hot water, so I hastily (for I was already running late) ran back up the stairs, unlocked the front door, took off my shoes, and switched the control panel to off. Then I had a funny thought. I bet if I didn't just do that, [my wife's name] would be keen to point it out when I come home. In fact, I think she'd derive a certain perverse satisfaction doing so.

Leaving for the second time, I used my cell to call my wife on hers.

"Honey, can you pick up some Krispy Kremes on the way home? And by the way, I may have forgotten to turn off the hot water when I left earlier. Please check when you get home."

Reliably, when I called her an hour or so later and inquired, she confirmed that, yes, I did forget to turn off the hot water. Her tone was annoyance mixed with a hint of leniency. Just don't do it again, okay? she implied.

I'm likely not the first to theorize that most women enjoy pointing out a man's faults; and this post is by no means implying that women, in general, love to break a man's balls...even though we all know that's true. What I'm curious about is how this trait becomes so innate (my rhymes are great/I ate steak on a plate) that you gals don't even realize when you're doing it. Because I'm entirely certain that my wife did believe I had left the hot water on.

Or maybe I just have really freaky powers of suggestion.

You are getting verrrrry sleeeeepy. You are a chicken. When I snap my fingers, you will cluck like a chicken.