Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lionize or Demonize?

"Hey pretty baby with the high-heels on..."

Kind of a weird day yesterday, don't you think? I bet you first heard the news and you said to yourself, "No way, he died!?"

The next thought was, well, how am I allowed to feel about it?

"Is it cool if I feel bad for him? I can definitely feel bad for his kids, they lost their dad, but what about him? Am I allowed to say I was a fan?"

The news broke middle of the day, out of nowhere, suddenly there were banners splashed across news and entertainment websites with "Michael Jackson dead at 50" and every news channel running a helicopter and on-the-ground anchors outside the LA hospital he passed away in. Hell, ESPN did a segment on SportsCenter. SPORTSCENTER.

You expect icons to pass like a storm. A massive, swelling sense of impending entertainment darkness on the horizon, your body senses something big is about to happen. But that wasn't what yesterday felt like. It just sort of happened, he was just gone, his heart gave up.

Michael Jackson was the icon of icons. He was bigger than Elvis, the Beatles or Sinatra at their respective prime. (Go ahead and try to prove me wrong here, I dare you.) He was one of the first African-American artists to be heavily featured on a fledgling MTV, criticized early on for their caucasian, rock orientation. His mere presence brought droves to tears around the globe, an appearance was news even if it wasn't a performance, and, most importantly, his music knew no bounds. It didn't matter what color you were, gender, sexual orientation, age, or musical preference - you respected and at some point danced (no matter how poorly) to the pure art the man created. For example, Thriller sold 50 million copies and had 7, yes 7, Top 10 singles on the Billboard Charts. That never happened before and it will never happen again.

But, all too soon, there was a shadow cast over his larger-than-life figure. He become the fodder for numerous stand-up comics, television shows, and movie skits. He was a man who seemed to be two people at once; the innocent, benevolent humanitarian and the alleged predator of the worst degree. I say alleged, because that is the case. But, that allegation was enough to send him into what became a free-fall of eccentricity. Or, possibly, it was enough for public opinion to stop overlooking his strangness. The vitiligo he suffered from, forced him to bleach his skin to keep up with his manic obsession over his appearance. Then there was the complete restructuring of his face, which in the end, drove him to wear a surgical mask in public.

Part of me felt happy he was finally free of the burden that became his life. Media was as vicious as possible, trying to find that grand-slam story that would finally prove the monster so many felt he was.

Many reports say his overly-essentric behavior was seeded by an abused childhood, primarily from his dominating father, Joe. He was never able to be a kid. From 9 years of age on, he was in the public light and forced to perform even though he was tormented by his acne and features. He was destined to break from an early age, it was just when and how. The 90's came and MJ's last #1 album was bumped to #2, quite symbolically by Nirvana's, "Nevermind." Interest in pop/R&B waned and alternative became the new mainstream.

The rest of the story you know all to well already. A fall from grace, and a comback planned for 2010. The chance for King Michael to regain his rightful throne. Whether you know it or not, you hear Michael Jackson's influence daily in music, on any station your FM radio picks up. His influence spanned genre into the realms of immortality. 100 years from now, MJ records will still be spinning in bars and clubs and people will instantly latch on to the beat and forget about life for a while, which is what the intention was all along.

So, the question comes back, do you lionize or demonize the man? Do you split the music from the man and the man from his music? Do you choose to believe the court of public opinion or do you believe he was a innocent, albeit a very strange man?

I know my mind the answer is clear, but divided. I know I love his music, and always will. I also know he was wrong to have children stay with him in his ranch called Neverland, regardless of any activities that may or may not have happened. As an adult, you just don't do that.

But, I do feel, for the moment it is okay to mourn the loss of such genius. His talent and genius will be remembered the way Mozart's is today. Yes, he was that gifted. The rest will work its way out the way history has the ability to do. We'll just have to keep listening and see what happens. At least there will be good music while we wait.

"It's a thriller night..."

13 Grammy Awards
13 Billboard #1 records
Over 750 million albums sold
Two Rock & Roll HOF inductions
Guinness World Record for "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time."

Most Iconic Pop Star Ever Is Remembered By Getting Name Spelled Wrong By Tweeters

Trending Topics at 4:45 pm Central Time:

  • #iranElection
  • Los Angeles
  • Iran
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Micheal Jackson
  • Vince Carter
  • CPR
  • RIP Farrah Fawcett
  • Brazil
  • Transformers 2

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 Awesome One Tree Hill Quotes (With Analysis!)

10. "And if you're lucky, I mean if you're the luckiest person on this entire planet, the person you love decides to love you back..." ~Nathan Scott

Actually, Nathan, what you just described is fairly common and typically results in what we call a "happy marriage." I know that term is unfathomable to douchebags, but it's what can result from actually cultivating a relationship instead of running away at the first sign of trouble. It's a wild concept.

9. Haley: Stay the hell away from my husband.
Rachel: I was just giving him a proper thank you.
Haley: Please, your thank you's send people to the free clinic.
Peyton: Ha!!!
Brooke: What are you laughing at? Your "I love you's" send people to their grave.
Peyton: Well in that case, I love you, Brooke.

This one's tough to analyze, as I don't watch the show and there are four birds tweeting incessantly in this quote. I'm sure the director had soundproof headphones equipped while shooting this scene. What I'm getting from this is that "Haley" and "Peyton" are two main characters in the show, people the audience "relates to" and "sympathizes with." Also, they are very spunky and witty in a freshman year sort of way. Am I on target here? I feel like I am.

8. Lucas: You ever look a picture of yourself and see a stranger in the background? It makes you wonder how many strangers have pictures of you. How many moments of other people's lives have we been in? Were we a part of someone's life when their dream came true or were we there when their dream died? Did we keep trying to get in? As if we were somehow destined to be there or did the shot take us by surprise. Just think, you could be a big part of someone else's life and not even know it.

If Lucas's ecstasy dealer happens to be reading this, my name is Luke and you can contact me via Twitter. The character of Lucas is played by Chad Michael Murray. I know him from Freaky Friday. And by Freaky Friday I of course mean A Cinderella Story. He's about to turn 29 and is somehow still landing high school roles. He's like a skinnier, more annoying Jonah Hill.

7. Ellie: Every song has a CODA, a final movement. Whether it fades out or crashes away. Every song ends. Is that any reason not to enjoy the music? The truth is, there is nothing to be afraid of. It's just life.

Hey Ellie, when you say every song ends, it sure sounds to me like you're talking about death, not life. You say we shouldn't fear life? Well, we don't. We fear death. Death is really, really effing scary. Thanks for beginning to address that before bolting in the opposite direction.

6. Most of our lives are a series of images, they pass us by like towns on a highway. But sometimes a moment stuns us as it happens and we know that this instant is more than a fleeting image. We know that this moment, every part of it, will live on forever.

Sing it with me! Highhhh schooool is such a serious thing! These problems matter!

5. Peyton: (voiceover) At this moment there are 6,470,818,671 people in the world. Some are running scared. Some are coming home. Some tell lies to make it through the day. Others are just now facing the truth. Some are evil men, at war with good. And some are good, struggling with evil. Six billion people in the world. Six billion souls. And sometimes - all you need is one.

It's not easy to get me to roll my eyes after just one sentence. But Peyton got it done. She's legit. What's more, I rolled my eyes a little bit extra after each sentence until that last line made them rocket upward and cause a brain bleed. "And sometimes - all you need is one." Who writes this? Who WATCHES this? America is screwed.

4. Brooke: LUCAS! Do not make me join you!
Lucas: Uh, a little privacy here.
Brooke: No, you've been in the shower forever! By the time I even get in the water it's gonna be...(Checks water) cold! Are you taking a cold shower?!
Lucas: No, the hot water-
Brooke: Gross! You are! You know what? Next wet dream, tell Peyton I said 'Hi'. Ew!

You think that's bad, Brooke? You know what happens in real life, when you go to an actual high school and are not a proud student at Tree Hill, home of the Ravens? In real life, Lucas is jackhammering his meatstick in the shower, because in real life, wet dreams don't exist and you've got to get the job done yourself. And by the way, are Lucas and Brooke brother and sister? Giant WTF to this scene if they are. The dialogue is bordering on incestual. I'm sure that's what the writers were going for.

3. Haley: Oh, the magazine pages are sticking again you little pervert. Oh hey Luke. You've been reading this?
Lucas: I don't know, Haley. Is that the one that you say 'why do they publish those?' because you're not on the cover, hah?
Haley: No, actually it's the 'my best friend is an idiot' issue and there you are!

Whoever wrote this episode really nailed how kids talk to each other.

2. Nathan: You've got some ugly toes, girl.
Peyton: No, I don't.
Nathan: Yeh, you do. They're practically like fingers.
Peyton: Well, then just focus on the middle one.

Classic Peyton!

1. Lucas: (voiceover)Some people believe that ravens guide travelers to their destinations. Others believe that the sight of a solitary raven is considered good luck. While more than one raven together, predicts trouble ahead (He looks out the window and sees many ravens are flying above the car)

Wow, there is just so much going on here. First of all, good ol' Lucas spotted an unkindness of ravens after his voiceover. That's what we call foreshadowing, kids! Poop is hitting the fan tonight! Also, (and I'm guessing this is far from the only time the writers did this)they wrote ravens into the plot line. Because, you know, you always see your school mascot in the world. For example, at my high school, we were called the Gators. And if you know anything about Chicago suburbs, it's that alligators are everywhere.

Finally, I'm getting a feeling that Lucas is a deep dude. A bunch of other OTH quotes had him citing famous authors in a voiceover. So he's brainy and he enjoys reading. Is that accurate? Well, I enjoy reading too. I don't talk like this. Does anyone talk like this? If you constantly have inner monologues that focus primarily on seeing groups of animals/people and wondering what exactly that means in relation to you, you're a selfish, egotistical douche, and I'm sorry for you. I really am. To illustrate, leave me a comment below and I'll buy all 7 seasons of One Tree Hill and send them to you. And by all 7 seasons I of course mean I'll put 7 of my best poops into a box and mail them to you. You're getting the same thing either way.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 15, 2009

Making the Most of Facebook's "Like" Wall Feature

One of my favorite things about the new Facebook walls are the ability to "like" a status update, wall post, shared link, etc. You may be thinking, "Awww, that's sweet. Luke lets his friends know if something they've said had an impact on him." Well, you're right, that would definitely be sweet. Unfortunately, I like the "like" for completely selfish reasons.

Not long ago, I discovered that I can "like" my own comments. This is probably the closest we'll get to becoming friends with ourselves(Facebook still won't let us do that). When used correctly, liking your own comments can be frighteningly satisfying. Here's a quick guide.

Rule #1: Don't you dare like your own comments if they're sincere compliments.
Rule #2: Don't you dare like your own status updates. This will make us think that you're an egotistical, attention-crazy nutjob. And you're totally not.
Rule #3: If you have an inflammatory thing to say to one of your friends, then by all means, "like" until the cows come home.

You're probably going to get pretty good at liking your own comments, so good that you'll become bored. The thrill will be gone. This is when we kick it up a notch. After liking a wall post of yours, start your very own comment thread. It's kind of scary how much fun this can be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kobe Tweets "Thanks for legacy boost!" to Dwight Howard, Derek Fisher

The Sports Guy has stated multiple times that if the LA Lakers win the 2008-09 NBA championship, it will secure Kobe Bryant's place as the 3rd greatest guard in league history. It would be Bryant's 4th ring and first without Shaq, which in many experts' minds would vault #24 past Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, leaving only Magic and Michael ahead of him.

Up 2 games to 1 in the series and in Orlando for Game 4, the stage was set for Kobe to play like one of the greatest guards in NBA history. It was time to go for the jugular, as all the great ones do when they absolutely need to. And if we look at the Game 4 box score, Kobe performed well. 32 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds.

But if we look deeper, Kobe Bryant's stats were not overly impressive in Game 4. Even more importantly, there are two players(one on each team) that are more responsible for the game's outcome than the 3rd greatest guard of all time. Here's my proof.

In a superb piece on Shane Battier by Michael Lewis, some secrets to guarding Kobe Bryant are revealed. Battier is the Houston Rockets forward who arguably defends Bryant better than anyone else currently in the NBA. The Rockets and Battier are quick to acknowledge that Kobe is going to get his points every night. He's too talented and can score in too many ways.

The secret is this: if a team can keep Kobe's point total as close to his total field goal attempts as possible, that team has a fantastic chance to beat the Lakers. Such a shooting performance from Bryant is so inefficient that his team would be better off if he simply sat on the bench for the entire night.

Kobe in Game 4: 11-31 FG, 35.5%, 32 points
31 field goal attempts, 32 points. A very inefficient game. If those numbers are any indication, the Orlando Magic had a great chance to win Game 4. And indeed they did. In fact, they should have. The series should be knotted at 2 with Game 5 in Orlando. The Magic very well could be in position to win their first NBA title. But there are two glaring reasons why they lost and went down 3-1 in the series. Neither of the reasons are Kobe Bryant.

Reason #1: Dwight Howard With 11.1 seconds left in the game and Orlando up 3, Howard went to the line to ice it. The problem is, Howard's chances of making a free throw are slightly better than a coin flip. For you NBA laymen, this is not a good thing. Add the pressure of the situation to his poor FT percentage and it's easy to see why Howard bricked both free throws, keeping Game 4 within reach for the Lakers.

It may sound like I'm blaming Howard. I'm not. I will forever contend it's a miracle that chiseled 7-footers (such as Howard and Shaq) can make a free throw at all. If you have no sympathy for these Supermen and their free throw kryptonite, grab a tennis ball and see how many free throws you can drain. Some guys just aren't supposed to make consistent baskets from 15 feet away.

But the fact remains, reason #2 why the Lakers won Game 4 was given his chance because reason #1 couldn't make 1 out of 2 free throws. Okay, fine, maybe I'm blaming Howard. But only a little bit.

Reason #2: Derek Fisher This little fella has the 3rd most made 3-pointers in NBA Finals history, behind only Jordan and Robert Horry, who have a combined 13 rings. In other words, guys who drain 3s in the Finals snag rings. After Howard's aforementioned free throw struggles, Fisher took the ball and effing drained a cold-blooded triple in Jameer Nelson's grill. Or, what should have been his grill if he were actually defending against a 3.

The shot forced overtime, and Fisher splashed one more three from the top of the key to put the game away. You're welcome, 3rd best guard of all time.

2009 = 1991? Time to talk about Michael for a spell. There are a couple of notable similarities between Kobe's 2009 NBA Finals and MJ's 1991 Finals. Both men needed to prove they could win a title(Jordan in general and Kobe without Shaq). Both men's teams were up 2 games to 1 with an all-important game 4 on the road. Very, very similar situations. Very, very different numbers.

As I mentioned, Kobe was 11-31(35%) for 32 points, had 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 turnovers in Game 4 against the Magic. Jordan was 11-20(55%) for 28 points, had 13 assists, 5 rebounds, and 1 turnover in Game 4 against the Lakers in 1991.

So what's my point?
The Lakers will win the 2009 NBA title. Kobe will get his 4th ring and entrench himself as the 3rd greatest guard of all time. Combine this with idiot fans and short attention spans, and we'll start hearing the questions: Is Kobe the greatest Laker of all time? Is Kobe the best guard in NBA history? Both answers are still no, folks.

The Bulls won Game 4 in 1991, and eventually the title, because of Michael Jordan. The Lakers won Game 4 of the Finals in 2009 because of Dwight Howard and Derek Fisher. Nobody will remember these details years from now. We'll only remember Kobe got a ring without Shaq. But before you enter into the dangerous "greatest ever" conversation, remember that the third greatest guard in NBA history spent the most crucial game of the entire season missing two-thirds of his shots, and was bailed out by an unfortunate big man and a late-game assassin.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Guide To Words You Don't Use Correctly

Is this you? Do you sometimes get confused when someone mentions the words "elephant" and "moon" in the same sentence? Do you purposely avoid writing on your friends' Facebook walls for fear you'll use the wrong form of there/they're/their? Fear not, gentle idiot, I and my ultra-impressive English degree are here to help. Here are 4 words/phrases explained, which will help you write with the confidence of someone who wasn't dropped on his head as an infant.

4: Elephants and Moons We should get this out of the way just in case there's still some confusion. According to Wikipedia, elephants are land mammals equipped with tusks and a trunk. They are very large, very gray, and they freak out upon seeing mice(as cartoons have led me to believe). The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. I can see where you might get confused, as the Moon is also very large and very gray.

How To Not Be An Idiot:
The Moon does not get scared upon seeing a mouse. That's how you know the Moon is bigger than an elephant. Bigger things are braver things.

2: Its/It's This will be a shock to most of you, but it's very possible for the word "it's" to lose its apostrophe. "It's" is a contraction, short for "it is." The word "its" is possessive, and is used to describe ownership. It does not need an apostrophe.

Example sentence: It's very possible for the word "it's" to lose its apostrophe.

How to not be an idiot: Read your sentence in the unshortened form. If you love to use apostrophes, take it out and see how it sounds. Like this: It is very possible for the word "it's" to lose it is apostrophe. See how stupid you sound? You're welcome.

3: Definitely Not defanatly. Not definitly. Definitely. You're an idiot.

How To Not Be An Idiot: Here's a link to the definition of the word 'finite.'(FIGH-night) It's a real word. So to spell definitely, it's de-finite-ly. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

4. I could care less Oh, could you? Okay, go ahead and care less and then get back to me.

How To Not Be An Idiot: If you're going to be sarcastic, don't half-ass it. "I couldn't care less." There is no possible way to care any less than this. That's the point you're trying to make, dum-dum.

Check back soon for Part II of Words You Don't Use Correctly. We'll be covering the infamous combos of there/they're/their and your/you're.

And yes, I'm aware the first image in the post depicts an event that never actually happened. The lady in the picture actually won like $50,000 or something. But she looks like a big idiot, right? Not the case. She's merely British.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How to Trump The Notebook in 15 Minutes

Screen from Pixar's UpApparently all it takes is some balloons. I'm a huge Pixar fan and have loved everything they've released, but I've been thinking for a while now that they're due for a dud after all of their success. Once again, after seeing previews that didn't give away very much, I thought there wasn't a whole lot to Up's story.

Then I monitored the all-important T-Meter on Rotten Tomatoes. It started at 100%, stayed there for a while, and plummeted all the way down to 98%. For you RT newbies out there, that's a nearly unheard of final score. I dropped 30 bones for two 3-D tickets for myself and the Jess, complained about the unbelievable cost of two tickets to a movie, and then promptly forgot what I was whining about once the movie began.

You can always tell a film is hitting emotionally by the sheer silence of the audience. Before Up started, people were talking loudly, laughing obnoxiously(a guy with a crazy hyena laugh absolutely loved the talking hamster preview), and generally being a typical crowded theater audience. But then the film started up, and everybody fell silent. Even hyena guy. There wasn't so much as a cough from a single soul. And an animated movie was responsible.


Up's hero is Carl, a cranky old man who recently had to watch his wife pass away. We don't see it happen; we infer it from a fantastic montage set to some beautiful music. It was at this point that it got a little dusty in the theater. This was only 15 minutes into the movie. I was able to fight off the tears, but I was absolutely affected by what I saw and officially on Carl's side for the rest of the film. This is how you tell a story, people.

Then we have The Notebook. The hilarious conclusion to this movie has the two elderly leads laying in the same hospital bed and dying together. It's pure manipulation. When I saw it I pictured the film's director hovering above me, screaming "CRY! CRY!"

When you're asked why Up is such a great film, be sure to cite this post. And when your idiot friends ask you why exactly Up trumps The Notebook, sum it up with a simile: The difference between Up and The Notebook is like the difference between smelling a beautiful red rose and having a beautiful red rose jammed up your nostrils.