Thursday, July 30, 2009
Here's the article from ESPN on Big Papi and Manny. Looks like steroids were what was needed to end the Curse of the Bambino. The Red Sox's two recent titles now have some pretty legitimate asterisks alongside them, which is fine by me. Boston has recently become one of the most hateable sports cities in the country over the last few years. This should shut them up for a bit.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Note from the Luke: this post was written one year ago, but it's somehow even more accurate now. I can't believe we're really being taken down this road again by an indecisive, selfish asshat.
Look at him. Different number, comically large face, and he has no idea what he will one day become.
I'd like to start by saying that I called this from the beginning. When Brett Favre first retired, I had a discussion with one of my die-hard Packer fan friends, who we'll call Even Berard for anonymity's sake. I said that Favre would be back, the Packers wouldn't want him, and he would eventually be traded to Minnesota. That's right, I predicted this from the get-go. I'm a badass.
Well, Even Berard nearly passed out when he heard me say this. A long-winded, albeit eloquent, tirade soon followed. "Brett Favre is the best quarterback of all-time! How can you possibly say the Packers won't want him back? He would be welcomed with open arms! I ask you, Luke, who will be the Packers quarterback if Favre isn't there? Aaron Rodgers? (Here Even laughs condescendingly, which makes me want to punch him squarely in the face) If the Packers turn away Brett Favre, I will no longer follow the team."
This conversation occurred a week or two after Favre's retirement press conference, which can now officially go down as one of the biggest wastes of time in the past few years. More on that later. But first, back to Even. I can't blame him for being so loyal to his boyhood hero. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, folks. It's the reason we pine for the days of the NES, we remember our first girlfriends fondly even though they were likely two-bit hoochies, and little things that are meaningless to everyone else have profound truth to us (for example, the smell of Watermelon Bubblicious instantly transports me back to sunny summer days in Little League).
Sadly, if you're an NFL General Manager, nostalgia cannot enter the picture, ever ever EVER. Ted Thompson knows this, and it seems he's wanted Favre out ever since #4 started toying with the franchise every offseason like an over-excited cat owner. "Am I coming back? Am I retiring? Play with this string while I decide!" The Packers are ready to move on. How ready are they? They plan on starting Aaron Rodgers over him. Yikes. And oh yeah, there's also this: They just offered Brett Favre 20 million dollars to stay retired.
That astounding figure isn't too shocking when you consider that Favre will make $12M simply by putting on a uniform this year, with possible salaries of $13M and $14M in 2009 and 2010. He wants to play, folks. You could see it during his fake retirement press conference that came with readymade fake tears. In that two hour debacle, I got one worthwhile piece of information from Favre when he said "I know I can still play." Right there, I knew he'd be back.
By the way, Brett: you're kind of a moron. Of course you're going to want to retire immediately after a long season! You just froze your ass off in a losing effort in a home playoff game! You're too old for this, right? Yeah! But then...weeks and months go by. Your aging body slowly recovers. You stop thinking about the weather in your last game and start going over and over that last pass you made in your head. Shit. You've made a huge mistake. It's okay, they'll take you back. They always do.
But they won't take you back this time. They're finally moving on. So now what? Well, after whispers of New York and Tampa Bay, it appears that you have 3 current options. Take your 20 million and stay retired, play for the Vikings, or play for the Bears. Just as I predicted. Many people thought the Packers would never trade you to a rival. Turns out those are the only places you'll go. Why? Obviously, you could stick it to Green Bay twice a year.
A lot of people might say that John Elway handled retirement right, and Brett Favre handled it wrong. But this is comparing apples to oranges, success to failure. Elway went out a repeat Super Bowl champion. There's not much more you can do at that point. Favre went out by throwing one of the worst passes of his career. I think he wants to prove that he's still got something in the tank. And Chicago's a good place to prove it! Come on over, Brett! We're happy to have you! And when you do, I'll drive up to Wisconsin and walk around in my new Favre jersey, give Packer fans the gun show, and wave a sign that reads "ENJOY THE AARON RODGERS ERA!"
In your face, Even Berard. You can hop on board as well. It seems that you're looking for a new team to root for, anyway.
Monday, July 27, 2009
This simply will not stand. The man could sing, sure, but his acting chops were simply off the charts. Shame on all of you for remembering his music career (the profession that drove him to seek surgery after surgery) instead of looking back on his true passion: acting. In front of a film camera, the King of Pop transformed into one of the greatest actors of the 1980s. I recently sat down with Lowe's Home Improvement spokesman Gene Hackman to discuss what was perhaps Michael Jackson's greatest role: Myra Fleener in Hoosiers.
Common Vents: Gene, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to remember a forgotten part of Michael Jackson's career.
Gene Hackman: Oh, it's my pleasure. I've worked on many, many projects in my career, but working with Michael in Hoosiers will always be one of my most cherished acting memories.
Vents: Why's that?
Hackman: His talent was so obvious, almost tangible. He made me re-think acting methods that had been a part of my repertoire for decades. That, and he made a really, really convincing woman.
Vents: Whew! Thank you for acknowledging that! For 23 years I've been wondering why we refuse to talk about the fact that Michael Jackson was your love interest in Hoosiers. It's almost as if everyone has been brainwashed.
Hackman: You're right. I've sensed that very same thing.
Vents: So why the cover-up?
Hackman: Isn't it obvious? Every family member, friend, colleague and hanger-on told Michael to stick with music. It's what he had done since he was a child. But think about it: if you had to do one thing every single day since before you got hair on your schmeckel, wouldn't you eventually want to do something else? Michael was no different. He loved to sing as a child, sure, but he grew out of it. Acting was his adult passion. When he was forced to stifle that passion, he reverted back to his childhood state, which led to all of the unfortunate allegations. And surgeries.
Vents: That makes a surprising amount of sense.
Hackman: It's simply a tragedy that he wasn't allowed to continue his acting career. He and I had such a powerful on-screen chemistry, as he surely would have had with his future co-stars. He was that good.
Vents: Funny you should mention the word chemistry. I've always felt that your on-screen kiss with Michael in Hoosiers was a huge pile of awkward. It looked as if you were trying to fit your entire head into his mouth, and vice-versa. But after hearing your recollections, maybe you two were so caught up in the moment that you just couldn't help yourselves. Is that accurate?
Hackman: You nailed it. It's as if we were both hypnotized. We heard the director screaming "CUT! DEAR GOD, CUT!" in the playback, but neither of us heard anything when we were rolling. And Michael and I were so satisfied with the shot that we refused to do it again. David nearly shit his pants, but we got our way in the end.
Vents: As much as I'd love to discuss the bowel movements of your director, let's go back to that kiss. Michael may have been playing a woman, but this was still a man kissing another man. Why wasn't there a bigger deal made out of this?
Hackman: Is that a joke? When were you born?
Hackman: Nineteen eighty...let me tell you something about the 80s, son. We were doing lines of coke off-camera from sunup to sundown. And this was in the middle of cornfed Indiana. You know those barns and farmhouses that we shot? What do you think their crops were? Corn? Soybeans? Cattle? Wrong. Straight up white gold, son. I remember Chitwood daring me to-
Vents: Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Hackman, but I'm not sure where you're going with this. Also, you're scaring me.
Hackman: The point is, this was the 80s. Everyone was too stoned to care if two male actors had a kissing scene. Do you get me?
Vents: Yes, thanks for enlightening me. Looks like we're out of time. Anything you'd like to plug before you go?
Hackman: OOOOOOO!! Yes! Thanks for reminding me. Lowe's is having a monster sale geared toward the college student. Just visit the Lowe's home page or visit your nearest location for the details.
Vents: Wow, you went with a Lowe's plug? Do you even have a film career anymore?
Hackman: You up-and-comers are all the same. Always telling me to get back into movies. You know what I say to hotshot directors and actors nowadays? "I see you guys can shoot, but there's more to the game than shooting!" I then clarify that I'm talking about the game of life. There's more to the game, young man. Michael knew that. Maybe one day you will too.
What I can't figure out is why this man is already hearing whispers of award nominations for his performance in Funny People. The closest Adam Sandler has come to generating nomination buzz was for his unforgettable portrayal of Schecky Moskowitz in Going Overboard (aka Babes Ahoy - thanks, IMDB).
No, it was actually for his role as Barry Egan in Punch Drunk Love, which had everything you'd want in an award-worthy film: it was dramatic, heartfelt, and boring to the max. Funny People is already being called "The funniest movie of the year," and we all know how awards committees feel about comedies. So how in the name of Longfellow Deeds is Adam Sandler's performance worthy of an award? If I had seen the movie already, this is where I'd type ***!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!*** but since I haven't, this is just an educated guess that I'm putting forth. It's not much of a reach.
- Funny People is a Judd Apatow comedy. Great movies, not typically award-worthy.
- Adam Sandler's character has cancer in Funny People.
- It's safe to say that, up until this point, Sandler is not widely considered to be a great actor.
- Adam "Little Nicky" Sandler apparently gives a performance worthy of recognition.
The obvious conclusion:
- Sandler's character makes like Marley, Old Yeller and the dog in "I Am Legend" and dies in Funny People.
The signs are all there. Funny People is an Apatow effort that is "more mature," "brave," and "personal." In other words, somebody's gonna die. If an actor's character dies during a movie, that actor is roughly eleventy billion times more likely to receive an award for the performance. Sandler's performance in Funny People is getting the most attention. His character has cancer. Like I said, not much of a reach.
Get ready for a Judd Apatow tearjerker, everybody.
Friday, July 17, 2009
1. The Sixth Sense (1999) 85%
2. Unbreakable (2000) 67%
3. Signs (2002) 74%
4. The Village (2004) 47%
5. Lady in the Water (2006) 24%
6. The Happening (2008) 18%
Given this trend, Shyamalan's next film, The Last Airbender (I did not make that title up) will have a Tomatometer of negative eleventy billion percent. Oh, and remember this masterpiece that got released a few years ago?
What a self-indulgent piece of trash. Hard to believe that commercial is more entertaining than his last 3 films combined. But enough with the M. Night bashing. I'm sure The Last Airbender will be a huge hit. Great title.
The real reason I'm writing this post is to send a plea out to the 3 of you who read this blog. I need to know what the female dog's name is in the movie Signs. My brother(who knows more about movies than anyone I've ever known) remembered Houdini(the male dog), but couldn't remember the other dog's name.
Struggling to find the answer online, I suddenly had a great thought. I'd use Twitter, the social networking site hellbent on world domination. I quickly tracked down an M. Night Shyamalan fan page on Twitter. I knew my answer was coming soon. Here's what I sent: Sorry, I mean here's what I Tweeted:
I was so excited, too excited to properly proofread my Tweet. This could be another practical use for Twitter-instant answers to questions that are impossible to find in a normal online setting! I finally understood the impact Twitter can have if it's utilized correctly. And then...
lol indeed. Looks like Twitter is as useless as we all thought it was. I know for a fact the female dog has a name. So I ask you, because I don't want to Netflix the movie just so I can find the answer, what is the name of the female dog in Signs? The first person to answer correctly receives two tickets to a Chicagoland showing of The Last Airbender. One of the tickets is for me. Just an all-around horrible prize.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
But my attention was quickly drawn back to poker when I was dealt this hand:
That would be pocket aces, the best starting hand in Hold 'Em for you laymen. I was in first position and I opened for 350(the blinds were 50/100). A couple hands before I had raised to 350 with AQ, and I was hoping someone at the table would think I had a similar hand. Lo and behold, I got re-raised before the flop, always a good feeling when you're holding AA. Guess who it was:
Here's the link to Official Poker Rankings, a huge online poker database. It tracks multi-table tournaments on PokerStars and Full Tilt, among other sites. It doesn't track cash games or single table tournaments(also called sit-n-go's). Take note of who the #2 player(he's been the #1 ranked player for a bulk of the last year) on PokerStars is at the moment. That's right, it's the very same guy who raised my bet of 350 to an even 1,000 before the flop.
His career stats? Well, he's made a PROFIT of over $1.1 million on PokerStars alone. His biggest cash in a single PStars tournament was in a $320 dollar rebuy event that played an Omaha/Hold 'Em mix. He won the tournament and took $144,113. Decent payday for 10 hours' work.
As for Full Tilt, he's only made a profit of $438,000 in his career. He won a $535 Hold 'Em event for his biggest cash on Full Tilt, $115,000. I have no clue what his success rate is like in cash and live games, but it's safe to say he's a pretty solid online tournament player with a profit of over $1.5M on PStars and FT alone.
Needless to say, he was slumming a bit playing a $25 dollar tournament, but he likes to mix it up. Instead of re-raising him before the flop and possibly scaring him away from his hand, I elected to simply call and check the flop. He bet 900 after the flop, and I pushed my remaining chips with these cards on the board:
I had about 300 more chips than him, so I just had to hope my hand would hold up against his. If it did, I'd knock him out of the tournament and win the 6,500 chip pot. Here's how the final two cards fell:
I'd love to say I outplayed him, but we both had monsters and it turns out mine was better. Still, it felt pretty effing great to KO a guy that's made 7 figures in profit on PokerStars alone. It makes me think I can hang with the big boys. You know, as long as I get dealt pocket rockets every time.
Note: I wrote this while the tournament was still going on. I may not even cash in it, but I just had to record the moment. And Deeb, if you're reading this(and you probably are), UP YOURS MAN I TOTALLY OUTPLAYED YOU! YOU DON'T TANGLE WITH NOSE KNOWS!
I'm kidding of course. Please don't have me killed, sir.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
These two guys apparently broke four world records during this performance, including Most Impressive and Simultaneously Depressing World Record Ever. The drummer is probably legit at the real drums, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts the guitarist doesn't play real guitar, just video game guitar. Imagine how great he'd be at actual guitar(and how much more interest he'd get from women) if he spent thousands of hours doing that instead of playing Guitar Hero. Oh well. Still an impressive video.
Yikes. This would have been an overreaction even without the stupefying shirt toss. According to the comments on YouTube, he ripped his shirt off because...
1. He didn't want it getting ripped
2. He didn't want to give his opponent something to grab if the fight escalated
3. He didn't want blood on his shirt
4. Ripping your own shirt off is a "GANGSTA" or "HOODTYPE" tactic and is a "retarded" tactic used by "foolz." I made none of that up.
5. "ppl takes off their shirt and wraps it to their arm in case there's a knife involved, by doing this you can cover yourself with the arm and avoid deep cuts."
6. He took his shirt off because he thought it was a bug and he got scared.
7. The guy is a psychopath. For people this crazy it wouldn't even be surprising if he dropped a deuce on the floor before the slap.
#7 was mine, the rest were actual comments. What I like about the video is that we don't actually see the initial prankster get his comeuppance. What do you think went through his mind when he saw the nutjob take out his anger on the guy behind him?
For you Office experts, I'd imagine he had the same look on his face that Jim had right after Andy punched through the wall because he couldn't find his phone. It's a facial expression that says, "Okayyyy...time to knock this off before I get myself killed."
This Still Hasn't Gotten Old, So Here We Go Again
I've played this video at my office without warning somewhere between 10 and 20 times, and it always gets laughs. I don't think there's a funnier video on YouTube that's under 30 seconds. If you find one that is, please send it my way.
This Is Way Cooler Than That First Video
This is Andy McKee, and he is an internet superstar. In case Rylynn was the first song you've seen him play, watch him perform "Drifting" and then watch his cover of "Africa" by Toto.
Another Michael Jackson Cover(But This One's Actually Good)
This guy's really good as well. If you want more of him just type "Ortopilot" into the YouTube search bar. Solid musician from across the pond. He released this video back in '06, when Michael Jackson was presumably still alive.
A Top Ten That's Actually Funny
Sacha Baron Cohen is going to get himself killed one day. Apparently, as Bruno, he interviewed a terrorist. He wasn't an actor; he was an actual terrorist. Needless to say, I have to see this movie.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Here's a sampling of some of the comments about Accidentally on Purpose from cbs.com's page:
"Jenna Elfman is as good at comedy as anyone.I think"Accidentally On Purpose"will be a big hit for CBS."
"Come on people there are much worse shows on tv than this. It might actually teach some young women that they should think twice before going home with some guy at a bar. I think it will be a funny show. I'm looking forward to it. If you don't like it, don't watch it. This is America!"
"maybe this show will teach young men the repercussions of sleeping promiscuously with women. or that they should think twice before taking some girl home from a bar."
Yeah, if anything, Accidentally on Purpose will make every man in America stop engaging in one night stands. That's what we call an Adorable Comment From an Elderly CBS Viewer Who Can Use a Computer But Somehow Doesn't Have the Mental Capacity to Understand That Nothing Short of a Pecker Gunshot Wound Will Stop Men From Hooking Up With Random Girls at Bars.
I can picture the show being pitched to CBS: "It's Dharma & Greg, but with an unwanted pregnancy." CBS Execs then went ape shit, throwing money and feces all over the board room. And just like that, Accidentally on Purpose was green lighted. Or is it green lit? Let's go with green lit.
There are many reasons I'll never watch this show. And to convince you why you should never watch it either, here they are.
1. WTF does Accidentally on Purpose even mean? I'll guess that it means Elf Man has always wanted a baby but didn't plan on it happening like this. Off the top of my head, better names for the show would be Preggers, How I Banged Your Mother, It's Like Knocked Up Except Completely Opposite, and Elf Men CAN Give Birth!
2. Laugh Tracks make shows worse You know what's really hilarious? Having something tell me when to laugh. I don't have much of a sense of humor, so it's good to have the laugh track letting me know when I should be laughing.
In all seriousness, CBS still exclusively uses laugh tracks because their viewers (see reason #4) need to be told when to laugh, which is why CBS comedies traditionally are atop the weekly ratings. But now that we've had primetime shows like Arrested Development and Curb(followed by The Office and 30 Rock), shows that are bold enough and confident enough to know that their material is funny and their audience might actually recognize it on their own, adding a laugh track to a show is a real cornball move.
3. Jenna Elfman has a starring role. I thought our nation learned its lesson after the abomination known as Dharma & Greg. There's a Family Guy clip about the show that I couldn't find online, so I'll set the scene for you.
Dharma is standing on a couch. Greg comes in and says "Dharma, get down from there! Wow, I can't believe what a free spirit you are!" Fake audience laughs mildly. Dharma says "Nuh-uh, Goofy! Why don't you come UP?!" Greg says "You know what, maybe I will!" and stands on the couch. Fake audience cracks up to the point of poopypants, but luckily the entire crowd is senile and equipped with Depends.
We get it. The Elf Man is quirky. She's got spunk. Greg is a vanilla corporate guy. The two are complete opposites. AND THAT'S WHY IT WORKS!!!111!! That could have been summed up in one episode. Instead, Dharma & Greg lasted for 5 seasons and cranked out 119 episodes. And Accidentally on Purpose will probably enjoy similar success, because...
4. The show airs on CBS and people who watch CBS are elderly, idiots, or both. For reference, see the network's excruciating Monday night comedy lineup. A couple friends have told me How I Met Your Mother is a solid show and Big Bang Theory isn't terrible, but I wouldn't know because I gave Two and a Half Men a try. I figured hey, it's the most-watched comedy on TV, maybe it's decent.
And then I spent the next two days bedridden, shivering, and screaming "WHYYYYY???" over and over like Nancy freaking Kerrigan. I almost didn't make it. I'm never taking a chance with a CBS comedy again. For those of you who've never seen 2.5 Men, watch this instead. If we have similar senses of humor, you'll get more laughs out of this 17 second clip that you would from all the seasons of 2.5 Men combined.
I beg of you, do not watch Accidentally on Purpose. Your parents might watch it. Your grandparents definitely will. But you will not. Our generation will be the one that finally abolishes laugh-tracked sitcoms. We can do it. Let's make the world a better place for future generations. YES WE CAN!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Stop. Stop right now. You over there, no....NO. Put down the remote control.
Of all the content that has passed through this page, I can't believe One Tree Hill is the one that has lit up our comment board (seven comments being "lit up," but I digress). After reviewing the brilliance and simple lack of experience that attacked our comment board, I'd like to say something.
One Tree Hill sucks. Alright? It's bad. Not good, bad.
It's not bad because it's built for a demographic out of my preferences, or because I'm still walking scarred from my high school days, but because IT IS A BAD SHOW. I can honestly say I'm proud I've never watched 15 minutes of the show. I don't want to and I never will. Why? BECAUSE THE SHOW, AGAIN, IS BAD.
Why would I call it a bad show? I don't, everyone else who watches television does. It has never been rated higher than 117 in the Nielsen popularity ratings for an entire season. 1-freaking-17.
See, shows like CSI, Monday Night Football, etc., will usually have two or three entries on a weekly list when you go by an individual episode, but when using the entire season's average, you have a much more reliable data set.
So, back to my point, 117 was its peak in the second season. Season 5 hit 184 and season 6 sky-rocketed to 170.
Can anyone reading this right now name me 169 other TV programs? ANYONE? No, no you can't. So, it's not popular, we got that covered. "But all my friends watch it, what does that tell you Mr. Smarty-pants?"
You know what it tells me? GET NEW FRIENDS.
While two million lost souls may tune in weekly to find out who got knocked up or whatever the hell goes on in a hill with one tree, lots and lots of more (intelligent) people were busy doing something more entertaining. Like staring at a wall. Or folding towels.
For those of you who are emotionally attached to the characters in a show because they are totally going through the same thing you are, remember these following facts:
- THEY ARE F*CKING ACTORS
- The show is likely written by 40 year-old Harvard and Yale English graduates, not high-school kids.
- Nobody in your high school has an abusive dad, who shot your best friend's dad, just to marry his wife and end up knocking up his step-daughter who may or may not be an Middle Eastern terrorist sponsor.
Okay? Step away from the ledge and understand that if you live life correctly, the person you are at 16, 17, 18 will barely resemble the person you are at 25.
If you don't agree with me, your comment privileges are revoked and flame away. Eat me, I'm going to read a book to recover what I lost just researching this show.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Since that night I've toned the boozing down quite a bit. Part of it is that turning 21 takes away some of the mystique of drinking, and the other part is the fact that I don't want to die. Needless to say, whenever I visit Illinois State, I'm a little out of my league.
A few months ago I was visiting the ILStu. My brother and his bros at the brotel(3 apartments in the same small complex with 4 guys in each apartment) were boozing, so I did too, but I took it easy like an old man. At least I thought I did.
I went to sleep on an air mattress, wearing a pair of boxers, a t-shirt, and basketball shorts. I woke up on the same air mattress, wearing the same boxers, the same t-shirt, and two pairs of basketball shorts.
Seeing that extra pair of shorts on my person served to initially confuse me, but they also acted as a memory trigger. Shortly after discovering I was wearing somebody's clothes, I was flooded with a sudden and clear recollection of what happened in the middle of the night. Here's what transpired.
I stumbled into my brother's roommate's bedroom at some point. He was with his girlfriend(I did not know her at all). I collected various pieces of clothing strewn about the room and created a makeshift pillow like a drunken Survivorman. I passed out.
I woke up. Instead of leaving, I sat on the roommate's bed. I did not say anything, nor did I make eye contact. I just sat there. They woke up pretty quickly after I did this. They did not say anything either, probably for one of two reasons. One, the scenario was too surreal, and they figured they were having some kind of freakish dream. Two, they were scared out of their minds.
I put on a pair of the roommate's shorts and returned to my air mattress in the living room.
I saw the roommate in the morning before I remembered these events. He must have been afraid that I was unstable/psychotic, because he didn't bring it up. But when I asked him later that day, he said that yes, that did indeed happen. It was not a dream. He also told me that his girlfriend was quite pleased that I made a pillow from her delicates.
Incident #2 This was a couple weeks ago. After a spontaneous night at Firebar, one of the many options on Crystal Lake's poo-poo platter of night spots, I quickly passed out upon returning home, two stories below where my brother was sleeping.
At some point in the night, I made my way up to his bedroom and sat on his bed. For some reason this woke him, and he kicked me off. There was an open bed in the room, and I gladly passed out on it despite the fact that it was missing a pillow and blanket. I remember this because I distinctly thought to myself, in my drunken stupor, "Hey, where did my pillow and blanket go?"
Apparently this is becoming a trend. But instead of hiding the problem or running away from it(and thus making it worse), I am choosing to get it out in the open right away. Maybe this way I'll stop making an ass of myself.
Feel free to chime in with an embarrassing booze-related story of your own to make me feel better.