Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Seriously, what's happening with the NHL right now? The Wings have won 13 games and lost 13 games and have about 13 injured players that are making about 13 million bucks apiece. I'm more confident in Jimmy Howard than I am in Chris Osgood, which isn't saying much but considering I thought of Jimmy Howard as more of an aborted fetus than a hockey player before the season started, I'm pretty surprised that he's risen to the occasion so quickly. I'm annoyed that the Hawks are doing so well, Hossa included, but since goaltending and coaching are two of the most important aspects of playoff hockey, I see a first-round choke job in their future. At least last year they had no expectations. This year, they'll be sure to keep Hossa on the personal train of epic life decision failures.
I'll end this ridiculously random post that does nothing but continue to show this blog as the old senile bastard of Red Wings blogs with a simple prediction that the Wings finish eighth in the conference and lead a 16-0 charge to Stanley's silver chalice. Hooah, what a season it will be. Go Detroit
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Steve Yzerman is the reason I love hockey. He's the reason I love the Detroit Red Wings. He's the reason I still cling to my first Red Wings jersey, even though now it fits me like a t-shirt would. I think my passion for all sports would be severely less developed and undoubtedly less passionate if not for Steve Yzerman. Why? It's his funky name that only hockey fans can seem to pronounce. It's his humility that showed the world that professional athletes don't all have to be stereotypical, money-grubbing buffoons. It's his tremendous skill that he used to make a name for himself then tossed in his back pocket when he realized it wasn't what the team needed to succeed. It's his goal in the 1996 quarters that will never cease to give me shivers.
It's his 19. There can never be another 19. It's his C. There will never be another captain like him. It's the way he picked up the Cup in 1997 and held it for all of Detroit. It's the way he handed it to Vladdie in the wheelchair in '98. It's the way he avoided the spotlight, despite the fact that he was the one everyone wanted to see and talk to. It's the determination to win another Cup. It's the selflessness to take less money so the team could go out and pay for more star players. It's in the grimaces. It's the way he dragged himself off the ice time after time in the 2002 playoffs. It's his gap-toothed smile.
There's no way I can encompass all that Steve Yzerman has meant to me as a Detroit Red Wings fan. He's got the top spot cemented for my favorite player of all-time; everyone else is just fighting for number two. I might wish for every other fan in the country to feel the same way about a certain player they look up to, but that's impossible. There's just no single athlete in the world like Steve Yzerman. There's a reason he's referred to as "God" in so many Red Wings circles: he's on par with one.
I don't know...his legacy has meant so much to me as a hockey fan that it was really special to see him in the spotlight again. Even though he was wearing a black suit and delivering a speech in Toronto, it almost felt like he had pulled on that Wings sweater again and was skating a lap or two around the Joe. I wish he'd never left the game, and I felt that an honorary post about him was necessary. I haven't touched on much Wings content this fall, but hopefully this does the franchise some justice. Stevie sure did.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
So that was a long introduction into what I wanted to do, which is try out a few hundred words for my Boston Globe internship application that needs to be on a) a memorable moment in my life, b) my favorite story I've written and why or c) someone who has influenced me greatly. I figure I'll try the first one because it gives me the most room to write how I want, and you readers (if you still exist out there) can comment and let me know in the next couple days what you think. I would appreciate any and all feedback you can give me.
A) A memorable moment in my life.
We had the keys. The cool air whisked past my overgrown hair as I whipped open the passenger door. My cousin Ezra and I, both 15, slumped into the Ford Taurus awkwardly. We were told to lock the car and grab my sister's headphones; we had something else in mind.
Ez pulled the shift in gear. Drive. He released the brake and stepped on the gas. Go.
I sat frightened and excited, watching the trees and suburban homes roll by. We barely touched the speed limit. Chico, California in late November is beautiful. We turned down side streets and let our minds wander. After what seemed like hours, we pulled into an empty parking lot.
Shit. This was a bad idea. I said it to no one. Ezra already knew. My heart started pounding in my throat. A cop drove by. We ducked and covered like schoolchildren.
"Do you have any idea how to get back?" Ezra asked, nerves and puberty present in his voice. Yeah, I think so, I lied. I took the wheel.
I had no idea where I was going. Our directions could have reinvented the compass. Every street had the same strange, unfamiliarity to it. San Ramon Drive. Glenshire Lane. Manor Circle. We knew only one thing: Uncle Peter's house was on Verde Court. A bead of sweat slid down my side as my white knuckles gripped the steering wheel. There's no way they don't know we're gone by now.
Panicked thoughts began racing through my mind. It was nearing mid-afternoon: Thanksgiving dinner would be ready soon. My dad would use that turkey knife to skin me, I was sure of it. My mom would call me Cameron, the full name that emptied my stomach. I needed to find a way back now, or else Ezra and I might have to interrupt Thanksgiving dinner with a call from jail.
Phew. North Avenue. I remembered that one from when we drove in. Verde connected directly to it. And not a moment later, there it was. We were saved.
Oh. No. Our hearts screamed as we saw familiar faces. The entire family was out on the front lawn, awaiting our return. Angry parents. Smirking sisters. Grampie's mouth wide as the open road.
I coasted in and jerked the shift in park. The car doors flew open and we were yanked out of the car before either of us could stammer an apology. Questions flew at us like bullets, each stinging with an embarrassing, overwhelming sensation. Busted.
We were told to rake the leaves in the backyard for the rest of the afternoon. A ball and chain would have been lighter on my conscience, but the punishment was mild. The guilt was a much heavier burden.
I eat Thanksgiving dinner with Ezra and his family every year. In the six years that have passed since that November afternoon joy ride, the story is still as fresh as the day it happened. They love telling it as much as we hate hearing it, but somehow I don't think Thanksgiving would be the same without it.
OK, that's 515 words. It needs to be 400 or less. Help me cut it down, please. I'm going to bed. Goodnight, and a Happy Halloween!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
My training for the New York City Marathon is coming to an end...only 17 more days before the big 26.2 through the five boroughs. I'm confident I can do it, but I must say I've been pretty lazy about my running this month. Only 10.3 miles through the first two weeks, and sometimes I run four times that in a single week. Yikes. We'll see if it matters come November.
I don't have much to report; I'm really only updating the blog for the sake of updating. I don't like to see it get all dusty in cyberspace. I feel like Yzerman Is God when that happens. Man, for a blog with such a sweet header graphic, wouldn't you think he'd update that place with a post more than twice a year? Oh well. Not everyone can be as consistent at Animal Drew or the Chief or Snipe Snipe. I honestly don't know why news outlets don't hire bloggers, since The Triple Deke and the other aforementioned bloggers write funnier, more entertaining and overall better stuff than most of the boring briefs I read on Freep or the Detroit News.
Yeah. So I haven't done much with those photoshop renderings I promised, but at some point I'll make another glorious one featuring the wunderkind Cindy Rosby and his merry men Geno Malkin and Maxime Talbot. Ooh, the internet might not even be able to handle that one. I'll have to tone the hate down for viewer's sake.
Now, I hate to disappoint the tiny following I have here at the blog, but this lack of timely posting will continue for a while with the GREs in a month, the newspaper to run and internship application deadlines inching closer. I tend to enjoy having a life, and while writing is a huge part of that, I haven't felt all that inspired recently. The Wings and Wolverines often fuel that inspiration, but at the moment I'm just not feeling all that compelled to put legitimate energy into a post. I'll definitely have somethin' sweet for you after the marathon on Nov. 1, but until then I can't make any promises.
This rambling probably wasted your time, but if you made it to the end here's a great video for your troubles:
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
- Neither the Blackhawks nor the Capitals are making a run for the Cup. Sorry. Too much hype, too little goaltending, too shitty coaching. They'll be fun to watch, but everywhere I look people are picking the Caps and the Hawks, the Caps and the Hawks. Enough people. They're both above-average teams that don't have what it takes to win a championship. As Puckin' Right boldly suggests, I'm not even sure if the Hawks have what it takes to come in second in the Central. Speaking of which...
- The Red Wings will win the Central again. They always do. We'll see about the postseason, but for now, there's nothing in this world that says the Wings won't at least win the Central and get a top two seed in the West.
- The Penguins will be sucked into a black hole and disappear forever, never to return again as an NHL team. President Obama celebrates the occasion and declares a National Holiday where we sit around and eat cupcakes while insulting Rosby's unborn children.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Anyway, here's that Photoshop of the Anaheim Lovefest that I promised weeks ago. I'm no Photoshop pro yet, but I'm working on it. Regardless, I think its beauty outweighs its flaws.
I watched some Red Wings hockey tonight. Their final preseason game against *gulp* the whores of Pittsburgh. The Wings came out on top, 4-1, but I couldn't help but think of those painful mid-June days that made me want to coat myself in oil, light a match and jump of a cliff. And that troubled me. I've dealt with playoff disappointments before, but every other time I've been able to deal with it over the summer and don the Winged Wheel with pride again in the fall.
Not this time.
I still wear that glorious red jersey with pride, but there's a certain sting that accompanies it right now. I'm not sure I'm ready for hockey season. In fact, I'm practically dreading it.
In the past few years, I can barely stand to watch Versus or the NHL Network because of how much crap they spew about Pittsburgh and their highness, Ms. Cindy Rosby the Queen Bitch of Doucheland. And that was all before he "won" a championship. Now, can you imagine how many of Lil' Gary's NHL commercials are going to end with a clip of Rosby and the Cup? I want to puke just thinking about it.
There's so many reasons I'll be happy to see hockey games start up again: Lidstrom playing perfectly. Datsyuk dangle danglin'. Zetterberg and Franzen domination. Kronner's "illegal" hits. Raffy and the most potent power play in the league. Hell, even a little dose of Osgood and his schizophrenic, regular-season self will be a nice change from an inevitable Tigers' postseason loss and more of the same from the Lions.
But some scars have yet to heal. There was some asshole standing next to me at the bar this weekend wearing a Rosby shirt/jersey, and I nearly stabbed him with my straw out of mere instinct. I want the Wings to have their revenge, but I don't think I can handle about eight more months of waiting, all the while hearing about the Wings' demise and the Blackhawks' surge and the Penguins' repeat. Ugh.
I don't know. I can tell from other Wings' blogs that they're raring to go: Tyler at TheTripleDeke has promised a recap after every contest, Kris at Snipe Snipe, Dangle Dangle is posting all sorts of new excitement and Animal Drew at Nightmare on Helm Street is always on top of his game. But I'm not sure I want to jump on the ice just yet. I'm thinking a few more weeks of following these new Michigan Wolverines sounds a lot better, while I keep an eye on the Wings from the shadows. I'll join 'em when I'm ready. Now just seems like a little too soon.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
There's no point to this post, except to get Rich Rod's face off the top of the blog and replace it with the God of Gods. Figured that in itself was worth a post.
Look for upcoming photoshop masterpieces, even if it's only once or twice a week. All your favorites will be glorified and all the usual bitches will be brought to a destructive and hateful end. My first target: those Duck Punks Perry and Getzlaf. Maybe a little Greybeard Niedermayer too. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
First, let's look at the schedule. It's not hard. At all. I count five games that Michigan should even have the possibility of losing. But then again, they did lose to Toledo at home last year, so I can't really make those assumptions. Anyway, here's the schedule with my own preseason predictions:
- Western Michigan. Win, 34-10.
- Notre Dame. Win, 23-20.
- Eastern Michigan. Win, 27-14.
- Indiana. Win, 31-23.
- at Michigan State. Win, 45-38 in 2OT.
- at Iowa. Loss, 10-28.
- Delaware State. Win, 24-3.
- Penn State. Win, 14-13.
- at Illinois. Loss, 17-23.
- Purdue. Win, 42-31.
- at Wisconsin. Loss, 20-27.
- Ohio State. Win. 1,000,000-0.
Why did I make such a crazy prediction you ask? Here's a few reasons.
First, they play eight of 12 games at home. That's not only ridiculous, it's pretty damn helpful. They play four softies in a row in the Big House and I think if they can manage to win all of those games, they can get a little momentum rolling and win a tough road game (Michigan State) and another couple big games down the stretch (Penn State, Ohio State).
Obviously, that's a stretch to begin with. But they've got lots of talent coming in and I've always believed in freshmen players more than I should because I've been blessed with watching the incredible freshmen years of Chad Henne, Mike Hart and John Navarre, among others. I've also seen guys like Adrian Peterson, Pat White and Steve Slaton dominate in their freshmen years. So, why not Michigan's Tate Forcier (below left) or Denard Robinson (below right)? Forcier looks great from the video I've seen and the articles I've read, and all the hype about Robinson makes him sound like the second-coming of Michael Vick - Virginia Tech version. How can I not be excited?
And, as Michigan Sports Center writes, everyone is making wayy too big of a deal about the whole "Michigan is going to start 3 QBs in their season opener" thing. Here's RichRod's exact quote from media day:
Hmm...after reading that today, I have no idea what all the hubbub is about. Did anyone quote him? Everyone just made a huge leap and assumed that RichRod would actually play all three QBs in the opener. From that quote, it sounds to me like the competition between Sheridan, Forcier and Robinson is way too close to call and he has no idea who will be his starter yet. Maybe three QBs will play, maybe two or maybe just one. But nothing in that quote tells me for sure that all three will play, so that's a calming breeze for everyone freaking out about the possibility of a quarterback carousel. My vote? I'm pulling for Forcier, with some Robinson thrown in at tailback. That's a deadly combination in my imagination.
“In what order and how many, I couldn’t tell you,” Rodriguez said Sunday at media day. “Right now, all three of them look like they’re going to play in the opener.
“Again, it’s two weeks out. There is a lot going to happen in the next two weeks.”
Next, they have Zoltan Mesko. Never heard of him? Shame on you. He's the best punter in the NCAA and probably the best kicker Michigan's had in a while. Since I imagine Michigan will be punting a lot while they try to hit their stride in the first few games, Zoltan the Space Emperor will help the Wolverines keep good field position and give some confidence to the defense. It can't be good that I'm lavishing praise at Michigan's punter and hailing him as a key point to their success, but how can you doubt a guy with a name like Zoltan Mesko?
Finally, it's Michigan football. From the helmets with wings to the song the crowd sings, Michigan football is about pride and the players, coaches and fans represent the best college football program in history. Last year, they were written off from the beginning and a laughingstock by season's end, but one year doesn't erase history. One year doesn't mean anything. Sure, it sucked from a fan's point of view. But that's over now. It's time to reclaim that pride, that history, that sense of entitlement. Let's. Go. Blue!
Monday, August 24, 2009
In an effort to alleviate some of that hatred and also count my blessings in a way, here's 10 reasons that I came up with as to why I'm 100% glad to be Cameron Kittle and not whiny little Penguins bitch Cindy Rosby.
- I've touched the Stanley Cup and I had to fellate exactly zero NHL Commissioners to do it.
- I've never sucker-punched another man in the nether regions.
- My name isn't Sidney.
- I went to college.
- I'm not widely hated by an entire sport's fanbase.
- I can truthfully say in my shortened hockey career that I never once dived to draw a penalty.
- I don't sleep in a crib or ask for a pacifier when I need to calm down.
- I don't demand my boss to pay me a ridiculous salary just because I'm good at what I do.
- I earned the only 'C' I ever wore in hockey, even if it was in Pee Wees.
- I'm not a bitch.
Monday, August 17, 2009
This summer I have watched 26 new movies and probably just as many that I'd seen before. That totals about three or four days' worth of my life that I won't get back anytime soon. Some of the choices were amazing ones, and others not so much. This post is going to be long enough as it is, so without further ado, your ridiculous list of movies in the order that I watched and reviewed them, with a whole new grading scale from 0-100.
- The Hangover: 95. Absolutely amazing. The funniest movie of the summer with a great cast of characters. So many quotable parts and awesome little scenes (like Zack Galifianakis as Rain Man coming down the escalator) made this such a fun movie to watch. The immense amount of previews looked like it would be a bad omen, but it turned out that the previews didn’t even live up to how good the movie was. So. Hilarious. I loved it and saw it twice in theaters.
- He’s Just Not That Into You: 72. I actually liked this movie, which is why it gets a low rating. That doesn’t make sense, you say? Well, I watched it alone in my apartment for one and then I saw it again with a bunch of family members later on. Nothing tells you how lonely and pathetic you are quite like seeing a sappy chick flick more than once. That being said, the cast was full of all-stars, Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin were hilarious and it showed me how crazy women can be. I liked it, but I’ve lost enough self respect having seen the movie twice so I can’t possibly give it a decent rating.
- Slumdog Millionaire: 88. It’s always hard to watch a movie after it won Best Picture because you always feel like the expectations are too high to begin with. I really liked Slumdog, but it didn’t quite live up to what I envisioned. The plot was quite clever and the way the film was set up was awesome (revealing each question and then showing how he finds the answers). The acting was great, the girl was beautiful and you could really feel what the actors wanted you to feel. I don’t know why this doesn’t get up to the A level, but somehow it just didn’t feel as amazing as I thought it would be.
- Seven Pounds: 84. Another meaningful film by Will Smith that makes you think. It was a little slow and I didn’t understand what was happening for a while, but it was a good movie by the end. It wasn’t exactly my type of movie, which is why it’s rating isn’t as high as it could be, but some unbelievable acting from Will Smith, as you’d expect, keeps it in the solid B range. Pretty solid movie overall.
- Fanboys: 85. Hilarious. Much better than I anticipated. Probably my favorite role ever for Seth Rogen, and that’s saying something. I didn’t like how they tried to be serious with the whole friend who had cancer and died thing because it had nothing to do with the movie and added nothing to the movie, but there were plenty of moments of raucous laughter. The cast was awesome, with plenty of hilarious actors that aren’t all that famous (Chris Marquette, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Ethan Suplee, Roy and Darryl from the Office, Will Forte, Jay and Silent Bob). The cameos from Shatner, Billy D. Williams, Carrie Fisher were awesome too. Oh, and Kristen Bell in the Leia outfit from Return of the Jedi might be the best thing my eyes have ever seen.
- Body of Lies: 84. Interesting movie. A plot I didn’t see coming, and a twist at the end that was quite clever. I wasn’t overly impressed by either Russell Crowe’s or Leo DiCaprio’s performance, but that probably has something to do with the fact that I expect them to be beyond outstanding in any movie, considering track records. Good action movie with some cool espionage and gruesome torture scenes. Solid effort.
- Gran Torino: 91. Really, really good in so many ways. Subtle comedy, good action, lots of suspense, touching compassion, inevitable sense of right and wrong. Clint Eastwood was incredible. The other no-name actors and actresses were actually pretty bad, especially one particular scene where it was supposed to be tense and dramatic and I laughed to myself because the scream was so lame and poorly executed, but Eastwood more than made up for it. His character was truly complex and great at heart. Stone cold on the outside, warm in the right places on the inside. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by just about everything I’ve seen with Clint Eastwood. He’s an amazing actor, and this was one of his better roles that I’ve seen.
- The Taking of Pelham 123: 90. I saw this one in theaters the day after I saw Gran Torino, and I liked it just as much. Denzel was great as a meek, civil servant working for the city of New York and John Travolta was even better as an insane criminal with some serious overall knowledge. The plot was very interesting and the suspense was amazing. I spent so much time on the edge of my seat that I cramped up and had to lie back a little. I can’t say it was the best movie of the summer, but it was worth the price of admission and lived up to my expectations. Go see it.
- Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist: 82. Cute, but meh. I usually like the feel-good movies with Michael Cera, but I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would. Cera was still hilarious, and I thought it was a funny and enjoyable movie, but it wasn’t quite what I expected or hoped for I guess. So, not much rhyme or reason behind the lower-than-usual score, but I just wasn’t impressed. Good soundtrack though.
- Defiance: 88. Horrifying and heroic. Action packed and thoughtful. Daniel Craig kept his acting resume intact as far as I’m concerned and came through in spades with this role as a rebel Jew fighting to survive against the Germans in World War II. A touching true story that hardly anyone knows and movie that does it justice. There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the movie; it had just about everything, but it was slow at times and you need to be in the right mood to see it.
- Sex Drive: 80. About what I expected. Crappy, but moments of hilarity. But a stupid premise, bad acting, and expected outcomes were nixed by incredible hot girls without shirts, Clark Duke (he just makes me laugh in pretty much everything) and Seth Green as the Amish guy. Probably not worth the couple hours I spent lying around watching it, but it’s another movie on the list. Clark Duke and Michael Cera should team up in a movie – other than their tiny scene together in Superbad – because they would be awesome. Just a thought.
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno: 70. Why did I watch this movie? I really don’t know. It seemed like a better alternative to Bride Wars, but that remains to be seen. It was the typical Seth-Rogen style comedy, even if it was directed by Silent Bob instead of Judd Apatow. Definitely some funny parts, but I’d probably rather have those two hours back and go on living my life rather than have a few jokes in my head. Too late now, I guess.
- Vicky Christina Barcelona: 86. Crazy movie. Very unpredictable, and I like that. Great acting, interesting story and the use of a narrator made it a very atypical movie from everything else I’ve watched so far. I wasn’t sure what to make of the ending, or the overall message, but I liked it. It certainly was a nice change-up from the previous two nights when I watched sub-par comedies with tired jokes and ridiculous plots and characters. Also, I found a new definition of beauty in the multiple kissing scenes shared by Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson. Not that such a magnificent image would affect its score or anything.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: 92. I don’t think I can put it above the Hangover as my favorite movie of the summer just yet, but it was awesome. I liked it so much that I almost forgot I went to see it by myself in the theater. It was hilarious; some of the dialogue and funny sequences were just side splitting (I hope Michael Bay planned for that and didn’t just do it on accident). The action was incredible (what else would you expect from a Bay film?) and of course, any movie with Megan Fox in a starring role gets an automatic 85 points. Luckily, this one was good enough to bump it up an extra few.
- Public Enemies: 86. Above average. It was slow and a bit artsy-fartsy, but still an awesome story and Johnny Depp was badass. Christian Bale was less than impressive, but he didn’t make the film worse, I suppose. The old cars, guns, fashion and everything was cool; I always kind of like movies set in the 1930s because it takes real film expertise to make it realistic. That said, it wasn’t enthralling and moved a little slowly for a movie about gangsters. Solid effort and worth the money, but not as good as I hoped.
- Bruno: 55. If Borat was mostly funny and kind of gross, Bruno was incredibly gross and kind of funny. I mean yes, I was laughing most of the time, but a lot of it was out of pure discomfort. The majority of the laughs were in the trailers, and there were way too many naked male body parts. For a movie that was only an hour and a half, it sure threw in a lot of penis. Acceptable in funny ways like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but not so acceptable in a movie like Bruno.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: 88. It could have been the best movie of the summer. By far. But the ending was so aggravating it fell all the way out of A range. I still think it was probably the best Harry Potter yet, but the lack of accuracy in the last 15 minutes drove me crazy. No fighting, no spellbinding curses at Harry and no Dumbledore pleading. I wasn’t pleased. The first two hours were great: not that much crappy acting that I’d come to expect from the Potter series, some good action and hilarious dialogue. So, I guess that puts it above average, even if the ending annoyed me.
- Paul Blart - Mall Cop: 80. Kevin James is funny, but this movie was pretty stupid. Mostly predictable and a pretty lame plot keep this one at a low score, but I’m happy I saw it. The mall cop character was perfect for Kevin James, and he seems to get better with every movie he does. Always a strong comedian. Not much else to say, expect I thought it was hilarious to see Todd, the gay son from Wedding Crashers, play the uber-badass bank robber in this flick. Pretty funny contrast, I must say.
- My Best Friend’s Girl: 85. Dane Cook. That’s all you need to know. He’s at his absolute best in this one. Yes, it was a sappy romantic comedy by the end of it, but the sheer amount of vulgarity was enough to win me over. Guy humor, what can I say? The Dane Train was in perfect form, especially in the incredibly ass-holistic scenarios. Jason Biggs was a good fit too, and Kate Hudson is gorgeous. Winner winner, underrated chicken dinner. Not bad, considering my expectations were at “beyond awful” and could really only go up from there.
- 500 Days of Summer: 90. It takes real ingenuity to make a pretty basic plotline (boy meets girl over the summer) and turn it into something original and special. I thought this indie flick was very good, and it made me laugh and think about relationships as a whole. It was a little cheesy, especially the part at the end, but I can enjoy cheesy sometimes. It also based a lot of its story on fate, which isn’t something I strongly believe in but is something I think about and consider from time to time. So, overall, a very pleasurable movie experience.
- Iron Man: 94. Yeah, I’m a year late on this one. I heard all the hubbub about it last summer when everyone was saying they loved it and I kept finding excuses not to see it. I assumed it was just another superhero movie and about a character I cared little about. But when I finally saw it on a very hungover Saturday afternoon, I loved it. Robert Downey Jr. was awesome, Gwyneth Paltrow was beautiful and Jeff Bridges was a decent villain. It was nothing like a stereotypical superhero movie, and it might even be the best superhero movie I’ve seen, including the Dark Knight. Absolutely awesome.
- The Hurt Locker: 93. Really great. It honestly makes me rethink the military. I thought the characters were amazing, the story was very interesting and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. There are very few movies where I can’t predict anything that’s going to happen with any certainty, but this was one of them. The bomb technicians angle was so cool, just because it’s not the typical story of a soldier, but once you realize the struggle that everyone’s going through collectively in the warzone, that’s what makes the movie great.
- Funny People: 86. Pretty hilarious, but way too long. Plenty of great scenes and I loved having a movie centered around stand-up comedy, but two and a half hours was ridiculous. The old Adam Sandler videos were awesome to see though, so the movie kept me entertained throughout. I just wanted it to end a little earlier and make a little more sense. Why was Leslie Mann’s character even in the movie? Solid effort from Apatow though.
- Pride and Glory: 96. Amazing. Nothing to do but put it at the top of the list. Edward Norton. Colin Farrell. Corrupt cops and lots of intense violence. I had no idea where the movie was going or how it would end, and that made it all the more awesome. I really can’t believe that more people haven’t heard about this movie. It’s absolutely incredible.
- Miss March: 47. I have no idea why I rented this movie. It was a pretty bad plot idea with no good actors or actresses whatsoever. There were a few hilarious parts, especially with Daryll from The Office as the rap superstar “Horsedick.mpeg” (coincidentally one of the best fake rap names ever). The movie itself though was completely awful.
- Children of Men: 86. Quite enjoyable. Clive Owen rarely disappoints and he was very good in this role. The plot was interesting and the whole concept of infertile women was pretty intense to think about. I didn’t really like the ending much, but overall the movie was definitely worth watching. Better than average for sure, and almost extraordinary.
Clearly, I've seen too many movies this summer, but hopefully these reviews will help you avoid a couple disappointments and find a couple new movies to enjoy. Oh, and only 19 days until Michigan opens the season against Western Michigan. Awesome.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This just looks like so much fun, especially considering they made custom instruments to look exactly like the ones the greatest band in history played back in the 60s and 70s. Also, when you master certain songs, you get little sound bites and pictures and videos of rarely seen or never released Beatles interactions. SO cool. Also...this just in, I'm a nerd.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The Detroit Red Wings:
Line 1 (The Hall of Fame Line): Shanahan - Yzerman - Hull
Line 2 (The From Russia With Love Line): Larionov - Datsyuk - Fedorov
Line 3 (The Millennium Line) : Franzen - Zetterberg - Helm
Line 4 (The Grind Line): Maltby - Draper - McCarty
Defense 1 (The Perfect Pairing): Lidstrom - Rafalski
Defense 2 (The Fulton and Portman Pairing): Kronwall - Konstantinov
Defense 3 (The Didn't Get Enough Time With the Wings Pairing): Fischer - Coffey
Goalie 1 (The '02 Version): Hasek
Goalie 2 (The Love/Hate Relationship): Ozzie
Coach (The Man, The Myth, The Legend): Scotty Bowman
The Unbearable Douche Bags:
Line 1 (The Blind Hatred Line): Turtle Lemieux - Bitch Rosby - Corey Perry
Line 2 (The Ulcer Inducing Line): Punk Getzlaf - Forsberg - Selanne
Line 3 (The Unknown Line): Valeri Kamensky - Girl's Name Talbot - Adam Deadtomemarsh
Line 4 (The Thug Line): Purse Admirer Avery - ESPN FAIL Matthew Barnaby - Jordin Tootoo
Defense 1 (The People's Elbow Pairing): Sasquatch Pronger - French Bitch Beauchemin
Defense 2 (The Grumpy Old Men Pairing): Greybeard Niedermayer - Adam Foote
Defense 3 (The Hall of Shame Pairing): Cupcheater Bourque - Scott Stevens
Goalie 1 (Oh Sweet Baby Jesus Let This Man Burn In Hell): Patrick Roy
Goalie 2 (The Frustrating Quiet One): J.S. Giguere
Coach (The Insane Lunatic): Marc Crawford
In the Press Box:
Commentators: Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
On Ice Level: Darren Pang
NHL Commissioner: Kenny Holland
Every Red Wings player scores, and Crawford leaves Roy in out of stupidity. Datsyuk puts up a hat trick. Lidstrom's slapper from the point shaves off Niederelbow's beard, hits Bourque in the balls and knocks out all of Pronger's teeth. Then Roy tries to statue-of-liberty it and Yzerman slaps him as Shanahan pokes it in. Rosby sits and cries in the corner, holding a candid portrait of his recently-deceased lover Lil' Gary Bettman. Konstantinov and Kronwall don't get any penalties for their bruising tactics, except for when they team up on Lemieux and break his face. Helm scores a shorthanded goal speeding up the sideline and the puck barely glances off Roy's glove like that goal Marty Lapointe scored back in 1997. Period ends with the Red Wings up 25-0.
Crawford has a heart attack and is replaced by Assistant Coach Joel Quenneville. Red Wings double their lead after Professor Larionov teaches the Unbearable Douches a lesson in goal scoring. He makes visionary passes to Fedorov, who laces up his awesome white Nike skates and dances around every player with the grace and ease of the mid-90s. Getzlaf and Perry have sex in the corner while admiring each other's hair and reciting their new fraternity pledge, and Beauchemin and Girl's Name Talbot surrender immediately at the slightest Red Wings rush. Roy stays in net and whines to be traded. Buzzer sounds with the Winged Wheels up 91-0.
McCarty turtles Lemieux off the opening faceoff. Roy gets pulled for third-stringer Jon Casey just so Yzerman can do this, then Roy is thrown back to the wolves. McCarty takes a shift off so Maltby and Kocur can re-enact the best moment of their lives from the 1997 finals (what?! no video!). Scott Stevens and Pronger try to cheap shot Yzerman collectively, miss him on the boards, and tear their ACLs. New NHL rules demand they play through it. Avery, wearing a pink jersey with a doll and a purse on the front, chops both of them on the kneecap with his stick even though he's their teammate because he's just that much of an Unbearable Douche. Zetterberg and Franzen put their beards together like the WonderTwins and form the Beard of Justice. It engulfs Jordin Tootoo and rids him of this world. The crowd goes crazy. Don't Stop Believin' starts playing and the PA cuts the volume for "Born in South Detroit." Game ends. Red Wings win 1919-0. Kenny Holland hands Yzerman the Cup, which has recently been re-engraved to award the Red Wings with every championship back to 1893.
I'm picked to go down into the locker room and meet all the players. Yzerman invites me out to dinner. Datsyuk's cell phone rings. Shanahan holds the Cup for me as I drink cold Blue Moon from it. The players say what the hell and have the white-glove guy engrave my name on Lord Stanley too. Right next to Stevie's. We all take magical sober pills and are about to leave in matching Detroit Red Wings Mini Coopers for a race where it's impossible for any of us to get hurt when we see Rosby still sobbing in the corner of the ice. We all get a turn kicking him in the nuts. I book a tee time with Shanny, Drapes and Liddy at Pebble Beach. We stay in touch.
Oh, what a dream.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Baseball is too slow, but Verlander makes it tolerable.
UFC is a ridiculous fad and should not be advertised or promoted. It's basically human cockfighting.
Drivers who sit in a slow lane of traffic should not be angry at other drivers who whiz past them in the completely empty lane and then merge into the slow lane at the end of all the traffic. It's a simple matter of herd-following idiocy and independent intelligence.
Twitter is addicting at work but almost nonexistent at home.
Joe Paterno is too old to continue coaching football.
It doesn't matter if NASCAR is postponed to a Monday with no other sports activity; the only ones watching will be shirtless men, toothless women and/or brainless humans.
Tiger Woods will finish with 21 major championships.
Nicklas Lidstrom will win the Norris Trophy again.
Sarah Palin might, in fact, be less intelligent than former President George W. Bush.
People who follow/enjoy/don't-want-to-kill-themselves-watching-and-or-listening-to Sarah Palin might, in fact, be less intelligent than NASCAR fans.
I probably offended at least one reader with one or both of those last two comments.
Newspapers need to start making people pay for news content. The uproar would be huge in the beginning, but they would reluctantly give in bit by bit.
It's weird to hear an older adult swear in casual conversation.
It's annoying that Jim Tressel is a classy human being because makes it that much harder to hate his guts.
This year, Michigan will finish 9-4, upset Ohio State and win the Alamo Bowl. This claim falls into the outlandish category. I stand by it.
Tim Tebow will win a second Heisman Trophy.
The Winter Classic at Fenway Park this year will be good, but not great. Stupid Flyers.
I don't have any idea what the people at Old Spice were thinking, but their new online advertisement is not okay. Here's a hint: that "armpit" can be easily misconstrued as some other body part with copious amounts of hair. Gross.
Selectmen's meetings are some of the most boring hours of a young man's life.
And with that, I'm off to the Manchester Selectmen's meeting. Ouch.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Because I'm a democrat, I probably liked this little segment a little too much but it explains exactly what I'm talking about.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Palin quit. She did. It doesn't matter what you think about her. She made a promise to fulfill her term, and she didn't do it. She quit. John Stewart knows that, and he's allowed to say it because he's got his own TV show. He's calling her out for humor, but he's also doing it because the rest of the media can't seem to just say that. CNN will throw Chris Matthews at you and he'll criticize her decision, and FOX will have Bill O'Reilly come on TV and say he supports the move. It's like nobody ever reports just what happened anymore.
Stewart and Colbert don't really do that either, but at least they swim through the waves of crap to find the real truth and make it funny and enjoyable. They make the news a joke because most of the time, it is a joke.
And just to prove that they do it on both sides, here's another clip showing my favorite president Obama screwing the pooch on his overreaction and "apology" in reference to the Skip Gates issue.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
I don't have as much fire for this argument because it gets complicated when you try to assess the major networks as a whole with all of their shows in comparison to just two shows on Comedy Central, but I thought the idea needed to be said.
John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are some of the best sources to hold the media accountable. It's true. Watch their shows for an hour and then turn to some national news on those lesser-used lower TV channels. You'll see the difference not just in enjoyability, but also in the no-bull-crap attitude.
Monday, July 27, 2009
It sure doesn't happen often, but it happened to me tonight. So I thought, a story's in order.
It starts with an article I wrote last Wednesday. I interviewed a bunch of people to try and learn as much as I could about clams and their buyers, sellers and diggers in Essex, Mass., and I came out with about 900 words about the bivalve shellfish.
The first guy I interviewed, Kelly Corrao, was a little fidgety and awkward. He was tentative but aggressive, and he knew a ridiculous amount about clams. I talked to him for a while and got some really great information for the story. He said that Periwinkles and Tom Shea's, two Essex restaurants right on Main Street, had taken steamers off the menu because clam prices were so high. He told me he didn't want me to print the particular names of the restaurants because it would be bad for his business. So I told him that I wouldn't attribute the information to him.
Five days later, he saw me at an event I was covering and stopped me. He said I was a "little fucking prick" and that he'd never talk to me again. He wasn't quiet about it.
I maintain that I did nothing wrong, but I'll let you be the judge.
Here's what I wrote in my story last week:
Make no mistake, I quoted him accurately. But later in the story, I talked to a chef at Tom Shea's who had taken clams off the menu and then to another chef, this one from Periwinkles, who actually said he never took clams off the menu and wouldn't ever consider doing so. I believe those sources and that particular piece of information is what ruffled Kelly's feathers.
Kelly Corrao, owner of Essex Shellfish on Centennial Grove Road, a seafood wholesaler that usually buys directly from local clammers, said he has been ordering most of his clams from Maine despite the widespread red tide closures along much of that state's coastline.
Corrao has been amazed at the high prices; he said that a week and a half ago he was selling bushels at $170 each. Anything over $100 per bushel, about 60 pounds, is good, he said, but he hasn't seen the price climb that high in a long time.
"Prices were out sight," he said. "They were so high it was bad for business. People were taking it off the menu, and this is a clam town."
Corrao believes I promised him I wouldn't print the names of the restaurants. I didn't. He believes what I did was wrong and disloyal to his word. I disagree.
See, what Kelly doesn't understand is that even as an intern, I have a job to do. I'm responsible for researching, interviewing and writing every story to the best of my ability. Sometimes I leave the "to the best of my ability" part a little unfulfilled, but not with this clam story. I didn't want to write it when the idea was pitched, but I enjoyed it by the end.
Research means finding information and investigating it. So when I found out that clam prices were high, I had to ask why. I also had to ask what that meant for business. Corrao said "some restaurants" had taken clams off the menu. He could have stopped there. I would have found out anyway. Periwinkles and Tom Shea's are on Main Street and I know both the owners by name now that I've worked in Essex for nine weeks. I wouldn't have turned a blind eye. Maybe I wouldn't have talked to them first, but all Corrao really did was speed up my search.
I told him I wouldn't attribute that information to him, and I didn't. I left the subject broad, from his perspective. But that didn't mean I wouldn't pursue it further.
If I told my editor that "some restaurants" had taken clams off the menu and didn't say who in the story, he would've given me a quiet-but-serious-verbal slap in the face and questioned my instincts as a reporter. So I did my job. I researched, I interviewed and I wrote.
And apparently, that's what Corrao was mad about. He gave me some information, told me he'd appreciate it if I didn't print it and then assumed I had promised him I would write a one-source story without any concrete information.
I can see my actions being considered a little weasely, at worst, but certainly not worthy of such an aggressive interaction. It scared me a little, considering he nearly followed me out to my car, but I sniffed out his bark-but-no-bite threat by the time I put the key in the ignition.
Still, it bothered me. It's not easy to simply shake it off when a middle-aged man calls out a 21-year-old the way he did. But maybe that's the kind of reaction a good investigative journalist gets from time to time. I don't really know. I just thought it would make for a good story.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Hope you liked that. As much as I love watching Tiger, I have to agree with what Reilly is saying. I used to be a lot worse with my golf tempter tantrums, but I'd like to think I have at least calmed them down enough to make the game more fun for my playing partners. Way to stand up and say something, Reilly. You never seem to disappoint me. Nice work.
Tiger Woods has outgrown those Urkel glasses he had as a kid. Outgrown the crazy hair. Outgrown a body that was mostly neck.
When will he outgrow his temper?
The man is 33 years old, married, the father of two. He is paid nearly $100 million a year to be the representative for some monstrously huge companies, from Nike to Accenture. He is the world's most famous and beloved athlete.
And yet he spent most of his two days at Turnberry last week doing the Turn and Bury. He'd hit a bad shot, turn and bury his club into the ground in a fit. It was two days of Tiger Tantrums -- slamming his club, throwing his club and cursing his club. In front of a worldwide audience.
A whole lot of that worldwide audience is kids. They do what Tiger does. They swing like Tiger, read putts like Tiger and do the celebration biceps pump like Tiger. Do you think for two seconds they don't think it's cool to throw their clubs like Tiger, too?
He's grown in every other way. He's committed, responsible, smart, funny and the most talented golfer in history. I just thought we'd be over the conniptions by now.
If there were no six-second delay, Tiger Woods would be the reason to invent it. Every network has been burned by having the on-course microphone open when he blocks one right into the cabbage and starts with the F-bombs. Once, at Doral, he unleashed a string of swear words at a photographer that would've made Artie Lange blush, and then snarled, "'The next time a photographer shoots a [expletive] picture, I'm going to break his [expletive] neck!"
It's disrespectful to the game, disrespectful to those he plays with and disrespectful to the great players who built the game before him. Ever remember Jack Nicklaus doing it? Arnold Palmer? When Tom Watson was getting guillotined in that playoff to Stewart Cink, did you see him so much as spit? Only one great player ever threw clubs as a pro -- Bobby Jones -- and he stopped in his 20s when he realized how spoiled he looked.
This isn't new. Woods has been this way for years: swearing like a Hooters' bouncer, trying to bury the bottom of his driver into the tee box, flipping his club end over end the second he realizes his shot is way offline.
I can still remember the 1997 Masters -- arguably the most important golf tournament ever played. Woods, then 21, was playing the 15th hole on Sunday. He had just hit a fairway wood out of the rough and was watching it. A young boy came up from behind just to touch him -- just to pat the back of this amazing new superhero. That's when Tiger pulled the club way back over his head and slammed it down, nearly braining the kid he couldn't see behind him. And this was with a huge lead.
Look, in every other case, I think Tiger Woods has been an A-plus role model. Never shows up in the back of a squad car with a black eye. Never gets busted in a sleazy motel with three "freelance models." Never gets so much as a parking ticket. But this punk act on the golf course has got to stop. If it were my son, I'd tell him the same thing: "Either behave or get off the course."
Come to think of it, if I were the president of Nike, I'd tell him the same thing.
Put it this way: Will Tiger let his own two kids carry on in public like that?
I know what you're saying. We see more Tiger tantrums because TV shows every single shot he hits. And I'm telling you: You're wrong. He is one of the few on Tour who do it. And I keep wondering when PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is going to have the cojones to publicly upbraid him for it.
Golf is a gentlemen's game. Stomping and swearing and carrying on like a Beverly Hills tennis brat might fly in the NBA or in baseball or in football, where less is expected, but golf demands manners. It's your honor. Is my mark in your way? No, I had 6, not 5. Golfers call penalties on themselves. We are our own police. Tiger, police yourself.
Tiger does a boatload of work for kids. He raises millions for his Tiger Woods Learning Center, which has helped teach thousands. But teaching goes the wrong way, too. Tiger is teaching them that if he can be a hissy hothead on the course, they can, too.
I remember Tiger's dad, Earl, telling a story. One day, when Tiger was just a kid, he was throwing his clubs around in a fuming fit when his dad said something like "Tiger, golf is supposed to be fun." And Tiger said, "Daddy, I want to win. That's how I have fun."
Well, it's not fun to watch.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I held out (sort of, discounting that post acknowledging Stevie Y to the Hall) for more than a month, an impressive feat if I must say so myself, but I can't do it anymore. It's late at night, and I'm ready to talk hockey again.
Wait a minute. Nope. Nevermind. No Red Wings talk. Still too painful to imagine them with all those sad faces. Damn you, Triple Deke, for that slide show of depression you posted a while ago. It would have ruined my work day if I wasn't already bored at work on a Tuesday.
Basically, all I wanted to do was update the blog and declare (through Puck Daddy) that Marian Hossa has a shoulder injury and could be out until December if his rotator cuff needs surgery.
Why the large font? Because this is huge news. This means that, like 2007, the Cup was stolen from Detroit by a lesser team. Call me a whining sore loser if you want, but you know it's true. They've had the best team in every single season since the lockout and they should be working on a five-peat right now. Disagree? Tough. This is my space. I say what's fact and what's fiction.
FACT: Red Wings. Beats.
So, a word to Chicago: have fun with Hossa over the next 12 years. I'm betting that for the last four of those, he's on his couch sipping "wodka" and counting Benjamins, retired but still collecting on his preposterous deal. No way that guy's playing til he's 42. At least, not when he's forced to wear this every day. Ew.
Well that's really it. Not a huge hockey post, but a necessary one. It's what I love; don't expect it to take another lengthy hiatus again.
In other news, another Summer Series of Arguments post is brewing. On the Agenda: why Jon Stewart might be more unbiased and a better newsworthy source of information than any of the major networks today. It's a good 'un.
And just because I'm in the mood, here's a video. Enjoy.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Remembering Remembering Michael Jackson|
Call me insensitive, but I am very relieved that the media have stopped doing anything about the death of Michael Jackson. The news was huge when it came out, but the amount of coverage that has been on TV in the past couple weeks is frankly a bit too much.
Michael Jackson was a great artist and a crazy human being. He made Thriller and Billie Jean, two songs I quite enjoy listening to, along with many others that have made him the King of Pop. His albums have sold millions upon millions of copies, and you have to feel sympathy for his family members because it's always tough to lose a loved one. But I have to stand tough on this point: his "funeral" ceremony was a joke, and it was actually a little offensive.
Funerals are held in churches. Funerals are sad, reminiscent and a celebration of life. Funerals are for relatives and close friends. I've been to a few. There are heartfelt speeches and pall bearers, memories and tissues, people in suits and black dresses. A group mourning a communal loss.
Funerals are not held in the Staples Center. Funerals are not shown on VH1. Funerals don't need $1.4 million of police service. People don't sell tickets to funerals. It's not a performance; it's not a nationwide spectacle; it's a time for reflection and a time to honor the memory of the deceased. Usher should only touch the coffin if Michael Jackson touched him emotionally.
And maybe he did. Maybe a majority of the performers at the "funeral" knew Michael personally, and maybe they were all truly sad that he died. But that doesn't make it right to bring in cameras and microphones to broadcast it to the world.
Michael Jackson was a famous public figure. It's right to honor him. So hold a benefit concert after his family and friends have a real funeral and celebrate his life in a way none of us would understand. Bring Usher and John Mayer and Stevie Wonder back for a concert to remember the man's music, but do it after the fact. Do it after Michael's daughter says a heartfelt goodbye to her Dad so she doesn't have to have her face appear on the front page of thousands of tabloids and newspapers across the world.
It's a tragic thing to have a popular musician who shaped an entire decade of music die of a heart attack brought on by a drug overdose. So treat it like a tragedy. Don't force it on television and don't force it on an audience. Heath Ledger's death was equally as tragic, but I don't remember seeing a lineup of famous actors appearing at his funeral on national TV. In fact, I don't remember his funeral being on TV. And that's how it should be.
It's good that the media storm of Michael Jackon's death is over. But it should have been over a while ago. Michael's family will feel the loss for years to come, but for the general public, for people who never knew him outside of an album, the loss has already subsided.
Friday, July 10, 2009
You should be aware that you are all completely inferior to the man with the first good show in the 10:30 p.m. time slot on Comedy Central in forever.
Welcome to the first installment of the Summer Series of Arguments. These posts will vary in length, subject matter and world relevancy. Most of the time, they will be completely useless reading where I simply declare something or someone better than every other counterpart in existence. Let's do this.
Daniel Tosh is a comic monster.
His truthful insight borders on offensive every time, but that doesn't make it any less right. He has the edginess of Richard Pryor, the delivery of Jim Gaffigan, the creativity of Mitch Hedberg, and the energy and zaniness of Dane Cook before his ego got the best of him.
If you haven't listened to his CD, True Stories I Made Up, take a visit to Amazon or iTunes or your local music store. If you haven't seen his comedy central special, go find a TV and watch nonstop until you do; you'll be sure to catch an episode or two of Tosh.0 in meantime. If you haven't even heard of the man, the myth, the legend, say some hail marys or any other sort of ridiculous non-punishment. Here's what I'm talking about:
I wish I could live life that carelessly. He doesn't care what anyone says or thinks and he gets away with it every time. I love that.
His laugh is funny. His jokes are funny. He has this incredible ability to make things that shouldn't be funny, like 3rd world countries or AIDS or racism, hilarious.
I love stand-up comedians; I judge them harshly. Trust me when I say, Tosh tops them all.
That's it. If you're disappointed, hush now. It's 5:00 on a Friday, I want to start my weekend and I've got more in store for you soon.
On the arguing agenda: Why Mike Ricci is the ugliest person in the history of the world. Why NASCAR is not a sport. Why UFC is the dumbest craze since the Tamagotchi. Plenty of others floatin' around in the ol' noggin.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
So, I've come up with an idea to climb out of the boredom cave and I think it might be awesome. Of course, I also thought my brilliant Bueller Awards would be awesome too and they flopped harder than Sidney Crosby in a playoff game. Ugh. I hate that kid....deep breaths, deep breaths. No rain cloud game-seven flashbacks on this beautiful Thursday afternoon. On to the idea that will entertain me and this blog for at least a couple weeks and possibly the rest of the summer and beyond:
The Summer Series of Arguments.
You see, I noticed something about myself recently, after Michael Jackson died.
I love to argue.
Why did I realize this after MJ died, you ask? Well, a few people at work were talking about how crazy he was the day after he died. So, I argued how great his music was and that he should be remembered for that and not the zoo of pets and numerous plastic surgeries. But a few days later, a couple friends and I were talking and they said he wasn't crazy. All of those things about child molestation were made up, pure falsities. Naturally, I did a 180 and spoke about how his insanity cannot be forgotten in his legacy. But when it all comes down to it, I really don't care about Michael Jackson dying. I like some of his music, but the guy's a nutjob. It was the arguing I cared about. It really doesn't matter what subject or which person or what time of day. Bickering is my forté.
And, since I'm mostly alone in my apartment and have no one to argue with, I'm going to start doing it here. A weekly installment. Completely biased. Facts will be bent and sometimes broken. Fiction and truth might become synonymous if it helps prove my point. No holds barred.
It starts tomorrow, when I'll be sure to have enough time on my hands (like I do now) to finish a post during work.
On the agenda: Why Daniel Tosh is the funniest, and most truthful, man on the planet.
Friday, June 26, 2009
At first, I thought I had a chance. A chance for glory. A chance to be the first runner, the first intern, the first reporter to cross the finish line of the Fiesta 5K. I peered at last year’s results, saw the winning time of 15:51 and stepped out my apartment for a training run, determined to match it.
I ran flat out. My lungs screamed for me to stop but my legs sped forward. I’d been training for months, when a New Year’s resolution got me running again. This 5K was going to be cake.
I snuck a peek at my watch. The analog letters read 16:12, 2.2 miles. Wait. Five kilometers is 3.1 miles.
I was a mile behind and already, I was toast.
A week later, when I stepped to the starting line behind hundreds of others, I felt relaxed. There was no reason to push forward; I could run comfortably. This was my first St. Peter’s Fiesta, my first summer in Gloucester and the first road race of my life. Why not enjoy it?
The horn sounded; I didn’t move. I couldn’t. Sweating bodies were packed like sardines, slowly filtering down the road like sand crystals in a hourglass. The crawling start gave me time to scan our surroundings. Hey, it’s not everyday you start a race packed at the edge of a carnival.
Finally, after several stalled seconds, my feet started moving. I saw an opening up ahead and went for it, desperate to reinflate my personal space bubble.
I squeezed between runners and cars and spectators and barely saw the upcoming stroller out of the corner of my eye. I twisted left to avoid it, but I felt my heel clip the wheel. An infant’s cry rang out in the background. Bad start. I kept moving.
Nearing the half-way turnaround, I saw the leaders coming at us, only minutes ahead. I picked up the pace. The competition gripped me. Hope entered my mind again.
Then, a few steps after I made the turn, I saw a man jogging along and juggling three tennis balls without the slightest flinch. He couldn’t have been more than a minute behind me, and he was “joggling.” Talk about gaining some perspective. I slowed back down.
The race settled down. I relaxed once more. The track widened and runners dispersed. The fastest group flew out of sight, and I found my niche in the middle of the pack. That was where I found the true spirit of Fiesta.
I saw runners big and small, young and old. There were runners in bare feet and runners in stocking feet. Some ran with tunes and some ran on fumes. The diversity was unlike anything I’d seen at a sporting event.
It wasn’t about winning; I had it wrong from the beginning. The race is only a part of the week-long celebration. Hundreds of runners competed, but an even larger group stood on the sidelines to recognize tradition, heritage and a collective sense of pure happiness on a warm Gloucester evening.
Kids held self-made signs for their relatives and parents, adults in lawn chairs applauded from the grass and groups of helpful volunteers yelled encouraging words as they handed out cups of water.
Locals waved Italian flags from their homes and cars honked their horns as they passed by. From the sidewalk near one of the final turns, a man in a wheelchair yelled, “Come on guys, you can do it!”
None of these people ran the race. But there they were, cheering on strangers and supporting the community. All smiles. They were playing their part in Fiesta.
I didn’t look at my time as I crossed the finish; I passed the clock before I could make out the numbers. I was too busy looking around at all the excited faces packing the closing chute. I found out later that I finished the race in 24:09, 121st out of 454 runners and eight minutes, 26 seconds behind the winner. But it didn’t matter. The importance of winning was lost. I had my own piece of Fiesta to cherish, and I know I’d be welcomed back if I decide to do it again.
Now, if only I could learn how to juggle...