Saturday, January 31, 2004

KILLING TIME...

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


Boy, it's quiet.

There's not much going on, unless you're a fly on the wall inside the Ivan Rodgriquez/Detoit Tigers contract negotiation and snooze fest. But I felt compelled to write about something. So, with the recent Oscar nominations, I thought I'd pen a ditty about my favourite baseball movies.

There have been many. I'd be a liar if I said I'd seen them all. In fact, with the possible exception of The Pride of the Yankees, I probably haven't seen a baseball movie that was made before 1975. So I'm showing my semi-youthful age. Whaddaya gonna do about it?

In any case, here is my semi-complete favourite baseball movies list:

1) Bull Durham (1988): Hit the Bull. It makes me laugh, every time. Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon heat up the screen, in more ways than one. I often wonder, did the Bull do his own stunts?

2) The Pride of the Yankees (1942): Gary Cooper gives a great performance as Lou Gehrig, cementing Gehrig's legacy on celluloid. The Babe is fine as Babe Ruth, but he's no John Goodman.

3) A League of Their Own (1992): The only true Madonna performance that doesn't suck. In fact, she's quite good. But then she's probably only playing a younger version of herself. It's not a perfect movie, though. Ask any Cubs' fan. There is crying in baseball.

4) Field of Dreams (1989): I know, this should rate higher. But to me, it's less of a baseball flick than it is a movie about personal fulfillment. On that level, it's a number one.

5) The Bad News Bears (1976): Kind of a Little Rascals meets Rocky. Stay away from the sequels, though. Especially the one at the Astrodome.

6) The Rookie (2002): It's not easy to paint a positive picture of anything to do with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This is an exception, albeit a small one.

7) The Natural (1984): A little long, but entertaining. Visually, few baseball movies have looked this good. An excellent period piece.

8) Major League (1989): A bit of a "check your brain at the door" experience, but if you can get past the sheer stupidity it's a lot of fun. Great performances from Wesley Snipes, Corbin Bernsen,Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen and Charlie Sheen's glasses.

Okay, I feel better now. How many days until spring training? Twenty-three? Aw, man...

Stay tuned...

VOCABULARY BLUES

The wacky politicians who oversee education in the state of Georgia have decided that "evolution" is a four-letter word. I'm counting nine letters myself. It's amazing what you can do with a shoe horn.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Education Superintendant Kathy Cox has officially removed the, um, offensive word from the curriculum of high school students in the Peach state. Apparently it has something to do with clashing with religious teachings. To me, this is ludicrous, but not altogether surprising given Georgia's track record when it comes to joining the rest of us in the twenty-first century.

I don't really care what they do with their education down south. But it got me thinking about other things -- such as words or word combinations that should be banned for the good of humankind. Or just because I say so.

To the following collections of consonants and vowels, I say BE GONE:

State-of-the-art
Never have so many hyphens been tortured so badly. Would somebody please make sense of this word for me? It's generally used to describe the most up-to-date technology. Uh, okay. If you say so.

Whassup
I don't know if it's in the dictionary, and I don't much care. I'm just glad it's gone. Unless I've just revived it, in which case all I can say is, "D'OH!"

Like
Is there, like a teenager alive that hasn't, like beaten this word to a premature death?

Nutcracker
I can't say it without flinching.

Vasectomy
Because it's essentially a synonym for nutcracker.

Weapons of mass destruction
All of these words can stay, just as long as they're not used together. If the need arises, George Dubya can refer to the former WMD's as "really bad chemical-based bomb-like thingy's."

Immunity challenge
These two are kind of the new Bennifer. You've heard about them too much for too long, and you'll be forever grateful once they're apart.

Bennifer
While we're on the subject.

Anyone care to add to this list?

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 30, 2004

THE PRICE OF A GOOD HOT DOG

The Super Bowl is just a couple of days away and there's plenty of questions to be answered.

Will Ty Law score more touchdowns than Antowain Smith? Is Jake Delhomme the real deal? Will the commercials be remembered more than the game? If He Hate Me then Who Hate You?

All of that is just chicken feed. The real issues are permanent markers, cell phones and the celebration to be named later.

No, make that the celebration to be banned now. The wrath of Tags has hit the city of Houston, and San Francisco 49ers wideout Terrell Owens is the lead target.

National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who by some accounts has tried to have the word fun removed from the dictionary, has decided to up the ante when it comes to cracking down on end zone hot dogs.

There may well be more celebrations like Owens autographing a ball after scoring or the New Orleans Saints' Joe Horn making an end zone cell phone call. But if so, these show-offs are going to be coughing up the green.

A prime goal, as it should be in sport, is sportsmanship. Cracking down on these insurgents is necessary to protect the ideals of the game. Besides, nobody likes to be shown up -- least of all football players, some of whom are considerably bigger than those who are considerably smaller.

So to Mr. Owens and Mr. Horn, it 's time to stop with the crap before the wallet takes a pounding -- or worse.

And what could possibly be worse? Well, let's just say that these Oscar Meyers should do away with the celebratory paraphernalia -- before some opposition behemoth decides to take up on-the-field proctology as a hobby.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 29, 2004

SKINNING AN OSCAR

Believe it or not, there was a time when I could never take Charlize Theron seriously as an actress. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't seen a lot of her films. But what I had seen didn't exactly whet my appetite. Too blonde, too tall, too cute -- you name it. There was just something that didn't click.

Then I saw The Legend of Bagger Vance and I thought to myself, "what's Ashley Judd doing in this movie?" Only it wasn't Ashley Judd. That's when she got me.

The next time I saw Ms. Theron was in the remake of The Italian Job. She was pretty good in this flick, and she also showed she's no slouch behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper.

But Charlize Theron as serial killer Aileen Wuornos? I've got to admit, I was awfully skeptical. Now I haven't actually seen Monster. But I am fully up to speed on the facts that are behind this film. And after seeing some clips of Theron as Wuornos, I was floored. The transformation is incredible.

I mean, how could this run-down street whore on the screen actually be Charlize Theron? Slim, beautiful Charlize Theron!

But in the bits that I've seen, she pulls it off.

It seems to me that this sort of performance, where someone successfully crawls inside the skin of another, is the type of performance that should almost guarantee an Academy Award.

This is not always the case. Hilary Swank won in 2000 for her amazing performance as tragic gender-bender Brandon Teena (or Teena Brandon -- take your pick). Russell Crowe didn't win for playing Nobel Prize winner John Nash in 2002 -- but, in my opinion, he should have.

So it remains to be seen what will happen in this year's Oscars. The only certainty is that Billy Crystal is returning as host.

Charlize Theron can't do much more than cross her fingers. If there is any justice in Hollywood, she won't have to.

Stay tuned...

REMAKING THE MATERIAL WORLD

Some people have no shame.

A fellow by the name of Vincent D'Onofrio (no, not that Vincent D'Onofrio) is suing Madonna and her director-hubby Guy Ritchie claiming that it was his idea to remake the 1975 Italian film Swept Away.

Now I know that most of us live in a capitalist society where dollars are fair game to those with the most creative (and preferably legal) means. But to try to take credit for one of the biggest pieces of crap ever to be put down on celluloid has to take, if not THE cake, then at least somebody's damn cake.

Does this twit know what he's getting into? He's suing because he was cut out of the credit and the profits for this wretched film. Exactly what profits would he be talking about?

And the credit? He wants credit for coming up with the idea of remaking a movie? If that's his logic, then I want credit for every remake of A Star Is Born, including the Judy Garland/James Mason version made fourteen years before I was conceived.

This kind of lawsuit, if victorious, could prevent the remaking of old movies for generations. Or at the very least it should prevent the pathetic attempts to remake old flicks into crappy, newer versions that nobody will watch, but that everyone will gossip about.

Wait a minute, that's an interesting thought -- no more crappy remakes. A silver lining for the silver screen, you might say. Well, in that case I've only got one more thing to add:

GO VINCENT GO!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

DAMN YANKEE FANS

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


I can't believe I'm going to do this, but I'm about to defend Roger Clemens.

Rocket Roger made an appearance at the annual New York baseball dinner on Sunday night, spending a little time verbally protecting himself from the wrath of some (and I mean some) Yankee fans.

It seems that there are followers of the Pinstripers who are offended that Clemens would come out of retirement for the chance to play at home, instead of coming back to the Bronx. To these people I say you are a bunch of hypocrites.

I don't hear any of you complaining when a marquee player leaves another team to come to Yankee Stadium. When Jason Giambi left the Bay area local fans were naturally put out. The A's are a team on a relatively fixed budget and aren't usually in the habit of stealing other team's free agents. A's fans are entitled to complain when they lose one of their own.

The Yankees, on the other hand, have more cash than some third world countries. They can, and frequently do, sign whomever they damn well please. That's all good and fine under the present system, as flawed as it is. But you can't have it both ways.

So to the Yankee fans who gloat when tens of millions of dollars are thrown at a Giambi but complain when a Clemens goes home, I say shut your big mouth.

One of the have-nots has officially spoken.

Stay tuned...

A CRY FOR HELP

Living in the greater Toronto area was never less fun than it was today. Oh, wait. I forgot to put my exaggeration hat on. (Pause) -- okay, good to go.

I looked out the window this morning and all I could see was snow. I hate it with a passion. I know it's basically just a mixture of water, salt, sulfur dioxide and several unnamed chemicals that probably exist but the FBI and CIA don't want anyone to know about. Doesn't seem like much to get the blood moving, does it? That is, unless the white stuff can be used as raw material for the creation of some sort of thingamabob.

I thought I might put what little scientific knowledge I have to the task of creating something that uses snow in some form or another. For instance, I thought I might create a winter vehicle that relies on snow, but wouldn't you know it, someone had already invented the snowmobile.

Then I got interested in artificial intelligence. In today's world, intelligence of any kind would be welcomed with open arms. Sony has created a robot that seems to have a mind of its own. I figured if a multi-billion dollar company with a strong research and development team can do it, then so can I. Whaddaya know, I was wrong. Try as I might, I can't carry on a two-way conversation with my new snowman. All I have to show for my efforts are a marriage proposal and two restraining orders.

Next I started to think about ways to improve baseball. I started to write a letter to baseball commissioner Bud Selig suggesting that the grand old game use my newly invented "snowball" instead of the traditional Rawlings. But then I realized that the lack of home runs would lead to accusations of the ball being slushed.

One thing led to another. Expectation led to exhaustion, which led to explanation, which led to evaluation. But then, what do psychiatrists know.

In any case, after many hours of plotting, planning and praying I gave up. The snowmobile, snowman and snowball were all failures. Unfortunately, the snow shovel is alive and well. If I don't make it back inside in the next three hours would somebody please call 911?

Stay tuned...

WHAT A SHEA-ME!

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


Steve Phillips, where are you now?

Never mind the allegations of sexual misconduct. Forget about the butting of heads with Bobby Valentine (hmm, butting heads with a butthead -- mark that one down for later). The big asterisk in the tour of duty for Phillips as general manager of the New York Mets will always be the Mo Vaughn trade.

Phillips made the blunder in December 2001 when he gave up Kevin Appier for Vaughn in a trade of brains for brawn with the Angels of Anaheim. Seeing as how the Angels won the World Series the next season and the Mets ended up in the latrine, I'm going to go out on a limb and state that the Halos won that deal.

It didn't look like such a bad deal at the time. Sure, it hurt to give up a steady veteran arm like Appier's, but this was Mo Vaughn. At that point Vaughn had averaged nearly 40 dingers a season over the previous six that he had played. He was, however, coming off an injury that cost him the 2001 season. An omen, to be sure.

And what about Phillips? He pulled the trigger on the Vaughn trade just a couple of weeks after he had pried Robbie Alomar from the Indians. Surely he was on a roll. He was, but it was all downhill.

Vaughn had one spotty full season at Shea before his knee more or less gave out, leading to today's news of his possible pending retirement. As for Alomar, he hasn't been the same player since he left Jacobs Field.

What could have possibly been the cause? It must be something in the drinking water in New York. The Yankees kept on winning but that's because they can afford imported water. Phillips had the Mets drinking right from the faucet.

Ah, well. Misery loves company, I suppose. Now the New York Rangers don't have to suck all by themselves. It's a pity, really. I used to like the Mets, but now I'm just embarrassed by them.

And despite some interesting moves by new GM Jim Duquette, I don't expect much from the Mets any time soon. An old Tom Glavine is one year older. Al Leiter's best days are behind him. John Franco is injury prone and almost as old as Jesse Orosco. Steve Trachsel will always be no better than Steve Trachsel. Braden Looper -- maybe. Put away the time capsule. This is not a staff to get excited about in 2004.

As for the offence there's Mike Piazza, Mike Cameron, Kaz Matsui and... And...

Todd Zeile?

He better get used to being in the latrine.

Stay tuned...

Monday, January 26, 2004

SOURPUSS SUNDAY 7

It's Sunday and there is not a football to be seen anywhere. The NFL must have planned it this way. After all, the Super Bowl couldn't possibly compete with the search for life on Mars. A thought: If life is found to exist on Mars, does that mean the red planet will get the next NFL expansion team? You know -- the one that was supposed to go to Los Angeles?

Here are the entities who are wearing this week's bullseyes:

DAVID GREENWALT (TV Producer/Insensitive Idiot)
The producer of UPN show Jake 2.0 said that his show's going on hiatus "is about the same as saying that O.J. and Nicole Simpson are having a trial separation." I'm sure the Brown family is thrilled their darling's gruesome end has been reduced to a cheap metaphor.

SIMON COWELL (American Idol Judge/Possible Hypocritical Shrew)
The pompous Brit who judges the American wannabes has, in my unofficial opinion, used up his 15 minutes. Incidentally, has anyone seen this moron sing and/or dance? I'm thinking about something to do with stones and glass houses...

TRAIL MAGAZINE (Published British Leader In Cliff Diving)
The hiking magazine's February issue has tips for getting by on the Scottish mountain known as Ben Nevis. Unfortunately, the route will take you right off a cliff. I don't know much about publishing, but killing loyal readers can't be good for business.

KEYSHAWN JOHNSON (He's Keyshawn Johnson -- Pretty Much Says It All)
Ol' butterfingers was served with a restraining order after allegedly harrassing and threatening to kill a man. Any previous criticisms of Jon Gruden have now officially been cancelled.

ASHTON KUTCHER (Cougar Hound/Overexposed Pretty Boy)
Okay, he's done nothing wrong. But isn't anyone sick of this guy yet? I sure as hell am. If they ever have a sweeps entitled "Who shot Michael Kelso" the answer just might be The Rant King.

THE FOX NETWORK (Leave Jack Alone -- I Mean It!)
Would the programming idiots at the network that Bart built please stop the prolonged interruptions between episodes of 24? Two weeks off, one week on, two weeks off. You guys are killing me!

That's enough. Pass the Advil.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 24, 2004

TO BE A GOOD SPORT

In my opinion, figure skating is not a sport. Neither is gymnastics, ballroom dancing or the Miss Universe pageant. But all have something in common. All are judged.

There are many definitions for sport listed in the dictionary, and the previously mentioned activities do apply to some.

Here are the definitions for sport as listed in my thirteen year-old copy of Merriam-Webster:

A SOURCE OF DIVERSION
Anything remotely interesting can be a source of diversion. A wave of the hand is a source of diversion, if you decide to take this one too literally.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ENGAGED IN FOR PLEASURE
If this definition applies, then why the hell is sex not an Olympic sport.

ONE WHO ACCEPTS RESULTS CHEERFULLY WHETHER FAVOURING HIS INTERESTS OR NOT
By this definition, John McEnroe was not an athlete, although he definitely was a source of diversion.

AN INDIVIDUAL DISTINGUISHED BY A MUTATION
This one must be referring to major league pitcher Antonio Alfonseca and his six-fingered hands.

TO AMUSE ONESELF
Uh, sex again -- only solo.

Ahem...

What is my definition of sport? Well, actually it's more of a "what is needed before an activity can be called a sport."

I believe a sport to be an athletic competition where the result is decided by a tangible scoring system.

The activities mentioned at the beginning are all athletic. Well, a beauty pageant isn't really athletic, although I'm sure there are some who get a workout while watching.

Human beings can never be truly objective. Alleged sports decided by judges suffer from more politics than the United Nations. There is nothing tangible about a judge's score. If there was, you would only need one judge.

A baseball going over the fence, a puck going into the net or a slam dunk leave little doubt. Which car crossed the finish line first? Who was the fastest sprinter? These are either issues of a binary nature (yes/no) or issues of time. Human beings are fit to oversee these competitions to make sure the rules are followed. They are not fit to replace score clocks and stopwatches.

That shouldn't stop the scientific community from trying, however.

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 23, 2004

BENNIFER WHO?

I just heard that Ben and Jennifer have broken up.

You can imagine the shock I'm feeling. I mean, I didn't even know that Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston were an item. Not to mention the fact that both are married. Simply disgusting.

I wonder how Christine Taylor and Brad Pitt must be feeling right now. To know that their spouses committed adultery, well, they must be truly heartbroken. I can only sympathize with them.

They will go down as casualties of the California culture. This is why actors and actresses aren't fit to marry each other. The list of broken Hollywood relationships is so long it would take nearly forever to read.

You can call it the Julia Roberts syndrome. Two movie stars make a movie, like Ben and Jen did with Along Came Polly, and before you know it they're sharing a horizontal plane.

Far be it from me to --

(Sharp burst of static)

WE ARE EXPERIENCING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES -- DO NOT ADJUST YOUR BROWSER....

(Soft whispering in background)

What's that? Ben who? And Jen who? AFFLECK AND LOPEZ? When the hell did they start seeing each other? You mean Stiller and Aniston DIDN'T have an affair?

Oops. Never mind.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 22, 2004

A HAPPY RETURN?

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


As I write this my Diamond Daze traffic counter is stuck at 41.

This has me thinking about Pat Hentgen and his (hopefully) triumphant return to the Blue Jays. I was always a big fan of Hentgen. In his first tour in T.O. he showed a competitive quality that went missing in Toronto the day Dave Stieb suffered what was basically a career ending injury.

After a quiet season spent mostly in relief, Hentgen blew the SkyDome roof open in, 1993 winning 19 games for the then-defending World Series champs. A couple of less successful seasons preceeded 1996, when Hentgen won 20 games and took the Cy Young. All the while his bulldog mentality showed through. He wanted the ball, it was that simple.

Hentgen struggled for consistency over the next three seasons before being traded to St. Louis in November, 1999. It was not a happy exit (he didn't want to leave) and Hentgen resents ex-Jays GM Gord Ash to this day.

His recent record with the Orioles is spotty, mostly due to his struggle to stay healthy. But something clicked in the second half of 2003 that saw Hentgen regain a measure of consistency. J.P. Ricciardi also noticed, signing Hentgen to a one-year deal in November.

A happy return isn't guaranteed, but there's no denying the competitive spirit of Patrick George Hentgen. A few words of wisdom for the SkyDome crew: "Open the roof, boys. The bulldog's back!"

Stay tuned...

MUST RETCH TV

I spend a great deal of time watching television (audible gasps heard from all who know me). When you can pry me away from the computer, that is (audible gasps change to snickers and guffaws). I know -- I need to get a life. When the right one becomes available on eBay I'll put in a bid.

Until that happens I'll stay glued to the tube with the intensity of a pit bull on a T-bone steak. There are some shows I absolutely won't watch. Anyone regularly reading this site knows how I feel about so-called reality TV. I'm also not fond of game shows, although I do get a kick out of watching 25 year-old reruns of Match Game. There's more polyester in one episode than in a three hour trek through the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart.

I also don't do shock TV. Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, don't you know. I'm not going to waste too much time on Springer. The man is an idiot, but he's also a genius. He's made a lot of money. I guess that makes him a rich, idiot genius. I'm sure he's reading this right now and either laughing his ass off -- or calling his lawyer.

Then there's Maury. A question to Mr. Povich: Does Connie Chung actually admit to people that she's married to you? IN PUBLIC? Connie, after all is a respectable journalist. Maury, on the other hand...

I regularly watch Breakfast Television, a Toronto morning news and lifestyle show. It's immediately followed by Maury, and for some strange reason I can never change the channel fast enough before I find out what wonderful scenario Povich is covering. It always seems to be one of the same three topics. Who is the father of my baby? How do I stop my 13 year-old from dressing and acting like a slut? I used to be a geek, but look at me now? Sheesh...

Perhaps I'm sitting on the wrong side of the idiot box with my criticism. I doubt that anyone is sitting in front of their televisions being forced at gunpoint to watch this drivel. But there has to be some sensible explanation as to why people actually like to watch this crap.

Hmm, maybe I'll find that on eBay, too.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

SIGHTLINES vs. SIDELINES

The stupidity of some National Hockey League players has never been more apparent than it is today.

It's time for players to learn a thing or two about practicality and put on a visor. Permanently. Any player who resists the idea of playing with a visor is rolling the dice in a big way.

An eye injury to Toronto Maple Leafs winger Darcy Tucker is the latest in a string of incidents where players have come perilously close to losing sight in an eye. It's even scarier for the Leafs, who are no stranger to eye injuries. This is the second such incident in just a few weeks. Winger Owen Nolan was clipped with a stick in early January and hasn't played since.

The fact that any Leaf would go without a visor is astonishing after the gruesome injury that temporarily ended the career of rearguard Bryan Berard in 1999. Anyone who witnessed the incident will be hard pressed to forget watching Berard skate off the ice, a bloodied towel pressed to his face in a futile attempt to stop the blood from poring from his eye. And while he may have resurfaced in the last couple of years, Berard is a shadow of the player he used to be.

That's the least of his concerns. He has little sight in his right eye and has suffered a trauma that will last a lifetime, regardless of how successful his playing career is.

The list of players who have suffered eye injuries in NHL games is starting to read like some sort of half-assed testament to short-sightedness, so to speak.

The NHL Players Association should put aside any reservations it has in order to act in the best interests of the players. At the very least they should make it compulsory for any players entering the league, going forward.

It's a compromise that would do little to protect the stubborn veterans who refuse to capitulate to common sense, but at least the next generation of NHL players would have a fighting chance to see the future with the clarity that only two eyes can provide.

A clarity, I might add, that is practically impossible to replace.

Stay tuned...

THE SOUR SCIENCE

I used to be fan of professional boxing, back when you could actually count on a decent fight happening.

Those were the days when a champion would defend his title on a regular basis. You could actually expect a title fight, with the same champion fighting, twice or perhaps three times in a year.

Unfortunately, those days are over. The fight game is no longer about the belt that the champion wears. Of course, with today's spillage of alphabet soup an undisputed champion needs a walk-in closet just to store all the hardware.

Today's fighters are overpaid prima donnas who spend more time in banks than they do in gyms. Counting cash will only build so much muscle.

As for the fight game itself, it has become far too political. This certainly isn't a recent development, but it is safe to say that it's getting worse and not better.

Professional boxing has at least six different sanctioning bodies which rarely agree on who the contenders are, and all are pulling rank as to who should fight whom. Depending on loyalties, it's impossible to figure out which body is more important than the others, making for chaotic situations and soap opera like scenarios. Remember Riddick Bowe dropping the World Boxing Council belt in a trash can?

Promotors are also a big headache. These professional extortionists are wielding far too much power. A fighter aligned with promoter A (let's call him Don) isn't allowed to go at it with a fighter teamed with promoter B (let's call him Bob). This leads to a non-fight. Try selling tickets to that.

As for pay-per-view, don't get me started. It's more like screwed-per-view.

It's time that boxing got its act together. That will only happen if the power is taken away from the promoters and the sanctioning bodies are forced to merge.

One division, one title, one belt. That's what it should be about.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

DOLLARS AND SENSE

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


Strike one.

It seems my proposed trip to Montreal has suffered a blow, of sorts. The somewhat intellectually-challenged gang that runs Le Stade Olympique has decided to replace the old, warn astroturf with supposedly new field turf.

I really wasn't kidding when I said I wanted to see the turf that was harder than a month old donut. From what I've heard, playing ball at the Big Owe is about as close to stickball as you can get unless you move to New York City. Mind you, stickball is played on asphalt, which is probably softer.

Now all I have left for my warped sense of entertainment is the artificial blue sky (aka THE UNRETRACTABLE RETRACTABLE ROOF) and the chance to practise my "run and avoid" manoeuvres (aka WATCH OUT FOR FALLING CONCRETE).

The turf upgrade, while great for the players, has left me wondering about a couple of things.

For example, where in the name of Charles Finley did they get the money for it? Perhaps they got a good deal on the rug at a garage sale in Philadelphia. Lord knows the Phillies won't need their old turf.

Also, why would a stadium spring for a brand new surface for a grand total of 59 games? Maybe it won't be the last year in Montreal after all.

But then this is for a team that is currently in the hands of Major League Baseball and Bud Selig. That would be the same Bud Selig who was so good at screwing up the Brewers some higher up power decided to give him another chance.

This bizarre soap opera has got to end sooner or later. Then again, I was thinking the same thing last spring. It appears some things in Budland will never make sense.

Stay tuned...

CONSPIRACY McTHEORY

I have been victimized. You read me right. I have been taken advantage of by a huge fast food chain for the sole purpose of exploiting my dining habits for profit.

This is not about hamburgers, cheeseburgers or what goes in and/or on the hamburgers and cheeseburgers. Although that processed cheese crap scares the hell out of me.

No, this is about something much more serious, so much so that it could possibly bring with it the downfall of all of humanity. Or at least the male adult half that lives in my house.

I am a coke addict. Actually, that doesn't sound right. To be totally accurate, I am a diet Coke addict. And I blame McDonald's.

That's right. M-little C-D-O-N-A-L-D-apostrophe-S.

Call me crazy. Call me paranoid. Call me whatever you want. Just don't call me after 10pm. But I think they've put something in those soda fountains that is causing millions of unsuspecting fast food junkies (uh, like me) to order supersize drinks.

What exactly is in that syrup and carbonated water concoction? It certainly can't be something that comes from the Coca-Cola factories. That would be too obvious.

I think that there's a conspiracy afoot between every McDonald's to target me. That's right. Just me.

So it is with this information that I am doing what many a warped and twisted individual is doing in America right now.

I am going to sue McDonald's. And if the courts don't buy the diet Coke theory?

In that case I'll be forced to drive with a full unmarked cup of McDonald's coffee placed perilously between my thighs.

Stay tuned...

Monday, January 19, 2004

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


The news that the good folks in St. Louis have broken ground on their new stadium left me pining for some improvements to the ballpark in Toronto.

I'm not going to drift into some vicious rant tearing apart SkyDome. I will acknowledge that it's not a perfect stadium for baseball, but it is a good facility. It's clean, well run and delivers where it counts. The food could be better, but it also could be worse.

There is one significant thing the suits that run the self-proclaimed World's Greatest Entertainment Centre could give a true baseball fan:

REAL GRASS!

The dome is a multi-purpose facility, a dying breed to be sure. The Blue Jays are the main tenant, and as such, should assert themselves by trying to convince the boys upstairs that the real stuff is more conducive to baseball than a rug.

Is it more economical? Probably not. The other users of the facility -- concerts, trade shows and the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts -- would have to exit the premises. That is, at least during baseball season.

I say give the Jays carte blanche during ball season. Give the place the baseball accoutrements it deserves. Let's get some real grass, some good food and a little baseball tradition.

And maybe, just maybe, a paint job. All that concrete is an eyesore.

Once baseball season is over the stadium owners can rip up the grass and SkyDome can go back to being what it was designed to be -- a concrete money pit for the masses.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 18, 2004

SOURPUSS SUNDAY 6

Time for my weekly list of celebrities, intentional or otherwise, who do their damndest to ruffle feathers and boggle minds. All are easy targets. Some are mean, some are rude and some are just downright entertaining -- albeit in a strange "have you looked at yourself lately in a mirror" kind of way. Oh, and then there's the violent femme...

Here goes practically nothing:

CARMEN ELECTRA (Alleged Actress)
The former Baywatch babe won the rights to the web domain www.carmenelectra.com from a Canadian based cybersquatter. What makes her think she deserves it? Carmen Electra isn't even her real name. Mind you, her name isn't the only thing she's had enhanced.

JANE CARTER (Star of Fox Special, "When Exes Attack")
Mommy to pretty-boy teen idols Aaron and Nick went crazy and attacked her estranged husband's new girlfriend with a TV remote control. I'm deeply offended. That's no way to treat a remote.

LES MOONVES & DONALD TRUMP (Potential Odd Couple)
CBS TV chief Moonves and The Donald spent some time this week hurling insults at each other while maintaining how much they liked each other. If I didn't know any better I'd swear they were married.

ISIAH THOMAS (NBA Exec/President of Isiah Thomas Fan Club)
Mister Isiah started his rebuilding of the New York Knicks with the subtlety of a 9.0 earthquake. In the process, he treated ex-coach Don Chaney with less dignity than a stray mutt eating out of a garbage can. But I'm sure Spike Lee is happy. That's what's most important.

GEORGE LUCAS (Ultimate Space Cadet)
He's just here as filler. The guy hasn't made a good Star Wars flick in over 20 years. Somebody do us all a favour and stick this guy with a light saber before he can finish ruining Episode III.

Stay tuned...

THE DEATH CHANNEL

I've spent a little bit of time on this page bashing Jeff Zucker for his failures as the programming boss at NBC. For today's bit of wisdom, I humbly ask Mr. Zucker to kick back and take five. During the next few paragraphs I have removed the bullseye.

Oh, but where to put it. Les Moonves and CBS, come on down! You're the next contestant! Now how can I say this with some tact.

NO MORE F**KING CSI's?

So much for tact.

Read my keystrokes, Les. Enough already with the shows about live people and how they became dead people. One show is fine. Two is pushing it. Three is, ahem, overkill.

If I wanted to watch nothing but shows about the dead I'd glue my TV dial to Biography and load up on Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and the kid from Family Affair.

This recycling of programs is bordering on the insane. Do we really need three of the same show? Are the creators of CSI in some sort of grudge match with the gang making all those Law & Order spinoffs? Oh, sorry Jeff. I forgot it's not your turn.

Do we really need a CSI based in New York? Or how about Hackensack, New Jersey? Or Fargo, North Dakota? It's January, for crying out loud. The guy probably froze to death.

All this repetitive, watered down crap is killing my TV viewing experience. It's enough to make an absent-minded guy with a short attention span pick up a book, or a magazine, or a pamphlet, or somethin'.

Aw, nuts. All I've got is TV Guide.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 17, 2004

MOTOWN MADNESS

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


If there is any sanity left in the baseball world, then Ivan Rodriguez will fail his physical with the Detroit Tigers. The fact that I-Rod is even entertaining the thought of signing with the hapless Tigers should be a warning sign that this is not a fit man.

What in the world would he have to look forward to? The Detroiters are a mess. I know I'm stating the obvious (hellooooo, 119 losses). But when you go looking for new digs you do so in a neighbourhood with potential. Potential is a word sorely missing from the pages of the Detroit Tigers media guide.

Who's to blame? The manager? Nope. Short of drinking a magic potion and regressing in age there isn't much Alan Trammell can do. The owner? Maybe. The Red Wings are Mike Ilitch's favourite, while the Tigers seem to be the black sheep of the family. The general manager? DING-DING!

I need to restrain myself from constantly asking the question, "Whatever happened to Dave Dombrowski?" The pauper running the Tigers surely can't be the same boy genius who used to run the Expos. Nor is he the same savvy GM who took all the money Blockbuster Video would give him and bought a World Series for the fine folks in Miami.

Davey D's track record since coming aboard in Motown has been atrocious. This past off season did little to improve it. Rondell White, Fernando Vina and Jason Johnson (especially Jason Johnson) don't inspire me. At best they might be good for 10 wins between them.

And while signing Rodriguez seems like a good move, an all-star catcher is only as good as his pitching staff. Pudge's skill at calling a game, along with a solid bat, might be good for another 10 victories.

That still leaves the Tigers with a 99 loss season to look forward to, if you trust my crude math skills. All is not lost, however. Luckily for Dombrowski, there's always the train wrecks in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh to take the pressure off.

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 16, 2004

SUPER BOWL SHUN DAY

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are in a snit. It seems that one of their commercials has been rejected by CBS as unsuitable for showing during the Super Bowl.

Football lovers everywhere are sure to be pissed. Well, maybe not everywhere. Thousands in the midwest, to be certain. Well, maybe not thousands. It's probably only a few hundred people. Umm, actually it's only a small bunch of fake fur-wearing vegetarian socialists who probably think that big, smelly men make far too much money chasing a ball that won't even roll in a straight line.

I can definitely see why CBS said nada. The commercial in question has two hot gals trying to get it on with a pizza delivery man who, ahem, can't get a handle on his sausage. The punch line of the ad is that eating too much meat will leave you with a limp noodle.

Makers of pepperoni and spaghetti products are sure to be unamused. This is also highly offensive to hormonal men, meat eaters and hot women who have a thing for pizza delivery guys. No wonder they won't let it air.

PETA is well known for their print ads that have some nearly naked celebrity opining that they would "rather go naked than wear fur." If PETA had any brains at all they would stick to what they know.

After all, flashing some skin would be a much more effective way to get the attention of the hormonal, pizza eating, football watching Neanderthal.

Stay tuned...

OUT OF THIS WORLD

Score one for NASA.

Spirit has made it off its lander and onto the martian soil. Today was definitely a NASA day for this Canadian space freak. Although with the Mars-like temperatures outside, I think a Nassau day might have been a better choice. But enough about my hypothermia.

All in all it's been a good week for the American space program -- and it couldn't have come at a better time. Americans could use a little bit of good news, with the constant "glass is half empty" onslaught of violence in Iraq peppering news services all over the States.

Space is as good a diversion as you're going to find. And if you're going to get away from it all, you might as well go as far as you can. Since Star Trek is still just a silly sci-fi show and not reality (EXTRA! Shatner says "GET A LIFE"), a relatively close but still far enough Mars will do nicely.

This success, coupled with George Dubya's timely announcement that America is making plans for the moon and beyond, more or less puts the bloom back on NASA's rose. And while it's still far too early to plan a flag planting on the lunar surface, it's hope for the future that shifts the glass back to half full.

It sort of makes a guy feel all warm and fuzzy inside. At least until it's time to go outside and shovel the driveway. Brrrrrrr...

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

LAST CALL

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


I am wrestling with a notion.

This is the last year for the Montreal Expos in Montreal. Or so some anonymous someone says. Sure, we've heard this before. The last two years were the last years in Montreal for the Expos, but like a persistent roach infestation, they just keep on coming back. Sooner or later Bud Selig will find the right exterminator.

It is because of this that I am considering a road trip. I've never seen a game at Olympic Stadium, despite the fact that it is only a few hours away and I don't have to submit to a body cavity search at an international border.

I've only been to a few major league parks. Outside of SkyDome, which is a half hour away, I have also been to Comerica and the soon-to-be imploded Veterans Stadium.

But Olympic Stadium holds some interest for me. I would like to see, first hand, what all the fuss wasn't about. I want to see the retractable roof that won't retract. I want to see the concrete exterior that on at least one occasion has crumbled (thankfully, without killing). I want to see the artificial turf that is harder than a month old donut. If only so I can say that I have seen it -- before it went.

Besides, without Vladimir Guerrero in right field, I kind of feel sorry for the Expos. They can use all the support they can get.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

GAME, SET, SCRATCH

It's mid-January here in Canada (I'm stating the obvious because my brain is frozen). That means ice, snow, hockey, and ice hockey outdoors with the chance of snow. It is also a time to reflect on the possibilities of warmer climates and the goings-on in places where the mercury doesn't shiver.

The beginning of the new year brings with it the promise of new sporting events. In Australia, which qualifies as one of the previously mentioned warmer climes, it is when the hype surrounding the Australian Open tennis tournament starts to simmer. Of course what passes for simmering in blazing hot Australia is not something I'm in a rush to experience, no matter how much snow piles up in front of my window.

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Tennis. This year's Australian Open will be a mixed affair, and I'm not talking about the doubles competition. The men's draw will have the usual suspects -- Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Leyton Hewitt, a bunch of Europeans whose names I can't remember but always win on clay and Greg Rusedski. There's no word on whether Rusedski's pharmacist will be there.

In any case, the men's draw is likely to be a spirited affair with lots of long rallies and gallons of bottled water, Gatorade and Foster's to be consumed. The women's draw is another matter, entirely.

One could even ask just where the women's draw is? Tournament organizers must be scratching their heads down below the scalp. The hair was probably pulled out weeks ago. Just about every top women's player in the world is out with some injury or another.

Serena Williams, Jelena Dokic, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and Mary Pierce are banged up and have been scratched. Kim Clijsters is a definite maybe. This is not good for ticket sales, unless one is selling tickets for the local surgery.

It's likely to make for some ugly tennis on the women's side. Except for when Anna Kournikova takes on Daniela Hantuchova.

If that happens, the guys in the stands won't see anything ugly. They're not likely to care about the tennis, either.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

SEATTLE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

It's never easy to euthanize something you love. Especially something that has been around for so long. But yesterday NBC entertainment czar Jeff Zucker, who I'm sure has seen better years, officially set the execution date for Kelsey Grammar's Frasier Crane. After one final hour in May, Dr. Crane will no longer be listening.

It is by no means an unexpected announcement. The show is finishing its eleventh season, a testament to fine actors and well developed characters. Frasier's quality has wavered a bit in recent years, but the return of original writers Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan seems to have restored its zip.

But the cost of keeping the show on the air for a twelth season would seem to be too much for NBC to bear. At over $5 million dollars an episode, NBC can hardly be criticized for saying nada to another year.

With Friends also ending this year, a huge hole is developing in the sitcom stable of once-powerful NBC. There is very little, outside of Will & Grace and perhaps Scrubs, to pick up the pieces for the peacock network.

A Friends spinoff starring Matt LeBlanc's Joey Tribbiani will try to emulate Frasier's secondary success, but the jury is not only out on that one, it hasn't even been assembled yet.

All in all it should make for an interesting fall season for NBC. For Jeff Zucker's sake, Joey Tribbiani had better have broad shoulders.

Stay tuned...

Monday, January 12, 2004

ROCKET RELAUNCH

Originally posted at Diamond Daze


I detest Roger Clemens. He is vain, arrogant and generally a pain in the ass. I think he loves himself more than he loves the rest of the human race combined.

But I love to watch the man pitch.

So upon hearing that he had signed a one-year deal to pitch with his hometown Houston Astros all I could do was rejoice. I get to see him pitch one more year. I get to hate him one more year. The best of both worlds, to be sure.

What exactly can we expect from Mike Piazza's personal spearchucker? This is a different scenario for a fireballer with 310 wins. That's 310 American League wins. Earning them in the National League will be harder. Clemens is not the worst hitting pitcher there is, but he's no Kerry Wood. Astros' manager Jimy Williams will no doubt have to deal with the temptation to take Clemens out in close late-inning situations when a better stick is available. Williams will handle this just fine. But how will the Rocket react?

The man is a competitor. There is little doubt that he will burn a time or two upon being taken out earlier than he would have liked. Some fires are just harder to put out.

It might be a good idea to keep the Minute Maid Park roof open when Clemens pitches, regardless of the weather. The air is sure to get thick in there.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 11, 2004

SOURPUSS SUNDAY 5

Cooperstown elected its newest members this week. And Pete Rose was nowhere to be found. Oh, wait. What am I talking about? The S.O.B. was everywhere, shoving his new book down our throats. I don't have a problem with putting him in the baseball Hall of Fame, but he better go into the Hall of Shame on the same day. What a Dumbass!

Anyway, I've said enough about Pete Rose. Here's this week's schmucks:

PETE ROSE (Sure Bet/Hall of Fame Party Pooper)
Okay, I lied. He'll probably spend the next fifteen years claiming the timing of his book release was a coincidence.

DR. GIL LEDERMAN (Cancer Specialist/Ex-Beatle Fan Club Member)
George Harrison's family is trying to reclaim a guitar that Lederman manipulated a frail and dying Harrison into signing. Even Pete Rose isn't that despicable. I can think of a better place to put it -- bend over, Doc.

MIKE MARTZ (Rams Coach/Possibly-Soon-To-Be-Ex-Rams-Coach)
Mikey played it safe in the final moments of regulation, killing the clock and taking the safe field goal. The Gambler he is not. That would be Pete Rose.

GREG RUSEDSKI (Multi-countried Tennis Pro/Drug Test Flunky)
Oh, poor Pete. Er, um, GREG! I said Greg! Raked over the coals in Canada after he deserted his homeland because he suffered from a case of instant Brit (with matching instant accent), he now has to deal with a failed drug test. Poor, poor Greg...

ELECIA BATTLE (Ohio's Most Famous Phantom Lottery Player)
Dropped her purse, indeed. It turns out she's a bigger liar than Pete Rose.

Aw, hell. I give up.

Stay tuned...

YESTERDAY'S HERO

It's gotta suck to be Kurt Warner. A two-time National Football League Most Valuable Player who lost his job earlier this season, he stood patiently on the sidelines today while former backup Marc Bulger ran the show against the Carolina Panthers.

The Rams lost in overtime, bringing a bitter end to a once promising season. Warner spent the entire game as a spectator, having carved out a niche he wants no part of. Watching helplessly while the Rams lost a game they had several chances to win must surely have caused him to burn inside.

It was likely his last game wearing a Rams uniform. If so, it would be a sombre end to his tenure in the Gateway city. A rags-to-riches story of the largest kind, Warner used to bag groceries before hitting the slightly bigger time in arena football.

Then he made the show, making an explosive impact that was mind-boggling. To say things are no longer the same for Warner would be a huge understatement. He is an ex-hero longing for another shot at glory. He is well paid, but as someone wise once said, "money only solves money problems."

One Super Bowl title, a near miss and two MVP's will not buy happiness on the sidelines. Warner wants to play. If he won't say it, just ask his wife. Love her or hate her, Brenda Warner speaks the gospel where her hubby is concerned. However, any comparisons to Yoko Ono would be inaccurate.

At least John Lennon got to play.

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 09, 2004

THE FORBIDDEN SMILE

People nowadays spend a great deal of time walking around on egg shells. Every day we face fears of terrorism, SARS, mad cow, urban gun play and other assorted threats that cause the night time bed covers to be rammed under the chin.

We used to laugh at paranoid people, but not any longer. In today's society we chastise the non-paranoid. And we get angry. People with short fuses are running amok. It takes very little to bring the anger to a simmering boil. Emotion is giving logic a sound thrashing.

Take the security of air travel, for example. It is a given that in today's world, where every airliner is a potential weapon, a passport is a necessity. If you don't have one at the airport, not only are you not getting on the plane but you are likely going to play twenty questions with surly security personnel who have factory installed chips on their shoulders.

The passport photos are another matter. Apparently you are not allowed to smile in your photo. You have to look bored or the photo will not pass inspection.

So basically what we have are millions of people converging on airports all over the continent, carrying government sanctioned identification with a photo that looks like they just broke out of Alcatraz. Hardly logical.

That, ladies and gentleman, is irony at its best. It sort of puts the whole egg shell thing in perspective, doesn't it?

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 08, 2004

HAIL TO THE CHIEFS

Dick Vermeil is not alone. Thanks to Joe Gibbs and his sudden return to the land of the Hogs, Vermeil can no longer solely hold the title of current formerly retired old fart who came back to be head coach of a National Football League team.

That's a helluva long title. The NFL should take that to a specialist and have it shortened. In any case, it got me thinking about old coaches/managers/tyrants who have been away from their respective games for too long and should also make comebacks. Hence, the following list, in no special order:

JACQUES DEMERS (Blues, Red Wings, Canadiens)
A great colour commentator who was just as colourful as a coach. He once coached the Indianapolis Racers of the old World Hockey Association. With the WHA2 starting up next year, well, who knows...

KEVIN KENNEDY (Rangers, Red Sox)
Kennedy is a lot like Bobby Valentine -- both think they know a lot about baseball. The big difference is that Kennedy actually does know a lot about baseball.

MIKE KEENAN (Flyers, Blackhawks, Rangers, Blues, Canucks, Bruins, Panthers)
Iron Mike hasn't been behind a bench for months. That's a long time for him.

ART SHELL (Raiders)
This guy did a great job in the early 90's and yet nobody will give him a second chance. I hope his being black has nothing to do with it.

DAVEY JOHNSON (Mets, Reds, Orioles, Dodgers)
He got the, ahem, bum's rush from the Dodgers even though they improved significantly in his second year at the helm.

MIKE DITKA (Bears, Saints)
Wasn't the NFL more fun with Mike on the sidelines?

CITO GASTON (Blue Jays)
See Art Shell.

SAM WYCHE (Bengals, Buccaneers)
A successful NFL coach, with Cincinnati at least. He was also a great quote with the press. He's not quite as interesting now that he is the press.

REGGIE DUNLOP (Chiefs)
You know, the Charlestown Chiefs of the Federal League. Slap Shot 2 just wasn't the same without him.

Stay tuned...

ALL THE DEBT YOU CAN EAT

You see them in just about every major department store you enter. They have become the accidental sentinels of the 21st century -- posted at the front of their establishments, armed to the teeth and awaiting their prey.

They are the evil credit card peddlers. Well, maybe not evil. In any case I think it's laughable in this age of buy now/pay later that stores feel the need to push the damn things on everyone who comes in.

This puts me in a questioning mood:

Do they think we don't have any money? Okay, that was a stupid question.

Do they think we all don't have tons of credit cards already? Getting better.

Do they think we enjoy the interaction with their low paid vultures? Apparently they do.

I, for one, do not. I hate the peddlers with just about every fibre in my ever-expanding body. My philosophy has always been that I will ask for it if I want it. I don't mind salespeople because they are there to sell the product. The product is what I came for, not debt for life. If I wanted terminal debt I'd get divorced twice a year.

It's a little similar to my beef with telemarketers. At least at home I can avoid answering the phone (hooray for call display). In the stores I have to play running back and sprint for the sidelines. I suppose I could just avoid shopping in the places that support this practice. However, this philosophy would give me less to complain about, and that just wouldn't do.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

A STAY OF EXECUTION

I have fought a long hard battle and I am victorious. The fact that this has been posted is evidence that I am smarter than my computer -- I think.

I decided today to do a little monkeying around with the way my computer was set up. BIG MISTAKE! As I said in an earlier rant, dynamite is best left in the hands of experts. Today my computer blew up in my face.

Because of the inadequacy of the link between my brain and my hands I had to reinstall my operating system. It is a simple process whereby I put disk 1 in when I am told to, followed by disk 2, etc, etc, etc...

Computers are quite rude actually. It makes me wonder whether the evil geniuses who program these things are to be trusted. I'm currently plotting my revenge against Bill Gates and his minions for the little game of find the driver that I had to play.

I spent several hours working on my blood pressure and trying to think of how I was going to dispose of a mangled motherboard. It was a long and tiring battle, but it's now over. My computer is working and I have to go put the sledgehammer back in the garage.

I am, however, comforted by the knowledge that the sledgehammer is there if I need it.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

OOPS, SHE DID IT AGAIN

This is simply too hard to resist writing about. I'm going to say it, and I'm going to say it loud:

BRITNEY SPEARS IS AN IDIOT!!!!!!!

I will probably spend half the night wondering whether seven exclamation points are enough, but I don't think that scale has been created -- yet. But it really doesn't matter. All the moronic hoopla surrounding the silent miked one is a big enough measurement all on its own.

I mean, really. Which way are you gonna have it, girl? On the one hand she has reps saying she wasn't drunk. On the other hand SHE GOT MARRIED!!!!!!! Sorry, that slipped.

Walking down the aisle is not something one does just to kill time while waiting for a hangover to kick in. If that were the case the clocks would have stopped moving permanently at Liz Taylor's house. But that's another idiot for another day.

As for an annulment, a divorce would be a more appropriate ending. That way Alexander Jason or Jason Alexander (or whatever the hell his name is) can sue for half of any money she earned between Saturday and Monday. That means half of any music (giggle) royalties and half of whatever the pair made from (probably) leaking this asinine story to the tabloid press.

And if they can't decide who should get it? They can send me a money order. I'll give that cash a good home.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 04, 2004

SOURPUSS SUNDAY 4

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. If I had any musical talent at all that might be a song title. Boy, are you guys lucky.

Here's this week's funny but not-so-much-fun individuals. Drumroll please:

MICHAEL JACKSON, again (Shoulder-er of Loads of Bull)
According to Jacko he had a difficult time during his stay at the Crow Bar Hotel. Maybe next time he'll try the Holiday Inn.

DAVID WELLS (Major League Lump)
Let's face it, Boomer's always pissed about something. He'll be pitching at home in San Diego in 2004, which might actually put a smile on that ugly mug of his. I'm gonna miss that surly SOB.

ALEX LIFESON (Musician with Pugilistic Tendencies)
The guitarist for Canadian prog-rockers Rush got into a scrap with Florida cops on New Year's Eve. Sorta gives new meaning to the term "roll the bones."

VINCENT LECAVALIER (Occasional Hockey Star/Regular Manchild)
This guy was once called the "next Mario Lemieux" by a former Tampa Bay Lightning owner. Funny, I don't remember Mario ever being an unproductive, pouty, spoiled brat.

BRITNEY SPEARS/CHRISTINA AGUILERA (Ex-Mouseketeers/Wannabe Skanks)
What the hell is wrong with these two? Why can't they just kiss Madonna and make up?

ANY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE NOT NAMED HOWARD DEAN (Um, yeah)
Maybe Vince McMahon should sanction a battle royale to settle this thing.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 03, 2004

SEQUELITIS 3 (AKA IF MANNEQUIN GOT A SEQUEL, THEN SO SHOULD...)

Here it is. My sequel to my sequel on sequels (excuse me while I untangle my tongue). This is a partial list of movies that I think deserve another chapter.

In no particular order:

THE ITALIAN JOB (Original) -- What's not to like about the classic Mini Cooper. Besides, the ending of this movie leaves you hanging like you wouldn't believe. No movie ever screamed "sequel" louder than this one.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND -- Come on, Spielberg. Tell us what happened after the spaceship took off.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA -- Kurt Russell owns the screen as reluctant action hero Jack Burton. All the chewed scenery is evidence that this flick has teeth.

ARMY OF DARKNESS -- Maybe once Sam Raimi is done with that silly spider dude he can get around to making Evil Dead IV. Okay, everybody chant: We Want Ash! We Want Ash!

BEVERLY HILLS COP 3 -- We want Axel! We want Axel! A fourth BHC, in the right hands, would be a blast. It might also salvage Eddie Murphy's movie career, which is sinking faster than the Titanic.

STAR TREK: NEMESIS -- Okay, I know it basically sucked. But even Shatner and co. got one more shot after their turkey.

MIDNIGHT RUN -- It would be great to see Robert De Niro's Jack Walsh brought back to the screen for another go. This movie might have been sequel bound if it wasn't clobbered at the box office by Die Hard.

TRUE LIES -- The first go around with secret agent Harry Tasker was a gas. Not to mention the fact that if Tom Arnold is entertaining in a movie then it must be good. Of course, this will never get made now that the Guv is too busy for the big screen.

BEETLEJUICE -- Tim Burton's twisted imagination coupled with Michael Keaton's off the wall and/or on the ceiling performance left me begging for more. It's sixteen years later and I'm still on my knees.

INDIANA JONES -- I know, it's coming. But I can't wait...

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 02, 2004

WINNING THE STUPID BOWL

I'm a big fan of the National Football League. It doesn't rank up there with my love for baseball, but it's a fairly close second. I don't have a lot of chances to watch it due to conflicts with my work schedule, but you can bet your backside that I spend a great deal of time reading up on the aftermath. On the computer or in the newspaper, I'm not fussy.

College football I have a less enjoyable time with, mostly due to its system of naming a champion. The champion of NCAA football is the only major sports title (that I know of, at least) that is based on a popularity contest. For those of you who follow it, you know what I'm talking about.

For the uninitiated, I will explain. These kids knock themselves out for four months (not including training camp) so that they can play in a Bowl game on or around New Year's Day. None of these Bowl games is a de facto championship, although sometimes the top two ranked teams get to play it out. The champion is named through a poll. That's right. The national champion is voted in.

You can call me a cynic, but I don't think that some half-assed election is any way to decide a winner. That is, unless you're running for President and watching the polls in Florida.

College football needs a proper tournament to decide a winner. You wanna take a poll? Fine, use it to determine seeds for a four week playoff. Pick the top eight and then let 'em rip.

Just don't let stupidity reign. There's already enough of that in the baseball commissioner's office to cover the entire sporting world.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 01, 2004

OFF WITH MY HEAD!

New Year's day is quite obviously the first day of the year. It is also a day of many other firsts. It is the first day that New Year's resolutions are upheld, and also the first day when a great many are broken. It is first day of the year when most people will write down the date and be off by a full 365 days. For many people it is the day when the first major headache of the year occurs. Of course, for most of us it is due to the previous night's over-indulgence of some beverage or another. Not that anyone would admit this out loud.

Except for me, that is. I woke up this morning with the headache from hell. It had to be from down south because my head was searing hot and it felt like some strange entity was jamming a pitchfork in my temples every few moments or so. What makes this headache so intriguing is the fact that my total comsumption of potential mind-altering chemicals consisted of one beer and half a glass of champagne. Geez, what a party animal.

This leaves me with something of a riddle. What was the exact cause of this headache? Was it the two dozen shrimp I ate? Was it due to some out of key renditions of Auld Lang Syne? Did I flip the wrong channel and inadvertantly see Dick Clark naked? Shudder. I dunno.

What to do about it is an even bigger mystery. Should I go out to the local drug store and pump myself full of chemicals that will eliminate my headache but cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, impotence or worse? That would be a viable option, except that New Year's Day to drug stores is probably comparable to Boxing Day to other establishments. I don't fancy myself the type to wait in line and fight through crowds just for a couple of lousy Tylenol.

No, that's not the answer. And since I no longer own a guillotine I guess I'll just sit, suffer and work on my New Year's resolutions. No more shrimp, no more singing and no more reruns of American frickin' Bandstand...

Stay tuned...