Saturday, February 27

MSM is coming around.

Nice try from Yahoo's Dan Wetzel in which he wonders aloud why figure skating is considered a sport. Huzzah to Dan for finally trying to disabuse people of the notion that the sole criterion for whether or not something is a Sport is that the activity be difficult. Unfortunately, even the esteemed Mr. Wetzel has yet to fully appreciate what it takes for an activity to become a sport.

"A sport requires a quantifiable way to determine a winner and a loser. There can be no debate about the scoring system."
This is much to simplistic and insults Sports everywhere. By Mr. Wetzel's definition, many activities unworthy of the appellation would be included under the Aegis of Sport, including chess, and Supermarket Sweep. This is clownshoes. Both activities require skill (of a sort), neither are Sports. There are specific Rules an activity must abide by to earn the title of Sport (unfortunately, the link is down, so you'll have to take my word for it).

Ezra reiterates what he's said before, it's called the Olympic Games for a reason, as only a handful of competitions rise the the level of Sports. The Winter Olympics have only one Sport. The rest are interesting dog-and-pony shows. However, let us not forget about the women. Oh no, we must remember (to ogle) the women.

Be that as it may, it is refreshing to see that not only is someone paying attention to Ezra (Dan, you read this, right?), they are using their national column to attempt to teach the masses. Baby steps to the mountaintop.

Tuesday, January 26

True Stories

The missus and I had a rare night out on the town last Saturday. We happened across a trendy new bar downtown where the bartenders were exceedingly hot, the drinks expensive, and the bouncers big and black. What struck me about the bouncers was not the fact that they were black, and it wasn't that they were big. What struck me was that they looked like teddy bears. Seriously, the place was "guarded" by Anthony Anderson and Jerome. I like Anthony Anderson. I celebrate his entire catalog. In fact, it'd be quite fun to shoot the shit with him over a couple beers. And don't you ever say an unkind word about The Time! But, man, those dudes just ain't scary. Same thing with these bouncers.

I don't blame the bouncers for their cuddliness. They're probably some poor schleps, like me, trying to hold down a job, in these tough times. I'm not going to begrudge a man who's trying to get his. No, the blame, such as it is, lies with the douchebag who thinks that, just because he's hired ten big, black men to police his joint, the masses would be too terrified to start some shit.

If I didn't suffer from a chronic case of pacifism, Anthony Anderson and Jerome would not dissuade me from starting some shit. You know who would? Ving Rhames. That's one bad lookin' motherfucker!

True story: spanky and I were tooling around Vancouver some time around the turn of the century. After asking around for the best strip club, we ended up at Number Five Orange. There was no one at the door so we moseyed on in like we were regulars. We found an optimally situated booth with a good view of the entire stage, and were enjoying the sights, as it were. (It could be rose-colored hindsight glasses, but I remember the women there to be prettydamn hot.) A waitress waltzed by to let us know that she'd be right back to take our order. We watched her depart as Ving Rhames (did you know he's Canadian?) appeared out of nowhere, demanding to see some ID. He didn't talk loud but he was all business. His looming figure made it known that he could wipe the floor with our scrawny asses if he were so inclined. Dear god, I almost wet my pants, and not in the way I was planning. Ving Rhames is a big black man who instills fear.

I wish I had an interesting conclusion to this true story. Ving Rhames removed himself from our table after verifying that we were old enough to partake in the fun. I don't recall seeing him again that night. But we did learn a valuable lesson that night:

Don't talk to the stripper until after the lap dance.

Friday, December 4

Semi-annual World Cup Post

On the off-chance that you've been hiding under a rock all day (or generally oblivious), know that the 2010 World Cup Draw occurred today. The US got a favorable draw, being placed in Group C, along with England, Algeria, and Slovenia. Barring an outright catastrophe, the US should advance to the knock-out stage. So . . . I guess that's good. (If you're actually interested in some analysis by people who care more about it than I do, click here or here.)

Actually, I'm pretty fuckin' excited. I get entranced by World Cup soccer, and it's nice to know that the US has a competitive team. Some of my best memories of 2002, where staying up all night, every night, for an entire month, watching the games at area bars. Good times.

What's infuriating, is that Mexico, which is full of dirty Mexicans, and France, which is full of unbathed frogs, are in Group A, the weakest of the eight groups. This means that there's a good chance that both teams will advance to the knock-out stage, which sucks because, well, frankly, both teams are on my Most Hated Nation list (#'s 2 and 4, respectively, along with #1 Argentina and #3 Italy) . I want nothing good to happen to either of these teams.

Hate is required to get one through the long slog of a baseball season, but it's an unfortunate feeling to have during the quadrennial soccer tournament. I plan on watching as much of the greatest spectacle in sports as possible, even at the expense of work and kids. And when Mexico plays France on June 16th? Maybe it will end like this:

One can hope, eh?

Saturday, November 14

The Actual Best TV Dramas of the 00's

One of my favorite winter traditions, as a baseball fan, is the annual offseason argument over the Hall of Fame voting. Now that the decade is coming to to an end, The Onion AV Club has rolled out its own sort of Televisual Hall of Fame: its list of The Best TV Series of the '00s.

Unfortunately, their list is painfully gay—and not in the good way. They include some stupid shows, leave off some great ones, and skew the order of the ones we agree upon. Worst of all, they throw comedy and drama into one big stew, which is dumber than a Blue Collar Comedy tour. Here, then is a corrected version of...

The Best TV Drama Series of the '00s

  1. The West Wing - The Aaron Sorkin seasons 1-4 were the Michael Jordan (pre-first-retirement) of television. Nothing before or since has approached it. Post-Sorkin West Wing was like Jordan with the Wizards: above average, with flashes of greatness, but it's best not to remember them that way.
  2. Firefly - One of the recurring Hall of Fame debates is over the relative weight given to Career vs Peak value in assessing a player's overall merits. With only 14 episodes, Firefly is the Sandy Koufax of this list, the pinnacle of Peak achievement. Firefly's ass-candle burned out quickly, but it also burned so very, very brightly. Almost every single episode is amazing.
  3. The Shield - I watch TV primarily to be entertained, and while I appreciate the gritty verisimilitude and other artistic merits of a show like The Wire, The Shield is the cop drama that will always kick its ass in the playground of my fond memories. Vic Mackie is the greatest antihero in television history, and everything about his epic journey was thoroughly Shakespearean.
  4. Deadwood - Speaking of Shakespearean, David Milch's poetically profane dialogue may be our closest modern analogue. Happily, that artsy-fartsy wordcraft was layered on top of a fascinating backdrop and compelling cast of drunken cocksuckers.
  5. Lost - I still don't know what the fuck is going on, but every week I'm always eager as hell to learn what happens next.
  6. Rome - I think my favorite moment in TV history was when Vorenus jumped into the gladiator arena to rescue Pullo. "THIIIRRRTEEEEN!!!" I actually leapt up off the couch and gave a fist pump.
  7. The Sopranos - I'm rating it this high largely on the strength of its first two seasons, which I thought were nearly flawless, before it meandered unevenly to its finish.
  8. Mad Men - May drop a slot or four if Don Draper ends up having a Teachable Moment instead of remaining a cold-hearted bastard to the end.
  9. Friday Night Lights - Probably #2 on this list (behind The West Wing) for total number of moments where "the room just got awful dusty."
  10. Breaking Bad - Ranking it this high after only two seasons might be premature, but they've been an amazing two seasons.
  11. The Wire - By far my favorite part: The Rise and Fall of Stringer Bell. Didn't feel quite as compelling after he was gone.
  12. Burn Notice - Goofily badass, densely plotted, and irreverently fun, like a faster-paced Magnum PI (in Miami instead of Hawaii, and the 00's instead of the 80's).
  13. Buffy / Angel - These two Whedon shows were sometimes drenched in a little too much estrogen, especially Buffy, but the dialogue and stories were always clever—and boy howdy were the chicks hot as shit. Both shows could be dark as hell, too, with incredibly memorable villains.
  14. Sons of Anarchy - As with Breaking Bad, I might be getting a little bit ahead of myself by rating it this high before the second season is even over. Still, the second season has been pretty breathtaking...
  15. House - Epitomizing the "Career" style HoF achievement, House is the Eddie Murray of the list: while never the best, it has remained consistently excellent over an impressively long period of time. I can only think of one really outstanding individual episode -- the "Three Stories" ep in which we learn why House is injured -- but I look forward to the show every single week, and it rarely fails to entertain me.
  16. Dexter - A serial killer as a sympathetic protagonist. Good times.
  17. Skins - So the AV Club hipsters want to be snooty and include a highly regarded BBC series? Well TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME. (I really do love this show, especially the heartbreaking first season - sorry, "series.")
  18. Six Feet Under - Fantastic show but wildly uneven, with a huge drop-off in quality after the second season. But the final episode might be the greatest finale in TV history.
  19. Life - Didn't last long, but it was fun while it lasted.
  20. Battlestar Galactica - I liked it, mostly, but one tremendously irritating problem dropped it way down on this list: from the very beginning, the intro to every single show promised us that "they have a plan." It soon became abundantly clear that neither the Cylons nor their team of writers did, in fact, have anything resembling a plan. I felt like the show's directionless narrative bumbling ruined huge parts of the series. Also, the ending was a special brand of megatarded; a wildly implausible, scientifically illiterate steaming turd.
  21. Rescue Me - The last few seasons have been lazy and self-indulgent to the point where I'm finding it hard to remember its better days, but it did have them. Fresh and fun in its first few seasons.
  22. 24 - While it's recently become totally unwatchable, the first several seasons were various degrees of amazing.

I watched both Veronica Mars and Big Love, which are on the AV Club list, and I admit that I enjoyed them at times. But they don't make my All-Time list because I have testicles.

Did I miss anything?

UPDATE: Yes, I did! Added Rome, Life, Rescue Me, and 24, made some minor edits.

Wednesday, October 28

Fuck the Yankees, 2009 Edition

I'm deeply ambivalent about such a mediocre team as Philadelphia getting a second straight World Series title, but look at the alternative:

"It's been six years since the Yanks have played in the World Series," Pettitte said during Tuesday's interview sessions, "but it seems like an eternity."

Six. Years. You know what else feels like an eternity? An actual eternity, which is how long the Mariners have gone since their last World Series appearance. Please go fuck yourself with a rake, Andy Pettitte.