Monday, December 31, 2007

To The Makers Of The Golden Compass - Chicken!

I finally have some time off for the next couple of days until I return to school and basically have no time for anything. So for the last couple of days I actually caught up on world events (still the same, all fucked up), sports (I'm pretty excited about the bowl season, had time to argue with John-O, which was fun) and movies (haven't seen an inside of a theater in almost 6 months). But when I heard about the Golden Compass and I never realized what the big hububalooo was about. I guess the whole story was written by an atheist whereas the bad guys are Christian and god is an alien pretending to be divine and the earth would be a lot more fun if faith disappeared. As a Christian I wasn't offended because this is a free world, write what you want to write, I have the freedom to ignore it if I want. Besides, I thought Passion of the Christ was one of the worst movies of that year (I can't remember which). But when I read a review of it from Greg Easterbrook I guess the makers of the movie left the entire anti-religion context out of the movie. If your going to make the movie at least be true to the book, go all out. Not surprisingly the movie basically bombed at the box office.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

End Of The Year Awards

Since we are at the end of this wonderful 2007 I'll give out some worthless awards......

In Your Face! Award

Colts defeating the Pats in the AFC title game and then going on to win it all. But the Pats come back, like the worse bad guy in a shitty movie.

Best Celebrity Meltdown

Ike Turner, you know, because he died and was cremated. Too soon? Oh, he was buried. That joke didn't work.

Worst Sports Announcer Of The Year Award

Bryant Gumbel. Actually worse sports announcer ever. At least Harry Carey had the excuse of being drunk.

Most Unbelievable Sell Out Award

Perry Farrell, for showing up at the beginning of the ABC sports games dressed in gold and singing about the upcoming games. Jesus Christ Farrell, gone are the days of Janes Addiction.

Best Movie Of 2007

Eastern Promises. This is by default since this is the only good movie I've seen all year, all two of them that I've seen.

Best Album of 2007

Rush - Snakes and Arrows. Duh.

Worse Teammate of the Year Award

Hope Solo of the U.S. womens soccer team calling out her coach and basically telling her teammate goal keeper that she's old and sucks.

Best TV Show of 2007

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. My wife keeps telling me I'm going to hell for watching this show, I agree.

Worse Commercials of the Year

Those commercials where those douchebags with Coors Light are asking a bunch of unemployed NFL coaches lame ass questions.

Worse TV Personnel Move of the Year

Bringing Keith Olbermann to Football Night In America. He's too far removed from the glory days of ESPN, he now just comes off as a liberal douche bag more than anything now.

Comeback of the Year Award

Colorado Rockies. Unfortunately that feel good story ended with those royal a-holes the Boston Red Sox.

Best Sports Team Meltdown of the Year Award

New York Mets. Losing almost every game down the stretch was just unreal and painful to watch.

Douchebag Liberal Award

Sean Penn. Accusing the president of being a dictator then supporting a known dictator. Not smart Spicoli.

Douchebag Conservative Award

James Dobson. Look it up, he's a douchebag.

Worse Computer Idea

Windows Vista. This, my friends, is why I am now a Mac user.

Worse Sports Journalist of 2007

Jemile Hill. If there was ever a time you could say that political correctness and affirmative action has run amok, just look to Jemile. Plays the race card so much that even Spike Lee told her to chill out. Ripped Andy Pettite for taking HGH but defends Barry Bonds at every turn. Has the worse sports takes that she makes me forget that Jay Mariotti exists. Hell, she even makes me forget Bill Simmons exists.


Julia Carson. I'm not big with her politics but I was impressed with the speech she gave at my graduation. I talked to her afterwards and she came off as a genuine, sincere and very nice.

Best Sports Feel Good Story of the Year

IU football. Getting to a bowl game for the first time in a long time after their coach died.

Worse Movie Of 2007 Without Me Actually Seeing It Award

Toss up, Redacted or Rendition? Naw, Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Hypocrite of the Year Award

Al Gore. I've covered this extensively. When the president that is considered the worse environmental president of all time has done more than you? Yeah, not good.

Worse George Bush Speech of 2007

Pretty much all of them. I seriously can't get through any of his speeches, just like I can't with Al Gore.

Biggest Sign of the Apocolypse for 2007

The presidential election of 2008.

Biggest Sign of the Apocolyse for 2007 Part II

Colts win the Super Bowl.

Pretentious Artist of the Year Award

Jake Gylenhall.

Biggest Global Warming Prediction Bust of 2007

Hurricanes will be bigger, more destructive and there will be more of them. Whoops. 1 landfall in the U.S. in two years.

You Should Have Just Stayed Retired Award

Jane Fonda. Georgia rules, and blows.

Fat Man of the Year Award

Mark Mangino - Kansas Jayhawk football coach. This guy is so fat that even with his shirt off he can put his hands in his pockets.

Worse Impersonation of a Professional Football Team Award

Miami Dolphins. Damn Ravens, we could have 0-16 and 16-0 teams this year. This has got to be the worse team since 1980.

WTF? Award for the NFL

Randy Moss and Terrel Owens kept their mouths shut and are role models in the locker room. That just doesn't feel right.

WTF? Award for College Football

Over 30 players on the Florida State football team were suspended for the upcoming bowl game. I guess the boys will be boys excuse didn't work this time.

Creepiest Bad Guy in Movies Award

Javier Bardem. I haven't seen the movie yet but the dude is totally creepy as a hit man.

That's all I can think of...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Perfect Season or Perfect Douchebaggery?

I have been busier than a one legged cat trying to cover up it's own crap on a marble floor so I had to catch up with what everyone has been saying on the ol' blogs. John-O mentioned how the Pats are having a hell of a season and we should all just enjoy some good football. He took the high road, I'll be taking the lowest of low roads to explain why I seriously hate the Patriots and pretty much every team in Boston. If anyone has noticed, I'm pretty much in the third rung of sports hell right now, the Sawx won the series, The Celtics are winning at a record clip and the Pats are going to have a perfect season. It's as if I got down on my knees last year and prayed to god, Buddha, Allah and Elvis during halftime of the Colts Pats playoff game last year to let the Colts win. And they answered back "All right, but Boston will win every sports category next year and ESPN, Bill Simmons and Peter King will be especially annoying about it." Fine, whatever, just give the Colts their win. And here we are, butt chin Brady and the Pats are going to win it all. Here is why I'm not impressed with their unblemished streak or with the records they are breaking.

1) They're Douchebags (or just really bad sportsmen)

After securing a win against the Colts one of the Pats took the ball and spiked it on our logo. Surprisingly enough this isn't the first act of douchebaggery that they have performed, they also:

a) Ate popcorn on the way out of Cowboys stadium after their blow out win.
b) Mimicked Merriman's dance on the Chargers logo last year.
c) Mimic the Eagle flapping every time they faced and scored on the Eagles.
d) Run around like their asses are on fire after every win (or score) with Tom Brady looking like Arnie from "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" slapping his head and screaming "We won football game Gilbert!!!!!" Thank Christ there's never a water tower in sight.
e) Taunt whenever possible.
f) Continuously get away with cheap shots (not so much this year).
g) Constantly complain to the officials after every play.

Plus the whole running up the score thing really bugs me, it also bugs me that every sports analyst see nothing wrong with it. I remember when the entire sporting world was all over Sam Wyche and his Bengals (when they were good) for purposely running up the score against Jerry Glanville and the Oilers. They called him a bad sport for having a grudge against Glanville. And now? Oh it's alright, it's the Patriots, it's cool. It's hard for me to get fired up with a team full of dicks, a head coach with a personality of a fence post who got caught cheating and a bunch of ban wagon a-holes sporting Brady jerseys even though they have never stepped in Boston city limits. I understand if your a kid and you identify with Brady but when your over 13, from another city, and are only rooting for the Pats because they are winning, well then you suck. Plus New England fans are irritating, even more so then Yankee and Ohio State fans put together.

2) The Tapes

The were caught cheating even after being warned. Many NFL pundits have stated other teams have done this and it's not a big deal. Ok, who? Tell me teams, don't just tell me everyone does it. Who else, other than the Pats, have been caught? No one. All sports analyst also say that it really doesn't help get an edge in the long run. Ok, then why did the Pats do it if it wasn't to get an edge? And if it isn't a big deal, why did the NFL make it illegal? The NFL confiscated and destroyed all the tapes without mentioning if there was any Super Bowl evidence on the tapes. Which, at least to me, makes me wonder if the Pats Super Bowl wins were legit. Plus the whole Bellicheck non-apology apology had shades of Nixon after Watergate.

3) They Play In a Weak Division

And I mean a WEAK division. The Dolphins are probably the worst team since the 1976 Buccaneers, plus their head coach couldn't even hack it with the Indiana Hoosiers football team. The Bills are better then last year, but not really. The Jets? Yeah, not good, 3-11 is not exactly what I would call impressive especially when it's headed by a Bellicheck disciple. Meanwhile the Colts are getting their heads bashed in by the Jags, Titans and a improved Texans team. If you stick the Pats in the Colts division do you think they would come out with a spotless record? Maybe, maybe not. One things for sure there would be injuries..which leads me to...

4) Rodney Harrison and HGH

Resident loud mouth and douchebag Curt Shilling said that Clemens should give back his Cy Young awards if he was on HGH when he accomplished these feats. This from a guy who refused to talk to Mitchell and is also old and mysteriously pitching well. But people forget that Rodney Harrison was suspended for the first four games this year for receiving a shipment of HGH. Sooo, are all the Pats on this or just Harrison? Is this why they aren't having many troubles on the injury front this year? Any body else notice that a very old linebacking core has had little to no injuries this year? I mean Teddy Bruschi can come back from a stroke yet Marvin Harrison can't come back from a knee bruise. Hey, if Bill Simmons can make wild accusations on a weekly basis, why can't I?


It was founded in Springfield Massachusetts and has a host of ex Boston sports writers on their staff including one Bill Simmons that is prominently featured in the magazine and on their web site, so ESPN is basically one big sports page for the Boston Globe. Don't believe me? This is what was on and ESPN after the Sawx won the world series in 2004: Many articles written about busting the curse, many articles about Shilling's bloody sox, Peter Gammons article about how great it is for Boston to finally win it, many Bill Simmons blubber posts, Photos from charity events featuring Bronson Arroyo singing with Peter Gammons and Johnny Damon, article about the queer eye makeover with 3 Boston players, advertisements for Bill Simmons book "Now I can die in peace" that ran through the next year, an hour long special featuring Dennis Leary doing his best to bring back his accent before the ring ceremony game, the ring ceremony, the game after the ring ceremony where the Sawx played the Yankees, Johnny Damon honeymoon photos, Bronson Arroyo personal photos, many articles about Schilling sans bloody sox, David Ortiz clutchness articles, Manny being Manny articles, article by Stephen King, it goes on and on. I get it, the Red Sox haven't won in a while.

The next year the White Sox won it all. The first time since 1917 (?) plus the whole Black Sox scandal that lingered over the head of that organization like the Bambino curse. What did ESPN have to offer after their monumental series win? A still photo of the White Sox catcher getting his ring and a half assed article written by Chicago native Scoop Jackson. Whoopie.

Seriously ESPN pom poms for all Boston teams waaay too much. Right now I can turn on ESPN news and see a scroll that say Patriots, Pursuit to Perfection. Did they have this in 2004 when the Colts had their run? Nope.

6) The Way They Are Breaking The Records

Running up the score in an attempt to break all the records seems like a complete douchebag move considering how many bad teams the Pats faced this year. Tom Brady is about to break Peyton Manning's record for single season touchdowns. Yet seeing Brady in a shotgun formation with 1 minute left in a blowout game really doesn't make me all that impressed. When Manning broke the record in 2004 he regularly sat out the fourth quarter during blow outs. You know how many fourth quarters he sat out? Roughly two games worth. You know how many fourth quarter touchdowns Manning threw in 2004? 1. How many fourth quarter touchdowns has Brady thrown? Good question, I don't know, but it's a hell of a lot more than 1.

I know, I'm ranting. I'll stop

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Not Another Rush Post - Best/Worst Live Songs

I can't help myself. I was horrifically bored the other night at work and decided to see what was up with our boys from Toronto. Apparently Rush will be adding more tour dates to their Snakes and Arrows tour which will run through August of 2008. The reasons they are doing this could be because:

1) They are paying for retirement.
2) They are trying to keep up a ridiculous lifestyle that many celebrities have.
3) Are into self abuse or..
4) Are actually enjoying playing and are itching to try out new material for their next studio album.

Hopefully it's reason #4, but who knows? They haven't said where the added dates will be but one things for sure if it's anywhere near Indy (or Virginia where my bro lives) I will be there post haste with my throwback Signals shirt and my lighter. Keep your fingers crossed. Anyways, I was thinking of the best songs Rush play live, so much so that it out performs the studio version, and I was also thinking of the songs that just don't do it for me live.

"I'd Rather Listen To The Live Version" Songs

Song: The Weapon
Best Live Version: Grace Under Pressure Live
This only came after I purchased Replay X3. I really love the studio version (still do) but I would rather listen to this live version now. The DVDs come with the audio disk to the Grace Under Pressure tour. The song is great live but the best part is that it is introduced by Count Floyd, that never gets old.

Song: The Trees
Best Live Version:Exit....Stage Left
Broons Bane, Alex's little ditty, is set up like a little intro to The Trees which adds a lot to the song. I love this version a lot. I don't know who the sound engineer was for this tour but they did a bang up job.

Song: Subdivisions
Best Live Version: R30 Tour
All live versions before this were not that great, especially when you had Alex spitting out "Subdivisions" during the chorus. The R30 version is more sonic, has a great sound, and it doesn't have Alex spitting anything. When they were here for the R30 tour my lovely wife and I had front row center seats. I ran out of beer and had to refill, during that time I missed this song. I still kick myself because it sounded great.

Song: By Tor and the Snow Dog
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
You can't help the fact that this song was made in the 70's which really adds to the cheese factor of the studio version. But the Rio version is just too good especially when you watch the video of a cartoon Alex and Geddy running around. They actually did include this song in the All The Worlds A Stage, which wasn't bad, but the Rush In Rio version is fantastic. When I saw Rush in Virgina for the R30 tour during the solo of this song a bored Alex went behind Geddy and started barking. Cracked me up.

Song: Closer To The Heart
Best Live Version: Different Stages
Even though A Show Of Hands has a great version Different Stages is definitely superior. They started doing the extended ending for the Hold Your Fire tour, which really adds a lot to the song.

Song: YYZ
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
The Studio version is fantastic but when you have 40,000 people singing, yes singing along to an instrumental you get goose bumps.

Song: Spirit Of Radio
Best Live Version: R30 Tour
This song was made for the stage, I've never heard a bad live version. But now I have Meat Wad's (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) voice in my head when Geddy sings "Salesmen!!!!" You have to see the show to get it.

Song: The Analog Kid
Best Live Version: Different Stages
I was pleasantly surprised when Rush finally brought this little gem out. I have no idea whether or not they ever played this live before the Test For Echo tour, but I'm guessing no.

Song: Red Sector A
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
During Rush's art rock/synth days of the 80's Alex kind of blended in and was not part of the forefront as he was throughout the 70's and early 80's. This song was testament to that. This version is so good because they pick up the tempo and Alex has more of a presence.

Song: Ghost Rider
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
Has anybody seen the movie Ghost Rider? It sucks complete balls. What makes it worse is the fact that I'm a huge fan of the comic. Thanks Hollywood for continuously fucking up my childhood comics. And thank you Nicholas Cage for selling out so much you only have a vague recollection of Raising Arizona. Oh, and I just like this song more live.

Song: Working Man
Best Live Version: All The World's A Stage
John Rustey was the drummer for the studio version, which was not great. Neil adding his own little flare helped this a lot, to the point of me actually liking it.

Song: Between The Wheels
Best Live Version: R30 Tour
I liked the studio version, but this version was just too damn good.

Song: Xanadu
Best Live Version: Exit....Stage Left
Again, the sound engineer deserves a lot of credit for this version being so damn good.

Song: 2112
Best Live Version: Different Stages
At the time (1997) it had been 20 years since 2112 came out. To celebrate Rush played 2112 in its entirety, I'm glad they did. Even though I still listen to the studio version from time to time I just cozy up to this version better.

Song: Bravado
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
The extended ending of the live versions help a lot, plus the song feels a lot looser than the studio version. The Different Stages version was good but I really liked Rush In Rio just for the fact that I have never seen (or heard) Rush play better.

Song: What Your Doing
Best Live Version: All The World's a Stage
My wife bought me the All The World's a Stage long sleeve T-shirt last year, which I really like (not more than Signals throwback shirt mind you). One of my friends from school saw it and remarked:

"Man, that's when I loved Rush, back when their hair was down to their asses and they were rocking out."

I couldn't argue with that.

Song: Freewill
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
Rush really opens up when they play this song live, it's really fun to watch and listen especially this version, again the crowd brings it, swaying and chanting during the solo. Fantastic.

Maybe They Shouldn't Have Attempted This Live

Song: Show Don't Tell
Version: Different Stages
Just didn't work.

"I Just Like The Studio Version" Songs

The following songs that were played live just didn't work for one reason or another. But the biggest reason would be because of the difficulty replicating an element that was best suited for the studio.

Mystic Rhythms
Turn The Page
Time Stand Still
Force Ten (except for the R30 version, which was pretty decent).
Red Barchetta (Just because Moving Pictures was an outstanding studio album).
Tom Sawyer (Ditto)
The Pass

Why Didn't they Ever Play These Live?

These songs would seem to me that they would be kick ass live. For some unknown reason they never did, or they did and I never got to witness it.

Lock and Key
Everyday Glory
Emotion Detector
The Camera Eye (I know, it last 10 minutes).
High Water
Best I Can
The Fountain of Lamneth (just kidding)
Cut To The Chase
Digital Man

Alright, enough Rush geekdom.....