Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2005 Awards

Movie of the year-this was a bad year for movies so if I’m forced to choose one I’ll go with March of the Penguins. Morgan Freeman’s narration lent a touch class to a compelling documentary about emperor penguins in Antarctica. I was cold just watching it.

TV moment of the year-never before has reality TV witnessed the unmitigated carnage seen on The Apprentice in week seven. Four people were canned as Donald Trump executed the first quadruple beheading in reality TV history. It was diabolical.

Biggest bonehead-a man in Seattle entered into a challenge with a friend to see who could dangle from a highway overpass the longest. But our intrepid adventurer was apparently too fatigued from his endurance trial too climb back up the bridge. He fell to his death on the busy highway below. Unfortunately the diesel barreling down the highway at 60mph broke his fall. A very close second goes to a man in Zimbabwe who tried to deter elephants from trampling his maize by absconding with some unexploded landmines found in a nearby field. The unstable mines predictably exploded killing the man instantly. The man was later buried in a shoebox.

Self aggrandizing moment of the year-why would Terrell Owens, or anyone else for that matter, hold an impromptu workout in his driveway? Oh, that’s right, to grovel for his job back. Life went from the sublime to the surreal as T.O. whisked off his shirt and did sit ups for the press throng gathered at his humble abode. And as we all know it’s common for professional athletes to workout in their driveways. Drew Rosenhaus was never far from Owens’ side as a public apology was issued for Terrell’s nature of being the biggest pain-in-the-ass in sports.

Slimey moment-the afore mentioned Drew Rosenhaus’ performance in said driveway. Rosenhaus had the nerve to claim that Owens was an unwitting victim of an autocratic Philadelphia Eagles regime. The look on Owens’ face was priceless. His expression was saying, “Even I couldn’t make this stuff up.” Drew Rosenhaus spins stuff so much his tongue could open a wine bottle.

Too late-University of Colorado for letting Gary Barnett hang on as head football coach eighteen months longer than was necessary or even proper. Barnett took a once glorious football program and turned it into a laughing stock. Watching the Buffs under Barnett’s expert leadership was like watching a fraternity intramural flag football team well into its second keg of Fat Tire. And we won’t even mention the allegations of sexual impropriety, recruiting violations, and mishandled money.

Game of the year-Notre Dame vs. Southern Cal…Brady Quinn had just led the Irish down the field to go up 31-28. The Irish faithful were going nuts. Things looked bleak for the defending national champs. Then Matt Lienart took over. After converting a forth & sixteen, a catch that went 61 yards to Wayne Jarrett, the Trojans had a chance. A sweep to Lienart around the left side was halted by the Irish D, the clock seemingly ran out, and the fans stormed the field. But wait! The ball popped out and the refs put three agonizing seconds back on the clock. The setting…ball on the one, three seconds left, undefeated season on the line…what do you do? Simple, run a sneak with Leinart, let Reggie Bush push him across the goal line, game over.

Stupid injury- Colorado Rockies shortstop and Rookie of the Year candidate Clint Barmes, who was hitting .325 with 34 RBI’s and eight home runs, was walking up a flight of stairs with groceries in tow when he fell and broke his collar bone. It was later divulged that he was hauling deer meat up to his apartment when gravity intervened and turned Barmes from the front runner for ROY to a punch line.

Comeback of the year-on Septmber 15, 2001 race car driver Alex Zanardi was involved in a gruesome accident in a race at Germany’s Lausiztring Euro Speedway near Brandenburg. Zanardi’s career was over as both his legs were severed above the knee. But Zanardi never gave up. Fitted with prosthetic legs Zanardi rehabbed and made his return to racing in 2004. In 2005 he won his first race since losing his legs in ’01.

Sexiest woman-hmmmmmm, where to begin. Jennifer Garner was deliciously delectable in 2005 but she loses points for hanging out with that tool Ben Affleck. Jennifer Anniston turned into a whiney pain. Angelina Jolie is a freak. So this award goes to the incomparable, the sultry, the sublime Jessica Alba. Watching her in a skin tight super hero outfit in The Fantastic Four was like looking at fine art. Honorable mention goes to: Selma Hayek, Naomi Watts, Teri Hatcher, Eva Mendes, and Nicole Kidman.

Sexiest newscaster-I did a countdown of the sexiest newscasters back in May. My numero uno was Trich Regan with CNN and I see no reason to change my mind now. There are several others worth mentioning…Heather Nauert FOX, Laurie Dhue FOX, Brooke Anderson CNN, Megyn Kendal FOX, Melissa Stark MSNBC, Kiran Chetry FOX.

Ewwwwwwwww-a man near Seattle was charged in the death of another who allegedly trespassed on his farm to have sex with his horses. The trespasser died as a result of injuries from intercourse with the unsuspecting equine quadruped.

Evil personafide-a little league baseball coach was arrested after he instructed one of his players to deliberately injure a retarded kid on the same team. Seems the coach was tired of watching the disabled kid fumble around on the field so he told another boy to hit the kid with a bat. This guy’s destiny is sealed…see you in hell.

This has been the best & worst of 2005. Hope you enjoyed your stay.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Those we lost in '05

2005 saw some true giants in their fields pass. So here’s a melancholy farewell to some of our best & brightest.

Pope John Paul II-the most charismatic and accessible pope maybe ever led life on his own terms and devoted 60+ years to the Catholic church.

Richard Pryor-was recently voted by Comedy Central as the greatest comedian of all time. Arguably the most influential comic ever his caustic style paved the way for future greats like Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, and a whole host of others.

Johnny Carson-as host of the Tonight Show for over two decades he became a true American icon and one of the most beloved television personalities ever.

George Mikan-the first superstar big man in basketball led the Minneapolis Lakers to five championships and is regarded as the NBA’s first great center.

Max Schmelling-gained world wide fame as a pawn of Hitler’s Nazi party when he defeated Jo Louis in 1936. Louis would eventually regain his heavyweight title in 1938 on a first round knockout. After their legendary clashes the two warriors became fast friends until Louis’ death in 1981.

Rosa Parks-her act of defiance in 1955 sparked the civil rights revolution in America. Parks, an unknown seamstress, refused to give up her seat on the front of a Montgomery, Alabama bus for a white man. With this seemingly innocuous gesture Parks became one of the most important figures of 20th century America.

William Rehnquist-chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1986 to 2005 he served as one of the arbiters of conservative constitutional interpretation for decades. His 33 years of service on the Court is one of the longest tenures in history.

Others who passed in ’05-Peter Jennings, Terri Schiavo, Eddie Albert, William Mora, Hank Stramm, General William Westmoreland, Luther Vandross, Ossie Davis, Arthur Miller, Anne Bancroft, Johnnie Cochran, Hunter S. Thompson.

Friday, December 16, 2005

This just burns my ass

If there was ever a doubt about how far this president will stretch the Constitution we now have our answer.

Jr. sits in his ivory tower wiping his ass with the very document meant to protect us from gestapo like action of our government. Bush and his entire administration should be brought up on impeachment charges.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Greatest battle scenes

As a dyed in the wool movie buff I love coming up with lists. So here's my latest contribution...the best battle scenes of all time are profiled.

Lord of the Rings Return of the King-the assault on Minis Tirith was mesmerizing in the book but the movie version takes this epic battle and feeds it a few steroids. The catapult duals were unreal. When Theoden shows up with his Rohirim and cuts through the orc army like a sickle through grass every hair on my neck stood on end. Then the Haradrim show up with their monstrous mumakil, giant and fearsome elephants, and go at it with the Rohirim while Theoden gets tossed by a Nazgul. Aragorn shows up with the army of dead and carries the day, a plot variation from the book but it worked. This encounter was utterly gripping and losses were not so much witnessed as they were felt. Dizzying special effects combine with emotional pull to make this the best battle sequence ever put to film.

Apocalypse Now-many critics and lay persons contend that the part where the Huey helicopters attack the Vietnamese village to be the greatest action sequence ever. I’d be hard pressed to disagree. The formation of helicopters flies in out of the rising sun. About a mile out Robert Duval gives the now legendary command, “Put on psy war ops, and make it loud!” Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries blares and the village is reduced to rubble in a blurring sequence of buzzing helicopters, firing machine guns, and explosions galore. After the village is captured Duval utters yet another unforgettable line, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…smells like victory.”

Empire Strikes Back-the ice planet of Hoth sets the stage for the coolest battle space has ever seen. The ominous sight of the Imperial AT-AT walkers punctuates the plight of the fledgling rebellion. Luke Skywalker does his Jedi bit and single-handedly brings down a walker but not before the rebel base is in ruin from the relentless onslaught of Darth Vader and his army. Great stuff!

Braveheart-Mel Gibson may not have directed the best battle scenes ever but they are probably the goriest. Multiple decapitations, dismemberments, and disembowelments abound. Then there’s Mel’s/William Wallace’s speech before the battle at Falkirk (sp?), “They may take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom!” When both sides charged then went careening into each other a pit formed in your throat and stomach as nervous tension gripped you in anticipation of non-stop blood letting.

Gladiator-the thing I liked about the opening sequence was its intensity. Ridley Scott really captures the frenetic energy that must have been ancient warfare. There’s blood spots and mud on the camera lenses, the fire catapults were deadly, and cold ruthlessness of the Roman war machine shone bright. Russell Crowe was gritty and dirty and wholly believable as a veteran general who’s just burnt out on the conquering thing.

The Matrix Revolutions-I had a hard time watching this movie because frankly it stunk. But the final battle where the sentinels attack Zion and the fight between Keanu Reeves and the deliciously evil Hugo Weaving as Mr. Smith were worth the price of admission. The numbers of squid-like machines were seemingly infinite while the humans countered with war walkers equipped with hellacious machine guns and two man rocket crews that eliminated the giant drills. Meanwhile, Neo is going toe to toe with Mr. Smith in Machine City in a realm where the laws of physics don’t apply. The special effects rival even the more celebrated Return of the King.

Kingdom of Heaven-Ridley Scott makes another appearance on this little countdown. The climactic battle lasts nearly thirty minutes and features a stirring catapult exchange, masses of tightly bunched fighters, and daring yet effective cinematography. Much like Revolutions this movie was mostly quite tedious but Ridley Scott knows how to get the blood pumping.

Saving Private Ryan-this movie grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go. The opening D-Day scene is furiously intense and had me ducking for cover. World War II is depicted in raw and graphic realism. The film is grainy, the camera angles stark, and the mood throughout was somber. The cut sequences that show how confusing the fog of war can be were brilliant along with Tom Hanks’ gripping performance all lend to a truly gut wrenching experience.

Jason and the Argonauts-based on the ancient tale of the search for the Golden Fleece this movie has what for my money is the coolest battle outside Empire Strikes Back. When Jason and his merry band are confronted by denizens of living skeletons all hell breaks lose. The battle rages on as the skeletons pop up out of the ground. The imagery and effects are classic and timeless.

13th Warrior-yes Antonio Banderas as an Arab exiled for shagging the wrong girl is far fetched but hear me out. The set up for the last battle was great as the devout Muslim, Banderas, actually recites an ancient Norse prayer. As Ibn utters the closing line, “In the halls of Valhalla, where the brave will live forever”, the flesh eating enemy swarms down upon the Vikings and the lone Arab. The charismatic Buliwyf kills the leader of the blood-thirsty Bendo but succumbs to a previous wound. Far from the most artistic battle scene ever this one makes up ground with its heart.

Honorable mention-Gettysburg (the cannon barrages were stunning), Ben Hur, Platoon, Aliens

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The wonders of modern pharmichology

Seems there's a new drug out there that makes one a skosh loopy. So in my continuing efforts to enlighten the masses I've come up with a few names for this new marvel of modern chemistry.