Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Imus vs. Pacman Jones

Who's dumb and who's dumber? Radio Host Don Imus versus NFL player Adam "Pacman" Jones- in a fight to the finish- yeah, that's a good place to end. Remember, you get points for being worse (or possibly stupider) in this set up.

Famous for:

Imus: being an outlandish radio host and calling the Rutgers Women's basketball team "Nappy-headed ho's."

Pacman: Being a damn good cornerback on the field of play- but getting arrested six times off the field.

Advantage: Imus (at least Pacman is good at his day job when he's allowed to play. Imus catches heat because of his day job.)

Entourage:

Imus: Producers that encourage him to say racist remarks on air.

Pacman: A posse with guns that aren't afraid to shoot up a strip club.

Advantage: Pacman (Dudes with guns beats weenie producers any day of the week.)

Physical Appearance:

Imus: Cowboy hat/disheveled

Pacman: Bling and solid hair

Advantage: Imus (he looks awful so consistently.)

Personal Improvement:

Imus: Recently made another racist comment- this time directed at Pacman Jones.

Pacman: Wants to change his name so that people call him Adam. Feels that people might take him more seriously if he's not named after a yellow video game character that eats white pellets and occasionally chases blue ghosts.

Advantage: Imus (will this guy ever learn?)

So there you go. Imus is the winner of this contest in awfulness. He's in fact worse than a football player that has repeatedly made mistake after mistake. While I don't like either one, I am at least a little impressed with Adam's change in name. Not that it makes anything better, but I think he's trying. (Pacman was a nickname given to him as a child by his mother because of how quickly he ate his cereal, but now it's associated with shooting up strip clubs.)

Anyway, Imus sucks.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quick Hits

The Chicago Cubs are just unreal - I admit it. I was down about the Cubs earlier in the week. They got swept by the Rays, Carlos Zambrano was placed in the 15 day disabled list, and they didn't look in sync. Well, they went home to the Friendly Confines and swept the cross-town, first place rival Chicago White Sox. Friday's game set the tone for the whole series (Aramis Ramirez hit is second homer of the game in the ninth inning to win the game) and then the Cubs carried that momentum through the rest of the weekend.

George Carlin dies - At only 71, George Carlin dies so they'll be no more witty complaining about people's quirks, beliefs and hang-ups. He was definitely a comic genius, and love him or hate him, he was very good challenging our minds as well as making us laugh.

Once is the best movie I've seen in awhile - I have to preface this by saying I'm clearly going to be very bias to this movie. I had it sitting around the house on Netflix for months. I finally watched it and it blew me away. It's about a singer/songwriter who meets a woman that inspires him to get his shit together (by writing and recording music.) The story is pushed by the music they work on rather than dialog or over-explaining their individual situations. It is the perfect indie film and I highly recommend it.

Vacaville Shinanigans - I played at the Farmer's Market in Vacaville on Saturday morning. It was excellent as usual. The people there are very friendly (except for one a-hole who tried to rob my tip bucket last month and still showed up on Saturday- you're going down brotha, and I can't wait to watch you get carted away in cuffs.) Anyway, I finished my set and had sold a few CDs and another CD was put on as background music. It was probably 10 minutes after I was done and someone came up and said, "What's your CD called?" So I explained my CD and music and he bought one. After he left, it hit me that he probably meant the CD that was playing and not my CD (or he just didn't know that there was a difference between the two.) Luckily my CD was very similar in style, but if you're reading this because you tracked me down, I'll be happy to figure out who the other artist was. Sorry for any confusion!

Friday, June 20, 2008

What Is A Sport?

So this is a really big, and possibly unanswerable topic, but I've had this conversation with many people and I still don't know what the answer is. What is a sport and what is not a sport?

Here are sports I won't even debate: Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, wrestling (not WWE), volleyball, gymnastics, and rugby. Those are all sports. They all have competition, athleticism, and take a massive amount of training to be great at.

I'm assuming we can agree that all Olympic sports are also sports. Swimming, diving, track, boxing, etc. I suppose we also have to give the "sport" label to figure skating being that it takes quite a bit of athletic skill to pull off those routines.

I'd say the main games that come into question are: golf, bowling, pool, horse racing, auto racing, and poker. I'm sure there are more, but let's start with those.

Golf ends up being the most controversial one of the bunch because so many people who play the game understand that it takes physical endurance, practice, and extreme concentration. Unfortunately, those same people who say golf is a sport would argue that pool is not a sport. The two are more similar that one might think. Both use hand eye coordination to hit a stick to a ball making the ball go to a desirable spot. The biggest difference is that there is far more walking in golf. But what about if a golfer gets a golf cart? Does golf go from sport to game at that moment?

How about bowling? You are physically throwing a ball at inanimate pins. The game never changes. It's the equivalent of shooting free throws instead of playing basketball. However, it is a physical skill that takes a lot of practice to master. It is a scored game that can be extremely competitive. It can also take a lot of strength to heave the larger balls down the alley.

Horse racing? Is that a sport? It certainly shows up on ESPN enough to make the argument. But who is it a sport for? The jockeys? The horses? Are the horses consciously competitive with the other horses? Do they specifically know where the finish line is? If they did, would they even need jockeys?

Auto racing? I have no idea how strenuous it is to race a car, but I can imagine that it takes quite a bit of endurance. But does that make it a sport? I have no idea. I definitely don't enjoy NASCAR as much as regular sports, but it is quite popular these days, so I know there are some people out there who will argue that it is a sport.

And lastly, Poker. I love playing it, but I don't think I can truly say it is a sport. It takes A LOT of concentration and can be awfully tiring. But there is no physical skill- or is there? Is it a physical skill to maintain your body's actions as to not give away tells?

I guess I'm saying I don't really know the gold standard judge of what is or is not a sport. I know there's quite a bit of gray area in there. I will say this, it is entirely possible to be an athlete and play a game. If we assumed that golf wasn't a sport, I would still say that Tiger Woods is a great athlete. I think he could probably play many other sports and naturally excel.

So in the interest of not being lame, here's my guess if I had to say SPORT or NOT A SPORT.

Golf: SPORT
Pool: NOT A SPORT
Bowling: SPORT
Auto Racing: NOT A SPORT
Poker: NOT A SPORT
Horse Racing: NOT A SPORT
Darts: NOT A SPORT

Let me know if I'm right, wrong, or if I missed any.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Incredible Hulk/Iron Man: Double Feature

Today I'm letting my inner-nerd run wild. I clearly love music and sports, but I'm also a big fan of fantastic stories. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and assorted comic books all are very interesting to me. In fact, my favorite TV shows of all time are Lost and Carnivale- both of which have extensive mythologies (not extensive enough with Carnivale because HBO canceled it far too early.)

Anyway, I saw both the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man last night at the movie theater. I was absolutely impressed with what Marvel Studios is brining to the table. Filmmakers are finally understanding how take comic source material and make entertaining movies. This Incredible Hulk will obviously forever be compared to Ang Lee's The Hulk. Without much thought, or foreseeable argument, I can tell you that the new Hulk smashes the old one to bits.

The new Hulk mixes the authenticity of the comic book characters and mixes them perfectly with the wandering David Banner (TV Show version) to make for a good time at the movies. From the green eyes as Ed Norton begins to transform, to one part where they actually play the TV Show theme song as he's trying to hitch a ride. William Hurt is perfect as General Ross and Tim Roth was a great villain. This was not Liv Tyler's best performance, however her on screen chemistry with Norton was excellent (that could be Norton towing the line, but who knows?)

The final battle against the Abomination was a complete success. I had a better frame of reference in my head as to what was going on than, say for example, a movie like Transformers. The Transformers final battle scene was a bit jumbled and took a few viewings to fully understand what exactly was going on.

Hulk even has Robert Downey, Jr. show up as Tony Stark at the very end. Speaking of Mr. Stark...

Iron Man was also fantastic. They've updated his origin story from the original comic book version to make it more modern (originally happened in Vietnam, now happens in the Middle East.) Each actor did a great job creating a very believable comic story. Downy, Jr. was a savage as usual. Terrance Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gweneth Paltrow all deserve a lot of credit for helping the audience care about each character more than one does in an average comic movie.

Also, make sure you stay through the credits, Samuel L. might just show up.

I absolutely love how Marvel has their own studio and they can begin to tie their entire universe together. I also think they understand why their franchises are so successful, so they are doing a better job making sure debacles like the first Hulk or Elektra don't happen again. Inevitably, there may be slip ups in the future, but Marvel is definitely on the right track. They have 100% proved that with these two excellent movies.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tired: Week Recap

Well, I have to admit it's been a busy week. I'm not asking for sympathy, but here's my schedule from last Wednesday:

Wednesday:

In the studio from 12:30 to 7pm. Worked on a lot of guitar parts for two different songs ("What's the Past Got In Store?" and "You're Not Just Another Girl.") It was quite the productive day in the studio. I now have at least a skeleton of every song from my next album on my iPod. I'm really excited about it- I think it will be good!

Thursday:

Regular work 'til 5pm, then I played from 6:30-8:30 at Pyramid in Sacramento. I'll be playing there every Thursday from now on (or at least until further notice.) It was a really good start to my residency. Come on out if you're in the area!

Friday:

Regular work 'til 5pm, then I opened for Honeyspot at the G St Pub in Davis. What an awesome band! I've played with them a number of times and love their music, and more importantly, they are awesome guys. It was an ideal show to play.

Saturday:

Worked out in the morning, then played in Vacaville from 5-6pm, drove to Walnut Creek and played at the Pyramid in WC from 7pm-11pm. A long day of music, but to be honest, I jammed with my brother Chris after that so I guess 5 hours worth of public shows just isn't enough for me! (Note: realistically 4 hour shows are really difficult, but I'm getting better at them. Saturday's was one of my more successful 4 hour gigs.)

Sunday:

Played basketball with my brother Matt in the morning and got sun-burnt. Went to lunch with my brother Chris, then drove back to Sacramento. Went to dinner with my girlfriend, stopped at the local vinyl record shop to pick up Crowded House's "Temple of Lowmen" and then played at the G St Pub in Davis that night.

It's been busy, but don't ever accuse me of not being a "working" musician. I also found time to catch a little bit of the NBA Finals and the Cubs' game. Both were really entertaining. And here we go again...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Quick Hits: Monday

I've been ridiculously busy with music and such, but I haven't been as ridiculous as the following things:

Cedric Benson - This guy is beyond my last nerve. I hate this guy. I'm 100% confident that the Bears could cut him and he would never catch on somewhere else. I'm also sure they would be better immediately. He's a cancer in the locker room and an awful human being. His recent exploits are in line with his overall prowess. He was pulled over for boating under the influence five weeks ago. He claimed that he was not drinking and that the cops roughed him up. I almost believed him because his story was so elaborate. The best liars always have lots of details to their story. Unfortunately (or fortunately) Cedric was pulled over Saturday for a DUI. Hmmm... makes me think the boating thing was legit as well. The NFL has set a solid precedent for suspending players for bad behavior so I have to believe Benson is gone for at least 4 games (probably 8) and I hope the Bears decide that enough is enough. I'd rather have Rex Grossman as the quarterback for the next 10 years rather than let Cedric Benson play another down in a Bears uniform. He's no Gale Sayers- he's not even Neil Andersen.

Lakers in 5? - In listening to sports experts, or blogs that I read, or articles online, by far the most popular prediction for the NBA Finals was Lakers in 5 games. Now I'm no mathematician, but it seems like if the Lakers win at all, they will have to do it in 6 or 7 games. Because the Celtics slumped against the Hawks and Cavs, everyone gave up on them being a legit contender. As it turns out, they provide a lot of match-up problems for the Lakers. They also have Paul "I'm a tough guy because I overcame a slight injury and came back and played so now I'm a Boston legend" Pierce. I am 100% certain that I played a championship game my senior year in high school with an ankle injury that was way worse than what P-squared is playing with. Get over it, he's a professional athlete and this kind of thing should be expected. If it isn't torn or broken, he should be good to play. Anyway, we'll see if the Lakers set it up back at the Forum- oops, I mean Staples Center.

Weezer's Back - Their new album is decent. If you liked them before, you'll like it. If you didn't like them before, there's nothing there that will turn you into a fan. The weirdest song on the record is "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived." It's a schizophrenic rock song with many movements. I'm not even sure I like it that much, but I have to say it's decently original the way they did it.

Futbol! - Just went and watched a bit of Italy vs. Netherlands. I really love watching soccer at the country level. I'm not as into the sport as a general fan, but Euro Cup and World Cup are very fun events. As a side note, why do soccer and hockey make for such fun video games? Madden's alright, and who doesn't love RBI Baseball, but I've never had more fun playing sports video games than FIFA and NHL games.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chuck Norris...


I know this is old news, but I had seen some new Chuck Norrisisms

RIGHT HERE

I figured it would be good for a laugh. The Cubs are on a 9 game winning streak, and I'm tired as all hell. Happy Wednesday.

Monday, June 2, 2008

RIP Mark Prior

Ah, Mark Prior. What can I say about this absolutely beast of a pitcher that has been hampered by injuries and will most likely never pitch again in the majors. From the moment he put on a Chicago Cubs jersey he was my favorite current player (Ryne Sandberg holds the all-time favorite player title.) Prior dominated game after game. His 18-6 record in 2003 will not be forgotten by Cubs fans any time soon. Besides the unraveling of the entire season in the 8th inning of Game 6 in the NCLS, that season was the most fun I've had as a baseball fan in my life.

So as I was watching ESPNews yesterday and saw that Prior will be having season-ending shoulder surgery, I was disappointed. The multiple injuries leading up to this made it not shocking, but I had hoped he would come back and be dominant for the Padres. I still enjoyed watching him pitch and I do have a soft-spot for the Padres (I love the city and I really wasn't old enough to appreciate the '84 NCLS collapse by the Cubs.) So as we go forward, I'd like to say a few words about Mark Prior's career. Here are some moments I'll remember:

- I used to take any breaks during class to go to computer labs and watch pitch-by-pitch updates during games that Prior pitched. This was for Cubs and Fantasy Baseball purposes, but if I had 15 minutes, I was going to find a way to stay updated with his progress.

- In one of the most exciting games I've ever seen live, I saw Prior throw a complete game victory at Wrigley vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2003 year. The final score was 2-1. He absolutely shut down the Dodgers and battled the whole way to get the complete game. He really was something special.

- I saw him at my grandmother's neighborhood church. Being the good Catholic boy that he is, I saw him at St. Vincent's in the Lincoln Park area in Chicago. I highly debated moving over to a seat near him to get a hand shake and a "peace be with you" but I decided against it.

- His calves were massive. So were his ears. I know people have suspected him of steroid use, but I hope that wasn't the case. If he was using though, I hope he admits to it later and serves as an example for kids and why they should not do steroids. His body may be breaking down because of the drug use. HOWEVER, I'm not accusing him or saying I think he did use steroids. He had plenty of unfortunate injuries that could account for his problems (running into Marcus Giles on the basepath started the whole should problem- not to mention Dusty's overuse of him.)
So while I'm disappointed, I still hope the best for Prior. I suppose he can console himself by swimming in the Cubs' wasted money and I'll console myself by watching the 2008 Cubs win seven games in a row. I could also watch Jay Bruce's stats because that guy is going to save my fantasy baseball team. Good luck Mark- I hope you make it back one day, but if nothing else, 2003 was definitely a special year.