Monday, November 02, 2009

Random thoughts

At least a quarter of the driving test should be dedicated to proper driving in a parking lot. Parking lots are petri dishes of idiocy. I'll provide a sample question.
When waiting for someone to pull out of their parking space, you should:
A) Turn on your blinker
B) Flash your brights to alert the person that you are waiting for them, and will allow them to pull out safely.
C) Pull too close to said person, sit there, do nothing, block traffic and talk on your cell phone with your sorority sister about how you probably shouldn't have slept with the random frat dude from the Halloween party you thought was totally hot and edgy in his Dick in the Box costume, but a dick is a dick and he wasn't gonna give you any STD your don't already have.
D) A & B
I already mentioned this via Twitter (look left), but it needs to be reiterated: any bar who can not indulge The Dude and serve a good Caucasian should have it's alcohol license revoked. Unfortunately, there wasn't a fucking beverage here, man.

I was randomly surfing the net the other day, and stumbled across the trailer for Star Wars: Episode 3 in an article on Paste. It got me to thinking about something that should be a crime: making an incredible trailer for a relatively disappointing movie. It happens all to often, and really isn't fair to the consumer. Look, it's one thing to get your big box office from the masses who just wanted to be mindlessly entertained. It's another to trick us good movie-loving folk into seeing your crapfest. If you're gonna make a bad movie, show it in the preview, a la the recent G.I. Joe movie. With that in mind, here are some of the worst offenders I can think of:

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

This exchange is just chilling:
"Lord Vader."
"Yes, master?"
"Riiisseee."
Then we saw the movie, and the only chilling feeling we got was that of being violated for a third time by George Lucas.

Spider-man 3

"All that he loves will be threatened by what he will become." Translation: "Say hello to Emo-Spidey!"

Terminator: Salvation

Who knew someone could out-Michael Bay Michael Bay?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life lessons

Once again, in an effort to motivate myself to write more, I've changed the direction of this blog. No longer is it a sports blog dedicated to everything. It is now what maybe it should have been all along: just my thoughts about everyday life. Simplicity has always been the key to my life, and with complexity I tend to over-think and paint over my own artwork, so to say.

So now, back to basics: my unbridled, uncensored, sometimes to-the-point, other times rambling, labyrinthine thoughts on precisely what this was meant to be about: livin'. L-I-V-I-N.


One of the most beautiful things about life is that I learn something new every day. So, I impart some lessons I've learned upon you:

  • Happiness is a sunny afternoon, the open road, windows down, with an autumn breeze.
  • If you're a guy and feel you have too many clothes and need to rid yourself of some of them, but just can't seem to part ways with that old t-shirt from college, become single. Being single is the easiest way to shrink your wardrobe. Why? Because women are thieves, plain and simple. I love women, and I wish not to anger them, but they will steal your heart during the night and steal your Alabama Feels So Right 1982 Tour shirt the next morning.
  • Football is a cruel mistress. On Saturday, your college team can absolutely dominate it's opponent and proclaim itself the best team in the nation. On Sunday, your pro team can fall behind, fight hard and come all the way back, only to lose because a guy who gets paid SIX FUCKING FIGURES TO KICK A GODDAMNED BALL can't do his job.
  • This Crackberry will be the death of me.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bring the Mania to Birmingham!

It has come to my attention that ground has officially been broken on the Birmingham Dome.

With this knowledge, I hereby start the campaign to bring the most exciting night in sports entertainment to the Magic City.

Ladies and gentleman, let's bring Wrestlemania to Birmingham!

Tell your friends, your momma and daddy, your sisters and brothers, your Uncle Ned and Aunt Shirley, all your kin folk, coworkers, and hell, tell strangers on the street to spread the word.

BRING WRESTLEMANIA TO BIRMINGHAM!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fiiiight!

Paul Finebaum said something about Urban Meyer. I thought the swirl of minor controversy around it had settled down, but apparently not.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel didn't like it, then proceeded to call out Alabama fans (of which Finebaum is most certainly not).

Finebaum has responded.

It's all a bit ridiculous, really. Finebaum is not a Crimson Tide fan, so I see no reason why Bianchi decided to attack us. Granted, Finebaum had no reason to start the Meyer to Notre Dame talk.

But that's what he does, he stirs the pot. Bianchi just fell into his trap... and drew the ire of the Bama Nation, not the smartest move he's ever made.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Monday, so good to me

Finally, TD has come back to Tuscaloosa!

For the first time since... well, shit, I don't remember the last time I had a proper vacation. I feel refreshed and ready to jump back into the daily grind.

First things first, there is now another place to read my writing: Examiner.com. I am their Tuscaloosa Bars Examiner, and henceforth will be writing about Tuscaloosa-area bars and the goings on with them. And in case you forget this post, there's that big ol' button over to the left to remind you (Once again, Facebook readers... ah, hell, just bookmark this page).

The Braves are rolling, and that is awesome. Tommy Hanson improved to 5-0 tonight, continuing his run at ROY. The hitting is starting to come around, but I'd still feel more comfortable hit one more bat, and possibly some middle relief help. The Bravos have now won 8 of 11, unfortunately the Phillies have won nine in-a-row, and stand 6.5 games ahead. Of course, the Braves only stand 3.5 back in the Wild Card race.

There are three steps to the college football preseason. First is the release of the preview mags. Today, the second happened: I picked up my copy of NCAA Football for XBox 360 (Gamertag: TaDow22 -- but, I should note I won't be online for a few weeks because I'm moving). The final step, the beginning of fall practice, is just a few weeks away.

Got to watch Raw tonight, it wasn't bad. I'm not completely sold on this guest host thing they're doing (tonight's was ZZ Top), but it hasn't been horrible so far. As long as they push storylines and remember that there is wrestling to be done, I won't object. Next week, Shaq will be hosting. That should be priceless.

This looks damn funny:


I was born my papa's son, a wonderin' eye and a smokin' gun

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Oh yeah, it's that time

In case you haven't heard, we are slightly fond of our college football 'round these parts. What I'm saying is, people are ready for some football:



(Once again, for those that read the imported version of these notes on Facebook: Facebook doesn't embed videos for whatever reason, so you have to click the link that says "View Original Post" down there at the bottom.)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New idea for the Bravos

OK, so there's been a ton of rumors in regards to what moves the Braves might/will make as we approach the MLB trade deadline. Most of those rumors involve Jeff Francoeur (if people actually want him), some involve Yunel Escobar (not gonna happen), and the rest involve Javier Vazquez (a major trading chip).

I think Frenchie's gotta go if we can get rid of him. He hasn't turned it around like we hoped he would, and if he has any trade value now, we gotta move on it.

Escobar should be untouchable. Yes, he can be moody at times. But we can handle that. But he's young, is solid in the field, and most importantly hits well (.292 AVG/.355 OBS/.430 SLG) -- especially with RSIP (.413 AVG/5 HR/38 RBI).

Vazquez is the major chip according to most, but I think we should hold on to him in light of Derek Lowe's recent struggles. Everyone points to Tim Hudson's return in about a month's time, but nobody has any idea what that'll bring. If he's in his top, Cy Young contending form then great. But we can't for sure know that. Vazquez should stay. Our starting pitching is what gives us an edge in the race, we shouldn't weaken that advantage.

However, I think there's someone everyone is overlooking: Casey Kotchman. Kotchman still has value on the market, and we have a younger, hotter 1B in Martin Prado right now. Prado has been tearing it up this year. Compare the two:

Kotchman: 71 G/242 AB/.273 AVG/.339 OBP/.384 SLG/3 HR/30 RBI
Prado: 58 G/167 AB/.317 AVG/.377 OBP/.503 SLG/4 HR/ 15 RBI

I think a Francoeur/Kotchman package could get us a serious bat in the middle of the lineup.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday thoughts

Alright, so the Braves are done with their season-defining stretch, let's review.

Overall, they finished 8-8, finishing with a three-game sweep of the division-leading Phillies. However, let's look at this weekend's series against the Nationals. You just swept the team that leads your division, you stand two games out. Now you have a three-game set against the worst team in baseball. And you lose two out of three. Jeez.

Now, the Bravos stand four back with seven to go before the All-Star break (three at the Cubs, four at the Rockies).

So, after these 19 games, where do we stand? At the very same place we were before the stretch: one piece away from being a complete team. That piece is a hitter who can bat cleanup and knock in runs. Take today's game, a 5-3 loss at Washington. The Braves were 1-10 with RISP, the lone hit being a Nate McClouth two-run homer in the 9th. That will not get you into the playoffs.

There needs to be a trade made. Move Jeff Francceur, move Yunel Escobar, do what you can to get a big bat in between Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. But, don't do it at the expense of the farm system.

Other than that, the Braves have the pieces. They can get on base, he starting pitching is fine (although I am worried about Derek Lowe's recent struggles), and the bullpen -- albeit frustrating at times -- is solid for the most part. We just need to generate more runs.

WWE stuff

Some interesting things going down in the WWE world, namely a roster trade that saw the following moves:

Moving to the Raw roster: Gail Kim, Alicia Fox, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, Mark Henry.

Moving to the SmackDown roster: Matt Hardy, Finlay, The Hart Dynasty - David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd & Natalya.

Moving to the ECW roster: Shelton Benjamin, Goldust, William Regal, Brie & Nikki Bella.

Raw obviously gets the best of this deal, with two great young talents in Swagger and Bourne coming over. It should be interesting to see how they're used, but mainly I see them bolstering the mid-card. I'm also interested to see how the Hart Dynasty is used on Smackdown, and if the tag-team division will get a boost from them.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Darkness falls across the land

Not even Dr. Jekyll was as polarizing a figure as Michael Jackson.

On the one hand, there's the King of Pop. The man responsible for the Moonwalk, the best music videos ever made, the Thriller album... the list goes on. But on the other... a sociopath, a pedophile, one really fucked up dude.

And with the passing of Jackson, I can't seem to figure out which one to remember.

I mean, you can't ignore the music. The man made "Billie Jean" for fuck's sake, one of the best songs ever recorded. He's one of those artists that inspired "I remember where I was when..." moments. I'm sure there are millions who remember where they were when the Moonwalk debuted.

On a personal level, I remember the hype around his Super Bowl halftime performance. I was over my friend Drew's house. Me, him, his parents, my mother, his sister and other assorted family, everyone glued to the TV. I remember being at my grandparents when the "Black or White" video premiered. I remember my prom, during a down period, resting at the table. Then, the DJ threw on "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and EVERYBODY hit the dance floor.

The man reached a rare level that only he, Elvis and The Beatles have achieved. They are beyond musical icons, beyond celebrities. They are pseudo-deities. Their fans didn't just like them, they worshiped them.

Musically, he revolutionized pop. Every pop musician since MJ has emulated his sound, his style and his every dance move. They aren't just influenced by him, they're trying to be him.

But, but, BUT. There's more to him than his music. There's the freak show personal life. His lack of a childhood, the tabloids, the weird marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, and of course the child molestation. And you can't ignore that. The guy had problems. Maybe they came from a lost innocence, maybe he never had any innocence, or maybe he was just plain wired wrong.

Now I sit and watch the media coverage of his death, the tributes, and I see no mention of these issues. None. And it baffles me. Yes, we can celebrate his music, but we can't ignore his dark side, we just can't.

Sure, I want to ignore it all. When his songs come on my iPod/iTunes I will sing along. When they come on in a bar, I will drunkenly dance. But when I think about MJ, I won't be able to deny the bad. And neither should anyone else.

So I'll remember both sides. After all, you can't have Dr. Jekyll without Mr. Hyde.

Weekend Six-Pack
Uncle Tupelo - Still Feel Gone
Whiskeytown - Stranger's Almanac
Drive-By Truckers - Southern Rock Opera Act I & Act II
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
Steve Earle - Copperhead Road

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh, some stuff

USA! USA! USA!
US Soccer shocked the world on Wednesday, upsetting #1 ranked Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinal, 2-0. In doing so, the Yanks ending Spain's 15-game winning streak, as well as their 35-game unbeaten streak. Suffice to say, maybe the biggest win in US Soccer history. Hopefully, they can keep the momentum going and win the Cup, then have a strong showing in next year's World Cup.

This looks cool


Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Yep, I'm there.

Triumph versus Bonnaroo


Hehe, hippies.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This is the season, Bravos

This is it for the Braves. The next two weeks are the season. A winning record and the playoff hopes are still alive. Anything else and we can start planning October vacations and looking forward to football season.

Last night, the Bravos lost the first in a three-game set at Cincinnati. After that we travel to Boston for a weekend series. Then we come home for a makeup game with the Cubs, three against the Yankees, three against Boston and finish things up with three against Philly.

Counting last night, that's a 16 game stretch that makes or breaks the season. We're already 0-1. Do I think the Braves have what it takes? Yes and no. The starting pitching is there, for sure. The bullpen is there on most days. The role players and hitters are there. What's not there, however, is the biggest obstacle. A power hitter that gets people home. Chipper and Brian McCann can't do it all by themselves. They need someone in-between them to really make them a deadly 3-4-5 combo. Jeff Francoeur doesn't have it. Whether it's a trade or whatever, the front office needs to find a piece to fill the hole in the Braves lineup.

Point is, come the end of the night on Thursday, July 2nd, we'll know if the Braves will be in contention come September.

WWE getting it together

This past Monday, WWE had it's highly advertised three-hour Raw special. With four title matches, it had potential to be the show to really kick start an upswing for WWE programming. It did not disappoint.

On the Raw brand, Randy Orton recaptured the WWE Title in a fatal four-way match over Big Show, Triple H and John Cena. It was then announced he and Triple H would have a Last Man Standing match on next week's commercial free Raw (another awesome move by the WWE) for the WWE Title, and the two would also square off at The Bash on June 28th.

In the 10-man battle royal that Triple H won to earn the title shot, Kofi Kingston had a strong showing as the US Champion, which is also good for the mid-card.

And, in what seems like a miracle, creative is actually pushing a tag team title match. At The Bash, the Unified Tag Team Champs Carlito and Primo Colon will defend the belts against Priceless.

On eCW, the battle for the silver belt is a four way affair between champ Tommy Dreamer, Christian, Jack Swagger and a returning Finlay (who appears to either be turning heel or at least moving to tweener status -- either way he's better without Hornswaggle).

But, the bigger development on eCW is the emergence and push of the Hart Dynasty -- Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith and Natalya Neidhart. Of course, all three were trained in the infamous Hart Dungeon. Smith is the son of British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, and Natalya is the daughter of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. I'm excited for this stable, really excited.

On Smackdown, the ongoing Intercontinental Title feud between champ Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio is great television, and exactly what a wrestling feud should be. Fans should slobber over this, because we're watching one of the best heels ever in Jericho.

In the World Heavyweight Title picture, the champ CM Punk is growing on me. His new character fascinates me, it's really old school. He just cares about winning the title, period. He doesn't care if you love him or hate him. He doesn't want allies and he's not out to make enemies. He's just there to wrestle. Excellent tweener, although I feel like he'll be a full-fledged heel sooner or later. Of course, Edge and Jeff Hardy are there in the picture as well.

My only problem is that creative doesn't seem to know what to do with guys like John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, R-Truth and Dolph Ziggler. They're all great mid-carders (Morrison and Benjamin have main event potential as well), but with the Jericho/Mysterio feud taking up the IC Title picture, creative seems at a lost on how to book those guys. Morrison and Benjamin started a feud, but it hasn't gained any steam lately. And where are Mike Knox and Kane?

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Raw review, for you

I got a Monday night off, so I figured I'd do a little WWE Raw reviewing.

Now, I'm gonna recap the show, then add my conclusive thoughts at the end.

We open with new champ Batista, who won the title from Randy Orton last night in what I hear was a horribly boring match. He yammers on about destroying Legacy, Orton interrupts, Legacy comes out and beats the shit out of Batista, and does some serious damage to his arm. Orton walks out with the belt as Batista gets taken to an ambulance with a "serious arm injury."

Strong opening, definitely leads to some intrigue as to where they're going with the show.

Next up was a very solid match between US Champ Kofi Kingston and William Regal. I friggin' love Regal, incredible ring worker, and solid on the mic. Good match overall, with Kingston winning. Good result, because lately they've made a habit of making "underdog" champs, where they get squashed in non-title matches, but win their title matches. I hate that. Unless you're building an angle for a new contender, the champ should go over.

There's lots of potential for a strong mid-card on Raw. Kingston as the top mid-carder with the US Title, then followed by guys like Chavo Guerrero, Santino Marella (should they ever put him back in serious matches), Regal, Matt Hardy and The Miz.

Next there's a backstage segment where Orton proclaims he's invoking his rematch clause, regardless of Batista's condition.

Boring Diva match next, which means I spent the five or so minutes going to the kitchen, going to the bathroom, checking the Braves game, and imagining what the Divas involved (Maryse, Kelly Kelly, and Mickie James on commentary) look like naked.

Raw GM Vickie Guerrero confirms what Orton said, saying that if Batista can't answer a ten-count, Orton will be awarded the title. Then says she has a huge announcement coming up. Oh dear lord.

Maryse and The Miz have a segment backstage. Miz plays the douche bag, Maryse talks in French and looks damn sexy. Next.

Next there's a six-man tag match between Team Wasted Talent (Goldust, Santino and Festus) and Team THERE SHOULD BE A FUCKING CRUISERWEIGHT DIVISION YOU FUCKSTICK VINCE MCMAHON! (The Brian Kendrick, Chavo and Jamie Noble). Some shit happens, I die a little inside watch TBK and Chavo waste away in stupid storylines, and Hornswaggle somehow continues to still get TV time.

John Cena vs. The Miz is up next... wait, really? We're actually gonna get this? Oh, nope, we're not. Big Show comes out and beats the ever living shit out of Cena, then Miz gets a chair and knocks Show around and lays a few good ones on a beaten Cena. Hmm, interesting.

MVP vs. Matt Hardy follows, and it's about as decent a match as it could be with Hardy's hand in a cast. MVP continues his push on the mic beforehand, saying he deserves to be in a title match next week on the "3 For All" three-hour special Raw -- where every brand's title will be defended. Cool.

After that Vickie comes out and talks about some shit in her annoying voice. Then, in perhaps the best thing creative has done in a decade, she QUITS. This receives the biggest pop all night, naturally. Now Edge's music hits, and out comes the Rated-R Superstar. He talks about his request for divorce at the PPV last night, then follows it up by telling Vickie he only married her for power, blah blah. He reinforces his request for a divorce, Vickie shrieks.

Maybe they're actually gonna turn Edge face now. I mean, Edge dropped the belt to Jeff Hardy last night, who then lost it to CM Punk after Punk cashed in the Money in the Bank. Punk could go to his heel character, the straight-edge-holier-than-thou guy. He could have a feud with Hardy, demeaning his shady past, then feud with Edge -- because it's fucking obvious: Rated R vs. Straight Edge. Here's hoping Smackdown goes that route.

Back to Raw. Cena is interviewed backstage, says some shit about Show and Miz. Whatever.

Next is a tag team match. Wait. Seriously? Holy fuck. The Unified Champs, The Colons, take on Priceless. If Priceless wins, they get a title shot. Excellent, finally. Great match between the two immensely talented teams, with Priceless winning after DiBiase hits the Dream Street (good move, great name for a finisher) on Carlito. Priceless will get a title shot.

Out comes Orton for the alleged match with Batista for the strap. He talks some shit on the mic, then the bell rings and the ten-count begins for Batista. They get up to nine when an ambulance is shown returning on the screen. The ref halts the count, saying Batista has returned. Back to the screen, and it ain't the Animal, it's The Game! Triple H comes out, sledgehammer in tow, beats DiBiase and Rhodes on the ramp, then heads towards Orton in the ring. Trips drops the sledgehammer, and gets in the ring and tangles with Orton. They beat the crap outta each other, with HHH eventually getting the upper hand. Show ends when HHH pedigrees Orton on a chair in the ring.

Solid show, some good matches and three big storylines (Batista injury, Vickie quitting, HHH return).

So, I guess that means the WWE Title is vacated? Or technically Batista is still champ? Well, anyway, Batista is about to take time off for a triceps injury. Thing is, they knew this before the PPV. So why the fuck did they put the belt on Batista knowing they were just going to take it off? Dumb.

Randy Orton is getting the shaft. Remember when he won the Rumble and started Legacy? He was a driving force, compelled to win the title and fulfill his destiny. Then Wrestlemania came around and despite the excellent build-up, HHH won anyway, only to have Orton take the title the next month in a stupid six-man tag. Orton always gets squashed by faces, and it's retarded. Why can't he just beat them and hold the title? Why can't this be the Age of Orton, with all the faces chasing him? It's dumb booking, plain and simple.

Orton and Legacy need to have a dominant period on Raw. Have Orton get the belt, have Priceless get the tag team belts. Have them dominate. That way, when the right time comes for a face to take the titles, it will go over in a big, big way. Yes, Orton need to take heel shortcuts every now and then. But his build up to Mania was flawless, and has sadly been thwarted since then.

On the return of HHH... personally, I want him to turn heel again. He is such a sensational heel. However, it doesn't work right now. Orton is the top heel, and he ain't turning face anytime soon. Batista just got injured, so he's going away. Cena is involved with Big Show and Miz. HBK is still on break (for now). HHH needs to be the top face on Raw. All the more reason Orton should've kept his title and the Age of Orton needs to happen.

OR... the new GM (dream wish: the return of Eric Bischoff. Won't happen, sadly, and I honestly don't know who's gonna come in as Raw GM) vacates the title. They then announce a 8-man tournament for the WWE Title. Now, the next PPV is the Great American Bash on June 28th. That means you can have the four first round mathces next week, then the two semifinal matches the following Monday, then the WWE Title match at the Bash.

Participants? Orton, HHH, Cena, Show, HBK (a big return for next week), MVP (continuing his main-event push), Miz (to further the angle with Cena), and a wild card like Matt Hardy or William Regal. Personally, I'd (again) want to put the Age of Orton into full effect. Or, it would be nice for HBK to get one more title reign in his career.

Unfortunately, this seems too logical for WWE creative, and the strap will likely end up on HHH before long. Rinse and repeat.

Other WWE notes:

It sucks that Ken Kennedy was released, but he really does need to work on keeping himself safe and keeping others safe. He'll go to TNA, hopefully sharpen his skills (and maybe even boost that company), then come back around to WWE down the road.

Just read that Umaga was also released. No idea why, this one is outta left field. Granted, he ain't been the same without Armando Estrada (long lost is the art of the manager). I'm sure he'll end up in TNA too.

I've never bought a WWE DVD, but I have a feeling I'm going to start with the new Macho Man set coming out. I was a big Macho Man fan growing up, and it should be awesome nostalgia.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Squirrel!

Go see Up, do it. Preferably in 3-D if you can. Pixar did it again, it's just amazing how they churn out great film after great film.

Lots of talk about the Braves' dealings this week -- and possible future deals.

Weekend 6-Pack:
Alabama - Live
The Black Crowes - By Your Side
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Second Helping
Drive-By Truckers - A Blessing and a Curse
Shooter Jennings - Electric Rodeo
Waylon Jennings - Ultimate Waylon Jennings

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Brave Day

Well, it's the end of an era in Atlanta (again). The Braves released Tom Glavine today, in a shocking move. GM Frank Wren said the move was based on performance, and that the team felt going younger was a better move. They then enforced that motive by finally announcing they will be calling up uber-prospect Tommy Hanson on Saturday to start against the Brewers.

But, they weren't done there. The Bravos then traded three minor leaguers to the Pirates for CF Nate McLouth. This move comes a day after they sent Jordan Schafer down to Triple-A Gwinnette.

Now, these moves say two things. First, they say that the Braves are focused on staying in the playoff race this year, and they don't want to fall too far behind before making a move. Second, it says they are also keeping an eye on the future. Glavine is a legend, and will always have a place in Atlanta Braves history. But, he's been injury plagued lately, and you can only keep Hanson down for so long.

I like the move for McLouth. We desperately need something to happen in the outfield. McLouth isn't exactly tearing it up at a historic level (.256 AVG/9 HR/ 34 RBI/ .819 OPS), but it's a shake up. Schafer started hot, but has since gone ice cold (.204/2/8/.600), Garret Anderson has been sub-par (.261/2/16/.662 in 34 games), Jeff Franceour is up and down (.251/4/25/.632), and Matt Diaz has been average at best (.274/2/15/.773 in 32 games). Hopefully we didn't give up too much for him.

Now we just have to hope it all works out.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday, Friday

If the Braves don't start hitting the damn ball soon, I'm gonna... well, bitch more. Trade rumors are starting to swirl around Jeff Franceour, and while it would be weird to think of the Bravos trading the kid we once called The Natural, it might be the only choice if he doesn't start picking it up.

It's the return of the...

WEEKEND 6-PACK!

Blaine Duncan & The Lookers -- Blaine Duncan & The Lookers
Drive-By Truckers -- Decoration Day
Dexateens -- Singlewide
The Rolling Stones -- Sticky Fingers
Justin Townes Earle -- Midnight at the Movies
Alabama -- Mountain Music

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Things I think

OK, so I'm flipping through an issue of Esquire, and while it is usually filled with ads that I find strange, I came across one that takes it to a whole new level. Tell me, Diesel, how the fuck do you think this makes me want to buy your cologne? Last I checked, Esquire was marketed towards straight guys, and that ad certainly ain't.

Uncle Tupelo > Son Volt > Wilco

If you're not a Squidbillies fan, you should be. See below:


I've went back and watched the first three Terminator movies after seeing Salvation Friday, and it's only made Salvation that much worse.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

God this is awful basketball

Game 3 of the Magic/Cavs series is the worst game of basketball I have seen since a bunch of 5-year-old kids played during halftime of an Alabama game years ago.

BUT, my buddy Nate has made one entertaining point: Stan Van Gundy looks like Monty from the Rescue Rangers. See for yourself...

Terminator Salvation

On Friday, my 25th birthday, I went and saw the latest installation of a series that has also graced this earth for a quarter century: Terminator Salvation.

Coming into the summer, this was probably the film I looked forward to the most, and I left the theater... disappointed.

It's not a bad film by any means, in fact I was fairly entertained by the flick. But, after viewing it I couldn't help but think about the numerous ways that the film could've been improved upon.

The acting was solid all-around (although I wasn't overly impressed with Moon Bloodgood), and the action scenes were awesome of course. As an action film, it worked.

But the Terminator series isn't strictly about action. It's also science fiction, and great science fiction only uses it's science as a setting and background, and not as the driving force. Star Wars wasn't about outer space, it was about the characters. Jurassic Park wasn't about dinosaurs, it was about the ethical limitations of science.

Salvation did not obey this rule.

I felt like director McG (side note: what the fuck? McG? Douche.) assumed that everyone watching the movie already knew every intricate detail about the Terminator series already. But, this is supposed to be a stand alone trilogy, and he relied too much on previous knowledge of the series. Yes, the connections are needed, but he didn't need the amount he used.

The main problem I have is that because of the above assumption, McG sacrificed character building and plot development in favor of an extra action scene or three. The movie would have been immensely better had he sacrificed 15-20 minutes of action for some more story telling.

Hopefully, he'll learn from this film and capture the full potential of the series in the next film. But for now, unless you're a die hard fan of the series, wait until the DVD.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random thoughts

Saw Star Trek the other day, thoroughly enjoyable movie. It wasn't the greatest thing ever like some reviews say, but it was pretty good. I had absolutely zero knowledge of anything Star Trek going in, and the movie did a pretty good job of introducing me to it, so kudos there.

So, I'm a little annoyed that Ole Miss is getting so much love in various post-spring Top 25s. Now, I know it's blatantly early to worry about this kind of stuff, but seeing them picked ahead of the Tide in the SEC West is rubbing me the wrong way. Yes, they had a strong year last year, and their QB Jevan Snead is the best in the league behind Tim Tebow. But they lost some very key parts on defense, and are rebuilding their offensive line. To see them in the National Championship talk is a bit ridiculous. It's Houston Nutt people, he's still too one-dimensional.

The Braves are still killing me, but at least the bullpen has turned around. The hitting, however, is gray hair inducing. We need a solid cleanup guy, but I just don't know where one is. Garrett Anderson is not it, and as great as Brian McCann is, he's just not a power guy. If Jeff Francoeur turns it on, he could be the in-house solution. But I don't see that happening. And I just heard a very disturbing stat: the Braves have hit into 32 double plays this season, in now their 37th game. That's almost a double play a game. Sheesh.

Wrestling thoughts: I love Randy Orton more and more each time I get to watch him. His dark, brooding, monotone mic-work is superb; and his in-ring work only continues to flourish. I also like the recent trend of some younger guys like MVP and John Morrison getting pushes (like the Morrison face-turn too). Things I don't like: the continued misuse of the tag team division (Cryme Tyme hosting Diva segments every week, really?); and the rumor that Vince McMahon wants to put a show on Wednesday nights, meaning there would be five nights of WWE programming a week. Unless you get rid of the brand extension, this won't work. However, it could work if they unite the rosters, unify the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, drop the ECW Title (who wants a fucking silver belt anyway?), add another mid-card belt (Cruiserweight), unify the Womens/Divas belts (and shelve the stupid segments with pillow fights and crap every week), and really push the young guys and tag teams. Don't overexpose your top guys, let storylines play out, get your young guys TV time. It could work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blaine Duncan & The Lookers

Thank the lord for Blaine Duncan & The Lookers. Because, finally, I have a reason to be excited about new music.

Let's face it: there ain't much to get excited about in the country/Southern rock music scene these days.

Mainstream radio hasn't put out anything that can even remotely be called country since Shania Twain burst on the scene in the '90s and with the ever-graceful presence of the angel of death. Yeah, there are a couple of mainstays that you can't deny (Alan Jackson and George Strait, namely); but, it ain't country anymore -- it's pop, plain and simple. The Nashville suits are always looking for the next Rascal Flatts or Taylor Swift. Shooter Jennings said it best: "They built Music City by sacrificing soul."

And rock radio... well, has there ever really been a place for Southern rock in the mainstream? Quick, name me five Southern rock acts who really transcended boundaries and rose above the regional biases. Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, ZZ Top... umm, that's it, right? Maybe there's not room for simple songs about life. Or maybe if you don't wear eyeliner and shirts four-times too small with a scarf you don't get played. I don't know the rules, I just know they're stupid.

So we're forced to look beyond what's given to us. We're forced (although a good number of us, like myself, go willingly) into smoke-filled, dimly-lit bars to hear real music.

And it is there that you find Blaine Duncan & The Lookers, as sure and dependable as any band out there.

Their live shows are unmistakable. The three-guitar melodic attack of Duncan, David Phillips and Ham Bagby leads the way, striking a fine balance between boogie-down licks and rock-fist thrusting solos. The rhythm section of Kendall Rich on bass (a spot formerly filled by Ryan Akers, who appears on the album as both bassist and co-songwriter) and Mikey Oswalt on drums pounds out toe-tapping beats one after the other, with the steady ferocity of coal miners doing their jobs day in and day out. Then there's Duncan, who leads them all with his "aw-shucks" charisma -- always starting out shows looking almost nervous on stage, then erupting into a flurry of Pete Townsend-esque guitar strums and rally-leading shouts.

But the translation from live performance to CD is where the band's magnificence really shines. The songs are put together with an intricate tightness, something you can really appreciate as a music fan -- especially when Nathan Pitts lends a hand on pedal steel and banjo. But at the same time they have a carefree attitude, almost as if there's a subliminal message hidden somewhere that tells you to crank your stereo, roll down your windows and rock into the breeze.

The songwriting is absolutely superb. It's simple and thought-provoking without tripping over itself trying to be too complex. There's no pandering to any formulas, just an honest freshness. There are no stereotypical "I'm from the country" anthems, no cookie-cutter love songs.

There's just the boys in the band and their music. Boys who don't take themselves too seriously -- as evidenced by songs like "I Don't Smoke Dope With Satan (Since He Left Me at the Mall)" -- but still know how to settle in and delve into heartfelt efforts like "The Death" and "Virginia (State Park)" with a seamless ease.

In the end, you won't want to take this one out of your CD player until you wear it out. The play count on your iPod will climb and climb until you know every word by heart. You'll eagerly anticipate their every show until you realize the soul Shooter Jennings was talking about may have been sacrificed in Music City, but it still lives strong in bands like Blaine Duncan & The Lookers.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Let's all go to the lobby!

And get ourselves a snack. It's summer time, and you know what that means: movie time. Perhaps the most anticipated movie of the year has already come and gone, that being Watchmen of course.

But I kicked off my summer movie season this past Sunday when I saw State of Play, and came away thoroughly impressed. Or maybe I started it a few weeks ago when I saw Observe & Report (HIGH-larious) and Adventureland (not what I expected, but solid).

So what else does the summer hold in store for us?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
In theaters
We were gonna see this Sunday, but all of these horrible reviews swayed us in another direction. But, I still wanna see it. Huge X-Men fan, and it can't be worse than X-Men 3, can it? I mean, it's got Gambit and Deadpool, after all.


Star Trek
May 8th
I can't say I'm the biggest J.J. Abrams fan. I think Lost is absolute crap, and I hated Cloverfield with a passion. I also have never, ever been a fan of Star Trek movies or series. But damn if the trailers for this one don't have me interested.


Terminator: Salvation
May 21st
Really excited for this one. Christian Bale is the man, and the Terminator series is top notch action/sci-fi. Salvation takes us to the post-apocalyptic 2018, where John Connor leads what's left of humanity against Skynet. Should be action packed, involving, and thrilling.


Up
May 29th
Pixar never misses, ever. Seriously, why is this gonna be any different?


Land Of The Lost
June
It looks like they didn't take themselves seriously while making this, and if that's true, this should be good, campy fun.


Year One
June
Jack Black, Michael Cera and McLovin. Probably your comedy of the summer.


Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
June
OK, when I saw the first one, I liked it. But, as time went on, well... look, Spider-Man 3 came out that same year, and compared to that everything is fucking amazing. Michael Bay turned the Transformers into Lego Bionicles. He added his usual unnecessary love story (incredibly, amazingly, unimaginably hot as Megan Fox may be). He dropped story/character development in favor of over-the-top special effects. And what the fuck is Sector 7?!?!?


The Hangover
June
OK, maybe Year One isn't the comedy of the summer just yet. This looks friggin' hilarious on a whole 'nother level.


Funny People
July
Judd Apatow strikes again! In Apatow's third directorial effort, Adam Sandler joins Seth Rogen and Eric Bana in a film about a comedian (Sandler) who has a terminal illness and befriends a fellow comedian (Rogen). This one seems to be a bit heavier than the usual Apatow-related flicks, but has a lot of potential.


Public Enemies
July
Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger. Christian Bale plays the FBI agent trying to catch him. Michael Mann will direct them. Who doesn't enjoy a good old-timey gangster flick? With that cast, this seems like a can't-miss.


BrĂ¼no
July
Good news: another Sacha Baron Cohen movie. Bad news: there are still douche bags who endlessly spew out "sexy time!" and "high five!" and "very nice!" from Borat.


G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
August
Umm, just watch the trailer. Either you'll get really geeked up, or you'll be like me and think, "Good lord, that's just gonna be crap."


Inglorious Basterds
August
Quentin Tarantino. Brad Pitt. World War 2. Yes, please.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Random musings

The Braves are killing me this year, absolutely killing me. No cleanup hitter, and no bullpen. But, somehow, all hope is not lost. Brian McCann is due back at the end of this week, and hopefully his eye problem will be a thing of the past and he can help out the lineup. On the pitching side of things, we are still without Tim Hudson and Tom Glavine, and when Hudson returns -- and if Glavine does -- we can move a couple of back end starters to the pen for help. And better yet, Tommy Hanson is due up sometime this year, and hopefully he can contribute the same way as David Price did for the Rays last season.

Two CD releases to get excited about: This Saturday Blaine Duncan & The Lookers will hold their CD release party at Little Willie's in Tuscaloosa for their self-titled debut. Next Tuesday, May 12th, The Dexateens unleash the highly anticipated Singlewide upon the world. I strongly recommend both to fans of Southern-twinged rock n roll. Videos for your viewing/listening pleasure:





Good piece on Alabama QB Greg McElroy over at ESPN.com by Mark Schlabach. I'm fairly confident in the kid, he doesn't have to do much, after all. The defense is going to be sick nasty this fall, and he's surrounded by enough weapons on offense that he can step in and play the same game-manager role as John Parker Wilson did last season.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Yo

Howdy y'all. Sorry for the quiet lately, been a bit busy with moving and such. Also sorry to say, the new place does not have DVR, therefore the wrestling reviews will have to be put on hold for a little bit. But, that should only be temporary, the newer place I'm moving to this summer will be equipped, I guarantee you that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ECW Review, 4/14

I'm tired of coming up with alternate names for the new not-so-ECW, so we're just gonna go with little e, CW. eCW.

First up we have John Morrison going against Evan Bourne. Early on the announcers keep talking about how Morrison will adjust to life as a singles wrestler. Um, did we forget the four-month reign as Intercontinental Champ? Or how about the solid run he had as eCW Champ? I mean, that's gotta be one of my biggest pet peeves with wrestling: the lack of long term memory. I'm not saying we need a history lesson every week, but come on.

Good back and forth match, really fast paced. That's what I really love about this newer crop of guys: rarely ever are there slow periods in matches. Morrison gets the win after a Moonlight Drive from the turnbuckle, and oh, hey, yeah he can wrestle by himself. Morons.

Vladimir Kozlov makes his eCW debut next, against some poor local jobber. I give it 45 seconds. Nope, 1:03. Oh, yay, he's gonna speak... something about him dominating eCW (at least until creative finds some storyline for him on one of the big shows).

Man, I want that WWE Encyclopedia.

Triple threat match next, in which the loser gets eliminated from the eCW Championship Chase. I suppose I'd like to see Christian get the push, although I really want him on another brand. Anybody but Finlay, really. Well, there goes Tommy Dreamer, doesn't look like he's accomplishing that goal of winning the eCW Title before his contract runs up in June. Guess WWE is trying to kill off ECW completely.

That's it, short, but two solid matches. I think Kozlov is just wasting away here and taking away screen time from guys like Swagger, Tyson Kidd and DJ Gabriel, but that's just me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Raw review, 4/13

Ah, the WWE Draft: an annual rite of Spring. Or, a desperate attempt by WWE creative to scrap lame storylines and throw together new ones in an effort to boost ratings (provided they do, in fact, know what they're doing... and sometimes I wonder).

Before we get going, some things I'd like to see:
  • A CM Punk heel turn. Why? It'd be unexpected, and different. There's a surplus of faces right now, especially with JBL leaving.
  • Chris Jericho getting a major title push. His heel character is beyond brilliant, and it needs to be rewarded.
  • Take the IC Title off of Rey Mysterio, please. Or, at least quit putting him in programs with guys twice his size.
  • All those things I said in my ECW Review last week (start reading at "Speaking of the draft").
  • Move Edge away from Vickie Guerrero, for the love of all that is holy. And don't just start the same shit with her and Big Show. No more love affairs, no more "La Familia" -- just stop it.
That's all I want, something fresh, something entertaining. I really think the WWE is missing the point, here. I get they're trying to get kids early, so that's why guys like John Cena and Jeff Hardy get huge pushes. But the biggest demographic is young adult male group, people like me, and we grew up with the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era. So push the envelope a little, give us something edgy. Just my opinion.

OK, here we go. We start off with Batista, Shane McMahon and Triple H cutting a promo about who wants to knock Randy Orton's head off the most. He punted my head, no he punted my head harder, well he punted my wife's head, yadda yadda. Then Vickie comes out and announces a handicap match pitting Legacy members Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase vs. HHH, Shane-o-Mac and Batista. If one of the latter three win, whoever gets the pin/submission gets Orton one-on-one next week. Interesting, I love that Orton is the heel everyone hates.

Our first match is between ECW's Evan Bourne and Raw's Mysterio, winner's brand gets the first draft pick. Fascinating that WWE chose to put ECW in this match, maybe they're actually considering taking it seriously as a brand?

Well, maybe not. Mysterio gets the pin with the 619/splash combo, aka the worst finisher ever. Entertaining match, though, just another strong argument to bring back the Cruiserweight division.

And the first pick is... MVP, the United States Champion. I like it, a lot of possible feuds for him on Raw. Now that we know this, it should mean that Mysterio goes to Smackdown, or loses to belt to someone from Smackdown (please, please, please).

Next match for the next pick is between Raw's Kane and Smackdown's The Brian Kendrick. I really like Kendrick, especially when paired up with Ezekial Jackson. Well, in time it took to write that sentence, Kane decimates Kendrick and Jackson. Raw gets another pick... and it's Big Show.

Of course the announcers go on the "he's so dominating, who's gonna stop him?" kick. You know what, when's the last time they put the strap on one of these "dominating" guys like Show or Kane (and I don't mean the so-called ECW title)? Why not give Kane or Show a decent run with one of the major titles? Really follow through with this unstoppable force thing. Maybe that makes too much sense.

Couple of promos next. First, Randy Orton barges in Vickie's office, punks out Chavo and tells Vickie what's up. See, this is why Orton is the man and should have the WWE Title: he gets on everybody's bad side.

After that, ECW Champ Jack Swagger confronts World Heavyweight Champ John Cena in an entertaining promo about Swagger calling himself the "All-American American." Cena wants to be The Rock soooooooo badly. If I was Bill Gates rich, I would ask Rocky to just name the price for him to come back and put Cena in his place. Please Rocky, no more kids movies, just come back to us.

The next match is a Divas match between Raw's team of Melina, Mickie James and Kelly Kelly vs. Smackdown's Michelle McCool, Maryse and Natalya. McCool gets the win for Smackdown, and the pick is... Melina.

Cena vs. Swagger is up after next, and the winning brand gets two draft picks. I love Swagger's potential. He's got the amateur background, knows his way around the ring, sells his bumps, and is already decent on the mic. The kid could be a STAR in the future. A big "let's go Swagger!" chant starts in the Atlanta crowd, go ATL! But seriously, isn't Cena due for a heel turn? There's a large segment of the fanbase that just doesn't like him, and also a big enough contingent that loves him so it works both as a logical move and a shock.

OK, this is gonna piss me off. Swagger has out-wrestled Cena in every aspect and -- yep, as I type this Cena hits his finisher and submission hold out of nowhere. That always happens, Cena gets his ass whupped but somehow finds the energy to make a big finish. Horrible wrestler, horrible seller. The picks are... Matt Hardy and Triple H. Wow, think the writers are favoring Raw here? Of course, this happened last year and then the show ended with a bang with Trips going to Smackdown.

Edge attacks Cena during the distraction, maybe they'll put the belt on him come Backlash? I don't know, but you know something's gotta happen to move the World Heavyweight Title to Smackdown.

Santino Marella is out next! Uh oh, his opponent is The Great Khali. Khali gets an easy win, earning Smackdown a pick and forcing Santina to go on the Khali Kiss Cam next week (comedy gold is sure to happen). Anywho, the pick is... CM Punk. I like that move, a lot. He's been on ECW/Raw his whole career, so this is a fresh start for him.

Up next is ECW's Miz vs. Raw's Kofi Kingston. OK, the announcers have been saying for WEEKS "what will happen if Miz and Morrison get split up?" So, it's gotta happen here, right? I mean, it's all they talk about during their matches. Hell, they just dropped the word "bromance" on us. Alright, I like Kingston and all, but he needs a much better finisher. That spinning kick twirly thing he does takes waaayyy too long.

Well, Kingston wins via DQ in an awful finish to a superb match. Nice job, writers, really. And, yes, The Miz has in fact been drafted to Raw. The boys look like they're about to cry and, whoa! Miz hits Morrison with a Reality Check in a nice twist. OK, decent job of making up for that horrible match finish.

Of course, Raw is dominating this draft. So Smackdown has to win this tri-branded battle royal hands down, right? Right on cue, Edge eliminates Big Show to win it for Smackdown. And the picks are... Kane and Chris Jericho. Well, maybe this'll give them the pushes I asked for earlier.

Either ECW or Smackdown will get the next pick, as Christian takes on Shelton Benjamin. Christian wins a fairly solid match, and the pick is... Vladimir Kozlov. Ho hum. I'm now convinced that ECW is for young wrestlers, guys Vince doesn't like, and guys creative have no idea what to do with.

Our next tilt is between a couple of tonight's draft picks, Raw's Matt Hardy and Smackdown's CM Punk. Now that Matt is on Raw, I reckon that means his feud with Jeff Hardy is over. Thank you. OK, now Jeff comes down and interrupts the match, getting the win for Matt and Raw via DQ. What the hell, WWE? Really, you're gonna have lame finishes to two good matches in one night? Sheesh. Whatever, the pick is... Maryse, the WWE Divas Champ. Guess that was a foregone conclusion with Melina, the Women's Champ, going to Smackdown earlier. But you would think they could've saved that for the supplemental draft instead.

Smackdown's Jericho squares off against ECW's Tommy Dreamer for the next pick. Jericho gets the win after a Code Breaker, and the pick is... Rey Mysterio (told you so).

So that does it for the draft for tonight, here's the final tally:

Raw: WWE Champ Triple H, Big Show, United States Champ MVP, Divas Champ Maryse, Matt Hardy, Miz
Smackdown: Intercontinental Champ Rey Mysterio, Women's Champ Melina, Kane, Chris Jericho, MITB winner CM Punk
ECW: Vladimir Kozlov

Naturally, it comes down to how creative uses them, but at first glance Raw gets the best deal. And, you gotta think this means they'll put the World Heavyweight Title on Edge at Backlash.

Main event time, remember that if Rhodes and Dibiase win, whomever loses has to go one-on-three vs. Legacy next week. But if HHH, Batista or Shane win, whomever gets the win gets Orton in a match. The match is filled with infighting between Shane, Trips and Batista, and HHH gets the win after a pedigree on DiBiase. Show ends with a stare down between Orton and Triple H.

See, that's what a Raw should be like. A few promos here and there to push storylines, but mostly full of good, solid matches.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

ECW Review, 4/7

Matt Striker as the show opens: "We are capsized in the wake of perhaps the greatest Wrestlemania of all time!" HA! Whoever wrote that should win a friggin' Emmy.

We open the show with everyone's favorite nerdy cool guy, artist formerly known as ECW GM Teddy Long. Theodore announces that he will move to Smackdown to be the GM there, and that Tiffany replaces him as the interim WWECW GM. Who's Tiffany? Another cookie cutter blond diva, but that's not really important because she looks good in a business suit.

WWE Minor League/ECW Champ Jack Swagger interrupts, and he's looking sharp in his pinstripe suit. I like Swagger, he's solid on the mic and in the ring, and has a ton of room to grow. I think he's a future superstar. The two go back and forth about the upcoming draft and Swagger's opponent for Backlash. Tiffany's not horrible on the mic, I'll give her that.

Speaking of the draft, you know who needs to come to not-ECW? The Brian Kendrick. He got a mild push last year, and now he's kind of faded away. Bring him and his bodyguard to faux-ECW, maybe put the strap on him, let him develop more as a singles guy. Orrrr, pair him up with Ezekiel Jackson and actually build a tag team division. Oh wait, I forgot that Vince hates tag teams and therefore we fans should just forget they even exist. Silly me.

But seriously, move Kendrick over, ship out Mark Henry to Smackdown or Raw. Then you have Kendrick up against the likes of Miz, John Morrison, Evan Bourne, DJ Gabriel, Tyson Kidd and Swagger. That's some good, skilled, young guys right there. And while we're at it, move Christian to a big show and bring in Sim Snuka, who's sitting around doing nothing, or Dolph Ziggler.

Six-man tag action up next, Miz, Morrison and Tyson Kidd vs. The Colons and Evan Bourne. It seems as if the WWE is actually trying to build a tag rivalry between The Colons and Miz & Morrison. But where are the other teams? Cryme Tyme, Hawkins & Ryder, Legacy members Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jesse & Festus, Kendrick & Jackson -- there's plenty of teams out there, but they just don't get used (you can even finally bring in DH Smith, son of British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, and pair him with Kidd and form a new Hart Foundation). It's ridiculous.

Bourne gets the pin and the win with the always incredible to watch shooting star press. Again, a very well fought match between these teams... you know what, I've already ranted on the sad state of the tag division. But, speaking of Bourne, why is there no Cruiserweight Title? Oy.

A couple of vignettes recapping Raw and the Hall of Fame ceremony. By the way, why didn't they show the entire thing? It only got an hour Saturday night, and we only saw the induction of Ricky Steamboat and Steve Austin.

Main event time, with the beginning of the "championship chase" for the eCW title. It starts with this fatal four-way match between Mark Henry, Christian, Finlay and Tommy Dreamer. The wrestler that gets pinned or submits will be eliminated from contention. The last man standing at the end of the chase will face Swagger for his belt. Not sure where they're going here. Christian and Henry should be on bigger shows, Finlay and Dreamer are at the end of their roads.

Finlay wins by cheating once again (does he ever win clean? Worst face ever), pinning Henry after hitting him with the shillelagh. Henry is eliminated, show over, yadda yadda yadda.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Raw review, 4/6

First things first: Wrestlemania 25. I was severely disappointed. If I had to grade it, it'd get a C -- and that is thanks solely to the epic match between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. I mean, that was one of the best matches I've seen in a awhile, I couldn't count how many times one of us exclaimed "oh, shit!"

After that, not much else was very impressive. The MITB was solid, but a few missed spots brought it down. Both title matches were average, and it's a damn shame Triple H kept the belt. Maybe they're going somewhere with this, but it seems like Randy Orton was robbed and that they almost abandoned the Legacy storyline. We'll see. By the way, the ending was horrible. No blood? One pedigree? Trips is supposed to have all this rage, and that's all he does? No pedigree through a table? Weak sauce.

The Hardy's match was bleh, but I liked the ending. The Jericho vs. Legends match was alright, although Ricky Steamboat was incredible. Thank god for the comedy gold that is Santino Marella. And don't even get me started on the crap the Intercontinental Title match was, or the fact they made the Tag Title Unification match a dark match.

Anyway, on to Raw.

We begin with Randy Orton cutting a promo -- he keeps getting better every time out. I agree Randy, you got hosed. Vince comes out and announces a six-man tag match for Backlash: Legacy vs. Triple H, Vince and Shane McMahon. And now a match for tonight with Vince vs. Orton. Eh, wait and see I suppose.

Now the match I wanted to see last night, The Colons vs. Miz and Morrison for the unified tag titles. Damn Vince for his hatred of the tag division. Solid match -- as always with both of these teams -- and Carlito and Primo get the win. I feel like Miz and Morrison may be splitting soon.

The annual draft is next week, that's always a fun one to watch. We get one week to see some Wrestlemania storylines either wrap up or continue, then the draft to shake things up.

Big ass tag match between a bunch of folks from last night. Hmm, Edge seems to be getting a pop from the Houston crowd. I've always liked Edge, especially as a heel (although I wish they'd take him away from Vickie). john Cena comes in to his usual mixed reaction. Awesome, the fans are chanting "you still got it" when Steamboat gets in. The face team wins when Mysterio get the pin over Chris Jericho. The Dragon gets a curtain call, one that he deserves. Side note: I smell a heel turn coming for CM Punk, just a hunch.

Oh joy, Vickie Guerrero... and she announces she's becoming the permanent GM for Raw. Yippie. She also announces that Edge will have a rematch with John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash, and it will be a Last Man Standing match. She also says that the Legacy/McMahons six-man tag match will now be a title match. If Legacy gets the win, Orton gets the belt. If Vince, Shane and HHH get the win, Trips keeps his belt. Wonder who they'll get to be Smackdown GM now? We were talking about this last night, and Stone Cold would be perfect. Great mic skills, could come in and stun some folks every now and then, everybody's happy.

Commerical for a new show, WWE Superstars.

And now, Santinoa! This is pure comedy brilliance. Ha, now Beth Phoenix challenges him/her to a match. Michael Cole is doing his best Jimmy Fallon impression, as he can't even contain himself. Santina wins!

Main event time, Orton vs. Vinny Mac. The match ends with the expected run ins from Shane, Triple H and Legacy. But, hats off to WWE for a good twist with Batista making his return to take out Legacy. And, he'll take Vince's place at Backlash. Remember, it was Orton who put Batista out of action in December. Interesting move, now Orton has revenge on his mind against HHH, but Batista wants vengeance on Orton.

Decent post-Mania edition of Raw. The draft special next week should give us a better idea of what storylines are gonna carry out in the coming weeks.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Wrestlemania XXV

Smackdown review, 4/3

It sucked. Too many vignettes, too little wrestling. And why wasn't the US Title match the main event? Gah.

Anywho, live blogging for Wrestlemania later tonight. Be here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ECW Review, 3/31

Alright, time to review the pre-Wrestlemania edition of the show formerly known as ECW (I shall find a catchier nickname for this in the future).

Leading off, a Money in the Bank teaser tag match between the teams of Christian (whose new entrance music sucks) & Findlay, and Mark Henry & Kane. Henry gets the pin on Christian. They're really building up Kane and Mark Henry as dominant forces going into the MITB match.

I'll be honest, I have on clue who they're going to put over this Sunday. Vince McMahon basically hates Christian, and while most everyone in the business thinks he's main event talent, he won't get it if Vince has his way. CM Punk took it last year, it'd be odd to give it to him again... I think, anyway. I mean, after he lost the World Heavyweight Championship they put the IC Title on him. Kofi Kingston isn't there yet, I don't see Mark Henry as someone who can carry a major title on Raw or Smackdown, same goes for Findlay. Kane has been there before, but I'm not sure he could work again (although, if the story's right I wouldn't mind it). I'm gonna say either MVP or Shelton Benjamin finally get a big push, once their feud for the US Title is done with.

Video package about the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker match. See, this is my main problem with the WWE's treatment of this version of not-ECW. They treat it like a minor league show/recap show for Raw and Smackdown. We're a half an hour in and there's been ONE freaking match. Unacceptable. If you're gonna pass this off as a brand all its own, then fucking do it. Build the storylines and rivalries, get your talent matches and screen time. But if you're not gonna do that, change the name (well, they should do that anyway unless they plan on making in Extreme Championship Wrestling again) and don't market it as a separate brand.

And after the break, another fucking vignette. Jesus.

Hey, anyone know when that John Cena movie -- whatsitcalled? -- is coming out? I don't think the WWE has shown a single commercial for it.

Back from commercial, another video. Good grief.

Oh hey, a match, hot damn! Oh, wait, Diva match. Dammit. Well, at least it has something to do with the tag title unification match this Sunday between Miz & Morrison and the Colons? Weak sauce.

That, THAT is your main event. One hour show, two matches. Horrible. Who cares if WWE-minor league isn't well represented this Sunday, you can't just shaft it like that. You don't have your champ at all? You don't have arguably your most popular superstar, Evan Bourne? The only way to develop all that great young talent on the show is to get them in matches. Atrocious showing, guys, just plain bad.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday musings and a Raw review

> I'm very excited about the hiring of Anthony Grant to be the new Alabama basketball coach. He's young, he comes from a good coaching pedigree, he did nothing but win at VCU and perhaps most importantly, he's a no nonsense guy with an exciting style of play. The last item there is exactly what we need at The Capstone. Mark Gottfried did wonderful things here for our program, but his time passed and we needed a change. Grant's hire signifies that we are willing to do what it takes to build a contending basketball program here.

> My bracket was absolutely horrible this year. Not a single Final Four team made it. By far my worst year ever. That said, of the remaining four, UNC should win it. Before the year I said that if they stayed healthy, there's no reason that team shouldn't win it all. Ty Lawson has been incredible so far, and there's really no one who can stop him.

> OK, in an effort to start producing more content on here -- and to make my buddy CR happy, because I'm pretty sure he requested this some time ago -- I'm going to start doing wrestling reviews.

WWE Raw Review, 3/30

OK, the Raw before Wrestlemania. The final buildup for matches and feuds, meaning we should have a pretty solid show.

We begin with some huge Diva tag match, and while I normally hate this stuff, it does serve the purpose of building the Diva battle royal this Sunday. The Santino Marella bit was gold, because Santino is always GOLD. By far the most under utilized on-screen talent the WWE has. He is pure comedy.

Bleh, another vignette on the Randy Orton/Triple H. I don't think I've ever seen this many video pieces for a storyline before. While I think most of the stuff so far has been over the top, it is doing a good job of building the animosity between the two.

Next Chris Jericho is going to wrestle Jerry Lawler. The build up for Jericho's match against the Hall of Famers has been really good. Jericho is one of the best heels in a long, long time. He is absolutely superb in making the audience hate him. Obvious decision here to put him over Lawler, gotta build the heat going into 'Mania.

Oh joy, another commercial for 12 Rounds. God, how I already hate this movie and I haven't even seen it. A pity too, because I kinda like the premise and it has Tommy Carcetti from "The Wire" as the bad guy. This may be a DVD rental in the future. As for his match at Wrestlemania, I can't say I'm looking forward to it. Now, maybe if Vickie Guerrero would just go away...

OK, I get that The Legacy is part of the Orton/HHH match, and is fairly important to the build, but damn if I ain't sit of interviews and promos. Just show me a friggin' match already. However, I must say that I really like Ted DiBiase's potential on the mic, and as a heel. Cody Rhodes' lisp still cracks me up. I hope they make a run at the tag titles soon.

The commercials for Guitar Hero: Metallica are kinda chuckle-inducing.

I am sick and tired of Rey Mysterio and his David vs. Goliath shit. Seriously. We get it, he's the underdog. Everyone has two feet and 300 pounds on him. Good god, enough already. Look, I want a seriously rivalry for the Intercontinental Championship to develop, but not JBL/Mysterio. So, either have Mysterio win it Sunday as he did tonight and pit him against some high flier like Kofi Kingston or Evan Bourne, or have JBL win it and put him in a story against someone like William Regal or Mike Knox. Or, better yet, maybe since JBL calls himself "a wrestling god" you can pit him against some youngster like Sim Snuka. Whatever you do, no more David vs. Goliath.

Once again they are putting Big Show over as a dominant force, seemingly unstoppable. But they never put the belt on him. Maybe this time? Probably not, with the end of match beatdown by Edge, they seem to be playing the "John Cena overcomes all challenges" card again.

Another great promo for the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker match. Love the fact that they're hyping HBK's boldness, love the light vs. dark angle, ad love that Undertaker is getting frustrated by Michaels out-dueling him at mind games. Should be a great match.

I like what the WWE has done with the Money in the Bank participants. Now, maybe I would've had some individual matches to build some feuds, but they've kind of done that within all these 8-man matches (the MVP/Shelton Benjamin US Title rivalry). Also, I wonder if they're ot teasing a CM Punk heel turn with his recent disagreements with Kofi Kingston. Sure, he's immensely popular, but it could work.

Ugh, another promo to end a show. Really? You can't think of some match to end Raw with? Yes, at least it ended with some action, but come on. Nice touch with having the McMahons return, though. This should be the best match this Sunday.

OK, solid show tonight. They did what they needed to do by building all the Wrestlemania matches. Still, a little less talk and a lot more action, boys.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let's go dancing!

Don't you just love this time of year? Here's my quick look at this year's NCAA Tournament.

Midwest

I like Louisville. Their D is downright nasty, and defense is the way to win. I've always loved Rick Pitino's style, and this may be the best team he's had at Louisville. Any team that wins both the regular season and tournament championship in the Big East is going to make noise. I don't really see any huge obstacles in their way, other than their horrendous Free Throw shooting (see: Memphis, 2008).

Dark horse: West Virginia, never count out Bob Huggins.

West

The West is my upset special region... sort of. I have chalk going deep, with Memphis beating UConn to earn the Final 4 birth. However, I like Mississippi St., Northern Iowa, Utah St. and Maryland to all win their first round games. But, in the end, Memphis gets back to the Final 4.

Dark horse: Missouri, that style of play can give anybody fits.

East

All chalk. I would love for my Dukies to make a run, but unfortunately they have no answer at all for Pitt's DeJuan Blair. The Panthers make the biggest dance of all.

Dark horse: Xavier is getting close to Memphis/Gonzaga territory as one of the best non-big conference teams. A big run this year would solidify that.

South

Call me crazy, call me stupid, I don't care. I just have a hunch this year: Gonzaga finally breaks into the Final 4. I like their matchups, I love their fast-paced style, I love their athletic defense, and I really love their awesome FT shooting. I think Ty Lawson's injury is too much of a liability for North Carolina.

Dark horse: LSU won the SEC regular season title, and got an 8-seed to show for it. Don't be surprised if the Bayou Bengals play with a huge chip on their shoulder.

Final Four

Louisville over Memphis, Pitt over Gonzaga. Louisville wins the all big East final.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday tidbits

Good blog entry by Tommy Deas over Tidesports about the ridiculousness of the NCAA. Here's the most interesting point:
...it is a violation of NCAA rules for a student-athlete on athletic scholarship to get a textbook that a professor recommends for his or her class.
Yes, you read that right.

Jack White has a new band, again. This one is called The Dead Weather, and Rolling Stone has a little something on their sound. The album is slated to come out in June, and from what I read, it should be another Jack White success.

This season of the Real World sucks. Everyone is boring. Seriously, when your biggest drama is a dispute over cleaning dishes... I mean, can't MTV manufacture something interesting?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Watchmen

I hate reviewing movies, I really do.

Exactly what am I supposed to base a review on? There is no scale for such a thing. How can I compare one movie to the next? What one director does has no bearing on what another will do, different styles and all. You can't compare The Godfather to Animal House because they're entirely different movies.

I mean, look at critics. There is no "International Movie Association" ranking formula. Now, yes, you obviously tell if actors are lousy, the script makes no sense, the effects are lame, etc. But it all comes down to personal taste more than anything else. One critic will laud a movie as having a "detailed, intricate plot that sucks you in" while the next will say the exact same movie is "far too long and plodding." What sense does that make?

I suppose that's just one of life's unanswerable questions, like why the local sandwich shops have thicker napkins than the wings place.

All that said, here's my take on Watchmen!

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Zack Snyder stayed very faithful in his adaptation, while at the same time adding his own unique style and artistic touch.

Visually, it was stunning. Snyder gave the film a fascinating, comic book-like look. It was beautiful, smooth and really fun to watch. Of course, there was the issue of Snyder's penchant for slow motion fight scenes. Naturally, they were there; but Snyder managed to reel them in and let scenes play out without bogging the film down with slow motion a la 300.

The acting, for the most part, was superb. Jackie Earle Haley stood out above the rest, because he absolutely nailed Rorschach (although when I read the novel I didn't imagine him with the Christian Bale Batman growl). However, I wasn't the biggest fan of Matthew Goode's portrayal of Ozymandias (more on that later).

But Snyder's biggest feat was pulling off the complex, layered story on the big screen. This was as good a comic book/action movie as I have seen. Gone were the cheesy cliches, shallow stories and contrite commercialism. In Watchmen, characters were actually developed, the plot was actually well thought out, and corners were not cut in favor of flash and flair. The run time of the movie barely falls short of three hours, but Snyder uses every minute of it so well that it flies by.

I highly recommend this one. It's an intelligent, fun, involved movie experience. It's a great alternative to the cheap thrill-filled blockbusters that dominate the genre. However, I do suggest you read the graphic novel first. While Snyder did about as good a job as you can do in transferring the novel to the silver screen, there are still so many little things and side-stories to pick up in the book.

OK, now for specifics...

***SPOILER ALERT***

OK, I said above that I wasn't impressed with Goode's version of Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias. Now, for those of us coming into the movie having read the book, we already know that he's turns out to be the villain. But, in the movie, Goode's acting is so brooding, so dark that it's almost obvious. What was an absolute shock in the novel was almost a foregone conclusion in the movie.

I was a little disappointed with the lack of the newspaper stand side-story. I thought both the newsstand's operator and the comic provided a nice subtext to the overall story. However, I can understand the difficulty in trying to translate them to the big screen.

The ending might upset some hardcore fanboys, but I was perfectly fine with it. It still kept true to the novel's main idea; and while adding his own twist Snyder didn't compromise that idea.

OK, sleepy time.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Phew, that was a close one

In what has been a largely disappointing offseason thus far, the Ravens agreed to terms with Ray Lewis today. Thank God. Losing Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard to the Jets was rough enough, but losing Ray Ray would've been lights out. Yes, he's getting up there in years, but he's the team leader and is to the team what Cal Ripken was to the Orioles. It's impossible to envision him in another uniform. ESPN.com blogger James Walker gives his thoughts on it here and here.

The team also made up for the loss of center Jason Brown by signing six-time Pro Bowler Matt Birk.

For those that have access to ESPN Insider material, Doug Gottlieb has a little piece on what Alabama and Georgia should be looking for in their respective coaching searches. Personally, I want Mike Anderson of Missouri. He's a Birmingham native, did wonders at UAB, and currently has Missouri in the upper tier of the Big 12. Plus, he's a Nolan Richardson guy, meaning he could bring a version of the "40 Minutes of Hell" to a program that's had an incredibly boring offense for years upon years.

The Mountain West has proposed an eight-team playoff to the BCS. I'm sure the committee will treat it with the utmost respect...
MWC: Daddy, can I have a Playstation 3?
BCS: Well kiddo, why ruin the toys you have now? [Dad picks this off the shelf.] There, this is just as good.
MWC: But Dad--
BCS: Hush now, boy, this is just as good.
MWC: Daddy!
BCS: I said simmer down, son. [Pops eyes the 17-year-old busty blond at the register the way Tim Tebow eyes his next pair of jorts.]

So I went to a Bama basketball game tonight

And it's still the same rubbish it was when I last saw a live game in 2006.

Seriously, our basketball program is about as pathetic as the fact that Katy Perry doesn't even kiss a girl in the video for "I Kissed a Girl" (really, she doesn't, what the fuck is that all about?). We still lack identity and organization on offense. Still have lackluster fundamentals. And we still have yet to figure out perimeter defense. And we still have a largely apathetic fanbase (normally, this is where I would link to a column I wrote about three years ago demeaning the Alabama basketball fans for their lack of passion. Problem is, that was published on Dateline Alabama, the University's student-run online news site. However, the College of Communications apparently doesn't think online media is anything important, so the site is now defunct. Brilliant.)

Hopefully, we can bring in someone like Mike Anderson to turn the program around. But enough about that.

What I really went to see at Coleman Coliseum tonight was the presentation of the Foy-ODK Trophy. For the uninformed, that would be the trophy awarded to the winner of the Iron Bowl each year. Six long years it stayed on the plains of Auburn, and now it's back where it belongs in Tuscaloosa.

RMFT.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The state of professional wrestling

I am a pro wrestling fan. Have been since I watched Wrestlemania III with my Daddy Hoyt (my grandfather) back in the day. I was instantly hooked. Watched it as a kid through the early 90s doldrums into the Monday Night Wars.

But ever since WCW and ECW folded and WWF WWE became the mega-brand it is today, the product has been lacking. The post-Attitude Era has largely been a disappointment, with lackluster matches, ill-developed storylines and an overabundance of ego to blame.

It all started with the ill-fated and horribly botched Invasion angle. What had the potential to be one of the most glorious storylines ever in wrestling history, instead became one big dud. The WWE failed to sign all of the big name WCW wrestlers, granted some were due to contract obligations with Time Warner. But why not wait until they could be signed? Vince McMahon rushed into the angle, and ruined it with his ego. The WCW wrestlers were treated like second-rate stars, and the angle ended up being another McMahon-fest. Shane "owned" the WCW, and Steph took over ECW. You know what? That's fine and all, but at that point we had seen enough McMahon feuding. Why not bring in Eric Bischoff (which eventually happened) to head the WCW team and use Paul Heyman, who was already with WWE at that time, to run ECW?

Then we had the Brand Extension, which I have mixed emotions about. On one hand, there's a lot of talent in the WWE, and splitting the roster gives us a chance to see more wrestlers (not to mention, it gives them a lighter travel schedule). But, at the same time it can make things stale -- which is precisely why they hold the draft every year, so the rosters can get shaken up and new rivalries can develop.

Eventually, the stars that led the WWE during the Attitude Era -- Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley -- retired. New stars emerged, others stepped up from their mid-card roles to become main eventers. But, the product still lacked. From about 2002-2007, storylines were largely underdeveloped. They came about randomly, and even worse they dissipated without much satisfaction.

Titles have been treated more like props. Belts change hands far too rapidly. Last year, the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands seven times. The Intercontinental and US titles used to stand for something, and were great belts to put on up and coming stars. Now, they get passed around like a joint at a Phish concert.

And don't even get me started on the atrocity the tag team division has become. There are multiple episodes of Raw and Smackdown that don't even feature a single tag team match. Pitiful.

Also, while I'm not a big fan of it, the Cruiserweight division has been completely forsaken. The matches are quite popular with the general fanbase, and can be entertaining.

However, all is not lost. Last year showed some major promise, and it has continued so far into this year. There are a plethora of young stars that are showing promise. The tag team division has been getting some more attention lately -- although not enough. And we have amazing heels right now in Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Edge and JBL.

Of course, I haven't even talked about TNA yet... maybe it's better that way. They are suffering from the same pitfalls that led to WCW's downfall: too much reliance on older stars, not pushing younger guys, lame storylines. But, there's something good hidden in there.

So, how can they keep improving? Well, to reiterate what I said above, start pushing the tag team division again. Tag team wrestling has been the foundation for some GREAT single careers. Shawn Michaels started in the Rockers. Bret Hart had the Hart Foundation. And there have been some legendary tag teams. The Road Warriors, The Dudley Boyz, Demolition, The New Age Outlaws, The Steiner Brothers. Why not let some new legends develop? TNA was on the right track for awhile, but they've neglected the tag teams lately. WWE is getting something started, with teams like Miz and Morrison, the Colons and Cryme Tyme.

WWE needs to bring back the Cruiserweight division. TNA's version of it, the X Division, is extremely popular. If the WWE brings back the division and its title, it has a place to put stars like Rey Mysterio and Evan Bourne -- a place that's not the stereotypical David vs. Goliath matches those stars get stuck in.

Continue to let the younger stars develop. Randy Orton is hitting new heights, and can only go higher. Guys like CM Punk, John Morrison, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe are the future of the industry. Let them get mid-card and tag titles (or in the case of TNA, let them win the World title).

Speaking of which, I love what the WWE is doing with their "new superstar initiative" on ECW. Using the weekly hour long program to promote new guys like Jack Swagger, Tyson Kidd, The Miz and Ricky Ortiz is a great idea. Look what it did for CM Punk and Kofi Kingston. They'll get key on-screen experience that they'll need down the road.

On the topic of ECW... please change the name. It's not ECW anymore, nobody's fooled. If you're gonna have a show called ECW, dammit make it Extreme Championship Wrestling. Give me tables, chairs, barbed wire and all kinds of crazy shit. So if we're gonna have regular wrestling, change the name.

Bring back factions and stables. It gives the roster some organization and creates new rivalries and storylines. TNA has a good thing going with the Main Event Mafia/TNA Frontline angle. The WWE is getting there with The Legacy. So create a few more, give mid-carders something interesting stories. Just don't overdo it. Remember what happened with the nWo after half the WCW roster joined it.

Personally, I think elements of the Attitude Era need to come back. Give me edgier storylines and wild matches. Maybe you don't need another "Pillman's Got a Gun" angle, but nothing's wrong with a little scandalous material.

Pro wrestling is cyclical, there will always be low periods and high periods. Hopefully, we're about to start the next great period in wrestling.

Oh, and Vince, it is professional wrestling, not sports entertainment.