Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fair and balanced, Red Sox style

George Mitchell, a director of the Boston Red Sox, has been tabbed to lead an investigation on steroid use in Major League Baseball. So much for the concept of an "independent" investigation.

In a related story, Red Sox management quietly gives players permission to start using steroids. (That last line is a joke. But so is the illusion of fairness.)

In a way, I actually feel bad for Mitchell. If he finds steroid users who aren't Red Sox, he's biased. If he finds Red Sox, he's fired or becomes vice president of ticket operations. Just a poor appointment by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

Don't misunderstand me; I'm not saying Yankee players shouldn't be investigated. But I get the feeling that Mitchell will do everything he can to bust one A-ball Red Sox minor leaguer who's hitting .204. That way, he can justify suspending Derek Jeter for talking about steroids while looking past the illegal substances he finds in Player X's locker at Fenway Park.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

N.O. L.O.V.E.

Ashlee Simpson seems to be trying too hard not to rhyme in her Top 40 hit "L.O.V.E."

The first rhyme scheme is fine...

All my girls stand in a circle and clap your hands this is for you
Ups and downs highs and lows no matter what you see me through

... but then there's this odd half-rhyme pair:

My boyfriend he don't answer on the telephone
I don't even know where the hell he goes

With the same number of syllables, there could be a far superior rhyme, instead of a distant half-rhyme.

My boyfriend he don't answer on the telephone
I don't even know where the hell he's gone

Purely speculating, I believe those were the original words, but a hungover, cranky Ashlee in the studio demanded the songwriter to change those last two because she just didn't like them and/or couldn't sing them. And in the process, she passed the aggravation onto the listener.

I'm sure the 12-year-old girls who love the song don't care. But the sad part is, it's too catchy for me to ignore.

C.R., C.R., C.R., C.R.A.P.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Phenomenon... Doo DOO, Doo-doo-doo...

I'm happy to see someone else is wasting his/her time doing the same thing to a Muppets song. "Phenomenon" is clearly the best replacement lyric, but here are the first five alternates I could brainstorm:

- And on and on
- There's nothin' on
- It's Jean Valjean
- It's Didi Conn
- Olajuwon

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Mourning After

I had never seen a game in which my team was eliminated because the winning points never went through a hoop, crossed the goal line or touched home plate. But then I watched last night's Boston College-Villanova basketball game.

With just 3.5 seconds to go and up by 1 in overtime, the BC Eagles were defending an inbounds pass under the Villanova Wildcats' basket and blocked a Villanova shot cleanly. Unfortunately for them, the block happened after gravity kicked in and the ball began its downslope. The refs called goaltending and the basket wound up being Villanova's game-winner, 60-59.

Was it the right call? Technically yes. But I've never seen such a high-profile game end on that kind of call. Picture a baseball playoff game ending on fan interference. Either way, picture me stunned and maddeningly angry.

On top of this, the refs were shaky throughout this huge postseason game. (Sound familiar?) In addition to Craig Smith getting mauled under the basket, BC repeatedly was called for ridiculous fouls and violations. My favorite was when an Eagle grabbed a rebound, was pulled to the floor by a Wildcat and called for traveling.

Not that BC deserved to win on its own merits. The Eagles blew 9-0 and 25-9 leads, wilted at the charity stripe, tossed lollipop passes with less strength than an elementary school gym class, and coughed up possessions as if the Wildcats were repo men.

Still, I think basketball should implement a new rule: If goaltending is called in the last 10 seconds, it should result in a two free throws for the shooter, not an automatic two points.* That way, the team that wins actually scored the points by having a ball go through a hoop. What a concept!

This is the furthest I ever watched BC go in the men's basketball tournament, which made me realize that there's no postseason I like less as a fan who wants to avoid ulcers. Sure, 65 teams have a better shot to make the tournament, compared to just 8 or 16 in other sports. But a failure to win six games -- or seven, if you're in the play-in game -- has to cause more broken hearts, brackets and furniture than any other playoff system.

In pro baseball, basketball and hockey, there's at least a best-of-five or best-of-seven format. In pro football and college hockey, you have to win only four games maximum to raise the championship trophy. NCAA basketball tournaments are like life-and-death with every possession.

Is that more exciting? Sure. Is it more fun? Ask fans of 64 of the 65 teams that make the Big Dance. Then make a point to ask the BC fans who lost on a basket that technically didn't happen.

Better yet, wait a few days before you do the latter.

*UPDATE! I no longer think my proposed rule is fair, but I still contend that winning points should not be scored via goaltending. Check out the comments below!

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm not saying they're gold-diggers, but...

Broadcasting the most entertaining kind of hear-say journalism, an NBC News affiliate in Mobile, Ala. breaks a story about locals in search of a leprechaun on the loose! This is worth viewing for the amateur sketch alone, but I also like The Leprechaun Hunter's flute and tales of family ancestry. Warning: Immediate Sound.

Things A Blogger Might Say

Since the dawn of time, or like the '50s, television theme songs have provided eager viewers with informative plot narratives.

"Who's The Boss?" tells of the "brand new life around the bend" for Tony and Aaaaangela. "Diff'rent Strokes" tells us that "the world don't move to the beat of just one drum," no matter what Willis was talkin' 'bout. And "Perfect Strangers" tells us that "nothing's going to stop" Larry and Balki now. After all, it is their lives and their dreams.

But in a moment of Zen the other day, I realized that a game show theme achieves the same goal -- as an instrumental! Allow me to map out the mysterious catacombs of "The $25,000 Pyramid."

First, download the funky extended version of that theme song here, then, at the 20-second mark, compare it against this visual representation. Bonus points if you picture the rockingly awesome Dick Clark mugging for the camera while chatting with C-list celebrities and contestants:


There you have it. The musical equivalent of the Great Pyramids of Burbank.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Don't shoot the puppy!

It's the easiest/hardest game of the year! Whatever you do, don't shoot the puppy. Despite the cuteness of the wee pup, it's easier said than done. I so badly wanted hints, but I'm happy that I figured out how to win on my own. All I'll reveal is that there are 15 levels, so you don't have to waste any more time than necessary wondering when/how the game ends (albeit in anticlimactic fashion).

Link courtesy of Elephant Larry's Alex Zalben.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

You can't spell FlamBey without L-A-M-E

I've twice written about the greatness of terrible band names, but those have been of the imaginary variety. So of course I'm going to be stunned to discover a new rapper by the name of FlamBey. Not since I came up with "Socratic Method Man" did I think a funnier rap identity could be established. I could not have been more wrong.

I won't make fun of FlamBey's skills -- I haven't heard him rhyme -- but I'm guessing he was disappointed that the moniker Just Blaze was already taken, then opted for the more culinary-friendly alternative.

Now I'm waiting for more rappers to use kitchen-inspired nicknames.

I can't wait for PreeHeet's "450 Degreez" video. I've preordered Sauce Pan's new album, "Holland Dayz," featuring L'il BonBon, Red Spatula and Da Dubble Boilah. I'm hoping Frap Pay collaborates with Egg Beetah for a track called "Bundt Cake." And it's only a matter of time before iTunes' Top 100 will be jammed with hot cuts from Greased Cookie Shizzeet, Emiril LaPosse and The Notorious P-A-M.

Going tourna-mental

Dear Good People Of CBS Sports,

Thank you for providing an entertaining afternoon of early NCAA Tournament action. Please be advised, however, of the following broadcast gaffes that gave me more tics than a clock factory. The sooner these unfortunate situations are addressed, the better I'll feel about slacking.

1. As a proud resident of the New York City metropolitan area, I understand the value of regional coverage. But if No. 7 seed Seton Hall happens to losing by 15 to 20 points to No. 10 seed Wichita State for nearly the entire game, it might be a good idea to switch to either of the two other games, each with single-digit leads, before the blowout is halfway through the second half. Reasons include:

A. A No. 10 "upsetting" a No. 7 is the equivalent of an American Idol contestant upsetting Simon Cowell in the Round of 12. It's pretty much going to happen half the time and is not a surprise to the viewer.
B. Seton Hall fans are depressed and have turned it off anyway.
C. Wichita State fans are lame.
D. Boston College is the only team that matters.

2. When finally coming to the realization that people don't want to watch the aforementioned crappy game, please do not switch to a stoppage of pay during the Oklahoma/Wisconsin-Milwaukee game. Basketball is more exciting when people are playing on the court, like they were in the Boston College-Pacific game at the time. Watching Oklahoma take a time out is barely important enough for the Oklahoma players to pay attention, much less for viewers whose "Last Channel" function takes them to quality VH1 programming. Besides, who in the tri-state area cares about Oklahoma or Wisconsin -- basketball or otherwise?

3. If a highly overrated No. 2 seed (Tennessee) takes a 2-point lead over No. 15 Winthrop, please be sure to broadcast an alternate ending that gives Winthrop a win with a three. I've never had a problem with the state of Tennessee before (My awesome brother-in-law grew up there), but there's no way they deserved that high a draw in the tournament, so they should be punished for it. No, I'm not bitter or anything about BC being a No. 4 seed or other Selection Committee oversights.

4. Please show more footage of Ashley Judd cheering on Kentucky during games, regardless of whether or not the Wildcats are playing.

5. When in doubt, refer to point 1D.


CBS (Yes, those are my intials.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stuff and Things, Part I

Sports Guy has Ramblings. I have Stuff and Things.

- "The Sopranos" is off to a good start, but I'll admit I was zoning out a bit at the half-hour mark.

- "Big Love" couldn't keep my interest past 20 minutes.

- I wish "Beavis and Butthead" were back on the air. Not for any wacky adventures, per se, but mostly so they can make fun of music videos again. A couple of months ago, I saw this atrocity called "Noah's Ark" by a duo called CocoRosie and I just wished my favorite slackers would have ripped into it with their keen commentary. The video certainly warrants my favorite all-time B&B line, uttered by Butthead: "They shouldn't give anyone a chance to suck."

- R.I.P. Peter Tomarken. The host of my favorite gameshow of all time, "Press Your Luck," died in a plane crash recently. I want to be snarky here, but I will not dare joke about a man so closely affiliated with fond memories of Whammies. Especially since the younger version of me unintentionally called him "Peter Toboggan," much to my siblings' amusement. Anyway, as an homage, here's a video link to the most memorable PYL contestant of all time. Warning: Immediate Sound.

- "Crash" is a great movie, one I saw last weekend. Mark my words: Ludacris could be the next Jamie Foxx, but with better music.

- "The Girl Next Door" is a decent movie, one best watched once on HBO. It's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" meets "American Pie," but without the lasting impact of either of those epics. I might give it more credit than it was due because of Elisha Cuthbert's hotness, Timothy "The Guy From Deadwood" Olyphant's awesomeness and a really solid soundtrack.

- I think it says something about my interests these days that I'm involved in two pools for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and another for "American Idol." And I think it says something more that I'll fare much better in the latter.

- The World Baseball Classic is actually pretty fun to watch. It's even inspired the South Korean government to waive compulsory military service if its team makes the WBC semifinals. Despite the fact that the USA team is inferior to the regular squads of about eight Major League Baseball teams, there's just enough star power to keep nationalists interested. Note to Bud Selig: Instead of holding this tournament during spring training, move it two weeks after the World Series. I'll give you a gold star if you do.

- I've been lazy with my blog. Oh well.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bored of the rings

I know NBC is proud to be covering the Olympics from now through the fourth millennium, but it's time to ditch the rings component of the famous peacock logo. They've plastered this version of the translucent logo on the lower-right of the screen for years, regardless of whether it's an Olympic year or not. Weirder still, the bigwigs slap it on the screen with no consideration for show content, sometimes pairing it with completely unrelated programming.

With or without the Olympic rings, it's bad enough networks continue to shove their corporate logos down our throats. One of the famous couch gags from the title sequence of "The Simpsons" captures my feelings about these translucent logos perfectly, with Homer getting up from the couch, ripping the Fox logo from the corner of the screen and stomping on it.

I'm guessing NBC keeps the rings in its logo for prestige, but it's not like the Games are the ratings powerhouse they used to be. And Fox isn't exactly superimposing Simon Cowell's noggin on the searchlight logo.

Mmm... live action.

Remember that Halloween episode of "The Simpsons" years ago, when Homer crosses into the third dimension? This is kind of like that. Warning: Immediate Sound.

Among other things, I'm impressed with the casting. Even the music teacher is spot-on.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

When censorship is actually funny

Who knew that Dubya, Mr. Rogers and Grover were so foul-mouthed? Apparently, Jimmy Kimmel did. Kudos to his vigilant efforts to assist the FCC in its continuing mission to promote unnecessary censorship. Warning: Immediate Sound.

Best. Throw-in. Ever.

For this soccer clip, I don't know if the actual action or editing thereof is more awesome. But it's the funniest thing I've seen in soccer since local cable stopped airing footage of my coming off the bench in high school. Warning: Immediate Sound.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hats for bats. That's Allstate's stand.

I realize that this is now well documented, but I still love the fact that the same guy who played Pedro Cerrano in "Major League" went on to (convincingly!) portray the U.S. President on "24" and hock insurance as serious spokesman for Allstate.

Arguably, Dennis Haysbert is a bigger star these days than almost anyone in that 1989 movie -- still behind Charlie Sheen, but definitely getting more phone calls than Corbin Bernsen. He's probably between Wesley Snipes and Renee Russo at this point. The ultimate gauge? He's probably too famous to appear on "Hollywood Squares."

This would be like finding out that the guy who was Booger in "Revenge of the Nerds" went on to play Ray Charles' record producer in "Ray." Wait, that happened, too.

But back to Haysbert. I'm hoping for a new Allstate campaign that gets back to his acting roots. Maybe he can grow back that goatee, gain a few pounds, toss on an Indians uniform and hold a snake for a series of ads that would launch at the start of baseball season. Maybe he could pitch these sage words:

"Jesus: I like him very much, but he no help with curve ball. Or safe driving bonus."

Or better yet...

"I stuck up for you, Geico. You no help me now. I say f*** you, Geico. I do Allstate for myself."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Philip Seymour Arfman

So what if his performance is the year's best? Here's hoping Philip Seymour Hoffman wins the Oscar for "Capote," just to see if he follows through on "a long-standing bet with a college pal to bark like a dog if he picks up the best actor award." The best part? Said Hoffman on Letterman: "The thing is you can't just bark; you have to bark until they pull you off (the stage)." Related: The industry's tips for a great speech.

You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're dropping Hamiltons

From the U.S. Department of Making All Currency Look Like it Should Be Near a Pile of "Community Chest" Cards: The new $10 bill. This time, Samberg and Parnell shouldn't gripe when the "girl [acts] like she never seen a ten befo'."