Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Seriously, Mark Prior--Just Quit

He's nothing if not consistent. Mark Prior, the Second-Most Injured Man in Baseball™ (behind Ken Griffey Jr. and just ahead of teammate Kerry Wood), is done for the season due to injury.

Technically, it was a surgical procedure to repair his injured right shoulder that put Prior down for the count, but let's not split hairs. The important issue is trying to figure out if this is the season that Mark Prior will finally reveal to Chicago Cubs fans that his entire career has been a hilarious prank, and he was never actually a pitcher to begin with. The laughter will bring much-needed relief.

BREAKING: Hillbilly Enjoys Drinking Alcohol

MSNBC is reporting that the recently-rehabbed Britney Spears is back on the sauce. Friends are concerned that the facts that the pop star fired her manager, Larry Rudolph, who had encouraged Spears to get sober in the first place, and spoke out against her own father for having defended Rudolph to the media may indicate that she is unwilling to confront her addiction.

In equally surprising news, the earth continues to revolve around the sun.

Who Will I Not Watch on the Show That I've Never Watched Now?

In news that will no doubt stun those who like things that are not at all entertaining in any capacity conceivable to man, Rosie O'Donnell has announced that she will be leaving "The View" in June.

The official word on Rosie's departure appears to be that she is exiting of her own volition; however, her headline-grabbing feud with Donald Trump as well as her more recent public dig at Rupert Murdoch at the New York Women in Communication awards luncheon (which compelled "The View" queen bee Barbara Walters to state that she was "very fond of" Murdoch (and, hey--who isn't?) will doubtlessly lead many to suspect that O'Donnell was forced off the show.

Not me, though. I don't care enough to have an opinion. I'm into television shows that aren't a dire threat to humanity.

Monday, April 23, 2007

New York City High School Baseball Gets Wood

It's common practice to cite "the crack of the bat" as one of the All-American qualities of the game of baseball, but that cliche--unlike most (Asian people in car accidents, Asian people taking pictures, Asian people accusing me of racism)--has very little basis in reality. Aluminum bats are used at four levels of baseball--tee-ball, Little League, high school, and college--while the platitude-inspiring wooden bats are used at only one tier--the pros. If anything, the verb in the aforementioned phrase should be "ping" (which, if you think about it, sounds kind of Asian).

Or at least it should have been before the New York City school system--the largest in America--decided to try and threaten aluminum's dominance in baseball by banning metal bats. The official reasoning behind the City Council's decision (which overturned a mayoral veto of the ban--does Michael Bloomberg wield any influence at all?) is that metal bats produce harder and faster hits than their wooden counterparts, thus increasing the likelihood of injury. This argument, however, completely misplaces blame: It's not the bats that are hitting people, it's the balls. Therefore, the situation in New York's high schools calls for a much more reasonable solution:

They should keep their bats aluminum, but switch over to wiffle balls. Problem solved.

[Ed. note: My Google image search for the above one-sheet of Little Big League led me to the unsettling discovery that there exists a gay porn film of the same title. Since I now have to live the rest of my life with that knowledge, I figured you should, too. Be thankful you didn't have to see the poster.]

Harvey Keitel Scares Me, Sells Gatorade

It's nice to know that enough time has passed since the last time Harvey Keitel worked with Martin Scorsese that he is currently not above propagating Italian-American stereotypes in order to hawk soft drinks. Everybody's gotta work.

That being said, Keitel certainly is in full-on creepy old guy mode in Gatorade's newest commercial. The way I see it, Derek Jeter isn't so much compelled to run towards second base as he is to run away from Harvey. (If Jeter's the go-getter this advertisement might have us believe he is, why wasn't he able to stop the Red Sox from sweeping the Yankees in historic fashion over the weekend? Maybe he should have volunteered to pitch a few innings.) But my favorite aspect of the spot is that the Angels' John Lackey had no problem participating in a nationally-broadcast television commercial in which he is referred to as a "schmendrick". And Anaheim* fans continue to wonder why their team gets no respect.

(*That's right--just plain, soulless Anaheim, not "Los Angeles of Anaheim". One team can't be from two different cities that are 30 miles apart from each other, thank you very much.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kevin McHale Won't Leave Team that Won't Stop Sucking Because He Won't Leave Until They Stop Sucking

I think that's the gist of it, anyway. All I really care about is not missing an opportunity to post an image of Kevin McHale's spectacular armpits.

Additionally, being a fan of his former team leads me to find something very familiar in the whole "one great player surrounded by turkeys" scenario.

What Did the Chinese Dissident Say When He Received an Electric Shock to the Genitals?

If you think search engine companies are competitive in America, you ought to check out the action in China. In order to try and stay ahead there, Yahoo Inc. has opted not to settle for merely censoring its users--as Google and Microsoft have done--instead going the extra mile by directly assisting the government in the arrest of dissidents.

Seeing as the current Chinese policy for treatment of nonconformists usually involves slightly more than a slap on the wrist (see post title), the World Organization for Human Rights USA (whose acronym, when spoken aloud, would sound something like "War USA", which is kind of interesting) is claiming that by being complicit in the arrests of Chinese citizens, Yahoo is also complicit in their torture.

Yahoo's defense against this campaign is that its employees would face civil and criminal sanctions if they ignored local laws.

In other words: "We don't want our American-based nuts getting fried, so we're offering up some Chinese ones in their stead while continuing to profit greatly from the owners of the latter nuts."

Say what you will about the ethics of that policy, but you can't deny that it's good business sense. Hooray for the marriage of communism and capitalism!

Chris Rock Goes the Distance for Topical Comedy Material

If there's one thing to be said for Chris Rock, it's that the man is committed to his craft.

While other comedians have for months been merely talking about the recently resolved Larry-Birkhead-vs.-Howard- K.-Stern paternity claim battle/media circus over Anna Nicole Smith's baby daughter, Rock has opted to live it, initiating his own paternity proceedings in a Georgia court to determine if he's the father of a 13-year-old boy who resides in the state. The boy's mother, Kali Bowyer, tried last month to file a paternity lawsuit against Rock, but was unsuccessful because the matter fell outside the court's jurisdiction. Rock--who has been married for ten years and has two kids with his wife--was free and clear of the matter...and he voluntarily put himself right back into it.

Why would he do such a thing, you wonder? The answer is simple: Chris Rock knows that jokes are funnier when they're based on personal experience. And when he does his Larry Birkhead/Howard K. Stern bit in his next HBO standup special, you can bet that it is going to be hilarious.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What's with the One with the Hammer?

This post may be somewhat self-defeating, because it references an image that, despite it being readily available online, I refuse to include. I refuse to include it because it is of the cowardly shitbag who committed the massacre at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 32 innocent people and then himself. I won't write his name or post any pictures of him (or link to his name or pictures of him) in any publicly available forum (e.g. this webpage) because to do so would be helping him to achieve exactly what he wanted to through his atrocity--to have as many human beings as possible know his name and know his face. Given that my blog is slightly below the level of a major news outlet (current readership: approx. 3), I am afforded the luxury of being able to do my small part to not give the worthless asshole what he wanted.

For our purposes, I'll refer to him as "Pussy McNutJob" and associate him with the image of Lurky (pictured), the sidekick of the main villain in "Rainbow Brite", because I figure that's a reasonable equivalent to how badass McNutJob was (with no disrespect intended towards the real Lurky).

As I mentioned, pictures of McNutJob are all over the internet; that's because earlier today NBC News in New York received a package that was mailed to them by McNutJob himself--after he committed the first two murders on Monday--that included images and videos of the creepy douche along with his senseless diatribes against the world. All the news channels have been showing these pictures over and over again, most of which feature McNutJob--sometimes in an outfit that appeared to be assembled from a Columbine Massacre Dress-Up Kit--striking ostensibly "tough" poses with one or both of the two handguns that he likely used in the killings. Mixed in in the middle, however, is a rather random shot of McNutJob holding an ordinary claw hammer with both hands over one shoulder and bearing his teeth as if preparing to strike with what he no doubt imagined looked like fury.

If you saw this picture without knowing who McNutJob was or what he had would be hard-pressed not to find it laughable.

The image says everything about what a weakling McNutJob was: his pose is awkward, his expression forced and unconvincing, and his insubstantial physical form in sparse surroundings tell the story of a completely powerless individual. Take the firearm out of his hands and he's nothing.

With that in mind, I don't understand how anyone couldn't see what happened at Virginia Tech on Monday as an excellent case for strengthening gun control in America. The only people who need guns in any kind of a "positive" sense (though it's hard to think of deadly weapons as positive) are police officers, active members of the military and maybe civilians who live in areas where they are at risk of being attacked by dangerous animals (not, for example, deer or quail). Everyone else who owns a gun (or guns) has one because he wants one.

People who find themselves in the latter category but argue that they need their guns ought to examine who's in their company with that belief. Pussy McNutJob needed his guns to finally assert himself at the very end of his short and meaningless life. He doesn't deserve to be known now, and the 32 people who were gunned down at Virgina Tech on Monday certainly didn't deserve to lose their lives at his hands. Guns don't represent strength or security; on the contrary, they merely provide the intellectually and emotionally weak with temporary undeserved power--stolen power, really--over those who, as displayed by very actions taken against them, are immeasurably superior to them and will remain so forever. The men and women who died on a college campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, earlier this week never needed guns to make their presence known in the world--and they never will.

UPDATE 1: Asian cinema master "Ronnie" has offered me his theory that Pussy McNutJob, with his "hammer pose", may have been attempting to recreate this moment from the 2003 South Korean film Oldboy:Taken out of context, I think that--if McNutJob was indeed trying to copy this particular image--it makes his efforts even more pathetic.

UPDATE 2 (04/19/07): Legitimate news outlets are down with Ronnie's theory (good eye, Ronnie), which means that I have scooped them all. Take that, news!

Keith Richards Will Share with Anybody

When the Rolling Stones perform for more than 100,000 people at the Hippodrome in Belgrade on July 14, they will be doing so a few meters from 300 stabled horses (the Hippodrome, Belgrade's largest fenced space, is a racecourse). They've decided to do the horses a solid by pumping every last one of them full of dope--at no charge--during the concert, but a bunch of square Serb animal lovers aren't down with that plan. Serbia's biggest animal protection society, ORCA, wants the show to be moved to another venue, claiming that it would be damaging for the party-hearty quadrupeds.

We all know what the real reason is, though: They just don't know how to rock.

Vitaminwater Leaves Urlacher $100,000 Thirstier

Continuing the Chicago Bears' storied tradition of promoting non-NFL-sanctioned sponsors at Super Bowl-related events and being forced to pay handsomely for the indiscretion, linebacker Brian Urlacher has been fined $100,000 for wearing a vitaminwater cap (as in baseball, not bottle--that would've just been silly) and drinking the advertised beverage during the media day leading up to the most recent NFL title game.

Gatorade is the official beverage of the NFL and, apparently, nobody--no matter how tough he might think he is--fucks with Gatorade.

This incident marks the first time that a fine of such magnitude has been levied (Jim McMahon was hit with a comparatively measly $5000 charge for a similar offense back in 1986), although $100,000 is the current standard. What's crazy is that the same violation brings with it a fine of $10,000 during the regular season, but 50 grand during the Pro Bowl. Five times the amount for a game that that is probably viewed by about a fifth as many people? I guess the NFL has to make up for lost revenue somewhere.

In Fairness to Paula, Who Is?

"American Idol" judge/mess Paula Abdul continues to demonstrate for the world the terrible side effects of chronic cheerleading-accident-related neck pain (and not, mind you, drug abuse), most recently showing that people in her condition think that Southwest Airlines, the airline that boards like a bus, has a first-class section.

When Abdul discovered that this was not true while boarding a flight from San Jose to Burbank, she still attempted to receive VIP treatment, with results she probably found less than completely satisfactory.

After she asked to be seated ahead of everyone else and was denied, Abdul reportedly remarked, "But I’m famous! I need to go on first!” Overhearing that comment, one of her fellow passengers shouted: "You're no Sanjaya! You have to board like everyone else."

Following this humiliation, Abdul understandably tried to seal herself off from the rest of the passengers, attempting to keep the seat next to her empty as the plane was boarding. However, because the flight was full, this plan proved unsuccessful, and Abdul was forced to endure the trip rubbing elbows with one of the mortals who had discovered her terrible secret: She is, in fact, not a partially brain dead, completely tone deaf, tragically self-unaware seventeen-year-old homosexual boy of Indian descent.

But she is about half of those things, and that ain't bad.

The Day the Email Died

The little-known Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, Technical Difficulties, paid a visit to our world last night and knocked out all of the Blackberries in the western hemisphere.

If by some miracle you are even able to read this, you must be accessing the internet with something called a "computer"...which a lot of Blackberry owners might not remember is a machine that was invented around the same time as the butter churn. Get the word out to as many people who were victimized by the outage as you can, show them that a computer--while not nearly as cool or portable as the Blackberry--can help assuage some of the trauma they're currently experiencing. If employees in the entertainment industry, the legal profession, and/or on Wall Street aren't able to communicate electronically...what's the point of even living?

UPDATE: The nightmare is over. Let's do what we can to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives and get back to not speaking directly to one another as quickly as possible.

'The Hanukkah Song' Is About to Become Dated

With his announcement that the Seattle SuperSonics will likely relocate to another city after the 2007-2008 season, I'm not sure that Sonics majority owner Clay Bennett realizes just how far-reaching the damaging effects of such a move could be.

Obviously, it wouldn't make the homegrown Seattle fans happy; ever since Bennett bought the team last year, they've been worried that he would transplant it to his former stomping grounds of Oklahoma, and now that fear is closer than ever to becoming a reality. More importantly, though, once the "SuperSonukkah" are no longer in Seattle, Adam Sandler's original "Hanukkah Song" isn't going to make any sense (never mind the question of whether or not Bennett is Jewish--the rhyme scheme is all that matters)--so there goes the Holiday Season.

But the unequivocally worst ramification of a Sonics departure from Seattle is that the twenty-year-old case of "The Silent Assassin", who terrorized the city on and off between 1986 and 1999--only striking during Sonics games--will likely remain forever unsolved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let's Assume He Means Fat Marilyn

While attempting to illustrate how Scientology has been beneficial in his life, possible future pseudo-Pulitzer-Prize-winner John Travolta recently told the Irish Independent: “I have fame on the level of a Marilyn Monroe or an Elvis."

Don't be so modest, Urban Cowboy. You're bigger than both of them combined!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Oprah's Going to Find This 'Joseph Pulitzer' and Tear Him a New One

You might think that the news that Cormac McCarthy's The Road won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday would please Oprah Winfrey, given that the novel was her most recent pick for her book club. Perhaps, one could suppose, Oprah feels validated by the announcement, seeing her 2003 strategic maneuver to shift her book club selections from the likes of Indistinguishable Pandering Female Empowerment Novel no. __ to more bona fide and established classics (that James Frey hiccup notwithstanding) come full circle, as she had now beaten one of the world's most prestigious literary awards to the punch. Maybe Oprah is even narcissistic enough to believe that she influenced the Pulitzer judges' decision.

While these theories are certainly reasonable (especially that last one), there is one resultant aspect of The Road winning the Pulitzer that, once it occurs to Oprah, is going to make her very angry:

As is the case with any book that wins a Pulitzer Prize (or Nobel Prize, or National Book Award, or Booker Prize, el al), Knopf--the publisher of The Road--is going to issue a new printing of the novel whose cover advertises that fact. So do you know what that means the next edition of The Road is not going to include? The Oprah's Book Club seal.

Knopf is going to have the balls to sell a book on the merits that it won some stupid 90-year-old literary award and not because Oprah told people to buy it. This is a slap in the face to the supreme bellowing adjudicator of middlebrow culture, who has done so much for the publishing industry by successfully commanding her slavishly devoted audience of housewives, the unemployed and the enfeebled to buy books that the vast majority of them never end up finishing (or perhaps even getting past the first page of) because they're too busy watching "Oprah" (and probably "Ellen", and, let's say, "Grey's Anatomy") while they eat cookie sheet after cookie sheet of nachos...and there's no way Oprah is going to take it sitting down.

Don't be surprised if by this time next year, the Pulitzer Prize has--following a sizable financial transaction--been renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Award for Clap-and-Scream Recognition", with the severely altered guidelines allowing John Travolta to win for the next three years in a row, never once for writing a book.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tennis Players Beat Wives with Exactly What You'd Think They Beat Them With

The official word on Andre Agassi whacking his wife Steffi Graf in the face with a tennis racket during a fundraiser in Houston, leading her to end up with stitches in her lip, is that it was an "accident"...but I suspect otherwise.

The more likely story is that Graf, in a moment of in-game frustration with her husband and doubles partner, mouthed off to Agassi about his broken promise to keep his long, luscious mullet forever, and Agassi gave her what for. I still hope those crazy kids can work things out.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Racism? In Germany?

The German military currently finds itself in hot water, now that a 2006 video featuring an army instructor motivating a soldier's bloodlust by ordering him to pretend that he's in the presence of black people has aired on national television.

The video--in which the instructor says to the soldier, "You are in the Bronx. A black van is stopping in front of you. Three African-Americans are getting out and they are insulting your mother in the worst ways. … Act."--has sparked outrage in America, notably among Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. and Al Sharpton (who stands a living example of one of racism's worst effects: if it involves black people, it's going to get Al Sharpton on TV), with many calling for disciplinary action from the German government.

Beyond the mere existence of the video--which is reprehensible in and of itself--what it is perhaps the most shocking aspect of this story is that it came from Germany. Germany! A country that to this point had boasted an absolutely squeaky-clean reputation in terms of racist or bigoted behavior! Though I may not be an expert in world history, I cannot think of a single instance where Germany has ever been associated with racism. And I'm pretty sure that I would know if such a thing had ever occurred, because I was home-schooled. By wolves.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Grade School Confidential

I suppose once a television series--even an animated one--has been on the air long enough, life is bound to imitate it.

(Although on "The Simpsons", this story had a much happier ending. TV defeats real life once again.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Elderly Man Loses Job Due to Slow News Week

It wasn't very long ago when old women who spoke of "ho's" were embraced by America to the point of a senior citizen of the less fair sex has been fired for doing the same thing.

One has to wonder: Is this a case of sexism in the workplace, or did Don Imus simply miss his window?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut -- 1922-2007

In losing Kurt Vonnegut, we have lost not only one of the most unique voices of several generations, but also, for my money, one of the greatest pessimists who ever lived.

To paraphrase the man himself, he has turned the semicolon of old age into a period...and the literary world is worse for it.