Monday, January 30, 2006

Quick Shots (TiVO and Otherwise)

- I cannot watch the end of Return of the King without crying, I confess. I didn't cry this time when Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom but damn I was still helpless when everybody bows before the hobbits, and when Sam gets married... forget about it. Ever since I sat next to the teenage girls during ROTK in the theater and the one tremulously gasped "OH SAM!" when Sam kisses Rosie that scene has been ruined for me. Just joking. And for the record Fellowship of the Ring is also hilarously underestimated, every bit as Led Zeppelin as Two Towers and as emotionally satisfying as the Oscar slaying ROTK, a real pleasure to view with ROTK in the rearview mirror...

- I also watched the beginning and end of Smallville before I deleted it and damn I teared up again during the Pa Kent death and funeral scenes, this time apparently because I wasn't crowing over being right in my ESP. There was some genuine emotion in those scenes, and by gum it was a great episode.

- According to AICN Cartoon Network is cancelling my guiltiest TiVO pleasure Justice League Unlimited, the excellently written Superfriends on LSD for the 21st Century that featured some of the best voice casting around, and no cheesy ass shit. Oh well.

- "Entangled" and "Ripples", the slow jam outs on A Trick of the Tail, are awesome songs, some of Genesis' best. The new Flaming Lips ringtones are hot, spiffy to the max. I so cannot wait for their new album...

- Every Simpsons season has some fluff, funny yet aimless episodes that just sort of fill in between the exemplary installments and the occasional classic, and this week's entry fell into this category.

- 24 is still off the hook. James Bond... I mean Jack Bauer is on the mutha, the moral cowardice of the President is wicked entertainment, Samwise Gamgee is rocking, and the tension (Jesus H.Christmas! Nerve Gas people!) is preposterous. Still the best thrill ride on TV, hands down.

- WNY Coalition for Progress State of the Union Viewing Party, tomorrow night at JP Bullfeather's, 8:30 PM. A good time will be had by all.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fuck Oprah

I'm with Jeff Jarvis on this one, I am tired of her self help guru for homebound noodleheads shit, and the fact that this role has clearly and completely warped Oprah's brain so that she see's this as perfectly A-OK. And why the fuck is she on EVERY SINGLE cover of her magazine? The woman has created and devoted an entire magazine to herself and her guru bullshit! "It's OK that it wasn't true because the redemptive aspect of the books is still good..." Objective truth is meaningless so long as the lies make you feel better?!? Fuck!!!! Enough people. Pull yourselves together!

I hate to say it folks, but there's a lot of reasons why our American brains are being sucked out through our noses, and Oprah Winfrey is one of the biggest.

Bono is Starting to "Bug" Me... Again

I've loved U2 for 20 years, but not always as faithfully as I do now... there was a period in the late 80's when Bono became just too goddamned obnoxious, everything an IMPORTANT STATEMENT, as epitomized by one of the most cloying moments in a documentary EVER when Bono sililoquizes about Mandela and whether Bono was "bugggin' ya?" during "Silver and Gold" in the Rattle and Hum movie. Yes, this turned me off. The footage of four rich rock stars frowning everywhere they went, the weight and suffering of the world squarely on their rock star shoulders... this ran totally against my middle class, proletariat view of rock stardom, and I got tired of it. It wasn't until Achtung Baby and the leather pants and humor that I enjoyed U2 again, and for a long time my total love of U2 reigned supreme.

Until now perhaps. Hobnobbing with Dipshit Bush for the greater good is one thing, but hoping into bed with American Express, Versace, Gap, and Nike to produce a special Amex card to fight aids? What the fuck? A goddamned credit card? It's bad enough that we are back in the Gilded Age when the super rich moved, ran, and tried to save the world, but this might be too much for this here U2 fan, and of course that worries me.

Friday, January 27, 2006


- This is the absolute truth, exactly what happens when people spend more meaningful time with their coworkers than their actual "people" (family, friends). Yipes.

Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

- Tonight's Sabres v Leafs game is another knock down drag out classic. 9 goals in 2 periods, and I wish more than 5 of them were ours. The third period is going to be tough.

- Links. I give you links to all sorts of stuff.

- I forgot to mention that I got the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince audiobook on cd yesterday. That means I got em all. I also got my UK editions of the first two books in hardcover from, which I means I got them all too, my library complete except for the final book, which so many wait for. This officially heals the hurt of being snubbed for Dave Gilmour tickets a few weeks back, after which I ordered this merchandise.

- According to the latest Rolling Stone: Neil Young is a god, Radiohead is going on tour this summer (and this time no episode at the show), and Larry Wachowski is a wacko, who's love of deviant sex overshadowed his love of cinema and is largely responsible for the lousy Matrix sequels. All things in moderation indeed...

- Kicked in the Nuts is priceless, profoundly hilarious. is the shit, pure and simple.

- 10:06 PM Update: 12 goals total, 8 of them for us. Another fine effort, and for the record Lindy Ruff is the best coach the Sabres have ever had.

- The 100th episode of Smallville was ludicrusly wonderful, thunderously operatic, the first 10 minutes mind boggling, and hot damn I called it: Pa Kent is dead and even though I new it was going to happen (because that's what I do) I was still profoundly moved when it happened, a wonderful homage to that iconic scene from the first Superman movie, a scene that still hits me in the gut to this day. And Peter Gabriel for the cemetary scene. Wow. Bow down before me Attorney Dave! And now, Smallville is about Clark Kent, the man before Superman. Let's see how that works out, and where it goes from here.

- But seriously, John Schneider was rock solid for 100 episodes, in a role that might well mark him forever to me as PA KENT rather than Bo Duke. If Smallville has added anything to the Superman mythos it's how it's showed what makes Superman the man he is, a hero he is: the love of his parents, their values, and their faith in him, and while Annette O'Toole is a gift that keeps on giving as Ma Kent, Schneider brought a lot of heart and grit, and truth to his role, and to say that he will be missed is a profound understatement.

- The Encyclopedia Brown reference during Seth's first burn on The OC was priceless. I even remember the book he specifically mentions under the influence. Man I used to love Encyclopedia Brown, and The Baker Street Irregulars...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Comics You Should Read, Really

Cleaning out my Drafts folder...

Every now and again I will give you Cliff's Comics He Thinks You All Should Read:

All Star Superman #2. Mythic, the perfect way to get ready for Superman Returns this summer at the movies. Grant Morrison artfully distills 70 years of Supermanicana within his own superimaginative patois, and I want to buy a page of Frank Quietly art from this book and frame it. Head over to Chuck at Seeley and Kane's and pick this up and issue 1 and you will be in business. Heady stuff.

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #1. Back in the 50's and 60's Joe Kubert revolutionized comic book storytelling for all generations to come, the beginning of the cinematic comic artist, and with this book he's back to challenge all comers. Fantastic storytelling, a gritty, pitch perfect WWII comic that is beatifully drawn, perfectly colored, and each page a masters class in the art of comic book storytelling, and how and why they are taking over the movies.

And coming up and back in a few weeks is Joss Whedon and John Cassiday's titanic Astonishing X-Men #13 (after a brief hiatus so they can faithfully make their monthly dates for this 12 issue run), and if you want to get on board for this legendary run find yourself a copy of Astonishing X-Men: The Saga, a nice encapsulation Cliff Notes version of their magnificent first 12 issues, or better yet pick up the nice trade paperbacks of all 12 issues and go nuts. Also breathtakingly cinematic, bold, with amazing dialogue, crisp storytelling and sharp, mythic appraisals of these classic characters (also contemporary cinema fodder). If these guys can do 36 issues this might be the best run on X-Men ever.

I Have No Idea What The Fuck I Am Doing

Apparently I had comments and they've just been sitting there. Sorry folks. In addition to spilling forth on this and that I promise to do a better job keeping track of this here thang. And there will be template changes every now and again because sometimes I just get tired of stuff.

Also, if anybody knows how to work this blogspot thing so I can add links and stuff to this site please contact me, I need some goddamned assistance I am so helpless with this shit. But at least I can admit it. I refuse however to recant on my Bon Jovi comments. I've talked to their fans and know what they are really about- "AWW MY GOD JOHN BON JOVI IS SOOO CUTE"... I also have it on good authority that "RITCHIE ISN'T LOOKING TO BAD EITHER."

Like I said before: I'd rather put shit in my mouth than listen to Bon Jovi.

A Nice Day Off

So far:

- I've watched last night's Lost, another fine episode. Unfortunately if you haven't jumped on by now forget about it. Don't worry however, this gem is not out of your reach as I am sure ABC will do another groovy Peter Coyote narrated summarization before the third season.

- Wrapped up my FIFA 2006 career as Heathcliff Parks at Ajax in the Dutch Eridevise and moved up to the demanding British Premeire with Newcastle United in the central midlands. Bloody madness this league, and I suspect I've added grief to my life with this move from the relatively tranquil Dutch league. Whoops.

- Savored the second disc of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on audiobook. Jim Dale nails the abundant witch and wizard adult dialogue as the Potterverse goes even more widescreen. It's intriguing that many think it's the sixth book that gave Rowling adult lit cred but I suspect it's in the fifth that she tightened it up and went wild.

- And blogged and blogged.

And now some work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Superman 3 Wednesday

Well folks I'm pretty sure that I cracked this morning. Yep, it finally happened. After calling into work this morning at 7 AM and failing to get a vacation day ("we don't have any more available" they sez to me... on a WEDNESAY... IN FUCKING JANUARY! JANUARY!) I had it OUT with myself. I was off Tuesday on a personal day because I had bowel troubles and didn't want to take a disciplinary step over what probably amounted to some bad Mighty Taco and beer, and with Thursday my scheduled day off (thanks to my four 10 hour day work week) and Friday a steward's meeting (= no talking to shithead customers for 10 hours!) I REALLY WANTED today off in toto. But I couldn't JUST take another personal day... WHAT IF YOU WANT THEM DURING THE SUMMER? I thought...









This all while I'm sitting on my bed pulling on my socks, and frankly, man was I pooped from this whole battle. Resigned to my fate (another miserable day) my shoulders drooped but then LAUGHTER! I remembered that Daily Show segment about the guy who dresses up as Superman and walks around the Sunset Strip and the nut proudly telling Dan Bakkedahl that the Superman suit he was wearing was from Superman 3 "when Superman was fighting himself in a junkyard" and Bakkedahl saying how he'd too had fought himself in a junkyard, drunk.

Superman: But look on the bright side, somebody won.

Bakkedahl: No, nobody won after that.

And I sat on my bed, thought to myself HEY! IT'S SUPERMAN 3 WEDNESDAY! Then laughing a tad too loudly I finished getting dressed... but before I could leave the house...




And then I went to work where for the rest of the morning I was prone to occasional giggle fits.

Thankfully I am better now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

West Wing Countdown

Savor The West Wing while you can. This week's episode was a standard classic: taut, multilayered, a smackdown to El Presidente's Katrina management, and a masters class on modern politics in the internet age. Outside of President Roslin on BSG this is totally the only White House show worth watching and our nation will be the poorer when it ends in May.

And god, wasn't Donnatella Moss awesome? Man she is great. I'd love to watch a show with her as the Press Secretary and Bail ____ing Organa as the President. Damn we wuz robbed!

A Goddamn Travesty!

Mirrored on the WNY Progress Report Blog:

A Travesty!
January 22nd, 2006 by Cliff

The West Wing cancelled after 7 seasons! A terrible turn of events. A pox on NBC!
- I'm with the magnificent, glorious Maureen Dowd- I too am not in love with the idea of Darth Cheney "oogling my Googling." Beware the evil empire folks.

- AICN reports via Billy West that Futurama is coming back with 4 DVD movies with everybody coming back. Now I think it's time to get Futurama 2-4 on DVD and complete my Matt Groening shrine.

- The Simpsons on the new 32 inch TV are glorious, the episode where Bart and the gang rent a car and drive down to the 1982 World's Fair sparkled and just made me laugh and laugh. And as an added bonus- a NEW episode tonight. God bless us... God bless everybody.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hot Damn

Mail recieved:

Hello Cliff,

It’s a new year and we have some news for you!
We are currently in the process of recording a new studio album with producer Bob Rock. Once completed, we will be out on the road performing select shows in Canada, the USA and Europe this year. Be sure to check back with us online at and look for more emails from us, keeping you absolutely up-to-date with the latest announcements and details.

We are also very excited to tell you about the development of our first ever paid members-only fan site, aptly named, The Hip Club (THC). This is not to be confused with the now defunct Hip Club that ran back in 2002. THC will be the ultimate place for everything Hip. With the paid membership, you will get front-of-the-line opportunities for concert tickets, special audio and visual content, an online and in-depth Q and A with the band, members-only merchandise, and EXCLUSIVE access to “Hip Club Only” special events, shows and other surprises.To help get us ready, we are doing some long overdue house cleaning, so please take the time to update your user information and preferences to ensure you don’t miss a beat.


Das Hip

Booyah. And Lawyer Dave is moving to NYC and said we should come on down when the Hip plays NYC (someplace cool in NYC no doubt). Cool. And best of all now the fellas are down with multiple Hip shows this year, after checking out some great shows in Rochester and Hamilton Ont back in 2004... even better.


Damn the Sabres got hosed. Not a great showing.

Saturday Update

- Many thanks to Buffalo Pundit for the link up and the blurb on his always swell site.

- Thanks to all the bloggers at the Bloggercon for mentioning this here thing. Of course anybody who came over has been treated to poop talk and a total perv-out, but what are going to do, that's honesty folks. I loves mah shows.

- REMINDER - Free Screening of the “Lost Boys of the Sudan” on Tuesday, January 24, 2006January 21st, 2006 by Mark
The Western New York Coalition For Progress is Proud to Host a Film Screening, Panel Discussion And Charity Event - “Lost Boys Of The Sudan” on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 7:30 pm at UB’s Center for the Arts.
Admission is free, but donations to Journey’s End Resettlement Services of cash or the following necessities which will be given to newly arrived refugees will be gratefully accepted: bath and dish towels, hygiene products, or cleaning supplies.
Nelson Starr, Vice President of the WNY Coalition for Progress and event co-chair, said, “The plight of Sudanese refugees has not received the attention it deserves. This documentary follows two Sudanese refugees orphaned by the civil war as they depart their war-ravaged homeland and come to live in the United States. Their tale from war and horror to the culture shock of American suburbia is extraordinary and compelling.”
A panel discussion addressing the plight of refugees from the war torn region of Darfur in the Sudan will follow the screening. Among the panelists will be Sudanese refugees residing right here in Western New York, as well as SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Dr. Claude E. Welch, Jr. Professor Welch is regarded as the preeminent scholar on African political affairs at University at Buffalo. Journey’s End Refugee Services of Buffalo is helping to organize the discussion.

- The new TV is awesome. 32 inches. It took some home improvement to get it into the entertainment stand, but after much sweat, toil, and a strained back it is in and all is good. Better in fact, everything is better: (after "optimizing" with some THX technology) the first 10 minutes of Episode III on DVD, live Premiership soccer, FIFA 2006, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, and now the hockey game, which we are losing.

- The LOTR marathon is moved up to next Saturday, at 10 AM, and it will be good, better than last year, and the perfect wrap up to my last LOTR jag for a while.

- We got ____ed. Totally ____ed. That dude totally kicked that puck into the net, but when Buffalo tries to call the video ref they couldn't get through to challenge the call and demand a review... whoops.... communication breakdown?!? ____ that. Another NHL hosing for our lads. The good news is that his game is jumping off. Let it all hang out tonight Sabres!

I am a total pervert (cleaning off the TiVO)

Yikes. The OC's Caitlyn (?) Cooper sure ain't Cousin Norbert; in fact I suspect she might be closer to Worf joining the cast of Deep Space Nine- tearing and shaking ____ up, and next week she's gonna get a stressed out Seth stoned. Man, and boy is she going to be trouble for noble Johnny the existential surfer dude. But really, it's all a ruse, it's really all about the outfits: the Britney Spears classic schoolgirl, the black number, hell, every scene. I'm just a total perv; thankfully I also perv on this week's MILF-A-RAMA: Kiki, Cruella DeVille, and Julie, who I will now name: Black Mamba as now she's angling to marry Summer's dad (Michael Nuri- hilarious). The show's bloody brilliant. Plus, I liked how they broke up Summer's dad and Cruella DeVille by feeding info to Cruella's daughter (the reformed Taylor Townsend) that Summer's Dad voted for John Kerry, a plot that precisely and totally chased Cruella out of the picture.

Clark's about to tell Lana Lang that he's not from around here on Smallville, and I still think Pa Kent is gonna DIE on next week's 100th episode. This show is HOT, burning with mythos, and either way it's about to burn hotter.

This week's Office was profound, again, this time chronicling among other things corporate pursuit of a sick employee (Boss Michael to lackey Dwight: "I want you to drop what you are doing and make this your top priority"), and the airing of a secret to an office full of people who spend more time with those people than with their other people (friends, family)... always a tough one. Funny and true.

I watched BSG before I passed out last night and it was good, but will have to be watched again.

Now, a mission to buy a new television.

Bon Jovi

I'd rather put ____ in my mouth than listen to or go see Bon Jovi. I know that's harsh but the work happy hour was at Pearl St. last night and damn... Bon Jovi fans everywhere, and it was sort of hilarious. Whenever somebody played BJ on the jukebox a group of chicks with dubious hair would drunkenly belt it out while invariably the dudes they were with grimaced and looked at the ceiling; clearly they too would have rather put ____ in their mouths but they had no choice- they were getting some later, after their penance, and that's the price they paid. And anybody who calls BJ a hair metal band in the past tense is dreaming- judging from those shots in Gusto (kudos to Jeff Meirs for not coming out and totally slagging them off in his article, preserving his journalistic virtue) I'd say their hair is still extremely important to the equation.

Jesus, when I made my choice back in the mid 80's between Bon Jovi and U2... I chose wisely.

The good news, I've been washing my ears out with Radiohead's My Iron Lung import EP, purchashed for $10 at the Hamburg Record Theater instead of the customary $20, $25; and it is good: groovy b-sides and Radiohead on the make, exponentially growing and on the cusp of their first epic The Bends (the record most Brit Rockers subconsiously, or unsubconsciously rip off). Good ____.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I got a few seconds during a commercial break. As you can see I've changed the template; I don't know, I'm buzzed, and I felt like it. The old one was hard on the eyes. Gimmicky. The new one is spare, and the red banner is UNION RED BABY. That's the way I roll.

Unless I change it to classic blue and Sabres gold. I'm feeling nostalgic tonight. What a great hockey game.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Return of Jazz to Hockey

Somewhere in my Hip cds I've got Gord Downie lamenting the absence of "jazz" from modern hockey (goddamn NJ Devils!) during a question/answer session with some lucky Canadians, and I always agreed with him. The nuetral zone belonged in Star Trek, not professional hockey, and the game lost a lot of mojo that I enjoyed so thoroughly since I was a kid going to games at the Aud with Grandpa or somebody (I seem to recall getting to games with all sort of people in the other season ticket). But no longer. Connolly is dipsy doodling like a Montreal Canadien in the old black and white footage! It is clear to me that indeed the abolition of the two line pass rule has brought the game back to it's legendary past just in time for the future, and if you aren't digging hockey on some level this season there's something wrong with you, and you should certainly ponder it so you can get back on track enjoying life in Buffalo.

And hot damn another power play goal. Palminville (sic)! It's going to be a late night but it's going to worth it. Go Sabres.

ALERT- New Battlestar Galactica tomorrow night! ____ing Admiral Adama. And the US has risen to 7th in the FIFA world rankings, hot ____! To HELL with this talk of the "group of death"... it's going to be gnarly in the first round but screw it, I like our chances.

Tough Guy Talk

Todd Bertuzzi is such a dirty ____ing cocksucker. I saw that cheapshot on Ryan Miller. I remember who he broke that dude's neck, and I don't hold with that ____. And I had just been talking about how much I'd like to visit Vancouver, especially after hearing the organ player during the game belt out some White Stripes. He's a goddamn blight on that otherwise fine city!

Go Sabres.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hey Now

How do you like those apples? What does The Office, Weeds, and Lost have in common? Well, in addition to all being Golden Globe winners last night, all have been strenuously blogged about on this here site. What does this mean? It means I have taste. My shows don't suck. My record collection doesn't suck, nor does any of my other ____. That is the way it is, that's the way I roll, and that's why I will never steer you wrong. Stick with me kids. It's fun.

And I would like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for having the same taste as me in television. Booyah! As far as the movies, I suspect the HFP is screwing with our American inhibitions, stirring our misbeggoten pot.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Coming Down

I've been drinking Schmuckers all night (Bier: 5%, Red Bock: 8%*) and tonight's 24 still made my heart race. Savor the gravitas of Keiffer, lust after Connie Britton, the tv MILF of the moment, listen to that crazy music that amps everything up to insane levels, damn. I gotta relax.

* $4.99 at Consumer's. 8% beer that's smooth like John Shaft. It's reaffirmed my love of beer.

The Sabres are amazing. Another road win for our mighty fellows. I love these roadtrips and the late starts, perfect after 24, and those guys are playing stellar hockey- hard working and pure with every man pitching in. The hardest working team in hockey without question.

And now, after a quick game of FIFA (the Dutch Cup Final), I'm going to pass out. Mahalo.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

@#$%ing Awesome

24 is exactly that. Balls to the wall, the first 30 minutes was gutbuster ____ , James Bond all the way. The spoiler spoiler patrol did their job and the JOLTS were jarring, my nerves- immediately amped (I also had some very nice tea after dinner at Uncle Tony and Aunt Marylou's- that also contributed), and I can safely say that television has never been more thrilling (also, no torture, just some cold revenge, which I can live with in FICTION). Get on now while you can. I myself am going to be on pins and needles until tomorrow night and probably until May. Missing tomorrow night would be sinful, wrong.

Battlestar Galactica is also in this category, another hot season starting in the doldrums of winter, a perfect lead in for the long awaited return of The Sopranos in March and Deadwood in June. Bloody brilliant, Godfather style, epic, last week's battle scenes were easily the best sci-fi battle scenes I have ever had the pleasure of viewing on television*, if you go in for that sort of thing; and the emotional content: the President dying of cancer, the narrow aversion of the mutually assured destructions of both commands of the only surviving Colonial battlefleet ships, heroes at crossroads, their political idealism shattered by realpolitik- hot damn. A show that gets better and better. Are we in a golden era of television as art? Maybe.

My Morning Jacket's Z. I can't stop listening to it. Emo rock, stadium rock, soul, reggae psychedlic rock, it's all there, all distinctive and strong and genuinely soulful. I like this band. And I like the new Strokes album, a return to form for the first band in a long time to give me a boner, to actually give a ___ about 5 years ago during the dark early 2000's. Some new sounds from a band that sounds old and sharp and new simultaneously. I also enjoyed the inside access article in New York magazine about the boys who are now men on a mission to make some art and some noise, one of the few bands worth getting excited about.

FIFA 2006, the best sports game I have ever played. The roomate and I are now locked in deadly international soccer combat, in a rolling House Championship consisting of 18 rounds of best of three matches. Bloody brilliant and the music is bloody awesome, a democratic jukebox of international flavors (that you can turn on and off).

Still, I would rather put ___ in my mouth that watch American Idol or Skating with Celebrities.

And now, round 7 in the Cup, all square.

* The best space battle in a movie: the battle at the beginning of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which was the battle from the end of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi on acid, and a true homage to the analog genius of the first generation ILM wizards who boggled our minds 20+ years ago.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hyperspeed Thoughts in Brief

It's been a busy week and I've tried to focus on the WNY Progress Report blog but I've been observing, and believe me I've been on the lines, and the other blog is currently down so you get:

The scion of Brangelina = the Second Coming of Jebus?!? You'd friggin' think so. False idol worship indeed.

Superman sex chat on this week's Smallville- bloody brilliant. Clark ponders the potential dangers of super shagging with Lana, and those goddamned College Luthor Republicans attacking Pa Kent for running for state senator against Lex?!? Goddamn over the line I say, but not entirely surprising. And in two weeks Pa Kent buys it in the 100th Episode. I call it here now, and I called it last night with the Dugan and Dave the Lawyer. Ask them. Dave might have to eat some words too.

Frequently hearing and digging Junior Gong Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" while setting up FIFA 2006 matches and managing my Amsterdam Ajax season promted me to check out the whole album and dag... it is a great album. It's got old school, new school, soft rhythms and hard jams, it's got it all, and Damian is surely a credit to his surname.

I just finished the main body of The Lord of the Rings and it is good, the last 80 pages, after the climax of the War and Quest of the Ring, are gravy, pure poetry. It's funny- I ain't generally a fan of poetry per se; my thang is clearly prose, but I really enjoyed the poetry of it this time- my third and last for some time. I also look forward to savoring the Appendixes, where the Professor fills in all the blanks, quotes from a backstory that only he knew, and elaborates on the weird fairy tale that he created for the people of England (and the world). What a great piece of fiction and myth making.

Is wearing hot boots mandatory on Regis & Skinny these days? Vanessa Williams, the Princess Diary lass all grown up, Ainsley Hayes... all in hot boots.... yikes. And this week at work, a breakthrough: the thinking is that my thing for boots goes back to watching Wonder-Woman as a child. Not wearing boots mind you... worshipping boots.

Add Rachel McAdams and Kelly Ripa to the "Too Skinny" list.

I love the class warfare on The OC, I think Johnny the Existential Surfer is a cool dude, I loved Michael Nuri as the super rich surgeon eating pork rinds in the trailer park, and I like it when this show gets dark before it gets light.

Marv in. Mularkey out. What the hell is going on here?

Dark Side of the Moon came out on top as #1 on the 97 Rock Top 400 Albums of All Time, and was played in it's entirety at 11 AM. Some of the decisions were shakey, but hey, Buffalo is a traditional town, with honest values, and of course with Floyd's best at the top it all worked out in the end. Rocking to AC DC's Back in Black in it's entirety (in at #2) was pretty cool too.

The coolest however was DSOM on 4 different radios in the office at work today, communal bliss, and more than a little bittersweet considering that the group will soon be breaking up. DSOM memories were shared (they cannot be repeated here), and all noted how fitting it was listening to DSOM at work as a group, where many of the tropes of DSOM come true on a daily basis.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Great Dream

You see, what's cool about soccer, in addition to the beautiful play and combination of grace and occasional violence, is the fact that teams get to move up and down the leagues, possibly into the top national league, and then from there into international competition. Dip___ burgs and towns all over the world duke it out with one goal in mind- to win the national championship, and the best part is that it's actually possible. For example in England they have the Premiership, the top league, the Championship League underneath, followed by Leagues 1 and 2 and non league conferences that also allow for promotion, and teams move up and down the scales, from scrub status up to veritable godhood (certainly on a local level- imagine how you'd respect say, the Cheektowaga _____ers). Yes some of the big teams always stay on top, but even the mightiest fall, and a lot of the big teams were at one time small time concerns until they siezed oppurtunity and grew. It's crazy, and the fact that we don't have it in this country is precisely why soccer hasn't really caught on. The key is that it's a local thing, a regional mania that even becomes a neighborhood by neighborhood thing, and that sort of energy breeds serious interest and intense competition, competition which would strengthen our national game and eventually make us a genuine World Cup menace at last. The fact is I think a lot of people would shell out $10 every couple of weeks to see the Buffalo Dip___s duke it out in balls to the wall guts and glory soccer fixtures, and eventually would shell out more if our Dip___s did well and moved on up. We're an international city, we like people; we'd attact European and South American talent, our local boys would represent, and we'd drink a lot of beer just like at Bills games. I could even see people coming out for the North Buffalo Dingleberries or some such thing, a team formed locally that got some investors and got into the Leagues, and did it for North Buffalonians like me. Maybe our boys would even travel the hemisphere, and teams from around the hemisphere would play in North Buffalo; we'd drink beer and eat and we'd all feel North Buffalo and honest to goodness American pride. It'd be a glorious dream.

We've got MLS and the US League, and that's all well and good, but now it's time to get serious.
The Office is right up there with the funniest shows on TV right now (Simpsons, Earl), and might even be more funny and acute than the always up in the air AD. It's honesty about people is magnificent, raw; on the office the nicest guys can sometimes be dicks and the biggest dicks occasionally nice guys, and even the biggest boob or nimrod can occasionally deliver truth and wisdom in a moment of actual honesty, as opposed to frontin' or pepetratin' on people or throwing your weight around, which is what we usually do (some more than others). It's also bloody hilarious, this week's booze cruise a fine outing for the gang. Kudos also to the show's peeps for populating the extended cast with sturdy, quirky, and real actors who act "real" (authentic), and give the show a "real" texture by capturing correctly the mid size office dynamic that inevitably develops when people spend more time with work people than their own people. They are also as funny in their own ways as the "main" characters, and always a source of humor and surprise. What a great show.
Hot damn we got some sun. Yes much of it was filtered by snow, and it was touch and go this morning on the drive in to work, almost depressingly so when Mister Sun went behind that big snow cloud- but in the end we got some sun, I got some real sunlight on my pale skin, and it was good. And I'm pleased to report that in all of my travels I saw not one accident on the roads. The sun does us good.

Interestingly, I didn't get a chance to get my hoodoo on; indeed our karma must have been pure, and we earned that sun. I am definately leaning toward going to see the Dalai Lama at UB this fall...

Next week's Battlestar Galactica is going to be hot ___, because I can tell you that it follows a hot ___ episode this week that set it all up. The first tv female president got all Godfather for Adama, advising him to hit first before he gets hit by a ruthless rival battlestar commander, and next week just looks nuts, with special FX and war and trust me it is good. This is saying a lot because frankly I hated the original show when I was a kid (Star Wars ruled!) and I really wanted to hate the inevitable retread, especially after Farscape got canned to make room for it, but by God it started out good, with real integrity, and it's only gotten better and more ambitious. Hey, it's the end of the world, humanity is ____ed, all they've got is some half assed hope of finding this ___ed up planet, hot damn and it's great TV.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Touch of Gray

It's been what... 13 days since we've seen real sunlight... Jesus...

People are starting to lose it folks. Driving home today I saw accidents on the 190S, on the Main St. 198 overpass, the 33E, and I've heard reports of trouble on the 290. There was trouble on Delaware Ave in North Buffalo- rerouting arterial traffic down my sleepy street. I really don't want to leave my house tomorrow.

And now we get to enjoy the picking of the bones as the Mass Media gets morbid over the W. Virginia miner tragedy... meditating on the minutea of carbon monoxide poisoning... combing the farewell note found in the mine for meaning and clues. After 13 days of no sun I don't need this ___. I don't think anybody needs this ___.

Anderson Cooper's breast beating on CNN over this is pure overkill; poor taste, the proverbial jumping of the shark. I miss Aaron Brown.

I think it's time to pray to Jebus for sunlight. Pray to your ancestors. Anything. I'm even going to bring out the hoodoo voodoo... it's getting serious.

Unduly Harsh

OK, I was foolishly harsh on the fourth Harry Potter movie. I just got home from seeing it on the IMAX with my old roommate Steve O (any excuse to go) and OK, it is good. It's not awesome, and if you hadn't seen the first three it's utterly incomprehensible, but who cares, if you haven't seen the first three and are sitting in on the fourth you're off your nut anyways. It's a tight thriller shod of anything that doesn't strictly drive the thriller forward, and in this fashion, as the fourth movie it works, a fine through movie that links the first three and the last three, and Fines does make for an excellent Voldemort. Very nice and I agree with Steve O, it is indeed nice and Empire Strikes Back-like.

I still stand by my thoughts on the third film being the best, but I confess, I hated on it and I regret it. Further, I revise the order in which I like the Harry Potter movies from "best" to not so much" as such:

4) The Chamber of Secrets
3) The Goblet of Fire
2) The Sorceror's Stone
1) The Prisoner of Azkaban

Monday, January 02, 2006

Arrested Development R.I.P.?

I don't know if this week's AD was it's last, but if it is it was brilliant, the perfect capstone for a series so ahead of it's time that it died not one, not two, but three (and so on) deaths. And it featured in it's final show a critique of the tired TV cliches they reject: formula procedural, canned sit com comedy, feel good TV crap- yeah the show went down swinging. What a show. Save our Bluths! Save AD!

Long live AD!

And looking ahead to the final third of the TV season:

Battlestar Galactica season 3 this Friday on Sci-Fi, the best show on TV returns.

In two weeks 24. Violence, torture, improbable plot twists, gravitas, it's back.

Adult Fun

Syrianna is excellent. George Clooney is a fearless actor. Jeffrey Wright and Matt Damon are excellent. Doctor Bashir from Star Trek DS9, Alexander Siddig turns in another fine performance (following Kingdom of Heaven, a movie stolen by it's secondary actors), and Chris Cooper adds another firecracker to his resume. It's a dense one, a film I'll be pondering for a while, although I think it's gist is clear: oil from the Middle East is a dodgy business. I'll have to check into the (non fictio?) book it's based on; though I have no doubt of it's essential truth- that our nation's interest in the region is solely driven by money. Perhaps the best film of 2005.

I have to give tremendous credit to George Clooney, a profoundly modest actor who also made Good Night and Good Luck one of 2005's best film's. If I forgot to include it on my 2005 list it was out of profound haste. His liberalness is also noticed and appreciated.

Finished the Simpsons Season 7 dvds and they are of a vintage year: Glen Close as Homer's long lost radical on the lamb mother, Bart's ill fated road trip to the 1982 World's Fair, the Pulp Fiction episode, Homer's first (but not last) rock and roll mid life crisis (Frampton: "I bought that pig at a Pink Floyd yard sale!"), the shockingly obese Homer episode, Marge's attempt to crash Springfield's high society in a pink Chanel suit, it's all there. Easily one of the show's finest seasons.

I will say it's fun watching these Simpsons dvds by the season in order, as opposed to the jumbled up dealer's choice you get from the omnipresent syndicated episodes, and I figure that by season 12 I'll be able to say definitively which is the best season.

I am starting to get worried that the pressure of managing the Ajax soccer club on FIFA 06 is getting to me: the pressure from the club's ownership and computer fans hassling me for my management, fighting for every slot on the leaderboard, the numerous yellow cards... I've got a lot on my mind.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Contrary to Popular Belief...

... upturned collars were never cool. People who walked around with upturned collars in the 80's were secretly loathed by just about everybody, and anybody foolish enough to indulge in this in 2006 will be subject to the same fate.

... Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives are neither hip, cutting edge, or remote interesting. They are indulgences, no TV trope or cliche untouched; pure sugar. American audiences can do better. I cannot wait for The Sopranos to mop the floor with these tired network TV sots...

... the ballroom dancing of other people craze is hilarious tomfoolery. If we were watching professional ballroom dancers, or people with ballroom dancing chops- it would be different. Watching celebrities with no chops mince and hack on stage is mild celebrity bashing in disguise, and another excuse to pay toll charges.

... western boots and hats and shirts will never take off in Blue States, especially when the consensus is that the Red States are entirely to blame for our current situation. Dressing like a Hee Haw extra is the equivelent of saying "they won," and will be dealt with accordingly...

... reading 2006 In / Out - style lists will invariably lead you astray.