Friday, August 31, 2007

The Minion Diaries

I've started a new blog that I'll probably ignore with equal frequency. It's called The Minion Diaries and it's about a temp-worker who signs on with various criminal masterminds and does their bidding.

It may be the most inane, juvenile blather I've ever written, and that's saying something. Enjoy.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Banning Pete Rose From The Hall Of Fame, I Learned From The Jews

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the Baseball Hall of Fame getting it right, and at the end of it I mentioned that I'd get to the Pete Rose issue another time. Under mounting and overwhelming pressure from my readers (Translation: last week, one guy half-heartedly mumbled "What about that Pete Rose thing?") we're now getting to it.

Pete Rose is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Without question he's top-ten, more likely he's one of the top five greatest players ever. Let's run down his credentials:
  • 17 time All-Star
  • 44 game hit streak
  • 1963 Rookie of the Year, 1973 NL MVP, 1975 World Series MVP, three World Series championships
  • Rocked the "Moe" haircut more diligently than the entire People's Republic of China, or indeed Moe himself
  • All-time Hit King in baseball: 4,256 hits in his career
So the question gets asked all the time on sports-talk radio, "Why isn't Pete in the Hall?!" To answer that we set the Wayback Machine to 1919. The Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series, accepting a few scraps in return. They bet against their own team and then went out and lost. This was the apocalypse for baseball because people simply didn't trust what happened on the field after that. If MLB didn't come down hard on the Black Sox team, no one would ever believe the box scores again. Gambling threatened in a very real way to turn Major League Baseball into professional wrestling*. It would have become nothing more than a curiosity, with a few inbreds occasionally tuning in to see if anyone would hit each other with a bat or if the bikini-clad female "managers" would have a catfight.

Baseball knew just how serious a crisis this was. It banned all the players for life (the cheating White Sox players, that is. If it banned all the players baseball might become more boring than it already is). Then the owners went out and got a commissioner who would act in the best interests of baseball and act impartially. Finally, they put a sign in every locker room: NO BETTING.

The argument for putting Pete Rose into the Hall is generally, "Well, there are a lot of dirtbags in the Hall, just add him to the list". True, there are racists, wife-beaters, drug abusers and worse in the Hall. Exhibit A is the player that Rose surpassed in the all-time hits category: Ty Cobb, one of the worst human beings who ever lived. But here's the thing: if a player beats his wife, you don't open the paper the next day and wonder if the Phillies really beat the Mets, or if the whole thing was fake. If a whacked-out cokehead of a relief-pitcher plows through a playground of second-graders in his SUV, you don't start questioning if the Mariners will purposely blow the opening game of that double-header this weekend. Individual criminal acts may sour you on that particular player or even on the team he plays for, but they don't make you question the basic reality of the sport.

Ask Boxing about that. Fifty years ago the three major sports in America were Baseball, Horseracing (somewhere, Pete Rose perks up and rubs his sweaty hands together without knowing why) and Boxing. When there was a heavyweight fight it was a must-see event. They held gigantic parades for the Champ when he came home. Now? Quick, who is the Heavyweight Champion of the World? No? I don't know either. Boxing has been eroded for three reasons:
  • Too many different governing bodies. There are at least a half-dozen different "belts" proclaiming the wearer champion of the world. It's absolutely baffling to try and figure out which are legitimate. It's as if the NFL was just as popular as the USFL, AFL and XFL, and they all had their own Super Bowls.
  • The greatest prize-fighters in the world today are playing middle-linebacker in football. Better to tear up your knee than stagger around drooling from brain-damage in your 50's.
  • Most importantly, we don't believe it anymore. Any time a guy gets knocked out we ask, "Do they both fight for Don King?" We joke that he had gambling debts to pay off, wonder if they took a dive, examine the punch in slow-motion to see if it really connected... in short, we just don't buy it. There's been too much corruption in boxing for too long.
"NO BETTING" is the Golden Rule in Baseball. Pete Rose broke that rule willingly and repeatedly, then lied about it for years and years, going out of his way to destroy people's careers to protect that lie. Sports sideline weasel/reporter Jim Gray asked Pete about his betting at one World Series and it almost cost him his job, with New York Yankee outfielder Chad Curtis refusing to even speak to Gray after the game because of it (you might remember Chad Curtis' famous quote from last week: "Have you considered all the benefits of a term-life insurance policy?").

To sum up, I finally reference the odd title of this post. For the Jewish People, the all-time hit king has to be Moses. He stood up to the Pharaoh, turned staves into snakes, wasted every first-born in Egypt, rained frogs and blood, parted the Red Sea and led the Chosen out of bondage and into the Promised Land. Not a bad week. But Moses didn't get to enter the Promised Land himself because when he was about to part the Red Sea, for a split-second he doubted whether God would actually make it happen for him. One screw-up and he's out, and Moses is a top-five Jew (#4, right behind Sammy Davis Junior if you were wondering).

Now, do the Jewish people turn around and say, "Well, it's been a few thousand years... he's learned his lesson... we've let other worse Jews in..." Fuck, no. Moses, you squat out there in the dirt with the Gentiles. There's a big "NO DOUBTING" sign in every Temple (okay, I'm guessing here. They won't let me in, more power to 'em) and every time someone considers Doubting God's Law, all they have to do is point to Moses. Look at him, there's the all-time hit king. He was the best of the best, but he flouted our biggest and most important rule so he's out. He's not out until he apologizes, he's not out until he writes a book about it or goes on a talk-radio show and cries, he's out period. Now every rank-and-file Israelite can look over at Moses and think to themselves, "If he's out for doing this, I better not even think about doing it".

Every season, Major League Baseball players will be tempted to bet on baseball, both for and against their own team. Virtually all of them will be will be far, far worse players than Pete Rose was. They'll think about it, then they'll peer out of the corner of their eye and see one of the greatest there ever was shuffling morosely outside the ballpark gates. "If he's out for doing this..."**

Congratulations, Pete. You now serve a very important function in Baseball: The Cautionary Tale. Which, by an odd coincidence is the name of the horse you've bet to Place at the track this weekend. Good luck, just take my advice and don't bet on boxing.

Word has it, it's rigged.


*It bears mentioning that Pete Rose has participated in multiple Wrestlemania events, and has even been elected to the WWE "Hall of Fame". Seems entirely appropriate.

**That's right, I compared Pete Rose to Moses. If you're looking for me in Hell, I'll be sitting next to Ty Cobb.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I Scared Stephen King

True story, swear to God:

Back in 1993 or '94, I had a glamorous, fast-paced career as a gas station assistant manager in Little America, Wyoming. One day, I read in USA Today that author Stephen King was going on a motorcycle book tour across the country. "Hm," I mumbled, the word fraught with foreshadowing.

One week later I'm behind the marble counter-top of the checkout (it was actually a really nice gas station. It was part of a whole complex including a diesel gas station for trucks, a restaurant and hotel. It was all run by Mormons who were amazingly polite and who put me in charge of the place from day one because I also was polite, as well as white and male). I look out of the large bay window, see a guy filling up his cycle and know right away it's him.

I start panicking. Should I ask for his autograph? Should I tell him how much I enjoyed The Stand? Now he's walking up to the door. Finally, without any idea what I'm going to do, I spread my hands on the counter-top and look down.

Stephen King steps up to the counter. I'm still keeping my eyes down, but facing him, not making eye contact. The moment stretches out... finally I lift my head very slowly, look deadly-serious and say in my deepest, most Lurch-like voice:

"We've been expecting you."

He shit. His eyes flew wide and he took a step back from the counter. "Whaaat??" I will remember that face as long as I live. I was actually worried about him for a second, wondering if I'd have to call the paramedics.

Then my entire demeanor changed, and I put the most nonchalant, bored, gas station-drone look on my face and gestured lazily back over my shoulder at his bike. "Yeah, you owe $5.95 for gas."

He took a hesitant step toward the counter and began pawing money out, laying it on the counter. I gave him his change and finished with a kind tone, "I really enjoy your work, by the way." King nodded absently, giving me a concerned sidelong glance as he walked away toward the restaurant. I later heard from the restaurant waitresses that he was nice enough, but a bit distracted for some reason. He didn't eat much and left quickly.

I want to apologize to Mr. King for scaring him. He didn't need some guy to just randomly freak him out like that, and I hope it didn't sour him on gas stations, motorcycle book tours or Mormons.

That being said... Stephen King has made a mammoth pile of cash frightening the hell out of us for thirty years. He's been the inspiration for more nightmares around the world than Joan Rivers' face. He's the king of horror, and I put The Fear into him, if only for a few seconds. Whatever else I do, I know I have not lived in vain. After I die, my tombstone shall read:





Monday, March 5, 2007

Word For Word, The Fairy Tale I Told My 5-Month Old Daughter This Morning

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Princess.

The Princess lived in a huge castle, and she rode a gorgeous white pony. With wings! So it was actually a Pegasus, which is better than a horse, er, pony.

One day, the Princess met a handsome young Prince. Or maybe she didn't. Daddy's not entirely sure how he feels about that. Alright, she did. He was androgynous and non-threatening and very, very rich. The Prince married the beautiful Princess. Then the Prince gave the King (the Princess' father) a brand-new, even bigger castle. And a carriage that went Turbo, and better crown jewels.

The Princess lived happily ever after. Not that it was that rough for her before that, what with the castle and the awesome dad the King. Not to mention she had a freakin' Pegasus.

The End

Those were the actual words that came out of my mouth this morning while getting my daughter dressed. I only ask that this post not be admissible in the inevitable child services hearings.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Replacing Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon is out as writer and director of the new Wonder Woman movie. What did he know about writing strong women, anyway? Do not question Hollywood! Hollywood is busy audience-testing and focus-grouping Dukes of Hazzard 2: Maybe Jessica Simpson Gets Naked, plus there's the marketing tie-in's to consider, so leave Hollywood alone. Instead, let's do our part to assist in finding the next director of Wonder Woman, the Movie:

Quentin Tarantino

Pros: Arterial spray.

Cons: Movie poster warning label: Caution! This film may contain acting by Quentin Tarantino.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Pam Grier, sucka!

The Movie: Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman II, Wonder Woman III and Wonder Woman IV, The Quest for Peace actually all just one movie chopped up. Wonder Woman III is nothing but Wonder Woman and Cheetah talking in a Chinese Restaurant for four hours.

James Cameron

Pros: Killer Robots from the future could actually work in a Wonder Woman story. Aw, who am I kidding, they work in any story!

Cons: Spends seven years and a quarter of a billion dollars painstakingly reconstructing the Invisible Jet.

Cast as Wonder Woman: How much do I still owe Linda Hamilton in alimony? Grrr... call her.

The Movie: I'm Queen of the world!!!

Uwe Boll

Pros: Final cost to produce? Forty-seven dollars, twenty-five cents.

Cons: Credits include House of the Dead, Bloodrayne and Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Cast as Wonder Woman: The very next person he sees. It could be you!

The Movie: What's happening? Is that a microphone hanging down from the top of the screen? Who are- why are they- this makes no... what the fuc- The End. Roll typo-ridden credits.

Francis Ford Coppola

Pros: Steve Trevor rides the rivers of Paradise Island straight to the heart of darkness. His mission: to terminate with extreme prejudice a mad Queen Hippolyta. The horror...

Cons: Keanu Reeves may attempt a British accent.

Cast as Wonder Woman: After an exhaustive world-wide search, Coppola finds the perfect actress to portray Wonder Woman: his own lovely daughter, Sophia! Isn't she precious? Sit down and look at these baby pictures.

The Movie: Leave the tiara. Take the cannoli.

Spike Lee

Pros: The Right Thing involves punching people in the face.

Cons: Wonder Woman's bracelets, tiara and golden lasso may be referred to at some point as "bling".

Cast as Wonder Woman: Angela Bassett. Denzel as Steve Trevor. Holy crap, that could actually work. I'm calling Hollywood with this right now. "Hello, Hollywood? I've got an idea for a big-budget, all-black..." Hm, must have got disconnected.

The Movie: A message about black people will be told. But will we listen? Will we, really?*

Woody Allen

Pros: We'll all feel a little smarter after having seen it, but we won't actually be any smarter.

Cons: Film will gross forty-seven dollars, twenty-five cents.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Mia Farrow has been in almost a dozen Woody Allen movies. Soon-Yi: zero. Don't think that's not coming up at the dinner table around casting time. Also, Woody envisions Air Force Colonel, war hero and ace pilot Steve Trevor as more of an elderly, nebbishy man.

The Movie: An existentialist exercise worth bringing the whole family for, if the whole family is well-educated, Jewish, raised in Brooklyn and collecting social security. Should be easy on the ears as the action film will be entirely devoid of explosions, or action.

Steven Spielberg

Pros: If you want to set it in World War II, the director search is officially over.

Cons: We don't see Ares, the God of War and Diana's arch-nemesis until the last ten minutes of the film. Until then, we just hear scary music whenever he's nearby.

Cast as Wonder Woman: In all of Spielberg's films, only once has he made a woman the main character. He'll probably go back and cast her in this as well. Whoopie will look fab in that bustier, I'm sure.

The Movie: Glorious happy ending. That character who died poignantly in the second half of the film? He's not really dead at all! He's actually alive for no reason! Yay! And adorable puppies!

David Lynch

Pros: Two or three images or scenes in the film will shake you to the core. You'll leave the cinema jittery, unsure of reality and in desperate need of a stiff drink. Wait, should this be a con?

Cons: Wonder Woman chain-smokes.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Laura Dern. The only Wonder Woman in the history of the imagination that cannot be effectively masturbated to.

The Movie: Is this a dream? No, wait, this part is actually happening. Or maybe it's a dream. Wait, does that character really even exist? So she's going insane? Or she's always been insane, but she's dead and dreaming of this from the afterlife? Are there two Wonder Women? My head hurts.

John Woo

Pros: John Woo was one of the very best directors in Hong Kong.

Cons: John Woo isn't in Hong Kong anymore. Plus, Cheetah... you're wearing my face!!!

Cast as Wonder Woman: Who's hot? I mean it, who is the hottest of the hot right now in Hollywood? Her? She was hot five minutes ago. I'm not exaggerating, five minutes ago she was the hottest, now, she's not. Hot, heat, hot! Find her! Go! And cast as Steve Trevor: (please say Chow Yun-Fat, please say Chow Yun-Fat, please say Chow Yun-Fat) John Travolta. (argh)

The Movie: Wonder Woman jumps through a flaming doorway in slow-motion, shooting two guns at the same time while doves flap through the air in front of her.

Nora Ephron

Pros: Tom Hanks might show up. Then again, he might still be wearing that mullet from The Da Vinci Code.

Cons: Actual title: Wonder Woman, Brought to You by Massengill. May induce cuddling.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Meg Ryan. The world's collagen, Botox and silicone supplies take a hit from which they may never recover.

The Movie: OMG, WW and Steve are never going to get over their differences and realize they're soulmates! That Rosie O'Donnell is so funny as Wonder Woman's best friend. No, no, no Ares is just not right for you, Diana, don't you see that? Aww, they're kissing on the top of Paradise Island. It's so sweet. Pass the Kleenex? i wuv u.

Well, that's the complete list**. Hollywood owes us a debt of gratitude it will never repay barring legal action. In the meantime, Joss Whedon can go back to doing what he does best: being a handmade idol on my mantle that I pray to hourly.


*I'm sorry, were you saying something? Kinda nodded off there.

**The Oliver Stone jokes were just too obvious, and I'd roughed up George Lucas enough in the last post.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nostalgia Wars!

If two beloved groups of characters fought, who would win? That question gets asked roughly billions of times a second on this very Internet. Well today, we at Life's Tough, But It's Fair present Nostalgia Wars! This is computer-simulated, hardcore, real-world combat between characters we love. Why? This is the Internet. I thought we went over this.

Now on to our inaugural edition of Nostalgia Wars! For our first battle royale, it's:
Star Wars vs. Peanuts

Luke Skywalker vs. Charlie Brown - Being from Wisconsin, I'm uniquely qualified to judge this first battle of the Nostalgia Wars. I'm the perfect arbitrator because I've got plenty of cheese for that whine! Good God, these two make Eeyore look like Katie Couric. Chuck's signature call is "Good Grief", while Luke cries big tears when you do something trivial like tell him his father is the devil and cut off his hand. Suck it up, weepy. Luke can use The Force, which is always a plus, but something tells me Charlie Brown has a shot in this one. I mean, he might really be able to win this thing! Charlie's running at Luke, running... running... he's gonna get him! He's- EEEAAARRRGHHH!!! And Lucy pulls the football away at the last minute. Come on, Luke may be an incestuous chump, but Charlie Brown is the ultimate loser. Winner: Luke

Han Solo vs. Linus - This is without question the closest battle in The Nostalgia Wars. Han is smooth, cool, fun, handsome and cocky. He's what every guy wants to be. Linus is sweet, wise, sensitive and even knows the true meaning of Christmas. Seriously, if you don't have love in your heart for Linus, please die soon by choking on your own vomit. The characters have plenty of differences, but there is at least one big similarity; take a closer look, namely at their gear. Han's blaster and Linus' blanket are really one and the same! Think about it, Han carries around the blaster essentially to make himself feel safe and is ridiculed for it by his friends (clumsy and random and all that). He kills Greedo, but that was at point blank range after Greedo shot first (ow). Sure, he wastes some Stormtroopers with it, but some two foot high teddy bears murdered Stormtroopers with a few thrown rocks in Return of the Jedi, so that hardly counts. The fact is, it's utterly useless against the important enemies they're up against (Darth and The Emperor). Yes, Han's blaster is actually his security blanket, and... and... dammit, I'm just stalling. I don't want to hurt poor Linus. I love the little guy so much. Please, Han... be gentle... Winner: Han Solo. And I die a little inside.

Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Spike - Both are unshaven, dusty, live in the desert and never get laid. Spike's defining move was getting Lucy (Lucy!) to find pity for him in her barren wasteland of a heart and nurse him back to health. That's ultimate power right there, broham. Obi Wan's defining move was getting cut in half with a light saber. Nice one. If you strike me down I'll become more ethereal, preachy and annoying than you can possibly imagine, and I can imagine quite a bit. Winner: Spike

Princess Leia vs. Sally - Both hanker after their brothers' best friends, but that's where the similarity ends. Leia is spunky, sassy and handy with a blaster, but let's cut to the chase and end this with three words: slave girl outfit. Game over. Winner: Leia

Chewbacca vs. Snoopy - The ultimate animal sidekicks go head to head! This is what it's all about right here. Let's break it down. Here's what they've got going for them:

-Flying doghouse with mounted machine guns. Now that's a dog's best friend
-Frequent naps
-Greatest dancer of all time
-Ambivalence to his master. He really only grudgingly tolerates Charlie Brown, and frankly I think if you took food out of the equation he'd just move his doghouse over to Linus' place and be done with it
-Joe Cool. Spectacular nickname bonus points right there

-Bowcaster: Crossbow that shoots lasers. Based on its name, it should really shoot bows, but that wouldn't be effective (except against Stormtroopers, who can be killed by anything up to and including a stiff breeze). It shoots blaster bolts just like everything else, so why does it have those bow things on the front? There's not a bow string between them... the weapon frankly makes zero sense. It shouldn't work, it's misnamed and it's ill-conceived... except for the fact that it's a freakin' crossbow that shoots lasers!! Wooo!!!
-Raps (as seen in earlier photo)
-Awesome bandolier thingie he never does anything with
-An unshakable bond with his bestest pal, Han
-Everything he says sounds just like Arnold Schwarzenegger gargling. Try it at home!

Pretty close, but bottom line, beagles don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that. I suggest a new strategy, Snoopy: let the Wookiee win. Winner: Chewbacca

Darth Vader vs. Lucy - One is the personification of absolute Evil. The other is Darth Vader. Winner: Lucy

R2D2 vs. Woodstock - R2D2 communicates via bleeps and bloops, while Woodstock's language is made up of hash marks. Not being able to understand what they're saying only makes it seem like they know more than they actually do, just like with whales, or women. Woodstock's got backup; there's a horde of those little yellow buggers out there waiting to swarm over you like adorable little locusts. But R2D2 is the James Bond of Robots. He can crack any lock, he's money with the ladies (plunging his little metal rod into every computer he can find, the suave devil. Afterwards the computers invariably flip sides and do whatever he wants), he's got electro-stunners, jet-boots... a long time ago in a galaxy far far away they spelled 007 R-2-D-2. Winner: R2D2

C3Po vs. Marcie - Awkward, irritating, bespectacled, and openly embracing alternative lifestyles. Yes, I'm describing both of them. If Marcie got her head cut off, at least she wouldn't make lame puns about it. Winner: Marcie

The Emperor vs. The Adults - At the end of Empire Strikes Back, I thought the Emperor was spectacularly impressive. In that film, he's a shadowy figure you can never quite get a clear gander at who pops in for a couple of minutes just to boss Darth Vader around. When my friends and I talked about the Emperor after that, it was always in hushed, reverential tones. Then Return of the Jedi came, and Lucas fully presented the Emperor as a sneering, two-dimensional caricature that only lacked a long, ridiculous mustache to twirl. I hear in an early draft of the screenplay there was a scene where he tied Princess Leia to some railroad tracks. Lesson: What you don't see can be made far more emotionally powerful by your imagination. Should have taken some notes during "Jaws", George. Meanwhile, Schultz gets it oh so right by never allowing the paying customers to see or even hear The Adults. Use your hate, Emperor! Fight back! Use your- on second thought, don't bother. Winner: The Adults

Lando Calrissian vs. Franklin- Perhaps the most uneven battle on the board. Lando hustles, bustles, blasts, shucks, jives and connives his way into our hearts, while Franklin does... something, I guess. Whatever he does, he does very quietly. Silently, even. Token Franklin taught the culturally unenlightened that even black people can be boring. Lando taught us that Colt .45 works every time. That's right, Franklin, this deal gets worse all the time. Winner: It's a Lando Landslide

Yoda vs. Peppermint Patty - Grizzled veterans, perhaps a little jaded and more than a little gender challenged. Patty is Marcie's mentor and Yoda obviously enjoys playing the Mr. Miyagi to Luke's Karate Kid, but who has more impact on the lives of their proteges? Luke learns The Force and all, but Yoda never taught him the hidden passion of sweet, forbidden lust like Patty did with Marcie. Or... did he? Oh, the image, get it out of my head! Yoda, get off of Luke! Get off!! Ugh. What happens in the swamp stays in the swamp, my young Padawan. Easy being green, it isn't. Lose, you will. : Winner: Peppermint Patty

Sandperson vs. Pigpen - Trick Question! Pigpen is a Sandperson.

Max Rebo (Jabba the Hutt's piano player) vs. Schroeder - Have you seen Max's hands up close? It's like he's trying to tickle the ivories with a plate of sausages. Meanwhile, Schroeder has been deftly coaxing masterpieces from his tiny, tinny piano since before he could walk. No comparison, the winner here is... no, wait a minute, we're talking about music, which means the least important thing in this battle is the actual music. Here in the Video Age (where the video is the most important thing about a band, yet no one ever actually sees the video) it all comes down to one thing: The Groupies. Max has scantily clad Twilek dancers shaking their money-makers (meaning, of course, those floppy, revolting grandma-boobs sprouting out of the sides of their heads) and occasionally getting gnawed on by rancor monsters. Talk about a crowd pleaser! On the other side, Schroeder has... Lucy. Ouch. It's the ultimate victory of style over substance. Roll over, Beethoven! Winner: Max Rebo

Young Anakin Skywalker vs. Rerun Van Pelt - Baby Rerun is the only Peanuts character who can actually get one over on Lucy on a semi-regular basis, which is beyond impressive. Anakin becomes Darth Vader, which is balls-awesome, but in the prequels we find out that people actually call him Annie. Annie? They call him Annie. Darth Vader. Annie. Dear God. I guess I would have turned to the dark side, too. Tough break, Annie, but you lose, sir. Good day, sir. Winner: Rerun

The Little Red Haired Girl vs. The Force - Both Luke and Charlie Brown desire to be one with these things, yet you never see them. The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. And if you study it for a lifetime, never love, do handstands in swamps and master it at its highest and most esoteric levels, you can use it to repetetively knock down goofy-looking robots in the Prequels. Uh, yeah, that was worth it. Wait, I can shoot lightning at people by using the Dark Side instead? Sold. Oh, and by the way, even though they've never shown her, I know who The Little Red Haired Girl actually is. It's close, but I'm going with the Force on this one. One of my guidelines is to never choose a woman over a Zen-like mystical doo-dad that keeps the universe from falling apart. Unless that woman is Angelina Jolie. Winner: The Force

That's it! It's over! The First cataclysmic battle in the Nostalgia Wars is finally complete.* I wish we could go on forever, believe me.** Time to total up the individual match-ups and see who won. Before we do, I assure you I took each one of these contests on their own merit and had no idea which side won until my wife and I tallied them up at the end (yes, I needed my wife's help to do simple math. Go to hell). I had no rooting interest as I love both of them equally***. And the winner, by an eight to six margin is...

And there we have it! I guess we've learned some pretty valuable lessons today, like franchises with "War" in the title are pretty good at war. Plus, never bet against a rapping Wookie.

Coming soon to Nostagia Wars... Scooby Doo vs. The Iliad!!!


*I was dying to simulate a battle involving Boba Fett. Didn't happen. There's just no equivalent in the Peanuts universe for a badass bounty hunter who rocks your world until he's killed off in the first ten minutes of the next film for the sake of a impossibly lame burp joke.

I would have also enjoyed a match-up between anyone and Salacious Crumb, the hideous muppet that shacks up with Jabba the Hutt and laughs mockingly at the failings of others. Personally, I think he should immediately be given a shot as guest-judge on American Idol.

**Bonus battles!!!

X-Wing vs. Snoopy's Doghouse - Snow cones ftw! Winner: Snoopy's Doghouse

Jar Jar Binks vs. Anything, And I Mean Anything At All - Winner: Hint: It's not Jar Jar

George Lucas' Massively Overinflated Ego Systematically making Star Wars Less Cool With Every Move He Makes vs. Charles Shultz's Astonishingly Unfunny Late-Career Comic Strips - Winner: No one. Everyone should die young.

***Actually, I was rooting a little harder for Peanuts.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nostradamus Is My Bitch

Predicting (in fantasy #5) that Anna Nicole Smith would die soon of an overdose wasn't exactly betting the longest shot on the board in Vegas, but goddamn.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Love, Love Me Do Drop Dead

Sir Paul McCartney is the Avatar of Male Romantic Love. Paul and Linda McCartney were married for nearly 30 years, and spent a grand total of about a 24 hours apart from each other during the entire time. He wrote and sang songs with lyrics like:

I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I've got something I can laugh about
I feel good, in a special way
I'm in love and it's a sunny day

Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine

Then we lie beneath a shady tree
I love her and she's loving me
She feels good, she know she's looking fine
I'm so proud to know that she is mine*

This is a man assured in his masculinity. If Eminem tried to rap something like this he'd spend the rest of the weekend plowing through every groupie in the greater Detroit metropolitan area just to prove to himself he's still a man. "Good Day Sunshine" represents to me who Paul is and what he believes in: simple, pure, romantic love that transcends irony and fear. She's good, he's good, the sunshine's good and so is life.

Not to be mean, but I want Heather Mills McCartney to lose her other leg, then die of dehydration while trying to find it.

Full Disclosure: I don't know Mrs. McCartney personally. I do know that Paul's children all despised her from the jump and publicly fretted that she was after their Dad's money. When Mrs. McCartney was confronted with this before she married Paul, her reply was essentially, "If I wanted to marry a man for his money, there are other more wealthy men I could go after". First of all... huh? Paul is a billionaire, sister, and unless you're looking to cozy up to Sam Walton's corpse there really aren't that many of them lying around unattached. Secondly, the proper response to the "You're an opportunistic slut" accusation is to declare your undying love, not start a comparison/contrast debate about the size of his bank account. These were some giant red flags before the marriage, but there was no way to know how it would turn out. You had to give Paul the benefit of the doubt based on his ability to pick wives in the past.

And that's what this is all about, really: the benefit of the doubt. I don't know Paul either, but after being married to the same woman for 29 years and earnestly singing, "My Love", "Got To Get You Into My Life", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Love Me Do", "All My Loving", "And I Love Her", "Loving Your Love", "Me Love You Long Time" and who could forget "Love Love Love Love Love Love and did I mention Love", he's made an impression on me as kind've a loving person. She's made an impression as a money-grubbing whore.

I've known Paul since my childhood. Some of my earliest memories are of dancing around my living room with my Mom to a worn 8-track tape of Abbey Road. Paul is the kindly, smiling uncle of my imagination. For me, this episode has been like watching her marry Mr. Rogers, divorce him, then get half of the Kingdom of Make Believe, use of the Trolley on weekends and joint custody of Henrietta Pussycat.

Paul didn't go with a pre-nup. He said it wasn't romantic. Because of this, Mrs. McCartney is never going to have to work again. She's going to be awarded piles of money and property. She'll get a fortune, but she'll never have Paul's most precious possessions: self-respect, public adoration, two legs and a loving soul. Is this a fair assessment of the situation and Mrs. McCartney's character? No idea. But Paul's got the benefit of the doubt, and this is the Internet. Case closed.

Her next move? I hear Eminem's available.


*Yes, it's stuck in my head now, too.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gridiron Vengeance

The AFC and NFC Championship games are scheduled for this Sunday in the National Football League. Only four teams remain in the quest for the Super Bowl, so instead of breaking down each game in an in-depth NFL preview, I thought this week we'd answer the real question on every football fan's mind: If The Avengers* played professional football, what positions would they play? Here's the scouting report:

Quarterback: Captain America. A natural leader with above-average arm strength. Able to systematically break down defenses. He's also a PR dream come true. Two big questions remain: Can he grip the football effectively in a two-hand grasp while holding his shield? Also, watch out if the NFL goes through with its plan to begin random-testing its players for Super-Soldier Serum. Cap has not helped his case by saying that he's "not here to talk about the past", then going on to lecture about how inexpensive everything was back in the 40's.

Running Back: Black Panther (with Jarvis, at right). King T'Challa of Wakanda was a late fourth-round pick, but he has proven a lot of scouts wrong with his gutty play and quick cuts in the lane. Early on it appeared ego might have been a problem, but his team-mates have grown accustomed to calling him "Your Majesty". Very devoted fan base. Dislikes: Artificial turf, whitey.

Tight End: Iron Man. Is there anything this guy can't do? Strong and tough but also with a good deal of range. Flies down the field for the big play. Can he block? Are you kidding? They call them "repulsor rays" for a reason, baby. Picked up his fourth DUI early in the season, blamed the media, superheroes, Jews and Captain America.

Left Tackle: Thor. Are you sacking the quarterback on this guy's watch? I say thee nay! He brings his patented move "The Hammer" down on any defensive linemen who try to beat him around the outside. Coachable, but he believes he's a living God, and his posse isn't helping (his brother, especially).

Quarterback (backup): Hawkeye. Desperately needs a trade. His accuracy is uncanny, but he's buried on the bench behind the most popular player in the league. A bit too fond of trick plays. Currently on parole.

Wide Receiver: Quicksilver. Big Play Pietro (alternate nickname: "Surly Prick Pietro") can break open a game at any time. His concentration is questionable and hands are below average, but the speed! Remember Black Panther's ego issues you thought you might be dealing with? You've got them times 10 with this guy. Expect a contract holdout every year for more money and outlandish perks. Is he worth it? Speed kills, baby...

Left Tackle (backup): Wonder Man. Maybe if Thor gets hurt... hahahahaha, just kidding. Williams! More Gatorade over here!

Free Safety: The Vision. You're coming over the middle on a crossing route, you reach up for the high, arcing pass, the ball grazes the tips of your fingers and you've just about made the catch... BOOM! Aw no you didn't! The Vision done blowed you up (Note: The Vision is slang-free)!!! His smooth moves and machine-like precision enable him to play at peak efficiency at all times. Light as a feather on his feet in coverage but like a rock on the tackles. Contract demands: Redheads, sunlight.

Defensive Tackle: Giant-Man. This one can plug the gaps. Do yourself a favor and abandon running up the middle early with him in the trenches. Tested positive for steroids twice. He's also schizophrenic and a convicted wife-beater. In other words, your typical defensive lineman.

Outside Linebacker: The Hulk. Who's going to show up this week? The meek, mild-mannered wuss who can't tackle, or the rage-fueled monster who eats offenses for breakfast? Despises the media who he claims "Won't leave Hulk alone". Coach-killer. He's got a rap sheet a mile long, but the upside! Loaded with ability but desperately needs it to be harnessed. Perhaps a young female coach like Betty Ross could maximize his talent? Female coach. Oh, God that was a funny one. Oh, my sides.

Cheerleaders: The Scarlet Witch and The Wasp. There's a no-fraternization rule between players and cheerleaders but these two think of it more as a guideline. The Scarlet Witch is a gypsy shaking it for a paycheck, while The Wasp is a poor little rich girl who shakes it 'cause she can't help it. Think Paris Hilton but brunette, a half-inch tall and not quite as much of a whore.


* What positions would the Justice League play? Glad you asked:
  • Quarterback: Superman
  • Running Back: The Atom
  • Wide Receiver: The Flash
  • Tight End: Green Lantern
  • Cornerback: Batman
  • Middle Linebacker: Martian Manhunter
  • Cheerleaders: Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Black Canary and Zatanna. Just a murderer's row. Good god, the fishnets alone! Is it hot in here?
  • Waterboy: Aquaman
The big question, of course, is who would win in a football game between The Avengers and The Justice League. Such a question is a matter of cosmic import! It's a conundrum far too puzzling and enigmatic to be contained in a mere single footnote, faithful readers!**

Footnote to the footnote:

** The Justice League.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fat Fantasy Island

Yesterday, my wife Amy told me that she has a fantasy about losing weight. She meets fitness guru Bob Greene on Oprah and he pledges to help her work off those post-pregnancy pounds. Amy then works with Bob over the next few months in a brutal workout regimen that melts off the Excess-Amy one pound at a time.* When the boot-camp is over, she appears on Oprah. They talk about how she did it, how spectacular it feels to be thin and then she and Oprah make out. Okay, sorry, I added the last part. A lifetime of fantasies involving women has trained me to always end with them rubbing each other.

Of course, when she told me this fantasy of hers, I put my arm around her comfortingly, gave her a kiss and whispered, "Your fantasy is stupid."

I mean, Jesus Christ, it's a fantasy. You've got your ideal fantasy situation and you're working your ass off! I don't know much**, but when you're imagining yourself losing weight you can do better than Bob Fucking Greene.

I shall now unleash my inner Mr. Roarke and welcome you... to Fat Fantasy Island!!! Smiles, everyone, smiles! Here are my 5 more interesting weight loss fantasies. They may contain disturbing images or ideas, but thankfully none involve actual exercise. Also, these fantasies cater predominantly to the male psyche, but they can easily be flipped around to be enjoyed by the fairer sex:
  1. The government finds out about that Bad Thing You Did. They come for you and put you in a black car with tinted windows. At the airport you're transferred to a Learjet, where a man in a white lab coat who looks a bit like Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future draws your blood and examines it under a microscope. Once finished, he turns to one of the agents and nods knowingly. Upon touchdown you're hustled into a bunker at Langley and met by C.I.A. Deputy Director Stephen R. Kappes. Mr Kappes informs you that your cellular structure has been identified as ideal for a new Super-Soldier experiment, and if you will submit to a painless procedure and commit to work for the Agency for a period of ten years, your record will be expunged. Also, you'll be well compensated, and you'll never pay taxes again. The promises are sweet, but there is an air of menace... you know if you refuse, things will not be pleasant for you and your family. You agree, and are hastily strapped to a table as Deputy Director Kappes exits the room. The scientist who looks vaguely like Christopher Lloyd injects you with a purple, dimly-glowing liquid. You scream in pain, unsurprised that a seasoned agent like Kappes could lie so effortlessly. Within seconds your muscles begin to jerk and spasm, finally revving up into an all-over body-quake, as if you were riding in a fast-moving jeep over a series of speed bumps. After a few minutes the involuntary muscle movement stops, and you peer down at what had been your body. It's like looking at someone else: washboard abs, bulging muscles and even enlarged sex organs. They undo the straps and you stagger to your feet, discovering that you've also gotten taller! An agent approaches somewhat reluctantly and offers you a manila folder marked "Confidential, Eyes Only". He tells you he has your first assignment: a guerrilla leader in Peru needs your "attention", with extreme prejudice. Suddenly your hand lashes out, grabs the agent's neck and twists, and he flops to the ground, his neck broken. Dr. Lloyd's eyes widen in panic, his hands fumbling for the alarm button on the wall. He never makes it. You didn't ask for this, but by God you're going to teach them what it means to threaten you and yours. You raise your bloody fists high in the air and scream, "Kappes!!! You! Are! Mine!!!" Then you run your hands over your perfectly formed six-pack and marvel over how damn hot you are.
  2. Aliens hit you with a thin ray. I mean, the ray is actually pretty wide, but it makes you thin. They consider ramming a metal probe up your pooper for no reason, but mercifully decide against it and let you go. In a week your confused face is on the cover of the Weekly World News with the headline: "ALIENS PROBED MY POOPER".
  3. You awaken with a start to realize you are not alone in your bedroom. A human-sized shape crouches at the foot of your bed, watching you. As you begin to scream, the man lunges at you and covers your mouth with a hand as cold as ice. With his free hand he switches on the bed-side lamp, revealing both his pale, handsome features and sharp, bone-white fangs. It's a vampire! He hisses, "You are my descendant, ten generations removed, and I have come to grant you your birthright. Dominion over the night shall be yours. Do you wish this great gift? To become a vampire?" You have a few questions and he answers them one after the other. "Yes, you'll live forever. No, you can't go out in sunlight. Yes, you can still have sex. Goddamn that emo wench Anne Rice for spreading that rumor. No, it doesn't have to be gay sex, damn that bitch Rice to Hell. Yes, you'll be skinny." You go for it.
  4. You see an advertisement on late night television for a pill that will make you thin. You buy it and it works.
  5. Anna Nicole Smith shows up at your high school reunion. She is just like you've always imagined she was in real life: crazy, coked-up and dumb. Anna Nicole slouches over to you at the bar and asks you to buy her a drink. After you tolerate her small talk for a few minutes, she mistakenly assumes that you are kindred souls. In a hushed, serious tone, she tells you the secret of how she really got thin: In the Grotto at the Playboy mansion there is an immortal water nymph that is the source of all Hugh Hefner's success. You point out that Hef only moved into the mansion after his early gains with Playboy magazine, but Anna Nicole's only reply is to turn and throw up on that boy or girl who dissed you all those years ago in homeroom. Then Anna Nicole collapses, the overdose fatal, but before she dies she whispers to you the secret incantation to make the Grotto Nymph obey you in all things. It's insane... but what do you have to lose? You fly out to L.A. the next day, but getting past the gate and into the grotto is a problem. After concocting some wild schemes surely doomed to failure, you finally just settle on ringing the doorbell and seeing what happens. A snooty-looking butler answers (you were hoping for a Playmate), and you stammer that you'd like to be allowed go to the grotto, please. He eyes you quizzically, then closes the door in your face. After a few seconds you turn to leave dejectedly, but the door re-opens and Hef himself stands there in his silk pajamas. He begins to ask you a question, but when your eyes meet he stops abruptly. "You know, don't you," he rasps. "The incantation. Anna Nicole, you fucking whore." Then he turns dejectedly and motions you to follow. You walk together through the lavish mansion and down into the steamy mist of the infamous Playboy Grotto. There, on the steps, with the warm water gently lapping at your feet you softly say the words given to you by the fallen Playmate of the Year and Guess Jeans model. In an instant the water begins to swirl, and the shape of a beautiful woman rises from the center of the pool. A voice murmurs like a burbling mountain stream, and you hear it not with your ears but in your very soul. Hef hears it too, and begins to weep. He mutters sadly, "All this is yours now. All of it." You have pity for the great man and put a hand on his shoulder. You tell him that while the mansion and everything in it now belongs to you, you'd like him to stay as your honored guest for the rest of his life. You embrace, and then the nymph weaves her ancient spells. She tells you that you can peruse every Playboy magazine ever made and choose three Playmates. The girls will materialize exactly as they were in the pictorials and stay that way forever. They will live to serve you, even doing all the work of putting together the magazine every month. Hef nods. He's never assembled a magazine in his life; it's always been the magical servants. You settle in quickly to life in the mansion, the days filled with parties, orgies and pinball. Every day, you wonder when the crafty old man will betray your hospitality and try and take back what was once his, but he never does. He never does. Plus, you're thin.


* My wife is skinny and beautiful and wonderful and smart and please don't divorce me.

** Memorizing casts of movies I've never seen, playing an Empath in City of Heroes, juggling (3 balls only), 80's comic books, cat training, job interviewing, using two needle-guns effectively in Halo 2, Game-Mastering the Amber role-playing game, glaring at people with righteous rage and radio DJ'ing. Yes, that list was as pathetic to write as it was to read.