Friday, August 30, 2013

Want to Win Your Fantasy Football League? Read This

Many people will be doing their fantasy drafts this weekend and while I don't pretend to be a guru by any means, I've had a decent history in drafting. I will also tell you right off the bat why I am not just another blowhard....I don't play fantasy football anymore.  Ever since I gave it up, I seem to be a freaking rocket scientist.  Last year, here were my sleeper wide receivers.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jax - 55rec, 979yds, 7tds
Torrey Smith, WR, Balt - 49rec, 855yds, 8tds
Brandon LaFell, WR, Car - 44rec, 677yds, 4tds

I also told everyone who passed on a RB in the first two rounds to grab C.J. Spiller from Buffalo, who ended the season with 1200+ yards and six tds, but averaged 6.0 YPC. He also caught 40+ passes for over 400 yards and another 2tds.  I was however wrong on Jake Locker stepping up, but he didn't play every game, so I'll give myself an incomplete.

So here are my sleepers, followed by my potential good and bad.

QB
Cam Newton - passing stats should be better with addition of Hixon as 3rd receiver and LaFell's experience.
Ryan Tannehill - pick him as your backup. He should have some monster games this season, but will still suffer from weak overall team.

RB
Reggie Bush - Should catch about 70+ passes this year and might rush for 1000 yards. If Megatron has any injuries, he will be focal point of offense.

WR
Larry Fitzgerald - I know, a sleeper? His stock dropped and he was a third receiver last year in fantasy. Carson Palmer is a gunslinger and will get Fitz's numbers back where they belong.
Golden Tate - Harvin's injury insures him the 2nd WR slot and Rice's injuries means he'll be the main guy early on. Consistency is this guys forte, so don't expect double digits in receptions or triple in yards, but he's good for 6 and 75 every game.
Jordy Nelson - With Driver gone and Finley's awful hands, he's going to be the second option and get a lot of throws his way.

TE
Martellus Bennett - Cutler didn't have a go-to TE last year. With Forte aging quickly, this will be a huge spot for Bennett to shine in.

Players who might shine, but save for late picks
Kenny Nix - Contract year
Darren McFadden - See above
Tavon Austin - St. Louis isn't very good and he's going to start.
Anthony Fasano - Andy Reid coaching and Alex Smith throwing.

Potential Busts
Russell Wilson - It's a lot different when you're supposed to win
Colin Kapernick - See above, plus who are his receivers?
RG III - I love the kid, but he's not 100%
Doug Martin - in 12 games he averaged 66yds, in four he averaged 164. Who is he really?
DeMarco Murray - Injury waiting to happen, behind suspect line.
Demaryius Thomas - Not because of him, but because of Welker.
Steve Johnson - His week 1 starter won four games in three years in college.






Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Few Thoughts For Parents & Kids For The First Week Of School

Apparently, my not being a parent means that I know nothing about parenting in some people's eyes.  Ironically, the number is about five times of people who have commented on my random blogs that I actually know what the hell I'm talking about.  Here's my resume.  I was the model student until about 7th grade. Then I became a complete slacker. Passing, but barely and rarely attending school. Then I took standardized tests and aced them, but seemed to manage to piss everyone on in the process. Did it hurt me?  I don't know.  I didn't get much out of high school from an intellectual or social angle, so I'm going to say no, but I do know that my earlier years were a pleasant game of give and take that molded who I am today.  I'm not going to get too deep, but just make some short recommendations based on my experiences and things I have seen over the years that are big issues with both parents and kids.

Dress - This is tough. You want your kid to fit in, but you also don't want the teachers to get the wrong impression or categorize your child.  Make a deal with your kid that they dress conservatively, in a kid version of business casual, for the first week.  After that, let them wear what they want.  Showing up the first day in a football jersey or mini skirt sends a message to the teachers.  The wrong message.  Showing up in a suit or pants suit will get your kid stuffed in a locker.

Lunch - this is tough because not everyone can do it, but if you can afford it, let your kid buy their meals the first few days.  Trust me, those embarrassing sandwiches with the crusts cut off will most likely find the garbage the first week, because all the cool kids will be buying lunch.  Then ask the kids what they are eating. Convince them you can give them something better and more nutritious.  If they are health conscious or like food, they will want yours after a few days.

Behavior - Behavior in the first week or two is the key to winning over the teacher.  Take it from me, it's a lot easier to defend yourself (especially in HS) if you haven't told two teachers to go fuck themselves the first day of school and gotten in two fights.  If you're the silent drug dealer, you have a better chance to get out of it, than the loud honor student who makes fun of people.

Attendance - Kids, don't miss school the first couple of weeks.  It sounds obvious, but you're doing the most work at the beginning, because the teachers are refreshed.  Wait til November, when vacations start.  Teachers are looking for a break as much as you are and the work load tends to be less.  Mom, Dad?  You listening?

Bus - If there is a bus, let your kid take it.  Little kids have a shitload of fun on the bus and they get to make friends that live near them.  That gives you a break when you need to run out, because you can arrange the old play-date "for them" when you need to run off with your friends for a nice liquid lunch.

Homework - This one if for the parents.  Yes, you know it's nothing more than busy work, but show interest in it and don't believe the old "we didn't have any."  Check it, but whatever you do, don't correct it.  Point out that there are a few mistakes and let your child make the corrections.  Explain to them they can go back and check it or they can have the teacher judge them.  Regardless of what you may think, even the least motivated kids hate to be told they are wrong.  Especially by an adult, so they will, with very little motivation, find and fix the mistakes.

Bedtime - As someone who is now an insomniac and someone who was a bit of a night owl in high school, I can not tell you how difficult those first and last period classes were when I didn't get a good night's sleep.  People will laugh to know this, but I had a relatively early bedtime every year until I was about 15. Then my jobs interfered and definitely had a negative effect on my grades.

Meals - I mean the meals at home. If you have time, make sure you talk to your kids, even if you can't sit with them during breakfast. Don't talk about school, unless something pressing is about to happen.  This doesn't mean a test.  The worst thing a kid can do is study the morning before a test.  Breakfast shouldn't be rushed. So that mean you have to wake up early.  Sorry, they're your kids.  Then comes dinner. If possible, have every dinner together. Don't rush. Don't put on the TV. Talk to your kids. About every single aspect of not only their day but yours.  Stress the positives and downplay the negatives. Young children who constantly hear about their parent's woes will become negative.  Teach them. If you read the paper, share something you read with them and ask them their thoughts.  People will be shocked to hear this, but when I was a kid, we usually sat down to dinner around 6:30 and didn't leave the table til about 7:45. Every single night. Just sat and talked about everything.  I learned more during dinner than I did during all my years of school and many times, it was what I learned that put me ahead of my peers.

Final note.

Kids - school is equal parts greatness and awful. The greatness is that you get to be with your friends all day long. The awful is that it is getting you ready for routine.  Unless you're very lucky, mundane routine will be your life for many years to come, so get used to it.  Learn to make the most of those little bits of time that make it special and grab on to them.

Parents - school is their equivalent to a job. Remember that.  They are going to have good days and bad. Productive and unproductive days.  There are days the bosses will praise them and days they won't. Try and be the support system for them that they are for you. Try and make it the easiest it can be for them. Think about your bad days and imagine dealing with that at nine years old.  I know you went through it, but that doesn't make it easier for them.  If there is one thing I have learned over the years from teaching sports. That one good hit makes the twenty missed swings disappear in an instant.  You have that power every single day!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Completely Random Not So Pleasant Thoughts

Can you imagine being a young impressionable black kid of about 10 years old and watching MLK and others on this day in 1963.  Can you imagine being a 60 year old black man today, seeing how little has changed?

You can not say you are 100% against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and then sit there and tell me you're Pro-Life.

Minimum wage is $4 per hour less than the wage needed to be above the poverty line. That's $4 an hour. $32 a day. $160 a week. $640 a month. $8320 a year.  For many, that's what they spend on their yearly vacation.

People yell at me when I put down our judicial system. They say "Innocent until proven guilty!"  A man who was recently kicked out of a sex offender rehab program admitted to raping a teenage girl.  The judge said she "controlled the situation as much as he did" and was "old beyond her chronological age." He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.  The girl killed herself, because of the attack.  Oh yeah, the man plead guilty to the charges. 

The same people who are against our possible involvement in Syria, because of a lack of substantial evidence, were the same people who wanted to invade Iraq, because of the volume of evidence.  The latter evidence was later found to be fabricated by a handful of people who never were tried as war criminals.  What if we're wrong again?

People ask me why I am so vocal and argumentative when people post false news stories on Facebook. They tell me that I need to relax and that it isn't that big a deal.  Not a big deal?  39% of Americans get their news from searching social media for stories. The most devout following of any news Channel is Fox News (25% of American who gets their news from TV watches Fox).  That is part of the reason.  Let's pretend for a second you didn't know anything about any news channel's views or biases.  Would you ever trust a news source that pays millions in fees to buy websites from companies who post their untruths?  Who pay millions in law suits, just so they don't have to publicly apologize of correct themselves? Who classify all of their shows now as "opinion pieces" and "editorials" to avoid further lawsuits?  Still wondering why I do it?

A friend of mine recently told me that Democrats killed 100 million babies since 1973.  He's maintaining that because of liberals, non-Christians and pro-choice advocates that this is the number of abortions performed in the last 40 years.  When I asked him to explain the fact that 73% of all abortions in this country are performed on Christians of those who admitted to being so (55% admitting to being practicing), he ignored me.  When I asked again, he ignored me again.  I've still yet to hear any christian or republican explain this to me.

I'll end on a high note. 100% of us will die one day and not have to worry about any of this horror anymore.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Facebook Dream - The Purge Style

Recently there was a movie called The Purge which detailed a country where crime was nonexistent because of one night of anarchy and chaos.  This is my dream for Facebook.  That one day, everyone would be completely anonymous.  I think about what I would do.  Remember, Facebook is technically all my "real friends."

As of today, this would be my list.

I would call out all the racists who feel the need to post every meme of a black kid killing a white person ever since Trayvon Martin was murdered.

I would call out all the hypocrites I know who openly cheat on their significant others, some married and praise how special they are on Facebook.

I would bash the fuck out of every mother who bought their teen a pair of pants that say "Juicy" on the ass, but find Miley Cyrus offensive.  Double bashing if they wear a matching pair.

I would question every parent who allows their high schooler to post pictures of themselves drinking, smoking and half naked in their bathroom.

I would completely obliterate all my religious friends who have absolutely no idea what their religion and it's books stand for.

I'd call out everyone who is truly stupid, but tries to come across as intelligent.  I'd also call out those who have a pretty good head on their shoulders, but hide it to fit in with their moronic friends.

I'd probably have a thing or two to say about these animal lovers who aren't that wonderful to other human beings.

If you have a problem at home and post it on Facebook, you're on my list too.

I'd probably out myself, for being a hypocrite on one major topic, which of course, I'll keep to myself for the purpose of this blog.  Feel free to contact me privately and if I think you wouldn't make my list, I'll be happy to divulge my skeleton.

I'd bash everyone who has financially prospered because of Obama, but bashes him for every reason they can think of.  I'd probably also question anyone who is a liberal that is rich.  Don't know too many of those though.

I'd tell all the people who I truly admire, like, maybe even have a crush on my feelings.  I'm pretty freaking shy (I know I know), so it would still be anonymous.

I'd tell parents of kids I know who are being neglected to snap out of their self absorbed state and be a fucking parent.  I'd also tell those smothering parents the ills of their ways.  Especially those who are about to go away to college and are sure to rebel.  I'd also give a big high five to parents who get it.  Who are a friend, but not so much that the kid forgets who's boss.

I'd call out everyone who has ever questioned my intelligence and been proven wrong, yet continues to question the same point.

I'd probably tell every Yankees fan to go fuck themselves, because only four of my friends are true fans (one isn't on Facebook, but he knows).

I'd apologize to three or four people I've hurt over the years on here.  Inadvertently for the most part. 

I'd tell three people who sometimes post statuses showing lack of esteem, not only how beautiful they are, but how special they are.

I'd tell a few people who complain incessantly about their jobs to quit.  I left a job and it basically ruined my life financially, but for the last two years, it's been like a weight off my shoulders and salvaged a friendship, I actually care about. 

I would tell certain people who maybe I've let slip through the cracks how important they were to me.

I'd thank everyone I had a relationship with and tell them exactly how I feel about them and how important they have been as a part of my life.

I'd unfriend about 1/3 of the people on Facebook and embrace the other 2/3 a little tighter.

Martinis vs Cocktails (Metaphor for our libido?)

It's amazing how much martinis are like one night stands. Despite them not being very complicated, we seem to take so much time and care to make them. We start them slow and finish them fast. Where as mixed drinks are like our relationships, where we add this and add that, basically knowing that the base is there and whatever we put into it will be enough to do the trick. Regardless of whether we sip them or gulp them, we always seem to try to get everything out of one before we go for another. So often requesting something different.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Hypocrisy Of Bashing Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus was a child star.  Her father a one hit wonder on the pop country chart.  Now, 20 years old, the young lady is trying to shed her kiddie persona and become a woman.  She knows that to maintain her image would be to kill any chance at furthering her career.  I didn't follow her early career, so I don't know what kind of person she is, but to me, she seems on top of her game.  While the Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohans of the world are crashing and burning, she is just getting started in her adult career.  She might not have the acting chops of either of these two, but who knows.  Did anyone see cute little Drew Barrymore having the life she has had when they watched ET?  Did anyone imagine any of the adult success of Ryan Gosling when he was a mouseketeer?  I doubt it.

Miley Cyrus went on stage last night and did what every marketing expert on the planet couldn't do.  She got people to forget all the mega million dollar stars that were there and only remember her.  She upstaged Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and others.  That my friends, is no small feat.  My biggest issue is the hate she is receiving.  People calling her a whore, a slut, promiscuous, etc.  Here's my big problem with it.  Many of the people calling here these names are old enough to be her mother or father.  Even worse, many of the women dressed as provocatively as her, if not more, when they were her age and probably were twice as "active."  Many of the men, would have had her poster on their walls and thought about her before bed every night, if you get my gist.  Even worse than both those scenarios is the fact that some people have kids her age who I know damn well are more sexually active, dress like she did for a stage performance out in a bar and do a lot worse than rub a foam finger on some guys crotch.

My point is, who are we to judge her lifestyle based on a six minute performance, in which she and many collaborators got together with one thing in mind "Shock!"  I never had two thoughts about Miley Cyrus other than she was a cute kid.  When she rocked the red carpet at the Punk: Chaos to Couture show at MoMA, my entire view of her changed.  She dressed the part and looked both elegant and relevant.  She got it, where many, twice her age missed the meaning of the even.  She fit in as an adult in an adult world for the first time. So let's cut her some slack, let her sow her wild oats and hope she can avoid the meltdown that has stricken so many of Hollywood and pop music's young stars.  I might not like her music very much, but I'm now a fan.  More power to her.

Quickie Review - Mud

I can't think of too many movies I've seen in the past year that I've looked forward to more than Mud.  After seeing, writer/director Jeff Nichols' first two films, Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, I had incredibly high expectations.  When  I hear Michael Shannon was not the lead, I was concerned, but Matthew McConaughey's performances in Bernie and Killer Joe led me to believe he could convey the quirky dark qualities needed to be a Nichols lead.

Sadly, I was mistaken.  Mud falls short in reaching the level that the first two films did. This is not to say the movie is bad, because it isn't by any means.  It is just crosses a line that I've come to despise and the outcome was pure Hollywood.  The shining star of the movie are Tye Sheridan, who plays the 14 year old Ellis.  Aside from being in nearly every scene, he is believable on every level.  The problem is that the title character doesn't truly fit the role.  McConaughey is a very good actor, but he's too good looking, too polished and not gritty enough for this part.  He doesn't look like he's lived a tough life and that is where Shannon would have been perfect.

The film shines bright on it's reflection of the women involved. Throughout the film, the three women involved, Ellis' mother, his "girlfriend" and Juniper, Mud's love interest all are viewed in terms of how others see them, but by the end of the movie, they reveal their character and independence and it's done so subtly that it almost definitely missed by the casual viewer.  It's really, what the film is about.  The problem is the final scene, completely sells out and leaves the viewer with an answer, where none would have been much more powerful.  One scene too many completely changed the feel of the movie and left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Quickie Review - Dead Snow

I've now seen Dead Snow three times. It's not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it is arguably one the most fun rides you'll ever take in the zombie genre. It is in many ways a comedy, in that nobody really seems to be that upset by what is going on and the sarcasm is thick within the script.  That being said, it excels in areas most zombie films fail. 

I won't get into plot holes or any of the reasons why the film fails, but I will tell you why it's worth seeing.  The main reason is the zombies.  They aren't your typical George Romero zombies. They don't walk so slowly a tortoise could escape, don't scream brains and don't wander in all direction.  The are motherfucking Nazi zombies.  They aren't only Nazis, but they are smart, organized and here's the kicker.  They are faster than the people they are chasing.  Wanna know another reason why this movie is great?  Because once they dispose of the first two people (they have sex, thus need to die, it's the rules), the remaining people are completely badass, especially Hanna, played by the lovely Charlotte Frogner. Finally, the reason the movie is truly enjoyable is because there is just enough humor to make your forget that these are Nazi zombies. Is it as good as the hilarious Shaun of the Dead or the brilliant Chilean zombie flick, Juan of the Dead?  No, but it is as much fun as you can have in 90 minutes, with a final 30 that is absolutely insane.  A must see for horror fans.

Free Writing - Take 27

Odd allergic reactions. Acne so bad, I refuse to go out in public. A hip so painful that I have trouble getting out of bed or off a chair.  This isn't how life is supposed to be at forty-three.  Looking for jobs to accommodate my "disabilities" and all I find is listing requiring long periods of standing for pennies per minute.  I'm not looking for a million, but maybe a handful of change.  Pain has been part of my life since 1997, but this isn't what I'm used to.  Headaches, acne, limping, wince inducing pain caused by daily chores.  Taking my right sneaker off to tie it, because I can't bear the agony from reaching for it.  All that I envisioned is gone, not lost, but gone.  Yesterday I watched little league on TV, remembering a time when I coached, when I was looked up to.  Remembering when there was a skill level that was more than the others. I miss those days, diving for balls, laughter from kids, drinks after they went home. Rinse and repeat.  I used to open the trunk of my car, sift through the bats and balls, the gloves and racquets, the nets, the uniforms, all to find the windshield wiper fluid.  A veritable sports authority has turned into an authority on sports. Playing days have ended and the only joy I get is discussing the past.  Old men do this, not overgrown boys in their forties.  At twenty I never thought I'd get greater pleasure out of a plate of cheese and crackers than I did from the crack of a bat or the sound the ball makes against the net from a perfect shot.  Internet friends have replaced real ones. We speak of movies and politics and religion and then I try with those who know and I'm called confrontational, but these are my views.  There is no god, no governing body and no religion I choose to blind me.  I choose obtaining knowledge in a world that finds the process to tiring.  Last night I read about studies on intelligence, the honey badger and a recipe for pernil. The night before it was Frittatas, Ip Man and Salvador Dali.  My mind wanders into places I can't explain. I woke once, a dream, yes that dream, with someone I've never met, whom I'm friends with. A different setting, a different time, but an understanding. I woke, clogged sinuses, aching bones, head pounding. I staggered to the dresser, swallowed pills with giant gulps of water.  Crawling into bed, used to be a saying, now it's an actual physical act. Pulling sheets and blankets above me, trying not to twist my leg. Pain.  I awake to the sound of birds and crickets, limping towards the coffee pot, sun is shining, 80 degrees, soft eggs on a crispy bagel. Pain, financial woes and the embarrassing facial situation gone for but an instance.  Is today the day that everything changes? Doubtful, but I will look to make myself better. Even if it's simply knowing more about some insignificant topic that I will be able to express knowledge in ten years down the line. Times up...(should probably go back to five minute limits, haha)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Martyrs Review - Part 2 (As a metaphor for today's society)

Last night, I discussed the terribly disturbing movie Martyrs and gave my impressions and differing opinion on Martyrs in terms of what happened and how we were to perceive it.  I did so, strictly from an aesthetic point of view.  Looking directly at what we viewed and how we it could be interpreted. I still feel strongly that in the end, the role of martyr was switched from the tortured body of Ana to the unflinching beliefs of Mademoiselle, but I think the movie was heavily laden with metaphors towards our current world.

The first movie that came to mind while viewing Martyrs, was Michael Haneke's Funny Games. Funny Games is nothing more than a home invasion turned into an ugly game with no happy ending and not so ironically, nothing funny about it.  You realize early on, this is not a Hollywood film and the ending will not resemble what you are used to.  What Haneke was put the viewer in control, in a sense.  He later stated that the entire movie was a metaphor for our desensitization towards violence.  During the movie, seemingly normal kids do awful things and we sit and watch and in one telling scene, when the good people are about to rise up and defend themselves, he has one of the bad characters grab a remote and rewind the film, changing the outcome with horrible results. 

Martyrs is much like this film in that it is a reflection of ourselves.  In the movie, the quest is to find the truth about life after death, but it's about more.  It's about us, plodding along in life, sitting through one horror after another, accepting it, while others gain insight and wealth.  In many ways, the movie is about government's power over people, wealth and capitalism.  The rich and powerful seek to use the poor and the weak to suffer for them.  We, the viewer sit back and endure this brutal movie.  In the beginning when Lucie escapes, we immediately feel a sense of relief, but why?  The movie has just begun and we know this is not the end.  That is the hardest part of the movie, when I look back.  Knowing that the opening scene is the only time she (us) is free.  The rest of the movie is of her or Ana being abused, tormented and controlled by forces outside of their abilities to halt or hinder.  In the end, yes, Ana might have won, but at what cost.  What cost was it to us as the viewer as we sit and let her suffer, as we sit and suffer while government sells us this dream. In the film it's transcendence, but it's as easily the white picket fence and the pretty home.

The end of the movie is open to interpretation, but we know that Lucie is dead (a victim), Ana is dead (a victim or martyr depending on your view) and Mademoiselle is dead (same as Ana).  We know that Ana didn't give in, she fought, but in the end all she gained was the satisfaction of crushing another life, but we know it will continue. "Keep Doubting," was the final line of the movie.  So the cycle will continue, with the haves enslaving and beating down the have nots.  They will use them to achieve their goals without ever having to do the hard work themselves.  In the end, we're all leaving here, alone, without anything other than our hope for something better.  Mademoiselle tells us that it's not the way to live....or is it Ana that tells is this. 

Aside from the surface story, I watched the credits with the awful sense that nothing will ever get better.  We're here to be slaves to a system, regardless of our wealth. In the end, we all will sadly enter a place of nothingness and our life's desire to achieve some state or status is nothing but us wasting the time we have on this earth. As the viewer, we're saddened by Ana's demise, but is it more her death or have we become Mademoiselle, desperately craving the answer that never comes, but in an inaudible whisper? We'll never know.

Things Truly Annoying Me About Facebook

Yes, I know, the Facebook whore is complaining about Facebook.  Remember, half my posts are forwarded from Twitter, which I adore for it's craziness, informative qualities and different personalities. Not like Facebook, which has become as routine as my morning piss.  There is a reason why kids are fleeing the site like cockroaches when the light comes on....it sucks.  So here are the things that are driving my fucking crazy.

Stay at home moms.  If you post an inspirational meme at 6:10am and then again at 6:25am and then again at 6:45am, don't complain at 7:10am you were rushing like a madwoman to get the kids ready to catch the bus.  You have all fucking day, don't start your google search for inspirational bullshit before you feed your youngins.

Guys who obviously don't do a lot of the child care.  We don't need to see a picture of all ten minutes you held your child that day.  Do that shit all day long like you're supposed to.  I especially love it when you post one picture of you teeing off at noon, but then at six o'clock I have to see the 13 pics you posted of you "day with Jr."

People who post news stories that happened four days ago, like it's a revelation.  OK, this isn't as bad as the people who post the fake news stories and then get forty comments of OMG.  If that shit sounds too far fetched, maybe it is.  Google that shit.

Girls who change their profile pic every day.  Yes, we know you're attractive.  Yes we know your boobs look nice in that outfit.  Oh you have a new hairstyle, but wait that pic is from 2010.  Listen, we also know you're single and this daily transformation of your homepage might be part of the reason.  Write something clever, something new or maybe, just be yourself and leave that shit for a week at a time, so we don't all talk about how completely nuts you are.

Nobody cares about your job, unless you're showing us what you can do that others can't.  My buddy puts state of the art sound equipment in houses and the shit is, what do the kids say? Tight!  I want to see that.  What I don't want to see or read about is how your client or customer sucked ass.  People suck ass, get over it.  Why are you in that field.  None of my yoga friends complain about their customers.  Not to mention, you never know who might see it and know it's about them.

People who post lies and refuse to erase it when called on it, because they know they'll find at least one moron to agree with it.  Usually a single girl or guy who they probably have a crush on.

People who fucking complain about their kids. I wish these people would have their kids taken away.  I feel like copying and pasted all this shit and sending it to them, with times and dates on the day of their graduation.  Kids are pains in the ass sometimes, but you decided to have them, so suck it up and if you have a complaint, keep that shit in house. 

Part two of above. I have friends with kids who have autism, diabetes, MS, CP and other problems.  Your kid's 100 fever and runny nose isn't worthy of a trip to the fucking ER or doctor's office.  Suck it up and care for them.  Let them eat fucking sorbet or whatever they want for a day, give them dimetapp and buy a box of tissues.  Oh yeah and it's night time, their body temp naturally goes up, it's called metabolism, human nature, etc.  Call your grandma if she's alive and ask her if you're being a little bitch.

Fucking Cats and Dogs.....I'm even posting pics now, because it's just so ridiculous I am starting to believe if their is a god, he's absolutely insane and loves cat and dog pics.  How else do you explain this bullshit?

If someone posts something serious, how about you don't comment if you don't have anything serious to say?  No, you want to be the asshole who in the middle of a conversation on gay marriage, writes "pillow biter?"  Way to go, you've achieved loser status, level infinity.

People who develop a complete different persona online than they have in real life.  What the fuck are these people thinking?  Do you know how many people I haven't seen in a long time, connect on Facebook and thing they are great fun and they are a complete bore in person?  BTW, if you think I'm an opinionated nutcase, who rants and babbles on Facebook, just add drinking, dancing and saying completely inappropriate things in person.  Plus, I might be a little more flirty. 

This one is a joke. But to my lady friends who I actually see out occasionally. If you have hot friends you hang out with all the fucking time, can you please not leave them home the one night we hang out? I'm not saying I'm going to hook up with anyone, god knows I don't even try anymore, but at least I can look and act silly. Thank you.

Finally, and this is a tough one, so please don't take offense.  If you're smart, don't dumb yourself down.  If you're not the sharpest tool in the shed and you know it, don't antagonize someone you know is going to come back at you.  Also, if people are going back and forth, don't send a private message, say that shit! If you know me and you want to put your two cents in, do it on the public stage, if you're bat shit crazy, we'll all have a laugh at your expense, but chances are you're doing nothing more than adding perspective.  Throw that shit out there.

More on above.  My biggest issue with girls I meet today is that they are embarrassed by their intelligence.  So much so that they date dopes to accommodate for what they perceive to be nerdiness.  Let me give you a little hint.  Guys love nerdy girls.  Even dumb guys.  I can tell you right now, that there is nothing hotter than when you sit down and start talking about a subject that you'd assume a female wouldn't know about and she jumps in and owns it.  I don't know shit about cars and listening to a guy talk shop is like listening to The View for me, but when a girl starts saying "did you check the plugs, it might be your alternator?" I get more than Chris Christie around cake.  I don't care what you know about, both boys and girls, talk that shit up and don't stay out of conversations. Next time you jump in for the first time remember one thing.  The next time, you know more than you did before.

Which leads me to my last thing.  People who post shit without making sure it's true. I don't post things like guns kill 600 million people in Kansas alone, so stop saying shit like 40 crimes are stopped by a good guy with a gun, per crime committed, because that shit is ridiculous.  If you see something, like a stupid meme and you type the words in that meme in google and that first website is snopes, that shit is fake.  Einstein, Monroe and Thomas Jefferson didn't say half the shit you think they did.  Oh, you don't have time to check, because "unlike me" you're busy.  Here's a thought....don't post that shit til you have time moron.

OK, I'm angry.  Hopefully the NSA and Washington isn't looking into me because I think Manning and Snowden are heroes and deserve a parade not jail. We'll see.  Goodnight....ah fuck it, I'll post this tomorrow and piss people off.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review and More - Martyrs

In all my years of being a self-professed movie geek, I have come across very few movies that have shook me to my core.  There have been documentaries that have saddened me to no end, but very rarely did a movie, based on fiction, truly change me.  That was, until I viewed Martyrs. I resisted writing a review, because to not include spoilers, would insinuate that I feel this is a great movie and everyone should see it, which is not the case. This blog, which unlike my other movie blogs, will include a partial synopsis and spoilers.  It is intended to add a layer to two reviews written by some Twitter friends, that while I appreciated greatly, I felt left out one huge item.  Here are their reviews and please check out their website.  It is amazing.

http://www.thehorrorhoneys.com/2013/08/martyrs-keep-doubting.html

Let me preface this commentary with the fact that I watched Martyrs a little less than two years ago and before "meeting" the Horror Honeys, I haven't had a desire to revisit it other than in the darkest recesses of my mind. Martyrs is the one movie I was blown away with, but have never suggested to anyone to watch. Thankfully, the person who suggested it to me, knows who I am, maybe as well as anyone, despite our distance and infrequent conversations.  I had approached someone, a "Honey" about a dual blog about the director Pascal Laugier's treatment of his female characters, which are the stars of all three of his films.  We haven't got around to that, but something I'm still interested in exploring, as I feel women see horror films much differently than men.

If you've read their reviews you know that the movie starts with a young girl escaping confinement and torture and then going on to a seemingly normal life.  This lasts but a scene or two and you quickly realize that Lucie, played by
Mylene Japanoi, is still haunted not only by the memories of her kidnapping, but of leaving another behind. Fast forward about 15 years and she's blowing away a family with a shotgun, blaming them, and their children for her incarceration, but more importantly her mental state. After she kills everyone, she calls her only friend and confidante, Ana, played by Morjana Alaoui, to help her dispose of the bodies and clean up.  What happens next, some might say is open to interpretation, but I feel, the demons inside her manifest themselves into a "creature" who attacks her and punishes her for leaving behind the other girl. She ends up killing herself and dies in Ana's arms, finally free of her tormented life.


At this point we're at a loss, because one of the main characters is gone and the movie seems to have explained itself fully.  Then Ana finds a trap door leading to an underground system of chambers.  As she explores she finds a woman in a bathtub, whose eyes are covered by a metal shield which is screwed into her head.  As she tries to free the woman, the woman is shot and killed.  This is where the movie gets completely insane.  I will fast forward a bit, because I don't feel like reliving the 30-40 minutes of brutality that Ana is subjected. I will just say this.  I've been in fights, I've been on the giving and the receiving end of a beating and I had am numb to violence, like so much of us are, because of the world we live in.  That being said, I had to pause the movie during one of the beatings and walk outside of my apartment and get fresh air.  These beatings and the torture she is subjected to is actually explained.  They are trying to make her a martyr, so that she may reach a transcendent state and explain to this group what lies ahead in the afterlife.  It is explained that they have done this testing before, but like Lucie, they have only created victims. Ana is seen as coming the furthest.  In one scene, a figure of Lucie comes to Ana, telling her to give in and let it go.  Basically, accepting her fate and death will come sooner.  Ana does not.

In the final 15-20 minutes, a woman named Mademoiselle is summoned that the Ana is ready.  Ana has been flayed alive and has survived.  She is suspended first by some handcuffs on a bar and then in some sort of bath.  The only skin that remains is that on her face.  Mademoiselle leans in to hear what Ana has to say and then in the next scene she is in front of a crowd of people, her cult, seeking the answer.  A dissenter asks if what Ana said anything that gave answers and Mademoiselle after asking if he could imagine what comes after, says "Keep Doubting, place a gun in her mouth and kills herself.  The screen goes black and here is where I differ from my other reviewers.  The word martyrs comes up with the definition, witness.

Now, in current language, we view martyrs as someone willing to withstand pain and suffering for a cause.  So my fellow viewers, if I'm to understand correctly, believe that Ana was a martyr, because she withstood the torture Mademoiselle and the others inflicted upon her, but refused to give her the information that she wanted, thus becoming a martyr out of spite.  I disagree and in the way I see it, it changes the entire meaning of the movie.  I feel that the entire movie is about these demonic people trying to get answers, by making others martyrs and through their pain and suffering they receive some knowledge.  I believe the end moment, when the word witness comes up, throws a monkey wrench into their assessment of the movie.  I feel that Mademoiselle honestly believed that she would hear about some moment, but like the first reviewers explained, there is nothing.  Where I truly differ is that I think the main point of the movie, was who the martyr was.  I think Mademoiselle is the real martyr, as she had exhausted every attempt to prove her faith and belief and in killing herself, she did what a true martyr does, dies without ever renouncing her faith.  I think it's important to realize that at no point does the viewer ever feel Ana will survive and Ana knows this to, but she doesn't let her death come without a cost.  She in the end, dies a victim, but in doing so, wins.  I think it's important that we not try to figure out what Ana really saw, because it's not the point.  Her final act was redemption for herself and Lucie and that is all that matters.  

I will add that this film brought me to tears.  I took a long walk, came home and showered and literally used a half a bar of soap scrubbing away what couldn't be scrubbed away.  I've avoided viewing this again, because I don't know if I want to feel that way ever again. The movie is absolutely the most brutal thing I've ever watched, but it important to note, this is never exploitative.  The director is very careful to point out that at no point are these women sexually abused.  The torture is never about male domination.  It is always about the answer.  That is what makes it even harder to digest.  Like I opened with, I don't want anyone who isn't ready to witness something awful to see this, but through the blood and brutality, you'll see a beautiful story of friendship and doing whatever it takes for peace.  You just have to look really long and really hard to see it.




Sunday, August 18, 2013

Question For Those Who Don't Cook

Why?

I am by no means a great cook, but making something myself, for a quarter of the price that tastes four times better is one of the most rewarding things imaginable.  I started very simple. Making myself breakfast.  I would make simple cheese omelets or something similar and then tried to perfect them.  I won't lie, I watched youtube videos of greats like Jacques Pepin make them and then I tried to do the same.  Now, if comfortable with the heat, I can make the fluffiest omelets, without a hint of brown, that just melt in your mouth.

As time went on, I started to realize what flavors went well and sometimes, even now, I strike out terribly.  That's when you grab your favorite condiments and go to town.  What it also does, is make you appreciate good food, even that which you have relatively often.  Now when I have a burger, I don't drown it in ketchup, because I want to experience the melding of the perfectly seared beef and the melted cheese (bleu almost always).  It creates its own sauce and is delightful.

Today, after having two bagels for breakfast, the thought of a sandwich was too much.  My father had some leftover rice.  I grabbed about a half tablespoon of butter and melted it in a hot pan, threw in two slices of deli ham which I had chopped, I seasoned the ham with some hot sesame oil and tossed it until it started to crisp.  I threw in the rice and some soy sauce and worked it around so it wouldn't stick to the pan.  I then cracked an egg and immediately swirled a fork around until the egg was not visible as egg anymore and had cooked through.  I immediately put it on a plate and dug in.  A spicy pork fried rice in literally 3 minutes, with no more than five ingredients and at a cost of no more than $1. 

It sounds silly, but things like this make my day.  Obviously, making more involved things, sharing them with others and receiving their praise is wonderful, but when you live alone, there is something truly therapeutic to it.  That and saving about $100 a week isn't bad either.  Why wouldn't you learn if you have time?

Quarterback Rating - The Dumbest Stat Ever Created

I have a friend who claims to know sports.  He's a Cowboys fan and a big Tony Romo fan, so I could stop right here and you'd know where this is going, but I'll proceed.  His argument for Romo being classified a great quarterback is his regular season winning percentage and his QBR.

Here's why the stat is ridiculous.  For one, it doesn't stand up to comparing different eras. It doesn't really stand up to different seasons, because in one of his best QBR season, the team was 8-8 and was 6-4 when he was above his career average of 95.6, but one of his best games, was one in which he threw an interception, allowing for a last second field goal, when all he had to do was run out the clock.  He's barely penalized for this, because of his stats earlier.  I don't want to make this about Romo, so I'm going to look at one random game from last night's preseason game, which proves, the stat is ridiculous.

In the Ravens/Falcons game there were multiple quarterbacks who played, but I will compare, Ravens starter Joe Flacco to Falcons backup Dominique Davis.  Both QBs has stellar games according to the QBR, but in very different ways.  Flacco's was 116 and Davis' was 107.  Flacco played the entire first half, was 7-9-1-118-1 (averaging 13.1 yards per reception). Davis came in one series into the second quarter and played until nearly the end of the 3rd. He was 8-10-0-98-0 for obviously, an average of 9.8 So Flacco was deemed to have a slightly better game, but just barely. 

Here is what isn't taken into account. Aside from two passes, Flacco was 6-7 for 42 yards and two first downs (in an entire half). The other two passes were a dump pass which went for a 77 yard touchdown and an interception, which was returned all the way down to the 2 yard line and which resulted in an easy score for the Falcons and a two touchdown lead.  Neither of these two things is factored into the actual ability of the quarterback. I'd say, in Flacco's case, he benefited greatly by a fast receiver or poor defense and should have been penalized severely for his miscue.

Then there is Davis. Davis came in with a no huddle offense, defense playing prevent and marched down the field going 4-4 for 60 yards before a fumble derailed the drive (not by Davis).  By the way, fumbles by the quarterback don't count against QBR. Romo has 51 career fumbles (30 of which he's lost) in six seasons, only 17 of them when he's past the line of scrimmage.  So Davis in a normal setting was 4-6 for 38 yards.  Not bad, but hardly worthy of a 100+ rating.

One could argue that it balances out during the course of a season, but look at the teams that lose and their quarterbacks end up with a nice 4-5 for 50 yard drive down the stretch.  Imagine adding those numbers to every quarterback in the league.  Also, what about the coach who always goes for it during the half.  As a John Elway fan, I can remember countless hail Mary interceptions before the half.  Does that make Tony Romo better than John Elway?  Of course not. 

If you watch games and you watch a player consistently miss 3rd and 3 passes, throw INTs in tight games and light up the scoreboard in blowouts, you begin to realize that it's a ridiculous stat.  The only equivalent is basketball's points per 48 minutes, because apparently fatigue doesn't matter in basketball.  The irony of my friend using QBR in an argument is that he's also the same person who mocked Sabermetrics during a baseball discussion.  Stats that actually matter more than our common knowledge stats.  So the next time you hear someone try and tell you that Romo is better than Eli, ask them to take their jersey off first and then sit them down and pat them on the head.  No use arguing with people who don't understand the game.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Free Writing - Take 26

I haven't done this in a while, so I'm gonna let myself go for a full 15 minutes.  Sorry in advance to anyone who reads.

In Ithaca again, allergies, good, sorry, great food, better company and relaxation.  Not like at home, stepping over a bicycle, dirty clothes, wires and whatever I have crammed into my tiny apartment. Birds chirping, but now dogs barking incessantly all day long. Peaceful, serene, an escape from the nasty reality that has become my life.  Pain, sorrow, follows me everywhere, yet I hold my head high. Money is squandered on things like socializing, when it could be put towards things such as a doctor's visit.  Imagine, saving for a month to see a orthopedist?  I can not, I imagine the kind of doctor I'd need then, would examine my head, while laying on a couch, scribbling on a pad, I assume adding his $150 an hour charges together.  I've been there, done that.  I know more about the human mind than most, even my own. The one I hide with smiles from those who aren't willing to really listen.I gaze at my twitter account, trying to keep up with the comedians, the journalists, the critics.  I feel I'm as good, if not better.  My humor comes from some other place, not looking for a laugh, but writing what I feel.  My reports come from sources, with no bias, but this incurable desire to know more than I did ten minutes ago.  It's become an obsession, but nobody cares.  They only seek to compound their incorrect assumptions, scouring the Internet for a meme or a quote taken out of context to affirm their prejudicial thoughts.  I hate what these people stand for.  Hiding behind some moral facade they throw up; calling it Christ.  Fuck these people.  Christ would spit on them.  People think I'm depressed, angry, miserable, but I'm not.  I just don't fit in their world anymore. A world where I'm judged by how my bank teller looks at me when I cash my check.  My last check was for $3100. I stick with the automated variety.  No judgement, no small talk, no good day wishes during this bleak time.  I shine when others need me to shine and then fall back, slinking into my hole.  Creating what I can from nothing in private, so I don't have to become something I'm not in public.  I can't imagine the dread people must face every day, having to appease their spouse, their boss, their whiny kids and even worse, their make believe deities. That tightened tie must feel like a noose.  Those heels like stakes driven through their heals.  I drift off into a slumber and think of those who have comforted me.  My dreams take me to different people.  There's laughter, crying, love and torment.  I squeeze tighter those who I admire. I stroke their hair, only to awake to a pillow case wrapped around my arm.  I seek no riches, just contentment.  It's become a dream I know I'll never achieve, because I'm never happy, with myself. I read history and want to know more. I watch a movie and grab another. I need stimulation, but the world is not stimulating.  It's mundane, monotonous, murderous. Boredom has overcome me and I owe it all to those whose level I've lowered myself to.  A descent I can not escape.  I laugh as I glance at the clock, I undress her, lay her down and as I lean in to touch her face, a noise, I awake, times up.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Nine Quickie Movie Reviews In One Post: Fish Tank, Beginners, We Need To Talk About Kevin, {REC} 2, Starbuck, Wendy & Lucy, Mama, Big Fan, Gunnin' For That #1 Spot

I've been computer-less for about a month now and it's driving me insane. Due to this unfortunate turn of events, which seems like it might be somewhat permanent for the immediate future, I'm lumping together my nightly reviews into one long blog. Feel free to take your time.  I'll be brief and as usual, no spoilers. 

Fish Tank is a coming of age story about a young British girl with hopes of using hip-hop dance as her way out of a dead end life.  It stars newcomer Katie Travis, who for lack of a better word, is perfect.  She displays strength and vulnerability, sometimes in the same scenes.  Her relationship with her mother and sister are strained and the addition of a man, Michael Fassbender, changes everything.  It's painful at times, but it's real. The soundtrack is amazing and the story transcends time periods.  A must for females.  I could write twenty pages on the complexity of this movie, but I'll let others see for themselves. ****1/2.

Beginners tells the tale of a man dealing with his late father's coming out and his subsequent death. Trying to juggle his life, career and his propensity to sabotage relationships, Ewan McGregor plays the main character whose best friend is his dog.  The drop dead gorgeous, Melanie Laurent plays his actor girlfriend, who has demons of her own.  The film sadly never seems to achieve the message it strives for and instead, seems happy to show people just feeling sorry for themselves. **

We Need to Talk About Kevin stars Tilda Swinton mother of a son who has done something awful. It's very timely, with all the mass killings present in today's news and it strikes a chord on multiple levels. John C. Reilly plays the father and the haunting Ezra Miller plays the son.  Swinton is riveting, even when the dialogue and scene structure seems to wane.  It's every mother's nightmare and the guilt felt by her is the real story. Difficult to watch throughout, it's worth the trip to the end. ****

[REC] 2 sequel to the incredible POV original, the sequel succeeds on it's own to create drama and fear, but fails miserably as a sequel until the final 15 minutes.  Those 15 minutes just happen to be worth the wait.

Starbuck is the tale of a 42 year old slacker who has apparently made quite a bit of money donating sperm under the title name.  So much so, that he finds out he's "fathered" over 500 children and about 100 of them would like to know about him.  The movie takes off when he tries to contact these children anonymously, all while keeping it from his pregnant ex-girlfriend. The movie strikes many funny chords, but it's poignant on so many levels and truly shows the importance of acceptance, regardless of the circumstances. ****1/2

Wendy & Lucy is a painful exploration into loneliness and despair. Michelle Williams is a near broke young woman whose car breaks down on her trek to Alaska, with the hopes to find riches. Along the way, she loses her one and only faithful companion, Lucy, her dog. The entire movie is her frantic attempts to find Lucy and those few she meets along the way, that in many ways, show her the meaning of love.  It's a difficult, bleak look at the realities of life when we have nothing and maybe it's because it hit so close to home, but Williams' performance was a tour de force for me.  Something that should have garnered awards far from the independent landscape. ****

Mama was a movie I couldn't wait to see, but for the wrong reason.  I thought it was directed, not produced by Guillermo Del Toro, the genius who brought us Pan's Labyrinth.  The movie fails on most levels, most of all scaring us, but succeeds on others, especially with a handful, especially one, brilliant scenes.  Jessica Chastain looks great and falls into complete horror cliche mode, but somehow it works. Throughout I was thinking dud, but the ending, unlike many horror movies, is sad and makes sense. ***

Big Fan stars Patton Oswalt, a comic genius in my opinion, who is a die hard NY Giants fan, who falls victim to a beating to his hero and teams quarterback.  The story is all about his reconciling his love for the team with his and his family's desire to make money off of the situation.  The movie fails on almost every level and I was not at all surprised to find out after viewing it, that Oswalt and co-star Kevin Corrigan, knew nothing about football before being cast. 1/2*

Gunnin' for that #1 Spot is Beastie Boys rapper, the late MCA (Adam Yauch's) inside look into the 2008 First Annual Elite 24 HS Basketball Tournament at Rucker Park. He selected eight kids to follow, all of which are current NBA players and their journey, their hopes and dreams and the hurdles they and their families face.  The movie doesn't try to paint a bleak picture, but to pay homage to the game, the struggle and to the hallowed grounds of Rucker Park.  Laced with an incredible rap soundtrack, the documentary will appeal to anyone who has ever laced them up and hit the blacktop.