Friday, August 31, 2007

Best. Impartial. Husker. Coverage. Ever.

OK, before all the hype begins, before I get into what a salesman Callahan is and how he's brought in kids who have no business considering a trip to Lincoln, I come here not to praise Billy C, but to bury him.

Maybe not bury him, but at least dig a hole six feet deep and toss a little dirt on him.

When kickoff hits at 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon, year 4 of the Billy C experiment will be in full force. If you look at successful college coaches across the country, year 4 is when they all make their big leap, either up or down. There are two major reasons for this:
  1. All of the players in year four are the "new" coaches kids. No more excuses of being saddled with players from the old regime.
  2. By year four, your mentality has taken over the program. Your stamp is all over the fucking thing. It's now officially YOUR baby. You knocked up the broad, now it's time to raise the kid.

So going into tomorrow, I count three big wins in Billy C's short tenure so far:

  1. The boring 7-6 win against Pittsburgh in 2005. The only reason this is brought up, and #1: It's the only time Billy C's beat a Top 25 team, and that Pitt team frankly had no business being ranked (they had just gotten beat by Solich's Ohio Bobcats the week before). But this is the only time a ranked team saw Callahan get the better of them.
  2. The come from behind win at Texas A&M last year. The Huskers were down and out for the count, but a block field goal attempt gave them life. After it looked like a loss could send the Corn to losing out on the Big 12 North Title, Zac Taylor led the team to a final touchdown in the final seconds, capped off with a miraculous catch by our man Maurice Purify to seal the deal. I count this one as the biggest win of the Callahan era. It was the come from behind variety, and a loss would have been devastating.
  3. The Alamo Bowl of 2005. It was a wild affair all night long, but in the end Billy C found a way to beat a decent Michigan team, a Michigan team that a year later would whine about not playing for the National Championship.

But the losses sting harder than those three victories feel good, especially the ones from the 2006 season. They had Texas on the ropes last year in Lincoln. They let the wheels come off completely at Oklahoma State in a game they had no business losing. They didn't even try at USC. The same feeling was felt against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. And then the final straw, when they had a very good Auburn team beaten in the Cotton Bowl on a fuzzy New Year's Morning, one that's remembered for Pat Summerall constantly saying about Marlon Lucky, "He'd rather be lucky than good." This is the one that sticks out, not just because it was the last game played, but because some bonehead coaching decisions really cost Nebraska a W against a great SEC team. It would have been a win against another ranked team. It would have allowed NU to finish the season ranked. They could have been 10-4 instead of 9-5. This one's all on Callahan, who had weeks to prepare and had Auburn beat for most of the game.

Nobody's expecting Nebraska to beat USC this year, even though the game's in Lincoln and it's the most anticipated game here in recent memory. Winning at Texas would be another tall order. So what game will be Callahan's statement win? At Missouri? Revenge against Okie State at home? I'd say he has to beat a ranked team (which could be Missouri, on the road), and somehow find a way to win the Big 12 Championship.

Billy C has proved to be an amazing recruiting, getting 5 star kids from all over the nation. The jury's still out on his coaching ability. He's going to get a 5th year, no matter what, because Stevie P has too much riding on Callahan being a success. The Nick Saban's of the world have shown they can change things quickly. It's time for Callahan to do something similar. He doesn't have Solich's kids to beat around anymore. Everything's now all on him. Losing 42-17 to USC at home could assure the wolf to always be at the door.

It's year four. This is the stamp year, where Callahan really distinguishes himself from previous coaches. Everybody there knows about the West Coast Offense. I've already generously predicted a 9-2 regular season, based on the talent that'll show up every week. In college, the head coach can make a world of difference. Anything worse than 9-2 and it's time to start looking at other candidates because Nebraska can no longer afford to be average for much longer.


If This Keeps Up, We May Have to Add "Andy Dick" as One of Our Categories

Seriously though, if you've ever been to Columbus, Ohio, it does tend to make you want to urinate on somebody. Oh if only Andy Dick would have just gone to the Funnybone in Omaha. But he did so in Columbus, where he made inappropriate comments while on stage, groped patrons, took women into the men's room and urinated on the floor and on at least one person.

Nothing on youtube yet (you gotta think any second now somebody will post it though), but the club owner stated the obvious by saying he was "upset." Really, you think so doctor?

After Michael Richards, we should have just started "Comedy Club Incidents" as a category. I promise we'll get back to Husker talk tonight so you can get that disturbing picture above out of your mind. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Owen Watch Won't Stop

Oh this shit just keeps getting better in the Owen Wilson Saga. Now Courtney Love is blaming Steve Coogan for getting Owen hooked on "those drugs." Coogan is looking to sue Love's ass. I don't know about you, but I can't believe Courtney Love would lie about anything, especially controlled substances. But it isn't just Courtney who didn't like Steve Coogan hanging out with Owen. Turns out former flame and big-nose lover Kate Hudson banned him as well.

Meanwhile, those in Wilson's camp are denying anything to do with drugs (other than anti-depressants), saying that he tried to slit his wrists (just as he wrote for brother Luke to do in The Royal Tenenbaums).

All the while, some England reporter tries to explain just who the real Owen Wilson is. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

What, There Wasn't A Role They Could Write For Michael Richards?

When I read the headline "Ex-Seinfeld Stars to Reunite", my first thought was of Michael Richards getting work. But NO, seems that Jason Alexander still has some time open in his day planner.

That picture above is from Richards' failed sitcom "The Michael Richards Show". If somebody would have just told me Bill Cobbs was on it, I'd have been all over that thing. See Jesse Jackson, Michael Richards does too like black people.

2007 Is A Year Maurice Purify Would Like To Give Back

Remember how great this year started out for our boy Maurice Purify? How he bowled a 300, talked about wanting to do so every time he bowled...and then got really, really frustrated when he couldn't bowl a perfect game every time out?

Well, shit just kept getting worse for our man. There was that little arrest back in May, where he was charged with two counts of assault and resisting arrest.

Which led to him being banned from any place that serves alcohol for his final year in Lincoln. And missing this Saturday's game...which he might have missed anyway with the latest news of his older brother being shot and killed. And Paulie Walnuts thought he had the worst 2007.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Look, I Don't Care About You or Me. How's Cousin Dupree Doing?"

I guess after losing Kate Hudson to the guy above (and what is it with Kate Hudson and odd looking men anyway?), Owen Wilson had all he could stand, and he couldn't take it no more. And I love how it's now referred to "Owenwatch", and none other than the lead singer of Sugar Ray confirmed it as a suicide attempt. But Malcolm McDowell says it wasn't a broken heart that led to Owen's try for a go at dying. In a radio interview, upon learning about Wilson's suicide attempt, McDowell said off the cuff, "that's what that stuff will do to you." Stuff meaning drugs, drug of choice meaning cocaine.

Owen Wilson co-wrote The Royal Tenenbaums with buddy Wes Anderson, even getting an Oscar nomination out of the deal. Sort of makes that intense suicide scene with brother Luke Wilson look all the more eerie now, doesn't it?
But what can we all reallly take away from all of this? Kate Hudson really likes guys with really big noses, which has to make Steve Lemon and Michael Imperiolli really happy about now.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Here's Your First Husker Post of the 2007 Season

Let's get the negatives out of the way now. I can't stand quarterbacks who wear that damn visor, primarily because the only QB I can remember who wore one was Jim McMahon (when he was with the EAGLES of all teams), and that's because he had that fork-in-the-eye injury as a kid. It just doesn't look right on a quarterback. It's like when John Olerud wore that batting helmet when he played first base. I know there was a reason Olerud wore the helmet while playing the field, but he's the only person on my lifetime I can recall doing so, never mind the fact that Olerud was one of the best fielding first baseman of his generation.

So before he even throws his first official pass as Nebraska's new savior, that's one strike I have against would be one-year phenom Sam Keller. I'm only being nit-picky on the visor because frankly Keller's getting some incredible pub now, it looks like if he can pick up where he left off he could be the next big thing (even if, remember, we only get that one big thing for one year), and he'll make for a great story if he did what Zac Taylor did. Billy C has finally named Keller the starter, something everyone figured out last November (although he's not one of this year's captains, which seems strange). He's got that one big quote attached to him that has irked some locals ("How I could go from being so good to being in Nebraska?"). And all sorts of hype that this little chart has stirred up:

Yes, those 5 picks against USC stand out, but until he went down, he was having some kind of season. If Keller does this in his first 7 games at NU, Heisman talk will be hot and heavy. All indications are that Sam Keller has looked like the best throwing QB to ever come to Lincoln. If anything, he's already taller than Taylor (6-4), which of course is also the height of our man Maurice Purify (remember, don't look for Maurice in the first game...). Let's look at the schedule for Keller & Co and make some bold predictions:
  • Nevada. This game is now officially on ABC at my favorite Saturday kick-off time, 2:30pm. No Musberger yet, he only does the ABC PrimeTime Games. WIN
  • Wake Forest. Doesn't look as easy as it did oh, say five years ago when it was scheduled now does it. Big time "trap" game before the Trojans come to town, but it's Purify's first game and he'll have something to prove after quite an off-season. WIN
  • USC. One of the most anticipated games in Lincoln, probably the most since Notre Dame and Oklahoma came to town in 2001. In what could be the most interesting part of the day, Larry the Cable Guy says that Will Ferrell is coming and will sit in his suite. Get 'er done boys. EVERYBODY'S got USC to win the whole shit-storm. They'll come to town ranked #1 in every poll and the leading Heisman candidate in John Wilkes David Booty. I'm hoping for a shoot-out with Keller at the helm, but if it comes down to coaching, who do we trust more, Billy C or Pete Carroll? LOSS
  • Ball State. Nice game to pad some stats, and David Letterman might even give the Huskers a mention this week. Easy WIN.
  • Iowa State. As Larry David would say, "Ehhh." WIN
  • Missouri. AT Missouri, which makes it a real test. The big news this summer was that all of Missouri went out of their way to NOT sell any tickets to Husker fans, other than their allotment. And oh yeah, the media has MU winning the Big 12 North. This is a big game for Billy C, and he's going to need a big road win like this one at this point in the season. It's a stretch, but...WIN.
  • Oklahoma State. HORRIBLE memories from last year. The revenge factor, plus it's in Lincoln. WIN
  • Texas A&M. Speaking of revenge, these guys will be all freaking over it coming to Lincoln. Probably Billy C's proudest moment came at this game last season (definitely Purify's finest hour). This one still scares me, but it's in Lincoln. WIN
  • Texas. And that would be AT Texas, where maybe Matthew McCounoughy will play his bongos naked after another Longhorn Victory. The Corn had their chance against Texas last year. This year could be an ugly one. LOSS.
  • Kansas. So what if it's in Lawrence. WIN
  • Kansas State. The Huskers won last year at Manhattan without much effort if you'll remember. Easy WIN
  • Colorado. At Boulder, but Colorado is finally back to being Colorado, which is really fucking fun. WIN.

So if all goes according to plan, NU should again win the North and play in the Big 12 Championship. At San Antonio. Against Texas. Probably not looking at a BCS bid this year kids. Which is a shame, because it's the only year we get to watch Sam Keller play for NU.


I Don't Think The Heavy Stuff's Coming Down For Quite Some Time

I'm guessing that Bill Murray won't get into any trouble over this because, well, he's Bill Murray. Which reminds me, the Starz/Encore movie channels have been re-running Meatballs a lot lately, and it's better than I remembered. Probably not in the Top 10 all-time Murray flicks, which I'd say in no order would have to be....
  1. Caddyshack
  2. Stripes
  3. Groundhog Day
  4. Kingpin
  5. Rushmore
  6. Lost in Translation
  7. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (very underrated)
  8. Tootsie
  9. Broken Flowers
  10. Ed Wood

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"I put the Phil Hartman hex on you. You're the Next To Die."

This is actually too good of a story that I've been meaning to post for quite sometime, and I actually had a very disturbing picture of Andy Dick (who I'll admit, I often find funny) to put up along with this, but I went the classy route and put one up as Phil Hartman (who, ironically enough, I loved for his Troy McClure and other other Simpsons voices but didn't find to be ALL that funny on SNL). In fact, I'm more impressed the man did the album cover for Steely Dan's "Aja" album.

But here's the whole story behind the whole Jon Lovitz beating up Andy Dick incident. And it's a doozy, from Andy coming up to Lovitz and saying, “I put the Phil Hartman hex on you. You’re the next to die.” But evidently it ran deeper than that. The falling out between the two former friends allegedly took place because Lovitz accused none other than Andy Dick himself of being the person who convinced Phil Hartman’s wife to jump off the wagon and return to the wonderful, wacky world of psychotic behavior helped along by illegal substance abuse.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Jon Lovitz and Andy Dick aren't in a lot more fights. But Lovitz thought he was doing society a favor by going postal on Andy. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's Official: Hell's Frozen Over Twice

Wow, a bunch of 60-something men are finally putting out new material, and it's a double album? Called "Long Road Out Of Eden", it's out October 30th. I must say, I had my doubts big time. I mean, anytime an old band comes out with an album, it's beyond the definition of iffy at best. But this is a double CD with 21 songs, and you'd have to think that, oh I don't know, 3 of them are OK.

Track list:
1. No More Walks In The Wood
2. How Long
3. Busy Being Fabulous
4. What Do I Do With My Heart
5 . Guilty of The Crime
6. I Don't Want To Hear Anymore
7. Waiting in the Weeds
8. No More Cloudy Days
9. Fast Company
10. Do Something
11. You're Not Alone
12. Long Road Out Of Eden
14. I Dreamed There Was No War
15. Somebody
16. Frail Grasp On The Big Picture
17. Last Good Time In Town
18. I Love to Watch A Woman Dance
19. Business as Usual
20. Center of the Universe
21. It's Your World Now

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who Does This Guy Look Like?

OK, now it's getting out of hand. First Valerie Bertinelli -- I mean her son -- is taking the semester off to hit the road with Diamond David Lee Roth. Now the guy above in the senior photo says his band will definitely have a NEW album out this year. These rumors have swirled for years, and I wouldn't hear any of them until Rolling Stone of all people tracked him down.

My favorite comment from one of the posters: "The cab driver in The Big Lebowski seemed to love the Eagles. Maybe the Eagles are the guilty pleasure of African-American cabbies in LA." CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Instead of All Huskers, We're Becoming All Sopranos

The greatest actor in television history has his first acting gig since cutting to black, and it's not what anyone would expect. I just wonder if the guy on the right is going to audition for the role of Michael Jordan. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Just When I Thought I Was Out...

Personally, I don't buy any of this shit for a second. I mean, why the hell would somebody from HBO decide to talk to "TV BLOGGER" exclusively about some top secret shit? The problem is, it somewhat makes sense, and it's not really an "alternate" ending. I'm still not buying it, but nobody (including this great website you all visit daily) is letting the show go.

Forgive me if I feel somewhat upset that now Diamond Dave and Wolfgang aren't the very first picture you see when you come to this site. I might have to post another picture just to please the masses.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Kid On The Right Looks Like He Takes After Mom

Oh it is so on! And damn did rehab do a number on Eddie? They're coming to a city near you (well, not Omaha, but hey they're playing the brand new Sprint Center in Kansas City). Fifty (50) tour dates in all, with shows from September 27th through December 11th, so far. Here's my question: How's that fat kid who looks like Vito Soprano Jr. going to get excused for missing all of that school? Is this an internship of some sort?

But damn isn't it great to know you can always count on some things, like Diamond Dave in that dust-up? CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mad Men Working Out After All

I readily admit that I didn't think this show could go the distance. But I threw the proverbial baby out with the bath water, and didn't realize that, like creator Matthew Weiner's old show "The Sopranos", this thing is unfolding like a great novel. And who the hell doesn't realize that you can't judge ANY show in the history of programs on the first two episodes alone? Don't you have to give it an entire season? There, I'm sorry, this fucking show is growing on me.

(BTW, for $24.99, you can subscribe to a season pass of the show in itunes, get every episode in advance, and hook your ipod up to any TV and watch in full HD. Am I the only one just getting this?)

I think part of what's appealing to me is that I'm still "in" the advertising game, and people in that industry STILL behave like that. Weiner almost didn't need to set the show in the 60's. These people still smoke and drink and fuck and fuck and fuck one another every day. It's their job. It's just, shall we say, a wee bit frowned upon than it was in the day. But these people can justify it because, hell, they were rock stars of their times, and damn if you're going to create ads for cigarettes, you better damn well know what makes one cigarette better than another one. I'm glad it's set in 1960 though because EVERYBODY smokes, everybody orders martinis over lunch, and nobody bats an eye. Yes, it makes me want to cue up Brian Wilson's "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" and wish that I could have had my career back then instead of now. But AMC has something here.

And now we've finally got an anti-hero (not a Tony Soprano type mind you, because let's face it, we're just never going to have a character like Tony in our lives ever again) we can relate to in Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm). Draper's the cock of the walk, but he can feel the young lings and changing society nipping at him.

I'm not ready to crown this show as the next big thing (remember, I'm the guy who set the DVR for "Mind of the Married Man"), but for the time being, it's enjoyable. And I need that now that the Yankees have woken up and seem destined to make the playoffs again. Fucking A-Rod. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Summer TV, Or The Old Grand Mere She Aint What She Used To Be

HBO started the trend of actually putting on decent television during the non-network season (re: Summer), and have actually pretty damn successful with it. Now everyone's jumping on this trend (accept, of course, the major networks, who are using the summer to show Hidden Camera Shows and reality programs that can't make the fall schedule). Summer used to be all about the end of the Sopranos season and the Major League Baseball Package. Now with a slew of options, I had to at least take a look at the landscape. And it aint all pretty.

"Mad Men" - AMC

I went into this show (and yes, it's only two episodes in, it probably needs a lot more time) more curious than anything because:
  1. Yes, it was created and co-written by a former Sopranos writer, Matthew Weiner. But Weiner was the least talented of all Sopranos writers, and his best work only happened in episodes he co-wrote with those twisted geniuses David Chase and/or Terrence Winter. I mean, Weiner worked on "Becker" before he got the Sopranos gig, but you'd at least have thought he learned a few things from Chase and Co.
  2. It's the first original series on AMC, a network that I was puzzled to learn was jumping into the series boat, just as I was puzzled to learn they were airing non-classic movies like "Catwoman" and bad Steven Segal pictures on a daily basis.

The story goes like this: Weiner had just left Becker (allegedly still with his sanity) and wanted to do his own thing, so he created this series on spec with a script about advertising in 1960. Weiner's agent somehow gets the script to David Chase, who is so impressed with it, he brings in Weiner for an interview and hires him as a writer. After his success on The Sopranos, AMC took a chance and bought 13-episodes of "Mad Men". Weiner wisely brought along with him some of the behind the scenes talent from The Sopranos (who you might recall, became unemployed around May of this year) to make the show have that cinematic quality The Sopranos had on a weekly basis.

It's too early to tell on this one, but the first two episodes have a least been clever, witty and true to form. Weiner and company have captured an era perfectly. The admen of the 60's were the rock stars of their times. The drank a lot, they smoked a lot, hell they sold cigarettes in their ads, they fucked around with hot chicks from the office. It was a great time to be in the ad game. What will be interesting to see is whether Weiner travels down the obvious path (the politically correctness that would follow in certain years, the ban on cigarette advertising in certain mediums), or if like The Sopranos, we're going to have an anti-hero we actually emphasize with a la Tony Soprano. So far, it's extremely difficult to get into these characters or at least if not care about them, well then at least understand them. Weiner at least has an arc in mind to telling his story. It's got promise, but for whatever reason, I can't see this baby going the distance.

"John From Cincinnati" -- HBO

Let me see if I get this right: HBO had over two years to prepare for the end of The Sopranos, even knowing the exact date the show would go off the air WELL in advance. They weren't sure if Larry David was coming back anytime soon, and for reasons nobody can quite understand, they popped a cap in "Deadwood's" ass and don't really seem to care about "The Wire" all that much, even though every critic in America can't stop raving about it. Let's face it, they weren't going to find another "Sopranos", at least not overnight. But they had over TWO YEARS to develop something that could have kept people around after Tony ordered onion rings for the table and then cut right to black. I mean, this is HBO after all, were everybody is killing to work because they offer people like Chase and Larry David and other show creators such creative and unlimited freedom in what they want to do. Both Chase and David have taken odd amounts of time off between seasons, only to have HBO welcome their shows back with big ad campaigns.

So what gets the HBO post-Super Bowl slot (post-Sopranos finale)? This piece of shit that's trying to pass for....I have no idea what. I can't even figure out who this show appeals to. Have you heard one person talk about this show around the water cooler? Do you know ANYONE who's into this show enough to have even sat through an entire episode? It was created by David Milch, who also created "Deadwood", and you have to think that HBO simply promised him the coveted Sopranos time period after botching the whole Deadwood cancellation. I can't even explain the premise to this show. And I've given this show the old college try. Sorry, it's just not there.

"Flight of the Conchords" -- HBO

This is the part Mackenzie should be writing, because whether he wants to admit it or not, he's a closet fan of this show and I almost had him come out and admit so the other night. I told him I just had a hard time wanting to sit down and watch this thing as the two leads sort of reminded me of the musical version of those two comedians who used to do that "Cheap Seats" show on ESPN Classic. It has to be an acquired taste, but most critics are absolute in love with this one. Mac wouldn't go that far, only to admit that he watches it and "can see why I have a hard time getting into it, they show might not be for you." Translation: He's into it. He should really be talking about how it's the next big break through comedy on HBO. I would bet on it being more of a cult favorite than anything. But again, I can't sit for more than 10 minutes with this thing.

"Entourage" -- HBO

The show came back after a pretty decent third season with one weird plan: Eight "bonus" episodes that really ended season 3. The idea was they'd have the final 8 of season 3 to air right after the first 8 episodes of the final season of "The Sopranos", have "John from Cincinnati" take the Super Bowl slot after the Sopranos Finale, and then Entourage would come back and be on all summer with season 4.

During those awful 8 "bonus" episodes, I was ready to rip the show to ribbons. To say how it was becoming the worst HBO show since "Arli$$". How Ari and Vince were becoming like Rachel and Ross, obviously in love with each other but not quite ready to admit their feelings. For the most part, these episodes meandered around things like (No, I'm not making this up) Drama and Turtle taking a race horse home, only to have the horse escape to a local Dairy Queen like place. I came back around after the boys got Ari back in the picture (because, let's face it, and he damn well knows it, this show doesn't work without Jeremy Piven stirring up shit), and finally gave Kevin Dillon a chance to show his comic timing that paid off in a deserved Emmy Nomination.

As Season 4 officially started, the series was still hit and miss, but lately they've been more good than bad. They obviously have a plan (Director Billy Walsh being Martin Scorsese to Vinny Chase's Leo Di Caprio or Robert De Niro). And on the episodes where Piven isn't obviously mailing it in, they have their ace in the old in Dillon, who's vastly making a lot of folks forget he's Matt Dillon's brother. Those eight bonus episodes the network made them pull out almost killed this show. Somehow, they've found their way. It's still not in the same ballpark as "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "The Sopranos". As Samuel L. Jackson would say in "Pulp Fiction", not even the same league, not even the same motherfucking sport. But it can pass for addictive bubble gum pop until Larry David rides in to save the day.

Dodger Games -- West Coast Feed -- MLB Extra Inning Package

Yes, Vin Scully still calls some innings. I have no clue how much longer Vin has left in those golden pipes of his, but something tells me he's just going to keep going until he dies in that booth. He hasn't lost a beat, and nobody, on radio, tv, anywhere, paints a picture of a game like Vin Scully. Even if you can just give this 3 innings, it'll be 3 innings you'll never forget.

The Bronx Is Burning -- ESPN

Somewhere, Spike Lee has to be beyond livid. I'm sure he's fired off an email or 7 to ESPN Upper Management:

Dear Racists,

You might recall that in the glorious summer of 1999, I released a major motion picture called Summer of Sam. OK, maybe you don't remember it because it did dismal box office, never amounted to much in DVD sales, and I can't even get a cable network to rerun the thing every once in a while, even though Mo' Better Blues was on HBO at 3am EST the other night. Man, my fucking epic had it all: Trips to Yankee Stadium (including getting Reggie to tip his hat to fans in the right field bleachers); a film framed by the real-life Jimmy Breslin; good shots of Mira Sirvano's tits; licensing to decent songs from the era, including trips to Studio 54; hell, we even had a talking dog. It was Adrian Brody's first major starring role -- you know, the guy who won an Oscar for a movie directed by a guy who can't even come to this country anymore without getting arrested on the spot, and has completely fallen off the earth ever since. Breslin even mentioned Reggie's 3 homers in game 6 of the series. Shit, I even included the fucking BLACK OUT. My film was even co-written by a guy named Michael Imperiolli, who you might remember won Emmys as Christopher Moltisanti in "The Sopranos". Meanwhile, in your little mini-series, you cast the guy who played Benny on "The Sopranos" as the late Dick Howser, who I don't even remember from that team (even though I sure remember Bobby Cox, and he's nowhere in your little series). OH -- and the voice of the dog in my movie? HMMM...none other than one of MY actors, John Turturro, who I see you've made up with elephant ears to play the great Billy Martin. Yep, I had Turturro in Do the Right Thing and Jungle Feverand Fuck, even Girl 6. Now look what you've done with him -- put him in a TV series from the guy who directed Benny & Joon? Oh yeah, and Oliver Platt as George Fucking Steinbrenner? That's like casting Casey Affleck as Reggie Jackson. By the way, who is this guy trying to be Reggie? Everything about this series is racist, and I can't help but take the entire thing personally.

A Spike Lee Joint

P. S. Besides, the real "Bronx is Burning" Story should be about the miraculous 1978 season, not 1977. You want a real story, make one about THAT season.

Dora The Explorer - Nick Jr.

Dora's turning into a whore. Now she's got some "friend" named Diego to go on her misadventures with Map, Backpack and Swiper. She's got a Lindsey Lohan future in front of her, I just know it.

Live From Abbey Road -- Sundance Channel

My one can't miss show right now. It airs every Thursday night at 9, and they repeat most episodes all weekend long. The concept is simple and MTV and VH1 should be kicking themselves for not thinking of this sooner: Three different artists (ranging from the likes of David Gilmour, Damien Rice, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shawn Colvin, Norah Jones, Paul Simon, and the Killers), and have them play a set of three of their songs from the most famous studio in the world. You know, the one where the Beatles recorded most of their later albums? All sessions are recorded live with no studio audience, and it just WORKS. There hasn't been this good of a music program on television to showcase talent since someone at MTV went to bed one night and had a dream about a show called "Unplugged." I know not everyone gets Sundance (I'm looking at you, Bsmoked) but this is worth at least catching a few times.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Buddy System

All indications are that Buddy Bell is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. That's probably part of the reason he keeps getting managerial jobs, despite one very large, looming factor.

He's been a part of more losing teams and games than anyone I can remember, and he's never been to the post-season.

Not as a player (he played 18 seasons four 4 different teams).

Not as a manager (three different teams, three years each, only once having a winning record, going 82-80 in 2000 during his first year managing the Rockies).

Trivia for the Yankee Faithful: Guess who else went his entire playing and managerial careers without reaching the post-season? Until 1996? "Clueless" Joseph Paul Torre.

Yet all the while, Buddy remains an affable fellow, always preferring to add a "y" to the end of his players names when referencing them (Alex Gordon is mentioned as "Gordy", Gil Meche got tagged with "Mechey". You get $55 million, you can deal with being called "Mechey".). I genuinely feel for the guy because he legitimately is stepping down because of family matters, and he had quite a health scare towards the end of last season. And I also feel for him because -- and let's face it, this isn't Buddy's doing, it's mostly because of Dayton Moore -- the Royals seem to have finally turned the corner and are ready to at least be competitive, maybe as much so as an Oakland or Minnesota or God willing St. Louis.

But affability and cheesy nicknames do not a winner make, and I've never been able to get past the fact that Bell's NEVER been a winner. Sure he was an All-Star, but go back and look -- he mainly made teams because those awful Indian and Ranger teams had to have their lone representative. Growing up, he was always the guy who would play 3rd base for the American League after George Brett put in his 4 innings as the starter.

Make no mistake, taking over this team isn't the Ferrari Torre got the keys to when he took over as Yankee skipper. But it is a better job today than when it was when Bell took over for Tony Pena. The Royals now have a competent General Manager in Dayton Moore, a good young nucleus of players who are locked in for a while ("Gordy" et al) a legitimate number 1 starter to build a staff around ("Mechey") and a bullpen that doesn't hand over leads. Moore does need to find or develop a second baseman and shortstop, but for now he's got two solid months of a jump start to go out and get the right guy to take over for Buddy.

Joe Girardi.

The real reason Girardi didn't take the Baltimore job is because that organization is a grease fire. It's not that he thought the Yankee gig would come open (and even if that one does, I still think it's going to Donnie Mattingly anyway). The 2008 Royals would legitimately allow Girardi to do what he did during his one year in Florida and then some. Moore has already shown that he'll go out and spend money on free agents if it solidifies a need. The 2006 Marlins had two players who made over $1 million and a bunch of prospects they got after yet another fire sale. And even for all the credit Girardi got, including winning the National League Manager of the Year, the Marlins finished 78-84, 4th place in the NL East. He won praise for basically not losing 100 games.

The 2007 Royals have a chance to finish in 4th place and NOT lose 100 games under a manager I've called "Clueless" just as the NY tabs did about Torre. The right manager -- Joe Girardi, the white courtesy phone please -- can take the 2008 Royals to above .500, as Moore will continue to find his right pieces for his vision of a team, which is the same vision John Schuerholz has had with the Braves since 1991. Moore learned right under Schuerholz. It's eerie how much he sounds like Schuerholz in interviews. People often refer to Moore as John Jr. That's a good thing if you're a Royals fan.

Moore and the Royals will leave for New York tonight for a weekend series against the Yankees. The team got an unexpected day off on Thursday as a bridge collapsed near the Metrodome in Minnesota and their game against the Twins is already postponed. Which means Moore should be on his black berry right now, texting Girardi and setting up a meeting at a non-chain restaurant in New York for Thursday.

He's got a jump start on everybody, including the Yankees. He has to at least give this his best sales pitch early. Yes, I realize Frank White is waiting in the wings, that he's a Royal legend, that he wants the job, that he's been successful at the minor league level managing. I'm also aware that there are published reports that Moore wants to talk with Braves coach Terry Pendleton, which I think is a horrible idea. What Moore has in front of him right now is the absolute right guy for the job. The guy who's proven he can create a winning attitude amongst a very young team (and even if the Royals somehow bring in a few more "veterans" they'll still be awfully young next season). Buddy Bell will understand if Moore gives the job to Girardi immediately.

After all, he's the nicest guy in baseball.


The Walrus Was Paulie

Let's face it: This is the "You're So Vain" of television, the mystery that won't end and something we'll be looking for clues about forever. Our friend Alan Sepinwall went to the Television Critics Association Awards where it was rumored that David Chase would actually sweep in, sweep out, accept his awards and then go home. From Sepinwall's report, that's exactly what happened, getting flown in just before he reached the stage. This guy's now getting presidential treatment.

He did say "something" about the final episode of the Sopranos, and frankly Mackenzie and I are baffled about it. We can't figure out this quote from Chase himself:
  • "Somebody said it would be a good idea if we said something about the ending. I really wasn't going to go into it. But I'll just say this: When I was going to Stanford University graduate film school, 23 years old, I went and saw 'Planet of the Apes' with my wife. When the movie was over I said, 'Wow, so they had a Statue of Liberty, too.' So that's what you're up against."

It really doesn't shed any new light on the ending now, does it? Did Tony say "Damn you all to hell!" in a deleted scene? Chase will have at least one more public appearance where he'll probably dance around this issue again. The Sopranos is up for 15 Emmys, including Best Drama, and Chase himself is up for Best Writing for TWO episodes. I firmly believe that now, after his infamous, "It's all in there" quote, he's going to have fun toying around with people's minds for the rest of his life.

(BTW, Curb Your Enthusiasm finally returns to HBO on Sunday, September 9th, which is also the first week of the NFL season. Things are looking up kids.)