Monday, November 7, 2011

A New Low....

I treat this blog as a place to make jokes about movies, sports, or tv shows. But every once in awhile some sort of social issue comes in a gets me on a rant. This time they are somewhat connected. And you can add Penn State football to the group of teams I won't root for. Don't get me wrong, they were close to a member of the list before, but this last transgression is unforgiveable.

The scandal that a former coach (Jerry Sandusky) sexually abused young boys is one that chills me to the core. Not because something like that happened to me, or that I know someone who has been through that ordeal. No, it's because it's one of the few things in the world that should chill you to the bone with no connection at all to the act. Things like this happening to children are terrible and unspeakable. But as with anything, it is how things happened after the incidents that make it that much worse.

According to reports multiple people within the organization, including head coach Joe Paterno, knew of the allegations and had cooperated with police investigations. When the investigations were delayed and didn't go anywhere, Paterno essentially let the matter go. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I realize that the alleged was one of your coaches and probably a good friend, but how can you live as a person knowing that it just "went away."

Here is the money quote from Paterno-
“As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.”

I get that he did his due dilligence, but it is not even close to enough. How do you sleep at night knowing that a possible sex offender that you knew, employed, and trusted is out walking on the streets? If I found out alleged stories about any of my family members or friends that were like this, I couldn't live with myself unless I did everything in my power to find out the truth, good or bad.

I get that legal problems come into play, but they shouldn't. If that information is brought to you, no matter your stature, you go to the police immediately. Penn State should be punished severely and Joe Paterno should be fired. There is no middle ground, not in a situation this severe. This was a man (Sandusky) who used his standing in the community to gain the trust of children and parents. And multiple people knew of allegations and did their best to either ignore them, or make them go away. Anyone who roots for Penn State football from this day forward should be ashamed of themselves. And for those that think that opinion is too harsh, read the police report. What I said treated them as what they should be treated like: Criminals.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Drive - Don't Make the Baby Goose Angry

I have been neglecting this blog like the third child in any family, so I am going to attempt to step up my game. Easiest way to do this is to talk about movies I see and TV shows I watch because honestly they are more exciting than anything I do. Not that that is a bad thing. No qualms about life, very pleased and happy with how things are going. Now onto the stabbings.

And boy, does Drive have a lot of stabbings. Baby Goose plays the driver who is a stuntman by day, entrepreneur by night. And by entrepreneur, I mean he takes his skill (driving) and uses it for fiscal advantages while helping some of LA's not-so-finest. Inevitably, he gets sucked into underground dealings and it hits the proverbial fan. I can say that I absolutely loved Drive. I am not alone in liking it because it is trending at about 90-ish percent on rotten tomatoes. But there are reasons for why it's not burning up the box office and collecting awards the world over.

Those reasons are that the movie is not very American. I am not a savant of foreign films, however Drive feels very European for a few reasons. First is that we as Americans have been ingrained with the fact that if it is an "action" movie then things need to be blowing up constantly or with semi-regularity. Drive does not have that. In all honesty, for the first 40 minutes not a whole lot happens. Gosling drives, he swoons over a girl, he drives some more, swoons some more, and so on. Secondly, Gosling doesn't fit the John McClane like Action hero. (As a side note, John McClane and Die Hard are the Gold Standard for action movies. I don't care if the film came out 25 years ago, it is better than everything since then. I got in an argument with a co-worker recently about this and their asinine argument about The Fast and the Furious makes my blood boil.) Gosling doesn't talk much, doesn't walk with his junk hanging out, doesn't sex up any ladies, and doesn't fire any guns. So he doesn't fall into our action hero type. But, he is so bad ass it is unbelievable.

Finally, the violence is so quick and effortless that it is not giving the movie word of mouth with the general public. Americans like their violence with gunfire, explosions, and more or less blood free. Drive lets the blood flow with many quick and close cuts with different edged weapons. And this turns people off. A guy in my screening walked out talking about "the slowest movie ever" and "Gosling never did anything." In my eyes the movie portrayed violence as it is in real life. I would assume murder is quick and gross and something that you would not want to see.

I only have good things to say about the film. The 80's soundtrack was enjoyable, if a little too obvious in song choice. Acting was impeccable. Gosling was great and was in good hands with Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks, and Albert Brooks. Interesting to note how many high-profile TV actors are in this movie. I give the movie my definite approval, and urge people to check it out. It's not for everyone, but anyone who knows me, knows what I like, in-tow likes what I like, will love it. That sentence is rediculous.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Emmy Nomination Time.....

It's time for one of my favorite times of the year and that is when the emmy nominations are released. Usually I have a bunch to gripe about, however this year is somewhat different. Alot of what I personally would have voted for got nominations. So instead of going category by category, I will just list my good, bad , and ugly.

1.) Overall love for Justified. After a first season that was a little off kilter and uneven, FX delivered with what was the best season of television I have watched in 2011. The first season laid the groundwork, this year expanded on that foundation and had me wondering about next year as soon as the credits rolled on the final episode. Acting is all around top notch and happy to see the show got 4 acting nominations. Glad to see Walton Goggins get some dap after his years on The Shield, and of course Timothy Olyphant.

2.)Game of Thrones domination. It is my first time having HBO in my house, and I must say the show did not disappoint. And though the show is a little dense and heavy handed, everything about it is pretty awesome. A little surprised to see it get a best series nomination, solely based on the Academies lack of nominations in the past for fantasy series.

3.) Park & Rec. Much like my feelings for Justified being the best drama, Parks & Rec. was the best comedy, and it wasn't even close. Closest shows were Archer & It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, not a nomination for either show. The ensemble nature of the show is unbelievable. I highly suggest watching on instant netflix. If you can get through the first 6 episodes which are clones of The Office, you will be privy to some of the best laughs of the last 2 years.

1.) Jon Cryer. He's on a show called Two and a Half Men. Though the problems with the show are not his fault, he has to bear the brunt of that. Should not have been nominated on principle.

2.) A nomination for best Supporting Actress to Betty White. We get it. She's old and says sexual things. It's not funny. Let's quit acting like it is.

3.) 4 guys from Modern Family being nominated. The only show I have ever watched where I thought everyone should have been nominated in the same categories was The West Wing. Having these four guys in their splits the vote which means it will go to the Glee kid, or number 1 on my bad list. Terrible.

1.)The omission of Ron F'ing Swanson. One of the 2 or 3 funniest characters on television on a show that is starting to get recognition. Yes, the jokes are always about food or his mustache, but that's better than the jokes always being about sex (Still looking at you Cryer). Luckily, in a character sense, Ron would never want an award. So we can take solace in that. However, Nick Offerman is getting robbed of seriously great work.

2.) Nothing for It's Always Sunny. The problem with this is not just the big awards. I have come to terms with the fact the actors don't get respect (though Charlie Day being in a huge movie will help) and the show itself will never get nominated. But the fact that they can't pick up a writing credit, when the main players write the scripts for the episodes is ridiculous.Not many comedies get funnier in their 5th and 6th seasons. IASIP has done just that.

3.)The fact that I would like to see Timothy Olyphant or Michael C. Hall win best actor, and instead Jon Hamm will. Nothing against Hamm, but the other two are better actors. Olyphant just embodies the character and actually shows some emotion, other than smarm and suave like Don Draper. And Hall is the only person in the dramatic categories that gets no help. See anybody else nominated from Dexter? Nope, because the other main characters are pretty bad. Should he be penalized for being the only thing good on the show? No. does he get penalized? Absolutely

So there you have it. My Emmy roundup. And I must say the best show I have watched recently was season 3 of Breaking Bad, which was on hiatus so no nominations. But don't you worry, next year they sweep all the major ones. The show is fantastic.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Settle Down LeBro-Bo's....

I haven't jumped into the world of sports lately. Partially because the teams I like suck. Actually, I take that back. The Bears made the NFC Championship game and the Bulls made the Eastern Conference Finals. A city like Detroit or Houston would kill for that. But I had to touch on the LeBron saga.

It's clear as day that LeBron is happy to defer to his teammates. I don't have a problem with that if you have some sort of killer instinct or drive at some point in your eyes. But it seems that what is killing James now is his perceived lack of toughness, both mentally and physically. I don't really understand that part. Physically, he is gifted and can do things at a length and poundage that the NBA has never seen before. Mentally, LeBron has had everyone gunning for him since he was 8 years-old. How has he not prepared himself for the backlash of anything he does, and how people respond to him opening his mouth? Does he deserve that backlash? Probably not, but tattooing "Chosen One" in bold letters on your flesh doesn't help your cause.

And we are all the fools, finally realizing that he is soft. Next Jordan? Hardly. It's not that LeBron failed, it's the fashion in which he failed. Jordan lost for 4 years before losing it. And then he got the right players and kept losing. But he put his foot down at the conference finals. No "wake-up call" loses in the Finals. That's unacceptable. LeBron now has two and you could argue his team was better in both of those Finals. I must say as a Jordan fan I am blinded by his greatness. And I realize it will be hard for anyone to surpass him in my eyes. Eventually it will happen, but it for damn sure won't be LeBron James.

I am sure Erik Spoelstra will get fired, because that is the easiest thing to change. Not necessarily the right thing, but the easiest change and or fix. I don't know what any coach could have done to get this team to play. They consistently lost games in the 4th quarter all year long. Part of that is strategy and part of it is effort. Not having a zone offense in the NBA is dumbfounding to me, but Miami didn't have one. That is a coaching oversight. But I don't think the Heat would have played any harder if Pat Riley was roaming the sideline. And with that, Riley needs to take a look at the monster he has created. Because with these losses, that monster just grew a third tail and ninth pair of eyes.

Lastly, congrats to the Mavs and their fans. They played well and showed what a team does. Their best player had a sub par game on the road, and they still win by double digits. Happy for Jason Kidd, who can now retire with his elusive title. Happy for Dirk Nowitzki, who can now play with no pressure, and possibly take a run at best power forward to ever play in the NBA (Bold, I know). And Happy for Mark Cuban, who got a title, and showed that you can be an a-hole and like able, because people envy and admire people who are passionate about what they do. Word to LeBron, you should read my last statement.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's All About the Weiner.....

I keep reading stories about New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and can't help but shake my head. Seriously guy, what are you doing? Ever heard of the Internet? It tracks everything. Since I am a guy, that is the first thing I think about. Him getting caught. How could you be so dumb? In the grand scheme of things that is nowhere near as terrible as the actual sexual harassment that took place. Women view him as vile and disgusting, where men see him as just being a dope. But I truly want to touch on a whole other issue with this story.

And that is the fact that the guy thought he was powerful enough to get away with it all. If anyone I knew did this, they would be (properly) fired immediately. But since he is a politician, he is going to try and tough it out and brave the storm. That will not happen. He will be resigning shortly, you can buy your tickets for that one. It boggles my mind that politicians continue to try and "cover" things up. Did they never take a class in PR? Or watch any scandal ever? More often than not you can comeback from something if you are honest. If Weiner did this, fessed up, and then resigned immediately he would get a TV show and a book deal and anything else he wants. Instead he is going to get buried. Sure he will be back, but it will be longer than had he been truthful.

Maybe it's because I have never been so punch-drunk with power, but I can't even fathom thinking I could get away with what he did. And that bugs me. Because kids and teenagers get ripped for thinking their invincible. But they think that way because they don't know any better. People in power think they are invincible, because they are told they are better. And that is a mindset that needs to change.

Also need to say that everybody cheats. Plumbers? They cheat. CEOs? They cheat. Librarians? They cheat. So let's stop acting so surprised when someone in power does something like this. They are not better than us. Because it's our shock and awe response that fuels their power.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Person's Opinion....

I thought that people's opinions was one of the things this country was founded on. People can disagree and differ, and at the end you just say agree to disagree. Obviously, that is a duckies and bunnies approach to things, but I think it should apply even in the most serious of issues. And yes, I am talking about the Osama Bin Laden thing. Actually, not really his take down, but the fallout from the act.

When I heard the news I was awoken and had the TV thrown on and tried to take in as much as I could. They cut to people partying like it was New Years, and my first thought was , "That's odd." I went back to sleep and that was that. But I was troubled by the amount of celebrating taking place. Sure it was a good thing that he was gone, but it's not like America just won the Super Bowl.

And it was the groups that were forming that struck me as strange. A lot of younger kids, just yelling U-S-A. People younger than me. Just seemed bizarre. I think my main reaction is because I did not grow up in a military family. None of my immediate family or extended family (outside of one Uncle before I was born) ever served in the military. I respect the military and realize they do things every day that I chose not to take a part in. For that I am thankful for all that they do. So I thought that it was weird that a bunch of kids who looked like me would be celebrating so furiously.

I think what I have taken away from the experience is that like other things in my life, I have a greater respect for the process.I have a soon to be Brother in-law that works in Naval Intelligence and he was really jacked up about the whole thing. And I understand that, because he has a job that would help capture bad people. So, in essence, finding Bin Laden was validation for his job and career. I GET that, because we are all searching for validation in what we do with our lives whether that be career related or just living related. However, I can't really celebrate a death. I can be happy it happened and know the world is a better place because of it, but I will not chant or blow kazoo's

My final thoughts are on my final thoughts. And that is people who are getting ripped for saying, basically what I said. Most prominently is Rashard Mendenhall, running back for the Steelers. He tweeted that he couldn't revel in one person's death and then talked about how he was skeptical about 9/11. He also said that he was not trying to cause controversy, but create conversation. And, as expected, he got hammered. Now all you have to do is go on Netflix, find the Loose Change documentary, and you will be a little skeptical yourself. Is it enough to make me believe a conspiracy theory? Not really. Did it make me think about it and ask questions? Yes it did. So before we start crucifying some athlete, let's think about what he said and realize that in the terrorist's countries, you can't say those things.

And oh yeah, big eff you to Steelers owner Art Rooney for publicly condemning Mendenhall and releasing a statement saying his statements don't reflect the "Steeler Way." I understand his thought process, but just because you say something that is not the norm, doesn't mean you are cheering for Al-Queda. And, shocker, the words of a 25 year-old African American don't match the words of an 80 year-old white man. Alert the media! And Rooney even said there might be repercussions that equal a suspension for Mendenhall or possible release. In case you were keeping score, that means if you are on the Steelers keep sexually assaulting all you want, but Tweeting is off limits!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lady Gaga? More like Lady What the.....

Hello, friends. Just wanted to report that despite the lack of work being put into this blog, I am, in fact, still alive. And something has come to my attention that I have to write about. And that something, or rather somebody is Lady Gaga.

I wouldn't say I am a fan of Lady Gaga, but I don't necessarily hate her either. She has some tracks on radio that get in your head and they stay there. That is a credit to her and her writers. But the thing that has made her more like able in my eyes is the fact that there seems to be talent there. She went to NYU's Tisch School for the Arts. I would assume you need some sort of talent (or money) to get into a place like that. And that's what puts her above your Spears or Perry. Because for those women it's about looks before music.

But after watching some of Lady Gaga's concert on HBO the other night, I have a different opinion. Before it was just apathy towards her. I could care less. But now, when I think of Lady Gaga I just think of a pre-packaged product that has in effect sold-out. Don't get me wrong, I realized she was packaged long before. But watching just a half hour of her concert drove that nail home.

Her sets are extremely theatrical which is cool if you like that sort of thing. But for me it comes off as creepy. Carrying around a big light stick that looks like a penis? Creepy. Singing songs while wearing a Freddy Krueger glove and simulating masturbation? Creepier. Asking New York City to get on their feet and raise their hands if they have a giant cock? Creepiest.

The show was song after song with little talking points in between. Gaga would talk soft for a few lines and THEN YELL THE REST OF HER LINES AND ADD "ARE YOU WITH ME NEW YORK CITTTAAAY." It got old fast. And I understand she is a big advocate for gay and transgender rights. And I think it's great and admirable for someone of her stature to be so public with her thoughts. But she just kept mention how people get bullied and picked on and made fun of. And at some point I just wanted her to say something positive instead of all the bad things that have happened.

Not sure if I have a real point here. Though I was stunned to see all the parents walking into the arena with their children during the rolling credits. I wouldn't take my 9 year-old daughter to that kind of concert. And Gaga cemented my thoughts by dropping every expletive in the book, which (shocker) don't appear in her radio-friendly songs.

Ultimately, I would like to see stars like this with obvious talent do what they do best. And for Lady Gaga, I think that would be to play the piano and sing all her songs a cappella. Sadly, I am in the minority. But I think less is more, and in her case, it would mean a lot more to be a little less dramatic.