silly motherfuckers, suicide orcs, Tom Berenger and white phosphorus, oh my

yours truly is writing this a tad early on the grounds that i’m about to get up in order to drive to Minnesota and hang out on an Indian reservation in order to fulfill the terms of my “vacation,” and it occurs to me that during the course of this trip, Internet access may prove to be a daunting task, as i think Minnesota is essential frozen tundra, like on the cover of Fargo. i will also attempt to take photos of awesome Finnish (or Finnish-American) guys and other Minnesota wildlife. anyway, as i haven’t left yet, maybe we should nitpick over some films. some things that really irritate me in films (today, anyway)?

Belly/LOTR
probably i should have found some pictures where Nas is wearing glasses and Tolkien siege fun seemed less effective.

the lack of Africa in the movie Belly
in fairness, it might seem like nitpicking to fuss over this minor, minor issue when a) we’re talking about the movie Belly, which is not exactly a cinematic powerhouse to begin with, and b) we’re talking about the movie Belly. i object to Nas’ stupid glasses, which look retarded and which i am convinced were an attempt to make him look smart; i object Nas’ character in general (at the risk of piling on Nas here) because he’s apparently a criminal who doesn’t commit crimes or have any job, really; i even object to the name of the film. however, what really bothers me here is that Nas won’t shut the fuck up about going to Africa (i think it comes up 13 times in this film), apparently GOES to Africa at the end of the film … and then there’s no shot of Africa. what the hell, man. how fucking expensive could it have possibly been to end the film with just ONE shot of Africa? in retrospect, this movie should have really just been two hours of following around Method Man’s character being ridiculous/awesome. “knowledge born, what the science?” indeed.

unrealistic combat concepts in the LOTR series/Matrix Revolutions
now, i understand that i am trying to relate “realistic combat concepts” to a movie series featuring a cave troll and a shitload of elves, as well as a movie series where Keanu Reeves is the savior of humanity, so i don’t mind your incredulous expressions and general suspicions of my being under the influence of some form of narcotics. however, i think part of what makes fantasy/sci-fi work is having realistic elements we can understand in order to make the fantasy/sci-fi work. here are the key examples i can hit you with: people typically bring siege weapons to sieges, and robot suits where the operators are completely exposed to damage at all times in battles filled with metallic fragmentation don’t make sense. that’s all; you can go back to loving the hell out of dwarven shenanigans now.

Training Day/We Were Soldiers
Ethan Hawke and Mel Gibson are clearly inferior to Denzel Washington and Sam Elliott in this respective films. how the hell would you know what kind of day it is?

Ethan Hawke’s ridiculous ability to take a beating in Training Day
i understand that Ethan Hawke is basically the “hero” here; i understand that this is halfway to an action film; that’s all well and good. it’s not really the “sum total of abuse he takes over the film” that bothers me, anyway, but the fact that he can be beaten with metal furniture AND leap off a balcony onto a car AND be in good shape at the end of the film that does, because Training Day is largely a crazy-ass film (“King Kong ain’t got shit on me!”) grounded in some degree of reality, and as great as Ethan Hawke is, he’s not magical. or, possibly, he’s magical in real life (though if i had spells on my side, i would probably not have appeared in Gattica, among other films), but he clearly wasn’t supposed to be magical in the movie. i think.

slo-mo montages in We Were Soldiers
…or actually, this could be called “slow-motion montages in ANY movie,” because i cannot think of a single time that works well. but this is a pretty egregious example, because otherwise i would totally go to bat for this film all day long. i generally enjoy it, and the combat stuff is done well here. without the montages, the worst i’d have to do is defend the bayonet-charge ending, which i generally do by attributing it to the fact that Mel Gibson’s job seems to be to charge around and spear stuff; if you had no problem with the flag-versus-horse combat of the Patriot, you can’t mind the We Were Soldiers ending. but these montages are TERRIBLE. the telegram one is bad enough, because the whole ‘home front’ concept seems totally tacked onto this film, but the ‘photography’ one during the battle? looks stupid, accomplishes nothing, ruins the flow of the film, makes me angry all day long. get that shit out of here!

conclusion: these things are all way, way more upsetting to me than they should be. but so it goes.

it’s a (robot) celebration, bitches!

it’s the time of year for HBO to either be ending or be preparing to end all my favorite shows, which also means it’s time for me to sample their newer offerings and see if anything catches my fancy. this post is not about HBO, however, but about the fact that one such show, Flight Of The Conchords, had an enjoyable moment involving a terribly awesome music video about robots (and how they gassed all the humans). which made me think, have we spent enough time talking about awesome robots? i think the answer is “of course not!” so let’s talk about, conveniently, the 13 best robots in film and television, just to keep it better-defined.

but first, to immediately disqualified:
-any and all robots/androids/whatever from Star Trek and Star Wars, which includes Data and C-3PO and R2-D2 and so on. i really don’t want to have to debate how they’re okay here and suck there and so on. so they’re not going to be in the top 13. accept it.
-Transformers and/or Voltron. i mean, yeah, they’re ROBOTS, but they’re also super-massive (or possibly directed by teams of space rangers, who need space), and i just assume they can’t relate to the problems of humans. even though the Autobots are apparently very concerned with the problems of humans. eh, whatever, not on the list! they shouldn’t have changed Megatron into a tank!
-Go-Bots. come on, they’re shitty knock-offs of already disqualified robots!

and now, the list:

GO ROBOTS!

13. “those Astro Zombies robots” (Astro Zombies)
let’s get things started with a little ridicularity! Astro Zombies is a terrible movie a colleague of mine (Cobb Van Dam) gifted me with in an exchange of films, at which time it was revealed that this film had little to do with astro-anything and nothing to do with zombies or otherwise being a film that didn’t suck beyond belief. but i am digressing here, because this has little to do with robots, other than the fact that the film has little to do with robots … except for an unexplainable opening sequence where awesome toy robots battle and battle for NO REASON AT ALL. in retrospect, the entire film should have been this footage alone.

12. Johnny 5 (Short Circuit)
so while i was brainstorming this robot idea today with a colleague (not Cobb Van Dam), for some reason, this guy says “oh, you better include Johnny 5!” i said “the Short Circuit robot?” he said “YES,” and since he’s a very big guy and i don’t want to make him angry, well, here it goes. while Johnny 5 is sort of a lame-ass good guy, he still has some things going for him: he WAS designed as an ass-kicking military robot (though in spindly, breakable form for some reason), he DOES occasionally fight people (albeit for good), he’s essentially pretty clever, and he does frequently declare his intention to kick your balls into outer space, which is a very cutting edge remark for seven-year-olds watching this film. his serious faults are mostly limited to the internet declaring that he has “aroused” eyes at times, his sidekick being Fisher Stevens pretending to be an Indian in an era when a real guy from India could have been hired, and the fact that he will become a disgracefully gold robot by the end of Short Circuit 2. he at least also becomes an American citizen, so, that’s nice.

11. Cylons (Battlestar Galactica)
it’s important that i break your nerd hearts right now and be very clear about one thing: this is not because of the current show at all, which seems to be mainly about human-looking Cylons that are apparently religious. i don’t really know, because i don’t watch this show, because they chose to have those lame human-looking Cylons (which i have long assumed to be about saving money). this is, in fact, a celebration of the awesome late 1970s era Cylons, which dominate lesser robots for the following reasons: they’re properly devoted to the destruction of humans, they wear cool (if excessive) robot armor, and they played a large part in my childhood as i used my toy Cylon to wail on lesser G.I. Joes. robots are always better when they’re just all about gassing the asses of humanity or something.

10. ED-209 (Robocop)
i know this might seem like i’m trying to shoehorn a celebration of Robocop in here because of the Robo part of the name, even though the hero and the coolest robotic villain are both not robots. however, the ED-209 is a respectable robot: it was designed to look “hard and mean,” always a good start; it makes crazy jaguar roar noise to express disappointment; and it murders annoying corporate officers EFFORTLESSLY. plus, the thing seems to have a better sense of physical comedy than some of the “comedy stars” of today. not since Buster Keaton has getting stuck in a manhole been so awesome!

09. Ash/Bishop (the Alien series)
welcome to the first of two “not really what i classically think of as ‘robots'” exceptions. being as they’re more like androids, they run the risk of being total douchbags like Data, but luckily, these science officers are either cold and alien-promoting (Ash) or helpful and wise with grizzled faces (Bishop). plus, they’re always getting dismembered in action sequences and then STILL coming through with solid information that allows Ripley to save the day. although, to be fair, Ash is pretty negative about the whole thing, though i might expect that from a dismembered robot.
note: Ash has been pictured above because, despite the fact that Bishop appeared in more films and was basically a “more important” character to the series, Ian Holm is much more awesome than Lance Henriksen. so there.
additional note: yes, i am neglecting Alien: Resurrection’s character Call. Winona Ryder steals! her character can’t be on my honorable, human-murdering robot list!

08. K-9 (Doctor Who)
i know everyone was thinking “sweet, Daleks,” but there are apparently mutants jammed inside them, which is what i get for not knowing shit about Doctor Who. still, there is still the matter of K-9, who easily earns his spot on this list be virtue of being a) a dog, b) a robot, and c) a robotic dog. dogs are awesome! K-9 is less in the vein of “awesome villain” and more of a “sassy sidekick,” but at least he warns you of danger, seals off black holes, and otherwise sacrifices his life to save you, which is probably a hell of a lot more than YOUR dog ever does. they’re apparently giving K-9 his own series as a testament to his awesomeness (or, at least, theoretical awesomeness), but since i don’t watch Doctor Who-type stuff, i’ll just have to assume that he gets the power up(s) and saves the day constantly!

GO ROBOTS!

07. the Robot (Lost In Space)
i admit that the major reasons for the Robot’s inclusion this high on the list are as follows: the Robot has no “real name,” which is awesome (it’s a nameless Model B-9 Environmental-Control Robot); the Robot is well-known for its sound clips, mainly “danger, Will Robinson!”; the Robot has utterly ridiculous flailing claws; and said claws prompted John Waters to call this robot something like – and i am admittedly paraphrasing something i vaguely recall him saying here – a “giant space queen.” what more needs to be said?

06. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla)
considering that i trashed on the notion of gigantic robots and their inability to relate to mankind, it would seem like this is cheating, since Mechagodzilla is both massive and uncaring of the feelings of humankind, especially since i recall him mainly fighting with Godzilla after Godzilla became the hero of Japan or something else equally ridiculous for an atomic dinosaur who once made a living mashing Tokyo into the ground to become. however, focus on these key points:
-Mechagodzilla once wore a fake outer Godzilla in a very Terminator-esque move;
-Godzilla, a known badass and atomic dinosaur, always seems to need additional atomic dinosaur help to defeat Mechagodzilla;
-Mechagodzilla is made out of something called “Space Titanium.” if i was made out of Space Titanium, i would walk around telling people “do you know why i am better than you? because i am made out of Space Titanium!” ALL DAY LONG. there it is.

05. Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet)
admittedly, Robby the Robot is a cool jet-black robot who starred in Forbidden Planet, a classic science-fiction film loosely based on Shakespeare’s the Tempest, forcing people everywhere to confront the question of “does a sci-fi film become more or less boring when it is based on a Shakespearean play?” but when not menacing young ladies with his 7’2″ frame, Robby also apparently found the time to appear in, as far as i can tell, every other science fiction movie and television show ever. it even appeared on Lost In Space TWICE, which, when paired with the Robot, is one major awesome robot overload. admittedly, in his major role, Robby is clumsy and does housework, but at least he boozes it up. and i can truly respect a drunken robot. plus, look at his absolutely ridiculous robo-face!

04. Roy Batty & other replicants (Blade Runner)
Roy Batty was emo before emo kids knew what emo was, but it still feels like cheating to include him or any replicants on this list for the same reason it felt like cheating to include the scientific androids of the Alien series: they’re not “classic robots” in my brain. however, when not delivering all-time top-ten movie speeches to a soggy Harrison Ford, Roy Batty is tearing around mutilating himself (everyone loves nails in their palm), being cryptically sassy (aren’t you the “good” man?), making demands of and/or murdering his creator (can the maker repair what he makes?), and inspiring White Zombie to make rockin’ tunes (i want more life, fucker). he’s also very good at chess and talks about orcs or something like that. i mean, Batty is not just the name of a robot in this movie, it’s how he lives his (somewhat robotic) life!

03. Marvin the Paranoid Android (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Marvin might place higher on a list about robots in books (which would consist of about 13000 Asimov robots and one bored janklow), but he still sneaks in through his inclusion in less-than-stellar films. actually, confession time: i didn’t watch that movie, because i didn’t hear anything good about it, and i’m not one of those Hitchhiker-crazy nerds; i may not actually have even read that entire series. still, Marvin is a hilariously, hilariously depressed robot. he’s turbo-smart, he depresses computers to death, and he’s been the inspiration for one rockin’ Radiohead tune, which is a slight upgrade over inspiring a White Zombie tune for most people.

02. Robot Devil (Futurama) … and friends
the thing about Futurama is that, coming after years of science-fiction and robots and the like, it’s packed to the gills with hilarious, awesome robots: Bender Bending Rodriguez, Robot Santa, Calculon, Flexo, Malfunctioning Eddie, Boxy, the Crushinator, Reverend Lionel Preacherbot, Clamps, and the list goes on and on. actually, i wish it could include Fry’s “battle droid” persona, but let’s not get carried away here. but rather than pack the list with their robots, it’s best to pick the best one and let the rest be his “assistants” here on the list. and that honor goes to none other than the Robot Devil. why, you ask?
-he’s somehow the Robot Devil while apparently lacking supernatural powers;
-he has a deep respect for the music of Charlie Daniels (but who doesn’t?);
-he makes sad animal noises when you clunk him on the head with a solid-gold fiddle.
but most of all, i mean, come on, he’s a devilish, singing, dancing machine! and he has a cool top hat! and he cuts people’s hands off with ridiculous ease! why do i have to keep defending this choice? it’s a very clear-cut one!

but he’s not the champ. who is?

01. Necron 99/Peace (Wizards)

they call him ... Necron 99

back when i was writing about zombies, i noted the following: “when i was a child and my parents took me to the local video store (which is now out of business), there were two movies that i wanted to see based on visual advertising – Wizards (because of its excellent cover art) and Zombie (which is what we call Zombi 2 in the states).” so you had to figure it was only a matter of time that i’d come back to the former, right? let me let the Wiki describe this awesome robot: “The situation in Montegar is complicated when the president is assassinated by Necron 99, a robot sent by Blackwolf to kill the believers in magic.” i can’t make this stuff up. or, actually, i probably could, because it’s well beyond the realms of normal wackiness. but still, either way you slice it, he’s a villainous automatic-weapon-packing, jumpsuit-wearing robot. with a sassy antenna. true, for most of the film he’s become a fucking hippy version of himself, but we’ll always have those early days of Necron 99.

honorable mentions: our old colleague, TTR (because of his unadulterated sass); Gort from the Day The Earth Stood Still (for that fantastic robot suit); those sassy robots from MST3K (because of all the joke-making and everything); the Maschinenmensch from Metropolis (classic cinema points and all); robot gunslinging Yul Brynner from Westwold (because, come on, it’s Yul Brynner!); the Terminators (Arnold isn’t acting, the T-1000 sucks, and that T3 terminator makes me have mixed feelings); and that burning robot from the Simpsons that asks “why was i made to feel pain?” (for the obvious reasons)

have i missed any superior robots? of course not, but feel free to whine away.

Tony Starks: a dick in comic books, awesome on rap records

despite its constant claiming to be some hippie-style commune for the free-flowing exchange of ideas, i have often found that the internet is in fact a place with some very defined rules, and one of those rules is as follows: if you want to write about rap music on the internet, you have to write about one of the darlings of internet rap bloggers (say, Ghostface Killah or the Clipse), or at least be one of those assholes that argues CONSTANTLY about the difference between rap and hip-hop and how excellent backpackers that are mostly white guys who are borderline rappers are TRUE hip-hop. since the latter is lame and the former is Ghostface, we’ll talk about Ghostface.

or, more to the point, some of my favorite Ghostface moments.

hilarious diabetes misconceptions
okay, so, to be fair, not only is diabetes not funny (as it’s a terrible disease), but it’s also not funny that Ghostface has it (as he’s an awesome dude). however, if you’re going to get diabetes, it’s probably good to do something wacky like claim on a record (“Trials Of Life”) that you assumed it was a sexually-transmitted disease. why an STD, Ghostface? because of rapid weight loss and, i quote, the fact that he’d “went raw on plenty.” this is actually ironic when you consider that he’d noted it wasn’t worth it for one to go raw on “Tearz.”

the glorious fashions of Ghostface Killah
rappers do, it is true, like to try to start fashion trends (and other trends in general, really), but often these are their own brands of established fashions. this, however, has not been good enough for Ghostface, who aside from a religious devotion to Clark’s wallabees (as heard on Raekwon’s “Glaciers Of Ice”), has rocked jewelry such as the “eagle bracelet” and the “Versace plate.” the former was – and there’s really nothing for you to do here but just accept it – a gold eagle statue worn on a bracelet on his forearm. it has since been melted down, but how is this not light years beyond fucking Rocawear?

lyrical highlights
as Ghostface is a rap artist, we should maybe spend a little time discussing his craft.

#1: Ironman, “Poisonous Darts”
Ghostface likes to come with ridiculous, stream-of-consciousness lyrics all day (and probably the night) long, which is a major part of his charm and excellence. and now we will celebrate one of these – “i pull stings like guitar strings down in Spain/i’m so hype jakes label god crack cocaine.” Spain aside, the reference is cool, but Ghostface is definitely cooler than crack (which i have been led to believe is “wack”). i’d probably label him heroin, since all the rock stars seem to think it’s so awesome.

#2: Supreme Clientele, “Buck 50”
this is a great group track with some solid guest spots (Method Man, Masta Killa) on a great solid from what’s probably Ghostface’s best album, but more to the point, nothing really highlights Ghostface’s desire to just work some ridiculous words into a line to a) make a line happen and b) totally blow my mind like “Buck 50,” for this line: “supercalifragalisticexpialidocious/dociousaliexpifragalisticcalisuper.” a Mary Poppins reference in (somewhat) reverse? how can one’s mind not be blown?

#3: Bulletproof Wallets, “Maxine”
while i mostly love this song for the RZA’s passionate live drums, this is really a great example of a random but fleshed-out storytelling song (Fishscale’s “Shakey Dog” is also right up there with it), which is a general concept you’d think talented rappers could crank out dozens of, except that they don’t. also, “word?” is about the last thing i’d say if some kids were throwing me out of a window, but then again, that scenario is not likely to happen to me.

#4: the Pretty Toney Album, “Run”
a song about hearing the cops on the way and running for it, filled with Ghostface relating his freaking out, jumping around and losingn his gun, and impersonating cop car noises (“errrrr!”). it’s all about the underappreciated storytelling, i’m telling you!

#5: Fishscale, “Three Bricks”
in a world of rappers talking about gunplay in general, this remains the best (as in, my favorite) reference to such: “fuck working out, all i curl is my index finger.” i’m completely with him on this, mainly as it saves one some serious trips to the gym. also, once again, “Shakey Dog” is fucking awesome.

#6: More Fish, “Blue Armor”
by now you know Ghostface is awesome, so let’s just take a tangent here for me to point out that, despite some criticism of Sheek’s “i’m on fire in the streets/like in Back To The Future, when the car left” line on this song, i have to admit that that line always cracks me up. but that’s just how i am.

video game appearances
for the record, this is pretty much based on Def Jam: Vendetta. now, this argument is not based on me claiming that DJ:V is a good game (i vote no) or that i’m at least good at it or something (like all wrestling games, i suck at it); however, in the words of DJ:V’s version of Ghostface: “i’m a ghost. i can’t be broke!” enough said. i never played the sequels, but it’s not like he could be LESS awesome in them; also, there was that PS game Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style wherein Ghostface could do moves like the “Ghostface Blaster.” sounds fantastic!

the apparent “Tony For Mayor” campaign
“The Watch” starts out with a male singer whose name i don’t recall (if it was ever of consequence) passionately singing in support of “Tony for mayor,” the Tony, of course, being Ghostface “Tony Starks” Killah. more endearing gibberish? perhaps. however, on closer inspection, perhaps we SHOULD make him mayor. would i take Ghostface as a mayor of a local metropolis? well…

-Washington DC: Marion Barry had this job, and he was filled with cocaine at least some of the time, so this can’t be something Ghostface couldn’t handle, as he might at least be more sober;

-Baltimore: after that rant last week? enough said.

fuck it, Tony for mayor.

that song “Underwater”
now, i don’t really love this song all that much, though that’s more about the beat than anything else. but still… we have to talk about it. actually, why tell you about it when my case has been made for me? Tom Breihan: “In one truly stunning moment, he talked about the album’s final song, which is about being underwater, seeing mermaids and Spongebob and the necklace from Titanic, everyone eventually going to a mosque and praying. Just hearing this song is a total mindfuck…” i think that just says it all right there.

samples, samples, samples!
the Wu-Tang Clan, as you might expect from a bunch of guys who stole all their aliases from old kung-fu movies, love to throw samples from these films (and others) into their work, and Ghostface is no exception, be it to declare that he’ll “put trademarks around your fucking eyes” or that “kill one man, or kill ten, it’s all the same, after all, they can only hang you once.” it’s not that these samples are inappropriate and weird, it’s that they’re totally appropriate AND weird. the same goes for spoken word moments that function like these samples, be they the “this guy’s a wrecking ball” Rocky rip-off from “the Champ” or just yelling about guys picking up their car like the Flintstones on “Guns N’ Razors.” it’s always good times. still, a special place must be saved for the “Bad Mouth Kid” skit in which a foul-mouthed youth is told by Ghostface himself that the problem is that kids don’t get beat anymore. and i agree.

conclusion: this may all risk me seeming to sarcastically praise Ghostface for comedic effect as if he DOESN’T deserve it; however, this could not be further from the truth. buy those records immediately!

“go fuck yourself,” june 2007

back in the day, we (as in the good people at house of hate) used to do a little feature type thing wherein, for the amusement of a colleague of ours (Ogre), i would go through some legitimate and/or celebrity news and just be turbo-disgusted with the contents therein, hopefully for comedic effect. well friends, it may just be time to bring back the internet diss blogging!

the New York Times

someone pointed out this article, wherein a Brady spokesmen dropped this line: “But the consumers of the assault weapons are going to include a higher percentage of violent criminals than other guns.” Mr. Hennigan, i really think you should familiarize yourself with some actual crime statistics, which don’t have legal consumers of whatever you label as an “assault weapon” today being the group you think they are. now, in fairness, should i really be saying fuck the New York Times over this? well, they’re in New York and this reminds me of Bloomberg and his crusade to send people to commit federal crimes in other states to prove that, uh, you can lie and commit a federal crime? so the New York Times, and Mayor Bloomberg, and the Brady assholes, fuck you. also, i’m reminded that Amnesty International says that arming people being targetted for rape and murder makes the problem worse somehow. fuck you too, Amnesty International! even if your name makes you sound pleasant!

people who work at stores who keep arguing against the products they sell

i thought we’d already covered this with the whole “janklow likes to smoke cigars that are BAD for him” thing, but as i found out at a grocery store this weekend, apparently, we did not. now, look, i don’t mind having a conversation with people in line, as i did at an unrelated store the same day, even when, as in the case of this second conversation, a) it’s about some random topic (such as Jimmy Buffett, also called “that guy who sings that song,” when i am not a fan of nor a purchaser of the CDs of Mr. Buffett) and b) it involves saying “hey, i hear that” to old guys who are telling me how wacky it is to be 65 and forgetful when i am not even 30 yet. BUT I DIGRESS. what i don’t need is to be buying caffeine-filled drinks at a grocery store and have a grocery store employee in line behind telling me how hard it is to kick the caffeine habit. i am never going to kick this habit; i LOVE caffeine. so why are we bullshitting? (i think he even said “well, do you like headaches” and got the response of “oh yes, i love them,” which is a good sign you’re not getting through to me.) but further … why the fuck would you be in line behind me watching me buy something WHERE YOU WORK and telling me it’s terrible in any circumstance where you’re not simply recommending a better deal or product that your store ALSO offers? employees of stores who don’t understand how buying and selling is supposed to work, fuck you.

Mayor Martin O’Malley

so i generally like to avoid politics, but frankly, it’s never enough with this guy. i’m going to ignore the fact that you came into a city with a crazy murder rate (Baltimore) that was getting crime under control, wrecked the tactics of an effective commissioner (Norris) and his proteges once he left, then claimed you’d get 30+ percent drops in the murder rate with NO methodology offered, then used shady tactics to fudge crime stats (to get your crime rate lower) and to get crimes not reported at all (to get your crime rate lower) while claiming outside examination of said stats is totally partisan. we’re forgetting this! and we’re forgetting your severe opposition to an issue (slots) that an opposition party governor (Ehrlich) wanted just like we’re forgetting that you now support that issue (slots). we’ll even forget how you claimed that your election was Marylanders being fed up with the past government even though your party returned to power in the legislature AGAIN and was vetoing the shit out of the previous governor anyway. here’s wha boils my potatos today: Maryland deregulates electricity through a Democrat-run General Assembly in 1999, which causes a massive increase in electricity prices currently; Ehrlich tries to make deals with Constellation in office and gets shot down by the legislature for partisan reasons; O’Malley runs on the issue of “we will make this right.” so he wins, right? now it’s “well, we can’t fix anything for consumers because Ehrlich fucked it up so bad even though the deregulation was done by Democrats AND prior to Ehrlich being in office, plus, also, the deal we got isn’t substantially different than what Ehrlich would have gotten anyway, but never mind that he and i have accomplished the same thing with my hypocrisy in my case, because we need to pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the salaries of the mayor of Baltimore and her cabinet.” i admit that this is not terribly funny to me, but i also think that for non-Marylanders, this shit must sound HILARIOUS, right? well, regardless, O’Malley, fuck you.

well, i don’t know if the rage is really as funny as i have been told, but at least i feel better. whew!

in which we complain about how miserable life is, mainly through sports

so… today has not really been a great day, what with some not-exactly-voluntary overtime and some ADDITIONAL overtime to resolve a baggage issue during that first overtime and an apparently fractured windshield on the Civic and a speeding ticket after four years of no speeding tickets. but this is all some minor and personal complaining that, you know, is hard for everyone relate to on the internet. what’s really necessary are larger, more universal concepts by which we can define our suffering… and this is where we bring in sports. it has not been a good year!

football
my allegiance: the Oakland Raiders
first off, let’s be clear that we’re talking about the American form of football popularized by the NFL, not some weirdo European version of the sport (RIP, Scottish Claymores!) or some world-wide phenomenon better known as “soccer” or “that game that was invented by European ladies to keep them busy while their husbands did the cooking.” bucking the long established trends of Redskins and, to a lesser extent, Colts and Ravens fandom in this area, i have hitched my wagon long ago to the star of the Raiders. generally speaking, this has been enjoyable, as we were once the winningest franchise in professional sports, but ever since the day William Callahan ruined my team after that Super Bowl loss, it’s been a depressing downward slide. i mean, last year we went 2-14, and we didn’t even have Ryan Leaf to blame it on. and in addition to this, there’s the added work entailed by the vengeance i have sworn to inflict on Callahan.

basketball
my allegiance: the Philadelphia 76ers
following on the heels of this 2-14 mess, we generally try to taste some success through professional basketball, where it is now apparently of serious importance what players wear when they are NOT playing the game. the problem here mainly lies in my poorly-planned decision to become, in my youth, a fan of the Sixers, for which i blame Charles Barkley’s hilarious excellence. having lured me in, he then fled town and left me rooting for a generally throughly mediocre team. the bright spot, of course, was the addition of the greatest basketball player ever, Allen Iverson, an excellent player who is great fun to watch even on a mediocre team losing a game and who expressed his desire to retire as a Sixer. so, of course, he was traded away during this excellent year in sports to the Denver Nuggets, leaving me with a legitimately BAD Sixers team to root for, though i must give them credit for trying to win games with Baby A.I. and, uh, no one else and not tank (and i am really not being sarcastic here). but wait, fuck this, i had vowed to root for whatever team Iverson was traded to IF King was stupid enough to trade him until such time as A.I. retires.

my NEW allegiance: the Denver Nuggets
Iverson AND Carmelo, two of the top scorers in the league, together? awesome! oh, no, wait, Iverson is hurt now and Carmelo is suspended now and we lost in the playoffs. well, maybe next year. time for baseball!

baseball
my allegiance: the Pittsburgh Pirates
when i was young, i enjoyed playing baseball and rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their stars like Barry Bonds, until i had the great pleasure of playing on one of those youth league teams where winning games is SO important that you can’t risk playing any kids who aren’t totally awesome. also, for no related reason, now i totally fucking hate youth baseball and if my children ask to play it, i will beat them until they play football or something else instead, or at least until they get awesome at baseball and can force me to shut the hell up about my sad, sad youth. but ANYWAY, it’s around that time that Bonds ran out to San Francisco to take one ton of steroids and increase his hat size and the Pirates stopped winning. hahahaha… no, seriously, we haven’t seen a winning season since 1992. i mean, i will always root for these assholes, but i will certainly NOT enjoy it.

hockey
my allegiance: the Philadelphia Flyers
while i admit that hockey season starts before baseball season, i place hockey here not to take a shot at its permanent fourth-place, red-headed stepchild, not-quite-a-major-sport among the major sports status, but to reflect the fact that the Flyers, by ALWAYS fielding a quality team, are essentially my sports safety net. sure, they may bring me sadness by failing yet again when the playoffs come around, but there’s always some goodness (and maybe greatness) to watch there. except, you know, THIS year, when the Flyers suffered literally the worst season in franchise history. IN FRANCHISE HISTORY. in the future, i shall be rooting for teams that i hate so as to bring them down. uh, yeah, go New York Rangers! and also the Denver Broncos!

and these are just the major sports. i root for a college football team that can’t compete with real colleges with real sports programs (Navy) because my alma mater (UMBC) doesn’t have a football team, though it DOES have an awesome chess team that was shamed this year (fucking UMBC). i root for boxers that no one has ever heard of (Joe Calzaghe) because they’re super middleweights from Wales and who keep breaking bones in their hands, indicating that when they finally get some major competition (Kessler), they will break their hands and lose and i will cry bitter, bitter tears.

oh well, maybe next year will be better! JaMarcus Russell and Denver Iverson and Jason Bay and, uh, Martin Biron are all the waves of the excellent, successful future of sporting events that will finally make me happy! i’m depressed already. but on the plus side, you can now share our common bond of sports-related pain, unless you’re a Broncos fan, in which case, i don’t feel bad for your cheating team and you should probably get the hell out of my house.