Saturday, October 29, 2005

We on Award Tour - Big in 2005 Nominations

It seems like every year, the end in review gets put out earlier and earlier until eventually they will be releasing year in reviews in July just so the publications can get a jump on the others. There is already “Stars of 2005” from one of those lame celebrity mags that populate the supermarket checkout line. And now VH1 has released it’s nominations for it’s year’s end award show that usually airs the first week in December. Well it’s not like anything happens in December anyways, well asides from a virgin birth and Pearl Harbor. But anyways. Here are this year’s nominees for the Big in 2005 Awards (you can vote for your favorites over at the VH1 website):

Big Entertainer

Lance Armstrong

Who I Voted For: Kanye West
Who Will Win: Tom Cruise
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon

Kanye released the best record this year, showed up at the big events, and even mocked the leader of the free world. Cruise just mocked a has-been actress. Hatcher is on a show that is on a big downturn and Armstrong rides a bike, hardly entertaining. But no one has entertained me than the talking heads on Pardon the Interruption.

Big Music Artist

Who I Voted For: Kelly Clarkson
Who Will Win: Green Day
Who Should Have Been Nominated:

Clarkson was my guilty pleasure of the year, but where are The Killers or Kanye West on the list.

Big Download
Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stafani
Mr. Brightside – The Killer
Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
Don’t Phunk with my Heart – Black Eyed Peas
Don’t Stop Believin' - Journey

Who I Voted For: Mr. Brightside
Who Will Win: Hollaback Girl
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Boulevard of Broken Songs – Green Day vs. Oasis

I only downloaded two songs on this list with the Green Day song being the other, but my favorite song I downloaded this year was the mash up of the Green Day song with Oasis’ Wonderwall.

Big Breakthrough


Who I Voted For: Jeremy Piven
Who Will Win: Jessica Alba
Who Should Have Been Nominated:

I haven’t watched , but I’ve been a fan of Piven since his days. I could have sworn Alba had a breakthrough a couple years ago; she was a lead in a television show. But McAdams came out of nowhere, and by nowhere I mean Canada, to become a bankable lead actress.

Big Reality Star

Danny Bonaduce
Kelly Monaco & John O’Hurley

Who I Voted For: Tommy Lee
Who Will Win: Kelly Monaco & John O’Hurley
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Tonya from Kill Reality/MTV

I have to admit I watched none of the shows nominated but have to go to my old standbys and ask where are Tonya and the dude from Project Greenlight?

Big Shocker
is acquitted
goes to Africa
nails his nanny
Tyra Banks boobs are real

Who I Voted For: Dave Chappelle
Who Will Win: Michael Jackson

This is a pretty lame category; really don’t have any opinions on it.

Big Feud
Tom Cruise vs. Matt Lauer and Brooke Shields
Paris Hilton vs. Nicole Ritchie
Lindsay Lohan vs. the Paparazzi
Jennifer Aniston vs. Angelina Jolie

Who I Voted For: Lindsay Lohan vs. the Paparazzi
Who Will Win: Tom Cruise vs. Matt Lauer and Brooke Shields
Who Should Have Been Nominated: vs. Every other rapper

With 50’s verbal beat down of Morbidly Obese Joe being one of the few bright spots at the VMA’s and him beefing with Game, , among other makes this a major oversight. But I guess that VH1 feared that they might actually show up and turn it into a Vibe Award type situation.

Big Quote
“Hell to the no”
Laura Bush “I am a desperate housewife”
Jeremy Piven “Let’s hug it out, bitch”
Kanye West “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”
George Bush “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”

Who I Voted For: Kanye West
Who Will Win: Kanye West
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Doogie Howser “Suit up”

There is a lot of Bush in this category, but after the Kanye quote, “Suit up” is the phrase that came out of my mouth this year.

Big Old School Triumph

Who I Voted For: The Fugees
Who Will Win: INXS
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Balkie on the Surreal Life

Another lame category because none really came back this year.

Big It Girl

Paris Hilton
Nicole Ritchie
Kristin Cavallari ()

Who I Voted For: Kristin Cavallari
Who Will Win: Paris Hilton
Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Token Hot Chick from

If Kelly Clarkson was my biggest musical guilty pleasure of the year, Laguna Beach is my biggest guilty pleasure on the TV. I know I shouldn’t watch but much like a car crash, I can’t turn around. What makes this category even more entertaining is it is rumor that many of the nominees have dated the same dudes.

Big Stylin’
Gwen Stefani

Kevin Federline

Who I Voted For: Eva Longoria
Who Will Win: Gwen Stefani

Yawn, next.

Big Hookup
Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
Ben Afleck & Jennifer Garner
Vince Vaughn & Jennifer Aniston

Who I Voted For: Vince Vaughn & Jennifer Aniston
Who Will Win: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes

And yet another boring category, which says a lot about 2005; worst year ever?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Sing Like You Think No One's Listening

One might think that after the amount of time I’ve spend on this blog decrying American Karaoke and its karaokers that I would avoid any cheap rip-off. And up until this point I have done my best to avoid any but that has changed with VH1’s next foray into embarrassing C-list celebrities, But Can They Sing? And really they only way I’m watching that show is if the answer is no. Looking at the contestant list, that’s a very good chance. And here are the “celebrities” that you probably haven’t heard of or you haven’t heard from them since the 80’s:

Kim Alexis – Apparently before my time but supposedly was a supermodel. She’s also married to NHL star Ron Duguay. Yeah, I don’t know who he is either.

Myrka Dellanos – She was Star of the Year for People En Espanol in 2004 but since I no hablo esoanol, I haven’t a clue who she is but I have a feeling she will be singing a lot of .

Antonio Sabato Jr. – Underwear model extraordinaire from the 90’s has been reduced to an even lower form of celebrity in recent years – soap star. But he’s the most entertain part of the commercial for the show when he says, “Can I sing? To be honest… no.”

Morgan Fairchild – People today will most likely recognize her as Chandler’s mom, but old people tell me she was really famous back in the day. Best part of her bio – “is a ballet fan and interested in anthropology and paleontology.”

Carmine Gotti Agnello – People rip Paris Hilton for being famous for doing nothing but how about being famous because your grandfather had a bunch of people killed. Plus I think Carmine spends more time grooming himself than Paris.

Bai Ling – She has basically appeared in a bunch of movies that I have never seen including Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Taxi 3 (I guess I missed Taxi 2 also).

Michael Copen – I thought VH1 was scraping the bottom of the celebrity barrel with Caprice but Copen’s claim to fame was as the blue Power Ranger. Everyone knows that the pink one was the star.

Joe Pantoliano – Seriously, Joey Pant. One can hope either him or Gotti misses a show only to found in the Hudson with cement shoes.

Larry Holmes – And here is why I will be watching the show. And I’m sure it will be much more entertain that Evander Holyfield on Dancing with the Stars.

And all of this will be hosted by Ahmet Zappa. I don’t think this can go wrong. If you can’t wait for Sunday at 10:00, check out Vh1’s V-Cast where you can catch a sneak preview of Gotti butchering an already bad Ride wit’ Me or Bai Ling channeling Madonna with a thick Chinese accent for Like a Virgin. I believe the winner will receive a cash prize for their favorite charity, and in the case of Gotti, that might just be the Carmine Gotti Agnello Fund.

Who I Will Vote For: Larry Holmes
Who I Think Will Win: Antonio Sabato Jr. (don’t underestimate the housewife voting block, ask the dude from Seinfeld).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Toss Up: Lost vs Veronica Mars week 4 1/2

Well, apparently the new evil TV Guide was wrong about a new Shannon-centric last night. Have I mentioned I really, really hate the “new” TV Guide; worst idea since New Coke. But I'm hoping the mix up was that they realized that the new season has sucked massively, so they postponed the Shannon-centric episode a couple weeks to redo some things so it may actually be entertaining when it gets to air. Yet I have a feeling that the death will still be as boring as Boone’s.

Luckily without Lost I could tape on the good VCR and watch the World Series and not worry about firing up the bad VCR. And there was something poetic, after the multiple shutouts against Houston this year; they would end the World Series without scoring a run in the last 18 innings. This is extra sad after all the free bags the White Sox pitching gave up over that span.

This week’s Veronica Mars itself wasn’t very entertaining this week aside from Wallace channeling . I think this week ranked lowest in the series in the amount of pop culture references. Plus I’m really missing the Casablancas clan. It’s been two weeks now since we’ve heard from, or about, any of them. But there was plenty of plot progression. We got to find out most everything about Wallace’s dad. We know that there was an explosion on the bus before it went over the cliff. Most intriguing was we finally get to know the secret behind the new family in town, with pappa baseball star Cook pulling a Pete Rose. Yet I’m still wondering about the little spat he looked to have with good old Woody in the season opener. Plus his daughter played a great and elaborate prank on Veronica. Although I have to wonder if the physic came up with the Lilly part of if that was suggested by Jackie’s new friend Logan.

Next week, both show are in repeats but both will come back with a vengeance the week after with someone getting Lost forever (get it because Lost is the name of the show… oh never mind) and Joss Whedon in his first acting gig since the portraying dancing Numfar on will be on Veronica Mars as a gas attendant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Fix Continues

For anyone who thought I was a crackpot for accusing the MLB for throwing the games in the White Sox favor, apparently I was right as commissioner Bud Selig even admitted his bias towards the Sox. Even though Houston played about 90% of their home games with their roof closed and had a much better record than with it open, Selig ordered the roof open citing that it would level the playing field. Of course that is code for giving the road team a better chance to win. This was a blatant move to help out the Sox. If Selig wanted a level playing field, why did he let game two be played in the cold in the rain? If fact to “level the playing field” why did they not order Chicago to put a dome over their stadium. If Selig truly want a level playing field, pull a NFL and made the series on a neutral site. And Minute Maid Park was a publicly funded stadium, who is Bud Selig to make that call? If I ran the stadium, right before the game started I would have shut the roof. As much as Selig wants the Sox to win, there is no way he would have made the Astros forfeit because of it or delay the game until the opened it and screw over their television partner in the progress. I hope the Astros organization take a stand and close the roof tonight, permission or not.

Having the roof open did come into play. Even in the most crucial situations, the crowd sounded almost as loud as when Albert Pujols hit his homerun. And on Sportscenter, someone mentioned that when the roof is open, there is a strong current flowing to right field which just happens to be the place both Sox homerun just barely got over the fence. If Crede flies out in the fifth, it’s a different ballgame. Of course if there wasn’t’ a magically shrinking strike zone that inning too (then grew against Ensburg the next inning, then shrunk once again) that might have changed thing too.

So it’s time to add yet another blemish to the Selig Era. This guy has screwed up so many times I’ve lost track. You know it’s never a good when the commissioner has to go on television minutes before a game and explain something which he’s had to do multiple times these playoffs. When was the last time you saw the commissioner for the NFL (whose name I know, I just don’t have any desire to look up to see how to spell it), David Stern (who made a funny comment saying he may make a cloths stiffen cutoff for people who make money just less that Marcus Camby, who made the outrageous request in the fist place), or Gary Bettman having to make statements during their playoffs? So if the Sox end up winning, it will be yet another thing during the Selig Era that will need an asterisk next to it.

As mad as I am about Selig’s unashamed bias, I am even madder at the Astros because they had a legit chance to end it in the bottom of the ninth. I don’t see why you don’t squeeze with your fasted runner at the plate and your second fastest on third. There is no way Taveras is popping up two bunts in one game.

Someone made a comment the other day questioning why exactly why MLB would throw the games for the Sox. A simple two point answer, the simpler being it would be a better story, as seen by last year, having a cursed team finally winning the World Series after almost a century of futility. The more logical reason would be why anyone would do something shady in the country – $. The MLB already has Fox’s money so it really doesn’t matter who’s in the fall classic not to mention viewership has been abysmal in recent years no matter who is playing, Yankees, Red Sox, the Angels in southern California. So it doesn’t really matter who’s in there, MLB will most likely be taking a pay cut in the next negotiations. And since the gate goes to the city, the only place for MLB to make money is on merchandise, which they get a major cut on. And with everyone and their mother (and grandmother, and cousins, etc) in Boston, and New England for that matter, last year picking up World Series memorabilia, they saw a potential of a repeat of that cash cow if the other “cursed” city, Chicago. If the Sox don’t blow it, everyone in Chicago, and that includes a big chuck of Cubs turncoats, will shell out a lot of money for championship money because it was the first in almost a century. Since the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels have all won in recent years, only the die-hards would buy more championship gear.

Not to mention as a Astros fan, I am well aware that many calls went the Astros way (Molina’s phantom tag, LaRussa & Edmonds having legitimate gripes about the strike zone or even getting thrown out in the first place, Selig not caring about a “level playing field”) bring in more money that way with a less rapid fan base buying up their first ever NL Championship gear. So I am well aware things have benefited my team too. Of couse I have no idea why anyone would want to throw a game for fan who beat up women like Craig Biggio’s wife. So Chicago fans beat up women, old dudes (see Tom Gamboa), what’s up next, you gonna beat up somebody’s kid at a game? What a classy town, you guys make Detroit look like alter boys. At least they attack grown men.

And if there is any reason for the MLB to let the Astros win one, there is no better one that if there is no game tomorrow, Fox will be showing the movie Maid in Manhattan and I can’t imagine anyone who could live with themselves for forcing more Jennifer Lopez on the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Record People Are Shady: Fall Preview Edition

Usually I reserve Tuesday for the biggest new album release for the week except all the “new” releases happen to be old. Headlining the new releases this week are greatest hits packages by , , and and live albums by and the re-release 2 CD set of George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh. Also in the old is new philosophy is a Christmas album by . No wonder why the record industry is failing, we are exactly two months away from Christmas and the biggest new album with actual new songs is by . That can’t be a good sign of what’s to come.

Next week continues the onslaught of greatest hits with albums by and ’s Sliver: Best of the Box slimming last years With the Lights Out into one single disk with a few new unreleased tracks so they can squeeze even more money out of the diehard fans. But next week does have an actual marquee name with the release of ’s third all-star outing, All That I Am featuring vocals from Mary J. Blige, Big Boi of Outkast, Will.I.Am, Sean Paul, Joss Stone, Steven Tyler, Anthony Hamilton, Los Lonely Boys, a return appearance of Michelle Branch, and some dude named Bo Bice (didn’t he lose some karaoke contest or something?). There will also generational battle of the guitar virtuosos with Robert Randolph and Kirk Hammett appearing on the same song. But what I’ll be looking forward to next week is a pair a DVD’s that will be released, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and ’s Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 1-12.

Other notable releases in the next couple weeks include more greatest hits , , , , and even a re-release of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi which I did a decent job ignoring the last time around hopefully I’ll do the same this time around. Also expect new albums with actual new songs by , , , , a live album from the newly minted , and the debut of . And just when you think things can’t get any worse, the dude from Creed is releasing a solo album. God help us all.

My fall suggestions:

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Fix Is In

The NBA for along time has been accused of fixing games keeping lower market teams without any marketing stars like Milwaukee and Sacramento out of the later rounds to make room for storied franchises such as the Lakers and da Bulls. As a former basketball referee I am very familiar of how easy it is for a ref to fix a basketball game because you can basically call a foul at any given time to give a team an advantage without raising an eyebrow because there can be a foul called on any given play due to the amount of contact that goes on. Granted this hasn’t helped the league’s popularity as the NBA because since the alleged game fixing happened, the league has almost been passed in popularity by a bunch of rednecks turning left for hours at a time and a sport that hasn’t been played professionally for over a year. And it’s really doubtful any dress code will help. But it did lead to the entertaining “It’s retarded” blast by Tim Duncan. Keep in mind this is coming from a guy who actually spent four years in college.

With the NBA taking a dive after it’s alleged fixing, it not surprising that Bud Selig has taken the same approach to this year’s baseball playoffs. This guy has done so much to destroy baseball that I’m surprised that the MLB hasn’t been passed by a bunch of rednecks turning lefts for hours on end too. But for a used car salesman, what better story, after a year of steroid allegations, than to have yet another franchise win a World Series after a century of futility. But didn’t Selig see what happened after the cursed Red Sox won last year, the Baseball Gods, in the form of Congress, brought furry down on the game. Somewhat poetic though that the only team ever to fix a World Series would win their next World Series after the umpires fixed the games. Sadly “Say it ain’t so Doug Eddings” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”

I didn’t watch any of the American League playoffs asides from the highlights on Sportcenter and blindly gave the benefit of the doubt to the umpires being a former one myself. But all that changed after Jermaine Dye’s phantom hit by a pitch play. And Dye didn’t even pull an A.J. Pierzynski and bolt to first base afterwards to muddy things up. After the call, Dye looked as befuddled as everyone else watching. There is no way the umpire could have possibly not known it hit Dye’s bat. This of course loads the bases for the Sox’s best home run hitter. Now looking back to the called third strike and catcher’s interference plays I’m not so sure that was all coincidence that they both helped the Sox. Not too mention the very next inning after the Paul Konerko grand slam, Lance Berkman got punch out by a called third strike so far inside it left the broadcasters speechless followed by Morgan Ensburg looking at a low ball called for a second strike that led him swinging at a pitch out of the strike three to get him out too. And after the rant on the blown call doesn’t mean I’m on the instant replay bandwagon, I just think they need to get some competent umps that aren’t on the take behind the plate.

And it’s not the umpires helping out the White Sox either as the commissioner has blatantly helped out Chicago too. The biggest violation was having the Angels fly from New York to California to Chicago in three days time after a rainout pushed back the division series. Then take a look at the natural setup of the playoffs, had both League Championship Series went seven games, the AL champ would have still gotten one more day rest then the NL champ even though the AL winner already had the advantage of home field advantage from the lame “This year it counts” All-Star Game. Keep in mind the All-Star game already favors the AL as they have two less teams which means two less automatic spots going to potential less deserving players.

This whole thing smells so crooked they might as well have Don King promote these playoffs. I’m waiting for game seven, Astros down by one in the 9th and Willy Taveras and Chris Burke coming around to score in succession like in the Major League movie only to be met with a steel chair by the ump who then rips off his protective chest pad to reveal a White Sox jersey WWE style and then raising Pierzynski’s arm in victory while Joe Buck scream, “Oh my Gawd, I can’t believe my eyes, oh my Gawd.”

So the fix is in, the umpires are conspiring with Bud Selig to ensure a Chicago win.
But don’t count out the Astros too fast. If they can get ahead by a couple of run, it may be to hard for the umps to throw the game and with the Astros utilizing the Crawford Boxes this postseason with their opponents not getting one home run there and the natural advantage of having pitchers batting could lead to a Houston sweep at Minute Maid Park even with Backe (who has dominated St. Louis two years in a row at home) and hurt Roger Clemens/Wandy Rodriguez. For game five I’m hoping they pump Clemens with whatever performance enhancing drugs they put in Curt Shilling last year. That would then leave Oswalt and Pettitte to win one game back in Chicago.

And seeing Pierzynski playing for the first time I can now understand why everyone in baseball hates this guy. This guy is pumping his fist and celebrating on the field long before the last out has been recorded. I know this is a football phase, but I like to utilize it for all sport – “Act like you’ve been there before.” Instead Pierzynski is out there acting like a participant in the Little League World Series, not the Big League version. Pierzynski will be lucky if Clemens won’t be playing the rest of the Series because Roger is the type of old school guy who would plant a 95-fast ball upside his dome for pulling that kind of crap during a game.

The last baseball item I want to touch on is iTunes is running an offer of all the World Series participants’ favorite song (see the list for yourself). There are your usual agro-rock and gansta rap staples along with some country from the good ol’ boys of Houston. And Britney Spears. Seriously, Britney Spears. Out of all the songs ever made, White Sox reliever Damaso Marte chose Oops, I Did it Again. And baseball wants to fix the World Series so this guy can win. I really have nothing more to say after that.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

We Can't Sing a Song with No Melody

A Time to Love - Stevie Wonder

has always been one of my favorite artist with Superstition hovering in my top five songs for a while. You can always here me listening to his songs from his early upbeat Motown era to his introspective funky seventies period. But like most people, I found most of his post seventies music to be less than memorable aside from his duet with on How Come, How Long. His new album , is better than most of his eighties record but he still doesn’t capture the greatness of his earlier work.

The closest Stevie gets to the seventies era is the album opener, If Your Love Cannot Be Moved. The song has a grandiose feel to it highlighted by gospel singer Kim Burrell trading lines with Stevie and a rhythm section straight out of Africa and a choir just adds to the song. But after the first song, Stevie reverts back to his eighties sappy love song stage with a string of run of the mill R&B songs such as Sweetest Somebody I Know and Blue Moon. The low point of the whole album is the extremely cheesy Passionate Raindrops.

But after that is the funky Tell Your Heart I Love You which puts the album back on track. There is also Please Don’t Hurt My Baby that also harkens back to his seventies period and also incorporates what sounds like a Roadrunner sample. Stevie ends A Time to Love with a string of songs that also come close to his earlier work starting with What the Fuss. The song features on the guitar and handling the backing vocals. In the song Stevie takes on anyone who doesn’t take responsible for themselves from the government to parents to addicts. Can’t Imagine Love without You is the only love song here that isn’t overly sappy.

The album ends much like it began with tribal beats, socially conscience lyrics, and guest vocals, this time by India Arie on the title track. shows up over twenty years after Ebony and Ivory to add acoustic and electric guitars on the song. With the album coming in at well over an hour, Stevie could have shaved some of the weaker tracks, but as is, this album is still better than anything he has done in twenty-five years.

Song to Download – A Time to Love

A Time to Love gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.