Saturday, March 11, 2006

Big Head Barry and the Monsters - Book Review Edition

Big Head Paula?  Nope, it's just Barry Bonds in a wigIt’s been a while since I wrote about my favorite oversized dome, but it’s been quite since took most of last season off. Then spring training came around and all of the sudden it looked as if Barry grew a sense of humor and participated in a Giants Karaoke contest for the rookie donning a wig and playing the part of even though the equal annoying Simon Cowell would have been the obvious choice. And just as everyone started to praise for actually participating with teammates for presumable the first time, the next day it came out this was just part of his new reality series for .

Then, almost on cue, posts excerpts from a new book, Game of Shadows, in the magazine and on its website that goes into great detail of Barry’s alleged steroid abuse. The book is by San Francisco Chronicle writers Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams the same guy that brought us the leaked grand jury testimony where Big Head Barry stated he never knowingly took steroids. In it the writers go through the laundry list of illegal substances that led to Barry’s oversized head including the now infamous Cream and the Clear, Stanozolol, the drug that was the result of Ben Johnson’s failed drug test, testosterone and human growth hormones, which Bond’s dealer, Greg Anderson, bought off of AIDS patients, insulin, Mexican beans, trenbolone, a steroid used in beef cattle, and my personal favorite Clomid, a drug doctors prescribe to women for infertility, which could explain why he would put on a dress to play Abdul.

But what could be the worst part of the book is not all the drugs Barry took, most people have come to realize some of the biggest names of the past ten years have been doing the same thing, it’s why he took them, jealousy. Throughout the nineties Barry was building up a resume of someone who could be in the talk with the all time greats racking up MVP’s and Gold Gloves with equal parts power and speed. Then in 1998 shattered the single season home run record to much fan fare and Bonds became relatively forgotten. After that, Bonds knowing he was more talented than McGwire decided to start taking steroids like McGwire to even the playing field and once again put himself in the rightful place, on top.

At left is your brains, at right is your brains on steriods

This book will again be another stain for Commissioner Bud Selig who has made poor judgment after poor judgment throughout his tenure. Word is that Selig is considering suspending Bonds but it’s doubtful that will fly as the players association will shoot down any kind of suspension. But here’s a suggestion for Bud that could save his legacy, and I’m not referring to the lame World Baseball Classic, ban Barry Bonds, or Bar-roid as Jim Rome would say, from baseball. Yeah the entire book is allegations by people with questionable credibility, but weren’t Pete Rose’s ban based on allegations by equally shady people? And unlike Rose, Bond has physical evidence against him (see above). I don’t want to hear how steroid were not banded by baseball during Bond’s run, they were still illegal in this country and were known to give the user an unfair advantage. And I don’t care if they need to take down McGwire, , , , and the rest of the Monsters to do it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

In a Perfect World All the Geeks Get the Girls

One of the best reality television ideas ever came back for a second season recently in Beauty and the Geek. I had reservations about this season because the greatness of the original was that neither subject sample really knew what they were getting into so you truly had a group of dumb token hot chicks and a group of uber-geeks. Know that everyone has seen the show, potential contestants know what to expect and could fake dumb at the audition to get on the show. I ever heard people suggest that Wes Wilson, or nerd who tracks monkeys with lasers, was a plant.

My suspicions were justifies as the show took a hit creatively this season. The geeks weren’t as interesting and the hit chicks weren’t as vapid. Josh Herman stood to be the breakout star of this season after his panic attack upon first meeting the bikini-clad beauties, but really calmed down from there and rarely had a spaz attack after that. And sadly Josh didn’t have an arch nemesis much like Chuck Munyon and Richard Rubin from last season.

Brittney Knott with her very excited partner Joe BlockBut it was the females that really brought down the season. It became pretty clear throughout the season that many of them, including Cher Tenbush, Brittney Knott, and Sarah Coleman were not as dumb as they let on. I believe that many stated early in the season that they had even gone to college. Cher even said that she plans to go to med school with the money she won. But a god side product of this was the more intelligent Brittany lead, the hotter she got. She was my pre-season number three on the hottest scale, but if I were to reorder, she be number one with a bullet.

The challenges also weren’t as interesting this time around as they were last season when they had such tasks as fixing a car and the rocket science test. And what could have been the most interesting one in the karaoke challenge, got boring quick as the guys had to perform the exact same song. And having the girls play strip poker with the nerds clothing was just wrong on so many levels. Even the ploy of switching up the game fail miserably when they gave one team the chance to switch up ant team they wanted including their own. Chris and decided to end their partnership with Chris hooking up with Tristin Clow while Amanda took Brandon and both teams were promptly sent to the elimination room in the first week.

It looks like we won’t even get a reunion show either as Supernatural debuts in Beauty and the Geek’s timeslot starting next week. Word on the street is that Ashton Kutcher is already to shake up the game dramatically for the next season with the beauties being dudes who are teamed up with geeky girls. It will be interesting to see if this makes it to screen as the already filmed Average Joe spin-off, Average Jane, has yet to make it to the small screen. But if Rachel Lee Cook taught us anything in She's All That, a female nerd is a makeover away from being homecoming queen, well, as long as she was hot before becoming a nerd.

Beauty and the Geek 2.x gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

First Impressions - America's Next Top Model Cycle 6

The girls of the 6th cycle of America's Next Top ModelI have to come clean about something; I have never watched . You’d think hot chicks where little to no clothing would be appointment television for me but alas, things like that don’t really peak my interest. But with ANTM taking over the timeslot, being a repeat and nothing worth watching at 8:00 on Wednesday (seriously, how is Freddie still on the air?), I thought I’d give the 6th Cycle a try. And therein lies the problem with ANTM is there has already been five season and the only winner I can name is the chick that hooked up with Peter Brady. Um, what was her name again? But anyways. I have watch a second of American Karaoke contest but I know and .

My first thought while watching the show is why I haven’t watched this before. Maybe the whole hot chicks in little clothing wasn’t as overrated as I thought. First thing some of the girls did upon arriving at their new house was hop in the hot tub and get naked. Let me repeat that last sentence if you weren’t paying attention. First thing some of the girls did upon arriving at their new house was hop in the hot tub and get naked. I think Tek and Ruthie from Real World: Hawaii were the only reality cast mates to get naked faster. But here’s the problem with this is that once you’ve seen a chick wear nothing but blurred pixels, what else is there to look forward to?

The show starts off by narrowing the first thirty-two contestants solely by an interview process by Tyra and (what could be the best line I’ve heard in a week) Mr. and Mrs. Jay. The only thing of note here was how disturbing the chick from Ohio’s feet were. They were kick her out of bed disgusting.

Next they reduced the group that was left even more to the final thirteen by having the girls do their own makeup for a close-up photo shoot. And here is where the show really irritated me by dumping the self proclaimed conservative Dani from Texas. You got to give it up to any chick who stated she hates gay people when trying out for a profession that is filled with gay people. Then at dinner she insulted half of the contestants by saying black people wrongly get preferential treatment. Racism hasn’t been this hot since Kate Bosworth in Remember the Titans. Unfortunately she didn’t make the final cut as they instead gave a spot to a chick from New Orleans as Tyra stated how it wasn’t a pity selection, pretty much ensuring that it was, in fact, pity selection. Hopefully Dani gets picked up by another reality show soon preferable the Real World basically so we can see a showdown between her and Coral at a future Real World/Road Rules challenge.

It was all downhill from there, well asides from the hot tub scene. For their first assignment, the girls were to go bald. From the moment they mention this was the first shoot in the new evil TV Guide, I knew they wouldn’t shave the girls head and instead have them put on bald caps, and that was indeed the case (oh I almost forgot the coked up Janice Dickenson made an appearance during some press conference thing). And much like Natalie Portman, none of the girls could pull of the bald look and still be attractive. Instead most of them looked like castoff from a Coneheads sketch. In the end it came down to Furonda and Kathy, both who I pegged to be out early, with Kathy ultimately getting the boot. Here are some of my predictions:

Kari, I'd hit thatWinner: NNenna
Backup Choice: Sara
Most Likely to Slap Someone: Jade
Next to Go: Mollie Sue
Axed Contestant I’d Like to Hang With: Dani
Contestant I’d Most Like to Have Dirty, Dirty Sex With: Kari (at right)

Verdict: Had they kept Dani around, I would have watched every second she was there, but know I may turn into Veronica Mars early to see if anything exciting is coming in the future.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

First Impressions - Sons & Daughters

The massive cast of Sons & Daughters

I was less than impressed by the commercials for of course that could just be because I don’t really find a five year old saying “We’re going to hell because we’re Jewish,” all that funny. But with all the comparisons I decided to check it out anyways. Although, aside from the family aspect, the only one I could find was the wanna be actor involved in a sex-less marriage.

The show is the brainchild of Fred Goss from Bravo’s which, like Sons & Daughters, was partially improvised. Both shows show why improvisation should be left to small skits involving Drew Carey because they are peppered with uncomfortable pauses where you assume the actors are trying to think of something funny to say. And this isn’t the same type uncomfortable pauses that makes funny either, it’s the kind of pauses that make you want to look at your watch.

The cast boosts a litter of virtual unknowns as I only recognized Amanda Walsh from a recent stint on as a token hot chick in a bikini and Greg Pitts who is best known, and only known, for bringing the phrase “O face” into the vernacular. And if you don’t know what an O face is you really need to buy . But anyways. The show itself follows around Cameron and his family of misfits which features his Jewish wife and two kids one of which is named Ezra, yet no Better Than Ezra jokes were made yet. He also has a son from a previous marriage who might as well been called George Michaels. Then there’s his sister, the one in the sex-less marriage and her two children. One of which also likes to make inappropriate comments like asking to get a bikini wax. Did I mention she was thirteen? There’s also Cameron’s half sister (Walsh) who’s living with her parents and her kid apparently to get away from the baby daddy (Pitts).

Verdict: There were a few laughs in the first two episodes last night but I knew Arrested Development, and this, sir, is no Arrested Development, or My Name Is Earl, Everybody Hates Chris, or How I Met Your Mother for that matter. But at least it was better than Four Kings and Emily's Reasons Why Not.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's Just the Dice You Roll

On a Island - David Gilmour

During the lead up to the concerts last year, the big new was the reuniting of , well san a still missing in action Syd. Many faithful hoped that this may be the beginning of thing to come with maybe a tour or even a new concert. Even during the concert, the band mates seemed cordial, getting together with a bow at the end. Since then both and stated that Live 8 was a one time thing with Waters promptly releasing an opera and Gilmour a just released album.

is Gilmour’s third solo record, which comes long longer than once in a blue moon, his last was eighteen years ago. Like many Pink Floyd albums, this one starts off with an instrumental, but Castellorizon is clunky and in no way sets a good mood for the album. This then transitions into the title track that sound very much like a part from Shine on You Crazy Diamond but without the passion or heartfelt lyrics. Speaking about songs that rip off another with less passion, the same could be said for Take a Breath but with Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir.

The only interesting aspect of the album is that it fulfills the fantasy of wondering what a band named Crosby, Gilmour, and Nash would sound like with Dave harmonizing with the other David and Graham on the title track. Almost makes you wonder what Pink Floyd would have sounded like if the recruited Stephan Stills instead.

The main problem with this album is, whereas Pink Floyd songs you just lay back and soak in the lengthy arrangements, many of the songs for On an Island leave you looking at your watch wondering if this is still the same song. But in the end if you already have all the Pink Floyd albums, this would make a good companion, if not, you’d be better off plugging your holes in your album collection. And if you don’t own Pink Floyd albums, I suggest you start off with Wish You Were Here and Dark Side of the Moon in that order.

Song to Download - On an Island

On an Island gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, March 06, 2006

We on Award Tour - 2006 Oscar Awards

I didn’t really plan on watching the Oscars last night. I thought I’d just turn in to see John Stewart’s monologue and turn off, but I ended up keeping the television on even though I didn’t really pay attention to the whole thing. Too bad they didn't do the awards in the isles or have everyone on stage bit like last year, that was the best part. But anyways. Best line of the night, “For those keeping track at home, Martin Scorsese: no Oscars, : one.” Here are some other thoughts from last night.

- I typically hate those lame Brokeback Mountain jokes but having poking out of the tent during the “And now your host…” opener with Billy Crystal had me laughing for a while. Granted after that the skit just went too long, and how could they not have Letterman being too busy babysitting Uma and Oprah or at least cardboard cutouts of them.

- You know it’s going to be a bad night when they scan the crowd at the beginning and in lieu of nominees they bust out shots of and instead.

- Even though both are old hat, the Dick Cheney shooting joke was hilarious. Also the look George Clooney gave after Stewart made fun of him was priceless almost as good as when he brought up Batman in his acceptance speech.

- Yeah, the Were-Rabbit bow-ties were creepy.

- It’s odd during the performance it was only her while the other two got weird interpretative dance including the re-enacting of the molesting scene from . But Dolly wrote a song for a transsexual movie; just released a song entitled Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other), what’s next? Is going to duet on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart with ?

- For those keeping track at home, the stars they brought in to present that will never even be nominated for an Oscar includes Ben Stiller, Luke and Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Will Ferrell, Steve Carrel, and Jessica Alba.

- The bio-flick montage was lame. I really wish they’d put a ban on those types of movies.

- The very clothed Rachel McAdams gets relegated to the technical Oscars. Ouch. Maybe had she gotten naked for Vanity Fair she would have been invited to the big show.

- The slander pieces were great especially how it made Reese Witherspoon look mortified afterwards.

- How can they reunite Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves and not mention Speed. Why even put the two together if you don’t?

- During the big “Issues” montage, why was Thelma & Louise featured. And the liberal Hollywood types still clapped like mindless drowns afterwards.

- I love how Stewart mocked the token old dude (the academy president) and he didn’t even realize it. Then token old dude for some reason rails against DVD’s saying how movies are meant to be seen on the big screen with strangers not realizing that most of us have big screens and hate how those strangers constantly talk during the movie.

- During the “Epics” montage - Grease and Back to the Future. Um, yeah, okay.

- And the most entertaining moment of the night has to go to the Three 6 Mafia performance and win leading to many Stewart jokes including “Why are they the most excited ones here tonight?” I loved how the spanned the crowd after the win and everyone was laughing. It’s like the autistic kid that’s been on ESPN recently who got in to play some garbage time and ended up hitting six three pointers in less than five minutes. But I was a little disappointed that they didn't work "Whoop that trick" into their performance, that was the best part of the movie (well I mean the trailer, I didn't see the movie). And was I hearing things or the chick say "ship" at the end of the chorus instead of another s-word? And anyone who was in third grade knows what happens when you hold your tounge when you say "ship."

- Jennifer Garner's appearance made me think of this song. (opens iTunes)

- So let me get this straight Charlize Theron is a South African-American. For a community that is so liberal I love how the avoid calling her just an African American.

- The best part of the Reese Witherspoon acceptance speech was watching Ryan Phillipee sweat while hoping he doesn’t become the next Chad Lowe while Reese rambled on without naming him.

- Crash wins. Wow that movie sucked (see my review - The Closest You Ever Came to Being Black Was Watching the Cosby Show). Horrible end to a boring awards show.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sex in Wartime Is Sweeter than Peace

The Believer - Rhett Miller

A couple weeks ago, I was watching one of the better hours on television this year, the episode where Duncan rides off into the sunset. Near the end of the episode when Veronica walked along the ocean reminiscing about the boyfriend she would never see again (or so they would have us believe), they played one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time. It turned out the song was Adelaide by who also contributed the bar brawling Four Leaf Clover in the same episode. I ended up downloading both songs with the former getting massive play on my iPod.

Now the lead singer of Old 97’s, (the band’s on hiatus), is back with his second solo album, (well technically third but Mythologies is pretty obscure unless you want to drop $249 on Amazon). With the south of the border rock sound, I immediately thought of one of my favorite bands from college, the , but without the quirky lyric. Miller does get in some good one-liners such as, “Sex in wartime is sweeter then peace, yeah it’s the one sweet thing about war.” (My Valentine) Also with his alt-country pop, circa Jacksonville City Nights is another easy comparison. And fresh off his work with , Jon Brion leave his mark playing multiple instruments throughout the album.

The closest song that comes close to brilliance of Adelaide is the duet with on Fireflies where a couple looking back on a failed relationship hoping they make it work again. The album caps off with two other powerful songs including the inspired title track and does a goof job capturing the late singer. That is followed by the solemn acoustic Question that makes a decent lullaby to end the album with lines, “Someday somebody’s gonna ask you a question that you should say yes to once in your life, maybe tonight I got a question for you” which would make for a proposal someday.

Song to Download - Fireflies (Don’t forget to pick up Adelaide too)

The Believer gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.