I ran across this list of Premiere’s 20 Most Overrated Movies:
1. American Beauty
5. Field of Dreams
6. Chariots of Fire
7. Good Will Hunting
8. Forrest Gump
9. Jules and Jim
10. A Beautiful Mind
11. Monster’s Ball
13. Mystic River
15. The Wizard of Oz
16. An American in Paris
17. Easy Rider
18. The Red Shoes
19. 2001: A Space Odyssey
20. Gone with the Wind
Most of the 11 on the list that I’ve seen, it’s been so long that I can’t really objectively evaluate them without being affected by nostalgia. Field of Dreams, Forrest Gump, and Chariots of Fire I remember being decent but I really don’t have much desire to watch them again so that may be a sign that I’m just nostalgic about them. Good Will Hunting is the one that I’d flat out disagree with. 2001 and American Beauty are the two I’d agree with the most. In particular, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that’s really passionate about 2001. Seems like a movie that people are only inclined to like because Roger Ebert said it was good. It has to be one of the most boring sci-fi movies ever made.
So what movies would you add to this list? And, what are some underrated movies to you?
Here’s some additional overrated ones for me:
- David Lynch Movies: Weird does not equal good. I don’t think movies should be painful to watch.
- Gladiator: Best picture? It was an all right action movie, but was it really that much better than, say, Troy?
- Godfather II: If it didn’t happen to be the sequel to what’s widely regarded as the best movie of all-time, there’s no way it would have been nominated for best picture, let alone win it. Pretty average movie that would have been a forgotten 70s movie.
- Rebel Without a Cause: Completely unbelievable. Click here for my detailed review.
- Rocky: There might be a good scene or two, but overall this movie is slow and pretty unbelievable. One of those movies that I remembered being good as a kid, but when I watched it again several years ago it was boring and not that great of a plot.
- Shrek 2: The original Shrek was pretty good and should have been the beginning and end of the series. Instead, they pretty much rehashed the plot of the original and repackaged in a much less entertaining movie. Only thing I remember being funny about this movie was when a Starbucks got destroyed and a bunch of people ran out only to cross the street right back into another Starbucks.
- Star Wars: This may seem like blasphemy, but I think the amount of fanfare and recognition the series gets is totally out of line with how good the actual plot is.
- Titanic: Top grossing movie of all-time? Is it really anywhere near the greatest love story of all-time? How many people do you know that have watched it in, say, the last five years?
Some of my underrated movies:
- Adaptation: Original, but weird, plot that I found fantastic.
- Before Sunrise and Before Sunset: Two of the best romance movies that most people have never seen.
- Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind: One of the more original love stories you’ll ever watch.
- A Few Good Men: I watched this a couple of years ago and it was even better than I remembered it. Has to be one of the best courtroom movies ever.
- Hero: The Jet Li movie from a few years ago has a great plot and just a fantastic ending.
- Kung-Fu Hustle: Another kung-fu movie that does an absolutely marvelous job of mixing in comedy.
- L.A. Confidential:Great film noir plot.
- Minority Report: Solid sci-fi movie that’s in the same league with the original Matrix (sans the fight scenes).
- Shakespeare in Love: The best romantic comedy ever.
If you can explain any of these to me, please leave a comment.
- Watching Regular Season Baseball: Really, what’s the point? 162 games per team…are you kidding me? Other than a few games in September, the MLB regular season’s only function is to generate stats for Fantasy Baseball players and bean counters who want to compare Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. Even people I know who follow baseball religiously generally do so via checking scores on their cell phones rather than actually watching a game. And, if keeping up with sports’ longest foreplay isn’t enough the individual games consist of very little action. On average, the ball is in play for about 10 minutes over the course of a 3 hour game. Compare this with football (I’d estimate about 45 minutes of play), basketball (48 minutes), hockey (60 minutes), and soccer (90 minutes!).
- YouTube Users Talking into the Camera: I like to check out the top videos on YouTube every few days just to keep up with the online zeitgeist and inevitably there’s these videos of people talking into a camera that get a tone of views. First, I read about Brookers in a Wall Street Journal article about Web 2.0 all-stars. I watched like half a video and determined it was crap. Then, I checked out the two most subscribed channels of all time: lonelygirl15 and geriatric1927. It’s like when you’re in public and someone just starts talking loudly on their cell phone so everyone knows the details of their life even though you’d rather not hear it. I just don’t get it.
- Dane Cook: He’s the most popular comic on iTunes (other than maybe Dave Chappelle) with his Comedy Central Stand-Up and a couple of podcasts (Danecast and Tourgasm). So, I watched his stand-up show on YouTube and I’m really clueless about why he’s so popular. He’s really obnoxious and not that funny. He reminds me of that person from high school who thinks they’re a lot funnier than they really are. Like the ratio of funny things said to things he says that he things is funny is something like 1:10. Now imagine that kid got his only Comedy Central show and cult following. If you find the name Tourgasm a stroke of comedic genius, then you’ll enjoy Dan Cook. If you find it obnoxious and not that funny, then you’ll probably share my opinion of him.
- Missing White Girls: If I had more time, it would be interested to go through the CNN homepage on the Wayback Machine and track the gender and race of every missing person who’s picture appeared on it. Here’s a tip, if ever a guy or minority that you knows goes missing, then before reporting it to anyone, photoshop their picture so they look like a white girl. Then, you’re guaranteed that the national media will launch 24 hour news coverage of the case. Why? I have no clue. Well, actually I do have a clue…ratings. I just don’t understand why so many people care so much about missing white girls when there’s virtually zero probability that they’ll have any effect on helping find the girl and there’s probably a slew of people that go missing every week that you never hear about.
- MySpace: I’ve written about this in detail before, but I keep thinking that one day the light will come on and I’ll see how this site can enrich my life. Hasn’t happened yet.
Inspired by the latest in the Maurice Clarett saga and an ESPN list, I decided to put together this list. Feel free to leave comments with any I may have missed.
- Ken Griffey, Jr.: Not really a fall so much as a gradual decline ever since leaving Seattle. When he was traded in 2000, Griffey was pretty much on track to be the best player ever. Don’t get me wrong…he’s still a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, but how many people outside have Cincinnati have paid much attention to The Kid in the past six years other than to shake their head whenever they hear about his almost annual season-ending injury.
- Bode Miller: After two silvers in the 2002 Winter Olympics, he had a legitimate shot at five skiing golds in the 2006 Olympics. Unfortunately, Miller acted more like a frat boy than an Olympic athlete and ended up with zero metals — finishing fifth, sixth, and not even placing in the other three events. However, any personal disappointment was quickly drowned away as Miller was reported to have spent ample time at the bars of Turin.
- Maurice Clarett: If ever anyone needed to follow the advice of George Costanza, it’s Clarett: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right”. Some of Clarett’s instincts include taking massive handouts from car dealers while in college, deciding to leave school after his freshman year to challenge the NFL’s age limit with little precedent, armed robbery, firing his defense lawyers two weeks before trial, and now fleeing from cops with a car full of guns and vodka. If only he had paid attention to Seinfeld he might have been getting ready to follow-up his Rookie of the Year season in the NFL.
- Athletes on Motorcycles: Take your pick: Jay Williams ending his NBA career, Kellen “I’m a Soldier” Winslow ending his season in a parking lot, Ben Roethlisberger ending up minutes from death, or a number of other incidents. There’s no doubt that the battle between man and motorcycle has seen a significant upswing in momentum for the bike in the past decade.
- Michael Jordan: Of course, this is a relative rather than absolute decline…but there’s not doubt that any Jordan highlight reel isn’t going to include too many clips of him wearing Wizard blue. It’s kind of like if the Superman II movie ended with Superman just remaining human…not necessarily bad, it just kind of taints the memories what once was. Not that he was the only athlete to play well beyond his prime (thankfully the competitive allure of Dancing with the Stars finally pulled Jerry Rice away from the NFL), but the probably best to do so.
- Diego Maradona: Some ex-soccer stars, like Pele, become ambassadors for the sport and for the United Nations. Maradona became an ambassador of drug abuse and gluttony.
- Ryan Leaf: You have to put this one in perspective. In 1998, pretty much ever sports commentator was debating whether the Colts should take Leaf or Peyton Manning. That’s how high his stock was at one time. A few craptacular seasons and embarrassing outbursts later, and Leaf is coaching quarterbacks for West Texas A&M University while Manning is poised to be the best quarterback of his generation.
- Mike Tyson: Yea, this is just too obvious, but the dude isn’t just a loose cannon…he’s a loose nuclear bomb. He’s actually had a massive fall from grace twice. Of course, there was jail term for rape in the early 90s. But the past decade saw some odd decline with his infatuation with cannibalism…be it Evander Hoyfield’s ear or Lennox Lewis’ children. He gets bonus points for pretty much taking the entire sport of boxing down with him. Back in the 80s, watching Tyson box was exciting. In the past decade, the only things I know about heavyweight boxing is: (1) Lennox Lewis was the heavyweight champion most of the time and (2) his major competition was two Russian brothers with PhDs. Not exactly the Ali-Frazier-Forman era now is it?
- Latino Sluggers: While quite a few are tainted with steroids in baseball, it seems to have taken an especially strong toll on sluggers from south of the border. The top three Latino home run hitters of all time are currently: Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jose Canseco. Canseco admitted to steroid use in his book Juiced and wouldn’t mind taking a few other down with him. Now he’s spent the past several years jumping from team to team in the minor leagues. Rafael Palmeiro told a Congressional committee that he never used steroids just months before testing positive. He went to the Orioles and had a precipitous drop off in performance around the time that the steroid stink was emerging. Then, there’s Sosa who seemed to go from hitting 60 homers a season to not even being picked up by a MLB team virtually overnight after his corked bat incident and steroid suspicions. Ironically, he too went to the Orioles just before having a major decrease in performance.
- Floyd Landis: The thing about Landis is the speed with which he fell from grace. Basically, no one in America had heard of him before the last Friday of the Tour de France. On Sunday, he was an inspirational story for the entire country. Then, on Thursday, he went from hero to zero when he tested positive for illegal drugs. Someone like Barry Bonds, sports fans have basically been preparing themselves for years…conclusive evidence would merely be a formality at this point. With Landis, there was just no time to brace yourself for what was coming. Then he just exacerbated the situation by offering so many excuses you need a dedicated 24-hour news channel just to keep track. I just have too much natural testosterone…no, it was the cortizone shots…wait, I mean it was the dehydration…I was abducted by aliens?
I saw the South Park episode this week entitled Smug Alert! (Wikipedia episode summary). Hilarious. Basically, one of the characters gets a hybrid car and immediately becomes “smug”. He thinks he’s better than everyone else and starts always talking with his eyes closed. When he decides South Park is too backwards for him, he decides to move to the most smug city ever…San Francisco. There, he meets fellow hybrid owners who also talk with their eyes closed and, every time they fart, immediately start sniffing to get a whiff of their own flatulence.
So, this got me thinking about smugness. So, I decided to make a Top Ten list of Smug Activities in my life. Here it goes (note…this is all in good jest…no offense intended :)):
- Use Gmail: Once you get use to the nearly 3GB of storage, tagging, POP3 downloading, advanced filtering options, and robust search, it’s difficult to understand why so many people continue using other webmails as their primary email (e.g., Hotmail, Yahoo!). While the learning curve for Gmail may be a bit steeper, once you’re familiarized with it, you truly feel like you’re using the next generation webmail system while everyone else is stuck in the past. Plus, it allows you to use any of your existing email accounts via Gmail.
- Own IKEA Furniture: You just walk into an IKEA and immediately you’ll be immersed in smugness. Most of them even serve it in their cafeteria. I can just feel the smug crawling through my body every time I put my shopping cart on one of their “shopping cart escalators”. If another earthquake strikes San Francisco, I have a feeling that something like 90% of the IKEA furniture in the world will be destroyed.
- Don’t Have Cable Television: OK, there’s degrees of smugness here because we do own a TV. The next level of smugness is those people who don’t even own a TV. Somehow they always manage to inject that fact in about every other conversation you have with them. But even not having cable emits its own smugness as if to say, “I have more entertaining things to do then watch five episodes of Sportscenter every day.”
- Have a Sam’s Club Membership: Oh, you can definitely smell smug on someone’s breath anytime they say, “Oh, I can go by Sam’s Club to get that.” There are few things in life that cost $35/year that provide as much smug as that little card. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that you have to show your card to even enter the store, that you have the privilege of escorting one lowly non-Sam’s Club member each visit, or the fact that I can buy a pack of 50 bars of soap and save a dime per bar, but something definitely increases my smug quotient by keeping that Sam’s Club card in my wallet.
- Use Linux: I don’t know if smug or zealot is the better description for Linux users. I use it at work most of the time and have a dual boot laptop at home, but pretty much exclusively use Windows there (Red Hat/Fedora Core at work and Ubuntu at home). There’s definitely some smugness involved when you know that while other people are merely doubling clicking and icon to install a program, you can wget a file, untar it, make it from source, and then update your environment variables to run it. And those are the easy installs :). This is another bullet point that involves degrees of smugness as Mac users take the cake. Good gosh these people love making you aware of the fact that they’re running OS X and not that inferior Windows XP. Sometimes you just want to take their universal binary and slap them upside the head with it. Again, if San Francisco were destroyed by an earthquake, I’m confident that 90% of the Macs in existence would be gone.
- Recycle: And I don’t mean we merely separate our trash into bins for someone to come pick up. Oh no, we actually drive our stuff to the recycle center every week or two and place it in the appropriate bins. How can you not be smug when you’re saving the world for your grandkids while all the non-recyclers would be perfectly content to have future generations live in a post-apocalyptic, Terminator 2-like society? It’s all about the children, people.
- Have a Blog: OK, just say the word “blog”. It has to be one of the ten smugest words in existence. You almost naturally close your eyes with smug as the word just emanates out of your mouth If I were a non-blogger, I have know doubt that I’d want to punch someone in the face every time they mentioned blogging about some topic. Never has merely typing on your keyboard been so smug.
- Own an iPod: The official color of those headphones that come with iPods is known as “smug white”. You can’t help but get a smug look on your face every time you see someone with a portable CD player. There’s definitely a smugness involved when you’re walking down the street and see all the non-earbud wearing people “basking in their thoughts” while you, on the other hand, can continuously fill your brain with NSYNC from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. Oh, and the smugness extends beyond the mere iPod to accessories. We have two protective shieldings for our iPod. For some reason that can only be a smug-related symptom, all of a sudden protecting the paint job on your iPod becomes more important than the one on your car.
- Use Public Transportation: Oh yes, I get to work every day without the use of a car. While others may emit earth-killing carbon dioxide while battling traffic, I can sit back and read leisurely as I enjoy my bus ride into campus (all the while saving the earth). If I’m feeling extra smug, I can even listen to my iPod while I ride public transportation! Again, there’s level of smugness involved here since we do own a car which we use a fair amount on the weekends. To reach the highest level of smug, we’d have to either get rid of the car totally or buy a hybrid.
- Don’t Own a Cell Phone: You can’t help but be smug about the fact that you’ve found some way to live without this modern device when it has became a necessity for so many others’ very survival. Next time you hear someone’s cellphone go off at an inopportune time, look around and notice the people with a smug grin on their face. These are the non-cell phone owners (everyone else is probably digging in their pockets and purses to make sure that their’s doesn’t go off next). There’s that smugness in knowing that you don’t waste precious moments of your life finding a witty ringtone for each friend that is entertaining to, oh, about one person on earth…you, the cellphone owner. If anyone else does happen to bask in your ringtone creativity, it will definitely lose all charm when they’ve heard it for the fiftieth time.
And, here’s a list of stuff that I don’t do but find to be smug:
- Eat Organic Foods: Another one that involves levels of smugness. There’s vegetarians and then there’s the ultimate smug-o-nators, vegans. All the health benefits your getting from eating these foods is negated by the build-up of smug that occurs in your body as a result.
- Flying First Class: You can’t help but notice the smug look as these people board the plan first and then stare at you as you walk down the aisle as if to say, “Poor schmucks in economy.” I’ve heard in most planes, the emergency masks will drop down if too much smug is coming from the first class section of the plane.
- Only Getting Your News from One Source: Whether it’s the New York Times or Fox News, you can’t help but notice the smugness emanating from those who have to name their sole news source every time the tell you a piece of info and make darn sure that you know they’re more enlightened than all the rest of us mere mortals who do not trust one organization for all the news.
- Listen to NPR: Speaking of news sources, here’s the government funded smug. Normally, you don’t preface every nugget of knowledge with the citation from which you learned that information. Except for NPR listeners. If they tell you something that was heard on NPR, without fail they’ll cite NPR as the source in the conversation. San Francisco is known for their historically high smug level since so many cars are tuned to NPR during the commute.
- Go to Krannert Events: This is the arts center at UIUC that has one of the highest concentrations of smug on campus. You just can’t say you’re going to one of the plays or concerts at Krannert without breathing smug onto all your listeners. Pretty much any “fun” activity that requires you to wear a tie is immediately suspect for high smug potential.
And, my final list is the most smug celebrities and athletes. I’m sure I’m forgetting some obvious ones, but these are the ones that came to me off the top of my head:
- George Clooney: Hi, I’m George Clooney. I am so smug that I was featured in the South Park episode on the topic. I would basically like flip a bid middle finger towards Middle America to let them know that Hollywood is in fact better than them. We gave an Academy Award to an African-American, Hattie McDaniel, in 1939. Please disregard the fact that it was for playing a stereotypical slave role in a movie that glorifies the slave owning South. If America was only smart enough to let Hollywood run the country, we would be much better off and have much more smug.
- Kobe Bryant: Hi, I’m Kobe Bryant. I’m living proof that one can do no wrong if one has enough money. If someone accuses you of rape, just pay them to settle out of court and buy your wife a five karat ring. Problem solved. My smugness on court is so strong that many times it overwhelms opponents to the point that they can’t stop me. I really wish that they would just let me play one-on-five in the NBA because I don’t need my teammates anyway and a lot of times they just clog up the lane when I could be scoring more points.
- Tom Cruise: Hi, I’m Tom Cruise. Not only am I an actor, but my brainwashing by Scientology has made me a health care expert far beyond those “doctors” that spend a decade of their life studying medicine. Though many people may think medication is required to cure smug, really all that is needed is to give more money to the Church of Scientology. Smugness, depression, and any other number of disorders can be cured by this simple approach.
- Barry Bonds: Hi, I’m Barry Bonds. Even the people of San Francisco consider me to be smug. Many of the steroids I use are laced with smug to keep me performing at the highest level. Babe Ruth? I “wiped him out”. Media, teammates, coaches? Overrated. Just give me my steroids, a bat, a ball, and a wall to hit it over and I’m set.
- Sean Penn: Hi, I’m Sean Penn. Because I starred in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I am better than you and far more qualified to make political statements. Because of the utmost importance that Fast Times gave my career, I am now qualified to serve as the unofficial US ambassador to Iraq and Iran. And, because of the infinite wisdom afforded to me by virtue of my Fast Times role, I am now not only qualified to criticize anything our government does, but also above any criticism or parody that others may throw my way. This is why it was absolutely vital that I take time to write an inflammatory letter to a pair of comedy writers that parodying me in Team America. Do these jerks not know I starred in Fast Time at Ridgemont High?! I am orders of magnitude better than them (and all of you) because of it.
- Bill O’Reilly: Hi, I’m Bill O’Reilly. Amazingly, I’ve never been wrong a single time in my life. In fact, I typically catch my own flatulence in a jar and sell it on eBay for $1000. When I have to crap, nothing but solid 24-karat gold turds come out. If you don’t agree that mankind is lucky to have a specimen like me, then I’ll tell you what you can do with your loofah and falafel. My aura of smug covers the set of the O’Reilly Factor. I particularly like to invite people to be on my show where I have complete control and then make fun of them when they refuse. Would I ever go be on an Air America show? Heck no. That would require me to operate in an environment where I don’t have 100% control. My head might explode or something. My set, my rules. I particularly like the one that I have where all staff members must build a shrine to me and spend at least an hour a day meditating about how lucky they are to get to be near me on a daily basis.
Please leave comments if you can think of any other smug activities and/or celebrities/athletes. Or, let me know items on these lists with which you especially agree or disagree.
Here’s a cool list by some student of urban planning: the world’s 15 best skylines. Chicago makes number two on the list, just behind Hong Kong! It has a pic of each skyline mentioned.
If you’re ever in the market for a domain name, please consider alternate word delineations before registering. Or else, you could end up on a list like this or this. (Note: all these links go to “good” sites that are described first and are safe to click on)
- Want to find out which agency is representing some celebrity? Or, looking to buy a gift for that special someone whose services cost $500/hour? Then, head on over to www.WhoRepresents.com.
- Looking for some plants at Australia’s Mole Station Native Nursery? Or, looking for Micheal Jackson’s new day care? Go to www.MoleStationNursery.com.
Want to check out Lake Tahoe? Or, the latest advertising campaign of the call girl industry (ironically, Nevada is the only US state where prostitution is legal)? Check out www.GoTahoe.com.
- Looking to buy some new pens? Or, looking for some entertainment for the bachelorette party? Then go to www.PenIsland.net
- Want to get into currency trading? Or, looking to deal with that sexual identity crisis in the cheapest way possible? Better head over to www.DollarsExchange.com.
- Are you a Californian looking for therapy? Or, looking for some sexual predators? You’ll want to look at www.TherapistFinder.com
So, one of the things we’ve been trying out with the new iPod is podcasts. Here’s some thoughts on ones that I’ve come across. If you have any to recommend, please leave comments!
- Beastie Boys Podcast: Kind of boring, it was more like some dinky extra that throw in on a DVD for no apparent reason. Basically, it was just the Beastie Boys talking about all this stuff Bob Dylan told them about their music with some clips here and there. Not that great unless you’re just a die-hard fan.
- Channel Frederator: Just a bunch of little cartoon shorts that, I think, are sent in by random people. If you’re big into the Cartoon Network and what not, I think this is one of the most popular cartoon podcasts. I didn’t find it all that entertaining, but, then again, The Simpsons is pretty much the only cartoon I watch these days (though, I’d give Aqua Teen Hunger Force a try if I found some DVDs to borrow).
- Chinesepod: I haven’t actually listening to this, but I found it and told my dad about it since he travels to China a couple times per year. He seemed kind of interested in it, so if he ever gives me a review, I’ll post it.
- Diggnation: Now, we’re getting to the good stuff. This is one of only two podcasts that I make a point to listen to each week (actually, it’s a video podcast also, so I watch it). Two dudes discuss a few stories that appeared during the previous week on digg.com while drinking beer. It seems to me the right mix of interesting tech news and discussion, humor, and entertainment. Plus, the advertising isn’t too bad…just a short acknowledgement at the beginning and end of the 35 minute show. If you’re interested in tech news, I’d highly recommend this one.
- dl.tv:Another tech podcast. Pretty decent, but I like Diggnation better. dl.tv was only audio when I listened to it (they’ve added a video version, but I haven’t watched it). They have regular commercial breaks throughout, which is kind of annoying given the alternatives. If Diggnation’s not for you, then you might try this one.
- Happy Tree Friends: This is currently the number one podcast in iTunes. Think Itchy and Scratchy times about ten. It’s basically just a cartoon with animals and violence galore. Not exactly my form of entertainment, but if you like violent, playful cartoons, this one’s for you. The episode I watched had a bunny trip and fall and have a lollipop shoved in his eye…then the real violence begins. ‘Nuff said.
- Mugglecast: Of course, this is the Harry Potter podcast. I thoroughly enjoy the books and the movies are pretty good too. Unfortunately, about five minutes into an hour long episode of Mugglecast, I realized this was crap. Not funny, not entertaining. Maybe they saved their better stuff for later in the show, but I wouldn’t know. I think I’ll just stick to the books and movies because I really don’t care what J.K. Rowling ate at McDonald’s last week.
- Ricky Gervais Show: Our favorite! Pretty much every dinner on Monday nights is spent listening to this half hour podcast. As Ricky might say, “Brilliant.” For those of you that don’t know, Ricky was a co-writer and lead actor in the BBC version of The Office (The American version is hilarious to be sure, but the British version is quite possibly the funniest series ever captured on film). He co-hosts the show with the other writer from The Office, Stephen Merchant. And, then there’s Karl. Karl’s really the one that makes the show tick. He basically just keeps coming up with these completely random, stupid thoughts while Ricky and Steve tell him what an idiot he is. Maybe Karl’s telling them about how the world population could be controlled by having eighty-year-old people suddenly spawn an infant when they die. Maybe he’s telling them about how he doesn’t understand the metaphor about throwing rocks and glass houses and, instead, sees it as just one of many rules that people in glass houses should follow (like, don’t walk around naked if you’re in a glass house). If you subscribe to one podcast, this is the one it must be.
- Rocketboom: This is like a three minute daily clip with this girl who goes over some of the weird and/or tech stuff in the news. It’s not too bad, daily podcasts are just too much podcast for me…I prefer those that have weekly versions. I could see how the announcer could be very irritating to some people, though.
- Slashdot Review: This is of course affiliated with the other major tech news site, Slashdot. Unfortunately, in this Digg vs. Dot, Slashdot loses hands down. It sounds like geriatric on an AM radio show. Yes, it’s that bad.
- Superman Returns – Bryan’s Journal: This is a podcast from the director of the new Superman movie. It’s a bunch of short clips that seem like DVD extra material. The one I watched was about costumes. I’m just not real into all this in-depth stuff about movie making on this level. But, if you are, this would probably be interesting to follow. One interesting piece of info that I did get from watching this is that Kevin Spacey is playing Lex Luthor in the move.
- They Might Be Giants Podcast: This is the music group’s podcast. So far, they only have one out. It’s about a ten minute clip that has them being silly and singing some songs. I found it rather entertaining for a music group’s podcast. I’m subscribed, but they don’t seem to release new ones very often.
- TikiBar TV: This is another one that is consistently in the top three on iTunes. I just don’t get the appeal. It’s like a five minute cheesy clip where these guys have to save the world by creating some alcoholic beverage. That’s it. I guess if you’re in to learning mixed drinks, then this would be an entertaining way to do so.
- TWiT: Another popular technology one. The one I listen they were doing an interview with Woz (of Apple fame)…just wasn’t too exciting for me. But, if you don’t like Diggnation, this may be more your style.
- WireImage Hollywood: This one’s something like Extra celebrity news and gossip. I downloaded it for Leigh Ann because she enjoys those things, so maybe she’ll give an opinion of it when she watches it.
- YOGAmazing: This is another one for Leigh Ann…so I’ll let her give a review of it, but I know she really likes it.
My cousin has an entertaining thread open: What are some good and bad ideas for first dance songs at a wedding? You know you have some ideas…go to his blog and leave a comment.
I only posted bad songs on his thread. They are:
- U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
- Probably anything by Alanis Morissette would be a bad sign for the groom.
- David Allen Coe’s You Never Even Called Me By My Name
- Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name
- Soft Cell’s Tainted Love
- Pearl Jam’s Last Kiss
- Waylon Jenning’s Looking for Love (In All the Wrong Places)
- Nazareth’s Love Hurts
- Dixie Chick’s Goodbye, Earl
- From the Chicago Soundtrack: The Cell Block Tango
- The Righteous Brother’s You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
- Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust
- I submit that Marilyn Manson should never be played at a wedding.
- I’ve always wanted to get the DJ to play Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, but haven’t had any success in the past.
- Barry White’s Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Baby (or any randomly chosen Barry White song, for that matter) would be another one to make the couple leave a little earlier than planned to start the honeymoon.
- Kanye West’s Gold Digger
- Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds
- From the O Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack: Man of Constant Sorrow
Head over to his blog and submit your suggestions. They just might end up being played at my brother’s wedding :).
I saw this list when we were eating at Jimmy John’s today and found it rather amusing. It’s from Dave Barry’s book, Dave Barry Turns 50.
25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years
By Dave Barry
- The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.
- You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight-saving time.
- People who feel the need to tell you that they have an excellent sense of humor are telling you that they have no sense of humor.
- The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.
- You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
- A penny saved is worthless.
- They can hold all the peace talks they want, but there will never be peace in the Middle East. Billions of years from now, when Earth is hurtling toward the Sun and there is nothing left alive on the planet except a few microorganisms, the microorganisms living in the Middle East will be bitter enemies.
- The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.
- The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.
- There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11.
- There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.”
- People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
There apparently exists, somewhere in Los Angeles, a computer that generates concepts for television sitcoms. When TV executives need a new concept, they turn on this computer; after sorting through millions of possible plot premises, it spits out, “THREE QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT,” and the executives turn this concept into a show. The next time they need an idea, the computer spits out, “SIX QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT.” Then the next time, it spits out, “FOUR QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT.” And so on. We need to locate this computer and destroy it with hammers.
- Nobody is normal.
- At least once per year, some group of scientists will become very excited and announce that:
- The universe is even bigger than they thought!
- There are even more subatomic particles than they thought!
- Whatever they announced last year about global warming is wrong.
- If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”
- The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.
- The value of advertising is that it tells you the exact opposite of what the advertiser actually thinks. For example:
- If the advertisement says “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile,” the advertiser is desperately concerned that this Oldsmobile, like all other Oldsmobiles, appeals primarily to old farts like your father.
- If Coke and Pepsi spend billions of dollars to convince you that there are significant differences between these two products, both companies realize that Pepsi and Coke are virtually identical.
- If the advertisement strongly suggests that Nike shoes enable athletes to perform amazing feats, Nike wants you to disregard the fact that shoe brand is unrelated to athletic ability.
- If Budweiser runs an elaborate advertising campaign stressing the critical importance of a beer’s “born-on” date, Budweiser knows this factor has virtually nothing to do with how good a beer tastes.
- If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
- You should not confuse your career with your life.
- A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.
- No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
- When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.
- Your friends love you anyway.
- Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
With the beverage of your choice of course…
- Take a drink every time the telestrator is used to circle or point to Reggie Bush. Chug if the telestrator breaks from overuse.
- Drink every time the announcer mentions how Mack Brown has silenced his critics by playing for the National Championship. Chug if the announcer has the testicular virility to imply that he would have done so a long time ago if he hadn’t had the pressure of playing Daddy’s Boy, Chris Simms, all those years.
- Drink every time the announcer mentions that Matt Leinart gave up a being a first round selection in the NFL draft last year to return for his senior year.
- Drink every time the announcer uses the phrases “Leinart”, “heart”, and “Notre Dame” in the same sentence.
- Drink every time the announcer uses the phrase “Reggie Bush”, “all-purpose yards”, and “Fresno State” in the same sentence.
- Drink every time the announcer tells us that LenDale White would be the number one starting running back for any other team in the country.
- Drink every time the name of Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, or Vince Young is mentioned. Chug if they go into some spiel about how they all deserved the Heisman this year.
- Drink every time USC’s win streak is mentioned.
My prediction for the game is Texas by double digits. Defense wins championships.
And, just to make it abundantly clear that I’m placing all my chips on the Longhorns, here’s an article that shows just how crazy all these people are who drank the USC Kool-Aid and then voted in ESPN’s recent polls pitting this year’s USC team against recent champions from the past.
For instance, the ESPN crew discussed a hypothetical game between USC and the 1997 Michigan Wolverines. That Michigan team had a spotty offense, but its defense was phenomenal, allowing less than nine points a game. The Wolverines had probably the best pass defense in college history, with 23 interceptions and just five touchdown passes allowed. It had Charles Woodson, who bucked history by winning the Heisman Trophy as a defensive player, along with three other future NFL cornerbacks. They held what was then the highest-scoring team in the history of the Pac 10 to 16 points.
What did ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit predict as the final score? 34-17, Trojans. ESPN’s Mark May? USC, 49-14. Will the reader please note that mediocre defenses like Arizona State and Notre Dame held USC well below 49 points this year?
I don’t think this year’s USC is as good as last year’s (actually had a D to go with basically the same offense) or maybe even 2003’s team (Carson Palmer is a great QB…Leinart is probably more likely to go the way of fellow Pac-10 QBs Ryan Leaf and Joey Harrington). I think at least half the teams on ESPN’s list would have beat this year’s USC team in addition to the 1998 Buckeyes and 2002 Hurricanes, who were probably the best teams in their respective years even though they didn’t win the National Championships.
Feel free to add your own awards in the comments!
- Irrational Exuberance Award: After the Illini started 2-0 by beating Rutgers and San Jose State, one of the local news stations led a segment with the title, “Feels Like 2001”. 2001, of course being the year that the Kurt Kittner-led Illini went 10-2 and earned a BCS birth. Turns out, the season felt more like 2003 (1-11) with the Illini ending the season on a nine game losing streak to finish 2-9.
- Fastest Time to Erase Memories of the Past Season Award: The Illini win here given that they already had their 2006 football schedule up last week.
- Coach of the Year Award: I’m sorry, but giving this to Joe Paterno is kind of like giving the Queen of England the Politician of the Year Award. Despite Penn State’s amazing success, I can’t help but think that Paterno and Bobby Bowden are more figureheads at this point. That being said, I’m going with Charlie Weis because I don’t think this Notre Dame team would be going to a BCS bowl if anyone else was coach this season.
- Game of the Year Award: I’ve got to go with USC-Notre Dame since a 30 game win streak was on the line. Runners-up are: Penn State-Michigan (the Nittany Lions were pretty much undefeated for all but one second of the entire season), Ohio State-Michigan, and Ohio State-Texas.
- Most Improved Analyst Award: Aaron Taylor on ABC. He seemed like a rookie next to John Saunders and Craig James last year. This year he matured a lot.
- Worst Analyst Ever Award: Lou Holtz on ESPN. Good gosh he’s bad. If he’s not saying something that’s just wrong, then he’s filling the air with meaningless fluff that makes me yearn to have back the seconds of my life that I just spent listening to him.
- Worst Game to Be an Oddsmaker Award: Did anyone have 2-6 Arizona beating 8-0 UCLA by 38?
- Least Deserving Bowl Team Award: Rutgers. They lost to the Illini. The fact that they went 7-4 speaks volumes about the Big East.
- Dude, Where’s My Yards Award: Adrian Peterson who went from 1925 yards as a freshman to only 1024 yards due in part to injuries and the loss of Heisman caliber quarterback as a teammate. It’s easy to forget that Peterson was the Reggie Bush of 2004.
- Prettiest Hair Award: Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija. Daggum, those are some beautiful locks. As Leigh Ann noted, he reminds us of “Sunshine” from Remember the Titans.
- Buckeye That Was Most Likely a Ninja In a Previous Life Award: Troy Smith, though ninjas don’t fumble in game critical situations. As evidenced by the Michigan game, Grasshopper is learning.
- Buckeye That Was Most Likely a Pirate In a Previous Life Award: A.J. Hawk. Led all swashbucklers in sword cuts for a loss (of limbs that is).
- The Georgians Working Together Award: Georgia Tech upsets Miami and Georgia upsets LSU to deny their respective opponents BCS births. The end result is that Atlanta’s the Peach Bowl ends up with the best non-BCS bowl of the season with Miami (9-2) versus LSU (9-2). The Gator Bowl with Virginia Tech (10-2) and Louisville (9-2) is the second best non-BCS bowl, IMHO.
- The Opposites Attract Award: The Cotton Bowl, which will match Texas Tech against Alabama. The Red Raiders have the 2nd ranked offense in the country and the 28th ranked defense. The Crimson Tide has the 74th ranked offense and 2nd ranked defense.
- Incredible Insight Award: The group that came up with the brand new San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. I think I speak for all college football fans when I say that it would have been a tragedy…a tragedy, I tell you…not to have scheduled this match-up between Colorado State (6-5) and Navy (7-4). I’m just counting down the hours until I can watch this classic match-up.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Award: Ted Ginn. You just know when he receives a kick that something big is going to happen. The problem is the “big thing” is about equally likely to be a turnover as it is to be a TD return.
- Strike One Award: Call it the Zook-Willingham rule: If you go to a prestigious football school and don’t have them in the national championship picture within three year, you’re fired. Urban Meyer gets strike one for going 8-3. Zook and Willingham didn’t help themselves by going both going 2-9 in their first year at new, less prestigious football schools. What the heck, I’ll go ahead and give Ron and Ty a share of this award too.
- Mediocrity Award: Clemson for the seventh year in a row (6-6, 9-3, 7-5, 7-6, 9-4, 6-5, 7-4). Tommy’s the master of doing just enough not to get fired. Stewart Mandel has them picked as the breakout team for next season. I’d like to see that, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
In case you haven’t heard, here’s a link to the news.
I’ll even throw in a 50% Christmas bonus for ya’ll. Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Power.
- Bankrupted the jury’s refreshment fund on the first day by spending 10 times the budget for donuts and drinks.
- Got annoyed when other jurors continually played U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For during deliberations.
- Got annoyed when judge refused to refer to him as “the best juror ever”. Asked that Harriet Miers be reassigned as judge.
- Janitor got frustrated when Bush kept flushing copies of the Texas law book down the toilet to try and get the judge to agree with him.
- Didn’t like the fact that he couldn’t fire jurors that disagreed with him.
- Kept insisting that the payment of the jurors’ per diem benefits should be privatized.
- Judge annoyed when Bush kept telling him that he could just throw the defendant in Guantanamo and save them both some time.
- When elderly juror asked Bush to speak up so she could hear, Bush proceeded to jump on table with bullhorn and exclaim, “Well, I can hear you and this defendant’s going to hear all of us soon.”
- Anytime a fellow juror referred to the 12-hour days as “torture”, Bush would call in a spokesperson to tell them that this was impossible since America does not practice torture.
- Kept telling the judge that if a confession from the defendant was needed, he could get the boys at Langley to use a little waterboarding.
- Refused to stop referring to the defendant as “an evil-doer”.
- Kept telling fellow jurors that they wouldn’t have to be there much longer because he was training some Iraqis to take over their jury duty.
- Didn’t realize this was a job he’d actually have to show up at instead of just letting Dick Cheney handle his duties.
- Kept skipping out early so that he could get home before dark and clear some brush.
- Threatened to out a fellow juror’s wife as an undercover police officer unless he stopped disagreeing.
Inspired by Damon’s mention of hiking snobs in a recent post, I thought I’d do a blatant rip-off of Jeff Foxworthy’s You Might Be a Redneck If… (what’s the creative world coming to when people are copying Jeff Foxworthy).
- You’ll always remember the day you got your first Thermarest.
- When you see animal droppings on the trail, you try to figure out which animal it came from and look forward to sharing this information with your fellow hikers.
- You’ve been involved in a discussion about the pros and cons of an internal versus an external pack.
- The first thing you do when you get to a campsite is scope out where would be a good place to hang the bear bags.
- You’ve actually had to use your trowel. You lose a couple of points if you forgot to bring TP and had to resort to leaves. You lose major points if you had to resort to leaves and couldn’t identify poison ivy as such (I kid you not, I actually knew someone that did this when I was in high school…I think he pretty much just had to lay on his stomach for about a week).
I just finished reading the new Harry Potter book (as if you really needed a link to find it). I’ve gotta say, this is one of the best in the series in my opinion. After reading this book, my list of favorites in the series looked something like this:
- Prisoner of Azkaban, Half-Blood Prince (tie)
- Goblet of Fire
- Sorcerer’s Stone, Order of the Phoenix (tie)
- Chamber of Secrets
One thing I like about this series is that it is obvious that Rowling had the entire story in her mind when she started writing the books, rather than just kind of making it up as she goes. For example, Chamber of Secrets didn’t seem that great when I first read it, but its importance has become obvious in later books in such a way that it had to have been planned in advance.
The Half-Blood Prince does a great job of combining mystery, battles of good and evil, and significant revelations.
OK, there spoilers galore are below the fold for those of you that haven’t read this far in the series (or have only watched the movies). If you’re reading this on an RSS feed, stop reading now if you don’t want to know the spoilers.
Continue reading “Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
Since Matt has successfully pushed all of my (three) posts into the hidden caves of the blog archives, I figure it’s time I should post something new. So here it is, 10 Things Leigh Ann Did This Week (sorry, no international politics or book reviews in this posting, see Matt’s postings for those):
1) Began parking in my newly rented $400 parking space on the UIUC campus (which is about a 7 minute walk from my building).
2) Had a successful second week at my new job (even got to wear t-shirt and jeans one day!).
3) Drove a golf cart around UIUC campus with my new friend Sharon.
4) Brought my A game to Ultimate Frisbee.
5) Cleaned house and washed the car (see About Me for my feelings on this one).
6) Played a new game (Hear Me Out) with Matt, Willerie, and Allirew. The game wasn’t that fun, but the company was great. 🙂
7) Learned that one friend (who shall remain unnamed) thinks the most overpaid people in America are CPAs and engineers (meanwhile, everyone else agreed CEOs, actors, and pro athletes).
8) Received my last report card ever in the mail, 4.0 baby!
9) Shopped for new luggage for my upcoming trip to Taipei, Manila, and Bangkok. 🙂
10) Checked out Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#2 in the series).
Inspired by Damon’s post, I wanted to give my commentary on the top 100 video games of all time that I have played. Keep in mind that this list will be from quite a different perspective than Damon’s. He throws LAN parties that are quite the rage. I, on the other hand, haven’t seriously played a video game for about a decade.
So, here’s the list. (Todd Baker, you need to add a post on your blog about this since you logged like three hours of video game playing for every one of my hours when we were growing up :)) Here’s my commentary on games I have played on the list:
- #1 Super Mario Bros.: This is the game that made hitting things with your head cool. It’s amazing to think that virtually every kid born in America between about 1975 and 1985 played this game. I mean, what other video game could you throw up a picture of a Goomba:
and immediately have pretty much an entire generation tell you from what video game that character came? That being said, this was a hard game, exacerbated by the fact that you couldn’t save your game. Want to save the princess? Better have several hours blocked off. You died? Start back at square one. I never got past it 🙁
- #3 Tetris: Great combination of being mindless fun while also requiring lots of skill if you want to get really into it.
- #8 Street Fighter II:If you don’t think there’s any skill involved in video games, you never tried Zangief’s spinning pile driver move. I played this game almost daily for a year or so and I don’t think I ever could do the move. My fighter was Ken. The Dragon Punch rocked. Other fun ones were Blanka (I’m chewing your head), Chun-Li (that kick thing was awesome), and Vega (his jump of the wall and slam you thing was one of the coolest moves).
- #11 Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: I never much cared for this one. The first Legend of Zelda, however, rocked. I probably beat both quests on that like five times apiece. I guess I was bored back then.
- #20 Ms. Pac Man: I don’t know if I ever actually played this. We had a TI computer when I was growing up, so I played a clone version called Munch Man. My mom liked that game, but I don’t think I ever got into it very much.
- #23 Super Mario Bros. 3: We never owned this game, so I only played it briefly. Seemed pretty cool. I did get past Super Mario 2…I think that’s the only one of them I ever beat.
- #24 Tecmo Super Bowl:OK, as far as I am concerned, this game is the crowning achievement of the video game industry. The pinnacle of its history if you will. Every game before it was merely a prelude. Every game after it was merely grasping its excellence. I know this will seem like blasphemy for Madden fans, so let me explain.
This game is a throwback to a time when football video games were like, well, playing a video game, not studying to become a defensive coordinator. You didn’t have to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation about the virtues of a 3-4 set vs. a 4-3 set or know when to use a nickel and when to use a dime package in order to excel at this game. I mean, people that have mastered Madden probably know more than half the offensive and defensive coordinators in the NFL by the time they’re finished. With Tecmo, you get eight plays. Defense is simple…pick the same as the offense and you pretty much have a loss of yardage, otherwise you’re on your own.
Yea there were some unrealistic aspects to to Tecmo Super Bowl. The 49er’s QB could just run to the back of the end zone and throw a Hail Mary to Jerry Rice and hit it a surprisingly high fraction of the time regardless of how good the D was (holla, Timothy Clardy). Randall Cunningham was like 20 times better than he ever was in real life. But that’s what made it a video game!
My brother, my two cousins, and I used to set up these rather elaborate tournaments with Tecmo Super Bowl. However you finished in the previous tournament would determine your draft order for selecting teams in the next tournament. Good times.
- #38 Madden NFL 2004: See above.
- #47 NHL 94:I never played this, but Blades of Steel was the hockey game. It should have made the list.
- #57 Mike Tyson’s Punchout!: This was the most talked about game I can remember in elementary school. Everyone always wanted to tell how far they got. I made it to Super Macho Man, but I couldn’t get past him. And, Mike Tyson on that game was quick! It was pretty amazing to watch someone actually beat him. One thing that made this game so great was the sound. One of the boxers would say something like, “Come on!” to call you out. But this being back in the day before decent sound, it came out as this odd beeping noise 🙂
- #80 Baseball Stars: OK, I never actually played this game, but the list loses a little bit of street cred for including this one instead of RBI Baseball…now there was an eight-bit baseball game! At the very least, they could have included Basewars instead, where you have robots fighting and playing baseball.
- #83 Contra:Somewhere in the recesses of my brain, the 30 man code will always reside. Up up down down left right left right B A start. In what has to be one of the most random things I’ve ever found using Google, not only did a band do a song entitled Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left Right, B, A, Start, but there actually exists a band called that!
Or whomever invented the concept of libraries that allow me to watch the entire first season of Arrested Development on DVD free of charge. This show is the funniest sitcom on TV by like two orders of magnitude. Dare I say it’s the only one of which I’m aware that actually makes me laugh out loud.
If Seinfeld was the first sitcom to refine the concept of having all the main characters be superficial and rather unlikable, then Arrested Development takes it to a whole new level. Since people seem to love lists, I present the ten reasons why this show is hilarious (and the best sitcom since Seinfeld):
- Tobias has to wear cut-offs all the time since he suffers from a rare disease (that afflicts two members of the German parliament!) making him a never nude.
- Gob (pronounced like Job in the Bible), the aspiring magician doing all his magic shows with The Final Countdown blaring in the background.
- Gob riding everywhere on a Segway. Segways are just funny.
- Tobias, while suffering depression from his failing acting career, accidentally joins the Blue Man Group while looking for a support group.
- Henry Winkler (a.k.a. the Fonz), the most incompetent lawyer known to man doesn’t want to read the plea bargain because it’s “too thick”.
- Ben Stiller as the great magician, Tony Wonder, who randomly coughs stuff up as part of his show and created the Use Your Allusion DVDs since Guns and Roses already had rights to Use Your Illusion
- George Michael reviving the Jerky Boys phone gags.
- Lindsay and Tobias deciding to have an open marriage and then neither is able to get a date.
- The family has to use a stair car for airplanes to get around town.
- Gob failing in his magic trick to escape from prison because he can’t find a private bathroom to pass the key he swallowed.
Admittedly, the show is an acquired taste because it’s so different that the I Love Raymond mold of sitcoms. But, watch about three episodes and you’ll love it. And, lucky for you, the third season starts September 19th on Fox and the second season is out on DVD on October 11. Of course, you can always check your local library for the season one DVDs 🙂