Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ricky Gervais + Elmo= Funny.

Want definitive proof of Ricky Gervais' genius? He makes Elmo funny. And here's a bonus behind the scenes clip. When does the podcast cartoon begin again?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Stuff

Well, that was pretty good, wasn't it? I don't think it will go down as an all-time classic, but it delivered what we expected: two elite offenses moving the ball at will. It was a bit of a weird game, because there weren't a lot of big plays, just long methodical drives. I think both teams punted once apiece... no, I remember the Colts punting twice. Whatever. A defensive clinic it wasn't, which made the end all the more amazing.

I haven't checked yet to see who the MVP was, but it's Brees, right? I mean, who else could it be? He was dominant. As I posted here a few days ago, I've always liked Brees, and I don't think the Chargers are criticized enough for giving up on him after one bad year, then letting him walk after he rebounded. And now he's a Super Bowl champion, and they are still getting upset at home by lesser opponents.

Of course, the thing we'll all be talking about from this game is Sean Payton's two gutsy calls, one of them boneheaded and the other brilliant. I thought going for it on 4th down from the one was a pretty lousy decision. I'm all for aggressiveness, but you have to be smart. In that situation, you need points on the board if you want to stay in the game. And I know he's thinking that he needs a touchdown to stay in the game, but he really didn't. Not yet. But without points, if Indy scores again (and there was no reason to think they wouldn't), then you need touchdowns. Sometimes it's better to play it safe.

Of course, Indy took him off the hook by giving the Saints the ball right back, with enough time that they got the field goal anyway. Hell, maybe it worked out better, because Manning never got a realistic chance to add points at the end of the half. Sometimes it's better to be lucky then smart.

And then there's the onside kick. How awesome was that? Phil Simms had just got done saying that teams often like to defer (meaning that, if they win the coin toss, they choose to take the kickoff in the second half rather then the first; which, by the way, I would do almost every single time were I a football coach) just so they don't have Manning coming out of the locker room with the ball, and then bam! The ultimate ballsy call. I loved it. And it totally changed the game. The Saints go down the field and score, and the Colts defense looked like it never recovered.

But the Saints defense wasn't much better. It really looked like this was going to be a game that comes down to the last possession... until Manning throws a pretty lousy interception, which is returned for a touchdown. And the game might not be over (there were still over two minutes to play), but it sure got a lot more difficult for the Colts. I don't know if Manning's expected Reggie Wayne, or if it was just that lousy a pass. I know the Saints were blitzing, but it didn't look to me like that effected Manning all that much. But I was glad to hear Simms admit that he was wrong in saying before the play that the Saints shouldn't blitz. All damn season I've heard Simms say gutless things like that, and he's almost always wrong. It's very simple: you can't win football games if you don't pressure the quarterback, and by and large you can't pressure the quarterback if you don't blitz. It doesn't matter if you have seven, eight guys back in coverage, a good quarterback will still pick them apart, if given time.

Anyway. Even more shocking then the interception, though, was the Saints red zone stand on the next possession. I think we'd all mentally put another touchdown on the board for the Colts, and then they strangest thing happens: they can't score. And the game's over.

And that's that. Simms and Jim Nantz were their usual passable, vanilla selves. I know others think they are a great team, but I find them dull, and myself disagreeing with Simms more then just about any other big time analyst. The Who were just fine. They've been playing the same songs for almost fifty years now, what did you expect? I did wonder, though, if they were requested by CBS to be the halftime entertainment as an extended CSI commercial.

I missed the big Tebow commercial, and most of the others, because I don't watch the Super Bowl commercials any more then I do during any other game. Can we please just dispose of the myth that Super Bowl commercials are somehow better then normal? It's still just the same garbage per break as usual: three beer commercials, two car commercial, a promo for a lousy show, and a wild card. They're still commercials, and they still suck.

The Puppy Bowl was pretty good, though. I can't believe the Chug was the MVP. But the puppies won, so everyone went home happy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

There's Too Much to Talk About

There's like four things that I want to write about, but none with any kind of depth, so I'm just going to throw them all together.

1. Hey, the Grammys happened. Everyone wave your little flags for the Grammys. This just reminds me how blissfully ignorant I am about contemporary music these days. I didn't even know that Beyonce had a new album out. Unless they were celebrating I am...Sasha Fierce! I don't know if she writes it with the exclamation point at the end, but it looks like it belongs there, doesn't it? I just love it when pop stars publicly admit to having secret fantasy identities with preposterous names. What is she, eight?

Anyway, I'm sure that everyone that won a Grammy sucks. They always do.

2. Speaking of awards shows, the Oscar noms came out today. Just in time for DVD cover printing season! I don't like this whole "nominating ten movies for best picture" thing. It waters down the whole thing. It's like adding an extra round to the playoffs. Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire is the cinimatic equivilent of the 8-8 team that backs into the playoffs.

To me, the wild card is Inglorious Bastards. Perhaps I'll post more about it later, but I think it's the most frustrating movie to come out in ages. Parts are brilliant. As gripping as anything I've seen on screen. And parts are just no damn good; basically, all the parts that actually feature the Bastards. If you were to sit down with this movie and edit out every scene Brad Pitt's in, it would be a masterpiece, or at least closer to a masterpiece.

But it should probably win, because it was a weak year for movies and there's really nothing remotely close. Keeping the playoffs analogy from above going, Inglorious Bastards is the cinimatic equivalent of the seeming juggernaut that shows lots of flaws, but no one else is good enough to take advantage, so they win the title.

Couple more quick predictions: George Clooney should win Best Actor. Tarentino should not win Best Director, no matter what IB does in the Best Picture category, but Christoph Waltz simply must win. And if Sandra Bullock wins Best Actress for The Blind Side, the Kodak Theater should collapse upon itself into a sigularity.

3. Lost. Is. Back. Tonight. I'll get to that. If you really can't wait, you can read what my buddy James wrote. Though I'll warn you: it's long. I haven't even read the damn thing yet.

But first, I want to talk about 24. It seems that my worst fears have come true, and that the Curse of the Even Seasons is in full effect. This season has just been lame beyond words. The main plot feels like it still hasn't gotten started. The big bad guy, Arab Jason Schwartzman, has spent the last two hours offscreen in some kind of Russo-Islamic orgy. Every thing going on in the big peace negotiations with President Bulldog Face and Arab Joe Pesci is tremendously boring. Now, Arab Joe Pesci is acting all crazy because Arab Jason Schwartzman betrayed him, so the British and Germans might pull out! What a crazy twist!

And then there's the Starbuck Subplot. Oh, the Starbuck Subplot. It's so bad, I don't even know where to begin. Look, I just don't care that Dana Thrace's real name is actually Jenny Craig. I've no connection to her, and just because she's played by an actress that was on a show in which I did care about her, doesn't mean I care about her here. It's not a transitive property.

And this whole plotline is so distracting from the main story. It basically says "hey, even the CTU agents aren't really focused on what's going on with the Russians, so why should you be?" It might have worked, if the show were starting cold, with just some intel to work, but there's already been a terrorist attack. Shouldn't people seem a little, I dunno, motivated? Anyone?

I do like burnt-out Renee Walker, though. She's, like, a billion times hotter and more interesting then normal Renee Walker. And, see, her storyline is working because we care about her. Why is it so !@#$ hard for the 24 braintrust to figure this out?

So. Lost. Is back. I said that already. But it bears repeating. Lost. Tonight. And there are enough spoilers out there so that we have some idea of what's going on, and the Lindleoff and Cuse have said that by the end of tonight we'll finally have enough information to make accurate theories. All that is good.

I don't have too much to say right now; I'm sure I will tomorrow. But I just want to put this in print right now: The Island is not actually an island. It's a sophisticated time machine designed to look like an island. That's why it can be "moved", and that's why it has a mechanism built into its' center. And Jacob and his enemy aren't gods, they're time travelers. For some reason, they can't hurt each other directly; that's why Jacob's enemy had to find a loophole.

At least, that's my two cents. We'll see, right?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bill Watterson Speaks

Well, this site isn't exactly a Bill Watterson tribute site, but his work did inspire the new title, so it's only appropriate that I mention his first interview in fifteen years. Not coincidentally, that's also the number of years it's been since Watterson ended Calvin & Hobbes. And that seems really weird. I can remember the runup to the final strip like it was yesterday, and buying (and saving) the Inquirer that day. The last strip, if you've never seen it (or haven't for awhile) is really quite beautiful. It says goodbye in a hopeful, if sad, kind of way.

Watterson never wanted to be Jim Davis. I don't think he ever expected his strip to be so successful. If he did, he really may not have gone ahead with it, given how much he hates the spotlight. But thank God that never happened. I don't mind saying that I think Calvin & Hobbes is the last great comic strip, and one of the five greatest of all time. It's certainly the best of my lifetime.

It's amazing that the strip still has such power today. Unlike, well, just about every other cartoonist ever, Watterson was adamantly opposed to exploiting his characters in other mediums, so the books collecting the strip are it. Every other piece of merch that you see bearing Calvin and Hobbes' likeness is a bootleg; especially those retarded "Calvin pissing on things" stickers you see. Man, I hate those. I will admit, though, to owning a pair of Calvin & Hobbes boxer shorts; I'm not sorry at all. They are awesome (even if not very comfortable).

The interview itself is not that great. Watterson doesn't really say anything that he didn't say fifteen years ago, so it's really a lost opportunity. Really, the only thing exciting is learning that the Post Office is issuing a Calvin and Hobbes stamp! I didn't know that. How awesome. Hey, when you're dealing with Calvin & Hobbes, you've got to take what you can get.

Oh, and thanks to Dave for pointing that out.

Minimate Cutoms: John Constantine

All right, let's do another one, while I'm in the mood. This is John Constantine (AKA Hellblazer), another one of my first customs, and one of my only attempts at painting. You can kinda see why I don't paint more... I might end up scrapping this coat and doing a Sharpie job on a white lab coat, which are always plentiful.

Anyway, Constantine holds a special place in my heart because of the spot on likeness. His head and hair both come from Jack Bauer. Fun fact #1: Constantine was originally modeled after Sting, but I think Kiefer here does a fine job as a stand-in. Fun fact #2: that's actually a woman's torso, the one I had left over from my Question custom. I really don't think you can tell those are breasts. Okay, maybe you can now....

Oh, and the cigar hand comes from Kara Thrace. I've always meant to paint it white. I mean to do a lot of things.