Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 Halftime Report

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

We've reached the midway point of our 2010 season...but I'm going to hold off on analyzing it until I'm in a better (more focused) mood. Maybe next week. In less than 24 hours, my dad & stepmom will be here…and we’ll probably go check out the Thursday night festival that they have in downtown Truckee every week during the summer. I hear good things. Tonight’s a softball game…so we’ll see how that goes. Friday, they have a celebration down at Kings Beach with music by Blues Monster, so hopefully the folks’ll be interested in that. Saturday, we’ll probably meet up with my stepsister and her family in Carson City during the day…and then at night, there are a lot of possibilities. There’s ska music at the park near my house, a Jimi Hendrix tribute band called Purple Haze at the Crystal Bay Casino, and a big Deck Party in Kings Beach with music as well. Sunday, I’m sure I’ll be dragged to a parade or something…but then Monday & Tuesday, we take a trip out to San Francisco. See, apparently I’m the only one in my family who has been there…so I’ve got to share it with the little nephews that live in Carson & have never seen the ocean, right? Plus, it’s a great excuse to go see the city & my buddy Bubbles. So yeah, if you don’t hear from me for a week or so, now you know why. It should make for an epic week.

Last night, I watched an independent movie called “Cold Souls” starring Paul Giamatti…as himself. Sort of. Basically he plays himself in a production of “Uncle Vanya” which is a depressing Russian play. Because he’s a method actor, it starts to wear on him…and he stumbles upon an article about Soul Storage that promises to eliminate suffering…by taking the weight of your troubled soul. He agrees to do it temporarily so that he can do a great performance without the burden…and then get it back. Simple enough, right? Oh, you’re still stuck on the placing a soul into a storage container? Or what constitutes the Soul? Well, forget about that for a moment. Disbelief. Now, trafficking souls is big business between the United States & Russia…but obviously it’s a little shadier in Russia. Transporting souls is tricky when it comes to pressure, so no flights, but instead they have “mules” who transport them (you know, like heroin). Well, long story short, Paul’s soul gets stolen so that it can be put into the body of a (really hot) Russian soap opera actress who wants to be a big star…and Paul finds out…and has to go get it. Now, there’s a whole lot of metaphor & just general allegory kind of thrown your way during this movie…and it’s a little slow at times (but mostly to show just how distraught Paul is and why he would even consider doing something like this). That being said, I thought it was an okay movie. I think it was supposed to be a comedy…but it really wasn’t. You know how those independent movies can be. Great performances all around…but I kind of give it a “take it or leave it” review. The concept was what interested me. As you know, I’ve been contemplating a LOT of things the past month or so…and one of the things that came up was “Am I losing my Soul?” Don’t look at me like that. I’ve been feeling kinda “in the dumps” for a bit despite being surrounded in all this beauty & wonderful people…so it’s the only explanation, right? Yeah, didn’t think so. Anyway, I like my Soul. I couldn’t imagine giving it up…and I’ve got so much of it. I’m like a white chocolate James Brown most of the time. A ball of energy & positive emotions, always ready for a good time no matter where the time or place. So why do I have these feelings sometimes? I assume because I’m just not surrounded by my peeps like I’m used to…but even that’s starting to change a bit. I’m meeting people…and softball’s a lot of fun…and I may have even found another coworker who seemed interested in being a roommate, albeit he lives by the lake now…and will probably want to move just before the snow comes. Heck, I can’t blame him. I’d do the same thing. Anyway, we’ll see how that goes. Covet your Soul, ladies & gentlemen. You’re lucky to have it. Even if it looks like a chickpea (obscure reference to this movie). Here’s some news…

Little Dictator Update - A lock of hair cut from Napoleon Bonaparte's head after he died has sold for $13,000 at an auction in New Zealand. Extra phone lines were installed for the sale to cope with an expected rush of international buyers seeking to snip up the hair cut from the head of former French Emperor a day after his death in 1821 while he was in exile on the island of St. Helena. The circle of hair was part of a collection brought to New Zealand in 1864 by Denzil Ibbetson, a British commissary officer and artist. Ibbetson served on St. Helena during the six years that Napoleon was held on the island after being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. The collection of about 40 items, including sketches by Ibbetson of Napoleon on his death bed at the age of 51, was sold by his descendants. "The collection has really been in remarkable condition and the family has to be commended for preserving this material for all this time, it's nearly 200 years old," Hamish Coney, managing director of the Art+Object Auction House, told Reuters Television. "In terms of a historical collection that will be located in New Zealand, it's probably one of the most important collections that has ever been found." According to the auction house the lock was bought by an unnamed collector in London. Coney said as well as local interest in New Zealand, there had been interest from Hong Kong, the United States, Lithuania and France. Thirteen grand for a few strands of 200-year old hair? WOW!!! I guess DNA research or something if…for some reason, you wanted to clone him…but really? Man, I don’t think anybody will ever be able to talk crap on any purchase that I make. “$teve, you paid two grand for a poster of Pootie Tang signed by Lance Crowthers?” “Hey, at least I didn’t pay $13,000 for a lock of Napoleon’s hair.” “But… actually you’ve got a great point there.” Anyway, I’m done talking about short French guys who have complexes named after them. Let’s move on to something better like…

HOT RUSSIAN SPIES!!! - Anna Chapman has been called the femme fatale of a spy case with Cold War-style intrigue — a striking redhead and self-styled entrepreneur who dabbled in real estate and mused on her Facebook page, "if you can dream, you can become it." Chapman's American dream, U.S. authorities say, was a ruse. The 28-year-old Chapman, they say, was a savvy Russian secret agent who worked with a network of other operatives before an FBI undercover agent lured her into an elaborate trap at a coffee shop in lower Manhattan (apparently it wasn’t just a casual flirtatious cup of coffee). Though the U.S. has branded the operatives as living covertly, at least in Chapman's case, she had taken care to brand herself publicly as a striver of the digital age, passionately embracing online social networking by posting information and images of herself for the world to see (hiding in plain sight). Prosecutors have charged Chapman and 10 other suspects with following orders by Russian intelligence to become "Americanized" enough to infiltrate "policymaking circles" and feed information back to Moscow. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz has called evidence against Chapman "devastating." She is "someone who has extraordinary training, who is a sophisticated agent of Russia," he said. Her mother, who lives in western Moscow, said she is convinced of her daughter's innocence. "Of course I believe that she's innocent," Irina Kushchenko told The Associated Press. She refused to comment further. Chapman and nine others accused of being ring members were arrested across the Northeast and charged with failing to register as foreign agents, a crime that is less serious than espionage and carries up to five years in prison. Some also face money laundering charges. An 11th suspect was arrested in Cyprus, accused of passing money to the other 10 over several years. Prosecutors said several of the defendants were Russians living in the U.S. under assumed names and posing as Canadian or American citizens. It was unclear how and where they were recruited, but court papers said the operation went as far back as the 1990s. Exactly what sort of information the agents are alleged to have provided to their Russian handlers and how valuable it may have been was not disclosed. The FBI finally moved in to break up the ring because one of the suspects was going to leave the country, the Department of Justice said Tuesday. Court documents indicate the FBI believed Chapman was about to go to Moscow, but it wasn't clear whether her impending departure was the one that triggered the arrests. The court papers allege that some of the ring's members were husband and wife and that they used invisible ink, coded radio transmissions and encrypted data and employed methods such as swapping bags in passing at a train station. Farbiarz called the arrests "the tip of the iceberg" of a conspiracy by Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, to collect information inside the U.S. The arrests raised fears that Moscow has planted other couples (remember the 50’s when commies were everywhere?). Such deep-cover agents are known as "illegals" in the intelligence world because they take civilian jobs instead of operating inside Russian embassies and military missions. Russian officials initially denounced the arrests as "Cold War-era spy stories" and accused elements of the U.S. government of trying to undermine the improving relationship between Moscow and Washington. But the White House and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that the arrests would not damage ties between the two nations. So there are REALLY spies walking among us…and of course, they’re HOT!!! By the way, does anybody see this as possibly the GREATEST PROMOTION of a movie about to hit theatres in a while? What am I talking about? WHO IS SALT??? Hmm, superhot Russian operative who has been living among us & infiltrating the hearth of government? Anna Chapman (a.k.a. Anya Kapucikova en lieu of a far more suggestive James Bond-esque name like Xenia Onatop or Octopussy) may as well be played by Angelina Jolie!!! Like I wasn’t going to watch a movie with an armed Angelina in the first place… now it could be based on a true story. Sad thing is…this isn’t the only story of movie promotion taking this route…

They Call Him Machete – September 3rd can’t get here soon enough for Robert Rodriguez’ movie based on a fake preview from another movie “Machete” to hit theatres. Though the preview has been posted on my blog a few times over the years, this story has little to nothing to do with it…or does it? Police said an 81-year-old man was arrested after he chased another man around a taco stand in Salem, Oregon while armed with a machete. Yes, an elderly gentleman wielding a machete. Go ahead and picture it…and then laugh hysterically…until you realize that it could happen in your neighborhood. Salem police said Monday the man accused the taco stand owner of stealing a drill from his nearby business. When the taco stand owner denied it, the suspect left and returned with a machete. Lt. Dave Okada said the suspect chased the unidentified man around the stand several times before officers arrested him on accusations of menacing and attempted assault. He was booked into the Marion County Jail. There were no injuries in Sunday's incident. Also, is menacing an actual crime? I figured it was just more of a way of life or a dirty look or something. More like a…dangerous or evil attitude as opposed to action, which is basically just annoying. In this case, we’re talking about a grandpa off his rocker attacking another man with a machete over a drill. That’s not exactly my definition of Menacing…but I’ll double check with Webster’s. By the way, in my version of this story, the taco stand owner is played by a wise-cracking Cheech Marin and the old guy is played by Charlton Heston. Act like you wouldn’t like it…

I Read of Jeannie - American actress Barbara Eden, famed for her starring role in the hit 1960s TV series "I Dream of Jeannie," is writing a tell-all memoir about her career in Hollywood, The Crown Publishing Group said on Tuesday. The memoir, called "Jeannie out of the Bottle," will be published next year, detailing Eden's on and off-screen life with celebrities including Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and her "Jeannie" co-star Larry Hagman. "Like Jeannie, I've been bottled up long enough -- it's time for me to pop the cork and talk about the amazing people I've been fortunate enough to meet along the way, and the highs and lows of my every day living," Eden said in a statement. The 75 year-old Arizona-born actress gained stardom from the TV show playing the beautiful 2000-year-old female genie who falls in love with an astronaut, played by Hagman. The series aired between 1965 and 1970 and produced 139 episodes and has been widely rerun on cable TV and in syndication throughout the world. Eden has also appeared regularly on stage in musicals and plays as well as films and guest appearances in other television shows. Will there be any insanely detailed orgy adventures complete with black-and-white stills? Probably not. Then again, when you’re talking about Elvis, Clyde, Dirty Harry, Butch Cassidy, Marilyn, Lucy and a guy that she called “Master” for six years, the possibilities are endless.

Harold & Kumar Christmas - Neil Patrick Harris is set to return for "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas" and comedian Patton Oswalt will join him according to The Wrap. Harris himself confirmed to that he will re-team with Kal Penn and John Cho for the third feature in the comedy series, despite meeting his apparent demise in 2008's "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo" (I’m thinking in some kind of Obe Wan using the Force kind of appearance). Oswalt meanwhile is expected to play Todd Dennison, a high-strung friend of Harold's whose infant daughter gets accidentally high on second-hand pot smoke. The third 'Kumar' film began production last week in Michigan where shooting will continue until mid-August. The story follows the pair on a hunt for a new Christmas tree for Harold's father-in-law after Kumar burns it down. Should be a real side-splitter. Eh, we’ll see. Anything with NPH simply HAS to be good. Check out the record. Doogie Howser MD, Starship Troopers, Undercover Brother, the first two Harold & Kumar’s, How I Met Your Mother, Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, hell I’m gonna take it all the way back to Purple People Eater. Oh, you don’t remember that one? Google that sh*t. It’s a kid’s flick before Doogie… and I just remember watching it at my grandma’s once and singing “One eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater” for like a week. What’s my point? All classics. NPH has the Midas Touch.

Fox Update – Sigh… so I guess you’ve all heard. The other day when I said it ain’t over until it’s Mrs. Megan Fox-Austin-Green, apparently that was the final straw for her…and it’s been made official to kill all hope. Megan finally married her long time boyfriend / fiancé Brian Austin Green. Fox's publicist Dominique Appel said Tuesday the couple was "happily married." The 24-year-old actress became engaged to Green earlier this month for the second time. The pair was previously engaged in 2006. It's the first marriage for both. The good news? Green is a dozen years her senior…so it gives me some hope that in a few years some beautiful woman will be able to hand the complex genius that is me…and we fall madly in Love and get married. Also, they’re happy. That’s what’s most important obviously. The bad news? Sigh… now who am I going to report on every week or so with career updates and sound bites to the media that will entertain me… and then pair them with a plethora of pictures that strike at my very core? We shall see. One thing’s for sure though, if I can get over Adriana Lima after she married someone who is vastly my inferior, then I’m sure that I can get over Megan as well. Time heals all wounds…and like I said, some lucky vixen out there will be able to handle all of me… even if I have to slowly work her into it. I’m a patient man. Congratulations to both of you, Brian & Megan. And I understand that I wasn’t invited to the ceremony. It would’ve been awkward.

That’ll do it for today…and I guess for probably the next week or so because I’ll have visitors. Don’t worry, when I return, there shall be plenty of brilliant insights, a few amusing anecdotes, and as always… a lot of pictures gloating just how awesome everything is here in sunny California… so you should just come visit when you get a few days off & I’d be happy to share it all with you. That’s right, I’m talking to you. You know the digits. You’ve had them for years. Call me up. Let’s make it happen. Anyway, have a great Independence Day Weekend everybody!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Steady Lovin' Woman Gon' Come My Way

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Two days from now, my dad & stepmom are going to be here…so if you don’t hear from me for a few days, please don’t worry. I’ll just be enjoying time with the family including a four-day weekend. Not a whole lot to really say or catch up on. Shot some hoops at the park yesterday…and pretty much had the court to myself which is a rarity in this outstanding weather. No softball leagues on Mondays, just practice for a girl’s team…which I don’t mind one bit. “Whew… it’s gettin’ hot in herre. So take off all your clothes. I am, getting so hot, I’m gon’ take my clothes off.” With a little bitta… Come on. Don’t act like you don’t know Nelly. Anyway, that’s about it. Talked to a coworker who may be a new roommate…but we’ll see. He was looking to move to Truckee by the start of winter. I gave him the number & he knows where to find me if he wants to check the place out. He’s a cool cat. Anyway, I guess here’s some news…

Still Think You’d Be a Bad Parent? – You know, I hear people say stuff all the time like “I’d like to have kids…but I just don’t think that I’d be a great parent. So I’ll wait” or “I can’t afford kids right now.” Now, I don’t have kids…but let me tell ya, there’s no time like as soon as you’d like to have them (and you don’t have pending drug addictions). It’s always a shame when a perfectly good couple let their window pass them by because they’re scared about becoming a parent. It’s a valid fear…but you can do it. Besides, stupid people are having kids at an INCREDIBLE rate…and I see the movie “Idiocracy” as more like “An Inconvenient Truth” than most people…but hey, prove me wrong. For example, this story comes from Michigan. Authorities said a drunken man and woman were arrested after they were found pushing a baby stroller holding two young boys…who were holding open containers of alcohol and a bayonet inside. Police said in a statement that the 30-year-old woman and 52-year-old man (oh yes, 52 & 30) were arrested after police were called about 1:30 a.m. Friday when the woman tried to take a bike off a porch (that apparently didn’t belong to her?). The statement said security guards had been watching the pair and initially detained the woman. Police said officers found the woman's one- and four-year-old sons in the stroller along with alcohol and the "double-edged bayonet." reported the children were turned over to a relative. Charges were pending. Still think you’re not fit to raise children? I believe in you. All you need is Love. How do I know this? My grandpa & grandma Jay raised 17 children on a farm…and my grandpa Jay was a garbage man (and my grandma was apparently knocked up for over 20 years) and they were all happy as clams. Will you make mistakes? Of course. Will it be difficult? Anything worth doing or having usually is. Just do me a favor…and don’t give you kids a bottle of Jack and a large stabbing weapon as toys while you go on a drunken bike theft spree.

Schoolyard Brawl – I’d be more forgiving if this happened. Authorities say two women have been arrested following a parents' brawl that interrupted a Southern California kindergarten graduation ceremony. School officials placed Puesta del Sol (“Sunset”) Elementary in the desert town of Victorville on lockdown Wednesday morning after a fight broke out among a group of parents. The San Bernardino County sheriff's department says witnesses told deputies several mothers were involved in an argument and it got physical in a field near the ceremony. Several men then jumped into the fray, and the incident turned into a brawl. A deputy later arrested two people on suspicion of being a disruptive presence at a school. Witnesses said they were the main instigators. In all, 20 adults were identified in the brawl. A school district official says there could be more arrests. There were no reported injuries. The worst part is…we don’t even know what it was about. You’re at a cheesy kindergarten graduation ceremony… probably in hundred degree heat… I want to know what the spark was to light this powder keg. Was some parent making fun of somebody’s child? Did somebody accidentally step on a foot & tempers went off? Was there an argument about how tax dollars are being spent on public schools in our state? Or was it somebody didn’t “ackrite” and “be dis-respeckin me” and it hit the fan? Who knows? That is the mystery of the minor schoolyard brawl. Heck, it could’ve gone back to when the parents involved were children. “This is for kissing Bobby Higgins under jungle gym.” POP!!! “B**ch, that was back when New Kids on the Block were actually kids. Why are you bringing that up now?” Then it goes from there. Still thinking that raising kids is tough? Would you start a fight at a graduation ceremony for your 5-year old? I didn’t think so. Now let’s travel the world for some news…

Legendary Tennis Match - When umpire Mohamed Lahyani was assigned to officiate a first-round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, little did he know his years of traveling around the world cramped in economy class would come in handy. While American Isner and Frenchman Mahut were locked in an almighty three-day battle that stretched on for a surreal 11 hours and five minutes (oh yes, the old record was almost half as long), many people were concerned about the plight of Sweden's Lahyani. "Seriously... doesn't anyone have to pee? Umpires included?" Andy Roddick Tweeted Wednesday as he watched the final set drag on for what ended up being eight hours and 11 minutes. Once the match concluded Thursday, with an eye-popping score of 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68, Lahyani shed light on his own powers of endurance. "I travel economy so seven hours sitting still on court is nothing," Lahyani, who had the best seat in town for the match of the century which featured an unbelievable 980 points, told reporters. "It has been quite amazing to be involved with such an extraordinary match. I can't imagine seeing another one like it in my lifetime. I didn't get a chance to feel tired, I was gripped by the amazing match and my concentration stayed good -- I owe that to the players. Their stamina was breathtaking and their behavior exceptional." While Isner and Mahut were seen chomping away energy bars and endless bunches of bananas, Lahyani took a few sips of water now and then as he enjoyed his high-rise vantage point. He sent the crowd into fits of laughter at every mention of the score -- it does not get any more surreal than uttering 68-games all -- and sometimes even shook his head and rubbed his eyes at the absurdity of it all. But he would not have swapped his place with anyone. "On Wednesday my voice did get a little dry but I have drunk plenty today and it feels good," said Lahyani, who along with the players was presented with a memento on court to mark the marathon feat. "I think the longest match I've ever chair umpired before was five and a half hours long... that's a lot less than even the third set of this one. When you are so focused and every point feels like a match point you just don't even think about eating or needing the bathroom.” So the next time that you’re stuck on a layover at DIA for a couple hours thinking “How could this possibly get any worse?” Just remember, you could be forced to watch tennis. I kid. It must’ve been an epic match. I caught some of the highlights. Would’ve been better if it were women. You know how I like to just listen…

Beauty Queen Stripped – Sorry, it’s not nearly as sexy as you think. No sex scandal involved. A British beauty queen has been stripped of her title after pageant organizers discovered she lied about her age and place of residence on the application form for the contest. Hopefuls must be between the ages of 15 (really?) and 24 to participate in the Miss Cornwall pageant and 27-year-old English teacher Anness (that’s it? Like Madonna? Only dangerously close to anus?) claimed to be 22 on all the entry forms she submitted between 2006 and 2010, British papers reported. Competition organizer Becky Chapman discovered the old applications while cleaning her office. When she went to confront Anness at her home, she found that the beauty queen lived not in Saltash, Cornwall as she had written on the application form, but in Plymouth, Devon. GASP!!! According to the rules of the contest, entrants must either live, work or study in Cornwall. Anness apologized for the incident, explaining that she had lied about her age to follow her dream. Chapman expressed pity for Anness. "I feel sorry for her, she'd been entering these contests for years and never won, and now she has finally won she gets her title taken from her," Chapman told the Mail. As well as the prized crown and sash, Anness has given up 2,000 pounds ($3,013) worth of prizes, a 12 month modeling contract, and a chance to compete for the Miss England title. Runner-up Samantha Jane Orpe will take her title and place in the Miss England final. Sucks a little bit, right? Just goes to show that women age like fine wine. Oh golly, a woman lied about her age! Stop the presses! Get to the fallout shelter! The Apocalypse is surely upon us as foretold in the Prophecy! The fall of an empire, the passing of a comet, David Spade is a father, and now… a woman has lied about her age. We are surely doomed!!! Cheese & rice, we’re talking about a beauty pageant. Do you think ANY of them actually work with charity organizations? If they had the choice between World Peace & a shopping spree, which do you think they would take? Granted, I know a few former pageant contestants who got out of that crap because they really did like that stuff & didn’t like the BS associated with the pageants…but nine times out of ten, they’re just a beautiful naïve sheltered girl. Definitely not a woman who has any idea what she wants in life, just like any other 15-24 year old out there. Anyway, I hope that everything works out for you, Anness. Wow! She’s a superhot school teacher with an English accent…and she has a name like that. Just goes to show, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Village Sale - Stressed-out city executives looking to get away from it all have the chance to buy their own rural village in New Zealand, complete with a pub and population of 40. Otira, a hamlet on the rainy west coast of New Zealand's South Island, is on the market for $NZ1 million ($715,000). Current owners Bill and Christine Hennah bought the rundown village in 1998 after passing through and "feeling sorry for it," Christchurch-based newspaper The Press reported on Friday. They paid $NZ80,000 ($56,000) for the hotel or pub, school, railway station, town hall and 18 houses making up the village near the Arthur's Pass National Park that dates back to 1923. The village developed when the Otira railway tunnel was opened, and during its heyday was home to about 600 workers and their families. But the couple, now aged in their 60s, say they no longer have the energy to run the hotel. They are asking $NZ350,000 for the hotel or $NZ1 million for the whole lot. "We need someone to build it up again. There is a lot of potential and opportunity," Christine Hennah told The Press. Hmm, you can buy a quaint Kiwi town for less than a million bucks? Interesting. What’s the catch? Oh yeah, it’s cold & rainy and everything’s about 80 years old and rundown. I wonder if it’s still that whole untapped gorgeous wilderness that you always see in the New Zealand advertisements. I’m sure it’s not horrible, right? “The name Otira has to go. Welcome to…$tevonia!!! The hotel, to meet the changing demographic of our guests, will now be a hotel / pub / spa / brothel. I have also hired the famous Anness to be our greeter / school teacher / eye candy. The railway station will bring in guests from all over the island…and our new policy will be to give everybody a Kiwi as they exit. Since Kiwis won’t readily grow here, we’ll have to import them from more tropical areas. To counter these expenses, we will convert the town hall into a marijuana greenhouse, providing the stickiest of the icky and boosting our modest economy…and maybe see if we can grow a few Kiwis in there too. You aaaaand you now work at the hotel. So let it be written, so let it be done!” Ah yes, loads of potential in the city of Otira. Within a few years, I see it blossoming like Vegas…only in a place that knows what the color non-neon green looks like.

Russian Getaway – “$teve, how would you get the money to afford a small town?” Being in the right place at the right time, that’s how. A Russian fisheries official suspected of accepting bribes tossed 10 million rubles ($322,000) from his car after a police chase and a crash on a busy Moscow highway, investigators said on Monday. Pursued by police, Federal Fisheries Agency official Boris Simonov crashed his Cadillac (what did YOU think he drove?) on Friday and frantically flung 10 million rubles ($322,000) into the wind, local media reported. State-run First Channel television showed scores of large-denomination ruble notes being collected by police and cast into a torn, grimy cardboard box beside a thoroughfare in south-central Moscow. A spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee said Simonov's boss, Roman Postnikov, who oversaw two Moscow rivers, was arrested on suspicion of forging a contract that allowed a fishing firm operate without the proper documents. Both fishery officials will be jailed for two months pending further investigation, the committee said. President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to tackle Russia's endemic graft, but analysts say little has changed since he took office in May 2008. Anyway, back to the getaway. Despite the poor exchange rate of rubles to dollars, isn’t that better than a smoke screen for a getaway? “Damn the cops are on our ass. Fan out the money!” “What? Why?” “Don’t worry, we have billions of rubles, just toss out what we have. People will get in the way & the cops will stop…or have some serious explaining to do.” Admit it, if you where walking downtown…and saw a car driving by with a man in the window through bags of singles into the air (like he just robbed a strip club & decided to make it rain), wouldn’t you flood the streets to get a few handfuls? Sure, you may wait until the cop cars pass…then again, you may not. You got first dibs, only suckers will wait until the coast is clear. You’re an entrepreneur. Money goes to the adventurous, right? Anyway, just thought it was an interesting story / image.

Bot Update – “$teve, it’s not a Sexbot Update?” Does everything have to be about sex with you? Can’t I just talk nerdy for a few minutes (and maybe work in some sexual innuendo)? So the theory is, if extraterrestrial life exists on Jupiter's moon Europa, instead of deploying probes to drill past its ice shell to look for aliens in the ocean below, one might just go fossil-hunting on the icy surface, right? "A prospector sent there could possibly find extraterrestrial life within our lifetimes," suggested planetary scientist Richard Greenberg at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at Tucson. Europa, which is roughly the size of Earth's moon, is enveloped by a global ocean that may be about 100 miles deep (Waterworld on acid?). This ocean is overlain by an icy crust of unknown thickness, although some estimates are that it could be only a few miles thick. Since wherever there is water on Earth there is a chance of life, for many years scientists have entertained the notion that this Jovian moon could support extraterrestrials. Recent findings even suggest its ocean could be loaded with oxygen, enough to support millions of tons worth of marine life like the type that exists on Earth. To see if any kind of life actually evolved on Europa, scientists have proposed missions to drill through its outer shell, perhaps using heat to melt through the ice (that couldn’t possibly work), whirring blades to clear away rocks and robot subs to explore the ocean. "With that vision in mind, NASA has a multi-staged plan, first with a Europa orbiter scheduled for 18 years from now, and 10 or 20 years after that, a lander to see what the surface is like, and then maybe a generation later, hopefully we can figure out how to drill all the way down through the ice," Greenberg noted. He recently wrote a book, "Unmasking Europa," which touched upon how one might search for life on the Jovian moon (and then fall in love with the princess of the native underwater people, soon to become a movie titled “Dancing with Snorks”). However, rather than deploying complex equipment to try and penetrate an uncertain distance into the ice, the remains of marine life on Europa could be available right on the outer shell for landers to find. Scientists aren't suggesting that any life from Europa somehow managed to dig its way up through the ice. Instead, the constant upheaval this Jovian moon undergoes could drag unwitting organisms upward (ugh…giggidy?), Greenberg explained. The scarcity of craters seen on Europa suggests the ice shell is no older than 50 million years old, hinting that it underwent complete turnover in that time. The culprit for this extraordinary activity is the gravitational pull Europa experiences from Jupiter. This leads to tidal forces roughly 1,000 times stronger than what Earth feels from our moon, flexing and heating the Jovian moon and constantly stirring its crust (ah, giggidy!). Ice (probably newly frozen ocean water) apparently regularly gets pushed up from below, leading double ridges typically 330 feet high (100 meters) to form and cover at least half of Europa's surface. Parts of the surface also could partially melt from below, creating rafts of ice that break loose and tumble around. This process creates the "chaotic terrain" that comprises roughly 40% of the ice shell, and also sends matter both upward and downward (giggidy). "If there are organisms in Europa's ocean, one could well imagine that all over the surface there might be frozen chunks of that stuff. People are talking about various kinds of drills and melting down through the ice, and I think we can jump past that and sample the ocean from the surface." One of the best places to look for any fossils on Europa would be newly formed double ridges, Greenberg said. "The ridges that crisscross others are going to be the most recent ones. One could then imagine landers scooping up the ice and analyzing it." Chaotic terrain would also be another good area to explore, as would an active crack (giggidy?) in Europa's crust. "If we can land right next to an active crack, there's a good chance we could sample some of the most recent ice. If we could put a penetrator into it, we could even sample water as it comes up." Okay, that’s a definite giggidy…but let’s get it back to science now. No more penetrating cracks and sample the water that comes out of it. If any microbes did manage to make their way to Europa's surface, the constant stream of radiation from Jupiter would likely break their proteins down over time, assuming such life would have proteins at all, said planetary geologist Brad Dalton at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Still, experiments of Dalton's have suggested orbiters could investigate the infrared signature of Europa's icy crust to look for tattered remnants of life. Landers could conduct even more detailed analyses — for instance, using "lab-on-a-chip" devices on melted ice samples to look for biomolecules, he added. Also "there's always the possibility that we could find structures — something analogous to skeletal remains," Greenberg noted. Dalton added that if landers dug "even a meter or so down might also be able to find viable organisms, if there are any there." Of course, if there is life in Europa's ocean, it remains uncertain whether it would indeed get lofted up via geological processes to its surface. Conversely, if no life is seen on Europa's surface, that does not mean there is no life in Europa's ocean. "My point is only why wait to look for life at the hardest place on Europa to get to? Why not go to the easy place first?" Good point. Okay, I think I’ve nerded you out for long enough. This stuff interests me a bit…and it’s my blog, so deal with it. Hmm, what else interests me…

X-Men Update – Ah yes, beautiful women & comic books. Those too interest me. Alice Eve ("She’s Out of My League") has scored the role of Emma Frost in “X-Men: First Class” for 20th Century Fox reports Heat Vision. The fictional telepathic character, also known as the White Queen, started out as one of the X-Men's most dangerous foes…and then became one of its most central members (don’t worry, not necessarily a spoiler alert for the movie). Rosamund Pike was rumored to be up for the role earlier this month…but they decided to go with another hot British chick…and apparently Anness either can’t act or couldn’t get away from school long enough to audition. Matthew Vaughn (“Kick Ass”, “Stardust” & “Layer Cake”) directs the prequel which also stars James McAvoy (“Wanted”) as a young (bald?) Professor X, and Michael Fassbender (“Inglorious Basterds”) as a young Magneto. There are a lot of other rumors out there…but apparently these three are signed up. More to come I’m sure. Oh, you haven’t seen “She’s Out of My League” yet? Or Maxim’s issue a few months back? Well allow me to introduce you to Miss Alice Eve…

Anyway, I think that’ll do it for tonight. You’re probably fighting off sleep anyway. Thanks for stopping by…and I’ll keep you posted on events coming up this week…and worst-case, you’ll get the pictures next week some time. Have a great day everybody!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chilis & Hotties

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

This weekend was quite relaxing. Beautiful weather, which led to a LOT of people being down at the Lake yesterday. Basically the majority of the 70-mile road that surrounds the lake had cars parked on either side, which is awesome…because it means money is being brought into the area, so I’m down with it. Besides, pretty good eye candy. Saturday, I really didn’t do much. I was at home most of the time, talking on the phone with family & friends. Definitely getting the miles racked up on my phone since I moved out here. Sunday, I went to the Truckee Chili Cook-Off which was held at the park a few blocks from my apartment…and I must’ve had about a gallon of chili. It was all pretty good…even the vegetarian option that was there (always skeptical of vegetarian chili, much like vegetarian meatloaf). Also met a few more locals…but it again was mostly the older married couples. No worries though. I wasn’t going to a chili cook-off on a Sunday morning to pick up girls anyway. At least not directly. They had live entertainment throughout the cook-off, and it was pretty good, especially the acupella quartet they had when I showed up. They didn’t say their names though. Here’s a picture…

Later in the day, I went down to the Lake and wanted to check out my favorite spot…but like I said, there was no parking in that area…so I just kinda kept going…and found another nice little trail a few miles down the road with one parking spot left. Here are some pictures of what that trail had to offer…

That was pretty much it for the weekend. This coming weekend should be more eventful, mainly because my dad & stepmom are coming to visit on Thursday for a week…and we should be pretty active with 4th of July activities, concerts, family gatherings, day trip to San Francisco, plus whatever else we stumble upon. Can’t wait to get started. In the meantime though, here’s some news…

Charles in Charge – Up-front, this has nothing to do with the Scott Baio sitcom or any remake of it. Rather, Charles Zevallos, a politician in Peru's Amazon basin, often wins kisses from female supporters, but things have moved to a whole new level as women at his rallies have started throwing their underwear at him. Mmm hmm… Zevallos, a candidate for mayor in the province of Maynas, has made a tradition of giving fans, watches or soccer balls at his rallies in exchange for women's kisses. But in the past few days, some supporters have taken off their underpants and tossed them to him during rallies for his progressive party, 1000 Movimiento Integracion Loretana. Zevallos has downplayed any resemblance to Tom Jones, the Welsh crooner who for years was showered with women's panties while performing at pop music concerts (mostly because he doesn't look like Sir Tom Jones at ALL). Commentators in Peru's capital of Lima, 990 miles from Maynas, said the underwear throwing was proof that politics in the Andean country had reached a new low (ugh…do they know that the Conan is my governor?). "It was spontaneous, I didn't ask for them, but then I saw a pair of yellow ones, and then another woman threw another pair at me," Zevallos said. He said he cannot be blamed for having zealous supporters. "I don't know if this will stop, it's really crazy here right now. The people love me.” Wow, just when I think a career in politics may not be the thing for me, I read a story like this…and just realize I’m in the wrong country or something. Here in America, it’s all kissing babies & being a good family man and all that mess. Apparently in Peru, I can bear a mild resemblance to a celebrity (Kevin Bacon? Dennis Quaid?) and run with some progressive party…and Peruvian princesses will make offerings of slightly-used undergarments to show their support (though brassieres typically show more support). Hmm… Maybe $teve has to consider another career change. By the way, is it weird that I’m seeing a new Disney flick with this story? “I must find the woman with the green eyes who fits these silk panties. She shall be my First Lady.” Patent Pending.

Peeper Caught - Police say 10 "angry women" detained an accused changing room peeper at a thrift store in East Tennessee until officers arrived. Twenty-year-old Bradley J. Wallen was charged with two misdemeanors, observation without consent and photographing in violation of privacy (hmm, so there are pictures?). Church Hill police chief Mark Johnson told the Kingsport Times-News that a small hole between the men's and women's changing rooms at the Flashbacks and Reruns thrift store was allegedly discovered by a woman who dropped something on the floor (“Is that…a glory hole?”). Johnson said "10 angry women" prevented Wallen from leaving by blocking a rear door. Wallen was released after his arrest Tuesday. Jail records do not show that he has hired a lawyer and a Thursday telephone call to his residence was not answered…as he was probably back at Flashbacks and Reruns (“Hey hey hey…”). Silly kids and their need to see women in the underwear (or less). Apparently the internet hasn’t caught on in Eastern Tennessee. Sigh… I miss the girl who used to change in her living room at my apartment complex in Slick City. It was always a pleasant surprise. “Oh man, work’s been a pain in my ass, everybody’s working, I’m outta cash, don’t know what I’m going to do with my job, sigh… Guess I’ll just watch some Sunny in Phila…what the…? Why hello there. Oh my. You know what, things are going to be okay. Thank you Jesus!”

Cleavage Ban – On that note, ladies, I just want to thank you from the deepest cockles of my heart. You see, on behalf of all men, I want to thank you for helping get through the day. Sometimes, I feel troubled…and worrisome or unmotivated or something but…there’s one thing that gets me out of bed in the morning, even when my own eagerness to greet the day has been exhausted. What is it you ask? “I might get to see some cleavage today. Any day with that possibility…is a great day.” Well, apparently Mother Afrika (land of National Geographic bare boobage for generations) doesn’t feel that way. The nation of Gabon has banned displays of cleavage in the civil service and told male workers to smarten up their act as part of moves by the central African state to reform its dysfunctional public administration. A new dress code will require female civil servants to don either a full-length dress, a traditional African robe, trouser suit or "a plain skirt, high-necked blouse and shoes for town," a cabinet edict issued late Thursday stated. Men must wear a suit, jacket or smart traditional African attire such as the ceremonial "bou bou" robe. A tie will remain optional. The ruling follows an outburst in January by the archbishop of the capital Libreville, Basile Engone, who accused authorities of "turning a blind eye to deviant behavior such as the wearing of skimpy outfits in the public administration." Trust me Basile, damn your metaphor because NOBODY was turning away any eyes. It’s called using peripherals. Participants in subsequent televised debates complained of a widespread workplace culture which encouraged women to dress for promotion, while male civil servants argued they were not paid enough to dress well (oh yeah, two can play that game, ladies). Under late ruler Omar Bongo, the public payroll of the oil nation of 1.5 million people saw its headcount swell to 55,000 through a system of cronyism and fraud, in which salaries were often paid for non-existent positions. Bongo's son Ali ordered a census of the civil service in a bid to cut down its 336 billion CFA ($688 million) annual wage bill after coming to power in last August's election. Fun stuff over in Afrika, huh? At least they get paid for doing the jobs of five people…whether the jobs actually exist or not. I can feel that. At least here in the United States though, the ladies aren’t afraid to let the girls out…especially during the summer months. God bless warm weather!!!

How to Get Dem Digits – Let’s say that you’re like me…and you can basically use all the help that you can get when it comes to the ladies. Sure, I’m an incredible catch…but the ladies aren’t going to know that just by looking at me. Even the unemployed snowboarder living in his buddy’s basement can dress up for a few hours & after a few drinks, she’ll believe anything he says. “Really? You’re Shaun White’s trainer? That’s so cool.” So how is an honest & humble guy like myself supposed to impress a girl enough to get her phone number for a private rendezvous (possibly tryst) at a later time? Well, a new study suggests that the right musical ambiance might boost your chances of getting a date. Women were more prepared to give their phone number to an "average Joe" after listening to romantic background music, French researchers found. Previously, the team found romantic music played in a flower shop led to male customers spending more money. In the current work, the researchers tested the power of romantic lyrics on 18- to 20-year-old single women. They first used questionnaires to pinpoint agreed-upon neutral and romantic songs, ending up with "Je l'aime à mourir," a well-known love song by French songwriter Francis Cabrel, and the neutral song "L'heure du the" by Vincent Delerm. A group of young women separate from the main study rated 12 young male volunteers for attractiveness, and the researchers picked those guys rated closest to average for the experiment. A scenario was set up in which 87 females each spent time in a waiting room with background music playing. The participant then moved to a different room where an experimenter instructed her to discuss the difference between two food products with a young man (the average Joe). Once the experimenter returned, she asked the pair to wait for a few moments alone. This gave the man a chance to use his rehearsed chat-up line: "My name is Antoine, as you know, I think you are very nice and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I'll phone you later and we can have a drink together somewhere next week." (The line presumably sounds a lot more suave in French). The love song in the waiting room almost doubled Antoine's chances of getting a woman's number – 52% of participants responded to his advances under the influence of Francis Cabrel, whereas only 28% of those who had heard the neutral song by Vincent Delerm offered their digits. Why did the music have this effect? It may be that, as shown in earlier research, the music induced positive feelings or emotions, known in psychology as positive affect. Positive affect is associated with being more receptive to courtship requests, the researchers say. Other types of media, such as violent video games or music with aggressive lyrics, have been shown to increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior, thoughts and feelings. But the present study suggests media exposure can induce positive behaviors as well, said study researcher Nicolas Gueguen from the Universite de Bretagne-Sud in France. However, further research is needed before wider generalizations can be made on the targeted use of love songs, the researchers say. The results were published June 18 in the journal Psychology of Music. Good theory. Being one who often has music come up in their head whenever certain people walk into a room ("Unchained Melody", "Hot for Teacher", "I Wanna Know What Love Is" to name a few) or situations arise, I can fully understand the correlation between music & being more receptive to ideas such as romance. In this situation, the participants may not directly notice the music in the background…but it does still affect their mood a little bit…and they associate the person in front of them with this change in mood…and they want to further investigate. So Antoine gets the digits, they meet up later on, and who knows? It makes sense to me. Now if I can just find a swingin’ Jazz club here in Truckee or somewhere that isn’t too-loud angry rock music like the Tourist Club. Yeah, still have no idea where the single ladies hang out around here…if there are any over the age of 16. The search continues…but at least I have one other nugget of knowledge.

Divorce Ceremonies – Well, my brother’s now, for all intensive purposes, DIVORCED!!! He wants to have a huge celebration…but since most of his friends have been divorced a few times already…and party just about every weekend for little to no reason, he’s talking about going to Vegas or something for a weekend celebration. Then again, don’t you think he wasted enough (of somebody else’s) money on getting married to that b**ch in the first place? Me too…but then I read this article. With divorce on the rise in Japan, some couples are choosing to celebrate the end of an unhappy marriage by saying "I do" for a final time at a divorce ceremony before friends and family (I just pictured all of my family being in the same room with that c**t & there’s some food tossing involved). Divorce ceremonies were pioneered about a year ago by a former salesman, Hiroki Terai, who set up a "divorce mansion" in a small undercover space in Tokyo (What? Undercover space? In my world, that’s where the magic happens). Since then about 25 couples have each paid 55,000 yen ($606) to hold a ceremony with all the pomp and grandeur of a wedding that publicly ends their relationship before they officially file for divorce. Terai said he had received more than 900 inquiries (and repeat, 25 couples have done it). The latest couple, who called themselves Mr. and Mrs. Fujii, met near Sensoji Temple in Tokyo's traditional Asakusa area on Sunday and rode in separate rickshaws to the "divorce mansion." "By putting an end to our marriage, we wanted to give ourselves fresh starts and give our lives a sense of renewal," Mr. Fujii, a 33-year-old businessman, told Reuters Television. He said he felt responsible for the failure of his marriage as he spent too much time away from home and too much money on his various interests including cars (and whores & cocaine?) despite numerous warnings from his wife. Friends and family of the Fujii couple followed closely behind the rickshaws on foot, arriving at the "divorce mansion" for a ceremony where they smashed their wedding ring with a gavel, a gesture signifying the end of their partnership. The gavel has a frog's head as frogs symbolize change in Japanese culture (not to indicate that genital warts led to this divorce). "When we smashed the ring together, I felt like "oh, this is the end of it, really" and my heart and soul felt renewed. Now I feel I can have a new life and start all over again," said Mr. Fujii. His wife of eight years also expressed her relief. "The moment I saw the smashed ring, I said to myself, "Yes! That feels so good"" Terai, who is believed to be Japan's first "divorce ceremony planner," came up with the idea of divorce ceremonies to help couples celebrate their decision to separate after one of his friends was going through a bitter divorce. Divorce is on the rise in Japan where it was once taboo with about 251,000 divorces taking place in 2008, partly blamed on the poor economy taking its toll on romance. Next month Terai heads off on his first business venture abroad to Korea to officially divorce a couple in Seoul. "I started this ceremony in April last year thinking that there should be a positive way to end a marriage and move on by making a vow to restart their lives in front of loved ones," Terai said. Not a bad idea, right? I could totally see a Divorce Mansion or Castle or something on the Strip. Heck, maybe they do & I just have been too drunk to notice. That’s very possible. “What the…did I take a wrong turn? Why am I at a castle? HOLY SH*T!!! Is that a black pyramid with something shooting out of it? Ah, my drink is empty… REFILLS!!!” I’m guessing that Japan has a different culture…or maybe just in this situation, where it’s a mutual separation, then something like this would really work out. However, I’d say about 95% of the divorces that I’ve seen in my time here, it would not have been a good idea to get two families in the same space without plenty of security on hand. Then again, if you would’ve switched it up a bit by putting them in a cage match…and the winner gets the house, you could put that on pay-per-view. “$teve, are you suggesting that a grown man & a grown woman duke it out? That doesn’t seem fair.” Obviously you haven’t seen some of the grown men & women that have been a part of my extended redneck family. Think of something like… Georges St Pierre against Brock Lesnar with a mullet…and then throw in twelve years of pent-up rage…and the loser lives in their parent’s basement. Don’t even pretend like you wouldn’t watch that carnage. I’m not completely cynical when it comes to marriage, as I’m sure you all know, but I am a realist as well as an eccentric. Maybe Divorce Duels will be my big idea that gets me some business. I could start it up in Reno. Hmm, we’ll see. Anyway, enough of my reality, let’s go to dream world (and I know, it’s been a while since I had a good vivid dream to share with you guys… I’ll work on that)

Marilyn Update - The apparently endless market for images of Marilyn Monroe now extends to inside the bombshell's body (giggidy!). A set of three Monroe Chest X-rays from a 1954 hospital visit sold Sunday at the Hollywood Legends auction at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. How much do you think they paid for them? Guesses? Go on. Think about it. Three pictures of Marilyn’s sexy skeleton. Got a number? Well, double it and add a lot more because they sold for $45,000. Julien's Auctions, which sold the X-rays, estimated that they would only fetch a total of about $3,000. Other Monroe-abilia that sold included a chair from her last photo shoot that went for $35,000. The auction included items from other actresses, including a pair of earrings worn by Kate Winslet in "Titanic" that sold for $25,000 and a dress Audrey Hepburn wore when she starred opposite Fred Astaire in the musical "Funny Face" that fetched $56,250. So yeah, each X-ray of Marilyn sold for about as much as my Jeep Gretchen. Isn’t that…just weird to anybody else? I mean… if I think it’s weird, isn’t that saying something? Ah well, apparently the person that bought them knows how to best use their money…and that’s why they have so much of it. Who am I to judge?

Fox Update – Sometimes I wonder “If I were a celebrity of some kind…and people where asking me questions throughout the day, would I say something completely stupid? Would I say some ridiculous stuff just to see if it gets printed? Would I be the new media darling and talk of the blogosphere?” Anybody who knows me…knows that the answer would be an emphatic yes. I say stupid sh*t. All the time. Mostly to get a rise or a reaction out of people…and sometimes just because I feel that way at the moment. So it’s probably not a good thing that I’m an NBA superstar (although I would know proper things to say if my livelihood depended on it in all honesty). Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about the alluring and allegedly-engaged Megan Fox, who recently revealed that her dream role is to be Sarah Rainmaker, the lesbian Native American superhero…but has also revealed that she dreams of starring in a remake of the cult movie, The Lost Boys. The actress, who has hit the headlines recently for everything from her dramatic weight loss to engagement to Brian Austin Green to her latest movie “Jonah Hex” sucking so much ass that it has created a vortex in time & space of which the Enterprise could travel through to saying that she has given no reason for critics to like her acting…has confessed that she is also a huge fan of the comedy horror flick which stars Kiefer Sutherland and the late Corey Haim. Fox claimed: "They couldn't remake it because it would destroy it, but I've always loved The Lost Boys. The female character in it is not really amazing, but if you were to turn one of the male characters into a female, I would love to do that." She added: "That movie has stuck with me my whole life. There's something magic about it for me," Megan may have recently quit the Transformers franchise, but the actress also revealed that she will not be making any romantic comedies just yet as she feels that she 'isn't old enough.' Fox stated: "I'm wary of doing romantic comedies, you could end up doing them all the time. Business-wise, those movies are very safe." The actress continued: "But I'm 24, I don't belong in a romantic comedy yet. A black comedy like Jennifer's Body maybe, but I don't know if I could do something like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Wow. I would really be torn if that decision ever came up. “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 3? Seriously? Oh wait… Megan Fox is in it? Hmm… I did fast forward through Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen…” True story. Don’t you dare judge me. That movie had Megan AND former friend of the blog Lindsay in it. Anyway, time for another confession, since I’m apparently in the mood. Remember how I’ve never seen a few movies that apparently everybody else has seen? Like Dirty Dancing? Oh yeah, still waiting for one of you ladies to put your extended version DVD where your mouth & watch it with me. Well, Lost Boys is also one of those movies. (Gasp!!!) Don’t be too surprised, you know how I feel about vampires…and teenage angst. I’ve seen bits & piece here & there…but not the whole movie. Well, I may have to check it out now to see if I can write a part in the remake for Miss Fox (she’s still Miss until she’s official Megan Fox-Austin-Green or whatever). If it turns out like “Twilight” though I may never watch a film about the Nosferatu ever again, just so you’re aware. I don’t want drama with my movie monsters dammit. I want sexy killing machines that are using their plethora of skills to get what they need – Blood. That being said, Miss Fox, if you’re looking for a character with some emotional development, you may prefer a few other storylines that I have written up. We can discuss them over dinner if you’d like.

YAAAAAWN!!! Ah man, that was a good nap. What happened? Last I remember, we were talking about girls throwing their panties at me when I was trying to discuss my plans for social security (“Give it to old people”). It must not have been too important though. Oh well, think I’ll go play some hoops in the park for a few and watch the sun set. Absolutely gorgeous weather the past few days. I’m really starting to get some resemblance of a tan. I know! Me, right? Well, I’ll let you all judge for yourselves when/if somebody catches a shot of me on the beach or something. In the meantime, have a great day everybody!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Basketball's Christmas 2010

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well, first & foremost, Zepparella was amazing last night. After a few coworkers decided not to go at the last minute, I decided to just go by myself…because it was going to be awesome…and I’m sure I’d meet a few ladies there…or at least some drunken gentlemen. Well, I was right on both counts. There was a wedding reception going on at the River Ranch Lodge, so the ladies were all dolled up & tipsy…but they also had their respective men by their sides constantly. Still not bad eye candy at all. I also found that my work buddy Pork Chop had also decided to go to the concert alone, so we hung out, had a few drinks (I only had a few early…but more on that later) and just had a great time at the concert. The venue was also the patio of the River Ranch Lodge, so it basically was just along the gorgeous Truckee River just after sunset. You know what? I’m just going to show you the pictures…

Zepparella came out and rocked our socks off for a few hours…and by the end of the concert, Pork Chop was pretty trashed. He had been there about six hours and drank the whole time. He’s a good guy from Brooklyn and a fellow Eagles fan, so it was all good. He’s also lived here in the area for about 18 years…and after last night, he’s drunkenly promised to show me all the great places to meet girls and have fun here. Not bad, right? So the concert’s over, I hadn’t had a drink since 10 PM and I give him a ride home because he lives right by my grocery store on the way back anyway (this was decided a few hours earlier). We’re driving back and I’m following this other car on the highway, just kinda going with the flow of traffic as there was a truck on my ass too. We were speeding a little…which was dumb…but hey, flow of traffic, right? Well, after a few miles, the truck that was on my ass flips on his lights. It was the highway patrol. To be fair, another truck pulled over the car that I was following too. They did it real coordinated like…because hey, I do live in the DUI capital of California as was mentioned to me several times the first night I was here. Sigh… so the fun begins…

I roll down the window, get the license & registration out, Pork Chop’s telling me it’s going to be okay, “Dude, I know. I’m not drunk.” The officer comes up, asks for the info, makes a comment about it smelling like a bar, “Yeah, I’m driving my buddy home here from the concert.” He asks me to step out of the car, quizzes me about what I’ve had to drink & when, writes it all down on a notepad, Pork Chop is talking to another cop…and he’s obviously drunk, then I kid you not, the officer puts me through EIGHT sobriety tests…and I pass them all. How do I know that I passed them? Because he kept giving them to me. Obviously if I failed ONE, I would’ve been thrown in the truck and taken somewhere or given a ticket. He kept giving me these tests…and after about ten minutes, I was just getting frustrated…because I had to pee something fierce, it was brisk, trickling a bit, and I didn’t have a coat on because it’s always warm inside of Gretchen. Then came the big test, which probably should’ve just been pulled out to begin with…but because DUI’s are so disputed in court, they like to have other tests to show impairment. Oh yeah, I’m talking about… “the Breathalyzer” (starring Jean Claude Van Damme). He gives me some speech about how I don’t have to consent to it…but then he basically just puts it in my face and says blow hard. I back up a bit because…hell, I don’t know where it’s been. “Just so you’re aware, telling somebody they don’t have to do it…and then putting it in their face like that, could be construed as misleading.” I know I have nothing to worry about…or do I? So I take the test. He looks at it. Gives me a look and says “You know the legal limit in California is 0.08, which is like having four beer in an hour…and anything over that I have to give you a citation.” “I shouldn’t even be CLOSE to that.” He looks at the Breathalyzer again, then shows me the reading – 0.045, like I said, nothing to worry about…but it doesn’t stop ya from being a little worried. He told me to watch my speed, get my friend home safe (seriously less than half a mile from where we were), and drive safe. I did. Slept like a log for…about four hours until I had to get up for work again. Good times. Please don’t drink & drive, ladies & gentlemen.

Now for the big impersonal news of yesterday, which was the 2010 NBA Draft a.k.a. Basketball’s Christmas. I think this is my 4th edition of reviewing the draft…and I’ve been fairly good with my predictions thus far. DeJuan Blair was the steal of last year’s draft by the Spurs, Greg Oden & Hasheem Thabeet were overrated as all hell, and the list goes on and on…but hey, it’s not an exact science. The draft is all about potential anymore. You can get a college senior who’s about as refined as he’s going to get…or some 19-year old kid who spent about six months on a college campus and can barely communicate thought…but he’s big and can put the ball in the hole sometimes (more on them later). There was also a lot of trades and stuff done to clear salary cap space so that teams could go after a bunch of free agents…so who knows if any of these guys will actually play for the team that drafted them or anything. It was just a weird draft to watch…but luckily after the first round, I had a concert to go to.

I actually read a little article earlier today that kinda tickled me. An ESPN columnist was talking about having watched Robert Pattinson (of “Twilight” fame) in his first real acting gig that was just released on DVD, “Remember Me.” You remember the cheesy romance story one from a few months back? Anyway, he said that Robert Pattinson was a HORRIBLE actor…like laughably bad…and I’ve seen “Twilight” so I obviously believe him. I think he compared it to a hybrid of Keanu Reeves & any athlete cameo on “Entourage” based on his performance. That being said, his wife said something like “At least he’s trying…and he has so much potential.” That’s kinda what the draft has turned into. Picking some guy that you haven’t really seen do much…and giving them millions of dollars based on what they could be if they really try and their work ethic matches their talents. By the way, my prediction, Robert Pattinson is never heard from again after they drag out the “Twilight” movies as long as humanly (vampirely) possible. I mean, they’ve already split the last book into two movies to prolong it. Just like my former doppelganger Daniel Radcliffe with the Harry Potter franchise. Anyway, back to basketball. Here are my thoughts on some key players in the draft…

NBA Draft 2010

1. Washington – John Wall – Guard from Kentucky – The kid’s alright. He’s got all the physical gifts and skills necessary to be a great point guard in this league (even though the Wizards are kind of gutted out since the ridiculous PR scenarios this past year). He’s been under tremendous media scrutiny for years and has handled it pretty well. What I like most about him…is that he’s apparently a pretty smart dude too, went to class & got good grades (granted he was only in college for a few months). I have no problem with him going as the number one pick, especially to a team like the Wizards who could really use somebody with half a noggin. I had my reservations about Derrick Rose when he came out after one year a few years back…and this looks like the exact same thing. We shall see how he does…but yeah, I like this kid.

2. Philadelphia – Evan Turner – Guard from Ohio State – I like this kid too…and after having a back surgery midseason last year…and only missing 6 games or something like that…and went on to be the National Player of the Year, that can only give you more street cred in the hard-nosed city of Philly. He’s versatile, pretty good jumper, decent defender, the only question I have…is he’s pretty much the same kind of player that Andre Igoudala is, right? Maybe a little smaller? So…are they expecting to get rid of him soon? Either way, I think the 76ers are covered at the swingman position. Two are always better than one (unless they start bickering like schoolchildren).

3. New Jersey – Derrick Favors – Forward from Georgia Tech – This guy has been hyped for years, since his high school days in Atlanta. I get it, he’s a physical specimen and can learn to be a dominating post player. However, I thought his teammate Gani Lawal was actually a better player than he was…but Gani fell to the 2nd round where the Suns picked him up (not a bad snag). He just didn’t blow me away at all. I’m sure with the right tutoring (Georgia Tech was kind of a bad program for him…but it was in his hometown and he knew he was only going to be there as long as he absolutely had to) I’m sure he could blossom…and with the Nets willing to do whatever it takes to make a winner & Avery Johnson’s a great coach (and he speaks Favors first language of Southern Gibberish too) he could be a great player…or not. We shall see. The Nets also ended up getting a solid player like Damion James out of Texas in exchange for drafted guard Jordan Crawford out of Xavier with the 27th pick. Who’s he? Remember a few years back the video of some teenager dunking on LeBron at a basketball camp? This is the guy. Other than that, I’ve only seen him play once…and it wasn’t too impressive. Damion though is a great defender, rebounder and had flashes of greatness for the Longhorns. If he makes the team, at least they can say that they did sign a James this off-season if LeBron goes elsewhere. Very good PR move.

4. Minnesota – Wesley Johnson – Forward from Syracuse – After getting a bunch of point guards last year, and facing the challenge of having like 18 players under contract & they want to get the hell outta there, the T-Wolves had an awkward situation going into draft day. The one thing they did have was a couple young big guys (Al Jefferson & my brother from another mother Kevin Love) so they went with a lanky swingman who can pop the three and rebound pretty well. The few Syracuse games I saw, he didn’t really impress me as much as everybody seemed to think about him…but he does have some seasoned skills and should help immediately. I see him as the same kind of player that Corey Brewer was though…without the defensive stopping ability, so I’m skeptical at best. I hope he proves me wrong. My favorite pick by the Wolves though, was Reno-born & bred forward Luke Babbitt at number 16. He’s the best shooting forward in the draft and in his two years at Nevada-Reno, he was the WAC player of the year. Granted that’s not incredibly impressive per se…but he shot something like 55% from the field, 40% from threes & mid-90’s on free throws. I like fundamentals. Sue me.

5. Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins – Center from Kentucky – I think the Kings made a GREAT pick with Cousins. I really liked his game…and he really can only improve. I also believe that he believes he can handle the pressures of being the face of a franchise (in time). Tyreke Evans at guard, Cousins at the power forward spot & recently acquired Samuel Dalembert as a shot-swatting center with other decent role players make the Kings a theoretically good team of the future. I’m a little confused why they also drafted center Hassan Whiteside out of Marshall at number 33 but as the Lakers have taught us, you can never be too big in the NBA. So really they drafted two high potential projects that could really pay off…but there’s no pressure because they’re the Kings in the they’re the only game in Sac Town. “Oh you don’t like it. Why don’t you take your ass to Oakland and be a Warriors fan?” I like the picks…and am eager to see how they grow.

6. Golden State – Epke Udoh – Center from Baylor – As you may know, I LOVED watching Baylor in the tournament. Udoh was blocking shots and making big buckets, that reserve Acie was shooting nothing but dunks and getting 5-6 a game, and you just have to root for an underdog team that hasn’t won anything since they were shooting at peach baskets pretty much. I’m a big fan of the shot blockers…and Udoh is one of the best in this class…and a great rebounder too, which is exactly what the Warriors need – somebody to grab all those missed shots and provide something that resembles a defense…and luckily he can run the floor pretty well too. It’s really a great fit given that one of his drawbacks is a fairly light frame for a big guy…and he’s undersized at 6-9 to match up with most centers. I really liked this pick and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Are the Warriors still going to suck? Probably…but I don’t think anybody else would’ve really helped them out more in that aspect.

7. Detroit – Greg Monroe – Forward from Georgetown – I was really hoping he’d slip to Utah…but he’s a great fit for Detroit and the kind of inside presence that they desperately need. I kinda see him as a Ben Wallace who can score, which is what everybody wants, right? He’s a good physical player who can really blossom in a fitting system…and that’s really what the draft is about after pick number five, finding the best player for your system (why teams like the Jazz & Spurs have been so good for decades). I also liked their 2nd round pick, point guard Terrico White out of Ole Miss with number 36. He’s a little ball of energy that could work really well in Detroit too.

8. L.A. Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu – Forward from Wake Forest – The Clippers just seem to be cursed. Period. Last year’s number one overall pick Blake Griffin…will hopefully play his first NBA game in October after having a patella injury sideline him all of last year. That being said, they have the players to at least appear to be a decent team with Baron Davis, young guys like Griffin & Al Thornton, and an All-Star center in Chris Kaman. Why do they still suck? Cursed. Well, new to the curse is a man who is a decent rebounder and scorer at Wake Forest…and I just kinda like saying his name. Another funny thing from that article earlier, is that his name translated to “The Chief has Arrived” which his buddy said “I’m going to scream that name during my next 25 orgasms.” I have to agree. Al FAROOK A-ME-NOOOoooo… Given the curse though, he may be working for Al Qaeda and blow up the Staples Center with Kobe inside and afterwards we’ll all be like “How could we have possibly known?” Granted, I don’t really see that happening…but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised. I hope the Clippers get good. Just so people can realize that there IS another team in LA that plays at the Staples Center in the same league. I think parking is free if you go to a Clippers game whereas it’s standing room only when Kobe’s in town. Oh…and their other pick Willie Warren out of Oklahoma is a pretty good player…but needs a good institution to develop him. He’s probably not going to find it here.

9. Utah – Gordon Hayward – Forward from Butler – Sigh… I saw it fatidic that Gordon would go one pick later. Born & raised in Indiana, college in Indianapolis, JUST lost national championship there, and then drafted by the Indiana Pacers. Seriously, if you would’ve told ANYBODY, even his mother, at the end of the Horizon League championship…that four months from now, Gordon Hayward would be a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft, you would’ve been committed to an institution. But…after a magical three week run in March Madness, an apparently great workout, and finding the right system, voila. Gordon’s going to Slick City to fill a niche on an already good team under the tutelage of coach Jerry Sloan. This kid is living MY f**king dream (granted almost a decade later). Oh well, I’m sure he’ll be great. Then again, I was going to bring this up with Udoh earlier. There’ve been a LOT of players who had great runs in the tournament, were drafted high because of it, and then just sucked in the pros. Miles Simon comes to mind. What? You don’t remember him. Don’t feel bad. Anyway, hope this guys does okay. One thing’s for sure though, the ladies in Slick City are going to love this kid. If somebody like Kyle Korver (aka Ashton Kutcher with down syndrome) can be considered sexy there, this guy’s got it made…and a note of advice, if somebody asks you were you served your mission, just say Indiana. Who cares if your mission was to make it to the NBA and they think you were riding a bike & talking about Joseph Smith for two years?

11. New Orleans (to OKC) – Cole Aldrich – Center from Kansas – Every time I look at this guy, I just think of Greg Ostertag. I know that he can make a shot or two and that was something that Greg could never do…but yeah, it may just be me. Anyway, the Thunder needed some size and they sure got it with this guy. He was drafted by the Hornets then traded to the Thunder in exchange for forward Craig Brackins, pick #21 out of Iowa State and the 26th pick, Quincy Pondexter out of Washington…who I think will be one of the best players to come out of this draft honestly. I like his game. We’ll see how it goes in the Big Easy for him. Anyway, back to Cole. I see him as a decent big guy, not a go-to or anything…and I like that the Thunder also picked up a guard like Eric Bledsoe out of Kentucky with the 18th pick and in the 2nd round, I had never heard of this guy…but he has my favorite name of this year’s draft – “With the 51st pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder select…Magnum Rolle.” That sounds like a street-wise detective who don’t take no guff off’n nobody, Jack!!!

20. San Antonio – James Anderson – Guard from Oklahoma State (not the famous cricketer) – SOOOO glad the Spurs picked up this guy. He’s EXACTLY what they needed (given what was available). He’s a shooter. Pure & simple. You need a three? Bombs away. Somebody to hit those clutch free throws? This guy. He was the Big 12 player of the year…and I think he may turn out to be one of the steals of the draft for the Spurs yet again this year. I don’t care if this guy was picked up by the Clippers or T-Wolves or anything, he can play. Oh…and of course with their other pick, they kept up the international tradition by going for some seven-foot guy named Ryan Richards out of England with the 49th pick. Hope he’s awesome. Never heard of him…but I said the same thing about guys like Emmanuel Ginobili and this one French point guard named Tony Parker when they were drafted…and they turned out pretty good.

29. Orlando – Daniel Orton – Center from Kentucky – Sigh… this is the Robert Pattinson Theory from earlier personified. I’m just going to drop a little nugget on you guys…and tell me if you think this is right. Scottie Reynolds of Villanova was an All-American 1st Team guard this year. He has been a distinguished leader of a few squads that made major tournament runs…and holds a bunch of school records because he stayed for four years and earned a degree. Oh…and the All-American 1st team thing, means that he is one of the 5 BEST players in the country. There are sixty players drafted each year. Yet he was not drafted. Daniel Orton averaged 3 points & 3 rebounds per game, coming off the bench during his one year at Kentucky. One of the greatest moments of my draft viewing yesterday…was when they showed that the man couldn’t even say his own f**king name while trying to introduce himself during a commercial segway shot. Seriously. I’m not making it up. Well, scouts must’ve loved the way that he cheered on his teammates from the bench because he was drafted in the 1st round as a project for possibly backing up Dwight Howard…and Marcin Gortat…so a third-string center…but will be tutored by Patrick Ewing. Why? Does that seem right? Well, like I’ve said for years. You can’t teach height…and he’s a 7-foot, 300-pound man-child with obviously only one way to go. Nothing against Daniel…but I hope he flops. He should’ve stayed in school and gotten himself an edumacation. Who am I kidding? I’d take the money too & never look back. Orlando got back on my good side by drafting a senior forward from UConn in Stanley Robinson with the 59th pick. He had flashes of greatness too…but should make for a great role player in the league.

32. Miami – Dexter Pittman – Center from Texas – The Heat made a few picks that I really liked given that they’ve just been trying to unload contracts so that they could resign Dwyane Wade and get a few new big time free agents, then just fill in the roster after that. Pittman was f**king HUGE when he came into Texas as a freshman. Like…I feared for his life huge. He had some skills though…and has trimmed down to 300 pounds or whatever (yes, that IS trimmed down) so he could be a presence in the paint. I also like the shot-blockers, which is why I like their pick of Mississippi State center Jarvis Varnado at #41. He holds the NCAA career blocked shots record at over five a game for his four years there. Yeah, he’s not the best player…but he’s really just as good as Hasheem Thabeet is…only about six inches shorter. So with a 2nd round pick, you can’t really go wrong, right? Also, I like that they picked up Da’Sean Butler out of West Virginia. Hopefully he recovers completely from that injury during the tournament. Good luck with the free agents!!!

43. L.A. Lakers - Devin Ebanks – Forward from West Virginia – Sigh… I hate to say it…but the Lakers got a good pick with this guy. He plays a lot like Trevor Ariza did for them during their championship run two years ago…and he’s still growing as a player. Son of a b**ch!!!

52. Boston – Luke Harangody – Forward from Notre Dame – If there’s ever a redheaded center (Brian Scalabrine) or an underrated white guy who had a great career at a college whose mascot was Irish…then you can bet that the Boston Celtics are going to draft them. Harangody can score, rebound, play the post as good as anybody out there in the draft field really. However, I don’t wanna be that guy, but there is a bit of a stigma when it comes to taking Caucasian males in the first round. Don’t give me that look. It’s founded on tradition from guys like Todd Fuller, Keith Van Horn, Mark Madsen, Spencer Hawes, Adam Keefe, Adam Morrison, Shawn Bradley, Darko Milicic, Sam Bowie, Eric Montross, Nikolai Tschizvili (or however you spell that guy Denver drafted a few years back), the list goes on & on. Who knows? Maybe Luke will suck in the pros…but I think Boston’s the perfect place for his physical nature and multitude of skills to thrive. In fact, I see him as an All-Rookie 2nd team player next year since Rasheed Wallace is retiring & injuries are always a problem with the Celtics. There. I said it. And don’t think that I won’t bring it up in the future when it comes true. Oh…and their first round pickup of Texas guard Avery Bradley could prove to be huge too…but I honestly didn’t seem him play much his one year. Note: My observations of previous Texas picks like Damion James & Dexter Pittman were off their four-year careers with the program (like back when Kevin Durant was on the team & they were relevant).

A new twist this year! In my hopes of keeping this blog ever-fresh and growing, I’m going to make a prediction for the All-Rookie 1st team based on what I know now…and I’ll compare it at the end of next season to see if I was even close. So here it goes…

Guard – John Wall
Guard – James Anderson
Forward – Evan Turner
Forward – Greg Monroe
Center – DeMarcus Cousins

Wish me luck!!! Oh…and I’m pretty sure John Wall gets Rookie of the Year though I’m not sure how they’re planning on the whole him & Devin Harris being on the same team thing. Well, that’ll do it for today. Had a b**ching concert & Christmas all on the same post…so now I just have to figure out how I’m going to spend my weekend. Maybe I can find something non-alcoholic to do…but it’s always nice to have options. Have a great day everybody!!!

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