Not much going on the past few nights. I played a few pickup games Tuesday, chatted with Pixie & one of her friends, Nurse picked me up In-N-Out Burger on the way back from the airport, introduced Bee Master to “Eastbound & Down” and she finds it hilariously offensive, just like everybody else. Last night, I watched this British show called “Skins” with Nurse about evil teenager drama with semi-irritating accents… and it’s alright, but I was watching… and I asked Nurse, “Is that douchy pretty boy the kid from ‘About a Boy’?” “It sure is… I think I preferred him as a chubby pre-teen.” Eh, that’s about all I’ve got to say about that… except there was one scene where a kid dropped a baby that struck us as hilarious for some reason. Mostly because it wasn’t even really acknowledged that the baby had just been dropped… apparently on a hardwood floor. Don’t worry, no babies or puppies were harmed in the filming of this show.
So I’ve decided that I’m going to the Utah vs. Cal college football game when they come here in October. I even already have 2nd row seats. That’s right, b**ches. Football is BACK!!! I’m also thinking that I might need to go check out a Giants game before the season’s over in the next month… and I’ve been getting emails about the Kraft Hunger Bowl on New Year’s Eve, where the Utes may also be playing (since they’re in the Pac-12 now) and even if not them, then still a great game. So in summation, I must just have an inkling to go check out AT&T Park since I haven’t been there yet. I may just go for the trifecta. Gonna see if my dad wants to go with me to the Utah-Cal game, give him first dibs for an early Christmas present or something. I figure if he can make it out here for the weekend, I’ve got free room, board & entertainment for him when he gets here. It worked for the Eagles-49ers game last year, so we’ll see. He’s got about 7 weeks to plan ahead.
I also watched “Insidious” starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne & Lin Shaye and directed by James Wan (“Saw”). It’s the story of a family of five whose eldest son suddenly & mysteriously went into a coma. Almost immediately, strange things start to happen around the house, so they move. However, they soon find out that it wasn’t the house that was haunted… it was their son in a coma. Now, I wasn’t expecting much given that it was from the director of “Saw” and the premise seemed… a little stretched. However, I stand corrected. It’s PG-13 (a little language & frightening situations) and it did start out a little slow… but there was definitely a creepy mood established… and it wasn’t completely over-the-top, very subtle… and then sh*t gets real good. I don’t want to give anything away… but I really liked this horror flick. It’s a lot like “Poltergeist” where it’s just genuinely terrifying but not overly gory or anything. I highly recommend it. Go check it out!!! Anyway, here’s some news…
Vick Update – It warms the cockles of my heart to bring you this next story… because I know that some of you out there STILL don’t care for Michael Vick… but as my buddy Charlie sang to me this weekend, you can’t keep a good dog down (Too soon? Or is it because it’s an “All Dogs Go to Heaven” reference?). Just more than two years after being released from prison, out of work, mired in bankruptcy and facing an uncertain future, Michael Vick is again on top of the world. Vick, who served 19 months at federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, on felony dogfighting charges before joining the Philadelphia Eagles as a third-string quarterback two years ago, signed one of the richest contracts in NFL history on Tuesday. Vick’s six-year, $100 million deal makes him the third-highest-paid player in the NFL, behind only Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. “It’s a lot of money, how ever you look at it,” Vick said. “Obviously, it’s going to create a lot of demands. I know what comes along with it, and I know how to handle it. But it’s not even about the money. It’s about the changes that have been made in my life. Kids have an opportunity to see that you should never count yourself out. But at the same time, don’t put yourself in a position where you’ve got to make a miraculous comeback. That’s not what it’s about.” Vick, twice a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons before he went to prison, said there were times while he was in prison he wondered if he would ever get back what he once had. “Sometimes as a man, you fear what you can’t see,” Vick said at a press conference at the Eagles practice facility. “Nobody can predict the future. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Tomorrow’s not promised. The only thing you can do is live your life, hope for the best, continue to have faith, believe in yourself. The thing for me was believing in the people who were there for me in my time of need. … You never know what’s going to happen. Expect the worst and hope for the best, and that’s what I did. God was on my side, and I’m here today.” Amen! He was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2010 after winning eight of 11 starts, throwing a career-high 21 touchdown passes and rushing for nine more. The Eagles retained his rights by signing him to a one-year, $16 million franchise tag, but his new contract runs through 2016. “This is a great story all the way through,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “This is really what America’s all about. Second chance and Mike took full advantage of that. And then when he was given a second chance to start in the National Football League, he took full advantage of that and turned it into this.” Vick became the first player in NFL history to sign more than one $100 million contract in his career. On Dec. 23, 2004, with the Falcons on their way to the NFC Championship game, where they lost to the Eagles, Vick signed a 10-year deal worth $130 million. But he played only 32 games under that deal before legal problems derailed his career. “I’ve learned … don’t take anything for granted,” Vick said. “I did that at one point when I had the big contract in Atlanta, and I think that will definitely help me now in understanding what’s most important and how to move forward in my life.” Vick said his legal problems and lengthy prison stay will always drive him to excel, no matter how much money he’s earning. “It’s always something that’s going to be a part of me. It’s the reason why I work so hard each and every day. It’s the reason I come to work dedicated to become the best that I can be. Nothing’s going to come easy in life, and I’ve learned a lot of lessons, some the hard way, and I think just the things that I’ve been through have helped mold me into the person I am and what (is in) my future and that’s continuing to do things the right way.” Tell me this isn’t a great story of a man learning his lesson. TELL ME!!! Next stop: The Super Bowl? “The common goal is to bring that ring back to the city of Philadelphia. That’s why we play. That’s what we’re all working for. As a competitor, I don’t feel my career will be complete without that.” Well, even I never thought that he’d sign a nine-digit contract again… so now that I think he can bring Philly it’s first NFL championship in over 50 years, anything’s possible. Congratulations on redemption, Mr. Vick!!!
Most Trusted Celebrity – Okay, so I don’t expect Mr. Vick to top list any time soon but… it seems like former "Golden Girls" actress Betty White also has the Midas touch. White, 89, is both the most popular and most trusted celebrity with Americans and the person most likely to drive up the business of a brand she might choose to endorse, according to a poll released on Wednesday. But the Reuters/Ipsos poll suggested that companies should stay away from Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen if they want to promote their products. The socialite and reality TV actress, and the fired "Two and A Half Men" star topped the list of the most unpopular and least trusted personalities and were deemed most likely to damage any brands they choose to support (except I’m pretty sure that if you made an energy drink called “Tiger’s Blood” right now, you’d be selling like hot cakes). White, the only surviving member of the key cast members of TV's "Golden Girls" 1980s comedy, has enjoyed a career resurgence in the last few years as a saucy senior in films like "The Proposal" and the TV show "Hot in Cleveland". She also won an Emmy Award last year for hosting satirical sketch show "Saturday Night Live". White scored an 86% favorable opinion in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, beating Oscar winners Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock and Clint Eastwood in the survey of the 100 most popular personalities. Some 44% of those questioned said they would be more likely to do business with a company if White endorsed it. At the other extreme, 54 percent of the 2,012 Americans questioned for the poll said they would trust a company less if it were endorsed by Sheen, with Hilton coming in second. Pop star Britney Spears, actor Mel Gibson and golfer Tiger Woods -- who lost several major endorsements after his 2009 sex scandal -- also fared badly. Below is a list of the top 10 most popular personalities with their "favorable" rating by percentage of voters.
1. Betty White - 86% favorable
2. Denzel Washington – 85%
3. Sandra Bullock - 84%
4. Clint Eastwood – 83%
5. Tom Hanks - 81% (Forrest?)
6. Harrison Ford – 80%
7. Morgan Freeman - 79%
8. Kate Middleton – 79% (why?)
9. Will Smith - 77% (hmm…)
10. Johnny Depp – 76%
Below is a list of the top 10 most unpopular personalities with their "unfavorable" rating by percentage of voters.
1. Paris Hilton - 60% unfavorable
2. Charlie Sheen – 52%
3. Britney Spears – 45%
4. Kanye West - 45%
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger – 44%
6. Tiger Woods - 42%
7. Kim Kardashian – 38%
8. Mel Gibson - 33%
9. Donald Trump – 31%
10. LeBron James – 29%
Okay, so… a few observations from this list. Favorable side: People like older people who do voice-over work & just keep to themselves. That’s cool. Unfavorable side: I find it interesting that Arnie is more hated for banging the cleaning lady than Tiger is for banging half of the porn industry. Why? Tiger apologized. Kanye is arrogant as all hell, but he never went on a drunken rant about Judaism & then leave threatening voicemails for his gold digging girlfriend. So why is he higher on the list. What exactly has Kim Kardashian done besides get f**ked by Ray J on tape & be linked to a bunch of athletes? So I’ve figured it out. People love you & trust you if you do what they expect you to do, not necessarily what you want to do. Pop quiz: Has anybody in the top 10 played the villain in a movie? Okay, Morgan Freeman & Johnny Depp have a few times… but very rarely. Sir Anthony Hopkins could be the most trustworthy individual on Earth… but because of his choices to take challenging roles, including Hannibal Lechter, you wouldn’t want to be in the same room as him. Now, look at the bottom 10. If they’re not portrayed as greedy or rich socialites, they’ve made horrible mistakes… yet some are much more reviled than others. The key is to at least feign remorse for what you did. Paris? I never expect anything from her anyway. I’m borderline on whether she’s really a celebrity & should be on this list. Charlie, Kanye, Arnie – all brash & unapologetic for who they are. Tiger, Mel, LeBron – Apologized to a certain extent… and seriously, why does everybody hate LeBron? He made a mistake in the way of presenting his “Decision” or whatever… but he’s still a good guy & amazing athlete. Interesting tid-bit, Michael Vick isn’t on the bottom 10. Think about it. Sigh… and he’s going to have another $100 million dollars. That’s Trump money!
Make Your Own Money – Well, there’s one way to have that kind of money besides earning it… making it. A small town in central Italy is trying to go independent and mint its own money in protest at government austerity cuts. Filettino, set in rugged hill country around 100 km (65 miles) east of Rome, is rebelling against a proposal to merge the governments of towns with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants to save money. Filettino has only around 550 people, but instead of merging with neighboring Trevi, mayor Luca Sellari is trying to go it alone and set up a "principality" along the lines of the famous republic of San Marino to the north. He has started minting Filettino's own bank currency, the "Fiorito," with his photo on the back, which he says is already being used by the townsfolk. "We aim to achieve real autonomy from Italy and we have the financial resources to do it," Sellari said in an interview on the town's website. There was no immediate comment from the central government in Rome. Mayors from all over Italy are up in arms about proposals to cut local government funding and merge small towns as part of a 45.5 billion euro ($65.3 billion) austerity plan to balance the country's budget by 2013. Mayors plan a protest in Milan Monday although media reports say the government is preparing significant changes to the budget, including a substantial dilution of the proposals on local government. Well, we’ll see how long this lasts… but yeah, it may be difficult to get everybody to convert to your money. I’m just saying… if Disney can’t do it, what chance does a little town in Italy have? Do they still do Disney Dollars or whatever at the parks? Oh well, there ARE better ways to get that pa-per…
This Week In Pimpin’ - Prostitutes (a.k.a. Schlampes) in the German city of Bonn must carry a ticket purchased from a new parking metre-like machine while working the streets… or face hefty fines from tax authorities in a scheme launched Monday night. In Germany, ladies of the night pay income tax (the level of which varies from region to region) but compliance is difficult to enforce with women seeking business on the street. Germany's first "sex tax meters," from which prostitutes can purchase a ticket for 6 Euros (about $9) per night, will ensure the tax system is fairly implemented, a city spokeswoman said. "Inspectors will monitor compliance -- not every evening but frequently," the spokeswoman told Reuters. If caught without a valid ticket, offenders will first be reprimanded, then face fines and later even a ban (GASP!!! Illegal prostitution?). About 200 prostitutes work in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. Due to protests from residents, city officials have limited the areas of operation to specific quarters. But critics say this has made it easier for prostitutes to ply their trade (duh). The city has erected what officials call "consummation areas," wooden parking garages where customers driving cars can retreat to with prostitutes. Hmm… better than alleys… but not better than motels. Well, at least the government has found a way to get their cut. Basically it’s like parking… but for hooking. Simple, produces revenue, enforcement will be tricky but hey, they’re still getting their cut. This could catch on. Not $100 million contract strong… but could pay for some new roads or something. Still… not my favorite way to make money that I found today…
Panda Update - Zhu Cheng, a Chinese sculptor, created a statue with the help of nine 11 year-old art students in the central Chinese city of Chengdu, the home of a giant panda breeding centre (and kick-ass place half the world away). No, it’s not a statue of a panda… but rather a replica of the Venus di Milo… made from panda poo. According to the Henan Business Daily newspaper, it has already been purchased by Uli Sigg, a Swiss businessman who owns the world's largest collection of contemporary Chinese art, for 300,000 yuan (about $50,000!!!). Mr Sigg, who was formerly the Swiss ambassador to China, told the Henan Business Daily that he thought the statue was "full of creativity and innovation". "We made the statue in October," said Mr Zhu. "We took a clay mould of the statue and then pasted panda dung onto it using vegetable glue," he added. "I have been thinking about using panda dung in my work for years (who hasn’t?). After all, pandas are China's national treasure, so anything relating to them is interesting. It was quite hard to get hold of the dung, however. The first time I applied they declined, and I had to write a letter explaining what I was going to do with it." Imagine reading that letter for the first time. No, no, you don’t understand. I want to take these massive amount of panda dung… and replicate the Venus di Milo. Oh, well in that case… Anyway, the rest is history. The statue is currently on display at a charity exhibition at the Zhengzhou Art Museum in Henan province, where it has drawn large crowds. Items crafted out of dried panda dung (which is said to have a relatively neutral smell because of the panda's all-bamboo diet) have been sold at the gift shop of the Chengdu Research Centre for Giant Panda Breeding since 2007.
So those are some of my ideas for making money so that I can enjoy a few good sporting events at AT&T Park… or finance my upcoming Vegas trip… or just cushion my mattress with dolla dolla bills y’all so that I can feel freshly laundered notes against my bare skin. Whatever… it’s my money. I do what I want with it. Have a great day everybody!!!