Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why I don't like Cars 2

I want to start off by saying that I think Pixar movies are great.  Toy Story, Monster's Inc., and especially Wall-E are not only great cartoons, but great movies in general.  Now that that's out of the way, I will continue.

Miles and McQueen back in '10

My kids, especially Jonas, love Cars 2.  He wakes up in the morning to ask if he can watch it, he wakes up after his nap to ask if he can watch it.  He holds onto his Lightning McQueen car as though it gives him some sort of super power, and sometimes I think that it just might.  I know it's kind of snarky for me to do this, but I think that if  I don't process this a bit, I will hold bitterness and annoyed anger every time my kids want to watch Cars 2.

The truth is that this is technically a kids movie.  Pixar makes cartoons for kids,  though as we all know, the kid cartoons are becoming more and more parent friendly.  Maybe they figured out that, if they want a lot of kids to watch their movies a ton of times, they need to throw something in there for the parents to tolerate it.

The other truth, that bothers me whenever I watch it, is that Cars 2 is full of plot holes, annoying jokes that don't make any sense, and death.  That's right, death.  Cars killing other cars, squishing them into cubes or blowing them up with lasers;  there is a lot of death here.  Is this the first Pixar movie to feature killings?  Maybe.

If we back up to original Cars movie, we will see that the annoying, arrogant Chick Hicks is the enemy.  He's not a very nice car, races dirty, and in the end winds up doing a lot of damage to poor old Strip "The King" Weathers.  There is enough there to dislike the guy.  He didn't need to shoot anybody, or push anyone off of a cliff, or slash any one's tires.  He was a bad guy and we were all pretty happy in the end when everyone turned on him.  He ruined his own career and it served him right.

Cars is a fun movie.  Though, at the same time, it seemed pretty improbable and inefficient for Lightning McQueen to move his racing headquarters to Radiator Springs, AKA the irrelevant town with a gas station and a bunch of overbearing cars running the place.  Yet, if the whole story stopped there, it would have been fine.  Heck, maybe Lightning was just joking about moving there... 

The mess of Cars 2

...Yet, he wasn't.  In Cars 2 we see that he indeed was not joking.  Now, the town is hopping with people (for what reason I do not know), the old abandon Wheel Well Hotel just out of town is booming with cars, CNN is playing over the bar, and life is good.  All because a race car moved his head quarters there.  Good save, Lightning!  Maybe Lebron James can start an NBA franchise in Flint, Michigan.

And that's just for starters.  It's obvious that the producers wanted to make the movie all about Mater.  They squeezed every ounce of juice out of that character and splattered it all over the screen.  What happened was that everyone who watched Cars 1 a million times needed something new for their kids.  So Pixar brought out some smart, witty little short cartoons called Mater's Tall Tales.  I'm sure that my kids have seen those cartoons a thousand times, but now they're not even interested at all.  So, since that well ran dry, Pixar figured that kids wanted to see and hour and a half of Mater.  Hence, Cars 2.

According to the Internet, Mater is based off of a 1951 International Harvester.  Yet, throughout both movies, and the short cartoons, Mater is basically a child.  He's over 60 years old, but still needs people to take care of him.  Is this hinting towards him suffering from some sort of mental disease?  Maybe he had an injury many years ago that made him this way.  Yet, this is never explained, so we can only assume that they wanted us to ignore these facts.  In that case, here are the problems:

- Mater loves his dents because they are souvenirs from all of his good memories.  The problem with this is that he says that he came across "every one of them" with his best friend Lightning McQueen.  That is simply not true.  Mater and McQueen have been friends for a few years, so what Mater is saying that before he met McQueen, for the first 50 years of his life, he was dent free?

- Mater's whole shtick in the film is playing a sort of "Mr. Magoo" type.  He's ignorant of everything, stumbles into trouble that he's unaware of, and in the end saves the world but still seemingly does not completely understand how or why.  He tells the British spies that he'd been telling them all along that he's not a spy.  That is another lie.  If people think you are a spy, think that you have the ability to protect yourself and others in very dangerous situations, then you really need to be clear with them that you are indeed not what they thought you were.  In this case, Mater not only wasn't trying to tell them he wasn't a spy, for half the movie even he himself was unaware that he was a spy.

- Another problem with Mater is that he plays to the audience too much, breaking the "4th wall" rule in filmmaking.  Continuous "Mater jokes" are an obvious way for the filmmakers to make the parents laugh.  You know, "Like a good neighbor, Mater is there."

In any other situation would it be normal for a person to walk around and make jokes about their own name?  Especially when British spies are wiring you up with weapons and explosives?  Maybe this should have given them a hint that maybe, just maybe, this idiot isn't pretending to be an idiot but is, in fact, and idiot.  Maybe we shouldn't wire him up with automatic machine guns.  Maybe.  The cap to all of this is that even when they find out he's an idiot, in the end they still want him to work for them.

- The sexy James Bond type female car in the movie is Holly Shiftwell, which in human terms translates to something like "Holly Turn-Me-On-Easily".  She is the new recruit for the British spies.  So, she must be pretty new.  Well, she ends up as Mater's girlfriend.  Mater is 60 years old and Holly could very well be 1 or 2 years old.  Also, in car terms, she is smart and hot, Mater's life has necessitated 24 hour supervision in a deserted town in the middle of nowhere.  It all just seems wrong to me.

- The money quote in the movie is when Mater races off to save the day and Holly calls after him, "Go and get more dents, Mater".   What she meant was, "Go and rough people up, creating more wonderful memories for yourself."  What I heard was, "Go and get more dense, Mater."  It could be the only time I laughed during the whole movie.  The absolute best part about it, actually!

I could go on, but I won't.

The main thing I hate is that they went from mean ol' Chick Hicks to murdering cars.  Maybe this would have worked for Cars 3.  They seemed to up the stakes a little too quickly for me.  The other main thing I hate about it is that Mater is basically JarJar Binks annoying, yet he's the main guy in the film.

Imagine a day when Pixar makes a cartoon all about JarJar and all our kids do is talk about JarJar, quote JarJar, and want JarJar action figures to play with, pee with, sleep with, and carry with them wherever they're little feet take them.  That's basically where we are with Mater.  The dude is annoying and I hope that, if there ever is a Cars 3, they go a different way.

There, I feel a little better now.

The Envelope, Please.

Jonas and Miles warming up for the Oscars in the preschool dance studio

 Word on the street is that it's almost March.  I have checked a calendar and have confirmed that it's definitely true.  More on that later.

The Oscars snuck up on me this year.  Last year I was well prepared, having seen all of the Best Picture nominated films prior to the event.  This year I couldn't even tell you all of the nominated films.

I did see Hugo.  It was nice.  Some of the 3D shots were nice, but in general the whole effect is quite distracting.  At times, like during conversation, the characters seem to be floating on the screen.  How much longer do we have to deal with this 3D craze?  I don't ever want to see another movie where I need to wear over sized glasses.  Unfortunately, the flaw in my plan to outlaw 3D films is that all of the glasses would then go to teenage girls who poke out the lenses and wear them as some sort of fashion statement.

Moneyball; that's a good movie, but mainly if you're a sports fan.  I understand that a lot of non-sports people liked it,  and it's a great story about a guy who still toughing it out with the low budget Oakland Athletics.  Great story.

I hear that the chubby guy was nominated for best supporting actor.  Not so sure about that one.

Anyways, I should stop talking about the movies that are nominated because after Hugo and Moneyball I haven't really had a chance to see any of them.

Billy Crystal is hosting again.  Last year it was Anne Hathway and James Franco.  I guess that whole "young and hip" movement ended pretty quickly.  Now they're resorting to what worked 15 years ago.  I'm sure they could have found someone else, but I guess they're scared of people criticizing their decisions, which is funny because that's what all of the critics are paid to do.

I think that the best thing to do is find a person who is connected with the film industry, but not very active in it.  In that way, I guess Billy Crystal is a good pick, but once again, the guy is closing in on 70 years old.  They're going to need to find some new people sooner than later.

Here is my short list of people who should host the Oscars:

Steve Carrell - He's a funny guy, but he can be serious as well without being annoying like Anne Hathaway, who was not funny and overcompensated with enthusiasm.

I think that the host shouldn't crack jokes like some sort of stand-up comic.  A little dry humor would be nice.  Maybe a little "I'd rather be some place else" attitude, yet into it at the same time.  Who does that remind me of?  Oh, yes...

Alex Baldwin - This is the guy.  I realize that he's hosted before, but that was with Steve Martin as a sidekick.  Let the man fly solo.

Everyone likes this guy.  He's got good stage presence and I think that he can make things seem like he's got a say in how things are going.  It's awkward to watch when the host is just some sort of robotic extension of the writer's jokes and the producers vision.  Let the host be in charge.

How about Ellen and Justin Timberlake co-hosting?  They'd be good together.  Maybe that would work in a few years, maybe 10, when they're older.  JT is cool, but maybe too hip and cool.  After a few years he'll age into a well dressed older fellow, which will make him less intimidating to the pickier crowd.

In my opinion, the people who shouldn't host are the straight stand-up comedy guys.  This is what I don't like about having Billy Crystal so often.  He's a joke crack after joke crack after joke crack kind of guy.  That gets old pretty quick.  I mean, that was funny when Bob Hope was hosting, but that was also 50 years ago when comedy started at slapstick and ended with boss/wife jokes.

Finally, I must address a snub.  All of the movies being nominated for Best Picture (there are 10 of them!) and there's no room for Melancholia?  This is a beautiful movie.  I wrote about it in my movie reviews section

Everything about it worked perfectly, like some sort of happy accident.  Seriously, how did this movie turn out so perfectly?  Lars von Trier, for the first time, makes a movie that everyone can appreciate.  Kirsten Dunst acts like no one knew she could, much like Natalie Portman did last year in Black Swan.  Charlotte Gainbourg ties it all together.

The thing I loved about this movie is that I found it so fulfilling to be able to relate to all of the main characters, and yet they're all so different.  It really touched on a lot of emotional levels; fear, depression, anger, helplessness, arrogance, love...  It just had it all.  And besides all of that content, the opening of this film is perfect.  The most perfect opening to a movie I have ever seen.

I guess some of the reasons for the film receiving zero nominations would include that Lars von Trier is pretty weird, said some controversial things this year, and has never been to America before so he probably wouldn't show up anyways.

As a warning to those of you who are thinking of going out to watch this movie I must add that it does contain mature subject matter and may not be suitable for all walks of life.

In any event, I plan on downloading the Oscar show sometime next week.

March.  March is upon us.  And movies are a fun time, but in March there will be a lot of preschool buzz.  Joan Rivers will show up at the preschool with her daughter and they'll both be talking about all of the gorgeous and handsome preschoolers.

"Who's she wearing?" they'll ask.

"What kind of statement is he making," they'll wonder.

It's going to be the talk or the town, and in fact, it already is over here on the 10th floor.

My wife Barbara will be opening her preschool on the 5th to a small group of foreign and local kids.  It's the trial semester, the time when they can work out all of the bugs and get things ready to open it up to a lot more kids in the Fall. 

I'll write more about this at a later date, and there will be photos with all of the juicy news and excitement.

We're all pretty excited about this.  Barbara has worked very hard over the last few months preparing things, learning things, and just diving into things (not literally).  We're all very proud of her, and would gladly award her the Oscar in the category of Achievement in Sticktuitiveness.  She is very sticktuitive and lovely.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Brettaking" and Jeremy's last name.

With Jeremy Lin's game as the talk of the NBA town, the whole league is said to have embraced "Linsanity".  Get it?  Pretty clever.  You kind of have to feel for the guy, having such an easy name to interlace with a wide assortment of words:



Relinventing the game

I scratch my bellybutton lint, he's so good.

Lin in.  Closer... I want to tell you a secret... this guy's good!

Turn down the Linkin Park CD.  Thanks, boy that was loud and annoying.  Anyways, I have news... this guy's good!

My wife lint some candles for a nice, romatic meal, but I couldn't tear myself away from the Knick's game.

Linin' the dream!

Walk right lin and dominate the NBA.

Nice game lining shot against the Raptors last week.


He drives the lin like Micheal Jordlin.

Kobe who?  Lin it really comes down to it, there is only one linteresting player this season.

People are lining up to watch this guy play.

Ladies and Gentlelin, lind me your ears...  This guy's good.

People will always remember the linter of 2012, the Linter of Lin.

Jeremy Lin just might conlince me to follow the NBA agalin.

"Attention:  all Linternational flights are delayed because the Knicks game went into overtime."

Yao Ming?  More like "Yao Ling!"

Last week, the police began a linvestigation into the whereabouts of the entire Toronto Raptor's defense scheme.  They have no leads.

Lint ain't over til lin's over.

Okay, I better stop here...

Anyways, it's really that easy... and enjoyable to make up puns involving this guy's name.

For me, it's been Bretzky or Brett, Brett, or Bee Rett.  Then the well runs dry.  My name, like "Lin" is only one sylabol, but for some reason much harder to come up with cool ways to work it into inspiring and exceptional puns.  Though I am warming up to "Brettaking".

Friday, February 17, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline Day... Live from China, yet a day later!

**In my recluse this week I had 2 followers of the blog tell me to keep pressing on.  So, dang it, here I am.  Though, it's a hockey blog so I just might chase my last loyal followers away... again.**

The NHL trade deadline, no matter how many rumors become truth, is a very exciting time for fans of hockey.  In fact...

Yes, it's really at that level.

In China, we are basically living in the future.  For Canada, it's Thursday night.  For me, it's Friday morning.  How that comes into play during the trade deadline is that it gets me out of bed a little earlier.  Even if the boys haven't burst out of their room yet, you just might find me stirring, fumbling at the side of the bed for my iPod.  I'll open up to TSN app and see if there were any trades happening while I was sleeping.

The official deadline day is February 27th, though a lot of the speculation and action happens well before that day.  Kind of like Christmas Shopping only more spiritual.  As we are now roughly 10 days away, we are hearing rumors of Rick Nash and even Patrick Kane being traded.  Whether or not they actually get traded is besides the point, just the idea of having good players wearing new uniforms, many of them brought in to make a playoff run, is exciting.  Of course, these players get traded for draft picks and prospects.  Not quite as fun, but that's where I live as a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, which is a professional ice hockey team based out of Alberta.

We Oiler fans have been wallowing on our own filth for well over 6 years now.  Sure, we've got a handful of young guns that can deliver the goods.  Yet, we continue to play last place hockey and have been for 3 years now.  So, naturally, that kind of futility should get the general manager a brand new contract, right?  I mean, why shouldn't you get rewarded for guiding a team to last place 3 years in a row?

Sure,  General Manager Steven Tambellini's got a 6 year plan.  But it's that like those people who predict the end of the world will take place well after they're dead?  Is it really honorable and acceptable to say that the things you are doing at your job will come to fruition half a decade from now?  Does that mean the team will be the worst team in the league for 5 years and then win the cup in the 6th?  Well, better give him the benefit of the doubt.  I mean, it takes a talented, committed, smart person to drive a sports franchise directly into the river, and then get rewarded for it.  So he must be doing something right.

Me and My dad, former Oiler Mark Messier

At the trade deadline, the Oilers are planning on trading the only good player they've had for the last 8 years.  He's 28, talented, an injury risk but wants to stay in Edmonton.  So, naturally, the team will trade him away because they can replace him in the lineup with Ryan Jones.

The Oilers will also trade anyone else not under 26 or named Ryan Smyth.  Could you imagine if they traded him again?  Sometimes I think that this franchise needs a good, swift kick in the crotch.

I really like the players on this team, but man, could they move it a long a little faster?  Why does management make 1 or 2 moves every summer, at least one of which is stupid, and then say that they have a plan?  Why does the plan have to be 5 years?  They say it is to build a foundation of winning, of not just settling for competing for 8th place.  What's wrong with competing for 8th?  Detroit and Vancouver are basically the only teams in the whole league that compete for the top spot every single year.  Everyone else in the competition fluctuates somewhere around 10th place and up.  The rest of the teams tread water with the Oilers.

I don't see the light.  If these guys can turn this team into something that never sucks again, they will achieve the impossible.  Every franchise has highs and lows.  Spending more time wallowing in the lows isn't going to make the high last longer.  What it will do is make loyal fans very helplessly frustrated and annoyed.

Anyways, back to the 'joy of the season': Trade Deadline Day.  It's going to be good.  You know Jay Onrait of TSN will be blogging in his robe sitting on his couch at home.  That in itself is worth following along with.

My predictions:

-  Rick Nash does not get traded.

- Patrick Kane gets traded to Buffalo for a package that includes Ryan Miller and Drew Stafford.

- Ales Hemsky does in fact get traded... to Chicago of all places.  The Oilers get a defensive prospect in return and a draft pick of no significance.  The prospect will be a step up from being a minor league and a step below someone useful, at least for the next year or 2.  This will suck.

-  The Oilers trade Nikki Khabibulin to... The Tampa Bay Lightning!  The Oilers receive a 5th round pick in return and no hard feelings.  Tambellini is then rewarded a new contract for getting rid of the horrible contract that Khabibulin carried, which ironically, is the very same contract that Tambellini signed him to only a few short years ago.

- I will say that the Oilers will also be shifting around a few more pieces, even another roster player.

The players that will not be traded (I hope) are Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Gagner and Petry.

Other players that might get traded, and if they do I would be very upset, are O'mark, Paarvai, and Dubnyk.

My dream?

The Oilers keep Hemsky and work the numbers on a new 3 year deal.  They trade Bulin away for a pick and tweak things a little bit more on a minor scale, maybe even trading away Theo Peckham.

Then, this summer, they make a move to land a decent defensemen, a goalie that is under the age of 39, and perhaps another veteren to replace the waived Ryan Jones.  Then, they let the kids run with it and push for a playoff spot.  Oh, and Hemsky shines for all 3 years of his new contract, they win a cup and build a statue right next to the Great One's, only slightly shorter and more "Czechy".


Tune in to your local stations, or log on to TSN for all the February 27th goodness.  Cause when it comes to your trade updates, trust the Canadian station.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What the blog is going on here?!

So, I've realized a few things over the last year or so regarding this site.

1.  I really like to share on it.  I know that people are reading (almost 10 000 views), but not a whole lot of dialog, which was one of the reasons why I wanted to take this blog seriously and get into it.

2.  Not a lot of dialog is probably my fault.  I spend a lot of times complaining about China or ranting on and on about a hockey team that nobody really loves as much as I do.  I've not a whole lot of topics that allow for discussion, nor that provide the need to comment.  I've gotten feedback from more than a few people who say that they really enjoy the blog, which is nice, but the very fact that they do not communicate their feelings through the blog exposes an obvious shortfall that I would like to improve upon.

3.  The Internet is a very dangerous place, in more ways than one.  The battle am going through now is that I seem to be spreading myself too thin.

The blog is one thing. I am writing every day to a mysterious following.  Seemingly spewing out every little tidbit about my life for the Internet to swallow up with the rest of the noise.

I visit Failblog a lot, and I've found it less and less funny.  I am less and less impressed with the funny photos or videos that they post.  I feel frustrated by it, by it's addiction and how unsatisfied it makes me, yet I go back for more.  10 years ago, if someone caught something amazing on film, it would be on America's Funniest Home Videos and that was the only place you could see it.  How things have changed.

It's gotten to the point where it's going beyond impressing and straight to shock value.  I came across a video the other day of a guy going through something called the "Challenge Gauntlet" or something.  He ate 6 habanero peppers, 10 Warhead candies, some Mentos, a 2 liter bottle of soda, and a gallon of Milk.  Once he started barfing up the milk I turned it off.  Curiosity took me that far, but my eyes and heart had had enough.  This poor sack of human being was just trying to get famous on the Internet.  Is it really worth risking permanent heart and intestinal issues to became famous for 5 minutes?

I need an intervention.  I think that most of us do.  Being in China, feeling isolated can be a big problem and the quick fix is to go to something familiar, Facebook or whatever, and stay there for 2 or 3 hours.  What a waste of a life!

4.  Since feeling like I cannot be spread any thinner, I've come to a point where I need to do something about it.  Prioritizing things is a start.

5.  A way to combat this thinness is to find ways to go deeper.  As if an answer to prayer, my friend invited me to join a discussion on a blog that he has started.  There will be at least 4 of us discussing a wide range of things.  I'm looking forward to a change or scenery in regards to blogging; new people to talk with, new audience, more people contributing their ideas, time, and interest.

It's a different angle of the view I've been trying to get a glimpse of ever since deciding that a blogging community would be a good place for me and my sanity.  I'll dip my toes in at first, and if the water is warm enough I'll let you know the details.

So, in conclusion, I'm going to cool it for a while on the blog.  If I can do that for, lets say until after Valentine's Day, then I am a stronger man than I thought I was.  After that, who knows?  I know some people that don't even have Facebook accounts.  Could you imagine that?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This week in Xining: Number 1, Number 2 or Number Barf?

- You know that you're in a cold and stinky bathroom when, once your pee hits the urinal, the steam rising up gives off a smell that provides temporary relief from the rankness of the rest of the room.

- With the temperatures on the rise, it was nice to go outside the other day and pretend that Spring is coming, and then, when I peaked my head out the window the following day, it was nice that I pulled it back inside just before it had a chance to freeze off and drop 10 floors down onto someone's Volkswagen.

- If anyone remembers the story about the Grass Police, I ran into him again.  If you forget the story, here's the applicable part:

Exhibit B
Today we had a little picnic in the grass behind our building. We had about 8 adults and 6 kids there. We had blankets spread on the grass and were trying to enjoy ourselves before a storm rolled in overhead. 
A few local people, as they usually do, stopped to admire the kids and guess what kinds of strange foreign foods we were eating.  After a while, one of the neighbors came up to us. He might have been in his 50's and he was out walking his dog. He went out of his way to tell us how rude we were being for having a picnic. That we were making a mess and that it was very rude. That we should not be on the grass wasn't really the point, as he said that it is fine that the kids play on the grass but that to have food on the grass is very rude and inconsiderate to the rest of the people who used the yard.

Time out. 

First of all, there is not a lot of grass in this country. When someone plants grass they usually put up a cute little sign which translates into "We are tiny blades of grass, please don't hurt us". What they really mean is "stay the %@#* off the grass!". So, as it goes, there are little patches of grass in a lot of areas in this city that just sit there. The only thing you will ever see on a patch of grass are dozens of piles of dog crap. I joke that the grass is only for looking at and for dogs to crap on. So, when we went to picnic, and knew that there were not any signs prohibiting going on the grass, that the kids could play on the grass, that dogs could use it as a bathroom, we figured in our ignorance that it would be okay to enjoy what little piece of grass we could find that had yet to be defiled. 

Anyways, it got a little weird. The guy asked where Dustin was from. He said America. The man asked if we would do something like this in America. He actually asked if we would have a picnic in America. Dustin said "of course" and the man laughed in disbelief. "Bu Ke Neng!" he laughed. "There is no way!". 

Anyways, we packed up and got out of there. We were basically done eating anyways and it was starting to get colder out.

The other day, I saw Mr. Grass Police walking his dog.  While a ways off, I saw his dog crap on the sidewalk.  Then, when I passed them, the dog crapped all over the edge of the road one more time.  He might have been sick.

The 2 prominent things to see on the road these days are piles of dog poop and piles of human barf.

These days, the city is buzzing with parties.  I mean, the local store is sold out of the good yogurt, so you know people are having a good time.  A lot of people find themselves over eating and over drinking.  I guess the taxis have been busy pulling over and the people have been busy tossing their over eats onto the street.  At least it's cold enough that the piles are left as just frozen splotches of color.  Kind of artistic, in a way.

Anyways, I think that Mr. Grass Police needs a lesson on training his dog not to poop all over the community.  It's at least comparable to eating a chicken wing on grass, right?  No matter the culture?  Maybe even a little grosser?  I've done everything to hold my tongue, and besides, there are a million other perpetrators.  If he calls me out for any more grass violations in the future, at least I have some ammo.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Recap

The First Half

After the first few minutes of the 1st quarter, I was very happy.  Ma' Man Victor Cruz juggled in a nice little TD pass and the Giants had a cozy little 9-0 lead.  Later on, Tom Brady did his thing and made things exciting going into the second half.


Despite some people's opinions, I actually enjoyed most of the halftime show.  I thought that I heard a little swear in there from M.I.A but I'm glad the 'bleep' was subtle as to not draw too much attention to the artist's marketing ploy.  I mean, what other reason is there to swear and give the finger to the camera then to just up your quickly fading profile?  She might sell a few more albums because of it.

Madonna was good because the show was snap,snap quick.  I liked most of the dancing and the choir and that fat guy, CeeLo Green, is it?  But basically, the entire theme of the halftime show can be summed up like this:

Familiar hit, leg kick to show she's still got it, grindy dance to show she's still dirty, telling you she's still sexy to show that she thinks she's still sexy, emotional religious icon and song w/choir... World Peace.

To break it down even more, she starts out old and sexy and then makes sure everyone knows that she's religious and that... World Peace.

When she sang the lyric "I'm still sexy" I misheard it as "I'm still sixty".  I think that it would have been more impressive and even 'sexier' to say that she's still sixty.  Though, I don't think she's quite that old.

The whole thing was much better than some old geezer band pretending their young again.  An old geezer pop star is a little more interesting.  Plus, she was great in Evita.

Miles main comment about the half-time show was that he didn't know that adults could give other adults piggy backs and shoulder rides.

The pivotal must-see 2nd half

I kind of missed the 2nd half.  Though, I saw Ma' Man Bradshaw roll into the endzone for the winning score.  My keys to victory went something like this:

 The Giants defence must knock Tom Brady out of the game.  Seriously.  They must hit him until he can no longer throw the ball down the field, and then, when nobody's looking, hit him again.
I think that they did a good job at that when it counted.

The Giants must play RB Bradshaw the whole game...  Bradshaw is a beast that can rumble over anyone no matter how New England Patrioty that person may be.
Well, he scored the winning TD by rumbling up the middle.

"Pass it to Victor"

Again, he caught the game's first touchdown.  Though, that dance that those NY Giant receivers do in the end zone is pretty self-degrading, don't you think?

As far as I know, Madonna didn't hurt her hip, so I was wrong there, but the Giants pretty much looked up my blog and did just as I told them to do.  I'm expecting the check in the mail.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gagner means 'win' in French

View from my seat, opening night 2009.

Here at the blog, it's turned into "sports week".  I wanted to do a post about the Oilers to add to the excitement, so I gave Sam Gagner a call and asked if he could score 4 goals against the Chicago Blackhawks on Groundhog Day.  Well, he ended up adding 4 assists to the mix, and in the end, it was nice of him to acknowledge my request by producing the first 8 point game by an Oiler's player in 23 years.

It is also worth noting that the Oilers won the game 8-4.  So yes, that's right, Gagner either scored or assisted on all 8 Oiler goals.  It is safe to say that that has never happened nor never will happen again.

The other thing I heard about this magical night is that the line of Gagner, Eberle, and Hall scored on 5 straight shifts in the 3rd period.  You can't even do that in a video game.  Believe me, I've tried many times.  They put special computer codes into the games to prohibit you from scoring every time so that you don't get bored with the game too fast.  Tonight, Gagner was better than Steve Yzerman from Nintendo's NHL 92.  That's the one you could do 'one-timers' in.

In 2009, my loving brother bought me a ticket for the Oiler's opening night game against the Flames.  After enjoying the first 2 periods I decided to go to the merch boutique and pick up a nice souvenir for my brother... a thank you gift.  Since most of the pre-season excitement centered around the Oilers signing a new goalie, I thought that it would be nice to get Barry a nice shirt with that goalie's name on the back.  Moments later, I purchased a Khabibulin shirt.

I put the shirt on (a game worn shirt is worth more!), got back to my seat and took in the rest of the game. The Oilers scored late to tie it up.  Then, with about a minute left, Khabibulin himself gifted the puck away and the Flames scored into the empty net to steal the game.  It was a bitter way to end such an exciting event, and it marked the beginning of yet another crappy season.

This is pregame, but the puck in the net makes sense

Lost in the that game was 20 year old center Sam Gagner.  He is supposed to develop into a reliable scorer, but since the coaches don't have the patience for such nonsense, they put him on the 4th line with the goons.  He fought Craig Conroy that day.  I remember it.  Craig Conroy was 18 years older(!) than Sam and a heck of a lot bigger.  Sam lost the fight, but it proved that he was willing to do whatever the coaches wanted him to, even if the coaches were idiots.

Fast forward to tonight.  Sam Gagner was on the top line with 2 shiny linemates and together they combined for 6 goals and 10 assists.

He's come a long way in 3 years.  He's not going to score 8 points again any time soon.  But, if he can combine that fighting attitude I saw back in '09 with the scoring touch, I sure hope the management and coaches realize that it's a good idea to have one of these Sam Gagner types on the team, especially when he's only 22 years old.

I mean, look at me.  I'm almost 31 years old and I feel like I'm just entering my prime.  All of the things I've learned in my 20s make me the 30 year old I am today, including the very fact that I had to get through them to get to here.  Heck, I still play touch football.  Sometime even quarterback!  And I'm 30 years old!

If Gagner still needs 3 or 4 more years to develop consistency, size, and confidence, then that is just fine and dandy for this little Oilers fan.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interesting Super Bowl 'facts'.

As it is Super Bowl Week, we continue our look at the World of Sport.

First of all...

Okay, then.  Here are some interesting tidbits to get your motor running for the big game:

1.  80% of the tickets go to corporate sponsors.  So, most of the people at the game this weekend more than likely won't be Giants or Patriots fans.  They will be ridiculously rich, non-football fans and they will be snobby and they will not eat nachos.  This is all in my imagination.

2.  Typically, antacid sales are up 20% during game day.  This is great for the folks at Pepto but not so good for anyone else and kind of disgusting if you let yourself think about it for too long.

3.  Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest eating day for Americans after Thanksgiving.  When people eat things like this, you know that they take their eating seriously.

I would also say that this day would be the best day to indulge in a 'nacho hat'.

it kind of makes you want to brainstorm of things to put on a giant edible hat.  Here are a few:

- Any dip would work in the middle.  For the brim I'm thinking some sort of chip layering system, similar to a bird's wing with feathers.

- A 'Ribeye hat'?

- A soft tortilla hat with a bowl of ground beef in the middle?

- Pancake hat with syrup in the middle.  You could layer bacon and eggs on the brim and they would stay warm in the sunshine.

But the winner, in my book, is the cheese fondue hat.

4.  43.9 million Americans will attend Super Bowl party. 

As for Canada, Eugene's family and cousin Sue's nephew's family will be in Estevan, Saskatchewan at the high school, which will be broadcasting the game for the community.  All of the Newfoundlanders living North of Lacombe, AB and a couple of the guys from the oil field are invited to parties at their local Lion's Club Legions.  Bryce will be watching the game if he's not working down at the firehall.  That's all I've heard about so far.  Feel free to announce your party on this blog.

5.  One year, Kathie Lee Gifford sang the national anthem.  I dare you to watch it.

6.  According to the organizers of the event, All football fans love a halftime show which includes one of the following:

- The latest pop sensation.
- Rap music.
- Some old band that was famous in the 70s.
- Some old musician that was famous in the 80s.

The general rule of thumb is to steer clear of any music that is awesome.

7.  As everyone knows, they show cool commercials during the Super Bowl... except for in Canada.

While the Americans watch Justin Timberlake's latest cute thing that he does we Canadians will be reminded that North of 60 reruns will continue to be shown every Wednesday morning at 230am.  Also, Tim Hortons has yet another kind of breakfast sandwich.

8.  There have been almost twice as many Grey Cup games (Canadian Football League) as Super Bowls, yet some how it's still not as popular.  Next year will be the Grey Cup's 100th game!

9.  The NFL's current agreement (which runs out after this season) says that the winner of the Super Bowl is to get paid $88 000.  That's each player, so to crunch the numbers.... that is about 5 million dollars going to people do don't need it.  On top of that, most players have bonus clauses in their contracts that will pay them even more cash, even if they lose.

It's pretty fair, when you think about it.  It's like when you work hard at building a snow fort with your kid and then you share it with the neighbour and his kids, then someone gives you a million dollars for it because you're doing what your supposed to do as a father.  It happens to all of us at some point.

10.  There is more to it here, but basically the game was named 'The Super Bowl' temporarily while they all thought of the better name for it.  They're still thinking, I guess, but I really like the name Super Bowl.  It's very American.

As for Canadians, the name 'Grey Cup' works great because it was named after Governor General Earl Albert Grey and the cup itself is pretty grey looking.  The Super Bowl is a trophy, so I think that they need to work on that a bit.

Are you excited about the Super Bowl yet?  I am.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sports quotes that don't make any sense

Some things to think about the next time you tie up the laces, strap on the cup, or pick up the curling broom.  

If someone shouts out a cheer as you are participating in a sport you love, more often then not, they are flat out lying to you and should be immediately ejected.

Hopefully Tom Brady and Eli Manning are listening.

1. "Give 110%"

I tried this and it doesn't work.

2. "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

I played in a basketball game once and lost.  That was something.  'Cleats' are also things.

3. "When I go out on the ice, I just think about my skating. I forget it is a competition."
Katarina Witt

I knew a guy who forgot it was a competition once because he got hit on the head with a bowling ball.  He never played competitively again.

4. "I'll let the racket do the talking."
John McEnroe

If his racket was talking then he was definitely cheating.  I also argue the fact that he did, in fact, do a lot of talking himself.

5. "My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win... channel your energy. Focus."
Carl Lewis

I ran my race many times and still lost because the other guys were much faster and skinnier than me.

6. "In the end, the game comes down to one thing: man against man. May the best man win."
-- Sam Huff
This guy was an obvious chauvinist.

7. "Victory belongs to the most persevering."
-- Napoleon
This guy, whoever he was, never played a game of 'heads up 7 up'.  Those things are over quick, especially with a small group of people.

8. "Good guys are a dime a dozen, but an aggressive leader is priceless."
-- Red Blaik
The average pro sports team costs the owner 56 million dollars annually.  How would they know what an aggressive leader was if they could never be able to afford one?  It's all hearsay and supposeds.  There is no room in the game for that nonsense. 

9. "If you are going to be a champion, you must be willing to pay a greater price."
-- Bud Wilkinson
The Yankees play a greater price every year and yet they lose more often than they win.

10. "Of all your troubles, great and small, the greatest are the ones that don't happen at all."
-- Thomas Carlyle
If troubles don't happen... you win!

Super Bowl Preview

Getting your Super Bowl preview advice from a Canadian guy living in China is probably not the smartest decision you've ever made, especially if there is money involved, but believe me, I consider it a kind gesture worthy of gratitude and reverence.

First of all, I hate the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.  The only way that this game could be a worse matchup would be if the Yankees and Vancouver Canucks could play it.  The Patriots are the team that always beats on and laughs at my beloved New York Jets.  The Giants are a team that seem to be riding on a giant surf-worthy wave of momentum and luck juice, so I'm sure that they believe that they cannot be stopped.  Up until the emergence of stud WR Victor Cruz, I would have called this team the most boring team to every make it to the Super Bowl.  As of now, they are quite an exciting team, Mr. Cruz is just THAT GOOD.

Anyways, the game should be a good one, and because of the said Mr. Cruz, I am slightly rooting for the Giants to win.  Here are some of my keys to the game, or as I like to call them, "Super Spoons to the Super Bowl":

1.  The Giants defense must knock Tom Brady out of the game.  Seriously.  They must hit him until he can no longer throw the ball down the field, and then, when nobody's looking, hit him again.  Their backup QB is Doug Flutie, but he won't play because he's retired, but next in line is Brian Hoyer.  A name like that would never lead a team to win the Super Bowl, so you can bet donuts to dollars that this is the biggest spoon of the game.

2.  Ron Gronkowski, even with one of his ankles taped to the rest of this leg, needs to score at least 3 touchdowns in order to give the announcers something annoying to talk about the whole game.  If he can get 3 in the first half, then you can be sure that the announcers will gawk and ramble on and on about how great he and Brady are together.  While watching a replay of the game, this kind of talk will make poor Wes Welker cry a little inside.

3.  The Giants must play RB Bradshaw the whole game.  Staple Brandon Jacob's butt pads to the bench if you have too.  Bradshaw is a beast that can rumble over anyone no matter how New England Patrioty that person may be.

4.  Madonna needs to throw out her hip while gyrating during the halftime show.  This will do more for her career than she will ever know.

5.  With Kelly Clarkson singing the national anthem, us music lovers will be left out in the cold once again.  Oh, what's that?  Wait just a second...

According to the Washington Post, Kelly Clarkson isn’t the only big celebrity named to grace the field before the game Country singers Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are going to be singing America the Beautiful in the pre-game show as well.

Well, never mind.  Looks like all the bases are covered.  I am a huge Bill Sheldon and Missy Lambeard fan.  The hugest!  And 'America the Wonderful' is my favorite national anthem of all time!

6.  Then, we have this guy:

From Mark Herzlich -

2 yrs ago I was told I might never walk again. Just WALKED off plane in Indy to play in The #SuperBowl. #TakeThatSh*tCancer

Now, I'm not a tweeter.  I don't know if the # means that he is sending it to a computer that can sort out what TakeThatSh*tCancer actually means and who the deserved recipient should be, but quite a nice story to say the least.

I mean, I walked to the store today, but I don't even have cancer.  My father-in-law has cancer and he walks his dog every single day.  I'm sure that he could play in the Super Bowl if he felt like it, but according to him, he's rather watch it on TV.  Good choice.

I am predicting that Mark Herzlich tackles Tom Brady, causing a fumble, picks up said fumble and rumbles it into the endzone for a score.  Then, he will drop the football and dance around the endzone as one final spit in Cancer's face.  Then, he'll tweet about it in the locker room.

7.  For the Giants to win, when they are in the huddle and the coach asks "now, we need a big play right now, what should you do, Eli?"  Eli must respond with "Pass it to Victor".  Any other response deserves a benching and a public verbal put down session following the game.  Everyone knows that they need to pass it to Victor.  If Eli can't do it, then someone else will.  And that 'someone else' might as well be Victor Cruz.

And Finally...

8.  If CCTV ends up showing the game then I am happy, and that, to me, is the most important thing.

We'll see, maybe they can find a dart or ping pong competition that will turn out to be much more important for the comradery and over all health of The People.  If so, good for them.

Final Score Prediction:

New York Giants 30

New England Patriots 24

New Madonna Album 3

At least she can kick a field goal.  No shame in that.