10:44 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
10:16 AM | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown
Nevertheless, the excursion was fruitful, in that it debunked many myths ingrained in my mind by my mid-‘80s education and textbooks written during the Cold War. Many would not know that Saint Petersburg is actually a very beautiful city, modeled after Venice, with canals, footbridges, and immaculate cathedrals around every corner. The people were generally in good spirits and friendly, and didn’t hassle you as long as you at least tried to blend in and throw around a phrase or two in Russian.
I spoke to a number of university students, all of which were very concerned about how they are perceived in the U.S. They swear they don’t all drink vodka, and they only wear fur hats because it’s so damn cold in the winter. In fact, Russians as a whole are very open to this “global warming” phenomenon.
The sun setting at 11:00 pm and rising before 5:00 am certainly messed with my body, but allowed me to maximize the daylight to see the city. Contrary to popular belief, they do have hot water, they do have modern technology, and there were not armed gunman on every street corner. We were warned heavily about pickpockets, but never encountered an attempt to hijack our rubles. Only one person hassled me, a homeless man with no legs. I simply outran him.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and comes highly recommended. Be aware though, that you cannot simply purchase a ticket on Orbitz and show up in
1) Vodka in Russia is good. We've all heard this. Well, it's the damned truth, not to mention it is cheap. Good ol' fashioned sippin' vodka. The really good stuff will only cost you $8 for a half liter bottle. The standard issue runs about $4, which is still better than the trash you get in the U.S. We brought a bunch back with us. I'll never buy vodka in an American store again.
2) Many of the events we attended were on the top floors of large buildings. You could not rely on the use of elevators. If there was an elevator, it likely did not work, or would only fit two people at a time. The legs got a workout.
3) The staircases were unique in pretty much every building we entered. Most of the buildings in the city were constructed in the 1940's or earlier, and were hastily put up with little funding. Therefore, most of the stairs are not symmetrical in any way. Each step varied in height and depth. Not necessarily easy to navigate after a half-bottle of the aforementioned vodka.
4) I did much of my walking about town in the wee hours following sunrise. At that time of day, you run into the little people taking care of the litter on the streets. They wear orange vests and sweep garbage into dustbins. But they don't use real brooms as you might expect. Their brooms are really just a bunch of twigs bound together and strapped to a large stick. Homemade if you will, but they seemed to get the job done.
5) Aside from Russian, the most common language heard on the streets is English. Except it's the Queen's English. Apparently their interpreters and general public learn English off of British tapes. Which is probably why "tea" means "coffee" and "chai" means "tea". Damn Brits.
6) There are few rules of the road in Russia. There are no speed limits. Crosswalks are a touchy affair. When lanes are painted, few drivers abide by them. It's really just a free-for-all on the road. I would never drive in Saint Petersburg (a typical Russian vehicle at left).
7) Parking is an issue, or at least it would be for Americans. Again with the cars though, few rules apply. Not quite enough room to parallel park? Then it's perfectly acceptable to pull straight in, hop the cub, and leave your trunk hanging out in the street. I should have taken pictures of this.
8) From what I understand, in some European countries, restrooms are referred to as "water closets", and are marked with a WC. Well, the same is true in Russia, though men's and women's water closets are usually not differentiated. On a number of occasions I would be standing at a urinal, only to have a woman come out of the adjacent stall. I think this needs to be adopted in the United States. We should be mature enough to not segregate our water closets by gender.
9) Like most major metropolitan areas, Saint Petersburg has an underground subway system. However, due to the unique geology of the city, which has the River Neva flowing through it and numerous canals, coupled with the intent to use the metro system as a nuclear shelter, make for about a 5 minute escalator ride down to the platforms (pictured at right).
10) Finally, we saved the best for last. Cultural differences obviously abound between two countries such as the United States and Russia. Yet to walk down the streets of Saint Petersburg, or to sit down in a coffee shop and observe the people, you would not be able to really draw any conclusions based on appearance. Except for one thing: the mullets. It would be safe to say that 50% of all Russian boys and young men sport the mullet, as well as unnecessarily tight jeans. The odd thing is that the young women mostly look like they belong in the OC, with their big sunglasses, fancy boots, and designer purses. Clearly they spend the majority of their money on appearances. Unfortunately, those women who are not as trendy also can fall prey to the mullet, probably in the 10-20% range. Sadly we concluded that their fascination with the mullet was not an ironic one. Only with diplomatic understanding and cooperation can we help them overcome this obstacle. Perhaps when Bush and Putin meet in Kennebunkport this July, they can put this issue on the table.
Other random notes:
- The beef stroganoff we had one night was fantastic.
- They love peach yogurt.
- Russians have a very profound knowledge and understanding of their history, and are an extremely proud people.
- The preferred beer in Russia is called Baltica. Different types of Baltica are numbered, so you order Baltica 3 (light beer), Baltica 4 (regular draft), Baltica 5 (like a Heineken), Baltica 6 (wheat), etc.
- Most restaurants are underground.
- The ballet will make you fall asleep.
- Coca-Cola signs dominate the city.
- McDonald's and Subway were the only American chains we came across.
- We took a train to Helsinki, Finland for a couple days, which is a very old-school, cool city.
- The Fins have shitty beer and a lot of bike paths.
8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
- Swept by the Marlins. (Crickets) Ugggggggla. Like a flashback from Nam', the memories of 2003 will haunt the Friendly Confines forever. Full disclosure: these confines ain't so friendly ma'am. Really there is nothing positive to say about this series. It was vaguely depressing, but more just kind of blah, like Easy Mac for lunch at work.
- The NL Central is terrible. Don't let the apologists (see: NL Central managers) tell you otherwise. Has any team ever won a division with a record less than .500? I should suspect not. Somebody check Wikipedia.
- I must say, I don't watch a lot of West Coast baseball, save for when ESPN interrupts regular programming to bring me the latest Barry Bonds at-bat, as he chases an increasingly meaningless record. Regardless, I have come to the decision after this past weekend that I don't really mind the Dodgers per se. They've got a great history, cool uniforms, a old school ballpark and some likable young guys. It probably doesn't hurt that my favorite player of all time, Fernando Valenzuela, donned Dodger Blue for his glory years. That said, until they purge their roster of Jeff Kent, I refuse to admit this affection to anyone other than the 3 people reading this. I feel my secret is safe with you guys.
- I've officially washed my hands of The Sports Guy. I'm sick of hearing his 'woe is me' take on being a fan of New England sports, and the fact that he has to recount every vomit-inducing conversation he has with his Dad is at best unneccessary, at worst incestual and creepy. Awww...Bill Simmons dad is a curmudgeonly old man with a heart of gold! How cliche. Dan McCarthy from Stanford, why don't you be my mouthpiece?
- Favorite boxer ever: James 'Buster' Douglas. Mark it down.
- I wouldn't mind an Xbox 360. Thing is, I don't want to pay for one in the traditional sense. That being said, I am soliciting offers from anyone who would like to just give me one. In exchange I will buy you any shirt from the Thunder Matt store (though I will clearly be pushing you towards the 'I was Ast-raped in 88' one). I'm also working on getting Alyssa Milano to add a couple Thunder Matt shirts to her 'Touch' line of clothing. My calls have gone unreturned but I remain cautiously optimistic.
- A few readers have reported Buzanis sightings at the following locales: Payday Loans. 5 miles off the coast of Cuba. In a hammock strung between two palm trees. In line at Orange Julius. A goofy golf course in Panama City. Riding the back of a great white shark. In the background as an extra during the season finale of Lost.
- Need some cheering up after the Cubs recent woes? Take a listen to the song 'In Transit' by Albert Hammond. This perfect summer ditty is the musical equivilent to a cup of coffee and bagel to start your morning off on the right foot.
- Seriously, go see Knocked Up or Once this weekend. What, you'd rather watch another Cubs meltdown? Get a sitter for the kids (or better yet, put the kids to sleep and sneak out...I've found that method to be highly underrated), score a corner booth at Applebees and then sneak your leftover Rib Tip platter into the local cineplex. Two hours of belly laughs and ten sticky BBQ fingers later you'll be wondering why you don't do that more often. You'll probably also be wondering where your kids went. (Most likely kinapped. Best case scenario it's a run-of-the-mill textbook 'runaway' case.)
9:19 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
What's that? Thunder Matt doesn't deserve your vote? Well neither does Paul Lo Duca, but that didn't stop 339,000 assholes out there.
8:12 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
I can't say I saw too much of Friday's game. We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which by the way, isn't nearly as bad as the cynical bastards that call themselves critics would lead you to believe. Yes, it was long and drawn out in places, and some of the scenes were weird, but overall I thought it was pretty good. Anyway, I turned on the game when I got to bed to see the Dodgers with a 5-1 lead. I then doze off and wake up to find it 8-5 Cubs in the middle of the 8th inning. Figuring they could handle it, I shut off the TV and went to sleep satisfied. The next morning I woke up, only to check the box score online and see the final outcome, 9-8 Dodgers. The sad thing is, I wasn't at all shocked by it. It's become par for the course with this bullpen. No lead is safe.
Saturday proved to be a little better. Chaz threw 7 strong innings before being overextended in the 8th and getting yanked with the bases loaded and two outs. Luckily Ohman managed to strike out Jeff Kent to get out of the jam. Maybe the bullpen would prove to be back on track? Nope. Dempster came out in the 9th and gave up two hits to Mike Lieberthal and Andre Ethier, before lucking out when Olmedo Saenz hit into the game-ending double play.
Then came Sunday. Ugh, just when I think they couldn't come up with any new ways to lose a game, along come Guzman and Marmol to walk the bases load, only for Marmol to bean the winning run in. Jesus, are you kidding me? Walking the winning run in is embarassing enough but to hit the guy? And it was Juan freakin' Pierre of all people. That guy never, EVER draws a walk. He had 32 all last season in over 700 plate appearances! How hard is it to get him to ground out? Apparently harder than not beaning him.
Just an all-around piss poor West Coast trip. There's no reason they should not have won more than just two games. Let's not just point the finger at the bullpen either. The offense is certainly to blame for some of this as well. The Cubs outhit the Padres in all three games they played, and outhit the Dodgers in both losses. What the hell is going on? To take a line from the Book of Dusty, are all these hits 'clogging the bases'? Maybe Davey Lopes is right, that baserunning has become incredibly poor these days.
That brings us to the current series with Florida. I really don't have anything more to say other than how in the hell do the Cubs become completely baffled at the plate against a 5'8" Korean softball pitcher that finds the strike zone about 30% of the time?
We've yet to be swept this season (unless you count the Houston series, but since one game got rained out and hasn't been made up, I refuse to consider it yet). The Cubs better get their shit together, because no way should their first sweep come at the hands of the god damn Marlins! Christ, I'd hate this team more, if only I knew more than 3 of their players.
"Hey asshole, why don't you try to end this shit on a positive, instead of being so damn negative!"
You know what, you're right. So while the Cubs are floundering right now, I turn your attention south to the state of Texas where right now the Houston Astros are riding a 9 game losing streak. As much as we suck right now, we're still not as bad as the 'Stros and Cards, which will always make me happy.
A Thunder Matt Movie Minute Presents: The Oft-Delayed, Overly Long, Buzanis-Approved Summer Movie Preview
8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
To help ease you into the work week, we have this long-ass summer movie preview manifesto, whose length alone will probably intimidate you from actually reading it. But wait loyal reader (mom)...would it help if I said that this summer preview contains the seasoned wisdom of a one Thomas Buzanis? Yep, now I've got your interest. I enlisted the help of both Tommy and a drunken Ronald McDonald, who along with myself have put together an offensive and unhelpful movie guide. (And yes, Tommy really did contribute). You'll notice that Tommy contributed significantly less than the other two. Let it be said that he had to run over to Jimmy Johnson's annual Memorial Day BBQ, where Tommy's duties included watching the steaks and making his signature drink, Sex on the Beach (with minors). But I digress. Without further ado, here we go.
I Will Wait in a Semi-Long Line to See This, Thank You
Release Date: June 1st
Synopsis: For fun loving party animal Ben Stone, the last thing he ever expected was for his one night stand to show up on his doorstep eight weeks later to tell him she's pregnant.
Chaim: The funniest movie you'll see all summer. Like The 40 Year-Old Virgin, it's raunch belies it's good natured heart.
Ronald: Guy accidentally knocks up girl, leading to unwanted baby. Sounds like the story of my life, minus the funny jokes and happy ending.
Tommy: Tommy B. is envious of t his story line...they tell me I went sterile a while back due to an unhealthy combination of the Applebee's combo platter and banana daiquiris. Regardless, this looks funny - I will financially support it.
Release Date: July 4th
Synopsis: Dueling alien races, the Autobots and the Decepticons, bring their battle to Earth, leaving the future of humankind hanging in the balance.
Chaim: I can't help but feeling that this is yet another piece of my childhood that will be tainted by a subpar big screen rendering (Dukes of Hazzard anyone?). Yet I remain hopeful. The trailer does look pretty sweet, even if it does star avowed War Criminal and modern day Frankie Muniz, Shia Labouf. I will go in with low expectations and hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Ronald: (taking a swig of Wild Turkey, wiping his mouth on his clown sleeve) *Singing* Transformers, more than meets the fucking eye. Transformers. Robots in disguise. Owwwwwww!
Live Free or Die Hard
Release Date: June 27th
Synopsis: John McClane (Willis) takes on an Internet-based terrorist organization who is systematically shutting down the United States.
Chaim: I get semi aroused watching the trailer. The only downside is the PG-13 rating. Boo. What is John McClane going to say? "Yippee-ki-yay mothertrucker?"
Ronald: I've been lobbying for years for "Live Free or Die Hard" to be the official slogan of McDonald's.
Tommy: Bruce was on the house boat before this interview, needless to say.
Release Date: May 18th in NY/LA, expanding slowly
Synopsis: A modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.
Chaim: You are going to have to seek this one out, but it's worth the effort. I cannot recommend this one enough. Probably the best film I've seen all year. If you're not smitten with this film, I don't have time for you.
Ronald: This movie makes me want to settle down with a nice Czech girl who will feed me beefsteak and pour me frosty mugs of Pilsner Urquell. Here's a dating litmus test. Take your girl out for a nice steak dinner and then take her to see this. If that doesn't get you laid, there's no hope left for you. Kill yourself immediately.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Release Date: August 3rd
Synopsis: Bourne races to discover the final mysteries of his past while a government agent tries to track him down after a shootout in Moscow.
Chaim: The thinking man's action franchise. Realistic fight scenes, cool car chases...Jason Bourne is a blue collar Bond. I love it.
Ronald: (yelling at women in other room) I'll give YOU a bourne ultimatum. Warm up this dinner or leave! Fuck you. These McNuggets are cold in the middle. (Spitting out crumbs). *Depressed* God I'm unhealthy.
Release Date: August 17th
Synopsis: Two co-dependent high school seniors (Hill and Cera) are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.
Chaim: Judd Apatow strikes again. The 'unrated trailer' looks pretty classic. And it's got George Michael from Arrested Development and unsung comic force Jonah Hill (Accepted, Knocked Up). This is the kind of teen comedy I can get behind.
Ronald: You do like to get behind teens. I'll be here all week folks! No but seriously, did you say there are young, hot teens in this movie?
Synopsis: A sister (Linney) and brother (Hoffman) face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.
Chaim: Sundance fave looks to fill the 'Wes Anderson/dysfunctional family' niche that 'Running With Scissors' failed so miserably at last year. Looks promising.
Ronald: Pardon my ignorance, but is this about Fred Savage?
Release Date: June 29th
Synopsis: A comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on earth.
Chaim: Everybody's favorite mop-topped activist hits the streets and the silver screen again, this time taking on health care. I'm sure this won't cause any controversy at all. He seems like a pretty affable guy who has never been one to stir the pot.
Ronald: Is this that fucker who did the 'Supersize Me' documentary? That guy did the McDonald's diet for 30 days...ooohhh. Big deal, I've been on that diet for over 30 years and I'm in the best shape of my life. That triple bypass was just a speedbump on my overall highway of health. Oh my God, I think I'm having a heart attack right now. Someone call the police post haste.
I Would Go See This as a Matinee, or Hell, It May End Up in My Netflix Queue
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Release Date: May 25th
Synopsis: Captain Barbossa, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann must sail off the edge of the map, navigate treachery and betrayal, and make their final alliances for one last decisive battle.
Chaim: This was arrrghhh-right, but they didn't really shiver me timbers. (Crickets) This was better than the second one, but not on par with the first. A bit uneven, and I could have used more Keith Richards, but as usual, Depp keeps things entertaining.
Ronald: Keith Richards, that son of bitch. I just remember being with Keith on the Buzanis houseboat, summer of 77'. Cocaine, Jimmy Buffet passed out on the poop deck and pregnancies beginning and ending in the same night. I've tried to call Keith recently, but he doesn't answer. To be fair, I lost his number years ago and have resorted to dialing random combinations of numbers in the hopes of getting lucky. No such luck...yeah.
Tommy: You want adventure on the high seas do you ya? Try June 12th, 1986. Me and Kurt Rambis commandeered a British Naval vessel headed to Bermuda after several encounters with the real Captain Jack (Daniels). Rambis defecates on the Union Jack claiming he didn't care for British foreign policy at the time. Long story short, we were thrown over board and nearly devoured by sharks...Anyway, see this movie - it is 3 hours but well worth it - kind of like a bone session with Tommy B.
Release Date: June 8th
Synopsis: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and circles up the boys for a third a heist, after casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould).
Chaim: Really enjoyed the first one, lukewarm on the second. I can't help but think this is just an excuse for George Clooney to have all his buddies over to his Italian villa for a good old fashioned, fart filled sausage fest.
Ronald: Watching these movies puts me in the mood to drink. Though, lets be honest with each other, that can be said about every movie.
Tommy: I was actually talking to Pitt the other day, and he fully admitted the lads mailed it in on this one. Tommy was frustrated and explained that the cast should follow Ryan Theriot's example. Even if the Cubs are down 12 runs he will battle and take far too many pitches - he never gives up on an at-bat. Pitt said he didn't know who Ryan Theriot was. I told him to ask Cheadle. Cheadle said he didn't have time for this shit.
Death at a Funeral
Release Date: June 29th
Synopsis: Chaos ensues when a man tries to expose a dark secret regarding a recently deceased patriarch of a dysfunctional British family.
Chaim: Really, what's funnier than a funeral? Tommy Buzanis swears by this movie. Literally. He curses a red streak when he talks about it.
Ronald: This movie is British. Ronald McDonald stands for Americana. I will not see this. Tommy: Death at a Funeral is sealed with the Tommy Buzanis guarantee which I do not throw around lightly. Only twice before has it been called into play - Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS ( I guaranteed a Cubs victory) and I also invoked it when Princess Diana told Tommy she was pregnant and kind of hinted that it was mine. I guaranteed her I was sterile, ask Mike at the Fort Lauderdale Appelbee's. I said, she was confused. Anyway, this a perfect blend of British and American comedy brought to us from the guy who was the voice of Yoda - Frank Oz. See this movie.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Release Date: July 20th
Synopsis: Two straight, single Brooklyn firefighters (Sandler, James) pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive domestic partner benefits.
Chaim: I'll admit it. I like King of Queens. I even kind of liked Hitch. File this one under 'guilty pleasure.' Really though, Adam Sandler has no where to go but up after 'The Longest Yard' and 'Click'.
Ronald: I am against gay marriage, so I won't be seeing this. Bi-curious trysts that occur under the influence of alcohol and barbiturates? Well that is fine, clearly.
Tommy: Title reminds me of the time Chuck Daley and Larry Bird came over to my old house boat and we shot vodka and played monopoly til 3 in the morning...Tommy lost his virginity that night - when I woke up there was a 6 foot fish lying next to me, I'm not saying I had sex with a fish - I'm just saying it's a possibility.
A Mighty Heart
Release Date: September 14th
Synopsis: Mariane Pearl (Jolie) embarks on a frantic search to locate her journalist husband, Daniel, when he goes missing in Pakistan.
Chaim: This one looks like it could be good, albeit damn depressing. Here's an interesting tidbit. Angelina Jolie's friends? They call her 'Angie'. Hmmmm...
Undecided, Like Ronald's Ambiguous Sexuality
Release Date: July 20th
Synopsis: Pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.
Chaim: I saw this. Musicals aren't my thing, much less musicals with John Travolta in drag. That being said, I can appreciate it as being well made and appealing to the same tragic crowd that made High School Musical a phenomenon. Much more entertaining than Dreamgirls though, which is a backhanded compliment if there ever was one.
Tommy: Hey Chaim, if you wanted to come out of the closet there are better ways of doing it rather than saying you like "Hairspray"!! (Me and Freddy Couples just high-fived. He is over here with me).
The Simpsons Movie
Release Date: July 27th
Synopsis: Homer must save the world from a catastrophe he himself created.
Chaim: Am I the only one not excited for this? Nothing against The Simpsons. It's a well-written show, albeit one I haven't watched in about 8 years. Full disclosure. 8th grade I had a Bart Simpson button that was literally the size of a pancake (normal pancakes, not those chincy 'dollar size' ones) that I wore on an oversized black windbreaker to school. It's slogan? 'Don't have a cow man'. Maybe I just harbor resentment towards The Simpsons from all of the times I got beat up for that.
Ronald: Piss break!
Release Date: June 22nd
Synopsis: God (Freeman) contacts Congressman Evan Baxter (Carell) and tells him to build an ark in preparation for a great flood.
Chaim: I like Steve Carell as much as any Generation Y Caucasian male out there but this one seems a bit Night at the Museum-ish for me. Probably more of a renter, as with all the damn animals in this one we will surely be subject to the obligatory 'animal humping/defecating/farting/dressed up in funny clothes' scene. That's frustrating.
Ronald: I just watched the trailer and all I have to say is, 'Christ Almighty'.
Release Date: June 22nd
Synopsis: A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.
Chaim: The good: Based on a Stephen King novel. Stars John Cusack and Sam Jackson. Trailer looks creepy. The bad: Sam Jackson hasn't made a good movie in years and the premise reeks of The Number 23, a movie for which I could rattle off at least 23 reasons NOT to see.
Ronald: Is this about Columbus discovering America? I have it on good faith that is was Amerigo Vespucci and NOT Columbus that discovered the free world. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Immediately upon discovering America the first thing he did was build a McDonald's. True story.
Release Date: June 15th
Synopsis: Eagle vs Shark is the tale of two socially awkward misfits and the strange ways they try to find love; through revenge on high-school bullies, burgers, and video games.
Chaim: It's Napolean Dynamite, done up New Zealand style! Not sure what New Zealand style entails. Judging from the preview, that style means 'more funny when you're stoned.'
Ronald: I am actually stoned right now. And you're right, I just laughed my ass off at that trailer. I am so hungry. Is that cliche for a stoned person, such as myself, to say? Well fuck it, I am.
Release Date: August 10th
Synopsis: In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he'll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.
Chaim: This looks to be equal parts The Princess Bride and Raging Bull.
Ronald: Chaim, you are a Raging Homosexual if you go see this.
Chaim: Classy Ronald. Lets keep this out of the gutter. I know it's really hard...
Ronald: (Interrupting) That's what your boyfriend said.
Shoot Me. Shoot Me Now.
Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer
Release Date: June 15th
Synopsis: The Fantastic Four learn that they aren't the only super-powered beings in the universe when they square off against the powerful Silver Surfer and the planet-eating Galactus.
Chaim: The Silver Surfer character looks cool, but did anyone see the first one? A mess of a film that even a bra and panty-clad Jessica Alba could not redeem.
Ronald: (vomits a little on chest)
Rush Hour 3
Release Date: August 10th
Synopsis: While in Paris, Lee and Carter inadvertently get mixed up with the Chinese Triad crew.
Chaim: That trailer makes me sad.
Ronald: Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in France. I don't know who either of those people are. Should I?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Release Date: July 13th
Synopsis: With their warning about Lord Voldemort's return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.
Chaim: I've never seen any of these. Never read the books either. My nerd loyalties reside with The Shire.
Ronald: Magic is the work of the devil. These kids should be tried by hung jury. Speaking of hung, I am one horny dude.
License to Wed
Release Date: July 4th
Synopsis: A marriage counselor puts one couple through a series of relationship challenges during a the most grueling marriage preparation course ever.
Chaim: To paraphrase our own Brant Brown, who once said, "Rap is to music as AIDS is to life," I say to you, "Robin Williams is to cinema what AIDS is to life".
Ronald: Ha, Robin Williams! I love that guy. Did you see RV? I was pretty shitfaced, but I seem to remember immediately turning to a nameless whore in bed with me and saying, "Comedy classic. Mark it down."
Tommy: Robin was much funnier when he was doing blow...We would play golf in Arizona and by the end of the round the golf cart looked as though it had snowed on the inside. The beer cart girl would come around and Robby would have her naked in 5 minutes. Tommy would be hitting his lob wedge and in the middle of my backswing I would hear noises that reminded me of the hot tub at Ronald's house. I digress, don't see this film.
11:16 PM | Comments (0) | by Martin Gramatica
I couldn't help but to notice the baseball card of former Cub, Moises Alou. That picture does not conjure up memories of a former All-Star outfielder. No, no. Instead it reminds me of an Ethiopian marathon participant. That man on that baseball card has probably been seen running through villages in Africa, late night informercials that try to get you to "sponsor" a child (normally with flies on its face), and running in marathons.
That is no "slugger". It certainly isn't the guy that got robbed by ol whats his name in the NLCS either. Get the man a plate and the nearest Shoneys!!!
Posted in: Martin Gramatica
10:34 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
God forbid he do his own post...he'll make me do all the dirty work and just throw in his two cents, like at the Cubs convention. But there should be something up by the end of the weekend. I've written my portion of the piece, so if Buzanis doesn't come through I will physically drive down to his houseboat, throw his whores off the bed, grab him by his silk robe, and shout profanities in his general direction.
8:13 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
8:45 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
Well it's official. I've decided to concede the SS race to Nomar. Meanwhile a fat, unshaven Barry Larkin is holed up somewhere, plotting his next move, which undoubtedly will be tackling global warming and saving the environment.
Moving on to the outfield we start things off in left. I can honestly say this is a frightening bunch. Seven badasses and Dante Bichette. You have enough attitude and testosterone here to film a whole trilogy of blaxploitation films.
Montreal Expos (1990-96), Florida Marlins (1997), Houston Astros (1998-99)
All-Star: 1994, 1997, 1998
Silver Sluggers: 1994, 1998
Postseason: 1997 WS, 98 NLDS
Notes: A gritty, hard-nosed player, Moises, along with Gary Sheffield and Bobby Bonilla, was part of a tough offensive core that led the Marlins to their first World Series title. Known for peeing on his hands as well as one of the few guys left that you can still see openly chewing tobacco quite often.
Cleveland Indians (1990-96), Chicago White Sox (1997-98), Baltimore (1999)
Silver Sluggers: 1993-96, 1998
Postseason: 1995 WS, 1996 ALDS
League Leader: SLG ('95, '98), Runs ('95), Doubles ('95), HR ('95), RBI ('93, '95, '96)
Notes: Proof positive that being a cantankerous asshole can be detrimental to your Hall of Fame prospects, Albert certainly put up HOF-worthy numbers. Belle had 9 consecutive 100 RBI seasons before his hip gave out. A quick examination of his various exploits during and after his playing days leaves one to wonder whether or not the guy is mentally stable.
California Angels (1990), Milwaukee Brewers (1991-92), Colorado Rockies (1993-99)
All-Star: 1994-96, 1998
Silver Sluggers: 1995
Postseason: 1995 ALDS
League Leader: Hits ('95, '98), HR ('95)
Notes: It's Eddie Munster on steroids! You have to question whether Bichette's career numbers would be as good as they are had he not played in Colorado for the bulk of his career. While only 25% of his career at bats were in Coors Field, over 40% of his home runs were hit there.
Pittsburgh Pirates (1990-92), San Francisco Giants (1993-99)
Awards: 1990 NL MVP, 1992 NL MVP, 1993 NL MVP
All-Star: 1990, 1992-98
Gold Gloves: 1990-94, 1996-98
Silver Sluggers: 1990-94, 1996, 1997
Postseason: 1990 NLCS, 1991 NLCS, 1992 NLCS, 1997 NLDS
League Leader: OBP ('91-93, 95), SLG ('90, '92, '93), R ('92), HR ('93), RBI ('93), BB ('92, '94-97)
Notes: All animosity aside, you know and I know there's no one better on this list than Bonds. That being said, I fully expect someone else to win this poll due to the sheer contempt most have for Barry. Love him or hate him, his stats speak for themself. Barry is also the only LF on this list to have any Gold Gloves in the 90's.
Atlanta Braves (1990-93), Cincinnati Reds (1995), St. Louis Cardinals (1996-98), Philadelphia Phillies (1999)
All-Star: 1992, 1995
Silver Sluggers: 1991
Postseason: 1991 WS, 1992 WS, 1993 NLCS, 1995 NLCS, 1996 NLCS
Notes: Gant came up right at the tail end of the abysmal Chuck Tanner-Russ Nixon Era of the late 80's in Atlanta. By 1990 Bobby Cox had come on board to right the ship and Gant became one of the main offensive forces in the Braves resurgence. Later in the decade Gant bounced around the NL providing his powerful bat for the Reds' and Cardinals' playoff runs.
Texas Rangers (1990-99)
Nickname: Juan Gone, Igor
Awards: 1996 AL MVP, 1998 AL MVP
All-Star: 1993, 1998
Silver Sluggers: 1992, 1993, 1996-98
Postseason: 1996 ALDS, 1998 ALDS, 1999 ALDS
League Leader: SLG ('93), HR ('92, '93), 2B ('98), RBI ('98)
Notes: Juan Gone has been so oft-injured later in his career that it's hard to remember how prolific a slugger he once was. Gonzalez ranks 9th on the all-time home run list for players up to and including age 30. Shit, I don't know how to word that better.
Oakland A's (1990-95, 1998), Toronto Blue Jays (1993), San Diego Padres (1996-97), Anaheim Angels (1997), New York Mets (1999)
Nickname: Man of Steal
Hall of Fame: Some day...
Awards: 1990 AL MVP
All-Star: 1990, 1991
Silver Sluggers: 1990
Postseason: 1990 WS, 1992 ALCS, 1993 WS, 1996 NLDS, 1999 NLCS
League Leader: OPS ('90), Runs ('90), BB ('98), SB ('90, '91, '98)
Notes: By the time the 90's were over, not only had Rickey surpassed Lou Brock on the all-time SB list, he had opened up 396 steal lead.
Milwaukee Brewers (1990-96), San Diego Padres (1996-98), Cincinnati Reds (1999)
All-Star: 1993, 1996, 1998
Silver Sluggers: 1998
Postseason: 1996 NLDS, 1998 WS
Notes: Despite his decent power numbers, Greg is often overshadowed by his cousin. Of course, I'm obviously referring to Jerry Royster.
Be sure and vote for your choice of left field for the TMS All-90's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar.
8:34 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
9:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
Let's face it, the NBA is complete garbage any more. No one cares to watch a bunch of overpaid thugs loaf about the court half-assed for majority of the season, with a handful of teams purposely losing just so they can have a shot at the top draft pick, then watch as the league's archaic rules ruin the playoffs. This league is a distant third behind the NFL and MLB, and it would be behind the NHL as well, if only that league still existed.
So now the three biggest tankers, Memphis, Boston and Milwaukee are stuck looking at the 4th, 5th, and 6th picks respectively. Serves you assholes right. You subject your loyal fans with such piss poor play that the only positive they have is whether they'll end up with Oden or Durant, and now that fantasy has been crushed as well. Boston fans should be the most up in arms, as they've watched their once storied franchise become the laughingstock of professional basketball. And they would be, if they weren't so preoccupied with those two other teams that, you know, haven't forgot how to win.
11:32 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X
21. The Man With the Golden Gun - Lulu - Bad film, worse theme song. Two and a half minutes of Scottish singer Lulu wailing at a pitch that makes glass break.
20. License to Kill - Gladys Knight - Where are The Pips?
19. GoldenEye - Tina Turner - Twenty years past her prime, and even ten years past Private Dancer, Turner manages to ruin a perfectly good song written by Bono and The Edge of U2.
18. For Your Eyes Only - Sheena Easton - I’m not sure why I hate this, but I do. Maybe I just don’t like Sheena Easton. Well, I know I don't.
17. From Russia With Love - Matt Monro - I have to think this song sounded old even when the film premiered in 1963.
16. All Time High (Octopussy) - Rita Coolidge - Bland AM radio tripe. If you play this in your car, your CD player or iPod will transform into an 8-track.
15. Nobody Does it Better (The Spy Who Loved Me) - Carly Simon - See my comment on “All Time High”.
14. Die Another Day - Madonna - The song isn’t bad, but it was a bizarre choice for a James Bond theme song. What says tough British super spy like dance music? Of course, what says tough British super spy like a candy ass Irishman for that matter?
13. You Only Live Twice - Nancy Sinatra - The song is probably better remembered for Robbie Williams’ sample of it in “Millennium” than its original release. At least its remembered better that way by me.
12. Moonraker - Shirley Bassey - Slow, but still compelling because of Bassey’s powerful voice. Since it was released in 1979, the end credits feature the obligatory disco remix of the song.
11. A View to a Kill - Duran Duran - You know Duran Duran was going to get a hack at one of these in the 80s. Their turn came in 1985. Decent song.
10. Tomorrow Never Dies - Sheryl Crow - Everyone’s favorite white trash chick pop singer does her best impression of Shirley Bassey. All in all, not a bad effort.
9. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey - The Welsh singer takes her first of three turns at doing a theme and records one that still stands up 43 years after its release.
8. The World is Not Enough - Garbage - Not much like anything you’d normally hear from Garbage, but it fits well in the tradition of the series.
7. The Living Daylights - a-ha - Swedish one hit wonders a-ha did a Bond theme? Yes they did, and you couldn't go through the mid-80s without a Scandanavian synthpop band contributing.
6. You Know My Name (Casino Royale) - Chris Cornell - For the first time in 44 years, Bond goes rock.
5. Thunderball - Tom Jones - Some woman just threw her panties at me while I wrote this.
4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service - The John Barry Orchestra - The 2nd and last time the title music had no words. It didn’t need any. Though not the theme song, Louis Armstrong’s “We Have All the Time in the World” contained in the film is also excellent.
3. Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney & Wings - One of those rare instances where the movie’s theme song can stand on its own. Additionally, it’s the only song on this list ever to be covered by Guns N Roses.
2. Diamonds are Forever - Shirley Bassey - Before Kanye West bastardized it, Bassey’s 2nd go at a James Bond theme song is by far her best.
1. James Bond Theme (Dr. No) - Monty Norman Orchestra - The James Bond theme everyone knows today has to be at the top of our list.
Part three coming eventually...
7:58 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
Me: "God, is it wrong that I am more attracted to my wife in a Cubs shirt than in lingerie?"
Me: "What's that God?"
You know, riding a bike in Chicago is not only fun, it's practical. Seriously. What would have been an hour-long ride on the El, crammed between sweaty tourists and some guy who may or may not have shit his pants (the smart money is on the former) turns into a pleasant 20 minute bike ride.
We lock up the bikes and look for a place to grab a bite to eat, drink some beers and enjoy the game. Places are packed. As the kids would say, it's 'mad crazy yo'.
So we settle on Mullens. A member of the old guard of Wrigleyville bars. Along with Sluggers, the Cubby Bear, Murphy's Bleachers and Hi-Tops, its the rare breed of 'generic, slightly dingy, nondescript' sports bars that are being replaced by the trendy, hipper-than-thou sports 'lounges' that are populating the area like Paris Hilton's discarded tampons.
The food? Eh. The service. Shitty at best. The beer. Cold and overpriced ($4 for a bottle of Old Style. Clutching heart.) But I've got a clear view of the TV, the people around me aren't cocksuckers and the atmosphere is as electric as a crowd of 20,000 hillbillies right before Hulk Hogan drops a leg. In other words, perfect.
"Get me another $4 Old Style!" I cry. No literally I cry, because I'm paying $4 for an Old Style.
Just another day in Wrigleyville. God I love my bike.
God: (coughing) Homo.
10:12 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
Week Seven (5/14 - 5/20)
THE GRACIES - The cream of the crop this past week
David Wright (NYM - 3B) - Like Billy Madison catching the dodgeball and proceeding to pelt all the first graders, Wright has seemingly broken out of his funk and now everyone is in "big, big trouble!" Wright has hit 7 home runs in the month of May so far, including4 this week.
Aramis Ramirez (ChC - 3B) - Speaking of third basemen that are killing the ball, A-Ram Ram had a great week hitting .423 with 3 homers and 12 RBI.
Ichiro Suzuki (Sea - OF) - Ichiro went an astounding 15 for 26 this week and stole 8 bases. If anyone has a soundbite of the Japanese kid screaming, "EEEE-CHEEE-RO!" I'd love to have it.
Hunter Pence (Hou - OF) - I've never even seen this guy play before, but I already hate him. I'm sure his biography would say that his favorite movie is Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, and he enjoys listening to Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts, except when he's getting pumped up before a game. Then his iPod is chock full of Creed. Anyway screw you Hunter, and your .590 AVG this week.
Kevin Youkilis (Bos - 1B) - Youks managed to run up his hitting streak to 13 games now. He finished up the week with a nice 3-3 game against Atlanta yesterday.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (Bos - SP) - After a few rough outings there, Dice has buckled down again and pitched two solid efforts this week including a complete game versus Detroit. Dice fanned 11 and walked none over 17 innings of work.
Randy Johnson (Ari - SP) - The Big Unit looked more like his old self this week as he handled the hapless Pirates and Rockies with ease. Johnson struck out 19 over 11 2/3 innings.
Fausto Carmona (Cle - SP) - Carmona pitched a gem last Thursday against the Twins. Allowing only 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 4, Fausto earned his first complete game shutout of his career.
THE NEIFIS - Desperately in need of a Slumpbuster
Andruw Jones (Atl - OF) - This can't be helping his value on the market this coming offseason. Jones went an abysmal 3 for 25 this week, striking out 12 times, including a horrific 5 strikeout game yesterday at Boston.
Juan Uribe (ChW - SS) - Uribe struck out 12 time this week as well. Only difference is, no one gives a shit if he does it.
Adam Dunn (Cin - 1B) - Shocked by the revelation that his batting average was over .280, Dunn worked feverishly to submarine it to a more comfortable .260.
Matt Murton (ChC - OF) - Don't think Thunder Matt is immune to criticism here. Don't get me wrong, I'm the first one to come to his defense time and time again. But there is little you can say about a 1 for 14 week with 5 strikeouts. The thunder just isn't there right now.
Alex Gonzalez (Cin - SS) - He's hitting .162 so far this month. That's the Alex we all know and love.
David Aardsma (ChW - RP) - Aardsma hadn't pitched too bad this season, that is until he faced his former team over the weekend. David was roughed up pretty good by the Cubs, including loading up the bases for Derrek Lee's heroic grand slam off of Boone Logan.
Brett Tomko (LAD - SP) - While Randy Wolf has been a pleasant surprise and Mark Hendrickson hasn't been horribly sucky, Tomko's outings have become nightmarish. St. Louis bludgeoned Brett for 8 runs in the first 3 innings last Monday.
Adam Wainwright (StL - SP) - While Tomko got rocked on Monday, the Dodgers exacted their revenge on Wainwright the next day. The World Series hero turned mediocre starter didn't last much longer than Tomko the day before, giving up 8 runs as well before being yanked in the third inning. It's still early, but the Deadbirds horrible start has been one of my favorite running subplots so far this season.
8:23 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
- God bless that Pagan! How the hell has he become the best OF not named Alfonso right now? Pagan's two-run triple on Friday, sparked a spectacular comeback. He's hitting .385 with two homers in 26 at bats. Two home runs, that's one more than either Jock or Thunder Matt currently have and just as many as Corny Floyd. He's got decent speed and his defense is no worse than Jock's out in center. At this point I'd be fine with him playing full-time and having a three-headed monster of Floyd-Jones-Murton in RF. I've been trying to think of a clever name for the platoon. All my feeble mind can come up with is Jock Thundercorn.
- I missed almost all of Saturday's game due to a family function with the in-laws. I thought about trying to turn the game on the TV there but I opted against it. No one else likes baseball, let alone the Cubs, and there's just too many distractions. I did catch D-Lee's grand salami on the way home on 720 AM, which was absolutely phenomenal.
- Speaking of Lee's grand slam. How about these comebacks? This is something that I can't seem to recall happening last season. In 2006 it seemed like we were toast any time we went down by more than 2 runs. Now we're hitting triples and grand slams. Hell I even have to respect the fact that they managed to score 4 more runs in yesterday's loss. Last season we would've been shutout for the rest of the game, with Roberto Novoa coming in to surrender even more runs. Despite their pitfalls early on, I still feel good about this team.
- God damn you Chaz Zambrano! I mistakenly left him on my fantasy bench for his start against the Mets, then made sure he was in for yesterday's game. Yeah, that didn't work out well for me this week.
- There was no Ri-COCK-ulous redux. In fact it was looking to be a quiet weekend from everyone's favorite Southside A-hole. Then the bastard hits a grand slam off of Neal Cotts yesterday. This guy is pure evil. Someone could've told me he took a piss on the Harry Caray statue outside and I would believe it. And why are Len and Bob always so quick to mention that A.J. is a "real nice guy" and that "his teammates love him"? Why do they feel the need to spin this? Let his reputation speak for itself.
- A quick note about the Ri-COCK-ulous article. Probably my favorite line ever written at TMS is still "If only the rest of the Cubs could hit a baseball like Michael Barrett hits white trash in the face."
- Congrats to the White Sox for improving their team batting average by 4 whole points to .226! Seriously, how the hell does this team have a winning record?
- Well I guess Jason Marquis isn't Jesus after all. Then again, you'd have to be pretty deluded to think he was going to keep up the stats he had through the first month. He's had two shaky starts since the complete game. Hopefully he can buckle down this week as the team heads out west to play in a pair of pitcher's parks.
- Yeah West Coast trip! I love a full week of games that start after 9pm here. Maybe one will go into extra innings and I can catch the end when I wake up the next morning.
- Oh and one final note. Go vote for Barry Larkin on the All-90's SS poll if you haven't already. I refuse to close that son of a bitch as long as Mr. Mia Hamm is winning it.