It’s Time Nintendo Jumped on the iRevolution

I’ve seen Nintendo’s corporate sentiment change from “We’re not worried about Apple” to “We see Apple as our biggest competitor” over the past 2 years.  It seems so obvious to me that Apple has presented Nintendo with a way to make a small fortune very easily that they simply have decided not to take advantage of.

The number 1 reason I want to Jailbreak my iPad 2 is to use an original NES emulator with a Wii mote as a controller, specifically to play Mario Bros. 3 & Battletoads.  For those of you who have Jail broken your iOS device you can head to this link to do it yourself.   Who doesn’t want to play all their old favorite Nintendo games on their iPad/iPhone/iPod?  Why doesn’t Nintendo see the 39 million plus (and growing exponentially everyday) iOS devices out there as a cash cow?  If Nintendo released an App called Nintendo NES with the ability to get more games via in app purchases I guarantee it would be the top downloaded app in under 48 hours after it was released.  If they released it for free with original Mario on it, selling additional games for $0.99 I’d bet they’d pocket over $40 million within their first year.  That doesn’t even consider the potential for SNES & N64 apps.  The revenue doesn’t have to stop there either.  If they sold along with this app a Nintendo branded wireless controller that bluetooth synced with all idevices that worked seamlessly with their app they’d have another blockbuster product on their hands.

I’ve read statements from Nintendo that the casual games on Apple products don’t present a threat to them because the quality of the games are poor.  If you think these games are of poor quality (which some of them most certainly are not) then its time for you to compete and bring that Nintendo gaming magic to Apple’s devices, because trust me there will be more of them in the hands of avid gamers in the future.  Capcom, Square Enix, Atari & more now have their classic games available on the App Store. What are you waiting for Nintendo?  The waters are warm and lucrative, why not atleast try dipping your toe in and see if you like it?

– Rich

How Bud Selig’s Stupidity, Ineptness, and All Around Pussy-ness Cost The Phillies

Like every other Phillies fan, conflicting thoughts were going through my head.

“Wow, its raining really hard.”

“If they call this game, will I be happy with a world series title by rainout?”

“Jesus, this is by far the most rain I have ever seen a pro baseball game played in.”

We all knew it was raining too hard to play, but we also knew that Bud Selig would never call the game after the top of the 5th ended. At that moment, the game became “official”, according to the rule book.  The rule book states that if a game is called due to rain after being official, the game is over and the team ahead at the time gets the win. We knew Bud wouldn’t call the game because, in this specific instance, calling the game would give the Phillies the win, and therefore the championship, and lead to the further humiliation of Bud Selig and his quickly fading league. (“but our revenues have never been higher!” let me introduce you to a concept known as “market share”, and to a league that is not only crushing yours, but continues to grow, the NFL.) So, Bud ignored the rule in the best interest of the game. We all understand that decision – baseball doesn’t need another embarrassment. I could probably start the “major league baseball embarrassment of the day blog” and rarely be lacking for material. So, Bud waited until the game was tied, when he could both stop the ridiculousness of playing in a downpour and avoid the travesty of a rain-shortened season deciding game. It was his only move, right?

WRONG.  Shortly after the game, the news came out that Selig had a pregame meeting with club officials from both teams where they decided that no game would end early – it was the world series, it was too important for that. They decided that any game would go the full 9 innings, even if they had to wait for a huge rain delay. I’ll let this Jayson Stark excerpt, copied and pasted below, explain it:

“I’ll tell you what,” the Phillies’ Matt Stairs said. “To have a tie game, sixth inning, that makes Bud Selig and the boys pretty happy, because they didn’t have to make a big decision, to let that game go through a 10-, 12-, 13-hour delay. … So the big man’s happy. He didn’t have to make that decision.”

Ah, but what Matt Stairs didn’t know — what, apparently, none of these players on either team knew — was that Selig had already made his big decision. If the rules weren’t going to permit him to suspend this game, he was going to have to go to Plan B. He was just going to have to impose martial law — or at least Selig’s Law — and, essentially, suspend it anyway. By simply declaring the world’s longest rain delay. Whether that took 24 hours, 48 hours or all the way to Thanksgiving. Selig vowed these teams were not going to finish this game “until we have decent weather conditions.”

I hope to explain to you the significance of this. Bud Selig had already decided the game wouldn’t be “shortened”. He could’ve stopped it at any time and, even though no players or fans had any idea of this, it would not have ended as any other game in the history of baseball would have. It would’ve been finished whenever the weather was better. Thus, there is only one possible way to create an unfair situation here: HAVE THE TEAMS BAT AN UNEQUAL NUMBER OF TIMES IN THE SAME CONDITIONS. There is absolutely no fucking reason the top half of the sixth inning should have been played last night. It was already raining profusely. Bud Selig ALREADY HAD A CONTINGENCY IN PLACE FOR THIS EVENT! The tarp would’ve come on, he would’ve gone to the same press conference with the same umps and team officials, and said “we talked before, this is the world series, we are going to play all 9 innings”. Pat Gillick could’ve said “yes, we agreed to this before hand, if we were on the other end it would be pretty unfair”. And every Phillies fan and player would’ve said OK, we don’t need a cheap title, we’re already going to win anyway (David Price? I am not afraid of you).

Instead, Bud couldn’t really decide which set of rules he liked better. The actual rules, where the game ends? Hell no. The new, improvised rules? Eh, improvising rules is pretty JV, lets avoid those at all costs. I wish I had some sort of explanation as to why the top of the 6th was played, but not the bottom. Bring out that fake dirt stuff and the Phillies would have had the exact same conditions as the Rays just did.

So Bud waited until it was politically good for him to end the game, instead of when it was actually fair for the two teams. I feel like Bud walked into my apartment, stole my laptop, and gave me a quick flick in the nutsack on his way out the door. I just want to say “WHY?” while I try to figure out what just happened. Bud Selig had a plan in place, then ignored that plan because of new circumstances that wouldn’t make him look bad. The cost of Bud’s PR was the fairness of a World Series game. Whether or not the Rays scored a run that inning, to let them bat and not the Phillies is undoubtedly unfair. I’m the commissioner of a fucking fantasy football league and even I know the commish’s purpose: stay out of the way and let the teams decide. We don’t need you, Bud. You’re a big retard who has fucked up time and again in the past.  All we need you to do is stay the fuck out of the way and let the teams play baseball in a fair setting. Do I agree with secretly changing the rules beforehand? It’s certainly not optimal, but in this situation its at least understandable. To then not enforce those new rules, instead reverting to the old rules at a time when it was patently unfair, is inexplicable. You chose the short-term gain, Bud, jumping out to call the game as soon as it was tied, forcing people like me to sort through the facts and call you out on your bullshit. I’m confident I won’t have to do it again anytime soon, though, as you look like you’ll be keeling over any second now. I hope your legacy is that even with the power to unilaterally change the rules of the game at any time, you still could not succeed in providing a fair baseball game at the most important time of the season.

– Warsh

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 5:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Just The Facts on Just The Tip

So, here’s a little article that I’ve been patiently waiting to bless y’all with for quite some time. In truth, it’s more like an epic tome, but I think it’s finally time. It’s the hot, wet, sticky summer, its wedding season, and spring is fresh in our minds. And there’s nothing on TV: conditions are perfect. Also, as I have written a lot of cover letters of late, I’ve been aching to scribe something truly meaningful. Something tells me I can’t use this as a writing sample for potential employers, but nonetheless, here it is, Just The Facts on Just The Tip.

Fact #1: Most, probably all, readers of this article will disagree with the parameters I lay out for JTT. Many will not like the principles. Some will find it childish, ignorant, garish or off-color. A few will be very offended. But all will find that is does exactly what Just The Tip discussions are meant to do: stimulate (debate that is, you’re so immature). I’m hoping for a long, hard (as in challenging, shame on you!) discussion thread.

Fact #2: When I say JTT, we’re not talking bout Jonathan Taylor Thomas anymore. When you get old enough, JTT takes on a whole new meaning.

What is that meaning, you might ask. Just what is Just The Tip? Before I get into the specifics, let’s break it down nice and slow. Do I have your consent dear reader? Good. JTT is an age old ‘game’ if you will, more like a tango, played out, often inebriatedly, in beds, futons, public restrooms, and backseats of minivans (a personal favorite) across America each and every night. It’s the gray area between the “everything but” hook-up and Pleasure Town. In my younger years, the simpler times, I had thought that things were pretty black and white. Either you had sex with someone or you didn’t. Oh ignorant bliss, I had no idea how wrong I could be. There IS a gray area, no matter what your friends, hook-ups, or the law says to the contrary.

Fact # 3: JTT as a phenomenon is alive and well. A little too much so if you ask me. [Ed. Note: While I can only speak to the existence of JTT in the heterosexual community, I’d have to think its presence is felt in the gay community as well, making it a nearly society-wide experience. It is not all-encompassing; however, as my guesstimate is that it does not exist in the bestiality, necrophiliac or Brazilian-fart-porn communities]

So, JTT is the uncomfortable gray. And to be honest, I’m pretty comfortable wandering that gray, and as such will act as your guide. But, as with all gray areas, it will become an exercise in line-drawing, and slippery-slope arguments will certainly be in effect. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though; I will lay out these lines later in the article, I’m just warming up for now.

Fact #4: I have played JTT much more than the average person. This certainly affects my views on the game and its rules of engagement. I thought people were playing more often, but apparently I am one of the few in the PJTTL [Professional JTT League, of course. There used to be an arena league, but they went under two years back].

Hopefully my experience will be helpful to you. After reading this manifesto, my aim is that each reader not only has a better understanding of the phenomenon, but goes on to explore it more themselves. JTT can be wonderful when used correctly and in the right amounts, kind of like with truffle oil in cooking, or with heroin in a homeless person’s arm.

Fact #5: I hate to say it, but Fitty was right. In his song ‘Just A Little Bit’ he raps “All a nigga really need is a little bit, not a lot baby girl just a little bit,” which is pretty true. That’s not to say that after a night of playing, I think: “I’m glad I didn’t get to really have sex last night and just played JTT”. But at times, JTT ends up being what you NEEDED. It’s a good way to find out a little bit about someone / their expectations / craziness etc. before it’s too late. Because we all have woken up in the morning after not stopping at JTT, not collecting $200, and going directly to jail, a.k.a hearing “We are SOOOO perfect together. We should name our first kid Linoleum, and call her Lynn for short! I’m so glad we found each other”. Well, maybe you haven’t heard that, but the point is that sex is a variable experience for people. What was casual, carnal, and hedonistic for one may have been raw, emotional, and deeply connecting for another. Fuck, I recently heard about a woman who BRANDED a guy with a hot wire hanger bent into an ‘R’ because he never called her after they had sex. This was over two YEARS after the one-night stand. I bet he wishes he stuck with JTT so he could’ve found out first [The article is here: Woman Brands Thoughtless Date With Hot Iron, read it, it’s actually more ridiculous than I can adequately describe here].

I stand by this statement as true, very true indeed… buuuuuuuut… Yeah, there’s a ‘but’. So calm down a second you haters of Fact #5, cause Fact #6 has you covered.

(more…)

Battles: The Greatest Band on the Planet

It’s a tough time to be a rock band right now. The whole garage revival thing that was all the rage around 2000 has pretty much died down as more and more musicians realize there’s more to it than putting a plural noun after the word “The” and calling yourself a band. The Internet has made it so any Joe Schmo with a computer and a cord can record an album and sell it to the world on iTunes, but there’s so much of it out there, it’s damn near impossible to sort out what’s really the best (unless Apple does it for you in a TV commercial). Oh, and Battles is around, so every other band in the world has to live up to their new standard. Because Battles is the greatest band on the planet.

Are the members of Battles the world’s most technically skilled musicians? Probably not. Does Battles make the best music on Earth? I love their tunes, but I couldn’t argue that their songwriting itself is the absolute BEST, nope. But as a band, a group, a collective, four individuals musically congealed into a single, breathing, siamise-like thinking unit, they are THE greatest, the #1, with very little doubt. In fact, no doubt. Battles is the greatest band on the planet.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you haven’t even heard of them (which is likely, and I recognize and respect that.. “Best instrumental math-rock group” isn’t exactly its own Grammy category yet), Battles is something of an indie / prog supergroup, a quartet consisting of members of other moderately well-known (but no less super) groups called Don Caballero, Lynx and, perhaps most notably, Helmet. (Remember “Unsung”??? You would if you heard it, trust me. Youtube that shit.) On the surface, their music is a mixture of complex rhythms, wacky time signatures, machinery-like sounds, strange but impressive unison riffs, something that I guess you could classify as “abstract vocals”… and more… all held together by eight good ears, a brilliant sense of structure, and, sometimes, believe it or not, a hook!

Those are a lot of adjectives, and nouns I turned into adjectives, but I think what it all means, basically, is you have to hear/see it to understand. Listen to 2007’s “Mirrored” (best album of last year) and you might have a better understanding.

Better, yes, but not complete. For the techies out there, it gets even better. One look at the album art from the aforementioned disc and you’ll see that Battles take quite a bit of pride in their gear — all their guitars, keyboards, amps, pedals and other fun stuff — most likely because it’s so fundamental to the sound they create. But unlike some of these other literally “electronic” artists with cool gear out there, Battles create everything live, with some nasty tricks up their sleeves. A few strums on some strings, a few pushes of some buttons, and they’ve crafted a perfectly timed, perfectly looped guitar riff; seconds later, that one simple loop has turned into another, and then suddenly it has become loops upon loops, a sonic casserole of rhythmic layers and, lo and behold, an entire song. Add some quirky melodies over that, some computer-like drum beats, some wacked out, modified singing, and you have the Battles sound, robot music created by four real guys on the spot. It’s electronic, no doubt, but it is real. It is human.

So what, specifically, would I say qualifies them for the honor of GBOTP?

  • No one else could recreate their music. Even with all the same amount of practice, the same exact gear, and an obsessive knowledge of their songs, it would be really, really freaking impossible to make it sound exactly like a true Battles recording and/or show. I have a pretty decent comprehension of music, technology, pedals, etc., and I gotta say, I can only explain to you what it is that Battles does… maybe, MAYBE 60 percent of the time. That is true individuality. Not just anyone can create that.
  • They DO IT LIVE!!! (to use the Bill O’Reilly terminology), and they pull it off. It would be too easy for Battles to drown in a diluted sea of “laptop DJs” that use software and a few mouse clicks to pull up stored sound at the same tempos and create “live” songs from saved samples. Battles is the greatest BAND on the planet because, in spite of the fact that their songs often come off sounding like some kind of processed, heavily produced, 64-track MIDI recording, they create it all live on the spot, as individuals, with strings, keys, skins, and one really tall crash cymbal (no really, look up some pictures). No pre-saved samples. Each member has specific parts, and he just nails them all. And it’s all created right then and there.
  • What they play is borderline impossible to accomplish. This is kind of a mix of those first two points. I’ve tried basic looping on a small scale. It’s tough to keep it going for more than 8 measures before it sounds like a garbled mess of 6-year-olds at their first music lesson. Battles can make it sound perfect and deliberate for entire songs. Hell, entire SHOWS. You need to have absolutely pristine and precise tempo control to lock together like they do. That’s tough for one person. Very difficult for two people. Near impossible for three. Four? Well, Battles can, can you? No.
  • It’s the future, now. It has to be. In the same way that Radiohead recently invented a whole new genre of music that can really only be described as “sounds like Radiohead,” so might it go with Battles over the next few years . Because anyone who goes and sees them will eagerly want to return home, plug in a Gibson Echoplex loop pedal, and create the next year’s greatest album. It’s fun, it’s impressive, and it sounds great.

Look, there’s lots of good stuff out there. Plenty of awesome rock groups are drawing thousands of fans every night, making great music in cities across the globe. But Battles are doing something so totally different, so totally advanced, and so totally untouchable, it would be tough to argue that any other band on the scene is as tightly “banded” together as they are. See comments above about Battles being the future of music, and consider how good of an idea it would be to see them now, before they blow up and the only venue you can see them in is a multi-thousand capacity outdoor lunatheater on the Moon (where they will still be the greatest band on the planet).

– Paul

The Only Director Batting 1000: Christopher Nolan

This man really has had an illustrious career. Before his ultimate masterpiece graces all of our brainsicles this weekend lets take a quick look back at the only director to, quite impressively, not direct a single disappointing movie in his entire career. I’m thinking the chronological breakdown would be the most appropriate.

The Following – 1998

Chris not only directed his first official feature, but he wrote it as well. This under-seen gem portrays a man who likes to follow strangers around London with harmless intentions, until he breaks his own rules and follows a subject more than once, intertangling himself in a web of lies and murder. Despite being shot in black in white, this film won’t be remembered as a classic, but it is an incredibly impressive debut from a young director and should be checked out by all those Nolan enthusiasts who never had the pleasure.

Memento – 2000

I can vividly remember seeing Memento in theaters for the first time. It changed the way I thought about films and is largely responsible for the media whore I’ve become today. With twisted non-linear plotlines (the pieces shot in color are going backwards and the pieces shot in black and white are going forward) this thriller cemented Chris Nolan in my mind as the director to watch for in the new millennium. Memento follows Lenny, a man with no short-term memory trying to pick up the pieces of the puzzle to find the man who killed his wife. Nolan puts the viewer right in Lenny’s shoes experiencing scenes with no preface except the notes written down in Lenny’s pockets or tattooed to his body. When the black and white scenes fade into color and the two stories meet to reveal a horrifying truth, Memento’s ending ties up every loose end and satisfies like few films manage to do. When watched a second (third, fourth and fifth) time, Nolan’s genius can truly be appreciated as you can follow each intricacy of this backwards tale. Nolan penned this script based on his brother Jonathan’s short story, and it truly is a masterpiece in every sense.

Insomnia – 2002

After all the praise Nolan received for Memento the big wigs gave him some serious heavy hitters for Insomnia. Starring Hilary Swank (only one Oscar at this point), Al Pacino (Scarface, enough said) and Robin Williams sitting in as the villain, Insomnia took us on a little journey to a small Alaskan town where the sun don’t go down and murder is afoot. Despite being my least favorite of Nolan’s outings, although I’m not surprised since neither Chris nor his brother had anything to do with the script, Insomnia is a great film worthy of at least one viewing.

Batman Begins – 2005

After Joel Schumacher completely destroyed Batman with George Clooney and his pointy nipples my boy Chris Nolan came in and did the unthinkable. He completely reinvented one of the most iconic characters in movie history utilizing Christian Bale and directed / co-wrote the best comic book movie ever made: Batman Begins. If you haven’t seen it yet then you are out of your mind and running out of time. The Joker is coming to Gotham City in a week and you best not be caught in the sequel asking the person next to you who Morgan Freeman’s character is, or you might end up getting punched in the nuts.

The Prestige – 2006

The Prestige is most definitely my favorite Nolan family film from the whole catalogue and will always remain one of my favorite movies of all time. Penned by the Nolan brothers and starring Hugh Jackman and Batman (Christian Bale) as rival magicians, this film takes the high points of every previous Nolan film and bundles them all into a perfect package. Like Memento, the story is nonlinear darting between the present, where Batman is to be hanged for murder, to different pieces of the past sewn together by two rivals reading each other’s diaries. While the supernatural does come into play before the end credits roll the answer you were looking for is in fact quite simple and has been paraded right in front of your face the entire film. The movie opens with Bale’s character asking, “Are you watching closely?” Despite watching incredibly closely the twist eluded me until the final moments of the film when it was spelled out explicitly. When seeing this movie for a second time (*SPOILER ALERT*) with the knowledge that Bale’s character is actually two twin brothers, I could tell in each and every scene which brother was sitting in the room. Bale’s acting job here is simply amazing. To be able to play two characters and make them seem like one persona on a first viewing, yet clearly separable as two distinct personalities on a second viewing, is a feat I’ve never seen accomplished in a film. If you’ve only seen The Prestige once I really suggest sitting down for round two, only in multiple viewings can it all be taken in.

The Dark Knight – 2008

Appropriately taking the title of the best of the Batman comics “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller, Nolan’s sequel will no doubt match its namesake’s quality despite sporting an entirely different plot that has been kept under wraps locked up in a basement in a secret location in Maleriabekestan. Unlike Begins, the Nolan brothers wrote Knight so I’d expect a non-linear plot line filled with thought provoking bumps along the way. Much of the talk of the town is about Ledger’s Joker, which I’m sure will be haunting, but the idea for this twisted version of a psychopath sprung out of the heads of the Nolan brothers and is as much their child as it is Heath’s. I expect great things, and apparently I’m not alone. Despite theaters adding 3:00 and 6:00 AM showings on Thursday night many are still sold out. It seems that The Dark Knight could shatter all records to become the biggest opening of all time. I’m glad the Nolan brothers are finally getting the respect they deserve, because I think they are both brilliant and the best filmmakers in the industry.

– Rich

Justice in the Barry Bonds / Marc Ecko Hall of Fame Debacle

Almost a year ago, fashion designer Marc Ecko purchased Barry Bonds’ record breaking 756th home run ball. The fan who caught the ball in the stands wanted to collect, so he put the ball up for auction. After Ecko won, he put up a poll on his website. Ecko humbly stated that although he bought the ball, everyone has an opinion on it, and the votes of everyone should be heard, so he started this website with a poll. 47% of the people that responded to his poll said the ball should be branded with an asterisk (a la Roger Maris’ 1961 home run record, which got an asterisk for occurring in a longer season than the previous record) and given to the Hall of Fame to display. Besides being one of the five best examples ever of “opening pandora’s box” and “a slippery slope”, this one tiny asterisk in 1961 left millions of Americans with hope that one day, if someone they didn’t like accomplished something, they could discredit it by throwing an asterisk on it. Like, say, a black guy who hit a ton of home runs.

It is impossible to write about this without at least mentioning my personal views on Barry Bonds. To be 100% honest, I don’t care at all about him. I certainly don’t waste time hating him, I assume he did steroids but I know that he certainly wasn’t the only one, and that there are guys who used just as much steroids as Bonds who never took any heat. The treatment he has received has been bigoted and vastly unfair, but I won’t pity someone who is healthy and a millionaire. I will say this: In our world’s long history, when a bunch of people have, on their own accord, all done something wrong, when has it ever been fair to single out just one of these people? For Bonds to be getting treated like he was last year, in his final season (and this year when no team would even sign him), he would’ve had to discover steroids in his home laboratory, mass produce them, sell them to every big leaguer, leave shit in a bag on every doorstep in America, bring back contaminated bananas from Mexico, and kill Mr. Rogers. Some people say steroids ruined baseball. A lot of people say Barry Bonds used steroids, including people who work as federal investigators. But I can definitively tell you that Barry Bonds didn’t ruin baseball. If you do think baseball is ruined, and it isn’t, then maybe the racist fucks who savored any chance they could get to publicly skewer a black guy are to blame. Bonds did something that hundreds of other players have done and has received 99% of the public blame. Instead of being a big pussy like Mark McGwire and retiring into hiding, Bonds has played the last few years on severely injured knees. While playing through pain is hard to fault, of course people in the media said Bonds was just holding on past his prime to break Aaron’s record and make some money.

Fast forward to today. Ecko’s committment to seeing the ball “in Cooperstown eternally” seems to have been a bit of a hyperbole. Although 81% of responses to his poll said the ball should be in Cooperstown, Ecko only offered to loan the ball to the hall of fame, and they offered to take the ball – permanently, which is their policy. This impasse was apparently not settled, and now the most famous baseball in history, the one that broke Hank Aaron’s seemingly unbreakable record, is sitting in a fashion designer’s closet instead of the baseball hall of fame. Many, many Americans have had the financial ability to purchase priceless baseball memorabilia. Instead of selfishly enjoying, say, Babe Ruth’s 714th home run in the comfort of their living room, they realize that irreplaceable baseball history belongs in the hall of fame, so the millions of fans that go to Cooperstown each year can see it. Fans that have been squeezed dry of every last disposable dollar they have by parking, concessions, memorabilia and tickets. It’s not a bad deal for MLB – a family of 4 spends almost 200 dollars to come to the park, eat, and get some merch (actual research took place), and leaves as a walking advertisement for the team. The players get their exorbitant salaries and princely treatment. The fans get nothing but their memories, and one small museum somewhere in New York where the items that made those memories, and that make them seem real again, exist. Now an iconic, polarizing, and irreplaceable baseball is in some guy’s trophy room, even though he pledged to give it to the hall. I don’t even care about the asterisk — If I ran the Hall, I’d display the ball with the asterisk not visible. The baseball that Barry Bonds hit deserves to look just like every other ball in the hall. Ecko’s actions are recorded history, to live on in “marc ecko barry bonds” google searches forever. The baseball – no matter how “monstrous” the man who hit it was – is baseball history, and that only belongs in one place. I think I speak for all of us when I say this to Mr. Ecko: Congratulations that putting a rhino on a pair of jeans was the apex of street cred, now give us back our fucking baseball.

– Warsh

Meller’s Mid-Summer Movie Thoughts: Wanted, The Happening, Shotgun Stories & More

So we’re already at the end of June, halfway through the movie season and it’s time for a mid-game thought dump. There have been a few good movies (Iron Man, Indy) and more than a few shitty ones (Speed Racer, The Love Guru, Zohan), but there are some particular points that I want to hit on about what has passed and what is upcoming.

First – Last weekend was the opening of Wanted, and all I can do is say “Fuck yeah.” I read the original comic books when they came out a few years ago and absolutely ate up its dark humor and pure badassery as only Mark Millar could deliver. The movie, though it changed the story to make it more audience friendly, seems poised to be just as sweet. The main reason that I’m pumped for this movie has little to do with any of the actors, but instead the director. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Timur Bekmambetov rules. Learn to say that name, because he’s going to be the best action director for years to come and Wanted serves as his introduction to the American market. Welcome Timur, welcome.

On a more depressing note, I didn’t heed the warnings of critics and ventured to see Shymalan’s latest misstep – The Happening. Wow, that movie ate some serious dick. On its knees in the middle of the group of dudes, moving like a circus seal. If you haven’t seen it yet, DON’T. It boiled down to be an utterly offensive experience. Really Shymalan, you call that piece of trash a movie? Death Sentence was better. Hell, Norbit was probably better than that trash. I’d rather watch the Number 23 on repeat for the rest of my life than sit through the happening again. Bad M. Night, bad.

The beginning of July marks a day that I’ve been awaiting for months. Shotgun Stories comes out on DVD. What is Shotgun Stories? you ask. Besides the best movie I’ve seen all year, Shotgun Stories is an independent film directed and written by Jeff Nichols that is Shakespearean in scope. The plot revolves around a trio of brothers whose drunk of a father abandoned them and later got his shit together and started a new life with a new family. He was such a bad father that he named his first three children Son, Kid and Boy. At his funeral, the two families see each other, Son spits on the casket and a feud ignites. It sounds simple, but it’s not to be missed. Catch this on DVD July 1st. Do it.

I’m fairly optimistic for the rest of the big summer movies coming out. My personal pumped list for the remainder of the summer is as follows: Wanted, Wall-E, The Wackness, Hellboy 2, Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, Hell Ride and Tropic Thunder. I’m pretty sure that all of these movies will be the highlights of what’s to come and won’t disappoint. Anyone else got any movies they’re excited for that I missed?

– Meller

The Get Excited Technique: C’MON! GET EXCITED!!

I have this friend Mitch. One night, before heading out for bar-hopping, Mitch asked me if I was excited to go out. I replied, “Yeah, sure, lets move”. This was not enough excitement for Mitch, so he executed the following procedure, which I have lovingly entitled the GET EXCITED Technique:

Step #1: Pinch the front pieces of the excitee’s hair (widow’s peak if existent) and rub them together with your fingers

Step #2: Exclaim “CMON!! CMON!! GET EXCIIIIIIIITED!!!” while keeping your teeth clinched together (this is key)

Step #3: Intermittently place hand’s palms outward and dangle your fingers

Step #4: Repeat “CMON!! GET EXCIIIIIITED GET EXIIIIITTTTTED” until the excitee has become sufficiently excited

At first, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. But then after a few repetitions of this GET EXCITED Technique, I found myself becoming very VERY excited.

Mitch later explained that he learned this approach from his buddy in Florida, who was incredibly quiet but would break out the GET EXCITED Technique occasionally, which made him worthy of hanging with the crew. I now have actively taken on the practice of getting people excited with this wonderful method. I’ve found in my travels that there are few ways to get people pumped up for mundane activities such as class, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, etc. but I can guarantee this technique will provide a sufficient level of excitement to make any dull activity fun.

The technique has been so ingrained in my colloquial greetings, that I find myself pinching people’s widows peaks as I say hello. An interesting side note: you may also tenderly pinch someone’s widows peak and they will get mildly excited to see you. Mainly, they’ll probably think you’re European.

The following video was recorded upon arrival to Krabi Beach in Thailand. This was an occasion that required excitement. You will see the previously described technique demonstrated on Rich including a close up of the hair twiddling. To really get the full effect out of the GET EXCITED Technique I suggest rereading the steps and practicing with the video before performing on your friends.

WARNING: The following video may cause an unbelievable amount of excitement. If you find yourself getting too excited just lock yourself in dark quiet room and breath slowly until you bring your excitement back down to an acceptable level.

– Evan

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 2:00 pm  Comments (7)  
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Paul

I was born and raised close enough to Philadelphia to tell people that I’m from there, when actually it was slightly north in a comfy suburb, free from city perils such as murder, wage tax, and extensive parallel parking. I spent four years at Penn State, majoring in journalism and Englishism. It was at the University’s prestigious Daily Collegian student newspaper where I cut my teeth (ow) as a reporter, writing for nine semesters mostly about music — some I liked, some I didn’t, some I lied about to get free stuff. And that’s the reason I’m totally psyched to be the new sports reporter for the Trifecta!!!

If you fell for that, you probably listen to some mainstream bullshit like the Jonas Brothers and I hate you. OK, I’m kidding. But I think the most accurate label for myself as a critic is “self-aware music snob.” I’m always open to the possibility that others have opinions, but in most cases, I’d appreciate a thorough explanation of why. More importantly, I’ve been listening to and studying tons of music since a very young age, and I’m obsessed with it. I was recently offended by an overzealous Jeopardy! contestant who tried to impress Alex by describing his 200-disc CD “collection.” I could give away 200 CDs to my friends and family as stocking-stuffers and still have enough discs left over to start up a small radio station. I would then hope to tell that story someday on Jeopardy! myself.

I’m not perfect. One time I learned a Creed song on guitar to impress a girl, with semi-positive results. I own a Hall and Oates greatest hits CD. But in the immortal words of Tupac/Bruce Hornsby, “That’s just the way it is.” And as you will come to realize through my Trifecta posts, my opinion is usually the way it is.

– Paul

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 11:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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Apple is Going to Take Over the World, Google & Research in Motion Have Become Obsolete

Having just finished watching Apple’s latest keynote speech at their yearly event I’m not only sure that Apple is going to take over the world, I’m HIV positive. I see a bright future filled with utility from a single device that is no longer beyond our imaginations, but instead just around the corner. I was recently watching an interview with a financial analyst walking the road less traveled by speaking poorly of Apple. His clearly illogical rant stressed it was ludicrous that the market is so focused on a company that makes toys (AAPL is consistently one of the most traded stocks on the market by volume) when the world is suffering from an energy crisis and a shortage of natural resources like we’ve never experienced in the history of the planet. I’ll tell you why Douche Baggins. Apple may have been in the toy business for a while when they staged their comeback with the iPod, but no more. The iPhone is a new beast, the likes of which this world has never seen; it is most certainly not a toy. In a few short weeks the iPhone will turn one year old, as well as expand into 70 countries. Trust me, year two will see exponential growth, as well as function in specific sectors that will improve the efficiency of every user. Let me take you through my day… in the future.

After performing my morning rituals, I grab my iPhone and leave the house with nothing else in my pockets. After I walk out the front door I slide over to the fourth screen of Apps on my trusty iPhone and select the application “House.” I then tap the “off” button next to the option “all lights” and then tap the “lock” button next to the option “all doors.” As I reach for my car door it senses the iPhone in my pocket and unlocks automatically. My favorite part about the future is my brand new iCar, which runs on a combination of electricity and a bioethanol blend made from algae. I slide my iPhone into the dash to start the car, which has a multi-touch screen with all the music / web browsing / GPS / email / every other iPhone feature fully integrated into the system of the car. Pierce Brosnan’s voice directs me to a restaurant to meet a friend for breakfast. I switched to Pierce after a brief stint with The Governator. I was sick of being told that “I’d be back.” After a delicious breakfast, paid for by swiping my iPhone, I head to my parents house.

My father is raving about a new application he downloaded to his iPhone that syncs up with his hearing aid. He can adjust the volume, check battery life and turn it on or off with a few simple clicks. He loves to play music through it wirelessly while he’s biking or at the gym. My mother recently had a pacemaker put in. She feels safe because she can check to make sure its working correctly right on her phone, with full confidence that if anything were to malfunction the iPhone would automatically alert the paramedics and her family. She can even pull up a live EKG of her own heart, which she loves to show all her friends.

I sit down at my Dad’s iMac and head to Me.com, where I can access all of my desktop features remotely, including all of my most used applications. I make some changes in my schedule for the day because I’m running late, as well as trade an Umphrey’s McGee show for a Grateful Dead show with my Dad’s collection. All of the changes I make are then updated on my iPhone, Desktop PC and Macbook Crisp (the latest iteration of the Air) automatically. On my way to work I listen to my newly acquired Dead show.

I’ve decided to make my future self a doctor, even though I have no intention of ever doctoring it up. The best word to describe the hospital I work at is synchronized. For each individual sector of the hospital there are specific iPhone apps that tailor to the needs of the employees and doctors. Everyone working in each of the hospital’s wings is fully up to date on every patient with live updates to their iPhones with more detailed information just a tap away. My secretary is constantly buying and selling crap on Ebay although it rarely deteriorates from her work since its so simple on her iPhone. I think she makes more money as an Ebay hock than working her day job. My hospital’s native iPhone applications include:

  • The Automatic Insurance Generator – emails all necessary information to patients
  • Medication Cross Checker – cross checks any prescriptions I may want to give with the patient’s allergies or other medications using the largest medical database in the world
  • Comprehensive Scheduling – a fine tuned scheduler synced with every other doctor in the area that automatically updates into the hospitals system

In the future the iPhone is no longer just 28% of the smart phone market. I believe 89% is the last figure Steve Jobs quoted at his most recent keynote. And did I mention the smart phone market has quintupled since 2008. With most of the world choosing the iPhone for their ubiquitous single device it only made sense that the rest of their highly compatible product line would see huge surges in sales. Apple’s Me.com has become the industry standard for online applications, an area many thought Google would dominate. Research in Motion’s Blackberry no longer holds the clout it once held since Apple took over the corporate market with Microsoft Exchange compatibility and customized applications for individual companies. I’ll let you guess the take home message of this post. It rhymes with “Why Snapple Lock”. The App Store launches later this month, and the iPhone 3G will be out in early July. My day in the future may not be too far away.

– Rich

Published in: on June 15, 2008 at 11:00 am  Comments (5)  
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