Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year, Jerks

2009!  Whoo!  Whoo!  Whoo!

Big East Hoops The Blog Gets One Wrong

They ask, simply enough--more impressive start--Syracuse or Georgetown?

They answer their question with Syracuse.  That answer may come in handy if the writers of BigEastHoops are ever indicted for a crime--they can point to that post as evidence that they are, at least on occasion, not mentally healthy.

As far as I know, Georgetown and Syracuse have only one opponent in common so far--Memphis.  Both beat Memphis.  In both cases, it was close.  Syracuse's only loss (admittedly, on a miracle 3-pointer) is to Cleveland State.  Don't forget though--it was close enough that Cleveland State could win it with a miracle 3 pointer.   Cleveland State, already this year, has lost to Butler, West Virginia, and Wright State.  But they did beat Syracuse.

Georgetown's one loss is to a pretty good Tennessee team.

I'm looking at Syracuse's entire record thus far this season--you tell me--who did they beat that's a tournament worthy team?  Memphis will go to the tournament, but as I already pointed out, that's a bit of a wash, as Georgetown also beat them (not to mention that C-USA is only a little less of a joke than it was last year).  UVA?  Colgate?  Canisius?  Long Beach State?  Coppin State?  

Meanwhile, Georgetown has played a much tougher pre-Big East schedule.  Beating Drexel, Wichita State (THE SHOCKERS!),  Mount St. Mary's, and Memphis.  Those are all teams that have gone or should have gone to the Tournament in the last 2 years.  

And while Syracuse was beating the piss out of the unpiratey Pirates of Seton Hall, Georgetown was putting the fucking wood to #2 UConn, in Stoors, for fuck's sake.  Case closed--Georgetown has had the much more impressive start to their season.  It is not even close, and I'll bet that the folks behind the polls will agree with me, come Monday.  

Of course, we will be able to settle this pretty easily come Jan 14, when Georgetown and Syracuse meet.  I'm guessing Georgetown will win that game by double-digits. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brave Wisconsin Man Helps Define Privacy Rights

Ah, Wisconsin.  I've said it before, I'll say it again--The Florida of the Heartland.

A woman finds out her boyfriend is taping her while she is nude and when they are having sex.  She gets pissed.  She has him arrested.

The guy, Mark Jahnke, argues that being nude in his presence is an implicit agreement to be videotaped.  The AP's Scott Bauer summarizes the Wisconsin DoJ argument thusly:  "The state Department of Justice argued that shared intimacy does not give a person the right to film another unknowingly."

The Court ruled for the state today.  One would have thought that it went without saying that it is illegal to videotape someone having sex with you without their consent.  Thanks to brave heroes like Mark Jahnke, we now know it for certain.  Thank you, brave Wisconsinite!

Monday, December 29, 2008

IDYFT NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em: Wildcard Round

Come play the hottest NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em which IDYFT has ever seen! Each week promises hot gravy action, with a Big Payoff at the end: one (slightly damaged) copy of my novel To The Last Drop.

Holy crap, you can win an entire novel with no money down? But wait, there's more: this novel will be inscribed to you by the author with a free haiku poem at no further charge.

The (free to enter) (brand new) IDYFT NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em is as easy and fun as throwing bread to ducks! Every week, participants will "pick" the winner of each game. These picks are worth +/- 7 points. There will also be Bonus Points available.

The Bonus Points in this Wildcard Round have an expensive significance for the rest of the Pick 'Em, so pay attention. This is your only chance to make these particular picks:

When you make your intellectually-driven pick for Superbowl Champs, know that you will receive +10 if you are right. There is no penalty for the wrong pick.

Your intellectually-driven pick for Most Undeserving Playoff Team will yield +3 points if they lose in their first game. However, should that supposedly-undeserving team win the Superbowl, you will receive -14 points. There's some fudge in them thar playoffs, I tells ya.

Here is your playoff picture:
1.Titans 2.Pittsburgh 3.Dolphins 4.Chargers 5.Colts 6.Ravens

1.Giants 2.Panthers 3.Vikings 4.Arizona 5.Falcons 6.Eagles

This Week's Picks
1. Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
2. Indy Colts at San Diego Chargers
3. Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins
4. Philly Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

5. Your Superbowl Pick?
6. Most Undeserving Playoff Team?

IDYFT NFL Pick 'Em: And The Winner Is ...

Not these losers!
Suck on it!

It's been a heck of an IDYFT Season and I am as pleased as a pint of poon punch to offer up these, our final standings.

Your 2008 Detroit Lions are now officially the All-Time King of the Fudgefests. Shocking development ... for idiots. So thick was their Fudge that they had a decisive impact on the outcome of this here Pick 'Em. That +14 Fudge Bonus sure came in handy. Let it be known that it's a good idea to have your Most Disliked team also be the Worst Football Team Ever.

The Final Standings
1. Jess = 79
(this week Fudge Bonus +9)
2. Adw = 69 dude! (this week +9)
3. Barnyard = 62 (this week Fudge Bonus +23)
4. Garwood = 54 (this week he caught the Super-AIDS)
5. MMMan = 43 (this week Fudge Bonus -1)
6. Miwacar = 4 (this week he was too racist to pick, plus he hates gays)

Jess, size options are Men's M, L and XL. I'm afraid the girly t-shirts have all been sold. You are welcome to which size you'd like as well as your address. For, at last, you've got yourself a shirt fancy enough to wear to the Mall of America.

As for the rest of you mugs ... have no fear. I'll be setting up the IDYFT NFL 2008 Playoffs Pick 'Em very soon. Come check it out ... the winner could win a (slightly damaged) copy of my novel To The Last Drop. Book signed by author with a free haiku. Stay tuned!

Fun Fact: Cellphones Have the Internet Now

Dick Stockton, during the Vikings game, mentioned how Brad Childress had decided to not show the score of the Chicago/Houston Game.

Stockton sagely pointed out that while the score might not be on the scoreboard, fans who were smart enough to bring a "transistor radio" to the Dome might be able to track the doings of the Chicago game.

Transistor Radio?  Seriously?  How about every jackass with a cellphone, Dick?  You are only 66 years old--certainly you haven't been completely unaware of the technological advances of the past decade or so, yeah?

We Told You So

Us, Wednesday, October 22nd, on Louisville being ranked high in preseason expert polls.

"I'm not sold on Edgar Sosa, after what feels like five years of waiting for the guy to mature. I'm not sold by Gary's assertion that Earl Clark is a bona fide NBA'er either. He reminds me of Kato out of Iowa State--rangy, aggressive on defense, and occasionally a superstar near the basket. Will he be consistent? Does he really fit Pitino's run and gun? I like this team--just not as much as everyone else, I guess. I'd put them below UConn, for sure." on Saturday, December 27th had a Roundtable of each writer's most disappointing player so far this year.  Greg Anthony stepped up and said, "Louisville's Edgar Sosa has been an enigma since his freshman year. I thought he would continue to grow and get better, but it's obvious he's struggling with his confidence. His lack of development is as much the problem with the Cardinals' struggles as anything else."  

So, not to brag,  but:  I told you so.  You can't be disappointed if you know not to expect great things from a mediocre player. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Reggie Miller is Idiomatically Challenged

I was watching one of the Christmas Day Basketball games--a late one, and it was Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller doing the broadcast.

Reggie was discussing some player who had had a nice comeback from being almost out of the league, and he referred to him as having a "new leash on life."

Now, it is possible Reggie was drunk, and was slurring his words, though he didn't slur anything else.  

Dear Reggie:  It is "a new LEASE on life."  I know  you've been pretty damn rich for a really long long time, and maybe you forgot "leases" exist.  But they do.  They are for people who don't want to buy things outright, in cash--it is a contractually agreed-upon rental agreement.  So, when someone gets a "new lease on life", they have done something to buy back some more years on their life, as it were.

Therefore, you will please note--that while a "new
 lease on life" makes a bit of sense, "new leash on
 life" makes no sense at all, unless you envision "life" as being some sort of pet.  For example, if you name your Puggle "Life" instead of "Mr. Snugglebritches", and you went out and bought a
 new leash for the Puggle almost known as Mr Snugglebritches, but named Life instead, you can then say, accurately, "I've got a new leash on 'Life.'"

English is hard enough for foreigners to learn without people on TV making it more nonsensical than it already is.  Come on, Reggie!

RIP Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter died at age 78.  [Lengthy Pause]  He was a great playwright.

RIP, Harold.  I hope everything was beautiful and nothing hurt!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Darren Sharper--Worse than Hitler?

It's going to be close...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Steinbrenners Make Old One Look Stingy

In 1999, Kevin Brown became the first $100 Million Dollar Man in the MLB.  It was widely and rightly decried as insanity.

It has become more and more common, though the Yankees have, as you might expect, a disproportionate impact there.

According to the Bottom Line on ESPN, there have 19 $100 Million Dollar Men and 7 of them have been Yankees.  That's just under 37% of all (almost by definition) these SUPER overpaid free agents going to 3% of all teams.   Of course, the new Steinbrenners, proving they can spend their daddy's money as well as he can, has signed two $100 Million Dollar Men in the last month or so--CC Sabathia and Mark Teixiera  ($180 Million!  No Trade Clause!).  

About Sabathia, I said:  "here are some things that I would have thought about before I spent 160 million dollars on him:  prior to two the last two seasons, he had never pitched 205 innings; he hadn't had 200 Strike Outs in a season.  Even taking his great run over the last two years, he has NEVER won 20 games.  

Don't get me wrong--like I said, I respect CC, a lot.  I've seen him befuddle my team of choice for for about 7 years.  But 8 years?  And about 20 million bucks a pop?  How good is CC going to be at age 32?  33?  34?"

Insanity!  And now more insanity.  As commenter Black Freighter weighed in on Teixiera back when there were a couple of teams who were only willing to pay Teixiera $160 million.   I quote:  

"Just look at the stats and see all the 1st baseman hitting 30 dingers and 100 rbi... he's one of at least 10-15. 
Here's 16 players who can easily hit that line at first base: Morneau, Pujols, Berkman, Lee, Pena, Howard, Fielder, Cabrera, Konerko, Youkilis, Giambi, Delgado, Gonzalez, Jacobs, Laroche and Votto. "

The Yankees have a ton of money; so do the Red Sox.  The difference is--the Red Sox have a General Manager who doesn't chase every single over-hyped free agent out there.

Happy Holidays

Nothing says Christmas like Jon Lovitz dressed up as a Devil.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

IDYFT NFL Pick 'Em: Game of Inches

Laron Landry and Fred Smoot keep the Eagles out of the endzone on the last play of Washington's upset of the playoff-seeking Eagles. Washington and Oakland aided several contestants in the Pick 'Em. Detroit? Not so much.

There's some bonus points out there if Detroit lose to the Packers in the Fudge of the Week. This is the very last regular season Pick 'Em. So pick wisely, ladies and germs. Some playoff teams will rest their starters, some won't. The winner will receive a lovely t-shirt:

1. Adw = 60 (this week +3)
2. Jess = 56 (this week +23, ran the table)
3. Garwood = 54 (this week +9)
4. MMMan = 30 (this week +23, ran the table)
5. Barnyard = 25 (this week +14)
6. Big BM = 24 (inactive due to early-onset goiters)
7. Miwacar = 4 (this week -10)

Final Regular Season Picks
1. Your Shoe-in?
2. Underdog List:
winless Detroit, Rams, Cleveland, Oaktown, Jax
3. Your Favorite/Disliked Team?
4. Clash of the Titans: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
5. King of the Fudge: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Saturdays in December Are Important in March!

Just a bunch of games on Saturday that will be talked about during the selection process in March.

Most important to those of us struggling in our ridiculous Minnesota winter is that the Golden Gophers defeated overly ranked Louisville at a neutral site.  Of course, Arizona in December is only technically neutral--Minnesotans flock there to escape the weather.  Twenty inches of snow in Decmeber?  Ridiculous!  But to get back on point--Tubby Smith's crew outplayed Pitino's collection of guaranteed can't fail Top 10 prospects.  And that does taste sweet, even for me, who doesn't normally think much of the Gophers.  If they can be respectable in the Big 10, and (just as important) Louisville can maintain respectability in the Big East, this is a win that could have huge implications.  Watch out for Al Nolen.  He's the best player you haven't heard of.

In the record books, UConn beat Gonzaga at a neutral site as well.  The record books are full of shit--this thing was played in Gonzaga's backyard, and even though UConn was down by double-digits in the second half, they found a way to win.  Even when their Bad-Ass Center Hasheem Thabeet picked up his 5th foul on a Total Bullshit Technical for taunting in Overtime, they found a way to win.  In some polls, Gonzaga is #8--they've suffered two losses in 10 days, to Arizona and UConn.  Maybe they will drop enough to become a Cinderella again?  This is a win that UConn supporters should draw strength from, even if they suffer a bit in the Big East regular season.  The Big East is tough, tough, tough.  UConn has some serious talent, though, and will only get better.  Price, Adrien, Thabeet--get familiar with those names, because I think you'll be seeing them getting interview during Final Four weekend.

Don't sleep on Michigan State or Texas.  Michigan State is full of guys that you might have thought had graduated--like Goran Suton or Raymar Morgan; Texas has lost close, close games to a couple of real quality teams now, and given how tough the Big 12 might be, they could be one of those teams that people are high on.  But if Connor Atcheley gets his mojo back, watch out.  Both of these teams play in traditional power conferences that are getting somewhat overlooked because of the Big East and ACC.  They are both pretty kick-ass.  And Rick Barnes and Tom Izzo know how to coach in March.

In less fun news, the Evil Cerulean Satans totally pissed on Xavier.  I thought that game would be a hard-fought game, with bruising front courts going at each other.  Xavier decided to shit the bed, and just huck out turnovers time and time again.  I think this game was not indicative of how bad Xavier is, and especially how good Duke is.  To cross sports, it brings to mind when the Vikings were up 21-0 on Arizona in the first quarter last week in Pro Football.  One team made a bunch of mistakes, and the other team capitalized.  Replay that game 10 times, and it probably comes close to .500.  Xavier won't play that bad again any time soon.  But people will be talking about Duke blew them out.  Let them talk, and figure on Duke being a high ranked early exit in March.

In teams named after Alexander the Great era cities, Syracuse beat Memphis, playing a strategy Georgetown did last week, and every C-USA team will too (because, you see, it works)  of making Memphis hit jump shots.  They are athletic, they are tough in the front court, but they can't shoot.  Douglas-Roberts used to make teams fear the Memphis jump shot.  He's moved on.  Syracuse proved they can overcome the adversity of having Devendorf being a dick. Flynn is the straw that stirs that drink.  Syracuse is good, potentially really good, but awfully young.  And I bet there will be a time this year when they really really really wish they still had Donte Green, who stupidly left after just one year.  But as I have said before--I think this Syracuse team is better than some Big East teams in front of them--Villanova and Notre Dame jump to mind.  We'll see when the regular season starts.  Memphis now could still go undefeated in the C-USA (which they won't) and they will still not get better than a 3 seed.  They've lost to middle-of-the-road Big East teams.  

Oh, and Purdue has provided the blueprint for defeating Davidson--jump out to a 20 point lead, make Stephon Curry go 0-8 and generally get guys who aren't Curry to huck up 3's from 27 feet out.  Purdue reminds me of those classic Temple teams--little talent, hard work, and a hardcore belief in the coach's defense can make a team go far.  Matty Painter has this team firing on all cylinders.  I think it will be next year when the Big 10 will be Officially Back; but it began last year, and grows this year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Thank you NBC for finally creating a Global Dance competition.  Finally, we will figure out which is more awesome.  Salsa dancing or fighting monks.

We already know the answer to that, don't we?

How Bad Are the Timberwolves?

Let Britt Robson tell you:  (emphasis mine)

After a pleasant bump-up to his rookie season style strut shortly before and after McHale replaced Wittman, Randy Foye is back to doing everything not very well. Only his defensive readiness is horrible--he'll still hit the occasional shot, drop the occasional assist, and tonight he racked up three steals. But if this man is the second-best player on your team, or third, or fourth, then it is no wonder that your team now needs to go 37-20 the rest of the way just to finish at .500.

Sad to Watch: Vikings Fan Begin to Believe

Oh, poor Vikings fans.  They are starting to believe again.  Sad.  A friend of this blog once related a story in which, he as a child, was watching a Vikings game.  His father walked in and said, "Son, they will only break your heart."

And yet, poor bastards that they are, they are starting to believe again.  Pacifist Viking admits to maybe being delusional, but he still found the faith, the heart, the insanity to say this:  "Tarvaris Jackson might just add a fourth reason the Vikings could win the Super Bowl: a young quarterback gets surprisingly hot. That alone wouldn't do it, but a productive Tarvaris Jackson, supporting a dominant defense, dominant running backs, and getting some lucky breaks, could push the Vikings far."

They will win never a Super Bowl.  Because that's the Vikings lot.  That sort of optimism from beating the Cardinals and the Lions?  It's Cute, But It's Wrong!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dave Zirin Working the Morning Joe Crowd

Our fellow (and much more famous, much more respectable) Macalester Alum, Dave Zirin of Edge of Sports was on MSNBC's Morning Joe some weeks back.  I mean, he writes books, whilst I sit around and wonder, "Can I really rhyme Jim Plunkett with Him Funked It*?"

I caught the last few minutes of this when it aired, but it never occurred to me that there would some html code that would allow me to put just Zirin's interview up for air.  Here it is.  I'm pretty sure he's making eyes with Mika.  I would too.  Who doesn't want to tag the daughter of Carter's National Security Advisor?  You are only going to get some many chances in life, right?

But seriously, folks.  Dave is awesome, and as articulate as we are for sportsbloggers, Dave is a one smart cat.  We know from experience that given the opportunity, he'll blow your mind with his hip-hop knowledge as well.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Marketing Companies Send Us Stuff!

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a guy purporting to represent a "well-known brand in the sports industry".  I bet a bunch of other sportsbloggers got the same email.  Usually, that email is from some Czech gangster who is illegally streaming UEFA Cup games, and wants me to link to him (and they usually hit me up in our comment section (RED FLAG)).  

But this mysterious stranger hit me via email, and sounded pretty legit, and after I googled his company's website, looked legit.  So I responded, and said, "Sure, mysterious stranger, send me your packet of stuff."

It arrived today, and to say that they are a well known brand in the sports industry is like saying that NBC is a well known brand in the TV industry.

Or, as I put it to the mysterious marketing guy who apparently thinks I can help their brand, "It's like asking me to blog on the nature of sunshine for all the readers who don't know what sunshine is."

I welcome the free samples that I got in the mail today, or any other day.  But I'm really wondering what [MYSTERY WELL KNOWN BRAND IN THE SPORTS INDUSTRY] is thinking I can do for them that they don't get from their massive amounts of TV advertising.  

Hey readers, have you tried breathing air?  How about drinking water?  You should try it!  (Air and Water both asked me to try their product.  I whole-heartedly support their product, and not just because they sent me samples today.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Best Son of A Bitch Out There

Slingin' Sammy Baugh, legendary player for the Washington Redskins from 1937-1952, passed away on Wednesday, December 17th. He was 94. Baugh revolutionized football with the forward pass, leading the NFL in passing in his rookie season. He won six passing titles and two NFL Championship titles.

Unanimously voted a charter member of the Hall of Fame when it opened in 1963, Baugh did more than merely create the modern passing game.

In 1943 he led the NFL in passing (1,754 yards, 19 touchdowns), interceptions (11) and punting (45.9-yard average).

In addition to his 21,886 passing yards, 70% completions (Redskins Record), 187 TDs passing (Redskins Record), 45.1 yard punting average (#2 All-Time) and 31 interceptions (Redskins Record), he also holds the Record for the NFL Single Season Punting Average (54.1).

In one particular 42-20 romp over the Detroit Lions (yeah, they sucked back then too), Sammy Baugh threw 4 TDs and picked off 4 INTs in a single game, an accomplishment which will never be equaled.

And he did it all without ever wearing a facemask.

Slingin' Sammy Baugh:
"When you're on the field you've got to feel like the best son of a bitch out there."

Hail to thee!

Monday, December 15, 2008

IDYFT NFL Pick 'Em: All Methed Up

There's some action at the top and bottom of the Pick 'Em standings. Who will be crowned t-shirt Titan, and who will get all methed up?

A correction: no one should be punished by the King of the Fudge, for god's sake, so it is worth +3 but picking wrong doesn't hurt you. Look forward to a dreadful NFC North showdown for the coronation of the last Fudge King of the regular season. Those three points might decide who's the IDYFT King of the Fudge!

The Standings
1. Adw: 57 (this week -17)
2. Garwood: 45 (this week +23, ran the table)
3. Jess: 33 (this week -1)
4. Big BM: 24 (non-participant due to pale, tiny penis)
5. Miwacar: 14 (this week +10)
6. Barnyard: 11 (this week +7)
7. MMMan: 7 (this week -10)

This Week's Picks
1. Your Shoe-In?
2. This Week's Upset List:
Washingtongue, Oakland, Detroit
3. Your Favorite/Disliked Team?
4. Clash of the Titans: Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
5. King of the Fudge: Cincinnati Bungholes at Cleveland Poo

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Washington's Offensive Woes Doom Postseason Hopes

This year, the NFL is on pace for a record-high scoring, nearly forty-five points per game. Not pulling their weight is the offense of the 7-7 (1-5 most recently) Washington pro football team. They are currently ranked 29th in scoring (16.5 points per game).

And thus, my favorite team is finished for 2008.

Jim Boeheim Doesn't Think Slapping a Woman Is That Big a Deal

From the AP:

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says the suspension given to starting guard Eric Devendorf by a university judicial board is too severe.

The board recommended Wednesday that Devendorf be suspended for the remainder of the academic year after allegedly hitting a female student in the face. He is appealing the decision. the Dagger noted, and we linked to, Devendorf's own teammates basically admitted that something went down--they were apologetic in their text messages; they were asking that Devendorf be given a chance to explain, whilst admitting that what he did wasn't right.

Devendorf, it seems, slapped or punched  a chick.  Boeheim thinks that isn't that big of a deal.  Not to betray any anti-Syracuse bias, but what else would you expect from that little rat-faced fuck?

What the Dagger didn't mention, at all, as far as I can tell, is Jim Boeheim's weirdly wrong stance that nothing wrong happened.  Jimmy has no idea what went down.  He has no business weighing in on what is or what isn't "too severe."  

Again, the Dagger is quite right in pointing out that this maybe should haven't even gone to the Syracuse Judicial Board.  The woman in question asked for the cops to arrest the man who had just punched her in the face.  And they didn't arrest him.  This story is far from done, and I doubt Jimmy Boeheim's stout defense of his player is going to look good in retrospect.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm a Prophet!

Back in October, I named some college basketball teams that weren't in the Top 25, but deserved to be.  If I may quote myself:  "Minor League teams are still getting dissed:  watch out for Butler, UAB, Davidson, and Xavier, to name a few."

Two of those teams are now in the Top 25.  I'm a prophet!  Or possibly, like unto a God.

Cowbabies Cry

I'm way, way too fagged (British use) to write about this hilarious Cowbabies catfight. There's a million multiple sources; here's a funny one about a well-toasted CB named Newman blaming the coaches for the lack of accountability ... really, top notch. Like a sumo-driven baby crying match.

Ladies and gentlemen, what can I add to this? Especially when tomorrow I'll be managing the Grand Opening of a brand new restaurant in this Madrid, New Mexico: The Hollar. Offering a taste of the South with all the amenities of literacy.

But we're down to the nitty & gritty in the NFL. If I had the time without the crime I'd be writing some crud about the delights but I'm closing out with this: unless this is the ultimate pouisson rouge, everyone should expect a massive blowout of the Giants over the Terrell Owens (and associates) Sunday. Gonna be fucking hilarious.

Enjoy those pre-season Superbowel picks, Dallas fans!

Blog Love: The Dagger

I read The Dagger infrequently, which is a shame, because they do great work for being a bunch of corporate Yahoo monkeys (that may be some jealously leaking into my critique, there).

But consider their work of late:

Discussing Eric Devendorf of Syracuse punching a fellow Syracuse student, of the female persuasion, complete with texts from another Syracuse player to the victim.

A great look at the Top 25, and assessing whether they are there because of results or reputation.  I haven't seen a simpler takedown of the Notre Dame Squad (that I've hated on since preseason) than this:  "The Irish have played three big games this season. They are 1-2 in those games."

My one beef?  They seem to question whether Michigan's John Beilein is a genius or not.   Of course he is!  Beating Duke is probably going to end up not being that big of a deal, as I don't think Duke is all that good, but still--Beilein got the job to resurrect Michigan because he had done such a great job raising West Virginia from the fucking ashes.  Prior to Beilein's coaching, that team was still harking back to Jerry West in discussions of success.  Beilein won there, not with superstar recruits, but with a funky 1-3-1 defense and guys like Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle.  He probably is the Mike Leach of College Hoops, but without the pirate fixation.

So, read The Dagger, is what I'm saying.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

NY Yankees Denigrating the Term "Drunken Sailors"

Jesus Christ, Yankees!

First they sign C.C. Sabathia, who will be 28 years old in April, to an 8 year deal.  Because fat-ass fireballers always awesome in their mid-thirties.  Clearly, he will be worth those $20 million dollars for about 2 years or so.  

Look, I love C.C. Sabathia, from a grudging perspective.  As a Twins fan, I was well aware of what he was capable of, back when he was playing for somewhat sketchy Cleveland teams.  In the past two seasons, he's been one of the best pitchers in baseball.  I also know that he has some injury history, and has never a been "healthy" weight.  

I didn't know this until I looked up his career stats, but here are some things that I would have thought about before I spent 160 million dollars on him:  prior to two the last two seasons, he had never pitched 205 innings; he hadn't had 200 Strike Outs in a season.  Even taking his great run over the last two years, he has NEVER won 20 games.  

Don't get me wrong--like I said, I respect CC, a lot.  I've seen him befuddle my team of choice for for about 7 years.  But 8 years?  And about 20 million bucks a pop?  How good is CC going to be at age 32?  33?  34?

And now, they've signed A.J. Burnett to a much more "reasonable" deal (in Yankee land)--5 years, $82.5 million deal--why, that's only (quick math here) $16.5 million per year.  AJ will be 32 when the season starts.  Quick math again:  Both of these guys will be in their mid to late 30's when their contracts expire.   

Do the Yankees really expect Burnett and Sabathia to continue to get better from here on out?  Or are they rewarding them for their great work with other franchises?   Prior to last season, A.J. had never won even 15 games in a year--his career high before last year's 18 was 12 wins!  He has started over 30 games in his long career exactly twice.  AJ pitched over 200 innings last year, but in the 4 of the 5 years before last year, he had pitched under 175 innings.  Seems risky, Husky Pup.

I look forward to the Yankees, about halfway through the 2009 season, realizing that their offense is just gotten a year older, and their big time pitchers are struggling with shoulder injuries, and that oh, yeah, the country is in a recession, and go to Congress to ask for a bailout.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RIP: Bettie Page

Thanks for making America less Squaresville.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nationals Taking Lessons from Angelos' Orioles

Eight Year Deal for Teixeira?

From the Hot Stove Report on  "According to a Major League source, the club has offered the switch-hitting first baseman an eight-year, $160 million contract that would pay Teixeira an average of $20 million per season. The Nationals would not confirm the dollar figures."

They have competition--from the Baltimore Orioles:  "a published report said that the Orioles offered Teixeira a seven-year, $150 million contract."

This is clearly a huge mistake.  Mark Teixeira, 5 years ago, might have been worth this kind of money. 

Is he a very good to great player?  Yes he is.  But paying for 7 to 8 years of him?  That's fucking crazy.  It would make more sense to offer him an average of $25 million per year for the next 4 years.  Seven or eight year contracts just don't make sense.   For his career, he is under .300;  he averages 100 Strikeouts per year; right around 30 HR per year.  I'm all for giving a big-hitting player big money.  But for 7 or 8 years?  That's fucking crazy, end of story.

Let another team pay that much, put some money into your farm system and find the next Mark Teixeira, lock him into a long-term deal, and save yourself $50 million.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Jake Peavy First Victim of Tribune Company Bankruptcy?

The company that owns the Chicago Cubs has announced they are filing Chapter 11.   They say that the bankruptcy filing does not include the Cubs, but one still has to wonder if the owners know that they could put out a team consisting of 11 minor leaguers and still sell out Wrigley, why they would be the involved in a high-stakes pitcher acquisition like Peavy, and his $63 million in salary over the next 4 years.

The Cubs are apparently the only team working to get Peavy, but one has to assume the PR hit is about to become unsustainable--The Tribune Company is clearly getting ready to lay off a lot of folks, and even if they spin the Cubs away from the failing part of their media empire (and really--why are media companies buying sports teams?) they simply can not lay off hundreds of employees while another part of their company is committing to over guaranteed $60 million to a single employee.

Keep your eyes out on this--this could be the first evidence we see of the economy really really impacting baseball wheelin' and dealin'.

Well, poop.

Washington Drunken Savage Chris Samuels out for the season.

IDYFT Pick 'Em: Tiny Hands, Tiny Tears

We're heading into the the last three games of the NFL regular season, and there's still time for somebody to make a move and get themselves a t-shirt. Looking at those standings, I had better pull a Shoeless Joe if I'm going to unload a prize on you mugs.

The bigass bonus for picking when, if ever, the Lions win might be a deciding factor in the Pick 'Em.

Can Silver Jebus save the NFL's biggest Fudgefest from the ultimate humiliation of a winless season? If not, there's sure to be lots of tiny tears squeezing out from between cold, tiny hands.

This year Mea Culpa-pepper has only fumbled 4 times in 5 games; for his career he's got 97 fumbles in 97 games. Here's when we picked the Detroit Fudge to get their first win:

Adw = Vikings
MMMan = Never (for 14 points)
Barnyard = Never (for 14 points)
Garwood = Vikings
Miwacar = Saints (for 10 points)
Jess = Never (for 14 points)

1. Adw = 74 (this week +10)
2. Jess = 34 (this week -4)
3. BBM = 24 (this week -4)
4. Garwood = 22 (this week -4)
5. MMMan = 17 (this week -4)
6. Miwacar = 5 (this week -4)
7. Barnyard = 4 (this week +4)

Here's just a little clue: this week's Perseus (as interpreted by Harry Hamlin) in the Clash of the Titans was Carolina, which is undefeated at home. Yet over 70% of you picked the Bucs to win (road record: 3-4). I'm just gloating saying ... Hey, guess who figured out how to code strikethroughs tonight!

This Week's Picks
1. Your Shoe-In?
2. This Week's Upset List
winless Detroit, Cleveland, Cincy, 49ers, Oakland
3. Your Favorite/Disliked Team?
4. Clash of the Titans: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Lexus Commercials = Boooo

I've been disliking the whole "your favorite Christmas memory pales in comparison to our generic luxury car" bullshit meme Lexus seems determined to get out there.  Maybe if I had seen the one with the pony first, I would have thought it was cute, or something?  (unlikely, though.  Spoiled little girl grows to be spoiled woman.  Awesome holiday messaging!)

But they crapped on two of my precious memories of Christmas' past--The Big Wheel and The Atari 2600.  It has angered me greatly.  But I didn't bother complaining about it.  Though the Atari changed our entire household for the better in ways too numerous to count.  One example of a secondary wave of the Atari effect?  My mother started playing Frogger.  She loved it, but found it frustrating.  She started swearing.  Suddenly, it was OK in our house to say "shit".  Do you remember how liberating that feels?  It happened in our house because of the 2600.

Owen Good over at Kotaku (the Deadspin of Video Games?  I guess that's a reasonable way of describing them) is equally upset.  Thank you for voicing your anger, Owen.  It is righteous and right.

Quoting Owen:  "But this isn't much of an homage to a treasured console and the make-your-Christmas gift. It just says that things fade, memories cost money, and your best one should have the highest price tag attached."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Blogger Round Up: I Don't Have the Energy Edition

What to do when the week's sports news has left me going "meh."  OJ was convicted of a crime he obviously committed--that's only newsworthy because he had such a good record going in.  But really, most people are convicted of crimes they obviously committed the first time around.  

Let's see.  Deadspin is reporting that the Pacquiao vs. de la Hoya fight went just about the way I expected it to go (but didn't bother predicting, because I don't know shit about boxing, and I wasn't going to bother predicting on a sport I know nothing about.  It was certainly within my purview as a sportsblogger, but the whole thing made me so disinterested I could barely muster up enough energy to not care.

Kissing Suzy Kolber puts some energy into mocking a dude showing off his complete collection (almost one of two complete collections) of NFL mini-helmets.  It is sad to watch.  I can't recommend it enough.  You can almost hear the resignation in the guy's voice as he realizes that he's wasted his time, energy and money on the most useless of collectibles.  Go watch.

Shutdown Corner discusses some Bucs (present and former, despite their headline) putting some energy into building houses for Habitat for Humanity.  A fine charity, to be sure, and one I have done "volunteer" work for in the past, because I was forced to do so, by some lady at Macalester who decided that all soccer players had to volunteers she chose.  So whilst some soccer players got to go to the Minnesota State Fair with old ladies, I got to dig a ditch.  That's bullshit.  That's neither here nor there, though.  I guess the point I just made is that while you already knew that Doug Williams, Shelton Quarles and Warwick Dunn are better football players than I am, they are also better people.  Screw you.  I help in my own way.  I help by not actively hurting.  And that counts for something.

Pacifist Viking took some time to list all the reasons why the Vikings can't possibly lose Sunday.  This convinces me all the more that they will find a way to lose.  That's what the Vikings do.
That's On Point did something I'd never bother to do, which is analyze every team in the Premiership--should they be selling players?  Should they be buying one final linch pin for the push?   Good read.  

The Lads at Rumors and Rants would just to like to remind you that somehow, someway Adrianna Lima is going to marry Marko Jaric.  Why do they want to remind you of this (and give graphic evidence of the sheer inequity of it all)?   Because the lads of Rumor and Rants are dicks, that's why.  Don't worry, we are sure your Brazilian supermodel who doesn't care that you suck at your job, but just loves you for you is right around the corner.  Keep Living the Dream! 

NCAA Barely Legal Homoeroticism of the Week

Jimmy Dykes (?) in the Miami/Kentucky game of Kentucky C Josh Harrellson (pictured right): What I like about Harrellson in he's a rugged kid. He actually missed a game in high school to go deer hunting. That tells you about his mentality. He doesn't believe in botox or spray tans, he's a rugged guy...

He knows his role and his role is to go straight to the rim. I mean, how many guys (at Kentucky) missed a high school game to go deer hunting? That kinda tells you about his make up, you know what I'm saying? The sideburns, the look... he's just a guy's guy. I like guys like that.

*I'd like to apologize to Harrellson for this post. I had no idea that I'd find a picture of him shirtless wearing a construction helmet but once I did, well, I couldn't not post it here. Wow.

And on the off chance that Dykes hints that Harrellson is retarded later in the telecast, I've got this one cued up.

Fernando Torres vs. German Shepherd, for some reason

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Guys Who Make Comics Love Sports Movies: Joshua Dysart

I have a theory. As a comic book lover and a sports lover, I do not represent any actual massive break in the demographics. My theory is that readers (like myself) and writers and artists of comics love sports. So why not interview the guys who create comic books and see where their prejudices lie, sports-wise?

My theory continues to take hits.  Jason Aaron does dig sports.  But David Aja doesn't.  Joshua Dysart doesn't dig sports.  But you know what he does dig?  Movies.  He digs them a lot and has
 some fascinating things to share about the movie-going experience.

Who is Joshua Dysart?  I first became aware of him via a Hellboy spin-off called BPRD:  1946.  It  was a creepy limited series, and I enjoyed it, but I didn't really register the writer of the book.  Dysart has recently launched a new series, based on the classic character  from the DC Universe, "The Unknown Soldier."  Dysart's version of the soldier is actually an Ugandan pacifist doctor brought back to Uganda to deal with the human crisis stemming from the decades long civil war in that country, who starts to embrace violence in reaction to the horror he sees.  It is only two issues in, but I've been loving it.  But don't take my word for it.  The AV Club said, after just one issue, "Dysart and Ponticelli don't spare the two-fisted action in trying to tell a story that's both relevant to the real world and viscerally exciting. If they can sustain this energy and impact,Unknown Soldier could be a new Vertigo classic."

I quickly discovered that Dysart isn't into sports, as I mentioned previously.  Here's our interview with Joshua Dysart about movies.  You will notice that there are a ton of links associated with movies.  That's because Dysart sent a YouTube link for just about every movie he mentioned.  That's downright gentlemanly, folks.  And you should thank him for his effort.  Maybe you should buy Unknown Soldier, maybe.  

IDYFT:  In our quick exchanges pre-interview, you expressed an interest in global cinema. I've encountered plenty of folks who refuse to watch any movie that has subtitles. Do you remember what your first experience with foreign movies was? Was it, like it was for a good number of comic book guys, a college viewing of Akira?

Dysart:  Wow, You're really making me think back. It certainly wasn't Akira (which I saw on the big screen in Houston, Tx when I was 17. I'll never forget that). Fact is, I was the only child of a young family.  My mother was 20 when she had me and we lived with my Uncle and my two cousins once my dad and my mom parted ways. So I was always exposed to the youth culture of the late 70's. We were also one of the first homes to have a VCR in my neighborhood because my mom dated this liquor salesman for a while and he won some regional contest and we ended up with this mammoth top-loader machine that weighed about 50 pounds. There wasn't even any movie rental stores in my south Texas town of Corpus Christi at the time. So it was a bitch getting flicks to watch. But my cousin Jerry would go to Austin and come home with films by guys like Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini and Yasujiro Ozu and I would sit there with these young adults, my family, and watch these things. I think a lot of my aesthetic to this day was formed by those artists, regardless of the medium I'm working in. In many ways I think my family destroyed my commercial viability at an early age.
But the first foreign film I ever saw, at least that I can remember, had to have been Jean Cocteau's, "Beauty and the Beast", which is a great film for kids. It's one of the few memories I have of doing something cool with my dad (wow, nothing Freudian about that, is there?) To this day it's one of my top 20 films of all time. I've  probably watched it 100 times. Shortly after that I sat and watched Akira Kurosawa's "Roshomon" with my cousins and even though I had to ask a lot of questions, I think it was a turning point in my understanding of narrative. The first foreign film that I went to the theatre to see by myself was Kurosawa's "Ran", I was 14 and we were visiting friends in Austin, so I took a bus on my own to see it.  Don't get me wrong, I also loved cheesy 80's action films and everything else. And there is plenty of amazing American cinema. I mean we gave the world John Houston, Sam Peckinpah, John Cassavetes, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Orson Wells, and on and on... all masters who's work I absolutely adore. But I had this thing down in my DNA, this obsession with the larger world and foreign films moved me in a way most American films made after 1982 just couldn't. Foreign films were obsessed with form, and worked hard at their craft. They often lived in quiet moments and passing glances. They just felt like life to me. And life was interesting when I was a kid. I think that's uncommon for a lot of comic book creators, most of the ones I meet consumed huge amounts of escapist entertainment. But escaping was never my core reason for engaging in art... for me it was to learn, learn about the wide, mysterious adult world. 

IDYFT:  Do you feel like there are established American directors whose reputation will increase with time?  I'm thinking of guys who hover between art and commerice, like the Coen Brothers,  Sam Raimi, Joe Dante.  Clearly, the Coen Brothers get the most critical love, but they often get described as kind of heartless technicians. Is "Raising Arizona" a great American movie? Is "Gremlins"?

Dysart:  Well, first off, It's important to say that this is all personal opinion. For instance, time and collective perspective often identify "Gone With The Wind" as a great movie, but really, to me, it's a pile of trash. On the other hand I could watch Cory McAbee's "The American Astronaut" all day long and almost nobody has ever even heard of that flick. So you know, who's to say how films and directors will be received on the whole. I do think that in the long run the Coen Brothers will continue to be celebrated. Technical craft ages better over time than any sort of attempt to emotionally connect with the audience does. Sentiment is reflected by time and culture, but craftsmanship is impressive in all times and to all cultures. Kubrick has often been described as a cold, emotionless technician, but we'll be studying and interacting with his body of work for as long as we engage with cinema in its modern form. So I think the Coen's will be just fine. To a lesser degree Raimi will be fine too, his voice is too unique not to be perceived as valuable. I imagine in 100 years Dante will get glowing praise on the Turner Classic Movie's bump before they show "Innerspace", but I don't see his work actually being studied much. And yes, both "Gremlins" and "Raising Arizona" are great American movies. One is better than the other, but still... they both have something important and genuine about them at their center. They both engage the viewer honestly and and have real creative intentions, to make you laugh and have fun. Anything movie that succeeds at that is a great movie.

IDYFT:  In terms of films, do you find yourself gravitating towards a particular region in the world, and/or a particular moment in time? Or are you all over the map, as it were?
Dysart:  Well, sorta. It's probably more accurate to say that certain movements in cinema engage me. And those movements, more often than not, stem from a region. I'm a huge fan of Italian Neo-realism and various off-shoots of it (Satyajit Ray comes to mind), the Japanese New Wave (as well as the Japanese New New Wave), German Expressionism, French New Wave, No Wave Cinema, Punk film, New German cinema, the Surrealist movement, New French Extremity, Dogme 95, Exploitation cinema, Spaghetti Westerns and a lot more that aren't coming to mind right now. Then you have magic moments that were tied not only to place, but
time as well... Russia in the silent era, Northern Europe in the 50's, Italy and the UK in the 60's, The US in the 60's and 70's, Latin America in the 70's and right now, actually. Denmark right now as well. Canada in the 80's and 90's. And I think Japan has consistently produced generation after generation of globally relevant filmmakers without fail. There seems to be a culture of innovation and aesthetics of form in Japan that lends itself to the progression of cinema as well as the artist's conversation at large. So I guess the answer is yeah, I'm all over the map. 

IDYFT:  How about what's going on in Brazil lately, and Iran over the past 10 years or so? Do you have any concern that as American Culture exports more and more, we'll see more foreign movies that are filmed by foreign directors, about foreign issues, but look more and more like Hollywood Blockbusters? I'm thinking of how often "Mongol" was compared to "Braveheart", for example. Or is that not a problem?

Dysart:  Well, Mongol was actually a fine example of modernist mainstream aesthetic fucking up something that could have been fucking amazing if had been handled with a little more dignity. I was very excited to see that flick, caught it on opening weekend. I thought, "yeah, let's see a David Lean style epic!" But it just turned out to be a piece of commercial crap. And yes, it is bothersome to me that sometimes the very aesthetic I'm trying to run away from when I search out foreign cinema is starting to creep into it, but you know what, 95% of everything has always been shit, and will always be shit, but quality cinema, ambitious cinema, will still exist. So I'm not too worried about it. Also, let me say this, all art benefits from cross-pollination. Amazing things can come from cultures mixing up their vision of the world. So, ultimately, I'm not too worried about it. The world will never become one big America. If anything the reverse will most likely happen. America, and it's cinema, will more and more reflect the outside world.

As far as Brazil goes, they've certainly had their moments of participation in the world cinema conversation. Cinema Novo was a huge part of late 50's and early 60's. At that time Brazilian filmmakers were getting a great deal of notice outside of their home country. In 1959
"Black Orpheus" won the Palme d'Or. It's a hell of a movie.As of the mid-90's, political stabilization and funding have really allowed for Brazilian film to thrive and they now consistently play a part on the world cinema stage. In regards to the main gist of your question, I suppose you could argue that "Central Station" or "City of God" suffer from an American mainstream aesthetic, but I don't think that's true. I think their exuberance is characteristically Brazilian actually.

Now Persian cinema is a huge global success. Remember Hollywood, as far as the world goes, is not the only commercially successful player out there. Films from India, Nigeria and Iran bring in serious ticket sales all over the world. But those are commercial successes, and we're more interested in pretentious artsy-fartsy flicks. So how is Iran meeting my particular cinematic itch these days? in 1997
"Taste of Cherry" took the palme d'Or and that is an amazing film. Since then Iranian cinema has been getting a lot of attention. To be honest I've seen very little of it. I need to be exposed to more. But, in keeping with your question, "Taste of Cherry" had an American Jazz score. Did that make it somehow less Persian? I don't think so. I think it wrestled very well with Iran's modernity issues.

IDYFT:  It seems a lot of your work in the comics field have been adaptations of works originally created from other media. Do you find yourself watching movies with half an eye on what might be interesting or fun to adapt? Can you separate the creative urge from the ability to just enjoy a movie?
Dysart:  Well, no, actually, I don't keep an eye out for what might be fun to adapt. That's actually my mercenary work you're bringing up. I mean, I give it my all and I invest in it artistically, but if I had my druthers it's not what I'd be doing. I think that comics and cinema have more differences than they do similarities and I think that work that struggles to bridge the gap between the two ultimately suffers for it. So while a good movie can inspire me to create, it's not a specific element of an inspiring film that I'm trying to emulate. I'm a bit of a purest in that way. Having said that, I'm about to adapt a screenplay into a graphic novel, so what we feel in our heart and what we do to keep working are two different things, you know? But yeah, I can still enjoy a movie. I do have pretty high standards though. I'm a bit like a junkie who needs a stronger and stronger fix. And it's hard to say what makes a good film. We can talk aesthetics and craft all day long, but in the end it's something intangible. Something unique and true about the piece itself, something about it's intentions that make it an amazing experience to watch or not.
IDYFT:  You are currently working on a new updated version of DC's character "The Unknown Soldier". You've located the action to Uganda, which was in the grips of war for the vast majority of the last 20 years. You spent some time in Uganda since the ceasefire began, and you've clearly done a ton of research for "The Unknown Soldier". Have you come across a film (documentary or no) that tells some truth about that conflict particularly well? Right now, Uganda certainly seems like another African nation in turmoil that the Western (particularly American) media didn't cover very well, or barely at all.
Dysart:  Honestly, it's criminal the way this war has been neglected by the global media. There aren't a lot of really GOOD films that have emerged from this conflict either. There's a lot of well-meaning ones, informative ones and even some that have succeeded at bringing attention to the war, but actually good, well made films, as I define "well-made"... not many. There is a film called "War Dance", which will emotionally devastate you. I have some minor problems with it, mostly about how it white-washes the Ugandan government's role in the whole thing, but I guarantee you, if you watch it, you will cry. You will hug your children or your lover and cry. You will spend the rest of your week marveling at the life you lead, no matter how mundane it seemed at the time. It's probably the finest piece of art to come out of the conflict that I've seen.  Go on, I challenge you to watch this film and not cry.

IDYFT:  If possible, can you give a Top 5 Global Cinema rundown? If it makes it easier, it doesn't have to be THE Top 5. It could be just 5 movies you would recommen enthusiastically, and a few sentences on why you enjoyed them.
Dysart:  Okay, but here's the deal, I'm not going to give you my all time top 5. I'm a pretentious prick, and the odds of someone sitting down to watch one of my top five and going, "What the fuck is this shit!" is pretty high. Though I adore, with all my heart, Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris" I cannot, in good conscious, ask anyone to sit through it. They will hate me. Unless they are my soul mate.
So instead lets do the most engaging cinema, stuff that is important for any global cinema list, but is not arduous to watch unless you suffer from sever ADD (and if you do, the first film on this list is made for you). In no particular order, the first 5 that come to mind are...

Visitor Q (2001): Takashi Miike.  When you finish this film you won't be entirely sure of what you've just seen. You will call all of your friends who just happen to be twisted, sick bastards and you will recommend it emphatically to them. You will search out other movies by Miike, and slowly, one flick at a time, "Ichi the Killer", "Audition", "Izo", "Dead or Alive", "The Happiness of the Katakuris", "Gozu" they will eat your soul and you'll never be the same again. "Visitor Q" is the gateway drug to one of the most prolific and creatively audacious cats working in cinema today (he also makes a ton of shit, but that 's what happens when you direct 70 films in 11 years).

Breathless (1960): Jean-Luc Godard  (editor note:  my fave French New Wave film) This, my friends, is birth of cool. Quentin Tarantino's most obvious and surface influences may come from the grindhouse, exploitation and garbage mouth cinema movements, but early Goddard is the chicken-wire mesh structure onto which all those bits are stuck. And it was his first feature ever. Just remember, next time you're dogging the French... a Frenchman taught us what cool was all about. If you like "Breathless" enough to search out other Goddard work you'll discover a completely uncompromising vision that has spanned decades. He is an intellectual powerhouse, a creative force to compare against any artist in any medium in human history and, possibly, cinema's only true philosopher. 

Winter Light (1962): Ingmar Bergman.  Bergman is my favorite filmmaker ever. And it was hard to pick a single one by him. But this is about as accessible as Bergman's going to get (some would say his most accessible is "Wild Strawberries", and that might be true, but it's just not dark enough for me). This film is short, it's powerful and it's focused. The scene by the body near the river is probably the best photographed scene in Bergman's entire body of work, and that's really saying something. This is a quiet study of faith, in which the light that gives us hope comes not from God, but from his absence. In the words of Leonard Coen "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." Once again, if you like this film, Bergman's entire body of work now stretches out before you ready to infect your soul and change your view of the world.  Stunning and subdued.

Holy Mountain (1973): Alejandro Jodorowskyi.  "Holy fucking shit!" is what they should have called it. This movie is nothing short of a shamanistic cry for meaning in the form of moving pictures. An explosion of mystical energy and universal hope. A blur between what is real and what is not. A comment on civilization, humanity and the horror-show construct we're all a part of. Written and Directed by a man who now writes comics for the French market. I used to put this flick on at parties and turn the sound off, just to have something cool playing. But people would become hypnotized. They'd stopped socializing and just stare at the images. So I had to stop playing it at parties. Must be seen to be believed.  [Editor note:  I watched the trailer; I'm not entirely sure I believed what I saw.  Therefore, seeing it doesn't mean you'll believe it!]

Aguirre The Wrath of God (1972): Werner Herzog.  Herzog is one of my favorites, and probably the artist I most relate too as a person. He is a humanist, a lover of humanity, a believer in the good in all of us, and yet... he is drawn to the darkness, obsessed with the urge in us to destroy ourselves and any beauty that surrounds us. This movie amazing. The visual equivalent of deep ambient music. With a core performance by Klaus Kinski that leaves you trembling at the end.

So that's it, only 5!? You're killing me, I could do that all day!

IDYFT:  Since they didn't make your top Most Engaging 5, I'll ask you about the following directors and my favorite movies by them--Where do Carol Reed's "The Third Man" (or the much more overlooked "The Fallen Idol") fall into your pantheon of great directors/movies. Reed of course, also was a mercenary at times (Oliver! jumps to mind). And what about Luis Bunuel? Viridiana? Los Olivados?

Dysart:  Well, Carol Reed was a phenomenal director. I actually own "The Third Man" on DVD. And though I haven't seen "The Fallen Idol" in years I have fond memories of it. He was a world class director, absolutely. And there's nothing wrong with being a mercenary. Man's got to eat. We can't all be auteurs all of the time. Fact is, this interview is going to, unfortunately, shortchange a lot of really amazing UK directors, like Lindsay Anderson, Lynne Ramsay and the wonderful, wonderful Mike Leigh. There's just too many to talk about! Luis Bunuel is a god. In fact the "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" would've probably been 6th on the list if you had allowedme more than 5. "Viridiana" is an absolute vision to behold. To be honest I've never seen "The Forgotten Ones". I've read about it. I'd love to see it. (PS: I know no self-respecting foreign film snob would use the English titles as I have been, but I thought it might be easier on any readers who weren't too familiar with the subject matter.)

While we're at it, let's throw some other amazing contemporary cats in the mix, directors who keep it quiet. Who don't push the pulp. Who create brilliant comments on their cultures and ours in a steady low-key voice, like Carlos Reygadas, Ming-liang Tsai, Nikita Mikhalkov, the Taviani brothers and Laurent Cantet! There's so much amazing cinema of all stripes to see.

Anyway, thinks for the opportunity to rap about something other than comics and East African Politics! It was fun! I totally procrastinated on my work to do this. People love to talk about shit they love to talk about.
And just so you understand the full breadth of my foreign film fetish, I leave you with a fight scene from "The Story of Ricky", watch it, love it...

Newer Posts Older Posts Home