Saturday, March 31, 2007

This year is next year! (Really!)

Tomorrow Major League Baseball kicks off yet another season, which means that it's the one day of the season when hope will spring equally for all 30 of MLB's member clubs. The fans of any of those teams can legitimately state, for at least a brief while, that their squad has a chance to go all the way to the World Series. Of course, most of those dreams will be dashed in short order as small-market teams succumb to the onslaught of the likes of the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mets and the Dodgers. And at the same time, there may be the Cinderella story or two in the form of a team from which no one expected anything, but that remains in contention deep into the summer, maybe beyond.

And then there are the Cubs fans. No one need tell us what year this is - it's the 99th year since the Chicago National League Ball Club ended a season as the kings of baseball. No other team in professional sports can "sport" such a record. But this year ... I just have a feeling that this is it. So I will go out on a limb like a lunatic and predict that the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series this year.

And if not this year, then definitely next year.

And if not then, then surely it will be the year after that.

And if not ... oh, well, you get the idea.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Is Robert Guillaume available?

Y'all know who Uncle Ben is, right? At least you know his rice - wholesome grains of white or brown rice that go with everything from stir-fry to rice pudding. For decades one of the most popular brands of rice has been Uncle Ben's, and for just as long the symbol of the company was, well, Uncle Ben, an old black man in a snappy suit who was always beaming, even though he seemed to be nothing more than a servant in the employ of rich, white folk. Them were the days, right?

Well, not anymore. In an effort to return to the modern confines of the 21st century, Mars, the food company that owns the Uncle Ben's brand, has transformed its mascot from an old and wizened African-American man at the bottom of the economic ladder into an old and wizened African-American man who now runs the entire freakin' operation. That's right - Uncle Ben is movin' on up to his own deluxe apartment in the sky - or, at least, a deluxe office.

The reason for this update is obvious - in a world where the most powerful person in the country is black, when a black man is a legitimate candidate for president, when African-Americans are winning Oscars with nary a eye blinked, it really didn't make much sense for Mars to be using a stereotypical Negro as the face of one of its products. Thus, the makeover. But will it work? (Hey, it worked for Benson DuBois.) And what does this mean for Aunt Jemina? Two words: Dr. 90210.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sobering ...

Word tonight that Charlotte Winters died yesterday. Who is Charlotte Winters, you might ask? I might have asked that before tonight as well. Shame on me for not knowing. Yeoman Winters was, at age 109, the last surviving female U.S. veteran of World War I.

What's even more startling is that, according to official records, there are only five surviving U.S. vets of what was once called "The War To End All Wars." Ironic title, no?

There is much talk, and deservedly so, about the "greatest generation" - those who fought and died in World War II. Sooner rather than later they will speak of the men and woman currently putting themselves in harm's way in the Middle East. But don't forget about the batch of young kids who left for Europe 90 years ago and put themselves on the line for their nation and their way of life. Because it won't be long before the only ones to keep their valor alive will be us.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The current cutest commercial ever made!

This is adorable - even if the elephant may have committed identity theft.

There are easier ways to get publicity for your new movie ...

The Ferrari Enzo is one of the rarest cars in the world. Named after the founder of the Ferrari motor company, Enzo Ferrari, the high-powered car utilizes the components usually seen in Formula One racing vehicles. And only 400 of the model were built between 2002 and 2004 - all of which makes the Enzos very, very fast and very, very expensive.

Film producer Daniel Sadek owned one of the precious Enzos - the operative word being owned. His ownership ended abruptly Monday afternoon when actor Eddie Griffin, who stars in Sadek's upcoming action comedy Redline, took his boss's Enzo for a spin at the Irwindale Speedway, just outside of L.A., in preparation for a charity race that also would promote the film. Unfortunately, Griffin took what could euphemistically be called a "wrong turn at Albuquerque" - and accidentially slammed the Enzo into a concrete barrier.

It was at that point where Sadek's Enzo was transformed from a $1.5 million work of motorized art into, well, a pile of smoldering crap. Expensive crap, but crap nonetheless. The car is a near-total loss, even though Griffin escaped unharmed.

Sadek took the accident in stride, saying that while he lamented the fate of his Enzo, "I went to my trailer for about 15 minutes and I thought, 'There's people dying every day.' A lot of worse things are happening in the world." That's a nice sentiment, but don't be surprised if Griffin's role in Redline is significantly reduced. Of if the film is dedicated to the memory of the Enzo, which appears in the flick. For $1.5 million, I'd sure as hell dedicated an entire movie to a car.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The evil that man (and woman) can do ...

They say you can gauge how you lived your life by how many people attend your funeral, the rationale being that those that you touched during your existence are more likely to show up to mark the fact that you were once you are not. Well, Christopher Barrios Jr. must have touched a lot of people considering the hundreds who attended his service in Brunswick, Georgia on Thursday. The real sadness, though, comes in the reason why so many were there - most of whom had never met Christopher in life - a life that lasted only six-plus years. Indeed, many of the attendees were complete strangers to the entire Barrios family. A lot of them had spent days searching for Christopher after he disappeared from a local playground on March 8. They were shattered when his body was found a week later. It had been stuffed into a trash bag just three miles from his house.

Christopher had been murdered in the more horrific way possible - as if killing a 6-year-old child isn't horrific enough. The authorities say that a 32-year-old "man" named George Edenfield, already a convicted child molester, allegedly abducted Christopher, took him home and repeatedly raped the boy anally and orally - with the help of his 58-yer-old father David. The authorities go on to allege that Edenfield's 57-year-old mother Peggy watched all of this go on - and pleasured herself in the process. After all of this gratification, Christopher was strangled to death and dumped like he was so much garbage.

Apparently George Edenfield, who was on probation for molesting two other boys in 1997 (I wonder how that judge is sleeping these days), admitted to killing Christopher, claiming that "the devil" told him to do what he did. Let's see how that holds up in court. Then again, it's been revealed that Edenfield was in a courtroom just days before Christopher was abducted, accused of violating his probation by living too close to a playground. A deal was made to extend Edenfeld's probation by another 10 years, though there seems to have been no provision that he move away from the area where so many kids lived and played. Oh, and did I mention that Edenfield wasn't the only sex offender living in his house? Turns out that Daddy pled guilty to incest with another relative in 1994.

I usually keep my political beliefs out of this blog for a number of reasons. But most of my friends know that I am against the death penalty for reasons both moral and practical. I though long and hard about whether the case of the Edenfields merited an exception. But in my mind, if they are indeed convicted of these crimes against young Chris Barrios, the death penalty would be too good for them, too easy. I would sentence each of them to life in prison without parole. Then I would find the worst prison in the state of Georgia - or worst male and world female prisons, that is - and throw their asses into the general population. I would also make sure to announce very loudly to their new neighbors who they were and what they were there for, fully cognizant in the knowledge that even the most hardened convict have their own code, and that said code strictly prohibits violent crimes against innocent children. And then, as an added touch, I would accidently put each Edenfield in a cell with a flimsy lock - you know, so their cellmates could provide their own form of welcome wagon for the newbies. These pieces of filth deserve nothing less.


This is Knut. He is a polar bear - most likely the most famous polar bear in the world, even though he is less than 4 months old. (How many 4-month-olds do you know that have their own Wikipedia page - that is, that aren't related somehow to Angelina Jolie?) Knut (Knut!) currently resides at the Berlin Zoo, where he is being raised by humans, a situation necessitated by the fact that his polar bear mother, Tosca, rejected him and his brother soon after they were born in December. Knut's brother passed away, but the tiny powder puff was scooped up by handlers at the zoo before he became too frail. Now he seems to be thriving, though not everyone agreed that was the best for Knut. (Knut!) A German animal rights group, in a sentiment that an earlier group of Germans could probably appreciate, has stated publicly that little Knut would be better off dead than being raised by humans, that he would suffer the "humiliation" of being treated like a mere pet.

Hmm, humiliation - that's a loaded word. Let's see, if I could be hand-fed and allowed to play and look cute 24 hours a day and to be adored by strangers just for my looks and my status - yeah, I could live with being humiliated. It seems to be working for Paris Hilton, so there's no reason why it won't work for little Knut. (Knut!) Even when he's big Knut. Polar bears, after all, can grow to be up to 1300 pounds and 10 feet tall. By then, if anyone of his polar bear cousins give Knut any trouble, he can just whack the crap out of them. Or run them over with the Mercedes he'll get with his share of the profits from the inevitable Knut dolls.

In the meantime, marvel at the majesty that is Knut. And see if you can stop saying his name now.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patty's Day, y'all!

Now go get your shinebox!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi day!

Pi - get it?

009848824012 ...

Or something like that ...

If you really want more, go here!

Scientology's got nothing on this!

It wasn't enough for Academy Award winner Ben Affleck to raise the population of Red Sox Nation by having a daughter with wife and kick-ass artist Jennifer Garner. No, now he's got to get greedy. One of Affleck's next projects will be narrating a new DVD called (I kid you not) Red Sox Baby: Raising Tomorrow's Boston Red Sox Fan Today. Ostensibly the video will be geared to the very young ones to teach them lessons of teamwork, spelling and color recognition. (Get it? "Red Sox, not White, boys and girls!") But at least the title of the project is honest - this is no less than the most sinister indoctrination video since that creepy Dharma Initiative film on Lost. "Welcome, kids, to a life of misery and suffering and inherent disappointment. Here's your hat and your T-shirt."

Oh, I'm sorry - that would be whatever the Cubs are doing to bamboozle win over impressionable souls. Psst - someone get John Cusack on the phone!

(P.S.: Of course I know the Red Sox have won the World Series very, very recently - but when the hell do you think that's going to happen again? Oh, and if you asked Affleck what was bigger to him - winning the Oscar or watching Boston finally win it all - I wonder what his answer would be.)

He's bringing sexy back!

It seems that Ralph Fiennes may have met his match. The AP reports today about the prowess of Akili the gorilla, who resides at the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam. Akili was brought in from a German safari park to give some pick-me-up the social life among the other primates. (Translation: the ladies weren't having babies because they weren't getting any from the other guys.) In comes Akili (no pun intended), and within six months all three of the female gorillas are either with child or have had child.

There's no joke here - just a whole bunch of jealousy.

NOTE: Click here for the page on the Artis Zoo's Web site about Akili and his, er, success rate. Yeah, it's in Dutch, but I can give you the basic translation: Dude's got game.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

WTF has gotten into Ralph Fiennes all of a sudden?

I mean, really, what's going on here? Suddenly the mild-mannered British actor is challenging George Clooney and Colin Farrell for the title of Hollywood's Busiest Stud. First there was the incident in February in which Fiennes apparently joined the "mile high club" with the help of a willing-and-able flight attendant during a Qantas flight from Darwin to Mumbai - where, in a crazy-meets-crazy situation, he was to give a lecture on safe sex practices (Fiennes allegedly performed sans protection on the plane - and then later covered himself for a second tryst that night in her hotel room.) Now comes word from the city of Bruges, Belgium, where Fiennes is shooting a film, that he was spending a very late night frolicking nude at the pool of a swanky hotel with four equally nude young ladies. The partying was such that hotel guests were awakened at 5 a.m. by all of the noise. Of course, there's a chance that no sex was going on at all this time around. Maybe it was good clean fun. Or maybe a World Series trophy will fly out of my butt.

Dude, this is not how Oscar-nominated actors behave. (Wait a minute ... Peter O'Toole ... Richard Burton ... Richard Harris ... never mind.) This has all the earmarks of a mid-life crisis for the 44-year-old Fiennes, though he's already had a colorful love life. He was once married to the luscious English actress Alex Kingston before dumping her for another hot British Babe, Francesca Annis, who is 18 years older than Fiennes. They were together for more than a decade. And there had been recent rumors that Fiennes was dating Ellen Barkin, So obviously he's no slouch when it comes to the carnal arts. Still, he should tone it down a notch, lest he be tagged with the male whore label. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

NOTE: Oh, the film that Fiennes is making in Belgium between sexual conquests? One of his co-stars is the aforementioned Colin Farrell. One wonders what he must be thinking right now.

Respect your elders, young man!

Jack LaLanne, American's first fitness celebrity, will be 93 years old in September is still going strong, proving that all of us lard asses should have been listening to him all these years. But while LaLanne is still pursuing an active schedule of preaching his company line of steady exercise and proper nutrition, there's a guy in Florida (natch) who wants to take things to a different level. A younger man named Roland Fortin has challenged LaLanne to a good-natured four-round exhibition boxing match. Fortin is 91 years young, a former cut man who winters in the craziest state in the land. He placed a large ad in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Super Bowl Sunday with his idea, his way of direct communicating with LaLanne.

So far LaLanne has ducked Fortin; his spokesperson sights both his busy touring schedule and the fact that, despite his still-great physique, he is retired from public feats of strength. (Among other things, LaLanne swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Wharf - twice. Both times he was handcuffed; the second time he also was shackled to a half-ton boat. He was 60 at the time. Stud.) But Fortin is persisting and plans to bring boxing promoter Don King into the mix in an effort to move things along.

Now, go ahead, admit it - you thought he was dead, didn't you? No, Don King is still alive and well. But betcha Jack LaLanne could kick his ass in 10 seconds - that is, so long as King isn't armed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I don't think this would fly in Philadelphia ...

I'm the first one to agree that the behavior of spectators at sporting events has gone downhill in recent years. From the NBA fan-player brawl in Detroit a couple of years ago to foaming-at-the-mouth parents confronting officials at Little League ballgames, it's clear that there are those who think that they have carte blanche if they pay money for a ticket to be in the stands. (Though what's going on here is nothing compared to what's been happening at soccer games in Europe - i.e. no one has died.) But somehow, I think the folks at the Washington (State) Interscholastic Activities Association are taking things a step too far. They are considering tough new guidelines on fan behavior at high-school sporting events that would include a ban on booing. As Mike Colbrese, the executive director of the WIAA told ABC News, "I'm trying to figure out why people think booing is acceptable in the first place."

Again, there's no validation for fans going overboard - but a ban on booing? Are they crazy? The idea behind the restrictions - which are not law as of yet - would be to prevent attempts to intimidate members of the visiting team. But that's precisely what the term "home team advantage" is all about. There shouldn't be a red carpet rolled out to the visitors. They should have to deal with some level of heckling and prodding and, yes, booing. And what about cheering for the home team - couldn't that be seen as "intimidating" the other side? Will we get to the point where high-school games will be held under a cone of silence?

For high school students, cheering - and booing - are rites of passage. And let's face it, for all the press over outrageous or violent acts of fan behavior, these incidents still are very few and far between. Yet a few bad apples again threaten to ruin things for everyone in the state of Washington - if these rules pass without a lot of, well, booing, that is.

Click on the subject line to read the article.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This is really the end ...

It's official: Hollywood is truly out of ideas. And yeah, I know I've, for one, have been hearing those claims since at least 1998 - mainly because I've been muttering them to myself since then. But this time, I really mean it. That's because, according to Variety, ABC is taking those frustrated cavemen from the Geico commercials and - I swear to God - building an actual sitcom around them. The show, expertly entitled Cavemen, will find three of the hairy and harried breed trying to lead normal lives as 30somethings in Atlanta. (Atlanta? Why?) No word on casting yet, though I hear Ted McGinley is available.

I guess it could have been worse - the sitcom could have starred that blasted gecko with the English accent. Oh, wait, he's the director! (Not. I think.)

Poor Barry ...

The odds seem quite high that Barry Bonds, only 22 home runs short of Hank Aaron's all-time career record of 755, will eclipse Aaron this season as the homer king of baseball, pending injury, indictment or the Earth, in a last-ditch effort to preserve tradition and fair play, opens up underneath Bonds and swallows him whole. And now it seems that Bonds and Aaron do indeed have something in common. Bonds told KGO Radio on Tuesday that he has received death threats, just like Aaron did in the final stretches of his quest to beat Babe Ruth's record in 1973 and 1974. However, I can make the educated guess that, while Aaron was threatened because he was a black man going after a white man's record, the majority of the threats directed toward Bonds is because he's a cheating A-hole going after a great American's record.

Just a guess, of course.

Very Friendly ...

Wow! Talk about service with a smile! Those must be really good sandwiches! (Or really awful, depending on exactly why the restaurant is offering, er, such a bonus.)