Monday, June 18, 2007

The final Price is Right

Last week was the final airing of Bob Barker's run on The Price is Right. But what if they'd left the final episode up to Soprano's creator David Chase? Might go a little something like this:

Brilliant in ways I can't even fathom.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

How to be a man.

I've recently been dumbfounded by a few of my male peers and male friends that have an astounding lack of should one say.... 'male-fortitude'? This isn't a knock on my gender or my friends, just an observation of our place in society. A decade or two of trying to outlaw the 'chauvinist pig' might have slightly robbed us of what truly makes a man. Men are always labeled with sweeping generalizations - but I find the great ones define their own masculinity.

I think there are a certain core number of skills, abilities, attributes, and know-how that every man should have in his tool belt of tricks - and be able to pull out at a moment's notice. When I'm confronted with a man lacking one of these skills, I don't necessarily look down on said male - more I just scratch my head and think, 'really? you don't know how to _____? really?'

So as a PSA to my gender, I'd like to list for you some of these man-items that we all need to aspire to. If you find yourself lacking in too many - it's time to take some corrective action, or else turn over your Y Chromosome at the nearest Buffalo Wild Wings.

1.) Bowl 150 or higher on a consistent basis.
2.) Golf. Not just hack golf. But have a little touch around the greens as well.
3.) Tie a full or half Windsor knot, and be able to put a finished dimple in your tie.
4.) Competently order a bottle of wine on a date.
5.) Work a paintbrush, tape measure, and a power saw. Not all at once.
6.) Enjoy a scotch, whiskey, or bourbon. Rum and Coke does not fly in adult situations.
7.) Jump start a car, and know where to put all the connections.
8.) Know how to shine your shoes. If you don't have at least one pair of shoes that require shining - it's time to upgrade.
9.) Grill a steak medium-rare.
10.) Competently discuss your retirement portfolio and investment strategy.
11.) Tell the people that matter that you love them.
12.) Resist temptation. Weak men give in.
13.) Understand Poker, Blackjack, Roulette - and have at least a brief grasp on Craps.
14.) Stick out your neck for a cause, idea, or person.
15.) Light a cigar.
16.) Respect a woman, and make sure she knows it.

''Men have the highest offices, the leading reputations; they make the discoveries, conceive the theories, win the prizes, start the companies, score the touchdowns."

You stay classy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hansel, so hot right now.

Because it's summertime, and I feel we need to ramp up the sex appeal of this site - Here are my current top 5 summer favorites:

Katherine Heigl:


Ana Ivanovic: (Hot new Serbian tennis player. Just finished 2nd at the French Open)

Petra Nemcova:

Eva Longoria: Because she never goes out of style

And for the rest of us, let's try to squeeze in a few extra situps here before beach season gets into full swing. I'm not advocating eating disorders or anything. I'm just saying.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Onion Rings for the Table

(Stop here if you haven't yet watched your DVR of the final Sopranos)

Like most of us who watched the final episode of The Sopranos last night, I sat in a nervous knee jiggling state during those last 5 minutes. Don't Stop Believing pumping louder and louder to mimic the pounding in my chest. Incredible dread and anxiety building...but for no apparent reason. One by one the family enters, and we see a few shady characters sprinkled about.

I for one, thought it was a brilliant ending, and I think I have an explanation for what happened...but we'll get to that a little later.

I've been engaged in a tawdry Sunday night affair with The Sopranos since 1999, and with a final cut to black - it's over. No resolution - but that's the way it goes with affairs, things often don't get resolved. And maybe also in life - we don't always get resolution, just the next problem. For me, I wouldn't have it any other way - and I think it was a fitting ending for a show that has always existed on it's own terms.

The Sopranos, whether you watch it or not, has been praised by critics for the way it stretched the boundaries of TV, and defied what we expect from a TV show. And by boundaries I don't just mean guys getting brutally whacked and a heaping slop bucket of gore and skull fragments. The scope of the character development is unlike anything we've ever seen, or probably will for awhile.

Some people might be upset about the way things finished Sunday night. Not me, and hopefully not for people who really understand the arc of this show. What a crescendo writer David Chase built in that final scene! If I were a nail biter, they'd be down to the nubs. I can't recall a time when I've literally been more glued to my TV...watching each person enter that diner. And then more uneasiness as Meadow kept going back and forth with the car. Brilliantly building that scene...with Journey blaring in the background, creating a moment that you're just waiting to be shattered by a hail of gunfire. Tell me you didn't think back to The Godfather when you saw that guy enter the bathroom...'Come out firing. Just let your hand drop to your side, and let the gun slip out. ... In the head, two shots apiece..'

You know what else that ending accomplished? It lets the Soprano family live on...we just don't get to peek in anymore. Think back to that final episode of Friends. Rachel and Ross get together, I think Monica had a baby, everyone is happy and moving on. Puke. So much of TV and movies today is just spoon fed to us. Idiots like Al Gore feed us garbage like, "A tree is an important thing." We get treated like 6 year olds all the time - but not this show. For once a writer was really able to challenge an audience.

Here's what I think happened - I think we got whacked. We the audience got whacked. Remember when Bobby and Tony sat out on the boat? The prophetic words, "you wouldn't even know it had happened: everything would just go black." Dead people don't get to watch anymore. All goes dark, all goes silent. We the audience have been coasting along with this family for the better part of a decade, and then all of a sudden...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Secretariat: Triple Crown Winner For The Ages

34 years ago today, Secretariat put the crowing jewel on his triple crown run by winning the Belmont Stakes by an incredible 31 lengths. Jockey Ron Turcotte has said in documentaries that he could sense the horse wanted to be let loose, and he did so, letting the horse shift into "high gear" and run his own race - never once having to use his whip. Still gives me chills to watch.

Why is this so great? Because too often sports get sidetracked by bad calls, politics, egos, biases, free agency, and greed. Secretariat was immune from all of that. He just went out and ran, and was the best ever. A true athlete at the prime of his career.

That's why they call horse racing the sport of kings. Simply majestic.

Here's to all things beautiful.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Signs we're done as a society

After a long week burning up the sales numbers, I decided to stop into Blockbuster tonight and pick up a couple DVDs for the weekend. My faith in mankind was not reassured.

First off, they had stocked probably 200 copies of Norbit - and EVERY copy was checked out. On top of that, there were people standing in front of the empty shelves saying, "Shoot. They're all out." Who are these people that rush home from work on Friday and say, "Shaniqua! Quick, git in the car. Norbit's out on DVD!" I pushed on down the aisle.

Next, I came across a man and his very pregnant wife; trying to decide on what movie to pick up for the evening. She's holding The Departed, which I immediately applaud and make a mental note that I find it personally satisfying when women pick out awesome movies like that. Then, this joker of a husband comes over all excited and says, "Honey, I really think we should go with this one" - as he flashes her Man of the Year. For those of you not familiar with Man of the Year - it's Robin Williams' latest movie. Didn't win any Oscars, needless to say. Here's the plot outline from imdb: "On a lark, the host of a late-night political talk show (Williams) decides to run for president. The thing is, he never expected to win." Gold Jerry. Gold. The Departed, on the other hand, won Best Picture at the Oscars this year.

Every corpuscle in my body wanted to reach out and slap this guy, and then slap him again for making my hand hurt. I've often said people fall into one of two categories of senses of humor:

1.) People who think Jay Leno is funny
2.) People I like to be around

My guess is this guy falls into category 1. What's worse, considering his wife is pregnant...someone wanted to sleep with the SOB.

I pushed on.

Last, I came across 2 sistas who were trying to decide between Stomp the Yard and Little Man (Wayans Brothers). That was the last straw, and I decided I needed to leave Blockbuster before I became infected with whatever was in the air.

I came home and put in The Departed and had a scotch.