Thursday, July 29, 2010

Groovy People

This is a video i did awhile back (first thing i've ever edited on iMovie), featuring "Groovy People" by Lou Rawls and pictures i've taken of complete strangers. Which is... probably illegal to post on the ol' interweb, so... here's hoping i don't get sued! W'hooooooo!


Along those lines, i figured i'd throw in a coupla' pictures of me looking like a big honking moron. Not exactly sure "well, your honor, if there's anyone who should be offended by these photos, it's me" would hold up in court, but... eh, we'll see. I do look pretty odd in a blond wig, but, whatever. In the meantime, i hope you enjoy it...

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) Really, i don't know of anyone who'd be terribly interested in this video, but it was a lot of fun to put together, so... good times.
2) Been a bit of an up and down week filled with crazy things i don't even know i'll ever blog about, but... at the end of the day, i'm blessed to have great friends around me and i still believe God knows what He's doing.
3) Being a bit wiser than i was six or seven years ago.
4) I should point something out about the homeless man you may have seen at the end of this video. While he may have appeared to have been stretching out his hand to that little boy for some spare change, he was actually offering up a high five, which the boy gave to him. The man cheered out-- something like, "Alright, man! Yeah!" ...It was a bit of an odd moment, really. Not exactly sure "surreal" covers it, but it's close enough for tonite.
5) Lou Rawls.

song of the night...
"This is the picture" by Peter Gabriel

movie of the night...
"Beautiful Girls"

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Yankees Express, part two...

Rebellious cuss that i am, i was about to hop aboard The Yankee Express this afternoon, knowing full well that i wasn't supposed to ("This train is for Yankee Stadium... OWN-ly!!!").

Before i could step inside, however, a ticket taker pointed at me and asked where i was going. He was a big dude. Very muscular. Like, collecting train tickets was how he made a living, but his real passion was weightlifting. And cracking walnuts with his eyelids.

"White Plains," i sighed.

I knew what was coming.

"Sorry, this is just for Yankee Stadium."

I mean... i'll say this for him-- he was nice about it. Made me think he was an introspective soul. Weightlifter, walnut cracker. Writer of haikus.

"Click clack goes the train
Flexing my tattooed bicep
Making barbwire dance."

So, i put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Look, man, i know you're just doing your job, but, c'mon... there's plenty of seats."

"Oh, this just goes to Yankee Stadium," he said. "There's another train coming in seven minutes."

Neither thing he said was true, really, but, hey... i got home eventually. And i didn't have to deal with an arse. I'll take an misinformed nice guy over a know-it-all jerkweed any day of the week.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) Albert Pujols
2) Mookie Wilson
3) Greg Luzinski
4) Willie Stargel
5) FRIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

song of the night...
"Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles.

movie of the night...
"A Hard Days Night" ...been on a big Beatles kick most of this week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Smart Lady Strikes Again!

My coworker, The Smart Lady, told us about her latest "Hall of Fame" moment a coupla' days ago. I think it's a classic.

"For months," she said, "I kept on getting these emails from a guy named 'Dono Treply' and i was thinking, 'I don't know anyone named Dono Treply. Who is this? And why is he sending me all this stuff from So, this goes on and on, and i keep wondering about it, and then, last weekend, I was on my boyfriend's computer and i saw something from this SAME guy on HIS email! Dono Treply! So, i got really excited and i said to him-- 'Wait! You're getting email from this guy too??? Who is Dono Treply???????'

"And RIGHT as the words were coming out of my mouth, it finally hit me...

" 'Oh, hold on a second... that says... Do Not Reply.' "


Sheeshlouise, i love that woman!

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) Ted Proonly
2) Rep. Tod Lony
3) Loopy T. Nerd
4) Don O'Treply
5) tears of laughter streaming down our faces for the past three days.

song of the night...
"You don't know my Name" by Alicia Keys

movie of the night...
"L.A. Confidential"

Monday, July 19, 2010


Y'know, i don't know nearly enough about what's happening with the disaster in the gulf, but I was just thinking how it's never a good thing when you hear the word "seepage."

In any context, you never hear anyone say, "HOORAY!!!! SEEPAGE!!!"

.......I'm just saying...

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) clean fish.
2) clean water.
3) Mr. Clean.
4) cleaning up the messes you've made.
5) Pete Seeger.

song of the night...
"It's not easy being green" by Ray Charles

movie of the night...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Despicable Me... or Lesson Learned, take two...

Previously, on this-here blog, i was telling you about the lesson i learned on the Yankee Express train on Friday: don't antagonize a moron. It was a lesson so valuable that i completely forgot all about it this afternoon.

I was trying to buy some snacks at Target that i was planning to sneak into the movie theater (see that? turns out i am a no good punk, lookin' fer a ruckus), but the woman in front of me had to be purchasing every last can of cat food in the city. The line was taking forever.


Well, no. 'Twas a touch annoying, sure, but i'm not going to go crazy on a woman just because she has a thousand cats.

It was the woman in back of me who was the problem. But she wasn't a moron. She was a jerk.

Next to us, there was an empty lane with its light on but no one behind the register. We all saw it-- me, The Jerk, the forty two people behind us, The Crazy Cat Lady. We all wondered when the red-shirted Target helper would return. Would it be soon? Could we get outta here a minute and 15 seconds earlier than we thought we would?

Westchester county is like that. It just kind of seeps into you. I remember years ago, driving to get some errands done before i went to the movies on a Saturday afternoon. I'd finished doing whatever it was i had to do something like an hour before i thought i would, so i was taking my time driving to the theater. But about ten minutes later, i'm stuck behind some dude who was going seven miles an hour below the speed limit, and i'm leaning on my horn and i'm thinking, "c'mon, man! i haven't got all day!"

Then i thought, "actually... no, i pretty much do have all day. I'm about five minutes away from the theater, and i'm just gonna be sitting around the lobby looking at cardboard cutouts for an hour... What am i doing?!"

Since then, i've tried to tone things down a bit. Haven't always been successful, but i'm not nearly as bad as i used to be. The Jerk, on the other hand...? She was twisting her hands on her shopping cart as if she was gripping the steering wheel of a race car, and she had the cart strategically sitting parallel to me-- practically touching my thigh, as if she was planning on CarlEdwardsing me into the rack of Nutter Butters to the side of us.

Eventually, at around cat food can number 2,652, the Target Lady appeared. Again, we all saw it. But before she could get herself completely logged into her register, The Jerk raised her voice and said, "Are you open?! Great!" And then, quicker than you could say "Chick Hicks" she zoomed her way into the lane.


Now, i really don't know, but i've been thinking about this all day: What do you do in that situation? Do you ignore it, roll your eyes and let it be? Do you politely inform The Jerk that you had been waiting in line a full six days before her, and point to your newly-realized beard as proof? I went with option number three: Sarcasm.

"Oh, good," i said, "i didn't want to go ahead of you, that's fine."

"Did you want to go ahead of me?" she asked.

"No, no," i said, "the things that you're buying are much more important than the three things in my cart. You go ahead."

Then she said, "I waited an entire thirty seconds for you to say something, but I was paying a LOT closer attention, while you were drifting off into space, so i went."

...And now you know why i'm calling her The Jerk.

Because i don't think it's all that sophisticated to refer to a woman as an asshole.

First of all, i don't know when her thirty seconds began, but i thought it might be nice to wait for the Target Lady to stop walking before asking if her register was now open. Second, when i drift off into space, you'll know it, man. I majored in Drifting Off Into Space in college. Third, and this is my main point, even if the first two points were true, wouldn't it be the nice thing to do-- to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Excuse me, you great looking bald man, you were here before me, would you like to go?"

Call me naive, but that's what i'd do. That's what i've done, as a matter of fact! I mean, y'know, not in those exact words, but, still... I mean, seriously! Let's have some dignity, could we please???

The reason i've been thinking about this all day... it's like this... i see this type of behavior around me CONSTANTLY! The guy who clearly sees me waiting to buy my newspaper with a dollar in my hand, nudging me aside to get his paper before me. The dude who cuts me off in traffic, the people who TALK and talk and talk during a movie-- i mean, there is rudeness surrounding me every day, and i couldn't help but think that it's just something that feeds off itself, growing like a virus, turning into a continuous circle that, at this point, might never be broken, or... something else that's also... scary... or something.

What am i saying, really...?

It's like the opposite of those commercials-- have you seen them? Where the woman sees a man helping a fallen man get up, so she's inspired to kick a basketball back to some kids before it bounces into the street. And a guy passing by in a truck sees this and is inspired to retrieve a bowl from a tall shelf for a short fry-cook or... something.

I dunno, i've never thought too much of those commercials, because at one point one of these inspired women saves a dude from walking into the street into heavy traffic, and i'd kinda like to hope that she would have done that no matter what. Y'know, i mean, even in my very worst of moods, if i had the opportunity to save a guy's life, i'm probably gonna take advantage of that, y'know? It's not like i'm going to say, "Well, yeah, he's gonna get creamed but i've not seen anyone do anything nice for people today, so..." BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! KABAAAAAAAAM!

But... right, what i'm saying is that, i think people are just getting screwed a little bit every day and they're taking that to the streets, screwing other people. "He took my parking spot, so i'm not going to give my seat on the bus to that older woman. He cut me off, so i'm not going to take the time to talk to my neighbor. She grabbed the last toy off the shelf, so i'm not going out of my way to tell my loved ones how dear they are to me."

So, where does that end? And how do i not become one of those people?

After about 12 hours i've decided that sarcasm is not the answer. Which is really, truly annoying, because i'm so damn good at it.

The Jerk egged me on some more, while putting her groceries on the conveyor belt, after having a few seconds to think about it. "Hey!" she sneered, "If you only have three things, then why didn't you go to the 10 items or less lane???"

I snapped back, "Because it wasn't open-- do you really want to continue this conversation???"

And that felt awesome! I felt good about myself, because i can hardly ever snap back so quickly in times like those. I completely shut her up. And it made me feel great because, hey, she was a jerk. I felt superior. Like, for once in my life, i was the king of the playground.

And then i just felt smug. And hollow. And i felt really, really dumb.

And, then i went in to see 'Despicable Me', an animated story about one of the world's greatest villains who might just learn to become a better person if he would just give away a little bit of his heart. Love they neighbor. In 3D.

Not that easy when your Jerkass neighbor kicks you in the shin, but i'm going to give it a shot next time, i promise.

If nothing else, it'll probably freak her out.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) Ahh, the movies.
2) Steve Carell.
3) Steve Martin.
4) Steve McQueen.
5) I saw a great quote from Carrie Fisher the other day: "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

song of the night...
"Waiting for my real life to begin" by Colin Hay

movie of the night...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Yankees Express...

As if i needed another reason to hate the New York Yankees.

Metro North started a new line this year: The Yankees Express. Among other places, it makes stops in Mt. Kisco, Chappaqua, North White Plains, White Plains, Harlem and then heads directly to the Bronx, so all the fans in Yankee caps can watch their steroid-fueled heroes out-spend every other team on the planet.

Anyway, the great thing about this train, i discovered, is that it pulls into the station a lot earlier than my usual train. I can make it home a full twenty minutes before i usually do when the Yankees are playing a night game at home, so i'm all about that!

I was kicking myself a bit for not making that connection earlier in the baseball season. For about a month, when the Yankees Express would come into Mt. Kisco at 20 after 4, i would just automatically frown, and think about Carlos Beltran, and grumble under my breath about all the good looking women Derek Jeter was dating that week, and then i would wait for my usual 4:34 local train.

But then, a few months back, i finally woke up and asked the conductor if he was making a stop in White Plains. He was very pleasant, and a lot less creepy in appearance than Tom Hanks in 'The Polar Express'. Actually, he looked a lot like Wilfred Brimley, except maybe 50 pounds lighter, and not quite as walrusy.

"Sure!" he said, "Hop aboard!"

It wasn't until that moment that i'd realized how passionately i'd always wanted a train conductor to tell me to "hop aboard!" And he did it with such a Captain Kangaroo-ish enthusiasm that i found it really hard not to get swept up in it. Honestly, i felt like i wanted a lolipop. I could barely control my urge to say to him, "Gee whiz, thanks, Mister!" It was just this perfect mixture of his homespun charm and an unexpected extra twenty minutes to myself! Totally made my day.

It's the little things, y'know?

Since then, i've not always been able to make it to the early train, but when i have, i've usually seen Wilfred Brimley. And he gives me that wholesome smile, and i'll smile back, kind of chuckling to myself at the thought of the first time i saw him. At the way he made me feel like i was watching Mr. Rogers or something. Good times.

...And then there was Friday.

I should have known i was in trouble. A very different train conductor was on the loudspeaker, announcing that "this was the train to Yankee stadium... OWN-LY!!!"

He lingered on the word "only" like he was a super villain in a comic book movie. Like he was completely successful at hiding his creepy Transylvanian accent with every other word in his vocabulary except for that one. Or like he'd been saying that word all day, every day, for the past seventy-six years.

But i got on the train anyway. It'd been a long week. I had toddler snot on my shoulder, and i had no idea how it'd even gotten there.

"Where you heading?" the conductor asked me. "White Plains," i said. And then he snorted. And sneered. And then he snorted again.

"In the FUTURE," he said, "this is the train to Yankee stadium... OWN-LY."

I probably should have left it alone. Left it right there. Probably should have let him have his moment, said, "yes, sir" and let him go on his non-merry way. But i'm the inquisitive type. And, more than that, i'm from South Jersey. And we have something of a low tolerance for the stuff that smells of bullcrap. So i asked him why.

"Why???" he asked.

"Yes, i mean..."

"Why??? ...Because those are the rules."

"Right, but... i mean, it's really not a big deal, is it? I mean... there's nobody here."

"There are people here."

And, i have to say, that was technically true. He had me there. In the car i was sitting in, with approximately, i dunno, 75? 100 seats? i counted nine other passengers near the front.

"Right," i said, "but there's plenty of room here, so why is this an issue?"

"Look," he said, "there are a lot of rules i don't agree with in life, but i have to follow them because that's just how life is."

I could tell he'd had a tough week as well. So i told him, "Okay, fine, i get it. You're just doing your job. I understand. And it's Friday, and i don't want to get into a big thing about this, but, i mean... there's really plenty of room is all i'm saying."

"There's plenty of room NOW, sure!" he said, "But what if EVERYbody started doing this?"

"Well, then, if everybody started to do it, i'd back off, but clearly that's not happening now. Not today, at least."

"That's because this is a brand new line!" he said.

"Fine. Okay, I get it," i said.

I just didn't want to argue anymore. Seemed kind of pointless. And a bad way to begin a weekend. I could have mentioned that the season was more than halfway over, and that the Yankees had played about 40 home games by this point, but, whatever. I was having a Jedi moment. As if Obi wan's hologram was talking to me over this chucklehead's shoulder, saying, "Let him go, Ryan... Let him go..."

So off he went.

...OWN-LY to return three minutes later.

"What do you want me to do?" he said, "Break the rules just for you?! Huh?! Is that what you want me to do?!"

That was when i realized how uncanny it all was-- how much this guy reminded me of every single high school principal in every single movie i'd seen in my 1980's childhood. So I just looked at him like Matthew Broderick at the end of the 'Ferris Bueller' credits ..."You're still here? Why are you still here? ...The movie's over... Go home."

As much as i wanted to unleash my inner Judd Nelson on him ("EAT... MY... SHORTS!"), i'm very proud to tell you i was able to remain calm. He was treating me like some punk little kid with a mohawk who was up to no good. Lookin' to make a ruckus. I felt like telling him, "Dude, you've clearly got the wrong guy. I've got Blossom Dearie going on in my iPod right now...."

...which was true. And which makes the whole thing seem even more surreal than it was. Like, if i was ever going to get thrown off a moving train, i would probably want a slightly different soundtrack.

But cooler heads prevailed. Or, at least mine did. He stopped shouting me down, because i kept ignoring him. What he did after that, who knows?

The only remaining mystery is what happened to Wilfred Brimley? I kind of wanted to see The Principal again to ask about the old guy. But it's probably for the best that i didn't ("What? That slacker? He messed with the bull... and he got the horns.").

Anyhow, the point is, i learned my lesson: Don't antagonize a moron.

It was an important lesson. So much so that i forgot all about it two days later...

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) Math.
2) South Jersey.
3) Matthew Broderick. 'Ferris' was the first movie i ever saw twice in a theater!
4) Sarah Jessica Parker.
5) Quaker Oatmeal.

song of the night...

My Current Top Five "Getting Thrown off the Train" songs...

5) "Nightrain" by Guns n' Roses
4) "Train to Skaville" by The Ethiopians
3) "On the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain" by Hank Williams
2) "Let the Train Blow the Whistle" by Johnny Cash
1) "Stop that Train" by Bob Marley and the Wailers

movie of the night...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Photoblog, White Plains, New York...

White Plains, New York
winter 2009 through summer 2010...

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) goofy self portraits.
2) perfect blue skies reflecting off shiny buildings.
3) the people of Wal-Mart.
4) waking up to see the sun rise.
5) home.

song of the night...
"help yourself" by Brad Smith

movie of the night...
just re-watched this again tonite, absolutely beautiful and lovely and heartbreaking and hysterical-- "up in the air"

Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron James' former boss, Dan Gilbert...

In case you haven't seen this, here's the email that Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavaliers, sent to the city of Cleveland last night, after LeBron James decided he wanted to play for the Miami Heat...

"Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day....

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue....

Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers"

Hey, am i the only one who heard the theme music from "Gone with the Wind" playing in his head as he read this???

("Quicken Loans Arena!!! Home!!! ...I'll go home, and I'll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!")

Erik Kuselias, co-hosting on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning, compared this situation to a messy divorce, saying that Gilbert was throwing LeBron's clothes out onto the lawn for all the neighbors to see.

But it wasn't just the letter. Gilbert went on to claim in a radio interview, that LeBron tanked his final games in a Cavalier uniform.


I mean, clearly the man has lost his mind. What possible motivation could LeBron have for tanking games? ...I can't even begin to imagine the delusion this man is under.

This is, without a doubt, the most irrational, the most childish display i've seen from a grown man in Ican'tevenrememberwhen. But, wait... there's more...

Gilbert also owns the Fathead company. They're the people who make those huge decals of athletes and movie stars and whatnot. You can stick 'em on a wall and peel them off and put 'em on another wall, that type of thing. i actually thought they were kind of cool, and wanted to buy a Pittsburgh Steelers Fathead helmet once, until i discovered that they all cost a hundred bucks a pop.

That is, all of them except the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James Fathead.

Sometime after LBJ said goodbye to the Cavs, the price of his Fathead went from $99 to $17.41.

Why $17.41...?

Because 1741 was the birth year of the famous American traitor Benedict Arnold.

...Honest to Pete, i WISH i could make up something this insane, i really do!!!

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) Jordan's game winning shot over Craig Ehlo.

2) The Drive.

3) The Fumble.

4) "The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma." ...WTF???

5) I actually bought a $17.41 LeBron Fathead tonite, in support of James. But then i realized that the cash was going into Gilbert's pockets. "All Sales Are Final" says the website.


Maybe i can auction off the little stickers that come with the big honking Fathead (along with some other stuff...? But, probably not the big honking Fathead itself. As i am selfish. And it'd be a pain in the arse to ship anywhere). But, this might not be a bad idea! I could put summin' together, and give the proceeds to my day care center...???

What do y'think?

song of the night...
"Crazy" by Patsy Cline

movie of the night...
"One flew over the cuckoo's nest"

LeBron James...

He's averaged just under 28 points a game in his NBA career, but it's never been easier for me to defend LeBron James.

But... was his made-for-tv special, in which he announced he was going to play for the Miami Heat, self-indulgent? Yes. Was it over the top? Sure. Did i cringe when i saw how many commercials during this hour-long program featured LeBron James himself? More than twice, yes.

But ESPN could have told him no. They could have said, "Look, kid, you're great, but you're not THAT great. No one's gonna watch this thing."

Instead, they bent over backwards to produce this show, which, in itself, tells me just how much interest there was for it. (I haven't seen what the ratings were, but i'm willing to bet they were through the roof.)

I'm actually applauding James-- not for patting himself on the back and recognizing the audience for such a night, but for turning it into something good. "So, this thing's a circus, and it's a bit much, but, hey, there's money to be made here. So why not give it to some kids who can use it?" The Boys and Girls Club of America benefitted from the advertising dollars, scholarships were founded... the truth is, self-serving or not, a lot of good came out of this.

A friend of mine-- who is quite sharp, but tends to be 100% wrong when she talks about sports! --mentioned on my facebook page this morning that Art Modell was finally in danger of losing the title "most hated man in Cleveland." ...Actually, she probably got this one right. It's the city of Cleveland that has it wrong.

Art Modell, owner of the Browns, flat out lied when he said he would never move his football team out of Cleveland, then did just that in 1995, shipping them off to Baltimore, where they became the Ravens. LeBron never lied about where he was going to end up. He said he wanted to be in Cleveland, that he wanted to deliver a title to his hometown, but he never promised he would stay there.

So, why didn't he stay?

I have to tell you, i'm pretty darn shocked with the negative reaction to this question. I heard some dude on a radio talk show say LeBron was scared to try to win it on his own. That he'll never be like Jordan, or Magic, or Bird. I heard the sentiment echoed by Michael Rosenberg of in his well-written, but completely off-base article entitled, "LeBron hardly a king for taking the easy way out with star-laden Heat". ( ).

Guys...? I'm not a basketball scholar, but let me tell you something... no one does it alone.

Larry Bird played with Robert Parish, Kevin Mchale, Dennis Johnson, and Danny Ainge. Who did Magic Johnson have behind him? Well, as it turns out, nobody all that great. Except, y'know, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The argument continues, "Ryan-- Kareem aside-- the guys that Magic and Bird played with were hall of famers and all-stars because Earvin and Larry made them better players. If LeBron was any kind of man at all, he would have upped his game and turned his teammates into legends."


Fair point, really, but let me put it to you this way... You're starting an NBA team. The bad news is, you made a ridiculous drunken bet with the mob, and now your life literally depends on your team winning the championship. The good news is the following players are available and are somehow magically all in their prime. Who are you taking first... Parish? Mchale? Worthy? ...Or would you rather have Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams or Delonte West?

...Sebastian Telfair, maybe?

What i'm asking is this: Why WOULD LeBron stay? From a pure, non-emotional, strictly basketball standpoint, why would LeBron stay? Who do they have in Cleveland, or who would they be able to get if LeBron came back? Anyone who would make them a better team than the Heat with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh? Better than Orlando? Or the Big Three in Boston? Better than the Bulls with Carlos Boozer?


Still, the skeptics keep coming back to Michael Jordan. "When MJ was a free agent in 1990, he decided to stick it out in Chicago and stay until he got the job done-- in Chicago!"

It's the same argument, so i'll offer up the same defense: Do you really think Jordan would have stayed in Chicago if the Bulls didn't have Scottie Pippen? What if Jerry Reinsdorf decided to trade away Bill Cartwright, John Paxson and Horace Grant for a hundred bucks and a case of beer? Think Jordan would have said, "Dude. Doesn't matter. I'm committed to this team. Because i'm a man. And we finish what we started where we started it. Let's go Bulls."

Jordan was the most competitive athlete the world has ever seen. Winning was the only thing he cared about. There's no way in the WORLD he would have stayed a Bull unless he was certain his team's owner was as committed to winning a championship as he was.

Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert (more on him in an upcoming blog) either did not or could not deliver the same degree of assurance. And no one in the league could offer up what Pat Riley could: the opportunity to play basketball with two of your best friends who just so happen to be two of the best players in the NBA.

So, here's the real question... What do you want, what do you expect from the best athlete in his sport? Rather, what's the one thing you hope he desires more than anything else?

Is it... Loyalty to his hometown? Fine. He should have stayed in Cleveland. But, i'm telling you... the Cavs chances of winning the title? Slim to none.

Is it... Money? Alright. Then he should have stayed in Cleveland. I'm not breaking any news to tell you James would have made over $30 million dollars more if he came back home.

Is it... His own ego? Again, the choice is Cleveland. If LeBron went back to the Cavs, the chances were really good that he would always be head and shoulders above every teammate he ever played with. So, he would have had to do it alone, carry the entire franchise on his back. And, sure, he'd lead the league in scoring for the next ten years or so, but he would have never climbed to the top of that mountain. But, hey, at least he would always be the hometown hero. The biggest fish in his small pond.

Instead, he's going to Miami where he'll have to share the spotlight with two other superstars. He's going to have to pass the ball (something, if you remember, he was criticized for earlier in his career), and will have to come to terms with the thought that, even though he's still clearly the best player on his team, he might not necessarily be the number one option for that last second shot at the end of the game.

"Well, that doesn't sound like Mike!"


It sounds like Magic. It sounds like team basketball. And it sounds like a dynasty.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) I'm a die-hard 76ers fan, so... y'know, watching the Heat crush my team for the next decade doesn't exactly appeal to me. But, as a sports fan, i do like to see dynasties. They're always fun to root for and against. I loved to hate the Celtics as a kid.
2) What am i talking about?! I still love to hate the Celtics.
3) Gene Hackman.
4) Dennis Hopper.
5) What do i want the best athlete in his sport to desire more than anything else? A championship ring. Which makes me think LeBron is exactly where he should be.

song of the night...
"Hello, i must be going" by Groucho Marx

movie of the night...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Interview with self...

Q: so, ryan, it's currently 91.7 degrees in your apartment?
A: yes it is.

Q: is that an exaggeration?
A: sad to say it's not.

Q: think you'll be getting any sleep tonite?
A: no. not much, anyhow.

Q: in your experience as a child technician, have you found that a lack of sleep is a good thing when working in a room full of toddlers?
A: ...did you seriously just ask me that?

Q: right. uh, so, do you see any benefits at all of the horrid weather that's presently melting all of westchester county?
A: well... i was able to defrost my freezer fairly easily tonite.

Q: oh, good! good for you!
A: thank you. yeah, it was so easy, in fact, that i think i might not defrost it again until the next heat wave. summer of '11 or whenever.

Q: oh... actually, having seen gi-honking shards of icebergs that you somehow managed to pull out from your freezer this evening, i thought that plan was already in place. was i wrong?
A: quite wrong. yes.

Q: but... they were enormous, though, right? i mean, you can see my mistake...?
A: yes.

Q: i mean, dude. you could kill a flippin' bear with one of those.
A: yes. also not an exaggeration.

Q: so, are you ready for some random questions?
A: absolutely. thank you, yes.

Q: are you thinking about getting the new iphone?
A: yes. the hd video recording/editing is just too much for me to pass up!

Q: do you care where lebron james is going to play next year?
A: not a whole lot, no.

Q: are you going to watch his one hour espn press conference tomorrow night, regardless?
A: of course.

Q: do you know the word for grapefruit in french?
A: yes i do.

Q: cool. how's the screenplay coming along?
A: agonizingly slow. i'm getting a bit too insecure about it, i think. wondering if i'll ever be as good of a writer as i someday hope to be. i mean, i know i've got a really good--

Q: --dude. i didn't ask you for your life story.
A: sorry.

Q: one word answers now... ben or jerry?
A: jerry.

Q: tom or jerry?
A: jerry.

Q: favorite tree?
A: pass.

Q: favorite green animal?
A: kermit.

Q: got a mint?
A: always.

Q: is that because the girl you really liked when you were sixteen told you once that your breath was funky?
A: probably.

Q: was she a bitch?
A: probably.

Q: how'd you do with the gorgeous girl behind the cash register at the deli today?
A: i held my own.

Q: you were smooth?
A: i was smooth.

Q: yeah? did you make her laugh?
A: you bet.

Q: how did you keep her from noticing your big honking gut?
A: i looked deep into her eyes, while raising my hands high up in the air, snapping my fingers in an offbeat rythym, while shouting, "CA-CAW! CA-CAW!!! LOOK UP HERE!!! LOOK UP HERE!!!!"

Q: ...smooth.
A: right on.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) fast food. i can't stand the heat, so i'm staying out of the kitchen.
2) jillian michaels. did i tell you i bought one of her workout dvds? it's kicking my big fat arse, that thing. i hate it. i mean, really, truly hate it. but it's helping. which is saying a lot, actually, as i bought the thing with a set of weights, a pint of ben and jerry's ice cream, and absolute no sense of irony whatsoever.
3) ben and jerry's new peanut brittle flavor.
4) the brilliant short film, "vacuum cleaners from hell."
5) seems to be the year of crappy movies, but i've also found a bunch of great music, especially lately. i'm a touch late to this particular bandwagon, but i am now most certainly on it-- band called pomplamoose. i DARE you to watch this video and not check out more of their stuff...

...can't be done, can it? they're like the potato chips of the music world. 'cept, y'know, healthier.

song of the night...
'another day' by pomplamoose

movie of the night...
"the three amigos"

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Last Airbender...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies...

I think i should begin by telling you that, ever since 'sex and the city 2' i've been somewhat obsessed with What they do is take all the reviews from across the country and separate them into those that are good and bad for any particular film you can think of. If a movie gets 60% or more positive reviews, it's called fresh. If not? It's a rotten tomato.

I've found it to be pretty accurate, although there are some movies i couldn't stand that have been at 80-something % and other films that i've loved that have hovered around 40. But, generally speaking, it's not all that bad a barometer.

Now, 30-something percent? That's really bad. 20-percent is like going to a malevolent dentist. 'sex and the city 2'? Before i went to see it, i think it was around 14%. And i couldn't believe it. "How could such a great tv show go so horribly wrong???"

And then, of course, i saw the thing, and wondered who those 14% deaf dumb and blind people actually were. Or WERE they actual people, or maybe just random zoo monkeys pulling some sort of lever for a local news program?

"Let's see what movie Mr. Bungles would like to see this weekend...??? OH! He wants to see Miss Carrie Bradshaw!!! Isn't that something? Hahaha! Wellllll, i'm sure Mr. Bungles would love to catch that movie if he wasn't too busy eating his own filth! Okay, let's take a look at the weekend forecast..."

'Jonah Hex' got a similar rating on rotten tomatoes, so, yeah, i know i should have learned my lesson, but, honestly? Curiosity got the better of me. "Could it really be as bad as SATC2???" And... i think it almost was, but... i dunno, something about it just made me wonder-- seriously wonder-- if i wasn't just misinterpreting the whole thing.

I mean, it was so jumbled and had me so mind-numbingly confused that, at about the 40 minute mark, i got to thinking that maybe scientists will look at it 1,000 years from now and declare it as a misunderstood work of brilliance. Really, i was sitting there, thinking, "this is so perplexing that... maybe it's just over my head? Maybe it's over ALL our heads? Maybe we're just not that sophisticated, in 2010, to ...get it???"

And, y'know, probably not.

I mean, i'm pretty sure it's crap, but, eh... who knows?

So, anyway, it was this same type of situation that led me to buy a ticket for 'the last airbender' yesterday.

The Last Airbender...

(are you ready for this???)...




Now THAT'S a rotten tomato.

And i thought, "c'mon, man, no way! Can a movie really be THAT bad?!?!?!"

...In a word, "Ohmyholyshityes!"

This movie was so bad that --and i'm not even kidding about this-- the screaming baby that someone brought with them into the theater was actually a welcomed distraction.

Dev Patel, star of the Academy Award winning 'slumdog millionaire' was one of the bad guys. And he proved to us that he was one of the bad guys by SHOUTING HIS EVERY OTHER LINE AT THE TOP OF HIS VERY CAPABLE LUNGS!!! And, y'know, dude, i'm sorry, but after the first 17 times? We get it. You're bitter, and angry, you have daddy issues, and you've got a hole in your heart, okay, OKAY! Tone it down, son.

I fully expect to see extra scenes in the dvd special edition where Dev Patel is screaming for no reason in otherwise mundane circumstances. Like, he'll be hanging out at a diner with his uncle and he'll just wail on the waitress out of nowhere, "I WANT ANOTHER ROOT BEER FLOAT!!! AND I WANT IT IMMEDIATELY!!!!!! ROOOOOOWWWWWWWRRRRRR!!!!!"

And then he'll set fire to something after doing a kung fu move that he found in the Ralph Macchio training montage from 'the karate kid 2'.


I have to move on now to a subject that is dear to my heart. and that is hating child actors.

You'd think, because of my day job, i wouldn't be so hard on them, but you'd be crazily mistaken. They're the worst. Exceptions include (but are not limited to) jodie foster, natalie portman, and m. night shaymalan's own, haley joel osmet.

This kid from 'the last airbender'? The dude who played Aang? Didn't quite make the list.

I can only assume m. night found him on some sort of deserted island somewhere and said, "Kid! I'm gonna make you a STAR! Wanna be the lead actor in my new movie???" And then the kid said, "but... i don't know what acting is! I've never SEEN a movie!"

And then, as a joke, m. night gave him a dvd player and a copy of 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' and said, "just look at Jake Lloyd! Do whatever he does. That kid's a bloody genius!"

And then, a few weeks later, the cameras started rolling, and, as soon as he said action, m. night realized that he never told the kid he was joking about Jake Lloyd, and was too embarrassed to go back and do anything about it.

So then, pretty much every actor on set followed this kid's lead, thinking, "oh, well, i guess we must be doing something somewhat avant-garde." "Like Jonah Hex...?" "Cool! A thousand years from now, people will freaking worship us!"

But it's not completely fair to lay the blame of this turd-flick on the acting when the script was so wretched. Remember that sequel to 'the matrix' (i refuse to look up which one it was, but i'm kinda/sorta sure it was the second one), where it felt like half of it was taken up by odd-looking, but smartly-dressed old people talking about the meaning of existence and, i don't know what else, but --they kept on throwing out big words like, "heretofore" and stuff like that so they would sound like they were really smart?

Yeah, that sums up the last airbender nicely, i think. They had some moderately cool special effects and then it was (approximately) 17 hours of "blahblahblahblah dragon" and "blahblahblahblah heretofore the earth beneath your feet blahblah" and "blahdiddyblahblahblahblah bending water blahblahblah."

You give that kinda dialogue to Laurence O'Freaking-livier, then maybe y'got yourself a movie. Give it to a bunch of kids who can't act? You're just asking for trouble.

And, probably a coupla' sequels.

But i won't be in line for the second airbender. I would rather have Dev Patel shouting "AANG!!! AANG!!!!!! AAAAAAANNNGGG!!!" into my ears for two hours. While getting my wisdom teeth pulled.

The five things i fell in love with today...

1) Toy Story 3. Beautiful, brilliant movie. I want to work at Pixar someday.
2) Found a GREAT new band the other day, thanks to Paste magazine: Sleigh Bells, from Brooklyn, NY. Seriously blew my mind. Check 'em out.
3) The thought that maybe i wont have to learn how to draw to work at Pixar someday...
4) The new album by The Roots. Best thing they've ever done, which is saying a lot!
5) I was trying to think of who in their right minds would possibly enjoy the type of hippie bullcrap that was 'the last airbender' and then i remembered this guy...

song of the night...
"pinball wizard" by the who

movie of the night...
"in the loop" --just watched it this afternoon. Great to see good writing again!