Friday, October 28, 2005

Velvet Goldmine

Last minute post for Friday, as we all prepare to get dressed up for Halloween, some more glamourous than others. This album is from the movie of the same name. Amazing movie, amazing album. If you've seen the film you know it is loosely based on the life of David Bowie (although both the director and Bowie vehemently disagree on this point) and the rise of Glam Rock. The soundtrack is a combination of original bands, and covers of classic glam. Listen for Thom York (of Radiohead) who sings on a few tracks. For anyone that likes good music this album is a must have.

Dominus Maximus

With the World Series drawn to a timely close many people are looking for that next exciting sporting event. I would like to draw your attention to another uber-competitive and exciting fall sport, dominoes. That’s right, what some see as a harmless and casual pastime is actually (in our arena anyway) a cutthroat, throw-down-the-gauntlet wargame in which there can be only one winner, The Dominus Maximus if you will (Dominus refers to “master of the house” in latin). Bare witness to the tournament of champions beginning next week, the trophy is the Ring of Destiny seen here, the goal, Domination. This site will show weekly stats, and up to the minute updates of upset victories, controversies and blow-outs.

To begin the fall season, and hopefully inspire others to take up the game themselves, (our league currently needs an East, West, and South divisions) here is a brief history of the Sport of Dominoes.
Dominoes have been played by kings and presidents, paupers and thieves. The oldest known domino set was found in Tutankhamen's tomb, among the ruins of Thebes. Tile games have been found in China as early as 1120 CE. Some historical accounts have traced evidence of the existence of the pieces, way back to a soldier-hero named Hung Ming (181-234 CE). They were apparently derived from cubic dice, which had been introduced into China from India some time in the dim and distant past. Each domino originally represented one of the twenty-one results of throwing two dice. One half of the tile is set with the pips from one die and the other half contains the pips from the second die.
Although domino tiles are clearly of Chinese inheritance, there is a debate over whether the European tile set came from China to Europe in the fourteenth century or was invented independently.

Dominoes arrived in Europe, introduced in Italy, possibly Venice and Naples, The game moved from Italy to France in the early 18th Century and became a fad, later moving to England at the end of the century. European dominoes are rectangles that are twice as long as they are wide. Dominoes are small tiles traditionally carved from ivory or bone with small, round pips of inset ebony. 'Domino' is the French word for a Christian priest's winter hood which was black on the outside and white on the inside. 'Domino' is also a style of mask featuring a black and white motif.Stay tuned in the weeks to come when we examine the basic rules of our league, introduce new game styles and rules, meet some of the stars of the league, and discuss standings and statistics. Remember, only one can wear the ring.

Here is a basic online version of Double Six Dominoes
(Chauncey you can use this to practice)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

You're Wrong... Dead Wrong: Part 3

To celebrate the rapid approach of Halloween (I still don’t have a stupid costume), and because I was painstakingly researching my next column on 80s movie posters, I present to you the best of the 1980 horror posters.
I fell in love with this first poster because it was shamelessly flaunting tits. Nothing says 80s horror like tits. Then, when I started researching the film, I learned that those tits belong to Sharon Stone (or do they? It’s hard to tell)… the film was directed by Wes Craven… Kevin Farr, the actor that played Fat Kid never made another movie (and probably killed himself immediately after seeing he was credited as Fat Kid)… and the movie received an XXX rating in Nova Scotia! But it gets even better, the movie is about a deranged Amish sect that believes that a cosmopolitan woman and her NY friends are sexual demons. Great premise, great director, great poster. As a final note, it interests me that a lot of these posters are folded or worn-down… all I can think about is some parent finally selling the horrible filthy poster that their nerd son wouldn’t take down.

While A Nightmare on Elm Street was a brilliant Wes Craven film, the sequel Freddy’s Revenge was handed over to uber-hack Jack Sholder. His imdb profile reads like a bunch of good ideas that were lost in a pile of shit. But check out that UK poster! What the hell is Freddy doing with his hands? I know he has a skull for a face, but those eyes appear to be checking out that girl and he looks to be jerking off like a monkey at a zoo, while playing with his nipple (even though his hands are frucking knives). The position of the “good characters” is classic 80s crap – the woman is completely soft and naïve, the man is tough and paranoid (but rightfully paranoid). I think it goes deeper, in that it is also supposed to look like every romance novel. Now reconsider the tagline – absolutely brilliant, although pretty heady stuff for a horror sequel – those brits is so dang smart.

Unlike Jack Sholder, J. Lee Thompson was a professional director. Look at this imdb profile, 49 movies including Cape Fear, Guns of Navarone and two Planet of the Apes sequels – a résumé like that shows that he kept his mouth shut, and his nose full of coke. I’m not sure if Happy Birthday to Me is his crowning achievement, but it was nominated for two Genies. I don’t know what I like most about this poster. The top tagline John Will Never Eat Shish Kabob Again is good, but not classic. The image of the guy (doesn't it look like the guy from the OC?) getting a shish kabob shoved into his mouth is good, and goes with the tagline. But I really like the bottom of the poster: Warning: Because of the Bizarre Nature of the Party, No One will be Seated During the Last 10 Minutes… Pray that you are Not Invited! What the hell does that mean? What party? The birthday party? Is it real? I’m scared, and worried.

Okay, time to stop joking around and show a poster that represents the 80s horror movies that you see in videostores around the world… I present Girls Nite Out. It took 4 writers to come up with this one… A killer (okay), wearing a dancing bear suit (get the fruck out of here), stalks a variety (what does that mean?) of cheerleaders (they got me back), during an all-night scavenger hunt (they lost me again) at a remote Ohio college. That is complicated shit. Oh yeah, the poster. I love how cheap this is. I bet these girls are three hookers that aren’t even in the movie. Scratch that, that one girl is from Revenge of the Nerds... I remember thinking she was hot. This is a movie that is rented by people too young or too humiliated to rent porn – either way it works because they are probably pretty angry too. That’s a stupid tagline…. This is cheese in its purest form.

Fred Savage is only two years older than me, so I should be able to remember his fame pretty well… I can’t think of a time when somebody would consider putting him and Howie Mandel in a movie. And what is with the goofy look on Howie Mandel’s face. That’s not scary, it’s not funny, it makes me angry. Fuck you, I don’t care if you are upside down, I’ll still punch you in the nuts.

I love the neon colour scheme… that basically makes this poster. Unfortunately for him, but justifiably, Richard Greenberg never directed another movie. But he did supervise visual effects for Predator so I will let him into heaven.

Terror Train is another classic Canadian horror/tax shelter movies, that was really crappy at the time, but gets some respect as one of the first crappy slasher movies ever made! Let me be the first to say that I’m Canadian, but I think MONSTER IM NACHTEXPRESS sounds cooler than Terror Train, and I would probably see the movie again if it was called that. Those German’s certainly are wacky though… they give Jamie Lee Curtis the lead billing, but then do something crazy like put a hot blond on the poster. Then they do the classic bizarre-horror-imagery thing and use the wound on the woman to point out how big her boobs are. Oh, and if this poster looks absolutely insane to you, you should know that the movie takes place on Halloween and those are costumes.

If you don’t understand what is so special about this poster I don’t think you have seen They Live. They Live is probably one of the greatest B movies of all time. Rowdy Roddy Piper has never been able to match this performance as the hero with an amazing name – Nada. Here is a short selection of lines that Rowdy delivers perfectly, and three reasons why he should win an Oscar:

1. Life's a bitch, and she's back in heat!
2. You, you're ok. This one, real fuckin' ugly.
3. I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum.

Those three lines are a little Double Dragon punch, punch, kick in the face combo to Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man! As a side note I am an absolute sucker for any tagline that does something like: You are wrong. Dead wrong. (Insert Music Cue)

This article has taken me three days to write and finally I can post it for the two people that read this site. As you ponder the mysteries of the universe, understand that sometimes a poster can be an undisputable great work of art. Look below… read the tagline… look at the image… get lost in the swirling serum… and enjoy Halloween with a little Re-Animator.

L'Absente

Yann Tiersen is a French man. This album screams French and ca c'est bon. Immediately, it sweeps me off my feet into a romantic and whimsical world of baguettes and brioche, red wine, cheese and beautiful women. There is something so sexy about accordians and violins.
Tiersen gained world fame after composing the soundtrack for "Amelie" which was a huge success for both the film, and in sales. Legend has it the director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (another brilliant French man) heard this CD while driving with an assistant during the filming of "Amelie". He loved it so much he immediately bought Tiersen's catalogue and hired the composer on the spot. Many of the songs used in the film were reworked titles from this album. "Absente" is Tiersen's personal favorite of his collection, believing it to be most indicitive of his style.
Je presente:





King Kong Baby

The Halloween costume of the year... Can you see a difference?

Best Commercial Ever

I'm in the middle of writing a longer article, but I stumbled across this amazing commercial via Bill Simmons' intern. This kid will be the next great American actor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

How to be a Hockey Fan: Pt.2

Profile of a Fan
Vito, he is a Leafs fan. I have yet to induldge in the pleasure of viewing a complete game with him this year, truthfully I'm a little hesitant, I don't think I'm ready. He is a die-hard fan; a yelling, crying, hitting (often himself), uproarious and jubilant fan. I did catch the tail end of a preseason game, met Vito during the final minutes of the 3rd period. He had been in the bar for the whole game, by himself, drinking shots and yelling at the screen. By the time the game ended (Leafs lost) he was under the table and talking with a lisp (literally). I think he is an excellent example of the obsessed fan. He owns a lot of Leaf's shit, from an inflatable Leafs arm chair, to official jerseys. He watches every game, and loves all the players.
Now, an important thing to note in this photo are his eyes. These are not the eyes of a stable man. You can see the desperation, you can see he's been hurt before (every year). Yet you can also see a blind faith worthy of a kamikaze, no matter how many times he is disappointed Vito will always see the Leafs as the best team in the League. Also note, the beard, overgrown due to prolonged periods of depression, coupled with a primal need to be a "man". His jersey is off, and wrapped around his neck. This photo is a rare glimpse of the moment in between the celebration and let down too sensations familiar to the Leafs fan. He is either about to wave the shirt over his head or use it as a make-shift noose. That's right, it's a serious game and he is a serious man...I present Leaf fan number one, Vito.

Think Different

Ok, I'll try that. Frank Steel turned me on to this album today, the links are actually stolen from another site (www.illegalhiphop.com) so I didn't have to do any work to post it. The main reason it's posted here is because the 36th member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Duggy Digital, was left off the band's mailing list for this release and is dying to get his hands on it. That's right the Duggdini is an avid Sumomofo reader.
This album is good, Dreddy Kruger and Mathematics do a great job of mimicking the RZA's production style, (although without the mad genius). "Think Different" sounds like a Wu-Tang album, full of soul and the beats that are hard like two day old shit. The ode to Ol' Dirty by DJ Noize gave me chills, sad that the bastard is gone I guess. One negative is the lack of actual Wu-Tang MC's, where's Ghostface? And some of these other rappers aren't so much "Indie" because they're cutting edge, more likely because they just aren't that good (La the Darkman? He's been stinking it up since at LEAST '95). But all in all it's a sweet throwback to the Wu era, if you need a hit of the Wu Nation this will give it to you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Grand Don't Come For Free

The Streets is another Brit act that I love, this album in particular. It's over a year old by now but still really kicks, there are a few groovy tunes but the real gem is the overarching story. "A Grand..." is a brilliant concept album, telling the story of a kid who struggles to get around in the world (wow, lame explanation, it's actually way better), Mike Skinner is speaking to a whole generation of party kids, and dreamers. Another great thing about "The Streets" are the videos, particularly this one (video), which was sadly banned due to drug content. Here is the album in two parts.
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free
(pt. 1, pt. 2)

FC Rating Plummets for Jets

Look at this graph...FC stands for fan confidence, I found this on a fellow victim/jets fan's blogsite (thejetsblog), and it gave me pause to think...It's not going to get better. 1.8, 27-14, 2-5, these numbers are swirling around my head, I've got football fever, but it's not the good kind - It might be terminal.
It was a brutal loss, the first play of the game was a bobbled ball by Vinny which set the tone and pace for the Falcons. Two more fumbles from Vinny bounced the score up to 17 points, ugh. Another field goal makes an even 20, great start.
What is going on with the Jets offence? Perhaps that is a stupid question, pro bowl center gone, superstar QB gone, but am I crazy or is the 2004 rushing MVP still wearing green and white? Why is Curtis Martin so crap this year, every time he gets the ball he hits the wall going for 2-5 yards a carry max. I haven't seen much in the way of greatness from Martin, I'm longing for Jordan, what a dud move that was. It was obvious to me that Jordan was the one to keep, I don't think Martin played a single game in my franchise season on Xbox.
Vinny Testaverde is finished, let Bollinger have a chance. Can it be made any more obvious by the gods of football that Vinny shouldn't play? He injured his Achilles heel! Let him die a warriors death, and watch the rest of the season at home. Vinny's first game was great, he made the Jets look like a team. He led them to victory, of course I bought into him. Sadly Disney and reality just don't mesh, Vinny is not going to be the comeback kid and take it to the finals, please
FREE BOLLINGER.
Ok Brooks, you're a man now, you got a successful drive and touchdown in the NFL, but you've got a long way to go. Brooks will be fine if he sticks to the short pass and avoids the long balls, he looked good on that drive. I like the chemistry between him and Wayne Chrebet, but why doesn't Chrebet get more playing time, it's like God Damned "Rudy". First thing Brooks has to, HAS TO do is to inspire respect from his teammates. I'm pretty sure I saw someone on the Jets bench ask him for a towel. Second, he has to stop freaking out when he sees defensive pressure, he was scrambling all over the place last night. Third, Herm has to let him on the field and forget about "The Vinny Testaverde Story". Herm let this kid play, let him get better, Tom Brady was once a goofy looking kid who came in for a Star QB and look at him now.
So here it is, the blame stick is being laid... on the shoulders of Herm Edwards. The reason? This is his explanation for last nights travesty:
"I told the team when you spot a team that many points in the first half and you turn the ball over it's difficult to win, especially on the road," New York head coach Herm Edwards said after the game. "We turned the ball over too many times and we couldn't overcome it."
Are you shitting me Herm? That's just what I thought, am I the coach of the team or some dude watching the game from his couch. Don't tell the team what they did wrong, come up with a strategy to win the game! With comments like that it's obvious that Herm is preparing for his inevitable release and foray into announcing games not coaching them.
So although I am sickened by the state of this team I will continue to back them, but here are a few final thoughts:

1) Another injury this week to Eric Barton - out for the season, Vinny could be too...with Halloween around the corner this is starting to feel like a horror movie.
2) Boomer has given up on his weekly column on NYJets.com, and most likely denying it ever happened. "What are you talking about I love the BENGALS, yeah I played for the BENGALS, they're my team."
3) I am thankful for a bye week, a little reprise from the mockery of friends and coworkers, like JW coming to my desk and picking up my orange only to drop it three times, each time saying "Ooops, who am I, Ooops, c'mon who am I"
4) I'm feeling good about the Jets vs. Chargers game. I've become obsessed with this "Monkey Battle" program, you type in two names, and it gives you the result of the fight. Go JETS/Brain Eating Rhesus Monkey. (Ok this fever has spread to my brain)

Benny Agra Can Get You Anything

I haven't been able to write much this week because I have been busy trying to buy a tiger from this guy.
I happened to see this commercial over at Gorillamask and decided that I had to get to the bottom of things.
I always wondered how Mike Tyson bought his tiger... oh Benny, you devil, you could sell McDonalds to a Vegan.
Just to clarify, he truly is the devil...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Liberate Me

The Libertines are no longer, sadly. Partially due to creative differences, partly due to the absolute self-destruction of their frontman/lead singer Pete Doherty. That's right the same self-professed, caught-on-camera heroin addict Pete Doherty, the same dating Kate Moss and sharing violent public arguments Pete Doherty, and the same break into your ex-bandmates/best friend's flat to steal his laptop for drug money Pete Doherty. He's a bit of a waster.
But when these guys were together, they were amazing. A rare unit of true to form rock stars. Loaded on stage, wild partying stories, young and brash with a Fuck Off attitude these guys were everything the Strokes are pretending to be. Image aside, the music is quality as well. The Libertines could definitely be grouped into the rest of the bands caught up in the resurgence of Garage Rock, except to do so would be an injustice. Garage is definitely part of their sound, but they pull in a that bluesy R&B London sound of the late 60's as well (Kinks, Stones, Animals, etc.). Combine that with Doherty's lonesome wails and excited shouts, and you have an awesome sound.
The production on both of these albums is worth mentioning as well, truly a loose gritty rock n' roll capture (Chauncey, if I was producing the Kittens' albums I'd love to have this sound, really live and dynamic). In fact, whenever I listen to either album I'm immediately into a smoky little London pub (and I've never been), surrounded by a few drunks and a Pint in each hand as the equally drunk band pounds away at my stupor. Good times. Give the Libertines a listen if you will, you won't regret it.
The Libertines
Up the Bracket


The Libertines
The Libertines

Hurricane

Watch the hurricanes of 2005, see them just like God does. Safe and sound with a giant beer in his hand while he sits in his armchair in the sky. Better than football.
Hurricanes 2005