08 October 2009

16 July 2009

The 80s Are Alive!



And they're singin' and dancin' and having a great time!

I have to admit, The Better Half has been on the Phoenix bandwagon from way back when...way back when. Me? I liked them okay.

Then their latest album rolled around, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and I had to admit that it was pretty da*n good.

And then my old USC pal MattHarry turned TBH on to the greatest thing, ever!

It's a "Brat Pack Mashup" video to Phoenix's insanely catchy "Lisztomania."

Some enterprising dude named avoidantconsumer cut a bunch of those amazing John Hughes movies together and created a faux music video for the song.

It's amazing! Amazing! The video makes you want to just get up and...you know...

Click below to watch it (be careful though, flying elbows and insane twirling may ensue).

Sigh, I miss the 80s...



LINKS

YouTube: phoenix - lisztomania *brat pack mashup*

24 June 2009

A Subtle Hint From Apple


The Better Half won't listen to me...but maybe she will listen to her beloved Apple now that they have emailed her directly!

C'mon dude, just get one already. Even David Pogue thinks it's the greatest thing, ever!


LINKS

This Time I Have No Sympathy For "The Big Russian"



Dude, what an awful way for Marat Safin to end his Wimbledon career.

First of all they put this chap on Court 18. 18? For a two-time Slam winner, multiple Slam finalist, last year's semi-finalist, and a crowd favorite?

Second of all, he was up against the unheralded qualifier Jesse Levin in the first round.

Third of all, when I started watching the match Marat had already given up. Seriously. I noticed he had lost the first set, won the second, then lost the third in a tiebreak. After that, he had no interest in carrying on. He was essentially tanking it. I mean, he should have just walked off the court at that point. The sad thing was that, once in a while, he would begrudgingly uncork a screaming winner almost because he was being forced to; and then he would go back to barely moving his feet or hitting balls into the net or just spinning his serves in.

He left without even acknowledging the crowd or even talking to reporters.

What a sad, sad way to go out.

By contrast, Amerlie Mauresmo (huge fan), well past her prime, grinded out a three-set victory over the little-known Melinda Czink.



And even Maria Sharapova (not a huge fan), with her game all but deserting her, fought to the bitter end, saving four (!) match points along the way, and at least trying to salvage a victory in an eventual loss to Gisela Dulko.



And look at poor Ana Ivanovic (big fan), struggling to a 8-6 third set while finally dispatching someone called Lucie Hradecka. And this after losing a tough first set (Marat would have quit right then).



This time, I really have no excuse for Marat. Shame!

As he himself put it: "So I need to get out of my brain and then start again on a blank page."

Okay fine, I'm just mad he lost so meekly. At least his sister (World No. 1 and fellow-headcase) Dinara Safina was more forgiving:

His sister Dinara Safina, the women's world number one, was asked what made her brother so special.
In a moving tribute, she said "He is honest and he doesn't hide anything. Like he's not a fake. Like he is how he is, on the court, off the court."
She added: "He has this charisma, this humour. You cannot learn this. Either you have it or you don't have it."
A fitting tribute to a heart-on-your-sleeve champion who often found his stunning talent clouded by an explosive temper.

It kills me to see what could have been - it really does!


LINKS

Guardian: Marat Safin goes out in tempestuous style and possibly for good
Guardian: Safin draws a blank at last Wimbledon

23 June 2009

Et Tu TV Land?


Oh man, I thought TV Land was full of wonderful things like The Bob Newhart Show repeats.

And then I come to find like others before it (A&E, the one-time Arts and Entertainment network; TLC, the one-time Learning Channel; History, the one-time, um, History channel), it has turned into a reality show haven.

Oh well, I guess I can always catch The Jeffersons on Hulu...


LINKS

TV Squad: Reality Shows on TV Land?

21 June 2009

Get Ready For Wimbledon




I can't believe it, Sports Illustrated put Roger Federer on the cover!

I mean, I was so mad at ESPN for covering Tiger Woods's Memorial victory before Roger's stirring French Open win.

Granted Tiger rallied from five shots back with a closing-round 65, and Roger had a deceptively routine straight-sets win over a seemingly unheralded opponent (the fantastic Robin Soderling).

But, c'mon, Tiger's win was in a routine tournament (even if it was Jack Nicklaus's tournament). Roger won a Major. Not just any Major, but the one that has always bedeviled him. He completed the Career Grand Slam. He is now tied with Pete Sampras with 14 Slams.

I love ESPN, but they really should defer to journalistic perspective over simplistic ratings-grabbers every once in a while.

Anyways, some other photos to get you in the right frame of mind for Wimbledon (but Rafael Nadal's sad withdrawal doesn't clear the path for Roger just as yet, that dour bum Andy Murray is still there to contend with...):










LINKS

Welcome To The TWGA




This is ridiculous!

The USGA was offering living coverage of this year's rain-soaked US Open at Bethpage Black on its website.

The only problem, they were showing one player.

Tiger Woods.

Multiple Major-winners Angel Cabrera and Padraig "Houdini" Harrington (his score should have been higher, much higher, if not for some jaw-dropping rescue shots!) were also featured, but only because they were in the same group as Tiger. In fact, they often showed replays of his shots over theirs.

Of course, I ended up watching the whole round (man oh man, talk about sticking with it...he never allowed his score to balloon out of control the way it could have...amazing). Maybe it was because The Better Half was away. Maybe it was because of the damp and gray weather.

Okay, fine, I'll come clean. With TBH outta the way, I have her iMac all to myself. Muhahahahahahaha...

But seriously it's the United States Golf Association not the Tiger Woods Golf Association. The USGA should be ashamed of itself.







LINKS

20 June 2009

The Movie Can't Be Far Behind!


Holy crap!

You can't make this s**t up!

David Rhode, a reporter for The New York Times, managed to finally get out of Taliban captivity.

He had been held hostage for seven months.

And, wait for this, he actually escaped!

He climbed over the wall of the remote compound he was being held in up there in that crazy region of North Waziristan in Pakistan, and along with another captive local reporter, managed to make his way nearby army base.

Incredible!

I would always vote for Clive Owen, but maybe David Strathairn for the inevitable movie? Since I'm currently watching Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye, a young Elliot Gould would have been perfect. Maybe Mark Ruffalo? Definitely not Robert Downey Jr. Heck, at this point Hugh Laurie can do anything.

What about the director? Oliver Stone? Kathryn Bigelow? Tony Gilroy? Not Paul Greengrass, I don't think. Ooh, how about the great Peter Weir?

Click below to read the amazing story.

BBC: US Reporter Flees Afghan Captors

I'm The New BMW Z4, Hear Me Roar!


Woah!

Check out the new BMW Z4, hard-top convertible.

Man, oh man, oh man, oh man.

Wicked cool!

I know, it's always been one of those love-it-hate-it kinda cars (I was always a Z8 man myself), but man, this new redesign is totally awesome!

And the cool thing it was actually designed by a couple of women, Juliane Blasi (only 32), and Nadya Arnaout. In the uber-macho world of car design (especially German car design) this is quite the rare feat.


Wonder if they can help me find the $60,000 or so it will cost me to get into one!


LINKS

NY Times: Behind The Wheel - 2010 BMW Z4
NY Times: It’s Macho, Without the Men

18 June 2009

Remember The Ventures?



Sad news that Bob Bogle, founder of The Ventures, died recently.

I loved that song "Walk, Don't Run" and the group, apparently was instrumental in, umm, influencing generations of rock instrumentalists.

Click below to check out the still-catchy "Walk, Don't Run."


LINKS

YouTube: The Ventures "Walk, Don't Run"
NY Times: Bob Bogle, Co-Founder of The Ventures, Dies at 75

17 June 2009

Symonds Drew The Final Straw



Apparently it really is the end of the line for the mercurial Andrew Symonds.

I've always liked Symonds, always. He was flashy, fluid, brilliant in stretches, fun to watch, prodigiously talented.

And almost maniacal in his self-destructiveness. He got into that whole flap with Harbhajan Singh, he flattened that streaker, he missed a team meeting for a "boat trip," and on and on. In fact, it's amazing that as tightly run a ship as the Australian cricket team would let him get away with as much he has.

And now, with his drop from the Twenty20 team, his international cricket career is all but over.

Of course, as soon as he is dropped from the team (for having one drink...c'mon...one drink?!), Australia crashes out of the Twenty20 World Cup (and this right after he was instrumental in helping the Deccan Chargers win IPL 2).

I wonder why I always gravitate to athletes like him? Those marvelously beautiful creatures who give us all hope of an endless summer for those brief moments, only to inevitably remind us that winter is always around the corner.


LINKS

AFP: Official Line Stretched Over Symonds' Downfall

16 June 2009

Hipsters Of The World Unite!


A funny little video pointed out to me by my colleague Andrea.

A great way to get to know your Indie Hipster neighbors in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and Silver Lake/Echo Park (Los Angeles).

Click below to watch the video:


LINKS

YouTube: Hipster Olympics

09 June 2009

A Dream Deferred

It was my dream to become one of those old Cuban men sitting on the beach in a jaunty Panama hat, smoking a jaunty cigar, and playing some jaunty chess.

I think this dream is not going to come true.

Why? Well, I was playing around with The Better Half's awesome iMac and came across a Chess application.

Deciding to try it out and take the first small step in fulfilling my lifelong dream I took a deep breath and started a game against the computer.

I lost.

In two moves.

Two moves!



Sigh...


LINKS

RedHotPawn.com: Why do many intelligent people suck at chess?

08 June 2009

A Bias I'm In Favor Of

Dude, check out the groups from the ICC World Twenty20 2009 (i.e. the Twenty20 World Cup):




Australia has West Indies and Sri Lanka in their group (no wonder they crashed out in the round robin stage).

England has Pakistan and actually lost to the Netherlands.

South Africa has tough New Zealand squad to deal with.

And India? India has Ireland and Bangladesh.

Ireland and Bangladesh?!

Trust me, having repeatedly experienced what the other side feels like, I'm kinda glad that this time the favoritism is on our side. ;-)


LINKS

ICC Official Site

05 June 2009

Don't Freak Me Out Roger!


Now this is the heights of a nerdy sports fan: Following the Roger Federer - Juan Martin del Potro match online watching the score update live and listening to French Open "radio."

Whew!

04 June 2009

Don't Get So Excited Yet


I know Rog, Gael Monfils was a dangerous opponent, and it was a good win...

...But you still have four top-notch players left to contend with and Robin Soderling is playing like he really has nothing to lose.


LINKS

03 June 2009

Talk About A Hollywood Ending For A Hollywood Actress


Remember Madeleine Stowe?

I always liked her. She was good actress with a fair amount of charisma and held her own with some of the bigger stars of her era (Jack Nicholson, Kurt Russell, Ray Liotta, Daniel Day-Lewis, Mel Gibson, John Travolta, Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Aiden Quinn, Mark Harmon, etc. etc. etc.).

But even though she appeared in a slew of box office hits, she always seemed to fly under the radar. Eventually, she hit 30, and as is wont to happen, Hollywood slowly began to close its doors.

Taking matters into her own hands, she wrote a script called Unbound Captives as a star vehicle for herself. Now this is where it gets interesting. She shopped it to the studios, but under the pseudonym O.C. Humphrey. None of the studios realized it was her, and Fox offered $5 million for the script!

And she turned it down!

Because she wasn't going to be in it.

And so the script floated around, and Stowe's career stalled; but she never sold that script outright ($5 million is a lot of money for anyone!).

And then, suddenly, along comes John Toll (great cinematographer), Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, and Robert Pattinson. And Stowe is still involved.

She's going to direct it!

A good seven or eight years later, her decision to stick by her guns and not sell out (literally) has finally paid off.

Somewhere, Sylvester Stallone is smiling.*

* The next time we go out for a drink remind me to tell you the famous story about Sly and his script for Rocky...


LINKS

Variety: Trio Bound to Stowe's Captives

02 June 2009

Xanadu + Ladyhawke =


= Awesome!

I know that The Better Half has been singing the praises of "Magic" by Ladyhawke, but then some enterprising soul took it to the next level and combined it with Xanadu.

Somewhere, Chhoto and Jason Kachel are smiling.

How to explain Xanadu? Jason found this awesome quote from a Rotten Tomatoes review:

"Look at Xanadu with an eye toward storytelling superiority and your head will explode. To appreciate the madness within, one must take in the blinding neon sights with an open heart and at least one nostril-coating line of cocaine."

Click below to watch the awesome video!


LINKS

01 June 2009

Yes, The Pet Shop Boys Are Back


Dude, the only reason I even knew that my old faves the Pet Shop Boys had a new album out (Yes...though I'm pretty sure they've used that title before*) was because of my USC colleague Matt Hsu.

I made a mental note to get the album, totally forgot about, then stumbled upon the lead single "Love Etc." by mistake...

...and it's great!

I gotta get the album!

Click below to watch the awesome video!

PSB is back, baby!

*Actually, they haven't used Yes...they have used Please, Actually, Introspective, Behaviour, Very, Nightlife, Release, and Fundamental...but not Yes, that is until now.


LINKS

31 May 2009

Biggest Upset, Ever!



I saw the score this morning, but I didn't want to jinx, so I decided not to watch.

I've been jinxing stuff all season. Every time I turn on the TV, LeBron James loses and Kobe Bryant wins.

Every time I try ESPN360, Roger Federer loses and Rafael Nadal wins.

So I saw the score this morning and noticed that Rafa was down to Robin Soderling. However, I know Soderling's type: he's one of those maddeningly uber-talented kids who always seems to come close, but somehow comes up short. To help his chances I decided not to watch.

And then I got this cryptic email from my pal Doney Joseph: "Federer Wins French."

And I knew what it was, but since I didn't want to get my hopes up too high, I played coy with him...and then he confirmed it, and I checked it out...

Rafa lost!

What a monumental upset!



Not only does this preserve Bjorn Borg's record at Roland Garros, it opens the door for Roger.

"Opens the door"? Yup, unlike Doney, I will not allow my hopes to get up too high. There's that bum Andy Murray still lurking in the shadows like the proverbial boogeyman, and let's face it, Roger has not looked that great in his matches.

But I will allow myself a little hope and admit that this does, indeed, open the door, however slightly.

Keep hope alive!


LINKS

30 May 2009

Marat Safin In A Nutshell


Actually, this is Marat Safin in a nutshell (from CBS Sports):

"Marat Safin angered the French Open crowd with his antics, made them ooh and aah with his shot-making, and finally coaxed them into warm applause when he walked off center court at Roland Garros for the last time of his tumultuous career."

29 May 2009

This Summer's Theme Song


The Better Half turned me on to Little Joy a while back, but I was a bit skeptical (wasn't someone from The Strokes involved somehow? And everyone knows The Strokes were so 2001).

As usual, TBH was right.

Check out their awesome song "Next Time Around" from their self-titled album. The video was shot on a vintage Bolex...a Super-8 Bolex.

Man, this really is the song of the summer. This is what I'm gonna be humming as I walk around my little beach town.

Click below to play the video.


LINKS

Who Needs Hollywood?


Dude, this is a fan-made trailer for the Green Lantern.

A movie project is in the works with Bradley Cooper. But some civilian named Jarson Pitts put together his own trailer, all by himself, with Nathan Fillion "as" Hal Jordan/Green Lantern.

I'm not sure about Fillion (I'm sorry I haven't seen Firefly...or Serenity...or Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog...or Waitress...or Castle...), but he will be a better choice then Cooper.

But this guy Pitts is amazing. Warner Bros. should just use his trailer for whatever they end up with...in fact, they should have him do the whole movie.

Click below to watch the amazing trailer.


LINKS

28 May 2009

Au Revoir Marat



Sigh, Marat Safin is out of the French Open...forever!

Well, he claims this is his last French Open, and I guess when you've made so much money at such a young age, then if the desire is gone...it's gone.

Still, he actually fought for this one...losing a heart-breaker of a fifth set 8-10 to little-known Frenchman Josselin Ouanna.

In fact look at the line of the match: 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 8-10. He came from two sets down (and they were two very close sets) to fight all the way to the end. To paraphrase Darren Cahill on ESPN2, if only he had shown this kind of fight during his career.

And that, in a nutshell, is the great Marat Safin for you: "If only..."

27 May 2009

Thank You Mr. President


Check it, President Obama let me know personally about his choice of Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court Justice.

Thank you Mr. President, that was very nice of you.


LINKS

NY Times: Sonia Sotomayor Profile

26 May 2009

Me And Bobby B...

Look who showed up to talk about his new book today!

Bob Barker, in the flesh.


Me with Bob Barker

Me and BB


He was great! He was funny, personable, warm, and connected with each and every member of the audience.

My colleagues Bartley, Mira, BB and myself


I mostly went because I know The Better Half is a huge fan and Bob is as symbolic of Americana as the oft-mentioned Mom and Apple Pie. But I came away a huge fan! Now I wish I had grown up watching him.

His memoirs are called Precious Memories.

Something tells me the audiobook version will be great! Though we did solemnly swear to actually read the book...


LINKS

Access Hollywood: Bob Barker Interview
LA Times: Bob Barker Homecoming
Amazon: Precious Memories
Wikipedia: Bob Barker

Wait, This For Real?

From my small town's local calendar:


So, there really is a thing called Parks and Recreation?! It's not just a poorly-executed spin-off show that perfectly embodies a once-proud broadcast network's sad, sad desperation?


LINKS

NBC: Parks and Recreation

24 May 2009

The Taj Mahal Through The Mist


Okay, it's probably smog, but you can just about make out the outline of the mythical Taj Mahal.
Posted by Picasa

From Zeroes To Heroes


The Deccan Chargers pulled off an unlikely win in IPL 2 over the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Amazing because they finished dead last in IPL 1!

I'm happy for Andrew Symonds. He played a crucial role in the Deccan (i.e. Hyderabad) victory, even as he was being left off the Ashes squad.

I'm sad for Anil Kumble who came this close to captaining Bangalore (a squad that included my favorite Rahul Dravid, who had earlier catapaulted his team into the finals) to victory, after having so gracefully led India in his earlier incarnation.

Great stuff all around. Net let's see if they can somehow find a way to play the Indian Premier League in, oh I don't know, India!


LINKS

22 May 2009

Vote For Pedro


Pedro Almodovar, that is, and vote for him to win an Oscar.

Cannes 2009 is in full swing, and according to my favorite film columnist Jeffrey Wells (love that guy, but he is an acquired taste, so be warned) PA's Broken Embraces is the one to watch.

He says that it is "easily the most fully realized, thematically satisfying, self-assured and purely entertaining film of the festival so far...Way in front of anything I've seen so far."

And all this for a film that is, in Jeff's own words, not-quite great.

I might be coming around on this Penelope Cruz woman after all.

Click on the link below to read the full review, directly from Cannes.


LINKS

NIne Lovely Ladies


I have to admit, I'm totally loving the teaser for Nine.

Nine, of course, is the Daniel Day-Lewis musical directed by Rob Marshall. I'm not sure if this a straight up remake of Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, or an "inspired by" kinda deal.

I'm not a huge Marshall guy, but after the one-two punch of Bill the Butcher and Daniel Plainview, I'm a huge DD-L guy!

This looks like the old Miramax-style Oscar-baiting extravaganza Harvey Weinstein used to specialize back in the mid-to-late nineties (early nineties were actually small-scale movies, as hard as it may be to imagine). After The Reader and Inglorious Basterds, this could really start to make things happen for The Weinstein Company.

And, not to forget, this might be Ryan Kavanaugh's coronation too (Relativity Media put up some major coin for the honor of really legitimizing the brash young wannabe Hollywood mogul).

And, um, did I mention the all-star female cast? Holy crap!

Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson, Kate Hudson (why?!), the great Judi Dench, and the great, great, Sophia Loren.

Wowza!

Click below to watch the teaser.

LINKS

YouTube: Nine Teaser Trailer

21 May 2009

My Friend's Wife's Movie!


My friend Roopak "Rupi Sallu" Saluja is married to famous Bollywood actress Tara Sharma.

Tara is pregnant and funny thing is she has a movie coming out in which, wait for it, she plays a pregnant woman.

It's a sweet, low-budget comedy called Suno Na... and needs all the word-of-mouth help it can get. So go check it out and tell your friends.


LINKS

NowRunning.com: Suno Na Preview