Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WWE The Good 'ol Days: Part 3 - Kamala Blog

I was going to leave Kamala as the last post, and who knows maybe this will be the last post of this series (depending on how lazy I get) but this has to be the most offensive wrestling character of them all. It all started when explorer Kim Chee traveled to Uganda for God knows what? So Kim Chee was exploring with only a torch at night for some reason and came across a giant tribesman. He was startled, but rather than run away forever he did what any good archaeologist would, he captured the giant black man, quit his career in archaeology, joined forces with Mr. Fuji and brought the giant black man to the WWF so he could be his valet. 

As offensive as reenacting slavery is, it didn't end there. Kamala wandered the ring completely confused by his surroundings wearing ridiculous body paint and holding a spear that he often put in his mouth. You ever tell or hear a spear joke? Well from what I remember they don't go over too well in mixed company, yet somehow 15 years ago this was an ongoing visual joke in the WWF

To top it off, I did a quick google search on Uganda just to see if any of the people even come close to resembling Kamala and nope not even close. Every person that came up on my search was thin and none of them wore body paint. I believe that painting moons and stars on your body are a product of genius WWF racism and not based in reality. After writing a few of these, my favorite theme is that the WWF never did any research, they simply had some ridiculous stereotype in their heads and went with it. I imagine they never envisioned a world where you could just run a search and see reality in a matter of seconds. Kamala gets my vote for most racist WWF character ever, but I think it is more amazing they talked a black guy into doing this. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

WWE the Good 'Ol Days: Part 2

Ah we have gone through a crazy time under President George Bush. We have been overwhelmed by incompetence, and watched our country and other nations get attacked by Islamic fundamentalists. However, even acts of terrorism cannot overcome political correctness in entertainment. Sure using a stereotype like The Iron Sheik can be offensive, but to the target audience of wresting fans it was pure gold. The evil Iranian vs. Sergeant Slaughter, a decorated war veteran, ah, what a treat for the fans! What amazes me more than anything is that people were shocked wrestling was fake in the 80's. How could you think these were legit characters and story lines? Maybe if they start really fighting in the ring, we can fight off terrorism in the squared circle once again. 

Is Eric Mangini a good coach?

I think the mindset of most NFL teams is that if you bring in a coach that is in any way affiliated with Bill Parcells, it will equal wins for your franchise. Historically this has been pretty accurate. Mangini seemed to be cut from the same mold after leading the Jets to a 10-6 season in 2006. Prior to 2006 Mangini only spent 1 year as Defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, his highest coaching position, which caused many people to question whether or not he was experienced enough to be a head coach. 

Though 2006 was a good year, a few things bothered me about Mangini. I thought he was a good coach that year, but I found it odd that he would not commit to any of his players as starters in the preseason or even week to week. He insisted that everyone needed to earn their jobs on a week to week basis. This always struck me as a bit childish in Pro sports. 

I like the idea of guys being accountable for poor performance on the field, but in the NFL isn't that the case just because there are no guaranteed contracts? If you stink it up, I am all for letting a player go, or benching him, but that doesn't mean you should act like every player is on the same playing field as the next guy and could lose his spot. Chad Pennington for instance may not be the most talented QB, but always showed a huge drive to win games and compete at a high level. I felt like Mangini was just doing this for show, and wanted to create a media buzz that painted him out to be a hard ass just like his mentor Bill Belichick

I am fine with promoting competition, but I feel like guys like Belichick and Tom Coughlin have a much better approach. They both have really strict rules that HAVE to be followed, and develop a situation where the system is more important than any given player. Under their systems I feel like the players don't need to be told their job is on the line because someone with similar skill could easily fill their spot because the system is so strong. It is a privilege to play for those teams. If Mangini created a system of winning, there would be no reason to run the team as if they were a high school football team. 

On top of that, his philosophy seems to have completely gone out the window when Brett Favre showed up. The same guy who promoted week to week competition for the past 2 years let Brett Favre come in and take Chad Pennington's spot without playing a down? Granted they did win more games this year, but Pennington has clearly had a better year than Favre. He has also said that he welcomes Favre back next season, and will give him all the time he needs to decide if he wants to come back. What? What is the backup plan? They have no other QB. It is a bit absurd to me for a guy to go from open competitions all the time to just handing over the QB spot to a legend and insuring he has the spot next season even after a mediocre 2008. 

I feel like Mangini is desperate to prove his worth as a head coach in the NFL, and I question whether any of his past antics were driven by real philosophy or perhaps he just wanted to prove he has his own unique identity. Mangini seems to have a good mind for football, but perhaps it is time he mans up and just tries to win some games. He will never be Bill Belichick but maybe it is good enough to just be Eric Mangini and not worry about what anyone thinks. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WWE The Good 'ol Days Part 1

Ok, I have had a lot less time to post lately so I am going to start this series that should not be that time consuming. I was talking about the old website the other day with my friends, and it inspired this. Lately all I have been amazed at how PC the United States has become to the point where we are afraid to say anything. Remember back when things were so un-PC that the WWF was able to do whatever they wanted and get away with it: Exhibit A:

Akeem the African Dream

Could you imagine nearing the end of 2008 that this was ever an acceptable character in the pro wrestling world? The basis of his character if I remember correctly was that he was hit on the head and developed amnesia. When Akeem awoke, he believed he was a man of African descent and proceeded to shuck and jive in the most stereotypical way possible. His clothes are a ridiculous interpretation of I guess traditional African garb? But surprisingly good ol' Vince McMahon did not have him speak with an African accent, he instead had him speak with an awful "East Harlem" like accent that is offensive to even people like me who think you should do anything for entertainment. I yearn for the days where a fat white guy could become a star by awfully imitating a black man for laughs. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just in case you were planning on dying

You might want to check out this link from Costco.

Great deals on dirt naps.

You know when you go to check out in Best Buy they recommend accessories? Maybe Costco recoomends do it yourself embalming kits. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brett Favre? Seriously?

Brett Favre's mediocre season for the Jets has landed him a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl Roster. NI don't think you can credit Favre for the Jets turnaround, and they have not even accomplished anything significant yet. In typical Favre fashion he's thrown a ton of TDs, and a ton of INTs. He has looked awful and great from game to game. I am not saying he is not still a good QB, but even Chad Pennington has been more vital to his team. Below is my list of QBs who are more deserving of a Pro Bowl birth in the AFC. 

Matt Cassel - He has put up almost the same numbers as Favre, has not started since HS, and has won a number of games for the team. 

Chad Pennington - He is playing like he did before Jets fans turned their back on him. 

Phillip Rivers - He has thrown 28 TDs and only 11 Int and has a QB rating over 100. Not his fault his team sucks. 

Ben Roethlisberger - If the reasoning for Eli Manning making the Pro Bowl is that he is playing well on the best team in the NFC why isn't Ben in?

Matt Schaub could also be debated. I just find it crazy that Favre has made the Pro Bowl this year. Talk about making it on name recognition.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Creepy Gym Guy update

Please review the following post if you have no idea what I am talking about. 

Ok, so I went to the gym yesterday and for some reason they allowed Creepy Gym Guy (Notice the capital letters, his title is a proper noun) to work behind the front desk. He has graduated from cleaning toilets and staring at guys junks to scanning membership cards. That sounds fine, and like it would be less creepy but he managed to somehow make this job even more creepy that staring at nude men. He scanned my card yesterday, smiled and said, "Do you need a towel Kenneth, enjoy your workout." He said this in what I believe to be a very deliberately creepy delivery.

Maybe I am being paranoid and he was just being nice, but he now has access to all of my personal information, and I had to use my own smile reading skills to come to the conclusion it is not a normal smile. Hey at least he makes for semi entertaining stories. 

Winter Meetings

The MLB winter meetings have basically become a shopping spree for the Yankees and Mets, and being a New Yorker I really don't have a problem with that. Here is my Sabathia opinion though. I am a Yankee hater, so naturally I will try to find the negatives. Ultimately I think Sabathia helps the Yankees pitching staff greatly, but I do not think he deserves the highest pitching contract ever. Below is a list of arguably the best pitchers in the last 20 years, and a count of how many times they had an ERA under 3 and over 4 in their first 9 full seasons. Here is what Sabathia has allowed:

Seasons with an ERA over 4: 4
Seasons with an ERA below 3: 1

Roger Clemens:
Seasons with an ERA over 4: 1
Seasons with an ERA below 3: 8

Greg Maddux:
Seasons with an ERA over 4: 0
Seasons with an ERA below 3: 6

Pedro Martinez: 
Seasons with an ERA over 4: 0
Seasons with an ERA below 3: 6

Randy Johnson:
Seasons with an ERA over 4: 1
Seasons with an ERA below 3: 2

Johan Santana (7 seasons)
Seasons with an ERA over 4: 0
Seasons with an ERA below 3: 5

So while Sabathia is an impressive pitcher, he does not fit the mold of those who were considered the best of their era I don't think. However, Wang, Joba, Sabathia, that is pretty dangerous and should be interesting.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A juxtaposition of our obsessions

Our obsession with political correctness in the country has continued, the latest victim, Sean Avery of the Dallas Stars. I could care less about Avery or the NHL in general, but there seems to be conflicting obsessions in this country. Clearly to me, there is an obsession with appearing morally superior to your peers, and there is a contrasting obsession with athletes and entertainers who bend the rules and push the boundaries of what is socially and morally acceptable. 

I feel like most people use language equivalent to Sean Avery's in every day life. This is not going to disappear. I remember being 8 or 9 years old, dishing out insults on the playground and getting them right back. That is the way life is. Most people are ok with that, and learn to roll with the punches. What is really bizarre to me however, is when a high profile situation like Avery's occurs in the media, the same people who you talk to and joke around with every day take the moral high ground. Why? In Avery's case, he has a history of saying things he was told not to by his employers, so maybe a suspension is warranted. But moral outrage? You hear crude comments day in and day out, but for some reason when it is said on television by a guy who smashes other men against plexi glass for a living, then it is outrageous and unacceptable. 

What is also upsetting to me is that the owners know what they are buying when they buy it. Over the past decade in sports, all popular American sports have tightened their disciplinary measures publicly. This is a nice public relations move, but there is no doubt in my mind that the athletes they love most are the problematic athletes. The owners and the public love the problem child. Almost everyone I have talked to over the past few years has told me they hate Barry Bonds. Oh yea? I find that kind of funny when you look on tv and see stadiums that are not normally sold out, loaded with people to see Barry Bonds hit Homeruns. I don't think that people genuinely love Barry Bonds, but they love to hate him. He is like the villain you hate in a comic book. He might be a cheater and a jerk, but he is a fun to watch cheater and jerk. People also talk about Terrell Owens as if he is some awful human. People call him a jerk and a cancer to his teams. But I can't count how many times over the past 5 years I have heard, "Did you see what TO did?" or "Did you hear what TO said?" We are obsessed with the problem child and the gossip that goes along with it, but outraged when they cross the invisible line of offensiveness. 

For some reason we hold sports organizations to a level of class and dignity publicly that we do not exercise in our own lives. We have to shield children from what they will certainly experience throughout their own lives countless times. We consider athletes role models even though they are paid to brutally hit their peers and win games. The truth of the matter is, children are more likely to emulate what they see on the field than what is seen during the pregame, and if you are going to complain about something maybe you should start there (though I see no reason to complain in general). I think people should think about their own ethics and morals, take a good look in the mirror, and if they still feel Sean Avery was wrong then so be it. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

For the Tom Brady Haters

I Couldn't agree more. I have always hated Tom Brady, and outside of his one amazing year last year, he is a product of the system. 

What old person would report this?

These two girls apparently molested old men in a nursing home. I know this has probably been said, but...

1) Who are the guys who reported this, it is probably every dying old man's fantasy.
2) If you can find the details of the case (the linked article is really vague) they are hilarious, and went as far as pretending to smother the old people.
3) Out of all the stories, the news should be editorializing here. How are they reporting this so matter of factly 

You have to check out this site

It is a real howl. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Knicks game last night...other BBall news

I went to the Knicks game last night with my good friend Ryan. They played the Blazers who are a very good team and predictably lost. They did a good job though, and I continue to be hopeful that they have turned a corner and will continue to have exciting games. 

What was more interesting than the game itself was the  halftime entertainment, and timeout hijinx. During halftime they had some bizarre talent competition between 3 teenage girls. The first girl was completely awful and sang "Sk8r Boi" by Avril Lavigne. At this point I thought they were just randomly picked from the audience because no one could be this bad. Turns out I was wrong, so I have two theories. Either this girl's family is deaf or she is an orphan with no friends, so no one has loved her enough to tell her she was awful. The other two girls were good I guess considering they were performing what amounted to Karaoke in Madison Square Garden, and it beat out the Romanian gymnast from last Knicks game I went to in the bizarre halftime show category. We then had to vote for our favorite by applause. Before presenting the awful girl, they prefaced the voting with "Remember, we do not boo our children in MSG." Not a good idea reminding awful human beings that they have the ability to boo in life. What followed was complete silence from 80% of the arena (the people I like to refer to as the nice people) and boos from the other 20%. I felt bad for the girl, but hey, now she knows that no one loves her enough to tell her what she isn't good at. 

Besides the halftime show people were also randomly select for a game of "Around the World" for plane tickets, and a contest where two guys had to spin in a circle with their head on a baseball bat and then try to score first in opposite baskets. To me this just seems like a lawsuit in the making, but I guess after Isaiah's hijinx they probably have really good lawyers. Anyway so these two dopes in helmets spun around, and the heavier set gentleman fell down twice as if he was shot in the head by a sniper. This was funny because he was fat, and fat people falling is always hilarious. 

All in all it was a good night, spent mostly making fun of Greg Oden. We came up with an impression of what Greg Oden must sound like and now I refuse to actually listen to him speak because it will ruin my dream. We also called him Frankenstein several times and I felt as if the sneakers he was wearing were not even basketball sneakers. This may be the case since he was benched for the entire 4th quarter and scored 2 points. The only other notable event is that I learned Rudy Fernandez of the Blazers is from Spain. I learned this not over the PA but because of the giant crowd of Spanish psychopaths waving what had to be a 20 ft Spanish flag in the good seats below us. I thought I was at a world cup game. 

In other basketball news, the Houston Comets are being shutdown because no one cares about the WNBA

Vegeterians bug me

I want to start this out by saying when I use the word meat, I am referring to all types of meat, and not just beef. Most vegetarians are only vegetarians for two reasons, they think not eating meat is healthier, or they feel like it is an ethical pat on the back to not eat meat. Both reasons bug me equally. 

First let's start with meat not being healthy. This is something fat people came up with so they could try to bypass working out. Meat is an important part of our diet, otherwise we wouldn't have these sweet teeth to chew it with. The main offenders are men and women in their early to mid 20s. I assume low self esteem causes this, and what is even more irritating is having to listen to the people talk to you as if they are now dietitians who have it all figured out. Run a mile fatty you can (and probably should) eat meat. Honestly, if you are bypassing meat for entire days in order to count calories and not making it up with other forms of protein you probably have severe emotional issues that need to be checked out. There is nothing wrong with some muscle or fat, and personally I think vegetarians look ridiculously unhealthy and frail. 

Secondly, the idea that you are morally against eating meat is hugely hypocritical to me and this idea really makes me angry. If you are vegan, this isn't for you, you are a pretentious fuck, but whatever at least you went through with your ridiculous moral stand. People who are vegetarians, yet still eat dairy are the worst. Have you ever seen animal torture videos? Well I have. In college I had an insane Philosophy professor who forced us to watch slaughterhouse torture videos, and animals raised for dairy are tortured way worse than animals raised for slaughter. When an animal is slaughtered, often it is done in a very cruel way, but it is usually happens within a matter of seconds or minutes at worst. Animals that are raised for dairy are kept in some of the worst conditions I have ever seen. They are kept cramped up in pens where they attack each other their entire lives and live a completely torture filled life for years. How is it you are taking a moral stand and then you go and eat an egg laid by a chicken who had its eyes pecked out because it was in the same cage as 5 other chickens. I can go on about this forever, but I think my point is pretty to the point and logical. Your moral agenda is lame, if you need self importance have your mom tell you what a great person you are.  

Monday, December 1, 2008

New York, New York

The New York Giants are 11-1, and the Knicks are 6-6.

The New York Giants are defending Superbowl Champs, and the Knicks haven't been to the playoffs since 2003.

You wouldn't think these two teams would have anything in common besides New York, but they do. They both have annoying dead weight on their team that needs to be dealt with.

While the Giants are currently the most dominant team in football and have overcome his hijinx to stay this great, Plaxico Burress has to be nearing his end in New York. Plaxico is a great player, and works harder than almost anyone else on the Giants when he is on the field, but when he is off of the field he becomes borderline retarded. He has been fined over 30 times by the Giants and the latest incident takes the cake. I am ok with Plaxico shooting himself in the leg. I am even ok with Plaxico not registering the weapon in New York, and Plaxico not having a carrier license. What is borderline retarded is trying to cover it up, and the way he tried to cover it up. Plaxico shot himself and had the entire trip to the hospital to come up with a good excuse, and what he came up with was saying his name was Harris Smith and he was shot in an Applebees.

Has Plaxico seen himself??? It isn't like he is Hines Ward, he has a very noticeable physique and face. He looks like a 6'5 visitor from outer space. Even if somehow the workers at the hospital did not know him, didn't he think that maybe they would check to see if someone was actually shot at an Applebees? Why would he use Applebees as an alibi? Is there even and Applebees in New York City? There should be some law that gets you 15 years in prison for bad alibis. Wow, Plaxico is not a smart man.

Now onto Stephon Marbury. I really wanted to buy into the idea that Stephon Marbury was not to blame in the latest Knicks saga. I figured that D'antoni was being a dick and benching him and then pretending he gave Stephon a choice. Seems like Stephon was just being a baby again. I am sick at looking at him with his dumb bad attitude and stupid star tattoo. Calling yourself Starbury doesn't change the fact every team you have been on has been awful. I think it is pretty messed up and crazy that Marbury was not given a real shot to play, but can you blame D'antoni for wanting to win basketball games? If he couldn't win with Kevin Garnett, he isn't going to win with David Lee. No one is going to give a shit about Marbury when he is finally out of this league, and in his contract year when given the chance to play he turns his coach down. His excuse was that if D'antoni was a man he wouldn't have given him a choice. Way to make a stand dummy, I hope no one wants you in free agency. In Stephon's eyes he is a superstar, in the eyes of the league during hard financial times he is an aging scorer who has never won anything relevant. 

Both of these guys are running out of time in New York, and both of these guys are giant idiots. I can't wait until the headaches are gone. The culture of the Knicks especially is going through a big change, and once Stephon and Plaxico are gone both teams can concentrate completely on winning. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Backpacking Personal Trainer: Tales of NYSC Part 2

OK, today's NYSC character I will showcase is the personal trainer who looks like he is about to go backpacking, and is also really really happy about it. The thing that annoys me most about personal trainers is especially evident in this guy. When a personal trainer approaches you, you get that uneasy feeling like you're at Best Buy and they are trying to sell you a protection plan. I mean in both cases, in the end they are operating under the guise that they are trying to help you out, by selling you something they need. In both cases, I feel like they are trying to scam me. 

What is odd about this guy, is that he walks around dressed like Wesley Snipes in "Drop Zone". I am not sure how a giant backpack with hooks on it, factors into a personal training strategy, but if it is important, this guy comes very well equipped. Besides Wesley Snipe's ridiculous sky diving backpack, it seems he also stole his big goofy smile as well. Every day he greets you with a huge grin, and invites you to sign up for a free training session. 

A lot of dumb white people fall for this. Just for the record, there is no such thing as a free training session. Everything a personal trainer every tells you or offers you that is free, is another angle to try to get you to pay ridiculous sums of money so they can make you look like an idiot in front of everyone else at the gym. I love, jumping in the air with my arms flailing just as much as the next guy, but when everyone else in the gym is doing curls and bench presses, you tend to stand out. I guess this is fitting because you did fall for the personal trainer scam.

Besides the "free training session" backpack guy also spins some wheel (like the one on wheel of fortune) which has prizes which amount to coupons to New York Sports Cub. Great, the slum lords at New York Sports Club are charging me $80 a month to use their awful facilities, and now the weirdo in the backpack just told me I won 10% off the first month of a personal trainer. When you are simply getting a discount on something you don't need, is that really winning??

Well this creep in a backpack sure makes you believe you just won something. When I think back, the minute I signed up for the gym they brought in personal trainers right away and tried to sell me their services. I cannot begin to list the problems at this gym, and I pay a premium rate to use their second rate facility. They are constantly trying to find different ways to scam me. I don't need your help weird guy in a backpack. Please leave me alone. 

Note: This is making me angrily think about my days at Circuit City so I think I am going to start a new series of blogs about that. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Without A Paddle" A Netflix Review

I was just browsing Netflix for movies to add to my instant queue so I can play them on the awesome Xbox Netflix Player , and came across this woman's review of "Without a Paddle".  I have not seen this movie but it looks pretty mediocre to me, and she had the following to say: 

This is a film about a group of childhood friends who decide to follow their childhood obssesion and go on a camping trip in search of a lost bank robber's treasure...and everything bad that can happen does. I am a tough sell on comedy. It honestly takes a lot to make me laugh. With that said, let me say that I laughed so hard at this movie that I almost lost my breath. This movie plays on all the fears a guy could possibly have...A neurotic bear chasing you constantly, wild girls that are hairy but pretty, redneck hillbillies in the woods hunting you, huddling with your buddies for warmth(while practically naked), and a creepy old wilderness guy yelling at you while holding a rifle. This movie had nonstop comedy. The story moved along well and the comedy was played by the actors to perfection! Seth Green is AMAZING! green's brilliant facial expressions alone deserve applause for comedy. Matthew Lillard did not disappoint! And newcomer from the tv show "Punk'd", Dax Shepard, was surprisingly GREAT! I absolutely recommend this movie to anyone! It was wonderfully funny with a small moral about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. See it and enjoy a wonderful ride

I hate when people preface things by saying they are a hard sell, because odds are that is a lie. As we proceed through her review she points out things that couldn't possibly be funny as highlites to what I am guessing is an extremely mediocre movie(making her an easy sell). Putting "while practically naked" in parenthesis reeks of dumb soccer mom, and I am sure Seth Green even knows his facial expressions are not genius. I love how she had to throw in "new comer Dax Shepard" as if she writes for "Rolling Stone" to legitamize her awful writing, but then cancels that out by typing GREAT (notice all caps). I hate this person, you get 0 bananas, that is right I am reviewing your review Melodic from Netflix.

Creepy gym guy: Tales of NYSC Part 1

This should be the first in a series dedicated to the awfulness of the New York Sports Club that I frequent on 8th ave in Chelsea. I suspect that a lot of the staff at the gym are gay. I suspect it for good reason, but that is best left for another blog. It is fine that they are gay, to each their own, and as with anything, I am cool with whatever anyone chooses as long as it is not affecting me. 

Well the problem with New York Sports Club in Chelsea is that it has affected me. It has affected me often enough where I can break these blog posts into a series of bizarre stories and characters. One character, I refer to as creepy gym guy, mostly because I don't know what you would call what he does at the gym. Maybe janitor? His job seems to be to clean up after the people in the gym. 

Any towels left behind, he picks up. Any sweat on the ground he mops up. You can often find him wiping down the showers, oh also you can see him staring down the asses of male patrons and making creepy comments. Creepy gym guy is a short black guy, who seems like possibly he might be a little slow. I don't want to be insensitive and say for sure that he is a full blown tard, but his over friendly nature leads me to believe he is either slow or a sexual predator. The way he stares down other men, and the inquisitive way he he grunts at the male form lead me to believe he is a homosexual. That, and his constantly asking the men if they "need help" when it seems they are just trying to get dressed or dry off. 

Every day I walk into the locker room I have grown to expect a "good morning" or "good afternoon" from creepy gym guy. This seemed like a nice gesture at first, but it is often followed by creepy gym guy freezing in his tracks and watching me as I begin to undress. One day I put on my towel to get into the shower and I swore I heard him sort of grunt "mmm". I am not sure if this was real or if I am homophobic and hearing things, but I am sort of leaning towards real. As I am typing this I realize that the actual story of creepy gym guy is not that interesting. I guess it is something that needs to be experienced. I am confident that if other New York Sports Club members were to read this, they would be relieved that someone else has acknowledged what was on their mind. Creepy gym guy is a retarded ghoul, and Part 1 of who knows how many blogs about the most bizarre gym I have ever been to. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fable II

After playing the first "Fable" I was left with the feeling that I just experienced something fresh and exciting in the RPG world. The original "Fable" had a story that was unique, and extremely engrossing despite any faults that were contained within the game. When the game was done, I felt sad to leave Albion. There was a definite attachment to the world I have traveled for 15 hours of my life, and I knew I would miss it. On top of that it was a nice break from the typical RPG with antiquated turn based combat and generic Japanese story lines. 

When "Fable II" was announced I was excited. Though the original "Fable" had it's game play faults, it was a great game, and I figured they would certainly take what they had and improve on the concepts already introduced. Combat and magic were great in "Fable", but ranged magic, and ranged weapons were so difficult to productively use that you often had to use melee attacks and short range magic to win battles. It got so frustrating that I gave up on ranged weapons entirely. On top of that, quests were presented in an annoying and clunky way. The guild master presented you with Quest cards as if you were in a giant game of "Magic the Gathering" and you had to find your way around the world using an on screen map and teleportation pods. Travel
 was ok, but it definitely could have been improved on so that your objectives were easier to find.

Rather than address these issues, and make a great sequel to "Fable", a dumbed down game was created that eliminated all skill, and also added new imperfect features that I now want improved in "Fable III". Now, like I said ranged combat was impossible in the original "Fable", but in "Fable II" the ranged combat is so dumbed down all you have to do is press the "Y" button continuously and all your enemies die before you. They tackled the map issue by eliminating all sense of travel in the game. Rather than travel in real time from city to city, you just go into the start menu and select the city you want to travel to and it tells you that it takes 18 hours on the load screen. Apparently, by saying it takes 18 hours to get somewhere, this constitutes a "massive environment" since that is what they claim on the back of the box. Personally I think the first "Fable" was a more massive world. On top of this, the on screen map was eliminated entirely, and a gold trail leads you from place to place. What am I 8 years old? 

I am also a fan of going against the grain, but they eliminated the concept of mana in the game, and I don't see why really. I guess this is supposed to make it easier to cast? However, the system used to make casting simple, actually causes you not to want to cast at all. They tried to tie all casting into the "B" Button so that you are not constantly cycling through spells like the first game, but this raises a new problem, you have to know which spell you will cast prior to the fight. So I guess their solution was instead of replacing your old spells when you level up new spells, there is a hierarchy of casting. So you set the primary spell you want on the first level of casting, second, etc. and you can chain together spells like this. In theory this is not awful, but once you get passed level 2, the powerup time for a level 3 spell is considerably longer, and you take a lot of damage every time you cast, so it becomes not worth it to cast anymore. I think this is a shame because of how important casting was in the first "Fable".

With all of this aside, "Fable 2" added two really cool new concepts to the franchise. Coop play, and an economy. I will start with Coop play. It was really cool to be walking around Albion and see your friends icons in the game. When you get close to their icon, you can talk to your friends using your headset, and trade items. I think I prefer this for the console over MMORPG's because it allows you to interact with friends while your character still maintains a level of importance in the world you are playing in. You can invite players into your gang, but they will appear as henchmen rather than equals. Once again I think this is great because you can see how your choices have influenced Albion compared to how your friends' Albion appears. While I think this is what ultimately saves the game, it is disappointing that the game is so easy because the coop feature would be much more exciting if the enemies scaled to your level.

The economy feature would have been really cool if it mattered. I really worked on improving the economy in the game just for the sake of earning money, but really after 2 hours of working on the economy you pretty much have unlimited money. The economy consists of taking jobs as a blacksmith, bar tender, bounty hunter etc. and then using the money you earn to buy businesses and homes. When you buy a business you are able to raise and lower prices based on a  percentage up to a 100% the value of current prices. If you raise prices it is seen as an act of corruption, if you lower prices it is seen as a good act. These decisions coupled with all of the other decisions you will make through the game determine the appearance of your character and how he is viewed by others. This was a cool feature, but all the money you will ever need could be raised in 2 hours. 

Overall, despite all of my bitching it was a good experience. There were a lot of throw backs to the original game, and a pretty decent story. The ending was really outside of RPG norm, and like it or not, it's nice to see a game going outside the box. Decisions seem to make a much more significant difference than in the first game, and I am interested to play through again to see how my character looks as a good guy. I have visited my friends world, which seemed much more corrupt than my game. Also, being corrupt can really affect the economy negatively. It is cool to see your decisions affecting the environment so greatly. Overall, this was a good game that should have been great. It seems like they really catered to the casual gamer, and in my opinion this is the major issue facing gaming today. I will give this 2 out of 4 bananas. 

I am tired of hearing about "the poor"

I have noticed an odd trend that started when Barack Obama was chosen as the Democratic candidate for President a few months back. Middle class white people talking about poor people as if they are some static entity that needs to be handled with kid gloves. More specifically I have read and heard many liberals have in depth conversations about the state of black people in America, and redistribution of wealth to those less fortunate.

First, the idea of middle class white people talking about black America as if they know what is good for them, is as insulting as saying "the N word" (I will discuss the ridiculousness of having to say "the N word" in another blog).  White people having an open discussion about black people as if they understand their struggle is like parents discussing their children. It is marginalizing black people to the point where you are implying that they cannot even defend or think for themselves, and it is a way of being racist under the guise of caring. Privileged white people love to seem socially and politically relevant at the expense of treating black people like children, it is a hobby of white people. 

Secondly, I can't stand the idea of "spreading the wealth." I know people who make less than 12k a year, have kids, and live perfectly normal lives. In this country with very little effort you can make 10-12k a year, and have the government pay most of your rent, and most of your food, and still get money back at tax time. I am not against that, that is taking care of your people to me. I think there should be some regulation on how long people can live off the government (since people often spend their entire lives on welfare) but ultimately, I am not for hanging people out to dry. I find it insulting that Barack Obama and the privileged white have this blanket policy of redistributing wealth to "the poor." 

I have had people the last few months criticize me for supporting politicians who are not "for the poor." Why the hell would you be for the poor! They smell, and eat up tax dollars, so I am not for the poor, but poor people will always exist and I acknowledge that. My problem is that people are talking about the poor like they are some static entity. I have heard people who are not poor say "I am poor" as if they are a group that needs representing. I don't know when the idea of being poor gained this acceptable connotation where it is almost as if they are their own race. Being poor is a personal economic situation, not some disease that can't be cured or a skin color that will be discriminated against. So I am tired of acting like we need to help this entity called the poor. What we need to do is create more jobs, so that being poor is not a static state of being, but a temporary economic state. 

I never thought I would see the day in the United States where spreading money around without earning it was a popular idea. Our country is built on ambition and will die on the backs of well off liberals who feel like they have some social obligation to help the unambitious. I don't expect to throw people out on the street with no food or clothes, but "the poor" shouldn't be treated like dogs waiting near the dinner table for supper either. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Earth Wind, and Fire. Who will stop them?

The other day, I gave my good friend Ryan fantasy football advice. I told him it would be a bad idea to start Derrick Ward because there is no way the Giants would run strong on the Ravens.  Up until yesterday, the Ravens were allowing 67 yards a game, and had a string of 29 straight games not allowing a 100 yard rusher. Well they still haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher, but only because there was no reason to run Brandon Jacobs anymore after the game got out of reach. 

I woke up excited yesterday, excited about the prospect of a Ray Lewis/Brandon Jacobs collision. The idea of the best rushing offense, against the best rushing defense would get any football fans' attention. Instead I watched Brandon Jacobs steam roll the Ravens carrying what seemed like the entire team on his back 10 yards at a time. Up until yesterday, the biggest run day for any team against the Ravens was 76 yards, and I watched the Giants 3rd string running back, Ahmad Bradshaw run for 77 yards in one play. Going into yesterday's game, I questioned whether the Giants could reach 100 yds, well their 3 back onslaught gained over 200 yds, and the only question left on my mind was, "How did these guys lose to the Browns?"

I try to pride myself on logic, and not being superstitious, but I find myself every week thinking that the Giants are "due for a loss." I feel like if I gloat the Giants will lose, and as I type this I am thinking I will probably jinx them, but I do not see the Giants losing. I don't see them losing to anyone at any time. It is a proud time to be a Giants fan, and it seems like that maybe the defending champs could indeed defend their title. Anyone remember when sports writers all picked the Cowboys in the wake of Osi Umenyiora going down? It seems so long ago. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

One of these things doesn't belong

Courtesy of my good friend Dikran:

I'd think that White House photos like these will look a little more natural come January. Am I right? 

You know Michelle is a two in the pink one in the stink kinda gal. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keith Olbermann is a douche

The issue of gay marriage has come up the last couple of days over at, and I realize that I have a hard time separating my hate from people and my real feelings on issues. I think although it is a more slippery slope than advocates of gay marriage would like to admit I am generally in favor of gay marriage.  I also believe it is wrong that they have taken that right away in California once it was already given to those people, but on the other hand maybe something this controversial should have went to a Democratic vote to begin with.

However with my feelings on the issue aside, the one thing I know for sure is that I hate Keith Olbermann. I do not see how people can see him as any different than Bill O'Reilly. Granted Bill O'Reilly makes some crazy comments based on lies, and absurdities but they are both out for only one person, themselves. 

I remember back about a year ago during the Don Imus controversy, when Keith Olbermann came out against Don Imus. He said he urged his bosses to take action, and begged Jessie Jackson to take action against Don Imus. Don Imus is a guy who has made a career out of dumb jokes, and crude comments. Don Imus was also a colleague of Olbermann, and you know what a bigger man would have done? He would have sat back and allowed Imus' actions to dictate what happened to him. 

Of course that is not what Olbermann did, he has to let you know that he is cut from the finest moral fiber that exists. He has to constantly let you know that you are dumber than he is with his ridiculous cadence, and unnecessary use of "powerful" adjectives. Keith Olbermann wants to be a star so badly, and all he ever will be is a dumb sports anchor that somehow made it a little further in his career. Who is Keith even preaching to? He has a liberal show and a liberal audience, does he really think people who oppose him are going to tune in and be swayed by his rambling? No one is impressed by your words Keith, knock it off. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"lol theology for 1000$"

This was the title of the email I received last night from my brother. My brother, who despite his age is probably one of the funniest people I know, wrote a fictional religious tale and submitted it to his teacher. His teacher then loved the story so much, she had him submitted into a contest for $1,000 for the most inspirtaional religious experiences. The first story, is the tale up for consideration:

I believe I have been a witness to Christ many times in my life. I believe the act of witnessing Christ is important in itself, but you must also learn from it. I believe that good Christians will have the honor of witnessing Christ often in their lives, but must keep an open mind. Being a Catholic I believe that most near death experiences, miracles, and experiences of being saved all related to God or Christ.

      My first experience where I believe I have had an encounter with Christ is when I was upstate visiting family, and a bear suddenly came out of the woods while I was walking the dog down the road. The bear growled and waved its paw furiously, causing my aunt’s dog to bark and chase after the bear, as I held her back with her leash. The bear seemed infuriated and walked towards me and the dog when suddenly there was a loud crash in a nearby brook which sounded like rocks falling. The bear got scared and ran back into the woods. I went to check what the sound was but there was nothing there, or at least nothing out of the ordinary.

      My second experience where I believe I had an encounter with Christ or became a witness of him is when my dad had a heart attack. This caused him many health problems such as eating problems. I prayed and I prayed for him to get well, but the doctors said that even after all the treatments there was a high chance for further complication. I believed that there was hope and I continued to pray and went to church to pray. After all of his operations he began his recovery very weak, but over time he gained strength and made a full recovery, despite what the doctors told us. I believe that Christ helped me through these hard times and helped my dad.

      My third experience that I believe I have had an encounter with Christ is when my friends and I were waiting for the bus in the city.   We saw a homeless man lying on the ground with very little clothes in the cold. He asked for money for clothes but everyone that walked by either ignored him or said no. I saw this happen for ten minutes and I could tell the man was really suffering and cold so I decided to give the man enough money to buy a coat from a small nearby store. I gave him about twenty dollars and when I got on the bus I had second thoughts about what I did but moved on. Later that day when we were on our way home, I found a hundred dollars lying on the ground. I believe that Jesus gave me this because of my kindness towards the homeless man, even when I did not have a lot of money to begin with.

      Many people take these experiences and chalk them up to luck. At the time of Christ everything was much simpler and there was no mass media or television. Now there are many people who try to bash or make fake examples of God’s presence just to get a laugh. We believe only in miracles that are pre approved by the church, and this I find to be sad.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Role Models

I saw "Role Models" on Saturday, and it was great. This was probably the funniest movie I have seen since "Superbad", and although I love Kevin Smith, it was a lot funnier than "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." 

Paul Rudd, and Stiffler were hilarious, but Jane Lynch and "the little black kid" stole the show. Cheap laughs include little kids cursing, and Stiffler waking up naked in a fire pit, but even the cheap laughs were great. I am giving this movie 3 bananas. 

On a side note, I was in line waiting to go into the movie, and some ghetto Spanish Girl says "You know who I would love to meet..."

My anticipation meter goes up...

"Jack Black."

I hate when people say, "You know who I'd love to meet..."

It is such an empty statement. Personally I have met a lot of people I consider to be "heroes" of mine, and it has always been awkward and boring. 

Moreover, who wants to meet Jack Black?!? I am sure Jack Black doesn't even want to meet Jack Black. Why would this dumb girl want to meet him? What has Jack Black even done in the past 2 years, Kung Fu Panda? 

Do people want to meet Jack Black because of Kung Fu Panda? What is wrong with people. 

Would you want to meet this guy? Cause I wouldn't, and he kind of looks like me. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I want to give Frank Caliendo a hug

I am a long time Opie and Anthony listener, and over the years Frank Caliendo has been a semi regular guest on the show. When I first heard Frank on the air, he had a couple of impressions that were pretty good, and he came across as a pretty funny guy.

Somewhere along the line, his Madden impression took off and for some reason TBS thought this meant he could do any impression, and turn it into a weekly tv show. I cannot even make it 5 minutes into Frank's show, without feeling extremely embarrassed for him.

I find it easy to hate people who are annoyingly unfunny, but I do not even think that this is the case here. I think Frank is a genuinely funny guy, and there is a certain aura of self awareness that comes across during his show.

He has been on Opie and Anthony to promote standup acts since the show has aired, and he seems to avoid the issue of the television show completely. I feel for Frank, and how blatantly awful his show is. I want to be annoyed by the idea of him cashing in on this show, but then I hear his George Bush impression and I just want to hug him, or take him out back and put him out of his misery. Frank TV is the epitome of awfulness.

I Hate Your Guts

Help Jim Norton stay filthy rich, and pick up "I Hate Your Guts" from Amazon. The little I have heard/read so far has been hilarious. I liked his first book, but I think this will be 1000 times funnier. 

Four Christmases

What is Vince Vaughn doing? 

His father, her mother, his mother and her father all in one day.

Get out the wacky hats! How could this ever be good? What happened to Vince Vaughn being funny? 

When is the last time I didn't want to kill Reese Witherspoon

This is not even an interesting movie plot, this is like a common life situation. Is that supposed to be the appeal? Are we supposed to relate to the fact that Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are in a non funny, non interesting situation?

Look at that poster, how could you not want to kill both of them?

Has Reese Witherspoon ever been funny? I don't remember this. 

I wonder if when comedy actors do shitty movies and have to pose for these posters, if they get the douche chills inside. 

Also on a side note, what is wrong with Vince Vaughn's skin? That is a publicity photo, and he looks like a cadaver.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Morning After

After reading and seeing Barack on TV, even though I still do believe Obama is more of a rock star than a politician, and that is the reasoning most people voted, it is still exciting times. I am happy Obama is President, and it is nice to have a leader who is not a complete embarrassment to our country. I hope he does a great job and represents our country well. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thoughts on Election Day

Ok, so I voted for Obama today, because I think he will be a better symbolic representation of America throughout the world. However, I would not call myself a McCain hater, or an Obama supporter. I just think that at this point in time, with everything that has happened the past 8 years, this makes the most sense.

What I have found unbelievable on the Internet the past few days, is how incredibly vocal Obama supporters have been. There have been countless people on Facebook or Myspace, that I guarantee have no idea why they support Obama pushing him as if John McCain becoming president would be the end of the free world.

Personally I consider myself to be relatively politically ignorant. Because of this, I rely on a few close friends who are extremely politically knowledgeable to keep me up to date with what is going on etc. I am not ashamed to admit that, but because of my ignorance, I think it would be pretty irresponsible for me to go out and campaign for Barack Obama simply because that is who I was voting for.

During the past 3 days, I have seen people use such strong language, and paint our country as doomed if Barack Obama does not become President. Most of these people couple probably not even explain how Barack will affect their lives, but they are out there telling you that you have to vote for him.

I voted for Obama for really simplistic reasons, but like I said I am pretty politically ignorant. Now my main point here is that since most people are just as ignorant as I am, I can't believe that there is some profound reason that makes Barack Obama way greater than John McCain. I am fine with the choice I have made, but I have never seen so many people so passionate about something they know nothing about. These are just vague generalized thoughts for now, once everything settles down I will probably write some more about what I have noticed more specifically the last few days. If anyone cares.

Let's just hope that if Barack wins, he will be as great as the hype machine has made him out to be.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It is great to be a fan of a terrible sports franchise

I received an offer last week to see a bunch of Knicks games for $10 each from the Knicks. I thought that was a pretty insane deal at the time, but today I received a new offer for a game Wednesday I am already going to. Now, rather than pay $10 for tickets, you can pay $20.08 and get a ticket to the game, a food voucher (hot dogs, soda, and chips) and a Donnie Walsh/Mike D'Antoni T-shirt!!!

First off, you have to love the price, how clever. Secondly, who the hell wants to wear a T-shirt with a Coach or GM's name on it. Were their Jeff Van Gundy or Isaiah T-shirts? I don't remember them. What is going on with this organization. Hopefully Walsh, and D'antoni can turn things around, but upper management can never be exciting enough to make it's way onto a T-shirt. 

On a side note if this doesn't pan out they should make Herb Williams Coach, but require him to only wear track suits all the time. For some reason that mental image makes me laugh. 

Hacky Halloween Costumes 2008

My first blog Post ever is an idea stolen from my good friend Ryan, since that is what I do best: 

More hacky costume for 2008...

Heath Ledger Joker 


Sarah Palin

I have not seen any yet today, but I am sure I will.