Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Favorite Things of 2011


As promised, I bring you my Favorite Things of 2011.  Some of these things were created well before 2011.  However, all of these things were enjoyed or discovered by me in 2011.  I'll explain as I go along.  The list:

Music
1) El Camino by The Black Keys
This album has been on repeat since a bought it a couple weeks ago.  In fact, I like it so much that I found myself wishing for traffic when I went to run errands the other day so I would have more time in the car to listen to this album.  This is just good Rock 'n' Roll.  Put it in your earholes.

2) The Whole Love by Wilco
I may not wear skinny jeans, flannel shirts, wallet chains and have a ridiculous mustache but I've been a Wilco fan since my music-loving college buddies introduced them to me.  This is not their greatest album, but it's pretty damn good.  They seem to have really hit their stride and figured out how to consistently turn out great albums.

3) Nine Types of Light by TV On the Radio
I feel like TV On the Radio is a band that I shouldn't like but I love them.  They do crazy, weird shit that just sticks in my head for weeks and weeks.  I highly recommend checking out their "video album" that they posted on YouTube.  It strings together all of the videos for all of the songs and there's a great little sketch at the end with the band.  It's a cool way to listen to the album but if you'd rather not listen to the whole thing, fast forward to the sketch at the end.

4) The Grand Theater, Vol. 2 by Old 97's
Another band that I've loved since my college days.  This album and The Grand Theater, Vol. 1 really call back to their early days when they were a noisy, rollicking Alt-Country band.  I saw them live this year and it made me feel young and dumb again and it was good.


Podcasts
1) WTF Podcast  (www.wtfpod.com
Marc Maron, a comedian, hosts this podcast where he invites on other comedians and celebrities to discuss their lives and careers and an issues he may have with them.  Maron has been a part of the comedy scene for years and years and he has had contact with nearly every comedian you've heard of.  It's good stuff.  Give it a listen.  It's free at www.wtfpod.com

Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh (he played Ed in the TV series "Ed.") choose one snack per week, eat it and rate it.  The snacks are basically just an excuse for Michael and Tom to banter back and forth in their witty and hilarious way.  They have great chemistry and they work off each other so well and so quickly that you'll want to slow it down so you can catch every little bit of what they are saying.

3) The Nerdist (www.nerdist.com)
Chris Hardwick hosts this podcast with fellow comedians Matt Mira and Jonah Ray.  They talk about all things nerd and frequently have awesome nerdy guests from all the shows and movies that nerds love.  Nerd.

4) The Moth Podcast (www.themoth.org)
The Moth is a storytelling competition where regular people get up and tell true stories based on the theme of the night.  No notes allowed.

5) Improvised Star Trek (www.theimprovisedstartrek.com/)
I'm not a big Star Trek fan but I've seen enough and absorbed enough about Star Trek and the sci-fi world in general that I can enjoy this podcast. Plus, my friend and hilarious improviser Sean Kelley is in it.  Also, it's a short one so it's easy to fit in to your day.


Comedy
1) Hilarious -- Louis C.K.
I just realized that I bought more comedy albums this year than I did music albums.  There are two comedy albums that I'm not including on this list.  Fuck it, I'm putting them on the list at 5 and 6.  Anyway, if you don't know who Louis C.K. is you've been living in a cave.  He's widely regarded by regulars and comedians alike as the funniest man on the planet.  This album is exactly what its title says even if that's not what he means.  Just listen to it, you'll get it.  

Also, go to www.louisck.com and buy his most recent stand-up video for $5.  It's great too.

2) Finest Hour -- Patton Oswalt
I never thought I would like Patton Oswalt, but I do.  The guy can tell a joke.  If you don't have the time to listen to the whole damn album (which you should) definitely listen to "The Ham Incident."  You will break down laughing.  Dee and I did.

3) This Has To Be Funny -- Marc Maron
Yep, this is the same guy from the WTF Podcast.  Maybe I like this album so much because I like his podcast but the titular line is perfectly delivered on the album and probably his funniest moment.

4) Very Famous -- Michael Ian Black
If you like Michael Ian Black, you'll love this album.  This is him doing is snarky, weird thing.

5) Shakespeare -- Anthony Jeselnik
If you're the kind of person that can't laugh at death and cancer and AIDS and other horrible things, this is not for you.  There is no line he will not cross and he intentionally tries to cross all lines.  He comes at you with rapid fire jokes.  It's all setup, punchline, repeat.  Good stuff.

6) Cutting -- Amy Schumer
She likes to do dark, too.  Which is why I love her but she maintains a playful tone and she's flat out funny.


Books
1) The Postmortal by Drew Magary
Humans find the cure for aging.  Everyone gets the treatment.  Shit goes down.  Well thought out, well written, funny, clever.  It's by the guy who writes for Deadspin.com.  

2) The Kingkiller Chronicles Series (In the Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear) by Patrick Rothfuss 
I believe this is classified as Fantasy.  Who cares.  It's good shit.  It's the tale of a young man who learns magic and goes on great adventures.  I guess that describes just about everything in the genre, but this is a great tale.  Rothfuss has yet to finish the third book in the series but I can't wait to get my hands on it.  The first two were fantastic.

3) A Song of Ice and Fire Series (A Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin
Another Fantasy series.  You may have heard of or seen the HBO series "A Game of Thrones."  That series is based on these books.  There are five that have been published and I believe there are two more (possibly three) that remain.  The first two are fantastic and dark and twisted and super involved.  I was worried about being able to remember the names and stories of all the characters but the characters are so memorable that it's not hard at all.  Everyone who knows about this will tell you it is awesome.


TV
1) Breaking Bad
I'd heard about this show but never dove in until this year.  I started with the first season and worked my way all the way through the next two seasons before watching the just completed fourth season as it aired.  It's dark, gritty and intense.  Highly recommended.

2) The Wire
Okay, I'm super late to the party on this.  HBO introduced their HBO Go app which allows subscribers to watch HBO programs (past and present) on their computers or phones.  I took advantage of this and watched every season of The Wire.  It's as good as everyone says.  I love me a good cop show and this is by far the best cop show I've ever seen.  In fact, it may just be the best show of all time.  Okay, maybe it's in a tie with Breaking Bad.


iPhone Apps
1) Downcast
Downcast allows me to search out and manage my podcasts on my iPhone and iPad so I don't have to go searching all over the web for my podcasts.  They download when they are available and they're ready for me to listen to whenever I want.  I use it nearly every day.

2) Evernote
Do you need to remember things? Do you have stuff you need to keep track of?  Are you creative?  Do you write?  You need this app. You don't know it yet, but it will save your ass. Evernote will store and make searchable anything that you need to keep track of. Anytime I have an idea for a blog post, I pull up  Evernote on my phone or computer and jot it down.  Evernote then syncs with the cloud so that I can have access to my notes at all times no matter where I am.  You can take clips of web pages, you can snap photos of things and if they have text in them, Evernote will recognize the text and make it searchable.  If you're the kind of person that tracks receipts, it's perfect for that.  I use this multiple times a day (I'm using it right now!) and it's free!

3) Tiny Wings
A game for the iPhone.  You guide a little bird with tiny wings through a land of hills and valleys.  You have to use the hills to help him fly.  It sounds dumb, but it's totally addicting.

4) Google Voice
This allows you to set up a phone number and manage that phone number however you want.  Does Greg annoy the shit out of you?  Set Google Voice to automatically send Greg's calls to voice mail.  Then Google Voice will transcribe Greg's voice mail and send it to you in email so you don't even have to listen to his dumb voice.  I use it to send calls from our front gate to both my phone and Dee's phone so we never miss a package or food delivery.  It also has all sorts of other awesome features, but I'll let you go to the site and read about them.  Also, it's free.

I know it's a little too late to run out and get some of these things for your loved ones, but do it anyway because all of these things are awesome and it doesn't matter when you get them because they're awesome year-round.
****

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Football Thoughts and Other Things


Miracles do happen!  The Colts beat the Titans 27-13!

Tim Tebow lost yesterday.  That means America will stop believing in God, right?

Tim Tebow’s stat line from yesterday’s game: 11-22 for 194 yards passing, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 2 fumbles (1 lost).  Twelve rushes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.  Nineteen handoffs for 159 yards and one touchdown.  Approximately 55 prayer-inspired tackles and one prayer-inspired 26-yard field goal.  One loss.

Here are the early games you got to choose from this week.  Imagine you didn’t know the outcomes:
Dolphins @ Bills — The battle for last place in the AFC East!
Seahawks @ Bears — Who likes terrible quarterbacks?
Panthers @ Texans — We dress like two Arena League teams!
Titans @ Colts — We can’t stop the run!  Neither can we!
Packers @ Chiefs — Let’s watch Neckbeard (Kyle Orton) lead another terrible offense!
Saints @ Vikings — Will the Saints score 70?
Redskins @ Giants — Rex Grossman!  Still playing quarterback!
Bengals @ Rams — Will the Rams even bother to show up?
A couple of those games turned out to be pretty good — Packers at Chiefs and Redskins at Giants — but the rest were stinkers.

Let’s not even talk about the Thursday (Falcons 41, Jags 14) and Saturday (Cowboys 31, Bucs 15) games.  Yikes.

Dee can’t get over the fact that the NFL Network called the Saturday night game, “A special Saturday night presentation of Thursday Night Football.”

I also think it’s stupid but I’ve let it go.

With the Colts’ win and the Packers’ loss, there are no more zeroes in the NFL standings.  I’m not counting the zero in the tens, smartass.

Strangely, the Colts last two games (vs. Houston, at Jacksonville) are actually winnable.  They may still play themselves right out of that #1 pick.

My one piece of breaking Notre Dame news: I could really use another pair of these super comfortable Notre Dame sweatpants.

How do the Ravens get Ray Lewis back and then decide to completely roll over against the Chargers?

Guys, don’t watch the Johnny Knox injury.  It’s amazing that he still has the use of any of his limbs.

Al Michaels says “Cleveland” like it’s the punchline to a sarcastic joke about the greatest city in America.

Isn’t Joe Flacco supposed to have a cannon for an arm?  Why does he always check down to Ray Rice?  I know Ray Rice is really good and checking down to him is a good option, but Flacco doesn’t throw the ball to anyone else.

Do they make TVs that allow you to divide the screen into quarters and watch four shows at once?  I ask because I’m in the midst of planning my man cave that I hope to eventually have sometime in the not-so-near future.  I also plan to install a courtesy sweatpants closet so all guests can slip into their own pair of sweatpants.  I want my guests to be comfortable.

Also, do you want to be my friend?  I’ll need someone to come over and marvel at my yet to exist man cave.

I haven’t watched the 49ers play all year.  However, I did see Stanford play twice so I’m pretty sure I’m up to speed on how they play.  I guess we’ll see tonight.
****

Friday, December 16, 2011

Neglect


Have I been neglecting this blog?  No.  Yes.  Yes, I have.  More importantly, I have been neglecting you, Mindsilt.com Reader.  (Is it okay that I’ve stolen that bit from Schadenfreude.net?  I think it’s okay since my work appeared there consistently for over a year.)  You are the people I am most concerned about neglecting.  A blog has no feelings.  A blog can’t come up to me and say, “Jeff, I’ve sunken into a mild depression because I miss your posts.”*  A blog isn’t disappointed when no one is clicking on its frond end to read or on its back end to post.  A blog waits patiently and responds when — and only when — called upon.  Readers are an entirely different beast.  You have feelings.  You can come up to me and talk about your depression.  You can be disappointed when you check Mindsilt.com or Google Reader or your own Blogger.com blog and see that nothing new has appeared in several weeks.  However fleeting those feelings might be, you have them.  Except for those of you who aren’t capable of feelings.  You feel nothing and that’s not normal.  You should talk to someone about that.  Preferably a professional, but I am here for you if you need me.**  Anyway, I don’t want you to feel those feelings.  I want you to feel the feelings of satisfaction and joy when you realize that I have posted something new to Mindsilt.com.  I want those feelings to last at least until you start reading.  Ideally, they’ll last for the entire time that you are reading but I can’t make those kinds of promises.  
I think you get my meaning.

I apologize for the neglect.  I hope to rectify the problem with some good and interesting posts before the end of the year.  I’ll even do an Oprah-style “Favorite Things” post except I won’t be giving anything away to my audience.  I’m also busy crunching numbers based on my workouts and fitness for the year.  That will probably only be interesting to you, Brian.  Plus, I think The Bachelor is coming back in January so you can look forward to those reviews, too.

I haven’t forgotten about you, Mindsilt.com Reader.  I appreciate your readership so much that I want to gently stroke your cheek with the back of my hand and open mouth kiss your bellybutton.
Don’t give up on me.  I haven’t given up on you.


*No one has ever in the history of the world come up to me and said, “Jeff, I’ve sunken into a mild depression because I miss your posts.”  However, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t feeling that way.

**I’ll probably just listen patiently and then tell you to speak with a professional.  Of course, I mean a professional psychiatrist or psychologist.  I am merely a professional project manager.  They don’t have Gantt Charts for feelings. 
****

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Football Thoughts and Other Things


Bears-Broncos: Who likes punting?!

Do Tebow fans have a clever/slightly religious nickname yet?  If not, I nominate Tebowtees.  You know, like devotees.  You're welcome, Internets.

Why does Fox insist on putting Tony Siragusa on the sidelines when he chimes in like he's in the booth?  Is he too fat to climb the stairs?

Even the God-fearing Tony Dungy said, "This isn't about Tim Tebow winning this game.  It's about the Bears losing the game."  Aside from the folks at Deadspin, this is the first reasonable thing I've heard the media say about Tebow in the last three weeks.

By the way, I think this Tebow winning streak is hilarious.  It should come to an end next week agains the Patriots but if it doesn't, they'll win the last two as well.  The Broncos defense and running game is too good to lose to the Bills and Chiefs.

Andrew Luck wore a Johnny Unitas Colts jersey to an award ceremony this past week.  Folks should probably get used to him in those colors.

I did not watch the Army-Navy game this weekend for three reasons: 1) I hate America. 2) I like when teams pass. 3) I was busy catching up on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The League.

I officially quit The Office.  It's been terrible this season.

Parks & Rec has been fantastic, however.  Consistently hilarious.

I'm also sad that they're putting Community "on the shelf."  All my favorite shows get cancelled.

It's the Rams and the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.  ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!

Robert Griffin III has done more for the novelty sock industry than any other famous figure in history.  He's also pretty good at football.

We all knew that the Cowboys were going to miss that second kick after the timeout, right?  That game couldn't finish any other way after last week.  I say we make it three in a row next week.

I didn't watch the game, but how in the fuck did Jacksonville score 41 points?

When the Falcons got down big to the Panthers, they decided to run the ball instead of panicking and going into comeback mode.  What happened?  They came back and won the game.  There's a lesson here somewhere but I'm to lazy to figure it out.

Green Bay will eat your children if they are in the way of their quest for the Super Bowl.
****

Monday, December 05, 2011

Weekend Football Thoughts and Other Things


Tennis has the whole line tracker thing, why can't the NFL and college adopt or adapt the technology for goal line situations?  Or invent their own technology? At the very least, we should have mandatory goal line cameras. 

Good news!  Notre Dame didn't lose this weekend. 

I didn't watch much of the Colts game.  I gave up when it was 31-3. How did the Colts score 24?  Seriously. I didn't think they were capable of scoring that many points in three weeks. 

BCS thoughts. 

As I'm writing this, another Detroit Lion just got flagged for smacking a guy in the head after the whistle. Is there any doubt that Jim Schwartz is teaching this?  Why is Collinsworth surprised?  He should be calling out the coaches. 

By the end of the game, there were at least three more unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and yet Collinsworth never called out the coaches for having out of control players.

First Jay Cutler's thumb and now Matt Forte's knee?  The Bears season just went from playoffs to, you know, not the playoffs. 

That HTC phone commercial where New York buildings are blowing up while the dude walks by unscathed, not only makes zero sense but is pretty insensitive to those who lost loved ones when real buildings in New York blew up. 

Tight Ends are always a major mismatch for defenses. Why hasn't anyone started playing these exact types on defense to cover them?

I hear the new Muppet movie is fantastic.  I'll probably wait for the DVD.  Then I'll wait even longer because I won't realize it's gone to DVD and one night Dee and I will rent it on iTunes and fall asleep watching it.  So it goes with a baby.

Gotta love the Cowboys icing their own kicker.  Especially since he made the field goal.  I'm shocked Jerry Jones didn't fire Jason Garrett on the spot.

The Fighting Tebows just keep winning and John Elway and John Fox just keep crying themselves to sleep.

Now that the Bears have zero talented offensive starters, expect more of the same next week when the Broncos face the Bears.

The Colts at 0-12 have only scored 174 points all season.  That's 14.5 a game.  Believe it or not, but three teams have scored fewer points than the Colts.  The Chiefs (163), the Rams (140) and the Jaguars (138).  Granted, the Jags have played one fewer game than the Colts but it still averages out to 12.5 points per game.  That's some real bad offense.

I'm glad that everyone has finally stopped talking about how tough the NFC East is.

The 49ers and the Packers have already won their divisions.  Thankfully, the 49ers are going to push the Packers to keep winning in order to gain home field advantage in the playoffs.

Also, it's going to be a short drive to Indianapolis for all those Packers fans who go to the Super Bowl.

Is the best team in the AFC the Patriots again?  Is it?  The Steelers?  What a mess.

People are upset about the Alabama-LSU rematch in the National Championship game and say that we need a playoff.  Here's my question: If we had a four team playoff and Alabama and LSU still ended up in the National Championship game would everyone suddenly be okay with that?  If so, why?  Because they each won an extra game?
****

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Father and Daughter: A Comparison

For most of Scarlett's life I've heard, "She looks so much like Dee!"  That's fine.  A daughter should probably look more like her mother, but she probably also looks like her father just a little bit.  For those who didn't see it, I submit the following:
Scarlett at two months


Me at two months
Feel free to form your own opinion.
****

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Football Thoughts and Other Things

Some thoughts on Notre Dame-Stanford and the Notre Dame season in general:
The Irish finished their season by losing to Stanford 28-14.  Even though Andrew Luck gave them the gift of a bad interception and a short field, they squandered it by not putting any points on the board.  Pretty typical of this season for the Irish.

Notre Dame finished 8-4.  That’s one game better than last year’s 7-5.  Of course, everyone was expecting 10-2 so a good portion of the fan base is pissed and they’re already calling for Brian Kelly’s job.  Me?  I think it’s a little early to fire the guy, but today’s society isn’t exactly known for its patience.  Plus, 15+ years of bad to mediocre football doesn’t get solved in two seasons.  

For the first time since I graduated we have a defensive line that can change a game.  They’re very young which means they make some mistakes but they’re also very young so they’ll have lots of time to get even better.

Until the center Braxton Cave got hurt our offensive line was doing a fantastic job.  They had a six game streak where they didn’t give up a sack.  Once Cave got hurt the line struggled and the offense struggled with them.  

If you’re trying to re-create a winning program that’s been pretty mediocre for nearly 20 years, vastly improving the offensive and defensive line play is a great place to start.

A large portion of the Notre Dame fan base thinks Dayne Crist should have been starting at quarterback instead of Tommy Rees.  Personally, I preferred Tommy.  With Dayne I spent way too much time screaming, “Make a decision!”

Andrew Hendrix sure was fun to watch.  I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of him in the bowl game.

Speaking of the bowl game, I sure do hope our backup center, Mike Golic, Jr., gets a whole lot better.  The opposing team is going to send everyone they’ve got right at him whenever they need a big play.

The early rumors are that Notre Dame will be playing Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl.  That seems about right.


How about them Colts?  They waited until the very end of the game before they decided to lose.  Usually they wrap it up some time in the second quarter.

It’s clear that God doesn’t give a damn about football unless Tim Tebow is playing.

Also, God doesn’t exist.

If the Bears had a real wide receiver they’d be scary.  With a healthy Jay Cutler, that is.

Is anyone else disappointed that the NBA finally came to an agreement?  I was totally looking forward to not missing the NBA at all.

I’ll tell you who is disappointed: The NHL.

The only thing that might keep my Andrew Luck/Andy Reid dream from happening for the Colts is that their crazy owner may not fire Jim Caldwell even if he loses every single game.

Didn’t it seem like Andy Reid was asking to be fired during his postgame press conference?

No surprise, but people who watch Fox News know less about what’s going on in the world than the people who watch no news at all

Remember Barry Sanders?  The most exciting player of my lifetime.  Sorry, Bears fans.  Devin Hester doesn’t touch the ball enough.

Who is going to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl?  The Patriots?  Ravens?  Steelers?  Does anyone really think that any of those teams can beat the Packers?

I went into a gas station in Indiana and saw two old men sitting at tables by the window smoking cigarettes.  Indoors!  It was like I time-warped back to 2001 or something.

If the NFL season ended right now, I would be sad.
****

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Finalé


We’ve finally come to the end.  Tonight is the last episode of the season (for my purposes) and it will be the last episode of Dancing With the Stars that I will watch.  Ever.  I quit.  I’m not reviewing this show anymore.  I’ve punished myself for too long and now it’s time for me to do something good for myself — like watch football.

Anyway, the dancers will probably be dancing about thirteen different dances tonight but the only one they mention is the Freestyle.  Pretty sure that title is self explanatory.  Not that I will be able to tell the difference.

Also, Hope went home last week.  Despite her sexy legs I won’t miss her at all.  

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough — Cha Cha
The lady judge comes in to help Ricki be more sexy.  This involves the lady judge pointing at Ricki’s face and saying, “Yeah.”  Real deep stuff.  Also, kinda unsexy.
Unless someone falls down, everyone is going to get a standing ovation after their song.  That’s just how the finals works.  The old judge said, “Good timing, good rhythm.  It’s a dance deserving of the finals.”  When did he get nice?  The gay judge said, “Running at full steam, you’ve never been hotter, you’ve never been sexier.  Fantastic.”  All of those things are probably true.  The lady judge said, “You are looking fierce.  There’s a difference between performing a dance and living a dance and tonight you were living the dance.”  Living the Dance, the Ricki Lake Story.

Freestyle
Ricki wants to pull out all the stops for the Freestyle.  Of course, she freaks out every time Derek wants to do a lift.  Derek decides that he wants to do his best Maks impression so he treats her like shit because she “responds well” to that.  He knows she’s a victim of abuse, right?  Yeah, things just got real.

If Ricki wins it’s because Derek really knows how to choreograph for this show.  The old judge said, “It was fun, entertaining. You lost it a bit in the middle but overall it was great.”  The gay judge said, “All of the explosives coming out and they’re never going back in.”  Did she poop?  The lady judge said, “I love that you went from the Salsa to the Quickstep.”  That sounds like high praise to me.

My score: I really hope she pooped.  What a way to go out.

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke — Waltz
If Rob Kardashian is one of your finalists, you’re having a bad season, Dancing With the Stars.  The gay judge comes in to help Rob learn how to dance “like a prince.”  This involves wearing tight jeans and garish belts.  

I’m pretty sure they are dancing to the song that his sister and her now ex-husband danced to at their wedding.  Wouldn’t it be great if that was true?  Especially if you heard the terrible song they are dancing to.  Also, I haven’t mentioned how bad the band is recently.  They’re awful.  The gay judge said, “You were flowing, you were glowing.  You messed up some of the footwork.”  Cue screaming attention seeking sister.  The lady judge said, “You’re the male version of Cinderella.”  You mean he has three wicked sisters that try to keep him down and… Yeah, I guess she’s right.  The old judge said, “You had good hold, good posture you had more rise and fall than Pam Anderson jogging.  It was simple but it was simply beautiful.”  The old judge is a bit of a perv.

Freestyle
She wants to work to his strengths so she’s going to start with the slow, super boring dances.  Then they’ll do three seconds of fast.

They dance to “Minnie the Moocher” and they don’t make any references to Blues Brothers which both shocks and impresses me.  The gay judge said, “Brilliant content, brilliant execution, brilliant performance.”  He’s handing out 10s like candy tonight.  The lady judge said, “This show is often won with the Freestyle but you have to blow us away.  Consider me blown.”  Really?  Did she just say that on TV?  The old judge said, “A moocher is someone who always takes and never gives, but you’ve just given your all.”  Yes, but was it any good?

My score: If he wins this, they should immediately cancel the next season.

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff — Cha Cha
He got an X-ray and his ankle is good.  The old judge comes in to actually give J.R. Some dance pointers.  He points at his butt a lot and moves his feet around like a real live dance instructor.  No face pointing or belt wearing for this guy.  He’s the real deal, folks.

What a weird dance.  Karina choked as a choreographer.  The lady judge said, “The crowd falls in love with your spirit, however your musicality was a bit off.”  Just say he was off beat.  The old judge said, “I thought it was brave that you did a lot of that dance on your own.  This wasn’t that good.  You went off time.”  Brave?  No, poor choreography.  The gay judge said, “I really like the mood you set.  Your hands were out of place, yes.”  Were they growing out of his knees?

Freestyle
They are doing a Salsa inspired routine and a lot of crazy tricks.  To try to add tension, they show Karina bailing on the tricks in the morning rehearsal.  We may see our first live neck break on television.

They dress J.R. in a hoodie with the hood up so he looks street.  Then they actually pull off the crazy tricks even if they don’t do a very good dance.  She makes him dance all by himself again.  What is her problem?  The lady judge said, “I have one thing you say, ‘You wind it up, you wind it up.’”  Well put.  The old judge said, “Two things were revealed.  Karina’s body and your talent.”  Yes, Karina was wearing practically nothing.  The gay judge said, “It was like a jungle, tribal, hypnotic something, something.”  He’s completely lost his shit.  Thank god it’s the last dance ever.

My score:  Sweet, sweet relief.  I won’t miss you, Dancing With the Stars.
****

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Week 9 - A Review


America finally sent home that awful bitch Nancy Grace.  Now we don’t ever again have to have her befoul our home with her raging bitchiness.  I didn’t care for her.  

The stars will be doing three dances tonight.  They’re calling it the semi-finals.  Does that mean that this is finally over next week?  I hope that’s exactly what it means because this is the last season of this show I will ever review.  Ever.

Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy — Paso Doble
Hope has pain in her shoulder.  Her repaired labrum in her right shoulder is giving her trouble.  A doctor comes in and dopes her up so she can get through the rehearsals.  She says, “I was hoping to save these shots for the Olympics.”  Yes, let’s compare the importance of Dancing With the Stars with the Olympics.  Maks is finally being nice to her.  Maybe it’s because she just got stuck with an enormous needle.  

They take a good two minutes at the beginning of the dance to just walk around.  Because she can’t dance.  She then does her absolute best to look even more awkward than Faith Hill during the Sunday Night Football intro.  The old judge said, “You had attitude, you had aggression but you lost control.”  Also, coordination.  The gay judge said, “You were unchained, untamed.  You were out of control.”  Also, out of coordination.  The lady judge said, “You nailed the character.  The hold was out of sync.  The grace and fluidity suffered.”  Also, my eyes suffered.

Argentine Tango
This is where we get the clips of their childhood.  Surprise!  Hope was a tom boy!  Then her father kidnaped her and her brother and was lead away in handcuffs.  She met him again as a homeless man who wandered into one of her soccer games.  We then see all of her soccer friends say, “She’s a competitor.”

She’s dressed in a sexy little number and lounges around on the judges table to start the dance.  Maks picks her up into an awkward lift.  Then they do awkward lift after awkward lift because Maks knows she can’t dance.  My wife just kept saying, “Oh, no.”  The old judge said, “Well, I thought it was far better than the Paso Doble.  I wasn’t disappointed.”  Only because his expectations are so low.  The gay judge said, “Much better, full on display of athleticism, very sexy.”  We were looking for a full on display of dancing, however.  The lady judge said, “There was definitely more fluidity to your movement this time, but going in and out of the lifts are a trick.”  A poorly executed trick.

My score: Overstayed welcome.

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff — Paso Doble
DRAMA ALERT: J.R. rolls his ankle.  Will this be the end for J.R.?  Will he finally fall out of favor with the judges and voters?  Does anyone actually give a shit?.

He’s dressed as Zorro, mask and all.  It looks like Karina’s dumbed down the dance so that he can handle it on a bum ankle.  After the dance, he’s clearly in pain.  The gay judge said, “I could feel the thrill and excitement of the chase.  Dressed up, ready to kill.”  Kill with a limp.  The lady judge said, “I give you so much credit for attacking that dance with a hurt ankle.”  You credit won’t feed the family, lady.  The old judge said, “Certain dances suit you certain dances don’t.  This dance didn’t suit you at all.”  The Zorro suit looks dashing, though.

Argentine Tango
We’re going to hear his story again?  The viewers of this program aren’t so dumb that they’ll be all, “Oooohhhh, that’s how is face got that way.”  After his story we see a series of nobody soap opera actors telling us how great he is.  We don’t need a bunch of nobodies to tell us what we already know.

I guess the Argentine Tango involves a bunch of lifts.  That seems to be all they are doing and it’s hiding his bum ankle well.  The gay judge said, “Strong, fearless.  It was incredible, the sexual interplay with the two of you was great.”  Wait.  Did I miss the porn portion of the dance?  The lady judge said, “There was a true fire burning between the two of you.”  Wait.  Did I miss the open flame portion of the dance?  The old judge said, “It had mood, it had intensity, I was transported to the back streets of Buenos Aries.”  Wait.  Did I miss the rich white guy going to a shady neighborhood in Buenos Aries portion of the dance?  

My score: I wish I’d missed every portion of the dance.

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke — Samba
Rob feels the pressure from J.R. and says all sorts of other uninteresting things.  You know, because he’s a Kardashian.  

They come rolling out on a float shaking maracas.  This show has no shame.  For the first time all season, he looks like he knows what he’s doing.  It’s the worst possible time for J.R. to twist an ankle.  In the least surprising development of the season, Rob’s mom is there.  The lady judge said, “Booty, booty, booty, booty.”  Gross.  The old judge said, “Once you got on the floor I was saying ‘Oh yes.”  Gross.  The gay judge said, “That’s how you turn a handicap into an asset.  Keep going, Rob.”  Gross.

Argentine Tango
As if we don’t know the fucking back story to a Kardashian.  You’ll never guess that his annoying sisters tortured him.  Then his dad died to get away from Rob’s annoying sisters.  Most of his story is about doing Dancing With the Stars because it’s the closest thing to a challenge he’s ever faced in his life.  
He danced to the rejected Monday Night Football theme.  Anyway, it was boring.  The lady judge said, “There’s no way to fake good dancing.  There was no faking involved.”  Gross.  The old judge said, “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”  Really gross.  The gay judge said, “You started out as a goofy outsider, now you’re a leading man.”  Weird.

My score: Seriously.  Gross.

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough — Samba
Ricki’s decided that she just needs to have fun because actually caring about something will make her interesting.  She gets all weird about the lifts just like every non-pro girl on this show.  Get over it.  You’re skinny now.

She’s dressed like a canary.  The crowd goes wild.  Not because they like canaries but because she danced well.  The old judge said, “No flames, no floats, no funny costumes.  Fabulous.  You’re straight into the finals.”  Was she ever gay?  I’m confused.  The gay judge said, “Sizzling, hot, bright and brilliant from the beginning to the end.”  He might have been talking about his breakfast.  The lady judge said, “I saw you working the shoulders the whole time.”  I guess that means something because she gets three tens.

Argentine Tango
They’re pitching these stories as “where they get their competitive drive.”  Ricki was molested as a child.  Then she did Hairspray.  She turned to food to drown her sorrows.  Not from Hairspray, from the abuse.  Then she got her own talk show.  After her divorce in 2003 she moved to LA.  Good plan.  When things get real, move to the least real place in the world.

It’s a real bad week for J.R. to roll and ankle.  She nails it again.  The old judge said, “Lovely contrast of movement.  The lifts were just part of the dance.”  Right, that’s the deal.  The gay judge said, “Totally transported into the underworld of Buenos Aries.  Spot on.”  Again, has he ever been to the underworld of Buenos Aries?  The lady judge said, “What I see in you is the core strength developing.  You’ve always had the passion and now you have the pop.”  Pop, an essential ingredient in dance.

My score: More shoulder!

The Cha-Cha Relay
One song will be played and each team will dance a portion of the song before handing off to the next team.  The winning team gets 10 points, second place gets 8 points, third 6, and last 4.  Ricki goes first.  She looks a little hesitant.  Hope goes next and she’s totally awkward, as usual.  No doubt she’s getting last place.  J.R. is next and he definitely looks like his ankle is really bothering him.  Rob is last and he does just fine.  

The old judge said, “I think the whole night has been like going out for a fine dinner.  My winner isn’t going to be their winner.”  Dinners with the old judge must be weird.  The gay judge said, “A fantastic show. Everybody did very well.”  He just cuts to the core.  The lady judge said, “It is really fantastic that we get to watch you all one after another.  It was a surprise tonight.”  That means J.R. didn’t do well.

The results:
4th — Hope and Maks
3rd — J.R. and Karina
2nd — Ricki and Derek
1st — Rob and Cheryl

Too bad the points don’t actually mean anything.
****

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend Football Thoughts and Other Things

Notre Dame destroyed Maryland 45-21.  Maryland played as badly as their uniforms looked.  Notre Dame played much better than their uniforms looked.  Finally, the only thing worth complaining about is what the team was wearing.

Once again, the Notre Dame game was played at the same time as the premiere matchup of the day, Oregon at Stanford.  This time it wasn’t ESPN’s fault, the blame falls on NBC for scheduling a night game.  

Dee arrived home after a day of visiting the family and asked me, “Did the Colts play today?”  I replied, “Well.  They took the field.”

The worst part about the Colts game is that the Jaguars couldn’t bother to put the Colts away until four minutes remained in the fourth quarter.  Yeah, I kept watching until four minutes remained in the fourth quarter.  Don’t ask me why.

That was Jacksonville’s third win?  Amazing.  That team is awful.  Not as bad as the Colts, though.
If you’re going to make dinner for guests sometime in the future it’s always good to do a test run first in case you, I don’t know, fill the house full of smoke.

Penn State did the right thing by firing Joe Paterno.  Paterno has proven that his judgement can no longer be trusted.  In 2002 he failed to stop a child molester.  In 2011 he repeatedly showed poor judgement by refusing to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.  He should have immediately stepped down citing his unwillingness to act.  He should have told the students rallying on his lawn to go home and do something good for humanity.  He should have condemned the protests and “riots” over his firing.  He did none of these and instead basked in the cheers of the misguided students.  Allowing this man to coach on Saturday would have meant that the University endorsed these actions.  You can’t entrust the care of other peoples’ children to a man who has lost his ability to make good judgements.  

Besides, when was the last time he actually coached a football team?  It certainly wasn’t for win number 409 where he sat alone in the press box with no headset and spoke to no one the entire game.

On the same note and a totally different note all at once, this is a great article about how my parents’ generation has failed us. 

If my child ever has to write a check we have failed as a society.

So Philadelphia lost to Arizona.  What’s next?  Mike Vick doing something stupid and going back to jail?  If this keeps going, the Colts could end up with Andrew Luck and Andy Reid.

Tony Romo is going to play well enough down the stretch to continue to be the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, thereby guaranteeing that they’ll never, ever win a Super Bowl.

The Ravens three loses have come against Tennessee, Jacksonville and Seattle.  Remember when teams like that were lucky to get a first down against the Ravens?  Those days are gone.

Jim Schwartz is bad at his job.  He kicked the ball to Devin Hester three times.  Three times!  Who is that stupid?  Jim Schwartz, that’s who.

I can only hope there are other coaches dumb enough to keep kicking the ball to Devin Hester.  Easily the most exciting player in football.  I love that the home crowd clearly expects him to score a touchdown every time he returns a kick.

If anyone besides the Packers win the Super Bowl this year it will be a miracle.
****

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Friday Roundup

Sure, I’ve been slacking off but that doesn’t mean I have to slack off every single week.  Not this one, anyway.  Oops, Friday Roundup.

This Week in Mindsilt
Monday:
I gave you my weekend football thoughts and other things

Tuesday:
Another review of Dancing With the Stars.  God this show sucks.

Thursday:
It was Thursday and that was all I had

Tweet of the Week
From Rob Delaney
People who wear Sketchers Shape-Ups will give you their car if you ask, because they’re stupid.
See it here

Video of the Week
A dam is breached and a reservoir is drained.  Pretty cool.


****

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday


It's Thursday.  That's all I’ve got.  I don't have anything else floating around in my head.  Nothing at all.  Just the day.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do.  It's pretty pathetic to not have anything in your head other than the day of the week.  But at least I know what day it is.  That’s something.  Of course, I can just look at the calendar.  But I didn't.  I knew it.  I knew that today is Thursday.  How did I know?  Because yesterday was Wednesday.  Thursday always comes after Wednesday.  It has for my whole lifetime, anyway.  I have no reason to expect that Thursday won't come after Wednesday.  So I assume that today is Thursday.  Calendars and things seem to confirm that it is Thursday, so I'm pretty certain that today is Thursday.  If it's not I certainly do hope that someone will let me know.  I'm not sure how it will change things if today isn't Thursday but it seems like it will be a big deal.  I mean, this is a pattern that we've been following for a very long time so to break that pattern would be weird and significant.  There'd probably have to have been some kind of major world-wide coup or takeover.  Our new world ruler would have had to made his first action to change the naming of the days.  That's the only real reason I can think of why today wouldn't be Thursday.  The only other explanation I can think of is that we're all dead and there are no longer any real days anymore.  We're all just in some kind of Lost-esque limbo where we all need to do whatever we can to move on to the next stage of death.  Of course this limbo is way more boring and way less poignant than Lost's limbo.  No matter, it wouldn't really be Thursday.  It would seem like Thursday but it would actually not be Thursday.  Though, there's not really a difference between it actually being Thursday and it seeming like Thursday in a limbo world.  Thursday is a human construct.  It doesn’t exist outside our heads.  It's just what the day is called.  Someone could have called it Clumperman and I would be writing about Clumperman instead of Thursday.  Anyway, it's Thursday and that's all I've got.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Week 8 - A Review


David Arquette went home last week.  Really, America?  Really?!  Are you stupid?  Yes.  Yes, you are stupid.  Why would you let that miserable bitch Nancy Grace hang around any longer?  My faith in bad television watching humanity has been shattered.

The dancers will be doing two dances this week.  The second dance will be the dreaded “instant dance.”  Queue ominous music.

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke — Quickstep
Rob really wants to focus this week so he asks Cheryl to be hard on him.  Then we see clips of Cheryl actually teaching dance.  Now I know why we never see the pros actually teaching dance.  

He still looks like he’s doing dance by numbers.  Are the dances longer now?  This one certainly felt that way.  The old judge said, “The opening section was terrible.  Your best dance so far.”  Terrible = best, I guess.  The gay judge said, “You were speedier than a drag race.  Best lines you’ve done so far.”  Lines?  Did I miss him doing coke?  The lady judge said, “You were polished, elegant, smooth.”  He got three nines and Tom Bergeron said, “You had the best week of any Kardashian.”  Well played, sir.

Instant Jive
They get “Maneater” by Hall & Oates.  They then show Cheryl and Rob rehearsing their “instant Jive” routine.  Isn’t that cheating?  This isn’t an instant dance at all.  It’s just instant music.  I’m not impressed.  Rob opens the dance by standing on the judges table and then flopping across the floor.  Like a fish.  The old judge said, “You did great.  Sharpen up the feet.”  The gay judge said, “Your arms are getting better but the kicks need work.”  I completely agree.  The lady judge said, “I’m still recovering from the booty shaking.”  So is he.

My score: Maneater, indeed.

Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy — Quickstep
Maks apologizes to Hope for being too hard on her last week.  She just wants him to be more gentle.  He does dial it back a bit but he becomes passive-aggressive instead of angry.  He takes Hope to meet his family because he’s worried about his reputation.  At one point Maks’ dad says, “You cried a lot.”  As annoying as it is, it’s not nearly as bad as Maks screaming at her every week.

They dress her up like Mary Poppins.  You know, because they can.  She looks like she’s having more fun but fun does not equal good.  The gay judge said, “It’s a night of miracles.  You never moved so well.  Your best dance yet.”  The lady judge gave her a hug and said, “That’s what dancing is all about.”  The old judge said, “It’s your best dance, you fulfilled your potential.”  The judges have given up at this point.

Instant Jive
Hope will be dancing to “The Best Damn Thing” by Avril Levigne.  No one knows this song.  She struggles without a song to dance to.  She’s wants to redeem herself from her first crappy Jive.  It’s frantic and crazy and she kinda stops at one point in the middle.  What a weird fucking song.  Why was this in the song bucket?  The gay judge said, “The fast and the furious.”  Is he just naming random movies now?  The lady judge said, “Definite improvement from last time.  Your hands were a little crazy.”  So are her eyes.  The old judge said, “I sit here between these two and no one boos them.  This was fantastic.”  Then he rants like the gay judge.  Crowd goes wild.  I don’t know what’s going on.

My score: Kumbaya

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough — Waltz
Ricki is stressed out.  You know, because she’s basically Kirstie Alley.  She goes to an event and meets Jennifer Grey and they talk about Dancing With the Stars.    Yes, we want to see washed up stars talking about a show where they unsuccessfully try to revive their career.  

She dances to “Natural Woman” and floats around and with weird ‘50s hair.  The lady judge said, “Your movements are exquisite.  You lose yourself completely.”  I’m lost, too.  Lost in boring.  The old judge said, “It was like a river.  Beautifully executed the whole way through.  Unless you nail your footwork you’ll never get a 10 from me.”  Ouch.  Good review tinged with a sting.  The gay judge said, “It was absolutely beautiful.”  Not really.

Instant Jive 
Ricki has to dance to “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett.  They pull the stunt of trying to amp up the crowd instead of dancing at the beginning.  Smart move by Derek.  Then she and Derek go crazy.  So crazy that she gets lost.  She’s still better than everyone but J.R.  The lady judge said, “There were a few little stops and starts.”  Translation: You screwed up.  The old judge said, “It was good.”  What’s wrong with Old Judge?  I feel like he’s given up.  The gay judge said, “Some sections didn’t flow together.”  Like the waving at the crowd part? 

My score: Remember when Jennifer Grey was famous?

Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus — Tango
She opens her clip by saying, “Tristan is very sensitive about me not listening.”  Right.  Because you’re an awful bitch about it.  She looks like hell in all her individual interviews.  Seriously, I think she might have pneumonia.  It doesn’t help that everything she says is annoying.

They put her in a really short dress that makes her look even more bitchy.  She’s awkward and terrible.  The old judge said, “You’ve been on a plateau, now up you’ve gone.”  Is English is first language?  The gay judge said, “You brazen jezebel.  It was the right attitude.”  English is definitely not his first language.  The lady judge said, “You’re the friskiest little girl I’ve ever met.”  That’s the nicest way to say “you’re a bitch.” I’ve ever heard.  She has a firm grasp of English.

Instant Jive
She opens this clip by saying, “You don’t have a full time job and I do.”  What a fucking bitch.  Send her home, send her home, send her home.  She’s is lost from the very beginning of the dance.  Then she does a cartwheel at the end and begs the judges for good scores.  I bet you to send her home.  The old judge said, “Yours is a Cinderella story but for me, it’s midnight and it’s time to go home.”  He’s back!  The gay judge said, “It has to be sharp and tight and compact.  It was laid back and loose.”  Opposites!  The lady judge said, “You got lost in the choreography.”  Or maybe she got lost in her cold, black heart.

My score: Slay the beast.

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff — Waltz
He wants to get the first 30 of this season.  I’m sure he’ll do it with the way they’re handing out high scores tonight.  It’s a little pathetic how badly Karina wants to win this season.  No, it’s a lot pathetic.  

He’s good.  That’s his deal.  The gay judge said, “It was like a musical Valentine card.”  Aren’t there actual musical Valentine’s Day cards now?  The lady judge said, “Tonight something happened in the middle that was just magic.”  The middle of what, exactly?  She’s clearly hitting on him.  The old judge said, “Just like the soldier you are, you came back all guns blazing.”  He’s clearly hitting on him.  He gets three 10s.

Instant Jive
Last time J.R. And Karina got marked down for not doing a proper Jive.  He wants to nail it and he does.  The gay judge shouted unintelligibly and said, “Sensational!”  The lady judge said, “You are in a class all your own.”  The old judge said, “You’ve got the X Factor and the feel good factor mixed together and you came out with the most fantastic Jive.”  Three more 10s.  Please, let’s just give him the trophy and end my misery.  Thanks.

My score: End it.  I’m begging you.
****

Monday, November 07, 2011

Weekend Football Thoughts and Other Things

Was it just me or did everyone — including the announcers and players — seem to be sleepwalking through the afternoon games in anticipation of the Notre Dame-Wake Forest Alabama-LSU game in the evening?

Goddamnit, ESPN/ABC.  Why did you have to move the Notre Dame game to start at exactly the same time as the Alabama-LSU game?  I’m not like most guys.  I’m terrible at flipping back and forth between games.

Speaking of using the remote, why do we still have to mute the fucking commercials that SHOUT AT YOU AND MAKE YOUR EARS BLEED?  Don't these people realize they are doing themselves a disservice?  Loud commercials get muted thereby destroying their effectiveness.

Eric from the AT&T taco party commercial definitely creeps me out.  Also, never throw a taco party in your office but if you do don't invite Eric and only send out weird cell phone invites.

I bet there are a lot of young ladies on campus who would like to have sexual intercourse with their team's quarterback.  I could be completely wrong, though.

Alabama may still come out on top in this whole thing.  Unless LSU completely shits the bed, ‘Bama just saved themselves from playing in the SEC Championship game.  If ‘Bama wins out (and they should with Mississippi State, Georgia Southern and Auburn remaining) and LSU loses their regular season finale to Arkansas and then loses again in the SEC Championship game, Alabama should rise to at least #2 and end up in the National Championship game.  

The only reason to play the ND-Wake game in prime time is so that the ND fans don't have as much time to whine about a disappointing performance before their bedtime.

What is the deal with baton twirlers?  Why does every school in the South each have about 72?  It’s hard to believe that there are kids who still want to learn how to do this.  Don’t they have the Internet in the South?  

Am I the only person who thinks baton twirling feels vaguely racist?

If Peyton Manning never plays again, the Colts will just promote him to Head Coach, right?

The Colts only hope of stopping anyone may be to open the roof and side windows of Lucas Oil Field for the rest of their home games.

Children do not respect Daylight Savings Time.  Not at all.

By the way, Notre Dame beat Wake Forest 24-17.  It was ugly but a win is a win.  Alabama-LSU proved that you don’t need to win with style.

Oklahoma State beat Kansas State 52-45 in regulation.  C’mon, someone couldn’t kick just one more field goal to make it an even 100?

We should probably start working on Tim Tebow’s MVP campaign.  

Neither Chiefs fans nor Dolphins fans are happy about Miami’s victory.  Chiefs fans are embarrassed their team lost to the Dolphins and the Dolphins fans are pissed their team has fallen behind the Colts in the race for the #1 draft pick.

Thought that hasn’t occurred to me during the past week: “Man, I sure do wish I could watch some NBA basketball.”

Thought that has occurred to me during the past week: “Hey, they’re not playing baseball anymore.  I bet someone won a World Series.  I wonder if that city’s fans rioted?”

Marvin Lewis is the master at being just good enough to keep his job.  However, they haven’t yet played the Steelers or the Ravens this season.

The 49ers have more wins than every other team in their division combined.

Steelers fans should never again be allowed to complain about the refs after Super Bowl XL.  Seattle fans know what I’m talking about.

The new Assassin’s Creed game is coming out next week. Does anyone want to come babysit Scarlett while I spend hours and hours playing a video game?
****

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Week 7 - A Review


When it was announced that Chaz Bono was voted out last week, I’m pretty sure they also put him down with a single gunshot behind the shed.  He’ll never dance again and that’s what was best for everyone.

Oh god.  I almost forgot it was Halloween.  Dancing With the Stars sure didn’t.  They’ll all be dressed in costumes and probably dancing to Halloween themed music.  They’ll also be doing team dances because ABC refuses to come up with new programming for Monday nights.

David Arquette and Kym Johnson — Cha Cha
There is much confusing discussion about David’s costume for the dance.  I think he’s going to be some kind of vampire magician.  They bring in a magician to teach him a magic trick for the routine.  I can’t really follow what’s going on because I’m not sure David actually speaks English.

They dress Kym in next to nothing, then she made some weird fringe come flying out of her boobs to form a dress.  It’s disappointing.  They dance to “Abra Cadabra.”  He looked lost and a little confused.  Or maybe that’s just his “magician face.”  The old judge said, “You turned into a dancer.”  See what he did there?  The gay judge said, “You brought the prestige.  You’re a natural at turning tricks.”  Yes, prestige and turning tricks go hand in hand.  The gay judge then turned to the lady judge and calls her “a pretty pussy.”  Unfazed, the lady judge tells David, “You’re improvement is phenomenal.”

My score: Crack Addled Vampire Magician!

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff — Tango
He's better than everyone else in so many ways.
They must dance to Ghostbusters.  Not the movie, the song.  Karina wants to win this so bad that she’s freaking out.  In fact, she swears at him about building a house or something.  He tries to keep it light and remind her that, you know, it’s just a dance show.  There are worse things — like getting horribly burned in an explosion while fighting for your country.  

Karina is dressed as some sort of skeleton with a cape of feathers.  He’s dressed as a Ghostbuster.  He did just fine.  What’s new?  The gay judge said, “Bewitched, conquered and swept away.  Another very solid performance.”  The lady judge said, “There was a tiny slip but it captured the tone.”  The old judge said, “For me this performance was substandard from what I expect from you.”  Atta boy, don’t let him get away with simply being better than everyone else.

My score: Skeleton Bird!

Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus — Jive
I’m tempted to watch the elimination tomorrow night just to see the look of relief sweep over Tristan’s face when Nancy is eliminated.  If she’s not eliminated, the look of shock and horror will be equally good.  Nancy opens the clip by saying, “I know the judges are going to be on the edges of their seats waiting for me to mess up my footwork.”  Yep, everyone is out to get you.  When Tristan says, “Don’t take it too seriously,” during his interview, Nancy cuts in and says, “Are you trying to say I’m not fun?  If you’re trying to say I’m not fun, that’s not true.”  He responds, “See how much fun that was?”

She’s dressed up liked a devil, maybe?  Or maybe she’s dressed up like the guy who beats the devil in the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”  No, that guy would be in overalls and a straw hat, right?  Anyway, she looks completely lost.  It’s clear that she’s in way over her head.  Time to go back to blindly accusing people on TV.  The lady judge said, “Well, we have our good days and we have our not so good days.”  Nancy always has not so good days.  The old judge said, “Certain dances suit you and certain don’t.  This wasn’t the dance for you.”  Nor were any of the others.  The gay judge said, “The devil got your rhythm or your shoes are too small.”  Probably both.

My score: Raging Bitch Hole!

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke — Tango
They’re dancing to the Addams Family theme.  Rob decides that he needs to prank Cheryl instead of rehearse.  We’re subjected to several elementary school level pranks that Cheryl completely overreacts to.  It’s a new low even for this show.  The rest of the time he complains that his butt hurts.  Whatever, your family is making a mockery of the institution of marriage.

They’re dressed as the husband and wife of the Addams family.  Or maybe he’s dressed as his dead father.  I’m not sure.  At one point he eats her arm like corn on the cob.  This is what passes for dancing now?  Who am I, the old judge?  The old judge said, “I thought you did a terrific job.”  I kept waiting for him to add, “eating corn.”  The gay judge said, “You’ll never be so manly and in control.”  Sounds like he’s peaked.  The lady judge said, “Rob, your best dance so far.”  That’s not saying much.

My score: Zombie Dad!

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough — Paso Doble
Ricki is suffering from an inflamed nerve in her chest.  The doctor tells her that it will get worse and it would take most athletes out of the competition.  Did he just call her an athlete?  If I was an athlete, I’d be offended.  Derek wants to push her through the injury anyway.  God, she’s so brave.

She’s dressed as Little Red Riding Hood.  Derek is the Big, Bad Wolf.  If she’s hurting, you can’t see it.  It helps that Derek is whipping himself around her and making it look like she’s dancing more than she is.  The gay judge said, “It was like a blizzard of passion and fear.  Another incredible dance.”  The lady judge said, “Your shaping is magnificent.”  Was she dancing or molding clay?  The old judge, “Those shapes that you made were fantastic.”  Was she making shadow puppets, too?

My score: Sucking Chest Wound!

Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy — Samba
Maks brings in another dancer to help Hope dance because Maks hurt his wittle toe.  This way, he gets to stand around being a dick while they are dancing.  Because he’s been a complete ass for about 60 shows in a row, then shows up to a rehearsal dressed as a werewolf to lighten the mood.  We’re not buying it, you’re still a dick.

They’re dancing to “Werewolves of London.”  She looks completely confused and awkward just like she always does.  The Hope Solo Experiment has failed.  Even her legs can’t hold my attention anymore.  The lady judge said, “It’s better than your Toy Story dance.”  There was a Toy Story dance that was even worse than this?  The old judge said, “The Samba can be a celebrity’s graveyard,” as if he’s just stating fact.  Then he compliments the makeup department.  Very passive-aggressive, I like it.  The gay judge said, “Better timing, better placement, better finish.”  Does he want her to do those things better or did she actually do them better?

My score: Raging Ass Hole!

Team Tango — J.R., David, Nancy
She will eat your family.
We see short clips of tiny bits of dancing and fighting.  It’s like a regular clip package on crack.  Nancy even manages to insult her partner several times.  She just can’t help being a raging bitch.

They’re all dressed as asylum inmates and they dance to “Disturbia.”  Of course, J.R. anchors the solos because he’s the best.  Wow, this dance is way too long.  All of them are too long, but this one especially.  The old judge said, “The section you danced as a group was wonderful.  Each one of the individual dances were a disaster.”  J.R. has lost his magic touch with the judges.  The gay judge said, “I have to agree with Len (the old judge).  Everyone had mistakes.”  The lady judge said, “I thought you started out extremely well but the solos kinda lost it.  Overall, very nice.”  Nancy’s stink just seeps in to everyone else’s dance.

My score: Nancy Is An Awful Human Being Hole!

Team Paso Doble — Ricki, Hope, Rob
Again, it’s a clip package on crack.  We see everyone freaking out and standing around being awkward while Hope and Maks fight.  At one point, Maks violently whips Hope around in a way that borders on assault.  Maks storms out and Derek steps in and works with Hope.  Maybe Maks went to get his werewolf costume.

They dance to that creepy song that starts out with the wispy, wailing girl then the dudes shout, “Wake me up.”  You know the one.  They all stomp around and there’s fog and flashing lights.  I can only assume the fog is there to cover Hope’s feet.  Ricki predictably finishes out the solos with Derek.  The gay judge said, “Powerful, moving, building to a dramatic ending.”  Is it still building?  The lady judge said, “Everything was just YEAH!”  She’s so articulate.  The old judge said, “I thought your individual parts were amazing, great job.”  I assume by “individual parts” he means their limbs.

My score: Severed Limbs!
****

Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Football Thoughts and Other Things


The schedule this weekend was awful.  It may have turned out a few good games, but there was nothing that anyone would want to watch unless they were a fan of the team.  I’ll break it down:

Dolphins at Giants — Ugh.  The Dolphins may very well be the worst team in football in a year when there are a lot of teams contending for that title.  Why would anyone (especially Dolphins fans) want to watch them play?

Jaguars at Texans — Does anyone ever want to watch either of these teams?  They feel like cartoon versions of real NFL teams.

Colts at Titans — The Colts are giving the Dolphins a serious run for their money as the worst team in the league.  More on this later.

Vikings at Panthers — I’ll give you a pass if you watched this simply because you wanted to see Cam Newton play.  If you’re a Vikings fan, I’m sorry that your franchise has wasted Adrian Peterson’s best years.

Saints at Rams — The Rams made this the one early game worth watching but no one tuned in until the second half at the earliest.  

Cardinals at Ravens — The Cardinals are not good.  Even after they took a 24-6 lead at halftime, I said to myself, “This is going to be Whisenhunt’s ‘We are who we thought they were’ moment.”  You just knew the Ravens were coming back.

Lions at Broncos — If you were surprised by this game becoming a blowout, you’re an idiot.  You probably also think Tim Tebow will save the Broncos.  In fact, if you watched this game simply to see Tim Tebow, you are failing as a football fan.

Redskins at Bills — Mike Shanahan has lost it.  The game has passed him by.  Joe Paterno is still winning but the sport has passed Mike Shanahan by at light speed.  The Bills are a good story and they’ve changed their awful uniforms so you get a pass for watching this one even though the Redskins are a mess.

Patriots at Steelers — One of two interesting games of the day.  It was actually a good game.  I did learn that the Packers would kill either of these teams.

Browns at 49ers — The 49ers are a mirage.  The Browns are real and they are mediocre.  Hope you enjoyed this stinker.

Bengals at Seahawks — The Bengals are doing that thing where they have a good season and barely miss the playoffs or lose horribly in the first round of the playoffs.  Then Marvin Lewis will get to keep his job and they’ll play a tougher schedule next year and go back to being 5-11.  It’s just what they do.  

Cowboys at Eagles — A good matchup until the Eagles decided to finally play like everyone expected them to play and the Cowboys decided to let Romo keep playing quarterback.

Chargers at Chiefs — Wait, the Chiefs have three wins?  What?  I’m sure ESPN is pitching this as some kind of battle for the division lead.  Gross.  It’s a lie.  The Chargers are going to run away with this division.

Two games worth watching.  Two.  The NFL still manages to be the most popular sport in America.


Pro tip: Don’t go to Six Flags during Fright Fest.  You’ll wait in line for over two hours and then have to leave because your wife has to pump and it will ruin her whole birthday celebration.  At least you’ll get a funnel cake on the way out, though.  


After a bad loss to USC and a week of ridiculous drama, Notre Dame beat the fuck out of Navy 56-14.  And yet.  And yet, it’s not good enough for some fans, I’m sure.  I’m sure they’re on the message boards complaining that we dared to throw a pass during the game.


It’s really looking like the Colts might not win a single game this year.  If that is the case, I do not think they should pick Andrew Luck.  They need to trade that pick for buckets and buckets of picks and draft an entire defense.  Preferably, that defense would be made up of a combination of players from Alabama and LSU.  There will be another quarterback they can draft in a few years while these young defensive players learn the game.  Christ, this team is a mess.


It seems like you’ve always known how to eat, but you haven’t.  


Instead of “bend, don’t break” the Colts defense is playing “break, stay broken.”


Speaking of Alabama-LSU, James Brown promoted the matchup by calling it, “This year’s game of the century.”


Michael Vick bought a parrot.  That’s the kind of thing you discover during a blowout.  Is anyone else worried about his new parrot fighting ring?  Does anyone else kinda want to see a parrot fighting ring?
****

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Week 6 - A Review

Brooke Burke breathed a sigh of relief when Carson Kressley went home because he’s much better at her job than she is.

It’s Broadway Week.  You know, because every week has to have a damn theme now.  The “stars” will be doing both a solo dance and a group dance.  Yipee!

They open the show with a performance from the cast of Sister Act.  Kristin Chenowith is also here because her new job is to appear on random reality contest shows.


Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke — Cha Cha
His family will cut you.
Rob wants Cheryl to push him this week.  She does and he responds by saying, “It’s tough on, like, my brain.”  You’re a Kardashian.  Eating is tough on, like, your brain.  His annoying mom comes to rehearsal and tells him that he’s gone from a boy to a man.  Nothing like finally attaining manhood at 24 on a dancing show.  He says that seeing her helped motivate him.  Doesn’t he see her every night when he goes home?

He dances to “Walk Like a Man” from Jersey Boys.  If he’s a man now, he doesn’t have to walk like one.  Men already walk like men.  I know that Rob is 24 because I just looked it up, but he has decided to dance like he’s about 75.  Cheryl is working her ass off which makes him look worse.  After the dance, we see Cheryl’s nipple.  Actually, just areola.  The old jude said, “It was clean, it was precise.”  I think he meant the dance, not the nipple.  Then Rob’s big annoying sister shouted, “Give him a nine.”  To which the old judge replied, “Dream on.”  I knew I liked this guy.  The gay judge told him that it was “adequate but didn’t have the impact and power.”  The lady judge “saw much more charisma.  You’re still an adolescent but not a child.”  Then she backpedals because she’s afraid the Kardashians will have her whacked.

My score: I’m watching my back.

Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus — Foxtrot
Nancy asks her partner to increase the difficulty of the routine and then spends the entire rehearsal complaining about the choreography.  She tells her partner that she thinks that he’s trying to sabotage the routine by making it too hard.  Yes, Nancy.  Everyone is out to get you.

They are dancing to “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life” from Spamalot.  I forgot they made a musical of the Monty Python sketches and movies.  I’m not sure why anyone would do such a thing.  Yes I do.  Easy cash grab.  The gay judge said, “Nancy Dancedalot with Sir Lancelot.  Well done.”  The lady judge said, “Well, you showed me didn’t you?  I would call that a showstopper.”  She showed you what?  Her nipple?  The old judge thought there was “much more personality, however, the posture and footwork wasn’t there.”  Then he argued with the gay judge.  When Brooke asks Tristan if he finds the show challenging,  he says that Nancy is a pain in the ass without actually saying it.

My score: Listen, all y’all it’s a sabotage!


David Arquette and Kym Johnson — Quickstep
David loves Broadway and he’s really glad to do jazz hands this week.  He then tells us that jazz hands aren’t just waving your hands, they are so much more than that.  Save it for your autobiography, David.  Don’t waste all the good stuff on a dance show.

They’re dancing to a song from “Grease” which means it will annoy the shit out of me the entire time.  What’s new?  Oh, it’s the one song where they use fake words to describe how everything should be.  He dances like someone reached inside him and turned his weird levels up to 25.  The lady judge said, “I thought you live up to the performance aspect but you were out of sync.”  The old judge said, “It was what it was.  It was a bit rough around the edges.”  Don’t give up now, Old Judge.  The gay judge says something about spring break and live wires.  Does he go to torture camp for spring break?

My score: One single, delicate flower. 

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough — Quickstep
Surprise, it’s another actor who loves Broadway music.  Quick, someone introduce me to an actor who doesn’t love Broadway.  I don’t count.  She’s worried that she’s not as good as J.R. News flash: you’re not as good as J.R.

They’re dancing to some song from “Guys and Dolls.”  Nobody cares.  They dress her in a long dress so you can’t see her feet screw everything up.  Well played, costume people.  The gay and lady judge gave her a standing ovation.  The old judge said, “You don’t need luck if you’ve got talent.  I loved it.”  The gay judge said, “Impeccable style, dazzling choreography.  Your interpretation of the music was beyond belief.”  No, I completely believed it.  The lady judge said, “It was amazing to watch.”  I can’t believe she didn’t cry.

My score: Don’t forget her house burned down.

Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer — Tango
Lacey is clearly very frustrated with Chaz and tells him that she can’t help him memorize the dance and leaves him alone to figure it out.  Is there any doubt this will be a disaster?  Lacey is the second of two pros who want out of this competition.  I bet you can guess the first.

He’s dancing to a song from “Phantom of the Opera.”  He’s predictably bad and the dance is really simple.  Just like every single week.  Someone put this guy out of his misery.  The gay judge said, “It was like watching a cute little penguin trying to be a big, menacing bird of prey.”  That’s one way to put it.  The lady judge said, “This is the most aggressive I’ve seen you but we need more difficult choreography.”  The old judge said, “The first rule of the show is to get through the routine.  You did that.”  Now they’re giving points for completeness?  

My score: Put him out of his misery.

Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy — Rhumba
Set Hope free.
Hope is not happy about getting the same scores over and over.  She wants to get better.  Maks brings in three professional women dancers to help her be more sexy.  Maks gets all sorts of creepy while he ogles all four of the girls.  Hope improves and then Maks tells her that everyone else has given up on her and that he’s now losing faith in her, too.  Que the argument clips.

They dance to that counting song from Rent.  Oh god.  She’s trying so hard to be sexy you can see her thinking about it.  If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Kardashians, it’s that thinking isn’t sexy.  The lady judge said, “I see all the effort you’re putting in and I think it came out in moments but it goes against your natural feisty-ness.”  Yes, sexy and feisty never go together.  The old judge said, “I’m at a loss, really.  I’ve never lost faith in you.  It’s just never came out in your dance.  This is your worst dance of the whole season.”  When Maks urges the crowd to boo, the old judge told Maks it was his fault, too.  Then all the judges yell at Maks for challenging them.  When Brooke asked Maks about the fight Maks said, “This my show.”  Case closed.

My score: Can we send two people home next week?

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff — Quickstep
Karina calls their routine “the most ambitious routine I’ve attempted on Dancing With the Stars.”  Karina can see the trophy and she’s practically drooling all over it.  J.R. works his ass off and doesn’t seem to have any trouble picking it up at all.

I have no idea what the song is they are dancing to.  They’ve stopped telling us at this point.  It’s some kind of ragtime, big band song.  Again, he looks like he knows what he’s doing.  He even does a cartwheel and it’s not one of those lame, bent leg, flopping around cartwheels.  It’s no surprise that all of the judges loved it.  For once everyone gets along.

My score: It’s a vote for America, America.

The Group Dance
Kevin Maher — whoever that is — comes in to choreograph a dance for the entire cast.  They are all dancing together in one big routine.  I think everyone realizes it’s not fair to saddle one team with Chaz so we won’t see competitive group dances until he’s gone.  Rehearsal is basically chaos.  Why did they wait until three seconds before the dance started to tell me the judges aren’t even giving scores for this?!  I could have been doing anything else during this time.  Assholes.
****