Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Magical Adhesive

You know what I do every morning before going to work? I put my shoes on and tie my laces. Actually, most of the time I just jam my feet into my already tied shoes and ruin the heel in the process. I always wish there was an easier way to secure my feet in my shoes without bothering with shoe laces. That's when I remember that, as long as I've been alive, there has been an easier answer.

When I was growing up I didn’t learn how to tie my shoes until third or fourth grade. That was much later than most kids. Why did it take me so long? Because learning to tie your shoes is a difficult and cumbersome process that is completely unnecessary since some shoes come with the magical material known as Velcro.

Eventually I bowed to the pressures of society and donned the laced shoes. Then, while I was in college, I regained my senses and got back to my roots. I rocked the 'Cro for an entire year and what a glorious year it was! Since then I've been buying Vegetarian shoes and they, unfortunately, only come with laces. But I wish they’d make Velcro shoes. In fact, all shoes should be Velcro. Name one reason why they shouldn’t?

Velcro is quick, clean, and easy. Laces take twice as long to tie as it does to use Velcro. When you buy a new pair of shoes you usually have to spend a good five to ten minutes lacing them up for the first time. With Velcro, you buy the shoes and you're good to go. Sometimes, that plastic stuff on the ends of laces can come off and the laces fray and if your shoes become unlaced it's near impossible to lace them back up again. Let’s also not forget that if you're not paying attention some wise guy can sneak up and tie your shoelaces together. Then, once you try to walk you trip over your feet and break your nose. It sucks. But that little prank can easily be foiled by simply using Velcro.

When you get right down to it, the only thing shoe laces have over Velcro, according to some, is that laces look better. Well, arguing aesthetics over functionality with me won't get you very far. Beyond that, I'm sure if somebody tried they could make some real swanky looking Velcro shoes.

If I haven't convinced you yet, think about this. With the success of the Harry Potter novels and the Lord of the Rings movies magic and fantasy has had a bit of a renaissance. More and more fantasy movies and books are being made. Magic is in! So why wouldn't you want to have an adhesive on your shoe born from witchcraft? And if you don't think Velcro isn't made by some dark and powerful magic, you're sadly mistaken.

Try this little experiment on for size. Cut out two strips of your carpet. Now press those two strips together. Did they stick? I didn't think so. That’s because they weren’t imbued with magic! Now, I've heard theories about nylon hooks and loops and let's just put it this way. I mocked up a hook-and-loop prototype with cardboard and dental floss that supposedly mimicked the science of Velcro and, needless to say, it didn't work out...because Velcro is magic.

Have you ever toured a Velcro factory? Of course you haven't. That's because they don't allow tour groups in. They don't want anyone to witness the dark rituals that take place within the walls of the Velcro factory.

Despite all those facts, Velcro is still looked down upon. They’re viewed like training wheels on a bike or something. Apparently, Velcro is seen as only for children and ignoramuses. Learning to tie your shoes is considered some sort of coming of age rite of passage. As if learning to tie knots is some incredible feat of intelligence.

I can do long division by hand, if necessary, but when I have to divide 5 into 37 at work I'm busting out my calculator. Everybody uses the remote control instead of getting up to change the channel using the buttons on the TV itself. People who use the remote control are not looked down upon as too stupid to know how to use the channel button on the physical TV. You know why? Because everyone sees that it's just plain easier to use the remote. Employers around the world emphasize working smarter not harder. Well, that's exactly what wearing Velcro instead of shoe laces is. It's smarter.

So, let's shed our misplaced biases and give a little love for the magical adhesive. It’s time we all start “Rocking the 'Cro.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

To Better Know A Hero: Wonder Woman

No, she doesn’t have a movie coming out anytime soon, but she is an important, often overlooked character.

Real Name: Diana of Themyscria

First Appearance: All Star Comics #8 (December 1941)

Nicknames and Aliases: Diana Prince, Amazon Princess, Amazing Amazon, Mighty Maiden

Powers and Abilities: Super strength, flight, heightened invulnerability; Wonder Woman is also a highly trained martial artist in both hand-to-hand combat and historic weaponry, who can deflect bullets with her bracelets and use her tiara as some kind of crazy batarang-thing.

Or, as the splash page of her comic once said: "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, swifter than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules."

Weaknesses and Achilles’ Heels: Back in the day, being bound by a man robbed Diana of her powers.

Gadgets and Accessories: Lasso of Truth, a golden magic lasso that forces anyone in contact with it to tell the truth. She also flies an invisible plane, presumably for when she doesn’t feel like flying under her own power.

Friends and Allies: Steve Trevor (Lois Lane to her Clark Kent), Hippolyta (her mother, Queen of the Amazons), Etta Candy (her plump, candy-loving (get it?) Golden Age sidekick), Donna “My Character Is So Convuluted Even By Comic Book Standards That Teebore Doesn’t Know Which Name to Use” Troy (the first Wonder Girl, her Silver Age sidekick), Cassie “Wonder Girl” Sandsmark (her current sidekick); the Justice League


Foes and Antagonists: Circe, Dr. Psycho, Cheetah, Giganta, Silver Swan, Ares, bondage.

One-Sentence Origin: Born of clay and given life by the gods, Princess Diana won the mantle of Wonder Woman, and entered Patriarch’s World to defend it from harm and teach the Amazonian values of peace and justice.

Memorable Moment: In the late 60s Wonder Woman received a makeover, sacrificing her powers and colorful costume to stay in Man’s World and become an Emma Peel-esque kung-fu character mentored by I-Ching. The depowering of the world’s most famous female superhero did not sit well with real world feminist icon Gloria Steinem, so she placed a traditionally-costumed Wonder Woman on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine and wrote an essay extolling the virtues of the traditional take on the character. Shortly thereafter Wonder Woman was back in her traditional garb, complete with superpowers.


Fun Fact: In the 1940s, Wonder Woman served alongside other heroes of the era in the Justice Society of America as…their secretary.

Yeah, it took a little while for her to become a feminist icon...

Teebore’s Take: Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston (who also had a hand in the creation of the lie detector-hence her truth-compelling lasso) in a stated desire to use the educational powers of comic books to introduce a strong and forward-thinking (for the time) female feminist protagonist. Well, Marston also had some odd fetishes (hence the lasso) and unorthodox approaches to love (he and his wife lived with a third woman in a polygamous relationship, for example) which led to many early Wonder Woman stories involving her getting tied up or emphasizing how servitude to a “master” is alright, as long as the master is a good one.

George Hamilton says:

Using comics to teach kids that women can beat people up just like Superman=good.
Using comics to teach kids about your personal fetishes=not so good.


But Wonder Woman survived her odd creator, and is today considered a part of DCs “trinity,” one of their “big three” characters (alongside Superman and Batman). Considering that today she is nowhere near the sales juggernaut that Batman and Superman are (she currently headlines 1 comic book a month; combined, Batman and Superman star in approximately 1106 comic books a month) her role in this trinity largely stems from the fact that she survived the industry-wide super-hero purge of the 1950s making her, along with Bats and Superman, the only three characters to remain in constant publication throughout DC Comics’ history. What she lacks in thematic resonance compared to Batman and Superman she makes up for (a bit) with her strong connections to Greek mythology (at least for me this is a large part of the character’s appeal) established in George Perez’s post-Crisis reboot of the character.

Wonder Woman also benefits from being a recognized icon of feminism outside the comic book community (as illustrated in the Gloria Steinem anecdote), the first and most successful female super hero. That role, as much as anything, will help keep her in print and alongside her male companions in the DC Trinity for years to come.

While Superman and Batman have had several successful film franchises, Wonder Woman has yet to get a feature off the ground (there’s been one in the works for years now). But she has had a fairly consistent showing on television, starring in all the incarnations of the Super Friends as well as the more recent Justice League cartoon. But most people probably know Wonder Woman thanks to the TV show from the 70s starring Lynda Carter (with Deborah Winger was Wonder Girl!).

I’ve never really seen it; it was a bit before my time, and I haven’t made a point to catch it as an adult. I have a feeling that without the same “nostalgia glasses” on that let me enjoy the hell out stuff like Transformers and He-Man nowadays, I’ll just see a dated “meh” show (unlike the Adam West Batman TV show, which is filled to the brim with batshit crazy awesomeness like this, no matter when you first discovered it).

Check out this site for more on the origin of Wonder Woman and zany bondage fun, and go here for a far more comprehensive look at Wonder Woman’s history.

Lost 4x13: There’s No Place Like Home Part Two

Okay, this was a weird episode, even by Lost’s standards. First of all, there was no island-based story, at all. Instead, the entire two hours was spent on the Oceanic Six who, for some reason, now all work at a hospital together in Seattle. I mean, sure, that makes sense for Jack, and Sun and Kate have certainly assisted in their fair share of island surgeries, and Sayid probably has some training in army field medicine, but I have to wonder what Hurley and Aaron’s medical qualifications are. Maybe Ben forged the necessary documentation for all of them, in order to get them into this hospital as part of his mysterious agenda.

Even stranger, the Oceanic Six have been recast. Jack is now played by that dude from Made of Honor and Kate is played by a different doe-eyed, brown-haired actress. But she's still lusting after Jack, so that makes sense. Sayid is suddenly a homophobic black guy and Hurley is a thin Asian woman. Sun, for some reason, is played by that hot blond from 27 Dresses. I suppose the Lost "blond babe" quotient has been suffering for awhile, and now that Claire may be on her way out, the change makes some sense, I guess. Also, I'm thinking the time anomaly around the island must have affected the Oceanic Six on their way off the island, because bizarrely, while the other characters are relatively the same age, Aaron has somehow grown up to their relative age. Also, he’s a sassy black woman.

Oh, and it seems the producers were desperate for ad money or something because this whole episode sounded like a commercial for McDonalds. I don’t exactly know what a "McDreamy" is (some kind of new shake?) but it definitely sounds better than a "McSteamy…"

Seemingly ignorant of these drastic changes, the Oceanic Six proceeded to…what? That wasn’t the season finale of Lost?

It was the Grey's Anatomy finale?

......

Well, that makes a lot more sense, in retrospect.

Ah well, I guess the real season finale of Lost is this Thursday…

Monday, May 26, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 8

Well another week of headlines and puns. It looks like I won outright this week, without any cheating. How disappointing. Although I couldn't help but notice that the voting total was down. (Not that we get all the much readership anyway, but still.) So I've added another poll to the left.
In other news...ummm...I'm wearing pants? Let's get to headlines.

www.mlb.com Headline of the Week:
Yankees get A-Rod back in lineup

OK, no pun in there, but I was thinking, if you knew nothing about baseball, wouldn't you ask "What's a rod have to do with baseball and why were the Yankees without one?"

Oh yeah, did hear about the pitcher who was traded for 10 baseball bats?
That's gotta hurt the old ego, right?

Anyway, onto our headlines:

Teebore:
May 25th, 2008 – Twins 6 Tigers 1
Kubel celebrates birthday in Grand fashion as Twins take two from Tigers

May 24th, 2008 - Rangers 2 Indians 5
Hamilton doesn't hammer as Borowski doesn't blow it, bouncing back from DL

May 24th, 2008 - Orioles 4 Rays 11
Rays go Longoria in unEvan victory

boots~:
May 25th, 2008 - Twins 6 Tigers 1
Tigers spend yet Twin Slams

May 25th, 2008 - Reds 9 Padres 12
Hel-LO! My name is Adrian Gonzales. You stretched the game. Prepare to lose. (Think Princess Bride)

May 25th, 2008 - Giants 6 Marlines 8
Bonds still gone. Roid-less Giants lose again

Dr. Bitz:
May 25th, 2008 – Twins 6 Tigers 1
Perkins gets the Grand Slam he asks for...just don't ask for a Grand Slam at Perkins

May 24th, 2008 - Twins 3 Tigers 19
Tigers triumphantly trounce Twins...totally

May 25th, 2008 - Phillies 15 Astros 6
Utley unleashes one, Burrel bashes one, Jenkins jacks one, and Seanez seizes a win in Phillie victory

I have a feeling that fantasy baseball is influencing some of the headlines. But I could be wrong. Voting to your left, as always. Now onto the Sunday Fantasy Baseball Log...I hope you both enjoy reading it!
-------------------------------------------------

10:32 AM - Oh...here's a shocker, I'm getting my ass kicked. I'm getting tired of going against hot hitters. 2 weeks ago it was Lance Berkman. One week ago I had to go against Mr. "I refuse to not hit home runs" Ryan Braun, this week I'm dealing with Josh Hamilton (who's leading the American league in average and RBIs, and tied in the American League for Home runs) and Chipper Jones (Whose average on the season is like .410). All that said, I started the week doing well. I was up like 7-3. Most of that were the pitching categories...except saves. Then Friday happened.
I remember I got home on Friday and saw on the boob tube that Hunter Pence hit two home runs in a game. I was excited. Little did I know that was pretty much my entire offense on the day. My line for Friday was 4 runs, 2 Home Runs, 5 RBI, .212 Average. I was pretty much doubled up by my opponent in every category that day except home runs.
But what really killed me was my pitching. I was doing really well in pitching until, you guessed it, Friday. I had 4 pitchers going. Since my ERA and WHIP were good I was nervous about 4 pitchers going, but I decided to keep them all in for strike outs, and since two of them were Fausto Carmona and Erik Bedard I figured my ERA and WHIP wouldn't get hurt too much. In the words of a bald Kevin Spacey...WRONG!
My pitching stats for Friday? 19 Innings, 1 Win, 1 Save, 9.95 ERA, 2.16 WHIP. That's terrible. And it's a good thing I kept all four pitchers in, because the ones I trusted the least, Oliver Perez and Andy Pettite did the best. (And Perez didn't do very well.) It was Carmona and Bedard that killed me. Bedard went 4.1 innings, had 3 strikeouts, an 18.69 ERA, and a 2.00 WHIP. Not to be outdone, Fausto Carmon went only 2 inning with one strikeout, a 27.00 ERA and 4.00 WHIP. Ouch. Of course, Carmona injured himself in that game and now he's on the DL. Awesome. That made Oliver Perez's 7.20 ERA and 2.80 WHIP look downright good.
Friday killed me and catapulted my opponent's team into the lead in ERA and WHIP. This is how it looks now:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 35 7 23 4 .296 3 2 48 5.61 1.36
Him: 36 11 38 3 .358 0 6 34 3.40 1.16


Well, that's not a whole lot of categories I can catch up tin. Runs of course, and maybe WHIP. So the best I can hope for is a 5-5 tie at this point. I didn't have any pitchers going today and my opponent had one. I could've just kept things that way and hope his pitcher biffs up WHIP enough to give me the lead, but I decided to pick up the two available pitchers starting today. I picked the ones with the best WHIP. I really don't know what the best strategy would be in this case, but I decided to pick up Tim Redding and Glen Perkins and hope for miracle pitching performances from both of them. And yes, against my better judgement, I picked up Glen Perkins despite the Tigers scoring 19 runs yesterday. Stupid Twins...
Anyway, we'll see if the two pitchers help my WHIP or if I was better off not picking up any pitchers. Otherwise, aside from a miracle day from my players, it looks like I'm going down in fantasy flames. I hope you enjoy you it you vultures.

12:10 PM - First batter of the day is Mr. Glass himself! He's playing most likely because he was taken out early yesterday due to the shellacking the Twins received. And Mauer walks. Shocking.

12:13 PM - The dangerous Ranger duo of Young and Hamilton had a ground out and a walk for my opponent. Which is about the most I can hope for when they come up to bat.

12:14 PM - I hate that my opponent has Justin Morneau. It makes rooting for the Twins...difficult. I'm always hoping he reaches on an error.

12:16 PM - Morneau grounded out. I noticed Victor Martinez is back in the Indians lineup after a few days off. Not happy about that, but at least he's abiding by the Twins philosophy of catchers and hasn't hit a home run all year.

12:18 PM - Perkins starts his game off with a strike out. Nothing wrong with that.

12:21 PM - 1-2-3 first inning for Perkins. Keep it up!

12:22 PM - Naturally The Black Hole Formerly Known As Travis Hafner singled, since he's on my bench. And Victor Martinez with an RBI single. I'd be more upset if RBIs and Average wasn't out of reach to begin with.

12:28 PM - Well, 'Rally Killer' Delmon Young came up to bat with a man on first and third and nobody out. Even the 'Rally Killer' couldn't screw it up, he certainly tried though. A run comes in on a double play. So no RBI for him. I'm so glad I dropped him.

12:38 PM - Guillen hit a home run off of Perkins. I'm more upset about the hit more than anything else.

12:39 PM - Now Perkins gives up a walk. Grrrrrr...

12:41 PM - So it's a home run followed by two walks all now all on two outs. Perkins, you're worthless. I need a good WHIP!

12:42 PM - Alex *Expletive Deleted* Rodriguez just walked. My players are walking left and right.

12:47 PM - Apparently Aaron Rowand just had a two run homer for my opponent. Sounds about right.

12:48 PM - My team finally has an 'official' at-bat, at its a line out by Mauer.

12:52 PM - Crawford with a single, and now a single moved him to third. It would be nice if he crossed the plate.

1:00 PM - Crawford, on third, one out, but he couldn't cross home plate. At least 'Professor' Xavier Nady hit a solo shot. I'm only down by a run.

1:01 PM - Ryan Branyan hit a single off my Washington pitcher. He's a Brewer and playing 3rd base so I imagine him looking like Ryan Braun with a fake mustache.

1:04 PM - Twins have a man on first and second, one out, 'Rally Killer' Delmon Young up to bat. I'm sure you'll be all shocked to hear that he just hit into an inning ending double play.

1:05 PM - Failed to notice Mark Derosa crossed home plate. Now I'm down by 2 runs again. Yay.

1:19 PM - Spicy Tejada with a Spicy Single.

1:32 PM - Mauer flies out to 'deep' center field. According to the announcers 'At any other ballpark that would've been a home run, but not at Tiger Stadium.' Ummm...yeah right.

1:36 PM - Tejada scored. I'm only down by run one...or one run!

1:38 PM - And now Hunter Pence popped out...lame-oid.

1:42 PM - I suppose I should exercise some. I'll be back, I know you'll miss me.

2:29 PM - Well, as I was on the treadmill I got to see Jason Kubel hit a grand slam. Good for the Twins. Mauer was on base due to an intentional walk. Good for me. Morneau was on base because he walked too. Good for my opponent. So fantasy-wise, the whole thing was a washout.

2:30 PM - Well, I see that Tejada got another run. That's good. I'm tied in the category. Also saw that Tejada and A-Rod had a steal. That should seal the category for me.

2:31 PM - I'm kind of gamy. I should go shower with soap...and water...soap...and water. Stanky a...uh...nevermind.

2:57 PM - Well, I've been scrubbed clean. I heard on the radio that Ian Kinsler hit a home run. That annoys me. Has nothing to do with this week, it's just, I had him last year and he was awesome for a month and a half, then stunk, then got injured. Now he's good again but not on my team. Bastard. Let's check the score board.

2:59 PM - Not much has changed. Tim Redding has gotten lit up. That's not really good. But it appears it will ultimately be meaningless. No more runs on either side so we're still tied there and Pence just singled and A-Rod walked. Hopefully they both score. (Not like that, I'm not interest in baseball players private lives.)

3:04 PM - A-Rod's on third with one out. I could take the lead in runs...

3:10 PM - Well, Alex *Compliment Deleted* Rodriguez scored. I'm up one run.

3:34 PM - Ryan Ludwick struck out swinging. Which is nice, since he's been a thorn in my side all week.

3:57 PM - Nothing really exciting going on. Hunter Pence and Brandon Phillips up to bat. Pence just lined out, I think we all know what I must throw him through.

3:59 PM - And Brandon Phillips struck out swinging. Awesome.

4:39 PM - Brandon Phillips picked up a run. Always appreciated.

4:47 PM - Well, my savior of last week, Sherrill, came in in the 9th inning of a tie game and promptly walked a batter, then gave up a double to end the game. He has the coveted infinite ERA and infinite WHIP. I think the secret to time travel involves infinite ERA and WHIP...but I could be wrong.

5:07 PM - You know, I generally hate commercials. But the commercial with the family eating dinner and the son says he put all of his sister's friends in his Fave 5 because her friends are hot and the sister is upset and the dad says "Maybe you should have uglier friends"...it always makes me chuckle

5:17 PM - Brandon Phillips hits a home run. That's nice...and pretty much seals runs for me. I think this week is pretty much over already. Looks like a 4-6 loss for me.

5:30 PM - Youkilis is now 0 for 4. The Black Hole Formerly Known As Travis Hafner has outperformed him this weekend and The Mummified Remains Of Gary Sheffield out performed both of them...that's not good.

5:40 PM - This certainly has been an unexciting Sunday. Probably because so little categories were in doubt. Anyway, I have to go to a barbecue now, but I'll be back with the ever exciting wrap up.

12:23 AM - Well, I'm tired and coming down from a buzz, so we'll see how well this all works out. The final score of the night is:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 45 11 29 7 .301 4 2 59 5.43 1.42
Him: 39 12 44 3 .332 2 7 41 3.53 1.20


Carlos Quentin had a big game for me in the night game going 3 for 3 with two home runs. But really, all that served to do was be a slap in the face to me because I didn't have A-Rod in my lineup the first night he came off the DL and he hit a home run that night. I usually wait till a player on the DL actually plays a game before dropping somebody to put the person on the DL in my line up and of course this time it cost me a tie in a category. Of course, if the umpires weren't idiots and didn't call A-Rod's homer off a railing a double I would've tied the category anyway. Oh well.
The pitchers I picked up today combined to actually hurt my WHIP. So I chose...poorly. Oh well, if I didn't have any pitchers going today I'd have still lost WHIP, so what are you gonna do?
Also, creepily enough, my opponent for two weeks in a row ended up with the same amount of RBI, 44. I really hope next week I can face someone who will get below 40 RBI for the week.

Nemesis of The Week:
Every batter on my opponents team except Victor Martinez and Michael Young. Sorry, it was just getting too difficult for me to pick. I mean, besides the two I mentioned, the only batter to hit below .300 was Justin Morneau (who hit a paltry .296) but had 3 runs and 5 RBI and Ryan Howard, who hit .276 but had 4 home runs, 6 runs, and 9 RBI. Mark DeRosa only had 4 Runs and 3 RBI but had a .409 Average. Chipper Jones had 5 runs, 3 RBI, a .476 Average and a home run. Ryan Ludwick and 5 Runs, 2 home runs, 9 RBI, a Stolen base, and a .318 Average. Josh 'Friggin' Hamilton hit 5 Runs, 2 Home Runs, 4 RBI, 2 Steals, and a .412 Average. And Aaron Rowand, who I thought was suppose to suck, had 3 runs, 2 home runs, 9 RBI, and a .364 batting average. So frankly, they all pissed me off. I couldn't choose between any of those 7 batters. And I can't compete with them either. Those averages were sick...

Savior of the Week:
Carlos Quentin had 6 Runs, 3 Home Runs, 6 RBI, and a .300 average, but he's not the Savior of the Week. I think Brandon Phillips edges out Quentin because he contributed to categories that I won. He had 8 Runs, 1 Home Run, 3 RBI, 3 Steals, and .333 Average. Those stolen bases were nice.

The moral of the story is that if you have arguably the best hitter in baseball reportedly coming off the DL on a Tuesday you should make sure he's in your line up that Tuesday because...well...he's probably the best hitter in baseball. Hmmm...sounds kind of obvious when I put it like that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Marvel-ous Ambition

I went to see the Iron Man movie the other day and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It was not without its faults but it was entertaining enough with Robert Downey Jr. playing the boozing philanderer, Tony Stark. (Yes, it was a stretch for him.)
Actually, it's a testament to how much fun Robert Downey Jr. is as Tony Stark when you realize that there was only 3 real actions scenes throughout the entire movie but it still managed to be entertaining.
If you wait till the end of the credits of Iron Man you get to see a super-duper secret scene in which you find out that Mace Windu didn't actually die when Anakin bitch slapped him, he simply 'fell into the Marvel Universe.' This scene also foreshadows things to come regarding Marvel Studios and upcoming movies. For more information you can see Marvel's completely unbiased article here: http://www.marvel.com/news/moviestories.3493

To paraphrase the article, this is what the future of Marvel Superhero movies looks like:

July, 2008 - The Incredible Hulk (Starring Edward Norton)
April, 2010 - Iron Man 2 (Starring Robert Downey Jr.)
July, 2010 - Thor
May, 2011 - Captain America
July, 2011 - The Avengers (Presumably Featuring Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton), Thor, and Captain America)

That's right, along with the upcoming Incredible Hulk movie, Iron Man's getting a second movie and then there's a Thor movie and a Captain America movie planned. After all that, all four heroes will star in an assemble piece as the Avengers. That's what I call ambition. I'm of two minds regarding this aggressive plan and, luckily for you, I'm going to share both sides of my mind with you.

Why I like this:
This just in, Hollywood likes to belch out cookie cutter films that we've seen a hundred times before. Why? Because if one movie makes money, we have to make a hundred more like it, because they are sure to all make money too, right? Trying something unique and different is rarely attempted because the chance for failure is high and so much money is invested in any one movie. So instead of something new we see Mathew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in a romantic comedy together...again.
So I like the idea of making four individual movies featuring different heroes with a larger goal in mind of bringing them together for giant blockbuster. That takes moxy, cajones, guts, and, well, you get the idea.
We just rarely get to see Hollywood take chances. They did with Lord of the Rings. The idea that a studio would dedicate many years and spend a bucket load of money up front to make a trilogy of fantasy movies is unheard of. Generally, a studio tests the waters with the first movie of a trilogy and then make the other two if the first one is successful. So to make all three movies before releasing the first Lord of the Rings movie was a big risk, but it paid off big time. This Avengers idea could pay off big dividends too.
But nevermind all that ambition stuff, the bottom line is I like comics and superheroes. The idea of an Avengers movie starring characters that already have their own solo movies simply sounds bitchin' to me.

Why I'm nervous it will fail:
For all the ambition this type of project shows, if I was the CEO of a movie studio I'd have a hard time green lighting this project. It's not a question of whether I like the idea on paper, but more the logistics of it all.
First of all, this isn't like, say, the Harry Potter movies. Sure, there's going to be eight Harry Potter movies all presumably with the same actors, but those are movies filmed consecutively. Also, the source material has already been laid out in book form and one movie will logically follow the next.
Contrast that with the Avengers plan. When looking at the time table of the movies, you can see many will be filmed simultaneously. Each movie will have a different writer and a different director. Each super hero may end up with their own thematic elements, style, and feel to their movie. The idea that you could mash up those isolated films and characters into one movie at the end just doesn't seem doable. It feels destined to be incoherent and pretty much a cluster f.
Also, we already know there are two 'big name stars' involved with these heroes. You've got Edward Norton and Robert Downey Jr. Who knows who Thor and Captain America will end up being, but if they're comparable to the first two, then that's four big name actors you'll need to share screen time on a single movie. That's not counting Samuel L. Jackson. Can that many egos coexist on the same set? Will this truly be an 'ensemble' cast or will it be 'Robert Downey Jr. and those other guys' or something like that? This is not mentioning how costars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Liv Tyler will fit into all this.
Marvel tried an ensemble series of movies before with the X-Men trilogy. While financially successful, the third movie did have Cyclops dying in the first 15 minutes because Halle Berry wanted more screen time. Now, it's a proven fact that nobody misses Cyclops, but I have a feeling if you do the same thing with Iron Man or Hulk there will be many upset movie-goers.

The Marvel plan of making an Avengers movie and structuring contracts properly to allow for it to happen is no small gamble. Despite my reservations, though, I really do hope it works out. It could pay great dividends and end up being very entertaining to watch. Even if it fails, I applaud Marvel attempting something different. If more movie studios tried ambitious projects like this the landscape of cinema would be much more entertaining.


If Robert Downey Jr. gets more screen time than me then I'll get angry. You won't like me when I'm angry!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Few Stereotypical Generalizations Observed One Sunday While On Register at Barnes and Noble

Old people want their bags, consarnit!

When I’m on register and someone purchases two items or less, I usually ask them if they’d like a bag, rather than automatically putting their stuff in one. I find that very few people will go out of their way to decline a bag, but most of the time, if asked directly, will (unless it’s raining/snowing outside). However small a difference this makes, I figure this saves the company a few cents (they won’t have to reorder more bags as often) and does a small part to help the environment (one less bag getting trashed as soon as the customer gets home).

However, I said that most people will decline a bag; you know who never declines a bag? Old people. Doesn’t matter if they’re purchasing a gift card that will be dwarfed by our smallest bag; they want a bag for it. It’s like they couldn’t bag their purchases bagged during the Great Depression so they have to make up for it today by having everything, no matter how trivial, put in a bag.

We're old! Give us our bag!

If a vaguely college-aged looking male is purchasing a Christian Inspiration book, he goes to Bethel.

The store at which I work is very near Bethel University, a private college known for the Christian fervor of its students and faculty. And there’s nothing wrong with that-I’m not making a value judgment here, just an observation. I can almost guarantee you, at my store, if a guy that looks like he could be in college is buying a Christian Inspiration book, he’s a Bethel Student.

Jesus rules!!

And when I say “Christian Inspiration” I don’t mean they’re purchasing a Bible, or a catechism, or some kind of theology book. We have a different sections for those kinds of books within the general “religion” area: Bibles, Comparative Religion, and Christianity, respectively. I'm talking about Christian Inspiration where you’d find works by televangelists like Joel Osteen, Billy Graham or Robert Schuler and authors like Joyce Meyers or TD Jakes. Again, I'm not making any kind of value judgment here; it's just that in my experience most college-aged males don't buy these kinds of books-unless they go to Bethel.

Anyone who has “See ID” on their credit card will want their receipt “with them.”

Just like the bag question, I ask every customer if they would prefer their copy of the receipt with them or in the bag. Most people just have me toss it in the bag. A few take it themselves and stuff it into a billfold or purse. But I can guarantee you, if the customer has “See ID” written on the back of their card in addition to/instead of their signature, then they want their receipt with them, and how dare you even ask, and are you trying to steal my identity?

My assumption when I read “See ID” on the back of a card is that the person is more paranoid than the average person about identity theft. So I then assume their desire to tightly clutch their receipt in hand stems from the same paranoia: they wouldn’t want to risk that receipt falling out of their bag, or worse, being found by one of the scores of identity thieves that WCCO news tells us routinely pore through everyone’s garbage for such things.

I myself am admittedly more cavalier about the subject than I probably should be (I often like to joke that if someone wants to steal my credit cards, they’re welcome to them. Enjoy all that debt, moron) but I think some people take it a little far. For example, on this same Sunday, I had a gentlemen enter his debit card pin into our customer credit card reader with his other hand up to block my view of the numbers he’s entering. Assuming, apparently that:

  1. I actually gave a damn and was paying any attention to his pin.
  2. Possessed a desire to unscrupulously and illegally access his account, presumably to fuel the heroin habit he must assume I possess.
  3. I had some intricate and devious plan to gain access to his debit card itself, without which knowledge of his pin would be worthless, thus forcing me to either go through withdrawal or sell my body on the street.

So thanks dude, since you were “saavy” enough to put up your hand up while you entered your pin, now I’m a man-whore.

Quit looking at my pin, man-whore.

Writing checks is really, really slow.

Seriously, who writes checks anymore (well, old people, but that’s another generalization)? I write maybe two checks a month for bills that I can’t pay electronically, and one of those will be changing soon. Otherwise, a friend might get a check as reimbursement for something since I rarely have cash.

But there are people out there who still insist on writing checks for the most mundane of purchases, including books, instead of using the almost universally used check/credit/debit card. And when they decide to do so, the whole rhythm of the line grounds to a halt (like those credit card commercials where someone decides to use cash instead of their Visa or whatever). But cash we can handle; with all the swiping and authorizing that goes on with credit cards, they take about as long to process as it takes to make change. But checks are just SLOW. And people that write checks are oblivious to this, of course, (obviously, since they’re writing a check in the first place). Do they bother to have all but the amount filled in when they reach the counter? No. Do they at least start filling it out as I’m ringing up their purchases? No. They don’t even bother to pull their checkbook from the cavernous maw of their purse until after I’ve given them their total.

So I’ve decided that whenever someone decides to slow things up with a check, I am going to ask them for their phone number (if it’s not on the check already) and write it down. I will also ask for their ID. And write their driver’s license number on the check. And the expiration date. Oh, I’m sorry, is this taking too long? Well, the 90s called and it said to use a friggin’ check card!

The 90s also want their clothes back...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lost 4x12: There's No Place Like Home Part One

Not a whole lot to say about this one; it’s obvious a “part one” of something bigger, and as such, exists primarily to move various characters into position for the upcoming endgame. Most of the island narrative worked to that end, setting up the imminent conflict to come

The flash forward this week brought closer to “island present” than we’ve ever been, opening with the Oceanic Six about to land in Hawaii and meet their families for the first time since being “rescued.” The subsequent press conference laid out once and for all most details surrounding their cover story. It was confirmed that the world believes Aaron to be Kate’s biological son and that Jin died in the crash. Subsequent events showed Hurley unsurprisingly the first to become unhinged by his post-island life, as well as the funeral for Christian and Jack subsequently learning the truth about Claire and Aaron. I’m curious to see to what this flash forward is building, since it seems that by the end of this episode, the island events will have met up with the beginning of this flash forward.

Speaking of the Oceanic Six coming together, every time I think the Oceanic Six are getting moved into a position in which they can be “rescued” together, they still end up more scattered. Now we’ve got Jack going after Hurley with Sawyer while Kate and Sayid are rounded up by Richard and the Others, and Sun’s already on the freighter with Aaron, but she’s there with Desmond, Michael, a handful of Red Shirts and a mess of C4. Something tells me the freighter is not long for the world, and that the Oceanic Six will somehow end up using some combination of the Zodiac and the helicopter to mimic Michael’s path, the details of which he helpfully supplied to Sun, to the island from which the Coast Guard rescued them according to the “official story.” What this bodes for the extras, Desmond, Michael, the “good” Freighties…well, I guess we’ll find out next week.

This episode also had a lot of people asking and responding to some meta-textual questions. At the press conference, in which the reporter asked about Hurley’s girth (something many fans stupidly asked during season one) as well one who seemed suspicious regarding the circumstances of Kate’s “pregnancy,” which was something many fans wondered about (whether or not anyone was suspicious during her trial). We also got a couple of handy info dumps (the official Oceanic Six story and the fairly anticlimactic details of Michael and Walt’s journey to New York) and some fourth-wal lbreaking comments: Sawyer referred to the Dharma barracks as “New Otherton” (a term thrown around by the crew and fans but never used on the show before) and Decker commented on the Oceanic Six moniker being media-derived and not entirely accurate (obviously a nod to we technically-minded fans who feel Aaron shouldn’t count as one of the six). We also had two instances of characters pointing out the ridiculous coincidences surrounding the main characters: Hurley’s dad and the numbers appearing on the speedometer (it’s been a while since we had a good old fashioned freaky appearance of the numbers like that) and Claire’s surprisingly recovered mom and her sad amazement at the coincidence that Claire and Jack were both on Oceanic 815.

Highlight:
Sun totally laying the smack down on her father, buying out the company from under him; welcome to the 00s, jerk-ass!

Did you Notice:
Oh yeah, Jack has a mom. What with all his whining about his dad, it was easy to forget his mom was still alive and relatively normal.

The gal that played Decker (the woman leading the press conference and working directly with the Oceanic Six) was Michelle Forbes, who played Ensign Ro on Star Trek: The Next Generation many years ago.

Juliet wasn’t aware of the Orchid, so it’s probably a station of which not all the Others are aware.

Decker says the Oceanic Six were found on day 103, and I believe currently we are right around day 100 (Lostepedia tells me its day 97) which makes sense, considering to what this finale is building.

Jesus Christ is not a weapon.

Questions:
Sun said two people were responsible for Jin’s death, and Paik is one of them; who’s the other one? Is she just exercising a little self-pity there?

Why were there 15 year old crackers in Ben’s signal kit? And who was he signaling? We’re led to believe it was Richard and the other Others, but Ben was evading Locke’s question. Was that just Ben being Ben?

Who came up with the Oceanic Six’s cover story? Jack and Co., Oceanic, Ben?

How does Daniel know about the Secondary Protocol (or, for that matter, how does he know about the Orchid? Was that something else he learned from a time traveler)?

How much money did Oceanic give the Six, exactly? It had to be a lot, in order for Sun to purchase a controlling interest in the company.

Didn’t Hurley come to terms with his “curse” when he and Charlie rolled the VW bus down the hill in season three’s “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead?” Why does he still want nothing to do with his lottery money? Does something happen in the finale to shake his newfound perspective, or is he simply reverting to type after being rescued? Or did the writers just drop the ball regarding this bit of characterization?

Who rigged the explosives on the freighter? I presume Keamy did, and that thing on his arm is some kind of dead man’s switch to give him leverage.

For whom does Decker work? She was w/the Oceanic Six abroad the Coast Guard plane, but I doubt she was a member. It was implied, but never made clear that she worked for Oceanic itself.

Next week:
A special two-McHour Grey’s McAnatomy McFinale. My guess is some attractive doctors will worry more about their own personal problems than all the people sick and dying around them.

In Two Weeks:
The two hour conclusion of the senses-shattering season finale! Worlds will live! Worlds will die! And nothing will ever be the same! And Jack probably won't like it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 7

Well, boots~ ran away with the voting this week. Or should I say "boots~ walked all over the competition." That's a bit of a worthy pun...in fact, I think it's so good I award me the win! Still undefeated!!! Mwa-ha-ha!
Anyway, I suppose I should note that despite declaring never to spend money on the Twins this season I did have a gift certificate for them leftover from a few years ago. That combined with the fact that they have all you can eat seats and I almost always think with my stomach...well...I think with something else first, but stomach second. Anyway, all that combined meant me, Mrs. Dr. Bitz, and friends are going to a game tonight.
Unfortunately, the certificate wasn't enough to cover the tickets. I had to pay an additional $15. But I figured it would be all right since the Twins were in first place and I said that if they traded Santana but could still win, thus proving me wrong, then I would come back to them. The fact that they beat Boston 3 out of 4 highly amused me too.
Of course, after I bought the tickets the Twins lost 5 out of 6 and are now in 4th place in the division. Lame. So the Twins stick to me once again. Damn them...

OK, www.mlb.com Headline of the Week:
Berkman as hot as they come

Yeah, no real pun there, but the headline did seem a bit awkward for me. I figure that kind of analysis is best left to Us Weekly or People or something.

boots~:
May 4th, 2008 – Tigers 0 Diamondbacks 4
Johnson feeling Randy, Shuts down Tigers

May 18th, 2008 - Twins 2 Rockies 6
Twins closer to Heaven in Denver, Fans still in Hell

May 17th, 2008 - Indians 2 Reds 4
Dunn NOT Done, Adam walks off with win

Dr. Bitz:
May 18th, 2008 – Indians 4 Reds 6
Edison lights up Cleveland from the mound

May 18th, 2008 - Brewers 7 Red Sox 11
Ortiz/Braun bash balls into orbit in home run derby of a game

May 16th, 2008 - Twins 4 Rockies 2
Blackburn boils Colorado at unusually low temperature

Teebore:
May 17th, 2008 - Twins 2 Rockies 3
Rockies Cup Runneth Over: Spilborghs single scores winning run

May 18th, 2008 - Twins 2 Rockies 6
Twins continue to make bad teams look good giving Francis first win, Rockies win two-in-a-row after losing six

May 18th, 2008 - Brewers 7 Red Sox 11
Beckett bad but BoSox bombs beat Brewers

Might I add that the Adam Dunn's walk off homer cost one of my fantasy pitchers a win. But I ended up winning the category anyway. Voting is to your left and only votes toward Dr. Bitz count. On to the fantasy baseball log...
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11:05 AM - Well, it's shaping up to be an exciting Sunday. And by 'exciting' I mean 'infuriating and heartbreaking.' I'm going up against Teebore and there's a lot of pride at stake. Early this week my team was playing pathetically and Teebore was pulling ahead. Just when I was about to give up Carlos Quentin hit a big time Grand Slam and put me right back into the mix.
My team started going downhill again until Friday. Teebore had a fairly terrible Friday and I had a good one. I actually pulled to a 6-4 category lead and was only down by one Home Run and One Save. However, I knew I was living on borrowed time, because three of his batters on Friday had their game postponed and two of those batters were going to make it up on Saturday. In fact, all three batters who didn't play on Friday made good on their day of rest for they all hit a homerun the next day.
Teebore basically betrayed our friendship by allowing his team to have 9 Runs, 4 Home Runs, 9 RBIs, a Steal, and .326 average on Saturday. I, of course, had no home runs. However, my pitchers were able to strike back at this Judas with a big night of their own. 2 Wins, 3 Saves, 26 Strikeouts, 2.39 ERA, and .95 WHIP. (Although ERA and WHIP don't matter much to me since my pitchers sucked the big one early in the week.)
The interesting thing about the postponed games on Friday is that it actually helped me too. You see, Oliver Perez was supposed to play on Saturday, but the postponed gamed bumped his start to Sunday. This means on Saturday I only had 3 pitchers going. I originally had reliever Ryan Franklin out of the lineup but was able to put him in and he ended up getting a Win. Good times.
So, after all that, here's how things shake out:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 23 4 30 3 .290 4 6 57 4.36 1.49
Him: 27 9 29 1 .241 2 5 32 2.79 1.35

As you can see most of the categories are up for grabs. Home runs, ERA, and WHIP should go to Teebore. I SHOULD win AVG and Strikeouts. Teebore does have four starting pitchers going today, but still, 25 Strikeouts is a lot to make up, especially with me having two starting pitchers today. Everything else is very much in doubt. He'll probably have more batters going than me, though, since The Black Hole Formerly Known As Travis Hafner isn't even playing this weekend because it's interleague and Travis Hafner sucks at fielding...oh yeah...he sucks at hitting too. There's this stupid rule about a team only having 4 player adds a week and I used all 4 adds already because all reports were The Black Hole was going to play this weekend. He didn't and now I can't sub for him.
I suppose I shouldn't be too critical though, The Black Hole Formerly Known As Travis Hafner did have a pinch hit solo home run on Friday. Beyond Hafner, it's a day game after a night game so we all know a certain Minnesota Catcher won't be playing. So we'll see what my line-up minus two players can do this Sunday. Rest assured, I will probably end up in a Hulk-like rage by day's end.

11:44 PM - Just noticed David Ortiz is out of Teebore's lineup today. Interesting strategy, especially since he hit a three-run homer yesterday. But maybe Teebore knows something I don't. Or maybe this is a residual from Friday and Saturday, where on Friday Alex Rios was out of his line up and Adam LaRoche was in and LaRoche went 0 for 4 while Rios went 2 for 4 with a Run and RBI. So on Saturday Teebore put Rios in the lineup and took LaRoche out of the lineup and, you guessed it, Rios went one for five and LaRoche went two for five with a Run and an RBI. I, of course, would've burned down my house after this (but would save the sliding glass door to push You-Know-Who through it). It looks like Teebore's solution was to put them both in his lineup. Or maybe Ortiz isn't supposed to play today. We'll find out soon enough.

11:49 PM - After all that diatribe I noticed that David Ortiz is now in Teebore's lineup. LaRoche is out. Expect a big game from LaRoche.

12:24 PM - Well, Kansas City is beating Florida by 2 after the top of the first. Which is good since Teebore has Florida's closer. And Teebore's rookie phenom pitcher Edison Volquez has already allowed two baserunners without getting an out. Keep it up Volquez!

12:30 PM - Hanley Ramirez struck out looking. Stupid Han-Ram. Has no bearing on this week, but I hate Hanley Ramirez...because he's good...and not on my team.

12:31 PM - And of course Edison Volquez gets out of the inning unscathed. Stupid...good for nothing...universe...always plotting against me.

12:42 PM - First batter of the day is Brandon Phillips...RBI ground out to second. Decent, I suppose. Of course, it gives Teebore's pitcher a lead and I don't want him getting the Win!

12:44 PM - And of course Ryan Braun refuses to NOT hit homers. Way to go boots~, trading Braun for a gimpy Chone Figgins. Way to go. RBI category is tied.

12:50 PM - My suspicions were confirmed. Joe Mauer is out of the lineup today. You know how I knew that was going to happen? Because of the kids. They called him Mr. Glass!!!

12:58 PM - David Ortiz with an RBI double. Well this Sunday's turning out swell...

1:03 PM - Teebore's catcher managing play three games in a row...go figure.

1:11 PM - Youkilis flied out to center. After last weeks stellar performance he's pretty much done nothing. I figured he'd have a bad week when they kept him out of the lineup on Monday for no good reason.

1:23 PM - No real change. I'll get some lunch.

1:38 PM - Picked up some lunch and came back to see my team is 0 for 5 with an RBI and I also noticed that David Ortiz has hit a home run for Teebore. Excellent. My sandwich will taste all the more bitter because of it.

1:43 PM - Just noticed that the Boston/Milwaukee game is on TBS (which is odd) so now I get to watch my misery in real time instead of Stattracker. Yay!

1:47 PM - Got to see my first hit of the day in real time. Youkilis is with a harmless single.

1:52 PM - Giovanni Soto just got out. Serves him right for thinking a catcher can play on Sundays. He hits home runs too! That's how you know Teebore hates Minnesota. He has a catcher on his team that hits home runs. How disgusting!

2:00 PM - Well, Youkilis just got a Run...basically a deck chair thrown off the Titanic...

2:03 PM - For some reason I'm nervous about my pitching staff. Maybe it's because I have a pitcher in rain delay. But so does Teebore. It's odd, but 2 against 4 felt more comforting to me than 1 against 3. Let's just say my Spidey-sense is tingling.

2:05 PM - RBI single for Brandon Phillips, which is good. Carl Crawford grounded out, which is bad.

2:09 PM - Well, Teebore's B.J. Upton could succeed where Carl Crawford failed and got Iwamura in from second base. Anybody surprised? Didn't think so.

2:10 PM - Miguel 'Spicy' Tejada hit into a double play...whatever...

2:13 PM - Teebore's mid-week pickup Emil Brown just scored a run. Fantasy Baseball rules.

2:17 PM - Oh good, I get to see a David Ortiz hit a home run in real time. Because I was so sad I missed the first one.

2:21 PM - Youkilis says, "Hey, if Big Poppi can hit a two home runs in a game, then I can certainly hit another seeing eye single!" And he did! Take that Teebore!

2:22 PM - Hunter Pence says, "Hey, Youkilis hit a single? We can't have too many people get hits for Dr. Bitz on a Sunday, time to strike out looking." And he did! God...I gotta...do something. I don't know what. I'll be back later.

2:28 PM - I am going to go do something soon, but I have to mention that Cuddyer was on third with no outs and the Twins failed to get him home. The Twins have turned that kind of a thing into an art form.

2:30 PM - Seriously, I'm going to leave, but I noticed Ryan Braun was up to bat on Stattracker so I flipped over to TBS just in time to see that Ryan Braun has hit another home run. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a toaster and a bathtub filled with water calling my name.

3:08 PM - Alright, showered up, put some pants on, heard the Twins get a one out triple but failed to get the guy home. Things seem to be on par, aside from the fact that Youkilis hit a two-run homer. It's good, but again, Titanic...deck chair. You know the drill.

3:10 PM - I see that Lannan, my pitcher that was in a rain delay, is now pitching. Up by one after two innings, has two strike outs, not bad. My Spidey-sense is subsiding.

3:17 PM - Both 'Spicy' Tejada and 'No Sliding Glass Doors...No Sliding Glass Doors EVER!!!' Pence are 1 for 2 with a run each. My Astros are producing nicely for me these days. Now if I could only get the Astro known as Lance Berkman. *starts drooling*

3:20 PM - Stupid BJ Upton got a steal. Now I'm only ahead by one and with Jose Reyes still to play tonight my Steals lead is suspect.

3:21 PM - The Black Hole Formerly Known As Travis Hafner coaxed a pinch hit walk. I'd rather have a home run. But maybe he can steal a base! But since it's the ninth it'll probably be stupidly ruled 'defensive indifference.'

3:22 PM - Lance Berkman is 1 for 2 and according Yahoo! is now hitting .400 on the season. I hate that guy, because he's good and not on my team. Beyond that, when I see his picture it reminds me of Parkman from Heroes, which simply annoys me more.

3:24 PM - Hey, Tejada with and RBI double and then scores. That's good but will probably prove to ultimately be meaningless.

3:27 PM - Well, now both Braun and Ortiz have 2 runs, 2 homeruns, and 4 RBIs each. Sounds about right.

3:28 PM - Rookie Phenom Edison Volquez picks up a win...not good. Marcum pitched an inning and then was taken out of the game because of a long rain delay. that means he can't get a win...good.

3:34 PM - Lead off double by the Twins finally comes around to score thanks to a two-run homer by Morneau. Good for the Twins, but bad for the Fantasy Baseball Sunday Log. I had a good cheap shot against Mauer all lined up.

3:38 PM - "Crawford homered to deep center" You're not going to steal bases that way, Crawford!

3:59 PM - Miguel 'Spicy' Tejada singled. Steal! Steal! Steal!

4:02 PM - No steal. Berkman grounds into fielder's choice. Now Tejada isn't even on base.

4:04 PM - Pence singled. Steal! Steal! Steal!

4:07 PM - No steal. Loretta grounded into fielder's choice. Inning over.

4:10 PM - OK, here we go. The Twins get a lead off double but fail to get the guy home. You know, Mauer has been known to have a good batting average, maybe he could've helped drive in a run. Too bad he's too busy being confined to a wheelchair and rigging a train to crash.

4:12 PM - Bradley homered to cut the Houston lead to 3 making it a save situation. Not good...not good at all.

4:15 PM - Murphy homered. You best take the lead, Rangers!

4:29 PM - Chris B. Young gets a 2 RBI double to salt away that category. That B. pissing me off.

4:32 PM - Houston and Arizona are both in save situations now. Things are shaping up good for Teebore's closers. The storm clouds are gathering.

4:33 PM - Two run homer by Quentin. Kind of good, but now Danks is looking to get a win for Teebore. Can't say I approve of that.

4:35 PM - Twins walk a run in against Rockies' pitcher who was batting. Yeah. Double whammy. Because not only will the Twins lose the game, but that took Colorado out of a save situation. Guess who has Colorado's closer? Things are looking bleak.

4:37 PM - After 7 scoreless inning for Lannan, now he has a man on Second and Third with one out and a tentative 2-0 lead. His Win is in serious Jeapardy...Spidey-sense...off the damned charts.

4:41 PM - Just saw a Famous Dave's Barbecue commercial. Does anyone else find it disturbing that their mascot is a pig salivating over what appears to be barbecue ribs? I suppose it could be worse, it could be pork...

4:44 PM - Lannan's game is now in rain delay. I have no idea what happens if the game is rained out.

4:46 PM - Twin's go quietly in the 8th. Prediction? Fuentes is brought out in the ninth thus ensuring that he can't get the save.

4:56 PM - Valverde's pitching in the 9th with a one run lead. I need him to blow this save...

4:59 PM - One out in the 9th for Valverde.

5:01 PM - Two outs in the 9th for Valverde. A solo home run for Texas would be really nice for me.

5:03 PM - Laird singles for Texas. A big two run homer would be sweet.

5:08 PM - Boggs struck out swinging. Save for Teebore. Now the category will be tied at best, lost at worst. Story of my fantasy baseball life. Open up a window of hope then slam it down on my fingers.

5:16 PM - San Francisco ties the game up against Chicago. That's big time. Danks can't get the win now.

5:21 PM - Well the Washington game resumed and now I need Rauch to pitch a scoreless ninth inning to get Lannan the win.

5:22 PM - Markakis strikes out swinging...good...good.

5:23 PM - Millar popped out to left...good...good.

5:26 PM - Payton popped out to third base...excellent.

5:32 PM - White Sox up by 9 now in the 8th. Not a big deal fantasy wise, but Quentin is second up in the ninth which means realistically the best he can do is a two run homer which would still put me one RBI behind Teebore. I suppose I could hope for a steal.

5:36 PM - Lyon comes in with a four run lead which means no save opportunity for him. Looks like Teebore and I are tying that category. I wouldn't mind if Lyon has a high WHIP though.

5:41 PM - If by 'having a high WHIP' I meant 'pitch a scoreless inning' then I got exactly what I wanted from Lyon.

5:50 PM - Well...Quentin singled. But considering A.J. Pierzynski is on second I doubt a steal is in order.

5:54 PM - Jermaine Dye singled. A.J. score and Quentin is at third. I don't know, he could steal home...right?

6:30 PM - Here's where we're at. All my batters are done but Teebore has Jose Reyes going tonight. So unless Jose Reyes gets negative 2 Runs, negative 7 home runs, and negative 4 RBIs, those categories are Teebore's. And realistically, 7 negative Home Runs in a game? I don't think that's happened since the 1930s. I'm only up by one steal, and if you don't think Jose Reyes can bust out a steal or eight you don't know baseball. So that category is very much in doubt.
I don't care how good of game Jose Reyes has, I don't think he's going to make up .56 points in batting average. So I'm safe there.
There's one game tonight, Mets versus Yankees. I have Oliver Perez pitching for the Mets going and Teebore's got Chien-Ming Wang pitching for the Yankees. I doubt Chien-Ming Wang can get two Wins to tie that category, since that's an impossibility. Saves are done for and officially tied. I doubt Wang can get the 14 Strikeouts necessary while Perez gets none to tie that category. So those categories are over with.
Teebore's got a 3.04 ERA while I have a 4.08 ERA. I don't think one pitching performance can make that up that gap this late in the week.
The only interesting pitching stat left is WHIP. I'm at 1.42 and he's at 1.37 and so that's very much in doubt. The bad part is Wang's WHIP for the season, 1.17. Oliver Perez's WHIP on the season? 1.56...ouch.
Thus, since Reyes is going against Teebore's pitcher and since I'm up by one steal, I would be happy if Reyes hit a home run in all of his at bats. Really, tonight's game is going to boiled down to two stats, Steals and WHIPs. Lets see if I can hold on to the former and take over the latter...

7:58 PM - Its been a pitcher's duel. Through 3 innings it's scoreless. Perez has had two walks and Wang just gave up a double to Reyes. I'm nervous about a steal.

8:00 PM - Reyes got caught in a fielders choice. Phew. Now Wang needs to give up like 8 hits in a row. And Reyes could hit a home run his next at bat.

8:22 PM - Well, the Mets pretty much listened to me. Except Reyes hit a fly out to end the inning instead of a home run. Still, I'm now down by just .01 in WHIP. But the fact that I'm relying on Oliver Perez for WHIP makes me...nervous.

8:27 PM - And of course Oliver Perez promptly gives up two hits in a row, including a home run...damnit.

9:23 PM - Well, my WHIP is .03 higher than Teebore's. I have a feeling that was Perez's last inning. Hopefully Wang comes back for one more inning and give up a whole bunch of hits/walks without getting an out.

9:26 PM - Wang gave up a hit. I'm only .01 WHIP behind him. I need Wang to give up one maybe two more hits then take him out and not let Perez pitch. Let's see what happens.

9:31 PM - Wang's left the game. Down by .01 WHIP I need...NEED...Perez to come in and pitch another inning. Preferably perfect, but maybe even a one hitter/walker would work. The windows open but I'm bracing myself.

9:34 PM - WTF? The Yankees are intentionally walking the first batter for the new pitcher? Wang could've done that! God Damnit...

9:40 PM - Reyes hits a three-run homer, naturally not against Wang. whatever. I just saw Oliver Perez put his baseball cap on for presumably another inning of pitching. C'mon, a perfect inning here would be huge!

9:45 PM - One out for Perez...

9:46 PM - Two outs for Perez...no hit yet...Teebore and I are officially tied in WHIP. One more out...c'mon...one more out.

9:47 PM - And Perez is taken out of the game after that...one more out and I could've possibly taken the category...no we're lamely tied. I was all ready to rip off my shirt Brandi Chastain style and now...nothing. It's like your parents walking in on you in the middle of sex!

10:29 PM - So...after a titanic slugfest that ended with a whimper, this is the final score:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 31 7 38 3 .304 6 6 66 3.93 1.35
Him: 33 14 44 2 .251 3 6 49 3.57 1.35

After all the drama of this Sunday I end up kissing my sister. Not literally, of course. Who do I look like, Quicksilver? Nah, I mean we tied. If only one of my 4 closers got a save today...if only Oliver Perez pitched for one more out. If only. I suppose Teebore's thinking similar things. Like how his 'ultra fast' team managed only 2 stolen bases this week. But really, let's look at this.
My Sunday line looked like this: 8 Runs, 3 Home Runs, 8 RBI, and .387 average. Aside from the no steals, that looks like a pretty good day...unless you're going against this: 6 Runs, 5 Home Runs, 15 RBI, 1 Steal, and a .306 batting average. You see what happened there? His team saw that Teebore had a good cushion in the run department so they got an acceptable amount of runs and instead focused on RBI. I wish I new what is was like to face me on a Sunday in Fantasy Baseball. You've got like a 80% chance of having an incredible hitting performance. I think boots~ was more the exception than the rule. I should ask Teebore how it feels to drink the elixir that is facing me in Fantasy Baseball.

Nemesis of the Week:
Interestingly enough, Teebore had a few duds on his team for this week. Of course, some other players had big weeks to make up for it. Ortiz had three home runs this weekend, Jose Reyes and 'The Anti-Minnesotan' Giovanni Soto both had a couple of home runs on the week. (Soto, you're a catcher, and all Minnesotans know catchers shouldn't hit home runs or play more than two games in a row.)
Anyway, I think we all know who the nemesis of the week is, the dream of the everyday housewife, the Brawny man himself, Ryan Braun. He decided to book end the week with multi-home run games. So not only did I start off this week hating him, he made sure I ended the week hating him too. His line looked like this: 8 Runs, 6 Home Runs, 10 RBI, and a .345 batting average. Good thing he didn't steal any bases or I would have had to murder him. Then I'd be in jail and no longer blogging.
But seriously, worst of all, Teebore gave away a gimpy player to get this guy who terrorized me so. Sure, boots~ didn't know his man-crush Chone Figgins would get hurt the day after the trade went through, but still!!! I shouldn't have to face Ryan Braun any more than I have to.

Savior of the Week:
Should I have a savior in a week that ends in a tie? Especially when all my players performed admirably but nobody stood above the rest? I'm tempted to give it to the Black Hole Formerly Known As Travis Hafner for his stolen base which ultimately proved to be the difference maker. Quentin had the big time grand slam but that was rendered meaningless. Hmmm...
You know what? I'm giving it to an unsung hero of my team, George Sherrill. I picked him up in free agency after the draft and he's tied for the League lead in saves. His line for the week: 4.2 innings pitched, 4 saves, 3 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA, and a .043 WHIP. Keep up the good work, Sherill.

Well, the moral of this story is that ties suck. Figuratively, not literally. Because if ties literally sucked then I'd love them...and I don't.

11:45 PM - Teebore mails me this at the end of his headlines:

Bonus!

Mets 11 Yankees 2: Reyes hits even more useless home runs instead of stealing *explative deleted*ing bases which is what he's supposed to do.

Yeah, the guy who hit 14 home runs for the week is complaining. That's fantasy baseball for you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teebore's X-Men Roster Dream Team

Here's the roster of X-Men I'd like to write, and what I'd do with them.


Cyclops: Duh. He’s as important as Xavier, but can actually change his outlook on ‘the dream”. Love the shacking-up-with-Emma, telling-Xavier-to-shove-it, running-the-institute-Cyclops. He’s still devoted to the dream but realizes new approaches are necessary. Also, he shoots energy beams from his eyes.








Emma Frost: You’d think I’d hate the idea of killing Jean and hooking Emma up with Cyclops. But I love it. Emma would be the team's telepath. She'd introduce tension amongst the other team members and tension between the team and Cyclops, since Cyclops sticks up for her. Plus, her ability to become diamond-hard would give the team some added muscle. Tough, no nonsense, and I like the idea of a reformed villain who is trying to be a hero, even though she’s not that good of a person.




Shadowcat: The team genius, the one they send on recon, the one who hacks computers and cobbles together crazy alien tech. A genius ninja who can become intangible. She’d probably have an ‘off campus’ non-mutant boyfriend. I’d play her just like Joss Whedon does: she doesn’t trust Emma because to her, Emma will always be the first villain she ever encountered, leading an attack against her at a malt shoppe. Yes, shoppe.




Wolverine: Wolverine is rarely around the mansion (a meta-fictional commentary on his status as Marvel’s Moneymaking Character). The team would often go on missions without him, but bring him in when he’s needed or actually around. And Shadowcat would be the only one who knows how to get in touch with him at all times.






Iceman: People always say Cyclops or Storm are the “heart” of the X-men; I’d make Iceman that. And by “heart” I don’t mean sappy, just funny. He enjoys doing this. He’s been doing it awhile. So more than being just the funny guy, he’d be the guy who really enjoys being an X-Man. And that makes him the ‘heart’ of the team. I also liked what Scott Lobdell started with him, the evolution of his power and his potential as a really powerful mutant. After all, not only can he transform himself into ice and hurl icicles and make ice slides, but he can control the ambient temperature around him, freezing all kinds of things. There’d be fun with Emma, from that time she took over his body and used his power better than he ever had. The two would spend time together with her training him and expanding his power.



Angel: I've always wanted to write a character whose only power is to fly. That’s it. Just…flying. He and Iceman would be BFF and Angel would be his straight man, the guy who shakes his head, pretending he doesn’t think it’s funny. And I’d play up the fact he’s been a super hero forever on a variety of teams. He’s experienced, and knows how to organize and run a company, and he’d bring that sensibility to the table. I’d also play up the rivalry between him and Wolverine, exacerbated by the fact that Angel thinks Wolverine’s frequent absences make him unreliable and less committed.




Juggernaut: The best idea to come out of the X-Men in the last ten years, was Juggernaut joining the X-Men. The X-Men are all about reforming villains, and I would totally play up the fact that Iceman and Angel fought against this guy since they were fifteen. He’d be my strongman and would have to learn that just charging headfirst into things isn’t necessarily the best strategy. I’d also have him develop a crush on Shadowcat, for some romantic tension.




As much as I enjoyed what Grant Morrison did with the idea of mutant culture and the explosion in the mutant population, and as refreshing and original as some of that was, I’d bring things back more to the “sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them” bit. Mutants would be feared and hated. The X-Men’d believe in the whole peaceful coexistence dream but they’d be so busy fighting evil mutants the only way they’d really be furthering the dream is by showing the public that some mutants aren’t all bad. Basically, they’d save a crowd from getting sat on by the Blob or something, and then that crowd would hurl bricks at them. They’d be outcasts again. And there would definitely be a huge brawl with the Sentinels at some point. I miss those.