I leave town for a week and Michael Vick shows up

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Picture 12

photo courtesy of philly.com

Apparently, Michael Vick is an Eagle now.  He’s an incredibly talented athlete who did a terrible thing, as many do.  He went to prison for it, which most don’t.  The situation has been and will be talked to death, but it will change nothing.  This is happening and the focus will eventually shift to what he does on the field.  Redemption and second chances did not make this decision, money did.  The NFL is a business.  People have a right to be upset or even outraged by this, but there are a lot of highly paid athletes and celebrities who do bad things.  This is the unfortunate nature of modern sports and entertainment.  This signing won’t affect the team’s or the league’s bottom line, it may even increase it as everyone will be paying attention to what happens as the season goes on.

For the record, I don’t like this.  I’d prefer the team I root for not have this guy.  This will not change when he scores his first touchdown, or if they win a Super Bowl.  It just bothers me that many analysts said upon Vick’s reinstatement that there will be a team desperate enough to sign him, and the Eagles are now that team.

Also, someone in Chicago threw a beer on Shane Victorino while making a catch at the center field wall.  Honestly, who throws a beer?


Girl fighting is “sports entertainment”

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carano_v_cyborgI’ve seen my share of contrived fighting, and I think I saw some tonight.  The much hyped (in some circles) fight between Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg was presented by Strikeforce on Showtime tonight and things were definitely suspect.  First of all, the one girl is named Cyborg.  She may as well be part of Techno Team 2000 at that point, because that’s got WWE written all over it.  The fight seemed like it was being stretched for time throughout, and despite my rooting interests was soundly going in favor of the machine-woman.

Then I found myself asking “why would the clock disappear from the screen at the five second mark?” just before the referee called the match in favor of the Cyborg at the moment the horn sounded to end the first round.  I’m really surprised there weren’t twin referees at that point.  Despite the controversy the commentators kept pointing to, the decision stood and a new 145-pound Strikeforce Women’s World Champion was crowned.

I’m sure there will be a rematch, but I honestly hope there isn’t.  Gina “Crush” Carano could be doing so many better things with her time.  I can wait until she gets into some real fake fighting.


Ticketmaster: How can this go on?

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In_Solvent_See-LitanyI enjoy live music and have certainly paid to see my fair share of shows.  Summer festivals, arena acts, small clubs, dive bars, it’s all pretty much fair game, but I have to say something about the way Ticketmaster is hurting everyone.  This is not a new story, and I’m sure it will come as no surprise to many readers.  Let me start with an example.

One of my all-time favorites, Skinny Puppy, is touring this Fall and I received an alert about the ticket on-sale date from Ticketmaster.  This is good.  I go to their site to buy tickets for the show, face value $24.  This is acceptable.  I request two tickets for Angie and I.  An $8.50 Convenience Charge along with a $1 Building Facility Charge  is assessed per ticket.  This, this is unacceptable.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this, and it is not the first time that I have made the choice to get my tickets at the box office, regardless of the inconvenience.  Everyone hates to pay more for things, but this goes beyond that.  My problem is with the way this continues to hurt artists and venues.  I urge you, don’t pay 40% more than the price set by the promoters and performers.  To try to combat this, other outlets are trying to offer more reasonable convenience charges, but a $5 fee per ticket isn’t much better.  Go to the box office, I’ll meet you there.


REVIEW: The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

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The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard stars Jeremy Piven playing basically an Earth 2 version of Ari Gold named Don Ready who is a mercenary car salesman. Ready inhabits a world full of characters from a typical Will Ferrell movie in that they exist purely to try to make the audience laugh and in no way resemble real people. In fact, I thought The Goods felt like a movie written for Will Ferrell until he showed up in it. It turns out he produced the film which explains a lot.

The movie has many genuine laughs in it and is funnier than the commercials suggest. If you liked the lesser Will Ferrell flicks, this movie may be perfect for you. Personally as often as the movie made me laugh, it still felt hollow. It aspires to nothing beyond the quick laugh and that’s fine… But it’s just your typical low brow comedy. I found it amazing how many laughs they could milk from well placed F-bombs. The Goods is nowhere near as good as The Hangover or the first 90 minutes of Funny People.

Will Ferrell’s cameo would have stolen the movie had it been restricted to his first appearance, but he comes back later for a less funny scene or two.

The Goods comes in at just about 90 minutes long, but it feels like a long 90 minutes. I recommend you catch it on DVD if you think it might be your thing.



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Ponyo is the latest animated film by Hayao Miyazaki to be released in the United States. As is typical of his films, Ponyo is more wildly imaginative and fantasy based than to which American audiences may be acustomed.

The story is basically about a magical fish with a human face who is found and be friended by five-year old Sosuke. The fish who comes to be known as Ponyo is the child of a human named Fujimoto, who has abandoned our world to live under water and protect the sea, and a powerful ocean spirit called Granmammare.

Ponyo, a child grappling with magical abilities that she is too young to comprehend or control, wills herself to become human so she can be with Sosuke whom she now loves. However, the use of such powerful magic has put the entire earth at risk in the pocess. Ponyo’s use of such strong magic has caused the seas to come alive and the powerful tides have pulled the moon onto a collision course with the earth.

Ponyo inhabits a world where no one questions two five-year olds driving a boat without adult supervision on a quest to find and potentially save Sosuke’s mother. Heck, it’s a world where Sosuke’s mother can leave the two children behind and believe they’ll be ok and we as an audience just roll with it.

The characters are well developed particularly Fujimoto as the stern but protective father of Ponyo and Sosuke’s lonely and burdened mother.

I particularly enjoyed the level of madness to the ideas that saturate the film, which reminded me of a story that could have been crafted by Grant Morrison. There are many laugh out loud moments and the animation is fantastic. I also found the orchestral music to be an interesting throwback to old Disney films.

The audience I saw the film with were mostly in their 20s, however, the few kids in the audience seemed to really enjoy the film’s humor and spectacle. I personally don’t believe parents will find too much to complain about in Ponyo in terms of content, though they may be mystified by the insanity of some elements of the story.

The film’s biggest flaw in my opinion is the ending. Now I understand how odd it seems as an adult to complain about the ending to a movie about a five-year old, but I found that after how great the rest of the film was, the ending felt sudden and anticlimactic. The story indicates that Sosuke must undergo a dangerous test to save both the world and Ponyo. However, the nature of that test is never as clear as it should have been.

Regardless, Ponyo is an exciting and entertaining ride even if the ultimate destination is a little disappointing.