Archive for November, 2011

Lockout the Unions but not the Players

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Sports

 

This past weekend was the American Thanksgiving and aside from watching a lot of football and catching up on all the Black Friday sales (and seeing how bats**t crazy people can be!), the NBA came to an agreement with its players after months of bargaining for a new CBA. The new (tentative) deal will see the league return on December 25th with three games on the slate and for all fans of hoops, it’s the best Christmas present you could probably ask for at this point. Going into the lockout, the NBA Players Association was the oldest of the four major sports and had the highest average salary of the four sports (being Canadian, I’m legally obligated to include hockey in this discussion much like Congress when talking about steroids in sports; notice how this MUST BE a Canadian article? The headline says “…NHL, other sports…”). When it comes to bargaining, my biggest issue with it (and all bargaining, as it seems) can be blatantly seen with the NBA; they came to losing almost half a season when they had so many good things going their way from last year: rivalries, ratings, and exciting young talent that had heads turning everywhere to watch (seriously, you couldn’t have paid me enough to give a crap about the Clippers until Blake Griffin came along. Now I want to see when they’re playing on National TV and I consider myself a casual-at-best NBA follower). Now that they’ve agreed to the new CBA, I want to see the NBA become the first league to do away with the Players Association (or “Union” as they’re known as to most) and it has a little to do with how this deal was handled but more so because things can get done without a union/association just the same.

The ability to sue: As an Association, the law in the United States doesn’t allow you to sue your employer for antitrust. HOWEVER, if you decertify as a union/association you’re then allowed to sue your employer if the case is strong enough (just ask the NFL). There could still be agreements in place about revenue sharing and who gets how much between the owners and the players but it would make coming to a finish much faster and less annoying for everyone. Which brings me to the much bigger issue…

Why need Unions anyways?: When the average salary is $5-million, the chance that you’re hurting to find affordable insurance coverage for anything is almost laughable. Also, the pension thing always gets me in that you’re pulling in millions of dollars but that won’t be enough to retire on? If you don’t handle your money properly, that’s your fault for needing that extra  (which is not the same as giving your money to someone who screws it up for you; THEN I feel sympathy). It is sad to see how someone like Antoine Walker can go broke but it can happen if you’re not smart with your money. Another thing is that unions are supposed to be there to “protect” players but when you’re bringing in that much money, you can’t hire a lawyer to represent you if you get suspended to appeal it? If you want to make the argument that the union needs to help out those with their pensions, fine, but there are other ways  for current players to invest that would see former players collect a cheque now and then for past services.

Unions served their purpose back in the 50’s mainly because the pay was so low that players, not just in the NBA, had to get other jobs and be creative with investing in order to be successful (in Canada, we have Tim Hortons which is a way of life for coffee drinkers…even if Tim didn’t make it the franchise it is today). They serve their purpose if you’re making minimum wage and are in dire need of a benefits package so you can get some money back for penicillin for when you need it. But we’re not talking about minimum wage earners, we’re talking about millionaires. There will always be owners willing to pay top dollar for top talent in professional sports. As fans, we just want to see games played and not have to relive something like this anymore; an entire season lost and a league still trying to get back to its glory days.

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The Sanchize vs. God’s Rep!

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Sports

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything sports-related (and I felt that I needed to change it up from hockey; show that I’m versatile) and I happened to be home early on a Thursday night so what better way to kill the evening than with Thursday Night Football! This week we have The Sanchize vs God’s Rep; The New York Jets are in Denver to face the Broncos and if you follow the point spread (not that I ever WOULD because it’d be gambling and gambling is wrong BUT for research purposes….totally legit!) you’ll note that the Jets are favoured to win. Despite how it sounds, I’m actually interested in this game; I’ve never seen Tebow play and really want to. Sanchez? Yeah….I’ve seen him poop many-a-beds and cost me many-a-gambling-tickets (IF I were to gamble but I don’t because it’s frowned upon…) but never seen Tebow and his (in)abilities so I’m interested to see how the Broncos handle this.

8:06pm – Rich Eisen is hosting the pre-game and he said that Tim Tebow has won just as many games as the Philadelphia Eagles (I’m going to try to make Eagles Fans feel better: It’s not that bad. Remember when Tony Danza was the face of your franchise? As a Leafs fan who had to endure this, so I feel your pain…).

8:15pm – Oh, God….they just teed up Dieon Sanders talking with Rex Ryan (can we place bets on who will be the first to STOP talking?) and Tim Tebow is going to talk to Kurt Warner (This should be riveting! I wonder if they’ll have a discussion as to whether they should play football on Sundays; technically it’s a sport but for them it’s work, and on the 7th day you rest…).

8:25pm – The panel are taking Jets but the fans are taking Tebow (The air must be REALLY thin tonight in Denver).

8:29pm – Mike Mayock just informed me that the Broncos will either succeed or fail with what they do on the field. (I demand a third option! TIE, MIKE!!!)

8:31pm – Tebow overthrew the Demaryius Thomas but lucky he could go up and get it for an impressive gain (to go with his impressive name!).

8:34pm –  Tebow just used the shovel pass! (Holy S***! Where’s Doug Flutie??)

8:40pm – I blinked and Sanchez got sacked followed by a blown punt (13 yard punt? YOU KIDDING??? This is NOT good for my gambli…um…friendly wager…)

8:43pm – Tim Tebow is up to 3 completions compared to last week (yes, they showed last week’s “highlights”….wow.)

8:58pm – Jets suffered an injury but were able to move the chains (as a hockey fan, I’m not gonna lie; I find it WAY cooler to see the chains come out to see if they advance)

9:00pm – Broncos called on a late hit on Plaxico Burress (sucks cuz he wouldn’t have caught it to begin with….doesn’t seem to have his vertical for some reason. Maybe something to do with his leg…).

9:06pm – After an incomplete pass, Jets line up and miss a field goal attempt giving the Broncos good field position (BLEEPING JETS!!! BLEEPING, BLEEPING JETS!!!!)

9:07pm – Willis McGahee fumbles and Jets recover on the Denver 35 (that collective laugh you hear is from Bills fans everywhere…they still hold grudges).
 
 9:19pm – Brad Nessler (Play by Play) and Mayock are discussing the phenom known as Tebowing (YES!!! THEY’RE ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT TEBOWING!!!).
 
9:21 – Great return followed by a McGahee loss of one (Buffalo continues to laugh). 
 
 9:23pm – Wow. Going into a commercial a Marine had his picture taken with Tebow where he Tebow’d in front of him (no, I will not weigh in on that with an opinion. I cannot call that lame when I’ve got Nintendo hooked up in my bedroom and have the ability to play it from my bed. Yes, I’m single and this is one of many, many reasons).
 
 9:31pm – Broncos can’t make anything happen and are forced to punt (I think I’ve gotten enough to make a decision on Tebow: they know his throwing sucks so they’re going to do whatever they can to give him as many options to keep the ball as close to on the ground  as possible. Run, hand-off, shovel-pass….those are the tools they trust him with).
 
9:34pm – They just showed the standings for both divisions (if you had asked me after 9 weeks if Oakland would be in first over San Diego, I would’ve laughed and walked away).
 
9:38pm – Mayock just spent the past 4 minutes arguing that the Burress catch was incomplete because his knee hit before he got two feet in bounds and then when the call came down completely agreed with the call (That analysis will make anyone’s head spin).
 
3:32am – Apparently, I found the half-time analysis so engaging that I passed out on the couch and woke up abruptly early in the morning. Tebow made a last-minute TD run for the win (which sucks because it was probably the most interesting thing to have happened at this point) and god’s rep wins again….ruining yet another ticket.

Long Live Immortals!

Posted: November 12, 2011 in Movies


The country of Greece has been on really hard times as of late: they’re broke, not going to be getting any financial help, and could be kicked out of the Eurozone. They needed something to remind the world of their culture and history….even if only partially accurate and REALLY graphic. Enter: Immortals!

With the opening of Immortals this past weekend, and with all the recent junk that appears to have come out as of late, I  put Immortals on a pedestal for the following reasons in my expectations:

1) It’s been a while since a good, dark action movie has come out;
2) I hate CGI but this one looked like it was used in a way that made it feel realistic from the trailer;
3) MICKEY F*****G ROURKE!!! (yes, I will be referring to him as such from now on)

Before I continue I will say this to anyone reading: IF you don’t like graphic movies, IF you don’t like watching people die, IF  you don’t like Mickey F*****G Rourke, this probably won’t be the movie for you. However, IF  you can stomach this movie, it may be the best action film you’ll have seen in the past year (I’m sorry, Green Lantern, but it’s true; you sucked).

The story is that Mickey F*****G Rourke plays the evil King Hyperion who’s looking for the Bow of Epirus to rule Earth but needs to figure out which of the four women is the Virgin Oracle who knows where it is. Hyperion is then pillaging villages in search for the Bow but comes across Theseus’ village (Theseus played by Henry Cavill, the next Superman!)  where Hyperion ends up killing Theseus’ Mom  thus setting up the vengeance factor!  (Not to play spoiler, but think of Braveheart when William Wallace’s wife is killed but think what would happen if Wallace saw it first hand; give out a long “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” to REALLY make you feel his pain!)

Thesus ends up meeting with the Oracle and their quest for the Bow begins while the god (Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, Aries) all look at the Earth burning below because they cannot intervene (If they do, they die…apparently. So, THIS is why my prayers have never been answered!) Now, why would anyone care if some guy tried to save the Oracle with the Gods just looking on? He was trained by the best: Zeus! (Quick side note: I am a strong believer that any time Zeus should be played in any movie, it should be played by Samuel L. Jackson. End of story.) Now, the Oracle knows that Theseus is the one who has to beat King Hyperion to the Bow which is buried in a rock. Not a deeply buried rock, but a rock which brings me to this….

I’m going to analyze this part because it’s something that I cannot wrap my head around: the Bow of Epirus (the ONE WEAPON that could destroy the Gods if fallen into the wrong hands!) is buried in a rock in a cave that is used as a church. Why do I find it IMPOSSIBLE that GODS would EVER ALLOW THIS???? Is this how it was explained?:

Zeus: “Aries!I wanted to inform you that I’ve hidden the Bow of Epirus.”
Aries: “You did? That’s great! We’ve been looking to hide that weapon forever! Last thing we want is to have it fall into the hands of the evil Titans. Where is it?”
Zeus: “I put it on Earth.”
Aries: “Earth?! The one place in the ENTIRE GALAXYwhere it’s the most unstable because there’s so much evil???”
Zeus: “Oh, Aries. Don’t worry so much. I buried it in a rock.”
Aries: “In a rock? Okay…like, deep near the centre of the Earth? Near its core?”
Zeus: “Umm….no, Aries. Actually, it’s in a rock about 15 feet deep in a church.”
Aries: “Um..okay. But no human can find it, right?”
Zeus: “Well, you see, I had to put a little light sensor on it but it will be triggered by another rock. Touch THAT rock and the one with the Bow will glow.”
Aries: “But the humans won’t be able to get into the rock, right?”
Zeus: “No. I left behind a chisel and two hammers. One of them a sledge.”
Aries: “Okay, SO WE’RE CLEAR: you took the most powerful weapon known to anyone down to Earth, the most UNPREDICTABLE place in the galaxy, buried it in a rock that will glow if another rock is tripped AND left tools behind to bust open the glowing rock to get access to the Bow??? ”
Zeus: “umm…yeah….well, when you put it like that….”

With that one plot piece aside, the movie itself moves along really quickly and the action scenes are some of the best in a long time; one of the reasons may be becuase of the fact that when you’re dealing with mythology, anything goes. As well, this movie is show in 3D and was probably the first ones I’ve ever seen that didn’t feel like a 3D movie; it was moving along so seamlessly that I wasn’t bothered and getting pains and Mickey F*****G Rourke proves again that he plays the ultimate bad-a** (Remember: Iron Man 2 wasn’t his fault!).

The Double Feature is Back!…kinda!

Posted: November 4, 2011 in Movies

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything so I promise I will make it up to you by reviewing two movies! Everyone likes things when they come in pairs: 2 for 1 sales, Twix, Doublemint Gum (even though Juicy Fruit may be better, they turned me off back in the late 90’s with this horrible campaign that is supposed to bring back the song from the 80’s because it was catchy and….wait, is that David Hasselhoff????? Okay, enough about gum that has its taste last for 0.6 seconds). So, like I was saying, I managed to squeeze in two movies: Tower Heist and The Rum Diary.

The Rum Diary:

I’ll admit that The Rum Diary has been out for some time, but I feel that more needs to get done to pump up this terrific film because on more than one occasion the following exchange occurred:

Me: “I’m going to see The Rum Diary.”
Person: “What’s that?”
Me: “It’s the new Johnny Depp movie.”
Person: “Johnny Depp has a new movie out???”
Me: “Yeah! And he’s not a pirate! It’s based off a book by Hunter S. Thompson.”
Person: “Who’s Hunter S. Thompson.”
Me: (My reaction looked much like this)

The movie’s based off of Thompson’s 1998 book with the same title (a book that was written in the 60’s but never published) and shares some of the similarities that Thompson’s book-turned-movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: booze and drugs. Okay, so there may not be THAT many similarities BUT the movie is well written/acted in a way that has Thompson’s stamp on it. The way in which you see Depp (playing journalist Paul Kemp) and his co-star Michael Rispoli (playing photographer and drinking buddy Sala) start to trip out on a drug that they don’t know the name of (the only info they have is from an alcoholic friend who says the government gives it to Commies to make them talk…not sure how safe I’d feel with that) and you see Sala’s tongue come out from his mouth, go back in and Kemp tries to stop it by reaching inside Sala’s mouth and pulling it back out; he thinks it’s the Devil’s tongue and Sala will die. The movie is just one giant booze-fest, even though it shows the underlying issues that Puerto Rico were going through at the time: white Americans moving in, building resorts on Native land, getting tourists to go down to spend vacations in the Caribbean but remain on American soil, while ignoring all the poverty and social issues the country is going through (we need bigger hotels and nicer beachfront property…who cares about their shanty towns?). The movie will leave you feeling sick about the social injustices that occurred, but that won’t happen until you reflect on it later; you’ll be so wrapped up in their drinking/drug use and the great exchanges that are made withe the humour (the car missing its front seat and watching Kemp and Sala drive it back into town is still funny….”act naturally”) that you’ll be entertained throughout all two hours. It feels like the return of the great pairing of Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Depp; something I’ve been waiting on for a long time. And now….

Tower Heist:

Apparently, the recipe for a successful Ben Stiller movie is as follows: add one Stiller, one legend (Alan Alda), a B-list actor who thinks he’s A-minus (Casey Affleck), a former-hot-name-now-married-to-one (Matthew Broderick), add two unknowns (Michael Pena and Gabourney Sidibe) and a legend who needed a career boost after hitting 50 (Eddie Murphy…who helped create the movie!) and I’ll be able to tolerate Stiller for more than 15 minutes. Who knew? In all seriousness, it seems that the consensus is that Eddie Murphy stole the show because it feels like he’s back: the fast talking, foul mouthed Axel Foley-type that everyone (who’s seen Beverly Hills cop, his stand up specials, 48 Hours) grew up loving. We’ve all been waiting for so long, it’s like getting tossed a saltine cracker. When Eddie Murphy is on the screen, you can see the excitement on everyone’s face in the theatre who remember how great he can be (apologies to everyone under 19 who only know Eddie as either a Klump, Doctor Doolittle, or a Donkey…research stuff from the 80’s like this or his Velvet Jones skit and you’ll be blown away at what he used to do). As for the movie itself, at the beginning you see Stiller playing chess with Alda and for the rest of the heist, it does play out like a chess match. You find yourself trying to figure out what the next move of either one is (attack/counter-attack) as the movie progresses but leaning more towards what Stiller is thinking while the comedy elements remain (they were branding this is an “action-comedy”; with all the “dramady” and “rom-com” titles out there, how come this doesn’t have one? I prefer “act-com”! I think this should be the new title! Calling it now because after the success this has, you know it’ll come out sooner or later). Stiller’s character proves to us all that he has what it takes (both knowledge and the stones) to pull off a massive theft, his accomplices/friends all grow on you as the film goes on, you’ll walk away willing to give Alda 20 bucks if he asked for it and hope that you get a Werther’s Original or Campino in return (once you see the movie, you’ll know what I mean) and pray that Murphy has returned to the from that we all longed for.

Ladies and Gentlemen: two stars, two really good movies, and (fingers crossed) their returns to the big screen with longevity.