Adam\’s Stream of Consciousness

If you blog it, they will come

Archive for July, 2006

Excelsior!

Posted by Adam on July 29, 2006

Stan Lee has saved this dreadful summer television season, or is he threatening to foil his own plot? This is the burning question that haunted me as I enjoyed the wonderfully entertaining first episode of “Who Wants to Be a Superhero,” Thursday night on the Sci-Fi channel. When I first heard about the show I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew I would be giving it a chance. How serious were they going to be with this? Was it going to be an honest attempt at finding a new comic book hero, or were the creators just looking to spoof the reality TV competition format?

My questions were quickly answered as I was introduced to the cavalcade of characters who would be vying to be the answer to the show’s namesake. Enter Fat Momma, an obese black woman with a utility belt of donuts; Iron Enforcer, a bare-chested body guard with a shaved head and huge gun strapped to his arm; and Monkey Woman, a female Tarzan type with a penchant for primates. What started out as a group of twelve hopefuls quickly dropped to ten, as it was found out that one of the hero hopefuls was actually Stan Lee’s spy. This Kevin Smith/Peter Jackson look-a-like quickly ousted openly gay toy maker Levity; exposing him as unjust due to his motivation of making millions off of sales of himself in action figure form. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

There is one super student who stands above all others. Take the outfit from Mr. Incredible, throw in some West Side Story mannerisms, add a dash of over flair for the over dramatic, and you’ll come up with Major Victory. This guy wants to be a fake superhero more than anyone else, and by golly he’s going to the part like it’s a Broadway role until someone says otherwise.

The first assignment the crime-fighting cadets had to tackle was a costume changing time trial. Beginning in civilian attire, they had to find a secluded spot to change and then sprint towards a predetermined finish line. However, there was a diabolical obstacle put in their path: a small girl who lost her mommy. Amazingly, six of the ten wannabe wonders completely ignored their diminutive damsel in distress, proving that they’re no angels. Out of these six, three were selected by the task’s evil mastermind (and almighty ruler of the Marvel Universe and this show) Stan Lee to stand trial for elimination. In the end it was the rather mundane Nitro G who was sent packing, but I certainly will not be going anywhere anytime soon. The remaining nine may not be superheroes yet, but they’ve already saved my Thursday nights!

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Posted in Television, Who Wants To Be A Superhero | 1 Comment »

Friday Filecabinet 7.3

Posted by Adam on July 28, 2006

Welcome back kiddies.  This week we’ve got must-see TV, head scratching sports trades, and a music review of sorts.  Something for the entire pop culture loving family!  Shall we?

  • Got a chance to check out the debut of Sci-Fi Channel’s “Who Wants To Be A Superhero?” last night, and what a pleasant surprise the show turned out to be.  Look for a detailed recap of the program tomorrow.
  • Despite my best efforts to persuade everyone to the contrary, it appears that Allen Iverson is staying put in Philadelphia for the upcoming season.  Instead of landing one of the top guards in the NBA, the Hawks are reportedly set to sign-and-trade Al Harrington to the Pacers, along with backup center John Edwards, for the financial relief gift set:  a future first round pick, a trade exception, and cash (rumored to be around $3 million).  Atlanta Spirit-gate continues to baffle me.  I suppose this deal is better than the alternative (getting nothing in return for Harrington signing elsewhere), but the Hawks had a lot of leverage.  Charlotte was the only other team in the league with enough cap space to realistically sign Harrington to a fair deal, so if any other team in the league showed interest in Harrington they would have needed Atlanta to help broker the deal.  Obviously the dysfunctional family of owners in charge of the Hawks do not care about fielding a competitve team; only about pinching every penny they can.
  • On the other side of A-town, the Braves are supposedly considering trading highly talented utility infielder Wilson Betemit to the Yankees for relief pitching aid.  I’ve already talked about my feelings on the Braves before, but Betemit could be a fixture in the Atlanta infield for the rest of the decade.  This would be the final nail in the Braves coffin.  Inside this coffin?  Competitiveness for the next five years.
  • I bought the new Butch Walker CD last week – The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Lets-Go-Out-Tonights, which really leads me to a few different things worth mentioning.  I’ll begin with a Readers Digest worthy review.  If there’s one talent that everyone knows that Mr. Butch Walker has, it is his ability to write a catch pop-rock diddy.  In this regard, he is able to deliver a very strong opening to his new album.  The first four songs (tracks 2-5 for you counting at home, since the first track is just a 20 second intro) are all very catchy and hooky.  Each has gotten stuck in my head at some point over the last week.  Unfortunately the CD drops off dramatically after this.  What comes next is a slew of ballads and songs with an apparent overtone of country-western influence.  Lost in this shuffle is the one quality track of the second part of the album (Song Without a Chorus).  Depending on how much you pay for singles I would recommend the CD for the opening tracks, but if you are looking to save money just get “Hot Girls in Good Moods”, “Ladies and Gentlemen …”, “Bethamphetamine”, and the aforementioned “Song Without a Chorus”.
  • The thing that surprises me the most about Mr. Butch Walker is his seemingly massive cult following.  This is a guy who has mainly made his fortunes in the music industry by writing for and producing the likes of The All-American Rejects, Pink, Bowling for Soup, and Lit amongst others.  I was first exposed to Butch during the later years of the Marvelous 3, a semi-local rock group based in Atlanta.  They floated around the local music festivals and concert series.  The group’s biggest hit would be “Freak of the Week” which I know got radio play locally, and I am inclined to believe it got at least a certain level of national exposure.  The Marvelous 3 went their separate ways around the turn of the century, and between producing top 40 hits for the previously mentioned groups Mr. Butch Walker continued making his own music and has put out multiple CDs with different backing bands.  What amazes me is that from a performing stand point I had no idea that Walker was as well known as he is.  There are fans of his from coast-to-coast and even in Canada.  How an artist with very little national radio play can emerge into such a popular personality befuddles me, but it couldn’t come to a more deserving man.
  • One final note on Butch as we wind up today’s post – the band name.  Nowadays you don’t come across too many high quality band names.  Most are obscure references or names that refer to the group as a whole, such as Coldplay, Pearl Jam, or Metallica.  Then there are those names which do a fair job of bringing a title to the band, I like to refer to these as the “The” bands (The Rolling Stones, The Offspring, The Ramones, et al).  However I often long for the days when group names were just a matter of filling in the blanks.  It was [lead singer] and the [rest of the band].  While they don’t sound like much all the time, Martha  and the Vandellas, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Morris Day and the Time tell you everything you need to know about the group.  That’s why I smile everytime I hear about bands who know not to mess with a good thing.  So thank you Butch Walker for bringing along the Lets-Go-Out-Tonights for the ride.  You have followed in the recent footsteps of Honest Bob and the Factory-To-Dealer Incentives and Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders.  A good band name is like a Mad Lib.  Just fill in the blanks and the possibilities are endless.

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The Supernova Burnout week 4

Posted by Adam on July 26, 2006

Wow.

Keep reading, you’ll see why. But first, in case you missed last night’s show, here’s what everyone performed:

Lukas – “Bittersweet Symphony” (played guitar)

Zayra – “Call Me”

Dana – “About a Girl” (acoustic)

Patrice – “Remedy”

Toby – “White Wedding”

Magni – “Heroes” (played guitar)

Ryan – “I Alone”

Jill – “Brown Sugar” (Gilby played lead guitar)

Phil – “One Headlight”

Dilana – “Time After Time” (acoustic)

Josh – “No Rain”

Storm – “Anything, Anything”

Now what you really want: the results!

The encore went to Storm, as correctly predicted right here last night. Our bottom three ended up being Patrice, Zayra, and Phil; with Jill and Josh also at the bottom during the course of the voting but not up for elimination tonight. So I picked two of these three last night, with the masses going with Patrice in place of Josh. Not surpised that any of the five were at the bottom.

Patrice sang Radiohead’s “My Iron Lung”. Truth be told, I don’t think I have ever heard this song before, though I am familiar with Radiohead’s sound. She gave a helluva performance with lots of energy and passion, though I expect all of these elimination performances to be solid since the wannabes get to choose their own songs. As far as the choice went, I’m really not sure Radiohead is rock enough for Supernova.

Zayra was up next and sang “Not an Addict” by K’s Choice. This is one of my favorite songs from the 90s, and when she said this was what she was going to perform I felt there was a very good chance she would butcher it. Unfortunately my fears were true, as Zayra’s version was very stripped down. Where the original slowly builds as it goes along to end with huge energy, her take almost seemed like she was reading poetry. I don’t know if its her accent or the bizarre William Shatner-esque pauses, but there is no way she survives based off that performance. Zayra’s performance was emotional for her though, so I am glad that she got to share a song that she feels deeply about with us. Alas I won’t be missing her for the rest of the season one bit.

Phil rounded out this show’s performances with an unknown song called “Smoking Umbrellas” by a band called Failure. Jason wondered if that was a bad omen, and I have to agree though only because it is an unknown song (not because of the name of the band). I must say that while I would have thought that going off the radar with song choice would hinder the wannabes, but Phil’s tune was the most lively and hard hitting of the night. Much like Dana last week, Phil was able to pull the crowd in with a song that sounded right for the show, even if nobody knew it by name.

My ranking would be Patrice best, then Phil, and then Zayra way below them, however I am not in Supernova. Gilby dismissed Patrice to safety even before he spoke about the other two, so she must have been far and away better than Phil and Zayra in the band’s opinion. He then goes on to say Zayra doesn’t seem to be the right fit for the band, and Phil may not have the desire to front the band. Both disagree of course, and its time for Tommy “The Hatchet Man” Lee to make the final verdict …

Phil is gone!!!! WTF!?

I don’t know who is more shocked: me, the crowd, or the rest of the wannabes. Seriously, when they panned up to the rest of the contestants I didn’t see a single mouth that wasn’t agape; the crowd was silent; and I was busy lifting my jaw up off the floor. Welcome to the television talent contest. This had to be the producers call, I can’t see the Supernova guys wanting to have anything to do with Zayra.

Wow.

Posted in Rock Star: Supernova, Television | Leave a Comment »

Rock Star: Supernova week 4

Posted by Adam on July 25, 2006

Burning questions heading into tonight’s show: Will Storm Large give Tommy Lee (and the rest of the viewing public) another subtle hint as to where to find au natural pictures of her? Will Toby rebound? Will Zayra finally get a clue? Will Gilby Clark finally stop censoring himself and tell some of the wannabes how awful they really are? Will Tommy Lee puke, pass out, or fall out of his chair?

The talent disparity on this show is remarkable. I don’t even know if it’s fair to use the word talent when so few actually are. At least I can hold solice in the fact that I can refrain from using the word rockers to describe the group as a whole. With that said, the show itself still rocks and remains the best show on the air right now. So who stood out this week?

If you were to believe Dave Navarro and the Supernova boys (there’s a band name for you), you might think the show moved to VH1. After all I lost count on how many wannabes performances were described as their “best week yet.” I’m not as kind. Best yet also doesn’t entail “good.” In fact I found a decent number of the songs to be downright forgettable this week (Patrice, Jill, Phil, and Josh included). Part of me wants to say this is due to the catalog of songs they have to choose from. Bands/artists whose songs were featured for the second, third, or even fourth time this week included: Nirvana, Billy Idol, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. Now I have nothing wrong with any of those bands, but it would be enjoyable to hear more of a variety in the competition.

Speaking of said competition, since this is the purpose of the show (I think), it was lacking this week to say the least. Now last week I put the gang into three distinct groups that appeared to be iron-clad at the time. I still stand firm in my belief that there are only four who can ultimately become lead singer of Supernova, but perhaps the delineations are more organic than I originally assumed. The Gilligan’s Island theme song was changed after the first season to include the Professor and Mary Ann by name, so allow me to work it ala Missy Elliot, put my thing down, flip it, and reverse it to remove the also-rans from mention.

Lukas, Toby, Dilana, and Magni are the only ones who can win this thing. Zayra, Josh, and Ryan are so far out of their element its amazing they were even selected for the show. The rest should enjoy their television exposure while it lasts.

There were only three performances this week that I would call good, and with that said none were great. If the show weren’t a big enough joke already, the fact that nobody showed enough tonight to warrant fronting this “supergroup” doesn’t help matters. After being very unsure about what direction he was taking the song (and why he wasn’t doing anything with the guitar strapped to him), Lukas won me over with the powerful crecendo to his take on “Bittersweet Symphony.” Dana did a solid and surprisingly eerie acoustic version of “About a Girl,” which I also enjoyed. With that said, I don’t think it was the right type of performance for Supernova. She is talented, but not in the style of Tommy, Gilby, and Jason. The only other singer to show up this week was Google’s favorite search subject, Storm Large. She closed the show with gusto performing “Anything, Anything,” and even capped it off with a boobs-first stage dive.

With the rest of the contestants ranging from forgotten to awful, the voting should be wide open this week. Learning that what the Supernovans say has a big influence on the voting masses, I am not picking all three of my least favorite to vie for elimination this week. Rather I am going to try to predict what you, the fans, will decide, so without further ado the predictions:

Encore – Storm Large (sans the Balls)

Bottom three – Zayra (despite the best efforts of her blue latex outfit), Josh (cause its not called Soul Star), and Phil (the bobble-head doll). Phil replaces Jill, who was in the bottom three as the show went off the air, because Gilby’s presence will save Jill for one more week.

Eliminated – Zayra. As long as she’s in the bottom three, she’s gone. Buh-bye.

Posted in Rock Star: Supernova, Television | Leave a Comment »

Mark Cuban’s Movie Business Challenge

Posted by Adam on July 25, 2006

I happened upon the blog of the Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and noticed a question he had posed to the masses.  Cuban has entered into the movie business and is looking for a way to market films without breaking the bank.  You can read the entire challenge here.  Figuring I had nothing to lose, and plenty of ideas in my head, I decided to respond.  The following is what I sent to Mr. Cuban.  I’ll be back later tonight with my thoughts on week 4 of Rock Star: Supernova.

Regarding your “Movie Business Challenge”:

The movies are not the problem.  There is a market segment for every type of film, and research will pinpoint that segment and allow you to focus on them.  This is marketing 101, and everyone does it.  If this were untrue, then you wouldn’t see a DVD released for every single movie that hits theaters.

Competition for your entertainment dollar starts to play into it.  The average price for a movie last year was $6.41, though that figure factors in matinees and other discounts.  I would wager that the average price of an evening show adult ticket has got to be closer to $9.  For $10 or less you could spend the evening bowling, or shooting pool, check out a local band live, rent at least 2 movies (the number increases depending on how many people are watching), or even take in a sporting event from the cheapest available seats.

With home theater technology growing and advancing so rapidly, the benefits of a super large screen and surround sound are much less noticable to the general public.  When you watch at home the movie starts when you want it to, as opposed to the set schedules of theaters.  Plus concessions are free (or at least much cheaper) when you don’t have to buy them at the theater.

The key is giving a people a reason to come to the theater.  Make the movie going experience an event.

With Regal and AMC/Lowes owning the bulk of the mainstream theaters in the country it would be extremely difficult to change the existing infastructure.  I suggest taking a page out of the Magic Johnson Theater blueprint.  If you can’t fix what is broken, then you build your own!

I know you were instrumental in making the American Airlines Center one of the best home arenas in the country.  You added to the enjoyment of Dallas Mavericks basketball by improving the entire experience.  What if you parlayed this same mentality to the movie going experience.  Build your own theaters.

Think of the possibilities.  You can control ticket prices, show times, amenities.  With added focus on your films, and perhaps even exclusivity, you would be driving the business to you.  The technology is there.

Imagine going to a movie theater with the most comfortable chairs, personal surround sound speakers imbedded in each seat, extra leg room to be comfortable.  Allow patrons to bring their own refreshments.  Even if many do, just as many will still end up buying concessions from the theater itself.

Alter show times to fit everyone’s schedule.  The idea of having the same movies play at the same times every  night of the week is outdated.  Why not start a movie at 6:30 on Monday, 7:00 on Tuesday, 7:30 on Wednesday, and 8:00 on Thursday?  Let people have the flexibility of making a mid-week show.  Want to go early enough to not be out late?  Now you can.  Are you working later, but still want to be able to catch a film?  Now you can.

Watching a movie in a theater still has appeal.  The atmosphere of seeing it with a large crowd.  The pleasure of catching opening weekend and avoiding the spoiler talk of others who saw it before you.  Its just a matter of making the entire experience enjoyable again.  Make it an event.   Mind the words of Shoeless Joe in Field of Dreams, “If you build it, [they] will come.”

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Filling the Floyd Void

Posted by Adam on July 24, 2006

Floyd isn’t the most imposing name out there. Perhaps that’s why it isn’t a common choice for recent parents (it ranked as the 816th most popular name for boys in the 1990s, and isn’t in the top 1000 for this decade). If it seems old-fashioned, that’s because it is. Floyd means “gray-haired.” It’s no wonder you don’t hear much happening to guys named Floyd. In fact the most famous Floyd isn’t even a guy; it’s a group – Pink Floyd.

Floyd is one of those names that predetermine who you are. It’s like Maurice, or Sasha, or Sue. As Johnny Cash sang, “So I gave you that name, and I said good-bye. I knew you’d have to get tough or die, and it’s that name that helped to make you strong.” So its no wonder that many of the famous Floyd’s in sport made their name in the ring. The late Floyd Patterson was boxing’s youngest heavyweight champion, beating Archie Moore at age 21; and many would argue that “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world today.

In fact the only other historically famous sports Floyd isn’t even named Floyd. It’s Eric Floyd, better known as “Sleepy” Floyd. Sleepy Floyd had a solid, if unspectacular NBA career, but in the 1987 Western Conference finals Sleepy woke up. He ended up scoring an NBA record 29 points in a single quarter against the “Showtime” Lakers. There was no avoiding Floyd.

It should be noted that Bo Jackson was my favorite athlete for a long time. I collected his playing cards and posters. I would play as him in video games. He was just fun to watch, and the two sport star thing was an added attraction. Bo was a tough guy too. You have to be to take the kind of punishment he did as a running back, yet despite that he still was man enough to regularly bust baseball bats over his thigh in his “second” season. Nothing could stop Bo … except for his hip, and if an injury ends the career of Bo Jackson you know it’s serious.

Enter one final Floyd. I’m sure by now you know where I am going with this. Greg LeMond showed us that an American could win the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong showed us that personal obstacles could be overcome, and that will power and determination can lead a man to accomplish something as remarkable as winning the Tour de France. Greg and Lance have come and gone, but there was a new American wearing the yellow jersey atop the podium on the Champs-Elysees. This wasn’t any ordinary victory either; our man rode while dealing with the same hip injury that ended Bo’s career. He could walk without assistance. Heck, he couldn’t even stand without pain, but he could ride like the wind. Yesterday’s victory at the Tour de France placed a new name atop the list of great cyclists, but it also placed a new name at the top of another list. For all who share his name, there is a new Floyd to be proud of: Floyd Landis.

Posted in Sports | 2 Comments »

Free-Flowing Minutia

Posted by Adam on July 23, 2006

What to write about when there really isn’t anything on my mind?  That isn’t really a fair quesiton.  There is always something on my mind.  Its just that right now the thoughts keep rotating through, with none hanging around long enough to be fleshed out into a nice, tidy column.  With that in mind here are the topics that I’m preoccupied with right now.

This entry started out entitled “Free-Flowing Minutia”, and its very possible that’s how it will still appear when it gets posted, but there is a word I want to use instead of minutia and I just can’t think of it.  I want to say it ends in -ola or -ada or something like that.  Like a synonym for general knowledge or trivia or pop culture or something.  Maybe it will come to me as I write.  I refuse to look at a Thesaurus to find it though, that would just be copping out.

I still use an old-school book bound dictionary to look words up when I write these entries.  Am I the only one who does this?  There’s just something much more comforting (and perhaps rewarding) in looking up the word myself as opposed to a computer telling me how it should be spelled.  Plus I get to learn if I’m actually using the right word or not, as opposed to just knowing that I am using a word that is spelled correctly but could mean something totally different than intended.

How much does a CD actually cost to produce and manufacture?  I can’t ratiionalize paying over $10 for 45 minutes of music when I can download the same songs for 1/10th of the price.  My store bought CD collection is almost non-existent, but once I started downloading mp3s online I’ve been purchasing full CDs on a regular basis.  So its not that I’m adverse to committing to the band’s entire catalog of songs.  I know a lot of people just like to download the hot singles instead of having to sit through the entire album, but I enjoy hearing the stuff that didn’t (or hasn’t yet) made it onto the radio.  Luckily I found a great legal site to download mp3s cheaply.  http://www.allofmp3.com.  You pay per file size as opposed to individual song, and at $0.02 per MB you get a song for eight or nine cents.

Lots of talk amongst people I know as to whether UFC, and MMA in general, has supplanted boxing as the marquee fight night event in the country.  I probably know more about boxing than most of my friends, and recently I would be hard pressed to be able to tell you much about most of the champs and top contenders.  With UFC now a weekly fixture on Spike TV I have started to become interested in it, and even watched my first UFC ppv earlier this month.  If it hasn’t already supplanted boxing, its real close.  I just worry that it is going the way of televised poker, and that monthly ppvs at $40 a pop are gonna become overkill and make it lose the special event feel.

Why is there no good TV on this summer?  For the few good shows on and airing new episodes right now (Rock Star, Last Comic Standing, Mythbusters, HBO Sunday nights) there is a multitude of reruns and dismal stuff surrounding it.   No Reservations and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares had been showing new installments, but both are now done for the forseeable future.  Perhaps there is hope on the horizon as Who Wants to be a Superhero? and Gene Simmon’s Family Jewels are debuting in the coming weeks and look promising enough to check out the first few episodes.

Can’t believe its already time to start thinking about fantasy football.  We just had the MLB All-Star game.  Evidently its time though, as SI came out with its fantasy football preview edition this week and even Bill Simmons wrote an article about the game for ESPN the mag.  Guess I should start researching players and learn who’s poised to thrive this season.  In fact I better look into that now before I forget.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Friday Filecabinet 7.2

Posted by Adam on July 21, 2006

Its Friday so that must mean its times once again to open up the filecabinet. Why 7.2? Second edition of the FFC for the seventh month of the year. Its not rocket science people. A couple of follow-ups to posts earlier in the week and a couple of cool links this go around. Let’s do this . . .

  • Yesterday I wrote about how the Atlanta Braves should start building for the future and realize that the dream is over, and within minutes of my posting they go ahead and do the exact opposite. Enter Bob Wickman, a closer in his mid-thirties with a one year contract. My head shaking is involuntary, I swear. I hope it works out for the Braves, I really do, but this isn’t the direction they need to be taking this season.
  • However, lots of people are heading in the right direction with increased interest in the ongoings of Rock Star: Supernova, which I think is great. It’s getting tough to tell which is more messed up, Tommy Lee or the show as a whole. Either way it makes for must-see TV in this weak summer line-up. I know it airs against another jewel of the summer, Last Comic Standing, but LCS replays at least twice on Bravo, so you can catch it then and watch Rock Star live. And for those of you too lazy to google Storm Large on your own, here you go: http://www.domela.com/photos_people/projects_storm/010_s01.htm. Don’t say I never do anything for you.
  • Speaking of Last Comic Standing, not to sound like a sexist or anything, but I dare anyone to make a case as to why any of the women deserved to move into the Queen Mary, let alone still be around at this point in time. There are funny women comedians. Ellen DeGeneres is funny, so is Kathy Griffin, but the ones on this show are not. Equality is all fine and good, but when you steal work from more deserving people it is not. Being able to enjoy five minutes of Josh Blue almost makes up for it though. At first I thought that his cerebal paulsy might take away from the comedy, but the boy is funny!
  • Also in the world of funny (you digging these excellent transitions yet?), there is a fantastic edit of the Big Lebowski floating around YouTube. Only ten films have featured the word “fuck” more in their dialogue than the 260 utterances in this Coen Brothers classic. You can enjoy them all in the Fucking Short Version of this wonderful movie about mistaken identity and bowling.  And on that note I’m off to make myself a Caucasian and enjoy the weekend.

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All Good Things Come to an End

Posted by Adam on July 20, 2006

With the Cubs already deciding that next year is the year my baseball attention has been partially diverted to the rest of the league.  Living in Atlanta a lot of this attention has been on the Braves, who after one of the worst months ever in June have decided that it was time to heat up along with the weather in July.  With the Mets looking like the only National League team with a chance of winning the World Series this year, the Braves are all but certain to snap their unbelievable streak of 14 straight division titles.  A funny thing is happening with the rest of the league though.  Call it parity or call it an amazing lack of talent, but there are ten teams competiting for the wild card spot.  Leading the pack are the Cincinnati Reds, a mere five games over .500.

For teams like Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Colorado this is good news.  These are eager, young squads who could bring post-season  baseball to their cities for the first time in a decade.  This is not the case down south though, where it seems that Atlanta might be clinging onto their last hope of keeping a playoff streak alive whose time has passed.

The Braves shouldn’t have won the NL East last season.  Chalk it up to luck and lack of competition,  but the team didn’t have the talent to dominate like a division champ should.  Not much has changed between last year’s dream season and the current one.  Edgar Renteria replaced Rafael Furcal at shortstop, Chuck James has been the only rookie to make any impact with the club, and the team still has no true closer on its staff.  Not to take anything away from their dramatic run to the playoffs, but last seasons miracle run has clouded this season’s expectations.

Despite being only five games behind the Reds for the league’s wild card spot, the Braves sit behind six other teams.  In most cases seventh place isn’t very promising, but for the Braves it could prove to be disasterous.  The time has come for Atlanta to look towards the future and prepare themselves for another potential division title winning streak.  And by sacrificing playoff aspirations for this season, and probably next, they should be able to retool and avoid a fall from grace.

Atlanta has three young building blocks in James, outfielder Jeff Franceur, and all-star catcher Brian McCann (the latter two live together in a house in the suburbs with matching fru-fru dogs, not that there’s anything wrong with that).  They also have three players with substantial trade value in pitcher John Smoltz, outfielder Andruw Jones, and his illegitimate brother Larry “Chipper” Jones.  The Youth movement needs to continue in Atlanta.  With so many teams trying to reach the playoffs, the time is ripe for exchanging the aging veterans of playoffs past for a vast crop of young prospects who could join James, Franceur, and McCann in forming the nucleus of the next wave of success for the Braves.  Just keep this in mind when the Braves are in last place in the NL East in three years, with Andruw Jones batting seventh and Chipper pinch hitting and platooning at first base.

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Rock Star: Supernova week 3

Posted by Adam on July 18, 2006

I swear they picked “Runaway Train” as one of the songs this week just to toy with us all, because there aren’t many songs that could describe Rock Star: Supernova much better. What started out as a public service announcement to make people aware of joys of the show last week has now turned into a weekly recap column. In lieu of giving you a blow by blow on the “concert”, as Brooke Burke would say, I am going to assume that you watched the event yourself and just give my initial reactions. Now that we’re on the same page, let’s get going!

First a couple of general impressions regarding the show as a whole. This week’s show was far and away the most solid outing yet, and it was all thanks to song choice …. by the producers. Isn’t it amazing what happens when you don’t have Coldplay and Goo Goo Dolls to sit through? Its no coincidence that the performance level of everyone goes up a notch when there aren’t zonkers to be stuck with. The House Band continues to perform every song with zeal and gusto, and without those guys nobody would sound good. Speaking of the band, has anyone else noticed that “the rated R superstar” himself, Edge, is their bass player? Tommy Lee is getting drunker and hornier each time out. I can’t wait til the week that he passes out halfway through the show!

This week three groups of wannabes were formed: those who get it, those who don’t, and those who don’t care. It amazes me that certain “rockers” have no clue what the guys in Supernova are looking for. It disappoints me that a handful of these “rockers” are just trying to make a name for themselves with no regard to winning the competition. At least there are a few individuals who are actually trying to win. Let’s take a look at each of these groups.

The “get its” include Lukas, Toby, Magni, Phil, Patrice, and Dilana. Only four of these six are capable of becoming the lead singer for Supernova. Lukas was able to channel the spirit of Mick Jagger tonight while performing a Stones song that he would never have selected if he didn’t have to. This guy is such a good fit that I’ll even forgive the white belt tonight. Toby seemed rushed tonight, but this guy has his eye on the prize and should be able to rebound nicely next week. Magni continues to impress me more and more each week. The first two weeks he showed energy but was screaming his songs. This week he showed that he has some singing chops as well. I really can’t stand the sound of Dilana’s voice, but the woman has more stage presence than anyone else in the competition. The fact that she looks the part doesn’t hurt her chances either. Phil and Patrice are in this group mainly because they don’t fit into the other two groups. I don’t think he can win, but this week’s performance by Phil was one of the best of the night and it moved him out of the “don’ts.” You can tell both are making an effort, but ultimately neither have shown any consistency.

The “don’ts” have to include Jill, Ryan, Dana, and Zayra. If these four are not eliminated before everyone else then somebody’s getting screwed over. Jill just doesn’t have the pipes to stay in this competition for long. She gets overpowered by every song she tackles, and she keeps making the wrong choices. Ryan attempted to show a hardcore edge tonight and failed miserably. When he did “Iris” in week one that was probably the right choice for him, sadly its totally wrong for the likes of Supernova. Dana was game tonight covering Bon Jovi. That’s the type of music she is good at, but again that is also not the type of music that will make you a winner on Rock Star. And then there’s Zayra. I’m starting to think she mistook this show for American Idol. I haven’t seen her perform one true rock song yet, and I’m pretty sure I never will. If she isn’t gone after tomorrow’s show there is something fishy going on.

Our last group is the “don’t cares”, which include Josh, Jenny, and Storm. Josh proved tonight he is just looking out for numero uno with a version of “Come As You Are” which just didn’t work at all for me. He has a distinct sound that doesn’t seem capable of being altered, nor does it seem like he has any intention of altering it to front this band. Supernova is set to play The Joint at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve, but I get the impression that Jenny would rather let you know where she will be playing her acoustic set that night instead. By focusing more on her run-of-the-mill guitar playing and less on actually performing rock songs, she has made it clear that Tommy, Gilby, and Jason need not consider her for their band. Last, but certianly not least, there is Storm. Storm Large. Lead singer of Storm Large and the Balls. Storm Large, poser of provocative photos. Wanna buy the shirt? You can get both designs if you wish! How do I know so much about our favorite sexpot? I just followed the advice she game Tommy … I google’d her (and I suggest you do as well). Thanks for playing Storm. Hope the Balls enjoy the press you’re giving them.

Prediction time. Bottom three: Zayra, Jenny, and Ryan. Buh-bye Zayra. Magni gets the encore.

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