Sunday, June 28, 2009

MUSIC: "Backspacer" Tracklisting and Details Revealed

In German magazine Visions July 2009 issue, Pearl Jam reveals the track listing, overview, and info about "Backspacer," produced by not-since-Yield Brendan O'Brien, the poorly named new album set for release this fall. 11 songs in 39 minutes.

1. "See My Friend": This is head-on 2000s-era Pearl Jam: aggressive garage rock, over a repetitive hook, bookended by Stone's Who-style power chords and Mike's meandering lead guitar.

2. "Got Some": We heard it, we dug it, my first impressions were Pearl Jam meets Devo meets The Police. Not an all-together bad handicap match.

3. "The Fixer": Some are calling it the album's first unforgettable track. A tight classic-rock style tune that holds up well. Clever lyrics, an old melody, cool vocal harmony, and unique rhythms swell to a pseudo-anthem. You'll see this in Target commericals. I'm still not sold.

4. "Johnny Guitar": Editor's Note: As mad as I got before I read even further, an insider purports that it is "not as bland as its title suggests." Classic PJ, enough sincerity for a Peanuts pumpkin patch, decent lyrics.

5. "Just Breathe": The album's acoustic ballad. This is a mature undertaking for Pearl Jam, who pairs acoustical tinklings with a string section. Bet your money it's the mid-album love song, i.e. "Thin Air," "Parachutes."

6. "Amongst the Waves": Editor's Note: Song titles making me angrier still. "Oceans," "Big Wave," "The Whale Song," WE GET IT. This song is designed in the ascending, anthemic style of "Given to Fly." We can expect a lot of Eddie Vedder Metaphors from this one, lyrically.

7. "Unthought Known": Track opens climactically, but plateaus into a soulful mid-tempo rocker. Insider says, "Slightly blurry ending but still more palpable than anything off the last album." Eddie plays this one on his solo tours no one cares about but figurehead try-hard die-hards.

8. "Supersonic": Editor's Note: A tribute to the band's old favorite basketball team? The obligatory wild song that you can find on every Pearl Jam album since “Vitalogy”. Almost cheerful, driven by Matt Cameron’s thunderous pounding, in the beginning reminiscent of Soundgarden (Editor's Note: Please don't let me down.). But Soundgarden were better at creating those angular bundles of energy. We'll see how well PJ pulls this off without going off rails.

9. "Speed Of Sound": "Supersonic" part II. Exotic but melodic. A strange pop song with a different sound than the rest of the album and its clear-cut production. Suspenseful tone.

10. "Force Of Nature": Editor's Note: STILL not digging the song titles. A rock song like a Pearl Jam concert: An innocent beginning, but it grows naturally and expands and has you totally in its grip before you know it. Almost interactive.

11. The End: The literal denouemont. The second acoustic song but one of the strongest ballads by the band since a long time, amongst other things because its urgency manifests in Vedder’s vocals. "Even the end of the end needs a worthy ending." Normally I don't like when I hear gossip about a "new album" with a closing track titled with something like "Parting Ways" but I am, in this case, intrigued.

Keep your fingers crossed for a big showing in September.

How Does He Do It?

Independent George said it best, and I paraphrase, that if one's relationship self and their independent self met it would be the end of the independent self ("A George divided against itself cannot stand!"). That being said, let's not steer the site in the direction of the gossip blog for gossip clog, and remember that we're talking about Goldblum here. With all the C-list Hollywood deaths this week (Billy Mays, be the final nail in the coffin), let's focus on the lighter side.

So anyway, Goldblum's flavor of the week is none other than Alex Rousseau!


Friday, June 26, 2009

HOLD or FOLD? 2009 NHL Free Agency Analysis

OK guys, the core of the Pens is locked up for a long time, so there's no need to panic when Free Agency starts on July 1. We won't be affected like other squads. For comparison's sake, check out Montreal, who has 7 forwards under contract, or New York, who has 5!!!! (thanks to, a sweet site) While the Pens are in great shape, they are also crunching dangerously close to the NHL's expected cap of $56.7M. As we saw only a few weeks ago, championships are more than just about the stars. Many pieces and smart decisions are needed over the next couple weeks. Allow TOP TEN to break it down:

Count me among those that weren't exactly blown away when we acquired Billy G at the deadline. Old + Slow didn't exactly excite me, especially after being spoiled by the whole Hossa saga from before. But for years, all of us have been crying for a shooter on Sid's line. And that's all this guy does, no matter where he is on the ice. It's no wonder that Guerin clicked so well with The Kid, everybody's favorite passing center. While I always knew he was a great veteran leader, I never realized he was so relaxed, so funny, so easy to play with. Everybody (including yours truly) seems to love this guy, and I wouldn't underestimate his locker room presence in cases like the 0-2 holes in Washington and Detroit. Moving forward, he'll be 38, but he was logging 17:00 per game in the playoffs, showing that he can still skate like a young man. After spending a few years on Crap Island, something tells me he's about more than money, but who knows. If he'll let us split his contract price in half it's HOLD time. For me, my sun rises and sets on this sign.

I know that a lot of people are speculating that Ruslan will be back. Reports are that he's already been offered a cap-friendly 3-year deal, and that his people are feeling pretty good about it. While I don't hate this guy, it's a fact that he didn't wake up until the playoffs. What do you think this is, Ruslan, The NBA? Here is my simple two-word theory on why the Pens will be good for a long time: Superstar. Centers. For at least the next few seasons, Shero has the luxury to stockpile average NHL wingers, pair them with Sid or Geno (see: Kunitz, Chris), and watch them become solid contributors. Under such a scenario, we would expect more than the 39 measly points that Feds put up in 08-09. Plus he's 30. FOLD.

I know a lot of people love to say things like "The NEW NHL is all about speed." And while that has proven true for old, washed-up farts like Derian Hatcher, a 6'7" monster like Hal Gill still finds success in this "NEW" NHL. While he's got his faults -- most notably some hilarious foot speed -- he's a rock steady defender in front of his own cage. As I've maintained for a long time now, Hal Gill may be exposed here and there during the regular season (when every penalty is called), but you'll be glad you have him in the playoffs (when the play is rough and rumble). It's no coincidence that he and Scuderi were the shut-down tandem during the Cup run. While he's probably not worth the $2.5M he made last season, his massive frame alone makes him a unique defender for teams to gameplan against. If wiley Dick Lebeau were running things, Gill would've already been signed. I say HOLD.

I like Craig Adams as much as the next guy, but what greatness does he provide? If I'm not mistaken, he was brought here because of his playoff experience and because he won a Cup. We'll guess what....we have lots of guys like that now. Sure he kills a lot of penalties. Wow. Adams is a slower (albeit steadier) version of Dupuis, without any kind of shot whatsoever. Let's not forget he was a constant healthy scratch on his prior team, and we were able to simply pluck him off of waivers for free. If necessary, we can always find "Veteran X" at the deadline every year moving forward. FOLD.

He's a goner. And good riddance. Quite frankly, I wonder what the heck the Pens' scouting department's was thinking last summer when they decided to take a $3.5M gamble on this guy. It was obvious almost right away that he didn't fit, and he seemed to drift away on the ice, even though constantly surrounded and supported by elite talent. When he got sent to the minors, he tore up the AHL, partly because he was suddenly fast there. Back in the reality of the NHL, he's slow to loose pucks, and his slow hands are too slow to get them off. In the stretch run, it was nice to have his Euro-talent available when needed, but he will never be the 4th liner we need. Enjoy Russia, Miro. FOLD.

Unlike most yinzers, I really don't think Sykora is that bad. Even with some early season injuries, let's not forget that he posted a whopping 10 game-winning goals last year. Given the fact that he decided to only play half a season, that number is even more staggering. Sure, snipers like Sykora are usually granted a couple week-long slumps over the season, but Sykora permanently went in the tank somewhere around the all-star break. And when Disco Dan shoved his SKATE-PRESSURE-SKATE style down their throats, Petr's days on the top lines were done. Maybe he was hurt. Maybe he's just not a Blysma guy. But it's not like he suddenly sucks. That nasty wrister will always be in his arsenal, and he can fit in on anyone's PP. He just doesn't seem to fit into our chemistry any longer. "F*CKING RIGHT!!!", indeed. FOLD.

Like Adam Hall last year, Ziggy is a right-handed guy (rare) who can win faceoffs (rarer). Unlike Hall, he didn't play most of the year, so his salary may actually go down. Not to mention, this year Tampa Bay doesn't have any more foolish money to blow on our 4th liners. When Zigomanis got hurt, he was leading the league in faceoff %, an area where we always want to improve. And don't forget that Shero went out and traded FOR Zigomanis, so it shows that he's a fan. This looks to be the least of our problems. HOLD.

I'd speculate that its fair to say none of us know the true Garon. What has he done? Has he been bad? Has he been good? I dunno, he looks good in a ballcap sitting in the runway. I think the days of the Pens needing a "veteran to push Fleury" have to be ending soon....even if mentor Garon does speak Fleury's language (dirty French). The younger, cheaper John Curry has been pretty steady in WBS in the past few years, and they won't want to part ways with him. Remember when fans were screaming that we HAD to keep Ty Conklin? FOLD.

Another goner unless he plays for peanuts. Boucher is a depth-builder, an injury-replacer, a Swayze-looking goober. He had a good story during the Cup run, when it took 7 D-Men to finish off Washington and sweep Carolina. But the truth is that we have plenty of puck-moving, offensive defenders. And do we really need another French Canadian??? The come-uppance of Baby Penguin Ben Lovejoy and the retaining of a few others (Gill!!!) makes this easy. FOLD.

Let's not kid ourselves - if Scuderi is our biggest free agency concern, then it's a good year. This signing is 100% dependant on what we do with other guys. If Shero can convince some of our UFA's like the afore-mentioned Guerin/Fedotenko/Gill to take big pay cuts, then the cap room will be there for "The Piece". If we don't have the room, then we'll move on.

There are two sides to this story. On one hand, none of our D are as steady and responsible in their own end as Scuds. He has no problem getting down and dirty. Like Orpik, Scuderi was brought up in this system and finally seems to have found his niche. His shot-blocking ability is an essential part of the Pens defense. Just ask Jeff Carter or AO or Older Staal or Marian Nossa. On the other hand, he's admitted to having Free Agency on his mind for several months, so you know he is looking to cash in. And with clutchness like this, I think he could get it. Like we've seen countless times, it only takes one team to inflate a guy's value out of complete control (Paging Mr. Malone). And really, is he that irreplaceable? Is he that much of a game-changer? On a team loaded with talent like the Pens, Scuderi has absolutely ZERO offensive responsibility. I'm not sure someone like the NYR or Tampa would get what they wanted if they blew $4M on him. In the end, I really think Shero the Hero properly assesses value, and makes the numbers work.

We're walking a salary cap tight-rope, aren't we? HOLD!



Dupuis gets $1.4M over each of the next 2 years. He has proven that he's not top-6 forward material, and he doesn't fit with the Staal line. Where does that leave him? To make matters worse, younger legs are always on the way. Caputi. Tangradi. Jeffrey. Wallace. I guess if we can't fill (or can't afford) a place on the Malkin line, then Dupuis would probably fit there, but that's not a Cup team.

I may be living in an NFL GM's world when I say this, but: A) The Sarge is 35 and starting to show some wear and tear, B) he makes $5M on a team that already shells out big contracts to enough players, and C) with the generous Goligoski extension, we have 3 capable power play quarterbacks (Gogo, Letang, Geno). So is it sooooo crazy to think we could part ways with Gonchar? Spare me your emotional attachment. Poor Geno can get his own house now, right?

No matter what you or I want to happen (allegedly), Staal is staying a Center and staying a Penguin. Shero loves him, and he was a beast in the Finals. Deal with it.



Line 1: Kunitz - Crosby - Guerin
Line 2: [insert skilled winger looking for a cup] - Malkin - Talbot
Line 3: Cooke - Staal - Kennedy......Kennedy
Line 4: Godard - Zigomanis - Dupuis

In Waiting: Caputi - Tangradi - Jeffrey - Wallace

D1: Orpik - Gonchar
D2: Letang - Scuderi
D3: Lovejoy - Goligoski
Dextra: Gill - [insert cheap veteran here]

In Net: MA Fleurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry - John Currrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This Week in Film

1. This year, the Oscars will double the Best Picture category to 10 nominees.

I think this is the biggest crock of shit. The number one biggest gripe about the Oscar telecast is that it is too damn long. Part of the reason for that is that they show a little extended preview for each nominee. Someone will come out and give a little speech about how the director transformed the world and effortlessly took us back to whatever era (1930's Chicago, Victorian England, Middle Earth, etc.), and then they show a clip. Now they have to do it for 10 films! And why have they decided this? My hunch is that most Best Picture nominees now are little indie films. Last year, there was not a big movie in the bunch. Expanding the field all of a sudden brings the fan favorites like the Dark Knight and WALL-E into the fold. This year, don't be surprised to see 6 or 7 solid contestants and a few eye-catchers like Up or Star Trek.


2. Transformers has biggest Wednesday opening ever

Last summer, the stars aligned and we were given the second biggest movie in history that all the critics loved. It almost seemed like a turning point. Fans were going to start rewarding good movies with their money. Yeah right. Right after Sandra Bullock recorded her most successful opening weekend, the 22% fresh Transformers sequel is on pace to break a lot of records and perhaps go down as the 3rd biggest movie in history. Everyone at work today was talking about it like it was something they had to do. The fanboys love to hit the boards and blast it as a poorly written, poorly developed, noisy popcorn flick, but then quickly say that they'll check it out this weekend. That's absurd. Well, I didn't see the first movie and have no plans to see this stinker, either.


3. OOOOoo Hollywood deaths come in THREES!!!!!

We could technically go back and include David Carradine, but the immediate deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson have the news outlets hysterical. Websites like Entertainment Weekly couldn't get the tributes up fast enough. I'm reminded of the mass panic that went with Heath Ledger, and quickly scribbled a list of the Top 5 Most Shocking Celeb Deaths in my Lifetime.

5. JFK Jr. - As a kid, my mom only ever forced me to sit down for the big news stories like Columbine, whoever we bombed in the late 90s, and JFK Jr's disappearance.
4. Phil Hartman - iconic voice, and even though he played scoundrels like Troy McClure and Bill in News Radio, you could tell he was a nice guy. His wife pulled the ol murder-suicide routine and left us stunned.
3. Heath Ledger - The media loved the combination of a suicide plus a big movie coming out.
2. Anna Nicole Smith - Lots of drugs, lots of money, and a custody battle = jackpot
1. Princess Di - Probably the first huge death of the paparazzi/internet era, right?

Anyway, the inevitable media circus about Michael Jackson, his music, his scandals, his children, and his family will be suffocating, sad, and annoying, so it gets 10 THUMBS DOWN!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Top Ten Pens of the Playoffs

*Editor's Note:* Another Pittsburgh season is in the books, so it's only fitting that Andy writes up a Top Ten players of the season list. Just like with previous Steelers and Penguins seasons, he has ranked the Top Ten most important players, but this time we are focusing on the Playoffs. When I drew up my own list to compare, numbers 1-8 were exactly alike, but I probably would've given the edge to Letang (despite his inability to handle the puck in "Mario's spot" on the PP) and Bill Guerin and 10 and 9. Still, this list is awesome and I'll never get tired of reading about the Pens.

10. Mark Eaton - A lot of people like Kris Letang, but I prefer his defensive partner Mark Eaton. Throughout the playoffs, Eaton was always in the right place at the right time. He had to cover a lot of ice when Letang jumped into the offensive zone. Beyond the solid defensive play, Eaton came up huge offensively in the first round against Philadelphia. He had a monster goal when he batted the puck out of the air during the Pens game six comeback. Without Eaton's goal, there may have been a game 7 in round one, and we know that anything can happen in those.

9. Ruslan Fedotenko - If Eaton was the unsung hero against Philadelphia, then Fedotenko was probably the one against Washington. Big goal after big goal allowed the Pens to come out of a very tough series versus the Capitals. A lot of people probably think Bill Guerin should be on this list, but in my opinion, Guerin became a little more popular than he was productive. There were a lot of questions about the Fedotenko acquisition during the regular season, but those concerns were put to rest in the playoffs. Unlike Marian Hossa, it seems like Ruslan turns his game up for the spring.

8. Sergei Gonchar - I made a similar list like this one last year and had Gonch number two. It wasn't so much him taking a step back as it was others stepping up. Boucher and Goligoski filled in adequately when Sergei was down during the Washington series, but he was still missed immensely. Recent news disclosed that Gonchar had been playing with a torn MCL, that shows how much of a warrior the blue-liner is. Like Fedotenko, big goal after big goal, game winners in Game 6 against Philly and Game 3 against Detroit come to mind.

7. Brooks Orpik - The highlight of the '08 finals may have been Orpik's 4 hits in 15 seconds sequence. This year, Brooks played with that tough intensity and grit throughout the postseason. I can't really think of anything else to say about Orpik other than he was great. A top-notch defender and filled in the role of psuedo-enforcer with Godard being a healthy scratch every game. It's also pretty ironic that if the Pens would have re-signed Hossa, they probably would not have been able to afford Orpik last year. Who would you rather have now?

6. Jordan Staal - For the last few years, you either loved or hated Jordan Staal. Not anymore. He really does it all. Penalty killing, fore checking, cycling, and a knack for scoring big goals, not to mention being paired up with the opposing teams' offensive stars. I don't have to mention the short-handed goal in game 4, the ultimate turning point of the Stanley Cup Finals. Staal is a very enticing piece of trade bait if the Pens want to catch a high-scoring winger. Would you want to trade a young Ron Francis?

5. Rob Scuderi - Scuds has always been pretty strong and solid but seemed to really take it to another level in the playoffs. Against Washington and Detroit, the Pens two toughest series, Scuderi was the best defensemen on the Penguins. He curtailed Ovechkin from game 3 to game 7 and basically "saved" Pittsburgh in game 6 against the Red Wings. Some claim that a team will overpay Scuderi this offseason like the Lightning did with Ryan Malone last year. If he plays like he did this postseason, it might be well worth it.

4. Max Talbot - I think Mark Madden was correct when he said that if there was a Conn Smythe for grit Max Talbot would get it. The two huge game seven goals go without saying. How about the opening goal in game four, or the fight he had in game six in Philadelphia that spearheaded the big comeback. After Sykora started getting scratched, Talbot really boosted Malkin's line. All the chicks that try to be sports geniuses really like Max, which is a slight detriment, but without him, the Penguins would probably not be Stanley Cup champions.

3. Sidney Crosby - The face of the franchise. It's pretty well known that I am not the biggest Sid fan, I mean I like him and think he's a great hockey player, but I certainly don't kiss his feet like many Pittsburghers. Yes he did have to go against Zetterberg and Lidstrom, but the top line was not as productive throughout the playoffs as it could have been. All Sid's fault? Certainly not, just saying. He would have easily won the Conn Smythe if Evgeni did not play on the same team. I don't want to make it seem like all bashing, but the Penguins are much more than just Sidney Crosby, a lot of people don't realize that.

Glove save and a beauty.
2. Marc-Andre Fleury - How do you judge importance? Saving games? Winning games? That's certainly Fleury. He's certainly not lights out every contest, but for the last two years he has a knack for showing up at the right time and bouncing back after rough outings. His game-saving stop of Lidstrom was probably not his "best" save of the playoffs, but it essentially sealed the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings would have won if that game had gone into overtime. When individuals think of the Penguins, Crosby and Malkin are certainly brought up first,but Fleury is equally as important and was an absolute force during the great playoff run.

1. Evgeni Malkin - It makes sense for the Conn Smythe winner to be at the top of this list. I have said it many times that I believe Malkin is the best player in the NHL and his postseason performance backs me up. He had the most playoff points since Gretzky in 1993. Yes, he did not have to face Zetterberg or Lidstrom, but he also plays with second-line wingers. He has slowly turned into a back-checker like Hossa and is starting to get the physically of an Ovechkin. Signature playoff moment? How about his wrap around, back hand, backward, top shelf goal against Carolina? Would the Penguins have won the Cup without Crosby? Probably not, but they played without him in the final period in game seven. Without Malkin, the Pens would probably have not gotten by Philadelphia, if they would have made the playoffs at all.

Top 35 Pearl Jam Songs

Last week, I got addicted to watching top ten music lists on youtube and decided to do one for this website. Pearl Jam seems appropriate since they are everyone's favorite band on here, well, accept me, but they are in my personal top ten. I pretty much looked right at my itunes playlist and there were 38 Pearl Jam songs that had a play count that was over 5, so I cut it down to 35.

35. Not For You
34. Life Wasted
33. Go
32. Love Boat Captain
31. Last Exit
30. World Wide Suicide
29. Corduroy
28. Brain of J.

27. Last Kiss
26. I Got Shit

25. Once
24. Dissident
23. Severed Hand
22. Alive
21. Better Man

20. Light Years
19. Tremor Christ
18. Nothingman
17. Garden
16. State of Love and Trust

15. I Am Mine
14. Porch
13. Animal
12. Rearviewmirror
11. Why Go

10. Immortality
9. Daughter
8. Nothing As It Seems

7. Given To Fly
6. Jeremy
5. Sad
4. Release

3. Off He Goes
2. Even Flow

1. Black

Album Breakdown

Ten - 9

Vs - 5
Vitalogy - 7
No Code - 1

Yield - 2
Binaural - 2
Riot Act - 2
Pearl Jam - 3
Others (bsides, covers, etc) - 4 your comments/complaints, as well as top 5 or top 10 lists if you wish

Thursday, June 18, 2009

INDY 5: The Search For More Money?

Over a year ago, the summer movie season that spawned The Dark Knight and WALL-E started off with everyone's favorite geriatric archaeologist and his band of terrible supporting characters. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull premiered to much anticipation and perhaps too much hype. We all hoped for something along the lines of the Last Crusade; a film that embraced the spirit of the Indy films before it while giving us a fresh take on the Indy character. What we got instead was the result of 20 years of George Lucas pouting til he got his way.

Which Crystal Skull viewers were more pissed off, those that had a feeling it would be about aliens (and spent half the movie wishing it wouldn't actually happen), or those of you refusing to suspect something so laughable and then getting blindsided with a flying saucer. I was firmly in the camp of Alien Suspicion. Frankly, it seemed like the world's worst kept secret. You take the director responsible for E.T., Close Encounters, and War of the Worlds and put him in the room with the brain behind the life (and death) of the Star Wars franchise, you just knew George would eat that shit up with a side of Tantan guts. Lucas wanted Aliens from the beginning, everyone else did not. A stand-off occurred, and it looked like no side would cave. Lucas was busy becoming uber-rich by milking every last cent from his baby, and Spielberg was enjoying lots of conti
nued success with his projects. Something tells me if it were up to just those two guys, the movie would never have been made.

Sadly, a third party had a say in it also. Harrison Ford was once the most bankable man in Hollywoodland, and when the 90's left us, so did his ability to pick good scripts. Turd after turd found the man quickly losing his loyal audience. Those who lined up in droves to see Air Force One found it more entertaining to play the Sims in their mom's basement than see Hollywood Homicide. Who can blame 'em? He needed a hit, something to remind everyone that yea, he eats bad guy's faces. It seemed his last gasp grasp came at the Indy franchise, and while he once steadfastly refused to touch anything related to aliens, he found himself not only considering the option, but agreeing to it faster than George Lucas can fuck a gungan. Ford put the carpenter squeeze on Spielberg and thus, Indy 4.

I've seen Crys
tal Skull a lot, and while I love a good bit of it, I really really hate Mutt, the fridge, the aliens, and the ending. The most satisfying part of the movie, however, is the fallout: the person the fans blamed for it. No one blamed Spielberg, we figured he did the best with what he had and is only guilty of being Georgey Boy's doormat. Ford was considered by many to be the lone shining light of the movie, pushing it beyond 'merely watchable' to 'rather enjoyable'. Yes, Fat Neck Lucas takes the most blame. And rightly so.

Through it all though (and this is where my post creeps into relevance), Indy 4 managed to snake in serious dollars. And any time that happens, Lucas awakes from his stormtrooper-filled wet dream with thoughts of s e q u e l on the brain. Uh oh. The talk began immediately, with Lucas coming right out and saying "well, if there's gonna be another movie, it falls to me to come up with the story, because if I didn't I
wouldn't have any association with the movie at all." He rightly flip flopped on his previous stance and said that Mutt would continue to sit on the sidelines sucking dick, and that the focal point in an Indy movie would forever be Indy (I know, a no-brainer right?)

Now everyone's favorite douche has chimed in. Shia LaBeouf claims that he talks with Sir Spielberg now and then, and in their last conversation Steven says he's 'cracked the story' for Indy 5. Apparently, everything is rolling along. Paramount Pictures have come out and said that they won't be the studio behind a new Indiana Jones movie (a bit shocking), letting their pals at NBC-Universal to do it instead. The latest bit of news happened today. Frank Marshall, producer for all four Indy films has come out with this interesting bit of info:

"It's really about the script," said Marshall. "Once we see that, we'll see. We're not going to wait another 20 years. We'd all love to make another one. I'm anxious to hear the idea!" I guess he doesn't even know what idea LaBarf is talking about. "Until there's a script, nothing's definite. I haven't heard the idea." Marshall confirmed that the three heavyweights are all in for another Indy film. "Yeah. We had a great time making the last one and, as Harrison said, we need to make this one soon. We're not getting any younger."

And there you have it. The sequel we expected but hoped against (similar to the aliens) is making some progress. How do we feel about this?

Well, Indy's married with a step-child now. The ONLY way and I mean the absolute ONLY way that Indy 5 will be any good is if Indy leaves the weak links at home and goes off adventuring without them. We've had enough of Shia. Let him stay at home wanking to James Dean posters. He killed Crystal Skull, he will kill again...

Marion, she's alright, but is now too old and too ugly to keep up with Indy. Let Doc Jones ride off to the Mid East or something, reunite with Sallah, find the mother of all artifacts, and kick it old school. He can find some new flame there and flirt with the idea of infidelity. Heck, he can give some young girl the business for all I care. The worst thing they could've done was handcuffed him at home with a wife, so just let him run around being Indy Jones for Christ's sake. The fans demand nothing short of a full-fledged return to classic Indiana Jones. I'm all for a good sequel. Harrison is up for it still, but once he hits 70 it's all over. Jesus, he's almost that old? He can still play younger, as he's done his whole career, so I'm not too worried about passing him off as The Man With The Hat. Follow these simple instructions and the fans will return.

So there.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TV: Rerun Season: Cable Reality Shows

Here we are again. Summer means the end to most of the original programming on the main networks. Sure, Dave will come on here and tell to watch the Philanthropist, but since you didn't listen to me when I asked you to watch Castle, you should ignore him as well. Normally, we use the Rerun Season section to show clips from our favorite shows (ROME, the Office, South Park, etc.) to pass the time until the heavyweights return in September. However, today I'd like to use this space to shed some light on the cable networks that are still running new episodes.

First up, we look to the Discovery Channel and the most intense reality show on TV, Deadliest Catch. For most of us, the appeal of the show is seeing these fisherman put life and limb on the line for the work they love. How can you not admire guys working 30 hour shifts in subzero temperatures? On the flip side, we also kind of enjoy the mayhem. Though we never want to see people get hurt, we do like the huge waves and chaos. Unfortunately for the Wizard, a giant wave crashes over the front of the boat while the deckhands are trying to put up a tarp. You can watch the scariness and the aftermath here. It's one of the more captivating Deadliest Catch moments.

Next, still on Discovery, is the much hyped Men vs. Wild episode featuring Will Ferrell. It did not help ticket sales for Land of the Lost, but it was especially interesting to see how a regular Joe tries to push through the same things that Bear Grylls does. The show had a lot of laughs, especially Ferrell tackling Bear to see if his Army Special Forces instincts would kick in (they did not). But the most dramatic moment came when Will was anchored in the snow and Bear was being lowered to the bottom of a frozen waterfall. After that fails, they end up burying 2 twigs (TWO TWIGS!!!!) in the snow and tying the rope to the twigs. The twigs successfully held the weight of two grown men and allowed them to get below.

Finally, since I wasn't able to embed any of the other videos, I wanted to turn to A&E's Dog the Bounty Hunter. Dog has been a hero, a villain, and the subject of parody. He's quietly back on the air right now, and here's a clip of one of their arrests. It takes a lot of balls to throw the daughter on the ground and then run from the Dog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stanley Cup Pics of the Day

Visiting once again with Mario Lemieux's pool, which I thought would be bigger. (Click to Enlarge)

Mario's awesome house. Suck it, Phillip Banks.

The S.S. Hal Gill using the S.S. Lord Stanley as a floaty.

Mario's desk. Two things stand out. Like me, Le Magnifique loves Dell Computers. Secondly, let's take bets on who are in the two photographs. I say Badger Bob and Jagr.

The Titanic of wine bottles.

sigh.... why don't I get invited to parties like this?

With apologies to Sid, Geno, and 66, these are probably the 3 most famous people in Pittsburgh right now. Also pictured is the girl from Harry Potter and a fat kid giving the stink eye.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Parade Pictures

Staff members Doob, Jay, Dave, and Andy were in attendance today at the Pens' celebration parade to take pictures, shoot videos, and do other crazy stuff (though probably not as crazy or rock n' roll as Alby). Here are the best of their pictures. The rest can be seen on Facebook.

Above: For his day with the Cup, how many people want Geno to eat his mom's soup out of it? Just me? Okay...

Wings fans like to joke that since Crysby is probably tired of Bettman kissing his ass, it's nice that he gets to do the kissing for a change. Har har. (Andy's pic)

"One More Year" Billy Guerin. You can tell he'd take a big pay cut to stick around.

The Highlight of the Day: Bourquey and the re-enactment of his famous "party on the river" quote.

More Stanley Cup Thoughts

As I'm writing this, I'm also watching the live feed of the Pens parade. Fans started arriving around 5:30 am, and last they checked, the crowd was measured at 250,000 people and growing. The Steelers parade had 300,000 strong, but since the day is nicer and school is out, they expect this crowd to be even bigger. Channel 11's "rogue" reporter, the Ox, just went crowd surfing, went out on the street, and did other rock n' roll things (he's such a rule breaker, you know). The highlight of the parade? Phil Bourque, the ol 2-9er, raised the Cup and once again yelled, "What do you say we take this down to the river, and PARTY ALL SUMMER!!!!" Anyway, while that's going on, I'm still reflecting on Game 7 and the playoff run as a whole.

Firstly, to touch on what Andy has said in the last post, I also feel bad for Hossa. I'll never fault a guy who turns down a lot of cash for the chance to win. It's hilarious how things ended up, but only because nobody saw this coming. A rematch of the exact two teams, except Maid Marian defected to the former champs and had a HORRIBLE series to help us win the Cup? It's funny, but what's important is the people who took less money to stay in Pittsburgh for another title run (namely Brooks Orpik), not those who left. Also, the person I feel most sorry for is Therrien. Think of the team as a block of marble. Therrien carved that sucker up and gave the team a foundation. He gave them character and discipline, a strong base. Then he was booted, and Genius Bylsma came in and polished the Pens into a scoring machine. Bylsma will get all the credit, and deserves it, but you still have to feel bad for Therrien.

Not only did few people expect a rematch, but even fewer could've expected a Bizarro-world finals. There's the obvious stuff (new coach, touching the Prince of Wales trophy). Last year, Sid carried this team on his back in the finals. This year, Sid was a non-factor most of the games and injured for half of the final game, but his teammates were strong enough this year to pick up the slack for him (I told Jay it was not unlike Charlie and the Moth). Last year Malkin snoozed in the Finals. This year, he was a bull in every single game. Yeah, his aggressive style led to more penalties, but he was possessed when near the puck. And finally, last year MAF pooped out a goal in the deciding game, but in Games 6 and 7, Fleury was brilliant (especially the Immaculate Rejection).

For all the Wings fans that are boo-hooing about Crosby snubbing Nik Lidstrom and half the handshake line, what a joke. Last year, the Pens didn't form the handshake line until the Wings were done celebrating. This year, Lidstrom formed the line while we were celebrating and subsequently had to greet the Pens in small chunks. Crosby and a small group were still celebrating and doing interviews, and Lidstrom stood around for a bit before whining into the locker room. Could he have stood for an extra 30 seconds? Sure. Could he have gone right up to Crosby? You bet. The Mule doubled back to check on Sid's knees, Nik and Kris Draper could've turned back as well. Crosby's thoughts? He has no regrets.

Feel like looking at the crushed hearts of Wings fans after the loss? Of course you do, and don't feel guilty about it. Drink it up.

Finally, where does this postseason go down in history? For no other reason than walking into the invincible Joe Louis Arena to take on the defending champions in Game 7, this will be remembered as one of the most exciting and dramatic series of all time. Outside of that, we have maybe the passing of the torch from one dynasty to an emerging one. We have the youngest Cup-winning captain in NHL history. And Game 7 itself was breathtaking. I spent THE ENTIRE first period on my feet, pacing. In the second period, after the goals, the hairs were up on my arm. When Crosby went down, I honestly didn't blink an eye because we were playing so well. Was this better than Super Bowl 43? ABSOLUTELY. Again, consider the opponent. The underdog Cardinals or the arrogant, intimidating Big Red Machine? The answer is easy.