Welcome to the latest gathering of material that has formed in my head over the past week. A variety of material collected over the last few days that requries inspection. Topics come and go, but true juicy content survives here. For example, I won’t be providing any british royal news this evening. I have not one ounce of care for Henry, Harry, Kate or her sister. There will be no Spencer and Heidi talk. If you don’t know who those people are, consider yourself lucky to be alive. I will try not to complain about the harsh hot St. Louis weather, but since I work and run in it daily, the urge will be hard to avoid. After all, this is an unplugged Buffa blast going on here, not a library study session. Gas Prices get no space here either. Like stocks, they go up and down with or without our participation. Talking about them is similiar to starting a conversation with a hot woman with, “How about those gas prices at QT, so expensive?” as you walk out of the market with 2 hot dogs, a bag of chips, beef jerky and a donut. What’s the [point? The areas I choose to cover here consistently(sports, film, random facts, personal insight, ideas) has nothing to do with your life, but every now and then, a interaction occurs and interest is spiked. As the great Todd Snider once told the audience before a show, “I’m not here to change your mind, yet ease my own.” With that lovely explanation planted, lets get moving.
The General Idea of Rescue Me’s last season carries a variety of questions to be solved by September 11th, 2011.
-Will Tommy Gavin die? After years of avoiding death and barely escaping the clutches of his mortality, will Tommy make it out alive? This is the beauty of a cable network. They don’t have to worry about keeping their main character alive because when they say they’re done, its for real. All bets are off.
-If Tommy doesn’t die, who will? Every week carries a reality show like competition, where you are lining up odds on who makes it to the next episode in this drama that keeps you off guard with the light dark comedic moments mixed with dark ambitious ones.
-Will Tommy either drink his way back into trouble or cheat on his wife, Janet(whose pregnant by the way) before the end? When it comes to Gavin, his shortcomings walk around wherever he goes. If there is a vodka and a willing lady ready to open the gates, trouble awaits for a Gavin. If he does cheat, will it be with cool cancer patient Tracy or with ex-flame/crazy bitch Sheila?
-How many episodes pass by until Tommy Gavin’s next legendary rant about being badass, running into fires, breathing smoke on a regular basis, on 9/11, and on the everyday roller coaster that consumes his life? Every season carries at least one TG rant and it is glorious. Give Example.
-Will there be a happy ending or a grim finish? Ask Tommy Gavin in last week’s episode if there are positive outcomes and he bluntly told a 9/11 reporter, “there are no happy endings”. Since the show is a tribute to 9/11, a few will bit the dust but there will be a hopeful outcome.
-Will the show get any respect at next year’s Emmy’s? For years, Denis Leary and company have been looked over for any winners and that is downright fraud. For 7 seasons, Rescue Me has been a dynamite unpredictable thrill ride of an inside look at the heroes that put out the fire. Where is the love? Rescue Me is a groundbreaking show. How many other firefighter dramas are out there? Denis Leary took a sensitive subject, withheld the melodramatic manipulative tendencies and simply inserted gritty storytelling into the tale of heroism. His endeavor took a healthy set of brass balls, and ask any critic around and the crew pulled it off. Leary and Peter Tolan. Whenever a new cop show, legal drama or hospital drama comes to the table, they are copying a formular and adding their own spin to it. Rescue Me took a hard subject matter(heroes personal lives) and made it funny, thrilling and personal. That’s worth an honor. On most shows, you get 1 or 2 highly developed characters. On Rescue Me, every character carried a particular set of dimensions. How many times can you hand a prize to 30 Rock or Mad Men?
Watch this show because it is the best show on television and worth the next tasting session when your need for a new show comes along.
DVD Reviews-Conviction and Casino Jack. Here are two worthy, compelling true stories brought to film that are worth your time in a living room, if not a movie theater. Conviction stars Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell and tells the story of a woman who goes to law school in order to prove her brother is innocent of murder. Swank and Rockwell are great and the story, while predictable, tells itself and leaves a bite at the end. A sad get lucky tale that is better digested at home where the expectations are lower. Casino Jack is an intriguing look at the powerful super lobbyist Jack Abramoff(a perfectly casted Kevin Spacey), who was the biggest piece of “infleunce” around Washington before he went to jail 6 years ago. Abramoff specialized in influencing different parties in ways to invest their money and become richer. In the process, Abramoff and his partner, Mike Scanton(Barry Pepper), got rich as theives and lived the high life until a Washington reporter and an Indian community brought them down for fraud. Abramoff and Scanton’s actions lead to corruption, murder and the two face the price of living off the movements of others. A hard hitting film that’s deliciously enjoyed at home and features another great performance from Spacey. The first scene of the film is the table setting moment where Spacey’s renegade stares into a bathroom mirror and goes on a 5 minute rant defending his profession, ending it with Abramoff’s catchphrase, “And I work out every day!”. His game was confidence and hustle, which led to a downfall. Check out either films and come away satisfied with a compelling true American story.
A 9/11 Rant
With the 10 year anniversary rapidly approaching us, I will start sprinkling little rants about that day and the effects that still exist a decade later. Unless you have ice running through your veins, that tragic day took a piece out of you and caused you to stop and realize at once that anything can happen and life isn’t a guaranteed pass. In one day, 3,000 people lost their lives, including over 343 firefighters and over 300 cops, first responders and security workers. When the World Trade Center towers were struck by planes on a Tuesday morning and unleashed a cloud of black smoke and death over New York, a memory was implanted in your brain. Ask anyone and they can give you a story. Here is what I don’t like. The first 9/11 rant here will be about remembering the final stats of the day. Since the infamous afternoon, many have come forward and drawn up conspiracy theories and the idea of US government involvement. I am not against the idea of Bush’s corruption stemming from these attacks and wouldn’t be surprised if the truth came out that the Bush Family was in bed with the Bin Ladens. However, there are some people who take this issue too far and forget about the selflessness and heroism that happened that day. Whether or not corruption was present or terrorists simply caught our country off guard, the reality is the same. Over 3,000 people died that day and whatever the truth is, they stay dead. If a theory was proved right, it isn’t like a mother, father, son, daughter, friend, grandmother or stranger will all of a sudden pop out of the grave and come alive. That’s the problem with death. The crime can be solved but the dead stay dead in the end. A close friend of mine thinks there were no planes at all that day and the images were fabricated. Honest. What is forgotten is the loss that occured that day and the efforts of many to save lives. When people were sprinting from the Towers, firemen, police and paramedics were running towards the building and died when the Towers collapsed. That’s heroism that can’t be forgotten. The only thing survivors can do is honor their memory by respecting the effort and not spitting all over it by mixing up political jargon and weightless theories. We, as a country of survivors and living breathing souls, are better than that.
Cardinals Update-The Current line on Kyle Lohse right now. 50 pitches, 3 runs, 6 hits, and 4 outs recorded. That’s right. Lohse blew a 3-0 lead and has surrendered 8 base runners without recording 6 outs. Horrible. Another example of why this team isn’t going anywhere is the paltry starting pitching the past 6 weeks. While the bullpen has improved and the lineup produces, the rotation(Lohse especially) isn’t getting the job done. They aren’t doing their part. Kyle Lohse avoids a big inning, getting a double play to keep the game tied at 3. However, he has thrown 53 pitches through two inning, which means he is barely finishing 5 tonight. After throwing 65 pitches through 5 against the Cubs on Saturday, this is unacceptable and will force the bullpen to see significant action again tonight. Big problem in little city.
Side Note-Matt Holliday is having another quietly productive season. After missing 20 games, Holliday is hitting .316 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI and is one of the hardest working players on the team.
Back to Things to Watch-
Brian Wilson On Showtime’s The Franchise
The SF Giants closer is every bit a character as you think he is when seen on this solid cable sports series, which follows the Giants in 2011 as they defend their world championship. Whether its discussing a snack he likes to eat(BBQ pop chips with chalua), talking about 9/11 or dressing like a biker with style, Wilson is pure entertainment. The man is an interesting ball of emotion, intellegience, and quirky humor. When describing the snack, Wilson comes alive with energy, repeating to the interviewer, “It’s so good, so good”. From the mega beard to the wickedly surprising sense of humor, Wilson is the reason to watch this show. Other than that, its a solid interesting show. Anytime cable mixes with sports for a series, the result is golden.
Tomorrow, I get to see Vinny on the ultrasound screen again. For the last few weeks, I’ve missed appointments due to a heavy workload at the warehouse, so I am excited to see my son tomorrow. Spending the nights feeling his kicks and watching a remote get moved on my wife’s belly is good theater, but the time has come to lock eyes with this guy on a screen. There is less than two months to go before I officially become responsible for this kid, so the waiting is starting to get cut short. Anxiety and patient excitement fill my days while I watch Rachel get bigger and bigger. Feelings over becoming a parent feel like becoming the owner of a car or house, only heightened to a much broader level. You never know what kind of dad you’ll become until you are one. Here’s to a solid first one on one encounter with Vincent.
Look, I have nothing personally against Barack Obama and I voted for him in 2008, but in the end, he won’t be able to fix much in this economy. He has tried, faltered, tried and faltered. Its not his fault particularly. He works in a faulty system, called Washington DC. Every time I hear someone complain about Obama, I roll my eyes and ask them what did they really expect. By now, we have to know. We won’t be able to believe a President or look for an impact until 2025. There is so much debt caused by Clinton, Bush, and Obama that any move by a leader ends up being a deeper hole. This much is known. George W. Bush was a horrible President, a C-average earning alcoholic son of a President who fell into the ownership of the Texas Rangers, fell into a college diploma, fell into the Governor’s seat and eventually and regretfully fell into a President’s chair. Look, people, the man can’t speak properly or spell. He wasn’t the answer, got the country into wars that with good intent but horrible strategy. Obama signed a health care bill that left millions without it, caught and killed Obama but covered up an Oil Spill and is lying to this day about the debt factor. Every time a politician opens his mouth and produces a dish, the recipe is 85 percent bullshit and 15 percent hope. That’s politics in the end. A worthlessly unsatisfying unforgiving GAME. Call me when Henry Rollins makes it into office to dish out real truth, or when a lady not named Sarah Palin makes it into office. At the very least, make the game interesting.
Another baseball note-The Pittsburgh Pirates are sinking fast. Since their series loss to St. Louis, the Pirates have sunk below .500, 6 games out of first place and are on the verge of being swept by the Chicago Cubs tonight at home. This isn’t a surprise. The Pirates are a young, inexperienced team looking for the extra push in the final two months. This team hasn’t contended since 1993 and find themselves in an awkward spot in no man’s land. All along, I told you this division wouldn’t be decided until the last week of the season. I still believe that. What I refuse to believe are the Pirates being involved in this race in September. The fall will continue. Since the win over the Cardinals in Sunday walkoff fashion, The Pirates are 1-9 and on the verge of their second straight series sweep and 7th loss in a row. With the Reds falling away quick, this is becoming a two team race.
Scary Moment for the Cards-David Freese catches a high fastball to the helmet and leaves the game tonight. Freese took the pitch off the head and went down and eventually left. This will result in a couple days of rest.
Albert Pujols Fights back and Shows his Worth-Against the Marlins tonight, Albert is 2-2 with a long home run, a single, a walk and three runs scored. He also started a nifty double play from his knees in the 4th inning. In less than half a game, Pujols is reminding you what he is worth to this team when he is on.
The Dead Weather-“Die By The Drop”
Jack White’s second passion project, the LZ inspired funky rock band infused with the goddess of rock, Alison Mosshart(The Kills), delivers a true blues rock classic here. Coming off their second album, Sea Of Cowards, this tune is consistently great and can be enjoyed on many levels. White’s specialty is guitar, but here he plays the drums and slips into the background, creating an ensemble of musicians delivering a sound that is at once familiar yet untraceable. Here’s the song. Listen please.
Cowboys and Aliens Intrigue-There is one real reason(and smaller ones) to see this film, which I will tonight after I wrap up this epic taut blog at the Moolah Theater. Pure Summer Fun. While it will prove to be a box office failure and critical bomb, I want to see it for three reasons.
1.)The chance to see Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford match tough personas and go head to head on screen. Craig stepped into Bond’s shoes smoothly and Ford is the classic man of few words, so I am interested in this matchup in a cowboy setting. In one year, Craig will star as a cowboy, as an obsessed reporter in Girl With A Dragon Tattoo and put on the tux for a third Bond film. Ford is collecting aging actor support on the final wheels of a long career. Good chance this could be one of Ford’s last rides in the saddle.
2.)Olivia Wilde’s gorgeous face, body and ability. Wilde is a step above most pretty faces in Hollywood. As she has proved on Fox’s HOUSE, Alpha Dog, Tron and here, Wilde is more than a sex symbol. A small sample size but worth noting. She has a slowly budding future as an actress with looks. I don’t see an Oscar in her future, but what I do see is an interesting blend of beauty, free style talent and ambition. She dumped her Italian Prince of a boyfriend in real life and signed up for a western. Along with her looks, I like it.
3.)Jon Faveau playing with toys in the desert which are anchored by deeper moments in between. The film’s high points will include special effects filled battles between the cowboys and the invading aliens. However, the quiet moments will be appreciated. The man with no name element of Craig’s character, who wakes up in the desert with a weird metallic lit up bracelet on his hand capable of deadly ambition. The fact that his character can’t remember anything except for a woman being yanked out of their house into a ship. The mystery of the characters real intentions.
Basically, why not check out a summer action film with tough guys, hot women and some fantasy? Better than two hours of reality television.
What’s on tap this weekend-
-The Changeup, a comedy from the director of Wedding Crashers and writers of The Hangover, starring Jason Batemen and Ryan Reynolds as friends who accidentally swap bodies while pissing in a fountain. One is a family/job driven family man. The other is a ladies man with no direction or future. Guess which one starts as one and ends up as the other. The result is killer comedy.
-Rise of the Apes. The real intrigue here is simple. My favorite animal group are apes. Gorillas, monkeys, chimps. Getting to see the spectacle of a Kong sized ape leap off the Golden Gate bridge and slash a helicopter in two pieces is hard to avoid. Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake was only good when the focus was the actual monster with a sense of detachment. The plot is simple. Planet of the Apes tale on homeland. James Franco’s doctor takes in a chimp as a medical experiment, placing the ape in his home and teaching him human traits. Think of Project Nim in a fictional tale. Soon enough, the Ape attacks a stranger, gets thrown into a lab, tested on, and eventually unites with his fellow apes and attacks the city. Bad things happen. Monkeys gone wild.
-A Brewery Tour at Anheuser Busch, featuring the official meeting between me and my favorite beer, Shocktop. Beer making. Free beer. History lesson. 90 minutes of it. Count me in.
-An 8 hour pregnancy course at St. Johns on Sunday. All day breathing, stretching, learning and baby school. Getting ready to have a baby school. Every time I think about the birth of a child, I think of this.
With that dose of Mr. Cosby, my time here is done. There isn’t much more to say here because I am pretty sure I have said it all. There comes a time where you must decide to stop. For me, that time is now.
Thanks for reading, and if you made it this far, find me and I will buy you a drink.
Goodnight and good luck,