Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Friday: Who are the people in my neighborhood?

I'm not the kind of person who gets invited to parties (at least not anymore, apparently), and if I were, I'd probably be the kind of person who wouldn't attend, so I didn't have any encounters with any of the high profile celebrities here this week. But that doesn't mean I didn't encounter any pretty people (note: I didn't take these pictures because I guess the batteries in my camera don't last a lifetime. Who knew?)... Ines Sainz of TV Azteca. She's a fixture at Super Bowls, especially media day. She's the reporter who showed up in a wedding dress and asked Tom Brady to marry her at last year's event.

And this is The Naked Cowboy hanging around downtown, doing whatever it is he does.


I also saw this aptly named Insane Limo driving all over town. It's either the world's most flamboyant luxury vehicle or the world's least fuel efficient sex toy. I believe the owner of the gas station where this photo was taken was able to retire to the Bahamas immediately after it left.
At any rate, this just sort of proves that the Super Bowl offers something for everyone.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Bowl Thursday: Sign up here

Area merchants welcome Super Bowl tourists to The Big Guava!

Yep, it's the place you've heard of. Normally, this sign says "HOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN THE WORLD" which is not true; they don't actually live in there.


Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins, aside from being a talented running back, has drawn acclaim for wearing costumes and appearing in public as various outlandish characters. Which means it's entirely possible that he will slip in and out of this appearance at Wal Mart completely unnoticed.

Here's your chance to break into show biz! Fair warning; your spot-on Jerry Lewis impression and ability to make balloon animals isn't the kind of talent the judges are going to be looking for. Well, actually, depending on just how creative you're willing to be with those balloon animals...


This former Bennigan's appears to have literally everything. I have no smart-ass comments. I'm sincerely impressed.


Mystery store in Ybor City. Every city has stores like this. And they frighten me.


Not just any plain, old, regular t-back Tuesday, but SUPER t-back Tuesday!

Finally, Tampa's Finest says hello at the city limits!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Super Bowl Wednesday: Song sung blue and green with envy

You may have noticed a heavy presence of blue and green in some of the photos I've posted here during the last couple of days: That has nothing to do with either of the teams, neither of whom wear blue or green. Rather, those are the theme colors for the Super Bowl itself. I don't remember ever playing in a football game, or any sporting event where there was an officially approved color scheme. Prom yes, not football. In case you didn't already know, the Super Bowl has been more prom than football game since at least the 1970s.


Every Super Bowl gets it's own official logo. Here's the logo from the last time the event was held here:

And here's this year's:

I kind of like it. For one thing, it's not pirate-centric, which is unusual for any high profile event held in Tampa Bay. Seriously, if you live here and you're not really, really into pirates, it can get to be a little much. Sort of like being a Star Wars fan living in Williamsburg. This logo is kind of nice though. You've got blue representing the azure waves of Tampa Bay and green representing tropical fauna-ness.

Here we see the use of lights to further play up the tropical aspects of actual, living palm trees, which i always thought were about as tropically iconic as you can get. Once again, the NFL is smarter than I am.

Here are some more lights in action, fiber optics that were recently installed at Raymond James Stadium. You wouldn't see the stadium glowing like Emerald City otherwise.
Tomorrow: Signs O' The Times

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl Tuesday: The ESPNening

(Note: Unless something really exciting and unexpected comes up, I'm going to blog about the Super Bowl until it's over. Because honestly, this is what's going on in my universe right now and to write about groceries or laundry or television shows or farts or whatever it is I usually blog about seems kind of silly and disingenuous.)

If televised sports is your religion, then cable channel ESPN is your church or temple or mosque or zen den or whatever worship facility suits you. I myself could best be described as "somewhat lapsed" when appraising my levels of faith and devotion. I'm not nearly as passionate a fan as I used to be. Just like there are Christmas and Easter Christians, I guess I'm now just a Home Team and Championship sports fan, rarely tuning in otherwise. Anyway, ESPN has taken over Cotanchobee Park along the Garrison Channel, right behind the St. Pete Times Forum, so I went down to check that out before tonight's hockey game...




Here's the outdoor tv studio. Why outdoors? The Chamber of Commerce will tell you it's because the weather is just that darn nice, so come on down folks! To be fair, it is quite nice outside and you should come on down, if you can swing it, but I suspect the real reason is that continuing discussion of the contrasting quarterback styles of Ben Ruthlessblogger and Kurt Von Weinerwarmer isn't something that can be contained by four walls and a ceiling.
Here's the DirectTV blimp circling overhead. Blimps are drawn to high profile sporting events like turkey vultures are drawn to high profile roadkill. As game day approaches, we'll probably see blimps from Outback Steakhouse blimp and of course, Goodyear, which is to blimps what Gravedigger is to monster trucks. Those blimps will all tell you they're here on business, but I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to get it on with Tampa's own outdated, impractical and pointless mode of transportation, the Teco Streetcar Line. If that happens, I will do my best to get video.

Oh snap, that's Da Coach, Iron Mike Ditka! And he's looking right at me!! When I was a youngster growing up in the midwest, my favorite team was the Chicago Bears, which at that time consisted of offensive superstars like Walter Payton, Bob Avellini, Mike Phipps, James Scott, Robin Earl and Steve Schubert. In other words, Walter Payton. Coach Ditka arrived in 1982 and turned a franchise defined by decades of futility into Super Bowl Champions in three short years. To me, this was nothing less than a miracle. And now here we are, all these years later, sharing a "moment". Sigh....


Either the Embassy Suites Hotel is currently the champion of the NFL or
Robert Schuller has opened a branch office in Tampa.
After I left the semi-exciting world of ESPN behind, I went across the street and watched some REAL entertainment: my beloved (yet constantly frustrating) Tampa Bay Lightning took care of the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. I've stated before that football lags well behind hockey in my list of favorite sports. Here are two reasons why. Football doesn't have anything as exciting as The Penalty Shot:
Nor does it have anything as hilariously stupid as Human Bowling:
Case closed, as far as I'm concerned.
Tomorrow: I will color your world, Super Bowl style!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Super, so far

The Super Bowl is next Sunday here in Tampa, which means one full week of non-stop insanity began this past weekend. Here's my first report on what is certain to be the biggest sporting event in the history of this year so far...
I got myself a side gig selling tickets for the NFL Experience, which is basically a pro football theme park. I was instructed to pick up my credential beforehand at an address near the stadium. That's pretty standard protocol for an event. You usually go to a large tent with a card table, if it's a big-time event, there might be a vinyl sign with a logo on it, a couple of volunteers will thumb through some paperwork, give you a lanyard with a chunk of cardboard dangling from it that may or may not have your name spelled correctly, and then send you on your way. However, this is not some rinky-dink charity golf tournament or rooty-poot Final Four. This is the MF'n NFL, y'all...When the NFL needs to distribute credentials, they come to your town, commandeer an office building and set up something that resembles the DMV, except it's efficient. And when you're done, you walk away with something that looks like this...Note that like it's bearer, this credential is not good on game day.

If you happen to find a few extra thousand bucks between your sofa cushions and plan on coming down for the big game, this fabulous party mansion can still be yours!
And the "big lot" mentioned on the sign? You're looking at it. You and up to four other people could probably mill about safely during your pre-game tailgate party without someone wandering into southbound traffic on Himes Avenue. Where Diddy parks his limo is his problem, I guess.

This is (literally) the road to the Super Bowl. Specifically the sidewalk along Dale Mabry highway between the employee parking lot and the stadium.
This is the view from inside one of the ticket offices before things got rolling on Saturday morning. I know there's a recession going on, but if your name is Bob and you own some barricades, you're probably doing okay.
Here's the first guy to get in line for a ticket. He and his rattail came all the way down from Baltimore!
I know right now you're wondering "where are the celebrities? I always heard the Super Bowl is always just infested with celebrities. Where the heck are the dang celebrities?" Well, you're in luck...
Who's that, you ask? Why, only the illegitimate love child of these guys...


Here's the view from the other ticket office, which just happens to also feature attractive female authority figures (and two unnamed, unknown jamokes).
In case you haven't guessed, my favorite way of passing time while I'm working (aside from working...really, really hard...of course) is people watching. And by people, I mostly mean girls. Make no mistake; ladies, if you come up to my window, I'm checking you out. Fellas, if you come up to my window with your girlfriend or wife, I'm checking her out. I should probably apologize for that, and stop doing it, but I'm not going to.
While I'm at it, I'll reveal another secret for you. If you attend a sporting event at any venue that shows crowd shots on the scoreboard, which at this point is any venue that hosts sporting events, you are being checked out. See, the guys who shoot the crowd shots don't have very much to do while the game is being played, other than wait for the next stoppage in play. So what they do to pass time is scan the crowd for the amusement of those who work in the control booth. That means if you're cute and/or wearing a skimpy outfit, or if you're picking your nose, or eating like a pig and you think you're getting away with it just because you don't see yourself on the scoreboard, you're probably not. Trust me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Options


My lease expires on January 31st and I've been making a mental list of pros and cons to not renewing it and moving away from Tampa. You know how a semi-crazy idea will pop into your head, maybe it has to do with cutting or coloring your hair or something like that, and nine out of ten times you laugh it off and say "yeah right!!"...but that tenth time, instead of laughing it off, you kind of pause and think "hmmm....". That's kind of where I am right now. I don't know where I'd go and I'm not sure that's even important. It's not like I have strong ties to my job. My skills are transferable and I'm pretty resourceful. Point being, there isn't much I do here that I wouldn't be able to do somewhere else. But that door swings both ways, in which case the question is why leave? The root of that question comes down to roots, as in do I have any in this community, and that's the question I'm not sure I can answer. I used to think I did but it's dawning on me that I may have been mistaken. I think I could disappear tomorrow without creating much of an impact. I'm not saying that in an "everybody would be better off if I'd never been born but I wish someone would argue with me about it" way, like a pre-Clarence, down-and-out George Bailey. I'm saying it in a "seriously, when I think about it, nobody really relies on me for...well, anything at all" way, like a post-Saturday Night Live, down-and-out Joe Piscopo way. My honest, non-sentimental belief is that if I were to slip out of town this Friday without making a big announcement (which is exactly how I would do it, if it comes to that), it would be at least three weeks before anybody noticed.
Wow. That's kind of sobering. I realized that was the case at the same time I was reminded that my lease is set to expire. Factor in the appeal of reinvention in a new and different setting, the opportunity to eliminate some clutter and, well, wheels in my mind started to turn that continue to spin.
Point is, I don't know right now what I'm going to do, or even what I want to do. If I had to choose right this second, I'd stay here in Tampa because moving is a huge pain in the ass and the unknown is scary. I have about a week to figure it out. In the meantime, I'm a free agent with a lot of thinking to do.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Live from The Bunker

So here I am, at The Bunker, Ybor City's best independent coffee shop, drinking coffee, listening to acoustic music and blogging in an attempt to become a stereotype supernova. I'm just one scruffy patch of unfortunate facial hair and a couple of piercings from causing the ironic implosion of the entire universe.
I'm not sure how many cups of coffee I've had but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be awake through the Superbowl. I'm basically vibrating around the room right now.
The 23-Year-Old is here and my energy level is driving her a little nuts:
"HEY, WANT SOME OF THIS MUFFIN?!?"
"I don't know. What kind is it?"
"SHE CALLED IT A MORNING GLORY MUFFIN!!"
"What's that?"
"REGULAR OLD MUFFIN, SERVED THROUGH A GLORYHOLE!!"
"I'm going to pass."
"COME ON, HAVE SOME MUFFIN!!"
"You're really going to need to settle down."
HA HA! Nope!
I'm going to be lots of fun to be around tonight!

I like coffee. A lot. But I usually don't get all wired up like this, where my ears are ringing like telephones. It reminds me of the time when I was managing a movie theatre down in Sarasota. We used to host a 10 day international film festival and each day was a 12+ hour affair. By the end, I was dragging. That's when one of my employees said, "Clark, I'm going to hook you up." He then proceeded to whip up the following concoction:

  • 64 oz. 7-Eleven Styrofoam cup
  • As much cappuccino as could fit and still leave room for
  • Three scoops of Nestle Quik powder
  • Eight packets of sugar
  • Mixed and poured over ice (to make it cold, so I could drink it faster)

I chugged it down and proceeded to spend the rest of the day running around on the ceiling. At one point, the employees told me I was talking so fast they couldn't understand what I was saying; "Heyweneedtogetthelobbycleanedbeforethenextshowisoverlet'sgolet'sgolet'sgo".
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Blogging from a coffee shop, killing time before heading back downtown to check out "
Lights On Tampa". Please keep The 23-Year-Old in your prayers.

Bammer update

This is Maria Bamford, one of my favorite comedians. Check her out. This woman is a genius!

"April 7th — CD 'Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome' DROPS from Comedy Central (with all episodes of The Maria Bamford Show as an extra perk)..."

An extra perk?!? "The Maria Bamford Show" was one of the most hilarious and original series the internet has ever seen, easily worthy of a CD/DVD all by itself. I'm going to start saving my pennies for this one now.

Even more exciting, she's performing at Manatee County Community College on March 6th. Finally, a reason to go to Bradenton on purpose!

What's with all the yelling?

This is the preview trailer for a new movie coming out, "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans".

I was kind of intrigued with seeing it because for the first minute or so, it's presented like it's some sly gothic, Shakespearean treatise on race relations and class warfare. Then the screaming starts and I realize that there's going to be lot more of that than socio-political satire in the movie itself. That's why I didn't see "300":

If you were blind, you couldn't be blamed for thinking it's the same movie.

I get it. They're expressing intensity. But you know, believe it or not, it is possible to effectively convey a threat without yelling at the top of your lungs. Just ask Liam Neeson:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A change would do me good

CHANGE and HOPE were the big words during Barack Obama's presidential campaign. CHANGE for this, HOPE for that. There was going to be a massive eruption of CHANGE, spewing hot HOPE all over us. Some CHANGE was inevitable, no matter what. Bush couldn't be not elected again so there was going to be a new president, no matter what. But it was Obama who made HOPE and CHANGE the two keywords of a battle cry that was taken up by the masses. Well, I'm a mass so now that all the inaugurations are over, and president Obama is fully inauged, I'd like to take a second and see if the CHANGES that have occurred since he took office are what I HOPED for:

  • Average temperature in the Tampa Bay area: about 45 degrees. Personally, I'm thrilled. Others, not so much.
  • No reruns of The Daily Show, the Colbert Report or Late Night With Conan O'Brien yet!
  • Standard bearer of excellence in the National Football Conference: yep, still the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Tacos were .20 each (limit: 10) at Taco Bell...for one day.
  • The stock market is either dramatically up or down or pretty much the same. I have no idea. I don't follow the stock market.
  • The last time I got gas it was $1.57 a gallon. yesterday, it was $1.83. I think that may have happened before Obama was sworn in and I just haven't driven much lately. But come on, man!
  • Superbowl-related hate crimes are at an all time high.
  • Historical dramas about our greatest living Americans are not being given proper consideration for major awards.
  • Carjackers don't understand how babies work.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning have not lost a single game. In fact, they haven't even trailed in a game. Yet they are not currently eligible for the NHL playoffs. This is the kind of obvious injustice I expect Mr. Obama to eradicate.
  • I was promised more cowbell and have yet to see evidence of increased cowbell activity. Sure, the amount of cowbell right now is adequate, but more would certainly be better and a promise is a promise.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Time to get Lost!

I think if I'd grown up back in the days when movie theatres showed serials like "Flash Gordon" and "Tarzan", I would have been one of those kids that was at the theatre every Saturday. Action, adventure, romance, perilous situations always concluding with a cliffhanger, guaranteed to leave you unfulfilled and barely able to wait for next week's episode, just to go through it all again. Frustrating and manipulative? You bet! And I love it! Luckily for me, serial storytelling is alive and well on television. FX's under appreciated "The Shield" just concluded it's seven year run about a month ago, "24" is five hours into Jack Bauer's latest bad day and tonight, "Lost" returns to ABC.
If you've never watched the show but have always been intrigued and are considering getting involved with it this year, I have one word for you: don't. There are so many plot lines and characters and off-the-wall elements that to try to jump into it and make sense out of what's happening after it's been on for five years already is impossible. Sort of like trying to figure out what's going on in "Twin Peaks" at all.
If you are already a fan of the show, here are my bold predictions for what we'll see this year (bold, in that I guarantee they will all come true, unless the characters are killed, which could happen, in which case these circumstances can't occur because the progenitor(s) will be dead...unless they really aren't dead at all, which allows for the possibility that these things could all still happen. Unless they don't. Or not.):
  • SAWYER will effectively utilize the full range of all both of his facial expressions; The Smug Smirk and The Pissed-Off Sneer

  • LOCKE will continue to give me the creeps, not in small part because he so closely resembles Uncle Herb (not an actual relative) from my childhood, and the less said about that the better.
  • BEN will say something like "I know I've never given you any...ANY...reason to ever believe a single word that comes out of my mouth, because I'm always lying and every time you demonstrate the judgment capabilities of an infant by believing me, someone suffers greatly because of it, but I swear when I tell you that taking these scissors and running just as fast as you can through the thick underbrush of the jungle at night is the only possible way to save (insert some character's name here), I'm really really REALLY telling the truth this time".
  • Someone will do it with about two seconds worth of hesitation and they will suffer greatly because of it. (This will probably happen more than a few times, actually)
  • KATE will come ever closer to realizing just how deeply she cares about JACK and will continue to sleep with SAWYER as a means of coping with that.
  • Something that hasn't been a factor since season 1 or 2 will suddenly become extremely relevant for a couple of episodes.
  • New, interesting characters will be introduced.
  • Many of them will die.
  • SAYID will negate the fact that he is actually the one true badass in the whole affair by making really stupid emotional decisions.
  • We will continue to learn more sordid, twisted details about these characters and their sad, miserable lives while the island continues to look so lush and luxurious that you will have no choice but to wonder aloud "and why exactly do/did they want to leave?"
  • In spite of constantly calling everybody "dude" all the time, HURLEY will continue to be the least obnoxious character on the show.
  • I will love each and every mind-bendingly maddening minute of it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

He said, "The President is near"!

Just a couple (because, honestly, what hasn't been said at this point?) observations from today's presidential inauguration ceremony.


Either the security detail assigned to protect the president is alarmingly lax or Aretha Franklin was granted special permission to wear an F-14 on her head...

AMAZING BUT TRUE! Did you know that the Bush family will have been moved completely out of the White House and the Obamas completely moved in within one five hour period?

ALSO TRUE, BUT LESS AMAZING THAN SAD: Did you know that it would probably take me longer than five hours to organize and pack items for a weekend getaway?

Admit it; you're really more than a little bit disappointed that Bush didn't do just one more stupid, inappropriate thing at the ceremony today. It's okay. I am too. It's like when everybody expected the wild and crazy guys in high school to moon the crowd at graduation and instead they just marched up there, got their diplomas, smiled and waved to their grandparents and then sat down just like everybody else did. It's all over now though. We can let the healing begin.
There are over 21 million unemployed people in America right now. Nice to see that they could all show up in Washington today.
It was miserably cold in Washington today with temperatures below freezing. But there's standing around with a bunch of strangers in uncomfortably frigid conditions and then there's...

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Complete With Illustrated Manual"

(From AnythingArts.com) - "Complete With Illustrated Manual," a performance piece in the format of an infomercial will take place February 17, 2009 at 8:00pm at the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery.
This work follows Valerie Hartman, a woman who is determined to maintain control of her life, as she attempts to share her new product, "The System". With a dry sense of humor, this performance addresses resisting change and grasping for control. Viewers are invited to participate as the live studio audience for this infomercial. Following the performance, video footage of the event will be on view at the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery, February 18 - 20, 2009 from 11am to 3pm each day.
Collaborating artists include Collaborating artists include Toni Billick, YvelIsse Cedrez, Ami Sallee Corley, Robb Fladry, Robbie Gomez, Phil McCollam, Ellen Mueller, and Nicole Smith. Further information available at http://www.ellenmueller.com/complete/

PS: I'm in it too.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What you say?

The internet is chock full of amusing web sites. Games, videos, comedy, art, puzzles, chat rooms, music, pictures of naked folks. A lot of people work really hard to provide a wide variety of entertainment. There are also a lot of other web sites that are designed to be used for work, as tools to help us accomplish important tasks. Some of those are lots of fun too. In the spirit of kids who would rather play with a cardboard box than the toys that come in it, I'd like to present one of my favorites, FreeTranslation.Com
It's a site that lets you translate the text you type in English into 11 different languages, including Japanese and Russian, with the touch of a button. It also translates eight foreign languages into English. That's where the fun comes in. What you do is: "Type a simple phrase, translate it back and forth and see how silly it becomes"
Translate it into, oh, let's try Spanish: "Escriba a máquina una frase sencilla, lo traduce apoya y adelante y ve cuán tonto llega a ser"
Then translate that back into English: "Type a simple phrase, translates supports him and ahead and sees how fool comes he be."
Because of the nuances and syntax of different languages, it's virtually impossible to translate things literally. But because this is a computer program without the ability to interpret meaning, that's exactly what it does.
  • So throw something ridiculous in there, and/or some colloquialisms and see what happens: "There's more than one way to skin a cat" Go Italian: "C'è più di a senso unico per sbucciare un gatto" and you get: "There it is more of to sole sense to peel a cat".
  • Try getting more languages involved: "Never challenge a drag queen to a knife fight" is "Never a call a lasting queen to struggle of a knife" after you run it back and forth through Russian.
  • It's a great way to come up with Twitter and Facebook status updates that are sure to make your friends take notice: The mundane and pedestrian "I'm picking up my dry cleaning and going to a movie" becomes the cryptic and exciting "I take my on that chemical and state to a film cleans" when you Dutch it up.
  • Use your favorite Monty Python quotes and you will spew your favorite beverages through your favorite nostrils: "I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries" is "Person I who the you head wipes the food valley of an empty animal do not wish you and that do not talk any longer. I do the fart in your general direction. Your mother is a hamster and the smell of elderberries did your father" when it turns Japanese and back to English again.
Hours of fun and more politically correct than going out to the airport and making fun of foreigners trying to order a Cinnabon!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vinny 4Ever

As long as Vincent Lecavalier is from Quebec and as long as the team currently known as the Tampa Bay Lightning plays in Florida, we are going to have to deal with rumors that Vinny is on the verge of being traded to the Montreal Canadiens. This has been a simmering pot since the day he was drafted number one over all by the Lightning back in 1998. Sometimes that pot gets a little hotter. Lately, it's threatened to bubble over.
Management, specifically general manager Brian Lawton (sort of) says there's nothing to the rumors. "To suggest we're engaging in conversations to trade him or we're shopping him to all teams in the National Hockey League is completely inaccurate." Unfortunately, management has yet to do very much to gain trust from the fans. Between the Dan Boyle trade and the Barry Melrose experiment (or whatever the hell that was) and various other missteps, there's simply not enough credibility established to grant them the benefit of a doubt at this point. As a result, fans are more nervous about this flare-up than they have been in the past.

Let me just say here and now that if Koules and every single member of his management team do not resoundingly reject any and all trade offers they may get for Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa's days as home to an NHL franchise will be numbered. The future won't be in jeopardy, it will be over.

People like to cite that even Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all time, was traded by the Edmonton Oilers and that's true. But over 20 years later, Edmonton is still recovering from it. A little closer to home, we have the NBA's Orlando Magic, a franchise that still hasn't regained the luster it lost when Shaquille O'Neal left in 1996. While the Oilers and Magic still exist today, and have even enjoyed measures of recent success, they're identified as teams that great players left behind. I don't believe the Lightning would even survive to that degree.
Think about what would have happened if the Buccaneers had shipped out Derrick Brooks or Mike Alstott at the age of 28. Now take into consideration that hockey isn't remotely as entrenched in the hearts and minds of Tampa Bay fans as NFL football is. Lecavalier is the one Lightning player that casual fans can name. He is quite literally the face of the franchise (an overused phrase if there ever was one, but extremely apt in this case). Most Lightning fans have already picked out the spot in the rafters where the banner will be hung when he retires and nobody ever wears #4 again. He won the Stanley Cup here. He holds virtually every significant franchise record. He made a $3-million dollar commitment to a pediatric cancer center at All Children's Hospital. Make no mistake; trading Vinny would be an atomic bomb of negative public relations. If you doubt this as true, thinking I'm overstating the situation, please bear in mind that there are people (dumb people, sure...but people) out there who are still bent out of shape that Nikolai Khabibulin isn't on the team anymore...and it was his idea to leave (and he hasn't done squat since). Think about season ticket renewals. Think about sponsorship agreements. Think about the overall value of the entire franchise dropping right off the edge of the table with a few strokes of a pen. Brian Lawton, Owen Koules, Len Barrie...just think about it. Please.
(For more..and better...insight into this situation, please visit Boltsmag)

UPDATE: The further misadventures of Li'l Hitler

(From the Associated Press) - Holland Township, New Jersey - Three New Jersey siblings whose names have Nazi connotations have been placed in state custody, police said. The children, ranging in age from 3 to under 1, were removed from their home Friday. They drew attention last month when a supermarket bakery refused to put the name of the oldest - Adolf Hitler Campbell - on a birthday cake.

State workers didn't tell police why the children were taken, police Sgt. John Harris said.

A spokeswoman for the state Division of Youth and Family Services, Kate Bernyk, said she would not comment on any specific case, but she said the state would not remove children from a home simply because of their names.

A family court hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Court officials said the matter is sealed and they could not release information about what might be decided at the hearing.

The other two children, both girls, are JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell.

The father, Heath Campbell, had no comment when contacted by The Express-Times of Easton, Pa. The Associated Press could not locate a working telephone number for the family Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Time wounds all heals"

So, how long do you think it will be before people start making jokes about 9-11 (or is it 9/11 or just plain 911? I know it isn't 9-1-1; I said that once a long time ago and the reaction wasn't pleasant)? Personally, I think it will be another three years or so. It's going to take at least that long because that tenth anniversary in 2011 is going to be a spectacle of somber reflection on a scale the likes of which we've never seen before. After that, the nation will probably be ready for an anti-solemnity backlash, somebody will crack wise, somebody else will laugh out loud in spite of their better judgment, then pass it along in an email and the lid will be off the jar forever. Don't get me wrong; I'm not calling for it, I don't think it's a good idea and I don't think it'll ever be completely socially acceptable. I'm just wondering when it will happen, because it's gonna happen. History tells us that there is no culturally tragic milestone that can't be mined for laughs...eventually. Consider the examples set previously by:

The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln


The Titanic

The Hindenburg

Prisoners of war held in a Nazi concentration camp

The assassination of another president

And the space shuttle Challenger.

Don't even try to tell me that day will never come because this was different and how this affected us all on a different level and never before have we and never again shall we and blah blah blah blah blah blah. I don't buy that for a second. We've already made movies about it. And we're already minimizing the event and some of it's key participants by (allegedly) using their names as insults in altercations with (allegedly) surly cab drivers. It's really only a relative blink of an eye before we're forwarding "oh-these-are-just-awful" jokes to each other. The next thing you know, our adult grandkids will be renting inflatable "Tumbly Towers" for their kids to play on at birthday parties while the grown-ups are inside drinking coffee and commiserating about the tragedy of all the lives lost when the renegade androids blew up the undersea pneumatic passenger tube between Tokyo and San Francisco. Just a matter of time, folks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A return to acting!

I just finished shooting a small part in a short film that will be used in a performance art installation being presented by Ellen Mueller. I can't tell you much about it...because I don't know very much about it...other than I play a time travelling bear impersonator.
In doing research for this particular role, I did not need to live in the woods and eat berries and honey. I'm not playing a real bear, after all. Merely a bear impersonator, one who time travels. In order to get a feel for that, I set all of the clocks in my apartment to different times. This allowed me to leave my bedroom on Sunday morning and arrive in the kitchen later that evening. Oddly enough, the future wasn't all that different, except it was light out. I think that will be difficult to adjust to. Presumably, wearing sunglasses at night will be standard procedure for everyone in the future, not just paparazzi-dodging celebrities. I had been hungry for a bowl of cereal when I started my journey and was surprised that I still wanted it when I arrived at my destination. I thought I would have still been full from whatever I'd had for dinner but I wasn't. Maybe I didn't eat dinner that night. Or maybe I just had cereal, which is what I did later that night. Only then, it was dark out. Maybe my time travel altered something in the universe that had prevented the sun from setting, in which case you're welcome. I don't know what E = MC2 has to do with any of this though. I think Einstein was full of crap.


The installation will be performed live on Tuesday, February 17th at the University of South Florida's Oliver Gallery/Grad Fine Art Studios and then will be released into the wilds of YouTube afterwards. I'll link to it here when that happens.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Underneath it all

Now that we're smack-dab in the middle of the NFL playoffs, leading up to the Superbowl extravaganza in just a couple of weeks, sports and sports products are really prominent. One of the most ubiquitous of those products is underwear made by a company called Under Armour. Well, the company, and most of it's customers will tell you it's more than just mere underwear; it's 'performance apparel'. I'm sorry, it's shorts and tee shirts designed to be worn beneath other clothing. By definition, that makes it underwear. Under is the first word in the company's name. I don't know about the Armour part but there must be something in it that makes you uncomfortable because this is what people who wear Under Armour look like...They don't look happy do they? They look really, really unhappy. Downright angry, in fact. I feel that way enough as it is already. I really don't need my underwear contributing to my foul moods. If anything, I want my underwear to help me feel good. Calm me down, chill me out, make me cozy and comfy. That's why I much prefer a standard, low-performance underwear. Like Hanes, for instance.


That's Hanes spokesman Michael Jordan. Look at him. He's composed, confident, beatific, perhaps even a tad bemused. That's how I want my underwear to make me feel.
Now this is some unknown model from an Under Armour commercial:
He seems to be saying, "RAWWWRRR!! I WILL EAT YOUR BABIES, BITCH!!!" or some other unpleasant platitudes. Maybe he's cursing The Fantastic Four for foiling his plans for world domination yet again...


At least Dr. Doom wears actual armour.
But maybe that's the whole point. Maybe Under Armour makes you aggressive and gives you that extra edge you need to vanquish your opponent in athletic competition. The only problem with that is while I have no idea who any of the Under Armour guys pictured here are, the guy wearing Hanes is Olympic gold medal winner, six time NBA champion, five time NBA most valuable player and 14 time NBA all-star Michael friggin' Jordan.