Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You'll Read This in the Morning-Five Reasons Why San Francisco is Better Than Jersey

San Francisco is better than New Jersey, no question. And not by only a little but by a lot. More than by five reasons, even, but I'm tired, my eyes are bloodshot (I still don't know why exactly) and it's late here and even later there, so here are five reasons why San Fran is better than Jersey. All of them true. Damn true, actually, damn true.

5. People are just nicer here

I've lived in Jersey for so long, that I've almost forgotten the the entire human race isn't full of sleazebags and Beiber wannabees. The people in San Fran all ride bikes and they're all nice, saying things like "Sorry," when they have to pass you and "Thank you," when you compliment them on their tye dye shirts or their exotic ponytails. Even the bums are nice. Seriously! Good people here, good people.

4. The buses all have schedules that you can depend on

You know how in New York and New Jersey the public transportation comes at "Any damn time we feel like getting there" o'clock? Well, here in San Fran, you know EXACTLY when the buses are coming because there's actually a timer at all of the bus stops that tell you when the buses are coming, and they're dependable and accurate, too. I'm hoping that the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse comes up on it soon so that I know exactly when I should be buying a surplus of beans for my bomb shelter. I need to get prepared, you know.

3. The weather here is be-you-ti-ful

San Fran is just sheer gorgeous. Everywhere you look, you're just like, "Gee, the weather here is nice, by gum." But in Jersey, all I've ever said about the weather is, "Snow can go to hell," or, "This is nice, but we deserve it, cause the snow here is brutal, and snow can go to hell." But here, I'm told the weather is great all year round, so suck on that, Jersey. Suck on that.

2. Landkmarks galore

Fisherman's Wharf, Castro St, the Golden gate Bridge, the opening shot of Full House, the set location for Big Trouble in Little China-Seriously, if you're a touristy kind of tourist like myself, all camera ready and annoying, then you will ADORE San Fran. There's shit all over the place and then some. I have blisters on me toeses (Rhymes with roses. Or Moses), I've been walking so much. Definitely a place to remember. Definitely.

1. The hills are like roller coasters

Possibly my favorite part about San Fran is that the whole city is like one enormous roller coaster, as cars and buses go up and down hills with such ease that you think you're on El Toro with some of these drops. I even put my hands up when I was on the bus, but put them back down quickly, because people were looking at me. Sorry, folks.

More on San Fran soon, and pictures! The internet at the hotel is too slow for that. More to come.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ten Movies That I've Seen That You Likely Haven't (But Should)

I’ve seen a lot of movies in my lifetime. Like, over two thousand, a lot.

Now, most of these movies, I’m sure you’ve also seen, like the Batman flicks, Jurassic Park, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as I LOVE blockbusters. I’m not a film snob. That said, I definitely AM a cinephile, so I’ve likely seen a few flicks that you let slip through the cracks. And these are just ten of those flicks.

Now, keep in mind, I’m sure that there are some of you out there who might have seen ALL of the movies on this list because they’re not obscure or anything like that, so don’t be surprised if there’s nothing on here that you haven’t already seen. This list isn’t for you. This list is for those who are casual movie goers who don’t have the time to scan through Netflix or read up on the classics. So, without further ado, the top ten films that I recommend you see that you likely haven’t already. Why? Because I’m cool like that.

(Image taken from: moviegoods.com)

10. The Maltese Falcon

Yes, you’ve heard of The Maltese Falcon and have likely even said that you’ve seen it multiple times. But let’s be honest. Have you really? Or are you just saying that to sound impressive? Well, if you haven’t seen it (And I’m talking about the famous, 1941 film with Humphrey Bogart, and not the 1931 film with Ricardo Cortez) then you should, as it’s definitely worth your time. It’s a great introduction to film noir since it pretty much started the trend, and also a great introduction to the hard-boiled writing of Dashiell Hammett. In the movie, Sam Spade (Bogey, baby, Bogey) has to uncover a mystery involving a statuette that a few others are looking to pluck because of its high value. Along the way, though, all the tropes of the detective genre reveal themselves—the dark shadows, the hot dame, the questionable foreigner—and you almost think that it’s a parody of the genre itself until you remember that this movie started it all in the first place. It’s a great piece of work by director, John Huston, who also did the masterful, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which you should also see. Top notch stuff. Really, it is.

(Image taken from: en.wikipedia.org)

9. The Princess and the Warrior

Run Lola Run is a great movie, but you’ve already seen that, I’m sure. But have you seen the semi-related follow-up, The Princess and the Warrior, which also features Franka Potente, running from fate for a second time? This film is a much quieter movie than RLR, but also, much more intimate. Franka plays a nurse in a psychiatric hospital who has this big accident that flips her whole life upside down. A lot of strange events follow, and it’s all told in a fairly more structured format than RLR, which I appreciate, because parts of that movie were a bit TOO frenetic for me. A great flick that you should definitely check out if you enjoyed RLR at least a little.

(Image taken from: juliesjournal.com)

8. Bug

Directed by William Friedkin, the guy who made The French Connection and The Exorcist, you would think that this movie would have been bigger, but it wasn’t, unfortunately. It stars Ashley Judd and the new General Zod himself, Michael Shannon, and it’s about a crazy war veteran (Shannon) who shacks up with a woman (Judd) in a motel, and starts seeing bugs crawling all over him. The woman at first thinks that he’s nuts, but then, she starts seeing the bugs all over herself as well, and then, well, things get crazy. There are pretty much only three characters in the entire film, with Harry Connick Jr. being the third, and it’s definitely not for everyone. The two friends that I forced to see it with me couldn’t stand it and chalked it up again to my “terrible taste in movies.” Hmm…I still don’t get why everybody thinks my taste in movies sucks. Guess we can’t all like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which is what they wanted to see instead at the time.

(Image taken from: magicspaceship.com)

7. Harold and Maude

Featuring quite possibly my favorite soundtrack of all time, which consists of all Cat Stevens songs, Harold and Maude is a really weird flick that initially flopped at the box office but has since grown quite big on VHS and DVD. It’s not Troll 2 big, but it’s big, so I’m surprised that you haven’t seen it already. It stars Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon, and the plot centers around how Harold (Cort) is a guy obsessed with death and Maude (Gordon) is a woman who cherishes life. The two of them bump uglies and all is good with the world. Oh, and did I mention that Harold has probably just crossed puberty and Maude is as old as dirt? Yeah, it’s one of THOSE love stories, and by those, I mean the kind that you don’t see often and haven’t seen since. Harold and Maude is a classic. Please, just see this film.

(Image taken from: bloodsprayer.com)

6. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Troma, if you haven’t seen any of their masterpieces before, make shit and they’re proud of it. But the thing is, their shit is usually pretty intelligent, albeit, in a gross, “that’s-just-wrong” kind of way. Case in point is Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, which is probably the best film Troma co-creator, Lloyd Kaufman, has ever made. In it, it takes a look at the fast food industry and how America totally buys into listening to whoever has the biggest mouth. And it’s also a musical that features a singing Sloppy Joe named “Sloppy Jose,” after one of the Spanish employees who fell into the meat grinder and is served up like any other sandwich. Man, I love this film.

(Image taken from: joannewalpole.blogspot.com)

5. The Warrior’s Way

Generic title aside, The Warrior’s Way is awesome. It features samurais, cowboys, circus clowns, revenge, blood, guts, and the baby story from the movie, Willow. Out of all the films that I’ve mentioned on this list, I’m almost CERTAIN that you’ve never seen this one, and that sucks, because this movie is the cat’s pajamas. See it if you like blades clashing with bullets, and samurais warring against gunslingers. And yes, it’s as rad as it sounds.

(Image taken from: movieposter.com)

4. In the Bedroom

This Oscar nominated picture got me to fall in love with the acting of Tom Wilkinson. In it, two parents, (Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek), lose their son when he’s murdered by his girlfriend’s ex-husband. The catch? The ex-husband gets off with murder and the husband and wife have to deal with the loss of their son until finally, there’s a breaking point, and the family has to take matters into their own hands since the legal system won’t do anything about it. It’s a really hard to watch film, but it’s brilliant. Drama at its best.

(Image taken from: illmoviez.com)

3. Teeth

Vagina dentata. That’s pretty much latin for teeth in the va-jay-jay. Part horror film, and part comedy, Teeth is a really interesting film about an innocent teenage girl who gets raped and realizes that she has teeth in-between her legs to ward off creeps and scuzbags. One of these said scuzbags is her step-brother, who only has sex with girls in the butt after an incident that he had with his step-sister when they were kids and he stuck his finger in a place that he shouldn’t have. I’ve seen this movie multiple times and I love it more and more with each viewing. It’s a great concept that’s exploited for all its worth.

(Image taken from: jebutin.wordpress.com)

2. Paths of Glory

This is Stanley Kubrick’s best movie, and one of his oldest. It stars Kirk Douglas, who can’t act and screams too much, but the story is solid. It’s about men who get court martialed during WW1 when they refuse to go into a battle that’s a suicide mission, and they’re to be executed by the military for their cowardice. But Kirk Douglas fights for them, and man, does he fight. It doesn’t have the wondrous effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the violent scenes of Clockwork Orange, but it’s definitely Kubrick’s most complete film, and the pacing for it is great. A masterful work by a masterful director. See this picture now.

(Image taken from: pathfinderpictures.com)


You’ve no doubt seen Ichi the Killer and Audition. Everybody’s seen those. But Gozu is better than both of those films, and it’s the best picture that I’ve ever seen from Takashi Miike, bar none. Shout out to my college buddy, Jesus, for introducing it to me. Telling you a detailed plot synopsis of the film is nearly impossible, because it’s really one big fever dream. But I will tell you this, it has squirting mammaries, a guy in a giant cow’s head, the director making an appearance and constantly saying that it was hotter yesterday than it is today, and a Yakuza gang lord who gets a ladel stuck up his ass. Oh, and a full-grown man who is born from a woman who may or may not be a sexually repressed representation of the protagonist’s homoerotic lusting. So yeah, it’s awesome. It’s a David Lynch film without David Lynch and it was made in Japan. How could you possibly go wrong? Well, lots of ways, but Gozu doesn’t, so see this film. It’s a requirement.

Now, it’s your turn. Write some movies that you’ve seen in the comment box below that you think I may not have seen. I’d love to hear them. I’m always looking for some new movies to watch. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eating out in Chester: Thai Kitchen

(Image taken from: thewanderingpalate.com)

If Thai Kitchen in Chester were “just” a Thai place, then that in itself would actually be a pretty good reason to come here as you don’t exactly see Chester’s streets lined with good Thai restaurants.

“There's no Thai restaurant in this location — Mendham, Chester, Long Valley," says manager, Oscar Chia, "There's only one: us."

But here’s the beauty of it. Thai Kitchen isn’t just a Thai restaurant, but actually a sort of marriage between Thai food and French cuisine. It’s an experience that has to be tasted to be believed.

“We’re fusion,” Chia says, “We’re [actually] getting more customers now.”
It wasn’t always this way, though, as the location isn’t exactly out in the open .
Nestled into the Streets of Chester mall on Route 206, Thai Kitchen might be passed over if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

“There's a lot of people around here, but they don't realize there's a restaurant here in this mall," Chia says.

And that’s a shame, because the menu here is to die for.

On their lunch menu, they have such items as the classic Thai dish, Pad Thai, which is stir fried rice noodle, crushed peanut, scallions, tofu, bean sprouts and egg, as well as a choice chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or squid. Or how about their Gang Kiew Wan, which has green curry with coconut milk, Thai basil, eggplants, bamboo shoots, onions and bell peppers. Quite different from burgers, pizza, or Chinese food, wouldn’t you say?

They also have exquisite dinners, such as wild boar, which is sautéed boar with onions, bell peppers, green pepper corn, lime leave, and Thai basil in spicy sauce. Their Sear Tuna is also quite popular. It’s Pan seared tuna served with yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant with creamy green curry. It’s a favorite here.

To add to their already diverse menu, they also have specials.

“We do have a dish called Volcano fish,” Chia says, “It is a white meat fish with fresh cabbage in special curry sauce. It’s very good. A lot of people love it.”
The biggest challenge with the restaurant though was to integrate French and Thai food in a way that melds many of the cultures' greatest features together.

"Many people order the lamb chops or the tuna,” Chia says. "But the tuna is a little different. It comes with a creamy green curry sauce, so it's a mix of French and Thai."

Sounds good to me. So what are you waiting for? Thai Kitchen offers an experience like nothing else in the area.


WHERE: 320 State Route 206 South
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-879-9800
HOURS: Lunch hours: Mon-Sat 11:AM-3:00PM, Dinner hours, Mon-Thu 5:00PM-9:30PM, Fri & Sat: 5:00PM-10:30PM, Sun 4:00PM-9:30PM
CUISINE: Thai Cuisine
PAYMENT: Cash, checks, and all major credit cards except Discover
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: Though it might be hard to find, this eclectic restaurant has a wide assortment to eat once you get here
ATMOSPHERE: A beautiful restaurant with sculptures of elephants all around the place
PARKING: In the lot
Website: http://www.thaikitchenchester.com/

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

(Image taken from: Cinemablend.com)

Somehow, I don’t know how, I’ve now seen all three of the Narnia movies without any real enthusiasm to see any of them. And while this third film in the series may not be as surprisingly entertaining as the first movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it’s definitely better than the atrocious sequel, Prince Caspian. That’s not saying much, and I don’t recommend this movie to anybody over 10.

The Movie: Two stars out of five

All throughout watching The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I couldn’t stop thinking, "Man, this movie should be awesome." There’s a minotaur on a boat (I’m on a boat!), a dragon, and a nasty-looking sea serpent, but even with all those, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader gets an emphatic thumbs down from me. And the problem with it is the same problem that I’ve had with all of the Narnia pictures; namely, that the people making them refuse to paint them darker and make them more adult. Yes, I know, this isn’t The Lord of the Rings, but it doesn’t have to be that dark. Still, couldn’t it be just a shade darker? I’m not even asking for that much here, people, just tone down the colors a little bit, please. Thank you.

Essentially, though, what’s always bothered me about this series is the fact that it’s stuck to its colorful aesthetic and preachy messages of faith for far too long. And the message of Christianity seriously needs to stop being crammed down my throat. I mean, it’s like they’re not even trying to be covert anymore about this being a religious picture. In one scene, a mouse named Reepicheep tells the youngest member of the Pevensie clan, Lucy, that “We have nothing if not belief.” I mean, jeez! My fiancé and I rolled our eyes at this moment and let out a collective groan. And we’re both church-goin’ Christians! And if you make the Christians groan, that’s pretty bad.

But Christianity and the Narnia films go hand in hand, so that’s not the problem. Just because the films are Christian based, that doesn’t mean they have to be so safe and PG. I never really feared if any of the characters were going to die or not, because if they did, they’d probably just end up in the lion god (Or just plain God, really) Aslan’s Heavenly kingdom. It detracts from the stakes of the film, and it has since the very first picture. Why couldn’t it all just be a bit more dangerous and uncertain like real life is? That, I think, would actually make for a pretty cool Narnia movie -- a film that wasn’t so sure of itself, and which might even question Aslan’s true nature. I’m sure fans of the book would cry out, “But that’s not what the book is like! But that’s not what the book is like!” Well, tough noogies. This isn’t a book, it’s a movie, and sometimes books don’t translate well onto the big screen. I think that’s what happened with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Rant aside, wouldn’t you rather me just tell you what The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is about? Well, I can tell you this: it’s definitely the strangest of the Narnia trilogy. The two youngest Pevensies, Lucy and Edmund, as well as their annoying cousin, Eustace, get sucked into a painting that has the scene of a very Narnian-esque ship floating in it. In one of the more stunning moments of the picture, the painting comes to life and splashes out of its frame until the entire room is filled with the beautiful water. When the three children swim up to the surface, a giant ship is barreling toward them, and you’re now in Narnia. It’s a great moment that leads one to believe that this is going to be a quest with high adventure and thrilling stakes. But then we get Reepicheep and Prince Caspian from the last movie. I’m sure both of these characters are well loved by those who read the novels, but I just find them boring and corny. I was already shaking my head and crossing my arms at this point. They had already lost my attention.

In the movie, the characters have to travel to different islands to acquire these special swords, which is cool in theory. But it’s bogged down by this green mist that can turn people into dragons for some reason and can also make people conjure up sea serpents if they simply imagine them. I’m sure there’s a better explanation for the story, but that’s pretty much how it’s presented in the movie. The main problem, though, is that even with a flimsy story like that, I’m still okay with it as long as it’s exciting. Unfortunately, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is boring as all hell. I fell asleep twice while watching it, and when I woke up, I asked my fiancé what I missed, and she told me, “Nothing worth rewinding.” Well, I did rewind it, and she was right. It was all high seas and adventuring, only without the adventuring. That's really disappointing, because the movie had the potential to be exciting. Again, if you’re 10 (and if you are, you really shouldn’t be on this site), you might like the magic of it all. But if you’ve ever seen Batman drop a man from a height that wouldn’t kill him, but might make it so that he can never walk again, then this film will bore you to tears with its play-it-safeness. Save your money for The Hobbit, whenever the hell that’s coming out.

The Disc: Five stars out of five

Okay, so I totally just went to town on the movie, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate this very special package that comes with a Blu-Ray disc, a DVD, and a digital copy. The movie itself on Blu-Ray, even though it’s too damn bright for its own good, does look quite nice on a big TV screen. The picture quality is stunning. You also get a butt-load of special features. I mean, the packaging alone is reason enough to pick it up.

Each special feature is presented on a different island from the film. On every island, there’s a narrated description of its attributes, as well as descriptions of the characters from the film and other such features that really liven up the disc. One of these features is “The Untold Adventures of the Dawn Treader Animated Short," which beautifully captures the adventures that Caspian went on in-between the last picture and this one. I wonder if these scenes were in one of the books. There’s also “King Caspian’s Guide to The Dawn Treader: Legends and Lore of the Great Ship,” which goes over the different parts of the ship. I’m sure it’s fascinating if you really love the movie. There are four deleted scenes, which actually DO make the film a bit darker, so I wish they had of kept them in. It definitely would have made it more thrilling. There are three behind-the-scenes featurettes, which talk about key moments of the movie, and a game where you have to find swords behind shields. Finally, there’s an audio commentary from the director and a producer. It’s all really great stuff. There’s also a picture book with collectible postcards in the actual box itself. Honestly, even though I don’t endorse you actually watching the movie, I’m all for you buying this disc. It really is quite something.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Klone Wars: The 10 Most Blatant "Mortal Kombat" Rip-Offs Ever

Find the article at its original site here at Complex-mag.com: http://www.complex.com/video-games/2011/04/10-mortal-kombat-rip-offs

(Image taken from: Complex-mag.com)

Mortal Kombat, while now on life-support (Prove me wrong, Ed Boon, prove me wrong), was once a dominant force in the arcades and on the home consoles. Could there be any more proof of this than the commercial for Mortal Monday?

But when the arcades died down, so did much of Mortal Kombat’s steam, with a lot of the later 3D releases pretty much all looking the same for some reason, even when they had Sub-Zero beating the shit out of Batman.

That said, with an all new Mortal Kombat coming out this Tuesday that’s looking to bring the franchise back to its gory days, the series that almost single-handedly brought upon the creation of the ESRB is looking to become legendary again.
But this article ain’t about that.

This article is about some of the klones that Mortal Kombat spawned along the way. Some of them were decent, but most of them deserved to be burned by Scorpion’s flaming skull fatality. Toasty!


Remember that gag game on The Simpsons called Bone Storm that was meant to be a parody of Mortal Kombat? Well BloodStorm pretty much was that game. A semi follow-up to Time Killers, which actually came out the same year as the first MK, BloodStorm was a herky-jerky mess that actually did have a few cool features in it, most notably, the ability to acquire certain techniques from your opponent once you defeated them. That said, the game’s characters were less than memorable. Anybody remember Hellhound? How about Mirage? Anybody? Didn’t think so.

Primal Rage

While not a direct rip-off of Mortal Kombat—um, hello, monkeys that fart poison gas here, people—the element of gore that was taken straight from MK was definitely there. The advent of the fatality was one of the key features that MK brought to the arcades, and Primal Rage had some of the most brutal seen at the time. And they were performed by dinosaurs and monkeys, no less. The only problem? You had to pretty much hold down every single button on the cabinet and do some crazy joystick motions just to pull them off. In other words, the controls sucked ass. T-Rex ass. Is there any other ass that sucks more?

Street Fighter: The Movie

Yeah, even Capcom was on MK’s jock at one point. This game, which used real live actors for the roles of the characters instead of animated sprites, definitely doesn’t look like any of its predecessors or successors, and that’s a good thing. How many other games do we need with the Muscles from Brussels himself, playing all-American Guile or Australian pop sensation, Kylie Minogue, playing Cammy? I’m going to go with none. Besides looking like a failed MK side project, the game doesn’t even play well, with the controls coming off as stiff rather than fluid. Capcom made a rule of banning any following SF titles to have motion capture characters in them, and thank God for that. The only thing missing from this game was Ryu ripping Sagat apart with a shoryuken. Actually, that would have been pretty awesome. How come they didn’t include that in the game?

Way of the Warrior

Way of the Warrior, like most of the MK clones on this list, was laughably bad. But a part of me thinks that it was at least intentional for this title. Or at least, I hope it was, because any game that started off with a talking skull with a mouth that wouldn’t stop chattering and said, “Find the way, noble challenger. Find the way of the waaaarrior,” had to have been putting us on. Once the actual game started up though, the laughter stopped as the gameplay was beyond atrocious, even back then, and even for a 3DO title. Well, at least the soundtrack by White Zombie was killer. Not $700 killer, mind you, but killer nonetheless. It almost made up for the shoddy motion captured samurais and Bruce Lee rip-offs imitating Marky Mark with their victory poses. Almost, I said.

Eternal Champions

Eternal Champions, at the time at least, was actually one of the more successful MK clones, and probably because it picked only the best elements of the franchise to ape. Stage fatalities? Check. A rich mythology? Check? Pretty memorable characters? Check again. The only thing it was missing was blood by the boat loads, but this interesting title made up for it by adding two parts Street Fighter along with its Mortal Kombat, making it a strange hybrid between the two series. The only thing that sucked was the difficulty. To this day I still haven’t beaten it and I probably never will.

Kasumi Ninja

Many of the games on this list that imitated MK added their own little flair to them to separate them from the house that Goro built. But not Kasumi Ninja, one of the worst Jaguar games ever released in a sea of awful Jaguar games. How much of a clone was it? So much so, that it probably should have just been called “Here’s yer Mortal Kombat rip-off right here, mister!” The moves are pretty much identical, with uppercuts and sweep kicks, and the gore is all there, too, though, about ten times less gratifying and ten times more yawn inducing. And while I know I’m not the first person to mention this, just about the only thing good about this game was that it had a Scotsman who would lift his kilt and shoot fireballs from his junk. Well, that’s at least one thing that Mortal Kombat never attempted.

Thrill Kill

Thrill Kill was badass, man. How badass was it? So badass, that it was never released and was turned into a fighting game with the Wu-tang Clan instead, which later became known as Wu-tang: Shaolin Style. Looking to capitalize off of Mortal Kombat’s brutality, Thrill Kill was actually unique in that it one-upped MK in the gore department, and the characters in this game were all insane, like Cleetus, a redneck cannibal, and The Imp, who supported himself with stilts in battle. It also enabled four players to tear each other apart at one time. Still, if Mortal Kombat had never been created, a game like Thrill Kill would never have been conceived of, making it a definite Mortal Kombat clone. It was a clever one, most certainly, but a MK clone, nonetheless.

War Gods

War Gods has an interesting history behind it in that it was actually created by Midway itself, the same company that Mortal Kombat came from. Some people say that the game was solely created to test out a 3D environment in a fighting game for their upcoming MK4 release, but that’s probably just rubbish. The truth of the matter is, Mortal Kombat made a shit ton of money and it looked like a new franchise could be born from it, but War Gods was just not that franchise, as it had some of the wonkiest 3D ever this side of Battle Arena Toshinden. The fatalities in this game weren’t even impressive, and in a game meaning to harness some of MK’s fire MK, the fatalities were everything. War Gods should have been sacrificed.

Mace: The Dark Age

Mace: The Dark Age was another Midway title that didn’t stretch the boundaries enough to be considered much more than a copycat clone of MK. The gameplay was beyond generic, and the game didn’t even try that hard to mask itself as anything more than a riproff. For example, instead of “Finish him!” at the end of battles, the announcer said “Execute him!” instead, which was pretty much the exact same thing. It was a weapons based fighter though, so it had that going for it. If anything, it was like a more brutal version of Soul Edge, but Soul Edge was at least coherent, while Mace: The Dark Age was like its drunken step-brother that nobody ever wanted to be around. There’s a reason that you don’t remember Mace: The Dark Age, you know.

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct is probably the only game on this list that is far enough removed from MK that one might not even consider it to be a clone at all. But it was. Rare was smart to make combos the key highlight of the game, but they also just had to add those stage deaths and fatalities in there that were so popular at the time, didn’t they? While its influence is definitely far-reaching—the massive combos of the Capcom vs. series have this title to thank for its success—KI was still an MK clone, albeit, one with definite panache. And if you disagree with me, I’ma have to hit you with an Ultra, ultra, ultra, ultra…

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who Was More Important To Rock & Roll Music? Elvis or The Beatles

(Image taken from: scrapetv.com)

Rock & Roll. Is there anything better or a greater representation of Satan in music form than it? But here's some controversy I'm stirring up for you. Who was more important to the genre? Elvis or the Beatles? Both of them, without a doubt, popularized the music to an extent that it became more mainstream. And both took it to places that it hadn't been before (Well, The Beatles more so than Elvis, but more on that in a few). But who was more important? The answer down below. Mo!

(Image taken from: lexielexielexie9.blogspot.com)


Elvis was a hunka hunka burnin' love of a man. He stole black music and brought it to the masses and made it look like he created it. He was also clean cut, but had hips that didn't fail him, so he was safe, but dangerous and dirty at the same time. But most importantly, he made rock music dangerous, and where would rock be today if it wasn't dangerous? It'd be like jazz probably, and who the hell likes jazz? Squares, that's who, squares. And if the legends are true, then he also died on the terlet, bloated on peanut butter and banana sandwiches and drugs. Now THAT'S Rock & Roll. Hail to the king, baby.

(Image taken from: merseybeat.ndo.co.uk)

The Beatles

There's no question about it, The Beatles were more talented than Elvis. Hell, they were probably the most talented group of musicians to ever play rock and roll music in history (Well, sans Ringo, of course. Ringo wasn't talented). They also took music to places that it had never been before. So many facets of rock were transformed and created by them in fact that you'd practically think that they INVENTED Rock and Roll music. They were also as popular as balls. Beatlemania was huge. The only problem? When they disbanded, they never came close to their former glory, just proving that they needed each other. Frak Yoko Ono.

The Verdict:

(Image taken from: awardwinningeater.blogspot.com)


Sure, The Beatles transformed Rock & Roll, but without Elvis making it so dangerous and cool, The Beatles probably would never have left the dungeon that they started in. By stealing black music, Elvis officially helped forge the union that was needed between the blues and soul to make it popular. So yeah, Elvis was more important to Rock and Roll music. But what are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eating out in Chester: Taylor’s Ice Cream Parlor

(Image taken from: randomoverload.com)

Spring is here and the summer’s fast approaching. Let’s go get some ice cream. Or maybe you want some yogurt. Do you want it be gluten free? Non-fat? Okay, wait, now you say you want an Italian Ice? Man, you’re picky. But picky is what you can be here at Taylor’s Ice Cream Parlor in Chester. They have something here for all of your picky needs.

“We have a flavor for pretty much everyone,” co-owner Ron Klein says, who runs the shop along with his wife, Margaret, “Anyone that’s allergic to anything, we can always accommodate everyone.”

“We have the ices, which are dairy free, [so] there’s no dairy products [in them],” Klein continues, “We have gluten free ice cream, we have sugar free, we have non-fat yogurt, so we can pretty much accommodate anyone.”

And how! With 48 flavors of homemade ice cream to choose from, you’ll definitely find a taste that suits your character. And they even have some new flavors this year.

“We have a special rich chocolate that’s very rich and very chocolatey,” Klein says, “We have a Chips Ahoy ice cream that has the Chips Ahoy cookies in them. And we have a Pineapple Orange ice cream, which is really good and refreshing.”

“A lot of times, I will just create them [these different flavors] in my own mind and see what works, see what doesn’t work,” Klein continues, “ I try it out, my wife tastes it, some of the kids will check it out. And if we have a fair approval, we’ll make it and put it in the store.”

Everyone here has a say, including his ample supply of young employees.
“We still employ a lot of local kids,” Klein says, “We probably have more employees here than most businesses in town.”

They also help out those in need, from donating money to revealing the craft of how to make the ice cream itself.

“I give free demonstrations on how the ice cream is being made,” Klein says, “We generally have a dozen boy scouts, girl scout troops come in during the year, and we’re always helping the local charities, and still giving good service. We have a great product.”

One of those great products is their famous ice cream cakes, which can be ready for you in very short notice and can also come in a wide assortment of flavors.
“We can make them out of any of our 48 flavors, which a lot of places won’t do,” Klein says, “And a lot of places will need a week’s notice. We can get a cake together within the day, sometimes less.”

“We’ll help out as much as possible, and our cakes are popular, they’re good,” Klein continues, “They’re with our homemade ice cream.”

And we already know how good their ice cream is. So come on by some time and say hello to Ron or his wife or the many employees who you may already know already working here. It’s nice outside now, and you deserve a treat.


WHERE: 18 Main Street, Chester
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-879-5363
HOURS: Seven days a week, 10:30AM-9:00PM, though, during the summer, the time becomes 10:30AM-10:30PM
CUISINE: Ice Cream, yogurt, the good stuff
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: A pleasant shop with seats inside. Dig in.
ATMOSPHERE: Ron, his wife, and his young employees are always cheerful here, and wouldn’t you be? Serving ice cream all day to happy customers? It’s a swell job
PARKING: In the lot around back
OWNER: Ron and Margaret Klein

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Top Five Greatest Handshakes In History

(Image taken from: theurbanhunter.wordpress.com)

Handshakes are all about unity. Two hands (Probably laden with germs, but that's okay) coming together for a sense of togetherness. And yes, I just said the same thing twice but with different words. Okay, enough talk and on with the hand love.

5. Black hand shaking a white hand

(Image taken from: strangetimesindeed.blogspot.com)

You want diversity? You want Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to come alive? Then enter white hand shaking a black hand, a true sign that progress is being made. This handshake should be on a flag in front of the Rutgers-Newark campus center, waving with Paul Robeson's smiling face on it. And Rutgers-Newark's new slogan should actually be, "RU A white hand shaking a black hand?" (And yes, I'm well aware that only people who went to Rutgers-Newark would actually appreciate that joke. So What?). While it is true that many young, black Americans today living in places like Camden and Irvington have interacted with about as many white people as they have with deer, there are actually PSA's today that are meant to rectify that problem, one such being the one that I've attached below. Watch.

4. The Fresh Prince Handshake

Slap, *Pish*! I like this one because it doesn't make any sense, but if you do it with somebody else, they'll instantly go, "FRESH PRINCE! FRESH PRINCE!" Really. This is truth I speak. Try it immediately.

3. The Nixon Handshake

(Image taken from: comicbookbrain.com)

It's so simple, but also so inviting. Nixon was known to be a lot of things, but did you know that the man that some called "Tricky Dicky" also had one of the firmest, nicest handshakes that's ever been manufactured by God? It's true. Here's a picture of our 37th President getting ready to shake hands with Officer Alex J. Murphy, better known to most cretins as Robocop. "Dead or alive, you're getting a handshake from the Nixon," was what I believe the president said on this momentous occasion.

(Image taken from: exiledonline.com)

2. Ryu Shaking Hands with Cyclops

(Image taken from: capcom-unity.com)

Here's a picture of two men who could kill each other instantly with a single "Hadouken!" or an "Optic Blast!" but instead, they're shaking hands and possibly even double teaming on Chun-Li or Rogue later (Get your mind out of the gutter! I mean fight-wise!). Too bad Cyclops has pretty much been erased from the Vs. series forever as he's not even in MvC3. Instead, make way for Taskmaster (What?!).

1. The Predator Handshake

(Image taken from: daveandthomas.net)

What could be better than two men, pumped up on steroids, slappin' mitts? Um, how about arm-wrestling in the air afterwards? I'm not even going to discuss how awesome this handshake is as that picture to the left pretty much explains it all. But I'm pretty sure that the video down below gives a better impression of just how powerful this handshake really is. Watch.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Eating Out in Chester: Sub Pub

(Image taken from: connect.rhodes.edu)

Finding a good Chinese place in any given town? That’s not so hard, as there’s usually at least one dependable Chinese restaurant no matter where you go. Same with pizza joints. But sandwich shops? Not so much. Luckily for Chester residents, they do have a terrific sandwich place, and it goes by the name of Sub Pub. Hey, 38 years in the business has to stand for something, right?

“We haven’t changed anything as far as the quality of the product and the amount that we put on a sandwich,” says shop owner, Karen Wolfe, who has worked in the shop in some capacity since 1975, “Even though times have been tough, we haven’t changed anything. Prices go up, obviously, but we still maintain the same,” she thinks about it for a second before she says, “the only word I can use is quality.”

And that quality has been enjoyed by residents and out-of-towners for quite some time now. Even after other sandwich places have set up shop over the years.

“You know, sometimes, competition is good,” Wolfe says, “the customer gets a chance to see if they can get the same thing for less or better, but usually, they can’t, so it increases our following. It brings them back plus more.”

With more than 40 sandwiches to choose from, it might be hard to pick out a favorite from their delectable menu, but there are two that sit at the top of their list that customers can’t seem to get enough of.

“Your basic Italian sub is the most popular,” Wolfe says, “And [there’s also] the Long Valley, which is Swiss cheese, roast beef, turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, spices and Russian dressing.”

They also have party platters just in case one of their regular sized sandwiches is just not enough for you.

“We do 6 footers, and 3 footers,” Wolfe says, “We do cold cut platters, submarine sandwich platters, and we do Sloppy Joe platters.”

They even cater other items if you’re looking for a bit more.

“We also do some hot catering like baked ziti, and lasagna, and chicken parmesan,” Wolfe says, “Some hot dish catering.”

But they typically just stick to what their bests at—their subs.

“We’ll do it [cater items outside of subs] occasionally, like, someone will ask us and it’s always available,” Wolfe says, “but it’s mainly the sandwiches that we do.”
So, what don’t they do then? Well, alcohol, for one thing, even though it’s called a Pub.

“No, there's no alcohol,'' Wolfe says, "We have root beer and birch beer. If that floats your boat, no problem,'' she says with a laugh.

So, why the name then?

“The name was there for so long that we didn't want to change it,'' Wolfe says, "People had associated the business with the name, so we just kept it and continued to run with it."

Well, whatever the name, a sub is still a sub, no matter what you call it. And these subs just happen to be delicious. Chester, you never had it so good. Well, except for maybe the past 38 years.

WHERE: 35 Perry Street, Chester
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-879-5334
HOURS: Tuesday-Friday, 10:00AM-6:00PM, Saturday, 10:30AM-6:00PM, Sunday, 10:30AM-5:00PM, Closed MOnday
PAYMENT: Cash, credit, Visa and Mastercard
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: An pleasant sandwich shop has some seats to eat inside. It’s a quaint little place.
ATMOSPHERE: Just down the street from two ice cream parlors, this is the perfect place to scarf down a sandwich before satisfying your sweet tooth up the street.
PARKING: In the lot nearby
OWNER: Karen Wolfe

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Lines That I've Stolen From TV And Movies

(Image taken from: thepiratesdilemma.com)

There are literally HUNDREDS of catchphrases in movies and TV that are legendary today: "D'oh," "Hey, I'm walking here!" "Kiss my grits!" The list goes on and on. But this is not that list. While those phrases have persisted and become a part of the American lexicon and speech, these phrases below are personal favorites of mine that I just can't stop saying, no matter how many times I'm told to shut up already. So, here they are. My top ten favorite phrases that I've stolen from movies and TV. See if any of these make your list.

(Image taken from: empireonline.com)

10. "Groovy," said by Ash in Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness

So, yeah, sure, the word "Groovy," isn't exactly original material. But it's the WAY that it's said by Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2 and it's sequel, Army of Darkness that's so awesome. It's pretty much my substitute for the word, "Cool." And hey, even Earthworm Jim says it!

(Image taken from: thepeoplepress.com)

9. "Sit perfectly still. Only I may dance," said by Conan 'O Brien on The Simpsons

I don't dance often, but when I do, and there are other people around, I always say this line, imitating Conan's ridiculous dance in the process. Those who are not Simpsons fans are utterly baffled, and those who are, well, those people are typically my friends.

(Image taken from: infimnitiestatemachine.com)

8. "I'd buy THAT for a dollar!" said by creepy looking guy with a mustache in Robocop

It doesn't really matter what it is, if you're in a dollar store, and I'm in the same store but in another aisle, you might just hear somebody shout, "I'd buy THAT for a dollar." Yeah, that would be me.

(Image taken from: hollabackholli.tumblr.com)

7. "Ooohhh, Dee Vee, I wish you were my soooooon," song by Tim and Eric on the Chrimbus Special

This is actually a pretty recent one. I can't get this song out of my head and I sometimes sing it to my fiance, even though her name is not Dee Vee and I don't wish she was my son.

(Image taken from: unrealitymag.com)

6. "I'll be back, Bennett," said by John Matrix in Commando

Every bad guy should wear chain mail underneath their coat, and no bad guy is as hardcore as Bennett. So whenever somebody pisses me off and they're closing their car door, I make sure that open it back up, peek my head in, and deliver this groovy line. It strikes fear in the hearts of men every time.

(Image take from: asklopan.com)

5. "Ahhhh?" said by David Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China

If I didn't quite hear what you said, you get an "Ahhhh?" with my hand to my ear. End of story.

(Image taken from: doctorlawyerpriest.com)

4. "Terminate...with extreme prejudice," said by Jerry, a CIA Civilian in Apocalypse Now

I hate centipedes. And while I can't kill them on my own, unless they're babies, I always make somebody else do it. And when I do, I say this line...From the other room, of course.

(Image taken from: dieselcrew.com)

3. "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women," said by Conan in Conan the Barbarian

It's unreal how much mileage I get out of this line. And I don't only use it when people ask me my thoughts on the meaning of life, either, but also for other things as well. Like when somebody asks me, "How was work today?" I always say, "I crushed my enemies, saw them driven before me, and heard the lamentation of their women. What's for dinner?" I mean, what else could I possibly say?

(Image taken from: caseysoftware.com)

2. "What ain't no country I ever heard of," said by Jules in Pulp Fiction

I actually like to lure people into this line, which is kind of a dick thing to do, I know. But usually, I like to say something really low so that the person I'm talking to has to lean in close and say "What?" which is when I deliver this line. Usually, in a shouting manner.

(Image taken from: crownofthewire.blogspot.com)

1. "Sheeeeeeiiittt," said by Clay Davis in The Wire

I probably say this line at least once a day. It's definitely the most accessible of all the lines on this list (I mean, how many times do YOU say "shit" in a given day?). I try to elongate the word for as long as possible, sometimes, until I actually have to take a breath. And you KNOW that that's a good "Sheeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttt," if I had to take a breath.

What are some of YOUR favorite lines?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [Blu-Ray]

(Image taken from cinemablend.com)

2001’s A.I. is a beautiful film…by Steven Spielberg. Whether it would have turned out as beautiful if it had been directed by Stanley Kubrick, as was originally planned, is questionable. It probably would have been more cynical, like a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lolita, or something like that. Even so, what Steven Spielberg did with Kubrick’s vision is impressive, if a bit over the top and mawkish.

The Movie: A.I.: Artificial Intelligence [Blu-Ray] Four stars out of five

A.I., believe it or not, is a lot like Full Metal Jacket (and yes, there WILL be a lot of references to Kubrick in this review. Brace yourself.). I don’t mean in the sense that there’s an anti-war or an anti-dehumanization message here, though you could definitely make the argument for the latter. What I mean is, A.I. really feels like two separate films, much like Full Metal Jacket and its boot camp/war is hell sections. There’s the first part of A.I., which is a really touching, haunting film about a family dealing with a robot child (Haley Joel Osment) and their emotions toward each other. And then, there’s the fantastical, out-there adventure story about that same robot boy and his journey with his robot gigolo companion, played by Jude Law. I’m not really sure which story I prefer, as they both have their merits. But I do know that you can definitely see the different minds of Kubrick and Spielberg at work in those two different storylines. Kubrick’s vision is on the front end of the movie, and Spielberg’s is on the back end. It makes for a disjointed, complex film that still holds up, even after a decade.

The story is ultimately about mankind’s technological progress moving too fast, almost to the extent that we’re making technology better than us and making mankind obsolete. This is not just the viewpoint of a staunch Luddite, either, but a prevalent message to be taken about the entire movie, which is made evident by the finale of the film, where robots have actually advanced to the state that they’ve evolved on their own. That said, the story is also a Pinocchio tale about a boy who desperately wants to be real, and it’s that element of heart that really makes this movie shine.

Haley Joel Osment does the best acting of his career here. He plays a robot, here called a mecha, who only wants to be loved by his owners, and goes on a bizarre journey that concludes with some of the strangest material I’ve ever seen put to film. I definitely know where the movie Knowing got its conclusion from now. Again, the whole Spielberg touch is definitely prevalent here, and I would have loved to see how Kubrick intended the story to end. That said, the journey is all quite magical, and we feel sympathetic toward Osment’s character. I’m also quite sure that Kubrick would have taken the story in a different direction, what with his fear of extreme advancement in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But again, this was Spielberg’s interpretation of a Kubrick film, and in that, I think he did a pretty decent job.

Along the way, Osment meets Jude Law’s robotic male prostitute character, Gigolo Joe. And from there, we’re introduced to a whole assortment of different robots that are done in a very sophisticated manner that is a melding of both CGI and actual robotics. In the year 2001, it’s nice to see that Hollywood still wasn’t CGI obsessed, and I think it says a lot that we might have taken a step backward in using so many computer generated effects today. I wonder what Kubrick would have had to say about the current state of movies, what with their green screens and Zack Snyder mindsets.

But I digress. If there’s one major problem I have with this movie, it’s that it’s too long. I get that Spielberg had quite the tale he wanted to tell here, partly because he liked the story, and partly because he wanted to create a fitting coda to Kubrick’s career, but there’s just too much stuffed in here. I think a good half hour could have been cut from the film. Still, A.I. is a masterful film full of deep concepts and startling imagery, especially on Blu-Ray, which I now think is the only way to watch this film. If you’re a sci-fi junkie like myself, and also a Kubrick nut, then you need to see this film. It’s got a lot to say and it deserves to be heard.

The Disc: A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Five stars out of five

There is well over an hour of extra content loaded on this disc, but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing new here that didn't appear on the original DVD release. Still, it’s almost overwhelming how much content is in the special features. The only thing missing is a director’s commentary, but you get so much in exchange that I think it’s a good thing it’s absent. It probably would have been too much.

“Creating A.I.” is just that, a segment on the creation of the film. There’s a lot of talk and pictures of Kubrick and the deeply etched money bags underneath his eyes here, and it’s great. Being a massive Kubrick fan (he’s my favorite director, by far), it’s nice to hear so much love thrown in his direction and to learn that at one point in his creation of the film he even requested that Spielberg direct it and that he produce it. I never knew that. I always just thought he died before he got a chance to do anything with it, but according to these special features, that wasn’t the case at all. He had already gotten the project off the ground since the '80s.

“Acting A.I.” features both Osment and Law talking about what it’s like to play robots. It’s fascinating stuff. Especially seeing what raw talent Osment once had. He was such a natural actor (jeez, I’m talking like he’s dead).

“Designing A.I.” “Lighting A.I.” “A.I./F.X.,” and the “Special Visual Effects and Animation” features are all deep and introspective looks at everything that went into making the visuals so stunning. “The Robots of A.I.” is a lengthy, but interesting, discussion on the purpose of robots in our society and how they were created in the film. Some were actors is costume and some were actual robots. It’s really impressive. “The Sound and Music of A.I.” delves into the strange sounds that go into a sci-fi flick and also the John Williams’ score that plays throughout. And “Closing: Steven Spielberg: Our Responsibility to Artificial Intelligence” is similar to what I mentioned earlier about the film’s message on how we need to be careful with how much of our souls and intellect that we invest in technology. It almost sounds like Kubrick is talking vicariously through Spielberg in this segment.

Designs and two trailers round out the rest of the special features.

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence [Blu-Ray] Details
Length: 145 min
Rated: PG-13
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Release Date: 2011-04-05
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Frances O’Connor, Jude Law, Sam Robards, Jake Thomas and William Hurt
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Jan Harlan, Kathleen Kennedy, Walter F. Parkes, Bonnie Curtis
Written by: Steven Spielberg
Visit the A.I.: Artificial Intelligence [Blu-Ray] Official Website

Why Did "The Killing" Start off So Damn Slow?

(Image taken from: watching-tv.ew.com)

Let me just start this off by saying that the second hour of AMC's new show, The Killing, wasn't so bad. The second episode, which I think was called "The Cage" or something like that according to my DVR, picked up toward the end and leads one to believe that this is a story that may be going somewhere. But that first episode. God, that first episode was torture!

But my question is this? Why is the first episode of any show ever boring? As a writer, it's constantly hammered into my head in seminars that the first chapter, nay, the first PAGE, is essential for getting the audience to stick around. So why does TV neglect this so often? Another AMC show, Rubicon had such a terrible first episode that even when my friends kept telling me, "The show got better, Rich. The show got better," I kept telling them, "There's no way in HELL I'm going to watch that garbage, guys. That first episode was balls."

(Image taken from: newsworld22.blogspot.com)

Is it any wonder that the show only lasted one season? They lost me at hello.

That said, please don't think that I hate shows that aren't filled with explosives or special affects as I really don't mind if a show has a slow burn. I mean, just look at Twin Peaks for instance. That show and this new one pretty much have the same exact premise: Some white girl gets murdered, and now, the whole town is suspect. I get it. But here's where David Lynch's old show succeeded in its pilot where The Killing kind of failed. Twin Peaks offered something bizarre. Now, I'm not saying that ALL shows have to offer something offbeat for their first episode, but that's what separated Twin Peaks instantly from other detective stories of a similar nature. It was just so weird, from the music, to the camera shots, to everything. Watch:

But The Killing doesn't have any of that, and though it looks like the show is going to invest its time in showing us all of the characters, none of them really seem all that interesting besides that one skeevy detective who swallows his words and offers children marijuana to find new information. Him, I like.

(Image taken from: seriable.com)

Overall, though, The Killing starts out slow and it drags. I've talked to some people this morning who liked it and they said that it's really meant to be slow and that I was wrong to hate on it just because it was putting me to sleep. Well, okay, I can see that if you like it, it's okay to defend it. But why am I wrong for hating that it put me to sleep? What's wrong with quick pacing anyway? Some people make it seem like it's a bad thing, especially for a first episode where the characters are just getting established. But look at Breaking Bad, which is another AMC show that is so good that I'll pretty much give anything on AMC a shot. The pacing for that first episode is unbelievable. There's never a slow moment in it.

Sure, the premise is WAY different for that show, and The Killing is meant to be slow paced. But slow paced doesn't necessarily mean that it has to drag, and The Killing definitely does, at least for the first episode anyway. But I don't know. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it's okay for a first episode to drag? Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cricket Might As Well Be Blernsball To Me

(Image taken from: inthepen.wordpress.com)

(Image taken from: everydayshouldbesaturday.com)

The same sport?

Cricket has got to be the most confusing sport I've ever seen in my entire life. First off, what does it even mean? Upon a little investigating, I found out that the name probably has something to do with the bat, but that's debatable. And then, there's the whole mechanics of the sport itself. What the hell is even going on? Here's a best of clip that I found put to God-awful music.

I mean, what did I just watch? First, there's apparently the act of "bowling," which looks more like a downward pitch followed by some light sabre like slicing. There are sticks behind the person as well, and it looks like the purpose of the game is to actually shatter the bat, which makes no sense. That game must cost a fortune if that's really the intention of it all.

Then comes "fielding." Now, what's interesting to me about this is that with fielding, instead of using a mitt or anything like that, they use their BARE HANDS to catch the ball. Now, I've actually felt a cricket ball and it's hard as P Jack's balls. Why don't they just use a mitt to catch it? I don't get it.

Followed by that is "Batting," which seems simple enough, but then, it doesn't, as it looks more like golfing. So which is it, batting, or golfing?

The strangest act of all though is the scoring of points, where it looks like people are constantly scurrying back and forth along that small strip where the "bowling" and the "batting" is occurring. I mean, I once heard that Cricket is the gentleman's version of baseball, but it looks more like the deformed brother of baseball that nobody wants to talk about and lives in the attic. In other words, it looks like this.

I'll stick to my curling and cup stacking, thank you very much.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sampled Songs Sound Old Compared to the Originals Over Time

(Image taken from: armondwhitebook.wordpress.com)

So, I went to the gym the other day, and I heard this:

Does that beat sound familiar? Well, it should, because it's ripped right off of this:

Honestly, when I heard the beat start up at the gym, I got excited. Why? Well, just listen to it. That beat is HOT! But so was the song back in the day. So, does adding T.I.'s mediocre lyrics make the beat any better, or worse? In this case, I'm going to have to go with worse. And that's only because unlike many samples today, where they're at least altered a LITTLE bit from their original counterpart, this is a blatant rip-off. All it does is make me want to listen to the original instead of this carbon copy. In fact, it got me to thinking. Over time, the newer versions actually sound older than the originals, because they pretty much date themselves. And this means, that when you hear the copycat song on the radio many years down the line, the first thing you think about is the original version, and not the copied version. Don't believe me? Then just listen below and tell me that the older songs doesn't sound fresher today than the ones that were released not too long ago with the same beat.

So, which sounds fresher today? This?

Or this?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I like the "ohhhhh, ohhhh," of the M.C. Hammer version just as much as the next guy, but it sounds old, like, 1990 old. While the original, Rick James version, sounds, well, classic. And fresh. Two good combinations that go a long way.

Or how about this?

And this?

I mean, the Men in Black? Seriously? Didn't that movie come out like a million years ago? But I heard the Patrice Rushen song just a few days ago and it sounded delightfully modern.

Or how about this baby?

And this?

Oh, but I'm sorry. That last one was a complete accident. if you think that those two songs sound similar, then you couldn't be more wrong. Vanilla Ice breaks it down for you in case you were wondering.

So, you see? Thankfully, the full on sampling has died down quite a bit over the years, but it's still here today in small doses, with T.I.'s song being a prime example of that. So the next time that you hear a song on the radio that has the exact same beat as one of your favorite songs, just remember this blog post and think to yourself, 'Am I really going to like this version ten years down the line? Or would I rather just hear the original?'

I'm pretty sure the answer will be clear once you download that older song off of iTunes.