Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is this bad?

I'm going on vacation for two weeks starting March 3...and I'm already packed.

Monday, January 28, 2008


So, what the heck, here are the "famous" people I've "met." Some of them won't mean anything to you until I explain them, some won't mean anything even after I explain them!


Robert Vaughn, star of "The Man from Uncle" and the "Helsinki Formula" infomercials: Talked to him on the phone.

Peter Jennings, late anchor of ABC News: Talked to him on the phone.

Chevy Chase, know, FLETCH!: Met him when his daughter toured a school at which I was teaching.

Bill Murray,, you know, he's got that going for him: Met him when he came to watch his son play football for the rivals of a school at which I taught.

Ally McCoist, member Scottish National Team: One of only two professional athletes I've asked for an autograph.

Bode Miller, Olympic/World Cup skier: I knocked him on his ass during a men's league soccer game about 8 or 9 years ago. I might not have done so if I'd known that's who it was beforehand!

Egon Zimmerman, Olympic/World Cup skier: Was my ski school instructor when I was about ten.

Al Barr, lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys: Of course, when I knew him, his name was still "Alex." We went to high school together for a couple of years, his dad was my German teacher during my freshman year.

Chris Sheridan, director, producer, writer, etc. for "The Family Guy": All this is based on what my mom has told me, but if it's true (there's definitely a "Chris Sheridan" in the credits), Chris and I overlapped for a couple of years in high school, worked on the school newspaper together, and his mom is still (I think!) the school nurse.


Mo Vaughn, professional baseball player: I coached his niece for one season, and she was the team manager for two more after that.

George Soros, international "financier": I taught one of his sons for a year.

And, for what it's worth, I regularly see Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, and J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. around town.


I could probably list a hundred soccer players (male and female) that I've worked clinics and camps with over the years, but that would take forever, so I'll just leave this list as is until I remember somebody that I've left off!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

HERE'S your problem!

I rarely, if ever, resort to foul language here on my lame little blog, but after reading this story (click on the title of this post for the link) my first thought was, "You've got to be fucking kidding me..." I didn't say it aloud, my "inner voice" wasn't even raised. It was "said" with sadness and disappointment. With all the things that deserve more time, attention, and funding, our federal government- in this case, the FCC- felt it was important to spend five (FIVE?!) years and who knows how many hundreds of thousands (if not MILLIONS) of dollars waging a battle against ABC because NYPD Blue showed a woman's buttocks. Five years...

I'm glad my government has it's priorities in such crystal clear order.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Managers in the Premier League

The data:

Manchester United: Sir Alex Ferguson: Scottish
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger: French
Chelseaa: Avram Grant: Israeli
Liverpool: Rafael Benitez: Spanish
Evertona: David Moyes: Scottish
Aston Villa: Martin O’Neill: Northern Irish
Manchester City: Sven-Goran Eriksson: Swedish
Blackburn Rovers: Mark Hughes: Welsh
Portsmouth: Harry Redknapp: English
West Ham United: Alan Curbishley: English
Newcastle United: Kevin Keegan: English
Tottenham Hotspur: Juande Ramos: Spanish
Reading: Steve Coppell: English
Middlesbrough: Gareth Southgate: English
Bolton Wanderers: Gary Megson: English
Birmingham City: Alex McLeish: Scottish
Wigan Athletic: Steve Bruce: English
Sunderland: Roy Keane: Irish
Fulham: Roy Hodgson: English
Derby County: Paul Jewell: English

Things to think about:
  • No English managers currently managing teams that will qualify for Europe next year.
  • Of the three non-English managers in the bottom half of the table, two were mid-season replacements.
  • Two of the three managers of teams trying to avoid relegation are English.
  • With the exception of Kevin Keegan's brief tenure as England manager*, none of the English managers has achieved anything on the national or international stage.
*while he did qualify England for Euro 2000, his 7-7-4 overall record as England manager was the worst among permanently appointed managers.


Alex Ferguson alone has won:

Premier League: (9)
FA Cup: (5)
League Cup: (2)
FA Charity/Community Shield: (7)
UEFA Champions League: (1)
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: (1)
Intercontinental Cup: (1)
UEFA Super Cup: (1)
FA Premier League Manager of the Year: (7)
FA Premier League Manager of the Month: (19)
UEFA Champions League Manager of the Year: (1)
World Soccer Magazine Coach of the Year: (3)

And that doesn't include what he did with Aberdeen before coming to England:

Scottish League: (3) Of the four they've won.
Scottish Cup: (4) Of the six they've won.
Scottish League Cup: (1) Of the five they've won
European Cup Winners Cup: (1) Their only one.
UEFA Super Cup: (1) Their only one.

I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I practical use for my blog!?!?

I don't know that I've recorded all of them here, but according to my blog, today's migraine is my first since November 4- not bad.

I only wish it wasn't working in hellish combination with the pulled muscle in my neck.

I think it's time to turn out the lights and stay very still...

Friday, January 11, 2008


Today I went to the movies.

I went to see "No Country for Old Men."

Somewhere between buying my ticket and getting something to drink I decided that I didn't want to see something so "serious," so I looked at the other listings and decided to see "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale."


Apparently this movie was based on a video game. Had I known that, I might have stuck with my original choice- let's just say that Roger Ebert's views on movies that are based on games are right on target. I can imagine this movie having been written on a laptop, during study halls, by an inhaler-dependent 9th grader who plays too many video games and/or Magic: the Gathering.

I also wish I'd known that this movie was directed by Uwe Boller, but that's another topic for another day.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on this movie- or at least as many as I could jam onto the back of my ticket stub in a dark theater.

The Plot

There really isn't a single "plot," there are many- none of them well-developed. There's the long-lost son of the king, the nephew who wants to overthrow the king, the evil magician who's trying to overthrow thing king, and some other stuff.

There are also subhuman warriors- controlled by Gallian, the evil magician- who run some sort of slave-populated underground mines (complete with flowing lava). They are called "Krugs." "What do they mine? Why must it be mined? These are details the viewer apparently does not need to know. Another question lingers too: the first time I saw this plotline weren't they called "Orcs," and didn't they appear in three other small movies as masters of underground mines? I'm just asking...

The Script

I'm not sure there was one. And if there was, my hat is off to the actors for not bursting into laughter after some of the lines they had to deliver.

The Setting

The movie is set in medieval "somewhere" (in this case, British Columbia) at some "medieval time." Apparently there must have been some disagreement about these things. There is a church and there are some references to Christianity...but then at the end of the movie there is all kinds of talk about "The Gods." Who knows...

The Mistakes

Okay, I'm only going to point out one. There's a scene where two characters are digging some graves with shovels that could have been purchased at your friendly neighborhood ACE Hardware store- I am surprised that they actually remembered to remove the labels from them. Hint to those who make movies about the medieval period in European history- metal was hard to come by and expensive, dirt poor farmers would have wooden shovels.

The Cast
  • Jason Statham: I like Jason Statham. No, he's not Olivier, but then, to the best of my knowledge, he has never attempted Hamlet either. If you need a fit, more or less handsome, working-class Englishman to deliver raspy, B-grade, Clint Eastwood dialog in an action movie, he's your man. Keeping that in mind, I cannot fault his performance here, he did the job he was hired to do.
  • Leelee Sobieski: I don't even know if she's a good actress or not, I'm simply to consumed with trying to figure out if she is breathtakingly beautiful, or just really odd looking? Also, as an historian, she gets a partial "pass" for being related to Poland's royal family- particularly national hero Jan III Sobieski, who saved Vienna from the Turks.
  • Jonathan Rhys-Davies: This man has been making films for over 40 years- what on Earth is he doing in this film? Here are just a few of his prior credits: I, Claudius, Shogun, The Merchant of Venice, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and all of the Lord of the Rings movies. In this movie, he plays a cut-rate Merlin type character.
  • Ron Perlman: Once again, let's look at the best of this actor's previous work: The Name of the Rose, Enemy at the Gates, and Hellboy. He plays what there is of his part- grizzled, aging, but wise, soldier, just fine.
  • Claire Forlani: This would have been a better movie if all 124 minutes had been spent on her, sitting in a chair, doing nothing but looking at the camera.
  • Kristianna Loken: She was in the last Terminator movie, she's beautiful, but her role in this movie is so small that I suspect (and there are lots of other things in this movie that lead me to this conclusion) that large parts of this movie were left on the proverbial "cutting room floor." (Confirmed: according to the film's Wikipedia page, the DVD release will be 45 minutes longer)
  • Matthew Lillard: This is the "level" of actor this movie deserved. Take a look at his IMDB entry and you'll see that I don't mean that as a compliment.
  • Ray Liotta: Ray, you were Henry Hill in "Goodfellas." GOODFELLAS!! Now you're an evil wizard in a movie based on a video game?! I'm going to assume this film was made just prior to Ray's February 2007 DUI arrest, it would explain a lot.
And one more...
  • Burt Reynolds: Again, Burt has never been an Oscar caliber actor, but this movie? He was in Gator, Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Semi-Tough, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, and Sharky's Machine. He couldn't possibly have needed the paycheck this badly, could he?
Oh, right, you were probably waiting for me to get to the Ninjas...

As an historian I know that medieval Europe was a much more multicultural and multiracial society than the modern world assumes, especially in southern Europe, larger cities and where trade routes intersected. Therefore, if a movie about medieval Europe contains some "people of color" in one or more of the contexts, I not only understand it, but I also applaud it for its accuracy. This movie did none of these things, and yet...

...and yet there is one major character and one minor one who are African- no explanation given. There are also several Asian faces seen behind the helmets of the king's soldiers.

And then there are the Ninjas.

During the major battle scene(s) there is a small group of Asians clad in loose black clothing who attack the enemy while spinning, kicking, and brandishing swords in both hands.

Ninjas. Really?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Why I didn't do it.

I walked around the store for almost twenty minutes holding a collapsible snow shovel that I was going to throw in my trunk so that the next time it snowed I could use something other than my feet to clear a path to get my car out.

It was only $6.99

Just in time, however, I realized two things.

First, if I bought it, I would become confident about it and it would then surely break the first time I attempted to use it, angering me greatly.

Second, if I bought it, it would never snow again for as long as I owned it. I like snow, and I didn't want this to happen.

Clear-headed logic- no?


The first 7 days of 2008 can kiss my...

...anyway, I'm tired.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Just because it popped into my head... are some TV shows I've never watched, and never plan to.
  • Friends
  • E.R.
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Scrubs
  • Law & Order (any variation)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

How I spent New Year's Eve


For almost 13 hours.

Yup, that's the kind of week it was.