Friday, June 27, 2008

False Advertising?

Ok, at the end of last week's Hell's Kitchen*, we got the standard "Next week on Hell's Kitchen..." Announcer guy says that someone loses their temper with the wrong person, and Petrozza was shown yelling at someone to do their job. The implication, of course, is that he's yelling at Chef Ramsay. We knew that couldn't be the case. But they did show Christina in the kitchen crying while someone was yelling, "You lied to us!" So we thought maybe she sent something out raw, then denied responsibility for it. Regardless of what we thought was going to happen, nothing remotely like it occurred during the episode!

***spoiler alert***
In fact, despite a rough service, Christina made it to the final against Petrozza. Corey went home. I was surprised at first, because I think Corey was a stronger cook than Christina, but Christina has a better palate, and was better working the pass. After Bobby was eliminated two weeks ago (when Jen should have gone - pain in the ass), I didn't doubt that Petrozza would make it to the final. He has kind of flown under the radar. He hasn't won any challenges, but he hasn't gotten nearly kicked out of the kitchen like everyone else has. His biggest problem is that he's messy in the kitchen. He kicked ass at the window (after missing the lack of peas in the risotto, that is). I hope he wins it. I really think he could do the job, and he seems like a really cool guy.
***end spoilers***

*I'm sure Jackie is disappointed in me that I watch, especially since I actually watch it and not just as a drinking game. Problem is, drinking games aren't much fun when your spouse doesn't drink. If there's no one to compete against, you're just drinking alone, and that can be kinda sad...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Big Brown Belmont Blunder

I love alliteration. Anyway, over the course of the past few weeks, there have been a ton of theories as to what happened the day of the Belmont. There is some new information that leads to a possible explanation for Big Brown's Triple Crown loss. Upon leaving the gate, another horse (Guadalcanal) stepped on Big Brown's right rear (there's that alliteration again) hoof. Slow motion of the video shows BB jerked his head as Guadalcanal stepped on his foot, and BB's shoe came loose. As apparently happens sometimes, the horse often steps on the shoe and drives the nail right back into his hoof. This is nothing new. A new picture has surfaced, however, of Big Brown running into the final stretch with the shoe still hanging off. This would mean that he ran the entire race with a shoe dangling off and possibly with a nail digging into his foot. Was this enough to cripple him? Of course not. But it certainly would be enough to annoy him, throw off his stride, piss him off, and irritate him to the point of not wanting to keep running. It's also absolutely possible that it had no effect whatsoever, and he just wasn't feelin' it that day. We'll never know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Babies & Boxing

Well, we had a pretty good weekend. We went to our friends' place (hey Mike & Colleen!) for a bbq yesterday. (Ironically, they live in Ashburn, home of Redskins training camp, yet know nothing and care nothing about football). They have a 3 year-old boy, so most of the attendees' had kids of similar ages. The kids were all very well behaved, and the parents were all very nice. Gee, go figure. They're great people, and their friends are great people. Shocker. We spent most of the time chatting with the the only other childless couple there. Raakay and Carol were very cool. They tracked with us on a ton of things. We would quote a movie, and they actually got it! Fun times! Not that we wouldn't have enjoyed ourselves if it was just us and 14 babies, but you know what I'm saying.

I finally finished watching the boxing matches I recorded from Showtime on Saturday night. In the undercard, 37 year-old veteran Raoul Marquez handed young favorite Giovanni Lorenzo his first defeat. After a slow start, Marquez showed his experience by adjusting to Lorenzo's game plan and increasing his pressure. Despite getting three separate cuts on his face, including a bad one over his right eye, Marquez showed heart. He stayed in there and showed young Lorenzo what it takes to be a title contender.

I think his win earned him a fight against the winner of the evening's main event: "King" Arthur Abraham v. Edison "Pantera" Miranda. In their first fight, Miranda broke Abraham's jaw in the 4th round. Since they go to the score cards only in the event of an accidental head butt, Abraham had to either continue the fight, or lose by TKO. He went on! (Miranda is a hard puncher, too - 26 of his 30 wins are by KO). Despite fighting for EIGHT ROUNDS with a broken jaw, Abraham won! There was some controversy due to five (!) points being taken away by the ref for intentional head butts and low blows, but given the final scores, they wouldn't have made a difference in the outcome. Miranda was determined not to leave any doubt about the outcome this time. He came in lean and mean and ready to kick some arse. Miranda came out jabbing. He was definitely more active. Abraham had said before the fight that he was expecting Miranda to wear out later in the fight, so it wasn't a surprise that he wasn't more active early on. By the third round, Abraham picked up a little. Then, in the fourth round, the same round when Miranda previously broke Abraham's jaw, the "King" unleashed a vicious straight right that landed "Pantera" on his tail. Two more knockdowns, via powerful left hooks, and the ref rightly stopped the fight. Unfortunately for Miranda, if he couldn't beat Abraham with a broken jaw in eight rounds, I think that says something about the match-up and I think the outcome was inevitable. So, I think I saw that Abraham will defend his middleweight title (this fight was at super-middle) against Marquez. Either that, or he will go for the unification bout against Pavlik. That's the one I want to see. Marquez looked great against Lorenzo, but I don't think he would last long against Abraham. But a man who can fight with a broken jaw for eight rounds? That's a man I want to see take on The Ghost.

P.S. Belated congrats to Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora on his victory against Vernon Forrest to take the WBC Light Middleweight title!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Well, this weekend, we went to the The Incredible Hulk, Marvel's franchise reboot, and the second movie produced under Marvel's financing deal that allowed them to make their own movies rather than licensing them out to other movie studios to butcher. In case you couldn't tell from the title of this post, I thought it kicked ass. Now, don't get me wrong, I did like Ang Lee's version (entitled, simply, Hulk). I just thought this one was much better. The special effects were better, the action was better, the acting was better (Ed Norton - go figure) and the emotion between Bruce & Betty was better.

I was actually surprised that it didn't do better in the box office opening weekend. We went to a 10:30 a.m. show on Saturday and the theater was half to two-thirds full. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I thought it kicked ass. I was thinking the gross would be about equal to the 2003, or maybe a little more. I'm hoping it's got some legs though, like Iron Man has, and avoids the almost 65% drop that Hulk experienced in its 2nd weekend. Iron Man has been out six weeks, is still in the Top 10, has dropped 50% or less every weekend and is breaking $300M worldwide as I type this. It's a good enough movie, and should avoid the nosedive. Which leads me to my rant. Above was the good. Below is the bad.

What pisses me off about this movie is what pissed me off with the first one - the media. For the past two weeks, the mainstream media has talked about nothing but whether this movie was necessary, and how terrible Norton's feud was with Marvel over the final cut of the movie. If the jackasses actually read anything by the people who were actually involved in the "feud," they would know that there was no huge battle. There was a disagreement on the first cut of the movie, which ultimately went in the studio's favor. Norton rarely, if ever, does publicity for his movies, but the media kept saying he was "boycotting" doing it for this one. The media kept claiming that the studio was keeping Norton's name off of the writing credits (despite his extensive rewrites of the script - at the studio's request), but the Writer's Guild made that call. I think they really hurt the grosses on the movie. They did the same thing with the 2003 version. By the Saturday night of the first weekend of release, the media was reporting how the box office was plummeting for the Hulk, and how terrible fan reaction was. I think people stayed away on Sunday as a result. Go to Mania (a "genre" (read fantasy/sci-fi) website) and read the comments on any Hulk article. You will see that there were quite a few people who thought Lee's version was good. Maybe not the direct copy from the comics that many fans expected, but an interesting and entertaining movie nonetheless. You didn't hear that from the media, though. Not until this movie came out, then suddenly critics who drubbed the first one when it came out are saying, "Oh, this one is an action-filled mess, the first one was so intelligent." Grrr.

In any case, if you like a good superhero movie, go see Iron Man. Seriously. It rocks so much more than either Hulk movie. Probably one of the best superhero movies ever made. BUT... If you've already seen IM (twice, in my case), go see The Incredible Hulk. It's worth the time and money.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Big Brown

Well, it's been just over a week now since Big Brown missed winning the Triple Crown, and everyone who followed (or knew I followed) him asks me the same thing: What happened? Given what I saw, and the subsequent testing and such (he checked out physically healthy), my best guess is: He didn't feel like it. See, that's the problem (and the exciting thing) with horse racing - you're dealing with a living, breathing creature that has a personality, emotions and moods. Because of that, there are no guarantees. You can do everything right, have the right jockey breaking from the right post, and you can still lose. Many of the anti-horse racing groups (*cough*PETA*cough*) say that it's cruel to "force" horses to run. Well, the Belmont was a perfect example of why that is ridiculous. If a horse decides he doesn't want to run, you are not going to make him run. It could have been the heat. There have been rumblings that there was no water in the barn that morning. There are rumors that Rick Dutrow asked advice from Bobby Frankel (another trainer) and was told to withhold electrolytes (WTF??). People who know nothing about horse racing are theorizing that "the fix was in." If you watch the break from the front view, you can see BB was fighting Kent from the beginning. Unfortunately, until we can figure out how to talk to the animals, we'll never know what really happened. Regardless of what happened in the Belmont, we shouldn't forget how easily Big Brown won the Derby and the Preakness. In my book, he's still a champion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fifty-Three, Oh Five for French Toast??!?

Ok. In posting a comment on another blog, I realized I never posted any sort of explanation on my blog about the origin of the name. Does anyone care? Probably not. But that hasn't stopped me from blogging about my life, the Redskins and movies for the past four (!) years. So anyway, here's the story.

Back in the day (sorry, Noelle), Rob (best friend for 25+ years and best man at my wedding) and I were taking our college classes at night after work. I would pick him up after work, we would play a few games at the arcade, grab McD's, get stomach aches from the food, then go to class. After class, most of the time, we would go to Denny's and have breakfast food at 10:00 at night. Rob's order would vary on occasion, but without exception, being the picky eater that I am, would get the same thing every time. French toast with bacon, side order of hash browns, large ice water.

One fateful night, it was my birthday. We hadn't yet turned 21, so we couldn't go out drinking. Ergo, it must have been '87 or '88. We decided that, perhaps, we were in a rut. We ALWAYS went to Denny's. Maybe we were missing out on something better. Maybe, as much as we liked Denny's, someone else had better food. We decided to try IHOP. [N.B. This is the IHOP on Rte 1 in Laurel which later was closed by the Health Department, and has since opened up in a new location a block away with a new building]

IHOP was a mistake from the moment we walked in. There was construction going on, and there was a jackhammer running for much of the time we were there. As a result of the construction, there was a huge hole in the floor in front of the men's room. Assuming you made it past the mini-Grand Canyon alive, the bathroom was filthy and smelly (to put it nicely). The service was slow, and the food was mediocre.

We finally finished eating. We decided we would get our check and write off the night to experience. I asked for the check. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes passed with no sign of our waitress. I finally got up to look for her and found her huddled over the register with her manager. "I'm sorry," she said, "the computer is down and we've been trying to find your check. I'll just write it up by hand." After watching her struggle painfully with paper and pen for about 5 minutes, she handed me a check with an amount circled at the bottom: $53.05.

At this point, in a raised voice which was about as loud as could be without shouting, I exclaimed, "FIFTY-THREE, OH FIVE FOR FRENCH TOAST??!?" The dining patrons around us turned their heads in unison like an E.F Hutton commercial, looking at me in disbelief. Then they turned their heads to their dishes as if to say, "How much is MINE going to cost??" The waitress said apologetically, "Oh, sorry. That's the tax." I shrieked in shock, "WHAT???" At which point, she took back the check, moved the decimal point over to denote $0.53 in tax and totaled the check. I promptly paid, and we got the hell out of Dodge.

Thereafter, any time anything seemed to cost too much, it became a standard expression of disbelief. We'd see a new car that costs $150,000 - "Fifty-three, oh five for french toast?" We'd see a $15 bottle of shampoo - "Fifty-three, oh five for french toast?" You get the idea.

Then, when I first gained access to a computer, I went by default to AOL to get internet access (this was pre-Comcast-or-Verizon-in-every-home). I decided to use an abbreviation (5305fft) of the expression as a screen name, but AOL would not let me start my screen name with a number (I think they do now, but it's irrelevant because I don't have the account any more). Therefore, I used fft5305!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Nazgul v. Labradoodle

Ok. I've you've seen Lord of the Rings, I'm pretty sure you remember the Nazgul. They were the creepy guys on horseback who had been warped by the power of the Nine Rings of Power that were given to the Kingdom of Men. They were extremely well done, IMHO. Or so I thought. This guy is apparently very similar to me in that he thinks about things like this far too often. In any case, he blogged about the Nazgul (God, how geeky does that even sound?), and I'm not so convinced about their bad-ass-ness any more. In any case, I think I've found a new fun website to follow. This dude sounds a lot like me.

P.S. Go Big Brown!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama is The Man

It is official. Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for this fall's Presidential election. Yay! Now, we'll have to wait to see who the VP candidate will be. Regardless of who the Veep will be, it is truly historic that he's the Presidential candidate. I really think he's got a shot at going all the way!

Let's see. What else is going on? Speaking of historic occasions, it looks like this weekend, we may very well have our first Triple Crown winner in 30 years. Big Brown looks to be the real deal. Unfortunately, I think I will have to back down on my previous prediction regarding the size of his margin of victory. I didn't realize that Secretariat had set the record in 1973 when he won by 31 lengths! I think Big Brown is looking at 10-12.

Idol finale was a surprise. I am amazed that Cook won it, and not Archuleta. I think he'll do pretty well commercially. Probably better than Little David would have. We'll see.

Saw Indiana Jones last weekend. It was good. I don't think it was as good as the previous movies, but very enjoyable. Lots of fun and lots of nostalgia. I enjoyed the various nods to the previous movies (similar scenes/images etc.). I highly recommend. Although (and I almost hate to admit this, but), I think I would recommend Iron Man first. I went to see that with Rob & the boys (IHTD) the previous weekend. It kicked just as much ass as the first time. Next weekend is The Incredible Hulk! Wahoo!!

P.S. Congrats to Captain Chaos himself, Chris Cooley, who married his former-cheerleader girlfriend (who got kicked off the squad for dating him) Memorial Day weekend. Way to go, Dude!