Thursday, May 31, 2007

Make His Birthday

The toughest of the tough guys turns 77 (!) today. Clint Eastwood is a total stud. I didn’t particularly care for his films, but he’s done some incredible ones as an actor: all the classic westerns like A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) and the police-action movies like Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973) and In the Line of Fire (1993). Then he’s done some pretty cool ones as an actor-director like Play Misty for Me (1971), Unforgiven (1992), and Million Dollar Baby (2004). And as just the director, he’s made Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), Mystic River (2003), and his two recent successes, Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and its companion piece, Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). I’d say he’s already made his day… a lot of ‘em. FYI, he’s also a self-taught jazz musician and pianist who played three songs for In the Line of Fire and composed two for A Perfect World.

It’s also Brooke Shields’ birthday. She’s 42, though I must admit I found her far more attractive when she was younger. It has nothing to do with her looks, just the interviews she’s done and some of the TV shows. She seems… a little light-headed.

Lea Thompson of Back to the Future and “Caroline in the City” fame is 46, but she was really hot in All the Right Moves with Tom Cruise.

The biggest mouth in football back in the day, Joe Namath, turns 64. Why do some older athletes need to continue to try and be “the Man” and then embarrass themselves trying to hit on younger women? Ruins their legacy. Sheesh.

Oh, and for you literary types, today would have been Walt Whitman’s 188th birthday, if he could’ve just held on.

As for whom I missed over the long (apparently Star Wars-themed) weekend:

Saturday, May 26

John Wayne would have been 100. Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope) would have been 94 (“Docking bay ninety-four...” “Ninety-four.”). Brent Musberger, sportscaster, turned 68, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac turned 63 (!), Philip Michael Thomas (Miami Vice) is 58, and the first U.S. female astronaut, Sally Ride, turned 56. I’ll also throw in musician Lenny Kravitz, who turned 43.

Sunday, May 27

James Butler (a.k.a. “Wild Bill” Hickok) would have been 170, writer Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon – great book!) would have been 113, golfer Sam Snead would have been 95. Actor Christopher Lee, whose work includes numerous Dracula appearances, the character of Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and of course, Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, turned 85. Former Secretary of State and Nobel Prize Winner Henry Kissinger is 84, sci-fi author Harlan Ellison turned 73, actor Louis Gossett, Jr. turned 71, actor Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes) is 42, and tennis player Pat Cash turned 42 as well (the tennis player is for you, Steph). Athletes Ruthie Bolton Holified (40 and one of the most underrated guards in women’s basketball), George McCloud (40), Doug West (40), Jeff Bagwell (39), Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas (39), and Antonio Freeman (35) all had birthdays as well.

Monday, May 28

Jim Thorpe, if he would’ve been in better shape, would’ve been celebrating his 119th birthday. Ian Lancaster Fleming, the creator of James Bond, would have been 99; Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, would have turned 71, but Gladys Knight did. Presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is 63; John Fogerty of Credence Clearwater Revival is 62; former NBA-player Armon “Hammer” Gilliam turned 43; former Laker Glen Rice is 40(!); and hottie Kylie Minogue celebrated her 39th birthday.

Tuesday, May 29

Bob Hope almost made it to 104 – he passed away in 2003. Actor Sebastian Shaw, who we now have to qualify as the “first” Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi (after Lucas replaced him with Hayden Christiansen’s “ghost” in the final scene – STOP MESSING WITH THE FILMS, jackass!), would have been 102, but he passed away in 1994. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy could have celebrated his 90th birthday, if not for The Conspiracy. Composer Danny Elfman is “all dressed up with nowhere to go / walking with a dead man over [his] shoulder,” and turned 54. Cougar Annette Bening is 49; actor Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding) is 48; singer Melissa Etheridge turned 46; Lisa Welchel (Blair on The Facts of Life) is 44; and Noel Gallagher of the band Oasis is 40.

Hmm… I have too much time on my hands.

* * *

In really trivial history news today, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by Congress on this day in 1854 (important if you live in Kansas or Nebraska); Madison Square Garden opened its doors in 1879; 1907 was the year the first taxis appeared in the U.S., in New York, natch; the 17th Amemdment went into effect, which allowed the popular election of U.S. senators, in 1913; the first U.S. reindeer were born in 1929; the Supreme Court ordered that racial segregation was to end in all states in 1955; and the U.S. announced that it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the U.S.S.R. in 1994, just the short-range ones. Just kidding.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trade His Ass - Update

Bill Simmons on has a great column on Kobe trade scenarios. It's hilarious. I love the fact that Simmons calls Kobe "Black Mamba."

Trade His Ass

As much as I respect Kobe Bryant’s game, I’m really beginning to hate him when he isn’t on the basketball court. I know he’s waffled on what he’s said from last weekend (when he told that he wanted to be traded, that the Lakers need to get more pieces around him, that Mitch Kupchak is doing a poor job and the Lakers need to get Jerry West back), but he’s starting to get out of hand, especially now that he’s reiterated that he “wouldn’t mind” being traded on ESPN Radio (of course, it was Stephen A. Smith’s show – don’t even get me started on that guy). It’s unbelievable how little class he’s shown in the last few years.

I’ll say this delicately: Kobe Bryant is a cancer. As much as he is a tremendous basketball talent, and as much as he understands the individual nuances of the game, he has little in the way of understanding team. I watched the Lakers at the beginning of the year, and while they weren’t very good talent-wise, they played together, moved the ball, and tried to defend. You watch the Lakers at the end of the year, and they were falling apart. Okay, a lot had to do with injuries, but hell, when your best player won’t stay in the flow of the game; when your best player doesn’t play defense (how did he get on the All-NBA Defensive Team?); when every interview with him seems like either an indictment of his teammates or a substantiation of his own skills; when every interview with his teammates seems like they can’t say what they want to say about him – you’ve got a problem.

A few years ago, when the question was Shaq-or-Kobe, I went with Bryant. Shaq was still a freak of nature, but slowing down, and Kobe was a freak of nature and really just getting started. Looking back, I’d have to give it considerably more thought. I know it took Dwayne Wade and some incredible fortune on the part of the Heat for Shaq to win the NBA Championship last year, and I think Shaq’s been on the downswing for about five years, but at least Shaq is funny and gets along with people. At least you kinda knew what you were getting with him, not Kobe’s bi-polar score-82-one-night-and-take-three-shots-the-next personality.

Kobe is the closest thing to Jordan in the NBA (I like Lebron, but he’s not there yet), except Kobe hasn’t learned the lesson Jordan did: how to work with your teammates. Okay, so Lamar Odom isn’t Scottie Pippen and Kwame Brown/Andrew Bynum/Ronny Turiaf aren’t Horace Grant/Bill Cartwright/Dennis Rodman… so what? At least it seemed like those guys were okay with MJ, even if MJ was crazy competitive and drove everybody nuts. Kobe’s just crazy and drives everybody nuts. I like Steve Kerr’s assertion that the Lakers can’t be “mentally healthy” going into next season, because who could be?

Does Kobe have a point that the Lakers need to have better players him? Sure. Does he have a point that they haven’t aggressively pursued some trades (the players that everybody’s talking about in this regard are Carlos Boozer, Ron Artest, and Allen Iverson)? Sure, but all of those guys are nuts. Could the Lakers have done better in finding free agents or in the draft? Okay, yeah. Is Mitch Kupchak doing a great job? Debatable. Would Jerry West be able to do a better job? Also debatable. But again, if your best player won’t help you recruit and nobody wants to play with him, it kinda makes everything difficult.

Bryant thinks everybody is against him? Sure. They are now. Now that I think about it, the big factor with MJ that is missing with Kobe is the influence of their fathers. I don’t know the first thing about Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe’s dad, outside of the fact that he played in the NBA and overseas, but he’s noticeably absent (or quiet) whereas MJ’s dad was everywhere, and you could tell the respect MJ had for his father. Maybe MJ’s dad kept him a little more on the right track. Maybe MJ’s dad kept his son’s head on straight. Hmm…

Regardless, Kobe hasn’t shown any signs of growing up. I thought he had for a little bit of this season, but it held true for maybe two months. He can do almost anything he wants with a basketball in his hands, but he’s got to figure out that there’s a lot more to it than that. Don’t get me wrong, the Lakers need some help, but they’d show a lot better if Kobe knew what the hell he was supposed to be doing.

So trade his ass, get some draft picks, start again, whatever. I still loved the franchise when it was Sedale Threatt, Anthony Peeler, Eddie Jones, Cedric Ceballos, and Nick Van Exel. Hell, I didn’t even mind Elden Campbell (okay, just a little). But those guys played hard, they didn’t do stupid stuff off the court (okay, Van Exel, a little), and they seemed like decent guys. I want the Laker franchise to be the jewel of the NBA again, and it starts with having the right people on the team.

BTW, Dr. Jerry Buss’ arrest on suspicion of DUI doesn’t help, either. =P

Animated Birthdays

Happy birthday to Trey Parker, one of the co-creators of the hit show South Park. Can you believe that the first South Park sketch “The Spirit of Christmas” was created in 1994 when Parker was twenty-two years old? The show ended up debuting in 1997 on Comedy Central. Parker is 36 today.

Today would have been Mel Blanc’s 99th birthday. Blanc was a voice actor known as the “Man of a Thousand Voices.” He is responsible for the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig and Barney Rubble, among others. Blanc passed away in 1989, and his tombstone reads, “That’s all, folks,” as dictated in his will.

I know you’re dying to know whose birthdays I missed between last Saturday and yesterday… You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

Criminally Stupid Move of the Day (a.k.a. Hero of the Day)

Note to wannabe terrorists: do not submit film of your illegal training activities to Circuit City to be converted from 8mm tape to DVD. It will probably mess with your plans.

Brian Morgenstern, a Circuit City employee in Mount Laurel, NJ, was given a tape to convert to DVD by two men on January 31, 2006. He said that the images of men shooting what appeared to be fully-automatic weapons and shouting, “God is great,” in Arabic disturbed him, but that he was moral conflicted over whether or not to tell his boss about the tape (huh?). Anyway, he ended up telling his boss and handing a copy of the tape over to authorities.

The tape led to a fifteen-month investigation of six men who live in the southern New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. Five are charged with conspiring to kill military personnel and the sixth is charged with illegal weapons possession. Morgenstern was extremely cliché in his statement about the case – you’ll have to read the original CNN article to get the cliché.

Darth Stewie

Kick ass! Family Guy will open its fifth season in the fall with a special one-hour Star Wars episode based on Episode IV: A New Hope. Nice.

I'm such a geek. *sigh*

Friday, May 25, 2007

The 30th Anniversary of Geekdom

May 25, 1977 is the birthdate of geekdom. Without that date, we’d be sitting around watching subtle, quiet movies like Little Children; rowdy, boisterous comedies like Blades of Glory; chick-flicks like Georgia Rule; and epics like Delta Farce. Forget about movies like Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End, and the upcoming Transformers. The idea of the “popcorn flick” wouldn’t exist, at least not how we know it today. What makes May 25, 1977 so special? Duh:

Star Wars’ debut was revolutionary in multiple ways, debuting Dolby surround-sound, setting a new standard in movie scores, and leading to the creation of Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light & Magic, a special-effects house. The consensus is that without Star Wars, visual effects that dominate films today would not be the same. Coming two years after the father of “summer blockbusters,” Jaws, George Lucas’ first entry of the franchise solidified the concept of the summer event film. The same could be said for the licensing that goes hand-in-hand with summer movies; Lucas’ waived his director’s fee for the licensing rights to his film, leading to scores of merchandise tie-ins that proved more valuable than any movie studio could have predicted.

Lucas began the stories that would lead to the Star Wars franchise in 1973, originally creating outlines for fifteen stories. After the first film, he declared that there would be a total of twelve movies chronicling the adventures of Luke Skywalker, retracting that statement a year later and reducing the number to nine. After Return of the Jedi, Lucas put the stories on hold until special effects had improved. Obviously, the movie saga has ended at six movies, though the Timothy Zahn novel trilogy published from 1991-1993 (the “Thrawn Trilogy” – Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command – the beginning of the Star Wars “Expanded Universe”) is generally considered Episodes VII, VIII, and IX.

By the way, in 2005, Forbes estimated the total revenue generated by the franchise at $20 BILLION. The Star Wars Fan Celebration IV is currently going on at the Los Angeles Convention Center, kicked off this past Wednesday with a showing of all six movies, and will continue through the weekend.

On a personal level, The Empire Strikes Back was the first movie I remember watching in a movie theater with my father (heck, I was four and a half when it came out), and Return of the Jedi was the first movie I ever anticipated with fervor. I remember getting the movie storybook and reading it over and over again, shocked at Princess Leia’s new outfit (c’mon – the gold bikini… ooooooo) and the revelation that Darth Vader would remove his helmet at the end of the movie. I remember the joy I felt when my mom took me to the movie theater the day it opened to see long lines, Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and hundreds of fans, and I also remember the drop in my stomach when she told me it was sold out. She asked me if I wanted to see something else – I screamed inside and said, “No.” I also remember waiting and waiting, mumbling under my breath when I finally got to see Return of the Jedi for Darth Vader to remove his mask.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was the only movie I’ve ever bought a ticket to another movie just to see its trailer (saw it before The Waterboy), the first and only movie I’ve ever sat in line for to get tickets to (twelve hours! with a little help from Steph – thanks, Steph), the only movie whose merchandise I’ve ever sat in line for (waited at Toys ‘R’ Us for five hours to shop), the only movie I painted my face to see (you shoulda SEEN my Darth Maul makeup!), and the only movie I’ve ever sat in line for eighteen hours to see. Too bad it sucked. But the fanboy part was fun.

Nothing for guys in my generation will ever be revered as much as the original Star Wars trilogy. It was what stirred our imaginations and fueled our dreams – and still does. To revel in the wonder, go to, Wookiepedia, the Star Wars Wiki, or

* * *

Oh, and by the way, today is Frank Oz’ 63rd birthday. In addition to his work with Jim Henson’s Muppets (performing Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Sam the Eagle, Grover, Cookie Monster, and Bert), he performed and voiced Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Phantom Menace, and provided the voice for the CGI Yoda in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

May the Force be with you.

Hilarity of the Day*

1. Go to Google Maps.

2. Get directions from New York, NY to London, England.

3. Read.

If you’re too lazy to do it yourself, follow this link.

*Found through PC Magazine.

How About That?

That’s an amazing shot, but this one is my all-time favorite:

Watch it once, and then watch it again to see it all play out!

I know, I know… Kindra’s already admonished me for enjoying this clip, but I still think it’s great. The timing is unbelievable.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

D's Day

Former NBA player, the Detroit Pistons’ current President of Basketball Operations, and Hall-of-Famer Joe Dumars is a young 44 today. He and Isiah Thomas formed the stud backcourt of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” teams of the 80’s and early 90’s. Fortunately for him, he’s a much better executive than his backcourt mate. He was the NBA Finals MVP in 1989 when the Pistons swept the (injured) Los Angeles Lakers for their first of their back-to-back titles. He was selected to the NBA All-Star team six times and the NBA All-Defensive team four times. According to Michael Jordan, Dumars was the best defender he ever faced. His bio is available on and Wikipedia.

It’s also Rockets forward Tracy McGrady’s birthday today. The second-best scorer in the NBA when he’s on (behind Kobe), McGrady is 28 today.

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan celebrates his 66th birthday today. I alternate between loving Dylan and just wondering about him, but I do love the songs that he’s written (Blowin’ in the Wind, The Times They Are a-Changin’, Mr. Tambourine Man, Like a Rolling Stone, All Along the Watchtower, Lay Lady Lay). I just can’t understand half of them when he sings.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just for Those in Iowa

On this date in 1879, the first veterinary school in the U.S. was established by Iowa State University.

* * *

There were some birthdays today, but nobody extremely interesting… Oh, okay, fine… playmate Kelly Monaco is 31, singer-songwriter Jewel (Kilcher) is 33 (what?! She’s older than me? Weird.), actor Drew Carey is 46, world chess champion Anatoli Karpov is 56, and actress Joan Collins is 74. There! Are you happy now?

And the only other thing interesting historically is that seventy-three years ago today, police killed the notorious couple of Bonnie and Clyde. I should mention however, that the people over at the History Channel think that President George W. Bush recovering from a bicycle accident on this day in 2004 is noteworthy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Coaching Carousel*

I’m going to say this borrowing Michael Jordan’s caveat that I am “99.9% sure:”
I’m done with coaching.
Of course, we all know that MJ came out of retirement (twice).

* * *

I spent my twenties on the coaching rollercoaster, scratching from being the freshman coach at Foothill High School (Santa Ana, CA) to being an assistant at an NCAA Division-I university, UC Irvine. And it was hard. Really hard. I guess you’re supposed to spend that time of your life trying all the crazy things you dream about. I spent mine focused on the one crazy thing I dreamt about. Turns out, your dreams sometimes become your nightmares. The Game has always been rough on me. I thought it was because maybe, one day I’d find something incredible in it.

The coaching profession has to be one of the most ludicrous professions in the world. Here’s a party of the merry-go-round that I was discussing with a friend of mine: I’ll use University A (UA), University B (UB), University C (UC), etc. to avoid using real institutions. My buddy currently coaches at UA, but he wants out for a number of reasons. He’s tried to get involved at a number of institutions, including UB and UC, who’ve just recently hired new head coaches. He even tried to get involved in some other jobs a little farther away, but those were closed since their new head coaches already had their staffs set. UB hired an assistant from high-profile UD, but UB’s new coach filled his three staff spots with a coach from UC, held a coach over from UB’s previous staff, and hired a former player for the third. UC hired a coach from high-profile UE, who then filled his staff with a coach from UB who lost his job, a coach from UF, and a former player for his other spot. So that closes those jobs to my friend at UA. However, because UF is open, he decided to try for that. Meanwhile, I have other friends who were also looking for jobs at UC, UF and another institution with a new staff at UG. By the way, a coach at local university UH just went to semi-high profile UI, so his job is open, but I think it was filled with a coach from Junior College A…

Confused? That ain’t the half of it. Every job opening creates opportunities, but what we forget is that every job opening means there are more people out of jobs who are looking to get back in. That doesn’t include the hundreds of other aspiring coaches, directors of operations, video coordinators and managers who want to get involved, too. And a lot of it works with behind-the-scenes networking, recommendations, long hours, and just plain ol’ luck. It’s tough on your own, and even tougher with a family.

So, I’m out. Done. I miss it when I watch the NCAA Tournament and the NBA playoffs (especially the Suns, Spurs, Jazz or Bulls) or when I’m out on a court (which is rare), but I’m enjoying my time with my family and my thoughts. I won’t deny that it disappoints me that I’ll never have my “One Shining Moment” and that when I think about it, I feel a little empty, but that’s another story.

*Here’s my issue to this story: it’s part of a much more convoluted story and train of thought, but I wanted to write some of it and get it out so that it wouldn’t just sit on my computer. I started it over a month ago, and basically, that’s what it’s done – just sat there. So… this was the little bit that I could close off and print. Maybe I’ll get back to it, maybe I won’t, but at least this much is off my mind.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Wii-volution

Okay, I promised some content about our trip to Taiwan a long time ago, but have obviously found more trivial issues to write about in the meantime. That, and the fact that I lost my little notepad I had in Taiwan with some thoughts and topics to blog about… I have since found it, but it makes for a convenient excuse as to why it’s taken me this much time to get around to discussing a phenomenon that’s sweeping the States… and my extended family: the Nintendo Wii.

Making it’s debut on November 19, 2006, the Wii is Nintendo’s foray into the current “next-gen” gaming console wars, coming on the heels of the much-hyped Sony PlayStation 3 and the year-old Microsoft Xbox 360. However, whereas Sony and Microsoft have delivered machines capable of extremely realistic graphics, Nintendo’s aim was to create a gaming console “for ages three to ninety.” Judging by the way my family’s reacted to it, they’ve succeeded.

The way the Wii has separated itself from the PS3 and the Xbox 360 is the promotion of its motion-sensing controllers. Dubbed the “Wii-mote,” the controller transmits a wireless signal to a sensor bar attached to the Wii and enables users to control action on the screen via movement of the controller. Thus, a player is able to “play” tennis by swinging the controller like a tennis racket, “bowl” as they would in a bowling alley, or “golf” as they would with a regular club.

What the heck does this have to do with our trip to Taiwan? My first-cousin once removed (dang, I hate the English language – he’s my cousin’s son), George, brought his back to Taiwan. Suffice to say that EVERYBODY loved the thing. My cousins love it, my aunts love it, and my mom even played it and loves it. Now, my entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins – even my mom) wants one. They look at it as a form of exercise, since you can really get into it (never mind the fact that you can play the games without actually going through the physical motions).

To be honest, I got to play it for the first time while I was in Taiwan and enjoyed the ten minutes I spent on it. I’m not sure how much actual exercise you can get out of it, but I figure that anything that gets my mom interested in playing video games is all right by me. They’re in a little bit of a short supply right now, but people with patience can pick one up if they look hard enough for one within a week or two. When I got back home, I ended up spending a couple of days searching for two – one for my cousin who really wanted one, and one for whoever else might want one. After searching online for the best ways to find one and heading to a couple of Targets and Best Buys, I ended up just buying two consoles online, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I’m just hoping that somebody gets bored of it and gives one back to me. Of course, I really don’t have room for it, and Danica’s not old enough to enjoy it, so I can’t really justify having one. Besides, they’re supposed to come down in price (??? they’ve been saying this for a while), and now that I’m older, I’m starting to look at video games as the black hole – a couple hundred for a console, $50 for every game, and $50 for another controller/accessories. Geez, I really must be getting old. On the other hand, there are a couple of games that look interesting on it…

Don’t Pity This Guy… and Definitely Don’t Call Him a Fool

Mr. T, a.k.a. Lawrence Tero, turns 57 today.

It’s also important women’s history day: Clara Barton founded the Red Cross on this day in 1881, and Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo non-stop over the Atlantic, landing in Culmore, Northern Ireland in 1932.

* * *

I missed yesterday’s interesting headlines:

It’s been fourteen years since the end of NBC’s hit show, Cheers… can you believe it? The final episode in the bar’s history aired on May 20, 1993.

Birthday wishes to singer Joe Cocker (63), entertainer Cher (61!), and actor Bronson Pinchot (48 – just in case you were wonder who he is, he played Balki on the show Perfect Strangers and was in Beverly Hills Cop and Beverly Hills Cop 3 as Serge).

Saturday, May 19, 2007


The longest running comedy in television history will air its 400th episode on Sunday, May 20. The 400 episodes represent the second most total episodes in television comedy history, just shy of the 435 episodes of Ozzie and Harriet. It will be on the air for its nineteenth season next year, trailing only Gunsmoke’s twenty seasons as television’s longest-running series.

It was a filler bit when it debuted, became the tent pole of a fledgling network, and is now a worldwide cultural phenomenon. It’s spawned dozens of catchphrases and skewered hundreds of topics, providing the basis for dozens of imitators. The show has over six hundred licensees, is the most widely-syndicated comedy in the world, and according to its producers, airs somewhere on the planet every hour of every day. July 27 will mark the show’s big-screen debut, as its long-awaited feature film makes its way into theaters.

Its 400th episode is titled “You Kent Always Say What You Want.”

The show? The Simpsons.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Up, Up and Away

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
Would like to glide in my beautiful balloon
We could float among the stars together you and I
For we can fly, we can fly
Up, up and away in my beautiful
My beautiful balloon

Up, Up and Away by Jimmy Webb, performed by The 5th Dimension

A group in Belgium put this together with the blessing of Lucasfilm. It made its debut on March 8, 2007 and is currently touring Europe. Unfortunately, I can't find plans for it to come Stateside. Boo.

Here’s their official website.

Sun Yat Fai Lok Chow Yun Fat!*

Happy birthday wishes to one of the most famous Chinese actors of all time. Chow Yun Fat turns 52 today. Born off the coast of Hong Kong to a farming family, he responded to a newspaper ad by a local television station TVB. He went on to star in the television series The Bund, about the rise and fall of a gangster in 1930’s Shanghai. It was a huge hit in Asia and one of Hong Kong’s greatest television series ever.

Chow’s career in Asia really took off with his work with director John Woo, including A Better Tomorrow (and sequels), The Killer, Once a Thief, and the definitive Hard Boiled. His work in Asia and Woo’s directorial success in America led Chow to make The Replacement Killers with Mira Sorvino, The Corruptor with Mark Wahlberg, and Anna and the King with Jodie Foster in attempts to achieve similar success in the United States. Unfortunately, only Anna and the King was a mild success.

It wasn’t until he returned to Asia to make Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, did Chow earn acclaim in the States. He has since made Curse of the Golden Flower with Gong Li and will co-star in Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End, which opens next Friday, May 25.

* – If the Cantonese is wrong, you can blame the internet.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Go see the trailer at Yahoo! Movies RIGHT NOW.

Some Trivial, Some Not

Not So Trivial

Brown v. Board of Education was decided fifty-three years ago today, declaring racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. This overturned the 1896 Supreme Court ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson declaring that “separate but equal” facilities were in accordance with the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The Plessy v. Ferguson ruling was used to justify racial segregation in all public facilities, including schools.

Pictured above are (L-R) George E.C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James M. Nabrit, lawyers who had argued against racial segregation, on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Kinda Trivial

Also on this date, just three years ago, the first legal same-sex marriage was performed in Massachusetts.

Pretty Trivial

In Hylbak family-worthy news, the first Kentucky Derby was run on this day in 1875. It was won by Aristides, ridden by Oliver Lewis, trained by Ansel Williamson and owned by Hal P. McGrath.

Really Trivial

Twenty-two years ago today, one of the most high-profile shows in television history pulled one of the biggest surprises in television history. Dallas started one of the weakest storylines of all-time when Bobby Ewing was run over by his sister-in-law Katherine Wentworth in the 1985 season finale. Actor Patrick Duffy had decided to leave Dallas at the end of the season, so his character of Bobby Ewing was killed off, leaving the show in a tailspin without one of its most popular characters. Actor Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing on the show, persuaded Duffy to return a year later. So, at the end of the 1986 season, Bobby Ewing was revealed to be alive and well, taking a shower, his death literally his wife’s nightmare. I remember that reveal as being one of the dumbest I’ve ever seen (yes, I watched the show with my mother). I couldn’t believe that the 1985-86 season was rendered meaningless and null (though I didn’t really care for that season, anyway).

Oh yeah, singer Enya turns 46 today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Are These Cool… Or What?

I can’t tell if these are cool. If they’re not lighting up, click on the picture, and they should display the way they’re supposed to. I found out about these through Ain’t It Cool News. They’re obviously Transformers t-shirts for this summer’s upcoming movie. They’re set to be released in June and contain a small battery pack that powers the light-up elements.

My problem is, I can’t tell if they’re cool or not. I guess I’ll just have to see them in person. Part of me wants them to be cool, but part of me says, “Uh, I don’t think so... you dork.”

To see the rest of the shirts, click on the link here.

The Year Everything Changed

Okay, so this post isn’t quite as earth-shattering as the title would suggest, but is based on a book I just saw yesterday about the 1984 NBA Draft called Tip Off: How the 1984 NBA Draft Changed Basketball Forever, by Filip Bondy. I haven’t had a chance to go through it, but it looks interesting. It theorizes that the picks in the draft led to numerous changes across the board in the way the NBA handled the draft, including the institution of the NBA Draft Lottery the following year.

Of course, the 1995 NBA Draft changed a lot of things, too – that was the year Kevin Garnett was drafted fifth overall right out of high school. If you really want my opinion (which coincides with a lot of others’), the 1979-80 season really changed basketball forever – the first year Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were in the NBA. Anyway, the book looks like something I’ll have to pick up, after I get :07 Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns by Jack McCallum (um, isn’t the phrase “:07 Seconds” redundant?). Of course, the Suns make me want to get back into coaching ~a lot~, but that’s another blog.

The title of this post was just a lead-in to the fact that twenty-two years ago today, a kid named Michael Jordan was named NBA Rookie of the Year. Yup… that’s it. You read that whole paragraph above for just that little tidbit.

BTW, Dirk Nowitzki, though deserving, should’ve finished second behind Steve Nash for MVP honors. If you take Nowitzki off the Mavs and Nash off the Suns and replace them with relatively equivalent players at their positions, the Mavs are still way better off than the Suns. Nash IS the Suns… Oh well, as my dad would say, I don’t get a dollar either way.

* * *

Quickly, today is actors’-birthdays day:

David Boreanaz, who starred in Joss Whedon’s Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and it’s spinoff, Angel, and who currently stars in Bones on FOX is 36.

Janet Jackson, of Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, and Fame fame and Super Bowl XXXVIII infamy, is 41.

Debra Winger, the hottie in An Officer and a Gentleman (am I the only person who’s a bit underwhelmed by that movie?) and Terms of Endearment, is 52. She also played Drusilla/Wonder Girl in the old Wonder Woman TV show, and her voice was one of three electronically combined to create E.T.’s voice in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The other two voices are Pat Welsh (primary) and Steven Spielberg. Go figure. She’s also one of the ghouls in the Halloween sequence, wearing a monster mask and lab coat while carrying a poodle.

Pierce Brosnan, the fifth James Bond, turns 54. I actually remember him more as Remington Steele. Oh, and I do like him in The Thomas Crown Affair. His trivia fact: he started in show business as a fire-eater in the circus.

Non-actor birthday: tennis star Gabriela Sabatini is 37 today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hey, Steph!

It’s Amy Chow’s birthday today. She’s 29. By the way, she’s a Stanford Medical School graduate and pediatrics is good enough for her. =) See here.

Oh, and Emmitt Smith is 38, John Smoltz and Omar Vizquel turn 40, George Brett is 54, and on this day 66 years ago, Joe Dimaggio started his 56-game hitting streak.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

George Lucas was born on this day in 1944. Creator of the Star Wars franchise, he is also responsible, in partner with Steven Spielberg, for the Indiana Jones movies (Indy 4 is on its way!). He also created Industrial Light & Magic (otherwise know as ILM – one of the first special-effects houses) and Skywalker Sound under the Lucasfilm banner, LucasArts (his video-game wing), and the THX sound-system (named after one of Lucas’ student films).

A pioneer independent producer/director, he co-founded the studio American Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola to help filmmakers create outside the confines of the studio system. He also was the first filmmaker to hold rights to the licensing of his film (while waiving his director’s fee), making millions on sales of Star Wars merchandise. His second professional film, American Graffiti, won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy).

He recently was in the news for calling Spider-Man 3 “silly.” Um… Okay, George, it’s a good thing I only choose to remember key visuals from your work on the Star Wars prequels over the last ten years...

Read more about him at Wikipedia or at

While I’m at it, happy birthday also to producer-director-writer Robert Zemeckis, who turns 55 today. He made a small movie called Back to the Future in 1985, which, incidentally, is the first movie I ever saw more than once in a movie theater and the first I ever watched in the front row. In addition to the three Back to the Future movies (all of which he wrote and directed), he’s also directed Romancing the Stone, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away, and The Polar Express (which he also wrote).

He is the executive producer and director of his latest movie, Beowulf. It is being created using motion-capture technology similar to what was used to create The Polar Express (though hopefully, it will turn out cooler than that), and stars Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Crispin Glover, and John Malkovich. It’s due to be released November 16, 2007.

By the way, does anybody think that he and Drew Carey were separated at birth?

And since I’m on my caffeine high and have this sci-fi movie thing going on, happy 46th birthday to Tim Roth, who will be starring opposite Edward Norton and Liv Tyler in the new Hulk movie that Marvel Comics is producing. He’ll play Emil Blonsky, a KGB agent who tries to re-create the accident that led to the Hulk, resulting in the birth of a stronger, meaner, and nastier creature called the Abomination.

In case you’re wondering what else you’ve seen him in, he’s probably best recognized in Pulp Fiction, as one of the bumbling robbers in the scene that frames the movie. He’ll star next in My Blueberry Nights, the first English-language film by the acclaimed Asian filmmaker Wang Kar Wai and also starring Norah Jones, Jude Law, David Strathairn, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Weisz. It’s due to be released sometime in 2007.

I'll tell you, though... He should've signed on to be Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series instead of doing Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake. He would've made a great Snape, especially in the last three films of the series.

Oh, and it was nine –NINE– years ago today that Seinfeld ended its run on NBC.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

Happy birthday to one of the NBA’s greatest defenders and rebounders of all time and probably it’s most unusual former player: Dennis Rodman. I loved “The Worm” back when he was just playing basketball and not going insane. I was enthralled with how hard he played and the abandon that he showed chasing down loose balls. I used to try and play as hard as he did. *Sigh*

Too bad he’s a little unstable… He really has an interesting back story. I have a couple of articles from Sports Illustrated, one from his days as a Detroit Piston and another from the time he’d just joined the San Antonio Spurs. They show a very different Dennis Rodman than the current version. He turns 46 today. His hoop bio is available at’s Hoopedia.

Happy 57th birthday to Stevie Wonder, and happy 41st (!) birthday to Darius Rucker, the lead singer for Hootie and the Blowfish.

In other music-related birthday news, Ritchie Valens of “La Bamba” fame would have been 66 today if he hadn’t died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. Valens was 17 when he died along with Buddy Holly and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson on February 3, 1959. That day is known as “The Day the Music Died,” and is said to have inspired Don McLean’s song “American Pie.” The biggest trivia nugget out of all of this is that I actually know where Clear Lake, Iowa is, and I’ve been to it. Multiple times.

DYK? Four-hundred years ago today, the Jamestown colony was founded and the domination of Anglo-Saxons on the North American continent began.

P.S. - Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

“What the…!?!?” of the Day

Word is circulating that 20th Century Fox is doing an updated adaptation of the Street Fighter video game (which, by the way, better be a far cry from that crappy 1994 Street Fighter movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia). It’s set to be released in 2008, the 20th anniversary of the Street Fighter franchise. The story is supposedly built around the character of Chun-Li, a Chinese Interpol investigator searching for clues to her father’s death.

Here’s the “What the…!?!?” moment you’ve been waiting for: IGN reports that Jessica Biel is up for the role… after it was turned down by Keira Knightley and Jessica Alba. Huh?!?!? I like all three of them… But how about casting somebody, I don’t know... ASIAN in the role? Or at least, part-Asian? The actress doesn’t even have to be Chinese (but it’d be nice). Heck, Ming-Na (Wen) played Chun-Li in the Van Damme movie. *Shudder*

Did producers skip right over the hottest Chinese actress today in Ziyi Zhang (btw, I still think she should’ve kept her name as Zhang Ziyi)? Okay, so her English isn’t that good. In fact, I find it hard to listen to her in English because of her bad accent. But hell, they kept the dialogue to a minimum for Chow Yun-Fat when he did The Replacement Killers.

What about Kelly Hu? Or Devon Aoki? Or Grace Park? Heck, I just found out about Maggie Q. – and she’s hot.

Here’s a whole list of Asian actresses at Pick your fav.

Da da DA… Da da DA!

Happy birthday to Chris Berman, the quintessential sportscaster. He’s been with ESPN since one month after its inception in 1979. Berman turns 52 today.

Today also would have been Fred Astaire’s 98th birthday. Ah, to have a modicum of that guy’s dancing ability. I’d be a lot more popular. *sigh*

If you go back one-hundred forty-eight years on this date, you’ll find that the Transcontinental Railroad was completed today. Go back sixty-seven years, and you can watch Winston Churchill become Prime Minister of Britain. Go back just fifty-three years to the day the classic song “Rock Around the Clock” was released. Twenty-three years ago, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president. And just eight years ago, artist/author/songwriter Shel Silverstein was found dead in Key West, Florida (btw, did you know he penned Johnny Cash’s hit song “A Boy Named Sue”?).

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Kick Ass!

Monster Squad is coming to DVD July 24th in a two-disc 20th anniversary edition!

I can’t wait for July!

July 4 – Transformers movie.
July 12 – Kindra’s birthday.
July 13 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie (a.k.a. Kindra’s birthday present).
July 21 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows novel.
July 24 – Monster Squad DVD.

Now only if they can get Rad out on DVD… But I did just discover that you can watch it at Google Video. At last! A good use for Google Video. That’s the shit.

Happy Birthday, Tony Gwynn

The current head baseball coach at San Diego State University and Hall-of-Famer turns 47 today. One of the greatest things I’ve ever seen was a conversation conducted by Bob Costas with Tony Gwynn and Ted Williams on hitting. It was unbelievable watching two of the greatest hitters in baseball history talk about it. I’m dying to get a copy of it on VHS or DVD. I’ve searched everywhere for it and can’t find it…

Read Tony Gwynn’s bio.

Isn’t This How It Should Be?

How about the story that Mi Hyun Kim, a pro golfer on the LPGA Tour, donated $100,000 to victims of the Kansas tornadoes? She saw footage of the destruction on TV when she was playing in nearby Oklahoma and just decided to fork over the money even though she’s never been in Kansas.

That’s a nice sum considering she doesn’t make ridiculous amounts of money (for a professional athlete), and she’s not even an American citizen. It’s even more astounding considering the fact that some of America’s most famous pro athletes can’t even match that. I realize that a lot of pro athletes do work behind the scenes that we don’t hear about with their own foundations and programs, but when you hear about an athlete here or there donating $10,000 or something like that when they make in the middle seven-figure range in salary alone, it pales in comparison to what Ms. Kim did.

I keep thinking back to what an acquaintance of mine told me several years ago: “You might as well spend money and enjoy life, because you can’t take it with you.” I don’t think he meant spending money in a frivolous way on nicer clothes or flashier cars. It was about seeing the world and probably for something like this. I’ve been thinking about money a lot recently, with the need for a larger home for my family and a newer, bigger car, but I suppose that we can all contribute something when the need arises. I guess we just have to get it in our minds that most of us are pretty lucky with the things we do have and the opportunities that have been presented to us. I just wish my family was in a better position to be able to contribute more.

Here’s a link to the original story about Mi Hyun Kim on

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Fair Lady

Probably Kindra’s favorite actress of all-time, Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on this day in 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. From her American movie and Oscar award-winning debut alongside Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday to her unforgettable turn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn exuded a charm and class that remain iconic even today.

Quick trivia tidbits from IMDB:

Felt she was miscast as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Is one of only nine performers to win an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy.

She was considered for the lead in Cleopatra, which went to Elizabeth Taylor.

Her father discovered documents about his ancestors after World War II that indicated some of them bore the name Hepburn, which he added to his name, thus her name is Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston.

She was trained as a dental assistant before beginning her modeling career.

In 1988, she was named special ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The Gap revived her (digitally) for a series of “Back in Black” pants commercials in September of 2006.

Hepburn passed away January 20, 1993. Read more about her at IMDB or at

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How Could This Be Bad…?

Beer. Wings. Chicken breasts. Hold the chicken.*

Before going any further, I feel the need to state that my wife adamantly dislikes Hooters and the fact that I’ve even been to one (well, more than one – but only with basketball coaches, so I call them “business meetings”). I would say that her dislike of the restaurant franchise follows closely behind her vehement dislike of Jennifer Love Hewitt. In all fairness, I’m going to disclose the fact that she admitted to me last year that she was planning on taking me to Hooters for dinner on my birthday (I can’t remember if this included us taking Danica, which definitely would’ve stretched the “family-friendly restaurant” vibe that Hooters gives off).

Regardless, I spent part of Friday, March 16 at Hooters in Costa Mesa, CA celebrating the second of the two national holidays that week (start of March Madness, duh). I was there with some friends watching the Long Beach State 49ers take on the Tennessee Volunteers in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Just so you all know, there were two guys and three girls, and it was at my friend Melissa’s suggestion that we go to Hooters, plus I had a coupon for twenty free wings (hmm… I seem to be covering my behind more than I should feel the need to).

When I arrived, Melissa and a couple of my other friends were already there. They’d just ordered some waters and a pitcher of beer. The waitress brought everything and proceeded to pour the beer… with a 2-inch head on it. She just sloshed the beer into the glasses! I don’t know about the rest of you, but 1) my friends and I don’t like foam on our beer and 2) I thought they taught servers to pour down the side of the glass to avoid leaving a huge head on the beer. Regardless, we asked for a couple more glasses and ordered another pitcher since we were waiting for some other people to get there. When our server came back, I said that it was fine, and that I would pour the beer, to which she playfully responded, “What? Are you saying I don’t know how to pour?” Um, yes. We shoulda said it, but we didn’t.

We were sitting where we had two 42” flat-screens and a 27” standard TV in front of us, so it was a nice spot. The 27” had on Fox Sports and the “Big 12 Report” for some reason, one of the 42’s had on the Long Beach game, and the other had on ESPNews, which we asked them to switch to another CBS feed. That went without too much error, though when they switched from ESPN to CBS, it was still the Long Beach game.

What you have to understand here is that during the first round of the NCAA tournament, there are four games going on at any given time. They stagger them for TV by 5-10 minutes, but traditionally, during the first round, you want to have two or three screens going with separate games on them. When they switched the second flat-screen, I just figured that maybe that particular CBS feed was showing extra footage of the Long Beach game and would switch to back to another game. Nope. It was the same feed.

So we had three TV’s and one game. I just figured the kid who changed the channel put it on the same fee instead of a different one. Whatever, we were there to watch Long Beach play. As we sat there watching the game, I looked around and noticed that the Long Beach game was on probably half the TV’s in the place (12 or 13 of the twenty-five I counted).

Hooters normally has on rock over the P.A. system, but we wanted to know if they could put the audio for the game on. We asked our waitress, who said she had to ask her manager. She came back saying that her manager said that they couldn’t put on the audio, which was crazy, since the only other “live” sport on was NASCAR and another NCAA game. We asked her to get her manager so we could ask him. He came over and said that they weren’t allowed to change the audio because they don’t want to deal with one person wanting to hear one game and then another wanting another game. The only time they are allowed to listen to live audio is if UCLA, USC, or Florida is playing. Apparently, they are the local “Florida alumni” Hooters, so in addition to the Gators, they are only allowed to listen to broadcasts of local teams. Um, Long Beach IS a local team… In fact, from where we were sitting, it was twelve miles away, which is a heck of a lot closer than either UCLA or USC. He said that his son graduated from Long Beach, and he would change it if he could, but he couldn’t. Um-hmm. BUT THE GAME IS ON HALF OF YOUR TV’s! No dice.

Anyway, Long Beach was getting trounced, so we were looking to maybe watch another game. We asked our waitress to switch the second TV to a different feed, and when she came back she said that they couldn’t get another game on there “because [they] don’t have satellite.” Um, excuse me? There were at least five TV’s in the place that had a different feed. What do you mean, “We don’t have satellite”? Oy.

So, in answer to the title of this piece, that’s how it could be bad. Sheesh. I might be nit-picking, too, but the waitresses were a little too sweet and flirty. It’s nice if they’re hot, but you don’t want a girl who is overtly flirty. It’s just boring when you know it’s an act. I doubt I’ll be returning to Hooters any time soon, which is a shame, because it’s a great place to hang out if you’re at the Final Four and wanting a place to sit all day, eat, drink, and watch games. *sigh* I guess it’s what’s on the inside that counts. =)

* -- Before you all jump me, this joke isn’t mine. It’s from a guy named Blake Sasaki, who currently works for the San Francisco 49ers in their corporate sales division.

Hard Boiled Birthday

It’s John Woo’s 54th birthday! The first Asian director to direct a mainstream American movie (the regrettably average Hard Target, with Jean-Claude Van Damme), he is the man who put Chow-Yun Fat on the American radar and the biggest proponent of slow-motion in action movies, the “two-gun” shooting style (see below, left), the “catch-gun-in-mid-air-and-shoot” sequences, and the “gun knot,” a scene where the main protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) all have weapons pointed at each other in close proximity (see below, right. The funeral sequence in Face/Off also has one of the more complicated versions).

Celebrate by watching some of Woo's classics, which include A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Face/Off, and my personal favorite, Hard Boiled. I would also recommend the opening of The Replacement Killers (which, if I remember correctly, is actually just American version of the opening to The Killer), just not so much the rest of the movie. Actually, just watch any of the action sequences in the rest of his movies, and you’ll be good.

Strange tidbit: IMDB has his birthday listed as September 23…

Today also would have been Joseph Heller’s 84th birthday. Read his 1961 novel “Catch-22” or watch the 1970 movie starring Alan Arkin. Heller passed away in 1999.