Phil's Take: Three Sports

I don’t know if I need to tell you all, but I’m a huge sports fan. Usually when talking about sports, we talk about basketball, baseball, or football. In the past week though, I watched a great event that had nothing to do with those three sports.

I watched the 2005 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Final Four.

In the first match of the day, Duke University ran all over the University of Maryland. However, the second semifinal match of the day was the greatest lacrosse game I’ve ever seen. Johns Hopkins University took on the University of Virginia in the nightcap. With the match tied at seven, Virginia’s captain Matt Ward scored the potential game winning goal with 12.9 seconds left. The game is over, right? WRONG! Johns Hopkins’s sophomore Jake Byrne won the face off and sprinted down the field, whipping the ball past Virginia goalkeeper Kip Turner to tie the game with 1.4 seconds left.

Holy shit…

I couldn’t believe what I just saw. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. With sticks flying and smacking him in the arms, Byrne shot and scored. The sophomore kept his composure and saved the season for his senior teammates. In the overtime period, Johns Hopkins senior Benson Erwin scored with less than a minute left, to lead the Blue Jays to victory.

The championship game pitted the number one ranked Johns Hopkins Blue Jays against the number two ranked Duke Blue Devils. Johns Hopkins is considered by many to have the greatest lacrosse program ever, yet they haven’t won the championship since 1987. Duke only suffered one loss this season, 11-10 in double overtime to Johns Hopkins last month. Duke wanted to avenge that loss and take home that national championship. This is the match everyone wanted to see.

The game was very physical, and Duke led at the half 7-6. With the game tied 8-8, Jake Byrne scored the game winning goal in the fourth period. Johns Hopkins held on with stringent defense and won the match. Their 18 year drought without a national championship has ended. The Blue Jays became the first team since 1997 to go undefeated and win a national championship in a season.

I’m going to be attending East Carolina University in the fall, and I now wish that they had a lacrosse team. The sport is absolutely amazing, and I recommend all of you to watch it.

Who Do We Blame?

February 16, 2005 will go down as one of the darkest days in NHL history. During a 1:00 P.M. press conference, Commissioner Gary Bettman officially cancelled the 2004-2005 NHL season. Bettman blamed it on the Player’s Union. The Player’s Union Chief Bob Goodenow blamed it on Bettman and the owners. Both sides knew what was coming, but there was no way to stop it.

The National Hockey League was in major economic trouble. The collective bargaining agreement would soon expire and the league and player’s union needed to draft a new one. The problem was neither parties could agree on anything.

The League pointed out to the players union that only 11 of the 30 NHL teams made a profit in the 2002-2003 season. The players were steadfast against a salary cap, and they felt they were being unjustly pressured into accepting such a limit. Goodenow was strong for the players and refused the salary caps.

One would think that a group of adults that are, “looking out for the best interest of the sport,” could have come up with some sort of solution; however, they didn’t reach one.

On September 15th, Commissioner Bettman announced the beginning of the lockout. Both sides continued to meet in hopes that they wouldn’t miss any of the season, scheduled to start on October 13th. The NHL season was supposed to start on October 13th, but it was a no go. With none of the games being played and no meaningful discussions taking place over the holiday season, Bettman had to take a stand. He announced that if no deal was reached by the 13th of February, he would cancel the season.

On September 15th, Commissioner Bettman announced the beginning of the lockout. Both sides continued to meet in hopes that they wouldn’t miss any of the season, scheduled to start on October 13th. The NHL season was supposed to start on October 13th, but it was a no go. With none of the games being played and no meaningful discussions taking place over the holiday season, Bettman had to take a stand. He announced that if no deal was reached by the 13th of February, he would cancel the season.

There was a sudden rush from both sides to reach an agreement. The Player’s Union agreed to accept a salary cap without the authorization of the players representatives. The owners offered a salary cap of $40 million at first and then, bumped it up to $42.5 million. The Player’s Union rejected the offer and counter proposed for $49 million. The League rejected it, and talks ended.

I firmly believe that both sides are to blame for the cancellation of hockey this season. The owners had the chance to save the season by raising the salary cap to $45 million. This might have met the players half way. They didn’t reach out enough to their players.

The players pull more of the blame for the way they handled this entire situation. The NHL ratings over the last season were probably more equivalent to the Arena Football League. They’ve been replaced by NASCAR in the “Big Four Sports” which includes the MLB, NFL, and NBA. The players were ridiculously greedy for a sport who’s TV ratings sometimes dip below the Weather Channel’s.

Some of the greats still active in the game are reaching the retirement age. Mark Messier (44), Mario Lemieux (39), Scott Stevens (39), Bret Hull (39), Dominik Hasek (40) and others may just hang up the skates after this and never play in the NHL again. I hope this is not the case and they all come back to play again next season.

Here are some things they could change about the NHL to make it more appealing to the fans when it returns:

1- Lower the price of tickets.
2- Remove zone defenses.
3- Make goalie gear more streamlined, allowing more scoring.
4- No tie games, have a shootout if it’s tied.

I feel the cancellation of the season could have been avoided if both sides would have acted more reasonably. Good luck to the NHL in getting the salary cap issue dealt with by the time the season is supposed to start next year. The commissioner says he does not want to play with replacement players, but the question remains: What will he do if it comes down to it?

In Roy We Trust Part 2

(Read part 1 here.)

“Tobacco Road” was set ablaze when Roy Williams was named North Carolina’s head coach on April 14th, 2003.

Just one week after leading the Kansas Jayhawks to the National Championship game, the former Tar Heel assistant returned to his alma mater to become the head honcho. Athletic Director, Dick Baddour finally got the man he wanted to coach his basketball program.

Every college basketball fan across the country knew the Tar Heels were approaching greatness with the sophomore class of the 2003-2004 squad. It was difficult for the young team to adapt to Williams’s coaching style of playing as a team. Carolina failed to win 20 games in 2003-2004 for the third straight season. Tar Heel fans knew the program was headed in the right direction.

In the spring of 2004, Coach Williams was heavily recruiting J. R. Smith and Marvin Williams. Both players were high school All-Americans and sought by many universities. Smith decided to take his skills to the NBA, and he was drafted with the eighteenth overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets. Marvin wanted to be a Tar Heel. He knew going into the season that he would not be a starter, but he would receive a significant amount of playing time. He would make the most out of his playing time this year.

To begin this season, point guard Raymond Felton was suspended by the NCAA for playing in a summer league tournament. The tournament had been sanctioned by the NCAA up until this past winter, and tournament organizers failed to inform everyone of the change.

UNC traveled to California to battle Santa Clara in the opening game of the season. The Broncos battled hard and the Felton-less Heels were upset. North Carolina then went on a 14-game winning streak, beating a talented Kentucky team and destroying a gutsy Maryland team by 35 points.

With what many sportswriters call “the most talented team in the country,” the Heels have five players averaging more than ten points per game. A very deep bench allows them to keep players fresh and allows the whole team to get involved in the game. Sean May is having another monstrous year and Rashad McCants is looking to pass the ball to his teammates before he shoots. Seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott are stepping up to be leaders on and off the court. Freshman superstar Marvin Williams, whom many believe would be a lottery pick if he entered the NBA draft after the year, is averaging double figures and is constantly making SportsCenter for either stepping out beyond the three point range and knocking one down or making a flashy dunk. Either way, Marvin deserves the Freshman of the Year award.

After a shocking loss to Duke last week, Carolina went up to UCONN and pulled out a tough victory over a good Husky team. Right now the Tar Heels are 24-3, and they are my pick to win this year’s NCAA Tournament.

In Roy We Trust Part 1

“In Roy We Trust.” This phrase is coming out of the mouths of Carolina basketball fans all over the country. In only his second season as head coach, Roy Williams has reestablished the University North Carolina Tar Heels back atop their pedestal as one of the nation’s top basketball programs. Why were they off that pedestal? It all goes back to the 1997-1998 season . . .

Head coach Dean Smith decided it was time to retire. The coach that holds the record for most Division 1 wins of all time has accomplished too much to list here. has accumulated a list of Smith’s accomplishments.

When Smith retired in October of the 1997 season, Bill Guthridge was handed the reigns of the Tar Heel program. Guthridge’s first season as the Tar Heel head coach was outstanding. The Tar Heels finished the season 34-4, won the ACC Championship, finished Number 1 in the Associated Press Poll, won the NCAA East Regional Title, and competed in the Final Four. Carolina also produced the National Player of the Year in Antawn Jamison, and they had two players selected in the top five picks of the NBA Draft for the second time in four years.

Guthridge won almost every coaching award possible that year. The Tar Heels went into the 1998-1999 season with a very inexperienced team. With four starters leaving from the previous year the Heels compiled a record of 24-10 and another berth in the NCAA Tournament. The season was a bust however, as the Tar Heels were upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Weber State.

The next season saw the arrival of superstar Joseph Forte. The freshman averaged 16.7 points per game and led the Tar Heels back to the NCAA Tournament. Carolina had impressive wins over Stanford and Tennessee until falling to Florida in the Final Four. Guthridge retired at the end of the season.

UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour went searching for the next coach of the illustrious program. The target: the University of Kansas head coach and former University of North Carolina assistant coach Roy Williams. Williams decided that staying at Kansas for the time being was the best decision for him and his family. The search for the next Tar Heel basketball coach, led Baddour to South Bend, Indiana.

Notre Dame University’s head coach Matt Doherty returned to his alma mater as the new head coach of UNC. Doherty was a member of the Heels 1983 National Championship team. The Tar Heels won 26 games in Doherty’s first year, and he was awarded the National Coach of the Year award. Joseph Forte was awarded Co-ACC Player of the Year, yet the Tar Heels were upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Penn State. Doherty and the Heels realized that All-American Brendan Haywood would be graduating, yet they were not prepared for the loss of Joseph Forte.

The glitz and glamour of the NBA drew Forte out of college after only his sophomore year. After only two seasons in the NBA, Joseph ran into trouble with the law, and he was later cut by the Seattle Supersonics. Forte now plays in the NBA’s Developmental League.

The 2001-2002 season was the worst in North Carolina history. The Heels won only eight games that season and accumulated embarrassing losses to Binghamton and Davidson. Throughout the season and off-season, many Tar Heel fans and alumni called for the firing of Doherty, yet Baddour stood by his coach.

The Tar Heels went into the 2002-2003 season with arguably one of the most talented freshmen classes of all time. They opened up the season with big wins over Kansas and Stanford, but they quickly saw their season begin to unravel before them. After many embarrassing losses, Carolina did not live up to the hype. After being snubbed by the NCAA Selection Committee, UNC was defeated by Georgetown in the “Final Four” of the NIT Tournament. (Georgetown went on to win the tournament).

Shortly before the end of the NCAA Tournament, the University of North Carolina fired Matt Doherty as the head coach of their basketball program. The season before, sophomores’ Brian Morrison, Adam Boone, and Neil Fingleton transferred out of UNC citing Doherty’s temper. Rumors were spreading that freshman star’s Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, and Sean May were going to transfer out for the same reason. Things began to look bleak in Tar Heel town, but Matt Doherty was always meant to be a transition coach . . .

Coming Soon: In Roy We Trust: Part II

WWE 2004: Year In Review

(Written on January 3, 2005)
Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) remained the top professional wrestling organization in 2004. This column is going to be the “Best and Worst of 2004” of the WWE.

This was a year of up and downs for Vince McMahon and company. Wrestlemania XX saw the crowning of Chris Benoit as World Champion and Eddie Guerrero retained his title, but we also saw Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg wrestle their last matches in the WWE. The year was marred with the premature pushes of John Bradshaw Layfield, Randy Orton, and Carlito “Carribean” Cool. However, I will give them credit for the gradual and rather impressive push of Batista these last few months. The visit to Iraq was a wonderful thing, yet they ruin it with Muhammad Hassan and the 9/11 remarks. Sometimes it seems as though Vince has absolutely no clue what he is doing. Well, let’s get to the awards.

Worst Female Wrestler – Lita

Lita racked in what had to be the worst year of all the female wrestlers. In my opinion, she’s lucky she was not released along with Gail Kim. After going through neck surgery that sidelined her for some time, her in-ring work greatly diminished. One of the major angles of the year was the pregnancy angle between Lita and Kane. The angle was absolutely HORRIBLY written and Lita’s ATROCIOUS acting did not help it either. The angle did bring out two bright spots for me though: Trish Stratus’s unbelievably good heel-side was brought out in her dealings with Lita, and Gene Snitsky’s terrifically bad, yet funny, acting. I thoroughly enjoy watching Gene Snitsky and hope he continues to grow in the ring.

Best Female Wrestler – Trish Stratus

For the last few years Trish Stratus had been the loveable, blonde damsel. In this past year, she took a major step forward in her career when she turned on Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania XX. Throughout the year, her mic and in-ring skills vastly improved. She is, without a doubt, the backbone of the women’s division in the WWE. With Trish’s skills improving, I expect her to have another big year in 2005.

Worst Tag Team – The Dudley Boys

The Dudley Boys ended 2004 as the worst tag team. Arguably one of the best tag teams of all time, the Dudleys, fell off the face of the earth in 2004. They had a brief stint as Spike’s “enforcers,” yet that didn’t last very long. The Dudley’s just aren’t the entertaining tag team that they used to be. I don’t know what is in store for this team in the year 2005.

Best Tag Team – William Regal and Eugene

I thoroughly enjoy watching Eugene in the ring, however, the “special kid” angle has been pushed way, way too hard. The thing I enjoy the most about Eugene’s matches is when he unleashes the Rock Bottom or the Stone Cold Stunner on someone. William Regal is finally being used to his ability as a gifted technical wrestler, and he and Eugene have gelled well together. The fans have fully backed them as a team, and I see La Resistance (Sylvain Grenier and Rob Conway) as the only team able to unseat them.

Worst Single Wrestler – Christian

“Captain Charisma?” You have got to be kidding me. Watching Christian wrestle is like listening to someone scratch their nails on a chalkboard. Christian is a tag team wrestler. He needs to stick to tag matches. In his short-lived feud with Sheldon Williams, Christian was really exposed for his bad technique and LACK of charisma. You do know the reason he calls himself “Captain Charisma” right? That’s because no one in their right mind would call him that. I enjoyed Edge and Christian as a tag team, but when they split to follow single careers it was obvious that Edge was the talent on that team. Hopefully the WWE will ease my pain and take Christian off of Raw.

Best Single Wrestler – Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit had a great year on Raw. At Wrestlemania XX, Benoit realized his dream of winning the World Title. At the Granddaddy of them All, Benoit defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a great Triple Threat Match for the title. He carried Randy Orton through their World Title Match at Summerslam. Throughout the year (and his entire career if you want to be honest), Benoit has continued to produce great match after great match. Barring a serious injury, I expect him to have another stellar year in 2005.

Most Overrated Wrestler – Randy Orton

Randy Orton takes the cake in the Most Overrated Wrestler department. The guy definitely has mid-card skills, no doubt about it. However, he’s not up to main event level, and I believe the WWE realized it after awarding him the title over Benoit at Summerslam. A mere one month after defeating Chris Benoit, Randy Orton dropped the title to Triple H at Unforgiven. The WWE made the mistake of skyrocketing Randy Orton to the top before he was prepared. Finger of shame at the WWE for not developing Orton like they’ve done with Batista lately.

Most Underrated Wrestler – Chris Jericho

Y2J continues to be the most underrated and underappreciated wrestler in the entire WWE. He’s held every major title in the WWE (minus Cruiserweight), and he was the first-ever Undisputed Champion, beating Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, arguably two of the greatest champions of all time, in the same night. He has carried Christian through a feud that has dragged on for too long. Jericho continues to put on amazing matches time after time, yet he never gets any love for it.

Worst Match of the Year – Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar : Wrestlemania XX

A majority of the fans in the arena knew that this was going to be both of these superstars last match in the WWE. With Goldberg not signing back with the WWE and Lesnar leaving for the NFL, the WWE was put in a horrible predicament. Who do you have win? They decided on letting Goldberg win the match, however; they allowed Stone Cold to deliver the Stunner to both men at the end of the match. During the match the fans showed both how they felt about them with loud booing and chants of “Boring” and “You Sold Out”, the latter directed mainly at Lesnar.

Best Match of the Year – Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero : No Way Out

The WWE finally realized the tremendous fan support behind Eddie Guerrero placed him in the World Title match against Lesnar. The match was absolutely amazing from opening bell to pinfall. The interference by Goldberg added a great future feud between Goldberg and Lesnar as the Smackdown fans popped like crazy for Goldberg. Eddie capitalized on the interference and pinned Lesnar to win the match.

Well that’s all from me about the WWE in the year of 2004. Hopefully 2005 will be another good year. I also want to see how JBL continues to grow on the Smackdown side of things. He’s got some of the best mic skills on the Smackdown roster, and he seems to be developing into a true heel, as long as they keep him from getting too political. Hopefully NWA:TNA will continue to grow and actually put up a decent challenge to the WWE in the upcoming year so we can have some better all around wrestling action.

Image is Everything

Over the last year, Kobe Bryant has learned that as a professional athlete IMAGE IS EVERYTHING!

It seemed so easy for Mr. Bryant. The years of 2000-2002 were the greatest years of this young man’s life. The Los Angeles Lakers won three straight NBA Championships, a feat that has only been accomplish by four teams in it’s illustrious history (’52-’54 Minneapolis Lakers, ’59-’66 Boston Celtics, ’91-’93 Chicago Bulls, ’96-’98 Chicago Bulls). I might add, that an unstoppable force known as Shaquille O’Neal was the MVP of those three NBA Championships.

All that changed on that fateful June night in 2003. Kobe took it upon himself to commit adultery with a 19-year-old high school cheerleader. Of course it seemed like a good deal at the time. I bet it was hard to pass up a cute little blonde who felt that she and the superstar had “chemistry” between them. I do not want to get too deep on the “Rape Case”, as I do believe Bryant was innocent, and the girl was just after money. (In fact I believe she was taking the case to California because she could not get a lot of money in Colorado) This is, however, the point at which Bryant’s image started to decline. Kobe was booed at the American Music Awards. He was booed at a Jay Z concert in Los Angeles.

Kobe spent most of this past off-season figuring out how to get rid of his coach and arguably the best big man in the history of the NBA, and he succeeded. The 2004-2005 Lakers team is totally different from last year’s Western Conference Champion team with three key departures. The Lakers saw the departure of Phil Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal in the off-season, and Karl Malone, who has recovering from surgery and has not played in a game this year, refuses to return to the Lakers. Let’s take a look at the Phil and Shaq situations.

Phil Jackson is arguably the greatest NBA coach of all time. He has been the coach of some of the greatest teams of all time. One of his Chicago Bulls team acquired the best record in NBA history (72-10). The man knows how to coach. He has nine NBA Titles, and in his 14 years of coaching has a record of 1007 wins and 385 losses including playoffs. What more could you want from a coach? In my opinion the man is a first ballot hall of famer. He coached a few guys with huge egos, but Kobe’s was the worst. Kobe and Phil had their differences, and the Lakers front office couldn’t take the chance of their star player and star coach colliding, so they did the same thing they did with then player and coach Magic Johnson and Paul Westhead. “Sorry, Coach, you gotta go.” One of Kobe’s problems was out of the way.

Shaquille O’Neal is a physical specimen. The man is 7 foot 1 inch tall and weighs in at a staggering 340 pounds. “Diesel” dropped a lot of the bulk he had gained the last couple of years and is in tremendous shape. Everyone heard about the petty squabbles that O’Neal and Bryant had during their tenure in Los Angeles, but they always seemed to work things out. At the end of the 2004 season, however, the Lakers had two options: keep Shaq and trade Kobe or keep Kobe and trade Shaq. Now, if you look at why the Western Conference has won 5 of the previous 6 NBA championships, you could see the obvious choice would be to keep the big man. The Western Conference thrives on having the big forwards and centers. The Lakers could have very easily traded Kobe Bryant for Tracy McGrady and kept the big man and perimeter player that has made them so good these last five years.

Jerry Buss has a hard on for Kobe though. Shaquille was shipped off to Miami for the fair Caron Butler, the average Lamar Odom, and the bad Brian Grant. The Lakers also received a future draft pick. You would think that by picking up three players the Lakers would benefit from this trade. HAHA! Not in the least! Looking at the Lakers record (14-11) and the Heats record (20-7), it is quite obvious who is reaping the benefits of this trade. Dwayne Wade was good at Marquette University, and now that he has Shaq to play with he’s emerging as one of the league’s stars. The Miami Heat have a very good chance of winning the NBA Championship this year, and Kobe can stick that in his pipe and smoke it.

On Christmas day, Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat travel to the Staples Center to take on Kobe and his Los Angeles Lakers. At the end of the game, when Kobe Bryant looks at the scoreboard and realizes that HIS team just lost by 20+ points, he realizes that he is not the superstar that he wants to be. I hope Kobe Bryant finally realizes that he cannot carry a team on his back.

For Whom the Bell Tolls IV

Well, I am glad you all liked my last article so much. Then again, I could just attribute it to the porn aspect as I well know that’s what some of you appreciated to most. At any rate, I will be doing my traditional reveiw for this week, but look for another rousing personal essay next week!

Literature: Dude Where’s My Country?, Michael Moore. As a Michael Moore fan and (as most of you well know) a professed liberal, you might already know what I am about to say: Amazing! Moore truely has a way of astounding me with his humor, wit, and insight. In his latest book he berrated the Bush Administration for not only the war, but it’s policies on many other issues. He brings in a good deal of reputable fact, plenty of numbers (which on some level reassuers everyone), and a good deal of off the cuff sarcasm. He is both profound and profane, and ashamed of neither. While some of his sentiments are to me (a moderate) a bit off, on the whole the book is strong in it’s convictions and humble in it’s approach. Moore has succeeded in illuminating the mind of the average American with both morbiod realities and inspirational truths. Star Rating: 4.5

Movies: Nowhere in Africa: This film is in German, subtitled (dubbing is inherently evil!) and absolutely wonderful. It takes place in Kenya during the second world war and is narrated from the point of veiw of Regina, a young Jewish girl who escapes Nazi Germany to live as a refugee in Africa with her mother and father. The movie is filled with ethusiastic landscapes and music, as well as the typically complex relationships between family members, races and the heartwrenching realities of the Holocaust. It is profound and deeply human. The simplicity of the child’s observations are moving. The relationship between the two parents that was so simple in Germany is at once complicated by the realities of war and reinvented with the help of Africa. This is perhaps one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. It doesn’t try to be either glamorous or shocking and the honesty of the film is portrayed in both the direction, the acting and the script. Go rent this movie, it’s out on DVD now! Star Rating: 5

Absurd Amusment

When I was about 11 years old I went to visit my Aunt in Ohio for a month of the summer vacation. I met a girl my own age and we became inseparable for that month. I forget now what her name was, but she introduced me to the absurdity of the theatre. We watched Newsies, one of those Disney feel-good flicks, nearly everyday. I found myself thinking of how cool I would be if I could break into spontaneous song and dance.

The absurdity of musical theatre I found so intriguing at that age came back to me the other day after reading a rather racy article about a three-way sexual encounter of a girl and her lover. It was the same glorious juxtaposition of the absurd with the everyday. Not only did the article make the entire pornographic ordeal sound appeal, it made it seem normal. Now all of us living in the real world know that it is not customary you invite the pizza delivery person into your house and offer him a nude tour of the bedroom, just as it is not normal that you find yourself following a carefully choreographed dance to a tune that seems to flow so spontaneously from your mouth in perfect pitch (not to mention accompanied by some distant and mysterious band).

Who made this up? I am perplexed that the human brain can tolerate such madness, how do we not go crazy at the ridiculousness of musical theatre and pornographic movies? Now don’t get me wrong, I love musicals and porno as much as the next gal, but why? Have I myself, in all my fervor to maintain my subculture identity, fell victim to the ploy of gratuitous sex and spontaneous music? I suppose I have, because absurd as it may seem I find both porn and musicals to be somewhat endearing, art forms worthy of both praise and persecution. Curiosity at the fantastical and idealistic musings of both genres is a pitfall of the human race.

Porn and the musical as I see them are microcosms for the human desire for idealistic situations and entertainment that both stimulates and relaxes. Because humans by nature are attracted to the beauty and simplicity of music, Broadway has seen huge success in both plays that show the triumph of man over adversity and the heart-wrenching drama of a life gone awry (made more digestible through musical theory and brilliant lyrics). Porn exceeds every man’s greatest fantasy by making sex accessible and a part of everyday life that the characters seem to have no problem fathoming. While musical theatre offers a deeper and more intelligent form of entertainment, porn is a very successful industry because it serves a function in society, both to entertain (as in laugh at the fake orgasms and absurd acting) and satisfy (self explanatory).

So you may be asking, why are you dissecting porno and musical theatre? Are these basic forms of entertainment really that telling and philosophical, I mean what is the big deal? The big deal is, no one seems to care. I find it a wondrous thing that humans can accept both mediocrity (porn) and absurdity (musical theatre) no questions asked. Obviously we find so redeeming value in these amusements. But are they not merely the fringe of what is acceptable in the mainstream. What these two genres make clear is that we will accept anything if it entertains us, it explains reality TV, Ben and J.Lo. and the over dramatic media. It isn’t just musicals and porn’s that have the ability to shroud reality in the absurd; it is all of modern entertainment. These once off-beat categories have led the way for all of entertainment to march into the land of the surreal. Like a car accident, we can’t help but look on. I too am lured in, although I may draw the line a bit sooner than others, it is only human nature that I crave the ridiculous.

For Whom the Bell Tolls: III

Hey, who knew this was a bi-weekly column?! Well, my apologies, I will try to keep on deadline from now on, I’m back in school so I will be a bit more acclimated to structure and the like. So here is my review column.

Music: Tiger Army, Tiger Army II: The Power of Moonlight This album is a clusterfuck of good old fashioned rock ‘n roll and hyper-energized punk rock. Better know as Psychobilly in it’s small but intense scene, this music is a God send. Anyone who appreciates the days of simple melodic rock and the intensity of punk will love this album. Some of the songs are pure Rockabilly (that is pre-Elvis rock), such as the country influenced ballad, “In the Orchard,” while others are as intense as punk rock gets, like “F.T.W”. (i.e. “Fuck the World”). Most of the other songs are a good mixture of the two, some a bit more twang, others a bit more thrash. My favorite, and an excellent representation of their sound, is “Cupid’s Victim”. Wonderful imagery in all the tracks, they stick to the monster/Sci-Fi theme of Psychobilly without sounding cheesy. I’ve seen these guys (they opened for Rancid at Roseland this fall), and they put on a great show. Go pick this album up now!!
Star Rating: 4.5

Literature: Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran-Foer. If you can get through A Clockwork Orange, this is the book for you. A bit less complicated, the novel delves into the complexities of the English language, and more specifically, the complexities that arise for those who are unfamiliar with it. Safran-Foer is truly a mastermind of the English language. The story is split in threes: a journey of a Ukraine man and his backwards English and bizarre behavior, the search of a young American Jew for the woman who saved his family from the Nazi invasion and their post-adventure correspondence. It is both oddly comical and poignant. The story is woven brilliantly and is truly a work of art.
Star Rating: 5
Well my little chicks, it is about time I quit regaling you with my tales of anti-social behavior and let you get back to your quite little lives. I urge you all to pick up the above items as they are both superb… bonus points to all of you who actually go out and buy them (points to be redeemed for prize that will be announced at the later date). Good day to you!

For Whom the Bell Tolls: II

As per the new and improved death rule, I aquired yet another week off my column. Sorry to all you folks out there who actually read what I have to say. I would first like to comment that I have been absent from the forums as of late due to personal issues as well as the issue of being home and confronted with 845 channels of digital cable to amuse myself with. I am sure none of you have been the wiser of my absence, as I have been relatively unaware of the comotion that has consumed BP during my haitus. It is here and here only that I will make my only comment on the issues: I have no stance, I will say nothing against anyone and wish to remain uninvolved in any and all drama that may ensue. I, along with most of you BPites I am sure, come here for release; therefore I don’t wish to involve myself in petty drama. I am perfectly content to remain unaware of the chaos that has risen in my absence. That being said, on to more important business: my reveiw column will, as of today, be instituting a star rating as per my personal opinion, based on a five star format. Feel free to disagree or elect me your preistess of cultural knowledge and official representative of good taste in the culture of American dissent; your choice.

Literature Review:Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed, Patricia Cornwell. Stunning novel, intersting theory on the identity of Jack the Ripper, perhaps one of the most mysterious and intrueging killers of all time. Cornwell deduces that Jack is late 19th century artist Walter Sickert. Her method of research, although a bit flimsy, seeks to prove Sickert the infamous serial killer through matched DNA, fingerprinting and watermarks, as well as the comparison of probable personalities and the stricking similarity of Sickerts portraits and Ripper homicide scenes. She uses a switch method of story telling, conjecture and detective work to weave the tale of Walter Sickert as the Ripper and paint a rather horrid picture of a gothic, drippy and soot covered industrial London. A great read for even the most novice of Ripper enthusiasts. I have recently encountered some rather harsh criticism of her theory on a Ripper theory website, and unfortunately have to concure with the critics analysis of her somewhat poor detective work. She seems desperate to convince both the reader and herself that the man she has so enthusiastically (and prematurely) accused is indeed the Ripper. Her evidence lacks convicition but has some credability as a theory (although about as much as the Royal Conspiracy Theory championed in Allen Moore’s novel and subsequent adapted screenplay, From Hell). However, her abrasive style and refusal to back down make for excellent story telling and a very interesting read. Star Rating: 3 of 5

Movie Review: The Barbarian Invasions. This flick tells the story of a French Canadian man dying of cancer in a hospital in Quebec. His loyal but disaproving son comes to his rescue from London with his new wife and gathers a group of his father’s old friends who proceed to take over his room at the hospital. The movie becomes a tale of old revelries and the misadventures of a group of verbose, intellectual bohemians and thier effects on a dying man. The cancer seems to spread through the group and reunites, disjoints and affects each person in a profuond and distinctly personal way. The movie moves from a somewhat satirical memoir to a shocking comment on individuality, disease and culture with a tumultous turning point: a jarring and random clilp of plane two exploding into Tower 1. From here on out the movie, while keeping its lighthearted and adventerous undertones, plays the characters off one another and culmintates in the will of a dying man to impart some sort of life lesson to his distant son and sort out his misgivings with a group of rambunctous friends. Excellent movie, one of the best I have seen in a while. It is an independant film in French, but well worth the labors of subtitle reading. It is playing at the Lincoln Plaza theatre in New York (it premiered at the film festival a couple of months ago) and should be making its way inwards from the west and east coats to independant theatres elsewhere. If it happens to come by your area it is well worth a drive to see. Star Rating: 4.5 of 5

Well my lovlies, it is time for me to be on my merry way. I hope you found me useful or at the least entertaining. I will make my best effort to come back to you next week with something other than a reveiw. As a side note to anyone who has cared enough about this article to read this far, if anyone (on staff or not) has any movies, books, cd’s, exhibits, etc. that they think deserve a reveiw I would appreciate any and all suggestions!