Hey as you’ve probably noticed we’ve hit a lull here for a while.

I’ve got a ton going on right now that are keeping me away from the organizational things that the site requires to keep running smoothly. There have been a lot of things in the works for the site that are still coming but at the moment need to be put on hold till they are ready.

I love this site, I love the people involved and the ideas and actions that come from it. We will be relaunching with a ton of new ideas, focuses and features and I promise when it happens we’ll be stronger than ever. I can’t say exactly when for sure at this very moment but I promise it will happen, and it’ll be awesome. But I’m not going to do it until it’s 110% ready. So it might seem like there is little going on here but I assure you behind the scenes it’s far from true.

However in for immediate future I have more important things to focus on. But I will be back.

Stay in touch people, the forums are still open and Bear is posting up a storm lately in his blog. I’ll still be around. If you need to contact me please hit me up on AIM, or via email.


Rob Cantrell: The Real Hustla

It’s a packed crowd at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, California. Rob Cantrell walks on stage, grabs the microphone and thanks everyone for coming out. He tells a few jokes, smiles and runs his hand through his fluffy hair. Then suddenly, his tone changes and he starts preaching about strip joints. “I don’t like going to the strip club. I never feel fully satisfied or content,” he explains. “I always walk out feeling mad and confused, thinking to myself, ‘Man, I just paid 60 bucks for a boner.’ I get that for free every morning.”

Rob CantrellWhile everybody laughs, Cantrell continues his set and why shouldn’t he? He’s living his dream. Rob Cantrell, 32, is a stand-up comedian who tours all over the country. Sure, appearing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn has furthered his career, but he’s been on one wild rollercoaster ride.

The rollercoaster began in his hometown of Washington, D.C. Sure, he was living in the nation’s capital, but still had a regular childhood. “I was pretty spastic. I was never really that good at sports, but I played video games, threw rocks at things and goofed off with my friends,” he says. “All I wanted to do was have fun and ride my Huffy bike around town.” Amazingly, that bike never broke on him. Just like many other kids, his family moved. He would share time living in Buena Vista, Virginia and D.C. When he was 10 years-old, his father passed away. He’s mother played a more active role in his life, especially when it came to academics. So when he applied to colleges, he chose to go to Denison University, a small school in Ohio. “My mom is really from the old school. She’s very exact and just wanted me to go to college,” he explains. “Denison was small and I got in. That was the big thing … and that was the best one I got into to tell you the truth.”

After receiving his English degree (and drinking a lot of Boone’s Farm), he decided to explore Southeast Asia in late 1999. “I took some time to travel around, get my mind straight and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” he states. “I went to Cambodia, Indonesia, Mali and other places, but then, I ran out of money and was in California.”

He lived with his friend in San Francisco and decided to try teaching out, but after a year and a half at a private school, he realized education wasn’t for him. He decided to try out stand-up comedy. “When I was 13, I wanted to go to Open Mics,” he admits. “I always had these clippings of Open Mics, but at that point, I was just looking to grow up. So stand-up kinda took a backseat until I was 26.” He would work odd jobs during the day and crack jokes crowds at night. Rob Cantrell was getting involved in the hustle game.

Bear: So Rob, are you a hustla?
Rob: Yea, all day, everyday. I’m the hustla, but I don’t carry a piece or a gun.
Bear: So you’re a peaceful hustla?
Rob: Yea, I’m kinda like a broken down hustla. But I’m still a hustla.

He was hustling for over three and a half years before his break came. In 2003, NBC had an open audition for their new reality series Last Comic Standing. Cantrell tried his luck and impressed the producers. “They kept calling me back, I kept going up and I got through the preliminary round in San Francisco,” he claims. “They invited me out to L.A., I had seven dollars in my pocket and I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep my job. Things were falling apart.” But little did he know things were starting to fall into place. He went to the West Coast Regionals in Los Angeles and astonished the celebrity judges. He went to the Finals in Las Vegas and the momentum kept building. At the end of the night, he was chose to compete on last Comic Standing and Jay Mohr gave him a key to the comic house.

Rob CantrellHe secured his spot on the show, but now, he was in competition with nine veterans to see who would be the Last Comic Standing. Comedians would be eliminated every couple of days and when it was down to eight, Cantrell was on the chopping block. He was voted into the “Elimination Match” and he chose to test his comedic skills against heavyweight Ralphie May. “I respected Ralphie and I know he was the most feared out of the comics because he is so funny and all the audiences like him so much,” Cantrell explains. “If I did take him, I would look like the man and if I didn’t, there would be no shame in it.” At the end of the round, the audience sent Cantrell packing. Instead of being down on his luck, the comedian stayed positive. “It wasn’t meant to be and with the amount of exposure there was, I couldn’t be bummed up. It was all good on all fronts.”

Rob Cantrell was out of the competition, but he’s been quite active since Last Comic Standing. Right after the show ended, he hit the road with Jay Mohr, appeared on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and was selected by National Lampoon to showcase his talent on the DVD series, The Rising Stars of Comedy. Speaking of DVDs, he recently produced, directed and wrote his own performance film/documentary entitled Metaphysical Graffiti. “It’s sort of a collage of four of my best shows with some outtakes for what it’s kinda like to be a comic, to go to these gigs and hang out backstage,” he explains. It begins with the comedian cracking jokes at Dublins, a comedy club in L.A. and throughout the film, he can be seen kickin’ it with comics, making pit stops and performing at other shows. Metaphysical Graffiti is sold exclusively at and because a limited amount of copies were made, he doesn’t mind if you burn the DVD and give it to a friend.

As you could tell, Rob Cantrell is a laid back kinda guy. He can mellow-out to Beck and the Flaming Lips and get crazy with Lil’ Jon and Clutch. He’s not the most famous celebrity, but more like a B-list rock star. Actually, he describes himself as “a little bit of cheese metal with a little bit of bling-bling rap mixed in with a 3 year-old dorky white boy.” Regardless, he’s living his dream; he tells jokes, makes people laugh and gets paid. “I don’t need to be the biggest celebrity in the world, I don’t need to be Tom Cruise. I don’t give a fuck anymore,” he proclaims. “I want to make cool art and stuff I can respect. If I can make a living off of that, it would be icing on the cake.”

Keep on hustling, Rob. Tom Cruise has nothing on ya.

Open Mic: The Freaky Nasty Version

There are some unforgettable names in the music world like Madonna and Cher. Freak Nasty may not be the classiest names, but one of the oddest ones, therefore it will stick in your mind. If they name sounds familiar, it’s probably because of their ever so freaky (and nasty) ’96 single “Da Dip.”

Now I know a lot of you are wondering the same thing: what kind of “dip” is this. At first, I thought it was a type of lip tobacco or lappy. So I put a lappy in my lip and started dancing to “Da Dip,” but vomited shortly after. I ruled out that this type of “dip” was tobacco related and that was nasty. My second thoughts were potato chip dip. So, I had a bunch of chips and dip while dancing to “Da Dip,” but I got a tummy ache and couldn’t go to the bathroom for a few days. Trust me, it was freaky nasty. The only other “dip” I thought this could be was a sexual position. So, I found a chick and decided to try it out. I put my hand up on her hip and it felt good when I dipped, she dipped, we dipped. But when she put her hand upon my hip, it didn’t feel right. It was freaky nevertheless.

I finally figured out that this type of “dip” was a dance and it had instructions. “Da Dip” was Hip-Hop’s answer to “The Electric Slide.” Let me tell you, I thought this song was bad ass. I knew all the words and memorized the dance moves. Oh yes, because of “Da Dip,” I was ready to bring it. I actually did bring it … but the pastor at my church wasn’t too pleased when I was doing “Da Dip” at one of their events. He wasn’t down with that. Freak Nasty wasn’t his cup of tea, so let’s see why you shouldn’t mix “Da Dip” with tea.

Verse 1

“Just put a little dip wit’ it, now roll those hips wit’ it,
Pop it, push it, rock it, roll it. Can’t control it? I’ll come hold it,
It’s all in fun, so take a chance,
Just get on the floor and do that dance.”

Here Freaky Nasty is, giving instructions on how to dance. It’s like the Hip-Hop “Electric Slide.” Speaking of the “Electric Slide,” it seems like I’m the only white person who doesn’t know how to do that dance. Whenever the music comes on, every white person jumps on the dance floor and starts doing the “Electric Slide” as if they choreographed it. It’s automatic and obviously, it hasn’t been programmed in my head. Personally, I kinda get a kick out of doing “Da Dip,” because it’s like grinding. Honestly, who doesn’t prefer grinding?

Verse 2

“Back again with the second verse.
It’s all clean, so I’m not gonna curse.”

Well shit, thanks for the warning. Maybe I won’t listen to the rest of this song because it’s PG rated. How you like me now, Mr. Nasty?

Verse 3

“This is my world. I’m just a squirrel,
Tryin’ to get a nut. So what’s up?”

Wow. First of all, this doesn’t even rhyme. Secondly, why are you calling yourself a squirrel? Out of all that animals, why a squirrel? They get like ran over and live in trees and some people decide to shoot at them. Thirdly, why are you trying to get some nut? Throughout this whole song, you’re telling girls to shake their bon-bons and now, you want some nut? DAMN, you’re freaky … and nasty.

I’m sorry, but after that last comment, I’ve had enough. I will admit, I put my hand upon my hip and then, I dipped and I couldn’t get up. And right now, I don’t wanna.

Open Mic: Sorry Dolly, but Billy Ray ain't no Romeo

I think one of the most disappointing thing a male can see is a beautiful woman dating one ugly son of a bitch. I’m sorry girls, but it’s the truth. Some of you ladies date the biggest and ugliest jerks around.

Dolly Parton and Billy Ray Cyrus are a prime example. Sure, these two never dated, but seeing this country diva call Billy Ray a “Romeo” is a slap in the face to William Shakespeare.

See, the year was 1992 and Billy Ray Cyrus was in the height of his popularity. He had woman whimpering and rocking out to his smash “Achy Breaky Heart,” was selling out arenas and was having kids with a few women. So how do you keep this red neck’s popularity going? You pair him up with country diva Dolly Parton for a special duet. The song was called “Romeo” and this song was awesomely bad on all fronts (I hope VH1 doesn’t sue me for saying “awesomely bad”). So let’s really take a look at the stats of this so-called country pairing of Romeo and Juliet:

Dolly Parton as “Juliet”: Juliet is supposed to be dazzling. She’s supposed to be the hottest chick in all the kingdom, wear these extravagant dresses and have the most beautiful jewelry. Dolly Parton has huge knockers. Juliet’s like the head diva of Verona. Dolly Parton is like the head diva of country music. Ok, I buy this.

Billy Ray Cyrus as “Romeo”: Romeo is supposed to be this suave dude. This guy is supposed to know how to rhyme well, dance well and have a big heart. Billy Ray Cyrus has none of the above. Three words spring to mind: Achy, breaky and heart. “Achy Breaky Heart” doesn’t sound cool when it’s said, the “Achy Breaky” dance looks like he’s playing hop scotch and how can he have a heart if it’s achy and breaky? Come on. Now if it were Jay-Z, he’d probably have his first bitch problem.

The video is so boring, I really don’t know if I can insult it. I mean, it’s in black and white, it’s in a really bad bar and the cheesiest thing is when Billy Ray Cyrus walks in towards these girls with the wind blowing at him when he walks in. He doesn’t look like Romeo, but more like a stalker. Yea, he has the stalker’s profile. He’s a 30 year-old white man who sports classic mullet and looks like he hasn’t shaven since Shakespeare held a play at The Globe Theatre.

Anyways, here’s a bunch of lyrics you won’t find in one of Shakespeare’s scripts.

Verse 1 – Dolly Parton

“A cross between a movie star and a hero in a book
Romeo comes struttin’ in and everybody looks
‘Cause he’s just got that special thang that everybody needs
And everybody wants him but not as bad as me”

Cross between a movie star and a hero in a book? I tend to think Billy Ray Cyrus is more like a cross between Alan Jackson and Joe Dirt. And what’s that special thang that everybody needs, Dolly? Huh? A fur coat? Cocaine? Larger breast implants? Wait, it’s probably money that can be used to buy a fur coat, cocaine and larger breast implants. By the looks of it, you don’t need larger breast implants, but who knows, it couldn’t hurt, right?

Verse 2 – Dolly Parton

“My temperature keeps risin’ every time we meet
I may not be in love but let me tell you I’m in heat”

Your temperature keeps rising but your not in love? Hey Dolly, relax. Whenever you keep “meeting” this odd individual who keeps following you around, it’s only natural to want to kick his or her ass (coughStalkeRcough).

Chorus – Dolly Parton

“Romeo, Romeo, I just know I’ll get you yet
Romeo, Romeo, I want to be your Juliet”

Honestly girl, if Billy Ray Cyrus is Romeo, I really don’t think you want to be his Juliet.

Verse 3 – Billy Ray Cyrus

“So step it high, step it low, step it out and in,
Step to the side, let it slide, then steppin’ up again
Step on toes, it all goes, steppin’ as you please”

See, this is what I’m getting at. Not only is Billy Ray really bad at rhyming, but he proves he’s even awful at giving dance directions. I bet he would somehow mess up the Hokey-Pokey. Billy Ray, here’s some advice: practice the Electric Slide before you go to the club.

I know a lot of country music lovers are thinking, “God Bear, you’re such an asshole.” Well I’m sorry to break your achy heart, but this song is just like surprise casserole: you really don’t know what it is and you don’t want to find out.

Thank god these two didn’t get married. I don’t even wanna think about what those kids would have looked like.

Enjoy The Silence 12 – Rammstein Live!

15th July 2005, a night that will be remembered evermore for me. I have just experienced a true assault on the senses, never have I been more blown away by a gig than I just have been. Rammstein whilst I have enjoyed many of their songs are not up there on my big list of favourite bands but they have always managed to strike a cord within me, the epic style of their musical range, the image they portray and how a band can from out and out aggressive Industrial Metal to some of the most mellow and beautiful music I’ve ever heard.

Tonight however was all about the former, this was Hardcore Rammstein, promoting their latest album Reise, Reise.

The build up was long, there was no support act for this gig, I’m sure anyone would have a task living up to Rammstein as I’d later find out. A camera crew were set up in the middle of the arena and the place went dark for around 10 minutes with some very sinister dark guitar play to entice the crowd. Soon a light beamed onto the stage and the silhouettes of the band members could be seen through the curtain and the crowd went insane! Still they kept us in suspense and did not appear for a few minutes longer until the lights went into strobe and the curtain dropped to reveal the most unbelievable stage I’d ever seen. If anyone has seen recent Star Trek shows and knows of the Borg that is what this looked like!

The main stage floor was overshadowed by an enormous mechanical structure with flashing neon lights rippling through it, the drummer and the guitar players stood atop of this and finally the lead singer Till Lindemann appeared through an opening in the center of this mechanical behemoth and the gig was under way as they powered onto stage with the song Reise, Reise. The entire spectacle of what I was viewing was getting to me by this point and I had to be quite careful not to show my friends that I was nearly crying, it was such an overwhelming entrance!

I hoped that the welling up would pass quickly but sadly for me it didn’t. Till Lindemann began to clap his hands above his head and the crowd duely followed as the opening marching sound to Links 2, 3, 4 was played through the sound system. I was nearly blubbing there and then but soon got into the swing of things and began to enjoy the spectacle.

A couple of songs later I was really into it and my eyes had well and truly dried up but this point, and if they hadn’t they soon would have anyway….

That’s when Feuer Frei was unleashed! One of the lead songs from the movie xXx and a badass track regardless, but the show with it was incredible. To accompany the chorus the band donned Flame Thrower masks, pretty amazing stuff! As well as the flame throwers on their faces, the pyro from the stage floor was pretty immense; makes the start of WWE Raw look weak! Similar action followed for the song Mein Teil with Till attempting to cook the keyboard player in a giant cauldron with his flamethrower. When he escaped the cauldron they attempted to bomb him with fireworks from the arena ceiling.

More tracks followed but it was when they began to performance one of my favourite Rammstein songs that things really picked up again. Du Riechst So Gut, one of their very first singles and one that I did not expect to be performed was next up and I was really pleased the stage show matched the quality of the song. Till this time donned cybernetic arms which again contained flame throwers and also got his hands on a bow & arrow that fired some impressive fireworks!

Other worthy notes go to classics Du Hast, Sehnsucht and recent single Amerika! The crowd was really pumped for Amerika, I couldn’t make up my mind if they were singing the song with Angst or joy but it was an awesome atmosphere nonetheless, which resulted in three streams of confetti being jetted out of the stage floor and into the crowd, and into the arena air, Red, White and Blue.

They said their thanks to the crowd and then left, but were soon back for the encore performing familiar hits such as the beautiful Sonne, Ich Will and the Depeche Mode cover ‘Stripped’ to make a fitting end to a mind-blowing night.
An visually and audible gargantuan, I would highly recommend seeing

Rammstein Live to anyone who was remotely likes their music, you’ll fall in love with it. Despite singing all the songs (except Stripped) in German, their music transcends the language barrier and I think takes something truly special.

Rammstein, we salute you!


Open Mic: How fun is Sheryl Crow?

It’s 1:30 in the morning. My headphones are blaring and I’m listening to classic 90’s rap … “Ghetto Superstar” to be exact. I’m writing an article for a major hip-hop publication and I’m in the groove. I got my heading, my interview transcript in-front of me and I’m about to write. But right when I’m in the middle of my grind, “All I Wanna Do” starts blasting throughout my headphones. Some people call that a mood killer, but I’ll call it a cock block. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the song and it is so damn bubble-gum poppy that I’m forced to listen to it. But not only do I get out of the mood to write, but I after I listen to the whole song, I realize how fucked up Sheryl Crow really is.

Let me give you the background on Sheryl, here. She’s tall, attractive and back in the day, she was a back-up singer to Michael Jackson. Obviously, she has enough talent to write a really bad song and make a lot of dough off of it. And it all began with “All I Wanna Do.” So let’s find out what she wants to do and Sheryl, it’s “want to do,” not “wanna do.”

First Verse

“It’s apropos of nothing he says his name is William/But I’m sure he’s Bill or Billy or Mac or buddy.”

Are you kidding me? He said his name is William. Why are you calling him Billy? Damn, you’re rude.

“We are drinking a beer at noon on Tuesday, the bar faces a giant car wash/The good people are washing their cars during their lunch break.”

Sheryl, who the hell washes their car on their lunch break? I worked in the City last year and most of the time, when they were on lunch break, they either were at the pizzeria or at the bank. Obviously, you’re a little tipsy.

Second Verse

“I like a good beer buzz early in the morning and Billy likes to peel the labels from his bottles of bud.”

Sheryl, that’s what we call an alcoholic. You are pretty much saying you’re shitfaced before 6:30 AM and Billy is sexually frustrated. Now, if you have another beer, you’ll probably pass out and that’s no fun … but who said it couldn’t be fun for Billy?

“He lights up every match in an oversized pack letting each one burn … Down to his thick fingers before blowing and cursing them out”

Ok, so Billy is drunk and probably a retard. And Sheryl, you notice his thick fingers and him blowing? Someone’s horny.

Third Verse

“Otherwise the bar is ours, the day and the night and the car wash too.”

Ok, by now you finished drunk sex and are completely hungover.

Sheryl Crow doesn’t want to have fun. She wants to have drunk sex in a car wash. That’s good for Billy, unless if he rather play with matches.

I think we all can come to two conclusions here. One, this song is terrible, lyrically. Secondly, Eric Clapton is a lucky old man.

Open Mic: No Jordan Knight, I will not "Give It To You."

I really don’t know where to start. It was around 8:50 last night when I was about to jump on my computer to write my assignment for and just when I’m about to get started, power outage. Ok, it happens.

About an hour and a half later, power comes back on, so I relax for a few minutes. It’s about midnight and things are about to pop. I have Ludacris blaring through my headphones, I’m looking over my ODB story and I’m writing the sucker. Then, it happened. Suddenly, I hear this poppy Italian music thing. Obviously, I’m not listening to Ludacris anymore. Instead, Jordan Knight’s “Give It To Your” is blaring.

I know a lot of you are thinking, “Bear, what the fuck? You’re a hip-hop journalist and you’re listening to Jordan Knight? Wasn’t he in New Kids On The Block? Dude, why do you even have him on your computer?”

Let me be the first to clear this up. I am a music junkie and I would try to compete with my friend to see how much cheesy pop music I could download (oh and believe me, I can listen to some really bad music without getting annoyed. After all, I bought Limp Bizkit’s new CD.) Not only can I handle more pop music than him, but this backfired on me on my later in life, but I am writing about this.

Here is the 411 on Knight. Jordan Knight was a member of New Kids On The Block who had a short semi-successful career as a solo artist in the late 90’s, I think ’97 or ’98. Anyways, after “Give It To You,” Knight pretty much fell of the face of the Earth, but was casted for VH1’s The Surreal Life and ironically, I was talking to my editor about The Surreal Life yesterday. For some extra knowledge, Joey McIntyre (Another NKOTB alumni) had his own solo gig too around the same time. Not only was he more popular, he had a semi-successful follow-up album, did multiple MTV appearances, casted for the TV series Boston Public and is probably best known for “I Love You Came to Late.” I can’t believe I know all this. Either I’m a big music junkie or I am a big loser. Nay, I’ll vie for music expert.

His video did teach me a lot of lessons I will remember when breaking into show business.

Video Point#1: Don’t Look GQ at a Carnival
The video takes place at a Carnival. Then, you got Jordan Knight standing there like a pretty boy. Honestly, how many pretty boys do you see at a carnival looking all GQ?

Video Point #2: “The Robot” is still not sexy
At the end of every verse, he does a dance. It looks like “The Robot.” Jordan, here’s a little bit of knowledge: “The Robot” went out like in 1983. The point of “The Robot” is to make people laugh. Now, if you’re doing “The Robot” to a romantic song, chances are you probably won’t get laid. “The Robot” isn’t sexy. Next time, do “The Moonwalk.”

Video Point #3: The new Vanilla Ice
There are a lot of great things from the past which are damn cool. Vanilla Ice isn’t one of them. He was a fad that should have been left in the past, but Jordan Knight is trying to re-create him. Think about it: both have extremely successful careers and world-wide fame in the early 90’s. Both their careers are somewhat rejuvenated in the late 90’s. In the video, Jordan Knight’s hairstyle is identical to Ice’s from back in the day. Lastly, Vanilla Ice was on The Surreal Life 2. Jordan Knight was on The Surreal Life 3. “Knight, Knight baby?”

Video Point #4: You got served?
In the middle of the Carnival, Jordan Knight wants to impress this chick and get in her pants. What is the best way to get into a girl’s pants? Not through money, not through looks, but through dancing like a pop star. In the video, Jordan Knight suddenly takes off his jacket, throws it to the side and a bunch of dancers out of nowhere come out and here’s a huge dance scene. On a personal level, whenever I rip off my jacket to dance, no one comes out to dance with me. If anything, people laugh at me. Very realistic, Jordan. I give you props though, you pretty much spawned You Got Served.

That’s just the video. Honestly, it looks like he went to the GAP, bought the nicest clothes he could find, went to a Carnival and woo la. Here are some of the disturbing lyrics.

“It’s creeping around my head, holding ya down in my bed, you don’t have to say a word, I’m convinced, you want it.”

So what are you offering her? Jello? Your comic book collection? A Vanilla Ice CD? A haircut? I hope that’s all you are offering because, if I didn’t think any better, it sounds like you’re trying to persuade a chick into having sex with you. Actually, I’m wrong. It could be a guy, I don’t know your sexual orientation.

“Anyone can make you sweat, but I can keep you wet.”

I beg to differ. I find it hard to believe anyone can make ya sweat. Personally, unless you’re a really hot chick or a 6’9″, 300 pound assassin, I probably won’t sweat. Well, maybe if I play basketball. And as far as keeping someone wet, I doubt that. I dare you to throw a bucket of water on someone, at the most they will be damp. DAMP.

“The feeling is fine, giving you everything of mine!”

Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. Either you ended that song high pitched or your voice cracked. Trust me when I say no one will want to jump in the sack with you now. And if you hooked up with the person before, it won’t happen again. Just give away the comic book and leave it at that.

Unfortunately, Jordan Knight’s career went downhill after this song, But just when one star falls, a new one rises. In this case, he brought on Ricky Martin. Thanks a lot Jordan Knight … thanks a lot! ALE ALE ALE!

What in God's name is wrong with us?

(Guest Author: “The Magic Ninja” Joey Tesauro)

So last week was a day of rejoicing for Xbox gaming geeks such as myself. The most recent addition to the infamous series of video games Grand Theft Auto was finally ported to the big green machine after being a Playstation2 exclusive since it’s initial release last October. While all of us formerly were limited to playing it at our friend’s house on their PS2, all the while muttering, “it’s really not THAT great” in our fits of jealous self delusion, now we’re able to play it on our own.

I’m not going to launch into a review of this game, the thing pretty much speaks for itself at this point, assuming you haven’t of course been living in a cave for the last five years or so. The game does feature a whole new host of features, one of which allows the main character, voiced brilliantly by relatively unknown rapper Young Maylay, (Damned if I know who the hell this guy is, but he holds his own against James Woods and Samuel L Jackson, and that’s impressive), to go on dates.

Here’s the part that interests me, though I will state for the record I haven’t progressed far enough into the game to try the dating parts myself, I’ve only heard second hand tell of it. Supposedly, the programmers wrote additional sequences to the dating, that instead of CJ just going into the apartment for coffee, there were actual sex scenes, and mini games involved during the sex for actual gameplay.

Now I’m not one of the five people on the planet who bought Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball, the idea of video game characters naked does nothing for me, that’s not what interests me about these cut sequences. Of course they had to be cut, because they would have earned GTA the dreaded X rated label, and then no stores would have dared carry it. The game’s apparently racy enough already.

So let me get this straight here. You can have your main character pick up a hooker, beat her to death with a baseball bat, and then take her money, but you can’t show a man having CONSENSUAL sex with a woman?


Now if you will excuse me, it’s time for a drink.

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.

I'm JUST Sayin…

#6 – Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a frog?

A frog?

Not bird, nor plane, nor even frog, it’s just another volume of “I’m JUST Sayin…” a glimpse into the mind of King Cobra or as I’m known in France and Canada: “The Great Dark Thing That Ogles Our Women.” As always, I don’t precisely start out knowing what it is that I wish to discuss, distress, dismember, disrobe, and/or discombobulate at any given moment, but sometimes I’m struck by Inspiration. Other times, I’m actually mugged, rolled, and left with knife wounds in a rest stop bathroom outside Castle Rock, Maine by Inspiration, while Inspiration and it’s friends use my debit card to buy porn, booze and switchblades.

Today’s Lecture Topic:


I have been much irritated of late by the Visa Check Card Commercial featuring a host of Marvel superheroes coming to the rescue of some chick in a mall parking lot. Leaving aside the question of WHY the entire roster of the Avengers and the X-Men were wandering around Twin Pines Shopping Centre, or why Captain America is suddenly strong enough to burst through CONCRETE (not that comic fans are anal about such things), but why does Spider-Man sound like a drunken Corey Feldman with a head cold? Sure, he’s young and he’s supposed to be a wise-cracking devil-may-care type, but that voice track is just ANNOYING! He literally sounds like a voice-over that Prisoner and I would have slapped together in ten minutes at KBSH Television in Hays (home of the legendary “SANDWICH OF IVAN JENSEN”). It’s as if they’re trying to make the commercial ridiculous to apologize to those who are too GROWN UP for caped heroes…

I guess I just don’t get it. I’ve read tons and tons of fiction, both adventure/escapist (soooperhero and comic booky) and “Real Literature,” and frankly? I don’t see that much difference. There’s apparently some unwritten line of demarcation that makes the little 24 page paper pamphlets mind-sucking pap, (Doesn’t being 3 bucks a pop make them adult? After all, who but a grown-up has that kind of disposable income?), while virtually the same story told with Russell Crowe in the lead becomes a poignant and tender Oscar nominated must-see film experience.

For the purposes of my BMF list and the subsequent Hall of Fame (currently over in “The Jungle”, he said, hinting broadly), I won’t draw any lines on genre. Children’s program, soap opera, comic book, movie, Tijuana Bible: Everybody gets an even playing field. Mebbe it stems from my pathological need to balance the scales (hey, YOU try being the only BOY child in a family of psychotic Amazon women and see if YOU don’t have a problem with marginalization), but mostly it comes from this truth: Ideas is ideas. The set dressing isn’t nearly as important as what you’re trying to say. If your story is, say, a deep and philosophical look at the world around us, why should it matter than the main character is Wonder Warthog? (Heh. I love Wonder Warthog. “I gave ’em all a TV, and a Cadillac and sent them to Mississippi! They’ll never bother Americans again!!”) Aaaaannnyway, there are tons of television shows on the air where the main characters do thing that are reminiscent of comic book/superhero stories, in a GOOD way. From Gil Grissom’s almost telepathic understanding of a crime scene, to Sydney Bristow’s fighting skills, to the Bruce Wayne fortune of Doctor Carter on E.R., virtually any show has SOMETHING that’s over the top, that’s larger than life, that’s… fuck it, comic booky.

Halle Berry is much criticized in comic book bitching circles for supposedly having been quoted about her casting as Storm: “There were so few good roles for African Americans, that I had to be in some stupid comic book movie.” Does she have a point? Sure. Will the irritation of a dozen (or even a couple THOUSAND) hardcore super-geeks make a damn bit of difference to Halle Berry? Nope. Not a sausage… bugger all. Ms. Berry will continue in her happy, beautiful life with her dune buggies, and her mansions, and her sleeping with her Hispanic chef Joaquin Behindjoo, and there won’t even be the tiniest fiber of her being affected by it. I mean, everybody KNOWS that a REAL actress wouldn’t be in some childish comic book story of her own accord?

To which we retort: THPPPPT! Let us respond to this imaginary Halle Berry by pointing out that not EVERY superhero comes from comics, and not ever COMIC has a superhero in it! There are literally hundreds of comic books that come out every month with nary a caped crusader in ’em. Why tar them all with the same brush? Also frustrating to me is this: For the past 20-odd years, there has been this underlying belief that no concept from comic books is REALLY successful until they “escape!” You’ve got have movies, got to have McDonald’s cups, got to have merchandise. Don’t get me wrong, when you can buy Wonder Warthog Underoos in a XX Large, I’m there, but can anybody tell me how that affects the story? Is the Fantastic Four movie going to improve the Fantastic Four books? Probably not. Is it going to make people more aware of the property? Certainly. Will it make people respect the original material? Not if they’re predisposed to think of it as silly juvenile crap… It’s a Catch-22. The people who don’t read comics because they’re “childish” will never know what has changed, and when a creator does something truly well-done and adult, they’re often chided for working in the medium. Why the heck would anybody who doesn’t already LOVE comic books want to work in the medium?

Witness “Sin City,” a well-done, adult comic. Now that it has a MOVIE, we continue hearing how “lucky” Frank Miller is that he can now go and do “real art.” And when artists from other mediums move INTO comics, somehow their work is considered to be superior, such as novelist Brad Meltzer’s flawed gem “Identity Crisis.” A more adult Justice League, I like, but why does adult always mean conflicted, angry, confused, and/or dead? Aren’t adults allowed to be fun and goofy, too?

Most annoying to me: The condescension has now permeated the comics themselves. I just read the latest issue of “The Ultimates,” from Marvel Comics (mostly on the strength of Bryan Hitch’s ULTRA-sexy portrayal of old-school heroine The Valkyrie. Hey, I’m married, I’m not DEAD!) I alternately love and hate this book (just like my high school girlfriend!) and the latest issue irked the hell out of me. Set in a world where superhumans are just beginning to show up, this issue shows Henry Pym (having been thrown out of The Ultimates for wife-beating) teaming up with a group called “The Defenders.” They’re based on an old comic book series (creatively called The Defenders, another reason why I hate The Ultimates sometimes. It’s all retelling stories with a “fresh creative spin.” And by that, they mean “You may have seen this before, but now, they say FUCK!”) and makes their members seem like putzes. Sure, it’s funny to hear “The Black Knight is stuck in traffic!” and “Isn’t it cool that we finally have a member with superpowers?” and “Next time we have sex, I want you to dress up as Captain America for me!” but it seems disrespectful to the work that they’re adapting. To take a COMIC BOOK about SUPERHEROES and use it as a platform to say how ridiculous a COMIC BOOK about SUPERHEROES is? That’s kind of insulting, isn’t it? It’s just mean, like a swirly for the kid you just beat up and gave a wedgie. It’s just insult to injury…

And besides, Peter Parker wouldn’t sound like Corey Feldman. He’s from Queens! He’d sound like a young Archie Bunker!