Saturday, March 22, 2008

No Love in the U.S.: The 69 Eyes and Kylie Minogue

What do The 69 Eyes and Kylie Minogue have in common?

They both recently released their 10th albums, and these albums were not released in the United States. What's up with that?

A good site to find videos never seen and music never released in the United States is EMI Jukebox Finland.

So, if you're either a 69 Eyes or Kylie fan, check it out:

The Evil Dance Partner: Invitation to Write #20

For Writers:

Superheroes need dance partners, and those dance partners are the supervillains. Without Lex Luthor, Superman never leaves Smallville; without the likes of the Joker and his ilk, Batman just lives life as the ordinary Bruce Wayne.

Villains have all of the special powers and all of the intelligence that heroes possess, and they always seem as though they could destroy the hero and take over the world. This perceived balance of power between the forces of good and evil makes the comic book reader or animated series viewer believe that everything is at stake. Traditionally, good always wins in the end, but the success of the hero depends on the real possibility of failure.

This world view is very much in line with a religion like Zoroastrism, where the gods of good and evil are equals – as opposed to Christianity, where it’s established as a foregone conclusion that God will eventually destroy Satan once and for all.

Assume the role of the villain. What event, if any, brought you over to the dark side, and what would be your diabolic purpose? Are you driven by jealousy, greed, hate, power, etc.?

"It's better to be good than evil, but one achieves goodness at a terrific cost." – Stephen King

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wrestlemania 24 Match Predictions

Wrestlemania 24 is just a week away (and yes, this is the 24th year they've done one). I thought I'd post my thoughts on the matches; while the card isn't great, it's one of the better Wrestlemania cards that they've put on in a long while.

1. 24 Man Battle Royal (winner facing ECW Champion Chavo Guerreo later in the show) -- Odds on favorite has to be Kane. Could someone less well-known win? Maybe, but I think Kane is likely to win and then go on to beat Chavo Guerreo for ECW title.

Prediction: Kane

2. Chavo Guerreo vs. Kane -- Normally, this kind of match would happen later in the show, but don't be surprised to see Chavo come out immediately after the Battle Royal is over (or, actually, he'll probably watch the match from ringside, jumping in as soon as Kane has eliminated Mark Henry and Big Daddy V from the ring).

The producers will want to get both the Battle Royal and this match done in 15 minutes. ECW has no value to them...

Prediction: Kane by pinfall (new ECW Champion)

3. Finlay vs. JBL -- Should be a fairly quick victory for Finlay; expect his "son" Hornswoggle to have a major role in the outcome.

Prediction: Finlay by pinfall

4. Candice Michelle and Maria vs. Beth Phoenix and Melina -- The Women's title isn't on the line this year; however, I wouldn't be too surprised if somehow the title ends up for grabs; this kind of tag team lumber-jill match is the only way that Maria could ever win the title. So, it's a long shot, but I bet Maria wins this match, somehow winning the title.

Prediction: Maria (new Women's Champion)

5. Batista vs. Umaga -- Here's a match that could be really good, but I have the feeling that it will end up serving more as filler and time-killer. Batista is the odds-on favorite; however, this match probably means more to Umaga's career at the moment -- especially since he'll probably become the #1 contender to the WWE championship.

Prediction: Umaga by pinfall

6. Money in the Bank (7 Man Ladder Match) -- Before Jeff Hardy got himself suspended for violating WWE's illegal substance policy, this was his match to win; now that he's not in the match, the favorite to win should be Kennedy. Kennedy won the match last year, only to lose his briefcase to Edge, due to injury. After Umaga gets his title shot, expect Kennedy to be next in line.

Prediction: Kennedy

7. Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels -- The rumor is that Ric Flair plans to retire after this match; however, I don't see this man ever retiring. If he does happen to lose the match, I'm sure he'll be back in the ring wrestling sooner than later. I'd like to think Ric will win this one, but the better money is on HBK.

Prediction: Shawn Michaels by pinfall

8. WBC Welterweight Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. Big Show -- This is the special attraction "boxer vs. wrestler" match, and frankly, I don't much care. The last time Big Show wrestled in a special attraction match at Wrestlemania, it was in a sumo contest. He lost that one, and somehow Mayweather will probably manage to knock out the Big Show. I expect outside interference on this one, possibly setting up Big Show's next program.

Prediction: Floyd “Money” Mayweather by KO

9. Edge vs. Undertaker for the World title -- Can Undertaker go 16-0? Probably so, but his title reign will likely be short. Nevertheless, I can't see Edge being the one to end the Deadman's Wrestlemania winning streak.

Prediction: Undertaker (new World's Champion)

10. John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton for the WWE title -- Triple H has to be considered the very heavy favorite; should he win and my other predictions come true, that would mean four title changes. That seems unlikely, but keep in mind that the Women's title isn't officially up for grabs.

Prediction: Triple H (new WWE Champion)

Hillary: Just Let Go!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The World Needs a Hero -- Invitation to Write #19

For Writers:

My wife and I have spent the last three months watching a lot of animated superhero programs (notice I didn't say cartoons, because let's face it: cartoons are for kids!).

Batman: the Animated Series is quite good. But, in every episode, someone must fall from a great height. That's a rule that the TV executives made: "Writers, please make sure that someone falls from a great height in each episode, please." The good thing is, you can make a great drinking game out of it, if you're so inclined.

Superman: the Animated Series. Well, I didn't like this one as much. Batman is darker, and the villains are more like family to me. Superman just isn't my type; after all, he's not from here, and I like my heroes human and without superpowers.

I actually didn't realize this about myself until I started watching these animated programs. I seriously don't like god-like superheros. There's simply no thrill in watching a god defeat the bad guys. Give me Batman, or even MacGyver, any day.

For that reason, I didn't love Batman Beyond. Overall, it was a good show, because it's still Batman after all, but it's a new batman set in the near future, and this batman has more powers -- to the point that he almost loses his humanity (not to mention that he's also a teenager, which is just plain silly).

And now we're watching Justice League. This animated program has a lot of the elements I like about Batman, but it's certainly interesting watching seven superheros working together as a team. Scratch that: most of the episodes seem to leave at least one or two of the superheros out of the show entirely -- as if they're "on assignment" somewhere else. The truth is, it's difficult to write a script that includes all seven (and who needs Hawkgirl anyway?).

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have? Would you be the type that worked with the Justice League, or would you be the renegade that worked alone?

"I'm not normally a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman!"
— Homer Simpson

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Ah, the nature of a political campaign!

Super Duper Friends

Funny stuff!

5 Year Anniversary: What does it mean to "win the war in Iraq"?

People talking about winning the Iraq war, but I'm not sure what they mean.

One of the most infamous events of the Bush presidency happened a few years ago when he flew onto a Navy battleship and declared victory in Iraq. Gee, if that's your idea of victory...

Anyway, 4000 Americans have now died, and nobody seems to care. A recent poll indicated that only 30% of Americans even know what the body count is. And I'd bet even fewer know that we've spent 500 billion dollars to "win" this war.

So what does winning mean?

1. Getting rid of weapons of mass destruction? (none there)
2. Getting rid of Sadam? (he's dead)
3. Installing an American-style democracy? (never gonna happen)
4. Forcing everyone in Iraq to get along? (we will be there 100 years or longer if that's the goal)
5. Make American companies a lot of money? (perhaps this is happening, and will continue to happen for as long as we're there -- is that the real meaning of "winning," making money?)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WWE Raw: What Bothers Me About Pro Wrestling on TV

Yes, I like professional wrestling, but I don't like the way it's presented on TV.

The average TV match lasts less than 5 minutes. If the match goes longer than that, there's always a four minute commercial break, and you can generally predict when the match is about to go to commercial -- someone is always thrown out of the ring.

While matches last less than 5 minutes, promos can go on forever -- up to 15 minutes. And they never go to commercial when someone is cutting a promo. That means to the WWE promoters, the talk is more important than the actual wrestling. And, of course it would be, as their main interest in doing the TV show is to promote the next pay-per-view. In essence, WWE Raw and all the other shows like it are infomericals.

Interesting side note: in last night's show, Vince McMahon took on Ric Flair in a street fight. The match was at least 10 minutes long, but there were no commercial breaks, which is odd. Was it because Vince was in the match? Probably.

And the main event? The ultimate handicap match: John Cena and Randy Orton versus the "entire Raw roster." -- a 2 on 17 elimination match. Cena and Orton actually pinned at least 6 wrestlers in less than 10 minutes before the match abruptly came to an end -- the remaining 11 wrestlers attacked Cena and Orton, causing the ref to call for the bell. What a dumb ending. Is the entire Raw roster heels? Why would all of these wrestlers, including Hacksaw Jim Duggan, give Cena and Orton a beatdown? Why would the ref disqualify all 11 wrestlers at the same time?

It's been quite a while since WWE has even pretended to explain match storylines on TV. Most of the time, they don't even bother to announce the winner of the match; and the value of titles has never been of less importance.

Monday, March 17, 2008

President Jesse Ventura?

In 2004, I actually wrote in the name of Jesse Ventura for president, and I still think the man makes a lot of sense.

When you watch this video, ignore his "new look." Just listen to what he says.

He has a new book coming out, and that very well could be the reason that he's teasing the idea that he might run for president this year. Honestly, I can't see a grass-roots movement for Jesse happening any time soon, but he certainly might make things interesting.

This won't be the year for a 3rd party candidate, and if Barack wins the nomination, I would have to support him. But I'll tell you what, if Hillary wins the nomination, I'd be glad to vote for Jesse again. :)

Fear Change?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mariah Carey Shows Off on SNL Singing "Touch My Body"

Okay, my wife won't be happy that I put this video on my blog, but I wanted to see how many hits it would generate. :)

A couple of questions to ask yourself when you watch the video.

1. The show What Not to Wear says that women in their 30's shouldn't wear mini-skirts. Is this advice Mariah should heed?

2. Does Mariah know that the camera is going to being shooting up at her?

3. What color is Mariah's underwear, and why didn't she wear silver sequined undies?

4. What do you think of this song, the title track off her new album, E=mc2? (is that what Einstein really meant: Energy equals Mariah Carey squared?)