The Friday Hot Sheet

The family is gathering for my grandmother's funeral, and tensions are running unexpectedly high. It's strange though, because even before all of this started happening it was still one one of those weeks where my mind felt like it was all over the place.

A big part of this was being stuck in a mindless repetitive burst-testing project at work that gave me little to do other than listen to music and let my thoughts wander. Sometimes that's a good thing, but with all the ghosts of Christmases past floating around the proceedings that are coming up Saturday afternoon, it wasn't so great.

So before things get too deep -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here.
David PlouffeIn the heat of the recent presidential race I wanted to do my part to help Barack win, which lead me to a website where I registered to volunteer whenever possible and donated a little money to the effort. Soon after, I began receiving emails from the campaign -- mostly about election issues (responses to the debates, etc), but included in there were repeated messages from campaign manager David Plouffe asking for donations to the campaign in the form of T-shirt offers, bumper sticker sales, and out and out calls for money donations. Pretty standard stuff for a presidential bid -- except that now, more than a month after Obama's historic victory I'm still getting emails from David Plouffe asking me to buy coffee mugs. I'm sure I'm inviting a slew of "I told you so's" by saying this -- but I'm not really appreciating the implications of these solicitations, especially considering all these reports that have been surfacing lately about a campaign that still has close to $30 million in unspent funds lying around. Hey Dave -- don't know if you got the memo on this one, but we won. Stop bugging me for cash.
In 1976, a team called the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their very first season in the NFL. Although they had several high draft picks to work with -- the team had very little talent or tradition to build on, leading them to bumble their way to a winless 0-14 season, widely regarded as one of the most embarrassing performances in all of professional sports. Since then, the Bucs organization has risen to distinction and even won a Super Bowl -- but no team has ever been able to match the utter suckitude of that sad-sack bunch from '76. In the past few seasons, we've had a bunch of hopefuls lose 13, 14, and even 15 games in hopes of achieving the dream -- only to blow it late in the year by actually figuring out a way to win. Every year we hope to see a team pull off the impossible, but every season our hopes are dashed by teams who for whatever reason lost the will to lose. One of the teams that have come close to this record is the Detroit Lions, who have gone 31-93 since 2001, including two seasons where they only managed to one win. Sunday afternoon the Lions take on the Minnesota Vikings, who have already beat them once this year -- followed by a stretch of games against playoff bound opponents to finish the season. The Bucs went 0-14 in 1976. Since then, the season has been extended to 16 games, meaning if the Lions can continue to suck they have a chance to be the single worst team in NFL history. I don't know about you -- but I think they can do it.
War Zone
The Punisher was a surprising gem of a hyper-violent action film, featuring a then-unknown Thomas Jane in the title role going up against a surprisingly evil villain played by John Travolta. Stuff blew up, revenge was served cold, and I was entertained. The movie did OK, so you figured there would be a sequel -- but when the ads for the new prequel/reboot arrived and it became clear that British actor Ray Stevenson was taking over as comic book hero Frank Castle, was I the only one wondering what could have possibly possessed Tom Jayne to pass on this? It's not like The Mist re-wrote the record book for box-office receipts or anything. Reports say he ditched it because of creative differences -- and I know doing sequels isn't always considered a good idea for stars, but it seemed like a good fit, and I'm sorta disappointed to see it go away.
Frost/NixonLike a lot of people out there, I was simply too young to experience Watergate firsthand. I knew that my parents hated Nixon, but it wasn't until I took several history classes and did some reading on my own that I had any idea as to why. Now, a seemingly unbelievable amount of time later a film is being released recreating one of the most important moments of that scandal -- the lengthy televised interviews that British journalist David Frost conducted with the former president in which Nixon unexpectedly spoke candidly and in many ways implicated himself in the scandal that led to him resigning from office. The movie is based on the play of the same name, and even though I am a huge history buff -- it looks unbelievably boring. Nixon was a pivotal historical figure, and this was a huge moment in his legacy -- but if audiences were cold about the X-Files movie that came out ten years too late a few months back, why did anyone expect them to line up to see this? I know it's aimed at an older crowd, but most of them who were interested in Watergate watched the actual interviews take place. It just seems too long, too badly timed, and too cold a subject matter to have much of a chance for success. However, all that being said -- I'd like to make a case for one of the actors in this film to get some oscar consideration. When I was growing up, Frank Langella made a mini-career playing Dracula in some of the cheesiest horror films ever made. Seriously, they were awful. As such, Langella kind of disappeared as a name actor -- even though he continued to work through the years. Recently he's been showing up here and there in non-vampire character roles in movies and on TV, and the guy is flat-out awesome. Seeing as academy awards like best supporting actor are usually awarded to performances in films that no one sees, it's quite possible that Langella might find himself nominated for his work in this movie that I have really no interest in watching, and in my opinion it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.
SnailsOne of the hobbies I've been quietly chasing for a while is keeping a fish tank. I have very little background knowledge, and have inadvertently killed a lot of goldfish and other household varieties along the way. During the past year or so, I've been able to keep and maintain 2 fish -- a little tiger oscar and this big red bellied Pacu that I nicknamed "Conan" -- because he'd eat anything, including most of the other fish I tried to keep in the tank with him. Recently I fell a little behind on cleaning the tank, and algae began to accumulate on the glass. So I moved the fish to a smaller tank, cleaned the entire tank, set everything back up -- put them back in the water, and an hour or so later they were both dead. I have no idea what I did wrong, and I was sad to see them go -- but like many other fish I've killed in my day, the only real move was to buy some more and start over. Figuring the tank cleaning had something to do with it, I bought some snails this time to help control the algae. First of all, they're just weird and fascinating to watch. Second of all -- And I had no idea this would happen -- they eat each other. One of the snails sorta up and died a few days in, and the other two took turns sucking what was left of him out of the shell like an escargot platter. Unbelievably gross, but really cool at the same time.
Soul Train                When I was a kid, there wasn't a Cartoon Network. Cartoons were played on Saturday Mornings in a huge back-to-back block, so if you wanted your fix you tended to watch the whole thing -- regardless of how bad the shows (*koff* *koff* The Snorks *koff*) were. I don't know what it was like where you grew up, but here in Jacksonville you knew there were no more cartoons coming on when Soul Train came on promptly at 11:30. Usually after you watched the opening animation of that show you got up and went to play outside, but at a certain point when I was really starting to really get into music I started sticking around an extra 30 minutes to catch Don Cornelius and see the so-called "live" performances they featured in each episode. MTV was in full swing by that time, but it was truly Soul Train that let me know that I couldn't dance. Even if I could have mastered some of the dorkier looking moves they did on that show, it was plainly clear I wouldn't look very cool doing any of them. Eventually when Don Cornelius stopped hosting I kinda lost interest, but it was a guilty pleasure of mine for many years -- not only as a way to keep a toe dipped into the waters of funk, r&b, and hip-hop, but also as an eye-candy fest of hot black women in skimpy clothes shakin' what their mama's gave them (and we all know how I feel about that). Of course the glory days of the show happened a decade earlier at the height of the disco/funk era -- which you can now see if you spend a little time on Rhythmbluessoul's YouTube page, which features a number of clips like this one. Not only is the music awesome (you can't do much better than the O'Jays), but the dance moves are just too much fun to watch.

[Listening to:  The Temptations - "Glasshouse" ]


whatigotsofar said…
I heard that there was this woman in NYC who made Obama earrings and was selling them. She claimed she was going to donate the proceeds of the sales to Obama's campaign. She has since changed her mind and will be spending the money on a vacation. Wow. Even in these tough economic times, people are making money in the name of a cause only to lavish upon it themselves.
The Kaiser said…
Half of me is way pissed about the continuing "fund raising" activities of the Obama campaign and the profteering of individuals; the other half of me is delighted by the idea that the Franklin Mint will soon produce a series of plates in the likeness of something I care about.

Really though, I'm holding out for whatever hideous thing the folks who made that pop-up 9-11 coin struck from real 9-11 silver recovered from the basement of the towers mingled with the remains of victims and personally wept upon by a member of the NYFD. That's the sort of quality kitsch I want on my shelf.
Heff said…
Damn, Soul Train was awesome. I got the music in me.
Frank said…
As a former Detroit resident, I'm banking on the Lions going 0-16. We already have enough negative media coverage from the collapse of the Big 3, and a winless NFL team would only further cement our image as American's best city.
SS+1 said…
I was nervous the vikings were going to blow it...the last time detroit was 0-12, the vikings crumbled. Thank god history didn't repeat itself!!
LadyShay said…
I fell in love with the Punisher [2004]. Thomas Jane was perfect as Frank Castle. However, I'm not sure if I wanna go see War Zone. Probably just wait for DVD.