Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Duke Lacrosse

Two Duke lacrosse players have apparently been arrested and charged with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping.

I have absolutely nothing to add, other than to let you know that Adam Carolla has pointed out on his superb morning radio show that "Duke Lacrosse" would be an incredibly good porn name.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Best Show On TV, Part 2

The Best Show On TV

"The Office" (NBC) -- 2/9/2006-4/2/2006
"Huff" (Showtime) -- 4/2/2006 - present

And now, we revisit my ongoing series, The Best Show On TV, which was inspired by the sublime WWE Title Histories page. I must confess: back when I started this little project, I knew full well that "The Office"'s reign at the top wouldn't be a long one. I knew that "Huff" was coming back to Showtime soon, and I knew that when it did, it would claim the title right quick.

And so it has. Last year sometime, never you mind how, I got a hold of the entire first season of "Huff" on DVD. I didn't really know much about the show, except that I had no negative feelings about Hank Azaria. That's all I knew going in. That, and the fact that Azaria looked preposterously ripped in all of Showtime's promotional materials (why would a random guy who has to be at work five days a week looked like that? Didn't make sense to me). Anyway, long story short, I gave "Huff" a shot.

And my life hasn't been the same since.

Well, perhaps I'm being overly dramatic, but it is a great show. Azaria plays Craig ("Huff") Huffstodt, a relatively (from what we can tell) talented and fairly successful L.A. psychiatrist with the requisite screwed-up-but-deep-down-we-love-each-other family, consisting of wife Beth (Paget Brewster), teenage son Byrd (Anton Yelchin, whose voice and presence are as bizarre as his name, but you get over it after about four episodes), schizophrenic brother Teddy (Andy Comeau) and outrageous, meddlesome, alcohol-enthusiast mother Izzy (Blythe Danner).

The cast is great (Danner won an Emmy last season for her work as Izzy, which is remarkable when you think that "Huff" is a show no one's ever seen, airing on a channel that most people don't get), but at times it seems like the entire enterprise was conceived as a showcase for Oliver Platt's character, attorney Russell Tupper. A chaotic whirlwind of appetite, genius, neurosis and self-destruction, Russell is what anyone who has seen "Huff" is going to remember on that sad day years and years from now when Oliver Platt (who has never not been awesome) finally shuffles off this mortal coil.

I'll pretty much leave it at that, since I've got to get going right now and although I realize I could save what I've written so far and then come back and add to it later, I'm relatively certain that I wouldn't. Let me just say that "Huff" is the show that caused my wife and me to drop HBO after years of loyal customership and switch to Showtime, at least until Season 2 of "Huff" comes to an end.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

The End is Near

Hola, amigos. I know it's been a while since I rapped at ya, but an issue keeps cropping up that I just can't ignore any longer. I was made aware of it almost a month ago, and, to my surprise, was able to put it out of my mind.

Then, today, I'm reading Paul Lukas's superb and sublimely link-heavy Uni Watch column over at ESPN.com/page2, and I was reminded of it again.

My football team, the Minnesota Vikings, are getting new uniforms.

The last year or so has provided several reasons why I should stop being a Vikings fan. I no longer live in Minnesota, and haven't for years. The team was coached by a big fat caveman who had been around for years despite undoubtedly getting the job in the exact same way that Homer was hired by Lyle Lanley to be the conductor of the Springfield Monorail. The team's most recognizable players have, for a good decade, been asses, burnouts and simpletons, making them by far the nation's easiest professional sports team to root against (east of Portland and west of the Bronx, anyway). They've never won a Super Bowl, and probably never will. They play in a ridiculous stadium that has a swastika on the roof. The sex cruise. Ragar.

(sorry; got on a roll there. A actually love Ragnar)

Anyway. The point is, I grew up a Vikings fan, and I assumed I'd always stay a Vikings fan. They're the team of my youth, and they'll be my team whether I like it or not. And, in recent years, I haven't. Long story short: Minnesota Vikings, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Well, maybe this will do it. I've made no secret of my passion for critiquing NFL uniforms, and I could always do so with the moral superiority of someone whose team wears among the best duds in the league. Not the best, mind you, but among the best, and up a few places lately due to the horrendous changes made by a couple of teams in just the last little while.

I mean, really. Who decided that teams would look better playing football in novelty pajamas than in actual football uniforms? Who does this appeal to? The obvious answer, of course, is: stupid people. And I, for one, am surprised. Not that there are a lot of stupid people, but that there are enough to buy into something this stupid. Something this dumb, even the stupid people you'd think would say, "um... no." It's happened before. Remember in the late '90s, when the music industry decided that electronica would be the next big thing after grunge? And then people heard Prodigy, and they sucked, and electronica went nowhere? Wasn't that great? Or when Old Navy tried to get the nautical vests going a couple years ago, and people just wouldn't go for it? It's happening right now, in fact, where, even in L.A., it looks to my eyes like the popped collar idiots are fighting an inevitably and blessedly losing battle despite the fact that it must be cool because a guy who hates Bush does it.

So why the new horrible uniform trend in football? Even if stupid people do get behind it, why would team owners allow this to happen? Team owners don't eat at Arby's four times a week and die penniless and obese; that's what stupid people do. So why would a guy like Vikings owner Zygi Wilf decide he needs to mess with a classic design? And indications suggest that, though the purple and the concept of the horns on the helmet will remain, it will otherwise be a wholesale change. Though it would be sad to see, I could live with a subtle update of the uniforms, something like what the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins have done of late. But no, I think we'll be talking more like going from this to this.

And where would that leave me as a Vikings fan? Well, to me, the Vikings would now be a perennially underachieving team to which I have no geographical affiliation and who just switched from top five to bottom five in the NFL in terms of uniform awesomeness. I'm not ready to give up the ship just yet, but, we'll see how the uniforms turn out. If current speculation is any guide, 2005 could well have been my last as a Minnesota Vikings fan.

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