Saturday, January 23, 2010

Things That Are Funnier Than Jay Leno

Sadly, this list shall be, by necessity, far from comprehensive. Feel free to add any glaring omissions in the comments. With that in mind, here we go:

Bill Murray
Brian Doyle-Murray
Pearls Before Swine
The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Christmas album
Seeing somebody get kicked in the balls
Getting kicked in the balls
A song I heard a stoned hippy singing at a bake sale about apple muffins
The Masturbating Bear
The fact that NBC is projected to lose $200,000,000 on the Olympics
The fact that NBC will not show any of the Olympic events live
And will broadcast them 3 hours later on the west coast than on the east coast
Even though the Olympics are in Vancouver
This dream I had once about a talking chalupa
The Budweiser frogs
Jury duty (The movie)
Jury duty (Being selected for it)
Jimmy Kimmel pretending to be Jay Leno
Intestinal parasites
The ending to Romeo and Juliet
Paris Hilton's singing career
A death in the family
One of Leno's cars breaking down
The local news
The phoneless cord
Evan Almighty
This list
The FJM archives
Christopher Walken's spoken word version of 'Poker Face'
Tim McCarver
Hitting your thumb with a hammer
The Nixon-Kennedy debates
On second thought, not Tim McCarver
Analogies involving the Battle of Trafalgar
Paying the electric bill
Flying monkeys
Massive blunt-force head trauma
The gout
Ranger Rick, the magazine
Mark Trail
Sitting on a tack
Norm MacDonald's post-SNL career
Dan Quayle jokes in 2010
Seriously, can you believe that guy was Vice President?
He was so dumb!
Fitviavi mold
Pet rock
Crunchy frog
Drunken Joe Namath

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Current Events

Congrats, cousin Chris. According to the Center for Statistics I Just Made Up, 55% of all marriages end in annulment, so if you make it to next week, you're ahead of the game.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Up In The Air, And The Increasing Trend Of Filmmakers Lying

I saw Up In the Air yesterday, now that it's been out for something like six months and has garnered a bunch of nominations for some awards show that will probably be both boring and televised. Ever since I saw a preview for it, the movie was on my radar as One To Watch, Ideally In A Theater. Yesterday I did this. That's just how on the ball I am. Anyway, it was very good, and I recommend it to everyone who is not Isaac (As a wise man once said, this movie has naughty language!). George Clooney stars as A Charming Character, and performs his role very well (Who would've thought Clooney could be charming?!?). The performances are all quite good, and the script is great. So, yeah. I'm not a movie critic (As you can probably tell, I'm not really trying), and this is not why I've called you here today. Why have I called you here? Well, I'll tell you, in new paragraph form.

No, why I am writing today is the fact that, w/r/t Up In the Air, I was deceived. You see, Up In the Air has a very intriguing preview, which is only made better by the fact that it is set to 'The Passenger' by Iggy Pop, which is awesome. Not only is it set to this song, Iggy actually (From what I've heard) re-recorded a version of the song specifically for this film. And yet, the song does not appear in the movie. As George Steinbrenner would say, #$!&* the heck?!? Instead, we are treated to a variety of music than can be described nicely as 'twee', about what you'd expect from a production crew that was in some way involved in Juno (I'm too lazy to look up what the exact connection is). Still, I can even see not putting the song in the bulk of the film, as it is a fairly driving piece, which might overwhelm whatever else is happening on-screen at the time (Not that it does this in the previews, but let's be charitable here). But, then, isn't that what the ending credits are for? Not in this case, as halfway through the credits the song playing ends, giving us a perfect moment to bring on the Iggy. Instead, we are treated to some crappy acoustic number evidently recorded by Fisher Price™ tape recorder, closing things out on a bit of an anticlimax.

Most troublingly, this is not the first time this has happened to me in the last year. I'd estimate I go to see somewhere between one and two movies in the theater annually, and the last two have now played this exact same deceitful sleight of hand on me. The other film in question is Where the Wild Things Are, a movie whose trailer was set to a rerecording of The Arcade Fire's stunning Wake Up, a song which perfectly fit the mood and got me so amped up that you'd think it was a motivational speech by Rex Ryan. And then, again, not present in the movie. Lame. So what gives, filmmakers? Yes, your movies are good (At least the ones I bother to see. I suspect Tooth Fairy, starring Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) will not be on the level of Citizen Kane). But why the lying? Why must you pull the old Three-Card Monte in your previews? Because I give you my word that, if I find a certain combination of music and imagery exhilarating on the small screen, I will not suddenly be put to sleep when I see it on a screen the size of my apartment. In fact, it might even be better. At the least, it will be bigger and louder, which I thought was what Hollywood did these days.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hall of Fame Voting: Bring on the Stupid

As the two of you who care about baseball already know, the Hall of Fame results were announced this week. Congratulations to Andre Dawson, the sole inductee. I wouldn't have voted for him, but his inclusion is hardly some kind of horrible miscarriage of baseball-specific justice. Now, Hall of Fame voting, beyond meaning imminent elections, also signals another venerable tradition: The sportswriter's column detailing his/her (Usually his) reasoning for the players voted for. Many voter take this process very seriously, and submit ballots which, while they may be disagreed with, are well-considered and rationally explained. Then there are the morons who probably submitted ballots marked with drool stains. These are more fun to mock. So here come the dumbest HoF articles I have been able to find so far this year (We may have a special post on this within the next week, as Bill Plaschke has not yet written a HoF column, and I'm sure when he does that it will be riddled with idiocy). Let us begin.

First up, blowhard Jay Mariotti, who submitted a blank ballot, and then justified his voting thusly on the excruciatingly terrible TV show Around the Horn:
I didn’t vote for anybody in the baseball hall of fame this year. Ya know why? To me…the first ballot is sacred. I think Roberto Alomar is an eventual Hall of Famer, not the first time. [snip] As far as Blyleven and Dawson…if they haven’t gotten in for years and years I cannot vote them in now. Ripken, Rickey Henderson and Gwynn. They are true first ballot Hall of Famers, but I didn’t vote for anybody, throw me out of the Baseball Writers. I don’t care.

Now, let it be noted that, in addition to this line of thinking being moronic, the BBWAA rules makes no distinction between first-ballot years and the other 14 years players are on the ballot. But more importantly, he has voted for Blyleven and Dawson in the past. Apparently their numbers in 2009 were bad enough to drop them off his ballot. Or is it a moral stand? Well, last year Mariotti voted for Jim Rice in his 15th year on that ballot. So maybe it's just that Mariotti is an attention whore whose moral stands change based on how many cameras are pointed at him at any given moment. I think they should take him up on the offer he closes that quote with.

Next up, the 973-year-old Murray Chass, who states that he did not vote for Blyleven because
As good as Blyleven was in winning 287 games, he had some of his worst years when his team had good years. The best example of that dichotomy came in 1988 when the Twins finished second with a 91-71 record while Blyleven had a 10-17 record and a 5.43 e.r.a.

That's right, Murray voted against Blyleven because he had a bad year in his 19th big league season, one in which he reportedly pitched through shoulder soreness all year. The next season Blyleven finished fourth in the Cy Young voting. The fun bit? People like Murray Chass who clearly lie with statistics are the ones who like to throw out accusations that statistics lie. Anyway, this is dumb. Even Murray should be able to recognize that.

Moving on to Jon Heyman, whose HoF article has so many odd twists and turns in the methodology that it almost feels like he has some sort of multiple personality disorder:

I don't put quite the same emphasis as some on career statistics, especially in cases where I've had the chance to follow a player's entire career as it was unfolding, as was the case with this year's entire ballot. (That happens when you get old.)

I consider impact more than stats. I like dominance over durability. I prefer players who were great at some point to the ones who were merely very good for a very long time. [snip] Some will say that Blyleven's career was equal to Hall of Famer Don Sutton's but I say it is just short of Sutton's. They both had big totals in other categories but Sutton wound up with 37 more victories, going over the magic 300 mark by 24.

So if Bert had won 13 more games, you'd vote for him? Jon, you do realize you're allowed to proofread these things before you hand them in to remove contradictory statements, right? No? Alright then.

And now for everyone's favorite whipping boy, Dan Shaughnessy. Picking apart Dan is really like shooting fish in a barrel, so we'll be quick here. Dan's HoF voting process:

Each Hall voter applies his own standards, and mine often references the famous line that Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart applied to pornography. Stewart argued that he might not be able to define what was pornographic, "but I know it when I see it.''

For me, it's the same with Hall of Famers. Some guys just strike you as Cooperstown-worthy and others do not.

Dan, Stewart was roundly mocked for saying that because, well, it's stupid. If you really want to use that as your standard, go right ahead. But you might be a bigger blowhard than Mariotti.

And finally, let's wrap up with Bill Conlin, who dropped this bit of genius on us:

I voted for Tim Raines his first year of eligibility. But when he failed to get 25 percent of the vote, he was moved to the back burner. Sorry, that’s just the way it has to be. Maybe more eligible ballwriters should have measured the Rock’s career numbers in all phases against those of analog basestealer and first-ballot inductee Lou Brock. Try it, you’ll be amazed.

Good news for Raines, however. Yesterday, in one of the most bizarre elections in a bizarre process, he collected 30 percent and is now back on my radar.

So, Bill, you're criticizing the electorate for not voting for Raines, who you believe is worthy of being enshrined in Cooperstown, and then state that YOU DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM THIS YEAR BECAUSE A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF THE ELECTORATE DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM IN THE PAST. In what dark recess of your tiny little addled mind does this make even a [Mount Kilimanjaro] bit of sense? Holy [Hummingbird], this takes the cake. You have out-dumbed Shaughnessy. Good God.

Okay, I think that's out of my system. Finally, let's close with a bit of intelligence from Ken Rosenthal, who yesterday wrote a column suggesting that the BBWAA needs to get rid of some of the voters who do not do the HoF voting process justice. Ken, preach on. I would like to submit the above five voters as fine choices to be the first kicked out.

Note - My apologies to the many fine candidates who did not make the final cut to five, especially Marty Noble, who withheld his vote from Alomar because Roberto had two bad years with the Mets, whom Noble covers. Keep on trying, Marty, and you just might make the cut next year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tonight on Jay Leno

Coming up in an hour, Jay has Kim Kardashian and Jillian Michaels as guests. So, if you're keeping score at home, that's one guest just as talentless as Jay, with the whorishness a wash as well (She had a sex tape released to the internet, he had 24 separate product placements during the 22 minutes of the first episode of his new show), and one guest who looks like this:

She is a fitness trainer on The Biggest Loser, which I have been subjected to enough of to know that the above picture is a reasonable representation of her personality. And as her job title would suggest, she is rather ridiculously in shape. So now, let us pray that she takes advantage of her close proximity to two talentless hacks tonight to forcibly remove their heads from their torsos using only her bare hands. Please, Jillian. For myself, and America. And the children. Think of the children.

Monday, January 4, 2010

People Who Should Die: The Girl

My apartment is a very modern facility which features both electric lighting and indoor plumbing, so it should be no surprise to you, the reader, to learn that Tivo™ is also present in this veritable treasure trove of technology. I use this service to record many things, all of which are The Daily Show and Good Eats, which I then proceed to not watch until the Tivo™'s hard drive is full, at which point it yells at me to erase them. I usually do, as I do not wish to anger Tivo™. I have found that Tivo™ has other uses besides being a deposit box for unwatched videos, however, as I recently also used it to watch an episode of The Daily Show. And, based on a fairly omnipresent commercial aired during the broadcast, this apparently makes me a sucker with disposable income. Because there is no way a website called is not a scam. So going forward here, I'm simply going to assume the website in question is not an accredited university*.

*I did a minute amount of research on The Google and found claims that the website in question is owned by Kaplan University, which it conveniently refers people to. Kaplan, in turn, is owned by the Washington Post. What does this all mean? No idea.

I'm not even going to link to the ad here. If you want to see it, you can find it yourself. Suffice to say that it is beyond obnoxious, as the girl greets us wearing pajamas and fluffy slippers, but in a shocking twist, it turns out she's going to college! My God! This will revolutionize everything! Because lord knows people who don't want to leave the house to go to school will absolutely galvanize the workforce once they have their degrees! We are also given, in between repetitions of the website address (Which is also conveniently displayed at the bottom of the screen for the entire ad until it permanently burns itself into your TV screen) bits of HILARIOUS humor. Such as when she advises guys to "Cover up, please". OH NO SHE DIDN'T! You see, it's funny because it's true! I'm not wearing any clothes right now! Time to scratch myself! Where's my spittoon?!? Look here, wench. I hope your pink fluffy slippers catch fire and the flames then ignite a previously undetected gas leak which causes your house to explode. And your final thought will be that you could have avoided this if you went to a real college. Die.