Monday, February 28

The Oscars Recap...Because No One Else Is Doing It, Right?

If you missed the 83rd Academy Awards last night, you may have been lucky. The show was devoid of funny or even interesting moments for the most part. James Franco, perhaps busy being a student/actor/soap opera star/stoned didn't seem that into hosting, making Anne Hathaway's non-subtle attempts at being way too animated and cheery look especially out of place. Of course the ceremony went long too, even though this was one of the shorter awards. Also, a fun drinking game (or in my case, exercise game so I didn't become an amoeba) is to take a shot/do a push-up/run around the block/dance a jig every time a winner said "um" or "uh." But then after our tally got to 72 and we weren't even halfway through the show, we realized it could get dangerous.

In any case, we've gathered a few of the highlights, with analysis below. Enjoy!

The Opening Montage

Splicing yourself into movies is nothing new, especially at the Oscars, but this was an enjoyable little romp. The below isn't the whole clip, but it gets the job done. Too bad for the most part the show went downhill from here.



Auto-Tune the Movies

The Gregory Brothers are well-known for auto-tuning various things. Whether it's Antoine Dodson or Slim Chin, making normal speech sound robotic and set to thumping hip-hop and R&B beats is the latest trend, and it wouldn't have been an Oscars without said auto-tuning. My personal favorite is The Social Network parody, "Fishing for Facebook." And also, apologies for the text over the video at various points, apparently just uploading a video for people's enjoyment without advertising yourself over it is too hard to do.



Kirk Douglas

I don't even know what to title this as. It's basically Kirk Douglas for three and a half minutes being hilarious. He's 94 years old and had a stroke in 1996, so his speech is understandably a bit slurred, yet his presentation of "Best Supporting Actress" might have been the best job any presenter did. His tormenting of the actresses by delaying reading who the winner is was fantastic.



Randy Newman wins "Best Original Song"

If you have a soul at all, Toy Story 3 tugged at your heartstrings. Maybe it was feeling a sense of nostalgia or actually uncontrollably bawling at the surprisingly bittersweet ending, but whatever the case, the music helped play a part in that. And Randy Newman has provided the soundtrack for those toys we've come to know and love. Here he wins for "We Belong Together," and I found his acceptance speech worthy of a few chuckles.



Russell Brand on the red carpet

I suppose one event from the red carpet should make it out here. Again, there was a lot of build up for not so much entertainment, so we'll put Russell Brand effortlessly burning a reporter that tries to make a jab at him. Brand was presenting an award with Helen Mirren during the ceremony, which the reporter evidently didn't know about. Watch the quick wit below.



This Day in History
1940- Racing legend Mario Andretti is born.

1953- James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

1993- The Waco Siege between the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Branch Davidians, led by David Koresh, begins. The siege ended 50 days later and resulted in nearly 100 deaths.

Thursday, February 24

Impressive Videos...Music Style!

While we're not done with our NBA Jam Session coverage, I figured we could take a break and get some quality videos in. The underlying theme? Music! These aren't necessarily new videos, but hey, they're still fantastic. Here we goooooo!

Walk Off the Earth- "Magic"

Despite seeming like complete tools early on, these guys actually do a pretty bang-up cover of B.o.B's "Magic" feat. Rivers Cuomo using beat boxing for the drums and bass. Impressive!



Tommy Gauthier- "Four Hand Guitar"

Playing guitar is hard enough for many people. But imagine if you had an extra set of hands? Think about the possibilities! Then, watch this video, and SEE the possibilities!



DeStorm- "The World's Greatest"

Hint to aspiring artists trying to get a mention (i.e. nobody): I enjoy beat boxing. Especially if you do it well. Add to that the ability to sing, and all the little embellishments that R. Kelly's jam has? All without instruments? Amazing!



Robin Sparkles- "Let's Go to the Mall"

Anyone who's seen How I Met Your Mother should know the back story on Robin Sparkles. So I'll be brief, and use a mathematical equation to show why this video works. Canadian teen pop-star + catchy song + ridiculous 90s references + robot - Justin Beiber = Awesome!




This Day in History
1803- The case of Madison v. Marbury establishes judicial review.

1868- President Andrew Johnson is impeached, but remained in office for the duration of his term.

Sunday, February 20

More NBA Jam Session

Another event at the NBA Jam Session in Los Angeles was the opportunity to call play-by-play for a certain play from a Lakers or Clippers game. Strangely they were both against the Knicks. Flip and I both chose the Clippers play, because, well, you can decide. Below are both of the options, followed by our play-by-play. I think Flip gets the win in the end, but my practice run beforehand may have been better. Either way, Lakers reporter Patrick O'Neal seemed to be amused, which is really all that matters. Enjoy!









This Day in History
1962- John Glenn Jr. becomes the first American to orbit the earth.

1997- Kramer adopts a highway on Seinfeld.

1998- Tara Lapinski becomes the youngest figure skater to win the gold medal at the Olympics.

NBA Jam Session, Part I

My buddy Flip and I were lucky enough to partake in the NBA Jam Session festivities this weekend. We have plenty of footage that we'll get updated throughout this long weekend, but for now, enjoy an in-studio play-by-play announcing segment, courtesy of Time Warner Cable Sports and of course, our lovely hosts, Flip and yours truly.



This Day in History
Due to a technical error, this post should have gone up on Saturday, February 19. This Day in History will reflect that.
1807- Aaron Burr, a former vice-president, gets arrested for treason for planning to annex parts of Louisiana and Mexico to create an independent republic.

1847- The Donner Party, a group of California-bound immigrants who were snowed in on the Sierra Nevada Mountains, get rescued.

Thursday, February 17

Movie Review Extravaganza Part II

In today’s episode, we’ll be doing another movie review extravaganza, similar to the one from about three months ago. At least a few of these movies are relatively new, but of course we’ll sprinkle in some oldies, and end it up with a final grade for each one. And away we go!

The Other Guys
I just saw this movie again last night, and I had forgotten how ridiculously funny it is. I really think Will Ferrell’s at his best when he’s not being a complete idiot for most of the movie (think Elf and Stranger Than Fiction). His relapses into “pimp mode” are fantastic, and Michael Keaton’s numerous accidental TLC references are great as well. Good work all around.
Grade: A

The Fighter
Sticking with Mark Wahlberg movies, this one chronicles boxer Micky Ward’s last great chance at redemption. Wahlberg does a solid job, but it’s Christian Bale, who plays Micky’s coked-out brother, that really steals the show. He simply does an amazing job of playing the consistently disappointing older brother, even though he ultimately does care for his family. All the other roles, from Amy Adams as the girlfriend, to Melissa Leo as the mother of both fighters (as well as seven other girls), are well cast, too. The only problem I had was that the song “The Warrior’s Code,” a very catchy number by the Dropkick Murphys, was only very briefly played in the movie, for maybe five seconds tops. That song is about Micky Ward, and it’s a travesty it didn’t get more airplay during the film. Otherwise, this is a very strong effort from director David O. Russell.
Grade: A

127 Hours
Granted, I haven’t seen most of the films nominated for Best Picture of the Year, but I still think 127 Hours deserves the win, at least based off the ones I’ve seen. Based off the incredible true story of Aron Ralston, an adventurer who became trapped by a boulder for more than five days before amputating his arm with a dull knife, it’s an intense hour and a half. Director Danny Boyle, as he was in Slumdog Millionaire, is so good at putting the viewer into Ralston’s shoes, which is portrayed beautifully by James Franco. I’ve always been a Franco fan since his days on Freaks and Geeks, but he really outdoes himself here. And considering he’s the only character for about 80% of the film, that’s a great thing. A final note—I know some people are queasy about the “amputation scene,” but don’t let that discourage you from seeing the movie. It’s fairly obvious when the scene is coming, so you can look away if need be, and the gore isn’t anything worse than a Quentin Tarantino film, or even the violence in a movie like Kick-Ass. Don’t let three minutes ruin missing out on possibly the best film of the year.
Grade: A

Best in Show
Anyone who’s a fan of the “mockumentary” style of film, a la This Is Spinal Tap, will eat this one up. Anyone who likes dogs should also enjoy it. With an all-star cast ranging from Jane Lynch to Eugene Levy to Michael McKean, the laughs keep coming with a surprisingly clever script, which was heavily improvised. It chronicles several dog owners and their efforts to get their pups to win the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. Even better since this year's Westminster show just occurred.
Grade: A-

Get Him to the Greek
This one’s slightly confusing because Russell Brand plays the same drug-addicted, sex-crazed character he played so well in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, while Jonah Hill, who was also in Sarah, plays a different role. The movie also just isn’t as funny as its “predecessor,” but there are definitely still some laughable moments. Puff Daddy (I’m not entirely sure what name he’s going by now) has a good solid part with plenty of weird one-liners. Plus there are some catchy tunes to enjoy.
Grade: B

This Day in History
1801- Thomas Jefferson is elected.

1966- Brian Wilson rolls the tape on the first take of "Good Vibrations."

1996- World chess champion Garry Kasparov defeats a Deep Blue, IBM's chess-playing computer 4-2. Deep Blue returned the favor and beat Kasparov the next year. Fitting, since an IBM product is currently tearing up the Jeopardy scene.

Monday, February 14

Quick Grammys Recap

As I'm sure most people have heard, the Grammy Awards were last night. A few of the highlights:

-Arcade Fire took home the Album of the Year award for The Suburbs. Eminem's Recovery was heavily favored to win, and although the rapper remains oh-for in the "Album of the Year" category, it's very refreshing to see a more under-the-radar band win.

-Lady Gaga showed up in an egg (or womb), on a cross. Of things that need to go away, she might top the list. I don't know if it was a lack of attention as a child, maybe she was dropped on her head, or maybe she is incapable of normalcy for any period of time, but until her talent level can reach her absurdity (i.e. never), please, just stop. The only thing I want coming out of an egg is Yoshi.


-Eminem dropped an f-bomb during his performance of "Love the Way You Lie." Very funny commentary, as well as a clip of the slip-up, here.

-Lady Antebellum somehow won "Record of the Year," which really means "Best Song of the Year." But wait, there's also a "Song of the Year" category, which had three of the same five nominees. I guess the "Song" category is more geared toward the actual writing of the song, while the "Record" deals more with production. Still, Lady Antebellum won both of them. Their song isn't terrible, but compared to Cee-Lo's "F*** You?" Fuhgettaboutit!

-Speaking of Cee-Lo, he was in a ridiculous-looking outfit to perform the edited version of his song. He was joined by a few special guests. Enjoy below:



Overall, there seems to be a dwindling interest in these awards, which is maybe why some of the artists felt a need to be over the top. Although I still think uncensored Cee-Lo is much better.

This Day in History
278- St. Valentine is executed. I doubt it was with a bow and arrow.

1977- Since this post was about music, the B-52s perform their first concert.

Sunday, February 13

More Dunk Contest Dunks!

With the NBA Slam Dunk Contest now less than a week away, it's time for another rendition of top dunks. This one is, in the poster's description, the Top 10 underrated dunks. At least half of these dunks actually turned out to be the winning slam for the dunker, but hey, they're still fun to watch, ain't they?



This Day in History
1633- Galileo arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which states the Earth revolves around the Sun.

1915- ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, is founded.

Saturday, February 12

Party in the O-S-U

I realize this video is a couple of weeks old, but I figured since the Ohio State Buckeyes finally lost for the first time this week, we might as well put it up now. Below is Jon Diebler, Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger performing Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA." I honestly don't know which version is better. Or I guess less terrible is a better way to put it. Enjoy the off-key madness below.



This Day in History
1809- Abraham Lincoln is born.

2008- The Hollywood writers' strike ends after 100 days.

Friday, February 11

Top Super Bowl Ads

I guess this is better late than never, but after reading about the negative backlash some of the Super Bowl ads had received (such as this Groupon one), I decided to focus on the good. Here we go with our Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials of Super Bowl XLV (that's 45 for you non-Roman Numeral experts). Also, these aren't in any order, just know that they're funny.

Brisk and Eminem
I don't know what it is about animated commercials, but they're usually almost always winners. The fact that Eminem really hasn't done commercials before now makes it even funnier.



CareerBuilder.com's Monkeys
Career Builder is very good at making commercials with monkeys in them. And they're almost always funny. Seriously, I mean it. It's just because monkeys are so darn awesome, it's hard to fail when they're involved. Anyway, here was this year's offering.



Bridgestone's "Reply All"
I actually missed this one when it was on live. That's the beauty of the Internet. Awesome screaming and an epic mustache involved too? No way this spot could lose.



Audi's "Release the Hounds"
Kenny G is trying not to laugh at the end of this commercial. Even he knows it's funny.



"Logging" by Snickers
Snickers struck comedy gold last year with Betty White and Abe Vigoda, and this year's offering, featuring Michael Lewis and Roseanne Barr, is just as good.



This Day in History
1990- Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years.

1990- The same year (and thus, the same day), Buster Douglas knocks out undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

Wednesday, February 9

I Thought Dunks Only Involved One Person?

Continuing our theme of cool dunks from the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, this post will feature a video of the top dunks involving teammates. The NBA has recently made it a rule to involve a teammate in at least one slam, which has led to some very interesting ideas. Granted, a few of these videos don't involve teammates per se, but they're still pretty awesome. Take a look at the best below.



This Day in History
1950- Joseph McCarthy accuses over 200 members of the Department of State to be communists.

1960- Joanne Woodward earns the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1964- The Beatles make their first appearance on American television on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1971- Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro Leagues player to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, February 8

Revisiting Super Bowl Picks and More Dunk Contests!

A few weeks ago, we did a post starting a series of dunk contest-themed entries. Since said contest is now only 12 days away, let's revisit some more dunk contests of recent past, this time the 2003 matchup between Desmond Mason and Jason Richardson. This was one of the more entertaining individual battles during a dunk contest, so why not showcase it?



We'll also go over each of my Super Bowl prop bets from last post, because I'm nothing if not accountable. My snide comments are in italics.

-Christina Aguilera's national anthem will go over 1:54. Our official time of this was 1:53.4. So close! Maybe if she didn't flub the words...
-The first kickoff return will not pass the 25-yard line. Whoops. First return actually went to the 36-yard line. They're a lot better at these things in the pros than they are in college.
-The first touchdown will go to Mike Wallace. I meant last. The last touchdown.
-There will be a Lambeau Leap done by one of the Packers (my personal hope is that it's Charles Woodson on a pick six). I was right if you count Nick Collins leaping into the endzone. I forgot the first few rows are media, so doing a Lambeau Leap might break some expensive equipment.
-That being said, Charles Woodson will record a sack. I think by sack, I meant "will get injured early on and miss the rest of the game."
-Mike Tomlin will look like Omar Epps for the entire game. Finally nailed one!
-Aaron Rodgers will score a rushing touchdown. Nope. In fact, he didn't even rush for positive yardage once. Just two kneel-downs to end the game.
-The color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach will be yellow (think about it, Steelers fans wave yellow towels, and Green Bay represents cheeseheads everywhere). I'm still fuming about this one. The Bears, who have long been the Packers most hated rival, have orange as a primary color. So why use that as your Gatorade? And do NOT tell me orange tastes better than yellow.
-Packers RB James Starks will have 83 or fewer total yards. 52, all rushing yards. Sometimes it's too easy.
-No kickoff return will make it past the 37-yard line. I think it's fairly obvious I meant the receiving team's own 37-yard line. I really just chose a random number, but in this case I could have made the line for Vegas. One return did go past the 37 but it was called back due to a penalty. Two others made it to the team's own 36, but not a yard further. Nice!
-At least one announcement of a penalty by a referee will not be heard over the PA system, or will cut out for more than half of it. This one was harder to tell, just because it's hard to hear everything when you're watching with a group. I know the referee stopped speaking during the middle of a sentence, so maybe that counts. Knowing the other problems Cowboys Stadium had on Sunday, it's reasonable to assume the PA malfunctioned at some point too.

My final score prediction was 30-24 Packers. The final score was 31-25. Surely there must be some sort of reward for being that close. Probably not. In any case, let's get back to This Day in History. I'm not sure why it disappeared in the first place.

This Day in History
1986- Spud Webb, standing just 5'7", wins the dunk contest (how ironic since this post was partially about the dunk contest).

1990- Del Shannon, best known for his song "Runaway," dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 56.

Sunday, February 6

Super Bowl Sunday

Hopefully you've signed up for your free Papa John's, and are ready to celebrate the game right. Here are some prop bets that I'm looking forward to making. Some of these may not actually exist, but hey, you can find someone to make 'em with. Assuming you're in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal.

-Christina Aguilera's national anthem will go over 1:54.
-The first kickoff return will not pass the 25-yard line.
-The first touchdown will go to Mike Wallace.
-There will be a Lambeau Leap done by one of the Packers (my personal hope is that it's Charles Woodson on a pick six).
-That being said, Charles Woodson will record a sack.
-Mike Tomlin will look like Omar Epps for the entire game.
-Aaron Rodgers will score a rushing touchdown.
-The color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach will be yellow (think about it, Steelers fans wave yellow towels, and Green Bay represents cheeseheads everywhere).
-Packers RB James Starks will have 83 or fewer total yards.
-No kickoff return will make it past the 37-yard line.
-At least one announcement of a penalty by a referee will not be heard over the PA system, or will cut out for more than half of it.

So there you go, you gambling addicts. My final prediction is Packers win 30-24, but since I'm usually wrong with this sort of thing, you Steelers fans can start celebrating. All I really know is that we're roughly a month away from March Madness (I consider conference tournaments a part of it), and ain't nothin' wrong with that.

Wednesday, February 2

Super Duper Seven

I've decided to start a little web series called "The Super Duper Seven." Figuring that the average attention span only lasts for about two to three minutes (if even that much), I try to condense one major story from several different areas into a concise little summary. Do I succeed? Well, take a look for yourself.

Tuesday, February 1

Stan Fox 64

Kudos to my boy Roqstar for pointing me towards this. I'm a huge fan of Star Fox 64, one of the simplest yet addictive games on the Nintendo 64. For those who haven't played it, this won't be that funny, but the voices at least might make you laugh. The basic premise is Stan Fox is on a date, and he takes the advice from his three wingmen, all parodies of Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare and Slippy Whatever His Last Name Is. Actually, I think it might just be Toad. Either way, he was annoying. He's annoying in this video too, but it's in a funny way. Like Roqstar recommended, I'm gonna go ahead and suggest you sit through the end credits, which might be the best part of the whole video.

How Andy Samberg Gets His Ideas

The folks over at The Landline parody Andy Samberg's digital short videos, which are often parodies themselves. It warrants a few chuckles.