Thursday, December 25, 2008

not even a cripple

Welp, we were actually searching for some great holiday cheer to bring to you, in the form of a classic SNL bit from the 80's: the Sweeney Sisters' Christmas - but for some reason, NBC hasn't gotten around to providing this clip to the public. Originally aired on December 20, 1986, this classic SNL episode (hosted by Bill Shatner) was full of great sketches, and was probably one of the best of that already-great-season which sparked SNL's resurgence in popularity from the late 80's to early 90's.

NBC has provided one clip from that episode for our holiday enjoyment - the lost ending of Frank Capra's immortal film It's a Wonderful Life:

And here is another great bit from a more recent era, a cartoon from Robert Smigel featuring the singing of Darlene Love: "It's Christmastime for the Jews."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Let's do something!

In case you haven't heard, it looks like LaLa is going down. Read "101 Ways to Lose Your Mayor" here. It'll probably take years, but the ball is rolling. Don't blame me, I voted for Bernie.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Papal bulls, indulgences & transubstantiation

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther sent a now-famous letter to his Archbishop. He also [allegedly] nailed a copy to the door of the local church. You rock, Martin. Well, you know, except for the whole antisemitism thing. Anyways, The Briefcase is happy to provide some Protestant entertainment for you below. Happy Reformation Day, everyone!

All you Lutherans, get outta yo' seats...
Martin Luther Rap:

Every year this probably gets posted a bazillion times, and so we at the Briefcase follow suit - "The Reformation Polka." It begins about 1:03 into it, we thought it was humorous:

So they got Joseph Fiennes to play the lead in Luther - I have one question: Was the great William Forsythe not available? Sheesh...
"Yeah I heard of him, didn't he play hockey for da Red Wings?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So Mista Funkmaster, pump the Bee Gees

Does this go for Wyclef's "We Tryin' to Stay Alive" as well? You can tell by the way I roll, shorty, that I'm a ladies' man, a business man:

Disco tune "Stayin' Alive" could save your life
Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:27pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. doctors have found the Bee Gees 1977 disco anthem "Stayin' Alive" provides an ideal beat to follow while performing chest compressions as part of CPR on a heart attack victim . . .

. . . In a small study headed by Dr. David Matlock of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, listening to "Stayin' Alive" helped 15 doctors and medical students to perform chest compressions on dummies at the proper speed.

Five weeks after practicing with the music playing, they were asked to perform CPR again on dummies by keeping the song in their minds, and again they kept up a good pace.

"The theme 'Stayin' Alive' is very appropriate for the situation," Matlock said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "Everybody's heard it at some point in their life. People know the song and can keep it in their head."

Click to read the whole story from Reuters

So Mista Funkmaster, pump the Bee Gees
And all you college students bring your ouijas
Check the spellin, r e--f u g e--e
Get the CD
From Sam Goody, he he
You aint even close wit the rhymes that you wrote
Dont be mad cause you broke
Let me clear my throat - ah huh ah huh...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

We seem to be made to suffer

We almost forgot what it really feels like to live in Cub Nation. Back to reality? 100 years and counting?...

"We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life."

...We sure hope not. Lord, help us.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lessons from the movies

We can learn a lot from film sometimes:

"The name is Horace."
The Monster Squad
TriStar Pictures, 1987

1. Wolfman's got nards.

2. There's only one way to kill a werewolf.

"No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do."
The Karate Kid
Columbia Pictures, 1984

1. What do we study here? The way of the fist, that's what. We all know the mantra of the Cobra Kai: Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy. Seem too rough? Just because the Cobra Kai's say it doesn't necessarily make it evil. If only the Western nations would have adopted this dictum, we could have prevented WWII and the Cold War. But no, we let Germany re-arm and we didn't listen to Patton's admonition to never split Europe with the Russians. We can all hear Sensei Kreese's immortal words echoing "We do not train to be merciful here! Mercy is for the weak! Here, in the streets, in competition - a man confronts you, he is the enemy! An enemy deserves no mercy- what is the problem Mr. Lawrence?"

2. You shouldn't provoke the school bullies, especially if they know more karate than you. Ol' Daniel-with-an-L deserved at least some of those butt-whoopins.

3. Good comebacks and insults can be hard to come by sometimes. Tommy's "Must be take-a-worm-for-a-walk week!" is nowhere near being a good zinger. Dutch, however, had a better one with "Well, well, well, if it isn't little Danielle LaRusso - what's the matter, mommy not here to dress you?"

4. Is there an old Asian man nearby? Be nice to him. He can probably seriously karate-cize your face. He also just might teach you karate and if you play your cards right, give you a neat old car.

5. Billy Zabka is an alright guy after all, as we see at the end when Johnny Lawrence hands Daniel the All-Valley Champion Trophy, "You're alright, LaRusso!" Unfortunately this act of redemption did not prevent his typecasting in the years following, e.g. Just One of the Guys and Back to School. Interestingly enough, Zabka did eventually merit an Oscar nomination for his 2003 short film Most.

"We do not honor bet of coward."
The Karate Kid, Part II
Columbia Pictures, 1986

Since American Movie Classics has been playing the first two KK's back to back over the last week, the Briefcase will share what we've learned from this screen gem as well. As it turns out, there is probably more to learn from the sequel. (First let us disclaim that we were very dismayed that AMC opted not to run The Karate Kid, Part III and The Next Karate Kid - both very integral parts of the KK saga.)

1. Okanawans primarily speak in broken English to each other, regardless of the presence of gaijins. Rarely will they use the Japanese or Okinawan languages to communicate. Those tongues are reserved for ultra-special occasions, such as one's last words uttered from a deathbed. Furthermore, the English-only norm applies to everyone except the village idiot. That person primarily speaks in Okinawan jibberish.

2. Pre-marital tea ceremonies are bad. Oh, those crazy kids and their hormones. They should've listened to their Anmas (that's Okinawan for mothers), who told them that the only things that come from this act before marraige are typhoons and tropical cyclones. But did young Kumiko listen? Nope. And look what happened. It's almost like the horror movie maxim about fornicating - one's chances for survival increase dramatically if they keep it in their pants. But in karate movies, you put the whole village, nay, the whole country at risk by turning a tea cup. Fortunately, LaRusso dodged a serious bullet here, as he tipped the balance of karate-movie-karma back in his favor when he rescued the squalling bell-ringing girl. Still, let's remember to keep it in the cupboard until we tie the knot.

3. Yuji Okomato is bad. And by bad we mean good. And by good we mean stinkin' awesome. Up until KK2, we only saw this dude as a supporting nerd in Real Genius and as the Howard Cosell-speaking street racer in Better Off Dead. The role of Chozen allowed him to show the world that he was a certified badyou-know-what. "You keep for your corlection. I know you like."

4. Don't accompany your sensei to his homeland until he has taught you how to fight with a spear. This skill will almost certainly come in handy.

5. You can't trust Elisabeth Shue. You're from Reseda, she's from the Hills. That little voice inside your head? The one that's nagging you? The one that told you in the first installment that you have to be some sort of a "yo-yo" to be talking to her? It is also saying "She's too hot for you, sooner or later she's going to realize it and the novelty of the tournament-winning-Jersey-goomba is going to wear off..." It also asks "What are the chances of Ali running off with a UCLA football player?" Listen carefully to that voice and guard your heart.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bad News follow-up

Finally, a piece on Gilles Bilodeau -

From The Birmingham News:

Hockey player `Bad News' was a teddy bear off the ice

Sunday, August 31, 2008
News staff writer

Gilles "Bad News" Bilodeau famously delivered some bad news on Nov. 24, 1977, in what was coined The Thanksgiving Night Massacre in the next day's newspaper.

It took Bilodeau and four other Birmingham Bulls starters exactly 24 seconds to start a free-swinging, 15-minute brawl against their opponents. Players racked up 78 penalty minutes in the first 30 seconds of play.

"Bulls make a big Thanksgiving kill," The Birmingham News headline read . . .

(Click to read more)

Friday, August 15, 2008 Eddie Shore

Hockey Night in Birmingham. My dad used to tell me stories of Birmingham's fabulous 3 seasons with the renegade major hockey league, the World Hockey Association. Those stories pretty much always revolve around good old hockey brawls - and many of them involved Birmingham hockey legend Gilles "Bad News" Bilodeau, who played 2 seasons for the Bulls from 1976-78. Bilodeau played in a peculiar era of professional hockey, dominated by almost-cartoonish goons and obnoxiously long bench-clearing brawls (we're talking hour-long, just read the Beaton entry here at #10).

Bilodeau was a tough guy (570 PIMs in 143 games) on a team full of tough guys (2177 PIMs in 80 games in '77-78) - Frank Beaton, Steve Durbano, Serge Beaudoin, Bob Stephenson, and Dave Hanson - just to name a few. I recall one story that involved Bilodeau, head bashing, and a pool of an opposing player's blood left on the ice. I'm not sure of the veracity of that tale, whether it has suffered the effects of memory and embellishment over the years - but you get the picture. These were the wacky days of hockey, straight out of Slap Shot (once Jeff Carlson hit Bilodeau over the head with the rink-side announcer's microphone!).

Like a few other players- Phil Roberto, Brent Hughes and Frank Beaton, the Quebec native made Birmingham his home, having met his wife and subsequently raised his family in the Magic City. He is remembered fondly in many of my circles and in fact, a friend of mine's family dog was actually named Bilodeau. (Not an uncommon event, my aunt named her dog "Serge" after her favorite player Serge Beaudoin. I'm glad we didn't have a dog named after Bill Flett, my mom's favorite player, but I digress...)

After the WHA's demise, Gilles eventually got a little ice time in the NHL, getting in some shifts with the Nordiques. He would reappear in some later minor league incarnations of the Bulls, and later on he could still be recognized around town, especially coaching and volunteering down at the Alpine Ice Arena and at St. Barnabas Catholic church & school.

Sadly, Bilodeau passed away this week at age 53. There was not much in the paper, other than his obit, but nothing indicated the cause of death. Hopefully The Birmingham News will do something on him this weekend, this town owes him at least that much. The old Bulls of the 70's made hockey a permanent part of Birmingham culture - thanks in large part to Bad News Bilodeau. For that, the entire staff here at The Briefcase will be eternally grateful. We will miss you, Bad News.

Recommended further reading: The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association, Magic City Hockey and BirminghamProSports

Although this is not the best clip, here's a taste of [not so] old-time hockey, like Eddie Shore:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wuv. Twue wuv.

Mawage. Mawage is whot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam; And wuv, twue wuv, will fowow you foweva...

Check out this true love story over at

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Did you know...
  • Alse Young (sometimes cited as Achsah Young) was the first person in the records executed for witchcraft in the 13 Colonies? (No, I didn't know it either. But I know now. And I also know that it happened in Connecticut, not Massachusetts, like the Birmingham Trivia people cited in tonight's final trivia question at On Tap. So there, smartypantses. I mean, if it's your job to write trivia questions, you should be correct with your facts, even if they're not germane to the point of the question.)
  • Bill Gates became a billionaire at age 31.
  • Some people in this world must really, really like Def Leopard.
  • Guinea pigs are sometimes referred to as Cavy's.
Well I know that stuff now. And knowing is half the battle. Knowing more is the whole battle. Knowing this can help:
  • Elliott was the name of Pete's dragon in the 1977 film Pete's Dragon.
  • Richie Rich had a robot maid.
  • Leslie Stahl was on 60 Minutes.
  • NBC owns The Weather Channel now.
  • Bill Belichick's first NFL head coaching gig was with the Cleveland Browns.
  • The Pintpundit, NxNWA, the Wright Stuff, Drewski and myself rock the trivia. We don't have to pay for our meals that often.
  • It's always a brazzle-dazzle day in Passamaquoddy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My quantum of solace

A recent re-viewing of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale left me, oh, I don't know, somewhat dispirited perhaps. As a result, this Bond fan isn't as-of-yet excited for Bond 22, currently titled Quantum of Solace. Don't get me wrong, I'll go see it, and I'll be all about it, I just need some time to brood over these winds of change that I didn't even see coming.

What I mean is, Casino was originally billed as a prequel, and rightly so. It was Fleming's first novel and takes place before Dr. No. I was initially very excited and pleased overall with the resulting film (read my initial review here). My initial misgivings (see previous link) were rooted in my belief that it was indeed a prequel. But now I realize, as I should have all along, that it was not a prequel, but rather a complete reboot of the EON Bond Franchise. *Sigh*

It's ok, I guess. But this means that the Bond universe from Dr. No to Die Another Day has come to a close. Now there will be a completely new storyline, not bound by the canon of the first 20 films. This happens in comic books and comic book movies, it shouldn't happen in my favorite spy-novel film series. The late Cubby Broccoli probably wouldn't have done this if he were alive. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. His children run EON now, and they did what they had to do to keep Bond going in this new millennium. I can't fault them too much, too many clever double entendres and invisible cars have been outpaced by a newer breed of action hero movies, à la the Bourne series, et al.

Well, I guess I have until November 7 to warm up to this new saga and chronology of James Bond. I will always have the original 20 films in my heart. Here are just a few things that I like (I certainly have many) from the first-generation Bond films (hereafter referred to as "gen-one"):

7. Bond Fights a Midget
The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)

James has had his share of formidable foes over the years, but none were more ferocious (and by ferocious, I mean annoying) than "Nick Nack," loyal personal assistant/henchman/butler to the twisted marksman Scaramanga. Portrayed by the great Hervé Villechaize, Nick Nack stood only only 1.18 meters (3'11").

Why is it every time you've taken down your archenemy and you're all set to make the moves on Britt Ekland aboard a slow boat to China, a midget pops out of nowhere and wants to fight, throwing expensive wine bottles at you? Bond is forced to fight the little bugger, and eventually captures him in a suitcase. Classic. I love midgets!

(By the way, Hervé preferred the term "midget" over "little person.")

6. Jaws' Heart of Gold
Moonraker (1979)

Having been bested by James Bond time and time again, the metal-mouthed muscle-for-hire "Jaws" finally crosses over to the good side when he learns that his boss Hugo Drax was not going to allow Jaws or his new girlfriend Dolly to be a part of the new Earth and probably dispose of him at the earliest possible convenience. Jaws took action and helped Bond and Dr. Goodhead take over Drax's spacestation. After helping Bond escape in Drax's shuttle, Jaws and his love settle down in an air-locked module of the crumbling station to toast their victory and new life together, "Well, here's to us..." As they drifted towards Earth, Bond assured Dr. Goodhead (and the audience) that they new couple would make it safely. Aww...

5. Man goes into cage, cage goes into water...
From Russia With Love (1963)
The evil SPECTRE assasin "Red Grant" in From Russia With Love - the one that tried too hard to come off as British by saying "old man" too much - yeah, that one, well that was legendary screen actor, novelist and playwright Robert Shaw. Yup, that's the cranky old man of the sea in Jaws, way before the years (and alcoholism) caught up to him. I just think that's noteworthy if not cool. I mean, look at him:

4. It's the little things
Subplots, factoids & revelations

Sometimes it's the little things that can add depth to the Bond universe. What I'm talking about are those little, blink-and-you'll-miss-them type things, that for whatever reason expand and shed light on things. Ok, maybe they're not important. But they do give you an edge when it comes to trivia. For instance, did you know Bond was orphaned when his parents died in a tragic climbing accident? (GoldenEye) And didn't you like seeing the inside of Bond's house? (Live and Let Die)

Or, did you know that [the first] M's real name was Vice Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, KCMG? (The Man With the Golden Gun) Or that he spent his free time on his home estate as a Lepidoptera enthusiast? (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) Or that Q has a name too? It's Major Boothroyd. (The Spy Who Loved Me)

And how could we forget the backstory to Octopussy? Bond had to arrest a fallen military hero named Major Dexter Smythe, and Bond gave him time to clear up his affairs. Smythe committed suicide rather than face the disgrace of a court-martial. His daughter Octopussy showed her gratitude by providing protection from the villainous Kamal Khan.

I don't know, I just like little things like that...

3. "I never miss."
Licensed to kill, for Queen and Country's sake

Ok, 007 is a killer, let's not forget that. That's what the double-0 means. But it's not glorious, of course. Double-0's do what they have to do. The safety of the UK and the rest of the free world depend on it. But sometimes, when Bond does his thing (the killing thing, not the fornicating thing), audiences just have to applaud and give some sort of equivalent to a resounding "BOOYAH!" Here are three of my favorites:

Fiona Volpe (Thunderball, 1965): This saucy, redheaded SPECTRE agent thought she was playing Bond, when Bond was really playing her. While dancing with her at the Kiss Kiss Club, he noticed an assassin's gun barrel aimed at him. Bond grabbed his dance partner and shielded himself from the bullet, which pierced Fiona's spine, killing her instantly. Nice work, Jimbo.

Emile Locque (For Your Eyes Only, 1981): This one is noteworthy, in part because this was a Roger Moore kill. The Roger Moore-era was a softer, gentler Bond, whose scripts are marked by more gadgetry from Q-branch, judo-chops and poorly constructed attempts at humor. Rarely did we see Moore just pop a cap in the bad guy without a long conversation first.

But this one was awesome in my book. While Locque was attempting to drive away, Bond shoots him, causing him to spin out, coming to rest on the edge of a cliff. With a stone cold look on his face, Bond approaches the vehicle, gives a short parting word to Locque, tosses the dove pin that Locque was leaving on his victims and kicks the teetering car over the edge. Stone cold, JB, stone cold...

Elektra King (The World is Not Enough, 1999): After playing James for a fool, his villainous former lover finds herself on the working end of Bond's Walther P99. Bond gives her one more opportunity to repent, to which she responds, "You wouldn't kill me, you'd miss me..." But before she can radio her evil comrade Renard - BLAAM!! Bond blows her away, and then tells her corpse, "I never miss."
To borrow a phrase from Snoop: when you dis Bond, you dis yourself.

2. Bond goes to Harlem. Seriously.
Live and Let Die (1973)

The call of duty has taken our gentleman spy to exotic locales the world over. But when an MI6 agent is killed at the UN, Bond is soon on the trail of a mysterious gangster, "Mr. Big."

The search required 007 to actually venture north of 110th Street, as he sought the Fillet of Soul restaurant, owned by Mr. Big. He wasn't exactly inconspicuous, but he got the job done.
1. Snow Angel
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Having escaped Blofeld's retreat in the Alps, 007 was making his way through the crowded village, while chief henchwoman Irma Bunt and her thugs chase after him. Closing in on him, Bond seems to have no way out this time. Out of ideas, he found a seat alongside the ice rink, as fear, anxiety and the cold made him feel more isolated than ever. The look of worry on Lazenby's face says it all. There was no way he could win this one alone.

Then, Contessa Teresa di Vencenzo, "Tracy," whom he had been seeing upon the urging of her syndicate-boss father, appears in front of him - a most beautiful and welcome sight. Tracy sees that he's in mortal danger and helps him elude his hunters. The two would later get caught in a blizzard and were forced to take shelter in a remote barn on the outskirts of the village of Mürren. It is here where James decides he will find another line of work, because agents have no room in their life for love. Tracy had rescued him from Blofeld, but also from a life he no longer wanted. Bond proposed that night. His new life had just begun.

In a vein similar to the end of Casino Royale, this small episode of the story does the most to develop and drive the character of James Bond. It made him who he is (see #3 above). If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch the movie. OHMSS is certainly not the best Bond film by far, but in my opinion, it is the best story of the series.

By all means, feel free to share your favorite Bond moments with the Briefcase below. See you at the movies on November 7...

"...I love you. I know I'll never find another girl like you. Will you marry me?"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

from the Associated Press, June 26, 2008:

DMV Offers 10,000 Replacement
License Plates

"...Officials learned last year the common acronym stands for a vulgar
phrase in e-mail and cell phone text messages..."
the story here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bathroom on the right

You gotta appreciate misheard lyrics, I know I do. We all know the universal classics, like Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" (...There's a bathroom on the right...) or R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" (...Let's pee in the corner, let's pee in the spotlight...). There's probably countless sites out there like this one or this one that celebrate this phenomenon. Check them out if you have nothing better to do.

But I would imagine that many folks might have their own unique collection of alternate lyrics. There's a handful that I've had over the years, so here they are. Feel free to share yours as well:

"Rock the Casbah"
The Clash (1982)

I (like many others) really had no idea what they were talking about in this one, but the best I could figure (in my early passing attempts at hearing the song) was that it was about some British dudes going to a king's wedding or something and finding that the bar was not an open one. And so, being the punk rockers they were, they had to rock the cash bar instead ("bar" being sung with an English accented "bah"). My hearing's much better now.

As it turns out, this 1982 gem was inspired by the banning of rock music in Iran by the Ayatollah Khomeini. A "qasbah" is any fortified city found in Islamic countries. And qasbahs can always use a good rocking.

"Every Time You Go Away"
Paul Young (1985)

I wish Hall & Oates would've
recorded the Diarrhea Song...
Ok, well, this one is not really a misheard one. It's an intentionally mis-sung one. But when I sang "Every time you go away, you take a piece of cake with you" in front of my 3rd grade chums, I was a hit. In the minds of my 8 year-old comrades, this was the funniest thing they'd heard since the "Diarrhea Song." And ever since, I've sang along in my head with a piece of cake, instead of a piece of Paul Young.

An interesting side note to this one: Daryl Hall wrote this song.

"Dancing in the Dark"
Bruce Springsteen (1984)

Cox's dancing defined the 1980's
Another intentional one here, but it has stuck over the years. Sometimes songs get stuck in my head and I sing them over and over until the lyrics change. Eventually the song I was singing proclaimed that "ya can't start a fire - ya can't start a fire without a shark..."

Luckily, my sister heard me sing this one and she thought it was awesome. Man, I was a comic genius.

Later on, I would have the good fortune of having a college roommate who also shared a predilection for intentionally/unintentionally mixing up the lyrics. Yea for nerds...

"Soothe Me"
Sam & Dave (1967)

This classic song was featured in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, while Jake and Elwood are cruising along with a Sam & Dave tape playing on the 8-track. As the song is playing under the film dialogue, it was kinda hard to make out. But as a youngster, I heard "Do me, baby, do me! Do me with your tire!" The actual line is "Soothe me, baby, soothe me! Soothe me with your kindness."

"Just the Two of Us"
Grover Washington, Jr. featuring Bill Withers (1981)

The Marcing Tuba,
or "Sousaphone":
one sexy horn...
Well, I guess my hearing and/or my attention span was severely inadequate when I was younger, because this one had me for the longest time. This one is my all-time best misheard lyric (and apparently I'm not the only one). For the longest time, I literally thought this song was about a tuba.

I always wondered why Bill was singing about his tuba. And that sax solo, I assumed that sound was a tuba - I didn't know what a tuba sounded like. I really thought it went "Just the tuba, we can make it if we try . . . just the tuba, you and I..." It made me wonder if there was something magical about the tuba that could heal/spice up any relationship.

This song was also featured in chewing gum commercials (cinnamon Dentyne, I think), and so I was confused - can you even play the tuba while chewing gum?

Dentyne + the Tuba = bau baum
I don't remember how old I was when I realized the real lyrics (possibly high school, possibly later), but I can distinctly remember that at some point it clicked, and being blown away by how logical it now was. And in the end I would prefer it being about a tuba. The tuba just isn't as mysterious anymore...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

At least they're trying...

From The Birmingham News:

University of Alabama at Birmingham unveiled a new, three-ton, smoke-breathing statue of Blaze, the UAB mascot, today at 1:30 p.m. outside Bartow Arena.

The statue was envisioned by the 16-member Commission on UAB Traditions, which researches and studies traditions that could be adopted by the university community, and it was commissioned by the UAB National Alumni Society.

But, I mean, doesn't it look kind of cartoonish? It is very evocative of Elliot from Pete's Dragon. Don't get me wrong, UAB has come a long way since the early Bartow days, when, if memory serves, the UAB athletic logo was just a sideways chevron-looking shape that was, presumably, supposed to embody motion (said motion came from trail-blazing, which was the original connotation of the term Blazer, I believe).

But back to "Blaze," couldn't he have been made to look a little more serious, maybe a darker green, or actually fire-breathing nostrils - how awesome would that be, walking up to Bartow for a game and seeing flames shoot out at you?! If they were going to go Disney, they could have at least gone with Malecifent from Sleeping Beauty, right?

Or even better, what about Draco from Universal's 1996 film Dragonheart? Every time fans passed by, they would hear Sean Connery's voice saying "I am the laszht one!" or "To the shtarzh, Bowen!"

Oh well. At least it's not Bruce Leroy from Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dykstra spelled backwards is Artskyd

Today is the 10th anniversary of Harry Caray's death. Check out HomeRunDerby's article on Harry. Growing up in the 80's, when there were only 30 cable channels, exposure to the Cubs was easy via Chicago's Own: WGN Channel 9. I mean we were all watching "The Grand Prize Game" on The Bozo Show anyway. If you didn't have to turn the station so your sister could watch Nickelodeon, you were probably going to catch a Cubs game or two. You couldn't even get through a commercial break without hearing Caray's Budweiser commercials.

Movies like The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller's Day Off were responsible for putting Chicago and Wrigley imagery in my mind. I mean the whole world knows Wrigley Field's address, doesn't it? (1060 W. Addison) Combined with the facts that the Bears were my favorite team in the 80's and that the Barons have been the White Sox's AA farm team since circa '85, I've always had Chicago on my mind.

But I didn't really begin to immerse myself into Cub Nation until I met my first college roommate. Let's just call him "Archie." Well, Archie loves the Cubbies, and slowly but surely, he got me hooked. All those lazy college afternoons watching WGN on a 13" T.V. in the dorm, hearing Harry Caray slobbering on about players' names and pointing out all the fans' signage, all the while imagining Steve Stone carefully monitoring the number of Budweisers being consumed. Because even a newcomer to Cubs broadcasts will quickly learn that "not only is Harry a Cub fan, he's a Bud Man."

All of Harry's quirks, spitting out great names like Gary Gaetti, Andres Galarraga, Jason Isringhausen, Scott Servais, and even [by the 5th inning] Mark Grace, quickly grew on me. He loved to randomly pronounce players' names backwards. "Holy Cow" was his trademark catchphrase, no matter who else used it. Concerning it, he said this: "I started in broadcasting in 1945 doing the Cardinals and saying ‘Holy Cow.’ [Legendary NY Yankee] Rizzuto was just a shortstop. ‘Holy Cow’ is mine."

He died before the season in 1998, missing seeing the Cubs get the NL Wild Card after a one-game playoff with the Giants. It seemed fitting, Harry's passing, 90 years since the last WS - really thought for a half-second there that it could happen. Then I would really join Cub Nation when I would feel the heartache in the Divisional Playoffs that year - losing to the stinkin' Braves. The Cubs heartache and joy have only increased each year since. If only he could still be here to present it to us.

The Rocket's Code Red

Speaking of Congressman Waxman & the Rocket (see below), the PintPundit has brought to my attention this humorous take on last week's exchanges on Capitol Hill, via author David Harsanyi's blog:

Clemens: You want answers?

Congressman: I think I’m entitled to them.

Clemens: You want answers?

Congressman: I want the truth!

Clemens: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has baseballs. And those balls have to be hit by men with bats. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Mister Waxman? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for steroids and curse HGH. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that HGH, while illegal, probably sells tickets. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, sells tickets.

You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties - you want me on that mound. You need me on that mound. We use words like fastball, slider, splitfinger - we use these words as the backbone of a life spent playing a sport. You use ‘em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and falls asleep to the very SportsCenter clips that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide them! I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a bat and take a swing. Either way, I don’t give a [darn] what you think you’re entitled to!

Congressman: Did you order the HGH?

Clemens: I did the job you sent me to do-



Friday, February 15, 2008

Who knew ice could go bad?

Countdown: this ice could become deadly in 22 months.

Did you know that ice has an expiration date? Well, it does. So please, don't become another statistic. Pay attention to your ice's expiration date, your life may just depend on it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuna With a Heart

So I'm flipping through the telley this morning trying to find a channel that wasn't blathering about the Clemens hearing and I saw this guy named Congressman Waxman yipping on about who knows what. Then it hits me, he was the president of Schooner Tuna in 1983's Mr. Mom! Remember the "Tuna With a Heart"?

Howard Humphries or the distinguished gentleman from California?

The fellow in the left two images is the late Canadian character actor Graham Jarvis. Jarvis was best known for his steady work as a character actor on many, many television shows over the years, including the short-lived soap opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. More recently he portrayed one of the grandfathers on 7th Heaven (the other was the great Peter Graves). Unfortunately Jarvis lost his battle with multiple myeloma in 2003, passing away at age 72.

Anywho, I just figured I'd share a look-alike (albeit an obscure one) for my first blawg of aught eight. Enjoy. Feel free to scroll through all my past doppelganging fun here.