Friday, November 30, 2007

A Movie I'm Not Interested in Seeing, Anyway

I finally put my finger on what bothers me about Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

Unlike the parodic movies I'm used to seeing (OK, using to seeing . . . previews for), it's not a parody of a genre of movie, but rather a parody of one specific movie.

I suppose you could argue that a lot of movies, both big screen and tv, follow the same sort of arc of an entertainer's career, but this is clearly just Walk the Line: But Funny! Isn't that a lot of trouble to go to, to make an entire feature film that makes fun of one other feature film? (Admittedly, I might be defensive because I enjoyed Walk the Line so much. [Note to self: I should watch Walk the Line again.])

What is does have going for it it's that it's Judd Apatow (I had assumed it was in the Adam McKay/Will Ferrel family of movies, I guess because it stars That One Guy). I have really liked his movies--especially Knocked Up (if you haven't seen it, it's seriously very very good)--but this one looks dubious.

In other movie news, one parodic movie that I am increasingly tempted to go see . . . is Enchanted. I know, I know, but think about it: how long has it been since Disney was really turning out princess movies? I guess Cinderella/Snow White is as princessy as it can get, but I would say that the most recent princessing up at Disney was in the Little Mermaid/Beauty and Beast era, in a time when I was exactly the right age to be extremely enthusiastic about Disney princesses. And, since you can't really enjoy a parody without familiarity with its fodder, I woudl argue that Enchanted is actually aimed at me. (Not just me, but you see what I mean.) Also? The bicycles are still funny:

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Non-Aggie Football

This article really annoys me. The guy thinks that no one cares about a West Virginia-Missouri national championship, and that Ohio State-USC would be better. He bases this on: making fun of WVU & MU's mascots, that tOSU & USC are "the best teams in the country" (based on what? Record? Strength of schedule?), and that tOSU & USC have "better stories" (Once upon a time, there were two teams that everyone decided in advance were really good. Then everyone ignored their actual seasons and they got to play in the national championship. The end).

He alleges that his argument is not based on the fact that West Virginia and Missouri aren't traditional national powers, writing, "No, my argument for disliking this potential game is not elitist." I think that's the reason I got so mad about his article--because that's just a lie.

Ohio State and USC have done nothing this season to prove that they're better than the other teams out there. OSU played cupcakes and are in the Big T(elev)en, so they only lost once. I'll tell you, with my authority as A Person Who Lives in Wisconsin, that the Big T(elev)en is just bad. (Do you like boring football? Do you like teams that get lambasted by the Pac 10 and Div 1-AA competing for the conference title? Then this is the conference for you!) And then tOSU lost to Illinois, who--guess what?--aren't all that good. [Edited to add: here's a good article on tOSU from ESPN. Despite my friend Lindsay being a Buckeye fan, the more I think about it, the more I seriously don't want them in the big game.]

As for USC, they're a two-loss team. And one of those losses is to Stanford. Notre Dame beat Stanford. Give me a break. The only reason to root for tOSU and USC in the title game is if you are a fan of either of those teams, or if you just don't like seeings teams you don't happen to follow in the championship. Of course he's being elitist. Of course he's being unfair.

The only good thing about this article is that it is paired with a much better written and better argued piece for the opposite viewpoint. At least CBS Sports as an organization isn't totally endorsing a lame, boring, snoozefest national championship. Because that would make me a little more annoyed.
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Never Gonna Give You Up

Since Ashley mentioned it, I went and looked for the Coach Sherman needs a 'stache thread on TexAgs. My favorite picture there has, as you can see, little to nothing to do with 'staches:

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mike Sherman

Well, Ags, I'm cautiously optimistic about our new football coach--with a bit more emphasis on the optimism than the caution.
There is, as we have learned, no way to know in advance how someone is going to do in a new coaching position, but plenty of signs are pointing in a good direction.

He has coaching experience in a nice variety of categories--he's coached and (for the most part) won in the NFL, both in Texas and in Green Bay, a place that prides itself on tradition and fan loyalty. Does that remind you of anywhere else? The NFL coaching is a benefit both for recruiting (what hotshot high school athlete doesn't want to play for somebody who might be able to guide them to a pro career?) and for allowing him not to be a jerk by abandoning one group of college guys to coach a different bunch. (Yes, I mean you, two former A&M coaches whose names need not invade this space.)

But he's also, very importantly, coached at the college level. And he's actually coached at A&M, doing a pretty darn good job as O-Line coach. Also, of course, he's been talking a really good game about how much he respects our traditions and uniqueness: "From the Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!, to the Muster, the elephant walk, the rings -- everything about this university, I believe in. There's so much of this university beyond football. There are so many facets to it that make it so special. I think my understanding of that will help me be a better head coach." Frankly, I don't think knowing the words to the War Hymn will boost anybody's winning percentage. But it's icing on the cake.

Now, I'm not going to get my hopes too far up, so I'm not deciding right now that Sherman is Aggie football's savior, the one brought by divine providence (or Bill Byrne) to deliver Texas A&M to the promised land (which I think means a national championship, not just beating division rivals). However, I don't know what else, at this stage, we could ask for.

He seems like a decent guy who still has the liking and respect of his former bosses and players. He seems like a reasonable investment with a good ratio of promise to cost (not like--shudder--Steve Spurrier would have been). More importantly, he seems like he may be able to win some games, although that is the biggest question mark. Finally, he seems like the kind of fella who, if he does win games--even a whole heck of a lot of games--he may just stick around at A&M. That, I think, would be the ideal situation: a coach we want to keep and who wants to be kept.

Gig 'em, Coach Sherman; now let's go Beat The Hell Outta everybody!
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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Official Fran Vendetta: Epilogue

Part 1

It was a rainy day. It wasn't one of those days where the rain came down in buckets, but it was pervasively wet. And it should have been miserable, not just because of the weather.

It was October of 2003, my junior year at A&M, and we were well on our way to losing--very badly--to Oklahoma State. I had seen us beat The Lesser Okies my freshman year, on September 22, 2001, though that game was entirely dwarfed by its context. And by t-shirts. I had gone to Stillwater to see us lose the next year (another, much colder rainy day). I had a great time on that, especially when our vocal Aggie minority had fed off of (and, I think, bolstered) a second half revival of our Wrecking Crew.

However, this day . . . this day was a very different loss in the rain. We had already lost four of our seven games that season, and it wasn't going to get any easier. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, fans (including students) were leaving in droves. It's hard to blame even Aggies for leaving when their team is down 31-0.

Nevertheless, many of us stayed, and were treated to 10 pity points and, of course, the usual Kyle Field jumbotron advertisements. When they played the ad--the one with the jubilant voice announcing to us all the slogan that had been blared all season, a variation of which had been plastered even across that year's stadium cups: "The Coach Fran Era Has Arrived!!!"--what could we do but laugh? Cry, I guess. But we laughed instead. We laughed and laughed, there on first deck, sopping wet, ready to wait out the game . . . the season . . . the next four seasons with our Aggies. The Coach Fran Era had arrived, indeed.

Now, the Coach Fran Era Has Ended.

. . . !!!

Part 2

If Fran had coached all his games like he'd coached on Friday, he would still have a job. That was a great game.

Of course, any boneheaded fan would have coached the Ags like Fran did on Friday. "You know what you dudes should do? Like, McGee should throw it and stuff sometimes. Like, sometimes to, you know, Martellus? Cuz like he's good? But, yeah, also, sometimes Steve, you should hand it off. And sometimes you should hand it off to Goodson, cuz he's real fast, but sometimess--a lot, really--you should give it to the J-Train. Totally give it to the J-Train." (But, oh wait, a boneheaded fan would have yanked Syzmanski about a month ago. Whatever. You get my point.) The t.u. game just proved how good this team should have been all year and wasn't because he was holding them back.

But hey, why am I still arguing this case? So many people agree with me, in fact, that Fran does not get to coach the Aggies anymore.

. . . !!!

Part 3

Apparently--and this is, of course, news to me--I tell a lot of grandiose Aggie stories. Is it my fault that we have the largest dining hall in the entire country (second-largest in the world), or that our Dixie Chicken on Northgate sells more beer per square foot than any other bar on Earth, or that our ability of any group of Aggies anywhere to perform unison yells approaches the appearance of mass mind-meld?

No. No it is not.

Yet I am subject to completely unfair mockery by my gentleman caller, such as that in the following exchange:
Gentleman Caller: So, I thought that when Fran got fired, your ring would glow red, and maybe a holograph of Reveille would appear, and he--
me: She.
Gentleman Caller: --she would speak in this commanding voice and tell you that Fran had stepped down. That was what I was expecting. . . . But instead it was a text message from your dad.
me: Which is also magical in its own way.
Gentleman Caller: True.

Part 4

Ah, the future. What a lovely place it might turn out to be. At least now there's hope. Hope is great.

Sadly, the near future is marred by the promise of Gary Darnell coaching the bowl game. Ugh.

As for the more distant future, if you're expecting coach predictions out of this girl, you are going to be disappointed. Due to a perfect storm of Thanksgiving travel, school busyness, and my near-unshakeable faith in Bill Byrne, I haven't been keeping up with coaching rumors or speculation. Bill Byrne has (at least in my imagination) some incredibly complex calculus of proven ability, promising talent, and price tag, and he's using this equation to hone in on somebody who I may or may not have heard of and who may or may not (hopefully may) be awesome.

This is what I think: I don't care if he "shows emotion," I don't care if he has a funny accent, I don't even care if he has pre-existing Aggie ties. I have two demands of The New Coach: 1. don't cheat 2. win. Seriously. Win some games, man. And by "some" I don't mean 5.5 a year. Give us a shot at some division/conference titles, and you and I will get along.

Gig 'em, New Coach. And gig 'em Aggies.

. . . !!!!!

Click here to read more . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Official Fran Vendetta & Related Miscellany

Well, I guess I jumped the gun. I suppose I was just overly optimistic that'd we would hear real news about the eagerly anticipated Fran firing. Can you blame me? (After all, it is a consummation devoutly to be wished.) I should have held fast to my knowledge that my homeboy Bill Byrne will, like he said he would, give his pronouncement after the season is over.

I just hope that the season is "over" on the day after the day after Thanksgiving, and not after the eBay Minimum Wins Bowl in Pityville, Mississippi. I think it probably will be sooner rather than later, but I do wonder who would coach us in the bowl we will be going to (thanks, bulk of the Big XII North, for continuing to be even worse than us!)

I am surprised that Bill Callahan has lasted this long. I really thought they were ready to pull the trigger there. Way to restrain yourself, Tom Osbourne. (Well, I guess "restraint" is a relative term here.)

It's a little funny that the first Big XII hot-seat coach to go was the one nobody cared enough about to remember to put him on the hot seat list. (Keep your spirits up, Baylor! Maybe people will notice you, someday.)

And, as a final football note, in this season of shocks and surprises, perhaps nothing has taken me aback as far as the fact that . . . I was rooting for Tech last night. Apparently, my drive to root for the underdog is very, very powerful. Also, it helps that I'm totally on the KU bandwagon, so--take that, Land Thieves!

But, to return to the main point, I'd like to start a countdown to the Great Fran Firing of 2007, but I can't decide how optimistic to be. I'd like to think it'll come on the 24th, but it might be a Lloyd Carr-style wait until the business week actually starts. How about this: we're at T-6 days if the Ags run out of time to t.u., T-8 if the Ags Beat The Hell Outta t.u.

Good? Good.
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Clearly, the Ladies Should Not Touch Frankie Valli with a Ten-to-Thirty Foot Pole

I do enjoy me some Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Admittedly, it's in large part because I find them hilarious. I mean, they couple that classic Fifties earnestness with the ludicrous high-pitched harmonies--it's great. However, the subject matter of the songs belies the sweetly innocent sound of them. Taking for instance the lyrics of the songs on their greatest hits CD, one finds that the stories they tell are pretty dark. (And please forgive me for the punctuation that doesn't really make sense.)

Several songs are in the "I'm really sorry we can't be together" genre:
. . . because I'm too poor ("Dawn [Go Away]")
. . . because you're too poor ("Rag Doll")
. . . because you love somebody else more than you love me, so stop staying with me out of pity ("Opus 17 [Don't You Worry 'Bout Me]")
. . . because I'm married ("Bye Bye Baby [Baby Goodbye]")

They visit the always-fruitful song-mine of "My dad told me to stop being such a pansy and letting you treat me like dirt": ("Walk Like a Man")

And, conversely, "I hope you'll take me back after you dumped me for treating you like dirt": ("Working My Way Back to You") and the similar "I hope you'll take me back after you dumped me for cheating on you (but it was meaningless, I swear!): ("C'mon Marianne"), and of course, "I'll generously forgive you for dumping me (after thinking--mistakenly!--that I had cheated on you): ("Ronnie")

There's the extremely popular "It was pretty awesome that one time I had sex with that chick I didn’t know": ("December 1963 [Oh What a Night!]")

Then there's "I dumped you just to prove a point, but then, unfortunately for me, you took it really well": ("Big Girls Don't Cry")

Sure, there are a few songs about being in love and all happy, but on balance, these songs are either very pitiful or very jerkwaddy. It's somewhat mystifying how they can be so catchy!
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Great Headline

As I have mentioned before, I enjoy reading headlines. I like to see the use of unusual verbs, or a way to put something that's efficient, yet evocative . . . but clearly, it can be hilarious to just get straight to the point:

"Mr. Magorium is really, really bad"

Well put, CNN. Well put.
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Broadcaster Rumble?

Have you been watching the Sunday night football pre-game show on NBC, "Football Night in America"? It's a stupid name, but that's not what I'm going to expound upon here. This is what I'm wondering: is it just me, or does Chris Collinsworth haaaaaaate Keith Olbermann?

Maybe I'm imagining it, but it seems like every time Olbermann says anything, Collinsworth replies snidely/angrily (thinly disguised as "jokingly." We've all done that, right? We have a really annoying aquaintance, everything they say just cheeses us off, but it's not socially acceptable to call them an idiot to their face, so you pretend to inject humor into . . . calling them an idiot).

Also, I'm 75% sure that when Costas threw it over to "Olber-time," Collinsworth actually sneered. Sneered.

So, has anybody else noticed this? If not, keep your eyes open, and maybe you will.
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People Kept Ringing the Bell!

I've never bought the whole "Seinfeld was the greatest thing that ever happened in the history of television!!!!!!!", but I do really like this bit:
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Thursday, November 8, 2007


Poor ol' Billy (and his new team) got, in the words of Some Guy from Fox Sports, "completely dominated" by Gardner-Webb University (no, I haven't heard of it, either), and as you can see from the graph (courtesy [if, by courtesy, I mean "totally stolen from"] ESPN), that guy is correct.

He also thinks Billy was the wrong handshake man for the job, anyway.

Boo, and may I add, hoo.

(I guess I'll also add a "tee" and a "hee.")
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Very Minor Point about Churches

In my day, I've read several different "You Might Be a [insert Protestant denomination here] If . . ." lists. They all, all, include something about how important you think food or potlucks or covered dishes or whatever are.

Helpful hint for all you Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc. out there: everybody likes food just as much as you do. Yeah. I'm not saying you're not, like, special; I'm just saying that . . . uh . . . that's part of what binds us all, no matter what brand of Christian, together. That and Jesus. Food and Jesus. Yep.
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Official Fran Vendetta: Day the Last?

There have been all kinds of reports stewing today on the internet, and on ESPN itself (see video below), and here's a good summary/the latest report:

"A&M officials plan to seek a buyout agreement with Franchione, but athletic department and administration sources, while confirming plans to change coaches, say it's not clear how far those negotiations have gone."

Of course, when a story contains a quote like "Because of the sensitive nature of the situation, the sources have requested anonymity," I think you have to keep waiting for the other shoe--the official shoe--to drop.

Don't worry, I'll be monitoring the situation closely. Any official reports will be reported, and then jubilantly celebrated, here.

Click here to read more . . .

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Official Fran Vendetta: Day 43

Well, I told myself I was going to stop posting so much about Fran. (I mean, he's basically a dead man walking, right? Right???) But I had to write an email to a guy who works at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and since I already put the work in anyway, I decided I'd share.

Here is his stupid article. (It's so stupid.)

And here is my response:

Hi Gil,

I've never written a letter to a newspaper writer before, but your article today has moved me to say--are you kidding me?

The idea that Aggies shouldn't be rooting for our team to lose today is fair enough. No coaching, no matter how poor, is enough reason to root against the team. As all of us know, they're good kids with heart, guts, moxie . . . why, every adjective in the moxie family.

But to suggest that those of us who want Franchione fired are only basing that on the fact that he hasn't won a national championship is preposterous. To think that we are furious at his performance as A&M's coach because he hasn't beaten top ten opponents on the road is frankly insulting. We want him fired not just because he's had too many losses, but too many humiliating losses. Too many losses that are the direct result of his piss poor playcalling. Too many losses because he can't develop talent in promising players or capitalize on the players that are already, by the grace of God, well developed.

Why do you expect us to be happy with the Cotton Bowl in 2004 and the Holiday Bowl in 2006 when he lost both of those games by more than four touchdowns? Why do you expect us to be hunky-dory with three losses to Texas because of one win against them in one of the worst played games (by both sides) in college football history? Do you honestly expect that we should forgive and forget the numerous blowout losses and the too-close wins over far inferior teams because at some point, ever, we had kind of a comparable record to Texas? Do you really think that we should ignore the five lousy-to-middling seasons he's had at A&M because he somehow managed to pull off being decent in the short run at TCU and Alabama?

If, somehow, the Aggies win tonight, I'll be delighted. However, I will not take it to mean that Dennis Franchione has suddenly become a great coach. I've been watching the man's performance for five years, and he is not. He's not even a good coach; he's mediocre at best. While I don't expect the Ags to win the national title every year--or the Big XII title--or even the Big XII South title--my university and my team deserve better than that.

Gig 'em,
Rachel Campbell
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Friday, November 2, 2007

I Think it's the Voice

I know it's been brought up in this space before, but I'd just like to emphasize it one more time--lots and lots of people have a thing for Alan Rickman.

This becomes startlingly apparent anytime one searches for "Alan Rickman" on Facebook--155 groups, people. One hundred and fifty-five. (For reference, there are 208 for Patrick Dempsey [not that I think he's particularly attractive, but he's moderately popular right now] and only 9 for the guy who plays Henry the Accountant on Ugly Betty. Colin Firth beats Alan Rickman with 175, one of which is named "It's Too Bad Colin Firth Has 3 Kids, Cuz I Could Definitely Handle Him Just Being Married." Sadly, that group only has three members.)

But it's not so much about the numbers as the themes of these Alan Rickman groups. Here's a sampling:

Alan Rickman is sexy!

Alan Rickman is really, really sexy and I don't care if he's old!

Alan Rickman Could Make a Dictionary Sound Sexy

Alan Rickman is a Dead Sexy Beast (1,451 members)

I wish Alan Rickman would love me back!

Alan Rickman Can Impregnate By Touch Alone (837 members)

Alan Rickman Gives Me Unrealistic Ideas About Love

alan rickman is the sex

I want to have Alan Rickman's babies

. . . and others that are dirtier than I feel prudent to repeat here.

(There are also four Alan Rickman Appreciation Societies, so I'm pretty sure that three people ripped off Nancy's group idea.)

There's also "Alan Rickman is older than..." which informs us that, indeed, Alan Rickman is older than the following:
Alaska. Hawaii.DNA's double helix.Styrofoam.Disneyland.The Cold War.(Electronic) Calculators.Decolonization.Recycling as an institution.Wite-Out.Civil Rights in the US.Scientology.PiƱa Coladas.The reign of Elizabeth II.Sputnik.The Superbowl.Conventional porn.World trade.Human Rights.Red China.Australian, Canadian citizenship.The Emmy Awards.Snow in Los Angeles.CIA, DOD, JCS, NSC, US Air Force.Female suffrage in Japan.Bikinis.Apartheid.Bulgaria.France's FOURTH and fifth republics.Antihistamine.Official end of WWII.Tupperware.James Bond.Transistors.Frisbees.AK-47s.Microwave ovens.The completed periodic table.A world without Prussia.Breaking the sound barrier."Under God" in the pledge.New Jersey state constitution.World health.The deutsche mark.McDonalds.Oral contraceptives.Mr. Potato-head.Superglue.Austria.Hula-hoops.Barbie.Creamer.Too many lyrics in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"Multiculturalism.ROCK & ROLL

....and yet you would still have his babies. We see no problem with that. Furthermore, we're right here with you.

Another of my personal favorites is "I can't wait to watch Alan Rickman kill Dumbledore" which does not reflect on Alan Rickman's desirability, but more than makes up for it by featuring this picture:

Oh, how that picture makes me laugh.

Click here to read more . . .