Friday, July 31

The Friday Random Ten+5 says uncle.

Sorry for the sparse posting this past week -- hell, this past month. You'd think that I'd have all kinds of time to blog now that I'm not working 9-to-5 anymore -- OK, who am I kidding? It was always more like 10-to-4:30 -- but you'd be surprised just how quickly that time can get filled up with Internet porn. Uh, I mean job hunting. That's what I've been doing.

Anyhoo. This week's +5: Five Dudes Who Would Make Awesome Cool Uncles. This is not to express any dissatisfaction with my current uncles, who are all excellent individuals; I'm just saying, if you had an opening for a new uncle and wanted someone cool to fill the uncular role of someone who shows you all the stuff your parents refuse to let you do, these would be good ones.

George Clooney
By all accounts, Clooney is quite the championship drinker, so he'd probably be down for sneaking you cocktails at family gatherings when your parents weren't looking. But his real ace in the hole is his ability to pick up chicks. Let's be honest, what George Clooney throws back is probably hotter than 95% of the girls I've ever dated, and when you're rolling with Cloons you're always going to end up with some phone numbers in your pocket, whether you were actively looking for them or not. "Why, yes, I was in 'Ocean's Eleven.' Here, meet my nephew. D'ja hear that, Doug? Sasha's from the Ukraine, and she's trying to make it as a model. Isn't that interesting?" Why, yes, Uncle George, it is.

Pete Carroll
You can kind of infer just from Carroll's now-infamous Twitter feed that he'd be the kind of awesome, laid-back guy whose company you could always seek as a refuge from your own uptight asshole parents. When they're busting your balls about your grades suffering or why haven't you found a nice girl to settle down with or whatever, just take off for Casa de Carroll, where Uncle Pete is always willing to put on some Stones, hand you a Sweetwater 420, and give you some relentlessly upbeat advice about how to find the joy in life again. And I don't know how or why I know this, but I have a strong hunch that Carroll is a Wii owner, and that he's a Shaolin master at Mario Kart. (His favorite character is Yoshi, and he'll wipe the floor with you.)

Verne Lundquist
Can you think of anyone in America who'd be more fun to watch a football game with? I don't think I can. I mean, we all refer to him as "Uncle Verne" anyway; how awesome would it be to stroll into his wood-paneled den, flop down into the old leather recliner next to Verne's, and consume 11 or 12 straight hours of college football laced with liberal doses of Verne's "wuh-howw!!!" enthusiasm? And during the commercial breaks you could relate to him the tales your most recent sexual conquests, just to see if you could elicit any "lingerie on the field" comments. And anyone who brings Uncle Verne to game day is automatically the most popular person at the tailgate.

Joe Biden
Let's don't mince words here: Has Uncle Joe been kind of a mixed bag as vice-president so far? Yeah, I think you could say that. But the very same qualities that have earned Joe a reputation as being sort of a loose cannon in the nation's No. 2 spot would make him an awesome crazy uncle. While the rest of the family is sitting around the holiday dinner table making boring small talk and trying not to say anything that would get anyone else in the family worked up, Uncle Joe is the one who'll be plying you with Harvey Wallbangers, surreptitiously making the jerk-off gesture while Aunt Whoever brags about the great colleges her kids have been accepted to, and encouraging you to check out the funbags on the girl cousin so-and-so has brought to meet the family for the first time. Then, while the rest of the family is falling asleep in front of "It's a Wonderful Life," you, Joe, and the rest of the cool cousins go downstairs to smoke cigars and watch the unrated version of "Old School." The only potential sticking point here is potential awkward feelings toward Aunt Jill, but somehow I think Uncle Joe would be more flattered by that than anything else.

William Shatner
The take-no-prisoners ladyslaying skills of Clooney, the zest for life of Carroll, and the sheer lunacy of Biden, all in one awesome package. Take him to a bar, get a few drinks in him, and you can get him to yell "KHAAAANNN!" at innocent bystanders at the drop of a hat.

And now the Ten:

1. Erasure, "Chains of Love"
2. Thom Yorke, "Harrowdown Hill"
3. House of Pain, "Jump Around" (Pete Rock remix)
4. Elton John, "Tiny Dancer"
5. Underworld, "Jumbo"
6. Richard Cheese, "Personal Jesus"
7. The Beastie Boys, "Jimmy James"
8. Asie Payton, "I Love You"
9. Pet Shop Boys, "So Sorry, I Said"
10. The Clash, "Train in Vain (Stand by Me)"

No U.N.K.L.E. tracks on there? That kind of seems like a missed opportunity. Anyway, throw your own Random Tens and/or nominees for Awesome Cool Uncle in the comments, folks.

Monday, July 27

Pimpin' ain't easy*.
* except where otherwise noted

I'll be honest, when reports first started surfacing that the 0-16 Detroit Lions had their eye on Matt Stafford as the first pick of the 2009 draft, I felt a little sorry for him. Then, of course, he signed a six-year contract with the Lions for $41.7 million, and I started feeling a little better for him.

Now, with the start of the NFL season less than a month and a half away, I'm pretty confident that regardless of what happens on the field, the kid's gonna be all right.

GATA, indeed.

(Hat tip: the great Senator Blutarsky.)

Monday Morning Cage Match VII:
Puppets vs. strumpets.

Last night we were at dinner, and I don't know how we got on this particular subject, but we got into a disagreement over the release date of "Debbie Does Dallas," the kind of hotly contested but completely meaningless debate that only a rapid iPhone-assisted Web search could solve. Turns out it was released two days after Christmas in 1978, making the film only six months younger than I am. To what could we compare such an iconic film? In the spirit of the Monday Morning Cage Match, it would have to be a film with which it has only the most superficial, irrelevant similarities, and I think we've found a good one: Prepare yourselves for "Debbie Does Dallas" vs. "The Muppets Take Manhattan."

Debbie Does Dallas

The Muppets Take Manhattan
Goal of protagonist(s)Getting to Dallas to try out for the "Texas Cowgirls" cheerleading squadBecoming huge Broadway stars
WINNER: Debbie
Goal achieved?Who the hell knowsYes
WINNER: Muppets
StarsBambi Woods, Robert Kerman, Rikki O'NealKermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie
WINNER: Muppets
Percentage of action that takes place in titular cityZero75 or so
WINNER: Muppets
Sex acts captured on filmMore than 40Only the scene where Rowlf gives Miss Piggy a Dirty Sanchez
WINNER: Debbie
Hands up asses?Shockingly, noYes, if you count all the puppets
WINNER: Muppets
Sequels"Debbie Does Dallas" 2, 3, and 4; "Debbie Does Dallas: The Next Generation"; "Debbie Does Iowa"; "Debbie Duz Dishes" 1, 2, and 3; "Bang the Debbie Slowly" (seriously)"The Muppet Christmas Carol," "Muppet Treasure Island," "Muppets from Space"
WINNER: Debbie (although "Muppet Christmas Carol" is a great film)

WINNER: Muppets 4, Debbie 3. Somehow I don't think this is likely to end the debate over which is the more iconic film, but whatever.

Friday, July 24

The Friday Not-So-Random Ten+5 begins planning for its future.

As I'm pretty sure all of you know by now, I got laid off a couple weeks ago, and after a back surgery, a few days' recovery, and a visit from some out-of-town guests for SEC Media Days, it's probably about time for me to start hunting for the next place at which I will (hopefully) be gainfully employed. There's just one thing, though: I don't like working. I realize that doesn't exactly make me anyone's unique little flower, but there are very few things I like enough to be jazzed about the prospect of doing them for a mandatory eight hours each day. Even some things I like when I'm just doing them on my own become dreary and unappealing when I think about having to spend five days a week in a cubicle doing them so that I'll get to eat that month.

What do I like to do? That's a question a lot of people have asked me over the past couple weeks, in an attempt to begin honing in on something I might like to seek out for my next job, and I can actually think of a few things. The +5 below is where I reckon I'll be starting my job search: My Five Ideal Jobs. Following that is a Not-So-Random Ten that will basically constitute the bulk of my job-searching, future-planning soundtrack over the next few weeks, but let's get to the jobs first, just in case any of you helpful readers might know of some openings for any of these:

Freelance Lego sculptor
I would hope that my Lego design/construction chops have already been well established on this site. "Freelance Lego sculptor" is actually the alter ego I use for myself when I'm in a new and unfamiliar city and roaming bars to pick up chicks. Sure, it probably sounds dorky at first blush, but there's a lot you can do with it. For instance, I tell girls I just got back from spending a month in Switzerland, where I earned $15,000 for building a 2:1-scale version of the Peugeot 5008 for a display at the Geneva Auto Show. Laugh all you want, but that story earned me a night of passion with Katherine Heigl last month. OK, not Katherine Heigl, but her personal assistant, which is practically the same thing.

Rick Neuheisel's sweater-vest coordinator
My fandom of Rick Neuheisel is also well established at this point. After maybe Jim Tressel, Neuheisel is also one of the sharpest-dressed coaches in Division I-A, with a wide variety of wondrous sweater vests at his disposal for any given game. As something of a sweater-vest aficionado myself, I feel I would be highly qualified to select the most appropriate vest for each situation, helping to ensure that Neu's reputation as one of the slickest ladykillers in college football remains intact.

Lucy Pinder's personal hand bra
Being an internationally famous, 32G-equipped glamour model means you spend a lot of time with your hands posed coyly in front of your boobs. Only problem is, that doesn't leave you with any free hands to do things like play video games, shift a manual transmission, cook flapjacks, or what have you. I would be happy to offer my services as someone who could handle the boob-covering while she tends to those other important activities, and I think she'd find that she was now able to handle her daily chores more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

Proprietor of the world's first human petting zoo
I don't see how someone hasn't come up with this idea already. A hygienic, safely monitored place where people can pet the kind of beautiful women or men they might never get to come into contact with otherwise? Way better than a lap dance, and way better than some regular old petting zoo with farm animals. Which would you rather pet, a supermodel or a billy goat? You shouldn't have to think too hard about your answer to that question.

James Bond supervillain
Living in the lap of luxury in a concealed mega-hideout, extorting billions from the world's governments -- heck, I could do that. Only I'd have two advantages over the supervillains Bond faced in movies like "You Only Live Twice" or "On Her Majesty's Secret Service": One, I wouldn't actually have to tangle with anyone as clever or capable as James Bond, since he's a fictional character. Two, I'd have the advantage of watching all the mistakes those villains made and knowing better than to repeat them. As satisfying as it might be to trap an enemy spy in an elaborate, slow, excruciatingly torturous (but theoretically escapable) trap, I would resist the temptation to leave him in something like that; as Bond has proven time and time again, you're really better off just shooting him right away and getting it over with. So I think I've demonstrated that I have the cunning and foresight to be quite a nefarious villain -- all I need now is a hefty infusion of venture capital so that I can build my secret lair and city-destroying laser and what have you. Anybody looking around for sound investments in a troubled economy? Let me show you my prospectus.

And now the Ten, which, as explained, is Not-So-Random this week:

1. Mo' Horizons, "Hit the Road Jack"
2. The Farm, "Hard Times"
3. The Beatmasters, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
4. Underworld, "Two Months Off"
5. Beck, "Deadweight"
6. Miles Davis, "Freddie Freeloader"
7. Public Enemy, "Brother's Gonna Work It Out"
8. Pet Shop Boys, "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"
9. The Smiths, "Stretch Out and Wait"
10. Avenue Q cast, "I Wish I Could Go Back to College"

Your turn, folks. Help me out! Let me hear your job suggestions, and/or random or not-so-random tens, in the comments.

Thursday, July 23

The peanut gallery speaks, sort of, to no avail.

SEC Media Days is going on right down the road from me at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, and while Orson Swindle, Joel Hollingsworth, and Cocknfire all got their media credentials for the event, I crapped out on getting any for myself. Hopefully one of them will be reading this and be brave enough to answer the questions I cannot, for here are the questions that I, on behalf of the great college-football-watching unwashed, would pose to each of the 12 SEC coaches:

Rich Brooks (Kentucky): What brings you joy? You don't have to say "coaching Kentucky football."

Gene Chizik (Auburn): Are there ever mornings when you wake up and think, "Holy fuck, how in the world did I ever get this job?"

Bobby Johnson (Vanderbilt): Are there ever mornings when you wake up and think, "I coach at Vanderbilt, if I win so much as five games they think I'm a fucking miracle worker," and if so, does that pretty much make your job the most awesome job ever?

Lane Kiffin (Tennessee): Faggotsayswhat?
Follow-up: I said, faggotsayswhat?

Urban Meyer (Florida): Will you take the head coaching job at Notre Dame after Charlie Weis gets fired at the end of this season?
Follow-up: How about the Dallas Cowboys?
Follow-up II: How about if I give you this nice crisp $100 bill?

Les Miles (LSU): You're basically wearing hats that size just to fuck with us at this point, aren't you?

Dan Mullen (Mississippi State): Do you ever feel pangs of regret at having left a wildly successful Florida program for this exceedingly difficult job, and if so, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being a single tear rolling down your cheek and 10 being such an incredible tsunami of tears that you wish you could drown yourself in it, how much would you say you weep at these thoughts?

Houston Nutt (Ole Miss): The phrase we keep hearing over and over again regarding your team's prospects in 2009 is that you "don't handle high expectations well." Do those kinds of comments make you crazy?
Follow-up: Crazy enough to . . . wrestle this bear?!?!? (lead bear into room on leash)

Bobby Petrino (Arkansas): If Auburn administrators had come to you last fall after firing Tommy Tuberville and offered you their head-coaching job, you totally would've taken it, wouldn't you?

Mark Richt (Georgia): Last season you said that you eased off on full-contact drills in tackling practice. You do realize that that pretty much runs completely counter to the concept of "tackle" football, don't you?

Nick Saban (Alabama): What kind of small, furry animals did you strangle to death after Alabama's losses to Florida in the SEC title game and Utah in the Sugar Bowl last year, respectively, and how many of each?

Steve Spurrier (South Carolina): On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "not at all" and 10 being "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," how much would you say your lackluster showing at South Carolina has damaged your overall coaching legacy?

Monday, July 20

Monday Morning Cage Match VI:
Whores vs. just regular naked ladies.

As the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor were getting started this time last week, you heard a lot of folks make mention of the fact that the United States Senate is considered "the world's most exclusive club" due to the fact that it has only 100 people charged with deciding so many important things. And there's definitely some truth to that, but is it really the most exclusive club? I tried thinking of other groups that might have even fewer members, and you'll be shocked to discover that the first possibility I came up with was Playboy Playmates. (After all, in a given six-year stretch there will be at least 100 senators, but only 72 Playmates.)

Well, because I was laid out for most of this past week and had nothing better to do, I went combing back through Wikipedia to find the exact numbers, and it turns out that since Marilyn Monroe became Playboy's first centerfold in December of 1953, 670 different women have been Playmates, but only 476 different people have served any length of time in the U.S. Senate. So the Senate is, in absolute statistical terms, the more exclusive "club" here, but is it really the best club to be a member of? That's the subject of this week's Cage Match: Playmates vs. Senators.


Ruler of the roostHugh HefnerJoe Biden
WINNER: Playmates
Method of selectionHugh Hefner and photographers select from photos and bios sent by thousands of aspiring modelsPopular vote
(Senate selection is more fair,
but Playmate selection sounds way more fun)
privileges of selection
$25,000, virtually unlimited access to Playboy Mansion, C-list acting jobs$174,000-$193,400/year, voting rights on legislation affecting the entire country, final approval of all Supreme Court nominees
WINNER: Senators
Most recent member(s)Twins Karissa and Kristina ShannonComedian Al Franken
WINNER: Playmates (sorry, Al)
Hottest member(s)All of 'emMary Landrieu (D-LA), obvs
WINNER: Playmates (sorry, Mary)
Most accomplished member(s)Marilyn Monroe, who later became a world-famous actressJohn F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, who later became president
WINNER: Senators (sorry, Marilyn)
Spend large amounts of time withHugh Hefner, the Girls Next Door, Sugar Ray LeonardHarry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Jim Bunning, Jeff Sessions
WINNER: Playmates

FINAL SCORE: Playmates 5, Senators 3 (and probably one of those cases where the actual competition wasn't even as close as the score indicates).

Saturday, July 18

A memo from the desk of Arnold T. Pants, Esq.:
Things to do in Denver when you're unemployed.

Doing nothing, and it's everything I thought it could be.

Recently downsized but don't feel like actually looking for another job yet? Me neither, working sucks. Here's some shit to distract you instead:

· First of all, I'm gonna have to go ahead and pimp some of my own work, should any paying blogs, Web sites, or sports journals be looking for writers: Here's my less-than-rosy take on George O'Leary's job security for Dr. Saturday (prithee excuse the character formatting, we're working on it), and here's MY EXCLUSIVE ALL-ACCESS INSIDE LOOK at Lane Kiffin and the Tennessee football program for EDSBS! Why did Kiffykins give such broad access to his deepest, most top-secret planning to a Georgia interloper like myself? He probably fucked up and forgot to check that I was a Bulldog fan, but like everything else, he'll say it was all part of his master plan.

· It has come to my attention that some people found this past week's Monday Morning Cage Match unfairly biased in favor of Lexus and against Texas. One or two people hinted that had a category along the lines of "End zones" been included, the Lone Star State would've cleaned up. OK, I'm an open-minded guy, let's compare rear ends:

Lexus SC430 . . .

. . . and Texas Longhorns.

OK, yeah, you know what, y'all were right and I was wrong. Game over, Texas wins. My decision is final.

· And now that I've pimped my own work, it's time to pimp some other people's: Platinum-level Friend of Holly (and therefore friend of Hey Jenny Slater) Livia drops Pat Buchanan with a knee to the balls and keeps on kicking, while over at Practically Harmless, Sister of Hey Jenny Slater does the same to the Twilight book series here and here.

What else do we know about Bella? We know that she's clumsy. Sooo clumsy. Clummy-clum-clumsy. You can hear "Yakety Sax" faintly in the background throughout the book. She falls down in the woods. She trips over her own feet at the beach. She trips over her own feet in class. She drops her books. She thwacks her classmates in the head with a volleyball. She thwacks herself in the head with a badminton racquet. She gets paper cuts. At one point, Meyer specifically describes her eating a bowl of cereal, "chewing each bite with care," as if a Lucky Charms-Mama Cass moment is an ever-looming threat. And in case you weren't able to pick up on it yourself, Bella is kind enough to tell you herself.

I'm absolutely ordinary - well, except for bad things like all the near-death experiences and being so clumsy that I'm almost disabled.

Oh, are you clumsy? I totes hadn't noticed.

· Back to Pat Buchanan for a moment, sort of: As blatant a bigot as Pat Buchanan is, he is completely, utterly sane compared to Glenn Beck, who did everything except audibly shit his pants when a caller somehow managed to get past what I'm sure was NORAD-tight call screening to disagree with him on health care:

Now, here's my question: You're a radio host. You're crazier than a Greyhound bus full of methed-up ferrets, but be that as it may, you've somehow developed a sincerely devoted following despite yourself. Who says "GET OFF MY PHONE"?!?!? You're the host, Miss DuBois, fuckin' drop the call if it's that upsetting to you! Why throw a literal howling hissy fit and make yourself look like even more of a twit than you already have? I refuse to believe that anyone, even his most ardent fans, are actually laboring under the delusion that Glenn Beck is sane at this point; I think his fans are actually hoping he's crazy enough to jump the White House fence with an Uzi in hand or something like that. Actually, in Beck's case it'd probably be more along the lines of a Super Soaker filled with ReaLemon, because that's just the kind of thing he'd come up with, but whatever.

· In other news of wingnuttery, some folks are apparently so determined to take Obama down that they're making up stories about Obama getting booed during the first pitch at the All-Star game last week. Hey, if that's all it takes to make something true, then I would like to announce here and now on this blog that Erin Andrews didn't spurn my advances in Tempe the weekend of last season's UGA-ASU game, she in fact came back to the house our group had rented and we polished off a '98 Dom in the hot tub. Salud, motherfuckers!

Oh, yeah, I got her number. It's OK, I know you want to touch me.

· Remember the Friday Random Ten+5 a couple months back in which the Mi-24/25/35 series attack helicopter received an induction into the Badass Hall of Fame? The "Hind" originally earned its badass reputation by laying waste to the Afghan resistance in the early 1980s, to the point that only a rapid influx of American-sourced surface-to-air missiles (as highly entertainingly dramatized in "Charlie Wilson's War") succeeded in turning the tide. Well, now that the Afghan military's forces are in the process of being rebuilt by coalition forces so that they can stand on their own two feet and defend themselves from the Taliban, the Afghan National Army Air Corps is being supplied with -- what else? -- Mi-35s. The irony here is so delicious and satisfying that I'm now substituting it for one meal each day.

The hunted become the hunters, or something like that.

· I would like to go on record as saying that Al Franken will one day go down in history as one of the better U.S. senators we've ever had. Unlike "Stuart Saves His Family," this statement is not intended as a joke.

· Finally, courtesy of Twitter pal and equally rabid Bulldog partisan Ally, here's the first solid, specific recommendation anyone's given me so far as to what I should be doing with myself while I'm unemployed. Soon as my folks leave their house for any length of time, I'm building something along the lines of this:

Rooftop Waterslide
Rooftop Waterslide

· Actually, maybe this is what I need to be doing with myself:

Of course, pimping, as Big Daddy Kane warned us, isn't easy, and I should probably save this kind of work for when I really buckle down and get serious about holding down a regular job.

Friday, July 17

The week that was (excruciating).

Soooo . . . I think I probably owe some kind of an explanation as to why I have, for all practical purposes, fallen off the face of the earth for the past week. Don't worry, I got one, and it's a doozy.

On Friday I got laid off from my job at UAB, where I'd worked for nearly seven years, easily the longest stretch I've ever worked at any one job. On the one hand, it was kind of liberating, given that honestly, I'd pretty much fucking hated my job for the past few months. Without naming names or digging too much into the soap-operatic office politics that have taken over at my former place of employment, I received several signs over the past couple months, the most important of them being the careless (and callous) demotion of my beloved department head who had faithfully served the school for more than three decades, that indicated to me that none of us were particularly respected or valued anyway; so in that sense, my being removed from that situation is a good thing.

On the other hand, it turns my search for new employment from "want to" right into "absolutely have to," which in the current job market is kind of a scary 8-ball to get caught behind. Not having made any serious searches for new jobs in the last seven years, I feel like I'm a bit rusty at it to begin with, and while being unattached enough that I can basically throw a dart at a map and pick a new place to settle down is definitely liberating, it also kinds of brings about its own set of new responsibilities -- by which I mean there are that many more cities and venues where I feel like opportunities might be whizzing right by my head at any given moment. I know there's something out there for me to latch onto, it may just take me a little while to figure out where.

Then, on Tuesday, I went in for surgery to have a cyst removed from my back, the fourth such surgery I've gone through in the past two and a half years, and the most invasive and involved one yet. That explains more directly while this blog went dormant over the last few days, but it's not something that's going to continue, given that I'm recovering nicely and am no longer too drugged-up or exhausted to compose a coherent sentence. Actually, if the hospital I'd been in had had Wi-fi, I might've tried to throw something up here, even if it'd only been something along the lines of "brrgghh cut open sewed up sleepy fugfhairhgapr;ofjRG," just to prove that I still existed, but no such luck. There's another surgery in store for me a couple months down the road to finally solve this problem once and for all, but I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

Anyway, that's what's been going on, so it's been a difficult week, but nothing that's going to prompt me to crawl into a hole and die or abandon all my loved ones and escape down to Buenos Aires to nail a hot Argentinean chick, as attractive as that second option has looked at various points in the past few weeks. And it's certainly not going to infringe upon my future blogging schedule if I can help it -- I mean, now that I no longer have the university's watchful eye gazing upon me, I can blog ANY HOUR OF THE DAY I WANT TO, MOTHERFUCKERS, so that'll be nice. (That said, if any potential employers to whom I have applied happen to be reading this, please know that I have nothing but the utmost respect for whatever rules you might have regarding the use of workplace time and computer hardware and, should you see fit to grace me with a title and a salary, will happily follow them to the letter.)

A lot of y'all who first heard news of my employment and/or medical issues through Twitter or Facebook or whatever have been kind enough to send me your wishes, thoughts, and prayers, and I really appreciate that. The more I think about the state of things at the moment, the more it reminds me of where I was in the summer of 2002, when I got laid off and had a potentially amazing 27-month date with the Peace Corps yanked right out from under me, and got to feeling about as low and as cut-adrift as I had in a long, long time, only to end up with a (then-)stable job in a city that gave me seven years of better friends, opportunities, and experiences than I could've ever imagined possible. If this current rough patch has anywhere near as upbeat an ending, I'll be in good shape.

But I'll be honest, the search for that upbeat ending begins sometime next week; for right now I'm just going to be spending the next few days drinking beer, playing Mario Kart, and mooching some free meals off my parents. I mean, y'all know me. I'm too much of a douchebag to not try to milk this at least a little bit.

Monday, July 13

Monday Morning Cage Match V:
The Lexus flexes from Long Beach to Texas.

The Cage Match is pretty straightforward this week, or as straightforward as anything can be that compares a car to a state: This morning's competition is Lexus vs. Texas.


Loss of market share for established German and American luxury-car brandsA new slave state, war with Mexico
Major productsIS-series sports sedan, LS460 luxury sedan, RX350 sport-utility vehicleOil, livestock, cotton, football stars, batshit-crazy politicians
Motto"The Pursuit of Perfection""Friendship" (seriously)
Named most reliable auto brand in the U.S. fourteen times by J.D. Power and AssociatesLargest of the lower 48 states, 2005 college football championship
Do they make hybrids?YesThat sounds like one a them faggot-ass hippie tree-hugger cars
Responsible for George W. Bush?NoYes

FINAL SCORE: Lexus 5, Texas 2. Damn, Texas, you just officially got messed with.

Friday, July 10

I came for the disaster porn, I'm stayin' for the bongos!

First posted at Holly's joint, and too good to pass up:

Stop, you had me at "Corcovadooh-no!!!"

Happy weekend, mofos.

IN A WORLD where apparently anybody can come up with a movie idea, the Friday Random Ten+5 is going to tell some toy stories.

When last the Friday Random Ten+5 reared its ugly head, we came to the sad but necessary conclusion that the second "Transformers" movie just wasn't all that good. Not quite bad enough to ruin my fond memories of playing with the toys as a grade-schooler, but we're not out of the woods yet: Brace yourselves, Dudes In Your Late Twenties To Mid-Thirties, if you played with G.I. Joes as kids, there's a G.I. Joe movie coming out this summer that may just be bad enough for you to disavow any knowledge of that franchise's existence. And at least "Transformers" and "G.I. Joe" have reasonably engaging source material; apparently there's a whole slew of movies in development right now that will rape even the most mundane of our childhood memories. You may have heard, for example, that there's a Monopoly movie coming out that's going to be directed by fricking Ridley Scott. But what you may not have heard is that McG, fresh off of steering the "Terminator" franchise straight into the ground, is in talks to make a Hot Wheels movie. And it gets worse: Apparently someone at DreamWorks is angling to buy the rights to a View-Master movie. Lemme stop you right there, DreamWorks: If the magical View-Master in this prospective film isn't showing a special story disk titled "Erin Andrews and the Thong Bikini of Destiny," you're probably not getting my $9.25.

But there's a silver lining to all this cinematic dumbfuckery, and it's kind of along the lines of the epiphany Patton Oswalt had toward the end of his "Death Bed" bit: Apparently any talentless douchebag can just pick a childhood toy at random and turn it into a major movie project these days. With that in mind, I think it's finally time for me to do something with my nascent screenwriting career, and I've got plenty of ideas. And you're getting an exclusive preview, you lucky fucks: This week's +5 is Five Toy Lines I Could Probably Turn Into Movies. Feel the excitement!

The Game of Life
If you think about it, there's a real opportunity for some heavy-duty black comedy here. Maybe you've got Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michael C. Hall as friends who build an increasingly intense rivalry as teenagers, and they make a vow to turn the rest of their lives into a competition where they try to amass as much money as possible and the person with the most money at the end wins. From there it's a non-stop battle to come out of college with a good job, have as many children as possible, and fall ass-backward into the right money-making opportunities until they can finally face each other as old men at Millionaire Acres and attempt to crush each other's lifetime hopes and dreams once and for all. As all this is unfolding, of course, they go progressively crazier and crazier until they both end up as nutty as Daniel Day-Lewis at the end of "There Will Be Blood" and they're both completely broken and miserable. (I didn't say it was going to be an uplifting movie.)

Lego Agents
I got some of these a few days ago (yeah, I did, what of it?), and they're actually pretty badass -- the little mini-figures have computers and pistols and rocket launchers and everything. Since they've already made extremely well-reviewed video-game franchises out of the Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones series, I'll bet somebody can squeeze a movie out of this. It couldn't possibly be any worse than "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

(Audio NSFW)

Power Wheels
I'm thinking this movie takes place at the point in our dystopian near-future at which we finally run out of our last drop of oil, and adults have to resort to relying on their kids' Power Wheels for transportation. Then someone discovers a revolutionary energy source and the shadowy intelligence organizations from all the world's major powers become locked in a deadly battle to obtain it, which would be the perfect excuse for some "Ronin"/"Bourne Supremacy"-style car chases through the cities of the world, recreated entirely with Power Wheels vehicles.

This video game looks absurdly simple compared to what kids are playing these days, but I have yet to be able to resist one of these machines in a bar, arcade, bowling alley, or any other locale. Could a feature film be as addictive? I mean, you've got the first act, where our protagonist is blowing up alien spacecraft; the second-act complication, in which his ship is CAPTURED and he has to make his way back to base; and the thrilling third act, in which he has to blow up the alien tractor-beam ship without blowing up his own ship so that he can get it back and blast away at the aliens with twice as much firepower. That's at least 80 minutes' worth of screen time right there.

Rock Band
Actually, I just want Trey Parker and Matt Stone to turn the "Guitar Queer-O" episode of "South Park" into a full-length feature film, because that episode was on the other night and I was reminded of how fucking brilliant it is. All it needed was a Yoko to turn Stan against Kyle and break up "the band."

Producers, my e-mail address is on the right at the top of this page; don't everyone bum-rush my inbox at once. In the meantime, here's the Ten:

1. Flight of the Conchords, "Foux Du Fafa"
2. Pet Shop Boys, "Flamboyant" (Scissor Sisters Silhouettes & Shadows mix)
3. Orbital, "The Girl with the Sun in Her Head"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "I Don't Know What You Want but I Can't Give It Any More"
5. Passengers, "United Colours"
6. Weird Al Yankovic, "Another One Rides the Bus"
7. Underworld, "Shake It Higher"
8. Underworld, "Lenny Penne"
9. Johnny Cash, "Joe Bean"
10. The Streets, "Stay Positive"

Back to you, folks. Your Random Tens and terrible ideas for cash-in toy-based movies in the comments, please.

Thursday, July 9

A memo from the desk of Arnold T. Pants, Esq.:
Alabama guzzles beer while Lindsay avoids "The Hangover."

"All aboard," says Orrin Hatch. (This eventually makes sense, I promise.)

· First things first, and the first thing today is self-aggrandizement. With the illustrious Dr. Saturday traveling earlier this week, I've been chipping in a little bit more than usual over there, including an assessment of the will-he-or-won't-he questions about Steve Spurrier retiring and a slight stretch of a metaphor regarding Orrin Hatch's BCS hearings (but it does have a point, I promise).

Keep your eyes peeled over there too, Bulldog Nation, because my next installment in the Better Know an Embattled Coach series concerns a coach we've all loved to hate over the years. I'll also be popping up tomorrow over at Team Speed Kills to critique their assessment of the Dawgs (this has been Georgia week over at TSK, where they're breaking down an SEC team each week leading up to the start of the season) and offering some thoughts of my own.

· According to this map, beer consumption in Alabama is about average compared to the rest of the nation. And it may increase now that Free the Hops has succeeded in ridding our fair state of its oppressive alcohol-content-limit laws. What I don't understand is how little ol' Alabama is outdrinking Georgia by so much. And what the hell's going on up in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut? At least Utah has a religious excuse -- what's y'all's?

· Just when I thought I was done having to explain, rationalize, or excuse my divided UGA-UAB loyalties, along comes news that the Dawgs and Blazers will be playing a home-and-home in basketball this year and next. But lest anyone allow themselves to assume I'm not All Dawg, I'll be rooting for Georgia in both matchups -- we've got a new coach who needs to get some early wins under his belt, while an increasing number of UAB fans seem like they'd only be too happy to unload their guy.

· Lindsay Lohan turned down the role in "The Hangover" that eventually went to Heather Graham. Yeah, who'd want to play a prominent role in a hilarious blockbuster movie that's already grossed nearly $300 million at the box office? "A washed-up actress who's so broke she's having to charge $70,000 to make an appearance at her own birthday party" would be my guess. But then maybe Lindsay found out that Mike Tyson had a cameo in "The Hangover" and decided she didn't like the Which Former Superstar Has More Completely Embraced Teh Crazy? comparisons that would invite.

· And finally, a photo from one of the many massively strongly somewhat attended "Tea Parties" that took place on July 4, with brief commentary courtesy of Google Reader.

Wednesday, July 8

The Saga of Sarah.

I guess I don't have much to add to the continuing astonishment over Sarah Palin's decision to say "no mas" and vacate the Alaska governor's mansion except for this: I'm disappointed. I was seriously hoping that the Republican Party, in its current state, would continue to hold up Palin as their Great Oh-So-Very-White Hope for the next three years, just long enough to nominate her to go up against Obama in the 2012 presidential election, at which point she would flame out and put the GOP right back at square one in terms of rebuilding their national stature. God, what a fun ride that would've been. I was fully prepared to go deep cover and volunteer for Palin's 2012 Alabama primary campaign if it looked like that scenario might come to pass.

But it's not going to. My knee-jerk reaction to Palin's announcement the day before Independence Day, like a lot of people's, was that she was unloading her gubernatorial responsibilities so that she could devote herself full-time to the business of laying the groundwork for a balls-out 2012 presidential run. With her brand name beginning to take on some tarnish from Todd Purdum's unflattering Vanity Fair profile and the resulting infighting with McCain's people, she was going to metaphorically stomp off to her room in a huff, sulk for a few months until enough people in the Republican base came groveling to stroke her hair and tell her how pretty and awesome she was, and then burst forth in February 2011 (or earlier) with a recharged ego and a refreshed arsenal of lame down-home witticisms, determined to yank the reins away from President Hussein and reclaim America for the real Americans.

But if she really wanted to do that, why not just wait a few months and announce she wasn't going to be running for another term as governor? Why quit in the middle of her first term? If one of the big knocks on you as a vice-presidential candidate is that you have minimal political experience, why throw away the opportunity to gain any additional experience if you don't have to?

"Sarah Palin isn't smart in what we might call conventional ways," writes TBogg in a short but highly incisive post from earlier this week, "but she has grifter smarts" -- or, as Holly characterized it, "middle-school, mean-girl, locker-room smarts" -- and that elementary cunning was enough to lead her to a conclusion many of us arrived at months ago: There's no way she's ever going to get elected president. Her favorability ratings began tanking within a couple weeks of her acceptance speech on the floor of the Republican National Convention last September, and while dyed-in-the-wool religious conservatives thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread (and still do), independents quickly decided they wanted nothing to do with her (and still don't). Reports say even her fellow Alaska Republicans had started to turn on her, to the point where she might not even have been able to win a primary challenge in a potential re-election bid -- and when you can't even hold together a Republican coalition in one of the reddest states in the country (Democrats haven't broken 40 percent in a presidential election in Alaska, much less won outright, since the 1960s), your prospects for building anything resembling an effective base of support nationally are in deep ka-ka.

So why'd she do it? Let's go back to TBogg:

. . . [Palin] knows that she can make a better living working the wingnut welfare circuit preaching to the already converted than she can in politics.

He also quotes Jill from Brilliant at Breakfast:

If she were about helping other working mothers and parents of special-needs children and health care for all and a stable job base, she could have been a credible contender for first female president. But alas, she is only an aging beauty queen, a Mean Grrrl who in politics has found a way to extend her reign as Prettiest Girl in High School to use people (or states) and then throw them away when they stop feeding her massive ego . . .

That description stops just short of summing up what I think is a central truth about Sarah Palin, a truth that clues us in to both why she quit her gubernatorial term in midstream and why she'll never be president. For all the talk about all the things that made Palin such a refreshing novelty on the national political scene over the past year or so -- her gender, her good looks, her unusual family, the exotic locale from whence she sprang -- she's not actually unique at all: She is George W. Bush, only female and cute. Like Bush, her most substantial political experience was a governorship of modest responsibilities, and whatever renown she'd acquired was primarily for superficial reasons (good looks = Bush's famous family name). Without much of an actual track record or stated policy slate to speak of, the neocon wing of the Republican Party decided on her as a blank slate upon which they could project their hopes and ideals, an assignment that she, like Dubya, tackled with gusto. But through it all she's expressed the same intellectual incuriosity that Dubya demonstrated throughout the entirety of his presidential term -- they both know what they feel about this issue or that issue, their minds are made up, and they're not interested in acquiring any additional information about it, especially not anything that would challenge the worldviews and prejudices they'd already spent so many years setting in stone.

Seriously, does a woman who can't come up with an answer better than "all of 'em" when asked a question as simple as "what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read" sound like she gives a flying fuck about becoming knowledgeable on the major issues of the day? Does she sound like someone interested in doing anything other than what Bush did as president -- i.e. bringing in "advisors" who will tell him/her exactly what he/she wants to hear and nothing more? Palin's legions of right-wing fans may not demand any more than that from her, because her willingness to "go with her gut" in the absence of any debate or time-consuming deliberation is one of the things they most admire in her, just as they admired it in Bush before her. But the rest of us, as evidenced by the 2008 election outcome, have come to our senses, and have started demanding a little more from the person who holds the most powerful title in the free world.

Evidently, even people in Alaska are starting to demand that as well, and that, as much as anything, is why she resigned so abruptly: The job got too hard, too many people didn't like her, she wasn't having fun anymore. So she quit, just like she quit a series of colleges and a position as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She's going to lay low for a while, then write a book (or have one ghost-written for her) and probably get a talk show on Fox News, re-establish her position as the spokesperson for the great not-so-silent not-quite-majority of aggrieved Tea-Party-throwing, Obama-hating ultraconservatives without actually having to get elected to anything, and thereby become the only thing she ever really wanted to be all along: a celebrity.

Is that an overly harsh assessment? Probably, but as hard as I try, I just can't find one shred of evidence that Palin has any stomach for the difficult and sometimes spirit-sapping work of actual policy-making, consensus-building, or governing. Leave out the sob stories about catty Vanity Fair articles or tasteless jokes late-night talk-show hosts have made about her kids; in the end, that stuff's got very little to do with actual politics. It's got more to do with the travails of simply being a celebrity, and while Sarah Palin may look like she's selflessly falling on her sword and giving up the limelight for the good of her family or her state or whoever, she'll be back. Only as a pricey lecture-circuit choir-preacher or Fox talking head, of course, not as someone poised to make any direct, tangible difference in what goes on in Washington.

But that just kind of makes the Saga of Sarah -- to the extent that there is one -- only that much more pointless and wasted in the end. You will have Sarah Palin to kick around anymore, sooner or later, but only if it's on her terms, and in a capacity where she doesn't actually have to put anything on the line. She'll say stupid things on big stages, people who should know better will give her more air time than she deserves, but in the end history won't remember her as anything even resembling a transformative figure; the Saga of Sarah won't end up being remembered as anything more than a year in its political life that America won't ever get back.

Monday, July 6

Monday Morning Cage Match IV:
Heavily armed VTOL ground-attack aircraft vs. AWW WOOKIT THE WITTLE BABY.

For the first time in the history of the Cage Match, I've got a dog in the fight -- a literal dog in the fight, come to think of it -- but I'll try to be as objective as I can in judging the battle royale of Harrier vs. Terrier. No animals will be harmed in the production of this post.

[Boeing/BAE Systems AV-8B] Harrier

[Boston] terrier
Price$30-35 million$300-$1,000
WINNER: Terrier
LineageHawker P.1127, first flown in 1960Bull-and-Terrier and various breeds of bulldogs, first bred in the 1870s
Original purposeGround/naval attackPit fighting, catching and killing mice and other vermin
WINNER: Harrier
CutenessNegligibleOFF THE CHARTS
WINNER: Terrier
LethalityConsiderableGenerally only to stuffed toys and Milk-Bones
WINNER: Harrier
Biggest drawbackNot supersonicGassy
WINNER: Harrier
Notable ownersArmed forces of the United States, Italy, and SpainRose McGowan, Famke Janssen
WINNER: Terrier

FINAL SCORE: Harrier 4, Terrier 4. From which we are forced to conclude that both are equally awesome.

Saturday, July 4

America, f%$# yeah.

Why a chick in an American-flag bikini? For the same reason the United States ever does anything: Because we can.

Amongst the many things I'll be declaring independence from today, the biggest is sobriety. Happy 4th, dorks.

The (belated) Friday Random Ten+5 writes an open letter to Michael Bay.

Dear Mr. Bay,

I'll start this off bluntly: I'm not the hugest fan of your work. "The Rock" was pretty entertaining, with a stellar cast of actors, but "Armageddon" and "Bad Boys II" might be the two worst movies I've ever seen in my life. In fact, my favorite entry on your extensive and varied résumé might just be the "I Touch Myself" video. So when I heard that you'd be directing a series of "Transformers" movies, I was conflicted: Worried that you'd turn them into a "Bad Boys"-esque farce, but at the same time admiring that you'd have the stones to take on the task of creating live-action films around my absolute favorite toy/TV show from when I was a little kid.

I liked the first "Transformers" a lot. It wasn't deep, it didn't give any sort of greater insights into the human condition, but the robots were absolutely fucking beautiful, and overall I felt like it was $9.25 well spent. The second one, though . . . not so much. Perhaps I shouldn't have seen it from the second row of an IMAX theatre, a vantage point which, combined with your usual frenetic editing and blizzards of explosions and crashing metal, made me feel like my brain's occipital love had just gone ten rounds with Tyson. I didn't even have the chance to appreciate the majesty of the beautiful CGI robots you put in there because they were all -- remember that YouTube video some guys did of putting an iPhone in a blender? That's what that whole movie looked like to me. (Except for the slower parts with Shia LaBeouf and his family or Megan Fox, and we'll get to that in a minute.)

I know there's a third "Transformers" movie already in the works, and Michael, you've got some redeeming to do with that one. My sister, in her usual take-no-prisoners manner, has told you what you've done wrong; now I'm going to tell you how to do it right. Mike, I'm devoting an entire +5 to you, and I don't do this for just anyone, so pay attention while I give you Five Ways To Make The Final Movie In The "Transformers" Trilogy Not Suck.

Make the Transformers do more actual, you know, transforming.
Without the ability to turn into cars or airplanes or household appliances or whatever, Transformers wouldn't be Transformers; they'd just be big-ass robots. Yet that central gimmick was largely lacking from this movie. The actual act of a Chevrolet Camaro rising up and turning into a huge robot is, in my opinion at least, way more fascinating than two huge robots simply beating the shit out of one another, so if you're spending all that money on CGI, maybe you should try dialing the balance back in favor of the former. I'm just saying.

Stop making Megan Fox's character so needy.
The central conflict in the romantic subplot in "Revenge of the Fallen" is Megan Fox's character's desire to hear Shia LaBeouf's character say "I love you" and his inability or unwillingness to do so. Sorry, but I'm calling shenanigans on that. It is impossible for me to willfully suspend disbelief there, because if all this were actually happening, Megan Fox's character would eventually look into a mirror at some point and say, "You know what? I look like Megan Fox," and realize that if her current boyfriend isn't willing to say "I love you," she can just go out and select from any of the millions of adult males who would be willing to do that. And no offense to Shia LaBeouf, but if a guy who looks like that is dating a girl who looks like Megan Fox, he's playing with house money. In real life, he'd not only be telling her "I love you" (and whatever else she wanted him to say), he'd be walking her dog, changing her oil, and cooking her a three-course meal while he did so.

Leave Sam's family out of it. Completely.
I've met many of my friends' parents, from parents I thought were unbelievably cool to people I wouldn't want to be seen in the same room with, and Shia LeBeouf's

Animated Gifs

Simplify and differentiate the robots.
The animation of the original Transformers cartoon series might have been somewhat primitive even by mid-1980s standards, but the benefit to that is that you never had trouble telling who was who. Bumblebee was yellow, had little Viking horns on his head, and his feet were the front fenders of a VW Beetle. Megatron had that big cannon on his right arm because he was a gun. And so on and so forth. The robots you've created for the live-action films are gorgeous to look at, and almost frighteningly realistic, but there's just one problem: They're so complex I can barely tell which one is which. Megatron and Starscream, in particular, have practically been interchangeable from the get-go. Especially during the fight scenes, I pretty much have to resign myself to a blur of metal parts from which somebody is eventually going to emerge victorious, and that leads me to my last suggestion:

Before signing off on any of the action scenes, give them one last viewing and ask yourself, "Do I have any idea what the fuck is going on here?"
If the answer is no -- and if this third film ends up anything like "Revenge of the Fallen," it will be, frequently -- go back and change it. If you've created what you think is this awesome sequence of two gigantic robots kicking the crap out of each other, but you go back and watch it and the robots actually look more like that iPhone-vs.-blender video, you need to spend some more time in the editing bay. For all our sakes.

Thanks for listening, best wishes on the third movie, and happy 4th. Hope you're treated to a fireworks show befitting your status as American cinema's foremost connoisseur of Shit Blowing Up.

Doug Gillett

P.S. Here's the Ten:

1. Elton John, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
2. Pet Shop Boys, "Losing My Mind" (Disco mix)
3. Max Graham vs. Yes, "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing" (Grandballroom mix)
5. David Holmes, "69 Police"
6. Pet Shop Boys, "Miracles" (Eric Prydz remix)
7. David Bowie, "Space Oddity"
8. The Streets, "Don't Mug Yourself"
9. Elton John, "Tiny Dancer"
10. Ween, "Hey There Fancy Pants"

If you're even reading this on the 4th of July -- and why on earth would you be? seriously -- go ahead and put your own Random Tens, and your thoughts on basically anything, be it "Transformers" or whatever, in the comments.

Wednesday, July 1

This week in extramarital booty.

A week after the initial revelation from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford that he'd been carrying on an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina, the best tidbits are now coming out. Read this story and this one, and then let's go over the highlights:

· "As recently as this month," Sanford "begged his wife to let him go visit his Argentine hottie." When I first heard about that, I thought, man, the balls on that guy! But the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking maybe Sanford's actually a wuss: You think Sarkozy or Berlusconi ever gave a fuck about asking for permission?

· The debate between "ballsy" and "wussy" might be purely academic, though: Since Sanford asked his wife for permission -- implying that he did care a little about her feelings on the subject -- but went anyway even after she said no, I'm going to settle on "asshole" for the time being.

· In a cabinet meeting last week in which Sanford apologized to his staff, he compared himself to King David, who had an affair with a married woman, Bathsheba, yet managed to maintain control of his kingdom. Presumably this means that Sanford will be ordering the death of his mistress's husband and then marrying her himself.

· Sanford confessed that he "crossed the lines" with several other women over the years but hadn't had sex with any of them. That still leaves a lot of wiggle room, though, and can include everything from "making out" to "third base" to "naked baby-oil Twister with a group of Singapore Airlines flight attendants." Not that I, uh, spend a lot of time thinking about stuff like that.

· Sanford is convinced that the woman from Argentina is his "soul mate," but he adds that he's "trying to fall back in love with his wife." So basically he's telling his wife, "Honey, this woman from Buenos Aires is my soul mate, but I'm TRYING to fall in love with you again." Wow, what woman wouldn't be made weak in the knees by an expression of romance like that? Not that you asked me, governor, but here's a tip: You "try" to lose a few pounds or get more organized at home. If you have to try to fall in love with someone, it ain't happening.

At this point, I have two pieces of advice for Gov. Sanford. First, shut the fuck up already. Your ratio of "words uttered in public" to "times looked stupid and/or like an asshole" is rapidly approaching 1:1. Second, bite the fucking bullet and get divorce proceedings started. It's obvious you don't particularly want to be married to your wife, she can't possibly want to be married to you all that much, and whatever benefit you think you'd be doing for your kids by staying together has probably already been negated by their knowing that you blew them off on Father's Day to go chase some South American strange.

But that's just one guy's opinion. At the end of the day, all I can really say is what a weird, weird dude. And kind of a tortured, conflicted one at that. But I will say this for him: I'm glad he's there, because compared to him even I look smooth with the ladies.

Then again, I've never managed to carry on a torrid affair with a woman from Argentina, either. Hey, anybody know what Yamila Diaz is doing these days?