Sunday, August 26, 2007

Improving the Rangers

First Base

Well, this is the first of what may or may not be a series of posts about how to improve my beloved Texas Rangers. Right now, one of the major issues is first base. We've just got rid of a gold-glove firstbasmen (who is tearing it up in Atlanta!) and have a few options for next season. Who are our optional first basemen? Let's take a look.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia - Currently hitting .259 for the Rangers. He's 6'4" and has a pretty decent glove, but I think that the 22 year old Salty would be better utilized as a permanent catcher. Sorry Laird.

Frank Catalanotto - Cat has been a poor hitter all season long, and has been splitting his time playing in the outfield and DHing. I don't know how he would do at first base, but I have doubts about his skills.

Brad Wilkerson - A left fielder by trade, Wilkerson played a bit of first base for us this season while Tex was hurt. When he made the move, his power numbers increased dramatically and (while I don't have the numbers) he didn't exactly suck at first. However, he does generally suck.

Jason Botts - A late call-up this year, Botts has not produced offensively. He's played both the outfield and first base in his minor league career, but has been DHing for us. Don't know enough about his defense to make a legit call.

Hank Blalock - You might know him as the brother of Jake Blalock, but I remember him as a legit power hitter.

I have to assume that Hank ain't gonna be 100% after having a rib taken out, and that he may never be the same again. However, that's precisely why he is my choice for the Texas Rangers new first baseman. If we get him out of the hot corner, and move him to a spot that's a little easier to handle, maybe he'll just show us some of that old spark. He won't have to strain himself in the field, and maybe that will turn into some offensive production. Well what about third you say? Until we can get something better, I guess Vazquez gets the third base job by defauly.

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Top 15 List of the Week

Top 15 Upcoming DVDs

Coming Sept. 18

Don't know what to buy? I'll help you. This is a list of the next fifteen standard definition DVDs that you should snag.

1. Warner Director's Series: Stanley Kubrick Collection - 10/23 - This boxset is gonna be great. Finally, Warner is giving Kubrick his due with these special editions, which includes 10 discs, housing Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, 2001, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange. Plus a whole slew of special features and what have yous.

2. Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Collection - 10/30 - Finally season two of David Lynch's surreal TV series is being released. And not only that, it's coming in a box with the first season and with the as of yet only available in bootleg and other regions pilot episode of the series.

3. From Beyond: Director's Cut - 9/11 - One of the unreleased Stuart Gordon's (Re-Animator)Lovecraft adaptations. Stars the always amazing Jeffrey Combs! This thing has been in production/release limbo for a long, long time now.

4. Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection - 9/11 - Vincent Price. 'Nuff said.

5. Blade Runner: Ultimate Collector's Set - 12/18 - This is a crazy huge set for Ridley Scott's best film. Five discs of Blade Runner, which includes all of the variations of the film. Fan boys are salivating.

6. The Roger Corman Collection - 9/18 - Corman is the king of the B picture, and this set includes cult classics like A Bucket of Blood and The Trip (plus tons more)

7.Breathless: Criterion Collection - 10/23 - Considered by many to be Godard's best film, Breathless finally gets the Criterion treatment.

8. Knocked Up: 2-Disc Unrated - 9/25 - Hilarious Judd Apatow film that, even with its fairly long running time for a comedy, left me wanting more. Hopefully, will get more in this two disc set.

9. Days of Heaven: Criterion Collection - 10/23 - Mallick only directs like one film a decade, and this is supposed to be his best one. Can't wait to see it.

10. Cruising - 9/18 - Possibly Friedkin's last great film, this one stars Al Pacino as undercover cop posing a a homosexual!

11. Someone's Watching Me - 9/25 - Early Carpenter. All Carpenter is good Carpenter (even Ghosts of Mars), so I'm looking forward to watching this one.

12. Commando: Director's Cut - 9/18 - A director's cut of Commando? You know you want to see that.

13. Masters of Horror: Season 1 - 8/28 - Haha. You all bought them seperately, but here they are in one big box set. Jokes on you.

14. Witchfinder General - 9/11 - Vincent Price on a witchhunt. This is one of the latest in the newly resurrected MGM Midnight Movies series.

15. Night on Earth: Criterion Collection - 9/4 - Probably Jim Jarmusch's most acclaimed film, this one is ripe for a Criterion release.

I'm elated, because the next few weeks of releases are genre-fanboy heaven. MGM has brought back their Midnight Movies series, Blue Underground is gonna re-release a bunch of Anchor Bay's back catalog (as they are prone to do), and there are just all kinds of great releases coming out. Excellent.

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Clip of the Week

Angry Video Game Nerd - TMNT (NES)

The clip of the week today comes from a guy known as the Angry Video Game Nerd. His webseries used to be exclusively on YouTube, but now it seems he's inked a deal over at So, here it is, AVGN giving hell to a game that I could never, ever, ever, ever beat when I was a lad:

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Top Ten List of the Week

Top Ten Teen Comedies

The release (and sheer coolness) of Superbad has prompted me to make this one. My list of the week this week is the top ten teen comedies of all time. I don't claim to be an expert on the genre, but it's pretty young and I think I've seen enough to make a competent list. What makes a teen comedy? Well, in this case, we're saying that the characters in the films themselves must be in their teens. There's also an intangible here that I'm not really able to pinpoint. What I mean is this, the protagonist (Max) in Rushmore is in his teens but that is not a teen comedy. Let's just say that we all know what a teen comedy is and I'm not going to define it anymore. Deal with it.


This is kind of a toughie, but I'll give it my all (and try to limit the nostalgia factor):

1. Superbad
2. Dazed and Confused
3. Heathers
4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
5. Can't Hardly Wait
6. American Pie
7. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
8. Say Anything...
9. Sixteen Candles
10. Risky Business

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Clip of the Week

Edgar Wright Interviews Cera and Hill

This is a pretty funny "interview" that Edgar Wright (director of the wonderful Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) conducted with the stars of the new (and badass) movie Superbad, Michael Cera (of Arrested Development - the show - fame) and Jonah Hill. If you haven't seen Superbad...go watch it. Now. I'll wait. As Pop Newmo succinctly put it, it's scary how accurate the movie is.

Am I the only one that thinks that Jonah Hill looks like the third and grossest looking Penn brother? I guess so.

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Escape While You Still Can

Escape From New York

Man, oh man. Creature-Corner has just broken the news that the upcoming remake of the 1981 John Carpenter classic Escape From New York is being helmed by none other than Len Wiseman. If you are unfamiliar with Escape From New York first off, I pity you. Secondly, let me fill you in. Escape is the first of the wonderful eighties Carpenter/Kurt Russell trilogy (followed by The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China...both classics) that stars Russell as the ultimate badass, Snake Plissken (eventually the character was copped/emulated in the Metal Gear video game series).

The plot summary is something like this: After the president's plane is shotdown over a post-apocalyptic New York (which has now been turned into an island prison for the worst of the worst criminals), Snake, an incarcerated convict, is offered his freedom if he will agree to be sent into New York in order to save him. Doesn't sound too wonderful, but it is. The one-liners, action, and all out badassosity (yep) of the character make the movie an ultimate funride. Snake is iconic in the world of genre-loving geeks.

And now, instead of Kurt Russell, we get Gerard Butler (star of the bloated and overrated 300). Don't get me wrong, Butler showed he had some chops in 300, but come on! He ain't Snake effing Plissken. There's only one guy that can do it, and that's Russell. If we have to suffer through a remake of a film that is in no need of one, at least put Kurt in it! Now, I'm not so sure about this "let's show Snake's origins". I'd be all for it, if John Carpenter was penning it, but he ain't. Some guy that's only written one script is (Ken Nolan - Black Hawk Down).

And, instead of John Carpenter, we get Len Wiseman. Wonderful. We replace on of the greatest auteurs (yeah, I said it) of the past 30 years and replace him with the guy that directed three ultimately forgettable movies (the two Underworld films and the latest Die Hard). Hmmm...sounds like a fair trade off. Let's think, Carpenter's first three major motion pictures went like this: Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, and The Fog. That's a home run, grand slam, and base hit in a row.

I feel certain that the only reason for the Wiseman/Butler combo is because they are now "bankable" due to their recent successes. I have to wonder what would have happend if Grindhouse hadn't flopped. Would we at least see an offer to Russell for the role? Maybe. Then again...

In short (or kind of long), this is a movie that shouldn't be remade anyway (very few of the movies in this current craze of remakes were actually in want of a remake - look at Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Assault on Precinct 13 or Halloween), but Escape is so distinctly an eighties film that it is mind-boggling how someone could look at it and say that it needed to be remade. You Hollywood parasites! Now, we could get into a whole thing here about the questionable integrity of the remake in general, but we won't. However, I will say I don't think they are inherently evil, but that the current trend of remaking my beloved genre films feels like a lack of creativity mixed with a lack of respect for the films themselves (likely because they are indeed genre films - odds are you won't see Ja Rule in a remake of The Lady Eve). Ladies and gentlemen, I implore you, is nothing sacred?

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Real Treat!

Well ladies and germs, we have a surprise for everyone this week:

A bonus clip of the week!

This is Jimmy Kimmel DESTROYING nearly everyone in attendance at Comedy Central's Roast of Flavor Flav!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Don't Look Now, But...

On May 30 of this year, Buster Olney posted this update on his blog [Insider required] regarding the playoff hopes of the New York Yankees at the time:

"The Yankees … have reached the point where they will almost require a historic comeback to make the playoffs:

The Yankees’ deficit in the division race is 14.5 games. Only one team has won a division or league with a deficit of greater than 14 games — the 1914 Boston Braves.

The Yankees’ deficit in the wildcard is 8.5 games. Only four wildcard winners have overcome greater deficits than that — the ‘95 Yankees (who were once nine games out), the 2001 Athletics (once 10.5 games out), the 2003 Marlins (11.5 games out), and the 2005 Astros (11.5 games out).

Only two other times have the Yankees had a larger deficit in May — 1984: In the year in which the Tigers started 35-5, the Yankees fell 17.5 games out in May. 1913: the Yankees were as much as 18.5 games out in May."

At that time the Ole Pinstripers were in, needless to say, extreme danger of breaking their streak of 12 consecutive trips to the postseason. The team had been through a variety of setbacks; between the trade of stars Randy Johnson and Gary Sheffield in the offseason, the unexpected tragic death of starter Cory Lidle, and the extended DL-stints of notable players all across the diamond, this team looked uninspiring at best (in deep trouble).

The Yanks had a hodge-podge starting rotation that consisted of high-priced old guys (Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, and, later, Roger Clemens), young studs with a high ceiling of potential but unproven (Chien-Ming Wang, Philip Hughes) and young guys with less than 5 career big league starts (Jeff Karstens, Chase Wright, Darrell Rasner, Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, and overpaid Japanese import Kei Igawa who has since been designated for assignment and placed on waivers). Throw in the Ghost of Carl Pavano and his 5 wins in 19 starts over the last three years, and you've got some obvious pitching concerns for mounting the comeback trail to the playoffs. Add to it...

Mussina missed close to a month with a bad hamstring. Wang started the season on the DL with a shaky hammy, and was out until the end of April. Karstens, who was only called up to replace other injured pitchers, missed two full months after took a line drive to the shin and suffered a broken leg. The aforementioned Pavano, who wasn't exactly known for staying healthy beforehand, got shut down for the rest of the season with an injury to his forearm (this was after sitting out the entire 2006 season with a myriad of impairments, yet was tabbed as the 2007 Opening Day starter...go figure.) Hughes went down in the 7th inning of a no-hitter performance against the Texas Rangers with a shaky hamstring and was shelved for the better part of two months. There seemed to be no luck at all in staying healthy for the staff. (After Hughes went down, the team subsequently gave Strength & Conditioning Coach Marty Miller his walking papers.)

Then, there were the issues with the lineup.

After starting the year on a historically ridiculous pace, Alex Rodriguez dipped into a .235 month of May and looked like he might be on his way back down to Earth. Outfielder Bobby Abreu was down around 70 points beneath his career batting average and 210 points below his career slugging percentage and at no point resembled the player who hit .330 with 42 RBI in 58 games for the Yankees in 2006 after being traded from Philadelpia at the trade deadline. Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi both had missed significant portions of time and were noticeably underperforming compared to their career numbers. Second baseman Robinson Cano, who hit .342 in '06 and finished 3rd for the AL Batting crown, was hovering near the .230 mark. Doug Mientkiewicz was literally knocked out of the lineup on June 2 after colliding with Red Sox 3rd Baseman Mike Lowell on a play at 1st base, and suffered a concussion and a broken wrist (He is yet to return to the team). Japanese slugger and fan favorite Hideki Matsui missed time with nagging hamstring and wrist injuries (notice the pattern yet?).

At the All-Star break, the Bombers were 42-43 and sitting on the outside looking in for the right to play in October.

...and then they turned it around. a hurry.

How'd they manage to do that?


1.The bats got scorching hot:

-New York leads the major leagues in Runs Scored, Batting Average, Slugging %, RBI, On-Base %, and OPS, while ranking in the Top 5 in Total Hits, Extra Base Hits, Home Runs, & Total Bases.
-Damon and Giambi (again, who've both missed chunks of time with various injuries) Abreu and Andy Phillips are the only Yankee regulars betting less than .290; a mind-blowing 7 Yankees are currently hitting a better than a .300 clip.
-7 players already have more than 100 hits with Derek Jeter and Cano on pace for 200+.
-A-Rod, right, picked right up where he left off in April and has already passed the 500 career home runs mark (the youngest player in baseball histoy to do so), and virtually locked up the Home Run Crown (39), RBI title (112), and AL MVP award.
-Jeter is again batting north of .320 for the year (good for 6th in the AL).
-Robinson Cano has raised his batting average over 30 points since the All Star Break to .313 (he's raking at a .414 mark since the break), not to mention rediscovering his power stroke to the tune of 10 HR since June 1 after hitting only 3 in the season's first 3 months.
-Bobby Abreu has regained his notable plate-discipline to raise his batting average 40 points since July 1st and also picked up his walks, slugging %, and RBI numbers.
-Hideki Matsui has raised his batting average 21 points since the All Star Break and has belted 11 homeruns during that time span to give him 23 on the year (good for 6th in the AL).
-Promising young outfielder Melky Cabrera has raised his batting average 33 points since July 1st while playing great enough defense to relegate Johnny Damon to spot-starting/DH duty.
-Jorge Posada has surged to reach the top 5 in the AL batting race (.338) in the midst of an overall career year both in the field and at the plate at 35 years of age.

2.The defense & pitching is MUCH improved, and, more importantly, finally healthy:

-Mariano Rivera is Mariano Rivera.
-Chien-Ming Wang is 7-1 in his last ten starts.
-Super Rookie Hughes and fresh new fireballer Joba Chamberlain have been as advertised, racking up the K's while not surrenduring many runs.
-Pettitte has been a workhouse all season providing a solid consistent presence in the rotation (and even a couple times out of the bullpen).
-Mussina and Clemens have probably been the streakiest starters (other than the young kids), but that's a great luxury to have: two guys with 250+ wins and big-time postseason experience are your "shakiest" rotation spots. They'll be primed and ready by late August.
-Clippard, Rasner, DeSalvo, and Wright have used their short time in the majors to learn and can now provide extra depth both in the starting rotation in case of an injury or in the bullpen as long/middle relief.
-They solved the "short bench" problem at the trade deadline by trading over-worked reliever Scott Proctor to the Dodgers for super-utility player Wilson Betemit (a shortstop who can play any infield position) who has shown flashes of great things at the dish, as well as adding veteran catcher Jose Molina to afford Posada a day off here and there to rest for the stretch run.

3.The Youth Movement has provided extra much-needed depth:

-The Yankees offseason trades of Sheffield and Johnson yielded enough high level talent that they could begin the harvest their homegrown studs without depleting the whole farm system.
-Most importantly, New York, maybe for the first time in the Steinbrenner Era, stood pat at the trade deadline and refused to let go of top prospects in any trade scenarios. Hughes (21, right) and Chamberlain (21), along with right-handed starting prospects Ian Kennedy (22), Humberto Sanchez (24), and Dellin Betances(19) could join Wang for one of the most dynamite young rotations in all of baseball in only a year or two.
-Mid-summer call up Shelley Duncan, 27, has been slugging his way into a full-time role with the team after racking up 5 HR and 10 RBI in only 35 AB to potentially make high-priced veterans like Giambi and Damon valuable trade pieces this winter.
-Melky Cabrera, who turned 23 yesterday, looks like an All-Star in the making with a tremendous combination of speed, defense, and timely hitting; He's currently riding a 16-game hitting streak, and already has 16 hits in 9 games this month.
-All the early-season injuries have become blessings in disguise for young players like Brian Bruney, Sean Henn, Edwar Ramirez, and Andy Phillips to have had a chance to showcase their talent to prove they can be valuable pieces to a playoff run.
-Thanks to their patience in developing the youngsters, the Yanks' minor league system now ranks in the Top 10. [#11 according to Hardball Times]

The Bottom line:
Today, the Yanks have used a stretch of winnable [easy] games to claw their way back into relevancy. They currently sit at 14 games above .500 (easily their highest mark of the year) into a virtual tie with Seattle and hold a 1 game lead over Detroit in the Wild Card race, but have slashed Boston's divisional cushion to a mere 5 games (The two rivals still have 6 more games against each other).

The baseball world should be very afraid of this current team. They've been through the depths of a god-awful slump and managed to streak back into contention with a stong mix of youthful energy and veteran know-how. This IS NOT a team that anyone wants to see lingering around in October. If the Yankees can stay healthy, and hold on to their current pace, they will be a very, very dangerous club down the stretch.

This team wants to show what it means to suit up in the pinstripes: Win. When it counts. These guys want to silence the critics who said they were cooked back in June. You can feel the rush of confidence beaming from every player in the clubhouse. They now know they can win.

That is why we'll all still be watching this team's remarkable and improbable turnaround into the brisk air of November; as The Postseason Streak stays still very much in tact.

...And as they hoist their 40th American League pennant.

And when they step onto the field at the World Series amidst all the doubting and naysaying...

I bet it'll be fun to be the underdogs for once.

Now playing: Beck - Think I'm In Love

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Top 15 List of the Week

Top 15 Baseball Players (26 and Under)

This is a little bit different of a "top" list. What I'm really doing here is making a team of the top baseball players currently playing that are age 26 and under. It's a top 15 list because I'm taking 8 positional players, 1 DH, 5 starting pitchers, and 1 closer to comprise the best team of young players that I possibly can. So, here it is:

1B: Prince Fielder - Has played one full (almost two) seasons, is 23 years old, and is poised to be a legit powerhitting lefty. He'd got 35 homers so far this season, and hit a solid 28 in his rookie year.

2B: BJ Upton - The (almost) 23 year old Devil Ray has a career .288 avg with 21 dingers in what amounts to a season and a half. His power numbers are coming up and he is pretty versatile.

SS: Jose Reyes - 24 year old switch-hitter for the Mets, Reyes has a career .289 avg with 210 stolen bases in what basically works out to three and a half seasons of play. Kid is good.

3B: David Wright - He's 24 years old, plays solid defense, and has a career .305 with 87 taters and 329 RBI in what's almost 4 seasons of play.

C: Russell Martin - The 24 year old Dodger is among the league's best catchers. In what's almost 2 seasons of play, he's batting .290 with 22 homers and 133 RBI.

OF: Carl Crawford - In about 5 and a half seasons, the 26 year old Crawford has posted a career .295 with 264 stolen bases and 137 doubles. He's also got a .331 OBP and 468 runs scored. And he's very fast.

OF: Grady Sizemore - 25 years old, gold glove defense, and in what's almost three and a half season, he has a career .283, 245 RBI, 73 HRs, and 119 doubles.

OF: Jeff Francoeur - In what's almsot two and a half seasons, he's hitting .283 with 223 RBI and 56 homers.

DH: Miguel Cabrera - He's 24 years old and, in what's almost 4 and a half seasons of play, has racked up 132 homers with a great .314 career batting average.

SP: Justin Verlander - 24 years old. 284 SO with 3.74 ERA and 28 wins. Verlander

SP: Jake Peavy - 26 years old. 1009(!) SO with 3.32 ERA and 69 wins.

SP: Dan Haren - 26 years old. 541 SO with 3.75 ERA and 47 wins.

SP: Dontrelle Willis - 25 years old. 709 SO with 3.67 ERA and 65 wins.

SP: Francisco Liriano - This assumes he'll be the same after surgery. 23 years old. 177 SO with 2.74 ERA and 13 wins (in what amounts to one season).

CL: Jonathan Papelbon - 26 years old. 168 SO with a 1.64 (!) ERA and 61 saves.

Please note these players are too old: Chase Utley (28), CC Sabathia (27), Josh Beckett (27), Ryan Howard (27), Matt Holliday (27), Albert Pujols (27)

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Clip of the Week (X 2!)

Ninja Gaiden NES Intro and Hey Lou Pinella

I always really dug this intro. I dug the game, too, but could never beat the damn thing. Ifin' you haven't ever played this game, and you've got an NES emulator, download this puppy HERE.

Well, this week you're gonna get two (count 'em, two!) clips of the week. Just cause I feel generous (and I found this next one right after I posted the first one). I don't know if you're familiar with The Plain White T's song 'Hey There Delilah', but if you aren't, count yourself as lucky. Anyway, here's a much better song than that:

Oh! Sweee-eeet Lou!!

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mid-Week Top Ten List

Top Ten Films I've Seen This Year

Just because looking at the weekend's top ten list makes me so sad, I'm making another one. Here we have the top ten films that I've seen this year (regardless of when they were originally released). I'm not even going to limit it to films I've seen for the first time, so it's going to be hard to narrow this one down, but here goes nuffin:

1. Casablanca
2. Raging Bull
3. Happiness
4. Mean Streets
5. Evil Dead II
6. Papillon
7. The Big Lebowski
8. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
9. Inland Empire
10. Short Cuts

Ah, there we go. That looks much better.

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Top Ten List of the Week

Top Ten Movies of 2007 (Thus Far)

I'll be the first to admit that I've not seen enough movies from this year yet to make me qualified to construt such a list as this. But tough titty. I'm doing it anyway. So, here it is, my top ten favorite flicks of the year, thus far, in order:

1. Zodiac
2. Hot Fuzz
3. Knocked Up *
4. Grindhouse
5. 28 Weeks Later
6. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
7. Live Free or Die Hard
8. The Simpsons Movie
9. 300 *
10. Spider-Man 3

Looking at this list is pretty sad. I must've missed a lot of good films over the course of this year, cause my number ten hole is filled by a movie that I wouldn't give more than a 5.5 out of 10. Hell, the movies at seven, eight and nine wouldn't get more than a six! I've not had the chance to see a lot of movies that I want to (like Bug, Fido, The Lives of Others, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, etc.) as of this writing. But that's my list, so far, sad as it is.

* Knocked Up and 300 are technically 2006 films, but had wide releases in 2007

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Clip of the Week

De La Soul - Me, Myself, and I

Good morning world. It's time for the Clip of the Week. This week's clip is the music video for De La Soul's Me, Myself, and I, from their seminal debut album 3 Feet High and Rising. I wish that "rappers" would go back to making videos (hell, and music as well) like this.

So, there you have it. Posdnuos, Dave, and Maseo in a video for one of their biggest hits. And doesn't that video just make your day a little bit better. I know you're smiling now.

- Jordan M.
Commerce, TX
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