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Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop

September 5, 2011 at 11:42pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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I just saw this documentary the other day, which is currently playing at Film Streams in Omaha. Warning: There will be a few somewhat vague spoilers here as I discuss my review of the film, so stop now if you plan on going to seeing this. Otherwise, just hang with me for a bit.

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Good TV

September 2, 2011 at 3:30am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Does anyone watch Louie on FX? This has to be the freshest and most inventive show on cable TV right now. Unfortunately for me, I missed most of the first season’s episodes, but have caught all of this season so far. Louie is basically an autobiographical comedy about the real life of a “Louis CK” that is very similar to Louis CK’s actual life.

If the show’s humor is based on any archetype, I would say that it would be sort of a more twisted and subversive version of Woody Allen. But beyond that, Louie really defies conventions and crosses genres. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the show is also directed and written by Louis CK. I first heard about Louie from Marc Maron’s excellent WTF podcast.

Anyway, I’d say Louie is perhaps the best show out there now, competing with Breaking Bad. Though sadly, after the last three brilliant seasons, I fear that Breaking Bad has now started following a predictable story arc. I hope I am wrong.

Louie is on the FX channel on Thursday evenings at 9:30. It is after that bizarre show with Frodo and some talking Australian dog.

Good Thai Eats

January 17, 2011 at 1:29am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Big Monday

October 10, 2010 at 10:01pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Favre…Moss…Peterson.
Peterson…Favre…Moss.
Moss…Peterson…Favre.

Anyway you shake it down, it is clear that the Minnesota Vikings have a legendary dream team of veteran offensive power.  I have long lamented the Vikings’ release of Randy Moss back in 2005, when he was no doubt THE deep threat of the league. Now, the trinity is complete. Not since when the Heat brought together The King with D-Wade and Chris Bosh has there been higher expectations for a trio of professional athletes.

Will the Vikings pull it off and beat the Jets on Monday? The Minnesota fan in me says yes, but if they do, it will no doubt be a hard fought victory against Mark Sanchez and the Jets’ D on home turf. No doubt, the Vikings have indeed struggled so far this season, and although Moss fills the WR gap for Brett, the two have yet to play together on the field. Still, I am going to call this one 31-17 for Minnesota. If the Vikings win tomorrow, and win big, this will be huge news for Minnesota fans holding out for the ultimate win. Personally, I would just be happy this season seeing Favre and the Vikes pillage, loot, and torch Green Bay as they did last year (twice). That would be a good season for me.

Speaking of which, congrats to Donovan McNabb and Washington for the OT victory against The Slack this afternoon. I used to support the Skins back when I lived in Maryland. It’s always nice to see an underdog team led by a veteran QB win, especially when it is against the cheese-heads. 

Argentina v. Germany

July 2, 2010 at 2:07am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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This weekend’s big game has to be Argentina v. Germany on Saturday morning. Raise your hand if you are sick to death of listening to the endless hype by pundits about Maradona coaching Argentina, seeing that Messi commercial from Adidas 10-12 times a day, and the overall worship that ESPN seems to have for anything having to do with Messi. Listening to the pundits talk, you almost think that they would rush to drink Messi’s bathwater, despite the fact he has yet to score a goal so far this tournament. 

Don’t get me wrong here. Unlike England, Argentina is most definitely a very talented and absolutely lethal team, as they proved to Mexico last weekend. Additionally, they are out for revenge after getting beaten by Germany in a penalty shoot-out in the 2006 World Cup. But this Germany team is so fast and disciplined, I think they definitely have the juice to send Argentina home. In fact, I would say that Germany is a dark horse candidate to win the Cup this year.

Germany 3, Argentina 2.

Gone

June 26, 2010 at 11:44pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Team USA, that is, courtesy of Ghana. This should become known as the “Ghana Curse” since it’s the second time now in recent memory that the Ghanaian team has sent us out of the World Cup. Team USA’s run this year can only be described as both frenzied and wildly manic, as illustrated by their play today. Still, not many people expected the team to get past this stage, so in that sense we can chalk this one up for another great performance overall for the USA, which consistently seems to do “pretty good” in the World Cup. Of course, “pretty good” isn’t enough, but it has still been a great experience for USA fans.

I am really looking forward to the Germany-England match tomorrow morning. Needless to say, it’s always a huge event anytime these two hated rivals play one another.  I am supporting Germany, and believe they will easily dismantle England. There is no question that Germany has great team play, great attitudes, and a powerful attack in Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, and their new star Mesut Ozil. Miroslav Klose has scored more goals in the past few World Cups than England has as an entire team. What does England have? An overrated domestic striker who chokes on the international level, and a very dubious goalkeeping position.

3-1 Germany over England. I can already hear the England fans groaning in misery.

World Cup 2010 Commercials

June 20, 2010 at 10:04pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Some times you just have to sit back and enjoy it.

There have been some pretty awesome pre-tournament commercials this year, like ESPN’s ubiquitous main theme teaser, its #10 commercial, and Telkom’s commercial.

As we enter the final week of group play, we’ve already been inundated by that Budweiser penalty kick commercial, and those really strange “Lord of the Ring”-style Adidas series of ads with Zinadine Zidane (full version here).

Clearly, Nike’s Write The Future ad is the king of this tournament’s commercials (so much better than the Adidas’ Star Wars one despite the cool cameos and concept). Not only is Write The Future the best commercial of the tournament, it might be the best sports commercial ever. The Nike ad featuring some of Didier Drogba’s philanthropy and work against HIV/AIDS is also an excellent one. There are also some memorable shorter spin-offs from Write The Future like the brief clip with Roger Federer on his cameo,  and another rather prophetic short about Rooney messing up.

Speaking of England, a month ago England supporters were boasting that their team would win the World Cup. Now they are praying to survive group play. But there was a really nice EA ad for FIFA10 featuring Rooney (I consider it World Cup related), and another South African commercial poking fun at England’s rivalry with Germany. 

Nike also has a few commercials of the Mighty Orange for the Dutch market which are cool, like this one and this one.

Pepsi has some feel-good commercials featuring Henry, Drogba, Lampard, Kaka, and Messi, like their main ad, and this spin-off.

Sticking with the Africa theme, Puma has a really cool “Journey of Football” short celebrating African teams and fans, another focusing on Ghana’s Black Stars, and a short film called “Of the Same Earth” with Samuel Eto.

Of course, one of the reasons we like soccer is because it DOESN’T have television advertising until half time. But all in all, this has been a pretty good World Cup for commercials.

World Cup Heartbreak?

June 19, 2010 at 12:47am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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What a strange and exciting first week World Cup 2010 has been. Few people realistically expected Team USA to do well this year. But contrary to popular predictions, England’s performance has been remarkably poor, FAR worse than ours. You have to be sorry for veteran English footballers like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard who are excellent players but are cursed with playing for a national team that always seems to do so badly when it counts. And let’s set the record straight about Wayne Rooney: what a dismal disappointment he has been for England.  After our tie with Slovenia today, one could only have prayed for an Algerian win over England. Although that didn’t happen, the next best thing did with an Algeria/England 0-0 draw. What a disaster England has been so far, as I predicted. This means that USA is now ranked 2nd in group after Slovenia based on goals. It’s very likely we could get out of group into the knock-out stage but we have to beat Algeria next, or England has to lose against Slovenia if we draw with the Algerians. But make no mistake about it: we could lose against Algeria easily.

There have been some amazing upsets this week, including Spain’s loss and this morning’s upset in the Germany/Serbia game. Personally, I have been supporting Germany, France, and USA. This week’s play has thus been emotionally difficult for me because all three of these teams have fared significant challenges. After an awesome performance against Australia by Germany, I was stoked this morning to watch Germany’s insane scoring robots Lukas Podalski and Miroslav Klose.  I am a big fan of both these footballers, especially Podalski. What a boot today against Serbia and a card-crazy referee. Although Mr. Wilson concurred that the second yellow against Klose was clearly a trip, one has to ask to what extent the game becomes dominated not by the players but by the referee after 8 yellow cards are drawn.

Germany’s group is wide open and tomorrow Ghana plays against Australia. This will be an interesting game to catch seeing as how we’ll end up playing SOMEONE in group D if we get out of group.  Every game counts, and in that sense this tournament has been awesome so far. I’m just disappointed that the teams I’m supporting have had such difficulties this first week.

In anycase, if anyone is looking for some excellent World Cup-related podcasts, check out the Worldview interview with Simon Kuper, author of Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey—and Even Iraq—Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport. This was a really interesting interview breaking down the relationship between national economic conditions, fan and athletic culture, and performance in football. Really good stuff.

Big Day

June 11, 2010 at 12:53pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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I’m still a little mystified at all the hype over England this year. Yes, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are great footballers, but at core this England team is almost the same as the last go around minus Beckham and their goalkeeper is pushing 70 years old (and their key striker is also injured, again). As usual, the England supporters always get super pumped up because they believe this year is THE year for them to finally win it all again. Whatever. What they do have going for them is that the strongest team in their group is us, and a lot of people aren’t too keen on our team either. But I think we’ll win on goals tomorrow if we keep up the speed and be aggressive like a Germany-type offense. USA over England 3-2.

Happy World Cup 2010 everyone!

EDIT: There are lots of cool tournament commercials out there like the Write the Future one by Nike or Bono’s one for ESPN. But if this Carlsberg commercial is supposed to inspire Team England to win tomorrow, all I can think of is total fail ala BP. This commercial is an AWFUL train wreck that deserves a viewing. Truly horrible.

World Cup 2010

May 16, 2010 at 11:49pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Yes. It happens every four years. The World Cup. That magical month when fans of the beautiful game feel a profound love for their high definition TV sets, and Americans are shocked into the recognition that other sports exist.

What does it look like for Team USA? Unfortunately, not too well. Besides a few core veterans the team itself lacks World Cup experience. Additionally, although a lot of the players have international exposure, only a few play for the top quality continental European clubs (Oguchi Onyewu plays for AC Milan and not a whole lot more beyond that). However, many consider the USA’s group – Group C (Algeria, England, Slovenia) -  to be relatively easy this year.

Undoubtedly, their biggest match will be their first one against England. England, however, doesn’t seem that hot either. There is definitely a lot of veteran talent on that team from the English premier league, but their footballers also lack that hardcore experience playing in the best European teams with the best footballers from around the world. Related trivia: only two teams this tournament are composed of players who ONLY play in regular matches within the confines of their borders: North Korea and England. And for some reason, England seems to do poorly when it counts and their World Cup record is awful. I don’t know what it is about them, but they always seem to fail miserably, just like their drunken and violent fans. 

There doesn’t seem to be a real stand-out group of death this tournament. Most of the powerhouses are pretty well separated out into their own groups although Group A will be tough (Mexico, France, and the hometown guys). Group G has both Brazil and Portugal, and Group H has Spain, who some place as a favorite this year.

When the action starts on Friday June 11, the games will be at 6:30 AM and 9 AM in the morning our time, but there is also an evening game which will be on at 1:30 PM. Set your TV recording unit or plan your vacation days accordingly. Team USA’s first game against England will be at 1:30 PM on Saturday June 12.

Favre Fever

January 17, 2010 at 9:08pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Yes! The dream continues! No one can deny that this Vikings offense is championship caliber, and in the last few games they have been showing how much juice they really have. Clearly, Brett Favre is playing at peak performance levels, and with him the Vikes’ offense has to be one of the most complete in the league with Adrian, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and so many others. It really makes you wonder why Brett stuck with The Pap as long as he did.

But today it was the Vikings’ defense that really shined as they completely hammered the despised Cowboys. Only the most emotionally dead NFL fan wouldn’t admit to experiencing pleasure watching pretty boy Tony Romo being chased and smacked around today by Jared Allen and Ray Edwards, and the cuts to him sitting on the sidelines sulking were priceless. Hey Tony, what hot celebrity date are you going on tonight!?

Next stop: The Saints for the championship. This will be a tough one. But even hardcore Green Bay fans I know are getting behind Minnesota. Who couldn’t support Brett and the Vikings in this magical run for the big win? As far as I am concerned, Brett Favre has been the sports story of the year (at least on a national level that is, excluding the forthcoming Winter Olympics and World Cup 2010).

Go Vikings!

Food, Etc.: Bangkok to Burma 2010

January 8, 2010 at 2:33am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Burma

December 31, 2009 at 4:39am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Another Reason to be Thankful This Year: Brett Favre

November 30, 2009 at 12:25am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Today’s performance against the Chicago Bears was yet another excellent display of the Vikings’ powerhouse scoring team: Sydney Rice, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shancoe, Bernard Berrian, and of course, Adrian Peterson, leading the charge against Chicago.

It was also nice to see the veteran Chester Taylor getting some great plays in today, as well as in last week’s bout with Seattle. I am beginning to think that this offense is one of the best out there! But as Troy Aikman and that other FOX sports commentator were repeatedly saying today, it was Brett whose leadership and presence this season has turned the Vikings into what was once a chaotic, second tier mob into one of the league’s most formidable teams. 

Don’t get me wrong here. As a lifelong Vikings supporter I was initially reticent to embrace Favre as QB, particularly given his history as an icon of the hated Green Bay Slackers. I have supported the Vikes even in the dark days of miserably bad decisions such as when they released Randy Moss. But there is no question what value Brett has brought to the team. His last second touchdown pass to Greg Lewis against the 49ers sealed the deal for me. Brett Favre is truly a sports hero for the ages. 

Next victim: Cardinals (7-3) for Sunday night’s game.

Another Great Sunday

November 22, 2009 at 8:57pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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This was another stellar performance by the Vikes (9-1) in their crushing 35-9 victory over the Seahawks. Clearly, this is one of the strongest Vikings teams in the history of the franchise: an excellent front line and secondary defense, one of the best running backs in the league with half-man/half-M1 Abrams Tank Adrian Peterson, a wide-array of young receiving talent minus the ego-tripping foolishness of Randy Moss, and of course, Brett Favre – the seasoned general of the NFL who is having one of the best years of his career!

The downside? The NFC North is a very weak conference this year, and the only real challenge they have had so far has been in the Steelers, which produced their single loss this season. Let’s face it, the Seahawks, the Green Bay Slackers, the Lions – these teams are mediocre at best (it pains me to say that as a Seahawks supporter as well). Next victim? The Bears, another very average conference rival. The Vikes won’t truly be tested again until they meet the Cardinals, Bengals, and then the Giants later on. But until then, I am loving this Vikings season.

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