The best British popular music group since the Beatles have decided to reunite.
The Spice Girls haven't really been the same since Ginger (in the middle) left in 1998 to pursue a solo career.
And, um, they look a little different since then. Going from left to right, Posh has the Bridgitte Nielsen-anorexic-boob job-whore look going now, while Sporty looks like she just got finished with a few cycles of norbalanathone from Victor Conte at BALCO. (author's note: that might be Tina Yothers, of Family Ties fame)
Ginger - the former softcore porn actress - looks like she just got off tour with Phish. And Baby is still, well, adorable. She's always been my favorite.
And Scary - aka Eddie Murphy Baby Daddy - is still scary.
But I'm looking forward to hearing some of the upcoming tracks. Aren't you?
Confronting Old Age and Mortality
On the flight back, the trusty iPod kicked off the Fu-Gee-La, followed by an Elliott Smith song.
It began the process of culmination of the JVet4 BP.
A trip to Tampa that involved three good friends, and involved the near-death of another.
A lot of the personal involvement of both situations involved alcohol...and continues to. ----- My mate JV4 is slated to get married in less than three weeks - and it's an occasion I'm very much looking forward to.
We landed in Tampa early Friday morning, waited about 25 minutes for our consigliere, and then proceeded to get the rental car.
Full disclosure: I made sure the JVBP would be as cost-effective as possible. Part of that meant an "economy" car at Alamo. The woman at the counter "strongly suggested" that we upgrade. For the price of a #4 meal at McDonalds, we did. To a Midnight Black Dodge Charger. With a hemi.
We drove fast.
And the hotel that I also Pricelined had everything set up for us.
(The Beatles' Helter Skelter is playing loudly in my headset as I type this...)
Two rooms, double beds, conjoined like siamese twins from Cha-pee-pee-land, and we were off.
Of course, when three dudes go off to a bachelor party sort of thing, the first thing that is mutually agreed upon is...
(I know you're thinking "strip club" but you're wrong...)
It was a workout.
A workout. Cardio, iso-kinetic, and weights.
Three friends (one married), celebrating the end of another's bachelor life, chose to hit the 24-hour Hyatt weight room?
Are you shampooing serious?
(and if I may toot my own trombone, I kicked my own ass out there...)
From there, we traveled to, quote possibly, the best on-the-beach bar & grill. It's a place called Frenchy's Bar & Grill.
Anyone familiar with Clearwater Beach knows it - there are three different locations - and each one is a solid, solid joint. Me...I'm a huge fan of the She-Crab Soup. And since the terrible trio had the workout on their minds, we each ordered a salad. And by salad, I mean lettuce, other veggies, and a lite beer.
But all sorts of sustinence had to be limited. Why? Because of Bern's.
Bern's Steak House.
Lots of food was to be consumed. And lots of money was to be spent. And it just wouldn't be proper to interfere with that sort of process by pub fare. ----- Bern's was the bomb. Suffice to say, we ate ourselves a lot of steak. In fact, when our server dropped off the check, he offered to give us a tour of the kitchen and the wine room.
Suffice to say, it's not a tour they give to everyone. And suffice to say, the three of us could have put a down payment on a Hyundai with our meal, but... This is why I'm hot, This is why I'm hot... ----- Onto Ybor City... Been there?
OK, then you know.
Grabbed a quick brew at the James Joyce before heading to a Coyote Ugly franchise.
I've been to Hogs & Heifers. Been to the "original" Coyote Ugly. And to quote Francis Albert Sinatra, "I find it all...so amusing."
The only thing I got out of the place was a discounted round of drinks (because I'm devastatingly handsome, two Miller Lites and a PBR cost eight bucks). They got some hungry women there, and they'll really make a mess out of you...
But the place blew. I mean, more than the movie. And that's all respect due to Francis Albert and Bob Zimmerman. ----- From there, we hit an establishment.
And by establishment, well, Google "Tampa" and then make up your mind.
And if you get really confused, type in "lap dance."
Get it? Terrific. Good talk... ----- From there, Saturday morning started off with a sickening phone call(s).
A great friend, who you loyal readers either know or have read about, had an accident.
He initially wasn't going to make it and, to be quite honest, I was a puddle.
And I drank myself into a deeper puddle thinking about it. Thankfully my two travel mates understood my issue...
The puddle kind of concluded around midnight, when my body kind of ceased to function in a forward motion. ----- The next morning, all three of us woke up with a similar notion: we need to get home. TP (our consigliere) grabbed an earlier jaunt back to the Rising Star. Myself and JVet did the same, back to the PVD.
Of course, we had a plan in the interim. To be quite honest, I wish TP had hung around. Because we had quite the scam.
Tampa 's finest hotel - the Grand Hyatt - has gorgeous, by the end of the isthmus, pool/beachfront. We went there. We drank. Quite a bit. And thanks to the nice folks in room 1431 (the Cahills), we signed out and drove to TPA.
Fast. ----- Normally, the TSA tries to stop, um, "insoxicated" sorts of folks through the checkpoint. I walked through with, um, beer breath. And after my 3 min. convo with the semi-cute metal detector girl, we cruised. In fact, I think they she was going to detain me so I could hang out. I have that affect on people.
I went to get two more beers (the keen reader will notice that not once have we mentioned food on this seventh day of rest), and we waited in line.
Since Jay and I had switched flights (as had our war-time consigliere), we were stuck in the "B" line for our connection to BWI.
But mercifully, I met Jessica. (no, no THAT Jessica. but as pretty.)
She was pretty, proportional, and was reading an ACC Football magazine.
In fact, the two of us spoke about the league, and her alma mater's chances (Florida State).
I (in more full disclosure, know nothing about ACC Football, but when you look as good as Jessica does, I'm more than willing to make up sh-ampoo about the gridiron...)
Good luck finding someone who is as pretty, wearing a pink sun dress, and wants to drink beer and talk about football. (she's carrying a Glamour magazine and a Street & Smith's ACC Preview mag.)
And, for those of you out there who read this too shampooing much, you know that, well, I leave you with that. ----- I'd again like to mention the high-quality service of our Southwest flight attendants. When I ordered our third beer of the trip, the gentlemen tried to explain: "Look, I thought I told you, you were all set."
When approaching the rear lavatories, both flight attendants - one married male and another attractive female - stopped me. They wanted to know who was paying for the attractive young ladies' Heineken.
It was me, I told them. Of course, Jay painted a wonderful picture - me, not having eaten all day, but having sculled about three glasses of wine and four tall Miller Lites without the benefit of any food - and thankfully, the SWA FA's had a sense of humor.
Hey, c'mon, full disclosure here: as per wont for my journalistic integrity - it is what it is. Jay's just jealous. This is why I'm hot. This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot. ----- And when I called for the third beer, it was the same policy. But it involved a "tip."
So the service continued. Self-service.
And it's changed my opinion of SWA.
From steerage to sweetage.
Jessica thinks FSU ends up with four losses. I say three.
But when you're THAT pretty, and reading up on the topic in late June, I'd baptize her as the expert and me as merely as the guy gawking.
I started out on Shiraz and then hit the harder stuff...But the joke was on me, there was nobody to call my bluff, I'm going back to J-tizzy-city, I do believe I've had enough.... ----- We moved our flight, and it was the right thing to do.
And, without tuning my own trumpet, I know a lot of people. And if, initially, I don't know people, I tend to try to know the ones I'd like to get to know. It's a diplomatic way of explaining that I'm a chatty sort of cunning stunt (say that three times fast).
I had the pleasure of meeting an individual who I had heard a lot about - and all the complimentary words and phrases certainly rang true.
I'll be dead honest - I'm not real good at social things. Yeah, it's kind of what I do, but I can't claim it as a gift.
So, after about nine-too-many beers, I tried to be the social butterfly type. I think it was an Edsel.
But said individual was striking. Extremely nice. And matched up to all the words. Sometimes it's nice when prose meets reality. It makes us feign-writers feel like we might actually be able to capture a reality which we're not fleet of feet enough to catch.
Someday. ----- All in all, I learned a whole hell of a lot this weekend. First off, I got the way-not-too-subtle notice that I'm old. 32 years old. And can't hang anymore.
Second of all, I love my friends. They're my mates. And when I say "I'd take a bullet" for them, I literally would. Especially since a mate whose job IS to take a bullet, took a hard shot, and is in bad shape, it's fucked me up. (sorry for the lack of "shampoo" but it's that critical).
Buzzy, I love you to death, and what happened has really messed me up - and without trying to sound self-important - I'm sure I'm not the only mate in this state.
I cried my eyes out for you and every bit of positive news is like a fresh blow of air into my lungs.
It's going to be a long road, I fear, but I'm there every step - as we all are - and if there's a tougher motherfucker on Earth, (again, sorry for the profanity. but, if you know the man, it fits...it's my only way to communique) then I'd like to meet him.
Beat this. Beat the odds. Beat everyone's projections. You always have. You always will. ----- My faithful, thanks as always for tuning in.
TLBR is my way of not going nuts. I'm on the couch, you're always listening.
For that, I can never express my true gratitude.
Just keep reading, I'll keep writing.
And as my only man DB says: "you be you, I'll be me, and we'll meet in the middle."
Godspeed Buzz. ----- Until then, I remain your humble and obedient servant,
¶ 11:44 PM1 Comments
Monday, June 11, 2007
TLBR Breaks Down the Sopranos Finale
Millions of Americans out there are probably disappointed with the series finale of the long-running HBO drama about La Cosa Nostra in the Tri-State area.
Do not count me among them. ----- For all the times the show took a right turn at Albuquerque, focusing waaaaaay to much on the inside of a shrink's office and not enough time sending Sicilian messages of sleeping with the fishes, I thought the ending itself nailed the show shut.
No movie. No DVD. No reunion.
The Sopranos was David Chase's way to expose the new American ideals of family hood. He used a Mafia family as its vehicle and its counterpoint.
How can something like a Mafia boss - whose life is so steeped in mystery, tradition, murder and intrigue - tackle issues as marital infidelity? Death of immediate family members? Depression? Therapy? Counseling? Troubled youth? Family tragedy? Confrontation with one's own mortality? Planning for the future, in terms of retirement? Committing a family member to an institution? The impending marriage of a child?
In the 86 episode series, the Sopranos covered all those real life topics, along with some knee-whacking, bid fixing, no-show Union jobs, and guns and strippers - just like the real life Mafia. ----- So...the ending...
Tony and his "family," as well as his family, had encountered the closest thing to the war of the Five Families in their histories.
Tony, Paulie, and the such "went to the mattresses." Carmela, AJ and the such went to the Jersey Shore.
Eventually, it was worked out. Phil got shot and order was restored. ----- The Mafia boss generally gets things the way he wants.
So, after the biggest crisis of his tenure as Boss of the "family," he settled back into being the boss of his other family.
After all the problems, issues, ups and peaks, downs and valleys, Tony settled down to an old family haunt with his grown children - Meadow, a 2L preparing to get married, and AJ, a shampoo-up who is beginning to finally get his feet on the ground.
Carmela - the one person most affected by all the ups and downs - was there too. The New American family, with the most uncommon of personal lives, sitting down for the most common family activity: a meal.
After it all, with all the twists and turns, it's back to the family structure. ----- Now, as for the lead-up to the final scene...
David Chase did a tremendous job of setting up the ambiguity.
Who was the guy in the corner with the USA trucker pulled low? FBI? Hitman?
Who was the guy at the soda fountain counter? Hitman? Another FBI guy?
Why did the members of the Soprano family all arrive separately?
Why did Carmela, who never talked about "business," bring it up to Tony as soon as she sat down?
Why did AJ keep looking around, as if he was waiting for something to go down?
Why did both of them touch around their sternum? Were they wearing wires? Did his family play a part in tearing down his "family?"
Why was Meadow having trouble parking her Lexus? (they have those automatic parallel parking systems now, don't they?)
Why did the guy get up and go to the bathroom? Was he ready to pull a Michael Corleone?
Was Meadow's late arrival, combined with a hit, going to ensure that Tony's legacy of unlawful and illegal activity was left to a future lawyer?
Did Meadow's late arrival throw a monkey wrench into the system, if she sat next to him and potentially blocked a clear shot?
And what was with the Journey song? ----- Well, the show was certainly a Journey. And if you're familiar with the lyrics of the song, the ending goes a little like this:
Some will win, some will lose Some were born to sing the blues Oh, the movie never ends It goes on and on and on and on ----- It never ends. It goes on and on. Families have ups and downs, but at the end of the day, still have that core where they sit down with each other over a meal and enjoy their own company. It's hard to break a strong family bond.
The Mafia boss has his ups and downs. And, with all the over-the-shoulder shots of what was going on at the restaurant, it could be seemingly innocuous. It could be a hit. It could be a sting. It could be a guy in a trucker hat having coffee. It could be an Italian guy not getting the memo who is wearing a 1980's Member's Only jacket (if you've been to Jersey, you know that's very true). But the movie - or in this case, the life - it never ends. It goes on and on.
The threat of Federal indictment. The threat of being assassinated. The threat of losing your family. It goes on and on and on...
As does the show. By not "ending it," with a bloody showdown at the restaurant, 20-30 years at Fort Dix for RICO, or getting run over by a bus, whatever...the show goes on and on. Perhaps for a movie or a DVD, but I'm not buying it.
Throughout the previous 85 episodes, Tony Soprano also rolled with the punches and came out on top.
Why should show 86 be the exception to the rule?
By the way, despite the success of the show, it was not the greatest use for "Don't Stop Believin'."
First prize there: the 2004 Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. And for second prize, click right here.
I Practice Safe TextRandom notes while the Sox grounded into another 6-4-3 inning-ending double play...
Just when you see the dark side of the human experience - death and dying young - the worst side of humanity comes out.
While Former New England Patriots DE Marquise Hill was being laid to rest in New Orleans, La., the home of his parents was robbed of about $16,000 worth of belongings.
It's not enough that Hill bought the house for his parents after being drafted by the Patriots in 2004. Or that the house was subsequently destroyed and rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. Or that the benefactor of the house - and many of the others damaged or destroyed during that horrible chapter in our national history - was being laid to rest too soon.
If they catch these folks - and they will - I think they should spend the rest of their days as tackling dummies at Patriots training camp. No pads. Rodney Harrison up first. ----- Growing up Irish, Catholic and in New England, JFK sits high atop a pedestal.
Growing up during the Providence Friars' run to the Final Four in 1987, Billy Donovan is a rung below.
But after his yes-no-yes episode with Florida Gators, Orlando Magic, and then the Florida Gators, it does take a bit of lustre off Billy the Kid.
The reactions have ranged from huzzah's that he's back in the college ranks, to ESPN's Jay Bilas calling the act "unprofessional."
I don't know where I stand. I'm biased for the reasons above, as well as the reasons that I think he's just better off in college. And that I can't stand the nba.
But it does smack of, I dunno.
It smacks of something. Probably my general dismay that a contract and a person's word is no longer of any worth.
Fast approaching 32 years of age, and I'm already old school. Crap. ----- Three days.
From the NYDN story: "The lanky hotel heiress complained of being cold, bored sleepless and hungry during her short stay at the jail where she did her short time in a 12x8 isolation cell for her own safety."
Um, it's jail. It's jail.
IT'S SHAMPOOING JAIL.
But were you surprised? It's a real cunning stunt. Or is it a real stunning, um, "beloved Aunt." Shampoo. ----- Speaking of JFK earlier...lots of people pose the hypothetical: "How would the world be different if JFK had lived?"
I say it would be different.
Tons of different. If RFK had also lived.
But that's just me. ----- Hey, look, I want baseball to clean up its act more than anyone.
But for Bud Selig to tell Juicin' Giambi to "cooperate with our probe or else" is sort of, um, blackmail.
Yeah, pretty much. Blackmail.
And a wee bit of a violation of one's right against self-incrimination. Yes, he already apologized for doing something he wouldn't specify deemed an apology (and he was sorry about that...)
And yes, he said he was wrong for doing "that stuff."
But, going after him with the threat of a suspension if he doesn't further dig himself a hole is, well, disingenous at best.
Besides, what are they going to do - suspend him for 6 months? He tore his plantar fascia. He's gonna be out for a long time.
It's kinda like how Rocket Roger came back after the 51st game of the season last year, in light of the Jason Grimsley testimony and how...oh forget it.
I'll just finish "Game of Shadows" and be on with it.
Along the same lines, why would you poke a sleeping bear? Why would you wear bacon-flavored boxers in a kennel full of pit bulls? ----- Ok, just turned on the first-ever televised MLB Draft. It warrants live blogging. Until later, I'm here now. And enjoy another clip from The State.