31 December 2007

On The 7th Day Of Christmas...

I give to thee...SEVEN TASTY SCREENGRABS!!!!!!!

In a recent post I wrote about installing a new DVD drive in my ancient PC (5 years is pretty ancient for a PC, right?) which now offers me the ability to do screengrabs from DVDs...The most exciting prospect of this is the possible resurrection of MUCKO!, which fans of Thee ButterScotch Threshold will hopefully remember with some fondness...Anyways, the following seven screengrabs are from some of my personal favorite movies and televisions shows, their DVDs within view and grabbing distance on the shelf next to HOT POOP CENTRAL...If you click on the images below, you can enjoy the full 600x900 pix, which admittedly aren't the highest quality, but may nonetheless be suitable for wallpapers, if yr so inclined...


30 Rock

The Simpsons Movie

Strangers With Candy
Blade Runner
SCTV - Count Floyd's Monster Chiller Horror Theater
Arrested Development
Hotcha! Hank

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30 December 2007

SUPER DOOM UNIT: 2007 Season Recap

While reporting extensively about our beloved WINONA ROUGH RYDERS all season, I have obviously neglected my 2nd fantasy football team, the SUPER DOOM UNIT, and for very good reason - they sucked pretty damn hard, as you can see by the COLECO LEAGUE final standings...
The SUPER DOOM UNIT finished in 11th place, tied for the worst record in the league, while amassing the second lowest team score for the season.

There are two major reasons why my team did so poorly in this league, this year.

First of all - The COLECO LEAGUE is a much more difficult league than the APFL, where I typically do very well. The COLECO LEAGUE is 12 teams, rather than just 10, and 11 of those 12 team managers were active and involved with their teams all season, whereas about half of the managers in the APFL pay any sort of attention after draft day. This makes the free agency and waiver pools much more difficult to fish from during the season - you gotta be quick, and almost psychic, to land the really precious unknowns, like Ryan Grant...With more involved managers, you also never run across teams with empty slots in their lineups, or half their players on BYES or out for the season on IR, yet still in their lineup...

The second reason the SUPER DOOM UNIT did so horribly this year is because of injuries and bad timing regarding my top three draft picks...

Drew Brees was my 3rd round pick at QB, and most people expected him to have another monster year, yardage-wise, but his first three games were absolute disasters...Which ended up negating the slightly above average performances of my 1st and 2nd round picks, Rudi Johnson and Marvin Harrison gave me in those early weeks...

Then Rudi Johnson went down with a hamstring injury in Week Three and Marvin Harrison went down with a knee injury early in Week Four, and Rudi's out for the next 6 weeks, and Marvin never comes back, and what's a poor boy to do?

I did have the Purple Jesus, Adrian Peterson, and he was pretty much the only bright spot in my lineup all season, with Drew Brees eventually becoming a dimmer light, and my kicker, Jason Hanson, actually winning a game for me...That's how brutal this season was...Here's a typical matchup which kinda shows the ragtag lineup I had to hobble together out of fading stars and B-listers...Naturally, this matchup highlights one of the two weeks PURPLE JESUS missed with a knee injury, while my opponent had Chester Taylor in his lineup since draft day, even though Taylor mostly sat on the bench up to this particular weekend...

Kenny Watson gave me two or three good weeks in place of Rudi Johnson, but certainly not enough to help me win...In general, I can't believe Rudi will be a #1 RB next year if he stays in Cincinnati...

Patrick Crayton wasn't the answer...The Green Bay Packers' rookie WR James Jones wasn't the answer either...Warrick Dunn is definitely already in his twilight years...Brandon Stokley didn't ramp up his game as much as he should have when Javon Walker went down to injury, so he wasn't an answer either...I had my man-crush Julius Jones on this team as well, but as long as he's in Dallas, he's not the answer either...

Anyways, that's about it...A wretched season that could have been much better if I had Rudi and Marvin healthy, but then again, who knows...The team and season might have been doomed from the start, when Yahoo! didn't allow the original name THEE 100% SUPER DOOM UNIT, because it had too many characters...

Hotcha! Hank

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On The 6th Day Of Christmas...

I give to thee...SIX CROCKPOT RECIPES...Because I use my crockpot at least twice per week, and even more during these cold, nesting months of winter...These are favorite crockpot recipes that I've either developed on my own, or stolen and tweaked from somewhere else, and most importantly, are pretty easy to prepare. That's the beauty of crockpot cooking - once the ingredients are thrown into the pot, usually all you have to do is stir occasionally until ready to eat.


Crock 'o' Creamed Corn

4 packages of frozen corn (2 lbs.), cooked
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
2 tbsp sugar

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours, stirring occasionally...Serve with egg noodles...


Bowling League Stew

3 (6 3/4 oz) cans chunk chicken
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cans tomatoes, drained
2 cans cream style corn (or hey, 16oz of the creamed corn made from the previous recipe)
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
10 oz ketchup
Dash of lemon juice

Brown ground beef and onion; drain well. Mix with other ingredients and cook overnight in crockpot on low heat. Stir occasionally. Serve with rice.


Hot Nuts!

1/2 lb. pecan halves
1/4 lb. shelled peanuts
1/4 lb. cashews
4 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all in a crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. Uncover and turn on low, for two hours. Transfer to a baking sheet and let cool. Makes a quick and easy snack for holiday parties and whatnot...


Really Big Weiner In A Crockpot

1 lb. of saurkraut
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 lg. potato, peeled and grated
1 apple, peeled cored and finely chopped
6 strips cooked bacon, chopped
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 ring bologna

Mix together all ingredients except ring bologna. Place in bottom of crockpot. Add ring bologna on top. Cover and cook at Medium-Low for 6 to 8 hours.


Ye Olde Country Wassail

1 qt. apple juice
1 qt. orange juice
2 c. cranberry juice
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 can pineapple nectar
1 cup sugar
3-4 cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice
Navel Orange Slices

Combine all ingredients, in listed order, to your crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours or until heated to desired temperature. Spike with vodka or possibly white rum. Reheats well for 3-5 days...


Grandma Priscilla's Porcupine Meatballs

1 c. uncooked rice
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 md. onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. cooking oil
3 (12 oz.) cans, tomato paste
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. mushroom pieces, drained

Mix rice with ground beef, pepper, salt and onion. Shape into balls the size of golf balls.

Pour cooking oil into crockpot with a lid. Heat to med-high. Add meatballs and brown on all sides.

Add tomato paste, ketchup and mushroom pieces to meatballs in crockpot. Cover the crockpot and cook slow and low for 2 hours or until the rice is tender and the meatballs are doubled. Meatballs will look like porcupines with bristles sticking out. Serve over mashed potatoes for that maximum carb load payoff...

Hotcha! Hank

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29 December 2007

On The 5th Day Of Christmas...

I give to thee...FIVE NEW BEARDS!!!!!

Hotcha! Hank

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28 December 2007

Something 4 The Weekend # 50

It's cold outside, snow is falling again, and I've been sick for the past three days with a very bad cold that's been flirting with the flu. This wouldn't bother me so much if I hadn't taken the entire week off from work as a vacation. So instead of actually using sick days for their intended purposes, I've now wasted several days of paid vacation doing nothing much except blowing my nose and aching over every last inch of my body as I lay on the couch falling in and out of consciousness while It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia spins in the DVD player for hours on end.

Yeasayer: All Hour Cymbals: "Wait For The Summer"

Normally, I prefer these winter months to the heat and humidity and enormous mosquitos of Wisconsin summers, but right now I'd surely love some sunshine. In the meantime, all I can do is wait.

Hotcha! Hank

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On The 4th Day Of Christmas...

I give to thee...FOUR KEY SONGS from the soundtrack to my screenplay, TRUE TALES OF WARLORD TODD...I've been writing and revising Warlord Todd for a bunch of years now, cuz I half-suck, and am half-perfectionist, which is a brutal combination for a creative type, innit? [see "Unsatisfied" below]

In a nutshell, the film takes place in the spring and summer of 1985, in an upper middle-class white suburban town, and concerns a dead body found on a golf course, mistaken identity, revenge, teenaged weed dealers, a biker gang, a Latino drug familia from the big city, unrequited love, teen angst, and New Coke, among others...

The songs I've envisioned being used in various scenes are obviously of the time period covering roughly 1979 to 1985, weighted heavily towards 84/85, and represent the songs and bands and styles of music the young people of that era would have been listening to on the radio or watching on MTV...Typically while working on the screenplay, I'm listening to an MP3 CDr containing approximately 200 songs from that general era, but the final working script will probably utilize 20-30 of those songs, with maybe 6 of those being absolutely crucial to the theme and plot...

Husker Du: "Divide And Conquer"

"Divide & Conquer" plays over the opening title sequence, wherein we zoom in from outer space, to the film's location in Manchester, Wisconsin, and follow a kid on a BMX bike (or possibly a skateboard, but that seems too trite) riding through the town...As the song ends, and the opening credits finish, the biker arrives at his destination, a group of other slacker kids hanging out on the edge of a bandshell in a park downtown, who proceed to talk about the events of the opening scene, which happened just prior to this opening title sequence...This song speaks directly to suburban living in that era, and makes broader statements about homogenized culture, people turning into cattle, etc, and as such makes for a very nice opening song volley...Another Husker Du song, "Turn On The News", also features prominently in a later scene...

Laurie Anderson: "O Superman! (For Massenet)"

At approximately the 10 minute mark there begins a montage which includes scenes of the protagonist Hank (hey, that's me!) doing his job as a golf course groundskeeper, finding a dead body in a sandtrap on that golf course, being questioned by the cops, the cops informing the deceased's family, the body being examined in the morgue, etc...This song plays during that montage, and if our protagonist has a theme song, I suppose this is it...

Devo: "Beautiful World"

The film's antagonist and titular character, Warlord Todd, is an unabashed DEVO fanatic, and so several Devo songs are used throughout the film...This Devo song, in particular though, fully captures the classism that underpins the reality of Manchester, WI in 1985, not to mention the heirarchy of the high school... "It's a beautiful world for you...Not me..."

The Replacements: "Unsatisfied"

In some ways, this song might represents one of the major ideas/themes running throughout this movie - the question of how or why these people, who have it pretty damn good in this life, are still not satisfied with what they have...They have money, health, possessions, love, sex, drugs, security...and yet they're empty, and feel cheated by life, the government, God. Some of these people retreat back into a very small corner, while others lash out violently at the world around them...

Hotcha! Hank

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27 December 2007

On The 3rd Day Of Christmas...

I give to thee...THREE SITCOM PITCHES for yr next power lunch with low-level execs at NBC...

Homo Heaven
Homosexuals have always been, and always will be, admitted into heaven. Homo Heaven follows two new additions to the afterlife, Larry Ludlow, a self-avowed homophobe who has trouble reconciling this hatred with the reality of homosexuals in heaven, and Trevor Reed, a homosexual who can't believe his good luck, becomes a bit smug, and generally acts as a thorn in Larry's side. Watch their hilarious interactions when the two find themselves working retail together at one of those big box electronics stores. Like Best Buy, except in heaven. Homo heaven. Oh, and did I mention God looks alot like Grace Jones?

My Backyard
Brian Schneider is your typical upper middle class white American - beautiful wife, three lovely children, a spacious home in the suburbs, two SUVs in the garage, and a glorious backyard sanctuary complete with grill, hot tub and pool. The problem is, "THEY" are always messing with Brian's life, whether it's a proposed prison in town threatening to lower everybody's property values, a proposed shopping mall on the parcel of land behind Brian's house, Neighborhood Association regulations that hinder his own house projects, his arch-nemesis who happens to be his mailman, or that new family next door that shatters the peace and quiet of Brian's backyard sanctuary, bringing all of his problems that much closer to home. Uncomfortable hilarity ensues when Brian tries fighting back.

Time Bandits
This is nothing more and nothing less than Terry Gilliam's film, Time Bandits, adapted into a 30 minute sitcom series. Each week we follow a 12 year old boy and a gang of midgets, as they travel through history stealing famous booty, either for personal gain, or to right some historical wrong. Featuring plenty of modern rock music by artists like The Shins.

Hotcha! Hank

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26 December 2007

MILF Addendum

So, it's the day after Christmas, and I'm at the grocery store, stocking up on a few staples like coffee, milk, Altoids, assorted soft cheeses, cashews - you know, the essentials - and I happen upon a family parked at the end of an aisle.

The family consisted of a totally smoking brunette MILF, an older AARP woman I assume is the MILF's mom, and four young girls I assume are the MILF's daughters. All six are standing around their overflowing cart, apparently coordinating their assault on the DAIRY department, or something, and it appears they're in no hurry to get moving. The four girls are kinda goofing off in the way any four young siblings might interact - making fun of each other, tattling on one another to mom, studying the back of a TWINKIE box, while MILF and MILF's mom are checking their shopping list.

And there I am, standing behind my own shopping cart, quietly waiting for them to make their move so that I can exit the aisle and swing around the endcap and into the next aisle, where I know I will find coconut milk and those Mexican Jesus candles. Except the MILF and her family aren't moving.

And so I wait for what I feel is a respectable amount of time before clearing my throat and saying "Excuse me."

Nobody hears me, and nothing happens. A couple other shoppers and their carts are now lining up behind me.

"Excuse me," I say just a little bit louder.


I say "excuse me" a third time, which one of the daughters hears. This daughter, probably about eight years old, grabs one of her sisters by the sleeve of the coat and pulls her aside saying "let the man through".

Now there is a path wide enough to allow me and the other shoppers to get through to the next aisle, and so I pull around and start heading down that next aisle when I hear the voice of a young girl yelling out behind me, "Maybe you should say 'excuse me' next time, instead of being rude."

I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around, and glowered at the 10ish year old blonde girl who had just said this to me. Her younger sister, the one who had heard me and had pulled this sister aside, had a look of abject terror on her face. "No, no, no" she says to her sister...

And I say to the young girl, "I said 'excuse me' three times. Your sister heard me. Maybe next time you'll pay more attention and won't jump to the wrong conclusions."

To which the girl replies, "Shut up."

I started laughing, but by this time the MILF had looked up from her shopping list to investigate the minor hubbub between her young daughters and a very large, scary-looking man.

"Is there a problem?" the MILF asks me.

"No problem, although your daughter here appears to have no respect for adults. She just told me to 'shut up' for no good reason."

"I'm sure if she said it, she had good reason."

And with that, the MILF quickly gathered up her family and started moving away from me quickly.

Anyways, here's my point to this long-winded story - MILFs may be exciting and desirable in theory, but the problem is, technically MILFs have kids.

Hotcha! Hank

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On The 2nd Day Of Christmas...

I give to thee...TWO BLONDE MILFs, cuz last year I gave you two brunette MILFS...

Jenny McCarthy... And Uma Thurman...

Hotcha! Hank

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25 December 2007

On The 1st Day Of Christmas...

I give to thee...The oldest MUCKO! I could find on my PC!

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all my friends, family and HOT POOP readers...

Hotcha! Hank

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ROUGH RYDERS: Week Sixteen

And here we are...

The last four months have been leading directly to this weekend - the APFL Championship game pitting our beloved WINONA ROUGH RYDERS against the respected, but never feared, JUST ANOTHER TEAM (managed by Thee Fractioneer, Jeff)...And as you can see (by clicking to enlarge the above scorecard), I am heartbroken to announce that our beloved ROUGH RYDERS lost this weekend, thus finishing the season in second place...Runner-up to the champions...Silver medallist...Bridesmaid...Also-ran...

In previous posts I've mentioned my 50/50 Idiot:Genius Ratioâ„¢ , and this week I'm sad to report that the idiot half of that equation reared its ugly head again, and had direct and dire consequences towards the outcome of this championship matchup...
In a nutshell, I had my usual two positions to fret about - the WR3 position, and the W/R "flex" position, which can be filled by either a WR or RB...

In that WR3 position, I had a choice between Kevin Curtis, Bernard Berrian, Patrick Crayton, Lee Evans, and Calvin Johnson...Bernard Berrian, as good as he was for me on many weekends throughout the season at that WR3 position, was definitely not a contender anymore, not since Kyle Orton became starting QB in Chicago...Patrick Crayton wasn't in the running either, mostly because he's been amazingly inconsistent all year, but also because in the Dallas games I've seen this year, the dude's got questionable catching skills, which oddly enough are supremely important to wide receivers in the NFL...Add the idea that Tony Romo is head over heals in love with Jessica Simpson's boobs and playing with a head full of boobtastic distractions right now, benching Crayton yet again wasn't a hard decision...Then there's Kevin Curtis, who has proven himself to be an all or nothing kind of player - either having a huuuuuuuuge game, or sitting quietly by while Donovan McNabb is getting chased all over the backfield by ferocious linebackers...I decided not to take that chance...Which leaves Lee Evans and Calvin Johnson...

I had Lee Evans in that WR3 slot all week. He's a UW grad, first of all, and I'd argue that if he were on just about any other team, he'd be a bonafide NFL superstar right now. The problem is, he plays for the Buffalo Bills, who have a fairly crappy O-line and a revolving door of two QBs (Losman, Edwards) neither of whom are really quite good enough to start in the NFL...Considering all of this, I benched Evans about 15 minutes before game-time on Sunday, and started Calvin Johnson instead...

Ahhh, good ol' Megatron...The guy's a rookie, so there are always some tempered expectations...Yet I drafted him in the 8th round, and had him pencilled into my WR3 slot in the pre-season, expecting him to have a good rookie season as the #2 WR in Detroit behind Roy Williams, a guy I've had on the ROUGH RYDERS in a past season, and who I would consider a major disappointment, and not as good a player as most people think...Roy Williams drops way too many balls to ever be an elite receiver in the NFL...Anyways, at the last minute this weekend, I decided to start Calvin Johnson in my WR3 slot because of some sort of weak-willed draft-day nostalgia, and the fact that Roy Williams is injured and Megatron is ostensibly the #1 WR in a very pass-happy offense...Playing at home...In a dome...Against a pretty sucktacular KC Chief defense...

So, what happens? Megatron goes off for 2 catches for 47 yards, and 2 more rushing yards for a grand total of 6.9FP...Meanwhile, Lee Evans has 3 catches for 43 yards, but he does manage to make one of those three catches count, ending with 14.3 FP on my bench...

Joining him on my bench was Kevin Curtis - 6 catches, 76 yards and a TD, plus another fumble recovery for a TD = 25.8 FP...Patrick Crayton - 7 catches, 65 yards = 15.3 FP...Bernard Berrian - 1 catch, 4 yards = 2.7FP...

Essentially, I started all the wrong WRs this weekend, as my other two, Hines Ward and Chad Johnson, both had worse games than everybody but Berrian...In the end, what can I say? Ward and Johnson are starting no matter what...

But back to that Chiefs-Lions game, and my second decision of the week, that W/R "flex" position...Now, I've already mentioned all those receivers and their performances, and any of them could have been slotted in at W/R, plus RBs Marshawn Lynch and Kevin Jones were possible starters here...

Again, all week long I had Marshawn Lynch starting at W/R...He's much more consistent than any of my receivers this year, and as a rookie, has played well enough...Plus, he was my 6th round draft pick this year, slotted to be my RB2 for the season...But after two substandard performances in the previous two weeks, I opted to bench him 15 minutes before game time in favor of the Lions' Kevin Jones...Since acquiring him off waivers in Week Seven, Jones has absolutely alternated good and bad weeks, and this week he was scheduled to have a very good game, at home, in a dome, against a crappy Chiefs defense.
So what happens? Marshawn Lynch scores a touchdown and lights it up for 19.2 FP, while Kevin Jones tears his ACL sometime early in the 2nd quarter and finishes with a completely useless 4.1 FP...Worth noting is that TJ Duckett comes off the Lions' bench and rushes for 102 yards, a score, and 20.4 FP that likely would have been KJ's...Sigh...
So, did I make the wrong call here? With KJ going down early, who can say?
Tony Romo seemed slightly less distracted by his girlfriend's tits this week, but still only managed to throw one TD against a usually porous Carolina pass defense...12.87 FP...
Hines Ward caught six passes...Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdowns...Neither of these two facts converged, leading our favorite Rough Ryder, Hines Ward, to a fairly tepid 11.9 FP...
Chad Johnson was a non-factor in a surprisingly low-scoring Bengals-Browns game...10 FP...
LaDainlian Tomlinson hit the sidelines early again this week when the Chargers' victory over the Broncos seemed assured...While a full game from LT may not have changed the outcome of the APFL Championship game, it does serve to illustrate once again how LT may have led my team in scoring for the season, but ultimately must be seen as a disappointment. He was the #1 pick in the entire draft, but was only marginally more productive than Romo (12th round pick), The Bears defense (5th round pick) and less productive than Ryan Grant once I grabbed him off Free Agency in Week Eleven. Long story short - it would have been nice if LT went off huge this week, for one last time, but instead only was allowed half a great game, and 19.4 FP from anybody else is good/great, but from The President is disappointing...
The Packers-Bears game figured somewhat heavily into our beloved Rough Ryders score this weekend...Lance Briggs was out with a hip injury, so I dropped him in favor of the Seahawks' Lofa Tatupu, who had a crappy game by his standards...3 FP, and that's all I'm gonna say...
Likewise, his teammate Marcus Trufant, who had a great game last week as a quick pickup starter, had an equally unimpressive 3 FP this week...Nuff said...
Back to the Packers - Atari Bigby was useless...2 FP against a Bears offense that relied heavily on the run...
Which meant, however, that Nick Barnett had another great, double-digit performance this week, ending with an impressive 11 FP...
Sadly, the Bears OWNED the Packers all day long, in every aspect of the game...Which was good and bad for our beloved Rough Ryders...The Bears intercepted two of Favre's passes, running one back for a TD, and blocked two Packer punts, running one back for a TD, which all helped me, as the Bears defense finished the game with 29.97 FP, which led my entire team...
Ryan Grant, my #2 RB, had the only Packer offensive highlight, tearing off a 66 yard TD run in the 2nd quarter, the Packers' only score of the game...Take that away, and his game was pretty crappy...In the end, his 17.9 FP was damn good (12.6 of 'em were on that one play though), and I'm certainly looking at him as a #2 draft pick next year...
And finally, cuz he's the kicker, and because the Packers offense sucked this Sunday, Mason Crosby had a lone PAT for a single, lousy 1 FP...Sigh...
So, what can be said on JUST ANOTHER TEAM's side of the matchup? Nothing much sticks out...
Anquan Boldin went HUUUUUGE for 41.2 FP on a weekend when he was supposedly still limping back from injury, and was expected to see limited action...This single performance might certainly be pointed at as the APFL Championship game-changer...Fuckin' Anquan...
Aaron Stecker has become an effective starter in New Orleans until Reggie Bush comes back, and likewise, Just Another Team Jeff (who has Bush on his team) wisely plugged him into his own lineup the past couple of weeks with great results...Like Bush, Stecker didn't have an outstanding game by any measure, but did plow ahead for two short yardage TDs early in the game, and finished with an excellent 24.4 FP...Once again, a Saint player on Just Another Team has mortally wounded me...To add insult to injury, I found myself using Aaron Stecker a couple of years ago when Deuce McCallister went down to injury, but Stecker never did much of anything that year, and I had to abandon him after 2-3 subpar performances on his part directly led to a couple of Rough Ryder losses...
Otherwise, nobody on Just Another Team had particularly outstanding performances, and Jeff himself made a couple of bad management decisions. Unfortunately for me, his mistakes weren't as costly in the end...
Which brings us to the end of this post, and the 2007 Winona Rough Ryders season. I may do another quick season recap in the near future, but for now, I am pleased to announce that:
Our beloved Winona Rough Ryders finished the 2007 APFL season with a record of 12-4, and after this sad, but not wholly unexpected, loss to JUST ANOTHER TEAM in the APFL Championship, I am excited and pleased to announce that OUR BELOVED WINONA ROUGH RYDERS finished 2nd in the APFL.
Congratulations to Thee Fractioneer (Jeff), and Just Another Team, this year's APFL Champions.
See ya in 2008!
Hotcha! Hank

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22 December 2007

Laminated Lemon

The CD burner on my PC crapped out last week, so I took the big hit on my checking account, and dropped a serious $35 on a new DVD drive, courtesy of the fine folks at Best Buy and LG...

After the tortuous 9 minutes spent swapping 'em out, and another 4 hours installing some Cyberlink software, I was ready to watch all my favorite DVDs on my PC...
That's super.
But what's even more super is the fact that I can now do screen grabs from all my favorite DVDs...And due to nothing more than mere proximity, the first DVD I popped in was Season One of 30 Rock, featuring featuring Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, who happens to be firmly entrenched at #2 on my Laminated List.
This also opens up the possibility of resurrecting MUCKO!
Hotcha! Hank

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21 December 2007

Something 4 The Weekend # 49

I hate the way the word "fierce" got co-opted a couple of years ago by celebrities, homosexuals, celebrity homosexuals, talkshow hosts, the fashion industry and those young hipster doofuses who hang out at Nick's Diner...Pretty soon, any given pair of Manolo pumps were fierce, and suddenly Reese Witherspoon was fierce, and I'm sorry, but I think the word "fierce" ought to be limited to usage in things like Wu-Tang Clan lyrics, Szechuan menus, or Kathy Acker novels.

But then there's Carla Bozulich. Despite the paragraph I just wrote, I can't help but say that Carla Bozulich is fierce, and this particular song, "Dragon Lady", is a pretty damn fierce song, but then a song called "Dragon Lady" has to be, doesn't it?

Originally recorded in 1993 in Los Angeles, "Dragon Lady" displays all of the loud/soft dynamics popularized by The Pixies and championed by Nirvana, and is ultimately just as intense and affecting as anything either of those other bands ever did...To my ears, however, the music itself, the symphony of feedback and dissonant harmonies, reminds me of something Sonic Youth would have been doing at about that same time...

Anyways, from the first time I heard "Dragon Lady", I was utterly hooked...It immediately became one of those PUMP IT UP ANTHEMS of mine, those songs I play to get psyched for writing, or Greco-Roman wrestling, or sexing...

Speaking of...When I first heard "Dragon Lady" I also started thinking maybe my girlfriend at that time was a dragon lady herself...She wasn't Asian, but she certainly was cunningly seductive...And/or seductively cunning...But that's a different post...Maybe even a different blog.

Yeah, yeah!

Hotcha! Hank

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20 December 2007

Cody Has A Goldfish That Was Born In California

In a previous post I pointed out that the reading level of HOT POOP is ELEMENTARY, my dear babycakes, according to this quick readability test I found at criticsrant, and I'm not going to dispute their conclusion, mostly because I can't, and who cares?
Besides, I will be arbitrarily dumping big random words into various posts from now on, slowly increasing the readability level of HOT POOP until this blog becomes a shining beacon of genius and it's accompanying pretensions.
Anyways, I did something tonight that I've never done before - I watched an episode of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader. I did so because of that damn readability test, but mostly I watched AYSTA5G because of the WGA strike and the lack of 30 Rock and The Office tonight.
Carassius auratus!!!!!
Long story short, I AM smarter than a 5th grader. I'm probably not smarter than all 5th graders, but I am smarter than the fifth graders on tonight's episode, and I'm smarter than the 22 year old UCLA Surfing Professor (seriously) who took the test tonight. He balked at the question "Which US President signed this document in 1823 proclaiming that European powers would no longer be allowed to colonize in the Americas?"
I admit that I had to think about it a bit, but I did write down the correct answer on my little pink Post-It, and if I had been on the show, I would have won $100,000, and the possibility of continuing and winning the full $1,000,000.
But I'm not terribly telegenic, and I think if I met Jeff Foxworthy, I might punch him in the throat because I'm smarter than him, too.
Anyways, the questions on this show are challenging enough, if only because they involve the kind of knowledge and thought processes that I don't believe alot of adults utilize much as they get older. Things such as doing 3 digit, multiple-operation math equations in one's head, or knowing in which century William Shakespeare was born. For the record, I have serious doubts that the typical 5th grader knows when the bard was born, and none of the kids on the show knew the name of that presidential document of 1823.
I have to admit, that when they first announced the premier of this show last summer, I found it rather sad, and even a bit offensive. Is this what we've come to? Testing adults to find out if they're smarter than 5th graders? Has our educational system failed this badly?
And then I remembered the very sub-title of this blog, an old nugget from Frank Zappa...
"Information is not knowledge."
Mastering 3rd Grade Geography is not the same as navigating one's way out of a baaad situation in East St. Louis. Passing 4th grade health won't fend off chlamydia in the freshman dorms, or help you find a decent vein when yr pumping junk.
Of course, if you flip-flop all this, it still rings true.
Knowing where to score semi-automatic weapons in downtown Madison won't help me win on Jeopardy!, not to mention landing that marketing job at Oscar Mayer.
(Mmmmm, Hot Poop Filler...)
In the end, maybe an ELEMENTARY reading level is preferable for a such a pedestrian blog such as this. After all, newspapers typically write to about a 7th grade readability level, because clear, concise writing is easier for more people to understand, and isn't that what THIS is all about? Electronic populism?
Hotcha! Hank

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18 December 2007

ROUGH RYDERS: Week Fifteen

What an absolutely fucked up fantasy football weekend this was...In fact, it was perhaps the weirdest, wildest, most frustrating and most ecstatic fantasy football weekend I've ever been a part of...

First of all, our beloved Winona Rough Ryders defeated the scary good Vocal Removers (managed by Wino) by a fairly convincing 23 FP margin, and even though Yahoo! had my team slightly favored going into this weekend's semi-final matchup, it was hard to believe we would or could somehow triumph. Look at his roster - how do you compete against all those studs?

Well, the thing is, Wino's team's biggest strength (half of his starters are from two powerful offensive teams - the Patriots and Browns), is also it's biggest weakness, and eventually, Wino was bound to suffer through a weekend such as this, and I just happened to be the lucky one who faced him this particular weekend.

It was quite literally, a perfect storm for me, as heavy snow and winds visited both Cleveland and New England on Sunday, making those two powerful offenses much more vulnerable, much more beatable. The Buffalo-Cleveland game, in particular, was a mess. The heavy snow falling throughout most of the game rendered an 8-0 victory for the Browns in which there were no touchdowns scored. For his part, Jamal Lewis ran quite well for the Browns (and the Vocal Removers), but other than his solid performance, nearly everybody else was a bust by their usual standards.

This storm directly affected our beloved Rough Ryders as well, as two of my starters play for the Bills - WR Lee Evans and RB Marshawn Lynch. Since the weather didn't allow for any sort of passing attack, Evans in particular had a crappy game. Of course, the Bills' offense is so inconsistent that a crappy Evans outing might very well have happened in the best of weather, but I'm not here to take easy shots at Evans or Buffalo's woeful QB and O-line problems. Marshawn Lynch, on the other hand, had just about the most typical Marshawn Lynch game imaginable - 82 rushing yards and no touchdowns - so in retrospect, the snow in Cleveland didn't matter to my team as much as the Vocal Removers.

And then there was the snowtorm in New England, which from a fantasy perspective, didn't effect any of my players since I don't have any Patriots, and I don't think I've ever had a Jet player on any of my fantasy teams over the years...But the Vocal Removers were hugely affected by this storm. I would estimate that his three Patriots (Brady, Moss and Welker) typically contribute 60-80 FP to his team's score every week. This week, those three players were good for approximately 19 FP. Shit, Randy Moss has scored that many fantasy points by himself, in half a game. On more than one occasion.

So, you can see how loading a fantasy team with players from a particular team or two can really backfire, and sometimes at the worst possibly time...Like the semi-finals of the league playoffs. Let's be honest here - the way this season has played out, next week's APFL Championship game ought to be between the Vocal Removers and Just Another Team.

But here we are...

This weekend's matchup started with Vocal Remover's W/R Brandon Marshall in the Denver-Houston game on Thursday night (please, NFL, abandon these Thursday and Saturday games), and Marshall had a really good first half, amassing 21.7 FP, while being shut down (thankfully) in the second half...

So, our beloved Rough Ryders were already in a sizable hole from the git-go...

On Saturday, good ol' Chad Johnson was the first to play for the Rough Ryders, and he had a solid, if unspectacular day, and it got me nervous because he's supposed to be one of my studs, and he hasn't been studly often enough this year...13.8 FP from my team's #1 WR just ain't gonna get it done...

So, the early games arrive on Sunday, and I'm watching all those Browns and Patriots players struggling, and I'm sorta thinking at that point that I might really have a chance at squeaking out a victory.

And of course, at noon on Sunday, I'm watching the Green Bay Packers taking on the battered and bruised St. Louis Rams inside their DOME, and Ryan Grant starts off strong with an early TD run, but by the end of the game, he really hadn't done a whole lot...His 11 FP are half of his average this year.

But then there's Mason Crosby. He has become the defacto #1 kicker in the NFL this year, his rookie season, and this week, from a fantasy perspective, he had the best game of his young career, kicking three long field goals (among others) on his way to a total of 19 FP...Crosby gives me double digit scores almost every week, but 19 FP from a kicker is downright sick...If ever I needed a huge game from my kicker, it was this weekend.

And then there's the Packers' safety, Atari Bigby. I like Atari. He's a hardnosed tackler who can't cover very well, which is actually good in terms of fantasy football. Whenever he blows his coverage, or just doesn't cover a receiver well enough, he ends up having to tackle the player to make up for his own mistake. In fantasy football, I believe it's best to use IDPs (independent defensive players) who are tackling machines, and not turnover specialists...Atari Bigby will probably never be a great cover man or interception specialist (although he did have two INTs this weekend), but he will always get his handful of tackles, and that consistency is a godsend in the world of fantasy football.

So, Atari Bigby has the best game of his young career as well, ending up with 11 FP, and anytime a defensive player hits double digits, it's been a damn fine day. But then there's wily old Wino and his Vocal Removers, throwing a wrench into this DB2 matchup...Wino went out a day or two before the game and picked up the Rams' DB, Oshiomoghe Atogwe, and dammit if Atogwe didn't go out and have an almost identical game as Bigby. In fact, after both of Bigby's interceptions, Atogwe went out and got an INT of his own on the very next series of downs...It was so heartbreaking in its way, that all I could do was laugh...There I was thinking Bigby would handily win his direct matchup with Vocal Removers' Atogwe, and in the end Atogwe winds up with one more tackle than Bigby for one more FP...Weird, wild stuff, as Carson used to say...

And then there's Nick Barnett. Barnett amassed 17 FP this weekend, almost all of 'em tackles, and that's just outright heroic. I'm watching that Packers-Rams game, and Barnett's almost got me in tears, he's playing with such force and dominance. You see, linebacker has always always always been my favorite position in football, as they are generally the fiercest, hardest hitting players out on the field, and when a linebacker has the kind of overwhelming performance as Barnett had this Sunday, it reminds me again why I love the sport so much. And even when he's not dominating on the field, he is probably the single biggest reason why the Packers defense has established itself as one of the finest in the NFL...Nick Barnett is the spiritual leader of the defense, the direct counterpart to Brett Favre on offense, and he has inspired and elevated the play of everyone around him...

Oh yeah and by the way, Favre connected with Donald Driver on a 7 yard quick slant early in the 4th quarter of the game to pass Dan Marino as the career passing yardage leader in NFL history. Congrats to #4, now let's get back to the Super Bowl one more time...

Anyways, the point I'm finally trying to make is that the bottom half of my line-up scored more points than the top half of my line-up, and that almost never happens, and it's perhaps the real reason why our beloved Rough Ryders won this weekend. In fact, I'll go as far as saying that Nick Barnett is solely responsible for advancing us to the APFL Championship next weekend. That's just how HUGE and HEROIC his performance was this weekend.

As far as quote of the week...Who fucking knows, there's so many to choose from...The Packers-Rams game on FOX featured Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston in the booth, and Tony Siragusa roaming the sidelines, and these three nutbags were out of their minds on several occasions...It all started with Kenny Albert's "nuggets" which are just little fun facts and trivia that he unloads from time to time during games, and of course, before long double entendre jokes about "Kenny's nuggets" started being thrown around with abandon...And they, just, wouldn't, let, it, die...I will let it die, and share two non-nugget quips...

"Nick Barnett likes to backdoor...(loooooooooooooooong pause)...on those plays alot."
-Daryl Johnstone commenting on Barnett's propensity for weak-side blitzing

"Sorry, he's the other guy. Lotta guys on the field out there."
-Tony Siragusa, one of the most useless football commentators alive, after identifying the wrong player THREE TIMES in one comment

Anyways, that's more than enough pointless rambling for one fantasy football post. Pointless rambling that doesn't really do justice to all the fantastic and unexpected action of this weekend...

And so, once again, I am stoked to announce that our beloved Winona Rough Ryders are now 12-3, and will be playing for the APFL crown next weekend against the daunting Just Another Team...Will miracles happen again? Stay tuned.

Hotcha! Hank

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17 December 2007

If This Ain't A Sideways Maneuver (Don't Know What Is)

Since I mentioned Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators in the previous post, it only seems right and natural to post a video. This is a song called "If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What Is)", and I'd say it's fair representation of the group's soulful grooves. They're not quite as gritty and lowdown as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, but both groups seem to be getting lumped together by all the critics and assorted bloggers. I suppose we're all more than a bit hungry for this kind of real soul music, and maybe we're trying to suggest that there's some sort of movement afoot.

Hotcha! Hank

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Dap-Kings Maneuver

This is the official music video for the title track off Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' 2007, 100 Days, 100 Nights, and it's as wonderfully old skool and gritty as their music. Man, what a great Soul/R'nB album, definitely one of my favorite longplayers of the year...

Meanwhile, Amy Winehouse is apparently on suicide watch and faithfully maintaining her various addictions for the sake of the paparazzi and all those in the celebrity trainwreck industry who profit from famous people who dare have the same sort of problems you, me and my cousin Chico have...

Until Amy gets it together enough to record a new album, or until the next Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators' joint, Sharon Jones and the band will be more than enough.

Hotcha! Hank

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14 December 2007

Friday Night Filler

In my previous post, I called myself a "precious fuck" because I sometimes like to use big words to feel good about myself.

I need those validations from time to time because of shit like the above.

Then again, when I've got a blog with the word "poop" in the title, maybe this is the best I can expect.

Hines Ward!

Hotcha! Hank

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Well, it's been 4 months since my last update on Kevin Spacey's plastic surgery disaster, and more than a year since the heralded American actor originally had the work done, so I thought now would be a good time to check in on Mr. Spacey, and see how things are going...

In a word, not very fucking well at all.

Spacey and his doctors held a small, impromptu press conference from his hospital room in Costa Rica, where they revealed that the actor's skull is now rejecting the various nips and tucks and whatnot. More specifically, his zygomatic bones are rejecting a pair of silicone implants, which I probably should have just written as "cheek bones" to begin with, but you know, sometimes I can be a precious fuck who likes to validate himself by using big words grabbed from the fluttering remnants of my state school education...

But don't we all?

Anyways, his cheek bones are rejecting the cheek implants. And his jawbone is rejecting the pig bone chin graft. As you can see in the photograph, all these rejections have created a very noticeable mask-like effect, and supposedly these recent developments are causing major concerns at Warner Brothers regarding the upcoming sequel to Superman Returns, wherein Spacey plays Lex Luthor. According to a source at Warner, if Spacey's condition doesn't radically improve by spring, Nicolas Cage is primed to step into the role.
I've always liked Kevin Spacey, and I really do hope things turn around for him soon.
I mean, Nic Cage as Luthor? What kind of world are we living in?
Hotcha! Hank

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Something 4 The Weekend # 48



This is Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and this is the real soul meal, babycakes...This R'n'B done right...Crunchy chicken scratch guitars doing all sorts of weird, funky stuff all over the place, have mercy...
And I may be wrong, but ain't that a baritone sax growling and belching over there to the right? It just sounds too lowdown to be a tenor, right?
And dig them horns, pleading and bleating back there, a chorus of "tell it sister" and "give it to your main man, honey!"
All and all, a band more downright mean than a gang of Ike Turners, but then ya got Ms. Sharon Jones herself, who's got more brass than Tina and two of the three Ikettes, taking total control of the situation.
"Let all the other motherfuckers knock and knock and knock, cuz right now, it's just me and you."
A little something for the weekend...
Hotcha! Hank

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13 December 2007

The 50 Smartest People In Hollywood

The December 7, 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly ran a cover story entitled The 50 Smartest People In Hollywood, and as you can surely guess, the story was a list of the 50 smartest people in Hollywood, including short blurbs explaining the rationale for each person on the list...Which can be found here:

The 50 Smartest People In Hollywood

As the subtitle of the story puts it, "It's not about power anymore", which is a reference to the annual Power List that the magazine used to do, but has obviously abandoned this year...

The main point I'd like to make about this banal topic is that EW made a horribly misguided mistake by switching from Power to Smarts.

You see, we can easily understand "power", and how it operates in Tinseltown. We can understand box office receipts and Neilson Ratings, and how fiscal success helps one accumulate power in the industry, whether one is the star of these films and TV shows, or the writers, directors, producers and execs...We can also understand how winning awards and generally being well-liked and famous fit into this equation of "power"...

Consider the famous line uttered by Tony Montana in Scarface:

"In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the women."

I believe this statement to be true. About human nature, about this country, and about Hollywood.

But what about intelligence? How does Entertainment Weekly, or me and you and everybody we know quantify the intelligence of various people in Hollywood, and then rank them based upon that intelligence?

I have no doubt that most, if not all, of the people on EW's list are smart in some way, and of course there is always somebody smarter, and dumber, than me and you and everybody we know, even in LaLaLand...

But how do we quantify all that brain power in relation to the entertainment industry? What makes 'em so smart? Like I mentioned, EW gives their reasons for the people on the list, but this is exactly where the entire premise falls apart, and really, makes EW look a bit foolish, because their reasoning is often shallow and suspect. Vague and subjective, and that's no way to quantify and rank intelligence...Otherwise, their other popular rationale is box office success, which is also no way to quantify and rank intelligence.

Judd Apatow is #1 on the list. If this list had come out a year ago, I believe he would have still been on the list, but I doubt he would have cracked the top 10. So, what was EW's rationale for putting Apatow at #1?

"This year, he didn't just bring the funny; he changed the whole funny business. On the heels of The 40 Year-Old Virgin, he hit the zeitgeist with two raunchy-yet-resonant laughfests - Knocked Up and Superbad - that mopped up a combined $270 million."

Now, I can understand how Apatow's track record with those three films makes him a rather powerful creative type in Hollywood, and how those three successes gives him more and more leverage to make the films he wants the way he wants, employing the actors he wants. Right now, most actors and producers and studio execs would die or kill to work with Apatow. That's power, and it's understandable.

But it remains unclear, to me, how his recent successes with these three films makes him the smartest person in Hollywood. According to EW, "he has so cemented his place as the lord of the LOL hits that studio execs now speak of making comedy in a 'post-Judd world.' If that's not smart, we don't know what is." I don't know about you, but that sentence makes perfect sense if you substitute "power" for "smart". As it is, it's absolutely nonsensical.

Box office success and intelligence simply do not correllate. Transformers made $318 million in the US alone this year, and if you've seen that film, I think you'd agree that "intelligent" is not a word anyone would use to describe it. The people behind the CGI and other technical aspects are undoubtedly brainiacs, but of course, they don't make the film smart or stupid, and more importantly, they don't help sell magazines.

But what about Apatow's three comedies in question? Sure, they're funny, but are they actually smart? All three rely quite heavily on profanity, sexually explicit dialogue, drug humor and general dysfunction, none of which are new comedy fodder. EW mentions that Apatow's films have heart in addition to the sophomoric raunch, which they do, but again, I'm not exactly sure how this mix of humor and heart is groundbreaking or necessarily smart. There are tons of comedies out there that adeptly mix raunch and sentiment. Hell, for all of Porky's explicitness and outright dumbness, it had it's fair share of heart. Tell me that you didn't feel for poor Pee Wee and all his sexual travails...

My point is, while Apatow is undoubtedly a smart fellow, and his films aren't nearly as dumb as something like Porky's, they're still not that smart. I think it would be better to say he's the luckiest person in Hollywood. EW uses the word "resonant" to describe his three films (we should note that he didn't write or direct Superbad), and that idea of resonance probably comes closest to quantifying Apatow's intelligence, if anything, but again, I'm not sure if being able to tap into the zeitgeist necessarily makes one smart. Porky's grossed $108 million in 1982, which is nearly as profitable (maybe better if adjusted for inflation) as any of Apatow's three films. Do you think anyone in 1982 believed writer and director Bob Clark had captured the zeitgeist of that era? Well, yeah, he did, because sex and drugs (and rock'n'roll) is the always the zeitgeist of every era, especially for these film's demographics. Again, box office success and intelligence don't correlate, but that seems to be what EW is mostly doing with Apatow, and most of the players on their list.

But enough about Apatow. What about some of the other Hollywood players on EW's smart list?

Who and why? Who and why?

Will Smith is #5. Why? "He has revitalized and re-defined old-fashioned movie stardom in an era when movie stardom has become small and suspect." Again, I'm not even sure I know what that means or what it has to do with being smart, but if I pretend that I do, I would namedrop Tom Hanks, who seems to me to be an "old-fashioned movie star" who is perhaps more bankable than Will Smith, and certainly more lauded as an actor. Of course, I have to remind myself that Will Smith has a film coming out at Christmas, I AmLegend, which is a Warner Brothers film, and of course, Time-Warner owns Entertainment Weekly. Hey, ya think that's why they put Will Smith on the cover, and gave him another full-page picture inside? All Apatow got was an unflattering illustration.

Tom Hanks didn't make the list.

Ben Stiller is #20. Stiller made the list because "He cracked the code for making comedy bankable overseas." Well, Stiller is mostly just an actor these days. His last writing and directing credit was Zoolander in 2001, and as a producer he's been responsible in recent years for films such as Blades Of Glory, Tenacious D: Pick of Destiny, Dodgeball, and Starsky & Hutch...We can argue about the relative intelligence of these comedies, but it will never answer the question of how HE, Ben Stiller, "cracked the code for making comedy bankable overseas." What do you think Jenny and the guys at Dreamworks marketing department might say about all this? What if Stiller's overseas success is merely because there's something adorable about his face, or the underdog qualities of many of his characters in recent years? But again, I don't see how overseas box office bankability equates to "smart".

Tim Palen is #35. He's Co-President of Film Marketing at Lionsgate. EW says he's smart because "He made torture porn look cool." Seriously.

Diablo Cody is #38. She's a screenwriter. Her first finished, produced script is for Juno, which went into limited release in the US just last week. According to EW, Cody is the 38th smartest person in Hollywood because "Not since John Hughes has anyone mined the adolescent soul with such clarity and compassion." Now, I'm not the biggest fan of John Hughes, but I was the target demographic for his biggest and best films (National Lampoon's Vacation, Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off), and my point is, John Hughes has written 38 films in his career, many of them quite good and very successful, and so far Diablo Cody has written one, and as glowing as the reviews have been, maybe we ought to hold off comparing her to Hughes, at least until after her next screenplay gets made. By Warner Brothers, by the way. You know, owners of EW Magazine?

Are you still with me? Have I rambled far too much for such a banal topic such as this?

Yeah, I think I have, but I hope I've made some sort of point.

I also think this post has been pretty cool torture porn in it's own right.


Hotcha! Hank

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12 December 2007

ROUGH RYDERS: Week Fourteen

Week Fourteen is actually the first round of the APFL playoffs, wherein our beloved Winona Rough Ryders took on Team Excelsior for the second straight week and third time this season, and I am happy to report that we won once again, if not so handily as last week.

Not so handily because of my horrible management choices at the WR position. Long story short, the four WR in my starting lineup combined for 30.1 FP. On the other hand, the three remaining WR on my bench combined for 54.1 FP. Essentially, I started all the wrong receivers this week, for which I'm willing to take most of the blame, but not all. Some blame must be doled out to the so-called "experts" at Yahoo!, who gave me all sorts of bad advice regarding my matchup management. In the end, I took their advice, and for that I'm sorry, and like I said, mostly to blame.

Otherwise, the only other bad performance on my team was Chicago's team defense, who didn't really play bad, just didn't really do anything worthwhile. One sack, one fumble recovery, and very little return yardage from Devin Hester.

But in spite of these bad decisions and bad performances, our beloved Rough Ryders were still able to handily beat Team Excelsior. Of course, these things tend to happen when his QB and #1 RB are both inactive due to injuries. Had Team Excelsior played healthy players in those two positions, I may be writing about a loss this weekend.

Anyways, I'm going to cut this recap short, as we've gotten another 10+ inches of snow in the past week, and quite frankly, I'm sore from shoveling, and a bit under the weather...So at the moment I'm stoned on Nyquil and just feel like laying on the couch, wrapped in blankets, and watching TV...

Next weekend is the semi-finals in the APFL playoffs, and our beloved Rough Ryders are facing the Vocal Removers, a team full of Patriots and other assorted high scoring studs. In our only meeting during the regular season, the Vocal Removers beat us by about nine points, and right now, Yahoo! is predicting a 2 point loss for us, so it should be a great, nailbiting matchup that could go either way, depending upon how well I manage my team...I fear one wrong decision might spell doom. We shall see.

Hotcha! Hank

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08 December 2007

Full-Circle Sideways Maneuver

I might as well bring this round of Milwaukee music videos full-circle, with another one from Die Kreuzen, the band who started today's burst of SIDEWAYS MANEUVERS...

This time, the video has actual footage of the band, rather than LedZep...LOL...

Appropriately enough, this video is for a song called "Gone Away"...

Hotcha! Hank

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Sideways Daddy Sideways Maneuver

I couldn't escape all this nostalgia for the Milwaukee music scene of the 1980's without acknowledging the Violent Femmes...Sure, the other bands I've posted about (Sacred Order, Crusties, Die Kreuzen) were harder varieties of Punk music, but in their way, the Femmes may have been more subversive than any of 'em...Plus, they were much more musical, and much more sophisticated lyrically...

There was never any mistake that Gordon Gano's religious upbringing brought a certain kind of fervor to the Violent Femmes sound and performance, and I remember their early shows often taking the flavor of a gospel revival, with the trio leading intense chants of "Fuck Harold Breier! Fuck Mayor Maier!", which was the Milwaukee equivalent of chanting "Fuck Tha Police!" cuz Harold Breier was the city's Chief Of Police and Henry Maier was the city's mayor, and here's the inside scoop on that...

Breier had been Police Chief from 1964 to 1984, and Maier had been Mayor from 1960 to 1988, and over the years, Breier proved to be a rather gruff, hardnosed man leading a department rife with racism and corruption...I'm not sure Breier himself was corrupt, but he certainly tended to look the other way when his officers did bad, illegal shit...

Like beating the crap out of, and sexually assaulting, Wendy O Williams of The Plasmatics, after a show in the city...There are supposedly pictures of a cop fingering Ms. Williams while she is pinned to the ground by several other cops, though I have never seen these pictures...However, there really are mugshots of a bloodied and bruised Williams, who was ultimately charged with Obscene Conduct for her dress and lewd stage acts, and Battery of a Police Officer for the subsequent and notorious arrest...

Anyways, this happened in 1981, the same year as Milwaukee cops were accused of beating the crap out of drunken motorcyclist James Schoemperlen and taking his pants, and it was probably these two events, happening so close together, that brought two decades of Breier's brutal department and Maier's blind eye to a boil in Milwaukee...

So it was no surprise that some Milwaukee bands were getting themselves and the fans, the citizens of the city, all riled up...Well, the Violent Femmes were, anyways...Couch Flambeau had a song called "Mayor Maier", but it was about getting a car plowed under by snow, and going to City Hall to bitch about it, so it might not have been exactly the same, except Couch Flambeau were so weird and subversive that maybe it really was the snarky equivalent of "Fuck Tha Police!" or "Fuck Harold Breier! Fuck Mayor Maier!"

Anyways...I might as well use this post as an excuse to do some name-dropping, because, you see, I went through the English program at UW-Milwaukee with Peter Balestrieri, who was a member of The Horns Of Dilemma, who were the horn section that the Femmes oftentimes employed for live performances, and who appeared prominently on their second album, Hallowed Ground...Through him, I met the Femmes on a couple of occasions, and in a roundabout way, he led me to a "movie night" that included Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, another Milwaukee (well, Shorewood) native...

The movie? "Raising Arizona"...Jerry Harrison? Nice guy. Wore a yellow "pimp suit".

Aaaaaanyways...All of this tangential bullshit aside, what I want to finally say is that the ladies loved The Violent Femmes. This was crucial.

Hotcha! Hank

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Terminal Sideways Bender Maneuver

So, continuing my shallow dive into the hardcore music scene of Milwaukee circa the mid-'80's, here's a punk band outta Cream City called Sacred Order, doing a song called "Terminal Bender" on an L.A. cable access show called Media Blitz, circa 1985...

To my way of thinking, Sacred Order had the wrong name for their sound and image, as they were kinda pretty, a bit glam, and to me were cut from the same cloth as bands like the Dead Boys, New York Dolls, and Generation X...I seem to remember Sacred Order being quite popular with the girls, but to me a band called Sacred Order ought to be popular with creepy black metal dudes, you know?


Hotcha! Hank

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Crusties Revenge Maneuver

So, this is The Crusties (they may have just called themselves Crusties, I don't remember), a hardcore punk band that originally hit the Milwaukee scene around 1983...Except, this particular performance is from 2004 at Mad Planet in Milwaukee, and the song, "Rats Revenge" is a fairly new one as well...

The Crusties sounded mostly like a west coast punk band to me, and though they were courted by Touch'n'Go outta Detroit, they probably would have sounded more at home on SST...The trumpet that singer Tim Cole sometimes used was a fairly fresh approach to the genre, and the chainsaw he would whip out onstage was fairly unique as well, I suppose...

Despite those label courtships, The Crusties never really escaped Wisconsin, though they were well-loved and well-respected by the underground community here at home. By the end of the decade, their hardcore dream was deferred. Tim Cole moved to Texas, but interestingly enough, interest in the band never completely died, some of their old recordings were re-released in the mid-90's, and in this past decade, the band has re-united to play shows and even release a new CD of new songs called Rats Revenge...

Hotcha! Hank

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Led Kreuzen Maneuver

This is a video mash-up straight from 1988, courtesy of some person calling themselves Cheapo Flims...S/he has a bunch of golden Die Kreuzen videos at YouTube, as well as some Sacred Order and even a Crusties video, so don't be surprised if they pop up here in the next few minutes/posts...Thanks, CheapoFlims!

Anyways, the song is "Earthquakes" by Die Kreuzen, off their 1988 Century Days album, and the footage is obviously Led Zeppelin...Enjoy!

Hotcha! Hank

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My 11 Favorite Milwaukee Bands Of The 1980's

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11: The Frogs
It's entirely possible that The Frogs were merely a myth in Milwaukee in the 1980's...Stories of them existed on "the streets", as I recall, but it wasn't until the 1990's and some inconceivable link to the Grunge movement that I ever saw 'em live or heard their recordings...In fact, my sole experience with The Frogs was their opening slot on Pearl Jam's show at the Marcus Ampitheater in the summer of 1995...By that time The Frogs were notorious on a national scale for their racist, homophobic lyrics and propensity for wearing huge angel wings on stage...Anyways, it was a fun and interesting and quite memorable performance that evening - Eddie Vedder joined 'em for a couple of songs, and later dedicated one of Pearl Jam's tunes to 'em...

10: E*I*E*I*O
EIEIO was probably the most traditional band that I liked back then, and they really were pretty fucking traditional with their roots rock and rockabilly stylings...Add a dash of punk verve, some jangle, and basically what ya get is Milwaukee's version of REM crossed with The Blasters...A very tight band, as I recall, and I probably saw them live about 8 times, most of them quite by accident, like walking into the UWM union one day and finding the band setting up their gear, or walking bored and aimless around the eastside, and finally ducking into Vitucci's and finding 'em on the bill...

09: Bad Boy
I took an easy poke at Bad Boy in a previous post, but the truth is, I saw Bad boy play live about as often as any other "cooler" band in the local scene back then...It's easiest to call them a Hair Metal band, though saying they were Power Pop isn't out of the question...In fact, guitarist Xeno had once upon a time played in Cheap Trick, and Bad Boy did, in fact, have alot in common with that band...Let's not forget, I lost my virginity to Cheap Trick's Heaven Tonight album, so my feelings run deep with this kinda stuff, deeper than an aging hipster like myself might care to admit...Anyways, Bad Boy had teased hair, satin pants, and plenty of songs about champagne, cocaine, and sex on yachts...My cousin Chico once left my copy of Bad Boy's Private Party LP on the hood of his car...He did replace the LP eventually, but I'm still waiting on those two Nightranger albums he wrecked as well...A decade later he did a stint in the state pen, and nowadays I think he sells cars up near Sheboygan...Our family is not tight, and I've lost track...

08: The Oil Tasters
The Oil Tasters were probably the most high-minded band of the Milwaukee scene back in the 1980's. Musically they played a fairly potent blend of Art Funk/Jazz Junk that I recall as being pretty original back then, especially coming from a drums-bass-sax trio, but would probably sound fairly pedestrian nowadays. Think of the band Morphine with a music education, or The Violent Femmes with some Afro-Soul...Anyways, in the end it was The Oil Tasters trippy lyrics that set 'em apart. Now, legendary Milwaukee band Couch Flambeau had trippy lyrics as well, but The Oil Tasters took the dada to a whole new poetic level. If I were a bit older, I could imagine The Oil Tasters being much higher on this list, but they were probably about 3-4 years too soon for me, and I was underaged when they were making the Milwaukee scene. Finally, I should note that Guy Hoffman was The Oil Tasters' drummer, and Mr. Hoffman must surely be considered one of the BIGGEST of players in Milwaukee's rock history. First, he was a founder of The Haskels, perhaps the first and best and most popular Milwaukee Pop Punk bands from the 1970's, then The Oil Tasters, the BoDeans, and finally joining the Violent Femmes in the 1990's after Victor DeLorenzo's departure from that band...

07: Yipes!
To be honest, Yipes! eponymous debut was released in 1979, but it got plenty of spins on my turntable over the next few years, so I figure they qualify...Plus they did release a second album some time in the actual 1980's, even though it was a pale imitation of the debut...Anyways, Yipes! was nothing more and nothing less than a tight and clever Power Pop band, with wry and clever lyrics about rich girls, gutter punks, and that whole Romeo & Juliet kinda thing...If Yipes! had been just a little more New Wave and a bit less mid-western, they would have been perfect for the film Valley Girl...

06: Blacklist
As their name should suggest, Blacklist were a Heavy Metal band...To be more specific, they were a denim and leather kinda biker metal band, akin to Saxon and Judas Priest and a slew of other New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands popular at that time...Except Blacklist had beer bellies, and less impressive moustaches, and their duel-lead guitars weren't quite as tight as their British brethren...Still, they were just about the heaviest, metallist thing going in SE Wisconsin back then, and that's gotta count for something, right?

05: Boy Dirt Car
Boy Dirt Car were formed in 1981 by two dudes, Darren Brown and Eric Lunde, but they had many co-conspirators in the creation of their industrial punk sounds, including Dan Kubinski and Keith Brammer of Die Kreuzen...When I say "industrial", I really mean it, because these guys relied heavily on scrap metal and tools for much of their percussion and plenty of their songs textures...Oh sure, there were guitars and synths and basses too, but these guys were playing a pretty radical kind of music for the era, in a city like Milwaukee...

04: Killdozer
Killdozer maybe shouldn't be on this list, because they were a Madison band, but when it's a 75 minute straight shot on I-94 between Madtown and the Cream City, who's gonna argue? Killdozer played Milwaukee plenty, and my teenaged circle certainly visited Madison whenever we could wrangle a reliable car, but I must admit, I only saw two or three or possibly four Killdozer shows in the day, but damn, they laid down some pretty righteous sludge...Mostly mid-tempo, with plenty of feedback, vocals that growled and screeched oftentimes humorous words about city living and leftist politics...Another example of how Grunge could have just as easily happened here in the midwest. As it was, Killdozer ended up on Touch'n'Go, and were maybe the most successful band ever outta Madison until Garbage made the scene.

03: Die Kreuzen
I've written my share about Die Kreuzen in previous posts, so I'll be brief here...As far as I can tell, their name, Die Kreuzen, roughly translates from German as "The Hybrid", and that name pretty much somes up the potent mixture of so many influences found in their music - Metal, Punk, Prog Rock, No Wave, and even, I daresay, Jazz. Riveting stuff from an intense and skillful band that is only now starting to get a bit of their due...

02: The Violent Femmes
I'm sure anybody reading this has at least heard of The Violent Femmes, and I would guess plenty of you have heard, or even own, the band's eponymous debut album...Indeed, that album is actually one of the ten on my DESERT ISLAND DISCS, that's how much I love that album, and how much it means to my sentimentally...I've got sooo many Femmes-related stories that I could easily do one or two very long chapters just about them if I ever found reason to write an autobiography...And you know, if I could take another ten albums to that deserted isle, I may very well grab their second album, Hallowed Ground, as well...After that, the band kinda lost their mojo, but for a brief, brilliantly shining moment, the Violent Femmes were perhaps the greatest band in my universe...

01: Couch Flambeau
And yet, after gushing over the Femmes, here I am ranking Couch Flambeau as my favorite Milwaukee band from the 1980's...But see - here's the deal...Couch Flambeau wrote silly, stupid, sometimes Dada songs about silly, stupid subjects, and these songs were far from musically sophisticated, and Jay Tiller, Neil Socol and Ron Faiola were not exactly the most skillful players on the scene, and I think it was this snarky simplicity that endeared this band to me and my teenaged friends...This was perfect stuff for a bunch of 15 year olds, and great inspiration for those of us trying to write songs and play in bands ourselves...In the end, they were definitely doing something right, because I can still listen to their Curiosity Rocks cassette for the 1000th time, and it still sounds good, and fresh and fun...

Hotcha! Hank

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