Monday, June 30, 2008

Raf's Isolated Incidents

My buddy, Rafael Kayanan's new art book, ISOLATED INCIDENTS is now available. It's 88 pages chock full of Raf's amazing art. You can learn more about the book here. Heck, you can even see a preview of it and order it here. What are you waiting for? I've already ordered mine!


After watching this, 11/007/08 can not get here fast enough.

T.H.E. Cat

About a year and a half ago I posted that I'd love to find the opening to the sixties tv show "T.H.E. CAT." I hadn't seen the show since it originally aired in 1966-1967. I was 8 years old at the time and thought T.H.E. Cat was the man. Often things we find awesome as kids don't hold the same appeal when we become adults. I doubted that the opening could be as cool as I remembered it.

I was wrong. It's even cooler. Here, see for yourself. How can you not love an opening that describes the "hero" like this:

Along comes a man who saves lives at the risk of his own. Once a circus performer, an aerialist who refused the net. Once a cat burglar, a master among jewel thieves. And now, a professional bodyguard. Primitive, savage, in love with danger. The Cat.

Add in the jazz score by Lalo Schifrin, stunts, a hero with a past, great graphics, and filmed in color but not afraid to focus on black and white -- shadows and light. Here is another opening. I just wish that the season [it only lasted one] was available on dvd!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Staycation: PH & CDS

This year it didn't work out that we could take our normal family vacation. We usually spend some time in Indiana and then either Tennessee or North Carolina. With everyone on different work schedules and gas [not to mention the economy] being what it is we opted to take a staycation rather than a vacation. [As in stay Florida and do some day trips...]

We'd wanted to see Cirque Du Soleil for years and decided that this would be the time to finally do it. Tickets with our AAA discount were reasonable and so last Wednesday we made a day of it.

After a late breakfast the family piled into my "Jack Cartermobile" and headed to Orlando to hit some of the shopping outlets. On the way over we got caught in one of the worst storms that I've ever driven in. Lighting was striking all around, rain was coming down in washtubs and visibility was nil -- then it started to hail! Lucklily the storm passed after just a few minutes and we continued on. Years ago, when the outlets were truly discount shops, we'd drive over on a pretty regular basis. Now you really have to get lucky to find a real bargain since most of the shops are tourist traps. Chris and Mike scored a couple of t-shirts and the Queen found some sort of bags that keep fruit and vegetables longer in the "As Seen on TV" store.

We decided to go to Planet Hollywood for dinner before Cirque Du Soleil. The Orlando Planet Hollywood has always been my favorite due to it's location and unusual design. We hadn't been there in a few years, so we were all looking forward to it. I'm happy to say that none of us were disappointed. The menu has been updated a bit, but we were still able to get our "Cap'N Crunch" chicken appetizer [they call it something else, but that's what it is] and it was as tasty as we remembered. Dinner was even better. Mike and I opted for BBQ bacon burgers, Chris had the Philly cheesesteak, and the Queen had a spinach salad. Everyone thought that their meal was the best and no one left hungry. On the way out, we swung through the gift shop so I could score a t-shirt [see the design in the photo above], and then it was off to the circus... literally.

We were really lucky in that we were seated in the second row from the stage. At first I was concerned that we might be too close to the action and get stiff necks from looking up, but that wasn't the case mainly due to the amount of action going on everywhere! And once the show starts it doesn't let up. If you've ever seen Cirque Du Soleil on television and been impressed you can just begin to imagine what it's like to see the performers live and so close you could literally [at least from our seats] reach out and touch them.

Everything about the show is amazing. You probably already know how awe-inspiring the acts are, but until you see the show live, you don't realize how well designed the sets and stage are. Or how the special effects and live music work to change the moods of each performance. Looking back, it's also crazy to think that once the show started there were no words spoken and it never felt like we were watching traditional acts in a "circus." The time flew by and I left wanting more; not because I didn't get my money's worth, but because I was having such a great time. The Queen and kids felt the same. We'll definitely go back.

After the show we walked around Downtown Disney. The crowds weren't too bad and the night was just the right temperature to make trips to the Virgin MegaStore and other shops enjoyable. The drive home was filled with laughter and talk about what a great day it had been... we didn't even complain about the storm.

If only every day could be so perfect.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hellboy II Excitement

As we get closer to July 11th, I get more excited about Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Yeah, sometimes I'm like a little kid.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Death Race Site

Anyone been to the new Death Race site? I have to admit, I'm looking forward to this drive-in movie without the drive-in.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin: RIP

George Carlin, who had suffered from heart problems for years, died yesterday at the age of 71. Carlin, best known for his comedy routine about the "seven words you can't say on television," was one of the brightest and wittiest comedians to ever grace a stage. Carlin's comedy made you think. He challenged your ideas and made you laugh at the same time. What better send off than to quote some of my favorite Carlinisms:
  • Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

  • I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect.

  • One can never know for sure what a deserted area looks like.

  • When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?

  • If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted?

  • I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.

  • The whole meaning of life is trying to find a place for your stuff.
George Carlin repeatedly crossed the line and made me laugh every time. I miss him already. My best wishes go out to his family, friends and fans. I leave you with George Carlin's thoughts on death [do not click on the link if you are offended by profanity or jokes about religion].

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The New Classic Books

Entertainment Weekly created their list of The 100 Best Books from 1983 to 2008. Using just their choices, here's my top six:
  1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
  2. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
  3. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
  4. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
  5. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
  6. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
Wow. That's pretty bad, I guess. I've only read six out of EW's top 100. So I have to ask, where is Charlie Huston's Hank Thompson Trilogy? How about Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter? LA Rex by Will Beal? Cain by James Byron Huggins? Critical Space by Greg Rucka? The Blonde by Duane Swiercznski? And don't get me started on graphic novels: The Dark Knight Returns by Miller and Janson -- Batman: Year One by Miller and Mazzucchelli -- The Punisher graphic novels by Grant, Zeck and Beatty...

The New Classic TV SHows

Entertainment Weekly created their list of The 100 Best Shows from 1983 to 2008. Using just their choices, here's my top 10:
  1. Seinfeld, NBC (1989-98)
  2. The Shield, FX (2002-present)
  3. 24, Fox (2001-present)
  4. The Cosby Show, NBC (1984-92)
  5. Miami Vice, NBC (1984-89)
  6. Wiseguy, CBS (1987-90)
  7. The West Wing, NBC (1999-2006)
  8. American Idol, Fox (2002-present)
  9. Survivor, CBS (2000-present)
  10. Frasier, NBC (1993-2004)
NBC and dramas led the way with 5 of my top ten favorites. I'll bet in five years, dramas will still be my favorite genre, but wonder if NBC will still be the top network.

The New Classic Movies

Entertainment Weekly created their list of The 100 Best Films from 1983 to 2008. Using just their choices, here's my top 10:
  1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  2. Die Hard (1988)
  3. The Matrix (1999)
  4. Aliens (1986)
  5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  6. Gladiator (2000)
  7. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  8. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  9. Casino Royale (2006)
  10. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Looking over the list, each of the films were groundbreaking in that they took what was expected and put a new twist on it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"M-Squad" is Coming!

Most ZONErs know that I'm a big Lee Marvin fan. So I'm pretty excited to hear that "M-Squad" is coming to dvd. If you've never heard of "M-Squad" you can see the opening here and read more about it here. So, anyone besides me and Chris Mills excited about this news?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike

Yesterday I posted about Dana White tossing Jesse Taylor out of The Ultimate Fighter finals because Jesse got drunk, kicked out a limo window and bothered patrons in an LA hotel. I went on to say that Jesse's behavior was deplorable, but "Dana had no problems with Jesse and other fighters' drunken antics on the show. In fact getting wasted and destroying the UFC house has become one of the cliches of the series. They not only give the drunken destruction plenty of air time, but even make the antics part of the promos." I concluded by saying, "if I was Dana White, I think I'd reconsider my tolerance for the drunken destruction that is encouraged at the house."

Guess what Ken Iole, who covers the MMA for Yahoo Sports posted today?

Mummy: What to Think

I didn't care much for the first Mummy movie. The Scorpion King was okay. I really enjoyed The Mummy Returns. I'm not sure what to expect of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Brendon Frasier is back and this time he's joined by Jet Li as the bad guy. That's a good thing. It's directed by Rob Cohen and I like his work. It will have a bunch of mummies, a yeti, a dragon and a ton of special effects. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or overkill. This trailer hasn't tipped me in either direction. That can't be good, can it?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another MMA Update

Two days ago we took a look at some rumors flying around about the UFC. Sad to say, I was wrong about Dana White's announcement. I thought it would be about a tv or merchandising deal. It wasn't. Instead Dana announced that Lorenzo Fertitta, one of the co-owners of the UFC is going leaving the family casino business to devote his full attention to the UFC. To the average fan that announcement was a big yawn.


I also speculated that the big surprise on the last episode of The Ultimate Fighter was that Jesse Taylor would do something stupid to get booted out of the finals. Sure enough, Jesse got drunk, kicked out the windows of a limo and then went into one of the Vegas hotels and created more havoc. Dana White said that Jesse's behavior was unacceptable and therefore Jesse, despite being undefeated and winning his way into the finals, would be replaced by one of the fighters who had already been beaten.

Was Jesse's behavior wrong? Absolutely. It was deplorable. Did it warrant him being kicked out of the finals? Possibly. Obviously Dana White thought so. Dana seemed angry and
embarrassed. He said that kind of behavior is not what he wants from UFC fighters. Of course, Dana had no problems with Jesse and other fighters' drunken antics on the show. In fact getting wasted and destroying the UFC house has become one of the cliches of the series. They not only give the drunken destruction plenty of air time, but even make the antics part of the promos.

Jesse doesn't come across as the sharpest crayon in the box. So he goes out and celebrates making the finals by doing the exact same things that gave him plenty of additional face time on the series and finds himself kicked out of the UFC. Hey, so be it. I was pulling for Amir to win it all anyway, But if I was Dana White, I think I'd reconsider my tolerance for the drunken destruction that is encouraged at the house.

Tito Ortiz has a pretty interesting interview HERE. I think that Ortiz still has some good fights in him. I'd love to see him take on Anderson Silva or Dana White.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

AFI Ain't Got Nothin' on Me [Again]

The American Film Institute has come up with their list of The 10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres. Here are my top 3 from each genre:

  1. The Lion King (mostly because of my memories of seeing how much my sons enjoyed it when we saw it on the big screen)
  2. Toy Story (same reason as #1)
  3. Beauty and the Best (same reason as #1)

Romantic Comedies:

Wow! There are quite a few in the top 10 that I haven't seen. Makes it easy to pick my top 3:
  1. When Harry Met Sally (mainly because of the classic deli scene -- it still makes me chuckle)
  2. Sleepless in Seattle
  3. Moonstruck (Cher and Nic Cage before he became an action star!)


This is a much tougher category. I love a good western.
  1. The Searchers (The AFI got this one right!)
  2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  3. Stagecoach
Ask me again next week and Unforgiven, The Wild Bunch, Shane or even Red River could make the list at 2 or 3.


Ah, my all time favorite movie makes this list...

  1. Rocky
  2. Raging Bull
  3. The Hustler
Of course we all know that Sly "Rocky" Stallone and Robert "Raging Bull" DeNiro co-starred in Cop Land! [But did we all know that in 1976, both Stallone and DeNiro duked it out for the Best Actor Oscar!]


Another tough category...
  1. North by Northwest
  2. The Maltese Falcon
  3. The Usual Suspects
With Rear Window, Vertigo and Chinatown just missing out.

Fantasy: The AFI and I agree on the top film! [It's my all-time #2 favorite movie.]
  1. The Wizard of Oz
  2. King Kong
  3. The Lord of the Rings

Sci-Fi: A bunch of great films made the list, but where is Aliens, The Matrix, Highlander, etc?
  1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  3. Alien

Gangster: The AFI got it right again... at least with the number 1 slot!
  1. The Godfather
  2. The Godfather, Part II
  3. Pulp Fiction

Courtroom Drama: Wow! The AFI and I are in sync... at least for the top2.
  1. To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. 12 Angry Men
  3. A Few Good Men

Compulsion would have been my third choice if it had made the AFI list.

  1. Spartacus
  2. Ben-Hur
  3. Saving Private Ryan

Lists like these make me want to pull down some of the classics and watch them again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

UFC Update

  • Tomorrow night the final episode of The Ultimate Fighter [before the live fights on Saturday to determine the season's champ] airs. If you've been following the show, then you know that the biggest shocker ending ever awaits. Previews of the episode showed the windows of a limo being busted or shot out. Dana White then said that the finalists had been determined, but because of "the incident" the person involved would not be allowed to fight and would be banned from the UFC.
    My guess is Jesse Taylor did something stupid.... again.

  • Tomorrow at noon Dana White has called a press conference where he is set to announce something that will change the direction of MMA for years to come. There's speculation that the announcement could be...
    1] the UFC has received clearance for fights to be held in New York which will lead to fight clearance across the nation.
    2] Dana White is teaming with Vince McMahon [of the WWE] to buy complete ownership of the UFC.
    3] Dana White
    has signed Randy Couture and Fedor Emelianenko to fight for the UFC later this year.
    My guess is that Dana will announce either a tv deal with FOX, NBC, or ABC... or a deal that puts the UFC logo on clothes in stores nationwide.
  • Dana White has announced that Anderson Silva will move up to light heavyweight to fight James Irvin live on SPIKE on July 19th. Silva will not give up his middleweight title, but instead use the Irvin fight to guage his chances in the heavier division. Silva is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Irvin will be a tough opponent and especially motivated coming off his 8 second knockout of Huston Alexander. Obviously Irvin is being considered a stepping stone for Silva. That could provide plenty of motivation for Irvin. If Silva wins, fights against Rampage Jackson and Chuck Liddell would create the potential for the biggest MMA fights [and prize money] ever. My guess is that could provide plenty of motivation for Silva.

    And that is our UFC update for today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stan Winston - RIP

Oscar-winning special-effects wizard Stan Winston passed away yesterday after a seven year battle with cancer. Mr. Winston was just 62 years old.

Over the course of his career Stan Winston worked with most of the big names in Hollywood… everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Steven Spielberg. He won four Oscars [for his work on “Aliens”, “Terminator 2”, “Jurassic Park” and “Batman Returns”] and was considered by many to be the best special effects artist in the business. In addition to his Oscar winning film appearances, Stan Winston’s work could also be seen in “Edward Scissorhands”, “Predator”, “A.I.”, “Big Fish”, “Iron Man”, and so many other fan favorite movies.

Stan Winston is survived by his wife, Karen; a son, daughter, brother and four grandchildren. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Happening Can Wait [Spoilers]

M. Night Shyamalan burst onto the scene with his blockbuster hit, "The Sixth Sense." Since then it's been a bumpy ride. And while some would say that it's been all downhill since the "Sense," I would argue otherwise. Unfortunately the reviews on "The Happening" have been almost universally negative among fans and critics.

The movie blasts out of the shoot in the first scene with a mysterious airborne toxin causing people to kill themselves. The opening scenes are suspenseful and horrific. We're then introduced to our four main characters: Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel are a newly married couple who are already going through a rocky phase; John Leguizamo is Wahlberg's friend and father to young Ashlyn Sanchez.

As the four of them attempt to flee the city, reports filter in through laptops, cellphones and televisions of the toxins spreading. The movie quickly becomes a series of scenes of people either running from the wind or killing themselves as quickly as possible no matter how gruesome the death. There are some tense moments in the film [stuck at the crossroads with the toxins coming from all sides, on the porch of survivors boarded in their house, and staying overnight in the home of a truly deranged woman], but soon enough everyone's running from the gentle breeze coming their way.

The Pitch: "The Birds" without the birds.

The Good: The opening scenes of people killing themselves as those around them try to figure out what is happening -- the initial feelings of paranoia as we try to figure out what is happening -- the time at the deranged lady's [played by Betty Buckley] farm.

The Bad:
Zooey Deschanel's character/acting -- the scene with the lions -- the lack of conflict with what was killing everyone [how do you fight plants] -- the ending.

The Ugly:
The way the construction workers died -- -- the guy lying down in the path of the mower.

The Summary: "The Happening" isn't one of M. Night's best films, but it's not as bad as most reviews would lead you to believe. My suggestion, if you haven't seen it yet, wait to rent it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wanna Go For a Ride?

For a while there was talk that Sly Stallone would reprise his role as Machine Gun Joe in the "Death Race" remake. Well, that didn't happen although the remake did. So now instead of David Carradine we have Jason Statham. Instead of Sylvester Stallone we get Tyrese Gibson?

The movie is still set in the future, but instead of a cross country race in which the participants kill pedestrians, it's set in a prison and the contestants try to kill each other. [Not to worry, they still found a way to get women involved as "navigators".] Advance word on the movie hasn't been too good, but THIS TRAILER makes me think that advance word might have been a bit harsh. I think it looks like a fun ride.

Friday, June 13, 2008

NBC’s Tim Russert: RIP

Tim Russert, host of "Meet the Press" and NBC News’ Washington bureau chief died today after suffering a sudden heart attack while prepping for Sunday's show. Mr. Russert was just 58. He leaves behind his wife and son.

I'm going to miss Tim Russert. He was a newscaster that I truly enjoyed watching. His love of the political process was evident in each broadcast. Although he covered the world of politics, Tim Russert never let his own take center stage. He believed that his job as moderator of "Meet the Press" was to "learn as much as you can about your guest’s positions and take the other side, and to do that in a persistent and civil way." And that's exactly what he did, often with a smile, and never with the feeling that it was personal. He didn't yell or belittle those he interviewed. He allowed them to respond and gave thought to their answers. He showed respect to members of all parties. It's too bad that more newscasters [let alone politicians] can't adopt that same outlook.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with Mr. Russert's family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Red Goes Green

I've been a Cully Hamner fan for years. In fact Cully jump started my Stallone Theme Gallery with his kick butt take on Jack Carter. Over a 100 sketches later, and Cully's is still one of my favorites.

Longtime ZONErs may remember me HERE and HERE talking up Cully's work with Warren Ellis on Red. Today the Hollywood Reporter announced that the movie rights to Red have been picked up by Summit Entertainment and already have writing and producing teams in place. You can read the full account HERE.

Congrats to Cully and Warren. Let's hope that the movie is half as good as the comic.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You Make the Call

I saw this video yesterday at Keelan's Blog and couldn't believe it. It truly creeped me out. I thought about it repeatedly today. I don't know if the guy doing the pullups is more fearless or stupid. I'm leaning towards stupid.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Face of Evil

Hearing Charles Manson talking always stops me in my tracks. Maybe it's because I was ten years old when the murders that made Manson infamous were committed. Then seeing Manson during his trial with his defiant attitude, "hypnotic" eyes, "creepy crawlers," shaved and carved heads and family of followers -- all of it definitely made an impact on this little kid... especially when I learned that Manson had served time in my hometown of Terre Haute, Ind.

When I was in high school I read Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter and at the time it was one of the most shocking books I'd ever devoured. I remember watching Tom Snyder's interview with Manson when it originally aired in 1981. Since then, whenever an interview with Manson [and they are rare], airs, I find myself tuning in to hear his rants. It's hard to believe that this little man who had less than twenty years of freedom his entire life became the embodiment of evil for at least one generation.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Fighters Fight

Matt Hughes lost via TKO in the second yesterday to Thiago Alves in UFC 85. I didn't see the fight since we passed on the pay-per-view. One a month is pushing it, especially when the last PPV was just two weeks ago. In a way, since I'm a Matt Hughes fan, I'm glad that we didn't order it.

Despite three losses in his last four fights, Hughes is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. For a while no other fighter in any weight class dominated the way that Hughes did. As the UFC Welter-Weight Champion, Hughes won 9 title fights. He also had a streak of 19 wins in 20 fights and did it by fighting everyone put in front of him including BJ Penn and Georges St. Pierre. Hughes took fights on short notice, fought when injured and represented the sport well. It's pretty clear that Hughes is no longer the fighter he once was. Not many people will ever be the fighter Matt Hughes once was... but that's not really the point is it?

Hughes is just 34 years old. If he was in a higher weight class, where power is usually more important than speed, he'd still be fighting and probably at the top of his game. Hughes isn't big enough to go up in weight. So what should he do? Retire? Stick around and get beat by the top fighters? Fight lesser opponents to pad his record to keep a hand in the game?

Kevin Iole, who covers MMA for Yahoo Sports, says it's time for Matt Hughes to retire. I don't think so. I think that Matt Hughes has one more fight that should happen before he hangs it up. Hughes and Matt Serra have had bad blood for a couple of years now. Both feel that they have been legitimately disrespected by the other. It's a fight that fans want to see. It's a fight that both want to have.

Ioloe believes that Hughes should retire without fighting Serra. Iole's contention is twofold: 1] Hughes doesn't need the fight [he's set for the Hall of Fame and 2] Serra could win and this would further tarnish Hughes' record.

Obviously the decision belongs to Matt Hughes alone. But here's my two cents: Hughes should take the fight. First of all, he wants to settle his grudge with Serra in the octagon. Second, it's a fight that Hughes, Serra and fans around the world want. Third, it would be a headline fight and what better way to go out than with a win as a headliner. Fourth, even if he loses, he does it on his own terms. He's still a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, only now he's a bit richer. Fifth, fighters fight. Matt Hughes is a fighter.

Dana White has said that if Matt Hughes wants the fight, it will happen. So the ball is in Matt Hughes' court. My guess is that Hughes will want the match. See, fighters fight. Matt Hughes is a fighter.

And that's why I'm a Matt Hughes fan.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fear It Won't Be Good

Anyone planning to tune in to NBC's new horror series, Fear Itself? The series is being billed as weekly one hour horror movies from the creators of "Saw," "Jeepers Creepers," "Freddy vs Jason" and some other recent scarefests. Truth be told, I plan to DVR the series, but I'm not expecting too much. Still, a little good horror goes a long way.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Love for Dave Johnson's Art

The art above is just a small reason of why I love Dave Johnson's art. Click HERE for a bigger sample or HERE to learn more about the Marvel comic.

Monday, June 02, 2008

3 Less Heroes

Shelton Drum's Heroes Convention is without a doubt one of the best comic book - media shows anywhere. Over the years longtime ZONErs have read about my adventures at Heroes Con meeting favorite artists, writers, as well as friends old and new. It was always a blast seeing who was going to add their work to my Stallone Theme Gallery or who was going to join the crowd for dinner or whose room would become "the spot" for the evening. And that's not even taking into account the art auction, book signings, costumes, etc.

Most years the convention would be held on a date that worked for the entire Zablo family vacation. Other times my oldest son, Mike [who is into conventions] and I would share a room with John Beatty. Unfortunately this year the show is being held on a date that doesn't work out for either plan.

Still, if YOU are able to attend the show, you should. I can guarantee you'll have a great time. Even if Beatty, Mike and I aren't there to add to the fun.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

EliteXC Not So

Let's take a look at last night's CBS broadcast of the EliteXC MMA card.

Heavyweights Brett Rogers vs. Jon Murphy led off the broadcast. Neither man was well known to me. After watching them fight I don't know much more. Rogers won by first round KO. Yawn.

Phil Baroni vs. Joe Villasenor was up next. I'd seen Baroni [who calls himself the "New York Bad Ass"] fight before, so I felt that we had to be in for a better bout. Baroni came out dancing and wearing what looked like a glitter-robe that Ric Flair might have thrown away. Then they posted Baroni's 10-9 record. I respect anyone who enters the cage, but don't ya think that if you call yourself the New York BA, then you should have a better record? Well, before you start to consider that, don't. Villasenor KO'd Baroni in the first round. We have our answer.

Kaitlin Young vs. Gina Carano was a highly anticipated fight and not just because the combatants are female. These ladies are skilled warriors and proved it. Both threw disciplined kicks, punches, and took the fight to the mat. There was a real ebb and flow to the fight as each attempted what would work best. Ultimately Carano won when Young was unable to answer for round three. Easily the best fight of the night to that point.

Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith was for Lawler's EliteXC Middleweight title. Although the fight started out slow with both fighters feeling each other out, Lawler took an early lead by winning the first round with major kicks and punches. Smith surprisingly came back in the second round since it had looked as if Lawler had figured him out. The third round was going to be very interesting. Both men came out throwing bombs... Smith seemed to be gaining momentum when he was inadvertently poked in the eye. The fight was halted so the doctor could check out the damage. Because Smith said he couldn't see, the fight was declared a no-contest. Everyone was upset with the decision. Smith said that if he'd been given the full five minutes allowed for recovery, he'd have continued. That wasn't to be. Both men were told that because of their performances that they'd still get a winner's bonus. It's sad that what could have been the best fight of the night became a "no contest."

Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson vs. James Thompson was the main event of the night. Surprisingly, what most figured would be a quick knockout by Slice turned out to be anything but. Thompson easily took Kimbo down and attempted to pound away. Kimbo muscled up and the way the fight was to go was evident. Kimbo would throw bombs and try to use his his strength to muscle out of bad situations and Thompson would takedown Kimbo and attempt to submit him. In the second round, it appeared as if Kimbo was tapping but the commentator said that he was just showing that he was okay. After nearly a minute of being pummeled by Thompson in the second round, Kimbo was saved by the bell. The third round started with Kimbo coming out throwing haymakers. He tagged Thompson and the ref quickly [some say too quickly] stepped in to stop the contest. Kimbo collapsed in the middle of the ring, his undefeated record intact.

So, what did we learn from the first mainstream telecast of MMA? The folks behind EliteXC believe that the WWE has the right plan to bring in fans. EliteXC dancers performed on the walkway between rounds. The fighters strolled out to the octagon down a walkway with music a la WWE. Kimbo Slice isn't anywhere near where he needs to be if he is to fight any top ten fighters. Kimbo did show some skills and a lot of heart, and it's unfortunate that he's in the position he's in... if you can call making what should be hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions unfortunate.

I'm looking to much better fights tonight on the Faber / Pulver card.

Hey, Hey, We're the... Spartacus!

I visit a lot of blogs each day and one of them is On My Mind. Recently Rick ran a caption contest and guess who won. Whooo-hoooo!

Shuttle Launch

Yesterday Doralya, Chris and I decided to drive down and get as close as possible to Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center to see the launch of space shuttle Discovery. This was our first trip to see a lift-off and things went smoothly. Although I hate crowds, it was worth it to be so close to the launch. Everything worked out perfectly from the drive down, finding a perfect spot in a little park across from the space center to the weather and lift-off. I guess if I wanted to nitpick I could complain about the traffic going home, but even I'm not that much of a grouse.