Friday, March 30, 2007

We Called It!

If you recall, this past October, the Toad posted a random list of things we liked. The list included a CD by the Rosebuds, Season 1 of The Wire, and...

Cormac McCarthy's
The Road, which we called "a masterpiece".


Well, now everyone's favorite local news anchor turned mega-billionaire, Oprah Winfrey, is jumping aboard the Toad bandwagon. This past week the O announced that The Road will be her next selection for Oprah's Book Club, assuring that the 200,000 or so people who have already read the book will be forced to listen to bored housewives and elementary school teachers prattle on about the nature of the novel's post-apocalyptic setting or how worried they were when the boy lost his father's gun.

In case you were unsure just how much clout Miss Winfrey carries in the publishing world, after her public announcement regarding The Road, Random House printed and began distributing 950,000 paperback versions of the novel. This is nearly 4 times the amount of hardcover books that were printed in response to the Toad's endorsement. 4 times!

There is also talk of a taped interview between the partner of Stedman Graham, the CEO of S. Graham and Associates (as we tend to think of Oprah) and Mr. McCarthy, despite the author's reclusion and abhorrence of the public spotlight. There is no word yet on when this interview will air. (At least we don't think there is, if someone knows will you please put it in the comments section?)

And please stay tuned for more endorsements and ideas that international celebrities can steal and profit from while we live without hot water and wait on them at Cipriani's 42nd Street.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 1/5

This is a documentary that apparently aired on Channel 5 in Britain about soccer star-turned -nutcase-turned conspiracy guru David Icke. We post these videos not because we are in agreement with David Icke or think he "was right" (we're not and we don't) but only because we think the guy is a fascinating character.

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 2/5

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 3/5

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 4/5

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 5/5

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Toad of a Different Color

From The Daily Telegraph:

GIANT CANE TOAD FOUND

March 27, 2007 12:00

A CANE toad the size of a small dog has been caught by a pest eradication group in the Northern Territory.

FrogWatch, a group culling the introduced menace across the Northern Territory, has found a toad measuring 20cm in length and weighing 860gm.

Volunteers discovered the whopping hopper and 38 smaller toads at Lee Point in the city's northern surburbs.

FrogWatch's Graeme Sawyer said the monster toad was the size of a small dog.

"The only bigger cane toad I've seen is in a specimen bottle in a museum in Brisbane," he said.

"I reckon I've probably seen 50,000-60,000 cane toads in the last 12 months and there is nothing even remotely close to this thing."

Mr Sawyer said he was surprised by the toad's sex. (Aww Yeah - ed. note)

"The biggest toads are usually females, but this one is a rampant male," he said.

"He is huge; I would hate to meet his big sister.

"The highly publicised big female caught in the city recently was little over 15 centimetres, this monster is another five centimetres long and one-third heavier."

A number of toad busts have been organised by FrogWatch to minimise the pest's spread during the wet season.


Thanks to Brett the Mad Scientist for bringing this to our awkward attention.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Get Chipped

Are you ready for your Verichip?

Approved by the FDA in 2002, the Verichip Corporation's radio frequency identification device is the first in what will probably be a long line of human implant microchips.

The device is generally implanted around the triceps area of the right arm and contains a bar code of sixteen numbers which correlates with a computer database and verifies
(hence the name) identity, citizenship, and medical records.

Predictably, mass concerns about government misuse and privacy issues have stopped the Verichip in its tracks. 68 hospitals originally signed up to adopt the tec
hnology in their emergency rooms, but most have discontinued use due to disputes with the public. It is estimated that only 2000 people nationwide have gotten the implant since its inception four years ago.

Religious groups are
(of course) up-in-arms about the nature of the chip, likening it to the "mark of the beast" mentioned in the impenetrable verses of The Book of Revelation.

"
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."

There is even an anti-Verichip website, "We the People Will Not Be Chipped", at
http://noverichipinside.com/.

In May of 2002, the Jacob's Family of Boca Raton, Florida became the first family on earth to be implanted with microchips, in a procedure that was apparently broadcast on NBC's Today Show.
(Which we are having a hard time believing, considering all of the negative issues surrounding the device.)

They claimed their enthusiasm for the Verichip came in response to the excitement of their math/computer prodigy son Derek, after he saw a news report about the Verichip, as well as a feeling of safety for Jeffrey Jacobs (48 at the time), a severely disabled cancer survivor. Leslie Jacbos has also said the chip gave her a greater sense of security following the events of September 11th.

'I want to be the first kid to be implanted with the chip,'" Leslie Jacobs remembered her son exclaiming. "For the next few days all he did was talk about the VeriChip. I have nothing to hide, so I wouldn't mind having the chip for verification. I already have an ID card, so why not have a chip?"


Some have suggested that the Jacob's early interest and implantation were little more than a subversive corporate publicity stunt.
(And after reading some of the 2002 articles surrounding their procedure (Time's "Meet the Chipsons" and CIO's "All Inside the Family" among them) we tend to agree.)


(In a sad turn of events for the Jacobs, Derek (18) was killed in a motorcycle accident in October of last year.)


As of today, only one company in America, CityWatcher.com, a Cincinnati-based surveillance and security firm, has made a Verichip mandatory. They say that having the chip implanted directly into their employees helps safeguard the vast records of videotape and public data they have stored at their job site.


The official Verichip website is
here.

Do you feel like you are living in a Phillip K. Dick novel yet?


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Phildelphia Phillies

In lieu of our own comprehensive preview of the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies (because, really, what do we know?), we give you The Phans Blog, a website "dedicated to detailed analysis of The Philadelphia Phillies."

In-depth and generally well-written, The Phans Blog is great for casual and rabid fans alike, a godsend for out-of-staters like the Toad, and (we would guess) a great time-waster for the office.

This website covers it all, from big news like the recent decision to send former ace Jon Lieber to the bullpen and Freddy Garcia's tender right bicep to smaller details like the return of recent acquisition and possible starter Alfredo Simon back from whence he came (the hapless Texas Rangers) and the waving of prospect Justin Germano.

It also has breakdowns of the Phil's competition in the NL East as well as unofficial trade rumors and gossip-mill reports.

As for our previously devalued two cents, here are a few predictions.

Big Year - Chase Utley; Jimmy Rollins


It doesn't take a genius to predict this one. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are primed for big years. Last year's achingly close playoff birth seems to have helped Rollins reevaluate exactly how he fits into the overall scheme and Chase is just awesome and will continue to get awesomer.


Breakout year - Shane Victorino


We think this guy is really good. He's fast and hits well for average, which seems like a good combination in terms of overall run production in a division with vastly different park sizes and generally competent if no longer overwhelming pitching staffs.


Slow starts - Ryan Howard; Freddy Garcia


Ryan Howard is a beast and will continue to be a beast for a long time. We do think, however, that being named league MVP and earning national celebrity will take a little getting used to for a 25 year old kid, not matter how likable and well adjusted. Also, we remember a few games down the stretch last year, once Howard started blasting every other pitch out of the park, when opposing pitchers seemed willing to give him an easy trot to first if only our giant young hero could stop himself from swinging at pitches well outside the strike zone. The next step to absolute greatest seems to be learning and accepting one's own limitations (something Barry Bonds, love him or hate him, proved very adept at). As for Freddy Garcia, we just think that the National League and especially Citizen's Bank Park will take a little getting use to as well, probably a month or so.

Bad Year - Pat Burrell; Bret Myers



We would love to see Pat Burrell succeed in the face of all odds but we worry that his confidence is too far gone and the city finds him too easy to hate. As much as professional athletes claim the crowd's opinion of them doesn't matter, common sense tells us that no matter what esteem they may truly hold the fans in (our guess - very low) it is something they deal with day-in and day-out for over 5 months and that such a huge amount of negative energy will become draining, especially for a guy like Burrell who has proven in the past that he is easily influenced by his surroundings (evidence: Tyler Houston debacle of 2003). As for Brett Myers, obviously we don't actually know, but we think the guy seems like a jerk and kind of childish (although we are open to the possibility that he is the victim of "sports writer vilification") and we doubt a brand-new 3 year, 25 million dollar contract will help him grow up. Our guess - the opposite.

Biggest Questions - Wes Helms; Ryan Madson


Basically, we feel pretty confident Wes Helms will be a good fit in the batting order, especially at home, but we aren't sold on his ability to field his position. Our understanding is that Helms has been mainly a pinch-hitter/designated-hitter most of his career and we think his defense might, well, suck. And, for us, Madson is a huge question because his ability to become a consistent and formidable force out of the bullpen will probably prove vital late into games, particularly when Jamie Moyer starts.

Well, that's all we got.

GO PHILLIES!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Phoenix Lights Documentary

We found this documentary about the Phoenix Lights on YouTube.

(It's Saturday. We really don't know what to write about.)

For us, the biggest revelation in the video - there is a firing range in Arizona named after Barry Goldwater?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Also...

We know it's on Catch a Wiff but it would be a crime if anyone missed this:



The Phoenix Lights

The following is an excerpt from the Arizona Daily Star. It basically says that the governor of Arizona recently admitted to seeing a UFO and covering it up so as not to create a state-wide panic.

The sighting took place in Phoenix Arizona, circa 1997, during an event which is generally referred to as "The Phoenix Lights". Here is a sti
ll shot from amateur footage:


And here is the excerpt:

Former Gov. Fife Symington says now that those strange lights that appeared over Phoenix a decade ago were from another world and that he had a close encounter with an alien craft on March 13, 1997.

"I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people," Symington said Thursday. "I don't know why people would ridicule it."

Symington, who was in his second term as governor of Arizona during the Phoenix Lights incident, recently told a UFO investigator making a documentary that he had kept quiet about his personal close encounter because he didn't want to panic the populace.

He repeated his story Thursday on CNN, saying the craft he saw was "enormous. It just felt other-worldly. In your gut, you could just tell it was other-worldly."

The governor didn't let on at the time, instead poking fun at the whole thing.
He hosted a press conference a few months after the mass sightings to announce that his Department of Public Safety had arrested the culprit responsible — a very tall bug-eyed creature brought before the media in handcuffs.
He then unmasked the creature to reveal his chief of staff, Jay Heiler, who at 6-foot-4 made an imposing, somewhat comical space alien.

Symington said the producer of the film "Out of the Blue," James Fox, originally sought him out to talk about why he had spoofed the sightings but then asked if he had seen the lights.
"I said, 'Yeah, I got a good look.'"

Heiler said Thursday he isn't surprised Symington believes in UFOs.

He said his boss was a "Trekkie" who enjoyed discussing space travel. Heiler said Symington was convinced that earthlings would be traveling to distant solar systems at speeds exceeding the speed of light "in our lifetimes."

We should probably mention that Symington was arrested on charges of wire and bank fraud during his tenure as governor and asked to vacate his public office, which he did last September.

Still, though.

UFO's.
The Truth is Out There, Motherfucker.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We Can't Believe...

...that any critic has chosen to hate on Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank which was officially released Tuesday.


We've been listening to this thing for two weeks (how we're we doing that, you ask. we know people. in Germany. who download stuff there, legally, and then send it to us) and we think it is great.

Now don't get us wrong, most critics seem to like it, but for AllMusic to give it only three stars and Rolling Stone to compare it unfavorably with their "indie" output is astonishingly off the mark as far as we are concerned.


Just because something is catchy and has a chance of becoming hugely popular doesn't make it bad automatically. It usually means it is good. (On second thought we're not sure if we can totally stand behind that statement, but you get the point.)

Especially for a band like Issac Brock and company, who have slugged away at the indie scene for more than a decade. This album is such a vast improvement from their early output, interesting but musically poor and ultimately unsatisfying releases like
This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About (although we dig that title) and The Fruit That Ate Itself.

You want proof, download "Dashboard", "March Into the Sea", or "Florida".


Or the Toad can burn you a copy of the album.


Or I guess you could buy it, if you are into that.

Killer tracks, man.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Borat Acting Audition

Rough Day for the Toad.

Maybe we can get some acting tips from Borat.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Do You Know About...

...Pitchfork Media?

Probably.

But if not, here, know about it.



Guaranteed to turn you into a twee hipster indie shoegazer in less than a month.

And, for good measure, here is their list of the 50 Best Albums of 2006.

Even better, here is their list of Top 100 Albums of the 1980's!

And below is a video of a girl shooting a machine gun...

Is this enough for today?

M169

We were just gonna put a still shot of this up, but we think the soundtrack adds something.

If anyone watches this whole thing, let us know how it ends.

Monday, March 19, 2007

We Like This Album:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This Ain't a Scene...

Do you know how many countries in the world have nuclear weapons? The answer is 8 (read: 9).

There are five nation states that are officailly allowed to possess them, according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was opened for signature on July 1st, 1968 and extended indefinitely in 1995.

They are:

United States - Not only were The Stars and Stripes the first country to complete the development of a nuclear weapon, we also have the distinction of being the only country to ever use one, against Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the conclusion of the second World War. We were also the first to develop and test a hydrogen bomb, "Ivy Mike" in 1952. These days, the U.S. maintains a working arsenal of about 10,000 warheads. Fuck yeah.


Russia - The U.S.S.R got 'em next, in 1949. Their nuclear program was created and funded in the wake of the Cold War, in order to balance world hegemony. At one point, the Soviet Union built and detonated the most powerful explosive ever created by man, the "Tsar Bomba." Unfortunately, they also whole-heartedly embraced Communism, and consequently, their empire collapsed in the early 1990's, putting their stockpile
(the largest in the world, by the way, with upwards of 40,000 chemical and 16,000 nuclear weapons) in the hands of their wise and even-handed president (read: crazed, brutal, iron-fisted would-be dictator).

United Kingdom - The wayward Brits were next, beaten to the punch by the Ruskies despite full, unimpeded access to the documents and research from the Manhattan Project. They finally got theirs in 1952, testing a weapon called "Hurricane". Today, Britain's arsenal consists mainly of their "Trident System" which is essentially a few submarines loaded with nucs that will act as a deterrent in the event of an attack. Unlike the U.S. and Russia, the Brits actually paid attention to the NNPT, and destroyed their general stocks in the 1960's.

France - We know, it sucks. France's first successful test came in 1960, designed as an independent deterrent from the U.S.S.R, after they weakened their ties with NATO. For awhile in the 1990's, it seemed like the French were disarming, they got rid of 175 weapons and modernized their arsenal to include mostly submarine-launched ballistic missiles and medium range air-to-surface missiles, but since the looming threat of international terrorism has greatened, Jacques Chirac reversed his countries stance, mobilizing new nuclear squadrons in Afghanistan and deploying the Charles de Gaulle, a nuc-powered aircraft carrier. Viva la Resistance!

China - In 1964, China became the first Asian nation to develop a nuclear weapon, in response to the perceived threats from both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. They have a public "no first-use" policy as well as a policy of never using these weapons against a nation-state that does possess them. Officially, China claims to possess the "smallest nuclear arsenal" among the nuclear-weapon states. With a program cloaked in secrecy, however, and a government not heralded for its forthrightness, unofficial estimations as to its actual size are, appropriately, all over the charts.

There are three (read: four) other states that are known to have nuclear weapons but have not signed the NNPT and therefore are not bound by its provisions.

They are:



Iraq - Just kidding.






India - In response to China, India tested what they called "a peaceful nuclear device" in 1974 (it was even called the "Smiling Buddha", so how bad could it be?), raising all kinds of fucking questions about the functionality and justifications behind the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They have since tested weaponized nuclear warheads. The U.S. recognizes India as a responsible nuclear state and even signed a "civil nuclear cooperation deal" with them in 2006. They are believed to possess around 40 or 50 warheads.

Pakistan - In response to India's program (startin' to see how this works?), Pakistan began a covert nuclear program that is generally believed to have been supplied by Western nations.
(Read: Us?) Some estimates put the appearance of their first armed device around 1990, but they did not go public with their program until 1998, when they conducted a test at Chagai Hills. Pakistan has refused to join the NNPT before India does and rumors abound about an "overwillingness" to use these weapons during the Kargil Conflict.

The U.S.' relationship with India and Pakistan in regards to nuclear matters is complicated, but the most telling aspect of it, is that after the attacks of September 11, we lifted economic sanctions that were in place against both countries because of their nuclear policies, perhaps in return for their cooperation for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

North Korea - Yeah, despite governmental limitations on his populations electricity usage, Kim-Jong Il has nucs, kind of. In 2006, North Korea reported a successful test of a nuclear weapon but experts seem to believe that the test was only partially successful. As of this writing, the North Koreans are supposed to be dismantling any warheads they have and shutting down their Yongbyon reactor in exchange for beginning the process of normalizing relations with the U.S.

Israel - Israel does not have nuclear weapons.
(Read: Israel has about 200 working nuclear warheads whose existence they refuse to confirm or deny. Everyone knows they exist but we aren't supposed to talk about it. However, Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert "accidentally" gave up the goat (is that an expression?) in an interview last December when he said that Iran hopes "to have a nuclear weapon as America, France, Israel, and Russia (do.)"

Also,

Iran is in the process of developing nuclear weapons even as the rest of the world tries to stop them.

Saudi Arabia is most likely in possession of them (from Pakistan) and have said publicly that, in light of worsening relations with the U.S, they feel it is incumbent on their government to begin a program of development, although this does not seem to have actually happened.

South Africa used to have them, along with a bunch of former U.S.S.R satellites, but they were either dismantled or sent to the motherland after each country signed the NNPT.

The list of countries with failed programs is long and includes Japan, Spain, Egypt, and Romania when it was under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu.

(Wow. That took a long time. In the course of our writing this, almost every team we picked to advance to the Sweet 16 had time to lose.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Reprise

We know, this is old news...but maybe some people didn't see it - and even if you did, it's still pretty funny

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Bermuda Triangle

"The land was first seen by a sailor called Rodrigo de Triana, although the Admiral at ten o'clock that evening standing on the quarter-deck saw a light, but so small a body that he could not affirm it to be land; calling to Pero Gutierrez, groom of the King's wardrobe, he told him he saw a light, and bid him look that way, which he did and saw it; he did the same to Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent with the squadron as comptroller, but he was unable to see it from his situation. The Admiral again perceived it once or twice, appearing like the light of a wax candle moving up and down, which some thought an indication of land. But the Admiral held it for certain that land was near..."
-
Christopher Columbus, during passage throu
gh the Bermuda Triangle area, October 11, 1492

Everyone and their mother know about the Bermuda Triangle - ships disappear, no one knows why, etc... But do you know the details of the events or just how many there have been? Well you do now...

Flight 19 - A training flight of U.S. Air Force TBM Avenger Bombers, it disappeared over the Atlantic on a clear day in December of 1945. The aircraft's pilot, Charles Carroll Taylor, has become the focal point of this debate, with proponents of the paranormal citing his experience and leadership qualifications and skeptics pointing out that Taylor had a penchant for losing his way and ditching aircrafts, there are three documented cases of this during World War II.

Mary Celeste - An abandoned ghost ship that set sail from Staten Island and was found drifting along the coast of Portugal in September of 1864 with no lifeboats or crew aboard. Many believe the passengers of the Mary Celeste floated into the Bermuda Triangle and disappeared. Of course, no evidence of this exists but not a single passenger from the ship was ever recovered.


Carroll A. Deering
- 50 years later, the Carroll A. Deering was found abandoned off the coast of North Carolina after passing through the Triangle. Many chalk this crew's disappearance up to piracy, citing the prevalence of the rum-running trade that was at its height during Prohibition.


Ellen Austin - While in the Triangle area, the Ellen Austin came across an empty vessel and sent a crew aboard, intending to sail with it to New York. During a squall that came hours later, the ships were separated. When the Ellen Austin again encountered the abandoned derelict, the crew members they had sent aboard were missing. No casualty list for the Ellen Austin exists and scholars seem unsure as to what to make of this story.

U.S.S Cyclops - The coolest one. In March of 1918, this naval ship disappeared without a trace and resulted in the largest, non-combat related loss of life in the history of the U.S. Navy. No distress signal was put out and no trace of the vessel has ever been found. 306 crew member perished. There's no prevalent theory in regards to the fate of the Cyclops.

Joshua Slocum - The first man to sail solo around the world, Joshua Slocum and his fishing boat, the Spray disappeared in the waters of the Bermuda Triangle in November of 1909. No one knows what happened to him but many have posited that he was struck by a steamship or a whale.

Douglas D.C-3
- A flight from Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida, this plane and its 32 passengers vanished into thin air around the Triangle. No factually supported theories as to what happened exist.

Star Tiger & Star Ariel - Two more commuter flights that disappeared inside the Triangle without a distress call or any wreckage recovered.

Teignmouth Electron - This was the name of the boat that was sailed by Donald Crowhurst in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, which was a yacht race around the globe. The Teignmouth Electron was found abandoned outside of the Triangle and Crowhurst's body was never recovered. Most serious scholarship on the event holds that Crowhurst was well on his way towards insanity and that the boat race and the pressure of his failing business finally pushed him over the edge, prompting him to take his own life.

SS Marine Sulphur Queen
- Another U.S. Military vessel that "sailed into the unknown" and was never recovered. This one, however, had a history of being "badly-maintained" and was deemed unseaworthy by the Navy before it shipped out of port.

Well, that's the bulk of it.

Most experts hold that we are considering an area that is frequently leveled by tropical storms and that the disappearances in and around the Bermuda Triangle are not particularly notable. The consensus seems to be that the Triangle myth was an old sailor folk legend, stemming from navigation unfamiliarity after the discovery of the New World, which was later embellished by writers to sell books.

Still, where's the U.S.S. Cyclops? Why can't we find a giant Naval collier?

Because aliens took it. That's why.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Now, In the News...

...Duke is upset by VCU!!!! Proving unequivocally that Duke sucks and that we are genius...


...A late winter storm threatens to dump 12 inches of snow on New York City and the early numbers on US winter temperatures come in around average, proving that Global Warming doesn't exist...

...Barrack Obama calls Senator John Edwards "kind of cute", proving that he is at least a little gay.
..


...Iranian President Ahmadinejad plans another trip to New York and asks for 25 visas for 'security agents' and says that a large group of his followers will stay in their private plane at JFK rather than pass through U.S. customs, proving that Iran really isn't taking this whole 'international relations' thing very seriously...

...Scientists discover a new species of leopard with fangs large enough to kill its prey in a single bite, proving that cool things still happen...

...Simon Cowell says that he is more important than Bruce Springsteen, proving that the amount of faith America is putting in this man's opinion needs to be reevaluated...

...Vladimir Putin spurs production of a Russian 'super-agency' to regulate and control the country's media, proving that the motherland has finally reached 'Orwellian nightmare' status...

...New Arcade Fire album, Neon Bible, debuts at #2, proving that good music can still move product...


...Korn MTV Unplugged reaches #9, proving that people will buy anything if the words 'MTV Unplugged' are in the title...

....We copy an entire post from Drudge Report, proving we are burning out on this one post a day shit.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Crossover Appeal

If you like the Awkward Toad, then get ready to love these other unpaid internet op-editorialists (nerds).

ONE MAN INVASION - An Awkward Toad cohort and collaborator, the OMI gives you the skinny (literally and figuratively - apparently the guy only eats vegetables) on the beautifully backward culture of a certain Eastern European country that was once tucked firmly behind the Iron Curtain but now finds itself in the middle of a fast-moving European unionization.

WIFFLEBALL FOR ALCOHOL: CATCH A WIFF - Nestled in the quiet, picturesque suburban sprawl of Northern Delaware, an untamed monster lurks unchecked, unfortunately. It is the wild and woolly Wiffleball for Alcohol league, and this page is where its devoted commissioner documents the evolution of the beast. This year's league promises more hits, less strikeouts (it's almost a statistical impossibility to have more strikeouts than last year), more alcohol, an undisputed champion, and more bare breasts, courtesy of a new league partnership with B-Rad Gone Wild enterprises.

RAGGLE SNAGGLE - We're not gonna lie, this thing hasn't been updated since Xmas. (Notice how we spelled that.) But if you are new to the Snaggle, there is plenty here to sink your unlearned teeth into. Its proprietor works in a laboratory, lives in an apartment the size of most closets, rides the bus to work, and he documents and defends these practices with an avidness worthy of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan except with about half as much sweat and not nearly as much lying. It even has it's very own URL, sucka.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Seinfeld-Kramer's Merv Griffin Set

We've had a long day.

Enjoy this montage from a post-Larry David era Seinfeld episode.

We did.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Top This? Doesn't Seem Possible

Originally posted on the MySpace blog of everyone's favorite famous friend, Keith.

It starts a little slow, but give it...oh say, 39 seconds.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Brackets

The Awkward Toad admittedly doesn't know a whole lot about college basketball. (With so much turnover in the league, how can you?)

We know that Kevin Durant is a skinny, scoring machine. We know that Greg Oden was born in 1988 and looks old enough to be our father. (Or, more likely, to have killed and eaten our father.) And we know that Dick Vitale is blind in his left eye and is a machine of
self-promotion.


We also know (read: hope) that his year the Florida Gators will devour the competition on their way to meet and beat Ohio State in the NCAA Championship game.


We know this for a number of reasons.

First of all, we know we are terrified of alligators and suspect that many of the players in the tourn
ament are as well. We know that almost all of the Gators from last year's National Championship team have returned. And we know that Joakim Noah is a pretty damn good forward and we like the fact that he sports the long hair despite almost constant badgering from fans of opposing teams and the media to cut it.


As for the rest of the games, we've decided to take a slightly modified approach to "bracketology" this year.

In the past, we have spent long days reading about each team, watching Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps disagree with each other on ESPN, and picking and unpicking Creighton to upset whoever it is they are playing in the first round even though we really can't tell you what state Creighton is from or who their coach is or anything about them.

This system has yielded, at best, mediocre results.


So this year, we took a new approach - we put no thought into this whatsoever.


We've got Penn upsetting Texas A&M, even thought the experts seem to like A&M, simply because we love Philadelphia and remember how cool the Penn campus was.


We've got Texas Tech upsetting Boston College because we like watching Bobby Knight yell at reporters.


And we've got VCU upsetting Duke because we can't stand fucking Duke.


That's it. No thought at all. Let's see what happens...


(P.S. - This counts as Monday's post.)

Matt Lauer interviews/hits-on Debra Lafave

I finally got this thing to work.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Phalanx but No Phalanx (Get It?)

In November we ripped New York Times film critic A.O. Scott for his review of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.

We haven't received Mr. Scott's letter of attrition yet but we are pretty sure he's learned his lesson, because his review of Zach Snyder's slow-motion epic
300 is spot-on.

You can read it here...

Or you can read an even better review, from the New York Post of all places, here...

Or you can take our word for it...


300 Sucks.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Other Side of the Coin

In the spirit of full-coverage (and because it's Friday, we can't think of anything else to write, and can probably do this quickly) here are the five best albums by The Rolling Stones.

Aftermath - Like an angry, sarcastic letter from a jilted lover, Aftermath, the Stones' first album of all original material, is a dark, sneering masterpiece. It includes their best two overplayed songs - "Paint It Black" and "Under My Thumb", as well as a rarely heard gem called "I Am Waiting", which was used in the film Rushmore but not included on its soundtrack. Only one bad track - "Lady Jane" - a bit la-di-da for our taste.

Beggars Banquet - Side one starts with "Sympathy for the Devil" and side two with "Street Fightin' Man" but it's the lesser known tracks that make this album essential. "Stray Cat Blues" is the ode to love making (read: nasty sex) that Jagger has been trying to rewrite for 25 years, "Jigsaw Puzzle" closes the first side of the record with nihilistic glee, and "Prodigal Son" (originally by Reverend Wilkins) is hands down their best blues cover.

Sticky Fingers - Their first album for Virgin, Sticky Fingers was also Mick Taylor's debut with the group and his razor sharp guitar sets this one apart. Lyrically, (for better or worse) the whole damn thing is about drugs, from "Brown Sugar" (also about sex with black chicks, which we are in favor of) to "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" to "Sister Morphine". It also bodes their best stab at country, "Dead Flowers" and their best, albeit obligatory, Keith Richards ballad, "Sway".

Exile on Main Street - The best drinking record ever made. Over-long, unfocused and out-of-tune, Exile on Main Street is a masterpiece. With songs as varied and original as the collection of pictures that adorns the album's cover, this record defined early seventies rock, appearing just after the hippie-generation became jaded and addicted but well before things got all gay and make-upy. Highlights - "Rocks Off", "Tumbling Dice", "Torn and Frayed", "Shine a Light".

Tattoo You - We know everyone is sick of hearing "Start Me Up" but the other ten songs on this album are pretty damn good. Most people probably put Some Girls or Let it Bleed ahead of this one, but we hate the songs "Respectable" and "Shattered" (really, really hate, to the point where we get mad just thinking about them) from the former and could do without "Country Honk" and "You Got the Silver", both throw-away country nonsense, from the latter. In contrast, every track on Tattoo You is solid and "Waiting on a Friend" is one of the best, most-overlooked Stones' ballads of all time.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bad Buys (Volume 3)

The Rolling Stones are a great rock n' roll band. Some would say the greatest...

...to which others would then say "No, the Beatles are the greatest"


It is a debate which has raged over four decades, caused a million dru
nken arguments, and spawned a slew of unnecessary "Beatles/Stones Rock-Off's" on local radio stations. (Honestly, how many fucking times can a person listen to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "She Loves You"?)

The Awkward Toad has no official stance on the debate, except that we think it's sort-of pointless.

Whenever it comes up, however, we enjoy playing the devil's advocate, as we know an awful lot about these two bands, probably m
ore than any living being or even supernatural deity should.

First, we always like to point out that the Stones produced what is possibly rock n
' roll's best record, 1972's Exile on Main Street.

However,
we then say, it is the Beatles, not the Stones, who have a better overall catalog, with only one glaring detraction, 1969's Yellow Submarine, which was really just a soundtrack to their cartoon of the same name with a long George Martin score on side two, but which is considered a full album because of the four new tracks included on side one, all of which are pretty worthless.

The Rolling Stones' overall catalog, on the other hand, is anything but stellar.


Which brings us to our third installment of our Bad Buys series, which we are calling...


CRAP STONES ALBUM
S

Black and Blue - Released in 1976, after a two-year hiatus and the departure of guitarist Mick Taylor, Black and Blue has two quality songs, "Memory Motel", which was later made famous on the No Security live disc, with Dave Matthews playing guitar and singing half of the vocals, and "Fool to Cry", which we consider to be the absolute most disposable of all the band's mega-hits. The rest of the album is described by AllMusic as an audition piece for their new guitar player Ron Wood and this seems pretty right. You always know that a Stones' record will be sub par when the song titles resemble the ones here - "Hot Stuff", "Hey Negrita", "Crazy Mama."


Emotional Rescue - Sandwiched between 78's Some Girls and 81's Tattoo You, both classics, Emotional Rescue's disco-rock fusion is pretty much unlistenable. It's obvious that the Stones', not too mention the world's, affliction of Saturday Night Fever was coming to an end, and this disc documents the final stages of the virus. Has there ever been a more annoying "radio-friendly" track than "She's So Cold"? Maybe something by ABBA.


Undercover
-
Again, the titles tell you all you need to know - "She Was Hot", "Tie You Up (The Pain of Love", "Too Tough", "It Must Be Hell" - these are bad songs. On the verge of a breakup and disgustingly addicted to drugs, 1983's Undercover was Mick and company's last ditch effort to keep it together before rehab claimed most of them and the allure of a solo career claimed their limber front man. There's only one good track, the first one, "Undercover of the Night", which sounds like it could have been on Sticky Fingers, if not for the overly-crisp 80's production.

Dirty Work
- If you thought Undercover was bad, then you weren't ready for this
1986 reunion album. You know things are taking a turn for the worse when the featured tracks are "One Hit (To the Body)" and "Winning Ugly". The weight of inner-band tensions, the death of their road-manager Ian Stewart, and heavy drug-addiction (to the point where Jagger refused to tour in support of the album, mostly because he didn't care about it, but also because he knew Richards and Wood wouldn't make it back) finally collapsed the band.

Steel Wheels
- Som
e might argue with this last pick. For many, Steel Wheels has nostalgia value, as it marked the rebirth of The Rolling Stones as we now know them, a hobbling band of overworked geezers who refuse to retire or die. After Jagger and Richards put their differences aside, injected each other, and decided to soldier on, they recorded this 12-song album and toured the world. Unfortunately, "Slipping Away" is the only really good track, and most of the hard rock songs feel rote and by the numbers. The Toad will take 1995's Voodoo Lounge ("Love is Strong", "You Got Me Rocking", "Out of Tears", "Suck on the Jugular") or even 1997's ambitious if ill-conceived Bridges to Babylon ("Anybody Seen My Baby", "Out of Control") over this lump of lame hard-rock riffing.

(Warning: 2005's "A Bigger Bang" is not included here because we don't know anything about it - It seems somewhere around the turn of the century we finally learned our lesson and stopped buying new Rolling Stones' albums. Whew.)