Monday, October 31, 2005

I was just flipping around Fark earlier and saw something about the 10 most violent onscreen deaths. It led me to thinking about a friend I made while I was the managing editor of a newspaper in Seguin, Texas.

Robert Burns was the art director for the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I didn't know this when I first met him, though. We crossed paths when I did a story on the reclamation of a small creek that ran behind his house. He was witty and articulate, charming and just a hint of a rogue. I liked him immediately.

We developed a passing friendship, including a couple of lunches and a story on an opry house not far from Seguin where he played the spoons and entertained the locals. I was stunned to find out, however, of his involvement in the original TCM. Robert had many of the props from the movie (and many other movies) in his home, which struck me as really strange. Here was this sensitive, soft-spoken little man in a house full of awful sculptures and images.

He never ceased to amaze me, showing me videos of him performing with two mannequins on sticks, showing off raw footage of various projects. We didn't talk much about TCM -- I hate violent films -- but I did start an interview with him once about his experiences in the industry. He said TCM was an incredibly difficult experience, with long and arduous shoots that were rough on everyone. Robert also told me that despite what people thought, very little fake blood was used (less than a bucket, if I recall). He said that was what really creeped viewers out -- it looked too real, especially when other films used gore by the tanker truck.

Robert and director Tobe Hooper stayed in touch, and apparently both hated the recent remake. I believe they thought they could have done a much better job. In fact, Robert told me he had basically fleshed out a new Massacre movie with what sounded like a great plotline. I don't think I'll share it -- I think it's a piece of Robert I'd like to keep for myself.

He worked as the art director on numerous other films, including "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Re-Animator." Robert was proudest, though, of his starring role in "Confessions of a Serial Killer." Many fans saw his performance as one of the finest recreations of a psychopathic killer ever, although Burns would never admit to more than being adequate.

I was saddened to find out through the Internet Movie Database that Robert took his own life last year after discovering he had terminal cancer. It didn't surprise me, though, as he did things on his own terms. We weren't close friends by any stretch, but still, I just wish I'd known so I could have said goodbye.

Thanks, Robert, for your friendship. We'll miss you.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Welcome to the eighth week of the National Football League, where The Hoser slogged through a Salt n' Pepa week -- push it! I finished 7-7 straight up and 6-6-2 against the spread, a veritable cornucopia of mediocrity. Hey, at least I had a better week than Phil Garner.

I watched in horror as Ben Roethlisberger went wild last week against the Bengals. I mean, how could they hold up against his blistering 14-attempt attack, especially when he completed nine of them? Oh, what -- Willie Parker got the ball a bajillion times? Hard to believe that formula wouldn't have worked the week before with Tommy Freakin' Maddox under center, huh? That Bill Cowher, he's one sharp cookie.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and he's apparently pretty goddamned hot -- wait, that's Nicolette Sheridan?

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as nominating a wildly underqualified crony to be a Supreme Court justice.

Washington at NEW YORK GIANTS (-3): Lessee, Broncos edge Redskins ... Giants edge Broncos ... so it follows that ... Giants 23, Redskins 21.

Green Bay at CINCINNATI (-7.5): Blowing a 17-0 halftime lead to the Vikings gets your franchise rescinded, doesn't it? And I could see the little steam puffs coming out of Marvin Lewis's ears last week while his defense was mauled by Pittsburgh's O-line. Bengals 34, Packers 21.

Chicago at DETROIT (-3): Kyle Orton vs. Jeff Garcia! Doesn't have that Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang drama, does it? Lions 14, Bears 13.

Minnesota at CAROLINA (-7): The Panthers aren't a juggernaut by any stretch, but does one win mean Mike Tice has (insert Dr. Evil pause here) ... righted the ship? Panthers 30, Vikings 17.

Oakland at TENNESSEE (+2): I got all excited when I saw "ROBY" starting for the Titans this week ... until I realized it wasn't former Miami Dolphins punter Reggie Roby. Then I did some research and found out Reggie Roby died earlier this year, which I somehow totally missed. Two things -- 1) Aside from Herman "Thunderfoot" Weaver, Roby was my favorite punter, and 2) What was up with that guy wearing a watch during the game -- didn't Miami have someone to clock hangtime on the sidelines? Raiders 36, Titans 13.

Arizona at DALLAS (-7.5): I really don't like the Cowboys this season ... but I really hate the Cardinals every season. Cowboys 27, Cardinals 17.

Cleveland at HOUSTON (pk): In honor of Halloween and the Browns being pick 'em with the Texans, Paul Brown is spinning in his grave. Browns 20, Texans 16.

Miami at NEW ORLEANS (-2): Saints owner Tom Benson appears to be moving the Saints, even in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's apparent Benson doesn't care about his public perception, though -- I mean, he has to be smoking crack to dance on the sidelines like that, doesn't he? Dolphins 26, Saints 20.

Jacksonville at ST. LOUIS (+3): The Jaguars come in well-rested, while the Rams come in being the Rams. Jaguars 29, Rams 24.

Kansas City at SAN DIEGO (-4.5): Damn it, Arrowhead's worth at least a touchdown in any game. As long as Ladainian doesn't run back kicks and sell beer in the stands, the Chiefs will cover. Chiefs 28, Chargers 27.

San Francisco at TAMPA BAY (-10): Rookie Alex Smiths -- there can be only one! Although I don't expect any beheadings. Buccaneers 27, 49ers 13.

Philadelphia at DENVER (-3): Aside from Brian Westbrook, does Philly even have another running back? There is just no freaking way the Eagles can throw the ball 50+ times against the Broncos and win. Broncos 24, Eagles 20.

New England at BUFFALO (+7): The Patriot D gets back a couple big hitters, while the Bill offense gets more of Tweedledee and Tweedledum at QB. Patriots 30, Bills 14.

Baltimore at PITTSBURGH (-8.5): Cue Brian Billick's firing in 3...2... Steelers 27, Ravens 16.

Lock of the Week: Oakland
Trifecta: Oakland, New England, Cleveland

Week Seven, Straight Up: 7-7
Week Seven, ATS: 6-6-2
Week Seven, LOTW: 0-1
Week Seven, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Seven, Bank Statement: -$800

Season, Straight Up: 58-46
Season, ATS: 50-52-2
Season, LOTW: 3-4
Season, Trifecta: 0-7
Season Bank Statement: -$2,200

Wendy's and the CFL teamed up last night for a pretty cool promotion -- or least one that turned out to be pretty cool. I don't know how well it would have been received if Brian Diesbourg had shanked all four of his field-goal attempts, but the 40,000+ in attendance at the Rogers Centre got a real treat.

I'm watching the video right now (which you can find through the above link), and here are my thoughts:

1) I want the guy's "Wendy's" jersey. That's gameworn, man.

2) What if they'd pulled the name of a 75-year-old man or woman? And would they have shown that on TV? "Here's 75-year-old Johnny Fussbucket, lining up for his first kick ... oh, and he's broken a hip!"

3) Hilarious. Jock Clime and the rest of the team is making this seem like the OT for the Grey Cup. And that dude at the 40-yard kick reminds me wayyyyy too much of Sean Salisbury.

4) 20-yarder wide right, 30-yarder wide right, 40-yarder wide right ... did this guy go to college at Florida State?

5) Someone just said exactly what my old kicking coach used to say -- "Keep your head down -- the cheerleaders will let you know if it went through."

6) Oh, snap! TSN and Wendy's iced their own promotional kicker!

7) Awesome, 40K+ crowd. Maybe New Orleans could move to Toronto?

8) That is absolutely unfriggingbelievable! And the best part was the Argos mobbing him in the middle of the field.

I've already heard grousing about how a Wendy's rep handed Diesbourg one of those big fake cheques for $1 million, but the money actually comes in 40 annual payments of 25 years. Are you serious? It's free money! All those who would refuse the dough every year out of spite for the length of the contract, raise your hand.

That's what I thought.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Welcome to the seventh week of the National Football League, where The Hoser bounced back with an 8-6 against the spread and a solid 10-4 straight up. However, the party that had been scheduled for reaching .500 ATS for the season was cancelled due to an accounting error which had credited me with two more wins than I deserved. Those responsible (some firm named Enron -- I can't recommend them) have been sacked.

New England slipped to .500 on the season, but it's mainly because of injuries. Citing a shortage in the secondary, Pats head coach Bill Belichick recently brought in several older players for tryouts, including Bill Bates, Paul Kruse and the remains of Red Grange.

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and maybe he can get me one of those white tiger cubs from Siegfried and Roy.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as picking the Atlanta Braves to win a World Series.

Kansas City at MIAMI (-2): Did Trent Green's arm fall off or something? Why is Miami favored? Kansas City 31, Miami 20.

New Orleans at ST. LOUIS (-3): God love the Saints (ha!) for hanging in there against Atlanta last week. I suspect they'll be a little down, but hey, they're playing the Rollover Rams! New Orleans 27, St. Louis 23.

Green Bay at MINNESOTA (+1.5): The Vikings' hopes for this season are sunk, but there is some good news -- they have been accepted for the America's Cup in 2008. Green Bay 28, Minnesota 10.

Houston at INDIANAPOLIS (-15): I can't remember a line this big -- or this deserved. Indianapolis GOOGOLPLEX, Houston 13.

Pittsburgh at CINCINNATI (pk): Rudi! Rudi! Rudi! Cincy 23, Pittsburgh 20.

San Diego at PHILADELPHIA (+3.5): Eagles head coach Andy Reid said the rest of the NFC East is "catching up" to his team. Yes, in the same fashion that England "caught up" to Argentina in the Faulkand Islands War. San Diego 28, Philadelphia 24.

Detroit at CLEVELAND (-3): Ugh. Cleveland 17, Detroit 16.

San Francisco at WASHINGTON (-13): LaVar Arrington said he rejected his contract because it contained the "mark of the devil." Well, duh ... Dan Snyder had to sign it somewhere. Washington 31, San Francisco 17.

Dallas at SEATTLE (-3): Historical note -- Alexander the Great was a bedwetter. Side note -- Bill Parcells may be wetting the bed thinking about Shawn Alexander. Seattle 23, Dallas 17.

Buffalo at OAKLAND (+3): That grinding noise you hear is Al Davis's patience wearing thin. Oakland 24, Buffalo 23.

Baltimore at CHICAGO (-1): Ugh II -- Dyspeptic Boogaloo. Baltimore 19, Chicago 17.

Tennessee at ARIZONA (-3.5): Ugh III ... oh, nevermind. There are more dogs on this week's slate than in Takeru Kobayashi's stomach. Arizona 33, Tennessee 24.

Denver at NEW YORK GIANTS (-2): I'm starting to gain faith in Bronco QB Jake Plummer. I'm also starting therapy soon. Denver 27, NY Giants 21.

New York Jets at ATLANTA (-7): The Falcons have exactly one player on the injury report this week. Conversely, the Jets have exactly one healthy player. Atlanta 31, New York Jets 16.

Lock of the Week: Green Bay
Trifecta: Green Bay, Kansas City, Denver

Week Six, Straight Up: 10-4
Week Six, ATS: 8-6
Week Six, LOTW: 1-0
Week Six, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Six, Bank Statement: +400

Season, Straight Up: 51-39
Season, ATS: 44-46
Season, LOTW: 3-3
Season, Trifecta: 0-6
Season Bank Statement: -$1,400

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm really into autographs and that stuff. I just picked up a huge lot from Leland's auction house in New York, more than 170 8x10s. There are some great names -- Johnny Depp, Barbara Streisand, Russell Crowe -- but the most fun has been trying to figure out who some of the unknowns are. I just knew maybe the top 30-40 of the pieces, and the rest was a crapshoot.

This has been especially difficult considering I watch very few movies and very little television. I think I'm happiest with a Val Kilmer auto'd promo shot from "Top Secret," one of my favorite comedies. I also got two Chaka Khan autographs, but even stranger -- I sold one of them the first day. I may start posting a random 8x10 here on occasion, just for fun. I'll put those who identify the signature into a pot and when I run out of John and Jane Does, I'll pick a winner and send out an autograph of someone suitably obscure.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Welcome to the sixth week of the National Football League, where The Hoser went a pathetic 7-7 straight up and an even more pathetic 6-8 against the spread. I just missed on a couple of ATS shots, but then St. Louis's Reggie Sanders just missed that ball in Game 2 of the NLCS and all he got for it was whiplash and a sore ass.

As parity becomes more and more the norm in the NFL, it becomes more and more obvious it's a good thing I'm not putting the rent money on these picks. God, when you can't count on the Eagles to deliver a sound thrashing, what is this world coming to? Pretty soon, someone will write in and tell me Peyton Manning is gay!

We use Danny Sheridan's USA Today odds as the spread, mainly 'cause he's in Vegas and I'm counting on his vote in a Robert Goulet karaoke contest in a couple weeks.

Remember: these picks are just for fun. Using them to wager money is as advisable as having Doug Eddings umpire your family reunion softball game.

New York Giants at DALLAS (-3.5): Bill Parcells has got the Cowboys rolling and while the Giants are improved, a team that can shut down the Eagles can shut down Eli Manning. Dallas 24, NY Giants 17.

Carolina at DETROIT (-1): Both of these teams had bye weeks in Week 5 -- well, they played Arizona and Baltimore, respectively, but what's the difference? I like the Panthers' skill players better than I like the Lions' ... errr ... anything. Carolina 29, Detroit 20.

Atlanta at NEW ORLEANS (+5.5): After last week's complete and utter meltdown against Green Bay, can Jim Haslett regroup the Saints and top the hobbled Falcons? No, he can't. Atlanta 34, New Orleans 16.

Minnesota at CHICAGO (-3): I would say the Vikings were well-rested after a bye week, but some of them chose to have a team outing that was like The Love Boat on acid. Still, we now know what Minnesota can do that Chicago can't -- score. Minnesota 22, Chicago 17.

Washington at KANSAS CITY (-5.5): Did the bye week allow the Chiefs to get over their soul-crushing, gut-wrenching, lily-livered complete and utter collapse against Philly two weeks ago? I'm guessing no. Washington 26, Kansas City 24.

Cincinnati at TENNESSEE (+3): I looked up the word "titan" and to paraphrase Inigo Montoya of "Princess Bride" fame, I do not that word means what Tennessee thinks it means. Cincy 31, Tennessee 20.

Jacksonville at PITTSBURGH (-3): This entire line centers around Tommy Maddox or Charlie Batch quarterbacking the Steelers for a week. So what, they can't hand the ball to Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker 50 times? Pittsburgh 23, Jacksonville 19.

Cleveland at BALTIMORE (-6): The Ravens racked up an astonishing 21 penalities in last week's loss. Does anyone remember when Brian Billick was a genius? Cleveland 13, Baltimore 12.

Miami at TAMPA BAY (-4.5): Even with Ricky, the Dolphins will get smoked. Tampa Bay 22, Miami 16.

New England at DENVER (-3): I know the Pats are getting hit hard with injuries, but I think offering the team trainer position to Bill Romanowski is going too far. Denver 24, New England 23.

NY Jets at BUFFALO (-3): The good news -- Vinny Testaverde will complete 70% of his passes on Sunday. The bad news -- 30% of them will be to the Bills. Buffalo 20, New York 16.

San Diego at OAKLAND (+2): Has there ever been a better 2-3 team than the Chargers? Geez, who made this schedule -- Torquemada? San Diego 33, Oakland 19.

Houston at SEATTLE (-9): Every week I say the Texans will finally cover ... and they don't. Screw it. Seattle 41, Houston 13.

St. Louis at INDIANAPOLIS (-13.5): Despite my normal jabs at him, I hope Mike Martz makes a speedy recovery and returns to football soon. I just hope it's coaching the
Philadelphia Soul. Indianapolis 30, St. Louis 23.

Lock of the Week: San Diego
Trifecta: San Diego, Washington, Minnesota

Week Three, Straight Up: 7-7
Week Three, ATS: 6-8
Week Three, LOTW: 0-1
Week Three, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Three Bank Statement: -$800

Season, Straight Up: 41-35
Season, ATS: 36-38
Season, LOTW: 2-3
Season, Trifecta: 0-5
Season Bank Statement: -$1,800

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I love a good laugh, and I love a good eBay listing. This gentleman unloading a pair of leather pants bought for all the wrong reasons is both in spades. Enjoy, and be sure to read all the questions.

Down and dirty this week -- no time to be funny!

Chicago at CLEVELAND(-3): Bears, 20, Cleveland 14.
New Orleans at GREEN BAY (-3): Packers 22, New Orleans 20.
Tampa Bay at N.Y. JETS (+3): Bucs 17, Jets 13.
Seattle at ST. LOUIS (-3): Which coach is the bigger moron? In a dead heat, it's ... Mike! Seattle 30, St. Louis 26.
New England at ATLANTA (-2.5): No Michael Vick vs. almost no defense. Take Bill B. Pats 24, Atlanta 21.
Miami at BUFFALO (-2): Kelly Holcomb should have been the starter from Day 1. Bills 27, Dolphins 20.
Baltimore at DETROIT (-1): I think the Ravens got a little of their mojo back last week. Ravens 16, Lions 10.
Tennessee at HOUSTON (-3): At least Houston's D isn't awful ... just awfully tired. Texans 20, Titans 16.
Indianapolis at SAN FRAN (+15): Indy 34, San Fran 13.
Carolina at ARIZONA (+2.5): Panthers 26, Cards 22.
Philadelphia at DALLAS (+3): If you can't score 1st and goal from the one against Oakland, you can't beat Philly. Eagles 30, Cowboys 19.
Washington at DENVER (-6.5): D.C.'s D will keep this close and they'll pull off the upset. Washington 23, Denver 20.
Cincinnati at JACKSONVILLE (-3): Ride, Carson, ride! Cincy 29, Jacksonville 18.
Pittsburgh at SAN DIEGO (-3): Martyball! Chargers 26, Steelers 21.

Lock of the Week: Philadelphia
Trifecta: Philly, Cincy, Baltimore

Week Three, Straight Up: 9-5
Week Three, ATS: 7-7
Week Three, LOTW: 1-0
Week Three, Trifecta: 0-1
Week Three Bank Statement: +$200

Season, Straight Up: 34-28
Season, ATS: 30-30
Season, LOTW: 2-2
Season, Trifecta: 0-4
Season Bank Statement: -$1,000

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I just had to share this wonderful response to a comment I made on SportsFilter. The reality of just how low the Bush administration and the U.S. military has sunk in trying to get the American people to buy into the war in Iraq is amazingly plain in the saga of the family of former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Iraq, but the Army (and my gut tells me Donald Rumsfeld) chose to mislead the public and Tillman's parents about the incident, presumably to continue their use of Tillman as a PR figurehead for recruitment and the war.

Here was my reaction to the article:

Completely fucking despicable, and I'm not even talking about Ann Coulter (okay, I'm talking about Ann Coulter too). At what point do the American people realize what a bunch of lying jerks they've voted into office -- twice -- and set fire to the White House to roust these bastards?

/oh, and when exactly will Coulter enlist for her turn in Iraq?

Over the top, I admit ... but at some point, won't the American public just get tired enough of this stuff to revolt? Apparently not, as my new friend Phyllis Colburn wrote to me:

I just read your comments about "at what point do the Americian people realize what a bunch of lying jerks they voted into office, twice and set fire to the White House to roust these bastards." Needless to say, sir, I find your comments not only offensive but reckless. If you don't like Bush or his policies, fine. But burn down the White House? Come on!!!

I'm so sick of dealing with people like you who spend alot of time looking down their nose at everyone. Bush won in 2000 because the Democratic Party backed a Presidential nominee who was, and still is, an arrogant asshole who couldn't develop an original thought to save his life. And, he won again in 2004 because the Democrats nominated another arrogant asshole. He won because the Democrats and their buddies in the media, could not come up with a viable alternative. So, Mr Frazer, it's not about stupidity. Rather than encourage people to "burn down the White House", why don't you do yourself a favor and get your facts straight? Oh that's right. I forgot. You're Canadian. I stand corrected.

Hey, at least she called me "sir", right?

Phyllis, here's my response to you:

Dear Phyllis,

You know, after reading your email, I now completely agree with you. I really shouldn't hold the American people at fault for voting for Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Al Gore and John Kerry are "arrogant assholes" for sure, especially the unoriginal Gore. No one would frame George Bush, a man who failed at just about every business venture he ever tried and yet finds himself intelligent enough to lead a country, as arrogant. Dubya was even clever enough to avoid Vietnam -- while those two Democratic dopes actually enlisted! Shoot, George has even said himself that God wants him to be President, which I find strange. I always thought of God as a socialist, but hey, who am I to question George, right?

I must also admit, Phyllis -- I, until recently, was a member of that soft-headed liberal media to which I think you were alluding. I mean, I've never voted for a Democratic presidental candidate in an election, and I wrote editorials in favor of America's actions in Iraq in the early days of the war, but it could have been a smoke screen, right? The paper is called the Spencer County Journal-Democrat after all. And it certainly wasn't the young men I interviewed coming back from Iraq -- poor kids who were duped into joining the National Guard as weekend warriors or the Army as a way to get a job and then sent to die in the desert, and older men forced overseas while their families were left to struggle at home while Bush's administration actually tried to cut combat pay -- who changed my mind, right? I think what turned me might have been all those WMDs we found in Iraq.

As you might have already guessed, Phyllis, I am an American. I still hold citizenship in the United States and left just over a year ago. I don't blame you for thinking my wrongheadedness comes from being a Canadian, though. I mean, when you think of a riot or violent protest, you always think Canada before the U.S., right? I mean, it's the Canadians who have been out there supplying weapons to terrorists for the last 30-40 years!

But don't worry, Phyllis -- I'll stay up North while I'm working to "get my facts straight." Actually, I guess you should worry a little. You do know about this little incident, right?


Wayne Frazer