Thursday, April 29, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs Villains Episode 11 Thoughts

The Russell/Parvati alliance has been referred to as Russell being under the charm of Parvati. Tonight's episode did nothing but add fuel to that theory.

Russell acted like a jilted lover today. From his reaction to being out of the loop at the start of the episode to his "I won't share that I have an idol" actions after, Russell acted like a teenager who had just been dumped. Heck, his attempts to add Candice to his alliance could be viewed as a rebound girlfriend.

Parvati played her part well, playing hard to get and at the end, when Russell played the hidden immunity idol that he ultimately did not need, she kicked him when he was down, scalding him for using an idol when it wasn't needed. In the end, they seem to have gotten back together, but you know it's destined for failure.

I do give Russell credit though. He actually used his propensity to tell people that he has an idol to his advantage. By telling/showing Candice that he had an idol, he was able to convince her to flip, as the villains was the side that had the numbers. This insulated him from a possible Sandra flip.

Heck, Sandra played exceptionally well as well. She knew that she was in trouble within her villain alliance, so she attempted to flip. Once she found out that Candice was flipping, she moved back to the villain side, knowing that flipping would only alienate her and probably make her the next target.

Where do the heroes go from here? If they are smart, they will try to divide the villains further and then sneak their way into the top 5 of an alliance. Realistically, they are just going to try to get immunity wins.

Finally, was I the only one who thought Colby was pausing Treasure Island because he wanted to get a better view of the ensuing cat fight between Danielle and Amanda? And why did he declare that the clue was Danielle's instead of saying that everybody should hear the clue for the idol?

Coming up later this week: Power rankings and a review of JT's play with the idol.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In other news, JayRo starts hunting for homes in Rogers' territory

Canwest launches Global Reality channel


Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Musings - April 26, 2010

  • It probably deserves it's own post, but the WEC, er, Aldo vs. Faber PPV on Saturday was probably the best MMA PPV I have seen in a long time. When the worst fight that aired was the main event, which was still a great, if one-sided, battle. Jose Aldo is legitimately a top 5 pound for pound fighter, and could easily be top 3. His destruction of Urijah Faber was shocking and yet not all that unexpected (at least in my view.) The scariest part of his dominance is that he is only 23. We could be looking at the start of the greatest MMA career of all time. It is unreal.

  • If you are an MMA fan, track down the Leonard Garcia/"Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung match. It is not a technical masterpiece, but is just a great exciting fight. (Non-MMA fans, think Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward from boxing.)

  • The Blue Jays are introducing Twitter Tuesday. Happily, they did not create a Myspace Monday or a Facebook Friday. I actually like the idea of this promotion, since baseball probably lends itsef to watching live and twittering, but I'm not sure how exactly it will work. Do you have to have Blue Jays twitter messages sent to your phone? Do you have to register with the @bluejays account? And why do I have a cynical feeling this is an attempt to drive texting/data usage for Rogers?

  • They say porn drives technological advances. Here's even more proof.

  • Jeff Probst through the years

  • Joe Nedney defends humankind against the evils of a robot kicker

  • And finally...the Iron Sheik meets Kermit:

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Survivor Heroes vs. Villains Episode 10 Thoughts

This season of Survivor is already in the running for being the best season of all time. Great personalities, memorable physical battles, classic one liners, multiple rivalries, some amazing plays, and 2 of the top 5 bone-headed plays of all time. And yet, I have a nagging feeling that something is lacking. There a presence that should be there, but isn't.

I'm referring to Richard Hatch.

The show just doesn't feel right without him there. Unline All-Stars, the players seem to be willing to accept former winners as players on their own merit, instead of just deciding to be rid of all former winners. This would have given Hatch every opportunity to play at the best of his ability. Could he have been the one to take down Boston Rob or Russell? Would he be the one to be able to resist Parvati's charms?

All of these questions won't be answered, and it's a shame. Hatch is the one element that could have tipped this show well over the edge to being must-see TV for the rest of the viewing audience.

If we're lucky, we'll be able to see this on Survivor 30, or whenever they bring back the All-Star concept.


That sound you hear is the "Russell Hantz is the best player to play Survivor ever" train coming to a screeching halt.

It started to move in Samoa, when Russell found a hidden immunity idol without a clue. It seemed so obvious that the idol would be hidden before it's presence was announced, and yet nobody had tried to find it prior. Then, he orchestrated the come-from-behind ressurection of his tribe after the merge, and continued to dominate the game to such a point as his victory seemed a foregone conclusion.

When he lost, the train gained a lot of momentum to the point where it was the most dominant argument coming out of the Samoa finale. People weren't discussing whether the jury was wrong in giving Natalie the victory; that was assumedto be true. Instead, the result just fed the frenzy over whether Russell was the best player ever or the best player since Richard Hatch. When he was revealed to be a member of the Heroes vs. Villains cast, the buzz began. Will he take down the seemingly unbeatable Boston Rob? Would anybody be able to counter his unusual playing style?

As the show began, we saw a Russell that was alienated from the majority of his tribe. He fumbled the hidden immunity idol clue and then had to reveal it to the rest of his tribe. After the tribe decided (via Boston Robs's brain) that nobody would look for the hidden idol, Russell would notably go off on his own and look for the idol. Nobody outside of his allience of Danielle and Parvati cared for him. But since he found the idol, he was able to create his own luck by putting a thought in Tyson's mind that Russell was going to vote out Parvati. Tyson inexplicably decided to move away from the foolproof plan and inadvertantly cause his own ouster.

Russell played his part well in that sequence of events. He knew that there was going to be a split vote to flush out his immunity idol. But by Hantz's manipulations, Tyson chose to give an extra vote to Parvati and mess everything up. Even then, Parvati was a sitting duck if Russell didn't make a production at Tribal Council of giving Parvati the idol to play. Russell did this to get Coach's trust, and accentuated this by giving a speech about honour and trust.

After a bit of time to gloat, Russell moved on to the big man on shore - Boston Rob. Rob felt threatened by Russell and his abilty to make seemingly crazy moves which work out in the end. Russell was threatened by Rob's phsyical skills and Rob's leadership over the tribe. In the end, Rob was voted out because of how he treated Jerri in All-Stars.

It also seemed like luck was on Russell's side. After organizing the ouster of Rob, the Heroes jumped to the (incorrect) assumption that there was an all-girl alliance in the works. This was reinforced when Coach was the next player out. At this point, Russell started to make mistakes.

With the Coach vote, it appeared that Russell had made some corrections to the main flaw in his endgame - the social game. Russell did not vote Coach out; instead he voted for Courtney with thoughts of the jury. But his moves exaserbated his main fault...his arrogance. Russell was in a position of power and as he is wont to do, he started acting as though the game was already over, and began to revert to his old ways. He alienated Sandra and Courtney by repeatedly mocking them to their face. He caused Jerri to lose a lot of trust in him, driving her to be closer to Parvati. Parvati started to use his arrogance against him.

Russell lucked into an incredible break, when JT decided to give Russell a hidden immunity idol. Given the protection of an idol that his allies knew nothing about, Russell chose to brag to his alliance, letting them know of it's existance - and more importantly in his eyes - his brilliance of how his played those foolish heroes. Now, both heroes and villains are on edge about whether they can trust him.

After a poor decision to vote out Courtney over Sandra for reasons that are still unclear, the merge occurred. Russell and his alliance had come up with a story about the idol, saying that both Russell and Parvati had both played idols. Luckily, the heroes bought this, even with the evidence that Parvati was not afraid of being voted out.

Russell continued his new play style of trusting his teammates, and gave Parvati (who he thought was the target) his idol to protect her. Naturally, he did not know that Parvati had an immunity idol of her own, as she had did the information from him. As well, she was able to read Amanda's plea for her to use the idol as meaning that she isn't actually in trouble. She was then able to use her idols to protect Sandra and Jerri, bringing Jerri closer to her, and putting a larger target on Russell for betraying the Heroes.

We will have to see how Russell reacts to losing control of his alliance. But the story of how Russell Hantz is the best Survivor player of all time has taken a beating, blows being delivered from his own and Parvati's hands.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Roger Ebert did not like Kick-Ass.

I'm not able to truly contrast his thoughts to mine on Kick-Ass, as I haven't seen it. I can say that it doesn't help me to decide whether it is worth me seeing, which is a problem since what he wrote is labelled as a review.

A review should be a guide as to whether a movie, play or TV show is worth watching, or a concert is worth attending. It informs the reader of the reviewer's view of the quality of the product. The tastes of the reviewer are in play, though that is more to give the reader context when reading the review. Ebert's review of Kick-Ass did nothing of the sort. Instead, Ebert dismissed Kick-Ass because it offended is sensibilities.

(I don't mean this as a slight against Ebert's sensibilites - whle I think that 6 year olds are not likely to be seeing anything to do with Kick-Ass, the same arguments can be applied to 11 year olds and be just as valid.)

The problem with what Ebert wrote is that it dismisses Kick-Ass based upon how Kick-Ass will be received by much younger children, even though the review is targetted to be read by adults. The review does not help adults decide if it is worth watching. Instead, it leaves the reader confused as to what to expect from the movie, as Ebert highlights some positives, only to go back to his initial thought about young children.

When reading Ebert's writing on Kick-Ass, it felt as though he should have been a separate essay, with a review covering the merits of the film for the viewing public. It would also work if he dropped the star/thumbs rating system and just wrote about Kick-Ass in a traditional criticism format. The rating system implies a different type of review that Ebert seemed unwilling to provide in his case.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Musings - April 19, 2010

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

I am a bad individual


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Episode 9 Thoughts

Really quick list of thoughts for the show this week:

  • Figures that the Villains would win the Reward challenge, though they basically had autowins with Courtney and Rupert/Colby on the other side.

  • Pavarti finding the immunity idol and not telling Russell is smart, though if he finds out about it he's going to do something about it (ie get rid of her when she's not expecting.)

  • I'm not sure which move was actually dumber - JT giving Russell the immunity idol, or Russell running to tell Parvati. JT was screwed in a sense; having the immunity idol and everybody on your tribe knowing it is bad if somebody flips and yu don't know to play it. Given how JT has played, I could see somebody (Amanda) flipping in order to get rid of him. With that said, the plan was well thought out if every assumption the Heroes made is true. The issue is that you are assuming that the people who were assigned to the Villain tribe are actually telling you the truth. Which is a huge mistake.

  • With that said, Russell telling Parvati was pretty dumb as well. I understand that this season's version of Russell seems to be all about trust, but still, having the immunity idol in your back pocket is something that is a strong backup plan should anything (like Sandra trying to flip to the Heroes) go wrong.

  • On the bright side, Russell telling Parvati gives us a fantastic scene where they read JT's letter out loud.

  • I understand the theory that you want to prevent somebody on your tribe from flipping, so Sandra or Courtney is the target, but, um, Sandra's won the game. She's a bigger threat than Courtney. Get rid of her while you've got a chance.

  • Finally, without comment:

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Your quick Montreal/Washington Playoff thoughts

Even with this being the best possible matchup for Montreal, Washington will win in 5 hardfought games.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Classing up the joint

The Library of Congress announced they acquired the entire Twitter archive. Which puts my inane ramblings in the same spot as the brilliance of Dickens, Shakespeare and many other talented writers.

Yup, time to stock up for the impending apocolypse.

(h/t to Toronto Mike)

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Musings - April 12, 2010

Trying something new here - a weekly post were I post things that I didn't really think warranted a full blog post but still wanted to get out there for your perusal. The added bonus is that this will be in list form, and we all know that this is the MONEY~! format of blogging.

Er, let's begin.

  • What I didn't cover in my post about Anderson Silva was my predictions and theoretical wagering. I managed to go an amazing 4 out of 10 with my picks and lose $19 with my theoretical wagering (though the way the fights I lost on went, I probably deserved to lose a heck of a lot more). JayRo the Greek I am not.

  • I feel really sorry for Frankie Edgar. He beat BJ Penn in a fight that not too many people gave him any shot at winning, and nobody is talking about this at all because of the Anderson Silva fiasco. It's too bad because Edgar's strategy was pretty sound - outlast Penn for the first couple of rounds and then beat him in the last three rounds. Hats off to Frankie Edgar.

  • A quick review of some blogs that I've added to my blogroll on the side:

    • Toronto Sun Cover Reviews - Comedian Michael Balazo sees the humour in the front page of the Toronto Sun and gives us his critiques daily. Go to his Twitter page for one of the better front pages in unintentional comedy.

    • Michael Buble Being Stalked by a Velociraptor - When Michael Buble is attacked by a velociraptor this website will tell the tale as to how it occurred.

    • The Comics Curmudgeon - Your daily comic strips being snarked at

    • metricjulie - Julie Veilleux writes about the Habs, MMA and whatever else ends up tickling her fancy. The results are great and enjoyable writing.

  • I'm not exactly sure this is a good idea: Win a poker tournament, win a date with Tiffany Michelle

  • Joel Keller asks the question I've been wondering as well - Why are so many creeps drawn to Erin Andrews?

  • Oddest twitter account I found this week? Ace, the official feed for the Toronto Blue Jays' mascot.

  • And finally, your picture of the week, as tweeted by the Prime Minister of Canada's twitter feed, are the two most polarizing figures to come out of Alberta, hanging out at the PM's residence.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

What do you do about a problem like Anderson?

Yesterday at UFC 112, Anderson Silva outclassed Damien Maia in much the same way that he outclassed Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. This has become a major issue, not only because Silva is dominating his weight class, but because he's showing up his opponents to the point of embarassment and still managing not to finish a fight. Even UFC President Dana White was embarassed by this fight. So what to do?

Silva has expressed interest in moving down a weight class to challenge Georges St. Pierre for the Welterweight title. White himself expressed no interest in having this happen in the post match press conference, for understandable reasons. If GSP wins, great. But should Anderson win? You screw over two weight classes and possibly damage your number two draw. At the same time, it would be one of the biggest buyrates in UFC history.

There's also the possibility of moving Silva up to the Light Heavyweight division. Silva has already fought two matches in this division, finishing both in the first round. For whatever reason, Silva doesn't use the same antics in the Light Heavyweight division, so ths would seem to be no concern. This is probably the safest move if you decide to move Silva out of the Middleweight division.

What is likely to happen is taht Silva will not headline a PPV for a long time. Whether that means that he will be relegated to co-main event status on PPVs, or if he will headline Spike TV shows. One way or another, Dana White needs to do something to something to stop the fiasco that is Anderson Silva's title defenses. Somehow, I don't think that Chael Sonnen is going to be the answer.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

UFC 112 Predictions

So, if I had thought about this earlier, I would have posted it earlier so that if I sweep the prelims that have already occurred, there would be no question that I actually haven't read any spoilers at all. (I haven't.

I'll throw in any theoretical wagers I might make on the main card based on the odds at Party Bets

Mostapha Al-Turk over Jon Madsen
Matt Veach over Paul Kelly
DaMarques Johnson over Brad Blackburn
Rick Story over Nick Osipczak
Phil Davis over Alexander Gustafsson

Main Card:

Terry Etim over Rafael Dos Anjos
Mark Munoz over Kendall Grove - $20 at 1.55 odds to win $31
Renzo Gracie over Matt Hughes - $20 at 4.40 odds to win $88

Matt Hughes last fought almost a year ago, and did not look sharp at all. (Some would argue that he lost the fight - as somebody who bet on Serra, I would definitely argue that.) It could be argued that he hasn't looked good in a fight since his defense against B.J. Penn in 2006. So I'm going against the grain and choosing Renzo Gracie to be less washed up than Matt Hughes and pull off an upset.

(I also acknowledge that this is (a) not likely to happen unless Hughes has lost all ability to perform takedowns and (b) not a smart method to lay wagers on sports - betting against somebody is always likely to burn you.)

B.J. Penn over Frankie Edgar

No wager here - Penn's odds are 1.10 which are way too low for anything except to add to another bet to get slightly better odds.

My pal Ben Miller thinks that Frankie Edgar can follow the same strategy as GSP did against BJ Penn, by making Penn continually defend against the takedown and thus wear down Penn's shoulder muscles. I understand his theory, and agree that Edgar is actually a more dangerous fighter than Diego Sanchez. But I just don't see Penn having lost his striking ability in 4 months. I have to give this fight to Edgar

Damien Maia over Anderson Silva - $10 at 6.00 odds to win $60

Admittedly, this is a bit of wishful thinking. I'm getting a bit weary of 3 divisions having two classes of fighters (the champion, and everybody else). But if Maia isn't afraid of Silva's striking (a big if after the Forrest Griffin fight), Maia is going to be able to take him down, and he actually has the submission skills that he might be able to do the unthinkable and catch Anderson Silva. Either way, I think this will be more interesting than the Penn/Edgar fight.

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Episode 8 Thoughts

Welcome to the Russell show.

Just in case you were under any illusion as to who the star of this show is, this episode should have waylayed any doubt in your mind. Every episode from here until he's voted out is going to revolve around Russell. Quite honestly, I don't blame the producers in the slightest; they realize they have TV Gold on their hands and they will ride it into the ground. When you throw in how well he has played the game, you get a complete package for CBS and Mark Burnett.

Unfortunately, that means we get very little of the Heroes tribe. This is too bad because the heroes are starting to get interesting. JT finding the Idol and letting everybody know he has it was a bold move that he was forced into once Amanda found him with the idol. But Candice gets the gold star for being the only one to notice that JT is running the show. Will she turn on him? I'm guessing not, as the merge should be coming in next week's episode. It's less likey that she will be able to flip to the Villains tribe, so instead she will stay with what she knows (a theme for this season - knowledge is power.)

One thing that will probably never play out - why did Russell vote for Courtney, while Double D voted for Coach? Is Russell trying to portray hmself as a player of honour (which coincidentally intersects perfectly with his desired gameplay?) Did Russell know that the jury was going to start to be populated with this vote, so he cynically voted for Coach? Is this an elaborate attempt to lay the seeds even further for an all-girl alliance story?

Sadly, I don't think we will get the answer to that question. It will be forgotten at the reunion once Russell refers to himself in the third person for the 35th time.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Just so we're clear

Yes, I was hoping for a Leafs win tonight. Yes, I fully expect the in-a-death-spiral-Leafs to destroy the Canadiens on Saturday. Yes, I am still confident that the Canadiens will make the playoffs.

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs Villains Episode 7 Thoughts

I can't really say it much better than Dalton Ross when talking about this episode. From the greatness of Colby of unleashing his agression in the reward challenge, to Courtney in the immunity challenge and Russell's answer to Rob's question of who the weakest is (Courtney and Sandra, who Russell referred to as "one of these" and then "Right here".) Plus, Boston Rob's last words to Coach ("You're a lttle man.")

One thing that Dalton didn't mention was that it looks like Russellis going to get his preferred environment - a land where chaos rules, and nothing is set in stone. Russell worked best when he was in an environment where everybody was on edge and not thinking rationally, letting him and his moves becomes even more effective. It's going to be interesting to see how these seasoned Survivor players react.

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