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What’s the deal with: The Fox NFL Robot

January 25, 2011
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Champion of the Sun is happy to present the first post written by our newest contributor, Robin.

Cowboys version shown because lol

That fucking bastard has been at the bottom of the screen for what seems like my entire adult life. I do not understand the appeal of this computer-generated sack of shit. What the hell is the deal with the Fox NFL Robot?

I’ve been watching football off and on for 20 years or so and it seems like this fucker has only been around the last five or six years. In that time I’ve watched games with dozens of people and I have yet to find anyone that isn’t annoyed by the useless CG robot dancing and hitting baseballs and getting attacked by whatever FOX is promoting that week.

I just don’t get it. What the fuck does this cheesy douche have to do with football, or anything else for that matter? Wikipedia informs me that his name is “Cleatus the Fox Sports Robot”. At least Fox can distance itself somewhat from that awful name – he was named by some idiot fan.

Oh jesus, you can even buy an action figure of this thing. I guess I could understand if Fox was sending them out for free as promotional material or something, but what kind of moron would actually spend money on one? If I caught my kid playing with one of these things, he’d be packed off to fat camp for daddy’s chubby little secret in no time.

Hold on while I stretch my robotic neck and point at the camera. Now Let me jump up and down now before I start hitting baseballs into the distance.

Woo hoo! Sports robot!

What is the fucking deal?!

A Couple Great Links

December 16, 2010
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You’ll see more links being posted here in the future. I don’t know why I wasn’t sharing cool stuff that I had been sent or found more often.

Found by Brendon: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/us/16bully.html?_r=1&hp

Found by Nick: http://www.citypages.com/2003-01-29/news/pushing-tin&page=64/

A Quick Note

December 15, 2010
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I decided to delete a post from the site about a certain writer being fired from their position recently.

My intent was to share the story with the small number of people that regularly read the site, but because the story wasn’t something covered in depth anywhere else on the net the post quickly became one of the top matches on google searches for that author’s name and other key words like “fired”. The end effect was that a lot of his fans were being directed to my gloating post.

This page normally gets about 30-50 views a day but suddenly every day 300+ plus were being directed here just to see me delight in someone they like reading being fired. I don’t regret anything that was said, but it wasn’t really intended for the mass audience it was attracting. My goal wasn’t to drive page views by being shocking or mean, I just wanted to share a story with some friends, but I picked a bad medium to do so.

Hopefully deleting the post and a couple of tags will mean that things return to normal around here.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

December 15, 2010

I think it's time I see other shows.

Being a fan of a tv show is a lot like being in a relationship. You put in the time to give an hour each week of your time plus bits of your memory and attention span that could certainly be put to better use and in return you’re entertained and in rare instances inspired to look at the world differently than you did before.

Sometimes you’re set up on a blind date with a new show you’ve never seen before. Maybe a friend tells you that you two would get along, or perhaps a certain actor’s attachment piques your interest. Then you sit down over a frozen pizza and a PBR and find out you two have nothing in common. Sometimes it doesn’t even get to that point if your friend has led you astray before. Oh really, you think I’d like “Mike and Molly”? Weren’t you the same person who set me up on that disasterous evening with “‘Til Death”?

It’s easy to forget about and move on from those quick flings, but it’s something else entirely to break up with a show that you’ve actually invested a good deal of time and emotion into. When you stop being a fan of something you’ve told friends to check out, or that you’ve purchased on DVD, you are not only realizing that the show you once loved has become something else, but you begin to question if you were dumb for liking it in the first place.

Sometimes the answer is easy. I bought “Entourage” on DVD based on hype and a number of people I knew who liked it. I watched the first season and apparently liked it enough to buy the second season, which I also enjoyed. Somewhere during the third season I realized I had made a terrible mistake. What once seemed funny and charming now seemed smarmy and sexist. I realized that the show wasn’t starting to suck, but had in fact always sucked and somehow I had been blind to these faults. I stopped watching it and sold my DVDs. When I run into mutual acquaintances at parties I ask how Entourage is now and laugh in my head that the show is the same crap now as it was then.

Occasionally the separation hurts a little more. When “Heroes” first debuted I was reluctant to get on board. A number of people were comparing it favorably to “Lost”, my favorite show of all time, and it made me resentful of a seemingly inferior show getting lavished with such praise. Eventually though I sat down and watched the first few episodes and though they were certainly not on par with Lost, they were really fun. I watched the first season online, finishing the penultimate episode the evening that the first season finale was to air. I was excited to see what would happen to Peter and Sylar, excited to be watching Heroes as it aired for the first time, and excited to talk about it with friends the next day. Then I watched the episode and it was terrible. It looked cheap, the writing was bad, and the ending left pretty much all of the show’s fans wanting. I tuned into season 2 hoping for better, but the show proceeded to get worse. Eventually I stopped watching. I checked in at the beginning of season 3 and the same thing happened; after a few episodes I had to check out. Heroes and I were through, and a year later the show was put out of it’s misery as most everyone had come to the same conclusion I had. Unlike Entourage though, Heroes and I had some legitmately great moments together. Unfortunately the thrill of the chase vanished and left us with a couple of heroes with nearly unlimited powers (Peter and Hiro) and a villain with unlimited power (Sylar) and a bunch of silly garbage to justify why we should still care.

Occasionally it may become prudent to break up with a show that you’ve spent a good deal of time with because it just isn’t the same entity you fell in love with. Years ago I had to say goodbye to “24” after it proved that the weight of its central gimmick was simply too much to bear. Many of us longtime fans of “The Simpsons” have broken up with the show to some degree, there’s hardly anyone over the age of 25 that considers it a must-watch show each week.

And most recently I found myself at the end of the road with my relationship with “Dexter.” When it started it was dark and mysterious. It felt like Dexter was a half step ahead of being caught by someone he loved and that sooner or later the other shoe would drop. The show kept getting better, the fourth season featuring a frightening turn by John Lithgow was the show’s best. But the recently concluded fifth season showed that the staff is out of ideas. The show needs to radically change (have Deb discover Dexter’s secret!) or die, but Showtime loves the money the show brings in too much to do either. Every episode of the show makes the flaws that have been there all along (the implausibility of Dexter’s constant use of police resources to find people to kill, the show’s terrible supporting cast) bubble up to the surface, and a recent string of dangling plot threads have left me frustrated and, worse, bored. Dexter, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we can see each other any more. It’s not me…it’s you.

And then, as with the end of any relationship, it’s back out into the market to see what else may attractive. Or maybe I’ll just be satisfied that my old fling “Parks and Recreation” just showed up at my doorstep, boozy and ready for some laughs.

The 500 Greatest Things Ever: #333 Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine

December 7, 2010

On paper Richard Cheese is a one trick pony. The idea of “guy reinvents pop songs as lounge tunes” doesn’t sound like it would be enough to sustain a career that’s now entering its second decade. I admit that the idea itself seems hokey and a little bit cooler-than-thou but thanks to Cheese’s smooth delivery and the consummate musicianship of his backing band, Lounge Against the Machine, a week or two will go by where Richard Cheese is the only music I listen to.

As the album cover from the above video demonstrates, Cheese is the master of titling his albums cleverly and changing an iconic album cover image to a more swingin’ version.

Richard Cheese has a number of covers I like much more than the original. I can’t stand “Last Resort” by Papa Roach for instance, but Cheese turns it into to cheeky and emotional lounge journey.

If you don’t like it, there’s really nothing I can say to convince you, I can totally understand someone saying this is cheesy and one note but I’ve never seen Cheese that way. Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine is absolutely one of the 500 Greatest Things Ever.

Around Nature Photos #3

December 5, 2010
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This is a goddamned bob cat.Photo credit to Gary Kraszewski.

Exploding the Myth: Mr. Show was the Greatest Sketch Comedy Show of All Time.

December 1, 2010

I won’t be coy: we’re getting into, with seasons 2 and 3, the place that I think is the pinnacle of Mr. Show With Bob And David’s greatness, which means the pinnacle of greatness in the medium of sketch comedy of which American television has thus far been capable.

That quote is from one of Leonard Pierce’s recaps of “Mr. Show with Bob and David” for the AV Club. First off let’s all thank Pierce for not being coy. It might result in us mistaking him for a critic and not someone who has dreamed of giving David Cross and Bob Odenkirk a tongue bath since Freshman year of college.

As a tribute to his brutal frankness naked fanboyism, I would like to also dispense with the coyness up front. I’m not writing some kind of hipster backlash post about how “Mr. Show” sucks. “Mr. Show” doesn’t suck at all, in fact it’s pretty excellent. Mr. Show gave us this:

This:

And of course this:

But people aren’t happy saying Mr. Show was simply awesome. They want to go the Leonard Pierce route and talk about it as if it is far and away the greatest sketch comedy show of all time. Revisionist fans and pop culture critics talk about Mr. Show as if it was exempt from the greatest flaw that effects all sketch comedy: unevenness.

Mr. Show was just as uneven as the other two great sketch comedy shows of it’s era, Mtv’s “The State” and the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s “The Kids in the Hall.” It was as uneven as other second tier sketch shows from the same era like “Upright Citizens Brigade” and “The Ben Stiller Show.”

Exhibit A: Ronnie Dobbs

Ronnie Dobbs is a David Cross creation and he exemplifies many of the traits that make Cross unbearable in the eyes of many. Cross is a smart, well educated liberal who has a stinging sense of comedy that often dips into condescension for those on the other side. Personally, I find him hilarious, but I do see what the critics are complaining about. Ronnie Dobbs however, I do not find funny. I don’t get how anyone could. The character is made up of low hanging fruit and well worn territory. He’s a dumb redneck, ha ha freakin ha. Odenkirk and Cross apparently thought Ronnie was so funny he got his own movie, “Run Ronnie Run” which went straight to video and is loathed by fans and Bob and David alike (Odenkirk blames the editing but Cross has said “it is the movie we wrote”).

Exhibit B:

This is the pinnacle of greatness for American sketch comedy?

Exhibit C:

Granted this sketch gets good once David Cross’s pretentious character is introduced, but before that there’s a solid minute of awfulness.

From this point on can we all just agree that Mr. Show was great sketch comedy show with a lot of good sketches and stop the ridiculous hipster hyperbole?