The Gazelle – 4/17 – NBA Playoffs Preview

Jamuel Wallace, Zeke Carico & Ernest Tolden join me to discuss the NBA Playoff matchups as well the recent Aaron Hernandez decision.

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The Gazelle – Sunday Night TV Review

Sunday night television is back! Listen in as Victor Porter & Hillary Hiss join me to discuss the premiere of Game of Thrones, Mad Men and Daredevil.

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Anonymous Corner: Gwen Stefani ruined a date for me

NOTE: These Anonymous Corner stories are anonymous tales of life lessons and awkward moments given to me to publish.

 

 

As a 37-year-old heterosexual man, I would say I’m very comfortable with who I am. Which is why I have no problem letting the world know it: I’m obsessed with Gwen Stefani. It started out as a fan of No Doubt in the 90’s. She was my first crush, my first concert and also my first cd. I kept a No Doubt poster on my wall well past the normal age for a functioning adult to keep posters all over their wall. I have no shame when I say I even bought all of her solo albums.

 

Gwen Stefani also ruined a promising date I went on.

 

The year was 2005 and I was a promising grad student studying the exciting field of microbiology. In my lab, I was partnered up with this beautiful woman who we’ll just call Alice. Her name is obviously not Alice as no one has been purposely named Alice for 50 years. I fancied myself as decent when it came to speaking to women but Alice was different. After somehow working up the nerve to ask her to accompany me to a nice restaurant, I felt on top of the world.

 

I made a few mistakes. First, I decided to wear the cologne, Polo Green. To give you an idea of what it smelled like, realize this: Polo Green has been in circulation since about 1978 and still smells like it. As if smelling like gasoline wasn’t enough, when Alice stepped into my car and pressed play on the CD player, “Rich Girl” was blaring across the speaker. Keep in mind; this was 2005 so not every car on the lot was equipped with a built-in CD player. Which means I had one personally installed. Which also meant that I spent the previous day blasting Gwen Stefani.

 

Alice laughed it off as I explained that I was a fan. At the restaurant, we had a great time sharing what we had in common and laughing about everything from carrots to George Bush. When it came time for us to leave, she asked to see my apartment, which was on the way. Not thinking anything about how my place looked, I quickly agreed and we drove back to my place.

 

As we entered my apartment, I mentally patted myself on the back when the place wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Everything seemed okay until Alice decided to waltz towards my room. That’s when I remembered the life sized Gwen Stefani poster on my wall. Then I remembered the No Doubt picture collage I made when I was 17 hanging above my bed. My still-playing DVD of Rock Steady Live with Live in the Tragic Kingdom sitting on top of the television. I bet you didn’t even realize No Doubt released even one concert DVD. My room was a shrine to No Doubt.

 

I tried to long jump over the couch to stop Alice from getting to my room and realized I was in no shape or form a long jumper when I tripped and hit my head on a bar stool. Alice immediately came over and showcased nurse skills that I didn’t know she had. Crisis averted right? Wrong. Alice went looking for Tylenol in my room and found everything. The weird part was she never said a word about it and neither did I. I took her home during the most silent car ride of all time and never heard from her again, even in the same class. You might think I’d feel like an idiot. Nope. If she’s too good for Gwen Stefani, then she’s not for me.  – Anonymous

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Five things I’d Rather Do than Talk on the Phone

It’s happened to us all. You’re driving down the highway after a long day of work, tired and ready to make a bad decision. Not the illegal kind of decisions, but the “this is my fourth fast food meal of the week and it’s only Tuesday” kind. You flip on the radio and that song you like to croak out in an attempt to sing is on the radio. You get about ten seconds into the song and then….

It happens.

Your phone is ringing and it’s someone you know. I’d be more likely to answer a number I didn’t recognize because I’m delusional and expect a random phone call letting me know of my impending lottery earnings. If it’s someone you know, a million questions run through your head in a 6 second span.

What do they want? How long are they going to want to talk? Is this person a talker?

You have a quick decision to make. And if you’re me, most of the time you’ll let it go to voicemail and see if they leave a message or text. If they do neither, it couldn’t have been important.

I’m not sure when we all decided text messaging was more useful, but lets face it, no one really wants to hold the phone up to their face for an hour. Especially if you own one of the trapper keeper sized IPhone 6pluses. 74% of all mobile phone users worldwide use text messaging so I can’t be alone in this thinking right?

To justify my shortcomings, here are ten things I’ve decided to do rather than talk on the phone at least once in my life:

  1. Continue watching whatever the hell was on TV

I watch a fair amount of television with an unruly amount of Cool Ranch Doritos and Salsa in front of me. Sometimes, I just want to spend a Saturday morning watching a terrible movie like Man of the House with the now with one less fan Tommy Lee Jones. If I’m going to answer the phone, you’d better hope I was suffering through an episode of The Challenge (Still won’t answer) or Justified (Won’t answer either).

  1. Absolutely Nothing

There is a certain satisfaction in doing absolutely nothing on a work-free day. The annoyances of your day job are forgotten while you sit around and contemplate a trip to Wal-Mart or heating up another Hot Pocket. There is something to be said when you avoid a phone call to do nothing for just fifteen more minutes. Think about how much sense that doesn’t make.

  1. Listen to Music

Covered in the introduction, but if I’ve decided to dance around my apartment to James Brown’s “The Payback” in my bathrobe then leave me be! It makes no sense to end my personal dance show to listen to a story about the deal Ted got on his new truck.

  1. Eat

If I’m in the middle of nice plate of barbecue and corn, please don’t expect me to answer. Eating in the privacy of my home is my time to celebrate the company of myself. Keyword: privacy. Which also means I won’t be accepting phone calls.

  1. Play Games/Facebook Scroll

Here you are, typing that incredibly witty reply to a comment on your Throwback Thursday picture and your dentist calling to remind you to make an appointment interrupts your creative genius. If you haven’t pressed ignore during the middle of an important Facebook scroll, I just don’t really know if I can trust you. We all know how that newsfeed refreshes.

The day and age we all live in has made society more reliant on their phones. Does this make me unreliable during a distant emergency? Probably. Does this make me or anyone else a bad person? Of course not. But for future reference; the next time that my house is on fire, just shoot me a text. It’ll probably reach me faster.

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The Gazelle Podcast – 1-13-2015

Lauren Moranor & Jamuel Wallace join Apollos as they discuss the NFL playoffs, The first National championship of the college football playoff era, Garnet-Howard, the Rob Konrad story and the Golden Globes.  https://archive.org/embed/gazelle11315_201501&autoplay=1 https://archive.org/embed/gazelle11315_201501

Cavaliers win the draft lottery; Lebron whispers continue

Against seemingly impossible odds, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery for the second straight time & third time in four years. According to new GM David Griffin, the phone calls have already started rolling in for possible trades for that number one pick. As lucky as the Cavs have been, winning the lottery hasn’t resulted in much team success. Last year’s #1 pick Anthony Bennett looked terrible for a majority of the season before finally looking serviceable  toward the end. 2011’s first overall selection Kyrie Irving is uncertain of his future with the team. Not only has this team fired two coaches(one for the second time) and a GM within a year, they’ve been proven to be poorly managed for the past ten years. Who knows what the new regime will do but their outlook is not good with a team in disarray. With all of these facts against the Cavs, can you guess what has Cavs fans excited?

 

 

 

If you guessed the possibility of the best player in the world and current Miami Heat do-everything forward, returning to his “beloved” Cleveland area and winning a championship, you’re correct.

Lebron hasn’t closed the door on the chance and that’s been enough to cause a certain section of Cavalier fans to even cheer for James when he plays in the city. My only question is, why?

Why would he want to play for Cleveland? It all sounds like a fairy tale to me. Lebron leaving Miami in the summer or in 2015 and choosing to return to a young Cavs team still building and not competing for the title. James would be out of his 20s and looking to add more championships to his resume. How anyone thinks he would have a better chance at doing this in Cleveland versus a confirmed great organization in Miami is beyond me. Charles Barkley came out on “SVP & Russilo” and said he hopes that Lebron returns to Cleveland because their fans are “real fans.”

While the Cavs fanbase does seem more dedicated than Miami, these are also the same fans who burned his jersey and called him a “sell-out” and even worse. This team is owned by Dan Gilbert, the same owner who I can’t look at as any more than a child for writing a letter to the fans where he made comments such as:

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

 

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE. You can take it to the bank.

I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma. Just watch.”

If any of that was ever said about me, there is no way I’d want to voluntarily work for the owner of that statement.  People are underestimating the value of character in this situation. Lebron has shown himself to be a very responsible and mature individual, I’m sure character matters to him.

It has also been suggested that the Cavs go after Kevin Love to help convince Lebron to come back next year. This makes even less sense. So Love is just going to leave one bad situation for another, in hopes that Lebron comes and saves the organization. After losing so much in Minnesota, Kevin Love wants a chance to win NOW or at least join a team with some kind of tangible future in front of them. The best advice for the Cavaliers is hire a new coach, draft Joel Embiid and work on creating and growing a team that compete for a title. Not hoping and wishing for a dream that may never be realized.

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7 of my favorite moments from 90’s sitcoms

I came to terms with the fact that I enjoy television more than the normal person about two years ago to this day. I had just finished a power run through four seasons of “Heroes.” Anyone who has ever watched this show beyond the first season will tell you that to complete four seasons has to be equal to some form of torture. But I somehow powered through this frustrating series because I was attracted to the central story arch. The first season allowed me to become invested in Hiro & Peter and concerned for their general safety. Hour-long dramas tend to do that to their audiences in ways that movies sometimes can’t do with 90-120 minutes of screen time.

But before I started watching shows of the hour variety, situational comedies always caught my interest. The mid-90’s Fox lineup along with TGIF were some of the most entertaining blocks of television I can remember. Go and mention details from a specific episode of Family Matters” within a group of people and watch how the conversations goes from memory after memory of the show.

While on one of my “visionary streams of consciousness,” my thoughts traveled from sitcom to sitcom before I decided that, hey…maybe I should blog about it! So without further ado, here are seven of my favorite moments from 90’s sitcoms, all chosen by if I’m still laughing at them at the close of 2013:

7) Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air – Ashley asks Will about Sex

Best Lines:

Ashley: Besides, we’ve already discussed all the technical stuff. I mean, I know all about eggs, fallopian tube-
Will(standing up): Am I gonna have to wash your mouth out with soap young lady!?

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” makes my short list of favorite tv shows I’ve ever watched and this was one of the funniest scenes for me. Young Ashley and her new boyfriend debate taking their relationship to another level but the thought scares the both of them. Ashley decides to confide in her hip, older cousin Will. Not only is the scene hilarious but also ironic because Will tries to talk Ashley out of sex, the younger cousin reminds him that he the kind of girls he likes do the exact opposite of what he’s telling her. It was one of the earliest moments of watching a kid from Philadelphia grow into a mature man.

Watch for: Will’s terrible early-mid nineties fashion sense and his attempts at inserting himself into Ashley’s date.

6) My Brother & Me – Alfie & Goo confront Big Lou

Best Lines:

Alfie: Which one of you is Lou?
Big Lou: Who wants to know?

How did this show only last thirteen episodes?!? Anyone who watches this show feels like it was at least three seasons probably because of how long it ran in syndication. This was my favorite episode, “The Big Bully.” Dee-Dee is getting beat up by a bully at school and comes to Alfie & Goo for help. After a failed attempt at teaching him to fight, Alfie & Goo decides to confront Big Lou themselves….only to find Big Lou is a she. Almost 20 years after this episode premiered, I still quote it around my brothers and Lou is a nickname we use for my sister.

Watch For: The conversation between Dee-Dee and his friends about comic books. The child acting is hilarious.

5) Kenan & Kel(Two Heads are better than None) – Kel needs Water

Best Lines:

Roger: I promise you, everything is going to be fine. I wouldn’t let you go if there was any danger.
Kel: That’s easy for you to say, Mr. I Want to Stay with the Car!
Roger: Will you be quiet?!

I’m starting this off with another question, who is surprised Kenan made it big and Kel didn’t? As a kid, I always found Kel hilarious but as an adult, Kenan was obviously more funny. But in the television movie, “Kenan & Kel: Two Heads are Better than None,” Kel steals the show. The family car breaks down in the desert and our heroes decide to go search for help. Moments later, Kel seems to be struggling with the heat and on the verge of death. Just when you think you’ve lost Kel, Kenan turns around as the camera pans to his parents standing maybe 50 feet away and asks for some water.

Watch For: After only packing an umbrella and some underwear for the trip, watch who boasts after it begins raining.

4)  Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – Nicky’s new Boxing Coach

Best Lines:
Will: Momma said knock you out!

Will picks up Phil & Vivian’s youngest son Nicky from his boxing lessons with his coach, Helena. Will teases Helena about her sex, insinuating that women shouldn’t be boxing. The part most people remember from this episode is either Will getting knocked out or getting his comeuppance at the end. But my favorite part is the initial fight challenge. If you’ve ever been hit in the stomach, Will’s reaction to Helena’s punch is hilarious. It’s exactly how anyone would react.

Watch For: Will’s reaction after Helena punches him in the gut.

3) The Jamie Foxx Show – Westside Connection makes an appearance

Best Line:

Ice Cube: You need to check out the party later, it’s gonna be off the hook.
Fancy:
I’d love to!
Jamie: Uhhh Uhhh…Fancy what the hell?

As much as I enjoyed the “Jamie Foxx Show,” the most memorable moment of the show  for me was when Westside Connection made an appearance. For those who don’t know, Westside Connection is a popular gangsta rap group composed of Ice Cube, Mack-10 & WC. Jamie Foxx was at his finest in this episode as he managed to mix excitement, jealousy and confusion into one emotion. Anybody would be excited to see your favorite celebs, but after switching up his accent and claiming he should sagged his pants for the occasion, Jamie telling Fancy to “act like she’s seen someone before” is classic.

Watch For: Everybody but Ice Cube and Mack-10 lose their minds when WC rises to pay the hotel bill. “Don’t set it off, Don’t..set..it..off!”

2) Boy Meets World – And Then There was Shawn

Best Line: 

Shawn: Our soon-to-be first victom….
(Main cast looks at Kenny)
Kenny: Me? Why me?
Corey: Well Kenny it’s certainly not going to be any of us!

Most shows do some sort of holiday-themed episodes but there was none that stuck with me more than the Halloween special of “Boy Meets World.” The episode was built like the movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and even featured an appearance by Jennifer Love Hewitt. Eric was up to his usual tricks as the gang tried to figure out who was killing everyone off. If I had to explain what I liked about the show, this episode would sum it up in one swoop. NOTE: I had to use myspace video as Youtube doesn’t have the episode thanks to Disney.

Watch For: Will Friedle’s character Eric’s facial expressions throughout the entire episodes

https://myspace.com/damien_roads/video/boy-meets-world-and-then-there-was-shawn/62600420

1) Martin – TITO!!

There were so many classic moments but I picked the “Hollywood Swinging” episode as my favorite. Martin goes to Hollywood to appear on a talk show and threatens to fight at least two Michael Jackson look-a-likes. Terrible look-a-likes. “Michael” finally catches up to Martin and sucker punches him, starting a fight. I remember this episode vividly because I laughed so hard kool-aid came out of my nose. Being a fan of Michael Jackson, if you can’t laugh when Michael screams “Tito!” or when Martin claims he bought La Toya’s album then you don’t have a soul.

Watch for: The awful Michael Jackson voice that sounds more like a bad Eddie Winslow impression.

Honorable Mention:
Wayans Bros – Six Degrees of Marlon episode
Martin – Varnell Hill
Kenan & Kel – Ron Harper episode
Fresh Prince – Oprah episode
Family Matters – Carl & Urkel vs The Dragons
Home Improvement – Tim demonstrates the use of a saw

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Just how good is “12 Years A Slave?” – Movie Review(with NO spoilers)

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Slavery is a rough, evil & dark piece of world history.  Like others before him, Director Steve McQueen (Shame) tries his hand at bringing the monstrosity that was slavery in the United States to the big screen. 12 Years a Slave is not only a look of the domestic slave trade in the United States, but also a view of the great cotton boom that flooded the deep south and deepened the pockets of many a slave trader.

Although 12 Years a Slave will be compared to Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained(2012), they are very different films. Django was escapism at its finest. A film focused on slavery  that managed to lean more on the cartoonish side and still remained entertaining.  12 Years is the realistic account of Solomon Northup, a free and educated black man living in New York, who gets kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. The story of Northup’s kidnapping is not totally common but is something that was documented to have actually happened to free black men.

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Solomon is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, a British actor best known for his work in films such as American Gangster, 2012 & Children of Men. This may be the film that propels his career to new heights. Ejiofor was amazing as Solomon, able to convey a wide range of emotion without using long-form speech. It was his large eyes and body language that told the story of what Solomon was feeling, as most of the time his mouth would earn him lashes. The thought of revealing his true identity and then being resold into further obscurity was too much for Solomon to bear. As stated more than once in the movie, a literate slave was a dangerous one. Amongst a cast full of more notable names, Ejiofor was able to stand out on his own.

Michael Fassbender, a frequent collaborator of Steve McQueen’s, gives his finest performance of his career as the cruel slavemaster Edwynn Epps. As horrible of a person Epps appears on screen, appparently this was only the tip of the iceberg as he was reportedly a much worse person in reality. The character of Edwynn Epps is McQueen’s example of a deeply flawed man somehow in charge of other human beings. It doesn’t help that his character is constantly berated by his wife, played by Sarah Paulson of American Horror Story fame. In my opinion, Paulson was the most cruel character in the movie;  she spends each minute of her on-screen time showing no positive human emotion. As a fan of Paulson’s work, it was refreshing to see her play someone totally different from her usual roles.

There are many other actors and actresses who make an appearance, including Brad Pitt, who is also one of the producers of the film.  Lipita Nyong’o may invoke some Academy Award murmuring after her astounding performance as the slave “Patsey,” the object of Epps’ desire and anger.

One of my favorite things about this movie was the imagery. There were several long and steady camera shots that really let emotion sink in with viewers. If there was a painful reaction shot of Solomon, you felt the emotional pain also.

Warning to those with simple stomachs, the movie doesn’t hold back. The reality of slavery was harsh and 12 Years doesn’t hold back on the violence or language. It also takes a look at slavery not only from the slave point-of-view but also the view from the plantation owners.

I believe in confronting problems head on, versus ignoring issues. As harsh and real as slavery was, it’s a part of history and I applaud filmmakers who attempt to tell the story without holding back.  There will be cringe-worthy moments and points where you wonder if you will remain haunted by the brutal images on screen. I urge you not to turn away or skip out on this film. If you do, you’ll miss an almost masterpiece from Steve McQueen and one of the most powerful films released this this decade.

Final Grade: A-

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Rick “The Model” Martel is back?

Remember these vignettes from late 80’s, early 90’s  wrestler Rick “The Model” Martel?

 

Well it looks like he’s back….and he’s black?

 

 

And before you ask, yes I do a lot with my free time.

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Breaking Bad Showdown: Walt vs. Jesse; Why I choose Jesse

As Breaking Bad nears the middle point of the second half of the final season, the line has been drawn very clearly in the sand: Jesse Pinkman versus Walter White.

Fans of the show are more divided than ever over these two pivotal characters in television history. Who is right? Who is wrong? Is Walt truly evil? Is Jesse really “good?” Some fans are referring to their showdown as reminiscent of Batman versus The Joker. Although I can see a point or two, the more accurate comparison would be Robin versus The Joker. A former sidekick decides to take matters into his own hands against the most evil of the evil. Jesse connecting the dots about the swiped ricin cigarette was the moment in his mind, where Walt was confirmed as the source of Jesse’s emotional pitfalls. Robin is attempting to thwart The Joker’s plans, but will he succeed?

While there are many fans rooting for Jesse to get his revenge, there is a strong contingent of fans rooting for Walt. This group sees Jesse as annoying and ungrateful. Jesse wouldn’t be where he is “without Walt.” While there is some truth in that statement, you could also switch the names around without clouding the meaning. It’s Walt who keeps talking Jesse back into the game. Sure Jesse is weak, he’s supposed to be. There are two types of people in this world, leaders and followers. To understand why Jesse deserves fan sympathy more than Walt, you have to understand the difference between leaders and followers.

Followers always have an excuse…
Leaders always have an idea…
Followers always blame others…
Leaders fix the situation….
Followers make promises…
Leaders keep commitments…
Followers let it happen…
Leaders make it happen…
Followers say, ‘Why don’t THEY do something about it?’
Leaders say ‘Here’s something I can do.’
Followers live in the past…
Leaders live in the here and now.” ~Unknown

When I see Jesse making brash decisions such as throwing millions of dollars out of a moving car, instead of seeing the surface(a guy doing something 95% of people wouldn’t do) I see the interior. What do we know about the character of Jesse Pinkman that has never wavered? He’s emotionally unstable. He doesn’t go through the same process of thought as Walt does when making a decision. He’s been the wild-card since day one that Walt has to help guide along.

Jesse fits no description of what it means to be a leader. When working and dealing with Walt, it is Mr. White who makes the decisions and deals. When Gus Fring wanted to do better business, he tried his hardest to convince Walt to cook without Jesse. Gus saw from the very beginning the weaknesses of Jesse because they’re not hard to find. You would think with the money Jesse has made, he would at the very least be able to put together a decent furniture setup in his home. Instead, calling his home a “pigsty” would be a disgrace to pigs as he’s done nothing but throw parties and listen to elaborate Star Trek theories from his friends. The one time he thinks he’s found an opportunity to escape the game with a girlfriend and a young son, Walt schemes him back in.

So when someone is frustrated by Jesse’s “stupid and ungrateful” behavior, I ask you this, what do you expect from him? He is a representation of most people you will ever meet, weak-willed and easily manipulated. He’s been in a funk because he’s living a life that he doesn’t know how to escape. He realizes his only way out is death. It’s hard for me to dislike someone who is behaving the way their character says that should act. I’ll have a problem with Jesse when he starts behaving out of the ordinary and ordering hits on people. While Aaron Paul has already received two Best Supporting Actor Emmys, I will argue that his work this season should be hard-pressed not to earn him a third statuette.

waltjoker

Walter White on the other hand, knows very well how his words affect others. He understands the influence he has on Jesse, being his former teacher. Walt casually underestimates the cognitive abilities of Jesse as he has tricked and lied to Jesse on more than one occasion. Walt’s understanding of how to bend the will of those in his way is what makes him closer to evil than good. No matter the situation, Walt has a lie, scheme or a formula to free himself from trouble. What he lacked in street smarts, it seems Walt has gained to go along with his brilliant chemist mind. Watching Walt try and convince Jesse in their desert conversation that he isn’t such a bad guy reminds me of what goes on in many forms across the world. Whether it’s a gang member convincing young kids to join in or the roided-out baseball coaxing another player into doing something to advance his career. A person in a position of power bending the will of a weaker person. It’s sick and it’s a character trait of a bully. You can try and argue that the point of the lily of the valley was to make Brock sick and not kill him, but the fact that he even thinks of that leans towards the evil side of the spectrum.

The beauty of this show lies in creator Vince Gilligan’s ability to create compelling characters who go against the typical story arch of a hero and a villain. In his rise from naive science teacher to meth kingpin, Walter White has transformed from a follower into a leader. He has become every bit of Gustavo Fring the chicken man that he once feared, right down to the car wash cover as his version of Gus’ chicken restaurant. In the progress, he has destroyed every relationship in his life outside of his bond with his son. Once he’s either caught by his brother-in-law Hank or killed and his life is uncovered, he will lose that relationship also. Jesse is hell bent on taking down Walt for poisoning a child however he can, with or without the help of Hank. Will he take down Walt? Ask comic book fans what happened the last time Robin met up with The Joker.

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