November 28, 2005
Michael and his Pipe
Yesterday, ESPN Analyst Michael Irvin was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges while driving through Plano, Texas. During a routine traffic stop, police searched Irvin's vehicle and found a "drug pipe". While the rest of the sports media gears up for the usual feeding frenzy, I want to be the first to stand up in defense of this gentle TV sports pundit. While nobody deserves to be arrested on trumped up pseudo-drug charges, Michael deserves it even less than most former NFL players.
Why am I so outraged? First of all, I believe drug paraphernalia laws are totally unjust. Sure, drugs are a terrible threat to America's youth... but I've never heard of anyone who's life was ruined by drug accessories. "I had a beautiful wife, a fulfilling job... and I threw it all away when I purchased this pipe off the internet - and I never even used it!" This makes no sense. And furthermore, the laws are written so vaguely, virtually anything could be considered "drug paraphernalia". I've been to college... I've seen people turn all sorts of crap into bongs: soda cans, sex toys, various fruits and vegetables. Next time you get pulled over for a lapsed registration, will they throw you in jail just for having a bag of groceries? They just might - especially if you own the Dallas Cowboys career pass receptions record (750)!
Also, drug paraphernalia laws aren't consistent with other laws in this country. Consider this: it would be illegal for me to own a nuclear warhead. And I'm mostly OK with that. But... if I happen to own a beautiful wool nuclear warhead cozy, knitted for me by my dear grandma - does that mean I should be put in jail? Of course not. So why should it be different with drug paraphernalia? As anyone will tell you, one need not smoke crack in order to appreciate the beauty of a finely crafted crack pipe. I own at least a dozen pipes and I don't smoke. I'm strictly into the needle drugs.
Even if these laws weren't absurd, the specifics of Irvin's situation are such that no ethical D.A. would ever charge him. After the incident, Irvin told the Associated Press that the pipe "belonged to a friend" who he had just driven to rehab. One might ask... why didn't he just throw it away? I would guess that he held onto it for the same reason I keep an ashtray in my apartment. I don't smoke, but I have friends who do - so it's just a common courtesy to keep an ashtray available for them when they come over. Michael Irvin doesn't (currently) smoke crack, but he keeps a pipe around, just in case one of his passengers needs to smoke a little crack. On the way to rehab. The only reason Irvin is in this situation is because he is a good friend.
I wish more of my friends were like Michael Irvin.
November 24, 2005
Fun Facts: Demolition Derby
Everyone loves a good demolition derby... it's an American tradition! But did you know that our friends in Great Britain also enjoy watching cars smash each other into oblivion? However, in Britain, they don't call these exciting spectacles "demolition derbies". You see... for British people, a "derby" is actually a hat.
For this reason, British people must reserve the term "demolition derby" for when it is necessary to refer to an extremely destructive hat (such as the evil, robotic fedora that nearly destroyed Manchester in 1973).
In Great Britain, demolition derbies are called "banger races". However, many European fans of the sport argue that this term is poorly chosen, and likely to cause confusion. You see, in England, sausages are often called "bangers", so one might hear the term "banger races" and imagine some event in which sausages are raced around a track! Of course, there is rich tradition of competitive sausage racing in Britain, but these events are called "faggot races". No, really... because, in Britain, a popular variety of sausages/meatballs are commonly referred to as "faggots". It is important to note that most sausage racing enthusiasts would prefer not to be called "faggot racers", for pretty obvious reasons.
Not surprisingly, there can be major misunderstandings when British tourists bring their colorful sausage terminology to the United States. In fact, the US Tourism Board states that 304 British tourists became the victims of aggravated assault in 2004 while simply attempting to order breakfast at a Denny's or Cracker Barrel restaurant.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
November 22, 2005
Game Review: 50 Cent - Bulletproof
Getting shot nine times was just the beginning.
I remember when rappers were all about killing other rappers. And police officers! But that was before the emergence of 50 Cent. "Fitty" showed us that anyone can go around shooting people - but it takes a real man to get shot - over and over again.
Think about it: Tupac got shot. So did Biggie. And don't forget Jam Master Jay. But can you name any rappers that actually shot someone else? The first one that comes to mind is an MC called "Shyne". Never heard of him? He's the one who took the fall when Sean "P Diddy (or whatever the fuck he's calling himself this week)" Combs decided to shoot up an NYC nightclub. Basically, Shyne was Diddy's bitch - and his album flopped. Old school rapper Slick Rick also shot some people, and it didn't do much for his career either. Right now he's just trying to avoid getting deported. So listen up kids: if you want to be a famous rapper when you grow up, don't go around shooting people. Instead, try to get yourself shot... or at least stabbed.
50 Cent has been shot, stabbed - I heard he was even decapitated a couple of times. As a result, not only is the man a famous rapper, but he's got his very own video game. The game is called 50 Cent: Bulletproof... and boy is it awesome! Rappers have put out video games before, but never like this. 50 Cent's game is truly innovative. In most action games, players run around an urban environment, merrily shooting everyone in their path. However, Bulletproof is the first game where the object is for players to get themselves shot - AS MANY TIMES AS POSSIBLE. As you wander through each level, you must seek out drug dealers, petty thieves, disgruntled high school students and antagonize them until they pull out their firearms and put a few caps into your ass. As you successfully collect bullet wounds, you will see your Street Cred Meter (located on the lower left corner of the screen) rise. For each level, you must reach a specific Street Cred target in order to advance in the game.
In early levels, this is pretty easy. Wandering around Queens and various bad areas of New Jersey, pretty much everyone wants to blast a few rounds at you - especially if you activate "Rappin' Mode", by tapping the X button (this must be used sparingly, though - 50's Street Cred Meter decreases rapidly every time he tries to rap). However, as the game progresses, you find yourself in suburban and rural areas where citizens are far less liberal with their gatt usage. When you do manage to get some hot lead shot in your direction, you will find that the shooters have poor marksmanship compared to gun-wielders from early levels. This is when players must send 50 Cent into a slow-motion "Bullet-time" mode... which allows Fitty to dive into the path of any stray ballistics.
Also included on the game disc are a bunch of music videos as well as "4 CDs worth of 50 Cent and G-Unit music". I'm not sure what the purpose of this is - I think it might be used as a sort of punishment for players who fail to get 50 shot enough times in a given level - "ATTENTION PLAYA: if you don't get yo' ass shot in the next 30 seconds, you'll have to sit through an excruciating remix of Magic Stick feat. Lil Kim".
Anyway, this game is pretty hot. I'll give it nine Joey's... one for each time 50 got shot. (although, in reality, he only got shot 3 times... alas, there's no street cred for suckas who only get shot 3 times)
November 02, 2005
Movie Review: Doom
What do you get when you spell Doom backwards? Mood. Specifically, you get a very BAD mood - the sort of mood that only comes from knowing that you just wasted time and money on a total piece of crap. Walking into the theater, I had such high hopes for Doom... I really couldn't have anticipated the brutal disappointment I would be feeling when I left.
It started off well enough. I brought my own wireless Logitech controller to the theater. I didn't know how many controller ports the movie theater was equipped with, and I sure as hell didn't want to share with anyone. And it was a damn good thing I brought it, since I couldn't see one single plug-in port anywhere in the aisles! I was afraid that with everyone trying to play at once, they'd have to split the screen up into so many different windows that the frame rate would take a massive hit. Since I was the only one who bothered to bring a wireless unit, I got the whole screen to myself! I guess everyone else in the theater was happy to just sit there watch me play. Go figure.
After a bunch of ads, I was able to start a new game. The intro cinematics were pretty spectacular. I don't know what graphics engine they used for this, but everything looked amazing. All the textures had impressive levels of detail, animations were smooth and life-like - they must have gotten actors to do motion capture for a lot of the sequences. My only complaint was with the avatar for Sarge - the character you play for most of the game. I know they made a big deal about how The Rock was doing the voice for this character, and I guess that's why they wanted to make Sarge look like The Rock. They came close, but didn't quite get it right. Something about his face and the shape of his head just didn't look entirely natural. It seemed like a pretty lame place to skimp on the polygon count. Other than this, though, the graphics were awesome. It was like watching a movie!
As good as these cinematics were, however, they went on WAY TOO LONG. Usually, they will let you skip past the cut-scenes by pressing the select button (sometimes the start button), but I must have hit just about every button on my controller about 50 times, and it didn't do a damn thing. You are just forced to sit there and watch the whole thing. That's just lame.
Despite all this, I could have looked past the maddeningly lengthy cut-scenes in Doom if the gameplay had been solid. Unfortunately, the controls were totally unresponsive. I would try to turn left, my character would turn right. I'd attempt to strafe into a doorway, my character would do some crazy backflip through the door. Half the time, it didn't even feel like I was playing - the controls were that bad. I just about threw my controller at the screen, but that thing was expensive, so instead I threw popcorn at the people in front of me (which not only pissed off the people in front of me, but also the person sitting next to me, since it was her popcorn).
Though the controls were awful, I was still able to beat Doom in less than two hours. What can I say - I've got MADD SKILLZ and have been known to PWN even the toughest games. After I beat the game, I figured I could at least get in on some multiplayer action, but I couldn't find any option for online play. Total ripoff.
Ultimately, Doom proves that slick graphics and big-name voice acting are just not enough to make a great game. As such, I can only give it one and a half Joeys.