King Felix Update

8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

29 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 30 K, 1.24 ERA

and still no extra-base hits allowed.

After only 4 starts, he is now the Mariners’ second most valuable pitcher by Runs Saved Above Average, tied with Julio Mateo at 10, behind Eddie Guardado’s 14. He’s fourth among the team’s pitchers with 13.9 VORP, behind Jamie Moyer, Mateo and Guardado. After 4 starts.

Hail to the King.

Silly Caucasian Girl Likes To Play With Samurai Swords

Watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 again tonight. Easily the best film of 2003. I really need to get the DVD of Volume 2 so I can see it again: I didn’t like it nearly as much as the first part the only time I saw it. . . .I wonder when Tarantino’s gonna release those special editions. . . .

In other news, Felix Hernandez pitches tonight at 4:30 in Minnesota. Be there or be square.

I Like American Music

What’s On The iPod This Week:
Bach’s Cello Suites by Yo-Yo Ma.

Been trying to educate myself on Bach, this is my latest purchase. I’d say i like it better than the Well-Tempered Clavier, but not as much as The Art of Fugue. Ma played one of these on The West Wing, I believe.

Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis.

I don’t know much about Jazz, but I know this is great.

Exile On Coldharbour Lane by A3.

You know them as the theme song from The Sopranos. Radical left-wing country-blues-gospel-acid house-fusion. Good stuff. I think they may have been mildly famous when I wasn’t paying attention, but I’m not sure.

Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.

More Miles, more awesome.

I Don’t Know Where You Pixies Came From, But I Like Your Pixie Drink

Baseball teams as Simpsons characters at the above link.

Here’s a few:

Seattle Mariners – Barney Gumble – Struggling against their personal demons. Just when you thought they were going to clean themselves up and they were looking bulletproof, they suffered an unfortunate relapse.

New York Yankees – C. Montgomery Burns – Driven to success by an almost unimaginable wealth of resources, which they use to ruthlessly crush their enemies, although typically not by the most efficient means possible (blocking out the sun, Bernie Williams). Seemingly unaware of the (obvious) reasons why they are hated. They seem to have been a key actor in pretty much everything important that happened before 1970.

Boston Red Sox – Lisa Simpson – Beloved by all. Used to being overlooked and trod upon, so that when they finally get a day in the sun, they don’t really know what to do with it. Unfortunate tendency to get a little self-righteous. Antagonistic relationship with those in positions of power.

Baltimore Orioles – Maggie Simpson – Never says or does much of anything, but constantly brought up in discussions by virtue of their close associates. Stubbornly hanging onto something disgusting despite other people’s well-meaning efforts to take it away (pacifier, Sidney Ponson).

Rambling, Gambling Clive

Watched Croupier last night. Directed by Mike Hodges, the director of the original Get Carter and Flash Gordon. It’s a pretty standard low-budget indie-thriller, it looks looks it was shot on video. It’s mostly notable for starring Clive Owen (the last three movies I’ve seen have featured Clive Owen. That’s kinda creepy). He plays an aspiring writer who takes a job as a croupier because he needs money. It’s a good performance, despite the fact that he often looks exactly like Michael Stipe circa ‘Losing My Religion’. Of course he gets caught up in various scams (including a femme fatale played by a former ER star) and ends up having his morality tested and perhaps lost.

Not being particularly insightful or creative in terms of plot, the film makes up for it with a strong sense of place and excellent action scenes of the croupier at work. Highly recommended for gambling addicts. It’s no Rounders, but it’s certainly not bad. More of a film noir than Batman Begins, that’s for sure.

Not Dark Yet, But It’s Getting There

Don’t know if you’re hip to the podcast tech or not, but you should be. A podcast is essentially a radio show in MP3 format, so you can listen to it anytime anywhere and anyone can make one. The last update of iTunes provided podcast support, which is when i picked up on it (I wish I was an early adopter, but I’m too lazy for that). For the last month or so, I’ve been listening to a few different podcasts. Mostly Air America radio shows that are on at inconvenient times for me. Also, on the sidebar, you’ll find a link to Cinecast, a good podcast by a couple guys in Chicago who like to argue about movies.

The last couple of days, I’ve been listening to Out Of The Past, a podcast about film noir and films noir (see link in the above title). They’ve done 4 half hour shows so far, with shows being posted out every two weeks. The first two episodes are about Out Of the Past and Double Indemnity and basically work to generally define noir for those less familiar with it by examining those two canonical films. The next two are about Batman Begins and The Third Man and these are where the series starts to get interesting.

The thing that makes noir so fun to talk about is that no one really knows what it is. Is it a genre? a style? both? Do you need to have a femme fatale? Does it have to be black and white? Does it have to deal with crime? The OOTP guys seem to think Batman Begins is a film noir because of its visual style. I think it isn’t because it isn’t dark enough and the protagonist isn’t close to as flawed as a true noir hero. Through the course of episode 4, one of them manages to convince the other that The Third Man really isn’t a noir after all. An opinion I happen to agree with (it appropriates noir style to tell a morally simple story, noir requires moral ambiguity).

Coming up on Monday they’ll be discussing The Maltese Falcon, then two weeks after that Blade Runner, which I’m really looking forward to because, as you may or may not know, I HATE BLADE RUNNER.

You’re The Best! Around! Nothing’s Gonna Ever Keep You Down!

I’ve actually been able to see a lot of movies this year, since I’ve been working Thursday nights and have been able to persuade some union folks to screen movies for me and the staff. Haven’t seen everything I’ve wanted to, but more than I’ve been able to the last few years.

So, since the guys at Cinecast (see sidebar) did it last week, I figure I might as well come up with a Top 5 Films Of The Year Thus Far List. So here it is:

1. Sin City–Your enjoyment of this film is directly proportional to how offended you are by violence in movies. If, like me, you thought the Crazy 88s sequence in Kill Bill is one of the high points in the last 25 years of film, then you’ll love Sin City. If not, you should see Me & You & Everyone We Know. Or maybe Because of Winn-Dixie.

2. Kung Fu Hustle–Liked it even better than Shaolin Soccer, which is a terrific movie on a much smaller scale. Stephen Chow mixes the martial arts comedies of Jackie Chan and Jet Li with Warner brothers cartoons, westerns, musicals and gangster films. An interesting match with Sin City: both are all about the visual style of action movies, but in Sin City the world is dark and evil while the world of Kung Fu Hustle is sunny and fun.

3. Me & You & Everyone We Know–A big hit at Sundance and understandably so. It’s like a Todd Solondz movie, except it has a soul and doesn’t make you hate life and everyone who happens to be alive. Quirky, funny, sappy, and original. Written and directed by performance artist Miranda July, who also stars. Co-Starring the guy who plays Saul on Deadwood (a great HBO series).

4. Batman Begins–I think it’s a little overrated, but is still very good. Katie Holmes is bad. Really bad. But Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman are great if underused. Cillian Murphy (from 28 Days Later) is also terrific. Christian Bale’s alright, i found him rather dull actually. But he was great in the Empire of the Sun. The podcast Out Of The Past has an episode devoted to it and how it’s a film noir, which is interesting because it really isn’t one at all.

5. The Revenge Of The Sith–Yeah yeah, I know. Nooooooo! is terrible. Natalie Portman is really bad. Hayden Christiansen ranges from annoyingly petulant to really annoyingly petulant. It’s a seriously flawed movie. I still loved it. The Clone Wars cartoon is actually better than any of the three prequels.