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Funny clip from The Onion: ‘Warcraft’ Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing ‘Warcraft’

12 Apr

Gotta love The Onion: ‘Warcraft’ Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing ‘Warcraft’ video is hilarious

The sad thing is I actually think there might be a gamer or two who would buy this LOL

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Why do achievements / trophies not exist on the Nintendo Wii? Another victory for Sony’s PS3 & Microsoft’s XBOX 360

24 Mar

Do you enjoy letting your friends know you just unlocked the toughest PS3 trophy or XBOX 360 achievement for Call of Duty: Black Ops or another game everyone is playing?  It’s sort of like that saying about whether the tree falling in the forest really makes a sound if no one is around to hear it.  Accomplishing something difficult or unique in your game just isn’t that cool if none of your friends know about it.  I’ve always been puzzled as to why this same system-wide trophy concept is not available for the Nintendo Wii – perhaps it makes too much sense?! 

Nintendo has historically been very invested in their own ideas, not usually offering a response to what its competitors are creating until it’s really forced to do so by significant consumer demand for change (remember mild console flops like the GameCube, & major ones like the Virtual Boy that forced Nintendo to go in other directions).

Here’s a great article by IGN.com‘s Craig Harris from late 2009 about why Nintendo really needs to offer an achievement/trophy system for the Wii:

“Wii Need Achievements”

Nintendo was late to the online party, & now seems disinterested in offering system-wide accomplishments. It's getting to the point where 3rd-party games are almost pointless to play on the Wii. It's looking more & more like the only Wii games worth buying are those made by Nintendo.

Late last week I came home to my roommate playing Cars Race-o-Rama on the PlayStation 3. This game, released a couple of months ago, is not good – our official review of Cars Race-o-Rama put the game at a 5 out of 10. He wasn’t casually checking it out, either – he was deep into the game’s progression, almost to the point of beating it completely. The conversation went like this:

Me: You’re playing Cars Race-o-Rama.
Him: Yep.
Me: You’re playing Cars Race-o-Rama just to get the trophies, aren’t you?
Him: Yep.

This word-for-word dialogue was essentially the catalyst for this editorial. It’s been something that’s been on my mind for months now: love the idea or despise it, Nintendo is missing a huge opportunity by dismissing persistent online accounts that track individual game accomplishments. The fact that a gamer in my household was playing a crappy game just to get credit for it is a testament to the need for this feature on Wii.

For those who haven’t been following what’s been going on outside of the Nintendo camp, Sony’s Trophies are essentially the PlayStation 3 version of Xbox 360’s Achievement system. When players hit certain accomplishments in games – completely determined by the developer and unique to the game in question — they’re rewarded with a “token” that’s noted in their user account. These badges of honor are not just accumulated as a rating or score, but they can also be viewed by other players, either on the system or through a web page.

PlayStation 3’s Trophy web list is pretty snazzy.

The most significant innovation in this generation is easily motion control, and we have Nintendo and its Wii remote to thank for getting this ball moving; both Microsoft and Sony are playing catch-up in this regard, but they’re at least making some headway to out-do what Nintendo has done to change the playing field.

But arguably Innovation Number Two has to be the creation of accumulative achievements, and it was Microsoft that set this standard with the debut of the Xbox 360. Like Wii and its motion control, the Achievement system was something that started from Day One of the system’s debut and it is a standard that hasn’t changed since it began back in 2005. Since Microsoft made the move other companies have followed. Individual games have incorporated the “achievements” idea into their designs as an alternative checklist of what’s been completed. Even World of Warcraft has embraced achievements as a standard part of its experience, which will reportedly be rolled into a persistent account using its Battle.Net system.

Xbox 360’s online user game list can be pulled up by anyone.


Sony chose to add Trophies partway through the life of the PlayStation 3, so it’s had some growing pains to worry about; since it wasn’t available from the start, many early games do not have support for Trophies. But as of January 2009, Trophy support is a mandatory inclusion for all PlayStation 3 games, both in retail and in digital distribution.

The whole idea of an Achievement Score or a Trophy collection really is just a way for gamers to show off how much they play videogames. Some people call it an “e-penis,” and just like a regular penis, the bigger it is the more powerful and important you feel, right?

Some may dismiss the idea of an accumulative gamer score, and that’s perfectly fine — if a game can’t stand on its own, no amount of trophy hunting can make it any better. However, it’s hard to ignore the sense of gratification that’s felt when you’ve hit a certain milestone in a particular game, and a rewarding “Bing!!” is followed by the badge of honor that notes your accomplishment. Even if you were playing the most dreadfully designed game, that little token of acknowledgement is a wonderful release of endorphins that makes the awful experience a bit more pleasant.

Personally, even I’ve been known to play a game well past completion just to score as many Achievements and Trophies the design has to offer. An immensely fun game is made even better if there’s more to shoot for, and it’s sort of a driving force to grab all there is in a game just to prove to yourself, as well as the entire world, that it was one of your most favorite experiences on the console.

Now, this isn’t a commentary of which achievement system is better – Greg Miller chimed in with his choice last week, and Charles Onyett claims both are dumb. No, my point is how Nintendo is losing out by looking the other way. Nintendo tends to focus on its own innovations and only be reactive to strategies when it’s absolutely required – online support, for example, is in the Wii, but it’s certainly not an absolute integral part of the Wii experience in the way that Microsoft and Sony have embraced it.

It just flabbergasts me to see Nintendo taking such a blase attitude towards the growing support and backing for the system-wide, persistent accomplishments. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year, I asked Shigeru Miyamoto if Wii Sports Resort’s “stamps” was Nintendo’s way of addressing achievements, and possibly a taste of things to come for Wii gamers. According to Miyamoto, “I’m not a big fan of using the carrots to motivate people to play,” he said. “I want people to play because they enjoy playing and want to play more.”

Wii Sports Resort clearly had a team that understands the idea of Achievements.

My roommate’s Cars Race-o-Rama play session is evidence that gamers will play even the lousiest of games if there’s a carrot dangled in front of their nose. One of the biggest issues with Wii third-party support is the lack of enthusiasm to play anything that’s not made by Nintendo. However, Miyamoto makes a good point – but it’s a point from the perspective of someone whose games are seen as the best of the system’s best: of course people are going to play your games, Mr. Miyamoto.

But look at the rest of the system’s offerings: even the greatest third party games are being overlooked because, well, they’re not made by Nintendo; Zack & Wiki is a fantastic example of a game that’s one of the best the Wii has to offer, and yet failed to attract any sort of number on the sales level. We may never know for certain, but if Nintendo’s Wii had some sort of online persistence that not only touted to friends and colleagues that they were playing it but also awarded players with stamps that added to their gamer presence, perhaps we’d see more players tracking down a copy of Zack & Wiki. Sort of a virtual word of mouth…without saying a word.

Again, even the worst games would get played (bought, even) if there were an incentive to boot it up.

Later in the year, Miyamoto once again addressed the issue of Achievements and Trophies, this time taking a much more defensive position. At a roundtable discussing New Super Mario Bros. Wii, when asked if the Stars system in New Super Mario Bros., where certain accomplishments are rewarded with star badges in the user’s game profile, Miyamoto stated “playing the game in a certain way and have something that unlocks is something we’ve been doing for years.” He went on to note that he’s not familiar with what Microsoft’s doing because “I don’t have a lot of time to look at what other people are doing.” That, Mr. Miyamoto, is very telling.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii’s star system is a nice try, but oh so dull.

Wii developers have added in-game achievements in their projects for years — Retro Studios, for example, incorporated “tokens” into Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and then brought that idea back for the Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes ports for Metroid Prime Trilogy. But those achievements are locked down to the games, so while there is a sense of satisfaction in securing these awards, it’s only a personal one with very little opportunity to show it off.

It is, admittedly, a technical hurdle if an achievement system was added to the Wii this late in the game. Just like Sony’s growing pains by incorporating the idea more than a year after the PlayStation’s release, if Nintendo started with its system now we’d see similar problems, which most notably would be the early lack of support due to a slow push to a standard. And with Nintendo’s current “no patching games after release” policy on Wii, existing games couldn’t even be updated with the feature outside of re-issuing a brand new disc with the support. And while the enticement of achievements might be a good drive for gamers to double-dip, I’m sure many players would have a hard time paying full price a second time just to get the badges.

But the Wii at least has the basics for an achievement system – it just needs to pull the trigger to get it done. While there’s no way of “logging in” with user accounts in the current Wii firmware, the Wii can be linked to an online account via Club Nintendo and the Wii Shop Channel. And at the very least, as the Message Board and Nintendo Channel prove, the Wii records which games are being played and how long gamers have been playing them. There’s a basic foundation here for a full-on accomplishment system, but Nintendo needs to take it one step further.

Returning to Wii Sports Resort for a second, the “Stamp” system isn’t just a good start, it’s also a great name if Nintendo ever decides to embrace the idea of persistent achievements. My passport is “stamped” every time I enter a country, and I see my document booklet as a partial, personal achievement record: I’ve entered Japan, I got my stamp on September 17th, 2009. If anything, I’m on board with the “Stamp” naming structure.

Just look at what’s happening in Microsoft and Sony’s corner with its persistent accounts. Players can post their badges on Facebook and MySpace. They can check out friend’s scores on their iPhone.

Do I expect Nintendo to surprise us all in 2010 with a brand new firmware update that opens up an achievement standard on Wii? Not at all. I personally believe that those at Nintendo R&D, or the decision makers that call the shots on system wide features, don’t understand the importance something seemingly insignificant as an “e-penis” gamer score.

But there’s no doubt in my mind that the Wii system and random third-party games would be treated a lot more seriously with an achievement system in place.

Want a headache? Invest in an Ipod…thanks Apple

11 Mar

Today I wanted to load some podcasts onto my Ipod, so I plugged it into the USB cable, then pulled up iTunes to sync it.  Apple told me the syncing was complete, yet the podcasts were nowhere to be found on the Ipod.  I could see and play them on iTunes, but that was it.  I want to be able to listen to them during my run, and those 5 miles are going to be a lot more difficult with a desktop PC tower strapped to my back the entire way.

In order to discover the podcasts weren’t on the Ipod, I had to first “eject” the Ipod from iTunes (a tedious step, which involves finding the counterintuitive, tiny triangle that means “eject” on the iTunes screen – evidently it makes too much sense for Apple to spell out “eject” anywhere near that button).  So, when I plugged it back in, for whatever reason iTunes did not recognize my Ipod this time around.  I tried restarting iTunes a couple times, but no luck.  It also seemed my Ipod was frozen.  No big deal.  I’ll just turn it off.

Wait.  Where’s the On/Off button?  It also makes too much sense to have one of those, so Apple didn’t include one.  Yes, that’s right.  An electronic device in the 21st century without an On/Off switch…nice job Apple. 

If you can't figure out your I-wheel paperweight, Apple has customer support ready to talk to you..for $29 a pop.

After searching around on the Internet, it became apparent I needed to know what “generation” my Ipod was.  I looked on the front, the back, the USB cable, & my iTunes program…nothing said “4th Gen.” or anything like that.  So, finally I figured out it was an Ipod Nano, 4th Generation based on pictures of the different generations on Wikipedia (thank God for Wikipedia, a company that knows what it’s doing).

I then did some searching on how to shut this 4th-gen Ipod off – you have to hold the Menu button and the center button down together for 6-10 seconds…how intuitive.  If you locked me in a room for 3 days straight doing nothing but trying to figure out how to turn this thing off, I probably wouldn’t have thought of that.

I could understand all this if I was new to electronics and computers in general, but that is not the case.  I’ve been building websites, pages and blogs for almost 15 years, and worked in & around tech and communication firms for years, so I know my way around computers.  I was an early adopter of CDs, mini-disc players, and various sound editing & mp3 programs so I probably know more than the average person about this kind of thing, yet everything with the Ipod is counterintuitive with me.  I’m sure there are thousands of teeny boppers rocking out to Justin Bieber who figured out how to use their Ipods, so why can’t I?  

Who is designing this thing?  Why doesn’t it do what it’s supposed to?  Why are there no directions?  Why is everything a symbol rather than English?  Why didn’t these problems come up with test consumer groups?  Where’s BASF when you need them?  So many questions…

Here’s one more: Why does Apple’s customer support disown you after 90 days?  Even for the 1st 90 days you own your Ipod, you’re only allowed to call once with a problem – after that you have to pay $29 for Apple’s tech guys to diagnose your problem.  Yes, that’s right, not free, not $2.90, it’s $29 to ask a question.  I know b/c I called & had to discontinue the call – we were nearing the point where Apple might actually give me diagnostic advice, which would trigger a fee. 

Apple’s website says “Most Apple software and hardware products include unlimited complimentary support incidents within the first 90 days of product ownership.”  However, this does not include the Ipod.  This wouldn’t have helped me anyway, but maybe this advice can help someone out there who recently bought an Ipod.

 Don’t even get me started on using the iTunes program, trying to find functional car adapters for the thing, or getting it to warn you you’re close to maxing out your storage space on the Ipod’s hdd (hard drive) so you can easily delete songs to clear up space. 

Oh, and I didn’t just get this thing yesterday.  I received it as a very thoughtful gift over 2 years ago to use when I work out, and unfortunately have struggled to ever get it to perform well despite trying really hard to figure it out.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll just invest in a CD player or a vintage Walkman – maybe Best Buy still sells them?

In closing, here’s a hilarious rant by someone else driven crazy by their Ipod back in 2008, enjoy.

Sights from The Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH this past weekend featuring Ray Lewis & Jay Cutler

7 Mar

The 2011 Arnold Classic was filled with its usual bevy of fitness babes & bodybuilders, plus a few A-listers & top-flight athletes.  This year’s headliners included “The Governator” Arnold himself, Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, Carmen Electra, Franco Harris & Kurt Angle. 

While it consistently rained just about all of Friday & Saturday outdoors, indoors the climate was wildly different from 1 day to the next.  Friday afternoon had the lightest amount of foot traffic I’ve ever seen at The Arnolds – it was a relative piece of cake to get where I needed & make my way around almost all of the main aisles in under a few hours. 

Saturday was a horse of a different color – purely wall to wall visitors, at times making it almost impossible to get where you needed to go in a timely fashion.  In fact, it was the most crowded I had EVER seen the EXPO (& that’s saying something).  Despite the packed environment on Saturday, Day 2 of The Arnolds was worth experiencing as well due to surprise photo ops in the EXPO hall with Franco & Kurt, who had otherwise only been available at the adjacent Hyatt hotel on Friday afternoon. 

Take a look below to get a slice of the action!

The Arnold Classic is about the only place not titled "The Rhinestone Cowboy" where a guy looking like this can have girls looking like that who are all too happy to wrap their arms around him for a photo.

 

The main competetion stage at the EXPO featured bodybuilding's elite coming out to their theme music (the "Gladiator" movie score was popular) along with 2 silver screens showing their highlights. That will get your adrenaline pumping!

 

Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis had crowds waiting over 75 minutes for a photo op with him. Thanks to his supplement sponsor, Twinlab, fans came away with a free picture in protective plastic plus some free samples/gear. Even if you hate the Ravens, it was tough not to respect Lewis, the off-field gentleman.

 

Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler had fans lining up for hours at his Muscletech command center, & appeared totally engaged & thrilled to meet every one of them! This is a Jay Cutler whose toughness cannot be questioned.

 

This is a fitness expo, not a car show...still, I didn't see any guys complaining about the presence at this booth.

 

BSN had quite the outpost for the 2011 Arnolds, but didn't seem to be giving away quite as many free samples. If you wanted their super-durable bag to haul your supplement loot in this year, you had to buy something from their kiosk to get it.

Here's some man candy for the ladies just to keep things fair - this guy looked familiar, perhaps he's in the Bowflex ads or hawks TotalGyms with Chuck Norris.

 

Bodybuilding legend Dexter Jackson had his usual table set up near BSN's headquarters.Here's some man candy for the ladies to keep things fair - I think this guy does the Bowflex ads or hawks TotalGyms with Chuck Norris - he definitely looked familiar from TV but I couldn't place him.

Dancing with the Washed Up Stars: A Look at This Season’s Contestants

1 Mar

Last night, ABC announced the contestants for the 12th season of “Dancing With the Stars.”  The list of “stars” more closely resembles a list of “burning out stars in danger of morphing into black holes”, but the beauty of the show is its ability to entertain viewers by creating a need for us to develop rooting interests in one or several of these “stars.”  This year promises to be no exception to the rule.  So The Floor Seats has conducted some scientific research to determine which contestants stand the best chance of winning Season 12.  Some facts to keep in mind as you get amped up for the season premiere on March 21st:

  • An athlete has either won or placed second in 8 of the 11 seasons of DWTS.
  • Musicians have also fared quite well, with a combined 3 first place finishes and 3 times finishing as runner-up.
  • Actors/actresses (a relatively loose term if you include models that have an acting credit to their name) have had mixed success so far on DWTS, with 3 first place finishes but also 2 last place finishes.
  • An athlete has never finished last.
  • Two musicians have finished last.
  • Reality stars have had the worst success so far on DWTS, with 7 last place finishes in 11 seasons.

11. Petra Nemcova (80:1)  – She’ll be easy to root for, considering she’s attractive, has performed quite a bit of philanthropic work in her young career, and has survived her share of tragedy (she and her fiancée were in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami:  she suffered serious injuries; her fiancée lost his life).  But she has 11 seasons of DWTS history working against her.

10. Mike Catherwood (75:1) – When your own Wikipedia page doesn’t even have a single photo of yourself, it’s probably a sign that you aren’t really a star.  Apparently Mr. Catherwood is a radio personality who has experience as a personal trainer.  His athleticism gives him a puncher’s chance to win.

That kind of dancing won't earn you 10's from the judges Kendra.

9. Kendra Wilkinson (60:1) – If the show was entitled “Pole Dancing with the Stars”, her odds of victory would improve exponentially, but in its current format, she faces an uphill battle.  She probably won’t garner many votes from viewers possessing strong traditional values, and as our research indicates, reality stars almost never fare well on the show.

8. Kirstie Alley (55:1) – There will be plenty of DWTS viewers that will remember Kirstie as a camera darling from her roles as Rebecca Howe in “Cheers” and Mollie Jensen in “Look Who’s Talking”, but then those same viewers will remember her in her other roles that required her to be in front of a camera, like Mollie Ubriacco from “Look Who’s Talking Too” and “Look Who’s Talking Now”, and as Kirstie Alley in “Fat Actress.”  That’s too much bad and fat acting to make up for her quality acting. 

7. Ralph Macchio (40:1) – It was tempting to include Ralph in the athlete category due to his legendary role in “The Karate Kid” franchise, but executing a killer crane kick to power 80’s ballads isn’t enough to make us forget the fact that his last relevant role in TV/film was in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.

6. Wendy Williams (40:1) – Wendy promises to be a polarizing figure on this show.  Viewers will either quickly warm to her larger than life personality, or cast her aside for the same reasons.  Her Wikipedia page states that musicians such as Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, and Lil Wayne have all negatively criticized her in their music lyrics.  The Wiki page also states that a movie chronicling her life, entitled “Queen of Media”, wrapped in August 2009 and was set to be released some time in 2010.  A quick check of imdb.com provides no further details about the film.  A wild card contestant in every sense of the term.

5. Chris Jericho (25:1) – Yes, wrestlers are athletes, which automatically makes Chris somebody to take seriously in this competition.  He has prior dancing experience from prancing around the wrestling ring for WWE, and has even taken a stab at television game shows as host of ABC’s “Downfall”.  His decades of experience in front of the camera will allow him to charm a lot of viewers (or at least make him think he can charm them).  As long as avoids getting into altercations with the judges (such as the one in this link), he’ll be okay.

4. Hines Ward (15:1) – Despite his reputation as a dirty football player, the fact remains that he plays WR for one of America’s most popular and successful football franchises, and possesses the athletic ability to execute any dance move required of him.  One thing to keep an eye on: considering NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s penchant for using large fines to Steelers players, will Goodell attempt to fine Ward for any “inappropriate conduct” or “excessive celebration” during the show?

3. Sugar Ray Leonard (12:1) – An all-time great in the boxing ring, Leonard now jumps into the dancing ring to try his hand at DWTS.  Despite being 54, he looks like he’s about 40, and more than capable of handling the physical rigors of the show.  2 fun yet unrelated facts: he’s Khloe Kardashian’s godfather; and he’s a very popular motivational speaker within Fortune 500 circles.

2. Chelsea Kane (10:1) – A relative unknown to most viewers, she has acting and singing experience, and comes from the Disney Channel’s family of young, energetic, and talented performers.  Last season, a fellow alum of the Disney Channel, Kyle Massey, finished second.  Is Chelsea poised to follow in Kyle’s footsteps?  Will people even know who she is if she does finish as runner-up?

1. Romeo (5:1) – Romeo is a jack of all trades that has everything it takes to win the competition.  Just look at his impeccable bloodlines: son of Master P and Sonya C, and nephew of C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker.  Nothing says ballroom dancing phenom like having those rap legends at your annual Thanksgiving Day dinner.  Although it’s probably best if you hide the turbo powered turkey carving knife from anybody with Murder or Shocker in their names.  Oh, and Romeo also was a good enough high school hoops player to earn a full ride to USC.  A combination of athlete-musician-actor?  You’re looking at your season 12 winner.

Romeo, oh Romeo, we dost think thou shall win the competition.

Misery Loves These Cities’ Company: Does Forbes Magazine’s List of the Most Miserable Sports Cities Fall Short?

1 Mar

Forbes Magazine published its list of the 10 most miserable cities for sports in all of America, using criteria such as postseason heartbreak in addition to overall championship futility to determine which city truly is most miserable (view the article here).  Below is Forbes’ top 5 most miserable cities, with The Floor Seats take on this list, followed by our own top 5 List.  After you compare the two lists, tell us which one you think is more accurate and why.  And if you can make a case for a city that isn’t on either list, let us know that as well.  After all, misery does love company.

Forbes Top 5:

 

1.   Seattle:  Any list comprised of downtrodden sports cities must certainly include Seattle.  Having the Sonics franchise relocated to another market due to incompetent ownership, a baseball team that has been largely irrelevant the past half decade after some successful seasons during the Ken Griffey Jr era, and a football team that only made the playoffs this past season due to a historically bad division after losing Super Bowl XL to the Steelers because of some questionable officiating would make even the most optimistic sports fan depressed.  And that just covers the past 10 years.  But is it really more depressing than some other cities across America?

 

2.   Atlanta:  OK, the Hawks have ranged from irrelevant to pointless to laughingstock to NBA playoffs doormat for a long time, and the Thrashers have been trying to thrash their way out of the NHL’s cellar since their inception, but this is also a city that has enjoyed a consistently successful baseball franchise (even though its captured only one World Series despite making the postseason the past 74 years in a row) and a football team that made the Super Bowl in 1999 and appears to be poised for continued success with an exciting young core of talent.  That doesn’t even count the fact that Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996, which helped modernize and transform the downtown area and brought in millions of dollars in revenue to the city. 

Take solace, Phoenix fans: at least the Coyotes are still in existence.

3.  Phoenix:   Yes, all four of Phoenix’s franchises have had their awful stretches of ineptitude, but this is also a city that has experienced two championship appearances in the past 10 years (the D’backs won the World Series in 2001, and the Cardinals lost Super Bowl XLIII in 2009), a fun and entertaining Suns team until this year (Steve Nash deserves a better end to his career than this rebuilding team), and a Coyotes team that has managed to avoid relocation/contraction.  Combine that with an idyllic year-round climate, and it doesn’t sound all that bad to be a Phoenix sports fan.

4.   Buffalo:  Very deserving of top 5 status; more below.

5.   San Diego:  It’s a city that is in danger of possibly losing the Chargers franchise and that has already lost the Clippers franchise (a blessing in disguise?).  The baseball team has been to 2 World Series (losing by a combined 8 games to 1) and just recently traded away its star first baseman for prospects, but they contended for the postseason last year and have a beautiful stadium in which to lose baseball games in.  Come on, we’re talking about San Diego here, a city that has remained classy irregardless of the sports futility it has experienced over the years.  It’s sparkling blue waters, beautiful beaches and temperate climate (we conveniently left out its high cost of living and proximity to violence stricken Mexico) permanently guarantee its exclusion from any Top 5 Misery List.

 

Floor Seats Top 5:

Yes, this Browns fan has plenty to be sad and embarrassed about, not including the fact he's wearing a dog bone on his head.

 

1.   Cleveland:  Cleveland and Buffalo will always be at the top of any miserable list, but a few factors give Cleveland the (dis)honor of the most miserable sports city in America.  We all know about how Cleveland lost its only certifiable star athlete via a tasteless and public breakup on national television.  But before LeBron came to the city by the lake, who was the biggest star in town?  Sorry to say that Omar Vizquel, Terrell Brandon, and Chris Gardocki don’t count.  Let’s go back further.  Bernie Kosar?  Yeah, he was a local hero, but he only made 1 Pro Bowl and never made it to the Super Bowl.  Brad Daugherty?  He was a solid player, but never catapulted the Cavs to league champions.  As for the Indians….dare we say Charlie Sheen’s “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn character from Major League?  You have to go all the way back to Jim Brown to find a truly revolutionary and famous sports athlete hailing from Cleveland.  And anytime your sports franchise is defined by two words (“The Fumble”, “The Drive”) that immediately trigger sympathy and jeering by fellow sports fans, you know you’ve experienced more than your fair share of heartbreak and failure.  Finally, if you had to bet your life savings, mortgage, and two major bodily organs on one of Cleveland’s three franchises winning a championship in the next 5 years, who would you pick?  The Indians, a team that is breaking in a lot of minor league talent that has to contend with the Twins, Tigers, and White Sox every year?  The Browns, who have less team speed than a senior citizen bocce ball team that has to face Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice a year?  Or how about the Cavs, who are eagerly trying to rebuild by buying as many first round draft picks for the upcoming 2011 draft as possible, considered by many experts to be the worst draft class in many years?  How does a core of Eyenga-Varejao-Erden-2 years of soon to be obese Baron Davis-Hickson sound to you?

2.   Buffalo:   Which is worse:  losing 4 straight Super Bowls, or never having been to one at all?  At least the Bills gave their fans reasons for optimism during the early 1990’s, and almost delivered on that promise not once, not twice, but four times.  Heartbreaking, yes.  Devastating, sure.  But as the famous quote goes:  it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.  Buffalo Bills fans have loved.  They’ve been to the altar.  They’ve said their vows.  Unfortunately, those vows weren’t returned.  But at least they got to play dress up and be the center of attention four straight years.  Now it appears they may never get to stand at another altar based on the last 10 years of failure they’re currently going through.  This upcoming NFL Draft will be vital for the franchise.  Do you select a high risk/high reward prospect in Cam Newton, assuming he’s even there at #3, or do you play it safe and try to build your team through the trenches (as long as you don’t select a defensive lineman from Penn State or an offensive lineman from Texas, you should be ok Bills fans).  And we think that Buffalo has a hockey team, but aren’t quite sure.  Are the Sabres relevant?  It poses another question:  is it better to toil in relative obscurity or infamy?  We’ll let Sabres fans decide that.  Actually, Brett Hull’s triple overtime Stanley Cup winning goal back in 1999 has made that decision for us.

3.   Seattle:   See above.

 

4.   Minneapolis:   The Timberwolves appear content to accumulate point guards and small forwards to ensure a permanent spot in the NBA draft lottery, the North Stars/Wild franchise is as relevant as the acting career of Jake Busey, and the Vikings haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 1977 thanks in part to an epic postseason collapse during their 15-1 season and an epic brain fart by Brett Favre last season.  At least the Twin Cities have the Twins, who have a couple of World Series titles over the past twenty some odd years and a beautiful stadium in which to lose postseason games in.

5.   Kansas City:    Royals fans remember what it’s like to cheer for a winning team, don’t they?  We hope so, since it doesn’t look like this year’s version of the Royals will offer fans much to cheer for.  But GM Dayton Moore appears to have the franchise heading in the right direction with an elite farm system and $18 stadium BBQ ribs that will provide enough revenue to allow the Royals to vastly overpay free agents for years to come.  The Chiefs also appear to have a bright future, assuming they ultimately figure out that handing the ball off to RB Jamaal Charles is something worth repeating 20 times per game.

Review: Grown Ups (2010) starring Adam Sandler gets 2.5 stars

20 Feb

“Grown Ups” is an okay 2010 comedy that could’ve been great.  Not “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” great, but maybe “Knocked Up” great.  Those 2 films had something going for them that “Grown Ups” doesn’t – their producers were smart enough to make those movies with R-rated scripts!  “Grown Ups” is stuck in a PG-13 world that plagues the film throughout…jokes they can’t land, words they can’t say, & racy moments the audience never sees.

Not particularly strong in terms of 1-liners nor full of memorable crashes/falls/disasters, “Grown Ups” lacks an identity and starts to drag about an hour into the film.  It reminded me a lot of an arguably better comedy, 2009’s “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” starring Entourage’s Jeremy Piven.

“The Goods” dies off after about 40 minutes, but had so many great one liners you don’t even care!  The opening 5 minutes of “The Goods” are so laugh out loud funny you feel like no matter what happens the rest of the way, what you just saw was worth the price of admission.  “Grown Ups” never has a stretch like that but still has enough silliness to maintain your attention for the most part.

Sandler’s interaction with his wife (played by Salma Hayek for reasons unknown) & kids is hilarious at times, & Kevin James’ path of destruction involving pools, trees & water skiing is fun to watch.  My favorite part of the film involves the eccentricities of Rob Schneider’s character annoying everyone else at a cabin.  He gets carried away with a food dehydrator – pretty creative writing to think of something as obscure as that (I’d say more, but I don’t want be a spoiler…no food dehydrator pun intended).

I’m sure Hollywood will be churning out more of these PG-13 letdowns, as “Grown Ups” grossed $271 MIL on an $80 MIL budget.  While the aforementioned “The Goods” only grossed $15 MIL on a $10 MIL budget, “Knocked Up” grossed a whopping $219 MIL on a $33 MIL budget and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” grossed $177 MIL on a mere $26 MIL budget.  Moral of the story to studio execs: Make a good R-rated comedy that adults want to see, & you can make an even greater % return on your money with less risk (smaller budget).

If you’re a fan of slapstick falls & some raunchy humor, then “Grown Ups” is disappointing but still worth a rental.  If you’ve never liked Sandler & Spade /SNL-type comedy, then nudge other video store customers out of the way for a better comedy on the shelf.

Verdict: 2.5 stars

Here’s a brief recap of how The Floor Seats’ 0-4 star rating system breaks down:

0-1 stars: This is an atrocious movie; an insult to film & a waste of your time

1-2 stars: Bad but not awful – avoid unless you’re dying to see it for a particular genre/subject matter/actor’s performance

2.5 stars: Only worth a rental if you really like that genre/subject matter/actor’s performance

3 stars: Definitely worth a rental unless you hate that type of genre/subject matter/actor’s performance

3.5 stars: Very good but not great – this is a film you should definitely rent & even consider buying if you like that genre/subject matter/actor’s performance

4 stars: Outstanding & unforgettable – almost certainly 1 of the top 100 greatest films you’ve ever seen.  Buy with confidence!

QVC Ladder Fall: A YouTube classic

18 Feb

Who can forget this guy nearly buying the farm while demostrating how safe & reliable that ladder is…tremendous.

My favorite part (at about 0:35) is when the QVC show hostess starts talking about it being “a very slippery floor in front of our doors sometimes” LOL
I mean, those “doors” are just part of a set – they are fake!  No one is coming in & out, tracking dirt, ice, rain, etc…it’s not exactly a high-traffic area…too funny!

Lakers lose by 20 to Bobcats, then to NBA-worst Cavs – Will David Stern just eliminate the L.A. franchise?

17 Feb

“For years we have marketed the Lakers as a premiere NBA franchise, & their success is important to the health of our league,” Stern said.  “Losing to the lowly Bobcats & Cavs – especially the Cavs – is out of step with how we market the Lakers to NBA fans.  We cannot continue to tolerate this choking behavior from such a prominent ballclub.  In order to protect the league’s image, we had no choice but to remove the Lakers’ franchise from the NBA, effective immediately.” 

“We’re not saying Kobe, Pau & Lamar are banned from the game of basketball.  They are free to assemble in any gym, armory or blacktop playground, & Phil can even tag along if he wants.  The players can showcase their moves for current NBA teams, but the Lakers are done playing pro ball in the top-heavy league I claim to be in charge of,” Stern explained.  Stern wanted to speak in greater detail on the issue, but had time constraints to deal with.  “I’d love to talk more about dissolving Jerry Buss’ franchise, but I have a conference call to help the Knicks get Melo & Chris Paul.  I also have a meeting to help the Heat get Blake Griffin & Tyreke Evans.  Gotta run.”

Okay, so obviously the above quotes from Commish Stern are totally fake, & sound like something you would find on TheOnion.com rather than TheFloorSeats, but I just wanted to make you think about how ridiculous it is that the 2-time defending NBA champs have suffered bad losses to the Bobcats & Cavs.  Bear in mind in each case it was the opponent, not the Lakers, suffering from injuries, bad trades & free agency!

Even NBDL vet Christian Eyenga is dunking on the Lakers now?? The Spurs & Mavs must be licking their chops!

Here’s what ESPN.com & the AP had to say:

CLEVELAND — Kobe Bryant slipped a black backpack across his shoulders and left Quicken Loans Arena without talking about what had just happened.

After losing to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, nothing needed to be said.

The Lakers hit the All-Star break broken.

Looking nothing like two-time defending NBA champions, they dropped their third straight game, a stunning 104-99 loss Wednesday night to the Cavs — the league’s worst team, which avenged a 55-point embarrassment against Los Angeles last month.

The Lakers, who played so crisply and with purpose in recent wins over New York and Boston, look absolutely lost.

“It’s a painful, painful loss,” said Pau Gasol, who had 30 points and 20 rebounds. “It’s very disappointing. I don’t understand it.”

Ramon Sessions came off the bench and scored a season-high 32 points for the Cavaliers, who were beaten 112-57 by the Lakers on Jan. 11. That loss — the worst in club history — was No. 11 in a league-record streak that eventually reached 26 before Cleveland ended it last week with an overtime win against L.A.’s less-heralded squad, the Clippers.

After his club’s worst loss this season, coach Phil Jackson didn’t tell his players anything other than what time they’re due to report for practice Monday.

“I think they took the break before the game started,” he said.

Playing the finale of a seven-game road trip, the Lakers spent much of the night looking as if they were already on vacation. They threw errant passes, forced outside shots and couldn’t catch the Cavs down the stretch despite a frantic comeback.

“It’s back to the drawing board,” said Lamar Odom, who was asked what’s at the top of the team’s to-do list. “Defense. Cohesiveness. Our chemistry on offense. I’m not that worried. I think it’s things we can fix.”

Bryant finished with 17 points on 8-of-25 shooting. Derek Fisher had 19 for the Lakers, who committed 19 turnovers and enraged the normally tranquil Jackson, who screamed at them during timeouts after inexcusable defensive lapses.

Losing in Orlando on Sunday was hardly reason for much concern, but a 20-point setback in Charlotte on Monday left both Jackson and Bryant speechless. Now, a loss to the Cavaliers, who are 3-37 since Nov. 27, is enough reason for the Lakers to be worried.

Odom believes the Lakers coast against lesser teams.

“That’s our problem overall,” Odom said. “We take teams lightly at times. We play the cat-and-mouse game. Sometimes the cat loses.”

But as poorly as they played, the Lakers did cut a 10-point lead to two in the final minute. But Anthony Parker and Sessions made two free throws apiece in the last 17.9 seconds.

After the final horn, the Lakers walked slowly toward their locker room and a trip home not knowing what might happen next. With the trading deadline just a week away, the rumors involving Denver star Carmelo Anthony will likely heat up.

This much is clear: Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak needs to do something to awaken his team.

The Cavs, on the other hand, reached the season’s unofficial midpoint on a high.

This was their best effort of the season. They played with the energy coach Byron Scott wants every night, and they gave their dedicated fans a taste of what could be ahead. Beyond that, they somewhat erased the memory of being pummeled in Los Angeles.

“The only time you should be beating somebody by 50 points is on a video game,” said forward Antawn Jamison. “That night it felt like we were in one. It shows you when we focus for 48 minutes what we’re capable of doing. The biggest question is how do we be consistent doing that.”

Bryant’s 3-pointer helped the Lakers trim a 12-point deficit to three late in the third, but Cavs rookie forward Christian Eyenga followed with a dunk that had Cleveland fans instantly texting “OMG” to friends and one that is among the league’s best this season.

Eyenga blew past Bryant on the baseline, reared back with his right hand and smashed the ball through as Gasol made a halfhearted block attempt. Cleveland’s bench erupted at a dunk not seen around here since LeBron James delivered them on an almost nightly basis.

Jackson appears to have lost patience with his star-studded team, which seemed road-weary and disinterested.

In the second half, the Zen Master yelled at Gasol during two separate timeouts and the 11-time champion coach was animated while showing the Lakers what they were doing wrong on his erasable clipboard.

Things didn’t start well for the champions. Bryant picked up his second foul with 5:37 left in the first quarter, and on his way to the bench he said something to referee Kane Fitzgerald and was slapped with a technical. With Bryant out, the Cavs went on an 11-2 run and opened a 10-point lead.

It was a sign of things to come.

The Lakers were out of sync, and their sloppy play was perhaps best shown during a second-quarter possession when Gasol turned and fired a pass to where he expected a teammate to be. No one was there and the ball skipped into the feet of Los Angeles’ coaches.

“We had a lot of turnovers that really hurt us,” Jackson said. “We didn’t play a good road game at all.”

Game notes
Bryant credits Scott with being his mentor when he joined the NBA. The two remain close friends. Bryant sympathizes with what Scott has endured during a trying first season with Cleveland. “This is tough for him,” Bryant said. “He’s competitive. It’s killing him.” … Cavs G Mo Williams, who recently returned after missing 13 games with a hip flexor, injured his right ankle in the opening minutes. Scott said it was his decision to play Williams just 3 minutes.

Look at that horse! This HSN blooper never gets old…

15 Feb

No matter how many times I see this, it’s still funny…if you were paying close attention while watching Pixar’s forgettable film “Up” you heard the soundbite from this YouTube clip where the confused sales guy boasts about the camera’s “Schneider lens” LOL

Favorite part: “My producer just told me this isn’t a horse it’s a butterfly.  Actually, it may in fact be a moth.”  Who cares??  Either way it is definitely NOT a horse!  I love how he remains calm & finds the time to make his producer look like an idiot when it comes to differentiating insects to shift the focus away from his blunder…hilarious.