Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Unnecessary [Un]Rankings: Annoying Advertisements

Basketball continues to be on summer break, excluding the nonstop coverage of tomorrow's NBA Draft. I don't need Chad Ford or anyone else to let me know that the Knicks will somehow manage to pick another bust. I won't freak, because it doesn't surprise me anymore. Here's an idea: trade that pick for Vince Carter and cement your starting five of laziness. Forgive me for my brief venting...

Anyway, I had begun this unnecessary list during the month-long break between Finals games. To me, the commercials during this past playoffs aren't as creative as they once were. In fact, they're just annoying. I don't know who's responsible; but they're on notice. Not even Baron Davis on roller skates is enough to counteract the horribleness of these ad ideas.  After reading Christmas Ape's take on Deadspin about the classically bad Alonzo Mourning G2 commercial, I've compiled a list of ads that had disturbed me and further added to my frustration with the gap between games. These aren't ranked because they have been equally bad, and I just don't feel like dissecting each ad's strengths and weakness...

GMC Yukon Denali Parking Lot Attendant Guy

It's obvious that I like basketball a lot. A whole lot. But whoever brainstormed this idea for an overly excited parking attended giving pearls of wisdom to an unknown basketball player is missing a few rain clouds. There's three of these in this series, all of which are irritating. To add to that, you don't know who the player is in the truck. Or better yet, what does that have to do with the Denali? This isn't 2001, and no one cares about that SUV anymore, GMC. Gas is too high. The guy in it works on Mad TV...Exactly. Never. Let. Up. How about: Shut. The hell. Up...

WNBA - "Expect Great" Reverse Psychology Commercial

The Women's National Basketball Association is struggling with popularity. Family Guy even knows it. So what do the marketing teams choose as their new ploy to attract more people? Discounts on tickets if you buy jerseys? No. Discounts if the team achieves a certain goal in the game? Nah. They get the stars of the league to say exactly what most people are thinking. Candace Parker, Cheryl Ford, and Tameka Catchings are among the women that have participated in it. This would work if the WNBA was on the rise; but all this ad does is further confirm the beliefs of those that don't watch it in the first place. A rec league team would defeat a WNBA team, and women are scared of contact are a couple of the notions that non-WNBA fans cite as reasons they don't watch. I don't personally feel that way, but it is boring to me. I mean, women don't even go to see women's basketball...

50 Cent/Lloyd Banks Face Split-Screen Commercial

This has nothing to do with my musical opinion.  This was just a bad idea.  The NBA doing for the respective series in the playoffs was cool.  I understood having Magic and Bird participate for basketball history's sake.  Even Baron Davis and Adam Sandler mimicing it is also cool (because Baron = cool).  Two rappers promoting an album by copying it is just...annoying.  Hey Fif, put some of that Vitamin Water money to use and hire a new creative team.  Between this and you conducting orchestras, umm...FAIL.

Dwyane Wade G2 Behind the Scenes Commercial

The linked video in the title is the actual commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.  However, my annoyance is with the second installment, which has D-Wade talking about how he drinks G2 because "his Mama likes it;"  while his friend sitting next to him laughs like he just said the funniest thing in the history of jokes.  I have a few questions.  Since when did Gatorade become a drink for the grown and sexy?  Does that mean I can go to the local club and get a shot of Hennessey and G2?  Are high-rollers going to start showering clubgoers with G2 instead of Cristal (not you, Jevon Walker)?  Gatorade is still a fitness drink.  Meaning one drinks it after sweating; not to mix with his Grey Goose.  I guess the days of "Be Like Mike" are long gone.

I'm sure there are other commercials that my mind has chosen to forget to spare my sanity of further damage.  If you have one that irks you to no end, by all means leave it in the comment box.  Look at it like this, maybe if they continue to drink that G2, they'll get better at advertising.  Watch out, Marketing Division.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Unnecessary Rankings: Marvel/DC Supervillains

And just like that, basketball is over until July October. The Lakers went out with a whimper, and congrats go out to Glen Rivers, the Boston Three Party, and the rest of the Celtics for winning the title. A special thanks to Brian Scalibrine, for keeping the rest of the team out of "trouble." If you been to Boston, you know what that means.

But fear not, Fundamentally UnSound is not solely for basketball; although, it seems that way. I live outside the box scores of other sports, too. If there's a women's field hockey story that needs to be mentioned, I'm on it! In the meantime, most of these posts will be diversions from work. They'll be silly little lists/comparisons to help me pass the time until NBA Tip-Off around Halloween. At least I don't have to hear Mark Jackson say, "Get it done..." again. Who knew he borrowed material from Larry the Cable Guy?...... *crickets*

Anyway, in light of Kobe's inability to step out of the phone booth, I'm disappointed in superheroes at the moment. So I'll unnecessarily rank the ten best supervillains of all-time. The list only covers Marvel and DC Comics, so MF Doom does not qualify to make this list. Also, the villain has to be somewhat well-known and not have a two or three-episode appearance; and I don't care about the different drawings or stories of each character. It's the villain as a whole. Really, it's only like 15 good supervillains; which makes the list that much easier. This list is based on powers and overall villainous swagger. My bias will be on full display here, and you'll be able to tell what kind of person I am by my number one answer. To the list...*superhero transition music*

10.) Venom

Real Name: Edward "Eddie" Charles Brock

Archenemy: Spiderman

Weakness: Intense Soundwaves (Read: Ringing bells, rocket launches, etc.)

Weapons/Abilities: Umm...alien, shape-shifting, space-goo

An alien symbiote from space finds its way to the Big Apple and fuses with Spiderman's suit, creating the best costume ever. It gives Peter Parker a boost of confidence, amplified spidey powers, and an ever-increasing temper. It seems that after Parker parted ways with the symbiote, and it fused with Brock, it took on a more evil persona. Brock has been stricken with terminal cancer, and becomes passionate about bodybuilding. However, he failed as a journalist, and blames Spiderman for it. Venom, to me, gives Spiderman his toughest challenge; but Parker manages to stave off each of Venom's plot.

9.) Red Skull

Secret Identity: Johann Schmidt

Archenemy: Captain America, The United States

Weakness: Age

Weapons/Abilities: "Dust of Death" - Turns victims' heads into "red skulls"; Super Soldier Body

Captain America's main nemesis lands at number nine. He doesn't have any glaring weaknesses that any other normal human doesn't have; but his body is infused with the Super Soldier serum that Cap has in his body. In fact, Skull's body is a clone of Cap's. Since this was created during World War times, it's only natural that he's a former Nazi and confidant to one Adolf Hitler. As with most supervillains, he had a traumatic childhood; with both of his parents being murdered. In the later comics, Captain America is able to easily dispose of him because he's in his mid-80s. Or at least that's what Wikipedia says. I'm not one to argue with comic book heads.

8.) The Joker

Real Name: Unknown

Archenemy: Batman

Weakness: Jokes?

Weapons/Abilities: Genius, "Joker Venom," "Comedic" Gadgets (Razor-sharp playing cards, etc.)

The Joker is probably the most recognizable villain ever. His distinguished look, plus his creepily unique laughter makes him a favorite among children. As the familiar story goes, his pale-white face, green hair and large grin come from him falling into a large bin of unknown chemicals. That, plus the death of his family, is what drove him insane. I guess his mastermind crime-planning skills garner him respect among fellow evildoers, but he's creative with his weapons, not the elaborateness of his schemes. The primary weapon of choice—Joker Venom—causes the victim to have uncontrollably violent laughing spasms; with the result being a semi-permanent grin left on the face, similar to the Joker's. His notoriety is primarily what get him the number 8 spot. Besides, he has an equally-insane girlfriend, Harley Quinn; and that's nice...if you like psycho relationships...

7.) Galactus

Real Name: Galan

Archenemy: Fantastic Four

Weaknesses: None

Weapons/Abilities: Power Cosmic, "Heralds" (see: Silver Surfer)

The image above you is what the Fantastic Four television show used to portray the "Devourer of Worlds;" however, in "Rise of the Silver Surfer," Galactus was portrayed as a cloud-like entity. The latter version is what comic book guys and original storytellers have penned him to be. He possesses the Power Cosmic, which is the power to control all things in the universe—matter, teleportation of galaxies, size-alteration, and a bunch of other things I learned through my "extensive" research. He traverses the universe in search of new planets to devour for strength. According to the Marvel Universe, he does it to keep some huge evil from awakening. Whatever...

6.) Darkseid

Real Name: Uxas

Archenemy: Superman

Weaknesses: None

Weapons/Abilities: Omega Beam, Super Strength/Speed

To my knowledge--which is just the various Superman cartoons/movies--this is The Man of Steel's most powerful foe. In the animated series that used to come on the CW WB, he even bloodied Superman to the point he doubted he could win. But, as with every hero show, he finds more strength and was able to defeat Darkseid. It's rare that you even see Darkseid in a fistfight because of his Omega Beam. This deadly accurate, multi-purpose eye laser usually does all the damage he needs. Or so says DC Comics. So, you're telling me there's no more basketball until October, right?...

5.) Magneto

Real Name: Goes by "Magnus"

Archenemy: The X-Men

Weaknesses: Non-metallic Items/People

Weapons/Abilities: Magnetic Powers, Helmet that blocks Prof. X's Psychic Powers

A Jewish supervillain cracks the top five of this list. Magnus witnessed his parents murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust, and has been bent on using his amazing abilities to seek revenge on humanity. Everyone knows what he can control, but few know he was powerful enough to remove Wolverine's adamantium skeleton from his body. Apparently, he's an alcoholic and avid party-goer as well. More on that in a couple selections...

4.) Dr. Doom

Real Name: Victor von Doom

Archenemy: Fantastic Four, particularly Reed Richards

Weaknesses: Extreme heat, then immediate cooling

Weapons/Abilities: Titanium battlesuit, Superior Intellect, Mind-switching, Energy bolts, Other Mystic Arts

Daniel Dumile's inspiration for his alias is at number 4. Doom's is determined to outsmart Reed Richards, also known as Mr. Fantastic. Richards' wits have been better than his each time, and Dr. Doom can't seem to conquer the world. No one knows what his real face looks like. Some say it's heavily disfigured, others say Doom's twisted vanity has made him believe it's disfigured. Apparently, he has a moral side as ruler of Latveria; and frequently saves his townspeople in various comic books. Are you sure there's no more basketball?

3.) The Juggernaut

Real Name: Cain Marko

Archenemy: X-Men, primarily Professor Xavier

Weaknesses: Helmet Removal

Weapons/Abilities: Super strength/durability, Super suit-designing ability

If it were not for the cult-famous Juggernaut videos, Juggy probably wouldn't have even made this list. But for some reason, I think the people over at My Way Entertainment captured Juggernaut's swagger perfectly. As stated, silly weapons cannot harm him; and he can only be damaged by psychic attacks once his helmet is removed. His power appears to come from an ancient stone tablet with mystical symbols etched into it. Professor's X's step-brother is one of the most physically powerful forces in the Marvel Universe, and it's said that once he moves in one direction that nothing can stop him from continuing that way.

2.) Apocalypse

Real Name: En Sabah Nur ("The First One")

Archenemy: X-Men

Weaknesses: None

Weapons/Abilities: Extensive shape-shifting, immortality

Based on the X-Men series, Apocalypse was discovered in Egypt and raised by the locals. You know what that means, he's Black! I still don't know how the good guys seem to eventually thwart his diabolical plans, seeing that he is immortal and has literally no weaknesses. He even comes back, after his long slumbers of defeat, more powerful than before. But I guess we can't have evil people winning, or that would be so much different than the real world, right?

1.) The Riddler

Real Name: Edward Nygma

Archenemy: Batman

Weaknesses: Being outsmarted, he's human

Weapons/Abilities: Superior intellect, Power over question marks

This is my bias in full bloom. A lot of you superhero fans are saying, "What the hell? He's normal! He doesn't even fight!" All of those are true; and in a battle royal of these ten villains, he'd be eliminated in seconds. I mean, Apocalypse can't die. He's on this list ahead of Thanos, Dr. Octopus, among others with actual weapons and abilities. At the core, he's just some guy in a green suit. However, this is based mostly on villainous swagger; and no one has more than The Riddler. Who else is more creative in his schemes, traps, and clues to his crimes? Now, the obvious idea is that he shouldn't give any chance for the Dark Knight to know his activity; and should be inconspicuous. But therein lies the genius of him. He challenges another fully human superhero to a battle of wits. If you were a kid and figured out most of the riddles from the live TV and cartoon series, then you're like me. This is why I'm biased: I love logic and the idea of solving things. Chess is my favorite game of any genre (see me), and I frequently try to solve lateral thinking/logic problems just to say sharp. Needless to say, I'm a nerd at heart. With that said, here's a few riddles from a website. If you're feeling like such a smart guy, then here's an impossibly difficult set of lateral thinking problems (I strongly urge you to click the link if you have the time/brainpower). The goal is to keep advancing to the next problem. Oh, and no one's ever finished it. This is what is keeping me from dying of boredom from no basketball. Good luck!

That's the list. Agree. Disagree. Just don't really care like me? Comment and let the debate rage on long as you're not as bored as I am now.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Embodiments of Cool: Who Ya Got?

It's not a secret: Barack Obama is cool. He's as charismatic as people come, and has the swagger needed to be future leader of the country. Until recently, I thought he was the coolest person on the planet; but there is a new challenger. His name is Baron Davis. So I decided to do a "Tale of the Tape," similar to what the good ol' folks at Kissing Suzy Kolber do during football season...but with fewer dick jokes. Anyway, in the battle of awesomely cool people, who ya got?


Barack Obama

Occupation: Senator of Illinois; Presidential Candidate

Nickname: The People's Champ

Entrance Song: "Mighty O" by Outkast (NSFW)

Leadership Style: Calm and Collected. Methodical, but effective.

Movement Started: "Yes, We Can!"

Potential In Opponent's Field: Probably a journeyman, but likable, like Damon Jones...minus the ridiculous fashion sense.

Baron Davis

Occupation: Point Guard - New York Knicks Golden State Warriors, Movie Critic

Nickname: B-Diddy, Boom Dizzle

Entrance Song: "Cool As a Fan" by Little Brother (NSFW)

Leadership Style: Free-spirited with youthful swagger.

Movement(s) Started: "We Believe", Fear The Beard

Potential In Opponent's Field: Has Presidential swagger, but would probably only make it to Governor of California. He could definitely be mayor of Oakland.

You have enough information to pick the winner. To me, it's a tough call; but I think I gotta go with the upset and pick The Baron. He wouldn't have to deal with the pressures of the country, and would be a better teammate in a game of two-on-two.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Shampoo Players

After watching the self-suffocation of the Lakers in Game 4, part of me wants to join in the imminent Mamba-humbling* that will surely be the topic of basketball beat writers and ESPN banter shows everywhere. But no, I will hold back my laughter and talk about something more positive...

Everyone says the timeless cliche-like analysis that the NBA Finals are where superstar players should, "step up to the stage," and be able to, "handle the bright lights." While that is very true and annoying when repeated like a new idea, however, there's one element that tends to be overlooked as the playoffs progress.

It seems to me that in most of the NBA Finals series I've watched in which the two teams are relatively equal, the play of the role players is paramount in determining the winner. You may be thinking, "Well, duh. Jon Barry said that before Game 1." If you are, then I don't know how you survived watching the nonstop monotony of ESPN's coverage...because I didn't—I watched "Animaniacs" songs to dispel my boredom. Anyway, Jon Barry's superficiality of that analysis isn't what I meant by role players. I'm referring to role players that seem to have such an impact on the game that people watching and players/coaches participating can only scratch their heads in amazement. These are guys that wouldn't even be an afterthought if it were not for their brief moments of extraordinary play. I'll explain...

In almost every critical game of a Finals series, there have been performances by role players that have grasped victory for that winning team. It may be a huge scoring game, or just one single shot. An example of the latter for Knicks fans: Avery. Effing. Johnson. I can take every game of this series so far as a microcosm of my theory. In Game 1, Rajon Rondo had 15, 5, and 7. In Game 2, the casual fans collectively wondered, "Who the hell is Leon Powe?". Sasha Vujacic and his ribbon headband became the first player on a Phil Jackson-coached team to score 20+ off the bench. And with last night's game, James Posey and Eddie House continuously made the Lakers pay for over-committing on dribble penetration. Need further proof? Meet me below the next random picture...

In the series-clinching game of the 2003 Finals—Spurs versus Nets—most people may remember Timmy's near-quadruple-double performance (21, 20, 10, and 8 blocks). But it was Stephen Jackson's 17 points combined with Speedy Claxton's 13, while a young Tony Parker watched from the bench, as San Antonio put away New Jersey. The box score is here.

To my recent knowledge, and not doing a whole bunch of research about it, there is only one series I can think of in which role players weren't really necessary for victory. That is the 2006 Finals, where Dwyane Wade, with the help of Tim Donaghy the NBA League Office Shaq's presence in the post, stepped out of the phone booth and defeated the Mavs by his sheer awesomeness. This isn't another random and unnecessary shot at Dirk; but it kind of is one at the Mamba—only this one is reasonable and premeditated.* But, as I previously stated, I think the analysts will thoroughly cover that idea. Hey, it'll give me a reason to watch NBA coverage again; instead of Euro 2008 (Go Portugal?).

So the next time you watch a meaningful NBA Finals, instead of looking for the superstars to play celestially; look for the players from anonymity to contribute as though they were basketball titans. Peace.

*For the record, if anyone ever tells me Kobe is on par with His Airness again, something like this will happen to you. Dwyane Wade didn't let his team lose in the Finals, and that was before we knew that his Mama liked G2. His Airness doesn't shoot 6-19 in a Finals game. Ever.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Unnecessary Rankings: Schoolhouse Rock! (#10 - #1)

This is the second part of the top 20 songs from Schoolhouse Rock. So, without the long introduction, let's get right to number 10...

10.) Telegraph Line

This will probably be another disputed pick. The three-minute tune about how the nervous system leads off the top ten. This is no slight to this joint; but to me, the other nine are just better.

9.) Rufus Xavier Sarsparilla

That's a long name, right? Well, SHR shows you just how tiring it would be if one continuously had to say someone's name in a sentence. Thank language for pronouns, otherwise people would be sick of saying each other's names.

8.) Verb: That's What's A Happenin'!

Grammar Rock's musical summation of verbs lands at number eight. Hey look, it's a Black guy in a superhero outfit talking about words for change! That seems like a visual metaphor for someone in real life. Were the SHR producers foreshadowing to something today? If you believe that, then seek help.

7.) I Got Six

At number seven is the multiplication song about the number six. SHR jazzed this one up nicely, as well. The trumpets were a nice touch. The game is today, right? Just checking.

6.) My Hero, Zero

As the title could lead you to believe, this isn't a song created by Wizards fans about Gilbert Arenas, although it could be. SHR showed how zero allows us to count numbers to infinity; and recognizes its value as a place holder.

5.) Here I Come (5's)

This is purely coincidence that the fifth-best SHR song is the one about the multiples of five. I don't know that it would be appropriate for the "teacher/singer" to be playing hide-and-seek with small children; but whatever.

4.) Three Is A Magic Number

This song is easily superior to the rest of the Multiplication Rock tunes. The guitar and drum combination is perfect. Then, throw in the bass, and learning to multiply by three has never sounded so good. At least, when you're nearly dead from boredom. Is this how I'm going to be after basketball season's over?

3.) Electricity, Electricity

The first lock of the countdown. Everyone knows the hook. SHR shows how electricity is conducted through various power sources. That conductor is the man, especially since you rarely see his eyes.

2.) Conjunction Junction

Conjunction Junction would easily be number one, if the current number one didn't exist. I didn't watch the top two videos until it was time to hyperlink them because they would cause me to disrespect the rest of the songs on here. That's how good Conjunction Junction is. And number one (as if there was any doubt) is even better.

1.) I'm Just A Bill

It bears repeating. The top two songs are so good, that I didn't watch them until it was time to hyperlink them to keep my list as objective as possible. Everyone knows, at minimum, the first two lines of I'm Just A Bill. There's no need for explanation; just enjoy.

There shouldn't be any debate about the top three, at least; but if you agree/disagree with any of the rankings, the comment box is there for you. If this didn't make you smile—or you didn't sing at least five of these—then you have no soul.