Jul 31, 2006

A Pint And A Grammy

Matt Molloy's
Bridge Street - Westport, Ireland
This pub, owned by flautist Matt Molloy of The Chieftains, was another one of my dad's stops while he was in Ireland.

I'm guessing that there aren't very many pubs in the world that have a Grammy Award sitting on the bar, but this one does and it's the real deal.  The Chieftains won the award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards for their 1992 album An Irish Evening, which was recorded live at the Grand Opera House in Belfast 15 years ago today.

I haven't listened to this album before, but I'm definitely putting it on my list.  The band was joined on stage for several songs by Nanci Griffith and Roger Daltrey of The Who.

Jul 30, 2006

The Kings Head

The Kings Head
High Street - Galway, Ireland
One of the many pubs that Dad visited in Ireland was The Kings Head.  This building is over 800 years old and was the home of the Mayor of Galway in 1651.

Jul 29, 2006

The Emerald Isle

My dad just got back from a vacation in Ireland.  He and my stepmother went on a tour that was organized by Seamus Kennedy, and I couldn't be more jealous.  Therefore, I'm going to spend the next few days living vicariously through the photos that they took while they were there.

This is a memorial to the people who died as a result of The Doolough Tragedy that occurred in 1849 during the Great Famine in Ireland.  You can learn more about what took place here.

The inscription at the base of the memorial reads:





Jul 24, 2006

The Evil Clown Of Middletown

Calico - The Evil Clown Of Middletown
Circus Liquors - Middletown, NJ
We took a road trip through New Jersey last month.  It started with a visit to the Quick Stop and RST Video from Clerks, and Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash comic book shop.  After that, the rest of the trip was guided by the Weird New Jersey book.  One attraction from the book that we saw and photographed was not far from Quick Stop: The Evil Clown Of Middletown.

The 20+ foot tall clown has a name: Calico.  He began his life in 1956 as an advertisement for the Food Circus grocery store that was once in operation across from the parking lot that he has stood watch over for the past 50 years.  The store has since become Circus Liquors.

Although seeing the clown wasn't meant to be a part of the Kevin Smith Askewniverse pilgrimage, that's what it ended up being in retrospect.  We got to see Clerks 2 at Cinemark last night, and I was happy to see Calico featured for a few seconds in the opening scene of Dante and Randal driving to work.

Jul 23, 2006

A Pennsylvania / New Jersey Double Feature

Clerks II
MGM Pictures (2006)
Its not often that a movie sequel lives up to the original.  This is especially true when it comes to comedy flicks.  Often times, the jokes in a comedy sequel are little more than a callback to scenes and events that take place in the first film, and the humor is totally reliant on the audience remembering a movie that was much funnier than the one that they're watching.  I'm extremely happy to say that this isn't the case with Clerks II.  Not only is this a funnier movie than its predecessor, but I think it's the best and funniest movie of the entire View Askewniverse.  It introduces new characters who fit perfectly into the world that Kevin Smith has created, and it tells a story that gives a satisfying conclusion to the characters that we grew to love in the first film.

Lady In The Water
Warner Bros Pictures (2006)
I'm going to have to give M. Night Shyamalan's latest film a second watch before I decide what I think of it.  It's a visually stunning movie and the performances are well done, but the story didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  It almost seemed as if the actors were improvising the mythology on the spot.  It was also pretty damn eye rolling for the writer/director of the film to cast himself in his own film playing the role of genius writer who is destined to create something that will save humanity, but that will cause him to be a writer in the process.  I'm not sure it's possible for a filmmaker to be this arrogant and self-indulgent.  It would be asinine even if it was played for laughs, but it's not.  He has basically written himself to be Jesus.  Despite all of its flaws, I enjoyed the movie, but I'm really hoping that there's something I'll see in a second viewing that I didn't catch the first time around that helps this story to make any kind of sense.

Jul 16, 2006

(Cage Of) Death Before Dishonor

ROH: Death Before Dishonor IV
PA National Guard Armory - Philadelphia, PA
This show was the culmination of the seven month feud between ROH and CZW.  It began on December 10th at CZW Cage Of Death 7 when, at the end of the tag team championship match on the card, Chris Hero grabbed the microphone and challenged Bryan Danielson to defend his ROH World ChampionshipHero expressed annoyance toward ROH as a company because the upcoming CZW event in Philadelphia had to be moved to the afternoon to accommodate ROH, who were having an evening show across town on the same night.

The day/night double header took place on January 14thDanielson defeated Hero in the main event of the night show, but wrestlers from each side invading the other's show, and it's been a full fledged war between the two promotions ever since.  Throughout this war, the spotlight has continually shifted to Homicide as the reluctant savior of Ring Of Honor.  He was the member of the ROH roster who was was violent enough to beat CZW at their own game.  That game came to Death Before Dishonor IV last night in the form of a Cage Of Death match.

The PA National Guard Armory had one of the most interesting setups for the crowd that I've ever seen at a pro wrestling event.  The general admission bleachers were set up on two opposite sides of the ring behind the floor seats.  One side was designated for CZW fans and the other for ROH fans.  This made for one hell of a show with both groups of fans taunting each other across the ring.  It was hands down one of the most intense crowd atmospheres that I've ever experienced at any type of event.

In the weeks leading up to this show, Homicide told Jim Cornette that he would join Team ROH in Cage Of Death, but only if Ring Of Honor would grant him any three wishes that he wants.  After the Pure Championship match (which was incredible, by the way), Cornette came out to the ring to say that he wouldn't give in to Homicide's demands, so Team ROH is still looking for its fifth member.  This causes Bryan Danielson to come out and offer to be the fifth member, even though he's defending his championship earlier in the night, and he doesn't want anything in return.

Danielson defeated Dutt by striking him in the head with his elbow until the referee stopped the match.  We then went to intermission and the Cage Of Death was set up.  It's sort of like an octagon-shaped Hell In The Cell because the cage surrounds the ring and the ringside area, but instead of having a roof, it was filled with weapons, including chairs, trash cans, a barbed wire bat, and a table that was covered in barbed wire.

The match was held under War Games rules, with J.J. Dillon standing guard at the entrance. It began with one member of each team in the cage (Samoa Joe for ROH and Claudio Castagnoli for CZW).  ROH won the coin toss, so a new wrestler came into the cage every every two minutes, starting with BJ Whitmer, which gave ROH a 2-on-1 advantage for the next two minutes until a new CZW wrestler could enter, then another two minutes passes before an ROH wrestler enters, and so on until all five members from each team are in the match.  The match can't end until all five members of each team have entered the cage, but once they've all been introduced, a winner is determined by a single pinfall or submission.  In other words, it's one-fall to a finish, not elimination style like Survivor Series.  I'm not doing a great job of explaining it, but hopefully you get the idea.

The order of entry was:
With the first four men in the ring, The Kings Of Wrestling had taken the upper hand against Samoa Joe and BJ Whitmer.  This changed when Bryan Danielson came to the ring at #5 and destroyed Hero and CastagnoliSamoa Joe and Bryan Danielson do not get along, but they had put their differences aside for the purposes of this match... or at least they did until Danielson turned on Joe by attacking and injuring his knee.  The ROH World Champion wasn't siding with CZW - he was just being an opportunist who took advantage of the situation to take out his main challenger for the title.  Within about a minute, Nate Webb entered the match, Joe was carried to the back, and Danielson flipped off Jim Cornette and walked out on Team ROH.  This left BJ Whitmer in the ring by himself to get beaten down by three members of Team CZW.

Adam Peace came out next for ROH, followed by Necro Butcher for CZW.  At this point, it was an absolute seal beating with CZW using every weapon in the cage to beat down Team ROHAce Steel was the 9th man introduced in the match.  He came out with a cowbell on a long rope, which he used to smack each member of Team CZW in the head, but CZW quickly regrouped and once again got the upper hand, with their surprise entrant still to be announced.

Chris Hero grabbed the microphone to introduce the final member of Team CZW to the ring.  He said that it's a man who he hates, but their hatred for ROH is stronger than their hatred for each other.  With that, Eddie Kingston hit the ring and all five members of Team CZW took turns smacking the three remaining members of Team ROH with ladders, chairs, a barbed wire bat, the cowbell, and everything else in sight.  After a few minutes of this, the lights went out, the red strobe came on, and the Kill Bill music played.  Half of the crowd went absolutely bananas chanting Homicide's name as he came to the ring and wasted Team CZW.  He passed out forks to his ROH teammates, and Team ROH fought back with what amounted to a series of piledrivers and stabbings.  The ROH side of the arena chanted "Ring Of Homicide" while the CZW side responded with a chant of "6 on 5" in protest of the fact that ROH had six members of its roster enter the match against five members of the CZW roster.  Since there were only four members of the ROH roster out at that moment (with Joe and Danielson gone), the ROH fans responded with a chant of "you can't count".

The final 20 minutes of the match were absolute mayhem that made even the most hardcore night of ECW look almost tame in comparison.  It finally ended when Homicide hit Nate Webb with a Cop Killa on top of a pile of barbed wire before covering him for the pinfall and giving Team ROH the victory.  And then, just when I thought this night couldn't get any more batshit crazy, it did.

Jim Cornette ordered everyone in the ROH locker room to carry Team CZW out of the cage and throw them out of the building.  He then thanked Team ROH and told Homicide that he had the heart of a warrior and that he was going to grant his three wishes.  Homicide's first wish was to fight Steve Corino in an ROH ring, which Cornette granted.  His second wish was an a guaranteed ROH World Title shot.  Again, Cornette granted him his wish.  Homicide's final wish was that Cornette reinstate Low Ki and bring him back to ROH.  The fans chanted "just say yes", but this was a bridge too far.  Cornette said he'd grant any wish for Homicide, but he's not granting a wish for Low Ki and he wouldn't be allowed back in ROH as long as Cornette is still in charge.  Homicide called Cornette a liar and spit in his face.  This led to Cornette spraying mace in Homicide's face and Adam Pearce attacking him while J.J. Dillon locked the cage to prevent anyone from running in.  Then to cap off the night with one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen in a wrestling ring, J.J. Dillon handcuffed Homicide to the turnbuckle and removed his shirt, and then Jim Cornette whipped him in the back with his belt.  I don't mean one or two whips either... this looked like something out of Roots.  So, it seems that the chapter is officially closed on the ROH vs. CZW feud, and the war between The Rottweilers and Jim Cornette has just begun.

I know that I said that the May 13th show in New Jersey was the best pro wrestling show I had ever seen, and it may have been the stronger show from beginning to end, but the main event of Death Before Dishonor IV was on a whole other level.  I've been to the Gathering Of The Juggalos four times and god only know how many other crazy ass shows, but this was hands down the most insane, flat out batshit crazy event I have ever attended, and it came from an independent promotion that is best known for technical wrestling.  I can't imagine how they're ever going to top this.


Jul 7, 2006

The Wisdom of Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige was born 100 years ago today.  He became one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the history of the game, and the man that Joe DiMaggio called the best pitcher he ever faced.  Click here for more.

Jul 1, 2006

Glorious Wood Paneling

This was my old IBM Aptiva on the computer desk in my bedroom on my 16th birthday, which was ten years ago today.  I loved how it matched the paneling.