Monday, December 20, 2004

Horri-Bill Nominees

This prestigious award commemorates the absolute worst of the past few years. Here are the nominees I and others have come up with. If you have any other final nominations, post them here. The first installment of losers will be announced shortly.

Sport – Hockey, WNBA, Golf, Cricket
Male Athlete – Barry Bonds, Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant
Female Athlete – Marion Jones
Band/Artist – Limp Bizkit, Eminem, NB Riders (latino rap), Creed, Hoobastank
Song – Eminem “Just Loose It”
TV Show – The O.C.
Movie – Lost in Translation, The Day After Tomorrow, Club Dread
Horror Movie – House of 1000 Corpses, Exorcist: The Beginning, Thirt3en Ghosts
Male Wrestler – John Bradshaw Layfield, Jeff Hardy, HHH, the team of Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi
Female Wrestler – Gail Kim
Wrestling Gimmick – the “unstoppable” Goldberg, Kane as “The Lita rapist/husband”
Male Actor – Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DeCaprio
Female Actor – Angelina Jolie
Woman of the Year
Man of the Year – Barry Bonds, Michael Moore

Friday, December 17, 2004

Sprint and Nextel to Merge

The rumors have been circulating for quite some time, but earlier this week Sprint. officially announced the merger with Nextel. This won’t be a takeover by either company to acquire the other, but an equal merger.

The new company, known as Sprint Nextel, will have about $40 billion in revenue combined, and serve more than 35 million subscribers. This would make the new company the third largest cellular provider in the United States, behind Verizon and Cingular.

What do both sides have to gain from this deal? Sprint would benefit from Nextel’s large business customer base. Nextel would benefit from Sprint’s new CDMA.-2000 platform upgrade. The upgrade would be very expensive, but not nearly as expensive as it would be if the merger never happened. Sprint will be there to burden some of the costs, plus Nextel could use some of Sprint’s facilities to ease the transition.

I have been partial to Sprint for a few years, and didn’t really like Nextel. But there’s no denying that Nextel is a great company. Out of all the cell phone companies they have the highest customer satisfaction rating and the lowest turnover rate. The one problem I have against Nextel is that their phones are still relatively big and are just now utilizing color screens. Their phone selection has been poor, but all that could change with the new company.

The merger won’t be final for quite some time. It took Cingular and AT&T a year to merge, but Sprint and Nextel have a major upgrade to work out. I predict that the merger will take two years. Both Sprint and Nextel know that this is a big opportunity, and they don’t want to fuck it up by rushing things.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

First Annual Horri-Bill Awards!

Fitz had a good point. The Horri-Bill Awards must come to fruition, and must happen soon. However, the Horri-Bill Awards is something that can't be churned out in a couple days, or even weeks.

I'll publish the First Annual Horri-Bill Awards soon enough, dishonoring the past few years of music, movies, and other such deserving categories.

If you have any suggestions for categories or nominations for the Horri-Bill Awards, post them here or email I will accept nominations for each category, but I choose the winners.

Current categories are: Worst Horror Movie, Worst Movie, Worst TV Show, Worst Sitcom, Worst Band/Artist, Worst Song, Worst Video Game, Worst Sport, Worst Male and Female Pro Wrestler, Worst Wrestling Gimmick, Worst Male and Female Athlete (not necessarily Most Non-Athletic Athlete), Worst Male and Female Actor, and Woman and Man of the Year.

Nominations for this Horri-Bill Awards have no restriction on time-frame, but future awards will run from December thru November of the following year. Get creative, and if you want your nominations to be taken seriously, provide a few reasons why your nominee should win, or loose. After all, winners of the Horri-Bill Award aren't winners at all. Even the nominees are losers.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Latest on HD vs. Blu-Ray

Sony now has the backing of Disney, and will possibly start releasing movies on Blu-Ray format as soon as early 2006. However, Disney is pretty much saying that if HD (developed by Toshiba) turns out to the dominant technology then they reserve the right to release their movies on HD format.

So what Disney is telling Sony is that Disney is going with the winner of the format wars.

Sony still has a long way to go in order to make their Blu-Ray the dominant technology, but they are well on their way to winning the battle. Sony now has the backing of Disney and MGM, and is counting on 20th Century Fox to join the team. This would give Sony the backing of studios that combined account for 47% of the DVD sales in America, edging ahead of Toshiba with New Line Cinema and Time Warner (father company of New Line Cinema and Warner Bros.), Paramount, and Universal which account for 45% of DVD sales.

In my view, this would not be nearly enough to beat out Toshiba. Since the transitional costs of switching to HD discs would be much less than switching to Blu-Ray discs, Toshiba would still have the ultimate advantage; a larger profit margin for disc manufacturers (here’s a good article going really in depth).

Things are bound to change a million times between now and next December, when both technologies are set to hit the market, and I’ll keep you informed of every major development.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Billboard Winners

(not that it actually means anything)

Rap Artist of the Year - Kanye West
Digital Artist of the Year (Most Legally Downloaded) – Maroon 5
New Female Artist of the Year – Ashlee Simpson
Female Artist of the Year – Alicia Keys
Artist Achievement Award – Destiny’s Child
Ringtone of the Year – 50 cent – In Da Club
Biggest Selling R&B Single of the Year – Fantasia
Female Country Artist of the Year – Gretchen Wilson
Group Artist of the Year – Outkast
Century Award – Stevie Wonder
Artist of the Year – Usher (won 11 awards)

Why is it that all award shows are horrible? Take the “board” out of the Billboard awards, and you have the best award show ever, the Bill Awards. This fictional annual award show would be an all encompassing award show, giving OTYs for music, movies, sports, TV, and general celebrity honors. Also, Bam Margera and Paris Hilton would be the hosts, and Bam would probably end up boning her.

There would also be the Horri-Bill Awards, dishonoring the worst of the year, such as Julia Roberts, Nelly, Barry Bonds, Hugh Grant, hockey, Paris Hilton, the Detroit Tigers, any band that has gotten popular since 2002, and Oprah (among many others). Basically, it would be the Billboard Awards.

For a full list of Billboard Winners, click here.

Musicians Say P2P File Sharing Doesn’t Hurt Them!

According to a recent article on, many musicians don’t think that popular file-sharing programs, such as Kazaa, Morpheus, and Napster (RIP) have influenced the business negatively. They actually believe that the presence of music on the internet has helped them make more money!

Here are some stats from the study, conducted by the not-for-profit companies Pew Internet and American Life Project on 809 musicians:

47% of the artists surveyed said file sharing prevented them from earning royalties on their songs.
43% of the artists surveyed said file sharing helped promote and distribute their material.
66% said that file sharing was a very little threat to them.
30% said that file sharing was a major threat.

In the past few years, bands, record labels, and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) have sued thousands of their own fans and customers for downloading songs of their favorite artists (the whole thing started with Metallica pussy Lars Ulrich). This has prompted new, innovative ways for the artists to re-coup their losses and retain their paying customers, such as including bonus DVDs with their music CDs, and making pay-per-download sites available.

One of the most famous pay-per-download sites is iTunes by Apple. On July 11th of 2004, iTunes had its 100 millionth download, so there is definitely a big market for non-retail music purchasing

This leads me to raise the following question: with the online music business becoming so established, why would there be a need to go to some retail store and buy a CD when you could buy it without leaving your house? Just a few clicks and its downloaded, burned to a CD, and backed up on your hard drive. Want the actual artwork? You can use printable CD labels, or even better, printable CDs.

Or, of course, you could continue to download “illegally” like so many others currently are. I am not an advocate of illegally doing anything (no homo), but given the quality of the music (or lack thereof) currently being released; I wouldn’t blame anybody for downloading a song occasionally.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Van Helsing: Reviewed

When this movie came out in the theater, I had no desire to see it. I heard all the hype about how it was going to be great because it had hot vampire bitches, werewolves, Dr. Jekel / Mr. Hyde, Dracula, and Frankenstein’s Creation. For the same reasons, I decided that cramming all that into one movie could turn into a major suck-fest.

A bit of background information first. The character known as Val Helsing has been in around 160 movies, mainly hunting Dracula. In this movie, he is a vigilante for the Knights of the Holy Order (soldiers of God). So, he tracks down abominations of God and either brings them back to the Knight’s HQ so they can deal with them, or he kills them.

Maybe it was because of my low expectations for the movie, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Within the first half hour or so, I was hooked and I never lost interest. And I’m not saying the first half hour was boring, it just took a while for the actual plot to get going. Any good movie takes around a half hour to introduce the characters and general tone of the movie.

Speaking of the plot, it was a bit confusing at times, taking leaps instead of slowly developing the story. One thing I found great about the movie is that the fight scenes didn’t seem to interfere with the story development; unlike in some other movies where there are fight scenes just to take up time.

Hugh Jackman is amazing as Van Helsing. He has starred in “X-Men”, “X2”, “Swordfish”, and is currently working on “X-Men 3”. Acting opposite Jackman is Kate Beckinsale, also a Dracula hunter. She starred in “Underworld” and “Pearl Harbor” and is currently working on the sequel to “Underworld”. She’s also insanely hot.

Van Helsing and his cowardly sidekick, a friar (junior monk) from the Knights, are sent to hunt down Dracula. This proves to be no easy task, and Val Helsing finds that there is much more to this assignment than he or the Knights could have ever guessed.

A prequel to the movie is a short thirty minute cartoon called “Val Helsing: The London Assignment”. Val Helsing is sent to London to apprehend Dr. Jekel / Mr. Hyde. Nothing much really happens, but it is decent and a good introduction to the Van Helsing character.

There are a couple plot holes in Van Helsing, but suspension of disbelief reigns over them. If you have a few hours to spare, definitely check out this movie. Effects, acting, cinematography, all are superb.

3.75 / 5 Stars!