What are you still doing here?

LAST ONE OUT, TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!

The Program 101 has a NEW HOME. Get your bookmarks updated, because we are now located at….

www.theprogram101.com

Same great Program, different channel!

Things will be changing

Just a quick heads up for all of you…..we might not have much new material posted today, as we are working on something Program related that we might just be releasing TONIGHT. Working hard on it right now, and hopefully in a few hours we can share it with all of you.

But I just wanted to give you the heads up that what we are working on is taking up our time, and we won’t be updating this site until we are finished this thing.

Please check back later tonight for what we have for you.

What they need – Cavaliers, Bucks, Pistons, Pacers, Bulls

With the upcoming Draft around the corner, as well as the MUCH anticipated 2010 free agency, which has been hyped like the world is about to end two years before the Mayans predicted, let’s take a look at each of the 30 teams in the NBA and what I feel they need to do this off-season to make them better for the 10-11 year.

Crazy to think about how we have been hearing EVERYDAY for the past 3 years about how huge this free agency is….and here we almost are. One month away. Time flies by doesn’t it?

Now, two things I want to mention quickly about “What They Need”…

1. We will look at one division at a time, covering all the teams in that division. We are leaving the Atlantic and the Pacific until later, since two of the teams are still rocking.
2. I think that I am a pretty knowledgeable basketball guy, but please take my opinions with a grain of salt. As much as I might know about each of the 30 teams, people who get paid to follow these teams and people who live in the markets and are hardcore fans of each of these team will no doubt know more than I do. I don’t think that I am more of an expert on the Timberwolves then some hardcore b-ball fan who lives in Minnesota, just like I don’t think some basketball fan in Miami knows more about the Raps then I do. WE all have good opinions, but I am just saying that if you disagree, remember that I am certainly not thinking that I am an expert here.

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So, let’s start with the Central division today….

Cleveland Cavs – Starting with a big one. What they need to do is simple…resign Lebron. Of course, what they need to do and what they can do might be two different things. So let’s analyze what happens ether way.

First thing that needed to do regardless of what happens with Lebron was to fire Mike Brown. I agree that sometimes coaches get unfair blame on the lack of success a team has, but not here. Mike Brown was clearly in over his head. The Cavs should have been an uptempo team with the group that they had. WHO is going to stop Lebron in the open court? Has he ever been stopped on the break? But Mike Brown decided to always play with a slow it down offense. That just boggled my mind to be honest. SCREW Shaq, who cares if he can catch up. And you might say “well Mike Brown was forced to use Shaq so he had to go half-court” and to that I remind you that Shaq was in Cleveland for one year. Mike Brown has been slowing it down his entire time with Lebron.

So if Lebron stays, what do they need? Perhaps not much to be honest. A new coach, a new system, and a new voice. I really do blame Mike Brown for the Cavs issues, but if anything they might want to look at in addition is getting a solid defending 2 guard, as Anthony Parker started too show his age 2 seasons ago with the Raptors. ALSO, make sure Shaq is gone for good. Just get a solid center who can defend and rebound. Varajeo thinks he his Michael Jordan, so it’s good to have him come off the bench. They need a Kendrick Perkins-ish center, and give Jamison a training camp to get into a better groove with the team.

Without Lebron…well…thats tough. They need to build around Jamison for the year, and try to get a scoring 2 guard to replace some of the productivity they lose with Lebron. With out the King, the Cavs have NO chance at a title next year, but a scoring 2 guard is what I would aim for.

Milwaukee Bucks - They need an all-star. Doesn’t matter what position, they just need an all-star. Here is a team with some nice pieces, some nice future potential in Jennings, a very good center in Bogut, and a good coach. BUT….nice pieces alone won’t get you anywhere, Jennings could be a good player but I am not sure about great, and I would NEVER build around Bogut as he is an injury risk and has had nice moments so far but not a nice career. This team needs someone else to be the man. Michael Redd was a poor version of that BUT at least he was a version of that.

Now, since we know the Bucks have no chance at a top level guy, they need to focus on the Ellis’s, and Iggy’s. A current borderline all-star who the Bucks can hope can take the next step. I KNOW that Ellis and Iggy have never lead there teams anywhere, but a change in environment, coach and system can change things. And this is the only chance the Bucks have at getting an all-star right now. IF they could try to get sneaky with sign and trades, they could target Dirk Nowitzki, but again, will Dirk pick Milwaukee over a number of other teams? Most likely not.

Chicago Bulls - Next year could be huge for the Bulls, but one thing I want you to ponder….does this team need Lebron? Or do they need low post scoring?

Yes Bulls fans, I know the prospect of getting the best player in the game today on the team is huge….BUT, this is a team that has desperately needed low post scoring FOR YEARS! Seriously, we have talked about this need for at least 5 or 6 seasons. Noah is a very nice player, but he is a rebounder and defender, not a scorer. So what i am suggesting is that they go after Bosh (as a Raps fan that hurts to say) and a three point shooting 2 guard. This will make them a better TEAM.

And that is the key to my argument against going after Lebron. Remember many years ago that dream team the Lakers put together with Shaq, Kobe, Mailman and the Glove? Sure Payton and Malone were over the hill at that point, but regardless, that was a team that was designed for an easy championship. And they ended up getting destroyed by the better TEAM in Detroit. I am just saying that Lebron on the Bulls would win a lot of games, but I think the better chances for a championship would be scoring in the low post.

Of course, getting Lebron is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I wouldn’t blame them for going after James first. It would be a tough one to pass up, no matter what.

Indiana Pacers – As nice as Danny Granger is, he really is proving to be the injury risk that was predicted when he was drafted. But when healthy, he can be a beast who shoots WAAAAY too many three’s.

But what the Pacers need is a PG. They got TJ Ford before for this spot, but again as a Raps fan I knew that they were not getting much. They need to get a very good PG. The Pacers have an odd team where if they are rolling and the 3′s are falling, they can hang with anyone. But they don’t have the high enough talent level or consistency to do that and make it anymore except 9th-11th place every year. They are like a poor mans Orlando Magic. They need an injection of talent at the 1 spot, and they need to develop other aspects of their game besides jacking 3′s. Orlando can get away with it because of Dwight. The Pacers do not have a Dwight.

Detroit – Ugh…I don’t know here. I guess they just need a healthy season, but even then this is a border line playoff team. I guess they need to get rid of the old, and bring in another new. Say goodbye to Prince and Hamilton, get a decent defending 2 who can shoot and is fine with Gordon getting the most minutes at the position. I am not a big fan of Charlie V, so I think they need to get rid of him…but that won’t happen. So maybe trying to get an athletic center in the draft.

Seriously I don’t know with Detroit. I thought they made some bad moves in signing Gordon and Charlie V.  OK, Gordon can be good, although streaky, but I don’t think ether guy is championship material. Then this team has guys like Prince and Hamilton who clearly want out.

So what I think they need to do is completely rebuild. Top to bottom. But due to the contracts they gave Gordon and Charlie V, and the fact that I doubt Dumar’s will go that far in admitting he made some mistakes, I think this team is going to try to add one or two pieces and give it another go next year. THEN when they fail, they will then be forced to do what they really need to do…a complete rebuild.

Look for more “What they need” in the future. And I would love to hear what you guys and girls have to say about my thoughts, and what your thoughts are in the comment section down below. What do you think?

Next up! – The 32 Group Battle Royal

We asked. And you answered.

And what you answered with was one HELL of a battle in MOP vs Geto Boys. We might not see a closer result then that one. If you have not seen it yet, here are the the results for that battle as well as Cypress Hill vs Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The brackets have been updated as well.  We move on to the next 2 battles in the first round of the tournament….

We have Dogg Pound taking on De La Soul which I predict will be a huge one (UPDATE: Based on the early results, I might wrong about this being tight battle), as well as the Roots taking on the Fugees. Remember to view the details on these groups (as well as check out some classic music from all these groups) in our “Current Battles” section of The Program, and when you are ready to make that all-important vote, do so here.

Voting for Battles #5 & #6 will last until next Monday.

SO between Dogg Pound/De La Soul/Roots/Fugees, which two groups will be going home early? And which two will be moving on into the next round of the 32 Group Battle Royal?

The Reviews – The Sopranos Season 1

Previously on….

Sopranos creator David Chase was a executive producer for Northern Exposure, and supervising producer and writer for a few Rockford Files TV movies. James Gandolfini had a number of small roles in movies like 8mm, True Romance, Get Shorty and Crimson Tide. Lorraine Bracco was in The Basketball Diaries, Hackers, and most famously in Goodfellas as Karen Hill. Edie Falco had a number of short stints on shows such as Homicide: Life on the Street, New York Undercover, and Law & Order. You could find Dominic Chianese in Godfather 2, Dog Day Afternoon, and All the President’s Men. Nancy Marchand was Fraiser Crane’s mom on Cheers, and the Mayor that had to deal with Dt. Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun. Michael Imperioli was shot in the foot by Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas, and he also had roles in Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Bad Boys, Clockers, and Dead Presidents. Steven Van Zandt was a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Tony Sirico was a legit wiseguy for the Colombo crime family, and was arrested twenty-eight times. Vincent Pastore was the guy pushing a coatrack in Goodfellas. And Drea de Matteo was not doing much, maybe dreaming about one day being in a “Friends” spin-off called Joey, which happened to later turn into a nightmare.

Then in 1999, all these actors and producer found themselves beginning to work on a show for HBO called The Sopranos.

The Plot

Tony Soprano is a man caught in the middle of two families. One of the two is his family at home, with his wife Carmella Soprano, and his kids AJ Soprano, and Meadow Soprano. And then he has his other family. Tony is a Capo for the DiMeo crime family in New Jersey, which is headed by acting boss Jackie Aprile. Another capo for the DiMeo crime family is Tony’s uncle Junior Soprano, who has his eyes on the top position of the family. While things are never easy for the relationship between Junior and Tony, they do have love for each other, and frequently reminisce about playing baseball when Tony was a kid.

Acting boss Jackie Aprile had been diagnosed with Cancer, and as the illness grew stronger, the stability at top of the family grew weaker. Chaos within the family was starting to build, which included a member of Tony’s close circle Christopher Moltisanti and friend Brandon Filone stealing a truck filled with DVD players that were owned by Junior. After peace was made at a sit down between Tony, Junior and Jackie, and the agreement that the truck would be returned to Junior,  Christopher and Brandon were not happy with what they perceived to be a sign of disrespect. With Christopher backing out at the last minute, Brandon went forward and stole another truck full of expensive suits. With that, Junior decided to send a message that he is not to be messed with, and killed Brandon, and gave Christopher a mock execution.

Around the same time, Jackie Aprile had passed away, and a new leader was needed. Tony made the decision to give Junior the title of Boss, bringing peace to the family, as well as using Junior as the lightening rod for the FBI, but it would be Tony making major decisions behind Junior’s back. The rest of the Capo’s in the family agreed to this plan. And while everything was not fantastic due to Junior’s selfish behavior, it worked out as planned when the FBI started to make their presence felt. In the end, Junior, as well as a few of his associates and another Capo, were arrested. The feds attempted to flip Junior, and admit that Tony was the real boss of the family, which would help build a case against Johnny Sack from New York. Junior though stuck with the rules of the business, and gave the feds nothing.

Tony during this time period is also dealing with some serious mother issues, as he decided that the best thing for his mother, Livia Soprano, would be to move her into a retirement community. His mother though was very much against this idea, and was a master manipulator who made Tony feel very guilty for what he was trying to do. With the various pressures coming from his home life, his work, and his mother, Tony begun to experience Panic Attacks and passed out on a number of occasions. To deal with this issue, Tony started to see a psychiatrist named Jennifer Melfi. Dr. Melfi was very sure that a lot of problems for Tony came from his own Mother, but for the majority of the time, Tony did not believe this. He was though convinced his mother needed to go to a retirement community, after Livia ran over a friend with her car, and almost burned down her home. Livia was not happy about Tony putting her there, and also for selling her home, and with that anger she made life difficult for Tony. Once she had learned about Tony seeing a shrink, she used that information to convince Junior that Tony was leaking information to the shrink, which Junior feared was then heading to the Feds. In addition, she mentioned that all of the Capos were meeting at the retirement community behind Juniors back. With Livia’s full knowledge, Junior decided to take a hit out on Tony.

Tony was in a serious bout of depression when the attempt on his life took place. Luckily for him, he was able to survive this incident, and with the help of the Feds, who provided wire tap recordings of Livia and Junior discussing the intention to take Tony’s life, Tony knew who was behind it. The Feds were hoping to have Tony become a witness for them, and hoped the tapes would show that Tony could have a better life elsewhere. What he wanted though was revenge, and with his associates Christopher, Silvo Dante and Paulie Gualtieri, Tony took out members of Juniors crew which included Juniors right hand man Mickey P. Before Tony could get to Junior, the Feds had stepped in and arrested the acting boss of the family. With Junior arrested, this now leaves Tony as the official boss of the family. Tony also made sure to let his own mother know that he was on to her.

Then we had Tony’s home life, as his two kids were coming to that time in life when you find out what daddy REALLY does for a living. While Tony and Carmela dealt with the kids being old enough to know what the “garbage business” meant, Carmela was turning to religion to help her deal with the evils of her husband’s work, as well as her husband’s mistresses.

We also saw a member of Tony’s crew, Pussy Bonpensiero, as well as capo Jimmy Altieri arrested on gun charges. Both were released, but due to some inside information Tony received, he believed that Pussy had flipped to the feds. After a confrontation between Pussy and Paulie in regards to this matter, Pussy disappeared for the remainder of the season. It was discovered that the inside information Tony received was incorrect (this is season one remember, not season two) and it was actually Jimmy who was wired. With that knowledge, Silvo took out Jimmy Altieri and left his body in an alley with a rat stuffed in his mouth.

The Review

First things first, I have to say that I think the Sopranos has the best opening credits sequence in television history. Sure it’s long (perhaps longest ever opening credits), but unless I am in a rush, I always take that trip with Tony from New York to his home in Jersey. “Got yourself a gun” is a great track that always finds time in the rotation on my Ipod.

When The Sopranos first came out, it looked like nothing more then a “Analyze This” rip-off. That was a movie in the 90′s starring Billy Crystal and Robert DeNiro, and was about a mobster who visited a shrink. While the therapy plotline played a major factor in this TV show, the writers of “Analyze This” could only dream about writing something as good as The Sopranos. Everything about this show, from it’s writing, acting and directing, was top notch. And while the therapy story line was a slight risk from a creative standpoint, due to the association of “Analyze This”, for me, it was the Livia Soprano story that was a bigger risk. A mobsters mother having such a major impact on the plot for season one could seem very silly to those who have never watched this before. But once we discover that Livia was about as evil as any mobster could ever dream about being, it became a joy to watch everything that the character was involved in. Add in the fact that actress Nancy Marchand was able to mix in quite a bit of humor with her character, we then had a story that did not bring the show down a notch, but did the exact opposite.

While the characters in the show mentioned Godfather frequently during the season, it clearly was Goodfellas that was a major inspiration. Just like how Goodfellas was very careful to be accurate in it’s portrayal of the mob, you would have thought that The Sopranos was written on the side by people who were knee-deep in the middle of it. In fact, David Chase and his creative team did actually reach out to ex-mobsters during the writing of this show, to ensure that what was being portrayed on the Sopranos was something that would be accurate to how the real life mob operated. Just like how Goodfellas was a fascinating movie due to the accuracy, same applies to the Sopranos.

But my enjoyment was not limited to the mob storyline. Well, I guess it was sorta mob related, but anyhow…. I really enjoyed watching the Soprano kids come to terms with the fact that their father was a mobster. Seeing kids scared of AJ at school because of who his dad was, or Meadow using her knowledge of her dads life against him in the number of arguments they had, was always great entertainment. I enjoyed Carmella as well, although I did have a minor issue with her which I will mention in a moment.

If your looking for a fast paced television show, this is not for you. It’s more of a slow burn. The various storylines were built up over the course of the 13 episodes, and the show would take it’s time in doing so. I appreciate this method as I enjoy small character moments and conversations just as much as I do in mob hits and plot resolutions. But be forewarned that it’s not fast paced at all. You want fast paced, go to my “24″ reviews (coming soon).

For the positive side of this show, let me finish off by mentioning just how great all these characters are! Junior, Silvo and Paulie, Christopher and Adriana, even Artie Bucco….ALL fantastic characters. I could name many more, but I don’t have the time. BUT, of course I do have to mention the main man Tony Soprano. A one of a kind main character. I don’t think the world had ever seen a main character portrayed as a killing, cheating, angry, violent CROOK before. I could be wrong of course, but regardless Tony Soprano is a one of a kind. As evil as he can be, and make no mistakes folks, he can be evil, but no matter what you love him. He is your hero. Every minute of screen time that deals with Tony is fantastic. And I attribute that directly to the performance of James Gandolfini. Because, while the writing is great, and directing is great, and the plot developments are fascinating, Tony is a character you watch not just for what he is saying…but for how he says it. How he reacts to what is being said to him. His motions, and facial expressions. This is a sign of great acting. And that is exactly what we received with the main character of The Sopranos.

Negatives? Not many to be honest. I guess I can say that while I was fine with the slow burn pace of the season, their was moments that were too slow, like the episode “A hit is a hit”. While not a BAD episode per say, it was not a great stand alone episode (a gangster rapper wants respiration from one of Tony’s associates named Hesh, and Adriana and Chris attempted to produce a rock album) and it did very little to forward the overall story lines of the season. I never skip over this episode when watching the season, but I always know that when this episode is next up, that I am about to watch one of the weaker installments of Sopranos season one.

And another negative for me is the priest. I mentioned before that I had an issue with Carmela, and it stems from her search in religion for guidance in regards to her guilt. I appreciate the point behind this, but I am not a very religious guy myself, so I was somewhat bored with anything involving the priest during the season. Perhaps you might have appreciated this more than I did, but I was always waiting for the Priest scenes to end so that we could get back to something else.

Besides that, a fantastic first season to a fantastic show.

Top 5 Episodes

5. College – I think you might find this episode higher on other peoples top 5 list, but for me, while certainly a great episode, I do have four others that I enjoyed more. And the main reason is that this episode was the main Carmela/Father Phil episode of the season, where a good part of the episode was devoted to them. AGAIN, I am not saying it was bad, just for me not great. What was great though was Tony trying to deal with finding a rat in Maine, and having his daughter with him. As was the entire Tony/Meadow conversation that started with “Are you in the mafia?”

4. Denial, Anger, Acceptance - This episode was the one that REALLY got the ball rolling on The Sopranos. We got a fun stand aloneish story with Sil, Paulie and Tony trying to get the son in law of a hotel owner to agree to a divorce with no compensation. This was our first good look at the characters of Silvo and Paulie, and we know just how classic those two have become now that the series is over. We got a fun story with Meadow and her friend trying to score drugs from Christopher, which would continue into the next episode “Meadowlands”. And we got the first big action of the season with Junior, under the guidance of Livia, sending a message to Christopher and taking out Brandon Malone. GREAT final sequence for this episode.

3. Isabella – I found the Isabella scenes here a bit dry, but besides that…GOLD. Hey, it was the episode where someone tried to take out Tony. That’s huge. How can this not be good? I loved the music and the entire sequence with Tony literally dodging the bullet. The attempt on his life was all that was needed to wake him up out of his funk. Why number 3? Again, not a big fan of the Isabella stuff.

2. Down Neck - I am not sure if you guys will feel this episode like I did, but I loved this one. This was all about Tony being concerned that his son is going to turn out like him, and we get a look back at Tony’s childhood. It’s hard to explain why I liked this episode so much, but the Melfi/Tony scenes I think were some of the seasons best because of how powerful they were. No, they weren’t big plot revelations happening during the conversations, but the concerns that Tony had about his son and how he was trying to deal with those concerns, and the look back at the child hood Tony had, and how his mother and father were when Tony was a kid…. I just loved it! And truthfully it is very close to taking number one. Again, I am not sure if everyone will agree, but this episode worked for me big time.

1. I dream of Jeannie Cusamano - Everything built up to this one. The one thing I don’t think anyone can disagree with is that the Sopranos really knew how to deliver a season finale. And this one is no exception. Jimmy Altieri taken out. Chucky Signore taken out (the dude on the boat). Mikey P. taken out. It was the FBI who tipped off Tony about his mother and Junior being behind the hit on Tony’s life. The FBI arrest Junior and a few other guys. Melfi goes on the run. And in the end, Tony becomes the official Boss of the Soprano family. So much great stuff packed into one hour of television, and the amazing thing, and why this one is so good…IT NEVER FEELS RUSHED! Great ending to season one.

Top Moments

- Tony’s first time picking up the  newspaper from the curb
- Tony and Chris beating up Muhaffy outside of the Insurance building
- Silvio’s Pacino impression (“Just when I thought I was out…”)
- Instead of appearing like he was in on it, the truck driver asks Chris and Brandon to tie him up and give him a beating
-Livia’s reaction after the housekeeper leaves (“What happened?” “Beats me”)
- Silvo and Paulie’s first attempt to get the son in law to accept the divorce. Great use of the hotel bell
- Carmela calling over Charmaine Bucco like she calls over the maid
- Tony bringing Jackie a stripper in the hospital
- Brandon shot in the bathtub
- Christopher freaks out at Meadow in the car about the drugs he gave her, and how Tony possibly knows
- Tony and Junior face off over Brandon’s death in the restaurant
- Tony with the axe scaring the dad of the kid who fought AJ in school
- Tony gives Junior his blessing for Junior to become the boss
- Meadow asking Tony if he was in the mafia
- Tony kills the rat in Maine
- Juniors banquet to honor him as the new boss, and the introduction of the FBI into the story. (Let me just mention that this might be my ultimate favorite one, because I am a hip hop fan, and I LOVED the use of Xzibit’s “Paparrazi” track at the end of this scene)
- Family dinner at the Sopranos and talking about AJ’s suspension from school
- Tony’s “White Rabbit” flashback to the 60′s, and seeing his dad work
- Livia finding out Tony goes to therapy from AJ
- Melfi’s reaction to the name “Pussy”
- Tony watching his dad get arrested
- The crew getting the news about the indictments at Larry Boy Barese’s daughter’s wedding
- Goodfellas reference when Christopher shoots the kid in the foot (“It happens”)
- Tony hiding money and guns at his moms retirement home
- Tony getting mad at Chris about the shooting the guy in the foot thing
- The Sopranos talk famous Italians
- Silvo yelling at the soccer ref
- Tony’s golf story about John Gotti owning an ice cream truck for Cuzamotto and friends (“He rang that bell all the home”)
- Dr. Mop-n-Glow
- Paulies Godfather car horn
- Paulie checking for a wire on Pussy
- Mikey P shoots Donny while Junior hides in the back seat of the car
- The attempted hit on Tony
- The death of Jimmy the Rat
- Tony freaks out at Melfi for suggesting that Tony’s mother was behind the hit
- FBI playing the tapes for Tony
- Tony tells Melfi to get out of town
- Arti confronts Tony about burning down the restaurant
- The death of Mickey P
- Tony confronts Livia in the hospital (“She’s Smiling!”)
- FBI tries to flip Junior

A few quotes

Tony Soprano: Uncle Junior and I, we had our problems with the Business. But I never should have razzed him about eating p—-. This whole war could have been averted. Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this.
U.S. Attorney: Your tenure as boss was a short one. Actually, it was unusual in several ways. Let me put this to you as simply as I can. You can avoid sentencing on these charges if you will testify that in fact, you were not the boss of North Jersey, that in fact, your nephew Anthony Soprano was and is. That he de facto controlled your capos with the backing of two of the New York families communicating through their emissary, John Sacrimoni. We want Johnny Sack. But more than him, we want Mangano and Teresi.
Silvio Dante: You’re only as good as your last envelope.
Uncle Junior: Take it easy. We’re not making a western here.
Tony Soprano: I’m in the waste management business. Everybody immediately assumes you’re mobbed up. It’s a stereotype, and it’s offensive.
Mickey P: Go take a Midol

Season MVP

I hate to be predictable here, but it’s obviously the boss himself, Tony Soprano. And I think the reasons are obvious as well. He is this show. As great as everyone is, this is his show. SO, in the interest of giving you something interesting, I will let you know who comes in second place for MVP voting… Livia Soprano. Seriously. I know she is not in the season TONS, certainly not as much as other characters on the show, but she is the driving force behind a lot of major plot developments (why Tony’s in therapy, the hits on Brandon, and attempted hit on Tony). And I think another reason that she is in second place is that the actress playing Livia really delivered some very funny moments for this show. Her reactions and her mind games were both messed up and really funny. (Just for the record, it was her and Junior neck and neck for second place)

The Final Word

I think it’s obvious from reading this what I feel about this show, and about this season. This is arguably the best season from this show, and this show ranks as my #2 of all time. If you dig movies like Godfather and Goodfellas, it’s a pretty much guarantee that you will enjoy this one. Maybe you won’t have it #2 all-time, but you will definitely enjoy. But then again, if you dig movies like Godfather and Goodfellas, I am sure you have already watched this season about 15 times like I have.

Game 6′s – Celtics, Magic, Lakers Suns

Thanks for taking the drama out of the semi-finals Lakers and Celtics. We all knew it would come down to you two, but would it have killed you to have done it in 7?

The Celtics of course defeated the Magic 4-2 to move on towards the Celtics 2nd championship appearance in 3 years. Really, it was an easy series with for Boston. You can say whatever you want about Orlando getting two in a row, but the fact that Boston destroyed them for a few games, and finished it in six should tell you something about this Boston team. Orlando swept Atlanta and avged 25 point leads in doing so. This Orlando team was built for the championship. What Boston did to the Cavs in round 2, and now the Magic is shocking!

Ok….maybe not shocking. They look like the Championship team from 2 years ago, so now that they have regained form, it won’t shock me at all if they win the championship. But a month and a half ago it was questionable if they would have been even able to beat the Heat. My how things have changed.

The Magic missed Turkoglu. I say that fullying hating the Turkster today after him saying he wants out of Toronto, but I can also tell it like it is. Forget about Turkoglus crappy season in Toronto, that was due to lack of effort. Turk was a big part of Orlandos success last year, and Vince Carter is Vince Carter. A guy who can get you some big games, but you won’t win a championship with him on the team.

NOW, Lakers vs Suns. And sorry, I again don’t have much to say on this one. I predicted Lakers in 5, it took them 6. Not really a big deal to be honest though. The Suns used a crazy blitz zone defence that will work from time to time, but if you can hit your threes, you can beat it. And the Lakers started to hit their 3′s.

By the way, Artest is kinda odd isn’t he? He complains about lack of respect because Steve Nash said that the Suns would bring it back to LA for game seven….WHAT else was Nash suppose to say? Perhaps Nash shouldn’t have worded it the way he did, but that’s only because it fired up the Lakers even more. That was not a sign of disrespect in any which way shape or form. I think Artest feels the heat for being the weak link in the team.

This is too bad though. I am a Nash fan, and it would have been nice to see him get one championship in his career. I knew it was not going to happen here, but if the Suns got this to a game seven then anything can happen in one game. Oh well.

So Celtics vs Lakers….again. You know, the NBA is getting kinda boring these years. Always the same teams. Boring unless your a Celtics or Lakers fan, then you will be loving this. AND certainly not boring when it comes to the actual games, this series should be GOOD. It better be, because with the lack of game 7′s in the semis, this playoff year is becoming one of the worst in the past ten.

I will get my official Celtics vs Lakers championship preview up in a day or two. Look out for it.

28 down, 2 remain.

I’m Heidi Montag – NOT Heidi Pratt

“I’m Heidi Montag- NOT Heidi Pratt”

Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, reigning king and queen of cheesy reality tv, have found a clever way to break into media headlines once again.  Heidi is reportedly moving out and leaving Spencer, and is adamant to Tweet “ I am Heidi Montag, not Heidi Pratt”.  Could this be for real?

Apparently Heidi is tired of all of the bad press that is generated by Spencer, and is finished with his controlling ways.  It makes us all wonder what made Heidi go under the knife for 10 surgeries in one day.  Or why she has alienated herself from her friends and family.

We’ve all met girls like Heidi in our lives- insecure, desperate for love, and easily controlled.  Maybe it was your best friend, or our sister, our mother, someone that we looked at with pity and watched them slowly spiral into oblivion.  How have those women managed not to suffer a similar demise to our very own Heidi Montag?  They had the people around them to pull them out!

Those of you who devour your guilty pleasure of the Hills season after season become Lauren Conrad followers and wonder how that “evil Heidi” could abandon her for that tasteless Spencer.  But was that really how we should have seen it?  Lauren watched her best friend be whisked away by a crazy man who convinced her to turn herself into modern day “Barbie” Cindy Jackson wannabe.  Lauren had Audrina and Lo, but who did Heidi have but constant disapproval from the little pack of mean girls who constantly rejected her?  Even Spencer’s own sister abandoned her to go over to the dark side. 

And so we look at sad, fish-lipped Heidi and we need to wonder- did she do this to herself or did we allow this to happen to her?  Can she pick herself up again?

The answer is who cares. They are both idiots.

Memorial Day Salad Celebration

MEMORIAL DAY SALAD CELEBRATION!

It’s almost Memorial day, and we’re all headed outside to celebrate with this great weather! And those little itty bitty bikinis are starting to scare us….
So I’ve dedicated today’s blog to recipes- my favorite salads. Prepare one or prepare them all and grill up some meat for a complete meal that will satisfy, and keep you itty bitty as well.

Mediterranean Bean Salad

A hearty version of tabouli with beans, very filling and can stand alone as a meal!
1 can of mixed bean salad, well rinsed and drained
1 can of chick peas
½ cup of chopped parsley
1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 medium red onion
¼ cup carrots- grated
¼ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

Rinse your beans well. Use cheese grater to zest lemon into bowl, and grate garlic cloves as well (this will ensure a fine puree so no one ends up with a chunk of garlic). Combine all other ingredients and add the juice of the lemon and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Fennel and Apple Coleslaw

This is an interesting variation of the traditional cabbage coleslaw. Will be a hit at any BBQ!

1/4 head red cabbage
2 carrots
1 apple
1 fennel bulb
1 small orange
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Dash of hot sauce

Using a cheese grater (really the easiest way!), shred the cabbage, carrots, apple, and fennel.
Save the leafy sprigs from the fennel. Zest the orange and add the zest and the juice.
Combine all ingredients and let sit for 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Easiest Pasta Salad Ever

2 cups (cooked) of your favorite pasta- I like Penne
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 red onion, chopped
½ cup of kalamata olives
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 cucumber
Greek Salad Dressing (I LOVE Renee’s dressings)

Cook the pasta and cool under cold running water. Do NOT cook pasta more than al dente, as it will continue to absorb dressing in the fridge.
Slice vegetables into small cubes. Cut grape tomatoes in half. If olives have not been pitted, remove pits and chop.
Combine all ingredients and add enough Renee’s dressing to coat. Chill in fridge for 2 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.

That’s all for now..Happy Memorial Day!

-The Edible Woman

RIP Dennis Hopper

Things come in 3′s. Yesterday it was Gary Coleman, today it’s Dennis Hopper. Who is next?

The death of Dennis Hopper is not a shock unfortunately as he had been living with prostate cancer, which is what took his life today. At recent public appearances, Dennis Hopper had been looking very sick and frail.

Dennis Hopper leaves behind a FANTASTIC catalogue of work, which you should all be familair with if you are a movie fan…

Rebel without a cause, Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Hoosiers, Blue Velvet, Speed (he was great as the villian), Cool hand Luke, and the legendary movie Super Mario Bros.

Alright, just kidding about that last one. But Dennis Hopper provided some great cinematic characters, and his presence at the movie theater will be missed.

The aftermath of Lost

They said they wouldn’t make a Sopranos ending. And while they never cut to black like in the Sopranos, the producers of Lost certainly opened up a massive debate about their ending as well. As much as they tried to avoid the Sopranos ending, they are knee deep in the middle of it.

So what am I seeing? I am seeing literally about half of the Lost fans who really liked it like I did, and you can read my original thoughts here. And half the Lost fans who did not like the ending AT ALL. And they are very vocal about their displeasure. As time progresses though, if you went onto a Lost forum or viewed a Lost chat board online, you might think that more people disliked it then liked it. Don’t be fooled by this. The episode aired 6 days ago now, and as much as I loved it, I have not felt the need to defend it or to discuss the fact that I did love it for weeks afterwards. On the other hand, people who DISLIKED it have certainly felt the need to discuss the fact that they did not like it long after the episode aired. And that’s cool. But it really points out the fact that anger makes people speak out. Happyness leads to a quieter voice.

Now, I spoke previously about the major issue some of you might be having with the last episode, which was the lack of answers. Perhaps you had other issues, but I think the majority had a problem with this one. And as I said before, that’s cool. If you wanted answers and that was higher on the agenda than quality storytelling in that last episode, that’s fine. But let me ask you this….why is the lack of answers dictating your response to the last episode? Should it not be directed towards the show itself? Let me give you an example, if the previous episodes to the last one had dealt with EVERYTHING, answered ALL your questions, and the last episode remained the same, would you have liked it then? With your one issue out of the way, what do you think of the episode now?

The anger of the lack of questions should be directed towards the show itself, not just one episode. The SHOW didn’t answer the question about the numbers, or Walt, or the food drops. So what I am basically saying is that you might have went into the last episode expecting to find out a lot of things, and you were disappointed you didn’t. But those things could have been explained at any point in the previous 6 seasons. Your mad at the show, not the last episode.

And finally, here is something else I am noticing…people who disliked it REALLY want to prove that they are right. As I mentioned I liked it alot and  nothing is going to change that. I assume that it’s not going to change for anyone else who liked it. I might pick out faults with the episode as time progresses, but that original 2 and a half hour experience can never change. At the end of the episode you ether were happy or upset, and there is no changing that now. SO why do people who dislike it seem so hell bent on convincing others on why the ending was bad? Yes absolutely you can discuss why you didn’t like it, that’s not the issue, but there is clearly a different “tone” to the argument against the ending. Its almost a “we are right, and if you liked it, you are an idiot” feel to what they are saying.

I liked it. I liked it ALOT. And nothing can change my opinion on that. How I rank this ending compared to other series finales from different shows might change as time progresses, but the original experience of my enjoyment will never change. And I am sure that is the same for the millions or so of other Lost fans that also did enjoy it. SO certianly, to those of you who are not happy, discuss away. But just remember that your not convincing anyone.

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