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November 21, 2005

Sumo - Day 9

Quick update:

Asashoryu's lead is now 2. Asashoryu almost looked bored, his win was so easy. He's now 9-0, and, because Kotomitsuki lost, he has a 2-match lead over his nearest competition. But, he says, "I don't worry about my opponent's records." He also set a new personal best for wins in 1 year, with 79 (3 away from all-time best).

Koto'oshu won again, to go to 7-2 and only 3 wins away from Ozeki-dom.

9-0: Asashoryu
7-2: Chiyotaikai, Koto'oshu, Kotomitsuki, Jumonji (lowest ranked wrestler in top level -- in other words, not a threat to win)
6-3: Kaio, Hakuho, Roho, Takamisakari, Kyokushuzan, Hakurozan (Roho's brother)

Match of the day for tomorrow: Kaio vs. Kotomitsuki

Posted by JoshHornik at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2005

Movie Reviews

Pride & Prejudice
This is an excellent adaptation of the Jane Austen book, with high quality in everything from writing to production design and costumes to acting. Though the plot is rather soap-opera-ish, let's be honest -- it doesn't come off that way, at all. And Keira Knightley is great in the lead role as a very modern woman for 19th century England. However, as the thing that struck me about the book was how funny it was, I thought the movie could have used a little more humor.

This is a story of the first Gulf War, from the point of view of one Marine recruit. The point of it seems to be that war is a life-altering experience, no matter to what extent one actually takes part in it. That may be true, and I sure wouldn't know, but compared to the things faced by Marines in Viet Nam, it was hard to feel too bad for this guy. In fact, most of the movie is spent showing how boring life was for the Marines in the lead-up to the war. Guess what -- it's boring to watch, too. And the standard military machismo (though played very well by all the actors) just turns my stomach -- not to mention being played out in movies. Jake Gyllenhall is good and Jamie Foxx gives another outstanding performance in a supporting role.

Mel Gibson should watch this movie to see how religious propaganda should be done. An Israeli movie taking place in an Orthodox section of Jerusalem, the story follows a born-again Orthodox Jew who is visited during Succoth by a friend from "the old (i.e. non-religious) days". The movie plays out as a modern-day parable about a religious man, put upon with trial after trial, which he takes as tests from God. The tension builds as we wonder if he will maintain his faith, or break down and revert to his old ways. (Great performance -- I think, though it was in Hebrew, so who knows?) As the movie started, it was hard not to think these Orthodox Jews insane for the things they did and said from their faith, but by the end, the movie had me wondering if I shouldn't be attending temple and praying. Now that's successful propaganda.

Walk The Line
It's a biopic about Johnny Cash. The music is great and yes, it is true, Joaquin Phoenix gives not only a great performance as an actor, but also sings very well and does sound like Cash. The story isn't really all that interesting -- another musician hooked on drugs and they have to show us the 'getting clean' scene again? Is that a union rule or something? But the music is good enough and the performances by Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter, to make it a really enjoyable movie.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
This is basically a comedy concert film, and Sarah Silverman is a really funny comic, so it is a funny movie. There are skits and songs to lengthen it, and they're not quite as funny, but not terrible, and it is good to see Sarah Silverman's sister, Laura, of hilarious-secretary-on-Dr.-Katz fame. (And when will they put that out on DVD?!?!) Silverman's humor is basically to shock and surprise -- either saying something you didn't expect to hear because you thought she was going somewhere different, or just saying something you wouldn't expect any decent person to ever say. Example: "I was raped by a doctor, which for a Jewish girl, is a bittersweet experience." Wrong, but funny.

Posted by JoshHornik at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Sumo - Day 8

Halfway through the tournament now, with Asashoryu leading, as usual. He has cruised through the first half without a loss, beating Futeno (back from injury) with a nice leg trip today. At 78-5 for the year, he just needs to go 5-2 to break the all-time record for wins in one year.

Koto'oshu lost to his rival Kisenosato on Saturday, but won again today, to go to 6-2. 5-2 in the second half, maybe even 4-3, should get him promoted to Ozeki (though he still has to face Asashoryu and both Ozekis, so it won't be easy).

Kaio is 5-3 and with his win today, tied Takanohana on the career wins list with 794 wins. (The power of hanging around and getting 8 or 9 wins for years and years.) He just needs to go 3-4 to stay at Ozeki.

In second place is Kotomitsuki at 7-1, though he has yet to face any of the highest-ranked wrestlers.

Besides Koto'oshu, 5 other wrestlers are 2 back at 6-2: Ozeki Chiyotaikai and low-rankers Roho, Kyokushuzan, Kasuganishiki, and Jumonji.

Posted by JoshHornik at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Kyushu Tournament - Day 5

The sumo tournament is already 1/3 over. So far, it's going as expected.

Today, all of the undefeated wrestlers except one lost, leaving -- of course -- Asashoryu as the tournament leader at 5-0. Asashoryu, looking to win his 7th consecutive tournament and complete the Grand Slam, winning all 6 tournaments in one calendar year (both of which have never been done before), hasn't even been in trouble since day 1 and looks stronger every day. He's currently 75-5 for the year. I don't know what the record if for wins in 1 year, but he must be close.

His competition is looking again like it will be Koto'oshu, the Bulgarian wrestler. After a shocking loss on day 1, he has won all his matches, to stand 1 back at 4-1. If he wins 12 or more this time, he will be promoted to the 2nd-highest rank, Ozeki.

Also at 4-1 is Ozeki Chiyotaikai, who never looks like that good a wrestler, but seems to win anyway.

The other Ozeki, Kaio, is 3-2 and looking awfully inconsistent. He needs 8 wins to remain at Ozeki. (Again. He is tied -- with Chiyotaikai -- for most times in this situation -- i.e. worst Ozeki ever. And they say Asashoryu doesn't have as much competition as other great Yokozunas...)

And in the most interesting match of the day today, Kakizoe had the win over Kyokutenho, then had it taken away by penalty when it was determined he had pulled on Kyokutenho's top-knot (one of the few illegal moves in Sumo).

5-0: Asashoryu
4-1: Chiyotaikai, Koto'oshu, Kotomitsuki (also near Ozeki promotion), Roho (Russian wrestler finally back in form)
3-2: Kaio, Kyokutenho, Hakuho (maybe coming back after a couple bad tournaments due to injury), Ama (smallest wrestler, and therefore one of my favorites), Takamisakari (everyone's favorite, looking stronger than I've seen him in several tournaments)

Injured: Ozeki Tochiazuma, personal favorite (for speaking abilities) Futeno

Posted by JoshHornik at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2005

I saw Keanu Reeves -- 7 points!

Keanu Reeves wears Reclining Pig Yes, I broke out of my celebrity sighting slump (say that one 10 times fast) in a big way yesterday, with a genuine Hollywood movie star.

As we sat down to eat at the new sushi place on Sunset, I grabbed a seat by the window, so that I could watch the people going into the Hustler Store across the street. I was thinking reprobates and perverts, not movie stars. But, sure enough, who should cross the street to go in, but Keanu Reeves -- Neo, The One, himself.

OK, let me try to remember how this celebrity sighting rating system works... I believe we start with 5 points.

+1 for being in movies.
+2 more for being a true STAR, not just some talented but barely known actor who always does good movies.

+1 for not pulling the typical movie star hiding act -- dark sunglasses, crappy clothes, skulking around. Keanu crossed in the middle of the block, ran back to grab a scarf from someone, then ran back, stopping traffic every time. Didn't care who saw him.
-1, however, for hanging out with 2 nobody loser guys, instead of 2 hot models or 2 other movie stars.

+2 for Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Let's face it -- it could have been Anyone and Ted. Keanu made that movie.
+1 for 2 more early-career movies, Parenthood and My Own Private Idaho.
Unfortunately, the guy hasn't made a good movie since 1991. -3 points.
Oh, yeah -- and the reason is because he is possibly the worst actor in the business. -2 more.
But I'm no elitist. +2 for being in mega-hits Speed and The Matrix.

+1 beauty factor for going with the shaggy, bearded look. Looks good on him (and I don't just say that because it's the look I have going right now.) Also for being taller than you'd expect.

Finally, -2 Star Wars Factor -- for never being in a Star Wars movie, and even more for all the idiot nerds out there who might think Neo could beat Yoda in a fight. (Note: I wrote that before searching for and finding that link.)

Final score: 7 points!

Posted by JoshHornik at 04:49 PM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2005

More RP Art...

Apologies to all fans of movie reviews, celebrity sightings, and sumo reporting. All I seem to do these days is make goofy pictures of the Reclining Pig.

For example, my newest work: Bellini's Pieta

PS - don't worry, the Kyushu Sumo tournament starts in 1 week!

Posted by JoshHornik at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2005

More Reclining Pig Art

Yes, we have a new entry in the Gallery of Reclining Pig Masterpieces.

Henri Rousseau loved the Reclining Pig!

Posted by JoshHornik at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)