Sunday, May 30, 2010

Canon MST3K Review: Time of the Apes

Time of the Apes is a movie produced in 1987 in which producer Sandy Frank compiled episodes of a short-lived Japanese television series and dubbed over everybody's voices, so what you end up with is a bunch of scenes of lines being read even while nobody is talking. It looks as if Frank and his crew did the whole re dubbing process over two hours, did no editing to make it look like people are talking, and decided, what the hell, let's put this out on VHS or whatever the heck they used back then. To make things worse, the original footage looks quite dumb, and there are a lot of things the producers do to make things worse.The whole thing results in a movie that makes no sense and a bunch of characters you root against. However, it also ends up being very, very easy to both laugh at and mock, and it makes for a very funny episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. A few notes about this crapfest:

- The lead characters are Johnny, an annoying little kid who yells everything he says and wears Daisy Dukes throughout much of the movie, Caroline, Johnny's cousin who also talks at a loud volume, and Catherine, who is the kids' friend, or aunt, or something, they don't really explain. Anyway, Catherine works at a lab that specializes in freezing people like Ted Williams. Naturally, an earthquake happens, and Catherine and the rest of the kids hide in the freezers. Remarkably, a rock hit's the freeze button and the three are cryogenically frozen. When they thaw out, they're in a world that is populated by evolved apes, which is a lot like Planet of the Apes. I'm sure that's a coincedence.
- The apes capture the three and try to kill the group, but they escape because the apes take forever to start shooting at them. They escape with the aid of a white-faced monkey named Pepe into the Green Mountain area, which is populated by a lone man named Goto who is wanted by the apes. Coincidentally, Goto and Pepe are good friends, so Pepe warns the group of the apes attack, but the group is captured. The rest of movie is really just about the humans trying to escape from the apes and go back home, with a few subplots thrown in there and only a couple of them actually going anywhere.
- The apes in this movie dress rather peculiar. A couple of them wear spurs and cowboy boots, which the movie shows generously. Then there's the commander of the apes, who has seem to pattern his wardrobe after Col. Sanders. He even has a gray beard like the Colonel. He's also seen wearing a red smoking jacket. Not to mention the powder blue 1970 Buick he rides in. Clearly, the Commander's fashion sense needs to evolve some. I mean, take a look at the Commander and his crew here (picture from

- To make this movie seem more ridiculous, the apes' lips never move, even if they are saying something. What, they couldn't afford to make masks with moving lips at least. Not surprisingly, the apes are just humans in costumes and gorilla masks.
- Godo's main enemy is an ape named, wait for it, Gaybar. He's mad because he believes Goto killed his wife and son, but every time he has a chance to kill Goto, he waits a really long time before something eventually stops him. It gets ridiculous the fourth time Gaybar stalls in his quest for revenge.
- Because this movie is cut from a bunch of TV episodes into 97 minutes, you get a lot of stuff that makes no sense at all. For one, there's the Wild West shootout between Goto and Gaybar's apes that comes out of the blue. There's also a rebellion against the Commander that lasts about 15 seconds, and there's a subplot with a flying saucer that makes no sense at all. Oh, and apparently they cut a lot out because Catherine seemed to have a sudden change of heart about the apes, even though all we had seen up until that point is the apes trying to kill or imprison her and her companions.
- Johnny is up there with Kenny the turtle loving kid from Gamera as a candidate for the most annoying child to ever appear in a movie. He yells out every line (a mistake by the redubbing team, no doubt, but it makes him seem really annoying), he constantly complains about being hungry, he asks inappropriate and dumb questions and observations on a regular basis (i.e. asking Goto if he lives in his house, then asking if his parents are dead). Not to mention the really short shorts and his penchant of carrying tools at convenient times in the plot (i.e. he suddenly has a screwdriver when it's time to escape from the prison).
- One of the most annoying aspects of this movie, and by golly there are many, is the tendency to show extreme close ups of the characters repeatedly at rapid intervals whenever a big event happens. Yes, we know this is important, you don't need to keep cutting rapidly to everyone's facial reactions to emphasize that. It's almost enough to give you a headache. Also, the score of this film is, um, well let's just say they made some interesting choices in that department that may not have fit the scene.

What a mess this is. I'm sure the original was at least a little better than this, even if the apes' lips never moved. What Sandy Frank and his team created here was 96 minutes of tripe so confusing that it's a wonder anybody could make sense of this thing. There's even two different endings shown, and a bunch of unanswered questions and unexplained plot points remain. Then there's the voice dubbing, which is so poorly done and for some reason had everyone scream their lines in an ultra intense level, except for Johnny, who sounded as if he was at Chuck-E-Cheese's the whole time even while in prison or being chased like apes. If Mr. Frank did this in an attempt to make a good, entertaining movie, well he failed miserably. The MST3K episode was quite good, as mocking this movie was like shooting fish in a barrel. Overall, the movie gets a 0.9 out of 10, and the episode gets a 6.8204 out of 10.

Well, thanks for reading. If you have an idea for a review, than either leave a comment or send me an e-mail at

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Canon MST3K Review: The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent

I know what you must be thinking, my God, that's a really long title. Not many movies have titles that are 17 words long, and for good reason. By the time you finish saying the name of this movie, the film is half over. This film is directed by Roger Corman, and it was the ninth film he directed . . . in the year 1957. Needless to say, Corman was probably too exhausted to care much about this movie. Corman's an interesting character, as he's served as a producer of nearly 400 movies, most of which are low budget movies like this one, Teenage Caveman, and his most recent film, Dinoshark. As a director, Corman's reputation is closer to Ed Wood's than it is to Scorsese's, so I kind of knew what to expect here. This episode of Mystery Science Theatre also included a short video made in the 1950s about the value of a home economics education. A few notes on this episode.

- All of the skits in between scenes in the movie dealt with Joel's love of waffles. The robots were also programmed by Joel to love waffles as much as he does. Crow even dress up as a character named "Willy the Waffle" who credited waffles for the end of the Cold War, among other things. Why they decided to go in this direction, I'll never know, but it did make me really want waffles, to the point where I paused the movie to heat up some frozen waffles and eat them.
- The short, "The Home Economics Story", is a film made by Iowa State University to encourage high school girls to enroll in their Home Economics program. Not only can you get an education and possibly a career as a chef or interior designed or a teacher, but more importantly, you can learn the proper skills to keep your man happy. At least that's what the film's message is. A mixed message I admit, but it was the fifties. This film makes Home Economics look as interesting as watching paint dry. The girls try to act excited, but their not nearly skilled enough actors to pull this off. Also, the narrator talks of "Food buymanship", which makes me wonder, is buymanship even a word?
- The movie with the long title is actually quite short, 66 minutes long to be exact. However, considering all the walking sequences and scenes where nothing happens that are in the film, it could have been shortened another 20 minutes and gotten the whole story across.
- The movie starts with the Viking women of some village debating whether or not they should go after their men, who have been out on some expedition for a while. Apparently, all the Viking women are young, blond, and pretty, with the exception of the high priestess, who's brunette and therefore, must be evil. The women vote yes or no by chucking spears into trees. Most of them vote yes and off they go. Oh, and there's some guy named Ottar who was left behind for some reason. The women don't want him to go, but he sneaks on anyway.
- After a lot of nothing happens, the sea serpent appears. It's a cheesy effect, but it's not the worst monster in a b-movie I've ever seen. The serpent doesn't actually eat anybody, he just kind of thrashes around causing tremendous waves. A convergent lighting strike breaks apart the women's boat and the women (and Ottar) float around until they wake up in morning on the shore of some beach, where they are captured by a bunch of primitive looking men with swords. One man has a whip, and he takes great pleasure and whipping Ottar, whipping him at random intervals during their march back to headquarters.
- Once there, the Viking women and their manservant are led to the king, a man named Stark who has seemingly dressed up in an assortment of hand-me-down left behind by better kings. He's got a ridiculous fur coat that makes him look like a shaggy dog. Worse off, he introduces his son, who's an annoying, effeminate little man that hates women and basically acts like an entitled little snot. You instantly root for him to meet a tragic fate in this film. That nearly happens on a boar hunt where the little pissant falls off his horse and is nearly mauled by a boar, but unfortunately the leader of the women, Desir, saves his pathetic life by spearing the boar. The prince, in gratitude, whines about being saved by a woman, which makes the viewing audience root for a quick spear through the gut from Desir. But no, Desir instead agrees to make it look as if the prince did it in exchange for  some information about some Vikings that are enslaved here. That plot point never actually goes anywhere, so it's a mystery why they included that sequence in the first place.
- Eventually, I guess the King gets bored and decides to show the other Vikings he's captured, and by golly, it's the same men the women were looking for. These Vikings are not the big, hairy, grizzled type of men you might expect, but instead they are all blond, buff guys without any body hair. They look more like a troupe of male dancers than they do vikings. Desir meets up with her man, the chief Vedric, who in spite of being a chief, seems to display the intelligence of a moose and the leadership qualities of a pair of socks. The two hug, which angers high priestess Enger. The King orders all the reunited viking couples to break it up, and puts the women in a separate room in his lair.
- After the women are improsend, one of them escapes through a rather wide window to rescue the men. However, during a fight between the viking women and some very handsy guards, Enger escapes to warn King Stark of the planned escape. Why, you ask? Because Enger wants Vedric the dummy to herself and Desir out of the picture. Enger makes some sort of sexual promise to the King in exchange for the death of Desir, and goes to visit Vedric in the slave quarters. Enger wants Vedric and her to run away back home together, but Vedric in his own dull way refuses. Enger than goes back to King Stark and requests for the death of both Desir and Vedric. Will the two avoid certain death? Will Enger regret her betrayal? And will the sea serpent make another appearance? To find out, watch the movie.

Overall, it doesn't surprise me to learn that this film was completed in 10 days. The plot is rather elementary, the acting is subpar, and the film hardly fleshes out the motives of many of the characters, excluding a couple of them. The vikings come off as a bunch of wusses, the titular Sea Serpent is barely a factor in the movie (until the end, but I won't reveal how), and there's a bunch of walking montages where nothing happens thrown in the movie. Even watching it as an MST3K episode, it was just dull. I'll give the movie a 2.5 out of 10, the episode a 5.5 out of 10, and the riffing on the Home Economics film a 8.7 out of 10. If I were you, I would skip the movie and just watch Joel and the 'bots riff on the short instead. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future posts on the Canon Review, feel free to let me know either by e-mail at, bl leaving it in the comments section, or any other way you can think of.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Canon Review List-A-Mania: Least Favorite Stand-Up Comedians

About a month or so ago, I did a list of the top eight stand up comedians of all time, which you can find right here. Well, a couple of nights ago, I was hanging out with my family watching TV when suddenly, Patton Oswalt's comedy special comes on. Hate is a strong word, but I strongly, strongly dislike the comedic stylings of Patton Oswalt. In fact, I dislike his work so much that he inspired me to create The Canon Review's Most Disliked Stand-Up Comedians. They may not be the worst, even if most of them are pretty terrible, but in my opinion, these are the worst comedians to stand behind the mic. So enjoy, and let the hating of people much more successful than me begin.

8. Rosie O'Donnell - Before she became, well, whatever she is today, O'Donnell was a stand-up comedian who got her big break on Star Search. Well, that's good enough for me to put on this list. I don't care much for Ms. O'Donnell, because she's a loudmouth who spouts on and on about typical liberal topics, who only can make a point by screaming. On top of that, I don't think she is funny at all.

7. Sarah Silverman -  I am totally perplexed as to why she's as popular as she is, to be honest. I guess in the comedy world, a woman who tells a bunch of unfunny racist jokes and fart jokes in an attempt to shock the audience is one of the best comedians alive, good enough to get her own show and her own movie based on her stand-up act. She seems to pander to the lowest denominator, so to speak, and the only reason her act gets as much praise as it does is because she happens to be a decent-looking woman who's "quirky". I don't begrudge her for that, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. Also, I know that a lot of comedians tell racist and gross jokes and I don't have a problem with that per se, it's just that her comedy isn't funny.

6. Bob Saget - Ever since he left Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos, Saget has based his entire career on the shock value of seeing TV's Danny Tanner cursing and telling dirty jokes. That would be great, except that's pretty much his entire act, just cursing a lot and telling dirty jokes, providing nothing that any other hack comic would deliver at amateur hour at your local comedy club, but because he's Bob Saget he gets millions of dollars for it.

5. Paula Poundstone

Man, what's her deal? She dresses up in men's suits and just drones on and on about random subjects and has all the stage presence of a frightened beetle. She's not very popular now, in large part due to the whole endangering children drunk driving and the whole sexual harassment of a minor thing, but back in the 1980s and 1990s, she was kind of a big deal, and I could never figure out why.

4. Kathy Griffin

Bottom Line: she's a famewhore who talks 500 miles a minute and owes her whole career to telling vile and hateful stories about whatever celebrity she just happened to run into or read about in US Weekly this week. She's nothing but a loudmouth who has built whatever name she has off of the names of others. Worst of all, she's not funny.

3. Patton Oswalt

Just painfully unfunny. I really have no other reason to hate on the guy other than that. Well, that and his trying to be profound and deep by expressing his half-baked political ideals, although to be fair, he's not the only one that does that.

2. Larry the Cable Guy

Larry the Cable Guy is a smart, smart, man. He developed a character and a style designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of American society, tells a bunch of dumb jokes and came up with a slogan that's is both white-trash and short enough to fit on a hat. Now he's one of the biggest names in comedy and worth over 50 million dollars. Think about that for a second. Personally, I find his whole shtick to be nauseating, but the man sure can hustle.

1. Carlos Mencia

Say what you want about all of the other comedians on this list, and I have, but at least they have the decency to come up with their own material. Mencia, on the other hand, takes jokes from people that are actually funny and tries to pass them off as his own. Yet he somehow got his own TV show and millions of dollars anyway. Life isn't fair sometimes. Bottom line, Mencia is nothing more than a phony.

Well, there you have it. If you're least favorite comedian failed to make the list, than feel free to tell us why. So until next time, so long.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Canon Review has Bieber Fever!!?!

Before I begin, I would like to apologize for my inactivity over the weekend. I had some things planned, but stuff kept happening and I didn't really feel good, so I decided not to post anything over the last couple of days. I know things have gotten a bit slow here lately, but I will try my best to at least update this blog five times a week, if not daily, over the next few weeks. Also, I'll probably have a lot more free time soon, so I'll have more time to devote to this blog.

Anyway, today's post is about Justin Bieber. I'm sure you know that he's 'blowing up' right now. His debut album, My World, went platinum, and is the only debut album to ever have seven separate tracks on the Billboard Top 100. Bieber has developed such a devout following that a crows awaiting one of his shows was so raucous that the police had to step in and cancel the show due to safety concerns, while another crowd wanted to get to Bieber so bad that they knocked his mother down. Bieber's Twitter account has over 2.5 million followers, and is the 18th most followed Twitter account in the world. Safe to say, the Canadian pop artist is kind of a big deal.

To be frank, Bieber's music isn't exactly my cup of tea, which is not that surprising considering that his music seems to be aimed at teen girls and I am anything but that. But instead of joining the Bieber hate train, calling him untalented and this and that, I've decided not to hate, but appreciate. Or at least hold off the hate until I actually hear some of his stuff. So, in a desperate attempt to show that I am hip, I will watch three Justin Bieber music videos and give my thoughts on them. To make things even better, I will embed the videos on the site so you too can contract Bieber Fever.

Video #1: Baby (ft. Ludacris)

The first thing that strikes me is that Bieber looks like an 11-year-old. The song is your basic teen heartbreak song, which has Bieber pining over losing his first love or something, which is kind of a big deal when you're 16. It's upbeat enough to dance to, and it has Ludacris rapping. Overall, the song is really like 300 other songs you hear on the radio, nothing special about it really. The video is, um, something. Bieber and his crew are at a bowling alley when he rolls a strike. This catches the attention of a girl, who in spite of her awkward bowling form, throws a strike. Apparently, in this world this means the two are dating, but in the middle of the video, the girl's attitude towards Bieber changes, so Justin decides to follow her everywhere she goes even though she wants nothing to do with him. Bieber nearly veers into stalker territory, but just before that we end up back at the bowling alley, where for some reason a dance competition or something breaks out between the boys and girls, and Bieber's wicked moves are enough to get the girl back. Also, Ludacris is in the video, and there are some scenes of Luda and Bieber singing together and hanging out. At one point, Luda has Justin in a headlock, so that's fun. I wonder what the two talked about off the set, if anything. Out of 5, I'll give it a 1.95, as the song is catchy enough, but it's a little like everything else on the airwaves.

2. Never Let You Go

Frankly, I found both the video and the song to be boring. As you can probably guess, this song is about a girl that Bieber will never let go. Well isn't that sweet? The song is just a basic mid-tempo pop ballad designed to make the teenyboppers swoon. I'm sure it does, but it's just not working for me. The video is set at two places, an aquarium where Bieber hangs out with his girl, who's wearing two neon-colored watches for some reason. Apparently, one watch isn't enough for this girl, as she needs the extra security that two watches give her, so she'll always know what time it is. The other setting is at a beach with a large staircase, which Bieber stands on the top of and emotes. It's a cloudy day at this beach, which I guess makes him deep or something. One thing that I find kind of forced is the way Bieber will do some sort of dramatic gesture, i.e. raising his fist in the air, at random times while he's singing. I guess it's supposed to give power to the words he' singing at that particular point, but it happens so often that it looks kind of forced. Then again, who am I to say? Overall, let's give it a 1 out of 5, because I've listened to it four times and don't remember a dang thing about the song.

3. One Less Lonely Girl

Clearly, Bieber and his handlers have decided to focus on one theme and base all of their songs off of that. At least that's the impression that I get. This video and song is so sweet and sugary that it may give some viewers diabetes.  The song has Bieber giving out some message about how he's going to make this girl be lonely no more, by putting her first and making her feel special and this and that. The video has shots of Bieber singing in front of a small town's Main Street wearing a green hoodie on top of a pink shirt for some reason, which really emphasizes the fact that he has bright pink lips. Those clips interlock with the main story of the video, which starts with Bieber hanging out playing guitar at the laundrymat, like I do whenever I have the free time. A girl walks in with her laundry, who looks to be about five years older and five inches taller than Justin at first glance. The two exchange warm glances, and the girl leaves, but she drops her scarf, giving Bieber the opportunity to make his case. He decides to get the local townspeople to help him out by taking pictures of him doing different things, such as eating a Hershey's bar and holding puppies. He then leads the girl on a scavenger hunt for the scarf by posting these pictures on papers posted all across town. Finally, it ends with the girl entering Bieber's lair or something, where the two meet and start to dance. To be honest, I didn't like it, but I didn't dislike it either, so I'll give the whole thing a 2.2 out of 5.

So, with all of that done, I'm going to try to sum up Justin Bieber as fairly as possible. His voice is good, but not spectacular, and it is helped by all the production effects that his handlers put in each of his songs. His dance moves in the videos will not make anyone forget about Micheal Jackson. Overall, Bieber is what he is, a teen singer who's going to appeal mainly to young girls singing songs about love and making a girl his. It's one of the simplest formulas to success in the music industry, as artists from New Kids on the Block to N' Sync to The Jonas Brothers have shown. The question is, will Justin Bieber still be relevant five years from now, or is he just another flash in the pan? Time will tell, but sorry to say, I would bet on the latter, as while the kid has some serious backing in Usher and Island Records, he doesn't seem to have enough substance to last in the long run. In other words, I may have a little Bieber Fever, but not too much.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have ideas for things you would like to see at The Canon Review, than share those ideas either by e-mailing be at or by leaving a blog comment or some other way I haven't thought of yet. So until next time, I may not have Bieber Fever, but I do have a bad case of Jon Lieber Fever. (image from

Friday, May 21, 2010

Canon Book Review: The Bronx Zoo

Recently I bought and read The Bronx Zoo, which is New York Yankees' pitcher Sparky Lyle's day-by-day account of the 1978 season. After winning the Cy Young Award in 1977, Lyle, a relief ace, was expected to be once again amongst the top pitchers in the game, but 1978 proved to be a struggle for Lyle, and a lot of different factors played into his struggle. Also, the Yankees that year had an incredible season, coming back from 14 games back to win the AL East after a one game playoff with the Boston Red Sox, than beating the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers on their way to a second straight World Series title. So with all of that going on, you would expect this to be a very interesting book. Fortunately, it is, although the book does have a few flaws.

One thing the book does have going for it is the author, Sparky Lyle. Lyle's an interesting person who is unafraid to speak his mind. This quaility makes for a more interesting book than it would have been had Lyle held back to appease management. Lyle lets his feelings known about a lot of topics, from his own playing time being diminished, to the seemingly never-ending feud between owner George Steinbrenner and manager Billy Martin, to the antics of superstar outfielder Reggie Jackson, who seems to spend every waking moment dreaming of ways to draw attention to himself. Steinbrenner is a puzzle all to himself, as he's a man that not only wants total control over his team, but he wants everyone to know that he has total control and that all the Yankees' success is do to him. His constant overreactions and meddling is a theme throughout the book, and he puts Martin under so much pressure that when Martin finally resigns (although he basically resigned just before he was to be fired, due to a derogatory comment towards Steinbrenner), it's almost seen as an act of mercy more than a punishment.

Lyle's portrayal of his teammates seem to be fair. With the exception of Reggie Jackson, Lyle has a lot of respect for his teammates, speaking highly of pitchers Ron Guidry, Dick Tidrow, and Catfish Hunter, along with third baseman Graig Nettles (whom Lyle calls the best third baseman in the game) and catcher Thurman Munson. Lyle also has nothing but good things to say about Goose Gossage, which is interesting because Gossage basically took Lyle's job after signing a contract that paid him a lot more than what Lyle is making. But to his credit, Lyle never takes out his frustrations on Gossage, and is actually quite supportive and complimentary of him.

With a name like The Bronx Zoo, you would think the Yankees would have some big time characters, and boy do they ever. There's Reggie, the egomaniac superstar, Steinbrenner, the egomaniac owner who does not hesitate to criticize his ballclub for every little thing to the newspaper writers, and Billy Martin, a man who normally doesn't take crap from anyone, but takes his fair share from Steinbrenner in order to keep the only job he ever wanted, to manage the Yankees. There's also Mickey Rivers, the speedy centerfielder who's brash and outspoken and seems to spend every free moment at the horse track, and Lou Pinella, the outfielder who throws a tantrum (as well as his batting helmet) after every out he makes. Some players settle right into the chaos, like the humorous Nettles and the laid-back Hunter. Others, like backup catcher Cliff Johnson, struggle to find their place amongst the madness surrounding them.

One criticism about this book that I've heard is that Lyle spends too much time moaning and whining about his lack of playing time. Well, he does, which part of me can't blame him for because he was coming off of a season where he had won the Cy Young Award and was a large part of the Yankees Championship team that year, and then he becomes an afterthought the next year. However, his attitude and antics (refusing to come into games, walking out one night after a snag in his contract negotiations) do not help matters, and often makes Lyle look like an unprofessional ass. Also, his situation actually harms the book, as by August it was clear that Lyle just wasn't as interested in the project, or his pitching, as he had been earlier in the season. This attitude is shown at the end of the book, where Lyle spends a whole two pages talking about the 1978 playoffs, and seems to write as little as possible about the Yankees' run in September, with the exception of the Yankees' one game playoff with Boston and an interesting take on then Indians manager Jeff "Style Master" Torborg.

Despite those flaws, The Bronx Zoo is an entertaining book for any hardcore baseball fan, especially a fan of the Yankees and of 1970s baseball. It's not for all audiences, as the book has strong language and some lewd situations, so I would hold off letting the children read this book. Overall, I'll give The Bronx Zoo a 7 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any recommendations for future posts, than send them to me either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Canon Review List-A-Mania: Top Ten Pitchers in Baseball History

This list comes about from an idea by reader Dickson S. He wanted to know who, in my opinion, were the top five pitchers of all time. Well, I decided not to just give my top five, but rather, I decided to name The Canon Review's top ten pitchers in the history of baseball. So without further adeiu, let's get this list started, shall we?

Dishonorable Mention: Roger Clemens - With six Cy Young Awards, 354 wins, and 4,672 strikeouts, Clemens certainly has an impressive resume, and I would include him on the list except for one reason, which is his suspected use of performance enhancers. Because of that, I can't put Clemens on this list because I don't know how much of his success was due to artificial means. If it wasn't for that, Clemens would probably be in the top 5 at the least.

10. Randy Johnson - Johnson was the most intimidating pitcher since Nolan Ryan's heyday, with a 100 mph fastball, a killer slider, his height (6'10") and a wild streak which made batters wonder where exactly his heater was headed. Once Johnson gained more control over his pitches, he became dominant, winning five Cy Young Awards and pitching in 10 All-Star games. Johnson put up some incredible numbers during his career, compiling six seasons with 300 or more strikeouts, leading his league in Earned Run Average four times and in strikeouts eight times. For his career, Johnson won 303 games, struck out 4,875 batters (second all time to Ryan) and is first all time in most strikeouts per nine innings (10.61). Recently retired, Johnson will waltz into the Hall of Fame the first year he is eligible.

9. Grover Cleveland Alexander - Alexander started his career with a bang in 1911, winning 28 games and striking out 227 batters, and never looked back from there. The man from Elba, NE won three pitching triple crowns (leading the league in wins, strikeouts, in ERA) in 1915, 1916, and 1920. Alexander led the league in wins and strikeouts six times, and in ERA four times. Alexander is perhaps best remembered for his relief appearance in game 7 of the 1926 World Series for the Cardinals. After starting and winning game 6, Alexander spent most of the night drinking (this, to be honest, was a fairly common activity for Alexander). In the seventh, with the bases loaded and two outs, Alexander, then 39 years old, was called upon to face future Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri. He struck Lazzeri out, than held the Yankees scoreless in the next two innings to clinch the World Series for the Cardinals. For his career, Alexander ranks tied for third all time in wins (373) and 2nd in shutouts (90).

8. Sandy Koufax - I debated including Koufax on this list, as he by far had the shortest career of any pitcher on this list. But ultimately, Koufax was too dominant not to be on the list. His peak may have been only five seasons, but for those five seasons Koufax was as good a pitcher as there's ever been. For his career, Koufax led the league in ERA five times, strikeouts four times, and wins three times. He won the pitching triple crown in three seasons (1963, 1965, and 1966) and won the Cy Young award in each of those seasons, a fact more impressive considering only one award was given for the entire major leagues (now, the AL and NL award separate Cy Young Awards), and the accomplishment taking place during one of the most dominant pitching eras ever. Not to mention that Koufax suffered from crippling arthritis during the last two years of his career. For his career, Koufax ranks second all-time in hits allowed per nine innings (6.792), sixth in strikeouts per nine (9.278) and won four World Series and two World Series MVPs (1963, 1965).

7. Warren Spahn - Spahn got a late start, as he didn't get going until he was 25, largely due to WWII. But Spahn sure made up for lost time. In 21 seasons, Spahn compiled 363 wins, 6th all time and the most by a left-handed pitcher. Spahn also was selected to play in 17 All-Star games, a record amongst pitchers, and led the league in wins a record eight times in his career. Among those eight was a five year period where Spahn led the league in wins each year from 1957-1961, when Spahn was 40. At 42, Spahn compiled a 23-7 record with a 2.60 ERA and a league leading 22 complete games. Spahn also led the league in ERA three times, strikeouts four times, and won the league wide Cy Young Award in 1957.

6. Christy Mathewson - The man known as "Big Six" comes in at number six on this list. Mathewson starred during the early part of the 20th century for the New York Giants, as he was amongst the most well-regarded and respected, if not the most respected player during his playing days, due to his ability and his intelligence. On the field, Mathewson put together a legendary career, winning 373 games (3rd all-time) and leading the league in wins four times, and in ERA and strikeouts five times. Mathewson won the pitching Triple Crown in 1905 and in 1908. In the 1905 World Series, Mathewson pitched three complete game shutouts in a six day span. If somebody did that today, ESPN would devote a whole week of programming to that man. In 1936, Mathewson was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

5. Cy Young - It wouldn't make sense to leave the man whose name is now synonymous with pitching excellence off this list. Not to mention the fact that Young holds the all-time record for most innings pitched (7,354.2), most complete games (745) and most wins (511). If anybody breaks any of those records during my lifetime, I'll eat my hat, and your hat as well. Young isn't the greatest pitcher of all-time, as he only led his league in ERA and strikeouts twice, but he is easily amongst the greatest of all-time, due to the fact that he was so good for so long, pitching 22 seasons and compiling 20 wins or more in 14 of those seasons.

4. Tom Seaver - From the beginning, Seaver was an elite pitcher. In his rookie season of 1967, Seaver won the Rookie of the Year Award with 16 wins and a 2.76 ERA. In 1969, Seaver was the main force behind the 'Miracle Mets', winning 25 games with a 2.21 ERA and 208 strikeouts, and continuing his excellent pitching throughout the NLCS and the World Series. For his career, Seaver led his league in wins and ERA three times, and in strikeouts five times. Seaver won three Cy Young Awards and was named to the All-Star Team 12 times. Seaver also got the highest percentage of votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 425 out of 430 possible votes in 1992 (98.84%).

3. Lefty Grove - Grove pitched during one of baseball's highest scoring eras during the 1920s and 1930s, but that didn't stop him from dominating the game. After excelling for years in the minor leagues, Grove finally was allowed to play in the majors for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1925. In his first seven years, Grove led the American League in strikeouts each year. In 1931, Grove put together an incredible 31-4 record, with a 2.06 ERA and 175 strikeouts, winning the pitching triple crown that year. Grove led his league in ERA an incredible nine times, and his 148 Adjusted ERA+ is second all-time in the modern era (behind Pedro Martinez). Even though he played only 17 years, Grove was able to win exactly 300 games before retiring.

2. Greg Maddux - Like Grove, Maddux pitched in an era where bats were king, and like Grove, Maddux was able to dominate the league anyway. The winner of four Cy Young Awards (1992-1995), Maddux went an incredible 17 seasons in a row winning at least 15 games each season. Maddux led the league in ERA four times, wins three times, and fewest walks per nine innings nine times during his career. In 1994 and in 1995, Maddux posted ERAs of 1.56 and 1.63 respectively, some 2 and a half runs better than the league ERA those seasons. Maddux also was an excellent fielder, winning a record 18 Gold Gloves during a career which saw him win 355 games (8th all-time) and strike out 3,371 batters (10th).

1. Walter Johnson - Our number one pitcher is none other than the Big Train himself. Johnson is the all-time leader in shutouts with 110, and 2nd all time in wins with 417. Johnson led his league in wins six times, in ERA five times, and in strikeouts an unbelievable 12 times during his career. Johnson won three pitching triple crowns during his career (1913, 1918, 1924) and won the MVP Award in 1913 and in 1924. In 1913, Johnson had what is perhaps the best pitching season of the modern era, compiling a 36-7 record with a 1.14 ERA, 11 shutouts, and 243 strikeouts in 346 innings. During that season, Johnson won 40% of his teams games. Johnson had 12 20 win seasons during his career, despite the fact that he often played for teams that weren't so good. For these reasons, Walter Johnson is The Canon Review's greatest pitcher in the history of baseball.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any qualms over this list, than feel free to share them with me. Also, if you have any ideas for future posts, than send those along to me either by e-mail at or by leaving a comment on the blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Eveving with Doink the Clown

I know what you're saying right now, "Just one Evening?" Yes, it is a tribute to everyone's favorite wrestling clown, Doink. Portrayed by a lot of wrestlers, but primarily by Matt Borne, Doink was a prominent member of the WWF for 3 years from 1993-95. He is most known for being a clown, and eventually they added a dwarf clown, Dink, to his act as well. Doink started out as an evil clown hell-bent on causing chaos, but eventually turned good and feuded with the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow and Jerry Lawler. Well, without further adieu, let's send in the clown!

Match 1: Doink the Clown vs. Typhoon, Monday Night Raw, February 1, 1993

Doink is the heel in this match, and has some eerie entrance music. The announcers deride Doink, but the clown gets a 'Doink' chant from a small pocket of the Raw crowd. Doink starts the match by outwrestling Typhoon, performing wrist locks and drop toe hold so he's able to control the much larger Typhoon. He has control until trying to punch the big man down, but Typhoon doesn't budge. Doink bounces off the ropes, but is caught and slammed by Typhoon. Typhoon back Doink into the corner, tries to avalanche him but misses. This allows Doink to hit a shoulder block from the middle rope for the cover, and with a grip on Typhoon's tights, Doink the Clown gets the victory over a much larger opponent. The match was just there, but the commentary was just brutal, as "comedian" Rob Bartlett told some rather unfunny jokes in an unenthusiastic manner. I'll give it a 1.2 out of 5.

Match 2: Doink the Clown vs. Mr. Perfect, sometime in 1993

According to the announcers, this match is a qualifying match for the King of the Ring tournament. Doink comes out eating popcorn and has a demented look in his eyes. He then goes on to make a kid cry in the audience. That ticks Perfect off, so he goes after Doink and starts brawling with him in the aisle. The two head back to the ring, and Perfect dominates early, working over the leg of Doink and even putting him in the figure four. They go to the outside, but Doink gets the advantage by posting Perfect. They go back to the ring, and Doink is in control, but he doesn't want to just beat Perfect, he wants to outwrestle him. So he tries and succeeds to do just that for a while until Perfect finally gets a second wind. The two combatants exchange punches when the bell rings. Mr. Perfect hits Doink with the Perfect Plex, but is told by the referee that the match has ended due to a time limit draw. Perfect asks "Bozo" for five more minutes, and at first it looks as if Doink is going to oblige, but he thanks otherwise of the offer. He does sneak in and attack Perfect from behind just before the video ended. Decent match, I'll give it a 2.3958 out of 5.

Match 3: Doink vs. Cory Student, WWF Superstars

This match came after Doink's face turn, as he comes out with his dwarf mascot Dink. Student looks to be a big guy, about 4 inches taller than Doink. Doink picks Dink up on his shoulder, and Dink sprays Mr. Student with water from the flower on his lapel, to the delight of some of the crowd. Match starts, they lock up, and Doink takes him down immediately. Doink then grabs under Student's shoulders, flips him on his back, and gets the three count in a match that was half a minute. I guess Student must have sucked, considering the powers that be only had him in the ring for thirty seconds without much effort being exerted. The match was just a reason to display Doink's technical wrestling skills, but it was short so I'll give it a 1.1 out of 5.

Match 4: Doink vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, WWF Raw, October 16, 1995

The internet's least favorite wrestler takes on a clown. Before the match, there's a video hyping the night's upcoming cage match between Bret Hart and Dr. Issac Yankem. Yay. Helmsley is doing his aristocrat gimmick at this time, spraying something all around the ringside area. Doink comes out, and it's time to rumble, I suppose. Doink takes advantage early by confusing Helmsley with his antics, but that ends after a HHH clothesline. Doink regains the advantage, but once again loses it after missing an elbow drop. Helmsley gets a pair of two counts after a knee drop and a vertical suplex. HHH puts the sleeper on Doink, but he escapes. Doink gets a pair of two counts after a small package and backslide. Doink tries a cross body block, but Helmsley ducks out of the way. Helmsley sets up Doink for the pedigree, and really plants Doink with it. I got to say, the move looks much better here than the way he does it now. Anyway, HHH gets the pin, and afterward, Barry Horowitz talks about baseball with Hakushi. Match wasn't bad or anything, it was just boring. I'll give it a 1.9 out of 5.

Well, there you have it. To be honest, Doink's a better wrestler than I remembered him being, at least at the beginning of his run. I still wouldn't recommend watching a 6 hour comp tape of Doink the Clown, however. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have an idea for a future post on The Canon Review, than let me know about it either by e-mail at or by some other way.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Canon Restaurant Review: Bullfeathers Lakeside Grille & Tiki Hut

Earlier this evening, I had the chance to eat at a restaurant in Anderson, SC with the slightly unusual name of Bullfeathers' Lakeside Grille & Tiki Hut. Bullfeathers' is located on the shore of Lake Hartwell, and has an outdoor seating area right on the lake. The menu consists of a variety of items such as burgers, steaks, seafood, chicken wings, and some pasta as well. There is a fully-stocked bar on the premises, but I don't drink so it doesn't affect me one way or the other. The restaurant only opened a few months ago, but before that the location was a restaurant known as Charlie T's, a somewhat similar place, but the two do have some distinct differences.  Here are a few thoughts about my experience at Bullfeathers.

Myself, along with Canon Review reader Dickson S. and his father, arrived at the restaurant at around 7:30 or so. The place was busy, but far from packed. There were a lot of TVs on the wall, but for some reason about half of them were turned off, but I didn't go there to watch television so that's ok. The atmosphere there is rather loose, as most of the customers seemed to be dressed in T-shirts and jeans. The tables have four different sports logos on the surface. For example, our table had the logos of Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Wake Forest painted on the table. The walls have a lot of neon beer signs up, as well as posters of both the University of Clemson and University of South Carolina framed on the wall. Overall, Bullfeathers may not be the fanciest place, but it does have a laid-back atmosphere that makes anyone feel welcome.

So anyway, we order our food soon after. I ordered the Western Bacon Cheeseburger with a side order of fries, while my compatriots both order wings, and Dickson's father orders a chili cheeseburger as well. We get our drinks relatively fast. To be honest, my Dr. Pepper tasted a little flat, or at least my first glass did. Once I got a refill, the soda tasted fine. The food took a little while to prepare, but it wasn't as if we waited an unreasonably long time for it. The fries I received were waffle fries, like the fries you get a Chick-Fil-A. I didn't expect that, but they still were pretty good, so I'm not complaining. The burger I got was a third-pound of meat with both Provolone and Cheddar cheese melted on the burger, with lettuce, onions, and two slices of bacon on the burger. The menu said that the burger was supposed to also have some barbecue sauce, but to be honest, I didn't taste any. Nevertheless, it was a very good burger, as the meat was juicy and cooked just to my liking, and the generous amount of cheese on the burger really added a lot of flavor to it. I'd say it's the best burger that I have had ... in the past 3 days or so at least. To be honest, I don't exactly know how the others felt about the food, but they seemed to like it and the fact that they ate all of it is probably a sign that they felt favorably about the food. Our waitress was friendly and eager to serve, but to be frank, I don't think she's been doing this a long time, as she made a couple of mistakes and often seemed confused. But she did her best to fix her mistakes, and did an admirable job of doing so, so I won't penalize her for that.

Compared to the previous restaurant at this location, Charlie T's I found Bullfeathers to be an improvement. The one time I ate at Charlie T's, I had a similar meal and found the burger and other food to merely be decent. This time, I must say that I was quite satisfied with my meal, and would like to go there again in the future to try something different. Overall, I'll give Bullfeathers' a 7.49 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you any ideas for future posts, than either leave a comment on the blog or send them to me at e-mail at Since writing about Bullfeathers has made me hungry, I think I'll go find something to eat now.

Bull Feathers on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Canon Review List-A-Mania: Top Ten Losses in Cleveland Sports History

In case you haven't heard, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their playoff series to the Boston Celtics on Thursday, in a fashion that has drawn plenty of criticism and cries to fire head coach Mike Brown. Not only that, the loss might be the last game in a Cavaliers uniform for the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, and if it was, he couldn't have gone out in a worse fashion. After winning a league high 61 games and getting past the Chicago Bulls in five games, nearly everyone watching felt that the Cavs would easily blow by Boston and reach the Eastern Conference Finals with ease. After Game 3, in which Cleveland handed the Celtics their worst home playoff loss ever in their long history, that opinion was only reinforced. But something completely unexpected happened, as Boston rallied to win game 4, and inexplicably annihilated the Cavs in Cleveland in Game 5. In that game, the Cavaliers looked overmatched and worse, looked as if they didn't show up. Even Charles Barkley, a huge supporter of LeBron James, said he was "100 percent disappointed" by LeBron's showing in that game. On Thursday, Boston finished the biggest upset of the postseason thus far, beating the Cavaliers 94-85 and throwing the entire future of the Cleveland Cavaliers in disarray. In Cleveland, the fans have seen too much of these devastating losses over the years, in fact, the city has not seen a championship since 1964. Even the city of Atlanta has at least one title over that same time span. Here is a list of the top 10 worst losses in Cleveland sports history.

10. 2007: Cleveland Indians take a 3-1 lead on the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, lose in 7 games

For some reason, not many people seem to remember that the Indians, after losing game 1, won three straight against the Red Sox, a team thought to be superior to the Indians. With only one win away from the World Series, and with eventual 2007 Cy Young Winner C.C. Sabathia starting the game in Cleveland, the Indians had to feel confident, and even if Sabathia couldn't get the job done, they had 19 game winner Fausto Carmona ready to pitch game 6. So what happened? The Indians lost the next three games by a combined score of 30-5, as they seemed to forget both how to hit and pitch at the worst possible time. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series in four games that year, while the Indians haven't been close to the postseason since and don't look like a playoff team this year either.

9. 2002: Cleveland Browns blow 17 point 2nd half lead to their arch-rivals in the playoffs

In 2002, the Browns somehow rose above their normal level of mediocrity enough to make the playoffs as a wild-card team. They face their long time arch-rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. To the surprise of many, Cleveland jumped all over the favored Steelers, taking a 24-7 lead in the third quarter behind the play of their backup quarterback, Kelly Holcomb. Although the Steelers got within a touchdown, Holcomb led the Browns on another touchdown drive, and the Browns had a 33-21 lead with 10 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. But the Steelers, led by XFL MVP Tommy Maddox at quarterback, scored two touchdowns in the final quarter and won the game 36-33. The Browns haven't returned to the playoffs since.

8. 2009: Favored Cavaliers lose in 6 games to Orlando Magic in Eastern Conference Finals

Just last year, the Cavaliers had won a league-high 66 games and were led by MVP LeBron James. Many people expected the Cavaliers to make the Finals, especially Nike, who developed a series of ads featuring LeBron and Lakers' star Kobe Bryant in anticipation of the two meeting in the Finals. While the Lakers would reach the Finals, the Orlando Magic had other ideas. Starting with a game 1 loss in Cleveland, where the Cavs had only lost 2 games at the whole season, the Cavaliers needed a miracle shot from James to steal game 2. But the underdog Magic, led by center Dwight Howard and forward Hedo Turkoglu, won the next two games in Orlando and eventually finished off the Cavaliers, thought the be the NBA's best team, in six games. While the loss was devastating, at least the Cavaliers could take comfort in the fact that the next year's team would be just as good.

7. 1954: Heavily Favored Indians get swept by the New York Giants in World Series

The 1954 Indians were one heck of a ballclub. They had power in Hall of Fame CF Larry Doby (32 HR, 126 RBI, 129 OPS+) and 3B Al Rosen (24 HR, 102 RBI, 147 OPS+). They had the batting champion in 2B Bobby Avila (.341 BA) and solid defense. The Indians also possessed one of the best and deepest pitching staffs of all-time, led by future Hall of Famers Early Wynn (23-11, 2.73 ERA) and Bob Lemon (23-7, 2.72), as well as All-Stars Mike Garcia (19-8, 2.64 ERA) and Art Houtteman (15-7, 3.35 ERA). With all of this in place, the Indians compiled an impressive record of 111-43 and seemed like a sure bet to win the World Series against the New York Giants. But the Giants, led by Willie Mays saving multiple runs with the most famous catch in baseball history, and a walk-off, pinch hit three run home run by Dusty Rhodes, won game 1 and never looked back, sweeping the Indians and allowing only six earned runs over four games. The Indians would eventually fall apart due to age and bad management, and it took the franchise 41 years before reaching the World Series again in 1995.

6. 1980: Red Right 88 proves to be the wrong call as Browns lose to the Raiders

In 1980, the Browns became known as the "Kardiac Kids", due to their penchant of winning close game in the final moments. Their quarterback, Brian Sipe, won the NFL MVP Award for the season, and the team had as good a shot as anybody else of winning the Super Bowl. In the playoffs, the Browns hosted the Oakland Raiders on a bitterly cold day in Cleveland. The Raiders took a 14-12 lead, but Sipe was able to drive his team all the way down to the Oakland 13 yard line. A field goal would give the Browns the lead, but their kicker, Don Cockroft, had struggled with the cold all day, and so coach Sam Rutigliano decided to call the now infamous play "Red Right 88". Sipe found tight end Ozzie Newsome in single coverage, but the wind took hold of the ball just long enough for Oakland's Mike Davis to step in front of Newsome and intercept the ball, giving the Raiders the victory. The Raiders would advance and win the Super Bowl that year, leaving Browns fans to wonder what could of been.

5. 2010: Heavily Favored Cavaliers Fall to the Celtics

It is impossible to say the damage that this loss will cause in the future, but as of now, it seems as if nothing will ever be the same for the Cavaliers, one way or the other.  If this proves to be LeBron James' last game in a Cleveland uniform, and right now there seems to be a 50-50 chance of that happening, this loss may come to be seen in the future as the last real shot that the Cavaliers had at winning the title in a long time, and some feel that losing James would kill basketball in Cleveland. That may be a bit strong, but the Cavs may be in for another long dry spell. The worse thing about this loss was not that the Cavs fell to the Celtics, but the way they did it, as the team often played without a sense of urgency and seemed to have their will crushed by the Celtics sometime during game 5. The ramifications of the Cavaliers fall in this series may be felt for a long, long, time, or maybe they come back in win the title next year, who knows? But right now, this goes down as another dark moment in Cleveland sports history.

4. 1987: The Fumble costs Browns trip to Super Bowl

In 1987, the Browns found themselves in the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year, once again against the Denver Broncos. The game was played in Denver, and the Broncos would jump out to a 28-10 lead in the third quarter, seemingly putting the game out of reach. But the Browns, led by quarterback Bernie Kosar and running back Earnest Byner, tied the game at 31 in the fourth quarter. After Denver's John Elway threw a touchdown pass, Kosar and the Browns got the ball back with four minutes remaining, and drove all the way to the eight yard line. On the next play, Kosar handed the ball off to Byner, who looked to be heading into the end zone, but a little known backup cornerback named Jeremiah Castille stripped Byner of the ball, and recovered it at the three-yard line, leaving Browns fans in disbelief after coming so close only for the game to end in the worst possible manner. Byner would be the starting running back of the Washington Redskins four years later when they won Super Bowl XXVI, getting the ring that Cleveland fans hope the Browns get one day.

3. 1989: 'The Shot' sinks the Cavaliers

Up until last year, the 1988-89 Cleveland Cavaliers were the all-time franchise leader in single season wins, going 57-25 that year. The Cavs were led by All-Stars C Brad Daugherty, PG Mark Price, and PF Larry Nance, not to mention SG Ron Harper and PF/C John 'Hot Rod' Williams. Yes the Lenny Wilkens coached Cavaliers were loaded, but they drew a tough first round matchup in Michael Jordan in the Bulls. The series would go to a deciding fifth game in Cleveland. Despite having both Price and SG/SF Craig Ehlo playing hurt, the Cavs took a 101-100 lead after a lay up by Ehlo with three seconds to go. The Bulls would have one more shot to win the game. With everybody expecting Jordan to get the ball, MJ shook off a double-team, drove to the foul line, and hit a jump shot in the last second over a leaping Ehlo to win the game for the Bulls. The image of Jordan celebrating after making the shot is one of the most replayed visuals in NBA history, and the shot only went to solidify Jordan's legend. For the Cavaliers, it was back to the drawing board. They would have a few more good years right after this, but every time they had some success, it seemed as if Jordan and the Bulls were lying in wait to defeat them once again.

2. 1997: Indians come within two outs of winning the World Series

The 1997 World Series was an interesting an somewhat bizarre affair between the Indians and the Florida Marlins. The teams played what is probably the least remembered seven game World Series in the television era. The 1997 Indians were actually worse, record wise, than other Indians teams of that era, finishing the regular season with a rather pedestrian 86-75 record, but they managed to make the World Series behind a powerful lineup and a solid rotation led by rookie phenom Jaret Wright. The Series went to game seven, and the Indians scored two runs while Wright shut out the Marlins until the seventh when Bobby Bonilla homered, giving the Indians a 2-1 lead heading into the ninth. The Indians called on Jose Mesa to get the final three outs of the World Series. Mesa was not the ideal choice for that situation, but to be fair, he had had a good season and he was the best the Indinas had. After allowing two singles which left runners on first and third, Mesa faced Craig Counsell. Counsell flied out deep to right, allowing Alou to tag up and tie the game. The game went into the 11th inning, where Bonilla led off with a single off of Charles Nagy. After getting an out, Nagy forced Counsell to hit a ground ball to second, but the ball bounced off the bottom of 2B Tony Fernandez's glove, going into right field and putting Bonilla at third. After an intentional walk and a force play, up came Edgar Renteria with two outs and the bases loaded. Renteria wasted no time, hitting the first pitch just inches above Nagy's outstretched glove and into center field for the Series winning RBI. For the 294 Marlins fans, this was a great moment, but for Indians fans, it was another painful loss in a long history of losing, which leads us to the number one loss in Cleveland history.

1. 1986: "The Drive" breaks Browns' fans hearts

The 1986 Browns looked to be the class of the AFC. They went 12-4 that year, led by quarterback Bernie Kosar, a decent running game, and a strong defense which benefited from having two All-Pro cornerbacks in Frank Minnifeld and Hanford Dixon, making it tough for opponents to pass on the Browns. The Browns hosted the upstart Denver Broncos in the 1986 AFC Championship Game. After Kosar threw a 48 yard touchdown pass, the Browns held a 20-13 lead with 5:48 remaining in the game. The Broncos mishandled the ensuing kickoff and got the ball back all the way back at their own two yard line. The Browns had the Broncos exactly where they wanted them, and looked to be headed to their first Super Bowl. But Denver's QB John Elway had other ideas, as he led a masterful drive, eating up both yardage and the clock and even converting a 3rd and 18 with less than two minutes to go. Needing a touchdown and extra point to tie, Denver faced a third and 1 at the five with 39 seconds remaining. Elway dropped back and fired a pass into the end zone to Mark Jackson for a touchdown. Rich Karlis converted the extra point, and the shellshocked Browns went into overtime. The Browns won the coin toss, did nothing with the ball, and gave it back to the Broncos, who drove 60 yards down the field and won the game on a Karlis field goal. The game would make Elway a legend and leave Cleveland Browns fans and players devistated. The Browns, of course, would recover and meet the Broncos again in the AFC Championship Game, but as you've read, that's when loss no. 4 happened.

Well, thanks for reading about the sad, bitter history of Cleveland losses over the years. Hopefully, things will turn around for at least one of the sports franchises in Cleveland, but at least they have The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and at least they are not Buffalo. So that's something. Until next time, remember, if you have an idea for a future review, than send them to me either by leaving me a comment or by contacting me via e-mail at Here are some videos of famous Cleveland losses, and if you're a fan of Cleveland sports, I would implore you not to watch.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Canon Review of two Matlock Episodes

So yesterday at work, I had the theme to Matlock stuck in my head for some reason, which I found very odd because I haven't watched that show in at least 10 years, and I never was a regular viewer of that show in the first place. Heck, I'm surprised I even remember it. But it did give me an idea for a review, so here we are. I'm going to watch two episodes of Matlock and review them. For those of you that don't know or don't care, Matlock was a TV series that was on the air from 1986-1995, starring Andy Griffith as the titular character, Ben Matlock. Matlock is an Atlanta, Georgia attorney known for his folksy ways. Also, the show starred Clarance Gilyard Jr. (a.k.a. Chuck Norris's partner in Walker Texas Ranger) as Matlock's investigator. Well, on with the show.

Episode 1: The Con Man

 This episode was originally aired in 1989, and starts with a woman jogging, and goes downhill from there. The woman fakes being abducted in order to lure in the guy jogging behind her, Brain Davis (played by James Eckhouse, who would later play Jim Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210). Davis rescues the woman, and as a thank you of sorts, she sets him up insider trading secrets from her ex-boyfriend. After making a profit, Davis decides to invest $25,000 in a new takeover, but is shocked to find that the ex, Jason Edmonds, is dead. Davis and the woman (Madeline Medford) dump the money filled briefcase in a trash can. But Davis eventually learns that it was a con and that Jason faked his death, and he's out $25,000. To get revenge, Brian intercepts another briefcase filled with cash, but Madeline catches him and to make matters worse, this time Jason is actually dead and Brian is being charged with the murder. Luckily, he has Ben Matlock on his side. The rest of the episode focuses mainly on the man that took the first briefcase, Jack McCarthy, a conman that's a real charmer. He even goes out on a date with Matlock's assistant attorney. Eventually, the real murderer is revealed, but I'm not telling who it is.

The acting is all over the place in this episode. One minute Madeline has a southern accent, and the next minute she's talking with a French accent. The guy playing Jack McCarthy seems to have no business playing a con man, as he's not very convincing. Plus, there's a couple of sub-plots that really go nowhere, and there's little explanation to how Matlock was able to crack the case open. I mean, one minute he's confused, and when we get back from commercial, he suddenly knows all the answers. I'm usually a fan of crime dramas like these, but this episode was kind of boring and dumb. I'll give it a 3 out of 10 and hope that the next one is better.

 Episode 2: The Marriage Counselor

This episode was originally shown in 1991. In this episode, an annoying insurance salesman named Alan, who had just sold Matlock some insurance, finds out that his wife Laura has been cheating on him with his marriage counselor, Harding Fletcher (played by Bryan Cranston, who also played Hal in Malcolm in the Middle and recently won an Emmy for his work in Breaking Bad as Walter White). Alan confronts the marriage counselor, and is somehow convinced to see him again later in the week to talk about this. When Alan gets there, Fletcher is dead. Alan is thought to be the prime suspect and hires Matlock to defend him. Matlock and his investigator Conrad investigate the case, and find that Laura was not the only patient that was having an affair with Dr. Fletcher. Eventually, the murder is solved and Alan goes back to being his annoying self again.

This was a slightly better episode than the last one, although still the guest actors could have done a better job, particularly the other ladies found out to have an affair with Dr. Fletcher. I will say that Cranston was quite convincing as a scummy marriage counselor, and that it was good to see Conrad in this episode for longer than 30 seconds. Plus, the show did a much better job of explaining how Matlock was able to crack the case. One thing I will say is that it doesn't speak well of the Atlanta Police Department if a defense attorney is solving all of their cases during the trail of a suspect. Maybe Matlock should have been a detective instead. Just an observation, nothing more. Overall, I'll give this episode a 5.4 out of 10.

Well, thanks for reading about two episodes of Matlock. Hopefully, I'll have two posts in the next 24 hours, but we shall see. Remember, if you have any ideas for future posts at the Canon Review, than send them to me either by leaving a comment, by e-mail at, or by telling me if you happen to find yourself talking to me. As a bonus, here's Matlock's theme song.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Canon Book Review: Ring of Hell

Sorry I didn't post over the past two days. Work has been a little crazy this week, so I haven't had too much time to devote to this blog. But today is another day, and I will try my best to at least have something up for people to read. So here goes. Recently, I read the book Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit & The Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry by Matthew Randazzo V. While the fall of the wrestling industry seems to have been exaggerated, it is still an introspective and often times revealing look at the life and death of one of pro wrestling's greatest performers, Chris Benoit.

The main theme of the book that Randazzo seems to be focused on is how the buisness of professional wrestling, with its non-stop travel and rampart drug and steroid use, was the primary reason for Chris Benoit's descent into madness. Growing up, Benoit was a quiet kid from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada who became such a huge fan of the wrestler The Dynamite Kid that his devotion bordered on worship. From an early age, Benoit decided to mold himself and his body after The Dynamite Kid, determined to follow his idol into the pro wrestling business. In order to accomplish this, Benoit started doing steroids in order to get his physique like The Dynamite Kid, and willingly underwent harsh and often times humiliating training both at the infamous Dungeon of Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the New Japan dojo, whose students are worked half to death on a daily basis and expected to deal with all sorts of punishment as proof of their devotion towards becoming a pro wrestler.

The book goes on to depict Benoit's wrestling career and the issues he and other wrestlers faced in each spot. From wrestling in Japan, where the Yakuza has a huge influence over the business and the style is often stiff and hard-hitting, although the money and accommodations are usually first-class, to the totally foreign style of lucha-libre wrestling in Mexico, which Benoit struggled to adjust to. We then read about Benoit's time in ECW, which is the promotion that actually comes off looking the best in this book despite a looker room so full of drug use that it was said that "If you pass a drug test in ECW, you're fired!" But ECW was largely free of the politics and backstabbing that plagued Benoit both in his early days in Stampede and later in WCW and the WWE. Benoit later went into WCW, which basically served as a vanity promotion for Hulk Hogan during his time there, and also rewarded wrestlers like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, wrestlers that weren't nearly as devoted to the buisness as Benoit and his best friend Eddy Guerrero. To make matters worse, Benoit became embroiled in a bitter feud with booker Kevin Sullivan, whose wife Nancy eventually became Benoit's wife largely due to some idiotic attempt by Sullivan to "work" the other wrestlers by having Benoit and Nancy act as if they were having an affair. Ultimately, fiction became truth and Nancy ended up with Benoit, which didn't exactly endear Benoit in his boss's eyes.

Benoit, Guerrero, and a few other wrestlers would eventually leave WCW after Sullivan was rehired as head booker in 2000. While free of the political minefield that was WCW, as the book states, Benoit had other problems. For one, his best friend seemed to be fighting a losing battle with drug addiction, and it was often Benoit that took care of Guerrero and made sure he lived to see another day. Another problem was the demands put on the wrestlers by Vince McMahon, which, along with Benoit's insistence to work a highly dangerous style night in and night out, led to severe spinal injury and surgery in 2001. The author uses testimonies from former WWE staff members and writers to spin a tale of a company that is ran by a coked-up bodybuilding obsessed  megalomaniac in his McMahon and his daughter Stephanie, who comes off as unqualifed for her position and highly defensive of both her intelligence and her job, often dismissing any percieved threat to her job and keeping less-qualified writers just because they tow the line. Not to mention the influence of wrestler Triple-H, who seems to have as much power as anyone due to his marriage to Stephanie, a marriage which some people wonder is a sham. The result is that Benoit finds himself working for a company where, in his own words, it's better to keep your mouth shut in order to keep your job instead of speaking out and losing your job.

Benoit enjoyed some success in WWE, including a world title reign, but ultimately he was still depressed. Things really got bad in 2005, when his best friend Guerrero passed away. The untimely death of his friend, as well as the death of close friend Mike "Johnny Grunge" Durham, left Benoit feeling alone. Whether or not it was due to the concussions, Benoit, not exactly the most stable individual before, became increasingly withdrawn, depressed and paranoid. Eventually, Benoit snapped one weekend, which led to the tragic events of that June weekend in 2007.

The book is not just a portrayal of Benoit, who comes across as a singularly devoted man to his craft, who seemed like a great father according to all of those around him and a decent guy that had a wicked side when it came to young wrestlers. That trait seems to have been influenced by his treatment in Stampede Wrestling as well as the influence of The Dynamite Kid, who was despised for his mean-spirited "pratical jokes". Benoit also seemed to never quite accept himself, as even as he was being hailed as the best wrestler in the world, Benoit would often be in a funk and would punish himself for even the smallest mistake by doing an unfathomable number of Hindu Squats or Push-Ups or Squat Thrusts or whatever exercise in order to punish his body. Meanwhile, the wrestling business as a whole does not come off as a good way to make a living, as Randazzo paints a picture of a business where unhealthy amounts of steroids and painkillers are part of the job, where personal freedom is sacrificed for glory, and where many men are "chewed up and spit out" by an unforgiving business, which has left many young men either dead or crippled before the age of 50.

Randazzo is not a fan of pro wrestling, rather he is a true crime writer who seems to specialize in books about crime syndicates. As a result, the book comes across as a bitter, often jaded look at pro wrestling as a whole, and the author does not spare punches in expressing his opinion about pro wrestling. So if you're somebody that's a huge fan of wrestling, you might become angry about the various attacks on the business that the book makes. It didn't bother me, though. Randazzo did a lot of research for this book, but I do question the validity of some of his sources, including watching a bunch of shoot interviews, which often are one-sided affairs in which the wrestler is obviously biased and attacks certain individuals in order to make themselves look better. These interviews often should be taken with a grain of salt, so I was surprised that the author would rely so heavily on these sources. Another thing I found odd is that, for a story about Benoit and the crimes he committed, a majority of the book is devoted to other people. I'm guessing that was just to establish the type of business Benoit was in, but in a way, it seems like Benoit is just a background character in a story about his own life, to the point where the murders and suicide Benoit committed is almost treated as an afterthought at the end of the book.

Ultimately, this is a book worth reading, but it does have it's flaws. For one, while there is a lot of information, and Randazzo did a lot of research, he seems too willing to accept the words of anybody with a take as the truth. So while I believe most of it to be accurate, I have my doubts about a few things since many of his sources seem to have an ax to grind. Another thing is that, in blaming pro wrestling for Chris Benoit's actions, I don't think he assigns enough blame on Benoit himself, as he just stops short of painting Benoit as a victim of a buisness that swallowed him whole. I could see that if Benoit was found dead of a heart attack like his friends Guerrero and Brian Pillman, but let's face facts here. This was a man who over the course of three days, murdered both his wife and his son, and more than likely considered making a plane flight so he could wrestle the next day, to the point that he even rescheduled his flight. The author seems to believe that Benoit was not in his right mind due to the multiple concussions and massive painkiller use, but I don't think that should be an excuse for his actions. If you want to blame pro wrestling for the deaths of Guerrero, Pillman, Owen Hart (which was not a result of drugs, but a poorly conceived stunt gone horribly wrong) and others, well I have no real issue with that, and I'd even agree with that sentiment. But to paint Chris Benoit as a victim, and Randazzo is far from alone in this approach, btw, is wrong.

Bottom line, Ring of Hell is a deep expose of a business that, frankly, is screwed up in a lot of ways. The book provides a lot of new information and you will be shocked at what you learn about Benoit and the job that he chose. The book has some flaws, yes, but ultimately it's worth reading, even if you should take some of the information presented with a grain of salt. I'll give it a 6.5 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future reviews about anything at all, from your favorite episode of In the Heat of the Night to the top 5 movies directed by Michael Bay, or whatever, than send me your ideas either by leaving a comment or by e-mail at

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Canon Review's Tribute to Kenny Kaos

Last night, while watching Kenny Kaos's finest hour when Rick Steiner handed him one of the tag team belts, I found myself thinking, hey, what if I watch a few of his matches and see if he's any good. Well, I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that already, but nevertheless, here is The Canon Review's tribute to the blond guy from the WCW tag team High Voltage, Kenny Kaos.

Match 1: High Voltage (Rage and Kaos) vs. Villano IV and Super Calo, WCW Pro, June 1, 1997

What a strange matchup this is, as two luchadores face off against the youngsters High Voltage. Four and Calo start off with the advantage on Kaos, but that changes once Kaos whips Calo into Rage, who promptly delivers an overhead belly-to-belly on Calo. High Voltage dominates for a minute, until Kaos misses an elbow in the corner which allows Calo to get the hot? tag to Villano. Villano beats on Rage and backs him in the corner, but Kaos catches him and puts Villano on his shoulder. Are they going to do the Doomsday Device? No, instead Rage springboards from the apron to deliver a spinning heel kick on IV while he's sitting on Kaos's shoulder. According to the announcers, that move is called the Power Plant, which makes no sense to me, but that's a very good finisher none the less. Rage gets the three and the two muscleheads celebrate. Rage in particular is just juiced to the gills in this match. Short match which I doubt anyone remembers, and I'm quite surprised it's on YouTube. I'll give it a 1.6903 out of 5.

Match 2: High Voltage vs. Disorderly Conduct (Mean Mike and Tough Tom) WCW Thunder, September 3, 1998

The great lost tag team of the 1990s makes a rare Thunder appearance against High Voltage. Tony Schiavone gives a shout out to all the kids staying up late to watch Nitro and Thunder, even though they have school the next day. High Voltage takes control early, as Rage uses a belly to belly suplex on one of the mean tough guys and other power moves as well. Kaos comes in, keeps it up, but eventually the veteran duo get Kaos in a compromising position with heel tactics. One of the Disorderly Conduct (I can't remember which one is which, to be honest, and the announcers are no help) tries to hold Kaos for a double team maneuver, but instead Kaos moves, and the Disorderly Conduct run into each other. Hot tag to Rage, who dropkicks both of his opponents with some good hangtime on those dropkicks. Rage gets one of the Conduct on his shoulders, and Kaos springboards from the apron to deliver a clothesline, which is kind of like the Doomsday Device but instead of diving off the top turnbuckle, Kaos springboards himself and then leaps from the top rope. According to an internet site, this move is called the Circut Breaker, but whatever it's called, it's good enough to get the win. Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall were really putting over High Voltage during the match, and Heenan even compared them to the young Steiner Brothers. I think Heenan was drunk. This match was really a showcase for High Voltage, but it never did anything for them since WCW brass never seemed interested in giving them a push. Nevertheless, it was decent for what it was. I'll give it a 2 out of 5.

Match 3: High Voltage vs. The Steiner Brothers, WCW Monday Nitro, February 10, 1997

Well, since the comparison was made, why not see these two teams against each other. Scott and Rick come out to a big reaction. An interview is played before the match where the Steiners say they'll win some four way tag coming up at Super Brawl. Match starts. Scott takes control of Rage, but Rage clips him in the knee. Rage comes off the top, but gets caught and Scott overhead belly to belly suplexes him. Scott then lifts Rage up and Gorilla Press slams him. Tag out to Rick, and his future tag team partner Kaos is also tagged in. Rick stays in control to the surprise of no one, and Scott gets back in to powerslam Kaos into the corner. Tag back to Rick, who atomic drops Kaos, and follows with a Steinerline, but Kaos is able to tag out just before taking the move. Rage is in, tries a springboard senton from the apron, but gets caught and powerbombed by Rick instead. The two set Rage up, and Rick delivers his finisher, the bulldog off the top rope onto the opponent, which is on Scott's shoulders. Rick gets the pin and the crowd roars in appreciation. Pretty much a squash, but an entertaining one at least. I'll give it a 2.2 out of 5.

Match 4: Kenny Kaos vs. Goldberg, WCW Monday Nitro, April 12, 1999

I wonder who's going to win this match. Goldberg comes out and punishes Kaos with a few moves, including a leg submission and a gorilla press into a powerslam, which Heenan decides to call the Goldberg Slam. Holy moly, Kaos gets some offense in after a jawjacker against the top rope. He gets a couple of punches into the midsection and a fireman's carry into a slam that looked as if neither man knew what to do there. Kaos to the top, and he hits the guillotine legdrop! Come on Kaos! Kaos attempts a springboard clothesline, but gets swatted away like a fly by Goldberg. Damn it, he was so close! Goldberg takes control with a pumphandle suplex, spear, and the Jackhammer in rapid succession to get the win. Match was kind of sloppy, to be honest. I'll give it a 1.6 out of 5.

Finally, I would not be doing my due dillegence if I didn't include this video. Somebody, apparently a huge fan, decided to make a tribute video to the team of High Voltage, in the style of those "My Sacrifice" videos that the WWE made a few years back. It starts out well, but eventually it's a minute and a half of High Voltage taking a beating. Still, I found it entertaining, so check it out for yourself.

So, what did I learn from this? That Kenny Kaos is not a man to be trifled with, unless you are Goldberg. In all honesty, both Rage and Kaos had some of the tools to be good wrestlers, but never quite put the whole puzzle together and even if they did, it's unlikely that WCW would have given them a chance anyway. Oh well. Today Kaos no longer wrestles. I don't know what he does, but he isn't in wrestling as far as I know. I will say this, Kenny Kaos was better than a lot of guys to step into the ring for WCW.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future posts, than let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by contacting me via e-mail at

Canon Restaurant Review: The Swamp Guinea

For those of you anxiously awaiting The Canon Review's tribute to Kenny Kaos, that is coming up sometime in the next eight to ten hours. But first, I will review a restaurant at which I ate this evening. This restaurant is called The Swamp Guinea. Why is it called The Swamp Guinea, you ask? Well, according to the website, the original owners wanted a name that people would remember, and since the first Swamp Guinea was built near swamp land, they decided just to call it the Swamp Guinea because it's an unusual name and yet easy to pronounce at the same time. Anyway, since we wanted to go out to eat for Mother's Day (which I know is tomorrow but I have to work so we had to go today), my mom decided, what the hey, let's try The Swamp Guinea, a restaurant located on the shores of Lake Hartwell in Hartwell, GA. So off we went, my mother, my sister and Canon Review reader Maggie, and myself.

We get there, and it's somewhat crowded at the time, but we only waited about a minute before we were seated. The first thing I noticed is that I could barely hear myself think, as there was a table of about 20 people seated near us, and sound seems to carry quite well in this place. The decor is rather simple, and Maggie compared to eating at a chow hall at summer camp. It is rather simple, as the place has wooden walls and a tiled floor, and not a whole lot of decor on the walls either. But it did look clean, so I can't complain too much about it.

The menu at The Swamp Guinea offers primarily seafood, but does have other favorites like country ham, steak, chicken, and Brunswick stew. They offer platters, as well as all you can eat specials where you can get refills on your meal, like shrimp and stew if you so choose. Since I was hungry but not hungry enough for an all you can eat meal, I opted for a platter, and since I had little idea what I wanted, I ordered the Swamp Guinea combination platter, which comes with scallops, oysters, catfish, a fish fillet, a deviled crab and two onion rings, with fries and a salad on the side. So basically I ordered a whole bunch of fried food, but at least I did get a salad. Maggie ordered the crab platter, while my mom ordered a shrimp platter. One thing I found interesting was that they do not offer refills on soft drinks, rather, they give you a can of soda, and you want another one, you're going to have to pay full price for it.  Well, there was no way I was paying for two cans, so I had to drink slowly.

First, I get my salad, and something I found peculiar was that they bring your food to you on plastic pushcarts. Not a bad idea, but it is a little different than most places. The salad was merely decent, as I think it's the same kind of prepackaged salads one can get at the grocery store with the lettuce already chopped up. I wish I got some cheese with it, but oh well. Our food came soon thereafter, and I must say we didn't wait long at all for it. Our food also came with some mini hush puppies, which were pretty good, and three dinner rolls. I must say that I didn't care for the oysters too much. I mean they were ok, but since I never had oysters I was curious as to what they would taste like. But oysters just don't seem like my kind of food. The fries were merely ok, as they could have probably used a little more salt to give them more flavor. But the rest of my food was quite good. The fish was nice and flaky and nicely flavored, and the crab and scallops were both excellent. Everything was nicely cooked (or, more likely, fried) and was quite filling. Maggie seemed to also like her food a lot as well.

Overall, the food was good, and our waitress was attentive and the staff was very friendly. The Swamp Guinea may not be the fanciest place in the world, but if you are looking for good food at a reasonable price, you can't go wrong with The Swamp Guinea. It's not perfect, but it still is very good. I'll give it a 7.3 out of 10 overall. Thanks for reading, and if anyone has ideas for future reviews, well you know where to find me.

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