Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goodbye to another friend; Die Danica Die; Dark Knight is awesome!

If you heard the Sunday show, you heard my take on Neil Hohlfeld, the former Chronicle writer and editor who passed away much too young this past weekend. Neil was just 56 years old. Too damned young.

A lot of the Chron's writers have written tributes about what Neil meant to them on their blogs. Richard Justice wrote a very nice obit in Sunday's paper. He also told some nice Neil stories on his blog.

Here's the obit Richard wrote: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/sports/5897137.html

I knew Neil for as long as anyone at the Chronicle. I worked with him in several different capacities. More than once, I had to put him in a job he didn't want to do. And each time, he handled it like a champ. He also knew it wasn't always my choice.

What he did best was baseball. Neil was an expert. Like Tracy Ringolsby. Like Tim Kurkjian.
Fortunately, baseball fans got a chance to see him again doing analysis on Fox Sports with Greg Lucas after many of the Astros games.

Neil knew the game. He understood the intricacies.

When he covered it, he was a guy you looked forward to reading each morning. Like Harry Shattuck. Like John McClain with the NFL. Frankly, there aren't many left here.

The Internet, radio, TV, ESPN...Fans don't read beat writers anymore. Most of the people who cover the major sports now do it because it's glamorous; not because they understand the game. They do it for selfish reasons.

Deep down, Neil wanted to cover baseball more than anything. Not for glamor; he simply loved it. He knew it. One of my few regrets is I didn't fight harder to keep him doing it. Thankfully, Fox got him back in the game.

We'll miss you, Neil.

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Thanks to Jerome Solomon for thinking enough of me to call and let me know about Neil. No one else at the Chron did. Jerome is a terrific dude. I have much love for Jerome. However, I have nothing too positive to say about many people there who I used to respect. I've been pretty nice since I left, but the gloves are going to come off soon. You better pick up your games, both as journalists and human beings.

Nice guy Freddy is about to be retired once and for all.

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Speaking of which...

Does anybody else wish Milka Duno had punched Danica Patrick squarely in the face? I'm sick of Danica, the self-proclaimed greatest driver in the world. She's annoying. She's a hothead. She is about 1/10th as good as she thinks she is. And Danica, you aren't hot, either.

A nice, fiery, disfiguring crash would be fine with me. I hate to wish anything bad on anyone...well, no I don't. Good luck with that crash.

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Nickname update: Uncle Freddy is still the leader, although I am intrigued by Freddy KGB. Keep trying...

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If you haven't seen the Dark Knight...what the hell is wrong with you? Heath Ledger is transcendent, Christian Bale is underrated...the plot is dark, psychotic and moving. It is filled with subtleties and nuances. I still think Batman Begins was the greatest comic book movie ever made, followed closely by Spider Man 2, but this one could easily eclipse both. I have to see it a few more times to pick up some of the things that I missed the first time, but if you haven't seen it, I have four thoughts:

1) Heath Ledger deserves an Oscar. Anyone else wins, and the idiots who pick it are complete losers.
2) The one negative was the woman who replaced Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. I know Holmes has become a Tom Cruz freak show, but you can't replace her with a poor copy that can't act. Ugh. Memo to Maggie Gillynhall: You brought the whole movie down!
Come back, Katie! Leave Tom! I'll forgive you, really!
3) To the two or three critics who actually panned it -- you have NO credibility. May you drown in your own blood.
4) There are so many very talented actors in small roles...you have to stay on top of it or you miss them. Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Jai White, Eric Roberts...all of them had small but memorable roles. (Although can you watch anything with Anthony Michael Hall and not see him holding up Molly Ringworm's panties?)

And Eric Roberts..."They took my thummmmmmbbbb, Chaaaa-llllie!" (Bonus points if you get that movie reference)

Michael Jai White...boy, he has come a long way since Toxic Avenger II.

Ledger, however, is the real star. His insanity is infectious. I wanted to go paint my face and whack people with reckless abandon. I love movies that are psychological thrillers; deep down, this is what the movie is really about.

We all wear masks. We are all insane. How far we push it is what separates us from the Joker. And Batman.

And Toxic Avenger.

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Football season will officially be here on Friday when the Texans hit the field for minicamp. There is no greater sport; nothing that highlights beautifully controlled violence more than football. Other than the fact that the Cowboys continue to live and breathe, football season is the GREATEST time of year.

Reminds me of an old joke...

A small boy was lost, so he went up to a policeman and said, "I've lost my dad!"

The officer said, "Well, what's he like?"

The little boy replied, "Beer and football!"

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Wow, I made it through a full post without mentioning Chris C (who came up with Uncle Freddy. He defies all of you to top that), Val, Hu, Sandy, Min, Em, Nate, Terry, or Dana. Or Bernie. Or Trish. Or hot bald women (Natalie Portman!) or The Main Event (Tuesday night, 7 p.m.) or the Front Page (8-10 a.m. Saturday/Sunday) at www.975theticket.com

Damn, I'm getting too predictable.









2 comments:

ChrisC said...

Nice article by Justice in the obits on Hohlfield. I enjoyed reading his articles when I was in college. RIP Neil - Only the good die young...

Danica may have deserved the towel pie face, but she's still hot! You may have to do the Top 5 hottest sports females on the Big Show. She's Top 5 sports chicks, maybe #5 but still...

True friends are the ones who see you at your best and at your worst and still call you a friend! The others are called ex-coworkers!;)

Yes, Batman ROCKED!! "The BEST Comic Book movie EVER!!" You're right Ledger should get an Oscar and I believe he will. How can he not? It's the highest grossing film ever and he stole the show!! Jack Nicholson was stellar in the 1st Batman, but Ledger is a GOD in this one! Making the pencil disappear was CLASSIC!!

The Bat-voice was a bit annoying. I know he has to distinguish his voice as Batman from Bruce Wayne, but he sounded like he was gargling gravel!

Loved the Toxic Avenger reference lol! The only thing missing was the curly haired guy from Greatest American Hero as a mobster;).

Bring on FOOTBALL SEASON!! So ready for it. Can you put the Tombstone on Freddy's World to put a fork in the Astros until 2011? Now that I'd pay to see. Texans 9-7 this year. Crawgators 5th FFL title and Wolverines 3rd FFL title! Ship it...

Freddy KGB isn't bad. Came up with Freddy Dweeb but that's harsh and unfitting! What about Fred Money (ie Dead Money)?

Keep the blogs coming! Good stuff!

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