Friday, October 31, 2008

Where Have the Costumed Crusaders Gone?

An Article Appearing at SavageScience.Com
by Staff Writer, Mike Wilkerson

I can remember the first time that I saw a guy in a cape. It wasn't Superman, it wasn't Batman. It wasn't even Darth Vader, the one who kept me awake at night in the darkness of my bedroom, waiting the next rise and fall of that distinctive, unforgettable respirator (insert ominous-darth-vader.wav).

It was Evel Knievel - the true daredevil that first caught my eye on television, his short but original white blue and red pinstriped cape flapping in the wind, a glint of recently-waxed white enamel making me squint to see the proverbial true-superhero who often rode (and broke his ass regularly) a motorized white stallion carrying him over hill and dale, semitrucks and more. What it makes me also remember is a different time inside the fighting game/wrestling arenas where costumes were not just an accessory for fighters - they were the draw of fights, along with wild, daunting personalities that were not just a face or attitude, but a stamp that each would try to grind into their opponents forehead.

So where have all the Costumed Crusaders of the ring gone? Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) offers us a variety of now tattooed heroes both male and female who wear striking, logo-rich clothing, but do we have any that use that "costumed touch" to their advantage or to rile the fans?

Here in the states we're often treated to the likes of Jason Miller - who oozes crazy, daunting, and BIG, thanks to the addition of an occasional cape, gold sequins, monstrous bling and piñata- decapitation galore. We marvel at fighters like the Dutch Melvin Manhoef overseas, who strides towards the ring, towing his "handlers" behind him via a gargantuan, spiked dog collar and train that could pull a locomotive - his pseudo-gladiator tunic-shorts bouncing as if to invite doom to his opponents. We see all manner and size of fighters from the new, growing list of diminutive 145 & 155ers, to the monsters like new wrestling-realm transplant, Brock Lesner, who when he appears on screen looks like a full male playmate spread shoveled into the confines of a microscopic picture frame. We see wild-haired, disgustingly satisfying skill sets from the likes of Uriah Faber and Clay Guida, who seemingly collect strength and testosterone from their wavy, anarchy-ridden locks as the take on their most recent rag doll, but truly gone are the days of yesteryear when a cape, a giant ridiculous hat, a feathered robe or would grace our eyes, intimidate the meek, and somehow help that fighter put the psychological beat-down on their opponent.

So I ask again, where have all the Costumed Crusaders gone? Will we ever seen the bristled uniforms of what was a galactic power of the Soviet Union preside over the Octagon? Perhaps the always-starched brim of a drill sergeant's cap poking a soon-to-fall opponent's forehead in brazen defiance? Tell us what you think here at The Savage Science and also remember to tell us about your memories of your favorite dashing, dolled-up ring heroes of days gone by.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inspecting Overpasses, Sidewalks and More!

Ahh, Thursdays - my half day at my 9-5er and a lunchtime jaunt to my local, comfy gym to get in my daily lunchtime workout and then out to write and...

Hey, have I told you that gas is down to just $2.27 per gallon? What great news!

Surely if it's that cheap that quick, I can hold off a few days more to get a TRUE deal on the petroleum product that propels my whip (ie ride for everyone else), right!?

Buzzzer! Denied!

As I traveled quickly at a roaring 70mph, a favorite local talk radio station blaring out loudly as all kinds of propaganda, truth and advertisement filled my senses. Then it happened.

I felt "the" lurch. The sudden wiggle. The pump of gasless horror as I looked at my (broken) fuel indicator, and then at the trip meter that still runs on electrical power. Hmm, 138 miles. When did I last fill up? What was the gas price and how much did I buy then? It turns out that I wasn't on E, folks, I was on J. Dead, dead, deadski in the way of gasoline.

Realizing what had befallen my mechanical steed, I twisted the becoming-heavier steering wheel to the right as I engaged my turn signal. A friendly motorist (gasp!) let me over quickly and as if torn from a frame of the second Matrix film, I was suddenly on a new, expansive overpass off-ramp slowly winding to a very undramatic halt. A quick turn of the key allowed my engine to make a few Jabba-The-Hut-like gurgles of death, and I realized that I was going to be late for my appointment.

My senses became acutely aware not only of my surroundings and my sight - that isn't so great usually - became as keen as a wolf's eyes in the frozen tundra - looking for prey to feed his family. Would the venerable wolf be able to see salvation from his recent resting spot? Would his family go hungry (or in this case, go sort of exercises but not nearly as so as if I had actually made it to my gymnasium destination)? As the almost-noon sun crossed my brow facing northbound, I saw - A Phillips 66 gas station sign! There is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel/overpass! The overpass I had to cross has recently been constructed and is literally like something out of a new-age, hearkening back to the 50s movie. Pristine cement everywhere, trees that looks as though they were plucked from a Walt Whitman painting - solid, bold lines denoting lanes, turn venues and stoplight engagement signs. Finally, an opportunity to inspect Overpasses, Sidewalks and more to see your government cheese hard at work!

I inhaled a quick breath of excitement, hurry and anticipation and began jogging to the within-eye-shot station logo, traversing the overpass - oh my god! I am FROGGER! I can literally hear the "blurp-bleeurp-blurp" of each step and the car horns erupt! I look brazenly to my left to avoid a battered red jeep clamoring up the on-ramp to make a turn as they pave their path to their destination. My New Balance striker, tidy-white running shoes carry me faster than any other 38-year-old in history across 6 lanes of traffic, unmarred by the vans, trucks, service vehicles and soccer mom-piloted SUVs leaving only colored streaks in my memory. I have arrived intact at Phillips 66, and yet - the battle is only half over. I search the incredibly small confines of the "station house" where only the station attendant, another customer, myself, and the world's largest box of Chik-O-Stiks can fit, looking for a gasoline canister to fill with middle-eastern-created bounty to bring back to my fallen steed. Finally, there, next to the motor oil and funnels - just above the $6 window washing solution, is -- A $6 1-gallon gas canister? $6? Oh, I truly an being tested! Somehow I am able to take the canister off the wall without it some how inducing instant seizure and put it on the tiny counter top next to the Chik-O-Stiks.

"Whaddya' need there sonny?"

You've got to be kidding me, I ponder.

"How about a gallon of gas, ma'am?"

You got it, hon. You gonna' pump that now?"

I look at the camera that follows me everywhere in my mind's eye, looking for solace, finding none and ask myself. "Hath Hell truly opened and gobbled me up?"

An intervention of common sense arrives for Darcy at the register as she requests $8.61, I hand her my Joe Cool Debit card and pray that there will be a future where I will see my wife and daughter again.

"Can I see your ID?"

(a strange silence falls in the land of Wilkerson...)

I whip my wallet out fast enough that were her neck close enough, we'd be talking to a torso - "No problem, thank you for asking," I offer. I sheath my would-be leather blade and sign the receipt, as if I were signing for a fan at a rock concert. "Thanks for your help, and have a nice day, ma'am," exits my smiling maw.

My feet once again propel me as if I were watching from overhead, in and out of vehicles, lanes and pedestrian-forbidden pathways to bring the sweet motor nectar to my starving SUV honeybee. I arrive.

The gas tank opens like a gullet, awaiting a thirst-quenching salvation and receives the $2.27 cent (minus the spillage, of course) bounty, from the must-be-solid-gold red plastic gas canister from the local Phillips 66.

With 9 minutes to spare, I will only be 2 minutes late for my workout - make that continued work out for this evening. Ahh, it's good to be able to Grab the Wheel.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Title-less Episode Review of Ultimate Fighter - Week 7

Show Viewing Date: 10-29-2008
Show Title: Ultimate Fighter: Week 7 Team Nogueira V. Team Mir - Title
Network: SpikeHD
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson

Ahh, lucky week 7 arrives and it's time again to watch the men selected as this season's Ultimate Fighter Candidates and this time, it's all about truth. What will we see this week? More Junie-Gooneyness? Pranks galore as the boys get hard core in their respective corners? We'll find out more as we begin this Savage Science Television Review of Ultimate Fighter's 7th week episode, that strangely has no title in either the HD box or on the Ultimate Fighter Episode Guide online. Coincidence or intentional? Read on and decide for yourself!

As with many of my online reviews, I'll be reviewing this initial episode in a "stream of consciousness" format, giving you essentially what I'm thinking as the show airs. I encourage everyone to send feedback in regard to any of the points below and let's use this opportunity as a rallying and sounding-off point for our love, of the truly SAVAGE SCIENCE...

-- Mir's Unwavering Honesty: I again hold "ultimate" respect for Frank Mir as this episode launches. He grills Looney Junie, who simply "won" the fight this last episode. He makes it clear that there should have been much more in the way of preparation, stick-to-it-iveness, and much less gooney Junie. As we mentioned in our last episode, conditioning probably killed Junie here, on top of having what is a monumentally childlike series of drunken tirades. Something else that I don't get, perhaps because I've never been a drinker, is the "post fight booze-a-holicness" that it appears is something common post fight. If we isolate the things that Junie has issues with, and why he has issues with them, his lack of self control and self discipline are way on top of the proverbial totem pole. Wouldn't getting drunk and losing what little control and discipline faculties he has be a no-no at this point? If not for him then for his team? The show's producers? Thankfully, though condoning the "drinking tonite" Mir tells him outright, "no fiascoes" which I understand but imagine if he didn't drink or need to drink at all? As I understand it, after getting punched, one of the things you don't want to do immediately, like taking aspirin, blowing your nose, etc, is GO DEHYDRATE yourself with booze. "Inside the ring, you've got all the skills to win this thing. Outside the ring, you scare the shit out of me." Seems a pretty easy decision for me and I'm not sure how there aren't more people "helping" Junie make the right decisions. It's only his career and the UFC money after all. I'll just shake my head and move on to the next point.

-- And a Bone is "Fractured or Something": Ooof - We see the shear dread of a potential injury here that makes my skin crawl. As a former sign language Interpreter for the Deaf, I actually had my hands insured for just such an emergency. I'm guessing that NONE of these guys has anything like that in place so - oy - not only could chances on the show be destroyed, but - imagine if you'd left a job to pursue your "dream" here and - a fractured thumb? Eek.

-- Is that People Having Fun?: I am always happy to see more of this side of the game in programs like this. It's something that I think helps to build the spirit of the sport in general, but also helps you understand that while we all had either a wrestling or football coach that was a ball-grinder, we also had the ones that made you think, work, and ENJOY the time you spend with your compatriots. Far too few coaches in my life were able to instill some of the overall feel that we see here with Nogueira and the team in general. I've recently contacted a local MMA outfit to become my local source of information and more and I hope to get more input on what kind of methods, varieties and "why we do ______ and suches" in further reviews, articles and podcasts here at The Savage Nation and more. FUN is something completely forgotten in exercise way too often.

-- Ha - More Gaming Action: This episode they have a game called "Fallout 3" showcased, with a bunch of talking head moments with Frank Mir. Does Mir game? Does anyone know? I'd love to know more about that. I don't see him as the gaming type, though those who try it are usually taken and get involved quickly. I'm not sure what's up with the audio quality of this entire series of Fallout 3 adds when they have Mir speaking, but they need to put the sound engineer into the ring and let there be some soap-in-sock action on him. that's not the way to inspire people to buy your game or be interested in something super cool, but sounds like ass.

-- A Matter of Volume Control: Sure as hell, the next commercial is SICKENINGLY loud. What is it with television not being able to regulate the commercial volumes to something manageable? I don't think I could have had a conversation with someone sitting next to me in the theater if I'd tried with the volume as high as it was. Let's get on that, SpikeHD.

-- Taking Conditioning Seriously: Again, it's great that Mir chimes in on what conditioning means, and talks more about the new trainers that have been used in other championship levels that can clearly make the difference in converting the way your body uses and demands oxygen. It's an outstanding explanation of how the "system" works and how these men will benefit from the training that they're receiving. The bottom line is that they're trying to push the fighters in training harder than they'll be working inside the ring during a fight. The bucket o' ice thing is something I've actually seen in the clubhouse of several professional sports organizations and it's true: the inflammation that you will have as a matter of course during training, fighting, anything else is reduced significantly. There are a number of other traits accompanying this piece of the conditioning that Frank discusses that truly should be taken to heart by any professional athlete.

-- Nogueira's Only Got Bread and Butter BJJ: And both feet, knees, calves, and future jumps straight into Vinny's mouth. What a complete dumbass.

-- Coaches That Understand They Don't Know Everything: "There's a lot of things that she's showing me on the ground - he's SCARY on the ground..." Frank Mir opens up with this note during a quick focus on Vinny, and that's something impressive to me. The coaches in this show are called upon because they are amongst if not the best in the world at beating on people, and that they can admit that they don't know everything is something very satisfying to me. I wish there had been at least a bit more of that this evening to balance out the always-present trash-talking from people that just simply cannot back it up or are outright lying to people. More on that soon.

-- I Guess Baking Wasn't in the Curriculum: I think that it's outstanding that the Nogueira team takes the time to recognize their coach's birthday, though - I'm assuming that baking cakes wasn't in the fight academy portfolio. Those are some rancid-looking cakes and I feel tremendous pity on those that have to partake. Vinny's beratement of Team Nogueira's habits (eating together, being together, etc) is again very revealing and something that will surely come to haunt him.

-- Fight Announcement Screen Quality: Jules from "the south" gets his match with Vinny in this episode and - having only watched a week before this one and this episode - why on EARTH would he encourage Nogueira to fight VINNY? Is it a personal challenge thing or the age-old "if I win, I win, if I get beat, I get beat by a great ground man but I still win" thing? There's something to be said for a challenge, but looking at each of them just off the cuff here in my second week - there's much to worry about in Jules' corner.

-- If He Hits The Ground, Just Tell Me What To Do?: I'm sorry - WHAT? You encourage Nogueira to put you in a fight with a ground-game man, and you then want him to "tell you what to do if it goes to the ground?" Have you not just shown your own life's speedbump by taking on the fight and then asked for complete assistance" if it goes to the ground? Oh, Jules, oh Jules...

-- The Magic of OPEN Captioning: I'll take a moment here to stroke the wonderful powers of The Ultimate Fighter for taking the time to caption this entire, terribly-revealing showcase of a true bullshit artist, our Brazillian God, Vinny. Not only is the complete conversation open captioned (I have been reviewing Open and Close Captioned Entertainment Material professionally for more than a year now - CaptionHunt.Com, btw), but they have colored each of the people speaking Portugeuse so that you can better understand who is telling whom what. Note: Vinny says outright, "I have many nicknames..." There's on in particular that I'd like to focus on during this next point.

-- The So-Called Power of Trash Talking and The Truth: In my last review of "The Ultimate Fighter" Week 6, I talked specificially about my disdain for trash talking and I have to emphasize this here. Vinny is clearly a gifted ground athlete, and if anything has shown to be true over time is that a skilled groundman can take down just about anyone and have their way. That being said, this segment with an initial onset of Nogueira's team telling him about Vinny's ravings is one of the most outright, deliberate lies I have ever seen in my life. The backpedaling rivals the forward pedaling of Lance Armstrong in this segment. To put the icing on the cake, after he tells Nogueira personally that he said nothing negative about his skills at all, Vinny then proceeds to badmouth him AGAIN, to the camera afterwards. Bad form, Vinny, and there is a glove with your name written on it in your future. I've no idea when it will arrive, but believe me - just as in everything in life - what comes around, goes around and hits you plain on the button. Prepare, our little Brazillian friend.

-- First Couture/Lesnar Commercial I've Seen: Is everyone as excited as I am to see this fight? It's great to see how they're building it and I'm very eager to see November 15th arrive.

-- Vinny's Achilles Heel: Does anyone else know a fighter that considers his face "undamaged/baby face enough" for it to be an Achilles heel for them? Are they fighting currently? Can you name them for me?

-- Checking Out the "Leaks" at Spike.Com: I'd like to recommend that you be sure to check out the "leaks" that are featured over at Spike.Com because the entire section regarding conditioning was featured a week early on their website this last week. In case any of you haven't gotten on board the train, there is much to be collected in the way of entertainment that supports all levels of television viewers and it's just a matter of finding it.

-- This Week's Fight Begins: The venerable Herb Dean is the man in the middle this go'round, and just from the start of the fight, I am awed by the difference in size of these two men. they don't list the weights of the two, but Vinny is remarkably more fit, and just simply showcasing more beef to Jule's chub. I've learned long ago to never underestimate things based on how things "look", but it's something that's always on the forefront. The sheer "size" of the two men showcased here is a big leaning pointer to Vinny in the way of conditioning. Dana introduces the fight and after touching gloves --- there is no big left that comes to Vinny. Hmm. In fact there's not a lot of anything but some kicking from Vinny? Another 30 seconds click off with circling as the sole feature and an inside leg kick from Vinny lands - then another. Jules looks like he has no idea what he's doing in the ring, and - how does a guy that's working out as regular and hard as these guys have love handles? Another inside leg kick from Vinnny leaves Jules flummoxed and unsure what to do - POW! A 2x4-like kick to the gut by Vinny that instantaneously leaves a red mark on Jules abdomen. Jules does nothing to respond and I don't think he even blinked after being struck. At 2:35, Jules WAVES IN VINNY? Are you kidding me? Another gargantuan kick by Vinny is soon followed up by Jules first left-handed punch of the fight that misses all targets. Jules throws a right jab and kick down the middle that do nothing to intimidate his opponent. The two finally come together in pseudo-study hall-like blows and hey! they're going to the ground!? No way! Sure as the day is filled with sunlight, Vinny tries the flying armbar, and misses. He pins Jules upside down against the cage, and - you guessed it again! Grabs an arm! In what is a third step of unbelievability, Vinny rolls up on his knees and is IN FULL MOUNT? No defense is coming from Jules. Is Jules actually still in the ring or did he go for some more pasta and Rolaids? Speaking of Rolaids, there's no change for an upset here because Vinny quickly go-go-goes for his ankle step-over on Jules right arm, hooks in the gogo-plata, cradles Jule's shoulder and not so strangely, there is a very quick, succinct "tap" after a "fight" that is akin to Sominex distributed by way of plasma screen in my theater this evening.

Winner - Vinny by way of Gogo-Armbar

The Savage Science Review Moral: Woof. There is a reason that UFC President Dana White instantly appears and notes that he nearly fell asleep for this episode -- err, I mean fight. While the front end had some moments that were paced well with the conditioning section, the bullshit artistry of Vinny, and even the accidental coaching scenes in this episode, this will be one of those episodes that is never seen in syndication because this fight folks - yawner at best. That's truly too bad, because some of the elements showcased in this episode are very good for the sport of MMA - others surely aren't.

Overall Show Rating: We're giving this fat-on-the-bone episode review of "Ultimate Fighter" (Fall 2008) 2 out of 5 Savage Science Skullies. We're looking for way more than trash-talking from people that shouldn't be or simply don't have the skills to be putting words like they do in their own mouths.

Bottom Savage Science Line: There is much to like in this episode, but the trash-talking sandwich, and the "has it started yet? Do I have time to get a soda pop and a red hot"-vibe of this episode's fight in particular would not be one of the go-to reels in the UFC cabinet. Let's hope more action and attention-getting MMA-goodness prevails next week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

When Not Caring Matters - A Review of American Chopper: The Dodge Ram Bike Build...

Show Viewing Date: 10-23-2008
Show Title: American Chopper - Dodge Ram Bike Build
Network: DiscoveryHD
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - 2GuysTalking

I challenge every reader to take a few minutes to remember the best working relationship you ever had with your father as you read this review of AMERICAN CHOPPER, The Dodge Ram Bike Build. The reason? It's the worst sample of seeing Paul Sr. and Junior work together - in American Chopper history. Sure, there have been louder, more violent, argument-strewn episodes in the past, but the fact is that in the end of those episodes, they grind together in unison to bring the goal of the project to focus and provide what is solid work. That is sadly not the result in this informative and revealing Caption Hunt review on The 2GuysTalking Network.

Click here to view the rest of this great American Chopper Review at The TelevisionReviewBlogs...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Project Success Story with Punch!

Show Viewing Date: 10-24-2008
Show Title: Inside: MMA
Network: HDNet
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - 2GuysTalking
(Be sure to read more about reaction to this post at MMAJunkie.Com's forums...)


Those of you that haven't yet come to realize that having a goal, sticking to it, and working hard to make it come to fruition - pay attention! I have, for more than half a year, been reporting, providing feedback, consulting with as many people as possible, leaving pointed, informative comments and making as large a footprint as possible online in regard to getting what is my favorite sports television program currently on television closed captioned. I am incredibly satisfied to report that this week, from initial pre-show voiceover to Godspeed & partying on commentary - this week's episode of HDNet's Inside: MMA (I:MMA) is completely and gloriously closed captioned and is detailed on this informative and revealing Caption Hunt review on The 2GuysTalking Network.

Previews/Commercials Captioned: One of the primary focuses in this episode of Inside: MMA, is "baby steps." Whether it's the failure of business, the growth of a fighter, or even the success of finally having one of many not-yet-captioned programs closed captioned, baby steps is incredibly appropriate here. While this entire program is precisionly closed captioned, only 3 of the many commercials featured during this program were captioned. Let's see if our small success spills onto the commercial prospects as we continue our Caption Hunt reviews.

Opinion Review:

This last weekend was one of the most action-filled, event-ridden weekends in Mixed Martial Arts history. Whether it was the wonderfully-crafted UFC card that awaited us on Saturday (Silva V. Cote, and a company), the many smaller shows across the nation, or the always-informative "INSIDE: MMA" on HDNet being closed captioned, this weekend had a TON of memorable, Mixed Martial Arts Action! This episode of Inside: MMA provides us with a closed-captioned bonanza, framed by three great guests: Coach and Author Martin Rooney, recent MMA-premiere winner Mo Lawal, and one of the most magnetic personalities and legacy-making icons of Mixed Martial Arts, Renzo (pronounced "Hen-Zo" because of the wonderfully-peculiar Brazillian context) Gracie - a walking and fighting legend in the coaching and fighting game. When you add in the mix of our regular co-hosts, Kenny rice and the conqueror of the now-conclusively-closed-caption-kingdom, Bas Rutten to the mix, you have a show that is not only informative, not only ground-breaking in the closed captioned realm, but a piece of incredibly entertaining television that provides a little something for everyone. Heartfelt, entertaining stories, detailed recaps of the weeks bloody, bodacious bludgeonings, entrances to the ring that will last a lifetime, and - have I mentioned yet that it was all closed captioned? :)

So many things rang out from the stream of this show that it makes it difficult to encapsulate them all here. Obviously, one of the largest notes in this episode is the addressing of the door-shutting situation over at EliteXC, what was a large, impact-making MMA organization that recently featured the busted "Kimbo Slice" after losing to Seth Petrazelli, a previous UFC fighter that came out of literally no where to fell the streetfighting internet splashing brawler from Florida a couple of weeks ago. Not so strangely, baby steps are mentioned here again, which led to more details of extravagant spending and sadly wanting to run, before ever thinking about crawling or walking. That's terribly sad because I enjoyed their shows, their fighters, and the spirit that EliteXC provided to the MMA mix. Put another red cross on the ever-shrinking listing of MMA promotional organization options.

All three of the guests in this week's show were perfectly suited to the onset of the show being closed captioned, because they were all wonderfully animated and provided great input in regard to their opinions, insight, and storytelling (wonderfully executed, especially for Renzo). Perspective and the passing on of previous events and exploits is just a small piece of the magic that is Mixed Martial Arts and this episode is a great sample of what awaits you while watching Inside: MMA on HDNet.

The captioning in this episode was - again as detailed above - the first time in a long time that we've seen closed captioning featured in a show that screams for closed captioning. Again, the characters that are co-hosts Kenny Rice, and Bas Rutten speak volumes of text this time via the captioning that is wonderfully presented, just above the continual-ticker of information through the show. This is really great attention to detail. So many programs (whether it's something appearing on CNN, on our local network affiliates - the listing continues on forever) have captioning that obscures graphics, tickers and details and frankly - that's why people "hate captioning" when it appears usually. If just a tiny bit of care and attention were given to "where" the captioning appears, other shows would experience the success that I guarantee HDNet's Inside: MMA will. Again, an outstanding offering of closed captioning from a network and program that is just a continual treat.

Finally, I'd like to take a moment to showcase the power of storytelling. Three fathers showcased in this episode (Bas, Martin and Renzo) detail some great, informative and fun stories that my wife was finally able to share in real time with me this evening. Again, as I have in other closed captioning reviews, I ask everyone to imagine listening to this show, a fight - hell, any show, with the volumed turned down (but not off - just enough to hear that someone is saying something), and trying to make heads or tails of what's being provided in the way of entertainment. That question mark of "what the hell is going on" disappears completely with the addition of Closed Captioning, and opens up programs, commercials, and hours of entertainment to a completely new and never-before-tapped audience that wants to know what's going on. This episode of HDNet's Inside: MMA provides everyone with the opportunity to learn, revel and perpetuate stories of greatness to others which is the whole point, isn't it? Again, our thanks to HDNet's Inside: MMA for literally getting into the ring of Closed Captioning and making true impact in more lives than you will be able to imagine.

Overall Caption Rating: 5

Overall Show Rating: 5

Total Rating: 5

Do You Recommend This Show to Others Who Depend on Captioning? Hell, Yes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anyone Else Order Fish and Broccoli?

Let me explain how ordering at restaurants goes with me. Remember that scene inside of "When Harry Met Sally" with Meg Ryan (no, not the orgasm part, the other part) where she has the worlds most peculiar order? I'm not nearly that bad, but as anyone that knows me will tell you, I am a picky eater. This is a trend that has followed me since - well, for a very long time. This last week, my wife and daughter and I went out to eat at a local IHOP (International House of Pancakes) not too far from my workplace. It's one of a series of usual stomping grounds during the week when we get out (it's usually once during the week, perhaps a lunch on the weekends depending on my wife's working schedule) and so we have a good solid listing of waitresses we ask for. This evening's romp held something peculiar - something outside the realm that I wasn't expecting - and almost fell out of the booth over.

My 5-year-old precocious princess, Jade, snatched up the custom-rolled crayon pack (this week, it was orange, blue and red - no green to be seen) and the doodle-menu that is offered up at IHOP and began looking at the offerings as she had done so many times before.

"Fish and brockooree" she said, pointing to an image I know that her father would have never pointed to - ever- in a million years - after reincarnation -- never.

My wife and I looked at each other. We looked back at Jade. We looked back at each other and simultaneously held our hands up and said in tandem "ok." And so we ordered the Junior Fish and Broccoli, hand-selected by our 5-year-old, and waited for what we knew would be a very interesting experience regardless of how it all turned out. A short few minutes later, my turkey and provelone omlette arrived. Gloria's grilled chicken salad with a side of fruit arrived and sure enough - there was one of the largest pieces of fish I've ever seen, along with an even larger, death-defyingly large helping of freshly cooked "brockooree" on a plate that rivaled mine's size.

Would the 5-year-old beauty begin to wonder what she was staring at? Would the fresh piece of cod be a speed bump in her route to mealtime satisfaction? Would she be able to stand the stench of the recently procured crunchy-goodness of her newfound broccoli long enough to get it on a fork and into her tiny but hungry gullet?

You get your ass she did. All of it - fast. I've never seen a person chow down on "brockooree" or fish so fast ever in my life.

Now this isn't any surprise for us when we thought about it, really. Jade has always been one of the most adventurous kids in regard to eating I've ever seen and surely, as soon as my Aunt Kathy reads this, she'll be sure to call me and chide me about how "see, even your 5-year-old daughter will eat stuff that "you don't like"" and y'know - she's right. In fact, she's so right that I'm going to try -- wait.

No I'm not. :) While I will be proud to trumpet my daughter's luxurious and wide-open tendency to taste new and interesting foods that hold the bounty of untold deliciousness, that doesn't mean that every one likes broccoli.

Are you kids adventurous? Do your children, even as they reach adulthood, hold onto picky food tendencies? Chime in below and let me know what your experiences are! I can't believe I'm alone out there and look forward to your input!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ultimate Fighter - Week 6 Review, "Fight, Fight, Kill, Kill!"

Show Viewing Date: 10-20-2008
Show Title: Ultimate Fighter: Week 6 Team Nogueira V. Team Mir - Fight, Fight, Kill Kill!
Network: SpikeHD
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - 2GuysTalking

Mixed Martial Arts has made a significant impact in my life over the last year and a half after a grand "discovery" session thanks to my wife on Father's Day of last year. Since then, I've secured a staff writing position for a solid and growing online magazine, "The Savage Science", I've watched and reviewed a variety of fights for television and been the beneficiary of several "take a weekend off" Ultimate Fighter Marathons where we get to see previous seasons of a television show where names have been made, fighters have been broken, and audiences have been satisfied by both.

Now, the Savage Science Nation coaches have made the call for me to put on the virtual review gloves, jump into the ring that is my home theater, and man-up to review this CURRENT already-initiated season of The Ultimate Fighter - Team Nogueira V. Mir - (starting here at week 6), as we begin this Savage Science Television Review of Ultimate Fighter's 6th week episode, Fight, Fight, Kill Kill!

As with many of my online reviews, I'll be reviewing this initial episode in a "stream of consciousness" format, giving you essentially what I'm thinking as the show airs. I encourage everyone to send feedback in regard to any of the points below and let's use this opportunity as a rallying and sounding-off point for our love, of the truly SAVAGE SCIENCE...

-- Mir and Nogueira: I am familiar with both of these very seasoned fighters and they offer up that always special "boy, I'd love to kick some of my OWN team's asses aura immediately as we tune into this episode. Mir is someone I've truly enjoyed following not only as a fighter, but also as a commentator for the WEC. He's informative, he's knowledgeable, and I love that he's able to TELL what he wants to to people even during a fast-paced fight. Nogueira for me is like an immovable force of energy - a brown Hulk, and it's great to see the introspection through the veil of what is a clear language barrier that he is truly trying to break down literally with both hands. My kudos to the shows creators and directors. That they take the time to showcase the Interpreter here for Nogueira and Silva is something that most shows would toss out because it "bores peoples". Great move, Ultimate Fighter.

-- They Mystery of a Black Belt: "I was there for a week..." and acquired a BLACK BELT IN JUJITSU? There are a couple of things that concern me here. I refuse to believe that regardless of how innately talented you are athletically, regardless of how many years you've "competed" I don't see anyone acquiring a black belt in jujitsu in a week. The second thing that troubles me is that (as Mir explains) telling someone how you get/acquired your belt shouldn't be a blurry footnote, it should be the instant answer that truly impresses. I plan on contacting a number of local outfits to see what the story is here and report back on it next week with answers and insight that I think won't amaze much of anyone. :)

-- Trash Talkin': It's something I never enjoyed in wrestling, especially when there was such an instant "figure it all out" when the whistle or buzzer went off. In the case of people that would trash-talk with me - they had a different opinion of what they thought and would say after smelling their own ass for 3 minutes. While I know that "this is what reality TV is made of", there is truly a presence that is seen regularly in Mixed Martial Arts that I am certain gets overlooked that could and should be the total showcase here. There is sportsmanship inside of this sport, and I truly believe that the main focus of shows like this would be much better served if that was taken to heart with at least as much zeal as the "do something exciting" ticket that we see showcased and even talked about inside of this episode. There is MUCH in the way of honor, sportsmanship and respect that I eventually hope this show takes on full force. Eventually, even at the end of even the most bitter fights, it arrives, boldly. Let's see if it happens here.

-- (Off-Topic): Any chance of us getting a bunch of professional MMA fighters together, and going to the creative powers that be over at Burger King and kicking their asses for the creation of the new "Mushroom and Swiss" commercial? Good lord, folks. I have $50 cash for the person who can make the most creative use of that mandolin and either/both of the actors in that commercial. Oy.

-- Getting Your Act Together: I've gotta' tell you: I don't even have a belt other than the three black leather ones I wear with my work clothes and one that I put on a Jedi outfit that put on for conventions and Halloween occasionally, but were someone to spit on even one of those - it's time for a throw down. The pile of trash that Junie is talking in this episode reminds me much of a nobody fighter showcased on the under card of a larger fight and - I think it's clear that he doesn't understand that. Is he being pushed to do and say things like this or is he truly that out of control while participating in the show?

-- Fight Fight, Kill Kill: This episode was clearly named because of this particular segment where we have the older "Mickey-style" character in pads, encouraging Delgado to bring it and "Fight, Fight, Kill Kill!" A very entertaining segment, but folks: Is it just me or is Delgado - at best - very light-handed while punching? I don't see any speed for what is a 155er, and his frame - wow. that's a light fighter with very little power in his hands as far as I can see.

-- Blowing Weight: Whether it's someone a gorgeous as Gina Carano, or those as ugly as my wrestling mates back in school, or - in this case, Junie, not making weight is just a bad move and show a show of almost complete and utter unprofessionalism. I was trying to explain this to my wife this evening and for here I was trying to equate it to her boss telling her that she was going to be paid $_______/hour, and then her boss telling her that she would - for today - be paid another, random amount, because it's a Thursday. There's an agreement that both parties agree to "meet" and both will participate at that level. Show your opponent the respect of making weight for chrissake. While it's "only 2 pounds", he walks onto the scale, and you're not making the agreed-to weight.

-- More Tasty "I Would So Kick Ass Up In Here" Ambiance: Silva clearly looks around the room, hoping, praying, that anyone in the room could give him a true run for his money and sees - nothing. :)

-- Just When You Thought There'd Be a Teeny Bit of Humility: When Junie decides to get back in front of Delgado for their "promo picture" for the fight, he yawns/looks aghast. Ohhh kay.

-- The Pre-fight Reels: While I get that filming angles are everything as is lighting, the raw handspeed between the two fighters - again, wow. Are we going to see a true fight here or some pussying around a ring? Junie continues to talk and even claims that it's almost time to back it all up - the stakes are set, Junie. You better bring it, "bro."

-- Resistance 2 Trailer: I've been online computer gaming for a good long time (our monthly workplace gaming "LANtastic" session was last week - great fun), but I have to tell you - this game is RIGHT up my proverbial interest alley. Science Fiction, first-person shooter, a literal call to arms against an alien enemy - wow. November 2nd might need to get here a lot sooner. Do you all have interest in seeing computer games here at The Savage Science? Let us know and we'll see about collecting more interest and talent to get things like that over at The Savage Science.

-- The Fight Begins: There's some very interesting striking, then followed by - "here, punch me here"ness from Junie? Was this a coaching item that we missed in the prefight reels? What in the hell is THAT? Additionally, where is anything denoting that Delgado wants to take this to the ground and use that black belt/skill set acquired mysteriously? Looks like Delgado's jab is getting in but again as I eluded to in the preamble, he just has NO weight behind them to do anything significant to someone as jacked up on adrenaline as Junie. Finally the first guard/pseudo shoot and - snake eyes. Six rather large unanswered punches arrive before a knee heads Junie-ward and the horn blows - as did the fighter's efforts in this initial round. Wow.

-- Round Two: Again, an initial showcase of the Interpreter for Nogueira and Silva is VERY appreciated. It's way too short, but great stuff that would just end up on the cutting room floor usually. Thank you Ultimate Fighter! Lots of wind being drawn and then - Junie begins the body shots! In response there is a series of shots completely foiled by Junie's sprawl, who then walks away defiantly as Mir chants exquisitely. The needle begins to approach "E" for Delgado after a series of wild random shots reach their marks both on body and skullcap and then it happens: Both gas tanks empty and -- THEY START WAGGING FINGERS AT EACH OTHER?? They stand around circling, gasping for air and I begin to wonder if perhaps the litany of jaw-yammering camera-recording sessions of BOTH of fighters should have been spent on conditioning. Junie provides a series of solid shots that drop Delgado who is clearly hurt. Delgado is allowed (WHAT??? Take that arm and break it like Frank Mir broke Silvia's jackass!), to stand and the fighters wiggle around the ring again. While both are clearly gasping, the occasional shot and kick are clearly coming snappier from Junie, the white-haired, black-shorted fighter. Round two ends in a messy flurry of pseudo-punches that look like something from the never-seen-until-now Miagi's fence-painting gone awry as the horn trumpets ending round two.

-- Round Three: "One More Round Guys..." They both benefited from the rest during that intermission, and it's a bit of a feeling out process as they see what they can try to bring the other into something different this round. A solid awkward strike lands for Junie, making Delgado eek to his left as if looking for another trisket with cheese and olive on the table next to them. Junie continues to step back and do the "Conan O'Brien" until a flurry leads to a weak, half-hearted kick by Delgado who flops no-so-ceremoniously to the ground where - he sits for almost a minute almost completely unchallenged. What? As we hear every fighter in fighting history roll in their grave, Delgado rises after ditching his umbrella drink and low-seat lawn chair and begins fighting for the last minute of the round. Delgado's arms are gone, Junie's tank approaches "E", and the horn sounds, in a flat tone of "F" which will clearly be one of the grades for this particular fight from eyes all around.

Split Decision Winner - Junie.

The Savage Science Review Moral: RESPECT. Junie takes a giant bite of a smelly, puss-filled prides sandwich, and finally realizes the errors of his idiocy. An apology is offered to Nogueira - which I have to tell you - raises my short history perspective on Junie. It takes a LOT to tell people you were wrong, and to do it on a nationally-syndicated show that millions will see - big props. Let's hope that continues and we'll see him grow during the series. Isn't that what we're looking for from EVERYONE that comes on this show? A defeated, apologetic Delgado returns to his dressing room and - is genuinely being supported. This is what I was talking about in the beginning of this review about respect, sportsmanship, and team atmosphere in Mixed Martial Arts. They are there for you before, during and even after the fight when the sky seems darkest, when you've literally spent your life in the ring for 15 minutes just a minute earlier, and you are already on their shoulders being supported, reassured and prepped for the next fight.

THAT, folks, is Mixed Martial Arts, and something I hope that people eventually take back to their homes, their workplace water coolers, the family and friend interactions and the world - when talking about MMA. It's time to get the chicken-wire, no-holds-barredness out of the mainstream, and insert the genuine sport and realm that IS professional Mixed Martial Arts.

Overall Show Rating: We're giving this initial episode review of "Ultimate Fighter" (Fall 2008) 3 out of 5 Savage Science Skullies.

Bottom Savage Science Line: The pop is here, tidbits of the true Savage Science are here, and if you're are at all interested in Mixed Martial Arts, the stories that can and have turned to legend, and the pride that each team - both winning and losing receives at the end of the battles you will witness make this a must-see for everyone. It's a continuation of a great lesson through the eyes of those that fight, to continue to fight.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Paper That is Stronger Than Steel - Inventions...

I know that we've been waiting a long time for something to showcase the "inspiration" that was modeled back in the 60's via the space program to the Moon. We have seen an explosion in "technology" over the last 15 years, that's taken us from social communication to online social interaction via the Internet. When was the last "techological" leap in anything really? Was it fiberoptics? What about the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray stuff? What is the next rung on the invention ladder to the future?

Could it be "BuckyPaper?"

I was reading the news this evening in between a couple of Caption Hunt reviews and found this note about something extraordinary, that could "revolutionize aerospace technology" and I'm truly trying to remember the "last" technological leap that could have completely changed "the game" of how we do things.

What do you think has been the most significant "step" in the last 15 years? Read more about the extraordinary "BuckyPaper" here and be sure to chime in with your thoughts here and help me grab the wheel on the whole technological experience...

Caption Hunt: My Own Worst Enemy

I think that all of us have a favorite “living a dual life” movie. True Lies, perhaps a Bond film living the life of a secret, but not-so-secret-agent, or even Total Recall provide us with just a few samples of what “having that other life” in tandem with the one we’re used to having might go. Let’s fast forward to the Fall of 2008, to the NBC direction of the dial and tune into a show starring one of my favorite guilty-pleasure actors, Christian Slater - a show show called “My Own Worst Enemy” in this two-faced and entertaining Caption Hunt review on The 2GuysTalking Network.

Click Here to Read the Rest of This Entertaining and Informative Caption Hunt Review...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Land of Squirrels...

I have always had one kind of aggravation or another when I think about my yard. It's been the one thing we knew would be a "perpetual project" and -- well, we were right.

Something strange that's an "every two or so years thing" is something I didn't really notice until this morning. As I was pulling out of my driveway, I noticed that the transmission of my truck was "going sideways" trying to cope with what is something I'm usually used to feeling when there is unusual terrain - rocks, stones, dirt, etc.

Little did I know that the entire 1/4 of the bottom of my driveway had suddenly, overnite become unusual to be sure.

In just the last evening, the nut tree that we have at the end of our driveway, had apparently become an all-you-can-eat buffet for what was clearly a horde of squirrels numbering in the thousands that now have a Las Vegas-style hotel in that very same tree. The entire bottom quarter of my driveway was covered in hazel nut shells - a virtual minefield of nutty badness that surely filled the bellies of the entire squirrel populace of my neighborhood.

I'll be sure to get some pictures up here in the next day or so but I wanted to start the requests out there in regard to "what can be done" other than shooting them DEAD. ;)

Do you have a solution to the mega-chowing-down of squirrely nut badness going on in front of our house? Use the comment link below to begin the discussion and help us clearly the proverbial nutty minefield now!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Caption Hunt: Inside: MMA for October 3rd, 2008 from Denver

Show Viewing Date: 10-3-2008
Show Title: Inside: MMA (I:MMA) - October 3rd from Denver, TX
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - 2GuysTalking


One of the things a lot of people have overlooked about Mixed Martial Arts is that there's at least one event held at The Playboy Mansion - Yes, you read that right. The Playboy Mansion, WITH... You guessed it again! Hugh Heffner himself and... That's right! An entourage of Playboy Bunnies! When you add that on top of the pre-fight information regarding what will be one of the biggest fights of the year (Kimbo Slice vs Frank Shamrock! While it's all sensational, makes for wide eyes and sucks you in, it's what started off this episode of Inside: MMA, one of my favorite television shows that appears on Friday evenings on HDNet. So it's time to put on YOUR red smoking jacket, grab a couple of your favorite honeys, slap a pseudo-armbar on your remote control and strap in for this 2GuysTalking Caption Hunt Review of Inside: MMA for October 3rd from Denver...

Click Here to Read the Rest of This Great Caption Hunt Report!

Where Everybody Knows Your Name -- Err, Sandwich...

I've been on the fast track of healthier eating and living since Father's Day this year, and have lost 32 pounds, dropped several pant sizes, and (as everyone that gets on the road to healthier says) have much more energy, sleep right, etc etc. Regular daily exercise at least once a day has been probably the largest single change that I've really enjoyed. While those are all things to trumpet-on about, the fact is that there is one thing I never expected to treasure as much as I do...

I've been partaking in an almost religion-like Subway Sandwiches habit - sure, because it will help me with lots of options that offer better eating, but mostly because of the regularity of my order. I've been getting a "Double Chicken Wrap, with Lettuce and cheese and a dash of salt" for a good, solid time now, and every time I go into one of the 4 regular Subways I hit for a meal, I have noticed something extraordinary. I don't even have to tell them anything about my order any more. I walk in, nod, say hello and they're already preparing my sandwich for me.

How about that?

Never having had the "bar" experience in my life, I have to wonder is THIS what many get from that kind of experience? That rather than someone knows "your name" they know what you want before you come in and have it being prepared for you already? While I'm often mocked for my regularity with things, this is something that truly has become a diamond in the rough which was a complete product of "being a regular, dedicated customer" and I like it. Do you have a similar experience that you'd like to share? Tell me about it here!

Are You Addicted to Digital Video Recording?

My most recent staff writing over at SavageScience.Com has been posted and for those of you that are stuck between your Digital Video Recorder and your remote - well - then you'll clearly understand Mixed Martial Arts & The MMA Addiction...

MMA and the DVR Addiction
By Mike Wilkerson - Staff Writer, SavageScience.Com

I am a white, 38-year-old heterosexual married man who loves MMA.

My name is Mike Wilkerson, and I am an DVR'd MMA Fight Junkie.

(Crowd says, “Hi, Mike...”)

It all started more than a year ago - on Father's Day - a warm a sun-shiny day that allowed me to revel in the brilliant experience that is fatherhood. We had returned from a day out at our local residential park, complete with Bar-B-Q, cold drinks, beach balls and sunburn - ah, how the white irish skin of the Wilkerson clan burns a lobstah-red. While taking a delicious ice-cold shower to begin the reversal of red-skinned fortune, my wife came to the bathroom to tell me about this "thing" she saw on television while channel surfing. "Some men are fighting - in a big cage, and some are wrestling!"

Click here to read more about MMA and The DVR Addiction...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Assume the Position! It Begins Again!

One of the greatest programs I can remember, that few have ever seen, was "ASSUME THE POSITION" - a fantastic program hosted by Robert Wuhl, comic, actor and sports fanatic that takes on "history", trivia, and makes you smile every other sentence. It was something I remember seeing and then - faster than it appeared, it all went away.

The previous episodes of this have been available for years, and I look forward to seeing this series appear again. We will be covering it in our CAPTION HUNT series as well so be sure to tune in there for what are outstanding, memorable takes on American history and the world. I've included the pointer, breakdown and details for the show below. I also found some great samples on YouTube that are simply a tiny bit of what this series has to offer.

Assumption 1 (Using the Media in 1802)

Assumption 2 (Fact Vs. Legend)

Assumption 3 (Pluck Yew)


You can buy the DVD of the first offering at Amazon.Com Now:


Running Time: 29 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Attention, class! HBO welcomes back Robert Wuhl--eminent thespian, scribe and pundit--who will regale audiences with more of the stories that made up America...and the stories that America simply made up. The Emmy(R)-winning actor and star/creator of HBO's Arli$$ delivers an imaginative, irreverent "lecture" that playfully examines some of the facts, myths and myths-that-became-facts that have permeated U.S. history. Mixing pop culture with historical events and personalities, Wuhl explores the legitimacy of America's leaders; makes a connection between presidential facial hair and Fidel Castro; and much more. (TV14)

Director(s): ROBERT WUHL

Tue 10/7 09:30 AM HBO2 - EAST
Tue 10/7 12:30 PM HBO2 - WEST

Hank Aaron and Willie Mays in the Same Room...

As I continue to get older, I am continually reminded of how we simply do not showcase those who are "greats" in their field. Finding a true offering on television to "sit with your heroes" is becoming more and more rare, but this evening, there was a truly memorable and special moment for an hour where the curtain came up, "Giants" took the stage, and suddenly, there in the center of a small, comfirtable auditorium with hundrends watching on, we were presented with Bob Costas, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays - sitting in front of a crowd of people ready to tell us of their lives.

Warmth, respect, and shared history is something that Bob referred to during this evenings event and it couldn't possibly be more accurate. Seeing two gentleman that embody modern baseball and will always resound powerfully long after they're gone.

In the audience were an even larger sampling of American athletic greatness from every single generation. It was truly an amazing sight.

If you've got access to HBO, it's a viewing that I totally recommend catching. It's something that (especially in high definition) is like sitting in your living room with two living legends who truly can and do provide a shining sample of where we were, where we have been and what is to come in the realm of American life.