Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love Review

It's kind of the summer of the literal movie title. You have Cowboys and Aliens, which is about cowboys and aliens. Now you have Crazy, Stupid, Love which is about how love can be crazy and make people look stupid. In fact both movies share the mash-up thing. One combines science fiction and westerns whereas Crazy, Stupid, Love combines two closer types of movies, the independent film and the screwball comedy.

Crazy, Stupid, Love starts out with Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) having dinner with his wife Emily. (Julianne Moore) Out of nowhere she announces to Cal that she wants a divorce because she's been having an affair with David Lindhagen. (Kevin Bacon) Unfortunately when they get home, news of the divorce is disclosed to Robbie (Jonah Bobo), Cal's eighth grade son and the babysitter, teenager Jessica Riley (Analeigh Tipton) who is in love with Cal. However, Robbie is in love with the babysitter.

As the divorce is going through, Cal starts hanging out at a pickup bar. At this meat market, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a womanizing stud, is quite successful in getting the women. Jacob uses old school pickup lines and nice clothes to bag his prey. But he fails with a bright law student, Hannah. (Emma Stone) Meanwhile Cal tells anyone in earshot his problems and looks pretty pathetic. Jacob hears this stuff, and feels sorry for him. He takes Cal under his wing. He decides to help Cal become a single man again. Cal finally scores with a lonely teacher, Kate. (Marisa Tomei) But he still longs for Emily.

Steve Carell is excellent as the depressed but still in love, Cal. Julianne Moore is also top notch as the conflicted Emily. Ryan Gosling continues to give great performances. This time he's a shallow Casanova who's looking for that someone until he meets the spunky Emma Stone.

In many comedies, you can name the big gags. Take for example, Bridesmaids, who can forgot the wedding dress scene? The humor in Dan Fogelman's script is more observational. It's a an essay on love. Starting with the emotion at the youngest level with Robbie, then to high schooler Jessica, young adults, Hannah and Jacob, and finally to Cal and Emily. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa give the film a kind of indie feel complete with the soft rock touches. It's just the dual climaxes that turn the movie into your usual Hollywood fare. The finale feels contrived but can't erase the warmth surrounding the characters.

Adult films are in the minority during the summer. Crazy, Stupid, Love is a witty take on love. The grade is B+.

Johnny Be Good, Johnny Cueto Shuts Out The Giants

After getting swept by the New York Mets in a four game series, the Cincinnati Reds swept the World Champion San Francisco Giants in three games. That happened when Reds starter Johnny Cueto (pictured) shut out the Giants in a complete game. The Reds pummeled the Giants, 9-0. Here's the story with video.

I wrote after the second loss to the New York Mets, that the Reds season was over. I also hope that I am wrong. There are two months left. The Reds remain six and one half games out. While the schedule favors the Reds with some mediocre teams, they have to leap over three teams to take the Central. Not impossible but it's going to be difficult. The Reds need help from the baseball gods. I'm reminded of the movie "Major League." (1989) In that movie the Cleveland Indians realize they must win the division since they're all going to be gone after the year. The Indians then go on a tear to force a win game playoff with New York Yankees. If you know the movie, the Indians defeat the Yankees in that game. Anyway there's this cool montage showing the Indians working and winning to get to that playoff. Let's hope the Reds have a run like that fictional Indians team. Here's the music to that montage.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Cincinnati Bengals Way

Chad Ochocinco signaled a new serious approach to football by indicating he will play the Patriot way. Hold on. Where the hell was this when he played for the Cincinnati Bengals? This has led me to think what is the Bengals way.

The Bengals Way is to...

LOSE. And by that I mean to lose in epic ways. Let me count the ways.

1. Hire Idiots for Coaches- Exhibit One. Dave Shula. Record was 19-53. Yeah, he had NFL DNA just like Bengals owner Mike Brown. And look where that's getting us.

2. Make Bonehead Draft Picks- See QB David Klingler, QB Akili Smith, WR Peter Warrick, OT Andre Smith.

3. Make Bonehead Free Agent Signings- DT Sam Adams. WR Antonio Bryant. The Bengals ate eight million dollars for a guy who didn't play a down. But my favorite stupid free agent signing was QB Gus Frerotte. This is the guy that hurt himself by head bumping a wall. Video below.

4. Make Stupid Mistakes- Trust me this will happen. There will be at least one game where the Bengals first play on offense will be an offsides penalty.

5. Snatch Defeat From The Jaws of Victory- See Tampa Bay Buccaneers game form last year. Bengals were up by seven with three minutes to play. The Bengals throw an interception. The Bucs take it in. The Bengals throw another pick. Field goal for the Bucs.

6. Heartbreaking turnover or mistake- Interceptions. Fumble at key moments in the game. Missed extra point. If you're a Bengals fan, there are too many to list.

Gus Frerotte headbumps a wall and hurts himself.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens Review

With a name like Cowboys and Aliens that is a take on the cowboys and Indians phrase, one would think you are going to be in for a comedy. Well, first this film is based on Scott Mitchell Rosenberg's graphic novel of the same name. Second, it's a serious science fiction-western mash-up. Think of it as a cinematic Reese's Cup.

In Cowboys and Aliens, it's Arizona in the late nineteenth century. Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) has waken up in the desert and can't remember his name or much of anything. Lonergan has a strange bracelet attached to his wrist. He wanders into the town of Absolution where he meets the mysterious Ella (Olivia Wilde), bartender Doc (Sam Rockwell) and preacher Meacham. (Clancy Brown) Lonergan finds he's a wanted man. He is wanted by the law and also by the powerful cattle tycoon, Col. Dollaryhyde (Harrison Ford) for stealing gold from him.

Sheriff Taggert (Keith Carradine) captures Lonergan and is about to transfer him to the Federal authorities. Dollarhyde rides into town and intercepts the prison transport with the intention to exact frontier justice. It's at this time, they are attacked by aliens who kidnap a number of townsfolk. Lonergan uses the bracelet to destroy one of the ships. After the attack, Dollarhyde and Lonergan lead a group to rescue the kidnapped.

There are some interesting casting choices for this movie. Some of the actors are playing against type. Harrison Ford's character is not just tough, he's also mean but with a soul that's been hurt. Clancy Brown, who's played a villain in Highlander and a tough drill Sergeant in Starship Troopers, is a compassionate man of God. Brown is so good that he might get more of the kind, wise old man roles in the future. Sam Rockwell sets aside the quirky parts he's known for and plays a responsible bar owner. On the other hand, Daniel Craig is cool as they come. Everything he does is hip whether it's smoking a cigar or aiming a rifle. Olivia Wilde is a wholesome beauty who exudes a country sexiness.

If you look at the parties who brought this story to the screen, you can not ignore the talent. Producers include Stephen Spielberg, and Ron Howard. The script was done by Star Trek's Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. The director is Jon Favreau whose best known for Iron Man. (2008) He tackles the film with a thankful lack of camera gymnastics. With all that talent, what you get is a movie with excellent production values. You also get a movie with exciting action sequences and a lot of heart. And wait till you see the aliens. It almost makes you want to watch this movie in 3D. Well, almost.

There's not a lot wrong with Cowboys and Aliens. Most of it has to do with plot holes or a lack of logic. I mean Lonergan gets the bracelet as he's about to be a dissection specimen when the alien doctor puts it down next to him. First, it's kind of dumb for the alien to leave the thing next to him. Second, there's no explanation as to how Lonergan learns how to use it. Ella's character certainly could use more exposition. And I could use less of the fast cutting.

You can't go wrong with Cowboys and Aliens. It's a thrilling ride during this hot summer. The grade is B+.

Cincinnati Bengals Players Abandon Ship

The loss of conerback Jonathan Joseph to free agency should send a signal to Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown that things aren't good in Cincinnati. You've got your franchise quarterback refusing to play for a whopping fifty million dollars left on his contract. He'd rather retire than don the stripes again. Now you've lost Joseph even though the Bengals are reported to be 49 million under the salary cap. That should indicate to Brown that he is having problems attracting any talent regardless of how much money Mike throws at a player to come Cincinnati. That's because of the losing conditions. In theory it should be clear to Brown. But Mike Brown is more stubborn than Pharoh. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is becoming the Siberia of the NfL. Funny, before Marvin Lewis it was called that and now a new ice age has come. Bengals nation, it's going to be a long season.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Cincinnati Reds 2011 Season Is Over

Yes, I am going to call the Cincinnati Reds season to be over. After taking two of three from the Atalanta Braves, the Reds have dropped two straight to the New York Mets. Tonight was just brutal. The Reds booted the ball for three errors, it could have been easily four errors. The Reds came back and went ahead 5-4 thanks to a two run homer by Joey Votto. But Reds starter Johnny Cueto gave up the lead and the score became 6-5. Then Reds reliever Nick Masset gave up two more runs. The Reds would lose 8-5.

Nothing is going right for this team. Today, they actually got decent starting pitching but were terrible in the field. Then the relief pitching went sour. Of course, hitting in the clutch has been bad all year. It was no different in this game with the exception for Joey Votto. This pattern of different things going bad has been going on all season. Cant' win a division this way.

With the loss, the Reds drop to five games out of first. Now, it's not impossible for the Reds to win the division but they have three teams to climb over. There's no proof that the Reds will turn this thing around. Shame. The Reds have as good as talent as any team in major league baseball. That includes the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. I hope I'm wrong about this prediction. But it will take somebody on the team to lead them out of this funk.

Cincinnati Bengals Owner Mike Brown Is Right

Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown has repeated what he said about trading quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer has demanded a trade or he will threaten to retire. Mike Brown has said he won't trade Palmer. Here's what Mike Brown says, “I’m not expecting him to be back. Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word. We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t going to reward him for doing it.” From Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy.

Oh boy, I hate to say this. But Mike Brown is right. Don't get me wrong on the job that Mike Brown is doing. He runs the worst professional sports team on the planet Earth. But trading a player who you've depended on as your franchise player because he demands it, sets an awful precedent. That would open the floodgates. You would never be able to sign players to long term contracts that would be needed at times to keep your good talent in town. You would not be able to win in the long run. Good luck to Bengals new quarterback, rookie Andy Dalton. And if the year is as bad as I think it will be, the Bengals are in the Andrew Luck (Stanford QB) sweepstakes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cincinnati Reds Have Two Unlikely Heroes

Last night, the Cincinnati Reds battled the Atlanta Braves on national television in front of big crowd. Sounds like a recipe for another Reds loss. Well not today. Reds starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis gave the team six solid innings despite a fingernail problem in the third. What a find he has been. Dontrelle was one of the heroes of the 2003 World Series. He has replaced the trade bust of Edinson Volquez.

But the night belonged to one of the Reds players who has been struggling. Centerfielder Drew Stubbs has been striking out at a disturbing amount. He plays a great outfield but his hitting has been suspect. The book on him is to pitch him away. Well in the bottom of the ninth, Atlanta reliever Scott Linebrink threw him an outside fastball. Drew did not try to pull it. He went with it. A quick bat. And he put the ball in the right field bleachers. Ball game. Pictured above. Reds win 4-3. The victory gave the Reds the first back to back wins since June 13. More importantly it moved them to three games from first place Milwaukee Brewers. St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's time to make a run, Reds. Here's the story with Stubbs walk off homer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

RealD 3D vs. MasterImage 3D

I've seen enough film in the two competing formats of 3D movie projection, RealD and MasterImage to reach a conclusion as to which is better. Now I'm not going to bore you with the technicalities of either system. One, it's above my pay grade and second, it can be kind of boring. If you want a quick read, check out this Wikipedia article on MasterImage, it tells you how they differ. Before I reach my conclusion, let me get some quick things about 3D movies out of the way.

I. 3D Films are not my favorite. They're too dark. That's due to the polarization of the technology. Add to that you wear dark glasses. Check out this short article from on the darkness issue. Plus, I've seen few films where the 3D effects help and enhance the movie. See the wonderful "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010) and the stupid "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." (2011)

II. Jeers and Cheers for AMC movie theaters. First, jeers to some AMC theaters for showing 2D movies with 3D lenses. It's an absolutely despicable practice since you get a dark 2D movie. That's not what the director and director of photography want you to see. Boston film critic Ty Burr did an investigative piece on it. Here it is. Oh, just in case if you're wondering why they would do this. It's a cost issue. It costs money to get somebody to change the lens.

On the other hand, cheers to AMC for their digital projectors. See Burr article. The 3D projection was crisp and clear.

III. The Best 3D between RealD 3D and MasterImage 3D. I went to see Captain American: The First Avenger in both competing 3D presentations. First, let me talk about MasterImage 3D. I've seen four movies in 3D with the MasterImage format. All of them had some degree of ghosting or ghost images. That's a dim duplicate image on the screen. At times I had to turn my head to get a better look at the 3D image. It was very annoying. With Captain America, the defect was worse I've ever seen. Could this be the theater or MasterImage's technology? It could be, but it doesn't bode well for the process when your projection maybe defective in the first place. See Wikipedia article.

I then went to AMC to see Captain America in RealD 3D. Crisp and clear. Very little if any ghosting. There was a big difference in picture quality. It was like night and day.

Conclusion. The best way to view a 3D movie between the RealD 3D and MasterImage 3D formats is RealD 3D. And what about IMAX? Well, you pay more for IMAX so I'm guessing most of the movie going public is not going to pay that extra premium. After all, they are paying between three to four bucks more for 3D, that's the price here in Cincinnati. I did compare Tron: Legacy 3D vs. IMAX. I preferred IMAX. Over all, I preferred 2D over the three versions of Tron. And I saw Avatar in both formats and IMAX was better. But as I said before, I'm guessing most of you will not shell even more bucks for IMAX.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger 3D Review

When I was a kid, Captain America was one of my favorite comic book superheroes. He had the cool red, white and blue costume. The mask gave him a kind of Batman look without the darkness. As I grew up, Captain America became more corny to me. So when they announced that they were going to make a movie about Captain America, I looked forward to it as nostalgia and wondered how they would make it cool but not corny. The film, Captain America: The First Avenger, goes back to the roots of the hero, where the comic book first started. World War II.

The movie interestingly starts out in the present day. The military finds Captain America's shield frozen in the Arctic north. It then flashes back to 1943 and World War II. Nazi Johann Schmidt aka The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is trying to use an ancient power source for global domination. Meanwhile, in New York, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is trying to enlist in the army. His problem is that he is a sickly and frail youth. He is rejected numerous times. Finally during an attempt at a recruiting station, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) overhears a conversation between Rogers and his friend, Sgt. Bucky Barnes. (Sebastian Stan) Rogers nobly argues why he wants to join the army. This impresses Erskine who recruits him for a special program.

The special program is under the command of Colonel Chester Phillips. (Tommy Lee Jones) Assisting Erskine and Phillips is British officer, Peggy Carter. (Hayley Atwell) The purpose of the special program? To develop a super soldier, one who would have super human strength. Erskine explains to Rogers that the scientific process not only promotes physical abilities but also enhances the character of a person. And while Rogers is the weakest of the recruits, he demonstrates courage and goodness. That convinces them to use Rogers as the first test subject. Injected with secret serums and vita-rays, Rogers becomes a super human. Meanwhile, Red Skull has formed his own army called HYDRA. It becomes the mission of Rogers as Captain America to stop the Red Skull.

The cast is all superb. All take their roles seriously. The supporting actors really lift the lead parts. Tommy Lee Jones may have a wink in his eye but he's a pro and knows when to give his character gravitas. Stanley Tucci gets some juvenile sci-fi things to say, such as using the term "vita-rays." But he delivers those lines as if this stuff really exists. Toby Jones (Infamous) as Dr. Zola is convincing as a put upon Nazi scientist. Hugo Weaving as Red Skull gives his character the depth to demonstrate his Nazi belief in a race of supermen. Hayley Atwell is intelligent, strong, warm, voluptuous and lovely. This is probably Chris Evans' best work. As a weakling and then as Captain America, Evans makes nobility, kindness and loyalty a beautiful thing.

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have put together a screenplay that respects the source material. There's warmth, humor and well written dialogue. Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) knows how to stage and film action scenes. He deftly captures his actors emotions with perfect close ups. And he has a knack for detail. This movie looks like it was filmed in 1943.

As for the 3D version of this movie, forget it. This was a conversion from 2D. It's good for a conversion. But most of the effects don't pop. And in a lot of the scenes, the 3D is non-existent. As with all 3D movies, Captain America is too dark. But thankfully much of this film features day scenes. I can't think of anything that makes me say, "wow" to a 3D shot in the movie. So, save your money and see this film in 2D.

Captain America: The First Avenger is what a superhero movie should be. Epic. Great action and a big heart. Hooray for Captain America. The grade is A.

P.S. Stay past the credits for an extra scene and a preview of next summer's "The Avengers."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mass Effect 2: "Reaper IFF" aka "Derelict Reaper" Mission Tips On The Insanity Difficulty Setting

Time to continue our tips for the hardest missions for Mass Effect 2 on the Insanity difficulty setting. Remember to follow my general tips before you engage this mission. Today we go over the "Reaper IFF" or "Derelict Reaper Mission."

1. You can start "Reaper IFF" mission at your leisure. To obtain this mission you need to complete the "Collector Ship" mission. After that mission, you get the location of the Reaper ship. There's no need to start this mission right away. So, if you want to do side missions you can.

2. But once you start and complete the "Reaper IFF" mission you began the countdown to the final mission. Note after you complete this mission, you will be allowed to complete only two more missions before the Normandy gets attacked. After your crew gets kidnapped you must go through the Omega 4 Relay as you next mission or else they will become human soylent green, well actually genetic material for the human Reaper. So, if you need some upgrades or want to do other side missions do them before you start the "Reaper IFF" mission.

3. Know your enemy. Your enemies on this level are husks, abominations, and scions. Now remember on the Insanity difficulty setting, husks have armor.

3. You squad should be Miranda and Zaeed; heavy weapon should be Collector Paricle Beam or M-920 Cain. On Normal, I usually take Garrus and Jack. Garrus has extra dialogue at the impaled Cerberus scientists. Jack has the Shockwave power which can kill whole groups of husks without armor.

But husks have armor here. Jack is less effective. So bring two people who can deal with armor. Miranda can warp armor. Zaeed, assuming you have his loyalty, can burn armor with the Inferno Grenade. The added bonus is that the grenade has splash damage that can hurt nearby bad guys.

For my heavy weapon, I bring the Paricle Collector Beam. Those reasons will be explained when we get to the Reaper Core.

4. Learn to retreat when overwhelmed. Waves of husks will attack you. You will not be able to wipe out a whole wave. You may have to fall back. And remember to take your squad with you. The same holds true with scions. Fall back and use your sniper rifle on the scions if you have to. And do remember to unleash hell with your assault rifle on the husks. Plenty of ammunition will be found.

5. Save your game often. Just in case you get killed, you don't have to repeat a section that you've cleared.

6. Presevere your medi-gel.You really should save your medi-gel for the last level, the Reaper core. That's because your squadmates will get killed on a regular basis during that level. So don't use the medi-gel before that level and remember once you're allowed to save a game, your squadmates automatically revive.

7. The Reaper Core. You know the drill. You have to destroy the core in front of you. When the shield covers it, you can't do anything. When it's open you can damage it. In the meantime, waves of husks attack you. Mass Effect Wiki does a great job describing the sequences when the husks rise up. Note there is a finite amount of husks at one time. What I mean by that you won't face hundreds of husks at one time but wave after wave of husks until the core is destroyed.

Now you can't do anything with the shield up. So here's how I kept the husks at bay. When you enter the room, you're on a bridge that leads to the core. There are two stairs, one on either side which I will call the rear stairs. There are two stairs near the reactor core which I will call the front stairs. I moved up to the front stairs. Killed as many husks as possible. But I noticed a bunch of the husks were going up the rear stairs away from me. When they reached the middle of the bridge, I went down the front stairs. They attempted to cross the bridge and go down the front stairs. I ran towards the rear of the bridge. The husks stayed on the bridge and went to the rear stairs. I then went to the front stairs. Now you can move back and forth and keep dumb husks between the two stairs.

In the meantime, I've pulled out my Particle Beam. When the shield opens up, I unleash fire on it. The Mass Wiki notes that the Cain will end the mission quickly. That maybe so but it's a slow firing weapon that will allow the husks to surround you. The Particle Beam allows you to fire without delay. Remember to use your squadmates powers. Try to save as much medi-gel as possible. I usually wait until both squadmembers are dead before I use the medi-gel. Eventually you will prevail.

Conclusion. Activate Legion when you get back to the Normandy. First, you will only get to do two more missions before the Normandy gets attacked, forcing you to go through the Omega 4, assuming you want to save the crew. After you activated Legion, his loyalty mission becomes available almost immediately.

Cincinnati Bengals To Use Carry Concealed Weapon Law

FAKE NEWS- Reporter and hip hop artist Tung N. Cheek is reporting on the Cincinnati Bengals new offenses and defenses. In this exclusive interview, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden (pictured) and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer discuss how the Bengals will use Ohio's new carry and concealed weapon law which now allows people to carry their handguns into stadiums. As a bonus, Fake News has also embedded Stephen Colbert's take on the law.

Cheek: First Coach Gruden, how are you going to attack the Pittsburgh Steelers 3-4 defense?

Gruden: 3-4 defense? I'm from the UFL, we didn't have that.

Cheek: Well, the Steelers use a zone blitz scheme.

Gruden: Huh?

Cheek: Sometimes they will drop linebackers and even defensive ends into coverage and blitz corners.

Gruden: (Nervous) Oh boy. Oh boy. I think I just had an accident. Did I remind everyone that I'm the brother of Jon Gruden. NFL DNA. NFL DNA.

Cheek: Okay. Coach Zimmer I've heard you and Coach Gruden are going to take advantage of Ohio's new carry and concealed law which will allow guns into stadiums.

Zimmer: Yes. We looked at the team and figured there's no way we're going to win more than two games. We also found out that the Cincinnati Bengals lead the NFL in arrests since 2000. So we've decided to embrace that. Our free agents are going to be the worst scum in the NFL. Those are the guys we're going to sign. Free agents must have a criminal record. The worst record, the better. Then we're going to arm them. Defensive Tackle Tank Johnson is already ahead of all linemen. I meant he's got all those assault weapons. Anyway, the Steelers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Ravens are going to shit when they see we're packing.

Cheek: I'm not sure criminals are allowed to pack heat.

Gruden: Ohio will pass an exception for the Bengals.

Cheek: Coach Gruden, do you think you'll be able to get right tackle Andre Smith on the field. After all, he's broken his foot twice due to being fat.

Gruden: No need to worry Bengals fans. Smith will play from a golf cart. Plus when some guy is going to rush the quarterback, he's going to whip out his .357 magnum. Might I add because Smith has got such a big ass, he can hide more two more handguns where the sun don't shine.

Cheek: Thanks for the information, Coach Zimmer and Coach Gruden.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Cincinnati Bengals Lead NFL In Arrests; Bengals Secret Scouting Tape

Within a span of eight days, the Cincinnati Bengals have had three arrests. Cornerback Adam Jones aka "Pacman" Jones was arrested on July 10 for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Remember this was the guy that was throwing money around a strip club. That led to a person getting shot and paralyzed. Safety Marvin White got arrested on July 14 for assault and disturbing the peace in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. And on Sunday, running back Cedric Benson, a guy in which the Chicago Bears gave up on since he got in trouble, was arrested for assault in Austin, Texas. Now folks, Benson is needed for any semblance of a running attack by the Bengals. He's a free agent but the Bengals are believed to be interested in resigning him.

Those arrests have made the Cincinnati Bengals leaders in the NFL. According to Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals reporter, they lead the league in arrests since 2000 with thirty five. Oy. I mean think of the more infamous players the Bengals have had. Peter Warrick. Justin Smith. Odell Thurman. Jason Shirley. Tank Johnson. And let's not forget the biggest losers, Stanley Wilson and Chris Henry. Of course, Chris Henry may have had an excuse due to concussions.

A fellow fan asked me if the Bengals would now stay away from Benson. I said, "Are you kidding. This team revels in bad behavior. It will take something like a murder for the Bengals not to be interested in a player. And now that Benson becomes inexpensive, cheap Bengals owner Mike Brown has probably already drafted the contract.

When I blogged on 1530 Homer's social network, I started a fake news service to mock the Bengals. Since this season is going to be a disaster, it's now time to bring back the Faux News aka Fake News and reporter Tung N. Cheek. Cheek's first scoop is this secret video showing where the Cincinnati Bengals get their players.

Exclusive secret video of where Bengals get their players reported by Tung N. Cheek.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Big Victory For The Cincinnati Reds

Last night, the Cincinnati Reds defeated Central Division leading St. Louis Cardinals, 6-5. The Reds had the lead twice during the game, only to give it up. One special note. Chirs Heisey blasted two home runs and made a leaping catch to rob Cardinals Albert Pujols of a homer. Okay, Dusty and Walt. Stop the insanity. Start Chris Heisey, okay?

Anyway, it was a special day for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. (Pictured) The Reds were down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth. Brandon Phillips started last year's controversy by calling the Cardinals "little bitches" which by the way is true. Here's my article with a Denver Post link detailing why it's true. So you know the Cardinals hate him. But I digress. Rookie Reds shortstop Zack Cozart hit a single to keep the inning alive. And then Brandon Phillips hit a screamer as Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman put it over the left field fence. WALK OFF BABY. The Reds looked dead for the the first half of the season. A win like this launches a team to the become division champs. Here's the story with video.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 3D Review

The Harry Potter film series featured a story about children growing up to become adults. Actors Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermione) were children when the series started back in 2001. Yet, for those three parts, there was no change in performers in all of the films. We would watch their characters grow and mature before our own eyes in the movies and in real life. I don't think we will ever see that type of chemistry again. And though the wizardry world of Harry Potter is fiction, the series is the true magic.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 starts out where Part 1 left off. Harry is a fugitive and is seeking the last Horcruxes which are pieces of Voldemort's soul. Destroy them and destroy him. Meanwhile, the dark forces of Voldemort have completely taken over the magic world. Servus Snape (Alan Rickman) is now headmaster of the Hogwarts. Harry's quest leads him from a vault at Gringott's bank to the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort at Hogwarts.

Steve Kloves' screenplay focuses on Harry's quest. There's little exposition so you better review Part 1. Since Harry is a fugitive, Kloves gives the story a tense vibe. While dealing with the fiction of magic, the dialogue feels real. Director David Yates trains a lot of color from the film. This is after all, a dark time for the magic world. Special effects are fabulous. From goblins to a dragon to giant stone soldiers, it all looks wonderful. As with Part 1, Yates makes flinging spells look like something like a laser fight from Star Wars. You will believe that magic exists. Yet thanks to Kloves and Yates, they keep the themes of love, sacrifice and goodness forefront.

There's very little wrong with this film. At 130 minutes, the movie could have been longer. The movie follows the "show don't tell" maxim a little too much. I could have used more wizards and witches fighting directly against Voldemort's horde. For example, key characters die during the battle of Hogworts. It would have had more impact if they actually show them dying heroically. And there seems to be a plot hole where Harry returns from a certain place to fight Voldemort that isn't explained well. But these are minor quibbles and cannot overcome the excellence in the making of this film.

The 3D version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 is a conversion from 2D. The effects don't pop. And director Yates doesn't seem to want to use the format. Only CGI effects look like they're in 3D. There seems to be no planning of how to maximize the format. And with this movie like most 3D films especially conversions is too dark. I will say the dragon and a scene in the Room of Requirement look great. And the conversion does not detract from the movie. But is it worth the extra bucks to see it in 3D? The answer is no. You will not get a special experience by seeing this in 3D.

As for the performances, they are just great. We have seen Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson grow from children actors to mature adult performers. Grint shows his maturity both as an actor and as Ron. Emma Watson as always is resourceful playing Hermione. While Radcliffe's Potter is a study in determination and courage. It's remarkable that all the lesser characters that we've grown to love also shine even when they have very little dialogue. For example, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy realistically gives his character a tortured soul. Jasson Issacs as Draco's father conveys desperation. Whereas Helen McCrory as Draco's mother shows her love for him in a key moment. Matthew Lewis displays optimism and heart as Neville Longbottom. And I could go on and on. Every performance is pitch perfect.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 is intense and thrilling. Emotional and heartfelt, it's a grand way to end the series. The grade is A-.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stephen Colbert Takes On The Republicans And The Debt Ceiling

Stephen Colbert did a funny piece on the debt ceiling and the Republicans strategy to hold the United States hostage if they didn't get what they wanted. It's like this folks, both parties want to bring down the debt of the United States. Republicans want to do it by just spending cuts which would cut a harsh path against the citizens of America. President Obama wants tax increases on the rich, such as rolling back former President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich which by the way was one of the factors that got us in this mess. Republicans refuse to compromise in a scorch the earth policy. Anyway, if somebody could make this funny, Stephen Colbert can.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mass Effect 2: "Eye For An Eye" Mission Tips On The Insanity Difficulty Setting

This is my first article on a Mass Effect 2 Loyalty mission for the Insanity difficulty setting. Most of the Loyalty missions can be completed with my general tips for Insanity. Today we talk about Garrus' Loyalty Mission, "Eye for an Eye."

This mission basically has one area that is difficult in Insanity terms. Hey, on Insanity, things are always harder but sometimes they seem impossible. The area is the last warehouse. But let's go over some basics first to get to that point.

1. Basics for "Eye for an Eye."

a. Take Miranda. By the way, I'm assuming you're a soldier since that's my suggestion for the Insanity difficulty. You have to take Garrus because it's his mission. Take Miranda since she can overload shields and warp armor of the LOKI Mechs and YMIR Mechs.

b. Use Disruptor ammo on mechs. It's more effective against mechs.

c. Position your squadmates under cover. Set up crossfires on the enemy.

d. Save your game often.

2. The Boss Battle. Okay, you've reached the office before the final battle in the last warehouse. Pick up the forged IDs for a side mission on the Citadel. (You really don't need them to complete the side mission.) Get the medi-gel. Hack a terminal for a sniper rifle upgrade. Talk to Garrus. Save your game.

When you step out, EDI tells you about crates above containing explosives. I didn't see them. But what you do get is a platform to your left with a merc or trooper. And then there are platforms with crates which you climb to your right. They have mercs or troopers. One has a rocket launcher. There's a merc captain who has biotic powers. To make matters worse, LOKI mechs are ferried from above.

First run to cover of the crates on the floor. Position your squad under cover. Okay, don't be shy about using ammo. Unleash hell on the mercs. You might want to take out the one on the left, first. Okay, take out your sniper rifle and nail the rocket launcher merc and the biotic. These guys are too far and high to expose yourself to their fire. Oh, did I forget? The LOKI mechs are trying to flank you. Use your squad to destroy their armor. Slam them. Continue your efforts to clear the area of mercs. There seems to be an endless supply of LOKI Mechs dropped down. Luckily for you, they move really slow. Note that once you've killed all the mercs, it seems that the LOKI mechs stop being ferried to the battlefield.

Okay, you've finished off the mercs. You climb the platform to the right. Find a data pad and hack it for credits. Climb up and down the platforms. Then you face the...

TWO YMIR MECHS. On normal they can be a pain. On Insanity, they're, well, insane. But I have the tip that makes this last part easy.

THE MILLION DOLLAR TIP. Remember you climbed down to a lower platform and the YMIR mechs engaged you. Don't panic. Run back and climb back up to the highest platform you came down from. Jump over the crates and take cover. The YMIR Mechs will expose themselves but get this, they can't climb the platforms. You see mechs don't climb. Machete doesn't text. Um, sorry for that. From cover you can easily rain down fire on them. And eventually you destroy them with little danger to yourself. Easy.

Once you've finished the YMIR mechs, climb down. Harkin puts up more platforms with LOKI mechs. Take them out with care. The rest of the mission is just choices you help Garrus make. Loyalty of Garrus is complete. Okay when you get his bonus power, armor piercing ammo. If you evolve it to its maximum level, share it with the squad. Sorry, you can only use it if you take Garrus as a member of the squad on a mission.

Stephen Colbert On Marcus Bachmann's Pray Away The Gay

Last night Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, did a piece on Marcus Bachman's clinics efforts to "cure" homosexuality by Christian prayer. Marcus Bachmann is Republican candidate Michelle Bachmann's husband and has Christian conseling clinics. Of course, Stephen makes fun of the ludicrous advice that the clincs give. And then he interviews gay activist Dan Savage. Both funny videos are below. Can't wait till Stephen Colbert starts doing campaign ads for conservative candidates through his SuperPAC.

Jon Stewart Wonders Why No Outrage At All Star- Game Over Arizona's "Your Papers Please" Law

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show was wondering why there was not outrage over Arizona Senate Bill 1070 which allows police to ask for a person's proof of citizenship. It basically legalizes racial profiling. Baseball has a large Hispanic contingent of players. Last year, The Daily Show's Al Madrigal was indignant over the law. Last night he asks him to "report" from the site of the All-Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Here's the piece.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mass Effect 2: "The Collector Ship" Mission Tips For Insanity Difficulty Setting

Continuing our series on tips for Mass Effect 2 missions on the Insanity difficulty setting, we come to "The Collector Ship" mission. As with the other articles on this series, I'll go only go over the toughest parts of the mission. Of course, you should read my general tips before you engage this mission.

"The Collector Ship" mission is one of the two toughest missions on the Insanity difficulty setting. Yet, it has only two really tough parts. But they are very difficult and you will die a lot. Your squad should be Miranda and Zaeed.

1. Acquiring "The Collector Ship" Mission and save your game after Horizon. After completing the Horizon mission, save your game on the Normandy. You get three more team members to recruit. Now this is important. If you complete two more missions, you cannot access the Galaxy Map. There's some question as to what triggers the mission. I've seen it always two missions after Horizon. Regardless, save your game right after Horizon. The Illusive Man tells you about the Collector ship and you will be forced to go there.

If you need upgrades for your assault rifle, get them right after Horizon. That's because Illium has opened up. Upgrades are useful for the Revenant machine gun. If you complete a recruitment mission, Grunt's loyalty mission should have opened up. It may have opened up earlier. That opens up Tuchanka. Mordin's loyalty mission on Tuchanka may also open up after one mission. Big, because Tuchanka has another assault rifle upgrade for you to buy. And note if go to Tuchanka and stay there, you can complete both loyalty missions along with another mission before you get forced to go to the Collector ship.

2. First Collector Attack. As I said there are only really tough fights on this mission. The first one is the first contact with the Collectors. You approach a platform with a control to start a link with EDI. Once you activate it, the battle starts. A platform flies in.

First, position your team behind the wall that had the control panel. Set one at each side but make sure they are under cover. Then note that the first platform comes to your right. Okay, take cover, away from your team by the front wall. That's because if you're too close to them, the fire you draw will hurt them also. Almost immediately, Harbinger possesses a Collector. Concentrate everything on him. Then take out the other two Collectors. You're probably going to die a few times doing this. That's because there's limited cover and Harbinger is right on top of you. But once you've cleared first platform, move to it. You are in good shape to overcome this battle.

You're on the the cleared platform that had the first Harbinger. Note there's a wall in the middle of it that provides cover. Oops, I forgot. There's a Scion on a platform that orbits the control panel platform. But relax. The Scion does not flank you. You can now stay in cover. And you've now got a crossfire situation.

Another platform arrives. But it comes to the left of the control panel platform and is a distance away from you. Take out your sniper rifle and let the Collectors have it. Concentrate on any Harbinger that advances on your team. Then if the Scion is still alive, kill it.

3. The Praetorian. If you've played this mission before, you're at the ledge which leads to the large chamber and the Praetorian. Of course, save your game because this could be the toughest battle on the Insanity difficulty level. Hop down. You're on a ridge with paths that lead down to the left and right. There are some low walls and rocks down below for cover. But you don't get as much cover as Horizon.

Unlike Horizon, it's not just the Praetorian you have to worry about. It's accompanied by two husks. You know the drill, take out the husks. As for your squad, let them roam. That's right. Why? If you station the at the top of the ridge, they stay put and get killed quickly. When they move around, they're harder to kill. What about you? Stay on top of the ridge as long as possible. Unleash your assault rifle on it. The Praetorian will choose a path to come up and attack you. Once it starts up the path, move.

Now if you've killed the first two husks, two more come down. They're accompanied by two Collectors. By now, you have been forced on the lower part of the chamber with the Praetorian on the ridge coming down. Use cover. Take out the husks rushing you. Your squad if they are still alive, probably have done a good job of stripping down the husks to health. Slam them and kill them quickly. Then kill the other two Collectors. Keep you eye on the Praetorian. If it is about to flank you, run and move.

It's important to use your squad to bring down barrier and armor of the Praetorian. The Praetorian is just like the one on Horizon. It will slam to the ground to regenerate its barriers. But it's armor doesn't regenerate. Once you get rid of that, it's dead. You have to juggle your squad's powers, putting down the Collectors and watching for the Praetorian at the same time. Now once the second wave of Collectors are dead, you can focus on the Praetorian. Be careful and don't get cocky. You've come this far, don't get careless and get killed. Take cover and move if you have to. Eventually you bring it down.

3. The rest of the mission. The rest of the Collector ship is straight forward. Keep in cover. Nail Harbinger first. Now you get to the last hallway that overlooks the shuttle. Husks pour in. Don't be afraid to fall back. The combination of your assault rifle and slam should do nicely here. Get to the shuttle and end the mission successfully. You get a cutscene where the Normandy gets away from the Collector ship. (Pictured below.)

I Would Sell Derek Jeter's 3000th Hit Baseball

Last night on WLW 700's Sports Talk, host Lance McAlister was disturbed that many people would sell New York Yankee's Derek Jeter's 3000th hit baseball. As we know the lucky fan who got it, Christian Lopez, gave it to Jeter.

I say to Lance, it's not that easy of a decision. While Lopez made a noble choice, others would sell the baseball to the highest bidder. First, let's get the argument, "it's not your baseball because you didn't earn it, Jeter made the record" out of the way. One, no matter what would happen to the baseball, Jeter still will have the record. They can't take that away from him. Second, the rule on baseballs going into the stands is simple. If a baseball goes into the stands, the fan who gets it, is allowed to keep the ball. So, Lopez could do anything he wanted to with it.

Lance reported that the ball could net something in the six figure range. He mused it could fetch $200000. (Two hudred thousand) Look if you're rich, yeah you might give the ball to Jeter. But if you're poor with no prospects, you might sell the ball to make ends meet. Hopefully this doesn't disclose too much about my financial situation, I would sell the ball. I can't fault a poor person who needs the money and sells the baseball.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mass Effect 2: "Horizon" Mission Tips For The Insanity Difficulty Setting

We continue with our series of tips for Mass Effect 2 missions while playing on the Insanity difficulty setting. Today, I'm going to talk about the Horizon mission. You get this mission once you've recruited Mordin, Garrus, Grunt and Jack. Keep this in mind since once you get those four, you will be unable to go anywhere else. You are forced to speak to the Illusive Man and that will automatically send you to Horizon. It's important, since you might need to buy upgrades for your weapons before you reach Horizon. For example if you have three of the aforementioned crewmates, go buy upgrades if you need to before you get the fourth. However, you can't buy two of the assault weapons upgrades until you are finished with Horizon so you might want to save your money.

Horizon is one of the toughest missions on the Insanity difficulty setting. So remember my general tips for Insanity. You will face enemies with defensive Barriers and Husks with armor!, so as bring Miranda and I bring Zaeed. Remember that Zaeed's Concussive shot is effective against barriers and his Inferno Grenade is effective against armor with a splash effect that will damage nearby enemies. As with other posts for tips on Insanity, this article will cover only the more difficult parts of the mission.

1. Meet Harbinger. During the battle, the Reaper Harbinger will take over an enemy Collector. Once he does that, the possessed Collector will have a glowing molten effect. His defenses will be barriers and armor. Biotic attacks include setting you on fire, unknown damaging biotic attack and an attack that pushes you back from you cover. Harbinger also will advance on your position, i.e. doesn't seek cover.

Now the one attack that is the most dangerous is the "push" back attack. Why? Because when you're under cover it forces you out of cover and Harbinger's buddies or he kills you when you're in the open. So he is usually a priority unless there are husks. There is one weakness in the Push attack. It looks like a ball of energy and moves slowly. You can dodge it.

Here's another hint. Destroy as many Collectors as fast as possible so that Harbinger has less troops to possess.

2. Before the Bunker and Collector Particle Beam Weapon. Once you reach the Collector Particle Beam weapon, save your game. Now if you move too far forward, you get a cutscene where a bunch of Collectors come into battle.

First, get your team in cover. Sometimes they get too aggressive and move forward where they get killed easily. There's a wall past some trailer where you can post them. Or post them further back or run to the apartment above the lawn.

Second, you should stay in cover. Concentrate on Harbinger. Once he's down, nail the other troopers as fast as possible.

3. After the Bunker, the battle in Block 7. Okay, you reached the Bunker. Talk to the mechanic. Go to the ammo locker and resupply. Get the medi-gel and credits. Save your game.

Once you leave the Bunker, there's a small area where storage containers are to your left. To your right is a small wall. Beyond that are Collector infantry. They won't attack you right away unless you move too far into the block. Take this time to position your squad. You can put one behind the containers. Okay, time to engage. Unfortunately, there's no stealth attack but take out your sniper rifle and get as many head shots on the infantry as possible.

The battle is joined. It gets hairy from here. Husks come from across the yard. Harbinger possesses a Collector. Oh, there's also a Scion! Remember the rules. Take out the Husks first. Use Miranda's Warp and Zaeed's Inferno Grenade to destroy their armor. Speed is the key. Okay, by now Harbinger should be on top of you. Don't spare your assault weapon ammo. Unleash your assault rifle on him. By now Miranda and Zaeed should have recharged their powers. Unleash them on him. You may have to retreat behind the containers. Once Harbinger is down, attack the Scion. It's the slowest of the three charging enemies. Now note once the Collectors have been thinned. You might be able to make it to the apartment to your left, giving you the higher ground. Okay, you've cleared the area. Scavenge and save your game.

4. The Spaceport

a. First Attack. As you move into the spaceport, husks appear from the raised platform to your left so you can't get there right away. Two Scions also join the battle. I've read that once you enter the spaceport, you can move far to the left or right and take out the Scions with a sniper rifle. Once that allegedly happens the husks won't appear. I do not know if this is correct, because each time I went in the husks appeared quickly. Anyway, remember the rules. Take out the fastest charging enemies first. Those are the husks. Stay in cover. Once the husks are down, unload on the Scions. Move around if you have to. Okay, when it's clear collect ammo clips. Save your game.

b. Second Attack. Hack the control terminal. Now remember the raised platform on you left where the husks came from? Run there. It's raised, giving you higher ground. The wall on the platform gives you cover.

b.i. First Wave. Once there, Harbinger makes his appearance. Use your squadmates powers and a sniper rifle to weaken or destroy him. At this moment husks will run at you from the field. Nail these guys. Another group appears. Same as before. Whew. Take a quick breath.

b.ii. Second Wave. You hear the groans of husks. They're right behind you! Okay, use Miranda's Warp and Zaeed's Inferno Grenade on them. Slam any without shields. Remember one or two throws kills them. Do not use your shotgun. Sounds counter intuitive. But the assault weapon fires faster. If you have to move then move. But be aware that Harbinger and Collectors have been deployed from your right. But once you've killed the four husks behind you, the deck is clear. Look to your right.

If you're still on the platform, more Collectors and Harbinger will deploy once you've taken out the first. However, you have the high ground. Use your sniper rifle and slam. On this platform, there is medi-gel but remember to try to save as much of it as possible for the big boss fight later. After you've killed the first Harbinger in this wave, the other two reincarnations are easier to nail. Why? Because they spawn further back and take a long time to get to your position. By that time you've pretty much killed them. Okay, take out the rest of the bad guys. Once you've done that, the game takes to the boss fight.

c. The Praetorian. This flying tank (pictured) has barriers and armor for defense. For weapons it has twin particle beams. It has a Death Choir attack where it slams to the ground, causing damage to anyone nearby. While on the ground it regenerates its barrier and cannot be damaged. Get hit by the particle beams will kill you in a few seconds.

This is the most important thing to remember when trying to defeat this thing. KEEP MOVING. Stay under cover but if the Praetorian flanks you, MOVE. Because it can fly, it doesn't have to move around you, it merely has to hover above you. Once it's about to get a clear shot at you, move and seek cover.

So if you're running all the time, how do you kill this thing? It's easier than you would think. The Praetorian is interested in one person. You. Take advantage of that. Use Miranda's Warp and Zaeed's Concussive Shot to bring down its barriers. When the armor is exposed, use Miranda's Warp and Zaeed's Inferno Grenade. Get as many shots at it as possible before it compromises your position. But once I realized it was after me and I got smart to keep moving, seeking cover and using my squad's powers, it wasn't as hard as the first few times I got killed. There's also a heavy weapons ammo crate on a small raised platform to the right as you entered the spaceport. Just be careful. To get to it, you expose yourself. Anyway, follow these tips and you'll bring down the Praetorian in no time.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Cincinnati Reds At The All Star Break

After the Cincinnati Reds won last night's game, 8-4 over the Milwaukee Brewers, I was ready to write that was an important victory. It would have been a big win because the Brewers were ready to win it with Reds killer Rickie Weeks on third. But Bill Bray got the third out. And the Reds blew it open in the tenth to win it. I waited for today because if the Reds won, it would be easy to declare it as a big victory should the Reds win today.

Today, the Cincinnati Reds blew a one run lead in the ninth to lose to the Brewers, 4-3. Reds closer Francisco Cordero who has had a very good year, had no control and gave up two runs to lose the game. It was Cordero's third straight blown save. Let me say this. I've been following baseball for a long time and can't remember when something that has happened. I can now declare that Saturday's victory was not that big.

So now the Cincinnati Reds hit the All Star break at a poor 45-47. There are three teams ahead of them. They are Milwaukee, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Pittsburgh Pirates?! What grade do I give this team at the break? The grade is C. The Reds don't hit in the clutch. The starting pitching is getting better but is not consistent. The relief pitching has talent but is also inconsistent. See Francisco Cordero. All of that adds up to a .500 baseball team.

The season looks bleak. Yeah, the Reds are only four games out of first. But poor play is dooming the Reds. And now there's talk that last year's world champs, the San Francisco Giants, want to trade for Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez. The Reds have excellent catching prospect in Devin Mesoraco playing for AAA Louisville to replace him if that happens. But if that happens, then management has given up on the Reds for this season. On the hopeful side, I'll just quote Yogi Berra. It ain't over till it's over. You never know who will win the Central Division until it's over.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mass Effect 2: "The Warlord Okeer" Mission Tips On The Insanity Difficulty Setting

Having trouble with The Warlord Okeer Mission (Mass Effect 2) on the Insanity difficulty setting? Here's some tips for the hardest parts of the mission. Remember to also read my general tips for the Insanity setting. And your squad should be Miranda and Zaeed. Oh, have Slam as your bonus power.

1. Charge of the Krogen. After you talk to the lost Krogen, you reach a way to get to the lab, you get confronted by some mercs. Take cover and take them out. When you get to the bottom of the path, Beserking Krogen start to attack. Don't get to close. Use Miranda's Warp and Zaeed's Inferno Grenade to remove the Krogen's armor. And fire your assault rifle and Slam your way to victory.

2. The Double Back Trick. As you continue in this structure, you will be attacked by Jedore's men. First, keep under cover. Keep your distance. For rocket launching baddies, use the sniper rifle. If you lose members of your squad, think about doubling back. If you get far enough back, dead teammates are revived. Just be careful, sometime enemies that you've killed also come back.

3. Jedore's Lab. As soon as you open the door, and Jedore sees you, the fight starts. Jedore will summon Krogen. Then a YMIR Mech will attack you.

First, you remember the surroundings? There's a trench in the middle of the room. On the plateau of the other trench is Jedore. She has shields, armor and health. So, quick kills are out of the question. Where you start out is opposite from her. There are also beams with Krogen tanks which you take cover from the Mech.

Don't go into the trench. The Mech will kill you within a few seconds. When it comes into range, get Miranda to overload its shields. Now watch out for the Krogen. Use Zaeed's Inferno Grenade to rip down the Krogen's armor. Now the Krogen has only health.

Now, Jedore can summon Krogen, I've read anywhere from four to ten. I never saw anything over five myself. But she can only summon one at a time. That's important. Slam works on a Krogen without armor. It doesn't kill it right away. But use this to your advantage. When a Krogen is slammed to the ground, it is immobile for a few seconds. Take your shots at the Mech. You have to fire and move quickly. Always know where the Krogen, and Mech are. This juggling of the Krogen is the key to victory. Eventually you get the mech down to its health. Slam works against a YMIR Mech without armor by freezing and damaging it. Miranda's Warp and Zaeed's Inferno Grenade also work against a Mech's health. Take down the Mech.

Okay, now run across the trench but do not take on Jedore at point blank range. There's a wall for cover across from her on the same plateau. Go there. Now use all your weapons, sniper rifle, assault rifle and heavy weapons on her. Of course, use your teammates also. Watch out for Krogen stragglers. Eventually, you kill her and that's the end of the combat for this mission. And you get Grunt as a teammate. (Pictured.)

Is the Cincinnati Reds 2011 Season Over?

Boy, I hate being right. After the Cincinnati Reds survived the St. Louis Cardinals eight run comeback to win 9-8, I refused to believe that the game was a turning point. I mused that Reds could easily lose two straight games. And tonight by losing to the Milwaukee Brewers, they did.

What a horrible loss tonight was. Why? Because of the blown leads by the Reds. They went up 4-0. Then the Brewers went ahead by one run, 5-4. The Reds then came back and went up by two at 7-5. In the ninth, Francisco Cordero blew the save, and the game by giving up three runs. The Reds are two games under five hudred. Ouch.

This Reds season has been always about something going wrong. Name it. Starting pitching. Relief pitching. Clutch hitting. Playoff bound teams don't lose like this. Is the season over?

Okay, I'm going to be a homer. There's too much talent for this team to fail. There's nearly three months of baseball left. The Reds will bounce back.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mass Effect 2: Archangel Mission Tips on the Insanity Dificulty Setting

Here some tips for the Archangel (Mass Effect 2) mission when you play on the Insanity difficulty setting. I'm not going to go over the whole mission but give you tips on the most difficult parts of the mission. First, go over my general tips for the Insanity difficulty setting.

1. Hack the YMIR Mech. After you talk to Jaroth, the Salarian sitting at the table, you'll come upon a YMIR Mech. It's in the room to the left. Hack it, because it will attack the enemy when they try to deploy it. Just remember, it will eventually turn on you.

2. Sergeant Cathka. Okay, when you get to Sergeant Cathka, you get a Renegade prompt. Usually, I don't take it even though it will give me an advantage in the boss battle. This time, take the Renegade prompt or interrupt. Cathka's death will leave the Gunship with reduced armor which means it will be easier to take down during the boss battle.

3. Stay on the high ground. You're asked to hold the fort against Eclipse mercs. I usually stay on the upper floor. On Insanity, you can still do this but the enemy are too fast and will breach the first floor. Well, relax and go to the top of the stairs. You still have the high ground so nail them.

4. The Vindicator assault rifle. I don't like this weapon. The ammo clip is too small. I take it after clearing the initial assault and about to tackle the basement. That's because your squad mates have unlimited ammo. Plus, you can change out for the Avenger assault rifle when you get to the basement level.

5. The basement. No, it's not the address for this blog. Okay, you've left a squadmaate with Garrus. You must close the shutters for the three rooms. Now there are three rooms you need to seal. The rooms in the center and to your left are the easiest. First, load up at the ammo locker. Get medi-gel and remember to preserve it for the boss battle.

a. The center room. This one is the easiest. Still, remember you can't stay in the open so shoot from the cover of the wall beams.

b. The right room or garage. This is the toughest room to close the shutters. First priority are the varren. Now unleash your assault rifle on the mercs. Once you've thin the ranks, move up. Don't expose yourself. Okay, eventually you get to last third of the room. RUN to the right, the side where the shutter control is. RUN TO THE SHUTTER CONTROL. Close it. Take out the stragglers.

c. The left room. You come to a narrow "L" shaped hallway where you are immediately under fire. Get to cover. You did take the missile launcher didn't you? You come to a corner. Around the corner is a pyro. He's got that nasty flamethrower. But your missile launcher fires around corners and the rockets home in on the bad guys. So nail that pyro.

6. Garm. After closing the shutters, you find mercs all over the ground floor. Relax. Take cover when you can. Remember to nail the varren first. Eventually you reach the top floor where Krogen Garm is. But now you've got him in a crossfire. Take him out. You are using your squadmates' powers, aren't you?

7. The Blue Suns. Okay, you've finished off Garm. Now come the Blue Suns who are dropped off by the gunship. Stay in cover. Eventually you will wipe out all the Blue Sun inrantry. The only thing left is the gunship. If you killed Cathka, there's less armor for this ship. Anyway, use Miranda's Warp and Zaeed's Inferno Grenade to reduce the armor. Eventually you will bring it down. Mission over.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mass Effect 2: Insanity Setting Tips for Zaeed's Mission

Having trouble with Zaeed's mission, "The Price of Revenge" for Mass Effect 2 on the Insanity difficulty setting? Here's some quick tips. First, let me address this by saying that during the mission, you're given the choice to save factory workers or carry on with the revenge mission. Being a nice guy, I choose to save the factory workers. Since this is the second mission and an imported character, I will have enough Paragon to use a Charm option at a critical junction. However, during the mission, take the opportunity to choose all Paragon options.

First, follow my general tips. Here's the link. Okay, using my tips, you've fought your way to the room with the flame throwing mercs. Keep your distance from these guys and set up crossfire by placing your squad at different ends of the room. Now pick up the flamethrower. (M-451 Firestorm) Get any credits in the room and reload at the locker. Because the next room is the Boss fight.

1. The Refinery Core. This is the largest room in the refinery. As you enter, there are tanks to your left and to your right. They can offer you cover. But before you can do much, you're attacked from two doors to the left and right of your position. Now, on Normal, you just merely take cover and deal with the bad guys. Eventually Pyros or flame throwing mercs come out. Now on Insanity, there are more bad guys, they're faster and you get overwhelmed quickly.

Here's what to do on the Insanity difficulty setting. Take your squad and go down the stairs to your right and take cover behind the tanks. This sounds counter intuitive but the by doing so you've funneled the enemy to a killing area in front of you. Now you might say the enemy will simply go the route that you did to get to you. But get this, they don't. Stay under cover, use your powers and take out the infantry. Eventually, flaming tanks will move overhead. Destroy these especially if they are on top of bad guys.

Taking out the soldiers takes time. Eventually you will hear the heavy mechanical steps. This is the YMIR Mech who is coming from the farside of the room. Stay where you are and keep down. Use a sniper rifle to get at it. It also does not flank you. Use your heavy weapon, hopefully it's the missile launcher. Bring it down. No more enemies.

Go to side the side rooms and scavenge. Cross the bridge to far side of the room. Before you open the door, save your game.

2. Get Zaeed's Loyalty. Be careful here, because if you don't make the right decision, you will not get Zaeed's loyalty and his bonus power. Okay, Zaeed loses his chance to get revenge. A beam collapses on him. You are given a dialogue option. Okay, use the Charm option, the blueish-greenish choice on the left. That way you get the his loyalty but more importantly, you get his Inferno Grenade power. Now if you went the Renegade route and let the workers die, Mass Effect Wiki reports that you will get Zaeed's loyalty. Here's the link.

Now once you get a loyal Zaeed, you have a powerful soldier for your team. I consider him the second member for the default squad. He uses an assault rifle for more punch than a submachine gun and at greater range. Zaeed's concussive shot works against barriers. His Inferno Grenade does some damage against shields, but is effective against armor and its splash damage will injure enemies close by.

The Reds Are A Big Tease

Last night the Cincinnati Reds went ahead of their nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals by eight runs. And by the end of the ninth inning, the Cardinals had tied the score. The Reds won the game in the 13th. The final score was 9-8. Now if the Reds had lost, I was going to bash manager Dusty Baker, starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo and the bullpen. But thanks to a clutch double by Ramon Hernandez and a save by Aroldis Chapman (pictured) , the Reds prevailed.

I'm not going to write about big victories with this team. They're as likely to drop the next two than to win the next two. Who knows? It's easier to write them off but then when I'm about to, they win. So, I will take a "wait and see" attitude. The Reds are a big tease. And by the way with Reds outfielder Chris Heisey blasting a home run in the first, we can now say start this kid!

Here's the story with video.

Juror Jennifer Ford Is A Hero

I'm sure you've heard of the Casey Anthony murder trial. Anthony was charged with killing her two year old daughter. The jury came back with a not guilty verdict on July 5. ABC interviewed one of the jurors, Jennifer Ford. First let me say if you watch the interview, it was despicable the way reporter Terry Moran treated Ms. Ford. It was clear he came in from a position that the jury made a terrible mistake and constantly needled Ms. Ford about getting justice for Caylee. He also assumed that the state had made its case. That's Fox News territory, Mr. Moran. I also admire the way Ms. Ford stood her ground.

But I want to write about how Juror Jennifer Ford is a hero. With all the yelling and screaming in the country over the verdict, she had the courage to tell the world why they reached the decision they did. And she told us that she followed the law. She wasn't driven by emotion but followed what the law demanded. She and her fellow jurors followed the strength of their convictions. Justice also means adhering to the law. And in the end Ms. Ford and her fellow jurors are heroes of American law.

You see in this country, the United States, a criminal conviction requires the state prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the highest burden of proof in American law. The rationale is to make the state meet this heavy burden before it takes something away that is fundamental to Americans, that is freedom. There is a maxim that it is better to let ten guilty people go free than let one innocent person suffer. And while it seems unjust to let a guilty Casey go free, it would be a tragedy to convict an innocent Casey Anthony.

Ms. Ford said the state could not prove its case. Was it murder? What was the cause of death? Or was it a drowning in the pool? Could the state link Defendant Casey Anthony to the cause of death? Remember the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if the jurors believed that Casey killed Caylee but could not find that state proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt then the verdict must be not guilty.

On July 5th, Ms. Jennifer Ford and her fellow jurors protected the American system of justice. They held the state to its burden of proof which is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the offense. Before the state can take a person's life or liberty, the state must meet its burden of proof. The jurors in the Casey Anthony trial were not stampeded to vengeance. They followed the law and found the state had not made its case. The jurors in the Casey Anthony trial defended freedom.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Captain America Videogame Trailer

Wow. Check out the trailer for the Captain America videogame which will accompany the movie. Yeah, I know about movie videogame tie-ins. They usually stink. But this trailer kicks ass. We'll see how good the game is when it comes out.

Reds Reel

The Cincinnati Reds got clobbered today 8-1 to their nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals. The game ended in the fifth when Reds shortstop Paul Janish booted a ball. Now this guy can't hit so he better field his position. Nope. Then Reds starter Edinson Volquez who can't deal with any adversity fell apart. A hit and then Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday blasted his second home run. Volquez had given up one to Holliday and one to Lance Berkman in the first.

I don't know if Volquez has any options left. But I've yelled about this a bunch of times. It's time to end the insanity. You cannot send Volquez out there. I don't care if Edinson Volquez has great stuff. He can't locate his fast ball. And if you can't do that, you can throw 95 mph all day and you're just grooving pitches for the other team to clobber. His control stinks and he's too immature. Folks, he gave up seven earned runs today.

The disturbing thing is that Reds management, and I'm talking about GM Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker seem content with this lineup. There is now a offensive breakdown with four positions. Left field, center field, shortstop and third base. Management refuses to do anything. I mean how many times do we have to see centerfielder Drew Stubbs take the first two pitches for a strikes and then strike out. Third baseman Scott Rolen's old injuries have caught up with him. He can no longer drive the ball. Outfielders Jonny Gomes and Fred Lewis are not the answer.

The Reds need to change or else the season is over. Put Chris Heisey in left. Send down Paul Janish and bring up Zack Cozart. Those are the minimal changes that are needed.

Google's Insidious Plan?

This morning I lost YouTube. I mean YouTube videos were running till about three a.m. Then when I went back to YouTube, the videos would not play. The video screen was black. You could see all the other information on the YouTube site but as I said the picture screen was black. The videos went black on this Blog. I tried to upgrade to Adobe Flash. That didn't work. Then I tried Google's Chrome web browser. See I had been using Internet Explorer. Guess what happened? YouTube videos work and now my disappearing followers have reappeared.

Okay, I wonder if something is happening here. Google owns Blogger. They also own YouTube. I'm sure they want everybody on the planet to switch their browser to Chrome. You don't think they're trying funnel everybody to Chrome, do you? Google takes over the planet. Okay, Google don't cut me off. If your engineers can get Internet Explorer to work with Blogger and YouTube, then you wouldn't get bloggers like me mouthing off their opinions.

Lucky Squirrel Survives Almost Being Run Over By A Lamborghini

Hey, you know what they say. Even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while. This squirrel decided to run in front of a speeding Lamborghini and survives!

Bernie's Basement Blog Is Two Years Old!

I forgot. This Blog is two years old. Thank you to the four people who read this blog! And if Google ever figures out why my followers have disappeared, I will write about the solution. But Google should appreciate that I run ads and am getting more visitors. Yeah, I would love to be Perez Hilton and have his money for blogging but that's life. How about some music for the second anniversary?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

It's July 4th. Happy Birthday America. How about some Ray Charles singing, "America the Beautiful" on the Dick Cavett Show.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mass Effect 2; Tips for the Insanity Difficulty Setting

Okay, I just got done with Mass Effect 2 for the XBOX 360 on the Insanity Difficulty setting. Here are general tips on how to complete it on Insanity which is the hardest difficulty setting. By doing so, you will get the Insanity Achievement which is worth 75 Gamer points. Even though this is for the XBOX, I believe tips outside of specific XBOX suggestions should work.

At the Insanity Difficulty Level, enemies unleash an accurate and massive amount of fire on one person. You. It's something that you must take into consideration when starting a mission. You cannot stay out in the open for any length of time. That's unlike playing the game on the Normal setting.

Enemies have extra health. Some come with an extra layer of protection. Husks for example have armor!

1. Things To Do Before You Start The Game On Insanity.

a. Finish the game on Normal difficulty; then import the character to Insanity.
Save your character from finishing the game on Normal difficult. Why? When you import your saved character or career to the Insanity difficulty, you get extra credits (220K) and minerals. (50K) But more importantly, you get weapons and the loyalty power you have earned by finishing the game on Normal. You also keep some of the armor upgrades you have obtained.

b. Download the Cerberus Network. If you buy the game new, you get the Cerberus Network and Zaeed for free. Yeah, it costs you fifteen dollars if you bought the game used. But you get extra missions, and Cerberus armor. But this is important. You get Zaeed and his loyalty mission (The Price of Revenge) right away.

c. Clear your XBOX Cache, if you've downloaded Mass Effect 2 patches. This may sound wrong but follow me. The patches "correct" a great cheat for Mass Effect 2 and also makes it easier to mine planets. Since you start out with extra minerals anyway, the easier mining is not a big deal. But the cheat which allows you to get unlimited talent points for you and all your characters is helpful. I've embedded a video for you below on how to get infinite talent points. Now play the game offline.

d. Manually choose to use a teammate's powers and manually level up. This is the usual way to play on any difficulty setting. This way you can direct your squad's powers against a particular foe.

e. Make Soldier your class. Why? As a Soldier, you get to use assault rifles AND sniper rifles. Assault rifles give you more punch and range than any submachine gun. Sniper rifles will allow you even on Insanity to take out enemies from a distance. You get the shotgun and heavy weapons too.

f. Choose Slam As Your Bonus Loyalty Power. Slam is quite effective once the enemy's shield or barrier or armor is down. It may not kill the bad guy right away, but it will give you time to recover if you need to. On husks without armor, Slam will kill them with one or two throws.

2. Things To Do Once You've Started The Insanity Setting.

a. Know Your Enemy. As stated before, enemies have extra health that may come in the form of Barriers, Shields or Armor. Knowing how to bring those down quickly will lead to success on Insanity. Specific Powers will bring them down more quickly.

For armor; Incinerate, Warp and Inferno Grenade are effective.

For barriers; Warp, and Concussive Shots are effective.

For shields; Overload and Combat Drones are effective.

For health (red bar); Throw, Warp, Pull, Shockwave, Slam, Incinerate, Combat Drone, Cryo Blast, Inferno Grenade; all ammo works but now Cryo and Incendiary are now effective

b. Recruit Mordin first, then do Zaeed's mission. Mordin opens up the lab for upgrades. Zaeed will give you the Inferno Grenade.

c. Your Default Squad. CHOOSE MIRANDA. Miranda is like a Swiss Army knife. She is effective at reducing all enemy defenses. No squad member is as all encompassing as Miranda. Her Overload power will take down shields. Her Warp power is effective against Barriers and Armor. In fact, I've left her behind on just one mission and that was Legion's Loyalty Mission, A House Divided. If you could clone her and she might be a clone, you would.

Zaeed should be your second member. Why? First, he uses an assault rifle. More punch than a submachine gun. And when you complete his one mission which is also a Loyalty mission, you get Inferno Grenade. Inferno Grenade works against Armor and unshielded enemies. It has a splash effect which will also damage nearby bad guys. It not very effective against shields but it does have some damaging effects. Zaeed also has Concussive Shot. That makes him effective against Barriers.

But what makes Zaeed more effective than Garrus is the Inferno Grenade. Garrus has no powers against Armor. You will see more enemies with Armor than Barriers. Barriers are used by organic captains and Harbringer. Armor is used by mechs, husks, scions, praetorians and gunships.

d. Use Your Team. Many times on the Normal setting, I've ignored the choice of squad and even placing them. On Insanity, you've got to be more strategic. Place them in positions behind cover. Make the positions to cover your flanks. Make the positions to give a nice crossfire at the enemies. Of course use their powers.

e. Exercise patience. As said before, you cannot survive for any reasonable amount of time in the open. And you will die a lot but these tips will keep the number down. Pause the game to use powers. This leads us to ...

f. Seek cover.

g. Keep your distance. There are times you may have to move but if you seek cover and keep your distance, you'll have an easier time surviving. The sniper rifle allows you to reach out and kill somebody.

h. Seek the high ground. If possible while maintaining cover use the high ground to rain fire down on the enemy.

i. Take out charging enemies first. Okay, on Normal you easily take out FENRIS Mechs, varren, and husks easily. On Insanity, these guys now have armor. Regular mechs have armor also. Add Krogen, Geth Destroyers, Hunters and Prime to the list. Anyway charging enemies will be on you in quickly and with added defenses and punch, they kill you quickly. Since they will negate your cover, take them out as soon as possible.

And if you're faced with the two charging enemies, take out the faster ones first. For example, Harbinger packs more punch than husks. But the husks get on you very fast. Take them out with your team. Inferno Grenade and Warp. Then a few shots from you and Slam finishes off the husks before Harbringer gets too close to really do a ton of damage. Assuming you are still undercover.

j. Save Medi-gel for Boss fights. If you've played the game once through, you know where the tough fights are. Most of them are the final missions with a Boss. If you preserve your Medi-gel for these fights, you can revive you squad members more often should they die. Note that when you clear an area and can save your game, "dead" squadmates are revivied automatically.

k. Save your game often. You are going to die often, so save often during missions. During a mission, when the opportunity allows you to save then save a game.

Even when you're on the Normandy, save your game often. Leave a save on the Normandy before you engage a mission. Why? The Collector Ship mission is one of the most difficult missions at Insanity. After the Horizon mission, you automatically get it after recruiting two more crewmates. (two missions) You might want to upgrade your assault rifle by purchasing upgrades before that happens.

l. You don't have to complete every mission to get the Insanity Achievement. Since I used an old save and had extra credits, I didn't have to do every side mission to get the Insanity Achievement. Once I completed the Suicide Mission or Endgame mission, I got the Achievement. For example, I still had side missions and Tali's Loyalty mission left.

m. What powers to evolve with Jack, Garrus, Tali and Legion. If you decide to evolve certain powers to the maximum with Jack, Garrus, Tali and Legion; you will be given a choice as to how to use that power. Here are my recommendations.

Jack- Her loyalty power is warp ammo. It does heavy damage against armor and biotic barriers. On Normal, you might want to choose heavy warp ammo. But on Insanity choose Suqad Warp Ammo. Now you and the squad get this powerful ammo when you take Jack on a mission.

Garrus- His loylaty power is armor piercing ammo. There is incrased damage to armor and health. Same thing as with Jack. Choose to Squad armor piercing ammo. The whole squad can use this ammo if Garrus is on a mission.

Tali and Legion- If you evolve the A.I. hacking to the maximum, choose Improved AI Hacking. The hack is longer causing the hacked enemy to engage the other enemies in a much longer period. Life saving during Tali's loyalty mission, "Tali Treason."

n. The first two missions, Awakening and Freedom's Progress. I've read online that players have been complaining about the first two missions on Insanity. That's because you've not upgraded your weapons.

But here are some quick suggestions. Remember to use the infinite talent points glitch or cheat. Your Shepard is now stronger. Save your heavy weapon for YMIR Mech at the end of Freedom's progress. If you follow the tips above, these first two missions shouldn't be a problem.

o. Miscellaneous. I haven't talked about your armor because I haven't found a best combination. The best armor I can say is to use the Cerberus armor. It gives you a little more shield protection. But if you use the regular armor, remember to wear a helmet. Yeah, you want it off when you're talking but the small protection that it gives you could be a life saver. UPDATE. I found that the Kestrel armor from the Aegis pack (DLC, 160 Microsoft Points) is slightly better than Cerberus armor. That's because Kestrel gives you 25% more shields when all its pieces are used together. The Cerberus armor gives a 10% boost in shields and 10 % boost in health. So the protection is improved a little by the Kestrel armor. Again, its about staying alive, so even a smalll amount may help.

Additionally, on Insanity, you can use the same tips for saving the entire crew and your team on the Suicide Mission or Endgame. Here are the tips to complete that objective.

3. Conclusion. The Insanity difficulty setting is not as hard as Legendary for Halo 3. Still, it can be a bear. There are times you get frustrated then there are times that it is fun because of the challenge. Follow the suggestions and you will beat the game on Insanity difficulty setting.

Check this blog for specific tips on the more difficult missions on the Insanity setting.