b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Speaking of season two, a lot of people complained about the cliffhanger of season one, but I thought it was very compelling television.

And the season two opener with the flashbacks to the campaign and the concern over Josh was interesting, too.


I'm very excited to hear about a Pei Wei opening in Austin. If you ever break your chinese food boycott, let it be there that you break down those walls.


f the Buffet Palace 

So I'm sitting here watching the West Wing, my favorite show (I started watching about six months ago and have caught up on every episode from seasons 1-5 already, except for the first few eps from Season 2, which is repeating starting tonight on Bravo) and one of the few things that could spoil my good mood happened... that ignorant Buffet Palace commercial! I used to enjoy that place (prior to a bad Chinese food experience on New Year's Eve 2002), but even if I still ate Chinese food, I would boycott the place now. It spares me out that much. How bad is the commercial? Well, I hit stop on the VCR so that I could log on, solely to complain about it. Take that for what it's worth. Oh yeah, and new WW Season 5 episode tonight, too. I might have a review afterward.


A Brief History Lesson 

So... I'm sure some of you are wondering about this whole "Longhorn Mafia" thing.

What is it all about?

The LM came about sometime during the Fall of 1998 or the Spring of 1999. I'm not too sure. My roommate Matt and I were sitting around our apartment watching TV, talking about how we detested the most embarrassing spirit group at UT -- the Texas Hellraisers.

These guys were tools. They'd paint their faces and wear goofy outfits, and they would yell really lame comments during games, while they acted like they knew more about Texas football than anyone else. In reality, they were a bunch of dorks. I attended one meeting my freshman year (1995), to see what it was about, and left knowing that I had no desire to join their ranks.

Anyway, we thought we should create a campus group to rival the Hellraisers. Because we aimed for official school recognition, and we both had a fascination with all things Mafia-related, we settled on the Longhorn Mafia. Unfortunately, creating a campus group required three people, and we were too lazy to recruit another member until after college was already done.

The shtick has continued since then. Maybe the LM isn't among the registry of all-time UT student orgs, but its spirit lives until today. We're not really a gang or a clique or anything... it's just something funny to throw around. Now we have not only the original LM (myself and Matt, and our friend Leonard is supposedly still a member), but also the FoLM (Friends of the LM) -- currently our friends Paul, Robbi, Robert, Evan and Kevin -- and the LM Angels.


The LM Enters the Blogosphere 

Welcome to the LM's Blog... This Blog is meant to be a complement to the other home of the LM on the web... www.lmfanzone.com...

What can you expect from here? I'd say anything about the Texas Longhorns, Republican Politics, or the dating status of one Jessica Alba. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 20, 2004

LM Movie Reviews 

updated through April 2005...

The Alamo: Hancock's film is devoid of emotion. A few brief speeches try to inject feeling into the movie, but they fall short. Hancock seems more interested in challenging the mythology of the Alamo's defenders, than he is in accurately portraying them. And that's fine, to a degree. But the film goes out of its way to portray the garrison as a collection of bumbling fools; a backwards group of rednecks, whose sacrifice came more out of ineptitude than honor.

Amelie: The gist of the story is that (a) everyone has their one soulmate out there, and you're inextricably drawn to that individual, and (b) no matter what's transpired in your life, everyone is entitled to happiness, and it's never too late to find it.

City of God: City of God's world is one that sees violence repaid with violence. "Good" characters fall into the trap of vengeance, only to die. "Bad" characters seek to change their ways and leave their criminal past behind, only to die. There is no escape once you've started down the road of the hoodlum. Still, for many that way is the only one.

Closer: Closer tells the story of four individuals, though there's no real story. The film both charms and alarms with an intriguing stew of attraction, ego, jealousy and deceit. Its characters lead intertwined lives, as they lead each other on in search of greener grass. At its heart the film explores the depth of love as it relates to sexual attraction and truth. The truth, though, is not always easy to find, especially when you deal with four complex characters that intentionally blur it.

The Day After Tomorrow: I wasn't surprised that DAT was an awful movie (and it is). I was, however, surprised that director Roland Emmerich apparently tried to make a serious movie. He seems to try to convince the viewer that this absurd, innane plot can somehow happen.

Euro Trip: Euro Trip's humor misses as often as it hits, but its largely unknown cast keeps it from ever getting too low. Scott is a blend of Collin Hanks in Orange County and Jason Biggs in American Pie, but without quite as much whiny "poor-me" pathos. And though his sex-crazed sidekick, Cooper, fails to match the Stifler-esque wit and energy that I think the film tried to emulate, his subdued demeanor didn't detract. Throw in the lovely Michelle Trachtenberg as Jenny, a girl that's just one of the boys, and her twin brother Jaime, the anal nerd who saves the day in the end, and you get a predictable, yet enjoyable comedy.

Farhenheit 9/11: All politics aside, it was pretty scattered and incoherent...flowed poorly and honestly didn't make a whole lot of sense. At its best it was pretty bad in this respect.

Finding Neverland: Yes, it's a simple story. A film needn't be complex, though, to be great. Depp and Winslet bring a level of emotion to Finding Neverland that, when combined with a surreal style of filmmaking that often folds fantasy into reality, results in an experience almost as magical as the exploits of Peter Pan himself.

Friday Night Lights: The "movies based on books always disappoint" crowd can rest easy. Though the film isn't a cover-to-cover adaptaion, director Peter Berg sticks close to his cousins's storyline, wandering only on occasion. Berg changes portions of the plot for dramatic effect and for brevity, but it remains mostly true to the real life saga of the 1988 Permian Panthers.

Garden State: The beauty of Garden State isn't in its story, it's in its characters. Braff and Portman play off each other beautifully. From a serendipitous meeting to a fairy tale ending, the pair's endearing chemistry captures the butterfly-causing attraction so often found in budding romances. Portman, with her bubbly charm and sweet-yet-not-too-innocent independent side, especially lights up the screen.

Honey: For the most part, Honey conveys a positive message: Work hard and be true to yourself and you can achieve great things. She also displays a selfless side that often isn't found in movies that are based at today's youth. Based on that alone, I give it good marks.

Hotel Rwanda: Hotel Rwanda's conflict between hope and despair takes the face of Cheadle, whose character starts out with only his family in mind before risking his own live to spare his countrymen. The brutal atrocities and seemingly senseless murders will both break your heart and make you question the true nature of mankind. At the same time, however, the actions of people like Rusesabagina remind us that there is good in the world, and that means there is hope for us all.

House of Sand and Fog: HoSF paints a bleak picture. Its tale of perseverance doesn't capture the triumph of the human spirit, but rather the destruction caused by self-centric behavior. There are no heroes in this story, no redemption and no happy ending.

I Heart Huckabees: I think there are two ways to look at I Heart Huckabees. If you think it's serious in its existential, talking-in-circles philosophy then it's a disaster, because the script isn't nearly as intelligent as it pretends to be. But... I didn't see it that way. To me it felt intentionally nonsensical, as if the filmakers were trying to poke fun at serious philisophical wannabe masterpieces.

King Arthur: If nothing else, King Arthur is ambitious. Sure, we all know the legend, but this is the legend beyond the legend, and we get to see something a little different here. If it doesn't cling to the "facts," then so be it. Get your history from a book.

Master and Commander: M&C has its moments. It's boring for long stretches, frequently cliched, and filled with characters, whose deaths won't even make you blink twice. But at the same time, it's a majestic glimpse at an era long-since past. That alone is enough to save it.

Miracle: What it lacks in the political, patriotic sense, it makes up for in the story and the acting of Kurt Russell as Brooks. He rules his team with an iron fist and the film shows how his drive instilled the discipline, confidence and conditioning required for the Americans to pull off the greatest upset in sports history.

Monster: By the time the movie ends, you don't have any more insight into these characters than you did when they first met. At least I didn't. Maybe I missed something, because I just didn't get it.

Mr. 3000: Sure it's cliched and relies too much on unimaginative stereotypes. But when you throw in a healthy dose of Bernie Mac being Bernie Mac, you can salvage a script with more wood than a Louisville Slugger.

Napoleon Dynamite: Yep, he's a dork. But at the same time he's your typical every day American teen-ager. He hates his brother, hates his life, and longs for the affection of that elusive "soulmate." Like I said, though, you're not watching because of the story. You watch to see what Napoleon will do next.

Open Water: Open Water does a few things well. Its mix of suspense and fear will keep the senses sharp, and if you can watch this movie and even think about going diving anytime soon, well, then you're a better man than me. My problem, though, is that I didn't much care. Except for the obvious fact that they're fellow human beings, I had no reason to feel sympathetic toward their plight.

The Perfect Score: The Perfect Score could be an enjoyable hour-and-a-half of campy fun if it weren't the typical self-righteous MTV production. Like most of the network's fare, it plays on inequality and placing blame somewhere else. We wouldn't expect today's teenagers to show a little responsibility for themselves now would we?

Saved: Non-Christians will no doubt cackle with delight at the movie's subtle slams of Christian tenets and over-exuberant scenes of worship, while their born-again brethren cringe at seeing their beliefs defiled. After all it's standard fare in our "progressive" society. Fundamentalists, as we all know, are responsible for all of society's ills, right?

School of Rock: Jack Black used to make me laugh. But in the 45 minutes that I spent watching this movie, I don't think I even cracked a smile.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a surreal wonder, a painting brought to life. Its stunning visuals, straightforward story and subtle blend of genres should appeal to all walks of filmgoers. From comic book fanboys to sci-fi followers and classic film enthusiasts to art house snobs, Sky Captain's variety of elements offer one of the most unique movie-watching experiences that I've had in some time.

Spiderman 2: This Jekyll and Hyde of a movie takes you from the painfully awful to edge-of-your-seat enrapturement and back again, but for every 10 minute train battle between the superhero and the super-villain (which I assure you rivals anything the Wachiowski brothers could produce on their best day), director Sam Raimi forces a lame filler scene (seriously, we get the fact that Parker can't catch a break; can't he at least get a drink or an hors d'oeuvre?).

Super Size Me: Super Size Me reminds me of scientists that inject lab rats with things like saccharin in extreme doses and then conclude that saccharin causes cancer. Of course three fast food meals a day is bad, especially when "Super Sized." But so is smoking three packs a day, and that's nowhere near the norm, even for smokers. Spurlock's bizarre diet is so over-the-top that it loses credibility.

Troy: The whole saga of the Trojan War plays out like a storyline from the WWF (er, WWE now). There are few real good guys or bad guys, just a collection of flawed characters that you cheer for because of their flaws.

The Village: Shyamalan basically ripped himself off for two hours. The Village is nothing more than a formulaic attempt to clone his previous endeavors, putting just a little something new into a tale that has never lived up to its original apex.

What the Bleep Do We Know?: This part-fiction, part-non fiction film discusses quantum physics in the context of one woman's (Marlee Matlin) "what does it all mean" life crisis. At least that's what I gathered. I think it was trying to be both empirical and philospohical, but honestly I couldn't tell you because I was bored to tears


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

About Matt 

Hmm...I'm not sure I can be like Drew and tell you what time of day I was born, but I was born around 12:30 on April 18, 1977 (yes, they're the same) in Lakewood, California (Southeast LA).
My family and I (they decided to take me after a close straw vote) moved to Texas when I was about 3 to be with my ailing grandmother.  24 years later, I'm still in this state but will proclaim to anyone proudly that I hail from The Golden State.  I, of course, still do love the Lone Star State as well.
My first memory?  The Catch.  Dwight F'ing Clark drifts through the Cowboys' secondary and catches the ball in a leaping motion from a little known quarterback named Joe Montana and suddenly the whole NFL universe is set on it's ear.  So yes, I learned at a very young age that life doesn't always go the way you planned, but yet it seems as if that lesson is taught again to me every day.
My current hero is Larry David for his ability to muddle through this life taking blow after blow but still being able to entertain himself first and foremost.  When you are stuck in a remedial job as I am, this is an absolute necessity. 
I guess I should mention that I am a graduate from the University of Texas...although my degree has been sitting on a shelf unused for the last few years, which is a depressing topic on it's own.  But maybe some day it will be used, dammit! 
I like to think of myself as a diverse guy.  I'm just as comfortable talking about United States/North Korean relations as I am talking about whether Seth should have choosen Summer or Anna on The OC (greatest show on TV right now....well maybe next to The Sopranos).  I think that Justin Timberlake is not that bad...classic and elegant is always the way to go...some days you just want to listen to some Sinatra...one of my dream jobs would be high school football coach...drinking a beer and hanging out with your friends is a great Friday night...life is always better around water.
I do consider myself a "man's man" who likes to gamble, drink, smoke a cigar, listen to The Ticket  and play poker...but also like to shop, pay way too much attention to women's fashion, and am addicted to The Newlyweds.
I do consider myself a Republican, although I certainly have some differing views from my party on a number of issues, mostly social issues. 
Writing is indeed my passion, although I really haven't utilized that skill of mine much lately, unless you count posting on internet message boards or my occasional blog entry.  So perhaps I will start writing some more to pass the time.
The Dave Matthews Band is my favorite band, followed by Coldplay and the local act The Old 97's, but my favorite type of music is rap/hip hop.  I will be 45 years old and rolling down the street with my kid in the car listening to Outkast, I know I will. 
I've been single for a while now.  You know how it goes....boy meets girl, boy dates girl, boy and girl break up....boy is having too much fun hanging out to meet another girl.  Or maybe it is boy meets girl...boy and girl break up....boy hates life....boy decides girls are evil....boy starts to like girls again....boy can't find girl because he is really picky, or boy doesn't really put out the effort to meet girl.
Hmm...I think that's enough.  You can't be the Dylan McKay of the group if you let everything be known about you. 


Monday, March 01, 2004

About Drew 

I was born at 9:36 PM, April 18, 1977, at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas.

At the ripe old age of 6, I had my first life-altering experience. I watched the Texas Longhorns lose to Georgia in the 1984 Cotton Bowl, marking my earliest memory of a pasttime that has grown into an obsession. I bleed Burnt Orange, and for three months of every year, my life almost revolves around the ups and downs of Longhorn football.

I had a similar experience at the ripe old age of 9, when I watched the Houston Astros lose game Six of the 1986 NLCS in extra innings to the New York Mets. Though not quite as obsessive, my loyalty to the Astros extends beyond mere fandom, and I tend to spend many a Summer night following the ups and downs of Astros baseball.

You'll notice a lot of Longhorns and Astros content here on the site, along with politics. Now before you see one post and start calling me a closed-minded Righty, consider this. My parents were Democrats, like their parents before them. Therefore, they raised me as a staunch Democrat. I first noticed my conservative leanings during my senior year of high school. Still, I voted for Bill Clinton in 1996. Why? I don't know. I didn't think Bob Dole would make a good president, and I refused to waste a vote on Ross Perot.

Things started to change the following Spring, when during my sophomore year at the Univ. of Texas, I enrolled in J312: Critical Thnking for Journalists, taught by Mr. Marvin Olasky. His life's journey from a Jewish upbringing to Marxist/Atheism to Conservative Christian influenced my own growth, and I soon found myself embracing the more conservative aspects of my worldview, grounded in my own Christian faith.

From there I continued my degree plan, taking Prof. Olasky twice more (Sports Feature Writing and Journalism and Religion), along with other influential professors Terry Hemeyer and Frank Kalupa. I graduated in Dec. 1999, with a Bachelor of Journalism-Public Relations.

I atoned for my earlier electoral transgression (hopefully) with boisterous support of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign. I also briefly volunteered with Sen. John Cornyn's campaign in 2002, and my recent conservative grassroots activism includes a stint as a Distict 10 delegate in 2004. And of course I try to further the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy via my blog.

As the blog's tagline suggests, I do try to "cover it all." I have no delusions that this site will ever rival the work of Glenn Reynolds or other blogging icons, but writing helps keep me sane. I'm a journalist at heart -- and an opinionated one -- though I chose to eschew that calling in favor of public relations, a field in which I've never even found a job. As a child I never entertained writing. Playing second base for the Astros, perhaps? Maybe I could be the next Billy Doran, I thought. That dream ultimately died around the age of 12.

Not long after a lack of athletic ability relagated my glove and bat to a future in rec league softball instead of the Majors, I decided to try my hand at Journalism. Under the guidance of the legendary Elton Brett Voss, I soon found myself as sports editor of the high school paper, which at sports-crazy Temple High was not a bad post to have. I realized I had at least some talent for writing, creating a desire to have my opinions published that still exists today (even if that has, to date, occured on a relatively small scale).

I have also written since late 2000 for INsite Magazine, a monthly entertainment tab here in Austin. It's not the most glamorous endeavor, but I enjoy it. They let me write about pretty much whatever I want, and sometimes I get free concert tickets.

In my free time I like to play softball, water volleyball and golf, and I spend way too much time posting on Longhorn message boards.

Since you might have clicked on this link hoping to see what I look like, here's a picture of me and my friend (and fellow LM blogger) Matt with future U.S. President J.C. Watts. (I'm the guy on the right with the goofy grin):

It's not the best photo, but I hate having my picture taken. If I did I would have pursued broadcast journalism, not PR.


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