Tom Clancy’s Something Something

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

Historically, I have not been the biggest fan of stealth games. Waiting, pattern memorization, precise timing, none of that ever was that entertaining. Sure, there were exceptions, Metal Gear Solid 2 comes to mind, but I never really got into the Splinter Cell games. I picked the first one up because it looked awesome, got bored and frustrated, and gave up on them. Later I played that one with the cool spies vs. mercenaries multiplayer mode, but staid away from the story mode. But recent games like Arkham Asylum and Assassin’s Creed 2 have me invested in the new direction the genre is going in, so I was quick to pick up the long-awaited Splinter Cell Conviction.

I don’t really know what’s been going on, but at the point Conviction picks up, Sam Fisher is basically the Jack Bauer of the Tom Clancy universe, retired after his daughter and best friend’s deaths. But some lady tracks him down and soon enough Fisher is back in the shit, trying to uncover the truth behind what happened in the previous game and save the United States while he’s at it. The story enables you to play through a number of neat landmarks, so while it’s not amazing I’m cool with it. Michael Ironside is back as Fisher, and he does fine, although he sounds a little drunk some times.

There’s also a multiplayer story made up of four missions. You and a partner play as two spies, rocking all the gear from the get-go that Fisher collects over the whole single player campaign. They unravel a conspiracy that leads into Fisher’s story. Co-op is the best part of the game, as finding your way through rooms full of evil dudes with a partner is a lot of fun. There are some more multiplayer modes too, and they’re fine, you know, whatever.

Conviction clearly learned a lot from Arkham Asylum, because this is another stealth game that is more about power and keeping your enemies afraid as you take them out. You can smoothly transfer from cover to cover with simple commands. Taking out an enemy with a melee attack is easy and usually pretty brutal. Once you’ve meleed an enemy, you unlock the ability to mark and execute your enemies. That means being able to take out 2-4 goons with the press of one button. It got to the point that I tried to avoid having to actually aim my gun.

Visually, the graphics in Conviction are fine, not astounding. But the game has a great sense of style that elevates its appearance. Instructions and flashbacks appear in-game, projected on buildings and cars, which is really neat. When you’re hidden, the game goes black and white, which has the effect of making you feel even more exposed when you’re in the open and in color. Animations are smooth and some of the violence is almost cringe-worthy.

I’m really happy to say this is a good game. Conviction was in development for so long, it seemed like it could never turn out this well. While I still prefer its generic predecessors, this game is certainly among the stealth game cream of the crop .

T3: Worst Baseball Uniforms

Watching the last Mariners game against Kansas City something caught my eye. Those cheesy powder blue alternate uniforms. Some people are fans of it, I’m not but it got me to thinking about some of the crazy uniforms I’ve seen in photos or archival footage… Visions of those pitiful Pittsburgh Pirates hats of the seventies come to mind. So for a larf, I assembled in my eyes the worst baseball uniforms to ever grace the diamond. It’s tough narrowing down a hundred something years but if anything these will tickle your fancy.

10. Baltimore Orioles – 1971
Had trouble precisely pinpointing when and for how long these were worn. At least for the 1971 season where the Orioles kicked some major ass. Led by sluggers Frank Robinson and Boog Powell, all star third baseman Brooks Robinson and four pitchers who won 20 games, they went 101-57! All while wearing flashy prison jumpsuits.

9. Pittsburgh Pirates – 1902
A good team at the time, I mean this was the era of Honus Wagner after all, but can you believed they actually wore this? It’d be a pretty standard uniform for the time if it wasn’t for those bizarre sleeves. Blue and Pink? It’s like some kind of candy cane nightmare, or as I prefer to call them “Waldo sleeves” in honor of everyone’s favorite misguided tourist.

8. Cleveland Indians – 1970s
It’s hard to find a photo that truly captures the crapiness of the 70s tribe but trust me, they were none too good. Seriously though, this has to be the ugliest shade of red I’ve ever seen, sometimes it looks magenta. This isn’t a great example pic but the font is as well a cluttered mess, most of the alternates were equally lame. I don’t know who Frank Duffy is but I’m honored to have him on this list.

7. Chicago White Sox – 1982-1986
Who designed these a little kid? It’s so just so uninspired and bland. It’s amazing that it took the Sox so long to settle on their sweet Black and White design. They’ve easily had the worst history of uniforms… And if you look down a little further, I think you’ll find they can even do worse than this.

6. San Diego Padres – 2008-Present
How did I not know about these? I mean these are being worn to this day?!? Starting in 2008, the Padres donned these camouflage catastrophes to honor the troops. I’m all for supporting our troops but am I the only one who finds this to be in poor taste? The Padres have had a history of terrible uniforms but this one reigns supreme. The Padres aren’t bad they’ve just gone AWOL.

5. Chicago White Sox – 1925
Lucky to find a modern pic of this infamously bad uniform. Worn for road games in 1925 it looks like a train conductor’s pajamas. “All aboard for the dream train!” Poor White Sox, they just couldn’t get it right. Though it’s nice to see they have a good enough sense of humor to wear em again for a “Turn Back the Clock” night.

4. Houston Astros – 1975-1993
When they weren’t exploring strange new worlds the Houston Astros were a baseball team. Really the only way I can describe this is the equivalent to what you might see on a campy 70s sci-fi show. Known as the “Rainbow Guts” uniform this was made possible by the advent of synthetic fabrics and utilized to take advantage of color television. Worn from 1975 all the way up to 1993! These uniforms have quite a legacy and are an ever popular choice on “Turn Back the Clock” games, actually I think this one might just be so bad that it’s good.

3. New York Giants – 1916
The black and white photos just don’t do it justice, so here I opted for this illustration. It’s hard representing some of the early uniforms as pictures are sparse but I just had to find a way to acknowledge this plaid nightmare. Can you believe the legendary John McGraw coached a team wearing these vomit inducing uniforms? I hear they did better the next season, I wonder why.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates – 1970s
: If it isn’t bad enough to be dressed like a bumblebee, how about we put a pot on your head? How else could you describe the infamous caps the Pirates donned throughout the seventies? The teams spandex pants were pretty embarrassing but I don’t think anything haunts my dreams more than those hats.

1. Chicago White Sox – 1976
: Who wears short shorts? They wear short, shorts. It’s dumbfounding that this goofy garb was actually worn by a team of pro athletes but on August 8, 1976 it happened. Worn for only a single game (the first of a two header) against Kansas City this has gone down as one of the most embarrassing moments in White Sox history. On the brightside the Sox actually won that game 5-2 with four stolen bases. With it’s fanned out collar, high sleeves and well “short, shorts” this takes the cake. I only wish the current Sox would don these uniforms again for a theme night, I mean who wouldn’t want to see Bobby Jenks in short shorts?

Honorable Mention
Far too many, the 80s Phillies were pretty nauseating and the A’s have had a slew of uniforms that look like green and gold garbage.

This is Only a Test

Being that it’s a typical slow week at DaMorgue I thought I’d share some footage here. So about two weeks ago Paul and I bought a new camera the “XH-A1” and just recently we finally got the right cord to upload footage. So far it surprisingly uploads easier and takes up less room on our new computer so I figured I’d give a little preview of what we’ll be working with for future projects. It’s just a simple test video that Paul shot with our new Letus35 attachment. The Letus35 is an attachment that changes the depth of field, you know like when the background is blurry and the foreground is sharp. I’m excited to be working with such nice quality from here on and am excited to do some Morgue videos and what not with it. Already doing some filming this weekend, Otteni out.

T3: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I’ve been putting this off for far too long. Though I’m not sure I’ve seen all the baseball flicks worth seeing. like the original Angels in the Outfield or The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings. I’ll reckon I’ve seen enough to make this list. Yes this is my “Top 10 favorite Baseball Movies” in all it’s pride and glory. What makes a good baseball movie? Well in my opinion it’s got to have some good gameplay, plenty edge of your seat moments and a whole lotta heart. You may not agree with my choices, no Sandlot or Pride of the Yankees here, I find those movies overrated but hopefully you can enjoy it for what it is, play ball!

10. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
: Based on the 1956 Mark Harris’ novel of the same name, Bang the Drum Slowly tells the story of a relationship between ace pitcher Henry “Author” Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) and his slow but sweet friend, catcher Bruce Pearson (Robert De Niro). Both playing for the fictional New York Mammoths, in the middle of a winning season, things take a turn for the worse when Bruce is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Hiding it from the rest of the team, Bang the Drum Slowly is more or less the baseball equivalent to Brian’s Song. Though it never comes off as sappy and is definitely worth watching for De Niro’s performance. It’s a much different role than the charismatic loner’s De Niro usually plays, more sensitive and soft-spoken and very touching.

9. 61* (2001)
I wasn’t sure about the inclusion of made-for-TV movies but this one is just too good to ignore. Actor/well known Yankee fan Billy Crystal steps behind the camera to tell the story of the Yankees’ legendary 1961 season. When both Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) and Roger Maris’ (Barry Pepper) found themselves within pursuit of Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record of 60 set in 1927. One the team’s most beloved player, the other the quiet, soft-spoken midwesterner both creeping up on a record then thought untouchable. Presented in nostalgic fashion 61* is like your grandpa sitting down and regaling you with a great baseball story of yesteryear.

8. Eight Men Out (1988)
Coming in at number eight is Eight Men Out released in 1988… Damn that’s a lot of eights! This little slice of history chronicles the infamous “1919 Black Sox” scandal when eight players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox conspired to lose the World Series in order to rake in some major dough. A dark period in baseball well captured by noted indie director/screenwriter John Sayles, who excels at telling strong, politically aware stories. It’s also notable for it’s talented ensemble cast including; John Cusack, David Straithairn, Michael Rooker, Charlie Sheen and my favorite performance, D.B. Sweeney as legend Shoeless Joe Jackson.

7. A League of their Own (1992)
An often overlooked period in sport’s history is the formation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s. Penny Marshall (Big, Awakenings) directs this light hearted, fictionalized account of the Rockford Peaches first season. Playing with something to prove, Geena Davis stars as the team’s star catcher and is accompanied by a cast of colorful characters. Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna are probably some of the bigger names in the cast and are surprisingly tolerable… But Tom Hanks steals the show as the team’s washed up manager Jimmy Dugan, based on Hall of Famer Jimmie Fox. He also delivers what’s probably one of the most memorable quotes in sports movie history with “There’s no crying in baseball!”

6. The Natural (1984)
The Natural just has that mythic fable-like feel to it. Like the story King Arthur, though instead of the mighty Excalibur he wields “Wonderboy” a bat made from a tree hit by lightning. Robert Redford stars as Roy Hobbs a hopeful 19-year old pitcher with big ball aspirations. Though things take a turn for the worse after a severe gunshot wound shatters his dreams. 16 years later Roy gives it another go and is signed to the fictional 1939 New York Knights. Now an accomplished hitter, Roy quickly wows his teammates with his hitting ability. What follows are the highs and lows of Roy’s season in a classic sports film. It’s worth seeing just for that iconic theme. One of my favorite soundtracks, period. I can’t believe Randy Newman didn’t take home the music oscar that year.

5. Major League (1989
It’s cooky, wild, crazy and lots of fun. The sports comedy classic major league is your typical, predictable underdog story but also a humorous tribute to America’s pastime. You got the seasoned veteran (Tom Berenger), the prima donna (Corbin Bernsen), the speedy rookie (Wesley Snipes) and the Wild Thing himself (Charlie Sheen). Rounded out by a voodoo practicing power hitter (Dennis Haysbert) and an oily veteran pitcher (Chelcie Ross) and you got yourself a lovable cast of misfits. All I know is if I was a fan of the Tribe, I would probably worship and reference this movie all season long.

4. Sugar (2008)
I can see why Sean’s such a fan as this probably the most realistic and powerful baseball movie on this whole list. Miguel “Sugar” Santos is a Dominican pitcher struggling to make in the big leagues. Playing on a Single A team in Iowa, Sugar faces a day to day struggle of playing ball and trying to live in another country. It’s the classic fish out of water story with glimpses of great humor and all out heart. The only aspect holding it back is the latter half of the film’s focus on Sugar’s abandoning baseball to live in New York. Though it’s still a great film and a must see for sports movie fans.

3. The Bad News Bears (1976)
Without a doubt the funniest movie on this list. It’s hard to imagine that a movie like this even exists. On one hand it’s a movie about a little league team but on the other it’s a raunchy, refreshingly un-P.C., comedy with no skimpin’ on the expletives. Walter Matthau as the drunken head coach Buttermaker is priceless but all the kids have their moments. Probably my favorite line, in response to missing several fly balls is “Don’t give me none of your honky bullshit, Buttermaker. I know they were easy.” And that’s just one of many memorable lines. Though this film hits even deeper than your typical sports comedy. The Bad News Bears is a striking portrayal of the unnecessary pressures put on kids playing team sports. Avoid the remake and sequels but don’t ignore this classic.

2. Bull Durham (1988)
A big fan favorite with no shortage of memorable moments, Bull Durham is a humorous romantic comedy with an entertaining insight into the world of minor league ball. The dialogue here is pitch perfect and the performances are undeniably entertaining most notably Tim Robbins as hot shot pitcher Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh. It’s repeatedly been chosen as one of the best sports movies, which made it tough to pick the top spot.

1. Field of Dreams (1989)
Field of Dreams isn’t as much about playing baseball as it is the myth of baseball. The magic of the game, the larger than life players and the people that it brings together. “If you build it, they will come.” is the classic quote that inspires one Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to build a baseball field over his Iowa cornfield. What follows is a supernatural phenomenon as Ray gets to meet the ghosts of former legends, most notably Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta). The story is unique and the characters are likable. James Earl Jones provides plenty of ammo for the Vader sessions, if you don’t know what that means consider yourself lucky. Not to mention Burt Lancaster shines in his final role. This is the kind of baseball movie that dreams are made of.

Honorable Mention
For Love of the Game
Mr. Baseball
The Rookie

Halfway To Heaven

We’re already pretty deep into Spring, and summer vacation is only about a month away, well at least for Sean and I. I figured I’d take a gander at what looks to be some promising music that’ll be coming out between now and then. Most of it’s on the indie side of things, but apparently that’s pretty much all I listen to now as far as new music.
I confided to Sean a while ago that The Hold Steady are my favorite modern band, so as you might expect I’ve got a fair amount of anticipation towards their new album Heaven Is Whenever, which comes out May 4. Another band releasing an album that day is Broken Social Scene, who I’ve been listening to lately mostly because they’re playing Sasquatch the day I’ll be there. May 4 will also see the release of Together, the newest offering from The New Pornographers, a band Nancy loves so much that after seeing them live, he no longer feels the need to ever go to another concert again.
May 11 will see the release of High Violet by The National, another great band who’ll be playing Sasquatch the same day me, Sean, and John will be there. I think the Dead Weather have a new album also coming out that week, but I’m sure we can all agree on a resounding “meh” in reaction to that.
May 18 will see the release of new albums by Band of Horses and LCD Soundsystem, two bands I’ve been starting to get into lately but unfortunately won’t be seeing at Sasquatch. Beyond that there doesn’t seem to be too much to look forward to as far as Summer releases. Maybe Coldplay or Radiohead will have an album out by the end of the year, that’d be cool.

The Assman Kicketh


Pow! Move over heroes and say hello to Kick-Ass, the most action packed, tongue and cheek, “violentest” super hero flick to hit the block since, well ever. Based off of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s comic of the same name, Kick-Ass is a an over-the-top satire on the genre beloved by fan-boys over. As much a comedy as an action flick, you’d be hard pressed to find a more entertaining movie in theaters right now.

Relative newcomer but soon to be notable Aaron Johnson stars as awkward teen Dave Lizewski. Bullied by street punks and invisible to girls, Dave is pushed to the limit after being mugged and as a result decides to don the garb of the heroes he so much admires. Creating the persona of “Kick-Ass”, he quickly becomes the talk of the town, but Dave gets a little more than he bargained for when crossing paths with NYC crime lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong.) Additionally, D’Amico has already been targeted by a pair of crime-fighters named Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Moretz), though they’re really more of revenge seeking assassins than justice seeking do-gooders.

The result here is a stylish and exciting blend of tongue and cheek humor with uncensored, high adrenaline action. The characters couldn’t be more colorful and ridiculous, especially Nicolas Cage doing his best Adam West. Hit Girl is another character of note, played by firecracker Chloë Moretz. Lead Aaron Johnson is your typical underdog and Clark Duke gets a fair share of the laughs as Dave’s friend Marty. Everyone has their moments and there’s a great deal of character development.

Though it’s new to theaters this week Kick Ass has already stirred up it’s fair share of criticism and controversy, which I feel is worth addressing. One being the excessive violence, mostly from the character of Hit Girl. More or less the fact that she’s a hardened, killer that shows no remorse for her actions. Though I honestly don’t see how it’s any worse than The Bride in critical darling Kill Bill. Both are done for no more than the sake of being stylish and over-the-top. I think folks are just uncomfortable that these acts are being committed by a child. That also leads to the controversy of Hit Girl’s raunchy language, but all I can say to that is if your looking for any kind of morals in a movie called Kick-Ass, you’re going into the wrong movie with the wrong mindset. It’s clearly a movie that was made to be funny and entertaining.

Does it have it’s flaws? Probably, but I was so distracted by the humor and video game like madness that I honestly didn’t even think about it. This is no tour de force of filmmaking, it’s simply unadulterated, dark humor and all out fun. The kind of movie you might walk out of saying “That was sick! Remember that one part where they said that thing and murdered that guy? That was balls to the walls!”

Psychedelic Surfs Up

MGMT – Congratulations

Don’t you love that feeling of picking up a new album, cranking it up and immediately falling in love with it? I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from MGMT this time but then again I don’t think anyone was. They’ve made it perfectly clear that all the success that was generated from their debut, with such radio friendly singles as “Kids” and “Time to Pretend” has kind of left them disillusioned. Thus making the decision of defying critics and possibly alienating some fans to make a less commercial but far more creatively daring album.

Cutting back significantly on the electronic sound they forged on Oracular Spectacular, MGMT takes a new organic approach to their new compositions. Dance/Pop music has now been replaced with full on psychedelic rock. Bursting with 60s pop excess, Congratulations plays out like an experimental rock opera of epic proportions.

“Flash Delirium” has more or less paved it’s way as the unofficial single and it perfectly embodies what this album is all about. “Like if The Flaming Lips and The Beach Boys had an orgy.” Is how I’d choose to describe the track. Though this isn’t an album about individual tracks as much as it’s about the overall sound. Like a psychedelic journey across a sea of rock n’ roll. Just look at the track “Siberian Breaks” it’s 12 minutes though it hardly feels that long as it’s always changing and evolving.

I’m beyond impressed with how this band has evolved and matured in such a short amount of time. A few years back I figured they’d continue down a road of Bouncy Synth/Pop but no, this is something completely new and exciting. If you consider yourself a fan of 60s rock, rock operas, or bold alternative music than you must open your ears to Congratulations.

Favorite Tracks: “Flash Delirium”, “It’s Working”, “Siberian Breaks”