Game of Thrones 209: Blackwater

SPOILER WARNING: All events that have occurred in the TV show up to and including yesterday’s episode are fair game. I have read the books but I will not go any further beyond small hints that only fellow book-readers will catch on to. You’ve been warned.

Note: Because it can be hard to keep all the names and faces straight, the first mention of each character contains a link to a picture of them which will open in a new tab.

Alright, I know I say it every week, but that had to be the best episode of “Game of Thrones” yet. And why not? It was written by George R.R. Martin, the author of the books (just as “Baelor,” the ninth episode of the first season was, remember what happened then?), and directed by Neil Marshall, who’s written and/or directed a number of critically acclaimed films. Plus, it finally answered a few questions that have been dogging many viewers all season. Questions like “why don’t they ever show us any action scenes” or “where is this supposedly huge budget going if not to CGI dragons and direwolves?” Well, as I hinted at in my post about “Garden of Bones,” they were saving the (best) action for (next to) last. As for the budget, well, it went here, and here, and here. But mostly, it went here.

There was really only one location in this week’s episode. So I’m going to be using a format I experimented with two weeks ago, splitting the post up based on character and thematic groups rather than geography.

Stannis vs. Joffrey

One of the things that stuck out to me most was the contrast between Stannis and Joffrey, the two kings. One’s a Baratheon and the other’s a “Baratheon,” and depending on who in Westero you ask, one is a king and the other’s a “king.” But what really set them apart is the way they handled themselves in battle.

Where was Stannis during all that bloodshed? Why, on the front fucking lines of course. He was the first one off the ships and the first up the ladder. He lead the charge, cut heads in half, and had to be quite literally dragged away when it appeared that all was lost. Oh, did I mention that during all this the dude neglected to wear a fucking helmet? Yet despite having the best claim and being an all around badass, almost isn’t good enough, and another sits the Iron Throne. What’s his name again?

Fucking Joffrey. I know, I’m pissed too, believe me. Even though I knew the outcome of the battle I was still on the edge of my seat, hoping in vain for the justice that was denied me in the books. Let’s put aside all the terrible things Joffrey has done for a moment and consider only what he did during the battle. While thousands died in his name, brave King Joffrey ran away. Bravely ran away, away! When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes, brave King Joffrey turned about and gallantly he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet he beat a very brave retreat, bravest of the brave, King Joffrey! Thanks, Monty Python. Seriously though, it was a whole lot easier to “drag” Joffrey away from battle than Stannis. “Does my mother have urgent business for me? No? Well I’d better go anyway, just in case.”

Whose Death is it Anyway?

We saw an awful lot of characters die last night, or so it appeared. Keep in mind that a “Game of Thrones” character probably isn’t dead unless you saw him or her die, as in you literally watched them draw their final breath. Plus, this is George R.R. Martin we’re talking about. It wasn’t just his writing skills that got him placed on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world last year. His 16 straight mindfucker of the year awards no doubt played a part. That’s a joke. Don’t come crying to me if you found some strange pornogarphy after googling it, and please don’t e-mail me about your new fetish. Anyway, I’m not going to tell you who’s dead and who isn’t, that would ruin the fun. Instead, let’s look over how a few of the characters who might be dead spent their final hours.

First, let’s talk about Tyrion, whose early image as a jokester squandering his potential with drink and whores has all but disappeared. Last night was his moment to truly shine. As he tells Shae early on, while most others can leave or switch sides, Tyrion wasn’t given a choice. He’s a Lannister, seemingly the only one who gives a shit about the people of Westeros.

Read the rest of this entry »


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Product Review: AXE SportBlast Shower Gel + Shampoo

The new 2-in-1 AXE product was very similar to my thoughts on marriage. At first, I was repulsed and completely uninterested. “How often do combinations of body wash and shampoo actually pull it off?” I thought. “That’s like the amount of guys who refer to their wife as their ‘best friend’ and actually mean it.”

Usually, 2-in-1 combos are either too gloppy due to being more body wash than shampoo, or too light because they are more shampoo than body wash. Based on past committed relationships with other body wash/shampoo combos, I was initially repulsed, just like I was about marriage.

So I went into the experience with an eye jaundiced by past experience. But if I was going to get through this review objectively, I had to put on my big boy pants and separate my past experiences from a future unknown. Once I did that, I realized that SportBlast wasn’t the problem — it was me.

The gel itself was very thick, so my initial expectation was that when it came time to either rinse it off my body or out of my hair, it was going to leave a nasty residue. Nothing is worse than taking a shower with a new soap product (Zest soap from the 1990s, I’m looking at you) and realizing after the shower is complete and you’ve moved on with your life that there is still some residue on you.

But AXE SportBlast was different. The gel was thick but it didn’t feel like it once I began applying it to my dirty, alcohol-addled body. Just like with the shampoo, the body wash rinsed off with minimal effort. My skin felt clean and there was no leftover residue.

Another thing I appreciated was the smell of the product; it was refreshing and crisp. Not only that, but the gel really felt like it exfoliated and opened up my skin. I really noticed this about an hour after showering; my skin felt open, clear and clean. The shampoo, for as thick as I feared it would be, left my hair feeling noticeably lighter and refreshed.

One more detail for all you frugal dudes; you basically recycle the shampoo from your head and that becomes your body wash, so a bottle of this stuff will last a long time. We all know you’ve been using your shampoo of choice as a body wash as well because you are broke after the divorce, but now, you can buy a product that is made for that, specifically.

While I will never get married again, I would definitely purchase and use AXE SportBlast again. If you’re as hesitant to drink the Kool-Aid regarding 2-in-1 products as I was, this will be a pleasant surprise — unlike that $10,000 invoice from your divorce attorney.

Get more info on the product here:


Chelsie Hurst at the Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant

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We had a great time covering the 15th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant last year, and here's our final gallery featuring some of the beautiful Hooters contestants that we were able to photograph at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.

Above we have a slideshow of the beautiful Chelsie Hurst, featuring photos from poolside at the Fontainebleau and also on the beach. Chelsie is sporting a tiny, blue bikini that shows off her great figure. Chelsie also has an incredible smile and you can see she's having a great time as well.

Click here to see bikini photos of the other contestants.


Drink of the Week: The Campari Cocktail

The Campari CocktailSo, you’re starting a new job requiring a long enough commute from your home that it will ultimately require a costly move. Then, the second day of your aforementioned lengthy commute, your car starts hesitating in stop-and-start cross county traffic. Next thing you know, you’re staring down the barrel of a big, big transmission repair bill while suddenly finding yourself with a rented Ford Focus in your driveway instead of your charmingly banged-up Buick.

When that happens, you don’t want a drink that requires a lot of fuss. It’s better if it trying it out helps finish up some nearly empty bottles, lightening your liquor load on your impending cross-megalopolis move.

So, I’ll spare you the usual classic cocktail history lesson as well as the tortured connection to current events or this weekend’s holiday. (Could any cocktail possibly be appropriate for Memorial Day, anyway?) This is clearly a time when you — by which I obviously mean “I” — want my evening cocktail to be simple, stimulating for the taste buds, and strong — which is why I’ve gone and doubled the amounts for my version of today’s DOTW. Feel free to halve it if you’re situation is different or if you’ll be driving anytime soon.

The Campari Cocktail

2 ounces Campari
1 1/2 ounces vodka (preferably 100 proof)
2 dashes aromatic bitters
Lemon or orange twist (fairly optional garnish)

Combine Campari, vodka, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake as vigorously as you can manage and strain into — what else? — a chilled cocktail glass. If you like, throw in a lemon or orange twist — it can’t hurt and it might help. Sip and, if you you’re not likely to give a significant amount of your personal worth to a mechanic, thank your freaking lucky stars.

I’ve praised the oh-so-sweet and then oh-so-bitter one-two punch of Campari before while discussing the hugely underappreciated Negroni as well as the oh-so-refreshing Americano. As the name implies, here’s a drink where the Campari flavor is really and truly front and center, perhaps too much for some folks. Certainly, replacing the gin in the Negroni with vodka (and actually using less of it), doesn’t do anything to complicate the drink or stand in the way of the Campari flavors, even if they could use a bit of leavening. That’s why I think I found adding in the stronger flavor of 100 proof Smirnoff resulted in a more satisfying taste experience as well as a more effective attitude adjuster.

Vodka-disliking cocktail snobs won’t be surprised that, while I’ve tried this drink with a number of brands, the results with the 80 proof vodkas, however, didn’t vary by much. Indeed, the very cheap Seagram’s and the much more high-endish Kettle One I used to make it didn’t really change the experience by that much. Still, since I like Campari, I’m declaring that a reason to like this drink. In fact, next week’s drink will also feature it, but it’ll be just a mite more complex…unless something else happens to my car.


Friday Video – Orbital, “Wonky”

Click here to listen to Orbital’s Wonky on Spotify

Cats. We always suspected that they were up to no good.

Orbital might be a new name to some of you youngsters out there, but they actually released their first album over 20 years ago and are considered one of the godfathers of modern electronic music. The reason the name may not ring a bell is because prior to the release of their new album Wonky, they hadn’t released anything since 2004’s Blue Album and had disbanded for a while. But the brothers Hartnoll started playing some UK festivals a few years back, and, well, here we are, watching videos with evil cats.

Seriously, this clip is a little funny and a little disturbing, as the guy goes from seeing his cat-emblazoned belongings rapping, to being beseiged by a group of real-life cats led by one sinister-looking Siamese, if you please. With a setup like this, it’s bound to end in tears. Unless you’re the cats, of course.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone. Have fun, be sensible, and always keep one eye on the closest cat. You just never know.