300: Rise of an Empire!

The movie 300 sparked a rekindled interest in things Spartan (but not things Michigan State.) The phrase, molon labe (come and get ’em) resurfaced and now Hollyland is looking at another take on the brand:

Sparta’s warriors may have waged fierce land battles in the 2006 box-office hit 300, but they hadn’t even gotten their feet wet yet.

In the parallel film 300: Rise of an Empire (out Aug. 2), which takes place at about the same time as its predecessor, Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his common-man troops fight the rest of the Persian army at sea.

300- Rise of an Empire
300- Rise of an Empire

The aquatic setting allows for a completely new dynamic — even if both films take their stylized look from the original graphic novel by Frank Miller.

Empire “is tied visually to the original,” says director Noam Murro, but with so much happening within small boats, “there is a whole different choreography of fighting and war.”

The sea battle also allows the scale of the movie to change. The first 300 took place primarily on a narrow pass known as the “Hot Gates,” where the Spartans sought tactical advantage due to their significantly smaller numbers. But Empire “happens over time in many different locations,” says Murro. “The opportunities for the six distinct battles are even greater with different locations and tactics.”

he David-vs.-Goliath theme remains intact, however.

“The few against the many is still here,” says Murro. “It’s hundreds vs. hundreds of thousands. It’s about taking on the mightiest power of all with wisdom and tactics.”

In this case, the mightiest power is primarily led by Artemesia (Eva Green), the vengeful commander of the Persian navy, who is second in command to the mortal-turned-god leader Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). She has the added incentive of seeking to settle a blood score against the Greeks who killed her family when she was a child.

Should it not be called 301?

Self-Promotion: Old Navy Vs. the UFC Vs. Justin Combs

Let’s discuss promotion, an important art in today’s media-mad world.

A Mellow Jihadi Tattoo- for skinny girls, skater boys, slinky women, breakdancers, lucky ladies. In short: everyone

As for myself, in order to promote my blog, I haunt the neoned tattoo parlors up and down the coast of San Diego.

And I slip crisp 20-spots into the skinny jeans of the tattoo artists. With the implied suggestion that, rather than a highly tasteful fleur-de-lis slated for the small of their customers’ back, they tattoo: Mellow Jihadi, instead. Good idea? It can’t hurt, right?

Ben Affleck’s Dolphin Tattoo

After all, Ben Affleck has a tramp stamp of a dolphin. (Or is it a porpoise?) And don’t forget this guy, a tattoo’ist, who tattoo’d a tattoo of something unpleasant on his cheating girlfriend’s back (NSFW. Errr, literarily NSF for most Ws if read aloud.)

Why not this blog’s name? Tattoo’d across the small or big of an unknowing back?

Victoria’s Secret Heidi Klum in the Mellow Jihadi Navy

What do you think of Victoria’s Secret mistaking Michigan State’s motto? Do you think it was a real mistake or intentional, a couple of pop-rocks in the Coca-Cola? Some Mentos (the Freshmaker) in the Pepsi?

Let’s explore three cases of promotion in the national news today.

For our first case study, we are going to stick with the t-shirt world. So close was this train-wreck to the Victoria’s Secret boo-boo, that I am tempted to think that Old Navy is managed by the same geniuses. The facts:

Old Navy is joining the party with a series of women’s collegiate T’s that have the wrong founding years for three institutions.

T-shirts representing Iowa, Colorado and Arizona show that the founding years for each of those universities is 1820, 1878 and 1881 respectively. However, the real founding years for those schools are 1847, 1876 and 1885.

Old Navy University of Iowa, Colorado and Arizona T-shirts

Very clearly, just like Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy did not fact-check their products. Yes, they generated a lot of buzz from the slip-up, but it was not intentional.

Next stop, an old fashioned insult fight at the UFC:

Arianny Celeste, UFC Ring Girl

Chael Sonnen knows how to start a fight. Though his sharp words are usually aimed at UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva, he turned towards UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste when asked about her in an interview to promote the World MMA Awards.

He was asked who he is supporting for Ring Girl of the Year in the awards ceremony that will take place in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

“We only had one and that was Chandella Powell. The other was the IQ card girl. Arianny Celeste kind of walks around and holds up her latest test score. One time when there was a title fight, she got all the way up to five and we were very proud of her.”

And he later added:

Chael Sonnen, UFC

Seems easy to wear a bikini and seems easy to walk in a circle, but try walking in a circle while wearing a bikini. Talented girl.

I am going to throw the bs flag out over this one. A UFC fighter getting into it with a Ring Girl? No, this is staged promotion. Nothing more than some professional wrestling-esque publicity before the real wrestling-esque fighting. Shonnen does have some shadiness in his recent past, I imagine he is not above bringing it to work.

Our last promotion is the old, dyed-in-the-wool self-promotion of an athlete. Sean Combs’ son, Justin Combs, is a 2-star football player, a cornerback out of New Rochelle, N.Y. And he just committed to UCLA. So he released a press release, of course:

Diddy’s son, Justin Combs sends press release about UCLA

“Today I am truly blessed and thankful to accept my scholarship and give my full commitment to UCLA. Playing Division I football was a lifelong dream of mine, and through hard work I was able to achieve it. I am a living testament that with a strong relationship with God, family, and hard work dreams do come true.”

Hmm, okay. Seems hardworking and earnest, no? But then again, Diddy’s son also said this during the Sweet 16 show on MTV:

“My dad is Diddy, and I’m going to take my throne as the prince of New York.”

And then this on Puffy:

2011 Maybach

At one point, Diddy comes over to his son, who is trying on ridiculously expensive clothes, and stuffs a big wad of cash in his pocket. Combs’ birthday bash is at a New York club called M2, where he’s accompanied by his date, Nicky Minaj, and the affair culminates with Combs receiving a $360,000 Maybach with a personal driver. I didn’t actually know what a Maybach was, but apparently it’s a really, really, really nice car.

Promotion is a fine art. Whether through accident or overt, it can be effective or snort-worthy. Should you see someone with a Mellow Jihadi tattoo, congratulate them on their fine taste. Just don’t tell them about me. . .

Victoria’s Secret Blows It

Look, I have no idea who Victoria is, nor do I know her Secret. In fact, I once slunk into a Southern California Victoria’s Secret and approached one of the the stock girls. In my very best whisper, I rasped: hey, can you let me in on the secret?

Not only did I get slapped, that was one hellish weekend I spent in jail.

Never again. Whatever the secret is at Victoria’s, it certainly has nothing to do with college football. ‘Cuz them ladies running that store know nothing ’bout it. Big Ten fans, get a load of this shirt:

Victoria’s Secret Michigan State T-shirt

You see the issue? If you are Ann from Arbortown, USA, you would know:

The women’s lingerie company came out with a Michigan State T-shirt with “Spartans” across the front and the Michigan State logo on the back. However, underneath “Spartans” the shirt reads, “Hail to the Victors.”

The problem with this? Well, that’s the motto/fight song of rival Michigan.

Tell Popeye, US Navy Sailor, the Secret

I especially like the words Pink below the Spartan helmet. I know that it is the Victoria’s Secret secret brand or something-or-other. I have seen it emblazoned across, um, er, certain regions of low-slung sweatpants. That don’t ever see much sweat.

Now which one of you ladies is gonna let a Sailor in on the Secret? (Hmm, that sentence sounds hilarious! Imagine Popeye growling it.)

No National Geographic-like, mating innuendo intended. I just wanna be in on the mystery.

Undoubtably, there were a couple of guffaws in Michiganland over it. Or perhaps they were just too happy with how well their Wolverines played today:

Nebraska’s first trip to Michigan Stadium since 1962 was simply miserable.

Denard Robinson threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores to help No. 20 Michigan rout the 17th-ranked Cornhuskers 45-17 Saturday.

Nebraska (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) lost any hope of playing in the conference’s first title game in its debut season in the league.

Hail to the Victors! No Hail to the Victoria’s!

Veteran’s Day at the Carrier Classic

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the NCAA Carrier Classic was played aboard the USS Carl Vinson:

CORONADO, Calif. — The nation’s basketball-fan-in-chief appeared to enjoy the first college hoops game on an active aircraft carrier.

President Barack Obama sat courtside and watched No. 1 North Carolina beat Michigan State 67-55 on Friday night in the Carrier Classic on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson.

The crowd looked massive on the flight deck. And the grey weather lifted:

NCAA Carrier Classic, Michigan State vs. the University of North Carolina, USS Carl Vinson

As for Veteran’s Day, I could not: say it better than the Rev, share a more inspiring video than ASM, or reminisce like Lou. . .

NCAA Basketball on the USS Carl Vinson: What Are the Sailors Saying?

San Diego is supposed to host the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson this Friday, the 11th of November, at 4 p.m. PT (11/11/11.) The NCAA basketball game features North Carolina and Michigan State and will be played outside, on the flight deck. President Obama is even rumored to be attending. One tiny problemo: rain.

From the weather experts over at the Military Times:

The first college basketball game to ever be played on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier will happen on Friday.

Well, maybe not.

MSU Camouflage Uniform in Army colors

A storm could hit San Diego on game day, which would force the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic to be played in the Carl Vinson’s hangar deck. Weather.com says there’s a 50 percent chance of rain on Friday, and they’re also saying that the high temperature will be 62 degrees.

Making things even worse for the players, there’s also supposed to be 10mph winds that could gust to significantly higher speeds.

Surely this can’t be a surprise to those who scheduled this game. November weather in San Diego is as unpredictable as a Sailor on liberty in Thailand. (Or perhaps a Sailor on Thai liberty is highly predictable?)

San Diego’s Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, USS Carl Vinson

So the back-up site is the hangar deck. Of course, the’ll have to clear out any flying machines present, those big brids that soar through the sky, flown by Sailors with Wings of Gold. Moving indoors will cut the seating in half. Being the Navy and all, we are planning contingencies and getting the alternative space ready:

Hangar Deck, USS Carl Vinson, Bad Weather Site

One of the seniors playing for the MSU Spartans has a brother in the Marine Corps. And Corps bro is going to watch hoops bro throw down:

A special reunion will take place onboard the USS Carl Vinson at Friday’s NCAA Carrier Classic basketball game when a local Marine will watch his brother play.

After finishing training in North Carolina, Marine 2nd Lt. Thomas Thornton – who was commissioned last summer – has arrived at Camp Pendleton for his assignment and also just in time for a big game.

Michigan State Uniform, Carrier Classic, USS Vinson

As for the uniform, it looks to be a special edition. Nevermind that the Spartans’ camouflage looks like the Army’s. About the baggy threads, the MSU coach has this to say:

”I think the uniforms are pretty cool,” Spartans head coach Tom Izzo said in a Monday release on MSUSpartans.com

“They definitely put the spotlight on our military and that’s what this is for.”

No player names will appear on the back of the jerseys, instead being replaced by “U.S.A.” above uniform numbers.

But the big question remains: what do the local Sailors think? Months prior, it seemed an impossibility. When I raised the issue, people first assumed I was joking. Now that it is happening in mere days, weather is the main concern. And the hangar is a big step-down from the outside option.

Don’t pray for rain. Pray for temperate weather. If it is played on the flight deck, the first half will be in the waning daylight and the second will be in the dark, under the night lights. Go Navy! Beat the weather! (And Army. . .)

Stealing Avocados, NCAA Basketball, the USS Carl Vinson, and President Obama

So our beloved Sandy Eggo has made the national news cycle tonight!

On the Yahoo trending now section, a local story is number two. Take a guess what the topic is. The San Diego Chargers? Or maybe the Navy? The Michigan State versus North Carolina NCAA basketball game to be played on the USS Carl Vinson? Nope, try avacado thievery:

Delicious Avocados

An avocado thief received a strange punishment in California.

The jobless man is limited to possessing no more than 10 of the delicious fruit at a time.

In addition, he also has to stay away from groves where they grow.

As for the basketball angle, the Carrier Classic game between North Carolina and Michigan State, surely you have heard of this match-up:

The Navy has given final approval for the Morale Entertainment Foundation to stage the Carrier Classic basketball game between North Carolina and Michigan State on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Veterans Day.

The Mighty USS Carl Vinson

It will be the first NCAA hoops game on an active flat top.

Rear Admiral Dennis Moynihan, the Navy’s chief spokesman, and Mike Whalen, director of the Morale Entertainment Foundation, said the game on 11-11-11 on San Diego Bay will be played without cost to taxpayers and without operational issues that would adversely affect the Navy.

Guess who will be in attendance? Jacky Nicholson? Nope. WIlliam Crystal, Steve Spielberg? Negative, shipmate. Try the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama:

President Barack Obama, the nation’s basketball-fan-in-chief, will have the seat of his choice at the Carrier Classic hoops game on Veterans Day on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier that buried Osama bin Laden at sea.

Barack Obama, Slam Dunk Champion

The White House announced Thursday that Obama has accepted an invitation to attend the Nov. 11 matchup between North Carolina and Michigan State, the first college basketball game on an active flat top.

The Carl Vinson and its sailors have attracted considerable attention since early May, when the carrier conducted bin Laden’s burial at sea after he was killed by Navy SEALs in a raid ordered by Obama.

The United States Navy, lethal when deployed. Useful for hosting highly-ranked basketball teams when in port. I can just see the headline the next day:

412 shots fired from the deck of the Carl Vinson, no injuries reported.