Monthly Archives: April 2009

20 Athletes You Would Want with You in a Bar Fight

Written by rtcrooks

Watching sports while drinking can lead to some testosterone-fueled disputes. When one’s favorite player or team gets called into question, it often doesn’t take much more for the situation to escalate to throwing blows across the bar. This situation begs the question, if you had to choose one athlete to join your corner in the scuffle, who would it be? We have a few suggestions of the biggest badasses in sports, past and present.

Nolan Ryan


Towards the end of his Hall of Fame career, Nolan Ryan realized he may have a future in street brawling. After he threw a brush back pitch, batter Robin Ventura charged the mound and quickly found out what it felt like to get his ass beat by a skinny white guy in his 40s. The world was left in awe of Ryan’s ability to man-handle someone nearly half his age. If you’re ever in need of a lesson in how to beat up someone quicker, younger and stronger than you, then take a lesson from this classic display of old-man-strength.

Mike Vallely


For some reason, Mike Vallely has convinced himself that looking like a homeless guy is cool. Whether or not that adds to his intimidation factor, Vallely has been skateboarding professionally since the mid 80s, but may have taken his fighting style from his recreational hockey play. Since busting onto the scene he has been known to finish a fight or two. Most famously, Vallely took on 4 frat guys at one time with his fists; luckily it was caught on video. This video should prove to anyone that if Vallely is on your side, you are damn near invincible.

OJ Simpson


Not only can OJ Simpson bring his superior knife skills to your defense, but he also is known to be able to assemble a crack team of legal professionals to assist in getting you off scot-free. Fortunately, Simpson will have nine years to continue honing his fighting skills while serving time for kidnapping and assault. I guess you can add those skills to his fight resume as well.

Pedro Martinez


There are many angry old men who sit at bars, pick fights, and talk crap on the younger generation. If this is the case at your bar, then you want Pedro Martinez on your side. When the Red Sox faced the Yankees in 2003, tempers flared and benches cleared. 72-year-old bench coach Don Zimmer learned to respect the younger, stronger generation when he went after Martinez and was promptly knocked on his face. Bloodied and humiliated, Zimmer became famous for the solid ass-beating he received. With Pedro on your side, the old shit-talkers won’t have a stubby leg to stand on.

Adam “Pacman” Jones


When your team roster picture looks like a mug shot, there is a good chance you are no stranger to run-ins with the law. And I would also bet that these run-ins were not the result of merely shoplifting Twizzlers from Circle K. Since Adam “Pacman” Jones’ professional career began in the NFL, he seems to have spent more time in court than on the field. As a rule of thumb, I don’t fuck with anyone whose neck-to-head size ratio is anywhere near 1:1. If you are ever at a bar fight in Dallas, make sure this guy is on your side.

Ron Hextall


Hockey Goalies aren’t often known for much more than protecting the goal against pucks. Some do it well, others not as well, but only one consistently kicked ass and took names. This 6’3″ Canadian was like a caged wolverine ready to attack anyone who pissed him off. In his nearly 20 seasons as a professional goalie, Hextall still holds the single season record for PIM (penalties in minutes) by a goalie with 113. Thankfully there are no penalty minutes in real life, therefore nothing could stop Hextall from helping you finish your bar fight.

Latrell Sprewell


Latrell Sprewell has issues. While in the NBA, Sprewell was known for his bad attitude and difficulty with authority. At the height of his career, Sprewell choked out his coach PJ Carlisimo and then made him apologize after practice. Trouble like this continued to plague Sprewell throughout his successful career. Some have questioned Sprewell’s sanity, but no one in their right mind would question this corn-rowed four-time NBA All-Star’s ability to finish someone off in a scrap.

Roger Clemens


Known by many as “The Rocket,” Roger Clemens became one of the greatest pitchers to ever play baseball. His 95 mph fastball struck fear in the hearts of many who opposed him. But what demonstrated his true power to intimidate others was his ability to hurl a splintered wooden bat at 95 mph. Clemens now claims he is able to control the roid-rage that caused that incident. Regardless, that type of rage can prove helpful when you have nothing but a pool cue and are caught between drunk opponents and a Foosball table.

Bob Probert


According to, with over 200 recorded career fights, Bob Probert is widely regarded as the best hockey fighter of all time. His single season record for fights was 23. NHL players learned quickly that Probert was not to be messed with, and that he was better to have on your side than to oppose. The same principle proves true in the barroom floor, Probert is a fighter no one wants to mess with.

John Daly


Known for hitting the long ball and not taking any crap from anyone, many wonder if Daly has finally passed his prime. After recently being arrested outside a North Carolina Hooters, distinguished golf fans have seemingly turned their back on him and written him off as a has-been. Regardless of what snobby golf fans think, John Daly always has and always will have a little something that the other pros could not (and would not) ever touch.

Gershon Mosley


Professional Skater Gershon Mosley grew up on the tough streets of Compton, Ca in the 8os and 90s. So when fellow professional skater Andrew Reynolds called Mosley the “N” word, he knew he had a beat down coming. And boy did a beat down come. Mosley isn’t a large guy by any means, but he sure used everything in him to teach Reynolds a lesson. Take this from Mosley, size doesn’t matter but crazy fists sure do.

David Fa’alogo


Americans don’t know much about rugby, other than it seems to be a cross between soccer and football. For the Kiwi David Fa’alogo, rugby is life and that means that he basically kicks ass for a living. In a game against New Zealand’s rivals, Fa’alogo felt his opponent had made an unfair move, and responded by bloodying his face up pretty good. Fa’alogo is known for being inhumanly strong and tenacious, two very good qualities for a bar room brawl. See what Fa’alogo can bring to the table in this video below.

Chan ho Park


Though Chan Ho Park is a pitcher, he has proven he doesn’t fit the stereotype. When an altercation came up between him and the opposing pitcher during an inter-league game. Park answered his opponent with a swift knee to the head. Quick fighters like Park prove to be very useful during bar room scuffles, due to alcohol’s intended effect on the speed of your opponent.

Zinedine Zidane


In the final minutes of the World Cup Final, French footballer Zinedine Zidane laid his head not-so-softly on the chest of his unsuspecting shit-talking Italian opponent. Seemingly taking all his frustrations out on this one player, Zidane will forever be known for taking one of the worst cheap shots in the history of sports. Though cheap shots are frowned upon in the public square, they have proven to be very useful when it comes to winning bar brawls.

Mo Vaughn


In baseball, Mo Vaughn was more than just a long bomber, he was also a bruiser. Having been known for protecting his fellow teammates during many bench-clearing brawls, he acted more like a bouncer than your average baseball player. As a giant among mortal men, Vaughn would use his size and strength to pick players off one by one in these instances. Having someone like Mo Vaughn on your side would most likely end any confrontation before it even started.

Jose Offerman


In late summer of 2007, Jose Offerman was booked on assault charges for using a bat in a minor league fight. To make matters worse, he was banned for life from the Independent League in which he was trying to makes his career comeback. Though hitting someone with a bat is against the law, Offerman has proven that crazy can win fights, even if it lands him in jail.

Izzy Alcantara


Mexican League baseball player Izzy Alcantara demonstrated to the world that he has no problem taking on more than one guy at a time. After repeated brush back pitches by the opposing pitcher, Alcantara karate-kicked the catcher and then charged the mound. Though the opposing team surrounded Alcantara, he continued to fight until it was broken up. A fighter with the tenacity of Alcantara would be a welcome edition to anyone’s fight corner no matter where you are in the world.

Raider Nation


When the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and then back to Oakland, the franchise solidified the following of the most badass fans California had to offer. The Raider Nation not only dress the part, but are down to fight whenever and wherever, and have proved this time and again. If you piss these fans off at a game, whether at home or away, they will start and finish a very brutal fight. It has been proven that if the Raider Nation has your back, then you are in a very safe place.

Ray Lewis


Ray Lewis is one of the hardest hitting linebackers to ever play the game of football. He is not only known as a killer on the field, but off the field as well. When Lewis was 24 he was accused, along with two other men, of murdering two people. Luckily, Lewis hired some of the same guys who defended OJ, and was eventually exonerated of all charges. Regardless, this incident, along with his devastating hitting on the field, gave him an intimidating reputation.

Jim Everett


Jim Everett was a decent quarterback in the 1980s and 90s, but toward the end of his career, his game became plagued with frequent interceptions and multiple injuries. After taking a lot of shit from sports Radio/TV personality Jim Rome calling him “Chris Evert”, a reference to the female tennis star, he confronted him in a television interview. Needless to say, Jim Rome learned on national television to never mess with an All-Pro Quarterback again. Having Everett on your side will definitely help you settle the score with the mouthy douchebags at your local bar.

10 Youtube URL Tricks You Should Know About

Written by Varun Kashyap

youtube url tricks Youtube – You know that site with videos and all. Yeah! It turns out that its quite popular and you happen to visit and use it quite often. Instead of just searching and playing here are some top Youtube URL tricks that you should know about:

1. View high quality videos

Youtube gives you the option to switch to high quality videos for some of the videos, however you can check if a video is available in high quality format by appending ‘&fmt=18?(stereo, 480 x 270 resolution) or ‘&fmt=22?(stereo, 1280 x 720 resolution) for even higher quality.

2. Embed Higher Quality Videos

While the above trick works for playback, if however you want to embed hig quality videos you need to append “&ap=%2526fmt%3D18? and “&ap=%2526fmt%3D22? to the embed url.

3. Cut the chase and link to the interesting part

Linking to a video where the real action starts at 3 minutes 22 seconds, wondered if you could make it start at 03:22? You are in luck. All you have to do is add #t=03m22s (#t=XXmYYs for XX mins and YY seconds) to the end of the URL.

4. Hide the search box

youtube url start time

The search box appears when you hover over an embedded video. To hide the search box add ‘&showsearch=0? to the embed url.

5. Embed only a part of Video

youtube url to mp3

Just append ‘&start=30? to skip first 30s of the video. In general you can modify the value after start= to the number of seconds you want to skip the video for.

6. Autoplay an embedded video

Normally when you embed a Youtube video and load the page, the player is loaded and it sits there waiting for you to hit the play button. You can make the video play automatically by adding ‘&autoplay=1? to the url part of the embed code.

7. Loop an embedded video

Append ‘&loop=1? to make the video start again without user intervention after it reaches the end.

8. Disable Related Videos

youtube url downloader

Publishing your content in the form of Youtube video? Don’t want people to see other people’s content that may be related but may as well be in competition to you? Just add ‘&rel=0? to the end of the url part of the embed code and you just turned off the related video suggestions!

9. Bypass Youtube Regional Filtering

Some videos are only available in certain parts of the world. Your IP Address is used to determine your location and then allow or deny access to the video. Change the url from<somecode> to<somecode>

10. Download Video

Although not inherently a youtube trick but useful all the same for downloading videos. Just change youtube to kickyoutube in the url of the video and it will take you to with all the options for downloading the video you were watching.

Do you know of some similar Youtube URL tricks and hacks? Fire them in comments!

21 Photos That Look Like They’re Photoshopped But Aren’t

Collected by AN Jay

There are hundreds of posts available on the internet about photoshop and photo manipulation. You probably have also seen many photos or images that have been photoshopped and inspire others. Today, we are posting another post that probably will make you look twice. In this post we are listing 21 Brilliant Photos That Look Like They’re Photoshopped But Are Not. These are not photoshopped in terms of that all the objects and their actions are real but might be editied for colors and adjustments. I appreciate to all those talented photographers who taken these excellent photos with their efforts, imaginations and creativity to give us a chance to see these photographic wonders from their creative eyes. This list is not long in numbers but I promise you that when you start browsing them in details it will surely refresh you and force you to know more about these photographers. These are the wonder creations of photographers who use their creativity with a different angle and approach to get the result that makes a difference. Click on the images to go from where the images has been taken and learn more about their creators and to appreciate them.

Infinite Possibilities by Philip Perold

Infinite Possibilities

She by Adam Holweg


Cloud Shadows and Rays by philliefan99

Cloud Shadows and Rays

In Memoriam by Frank Daske

In Memoriam

Bubbles by Flor


Torch for Seattle by hb19

Torch for Seattle

Fall by A. Zahron


A cloud of tea by Gilles Pinault

A cloud of tea

The metallic eye by Diego Salom Pedemonti

The metallic eye

Seemingly by Jean Leopold


Water by Katosu


holding on to daylight by hb19

holding on to daylight

Trampet in the Sunset by Hye

Trampet in the Sunset

Falling Up by nikki.jane

Falling Up

Magic Mushroom by CSD

Magic Mushroom

Nelly by chriskaula


Rose Of Many Colours by Jonathan Jones

Rose Of Many Colours

Ball of Life by BigRPhoto

Ball of Life



Clouds by Jotamyg


Dancing Water by Nevery

Dancing Water

5 Rock Bands That Don’t Need Their Own Guitar Hero Game

Written by NickSmith

Last summer Guitar Hero: Aerosmith became the first in the series of Guitar Hero games to be primarily devoted to just one band. Guitar Hero: Metallica became the second just a few short weeks ago. The trend is not likely to slow down considering Aerosmith reportedly has made more money from the game than any one of their albums and there are still many iconic bands looking to capitalize on the success of video games in a struggling music industry.

Rock Band is even getting into the action in September with The Beatles: Rock Band. There are very few bands that have had the success of The Beatles and now the bar for artist based games has been raised even higher.

The three bands above have sold over 100 million albums each, with The Beatles topping the 1 billion sold mark. Other similarities between them are that they have many hit songs, recognizable band members, and have long lasting legacies.

There are several other bands that may or may not meet the criteria above that seemingly could be a nice fit for future games. We have selected five of those rock bands that we do not feel need their own game. This list could have easily been filled with one-hit-wonders or bands that have very little business being in any game, let alone their own.

5. Van Halen

Guitar Hero: Van Halen

Van Halen is one of the most successful rock bands ever. They have sold over 80 million albums and lead the genre in the 1980’s with the most top 100 songs and are the band with the most #1 mainstream rock hits. Where this band is a bad fit for the game is everything that comes along with the music. These guys have had multiple lineup changes featuring David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, and others as the lead singer. This is one game where the music would be right, but the “experience” would probably do no justice to the actual story of the band.

4. U2

Guitar Hero: U2

U2 has more Grammy’s than any other artist ever and are on most lists of the greatest bands of all time. They have tons of top selling albums and high grossing tours. Bono is one of the most recognizable people in the world and The Edge gets his name thrown in some discussions of great guitar players. So why no U2? When it was rumored awhile back that there would be a U2 Guitar Hero game coming, one of the biggest beefs was that they didn’t “rock hard enough”. Others claimed they already had their fill of Bono. In this particular situation I think this game would be a perfect fit for their fans, who enjoy the whole “U2 experience”, and may not have as much interest to many others. DLC packs of their music would probably be enough for them.

3. Nickelback

Guitar Hero: Nickelback

Nickelback has not been around that long when compared to the other bands on this list or already with games of their own. Since 1996 they have released six studio albums which have collectively sold millions. Their album “All the Right Reasons” stayed on the Billboard Top 30 for over 2 years and featured 5 Top 20 singles. One of the things they have going against them is that there are many people that strongly dislike them. People attending one of their shows even went as far as to throw rocks at Chad Kroeger and co. on stage. Their music is played on the radio daily and that too plays against them as many lash out about being tired of hearing it and having it “the same”.

2. Coldplay

Guitar Hero: Coldplay

Coldplay is a band that continues to sell but much like Nickelback, catches a ton of negative hype along with their success. Each of their albums has been successful commercially and for the most part critically, winning over 40 awards. They were featured in a major iPod campaign, their lead singer Chris Martin married Gwyneth Paltrow, and they were known as being a charitable group. They are big enough to warrant their own video game and it may sell as the others have, but do we want or need it? When they announced that “Violet Hill” from Viva La Vida would be available as DLC for Guitar Hero III, there was backlash including this line from Kotaku, “It wasn’t enough to kill Guitar Hero, you now gotta whizz on its freshly-covered grave?” This is a band that many people love, but rock fans tend to hate… especially Joe Satriani fans.

1. Creed

Guitar Hero: Creed

There are very strong signs that Creed is set to make a comeback this summer. It will be interesting to see how they are received this time around. Much like Coldplay they sold millions of albums but still spark as much negative coverage as positive. People love to hate Creed. It may be because of the confusing relationship to Christian rock. It may be because their lead singer Scott Stapp was convinced that his band wanted him to commit suicide to recreate the attention success Nirvana received after Kurt Cobain killed himself. Or it may just be the way they carried themselves on stage. Regardless, this is a band that had commercial success with their album sales, their touring, and having their music featured everywhere, most notably in a partnership with WWE. Part of the problem with a game devoted to Creed would be what other bands would be featured in the game? Alter Bridge and what else?

Our picks are five well known bands that may have enough commercial appeal to market a product. They feature pompous band members, bouts with rehab, suicide attempts, lawsuits, and wrecked tours just like most great “rock bands”. Yet all of that put together still is not enough for us.

Anyone else agree with our picks? Who would be more deserving? Were we too hard on your favorite band? Let us know here or on Twitter.

20 Disturbing Facts on US Healthcare Everybody Should Know

Written by molly

1) 46 Million American have NO health insurance.

2) 9.4 Million children have No health insurance.

3) Insurance costs are outpacing income by eight-fold.

4) Every year one Million Americans lose their coverage.

5) The cost of health care causes bankruptcy every 30 seconds.

6) By the end of 2009 1.5 Million people are going to lose their homes due to illness.

7) America spends twice as much per person on health care as other rich countries.

8) Americans spent $2.2 Trillion on health care in 2008.

9) 1/3 of the US population under age 65 has NO health insurance.

10) US Health care costs are twice the GDP of India.

11) Americans life expectancy is 2 years less than Europeans.

12) Projected health care costs by 2012 are $3.1 Trillion a year.

13) Health care cost are 4 times higher than our national defense.

14) America spent 17% of it’s GDP on health care in 2008.

15) By 2017 Americans will be spending 20% of GDP on health care.

16) France spends 9.5% of GDP on health care, Switzerland spends 10.9%, Canada spends 9.7%, every person in those countries has health insurance.

17) Premiums for employer based health care went up by 5% in 2008, small employers premiums went up 5.5%, small business with less than 24 workers went up 6.8%.

18) Annual premiums for family coverage eclipsed the gross earnings for a full time, minimum wage worker ($10, 712) per year.

19) Health insurance is the fastest growing expense cost component for employers, health care costs will over take profits.

20) Health insurance premiums have grown four times faster than wages.

Rush Limbaugh’s 10 Dumbest Remarks

Collected by Christopher Bateman

Rush Limbaugh’s three-decade career in radio has produced some of the dumbest statements ever uttered. To coincide with Michael Wolff’s article on Limbaugh from the new issue, presents a list of the schlock jock’s 10 most asinine pronouncements:

1. “There is no conclusive proof that nicotine’s addictive… And the same thing with cigarettes causing emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease.”

2. “Columbus saved the Indians from themselves.”

3. “He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act… This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”

4. “[African Americans] are twelve percent of the population. Who the hell cares?”

5. “Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human debris.”

6. “Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.”

7. “We are a growing country and everybody needs energy! We’re not going to stay the United States if we start reducing energy usage. Conservation is not the answer.”

8. To a black caller: “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”

9. On torture at Abu Ghraib: “This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation. And we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it, and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I’m talking about people having a good time, these people-you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some team off?”

10. “Screw the world. Do you really think we ought to govern ourselves based on what the world thinks of us?”

Photograph courtesy of Patrick McMullan.

Not Again! 24 Great Films Too Painful To Watch Twice

Collected by avclub

1. Requiem For A Dream (2000)

Darren Aronofsky’s brutal adaptation of Hubert Selby’s novel depicts the horrors of substance abuse in many forms-heroin, pot, caffeine, prescription pills, hope-with such visceral, breathtaking force that shell-shocked audiences were forced to think long and hard about pouring that first cup of coffee the next day. The result is one of the only genuinely effective, non-hysterical anti-drug movies ever made. Dream flirts extensively with delirious camp during its fever dream of a climax, but retains a pummeling power thanks to Aronofsky’s unblinking willingness to trawl deep into the bowels of hell alongside his heartbreakingly fragile characters.

2. Dancer In The Dark (2000)

Starting with 1996’s Breaking The Waves, writer-director Lars von Trier all but commandeered the genre of fascinating, beautifully wrought movies that are too agonizing to sit through twice. Waves, Dogville, Dancer In The Dark, and even the less successful Manderlay all center on women making well-meaning but disastrous choices, attempting to help other people but winding up meekly agreeing to their own financial, sexual, and emotional exploitation. And when presented with such humble, cooperative victims, the people around them tend to abandon any semblance of morality and decency in order to take full advantage of the sacrifices they’ve been offered. Dancer In The Dark follows the same pattern as the others, but it’s particularly painful thanks to Björk’s sweet, nakedly vulnerable performance as a cringing immigrant factory worker who’s gradually going blind while trying to save up money so her son can have the operation that will save him from the same fate. Von Trier calculates his plotlines with exacting, inspired sadism, ensuring that her attempts to reach out to others backfire, her kindness is repaid with betrayal, and every seeming spark of hope exists only to better illuminate the miserable darkness. And yet Dancer is a beautiful film, filled with terrific performances and heartbreaking music, performed by Björk in character.

3. The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928)

Von Trier owes his entire painful career to his Danish countryman Carl Dreyer, particularly his silent classic The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, which deals with the ultimate case of a woman suffering for her faith. What makes the film difficult to watch isn’t so much Joan’s persecution at the hands of her ecclesiastical tormentors, or even Maria Falconetti’s famously expressive performance, which registers her anguish in every crevice of her face. Its disturbing intensity comes mainly from Dreyer’s refusal to play by the rules: Defying the most basic tenets of cinematic grammar, which require filmmakers to establish spatial relationship on a 180-degree plane, Dreyer instead constructs the film as a series of extreme close-ups, with little sense of where the characters are in relation to one another. That disorientation, combined with the feverish emotions whipped up by the trial, places viewers in a grim psychic space.

4. The Seventh Continent (1989)

Just about every film by Michael Haneke-the fiendishly precise Austrian director of Funny Games, The Piano Teacher, and Caché-could have made this list. An unsparing moralist with a peerless talent for getting under viewers’ skins, Haneke backs up his schoolmarm-ish theses on violence with a punishing aesthetic that couldn’t be further from the escapist frivolity of Hollywood fare. The first entry in a so-called “glaciation trilogy” that continued with Benny’s Video and 71 Fragments Of A Chronology Of Chance, Haneke’s brilliant debut feature The Seventh Continent watches with chilling dispassion as an average middle-class family sets about destroying itself. Haneke starts by focusing on the mundane, joylessly repetitive details of their life, then follows the drastic measures they take in carefully dismantling it. In the pantheon of Haneke shocks-the “remote control” in Funny Games, the broken glass in The Piano Teacher, Maurice Bénichou’s fate in CachéContinent‘s fish-tank scene may be the most emotionally wrenching.

5. Winter Light (1962)

Perhaps the grimmest entry in Ingmar Bergman’s “Trilogy Of Faith” (also known as the “God’s Silence” trilogy, which should be a good indicator of the bleakness standards at play), Winter Light follows a small group of parishioners who have no celestial answers for their anguish. The opening scenes alone constitute one of the sparest expressions of Bergman’s dour spirituality: As a rural pastor performs his noon service, a handful of the faithless faithful go through the requisite motions, but with a palpable disconnection from their meaning. Though he offers himself as counselor, the pastor can’t comfort them, because he too is in spiritual crisis; after serving in Spain during the civil war, he witnessed so many bloody atrocities that he struggled to reconcile the idea of just loving God with the reality of human cruelty and violence. In the end, apostasy is the only answer.

6. Bad Lieutenant (1992)

The blunt title turns out to be an understatement: The hard-living detective in Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, played with fearless brio by Harvey Keitel, surely counts as one of film history’s most corrupt cops. He’s a gambler and an addict, given to pocketing drug seizures for recreational use and planting them when necessary, participating in sleazy sex-and-drug-fueled bacchanals, and flagrantly abusing the public trust. For his part, Ferrara coughs up some suitably repulsive images: a nun getting gang-raped on the altar; a virtual how-to clinic on preparing and shooting up a ball of heroin; a profanity-laced confrontation with Jesus; and most memorably, a scene in which Keitel pulls over two underage girls and agrees to let them go in exchange for sexual favors. As hard as these scenes are to watch, the clincher may be Keitel’s performance itself-a display of raw, unvarnished emotion from a character whose slumbering conscience and faith are suddenly reawakened. Witnessing his transformation is like watching a dried-out junkie.

7. Straw Dogs (1971)

A forceful, unrelenting statement on masculinity and violence, Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs sounds like a perfectly watchable home-invasion thriller, concluding as it does with the hero standing his ground and beating back his formidable attackers. But like many of the films on this list, it’s a case where the moviemaking is skillful enough to make even its simple revenge scenario seem dangerously potent. Critic Pauline Kael described it as a “fascist classic” for casting Dustin Hoffman as a wimpy, bespectacled academic and pacifist whose manhood remains questionable until he’s put through a bloody rite of passage. Hoffman’s gruesome showdown with a group of crude locals would be shocking enough on its own, but the infamous scene that prefaces it counts as even more disturbing. Left alone in their home in a seemingly quaint Cornish village, Hoffman’s wife (Susan George) is raped by her former lover and his crony. Initially horrified, she eventually responds with something close to ecstasy, underlining her husband’s weakness in the context of an indefensible rape fantasy.

8. Audition (1999)

“Kiri-kiri-kiri-kiri-kiri!” (“Deeper, deeper, deeper…”) J-horror maestro Takashi Miike has plenty of disturbing images to his credit-a man suspended horizontally by hooks and doused with hot oil in Ichi The Killer, the infamous lactation sex scene in Visitor Q-but Audition, his best film in a walk, unsettles because its shocks are character-oriented, in addition to merely being gross. The first half of the film could be mistaken for austere melodrama, as Miike follows a widowed producer who “auditions” a new wife under false pretenses, and finds a quiet, petite young woman who fits the bill. But the woman turns out to have a dark agenda, and she answers his deceptions in a horrifically extended torture sequence involving a very long needle. Her retribution is Miike’s sick idea of social critique, addressing the problem of female objectification with unspeakable (and yet weirdly erotic) acts of cruelty.

9. Sick: The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (1997)

Simply describing the sadomasochistic stunts pulled by Bob Flanagan, a performance artist who died from cystic fibrosis at age 43, is enough to get half the population wincing as if they were sucking on a lemon wedge. But seeing Flanagan’s work in Kirby Dick’s surprisingly moving and inspiring documentary Sick is another matter. As a way of combating a body that was constantly betraying him, Flanagan tested his astounding pain threshold in shocking ways, most notoriously including a nail pounded into his penis. (In close-up.) It may sound like something no one would want to watch the first time, let alone twice, but Sick is redeemed by Flanagan’s wicked sense of humor and courageous defiance in fighting a disease that normally strikes down the afflicted during childhood.

10. Come And See (1985)

Many films use a child’s perspective to tell a war story-it’s a easy way to chronicle loss of innocence and portray the consequences of violence. Nothing on film drives this point home quite as effectively as Elem Klimov’s Come And See, the chronicle of one boy’s struggle to defend his Belarusian village from the Nazis in 1943. Aleksei Kravchenko spends the early part of the film eager to join his comrades, finding a damaged rifle of his own and dressing in oversized military clothing, camouflaging his youth before the war actually takes it from him. Kravchenko’s face tells the story, as repeated close-ups document his transformation. By the film’s end, it’s hard to tell whether dried dirt or actual wrinkles are violating his once-youthful visage. The scene where a Nazi officer gleefully pushes Kravchenko to his knees and points a pistol at his temple to pose for a photograph may once have brought to mind Saigon and that notorious execution of a Viet Cong officer. Now, it’s hard not to think of Abu Ghraib.

11. In A Year Of 13 Moons (1978)

There’s torment enough in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s deeply personal In A Year Of 13 Moons long before it reaches the sequence that made it semi-notorious. Fassbinder’s hero, a transvestite martyr played by Volker Spengler, is a pitiable Frankfurt drifter who had a sex-change operation years earlier, prompted by an offhand comment (“too bad you’re not a girl”) from an unattainable object of desire. Spengler convinces neither as a man or as a woman, and he winds up subjecting himself to his old crush, now a cruel businessman whose towering office space is accessed by the password “Bergen-Belsen.” And on top of it all, the film was shot mere weeks after Fassbinder’s lover committed suicide. But 13 Moons saves its most disturbing setpiece for its final act, which contains a monologue on self-mutilation set against footage of the killing floor in a slaughterhouse. Fassbinder super-fan Richard Linklater lifted the idea for Fast Food Nation as a tactic for letting audiences know where their steaks and burgers come from, but the combination of those images and the dissociated voiceover makes 13 Moons considerably more disturbing.

12. Safe (1995)

A sort-of horror movie in which the monster is the entire world, Todd Haynes’ Safe follows a rich, empty housewife (played masterfully by Julianne Moore) into the depths of “environmental illness”-a malady that real-world doctors still can’t agree on. Is it all in her head, which is half-vacant and in need of something to worry about when all basic needs are met? Or is she just sensitive to low levels of toxic chemicals that most people simply don’t notice? The film doesn’t offer an clear answer-instead, it follows Moore through incredibly uncomfortable anxieties and unpeggable illnesses. She ends up at a wellness retreat, which at first seems to offer some hope, but she’s soon sucked even deeper into the discomfort of her own mind. It’s pure bleakness.

13. Irreversible (2002)

Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible picked up some well-deserved notoriety for its centerpiece, a gasp-inducing nine-minute single-take sequence in which Jo Prestia anally violates Monica Bellucci at knifepoint in a grimy (and highly symbolic) red underground tunnel, then beats her to an unrecognizable pulp. There’s nothing cinematic or subversively sexy about the rape scene; it’s a ghastly, raw experience that seems to go on for hours, with Bellucci’s muffled cries and wide, blank eyes becoming increasingly inhuman as the process drags on. But Noé doesn’t make the rest of the film any easier to take. Laying out the story in reverse chronological order, he begins with a stomach-churning act of revenge for the rape, then sets his camera spinning slowly end-over-end, preventing viewers from gathering their bearings and turning the film into a ghastly carnival ride. Throughout the film, his shocking content and his startling intimacy with his characters make for a strikingly vivid, immersive, intense experience, but it’s a singularly exhausting one as well.

14. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Graphic rape scenes are tough enough to sit through without squirming, but the brutal assaults in Boys Don’t Cry make repeat viewings of the film an act of psychic self-abuse. Based on the real-life tragedy of transgender 21-year-old Brandon Teena-played with haunting depth by Hilary Swank-Boys is relentless in its portrayal of barbaric bigotry in small-town Nebraska. After Swank starts a romantic relationship with Chloë Sevigny’s Lana Tisdel, Lana’s redneck friends forcibly expose Teena as a biological female, then savagely rape her before the hatred escalates to an inevitably horrific end. Just as sickening as the violence, though, is the complicity of Lana’s mother-who calls Teena “it” and ultimately gives the boys sanction to “clean up” the situation-and the outright antagonism (bordering on titillation) of the hick sheriff who grills Teena after the rape. The fact that the film’s events are based on truth-and the lingering attachment Boys Don’t Cry has to the hate-fueled murder of Matthew Shepherd around the time of its release-only magnifies its gut-crawling impact.

15. Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)

From the opening scene showing 14-year-old protagonist Seita dying on a train-station floor as harried travelers look on bemusedly, it’s clear that Grave Of The Fireflies isn’t going to be easy to watch. An animated Japanese film as visually beautiful as it is emotionally draining, Fireflies finds tragedy in the horrors of war and the dangers of human pride. The story of two Japanese siblings orphaned during the firebombing of their village during World War II, Grave draws out the suffering of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko over 88 quietly horrifying minutes as they struggle, and eventually fail, to survive in a bleak, war-torn landscape. In spite of its dark subject matter, Fireflies is brightly colored and peppered with sweetly innocent moments between brother and sister, making their eventual fates all the more disturbing.

16. When The Wind Blows (1986)

This deceptively sweet little British animated feature emphasizes the cost of war on a very personal level, by observing a quiet rural couple preparing for impending nuclear conflict, then slowly dying of radiation poisoning afterward. Naïvely accepting everything their government pamphlets tell them (though they don’t understand much of what they’re told, and remain sure that since they can’t see or feel any radiation, it can’t possibly be hurting them), they fumble through their days, gently squabbling and supporting each other in homey old-married fashion without comprehending either the scope or the causes of the fight that’s killing them from afar. Perhaps the saddest part is their conviction that nuclear war will be no different from World War II, which they lived through, and that if they just tough it out and tighten their belts, they can get through lethal radiation poisoning the way they got through wartime shortages. Much like Grave Of The Fireflies, When The Wind Blows is adorable in its personal, knowing details, and excruciating in its big picture.

17. Leaving Las Vegas (1996)

It’s been a long fall for Nicolas Cage, from celebrated Best Actor Oscar winner a mere decade ago to the star of Next, Ghost Rider, and (tee-hee, “How’d it get burned?”) The Wicker Man. It’s honestly hard to remember at this point what a revelation he was in his Oscar-winning role in Leaving Las Vegas, as a failed screenwriter pointedly setting out to drink himself to death. The film, written and directed by Stormy Monday‘s Mike Figgis, is more consciously polished and Hollywood-y than most of the films on this list, but it has much the same quality of unstintingly, aggressively delving into just how miserable human beings can get. It isn’t enough, for instance, that co-star Elisabeth Shue is trapped in a degrading life as a Vegas prostitute. It isn’t enough that her best friend is an abusive, suicidal drunk who seems content to drag her down with him. It isn’t enough when she gets gang-raped, and subsequently evicted from her home by landlords clearly uncomfortable with the disreputable appearance of a bruised-up, limping rape victim. No, she actually has to get mocked and abused on her way home after the rape, as her taxi driver, noticing how gingerly she’s moving, asks if she got “a back-door delivery you weren’t expecting,” then tells her she was asking for it by dressing the way she does. Only Figgis’ glittery, somber direction and the leads’ stellar performances turn this wallow in miserablism into something sadly poetic.

18. Jonestown: The Life And Death Of Peoples Temple (2006)

19. S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003)

Though they take drastically different approaches, the Jim Jones documentary Jonestown and S21 are both far too intense and draining for repeat viewing. S21 coldly but powerfully appraises the devastating aftereffects of totalitarianism through the firsthand stories of survivors of Khmer Rouge terror. Jonestown, meanwhile, traces the tragic rise and fall of Jim Jones, a fiery idealist and social activist corrupted by power. People’s Temple attains an almost unbearable intensity in a heart-stopping climax that draws extensively on audio footage miraculously documenting Jones’ endgame strategy of poisoned Kool-Aid and mass suicide. It’s as close to being there as humanly possible.

20. The Last House On The Left (1972)

Taxi Driver is considered the definitive rebuke of ’70s vigilante movies, but it’s a laugh-a-minute joy ride next to the vengeful depravity depicted in The Last House On The Left. Drawing from Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, Wes Craven’s brilliantly unwatchable first feature is a no-holds-barred depiction of the rape and murder of two teenage girls by a pack of hippie lunatics, and the graphic revenge the girls’ parents enact on the murderers. Last House looks cheap and amateurish, which adds to its snuff-film-style realism. Never has the gulf between “great film” and “enjoyable” been so wide.

21. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

The first three-quarters of Million Dollar Baby play like an old-fashioned sports movie, focusing on the heartwarming father-daughter dynamic between coach Clint Eastwood and boxer Hilary Swank. Then (spoiler alert!) Swank suffers a horrible accident in the ring, and Million Dollar Baby is suddenly rich with ripped-from-the-headlines relevance as Eastwood wrestles with the question of whether he should euthanize his surrogate daughter. The decision is appropriately gut-wrenching, and Eastwood’s direction is always tasteful, but who wants to ponder the difficulty of putting a loved one out of their misery if fate doesn’t require it?

22. United 93 (2006)

Writer-director Paul Greengrass dramatizes the events of September 11 on the ground and in the air with a “you are there” veracity that’s gut-wrenching and surprisingly probative. From the initial confusion to the panicked response, United 93 explains what the whole last six years have been like, from shock to violence to exhaustion. But Greengrass’ refusal to insert any kind of distancing effects means that viewers get to relive every second of sick horror from one of the worst days any of us will ever experience. A lot of Americans didn’t want to see United 93 even once, and it was hard to blame them.

23. Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

Just prior to Lilya 4-Ever, Swedish writer-director Lukas Moodysson made Together, a movie so generous in spirit that a lot of its fans found this follow-up, a comparatively bleak story of a teenage Russian sex slave, too tough to take. Actually, Lilya follows logically from Together as another profound illustration of how people need people. (A little familial support would’ve prevented most of the movie’s string of tragedies.) But in spite of a spectacular lead performance by Oksana Akinshina-and a lyrical final scene that tries to put a happy spin on human misery-Lilya 4-Ever essentially asks its audience to watch the hopes of a bright, pretty girl get crushed one by one. It’s powerful stuff that lingers in the memory so strongly that a second viewing may not even be necessary.

24. Nil By Mouth (1997)

Gary Oldman has openly said that he appears in dreck like Air Force One because Hollywood paychecks let him fund his own indie films. So far, though, his only writing-directing project is Nil By Mouth, a gritty, grueling drama in Mike Leigh mode. Like Irreversible, it centers on a protracted, nauseating act of violence against a woman, framed within a nervy, talky plot. But Nil By Mouth is less story-driven; it mostly captures, intimately and unsparingly, the details of working-class life in South London, among addicts and alcoholics. It’s an impressively immediate, immersive film, but a hard one to sit through, thanks to its direct look at physical and emotional abuse. Then again, the accents are so dense, and the dialogue flies so fast and furious, that it may be necessary to watch it twice just to follow what’s going on. Sometimes even the most exhausting films have to be watched more than once.

Top 10 Must-Have Firefox Extensions, 2009 Edition

Written by Kevin Purdy

Last time we compiled our must-have Firefox extensions, it was two years (and one browser version) ago. Our new list keeps some, tosses others, and remains our go-to, Grandmaster list of the best Firefox add-ons.

All four of the editors you see posting here daily were asked to name the extensions they think have the most day-to-day value while also adding something new and unique to the open-source browser. It was reassuring to see that more than half of the extensions we featured last time ’round are still on the list, as they obviously kept their value. But four newcomers cropped up in the two years since then, and were innovative enough, or showed enough potential, to make it on our new compendium.

Each Top 10 entrant is linked to the page where Firefox users can install them from. See if you can’t find something new for your browsing routine below.

10. AutoCopy

We like it because we’re bloggers, having to quote and copy links and code every day, but anyone who does a fair amount of copying to and from the web will dig AutoCopy. The basic use: It copies anyt text you select on the web as soon as you select it-no Ctrl+C necessary. For pasting into text forms, you simply hit the middle mouse button rather than Control+V. If that’s all it did, hey, we’d recommend it to anyone who writes, copies, or pastes a lot, but we also have to point out that it fixes really long, wrap-broken URLs automatically. Three cheers for fewer pinky-finger stretches!

9. Google Gears

It’s a bit more technical than most browser extensions, but for all intents and purposes, Gears is an easy-to-install add-on that unlocks an entirely new world to the internet. Primarily, it takes Google apps offline-Gmail, Google Reader, Docs, and Calendar-but a handful of other apps make good use of its mini-database powers, including Remember the Milk and PassPack. Still, given the kind of impressive implementation Offline Gmail received, we’ve only scratched the surface of the potential in them there gears.

8. Personal Menu

Personal Menu is kind of a next-generation version of the much-loved Tiny Menu, accomplishing the same basic but totally great effect: Giving the web content you’re actually looking at more space to breath. It does this by stripping the screen-wide menu bar at the top of Firefox’s windows and converting it into a single drop-down menu, then lets you choose which of those menus show up in it. Keyboard shortcut ninjas can enable an option to temporarily bring back the menu bar when Alt is pressed, and the extension auto-adds a history and bookmarks button to the main toolbar to compensate for the two most active menus.

7. Better Gmail 2

It’s not a revelation that Gmail functionality is one of our pet obsessions. Better Gmail 2 fixes or answers a lot of our Gmail complaints and wishes in one neat package. You can individually enable or kill any of Better Gmail’s more than a dozen fixes and improvements, and whenever a great new Gmail user script hits the Greasemonkey realm, you can count on seeing it added to Better Gmail by our own Gina Trapani.

6. DownThemAll!

Not a tool you need every day, but really useful when you want it, DownThemAll is a selective, powerful download manager. It makes short work of snatching all the images on a page (including those links to the “bigger” or “zoom” versions), all the MP3s off a music blog, or any other kind of filter you can set up. Gina’s showed us how to do some smart tune-grabbing and Flickr downloading with her guide to supercharging your Firefox downloads with DownThemAll, but her walkthrough should work for any types of files and any page. Incidentally, DownThemAll isn’t just one of our favorites-it’s also the most popular download manager among Lifehacker readers.

5. Tab Mix Plus

Remember browsing before tabs? We kind of recall a faint smell of kerosene and words like “dubloon” still in use. In all seriousness, browser tabs are the key ingredient to how many of us multi-task on the web every day, and Tab Mix Plus is a master key for everything you like or loathe about tabs. It controls which links open in a new tab, new window, or same window to an OCD-friendly level, adds key features like italicizing the text on tabs you haven’t viewed yet, and super-powers Firefox’s undo closed tab feature. It gets way, way more intricate than that, but even for just the bare basics, it’s totally worth the install.

4. Automatic Save Folder

This one is technically an experimental, non-Mozilla-approved download, but with the positive reaction it received in our experimental extensions round-up, and experimental extensions no longer requiring a sign-up and log-in, it’s more than worth stepping out on the ledge. It’s the smart-downloading companion to DownThemAll, placing the files you download in a certain folder on your system based on the file extension or the site you grab it from. So if you always want the .xls spreadsheets you grab from Gmail to go into your Reports folder, but an .xls you grab from anywhere else to show up on your Desktop like everything else, you set the rules. JPG files from your friends’ Flickr page, versus photo downloads off the rest of the net? Tell them where they should go. It keeps your folders and desktop clean, and sets up rules you shouldn’t have to tweak much after one go-truly an extension after our own geeky hearts.

3. Adblock Plus

You knew this would be here, didn’t you? Ad-blocking can make the internet a more tolerable place to look around, and AdBlock Plus does this with a powerful ad-blocking feed subscription you can pick at start-up. Alternately, any ads you find particularly distracting (“ONE RULE TO A FLAT STOMACH: OBEY”) can be right-clicked on and killed in perpetuity with “Adblock Image.” Ads can be brought back if you’re feeling curious, but as many a commenter (and AdBlock-loving editor) has said: After getting used to AdBlock Plus, you forget what the internet truly looks like until you turn this extension off. Lifehacker is, of course, an advertising-supported site, so we’d love it if you kept our ads displaying, opting instead to individually kill only the ones that make your eyeballs itch.

2. Greasemonkey

For Firefox changes that require deep browser integration (like adding a new button to the browser’s chrome), there are extensions. For everything else, there’s Greasemonkey. Greasemonkey is a difficult extension for the uninitiated to wrap their heads around, but once they do, it’s a breeze. In essence, Greasemonkey is a meta-extension of sorts. It does nothing by default when first installed; the power lies in Greasemonkey user scripts developed by JavaScript-wielding geeks fed up with under-performing sites or interested in bringing more power to the sites they already love. If you don’t like seeing labels on your Gmail messages, but wouldn’t mind seeing them when your pointer hovers over them, there’s a fix. Want YouTube to acknowledge your bandwidth and load high-quality clips by default? Same deal. Those are just a few recent examples, but the list goes on, and the fixes keep getting better. You can find Greasemonkey scripts all over the web, but if you’re just getting started, you may also want to check out of like Mozilla’s add-ons site but for Greasemonkey scripts.

1. Foxmarks/Xmarks

Foxmarks is gradually rebranding as Xmarks, but what we really like about Fox/Xmarks remains the same as the last time it claimed the Must-Have crown: It’s nearly seamless at keeping your bookmarks and passwords synchronized between browsers on any platform, and stores them on a site you can visit from any browser where you can’t install an extension. If you’re not down with the cloud, you can even tell this extension to store your stuff on your own server. Foxmarks is also available on IE and Safari, and you can separate your work bookmarking from ooh-cool life stuff with selective bookmark profiles. It’s the tool that lets you keep fleeting thoughts, IM links, and other ephemeral web stuff all together, so of course we dig on it. The transition to Xmarks adds a few semi-nifty, social-y features to your searching and bookmarking, but if you’re not keen on those changes, you can easily disable them in the Xmarks preferences.

Our top 10 is by no means definitive for everyone on the web, so tell us which extensions that weren’t included cry out for a recount, or at least a re-think, and which included extension aren’t your cup of tea. Drop your favorites and argue your case in the comments.

10 easy ways to boost your online security

Written by Nick Peers


The Web of Trust plug-in makes it clear if a site is deemed unsafe

Many people think that installing anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software should inoculate them from all manner of threats.

The truth is, you need to be a bit more savvy than that.

Read on to find out 10 really easy ways to close the security holes that still remain on your PC.

And if you’re called upon to clean the junk off a friend or relative’s PC this Easter break, you might want to share this link with them to save you getting called back out again in a week.

1. Augment your anti-virus tool
Threatfire is designed to work alongside existing security products. Unlike traditional anti-virus tools, it doesn’t rely on signatures to identify malware; instead, it monitors your PC for suspicious malware-like behaviour. The only time you’ll hear from the program is when it’s found something suspicious; otherwise it’ll sit silently in the background.

2. Switch to plain text mail
HTML can be used to hide all sorts of unpleasant things in email. Set your mail program to view all messages as plain text by default – you should see an option for viewing inpidual messages as HTML when you trust the sender.

3. Don’t click mail links
Never visit web sites by clicking links in your email unless you’re 100 per cent sure the link is safe. This is especially true for emails purporting to come from financial institutions asking you to log in to verify your account details – 99.9% are scams (the other 0.1% are irresponsible).

4. Vet your email
Most anti-spam tools only process email that’s been downloaded from your mail server – install PopTray and you can check and preview your mail while it’s still on the server, deleting unwanted and suspicious messages without exposing them to your mail program.

5. Switch web browser
Upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer or switch to a browser that doesn’t support potentially malicious Active-X controls such as Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome. Check the browser’s privacy and security settings are set to Medium High or greater.

6. Check web sites before you visit
Install the free Web of Trust plug-in for Internet Explorer or Firefox (Chrome will be supported once the browser supports third-party add-ons), and you’ll be in a better position to avoid unsafe web sites thanks to its traffic-light system for both sites and search engine results.

7. Manage your passwords
A password manager such as KeePass enables you to securely and easily enter your passwords into any program. As you only need to remember one master password to use the program, there’s no excuse to use the same password across all your online accounts (the program will even generate secure, random passwords for you).

8. Screen all downloads
Never open attachments or downloads directly – save the file to your hard drive, right-click it and run a quick scan with your security tool of choice prior to opening it. When downloading files, make sure you download from a reputable web site (typically the program’s own home page or a respected download site) – the WOT plug-in will help here.

9. P2P basics
Peer-to-peer networks are a breeding ground for malicious software, particularly in content that’s been copyrighted. If you can’t live without P2P, pick a trusted provider and client (such as uTorrent). Be careful what you share, and scan all downloads prior to opening them.

10. Create a virtual sandbox
Sandboxie enables you to run any program in a protected and isolated space on your hard drive. Changes made are discarded when you close the sandbox, so you can surf the web and open mail attachments without fear of malware sneaking on to your PC.