Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I went to Washington, D.C. this week

And I saw some interesting things.

  • Newly-minted Senator Scott Brown's Truck.  Seriously.  And it's kind of a low-rider.  
  • Senator Orrin Hatch getting on an elevator, and he's taller than I expected.
  • The National Statuary Hall Collection on the first floor of the Capitol, which included an awesomely squared-off statue of Father Damien from Hawaii and a statue from Oregon of Edward Dickinson Baker, the only sitting U.S. Senator to die in battle during the Civil War, at the Battle of Ball's Bluff (not to go on too much of a run-on here, but the Battle of Ball's Bluff is not a joke - and it's famous for another reason, in that future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [aka "WEEEEEENDELLLLLL!!!!", for anyone lucky enough to have heard Professor R. Perry Sentell, Jr.'s amazing monologue on the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table and how he created perhaps America's Greatest Jurist] was wounded at the same battle).
  • The seldom-seen underground train-shuttle from the Capitol to the basement of the Russell Senate Building. 
  • An ATM right outside the door of the Senate's private barber shop/shoeshine.  It's strange looking.
  • Myself, nearly dropping trou at the security checkpoint entering the Russell Building.  My belt was a threat, apparently.
  • Countless compelling stories from people affected by Arthritis and Arthritis-related diseases.  I've never felt so optimistic about the future and the proximity to a cure, but I've also never felt more frustrated by the failure of our nation to respond adequately to a massively expensive problem affecting millions of Americans.  I met a six year old already forced to use a wheelchair to get around and for whom painful monthly treatments of shots haven't provided any solace.  I met a teenager from Alaska who, though suffering through a flare, couldn't get to see a rhuematologist for nine long, painful months because (a) there are no pediatric rheumatology specialists, (b) the only rheumatologists currently practicing in Alaska no longer accept new patients, and (c) the pediatric rheumatologist from Washington state who is supposed to fly up to Alaska to meet certain needs won't or can't come during the winter.  I met a twelve year old girl who has had one hip replacement and is looking forward to her second this coming summer.  I met a family with three incredibly brilliant kids, each of whom has been diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a Gulf War veteran father diagnosed with post-traumatic osteoarthritis, where both parents work and have employer-provided insurance, but who, nevertheless, have lost their house because of their oppressive healthcare costs and who have been forced repeatedly to choose which of the three kids would have to go without anti-inflammatory medications this month.  We're the greatest country on earth.  Nobody can go to our nation's capital without feeling a great sense of pride.  But we fail as a nation when it comes to healthcare.  We can do so much better.  We shouldn't fail people who are doing the right thing.  We shouldn't live in a country where a dozen or so states don't have a single medical specialist that serves children with a debilitating disease.  We can do better.  


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm afraid to say that you're not one of them

Saw this commercial for Blue Moon beer a bunch of times tonight.  The song playing is "Punctual as Usual" by the Parson Redheads.  I think it sounds like "Box Elder" by Pavement, one of my favorite high school jams.  That song absolutely rules.  The Pavement song.  The other one is OK, I guess.

Doesn't make me want to drink Blue Moon though.  Watered-down hefeweizen doesn't do it for me.  


Monday, January 18, 2010

Gunners with a brutal stretch ahead

The premiership title might be decided against Arsenal by Valentine's Day.  Between now and then is just a brutal stretch (after the return Bolton match on Wednesday).

1/27: at Aston Villa
1/31: home to Manchester United
2/7: at Chelsea
2/10: home to Liverpool

Anything less than 4 points from those 4 matches and the title might be out of reach.

The good news is that the 5 matches after that are all against the bottom half of the league.  The bad news is that those 5 "easier" matches come right when Arsenal is playing their Champions' League tie against Porto in the middle of the week.  With their injuries and the importance of Champions' League matches, dropping points against the bottom half is likely.

I think smart spending this window would actually be for veteran players who can provide motivation against Wolves and Burnley, not the flashy move that makes the back page.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pundits ignore Mooninite influence at their own peril

The Massachusetts special election for Ted Kennedy's senate seat has garnered national attention because of the underperforming in the polls by Martha Coakley.  Pundits cite democratic malaise, progressive frustration, an uninspiring candidate, and fired up conservatives.  Andrew Sullivan and Radley Balko raise another point though:

"Coakley’s most recent high-profile case was the “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” hoax, in which she defended Boston authorities’ massive overreaction to harmless light-emitting-diode devices left around the city as a promotional gimmick."

One should realize that the Mooninites do whatever they want to whomever they want, at all times.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Incredible Goal

Can't figure out embedding on this.  Figueroa from inside his own half vs. Stoke City.

And a brilliant performance in the second half by Arsenal means the race is on.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Buying a pint for Brad Friedel today

Huge weekend in England.

Man U give up 3 points at home to Villa.  Stellar defense today.  Man City, Spurs and Chelsea give up 2 points a piece (Spurs and Chelsea at home).

Tomorrow's Liverpool/Arsenal match just went from big to massive.  A win by either team reignites a real chance at the title.

Win tomorrow and their game in hand, and the Gunners are just a game off the lead.

Here's what I want: Arshavin plays 90.  Eduardo plays none.  Vermaelen's onrushes lead to something other than a killer counter by Liverpool.  I fear it won't happen.

My guess: Liverpool play better than they have in months and take a win.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lock of the Year

Jane Lynch wins the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Glee.

No one else has a chance.  She's so good it's ridiculous.

"Finding a hairstyle that doesn't make you look like a lesbian."


Saturday, December 05, 2009

So...Whoever loses the Sugar Bowl gets the Notre Dame job?

Bodog's early lines had Brian Kelly and Urban Meyer both at 3/2 to succeed Weis. I think with Urban losing Strong, Tebow, Spikes, and a litany of other stars, this is when he heads to his "dream job."

Strong and Tebow leaving are good enough news for Georgia. Meyer leaving would be icing on the cake.


Saturday, November 28, 2009


  • Keep Russ around for good.
  • Rennie Curran is unbelievable.
  • Reshad Jones played a good game!
  • It wasn't until Tech's last offensive play that it made sense that we didn't double team Thomas the entire game.
  • Why does Demariyus Thomas have a B on his jersey? Or was that just Millen/McDonough incompetency?
  • And speaking of Millen, when even that empty melon head suggests that SEC refs might have an interest in the game, there's a really bad image problem.
  • And other than the Boykin jersey pull on an uncatchable ball (which wasn't a completely outrageous call) and the surprising overrule on the subsequent Dwyer rush, the refs were actually pretty good. I was amazed by how well the line call nailed the Jones INT out of bounds when Hill got hurt. I didn't figure it out in live speed twice and he got it completely right.
  • The two participants in next week's ACC title game both lost this week to SEC teams which would be lucky to play in the Music City Bowl. Get your tickets to Tampa now!
  • It was so good to watch Bobo continue call running plays on the second drive. So damn satisfying.
  • Should we be upset that Drew Butler's non-appearance tonight may have cost him the Ray Guy Award? Probably not, right?
  • Natural order is restored in this state. It's great to be a Georgia Bulldog.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I love animals, and I have ethics, but



Sunday, November 08, 2009

Allow me to reintroduce myself

Ain't gonna lie...

I'm coming out of a fog. A deep one. I've been crushed by my job the last year, couple years, who knows how long. Just haven't been able to be normal and happy with my life - and my life is actually pretty awesome.

But I'm changing jobs. Very excited about the new one. Better lifestyle, more opportunity to be myself, more of a chance to grow professionally.

Now, this space won't become the first thing I'm going to return to - I've still got a number of priorities ahead of this. But I'll probably be able to write a bit more than before.

So on that note, I instruct you to go watch the ESPN 30 For 30 USFL documentary, if just for the segment where Rick Neuheisel sings the Gunslingers' fight song. I'd embed it if I could find it.


Do not speak of Notre Dame again

I know the perils of transitive results in college football. Matchups matter, other externalities may affect results, injuries can happen, etc.

But when it's a one week difference for comparisons, and a number of the externalities would normally work against the point you're trying to make, well, I'll make an exception.

One week ago, Temple (yes, TEMPLE, as in arguably the worst team in FBS this decade, the team that got booted out of the Big East even though all the good teams were fleeing, the team whose current senior class once was part of a 26 game losing streak, the team who opened this season with a home loss to FCS Villanova... that Temple) went on the road and beat Navy. Navy is OK this year, but not great. Temple is probably the biggest surprise of the season in college football, yes, but it was a close win by the Owls.

Yesterday, Notre Dame, at home, ranked and with an excellent chance at a BCS berth, loses to that same Navy team when Heisman wannabe Clausen took a sack in the endzone in the last minute of the game.

Just a couple of years ago, Temple was booted out of the Big East (the same Big East that allows Notre Dame to compete in most sports but allows Notre Dame to hoard their football cash and remain an independent). In 2006, when the current seniors at Temple were suffering through that 26 game losing streak, Temple had to play as an independent before the MAC would allow them to join. Only, unlike Notre Dame, Temple didn't have their own TV contract or preferential treatment from bowls.

Today, Temple can go on the road and do something that Notre Dame can't do at home. The Owls also have a better overall record.

So here's my modest proposal: Notre Dame shouldn't get a single benefit of the doubt - ever. No more BCS preferential treatment. Let Notre Dame be treated like all the other teams not playing in a tough conference. TCU, Boise State, Utah, Houston, BYU, Troy, Central Michigan, and yes, even Temple... all those teams have an objective, reasonable claim to a BCS bowl bid ahead of the Irish. Of course, only one of those teams can get a BCS bowl bid, while the Irish can play a cakewalk schedule, face no conference opponents (and the difficulty appurtenant thereto - you play the same team every year and they know your tendencies and have seen all of your film multiple times when scouting your other opponents), and can still waltz into the BCS with a good but not great record. ND can play after January 1 thanks to rules that apply to nobody else. While other teams would finish 3rd or 4th in their conference and go to a respectable bowl with a 9-3 or 10-2 schedule, the Irish get an 8 figure unshared payout.

Join a real conference, go undefeated against a real schedule, or just play by the same rules as the other minor football programs. Until the Irish do anything like that, no credit, no benefit of the doubt.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Five Field Goals

Assume for the moment that South Carolina is capable, or at least competent offensively.

Now, hypothesize that Georgia would play an aggressive, risk-taking defense, rather than a keep-everything-in-front-of you, no big plays defense.

What percentage of drives do you believe would end in a punt or turnover as a result of such aggressiveness?

Aesthetically, Georgia's defense is death by a thousand cuts. So painful to watch. You can see the frustration on the faces of offensive players begging to be allowed back on the field. You fear for the lungs and legs of the defensive players who've been asked so much from. It seems like such a terrible strategy, this bend-but-don't-break thing.

But then I see South Carolina forced to kick 5 field goals with a line of scrimmage inside our 25, and a goal line stop to seal the game to boot. That's crazy. Consider - what if Georgia did play an aggressive, risk-taking strategy and caused INTs or fumble recoveries on half of those possessions, but allowed TDs on the other half (which would've been insanely efficient for a D.) Well, that'd be 21 points where 15 were allowed - and a 4 point win would've become a 2 point loss.

Anecdotal, yes. And still ugly. And, of course, an aggressive defense might very well stop drives long before they get into the red zone. And bend-but-don't-break doesn't always lead to 5 FGs and a goal line stop - an unlucky bounce or a bad call or a missed assignment or a slipped tackle and one of those FGs becomes a TD. But... walking out of the stadium, I thought maybe we were lucky, but maybe Martinez's strategy actually preserved a win.

I guess it depends on what you think of South Carolina's offense. If it's capable of making a team pay for taking risks, then against similarly talented offenses, I might swallow hard and suffer through the continuous stream of 8 yard tight end curl routes on 3rd and 7s. If it's the kind of team that completes around half its passes and can't muster 150 yards against a mid-tier ACC team... well, then the Dawgs might think about taking a few more risks against some of their upcoming opponents.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nugget from Phil Steele for next weekend

So I read Phil Steele on the can, and it could be said that I'm not exactly studying during that time. So I want to make sure I remember a few nuggs that kind of jump off the page.

In his "Football 365 Days a Year" piece, which sticks in a number of items he couldn't fit into their own full article, Steele focuses on starts lost to injury in the previous year. Basically, he suggests that injuries have a lot to do with luck, and a team that suffers a ton of injuries one year isn't likely to suffer as many the next while a team with an incredibly small number of injuries isn't likely to have the same good fortune. Relatedly, a team that has suffered a lot of injuries in the previous year benefits from a few silver linings: not only will many of those good players who were injured return (and since they were the starters before injury, it's possible they add significant talent), but because of those same injuries, the team allowed backups to gain significant in-game experience.

For example, Trinton Sturdivant was Georgia's best lineman heading into last year, when he suffered a season-ending injury in training camp. He returns this year, providing a strong infusion of talent (assuming he's healthy). Consider also, that because of Sturdivant's injury, Vince Vance made 6 starts (before also getting injured). Vance is back now too. Further, because of Vance's injury, Clint Boling played all over the line (versatility can be a massive advantage for a pretty deep line). And Bean Anderson picked up 7 starts. Now, entering the season, Vance and Anderson are backups on the depth chart and they have 13 starts and hundreds of snaps under their belt.

Back to Steele (and this is on pg. 314 if you're keeping up at home). Steele has calculated a raw number of games that starters have lost to injury or suspension. Then he's analyzed how teams with significantly large or small amounts of games starters have lost performed in the next year. Steele's numbers over the last 5 years:

If a team loses 32 or more starts in one year, 74.5% of the time that team improves their record the following year (41 out of 55).

If a team loses 6 or fewer starts in one year, only 35.7% of the time did that team improve their record the following year (15 of 42).

Steele's anecdotes are even better. This time last year, Utah had the most starts lost in the previous season (51 starts lost). They improved from 9-4 to 13-0. This time last year, Illinois was coming off a run to the Rose Bowl in a year when they suffered just 2 starts lost. They ended up 5-7. Purdue lost just 4 starts in 2007 when they went 8-4; they went 4-8 in 2008.

So how does this fit in with next weekend?

Last year, Georgia lost 44 starts to injury or suspension, which was tied for 6th most in the nation.

Last year, Oklahoma State lost all of 2 starts to injury or suspension, which was the second fewest in the nation.

From my numbers, guys who are listed as backups on Georgia's current depth chart have as many as 47 career starts, among at least 10 different players (and that's just for last year). Oklahoma State's depth chart has backups with 8 total starts and that's just 2 players.

Could be hot next week. If it's a shootout, players will need to get rotated in and out. Just something to think about.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flick the Button

1. The Duchess. Has not this film been made a dozen times before? Who ponies up the (I'd guess sizable amount of) money to produce these sorts of films? What's the audience? I'm not sure why I was a part of it. You're Fired.
2. Transsiberian. I've always had an odd interest in central Russia, so I kind of wanted this to be good. It was OK, but there was something missing throughout. Maybe miscast, maybe just not the movie I would've made. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't anything to recommend to anyone. You're Fired.
3. RockNRolla. Not as much of a collossal turd as Revolver was, but not as good as Lock Stock or Snatch. A handful of interesting characters, but not all that memorable. You're Fired.
4. Changeling. Far better than expected. Eastwood can do suspense, even if he tends to the cliche Steak Knives.
5. Brick. Exceptionally good. I watched it twice and I'd watch it again. See this. Cadillac.
6. The Dead Girl. An odd movie that I wouldn't recommend, and I don't think people would stumble across, but it was actually pretty good. Seemed a little more like a short novel than a movie, which is kind of a compliment, but I don't know. Dull Steak Knives.
7. Choke. The book is better, despite the best efforts of the cast. Seemed like the studio tamed it down, which is almost always the wrong choice. You're Fired, but read the book.
8. Body of Lies. Hmmm... I like international spy thrillers, and I like all of the actors and the director, but this one didn't work. Every other scene has Crowe and DiCaprio just yelling at each other over cell phones, which is lazy and lame. You're Fired.
9. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. The Lady liked this more than I did. Sweet, I guess. I'd have liked it were I 15. Shrug. You're Fired.
10. Milk. Fantastic performance, pretty good movie. You've heard about this before. Sharp Steak Knives.
11. W. Very good performance, pretty good movie, actually. More entertaining than it should've been. Dull Steak Knives.
12. Crank. Utterly ridiculous and awesomely entertaining. See this. Sharp Steak Knives.
13. Frozen River. Would've made a better short film or novella, but an excellent performance by Melissa Leo. Dull Steak Knives.
14. Junebug. I can tell that the film was made by someone with a complicated relationship with the South, which I think a whole lot of artsy folks down here have. I wonder why the director hasn't made another feature. Worth seeing, but maybe not while one has an impending birth. Steak Knives.
15. How To Lose Friends and Alienate People. Absolutely atrocious. Pegg, you're better than this. You're Fired.
16. The Proposition. Quite beautiful, awfully good. Fine direction. I'm fired up for The Road now. Cadillac, but you should like westerns to think the same way.
17. Pride and Glory. A movie that's been made a dozen times before. Less suspense than an average Law & Order episode. You're Fired.
18. The Transporter. Hilarious, especially the villains. Statham is so effing good. Cadillac.
19. Twilight. Offensively bad. Seriously, I was offended by the baseball scene. As a baseball fan. No self respecting man should have to watch this. You're fired.
20. Notorious. Entertaining as hell, but not exactly great. You will be glad that you've seen this. Steak Knives.
21. Rachel Getting Married. Pretentious, overacted, annoying. See The Celebration instead. You're Fired.
22. Oldboy. Exceptional filmmaking, but it was a bit too much for my tastes. I should probably see this again, knowing what I'm getting into. Reserving rating for another time.
23. The Wind that Shakes the Barley. Historical movies are hard, because they need to come from the perspective of showing the viewer something new. This didn't take the Irish Rebellion in a new direction. I didn't see anything I didn't know already. You're Fired.
24. Away from Her. Very good. One of the best dramas I've seen in a few years. Heartbreaking, realistic, sensitive, even funny. I really respect this film. Cadillac.
25. Taken. A little too serious to be in the class of awesomeness that are most Statham movies. Seeing Liam Neeson kicking people is awesome nonetheless. Steak Knives.

26. The Hangover. One theatre movie! Comedies need to be funny, and this was. I'll see it a dozen more times. Genius move: making the funniest 3 minutes of the movie the last 3 minutes. Cadillac.

A. East Bound and Down. The best television show about the modern South ever made. If you don't laugh at this show, I don't really want to hang out with you. My highest praise.

I'm sure I missed a ton.


Not Dead

Just had a lot on my plate lately is all...

2 young kids, both hilarious and amazing.
Major renovations to Douchebag Manor.
The economy has rediscovered my real job and has provided me with a way to spend a sizable amount of time.
And all sorts of other things that I've been busy with.

Nevertheless, I don't want this to die. I've been saving a lot of things to write about. Might have shorter posts, might have less interesting (to you) posts. Definitely not doing Gameday Recaps ever again. Probably won't even be watching it this year (I'd rather watch the 10:00 Premiership Match on FSC - more on that in another post). I am still interested in college football, but I have little faith in myself to add anything terribly interesting to the online discussion. Too many smart people do this with more diligence and intelligence.

I have noticed, in the past several months, that I do need an outlet for the bile.

So a welcome back to myself. But first, a few Cheers and Jeers:

Cheers to Carriage House Construction, for coming in under budget.
Jeers to the guy who broke into my car to steal $8 in quarters.
Cheers to the producers of Law & Order: Criminal Intent for adding Jeff Goldblum, who wears pretty awesome specs.
Jeers to the producers of Law & Order: Criminal Intent for making a very short season, but mainly for bringing back Det. Wheeler when they could've easily written her off.
Cheers to Hop City Beer, a fine establishment for a beer lover.
Jeers to Hop CIty Beer, for being located on the West Side, rather than in Georgia's Beer Capital, Decatur.
Cheers to the dessert waffle at Leon's Full Service.
Jeers to the Crunchie candy bar, and to me for forgetting that I didn't like it each time I'd try it again.
Cheers to my son's ticklish feet.
Jeers to inexact MRI readings.
Cheers to Tommy Hanson's breaking ball. Reminds me of a tall Maddux when it whips back over the plate.
Jeers to the Marlins, because they keep winning with a mediocre run differential.
Cheers to the triumphant return of the Guardian's Football Weekly podcast, and the melifluous cyncism of Barry Glendenning.
Jeers to the sad departure of Candace Keener from the How Stuff Works Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast.
Cheers to upcoming book releases I'm excited about: Simon Kuper's Soccernomics, Jon Krakauer's Pat Tillman book, Bill Simmons' basketball book, Jeff Ross' memoir, Joshua Ferris' follow up to the exceptional Then We Came to the End, Chuck Klosterman's Eating the Dinosaur.
Jeers to the above-referenced business getting in the way of reading, and lots of other stuff.
Cheers to having two amazing kids that never stop making me happy.