Bill Simmons has made his first round of cuts. Obviously just to stifle my criticism, he has mixed up the numbers. So my earlier post won't relate perfectly. Also, the shorter concept won't work as well with this round. General criticism: the topic pretty much sought out copying Simmons, and thus we have 25 pretty similar entries. In parentheses are the previous numbers.
Bank (22): Virtues-Cites Roberto Baggio's choke, mocks Fox NFL Sunday. Sins-knows the tag line to Trimspa (I'm usually vomiting by then), Red Sox Suckup (henceforth "RSS"), Goes for the easy NHL joke.
Bell (6): Virtues-Mocks (I think) the women of the contest. Sins-Scotch Meat and Queer Eye jokes hint at my initial impression (Never gotten laid), Surreal Life joke is lame, Beer Pong Reference (henceforth "BPR"), mocks the south without knowing how to spell Chattahoochee. I would've cut this guy before the final 25.
Brill (15): Virtues-Mocks Yao, Mocks the SG Cartoon, The Ostrich is pretty good. Sins-mentions Wanda Does It (freaking terrible).
Busch (Late Entry): Virtues-Mocks Peter King and BS, Mocks Max Kellerman. Sins-didn't follow through with Sportscenter Odds, Kimmel reference is a suckup.
Cott (1): Virtues-Gold Club reference, Turkoglu, Storytellers, Lipton. Sins-Favorable view towards Georgia Tech (and he's a UGA grad???). One of the better entries.
DeMarco (9): Virtues-Miz, View From The Booth, Yao. Sins-BPR, Win Mark Cuban's $ too reminiscent of The Benefactor.
Gamelin (10): Virtues-Elimidate, Crazy betting show. Sins-Revenge of Nerds idea could've been good, Real World idea is lame, goes for the easy joke consistently. I'd cut her.
Levine (24): Virtues-Amazing Race idea better than others. Sins-Not as funny as others, MJ, Magic footage as filler is lame. I might cut him.
Lorenz (21):Virtues-None. Sins-too verbose, not funny, explains her jokes, Utterly terrible suckup at the end. The first person I'd cut.
Luckham (12): Virtues-Hochuli reference is classic, "My Dad" is inventive comparatively, Deputy Diesel, nice crack on Anna Benson. Sins-Bad intro. One of the better ones.
MacDonald (13): Virtues-Few and far between. Sins-All of her ideas are half baked. Cut.
"Renee" (25): Virtues-The Mealticket. Sins-Fro joke doesn't work.
Spitzer (16): Virtues-"The Root" is hilarious, Mocks Carl Everett, Bol singing Europe. Sins-RSS (but he kind of pulls it off). One of the better ones.
Treff (7): Virtues-None whatsoever. Sins-Writes like a third grader, no good ideas, no ideas thought through. Immediate cut.
Wainscott (8): Virtues-Just about all, makes fun of the women bragging on their chests, Kin, Skank, all the ideas are pretty solid. Sins-Few. The frontrunner.
Williams (23): Virtues-Few. Sins-XHL is a straight ripoff, Nothing is really funny, What's the joke on Cobb County? Cut.
Eliminated (whether SG got it right or wrong)
Barkan (5): Disappointment. I thought he was much better in the original. Too much RSS.
Fox (18): Right call to cut. Not funny, can't spell.
Freedman (11): Not too funny.
Locraft (19): Seems like he just wrote his column based on his DVD collection.
Mason (14): I thought this guy was the frontrunner, both in the first round and this round. Merchant bit is classic, Brown Beats the Pros is pretty good too. Wrong call to cut.
McManus (2): This one was good enough to advance. I like the wallball bit.
Rebello (4): Too much RSS.
Regnier (3): This one was pretty good. Much better than Lorenz.
Silva (20): Awful. Absolutely right to cut.
There you have it. I think he was wrong to cut 3 of them. The frontrunners now (wear it as a badge of honor as you're cut next time) are Cott, Luckham, Spitzer and Wainscott. I'm pulling for Wainscott.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Bill Simmons has made his first round of cuts. Obviously just to stifle my criticism, he has mixed up the numbers. So my earlier post won't relate perfectly. Also, the shorter concept won't work as well with this round. General criticism: the topic pretty much sought out copying Simmons, and thus we have 25 pretty similar entries. In parentheses are the previous numbers.
Posted by LD at 6:00 PM
1. Finding Neverland: I had trouble getting into it (bad theatre experience, not the movie's fault). The Lady liked it lots. I didn't even know Julie Christie was in it, but she was pretty great. Johnny Depp was solid, per usual. For some reason I want to compare it to Big Fish, which I think I liked more. The jumps between reality and imagination aren't quite as seamless as they could've been. The young actors were excellent. It didn't move me as much as maybe I expected it to. Steak knife.
2. Ray: Jamie Foxx is really good. Since he's saturated the media leading up to the Oscars, I thought his performance might be a letdown, but it wasn't. The music is naturally fantastic. The direction is so-so. Hackford uses just about every type of gimmick edit except the starburst. But everytime I felt like the wheels were coming off, the film righted itself. One standout performance was Sharon Warren as Ray's mother. Simply outstanding in her first screen role.
Posted by LD at 5:40 PM
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Not as long a list of actors to consider. Same rules apply as before, but these are primarily supporting actors.
1. Phillip Seymour Hoffman
2. Benicio Del Toro
3. Vince Vaughn
4. Paul Bettany
5. Don Cheadle
6. Joaquin Phoenix
7. Mark Ruffalo
8. Peter Sarsgaard
9. John C. Reilly
10. Jeremy Piven
Sean William Scott
I'm sure I'm missing a ton more on this list. I'll revise if anyone comes up with anything in comments.
Posted by LD at 6:15 PM
Considering the interest drummed up by this post, I thought I'd take a closer look at my own possible list.
After much consideration, I've changed the rules a little. First, the "generation" involved: I've set the parameters at born between 1960 and 1980. This seemed appropriately arbitrary, but it does close off a few actors that don't really feel like the generation older (Spacey, Thornton especially) and a few too young (Gyllenhaal). Then, I drew a line between leading men and supporting actors. I just couldn't compare the ability of a guy carrying a film (including the expectations) and someone who has to make an impression. Also, as I was looking back at potential choices, several of the leading actors had supporting roles that were as memorable as any of the "supporting actors'" performances (like Pitt in 12 Monkeys, or Cruise in Magnolia). So I've created two lists.
The star list is based on each actor's best performances that I've seen. If a great performance hasn't been seen by me, it didn't count. I've also discounted actors for their terrible performances that I've seen. Also, among the stars, being able to carry a movie and make it successful does count for something.
On to the stars.
1. Russell Crowe
2. Johnny Depp
3. Edward Norton
4. Brad Pitt
5. Ewan McGregor
6. Sean Penn
7. Tom Cruise
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
9. John Cusack
10. Ralph Fiennes
Gael Garcia Bernal
Other leading men, but not really considered:
Am I missing anyone? Care to comment?
Posted by LD at 6:06 PM
1. Million Dollar Baby: Decent, but I have a few quibbles. The Freeman narration is unnecessary. Swank is the only actress who could have pulled off the role, but I'm not exactly sure that means it's objectively a great performance. She's good, but kind of a stereotype too. Eastwood's character I had the most problems with. The unanswered questions of his past don't work. A good movie, but not the Best Picture. Steak knife.
2. The Aviator: Expectations are a funny thing. Walking in I was expecting too long and boring at times. Instead I found it engaging, funny, exciting and always interesting. Scorsese's direction might be the best I've seen of his (the last act doesn't fall apart like he's prone to let it). Leo's best performance so far. Cate Blanchett nailed everything I can't stand about Hepburn (bring it, Hillary). The in flight sequences deserve great praise. Cadillac.
Posted by LD at 3:49 PM
John Donovan's NL West picks:
I think Bonds has one more year of carrying this team. The Diamondbacks will be the most improved team in MLB. The Dodgers will fall apart with injuries.
I pick the same as Donovan in the AL East:
2. Red Sox
4. Blue Jays
5. Devil Rays
Here are Donovan's picks in the AL Central:
3. White Sox
I'd swap the Tigers and White Sox.
And finally, Donovan's picks for the AL West:
I'd swap the Rangers and A's, but this entire division will be within 8 games top to bottom.
Posted by LD at 3:38 PM
Friday, February 25, 2005
3/7 right result, 0 right scoreline
Southampton v. Arsenal: 0-1
Aston Villa v. Everton: 1-1
Crystal Palace v. Birmingham City: 0-2
Tottenham Hotspur v. Fulham: 1-2
Manchester United v. Portsmouth: 3-0
Newcastle United v. Bolton Wanderers: 2-1
Middlesbrough v. Charlton Athletic: 1-0
Norwich v. Manchester City: 0-2
Posted by LD at 11:20 PM
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Donovan picks the NL Central. I differ a bit from him:
'Stros lost too much. I get the feeling like the Pirates might be this year's surprise team (and I have no real rationale for it). Brewers are this year's Royals. Reds can't pitch, but they'll win a lot of 8-7 games. They'll lose a bunch too. Probably the second most interesting division in baseball (after the NL East).
Posted by LD at 9:57 PM
GQ named the 10 best actors of "our generation" which apparently means under 50 (I thought "GQ's generation" only meant gel head metros with self created colognes). Here's the list:
Gael Garcia Bernal
Benicio Del Toro
John C. Reilly
Depp and Crowe are no brainers. I like Carrey (comedy gets too much of a short shrift) and Leo is probably deserving (or at least close to it). Reilly, Del Toro and Cheadle are all scene stealers and definitely reliable supporters, but none have had a starring role in a major film. Cage doesn't belong on the list (too many terrible choices). I like them, but it's too soon to tell with Bernal and Owen.
A few names I might add: EDWARD NORTON (Come on!!!!) Brad Pitt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ewan McGregor, Tobey Maguire, Will Ferrell, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Cruise (not a great actor, but better than credited), Jamie Foxx. Billy Bob Thornton (49) and Denzel Washington (50) are no brainers unless they're too old.
I just named 13 in 5 minutes. Forgetting Norton is unforgivable. I guess any "best of" list is subjective, but I have to think they could've done better.
Posted by LD at 9:21 PM
Not too shabby in the CL this week. 4/8 right result, 2 correct scorelines.
UEFA action is back in a big way.
Dnipro v. Partizan Belgrade: 1-0 (3-2 Agg., Dnipro advances)
Schalke 04 v. Shakhtar Donetsk: 2-0 (3-1 Agg., Schalke advances)
AZ Alkmaar v. Alemannia Aachen: 2-0 (2-0 Agg., AZ advances)
Sochaux v. Olympiakos: 2-1 (2-2, Olympiakos advances, my pick is still Sochaux)
Steaua Bucharest v. Valencia: 1-1 (1-3 Agg., Valencia advances)
Austria Wien v. Athletic Bilbao: 0-2
VfB Stuttgart v. Parma: 1-0 (1-0 Agg., Stuttgart advances)
Auxerre v. Ajax: 1-0 (1-1 Agg., Auxerre advances on penalties)
Feyenoord v. Sporting Lisbon: 2-0 (3-2 Agg., Feyenoord advances)
Newcastle United v. Heerenveen: 1-0 (3-1 Agg., Newcastle advances)
Real Zaragoza v. Fenerbahce: 1-0 (2-0 Agg., Zaragoza advances)
Lille v. Basle: 1-0 (1-0 Agg., Lille advances)
Middlesbrough v. Grazer AK: 2-0 (4-2 Agg., Boro advances)
Benfica v. CSKA Moscow: 3-0 (3-2 Agg., Benfica advances)
Sevilla v. Panathinaikos: 2-0 (2-1 Agg., Sevilla advances)
Villareal v. Dinamo Kyiv: 1-1 (1-1 Agg., Dinamo advances)
Posted by LD at 8:43 PM
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I messed up yesterday only picking the results, and not the advancing team.
Today fortune smiled upon the home teams. Liverpool looked great. Don't count out Arsenal just yet. DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan came on in the second half of their respective games. The play by play sounds like Donovan played pretty well (some good corners, a couple of shots on goal), while they were pretty critical of Beasley. So far: 2/4 right result, 0 right score lines.
Barcelona v. Chelsea: 2-1
Porto v. Inter Milan: 1-1
Manchester United v. AC Milan: 2-0
Werder Bremen v. Lyon: 1-0
Chelsea, Inter, Man U and Werder Bremen advance.
Posted by LD at 9:28 PM
Barry Bonds has always been a heel, but I've always thought he didn't get the credit he deserved because he acts like an ass. This year is going to suck for him, and I don't feel bad. People don't like the media, but people hate cheaters. Wrong way to start things.
Posted by LD at 8:58 PM
Monday, February 21, 2005
The Bachelorette tonight featured "the men" speaking out on their magical journeys to Jen Scheft's heart. Her former fiance showed up to say he didn't give a shit about these guys. One dude who looked like he had an Adam's Apple implant kept picking a fight with a French guy who seemed to have trouble understanding the situation he was in.
But the highlight of the night: While they were showing clips of Jen with the final 2 prospective suitors, they had a split screen with a camera of the previous fiance and his reactions.
So. Gay. It's. Bullshit.
Posted by LD at 11:12 PM
Gammons comes through with a blog post that writes itself.
1. OK, shocking that he spends the majority of the article analyzing the Red Sox. I understand that he came up a Boston writer. I think he fails as a national correspondent. I think he overdoes the local flavor. I won't get into it too much because they are the defending champs, but he'd have written tons about 'em regardless.
2. "Arroyo hit Rodriguez with a pitch everyone but Britney Spears knew wasn't intentional..." C'mon Pedro. The kids are so past Britney. If you want to sound young and hip, try Ashlee Simpson or Paris Hilton.
3. Griffey was "baseball's Michael Jordan before the injuries." I think that's a bit revisionist. Griffey was excellent. Griffey had the media behind him. Griffey didn't win a single title. Griffey didn't sell any shoes. Griffey didn't change the way highlights were shown. And obviously, I'm not one to deify Jordan. But Griffey just wasn't that far ahead of the rest of the league, as good as he was. Check the OPS (using Griffey's best 4 years):
Sosa and Sheffield were way over 1.000 the next two years. Griffey was great. Not dominant. I mean, his numbers aren't better than Juan Gone, and he's no Hall of Famer. And might I add that he never played in a world series, let alone won 6 titles.
4. "His son Trey is 11, and if he doesn't go to college to be a premier running back, he will be the first pick in the 2012 draft. His other son, 10-year-old Tarin, is a great basketball player." Gammons consumes Bilas, Kiper and Jamie Newburg, creating the most deadly sports pundit: Pompositor.
5. Nice how Gammons gives uncritical, free space for Griffey to say he's clean. I'm not saying he's used, but I don't think anyone is above suspicion. Even guys who pal around with sportswriters and wear their hats backward in the batting cage.
6. Like how Petey gives a shout out to 3 comrades in print. Gotta get his items from someone. However I do like the bit on George Lombard. The General once played football against him in a summer league when Lombard was at Lovett.
So in general, a pretty predictable article. Interesting how he didn't mention the rookies he's excited to see, as promised in last week's entry. Also missing was any mention of the FBI's advising MLB of its steroid problem.
I'll have to figure out how to use a tab button in HTML. Sorry about the chart.
Posted by LD at 9:42 PM
Sunday, February 20, 2005
The Denver Post has been doing some grade A journalism this week covering the NBA All Star Game. Some truly stellar stuff in here. A sampling:
1. A thought provoking piece on the line outside Serengeti. Here's an excellent line:
Another man, a white guy with a shaved head, tried cutting in front and was accosted, “You powder-looking mother******, you’re not getting in front of me … Maybe your Mapquest is broken, ‘cause you in the wrong hood.”
2. The Saturday night scene featured the ATL representing (Luda, TI, TLC) and apparently DJ Jazzy Jeff is still alive.
3. The P. Diddy party as related by a music critic. Check this out:
KS-107.5’s Cat Collins walked by and said, “If you didn’t know, that’s Busta Rhymes behind you.” Sure enough, right there larger than life, is B to the u wearing mad white-and-black fur and denim head to toe. His hat masks his hair, but look underneath and there’s his signature gnarl. Immediately I think back to the last time I saw Diddy in concert and how lame it was that Busta made an “appearance” via video to go along with their duet-smash “Pass the Courvesier” and how it amplified even more how tracked-out these modern hip-hop shows are. Lame. But still, having B to the u right here in front of you’s alright.
4. 'Melo's Party and some other stuff. This requires widespread dissemination:
Fashion highlights in the crowd included six-inch, multi-strand chandelier earrings, rhinestone-encrusted dollar sign sunglasses, a Gucci-print suit and a belt buckle with electronic stock ticker lettering that read: “Gs Up Hos Down.”
5. More celebrity spotting. Cousin Eddie was seen outside Marcus Camby's house emptying the septic tank while Dr. J created a future Wimbledon semifinalist. And apparently Doug E. Fresh still performs. Meanwhile Brandy continually veers to the left due to the boulder attached to her hand.
(Hat tip to Chris Ballard at CNNSi.)
Posted by LD at 7:48 PM
Jayson Stark doesn't have too many surprises in this column. Maybe the fact that he doesn't focus on the Phillies at all is a surprise. I take issue with really only one thing, and that's the idea that Billy Beane got such a good deal in taking Kendall and getting rid of Rhodes and Redman.
Redman couldn't pitch in Oakland (7.46 ERA at home last year, 2.90 on the road), so yes, he had to move to another park. But he was pretty good with the Marlins in '03 (3.59 ERA, 14-9, 151K/61BB). He's signed for two years, and if he readusts to the NL, I wouldn't be surprised to see him turn it around and then get dealt at the deadline this year. He's owed about $8M total over the next two years, moderate for a #3 starter. I think he's a positive for the Pirates.
Rhodes was traded by the Bucs for Matt Lawton at the winter meetings. Lawton got his head right and had a pretty decent season last year. He's owed $7.5M this year, but his OPS is about the same as Kendall's (both right around .800) and he hits for more power. His contract expires at the end of this year, so he's trade bait too (maybe to ATL when Jordan gets hurt).
Kendall comes with a contract that the Pirates have tried for 3 years to get out from under. They owe him $32.5M over the next 3 years. Yes, his OBP is good for a catcher, but he's never hit for power. He's also slowed down and he doesn't steal bases like he used to. He's 30 and usually pretty healthy, but he's averaged 150 games a season for the last 5. Those games will catch up to him. And the contract is an albatross. If the young Oakland arms don't hold up, if the young hitters can't show something, if the A's are 15 games out in late July, Oakland can't trade him.
Maybe this is a trade where everyone ends up ahead, but I don't see Oakland getting anything close to a steal. In fact, I like what the Pirates have done (pared salary, got a useful arm and bat). And yes, I'm a bitter former fantasy owner of Kendall.
Posted by LD at 4:49 PM
Maisel hagiographs (I think this became a word back when Reagan died) Urban Meyer. I think Meyer will be a good coach at UF, and I do not look forward to Jacksonville. That said, hasn't every one of these anecdotes appeared in stories about Mark Richt? I know all good coaches pretty much do the same thing, and I know Richt didn't invent anything he did. But come on, Finish the Drill was our thing. Maisel's archive didn't have anything much in it, but I'm pretty sure even he's written about it.
Posted by LD at 4:40 PM
This morning's SportsCenter featured an in-depth look at the effect Nike Air Jordans have had on our society, as reported by former MTV Award Show fluffer Chris Connelly. The report, which I'm sure will be re-aired ad nauseum, deserves comment.
1. The title to this post was seriously the opening line of the report. Seriously.
2. Spike Lee, director of 7 Air Jordan commercials, is interviewed. I'm kind of torn about Spike. On one hand he seems to project this pretentious "I won't sell out" act, but then he takes $ from massive corporations to make these ads. He often positioned himself as a voice of responsibility for his community, but then in this bit I think he implies that it's OK that kids stole to get the shoes. What's this all about?
3. For some reason they interview Barack Obama. He says kids should spend money on books, not Air Jordans. Also says Jordan pushed street apparel into the mainstream. I have no idea why this would be an important issue for a sitting senator to weigh in on. Doesn't he have better things to talk about, like say, a massive budget deficit to cut?
4. Damon Wayans says, "...the ones I liked the best was the patent leather. Those were crazy; I used to wear them with suits." Awesome.
5. Connelly shows a clip of Jordan from 2004 responding to the critics who said Nike exploited the laborers who make the shoes in Southeast Asia. I have a few issues about this. First off, the critics were raising hell about this long before Jordan's 2004 visit. I remember student activists against Nike around '95. Jordan's response to critics is a little late. And even worse, he does a terrible job of responding:
"It's easy to compare [the working conditions] to the United States, and I think that's somewhat unfair, and I think you have to compare it to what was happening within that country."
OK, I don't expect Michael Jordan to be an expert on international labor, but any third grader can see the hole in the argument. If all the other factories pay 12 year olds a nickel a day, and Nike pays them a quarter, it's objectively exploitation. And let's not even get into the idea that American jobs are lost...
This cuts to the heart of the problem with Jordan. He never took a stand that wasn't in his wallet's interest or his corporate backers' interests. His commercial-driven image is just incredibly bland. And the sports media did nothing but assist in the framing. Connelly's report sums it up thusly:
"Let's face it: [the shoes] were cool. And so was the man whose name and soaring figure adorned every pair. Two decades later, their synergy stands in history."
Amazing he could get the words out with Jordan's nuts banging into his chin.
Posted by LD at 3:33 PM
Easily the shittiest commercial of the Super Bowl was that MBNA commercial with Gladys Knight playing rugby (I know, too late - but they're replaying it frequently). First off, Gladys Knight isn't funny per se. Second, hardly anyone watching the Super Bowl gives a rat's ass about rugby. But most embarrasingly is that the tag line ("Whatever you're into, MBNA has the card for you.") isn't even accurate. Read the fine print: "England Rugby Visa is not available in the U.S." So they spent $2.4M to reach people who weren't watching and who can't even take advantage of what they're not selling.
Posted by LD at 3:17 PM
Saturday, February 19, 2005
It's not like ESPN et al. like to hype personal conflicts and all. This Red Sox bashing of A-Rod is getting a little silly.
Kevin Millar added, "His Speed Stick commercial blows, big time."
Doug Mirabelli chimed in with, "He looks like Ibis from Road Rules, and just as good at the plate."
Keith Foulke said, "His momma's so fat the horse on her polo shirt is real."
Even new guy Edgar Renteria got in the act: "You claim to be a playa but I fucked ya wife."
UPDATE (2/20/05, 10:23 PM): Millar actually did chime in! I suppose I should've chosen someone more obscure to make a stupid joke. Ibis responded too: "Yep, I'm a bitch."
Posted by LD at 11:32 AM
1. Secret Window: I liked this a lot more than I probably should have. As a big Turturro fan, I was pretty surprised to see him acted off the screen by Depp. I need to re-evaluate my view of Depp. I've always liked him, but I've never considered him in the Pantheon. He was fantastic in Pirates of the Caribbean, but I just wasn't sold on his early stuff. This was a pretty standard movie, but Depp elevated it with a really funny performance. Steak Knife.
2. The Battle of Algiers: Not sure if it's as important as the hype suggests. I also doubt Rumsfeld actually screened it before the Iraq War began (I mean, isn't the point of it that you can't just take out the leaders because they get replaced?). If he did, he left before the end. The terrorist images, while I'm sure shocking for 1965, lose a little potency when compared to the last 2 years of CNN coverage. And I think that says less about the film and more about the present. Glad I saw it, but not essential viewing. You can probably get more out of a review of it. You're Fired.
Posted by LD at 11:18 AM
Ashlee Simpson is hitting the road for her first headlining tour. The reviews are in:
"Ashlee, it's like this: There's no crying in baseball, and there are no costume changes in rock 'n' roll," Ben Wener wrote in the Register.
Well, Bowie and Elton changed costumes. But they didn't change from one Abercrombie "PUNK" t-shirt into another one.
The 20-year-old Simpson did get points, such as they were, for eschewing the Memorex.
MTV.com said only one song, a cover of Blondie's "Cover Me," sounded as if it had been sweetened with a backing vocal track. Wener concurred that Simpson was indeed singing on stage, not that he was paying her a compliment: "No one sounds like that on tape."
Posted by LD at 10:47 AM
Friday, February 18, 2005
Light posting, but here are my predictions on tomorrow's FA Cup matches. Last week, I picked the right advancing team in 3 of 4, but I'm only claiming 2/4 right results (I don't count penalties as a win).
Arsenal v. Sheffield Utd: 3-0
Bolton Wanderers v. Fulham: 2-1
Charlton Athletic v. Leicester City: 1-0
Southampton v. Brentford: 2-0
Everton v. Manchester Utd: 1-2 (winner by Rooney)
Burnley v. Blackburn Rovers: 0-1
Newcastle Utd v. Chelsea: 0-2
Tottenham Hotspur v. Nottingham Forest: 2-0
Posted by LD at 11:29 PM
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Ken Jennings, trivia king, now shills for Cingular. The plot of the commercial: Newly rich Ken finds out he has tons of distant relatives looking for a handout. Tons of distant relatives... Mormon Ken from Utah... there must be a punchline in there somewhere...
But where? But WHERE????
(Updated because I didn't pay attention to the brand of cellphone.)
Posted by LD at 11:37 PM
Bill Simmons is having an intern contest to replace the tries-too-hard Jamie Agin. They've whittled it down to 25. They each got 400 words to convince Simmons to hire him/her. I can do that better. Shorter Sports Guy Intern Contest:
1. I swear we think just alike; I won't be ignored.
2. Britney's vagina is unclean, and I was on Nickelodeon.
3. My knowledge of stuff you'd find interesting is average.
4. I know how much you hate Peyton Manning.
5. I like to molest ladyfriends of my enemies.
6. I have never gotten laid.
7. A woman writing about her bowel movements interests the male readers.
8. I think spelling jokes are clever.
9. My friends don't let me near the stereo at parties.
10. I know you like breasts.
11. I can't help but brag about my existing internship.
12. Matt Luckham speaks in the third person and thinks grammar jokes are clever.
13. A woman writing about urination interests the male readers.
14. My dad wasn't there growing up; I like porn.
15. People throw feces at me because of my radio show's embarrassing name.
16. I will pimp Bill Belichick's daughter for the job.
17. I was a Z-list reality TV star.
18. I am kind of bitchy in bars.
19. I'm a good speller except for the word nauseous.
20. I think sentimentality will get me further with you.
21. You helped me find a man.
22. I tend to put things off.
23. I'm funnier than Stuart Scott.
24. You lied to me four years ago.
25. I have intimacy issues.
In actuality, I think 5 and 14 are the frontrunners. Or at least that's who I'd back. 5 for the closing punchline. 14 for the stellar porn dialogue. I'm pretty sure 19 wasn't writing ironically. If he was, he's simply unfunny and a bad writer.
Shorter concept is inspired by Busy Busy Busy, who in turn was inspired by Daniel Davies at D-Squared Digest.
Posted by LD at 10:40 PM
Athletic Bilbao and FK Austria Wien don't play until next week. Today's results were less positive for my predictive skillz. The Newcastle and Zaragosa results are actually better for me, so my advancing picks look stronger. I definitely underestimated the Greek teams.
I only went 4 of 15, with one right scoreline. Weak. Weak. Weak.
Next week there's more fun with the UEFA Cup and with the Champions' League.
Posted by LD at 10:29 PM
Some Canadians are trying to get the trustees of the Stanley Cup to allow hockey teams challenge for it. I love the idea and throw the mighty weight of the Corporate Headquarters behind this.
I think there ought to be a challenge cup in every sport open to all teams, like the FA Cup. American soccer does it with the US Open Cup.
Hat tip to Pete McEntegart at CNNSi (though I have to say he's not funny).
Posted by LD at 10:13 PM
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
My 2 cents on History's Greatest Monster: I met him about a year ago. He was extremely gracious, friendly and cool. I learned his opinion on keg stands. Awesome.
Posted by LD at 11:08 PM
I haven't watched Law & Order since, well, I went to law school. But it's back in a big way. For no other reason than the 15 seconds of footage on tonight's episode re-envisioning the Auburn Hills Brawl. Freaking hilarious. They really captured Stephen Jackson's insanity.
Posted by LD at 10:57 PM
ESPN's SportsNation ranks all pro franchises with a complicated method and stuff. Falcons and Braves are a little higher than I expected. Hawks, surprisingly aren't in last place (they're second to last).
The thing that makes no sense is the "Championships" section. I'm guessing they're looking at the past couple of years and the possibility of one in the next year or so. Of course, it makes perfect sense that the Charlotte Bobcats are slotted ahead of 35 other teams. Teams whose championship prowess is behind Charlotte: Last year's NL runners up; A team 6 inches from the AFC Championship; An NBA playoff team from last year; An AL team eliminated on the last weekend last year; An NL team who 16 months ago was 6 outs from the World Series.
Sure, the future of the NBA looks brighter in Charlotte than in ATL, but the methodology seems a bit off.
Posted by LD at 10:24 PM
I only picked the right result on 3 of the 7 today. Feyenoord couldn't equalize even playing up a man for the last half hour. The Schalke result was actually better for my prediction on who advances, but a loss is a loss.
Today: 3/7 right result, 0 right scoreline.
FK Austria v. Athletic Bilbao: 0-2
Olympiakos v. Sochaux: 1-1
Dinamo Kyiv v. Villareal: 2-0
CSKA Moscow v. Benfica: 2-0
Fenerbahce v. Real Zaragoza: 1-0
Basel v. Lille: 0-1
Alemania Aachen v. AZ Alkmaar: 0-1
Grazer v. Middlesbrough: 0-2
Heerenveen v. Newcastle United: 1-1
Advancing: Bilbao, Sochaux, Dinamo, Benfica, Zaragoza, Lille, Alkmaar, Boro, Newcastle.
Posted by LD at 10:12 PM
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
The price of the Euro keeping you from following European football? Go east, young man! And catch the excitement of the UEFA Cup, where there are plenty of Eastern European teams. I think I might even prefer the UEFA Cup to the rich and greedy Champions' League. I like how the teams in UEFA tend to sell (usually to Champions' League teams) their players over winter break. So a team might advance to the knockout round, then start playing its reserves. Hilarious! And it's also hard to pronounce a lot of the teams' names, especially in the early stages. 8 games tomorrow. I'll predict them, since I have such great expertise on Ukrainian teams.
Partizan Belgrade v. Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-1
Shaktar Donetsk v. Schalke 04 1-0
Panathinaikos v. Sevilla 0-2
Ajax v. Auxerre 0-1
Parma v. Stuttgart 1-1
Austria Vienna v. Atletico Bilbao 0-2
Valencia v. Steaua Bucharest 3-0
Sporting Lisbon v. Feyenoord 1-1
I like Dnipro, Schalke, Sevilla, Auxerre, Stuttgart, Atletico Bilbao, Valencia and Feyenoord to advance.
8 more picks tomorrow! Feel free to make yours in comments. First kickoff at 11 AM! Awesome!
Posted by LD at 11:22 PM
I'm not the biggest fan of Gammons. I think he uses his column to carry water for people too transparently, and that's how he gets his "unparalleled sources." I also think he throws in these value judgments that a) I don't care about and b) too often subsequently affect the coverage of the players. In today's column he:
1. Assures us that Adam Dunn, Miguel Cabrera, Dallas McPherson, Mark Teixiera and Ken Griffey, Jr. are not using steroids. (Unless he's seen them piss, I don't think he can say that).
2. States Canseco worked "as hard... as a manhole cover." Uhh, something tells me that if he didn't work hard, he'd be bouncing at bars. 462 homers doesn't come without some work (and yes, I think he's pretty slimy).
3. Hints that the Archangels Fay and Bart might've done something about steroids, but Bumbling Bud blew it, after he just hinted that Bud didn't know (more on that in a second).
4. Tells us that Milton Bradley's "heart's always in the right place." Save that line for Bradley's impending meltdown and Gammons' sanctimonious shock in mid-July.
5. Bombasts away on Joe Mauer. "[A]rguably [the A.L.'s] best young player, and person." Don't even know where to start with this. I'm sure he's very nice and all, but why don't we wait for a couple miracles to canonize him.
6. Psychoanalyzes Nomar. Nothing new there. Suggests that "Beautiful" barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen might bring his swing (and nuts) back. [Maybe I'm reading too much, but he brought it up.]
7. Makes the following predictions [will happen, not might happen](save for posterity):
A) One of the first four players listed in (1) will be the next 50 HR hitter;
B) Beltran and Pedro will be fun. Didn't he say the same about Mo V. in NYC?;
C) Nomar's health will ensure a major comeback;
D) Adam LaRoche will win gold gloves.
8. Makes the following "can" or "if...then" predictions:
A) The Brewers can get to 75-80 wins;
B) If Burnett and Beckett get 35-40 wins, the Marlins are the team to beat;
C) Harden has arguably the best stuff in the AL;
D) Austin Kearns can be a monster (unsure if he's talking about his bat or temperament);
E) If Halladay is back, the Jays are over .500;
F) If Magglio can hit he'll "wear out the Comerica Alleys and protect Pudge." Protect Pudge from Jose Canseco? I sometimes can't tell if Droopy's slipped back into talking about baseball;
G) If the Cards pitchers... uhh... pitch, they'll make another run. Bold.
H) If "left alone" (whatever that means), Chase Utley will hit 25 HRs.
I) Arroyo might win 16-18 games.
In re Selig (and the President), Gammons laughs off the suggestion that they knew about steroids. Look for the dodge tomorrow after the Daily News story. I don't think the President knew (he's not exactly the kind of guy who seeks out bad news...). Selig clearly knew something, and did nothing. And wasn't there a major labor negotiation going on around oh, 10 years ago, when the FBI supposedly told MLB about steroids? This will get worse for Selig.
Posted by LD at 10:24 PM
College Football News is going through history and re-scaling the rankings using their own system. Today they took a look at 1990. I cracked a wide smile seeing the fifth down Buffs slotted just ahead of the treeless campus just north of America's oldest housing project.
My buddy C_____ used to wear a Colorado 1990 National Championship hat to every Georgia-Georgia Tech game just to rile them up. 100,000 times worse than that is too good for them after 1999.
Posted by LD at 10:08 PM
Well, the Junior Senator spoke up about the importance of protecting minority legislative rights via filibuster in Iraq. Then the Minority Leader posted the speech on his website supporting... well... minority legislative rights via filibuster. So naturally the Junior Senator issued a press release claiming Senator Reid mischaracterized his words (In Iraq, not here, Dumbasses!!!).
Look, this is what happens when Johnny goes off the reservation. Seven habits of highly successful people, followed by the personal anecdote on the guy who wrote Rainbow Connection. I've seen it three times and there's no mention of filibusters at all. Stick to the script, dude.
(First spotted at Atrios)
Posted by LD at 9:54 PM
I agree quite a bit with this article by Kevin McCarra. His premise is that two (or three in this case) dominant teams do not make a league more exciting to follow. Several writers (Shanoff) on this side of the pond dispute it, thinking a dynasty is better for the fans. I think columnists like dynasties because they make their job easier, especially when predicting.
And couldn't this passage be describing the late 90s Orioles, Dodgers or Mets:
Throughout this country clubs creak beneath the weight of their budgets and overdrafts, yet there is no return on their investment when managers fail to sign the right players, struggle to prepare them mentally to cope against the best opponents and are found wanting in the tactical battle of wits.
Sure, there are always going to be teams without the financial ability to compete with the galacticos, but there are also teams that just piss away sizable payrolls. Perhaps someone ought bring Moneyball to the Premiership?
Posted by LD at 9:35 PM
I got sad when I heard that Chris Farley would've been 41 years old today.
Posted by LD at 9:30 PM
Monday, February 14, 2005
I wish I liked the NBA more. I watched plenty of games when I was a kid, and I've tried to get back into it for the playoffs the last few years. I don't agree with or even like a lot of the arguments people have for the Assn's decline (like "too many thugs"). I think there are some teams that are fun to watch (Suns, Mavs, Kings, Sonics), and lots of games where both teams just look lazy, like there's 5 one on one games. Once the playoffs come around, it seems like there's more effort, more trying. I watched the Olympics, and I saw our poorly chosen team get beaten by worse players/better teams. So, I see the problems and all...
It's just, most sportswriters seem to drag down the league into negativity. I seem to hear more about overpaid NBA players than any other sports, more gripes about the poor play than others, more bitching about young professionals (Adrian Beltre signed at what, 14?). At some point it is the job of the sportswriter to make the sport more enjoyable to follow. Lang Whittaker gives the positive outlook a try, and he answers a few of the questions posed in the NYT magazine article on the NBA. I'll try to highlight his columns, since he's decent, local and a Dawg.
Posted by LD at 10:56 PM
TBogg's takedown of the Grammys is nice (esp. his nod to the '97 show). I only saw the last 2 hours. Quick hits:
Across the Universe looked unrehearsed, and not good. They were tripping over each other. And can't the recording industry all chip in to keep Scott Weiland out of the public eye? This show needed more Duff.
Kanye overdid his performance. Isn't there something odd whining about how nobody'll play Jesus Walks ("let them take away from my spins ... ends") while on the music industry's biggest stage? They needed more Blind Boys, less Staples Singers too.
I don't like Melissa Etheridge's music much at all, but her performance must be noted. She shouldn't be strong enough to perform like that. Respect. Also, no fan of Joss Stone, really, but she has to be a better Janis Joplin than Pink. Unless the movie's about how shitty contemporary music is.
Queen Latifah would've been watchable if she rode in on a chopper and killed with U.N.I.T.Y. She wasn't.
Green Day and U2 were even let-downs. I need lower expectations for award shows.
Posted by LD at 10:04 PM
A few interesting items in Forde Minutes, but I'm most interested in the feud between the coaches at Illinois-Chicago and Wisconsin-Milwaukee:
Smaller schools, but the mother of all coaching feuds. UIC's Jimmy Collins and UWM's Bruce Pearl became mortal enemies while assistants at Illinois and Iowa, respectively, when Pearl turned in Collins to the NCAA for alleged recruiting violations. These days they play at least twice every year -- but never shake hands. "I have a family, and when all that stuff happened, it put my family through some hellish (expletive)," Collins told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel earlier this month. "... I think he does a hell of a job, but I'm not going to shake his hand. ... I don't like him and he don't like me."
This is a good start. I'm a huge fan of coaches hating each other. The John Calipari - John Chaney press conference was ridiculously entertaining. The Arsene Wenger - Sir Alex Ferguson sniping is fantastic (and any chance the Ashley Cole saga might've been leaked so Arsene could bring Jose Mourinho into the fun?). The only, and I mean only, reason why I'm happy Spurrier is back is that he tends to create hilarious rivalries.
I can't wait for the first coach to reach his hand out to shake but pull it back and say PSYCHE!!!
Posted by LD at 9:18 PM
Jacob Luft ranks the NL staffs. Surprised at how confident he is in the Braves, especially Smoltz and Ramirez (see here). I think he overrates the Marlins, Dodgers and Brewers, but underrates the Mets, Diamondbacks and Nationals. Here's how I'd rank them (just starters):
Posted by LD at 8:47 PM
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Sideways: Decent. I suppose my expectations were too high. Lowell Mather was exceptional. Something about Payne and ridiculous full frontal. I expect his next opus to feature Dennis Blundin's package. I laughed at several scenes, and it's a little interesting to see older people hooking up like college students. Just nothing that changed my life. Dullish steak knife.
Most interesting part of the night was seeing Chilli from TLC outside the theater, driving a freaking awesome Escalade. 24s, huge f'ing chrome grill. Sweet as shit.
Posted by LD at 8:58 PM
Saturday, February 12, 2005
1. A few logical gaps in this Letter to Readers. So the AP poll is no longer part of the BCS equation, but voting in it would be creating the news... But voting for Hall of Fame Membership wouldn't... And columnists are paid to give opinions... but they're not supposed to... My head hurts. Furman Bisher still has enough clout, and Barnhart wants a cleaner email inbox.
2. The best player to commit to the hoop Dawgs since 'Nique ain't coming. Better than just sitting on that scholarship.
3. Can't see how this can be bad. Texas is praised across the board for their organization.
4. Donovan's article seems pretty pessimistic. I think the chances of signing Hudson are tied to Furcal and Andruw (even if Chipper agrees to re-work his deal). It's not like the Braves have never shelled out $ before. Over the next few years, there'll be several key players in the lineup with minimum, pre-arbitration contracts, and Smoltz will retire in year or so. Take away Furcal or Andruw (or just exchange either for less expensive alternatives) and there's room for Hudson.
Posted by LD at 12:13 PM
When I criticize sports pundits, I plan on using the "he doesn't know what he's talking about because the facts/numbers say otherwise, see..." line of attack rather than "he just has a bias against this team and that's why he's wrong." I think most sports journalists/pundits make a sincere effort to avoid biases in their writing or commentary, and I think it's a lazy way to critique. However, everyone has a favorite team, and if you're a real sports fan you can't leave that behind.
So in the interest of clarity, here are my biases:
Baseball: Favorite team is the Atlanta Braves. Loathe the NY Yankees and NY Mets. Most other teams I consider about the same.
College Football: UGA, then everyone else. Obviously I can't stand Florida, Tennessee or Georgia Tech. South Carolina might move up the enemies list too. Outside the southeast, I pretty much go by style of play.
Pro Football: Atlanta Falcons are favorite. I like the Eagles. I do not like the Cowboys.
Basketball: NBA - I suppose I'm a hometown Hawks fan, but I can probably be more objective about this league than any. College - UGA, recently become more of a UNC fan thanks to the General's girlfriend.
International Soccer: USA, USA, USA. Rooting ladder: USA, Republic of Ireland, England, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, African teams, smaller South and Central American teams, smaller European teams, France, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, (now towards the bottom) Italy, Mexico, Argentina.
Club Soccer: Believe it or not, I don't really have favorites. Not a Man U or Real fan. Prefer smaller clubs generally (with some exceptions). There are slight preferences, but I change my mind a lot. No preference in MLS, but if they ever start using relegation, I'll pull for the newcomers.
Hockey: If they ever play again, Thrashers, but this is a lot like the NBA in that I don't care all that much and I don't have any teams I just hate.
I don't think it'll be possible for me to take these biases out of my posts (I don't think I should either - I'm not a professional or anything). But I also don't plan on writing the "Florida sucks, 'cause... uhh.. they suck" post either. The focus is on facts, numbers and history.
Posted by LD at 9:09 AM
I hope this will be a regular feature...
Everton v. Chelsea: Chelsea take 3 even w/o Robben. 0-2
Birmingham City v. Liverpool: I want to take Liverpool, but I feel a draw is the right call. 1-1
Blackburn Rovers v. Norwich City: It'll be ugly. Draw. If one side gets 3, I'd take Norwich. 0-0
Portsmouth v. Aston Villa: Villa get the win on the road. 2-3
Bolton Wanderers v. Middlesbrough: Bolton keep the streak alive. 2-0
Manchester City v. Manchester United: City play up to opponents. United fall 12 back. 2-1.
Arsenal v. Crystal Palace: Gunners on cruise control. 4-0
FA Cup Replays:
Fulham v. Derby County: 2-0
Hartlepool v. Brentford: 1-0
Tottenham Hotspur v. West Bromwich Albion: 3-0.
Sheffield United v. West Ham United: 1-0
Posted by LD at 1:49 AM
Friday, February 11, 2005
The Long Distance Dedication Comes From Sheryl, a Data Processor from Lansdale, PA with a message of hope to her lost love...
In response to a request from Garner Linn (who knows my brother, "The New Jersey General"), conduit Hillary, and with some inspiration from Ryan/Darkness, I now submit my list. A few caveats: I think it's been said that this is a snapshot. Tomorrow's list might be different from today's, no matter how much emphasis one places on "timeless" songs. So instead, I've gone with songs I like, rather than ones which might be objectively great (i.e. Born to Run is objectively great and would make my list of songs others should consider the "best" but I like lots of songs more). Also, I've used iTunes as a crib sheet, so I'm sure I'm forgetting songs I really like because they aren't in my library.
1. Here, There and Everywhere - The Beatles
2. Train in Vain - The Clash
3. Nightswimming - R.E.M.
4. Beautiful Day - U2
5. B.O.B. - Outkast
6. Sweet Thing - Van Morrison
7. Santa Monica - Everclear
8. I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys
9. In a Big Country - Big Country
10. Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
11. O Fortuna (from Carmina Burana) -Carl Orff
12. Still Not A Player - Big Punisher
13. Blue - The Jayhawks
14. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
15. Vehicle - The Ides of March
16. Ignition (Remix) - R. Kelly
17. Where is My Mind? - Pixies
18. Nothing Compares 2U - Sinead O'Connor
19. Just Like Heaven - The Cure
20. Any Way You Want It - Journey
21. Fall on Me - R.E.M.
22. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
23. Hey Ya! - Outkast
24. Drain You - Nirvana
25. She Said, She Said - The Beatles
26. Nuthin But a "G" Thing - Dr. Dre
27. Small Town - Pearl Jam
28. Shake Your Rump - Beastie Boys
29. Tender - Blur
30. A Long December - Counting Crows
31. Gold Soundz - Pavement
32. Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
33. Fire Woman - The Cult
34. Willing to Wait - Sebadoh
35. I Get Around - 2Pac
36. If I Can't Change Your Mind - Sugar
37. Fell In Love With A Girl - The White Stripes
38. No Ordinary Love - Sade
39. Last Goodbye - Jeff Buckley
40. What Did You Expect? - Archers of Loaf
41. Jack-Ass - Beck
42. Not You Again - Dinosaur Jr.
43. Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
44. Got Your Money - Ol' Dirty Bastard
45. Slide Away - Oasis
46. Save a Prayer - Duran Duran
47. Drown - Son Volt
48. Grey Cell Green - Ned's Atomic Dustbin
49. The World Has Turned And Left Me Here - Weezer
50. Seventeen - Winger
Reserve the right to revise...
Posted by LD at 11:35 PM
Reasons for blogging:
1) Hone writing skills;
2) Daily snapshot of thoughts;
3) Place to broadcast obnoxious opinions nobody wants to hear;
4) Get a recurring role on "Best Week Ever" (If a hack like Paul F. Tompkins can...)
5) Become a BlogWarrior™; get badass helmet with monitor on the front, bloody hatchet blades on either side;
6) Release the inner critic from shackles; and (most importantly)
7) embarrass my family.
Posted by LD at 11:13 PM
Formatting a blog blows. So no complaining if this doesn't look good enough.
And yes, that means you, first person to read this.
Posted by LD at 10:50 PM
I suppose this should serve as a description of what this exercise is, or what I hope it will be...
Well, let's see... I think it'll be semi-anonymous. No expertise here. I won't blog anything about my job, or anything [else?] I find somewhat boring.
I hope to post semi-frequently, but usually at night.
Topics I'll post on: baseball, european soccer, college football, films, politics (less frequently), occasional inanity, beer, mocking sports (and other) punditry.
I'll try not to link to things you will have already seen. I promise to give hat tips to other blogs. I promise to note updates and corrections clearly.
OK, that's enough.
The story behind the blog name is here.
Posted by LD at 6:53 PM