Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Qualifying Updates

Solid performance by the USA. Should've been a bigger number. Guatemala's dangerous though, and it wouldn't surprise me if we lost down there. Guatemala has to be considered third in CONCACAF right now, especially with Costa Rica sleepwalking.

The most interesting thing is the way MLS and the USSF seem to be on the same page and with the same goals. The Ruiz and the Donovan deals both worked out perfectly for the US. Donovan gets out of Germany and the weight comes off his shoulders, while Ruiz has his life uprooted and messed with, all on the eve of the qualifying match. I hope this was all orchestrated (might be a coincidence) and I hope the league thinks about these types of things every time around.

Also, Donovan was great. Leverkusen look like fools to me. And he was onside for what would've been the second goal.

France continue to disappoint. Ukraine look like they'll qualify automatically in probably the toughest group. England should've scored at least 5. How did they end up with a schedule where 7 of the 10 matches are in the UK? They don't play outside of Britain the rest of the way.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More actual opinioneering

1. USA - Guatemala: Donovan is free from Germany, and he'll let it show on the field. I expect several great crosses, and Eddie J will get at least one. I think all 10 outfield players are going to be flying around and making things happen. 3-0

2. England - Azerbaijan: Owen grabs a hat trick, and three English clubs start a bidding war for him. He'll get a few more against minnows and get close to Sir Bobby. 6-0

3. Israel - France: I think this is a pretty interesting match. France can't seem to get wins in this group against decent competition. It's in Israel too, which is slightly more of a vexing place to play. Israel scrounged up a draw against an Irish team playing on their heels last weekend. Israel also picked up a draw in the first match against France. The French must know that they can't keep picking up single points in a division with 4 teams capable of advancing. On the other hand, France hasn't conceded a goal so far. 0-1


Some snowed in stringer just got his portfolio

ESPN picked up the AP story on the North Dakota State Senator who wants to give back Roger Maris the home run record. It isn't surprising that politicians are wasting time on this. Should I be surprised that someone is actually covering the North Dakota legislature?



Is "Johnnie Cochran and Jerry Falwell arrive at the gates of St. Peter's" the opener of a joke?

Punchlines in comments, por favor.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Quickly, Niftily.

Blogger is giving me some shit, so I'll throw these posts together.

1. Hawks lose again. Awesome. 2 more eliminated, and now only Charlotte, New Orleans and Utah can take what is rightfully the Hawks. And nobody deserves to waste a higher draft pick more than the Hawks. Rock on.

2. Inferno II Update: The challenge was weak. The inferno game was awesome (in the words of the General "they're stealing ideas from Three Amigos!"). Line of the night: "You F with me, I'm gonna f you harder" - Beth S, which makes me throw up in my mouth. Why do they not focus more on Darrell. Highlight: Julie's prayer asking God to help them sin. Rad.

3. So, on the show after the Inferno (travel with celebrities), the Lady and the General are surprised that the Sherpa guide's name is actually Sherpa. I tell them that all the sherpas are in fact Sherpas (which I'm not really sure of, but I think I remember hearing). General knows a guy from Sudan whose last name is Deng and he happens to be in the same tribe as Luol Deng (big dude, Hawks should've drafted but Billy Knight is stubborn). Just imagine if everyone in Atlanta were a Douchebag. It'd be Boston then. Har Har Har.

4. Sarah Jessica Parker sucks.

5. Lobsterfest was enjoyably drunk. Introduced the family to Je Suis France's Tittania. I Love LA and Thank You For Being A Friend got the biggest response (as in the most family members singing along). Rewatched Anchorman. Still funny, but not getting better with viewings.

6. I encourage Hillary and everyone else to read Don Quixote. It'd be my first desert island choice.

7. In determining when the Simpsons jumped the shark, I think it's important to consider that inanity, outlandishness, and surreality do not necessarily make the show bad. Some of the best Simpsons episodes include all of that. I think the problem with the show is that there are so many classic episodes that the rest just pale in comparison. And it was like that even in the beginning. Every episode where Lisa is the focus blows, and that goes back to like the second season. Anyway, jumping the shark is fluid. The show is like an athlete in the twilight of his career. You still watch because of how great it was and you know it's capable of hitting a home run, even if it isn't as consistent or great as it used to be. Luckily there'll be others. Anyone who thinks the jumping was the chili cookoff episode can lick the taint though.

8. The interviews with the US MNT make them sound kind of pissed at a defense first approach in Azteca. Guatemala, who played a great game Saturday, I get the feeling will suffer Wednesday.

9. Andruw Cerrano has been looking pretty good. No curveballs please.

10. Furman Bisher's column on Sunday: "A stain that will never wash out." Depends, dude.

11. Venti McStarfucker tells us all about chilling at a pool and dining with other SI writers. Two columns a week in the offseason covering Jerry Jones' wax jobs and Al Davis' stool samples, and come August he'll go to Cape Cod for a full month. Useless.

And that's about enough for now. I hope this posts.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Hook Brings You Back...

8:02 AM. Good Friday, 2004. I pull up to a red light at the corner of North Avenue and Boulevard just east of Midtown. In front of my car hops along a woman in her mid thirties. Hops, because she has difficulty running in 4 inch high heels. A chilly morning, so it was good that she was wearing leg warmers. Her hair was stringy, like a shaker knit sweater come undone. She was skinny enough to squeeze through the tightest cranny, a crack perhaps. She had places to go... Namely, the teal Chevy S-10 pickup in the Pizza Hut parking lot. The driver inside the cab had flagged her down. 8:02 AM. Jesus wept.

For a while I took a different route to work, and I was forced to miss out on the daily hooker sightings. Now, I drive down Boulevard every morning. I wonder if many people actually know that hookers get up really early in the morning.

Anyway, I'm going out of town this weekend, so light posting is likely. Saturday night is Lobsterfest, when the Douchebag family converges upon Massengill Manor and eliminates the "summer stash" of Mother's gin. Full report Sunday or Monday. Let's hope I don't end up with vomit on me, like the 2000 edition. Which also ruled.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A couple of new links

Over the past few days I've been linked to by a few blogs. As a rookie to all this, my mind is pretty blown. I thought only a few people would ever read this, and it'd be a cathartic experience for me and capture a record of my thoughts. The fact that people from way across the country read this and have taken the time to link and blogroll me just baffles the mind. I'm still pretty shitty at all this, so knowing that people are reading this makes me somewhat embarrassed...

On the other hand, I think this blogging world is pretty great at bringing people together, and I'm really glad to have stumbled on new sites. It seems like there's a whole world of people interested in calling out douchebags, mocking commercials and commenting on dumbass sports personalities.

And therefore, I've added Norbizness to the notable record, because HFPST is much more than a politics blog (and one of my reasons for starting to blog). I've also added Drew's Scamboogah!! to the notables, and you should definitely take a look around. The Pardon the Eruption site is great too. Makes me jealous of people who actually can design a site and don't just rely on a form template.

So stop reading this mediocre blog and read something professional. And check out Thighs Wide Shut too. Some spectacular links there.


Not insulting Old People is hard.

Well it's come to this. The aged sage of Atlanta sports punditry, Furman Bisher, wrote in his Sunday column (AJC premium so no link) that Baseball should scoop Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) out of DC and make him the Commissioner.

Take a look at this article (Salon, click through).

Furman, while utterly adorable when making fun of Black athletes' names and reminiscing on back when Horse Racing was front page shit, lost his mind years ago. He hasn't written a relevant article in decades.

But who knew that there's a demand for more old, senile, batshit-crazy coots running things in sports? What does Furman think Bunning will bring to baseball? Catheter-included cups? Dentures with dip stain?

Yep, on my way to hell.


RPI Project Continued

This will probably be my last RPI post. It probably hasn't been as successful a project as I'd hoped. Ehh.

Anyway, as the rounds progress, and the superior teams advance, the better teams are probably going to win over a worse team even if that worse team is "underrated."

In Round 2, this was pretty clearly evident.

The "more underrated" teams went 6-8 in the second round (2 games neither team was "more underrated"). But that doesn't really tell the story either.

There were 6 games where one team was underrated by the committee and playing a team seeded higher. Cincinnati, Southern Illinois, Pacific, Bucknell and Vermont all lost. Villanova won, but they were playing a team only seeded one spot higher.

I now propose that the only analysis that matters from here on won't be whether a team is underrated or overrated, but rather which team the RPI has rated higher, regardless of seed by the committee. New and Old RPI ratings in parentheses.

Illinois (1,2) vs. UW-Milwaukee (47, 50)
Oklahoma St. (4, 4) vs. Arizona (9, 9)
Washington (3, 6) vs. Louisville (12, 11)
Texas Tech (29, 27) vs. West Virginia (44, 31)
UNC (6, 5) vs. Villanova (15, 14)
Wisconsin (14, 17) vs. NC State (54, 45)
Duke (5, 3) vs. Michigan State (24, 22)
Kentucky (10, 10) vs. Utah (23, 25)

The higher seeded teams are all rated higher by the RPI. Not much to get out of this. Oh well. It might've helped pick an upset or two, and might've had some gambling use, but I'm not going to put in the time to prove a thesis I'm not sure I really believe in.


Dumber than a bag of balloons? Nope, just a box of hammers.

Gammons' third article this week included one tidbit that set me off on a tangent.

Several weeks ago in Florida, a player who might be the most intelligent man in uniform said, "if I were a four-A player whose game was power and I thought I could make $100 million by taking steroids, who am I to say I wouldn't have done it? There was an entire culture on the periphery, and they were easy to get. There were no warnings in the game against them. They weren't illegal in our workplace. I think the moral outrage directed at some of these individuals is pretty hypocritical."

OK, the substance itself is pretty agreeable. But who do you think the "most intelligent man in uniform" is? Here's the deal: last year or so, when Mark Prior graduated from Stanford, I remember reading about how there were a ridiculously low number of college graduates in baseball. RIDICULOUSLY LOW.

So, I spotted this article that lists the 42 graduates. That's 42 out of 750. For comparison, the SF Chronicle article cited within says that there were more college grads on the Carolina Panthers (out of 55).

So who do you think the "most intelligent man in uniform" is? I'd guess he'd be on the list of 42:

B. Ausmus, B. Boehringer, D. Burba, C. Capuano, J. Carroll, S. Casey, V. Chulk, J. Cirillo, B. Clark, C. Counsell, D. Dreifort, B. File, S. Finley, J. Flaherty, J. Gerut, D. Glanville, R. Greer, K. Gryboski, T. Harper, S. Hasegawa, E. Karros, J. Knott, B. Larson, K. Ligtenberg, M. Loretta, M. Lowell, B. McMillan, J. Moyer, M. Mussina, W. Obermuller, M. Prior, P. Quantrill, M. Remlinger, D. Roberts, S. Schoenweis, S. Shields, S. Sullivan, S. Taguchi, S. Takatsu, T. Walker, W. Williams, T. Womack.

First off, why are middle relievers so likely to be college grads? Weird. Anyway, Peter said the guy was in Florida, so that cuts out any Angels, Giants, Padres, Rockies, D Backs, Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, A's, Mariners, Royals, or Rangers. If I were a betting man, I'd put money on Jody Gerut, simply for the fellating he received a few weeks back in the column on baseball's "future stars".

Anyone know why baseball writers don't throw around the sanctimony about staying in school that other sportswriters rely on?


Droopy Dog Watch

Three filings by the man whose Transitions Lenses never get clear.

First up, a puff piece on the Cubs. Nothing much here. One paragraph gets devoted to how great Joe Borowski is pitching. So naturally, Borowski comes up lame immediately. I wonder whether there's a Gammons Jinx. Every time he goes down on a player in his column, that player goes down too. Just ask Ken Griffey.

Next, a longer column with focus on the Giants and a bunch of quick hitters. Some highlights:

The opening paragraph introduces us to Szechuan Scout's wife, Annie (as in "ask any scout"). I'll leave the Bonds bashing to others. Peter focuses on the positive. I like the comment by Peter Magowan: "For us, depth is extremely important because we play so many games..." It totally sucks how MLB makes the Giants play 250 games while everyone else only has to play 162. Peter also gives some more love to Mike Matheney. Wonder why?

Quick Hits:
- Harden Hardon continues, with a reacharound to the rest of the A's staff.
- Gammons mentions the battle for the Astros fifth starter position. He's mentioned this before. I think this is really odd. I guess Peter has been doing some call in interviews with WGAF radio.
- More Texas Trade Rumors NOW, Bitch. WGAF again.
- Former Milwaukee Brewers now Hollywood Stars. WGAF Big time.

The third article (on the steroids hearings) I'll mention the one interesting point in the next post.


Magic Number Watch

Hawks have been quite productive since the last update. 24 teams are eliminated.

15 games left

Charlotte: 14
New Orleans: 12
Utah: 6
Golden State: 4
Portland: 4

And that's it. Charlotte and NO are the only challengers. This contest is the Hawks' to lose (win?).


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

English Update

So the Premiership is on hiatus for the World Cup qualifiers over the next two weeks (and I like the US to force a draw Sunday, but they ain't winning in Azteca). Now's as good a time as any to actually discuss what's been going on instead of just making shitty picks.

Chelsea are running away with the league, and Man U bias is preventing folks from saying so. Seriously. They're kicking serious ass. Cech has been a wall and the defense is seriously good. The midfield and attack are pretty great too. But the key to me is Mourinho. Brash, cocky, kind of a dick, and unafraid to actually use the media to get an advantage. There isn't a comparable American coaching today. Over here, the coaches are so freaking boring. Mourinho isn't and I love it. And I think the players soak it up. Chelsea are habitual underachievers, but not this year. The Barcelona tie showed it all. The personality, the wild scoring, the controversies all made for (gasp!) entertaining sport. And unfortunately, there's been too little of that this season.

Man U and Arsenal ought put their eggs in the FA cup basket. If they meet in the final, it'll be pretty awesome. It won't surprise me if Newcastle make the final though. They've been playing very well lately.

Everton has had a great season, playing way above their heads. Good for them and all. Liverpool have been a disappointment so far. I'll predict Liverpool pass Everton and the entire city won't know whether to be pissed or happy.

I kind of hope either Bolton or Charlton make a run for Europe. Diouf, however, I am not a fan of. Charlton should be kind of embarrassed from last weekend.

Norwich are heading down. Saints will stay up.

In the Championship, Sunderland and Wigan are coming up, and for some reason I think Sheffield United are getting through the playoffs, if they get in. If not, Preston. Rotherham and Forest are heading down. Weird to me that Coventry looks so bad. They need to get that stadium built.

Division One: Luton, Hull and Wednesday are coming up. I'm pulling for Wrexham to avoid the drop, mostly because it shouldn't be the players fault the team ain't run for shit (though I understand the idea of docking them points and all...).

Division Two: Yeovil, Scunthorpe, Macclesfield and Darlington coming up. Try rowing, Cambridge.

The other major story is the European Trophies. The Liverpool - Juventus tie isn't good for the image of soccer. Especially considering the rash of arrests after the Liverpool Derby last weekend, they ought get their act together. Chelsea - Bayern is a pretty good matchup, but I have a feeling that neither team are winning the cup. It's an Italian year. In the Uefa Cup, I've got a good feeling about Newcastle, though they pulled probably the toughest draw this round. Sporting might be the best team left in the competition. The winner of that tie should go on to win it all.

If you want links for any of this, look to the right column.


More Douchebaggery

The key is that a douchebag is both a dick and a pussy. He has to be an asshole, but also has to cave at the slightest aggression. He has to receive a comeuppance.

We spoke of Zabka, but he never really caved. Paxton has nailed it several times.

Unsure how I could've left out Spaulding Smails, though. But what about my asthma????


Intern around... every now and then I get a little bit lonely...

Simmons is back with the intern contest and, all tapped out himself, this time he enlists another writer to come up with a lame question. I think we can go back to the shorter concept, with commentary on the picture in parentheses.

Bank (Varsity IM champ): I have a secret crush on Brandy.
Bell (Prom '97 off the chain!): If I remind you how bad the others are, you might think I'm semi-decent.
Cott (Adam's Apple implants pull the wool): I'm into numbers, so I'll go with the Asian guy.
Levine (Dude from "The Mad Real World" on Chappelle's Show): Since I went to a small liberal arts school like Simmons, I'll win.
MacDonald (Ashlee Simpson with 80s hair): I'm "different" so you'll pick me.
Renee (hot enough that I understand why she's using only her first name): The WNBA is a favorite of tough women.
Williams (OK, you played football. We get it.): I'm going to use the fact that Simmons likes Stallone.

Bank and Cott are the finalists. Williams shows, with Renee closing fast (OK, that was just for the picture).

Simmons: cut the cute shit and just give them the keys to the site for a day each. Whoever screws up the least gets the job. That so hard?


Monday, March 21, 2005

Discussion Question

Maxim offers this month a top ten list of "The Greatest Movie Douchebags Ever". My good name won't let me let this slide.

10. Cal Hockley, Titanic (Billy Zane)
9. Mark, Old School (Craig Kilborn)
8. Pig Vomit, Private Parts (Paul Giammati)
7. Chet Donnelly, Weird Science (Bill Paxson)
6. Biff Tannen, Back to the Future (Thomas F. Wilson)
5. Fred O'Bannion, Dazed and Confused (Ben Affleck)
4. Dr. Frederick Chilton, The Silence of the Lambs (Anthony Heald)
3. Tinkerbell, Peter Pan (They choose Ludvine Sangier for the picture)
2. Harry Ellis, Die Hard (Hart Bochner)
1. Douglas C. Niedermeyer, Animal House (Mark Metcalf)

I agree with most, especially Chet and "Hans, Bubby, I'm your white knight". I'd have made a place for Rand McPherson in PCU and definitely Bill Lumbergh. I think the key to a good douchebag is that he's a total asshole, but he's someone you just couldn't use a fist to punch. He's just not worth risking a broken knuckle, and he'd run off crying at a backhand slap. Now that's a douche.

Anybody got any others?


Movie, Bitch. Get out the way.

Man on Fire: I liked Denzel. I liked the Mexico City scenery. I liked the plot, or at least more than I thought I would. I liked Dakota Fanning and I never thought I'd say that. I liked Radha Mitchell playing the same exact character as in Finding Neverland (except Mark Anthony isn't a pedophile or something). But because Tony Scott and whatever editor couldn't go 12 frames in a row without splicing, this gets a very poor rating. Camera tricks abound, and none of them do a damn thing to make it a better movie. It reminded me of those annoying Jack McCoy TD Waterhouse commercials where they cut straight on, side view, off kilter, straight on, side view, straight on, side view, arrrghhhh. After a while I started shutting my eyes to avoid the cuts and light shifts, then I just fell asleep for a while. I don't think I missed much, and that probably helped this review. YooooooUUUU'r'R'r.'r'r'EEEEE ff f f f IIIIIrr[you're fired, you're fired] EEedDdDd.!.!...!!!.d


Several good laughs within a minute...

Channel surfing the basic cable can be extremely fun.

First, while catching some of the Hawks-Bulls game on Turner South, I caught this year's "My South, My Game, My Team, Go Braves" commercial. Last year featured the incomparable Cee-Lo (and one day I may dedicate a post or 12 to My Super Sweet 16 ). This year, Travis Tritt. And it's pretty spectacular. T Squared is apparently losing his hair on top, so slap on a hat, let it grow long in the back... The song is spectacular, though I think he samples "Shake Ya Tailfeather".

Next we flip to TLC's Town Haul, which is now remodeling the town of Laurens, SC. According to a friend who's from there "they haven't fixed a damn thing." Anyway, we see an older African American chilling with college age Sratgirl-type twins (Babs and Dabs - and I'm not kidding). B/Dabs says that you can tell them apart because "my butt's bigger." The older gentleman seems to appreciate that. They share a moment of fun when he can't tell them apart. Then they can't remember his name, which the gentleman says doesn't matter because everyone calls him "The Chocolate Cowboy." I don't think I was paying enough attention to tell if they fixed anything.

And finally, I see that one talentless pair of sisters wasn't enough, so the makers of Icebreakers Liquid Ice have now enlisted Haylie and Hilary Duff. I guess they built her a cake or something.


I'll strangle his ass with his own enormous old pants

So there's a five minute quasi-infomercial on Fox Soccer Channel for Bowflex featuring Jess, a teacher who used to weigh 400 pounds. He's like my favorite infomercial character ever because of this line:

"I hear about some guys losing a bunch of weight just eating sandwiches and stuff, but I don't see them on TV with no shirt on."

For real. Jared, you betta bow tha f up. Or put that weight back on a start throwing it around.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

RPI Project Update

Underrated Teams:
Vermont: won
Old Dominion: kept close
Ohio: kept close
UL-Lafayette: kept close
S. Illinois: won
St. Mary's: lost to other underrated team
UTEP: kept close
Utah State: kept close
Pacific: won
Penn: lost
Wisconsin: won
Kansas: lost to underrated team
UCLA: lost
Bucknell: won
Boston College: won
Pitt: lost to underrated team
Cincinnati: won

Most teams wither won or were in a position to win.

Overrated teams:
Iowa State: won over other overrated team
West Virginia: won
NC State: won over other overrated team
Texas: lost
Charlotte: lost to other overrated team
Minnesota: lost to other overrated team
Iowa: lost
Georgia Tech: won
UAB: won
UConn: won somewhat close
Stanford: lost

In the matchups between an overrated team and an underrated team, the underrated team went 3-1, with only Texas Tech winning over UCLA (Vermont, Pacific and Cincinnati were the underrated winners).

Basically, it looks like the system semi-works. The underrated teams either pulled upsets or kept it close. I think it's reasonable to say that had those teams been seeded higher (where the RPI would have slotted them), they would've been as or more successful (playing lesser opponents). On the overrated side, it's tougher to tell. Had the overrated teams been seeded lower (and therefore playing better opponents), who knows how well they would've performed?

Now in the next round let's look at the matchups:
BC is underrated. UW-Milwaukee is level.
Nevada and Illinois are level
Arizona is level, UAB is overrated.
So. Illinois is slightly more underrated than Ok. St.
Pacific is underrated. Washington is level.
Louisville is slightly underrated. Georgia Tech is overrated.
Gonzaga is slightly underrated. Texas Tech is overrated.
Wake Forest is level. West Virginia is overrated.
UNC is barely overrated. Iowa State is significantly overrated.
Villanova is slightly underrated. Florida is level.
Wisconsin is more underrated than Bucknell.
UConn is less overrated than NC State.
Duke and Miss. State are level.
Vermont is very underrated, Mich. State is slightly overrated.
Utah is less overrated than Oklahoma.
Cincinnati is underrated, Kentucky is slightly overrated.

2 overrated teams: UConn/NC State, Utah/Oklahoma, UNC/Iowa State
2 underrated teams: So. Ill/Ok. State, Wisconsin/Bucknell
Over vs. Under: Louisville/GT, Gonzaga/Texas Tech, Vermont/Mich. State, Cincy/Kentucky

I'll update it again after the next round.


Movie, Bitch. Get Out The Way.

1. Club Dread: OK, I'm a huge fan of Super Troopers - thought it was one of the few great comedies of the last 5 years. I think Broken Lizard is really good at comedy. This just missed the mark entirely. I just don't see why they wanted to make a slasher pic scary. I admire them for avoiding the cheap sight gags and referential humor, but they just didn't have enough humor. I hope they get back to doing what they do well. You're Fired.

2. The Big Bounce: Got bored pretty quickly with this. The only thing deserving comment is the way that the director spliced in random shots of Hawaii (surf, jungles, coastlines, etc.) when there was no reason to do so, and sometimes interrupting the scene to do so. It reminded me of Rumble in the Bronx, when they'd hilariously splice in stock footage of NYC to try to trick the viewer into thinking they didn't film it in Vancouver. Here, though, we can see it's Hawaii. So it wasn't nearly as awesome. You're Fired.

3. The War Room: Probably should've seen this a decade ago. It isn't important so much for historical purposes, or even a how-to on running a campaign, because we can get all that elsewhere. It's important for the emotions and characters. OK, really just Carville. Some highlights: Stephanopolous on This Week as a guest (back when he had a backbone); Spotting WSB's Bill Nigut in a crowd; Gore's "up...down" speech (the 2000 campaign totally blurs what kind of a politician he once was). With hindsight and history since this was made, the filmmakers' theme (it changed campaigns forever...) seems somewhat disproven - or maybe completely validated. I'm really not sure which. I know that the scene at the beginning when Carville says, "If we can win this, we can knock this shit back forever" just rings in my ears. They didn't knock anything back. The shit came back bigger and stronger than ever before. You can even see it throughout this film (draft dodger/swift boat vets, hints at flip flopping). I was torn on how high to rate it, but I'm erring in favor. Cadillac.


Lyrics on demand

At Easterns Motors, your job's your credit.
Ford Hyundai Chevy Beemers, and minivans.
Over 600 cars, trucks, SUVs.
Are you listening, man?
Let Easterns Motors put you in a car today.
Let Easterns Motors finance it all the way.


Premiership Picks

Been kind of sick, so light posting.

So Far: 12/28, 3 right scorelines

This weekend:

Blackburn Rovers v. Arsenal: 0-1
Charlton Athletic v. West Bromwich Albion: 2-0
Chelsea v. Crystal Palace: 3-1
Manchester United v. Fulham: 2-0
Portsmouth v. Newcastle United: 0-2
Tottenham Hotspur v. Manchester City: 2-0
Bolton Wanderers v. Norwich City: 1-0
Birmingham City v. Aston Villa: 1-1
Middlesbrough v. Southampton: 1-0
Liverpool v. Everton: 1-2

And if I suck this weekend, I'm all messed up on cough syrup now, so just, like, nevermind.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

UEFA Cup blah blah blah

2/3 today, but only 1/2 right advancing. 14/41 overall, 2 right scorelines, 8/17 right advancing.


CSKA Moscow v. Partizan Belgrade: 2-0 (CSKA advance)
Real Zaragoza v. Austria Wien: 2-1 (Zaragoza advance)
Auxerre v. Lille: 2-0 (Auxerre advance)
Sporting Lisbon v. Middlesboro: 0-2 (Middlesboro advance)
Parma v. Sevilla: 1-0 (Parma advance)


Hawks Magic Number Watch

Start the Dirge.

The Hawks have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The race for the most ping pong balls continues though!

Hawks (19 games left) magic numbers:
Charlotte - 19
New Orleans - 17
Golden State, Utah - 11
Portland - 8
Milwaukee - 6
New York - 5
Toronto - 4
New Jersey, LA Clippers - 3

Everyone else (nearly 2/3rds of the freaking league!) is eliminated.


Droopy Dog Watch

This article came out a few days ago, and I know I've been reluctant to give it the treatment it deserves. I've procrastinated because everytime I try to read the damn thing I go into a sugar induced coma. Mauldlin scmaltz.

But I forge on...

First up, Peter is this week's guest judge on America's Next Top [of the batting order] Model. And he has nothing but good things to say:

Juan Pierre: "Infectious smile"
Albert Pujols: "Serious and diligent... intelligent"
Vernon Wells: "Olympian... striking"
Joe Mauer: "Every mother's son"
Mark Prior: "Think Jim Palmer" (I'm guessing the Jockey ads...)
David Ortiz: "Humorous"

Baseball's all personality and looks these days anyway. Who cares about things like ability and stuff.

And this week Peter reintroduces us to a favorite of mine, his Chinese baseball analyst, Schezuan Scout. You know, the guy he goes to when he needs a quote. As in "Ken Griffey's nuts hang below his knees, says one scout." Schezuan is always there to say nice things about players Peter has decided are good people. This time it's rookie prospects for Schezuan to praise:

Brandon McCarthy: "Best young pitcher" I guess he hasn't seen Santana, Harden, Perez, Eaton, Bonderman, etc.
Gavin Floyd: "Haven't seen better stuff" Schezuan, you just talked about Brandon McCarthy. At least separate your superlatives so we might forget.
Hanley Ramirez: "Would be the first pick in the draft" Schezuan has the ancient Chinese powers of "20/20 Hindsight". Next thing you know he'll be saying Tom Brady "would be drafted higher than the 6th round"
Huston Street: "By midseason a major factor" Might be true, but only because the A's won't have much to play for and they'll trade all their other relievers.
Paul McAnaulty: "He's John Kruk, or Matt Stairs" OK, that wasn't Schezuan. It was Kevin Towers. But is that a compliment? I'd be like, dude... Boss just called you a fatass.

Some other random Gammons bloviatings:

2) Jason Kendall Hearts Oakland Pitchers
3) The Harden Hardon continues, and this time Schezuan gets in the mix.
4) Shawn Chacon to the Rangers!!! THE HORROR!!! LEAVE US ALONE, RUMOR!!!

And finally, Gammons psychoanaylzes Jason Giambi:

In his time in New York, Giambi has struggled because he wanted everyone to like him. Now, after being betrayed in his grand jury BALCO testimony and being publicly savaged, he's hardened. "I guess I'm at the point where I don't trust anyone," he says. "And I never thought I'd be that way"

So, in other words: It used to be "They like me, but I want 'em to love me like they loved Pac" but now "If you don't give a damn, we don't give a fuck."


Is Todd Phillips a Total Football fan?

It just occurred to me that the name of Will Ferrell's character in Old School is a homophone with the current manager of Barcelona FC and one of the most famous 1980s Dutch soccer players.

Frank Ricard = Frank Rijkaard?

Who knew?


Premiership Picks and UEFA Cup Gonorrhea

So far in the Premiership: 10/26 right result, 2 right scorelines
Charlton Athletic v. Tottenham Hotspur: 2-0
Liverpool v. Blackburn Rovers: 1-1

So far in the UEFA Cup: 12/38 right result, 2 right scorelines, 7/16 right advancing
Steaua Bucharest v. Villareal (first match): 1-0 (Villareal advance)
AZ Alkmaar v. Shakhtar Donetsk: 2-0 (but I'm stuck with a pick of Shakhtar)
Newcastle United v. Olympiakos: 2-1 (I picked Newcastle)


Monday, March 14, 2005

Picks and Picks

Chelsea rolls West Brom 4-0.

Internazionale Milan over Porto 1-0.


Stop that Inferno Racket

So Jon sacrifices himself for his people, just like Jesus (his words). And soundly gets worked by the mostest flamingest ever in the shortest inferno since Ace knew better.

Julie cries.

Tina calls another girl a bitch.

Weak challenge. Let's see something like that catapult business.

Next week, Tonya freaking loses it. . Here's hoping they keep her around to sleep with like half the cast and most of the PAs.


The RPI Project

Here's what I did: I took the NCAA bracket, ranked the teams via snake based on the order of the #1 seeds. Then I compared that list to both the "new" formula RPI ratings and the "classic" RPI ratings that I found here. The reason why I did this: the selection committee uses these rankings to select at large teams and to seed the ones in the tournament. However, I've always had an idea that the selection committee uses the ratings only when it suits their purpose, or offers them an argument/defense. I think if you're going to use something like that, you should use it fairly, across the board, and objectively. I had a feeling that they didn't, and I think I was right.

Now first, there's been some controversy over the "new" formula of RPI this year. I think the NCAA actually used something closer to the "classic" formula. The order of the actual bracket was significantly closer to the classic formula list than the new formula list.

So what's the point in all this? My hypothesis is to find out whether the RPI is an accurate way of determining what the best team is. Now, obviously there are some problems with trying to figure this out. I can't set up a bracket based solely on the RPI rankings. I'm stuck within the parameters of the current tournament.

Here's how I did it: by comparing the snake rankings of the actual bracket to both RPI rankings, I determined whether the selection committee overrated or underrated teams. Then we can watch whether the underrated teams are successful and whether overrated teams flounder. Of course, we're subject to the actual matchups (and unfortunately, there aren't many overrated vs. underrated games in the first round).

In each, I list the number of "seeds" and "ranks" a particular team is over or underrated. e.g., if Team X is the top 4 seed in the snake, but would've been the last 6 seed on RPI, the committee overrated it by 2 seeds and 11 "ranks".


cf New RPI
1. Vermont - 7 seeds, 30 ranks
2. Old Dominion - 5 seeds, 19 ranks
2. Ohio - 5 seeds, 19 ranks
4. UL- Lafayette - 3 seeds, 14 ranks
5. Southern Illinois - 3 seeds, 12 ranks
5. St. Mary's - 3 seeds, 12 ranks
7. UTEP - 2 seeds, 10 ranks
7. Utah State - 2 seeds, 10 ranks
9. Pacific - 3 seeds, 9 ranks
9. Pennsylvania - 3 seeds, 9 ranks
11. Wisconsin - 2 seeds, 9 ranks
12. Kansas - 2 seeds, 8 ranks
12. UCLA - 2 seeds, 8 ranks
13. Bucknell - 2 seeds, 7 ranks

cf Classic RPI
1. Vermont - 4 seeds, 17 ranks
2. UTEP - 3 seeds, 11 ranks
3. Kansas - 2 seeds, 9 ranks
3. UCLA - 2 seeds, 9 ranks
5. Boston College - 2 seeds, 8 ranks
5. Pittsburgh - 2 seeds, 8 ranks
5. Utah State - 2 seeds, 8 ranks
8. Cincinnati - 2 seeds, 7 ranks

Underrated by at least 2 seeds as compared to both RPIs
Kansas, Pacific, UTEP, UCLA, Vermont, Utah State


cf new RPI
1. Iowa State - 5 seeds, 21 ranks
2. West Virginia - 4 seeds, 16 ranks
3. NC State - 4 seeds, 15 ranks
4. Texas - 4 seeds, 13 ranks
5. Charlotte - 3 seeds, 13 ranks
6. Minnesota - 3 seeds, 12 ranks
7. Iowa - 3 seeds, 11 ranks
8. Georgia Tech - 3 seeds, 10 ranks
9. UAB - 2 seeds, 10 ranks
10. Connecticut - 2 seeds, 9 ranks

cf old RPI
1. Iowa State - 3 seeds, 12 ranks
2. Charlotte - 3 seeds, 11 ranks
2. Stanford - 3 seeds, 11 ranks
4. Texas - 2 seeds, 7 ranks
5. Georgia Tech - 2 seeds, 6 ranks
5. NC State - 2 seeds, 6 ranks

Overrated by at least 2 seeds as compared to both RPIs
Georgia Tech, Charlotte, Texas, Iowa State, NC State

Now, I am not advising anyone that these are prime "upset picks". My idea is solely to show whether the RPI serves a purpose or not. If all the underrated teams advance far and all the overrated teams fail, then we'll know whether the RPI serves a purpose (and the selection committee should use it). Of course, once I take a look at the actual bracket, I realize that this exercise may be for nothing.

The only matchups between an overrated team (by at least 2 seeds in at least one of the RPIs) and an underrated team are Texas Tech/UCLA, Syracuse/Vermont, Cincinnati/Iowa and in a way, Pittsburgh/Pacific (Pitt is overrated by 2 in the new RPI, underrated by 2 in the classic RPI). There are plenty of games between two overrated teams and two underrated teams. I'll update this for round 2.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Movie, Bitch. Get Out The Way.

Pieces of April: Now this is a short movie that got it right. The plot moves along at the right pace, and the character development actually works well. The acting is consistently good, with really good performances from Patricia Clarkson and Alison Pill. This film used the supporting characters in the right way - comic relief and to push the story along - which contrasts with The Station Agent. Patricia Clarkson plays her part pitch perfectly. She's really great. Very Very Very sharp steak knife.

Added (since it's the same title):

Eurotrip: I didn't expect much, and I got less. First off, it was kind of offensive to me (a Catholic and a soccer fan), and not per se offensive, but offensive because they couldn't come up with any even halfway decent jokes about Catholicism or soccer. I laughed 2 times in the whole movie. that was about a .25% success rate. The actors are the JV version of Freddie Prinze, Matthew Lillard, and (weaker) Shane West. Even the gratuitous T&A couldn't save it. A bit too much wang for my tastes too. You're fired (in a Vince McMahon voice).


Hawks Magic Number Watch

As before, this is the number of Hawks' losses and [other team's] wins needed for the Hawks to clinch the most ping pong balls in the Lottery.

The Hawks have 20 games left.

Charlotte: 20
New Orleans: 18
Golden State, Utah: 12
Portland: 9
Milwaukee: 7
Toronto, New York: 6
New Jersey, LA Clippers: 5
Philadelphia: 2
Indiana, Orlando: 1

The other 16 teams are eliminated from getting the most ping pong balls, and thus getting screwed by David Stern when the Knicks magically get the #1 pick.

On the other hand, the Magic Number for the Hawks to get eliminated from playoff contention is 2 (the number of Hawks' losses and Pacers' [or teams that pass the Pacers] wins. Technically speaking, they are already eliminated because teams ahead of them play each other multiple times, so one of them has to get a win.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Movie, Bitch. Get Out The Way

The Station Agent: A nice or so movie, with good performances. Not enough conflict in it. I'd also say that it could've been 15 minutes longer (and I rarely say that about movies). Interesting cast of characters, but I didn't see the story develop enough to attach myself to them. Screenplay probably needed some refining. Patricia Clarkson is good as usual. Bobby Cannavale is the surprise. It was OK, but it didn't blow me away. All in all, dull dull dull steak knife.


Blogging Rite of Passage: Mocking SNL

David Spade appeared as Martha Stewart in the opening skit. 95% sure he wasn't wearing a wig.

And the General said "Why is he hosting? Is he plugging a new set of Capital One commercials?"
And his entire monologue was just that.


Intern Sandman

Another set of candidates whittled by Simmons. My pick gets the boot this round. Oh well.


Bank: Moves into the upper echelon. The Coconut Banger's Ball is the best SNL pick.
Bell: This must've been a mistake. Terrible, unfunny.
Cott: Strong entry. Adam's rap is a great choice.
Levine: Learn how to edit, dude. And try answering the last question. Cut.
MacDonald: Mediocre entry. Choices are kind of obvious.
Renee: Ehh. Nothing to write home about.
Williams: Not as good as Bank or Cott. It's "Come on" not "won't you" be my baby tonight.

Luckham: Erred by choosing a sports related SNL skit. Those are rarely funny. Bad scandal too. Choked.
Silva: Should've been cut in the first round.
Spitzer: Mediocre. Choked.
Wainscott: Biggest choke of all. In previous rounds, he showed a more sophisticated sense of humor. Here, that disappears.

General comments:
Who knew that many people even saw Meet Joe Black?
Save a couple exceptions, the humor is much more lowbrow in this round. That ain't good.
I think he might've chosen just based on the SNL question.

Cott 3-1
Bank 3-1
Williams 5-1
Renee 15-1
MacDonald 17-1
Levine 20-1
Bell 25-1


Friday, March 11, 2005

FA Cup Picks

So far in the FA Cup: 7/16 right result, 9/12 right advancing, 0 right scorelines.

Bolton Wanderers v. Arsenal - 1-0 (Bolton advance)
Southampton v. Manchester United - 0-2 (Man U advance)

Blackburn Rovers v. Leicester City - 1-1 (Leicester advance after replay)
Newcastle United v. Tottenham Hotspur - 3-1 (Newcastle advance)


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hoop Dawgs

If I had started this blog 4 years ago, I'd have devoted plenty of space to college basketball. With Georgia's troubles, I just haven't had the energy to write on it too much. I'll say it now that the season's over. Felton did a good job this year. The team is just not deep enough. In two years the effort this team had to put out might pay off. We just need more talent. Luckily, I don't see anyone else in the SEC East (other than UK and UF, who already are great) who is stepping up. Georgia will be a tough team to play for years. I worry about quick success, and Felton leaving. Two years, we'll be back in the NCAAs.

My RPI project should go up on Sunday or Monday. Basically, I'll take the RPI, list the teams in the tournament according to the RPI, and compare the RPI seed to the actual seed. Then we'll watch and see if the RPI was a better gauge than the committee.


Fantasy tip of the day

Kerry Wood: Never won 15 games.
Greg Maddux: Won at least 15 games for 17 straight years.

You draft Flukey McBadshoulder.

And to the experts that crow about Mid-90s fastballs and "Hall of Fame stuff" (cf. previous post) take a look at an artist whose fastball couldn't hit 90 if it was fired out of a potato gun..


Droopy gets a pass

I've always been a little confused as to what the big deal was with Rick Ankiel. I have a sense that one of the things that may have caused his wildness is the hype Gammons et al piled on him. Still, there's not much to pick on here, since I have nothing against Ankiel. I don't like the innuendo that Ankiel's hiding some personal trauma from Gammons though. He doesn't owe Peter a damn thing.


Don't they know NASCAR drivers only go left?

Tidbit from today's AJC Political Insider:

"Pfizer, Inc., spent $1,148 on Daytona 500 tickets for seven influential Republican lawmakers, according to records lodged with the state Ethics Commission.


On Thursday, we ran into state Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), the former chairman of the House rules committee.
He offered Republicans some free advice: A) Never close down the Legislature for a junket. "It looks bad," Smyre said; B) Avoid junkets while ethics legislation is pending, for the same reason; and B) Always make sure you carry insurance against a partisan smear. "We always made sure we brought one Republican along," he said."

I've got some free advice for local Democrats: B) Don't give the other side advice (they don't care what you think) and B) When painting the other side as corrupt, try not to paint yourself as corrupt. Nice how taking gifts from corporate masters isn't considered bad form, but those who speak against the bribery are acting out a "partisan smear." Might it be time for a less jaded political sleuth at the AJC?


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

“Illusion,” Michael. A “trick” is something a whore does for money... or candy!

Hours of time wasting available here. I made myself cry laughing at some of the sounds.


UEFA Cup Acid Reflux!

Last time: 7/16 right results, 1 right scoreline, 7/16 right advancing
To date in UEFA Cup: 11/31 right results, 2 right scorelines. The missing game was the Austria Wien v. Athletic Bilbao Sunday match I forgot about.


Partizan Belgrade v. CSKA Moscow - 1-0 (CSKA advance)
Olympiakos v. Newcastle United - 1-1 (Newcastle advance)
Shakhtar Donetsk v. AZ Alkmaar - 2-0 (Shakhtar advance)
Steaua Bucharest v. Villareal - 1-0 (Villareal advance)
Austria Vienna v. Real Zaragoza - 1-2 (Zaragoza advance)
Lille v. Auxerre - 1-1 (Auxerre advance)
Middlesbrough v. Sporting Lisbon - 2-1 (Middlesbrough advance)
FC Sevilla v. Parma - 0-0 (Parma advance)


Bam! Bazooka Joe.

General's birthday last week.

My gift to him.

And it's awesome.

I couldn't find Crotchbats, but there's always next year.


Light posting tonight.

Did my taxes.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Go ahead and make fun of my world map shower curtain, but I know my geography.

This guy learned a tougher lesson. Err, lessons...

1) Don't rob Pizza Huts in Arkansas. They ain't forget nuthin.
2) A bus ride from LA to North Dakota has to suck.
3) Manitoba isn't near Quebec.

He says they're still in love, but what about when she finds out you're a fingerless, toeless freak? The O Henry in me hopes they met through a foot fetish site.

And what do you bet that this guy really used the line "my girlfriend lives in Canada, uhh uhh you don't know her." My friends never believed me about Madeleine, either. I met her in camp. She's way hot and stuff and totally into Crue. No, you wouldn't know her.


Champions League Whiskey Girl Sexy

So Far: 5/11 right result, 2 right scorelines, 1/3 correct advancing team. Since I forgot to pick these before the first half of the tie, I won't count them either way.


Juventus v. Real Madrid - 1-0 (Juventus advance on penalties)
Bayer Leverkusen v. Liverpool - 1-1 (Liverpool advance)
Monaco v. PSV Eindhoven - 2-1 (PSV advance on away goals)
Arsenal v. Bayern Munich - 2-2 (Bayern advance)


Original King of Middle Aged Self Absorbtion

Peter King's columns probably deserve criticism like I give to Gammons'. The daughter updates and coffee criticism are almost too easy a target. Whether it's Favre, Parcells, Belichick, or Plummer, he's always kneepadded up. I'll just hit the highlights...

1) Apparently Charles Woodson nerted in Peter's latte. He's been killing him for weeks.

2) The Leinart thing is SGIB. And Peter showed his modesty by refusing to admit error on Tuesday. Look, Leinart is up to his elbows in tang at USC. Odds are, Peter's "2 calls to his cellphone over 8 days" probably occurred mid-coital. I wouldn't call him back either, even if all future good publicity depended on it (and that's the problem with King/Gammons/everyone else). On the substance of the matter, I wouldn't talk either. If I were Leinart, I'd want to keep every option open, considering the off-season surgery. Why close off any possibility?

3) Then there's this... "I guess I just never went to law school. This strikes me as Person A punching Person B in the jaw, then Person A suing Person B because Person A got a broken hand." Or it's Person A doing nothing of significance to Person B, but Person B suing person A completely frivolously. Name Yogi's damages, Peter.

4) Peter's "unforgettable night" at Cameron Indoor was a 24 point win in a game in which he had no rooting interest. Perspective.

5) The Lady likes House, but I'm so-so on it. Hugh Laurie is great (but better on MI-5). King, naturally overdoes it.

So is there any way for sports journalists not to be such self absorbed starfuckers?


Scoops, I did it again

I've read a few things written by Scoop Jackson in Slam, but now he's moving to Page 2. His manifesto is riddled with questionable statements.

"I believe there will never be an African-American commissioner in professional sports."

I don't see any reason for this. Frank Robinson was pretty high up in the MLB hierarchy. Of course there'll be a black commissioner. Saying this makes it a bigger deal than it is.

"I believe every time you hear "first black" in sports, it's an affirmation that racism in sports still exists."

Wait, didn't you just...

"I believe there should be a women's sports network."

I agree with this. Take all WNBA highlights off ESPN and put them somewhere I can't find them.

"I believe it's hypocritical for alcohol companies to sponsor NASCAR drivers."

This is the dumbest editor-driven sportswriter controversy. Have alcohol companies been vocal advocates for making right turns? for wearing pants that aren't attached to shirts? The freaking drivers don't get wasted before the races (though Mr. Excitement may have led us to believe otherwise).

"I believe the greatest rivalry in sports is not Red Sox/Yankees, UNC/Duke, Ali/Frazier or Borg/McEnroe; it's Pat Summitt/Geno Auriemma."

Come on. Everyone knows the greatest rivalry in sports is Dan/Dave. (Actually Rangers/Celtic is the greatest rivalry)

"I believe USC with Mike Williams would have beat all but five NFL teams."

I don't think I can even dignify this argument with my snark. Nobody who writes this should be paid to tell people what he thinks.

"I believe until she has a child, Serena Williams is the sexiest female athlete alive."

OK. She is not the sexiest female athlete in a world where [on April 19th insert Maria Sharapova's name here] exists. That said, he's dead right that when Serena has a child, it's all over. Seriously. Trouble.

"I believe Biggie's "Either you sling rock or got a wicked jump shot" is the best sports lyric ever."

Not bad. I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh and I got mad hits like I was Rod Carew. Anybody got anything better?

Something tells me Scoop here is going to provide plenty of fodder for the Corporate HQ.


Monday, March 07, 2005

"a complicated handshake"

Do yourself a favor and take a look at the entire set of photos from yesterday's AJC.

More entertaining than lots of crack.


All I know is... I got a lotta balls

On IMDB's front page all day was a story about Bereft, a film I haven't seen. This, in and of itself, is not interesting. What is interesting is Vinessa Shaw, its star. Ms. Shaw stole my heart long ago as a beautiful young teen with an overbearing father (played with startling joie de vivre by former Shoney's spokesman Tom Parks) who just wants a successful soccer team to dominate the Rocky Mountain Junior Girls league. A little pre-op sexual tension, a lot of recycled one liners, and the mom from Mr. Belvedere... stir gently and you've got the perfect 1994 HBO summer matinee.

Seriously, Kimberly has a career? Weird.

And ask the lady. I do a fantastic Jackee impression.


Champions League Hot Action Sexy

So far: 4/8, 2 correct scorelines.


Chelsea v. Barcelona - 2-0 (Chelsea advance)
AC Milan v. Manchester United - 0-0 (I picked Man U before, so I'll stay with it)
Lyon v. Werder Bremen - 2-2 (Lyon is obviously going through, but my pick of Bremen stands)


Outsourced hilarity

So I had to call customer service for something I ordered online. A nice woman named "Leslie" answered, though I may have heard her wrong due to the thick thick thick Hindi accent. Is there a common Indian name that sounds like Leslie? Anyway, she promised to ship it overnight, which I accepted quickly. Then she told me it'd be here in 4 or 5 days. Is there a common Hindi word for "about a week" that sounds like "overnight"?


Inferno II

This rules. Miz, Abe, Dumbass Tina, Slutty Tonya, Crazy Julie. And the well adjusted Jamie (a fan favorite in this household). Dave Mirra screwing up his lines like crazy.

16 episodes of pure bliss. This will satisfy my comedy quotient for the year.


Jaq Az

Did anyone get/anyone seen a screen shot from last night's arrested development with Amy Poehler as Lynndie England in a shopping cart race against a hooded naked iraqi?

Un effing believable.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Droopy Dog Watch 4

I missed an article of his mid-week on the Nationals. Fluff piece, with only a few quibbles: "If the pitching holds up, the Nats will be right in the fight for the NL East level right behind the Marlins and Braves." Uhh. No. At best, they are a mediocre starting pitching staff. Their bullpen is probably the worst in the NL. Gammons goes too far in puffing up Bowden. I guess it's unnecessary to disclose that they worked together at ESPN (I have such great ethics).

On to his next article. Cardinals are good. That's not an outrageous statement. He does make a few pronouncements from his citadel on Beacon Hill, as he's accustomed to. Let's keep them here for posterity:

1) Renteria was arguably the NL's best SS. Dude, Nomar was in the NL last year. Here comes a lover's spat. (I believe Renteria was one of the better shortstops too)

2) Matheny is a master of pitchers and such a great teammate. And the card attached would say, "Thank you for being a friend".

3) Pujols, Rolen and Renteria are "character stars". What does that even mean? Integrity Above Replacement Player rating is through the roof.

4) Mulder has the "heart of Jack Morris". If only he had the "duster of Jack Morris" or maybe the "messed up skin of Jack Morris", then I'd be impressed.

5) Alan Trammell should've won the MVP in '87. Here's a list of the candidates that year. It was a pretty good year for individual performances. Wade Boggs had a Bonds-like OBP. Molitor was amazing too. Bell might've been the benefit of voters who sent in their choice before the last week of the season. Gammons might be right about Trammell, but there are definitely arguments for other players too.

These aren't official Godlike pronouncements, but they deserve comment:

1) Please, no more wrenched heart descriptions of Boston's win last year. We're all sick of it.

2) Paul LoDuca thinks Alex Cora is smart and Gammons thinks everyone should know about it. Good thing too. I've been wanting to challenge Alex Cora to a Trivial Pursuit Battle Royale for years. Now I know I'll have to bring my A game.

3) Greg Maddux (who is probably my favorite all time player) gets the obituary treatment from his teammates and Gammons (his "legacy"?) Dude won 16 games last year (and 2003 and 2002). He ain't dead yet.

4) Jim Leyland compares Jack Wilson to Jetahhhhh, and Gammons thinks it's "fun". You 'member that time, when Jack Wilson was like, playing good defense and stuff and Derek Jeter does that too. That was awesome.

5) The bit about John Patterson and how well the ball is coming out of his hand is straight cut and paste from last week's article. I hope they don't pay by the word.

6) Will Carroll gets his back scratched. Will Gammons out all of his sources by the end of the season?

Not much about the Braves (again). Schuerholz is too tight-lipped. And for that we don't get any "Chipper Jones has the profundity of an ocean and the johnson of a baby's arm" comments from Gammons. Advantage readers.


Why no movies?

The lady and I have spent 27 hours over the last two weeks watching the first season of The O.C. Yep, I'm hooked and loving it. It gives me a good laugh consistently. I'm not sure I like the Dean Smith style wholesale supporting cast changeovers every 5 or 6 episodes (especially when the delightful Samaire Armstrong gets the boot), but it keeps things fresh and moving, and blah blah.

Gardner Linn's recap of one or two episodes is much better than anything I could write about the entire first season, so I won't attempt. But the show's great, and gets better after watching it more. And I want to be Sandy Cohen to my kids one day.

Disclaimer: One of my Dad's childhood friends is an executive producer. Which I think rules. I am such an ethical blogger.


Next thing you know Green Goblin and Doc Ock are part of the Axis of Evil

OK, I've seen a commercial for the new Bruce Willis movie Hostage a few times today. The narrator describes the hostage-takers as a "terror cell."

I've seen the trailer (available here) and read a few things about this movie, and I have seen nothing so far that terrorists are involved. The original hostage takers are petty thieves who break into the wrong house. The "second" hostage takers are members of an organized crime syndicate. Neither of them should be called a "terror cell."

Here's the problem: I think everyone should be a little more careful with the term "terrorist." Sometimes I think the media don't use the term correctly. Eric Rudolph is without a doubt a terrorist, but he's not a swarthy Arab and his politics are shared with a lot of people, so the term tends to disappear from news reports. The PSAs a few years ago about how drug money fuels terrorism caused more confusion and misusage. When someone uses violence to attempt to achieve political aims, that's terrorism to me. Petty thieves, drug dealers, numbers racketeers, etc. They're all bad people, but not terrorists.

Now, maybe there've been late edits to the film and I'm jumping to conclusions (let me know if I am). If not, I think it's bad taste to cash in on the import of the term when it doesn't apply.


Random baseball thoughts

1. Story on SportsCenter this morning on the Nationals made me think baseball in DC is a good idea, but that they're going to suck this year. Any team seriously relying on Jose Guillen to be a leader is not going anywhere.

2. Saw a highlight of a Brewers Graprefruit game today. Prince Fielder looks freaking huge. I might be wrong about them. They might spring up and take fourth. I do think Ned Yost will end up being a very good manager.

3. I'd be remiss not to comment on Barry Bonds' testicles. Never thought I'd write that. "They're the same and work just the same as they always have." He's right. He's also no bigger a dick today than he was ten years ago.

4. This interview with Mike Schmidt is worth reading. I agree with him about HOF candidates getting judged against their peers and not just statistical thresholds. I think he's wrong when he says steroids have nothing to do with the increased power in baseball. I think all the things he mentions as well as steroids have changed baseball.


More Beer Impressions

Downed a bottle of Ommegang last night. First taste and the aroma weren't that great, but it grew on me. I still like Three Philosophers a bit better. Also had some Duvel and a sip of Hennepin (both of which I've had before). I'd rank the Belgian/NY Belgians thus:

1. Three Philosophers
2. Duvel
3. Rare Vos
4. Ommegang
5. Hennepin

And the reason why I'm bringing it up now is that these beers have only recently been sold widely in Georgia (others know much more about it I'm sure) or at least I haven't seen them 'round these parts until like a month ago.


Magic Number watch

Hawks(24 games left) magic number for the most ping pong balls:

Charlotte: 23
New Orleans: 22
Golden State: 17
Utah: 15
Portland: 13
New York, Toronto, Milwaukee: 11
New Jersey, LA Clippers: 9
Minnesota, Philadelphia, Indiana, Chicago, LA Lakers: 6
Denver: 5
Cleveland, Orlando, Boston: 4
Memphis, Houston, Washington: 2

Sacramento, Detroit, Dallas, Seattle, Miami, Phoenix, San Antonio are "eliminated from contention."

With more than a quarter of the season left, the Hawks have left nearly a quarter of the teams in the dust in the "Drive to Get Screwed by Stern When The Knicks Win the Lottery."


Saturday, March 05, 2005

Let's move on to the women...

Not exactly the same rules as before. Born between 1960 and 1980. I'm not dividing between stars and supporters, because (in my opinion) Hollywood doesn't offer enough starring roles for women, and nearly every woman I considered had as many supporting roles as starring roles, even the megastars. Also, how should I consider a woman who has several starring roles in small or independent films, but is primarily a supporting actress in larger films? Because the line seemed too blurry to divide them, I'm throwing them all together. I'm going to start by listing all the actresses who were considered at all, then list my top 20. As I started compiling the list, I started to notice that there are a ton of very good actresses who were born just a little early (1958 has like five good actresses) or just a little late. And this time, I've placed a little higher importance on whether I've liked the actress's performances, i.e. Hillary Swank gets universally praised, but I don't have much of a problem keeping her off my list because I haven't really liked her that much.

Considered (if even for a second):

Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellwegger, Jodie Foster, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cate Blanchett, Hillary Swank, Cameron Diaz, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Charlize Theron, Winona Ryder, Meg Ryan, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Jennifer Connelly, Juliette Binoche, Kate Hudson, Angelina Jolie, Catherine Keener, Chloe Sevigny, Samantha Morton, Toni Colette, Emily Watson, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Garner, Helen Hunt, Helena Bonham-Carter, Joan Cusack, Minnie Driver, Claire Danes, Demi Moore, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Elizabeth Shue, Mira Sorvino, Marisa Tomei, Juliette Lewis, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Sarah Polley, Christina Ricci, Kate Beckinsale, Lucy Liu, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Penelope Cruz, Zhang Ziyi, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Hurley, Carrie-Ann Moss, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Miranda Otto, Ashley Judd, Connie Nielsen, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Neve Campbell, Lisa Kudrow, Michelle Yeoh, Audrey Tatou, Milla Jovovich, Heather Graham, Vivica A. Fox, Robin Tunney, Janeane Garafalo, Gina Gershon, Famke Janssen, Franka Potente, Alicia Silverstone, Julie Delpy, Mary Louise Parker, Robin Wright Penn, Maria Bello, Hope Davis, Bonnie Hunt, Tilda Swinton, Janet McTeer, Joey Lauren Adams, Monica Bellucci, Olivia Williams, Madonna, Christina Applegate, Virginia Madsen, Christine Taylor, Teri Polo, Saffron Burrows, Kerry Washington, Laura Elena Harring, Katie Holmes, Melora Walters, Emily Mortimer, Eva Mendes, Rosario Dawson, Rachel Weisz, Keri Russell, Carla Gugino, Brittany Murphy, Li Gong, Tea Leoni, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Amanda Peet, Jada Pinkett Smith, Rachel McAdams, Kelly Preston, Elizabeth Perkins, Sophie Okonedo, and I've already spent too much time... Add any I've missed in comments.

Here's my top 20:

1. Nicole Kidman
2. Kate Winslet
3. Cate Blanchett
4. Julianne Moore
5. Jodie Foster
6. Naomi Watts
7. Renee Zellwegger
8. Cameron Diaz
9. Uma Thurman
10. Juliette Binoche
11. Jennifer Connelly
12. Reese Witherspoon
13. Laura Linney
14. Emily Watson
15. Sarah Polley
16. Samantha Morton
17. Gwynneth Paltrow
18. Helena Bonham-Carter
19. Minnie Driver
20. Franka Potente

Sure to elicit complaints... I'll say this: compiling this list makes it very clear to me that there are not nearly enough good roles for women in major Hollywood productions, or even smaller productions. Try this yourself and you'll see too.


Son of Sam Laws

I know that this isn't exactly profiting off of a crime, but it's pretty close. And for the record, I think the Koch ruling was flawed. His reliance on the female bailiff's findings that they were "soft" is clearly reversible error and the bailiff wouldn't come close to meeting any of the prongs of the Daubert test.

The current auction price is $16,750 by the guys who bought the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese and the Lincoln Fry.


Intern the Dragon

I'm starting to think that Bill Simmons set up this intern contest as a way to make himself look good in comparison to an amateur knockoff. As they write more, they look worse.

And now, I present to you THE GAYEST THING EACH PERSON WROTE...

Bank: Seriously calls Tom Brady "dreamy" and "totally sweet". This guy makes me hate Boston fans. No, wait. Simmons has been making me hate Boston fans for a few months now. Especially with his unnecessary jabs at the ATL. This guy is a consummate suck up.

Bell: Describes his admiration for Ellis Burks in the form of penis envy. His previous entries have been much much gayer.

Cott: If this supposed UGA grad fellates Kenny Anderson one more time, I'm writing the Alumni Association to have him expelled. This is unacceptable. As much as a Southern influence is needed on Page 2, I don't see this guy winning.

Levine: OK, the Farrah Fawcett poster guys hung up because she was hot. Rich here considers a shirtless Bo Jackson the same thing? Kind of a gimmicky dude.

Luckham: The "STATE SCHOOL" chant is about as gay as it gets, but at least he realizes it a little. Talking about Tony Gwynn's balls is gross. I think he's top 5.

MacDonald: The DB Sweeney thing is a little gay, but what's interesting about it is that she was surprised he wrote her back. She said she wrote him her sophomore year, probably two years ago. What did she expect? DB Sweeney would be too busy on a press junket for one of his blockbusters? She might be the best of the women, but I don't think very highly of her.

Silva: Admitting to the Shannon Miller stuff at age 16 (she asked us to do the math, and I obliged). Seriously, she can't think this story helped her. Simmons was a fool for letting her back into the competition. If anyone, it should've been Mason.

Spitzer: Is "Dodger? Yeah right!" supposed to be a joke? Even Paul F. Tompkins isn't that lazy. The We Didn't Start The Fire bit was tired when I was in the eighth grade. At least he's not a huge Boston suckup.

Williams: While inspiring, the Jack Trice story is more suitable for Rick Reilly's intern contest (which I assure you I would not blog). This entry is pretty good. He moves into the upper echelon.

"Renee": So obvious. "I'm coming out of the closet... I'm a beaver loving..." I don't think she's got much of a chance.

Wainscott: He's out of alphabetical order, and I hope he wasn't the last one in. Gayest comment has to be about Pete Rose's haircut because there's not enough sarcasm. Still the favorite if you ask me.

Brill: Bland entry. It takes a lot to make Lebowski sound lame.
DeMarco: How many people chose the Van Gundy fight?
Treff: Should've been cut before now. This entry doesn't have a single laugh.
Busch: Torn on him. I wish there was more of a college football influence, but he's not that good. Diddly Poo should've been in several entries.
Lorenz: I've said enough about her.
McManus: Let him back in just in time to cut him. Nice one, Bill. Not a great entry.
Gamelin: Just like McManus. Forgettable entry.

So in sum, my favorites all advanced, and nobody has really separated himself too much from the pack. I'd say Wainscott, Luckham and Williams are the top 3 right now. Unfortunately, this round seemed like a test on regurgitating old Simmons articles.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Neither beer nor there...

Three Philosophers (Ommegang) is superior to Rare Vos. Or at least I enjoyed 3P when I got drunk with Coke Bref and his lady (Baby's Bref???) on a Monday significantly more than I enjoyed RV with myself when everyone else was on painkillers/antiinflammatories/too-many-clementines.

Drinking rulz. RHTS. GLTS.


Premiership Picks (Drunk)

Yeah, up to now I have no reason to think I can do this well sober. So here's another try...

So far: 6/15, one right scoreline.

Aston Villa v. Middlesbrough: 1-1
Arsenal v. Portsmouth: 3-0
Crystal Palace v. Manchester United: 0-2
Fulham v. Charlton Athletic: 1-1
Newcastle United v. Liverpool: 1-1
Southampton v. Tottenham Hotspur: 0-1
Norwich v. Chelsea: 0-3
West Bromwich Albion v. Birmingham City: 1-3
Everton v. Blackburn Rovers: 2-1
Manchester City v. Bolton Wanderers: 2-2


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I know I'm encroaching on the Hobbyhorse...

But Hillary, how could you have missed this headline?

I really hope the editors did it intentionally, because I'm unsure how recta will get folks fired up about SGA.

I mean "Childs Brown Eye"? Tell me this article was on the same page as a recap of the Michael Jackson trial.

Give praise to the filthy eye of the General for spotting that.


Magic Number Watch

Heading into tonight, the magic number for the Hawks to clinch the most ping pong balls is 27.

The magic number is the number of Hawks losses and Hornets (or Bobcats) wins added together.


Droopy Dog Watch 3

Well, Pedro carries water for Bud Selig a little bit, sort of. Based on the evidence Gammons lays out, I don't see how he can say "So Selig didn't know."

Also, is there really a legal cause of action for naming "off the record" sources? I mean, it's not libel. Breach of oral contract? What damages? Maybe you won't get another person to talk to you ever again, but what's the lawsuit? Maybe I need to talk to a lawyer.

I'll give credit to Gammons for his line semi-defending Canseco from people saying he's only out to make a buck.

The argument that every era deserves an asterisk (or that any asterisks are silly) has been hashed out by better writers before.

Love the last paragraph shoutout to Griffey. Guess Junior just needed a few more of Peter's headbobs to bust a nut.


The Schuer Thing

Praise: The Hudson signing is virtuoso. All respek. Much love.

Criticism: In re steroids. Schuerholz says:

"If we had our suspicions, all we could do was ask the player and if the player said no, we were done. We had nowhere to go. Our hands were tied behind our backs."

Well, you could've told the commissioner. You could've traded players you suspected were users. You could've encouraged the league to investigate players, test players... Schuerholz has a little influence with the league, even back in the mid-90s. He's been on the rules committee for a while too.

I'll give him a pass today though. Hudson for 4 more. Awesome.


"Sure, Hilary, I'll show you how to juggle balls"

A little bit of semi-awkward flirting between Freddy Adu and Hilary Duff makes for excellent mid-day reading. After Hilary bitches about being famous for a while, Freddy puts away a one timer:

Freddy: OK, I have to admit that when I started watching Lizzie McGuire when I was 13, I was like, "Damn, this girl looks good!"

Hilary: [Laughs]

And by the next morning, Freddy had experienced all seven Duffs, especially Sleazy and Remorseful.

In a related note, this woman got what she deserved. She preyed on all of our inability to get enough of that wonderful Duff.


Honesty is the best policy for dumbasses

In Italy, referees not named Collina are idiots. Obviously there is no middle ground between a penalty kick and a yellow card. The message is clear: always cheat.


FA Cup Replay Predictions

Brentford v. Southampton: 1-2 in extra time.
Blackburn Rovers v. Burnley: 2-0
Sheffield United v. Arsenal: 0-1

Nottingham Forest v. Tottenham Hotspur: 0-2