Thursday, June 30, 2005

Welcome to foot, balls.

I've been thinking about throwing together a college football post for a couple weeks, and just haven't gotten around to it. At some point, I'll do something a little more substantial, but here are five quick thoughts on the year...

1) Iowa is over-rated. I've gotten burned in the past by under-rating them, but this year I don't think there's any way that they can live up to the hype this year. For God's sake, one of the preseason magazines has them ranked THIRD in the nation. Keep in mind, this is a team with zero returning starters along the defensive front, and a tailback corps that was beyond injury-prone last fall. Also, they've got nasty road games at Ohio State, Purdue (more on them in a moment), and Iowa State (just you watch). Oh, yeah, they have to play Michigan, too. Iowa is a good team; maybe even a nine-win team. But if they finish the year number three in the nation, I would be floored.

2) If you have 20 bucks lying around the house, put it on Purdue to win the national championship. The current odds have them around 60-1. That's because they haven't put together a spectacular season for almost 40 years (even the Rose Bowl year, they lost a bunch of games). But just think about something: they've got all 11 defensive starters back. Oh yeah, they also don't have to play Michigan OR Ohio State, and get Iowa and Notre Dame at home. They've got challenging, but winnable roadies to Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Are they a sure thing? Of course not. If they were, you wouldn't be getting 60-1. But it's not exactly a huge stretch running the table in the regular season to get into the national championship game. Once they're there... anything can happen.

3) As an OSU fan, the game that scares the hell out of me this year is not Texas, not Iowa, and not Michigan. It's Penn State. That team is better than it's been and Beaver Stadium is a tough place to win. Besides, remember the old axiom "you can only get a team really 'up' two or three times a year"? I think there's a pretty good chance that this will not be one of OSU's three times (Texas, Iowa, Michigan), while it's DEFINITELY one of Penn State's big three. I'm certainly not saying that the Bucks won't slip in one of the other games (going to Ann Arbor is never fun, and it's been a looooong winter, spring and summer for Wolverine players and coaches, thinking about 37-21) but the Penn State game really sticks out as a potential landmine. The Buckeye fans wailing about the team being under-rated at #6 or whatever in some polls are overlooking some notable holes on the team. I wouldn't be surprise to see them go to the Rose Bowl, but I'd like to see Troy Smith stay out of trouble, an explosive offense for more than two games, a Big Ten-caliber running game, and a real answer in the kicking game. Other than that, it's a mortal lock.

4) USC will not go undefeated this year. I don't know if Cal or Oregon can trip them up on the road (certainly possible), but the roadie to Notre Dame is a huge landmine. That'll be the game Charlie Weis has circled on his calendar all year as a "set the tone and turn the program around" opportunity. The thing that's nice for USC is that those three games are spaced out throughout the season. The other danger spot is a trip to Arizona State. They're not a great team, but coming one week after the trip to Eugene, it's a "letdown" possibility. Not a bad week to take the Sun Devils and the points, at least. People picking Arkansas over USC in the Coliseum are smoking crack. They're not losing to some shit SEC team at home. Sorry.

5) Maybe someone can explain the fascination with Texas to me. There's no freaking way that team is going unbeaten. None. They play AT Ohio State, AT Texas A&M, and have that little matter of playing Oklahoma in Dallas. Combine that with the fact that Mack Brown has NEVER WON A CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP AT ANY PROGRAM, and I think there might be a little reason for Horns' fans to at least buy refundable plane tickets to Pasadena. Mack Brown is Glen Mason with a better recruiting base: good coach, able to turn things around and get some big wins, but has never actually gotten over the hump.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

GFY...

I'm sorry but the so-called scandal over Oprah and some snotty French Department store has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Some store has the gall to turn a woman away because (gasp!) THEY'RE CLOSED and now everyone's crying racism.

Let's call this what it is. It's not racism. It's a spoiled celebrity with an ego the size of her ass getting huffy because she wasn't treated differently than the average person.

If they were letting in white people left and right after closing, or having security guards follow her around, that's one thing. But they weren't.

Guess what, bitch? The store's open all fucking day. If you want to go in and buy something, do it then, or accept the fact that you might not get to go in.

It's stupid bullshit like this that makes the average person question legitimate cases of racism, and ends up hurting the very people she's pretending to give two shits about.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Give each other 20 dollars...

There's nothing that annoys me more at restaurants than being told "no."

I'm paying a crapload of money to eat your food, and I think it's only fair to expect that if I have a realistic request (I'm talking "fries instead of onion rings", not "bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia") that you'll freaking do it.

Not once, but twice this weekend, I got to enjoy the magic of servers denying insignificant requests.

One time, my wife's dinner came with a salad, but she wanted a bowl of soup instead. The salad and soup cost EXACTLY the same amount. But the waitress said she was "not allowed" to substitute one for the other. She even made a big show of going back to the kitchen to ask. Mind you, this was not some Applebee's... it was a nice steakhouse. So if she didn't want something, we needed to pay for it anyway, then pay something extra to actually get what she wanted. Fuck. That.

The other time came at a Fridays (not my third, fourth or fifth choice, but it was late). I wanted my burger cooked medium rare, but the restaurant refuses to cook any meat less than "medium well." So I end up with a dry, burned hockey puck.

I understand about the dangers of undercooked meat, but ya know how you can avoid that? Buy better meat. Somehow, steakhouses are able to serve stuff "rare" or even "blue rare" without a problem. If I want a burger, I should be able to get it however I want.

The worst part is that you can't make a big stink about it, lest they go Tyler Durden on you.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Here come the pretzels....

Is there a more helpless feeling than watching your fantasy baseball team do a sloooow, agonizing fade, creep down the standings?

The last two years, I've finished as the runner-up in my league (a highly competitive group of 14 teams), and felt pretty good coming into this year as well.

I was actually doing pretty well for a while, but the wheels started coming off the wagon in May, and now I'm 5-6, two games back of the wildcard position.

Some of it has been bad luck (my opponents have scored the second-most points of any team, meaning that I've caught people on their good weeks). If I'd played every team every week, my record would be 72-48-1, which is fourth-best of any team.

But plenty of it has been the fact that key members of my team have shit down their legs all season long.

We got three keepers, then drafted the rest of our teams in March.

My keepers: Pedro Martinez (utterly brilliant all year long), Derek Jeter (solid contributor at a shallow position), and Carl Pavano (steaming pile).

1st round: Bartolo Colon, P (Very solid this year, but I keep waiting for his back to go out)
2nd round: Aubrey Huff, 3B (This one was universally lauded during the draft as a steal. Too bad he's sucked ass all year)
3rd round: Carl Crawford, OF (Decent year, but one of those guys who every expert says "you have to start every week, because he could go off at any time" but who hasn't.)
4th round: Mark Loretta, 2B (Decent start, now hurt and out until at least August)
5th round: Javy Lopez, C (Slow start, now hurt and out for months)
6th round: Octavio Dotel, P (Absolutely shelled for 2 months, now hurt)
7th round: Lyle Overbay, 1B (Extremely average all year)
8th round: Aaron Rowand, OF (The only guy on the White Sox who ISN'T having a huge year)
9th round: Zack Greinke, P (Having a decent year except for a few implosions, but with no run support he's now 1-8)
10th round: Travis Hafner, DH (Average for much of the season, with occasional explosions)
11th round: Francisco Cordero, P (Strong start, not much of anything recently)
12th round: Jeff Weaver, P (Wildly inconsistent. He throws a two-hitter one start, then gives up 8 runs in three innings the next time out)
13th round: Jose Reyes, SS/2B (Another pick applauded during the draft as an absolute steal, who's had a down year)
14th round: Eric Milton, P (Supposed to provide solid depth. 3-9 record, 7.82 ERA)
15th round: Torii Hunter, OF (The best pick in terms of value vs. round I made)
16th round: Odalis Perez, P (Decent start, then got hurt. Out for months)
17th round: Alex Rios, OF (Hasn't done much, since dropped)
18th round: Phil Nevin, 1B (Don't pick a power hitter who plays in an oversized ballpark. Ever.)
19th round: Brandon Inge, 3B/C/OF (Great value because he qualifies at catcher, but doesn't have to deal with that grind every day)
20th round: John Thomson, P (Traded for David Wright exactly 2 days before he suffered a season-ending injury)

I'm struck by three things:
1) Losing picks 4, 5, and 6 to injury absolutely kills you.
2) Having rounds 2, 7 and 8 (plus a keeper) fall well short of projections makes it worse. That's seven of my top 11 people who have not done what they're supposed to.
3) Listening to some moron break down his fantasy baseball team in such excruciating detail is one of the least interesting things you can possibly come across. Ever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Butthole Surfers

Tell me if this doesn't just tongue the biggest balloon-knot in the world.

The misses and I took a three-day weekend for this upcoming weekend. Basically, my new venture is going to take me away from home for long stretches of time this summer and fall, and this is our last chance to do something substantial together.

We originally planned to either go to Las Vegas for a three-day weekend, or go to a bed and breakfast on Lake Michigan. One problem: we couldn't plan anything until we knew what was going on with the Pistons. You see, under certain circumstances (the Pistons winning the NBA title in either 6 or 7 games) the city of Detroit would likely be holding its celebratory parade sometime during our three days off. And if the parade happened, one or both of us will have to come in and work to televise it.

That wasn't ideal, but when we agreed, it seemed like it shouldn't screw us up too badly. The Pistons went down 3-2 to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals... and came back to win. They went down 2-0 to the Spurs in the NBA finals... and came back to tie. They lost an absolute back-breaker in game 5... and came back to force a game 7.

Now, our weekend looks like this...
Thursday, 9:30 am - 6:00 pm: Work
Thursday, 9:00 pm: Pistons vs. Spurs, Game 7
Friday, 12:00 am (approx.): End of game.

If the Pistons lose, we'll get online, and book a hotel for the next night, take our dog to the kennel first thing in the morning, and go on vacation.

If the Pistons win, we're stuck at home, because the parade is tentatively set for Saturday.

But we won't know anything or be able to make any plans at all until 8 hours before we leave. Should be nice and low-stress.

**********
A couple other notes on a series that I have virtually zero interest in, and have watched about 15 minutes of.

- First, I can't believe how lucky Rasheed Wallace got at the end of Game 5. He pulled a Chris Webber, calling a timeout his team didn't have. Luckily for Rasheed, the clock had already expired (by about 0.5 seconds, according to the replay). Otherwise, he would have been whistled for a technical, and the Spurs would have had a chance for a free throw with no time left on the clock to win the game in regulation. That would rank somewhere between Marty McSorley's illegal stick and Bill Buckner's little whoopsie at Shea in the "greatest sports fuckups of all time". Instead, thanks to his other brain fart (leaving the guy nicknamed "Big Shot" wide open for a game-winner), it became a forgotten issue. He's the Bob Stanley (wild pitch that scored the tying run right before Buckner's play) of the situation-- an imbecile who's escaped wide-spread scorn because of another, later fuckup. Only in this case, he was Buckner, too.

- Is there a worse public address guy in sports than the dude at San Antonio? All you need... and I mean ALL you need to be a good PA guy is a decent voice (lower-toned always helps) and a third-grader's mastery of the English language. Do yourself a favor and watch (or at least Tivo) the introductions before game 7. The guy has one of the most nasal voices around, and it cracks every time he gets excited. It sounds like a 13-year old with bad allergies. There's not anyone better in the whole town? Does the guy own the team or something? Again... how has this not been mentioned anywhere else?

- Bill Simmons addressed Stuart Scott in his column today, so I won't go into great detail. But Stu, I get it... you're black. Can you imagine if Michelle Tafoya was constantly reminding you that she's a woman every time she did a sideline report?

"Tony Parker bruised his ribs. That's at least as painful as menstrual cramps, but not nearly as bad as child birth."

Of course, they would never let anyone on TV if they talked like that...

Monday, June 20, 2005

This things I believe...

I believe that the advent of digital cameras and the ease of the "Kodak Picturemaker" type kiosks has forever changed the way I look at cameras the same way Tivo has permanently changed the way I look at TV.

I believe this Tuesday (root canal at 7:00 am, followed by a full day at work) is going to rank among the 20 worst days of my life.

I believe there is no city in the world that has more bandwagon fans than Detroit.

I believe there is about a 4% chance that I'll be a multi-millionaire in five years, thanks to my new venture.

I believe there is about a 6% chance that I'll be dead in five years, thanks to my new venture.

I believe Jason Mulgrew ranks among the 10 funniest people on the web.

I believe I am actually fatter and a bigger loser than he is.

I believe the book I just started reading ("Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown-- the "DaVinci Code" guy) will remain unfinished on Labor Day, most likely because of my insane schedule.

I believe there was a lot more stuff I was going to talk about in this post, but my mind is turning to mush right now.

I believe I'm going to bed.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Ya wanna smoke some Doyt with me?

Something to consider if you're voting in an online college football poll: The higher your team ranks, the closer it gets to the national microscope.

For example, when a player at Ohio State got in a bar fight earlier this month, it was front page newson ESPN.com.

However, when a recruit at a lower-profile school (like, say, Bowling Green) gets arrested for dealing drugs, it ends up only in a paper called the Brighton Press & Argus.

Also, the fact that the kid is a Bowling Green recruit gets mentioned in the 12th paragraph. If you're a top-10 team, that becomes the lead.

Look... we're all excited about Omar Jacobs, but consider this a warning: you're getting yourself into a whole 'nother level of scrutiny once you're in the top-15.

(Incidentally, I think the topic of Tony's recent post on over-rated college football teams deserves its own post here at some point. But that will have to wait...)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The name game...

Just when I start to think that Michigan fans aren't all a-holes and retards, you see something like this.

I guess they should have picked more representative names like "can't win the Rose Bowl" or "1-3 against Tressel".

What if God was one of us?

You'll have to excuse the Joan Osborne reference (WTF?) in the title.

I've just been preoccupied wondering how God was able to create the universe in six days when He couldn't even beat out Chris Rix for the full-time starting QB job at Florida State or manage a better-than 1:1 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions last year.

According to the article, "has been very stressed out the past week over him being the starting quarterback in football for FSU."

What are the expectations too high these days? You're following Chris Fucking Rix (3 TD, 7 INT last year), for God's... umm... Your sake.

Win nine games, lose to Miami (preferably because your senile coach refuses to recruit a competent kicker... dadgummit) and you're upholding Seminole tradition just fine. What kind of pressure is that?

You know who should be feeling pressure? The Maryland player in this picture:

If you sack God, you know you're going to hell.

Monday, June 13, 2005

He got off...

and isn't that what got Michael Jackson in this trouble in the first place?

Thank you...

Yes, he did it.

No, I'm not surprised that he got away with it.

Even if he was convicted of every charge, his attorneys would have appealed and he would have gotten away with it eventually.

I have this weird feeling that he'll be dead in the span of a year or two anyway. He's just so weird and sickly looking, you know that he won't live to be 80.

Here's the question, who dies first: Michael Jackson or Mike Tyson?

If you're in a death pool, either one seems like a great choice.

That WAS Natalie Wood...

A solid, but not spectacular effort out of the Family Guy crew last night. The Natalie Wood and You've Got AIDS bits were the show at its "I shouldn't laugh at this, but I am" best, and Stewie was stellar as usual in his all-to-brief appearance.

But the episode on the whole left me feeling pretty "meh", especially compared to how brilliant a couple of other ones have been this season.

Heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack...

One of the longtime anchors at my station just returned to work today after an absense of about six weeks. He had heart bypass surgery because of extreme blockage.

So what did the station do to celebrate his return? They brought in donuts, croissants, and pizza for the staff.

Hello? Why not just celebrate by punching each other in the chest?

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dingdingdingding... Ice Cream Man! Ice Cream Man!

Today is one of those days when I love my job.

The ice cream truck came to my station, and the company paid for everyone to get something.

It was straight up old school. Standing in a long line, trying to see all the pictures on the side of the truck.

If they had a Bubble-O Bill or a Bomb Pop (how the fuck do you not have Bomb Pops?) I would have sworn I was 10 again.

I settled on an Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich, which ranks right between Tivo and the wheel on the list of greatest inventions of all time.

Ashes to ashes, onions to onions...

I'm sorry... but this story made me laugh. I feel bad for the family... but having a can of sour cream and onion potato chips in there is kind of funny.

I'm guessing she was married to this guy:

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Mother... shitter... Son of an... ass.

I went to the Pistons-Heat game last night (something that's probably worth a whole 'nother post).

On the way home, we had a surprisingly easy time getting out of the arena and onto the highway (it took about 30 minutes to get out of the parking lot, but for the Palace, that's actually pretty good). Once we were safely on the highway, cruising along at 75, I said "I realize I'm probably jinxing us by saying this, but that wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be to get out of there."

One mile later, we hit a dead stop. It took us over an hour to go the next two miles. Some accident had two out of three lanes blocked just as the Pistons game traffic was letting out. Lucky us.

It took two and a half hours to get home, when it should have been about 45 minutes.

Just when I think that "jinxing yourself" is a stupid superstition, something like this happens.

(Also, I was cheering for the Heat and they got pretty well violated during the game). But we did end up with kickass seats for free. So good times.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The day the laughter died

If you want to do a decent Andrew Dice Clay impression (and who doesn't) the first word you've really got to nail down is "douchebag."

If it's not "DOOSSSHHH-baige" you ought to just quit.

(I saw him on an "I love the 80s" clip this weekend, and for some reason thought about this)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Boom goes the dynamite...

I don't know how.

I don't know why.

But it apparently took me a good month longer than the rest of the world to see the video clip linked here. It's quite possibly the worst sportscast in the history of mankind.

If you've somehow missed it, I urge you in the strongest possible terms to watch it. If you have seen it, I urge you to watch it again.

And rest assured, I will be saying "boom goes the dynamite" every three seconds for the next week or so.

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