Friday, December 30, 2005

Thanks a lot, Jeff!

I had planned on posting more in the last week or so, but between breaking a finger while playing basketball a few days ago and also managing to reach new personal heights in my ability to guiltlessly accomplish nothing whatsoever...well you know what that leads to, nothing.

I really wish that I could say that I've been busy with projects around the house and what not. However, the truth is that I've done very little that doesn't include eating, drinking, and sleeping. Shit, I even managed to miss a tattoo appointment yesterday (much to my chagrin) because I've been so out of it lately that I thought my appointment was today. Oh well, I guess it's better that I do this sort of thing now, as oppossed to next week when I'm starting my new job. Anyway, I'm going out of town for the New Year's (which also doubles as my girlfriend's birthday) this afternoon, at which point I intend to begin a (minimum) 48 hour alcohol binge that should render me unable to do anything, other than watch football, for the entirety of Sunday and Monday. With all of that being said, I did have a few random thoughts that I've been wanting to get up here for awhile now. It's not much, but it's more than I've done in quite some time. Hey, what the hell do you expect on a free blog? If you said, "not much", then you sir, are absolutely correct.

- Was anybody else taken aback by the news that Jeff Reardon held up a jewelry store for $170? I could've imagined Floyd Youmans or Tippy Martinez doing this, hell, I could even picture a scenario where Todd Worrell decided to knock off a place for some extra holiday cash, but Jeff Reardon? Evidently, a good beard doesn't mean what it used to.

-Speaking of beards, I've been sporting a ridiculously burly beard for the better part of two months now (even managing to nail down my new job while interviewing with said beard) which, when combined with my, um hairstyle, has left me looking like a much smaller, much whiter version of T. J. Duckett.

- I hate the incessant comparisons that the media is always making between players based soley on the physical appearances, but I have to say that I see some serious Antwaan Randle-El potential in Marques Hagans.

- I'd like to extend a much belated thank you to Michael Vick, Crazy Jim Mora and the entire Atlanta Falcons organization for giving away last Saturday's football game. The Bucs did their very best to give that thing away (and also ruin my Xmas) but the thought of having to play in another cold weather game was, apparently, too much for ole Ron Mexico to stomach as he and the Falcons couldn't manage to move the ball one single solitary yard against a tired Bucs defense. At this point, you have to start wondering if the Bucs will always have Vick's number.

- The Cardinals signed Juan Encarancion and Sidney Ponson? I knew I'd been saving that bottle of champagne for something.

- Jerry recently commented on guys who have been playing collegiately for what seems like forever. While the ensuing conversation focused mainly on basketball, I'd like to nominate Wali Lundy for consideration as an all-time member of the Virginia Cavalier football program. Honestly, wasn't he a freshman on that Shawn Moore/Herman Moore team from the early 90's?

- My girlfriend bought me a PSP for my Xmas, which I immediately labeled the "greatest Xmas present I've ever gotten". Yes, I'm 28 and no, I don't find this sad in anyway. My parents, on the other hand, are a completely different story. Then again, these are the same people who bought me a Nintendo for Xmas one year when Nintnedo 64 and Sega Genesis were already on the market. No, no I'm not bitter at all.

- How ridiculous are the USC versus the Greatest Teams of All Time comparisons? I keep waiting for Mark May to stand up with a mug of beer and yell out, "Okay, who wins, 2005 USC or Tedy Bruschi?" Followed by Kirk Herbstreit responding, "Bruschi 207- USC 5." We get it, they're a good football team, but can we let them finish the season undefeated before we start building monuments to them?

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Still stupid, not yet drunk...

I just finished getting in a nice little run this afternoon and figured I'd stop by to wish everybody Merry Christmas.

It's been a good one thus far for me and my family, despite our current locale. After church last night, we retired to my sister's house to eat a little dinner and carry on some of our ridiculous Xmas traditions. The most disgusting/annoying is, of course, the eating of cold pork and beans. You're probably a little confused right now, as you should be, so allow me to explain. My grandpa started this tradition many, many years ago when my Dad was a child. Basically, every member of the family must eat at least a spoonful of cold pork and beans on Xmas Eve in order to ensure good luck for the coming year. It's an odd tradition, and quite frankly, I hate it. Not because I hate family bonding or anything like that, but because I abhor beans (all kinds of beans) with every fiber of my being. With that said, who am I to rock the boat when it comes to a longstanding and venerable family tradtion like this? Nobody, absolutely nobody. I just choke down my spoonful of hell, slam a beer and go about my business of tying one on before 6:30 am comes and my nieces and nephews roust me out of bed with screams and giggles and all the other cute (read: extremely annoying) things that kids do on Xmas morning. The only problem with that plan this year, is that after I finished watching the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl last night (which was a very entertaining OT game with an admittedly anticlimatic and disappointing ending) was that I couldn't go to sleep, no matter what I tried (short of slamming tequila shots).

After hours of tossing, turning and serious comtemplation of smothering my snoring brother-in-law, I ended up falling asleep around 4 am and, wouldn't you know it, was then up and doing Xmas activities by 6:30. I shouldn't complain though, it's been a great Xmas with my family so far. I skipped out on golfing with my Dad and brothers-in-law in order to take a nap, which was exaclty what I needed. I managed to catch up on a good chunk of the sleep that I lost last night and should be in good shape for the rest of the day. In fact, as I look at the clock it's looking alot like beer thirty and as I look at the television, Rasheed Wallace is looking like the perfect Xmas afternoon companion. So with that I'm going to sign off, but not before extending some Xmas wishes to friends of mine who I won't get to see or (more than likely) talk to this Xmas. Here goes:

John and Joe: Try and stay warm out in Montana and try and keep yourself from playing for the other team during the bitter winter months.

Calvin: I hope you enjoy the cesspool that is Ohio, seriously. I hate Ohio, but I don't think you're half bad, even if you're crazy and irrational and given to fits of laughter inducing rage.

Coffey: Enjoy the Bay Area, it's one of the nicest places on earth. Don't enjoy it too much though. I'm counting on you to get a job in the SEC so that I can see some free football every fall.

Pasqual: Stay safe out in the middle east, we're all thinking of you and want you back home soon (and for good) so keep that thing wrapped when you port in Cyprus.

Breven: I'll get to Austin this year, I promise...well I'll at least get there before you get engaged (laughing).

Wheelhouse Guys (writes and posters): I barely know most of you, but I still wanted to wish you a Merry Xmas and say thanks for making my workdays far more bearable than it could ever be without your quips and punditry.

Erika: I miss you and will see you tommorrow. I hope you enjoy your Xmas as much I'm enjoying mine. As much as I'm enjoying myself, it's just not the same without you here with me. In fact, let's make this the last Xmas that we ever spend apart.

I love you all. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Outhouses and mullets, here I come...

I just figured that I'd stop by real quick and drop a line or two before I head off to Tallahassee for Christmas with my family. I'm really not looking forward to the trip, if only because it takes nearly 5 hours to drive there from my house. Luckily for me, my parents are driving up there, so all I'll have to do is pull my ass out of bed tommorrow morning and fall asleep in the back seat.

Between now and then, I have a bunch of present wrapping to do and I'm also planning on getting fantastically loaded at some point this evening. I should probably just stay in tonight since I've been out all week long, but prudent decision making has never really been my strong point.

There won't be a whole hell of a lot going on Tallahassee but I'll try and rope some of the other adults into playing poker at least one night, so that I have an excuse to drink heavily while I'm stuck in that hell hole of a town. I'm also planning on making my semi-annual pilgrimage to Guthrie's. If you don't know what Guthrie's is, let me get you up to speed. It's nothing more than a fast food joint that sells chicken fingers...that's it. The menu literally consists of one item, a box. In this box are 5 chicken fingers, krinkle fries, cole slaw and texas toast as well as Guthrie's secret sauce. How is an eatery with only one item on it's menu able to not only stay in business, but thrive, you ask? That's easy, it's the secret sauce. It's amazing. I would eat a pinecone if you gave me enough of this stuff. A typical order for me at Guthrie's goes something like this, " Yeah, can I have a box with 7 extra sauces? Thanks." I'm telling you, it's that good.

So that's it for now. I've packing and wrapping that I need to start on. Have some drinks, then ahve some more and, of course, Merry Christmas...jerks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A German, a Turk, and a reindeer walk into a bar...

There is nothing quite like playing out the string at a job. Trust me, I've quit four jobs this year. Though, to be truthful, this is only the second time that I've given any notice to my employers, and this is the one and only time that I've given the standard two weeks before bolting out the door for (presumably) bigger and better things.

Today is my last real day at work. I made the distinction of "real" day because I'll be back in on the 27th to clean out my desk and say goodbye to a few people, but for the most part, any and all work that I can/will accomplish is getting done today. To be honest, there hasn't been a whole hell of a lot to accomplish since the YMCA (as do all health clubs) slows down significantly at this time of year.

The only reason that I'm doing any work at all is that I told my boss that I'd make sure all the elements of our annual January membership push would be in place before I left. Thankfully, I'm just about finished up with that process. It's a good thing too, because I haven't bought a single Xmas present yet and I'll be leaving for Tallahassee on the morning of the 24th. Nothing says Xmas like a disgusting, smelly town in South Georgia, right?

On the bright side, Jeff Bowden lives across the street from my sister, so I'm hoping to sneak over there on Xmas Eve and put the Bowdens' electric reindeer in some, um, compromising positions.

Anyway, I'll be fairly busy for the rest of the day so this is going to have to suffice for the time being. I'll try and get something up tommorrow between hours of Xmas shopping and going to the Magic game with Greg and Vitas, which should be worth a post in and of itself. That's all for now.

Actually, that's not all. As many of you already know the University of Florida has been extremely hot on the recruiting trail of late, and yesterday was no exception, as the Gators bagged two more commitments from high school teammates Percy Harvin and Damon McDaniel. Even the most optimistic Gator fans never imagined that we'd see both of these guys commit to the University of Florida, but there they were on ESPNews yesterday wearing Gator hats and pledging their allegiance to Meyer. That brings the Gators total number of committments this year to 26, and firmly places Florida in the overall points lead for recruiting.

In the last week alone Florida has received commits from 5 players within the nation's top 30. As I've said before, I try not to get too overexcited about kids who haven't even graduated high school yet but it's getting awfully hard to temper my enthusiasm with the way that things continue to progress.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Alex Smith, small hands...smells like cabbage.

It seems that the blogosphere is slowing down for now (and more than likely, for the rest of the year) as the rapidly approaching holidays are dominating all of our schedules. Never being one to rock the proverbial boat, I’ll try and keep it short today with a few thoughts that have been bouncing around in the smoke-filled cavern that doubles as my brain.

- Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t get all the uproar over Ron Artest asking to be traded. Isn’t this akin to Manny Ramirez’s semi-annual trade request? Sure, Manny never charged into the stands to attack fans, but both of these guys are clearly million dollar talents with 10 cent heads.

Is Ron Artest being certifiably crazy news to the people in the Indiana front office? Furthermore, is there any player (other than Jermaine O’Neal) that enjoys playing in Rick Carlisle’s offense? I’m being completely serious here. Carlisle is a good coach who gets his teams to play great defense and work together. He does not have an inventive and free-wheeling offensive system that players enjoy playing in. The only difference between other players and Artest is that Ron Ron is crazy/dumb enough to talk about it in public.

I also believe that Artest would be much more willing to “buy-in” to the overall team concept if (A) he played for a coach whom he had a greater respect for and, (B) if he was playing second fiddle to a player whom he truly believed was better than him. Jermaine O’Neal is a good player but he has not yet proven himself to be a prolific crunch time scorer that a team can carry a team through the playoffs. It’s not that he’s without the requisite skills needed to do this, instead it is that he lacks the go-to move (baseline fadeaways for 6’11 guys don’t count) and overall nastiness necessary to become such a player. In addition, O’Neal is in no way a dominant rebounder and/or defender. As a result of this, I believe that Artest is purposely forcing his way out of Indiana because he doesn’t want to have to defer to a player whom he feels that he is better than ( I agree with Ron Ron by the way) while playing for a coach whom he doesn’t like or respect, who also happens to base his entire offensive system around getting the ball to said player. Honestly, it's not like O'Neal is a dominat presence along the lines of Duncan (or even Garnett).

Of course, none of this changes the fact that Artest is a wackjob, though I’m of the opinion that he’s far closer to the Manny style crazy than he's portrayed as by most of the media. I mean, he's the kind of crazy that makes it seem like a good idea to warm up for the All-Star Game in a pair of Steve Maddens, not the kind of crazy that raises a pack of fighting pit bulls (I'm looking at you Qyntel)

One final note: Jermaine O'Neal has shown how little he truly understands about the game of basketball by proclaiming both Al Harrington and Bonzi Wells as suitable and adequate replacements for Artest. Who are you kidding Jermaine? Neither of these guys registers among the top 40 players in the league. They don't even belong in the same conversation as Artest.

- How did the 49er organization get so damned inept? Actually, I know how it happened (firing Bill Walsh certainly didn’t help) but how did it get so bad, so quickly? They are a total trainwreck, to the point that even Matt Millen is making jokes about them at the Lions’ Christmas party. As if being mocked by the NFL’s version of Corky (who didn’t watch Life Goes On at least once, seriously?), now it’s come out that maybe Alex Smith’s hands are too small for the NFL football. In my opinion, watching an organization this proud become a laughingstock (in all of sports, not just the NFL) is far more sad than this whole contrived “Brett Favre on an awful team” saga that’s been unfolding since early this season. To be perfectly honest, I am thoroughly enjoying the entire Brett Favre scenario and would love to see an encore next year.

- By now, I’m sure that everybody has seen the pics of Matt Leinart on the internet from last Saturday night. Shouldn’t Vegas start setting a line on the probability of this guy ending up on the Jets? After two solid years of being the King of L.A and banging any hot chick he felt like, do you really think this guy is going to allow himself to be drafted by some team in a city like Houston or Green Bay? Not a chance. It’s not like he’s going to have to worry about competing with Eli for tail or anything.

- While I’m on the subject of quarterbacks, I might as well touch on the commitment of Tim Tebow to the University of Florida. I try and not get too excited over the athletic prospects of 17 year old high school students, but Tebow seems to have all the things that you’d want for a big time collegiate QB. He is big (6'3" 225) , strong, fast (4.6 40) and has a terrific arm. He's a natural leader who other players naturally gravitate towards and want to play with. If all goes well, he should be starting at QB for Florida for a minimum of two years. His commitment to the Gators was huge for two reasons. First, with the departure of Josh Portis, the QB depth chart at Florida was looking awfully thin, especially with regard to the future beyond next year. Secondly (and perhaps more importantly), Tebow was a lifelong Gator fan who grew up attending games in Gainesville. Furthermore, every member of his immediate family has attended the University of Florida. Hell, his parents' mailbox is a Gator head. If Florida had lost Tebow to Alabama (or anyone else), this would’ve been a crippling blow to Urban Meyer’s recruiting efforts and also to his reputation as a recruiter of offensive talent.

Finally, ESPN ran The Season: Tim Tebow last night, which followed the recently finished senior season on the Nease High QB. While the documentary was a little over the top towards the end, a few things stuck out to me:

- Tebow played an entire second half during his sophomore year on a broken leg. Not only that, but he managed to run for a 20 yard TD in that same second half. (Kudos to ESPN for showing the X-ray from the injury as well as the clip of the TD run). I’m pretty sure that Jack Youngblood is already a fan of the kid.

- Tebow came off as an absolute natural leader. I'd heard that about him in some recruting cahts but being able to watch the way he took charge of the huddle during some key moments in Nease’s season was some pretty enlightening stuff.

- Tebow helped to significantly elevate a traditonally poor (his coach commented during the documentary that "we were everybody's homecoming game three years ago") high school program in his four years. Nease won a state title this year, pretty heady stuff for a school who had captured a district crown since 1993.

- I’m going to go out on a limb and say that by the time National Signing Day comes along, the Gators will have offered (and signed) Tebow’s teammate Ryan Ellis. Ellis isn’t the most highly rated recruit but he was a big-time playmaker for Nease who also happened to have a very close relationship with Tebow. It’s just a hunch, but I think that Meyer will find room for Ellis come February.

- Finally, I’d like to welcome back Grant Hill. His presence on the floor alone makes the Magic a more dangerous team (and infinitely more fun to watch). If he can stay healthly (I’m actually pretty optimistic after last year), I’m expecting the Magicians to put together a nice run come the first of the year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Not happening...

That's it. I'm way too busy today to put up anything that I could be even remotely proud of. There's just too much going on here today now that I've announced my departure. More than anything, it is the constant interactions that I'm having with other departments. Each one of them is in full scramble mode as they attempt to load work on me before I head out the door in a couple of weeks. I'll definitely be posting reguarly during that time, but today now it's just too tough to get much of anything together. The weekend wrapup requires a more focus and time than I can expend right now so you're going to have to do without this week. Other than my discussion of the Josh Portis transfer situation, all of my comments below will be kept brief (extremely brief) as I try and mention all that would've been included in the normal wrapup.

- The biggest news of the weekend was that freshman QB Josh Portis is transferring from the University of Florida. There were seemingly no warning signs that a decision of this nature was approaching, at least not to the average fan. Those inside the program, however, have maintained throughout the last few days that this was not unexpected and that Portis’ mother, Patricia had a major hand in this decision. To many of the members of the Gator Nation, this woman (who moved to Gainesville from Cali with Portis) represents everything that is wrong with the overbearing parents that currently dot the sporting landscape (many have cited Patricia’s hand in Josh’s three athletically driven transfers while in high school). There have been an inumerable amount of articles on Patricia Portis’ behavior and her responsibility for this situation. I haven't bothered to link to them, but I'm sure a simple google of "Patricia Portis" will provide you with many of these. Still more articles have featured direct quotes from Patricia Portis herself on the situation. It is only today that anybody has actually heard from Josh, as he granted an interview to the Gainesville Sun. I’ve already discussed this with Jerry and TJ in the comments section of a few posts ago so I’m going to refrain from delving much more deeply into this, other than to say that it’s probably best for all parties involved, but that still doesn’t leave me (as well as many other Gator fans) wondering what might have been.

-The Dolphins could be pretty damn decent if they had a QB. They have legit players at all the other offensive skill positions and everybody knows about their defense. If they could find a competent trigger man in the offseason, then they might actually be good next year, well at least until December.

- Ronde Barber: What a guy! Just when you think that you couldn't love him any more, he comes out and singlehandedly changes to consecutive games that end up as Bucs' wins. If I ever have twins I'm naming them Ronde and Lito, wife's opinion be damned. Oh yeah, Cadillac, you're pretty damn great too.

- The US got screwed in the World Cup groupings. They have Italy, Czech Republic (#2 ranked team in World) and Ghana (best team in Africa). This is an absolutely awful draw for the #10 ranked squad in the world. Every World Cup there is a "group of death" and I think you can guess which group that's going to be in Germany next year.

- Duke-Texas was a spectacular disappointment. I don't think either team is nearly as good/bad as they looked on Saturday. Duke needs to find another consistent scorer before I buy them as a National Title contender. Texas just needs soem more time to gell and figure out how to run their offense.

-Gonzaga-OK State was a welcome addition to CBS on Saturday after it became clear that Indiana was going to give the "no vaseline" treatment to Kentucky all day long. Entertaining game with a fantastic (and extremely luck filled) ending. It was also nice to see fomer Gator (and former near 400 pounder) Mario Boggan playing well for the Cowboys.

-Best NFL game of the day: Chiefs-Cowboys. Two teams that I could give a damn about but an unbelievably exciting and intriguing game. Exaclty the reason that football is so much fun to watch at this time of the year.

-Charlie Frye looked pretty solid on Sunday. I know that the Bengals defense is average (at best) but the former Zip looked comfortable in the pocket while moving and throwing with aplomb, when neccessary. If you're a Browns fan, I'd be awfully excited about what this kid could (potentially) turn into within the next few years.

Finally, not to come off like the cheesiest guy ever but, there is nothing quite like a December sunset in Florida. Just a fantastic combination of oranges and purples that really takes your breath away.

Two weeks and counting...

For most people, the above phrase is representative of the amount of time until Christmas is upon us. However, for me, that phrase is indicative of the amount of time that I have left in my current job. That’s right, as promised some months ago, I’ve found yet another job to bring my considerable laziness and unmatched ineptitude to. I won’t go into the specifics (because I’m quite sure that nobody truly cares exactly what it is I’ll be doing), but I will say that I’ve been hired as the Director of Communications and Marketing at my new job and the responsibilities of said job are far more to my liking than the one I currently hold down.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been running a YMCA for the past few months. It hasn’t been a horrible existence, but it does require a certain tactfulness and ability to effectively deal with idiots that I neither want nor care to possess. Combine that with the fact that this place is open seven days a week for approximately seventeen hours a day, and well, I think you can figure out why I was looking to get out of here as quickly as possible. I put in my official two weeks yesterday afternoon and will be informing the rest of the staff here later on today. So for those of you keeping score at home, the tally for the year now stands at 5 jobs, $20,000 in additional salary earned, and 7 weeks of vacation gained.

Through all of this, I’ve maintained that I was going to continually look for new (and better) career opportunities until I reached a point where I was making a comfortable salary in a job that was along the lines of what I wanted out of my professional life. I’m glad to say that I think I’ve finally reached that point. Then again, as one of my friends recently commented, I have become somewhat of a “career gypsy” so I probably shouldn’t start putting up my diplomas in my new office just yet.

While I’m on the subject of leaving jobs, I might as well touch on the Miami Heat situation. Actually, let’s not. Every other donkey with a microphone or a TV camera in front of their face has already taken care of that for me.

Since I’ve decided to eschew discussion of the Heat, I can talk about what a colossal bore I’ve become. This weekend was the first time since I was, probably, 15 years old that I didn’t go out on a weekend. I have no idea how this happened, really I don’t. I had every intention of going out and getting hammered on both Friday and Saturday evenings, but on both occasions I ended up on my couch with nothing but a couple of beers, a shot or two of Jagermeister and a papal ballot to keep me occupied. All of this from a guy who used to go out 5 nights a week when he couldn’t even pay his own power bill (Thanks, Greg). I have no idea what happened to me.

Since I didn’t go out this weekend, there was an awful lot of sports that I got to watch. I’ll tackle some of that when I return this afternoon with a breakdown of the weekend that was, or more appropriately wasn’t. You'll have to excuse me now, I have a letter of resignation to write.

Monday, December 12, 2005

So, I lied.

Depsite my best intentions, I couldn't quite get around to posting this evening. It's not that I was that busy, on the contrary. It was actually so slow in my facility that I spent most of my time shooting the breeze with various employees in my department.

That's the kind of boss I am, just one of the guys. Truthfully, I can't stand any of my employees and was mildy annoyed that I was being bothered by their constant chatter, as I have some things that I'd really like to address in this space as soon as possible. Rest assured that I will post at some point tommorrow...and you can also rest easy in knowing that all this build up will leave you spectacularly disappointed.

Coming soon...

I'm going to be pretty busy during the day today so I won't be able to write anything of substance. However, I will be leaving work this afternoon and returning later on this evening. At that time, I will have the neccessary time to focus upon a weekend update. It will be the standard weekend update, full of random all the random thoughts and ideas that pop into my head throught the course of three days off. In addition, there is some very big news that I'll be breaking in this space as well. Take a minute and move off the edge of your seat, it's going to be awhile and I wouldn't want you to wear yourself out too early in the day.

I've got some work to do now, but I shall return soon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stick to shooting, dick.

Since I am a little too busy to put together a post today I figured I'd conduct a little test. Let's see if anybody can figure out what's wrong with this excerpt from ESPN's "NBA Expert" Tim Legler's Early Season Awards.

"The steady, yet explosive play of Chris Paul (16.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 6.8 apg) has led the Hornets to a surprising 8-8 start. The rookie from Georgia Tech has taken the reigns for Byron Scott and has emerged as the leader of a team desperately seeking one. His ability to attack the rim was apparent in college, but he has shown a maturity and decision making ability that belies his inexperience. When the game is on the line, Chris Paul make sit clear that he wants the ball in his hands and savors the pressure associated with the NBA's most demanding position. "

I like how Legler says that Chris Paul's "ability to attack the rim was apparent in college...". Oh yeah? How many games did you watch Chris play in at Georgia Tech?

I realize that both Wake Forest and Georgia Tech wear the same colors (almost) but how is it possible that a well paid basketball expert could make a mistake of this magnitude? Furthermore, how can one of the many editors employed by the Worldwide Leader miss something like this?

Maybe I'm being a little harsh on Legler here. I mean, its easy to get confused when Chris Paul only played 70+ games at Wake Forest. You'll have to excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'd rather have a fucking fruitcake

I'm pretty busy today so I'm not going to do much other mention a couple of things that I forgot to mention during yesterday's post. I would talk about last night's game but what can I really add about a game that was 35-0 before halftime? At least Eagle fans still get to live in a fun, vibrant city...oh yeah, nevermind.

- While we're on the subject of ass whippings, I might as well tackle the Orlando Magic. Ever since I mentioned them last week they've completely gone in the tank, losing 4 of their last 5 games by 20 points or more. Culminating in last night's second half pillaging at the hands of Tim Duncan and the Spurs. The Magic kept it close until halftime (tied actually) but couldn't manage to keep the game interesting in the third as the Spurs opened up a double digit lead during the period's early stages. Honestly, that's to be expected when you're facing the defending champs and your franchise player is harrassed into a 4-18 shooting night. The one positive to take from this is that even with his abysmal shooting, Dwight Howard still managed to post his 13th double-double with 13 points and 15 caroms.

- As for the rest of the losing streak, the Magic have had some tough opponents during that stretch and they are playing without the services of Steve Francis and Keyon Dooling (in addition to being without Grant Hill) but too many losses bunched together this early in the season could really kill any momentum that the team has built up to this point. In an effort to do my part (because I'm an all around super dude) to change the current karma, I'm going to refrain from commenting on the Magic in this space, at least until Hill and Francis make it back on the court together. I'm sure nobody reading this cares in any way about this, well, maybe Greg.

I'd like to quickly call out Peter King for sarcastically opining on the "impact" of Cadillac Williams a few weeks back. I believe the exact quote was, "Remember when Cadillac Williams was an impact player?" Well, now that he's finally healthy again, Carnell's averaging 4.85 yards a carry in the last three games for a team that is one 29 yard missed FG away from being undefeated in those same three games. He also happens to be doing this for a team that consistently faces eight and nine man fronts because of the inexperience of their QB and the ineptitude of it's offensive line. Think you might have jumpred the gun a bit, Mr. King?

- Finally, I'd like to send out an extra special yuletide "Fuck you" to the higher ups in my company for the Christmas gift that they presented a bunch of us with late last week. After a year's worth of hard work and long hours for this multi-million dollar company, we were all rewarded with...a $10 gift card for Barnes & Noble.

Now, I like reading as much as the next guy. Hell, probably more than the next guy since most Americans would rather eat a raw egg than read a book. However, what, pray tell, kind of book am I going to purchase with ten fucking dollars? Thanks for breaking the bank on us guys. At least I can finally get my hands on that new Archie & Jughead comic. Maybe I'll have enough left over for some Tic-Tacs at the register.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Plastic Skin, men kissing men, millions of dollars and a booger...

I’d like to start today’s post with an apology to Anthony “Booger” MacFarland.


For a number of years now, I’ve labeled you both lazy and overrated. I stopped short of calling you a “bust” because you've been a moderately productive player since you joined the Buccaneer franchise. Truth be told, I DID think you were a bust and used you as a source of constant mockery as I watched the post-Super Bowl Bucs. While you will probably never be the game changing defensive tackle that Warren Sapp was in his prime (and that you were billed to be), you are a very good player and the anchor of an underrated defensive line on one of the NFL’s best defenses. You are not one of the top 2 or 3 tackles in the NFL, but most certainly fall within the top 10 of this category. I am appreciative of your efforts and value your contributions to the Tampa Bay franchise. Please except my apologies for all the digs at your game (and name) over the years.


Mark Hughes

As you might have guessed, today’s post will be the usual random collection of thoughts from this past weekend. I’ve got nothing to add beyond what you’re getting below.

- While I’m in the apologizing mood, I might as well address Sean Dockery. Actually, I don’t feel any need to apologize to young Mr. Dockery for anything said in this space. I will say this:

Congratulations on a miraculous shot that saved your team from an extremely embarrassing loss (at home). However, you are still a below average point guard with little to no discernibly outstanding skills. I hope you enjoyed last night because it’s never going to get better for you as a basketball player. Enjoy your senior season and buy yourself a pocket sized Russian-to-English dictionary, you’ll need it soon.

- Can we all agree to start calling Frank Beamer “Mr. September”? Is there another Head Coach out there who manages to have his program in the Top 10 every August/September only to consistently blow it down the stretch? It’s staggering to look at the numbers during the last 10 years. Other than the Michael Vick led team that played FSU in the Sugar Bowl, there hasn’t been a single Hokie team in the past decade to finish the season with the flurry of wins that most fans normally associate with a program that is well coached and headed in the right direction. It may be time to examine just how good a coach 'ole leather neck is. Yes, yes, we all know how great a job he does with his special teams and how they are near the top of the nation in punts blocked and we’re all very proud of his work in the area. The fact remains that truly good (or great) coaches get their teams to make progress throughout the year and peak near it’s conclusion, something that Beamer has not shown the propensity to do. Oh yeah, I missed a lot of that game so humor me here, but was it a (gasp) huge special teams play that changed the momentum of Saturday’s ACC Championship game or did I just dream that?

- As a result of Virginia Tech choking on Frank Beamer’s plastic skin, college football fans will now be forced to watch, not one, but two awful BCS Bowl games. Which brings up this point: If the BCS is going to allow the Big East to have a spot in the BCS, and if we are going to rely on Conference Championship games to determine the BCS participants, then can we please construct a clause within the BCS formula that allows for two “undeserving” teams to be forced to play each other in a BCS Bowl game? Would that really be that hard to draw up? The clause would go something like this, “If two conference champions with 4 losses (or who reside outside of the Top 20) both make the BCS in the same year, all bowl tie-ins will be rendered moot. Thus allowing for both of these teams to face off against one another in a committee determined BCS Bowl game.”

In the case of this year, the fans would get a West Virginia-FSU matchup and a Georgia-Penn State matchup instead of the current blowout inducing format. The only stumbling block to an idea of this nature would be the objections of the bowl that got stuck with the mediocre team crapfest that would potentially result from an FSU-WVU matchup. In this case, all the BCS officials would have to do is threaten to kick said bowl out of the BCS for good (or pay them a large sum of money for their collective troubles). At this point, I’m pretty sure that Orange Bowl officials (or whatever the unlucky bowl ended up being) would decide its in their best interest to shut up and take their medicine.

My point: If you’re going to make college football fans deal with the joke that is the BCS, then at least make an effort to give us the most attractive matchups possible. It’s really not that hard, it’s just requires a little critical thinking.

- I’m really dragging ass today and I’d like to personally thank Reggie Bush. I got up early on Saturday and had a Xmas party to attend on Saturday night, so I figured I’d catch a quick nap on the couch during Saturday afternoon. Well, by the time that I tried to take a nap, the UCLA-USC game had begun. Despite wanting to watch the game, I went ahead with the aforementioned nap plans. It nearly worked. I say nearly, because every single time that I was beginning to drift into unconsciousness Reggie Bush would break a run that caused Dan Fouts and Keith Jackson to jizz all over themselves in excitement. Upon hearing these two giggle like a couple of fifth grade girls passing notes, I would invariably roll over to see what I had missed. This happened at least five times in the first quarter and a half. The final time being Bush’s 65 yard run on third-and-ten from the USC 3 yard line. I was so close to passing out that when I rolled over to watch the replay, I immediately felt rejuvenated and was therefore unable to take the nap that I so sorely needed. Surprisingly, I wasn’t even bitter about this. I am, however, planning on sending the bill for the Red Bull I purchased later that evening to the football offices at USC, attention Reggie Bush.

- One benefit to my lack of nap was that I got to watch most of the Oklahoma-Villanova basketball game. As good as ‘Nova is, I didn’t think that they had a chance against a big, physical Sooner team. Man, was I wrong. Villanova played very well and totally wore down Oklahoma in the second half behind a brilliant game from Randy Foye, among others (Kyle Lowry and Allan Ray were pretty good too). As somebody who exclusively played guard during his playing days, I may be biased, but there isn’t a more enjoyable team to watch in college basketball today than Villanova.

- The Dodgers gave Rafael Furcal $39 million over 3 years? How is nobody else dumbfounded by this? I realize that $13 million a year isn’t an astronomical wage in Major League Baseball these days but, are you kidding me? $13 million a year for a 28 year old (at least) shortstop with career averages of .284, 11 HRs and 58 RBIs? That isn’t the least bit exorbitant to anyone?

- Ronde Barber, if you weren’t a man, well…I’d kiss you on the mouth. That was one hell of a display of defense when your team needed it most. If you could do that next week against Carolina, then that would be great, ummkay? Seriously, dude…you’re awesome.

- Finally, I know that most of you could care less about the recruiting efforts of the Florida Gator football program, but I do care about it so I’m going to continue to update this space with news that I consider to be especially important to those efforts. Late last week, the Gators gained a commit from the #2 rated linebacker in the nation, who also happens to be a JUCO transfer (can anybody say instant impact?). His name is Larry Grant and I’m already getting giddy imagining him and Brandon Siler dominating opposing ball carriers. If he pans out, then I’ll finally be able to get over the sting of losing Lance Mitchell (due to UF admissions standards) to Oklahoma a couple of years back. I’ve got a good feeling about this guy, and I base that feeling on…absolutely nothing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lots of useless opinions (in no particular order)

Nothing quite like Friday afternoon, unless you're talking about Friday afternoon at home instead of work. In that case, their is something like Friday afternoon, only its far better than the original. I didn't call in sick to work today, I just took a vacation day because I've already put in enough hours this week. I did have to go meet with some lady from the local paper about our 2006 marketing strategy but that lasted a little over an hour so it was only mildy annoying. Anyway, I've been really busy this week and haven't been able to peruse the internet at my normal rate so I'm probably a little behind on some of the happenings of the sports world. Mind you, not nearly as far behind as Greg, who didn't find out that Miami had lost to Ga. Tech until this past Monday morning. Then again, Greg was in Mexico on Round 2 of "Greg's Magical & Mysterious Communicable Diseases Tour" so we'll cut him a little slack on that one. You'd be surprised how much scouring Guadalajarra for underage hookers can take out of you...seriously.

I'm gonna be straight with you here, I'm not very motivated today so we're going to keep it short and sweet. Nothing but random thoughts and events from the past week. Some of this stuff is a little dated at this point, but I took the time to write it down in my notebook so you're gonna have to take the time to read it, damnit. What else are you going to do this afternoon? Work? Right, I'm buying that.

Christmas music:

Enough already. Do we really have to hear this crap for an entire month straight? I understand why the stores play it, but I see no need for it to take over the programming of every other english speaking radio station in America. I was out to dinner last night and this garbage was blaring over the speakers for the entire meal. Couldn't we just all agree to keep this shit off the airwaves until the days hit the double digit mark in December?

I like Christmas alot, really I do. I just don't want to hear Blue Christmas by Elvis three times a day for a month, and I may murder somebody if I have to hear Barbara Streisand's version of Jingle Bells ever again. You've been warned. Surprisingly, I could listen Jose Feliciano's Feliz Navidad during the middle of Agust and be completely content.

Monday Night:

I didn't get home until just before halftime because I had two playoff games for the Men's Basketball League that I play in. Yes, you read that correctly, basketball. Unlike many men my age who play in softball leagues, I choose to play in a basketball league. I'm a whole lot better at basketball and the ball is a lot softer. So, you see, their is far less of a chance of me ducking away from the ball in horror and shreeking like some 12 year old girl in your junior high gym class. That would be embarrasing for everybody involved so I'm under the impression that my choice of sports is in everybody's best interest.

Anyway, on Monday we played two games because the league that I play in thinks its neccessary to have both it's semifinals and finals on the same night. Don't ask me why they do this, because I have no idea. It might also be hard for me to hear you because I've got my back to back league championship rings stuffed in each of my ears. Actually, we get t-shirts and visors (Gee, thanks) but my team did capture it's second consecutive league title game so I'm still way too cool to be bothered with that sort of inane question.

When I did finally get home from my games, I did notice a few things about the game:

- Peyton Manning sure is an asshole. Just watching him bitch at his lineman and dismissively wave teammates off the field makes me angry. It's not him being an asshole that bothers me, it that he is clearly a HUGE asshole but still attempts to come off as a genuinely nice guy whom his teammates enjoy. I had the same problem with Michael Jordan during his career. Listen, nobody appreciates a complete and total jerk off like this guy. Hell, I've patterned my entire life around the basic principles of being an asshole. here's mybeef: If you're going to be an asshole then just be honest about it and flaunt it. I much prefer my asshole athletes in the mold of Albert/Joey Belle and John McEnroe than to have them be like Manning or Jordan.

-Some guy in the crowd in Indy had a big "D-Caf" sign. That was good for a chuckle.

-I don't think that Pittsburgh would've won that game barring a major meltdown from the Colts. However, I did have a big problem with Bill Cowher's strategy on two key plays. First, the onside kick to start the second half. It's easy to criticize this move now (just watch me) but this move really hurt the Steelers. Other than the first play of the game, the Steeler defense had accounted for itself pretty well throughout the first half. Manning was clearly frustrated by the half's end. So, instead of kicking it deep and relying on your defense to get a stop and give your offense good field position, you onsides kick it and give Indy a short field. Momentum wise, this decision was a killer. Second, the QB draw playcall on 4 & 5 early in the fourth. I know this call has worked for Pittsburgh in similar situations this season, but it's a bad call on 4 & 5 with a QB who is just coming off knee surgery. On a 4 & 5 you have nearly your entire playbook at your disposal, Mr. Cowher. Next time this situation arises, I suggest you use it to find something other than a QB draw.

- ABC brought up a stat for Reggie Wayne that showed he has the highest "Passer Rating" of any receiver in the NFL over the last four years. When did receiver's start getting passer ratings? How does this even work? Was I out of the country when this decision was made? I am totally flummoxed by this. I don't even know what to do with this information.


-Marco Killingsworth looks like he should be working on an assembly line at one of the GM plants in Detroit. Are you kidding me? I'm not even joking when I say that he looks old enough to be Mike Davis' brother.

Speaking of Mike Davis, his relationship with Killingsworth and Lewis Monroe (the other Auburn transfer) was brought up numerous times during the game on Wednesday as the reason that these two guys transferred to Indiana. This is just a question, but doesn't that sound alot like tampering with another program's players? I guess that Indiana could take the stance that Davis didn't contact either of these guys until after they decided to leave Auburn. Yet, I still find it hard to believe that Davis bonded with the two of these kids so quickly after their respective decisions that they both decided to go to Indiana within weeks of being released from their scholarships at Auburn. Furthermore, it is highly irregular for anybody to transfer to another Division I school with just one year of eligibility remaining, much less two guys from the same program deciding to do this and also deciding on the same school as their transfer destination. As they used to say on Scooby-Doo, "This smells a little fishy".

-Sean Dockery has to be the worst scholarship point guard in the history of Duke's program. Other than the ability to play average (at best) pressure defense, I can't name a single thing that this guy brings to the table for Duke. Would somebody please explain to me how he was a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school? For Pete's sake, I wouldn't even trade jumpshots with the guy, whihc is saying something because my jumper isn't going to be portrayed in the Gugenheim anytime soon I bet Lee Melchionni gets sick everytime he thinks about having to give up his scholarship 9as a freshamn) for that no talent spazz.

-Shelden Williams might want top start brushing up on his Italian. When you get torched by Marco Killingsworth in the way that Williams did on Wednesday, chances are that you probably don't have much of a future as a starting power forward in the NBA. I see many supporting roles on other players' posters in your future, Shelden.

LaDanian Tomlinson:

Why are people even bothering to discuss whether he's the best running back of all time? Shouldn't there be some rule that says your name can't even enter the discussion of all-time best backs until you've gone over 10,000 career rushing yards? Does everybody in the media have this much respect for Marty Schottenheimer? Don't get me wrong, the guy is a very good football coach but he's never even won a Super Bowl and he stuffs his play sheet down the front of his pants. LaDanian doesn't even make the Top Five and he's not going to for quite some time, so let's all just forget that Marty ever even said this, okay?


-They're actually playing pretty well right now. They had won 4 in a row before Wednesday's loss to Chicago. They are a completely different team this year, as evidenced by the 13 point drop in their defensive scoring average. Part of this is certainly due to the change in offensive philosophy under Brian Hill, but alot of the credit must also go to Hill and his coaching staff for instilling the need for defensive intensity in this group and for realizing that with big men like Kelvin Cato, Tony Battie and (to a lesser degree) Howard, it was in the best interests of his team to slow down the pace and force teams to try and score on the Magic in the halfcourt.

Some of the (especially) bright spots with this team are Dwight Howard (of course) who seemingly gets better with each game he plays, and is even managing to force teams double team him when he sets up on the block these days. Other than Dwight, special credit should go to Steve Francis and DeShawn Stevenson. Francis is playing under control and keeping his turnovers to a minimum while still maintaining his aggresiveness on offense. I'm still hoping that the Magic can ship him out by February for some picks and prospects but you have to like the way he's attempting to fit in with this team and it's philosophy. As for Stevenson, he's become the Magic's best perimeter defender and toughest player. He's playing on a badly banged up knee that keeps him from practicing (and will requrie surgery at season's end) but he's playing good enough D to frustrate guys like Dwayne Wade, Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis. He still has one of the 5 ugliest jumpers in the league, but he attacks the basket on offense and seems to add an edge to this team when he's on the floor.

The player who deserves the biggest pat on the back (from me, not himself...who do you think he is Barry Horowitz?) is Jameer Nelson. Jameer has become the Magic's version of the 2005 version Ben Gordon, if that makes any sense. He consistently scores in double figures during the fourth quarter and is in the middle of every big run that the Magic make late in games. I thought he played pretty well last year, but he's come back this year far better than at any point during his rookie season. Some of this is no doubt due to having a year's worth of experience under his belt, but alot of this improvement is a result of Nelson's much improved mid-range and three point jumpshot. I've said, since the day he was drafted, that I thought he had a lot of "poor man's Tim Hardaway" potential (save for the speech impediment) and this season's early returns have done nothing to make me think otherwise. If Jameer keeps this up and doesn't get invited to the Rookie-Sophomore game (once again) their ought to be a congressional investigation.

Just to summarize: I don't think that the Magic make the playoffs but they are competitive and tough. Two things you haven't been able to say about this franchis in quite some time.


- I take offense to the ESPN the Weekend ads that claim to "have something for every fan". Unless there is a Punch Stuart Scott directly in the face booth then their is absolutely nothing for me at this contrived cross promotional weekend in lovely Lake Buena Vista, FL, or as I like to call it, "Hell on Earth". At least DisneyWorld isn't in the middle on the Anaheim ghetto like Disneyland. I'm not even joking when I say that there's a pawn shop across the street from DisneyLand. Seriously, who could make something like that up?

-ESPN sure loves showing the highlights from the 1987 AFC Champioship game during the middle of the afternoon. This is at least the sixth time I've seen this show in the last year. I have to admit that it's not nearly as fun this time around because I'm not watching it with Calvin. Calvin grew up in Ohio (have I ever mentioned how much I hate the entire state of Ohio?) and loves the Browns. Whenver this came on, I would make a point to let Calvin know about it. Even going so far as to go into his office and turn on the TV so that he would have to watch part of it. Calvin's a bit irrational so this would normally end up in hom throwing (and possibly breaking) something, which is always good for a mid-afternoon chuckle at the expense of him and the godforesaken city of Cleveland.

I think we should all get drunk this weeknd and root for UCLA. That's what troy Aikman and I are doing anyway.

-Did you know that Bill Cowher was the special teams coach for the 1987 Browns? Me neither. I do know that the corduroy hat he was wearing during the Championship game is one of those fashion trends that just never, ever goes out of style.