Sunday, March 30, 2008

30 Rock Coming Back in April!

If you douchebags aren't watching 30 Rock, why aren't you? Because it is too damn funny for you? What? Do not let this show get cancelled like Arrested Development or The Tick did. Watch it! Also, if you haven't, you should visit Hulu.

In this next scene, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) is concerned that his neurotic star Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) rebels from clear directives (like, No Dog Fighting) because he never got to connect with his father. Clearly, therapy, and a shockingly good Redd Foxx imitation is the key to wellness.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Andrew Wice's Authorin' Journey Begins

Well, maybe not "begins" as he's been writing novels since forever. But then again, that made him a writer, not an author. Now he's an author, and he's got publication dates and signing events to prove it!

If you happen to have gotten lost in New Mexico on April 21st, and find yourself in Madrid, go find Andrew. He'll sell you a copy of his brand new, hot off the presses novel, "To the Last Drop". If you are at all attractive, he'll also probably hit on you, too.

Details below:

There are two events coming up, both at the Mineshaft Tavern on Highway 14 in Madrid, NM.

Monday, April 21: Book Release Party 6-9

Friday, May 2: Book Reading & Signing 7-12, with band Hundred Year Flood, who Andrew promises "will tear the doors off" in one of their last New Mexico shows.

Click here for more.

Elite 8: Halfway to History

Well my picks for today were both sunk, though I was very careful not to back them too hard.

UCLA vs. Xavier was just ridiculous. I can't imagine anyone but die-hard UCLA fans and delusional Xavier fans actually watched that entire game. UCLA was up by 20 points for the majority of this game. Biggest stat in this game as far as I'm concerned is one relating to the guard play of Xavier. UCLA forced Lavender/Burrell/Raymond/Jackson into this: a combined total of 95 minutes played, 18 points scored, on 6 of 24 (25%) shooting. Ick.

Far more compelling was the Louisville-UNC tilt. Louisville was down by ten at the half, but stormed back and kept the game super close until the final minutes. The 10 point margin is somewhat misleading. Tyler Hansbrough, of all people hit big jumpshots late (15-20 footers) to help seal this win when it looked like Louisville might take it away. Hansbrough had some help from the officials, considering his spazzy defense, which included at least one uncalled over the back, kept in the game when he should have been maybe sitting with four fouls or out entirely. The swallowed whistle made all the difference in the world, as no one else on UNC was getting anything done against Louisville's tough, tough defense for a good chunk of the second half. Kudos, by the by for both Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas for sneaking in the term "reach-around" to describe one called foul of Hansbrough. I thought they were called reach-ins. Reach-arounds are some altogether different, Dick Enberg. It would appear that Tyler likes to forcibly give reach-around. Sick fuck.

But Here's the Halfway to History mentioned at the top of the post--we've got two #1's advancing to the Final Four. Could we have all four #1 Seeds advance to the Final Four, for the first time since the tournament expanded to 64? That depends on Sunday's games.

(That's called a segue people, and it was beautifully done.)

The early game is the most likely game to decide that. We've got Memphis vs. Texas. Texas has looked damned impressive so far, and Memphis, their last game notwithstanding, hasn't been the dominant #1 that people were expecting. Memphis is the only team that actually has to face the #2 in their bracket, as well. I think Memphis will win this game, but I won't be shocked if Texas pulls it out. Augustin, Abrams, Atcheley and the rest of the Longhorns have played beyond their years; Memphis has the experience, but then again, as young as Texas is, they've been here before, too. I hate to pin a game on just a couple of folks, but if Memphis wins this game, they'll need stellar play from their freshman Rose and from hard to handle Chris Douglas-Roberts.

The later game, Davidson vs Kansas should be a game Kansas wins handily. I'm not discounting the Davidson squad--they destroyed, absolutely wrecked Wisconsin. But they did need huge comebacks to beat Georgetown and even their first round opponent Gonzaga. Kansas is a team that has been here before, almost all of their players, and they won't take their foot off the pedal just because they are up double-digits in the first half, like Georgetown did. Like Georgetown, Kansas has 3 or 4 quick, big guards that can limit Stephen Curry, and big men to throw draw fouls from the "big" men of Davidson. If the game is all close, I'd take Davidson. I don't think it will be close. Kansas wins in an UCLA like romp.

And just like that, history. All Four #1 seeds advance to the the Final Four.

Elite 8: Caturday

Down to Two Games a Day. How sad.

First up, Xavier vs UCLA. This is an interesting match-up, and I'm biased, as I argued from the day the brackets were announced that UCLA would be the first #1 out of the tournament. Xavier will give them a much tougher match up then the #2 seed (Duke) would have. Both teams are deep, with big men and squirty guards that can step up and win a game. UCLA proved they could win without Darren Collison in the last round (something I didn't think they could prove). Xavier seems to be getting better and better as this tournament goes. I'm picking Xavier, but I don't have any reason to do so. I just think this tournament has one more upset left in it, and I think this is the place. Xavier have the big men to give trouble to Love and Keefe, and the guard play to make plays. It may come down to the last 2 minutes (Xavier being one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country).

Later on, Louisville vs UNC. Again, I fully admit to being contrarion for the sake of it, but I'm taking Louisville here. They are hitting on all cylinders (as is UNC). I think this will be the first real challenge UNC has faced, and if happen to be a team full of talented big men, and quick guards, you may (like Louisville) think that you can win this game, and that's half the battle. Louisville will have to play their best game to keep this close. If they do keep it close, then I'll take Pitino over Williams.

I'm not crazy about picking about 2 #1 seeds going down. I won't do that for the Sunday games.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sweet Sixteen Night 2

Go ahead, I fuckin' dares ya. Look at my predictions for this quartet of games. Aside from being massively, superhumanly wrong on Stanford and Texas, my predictions are at least apt, and sometimes, scarily prescient. Bask in the Wonder of the Big Blue Monkey. C'mon. Do it. Bask. Just a little. Just to make me happy.

Let's review.

Wisconsin got their dog walked by the fightinest Wildcats in North Carolina, the Davidson Steven Currys (Curries?). Key stat? Oh, about this one? "Curry, the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, outscored the Badgers all by himself in the second half, 22-20. He finished with 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including six 3-pointers. "

What did I say about this game? Oh, right: "No big comeback for Davidson this time. They will take the lead in under 10 minutes and never surrender it."

Texas stole Stanford's lunch money. I didn't see much of this game, as it there were Big 10 doings here in both the early and late games, and who in Minnesota gives two poops if a Big 12 teams roughs up a couple of nerdy PAC-10 Twins? I totally got this one wrong, so I won't quote myself here. I will link to Mike Freeman, who so beautifully ripped the supersized catamite crushes of Dick Vitale et al on Tyler Hansborough. His take on the game (which I assume he got to watch) is that the Lopez Twins disappeared in the second half (not literally, of course).

Kansas destroying Villanova isn't much of surprise. But they did destroy Villanova. I will not link to myself here, because predicting that isn't anything to brag about. But I have a hard time resisting bragging. OK, quick quote of myself, then: "Kansas in a romp that makes the other #1's romps look like Fischer v Kasparov." That may have been a bit of hyperbole. It might have not. I have no idea what it means. I think it references chess, though, so it makes me look smart.

The least regarded #1 seed in this tournament, despite returning the entire team that made it into the Elite 8 last year, Memphis was like a kitty named Pablo batting around a green ball of yarn named Michigan State. They shut down Drew Neitzel (2-8 from the field). They got into passing lanes for easy baskets. In the half-court, with Michigan State deciding to run a 2-3 zone that forced Memphis to shoot from outside, they hit 3-pointers, early and often. Oh, and the notoriously awful free-throw shooting Tigers hit almost 75% from the charity stripe, with Chris Douglas-Roberts leading the way with 11 of 12.

They played a total team game--4 of 5 starters hit better than 40% from field, and three hit better than 50%. I'm unsure why this team made into so few Final Four brackets--they made it in on all of mine. Memphis is for real, ya'll. If you had asked, I would have told you that months ago when they spanked Georgetown. When everyone was predicting upset, what did U say again? I don't quite remember...Oh, right, "Memphis has too many skilled players where Michigan State relies upon time-eaters. I'll take Memphis by at least 9 points."

Palate Cleanser

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Enjoy this video, where Eddie Lewis speaks with an English accent, and head soccer coach Bob Bradley E-NUN-CEE-ATES VEAR-RE CARE-FUL-LEE.

Because the YouTube/US Soccer Channel are idiots, we can't post it here. We CAN ON-LEE LINK IT.

And maybe we get DeMarcus Beasley back in 3 months, eh?

Fuckin' right.

Sweet Sixteen, Night 1 and look at Night 2

I mercifully only saw the part of the UNC/Wash State tilt when it was close. But how about Xavier/West Virginia? I am going to pretend that Xavier is bound and determined to make all their games as dramatic as possible. For the record, as before the ball was knocked out of bounds with only 2.1 seconds left on the clock, I recommended that Xavier hit a 3 pointer. And they did. I told them to do that. I'm a game manager of Mr. Burns quality!

Eyebrows may be raised at Xavier's various close scraps (much as many have been raised at Memphis' general direction (more deservedly at Memphis, since they don't hit free throws, and Xavier does)) but the fact is Xavier (and Memphis) are well-balanced attacks that create mismatches on the floor with just about every team in the NCAA. They don't have the best player at one position, but with the exception of Kansas and (Fine! I admit it!) North Carolina, Xavier may have the most balanced attack in the NCAA.

The second grouping of games seemed to be falling in a with the first games. You had an entertaining opening 10 minutes in the 1 seed game, this time with UCLA and Western Kentucky, before the the #1 seed figures out the weakness of the team they are playing and just poops all over them. UCLA jumped out to a big lead.

And then someone decided, as the kids say, "to flip the script". With about 6 minutes left, WKU finished a furious comeback to put them in striking distance, just at the same time Louisville was burying Tennessee by more than 15 points.

And then UCLA remembered they were playing WKU and put the game out of reach with about 3 minutes left in the game.

I think Jay Bilas would like to take David Padgett behind the Junior High and get him pregnant.

I'd like to point out that I called all these games (in some cases, down to the final play!) With that, I'll push my luck.

Friday games:

Davidson's run isn't done yet. I'll pick them over Wisconsin. There is no logical basis to do this. I imagine Flowers and Landry to be so tight on Dell Curry's kid that he barely gets a shot off in the first half. Which will then illuminiate for the rest of the country how good Davidson's front court is. No big comeback for Davidson this time. They will take the lead in under 10 minutes and never surrender it.

In a clear fit of pique I'll take an inside team over a perimeter team when it comes to Stanford and Texas. The Lopez twins will not need miracle free throws or miracle baseline jumpers to beat a Texas team overly reliant on their perimeter game. Texas thinks they know all about Stanford's perimeter game. They are wrong. Goods shoots the Trees into the Elite 8.

Villanova vs. Kansas? Really? This is a Sweet 16 match-up? It won't score that way. Kansas will eat Villanova's lunch. Villanova has Scotty Reynolds. Kansas has 3 players that play on the perimeter that can defend Reynolds, and get him in foul trouble. This will be the Chalmers/Rush show. Except that Villanova can't defend Kansas' big men either. It will also be the Darrell Arthur show. Kansas in a romp that makes the other #1's romps look like Fischer v Kasparov.

Memphis will lock down Michigan State's two good players--Goran Suton and Raymar Morgan. Memphis will let Drew Neitzel chuck 3's, because they know if he misses his first two, he'll miss 80% of his shots from then on. Memphis has too many skilled players where Michigan State relies upon time-eaters. I'll take Memphis by at least 9 points.

Michelle Bachman, Elected Representative

I have never gotten an opportunity to vote directly for the comedy gold that is Representative Michelle Bachman. But to the rest of the country, enjoying the stereotype that Minnesotans elect goofy idiots just for the hell of it, please continue to enjoy.

Titled the "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act," the bill seeks to repeal the nationwide phase-out of conventional light bulbs, the kind that have been used for more than a century -- pretty much since the invention of the incandescent light bulb.

Bachmann, a first-term Republican, is challenging the nation's embrace of energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, saying the government has no business telling consumers what kind of light bulbs they can buy....

"By 2012, incandescent light bulbs will be no more," Bachmann said. "Fluorescent bulbs are more polluting because of their mercury content. We are working on a light bulb bill. If the Democrats can hose up a light bulb, don't trust them with the country."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm Younger than Cuonzo Martin!


Good Hire by Missouri State. Martin will teach those guys how to hit crazy ass 3's all day long.

Sixteen Predictions: Thursday

Seeing as I got almost every single one of my predictions wrong last time around, I figure I'm due to be 100% right this time.

We've got four games tomorrow.

West Virginia vs. Xavier--West Virginia has looked good so far, perhaps surprising some folks. But this is their first real challenge with a well-rounded team. Watch Josh Duncan--I think he'll be the guy Xavier tries to get going early. If they do, they could win in a romp. But Huggy Bear Huggins is a crafty coach, and although he prefers a straight-up man on man, he may run some interior zone sort of defense to help protect WVa's big men. I'm still picking Xavier, but I think it will be close. Drew Lavender perhaps making a big play down the stretch to stem a late run from the Mountaineers.

Washington State vs North Carolina--I still haven't seen much of Wash State, but I know they've been blowing out teams almost as badly as UNC has. This will certainly be the most frustrating team UNC will play thus far. They will not get Wash State into the running game that UNC excels at. UNC will not score 100 points this time. But Wash State will almost certainly have to score more than their usual 65 if they want to win. I hate to do it, and I hope I'm wrong, but I'll take UNC in an ugly affair.

Western Kentucky vs. UCLA. UCLA. Yawn.

Louisville vs. Tennessee. This is how one ends a night of hoops. This should be a fantastic game, with two different styles, two close rivalries, and great talent on either side of the ball. Louisville has certainly looked better to this point, and I see no reason for that not to continue. Butler proved you can get Wayne Chism in foul trouble. Louisville will pound that point home, and go inside over and over again. Lofton and Smiths (JaJuan & Ramar (palindrome!) will have to shoot well to keep Tennessee in it. Lofton will almost certainly shoot well, but the rest of the guards are more of a question mark. I'll go with Louisville, as the more balanced, hotter team.

Pros vs Joes: Season 3, Semi-Finals

We've got our 8 winners from this season, all competing for the four final spots. But first, even with this being the semi-finals, we still have to get rid of two of them right off the bat. In the Sudden Death, each Joe is given their own football, and they have to run from end zone to end zone, with 100 dudes in their way. Apparently, once they clear a zone, the guys they pass are done. I assume that is how it is working; otherwise, I don't see anyone ever finishing this challenge. It's ridiculous.

But eventually, people start making it across the line.
First: Derek Schaeffer, our Wisconsin boy from Episode 3
Second: Gabriel Canape, whose episode I missed, which I feel stupid about as included DC area legends Jeff George and Brady Anderson.
Third: Donnie Frazier, who got into the finals in part because a dude fell down in his qualifying episode. (Who needed stiches in his chin after this event)
Fourth: Trent Madsen, a crazy shit-talker from Episode 7.
Fifth: Clayton Monte, a chunky shit-talker who was gifted the win by Christian Okoye in Episode 6, and who later commented on our blog about how unfair we were being our depictions of him, because he's a goddamn hero in real life.
Sixth: Joe Goodwin, or Coach Goodie, from Episode 4

Pour one out for David Ortiz (who looked like he had slimmed down) and Jason Vogel, who were eliminated.

For our semi-finals they've changed up the format of the show (it looks, in fact, awfully similar to the format of all of Season 2). Each Joe will compete against each Pro. The winners of the first 3 challenges are through to the Finals. The remaining 3 will compete in Overtime to see which one of them will become the fourth in.

Let's Meet the Pros.

Rod Woodson--corner/safety badass. Three trips to the Super Bowl with three different teams, winning one with Baltimore. Rod famously got his knee wrecked in part because a failed attempt to adjust to a Barry Sanders cut. A couple of the Joes reference that. That seems like a bad idea.

Antonio Davis--NBA big body/rebounder. Despite some of his many later year travels, including that funny incident with him going into the stands to protect his wife, I think of him still as an Indiana pacer.

Pernell Whitaker--boxer. That's all I really know about him. A very, very good boxer.

First challenge: Each Joe gets two downs. They have to run out wide and catch a swing pass and try to move upfield against Rod Woodson, who of course knows exactly where they will be running. After one trip through the Joes, only Trent Madsen has more than 3 yards--he manages 7! (To be fair, both Frazier and Schaeffer bounce the tackle, but step out of bounds). The second time through, everyone does worse, and Trent looks like he's about to cruise into the win. But hold everything! Coach Goodie has his last down, and he's slips Woodson's high tackle, and cruises for a 20 yard TD run. His total of 23 yards crushes Trent's 10 yards. No one else sniffs double-digit yardage.

Second challenge: Boarding against Antonio Davis. Each Joe has to grab boards and through the ball into targets. When Davis hits 5 rebounds himself, the game is over.

Madsen starts off, and does quite well, losing only 5-4. He started fast in the last challenge, too. Monte Clayton gets his asskicked, 5-1. Donnie Frazier looks bad early, but ends up losing only 5-3. Gabriel Canape, all 5' 7" of him puts in some serious work to get the score tied 4-4. At one point, with his hands on his knees, Davis asks Canape, "How tall are you man?" Canape tells him, and Davis gives a begrudging but admiring, "Damn." Canape gets his 5th board before Davis does, and takes the lead overall. Derek Schaeffer is next, and while he is clearly probably the best actual rebounder out of the Joes, he loses 5-3. Gabriel Canape advances! What pluck and spirit!

Third Challenge: Boxing for 2 minutes with Pernell Whitaker. Actual boxing judges on hand will determine the winner.

Monte goes first, and takes some big shots to the head, and doesn't land much at all. But he looks better in the ring than Trent Madsen, of whom host Peter Poopadoplis says, "all the finesse of a drunk with the shakes." He takes a shot in the nose, and gets a little bloodied. This seems to be about the Pernell gets bored, and decides to make up his own challenge, in which he acts as half-assed as he can and still not get touched. He basically smiles the rest of the way through, throwing shots at guys, but not particularly hard. Against one of these dudes, he actually rests one glove on the ropes, and throws punches with just one hand. Its all pretty silly. Schaeffer is the only one who shows any aggression at all; it is a ploddering, north woods kind of aggression, but at least it is something. He wins.

So we have 3 finalists, leaving Monte, Madsen and Frazier to compete for the final spot in Overtime.

Overtime: Step 1, 5 body shots on Whitaker. Step 2, there are 3 balls on (important adjective upcoming) low pylons that Davis will box out the Joes away from. Joes have to knock the balls off the pylons. Step 3, catch a touchdown while defended by Woodson.

In the way it is edited, Clayton Monte is up first. His strategy is to get into Whitaker quick and just throw pistoning alternating shots at Whitaker and hope for the best. It is effective, and he finishes in about 5 seconds, and reaches the stop clock bench at 22 seconds. Davis proves to be a tougher out. Monte fights hard to get the first ball, starts to fight hard for the second ball, and then just crawls between Davis' legs for the second. On the third ball, he simply puts his arm under Davis' junk, and gives his nuts a quick pull upward. Davis reacts, and Monte grabs the ball. Stay classy! Finishes at about 2:32. Against Woodson, he is given the gift of really soft coverage (something that Madsen certainly does not get), and catches a quick touchdown, to finish at 3:19. An impressive time, to my way of thinking.

Madsen goes next, and uses the Whitaker gambit, and also finishes at 22 seconds. Against Davis, he fights and scraps, and dives, much manages not to shoot the 5 hole, or touch Davis' balls. He finishes quicker than Monte, and goes into the final event with a bit of an advantage. A large amount of this advantage is built up by being able to run to the stop-clock benches a good deal faster than Monte (who Pernell Whitaker took to calling "guts" after his belly). Woodson plays insanely aggressive defense against Madsen (I'm pretty sure there was plenty of contact after 5 yards, for example), and Madsen maxes out. I don't give him a chance, but he actually finishes in 3:17. Monte is eliminated.

Donnie Frazier, 9 stiches on his chin goes next. He finishes the boxing challenge like everyone else, but runs it out quicker, and finishes in 17 seconds. He also shoots between Davis' legs to knock one ball off a pylon (next PvJ, maybe a higher pylon?). He finishes at 2:00, and knows that if he maxes out, he'll have time to run to the finish in the last event. So he goes hard at Woodson once, and then basically jogs through the rest of the minute, even telling Woodson that he's resting himself for the sprint for the finish. Not the most sporting of manuevers, but tactically quite intelligent. He maxes out, and hits his sprint hard, and wins by six seconds at 3:11.

There are your finalists, Ladies and Gentlemen. Gentlemen all, hardly a shit-talker in the bunch. We will still be rooting for D-Rock Shaeffer, pride of the fightin' Eagles.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Look at You Two, Lookin' Like "Before" and "After"

Our friends over at Sanford Soccer have been having some fun with Football Doppelgangers. We thought we'd give it a try, with a special reference to either diet ads or the classic movie "Who's The Man"

Kenan Thompson, aka "Before"

Freddy Adu, aka "After"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

NCAA Hoops: Day 3, With Day 4 Preview

After the first round of the tournament, we get to the point where the number of games is almost manageable to comment on. Not quite there yet, as there was plenty of overlap of games today, and will be again on Sunday.

Some of the games don't need much analysis anyway. When the margin of victory is around 20 points, it seems clear to me that the analysis should just boil down to "One Team Was Much Better Than The Other." Three games from today certainly qualify for that. Kansas over UNLV, Wisconsin over Kansas State, and Washington State over Notre Dame.

(A couple of quick comments here: I'm obviously grabbing these recaps from CBS--there's an ad on the website that offers you a chance to listen to the new Viagra song. Are those little ditties especially popular? Are people looking for them? Secondly, while watching one of the later games, the CBS Sports guys put up 3 Big Game Performers or whatever they call them. They included Luke Harangody of Notre Dame. Yes, he had a ton of rebounds, and that's nice and all--but he shot 3-17 in a 20 point blowout loss. Surely there was someone more deserving than him?

Biggest Upset: I guess you have to give it to West Virginia over Duke. I personally picked WVA more times that I picked Duke. I'd love to say how prescient that was, mainly because it fucking was. But it also has some roots in a lifelong hatred of Duke (I know, how novel of me) and a belief they had been overrated in what has to be considered a down year in the ACC. I got to watch most of this game, and there is one key stat that sums up why Duke was overrated going into the game--15 missed 3 pointers in a row. Duke hasn't had a real big man in a while, and they have become a jump-shooting team, and when they hit, they win. When they don't hit, they don't win. They don't really have any other options. While West Virginia, at least against Duke, seemed like they have a ton of options for scoring. Before Joe Alexander became the most the talked about forward in the Big East, the star on this team was Alex Ruoff, who continued his run of making circus style outside shots. Another key stat is Duke's arguably best player, DeMarcus Nelson, going 2-11 from the field.

Biggest Almost Upset: Quite a few games fall into this category. UCLA barely rallied from being behind 10 points in the second half against Texas A&M, for a win with totals that remind one of the pre-shot clock era: 53-49. Xavier fended off a very game Purdue to win by seven. But clearly the award has to go to the Stanford Marquette tilt, that required a pretty shaky Robin Lopez on the free throw line just to send the game to OT. Robin's brother Brook scored a bunch of points including the last shot of the game. Stanford escapes, 82-81.

Player I'll Miss: Other folks may wish that the Kansas State Lottery Picks were still around, but for me, the player I'll miss most now that he's gone is Marquette guard Jerel McNeal. That guy was just phenomenal. He hit almost every single big shot Marquette had against Stanford. He also had big steals that clearly disrupted Stanford's play. I have no idea what kind of pro he'll be, but he is one hell of a college player.

Things to look for Sunday:

Cinderellas Please Report. We are guaranteed two seeds of the number #12 or #13 into the Sweet 16, as four of them won their first round match-ups, and now play each other for the right to hit that milestone. I'll take two 13's: Siena over Villanova, and San Diego over Western Kentucky.

Shocking Upset possibilities. Keep a close eye on #7 Butler vs. #2 Tennessee. Butler should have gotten at least a 5 seed, and probably a 4. So this match-up really shouldn't even be happening in the second round. But it is, and if anyone is more pissed off than Butler about their shitty ranking, it may be Tennessee. Butler plays tough, nasty defense, and has a feral Steve Nash running their show. Another game that has potential shocking upset written on it is #9 Arkansas against #1 Overall UNC. Sonny Weems has been playing fantastic basketball, and Patrick Beverly is always a threat to blow-up the 3 point line. Sometimes 2 great players can counterbalance a very well-rounded team that relies, overly, on a big goofy mother fucker named Tyler. I don't think a #6 beating a #3 would count as a shocking upset, but Oklahoma is definitely capable of beating Louisville. Longar Longar and Blake Griffen will cause some headaches for Louisville.

Great player in losing effort. Baby-faced Assassin Stephen Curry will probably have to score 50 to beat Georgetown. I expect him to score more around 25, and Davidson doesn't have a player who can guard Roy "Doctor" Hibbert. Mississippi State's Charles Rhodes was a beast against Oregon, but I think he'll find much harder sledding against Memphis' big men. For whatever reason, people seem to be discounting Memphis. I think this game may be the one where they announce to the country that this isn't last year's Memphis.

Tourney Photos

Big Blue Monkey, while I like your NCAA daily summaries, you need some photos man! Photo's make the Blog. So to help out, I've selected some of my favorites that I could find. First up, Arkansas and Indiana decided to settle thier match up on the pitch:

" A dangerous cross to DeAndre Thomas and off the head... GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALL!"

Garwood got a spot with West Virginia and his teammates still laugh at him when he tries to shoot.

So, the the tourney's first 16 v 1 upset didn't come. Don't look so sad boys, at least you made it.

And finally, edit out the Basketball and this photo takes on a new meaning:

In Praise of: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth and Iron Fist

Miwacar and I were playing video games the other day, I mentioned in passing the genius of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth. Miwacar knows his classic hip-hop--The De La, the Enemy of Public, etc. But he gave me a blank look when it came to Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth. And that frightened me a bit. Pete Rock is one of the finest crate-diggin' producers, and C.L. had a nice flow. They should not be forgotten for their work as a duo. So, if you never heard of them, enjoy their biggest hit, "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y)". Fellow white folks, please notice that some of the truth telling happens in Barber shops, just like Barack said it does.

The connection between hip-hop and kung-fu used to be tenuous, until the Wu-Tang happened. I guarantee you that some of those fuckers loved the original Iron Fist from Marvel Comics. Iron Fist was partnered with one of Marvel's first black heroes, Power Man, or Luke Cage. The New Iron Fist ("The Immortal Iron Fist") written by Ed "I killed Captain American" Brubaker and Matt Fraction has been a brilliantly fun run. But the guy who makes the book run is artist David Aja. Look at this self-described Aja sketch.

Friday, March 21, 2008

NCAA Hoops: Day 2

Just 24 hours ago, I was saying that the tournament was providing good games, but not much in upsets. The God of College Basketball (Pete Maravich?) heard me, and decided to stop that one complaint post haste.

Let's review:

Biggest Upset: As Luke Cage would say, "Sweet Christmas!" Take your pick; today was lousy with upsets. I don't think #10 Davidson over #7 Gonzaga really counts, but it is technically an upset. You've got #12 Western Kentucky, those fucking Hilltoppers, beating #5 Drake on a last second 3-pointer that was ridiculous for any number of reasons. The fourth ranked UConn Huskypups lost to the pretty queer mascotted Toreros of San Diego State, which totally fucked one of my brackets. There was overrated Villanova beating more overated Clemson. I guess I'll go with #13 Siena beating #4 Vanderbilt, because of the following reasons: They didn't win on a lucky shot at the end of a game--they destroyed Vanderbilt; also, I picked it. I didn't get to watch more than 5 minutes of that game, in part because CBS thought I would be more interested in the non upset destruction that North Carolina visited on Mt. Saint Mary's. Thanks, CBS.

Biggest Almost Upset: There wasn't one today. Either the ranked team won handily, or it was an upset. The closest game to my "almost upset" parameters was Georgetown taking until the second half to dispose of University of Maryland Baltimore County. When all was said and done, they won handily. There were no close games in which the seeded team hung on to win, though. Today was a weird day. A weird, glorious day.

Best Players You Didn't See: Unless you were sneaky on your workday, you didn't see Davidson's Stephen Curry pour in 40 points against Gonzaga. I don't think he'll find himself as open as he was today against Georgetown in the second round. But he doesn't need much space, and he's willing to fire from anywhere inside the half line. If you haven't watched Dell Curry's babyfaced son shoot the lights out, make an appointment to watch him. By the way, did you see Adam Morrison in the crowd? He's gone totally awesome--shoulder length hair, and a Jesus Beard! Keep getting cooler, Adam Morrison, and good work not crying. There was David Godbold for Oklahoma; Kenny Hasbrouck of Siena (who was just ridiculous)--both of them carved up defenses, with shooting and passing and cutting and all that good shit. But I'm going to go with my man, Sonny Weems, which is just a super cool Southern black guy name. He was amazing tonight, working the Hoosiers like your dad works his cheap whore that your mom pretends to not know about. Sonny was the bomb--hittin' 3's, driving into the lane, stopping, popping, and hitting from 15--he did it all. Sonny hit 12 of 14 shots from the floor, and was 100% from the line. It will be very interesting to see how UNC matches up with him--I don't think they have anyone who can stop him.

Storylines: The East Bracket has been devoid of major upsets, but there are some very intriguing match-ups. Arkansas has it in them to beat UNC; Butler could beat Tennessee. Just because there hasn't been upsets in this Region doesn't mean they won't happen. Watch this Region. In the Midwest, you have seeds #10-13 all playing on the second day. Most likely upset? K-State over Wisconsin. (Aside from the obvious advancing of either #12 Villanova or #13 Siena, who play each other. I'd put money on Siena). In the West, I fully expect WVA to beat Duke, handily. And you've got #12 and #13 playing each other for a Sweet Sixteen berth. Weird day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NCAA Hoops Day 1

One day in, and we're getting a tournament that whilst not rife with huge upsets, is most certainly generating great basketball.

Let's review.

Biggest upset: On paper, it would have to be 11-seeded Kansas State over #6 USC. I don't think those seeds were representative have how close these teams were in terms of regular season records, and success within their own conferences. USC's better seed was probably a result of the PAC-10 love this year. Facebook/CBS poolers didn't think that much of the seeding, as over 40% of the participants picked Kansas State.

I got to watch most of this game, though I hadn't seen much of Kansas State or USC prior to this game. Going in, obviously, the talk was about two of the super-freshmen playing against each other--Michael Beasley for K-State, and O.J. Mayo for USC. Both played well, but don't overlook K-State's guard play. Jacob Pullen (another freshman) looked poised coming off the bench--knowing when to shoot deep, when to penetrate, and when to kick the ball to Beasley or fellow "small-forward" freshman (red-shirted) Bill Walker, who was an absolute tank. K-State looked far more dangerous and multi-dimensional that I had expected (and I picked them to win this game in the IDYFT pool).

Biggest Almost Upset: A No-Brainer, here. #15 Duke escaping #2 Belmont (really, fucking Belmont), 71-70. Though Georgia gets an honorable mention for scaring the shit out of Xavier for like 35 minutes. Duke can thank their lucky stars that Gerald Henderson decided he wanted one more year of being a big fish in a medium pond, because he saved them tonight. He made the key offensive and defensive plays at the end of the game that gave Duke the win. In my mind, he had some help from Belmont's transition defense, that let him cruise coast to coast without anyone getting in his way. I would have loved to have seen Duke exit early, but I think anyone who had this team in the Final Four, or even Elite 8 should be very, very nervous.

Most Disappointing Game: I'm not talking about my own private prejudices here. I just mean games that I thought would be compelling and didn't end up being so. Some of these are because of my own inflated expectations, yes. But I'm not saying the winner is disappointing--just that the game wasn't close as I thought it might be. There are lots of nominees here. I thought the Golden Flashes of Kent State could win a tempo battle with UNLV. I was very, very wrong, (as were 47% of the CBS challenge participants) as Kent State managed a horrific 10 points in the first half. Game over. I thought that if Drew Neitzel had a bad game, Temple would beat Michigan State. Neitzel had a bad game, but Michigan State won easily. Never did I think that Purdue would hang 90 points on Baylor. But I think the winner has to go to Winthrop and Washington State. First of all, my love for Winthrop, dating back well more than a year, in well documented. Secondly, the game was tied at the half, 29-29. Somehow, a Dick Bennett team scored 40 points in a half, and less surprsingly, held my boys at Winthrop to 11 points in the 2nd half, for an absolute blowout.

Best Players You Didn't See: I'm tempted to throw in Arizona Forward/Center sophomore Jordan Hill, who had a hell of a game, but you probably did see him, as it was a West Coast Vs. East Coast game. We suckers in the Midwest didn't get much of that game, but Hill has quietly put together a very good year at Arizona, and he had a very solid game tonight-- 10 points, 16 rebounds (the rest of the entire team gathered up 16 boards). There were a couple of players on the upperclassmen heavy roster of Cal-State Fullerton that I'm sorry I won't get to see again. There was waterbug Josh Akognon, who poured in 31 points (though taking 23 shots to do it); there was also Frank Robinson (no, not that Frank Robinson) who only scored 11, but had maybe the most impressive highlight of the late brace of games, jumping into and over goofy whitey Krabbenhoft. There were two players from George Mason from their Final Four run two years ago. Folarin Campbell played brilliantly that time. Not so much tonight. And that's a shame. Folarin Campbell is a good player, who just had an awful night (1-12 shooting is a bad, bad night).

Storylines: Expect to hear about the Big 10 going 3-0 on day one, with wins from Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue. There should probably also be some discussion on the overrating of the Pac-10, that went 3-2, (winners: UCLA, Washington State, Stanford; losers: USC, Arizona). Maybe Arizona didn't deserve to make it in after all! (That #10 was always overly generous) The Big 12 and the Big East also acquitted themselves well--Marquette, West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Pitt all winning for the Big East. "Small Conference" winners: Xavier, UNLV.

Things you missed watching the NCAA Tournie: Lost was all about Michael, and ended with one hell of a cliffhanger. The US Olympic Soccer team beat the dirty Canadians 3-0, thanks to Freddy Adu's two dead ball goals. You know how you think you heard all about Freddy Adu years ago, when he was a young up and comer, and he's gotta be like 21 years by now, which is still young, but wasn't he supposed to be hot shit by now? He's 18. Pros Vs. Joes started their semi-finals, which we promise to cover in depth this weekend, at some point.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Glen Taylor, Shut the Fuck Up

"I don't like that so much," Taylor said Tuesday of the suggestion the Wolves tanked at the end of last season, which ended on a seven-game losing streak. "It was more like, I'd say, KG tanked it."

Suddenly, a reminder that this is the same owner who illegally overpaid for the services of Joe Smith comes roaring back into my memory. Glen Taylor may know business, but he don't know shit about basketball. Suggesting KG tanked and the rest of the team followed his lead, or whatever, is maybe the dumbest thing said about the Wolves in the past 12 months.

Garnett responded exactly the way you'd think he would: "I [couldn't] care less what Glen Taylor thinks of Kevin Garnett. .... That's nonsense. I don't even know why he'd bring that up, but it shows the taste of some people.''

Last Chance to Dance With Who Brung Ya'

You got about 24 hours, give or take, to sign up and/or get your picks in for the IDYFT March Chemically Imbalanced Tournament Pool. For those of you waiting the results of the Mt. Saint Mary's/Coppin State play-in game, the field is now set.

Do it for Jesus! By which I mean, "Do it to Win a statue of Jesus".

Click here for the instructions on how to join. Free to play, of course.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh Lord it is the End Times

I ain't never seen no such thing 'afore. Too many damn points...a devil's pact I am sure. Did the whole cursed Nuggets team take a journey to the Crossroads? What ever evil improprieties occurred I know they mean troubled times to come. I wouldn't be suprised if war broke out across the world, the international economy went straight to hell and civil unrest in Palestine accelerated us to the Reckoning. Hell in a handbasket y'all

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Humanity!

Its terrible when a nom de plume comes between a silly blog post and internet anonymity.

Friday, March 14, 2008

March Madness, IDYFT Style, Baby!

It is time for the IDYFT (That's I Dislike Your Favorite Team, for those acronymically challenged) NCAA pool.

Prizes are the same as last year. First prize is a Basketball Playin' Jesus. See Last Year's winner for proof of awesomeness. Second prize is your choice of IDYFT gear. If the winner decides they'd rather have some IDYFT gear, then second prize is either IDYFT gear or Jesus. We are flexible, you see. Third prize is probably something pretty crappy, yet hilarious.

You'll need a Yahoo ID to compete.

Click here.

Title your bracket, and then join our Private Group.

Our Group # is: 60171
Our Password is: vitalepitstains

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Questions for Bobby Knight That Won't Make it Past ESPN Interns

So "The General" Booby Knight is now an ESPN commentator, and he's answering YOUR questions! As long as they are questions like, "What's it like to win a National Championship?"

Here are some questions that Bobby Knight should answer:

1. What's is like to shoot your own son? Good?

2. How does it feel to be outcoached by your own disciples?

3. Why do you treat the press like shit on your shoe? What does that achieve?

4. Why were you misunderstood when you told women to lie back and enjoy rape? Were you really comparing losing a game to rape? Have you ever really apologized for that? Why not?

5. Remember when you grabbed your own player by your throat? How come Roy Williams has never done that? Or Coach K? Don't they have equally impressive records when it comes to player graduations?

6. Aren't you basically a huge dick and a bully, who won a couple of championships early in his career, and really didn't do dick after that?

7. When it comes to teaching young men the right way to play, do you think that throwing a chair in anger, or verbally urinating on the press is teaching young men anything?

March Adrenal Imbalance: The Big East

I'm not going to mention the horrible things that happened in the ACC tournament today. Stupid Fruity Plumed Dudes on Horses and Stupid Turtles. Boo.

We'll focus on the Big East, which was lots of fun.

Georgetown destroyed, fucking destroyed the Villanova Scotty Reynolds today. They did it with a rather uncharacteristic 17 3-pointers. Is this some new G.Hoya 2.0 experiment, in which they don't try to feed it to "Doctor" Hibbert, but rather shoot like crazy, and assume the big man will pick up the pieces? I rather like it. Anything that makes Jessie Sapp hit 75% of his shots, I'm for. Syracuse was already looking like NIT fodder after losing by almost 20 to Villanova. Having Villanova lose by almost 20 (82-63) means that both Syracuse and Villanova are both done.

Pitt beat Louisville tonight, which is regarded as an upset, as Louisville is ranked nationally, and Pitt ain't. But anyone who has had watched both of these teams play probably realized they were closer than their rankings or records would suggest. Actually, their records are nearly identical, suggesting that Louisville's ranking might be part of that Pitino magic, that manufactures big winning streaks by careful scheduling. Call it an upset if you want. I bet that Louisville doesn't get any further in the Tournament than Pitt. I'll be rather surprised if either makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, but that's beside the point. And yeah, Pitt is definitely in--watch out for Ron Ramon, who can get hot, and hit almost 50% from the 3 Point line. He's been relatively quiet this year, but he's a senior, and he'll be pushing.

Barnyard's (Big East) team of choice, the Marquette Golden Eagles looked damn good against Notre Dame tonight. But of these teams are going to the Dance, but one of them was ranked higher than the other, and the other team won. Marquette looked faster, smarter, and most importantly, looked like Dominic James was healthy. That changes things a great deal for Marquette. The article I'm linking to can't stop talking about Marquette's Jerel McNeal, who no doubt, had a great game. 9-16, 28 points, a half dozen boards--that's a good game. But James had 10 points, a half dozen boards, and as many assists. And he made big steals late. This is a team of upperclassmen who know how to win, and who are getting healthy. They play Pitt next.

West Virginia beat UConn tonight, mainly because of Joe Alexander. You'll be hearing about him a-plenty. This guy is getting hot right at the right time, and WVU is definitely in now, thanks to beating a nationally ranked team in the Huskies. How good is Alexander? Here's the salient grafs from the article:

Alexander is averaging 29.8 points over his last five games, a streak that started with a then-career high 32 points in a 79-71 loss to Connecticut on March 1. He had 22 points in the Mountaineers’ opening-round win over Providence.

“I wanted him to do it the whole year. I couldn’t get him to cooperate,” Huggins said of the late run that has lifted Alexander’s season average to almost 17 points a game. “He’s slowed down. He’s doing a much better job of reading the defense. He’s such a hard matchup.”

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun found it hard to believe Alexander torched his team for the second time in less than two weeks.

“Alexander is a terrific player. Our kids feel after he gets it they were going to stop him,” Calhoun said. “When he got around 27 or 28 I thought it would be a good idea if they realized that, by the way, he had 32 the first time, before the realized he was a good basketball player.”

It is Bobby Huggins, so it is possible that the old Joe Alexander has been replaced by a well-paid pro in disguise. Am I suggesting that Bobby Huggins would cheat? Yep. Having watched Alexander, I would compare him to Tyler Hansborough, in that he's white. But he can actually shoot, and jump. So not that much like Tyler.

I said yesterday that 6 teams from the Big East were going to the Big Dance of Insanity. I think we are at 7, and I don't see that number changing now--Georgetown, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pitt, West Virginia, UConn, and Louisville. I don't trust any of them to make to the Sweet 16, though.

Apologies to Tonights Pros and Joes

I didn't watch your episode. You should really talk to the network about not scheduling your "sporting" event during the most important week of College Hoops that isn't the Big Fucking Tournie.

I'm supposed to watch fat retired pros, and you Joes when UVA is playing GA Tech for the final time this year? I think not. (Pour one out for UVA, please).

Anyway, apologies. I promise to watch the episode soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NCAA Madness: Not Anymore In Touch w/ Reality

Quick Note before I write about some of the newest teams in the Tournament. I'm sitting here, listening to Johnny Cash's "Unearthed" Box Set, which contains Rick Rubin cuts that didn't make it on the 4 American recordings that they collaborated on. I never would have thought it, until I sat here listening to it--Johnny Cash was meant to sing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold". Holy motherfucking piles of Messiah shit, is his version good. GOOD, even.

Another quick note. Yahoo blogger Roy S. Johnson is generally correct in his assertion that some rather lame-ass big conference team will get into the tournament, and that some deserving mid-major team will be left out in the cold (I've got a big feeling it is going to my lads down at Virginia Commonwealth University); and yes, the big conferences get a bit of unfair advantage by starting their conference tournaments late, so any big run by some marginal team will be in the foremost of the Tournament Seeders. But, Roy S. Johnson, I'm afraid your prose is as purple as the wine-dark seas that equally cheated Aeneas sailed. For example, calling the first round of the Big East, Big 12, and ACC tournaments "abomination[s] to the game" seems a little strong. Especially as the #1 (and really, the only) example brought forth by Mr. Johnson is the Syracuse vs. Villanova tilt. I'm not concerned with either team making the field of 64. Villanova beat Syracuse (thus endeth the Orange). And Villanova will not beat Georgetown. End of story for them. Johnson quotes the perpetually petulant Jim Calhoun claiming that the Big East has 8 or 9 teams who deserve to go. Calhoun is clearly drunker than usual. Roy S. Johnson says half that number deserve to go. I'll take the middle position, the one favored by vacillators and cowards, and say six Big East teams deserve to go, and six will--Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Pitt, West Virginia, and UConn. (I do believe 3 of those were nationally ranked the last week of the regular season, and all were at some point during the year).

But let's not heap refuse on the stinking corpses of Syracuse and Seton Hall. Let's praise our newest entrants!

The Portland State Pirates beat my Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (they may have cheated) in the Big Sky Conference Final. Portland State won in convincing fashion, 67-51. This will be the very first appearance of the Pirates of Portland. If they are to have success, the combo of sneaky, stealing guard Jeremiah Dominguez and straight-to-the-basket forward Deonte Huff will have to play like they did tonight. In honor of our fallen Lumberjacks, we post some Monty Python.

In the Northeast Conference, Mount St. Mary's beat Sacred Heart. Welcome one of your #16 seeds. I'm clearly going to root for them, though, as they have a dude named Jean Cajou on their team, and that's too cool of a name to root against. But if you have Messr Cajou playing over the weekend, you do so at your peril.

In Roy S. Johnson unapproved news--the Big East and PAC-10 and A-10 Tournaments started, and barring a minor upset from California beating Washington, and the aforementioned Villanova Scotty Reynolds beating Syracuse, everything went to plan. Bring on the next round!

Neshek Goes Vegan/Veggie & Free Range Babies

Pat Neshek, or as we call him here in these parts, THE SUB-MARINER, done got written up for his new "lifestyle" change.

Neshek is now a full-on super vegetarian, and practically a vegan. This is fine by us; we don't really care, though we were a little distressed/disgusted to learn of old Neshek's eating habits ("pound down seven Whopper Jrs"). His wife has got him eating super-healthy, and he thinks it will help him stay strong all year long.

Pitching coach Rich Anderson seems to think the wearing down last year had more to do with Neshek not doing his in-season strength maintenance training:

"I asked him, 'Are you doing your arm strength maintenance?' " Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said. "He said, 'Well, the more I throw, the better it will be.' I said, 'You have to do your arm strength maintenance with your tubing and your light weights and manual resistance.' He got away from all of that. That's not right."

Regardless, the highlight of the article are the Star Tribune's reader comments. A sampling of favorites:

Give me a break. He won't eat meat or any animal by-products? You think he's a scrawny little runt now, wait until his protein starved muscles start shrinking mid-season. Who ever said you can't eat meat AND be healthy? Vegans have horrible body odor too and their poop is green. Stupid is as stupid does.--Kimdana

That's my main thing.. Vegans think they're so precious and special that we have to hear about how superior their diet is and how much better they feel ever since they saw a video of a cow butchered and decided to only eat carrots and grass. Neshek said on his blog he wasn't going to be preachy about his diet and people can do what they want, but here it is flaunted in everyone's face about how much better you'd be if you too were a Vegan. These Vegans are only a step below the scientologist whackjobs.--secondeye

Yep...the Twins are going to open the first all vegan ballpark in 2010..Tofu hotdogs, wheatgrass juice instead of beer, salads everywhere, love and peace to all. No more national anthem baby...just hold hands and fell the love during Lennon's "Imagine"....--trunkpk

(and of course, my absolute favorite, which comes from a user who apparently thinks we eat factory fed babies, when we should be eating free range babies)

If only we cared as much about the inhumane treatment of babies through abortion as we did animals.--mart1423

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Baron Davis Totally NOT HIGH

Anyone who rhymes Langston Hughes with Blue's Clues, whilst coughing, is clearly not high.

Thanks, WorldStarHipHop

Warning! Language! Baron Davis will say "nigger" and "fuck" in this clip.

This Just In: Sid Hartman Reports Good Things From MN Ownership

You know, some sportswriters might question the "$81 million -- $30 million of it guaranteed -- to sign receiver Bernard Berrian, safety Madieu Williams and fullback Thomas Tapeh." They might say, "That's a lot of money for a fullback, when we already had one, a safety on the worst defense in the league, and a Wide Receiver who pretty much refuses to catch over the middle."

But not Sid Hartman. He believes in the Vikings ownership, just as he believed the Timberwolves ownership when they told him they weren't trading Kevin Garnett.

Sid thought, rather comically, that those three signings fixed most of the Viking's most glaring problems. But he was ever so happy to report that the Viking's' ownership isn't done overspending. (Is DJ Hackett still without a contract?)

Read this column, and ask yourself--who wrote more of it--Hartman, or Zygi Wilf? Seems to me the Star Tribune is paying a lot of money for an old stenographer.

March Madness: Early Psychosis!

We're getting some of our first teams into the Tournament of Insanity, and we are all fevery ourselves.

I should quickly mention that North Carolina beat Duke at Duke, and thus is almost certainly the #1 seed in the East. If they somehow lose in the first round of the ACC tournament, and Georgetown just destroys everyone in their path in the Big East tournament, maybe, MAYBE, the Hoyas sneak into that #1 spot. I don't see that happening, though. I'll say that neither team really impressed me, though. In part, I suppose because I look at these two teams the way a gay intellectual in 1949 may have looked upon a fistfight between Hitler and Stalin. There is no one to root for, you see? If I attempt to put my hatred for the two aside, I still think I saw a pretty sloppy, though compelling game. I think Duke was criminally overrated going into this game, and UNC marginally so, despite Dick Vitale's super-sweaty man love for Tyler Hansborough.

But let's not dwell on my negative feelings for the top of the ACC. Let's talk about the teams who are now officially in the Dance!

Earlier, Cornell shocked anyone not paying attention to the Ivy League by winning the Ivy League. There is no tournament, presumably because all of those scholars are busy trying to figure out new ways to screw the working man. Except Barack Obama, of course. Regardless, the part of tough out Princeton will be played by Cornell this year. Hard to imagine that they will be a very tough out, though. Princeton, when they qualify for the tournie, have a history of almost upsets on their side in the seeding. Cornell has no such love, and I'll be surprised if they draw better than a 14 seed.

On to the teams that qualified today.

Austin Peay, who I remember as being practical perennials in the March Fundamentally Skewed, despite the fact that this is their only 6th appearance, won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament against a team that had no business being there--the 15-17 Tennessee State. For a while, Tennesseein' was Tenneebelievin', but not against the mighty Governors of Austin Peay. Every Bubble team sighed a mighty sigh, because Austin Peay's record might have been enough for them to get an at-large bid if they lost this game. (Probably not--they are almost certainly a #15 or #16--but given the flightiness of our top 8 teams this year, that doesn't mean they can't fuck up a lot of brackets).

The mighty Belmont Bruins won the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, and they too could prove to be a very problematic first round match up for some high seed. They like shooting 3's, and they are good at it, and they've been regular visitors to the March Unhealthy Paranoia for the last couple of years. It would go down as one of the upsets of the ages, but they could maybe scare someone. Be wary of the team that was in the Top 5 3-point shooting teams in the nation.

My love affair with the Winthrop Eagles began last year, well before they upset Notre Dame. This team is without last year's MVP, Craig Bradshaw, but they beat UNC-Asheville in the Big South Tournament, and their ridiculously huge center Kenny George. George (7' 7"!) was held to four rebounds, which should suggest that Winthrop won't be fazed by big men, even if they are more talented than George (most are). I don't think they'll repeat their magic from last year, though. I'll be rooting for them, and it always comes down to match-ups, but in general, this team seems less dangerous than last year's version.

There you go--Four Teams Definitely, Officially in. I'm willing to wager that 50% of them put the fear of God into their first round opponent.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

In Praise of: The Pixies

I'm sure some of our readers are just damn kids. Kids who don't remember the Cold War; kids who do not recall a time when every McDonald's Hamburger came in a nice ziggurat of styrofoam, rather than wrapped in eco-friendly paper. You damn kids may have heard of The Pixies--a Boston band, a four-piece. David Lovering on drums, Joey Santiago on lead guitar, Kim Deal (oh, Kim!) on bass and vocals, and the Pied Piper of the whole damn thing, Black Francis on vocals and guitar.

Maybe you saw their reunion tour. But the first time I ever saw them was on a show that has been relegated to the dustbin--"Night Music" with Jools Holland (of Squeeze) and David Sanborn. The concept was simple enough--bring artists on to play their shit, and sometimes mix and match different artists to see what happened. If memory serves, it aired after Letterman's old show on NBC, only on Fridays.

The first time I heard the Pixies, it may have been on the soundtrack for "Pump Up the Volume". But the first time I saw them--the first time most of America saw them, was on Night Music. And sure, Black Francis may remind you of the villian in Pee-Wee Herman's Big Adventure. Until he unleashes that voice. Joey Santiago may now remind you of Poker Nerd John Juanda. But listen to that guitar! And Kim Deal may still inspire dirty longings. I won't blame you if she does. And David Lovering actually plays a pretty mean drum kit, too.

As they say in Chinese Restuarants, "Enjoy!"

Is IDYFT Secretly Running the FCC?

You tell us.

FCC Okays Nudity On TV If It�s Alyson Hannigan

Friday, March 07, 2008

In Praise Of: Britt Robson

In general, covering Minnesota sports is kind of thankless. Aside from the Twins, the gloriousness of the Twin Cities have not spread out into sports dominance with any regularity. When they do, they fall comically. Consider--the best Vikings team of recent memory losing the NFC championship on a failed (indoor) field goal. Consider the the University of Minnesota's Final Four run, later tainted by cheating scandals. The North Stars moving to Dallas. The Vikings almost getting shipped to San Antonio. The Twin almost obliterated by Bud Selig's bullshit. It is a tough beat.

Couple that kind of institutional ineptness with the kind of sportwriting that gets published in the major media of the Twin Cities. It is like a rogue's gallery of the lazy and comfortable--Patrick Reusse, Bob Sansavere, Sid Hartman, Jim Souhan, Tom Powers.

In this crucible of shit, if a sportswriter actually does good, it is worth noting. Britt Robson is one of those rare breeds of writers--he talks to ownership, but doesn't buy everything they are selling (ala Sid). Nor does he fulminate at nothing, just for the sake of being contrarian (see Sansavere and Reusse). He doesn't waste his time slagging sports he doesn't know or follow (Powers). Robson may throw in a joke or two at a player's expense, but he doesn't make it the focal point of an entire column (Souhan!).

So of course, Robson has been sweating his love of basketball and writing in the pages of free media. He first came to my notice as a writer for the City Pages. He dropped out of my radar for awhile, but he's now writing the definitive Timberwolves blog for the Rake. Read him here. I thought that I might be the first to sing his praises, but apparently Yahoo Sports beat me to it.

Whether you are a Timberwolves fans or not, read some of Robson's work. It sets the standard. Every city with a NBA franchise deserves a writer this passionate and knowledgeable.

Quick aside: the Yahoo story I linked to has one kind of unforgiveable opinion, stated as fact:

"an organization that blew the prime of one of the better talents in NBA history and one that appears to be mishandling a rebuilding effort in spite of being handed a 22-year old who can give you 20 and 10 in his sleep (but would prefer to give you 30 and 15 while wide awake). And yet, Robson's turning in game recaps and columns that burst with energy, insight and a deft touch that a scribe covering a 70-win team could only hope to approximate."

I agree with all of it, except for the mishandling of the rebuilding effort. Al Jefferson is supposed to score 30 every night? Ridding itself of mistakes like Corey Blount and Ricky Davis is mishandling? Trading Gerald Green for Kirk Snyder AND a draft pick is mishandling? (to be fair, that trade happened way after this article was written). Everything that this franchise has done in the last 6 months has been a good move. It may yet make up for 5 years of bad decisions.

But the point is--go Read Some Britt Robson.

Garrison Keiller is correct, Minnesotans are above average

Since I have lived in Minnesota for many years and traveled around a bit I can say that the people in Minnesota are indeed, as Keiller states every Sunday, above average. The people in Minnesota have exploited a loophole in the no smoking law. According to the law, you may smoke indoors if the smoking is part of a theatrical performance (this loophole exists in other states as well). Now this loophole exists because, in the words of Doug Stanhope as he smokes during his stand-up act,

"So that when you watch some faggy Tennessee Williams play, the integrity of the production isn't ruined."

However, Minnesota bars are now having theatrical performances that include the clients. This is indeed the edge of performance art where the entire bar is a stage and all the clientele actors upon that stage. Excelsior to you and your clever stock Minnesota. Put on your best Shakespearean accent and smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Favre retires, NFC North loses only QB

Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, Jon Kitna, Tarvaris Jackson, Boobs Bollinger, Aaron Rogers. Now that's a list of QBs to be reckoned with for sure. Here's some combined stats:
TDs: 36; INTs: 42. Sweet!

QB rating? 76!
Note: remove Kitna, and the QB rating DROPS to 71. Yes, remove Kitna and the QB rating drops. I'm serious. Kitna. Some context, Miami's team QB rating for last year was 70, the Raiders 71, and the Bills 74.

13 fumbles lost.

8,259 yards (4068 from Kitna).

6.8 yards/attempt
Some context - Josh McGown had 6.1 Y/A, Cleo Lemon 5.7, Romo 8.1, Brady 8.3.

135 sacks (not including GB with 19)
This yields an average sack/attempt of 8.5% (Raiders, 9.0%) .

It seems like a cruel joke, but it is true. There is a faint ray of hope as Aaron Rogers did do well in his appearances last year (QB rating 106); however, he is largely untested and we can only hope he is to Favre as Steve Young is to Joe Montana. Oh but wait, the NFC North teams have excellent ground games, right?. For the Vikings this is true (congrats, #1!), but Chicago and Detroit ranked 31st and 30th, and even Green Bay finished in at 21st just above the mighty Texans. Well, strong defence has always been the hallmark of the NFC North, right? Indeedy, with Detroit ranking dead last, Chicago 28th, Vikings 20th, and Green Bay 11th. Will Devon Hester and Purple Jesus be the only NFC North players to get replay time on ESPN? Now come on NFC North! The whole division appears to be turning into the Lions!

Yes, the Lions. Here's a fun game: think of an NFL team, then think of a quality QB that played on that team off the top of your head. Green Bay: Fave, Starr. Chicago: McMahon. Vikings, Fran. Lions.....?????? hmmmm shit, even the Saints had Manning and the Browns Otto Graham! I'm drawing a blank here! The only other team that draws a blank is the Texans. That is sad.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Favre vs. Randle Philosophy

With Favre retiring, and dumbasses naming their twins after him, and John Randle appearing on PvJ, it seems only right to bring this commercial back. Remember, and enjoy, before the PETA fucked up everything. After the video, our imagined critical looks at the video.

Gloria Steinem: Why is the only woman in this commercial selling clothing?
Thorsten Velben: Why is the chicken worth catching only when's he's wearing clothing?
Carl Orff: Why is my music, and the lyrics of monks, being used to celebrate a crazy man chasing a chicken?
The Buddha: Why chase after your desires? That only leads to suffering. Sit, wait, the chicken will come to you.
Leon Trotsky: Give that bird a gun, and let's see who chases who.
Albert Camus: We are all chickens on the grill eventually; enjoy the chase as best you can.

Pros Vs. Joes Season 3, Episode 7

Ah, the left coast. What an interesting mix. You've got your actors in Hollywood, your homo-sinuals in San Francisco, and your anti-government survivalists in Western Washington and Eastern Montana. What an exciting mix for a PvJ season that needs to bounce back from last week's snorefest. We're in the motherfucking Rose Bowl, we've got 8 Joes, and 2 gotta go. What completely unfair contest can the lads at Spike gin up this week?

Once, again, we're on the football field, to hide the faces of the Joes about to go home. The PvJ staff, in their brilliance have combined 500 and Smear the Queer. Two QB's are throwing errant passes to a region that has Joe defensive backs. Whoever can catch a ball cleanly, and not get tackled by fellow Joes before running the ball into the end zone advances. The first three advance quickly. From there, it becomes a bit of a slog, as the Joes are more tightly congealed. Eventually, we get six Joes. Two Joes leave. Sorry, totally Anonymous Joes!

How does PvJ bounce back for the sad sack of kitten's tears that was Christian Okoye? Let's find out, by meeting our Pros!

John Randle--Yes! Defensive Line Great John Randle was never not crazy in the pros, and he's certainly going to be crazy here. Joe #1 (Adam) mutters under his breath, "God, I hate the Vikings". He instantly becomes the Big Blue Monkey Sentimental Favorite (or BBMSF). Joe #2, Dion, tries to talk shit to John Randle. In response, John, spits on his own hand, and rubs his own spit all over his own face. That's what PvJ was missing last week--simulated mental illness!

Mitch Richmond--One of the finest shooters of the basketball who ever lived. A future Hall of Famer, maybe, even. Mitch enunciates his trash talk like a Bond villian. He says in response to a Joe talking shit, "Ah yes, that is what motivates me." I'm instantly drawn to the idea of a brand new New Odd Couple, with Randle and Richmond reprising Desmond Wilson's Oscar and Ron Glass' Felix, respectively.

John Franco--Clearly, they aren't going to ask this old motherfucker to do too much. His great-grandchildren are watching.

Joe #1, Adam Wasserman of Escondido CA picks Franco. Good choice, Adam. Pick the oldest fucker available. Joe #2, Dion Santo picks John Randle. Why anyone would pick John Randle ever is beyond me. Joe #3, Mike Stange (pronounced STANG) is left with Richmond.

On to the challenges.

The first challenge is with #2 Dion Santo and #5 Clarence Chaney (who is representing all the brothers under 5' 7"). It should be noted that Chaney attempted to talk some shit during the Pro intro process. Franco called him "Urkle" and that kind of shut him up. Santo and Cheney have four downs to throw passes into targets, as John Randle comes at them unimpeded from a d-end position. Whoever hits the most targets wins.

At this point, I'd like to talk about the brilliant shit talking of Johnny Randle. Not all of these quotes came from this particular challenge, but I think Randle deserves a special moment here. Here are his best lines, in no particular order:

"Giddiyah! I'm goin' to ride your asses all night long! You're my bitches. You are my bitches!"

"C'mon Suckah"--with a credible Mr. T impression

"Good Job, Adam, Good Job."

Barking like a dog.

Santo and Chaney both do a credible job throwing to the short targets, but they take some serious punishment from Randle. Both complete 2 of 4 passes, and have to go into a tiebreak, which Santo wins on the first extra down. Later on, we learn that Santo is a MENSA member. I didn't think I could be less impressed by MENSA until tonight.

The second challenge involves #3 Mike Stange (pronounced STANG!) and #4 Trent Madsen. A quick word about Mr. Madsen--he's an interesting combo. He may be the worst shit talker ever on PvJ. At one point, he asks Mitch Richmond if he shouldn't taken off his baseball cap if he's going to play basketball. Mitch responds with, "I don't have to take it off to play with you." Madsen seems more like a guy whose trash-talking to be a set-up for the Pro, rather than actual shit talking. Madsen may also have the most interesting job of all the Joes, too. He's a trampoline dunker for the Phoenix Suns. So, Half-time entertainment and the like. I give him credit there--that is a job I would fail spectacularly at. What was I talking about? Oh, right the challenge: Play a game of 21 with Mitch Richmond. Nothing scored in the lane will count.

Trent Madsen is up first--his milieu is basketball, but his speciality is dunking off a trampoline, which doesn't suggest a great outside game. After Richmond makes a run, Madsen responds in suprising fashion--hit 35 footer after 35 footer. The score is tied as late as 14-14. But Madsen's luck (his post-game interview would certainly suggest that he knows it was luck) runs out, and Richmond cruises from there, winning 22-16. But still, putting up 16 points should be enough to win the challenge, should it not? At one point, his fellow Joes call him "Mad Dog Madsen", which not cool--there is only one Mad Dog Madsen, and he can't hit free throws, much less three-pointers. I think his fellow Joes were accidently insulting Trent here.

Mike Stange (STANG!) is up next. Stange would have clearly not chosen basketball if he had had a choice. He's pretty spastic, and loses 21-11. It wasn't really that close. But here's the thing, future Joes--Mike Stange is a fucking role model. At no point in his ass-kicking does the smile on his face get less big. He's clearly jazzed to be getting his ass kicked by Mitch Richmond. Every Joe should. No Joe should think for a second that they are actually going to win. They shouldn't go on TV and be dicks to people who could run them over in a heartbeat. If you don't want to be called a dick by a stranger on some blog, don't Be a Dick on National TV. Be like Stange! (that's a tip coming far too late for Cashew Lou). I thank heaven that not every Joe is like Stange, because I'd feel bad about ripping them then. But if I were a Joe, I'd act like Stange, and enjoy it, and if producers told me to talk shit to the Pros, I'd fucking ignore the producers.

Third Challege: John Franco. He's going to throw 10 pitches, and the Joes have to get a bunt down. Franco is allowed to field any bunt, and throw the guy out, so it actually has to be a good bunt. This challenge is for our guy Adam Wasserman, and #6 Justin Simenson, who hasn't had much opportunity to do anything yet. He still doesn't. He goes 0-10. Take a seat, Justin. To be fair, the challenge is difficult. The Umpire is calling a wide strike zone and the Joes have to bunt, and Franco knows it is coming, and everything is kind of conspiring against the Joes to succeed. Adam gets to pitch #10 without laying down a successful bunt, too. But Pitch #10 for him--it's an exciting bunt down the 3rd base line. Adam wins!

On to Overtime--as always--1 minute Max-Out per event
1. Hit the ball out of the infield against Franco
2. 3-point shooting against Mitch Richmond, with some odd rules.
3. QB sneak against Johnny Randle.

First up--Trent Madsen, the high-flying, awful trash-talker.

Trent has serious problems against Franco, who can still throw in the low 80's, which should be good enough to flummox most folks. It flummoxes Trent but good. He maxes out, but runs with some speed. He clocks in at 1:14. Challenge 2 is a bit more complex than the usual Overtime event. There are 4 3-point zones. A Joe must hit 2 three pointers in zones that Mitch Richmond hasn't already hit from. If they fail to do that, they have to hit a shot from mid-court, which would be daunting for most Joes, but Trent is a professional basketball entertainer. Mitch limits him to one zone, but Trent hits from midcourt in a hurry. He comes close to maxing out, but doesn't, and reaches the bench for the 3rd event in 3:14. He sneaks past Randle on his first try, and runs hard to finish in 3:30. If anyone is going to beat him, they are going to have to have success against Franco.

Dion is up next. Host Petros Pepperopolis betrays his Greek heritage by referring to Dion as "pretty" repeatedly. Speak for yourself, Petros--just because you find Dion worthy to be your catamite doesn't mean he is actually pretty. Dion manages to slap a ball out of the infield right towards the end of his time against Franco, and runs hard, and finishes at 1:06. He's in the lead. Mitch helps cuts into that lead, by closing out zones, and forcing Dion to go for the midcourt shot, which he doesn't hit. He maxes out and is at 3:00 entering the last event. Up next is the John Randle stage. My notes read as follows: "Stuffed! Stuffed again! Stuffed again! D'oh! Gift TD" Dion finishes at 3:49. Thanks for playing, "pretty boy". Petros will see you in the locker room, he's pretty sure he's got a parting gift in his penis.

Last up, our Man Adam. Ugly, ugly, ugly swings against Franco. But he connects with one late, and leaves the baseball diamond before the ball actually gets out of the infield. It does get out of the infield, and Adam is puffing to the bench to finish at 1:06. Adam hits the basketball court, and again wins our love when he grabs a ball, and says, "Hi Mitch" to Richmond, all casual like. It was a fun moment, but Adam can't shoot a basketball from the 3-point line. Our man Adam couldn't hit the ocean from a boat. Our man couldn't score in a whorehouse. Our man couldn't finish a sandwich. He maxes out, emphatically. He's at 3:12, and he's basically done. He goes against Randle, and despite lying host Petey Pumpernickel's assertions, Adam does not "have a shot". He finishes a solid 8 seconds beyond Trent. Trent is moving on, but the last word belongs to Adam, who is our new reality TV hero.

Adam says, "Those guys (the other Joes) are all in the 20's. I did what I could. Let's go a get a beer." We tip our caps, Adam.

Cricket is an Odd Game

I find cricket to be almost incomprehensible, but I'm pretty sure this isn't part of a normal game.

According to news accounts, it is not normal to have a streaker in the middle of a cricket "test".

However, the streaker stopper, Andrew Symonds, is not well-regarded amongst the countries he competes against:

Most Indians have come to regard Symonds as a "raging bull" and a "loose cannon" which go off any time and any place. For those driven to despair by his double standards, constant provocation as well as his gratuitous verbal and physical violence, it comes as little surprise that even some Australians have now began to wonder why Symonds always has a bee under his bonnet.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sheer Brilliance

Far be it from me to tell you that you are wasting your life. But clearly, you might be. You're reading this, after all. So, in the furtherance of wasting said life, I strongly recommend you pay a visit to Garfield minus Garfield, a website that imagines American history without the steadying influence of the four month Presidency of James Garfield.

That's not really what it is about.
Garfield minus Garfield strips away Garfield, showing Jon Arbuckle to be a potentially dangerous menace to himself and others, if he ever overcomes his crippling ennui. Was Arbuckle less dangerous or more stable when he was being bested in conversation by his cat? The difference in actual sanity is negligible. We are seeing the essence of Arbuckle in these new exciting versions of Garfield. From tired hack cartoons to exciting exploration of 21st century nihlistic existentialism, all by removing a stupid overweight cat who thinks he's people.
A quick sample:

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