Friday, February 26, 2010

Alvin Robertson Did What?

You expect some crime from people. Therefore, you expect some crime from former professional athletes.

I feel as though I was quite innocent in those days when I reacted with shock to the news that Bam Morris (10 pounds) or Nate Newton (213 pounds) got arrested for a lot of marijuana in their car.

Because, Alvin Robertson is truly shocking. Fuck drugs. He engaged, allegedly, in an underage sex ring. So says the fourteen year old girl who escaped the ring Robertson is allegedly involved with, who says they drove her around, made her engage in sex acts, and then made her dance in a strip club.

I mean, really? Holy shit. I think that's as good as my commentary is going to be. HOLY SHIT. It should be noted that as a former Milwaukee Buck, Robertson was exposed to the seamy underbelly of the United States known as Wisconsin, where, presumably, this kind of shit happens all the time.

I'm Glad I Don't Work With ESPN's Dave Pasch

I say that because of this interview with the Christian Standard that I fell into by accident whilst trying to remember how to spell the guy's name.

Turns out, good ol' ESPN play-by-play guy is a devout Evangelical Christian. And of course, the interviewer asks him about witnessing to colleagues, and he says this about it:

I was at the ESPN college football meetings last year and God just put it on my heart to put out a monthly message to a group of Christian broadcasters—on-air people, producers, directors, camera people, and others who are believers... It’s always hard to witness to a stranger, but it’s much harder with the people you work with. You have to invest in those relationships—to love them and also for encouragement.

I think we all need encouragement. We’re the body of Christ. We can all be used. Romans 1:12 talks about being “mutually encouraged” in each other’s faith. It’s easy to live the comfortable Christian life, to not be in the Word, to not disciple. I’m no different than any other Christian. I would appreciate any prayers about being bold for the Lord. We all have an obligation, that command from Christ to open our mouths for him.

Watch out Len Elmore, Bobby Knight, Jay Bilas and Steve Lavin--Dave Pasch is working up the courage to ask you if you are right with Christ.

Another fun fact from the interview that makes me ponder the implications--Pasch says he was born and raised in a pretty relaxed Jewish household. Does he believe his family is going to hell because they haven't yet accepted Jesus?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Robbie Hummel's ACL and Purdue

By now, you've probably heard that Purdue's Robbie Hummel is done for the year with a torn ACL.

I don't know if you can overstate Hummel's importance to the Boilermakers. He's their second leading scorer and second leading rebounder. He provides some size on the perimeter for a team that isn't particularly tall.

He's not a total bellwether--one of his most impressive shooting games came in a loss to Ohio State.

But generally speaking, if you see a win for Purdue, Robbie Hummel had a pretty good hand in it, and they've had a lot of wins this season. Consider, over Purdue's last 3 wins over ranked opponents, Hummel did this: shot 10-22 from the field, 10-11 from the stripe, 22 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

And that's actually pretty bad shooting, by Hummel standards. There will be a lot of talk about Purdue missing Hummel's accuracy from outside, which is totally valid. Jimmy Dykes talked tonight about how much Purdue is going to miss Hummel's rebounding, which is also totally true. Especially if Purdue ends up going to a four-guard line-up with a kind of undersized big man in JaJuan Johnson, which is what Dykes predicts is going to happen.

But Hummel isn't just about points and boards, as those numbers show--in any particular game, he can drop 5 assists. He also helps key the tough aggressive Purdue defense. Another thing is the depth of Purdue--they ain't particularly deep, and they just lost 37 minutes of game time that they have to fill with somebody. You have to imagine that's going to take a toll on guys like E'Twaun Moore and Keaton Grant (who is probably going to be the guy who has to step up the most).

The other question in everyone's mind is what this does to Purdue's seeding. I say it doesn't really matter that much. They play Michigan State, which would be a tough game regardless. Aside from that, they've got Penn State and Indiana, so Purdue is likely going to be 2-1 headed in post-season play. So maybe they drop from a 1 seed to a 2 seed? At worst, I assume, a 3rd seed. The issue is that regardless of seed, it's going to be really hard for anyone to put them into even the Elite 8. We'll see how they hold up in the Big 10 Tournament. And come March Madness, I'll be taking a real hard look at their opponents from the first round on, as opposed to automatically penciling them into the Sweet Sixteen and working from there.

Old School Thursday: Gang Starr

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wiener In The Eye!

It's doubly sad for one KC Royals fan: not only is he a Royals fan, but he's hoping to get rich from taking a wiener in the eye.

Sometime in the 2009 season, the Royals mascot (a lion? why? and he's named "Slugerrr" [sic]) chucked a free hot dog into the crowd. Some Royals fan took it right in the face, and is now claiming a detached retina & cataracts in a $25,000 lawsuit.

Two thoughts:
1. It's a baseball game, boner. Pay attention! It could have been a line drive (and you can't sue for that).

2. But it was a free hot dog. At MLB parks, that's an $18 value. I'd catch a free hot dog in my mouth like a trick dolphin.

Now then, taking a wiener in the eye for money ... there's a name for that kind of industry.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Can't Be The First

I can't be the first to think that Ladainian Tomlinson is going to the Eagles.

When I read that Tomlinson was released and wanted to go to a team with a chance for a championship (i.e. any team that is not coached by Nerf Turner), I ran through all the possibilities in my head: which championship-caliber teams are short one dynamic, part-time running back?

I considered the Eagles, but assumed that Westbrook was returning. However, Westbrook's contract was terminated today*. Who is going to pair with McCoy in the pass-happy (which includes the RBs) Eagles offense?

I can't be the first one to call it: LT goes to the Eagles, which sucks for me.
* thanks again for breaking him, London Fletcher!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Washington Politics: Dust-off

When a team goes 4-12, the bad dust clings to everybody. People shake the dust off in a variety of ways. After the 2009 Washington campaign, the owner beat the dusty rugs of his front office until he replaced the GM and entire coaching staff. There hasn't been too much bickering between teammates, aside from some in-season anguish between vocal RB Clinton Portis and FB Sellers.

Portis finished the year on IR. Although he's a Snyder and fan favorite, there is no question that injuries have been mounting in recent years, cutting his production off at the knees. His backup was also on IR, which forced Washington to bring in a series of backs off the street to run behind the slumdog line (also largely signed off the street).

In early February, Portis did a radio interview from Brazil. With no lack of self-regard, Portis had some harsh words for eternally-embattled QB Jason Campbell, taking special aim at Campbell's demonstrated lack of bellyfire:
"No disrespect to Jason but everybody in that locker room can tell you, you'll never see Jason mad, you'll never see Jason's tempo change, you'll never see Jason get mad ... But as a leader, you never heard -- it was always, 'Jason couldn't take control of the huddle,' or he didn't do this or he didn't do that."
Perhaps if he hadn't started with "no disrespect" it wouldn't have sounded so disrespectful. It could have come across as another teammate explaining that the QB isn't a rah-rah guy, but tries to lead by his example on the field.

But it provoked some bellyfire in Campbell. In fact, Campbell goes on the attack, and dusts off Portis with a vehemence that I've never heard from Campbell nor heard directed at the quixotic Portis [emphasis is mine]:
"How is he going to say I'm not a leader? I mean, that's just not true. To me, that's somebody who shows that they don't know what a real leader is ... There's a reason guys get selected as captains, and there's a reason guys don't get selected as captains. Obviously, he doesn't have the respect of the locker room to be a captain. For someone to try to take a shot at me at the end of the season, after they haven't even been around, only speaks about their character anyways."

"Not one time have I come out and made any excuses about anything with my situation. I never do anything to try to hurt my teammates. Some people need to stop being 'me' guys and start being 'we' guys. And another thing, and I want you to write this, too, how does he even know what's going on with our team?"

"How's he question anything when for those four or five weeks before he was on IR , he never even came around. He wasn't with us. He was never at practice. Who does he think was holding the offense together? He should go ask the coaches and the players if he wants to know. But he wasn't around to do that. He doesn't know anything about leadership."

"You've got guys out there working their butts off, guys out there practicing and doing everything they need to do to prepare for Sundays, and you see him over there getting special treatment. What does that say about him? I go out, I get beat down on Sundays, and I still have to go out and practice and get ready for games. And that's what your supposed to do."
Now on the one hand, I'm glad that Campbell rose up to crush Portis, who many feel receives special treatment as an owner's favorite. On the other hand, it's February and we have a brand new organization. Although both of these players are under contract, neither is assured of a place with the team next year. This dust-up could clear the air for a productive backfield next year, or it could light a fuse of season-long disgruntlement.

How Coach Shanahan handles the poison in the locker room, as well as CB Westbrook's DUI (the first Washington player arrested since before Gibbs returned), may offer an early window into his administrative style. Shanahan drafted Portis. But he also traded him.

I have a feeling there might be some more dusting before the season begins. Something to keep an eye on, since Olympic luge isn't very entertaining on the radio.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Old School Thursday: Eric B and Rakim

It's a day late, but better to have an Old School Thursday on a Friday than no Old School at all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

NFL 2010: Campbell Likely To Remain in DC

Through the haze of distance, I'm willing to bet all my chips that Jason Campbell returns as the starting quarterback of the Washington football team. This would have been rightfully assigned long odds earlier, but special circumstances seem to be accumulating which make this a fait accompli.

Campbell had his best season statistically in 2009, but finished in the middle of the QB pack and his team went 4-12. He has never looked comfortable in Snyder's spinning schemes, he has never delivered a meaningful game-winning performance and he has never given up. His status before the 2009 season was very tenuous before the team granted him a lukewarm vote of confidence.

Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2010, it seemed certain that Campbell would leave Washington where he neither flourished nor was appreciated. Many Sportsjacks have predicted that Washington would draft a QB with the number 4 pick.

And yet, those special circumstances ...

1. If no Collective Bargaining Agreement is achieved in the next couple weeks, Campbell (along with 212 other players) will lose his unrestricted status and become a restricted free agent. This will severely limit the movement of free agents this offseason. The draft becomes that much more important this year.

2. New coach Mike Shanahan is no spazz for free agents, and would instantly put his stamp on this team by not giving Campbell the boot. Shanahan is also no spazz for first round QBs, and seems capable of picking for true need: offensive line.

3. Trading for a QB, or losing our few remaining draft picks by plucking a restricted free agent, seems unlikely given Shanahan's character. There simply isn't a more proven talent available. And we're still paying draft picks for that old fucking Dancing Queen, I shit you not.

4. General consensus seems unanimous:
"Campbell was set up to fail by an administration that neglected the offensive line for the better part of a decade." Shorn of Vinny Cerrato, Snyder will have trouble continuing to ignore the obvious. With a strong-minded head coach in charge, Snyder's role in football decisions will shrink, praise jebus.

Criticism of Campbell falls into two camps: lack of pocket presence and "he dont threw no deep ballls" [sic]. That he has been battered behind slumdog lines throughout his career is obvious: he has been sacked an average of over twice per game.

His pocket awareness has never been great, and one wonders if this is a skill that can be taught. However, cutting down on the number of sacks (and countless late hits) he receives will help to reduce his mortal terror, not to mention bad footwork.

As for the charge that he didn't throw the deep ball ... I'll let Campbell respond, as he did to Chief Idiot Peter King: "I don't know how anyone can say something like that. Don't you think I wanted to throw the ball downfield? By the time I looked up, I was getting hit."

Although Campbell lacks some innate intangibles (pocket presence, bellyfire), he's been the best Washington QB since Mark Rypien and no better option will be available in 2010. I am convinced that Shanahan is a smart coach and will give Campbell (who has only begun two seasons as the starter) another chance ... hopefully behind a better offensive line.

Brian Cardinal, We Will Never Forget You

The Timberwolves traded hard-working, scabby elbowed, bald-pated, talent deficient, artifically aged Brian Cardinal to get the right to gape at the wasted talent of Darko Milicic.

KLove seemed to take it particularly hard: "That's when you find out it's a business. Most of the guys here weren't too happy about it because [Cardinal is] such a quality guy. He's my guy on the team, kind of my mentor. It hurts."

So for Brian Cardinal, and Kevin Love, here is our tribute video to Brian Cardinal, and all the great things he did whilst wearing the Timberwolf green/blue/dark green/light blue/white. We will stay strong, and hold on, and know that we love you.

Create your own video slideshow at

Len Elmore, That Is Hilarious

During the Marquette/Pitt tilt, Len Elmore was asked by Dave Pasch about how many Big East teams he thought would get into the March Tournament.

Len Elmore apparently opined that Notre Dame still had a chance. But that's ridiculous. Notre Dame doesn't have a chance to get into the Dance unless they run the table and go deep into the Big East tournament, and nothing suggests they will do that.

So I assume Len Elmore was taking a sneaky dig at the Catholic Church when he said that Notre Dame has a chance, "but is basically on life support." See what Len Elmore did there? He's criticizing the whole sanctity of life thing that leads Catholics to protest the unplugging of someone in a vegetative state. Sneaky, Len Elmore!

I don't really think he meant that, but it is a better than the alternative. Len Elmore can not really think the 11th team in the Big East, who has lost their past 3 games, to Louisville, Seton Hall, and St. John's (Not to mention a loss earlier in the year to Loyola Marymount!) has any chance of getting to the tournament. Pull the plug! They're dead already!

Oh, the Hoymanity

I think I've demonstrated by Georgetown fandom bona fides in the past. I'm trying to put that love to the side, and say tonight's tilt against Syracuse was one of the most entertaining games of the year. The Hoyas came up short, losing by 4, but reducing a deficit that at one point in the second half was 23 points.

There were some things to watch for both teams going forward (who after all are both in the Top 10) that should make people who are thinking about Elite 8 and beyond think twice.

But first, a quick broadside against the remarkably inconsistent officiating. I'm not saying this (completely) as a Georgetown supporter--the referees were pretty consistent in their inconsistency. For both teams, it seemed, the touch foul out at the perimeter was much more likely to be called than a blatant over the back during a rebound in the paint. It was at times shocking and confounding. And it really disrupted the flow of the game, for both teams, at different points in the game.

OK, on to the things to look for going forward

1. Syracuse's killer instinct--do they have one? Seriously--up 23 with 12 minutes left, and you let this game come down to hitting your free throws in the final minute? Inexcusable. If this were a one time thing, I'd cast it aside, but if you look at their season, you'll see this isn't the first time they've let a game get away from them. They get turnover prone, they start trying to make tougher shots than they have to. If Wisconsin were up 23 points on you, you'd be lucky to get enough possessions to even score the 10-12 baskets you would need to get back in the game. Syracuse is all too willing to keep the pedal to the medal, take risks, and make really questionable decisions. It's like they think they game is won before it is won. It could kill them in the postseason.

2. Georgetown's spazzy play in the face of adversity. In response to going down big, Georgetown's immediate reaction was to just chuck 3's, no matter who the player was. Hollis Thompson took two of them, for heaven's sake. Henry Sims had a long 2 that was almost an airball 3. They eventually got their poise back, and I can't say it was too late, because the game was a one point game with under 2 minutes left, and that's as good of a comeback as you can have. You've basically reset the game at that point. But still--20 3-PT attempts, and only hitting 5 of them is a waste of possessions. Let's not forget, Jason Clark missed one with Georgetown down only one point in the final minutes of the game. They should have been getting the ball to Monroe as soon as Syracuse's big men got into a hint of foul trouble. The game would have been a lot different if Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson had not combined for 42 minutes. And the chance to limit them even further was there.

3. Both clubs--lack of a deep bench. Syracuse is better served by their limited bench, at least generally speaking. But Scoop Jardine wasn't effective at all. In fact, Syracuse has bigger issues at the point then anyone has noticed yet, in part because their other positions cover up for it so well. We also saw that if the opposing team can get Onuaku in foul trouble, the Orange don't have another big man even approaching his quality and/or size.

Georgetown is in similar straits, except even the two or three guys coming off the bench are basically invisible. Hollis Thompson, Henry Sims, and Vee Sanford combined for 17 minutes and 2 points. Georgetown's most "valuable" bench player, Jerrelle Benimon, played 19 minutes, missed 2 shots, and grabbed six boards. Georgetown went nine deep tonight (thanks again, officials) and all but 2 of their points were scored by four starters. That's worrying, and has been all season long. There doesn't seem to be a solution.

All of that said, this game showcased two things: one) either one is ripe for a sickening first round exit in March, and 2) that whoever is scheduled to play them in the 2nd round would breathe a huge sigh of relief if that were to happen.

Superbowl Pick'em

Professor Badcock's heavy-water experiments flooded the three floors housing the IDYFT Pick'em Computator. This slowed down the final tally. Additionally, there is now a suffocating odor of mildew throughout Badcock Industries, Inc.

Trivia Question Round-Up
Crunching these numbers was actually somewhat entertaining. It was like watching the season's expectations flash past ... as if swimming in a school of silver-sheen, stupid fish. Yes, there is much to be proud of.

TQ1. The team picked by our contestants for the most "Shoe-ins" was your Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Over the 17 week regular season, they wore the Big Shoe 24 times. Gratification should be our watch-word: 22 teams were fitted for shoes by our contestants, a damn fine spread. The Saints were followed by a Ravens/Packers tie, then a Colts/Cincy tie. No one got this question right.

TQ2. The team selected the most times for the Clash of the Titans was the Philadelphia Eagles. Twenty teams appeared in the Clash of the Titans, a damn fine spread, but the Eagles were in a premier matchup four times. In those clashes, the Pedophilia She-gals went 3-1. Big BM & Jess got this right.

TQ3. The team which most often appeared on the Underdog List was, (surprise!) the Detroit Lions. They were considered a severe fudgfest in 12 of 16 games. Final record? 2-14.

The Detroit Leotards were followed by the Raiders and then Tampa Bay. Eighteen teams made this ignominious list, a damn sad spread. Leftnut, MMMan & Jess got this right.

Cincinati's surprise season ended with the dull splat of playoff fudge pie. They made all three lists, which underlines the eyebrow-raising yet ultimately disappointing Bengals season: 13 Shoe-Ins, 1 Clash, 4 Underdogs.

Anyway, the Superbowl Pick'em Winner is...

While Leftnut scored an incredible 30 points in one week (with 19 bonus points thanks to picking the Saints to win the Superbowl at the beginning of the regular season and the playoffs), two-time champion Jess was consistent through the tournament and finished with 31 points.

Congratulations, Jess! Would you like another t-shirt? Otherwise, I can randomly select an item from my house and mail it to you. It could be my car keys, it could be a pint of hot dog water, it could be anything. Hmm?

Final Standings
1. Jess: 31 points (this week +14)
2. Leftnut: 30 points (this week +30)
3. Adw: 20 points
4. MMMan: 16 points (this week +1)
5. Big BM: 14 points (this week +3)
6. MWC: 11 points

Thank you for your participation. Here at Badcock Industries, we look forward to providing the 2010 Uncapped NFL Pick'em in only seven months. Until then, nanu-nanu.

Vikings Players Putting NFL in Interesting Spot

You may remember that at the end of last season, Pat and Kevin Williams were suspended and fined by the NFL for violation of their substance policy. The Williamses have yet to miss an actual game, and continuing to fight against those suspensions.

And now, in fact, they are looking to sue the NFL for damages. A judge made an interesting ruling today, that if I'm reading correctly, could have some unintended consequences in tangentially related cases. The judge says that the Williamses, in order to sue the NFL, have to prove that they are at least in part employees of the NFL (as opposed to just employees of the Minnesota Vikings).

Here's, to me, the salient passage of Rochelle Olson's Star Tribune piece:

"If the players prove the NFL employs them at least partially, the league is subject to Minnesota's workplace drug and alcohol testing laws. The NFL argues that the Vikings, not the league, employ the players.

The distinction matters because the league administers the drug-testing.

Larson's order said the league clearly violated Minnesota laws by failing to tell the players within three days that they had tested positive for a banned substance. The players were tested on July 26, 2008, but weren't told of the results until two months later."

So it is clear to the judge the NFL violated Minnesota state law; the only question is whether that matters or not. If the NFL isn't the employer of players, then there is no expectation of them following the state laws guiding employee protections and guarantees. The NFL is very clearly saying, "Hey, we are not their employers."

But it seems to me that is at least kind of the opposite of what they are arguing in the American Needle case. There they are arguing that the NFL, and its 32 teams do in fact make up a single component, and should have that their Single-Entity trust exemption pushed even further. So far in fact, the NFLPA worries, that the very idea of Free Agency will become null and void.

It has always seemed pretty unlikely that the NFL could get the Big Ass Exemption that they are looking for. But this seems to hurt their case even more. The NFLPA folks are going to be able to go in and say, "Hey, even the NFL doesn't believe that they are employers of our players, in any way that would make them responsible for wrongdoing towards said players. They want to be a single entity for only the issues that benefit ownership, like hard salary caps and tamping down free agency, and they want to be 32 separate companies when it suits them, like following state laws."

I could be totally off base here, and I wouldn't be surprised if I was, but I have a hard time seeing how the NFL isn't talking out of both sides of its mouth between these two cases. Barnyard, our legal beagle, is somewhere around on the Internet. Perhaps he can weigh in? Maybe this is just a case of federal vs state courts. I really don't know. But to my untrained eye, it really looks like the NFL is about to argue in Minnesota state court that the position they too to the Supreme Court is total bullshit. Fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pity Poor Fabianski

Keeping up with the theme, I also have to say that I haven't seen one keeper make two killer mistakes at the level of the UEFA Championship knock-out stages before.

Arsenal backup keeper Lucasz Fabianski did exactly that--misplaying an easy cross that bounced off of him into his net. Early in the second half, he got whistled for picking up a back pass (bad enough) and then gave the ball back to Porto before he got back in his net (worse). Porto played a quick free kick, and had themselves a shot on net while Fabianski still had his back turned on the play. Embarrassing, and the kind of thing that could really really cost Arsenal.

Pity Poor Florentina

I'm sure most folks are watching the Winter Olympics, and thus missed one of the worst jobs of refereeing I've seen. Two horrible mistakes by the officiating crew in the final 14 minutes stole an away draw from the Florentine side.

First, the referee gave a red card to an offense that could have possibly not even been blown a foul without too much controversy. At the very worst, it was a yellow card, not the straight red that left the Florentines down a man for the final 14 minutes. The story I'm linking to calls it an obvious, deliberate elbow to the throat. To me, it was a guy who had already poked the ball away, and had lost his balance. His arms were out yes, but to say it was a deliberately aimed shot with the elbow is something that I would not being willing to say.

Then, in the closing minutes of the game, the linesman and the main official combined to miss what was obviously an offside Klose who punched home an easy header to score the game winner. It is easy to hit the game winner when you are 5 yards offside. It was the most inexplicable blown offsides call I've seen in recent memory. I've been searching said memory, and I can't recall a worse one.

I don't know what UEFA can do about it after the fact, but the only right and fair thing to do would be to strip that goal ahead of the second match to be played in Florence. I doubt that is an option, but if officials are going to blow calls like that, it absolutely should be.

SUNY Looks at Binghamton, Doesn't Like

SUNY hired an independent investigator to look at the what exactly happened at Binghamton in their rush to become a Division I basketball team. The results, as David Moltz for Inside Higher Ed reports, are not pretty.

From the coaches having way too much input as to admissions (even down to walk-on recruits), to players texting assistant coaches to request their help rewriting segments of papers they had copied off the internet, to suppressing reports of players' arrests for drug dealing.

It is a pretty fascinating read about what can happen if a school chases that Division I brass ring without a real plan in place.

first seen on College Guide blog on Washington Monthly.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

That's A Pearler, Jean Makoun

Don't know how long until the trademark police come after this, so enjoy it while it lasts--Lyon's Jean Makoun's unbelievable strike from about 28 yards out against Real Madrid. Lyon takes a 1-0 lead into the 2nd game, thanks to this.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Avett Brothers + Heartless Bastards

This is a couple of weeks old, but I'm assuming that a lot of our readership stays the fuck away from PBS as a matter of principle.

If you are one of those people, you missed out on a great, great combo of bands on Austin City Limits. The Avett Brothers are difficult to pigeonhole, insanely talented who filter things through a bluegrass lens, but are not just about the country singing. Try to get past the fact that they kind of look like a band made up of Ashton Kutcher and Demetri Martin, and enjoy the fact that they right direct, honest songs about love and loss, and aren't afraid to rock it a little.

Heartless Bastards are a more straight-forward rock band, but with a potent weapon in lead singer and guitarist Erika Wennerstrom--she's got a voice you simply haven't heard before, and her guitar ain't for show. If you can watch 25 minutes of her go and not end up crushing on her at least a little, you are a better person than I. Or you are just dead inside.

The entire episode is right here on the PBS website.

An Incest Pun from a Kentucky Fan

Kudos, sir. I'm sure DeMarcus Cousins appreciates your wordsmithery. (Seen during the Kentucky vs. Tennessee game)

That's The Stunning Insight I Pay Good Money For

Seth Davis, CBS and Sports Illustrated College Hoops expert, wants you to know that despite the fact that the A-10 Conference has 6 teams in the top 50 of RPI, they will not be sending 6 teams to the March Madness.

Really, Seth? Fucking Thank You for that. Because I had assumed, quite rightfully, I thought, that the A-10 would receive at least as many bids as the ACC or the Big 10. Without your insightful insight, and shit, I would have assumed that the perennial powerhouse conference that is the Atlantic-10 would get at least six teams. How can one deny a team that beats Fordham twice? Or St. Bonaventure?

I pay money to read that kind of insight!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear Opening Ceremonies

Thank you! That was inspiring. My favorite (sorry, "favourite") part was when 3 ice penises rose from the ground, and stood proudly erect, and then the caldera/bell end rose to make it one super giant penis, and then, thanks to the ministrations of Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, and some Canadian lady (maybe Nancy Greene?) made the whole thing ejaculate fire.


Though really, if it burns like fire when you ejaculate, Opening Ceremonies, you may want to have a doctor look at that. Maybe a giant Inuit Polar Bear Doctor.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Old School Thursday: Kool Moe Dee

Wes Anderson's Spider-Man

Man, this hits my geek sweet spot in a few different ways. Special Kudos to the guy doing the spot on Owen Wilson impression.

Sonic Tater Taunt

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sonic Tater Taunt

What A Ridiculous Way To Waste Time

I'm watching college hoops that are taking place on the west coast--that's not a ridiculous waste of time, as UNLV is making a late charge to defend their home floor against New Mexico. Sponsor of the game Sonic invited me to try out the Tater Taunt, in which you type in a fair amount of text, and send a little animated tater tot to say those words to a friend of your choice.

So, I've spent the last 15 minutes or so attempting to stump the Sonic Tot, seeing which words it knows, and which ones it may know but considers non basketball related, or what. So far, it is willing to accept a creepy religious message, and pronounced all the words correctly.

I personally don't see a need for a cartoon potato product to say, "I wonder if you have heard the good news about the coming truth. the lamb will lay down with the lamb and the peace will reign for eternity. But not until such time that the seals are unsealed and the demon horses are loose on the land, and there is much gnashing of teeth and wailing of women."

It is silly. I will be using it a lot. But hardly ever for its intended purpose.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Look Back in Anger: The 1992 Draft and the Timberwolves

I don't mean to rehash the awful luck the Timberwolves had back in 1992, when they were overwhelmingly favored to get the #1 pick, or at least the #2 pick, and missed out on both (Shaq and Zo Mourning, respectively) and ended up with Christian Laettner. That's old news, and not one I care to think about any further. Let's face it--neither O'Neal or Mourning were going to stick around in Minnesota for any longer than they were contractually obliged to. Nor am I going to talk mock the 2nd round picks of the Wolves that year (for the record, Marlon Maxey and Tim Burroughs) in what was a pretty lame draft year.

But here's the thing--it was a lame draft year, and yet the number of guys who were taken in the first round who ended up as Timberwolves at some point in their career is kind of staggering.

Let's go through by the picks. Obviously, O'Neal and Mourning never ended Wolves, and pretty safe to say at this point that they never will.

Everyone who knows the franchise knows that Laettner (#3) was a bit of bust, but one that wasn't totally unexpected. His departure was greeted, mainly, with a sigh of relief.

#5 LaPhonso Ellis--played one year for the Timberwolves, at the age of 30, and was one of his last truly productive seasons, statistically. I remember it being a season of frustration, in which he would be impressive for one game, and then would disappear for 2 or 3 or 7 games in a row.

#6 Tom Gugliotta--someone the Wolves got before his prime, got to enjoy his prime, and let him go to increase their chances of keeping Stephon Marbury (which did not work out).

#8 Todd Day--less than 400 minutes played, and 26 three-pointers made!

#14 Malik Sealy--a great pick-up by the Wolves, who brought defensive energy and a kindred spirit to defensive dynamo Kevin Garnett. He had been a hero of Garnett's when KG was playing in high school, and the two formed an instant bond. So, of course, in the keeping of the luck of the Wolves franchise, Sealy was killed by a drunk driver coming home from Garnett's birthday party.

#15 Anthony Peeler--another decent pick-up. Streaky as a motherfucker, and I believe the coiner of the term "the Zoo Crew" for the Wolves' bench players. As is often the trend, he was never better than his first year with the Wolves.

#22 Oliver Miller--no one remembers this stint, and rightfully so. He was hugely overweight, and could barely manage 10 minutes a game. It was about at this moment that Miller decided that basketball just wasn't worth the fucking effort. It was still a couple of years before he retired, but this was his sad, and yet hilarious swan song.

#24 Latrell Sprewell--boy, possibly the steal of this draft, considering the folks listed above who went before, not to mention guys like Lee Mayberry, Hubert Davis, Randy Woods, and Adam Keefe. But of course, he choked PJ Carlesimo, and became a bargain basement free agent. The Timberwolves picked him up, and along with The Alien, did some great post-season work before falling to the Lakers. The less said about the season after that, the better.

So, that's eight first-round draft picks (of 27) from a single year that all played for the same franchise, with hardly any overlap at all. I can't say whether this is a singular thing or not, because it would require way too much research on my part, but I'm guessing that it kind of is.

Just going off my own somewhat faulty memory, the Wolves ended up with 4 of the first round picks in 1993, and only 2 from 1994, so this does seem special(?).

It is some talent, bad luck, over the hill talent, and bad idea jeans reclamation projects, all boiled down in one craptacular year of the draft. And that one year sums up what the current regime of the Timberwolves are both up against, and can learn from.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Lot of Frustrated Men Not Wearing Colts Uniforms

One of the things that struck me during the game (or the moments between the game) was that there was a certain tenor to a good chunk of the commercials. And that is of the quietly seething, frustrated man in a relationship with someone he doesn't seem to like very much, and for that reason, he deserves new kick-ass toys. I'm not the only one who noticed it.

Seriously Dodge Charger? You've a Dodge fucking Charger. You are a legendary brand and model. You've figured out how to make a muscle car that gets not horrible mileage? And in a minute long ad, there was 50 seconds of mopey/sad-sack/sociopath men with voiceovers about how they tolerate things that their girlfriends or wives do, and 10 seconds of jittery jumpcut editing on the fucking car. SHOW THE CAR, and stop complaining about your girlfriend's vampire shows. Don't like 'em? Don't watch 'em, fucking babies.

Also, yeah, the guy mishearing "Your tires or your wife" and booting his wife out of his car was just a wee bit troubling. Presumably the guys who actually threatened his life will make do with killing her instead. Nice work, dude. Seems to me you could have just as easily peeled away with your wife still in the car. Accessory to Murder for Bridgestone Tires!

The most direct though was the Flo TV spot called (nice and upfront) "Spineless", essentially berating men for not carrying tiny tv's whenever they are tasked with shopping with their wives. Are women across the country forcing their men to go shopping with them? I know this is a time-honored convention in commercials, but does it ever actually happen? If they are, men of the world, I say you should feel free to stand up for yourselves, or feel free to think, "You know what, she does stuff for me all the time, I think I will go shopping with her." But let's be clear here--going on the shopping trip because you've been promised a 3.5 inch, $250 tv screen is not standing up for yourself, or ingratiating yourself to anybody. It's made you kind of dick who is easily pacified. My fellow males, is this really any conversation you want to be a part of?

You taking a stand: "I'm not going shopping with you!"
Her: "You can bring your tiny TV."
You: "OK."

Sad, sad, sad. Those three companies have lost my business, even though I wasn't in the market for any of that shit anyway (seriously, tiny TV with a monthly fee?). I should say that it isn't just the weird anti-woman vibe; it's for assuming that I'd find that anti-woman vibe clever. Oh, boyfriend stuck shopping! You've been around our comic strip pages for about 80 years, and you are still fresh. Dagwood and Blondie for the digital era.

Outstanding Superbowl

I'd offer a toast to the New Orleans Saints but I have a feeling they're already toasted. That was an outstanding Superbowl.

Sean Payton played to win. Going for it on 4th and goal was a brilliant, ballsy move. And it didn't work. But the Saints got their 3 points before halftime anyway.

The onside kick to start the second half was a brilliant, ballsy move. And it did work. When Manning finally touched the ball, around an hour had passed. Keeping that (talented) chump on the bench was the key to victory. When he finally threw that pick-six, it was the culmination of an extraordinary effort in game-planning and execution by the Saints defense.
The Colts were held to 17 points, tied for their second lowest output in meaningful games all year. The Saints did it without sacks, without getting burned on big blitzes, and without panic. In the second half, the Saints repeatedly bluffed a big blitz, then dropped eight into coverage. Manning was befuddled by the man/zone combinations and the unstoppable Colts only scored once in the second half.

And maybe, just maybe, that game-losing INT means that the sportsjack army will shut up about Manning being the best QB ever. At least until next year.

Only seven months to go!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hilarious Idea, Clippers

Isiah Thomas? Really, Clippers? It almost seems like they are worried about losing their status of NBA laughingstock.

This is still a rumor at the moment. But something this crazy/dumb has a higher chance of being true than you'd normally assume.

Panda Overload!

Some baby panda got into Calvin's duplicator. Cuteness erupts. We've warned against it in the past, but I'll totally understand if you end up hugging the panda because of this video. (Thanks Jess)

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Roger Goodell Would Like To Remind You He Isn't an Honest Broker

The media likes to talk and think about the commissioners of various sports as if they are in the same model that they were created to be, which was a highly independent above the fray executive.

Roger Goodell seems to be going out of his way to remind folks that isn't the way it works anymore. (Bud Selig did a bang up job of that for baseball). Goodell is now publicly telling the players that is their turn to give in to the owners, because the owners got a bad shake in the last bargaining agreement.

Do you see? In what was probably the most successful era for a professional sport in the history of mankind, the owners didn't quite make enough money. The players union, rightly, is calling bullshit on that, and has been saying, over and over again, "Open the books, show us your real financials, and we'll go from there."

Goodell's response to that idea says everything: "We're all for transparency...Our players have a tremendous amount of economic data. Unfortunately, (opening up the books) is not the holy grail."

Let me translate that for you: we are not opening up the books. Also, as opposed to making sound like a reasonable first step to any honest negotiation, I'm going to compare it some mythological, impossible object of history.

No one on the player's side is claiming that opening the books magically solves the problem of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. What they are saying, and what any one with a modicum of honesty could see they are saying is that if you claim financial hardship, it is not unreasonable for your employees to see that hardship is real. If you work for Toyota, or Chrysler, you know when times are tough, because you see the assembly line slow down, or stop. You see product stack up. But what if the assembly line was ripping along, 24 hours a day, and the cars and trucks were flying out of the lots, and your employer came to you hat in hand and said, "Times are tough?" You'd be dubious, yes? Same thing with the NFL players. They see their product flying off the shelves. They see the draft coverage getting more and more intense. They know they are unquestionably playing the country's most significant and successful sport. Everyone can see that. Why the owners think the players won't see that is beyond me.

If you weren't aware of it yet, let's be clear here--2011 is almost certainly going to be the year of the NFL lockout. And next year's capless year is practically a certainty as well. Fun times ahead. And just remember--Goodell isn't a commissioner in the traditional sense of the word. He's more of the owner's (extremely powerful) PR guy.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Old School Thursday: Run-DMC

Planned Parenthood Gets Some Pros of Their Own

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Justin Verlander Signs a Deal, Cheap (Relatively)

The Detroit Tigers did the right thing, and still got a pretty good deal in signing Justin Verlander for 5 years and $80 million. $20 mil/year, just a few years ago, would have been considered nutty, but it is now considered the norm for an ace. And Verlander, last year at least, was the very definition of an ace, leading the league in innings, strike outs and (somewhat less significantly) wins.

Verlander is a power-pitcher, who relies on an incredible fastball that has all sorts of crazy motion to it. Maybe there was some talk in the Detroit Management about whether signing that kind of arm to a long-term deal was such a great idea. But he's all of 26 years old--he'll finishing up that contract right about the time his arm is just beginning to slow down.

And consider--the Yankees spent more not only on CC Sabathia (not to mention an extra 2 years on the length of the contract) who is "husky" and also two years older. The Yankees also spent more to get AJ Burnett, who is 7 years older than Verlander, and who's best years statistically compare to Verlander's 2009, but are further in the past.

As a Twins fan, I'm unhappy that Verlander is still in the AL Central, but it is hard to argue against the wisdom of the deal from either Detroit's or Verlander's perspective.

Scott Fujita Profile

A nice profile from the Boston Globe, here.

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