The weather around here today is sunny and near 75°, the birds are chirping, the Koreans are hitting the golf course, and Chicago Cubs pitchers Prior and Wood are already on the DL--IT MUST BE SPRING! Although we're losing an hour of sleep this Sunday, I'll gladly trade that in for more daylight in the evening to play golf and spend more time outside. Isn't that what it's all about?
Thanks to Statcounter, I put a free counter at the bottom of the left sidebar--it's hard to see, but trust me, it's there. Now I can see if anyone is actually visiting this site (it checks every 6 hours). It's currently in the negative, which is probably a bad sign. The only problem is that it wreaks havoc with the sidebar when viewing in Firefox, but not IE. The term "wreaks havoc" is funny, because you never hear the words separately. No one ever says "wreaks affection" or "causes havoc". Okay, you might hear the latter, but I don't know anything else that's "wreaked". Anyway, let me know if anything is "wreaked" on your browser.
I was watching "PGA Tour Golf Lesson 7" on INHD the other morning, and I think I've learned how to solve the problems with my chipping game. It's simple: lock your wrists, angle the club upright, put 70% weight on your front foot, use a grip strength of 5 out of 10, always take the same swing like you're putting, think "minimum air/maximum roll", and aim for 1 pace (3 yards) onto the green. Simple, right? And when picking out a club, the "carry-to-roll" ratio determines whether you need a PW, 9, 8, 7 or 6 iron--this ratio is the key, and it's bulletproof. All you do is measure the distance to the pin, and the distance from the, uhm . . . wait, no . . . divide the number of yards off the green by the height of the flag . . . actually, now I remember, you pace it off, and figure out the circumference of the green, no the radius of the--oh, shit. They shouldn't have these things on at 7 in the morning, I don't remember a goddamn thing now. I didn't even get a chance to pour a cup of coffee before the math quiz started. But I was told the ratio is bulletproof! The ratio is rock solid! If I only knew what it's a ratio OF.
Speaking of Mikes, Deadspin called this photo the "Ultimate Time Capsule Photo", and I'd have to agree. They said it made them kind of sad because "That could have been Whitey Ford, Ted Williams and Joe Louis hanging out right there. Oh well." Indeed. These guys had the world as their own proverbial oyster. Man, crack must be fantastic.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Did you know that Jeff Maier (I'm glad he dropped the -rey from his first name, I hate that too), who "gave" Derek Jeter a HR with his right field grab during the 1996 ALCS, is now playing baseball as a third baseman/outfielder for Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT? Pretty funny. As a sophomore playing in the NESCAC, he even had to contend with idiot Red Sox fans who apparently still hate him for helping the Yankees, and hurled snowballs and insults at him at away games in Massachusetts. Right now, a 22 year old senior, he's hitting .380 with 10 RBI and second on the team in hits, and could be drafted in June. I wonder how he is with the glove . . .
"I Turn My Camera On" by Spoon (downloadable mp3 here) from the fantastic Gimme Fiction album is being used to sell Jaguar automobiles. Why aren't they selling digital cameras? Wouldn't that make more sense? Or is that too obvious? Either that's a missed opportunity, or the commercial isn't out yet.
I made a joke about the extremely early NCAA Sportsline RPI index in my Eye-Opener November March Madness post. It turns out that the list was more accurate than previously thought. Not only did 14 of the 25 teams on the list made the NCAA tournament, but there are some unexpected teams that weren't ranked all year, like NC-Wilmington, Air Force and current media darling George Mason (the only Final Four team not in this top 25 is LSU). However, the most shocking blognostication of all was the Albany Great Danes, who came out of nowhere to nearly upset UConn in the first round. Very interesting.
Friday, March 31, 2006
The weather around here today is sunny and near 75°, the birds are chirping, the Koreans are hitting the golf course, and Chicago Cubs pitchers Prior and Wood are already on the DL--IT MUST BE SPRING! Although we're losing an hour of sleep this Sunday, I'll gladly trade that in for more daylight in the evening to play golf and spend more time outside. Isn't that what it's all about?
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:39 PM
was just at our vending machine...
behind the glass sits the "Big Texas Cinnamon Roll" which was named the "Pastry of the Year" by the vending merchants of America...
what you got???
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:45 PM
Wow. I got nothing.
You'd best pick up that roll, because I reckon it's gotta be huge and crazy, just like Texas. Wait a sec--that's THE ACTUAL AWARD WINNING ROLL? Well, the VMA can't be wrong. Aren't those awards on TV?
Actually, I had some chewy sour Jolly Ranchers last week that were half-melted and tasted like artificially fruit flavored a$$. We don't even have a soda machine up here.
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:48 PM
that's how we roll in USR.
I'm thinking about buying it just for display purposes....
oh, we are working this Saturday....Go Barr!
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:49 PM
That's how you ROLL, I get it. That's funny.
Yeah, you could put it on ebay. Someone in Japan or Russia is sure to snap up that bad boy.
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:50 PM
I'll toss in the fact that it slightly resembles the Virgin Mary.
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:51 PM
And she's crying tears of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:52 PM
now that is good...
Posted by Jeff K @ 4:07 PM
I took the OKCupid politics test, and this is the result.
Apparently I'm something called a "centrist", which is neither "democrat" or "republican" (which sounds about right) and includes my being a "social moderate" and an "economic liberal". When you add it up, it's so boring that I fell asleep during the description of myself. The "Famous People" map is hilarious, placing me somewhere on John Kerry's left cheek right above Gorby's head, and nowhere near Darth Vader, Bill O'Reilly or GOD FORBID Adam Sandler.
So for those of you keeping score, I'm a genuine realist centrist . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .
|You are a |
You are best described as a:
Link: The Politics Test
Posted by Jeff K @ 12:26 PM
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Jeff's really been doing all the work lately, so I guess I'll chime in on a couple topics.
I like the way the NHL officials have been calling games this season, the games are fun to watch again. Sometimes, they call it a bit too close, but I'm willing to accept that in order to have the game played the way it was meant to be played. But during tonights Rangers - Islanders game, the referee made a pair of calls that were just stellar. During a Rangers power play, Marik Malik was called for hooking. A replay showed, and this is not the least bit exaggerated, he did not even make contact with the Islander player. I guess the ref thought twice about it, and decided it was a shitty call. He then called an Islander player, chosen, from what I can see, totally at random, for interference. Matching penalties, no loss of manpower. And just like that, two wrongs can make a right.
Why, suddenly, are so many prducts named "fusion"? Gillette fusion, Ford fusion, Callaway fusion driver. There are probably others. None of these products, it should be noted, actually achieves fusion, despite having R&D budgets that dwarf Princetons tokamak reactor project. Hell, the Ford is gasoline powered and produces a meager 12 volts DC. Does the average person even know what fusion is, or believe that it will produce a closer shave or longer drives?
I haven't watched it yet, but there is a new show on the FOX network that sounds promising. It's called "Parental Discretion Advised" and it is on every night at various times. I'm hoping it's an understated, British style comedy, with the biting social satire we've come expect from FOX. Maybe John Cleese will make an appearance!
Story from cnn.com: An American Muslim was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for joining al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush
Ever heard the expression "no jury would convict me"? I'll bet he was thinking that.
Posted by Rob @ 8:37 PM
After I was informed that I could sell my blog on the black web market for nearly $3K, or approximately 500 pints, I was trying to analyze what exactly 'openhockey.blogspot.com' has to offer. A while back, I started this thing to give myself and a few friends a place to tell jokes, share ideas, air their grievances. Mostly, it's turned into me spouting off about nothing of any great importance. In fact, some of the stuff I posted about a month ago I no longer have any interest in, I frequently use the same jokes, and restate the obvious. So basically, I'd call it a "stream-of-crapulousness" blog. (You know, Karl has said this before, and I agree: I even hate the word "blog". Sportsline.com has even started calling their game logs "glogs". Ugh. What a shitty trend.)
So what is so special about my blog, and why does it exist in the first place? I don't really know, because I certainly don't have an "agenda". I'm not out to "make a difference", get a job writing "comedy", shake up the "status quo", or spread "truthiness" about this crazy world we live in. After I type out a post and slap it up here, I wonder what other people (if there are any) think of this blog. More importantly, what do they think about ME? This is what I believe people who don't know me have probably learned about me just by reading my posts:
I complain and rant a lot, without getting political or preachy.
I offer no stunning revelations, nor any incredible insight.
I make fun of a lot of easy targets, and sometimes in a snarky and sarcastic way.
My interests are probably not all that interesting to other people.
I'm highly opinionated, and don't like other people who are highly opinionated.
I come off as if I think I'm always right (which I am).
I steal photos and content from other websites.
I frequently make jokes, often at someone else's expense, and usually at my own expense.
Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. Or maybe that's accurate, I don't know. But at the very least I hope it's at least a little entertaining. That was the whole point. I'm not out to rock the blogosphere. So for those who do accidentally find themselves on this blog, welcome! And I apologize.
Posted by Jeff K @ 4:48 PM
Is it a "Cooper Mini" or a "Mini Cooper"? I thought the manufacturer's name goes first, and the model name last. Or maybe it's just me. I guess I shouldn't buy one since I never get the name right.
I always spell the word "unbelievable" incorrectly, putting an extra "e" in there after the "v". God help me, I can't stop.
I hate going to the gym. I absolutely, unequivocally, 100% hate it. But I show up because I have to, since it's the only real exercise I get. However, I'm near the breaking point. The Bally's right down the street just closed down, and as a result the gym is constantly jam packed. I usually go between 5 and 6 on weekdays, and apparently this is prime time for the spinning/aerobics/dancerobics classes, because you can't even get a parking space within a half mile radius of the place. When I go on Saturday mornings, it's also jammed, and it never used to be. It sucks.
The phrase "jumped the shark" has jumped the shark. The new phrase is "screwed the pooch", which will later be replaced by "shit the bed" and "busted the condom".
I grew up in the New York City area, and lived near it my entire life, and I've never been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I've been to the Louvre, the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Institute, and the British Museum, but not ONCE have I set foot in the Met (even when my friend's sister WORKED THERE). This is the year I go there, and to celebrate afterwards, I'm going to have a martini at the rooftop café. I have no excuse.
So the NFL is going to crack down on "excessive touchdown celebrations", just like they did in the 80s. You know what? I don't give a shit anymore. If you score a TD and want to act like a giant padded clown, making it all about yourself instead of your team, go for it! I just won't be rooting for you anytime soon. Especially if you have a STAR on your helmet. Oh, and I didn't see anyone on the Steelers do that stupid shit, and they won the MOST SUPER OF ALL BOWLS. Also, the NFL just announced the first week of games--not the whole 2006 schedule, just the first week, which includes a Thursday, Sunday and two (TWO?) Monday night games. First of all, why just announce the first week, why not the whole season? Here's an idea: how about you don't tell each teams whom they're playing until the Tuesday morning of each week? You could use a lottery machine with ping pong balls to determine each opponent! That would add an element of surprise, sorely missing from the sport. Plus, if the team can't arrange to get a flight and arrive there in time, they forfeit! Second, I hate Sunday night games. Let me rephrase that: I'm not fond of games that occur at any other time besides Sunday afternoon. So thanks NFL, for putting the "Manning a Manning" Giants/Colts season opener on SUNDAY NIGHT! Ugh.
Does everyone have George Mason Mania? I can't believe that a commuter school, whose students barely even knew they HAD a basketball team, is in the Final Four. And I can't even express how little I'm looking forward to watching it (GM is going to lose, which will make me even less excited). Like the NFL playoffs, once the Super Bowl rolls around, unless your team is in it you completely lose interest. I'm just glad I didn't spend a fortune to go see Nova in the Homer Dome (not that it was ever a legitimate option). Plus, it was 20° up there last weekend. That would have been a drag.
Last night, the Devils were winning 2-1 with a minute left against Ottawa . . . and Heatley scored to tie it. Yeah, they won it in the shootout, on a Gomez goal that he ricocheted off the windmill and into the clown's mouth (my love for the shootout is waning, can you tell?). All I'm saying is that this is the kind of luck this team is having right now, and if I haven't said it before (and I have) the season is not going to end well. Although, I hope the Rangers play the Canadiens in the playoffs, because that would mean a Montréal roadtrip!
I enjoy the show "LOST", even though it's frustrating, but the promos for upcoming episodes for the show are simply awful. Last week they said "She's going to learn a secret that could change the relationships of everyone on the island", or something . . . and she ended up pregnant. Oh, okay, thanks for the cliche (I could ask how they had a pregnancy test, but no shaving cream, but I'll leave that to the hundreds of fansiters to ponder). Then the episode's subplot involved three survivors searching for a hot air balloon that one of the guys on the island said he crash landed in. Naturally, the episode ends without them finding the goddamn balloon . . . and then you see it in the promo featuring scenes from NEXT WEEK'S show. What the hell is that? And the narration said something like "Five things will happen that will change things forever!" Great. What I am I supposed to do, keep a running count while I'm watching the show? That's stupid, because now it's in my head. Next time how about you say, "Next week, they're still trapped on the island, and weird things happen!" That would be sufficient.
Posted by Jeff K @ 4:46 PM
Monday, March 27, 2006
Sometimes I hate when I'm right. Villanova lost to Florida last night, and just yesterday I said that if they repeat their 35% and 4/19 3-pointer performance from Friday, that they are not going to advance. Somehow they did even WORSE THAN THAT, shooting 25% and making only 4/23 3-pointers. And it was nice of Allan Ray NOT TO SCORE the past few games and let the other kids play. Just a craptacular end to a great season by the Wildcats. What a shame, because I don't think they have enough talent to get to make a run at a #1 seed next year (unless Sumpter plays well, and Lowry lights it up) . . . but since none of the top seeds are in the Final Four maybe that's a good thing. At least the NCAA has loosened its icy grip on me and I have my life back again. And Tony Soprano is out of his coma--our long national nightmare is over!
FAVORITE SPORTS NAMES: Although Canada's Stubby Clapp is an impressive moniker, it's hard to beat Japan's Kosuke Fukudome. As Deadspin quipped: "I think I saw a game at the Fukudome once." Right behind that is Atlanta Thrashers' defenseman Shane Hnidy, which is pronounced "nighty" as in "Nighty is draped all over him!"
It's finally happened. I've always wondered why every berry but the blueberry is used in making juice. After years of waiting, and countless threatening letters, blueberry juice is finally here! Of course, it's not 100% blueberry juice, but it's used in something called "Blueberry Cranberry Juice". Naturally, this means that it's mostly apple juice, part cranberry juice, and a splash of blueberry juice. But it's a start.
Kris pointed this out to me. WHAT MY BLOG IS WORTH(LESS):
I watched a little of the Leaves @ Devils game last night, and there was NO ONE IN THE ARENA. It says that attendance was 13,593, but it didn't look like half of that. Do they really think that attendance is going to be better when they move to Newark? Because I certainly won't be going down there to watch hockey. I might just end up becoming a Lowell Lock Monster fan. And the Devils aren't making the playoffs: you heard it here first. Maybe it's time they moved to Las Vegas or somewhere. That has a good ring to it: Sin City Devils.
The NCAA HOCKEY FROZEN FOUR looks like this: Maine (who beat Michigan State in an upset) vs. Wisconsin (who won in 3OT vs. Cornell), and Boston College (who upset BU) vs. North Dakota (who beat Cinderella #15 Holy Cross). If I say I'm rooting for the Black Bears, then they'll blow it. So I'm keeping it on the downlow.
Posted by Jeff K @ 11:04 AM
Sunday, March 26, 2006
What a completely excrutiating, but ultimately victorious, game by the Wildcats (I apologize to Rob and Karl for driving them crazy the entire time). Villanova edged BC in OT, 60-59, on Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight. BC led 9-0 early on, and 25-9 at one point in the first half, before Villanova cut it to 4 at the half, while going 0/8 from 3-pt land. They chipped away, though, and got their first lead with 2:18 left, and almost won it in regulation if not for an incredible block by BC's Sean Williams on a seemingly wide open Lowry 3-point attempt with 0:06 left. Then in OT, on an inbounds pass with 8 seconds left, Sheridan somehow ended up with a wide open layup under the basket; Williams blocked this shot too, but this time was called for goaltending to give Nova the basket and the win. I don't think I've ever seen a game end that way.
Villanova vs. Florida tonight, and the winner goes to the Final Four. All I know is that 35% shooting, including 4/19 from behind the 3 point arc, will NOT get you there. Man, this tourney is killing me, I don't know how much more I can take! I'm going to watch some golf (where Ames is trying to shake his "9&8" nickname at the Players) and forget about it for a while . . .
LET'S GO NOVA!
P.S. One other observation, which applies to every team: if you're up by 3 in the closing seconds, and the opposition has the ball, how about you FOUL ONE OF THEM? If they're not in the act of shooting, they can only get 2 free throws. It's happened about a half a dozen times in this tourney, and bitten the losing team in the ass every time.
Posted by Jeff K @ 3:18 PM
Saturday, March 25, 2006
I've often wondered what it would take to get these guys to reunite. Well, I guess it's not $5 million (which I consider it an insult, since ABBA was offered $1 billion back in 2000).
* * *
During a public Q&A session March 16 at the South By Southwest Music & Media Conference in Austin, Texas, Morrissey revealed that his former band, pioneering '80s alt-rockers the Smiths, recently rejected a $5 million offer to reunite at next month's Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival in Southern California. Seems Coachella organizers said please please please, but failed to get what they want.
When music journalist David Fricke, who was conducting the SXSW interview, asked the singer if he had seriously considered the offer, Morrissey replied, "No, because money doesn't come into it." Various other critically acclaimed, seminal acts--such as the Stooges, the Pixies, Gang Of Four, New Order, and Bauhaus--have either launched reunions or revived their careers with a much-hyped Coachella appearance. And judging by some of Morrissey's comments during his Fricke Q&A, he may have considered a Coachella reunion if his ex-bandmate, guitarist Johnny Marr, was also receptive.
Said Morrissey to Fricke, "[Being in the Smiths] was a fantastic journey. And then it ended. I didn't feel we should have ended. I wanted to continue. [Marr] wanted to end it. And that was that."
Morrissey's upcoming solo album, Ringleader Of The Tormentors, is out April 4 on Attack/Sanctuary Records, and will be supported by a European tour (including a six-week run of sold-out gigs in the U.K.) followed by North American trek. Meanwhile, a Smiths-free Coachella Festival will take place April 29-30, with a lineup that includes the Smiths' '80s peers Madonna and Depeche Mode as well as newer acts like Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sigur Ros, James Blunt, and Scissor Sisters.
* * *
Funny blog entry about this:
Morrissey, too, ruminated on the subject of longevity and communicating with his inner mope, er, muse: "If I horrified people and made them vomit, it's confirmation." While Neil was chatty and open, Morrissey was uncomfortable and slightly withdrawn.
High points: His vow of celibacy was overblown ("Every one goes through dry spells"). Fricke asked why he considered recording his new CD, Ringleader of the Tormentors, with Jeff Salzman, best known for the wave revivalism of the Killers. "I like his records," Morrissey reasoned.
The Smiths turned down $5 million to reform for Coachella 2006. His response: "Money doesn't come into it. When you start doing things for money, terrible things happen." He was promptly laughed out of the room, dragged out to Brush Square Park and burned at the stake by greedy executives chanting "Heretic!"
Later that night, Morrissey played songs off Ringleader and honored his past by playing four Smiths songs at the Austin Music Hall ("Still Ill," "Girlfriend in a Coma," "How Soon Is Now?" and "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"). For those yelling "contradiction," he gets a pass, because those songs are so damn good.
Posted by Jeff K @ 11:06 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006
Of course, I'm talking about Le Petit Écolier de Chocolate Blanc, my new favorite cookie. As for white basketball playing school boys, they took a serious collective hit yesterday in the NCAA tourney. The law firm of Morrison, Redick & Pittsnogel, the Three White Hopes, all had their teams ousted in a wild NCAA Thursday night. And with Bradley finally being ousted by Memphis, it was a bad night for white ballers everywhere.
Although I missed WVU/Texas (because my modem mysteriously crapped out DURING MY BLOG WRITING--grrrrrr), I did get to see Duke lose to LSU (yes, that was my best pick on my bracket, and I'm going to let everyone know it). I saw the replay of the WVU/Texas ending, with the Longhorns hitting a dramatic 3 at the buzzer to win it, after Pittsnogel had just tied it with a 3 at the other end mere seconds earlier. I also stayed up and watched UCLA/Gonzaga, during which those scrappy Jesuits snatched defeat from the jaws of crap, as they say. They were leading by 17 at one point in the second half, and were up by 9 with < 3:00 left, and then they crashed and burned and didn't score again. I felt bad for Adam "Mr. 'Stache" Morrison, who was CRYING even before this thing was over (before they nearly won it on a full court bomb pass and shot at the buzzer)--although he no longer gets my sympathy once he gets his $7 million NBA signing bonus. Regardless, I was hoping they'd pull it off, and I certainly didn't want Bill Walton to leave happy. I left feeling that UCLA isn't that great . . . but what do I know? At the start, I didn't see Texas or UCLA doing well . . . so that means they're probably going to get to the Final Four. Along with Wichita State and Georgetown--oh boy, that would be fun.
As for tonight, it's Villanova vs. Boston College in an old school Big East matchup, and bet on someone saying the phrase "contrasting styles" about 3 nanoseconds into this contest. BC is tough down low, which could be rough for Nova, unless Sheridan and Cunningham can play like they did against Zona. At least this game is in the "happy hour sweet spot", as Rob put it, so I've got that going for me, which is nice. I actually have an outside chance to win the one ca$h pool I'm in, provided I get all of the rest of my picks correct (and you know what that means--but we won't go there), including UConn winning tonight. Of course, I'd be just as happy if they lose, and I can finally torch my bracket and shoot the fucking ashes into space.
Awful Devils game last night, they were up 4-1 with 9 minutes left. I assuming everything was going to plan, so I switched to the NCAA--only to discover that 5 minutes later it's 4-4. They lost 6-5 in OT, sort of a foreshadowing of Gonzaga's collapse. Marty is in a slump (and their D isn't great either), and I'm thinking they might not even make the playoffs. I might become a Lowell Loch Monster fan.
On to golf: The Players Championship is underway, and can you feel the fury of Jim "Hitch" Furyk? I hope so, because
he leads after 2. Owen also rebounded nicely after his awful putting display last week. BTW, I saw people playing golf at Rotella here in beautiful Pomona yesterday. When do those Koreans ever work? They're always there, no matter what time/day. My theory is that they sprouted up out of the ground like dormant plants, clubs already in hand. It's eerie shit.
Posted by Jeff K @ 4:35 PM
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Thanks to the great Jersey Joe Davis (who seriously needs to update his blog), here's a link to T.O.'s "I'm Back" Cowboys rap. Phenomenal, this is definitely going on my MP3 player. This gives everyone a reason to hate the Cowboys, if you didn't already, and his "haters" more ammo. What a dick.
Well, it's over before it even started. The 2006 baseball season has already been predicted by several computer models on this blog. This is like the Farmer's Almanac of Baseball. And since Japan has already proved that they play the BEST baseball in the world anyway, it's just as well. Okay, now that that's all wrapped up, we can go watch some golf and hockey instead. Wait a sec--Grady Little's Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles will win the NL West? WTF is that computer smoking? I think one of the computers used was the Frinkiac 7. "Well, sure, the Frinkiac 7 looks impressive--don't TOUCH it! But I predict that within one hundred years computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." (slick segue)
10,000 Maniacs will be appearing at Vertigo in Nyack on 3/31/06. And no, Natalie Merchant will not be there, and neither will guitarist Robert Buck (since he's dead). First of all, they shouldn't even be allowed to use that name (how about 9,998 Maniacs?). Second of all, who are we going to see that night, original drummer Jerome Augustyniak? (Hey, don't laugh. I met him backstage at the Garden State Arts Center on 9/17/89 while waiting for Natalie, who never showed up. Anyway, he was a nice guy. Maybe he'll remember me.) FYI, Tilbrook & Gaines will also be there on 4/7. That's right, Glen Tilbrook from Squeeze, and Jeffrey Gaines from, uhm, I don't know what's on his resume exactly, but I think he covered "In Your Eyes" about 5 years ago. Personally, I'd rather see Garth Brooks' alter ego, Chris Gaines, which goes on my list of "Top 10 Career Miscalculations Of All Time".
How long do you have to be a coach before people can call you "coach"? Because I heard them call John Thompson "Coach" on the radio the other day, a title which he has most definitely earned (unlike the title "President", which very few deserve to be called after they leave the White House). But they certainly don't call Dick Vitale "Coach", even though he was one. Maybe it's because of his 30-52 record coaching the Pistons in 1978-79, and his subsequent firing 12 games into the next season, which led him to sign on with ESPN (he can't coach, so that means he's a basketball expert?). Or perhaps it's because he's paid to watch college basketball AND HE'S BLIND IN ONE EYE? BTW, I love when sports talk guys "break down the brackets" for the Sweet 16, even though they only got 7 of 16 correct when called on for their "expertise" last week. Ridiculous. They should be forced to stick with the crap teams they raved about before the tourney started. For instance, my breakdown for the Round of 16: "This young Kansas team should be able to take care of an overrated Memphis team, while NC is a LOCK to beat Tennessee . . . " Did I mention that Kansas and Iowa (and the whole shitty overrated Big Ten) can go to straight to Hell for all I care?
The Simpsons has been renewed for two more seasons by FOX. That means we're talking Seasons 18 and 19--yikes. Also, the episode to be shown on March 26th, "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", was written and directed by (and guest stars) 'The Office' creator Ricky Gervais.
This is completely looney: Coyote caught in Central Park. For a while, those ACME rocket powered rollerskates were working out for him. But eventually, they managed to catch him by setting a roadrunner loose as a decoy, and then dropping a huge boulder on him. (I thought of this joke before I clicked to see they already used "wily" in the title of the article. Damn. I'm sure everyone thought the same thing.)
Posted by Jeff K @ 3:27 PM
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Everyone says (well, at least the other tech geeks on avsforum.com) that the Masters is the best sporting event to experience in HD, and CBS continually gets high praise for its broadcasts. Well, this year they've upped the ante and added 10 handheld HD cameras, which is the main reason why most golf tournaments are NOT in HD. Can't wait!
THE MASTERS® TOURNAMENT AND CBS SPORTS TO PRESENT 18-HOLE COVERAGE OF 2006 MASTERS ® IN HDTV WITH LARGEST HIGH DEFINITION GOLF PRODUCTION
For the fourth year, CBS’s standard analog and HDTV productions of the 2006 Masters Tournament will be unified and will provide 18-hole coverage in HDTV's highest definition format with 5.1 Channel Surround Sound.
In the largest HDTV golf production, CBS Sports will utilize 54 high definition cameras including, for the first time, 10 hand-held HDTV cameras. The unified productions will be produced in HDTV's highest definition format, 1080i, and downconverted for the CBS Television Network's analog broadcast. This production technique also produces a better quality analog picture. Whether watching in widescreen HD or traditional 4x3 analog, viewers will hear the same golf announcers and see the same camera angles, replays and graphics.
The 2000 Masters on CBS was the first golf tournament ever presented live in HDTV on network television. The 2003 Masters marked the first time that the standard and HDTV productions of the Tournament were unified.
CBS Sports will broadcast the 2006 Masters on the CBS Television HD Network on Thursday, April 6 and Friday, April 7 (4:00-7:00 PM, ET, each day) and Saturday, April 8 (3:30-7:00 PM, ET) and Sunday, April 9 (2:30-7:00 PM, ET) live from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. The third and final rounds of the Masters will be broadcast simultaneously in standard definition by CBS Sports on the analog CBS Television Network.
Beginning in 1993 the Masters experimented with HDTV on a limited basis to discover how the new system could improve the presentation of the Tournament to the television audience. The 2006 Masters broadcast will be presented in the highest form of HDTV with 1080 lines of resolution and over two million picture elements which makes it six times sharper than standard definition television.
Two hundred and fifteen of CBS's owned and affiliated stations are currently broadcasting in digital, covering 99.99 percent of the nation.
March 14, 2006
Posted by Jeff K @ 12:39 PM
Monday, March 20, 2006
A crappy bracket and $20 dollars deeper in debt. NCAARRGGHH!!!
As the dust settles after a dizzying upset-laden first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, and the smoke clears after burning my horrible bracket sheets, let's take a look at who's still alive in the NCAA tourney. All the #1 seeds advanced, including Villanova, who beat a scrappy Arizona team on Sunday to make it to the Sweet 16. (I don't understand how a #1 seed who wins two games gets rewarded by having to travel to Minnesota, while #11 George Mason gets to play at home in D.C., but maybe that's just me.) While the Ron Mexico bracket got Pittsnogeled, the District is missing their #2, #3 and #4 seeds, which should make it relatively easy for UConn to reach the Final Four (if GAY decides to play like a MAN). The Black Hole features an intriguing #3 Gonzaga/#2 UCLA matchup, and the weakest #1 seed, Memphis, gets a pesky Bradley Braves team.
Speaking of, the Missouri Valley Conference made the most of their at large bids, with Bradley and Wichita State playing excellent ball, causing Jim Nantz to, uhm, sort of apologized, saying his "words didn't play in Peoria". I guess he was trying to be funny (Bradley is located there), but JUST ONCE I wish these guys would say, "I was completely wrong, sorry about ripping the selection committee, great job guys!" But at least he said SOMETHING; Billy Packer, on the other hand, was completely silent regarding the matter. Oh, and while we're at it, screw the Big Ten (the #1 conference according to the RPI, which means it's as good a statistical tool as the useless BCS) and all their crappy bracket-killing teams (bye bye, Ohio State, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana!). And let's face it, the ACC only sent Duke to the Sweet 16, because BC is still a Big East team as far as I'm concerned.
Again, what is the argument for wanting more big conference teams and less mid-majors in the Dance? The whole reason we watch is for the chance that these smaller schools will knock off the big guys, like Northwestern State burying a 3 from the corner to beat Iowa, and Bradley completely outplaying both Kansas and Pitt. We tune in to watch the underdogs try to pull off the huge upset, like the Albany Great Danes hanging tough against UConn, even though we know they were going to lose since Scooby Doo is their mascot. Personally, I want to watch a tournament that features schools from every conference, including those I didn't know existed and certainly couldn't locate on a map, because that's what makes it the greatest sporting event in the world. Otherwise, let's call it the "ACC/Big Ten/Big 12/Big East/Pac 10/SEC Bracket Challenge", and send everyone else to the NIT.
Our annual First Round Friday was another successful endeavor, with James Joyce hosting this year's festivities. It did get off to a slow start, though, as Rob called a cab to pick us up from his apartment, and the driver promptly missed the entrance to the Tappan Zee Bridge. When we pointed this out, he said "he had to get gas"--fair enough, since it's not a short trip. But after driving past 3 gas stations and back into the town of Nyack, we asked him where in hell he was taking us. He then explained that he got a ticket while picking up his lunch, and and he had to go back to talk to the cops. Are you kidding me? And when exactly was he planning on telling us this? So I told him just to drop us off at O'Malley's, and from there we WALKED to another cab company to finally get over the river. Unbelievable.
Anyway, all was well once we finally made it to White Plains, and our enviable spot at the end of the bar at JJ was hard to beat (and it was a good place for Sean Keenan to spend his first St. Patrick's Day). It ended up being a 9 hour long drink-a-thon, which prompted Rob to ask the next day if he'd been hit by a bus; I couldn't remember, but I know we were hit with 4 cabs. However, the next morning I ended up with an expected hangover and an unexpected $20 parking ticket. That's what I get for doing the right thing, not driving and crashing at Rob's place, and committing the sin of leaving my car there from 3:00-6:00 AM. This is one reason why people end up drinking and driving, because they make it so incredibly difficult and expensive. Why can't cities pay for the cabs? They make more than enough money on parking tickets (which go up every month, it seems). Or make it a free service as long as the bar calls the cab for you, and give them a tax break in return. Instead, I get an "alternate side" ticket for sleeping it off. Seriously, did they want me to get behind the wheel after drinking all day? You can't win.
Just a couple of questions for CBS regarding their NCAA coverage:
1) Why is it so hard to figure out what games are going to be on? Yes, the highest seeded team of local interest is usually featured, but on Thursday I realized late in the game that the CBS analog channel was showing a different game (Iona vs. LSU) than the HD channel (George Mason vs. UNC-Wilmington); of course, nobody mentions this, and there's no easy way to find out this info. Why must they treat it as if it's a big secret? And while the MMOD was pretty good, it blacks out the game that the local affiliate is showing--I thought the point was that you could watch this if you WEREN'T near a TV.
2) Can we show more of the actual game, instead of constant cutaway reaction shots of the coaches' wives (I could honestly pick the Alabama and UCLA wives out of a lineup, if necessary) and Rollie Massimino?
3) When a team calls a 30 second timeout at the very end of a tight game, JUST ONCE CAN YOU STAY WITH THE GAME INSTEAD OF SHOWING ANOTHER FRIGGING COMMERCIAL? I know, you guys paid $8 billion for the tourney, but how about you let the game breathe a little, so we can feel a little of the tension in the arena, take a look at how the two teams and see how they're setting up to win the game, instead of interrupting it to cram another ad down our throats? And it's the same sickening commercials over and over again, the worst of which is the "Applebee's guys", as Deadspin would concur. Watching/listening to those two fucking dorks not only DOESN'T make me want to eat shrimp at that awful restaurant, it also makes me want to blow my brains out. Of course, not before I shoot them both first . . . after which I would probably feel considerably better and change my mind about killing myself.
* * *
I realize that this blog entry is a little NCAA-centric, so let me mix it up a little with some golf and mention how awful I felt about Greg Owen's collapse on the 17th and 18th holes at the Bay Hill Tournament yesterday. The article and accompanying photo says it all.
Standing on the tee at the par-3 17th hole, Owen was cruising along at 6-under par for the day, and he led Pampling by a stroke after beginning the final round four behind the determined Aussie. Though Owen missed the green just short, Pampling's approach sailed long and eventually he bogeyed. After a stellar chip to three feet, Owen had destiny on his putter. Make the putt and he is up two with one to go.
But he missed the putt. Then, without lining up the 2-foot comeback try, he inexplicably missed again, the ball circumnavigating the cup and sitting defiantly on the lip. Double bogey. The two men were tied. Owen was tied up in knots.
Even Pampling was in shock. "You never want to see anyone do that," he said. Pampling would make a routine par at the 18th. Owen, after hitting his second shot on the difficult par-4 home hole into the back left bunker, splashed out to 13 feet. His par putt to tie was in ... until the last few inches, and then it, too, hit the lip and spun out. After firing a third-round 67 that put him in the third of the hunt Saturday, Owen, who has a home in nearby Windermere, said, "the golfing gods will tell me if it's my time to win."
We've all had something similar happen to us, but a horrible three-putt never cost anyone $396,000 dollars. In fact, I felt worse for him than I did for Iowa Hawkeyes fans on Friday.
This final story is something that filled me with great joy: I know, it's way too freaking early to talk about the NFL, but the Dallas Cowobys signed Terrell Owens for three years. It couldn't happen to a nicer team! Considering his track record, seeing how SF and Philly ended up after he left, and adding his tremendous ego to those of Jones and Parcells, how could anything possibleye go wrong? Uhm, possibly. Anyway, good luck, Bill!
Posted by Jeff K @ 4:00 PM
Thursday, March 16, 2006
It's finally that time, less than an hour away from the beginning of TOTAL MADNESS!!! It's like the first day of Christmas for college basketball fans. Or maybe it's Thanksgiving, and the final four is Christmas Eve. Either way, that Wildcat logo scares me, and hopefully it instills the same fear in the rest of the field. Deadspin gave a little shout-out to Villanova on their Mall Of America region breakdown: "We love Villanova and think the college basketball world is a better place when the Wildcats are good." Couldn't have said it better myself.
By the way, why do people that work at bars have absolutely no clue about sporting events? Sure, they don't mind people coming in to watch them, and they frequently run "promo" specials during them, but they don't know when anything is on, what channels are what, or if they even have access to it. It's irritating (and don't get me started with the whole "HD" fiasco). I called the Lexington Pub & Grill yesterday afternoon to find out if they have "Mega March Madness", the DirecTV package that gives you access to every game during the first couple of rounds. Here's our basic conversation:
ME: "Hi! For the NCAA tournament this weekend, do you have the Mega March Madness?"
WOMAN AT LEX: "Yeah, we have satellite, cable, and so we usually get everything."
ME: "But that's a package that DirecTV has, did you guys sign up for that?"
WOMAN AT LEX: "Oh, really? I don't know, and I'm the only one here."
(even though there's someone in the background that she's talking to after every question I ask)
ME: "Can I talk to someone who knows?"
WOMAN AT LEX: "Call the night bartender at 7, maybe they know."
AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Why why why why can't anyone GET IT RIGHT?!?!? Rob said that maybe we're the only ones who care, but I think that's a lame excuse, because if you own a bar, and most of your patrons watch sports, YOU SHOULD CARE.
Oh, my picks are going to suck again this year, making it about 20 years in a row without winning it all. Has everyone signed up for CBS/NCAA MMOD? I did, but who knows if I can even get in. Oh well.
LET THE MADNESS BEGIN!
Posted by Jeff K @ 11:20 PM
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
We're down to less than 24 hours to the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, and about 50 hours until Villanova plays their first round game at the Wachovia Center (which is technically not their "backyard" or "house", despite the reports). Can you feel the excitement? Can you smell the fear? Can you taste the rainbow? More NCAA trivia that I gleaned (stole) from Deadspin.com:
• Georgetown used to be called the "Hilltoppers" before writers for the school paper shortened it to "Hoyas" (huh???);
• A Saluki, the Southern Illinois mascot, is a breed of dog originating from Egypt;
• The hideous striped clown pants that Indiana wears during warmups are only $144.99 (plus S&H);
• The Academic Final Four (the top 4 teams that have the highest graduating percentage) are Bucknell, UNC-Wilmington, Illinois and Villanova. Congratulations, 2006 National Champions, the Bucknell Bison!
Of course, don't miss the Deadpsin Pants Party factoids about Villanova and Monmouth.
* * *
The Monmouth Hawks beat Hampton Pirates in the "play-in game" last night for the priviledge to face #1 Villanova in the Wachovia Center on Friday. According to CBS Sportsline, this is "the first NCAA tournament win for a NEC team since 1984". Are they really considering the play-in game a "tournament game"? Because I'm not. But they can raise a banner if they want. Knock yourself out.
Chris Kenny set an opening-round record with six 3-pointers (again, is this really the "first round"? I don't think so), but the most intriguing player was Hawks junior John Bunch, who had 5 blocks and easily dwarfed the other players on the court at 7' 2" and 320 pounds. Apparently, he never played high school ball and was working at a movie theater showing "Ice Age" when a college coach's wife noticed him and passed his name along. Wow.
* * *
Miss Deaf Texas was struck and killed by train, despite the engineer repeatedly sounding the horn to warn her. Well, uhm, I don't think she heard it.
* * *
This blog has done an exhaustive (and exhausting) analysis of the baseball game in the classic 1946 cartoon "Baseball Bugs". Among the facts of the game:
• The Gorillas hold a 54-0 lead after four innings. That is far ahead of the previous all-time scoring record for a team in a game (held by the Chicago Colts, who scored 36 against Louisville in four innings on June 29th, 1897).
• For some reason, the Gorillas are allowed to smoke cigars during play.
• In the carnage, even Gorilla coaches, bat boys and other uniformed staff are able to bat and hit against the weak Tea Totaller pitching.
• We are introduced to both the shabby state of the grounds keeping and of stadium security at the Polo Grounds, as we see an angry rabbit (Bugs Bunny, RHP/UT) is able to heckle the visiting team from left field, where he has dug a fairly substantial hole.
• Bunny’s pitching line: 5 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3K, 0 BB, 0 HR.
• One Gorillas hitter uses the largest bat ever known to be used in a baseball game — actually a tree — estimated to be 20 feet long, three feet in diameter and just shy of 5,000 pounds.
I don't know what to say except: outstanding!
* * *
In the world of post-Olympic NHL hockey, the Devils and Rangers have both hit the skids. Last night, the Islanders beat the Devils for the 6th time in 8 tries (!) this season, and Marty "Team Canada" Brodeur gave up 5 goals on 23 shots. Meanwhile, the Rangers have lost 6 in a row, the latest a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the first place Carolina Hurricanes, who have the league's best home record (a stellar 27-5-1 in Raleigh). This effectively cancels out the 7 game winning streak that preceded it. During the 7 wins, Jagr had 15 points (9 G, 6 A), while he has only 3 points (2 G, 1 A) during the 6 losses. I still hope these two teams meet in the playoffs, but I wouldn't etch their names in the Cup just yet. The Sabres continue to play well, however . . .
* * *
On 3/3/2006, it was 19° overnight. On 3/10/2006, it was 70° during the day. This Friday, 3/17, they're forecasting 36° and snow. Yes, the Earth is completely off kilter and spinning off its axis, so we should be hurtling into the Sun at any minute. Just wanted to warn you. I would recommend you pack some SPF 50 and a goose down parka.
Posted by Jeff K @ 12:20 PM
Monday, March 13, 2006
It's finally here!!!
The 2006 NCAA tournament starts this Thursday! I'm not going to mince words here: this is my favorite sporting event of the year, the only one for which I happily burn a personal day to properly enjoy. And with my alma mater Villanova University earning one of the four coveted #1 seeds, it should be an extra special, and emotionally draining, hoops hullabaloo. The 'Cats play in the early afternoon on NCAA First Round Friday, which also coincides with St. Patrick's Day this year--in other words, it's going to be a long day, and a long weekend as they scrap and claw to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. My friends and family probably won't want to talk to me until this thing is over.
You may have heard about 'Nova guard Allan Ray's eye injury in their Big East Tourney loss to Pitt on Saturday. But as painful as it is to read about (Coach Jay Wright says "the knuckle got underneath his eye"--yeeouch!), you really need to see the eye-popping injury for yourself, right here! Someone said that white thing you see is his eyelid folding back, others say it's his eyeball coming out of the socket. Either way, it hurts just looking at it. But he apparently suffered no corneal damage and he's cleared to play without needing goggles. Yikes.
Whenever this tourney comes around, it seems everyone has some bone to pick with the NCAA, from Bryant Gumbel bitching about the money the big conferences get, to every "analyst" with a pulse is steaming over who got picked and who got overlooked. I even purposely timed it so I was in the car during the CBS Selection Show, because it's turned into a drawn out circus of a show, with excruciating "live reaction shots" a-plenty. I heard Jim Nantz jumped out of his pants when he heard the Missouri Valley Conference got as many teams as the ACC (4), Clark Kellogg picked all four #1 seeds to make the Final Four (has he ever seen the tourney before?) and that Billy Packer may have been drunk, as he talked about the Arizona-Wisconsin matchup . . . which they hadn't announced yet. Oops. Of course, I was stuck listening to Mike Francesser and the Angry Puppy on the radio (who was livid about Hofstra's omission--oh, please), so I didn't escape unscathed. Screw them all, I'm not letting them shit on my parade.
Deadspin, bless their little souls, has done a cracking bang-up job with their NCAA Tournament "Pants Party" previews of the matchups, with an army of writers giving facts about the schools that you can't get anywhere else, like:
* Iona's 94 year old trainer J.B. Buono, who claims to have had sex with Hitler's main squeeze Eva Braun;
* UCLA is only 3-4 against teams with "S" or "H" in their names (21-2 otherwise, meaning they certainly don't want to face Memphis or Kansas);
* The Wichita State Shockers mascot, WuShock, is a shock of wheat, and is not affiliated in anyway with the "three finger shocker".
And folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Deadspin even has their own printable bracket (pick J.J Redick!), and a Deadspin Pants Party ESPN bracket group (which I joined) with group names like "On A Mission From God Shammgod", "Bilas Loves Length", "Candygram for Mongo" and "Allan Ray's Good Eye". God bless Deadspin, I don't know how I lived without them.
At the other end of the spectrum, ESPN has become an embarrassment in a myriad of ways, and this holds true with the NCAA tournament too. This is probably because they can't show the games anymore (CBS spent over $6 BILLION for the rights through 2011), but they're out of touch, and reduced to sitting on their hands watching CBS just like everyone else. The best they could do on Selection Sunday is to fly Dick Vitale from the Big 10 Tournament to the ESPN studio two hours later to get his insight. Well, it appears his insight didn't make the flight, as it appeared that he didn't even have time to read the brackets on the way (he kept asking where Cincinnati was--uhm, they didn't make it). Also, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi needs to find another job after stinking up the joint this year (they even removed the link to this page). For some reason, he also had sub-par St. Joseph's as a bubble team--oh, and he just happens to be the assistant vice president for university communications there! Conflict of interest anyone?
As for the brackets, I still hate the "city" names for the four regions (Atlanta, Oakland, Washington DC, Minneapolis), so I'm renaming them Ron Mexico, Black Hole, The District, and the Mall Of America regions. Thankfully, they're going back to the old school names next year. But overall, I think it's a pretty good looking field, and I would watch out for Iowa, UConn, and LSU. And don't count out Ohio State, UNC, and of course, Villanova. V for Villanova, V for Victory!!!
At least, that's what I'm hoping.
Posted by Jeff K @ 10:12 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I read that this "Lazy Sunday" video was "funniest thing in the last 5 years on SNL". Oh yeah? Personally, I thought Ashlee Simpson's lip synching fuck up was hilarious. But when someone said it was "better than 'More Cowbell'", I had to seek it out and see for myself. Well, in my opinion, it's right up there. We love the Chronic-(WHAT?)-cles of Narnia! You could call us Aaron Burr by the way we're droppin' Hamiltons! (DivX codec needed to view) (streaming version here)
In my e-travels, I also found some other videos, like this live action Simpsons opening montage. A lot of Brits had too much time on their hands making this one. Well done, old boy! (I see this is actually featured on Yahoo today, but I started this back on March 9, way ahead of them. So there.)
Hockey clips are always enjoyable, especially this empty net goal breakaway--oops.
From "The Colbert Report", Stephen Colbert debates the topic of torture with a "Formidable Opponent"--himself.
And I had no idea that Natalie Portman has a dirty mouth.
Posted by Jeff K @ 10:41 PM
Friday, March 10, 2006
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
New York Islander Miroslav Satan's wife just hatched what appears to be a normal baby boy. Contrary to rumors, they named their Satanic beelzebaby "Miroslav, Jr." and NOT Damien. On the ice, Satan seems to have the number of the Devils' Brodeur, as he scored shootout goals to help the Isles win the last two meetings against the Devils. And I have to say, it's kind of bizarre to see the Rangers and Sabres in the top 6 of the SI.com NHL power rankings, but there it is. The Rangers would meet the Devils in the first round of the playoffs "if the season ended today". I love that statement, and one of these days they should actually do that:
"Yeah, hi, is this the Anaheim Mighty Ducks? This is Commissioner Bettman, and I've decided that we're going to end the season today. Well, I just think everyone is just kind of bored with it, and it's Sweeps Month so I think it's time we start the Stanley Cup playoffs. I hope this weekend works for you guys. Thanks! Oh, and call the next team on the list, I think it's Atlanta."
* * *
In order for this blog to live up to Kris Salo's R-rating (I thought it was a solid PG-13), let me just say FUCK Barry Bonds' "man bag" AND baseball, and screw the NFL labor talks, it's time for the 2006 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT. In the first game, Syracuse knocked Cincinnati out of it on a stunning 3 pointer by Jerry McNamara with 0.3 seconds left to kick it off in mad crazy style. They'll meet UConn tomorrow, and the rest of the matchups are:
Villanova vs. Rutgers/S. Hall winner, Marquette vs. Georgetown/ND winner, W. Virginia vs. Pitt/Louisville winner. Of course, this means more to the bubble teams (the Hall, the Cuse, the Bearcats), than those already in the Big Dance. But since there's a chance 8 teams could represent this conference come Selection Sunday, you're not going to find more college basketball talent in one building than MSG will feature this weekend. Pure madness!
Here are the full Division I men's basketball standings so you can get your bracketology started early, and reacquaint yourself with the Salukis, the Great Danes, and the Quakers. Oral Roberts? You bet!
* * *
Here are the SI.com Golf Power Rankings! Okay, this list actually sucks (most of the "Top 9" are a joke, with two women, a commentator and a caddie in there), but at least it's golf. I liked Penn & Teller's Ford commercials, which injected some humor into an otherwise dull, Tiger's-got-it-locked-up, final round.
Speaking of, it's now only ONE MONTH TO THE MASTERS, which will be the first golf tournament we'll get to see broadcast in glorious widescreen HD. Apparently some of the greats are ripping the new changes to the old Augusta course. According to the April issue of Golf Digest, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are both "disappointed that they've not been consulted on any of the recent changes that have occurred to the course, despite the fact that (or maybe because) they're both golf course architects. Nicklaus says some changes, which were supervised by consulting golf architect Tom Fazio, looked as if they were done 'by somebody who doesn't know how to play golf.'"
Ouch. I don't think these statements are completely fair; I think the older players are not really in touch with today's game, and may be a little blinded by their own nostalgia. First of all, there's no avoiding the fact that these courses have to be made longer; Nicklaus sells his own brand of golf clubs, so he should know how much the equipment has changed this game. I watched Villegas hit the green on the 245 yard par 3 13th with a freaking 5 iron, and this is a guy who, compared to the rest of the field, is built like a jockey (5' 9"/160). At 7,445 yards, the par 72 Augusta National course is 155 yards longer than it was in 2005, and 520 yards more than in 1997 (Tiger's first win). The six holes changed this year have all had the tee boxes moved back, anywhere from 10 to 35 yards. Of course, length isn't the only way to make a course more challenging: increasing the length of the second cut of rough, and making the putting surface quicker, both can work.
Regardless, there's no way to compare today's clubs and courses to the days when Arnie and the Golden Bear ruled the roost with their persimmon woods and mashie niblicks, so I think we're going to have to live with it. At least they're moving the tee boxes back to make it harder, and not moving the fences in, turning their sport into a cartoonish shell of its former self (Major League Baseball, I'm looking at you).
* * *
It cracks me up when people get aggressively hideous tattoos just to draw attention to themselves. However, it's even funnier when they get "Asian" symbols permanently grafted to their skin when they're not even sure what they mean. This website attempts to translate into English some of the Japanese and Chinese characters that people are getting inked nowadays. Some of the results, unbeknownst to the recipient, are quite funny and completely unreadable and/or nonsensical, like the fake Justin Timberlake tat that says "ice skating" (which is meant to make him look "bad ass" for a movie role). Oh, and be sure to check out Engrish.com, for the unintentionally hilarious attempts by various Asian businesses to encorporate English into their ads and signs (which is the opposite of the above website).
Posted by Jeff K @ 2:38 PM
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
The sense of smell, they say, is very closely tied to memory. Well, the other day I had some Orville Redenbacher's Microwave Popcorn (not my first choice, but Target doesn't have non-microwaveable popcorn, for some odd reason), and the smell wafting from the kitchen reminded me of playing computer games in my teenage years, in the house on Craig Street in Hazlet, NJ where I spent my formative years (10-18). Very strange. Sweet Jebus, what hallucinogens does Orville put in that shit?
The funniest thing is the actual games I used to spend hours upon hours playing, like Lode Runner and Ultima III. I mean, just take a look at this crap screen shot of the "pub" in this ancient RPG. This is the full color version, which I couldn't even enjoy on the amber monochrome screen of my old IBM Portable PC. This game was so primitive yet so addicting, and imminently playable, a quality lacking in most games. It's hard to believe, but I used to play this until dawn during the summer, when I was 15 or so. I even remembered my foolproof way of avoiding the death of your characters: just eject the 5¼" floppy disk from the drive before it got a chance to save it; since there was no hard drive, this worked every time! Check out the specs on this bad boy:
Introduced: February 1984
Price: US $4225
Weight: 30 pounds
CPU: Intel 8088 @ 4.77MHz
RAM: 256K, 640K max
Display: 9-inch amber display, CGA graphics, 80 X 25 text
Storage: Two 360KB 5.25-inch disk drives
Ports: 1 parallel, 1 serial, CGA video
OS: IBM PC-DOS Version 2.10 (disk)
That's right, the processor ran at a blazing fast 4.77MHz, whereas the average CPU in 2006 is 3GHz, or 3000MHz, which is about 628 times faster. Add to that the included memory being 1000 times less than today, and this gives you some idea as to how far personal computing has come. There were many other games that I played on this thing over the years, like early EA games like "Dr. J vs. Bird One-on-One", "Earl Weaver Baseball" (the first to feature MLBPA players, and actual ballpark dimensions), "Archon" and "King's Quest III". Of course, there were also the text-based adventure games like "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Zork", which I never finished. But Lode Runner was one of the first ones I remember playing, and Ultima III was the first one I lost a lot of sleep over.
Sorry, that was my geek moment for the day. I just had to get that out.
Posted by Jeff K @ 3:02 PM
Monday, March 6, 2006
The ninth season of CBS' Amazing Race is underway, and if you haven't watched yet, I'll give you at least one reason. Actually, Kris pointed this out and I was thinking it myself: Desiree (of Team Wanda & Desiree) is a dead ringer for Natalie Portman. And by that, I mean to say she's pretty HOT (even if she's not in HD). I also think he said he'd nail her 40 year old mom too.
If that's not enough, go read host Phil Keogan's Amazing blog, where you can learn astonishing things about the Amazing Race. For instance:
"I’ve had a good breakfast. Always a good way to start any Race. For some reason a good breakfast burrito seems to work best."
Outstanding! He also said he loves "checking out the backpacks", if you know what I mean (wink wink). He stared at Lake & Michelle's "luggage" and liked what he saw, saying their "bags" were "the most condensed, very tidy looking" (nudge nudge). Oh wait, I think Lake is a guy. Never mind.
* * *
Speaking of amazing, it's less than a month before the baseball season, and the Amazin' Mets' "Sports Net New York" network is nowhere to be found; there's been no advertising of any sort, it doesn't show up in a Google search, and there's no definitive statement if any cable/satellite provider is even carrying it. I think the Mets new slogan should be "Hard To Believe Fans Show Up At Shea!" Meanwhile, YES Network is showing daily preseason content, including spring training games (even repeating them TWICE!!!) and a new show called "Yankees Batting Practice Today". Wow, that sounds fantastic. Be sure not to miss FUNGO FRIDAYS!
* * *
They have a theme for "The Simpsons" on FOX this week: rock star episodes! They are as follows:
Flaming Moe (Aerosmith)
E-I-E-I-Annoyed Grunt (?)
Barting Over (Blink 182)
The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer (Johnny Cash)
How I Spent My Strummer Vacation (Elvis Costello, Mick Jagger, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, Keith Richards and Brian Setzer)
Pranksta Rap (featuring 50 Cent!)
So no "Homerpalooza", R.E.M., Spinal Tap or Red Hot Chili Peppers? And how about "Tale of Two Springfields", with our ample parking and our daily Who concerts? Eh, I guess I could go on for days--at least there's no Kid Rock. Johnny Cash, as the Coyote, is a bit of a stretch, but it's a classic episode in which Homer hallucinates after eating a Guatamalan Insanity Pepper, and wonders if Marge is his soulmate. Wait--what rock band is in the "tomacco" episode?
* * *
Tiger Woods won the Ford Prefect Doral Championship this weekend in relatively easy fashion, only needing bogeys on the final two holes to seal the deal. He was paired with Phil "FIGJAM" Mickelson on Saturday, and Lefty quickly plummeted off the leader board, finishing off the day shanking a ball into the "blue monster" on the 18th. On the final day, David Toms unleashed a horrible putt one group in front of Tiger on the 18th, and he'd eventually 3-putt to put him out of contention.
Camilo Villegas, a 24 old kid from Colombia, made a splash finishing tied for 2nd while wearing a snazzy (read: hideous) white outfit with orange shoes and belt, and was a big hit with the Latino and gay communities in Miami. This made me realize that it must be nice to be from a Latin country, because almost this entire Western Hemisphere (except for Canada and a a few sections of the USA) are a built-in fan base. Americans, on the other hand, only have other Americans rooting for them. And half of them don't like Tiger. I'm guessing this is out of jealousy, or maybe it's that his intensity drains the fun out of golf for most people (either/or). As for the rest of the field, I think they're once again afraid of him. Can't wait for the Masters, which is thankfully NOT on Easter Sunday this year, so I can watch it (IN HD!), and not listen to updates while driving home from Maine.
(Sidenote: Phil Mickelson is growing his hair long, because he said his wife likes it. What a sissy. Meanwhile, Tiger is KICKING EVERYONE'S ASS ON THE GOLF COURSE. Makes you think.)
Posted by Jeff K @ 9:33 PM
Sunday, March 5, 2006
Division I state quarterfinal: Suffern defeats Shenendehowa (Section 2) 3-2 in OT
By JAKE THOMASES
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: March 5, 2006)
MONSEY — Twice, a Daniels goal was immediately followed by the end-of-period buzzer. The first time, Justin Daniels put Suffern on the board as the first period expired. The second time, Drew Daniels' goal marked the end of the fourth period. Overtime, and Shenendehowa's season, came to a buzzing halt.
If you invested in blue and white face paint recently, the money should be rolling in. A packed Sport-O-Rama was again treated to a Suffern thriller, as the Mounties turned aside Shenendehowa 3-2 in overtime.
If the painted hordes are going to watch their heroes in the hockey state semifinals they'll need to fill their gas tanks. The final four takes place at Utica Memorial Auditorium on Saturday. Suffern, ranked No. 2 in the state, will face Section 5 champion Aquinas of Rochester, which is ranked fifth.
"Like I said last week, a lot of overtime goals aren't pretty," Mounties coach Rob Schelling said. "That one was pretty." It was after Mike Conklin's long slap shot ended a double-overtime extravaganza with Clarkstown North in the sectional final that Schelling made his assessment of overtime goals. Drew Daniels countered that with yesterday's game winner.
One minute and fifty-four seconds into the extra session, Daniels had the puck inadvertently batted to him as he stood alone near the right corner. Before the opposition could recover, he came at goalie Dan Patell, skating all the way across net to the left side before clanking a wrister off the left post.
"I saw he didn't really play the angle right, so I toe-dragged him," he said. "Got lucky, beat the goalie."
Drew vies with his brother for title of best puckhandler on the team and probably in the section. Even so, Schelling didn't think he could put it in.
When he did, last season's Shenendehowa demon was officially slayed. The Mounties (26-2) were dominated by the Plainsmen (16-8-3) in this playoff round. Only an outstanding effort by The Journal News Rockland player of the year, goalie Anthony Vertullo, kept the game at 3-0.
Vertullo's replacement Tom Natoli kept his head despite learning about this whole overtime thing on the fly. His 21 saves increased in difficulty as the game wore on, as the initially-frenetic Plainsmen settled down and put some pressure on.
They came out looking to beat Suffern into submission, desperate to prove they weren't the same bunch that had lost 6-0 early in the season. Bodies flew everywhere. Ultimately too many Shen bodies wound up in the penalty box.
Suffern could do nothing with seven power plays, though. Even when two Plainsmen were sent to the box in the final minute of the first period, it looked like they would escape unscathed. But Justin Daniels lit the lamp as time expired for the lead.
To go into the locker room empty-handed after seven power plays would have drained more confidence than the Mounties' cheering section could have put back. Shen took only one penalty the rest of the game. Shen took a 2-1 lead in the third period before Justin tied the score two minutes later off a nifty feed by Nick Clark.
"We have a lot of leadership," Schelling said. "The key guys that are getting most of the ice time have played in a lot of big games. I think they don't get uptight."
Although Rob wishes they could have done this last year, it's a great accomplishment for the Suffern Mounties. I felt sorry for Shen Goalie Dan Patell after that puck trickled over the line, but he and his teammates played a fantastic game. He wrote a nice post on the Syracuse.com forum wishing the best of luck to Suffern. Very classy kid, and that goes for the whole Shen Spartans team and their fans (I see wowbagger68 agrees with me).
Suffern will travel to the Final Four in Utica this Saturday at 3:15 PM to play Aquinas (Rochester).
Posted by Jeff K @ 3:12 PM
Friday, March 3, 2006
Vertullo broke this story: Alice in Chains is "back"! Well, sort of. According to Jerry Cantrell's website, the remaining members (bassist Mike Inez, drummer Sean Kinney, and guitarist Cantrell) are playing together for the first time since 1996, on March 10, 2006 at the Taj Majal in Atlantic City as "Heart's special guests" with, I assume, Carrie Underwood on vocals. Uhm, no, actually, Comes With the Fall frontman William DuVall is currently the lead singer, and it's being filmed for VH1 Classic's "Decades Rock Live!". They've also announced several European rock festival tour dates in June, and as for the US, all they say "MORE TOUR DATES COMING". Personally, I'm glad I saw the original lineup at Lollapalooza '96, because it's not the same without Layne Staley (who died in 2002, which is oddly never mentioned on the offical Sony Music band bio; I guess they stopped caring once the final greatest hits collection was released). AIC reportedly turned down an offer to follow INXS's lead and audition new vocalists via CBS' Rock Star. So yeah, it could have been worse.
Speaking of "Rock Star", Jane's Addiction is using one of their songs to sell Cooper Tires. Thankfully, they use a recent song from their latest (and not greatest) album "Strays", but it's still pretty lame. Do they need the money? Did Dave Navarro run out of the money he made digging up Michael Hutchence's grave? Should we expect "Been Caught Stealing" to be used in a LO-JACK commercial in the near future? Well, at least Perry Farrell will never have to pay for tires for his minivan ever again. I just laughed a little thinking of him behind the wheel of a Dodge Caravan, driving kids to a soccer game. Tee hee!
(While we're at it, why is Jerry Rice doing every commercial (Tiger Balm) and reality show (Dancing with the Stars, Pros vs. Joes) he can get his legendary NFL Hall of Fame hands on? Does he need the cash? Did he and Joe Montana blow through all of their 49ers money already? Does he just miss the attention?)
I decided to sign up with eMusic music subscription service, because music-buying legend "Sloppy" Joe Davis pressured me into doing it (and hey, we each get 50 free songs). Well, it's definitely not iTunes, which is a good thing in my opinion. They offer three different monthly plans (and one limited time offer yearly plan), and none of them end up costing you more than 25¢/song (I got the 40 downloads per month for $9.99). They offer quality VBR (variable bitrate) MP3s that are universally compatible and free of DRM (Digital Rights Management protection), so you can burn them to a CD as many times as you want. Plus, since they're 100% focused on independent labels, the site isn't bogged down with stuff I don't really want, like Britney or Mariah or Kanye (I can go to BMG for that stuff). So although big names like Coldplay may be on here, their entire discography is not represented (only the indie label "Brothers and Sisters" EP from 1999 can be found); likewise, the only Johnny Cash you can find is a collection of Sun Records recordings (but who's complaining?). They claim to have 1,000,000 songs, but half of them seem to be things like the "Theme from the A-Team", or tracks from interview discs like "Maximum Audioslave". But any music site where Tom Waits is among the Top 20 artists is okay with me, because that tell me they're more about discovering music, and less about commerce.
Every morning I play a little game with myself when I take my coffee break. 100.7 FM, The Hudson Valley's most craptacular music radio station, is always on, and I try to guess which of the following artists will come on during the time I'm up there:
a) Elton John
b) Donna Summer
c) The Bee Gees
e) none of the above
You'd be surprised how often "The Four Horsemen of the Adult Soft Rock Apocalypse" get played. So far this week, it's been:
2/27: b, 2/28: a, 3/1: a, 3/2: d, 3/3: e.
Congratulations, Elton! Let me take this opportunity to post this January 1978 People magazine cover, and the bizarre line next to it:
"Elton John - He's given up touring and those nutty glasses -- but not lasses"
What? This is news to me! Since when did he like "lasses"? Hasn't Elton been gay since he came out of the womb? Wow, it sure was not acceptable to be openly gay in the 70s. How times have changed, and for the gayer!
DiG! I'm going to come right out and say it: this movie made me hate musicians. Normally, a quality music-based movie should make you feel compelled to buy some of the music featured in it. For instance, movies like "Ray" and "Walk The Line" spiked music sales for the two artists featured, as many flocked to iTunes / Amazon.com / Best Buy for Ray Charles and Johnny Cash songs, respectively. Heck, after watching VH1's "Legends: Queen" a few years ago, I wanted to buy the band's entire catalog. But this movie had the opposite effect. It's a documentary about two rival bands, The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and their history together spanning 7 years. Even though it's narrated by DW's Courtney Taylor and thus may be a little biased, there's no doubt that Anton Newcombe, the head of BJM, is totally insane. He would attack the DW while they were onstage, start fights with hecklers (he kicked one in the head on camera), move in with friends without invitation, try to sell his records at the other bands' concert without consulting them, miss record company meetings because he was bombed out of his mind. (Interesting fact I learned: the one A&R guy that believed in him claimed that 90% of their projects fail to turn a profit, while they make money on the successful 10%--no wonder the music industry is so screwed up.) Everyone seemed to think of him and treat him as a "troubled genius", but this guy just appeared to be a complete fuck up.
I came away from this film with the opinion that I never ever, even accidentally, want to purchase one of his discs / songs / t-shirts, because I would merely be fueling his drug addiction, making him even more of a self-destructive menace than he is already. In fact, I don't even want to link to the official movie website, for fear someone might get a fraction of a penny as a result. This movie quickly grew tiresome as we watch him slowly squander his talent, money and friendships because of his rampant drug problem and unrelenting hostility towards everyone he came into contact with. Utterly depressing. I give it my lowest rating, 9 thumbs down.
If you think about it, every rock song that's worth listening to is either about sex or drugs (or war, possibly). When I was a naive youngster (not that I've changed much), I loved the song "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. On the surface, it seems like a sad song about the perils of space travel, and it was even released to coincide with the Apollo moon landing in 1969. Naturally, I read later that it's about drugs, hence the line "We know Major Tom's a junkie", which in appears in the song "Ashes to Ashes", released a decade later. Dammit! Why can it just be about space travel? Maybe because every good rock song ever written was written ON drugs. Oddly enough, "I Want A New Drug" by Huey Lewis and the News, is NOT about drugs; it's actually about trade embargos and their affect on international shipping in the 1980s.
Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, panties . . . I'm sorry . . . Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Bach: names that will live forever. But there is one composer whose name is never included with the greats. Why is it the world never remembered the name of Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern -schplenden -schlitter crasscrenbon -fried -digger -dangle -dongle -dungle -burstein -von -knacker -thrasher -apple -banger -horowitz -ticolensic -grander -knotty -spelltinkle -grandlich -grumblemeyer -spelterwasser- kürstlich -himbleeisen -bahnwagen -gutenabend -bitte -ein -nürnburger -bratwurstle -gerspurten -mit -zwei -macheluber -hundsfut -gumberaber -shönendanker -kalbsfleisch -mittler -aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm?
Posted by Jeff K @ 2:21 PM
Thursday, March 2, 2006
It's snowing here right now, and we're supposed to get anywhere from 5-10" of the white stuff. You're not going to hear me complaining because I love snow, an emotion certainly helped by the fact that I drive a 4x4 SUV and have only a 7 mile commute. Honestly, there hasn't been much to whine about, because we really haven't had all that much snow this winter; although that "blizzard" we had three weeks ago will pump up the yearly snowfall totals, it was cleaned up by Sunday night, and by the time I returned from Florida all the snow was pretty much melted. I'm planning on going skiing on Saturday morning, so the more snow, the merrier. So I say BRING IT ON, MOTHER NATURE, YOU CRAZY BITCH!!!
For this St. Patty's Day, which coincides with the first Friday of the NCAA Tournament, I think we need to split up all the bars into two groups: one for people who want to drink lousy green beer until they vomit, and one for those who want to watch some basketball and drink a few quality pints without getting hit with the aforementioned green vomit. I'll be setting up shop in the latter.
I was searching the web for a copy of "MTV's 25 Lamest Videos of All-Time". This was a hilarious 1999 MTV special that had Denis Leary, Janeane Garofolo, Jon Stewart, and Chris Kattan commenting on the worst videos ever made. If I remember correctly, Journey's "Separate Ways" and Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" were definitely featured, and Don Johnson's "Heartbeat" was the overall winner. If I can't torrent it, I can always buy this DVD.
You can write this down, on your ass, using a permanent marker: I'm not watching the "World Baseball Classic". I might not even watch the Mets either. Oh, and I think we can all agree that Derek Jeter looks gay in the USA uniform.
In honor of the upcoming March Madness NCAA Tourney, this is a picture of a shopping plaza in Wayne, PA, right down the street from the Villanova U. campus. That's right, it's SPREAD EAGLE VILLAGE! Oh, there are going to be some parties there this March!
Posted by Jeff K @ 10:26 AM