Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's THE Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's March Madness!!! Fifteen conference tourneys kick off this week, with most of those being one-bid leagues. So it's win and your in, lose and go home. Scarcely an NIT birth to be found with the losers of these conference tourneys so any hope of postseason play rests in winning these Social Mixers that lead to the BIG Dance.

There is no better postseason in sports than the NCAA tournament and this is the preamble. Click the title for a link to The Bracket Board blog where TBB has brackets for all 30 conference tournaments that will be updated. The One Stop Shop TBB has created is for basketball nuts, not the casual/faint of heart fans.

I'll focus much of my attention on the Sun Belt conference where my beloved Western Kentucky Hilltoppers play, but all the tourneys are fun to watch. With as many sports cable channels as there are, they really should try to show round by round action as much as possible. It's just fun to watch teams play for their postseason lives.

Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio played the clip of the Austin Peay announcer's famous call after APSU lost on a controversial goal tend call in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game some years ago. If you've never heard it, look it up on the net. It's great.

Enjoy this magical time with friends, family, or cardboard cutouts. Just watch and enjoy.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Tis the season to give up.

The season of Lent is here and this is a time of prayer and penance and for some it is a time to give up something they enjoy as an act of penance. It seems to me to be something that is more associated with Catholicism, but over the last few years, my friends and I have begun this custom every Lenten season. The Lent season lasts from Ash Wednesday, which is this coming Wednesday, until Easter. During this time, you will abstain from the use of the thing you have given up. When you think of the item, take time to reflect.

When it comes to giving something up, it should generally be something that would pain you to go without. I have started to give up more than one thing, some I tell people about some I keep to myself. I have thought about what I will give up this season and have come up with a few things. I am going to give up the purchase of CDs, DVDs, and books. I have even deleted Amazon.com from my favorites list. I did this last year and for me it was tough. I am also going to go without colas of any kind diet or fully leaded. I also am forgoing convenient store food; basically I can buy nothing in a convenient store except bottled water and granola bars.

Also during Lent most Catholics go meatless on Friday. I am going to experiment with that and it gives me a good excuse to eat Bob’s IGA catfish. A debate has risen among my group of friends about Sundays not counting in the season of Lent, meaning that you could indulge in the item you gave up for Lent on Sundays. I have been involved in heated debate, but have recently read that Sundays are indeed “free” days. Even so, I will not indulge in my items, but reserve the right to change my mind 3 weeks into Lent.

Whatever your beliefs, maybe you would like to give it try. What would you give up? Would you utilize Sunday as a “free” day? What could it hurt? In fact it may help you in both your physical life as well as your spiritual life.

It's time for a spring Classic.

Well, it’s that time of year. Some of us have been waiting all winter for this event to come. Yes, teams from all over the map will be coming together to decide a champion. The excitement is palpable, or something like that. The players want to show everyone that they are the best. I’m sure you know what event I am talking about. It’s time for the World Baseball Classic. What else could I have been talking about?

The World Baseball Classic starts March 3. This tournament will involve teams from all over the world in a World Cup style tournament like they have for soccer. When I first heard of this, I thought it sounded like a great idea. The U.S. against the world. We don’t have enough us against them competitions and I love a chance to spank the rest of the world in a sport. Unfortunately the U.S. will have a big challenge beating some of the Latin teams. Even so, I am still looking forward to the start.

It turns out that I may be the only one. Not only do fans not seem to care too much for the Classic, but players that were placed on the teams rosters seem to be backing out every day. Just the other day, Manny Ramirez backed out because of his bladder control issues, I guess. At the rate we are going, by the time this thing starts most of these players will be minor leaguers.

I understand that major league owners and team general managers do not want any of their players to get hurt in what they see as a glorified series of exhibition games. Especially since these games will take place before the start of the regular season. I understand their fear and their worry, but I also think this will be a good thing for the sport. I think this could help the sport grow in other countries so that these same teams may find their superstar of tomorrow in a place they never thought there would be baseball talent.

And let’s face it, baseball isn’t exactly the NFL. It is loaded with more teams that have no chance to go to the World Series than those that do. It could do with a shot of popularity even if it would come from foreign markets. Perhaps if this does work, it will bring in more money for baseball, leading more teams to spend more money to try to compete. I don’t know about you, but I like a little parity in my sports. I don’t like seeing the Yanks and Sox in every postseason.

The big mystery to me is why is the World Baseball Classic being trashed like it is? I don’t understand some people’s logic. How can you trash an event that hasn’t even taken place yet? How do the haters know that this will be a huge failure? I do see that calling this event a “Classic” is a bit of a reach since this is the first year, but can’t we give it a shot before we call this the biggest sports blunder since the XFL?

If baseball can pull this off I believe that it can become an event to be looked forward to every year. They need to make it interesting, which means stocking Team USA with recognizable names. In fact, Major League Baseball needs to make sure that every country’s team has name players so that even the casual fan will have a reason to watch the games. I know that I will be more willing to watch a game involving the Dominican Republic if Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero are playing. I know some “stars” are backing out, but MLB needs to put some pressure on teams and individual players to remain in this tournament for the sake of success.

I know that I probably will not be interested in watching the first 6 games that take place in Tokyo, Japan. Japan versus Chinese Taipei does not rank high on my must see list. I also realize that a majority of these games will take place during the NCAA tournament and given a choice I will go with the NCAA. I also know that the players will not be in “game” shape, but come on; these players don’t sit at home eating Krispy Kremes all off-season. With all that being said, I think that we should all give this thing a chance before we shoot it down. Who knows, we might find out that we like it.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

'Conviction' premieres on iTunes

As I have noted several times before, I don't watch much TV. At the bare minimum I don't make time to watch any television shows. About as close I get is when Piccu and I run over to Big Kev's to watch Lost and Invasion. However, the fact that these shows rarely come on more than a couple of weeks in a row without a "clip-show" of some sort keeps me from being a regular viewer.

Over the past couple of weeks/months, I'm sure we've all seen the promos for Dick Wolf's new lawyer drama Conviction.

Most of Wolf's shows are based around the same thing. People getting arrested and put on trial. I honestly don't believe that any of Law & Order shows do too well with younger viewers. So he's come up with this show about young assistant district attorneys in New York City.

When I saw the first preview to this show I'll admit that I was interested just a little, but honestly it didn't strike me as a show that I was just going to absolutely have to see if only for the first episode. Then I saw that it was premiering and going to be shown on Friday nights.

That basically meant that I was out because I usually have something to do on a Friday night or by the time it came on I would be plugged into the internet or knee deep in XM radio. And then there is the Arrested Development-syndrome that looms over many shows these days premiering on a sucky night in that you don't want to get sucked into it because it'll never pull good ratings on its scheduled night and be cancelled.

Piccu thinks that it's going to completely suck and if anyone would know, it would be him.

Then all of the sudden we have the pilot episode of Conviction premiering on iTunes a couple of weeks before its actual premiere on TV. This is a dynamite idea. I had Piccu download it at his office with his lightning fast internet connection and I watched it the other night.

Is it a great show? I guess. It's just as good as any of his other shows, in my opinion. I'll admit that after I watched the pilot, I was anxious to see the next episode to see how some things played out. However, I'm never going to make time to watch this show on a Friday night. It's just not going to happen.

That being said, this was a ridiculously ingenius idea to get their claws into viewers. Downloading a 200+ megabyte file is a little rich, but if one has a decent connection it could be done overnight. Or in Piccu's case, a couple of minutes.

This is also an idea that will be great for advertisers. There will be tons of people who will watch the pilot on TV and watch the subsequent shows. More so than would have originally had the show not been released. And it's not like it cost much money. All they had to do was re-render the show into an iTunes-friendly format and FTP it to someone. Setting that up might take 30-minutes and it will make them millions.

I won't be watching on Friday since I'm hoping/expecting to be shooting a championship basketball game, but I'm sure there are a ton of young people who are going to watch/tape/TiVo this show.

And it's all because it was offered up on iTunes for free. This won't be the last time you see a new show released like this.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The World Baseball Classic looks to be coming up short.

Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox has just announced that he will not be participating in the World Baseball Classic that is going to take place in a matter of days. This marks the 750,000th Major League Baseball player, most of them Americans, to beg out of the tournament. The World Baseball Classic is an event that is much like soccer’s World Cup in which all the countries in the world will pit their national baseball team against each other. When I first heard of this I thought it might be a cool thing to see because I am a baseball fan before everything else. I also realized pretty quickly that the US team is not necessarily a lock to win this thing. We may think we have the best ball players in the world, but we aren’t the only country that has great players.

This was going to be a great tournament and all the best players in the major leagues were going to participate. The tournament was going to take place during what would normally be a MLB team’s spring training. Many team owners and other higher ups were surely pounding their heads when they saw that their best players were going to play in this tournament and perhaps risk a season ending injury. I also realized this possibility, but it seemed like no one really cared and everyone was ready to go.

Then the other shoe fell. One by one all these great players started to bow out. Everyday for the last two or three weeks you would hear of a player backing out. Now it seems like what once looked like a tournament featuring the best of the best will now feature some great players and who knows what else.

I understand the fear of losing a player to injury. I wouldn’t want the best player on my favorite team to go down to injury. I also understand most Americans do not care about this tournament. MLB is basically doing this to grow the sport in foreign countries anyway. I just wanted to see the true best of the best go at it. I wanted to see if the US really did have the best players in the world. I believe that most other countries are taking this tournament a little more serious than the US. I think foreign players and their countries are excited and proud to be involved, while the US players do not see it as a big deal.

I see it as a big deal and I hope the tournament goes over well with everyone. I hope that it will take place in the future and for many years to come. What I really hope is that the US team does not win the tournament and maybe the next time we have it that more players will be willing and ready to play for their country. Then it truly will be a World Classic.

The UK Wildcats finally seem ready to start the season.

I know all the trials and tribulations that the UK Wildcats have gone through this year. I know that in some games they couldn’t score. I know that in some games they couldn’t play defense. I also know that in some games they could neither score nor play defense. I know all this. I also know that Sivart will try to harsh my mel, but I have to go through with this.

Last night’s 80-40 massacre at Rupp was one of the few games this year that UK and its fans were able to take a breath and relax. The black cloud that has hovered over Tubby Smith and the Wildcats let a little sunshine through last night as the Cats doubled up Ole Miss. As I watched that game I kept telling everyone, “This is getting ugly.” It got worse as the game went on. I actually felt sorry for Ole Miss. Another thing I kept thinking was how bad can Ole Miss be? Was that the reason it got so bad? Was it because UK was at home? Was it because “The Master” finally got off the bench to show the state there is more than one Kentucky white boy out there that can drop bombs? Probably not, but something went right.

UK shot 50% from the field and held Ole Miss to 22.4%. UK out rebounded them by 9, had 11 more assists, had 6 more blocks and 5 more threes. Did I mention that they doubled them up? Could Tubby’s plan of starting from scratch and grading players in practice to decide his starting lineup be paying off? I wonder if some former starters have been motivated to play harder and smarter because they lost their starting job to a once little used player. Rondo and Morris definitely must be feeling a little miffed. Ramal Bradley was so frustrated with the new system that he broke his hand hitting the basket support during a temper tantrum.

Maybe this has system that Tubby has put in has made the bench players realize that if Brandon Stockton can start three or four games than they have a real shot at playing time. I mean Preston “The Master” LeMaster got major pt and made the most of it with 12 points. I know that this was a bottom feeder team that UK beat, but if this had happened earlier in the SEC schedule, I believe that this game would have been a lot closer.

The next three games will be the true test of this new approach, LSU on the road, UT on the road, and Florida at home. Before we started this mini revival I would have thought that there was no way to win a game in this stretch and UK would get blown out in every one of them. Now I believe that UK can get at least one game and play respectable in the other games. I’m not saying they are back, baby, I do not think they have a shot in hades to win the SEC tourney or make a Final Four run. I will say however that Cats seem to have woken up at the right time of the season and will be a scary opponent in the post season.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fuel Breaks Up

I've been a big fan of the band Fuel since hearing their debut album on Epic, Sunburn way back in 1999. They became instantly popular with songs like "Shimmer", "Jesus or a Gun", and "Bittersweet." Sunburn was the kind of album that made late 90s rock great. It still had some of the edge of the grunge movement, but focused on melody in most tracks. A must own for just about any collection.

The follow up album, Something Like Human, featured the wildly popular "Hemmorhage," "Bad Day," and "Innocent." Another great, great rock album. More melodic and missing the rawness of Sunburn, but still a great listen.

The third, and ultimately final, Fuel album was Natural Selection. It's good for about six tracks, but overall, Fuel's weakest attempt.

Well now Fuel has announced that drummer Kevin Miller and lead singer Brett Scallions have each left the band, leaving guitarists/songwriter Carl Bell and bassist Jeff Abercrombie. While Bell and Abercrombie are each talented, it's hard to see how Fuel can progress past losing Miller (check out his drumwork on the song "Down" from SLH) and Scallions whose vocals have become a band trademark.

As much as I enjoyed Fuel albums, their live performances really put them over the top for me. I saw them in small venues (the Copper Dragon in Carbondale, Ill.), large arenas (Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY) and outside (at Riverstages in Nashville, Tn). Terrific every single time I saw them live.

It's too bad. I've got several bands I really like (Tonic, Dashboard Confessional, Nickel Creek, etc) but Fuel was one of my favorites for certain. RIP Fuel.

The Death of Our Society

Did the death of our society begin with Roe V Wade? With women voting (just kidding)?
No, the death of our society began with She's Like the Wind by Patrick Swayze. As I was just listening to that song on the overhead music here at work it occured to me that this is true.

"She's like the wind/through my tree." Even if that were to be taken sexually with his tree representing a phalic symbol, I'd have to say that's the worst line in the history of music. Yet, this song climbed the charts and even was number one for five weeks (it was on the top 40 for 40 weeks total).

If that doesn't represent a decline in expectations nothing does. We simply didn't demand much anymore. Maybe that's our whole problem. We're satisfied with mediocrity. I won't go on a rant here, but next time you think about settling for second best, remember "She's Like the Wind" and as more of yourself.

Fantasy baseball is here.

Pitchers and catchers have reported and that means one thing, it’s baseball time. As usual, I have formed my own Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League and would like to open it up to any who wants to try their luck. This is a straight up 5X5 scoring head to head league. If you have the cojones feel free to join up, I must warn you that I will win, so you and the other chumps will be fighting for second. Enjoy.

League ID: 143318
Password: bonds

New Guns 'N' Roses songs "leaked" onto the internet.

Good news for Sivart, it’s Guns N Roses time. I have linked to this post a blog that has the info you need to find and download some leaked GNR songs that have made their way onto the web.

The first song is called I.R.S. Not your usual gritty GNR song. Has drum effects, some acoustic guitar mixed with a chunkier yet polished guitar later on. It is a soft then loud type song with some jazzy elements. Axl sounds pretty good. Not a song that will get me running out to pick up the new album, but not bad.

The second song is The Blues. This song is a more classic GNR feel along the lines of November Rain and Estranged. The piano is very heavy. Another good song, but not great.

Another song is titled There was a Time. It starts out as more of an industrial song with drum effects. Kind of a Linkin Park sound. Sounds as though an orchestra was involved with this song. The guitar work is nice, but you can tell a difference between the new and the old.

Axl sounds good in all the songs. There is supposedly another song called Better that is also out there, but I have not tracked it down. After hearing these songs I am now more convinced that the wait will not be worth it. I think Axl has ruined his chances to return to his rock throne and took so much time that the music will not bear up over the long haul.

A new study on the origin of sexual orientation has some surprising findings.

Has proof been found that homosexuality is genetics and not choice? According to a new study this may be true. Click the link and read the article for more information. The researchers looked into a woman’s X-chromosome inactivation. A woman has two X-chromosomes but only require one and they will inactivate one of their X-chromosomes while using the other. Women will inactivate one of their X-chromosomes at random, “like flipping a coin.” The article linked also says that, "If you look at a woman in any given (bodily) tissue, you'd expect about half of the cells to inactivate one X, and half would inactivate the other."

According to the new study, on women who have gay offspring, in those who had more than one gay child, a quarter of those women inactivate the same X-chromosome in every cell that was checked. This was described by researchers as “extremely unusual.” Does this mean that genetics plays the part in whether or not a person is a homosexual? The scientists are not sure, but they do think that they have found something they had not seen or thought of before.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future. I’m sure there will be more studies done and I will be interested to find out the results. The article also brings up the potential dangers if this is indeed the determining factor in a person’s sexuality. Some are worried that in the future parents and doctors will try to manipulate the “gay gene” to prevent homosexuality, whether before or after birth. That is something to think about but I believe that research needs to continue, especially if an age old question and mystery can be solved.

Speed and figure skating takes center stage at the Olympics.

Well, if you were looking for drama and/or very awkward situations, then you could not go wrong with last night’s Olympic coverage. We found drama in both the speed skating and women’s ice skating and we found the very awkward situations at the press conference after the men’s speed skating.

First the women’s ice skating, as I said I am not an ice skating guy, in fact I usually run screaming from the room if it appears on a TV. With that being said, I really like the Olympic ice skating. I look at it as one two week period every four years that I can calm my urges to flee long enough to enjoy it. I also like to see the wipeouts, that is the big thing.

Last night there were no wipeouts, at least that I saw. What I did see was US figure skater Sasha Cohen rocket into first place after her performance to put the US in the lead. I also thought that Emily Hughes did very well and has an outside shot at a medal. I did not see Kimmie Meissner, but she stayed in first place for a very long time. Meissner is now fifth and Hughes is seventh.

This event is the linchpin of NBC’s Olympic coverage and I believe it provided all the drama and excitement that was promised. I thought that Losing Michelle Kwan would hurt the telecast, at least ratings wise, but I think these young skaters will be a breath of fresh air. I will be interested to see how last night’s Olympic telecast stacked up against American Idol. I believe Idol still won the ratings battle, but I bet it is a lot closer than it was last Tuesday night. Thursday night’s four minute program will provide even more drama and give Americans three women that have a chance of claiming Olympic medals. I will be watching and not running.

The speed skating was even better. Shani Davis won a silver medal in the men’s 1500m skate last night and in doing so he knocked “teammate” Chad Hedrick to 3rd to finish with a bronze medal. Davis and Hedrick have been battling all week long and it has made for some very tense moments. This was a surprise added bonus for NBC. I’m sure this feud has brought some viewers in that ordinarily would not watch speed skating.

The feud started when Davis, who is African-American, bowed out of the men’s relay and Hedrick, the captain of Team USA, was very upset. Some would say that he was more upset because Davis more than likely cost him a chance at five medals by not racing in the team event. Davis claimed he never practices with the team and pretty much does not associate with anyone on the team and felt no obligation to race with them. He wanted to focus on his races and he did and he won a gold medal in the race he was focused on. Well the two sniped at each other throughout the week and then came last night’s event, the men’s 1500m, a race in which they both would be competing in. For more info on the feud, click the link.

After last night’s race, everything seemed worked out and things were at least civil. At the end of the press conference, Davis threw this out, "It would have been nice if after the 1,000 meters, he could have been a good teammate and shook my hand, just like I shook his hand – or hugged him – after he won the 5,000 meters.” Davis then got up and left. I thought that showed that Davis has no class and is probably not a very pleasant person to be around. Hedrick just kind of sat there stunned. He then talked about how he felt betrayed because Shani did not compete in the team event and did not speak with him about the situation.

The way I see it, both of these two are pretty selfish individuals and I do not believe that either of them buy into the team concept. Which is fine because as I see it, speed skating is not a team sport and to potray it as one is shading the truth a bit. Davis seems to be the “loner” of the team and does not care that it seems no one likes him. He seems to be a miserable sort of person, but a very good skater. Hedrick I think only wanted Davis to skate on the team so he could win 5 medals, which was his goal going into the Games according to many. So he doesn't seem as genuine to me as he portrays himself in the media. Both are gold medal jackasses.

While I think both of them are acting like grade schoolers, US speed skating and NBC must be eating this stuff up with a spoon. How many times is the sporting world focused on speed skating? How many times do you hear speed skating discussed on ESPN Radio, PTI, or Around the Horn? That’s right, never. In this case there is no such thing as bad publicity for a sport that is used to no publicity at all. While both men look childish and bitter, speed skating has found its 15 minutes of fame.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A couple of nuggets on Metallica.

More music news involving one of my faves, Metallica. It seems that legendary producer Rick Rubin is going to be the man twisting the knobs for the new Metallica album. This is very exciting because Rubin has produced many successful and classic albums. From rap to metal, to Neil Diamond and the Dixie Chicks, Rubin has done it all. He produced Slayer when they were riding high on the metal landscape, so he knows his way around a heavy band. Rubin also produced my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Blood Sugar Sex Magic. No news as to when the new Metallica album will be released but here’s hoping it will be soon and this year.

More Metallica news that is just a rumor so far, they are going to headline this summer’s Ozzfest. System of a Down is also rumored to be on the Ozzfest bill. I am not one to sit out all day in the hot sun, but those are two bands that could pry me from my air conditioned lair.

David Gilmour talks about new album, upcoming tour, and chances of reunion of Pink Floyd.

Here is an interview from Yahoo courtesy of Billboard Magazine with the “voice and guitar of Pink Floyd,” David Gilmour. He talks about his latest album and tour. He says that he will play some Pink Floyd songs on the tour. He also once again shoots down almost any hope for a reunion with Roger Waters and a huge Pink Floyd tour.

He claims that he was offered a huge amount of money to tour as Pink Floyd with or without Roger Waters and he turned it down. He does not see the need to tour if you have no new material to play. Pretty good interview, check it out. Enjoy!!!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Daytona, Winter Olympics and basketball, smells like hodge podge.

Kind of a big weekend in sports with lots of things to talk about. So it's time for some hodge podge. Let's Hunt.

The UK Wildcats win again, unfortunately it is against a team that is borderline NCAA tourney bound. The Cats did look good, especially considering Rajon Rondo's disappearing act. It seems that Rondo has lost confidence in his abilities. At least that is the only thing I can think of that is the problem. I think the whole getting benched for Brandon Stockton has demoralized him instead of challenged him to step up his game. On the other hand, Randolph Morris has seemed to be more than willing to step up his game after being benched for the Polish Assassin Lukasz Obrzut. UK will win their game against Ole Miss and I think they will have to win one of the three games of death that end the season. They then need to win a couple of games in the SEC tournament and I think that will get them into the NCAA tournament, although at the lowest seed UK fans have seen in a while.

U of L on the other hand is done, done, done. I do not, in any way, think that the Cardinals will make the Big Dance and they may not even make the Big East Tournament. They will have to work just to do that. The only way the Cardinals will make the NCCA tournament is to win the Big East tournament. I tell you I don't see it happening. Rick Pitino just got saddled with a very young team and the injury bug. I am still not hearing people call for his head like they do for Tubby and Tubby will more than likely make the NCAA tournament. Hmmm, kind of funny.

The Daytona 500 revved up the NASCAR season this past weekend and I watched about 50 laps of it. I watched the beginning, took a nap, and awoke just in time to see the last 25 laps, perfect timing. I thought that the ending was somewhat satisfying because in years past, the race would have ended under caution with no attempt to have a green, white, checkered shootout. I find the after race interviews more fun than the race itself. I love hearing Kyle Busch say, "I hate Daytona." I love watching a racer interviewed and during the interview he sees the car he thinks deliberately took him out crash and he exclaims, "That's a shame." All the bad blood and the grudges and the getting even make NASCAR one of the best sports to watch. At least in the post race interviews.

The NBA All-Star game was this weekend in Houston. All the big time players were there, I guess they were. I didn't watch it. Call me in April when the playoffs start.

The Winter Olympics are half way through and the TV ratings are low. Why is this? What else is there to watch? Are Americans too busy watching Two and a Half Men? I love the Winter Olympics and I have watched quite a bit of it. I don't know why, but I am enjoying this year's event. What other time do we as a country get to root for the same team in a sporting event. Most of the time we are at each other's throats be it during sporting events or whether we are a red state or a blue state.

I know a lot of these sports seem to be made up sports, but if you just sit down and give them a chance you will get something out of them. For instance, I am not a figure skating guy, but if you watch an hour of figure skating you will see about 3 crashes. That is better than a NASCAR race. If you watch snow-boarding, you will see some hot-dogs lose a race because they want to show off a little. Even though it may be your countryman, you still sit back and laugh and laugh.

One other reason to enjoy the games is because in most sporting events, the US athletes always seem to be the favorites or have an athlete in the top three favorites. With the Winter Olympics, the US is the under dog and it is truly surprising sometimes to see us win. That, in my opinion, makes the Winter Olympics both compelling and rich. So check it out this coming week otherwise you will have to wait four years to see a sport that involves skiing and rifle shooting. Sounds like a gold medal for Dick Cheney.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My take on the Winter Olympics...

I don't know what it is about the Olympics, but I watch. For some reason a lot people can't get into them and I'm not really sure why. When I watch the Olympics I'm wanting to see the U.S.A. drive every other country into the ground like a railroad spike. I can see how some people can't get into a certain event or sport, but the competition is worthy of my time.

I also can appreciate these amature athletes put it all out there for their countries and seeing their shear joy or the proverbial "agony of defeat" makes it compelling to watch. Which is why Bode Miller and athletes with attitudes like his don't really entice me to watch. He's in the more high profile skiing events, but what was truly a shame was when Ted Ligety won gold for the U. S. in the slalom as the youngest athlete on the ski team it was overshadowed by Miller's disqualification. It would have been different if he was upset about it, but in a interview well before Ligety's gold medal run Miller acted as though he could care less that he was disqualified.

Where is that producer in the studio who says, "Screw Bode, let's stick with the kid" and the glory that he just achieved. I know that my competitive juices flow when I get to see more and more of the athletes who don't give a damn lose and then seeing continuing coverage of their apathy while the athletes who care are winning.

That's how you get viewers NBC. Good thinking. No one has ever refused to watch a sporting event of any kind because the athletes care too much. In fact, another skier in the slalom that Ligety won finished third for a bronze medal and cried his eyes out because he and his sister had a chance to both medal in the Olympics together. That third place celebration, in my opinion, overshadowed the U. S. gold and Bode Miller's disqualification. It's all about emotion.

As far as the crazier sports go, I've watched probably 45 minutes of women's curling every morning. I only watched because the U. S. team was playing, but once I figured out how the scoring went I found out that it's a pretty neat little game. It's big time strategy mixed in with ridiculous shot making to save points or get points. I'll probably never play it, but I think it would be loads of fun if there was a place close to play on a regular basis like they have up north.

I don't really have too many problems with any events. However, I tend to feel that if the event isn't a straight up game like curling, it should be a sport derived from a normal activity. In this case a winter activity.

All of the skiing, snowboarding and skating are fine with me. I think the judging process could be better in some of them, but I'm not going to get into that. The only sports I don't really like are the sledding sports. Luge, skeleton and bobsled.

I understand that these sports came about from sledding but, honestly, do any of these events resemble sledding? I can handle turning a sled into a carbon fiber bullet on rails, but when you have to build a million dollar track of pure ice, that's where I draw the line. When you have to build a track specifically for the equipment used in the event, that's silly and that is probably why some people don't watch. I think people would rather watch sports that they could try over sports like the luge.

Bascially, if it snows 5 feet outside a Sam's Choice saucer sled will hammer a luge, skeleton or bobsled going down the big hill in my front yard.

So as soon as they bring the winter Olympics to the OC, the experimental Saucer Sled event will be held at my place.

David Lee Roth weighs in on the possible Van Halen reality TV lead singer search.

More fallout from the possible Van Halen lead singer search via the reality TV show Rock Star. David Lee Roth, original lead singer, has weighed in on this subject saying no one wants the reality show, they want a reunion tour. DLR is ready to hit the road and has already gotten the okay from his new bosses at CBS radio where he does his morning talk show on WFNY 92.3, to take some time off if this does happen.

"Van Halen would go out for three months," he said. "That's all Eddie could handle. And then the next morning, I'd be back at this mic at 6 a.m." DLR also says that the band has already been offered $1 million a show if they do tour. Unfortunately for Van Halen/DLR reunion fans, DLR also hinted that he thought Eddie Van Halen may be battling substance abuse problems again. That is not going to endear him the the VH boys.

Here is some more from the New York Daily News article.

Roth also dismissed recent Van Halen shows as "lite rock" and said touring with a singer hired from a TV search would make the band "a novelty act."

He said the situation was different with INXS, the first band on "Rock Star," "because their original lead singer was dead."

He suggested the main reason anyone would watch Van Halen on "Rock Star" would be "the Gong Show factor ... seeing who screws up the most."

While I agree with most of what DLR says it seems that he and Eddie cannot talk about anything without taking their little shots at each other. I do not see a reunion happening as much as I want to because I don’t think they could make it three months without Eddie murdering Dave. I still do not believe they should go the reality TV route. They should audition singers on their own terms and move on.

Prince is the king.

I have been meaning to put this up for a week or so now. It is a clip of Prince’s performance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago. I generally do not watch the musical guests on SNL including the musical guests I like. I started this performance and I had to watch the whole thing.

It has often been said, and I agree, that Prince is a musical genius. The thing I think that is overlooked is the fact that this dude can shred a guitar. Click the link if you are a Prince fan or a fan of smoking guitar play. Enjoy!!!!

Sivart fixes the Olympics

I want to like the Olympics. Really. No, seriously, I do. But I think when you include sports that, frankly, aren't sports it takes away from it. There are just too many sports with limited or no mass appeal. Here are my suggestions.

Eliminate the following sports from the winter olympics:
curling...sweeping isn't fun, not matter what's chasing you
pairs figure skating... (this has fru-fru written all over it)
I think it's called mogul, where they ski over bumps...go around them!
halfpipe...leave it to the Xgames, which no one watches either

Eliminate from the summer games:
archery...not a sport, it's a skill
badminton...not a sport, it's a BBQ game for prepubescents
boxing...they don't let them box, it's glorified sparring in half speed
equestrian...horse does the work, horses want hay and to stud, not medals
fencing...Zorro didn't wear pads, wussies
handball...how on earth can that be popular enough to be international
judo...sounds good, but watching it is a yawn
sailing...not sport, skill, hobby at best
shooting...at each other, yes. at targets, no
table tennis...if it can be played in a church basement it's not a sport

It's here. The end of days.

It is over. I knew there were a lot of things going on to suggest the end of days and the upcoming apocalypse but now I have found definitive proof. This is taken directly from imdb and should be read with horror and disbelief and the realization that our days are numbered if this is indeed true. I now present the biggest sign of the apocalypse known to man.

Socialite Paris Hilton has reportedly been asked to play celebrated humanitarian Mother Teresa in a movie biopic. Indian director T. Rajeevnath has contacted the hotel heiress about taking the lead role in his new film, which will chronicle the late nun's life. He tells MTV.co.uk, "My agents in California have contacted Paris Hilton. Although there are several actresses willing to play the role of Mother Teresa, the most widely respected and loved person, the history of the actress who is finally chosen for the role would have to be analyzed thoroughly before she is chosen."

Spin 101 or How to become sheriff after forgetting you left a pipe bomb in the backseat of your police cruiser

I wrote yesterday about the OC becoming the pipe bomb capital of the world and how a candidate for sheriff left a “relleged” pipe bomb in his cruiser for the police chief to find after riding around a few hours. I asked Bratch if there had been any news on his dropping out of the race. He said no and that there was no way he would drop out. Seriously, after something as Barney Fifeish as this, can you really campaign for sheriff or think you still have a shot of even finishing next to last?

I then began to think about how this guy could spin this to his advantage. What would his publicist do about all this? We still do not know if it was in fact a bomb and who knows when we will find out. I think that if it indeed is found to not have been an explosive, that this candidate needs to play up his experience and his eagle eye. In all his many years in the law enforcement game he has seen hundreds, nay, thousands of pipe bombs and that, mister, was no pipe bomb. He needs to publicly castigate the police chief for being such an amateur for calling the FBI or CIA or whoever he called because he was scared something would blow up. The chief didn’t even know it wasn’t a bomb. He should also refer to the chief as Big Baby when discussing this incident. That’s if it is found to have not been an explosive.

If it turns out to have been a “real” pipe bomb, this complicates things more than they are. How does he “spin” out of this one? Here is my thought. He was so less concerned for his own safety that he kept responding to calls from the citizens of Ohio County. He would rather blow up on the way to a break-in than risk someone’s good china by calling in the bomb squad. Pretty good.

That was easy. How do you make the public forgive and more importantly forget that he left the “bomb” in the backseat of his cruiser for the chief to find? Perhaps he so weary, bone weary in fact, from protecting and serving that day that after all the danger he had been in, he simply forgot about the measly little pipe bomb. After pulling a shift in BD, you see things that you want to forget after it’s done. As soon as you step out of the car you leave it all in the cruiser because you can’t take it home with you. Unfortunately for him, he left it all behind figuratively and literally. The one thing he never, never forgot about is his duty to protect the public.

If he follows the path I laid out before him. Well, meet our new sheriff.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ohio County is the bomb, literally.

Just another week in the OC. Last Sunday an administrator of the OC high school found a bottle bomb in his shrubs and there was evidence that two had exploded in his yard. The cops came and blew up the leftover bottle bomb and three morons were then caught and charged with being stupid in the 1st degree, I believe. Two were juveniles ages 16 and 17 and one was 18. It has been rumored that the 16 year old was the ring leader and has been in trouble in the past. No one has come out and actually said why they decided to bomb this administrator’s yard, but some are speculating that the boys had been in trouble in school.

Not only are the three culprits idiots, but their attorney is not the sharpest ambulance chaser in the drawer. A certain editor of a local paper was waiting to talk with the county attorney outside of the courtroom. He found himself face to face with the three amigos. Their discussion that was overheard was concerning the fact that they build these bombs all the time. The bailiff realized that these dumba**es were telling their secrets in front of the local newspaper editor and told them and their attorney that they might want to talk in a more private setting. They declined and continued to talk about how they loved blowing things up. Whether this makes it into the local paper I am not sure, but it sure shows the intellect of these criminal masterminds.

If that isn’t enough, we have another bomb story involving a pipe bomb found by a mail carrier on Monday. The carrier, from what I understand, picked the bomb up and delivered it to a BD police officer, who happens to be running for sheriff in this year's upcoming elections. The officer puts this pipe bomb into the back of his police cruiser. Well, the guy had been working a rough shift and had several other cases to work before he was able to get back to the police station. When he returns to the “house,” he somehow forgets that he has a pipe bomb laying in the backseat of his cruiser and goes home.

Another officer comes in to work and discovers that there is a pipe bomb in the back of his cruiser. This kind of sets off some alarms especially considering that 3 other bombs had been found a week ago. The next thing you know streets are blocked by fire trucks and cop cars. City blocks are cordoned off. The bomb is then blown up by the bomb squad, I guess. And only after all the drama does the police chief find out that the officer that is running for sheriff knew about the pipe bomb and had driven around with it in his car for hours. No one is sure yet if the bomb was actually a bomb, but it certainly resembled one.

The BD chief of police was very kind to the officer and “blew” it off as a mistake that could happen to anyone. Yeah, I’m not so sure about that. I have three questions concerning this story.

Why in the wide, wide world of sports does the mail carrier pick up a pipe bomb and deliver it to the police as if it is a tin of homemade peanut brittle from grandma?

How do you forget that you have a supposedly explosive device rolling around in the backseat of your car?

Finally, does anyone want to handicap this dude’s chances at becoming our new sheriff?

UK/IU Fans Flaunt Racist Attitude at CJ Writer

The piece I've linked above is by Courier-Journal columnist Jerry Brewer. Jerry is a graduate of Western Kentucky's award winning journalism school, a veteran columnist who has worked in Pennsylvania and in Orlando before coming to the staff of the CJ.

He's an excellent writer. I've enjoyed reading his work since he was on the staff of the College Heights Herald at WKU when we were both students.

This college basketball season Brewer has defended Mike Davis at IU and Tubby Smith at UK. The two have been attacked by their respective fan bases for the poor performances of their teams this season. Davis has been a disappointment three years in, which Brewer admits. But Smith has been a great and successful coach every year he's been at it until this season.

Brewer writes in this column that IU/UK fans are accusing of being racially biased because of his defense of the two coaches. (I guess that makes me racially biased for defending Smith. Does that mean I'm reverse racist?) I enjoy Brewer's response and will let it speak for itself. But now I'll defend the UK fan base (I don't know IUs as well.)

UK fans are not racist. At least not all of them. I would guess the majority of UK fans aren't racist. What you have is a vocal minority who is smearing the face of the whole. And that's unfortunate. But much like Christians who are made to look stupid by idiots like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, if you sit by and do nothing about it, then you're part of the problem.

UK has a long tradition, but unfortunately, that doesn't pay the bills for some UK fans. It's not "what have you done for me lately?" in Lexington, it's "what have you done for me today?" As Chris Rock would say, "It's here today, gone today."

Here's a review though for any possible racist UK fan who's reading this blog. Tubby Smith is a good coach. No, Tubby Smith is a great coach. He's got a national title, he's got final fours, he's got elite eights, and he's won 78% of his games. Reality is, sometimes your up, sometimes your down.

I leave you with the wisdom of an 80s sitcom. "You take the good, you take the bad, you take the rest and there you have...the facts of life. The facts of life."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Michael Bay trying to ruin Friday the 13th.

Do we really need to start remaking movies in the 1980’s? It appears that director/producer Michael Bay is ready to remake Friday the 13th. This is not a new installment, but a remake of the original 1980 film. Bay was hoping to get this film out by Friday, October 13, but it will not be feasible because they haven’t gotten much into place.

I can’t imagine how badly Bay will screw this up, but at least for the time being he is not directing it. He would have Will Smith and Jason involved in a series of elaborate car chases and perhaps a boat chase on Crystal Lake. He then will have several explosions and some huge gunfights. That would be his idea to bring this 80’s classic into the new millennium.

I think this a really bad idea and hope that cooler heads prevail. I thought the update for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was unneeded (Bay was behind that also), and I would really just enjoy another Freddie vs. Jason vs. Michael Myers or vs. Ash from the Evil Dead series. I also believe that the 80’s era is not eligible for remakes because it was like two weeks ago. Filmmakers should focus on crappy movies with a good premise from the 50’s and 60’s. I am sure they could find many that fit that bill. Leave my decade alone at least for another 15 years or so.

Guns 'N' Roses album finally coming out this March? Don't you believe it.

Click the link for a funny joke. It appears that the new Guns ‘N’ Roses album, Chinese Democracy, will be hitting a record shop near you next month. That is a good one. I have heard rumors of this coming out every month for the last 4 years. Do I really believe this? No. BUT, and I mean that’s a big but, I will be the first to purchase it.

Just like Slash I am very interested to hear what direction the mad scientist Axl Rose has led the band in. I also want to see if the wait is worth it. I am betting it is not, but I bet it will be a pretty good album if we ever get to hear it. I have always thought Axl had one of the best rock voices and I hope all the time off and the time to just sit around and smoke and drink has not destroyed that instrument.

Jack Bauer kills one with his bare hands and one with his reputation on last night's 24.

Time for this week’s round of Jack Bauer random facts. Speaking of a fact, did you see 24 last night? Jack killed one terrorist and was in hot pursuit of another terrorist. When the second terrorist found out that he was followed he killed himself rather than be captured by Jack Bauer. Because we all know what happens when you are captured by Jack Bauer…PAIN!!!!!

Nobody says 'hit me' when Jack Bauer deals Blackjack.

When Jack Bauer asks for your help, he's not asking.

If you're holding a gun to Jack Bauer's head, don't count to three before you shoot. Count to 10. That way, you get to live 7 seconds longer.

The cartoon that the Muslims are so angry about is really a drawing of Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer killed 93 people in just 4 days time. Wait, that is a real fact.

Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Jack Bauer laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

Jack Bauer is allowed to leave his phone on during a movie.

You can lead a horse to water. Jack Bauer can make him drink.

Finding Nemo would have been vastly more exciting had Jack Bauer been looking for him.

In poker, Jack Bauer doesn't need to bluff. He looks at opponent, tells them to fold, and they do so. Always.

During the 18 months Jack Bauer was believed dead, CTU saved over $1 billion on ammunition.

When Jack Bauer goes to the airport and the metal detector doesn't go off, security gives him a gun.

Jokes about the face shooting.

Speaking of Dick Cheney shooting someone’s face off, here are some jokes from the first round of late night talk shows. For more, click the link.

From "Late Show with David Letterman," CBS:

• "Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick Cheney."

• "But here is the sad part — before the trip Donald Rumsfeld had denied the guy's request for body armor."

• "We can't get Bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney."

From "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," NBC:

• "Although it is beautiful here in California, the weather back East has been atrocious. There was so much snow in Washington, D.C., Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fat guy thinking it was a polar bear.

• "That's the big story over the weekend. ... Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter, a 78-year-old lawyer. In fact, when people found out he shot a lawyer, his popularity is now at 92 percent."

From "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Comedy Central:

• "Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt ... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird."

From "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," CBS:

• "He is a lawyer and he got shot in the face. But he's a lawyer, he can use his other face. He'll be all right."

• "You can understand why this lawyer fellow let his guard down, because if you're out hunting with a politician, you think, 'If I'm going to get it, it's going to be in the back.' "

• "The big scandal apparently is that they didn't release the news for 18 hours. I don't think that's a scandal at all. I'm quite pleased about that. Finally there's a secret the vice president's office can keep."

"Apparently the reason they didn't release the information right away is they said we had to get the facts right. That's never stopped them in the past."

VP Cheney shoots man in the face, a daily occurance in Kentucky during hunting season.

While it is an interesting story and a somewhat humorous story, I do not see the big deal in VP Dick Cheney shooting his friend in the face. See that sounded bad, but in actuality I’m sure it wasn’t half as bad as it sounds. Anytime you are bird hunting, whether it is quail hunting or dove hunting or whatever hunting, you run the risk of being shot or shooting someone else. If hunters do not know where other hunters are all the time, this happens.

From what I understand Mr. Whittington, the shootee, had left the hunting party for a bit and returned without announcing his return. As far as anyone knew he was still gone and this is what led to the accident. It was as much Mr. Whittington’s fault as it was Mr. Cheney’s. I will admit that being peppered across the face and neck will not feel good; I do not imagine that at anytime Mr. Whittington was in danger of dying.

This happens every day in Kentucky and other states that has a bird hunting season. As long as you are not shot point blank in the face, you will be fine. It will sting like a weasel and you will be very p@#*ed off at who shot you, you will live. Ask my cousin who has shot several people. These TV “news” people who are shocked at something like this happening need to go on a quail hunting trip and see for themselves how easily this could happen. And then shut-up about this.

What I do wonder about is the time it took to tell anyone about it. Why did Cheney wait 14 hours before telling anybody, including the president? Some conspiracy theorists may think that he waited long enough to find out that Mr. Whittington would live. Some would also say that if the worst had happened perhaps there would have been some sort of cover-up or perhaps it would have come out that it wasn’t Cheney who shot the man but a patsy. That seems very far fetched, but questions still remain on the timing.

Whatever the case, it looks like things are not as bad as some would lead you to believe. Cheney was cited for failing to buy a stamp to hunt upland birds, Mr. Whittington is recovering, and we have new joke fodder for our late night talk shows. Business as usual in America.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Van Halen going the reality TV route for new lead singer?

Could Van Halen be going the reality TV route in finding a new lead singer? The band’s spokesperson denies it. Reports are that Van Halen is going to be the new band to find their singer on Rock Star: The Series. I have heard this rumor before and I cringe when I see it. It kind of screams desperation to me, although INXS has a hit album and sold out shows to prove that it works. I really hope that this is just a rumor and Van Halen can patch things up with David Lee Roth. That is what VH fans are waiting for. Sure it may be as desperate as going on TV and finding a lead singer, but the desperation that leads to DLR is satisfying to me a long time VH fan.

I have linked the article from TMZ.com and on the same page as the story they have a couple of poll questions. The first is, what should Van Halen do? Bring back DLR, Bring back Sammy, or get a new singer. You know my vote and apparently 52% agree with me that they should bring back DLR.

The second question is very interesting. It asks, which band should use Rock Star to find a new lead singer? The choices are Queen, Stone Temple Pilots, or The Carpenters. Three interesting choices. I think that Queen has already done a good job by picking up former Free and Bad Company lead singer Paul Rodgers and touring. I don’t think Queen needs the show.

I haven’t even heard anything involving Richard Carpenter and a comeback. I would think that it would be very hard for Richard Carpenter to make music and tour with someone other than Karen Carpenter. I also think it would be hard or weird to be “the new Karen Carpenter.” This must just be a wishful fantasy for TMZ and a cousin and an uncle I have that love The Carpenters.

Stone Temple Pilots seems like the best choice for me and that’s what I chose out of the three. I think that the DeLeo brothers are very talented and may have some good songs left. STP was never a legendary band, but they did have quite a few top quality songs and it was a shame that they split up. Do I think the remaining members of STP will even consider this? No. I just think that the brothers DeLeo will just as soon form a new band and make new music and leave STP behind.

According to the viewers of this article 51% believe Queen should be the next band to appear on Rock Star. I do not believe any of these choices will do it. I am not sure any bands will, I was surprised INXS did it. As I said it screams of desperation, but perhaps this is the way of the future. Maybe all bands will do this in the future. It is just an audition. The big difference is that we get to see it every week and have some input. Maybe it is not so bad after all. No, it is.

Hot Talladega Nights coming soon.

For all fans of Anchorman and all the fans of the so called “Frat Pack,” check this out. It is a trailer for Will Ferrell’s new movie called Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. It is brought to you by the producers of Anchorman so it has to be good. I think that this can be the greatest NASCAR movie of all time. Watch Days of Thunder, your days are numbered. Click the link and enjoy!!!

NHL betting Gretzky is clean.

Well, well, well, hockey is the big story in sports. I thought I would never say that. Unfortunately for the sport of hockey, it takes an alleged gambling ring to get some headlines. And it’s not even the gambling ring that is getting the headlines as much as the fact that Wayne Gretzky may or may not have something to do with it.

A gambling ring that was financed, allegedly, by former player and coach Rick Tocchett, Gretzky’s best friend and assistant coach. It also allegedly involved a New Jersey state trooper, perhaps a dozen current NHL players and whispers of some involvement with organized crime. There is also evidence that Gretzky’s wife is involved in this fiasco. Whoops!

Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all time in most people’s eyes, got dragged into this mess by his lovely wife, Janet Jones Gretzky. Allegedly, Ms. Gretzky likes the action. In fact, it is alleged that Ms. Gretzky wagered $500,000 over a period of 39 days and bet $100,000 on the Super Bowl, including a $5000 bet on the coin toss. Wow, she really likes the action.

Gretzky at first denied knowing anything about anything. It turns out that the FBI have wiretaps showing that Gretzky knew something about the gambling ring because he is on tape talking with Rick Tochett about keeping his and his wife’s name out of the investigation. It turns out this conversation happened just after authorities talked with Ms. Gretzky about the alleged gambling ring.

Some are now wondering if Ms. Gretzky placed bets for her husband. Some are wondering if Gretzky bet on hockey and some are wondering if, perhaps, some games have been fixed. I think those people are jumping too quickly to those conclusions. There is no evidence of any bets on hockey by anybody. There is no evidence Gretzky bet on anything.

There is evidence that perhaps Ms. Gretzky has a bit of a problem. When you bet $500,000 in a mater of 40 days, you may have a problem. I know some people like to have a little money on a game to enjoy it, but this is ridiculous. Hopefully this will show Ms. Gretzky that she might need to seek some help.

There is evidence that Wayne Gretzky is very naïve or at least the kind of person who has adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy. To not know your best friend was involved in this and to not know or be concerned your wife is gambling this much money tells me that Gretzky just doesn’t have a clue. Gretzky needs to pull his head out of the sand and tell somebody in the media what he knows and when he knew it before his reputation takes a bigger hit than it already has. If the NHL can not count on Wayne Gretzky as its paragon of virtue then all might be lost.

Hockey has just been through what many thought was the worst year of its existence with the lockout. The league did not need this to crop up, especially when it brings up the whispers and allegations of the fix being in. Will hockey survive this scandal? I believe it will because I believe we will find out that the only thing this alleged gambling ring has to do with the NHL is that players used it to place bets on other sports. We will also find out Wayne Gretzky had nothing to do with the alleged ring. Thankfully when this all comes out into the open we can go back to not caring about hockey once again.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Kentucky's proposed primary seatbelt law and why it makes my head hurt.

When I went to the Kentucky Press Association Convention last month I bumped into a dude from the the Advocate Messenger out of Danville, KY. We mainly discussed podcasting and touched on blogs, but I was looking for something to do and jumped onto the Advocate Messenger's web site tonight.

I was glad to see that their editor John Nelson started a blog shortly after the convention. Since I have the memory of a 105 year-old, I can't remember who I talked with from this newspaper, but the editor of the paper and an "ace reporter" there each have blogs.

Anyway, the issue he blogged about today was Kentucky's primary seatbelt law. For those of you who don't know a primary seatbelt law would mean that if a cop saw you driving without your seatbelt on he could ticket you for it. Currently, Kentucky (and most states) have a secondary seatbelt law which means you have to be pulled over for something else before they can issue a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt.

Mr. Nelson discussed the finer points of this law and touched on how a primary seatbelt law starts infringing on personal freedoms. Let's not forget that motorcycle riders over the age of 21 don't have to wear a helmet.

He also talks about how the lawmakers of Kentucky want to save lives, but also want to save money since the state technically invests money to educate its citizens. So they don't want us to die too quickly so they can see a return on that investment.

So it gets down to money and I don't have a problem with that because it's a valid point. Almost 1,000 people died on Kentucky's roads last year.

I posted the next bit of this as a comment on Mr. Nelson's blog which is linked in the title of this post.

The problem I have with this proposed law is it will be extremely hard to enforce.

The visible portion of a seatbelt is probably 18 inches to 24 inches long and about 2.5 inches wide. The lawmakers in Frankfort want cops to look for this when they see any vehicle on the road? By the time a car is pulled over, what if the driver puts their seatbelt on? Is every seatbelt ticket going to have to come with video footage as evidence?

If my shirt matches my seatbelt, should I plan for a delay in my commute to work? For obvious reasons, this law in unenforcible at night as well. What about window tinting?

Wanting to save lives is one thing, but this law is unrealistic when you get down the enforcement aspect of it.

Let's look at something different. According to the Center for Disease Control, smoking attributable deaths in the state of Kentucky in 1999 was almost 8,000.

If you want to get silly about it, making cigarettes other tobacco products illegal in this state would probably save hundreds of millions in healthcare costs. Especially when you consider that 31 percent of Kentuckians smoke.

That being said, why are my tax dollars being spent arguing over a questionably enforcible law when there are better issues to discuss? Like adding a dollar to the cigarette tax.

If almost 1/3 of the population is killing themselves, Kentucky should be squeezing all the money they can out of them. They don't want to lose out on any investment they might have in these people should they experience an untimely smoking related death. And if they quite smoking, healthcare money will be saved yet again.

I'd rather shoot fish in a barrel than try to prove whether or not they had their seatbelts on. But that's just me.
I've had a problem with the cigarette tax in this state for a long, long time. If you ask me we should really add a $5 tax to a pack of cigarettes. And don't even begin to cry about farmers being hurt because Piccu and I helped raise tobacco for 15 years or more and all the tobacco is being grown by giant farmers now. Small farmers who relied solely on tobacco were gone long before cigarette taxes became a hot-button issue.

The more I think about it, the more angry I get about it. The state is arguing this seatbelt law and numbers like $11 million and $98 million are being thrown around as money we are losing because of deaths on Kentucky's roads. I think the $11 million was extra federal cash Kentucky would receive.

Anyway, they are talking about big time money. But the phrase "drop in the bucket" doesn't even do justice to the amount of money that would be saved by taxes on tobacco products.

By the way, having used a Mac since this blog started, I'm loving the web browser Firefox. This is the first post that I've made with it, but the folks at Blogger have yet to support Apple's Safari web browser so I had to take drastic measures and download Firefox.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tom Cruise getting crazy again, rellegedly.

More evidence that Tom Cruise is taking the place of Michael Jackson as the weirdest celebrity in the world has been unearthed. Check out these quotes attributed to Mr. Cruise as told to a friend. Not much of a friend considering they blabbed to the media, but at the time Cruise would have considered them friendly. He is discussing his plans for Katie Holmes and how he doesn’t want this relationship and upcoming marriage to turn into a repeat of the relationship he had with Nicole Kidman.

“I’ve got Katie tucked away, so no one will get to us until my child is born — and until I want them to.” Who is it that is trying to get to Katie and the unborn child? Is it Katie’s parents and loved ones, who do not seem to be as enamored with Mr. Cruise as their little Katie is?

“I said [Katie’s] life from now on was going to be about being a mother,” Cruise allegedly said. “I’m not giving her the chance to turn into another Nicole.” What does this mean? That Nicole Kidman’s brainwashing didn’t take? Was Kidman supposed to give up her career for motherhood? Tom Cruise really does seem to be living in 1890’s Kentucky. The woman should not be working; she should be barefoot and pregnant and should not be seen or heard.

Of course Cruise’s reps deny he said any of this. For Katie Holmes’ sake I sure hope he didn’t. More frightening stuff from the man who would be Michael Jackson.

Scarlett and Keira out and about.

Have you seen this picture? Two of my favorites are nude on the cover of Vanity Fair, Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley. I may need to subscribe to Vanity Fair. First you had Jennifer Anniston topless on the cover and then you had Lindsay Lohan in various forms of undress inside Vanity Fair and now this? Is Vanity Fair a women’s magazine? Do the ladies like to see nude women on the cover of their mags? Maybe I am wrong on this one. Perhaps Maxim and FHM have a large female audience, but I digress.

The guy in the pic with the two hot hotties is the guest artistic director for this Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair, designer Tom Ford. I refer to him as the luckiest man on the face of the planet and maybe the universe. Apparently Rachel McAdams, of Wedding Crashers fame, was also supposed to get nekkid with these two, but got cold feet and backed out. Or did she get cold nipples? Anyway Mr. Ford did not want to make anyone do anything that they were uncomfortable with so he took Miss McAdams’ place.

Feast your eyes, boys and girls. Enjoy!!!!!

Real and realer random facts about Chuck Norris.

And for the Chuck Norris fans, here are a few random facts about Chuck. I am listening to Chuck right now on the Adam Carolla show, so some facts may be realer than others.

He is 56 f’ing years old. Real fact!

Chuck Norris trained and taught Steve McQueen karate. Real Fact!

Chuck Norris worked out for a couple of years with Bruce Lee. Real Fact!

Chuck Norris’ hands are not registered as lethal weapons. Real fact? (I think we know the truth.)

When Walker, Texas Ranger was on TV in Romania the streets were barren. Real fact! (At least according to a woman from Bucharest who called in to talk to Chuck.)

Chuck Norris trained Bob Barker and says Barker trains everyday. Real fact!

When Chuck Norris roundhouse-kicks people, they do not die of blunt trauma or tissue damage, they simply lose the will to live.

If you make Chuck Norris stroke his beard in confusion, you're finished, because Norris doesn't understand confusion, only pain.

Before the invention of sliced bread, people used to say that something was the greatest invention since Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris already knew this and got tired of hearing people say this. So Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked every loaf of bread in the world, therein inventing sliced bread to take the burden off his name.

Chuck Norris doesn't trust mirrors because there can only be one Chuck.

Chuck Norris knows that George W. Bush is lying when he says he is doing everything he can to hunt down Osama bin Laden because Bush has not yet consulted Norris or the A-team.

If you disagree with Chuck Norris, he'll karate chop you in to a bajillion pieces. He is aware that this is not a number, but if you call him on it, he'll roundhouse kick you in to a quabillion pieces.

Chuck Norris can grant wishes, as long as you wish for roundhouse kicks to the face or a Total Gym.

Chuck Norris refers to himself in fourth person.

Cars were invented to have a faster way of fleeing from Chuck Norris. Not to be outdone, Chuck Norris invented the car accident.

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know when Chuck Norris is going to kill you.

Every dinosaur skull ever found has the imprint of a size 15 cowboy boot on its jaw. Scientists are baffled, but we know damn well why.

Regardless of race, sex, gender, location, or education level... at one point in your life you have underestimated Chuck Norris. You will live just long enough to regret this.

65 after 24, more random facts about Jack Bauer.

I was away from a computer earlier this week and I wasn't able to give some random facts about Jack Bauer on Monday. So here is the late edition. Enjoy!!!

If everyone on "24" followed Jack Bauer's instructions, it would be called "12".

If you wake up in the morning, it's because Jack Bauer spared your life.

Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

Let’s get one thing straight, the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.

Every mathematical inequality officially ends with "< Jack Bauer".

Jack Bauer arm once wrestled Superman. The stipulations were the loser had to wear his underwear on the outside of his pants.

Jack Bauer uses #1 pencils on standardized tests.... Jack Bauer doesn't associate with anything that is #2.

In kindergarten, Jack Bauer killed a terrorist for Show and Tell.

When President Palmer quit to start doing Allstate commercials, it took him 43 takes before he could stop saying, "You're in good hands with Jack Bauer".

If Jack Bauer tells you to get out of the room because you don't want to see what he's about to do, you better keep your a** in that room because you're about to witness the most shockingly awesome thing you've ever seen.

"Jack Bauer" is Arabic for "I'm f*#@ed".

Kentucky, a basketball state

In most years, the commonwealth of Kentucky is known as a college basketball superstate. Along with Indiana and North Carolina, Kentucky is filled to the rim with good, NCAA tournament quality teams. From the perennially great University of Kentucky, to the relatively recent powerhouse of Louisville (hey, where were they BEFORE the 1980s), to Murray State, to my alma mater Western Kentucky. Add a sprinkling of Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State from time to time and the greatest D2 program in history, Kentucky Wesleyan and its easy to see what I mean.

This year however, may be a bit of a dry spell. Let's break these teams down starting with the least likely to make the NCAA tournament, to the most likely.

We'll start with the easiest. Morehead State. They're toast. They own exactly TWO wins in the Ohio Valley Conference and only three overall. One of those against a D3 team.

Eastern Kentucky. One of the teams that actually lost to Morehead State. But a new coach means things are changing after Travis Ford took them to the Dance last season then punched his ticket to UMass. Give them time, but this year, they deserve butter and jam almost as much as Morehead State.

Louisville. This one is in the shocker catergory. Granted, I didn't expect UofL to do well in its new conference home, the Big (L)east, but Louisville has been downright awful. They are 15-8 overall (THANK YOU Creampuff out of conference schedule!!) but only 3-7 in the conference. Plenty of games left to play, but they're schedule is a bear. Games at West Virginia (8-0 in conference), at Syracuse, at UConn, and at home against Marquette. UofL's only real chance of making the NCAAs is to win the Big East tournament. Problem is, the lowest four teams in conference standings, don't qualify for said tournament. Where does UofL rank? Tied for that last tournament birth with Rutgers. Rutgers owns the tiebreaker and has a MUCH easier schedule the rest of the way. UofL, do you prefer strawberry preserves or orange marmalade?

Murray State. MSU started shaky, but leads a very sorry Ohio Valley Conference. I like they're chances, but as shaky as they are, they could still stumble. No chance at an at-large. Win and you're in. Lose and you're TOAST!!!! YEAH TOAST! I give Murray a 70% chance of getting in.

Western Kentucky. Ok, I REALLY wanted to put Kentucky behind WKU, but my brain is bigger than my heart today. WKU had a chance to nail down an at-large bid this season with a solid OOC slate. A win over Virginia and a road victor over UAB would look great on an NCAA resume. However, losses to Pacific and Troy (TROY!!??!?!?) kiled that dream in its sleep. So now WKU (16-5, 8-1) must win the SunBelt tournament being held in Murfreesboro, TN. Not a terrible task. The 'Boro is just an hour and fifteen minutes from WKU's campus (if driven illegally fast) and WKU has been in the driver's seat in the conference all year. The key will be to avoid tourney host MTSU. But I give WKU a 85% chance to make the tourney.

Barring an apocalyptic meltdown (all apologies to Cortney Basham at The Bracket Board blog) UK is in. They've got wins over West Virginia and Louisville. They're staying afloat in the SEC which isn't good top to bottom, but hosts two excellent teams in Tennessee and Florida. Key for UK will be to stay over .500 in the SEC. Games with at Vandy, at UT, at LSU and Florida in Rupp means UK must take care of business in their other conference games. A loss to South Carolina, Georgia or Ole Miss and UK's chances go from good to toasty. Right now, I give UK an 86% chance of getting in.

So this year is a lousy one in college basketball, by Kentucky standards. Of course being the biased individual I am, I am rooting for Murray and UK to stumble so WKU can make the dance and enjoy the unfettered media coverage.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More fallout about Tony Kornheiser joining MNF from the Dan Patrick show.

Mr. Tony was on the Dan Patrick show on ESPN Radio earlier today to talk about his new gig as, well, what ever it is he will be for Monday Night Football. He was on during the Big Show hour, the 1:00 PM Central time hour in which Dan’s former Sportscenter partner and current MSNBC talking head Keith Olbermann joins the show. Olbermann was very displeased to learn the Tony Kornheiser, who once worked at ESPN Radio, was proclaimed “the most difficult on air talent in ESPN history.” Mr. Tony is proud of that fact and claims to have a letter saying as much.

They asked the usual questions about his sleeping habits, his ability to probably make someone mad and he complained that he probably won’t be any good. They then chatted about Michael Wilbon and Mr. Tony said Wilbon is excited to do PTI on the road for Monday night. Mr. Tony said something that sums up their relationship very well. He said, “Wilbon loves being Wilbon and I hate being Tony Kornheiser.” He also said that Wilbon has just realized that Mr. Tony is a white guy after he had his Lasik surgery.

Dan Patrick then had Joe Theismann and Mike Tirico, Kornheiser’s partners in the MNF booth, on his show. They both seemed excited to be doing this. Dan wondered if Tony and Joe could get along and Joe thought that they could because Tony brings a different perspective to the game, a writer’s perspective.

Theismann also said he doesn’t know how everything will fit, nobody does. It should be intriguing and exciting. He has been in three man booths before and thinks everything will be fine. He has had disagreements in a three man booth but isn’t worried about working with Mr. Tony. He said that no matter what NBC does with its Sunday night broadcast, “Monday night is the most exciting night of the week for football.”

Theismann said he doesn’t think they will be compared to anyone because they are “starting a new era.”

He also said that part of the excitement with Mr. Tony is that they don’t know how it is going to work out.

Mike Tirico had a few things to say as well. When asked how he would run the booth because he would be the “traffic cop,” he said that he would “let the conversation go right to the edge and then bring it back to the game.” Tirico said you never let the conversation overrun the game; the game is the most important thing. Asked about Tony’s role, Tirico explained that Tony will not be there to break down the defense; he is there to bring his knowledge to the broadcast.

Sounds like both Tirico and Theismann are anxious to find out how this whole thing will work. So am I. I do know that I will now watch more of the game. Dan Patrick said the email he received about Mr. Tony joining the MNF booth was split 50/50, half loved the idea, half hated it. If 100% watch because of it, I think ESPN will be pleased with their decision.

UPDATE Feb. 9, 2006

All that I said about the parka, I want the parka filled with cash.
Tony Kornheiser

Hola, mi amigos. I would like to present to you, Nacho Libre.

Click the link for what looks to be the best movie this summer will see. It stars a man by the name of Jack Black. Its director is a man by the name of Jared Hess; you may know him as the writer/director of Napoleon Dynamite. It was a small movie you may have not seen it. Its writer is a guy by the name of Mike White; he wrote a little movie called School of Rock. Mr. Black, Mr. White, and Mr. Hess will be proud to announce the release of their movie on June 2. The title? Nacho Libre. Jack Black as a Mexican wrestler with a crazy Mexican accent. It’s gold, Jerry, gold. After you click the link and read some words you will be able to check out a trailer of this movie at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!!!

Kill Mario Vol. 1

What if the great Kill Bill Vol. 1 had a soundtrack that came from the Super Mario games? I'm sure Quentin Tarantino has wondered that quit often. Well, wonder no more. Click the link to see Black Mamba's battle with GoGo. It sounds wonderful.

Warning for those of you who can't handle a violent gory confrontation, just listen do not watch. Enjoy!!!!

Pass interference and why everyone is against me

I'm sitting here in the office and my editor and I talking football and how Mr. Tony is going to Monday Night Football and we began to talk about the Super Bowl XL officiating.

I didn't get to see much in the way of news or PTI or Around The Horn and see what everyone is saying about the officials, but the first "bad" call of the Super Bowl was not a bad call. I don't even know the names of the two players involved and I'll admit that it wasn't over the top pass interference, but it was still pass interference.

Somehow, I'm the only person in the world that sees this. Even the women in the office are against me. And I kind of believe that people are arguing this call because of some of the other questionable calls that occurred. That and the fact that this call was in the endzone costing Seattle 6 points.

If you didn't see the game, the situation was Seattle on offense and Seattle's receiver was covered by a Pittsburgh defender and they ran as far as they possibly could. Into the endzone, under the goalposts and all the way until any further would have put them out of bounds. At that point they both came a complete stop. Well, as complete as you can come when you are in the Super Bowl.

At this point the ball is thrown and the Seattle receiver put his right hand into the Steeler defender's chest as he went after the ball which was thrown to the left side of the Seattle receiver, away from the defense. Whether or not you agreed with the call, the Seattle receiver did push the Steeler defender and you can see it in the replay. If you watch the Steeler defender's feet, he had make a little hop backward in order to maintain his balance. I admit that the push was little, but if you don't think that it had a bearing on the TD catch, then you have to wonder why the Steeler defender didn't begin to try and make a play on the ball and break up the TD.

Instead, he just stood there like a statue. And for those of you who are whining about the late flag, the official pulled the wrong thing out of his belt the first time. I guess it was the fumble bean bag, but he instantly made the call and was completely on top of the play.

So after all of that, the rest of the plays were pretty questionable. Roethlisberger didn't make it in. Holding calls were really hit and miss, but only when Seattle had a big play were they "hit".

Complain all you want, but that pass interference call had no bearing on the game because it was the right call. Talk all you want about the rest of them because I won my money for the Pittsburgh win fair and square.

Tee Hee!!!!

Tony Kornheiser is going to ESPN's Monday Night Football.

Tony Kornheiser has joined the Monday Night Football team. ESPN just made the announcement and I heard this on, of course, the Tony Kornheiser show. “This is just gonna be dreadful,” Kornheiser exclaims, “but I’ve got to do it.” Kornheiser is known for his inability to make it to halftime before falling asleep while watching MNF at his home in Washington D.C. He claims to have not watched a whole MNF game in 25 years. He still jokes about bussing to the locations, but that could change after a cross country trip to San Diego.

How does this affect his radio show and his TV show Pardon the Interruption (PTI)? Mr. Tony just finished giving his thoughts on the whole MNF deal and I have taken some notes.

He still says he would do the MNF gig for “a parka that says MNF” and he would give that to his son, but if they are going to give him a lot of money he is going to take it.

He was approached two weeks ago about this job and “every fiber in my body said don’t do it, Tony.” Two reasons he shouldn’t do it are, he doesn’t fly and his life has been go to bed at 9:30 PM Eastern and wake up at 4:40 AM Eastern. His life is nice and he loves radio, he loves PTI and he always wanted to be a newspaper columnist. He got to do it all. He also is a bit obsessive compulsive. He doesn’t like to go anywhere, he likes routine. He says every talent he has has “played into his neurosis.”

He is afraid he will fail and that is another reason he shouldn’t do it. He has no idea if he can do this, but he also had that same fear when he became a newspaper columnist and a PTI host. His main fear is the chemistry between Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann and himself. He says he and Michael Wilbon had 25 years to work on their chemistry for PTI.

“I’m a critic, a sarcastic person, my stuff may not work.” He says he is not going out there to be Howard Cossell or a comedian and not going to be Dennis Miller. In his heart and soul he does not think he will be any good. Then why is he doing it? He is doing it because it’s MNF and “it is so damn cool” to be offered the gig and he couldn’t say no.

At first he did say no and then thirty minutes later he began to think he could do it. He went home and said to his wife, “I gotta do it.”

He will not be doing radio while doing MNF because he can’t take a microphone on the road. He said he might not even be able to write his column for the Washington Post. He will go back to radio after MNF because “he loves it and he is pretty much typed out.”

He will go into training and start going to bed at midnight and rising about 7 or 8 AM. He said he will be taking drugs to be able to travel on the bus for so long. He said he will have to get on a plan at some point and is afraid. He will visit a psychiatrist.

He wants to practice with the other guys in the booth for the upcoming broadcasts. Wants to get a feel for the chemistry and how things will run. And when it is over and it doesn’t work out he wants to be able to blame it on the crew and everyone else involved with MNF.

There you go, I know only one or two of you care about this, but this is something that is pretty big news to me, a huge Kornheiser fan. I am sad to see the radio show go, but he and Wilbon will still do PTI. In fact every Monday night, they will be doing the show on the road at the game’s location according to ESPN. I hope this works out for all involved and even though Mr. Tony is a fat, bald, orange dope, he is the best in the biz and deserves a chance to show a bigger audience how much he stinks. (Inside joke for those of you who do not know.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Super Bowl and the UK Wildcats, two Xtra Large letdowns.

Kind of a big weekend this weekend. Too big for a column on only one subject, so I broke it into. Get ready for your favorite and mine, hodge podge. Let's hunt.

Super Sunday, I think not. The Roman numerals XL were very appropriate because the game was an Xtra Large let down. That was not what the NFL and the advertisers were hoping for. That was one of the least memorable games in Super Bowl history. The only thing that will be remembered about this game was that the officiating stunk and I predicted that the Steelers would win by more than 4 and I predicted the Super Bowl MVP correctly. And maybe Jerome Bettis going out on top will be remembered.

The NFL really has to be embarrassed because two of their biggest games this year will be overshadowed by suspect officiating. I heard more than once at the Super Bowl party I attended, that the officials and the NFL were making sure that Pittsburgh was going to win. I am one to generally believe in conspiracy theories, but I have a hard time buying this. Perhaps the NFL needs to find veteran officials to work Super Bowls. Maybe only those officials with 10 or 15 years of experience. Why there seemed to be so many bad calls in this game, I do not know. I do know that it didn't help a lackluster game.

I did think that Jerome Bettis winning and then pretty much announcing his retirement will be the thing most remembered in the long run. While I do not think Bettis is an all time great, he is a Hall of Famer and a seemingly nice guy. It was a moment that rarely happens in sports, an athlete quitting at the perfect time. Not like Michael Jordan who kept coming back or Sugar Ray Leonard who kept coming back. I hope that Bettis means what he says because it will only add to his Hall of Fame credentials in my book.

For the NFL there is always next year. Maybe next year the New England Patriots will be back. Maybe next year Peyton Manning can finally break through and win the "big one." Maybe next year Seattle can build on this trip to the Super Bowl and make a better showing next year. Maybe as a whole the NFL will be a memorable season because just like the Super Bowl, it will be soon forgotten.

Will the real UK Wildcats team please stand up? I watched Saturday's game against the Florida Gators and after the first half I was pleasantly surprised. I was in fact as giddy as a school girl. I had been saying for weeks (not in print, of course) that UK would handle Florida and in fact beat them in Gainesville. I had thought UK had turned the corner and would perform very well the rest of the season.

Well the second half starts and I am convinced that UK will win or at least put up a good fight and lose by a couple of points. I found out pretty quickly that would not be the case. The Cats decided to not play any kind of defense letting Florida's players drive and score with dunks and lay-ups about 95% of the time. As proud as I was for their showing in thee first half, I could not have been more disgusted with the second half.

The lack of athleticism and talent was very apparent. UK does not have a very good team this year. Sure they will win enough games to make the tournament, but they have not got the talent to make even a Cinderella run for any championships. Tubby has got himself into a bind and I am not sure this thing will be fixable in the next year or two.

I do not see a class of All-Americans coming in next year and without a shot of talent, UK maybe not be as good next year as they are this year. That sound you just heard was the combination of screams of horror from UK fans and shouts of joy from U of L and WKU fans. As forgettable as the Super Bowl was this year, I am afraid the UK WIldcats next couple of seasons will be memorable, for the wrong reasons.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The most frustrating day of the year is nearing... Feb. 18

That's right folks, the most frustrating day of the year was announced this week and that day is February 18. The good news about that frustrating day is that it has big rewards if you can survive it.

February 18 is the day that opening day baseball tickets go on sale for the Cincinnati Reds. Opening day is Cincy is a happening. The kids get are out of school, they have a parade and everyone gathers downtown at the square to hang out and get free stuff and prepare for the game.

I generally don't like big cities, but there is something about being in Cincy for a ballgame. We usually stay at one of the nice hotels that are just a few blocks from the ballpark. Last year I woke up and opened the curtains of my 14th floor hotel room and looking out I could see window washers on a skyscraper about another 25 floors up across the street. They were probably working fast to get everything done so they could get to the game.

For some reason it's just kind of cool to messing around the downtown area for a little while. I just wish they would get some better restaurants down there. We might be eating chili cheese coneys this year the night before the game.

Anyway, last year we just got enough tickets so that everyone could go and that is what makes it frustrating. Piccu's head explodes every year. Somehow he regenerates a new one shortly thereafter. Having a couple of computers, a land-line telephone, cell phone and 3 or 4 other people doing the same thing and you only get 6 tickets... That's the epitomy of frustration. One year we got 24 tickets.

And the more tickets the better. If you can get enough tickets, you can get your tickets for the game and finance the rest of the trip with the other tickets by selling them before you get into the game.

Well, that's not correct. One could finance the entire trip on the extra tickets if one engaged in such activities.

This year the Reds are facing the Chicago Cubs again and hopefully we can get some really good seats. The seats we had last year were pretty good. We had a couple of homerun balls land around us including the game tying homer by Adam Dunn in the bottom of the 9th. The we got to witness the first ever walk-off homer by Joe Randa. It was unreal.

To me opening day is way better than the Derby and now we have the little ones to worry about. Every year on the scoreboard they list all of the names of people at the game who have an opening day streak of 10 or more in a row. Some of them are way up into the 60s or more. Right now Piccu and I are at 3 and a couple of our friends are pushing 8, but two of our friends started bringing their little girl to opening day and she had two under her belt before she was 2 years old and this year could be her third.

That is a streak of epic proportion if we can keep it up. So now it's a quest to keep her streak alive at all costs. Word.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Watch out J. J. Redick, Pat-Pat is on your trail.

“Man, he was unbelievable. He was like J. J. Redick out there.” Charles Rhodes, Mississippi State

Guess who that was said about, that’s right. He’s back, Patrick Sparks. Pat-Pat had a career high 25 points to lead the resurgent UK Wildcats in a throuncing of the Mississippi State Crooked Letter Is. I have never seen a better single game performance. Not Reddick, not Kobe, not even Wilt has looked so good. I am beginning to think that the rumor I had heard a couple years ago on KentuckyPreps.com is right.

What was that rumor? Apparently Jerry Sloane loves the gritty, gutty self professed “groundhog” and has his sights on Sparks to take the helm and become the new John Stockton. This son of a coach who attended Muhlenberg North High School in Central City, Kentucky is on his way. The rest of the SEC better recognize before they get a dagger in their eye.

Six more weeks of winter according to the country's most accurate weather forecaster. Some rodent in a hole.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today and that means six more weeks of winter. S@*#, I just don’t know if I can take many more of these bitter cold 60 degree days. And with all the snow we are not getting it is really not piling up out there. If we do not get some springtime temps in here soon I may commit hari-kari. Why are they celebrating this rodent, in the 1800’s they drug the rat out of his hole and they ate him.

One thing I always wondered. Why is it more winter when the groundhog sees his shadow? I would think that it would be the opposite. The sun is out. Sun equals spring/summer time. I would think it would be logical for a cloudy day and no shadow of the groundhog to mean six more weeks of winter.

In celebration of Groundhog Day, go out and rent the movie Groundhog Day. It's a fact, Groundhog Day is the best movie ever made and it gets better and better every time I see it. You can watch it on Showtime today if you have that channel. Check local listings.

Tony Kornheiser moving to Monday Night Football on ESPN?

Last night Big Kev floated some info my way about my favorite radio/TV host, Tony Kornheiser, going to Monday Night Football next season when ESPN takes it over. I had not heard anything about it, but I knew that Mr. Tony was second behind Dennis Miller the last time MNF went through a similar process. Well, I arrive at work and per usual I begin my day with the Tony Kornheiser Show on Sportstalk 980. He begins the show talking about this possible move to MNF.

He said that he would love to just “blog and go to sleep at the half,” but he sounds like he would definitely be interested in the job if offered. He said this even though he “hasn’t seen a MNF game in 20 years,” because he goes to sleep at 9 PM Eastern time. He basically “doesn’t want to fly and wants to sleep.” He talked about how he had done some cool things in his life, like the Listen Up show and said he would be happy to do the MNF gig for “big parka that says Tony on the back,” but his agent would have something to say about that. He said he “has no confidence he would be good, but he would not be horrible and somewhere in between.”

Here is the main problem for Mr. Tony if he says yes to MNF. He does not fly. He would have to pull a John Madden and travel the country in a bus. He said he would travel in a bus and that on a trip cross country to Seattle, he would “put a gun to the driver’s head and say get me on a plane,” because he would go crazy on the road that long. He said he would travel with “extensive amounts of drugs,” to help him battle his fear of flying.

He said he was “incredibly lucky” and had an “embarrassment of riches” in his life. He can’t believe he gets these offers because he does not have a “TV face.” He was asked if he was afraid of overexposure and he said no because he “has already done everything he wanted to do,” and if he had to give up anything be it radio, newspaper, or TV time he knows “it would not be forever.”

I have linked in the title an article in the Washington Post about this same subject and it is very interesting. Here are some highlights.

Al Michaels is under contract to ESPN/ABC to do the MNF games but he wants to be let out of his contract to go to NBC to do the new Sunday night games with his buddy John Madden. Here is how it is going down. If Michaels is let go, Mike Tirico takes his place and Joe Theismann and Mr. Tony will be the color guys. If Michaels stays, then only Theismann will be a color guy.

ESPN is not the only entity after Mr. Tony; apparently both XM and Sirius satellite radio are after him to do a daily sports talk show specifically for them.

Here is another little tidbit gleaned from the article in the Post. Mr. Tony makes $900,000 a year for PTI alone. The MNF gig would reportedly double that.

Here is my take. I am more worried about Mr. Tony going to Sirius than anything because I do not believe this will affect PTI and I feel I will be able to hear him on radio no matter where he ends up, except for Sirius. I think he would make MNF fun and interesting and I would definitely watch the games, even the bad ones. I picture him being a Charles Barkley type that will tell you the game is terrible if the game is terrible and may not be one to tow the company line or be a yes man. Those of us who were fans of Mr. Tony on ESPN Radio will remember he was sent on "vacation" a few times for criticizing ESPN and management. I am rooting for him because I cannot get enough of that “fat, orange, and bald” dope.