Friday, March 31, 2006

Barry Bonds is talking suicide again.

I haven’t said much about the latest steroid imbroglio because I have already done a few columns on it. I still do not plan to say too much about it this week because my column will probably be about the Reds game. I do, however, wonder about Barry Bonds’ mental health. He was asked about the investigation that baseball was undertaking and commented about jumping off the Empire State Building on to his face, again.

He has now twice mentioned that he is going to go to the top of the Empire State Building and jump off. Could the come down off steroids (if he is indeed off steroids) be causing this?

I personally do not feel this way. I think Bonds is trying a last ditch effort to acquire some sympathy for his situation. A situation he has placed himself in, mind you. However, isn’t there evidence of steroid abuse leading to depression and even suicide? Perhaps Merlin could shed a little more light on this. I just find it kind of morbid that Bonds is talking openly of suicide. He sounds depressed to me. Why wouldn’t he be? Everything he has worked for and accomplished will have a stain for the rest of time.

Aren’t we all taught to keep an “ear” out for this kind of talk? We all may wake up one day find that he wasn’t joking.

Cincinnati, here we come!

Well, just a couple more days and Bratch and I along with some friends and family will be heading to Cincinnati for that rite of spring called opening day. We have probably the best seats we have ever had thus far in our annual trip. We are lower level on the first base side right in some good foul ball territory. I may even bring the old softball glove out of retirement to catch some balls. The President of the U.S.A., George W. Bush will be there to throw out the first pitch. While I might not agree with everything he has done in office, it is still pretty cool to be at a game that the President is throwing out the first pitch.

Unfortunately I now have to worry about suitcase nukes. Well, maybe I am being a little over dramatic, but this will probably be the most high profile place I have been since 9/11 and I have to tell you, it kind of scares me a little. However, I’m sure security will be extra tough and that’s cool, because we usually try to get to the ballpark an hour or two early.

Here’s the biggest thing I am worried about. It’s not the possibility of a terrorist attack, it’s the possibility that the game could be rained out. The extended forecast for Cincinnati shows scattered thunderstorms for both Sunday and Monday. Good news, good news, those are the two days we will be there. Temperatures will supposedly be in the upper 60s to lower 70s, so it will be a huge waste if the game is rained out.

Luckily for some of us, the following day, Tuesday, is an open day and the game could easily be made up on that day. Some will not be able to stay for it because of work. Hopefully that will not be me.

So as we go off to celebrate this holiday in Cincinnati, in which schools close and many workers get the day off, I hope that Bratch can get some cool pics to post here and perhaps we can provide updates throughout the weekend. I just hope everything goes off without a hitch and more importantly, the Reds win the game.

Piccu's Quote of the Day

“She’s like Joan Crawford on a meth-amphetamine high.” Steven Hunter, movie critic for the Washington Post on the Tony Kornheiser show. This was Mr. Hunter’s take on Sharon Stone’s performance in the sure to be horrible Basic Instinct 2.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I hate TV, but 'The BC' isn't on TV and I'm hooked

I don't really watch that much TV. Usually just in the afternoons for PTI and then some Seinfeld reruns. With the exception of that, and the occasional trip to Big Kev's for some Lost, TV isn't a big thing for me.

However, "The BC" isn't on TV, it's on the web and I'm hooked. The BC is a spoof of Fox's "The OC" that was created by a group of Boston College students. They currently have four episodes available and I've watched all four over the past two days. That adds up to about four hours of what would be TV for me.

The first episode was a bit shoddy in the quality, but they realized that and warned viewers going in because it was their first shot a video production. But by the second episode they had the quality up and by the third and fourth episodes they were making it look pretty easy considering they are first timers.

The great thing about The BC is that they call out a lot of the cheesy things you notice about The OC. The brooding and the coincidental overhearing of conversations and many other things that we all think are so cheesy because it's about a far from real life as you can get. They also have a Jesuit priest that keeps up with the kids by going to most of the parties and playing some serious HALO. He also uses "peace out" a lot. He's keeping up with the kids. Word.

Well, as you can see The BC takes the cheese and bakes it to a golden brown with over the top music and one liners that have nothing to do with anything going on in the show. But what legitimizes The BC is that these guys also have straight up story lines woven into the occasional Jack Baur, booze and HALO references. There is also usually a party in every episode at the modular student housing at BC. Commonly known as the Mods. And sometimes when people are meeting in secret, if anyone needs the information they are talking about for evil, there are some strategically place ninjas to strategically overhear the conversation.

They also did a lot of stuff with the BC basketball team which is pretty funny. One of the characters is a 5-10 white boy that in the show is going to go pro because of his mad skillz. So every time he enters the scene it's usually through a door in slow motion, rap music starts up and he and his entourage are on their cell phones. And before the scene can go any further he must hold up his cell phone and flip it shut as if to announce everyone that he will now entertain dialogue.

The best thing about this whole thing is that not only is it funny, but the guys that have created it are actually getting a ton of press. They have something like 300,000 viewers of the show and that is a big deal in more ways than one. It's great because that means that people like it, but what's more is that these 300,000 people are downloading files that push 360 megabytes in some cases. It took me all day to get the first 3 episodes that were broken up into sometimes 50 meg bite-sized chunks, but episode 4 was 196 megs as a Quicktime movie and 360 megs as an iPod movie. I would hate to see their web hosting bill.

But what that means is that not only do people like it, but they'll go through the trouble of downloading giant files to watch it.

These guys are getting a ton of press, you can see on the website, and they are actually getting calls from Hollywood to do something with it or come up with new stuff. Movie deals and stuff like that from a goof ball show shot on a digital video camera and cut together with software that comes free on every Macintosh computer Apple sells.

So if they can keep their hands and feet inside the car at all times they could parlay this into something really lucrative and fun. Of course they could get sued too for using all of the copyrighted music. But I the dudes at Fox love it and it really promotes The OC some too with some references and an occasional T-shirt.

All I gotta say is if you have the internet connection fast enough to get the files, download all of the episodes and get hooked like I did. And the best part is that I think all of the episodes are actually 60 minutes long and not 42 like all 60 minute shows on TV.

Chopper covered in spoons wins 3rd place at Bike Week

It's kind of hard to find out much information about the 2006 Bike Week that happened in Daytona, Fla. the first week of March, but a friend of ours from Beaver Dam, Ky. took third place in the "most unusual" category at the Rat's Hole Bike Show.

His name is Chuck Weedman and his bike is called "Copious" and as you can see from the photos below, it is most unusual. But more importantly it is unique and very cool. I don't know where he came up with the idea, but it was time consuming.

What most folks do at Bike Week is show off their bikes. Of course there is the Rat's Hole Bike Show that many compete in, but bike owners and builders also show their bikes on Main Street all week long.

Chuck said he had his bike out on Main Street for several days before anyone could figure out how he made it. He said it took a woman's touch and after she ran her hand down the gas tank she stepped back and said, "It's spoons!"

And she was right.

Chuck had the market cornered on spoons for the year it took him to build the bike. He is currently on a quest to count the spoons for a possible entry into the Guinness Book of World Records since he didn't keep an accurate count as he built the bike.

He does have a large box full of spoon handles now though. I told him to engrave each one and sell them for $5 at shows. If you take a close look you'll see that he had to cut each spoon handle off and then grind down the spoon to a pointy scale-like shape. Then he had to weld each spoon over the top of the last spoon to create the reptile scaled look.

The more you look at it the more you begin to appreciate the time that went into it and how unique it is. It kind of freaky because of the organic feel to it. Sure bikes tend to have curvy lines, but the lines are usually clear and concise. On this bike it almost looks as though muscles are holding its shape instead of a skeleton of solid steel.

Not only did he cover it in spoons, but he also modified the frame by cutting out the two front down tubes and made it a large single down tube (seen on the right side of the photo of the engine) in addition to stretching the frame forward and increasing the rake of the front end. Increasing the rake means increasing the angle at which the front end is positioned which elongates the bike.

He also used bright red LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights as brake lights on the rear fender. He positioned them under the spoons so you really won't notice them unless you are looking.

For the gearheads out there it's powered by a 96 cubic inch S & S engine that pumps out about 110 horsepower with a 200mm Avon rear tire and a chromed closed primary drive. Some may notice that it looks like a softail bike and it was before Chuck got a hold of it. Now it's a rigid and for those that don't know, that means it has no suspension in the rear end to soften the ride. For the man's man. LOL

Chuck is hoping to make bike building and customizing his full time job and his shop is called 7 Customs. I might post the number and give you a glimpse of the logo that I designed for him. Which is pretty cool, I might add.

He got a lot of attention at Bike Week and now he's trying to promote the bike and get as much attention as he can. The best part about his bike is that not only does it look crazy, but it only cost him about $13,000. That and a lot of cutting, grinding and welding.

Take a look at the photos and see what you think about it.

Dazed and Confused returns from Criterion.

Good news for fans of the movie Dazed and Confused. And if you have not seen it, what are you waiting for? Dazed and Confused will be released soon as part of The Criterion Collection. What does this mean? It means more extras to enjoy. Bratch owns a Dazed and Confused DVD and the only extras are notes and some pictures. Recently Dazed and Confused was released with Fast Times at Ridgemont High as the Flashback Edition, but the extras were very thin. Even director Richard Linklater thought so and said at the time he was hoping for a Criterion Edition.

Check out some of the extra on the Criterion edition. An all new Hi-Def transfer, audio commentary from Linklater, a making of doc, two hours of rare footage of cast and crew, footage from the ten year anniversary celebration, audition footage, deleted scenes, and a collectible film poster. Where do I sign up? If it weren’t for the fact that I gave up the purchase of DVDs and CDs for lent, I would pre order this from Amazon.

This sounds like the ultimate edition for fans of this movie.

My Workplace Hell

I can’t take this much longer. I am going to go mad. Let me explain to you the hell that is my office area. My office is right next door to the women’s bathroom, ordinarily that is not a huge problem. Unless the building has been undergoing some construction, construction that has left two giant square “holes” in the wall between you and the women’s bathroom. These holes are straight through, if I wanted to get on the copy machine and look into the women’s bathroom, it would not be a problem. What does this mean? Well this means that every 5 to 10 minutes a woman who works in the building comes to this bathroom, the only bathroom in the building, to do their business. Because of the holes, I hear everything that happens. I mean everything.

I shudder like Sideshow Bob every time I hear the door open. I am sure they do not know that I can hear everything; otherwise they would walk across the street to another building. Because of this, this makes me feel worse because I feel like I am violating their right to privacy. I am like an involuntary listening tom. It sucks; you do not know how much it sucks.

If that isn’t bad enough and that is bad, but there are holes in the walls all throughout the building. Because of this, the doors in the building kind of get sucked shut, I guess you would say. All the air that is flowing through the building will slam the women’s bathroom door shut. It sounds like a shotgun blast in my ear every 10 minutes.

In fact someone just went in there now, the shotgun blast, the sounds from the bathroom stall, and another shotgun blast. My day, every 10 minutes. What are these women drinking that there has to be someone in the bathroom every ten minutes!!!! And the good news is that the holes are more than likely going to be there for another six weeks or more. I am now starting to plug my ears every time I hear the first shotgun blast.

I swear, one day you may be reading about a disgruntled local government worker who went nuts and killed everyone in the courthouse of a small town in Kentucky.

Piccu's Quote of the Day

"My mom is a f@#*ing genius.” Phil “The Show Killer” Cepaglia of ESPN Radio left this message on Tony Kornheiser's answering machine about his mom’s NCAA Tournament pick to win it all. Ms. Cepaglia's choice? The George Mason Patriots. Click the link and check out her brackets.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

How Do You Mourn the Dead?

Admittedly, this is an awful heavy topic for a pop-culture laden blog, but it struck me today while talking with a co-worker. She is Jewish and is dealing with the impending death of her father. We had started talking about things this morning when she mentioned that according to Jewish customs, things are much different than a Christian mourning.

First thing she mentioned was that Jewish funerals typically don't have an open-casket visitation. There are no flowers usually either. The funeral service is short and to the point. The burial is likewise. Then there are several days dedicated to mourning. The televisions and mirrors are all covered with cloth and essentially you dedicate yourself to thinking about the dead and talking about him/her with others.

While this initially seems odd, I asked if it helped to have that closure when the mourning period ends. She said it did, and I imagine that's so. Christian funerals tend to be almost more of a homecoming. There are many who legitimately mourn and are deeply affected, but there are more who are there simlply to "pay respects." And that usually means walking up the casket, looking at the dead, then returning to catch-up conversations.

But while mourning is optional at the funeral, and is certainly acceptable afterward, the concept of dedicating several days to this (two-three days as I understand it) is intriguing. The memory of a lost one doesn't go away after two or three days, but having set aside that period of time to focus and say, "Goodbye" seems like a good idea.

I'm really now very curious to study more about how different cultures mourn. I do not have the time to invest in this right now, but it's in the back of my mind. I won't take for granted that everyone does it the same way anymore.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ghosthunters in Louisville, KY

One of my favorite shows, Ghosthunters, is beginning a new season on the SciFi Channel this Wednesday, March 29 at 8 and 10 PM Central. Ghosthunters is a show that tries more to disprove the existence of paranrmal activity than to prove the existence of paranormal activity.

The reason I think some of you should check this episode out is because the Ghosthunters are investigating a supposedly haunted sanitorium in Louisville, KY. It seems the sanitorium was a former tuberculosis hospital in which 63,000 people died. Sounds like it should be very interesting, especially for those of us in the Bluegrass State. Now if only we could get the Ghosthunters team down to the OC to visit the lock master's house on Rochester Rd. Enjoy!!!!

UConn was just not able to turn it on against George Mason.

Let me tell you a story. When I was in high school, my brother, my cousins, some friends and I were in a youth bowling league. We began a season that would have two halves and the winners of the first half would play the winners of the second half. My team blew the rest of the teams out of the water in the first half. We were not the most talented bowlers in the world, but we were much better than those facing us.

After we won the first half of the season, we decided to just show up and not try as hard because we knew we were in the finals no matter what. We were not focused, we bowled between our legs, and we imitated other bowlers. We did not take things seriously.

When it came time for the final series we thought we could just switch it on and blow our opposing team out of the alley. We also thought that the team we were bowling against would be a little intimidated by us because we so dominated the first half that we figured our reputation would precede us.

Well, it didn’t happen like that. We bowled horribly and lost, badly. We could not focus and we were so out of rhythm in the second half of the season that it was impossible to get it all back in one series against a determined and focused team.

Why am I telling you this? Because I believe that is what happened to UConn against George Mason. UConn had already played three games in which they did not have to worry about really turning it on until it mattered. At the ends of their previous games, the opposing teams folded in the final seconds allowing UConn to slip away with a win. George Mason tried to do that by letting UConn force over time after George Mason missed crucial free throws.

I think you thought overtime was the end for George Mason, just like I did. UConn probably thought that way too. I thought that there was no way UConn would lose in overtime. George Mason decided it wasn’t the end and fought UConn to the finish. George Mason missed another crucial free throw leaving UConn plenty of time to drop another three to win this game. I had no doubt that this wouldn’t happen. I saw the shot bounce off the rim and UConn finally go down.

I think UConn was too much like a pro team. Like a pro team they only really got focused at the ends of games because that is winning time. George Mason was focused throughout and UConn let them believe that not only could George Mason hang with them, but they let George Mason believe they could beat them. That was UConn’s biggest downfall.

I believe George Mason’s coach, Jim Larranaga, needs to get a lot of credit for this run. He has kept the players focused on winning and not let them get a “just happy to be here” outlook going into the second set of weekend games. I also believe that Coach Larranaga did a good job of getting his players to not look at the names across the jerseys on the teams they have faced. That in itself is a big hurdle for a smaller team going up against a national power.

So my final four is demolished just like yours and I guess I should pick the last games and make myself look like an idiot. I am going with George Mason because they will not listen to those who say they should not be here. I do not think they will get rattled on this huge stage and I have been waiting for Florida to collapse since the second round.

I think LSU is just unstoppable right now, even though they have to rely on Glenn “Big Baby” Davis as their main three point threat. UCLA should not be allowed to play in Indianapolis because of the horrible game they were involved in against Memphis. LSU will dominate them inside and move on to the final.

In the final, as impressive as George Mason has looked thus far, I believe that the LSU Tigers are going end their run with a NCAA Championship banner. They are as hot as George Mason and Big Baby says he is still hungry. I don’t know about you, but I believe him. Of course these picks could be as wrong as my pre-tournament picks, but I think this is the way things will shake out. The LSU Tigers, your NCAA Tournament Champions.

Piccu's Quotes of the Day

“What do they do now?” ESPN Radio producer Phil the Show Killer’s Mom, who picked George Mason to win the NCAA Tournament, after the score was tied at the end of regulation in the George Mason-UConn game.

“You still think you’re going to Indianapolis?” UConn player Rashad Anderson to a George Mason player at the end of regulation in the George Mason-UConn game.

Super-Size Me Guy Shows True Colors

The documentary filmmaker who gave the world, "Super Size Me" after living on McDonald's food for a month really got the crowd worked up during a speech at a Horsham, Pennsylvania high school. Apparently Morgan Spurlock used foul language (including the Queen mother of all dirty words) and referred to mentally handicapped individuals as "retarded kids in the back wearing helmets". The mentally handicapped children were taken out of the speech. Many of the remaining students actually cheered. However, Spurlock's following speech was cancelled by the school.

What did Spurlock have to say for himself?
Spurlock said he's never had a complaint after giving similar talks at
other high schools and colleges.... "The greatest lesson those kids learned
was the importance of free speech," Spurlock said.

Way to go Mr. Spurlock. Let me enlighten you with a quote, "All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify." What brillian mind penned these words? The apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Pretty applicable I think.

Intervention = Hard to Watch TV

Television that tugs at the heart strings is kind of an addiction of mine. I enjoy watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition where people with bad luck get lifted up by receiving an outrageous house for free. I usually cry. I have no problem saying that because I'm a pretty tenderhearted guy anyway. I just get affected by people.

A show I watched for the first time last night was "Intervention" on A&E. Last night's episode followed a man named Chuckie who was a heroin addict. Chuckie was told that he was being filmed for a documentary on addiction, so he agreed to let cameras film him purchasing heroin, shooting up, talking with his dad, and talking with his ex-girlfriend. During the latter meeting he saw his five month old son for only the second time since his birth.

Chuckie's family of course was planning an intervention. With the help of an intervention specialist they planned their meeting with Chuckie without Chuckie knowing. Here's the hard part. Chuckie was born addicted to heroin. His mother was a user. His father was a user. His ex-girlfriend was a user. All of them are recovering addicts now.

The whole show was heartbreaking, but the intervention itself was especially so. Five people in the room; Chuckie's father, his mother, his ex-girlfriend, his brother and the intervention specialist all were in tears. So was Chuckie. They all essentially told him it was rehab now, right this minute, or else he was out of their lives. Chuckie agreed. For two months he seemed to be doing well. Then they showed the "five months later" scene. It opened outside of a California prison. Chuckie was inside. He had been kicked out of rehab for using, he had moved back in with his mother (who couldn't resist "helping" her son) and was arrested stealing a car to buy more heroin.

The last we saw, Chuckie was being transfered to a prison to serve a sixteen month sentence. A man with so much to live for. A girlfriend who cares for him, a brother, a mother, a father, and most importantly a son that he could save from the same pathetic upbringing that Chuckie had. But he couldn't stop. No happy endings. That's TV that is hard, hard, hard to watch, but I'll watch it next week.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

If I don't live right, I know where I'm going when I die

Many of you know that I am a psychiatry resident in South Carolina. What you may not know, is that in our first year we do a wide variety of work not limited to psychiatry. During the third year of med school you do everything for a month or two. This first year of residency is similar though I don't do "everything."

Right now I am on two months of non psychiatry internal medicine inpatient at the VA hospital. What that means pretty much is that if you have to stay in the hospital for anything besides surgery then I am one of those people who take care of you. As you may gather from the title of this post, it's not my favorite. It is the busiest I will ever be with work, doing a part of medicine that I don't particularly enjoy. I have been averaging 80 hours of work a week and to reiterate, the work itself is much worse than the hours are.

I really can't get. Everyone jokes about how their doctor sees them for like very few minutes, but no wonder as busy as they are. Are you having pain? The answer they want is yes or no and where, not how it is effecting your life or any other concerns you really have about it. This is somewhat of an exageration, but really only somewhat.

I finish this at the end of April, and I really can't wait. I mean I can deal with this for the short term, but some people make a career of it. I haven't spent 8 years of school and now training for another 4-5 years to have to work my butt off for the rest of my life. The big thing for all of us is enjoying the work, if I do that, it will never seem like real work.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Semifamous people I know

In the last few days I have encountered a couple of friends who have made it into the national news.

First off is Trent McBride, who posts on here occasionally. So apparently he has made it into the AP for a blog post he made on the site Catallaharchy, concerning a statement that no one can gain fifteen pounds of lean muscle in 100 days. It is from the book Game of Shadows. In this book the argument that Barry Bonds is on steroids is basically contended, but as Trent points out it is far to broad to assume that no one can gain that weight clean. I think everyone admits that Bonds was probably running some juice though. Anyway they have picked this up in the AP and smeared it across papers from lexington to evansville to the LA times. Just click the link and check it out.

The second friend that has made it to "national" news this week is my future cousin-in-law Steven Tolleson who just recently got called up to the majors from his farm team on the Minnesota Twins. He played very well for three years at University of South Carolina. The way he found out, he walked into his locker room and his jersey was missing. He asked where it was and the person who was putting them out told him it was over in the Twins locker room. I'm sure after he cleaned the crap out of his pants, he took his first stroll into the major league locker room. He got to play four innings; it's a good start to his first full year into the majors.

Now, Piccu would get off his butt and enter that contest on VH1 he might end up rich and famous.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Phil Spector

I don't even have anything to say about Phil Spector. I just saw this photograph and had to post it.

Spector, in case you don't know, is on trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson, an actress. The trial has been delayed by scheduling conflicts and because the prosecutor couldn't proceed with a case against someone with a hairdo like that.

The World Series of Pop Culture on VH1

Check this out. I wrote a few weeks back about VH1 starting a new show called the World Series of Pop Culture. They are testing teams in select cities throughout the country and they are giving a test online at on March 29 at 6 PM Central time.

I have linked the page to this and if you go there you will get more information as well as some sample questions. I took the sample test and got all of them correct. If not for the fact that I would more than likely have to fly somewhere, I would go on and try to dominate some punks on March 29. If you think you have what it takes and have a huge amount of useless information rolling around the old skull, then test your mettle.

Piccu's Quotes of the Day

Parental Guidance is suggested.

“Gamecocks. I’m guessing all cocks are game.” Adam Carolla discussing sports team nicknames on The Adam Carolla Show.

“I’d have a beer bong hooked up to my knot hole.” Adam Carolla if he were the Stanford Tree on The Adam Carolla Show.

I just thought I had to share it.

My American Idol thoughts.

Sivart brought up something I actually was going to write about today in American Idol, so instead of posting a comment, I figured I would make a post.

I am a huge music fan as some of you might know. I too was fooled by Daughtry's Walk the Line performance. I didn't necessarily think that he wrote the arrangement, but I thought that he surely had some input on it. I then found out on the Tony Kornheiser show the next day that this version had been recorded by the horrendous band Live. I guess that is why I never heard that particular version before.

I don't have too big of a problem with it because every song is basically a huge karaoke number and there are no true original performances. I do find it interesting that last week when he performed Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground, there was some mention that Daughtry’s performance was a version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers arrangement. There was no mention of this being a Live arrangement. I don’t think they are trying to mislead us, although Simon must have never heard the Live version because he gave gave him mad props for taking the song and “making it his own.”

In other Idol news, I was glad to see the Covais kid get the boot. I found that I could not watch him perform because in the immortal words of Susie, “his mouth makes me angry.” Just something about the way he pushed his lips out when he was singing turned my stomach. I am rooting for Paris, Taylor Hicks, Daughtry and for some reason I like the Pickler. She is just so naïve and ignorant, it’s irresistible. Although Tony Kornheiser has an interesting theory on the Pickler. Mr. Tony thinks that she is actually an MIT grad and this is all an act. Not sure about that, but would prove to be the greatest con of all time.

By the by, exactly which person or what band stole your song and turned it into a radio hit?

More Snakes on a Plane

I wrote a small piece about this summer’s biggest movie a few days ago. It is called Snakes on a Plane. I have linked this piece to an article on Yahoo that gives more information about the movie that is taking the world by storm.

Here is a synopsis of the plot provided by the Yahoo article. I think this will sum up why there is a growing interest in this film.

Jackson stars as an FBI agent who has to fight a planeload of snakes unleashed by an assassin bent on killing a witness in protective custody.

In a word…BRILLIANT!!!

Here is the star of Snakes on a Plane explaining his endorsement of the movie’s title. "That's the only reason I took the job: I read the title," Jackson told entertainment site He added, "You either want to see that, or you don't."

The film was going to have some reshoots and the producers decided to up the ante, “the filmmakers added more gore, more death, more nudity, more snakes and more death scenes.”

Let’s see, more gore, more death, more nudity, more snakes, and more death scenes turning the movie from PG-13 to an R rated extravaganza? I smell Oscar. I am getting more excited to see this by the week. Unfortunately we will all have to wait until August 18. Click the link for more information on how this movie is becoming a phenomenon.

Daughtry covers Live in his version of Walk the Line

As a songwriter, this has happened to me. Sort of. You write some lyrics, you work out a melody and it's perfect. You think you've really nailed it. Then one day, you hear it on the radio. Of course, it's not the song you've written. It's the melody, it may even be the chords, but its a great song you've always liked. Oops. Tear up that sheet.

Well Chris Daughtry, from American Idol, is in similar shoes. Daughtry covered Johnny Cash's Walk the Line during the 50's tribute on American Idol on Tuesday. It was rocking, it was aggressive and it seemed original. But it wasn't. In fact, it wasn't even close. It was apparently the same version that the band Live recorded for a Sun Records tribute album.

Ok, you don't have to be original to win AI. That was proven when country pop princess Carrie Underwood mimicked every country pop princess in the country and rode that to the AI "title" if you will. But I guess I was excited that an actual musician with talent might be the AI favorite. Oh well, you can't have it all.

Daughtry is still a great rock vocalist and I sincerely hope his popularity on the show revitalizes a weak genre of music. Time will tell.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blah, Blah, Blah Politics

Yesterday our token liberal where I work asked what I thought about us entering the fourth year of the Iraq War. I honestly hadn't thought about it. It seems I go in streaks in caring about national news. Mostly because there is no truth to be found. Liberal media outlets stress one extreme. Right wing media outlets stress the other. And the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, lying unreported to the masses.

So here's my thoughts on the Iraq war. Either we went in for bad reasons or for good ones. It either has helped in the War on Terror or it hasn't. We've either made a lot of progress or we haven't. We're winning or we're not. In the future we'll either consider it Bush's claim to fame or Bush's biggest failure.

If you could trust media to report the truth in Iraq, I still wouldn't take it to the bank. There's just too much to analyze and to consider for a 2 minute live report from a moving convoy. I figure the only people who really know if we're succeeding, if we're winning, if it's worth it, are the generals in Iraq and the Iraqi people. Maybe.

Here's the facts. We're still there and most Americans thought we wouldn't be. We pussyfooted the war in trying to appease Europe and the domestic critics and in so doing, we did nothing. There are still critics, maybe more than ever, and we didn't score the rousing victory we all thought should be possible.

We should learn a lesson from history (afterall, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.) In Vietnam we pussyfooted. We allowed hippies and foreign countries to dictate how we conducted that war. We lost that war. It's happening again, and while the horrors of failure endured in Vietnam in no way compare the relatively small loss of life in Iraq, the comparison lies in the way we've conducted the war. If you wage war, then you'd better wage war as if quick and decisive victory is the only option.

So in the States we get more partisan fighting. More liberals blaming Bush. More conservatives blaming liberals. More Howard Dean making himself look like an idiot. More Bush sounding like one. Unfortunately, we won't know if we've won this war for years down the line. Probably long after the war is over. Long after we've pulled the last soldier back home. Long after Bush is forgotten about. Then, we'll look at Iraq and see if it's peaceful or if it's rogue nation. Then we'll know, but not until.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Ricky Gervais Show Best. Podcast. Ever.

I have been meaning to write about this podcast for weeks now, but I have kept putting it off. I find myself tired of working and have decided to write about it. It is called The Ricky Gervais Show. Ricky Gervais is a writer/actor made famous in the original version of The Office in Great Britain. He also stars in a great show on HBO called Extras. He has a podcast with his writing partner Steve Merchant and maybe the most brilliant or the stupidest man on the planet in producer Karl Pilkington.

The premise of the show is basically Ricky and Steve calling Karl an idiot. You might think that this would not be that funny or would get old, but somehow it works. The best part of the show is Ricky Gervais’ laugh. His laugh is hard to describe. It has a maniacal quality to it and is loud and then goes quiet. If you catch him right he will let out a squeal or squeak when he draws in air in between laughs.

Karl Pilkington is a mad man. He has many theories and opinions on the world and every one of them will leave you scratching your head. There is also debate over whether he is a real person or a character. Sounds pretty real to me. Here are some of his ruminations on things in the world.

If you eat seven bananas in a row (but not if they’re all spaced out over the day) it will kill you.

Squoze is the past tense form of squeeze. Karl has also used grippage (for walls or surfaces with a lot of grip,) wroted (the past tense form of the verb to write) and the phrase bungled in which means to bundle multiple items/people into one pile. It is assumed he meant to say bundled in.

“You'll never see an old person eating a Twix, but they always buy ornaments."

"You never see a homeless Chinese person." Karl also believes that Chinese people "age worse" than other races.

Karl once mentions 'footage' exists of cave-men wearing underwear, also called "bear pants."

Karl believes that because jellyfish are 97% water, we should "give 'em another three percent and make 'em water - it's more useful."

With identical twins, there is always "a little snidey one."

Pavlov used to keep hitting his dog on the head with a stick until one day, the dog said "I’m sick of this" and left.

The Ricky Gervais Show’s first season is now available on ITunes for $4.95, I believe, and it is over 6 hours of hilarity. Season 2 is now on its 4th show and is $2.00 an episode. You might not like the idea of buying a podcast when you get most for free, but this is worth it.

Fun with the phone book.

I work for the county 911 system and part of the job is taking a snapshot of all the phone numbers in the Bellsouth database and checking those with the names and numbers we have in our 911 database. It is mostly boring data entry but something that has to be done to help 911 personnel find the correct address for an emergency. As I was going through the list of names and numbers, I found a listing that was so strange, I don’t know if it is a name or a business or what it is.

This guy, I’m assuming it is a guy, is listed by Bellsouth simply as Taterbug. I repeat, as far as Bellsouth knows, this guy is named Taterbug. He lives in Centertown. I do not know Centertown as well as some places so perhaps this is a business of some sort. What service would Taterbug supply? Is he an exterminator? Does it sell potato type products? Who knows? If it is not a business, did Taterbug officially change his name to Taterbug? How bad must his name have been to want to change it to Taterbug?

I have just now run across another weird one. This guy lives in Cromwell and I personally know him. I did not know that his nickname was used in the listing in Bellsouth. His nickname is Cowboy and for as long as I knew him, he was always called Cowboy. He apparently called Bellsouth and made sure that they referred to him as Cowboy in his phone listing. Perhaps he legally changed his name to Cowboy. Maybe he and Taterbug hang out together. It’s just another day in the OC.

Study shows that daytime TV watchers score poorly on memory and other cognitive tests. In other surprising news, Barry Bonds took steroids.

A new study has appeared that shows that older women who say that daytime talk shows and soap operas are their favorite shows, score more poorly on tests of memory, attention, and other cognitive skills. Is this surprising? Have you seen daytime TV? The researchers want to point out that this does not mean that daytime TV will rot your brain, but it “is a marker for something suspicious.”

I’ll say it is. Daytime TV is the perfect thing to watch if you have degraded memory, attention and cognitive skills. Soap operas take 1 to 2 years to wrap up a plot line. They are so bad you can watch a soap for two weeks and then check back in exactly one year and not be out of the loop. Having to keep up with shows like Lost and Veronica Mars can be hard to do for even the most nimble minds. And God forbid there are octogenarians trying to keep up with the Sopranos, what with a two year wait in between seasons and some crazy coma induced dream sequences in which Tony Soprano is slapped in the face by a Buddhist monk. I can barely keep up, much less your Nana.

Daytime talk shows are not much different than soaps. Jerry Springer has the same show on every day. Someone has a secret to tell their lover and it always involves their lover's mom, dad, brother, sister, or family pet. It always ends up breaking down into a cat fight and then some random woman in the crowd decides it is time to let her puppies loose for the whole trailer park watching at home to see.

Maury Povich on the other hand is always interested in finding out who the daddy is of some meth mouthed trailer park hoochie. Another thing Maury loves is to dress up men as woman and stand them beside women and let the audience guess who’s a man. Brilliant! And Montel wants Silvia Browne to tell you the future and pass on the important message from Uncle Gus. Do not take that trip to the Bahamas. I see lupus in your future.

So there you have it. Daytime TV described to the last detail. I definitely find something very suspicious about it. If this crap doesn’t rot your brain, then reality TV will.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Best. Movie. Ever.

Check this trailer out, well, it isn’t exactly a trailer. It is for a new movie starring Samuel L. Jackson that is coming out this year. I am not sure on the date, but I am assuming this spring or summer. The name of the movie is quite simply, Snakes on a Plane. I am not joking, that is the name. You might be asking yourself, “What could a movie called Snakes on a Plane be about?” Well I’ll tell ya, it is about, surprise, snakes on a plane. Beyond that, I know nothing.

The clip shows many snakes attacking people and I am afraid that I will not be able to watch this when it comes out. I had a hard enough time watching Arachnophobia in a theater. I read in an interview in which Samuel L. Jackson was asked why they went for the title Snakes on a plane and not something else. Jackson said he defended the title and the producers wanted to change it to something like Flight 2334 or something like that. He said why not let everyone know what they movie was about and leave the title as it is. They listened.

While I agree that the computer generated snakes in the clip look “fake,” I’m sure that is because it was not formatted to fit the screen it is viewed on. I believe that this movie will either be the worst movie of the year or it could be the most fun movie of the year. I highly recommend the clip. Watch it and judge for yourself. Enjoy!!!!!

Jerry Jones Makes it Easy

Do Dallas Cowboy fans have standards? Of course we do. They pretty much begin and end with, "Don't sign Terrell Owens." Thank you Jerry Jones for making it easy for me to stop being a Dallas Cowboys fan.

In Jones time as owner of the Cowboys he has:
-fired beloved coach Tom Landry
-fired beloved coach Jimmy Johnson
-hired beloathed (made that word up) coach Barry Switzer
-hired failure coach Chan Gailey
-allowed Emmitt Smith to retire as an Arizona Cardinal
-took over GM duties and ruined structure Johnson left behind
-hired bloated blow-hard and gloryhound Bill Parcells
-signed Keyshawn Johnson
-signed Terrell Owens
-allowed guys like Nate Newton and Leon Lett sully the name of the Cowboys, a name that was none too clean to start with.

I have endured most of these things as a fan of the 'Boys. I've been waiting and waiting for Jones to sell the team or die in a freak plastic surgery accident (sorry, that's not really true.) But instead I was dealt this blow.

Signing the guy who is responsible for the most selfish display of showboating in Texas Stadium history and basically whizzed on the giant mid-field star is insane. Giving him $25 million should get you institutionalized or shot. (in Texas, it's always "shot.")

So now it's easy for me to "divorce" the Cowboys. What little love I paid them in the last five years is now gone. I'll throw away my Dallas merchandise when I get home today. I should have this weekend, but I was giving myself the weekend to "get over it." Well I'm not getting over it. This is it. I'll now devote myself to my new team, the Cincinnati Bengals.

Talk about the NCAA Tourney and UK

I survived the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament; my brackets on the other hand, are wasted. I had a rough time in prognosticating the tournament and I am sure you did to. I am happy to say that my final four picks that I gave you last week are still in play. I still have Duke, Gonzaga, Boston College and UConn. I am feeling good about Duke and BC, but Gonzaga and UConn worry me a little.

Gonzaga was able to squeak by Indiana without a good game by All-World Adam Morrison, and you would think that would encourage me. The knock against Gonzaga was that they are a one man team and if you stop Morrison you stop the Bulldogs. That didn’t happen with Indiana, but they will not be able to do that in any other game they have ahead of them.

IU was not a very good team, but Gonzaga has to face a very good UCLA team next. Adam Morrison had his game off, he needs to show up with his 30 points a game average or the Zags will be at home watching the Final Four.

If I were Mr. Flip-Flop, I would go with UCLA in this next game, but I am sticking with the Zags and the best mustache in college basketball to move on to face a very sneaky tough Bradley Fightin’ Bradleys in the Elite Eight.

UConn is also a team in my Final Four that worries me. Did you see their opening game against Albany? I did and UConn looked lost at times. Lucky for them they were playing a team they could beat on any night in any arena, but if they try their turn it on, turn it off system of basketball against a great team, then they will fall. Fortunately for them they have the easiest road to the Final Four, so look for their opponent in the Final Four to really push them to their limits.

Until any of those scenarios come true, I am sticking with what I predicted and I am holding to my Duke and UConn final with UConn cutting down the nets. I must inform you that I have filled out eight other sets of brackets so I can substitute them freely if I feel these picks have been compromised.

Let’s talk about the University of Kentucky at this time. I was very impressed by the Wildcats, and unlike some, I predicted that the Cats had a good chance of staying close with the UConn Huskies. I, however, did not think they would be in a position to tie or even go ahead of UConn with less than three minutes remaining in the game. I was prepared for a close game, meaning a 10 to 12 point loss in a game that UK would never be in shape to win with six or seven minutes left. UK wanted something different.

At the end of the game, I’m sure Wildcat fans felt a mix of emotions. Some felt pride in the fact that the Cats did not just wilt away and crumble after UConn got up 13 points and looked like the better team by a mile. Some felt anger because the Cats had a couple of chances to tie or take the lead and they let silly turnovers and an inability to rebound missed free throws keep them from it. Some felt relief that the game and season ended because both showed UK at its best and its worst.

What’s next for UK after this solid showing against a team many have picked to win the championship this year? Can they build off this and come back next year and have a more University of Kentucky type basketball season? I’m not sure and I won’t be until the season gets under way.

There are so many rumors swirling around this team, about players not getting along, about players not listening to Coach Smith, and about players leaving. There are rumors about Coach Smith cleaning house and bringing in new assistant coaches or Coach Smith leaving UK for a job in the NBA with the Charlotte Bobcats. That’s how it goes after a season like the Wildcats had.

I feel next year’s team will do one of two things. They will use this year as a learning experience and come back next year a tougher, smarter, better team. Or they will come back next year having learned nothing and be a worse team than they were this year. I’m not sure UK, the fans or the administration, and Tubby can take one more year like this season. At least not without someone taking the fall.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Possible storyline for this season's The Sopranos?

I just heard something interesting on the Tony Kornheiser show. It concerns the Sopranos, perhaps the greatest show of all time. It premiered this past Sunday and after 21 months of cussing and impatiently waiting for its return, it actually lived up to the hype. There was a hit and run accident, a suicide and the most shocking of all…STOP NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THIS WEEK’S EPISODE YET…Tony was shot by crazy old Uncle Junior in the last few minutes of the show. We were left with Tony lying on the floor essentially bleeding to death. A great show to kick off the last 20 episodes of the show before it goes away, perhaps to the big screen.

On the Tony Kornheiser show, Mr. Tony received an email from a listener hypothesizing on how this season will go. He thinks that Tony Soprano will lie in a coma for the first run of the final episodes and we will see in flashback what has happened over the past two years since we last saw the show. As I said it has been 21 months since we saw a new Sopranos episode and the new episode took place in real time so to speak as it occurred 21 months after we last saw Tony running through the snowy woods. So this does kind of make sense.

The emailer also brought up some things that were discussed, or not discussed, in the first episode that we do not know the specifics of. For one thing, it was discussed that the FBI had Tony on tape taking about a murder that we, the viewers, had not known of. We also did not see much of Paulie Walnuts in the episode. What does that mean? Vito, besides losing all that weight has become the top earner for the family. How did this happen?

I think it would be interesting if the next 11 episodes was a flashback in Tony’s mind as he laid in a coma and when they break for the last 6 episodes early next year, we come back to real time. Whatever is going to happen I bet it will be a very interesting and very unhappy ending for all involved.

It is time to dance.

It is time to dance. The NCAA Tournament will be starting in a matter of hours and by the time you read this I will have entered 6,000 different tournament pools and filled out 6,000 different sets of brackets. I do not believe in the “sheet of integrity” philosophy in which you fill out one sheet and use that for every pool you enter. I believe in the philosophy that you fill out as many sheets as you can and have as many different winners as you can to enhance your chances at winning the cash. Not that I endorse gambling of any kind.

I want to touch on a few things involving this year’s tournament beginning with the crying about who didn’t get in and who should have gotten in. As far as I’m concerned, if you made it, you made it, enough said. For all the Cincinnatis and Missouri States, I say play better down the stretch and win more games.

Every year we have the schools of the big conferences against the little conferences and when it comes to one or the other of them getting a 10 or 11 seed it really doesn’t matter because neither of them is going to win the championship. It’s not like Cincinnati has made it to the Elite Eight in 20 years.

Another thing I would like to touch on is UK and how their inconsistent play the whole season cost them any chance to make a good run in the NCAA Tournament. Assuming they beat UAB, and that is a big assumption with this team, they almost certainly will go down in defeat when they play UConn. The big question is will they lose by 50 or make it an interesting game. I don’t know why, but I feel like they have a chance to play well against UConn. The have nothing to lose because everyone expects them to lose so they should be loose as a goose. Another reason they have a chance to make it close is that Rajon Rondo should make life a living Hades for UConn point man, Marcus Williams. Williams seems to be the one that makes them go and if he can be thrown off his game a bit it will definitely be good news for UK.

One last reason I think UK can have a good showing against UConn is because UConn has a way of playing down to their competition. Take UConn’s two games against Louisville for example. UConn is by far a better team than U of L, but they struggled at times with the Cards and UConn let them stay close the whole game. Let’s make this clear. I am not predicting an upset victory for UK. I am just saying I think they can stay close and give UConn that one real tough game that every future NCAA winner goes through in the early rounds. Hint, hint.

Now, my predictions, as I said earlier, I will have filled out 6,000 sheets before you read this, but this is what I came up with when filling out my first set of brackets. First impressions, so to speak. In the Final Four, I have Duke facing Gonzaga in a dream match up of J. J. Redick and Adam Morrison. I think Duke has righted itself and will be a tough out and I think Gonzaga has the talent this year to make that Final Four run that many have been expecting the last few years.

In the other Final Four game I have UConn against Boston College. I think UConn is the best team in the country and Boston College is coming on at the right time and their toughness will help them win their region. It won’t help them win this game.

I have Duke and UConn in the game everyone should want to see, for the championship. The two best teams all year long fighting it out for the title, a finer finish I could not dream. I believe this year’s tournament will have its usual upsets in the early rounds, but the cream always rises in the end and UConn will be the cream of the crop come the end of the great NCAA Tournament.

How ESPN is ruining College Basketball

This is unfortunately a non-gender specific issue now. ESPN is ruining college basketball and there can be little doubt about it. In the good old days of ESPN when it was a great network that focused more on showing as many games as they could instead of dedicating themselves to specific teams, it was wonderful. College basketball was terrific. But we've now reached the age where ESPN dedicated three networks and an online outlet to one regular season game between Duke and North Carolina and did so on a Saturday in conference tournament season. What an insult!

Don't confuse the issue here. Teams like Duke, North Carolina, Florida, UConn, Villanova, etc, etc deserve the larger portion of coverage because of their superior teams. Anyone can understand that. But the state of ESPN and their inordinate amount of focus dedicated to a very select, very few schools perpetuates the notion that if you're not playing these teams, then you're not playing division one basketball.

The Missouri Valley found a way to beat the system this year. They went on the road and beat decent, but not great teams. The new RPI formula allowed them to jumpstart their RPIs in the out of conference slate then they compteted with each other and all earned high RPIs. But ESPN guys like Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps refused to give them credit (Vitale even nearly alleged conspiracy among the selection committee when they didn't include Cincinnati, obviously ignoring Hofstra and Missouri State).

Yet the Big East is NEVER called out for their schools' out of conference schedules, which are very often pathetic. UofL is a prime example this year and they were rewarded with a one seed in the NIT. And they're not atypical. That is the norm much more than the exception in the Big East.

ESPN has sold their souls to the big conferences and the money they bring in.

What brought on this rant this morning? WKU's women being left out of the NCAA women's tournament. The Lady Tops are the highest RPI team (17th) to EVER be excluded from either the men's or women's tournament. They are in a decent conference (#9 statistically), they have a good strength of schedule (in the 40s), they won 13 straight games before losing the conference finals on the champions home court, they have two all american candidates, and they beat four teams that are in the tournament (MTSU, LaTech, Louisville and Arkansas.)

What was the committee's explanation? Well apparently since we lost our conference title game we were thrown in the pool with other teams. Teams like California (RPI in the 60s) and Missouri (RPI 93) who got in the tournament. They claimed WKU's strength of schedule wasn't good enough despite playing LaTech, Charlotte, Louisville, Arkansas, Arizona State, and Vanderbilt out of conference. What seems obvious is they favored big conference teams. Why? Because that's who they see. Why? Because that's who ESPN shows. Have you ever seen a women's game on ESPN that didn't include UT, Stanford, Duke, North Carolina or UConn? No. And you won't.

Nancy Lieberman of ESPN when asked a tongue in cheek question about when the Big Six conferences were just going to eliminate the other conferences, actually said that was a good idea. She was oblivious to it being a joke because that's exactly what they are trying to do.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, March

Why do we call it March Madness? Partially because of the feelings of elation and stupefying joy brought on by countless basketball tournaments leading up to the NCAA tourney. But partially also because of the crazy things that happen in single elimination tournaments. Perhaps the NBA should look into single elimination.
Here are some early highlights to buttress my point.

The Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Western Kentucky was considered the favorite all year. They marched into the finals with relative ease to play the second best team in conference the South Al Jaguars. The Jags lost to the Hilltoppers back on January 21st in Mobile by a point. So a neutral court seemed to favor the Hilltoppers. No such luck as South Al utterly destroyed WKU to the tune of 95-70 in a game they never trailed in and led by double digits from the 10 minute mark of the first half on.

Farleigh Dickinson's collapse
FDU led by nine at the half over Monmouth for the Northeast Conference championship, 33-24. FDU would score only 15 more points in the game and lost by one. Monmouth goes to the NCAA (HELLO play-in game!) and FDU goes home.

Pitino's Bomb-binos
The University of Louisville wasn't launching bombs this season, they were just blowing up. A lousy year that stayed over .500 simply due to the most ridiculous non-conference schedule in history ended in the first round of the Big LEast tournament last night at the hands of Pittsburg. A game UofL desperately needed for any NCAA hopes to stay afloat and they got blitzed 33-5 to start the game. They had only 16 points at the half, but here's the madeness. UofL only lost by five points, outscoring the Panthers 40-22 in the second frame in a game in which they were outrebounded by 15! NIT, here comes the Cards.

Last, but not least, Ohio County
Ok, so this game has nothing to do with the NCAA, but this upset is worth mentioning. The Eagles entered the game against Owensboro Catholic in the 3rd Region semi-finals 13-14 on the season. A far cry from their 04-05 record when they finished 26-8 losing the state champion South Laurel in the first round. Also a far cry from Catholic's stunning 25-3 mark. The Aces had trumped the Eagles 64-40 in the regular season. But, you can see this coming. The County pulls of the upset 61-58 to advance to the region finals for the second straight season and ending a stellar year for the Aces well short of their goals.

Folks, that is why it is called Madness. It's crazy, exhilirating, heart racing, heart wrenching, and heart breaking. It's the best time of the year for a sports fan. Drink it up, it always goes down smooth.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Random Thought from Sivart

Sometimes you've got nothing worth posting about, but so many random nuggets of wisdom you'd be cheating the world by not sharing them.

Early morning cell phone users. Actually, this could apply to any early morning phone user, but since I notice people on cell phones engrossed in conversation before 7:30AM I'm forced to call them out. Folks, if you call me that morning, you'd better be in a tragic accident or in need of serious medical attention. Don't call to chat. I'm not chatty at 7:30 AM. No one is. If they are, they aren't to be trusted.
Seriously, who gets in their car for a 15-20 minute drive to work and gets so bored they have to call and chat with someone? Sports radio people. Learn it, love it. But for goodness sakes, get off the phone.

Paper Clips. I have two different depositories at my desk alone for paper clips. A lady next to me has approximately 500. I would guess that any one time there are nearly one million paper clips in a typical office just being passed from place to place, from department to department, from desk to desk. I don't really have an opinion on that, I just find it remarkable.

Exercise in the morning. I woke up this morning at 5:45 for my morning run and turned my alarm off, rolled over and went back to sleep. I only dozed for about 10-15 more minutes so when I woke the second time I got up. I'm the first to admit it is VERY difficult to wake early and exercise. But without fail, when I'm done, I feel so much better all day. It's completely worth the sacrifice of 30-40 minutes more sleep to feel as good as I do now. And after last night's WKU game, I needed to feel good.

Furry Lobsters. Scientists discoverd a new ocean creature. That's not news, but the fact that this one is so odd it deserved its own genus is. The furry looking blonde lobster, named Kiwi hirsutus (I think) basically looks like a long (6 inches) white lobster with furr on the legs. Fascinating. I'm waiting for evolutionists to tell me what good that fur does in the ocean, but I'm sure they'll think of something.

Finally, Jon Stewart at the Oscars. One word, GREAT. Stewart does it right. Most in Hollywood and in entertainment in general are so one sided they rip and rip and rip on the right wing, but ignore the hilarious and idiotic things the left does. If you're going to do political humor, there's plenty of material on both sides of the aisle. And the mock political ads for Best Actress were hilarious. Most enjoyable awards show I've seen in a long, long time.

March Madness and Yahoo make a good combo.

It is almost here. Sunday we will know all the ins and outs and the where ases and the here to fors. March Madness will begin and like with all sports known to man, Yahoo has found a way to make it more fun by allowing friends to compete against each other.

I have started a private group on Yahoo for the NCAA Tournament Pick'Em. You will join up and pick the games of the NCAA Tournament and at the end of it all we will find out, what we already know, That I am the best picker that ever picked a pick. Here's the details you need to know to enter the group. Enjoy!!!!!

Group ID: 23339
Password: toppers

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kirby Puckett, a great player gone too soon.

It’s very rare that the death of a well known personality shocks you, but Kirby Puckett’s death did indeed shock me. Even after I knew that he had suffered a major stroke and was in critical condition, I just never thought that he would not pull out of it. Kirby Puckett died yesterday at the age of 45. 45! That is way too young for a legend of the game to pass on. In fact he is the second youngest to pass on after being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame after Lou Gehrig who died at the age of 37.

I have never been a big Minnesota Twins fan, but I have always been a big fan of Kirby Puckett, whom most of my friends and I used to call “Dirty Buckett.” He played the game you wanted all the players to play. He would bunt if you needed him to bunt. He would move runners over. He would hit the game winning home run that you needed. And of course he would climb the “Hefty Bag” in center field to rob a home run. The most important thing is that Puckett always seemed to love being out there on the field. He always had a smile on his face and you always enjoyed watching him.

He was forced from the game of baseball by glaucoma far too early. He only had a 12 year playing career and in those 12 years he had over 2300 hits. If you do not know, that is a lot in a short time. He wasn’t a home run hitter, but he would hit BIG home runs when they were needed. He loaded the Twins up on his back and won two World Series. The same Twins team that baseball was trying to contract because they had no hope of competing with the rest of baseball.

Later in his retirement years there were some shocking things that came out about his personal life, a messy divorce, a court case in which he was clear of all charges involving an alleged sexual assault. In the end, I choose to remember him on the field as one of the most exciting baseball players to play in my generation, who left the game and this world far too soon.

Over the last few hours I have heard many former teammates tell their favorite stories of Puckett and I have a story of my own. It may not seem much to you, but I thought it was great. Big Kev and I went to the Final Four in Minneapolis in 2002, I believe it was. We had just flown in to Minneapolis and were going to pick up Big Kev’s luggage because he dresses by mood, you know, and couldn’t just have a carry on like me. We were walking down a ramp to get to baggage claim and I saw this beautiful woman coming up the ramp from the opposite direction. I know I had to appear like the Looney Tunes wolf, “AAAHOOOOGA!”

I was getting ready to give Big Kev a nudge or something to get his attention and then I happened to look over at the guy she was with and it was Kirby Puckett. I was then very upset because if I hadn’t been checking out his wife maybe I could have asked to shake his hand or something. We saw many legends of all kinds of sports that weekend, Bill Russell, Kirk Gibson, David Wells, but to me seeing Kirby Puckett was better than any of the others. And a memory I hope never fades.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Use this weekend as a warm up for the NCAA Tournament.

I was enjoying some time outside late last week on one of those days that the temperature seemed to be 80 degrees and it then hit me with full force. We are in my favorite time of year. Well, Christmas is my favorite time of year, you know, because of all the free loot. My favorite time of year in which I do not get presents is March Madness.

I will agree that it is not fully here. The NCAA Tournament does not begin for another week, but this week, the week that is leading up to the Big Dance is just as good. It is a great week for the college basketball fan and it also gives you some time to prepare for the Big Dance.

This week you get to see big teams go head to head in their conference tournaments. We may get treated to another match up between UConn and Villanova in the Big East Tournament. We may get another Duke and North Carolina match up in the ACC Tournament and after Saturday’s game, I wouldn’t know how they could top it.

We will get another match up between UK and Ole Miss; wait a minute, that’s not what I am talking about. Although it will be interesting to see how Ole Miss responds after the defenestration they went through in Rupp. Is it me or is this the first time in 1,000 years that UK has to play on a Thursday in the SEC Tournament? Even when they had a sub par year, it always seemed that they had a bye going into the SEC Tourney. It will be interesting to see how UK will either bounce back or flame out after the embarrassing display on Senior Day.

Another reason this week is a great week for a college basketball fan is that it will give you a chance to warm up for the NCAA Tournament. There will be so many games on this week that you will give your remote a workout. You will be flipping and flopping from channel to channel trying to catch all the action. I plan on buying extra batteries for Thursday through Sunday.

Because of all the great teams that will be playing this week, you will get a chance to see some teams you may have not seen this year. It will give you a chance to scout for the Big Dance. We all know you plan on entering at least 75 NCAA pools, we all are. I also know that it is not so much the first round upsets that win you the money, but it is the person with the most Final Four teams left at the end. Not that I condone the transfer of funds in a gambling type manner. I find it deplorable, disgusting, and a whole lot of fun.

Perhaps you can also use this weekend as a dry run for the NCAA Tourney by piling into a friend’s house and not leaving for two or three days straight. You also need to make sure to order pizza for every meal. Make sure you down at least two 2-liter bottles of soda a day and if possible squeeze in a healthy amount of chips and honey buns. That ought to have your gut stretched out enough to handle next weekend’s wall to wall basketball action.

One other thing you should do this weekend is watch the NCAA Selection Show on CBS and Bracketology on ESPN. Use these shows to glean information about who the professional college basketball pundits pick to win. When you have that information, I want you to very quickly disregard everything you learned from them.

Over the many years I have watched the NCAA Tournament; I have learned that no one knows what will happen during this wonderful time of year. You do not even have to have watched any basketball this season to fill out the brackets and do well. I have witnessed this first hand.

So take some of my suggestions to heart and try them this weekend to prepare for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Just don’t push it too far; you need to conserve some strength for next Thursday and beyond. Perhaps next week I will give you some tips on filling out your brackets after I get a look at them myself. Until then, happy gorging.

Natalie Portman is straight gangsta!

I watch Saturday Night Live every week that it is new, although it is mostly with my 30 second skip button on my DVR. I watched some of this week's but missed this little tidbit. It is a gangsta rap video featuring Natalie Portman letting us in on the "real" Natalie Portman. It is one of the funniest things you will ever see and I find myself even more attracted to gangsta Natalie than actress Natalie.