Friday, September 12, 2008

week 3 college football preview: ohio state livin' on a pray-uh

Coach creasy bear is resurrecting the weekly preview, at least for this week. Let's take a look at this weekend's most intriguing matchups:

#2 Georgia at South Carolina - The Gamecocks came out limp last week versus lowly Vanderbilt, quickly losing the top 25 ranking they earned after shutting down North Carolina State the previous week. On offense, they are rather inconsistent. The Ol' Ball Coach clearly hasn't been able to recruit the same level of talent in Columbia as he could when at Florida. Still, they have a stingy defense, especially against the pass. And somehow, for some reason, they always seem to show up when they play Georgia. The Bulldogs Knowshon Moreno (edit: not pronounced like the last name of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective star Dan Marino) will probably get his 100+ yards. But I predict QB Matt Stafford will struggle, as he has the past two times he's faced SCAR. Bulldogs win, but it will stay close until a late touchdown. Georgia 27-13

UCLA at #18 BYU - UCLA was able to beat Tennessee two weeks ago despite throwing four interceptions in the first half alone. But they had two things working for them in that game that they won't have this Saturday: homefield advantage, and the opposing defensive coordinator being incompetent. I think QB Max Hall will have a good game through the air, and the Cougars will get it done on the ground too. BYU is very tough to beat in Provo. I like the direction the Bruins are headed, but I'm not ready to concede this victory. BYU 30-24
(Update: My original score prediction was 46-30. Obviously, I should've kept that one.)

Unranked Michigan at Unranked Notre Dame - Given my distaste for both of these teams, I like to explicitly point out that neither is ranked. As for the game, on the one hand, the Irish have homefield advantage. But how much will that really mean, given that they had that last week too versus a terrible San Diego State team and barely beat them thanks in part to a controversial fumble call that kept the Aztecs out of the end zone. On the other hand, you have a Michigan team, which improved last week after having lost to Utah, but still didn't look that great. I look at the coaches: Charlie Weis is getting top 10 and 15 recruiting classes, and has done nothing with it. Rich Rodriguez, while a good offensive-minded coach, doesn't yet have personnel that fits his system. I'm pretty sure this is going to be a fairly ugly game, with each side turning the ball over their fair share, and it will be decided by an either dumb play or great play, depending on who you're rooting for. Since I'll be rooting for neither, no matter who loses, I win. Notre Dame 20-19

#10 Wisconsin at #21 Fresno State - "Anyone, anytime, anywhere." That's Fresno Coach Pat Hill's motto. After beating down Rutgers in their first game, I immediately took notice of the Bulldogs. After North Carolina went into NJ and beat the Scarlet Knights even worse than Fresno did, suddenly I wasn't quite as impressed, with either Fresno or Rutgers (especially Rutgers...that might be my worst conference champion pick ever). Fresno does have quality players on both sides of the ball. Their fans will be fired up for a game versus a Top 10 opponent, even though they have no apparent real rivalry with the Big 11. However, Wisconsin is very strong and disciplined. Head Coach Bret Bielema has done a superb job replacing a legend in Barry Alvarez. He will have his team ready and focused. I can't see them giving this game away, which, in my opinion, is the only way they could lose it. Wisconsin 31-14

#5 Ohio State at #1 USC - As I think about this, the ABC Primetime, game on Saturday night, one question continually goes through my mind: How is Ohio State not going to get killed? Here are some key facts:

- Chris "Beanie" Wells will not play, according to the HC Sweater Vest
- Rey Maualuga is a freak
- Todd Boeckman is.....not that good

How Ohio State can win: USC is not really going to have to respect Buckeyes' running game with Wells out. Boeckman is obviously going to have to play an outstanding game. He can't turn the ball over. In fact, nobody on the Buckeyes can turn the ball over. They will have to rely heavily on their defense and special teams, like a vintage Virginia Tech Beamer-ball team. Also, USC is going to have to beat itself somewhat, which frankly, they have shown an ability to do sometimes (how else do you explain them losing at home to a 6-touchdown underdog last season?). QB Jonathan Sanchez does, at times, appear to have mental lapses. The Buckeyes are going to need him to throw picks, and for the Trojan running backs to be careless with the football. They'll also need them to miss field goals, kick punts short, and not cover their kicks well.

Any of these things doesn't seem particularly improbable. But for them all to happen seems virtually impossible. And I'm not sure Ohio State can win otherwise. Yes, they're ranked in the Top 5, but does anyone actually believe that? I think all people are thinking about is how bad they've looked the last two times they've played an elite team on a national stage. To what extent are Buckeye players themselves thinking this? To me, that is the biggest question of all. USC 35-17

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the big long college football preview

Here is the post that all six of you have been waiting for. It's time for the Rogue League's 2008 college football preview. Conferences and teams are listed in order of strength as I perceive it. As suggested by the title, you may wish to grab a sandwich for this post. It's big, long, and satisfying.

SEC

The SEC will have a bit of a down year, I think. But still, this is top to bottom the strongest and deepest league in the nation. Georgia is the media's early favorite to win not only the conference but also the national title. They're good, but I'm not buying the national title hype. Four straight games away from Athens, versus LSU, Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn, make it virtually impossible they'll finish the season unbeaten. Their O-Line is young and not very deep. But as long as they avoid laying down like dogs in any game, like they did versus Tennessee last year, they've got enough talent to win the East. I'd prefer to see Florida win the division but I think that, despite a Tebow run at a second Heisman trophy, they'll still have some problems on defense, which will likely let them down in a couple of games. They should still play on New Year's Day, and it actually wouldn't surprise me if they did win the division. Tennessee should continue to be strong on defense but lost six of their front seven defensively. Expect a 9-3 regular season and their 56th appearance in the Capital One Bowl. South Carolina... is it me, or does it seem like the college game has passed Spurrier by? He's handed over play-calling to the OC this year but we'll see how long that will last. That said, their schedule is as favorable as one in the SEC East can be. This is a good darkhorse pick to win the division. Kentucky will struggle with their top QB Andre' Woodson now gone. And Vanderbilt will struggle because they are Vanderbilt. In the West, LSU is again the favorite. It seems a lot of people are overlooking them because they lost their quarterback. But these people seem to forget that Matt Flynn was kind of not awesome, so I don't think it will be that big a deal. Their losses on defense will be more significant. Still, I can't see any team other than Auburn possibly making a run. Speaking of those Tigers, they're supposedly instituting a no-huddle spread offense this year. I'll be curious to see if they actually have the QB play and overall speed necessary to pull that off, especially versus the tougher teams they'll face like LSU, Tennessee, and Georgia. Still they are very good defensively, and that will help them finish in the upper half of this division. Mississippi State returns from their first 8 win season in 200 years. They return a lot of starters on both sides of the ball, but their offense is still abysmal. I could see 6 wins and sneaking into a bowl. (Also, the parallel successes of Sylvester Croom and Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel last year is really kind of weird to me for some reason.) Alabama I could see finishing anywhere from 1st to 6th, so for this post I'll put them right here in the meaty middle of the pack. Nick Saban is unquestionably a great coach, but I wonder how good of recruits he's really able to attract to Tuscaloosa. The schedule is somewhat daunting this year, with an opening game in Atlanta versus a strong Clemson team, and later road games at Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU. If the Tide can simply avoid losing to Auburn for the 80th consecutive time, they should call it a successful season. Arkansas will be kinda bad, but watch for Petrino to get the Razorbacks competitive again within a year or two. Ole Miss is still Ole Miss.
The pick: Georgia over LSU in the SEC Championship game

Pac 10

The Pac 10 remains, and will until some NFL owner offers Pete Carroll $100M, the playground of USC. I think they might be five deep at every position, including long-snapper and punter. They'll be solid on both sides of the ball, and their schedule is rather favorable. Only QB play could possibly derail this team's chance at a national title. Mark Sanchez is good but prone to mental errors at times. I still like them as a national title contender. After USC, I think there's a sizable drop to the rest of the league. Arizona State appears to be at the top of that crop. Dennis Erickson has once again turned around a team in very little time. Their defense still really needs to improve, and they'll get a tough early-season test against Georgia. Seven conference wins gets them to another Holiday Bowl or better. How soon will UCLA rise again to glory? I think this year is too much to ask, but they'll give plenty of teams problems. Their defense was already pretty good except for that embarrassment against Utah. Their offense will greatly improve under Neuheisel and Chow. Oregon seems to be strong every year. I've always kind of wondered how they get kids to go up there instead of USC or UCLA. The Ducks need to find a good QB, and if they do, they'll improve on their Sun Bowl berth from last season. California has unusual uncertainty on offense but their defense should be solid. Another bowl for Jeff Tedford. Oregon State somehow keeps winning games despite having tons of guys nobody's ever heard of. They may sneak into a bowl, possibly. Will this be the year Mike Stoops leads Arizona to greatness? In a word, no. Their offense should be decent, but their defense will be lacking. Too many tough conference games leave them home for the bowl season. Washington features "Tebow of the East" Jake Locker, only a sophomore this season. But inconsistent RB and defensive play will be their downfall. A fun game will emerge among the fans: Where will Ty Willingham coach next? My guess: Toronto Argonauts. Jim Harbaugh's Stanford defense should be tough. Their offense will struggle a little. This team could surprise though. A bowl could be in the cards for the cardinal this season or next. Washington State continues to reel from the departure of Mike Price (remember him?).
The pick: The Trojans

Big 12

The Big 12 has improved greatly over the past two seasons, but are just edged out by the Pac 10 for place as the second strongest conference. Beginning in the South division, Oklahoma appears to be at the head of the class. Their O and D lines are solid. Sam Bradford, who I'll admit I'm not very high on, seems more than capable of running Bob Stoops' system in the tradition of Jason White and Josh Heupel. I like them as a national title contender. Only a somewhat porous secondary could sink them, but depending on the matchup, that might not even matter. Texas will be strong again despite the loss of Jamaal Charles. I predict yet another 10-win season is in the cards for Mack Brown. Look for them to improve on their Holiday Bowl berth last year. Texas Tech will once again win 8 or 9 games. They get Texas at home this year, so if there's a season where they might finally beat them, this is it. I could see them in a New Year's Day bowl. Oklahoma State would be a great darkhorse pick if they could just find a defense. Their schedule is a bit rough, though (Missouri, Texas, Texas Tech all on the road). But they are men, and their coach is 40. They will squeak into the Independence Bowl (which should really be sponsored by Depend's one of these year's. Depends' Independence Bowl... just rolls off the tongue). Baylor made a smart hire in getting Art Briles, who resurrected Houston's program. He'll need some time but will turn the Bears into a bowl-eligible team within 4 years. Texas A&M was sort of run into the ground by Dennis Franchione. New coach Mike Sherman has his work ahead of him. In the North---

We interrupt this preview to comment on things recently said on tonight's College Football Live season preview on ESPN:

Jesse Palmer said he "buys into the Kool-Aid" of Georgia. Did he mean "drink" the Kool-Aid? Or is he going to buy stock in Kool-Aid? I'm pretty confused.

Craig James followed that up by calling Auburn's football team "eye candy." Uh...what? Did he mean the cheerleaders? Because yeah, I'd buy into that Kool-Aid. But the actual football team? Dude, that's just gay.

Back to the preview: In the North, Chase Daniel returned to Missouri in an attempt to win a national title. And to graduate, I would guess. The Tigers are easy to root for, having been bad for so long and also having a mascot that, despite being a tiger, is somehow more comical than scary. So I'll be rooting for this, but I don't think it's going to happen. Their defense will let them down somewhere, or they'll run into bad luck somewhere. I say this because they seemed to have such good fortune last year, and I think these things just have a way of evening out. That said, I think they'll win the North, because they're still that much better than the rest of the teams. Nebraska will improve immediately under new coach Bo Pelini. He should've been the hire instead of Bill Callahan. The Huskguys got it right and he'll right that ship. Kansas looks to improve on their success of last year, but suddenly face a very difficult schedule, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. Three or four losses seems almost certain. Colorado, who plays Divison 1 football, will continue their 15-year rebuilding program by improving to 7-6 this year, after being 6-7 last year. Kansas State should be ok this year. A traditionally soft non-conference schedule gives them a great chance at making a bowl. Iowa State is still awaiting the return of Troy Davis.
The pick: Oklahoma over Mizzouri in the Big XII title game presented by Dr. Pepper

Big East

Rutgers lost star RB Ray Rice to the NFL, but HC Greg Schiano has been getting good recruits up there and knows how to get the most out of them. They'll be good enough on offense and defense, and the schedule is favorable, which is to say, it's a Big East schedule (hey-ohhhhhhh!). I think this is the year Rutgers makes their first ever New Year's Day bowl game. Read that over and over maybe 50 times so you're less shocked when it actually happens. South Florida, who I foolishly ranked #1 in my Top 25 at one point last season, is nevertheless a good team, and seems to have vultched a few quality recruits from Florida State and Miami. I wouldn't be surprised to see them improve on their success from last season. Groethe is a good QB also, and only a sophomore. Despite the loss of Coach Dickrod, West Virginia still has really good talent. I do wonder though how well interim-turned-permanent coach Bill Stuart will be able to maximize his players' abilities. And when I say I wonder about it, I mean that I think he won't, at least not completely. That said, they're still too good to not make a bowl this season. But within 2 or 3 years, I think this program will be back to the state of mediocrity that you'd expect from that infertile recruiting area of the country (nothing personal Mountaineer State, just stating fact). I just found out today that Pittsburgh is ranked in the preseason top 25. And naturally, the first question that comes to my mind is, why? They suck. Some dude I sort of know once told me that Dave Wannstache is a good coach and that Pitt is good because they always get top 25 recruiting classes. To which I respond, no, he's not, and who cares how well you recruit if you keep going 4-7 every year? All of this said, the Big East is seriously down this year, and they aren't even a strong conference to begin with. If this Pitt team can't at least go 6-6 and make a bowl, Wannstache MUST be fired. How he's even still there is a subject worthy of this program's greatest hits. The rest of the Big East teams, I'll be honest: I have no desire to talk about them. Cincinnati... I still don't know what a bearcat is. Decent shot at getting to a bowl. Connecticut... whatever. Co-champion of the conference and made a bowl last year. Great. You're still, really, not that good. Louisville... they should improve on their disappointing season last year, because really they have more talent than they usually showed. Syracuse... you're just awful. Where have you gone, Kirby Dar Dar?
The pick: SUNJ

ACC
I'm looking forward to see how Georgia Tech will fare with the triple option under new coach Paul Johnson. The ACC has gotten weak enough that the option just might work. They won't face very much pressure in the Coastal division. Virginia Tech needs to update: will remove the redshirt from QB Tyrod Taylor. That may or may not be enough to win. Despite their making the Orange Bowl last year, I don't see a repeat conference championship. Miami coach Randy Shannon is doing a good job getting south Florida recruits again. They will improve on their disappointing showing last season. North Carolina is a team getting some preseason buzz. Common thought is that head coach Butch Davis can win this weak division. I could see this, or I could see a more modest finish. But a 6-win season and a bowl is certainly within reach. Virginia is not very impressive, despite technically making a New Year's Day bowl last season. Duke is...well...Duke. I think this story tells us all we need to know. In the equally arbitrarily-named Atlantic division, there's equal mediocrity. The top 3 teams are pretty decent, while the lower 3 are fairly awful. Wake Forest is probably the favorite, even over bigger name programs like Clemson and Florida State. They are actually getting pretty good recruits up in Winston-Salem, and I like QB Riley Skinner and the rest of the Deacons to win the division. Clemson, as per usual, is long on talent and short on coaching. Tommy Bowden is basically the ACC's version of Ron Zook. The Tigers will probably make a New Year's Day bowl game, but talks of national title contention are misguided. Florida State still gets a lot of talent and still plays in the ACC, which is to say, they have an easy schedule. They'll also go bowling, and could even edge out Clemson to take 2nd place. It's hard to separate the next three teams. Boston College probably has the most talent, but will certainly take their lumps with an inexperienced freshman QB. Maryland is not very good but does have a very good head coach in Ralph Freidgen, so even a bowl appearance from them shouldn't really be a surprise. It would be a surprise, though, for North Carolina State. This wolfpack has been tamed.
The pick: Wake Forest

Monday, July 21, 2008

Carson Palmer is my new favorite quarterback

Just the other day I was musing with the happy ninja about how weak the Big Ten is. And now Carson Palmer gives us this nugget (from a recent radio interview on 570 KLAC in Los Angeles):

I don’t watch what I say. I cannot stand the Buckeyes and having to live in Ohio and hear those people talk about their team, it drives me absolutely nuts. We got Keith Rivers out there and we got Frostee Rucker, we finally got a couple other ‘SC guys. It’s amazing to hear what those guys think about that university and what they think about that football program and Tressel and all the crap I got to put up with being back there. I just can’t wait for two years from now when ‘SC comes to the ‘Shoe and I get to, hopefully have a home game that weekend and I can go out there and watch us pound on them on their own turf and kind of put all the talk to rest, because I’m really getting sick of it. I just can’t wait for this game to get here so they can come to the Coliseum and experience L.A. and get an old fashioned, Pac 10 butt-whooping and go back to the Big Ten.

I'm waiting for an NFL star to come from Appalachian State so we can get a quote like this for Michigan. But for now this will do fine, just fine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

the last time the N.L. won the All-Star game, this look was still considered fashionable


Let's get this done, National League. Tonight. The last time we won was 1996. Think about this for a second. The starting lineup included Matt Williams, Barry Larkin, and Dante Bichette. Ozzie Smith was also on the team. OZZIE SMITH!!! The Prodigy were still a popular band. THE PRODIGY!!!!!!! This is just ridiculous. This was like two lifetimes ago. WE MUST WIN!!!!! HAHM-DI-NAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

- United States Declaration of Independence, July 4 1776

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kobe responds to Shaq's freestyle rap with freestyle scat

Reigning NBA MVP Kobe Bryant has responded to criticism from former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. As first reported by TMZ.com, Shaq was recently seen rapping in a New York city nightclub. His rap included, among other lyrics, "Kobe, you can't do without me." Last night in a swanky New Jersey bar, Bryant responded with some freestyle of his own:

Wellllllll, be bop be doo dop
bim bam bold
Shaquilllllle..... why you so
cold cold cold?
Rizz razzzz-a-ma-tazz
shim shammy shine...
that MVP trophy,
well it is mine.
Bim bam, the flim flam
diddly-bop-m-bop,
Well, next yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....
I'm gonna beeeee onnnnn TOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!

According to several witnesses, Kobe brought the house down with his interesting style. "Like a young Al Jolson, I tell ya," said one patron. "I heard the great Louis Armstrong," said one old-timer, "and this young Kobe has the gift." Shaq was also secretly in the audience, and was later overheard to say, "it's the dopest rhyme I ever heard."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Separated at Birth: Dari Nowkhah and Shia Labeouf

On a recent episode of the "Budweiser Hot Seat," SportsCenter anchor Dari Nowkhah interviewed actor Shia Labeouf to promote his upcoming film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Dari, who was not familiar with his interviewee, was given a card with three questions to ask Shia, after which he was to put on a brown cowboy hat and tell the audience at home to go see the new movie. What follows below is a transcript from this as-yet-unaired episode of the "Hot Seat."

Dari: We welcome now into the studio, a very talented actor, Shia Labeouf, of the Transformers and most recently the new Indiana Jones movie. Shia, you are now on... The Budweiser Hot Seat. Are you ready?

Shia: Uh, yes, I'm ready.

Dari: (Turns to face Shia) Ok, now Shia... Hey, what the? A mirror match??? IS THIS WHAT WE GOT????

Shia: I'm sorry, I don't understand. Mirror--

Dari: HAHM-DI-NAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Shia: I.. I just... I was told you'd ask me about the Red Sox or something.

Dari: RAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! OOOOooooOOOoooOOOOO!!!!!! (Bites head off nearby chicken)

Shia: Oh no...

At this point, ESPN turned off the cameras, while Dari ripped off his shirt and began running around the set like a madman. He was shot with a horse tranquilizer gun and later woke up mumbling Linda Cohn's name. The moral of the story: Do not confuse Dari Nowkhah.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Please hit the mute button. Now.

ESPN begins their "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" battle of the bands this week. Nine bands, including REO Speedwagon, will be butchering performing an American classic much to no one's possibly six people's delight.

One question that I just have to ask: How much variation on this theme can you possibly do? The song is, at most, a minute long. As a baseball fan, I don't really want to see this anyway, but instead would prefer ESPN simply let this song be what it is. While I'm not sure if there is any actual prize money involved in this, probably just a few more minutes in the limelight and/or ham sandwiches is all the motivation some of these guys need.

Why is ESPN doing this? The better question is why do they do anything that they do? Like Titletown, or 50 states in 50 days, or the ESPY's, or Who's Now? This is just another in a long list of ridiculous things that are barely sports-related enough that ESPN can still try to justify doing it. I'm sure this probably appeals more to the 12-17 year-old boy crowd, as well as possibly the female audience. I'm still hoping for the day that a rival sports network gets its poo together and makes a serious run at these clowns.

Extra YouTube clip, just because I think it's funny:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Movie Preview: The Happening

The writer-director of The Sixth Sense and Signs brings you his first R-rated film.

That's the tagline for the new "thriller" The Happening. And really, that's all you need to know.

M. Night Shayamalan is trying once again to fool the public into thinking he actually makes good movies. And to be honest, he once did. I really liked both Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense. But after those, his movies have slowly gone from intriguing to boring to just plain dumb. Signs was o.k. I guess, but I wouldn't see it again. The Village was an outright joke. If you've not seen it, I won't spoil the "twist," but just be prepared to be extremely disappointed when you see it. To be fair, I've not seen Lady In The Water, but I don't know a single person that has seen it that liked it.

The public has slowly grown to groan at the mention of an M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie. Undoubtedly, Mr. Shipoopi was aware of this, and needed some kind of gimmick to get people to watch his movies again. "Wait, what if I put in more gore, and a few F-bombs? That's sure to get those 14-to-18 year-olds that, 1) will watch anything, and 2) aren't yet completely soured on my utter lack of ingenuity." And there you go, his new flick is rated R, and, I have no doubt, will suck royally.

Prediction: 3/10

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

NBA Finals Preview: Lakers-Celtics XI

Thus begin the endless references to all the classic Celtics/Lakers Finals matchups in history, particularly in the 80's. I know the media has to do this. I mean, they can't easily ignore it. Nor do I expect them to. So I understand that. But frankly, some of it is a little silly. Yes, it's the Lakers and Celtics. And yes, it's the game of basketball. And that's where the similarities end. So please, media, no more comparisons of the Boston Three Party to the true Big Three. And let's not compare Kobe to Magic or anything of the sort. Let this matchup be what it is. Also, I've heard some say this matchup is "saving the league." This is fully absurd. Saving the league? From what? The NBA is financially very healthy. So healthy, in fact, that it continues to subsidize the hemorrhaging, untenable farce known as the WNBA. Television revenues are at all time highs, and attendance levels remain high. I agree that this Finals matchup will probably get ratings as good as any of the Bulls Finals series. But it's not "saving the league," so no more saying this.

As for the matchup itself, this is pretty tough to call. Celtics won both regular season matchups, but that was before the Lakers got Pau Gasol, so as far as I'm concerned, those games have no bearing. This will be the Lakers first real test of the post-season. No team has yet been able to play the level of defense necessary to beat them four out of seven. I do think the Celtics have that defense, but they've been inconsistent this postseason, particularly on the road. When I look at these two teams, I see that the Lakers have the best starting five, the best bench, the best individual player, and the best coach. I guess this is easier than I thought.

Prediction: Lakers in 5

Sunday, June 1, 2008

separated at birth

Few people know that the late actor Alan Hale and sports broadcaster Jon Miller were good friends growing up. The younger Jon aspired to become a Hollywood star one day. He hoped to land a leading role in some sort of situational comedy about seven people that, after a transportation mishap, became stranded on an island (when you think about those circumstances, it makes you wonder how that was ever pitched as a comedy). The older Alan dreamt in his boyhood of one day becoming a famous baseball announcer alongside one of the greatest second-basemen to ever play the game. As it turned out, these friends ended up living out each other's dreams, though it worked well for each. Said Alan one day in 1989, "Jonny told me that he and Joe Morgan are going to start a new weekly baseball thing next year on Sunday nights. I told him good luck with it and to check out this blog so he knows exactly what to expect from the little buddy." Miller responded, "I'm privileged with the chance ESPN has given me. I hope to carry on Alan's legacy by getting Peter Gammons hopelessly stranded in Yankee Stadium one day."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Let's (Re)fool America!

Recently, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep introduced their plan to protect humanity from evil gas prices, also known as their "Let's Refuel America" program:

Program participants use a special card linked to their MasterCard or Visa credit card account. The card may be used to purchase enough fuel at $2.99 per gallon to travel up to12,000 miles per year in each of the next 3 years. So no matter what the price at the pump says, you'll never have to pay more than $2.99 per gallon for qualifying fuel.
In the face of high gas prices, such a program could be an enticing option for those in the market for a new car. But here are some facts which should be kept in mind:

1) While gas is a real cost of car ownership, it's not the most significant cost. The actual purchase price, and the cost of maintenance, are generally both more expensive than the cost of fuel.

2) Speaking of the actual purchase price, do you think that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep is not somehow making back what they're losing on this gas deal? An old axiom remains true here, "there's no such thing as a free lunch." Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep has undoubtedly raised either their prices or interest rates to compensate for this program. Not to mention this next fact.

3) "To qualify, you must purchase or lease an eligible Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep vehicle from May 7 through July 7, 2008 and have a valid MasterCard or Visa credit card." What are these "eligible vehicles?" Are they certain models that generally don't sell well? If so, there's probably a reason they don't, and that reason probably has something to do with...

4) These are Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles we're talking about here. This is perhaps the most important fact of all. Jeeps are some of the least-reliable, most gas-guzzling cars on planet Earth. Chrylsers and Dodges are only marginally better.

So basically what I'm saying is there's a lot more to buying a car than the price of gas. I'll hand it to Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep for shrewd marketing. They're doing a good job attempting to capitalize on people's general annoyance with rising gas prices. But if you're willing to drive a piece of junk unreliable, inefficient car to save a few dollars per fill-up, you might want to re-think your buying process.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The All-Laboring Runners Team

This is a tribute to those baseball players whose lumbering (though not necessarily slow) efforts on the basepaths make childbirth look graceful by comparison. Remember to breathe, fellas.

Current team:

C Bengie Molina
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Jeff Kent
3B Ty Wigginton
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Jack Cust
CF Hunter Pence
RF Jeff Francoeur
P C.C. Sabathia
DH Frank Thomas

All-time team:

C Mike LaValliere
1B Sid Bream
2B Jeff Kent
3B Bob Horner
SS Cal Ripken, Jr.
LF Kirk Gibson
CF Kirby Puckett
RF Babe Ruth
P David Wells
DH Frank Thomas

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What the Giants could do

San Francisco Giants' pitcher Barry Zito currently boasts an 0-8 record, with a 6.25 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, and .337 BAA (batting average against). His fastball is currently in the mid-80's. He was demoted to the bullpen a few weeks ago, though recently reinstated to the rotation. To put it nicely, the Giants are not getting their money's worth on his 7-year $126M contract.

But have the Giants considered trying to truly get all they can out of Zito? They're paying this guy so much money, why don't they just make him throw a complete game every start? People may say that this increases his risk of injury, but in fact, Zito has been one of the most durable pitchers in recent history. He has started at least 33 games and pitched at least 196 innings in every year since 2001, the year after his rookie season. He has never spent a day on the disabled list.

People may also say "well, he isn't very good, don't overuse him and that will give the Giants have a better chance at winning." But let's not kid ourselves, the Giants are simply not a good team. I mean, look at them. If they lose every 5th game by a score of 14-2 instead of 7-2, honestly, what's the difference? Despite Brian Sabean's wild delusions, they're not competing in 2008. Therefore, get your money's worth, Sabean. Unless you can somehow get Hank Steinbrenner to eat his contract, in which case, I suggest that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

john lackey, rogue league return tonight

As a John Lackey owner in my fantasy baseball league, I have some nervous excitement about his return for the Angels tonight. He has had four minor league/extended spring training starts to rehab a strained tricep in his pitching arm. There are a lot of unknowns when a pitcher returns from injury. Here are the possible scenarios for John Lackey as I see them, in order from most to least likely:

Scenario A - Lackey is Chris Carpenter. They've been rehabbing him in single A ball to hide the fact that he's still got an injury and now sucks. Whatever he does tonight, he'll need Tommy John surgery very soon. His career is basically over in everyone's mind except Tony LaRussa's.

Scenario B - Lackey is Jeremy Bonderman. He's not hurt anymore, but his velocity is diminished, and since he's a power pitcher, he's basically now a shell of his former self. Effectiveness will be sporatic. Surgery is possible down the road.

Scenario C - Lackey is Jason Schmidt. His velocity is diminshed and he's still hurt. He'll spend a lot of time on the DL, will never have a major surgery, and when he does pitch, he'll be mostly ineffective.

Scenario D - Lackey is Deion Sanders. Diminished ability in baseball leads him to turn to football, where he excels and helps a Mormon QB win a Super Bowl. He begins to wear hammer pants for no apparent reason.

Scenario E - Lackey is an alien from another planet. He assumes the form of a furry, snouted creature, and lives with a suburban middle-class family. He survives by feeding off humanoid food and, occasionally, cats.

Scenario F - Lackey returns to his 2007 form.

Lackey trains for new career as Foot Locker employee

Sunday, April 6, 2008

chocolate chex sucks

just in case you see it at the store one day and you're like "oh that looks kinda cool, maybe i'll buy it and it'll be awesome," don't, because it's awful.

Friday, April 4, 2008

apparently tony kornheiser reads the rogue league

from today's episode of pardon the interruption. we couldn't agree more.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

2008 mlb season preview: a.l. east

predicted order of finish:

boston red sox 100-62
tampa bay rays 82-80
new york yankees 81-81
toronto blue jays 80-82
baltimore orioles 61-101

it's kind of weird how the red sox went from the beloved "idiots" everyone in america was rooting for in 2004 to a team that's now mostly loathed by anyone outside of their "nation." i think their hitting and pitching will be far superior to anyone else in this division and they'll win it again for the second year in a row. hopefully some other team will beat them in the playoffs or else we'll have to deal with even more insufferable red sox fans. the tampa bay rays have been predicted by baseball prospectus to win 88 games this year, an improvement of 22 wins over last season. to put this in some perspective, the rays have not won more than 70 games in any year of their existence. i'll be honest here: i'd really like to see this. i want to see the rays succeed. but i do have a hard time believing this. their hitting will be really good, but what about their pitching (especially their bullpen)? however, i do think they're better than both the yankees and blue jays, and i do think joe maddon is a good manager. hopefully my prediction doesn't look ridiculous in september. the yankees have too much talent to not win at least 80 games, and new manager joe girardi doesn't seem like a guy that's going to get in the way of things. it will be the same formula as the past six years, good hitting, average pitching, mariano rivera at the end of games. however, i have them missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993. the blue jays have enough pitching and hitting talent, but manager john gibbons seems to rub some of his guys the wrong way. i could see him being anything from manager of the year to fired by july 1st. my money is on the latter. what can i say about the baltimore orioles? this is a really young team, which is usually viewed as a good thing, but they're going to struggle a lot this year. they don't have much in the way of hitting, and their starting pitching will be pretty lousy, too. i'll give new GM andy macphail some credit-- he's trying to rebuild the farm system, depleted after years of ill-advised moves under the peter angelos regime. but this team is at least two years away from even being respectable again, let alone competitive.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2008 mlb season preview: n.l. east

coach is running out of steam here... five straight days with a post = brutal. i do not have the stamina of fiscal musings.

predicted order of finish:

new york mets 95-67
atlanta braves 92-70
philadelphia phillies 85-77
florida marlins 74-88
washington nationals 71-91

the mets should've won this division last year but picked the exact wrong time to go super cold. now with the addition of johan santana, they will rectify the situation this year (although i'm of the opinion that his most dominant days are behind him). i think the braves are going to be good this year but it kind of worries me that they're becoming a trendy pick to contend in the media. i'd almost rather nobody pay attention to them, but i suppose that's hard to do. their pitching will be improved and their hitting will be slightly worse (read: mark kotsay is the CF. not good.) the phillies got lucky at the right time last year, won the division, then ran into a buzzsaw in the rockies. i predict they'll regress a little-- that is to say, they'll be the phillies. the marlins and nationals will both struggle, but at least the nats will have a nice new park, which i will be fortunate enough to visit over memorial day weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2008 mlb season preview: a.l. west

predicted order of finish:

angels 91-71
mariners 88-74
athletics 74-88
rangers 72-90

while i'm not really high on any team in this division, i think the angels have the best chance. despite the early season injuries to lackey and escobar, they still have good pitching depth, both in the rotation and bullpen, and their hitting is adequate. they've also got a good manager in mike scioscia. the mariners have improved their pitching (sort of) with bedard, and their hitting will be decent, better than the a's at least. this is a team that won 88 games last year, yet, somehow, still doesn't seem like a contender. the athletics will have a lot of new players, most of them very young. their pitching will be good but their hitting will be fairly weak. they'll take their lumps this year but should be contending again within a year or two. in the offseason, the rangers once again traded away pitching to get hitting. i'm not really sure when the rangers will figure out that they need to stop relying on kevin millwood and actually start developing (and keeping) young arms. until they do this, they will continue to bring up the rear in the west.

Monday, March 24, 2008

2008 mlb season preview: n.l. west

predicted order of finish:

arizona diamondbacks 92-70
los angeles dodgers 89-73
colorado rockies 84-78
san diego padres 81-81
san francisco giants 65-97

the diamondbacks are the defending division champs. they got outscored last year but still somehow went 90-72. while i think some of that good luck will start to even out this year, the d-backs also acquired dan haren, who, with brandon webb, forms probably the best 1-2 starting pitching combo in the national league. their offense will be largely the same, so i'll predict 92 wins, which given the depth of this division, should be good enough to win it. the dodgers biggest offseason acquisition was not andruw jones but rather new manager joe torre. granted, this team will not be as talented as his late 90's/early 00's yankee squads, but torre is an intelligent, well-respected manager who occasionally falls asleep in the dugout and will get the best out of these players. the dodgers pitching remains strong while their offense remains fairly weak, but it will be good enough to compete. the rockies made the playoffs last year through an incredible hot streak at the right time and rode that streak all the way to the world series. maybe i'm just biased because of the rockies history of non-success, but i don't see this happening again this year. i think the rockies are a good enough team, and will stay close into september. but their pitching is mostly inexperienced or mediocre, and that won't be good enough in this division. the padres once again will have exceptional pitching and break their own record for 1-0 games. they'll be close in september but find a way to come up short, mostly due to their bad hitting. (note: if they make a trade deadline deal for a big hitter, i think they would both win this division and probably the world series. but i don't expect this to happen.) the depths of futility in which the giants will languish this season can be best illustrated by examining the probable middle of their batting order: rich aurilia, aaron rowand, bengie molina. that's quite possibly the saddest 3-4-5 in the history of baseball, and that includes any 3-4-5 that had the misfortune of having willie mays hayes in it. on a positive note, they have some pretty good starting pitchers.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

2008 mlb season preview: a.l. central

continuing on with our baseball season previews in no particular order, today we preview the american league's central division. click the "mlb season previews" label on the left menu to see other exciting previews.

predicted order of finish:

detroit tigers 95-67
cleveland indians 94-68
chicago white sox 79-83
minnesota twins 75-87
kansas city royals 73-89

the tigers are loaded on offense with new additions miguel cabrera and edgar renteria. i'll be surprised if they don't score over 900 runs this season. their pitching, especially their starters, will struggle somewhat. ordinarily this would cause me to pick against a team but i'll go with my guts here and predict the tigers to barely hold off cleveland to win the division. the indians return basically all of their key players from their 96-win division-winning team last season. if travis hafner returns to his previous form, cleveland's offense will be even stronger. their bullpen is always a slight concern when joe borowski is the closer, and sabathia logged a ton of innings last year and thus may not be as effective this year. i don't have them winning this division but i think the indians will win the wildcard. the twins pitching will struggle this year with the departure of johan santana and because their management is treating francisco liriano's left arm like it's a paper napkin. the twins hitting will struggle because they are forced to rely on guys like lew ford and mike lamb. white sox manager ozzie guillen said he's going to go back to being himself this year and that this will cause the white sox to win a lot, or something like that. while i'm not sure exactly what that statement means, i'm also not sure how they didn't win more last year, as they seem to have adequate pitching and hitting both. however, i think they'll still have the same level of quit in them as last year, leading to a similarly mediocre performance. the royals are still hapless, but GM dayton moore is slowly getting this franchise moving in the right direction. most importantly they have some decent young arms, and with the jose guillen signing in the offseason they're at least trying to attract people to kansas city, as difficult as that no doubt is.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

2008 mlb season preview: n.l. central

predicted order of finish:

chicago cubs 90-72
milwaukee brewers 84-78
houston astros 80-82
st. louis cardinals 77-85
cincinnati reds 74-88
pittsburgh pirates 68-94

like most people, i'm picking the cubs. this is partly due to their strength, but mostly due to the weakness of this division. though fukudome won't be as big a pickup as people think, their offense will be good, and their pitching will be good enough. i think the brewers' pitching is still not strong enough, and their defense is below average. at the plate, however, they have one of the deepest lineups in baseball. the astros have made lots of moves this offseason in an effort to win now. miguel tejada improves the offense and jose valverde strengthens the bullpen. but their starting pitching is too patchwork after roy oswalt. much to limeade's chagrin, the cardinals will have problems on offense this year. albert pujols is wandering into vlad guerrero territory in terms of limited lineup protection. but fortunately their new GM believes in trading away dinosaurs for younger players, so it won't be long before they're competitive again. the reds are a trendy sleeper pick to make the playoffs. one announcer on espn went so far as to say that, because the reds now have an elite closer, they're now contenders. to demonstrate how ridiculous a position that is, simply ask yourself if francisco cordero has ever turned a team into a contender. the pirates will continue to be the pirates. they'll match the 1933-48 phillies record of 16 consecutive losing seasons. at least they have one of the nicest stadiums in baseball which offers a great view of both baseball and ducks.

when visiting PNC park, be sure to look for the ducks, else some random dude
talk your ear off for 20 minutes. but don't eat the pierogies. they are garbage.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

tournament time

it's the second-most wonderful time of the year. a time for spring training baseball. a time for march madness. a time for some idiots somewhere to claim that worker productivity will go down by $1.7 billion because of the NCAA tournament. look dorks, people aren't robots, ok? that's all i'm going to say about that.

anyway, if you click on the image below you will see that, not unlike happy ninja's, my bracket is fairly gutless. however, i do actually believe all four number 1 seeds will make the final four. despite the fact that this has never happened in the past, there's a first time for everything. but, as per usual, i will be rooting for low seeds to beat high seeds, and for big ten teams to get humiliated. i'm an SEC homer like that.

be sure to take this bracket to your local kfc for a delicious toasted twister combo.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

the best a man can get?

much has been made of roger federer's struggles in recent tennis matches. his first round loss in the dubai tennis championships in february was his first since the cincinnati masters in 2004. in january of this year at the austrailian open, his streak of 10 consecutive majors finals was broken. some have speculated that this is the beginning of the end of his brilliant career.

many are curious as to the cause of federer's sudden misfortune. what many people may not know is that roger federer is laboring under a curse. it's a new kind of curse, one that is not restricted to only one sport, such as the curse of the billy goat or the curse of the bambino. it is the curse of the gillette fusion power phenom. since endorsing gillette's new five-bladed razor, roger federer's game has significantly declined. as long as these commercials remain on television, his struggles will continue. i expect we will soon see tiger woods and thierry henry, who also endorse the product, begin slumping as well. the gillette fusion power phenom knows no mercy.

while it is possible to break free of a curse, it is very difficult. the exact methods are not always known, nor do they always make sense. only after the red sox signed mark bellhorn before the 2004 season was the curse of the bambino finally broken and boston won the world series. for the curse of the gillette fusion power phenom, more drastic measures are necessary. i suggest roger federer begin endorsing the DOVO Solingen line of straight razors. it's clear the facial hair demons are not pleased with the ridiculous number of blades that are packed into today's razors. they are taking out their anger on those that are profiting off these devices. however, if federer endorses the DOVO straight razors, i believe he will be released from the curse. he will once again regain his dominant form, much to everyone's delight.

Friday, March 7, 2008

happy birthday joe carter

Happy birthday to former major league outfielder and 5-time All-Star Joe Carter. Joe was drafted with the 2nd overall pick by the Chicago Cubs in 1981 and made his major league debut in 1983. He played for the Indians and Padres in the late 80's before his best-known years in Toronto. It was there that he eventually became the Blue Jays all-time sacrifice flies leader with 65. Joe is also one of only 6 major league players to have hit 3 home runs in a game on at least 5 different occasions. But Carter is likely best remembered for having had a grown man attempt to crawl into his butt shortly after the Blue Jays won the 1993 World Series. Coincidentally, Carter also hit a game-winning 3-run homer off Mitch Williams that same day. From everyone here at the rogue league, happy 48th birthday Joe.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

arctic monkey's favourite worst nightmare

arctic monkey's album favourite worst nightmare has been out for nearly a year now, so i can't really call it new anymore. but i myself only recently purchased it about 3 months ago. after many listens of all the songs, here is my track-by-track review:

brainstorm - this is a really good beginning track. it's pretty fast-paced and loud, which is an appropriate prelude to what will follow throughout the album.

teddy picker
- this song has a bit more of a funky beat but the band still maintains their signature sound. while this subject matter seems an unusual choice, it's still a really good song.

d is for dangerous
- this is one of my top 2 or 3 songs on this album. i think it's funny that the word after the phrase "d is for..." is never actually the word "dangerous."

balaclava
- thanks to wikipedia, i now know that a balaclava is a ski mask. so the lyric "who's the crooks in this crime?" now makes much more sense to me. this is a good song, another one with a semi-funk beat.

flourescent adolescent
- slower than the previous 4 tracks, i think this is one of the singles here in the US. as i typically do with albums i own, i like the single less than many other songs. however, this is still an above average song.

only ones who know
- slowest song on the album. i suppose this and the previous track are meant as the change of pace leading to the second half of the album. i'm not sure if 2 change of pace songs were needed back-to-back like this. i'd have preferred this be track 10 or something. still, it's better than average, and i usually don't skip it.

do me a favour
- the cd starts to pick back up with this song, which itself takes a little while to pick up. the bass line for this song is really catchy. this is probably my second favorite song on the album.

this house is a circus
- i think this could be the theme music to a live action scooby doo play, if such a play exists. the phrase "like a search for murder clues" always gets me thinking about this or about the board game clue. however, after hearing the lyrics a few times, i think this song is actually about a crack house.

if you were there, beware
- i think this song was the inspiration for the album art. it's better to listen to this track with the previous one as opposed to listening to them individually. they're like peanut butter and chocolate in that way.

do the bad thing
- i like the music for this one, but the lyrics are so stupid that it makes me generally dislike the song. i should mention here that i don't usually make a very big deal out of lyrics, so for me to dislike it just for that reason is saying something.

old yellow bricks
- good song. not very distinguishable from the other ones.

505
- probably the best song on the cd, though it's hard to pick just one. this is really the type of album where you could ask 10 people what their favorite song is and get 10 different answers. the songs are that good and it's that difficult to choose. it's a great ending to the album.

you'll notice that a lot of my "reviews" consist of me saying things that are not terribly descriptive, which probably aren't particularly helpful for people that haven't heard the songs. basically, a lot of their songs sound very similar, which is all generally a post-punk british garage rock sound. in my opinion, there isn't much middle ground with this sound-- you either like it or you don't.

if you heard arctic monkeys first album and liked it, go to where music is sold and buy this album now. if you haven't heard anything by these guys, give them a listen. if you start to like it, you'll soon be hooked.

overall: 9 out of 10

Friday, February 22, 2008

movie forecast: vantage point

vantage point centers on one major event, which is told from the perspective of 8 different characters. the audience is then left to determine which perspectives are the most believable and try to find the truth. in the case of this movie, the major event is an attempted assassination of the president. what we the audience are to figure out is who did the killing, if in fact the killing occurred.

i might be in the minority on this one, but this film just strikes me as one huge, crappy gimmick. not that i necessarily demand artistic excellence to like a film, nor would i necessarily even recognize it. but to subject the audience to an endless puzzle of questions which can't be solved definitively until the end of the movie seems kind of tiresome. absent just making a lucky guess, is there any way you can figure this movie out before it's over? even if you can, why would i want to go to the theater just to have to be encyclopedia brown for 2 hours? i'm not against mystery in a movie, i just think it should only be one element, of an actual plot, not the entire substance of a movie. furthermore, given the nature of this film, it will be extremely low on the rewatchability scale.

prediction: 4/10

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

separated at birth



many people may not realize that pittsburgh penguins center sidney crosby and actor tom welling are actually long lost brothers. welling, likely best known for his role as nick castle in the fog, has recently given crosby advice on how to quickly recover from his recent ankle injury: "imagine a healthy hockey player, what he would feel like, what he would move like, what he would act like. and then, you be that player. study the role densely and you can be it." sidney expressed confusion at this advice but continues his rehab. he also said that he wouldn't feel like a good brother if he didn't offer his own piece of advice for tom: "smallville sucks."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

breaking news: hawks get mike bibby

you can read more about this trade here. as a hawks fan, i approve of this deal. basically anyone on this team is tradeable except for joe johnson, al horford, and josh smith. so the fact that they gave up none of those guys and still got a fairly young guy (29 years old), who is someone that will easily be their best point guard since mookie blaylock, is automatically a good move. hopefully, perhaps, hawks management is turning a corner.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

hot stove part deux

with spring training now officially underway, the rogue league examines a few more notable transactions from this offseason.

mets acquire johan santana from twins for carlos gomez and 3 prospects, then sign him to an enormous extension

the twins tried to get both the red sox and yankees to offer more for santana, and after they didn't bite, the mets reaped the benefits. this is obviously a good deal for the mets, and i'm o.k. with it from the twins side too. they couldn't afford to keep santana but at least now they get some good young arms which will hopefully pan out. santana's subsequent contract extension for 7 years $151M makes him the highest paid pitcher in history, and the fourth ever to get a $100M contract. the other three were mike hampton, kevin brown, and barry zito... not exactly in the same class, as santana is clearly better than any of those guys ever were or will be. however, he is still human, and i believe that at some point his newfound wealth will affect him to some degree. not that he's going to become awful or anything, but i could see santana getting a little lazier, maybe partying too much in new york with jose reyes, and then not being quite as good. fortunately for mets fans, though, he'll still be an ace, and i don't think this contract will reach albatrossian status for 5 years.

astros get miguel tejada from orioles for luke scott and four prospects; sign kaz matsui to 3-year $16.5M contract; acquire jose valverde from diamondbacks for chris burke, chad qualls, and juan gutierrez

those are a lot of players the astros have dealt this winter. i don't know how deep their farm system is, but i'll give them credit-- they're clearly trying to win now. it does seem a little strange to commit 3 years to matsui given that he's shown no ability to stay healthy, and who will likely put up numbers similar to chris burke anyway. the tejada deal i really like for their offense. their 2-3-4-5 could be something like pence, tejada, berkman, lee. that's very formidable. tejada can actually opt out after 2008, though, so if houston doesn't resign him, that was a steep price for one year (unless they win the world series, of course). valverde should help bolster the bullpen, meaning fans will no longer have to see roy oswalt silently weeping in the dugout after yet another blown save.

mariners get erik bedard for adam jones, george sherrill, and three prospects

once the mariners didn't get johan they had to look for the next best thing. they feel they have a chance to win now, and they also apparently don't have room for adam jones in their outfield. i like bedard but i would've like to have seen a deal like this for someone slightly more proven. i also wonder how bedard will fare now that leo mazzone will not be his pitching coach. overall this is a deal the mariners probably felt they had to make, but that's a lot of players to give up. for the orioles, between this and the tejada deal, they've acquired seven prospects, and they and cal-state fullerton have to be considered the favorites in omaha this june.

giants sign aaron rowand to 5 year $60M contract

i'll start with the positive: i like aaron rowand as a player. i think he hussles a lot, his defense is pretty good, his offense will be slightly above average, and i've heard he's a really good clubhouse presence. however, this is too many years for him. he's coming off career-high offensive numbers that, probably if you ask anyone in the world they'll agree with this, he will never again match. his at-times reckless play makes him an injury concern as well. i know the giants had to sign someone, and they certainly had some extra cash with barroid now off the payroll. i'm just not sure rowand is that marquee name that will resonate with fans.

blue jays acquire scott rolen from cardinals for troy glaus

this is your proverbial one man's trash is another man's treasure deal. except they're both trash. i like glaus' numbers for the last 3 seasons over rolen's, so i think st. louis got the better end of this deal. actually, i'm not really sure what would prompt the blue jays to take this deal. i think scott rolen has pictures of toronto general manager j.p. riccardi wearing women's underwear.

padres get jim edmonds from cardinals for prospect david freese

i can understand san diego trading away a third-base prospect when they already have an everyday third-baseman and another prospect in waiting. what i cannot understand is trading for edmonds. what's his batting line at petco going to be? .265 avg 8 hr 50 rbi? that's gross, and that's probably being generous. why wouldn't you just take another year or two of mike cameron (for about the same price, too)? it just seems weird. from the cardinals perspective though, i like this. new general manager john mozeliak sweeps away another overpaid under-performing has-been to open up room for younger talent.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

separated at birth?



saint joseph's head basketball coach phil martelli has actually been mistaken for a bald eagle several times in his life. the most recent occurrence was at a national zoo exhibit in washington, d.c., where he was visiting with his family. while standing outside a giant cage admiring a majestic eagle perched atop a pole, martelli was startled by some other visitors that were trying to get a picture with him. "look at this, one of them's out of his cage. honey quick get a picture with me and him," said one visitor. martelli stood by confused but obliged the happy visitors with various photos. "he even understands english. this is amazing," the visitor added. when martelli was later informed that he had, once again, been mistaken for our national bird, he only shook his head, then devoured a raw fish.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

super bowl xlii preview

to be honest, i am not very pumped up for this matchup. hopefully i am wrong, but i have a sinking feeling that the patriots are just going to rout the giants in this game. had the game been played last weekend, i might have picked the giants. but since they have to have a long layoff, much like the rockies before the world series, i think they will be more rusty than resty. plus, now that we learned the patriots taped the rams walkthrough before super bowl 36, maybe they did the same thing yesterday, making it that much tougher for the giants to win. seriously, these patriots spies are as easy to spot as sylvester stallone in the specialist. i mean what was that one scene about where he's staring at eric roberts in the limo? he's looking right at him. he didn't try to hide. throughout the whole movie he keeps getting seen. wasn't he supposed to be more covert? what is he a specialist at anyway? being conspicuous? ok anyway yeah this game is going to suck. i also have my doubts for the halftime show being any good. i actually like tom petty more than the average person in my demographic, but i'm not sure that free ballin' is really going to cut it. hopefully the commercials will be good though. prediction: patriots 48-21.