Thursday, January 31, 2008

tv show preview: eli stone

so many questions come to mind when i think of abc's new show eli stone...i mean, ELI STONE, which premieres tonight. for starters, what is george michael's role in this? does he play a godlike figure? or an angel perhaps? is abc actually expecting that the audience will be able to move past the fact that it's george michael and accept his character as a holy figure? i'm assuming the main character guy is a prophet, called to do something to help people in some way. how are these callings made, exactly? through george michael's music? i mean, do the musical stylings of WHAM really bring out the best in a man? i'm pretty sure the last time i was stuck listening to "Faith" i wanted to shoot somebody. also, how many times will there be a scene where prophet-guy is singing along to a george michael that nobody else can see? is this intended to be some comic relief? because i've seen it probably 30 times in commercials already and it's never been funny. nor is it funny when the prophet-guy faints or has a giant plane fly over his head.

while i was wondering who exactly will be drawn to watch this show, i remembered that abc is placing it right after their hit show Lost. this obviously makes some sense as they can probably draw in tons of viewers that otherwise wouldn't give two craps about this. however, there's also quite a bit of risk in making such a move. what percentage of abc's audience will make a lasting judgment of eli stone after that first show? and also, what percentage of that audience will be watching for no other reason than because it was on after Lost? if both of those percentages are high, and if the pilot sucks, then eli stone will walk the wide road unto death, and the initial 13 episodes is all we'll see. if the pilot is above average, then this might even last 3 seasons. my prediction lies somewhere in between: 24 episodes

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a pitcher worth 18,000 words

has there ever been a time in your life when you thought someone did something, but you weren't sure? but then, there was an alleged eye-witness, who gave sworn testimony to confirm your suspicion? when the person accused came up with more and more stories and facts to explain himself, did you find yourself believing him more, or less?

the more roger clemens tries to convince me and all of us that he never used steroids, the more i find myself not believing him. in clemens' agent's recent 18,000-word statistical report published monday, many facts are presented, with the supposed intention being to "prove" roger never used steroids. but it's flawed logic to believe this based solely on this report. consider first the claim that clemens' peak performance was from near the end of the 1996 season to the beginning of the 1999 season. if this is true, doesn't that actually support brian mcnamee's assertions more, considering that he said he began injecting roger in the butt back in 1998? it's also said within the report that clemens' career was extended due to a change in pitching styles and (later) through contractually-shorter seasons with limited travel. of course, this is all true, but the fact that it's true still does not mean anything in relation to whether or not he used steroids. he still could have juiced in conjunction with doing these other actions. then the report has a bunch of charts and numbers that compare clemens to other hall-of-fame caliber pitchers who pitched into their 40's who haven't been accused of cheating. the leap of logic here is "these guys were great without steroids, so roger was too." obviously, this is ludicrous to assume that because others have pitched into their 40's without steroids, therefore clemens must also have pitched into his 40's without steroids. and besides, given that roger was actually much more effective in his 40's than most of those other guys, isn't that just one more piece of damning, not exonorating, evidence?

clemens' crusade of innocence now intrigues me far more than whether or not he even used steroids. he keeps drawing me back in with his repeated denials, each with a few more bits of inconsistency and confusion. to me, the 18,000-word report seems nothing more than argumentum verbosium. while i certainly can't blame clemens for trying to defend himself against what he believes to be false accusations, i think there are better and more convincing ways to go about it. roger, come up with one story and stick with it. like your accuser did.

Monday, January 28, 2008

foo fighters concert in nashville

i recently attended the foo fighters concert in nashville last saturday. for those of you out there who are wondering what the set list might be for when they visit your town, i'll list the one from the nashville show below. i'm also including a few notes from the show (i.e. spoilers follow, so don't read past the set list if you don't want to know anything else).

foo fighters nashville tennessee saturday january 26 2008

let it die
the pretender
times like these
learn to fly
cheer up boys (your makeup is running)
this is a call *
stacked actors **
skin and bones
my hero ***
cold day in the sun
but, honestly
everlong ****
monkey wrench
keep the car running (arcade fire cover)
all my life

* they made great use of stop-start dynamics in this version, including about a 2 1/2 minute guitar battle between dave grohl and another guitarist that was really cool.

** this featured about a 5 minute drum solo. that guy had to be tired. also, after this song, a miniature circular stage descended from the ceiling closer to the back of the auditorium and FF performed the next 6 songs from there with accompaniment from another 4 people.

*** after this song dave (yes, we're on a first name basis) introduced the other guys that were playing with them. he had the triangle player (drew hester) do a solo for us. i would not be surprised if that was the loudest a crowd has ever gotten for a triangle solo.

**** at first i was disappointed that it was an acoustic version of everlong. but as it went along i really liked it. usually i'm not a huge fan of crowds singing along in a concert but in this case it was actually really cool. the transition from acoustic to electric was also great. watch the whole thing here.

the set list was actually cut short by about 4 songs as dave was having trouble with his voice (which was later confirmed by him on the foo's website as a bout with the flu). as this was my first foo fighters concert, i had only heard stories of dave grohl's showmanship. and now i can confirm that, indeed, he puts on a first rate performance. i encourage anyone to go see them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

site update

you've probably noticed another facelift for the rogue league. that's two in our young 7 months of existence. (who knew we were so ugly?) the main thing i was going for were links and crap on the left side of the page, but apparently it also no longer looks like "a colorblind mess," or whatever happy ninja called us before. anyway hopefully you like the changes. as always, reader suggestions are welcome, both for formatting and for topics you'd like me to write about.

also, though this is primarily a sports blog, you will probably start to notice a few more non-sports-related posts over the next several weeks. that's because we are about to enter the lamest period in the sporting year, the time between the super bowl and march madness. and
because this is a leap year, there's even an extra day in the awfulness this year (thanks a lot, rotation of the earth). anyway i will be talking more about movies or music or tv or whatever else i can to take my mind off it all. happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

hot hot heat's happiness ltd.

here now is a song-by-song review i wrote back in october of hot hot heat's Happiness Ltd.

1) happiness ltd. - i think the title track of an album should be strong, and this does not disappoint. it's not the best song on the album but it's above average. it's got a good little intro, which i feel every opening track to any album should have. the multi-vocal chorus entry about 3/4th's through is good and, fortunately, not an overdone element throughout the whole cd.

2) let me in - jakob dylan wrote this song for lead singer steve bays to sing the lyrics to. actually i don't know if that's true but i would not be surprised, as this sounds a fair amount like something the wallflowers would do, except for the christmas bells part (which i think are a good addition). this is probably the most complete song on the album, if not the best. i wouldn't be surprised if this was one of the singles. but not that i would actually ever know, because the only canadian band that radio stations around here play is poo.

3) 5 times out of 100 - the line "tell me what my chances romance is" reminds me of the line from dumb and dumber... so you're saying there's a chance. uhh.. this song is just weird. it probably best fits a tim burton movie about halloween romance, if such a movie were ever to be created.

4) harmonicas and tambourines - this is probably the catchiest song, and arguably the best overall. the beginning sounds eerily similar to the theme music to the woodman stage in mega man 2. this is obviously a good thing. but this song also has *easily* the stupidest lyrics. so, y'know, it's like, when you hear it in your car, you want to sing along, then you hear the words, and you're like "these words are too stupid to sing with." perhaps my view will change though, as i felt this way at first about the killers' "bones." and while i actually still feel that way, i sing at least one word, which is the word "bones," except that i change it to "boner," because i'm 12.

5) outta heart - i'm not going to lie, i'm not a very big fan of this song. this just reeks of their producer telling them "hey, you need a sort of easy song with a dumb chorus that you sing 100 times with an overly-formulaic sound. see what you can come up with." and then this song was the offspring of that request. this is very similar to the bravery's equally uninspired single "time won't let me go."

6) my best fiend - this is another candidate for my favorite song, along with tracks 2 and 4. i think this song best captures the new sound they seem to be going for (in at least some songs) while simultaneously doing a decent job at keeping their already established sound (like the piano). if you're so inclined, it's pretty easy to dance to. in fact, if you didn't at least have your foot tapping when you first heard it, you probably do not have a pulse. it's also got a good intro, which like i said, i'm a fan of. i know some people are like "come on, get on with the song already," but if the intro is good, i think it only adds to the song, not detract.

7) conversation - easy to skip but also not terrible. there's nothing really complicated in this song. i think the lyrics were written by a guy in high school to his girlfriend one night when he had only one thing on his mind and she "just wanted to talk."

8) give up - within the first couple of seconds, i thought maybe i was listening to Toto. after that nonsense is over, this song picks up quite a bit and turns into one of the better ones. a good use of synth and indeed all instrumets (except for the woodblocks in the beginning).

9) good day to die - the lyrics are interesting. the music itself is not particularly memorable. and i'm done with this one.

10) so so cold - this song is kind of catchy but also kind of weird. the lyrics are pretty dumb. the vocal semi-solo (accompanied only by tamborine and bass) is just slightly tolerable.

11) waiting for nothing - this final song sounds like a quasi-ballad. it's progresses more slowly than just about all the other songs. i didn't like it too much the first couple of times i heard it but it's grown on me more now. i also like how this song obviously seems like the final song of an album. i always like it when you can listen to a CD all the way through and both the songs and the album itself had a recognizable beginning and end.

overall this has got a bit more of a dance/eletronica feel than previous efforts. i think the first half is considerably stronger than the second, much like this review. there are similarities to the bravery, somewhat to the killers, and to a lesser extent (only on some songs), the wallflowers. i don't think they're really attempting to be any of those bands, but after this album, i can't help but draw some comparisons. overall rating: 6.5 out of 10

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

philip rivers probably has balls made of iron or something

due to espn's nonstop coverage of tom brady in his boot, you may not have noticed that philip rivers just played in the afc championship game with a torn ACL. that's right, a ligament in a major joint in the body of a human, torn beyond the point of use. except he still used it with the help of a brace. while i have thought some of rivers' on-field and off-field antics have been somewhat bush league, he's a talented QB, and i definitely have a new respect for him now.

by the way, espn, i really wouldn't mind if you stopped trying to be TMZ and just went back to reporting scores and showing highlights and stuff. k? thanks.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

nfl conference championship previews

san diego at new england (-14)

even though the chargers probably won't have phillip rivers and antonio gates (both listed as doubtful) for this game, i don't think it would make very much of a difference. the patriots will have a talent advantage irregardless of the injury status of san diego players. i would also say that they'll have a coaching advantage too, except that norv turner has done surprisingly well in the playoffs (3-1 all-time). it's true that he does not make the playoffs very often (only twice), but when he does, he seems to do well. perhaps he is the 90's mark messier of the NFL. anyway, the chargers charmed run will end somewhere in the 2nd quarter of this game, when randy moss does something amazing and then does something disgusting, America. which is what this game will be--disgusting. patriots 42-10

ny giants (+7.5) at green bay

i was reading the words of a wise blogger this week who said that the super bowl everyone wants is rarely the super bowl everyone gets. i think there's a lot of truth to this. obviously, the super bowl that seemingly everyone wants is packers versus patriots. after all, this will be the last chance that a team will have to knock off the patriots, and it would be a team that hasn't already been beaten by them (which the giants have been). it would also of course be a great opportunity for us (read: everyone on espn) to debate whether or not brett favre will re-re-re-retire already. despite the very high price of two straight weeks of complete nonsensical bloviation from trey wingo, sean salisbury, and the rest of goof troop, i too would like to see a green bay vs new england super bowl, because i think the packers would have a better chance of winning than the giants. basically i just don't want to see the patriots go 19-0, probably like everyone else in the world outside of the greater bastin area. but as far as this game is concerned, i think the giants road warriordom will continue. they'll be superior both on the ground and through the air, despite eli manning's well-noted difficulties in the cold, and their defense will be just good enough. giants 24-20

Friday, January 11, 2008

nfl divisional playoff preview

i should probably be more excited about this weekend's games given that the top seeds are now in action, but instead i find myself dealing with a tough bout of blogger's block. i think it may have something to do with a sinking feeling i have that all four home teams will win this weekend, which would kind of stink. indeed, all the top seeds are favored by at least 7.5 points, which just seems really high for playoff games. irregardless, onto the matchups:

seattle at green bay (-7.5)

by now we've all seen the al harris Pick Six clip at least a dozen times. sadly for packers fans, this has no bearing on saturday afternoon's game. still, seattle morphs into a different team when not in the presence of the 12th man. this is compounded by the fact that lambeau field has traditionally been a notoriously tough place for road teams to win in the playoffs. my guess is that hasselbeck has been sick of hearing about that "we want the ball and we're gonna score" thing all week and will be inspired to play a good game. mike holmgren is a good coach and he'll have a smart game plan, but ultimately, seattle's awfulness on the road will get the best of them. packers 28-17

jacksonville at new england (-13.5)

fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, none of the experts are giving the jaguars a chance. sometimes when everyone is picking one team and not giving the other team a chance, the other team wins. however, in this case, the team being (almost) unanimously picked is the 16-0 patriots. add to this that various jaguars have been running their mouths all week, and there is no chance that jacksonville can come in under the radar. as for the game itself, i believe in the jaguars' ability to both run and to stop the run. they also strike me as the more physical team. my concern lies in their secondary and their (in)ability to stop brady and his wide receivers corps. also, at some point, david garrard's run of non-crappy games has to come to an end. this seems as good a time as any to predict that. though i'll be pulling for jacksonville, i predict 32-20 patriots.

san diego (+9) at indianapolis

admittedly, i am somewhat of a peyton manning fan these days, and this recent talk by tony dungy of him not knowing whether he'll return next season has me worried. basically this is because i think it has the potential to be a distraction. also, let's not forget that peyton once had developed, and i feel it was earned, a reputation for playing poorly in the playoffs. unfortunately, i think this is going to happen again on sunday, which will consequently lead to struggles in their running game. on the other side of the ball, i think l.t. will help san diego control the ball, and, somewhat shockingly, phillip rivers will go two consecutive weeks without crapping himself. despite all their fake noise, the colts are about to lose at home to norv turner. verily, the end is nigh. chargers 28-13

new york giants at dallas (-7.5)

how is the tony romo/jessica simpson thing a story at all? has espn just completely turned into mtv plus skip bayless? i've heard a lot of comments this week that it's hard to beat a team three times in a season. that giants/eli manning bandwagon is getting pretty crowded these days, and i think there's going to be some people hopping off after this sunday. t.o. is set to play in this game and the giants will also be without two of their cornerbacks. cowboys 27-20

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

separated at birth

when recently informed of their separated at birth status, both new york knicks forward zack randolph and actor djimon hounsou said they were surprised. i actually don't know how this could even be possible after looking at photos of them side-by-side. but anyway, each sent an e-mail to the rogue league responding to this story:

"i would like to thank the academy for this honor. for years, my work went largely unrecognized, and i wondered if ever i would get my big break. i now know my supporters are many." - d.h.

after i informed djimon that he had not in fact won an oscar, but instead had simply been linked biologically to zack randolph, he expressed disappointment.

"i figured that if i never left portland for a bigger market, i would toil in anonymity, and would ultimately become a great player forgotten. and now being in new york has helped me to win this, my first Most Valuable Player award. thank you everyone." - Z

i'm not sure how my message was once again confused, but again i was forced to be the bearer of bad news, to which zack responded that he wanted to be traded.

Friday, January 4, 2008

nfl wildcard weekend preview and review

with the playoff season finally here, and with my awful fantasy football season in the past, i can now watch football without concern for jay cutler's skiddishness or lawrence maroney's lack of carries (thanks, belicheck. jerk.) so i shall now take to writing previews and reviews of each weekend's hot playoff action. first up are the wildcard games. check back here after the games for reviews. like a chia pet, this post will grow.

washington at seattle

preview: the seahawks are both a better team than the redskins and are at home. these will be too big of obstacles for washington to overcome. mike holmgren ditched the run for a while and the passing game got in sync, and now lately shaun alexander has resumed a respectable running game. their offensive weapons will be too much for washington's average defense. prediction: 24-7 c-hawks

review: after looking positively catatonic for 3 quarters, the redskins suddenly got off the mat for about 5 minutes and took a brief 14-13 lead. then the missed field goal probably took away some momentum, and then todd collins really took away the momentum. and i'm done talking about this one. 35-14 seahawks

jacksonville at pittsburgh

preview: jacksonville won what many (myself included) believe was a landmark game for their franchise 3 weeks ago in pittsburgh. they proved they could win a tough road game they "weren't supposed to win" and shook off that pesky label of being "mentally weak." they also proved, yet again, that mother nature does not put on a uniform for the home team (i can hear happy ninja rolling in his grave right now). of course, the jaguars were rewarded for that victory by...having to play in pittsburgh again. since their previous matchup, the jaguars have done nothing to make me believe in them less, and the steelers have done nothing to make me believe in them more. plus now pittsburgh's really in deep doodoo without willie parker. i expect the jaguars to have lots of confidence going into this game and for them to intercept roethlisberger at least 3 times, from which i will derive much more enjoyment than i probably should. prediction: 26-14 jags

review: after completely dominating for about 3 quarters, the jaguars found ways to let the steelers back in the game, nearly losing in the process. this propensity to blow leads doesn't give me much confidence in their upcoming matchup versus the patriots. anyway, the play of the game obviously was david garrard's run on 4th and 2, which was a great call by jack del rio. 31-29 jaguars

ny giants at tampa bay

preview: last week's effort versus the patriots had to be inspiring for giants fans. i think they gave new england a much better fight than the buccaneers would have. indeed, the giants are my sleeper pick to make the super bowl from the nfc. in this game, their main difficulty is just the fact that it's on the road. but the giants were 7-1 on the road this year, and they are the better team here. they've also played a tougher schedule in a stronger division, so i think they're more prepared in that way. while i'm aware of jeff garcia's success against the giants in the postseason, i'll take new york in a close one. prediction: 24-17 giants

review: eli manning wins his first playoff game which sets up a re-rematch with the cowboys. the giants front four was able to consistently get pressure on jeff garcia and hurry him into some bad throws. the general lack of an offense on the bucaneers part was exposed, while eli manning played very well versus a tough bucs pass defense. actually if i had to take either manning or phillip rivers right now, i'd say eli is the better quarterback. 24-14 giants

titans at chargers

preview: since this game is in san diego, and given the chargers great home record recently, they are the safe bet to win this game. but there are a few things that make me think the titans can pull the upset: 1) vince young might not play. as happy ninja once accurately stated, no team hides its quarterback more effectively than tennessee. strange as it sounds, kerry collins gives them a better chance to win. 2) the titans should've won their regular season matchup but gave the game away late. 3) norv turner is the chargers coach. this shouldn't need any further explanation. 4) steroidface's lights out dance looks stupid and his doing it will cause all his teammates to be sad and play worse. despite these facts, i'll still pick the chargers. prediction: 28-10 san diego

review: somehow norv turner both won this game and managed to keep his pants on. for the entire first half, i was certain the titans would pull off the upset. then, as the game went on, i remembered just how horrible their offense is, and just how good ladainian tomlinson is. this puts a damper on my previous prediction that the chargers would hire pete carroll in the offseason. 17-6 chargers