Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Eloquence of Jim Lampley

Everything in life is better when Jim Lampley is describing it. The same goes for this unusual display of boxing by Trenton Titsworth.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Jessica Alba Appreciates the Finer Points of Parenthood

Jessica Alba may have a reputation for looking glum in paparazzi pics, but she says life has been filled with nothing but joy -- and joyfully overflowing diapers -- since the arrival of daughter Honor in June. "Everything is cute, everything is fun, including the explosive diarrhea -- the best ever."

I couldn't agree more. Especially about the poop. It's hysterical.

Jessica Alba and her daughter Honor

The Naked Man

I'm sure millions of impressionable youngsters (I would do it) are already enacting the latest bit of genius from an episode of "How I Met Your Mother."
The "naked man" seems just crazy enough to work.
The entire episode was completely awesome, but nothing was as funny as Ted and Barney discussing the naked poses.

Ted does the naked thinker
Barney does the naked gymnast who stuck the landing
ted does the coppertone baby
Barney does the naked Heisman

And did we catch a little bit of foreshadowing? When Ted was talking about the strange things he walked in on at the apartment, the scene with the goat pointed to May 8, 2009, right around sweeps, maybe for the season finale?

Ted sees a goat in his apartment in May 2009

The goat has actually been mentioned a couple of times before but the story was never told completely. I think we can expect the denouement soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Lot to be Thankful For

Admittedly, things haven't exactly gone my way lately but I would be missing the point -- of life, and especially of Thanksgiving -- if I didn't take this time to be thankful for all the things I do have.

Most of all, I'm thankful for Chase. I can't describe how great it is to have someone around who is happy 100% of the time and can always do something to make you laugh or smile. With his buck-toothed smile, or his rudmentary command of the English language (dog, duck and book all sound the same) or especially a sneeze, the simplest things are the source of great laughter. And for that I am thankful.

I'm thankful for Diesel. My best friend, who can sometimes be a huge pain in the ass (but best friends are like that). I could hardly find a better walking, game-watching companion than that lovable black beast. Sure, I wish he were better behaved, but the point of this holiday is to be thankful for what we do have, not regretful about what we don't. Also, I can't imagine too many other dogs who would tolerate so placidly Chase's constant attacks with toy shopping carts, wagons, drumsticks and anything else Chase can find. And all Diesel does is give out a low growl, then get up and walk away. And for that I am thankful.

I'm thankful for my three beautiful nieces. The chatty one, the high-energy one, and the little one who isn't even old enough to have a personality. Few things are more enjoyable than hearing Cayla squeal when Diesel barks into the phone, or seeing Jenna running around like a crazy person. And now we have Lyla, who I'm sure is going to be just as fun as the other two. And for that I am thankful.

I'm thankful for the Mets. Sure, they drive us crazy by losing all the time, usually in spectacular fashion, but nothing brings a father and son together like a baseball team. And now that I've got my own son, the special feeling it gives me to see him wearing Mets clothes, to high-five him when the Mets score, and eventually to take him to his first game, those are things that wouldn't be in my life without the Mets. And for that I am thankful.

I'm thankful for my parents, in-laws and brothers and sisters. Family get-togethers have been a lot more fun recently, now that we have a bunch of kids running around. And one of the most special times of this past year was our family trip to Baltimore.

I'm thankful for all my friends or as you are known, The Poopheads. My life is a lot more enjoyable because I get to share it with all of you. And for that I am thankful.

But of course most importantly, I am thankful for Mrs. Poop. Without her none of the other things (especially Chase and Diesel) would be possible. No matter how bad things get she loves me unconditionally. Whether I'm being sad, mad, crazy, up or down, she's always there to encourage me there's nothing we can't get through together. And I believe her. There is no doubt in my mind that we'll have another 50 Thanksgivings together. And for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weekly Picks

I've had so many 3-2 weeks this season, which is good especially under this format as I'm hitting 75% of my best bets, but I know I can do better. I'm making my picks early this week because I'm going with 2 Thanksgiving Day games. I wantd to make it all 3 but there are better choices than the Cowboys giving 13.

This looks like the classic trap game where a spread looks so out of whack that it draws you in and you get caught in its trap. But this is different. Here's why, the Cardinals are really good and the Eagles are pretty bad. The Cardinals are coming off a loss (which I like) but it was to the Giants, the best team in the NFL. The Cardinals can put a lot of points on the board, and the Eagles can't. The problems with the Eagles run a lot deeper than just Donovan McNabb. Look at the stats, he was having a pretty decent year until the last two weeks. But it's not all his fault, the offensive line hasn't been doing well, they can't run block or pass protect. And the play calling has put too much pressure on McNabb. And speaking of pressure on McNabb, the fans are going to boo him lustily from the first incomplete pass. Here's what happened with McNabb in Philly. The idiot fans booed him on draft day and even though they were dead wrong they never admitted it. And he always gave them just enough ammunition so they could say "see, I knew he was never going to be any good." Instead of giving the guy a chance, they've run him out of town.
Oh and one more reason I'm taking this game. I think this spread is partially based on this stat that no western time zone teams have won in the eastern time zone so far this year. But that's because teams from the West suck this year. You're talking about the 49ers, Seahawks and Raiders. That's why they're losing, not the time difference.

atlanta +5 SAN DIEGO
One of my rules of betting is to believe what you see, not what you believe. Sure we all thought at the beginning of the season that the Falcons suck and the Chargers are loaded with talent. But what matters is the way they are playing. And consistently this season the Falcons have shown themselves to be a good team and the Chargers have played like a bad one. I do fear the trap aspect of this spread and the fact that the Falcons are coming off a big win and the Chargers are off a tough loss, but with 5 points, I'll take my chances.

TAMPA BAY -3 1/2 new orleans
At various points this season New Orleans's record has been 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5. That trend should continue as they fall to 6-6. Another of my rules is to be wary of teams coming off great performances on Monday Night. They tend to get overrated because everyone is watching. A good defensive team should be able to slow down the Saints offense.

indianapolis -4 1/2 CLEVELAND
After a false start earlier this year I now believe the Colts are back. And there's a reason Derek Anderson was benched for Brady Quinn. He makes too many mistakes. And if you give Peyton Manning extra possessions he will make you pay.

tennessee -11 DETROIT

They couldn't have made this spread big enough for me. I'd give 27 here. I really think the Titans are pissed off and they are going to come out and pound the Lions. I haven't been this confident about a game in a really long time. I just don't see any way the Lions keep this game close. Unless they are down 27, score a late touchdown, get the 2-point conversion, recover an onside kick and get another TD and 2-pointer to make it 11, against the Titans backup defense. Barring that, the Titans pound them by 30.

Last week: 3-2 (4 points)
Season: 33-27 (39 points)
Best Bets: 1-0 (9-3)
Home Favorites: 0-1 (9-12)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (2-1)
Road Favorites: 2-0 (15-5)
Road Underdogs: 0-1 (6-8)
Road Pickems: 1-0 (1-1)

Song of the Week

"Cater 2 U" - Destiny's Child
Before Beyonce ruined them with her ego and designs on superstardom, Destiny's Child was one of the best girl groups since the Supremes. This is an underappreciated song with a good message for women, take care of your man.
Also, listen to how Beyonce used to sing, simple, clear, elegant, not that shit she does where she drags out every note.

Why Not Call It Freedom Field?

Now that the government has had to bail out Citigroup, some reactionary, populist idiots wants to change the name of the Mets new stadium.
And even worse, these schmucks are from Staten Island.
City Councilmen Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo (never trust a palindrome) want the stadium to be called Citi/Taxpayer Field instead of just CitiField.
Admittedly it looks bad that a spanking new stadium has the name of a troubled bank, and even worse, the troubled bank is paying $400 million over 20 year for those naming rights.
But this was a deal signed a long time before the current financial crisis.
And I think barring a Citigroup bankrutpcy (or court-ordered reorganization of some kind) or Citigroup's own magnanimity (neither of which is likely) it's going to stay CitiField for the next 20 years.
This is not like Enron or PSINet which ceased to exist, this is a big company going through a down time.

Story suggested by SCZA

I'm Taking a Dime Out of Chase's Piggy Bank

I opened my latest cell phone bill and checked the charges:
29 minutes used (I must have been really chatty last month)
82 text messages sent and received (PPD has been ignoring me lately)
1 minute of internet service usage

But I never use the internet on my phone.
Damn Chase steals my phone constantly and he always tries to remove that plastic sheet that protects the display from scratches.
He must have pressed the right series of buttons to connect to the internet, and they charged me ten cents for it.

The NFL is Poop - Week 12

When Points Come Out
54-31, 48-28, 45-28, 37-29, 51-29. Those are final scores from five of the games on the highest scoring week in NFL history. The 837 points scored averages out to 52.3 points per game, the third highest average game score on any given week. The two higher were in 1987 (the last scab games) and 1983, the biggest offensive season in the 31-year history of the 16-game schedule. Right now NFL games are averaging 45 points this season, which would surpass the record of 43.7 set in 1983.

And Mercury Morris Pops the Champagne
With a dominating performance, the New York Jets knocked off the Tennessee Titans, the last unbeaten team in the NFL. While Brett Favre deserves a ton of credit for the Jets 5-game winning streak, an increased focus on the running game is the real reason for the Jets success against the Titans. The Jets racked up nearly 200 yards rushing while holding the ball for more than 40 minutes, running a previously stout Titans defense ragged. And the Jets proved that sometimes the best offense is a good defense, as they stifled the Titans running game (45 yards on 11 attempts). On the Titans first 5 possessions, they got exactly 1 first down, and therefore 4 3-and-outs. That allowed the Jets to overcome 2 turnovers and take a 10-0 lead. The Jets had 3 drives of 7 minutes or longer (ok, one was 6:54, close enough) and that was the key to this game, a very possible AFC Championship Game preview.

Brett Favre leads the Jets to a victory over the previously unbeaten Titans

End of an Era?
Watching Donovan McNabb standing on the sidelines during the second half as the Eagles got trounced by the Baltimore Ravens, he looked like a little kid who just got yelled at by his mother. He had the hood over his head, his sleeves hanging limp by his sides with his arms tucked in his parka, and the saddest look on his face.

The Donovan McNabb era in Philadelphia is officially over. No matter that Andy Reid announced him as the starter for the Thanksgiving night game against the Cardinals, this was the end of McNabb's tenure as the Eagles starting quarterback. Reid is only re-inserting McNabb because Kevin Kolb isn't ready, and Reid doesn't want it to be the end of the Andy Reid era too.
McNabb never had the support of Eagles fans, who booed him on draft day and barely ever let up. Sure he never won the Super Bowl (and his Super Bowl performance, and some of his championship game performances too, left a lot to be desired), but being a pretty good quarterback over a long period of time should have earned him a little more patience from fans.
Unless McNabb surfaces somewhere (Minnesota? Chicago?) and has a late season resurgence, his career will be remembered most for its failures, and that wouldn't be fair.

Game of the Week
New England Patriots 48 Miami Dolphins 28

The final score didn't realy indicate it but this game was a real back and forth affair until the 4th quarter. The teams alternated scoring with the lead changing hands six times before Randy Moss's second touchdown catch of the day put the Patriots ahead for good. Moss added one more touchdown because he was so pissed off that the Dolphins dared to disrespect him by single covering him. And speaking of pissed off, Matt Light and Channing Crowder were both ejected for a fight, one that Light got the better of, seeing as how he was still wearing his helmet.

Game of Next Week
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

Even with the big win over the Dolphins the Patriots are still in tenuous playoff position. Both teams are being threatened by the Ravens (who play the Bengals this week) so the loser here will have some work to do. Matt Cassel is coming off one of the best 2-game stretches for a quarterback in NFL history. But now he's facing a real defense so we'll see how he responds.

Cheerleader of the Week
Julia Williamson of the New England Patriots Cheerleaders
There's a lot to like about Julia's bio. She has a dog, sort of. It's a pomeranian, but she named it Marley, presumably after one of the greatest books ever written and the upcoming movie.
Her favorite guilty pleasure is S'mores, maybe I'll invite her over to make S'Mores some time.
She lists "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" has one of her favorite movies and her favorite quote is from my second favorite transcendentalist, Thoreau. But here's what puzzles me, her favorite actor and actress are Steve Carrell and Rachel McAdams. Pretty disparate selections. I guess it shows that she's a girl with a sense of humor, but still a girl.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
A win is a win, but you'd love to see the Redskins pound these bad teams a little bit. A few things that worried me: the offense had a couple long drives that stalled just short of field goal range. They need to convert more third downs in big spots. I think conservative play-calling hurts them. Both of the Seahawks touchdowns came right after Redskins touchdowns. I want to see more killer instinct out of the defense. It's like a pitcher in baseball who gives up runs everytime his team scores. It hurts morale. And finally, the field goal kicking. Shaun Suisham is good for one miss in every close game. He's already missed 7 field goals so far this year. It cost them in the Dallas game, but the rest of his misses all came in wins. But his inconsistency could kill them down the stretch.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
New York Giants 31 New York Jets 23

To the victor go the spoils. The Jets knocked the Titans off so they deserve this spot for now. I still think the Titans are a better team and the Jets will have a really tough time beating them again in Tennessee in the AFC Championship game (should that come to pass). Neither the Jets nor the Giants have lost since week 7 (the Jets stinnker against the Raiders) and this section is all about the hot team.

It's Gotta Be the Shoes

The latest hint that LeBron James loves New York and wants Knicks fans to love him back (eventually) was unveiled last night as James led his Cavaliers to a demolition of the Knicks.
LeBron unveiled a new pair of sneakers called the "Big Apples."

LeBron James's Big Apple sneakers

Knicks fans did their best to welcome LeBron, sporting makeshift LeBron Knicks jerseys. Personally, I would have started a "We've Got Cap Space clap clap clap-clap-clap" chant.

John Vernazza Greg Kutzil and Adrew Gizzo show their appreciation for LeBron James

Some Syracuse Thoughts

Things I thought while watching Syracuse beat Kansas 89-81 in overtime.

Too bad Bill Raftery wasn't calling this game because that Flynn shot would have gotten an "ONIONS!"

That really was a game-winning shot. They would have lost without it.

I loved that when they got a 6 point lead in overtime they attacked the basket and tried to score instead of killing the clock and getting an empty possession.

The team will be much better this year. Andy Rautins's outside shooting adds a key dimension to the offense. But the biggest difference is Devendorf. He can steady the team when they're starting to turn the ball over and he hits big shots and penetrates and dishes at the right time.

I'm so relieved Boeheim seems more willing to play man defense this season. I've always said the 2-3 defense is fine, but in certain circumstances you need to change things up. Just to throw off the other team, or to create matchup problems, or to slow down a hot outside shooter, you need another defense for a change of pace. I've been shouting this since Howard Triche was in short pants. Now Dick Vitale agrees with me, and Boeheim seems to also. Boeheim even credited the man defense for turning the game around. Something to remember when they get down 13 later in the season.

I wish Dick Vitale wouldn't choose crucial moments of the game to talk about his all-diaper dandy team, or his pregame conversation with Robert Montgomery Knight.

But I do agree with him that Arinze Onuaku needs to be a bigger part of the offense.

Dan Schulman has an unusual understanding of handshake. When the referee counseled Flynn and Collins during a timeout, he said they "shook hands" but really they patted each other on the ass. I hope I never run into him on the receiving line at a wedding.

I think a lot of the problems SU had were created by Kansas's good defense.

They still need to work on their free throw shooting.

I really like this team and unless Florida really falls off and has a horrible season, these early tough games (and the tough conference schedule) will really help SU on Selection Sunday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Postseason Wrapup

Only two of you (Scat and JLeary) elected to join Master Bates and I in our annual preseason baseball predictions. This is something MB and I have been doing for years, probably dating back to the early 90s when we wrote down our picks (we had to use paper back then) and stuffed them in an envelope and put them in a drawer until the end of the year. We had no links back then!

Reviewing the picks, here's how it broke down:
Teams: TallSkott got 4 division winners, which is very impressive, but MB and I each got three playoff teams, though we had the Red Sox as division winner, not wild card.
World Series: None of us got a single World Series team correct.
Individual awards: These are so much tougher than the teams, and once again I dominated. JL, TS & MB combined for one correct individual award (MB predicted Longoria for Rookie of the Year -- but only because I badgered him into drafted Evan in his fantasy league). I beat them by myself, nailing Longoria and Lou Piniella as Manager of the Year.

I hope more of you will choose to participate next season.

I Sure Nailed That One

If anyone had a better Election Night than Barack Obama, it was probably me. I almost couldn't have been anymore correct in my predictions.

Here's what I said:
Electoral College:
Barack Obama 360
John McCain 178

Popular Vote:
Barack Obama 53% (67.3 million votes)
John McCain 46%
Nader/Barr 1%

Here's what actually happened:
Electoral College
Barack Obama 365
John McCain 173

Popular Vote:
Barack Obama 53% (66.9 million votes)
John McCain 46%
Nader/Barr 1%

Do you realize how dead on that is? I mean nailing the total number of votes within a few hundred thousand (and votes are still being counted, I will get even closer when every vote is tabulated), that's just unheard of. Especially because everyone was predicting a huge turnout (which didn't really materialize, total votes were up by about 3 million or about 2.5%), I correctly predicted voter apathy as well.

Just another example of my genius.

What Do You Give Me For? Omar Epps and Mike Tomlin

"House" star Omar Epps (best known for playing Darnell Jefferson in "The Program" and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Omar Epps
Mike Tomlin

The resemblance is more evident when you see Epps in a similar get-up of Steelers hat and headset. By the way, "Best Damn" put him up to this.

Omar Epps dressed as Mike Tomlin

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What Would Happen?

Right now it looks like the New York Giants are going to seal up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
If that happens, they'd need to win one playoff game in order to host the NFC title game at the Meadowlands.
And as it stands right now, the New York Jets are in a great position to win the AFC East, and if they can somehow pass the Steelers (or beat them in the playoffs), they could host the AFC Championship game if the Titans get knocked out before then.
A lot needs to happen but just for the sake of discussion, what would the NFL do if both conference title games were to be played at the same stadium?
They can't force one team to give up homefield, not even to the extent of them using another field in New York (not that there is one). I don't think they could move one of the games to Saturday.
I think if this happens (unlikely though it may be), they would have to play one game at 1 pm and the other game at 8 pm. It would sure make for an interesting situation in the parking lot at around 4:30.

Weekly Picks

I was off to a great start last week nailing my first three games until the officials robbed me in the Steelers-Chargers game, and Trent Edwards robbed me in the Browns-Bills game. I never should have picked the Bills as my best bet anyway. That mistake threatens to derail a great season but I'm not going to let that happen.

new england pick'em MIAMI
I really think the Patriots offense is coming around under Cassel and the loss to the Jets showed they have the ability to make a crucial late-game drive and put points on the board. This game is almost like a playoff game for them sine they already lost to the Dolphins -- and the Patriots don't lose playoff games.

chicago -8 ST. LOUIS
The Bears got absolutely destroyed by the Packers last week. And that's exactly why I like them to rebound this week against the horrid Rams, even though they're on the road. The Bears are still in the mix in the NFC North and need a win here to remain so.

TENNESSEE TITANS -5 1/2 new york jets
I haven't had much luck this season picking games involving the Jets, but I've done pretty well with the Titans. I just don't believe that Brett Favre can go on the road and play turnover free against this aggressive defense. It will be interesting to see what the Titans do on offense however. The Jets have a good run defense led by Kris Jenkins but recently Kerry Collins has been carrying the offense by throwing a good deep ball.

philadelphia +1 BALTIMORE
I trust Donovan McNabb to bounce back after an embarrassing week. I also think the Eagles will blitz the shit out of rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.

new york giants -3 ARIZONA

I know this looks like a matchup of two of the best teams in the conference, but the Cardinals aren't in the same league as the Giants. All the Cardinals have is a great short passing game but the Giants will be able to at least control that by blitzing Kurt Warner, and making tackles once their receivers catch the ball. On offense the Giants should be able to run against an undersized but speedy Cardinals defense. Time of possession will also help keep the ball out of Warner's (and Fitzgerald's and Boldin's hands).

Last week: 3-2 (2 points)
Season: 30-25 (35 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (8-3)
Home Favorites: 0-2 (9-11)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (2-1)
Road Favorites: 3-0 (13-5)
Road Underdogs: 0-0 (6-7)
Road Pickems: 0-0 (0-1)

Don't Call It a Comeback, She's Been Here For Years

Many people had written of the career of Meadow Soprano aka Jamie-Lynn Sigler. They said she was typecast as the mob boss's daughter. But I knew she was more than that.
And in one short span of time she showed what kind of actress she can be.
On Sunday night she was a foul-mouthed slut, playing herself on "Entourage" and phoning Turle for a late-night booty call.
But Meadow came back, the very next day, and killed it as a foul-mouthed slut, playing a "wooo girl" on "How I Met Your Mother."
And damn did she look good riding that mechanical bull.

Meadow Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler rides a mechanical bull on How I met your mother