Monday, January 23, 2006

Kobe's 81.. still not as impressive as Wilt's 100. Nothing Kobe Bryant will ever do will put him to the level of Wilt Chamberlain, Mikey Jordan (whom I have no love for), Kevin Garnett, Bill Russell, Kareem Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Larry Legend Bird, or even The Diesel, Shaq O'Neal.

Getting the point? Kobe might have the most talent in the league today, but he wouldn't know how to spell team if you spotted him the T-E-A.

(Shout out to Hollywood Henderson with that one.)

Lights on Knoxville

Anybody else have to go to work before standard rush hour begins at 6am? For the past few months, since the move of the radio station I work for, I have had to go the other way (towards downtown) on Knoxville at 4:55, 5:00 am. I have never been able to go from McClure to Downtown without stopping at least once for a stoplight, usually twice.

It seems the light by the McDonalds is set for traffic coming the other way (is that Frye? Help me out.) Problem is, there's NEVER any traffic entering Knoxville from that street, and as McDonald's isn't open yet, there's NEVER any cars coming out of there. So what gives? Are the city's traffic engineers told to do that so that we WILL stop on Knoxville? Is this "traffic calming" without the speed bumps?

The other problem intersection is Richmond. Same thing. Street only enters Knoxville from one side, yet the light is set opposite in my mind. If 97% of the overnight traffic is on Knoxville, shouldn't the lights always stay green on Knoxville until those streets actually produce traffic?

Just wondering, in frustration, while I sit for 25-30 seconds watching nothing happening while I could be closer to work.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Team Overrated: One and done.

The short postseason is indeed the case. Damn fine season by the Bears, who overachieved tremendously with that pop-gun offense and a good (but not great) defense. They were exposed in a pressure situation today. Over 400 yards allowed, able to score 21 with the aid of six first downs aided by Panther penalties (I didn't realize the Carolina defense made this many mistakes...they sure did today...but still won).

Carolina-Seattle. That'll be a pretty good game. Oh, and New England (many observers chose them to make the Super Bowl again...Rob) are done, too. All in all, a pretty good weekend.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Sorry, didn't know I'd shut off comments from non-bloggers, I'm very sorry. Josh, thanks for bringing it to Bill's attention, who brought it to mine.

I was trying to figure out a way to stop the anonymous comments that bug me...guess there's not a way. For those who use their internet "handle" or their real names: thank you.

For those who post anonymously, please try not to do that. I realize sometimes it's a mistake, and sometimes even a necessity, but in most cases from my experience it's mostly in "chicken".

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What A Joke

The Hall of Fame will welcome Bruce Sutter this year. And only Bruce Sutter. It's not Sutter's election that is a joke, it's the lack of enough votes for Bert Blyleven, who should already have been voted in several years ago.

More later on this, but suffice to say it's time, IMO, to blow up the current voting process. A vast majority of these old egomaniacal jerks on the BWAA need to be put out to pasture. The baseball Hall of Fame has now become too exclusive. Great players are being left out for the lamest of reasons.

Bert Blyleven struck out more batters than all but four...FOUR...pitchers in major league history, and won 287 games playing with some of the weakest run support of all major league pitchers in his era. He got screwed again today.

As I've always said, if he'd have worn a Yankee or Dodger (or even Cardinal) uniform for a majority of his career, he'd have been elected the first chance he had.

Teach Your Kids

I almost saw a teen on a bike get killed Sunday evening. How? By some daredevil driver speeding down a city street? By a bluehair not paying attention and weaving off the center of the street and into the bike's path? No and no.

It was because the young man on the bike, I'm guessing 14 or 15 years old...decided to blow by me on the right as I was stopped at a four-way stop, and he just missed being hit by the attentive driver coming through the intersection from my left. The driver nailed his brakes just in time, the kid on the bike swerved through untouched, flipped off the guy who could have killed him, and just kept peddling up the street. I was ticked. I was going to chase the idiot down and give him a lesson on road rules, on who was really at fault, and otherwise verbally smack him around a bit to try and talk some sense into him. By the time I got through the intersection, he had turned right down an alley and disappeared into the gloaming.

If you have a kid who rides a bike, remind him/her that the streets signs and stoplights are there for them to obey as well, that they don't have free reign to just drive through the intersection at their leisure. If someone in a black Pontiac pulls up in front of your house and comes up to your front door and says your kid almost got himself killed by not obeying traffic laws on his bike, don't blow that guy off and tell him to mind his own business, fix the real problem...the kid...instead.

I am personally shocked that there are not more car/bike fatalities in this town, the way these morons fly through stop signs.

Cool little quiz

I just went here

and took a 10-question quiz. It came out exactly as I have always protrayed myself...a centrist that leans left:

So then I did one for a couple of others. Based on the opinions and posts I've read from Vonster, here is what he showed as:

Not at all shocking. Next comes Bill Dennis, again, based on what I think he's say:

Try the quiz, see how you fare.

As a side note, I also took a six-question quiz here (a "youth" website).

I answered that civil unions were okay with me, that abortion is 100% the choice of the woman, that government should be able to fix schools by taking money away from other programs and not raising taxes, and that school vouchers are detrimental and violate the separation of church and state. It told me I was "probably somewhat conservative" and should "contact the Republican National Committee" to learn more about myself.

So I changed the answer to one question, the "fixing schools" question. This time I went with the first answer, the one that praises government for wanting to raise taxes to fix public schools.

I checked my answers. Now I was definitely a Democrat.

I thought I smelled a rat. So I looked into the site. It is run by the Tides Center. I didn't see anything that would toss up a red flag in the mind of centrist such as myself. So I took the test again, taking a right wing stance on everything. The test said I was definitely a Republican. Okay, fine, that's what I expected. So I retook the test one more time, going back to my original answers, including my original answer on taxes. This time I was probably a Democrat.

I'm going to mark it down to a glitch in their computer. Hope it doesn't happen to too many teens, they could be lead down the opposite path of what they believe.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My Top Movies of '05

Everyone has published or announced on the radio their lists from 2005. This week the PJS had three different Top 10 Movies lists.

I don't go much for the artsy-fartsy stuff that sometimes makes these lists, you know, the ones where their total box office is $74.32 and they get nominated for 12 awards. Mine are more of the "common man" variety. Also, unlike many people's lists, these movies have to meet this standard: I had to see them to rate them. So all of these movies? I've actually seen them. So this eliminates quite a few movies from my list. I don't do Star Wars, so I purposely missed "Stith". Star Wars? Blah. Star TREK, now THAT'S science fiction. I have so far not seen Cinderella Man, but I want to. And there are several others in that category. But I won't sell out and fib. So my list is just made up of movies I paid money to see. By the way, why I haven't seen Wedding Crashers is beyond me. It looks like it's right up my comedic alley. Family Video, here I come.

Honorable mention: Sky High - Look, guys, sometimes, when you have a nine year old in the house, you see "kid" movies. You've gotta do it. This was the best of the bunch this year, because Kurt Russell was in it. 90 minutes of mindless entertainment that Miss Emily loved, and I liked. I enjoy when Russell plays the old glasses-wearing geek guy. He's done it quite a few times, and always pulls it off.

10. Hitch - Look, guys, you can't always go to guy flicks. You've gotta do date night once in awhile. And if you're gonna do date night, you can do much worse than having Will Smith and Kevin James together crackin' wise. When you see the 2004 list below, you'll see many more date flicks that I like. I'm not so macho I can't admit to liking chick flicks.

9. Bewitched - Wasn't great, wasn't bad. But there were some very funny moments, particularly the wink-and-nods back to the old series. I liked the way they did the plot, it was a neat twist on how to make it work. I still don't think Will Ferrell has done a movie approaching his hilarious run on SNL, but he still makes me laugh. Plus, as a kid, I loved Bewitched.

8. North Country - I wrote a post about this one a couple of months ago. Being from Minnesota, I always like seeing movies reference the home state. Charlize Theron was convincing, many of the supporting cast was more so. They pulled it off.

7. Bad News Bears - Billy Bob rules. The kids weren't as funny as the originals, save maybe for the kid in the wheelchair, but Thornton cracked me up like he always does (and like he did a couple years back in Bad Santa), and I always dig baseball movies...even the ones with Cubs in 'em.

6. The Interpreter - I like this a lot. Kidman was good, Penn was good, they were good together on screen (who'da thunk it?), and the story was very interesting. I thought this was an underrated movie.

5. The Longest Yard - Shut up, it was good. It was funny, it was stupid. Isn't that what it was supposed to be? Sandler was okay, but the WWE guys stole the show: Goldberg, Nash, Austin. Vince McMahon should be an acting coach. All his wrestlers know how to make a scene work. Nash was a riot. And they made Nelly look like a helluva ballplayer. If you didn't see it, rent it and sit back for two hours and let your need for gratuitious physical violence and jarring hits be satisfied.

4. Walk The Line - It was very, very well done. But I don't give it the rave reviews that everyone else does. Not that it was bad in any way, it just wasn't the "best movie ever" and the "most moving biography ever about the greatest artist who ever lived". I actually saw those quotes in print. Look, Johnny Cash was an awesome talent who may indeed actually have "invented" rock and roll. But he is getting much more credit in death than he ever got in life. The same people who wouldn't play his records on the radio for the last 15 years are professing his greatness now. Bottom line: he was one of the greatest artists of our time, and the movie was a nicely done version of his early years of fame.

3. Batman Begins - Christian Bale did a marvelous job. I liked his portrayal a lot. Only complaint I had was the electronic enhancements on his voice when he was Batman. Liam Neeson is outstanding in the movie. The Scarecrow didn't scare me, but the possibility of a sequel with The Joker, as the closing scene between Batman and Gordon (Gary Oldham) implies, could be awesome. Plus, I really liked the "explanation" of how Batman came to be. Oh, and Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were perfect in smaller roles.

2. Sahara - Indiana Jones with a funny sidekick. Matthew McConaughey is cool as hell, and I don't care if Diane thinks he's smokin' hot...she SHOULD think that. But Steve Zahn makes the movie for me. For those who don't like nudity, there isn't any, unless you count Matty's chest. Penelope Cruz stays dressed the whole time, the movie keeps moving, and it's just a trip.

1. The 40 Year Old Virgin - The funniest movie I've seen in years. And it's still pretty good on DVD, even with the lengthier scenes. Steve Carell is a kick, and Paul Rudd cracks me up in everything he's in.

All in all, '05 didn't compare to '04 in theatres. I had a much harder time narrowing my list to 10 in '04.

10. The Notebook - Oh my god, I bawled my eyes out. So did the 6'2", 300 pound black guy sitting across from me, one row back. Diane and I, and the big guy and his wife, were the last four in the theatre as the credits rolled, and we looked at each other and said "did it get you, too?" Two big dudes in a theatre making the napkin-to-tissue conversion. Wow, what a story. Yeah, I'm not ashamed. I still cry when we watch the DVD. I think Diane likes that. I hope she does. I hope she doesn't think I'm a puss or something.
9. Wimbledon - A love story in a sports movie, or a sports movie in a love story? Whatever, another "chick flick" date night story that was well done.
8. Collateral - So Cruise is a nut job. But he played a damn fine hitman. Jamie Foxx was outstanding, too.
7. King Arthur - Underrated, this was a very cool take on the King Arthur legend. Much grittier, muddier, and bloodier than past portrayals. I liked Clive Owen a bunch in this one. If you haven't seen it, you'll thank me afterwards. Check it out.
6. Dodgeball - More hilarity from Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Plus, it has Rip Torn in it. Love me some Rip.
5. Anchorman - Ferrell's best so far, plus it had Carell, Rudd, the hilarious David Koechner, Vaughn, Christina Applegate, and Fred Willard. Getting funnier every time I watch it.
4. Ray - I stil think Foxx did a better job at his capture of an icon than Juaquin Phoenix just did with Cash. Foxx was simply incredible, and the early Charles' music was amazing.
3. Meet The Fockers - I laughed just as hard as I did at the first one. Funny, funny stuff. DiNiro is a gem. I also enjoyed Hoffman and Streisand's wackiness.
2. The Aviator - As I've always been intrigued by the life of Howard Hughes, I couldn't wait to see it. I wasn't disappointed. He was an important figure in this country from the 20's through the 60's. Who else was that big of a deal for that long?
1. Fahrenheit 911 - The most talked about movie of that year, negatively or positively, and hence the most important movie of the year. I went and bought the 911 Reader afterwards, where Michael Moore backs up his assertions, scene-by-scene. Does he take artist liberty with some of his images, and some of his chronology? Yes. Does he lie at any point in the movie? I can't find any, and I've looked.

Here are some pretty good movies that didn't make the '04 list. I didn't have this problem with the '05 list:

The Incredibles
- Good kid flick
Friday Night Lights - Billy Bob again, plus a drunk Tim McGraw. Country radio PD's are always interested in this stuff.
Ladder 49 - Phoenix did well, Travolta was good. For firefighter shows, however, I still prefer "Rescue Me" on FX with Denis Leary.
Shall We Dance - Is it a coincidence that after this Richard Gere/J-Lo ballroom dancing flick that the hit reality show of the next year involved Ballroom Dancing? Say what you want, it was kinda good.
Raise Your Voice - Great kid flick. Great message.
The Prince & Me - We have a thing called "the Princess collection". A collection of DVD's for Emily and Diane to watch together. I watch, too. I like this one.
Princess Diaries 2 - Ditto previous entry.
50 First Dates - Barrymore and Sandler were both entertaining in this one, a clever story.
Starsky and Hutch - Wilson & Sandler. Love it. Snoop as Huggy Bear was well cast, too. But he was too cool. The original Huggy Bear was a dork.

Bowling Party

Who wants to go bowling?

Last fall, Diane and I took the boys bowling and had a blast. I hadn't bowled in years. Diane breaks out the bowling bag and her own shoes and her own pink ball, and I rent the odor-rific size 11 two-tone slipper slides, and find a flat black 16-pound ball with the biggest thumb hole I can find to get ol' chubby opposable into position.

So we did it again, this time with Miss Emily, the precocious one. Enjoyable again. So we do it again...and again. Now, by my birthday, I'm sporting a new purple-swirl Ebonite Tornado and a pair of slick white Dexters instead of the rent-to-smell kind of shoe.

For Christmas, I got Diane a new bag for her ball and shoes. We're bowlers, baby. I'm terrible, mind you. She's good. She whupped my tail by 19 pins in Game 2 last Sunday morning. But I'm getting better. We'll probably head to Mt. Hawley to tear it up Sunday morning. I'll get back to you with scores.

The King of Glen Oak Zoo Has Passed

Long live The King.

I had the good fortune of visiting Boomer at least once or twice every summer I've lived here. I marvel at the size and regalness of lions everytime I see one. Sad that he's gone.

The story.

Say What You Want...

...about Al Franken, but last week, as I was just finishing his chapter in "The Truth...With Jokes" that told sordit details about one Jack Abramoff, Abramoff tells his side. Any differences in what Franken claimed and what Abramoff is admitting? Not a bit.

The trickle-down effect of Abramoff's testimony is being felt this morning, as Tom DeLay will apparently make it official today: he's quitting his leadership role. Many people will say this today: "At least it's a start."

DeLay stepping down.

From the story, just so we can get the facts out before Vonster trashes this post:

His [DeLay's] about-face came amid growing pressure from fellow Republicans who were concerned about their own political futures in the wake of this week's guilty pleas by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Blogger sued in Minnesota

Attention all those who slander through blogs, anonymous or not:

A Minnesota blogger has been sued for statements made on his blog, statements which the lawsuit says have no basis in fact.

The suit has already caused him to unmask himself.

An excerpt:

Lawyers who filed the suit say that Web logs and other new media should be held to the same standards of accountability as traditional media and journalism. Brodbkorb, a former operative for the Minnesota Republican Party, pledges to protect his source and to keep his website going.

Here's an opinion piece from the Star Trib on the issue:

Monday, January 02, 2006

Reason #2

The Bears played five playoff teams all season. They were 2-3, but more telling, here was Chicago's offensive output in those five games: 7, 7, 13, 13, 9.

They were outscored 67-49 in those five games. That means they gave up an average of 13.4 points per game, including the two wins. Which is more than the highest score they were able to achieve in any of those five games.

Chicago benefitted from a seriously weak schedule, yet only were able to crack 20 points four times all year. If you'll look at the post below, you'll see that 10 of the 12 playoff teams average at least 22 points a game. Average.

It's going to be a short post-season for Team Overrated.

Why The Bears Won't Even Get To The Super Bowl, Part 1

10 of the 12 playoff teams scored over 350 points this season. Two did not. Tampa Bay with 300, and Chicago with 260. You don't give up 90-100 total points to another team (that's a touchdown EVERY game more) and expect to have your defense carry you.

Besides, that 260 includes what the defense scored, too. Rex Grossman will not make much of a difference, either. Scoring 24 against Green Bay? Ooooh. Grossman was 11-23 against that pathetic defense, and he's the second coming? For comparison sake, the week before Baltimore and THEIR pathetic offense torched the Packers for 48.

"Yeah, but Grossman killed Atlanta the week before that."

Yeah, he sure did, leading the Bears to 10 whopping points in a 16-3 rout (not), with a stellar 9-for-16 for 93 yards in one half. Do you guys realize you're getting excited about a QB who would be lucky to make half the rosters in the rest of the NFL as a backup at best? And he's the best you've got?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Belated Congrats To Fine GOP Judge and His Outstanding Ruling

There IS hope for this country after all.

Judge John Jones' ruling in the Dover, PA school board case a couple of weeks ago was dead-nuts perfect. Every case about ID...every case...will eventually include Jones' 139-page conclusion and decision, and in each case opponents of the separation of church and state will lose.

A federal judge barred a Pennsylvania school district yesterday from mentioning "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolutionary theory in a scathing opinion that criticized local school board members for lying under oath and for their "breathtaking inanity" in trying to inject religion into science classes.

Breathtaking inanity. I absolutely love it!

...(the Judge) explicitly sought to vanquish intelligent design, the argument that aspects of life are so complex as to require the hand, subtle or not, of a supernatural creator. This theory, he said, relies on the unprovable existence of a Christian God and therefore is not science.

And some sanity injected into the discussion by this judge. I love that, too!


Bottom line, I begrudge no one for their personal and private beliefs. in don't push it into a public school. I am simply of the opinion (and Judge Jones is as well) that the existence of the christian god is unprovable...the existence of any supreme being is unprovable at this point.

Does that mean I can prove that there isn't a god? Of course not, no one can do that either. Do I hope there's a heaven the way it's described by christians? Abso-freakin'-lutely I do. I'm just open minded enough that I'll take a wait-and-see attitude on it.

Best Running Back Prospect Going Pro

No, not Reggie Bush. Reggie Bush will either be a washout running back or a great wide receiver in the NFL someday. But the guy who played college ball this year and who will have the most impact in the NFL rushing the ball, Laurence Maroney, has declared for the NFL draft.

Maroney rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons at Minnesota, and the remarkable thing is he also had a teammate do it every year! Marion Barber III in '03 and '04, and Gary Russell this year.

Next year, with Russell and Amir Pinnix, the Gophers could extend this all-time college football record to four years.

But back to Maroney. He is bigger than Barber, faster than Barber, more elusive than Barber, and a better receiver than Barber, who already has a 100-yard game in the NFL as Dallas' backup tailback this year. He will be tremendous pro back.

Let The Excuses Begin...

The Bears got blown out today. There were many reasons. So don't bore me with the excuses, I'm well aware of them. But at least there were two honest guys on the airwaves after the game tonight: O'Bradovich and Buffone.

Those two guys were hot. And justifibly so. Pros don't mail in games. Pros don't say after the game "we knew we were going to lose, that's not the point". Several players were quoted as saying that. And O'B and Buffone were right. It was a lame effort, regardless of who was on the field.

BTW, Rob, O'B and Buffone also reported that of the previous 39 Super Bowl winners, less than 5 have lost their last game of the regular season, That means whether they had clinched a playoff berth already or not, championship teams show up every week.