Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Voltron

While at work, my fellow half Gen X-half Millenial generation coworkers and I contemplate many things that add no value to our job. I would say that maybe 1.5 hours a day is wasted discussing stupid things. We Americans are way too consumed by our entertainment culture, but the identification between people through a cartoon from their childhood is an acceptable form of nostalgia. One thing that came up recently and was discussed at great length but with few details was Voltron.

Voltron was the coolest of the Japanese cartoons to ever make it over to the States. Voltron, in our eyes, was at its peak with the lions coming together to form the giant Voltron mecha-robot. When created through the lion fusion, Voltron was a sentient being. I don't care what you say, he knew what was going on. Voltron was piloted by people who looked an awful lot like the Speed Racer characters. Here's a question: How come Japanese animators make people all lookt he same for a couple of decades at a time? It's 2007 and Japan is still in the "giant eyes" phase.

What really struck everyone was how Voltron was such a violent cartoon. Voltron would normally slice villains in half with his awesome sword. This usually happened after a Robo-beast would appear and the Lions could not take the bad guy down by themselves. They had to unite to form Voltron to take him down. One would think that after maybe 3 or 4 battles, the human pilots would find a way to work together as true pack animals do to take down a bad guy. Maybe they could even learn that they will never take a bad guy down by themself and just unite to form Voltron right off the bat. Just once, I wanted to see a Lion fight versus the bad guy that would work. Was it too much to ask for? Yes, because Voltron's appetite for destruction must be satisfied. Voltron's fucking hand was in the form of a Lion's mouth. If he bit you, teeth would pierce your metal robo-skin.

As a fan of the villains on shows and in movies, I did wonder why the bad guys did not just find a way to kill the pilots of the Lions. With no pilots, the mighty Voltron could not form. Take the pilots down, and Voltron can not unite. Here's the other rub: why not build multiple Robo-beasts to attack Voltron at the same time? Why did the moment a bad guy could make a giant Robo-beast, he unleashed it on Voltron. Stockpile Robo-beasts and unleash them on Voltron when you have superior firepower. In the arc of the hero's storyline, Voltron never really got beaten down so he could have a comeback and vanquish his foes. The role of the beaten down hero avening a setback was taken by the lame Lions who would foolishly take on the evil Robo-beasts by themselves.

Voltron had the requisite chick and small kid as part of their pilot force. One thing that was missing was a heavy handed, lame-ass P.C. message. Voltron was just about killing mechanical beasts and saving the universe. Save the deep, sociological storylines for dramatic movies.

Markets Take a Hit

Sitting at my desk yesterday a compadre asked "You see the Dow today"? In 20 seconds I had looked online, and sure enough, the Dow had dropped 200+ points. Some people sounded like lost kids at an amusement park. I calmy reminded them that they weren't pitching fits when the market went up 1, 2 or 3 percent in one day, why should they act stupid on a big down day?

As many people have pointed out, it had been over 900 days since the last day the Dow dropped 2% in one day. For nearly three years, investors had not faced a big down day. For small timers like myself and my coworkers, a sense of peace had developed. The Bull market had kept chugging along and had never had a big down day. Some people had even wondered when the Bear was going to show up, so why scream bloody murder when it does.

Is a Bear around the corner? Yeah. It's only a matter of time before the all time high corporate profits return to the norm, and the American consumer can only bail the economy out of so many jams. We have a negative savings rate in America today, and yet consumer spending keeps growing. That cheap money is going to start to dry up, and when it does the chips will fall. I recall saying in college that I felt a recession would "suck" as I was getting ready to enter the job market, but it was needed to allow the normal cycle of business and economics to continue. The recession we had earlier this decade has been debated by economists about it even being a recession. The American economy never went through the burn out and rebirth phase that occurs naturally. As painful as it is, it needs to happen. America needs to feel pain once more so we can create a new industry or technology (or multiple technologies) to lead the next wave of growth. This was pretty disjointed, but we as a country need to change a bunch of things if we want to continue to live a high standard of living. We've done it before, and we can do it again.

As far as investing, if you thought the market was a decent bet a few months ago, take the opportunity to buy during this dip. With your long term accounts like IRAs and 401ks, remember that you will not touch this money for 25-35 years. The market goes up, the market goes down. Life goes on.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NYC

Spent the weekend in NYC with the Wifey. We were focused on the isle of Manhattan, and specifically in the Times Square super-touristy area. It was a nice time, and if we had more time for carousing and less for a dance audition, it would have been even better.

We took Amtrak to go from Boston to NYC, and it will be the last train ride we take in the USA. The train managed to fry its engine, and we were delayed by 40 minutes. This delay caused me to miss out on seeing the Knicks play in MSG. I've always wanted to see a game at the Garden, and I was angry that Amtrak prevented me from catching a game. As my wife noted when we walked out of the Penn Station, "Madison Square Garden is neither a garden, nor square, and it isn't on Madison Avenue". She's pretty astute.

While the wife tried out for a dance retreat, I wandered around the Times Square area. I probably walked 50+ blocks that day, and did a ton of people watching. While drinking a cup of green tea, a ton of fire trucks passed by me, and 47th was closed. A fire had broken out at a hotel near Times Square. The picture to the left is of the smoke as it passed through the square. One of the weirdest things I saw all day was a man with a fox on his head. It was a dead fox, and it was like a cap to keep him warm in the wintertime. It looked as if a fox was just lying legs spread over his head. Bizarre.

While hanging out and chatting with a guy promoting a Comedy Central show, I struck up a conversation with a homeless bum. I was kind of surprised he was out and about as it truly appears that Rudy's program to "solve" the homeless problem in the 90's was a smashing success. I told this guy he was the last bum in Times Sq. He laughed at this, and admitted to his friends being in different spots of the city. We chatted for a while, and I gave him a ten spot. His grip was incredibly strong for a man with a head of white hair, as we shook hands and parted ways. I alwasy wonder what it takes for a person to spiral down to being a "bum". Is it a long process or a short implosion?

What did I hear all around me throughout the weekend? Foreign languages. I know the dollar has slid versus foreign currencies and coming to America is cheaper for foreigners. It was evident in that probably half of the conversations I overheard throughout the weekend were in a foreign tongue. New York was smart to clean up the city for a variety of reasons, but tourism had to be a huge reason. The dollars that are poured into every little business from foreigners trickles down to everyone. I do wonder if foreigners ever think "Maybe I should visit some other part of the USA", or does the experience with NYers put them off. I recall the Brist I studied with in England had almost all been to NYC. I told them to go elsewhere because we're not all assholes. Sorry NYers, I love your attitude, but I do think you guys are assholes.

One thing I did want to mention is the amazing ability of transportation employees in NYC to be both condescending and incompetent at the same time. I have witnessed it at La Guardia Airport, Penn Station, Subways. The workers look at you like "How are you so stooopid you can't figgur this out". Yet, they are usually the one making the mistake. It's amazing, and only in NY.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Draft Busts

With the upcoming draft in the NFL, there is much buzz and hype about many different prospects. The annual circus is in full swing. Guys like JaMarcus Russell are being hyped as the next big thing, when he seems much more like a dumber, younger Daunte Culpepper. Offensive linemen get pumped up, yet soem of these guys are the product of their blocking scheme as much as a QB can be the product of the pass attack. I'm a big believer in looking at what a guy did in college, who he played against, what skills does the guy have that translate well to the NFL. Matt Leinart stayed an extra year in college and it made GMs talk themselves out of him being the number 1 pick. The same thing is going on right now with Brady Quinn. Quinn was touted as the best QB prospect if he came out last year. He stayed in the NCAA, and now might slide outside the top 10. Stupid.

The first draft that I remember vividly was the 1989 draft, mostly because the Cowboys had the number 1 pick and Barry Sanders. That draft was stocked with great talent, and there was one guy that the press was hyping in an out of control manner: Tony Mandarich. Mandarich was a freakin' lineman from Michigan St. who was suppose to make us all forget about John Hannah. He was a jerk who was 10 years ahead of his time (compare him to Kyle Turley), and he was an alleged juicer at Michigan St. Brian Bosworth had the same problem going from the NCAA to the pros: no juice = poor play. Mandarich stunk it up for the Packers, and because the Pack passed on Barry Sanders, the NFL was spared the domination of the game by a Barry Sanders-Brett Favre backfield combo. Sanders and Favre could have become the team of the decade instead of the Cowboys. From '95-whenever, they could have denied Elway/Young/the Rams their Super Bowl victories.

It is quite easy to point fingers (mostly the middle) at Ryan Leaf and laugh, but I always viewed him as a tragic figure for the modern NFL. He serves as a cautionary tale for kids before they think of going to the pros. A draft bust I like to point out rather than Ryan Leaf is Blair Thomas. Thomas was wretched with the Jets, and as I have stated at other times, a Big Ten Rb, so he was made to bust. Thomas started that Penn St. RB Curse of Thomas-Ki-jana Carter-Curtis Enis. I hope Larry Johnson breaks the mold and does not drop dead after his 400+ carry season. Thomas is an extra hard choice to stomach because of the RBs behind him who had decent pro careers. Some of those guys lasted a long time and had productive careers: Rodney Hampton, Chris Warren, Barry Foster, Brian Mitchell, Terry Allen and NFL leading rusher, Emmitt Smith. Thomas was another part of the long chain of NY Jets draft busts. I am soooooo looking forward to the draft day for Jets fans' reactions. Last year, they let me down when Mangini made safe picks and the fans were happy. C'mon NY, don't let me down!

Monday, February 19, 2007

10 Reasons to go to the Gym

In an effort to help fight the plague that is Winter couch sitting, I have put together a list of ten reasons why you should hit the gym.

10. Improve your cardiovascular system.
9. Lose weight. Chances are, you are tubby.
8. Improve bone density so you won't be a brittle old person.
7. Shape up so your girl will leave the lights on when you get down.

6. Encourage your girl to get in the gym so she isn't the out of shape one in the relationship. Women hate that.
5. Improve your immune system.
4. Create an outlet for your stress and pent up frustration.

3. Pay attention to women doing squats.
2. Look for women who just got out of a relationship or marriage that wear much more revealing outfits than other women.
1. You may walk into the gym one day and see this. I do not even have a phrase for that photo.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Polar Bears and Fighting Winter Hibernation

The harsh climate of the Arctic forges mighty beings. It is no playground for the weak. The fierce Polar Bear is the king of the north. These animals do not screw around. When looking at them in a human manner, I always envision them as Russians. They are big, mean natives of cold land that do not appear friendly and respond with force. Look at this dude to the right. He is not saying "thanks for snapping my photo", he's wondering if the human has a gun. If not, he's going to eat the human. I like how the World Wildlife Fund has changed the symbol for the WWF from the panda bear tot he polar bear. The polar bear is not some lame species that does not even want to have sex to procreate for their species' survival. Polar bears are a symbolt he the struggle to survive in the world, and the dangers facing our friends in the animal kingdom.


PBS runs this special from time to time on these polar bear cubs that were born in a zoo, but the mother died right after childbirth. It was in Denver, and the zoo vets and staff had to "raise" the cubs from a much earlier age than any researcher had ever handled polar bear cubs. It was awesome to watch, and it was one of those specials that you know kicks in the money come fundraising time. It's like when they show the documentary "Woodstock". The bears are continuously shown as cute and cuddly, but to remind you that they are powerful animals, there is footage shown of one of the bears flipping out while being fed. It is a nice reminder of how a polar bear could rip a human to shreds whenever they want to. One of the many cool things about polar bears is that they will hunt humans if forced to for food. There was an Animal Planet special that showed a polar bear lying on the snow, covering its eyes to blend in better so the camera would not see them so they could stalk the camera crew. That is a true ambassador of wild animals, not some pansy Panda Bear that chews leaves and doesn't have sex.

Right now I am trying to fight winter hibernation myself, as I have been kicking it up a notch in the gym. The MP3 player is helping with me make it through cardio, and I've added some wrinkles to my routine. I've added dealifts as a total body movement to add mass. I've also brought back my focus on doing wide grip pull ups instead of machine pull downs. I used to do those every week but got out of the habit when my should started to act up. You need to throw in new ideas to your workouts, because things can go stale pretty fast. Fight off the urge to stay in during the winter, or else you could look like a polar bear.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Crazy Dreams

Back in the day, I was always intrigued by the crazy dreams that I had on a regular basis. I would discuss them with friends, and not meet a single soul who had as vivid dreams as I had. For one of my psych major friends from college days, I volunteered to discuss my dreams for their thesis as a bit of research they were doing. I never asked for her to interpret them out of fear of what she might say. At that time, I'd rather have my problems or mental issues be unknown.

One thing that was abundantly clear was that my brain had a high activity level while sleeping. My recollection of dreams was above normal, as was my lucid dreaming ability (being aware you are dreaming). Through my lucid dreaming, the ability to "force" myself awake. My friend Michelle had quite a bit of fun challening me with tasks to do if I became aware I was dreaming, and to write as many details as I could as if it were a story. A moment that silenced a "session" we had was when I told her how I was reading a sign in a dream. She did not believe me. I told her again, and she informed me that one side of the brain handles reading and one side handles dreaming. We never hooked my brain up to electrodes to do brain activity mapping to prove who was right. I sometimes wish I could have read her thesis, but I know there might be something there that would freak me out.

I thought I'd at least share reoccuring dreams I have had since days of yore.

1. The Terminator is Chasing me Dream - I never know when the Terminator is going to start chasing me, but it starts and I just have to keep running and finding creative ways to hide/evade the Terminator. Sometiems it is T-1000 and sometimes it is Arnold. I am granted superhuman abilities during these dreams, and it's not a feeling of terror that causes me to flee. The Terminator is just a trigger to start running.

2. Giant Spider dreams - I'm an arachnophobiac. This is a no brainer.

3. The War-time Fighting Spirit Dream - These are pretty annoying as the guns I have rarely work, and I am forced to do hand to hand combat and use knives.

One thing that happens often is the evacuation of the human element in my dreams, which leads to an entrance by a horrifying monster. I will be in a public place surrounded by many people. As they leave slowly, an anxiety comes over me that signifies bad sh*t is going to happen. These dreams are fairly common, and have been with me since grade school. Somehow, I would always miss the last bus and face some monster.

The realm of my dreams is a pretty scary place that does not allow me to get a good night's rest. I am usually waking up in the middle of the night because of my bad dreams. Whatever the reason for the vivid dream imagery, I do not hope it is passed on to my kids.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Being a Libertarian

With the sports drought known as the month of February, I'm posting on a variety of other stuff that I claim makes up some of this blog. One thing that I slowly claim to be aware of as I read more in college, and had more conversations with people who were high as a kite, was that I believed in the freedom of the individual. I aligned myself with Libertarianism more than any other political party or philosophy. A person should be able to do what they want to do as long as it does not infringe on another person's liberty. It just makes sense. My belief in the ending of the war on drugs stems from my belief that people should be allowed to make choices for themselves. I do realize that we need some form of government for basic services, as I think anarcho-capitalism is a bit too the extreme. I just believe we should have as little government as possible. I think that's at the heart of being a native Mainer. Mainers hate the government.

One thing that bothers me about Libertarians is the pansy foreign policy. They are more isolationist, and have not caught up to the fact that you cannot be isolated anymore. The world is too connected through globalization, travel, the Internet and a myriad of other ways to think you can close up shop and keep to yourself. Someone has to figure out a way to modernize Libertarian thought with foregin affairs. Foreign policy is a love of mine, and is how I view many Presidents (probably an unfair way to view them). Please Libertarians, find a way to inject reality into your foreign policy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Uzis

Once I move to a non-pansy state, I'm picking me up an Uzi. You never know when zombies are going to start walking the Earth, and what better weapon to mow zombies down than an Uzi. It has a fantastic name as well, Uzi. It just sounds like it wrecks stuff up. Designed by Uziel Gale, it was created at the request of the Israeli government for a compact, lightweight, powerful gunt hat would not gum up or jam in the deserts of the Middle East.

There's no reason to have an Uzi unless you were a member of the armed forces or a police SWAT unit. Some criminals would desire them for the automatic fire and small size in relation to other automatic weapons. It is entirely possible that people did not ever think to own an Uzi until the government put the ban on assault weapons and included Uzis. That ban has since been lifted.

Now that I think of it, why bother with an Uzi when I can buy an Ak-47 now? From everything I have heard, the AK has greater accuracy and allows the user greater control. I have a friend who has test fired both, and he highly recommended the AK-47. The AR-15 is a nice gun for our boys in the Army, but it just does not match the AK-47's design and ease of use. The AK-47 has spread much faster in use than the AR-15, and that is because it is cheaper, easier to use, and has an outstanding name. I just found an Ak online for under $400. I'd rather just get a pump action shotgun, but I have a feeling my father in law might give me one. My father in law says I should take a gun safety class, and you know what, that's a great idea. Hmmm, maybe I could get him an AK for christmas.....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Vision of the Future Through 1980s Films

As a big fan of dystopian literature, it is only natural that I check out films of a similar vein. I usually watch any movie set in the future, wether it is a utopian or dystopian world. Maybe I just enjoy downer movies and books because so many bits of culture have forced happy endings. I will always stand by my assertion that if "Minority Report" had ended with the girl being brought back to the temple and Tom Cruise in jail, it would have been the ballsiest endign to a movie since the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The utopian ones always seem a bit more gay. Unless set in the distant future, how truly different will the world be in 20 years?

One movie in the '80s tried to tackle that, and it was Runaway starring Tom Selleck, the blonde hot chick from Dirty Dancing and Gene Simmons. Michael Crichton was the director and writer. Surprisingly, it deals with robots that go haywire. No way, Michael! This always seemed like a reasonable future for the world to move towards. I notice that in the future full mustaches are still in style. Kirstie Alley is in this, when she still looked hot, and you forget how she was sexy at one point in time. Besides the cool premise, the feature of this movie that sells it for me is the horrible acting of Gene Simmons. He does not have many lines in this movie that are not dubbed over the action. Seriously, he is usually speaking over a phone, recording device or on a video image. He is that bad of an actor. As a kid, I never knew it was the guy from KISS because he looks so weird without make up.

Another '80s movie that had a plausible future but was far more dystopian than Runaway is the Running Man. The book by Stephen King is far superior to the movie, but the movie is a gold mine for action sequences, satire, and unintentional comedy. Arnold was in his prime durign this film, and soem of the stunts and action still stand up today. Jessie "The Body" Ventura and Jim Brown make appearances, as does "Sven", who is in all of Arnold's films. Some lines stand the test of time "Sub Zero now Plain Zero" or "steroids make you deaf?" I use these at the gym 20 years later. Mick Fleetwood even shows up, and it's implied that he is playing himself set in the future. No make up was required to age him 30 years. I enjoyed the satire of televsion and how America has a high threshold for violence. One of the creepiest parts of the movie that goes unnoticed unless you've seen it 30 or so times is when this women says to Maria Conchita Alonso that she is lucky to survive an encounter with Arnold, "You're lucky he didn't kill you, too. Or rape you, then kill you. Or kill you, then rape you". She looks really into it while saying the lines. Chicks write love letters to serial rapists for a reason. Shit, I'm watching this one tonight, "No, Last season's losers".

No 1980s visions of the future movie review is complete without the Road Warrior. This is one of my favorite films of all time. Far better film critics have said far better things about this movie than I ever could. It's just fun, smart and well paced. Mad Max's dog is also the coolest dog in film history. The final chase scene is magnificent, and the twist to the plan is brilliant. When I first saw the film as a kid, I never saw it coming. One thing that is cool about the film that few people remember is that the narrative is from the feral looking boy's point of view. It is his memory which is playing out on film. Maybe his hero, Mad Max, is a bit trumped up because he was a boy viewing all of these things. This is a fantastic film that all people should watch because it is timeless. There is not anything to this future which is timestamped by when it was made. Some of the future films of the 70s are dated because the computer stuff is so 70s. Mad Max has no computers because the world has crumbled to nomads and tribal arrangements.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mustaches

I think I have figured out the perfect time to grow a mustache and get away with it. Getting away with it means that my wife will not know and berate me until I shave it off. She might be at a dance retreat for multiple weeks, and that should give me enough time to grow a mustache. My goals would be to grow a mustache in the style of Magnum PI or Rollie Fingers. I consider these guys the best of the best when it comes to mustaches.


Rollie had the handlebar going, and when he entered a baseball game, it was to shut the other team down. It might be one inning, it might be 3 innings, but that mustache stayed firm and resolute for the entire time. In his era, relievers came in much earlier than modern relivers and were called upon to pitch more. The thing about Rollie, is that he did it with style. He was not an automaton like some of today's relivers who barely make facial expressions let alone grow monster mustaches. He kind of reminds me of the Mr. Peanut character from the ads for Planters. Mr. Peanut always reminded me of some faded glory German General from the First World War. His true name was Klaus Von Peanuft, and he abhorred the French. I digress.


Magnum PI was just a tough son of a bitch. He was a Vietnam Vet, but he didn't let that bring him down. To viewers and kids who see those stupid cop procedurals like CSI, Criminal Minds, Without a Trace, etc., work Gulf War Vets into plotlines to perpetuate stereotypes of vets, it truly was amazing to see a Vietnam Vet on tv who was not crazy or dangerous. He was a positive role model, and constantly caught the bad guys and nailed the fine ladies on the beaches of Hawaii. I always enjoyed how he had an English butler. Like, what dude has an English butler in fucking Hawaii? A great thing about the show was that Magnum was always drinking beer. This was before networks got scared of boycotts if a character was seen drinking. Magnum shot the gun, nailed the chick, caught the bad guy and drank the beer. That was that. He also had a rippin' theme song.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ron Dayne's Heisman Fraud of 1999

College Football is a rich tapestry of tradition. The premier award for outstanding achievement in college football for the individual is the Heisman Trophy. By definition, it is awarded to that season's most outstanding player in college football. Compared to the most valuable player awards of professional sports, it is a nice description that awards the best player regardless of that murky term "value". Even if the award has become an award given to the QB of the no. 1 school in America, any player can still win it. A great thing about the Hesiman is that in any given year, there is a true race between players. Dark Horse campaigns occur, as well as mass marketing attempts like the Joey Harrington NYC billboard ads in 2001.

In recent memory, voters have become lazy and simply awarded the QB of the top ranked team. Even worse, the voters have become lazy and failed to embrace the dark horse campaigns put forth by lesser known schools on behalf of their players. One problem in the voting system is the obstacle of "freshman status". No frosh has ever won the award, and few freshmen have ever cracked the top 3 in voting. Another problem with the voters is the lifetime achievement effect, which gives the Heisman to a player more for their career than for their season. This is a one season award and should be treated in this manner. In one of the worst displays of this lifetime achievement effect, Ron Dayne won the Heisman award in 1999.

Ron Dayne rushed for 1834 yards on 303 attempts, scoring 19 TDs with a 166.7 ypg and 6.05 ypc average. He earned All American honors with those stats, but did not lead the nation in yards per carry nor in yards per game. Dayne lacked breakaway speed and had, still has, a giant ass. I called him being a bust in the Draft and taunted Giant fans, knowing full well NY would not pass on him. If Dayne did not have the best year for a RB, was he carrying his team to the title? No. Dayne was on a 10-2 Badger squad that won the Rose Bowl. Dayne received the award for breaking the all time NCAA rushing record. Nothing peculiar to this season. The '99 season was just another year of big yardage in the Big Ten for Dayne. His performance that year did not warrant the Heisman Trophy.

Dayne's performance was the norm for Badger running backs, and the following stats do not lie:
2000 Michael Bennett 294-1598-10 TDs, 2001 Anthony Davis 291-1466-11 TDs, and 2002 Anthony Davis 300-1555-13 TDs. The following three seasons were filled with Badger RBs that ran just as well as Dayne, yet they did not get consideration for the Heisman. Why? When Larry Johnson ran for over 2000 yards at Penn St. in the same "tough conference" as the mighty Dayne did, he finished 3rd in Heisman voting. What was so amazing about Dayne's year that he warranted the Heisman? Nothing but the same thing he had been delivering the previous seasons and that Badger running backs would deliver in the years to follow 1999. The Badgers use a system that gives tons of carriers to their feature back (22+ a game). This award was a lifetime achievement award, but it was also a weaker year. The senior class lacked a lot of offensive firepower. Could the voters have done something radical and broken the mold with the Heisman? I think there were a couple of players who could have served this purpose.

1999 Son of Brock Landers Alternative Heisman Winner no. 1: Lavar Arrington

Lavar had one of the most amazing season's a defensive player has had in recent college football history. As a defensive player, he commanded thr attention of fans across the nation with his amazing displays of athleticism. His play was reminiscent of days of yore, when linebackers instilled fear in the eyes of 18 year old freshmen RBs and QBs. While not a fan of Penn St., I still watched their games when I could because you never knew what he might do. Whether it was leaping the line to sack a Qb, leaping so high that people thought he had launched off another player to block a FG, or displaying amazing closing speed to record a tackle behind the line, Lavar was everywhere. Arrington had 72 tackles, 20 for losses, 10 sacks, 1 INT, 6 deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble and oh yeah, 2 blocked kicks. Lavar's impact when you watched him was that he was the best player and athlete on the field at all times, and he was above the rest of the defensive players in the college game. The Browns still passed on him for Courtney Brown, but that's the cursed Browns. The voters could have gone in a different direction and awarded it to Arrington if they had balls. Unfortunately, they are lazy and do not have balls. When it comes to 1999, there are two players I recall during the college football season and always wanted to watch. One was Lavar, and the other was a freshman out of Virginia.

1999 Son of Brock Landers Alternative Heisman Winner no. 2: Michael Vick

The red shirt freshman from Virginia Tech carried his team to the national title. The Hokies had been building a foundation to become a big time program. Vick's emergence as the new prototype for a scrambling QB fit perfectly with the Hokies ideas of ball control, great defense and special teams. If the passing game was not working, it did not matter to the Hokies because the fastest guy on the field was their QB. He had the ball in his hands every single down. Vick was amazing to watch, as the running QB is more suited to the college game. QBs such as Vick, Vince Young, et cetera are more effective in a game with talent spread over 110 colleges. Safeties do not tackle as well, linebackers are slower, and teams do not have the overall speed of the pro game. Vick could turn a game at any time. When the Hokies made it to the title game, after Penn St.'s choke job, no one gave the Hokies a chance. The Hokies were down 21 to Florida St., yet Vick brought them back to take the lead late in the 3rd quarter. The Hokies lost, but the Vick legend was cemented. Vick was special for his athletic talent, but he also backed it up with a NCAA leading 180.4 passer efficiency rating. That was a record for a rookie. This was not Vince Young in '05, where a red shirt Junior led outstanding recruiting classes to a national title. A red shirt Freshman led a mid-power team to the BCS championship game. Truly "outstanding" things were happening around this kid. Vick's stats were solid, his play was breathtaking, and his team won. If there was ever a year to give the Heisman to a freshman, this was the year.

The Heisman voters had an opportunity in 1999 to make a mark. They had the chance to show that they could shake things up. A win by Arrington could have shown the Heisman Trophy voting to be progressive and not just an "Outstanding QB-RB in the NCAA" award. Journalists ride high horses into the ground regularly, and they are often hypocritical. Reporters constantly lament the lack of attention given to defensive players, or argue how awards or systems a rigged against certain players. If they were to take opportunities to address these issues, I could take them seriously. Ron Dayne may have been awarded the Heisman Trophy for 1999, but any fan of the college game will remember who really captivated fans' hearts and the nation's attention.

Postscript: Looking back on this 1999 season, the biggest names from that year have lead odd NFL careers. Dayne is a punchline to jokes (and has a giant ass). Arrington can't stay healthy. Peter Warrick, Courtney Brown, and other award winners have been busts. Vick has not lived up to the hype (he's still 26). Janikowski has been a disgrace to all of Poland.

Random Thought: Requiem for a Dream

A truly disturbing movie is Requiem for a Dream. It's the kind of movie where you want to take a shower after watching it. When my wife and I do decide to have kids, we're going to talk to them honestly about drugs, and oh yeah, show them this movie. Learning that it was a book, I asked for it for Christmas. The book is better as it tackles the affects of other drugs, and goes deeper into the characters and storylines. I especially liked how the mother's storyline and destiny are more complicated than the trappings of a movie allow. I do like how it was applied to film, and ummmm, I love Jennifer Connelly.

The film was shot beautifully, and the above picture is from one of my favorite moments. The camera rotates around Leto and Connelly, post shooting up, and with the color that washes over the film, that serenity of being high is conveyed. I must act as a red blooded male for one moment and note that in this scene Connelly might be wearing a vertically striped top. It does not make her chest look any smaller. (Thank you Jen.) The cameras must have had a blue filter or some wash on the film to give the continuously blue/dark feel to the film. I enjoyed the cuts and split screens used to show the routine of the addict, whether drugs or tv watching.

One phrase that has become a joke between my wife and I is the famous "ass to ass" line from the creepy old dude late in the film. It's a bit of humor in a film full of despair. Oooooh, I got you there with that cheesey line. This isn't the "feel good heroin film of the year". For those of you who enjoyed it, read the book. It's far more depressing, and no there is no happy ending anywhere to be found.

Friday, February 09, 2007

NFL Jerseys

It's been a long time, but I think I need to break down and buy an NFL jersey. I have not had an NFL jersey for over 10 years. I had an Emmitt Smith jersey back when I was a teen, and it served me well. I do have a USC no. 3 jersey, which represented Carson Palmer (without his name ont he back to be compliant with NCAA rules). I like to crack that jersey out for big games.... well for any game that USC plays in that I watch at home. Jerseys are a great way to support your team, and a jersey carries some power when you play pick up football games.

A few years back, my friends and I played games versus my uncle and his friends. There was an average age difference of about ten years. The older guys used about every dirty trick in the book, and their strength to be physical and knock us around. We countered with a no huddle offense to tire them out, and a zone defense that confused their passing game. By the end of the games, they were usually dead tired. Except for two guys. One was my uncle who wore a Dick Butkus jersey every game, and the other was a dude we called "Marshall Faulk". His name was Rick, but he went by Marshall on the turf, because despite his age, he was the 2nd fastest guy on the field. He wore a ratty looking Faulk Rams jersey, but it proved his point of fandom and that he meant business.

As a Cowboys fan, I'd like to go with a current player, but the pull of a legend jersey is strong. Dallas is incredibly smart, and they have the rights to the older players' name/jersey sales. The team sells replica throwbacks in their online store. For $75, a person can grab a Staubach or Dorsett jersey, and during the regular season, jerseys of many more "Legends" are available. My first instinct would be to get an Aikman or Staubach jersey. This way, I can't buy the jersey of a player and watch him leave in 3 years in free agency. I might grab a Staubach jersey and a DeMarcus Ware jersey, as the Cowboys have him locked up for 3 more years, and they will most likely resign him. The Staubach jersey is for a lifetime, and the Ware jersey can be for now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Died

How can I ever forget Anna Nicole Smith? She was the first playmate that Playboy pushed to compare to Marilyn Monroe/Jane Mansfield without shame. This was the beginning of the mid-90s glamour model run that was spectacular for Playboy and other men's magazines. Anna Nicole was a tall, statuesque blonde with a curvy figure. She was packing heat in D cup proportions.

I've never been caught with porn on my computer, or caught saying hi to my monster by a roommate. One time though I left a nudie picture up on a computer and it was Anna Nicole. I had left the room to go get something to eat, and my mom went to the computer room. I returned to the room with that horrified look on my face and my mom said calmly "Erase this off of the computer or else I'll never get your dad off the internet".


Anna followed an inverse parabolic curve for looks. She started off with a bang, posing for Guess and Playboy. She then chunked out. After some Trimspa and plastic surgery, she got back to that old look. One thing about her that was a major turn off for myself, and I know for others, was her inability to stop being white trash. She was a trailer park girl through and through. One thing I will give her is that she had a personality. Many women who pose in Playboy and similar magazines now are devoid of personality. Thank you for over a decade of crazy behavior and different periods of beauty.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

NFL Mock Draft #1

Kool Aid man would say "Oh yeah, the NFL offseason has begun". I will be watching a lot of the combine if not all on the NFL Network (thank you Comcast). After the combine, I will have a better feel for the top prospects who attend. The previous draft was a gold mine of instant impact rookies. It was 1983 all over again. Last year, I said Mojo Drew and Joseph Addai impressed me the most of the rookie RBs I saw. We will see what comes out of this year's draft. Let's roll out one mock draft and have some fun with it......

1. Oakland Raiders - JaMarcus Russell - Perfect match for an owner who loves the deep ball. I like to refer to JaMarcus as "the Dumber Daunte". Think about this for a moment, what about Culpepper bothers fans so much: poor decision making. Russell has the same issues. Russell has an advantage that he is still in his early 20's, but let's not forget the interception filled games he had on the big stage in the SEC. I'd prefer to see Russell go to a team that has a QB guru so he can grow into the "franchise QB" draft gurus are calling him. In Oakland, he could flounder in the toilet bowl that is the Raiders' system and never live up to the hype.

2. Detroit Lions - Calvin Johnson - Fuck you if you think Millen is going for anything other than a huge WR with strumpf and speed. This is a match made in heaven. I can't wait for the audience to go nuts when this pick happens. Oh Lord please let it happen.

3. Tampa Bay Bucs - Brady Quinn - No way is Cleveland winning the coin toss. The Bucs will win the toss and Gruden will get Quinn. Quinn's completion percentage at ND, arm strength, and study under Weis make him a prime candidate for a franchise QB in the pros. I can see Gruden doing wonders with him. The man turned Brad Johnson and Rich Gannon into Super Bowl QBs. Imagine him with the former number 1 QB prospect out of high school Quinn. Hold on, Chris Simms was a former number 1 prospect out of high school.

4. Cleveland Browns - Joe Thomas - This franchise is cursed. Great fans filled that stadium for years through the ups and downs; team moves, and then wins a championship. The Dawg pound just gets screwed over again and again. Their former number 1 pick QB had a freak shoulder injury. They lost a playoff game where their backup QB threw for 400+ yards. A big, white offensive tackle sounds like the kind of pick Romeo Crennel would make.

5. Arizona Cardinals - Jamaal Anderson - This team needs help on the offensive line, but their are no tackles besides Thomas who should go this high. If they can not find a partner to trade down, they can grab some help on the D-line. Who fucking knows though with their new coach?

6. Washington Redskins - Gaines Adams - Yaaaaaah! The Skins have a 1st round pick. I like this Adams guy. Sleek, quick and agile, he seems like one of those guys who can play defensive end, yet drop back into zone coverage on zone blitzes. I think Gregg Williams would find a way to fuck him up. The Skins make this pick only if they find a way to get under the cap as they are 2 mil over the cap already with only 41 guys on the roster.

7. Minnesota Vikings - Levi Brown - This one is a reach. I like the good draft day reach pick. The crowd goes silent and that "what the fuck" look is on most fans' faces. The Vikings need help on offensive tackle, and with Bryant McKinnie, the Vikes will have two young, solid tackles. I see them sticking Brown on the right side and then moving him to left if he develops into a great pass blocker.

8. Houston Texans - Adrian Peterson - No fucking way are the Texans passing on a blue chip RB twice. No way. Peterson is only 21, has few miles on him, has a little durability issue in tow, but can be a 300 carry RB for a coach who loves to run the ball.

9. Miami Dolphins - Alan Branch - The Dolphins have an ancient defense. They need some youth on that side of the ball. Branch looked like a beast in the games I watched him play in this season. He's also a product of Michigan. I like how Michigan guys translate to the pros. You know guys like Ty Wheatley, Tim Biakabatuka, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, Drew Henson...

10. Atlanta Falcons - Ted Ginn Jr. - The Falcons receivers suck. I know Vick has little touch, but jesus these guys couldn't catch herpes from Vick let alone a football. If Ginn Jr. does suck in the pros, he can hang with another underwhelming receiving bust from Ohio St., Michael Jenkins. My prediction for the Falcons is that Petrino gets pissed off at Vick halfway throught he year and benches him for Schaub. Since this will be year 3 of the big Vick contract, they can trade his ass at the end of the year. C'mon Vick, step it up!

11. San Francisco 49ers - Amobi Okoye - This dude will be a 20 year old rookie. He played college ball as a 16 year old freshman. At 16, I was gawky and hiding my boners in Spanish class. Seriously, my Spanish class was loaded sophomore year. The Niners need help on both the D-line and O-line, but there are not as many blue chippers this year along the O-line. Amobi will still be in his physical prime by the end of the first contract, and if resigned, still might be at the end of the 2nd contract.

12. Buffalo Bills - Leon Hall - After being burnt by Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith in the Rose Bowl, I do not see why this guy should be taken so high. He's high on a lot of draft lists and the Bills will lose Nate Clements when the Pats or Jets steal him away. The Bills seem like they are always 3 boneheaded plays away from the playoffs. Each year, something stupid prevents them from going 10-6.

13. St. Louis Rams - Paul Poluszny - Good athlete with great instinct. He's going to be one more year removed from a knee injury, so his speed should be improved. This is a big reach, but the Rams are hurting at linebacker. Their defense has just fallen apart since Lovie Smith left. My favorite Rams quote of all time is when Aeneas Williams talked about why the Rams would destroy the Iggles in the NFC championship game, "We're so fast, we'd like sneak into their house, steal their tv, and they wouldn't even know it happened".

14. Carolina Panthers - Reggie Nelson - This dude is one bad mutherphucker in the secondary. He definitely has the dreadlocks to play in the secondary at the NFL level. John Fox will do a good job of coaching this amazing talent and getting the most out of him. If a QB named Quinn falls this far, I could see the Panthers picking him, but he just isn't falling that far.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Quentin Moses - This guy is a tweener which will fit in well with the Steelers 3-4 scheme. He suffered from a big senior year letdown, but another guy suffered from a bit of a senior year letdown and a bad combine. That same guy played well this season except for 2 specific plays: Mathias Kiwanuka. This guy is the sequel. I'm also calling a top half of the first round pick as a sleeper. I'm a douche.

16. Green Bay Packers - Marshawn Lynch - One could argue that the Packers were cursed and blessed by the injuries to their top 2 RBs from a few years ago: Najeh Davenport and Ahman Green. Because of those injuries, they had some rough years offensively, relying on an aging, deteriorating gunslinger. The positive spin is that the Packers avoided signing huge contracts to either RB. This prevented them from entering a dangerous salary cap zone, which could be solved if Brett Favre retired and cleared nearly 10 mil in NET cap space for the Packers. Lynch would be a good run and catch weapon for the Packers. Lynch has that Mojo build but is a shade under 6 feet tall. Screen passes please.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jarvis Moss - The Jags need some depth on the D side since they can't keep their defense healthy. Moss looked like an absolute wolf on defense in the national championship game. He was scarfing up shit here and there. This pick could be rendered useless if the Jaguars make the idiotic decision to get rid of Leftwich for Garrard. Garrard is extremely inferior in every regard except mobility.

18. Cincy Bengals - Charlie Johnson - This guy is young, big, and hopefully, prone to criminal behavior. I want to thank the Bengals for bringing back some flavor to the NFL. It's been a while since the league had a bad boys team. Ray Lewis is a horrible human, but his team is not on the aggregate a thuggish entity like the Bengals. If I were the Brown family (owners of the Bengals), I'd pay for a limo service to drive my players everywhere. Maybe hire some chaperones, too.

19. Tenn Titans - Sidney Rice - Vince Young still needs to learn how to go through progressions instead of just the one read plays he has had for 3 years (2 at Texas and rookie season). Before I call him a future top 5 QB, I need to see him hit a guy who is the 3rd option. Oh yeah, get that passing completion % above 52%. In his defense, he does need some better receivers. This Rice guy is one fast son of a bitch, and he is a big target. Vince can overthrow him, and Rice would probably still snag it.

20. NY Giants - Lawrence Timmons - I only saw two FSU games this year, and he was all over the field. Like most young players, he seemed to bite on play action passes. Some things can be coached, and reading a play is one of them. Game film study will help him a lot. The stuff you can't coach, speed, strength and jumping ability... he has in spades. The Giants need some LBs. They are desperate. I give Arrington an over/under of games played of 8. Pierce is their only good LB, and he needs some help. That D-line, when healthy, is a force. They need playmakers behind them.

21. Denver Broncos - Darrelle Davis - The tragic death of Darrent Williams forces the Broncos to look for help in the secondary. There was a great article or report on how Shanahan built his defense to stop the Colts. Not to win a championship, just to stop the Colts. He was so certain that he had the offensive brains to score points that all he had to do was build a solid D designed to shut the Colts down. They'll always be able to take down the Pats with their D, as long as the Pats don't add a true no. 1 WR, but they are down a very big horse in trying to stop the Colts.

22. Dallas Cowboys - LaRon Landry - The Cowboys need production out of the free safety spot. When they had that crappy rookie (Pat Watkins) in, he got burnt once a game, sometimes twice. Keith Davis played well, and I wish they had had in in at the end of the year. Landry will be able to step in and play centerfield. I'd look at Griffin from Texas as well. If Reggie Nelson drops to this spot, I will be spitting nickels.

23. KC Chiefs - Robert Meachem - The Chiefs need to add a receiver. Larry Johnson will break down after 413 carries, Gonzalez is another year older, and Dante Hall never became a reliable receiver. Meachem has a raw physical skill set that is impressive, and runs decent routes. I still can't believe the Chiefs did not just franchise Gonzalez. Now they have a shitty contract eating up space for years instead of slapping the tag on him once and then letting him go. Only a team that would give up a draft pick for Herm Edwards would do that.

24. New England Patriots - Daymeion Hughes - The Pats need help in the secondary and the linebacker corps. This will greatly boost the secondary. I think they will address both in the first round, not through free agency. I also think they will let Asante Samuel sign elsewhere.

25. NY Jets - DeMarcus Tyler - The Jets are still transitioning to the 3-4, and they need a big body in the middle. Tyler did well this year, and he comes from that NC St defense that has produced a ton of top end talent in the last 2 years. Somehow they can't win the ACC, but that is another story. I forsee a big drop off for the Jets. They might fall back to Earth with a 7-9 or 6-10 record. They play a tough out of division schedule next year as the #2 seed of the AFC east: NFC East, AFC North, Titans and Chiefs.

26. Philly Iggles - Tim Crowder - Texas - The Iggles draft to build their lines and work their way out. Crowder is a good prospect that has played on a top notch team against top notch competition for multiple years. I hope the Iggles perform well with McNabb next year, because the last thing Philly fans need is a reason to chant for Garcia. This is a town that wanted A.J. Feeley to be in at QB instead of Garcia. Losers.

27. New Orleans Saints - Marcus McCauley - The Saints need to spruce up their defense, and I see their first few picks being on that side of the ball. The secondary performed ok, but they need another good Cb to push Fred Thomas off of the field. McKenzie is also getting up there in age as well. I kept telling people the Saints would hit the over on the over/under for total team wins last year. No one fucking listens.

28. New England Patriots - Patrick Willis - Paging Tedy Bruschi. Paging Tedy Bruschi. Retire. Retire, as you have played awful since your stroke. You never should have come back. The drooling during the game is not cool. Leave now or you can have worse brain damage than Ted Johnson, who is a bad ass dude. I went to Ted johnson Night at Foxboro 2 seasons ago, and I noticed his speech had pauses in it. I thought he was just a dumb jock. Maybe it was the post-concussion syndrome he has. I feel geniunely sorry for him.

29.Baltimore Ravens - Anthony Gonzalez - The Ravens need help on offense. Mason is getting old, Heap can't be the go to receiver. Gonzalez is a tough SOB who would fit right in witht he Ravens. I do not know how people did not see the Ravens train crashing in the postseason. McNair looked awful this year. I don't care if he went 13-3. The second Bengals-Ravens game was enough for me to say they would lose to stiff competition.

30. San Diego Chargers - Dwayne Jarrett - The Chargers need a WR who can catch the fucking ball. They are a dropped pass or foot in bounds from a SB victory. I do not think Jarrett is going to show blinding speed at the combine or USC workout, which might make the retard GMs in the NFL pass on him. Look at how he abused the defenses he faced this year. He will fit in great with the Chargers.

31. Chicago Bears - Greg Olsen - I like this guy's skills. He catches tough passes, has good size, and can throw blocks too. With Olsen and Desmond Clark, the Bears could run the two TE offense extremely well. Well, wit a new QB or an improved Rex Grossman.

32. Indy Colts - Jon Beason - They need LBs or D-linemen. I think they go with the best player available. Beason has the speed to play in the Cover 2. Dungy can coach him up a bit, and this could be a nice match of needs and skills. In all seriousness, what does it matter to the Colts right now. They got their title. Say they go 10-6 next year, which is always possible with Peyton at QB, does it matter? Nope. They could rebuild for a year or 2 and still come back as a favorite for the SB with Addai hitting his prime and Manning still at the helm. Of course, this means Manning stays healthy. Maybe they should draft an O-lineman or two as well this year.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Post-Game Super Bowl Thoughts

-This game was not as close as the score showed until that last TD by the Colts. The Colts were mopping the floor with the Bears and only have a 5 point lead to show for it. The time of possession was in Indy's favor (38 mins-22 mins), and total yardage was as well (430-265).

-I have never seen a team squib kick every kick. Hester was that much of a threat that he ran back the first and made a team give up 30 yards of field position automatically on the fear that he might return it back. Amazing.

-Manning didn't force any balls after that first pick. He took what the Bears were giving him,a dn pounded the rock with the multi-RB attack. He has grown as a QB to the point where he knows when he has to take the game over and when he can rely on his teammates. That entire second half was a mature Manning, who will use his teammates wisely instead of always being the hero. He passed maybe 10 times all second half.

-Prince was awesome. My wife had chills, and we were just watching on a 20 inch tv. Between that and the Cirque de Soleil (sp?) pre-game act, she might watch the SB every year. I am glad the NFL decided to get a decent act for the halftime show.

-Grossman was what held the Bears back. Grossman and a tired defense that, for all the talk about how great it was, could not stop Indy on 3rd down (Indy was 8-18). The game would have been very different with Tommie Harris and Mike Brown in for Chicago, but nothing would change Grossman.

-Bears might want to look at starting Griese next year or at least giving him a good look in camp.

-Will Manning now get the Favre treatment for the rest of his career? Yes.

Pre-Game Super Bowl Thoughts

-I think the Colts will win, but a Bears' win would not surprise me. These teams are both solid teams with their peculiar flaws. The Colts represent the much tougher conference, and have a much better QB, so that is why I go with them.

-The NFL needs to cut down on the pre-game analysis and BS. I do not know anyone who watches from 2-6 pm.

-What the NFL should do instead is to have a poker torunament for charity between players whose teams did not make the playoffs. This would be just as useless as the non-stop fluff pieces before the game, but would yield some good bits of comedy. It would showcase talent from around the league without their helmets obstructing their faces.

-Will Budwesier have the best ads for like the 10th year in a row? The string of great ads that Budweiser has had during Super Bowls is truly amazing, but it will not get me to buy their product.