Friday, March 31, 2006

Terror in the Midwest

An epidemic is spreading across our heartland that local, national, and medieval forces seem powerless to stop. This terror is not the Avian Flu, weapons of mass destruction, or even illegal distribution of bootleg Chinese dubbed Dukes of Hazard DVDs. Rather, this sinister menace is your garden variety Claw Machine. Stuffed with their assortment of plush toys, these machines are beacons of fluffy evil that youth are powerless to resist. Equipped with a toy shoot the size of a large small mouth bass, these machines are specifically designed to target children with the cockroach gene, e.g., those that have the ability to slide themselves in spaces fleas can't crawl thru. These are the children that grow to become contortionists, who often appear on late night tv stuffing themselves into carryon baggage small enough to fit in the seat in front of you.

The third known victim in the last three years was captured just this week by a machine in Minnesota. Now some say this isn’t a conspiracy or epidemic, simply natural selection at work thinning out the herd, but we know better. When the next great worldwide catastrophe hits, such as when the Danish publish their Prophet Muhammad goes to Mustang Ranch cartoon series, it will mark the end of 99.99% of mankind. After the carnage, the only things left standing will be Osama Bin Laden, Dick Clark, David Lettermen’s hair piece, and children with the cockroach gene. They alone will rebuild Neverland ranch and restore the Jackson family pride. Where will this country be if they are stolen from inattentive parents before our very eyes?

Umm, nice piece Britney?

Classic art portraying the beauty of a pregnant woman? Or soft core porn, portraying how the woman became 'beautified' to begin with... Either way it begs the question, who bagged that bear, Britney or Kevin?

Baseball announces Steroid Investigation

Twenty years in the making, Bud Selig announced Baseball will begin investigating the illegal steroid use by Barry Bonds and others. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D, Maine) was selected to head the independent investigation. One need only look to the success the House Committee achieved during last March’s investigation into steroid use that this latest probe will surely give us the results we have long awaited. If you recall from testimony last year, we learned from the players, who testified under oath, that:

  • Samy Sosa’s grasp of the English language varies in proportion to the type of appearance he is making…
  • Mark McGwire clarified that while there is no crying in baseball, there can be crying when talking about baseball…
  • Rafael Palmeiro has a well muscled index finger and has never knowingly taken steroids that need to be given with a shot in the ass;

If an entire congressional committee is able to obtain such gems of wisdom from players under oath, imagine what an impartial investigator with only the power to compel players to attend his meetings can achieve. How can you not love America’s pastime.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Touch of Class in Atlanta

Warrick Dunn, the 10th year pro out of Florida State, now playing for the Atlanta Falcons, made an appearance on the ESPN sports morning show ‘Cold Pizza’ today. Now I’m paraphrasing since I failed to tivo the spot, but at one point during the interview, show host Jay Crawford asked Warrick “who is to blame for the Falcons offensive struggles in 2005?” [Note: Atlanta finished the 2005 season ranked 14th in Scoring Offense at 21.9 points/game; 27th in Passing Offense at 167.4 yards/game; and 1st in Rushing Offense at 159.1 yards/game]. Warrick did not rise to the bait, saying simply that the team as a whole failed to achieve their objectives in 2005. Additionally, Warrick even suggested that the running game (which lead the entire NFL), failed to perform in key situations for the team. Now, many teams would consider an 8-8 season a success, but for a team recently removed from the NFC title game they have higher standards for themselves.

Personally, I have no doubt that the Falcons will quickly turn their fortunes around and once again challenge for a title in 2006. This isn’t because they have stars such as Vick, Crumpler, Dunn returning on offense, or because they have added Abraham to an already formidable defense. Rather, it is because they have players who believe in a team first mentality, and team leaders who have a lot of class. Kind of makes you wonder how things might be different in Detroit if their leaders showed the same class as Dunn.

As a side note, for those of you who don’t know Warrick Dunn organizes a great foundation the provides a lot of help and support for the community, check it out here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Simple Life

Is it just me, or does life become much simpler when left to your own devices? My wife is on day two of a five day adventure with her mother in Florida, leaving me in charge of Larry, Mo and Curly (who is currently chewing on Larry, can hear him whining in the other room). Doggie care notwithstanding, this is life at its’ simplest form. Take dinner for example. If both of us are home, making dinner in our household is a dance of such complexity as to make the Bolshoi ballet proud. Fortunately, this dance only happens 7 days a week, otherwise I might go insane and start repeating myself. Fortunately, this dance only happens 7 days…. Anyway, a typical evening goes something like this:

Wife: What do you feel like for dinner?
Me: I haven’t thought about it, what do you feel like?
Wife: I don’t know, I wanted to know what you want?
Me: I’m fine with anything, what sounds good to you?
Wife: I don’t know, I want you to tell me?
Me: Fine, lets have Chicken.
Wife: I don’t want that…

(for sanity I’ll leave out acts II-XL, suffice it to say she eats a lot of cereal and I’m keeping the macaroni and cheese companies in business).

No Bolshoi for this man tonight, however. One part meat, one part grill, three parts beer is the recipe for a perfect caveman dinner. Why bother with all the accompaniments, in my world that just means more dishes to do. Put the plates in dishwasher, turn off the grill and cleanup is done. All that was left was an hour long powernap on the couch. Maslow had it wrong, there aren’t 8 levels in our hierarchy of needs, there are only 4… Eat, Sleep, Sports, Sex. To bad its’ not football season, but hey, 2 out of 4 is a good night in my book.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hartford's (new) 911 policy, cash or credit.

911 Operator, can I have your name, address, nature of emergency and credit card information please?

Something I just had to share. Lead story on the 11:00 news is that the Hartford Fire Department is going to start charging for calls involving auto accidents and spills, anywhere from $350-$1,000 and up. Purported to be the busiest department in the nation, the simple explanation presented was that there were two options, start charging for calls or raise local taxes. The plan is to not charge individuals, however, but rather to send the bill to our insurance companies. A sound theory? Sure! I mean, we know that everyone driving on the streets and highways around us is a licensed driver (honestly, who has ever heard of an uninsured motorist). Not to mention insurance companies will be more than happy to eat these additional expenses, it would be out of character for them to try and pass costs back to policyholders. Speaking as a citizen that drives through the city often enough, I know I'll feel safer that the city fire department has found an unimpeachable source of additional revenue... but I'll keep my CC with me just in case.

Have you seen this Pup?

Wanted for illegal urination in the back seat of his daddy's car. Last seen in the company of Kennedy, aka, "The Princess". Be sure to cover your seats in plastic before attempting to apprehend.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Odds that Joey will invite Dre Bly to his next charity concert? The early line on whether the Superbowl XL referees will ever work a post season game again? The over/under number of days before T.O. starts holding out for Nate Burleson money? Nope, in the midst of March Madness, as we are down to the final four in the greatest event in Collegiate Sports today, we are once again reminded about the madness that surrounds the crowning of our Division I Football Champion. Who needs a 16, 8, or 4 team tournament to determine a true national champion? Why settle the game on the field when you can play it on paper. Forget the bracket challenge, we have the BCS challenge, where Coaches (e.g. Athletic Directors), Reporters, and Computers fight out who 'deserves' to be in the title game. Why let upstart mid-tier conference teams like George Mason spoil the title runs of deserving power conference teams? If the BCS held sway in basketball, UCONN and Duke would be playing for the National Title, Villanova and North Carolina would be in the Fiesta Bowl, while Gonzaga and Memphis would be entertaining fans in San Diego for the Holiday Bowl. Now, why would you choose the madness of March when it is so much simpler to maintain the order of the status quo?

Oh, 80-1? Early odds that the Oregon Ducks will win the BCS title game in 2007. Maybe they should just start laying odds on whether teams like Oregon will be given a shot to be chosen for the game instead.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

End of the line in Detroit

On March 20th, Detroit’s rookie Head Coach Rod Marinelli announced that the team has decided to move in a different direction at the quarterback position, sealing Joey’s fate and ending his 4 year run with the Lions. Since that time, the great debate has begun, is Joey Harrington, #3 pick out of Oregon and perceived savior of the Lions organization a failure, or another just another statistic in the graveyard of success that this franchise has become. It is not possible to argue that this team has been a success with Harrington on the roster. Since 2002, the team is a dismal 19-45. The Lions have failed to finish .500, let alone reach the post season since he joined the franchise. For a player of his ability, with the success he had in the college ranks, it is easy to see why many Lion fans label Joey a failed experiment and a setback for the organization.

With Joey and the Lions soon to be parting ways, as a (former) Oregon resident, Duck fan, and Joey supporter, I would like to take a moment to apologize for his failures as a Lion. Since his 4 tumultuous years in the city may have clouded your memories of glory days past, I’ve devoted the following pages to help remind you what the great organization was like pre-Joey...

  • 1 Playoff victory since 1970;
  • 11 Winning seasons since 1970;
  • 13 Head Coaches since 1970;
  • Greatest Running Back to ever play and now Hall of Famer hung his cleats in Detroit... until a midnight flight out of the country and out of the organization.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Score one for Passion

Maybe what we need is more crying in professional sports. To often labeled a sign of weakness, people should start seeing it for what it also is, a sign of passion. Take a look at the madness going on around us right now. Adam Morrison, who plays for Gonzaga, leaves it all on the court. He isn’t paid, gives everything he has in the game, and when UCLA makes their miracle comeback, he cries openly on the court because they lost. Adam’s passion was for winning, showing up wasn’t enough for him, competing on the national stage at a high level wasn’t enough for him. His passion was for the game, for his team, and for the victory. Maybe if professional athletes would cry more over their teams on field performance than off field issues (salaries, contracts, endorsements, playing time, what have you) the madness that makes March great would spill over to other events throughout the year. However, call me a pessimist, glass half empty kind of guy, but come April 3rd I have a feeling we won’t see passion like this in sports for another 11 months.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Madness of March

March Madness is in full swing, the final 16 have been cut down to 12 with 4 more teams being shown the door tonight. What is it though, that drives my morning headline search? The inexplicable collapse of the Zags against UCLA? The last second heroics lifting Texas into the Elite 8 (my national championship pick btw) over gutsy West Virginia? Nope, even in the midst of March Madness, with opening day for my Mariners less than two weeks away, I spend my free moments checking the sports wire, looking for those 8 little magic words that (in my opinion) all true Oregon Duck and Joey fans long to see, "Joey Harrington has been released/traded by the Lions". Until then, while some fans find solace in the madness of college basketball in March, I won't be able to rest until the madness that is the Lions organization frees Oregon's prodigal son.