Blah Blah Blog


Let's Play Bamboozled!

As Charles Barkley would say, you've been "bamboozled, hoodwinked, taken to the cleaners." Oprah read a book and she liked it so much she told everyone else to read it and they did and they liked it a lot too. Then The Smoking Gun says this true-story is nothing but a tall-tale which led to the millionaire author getting grilled by the billionaire talk show host and a controversy has been brewing. Well, I've got a few questions:

1) If you read a book and found some entertainment or enrichment from it, does it really matter if it's fiction or non-fiction? I don't read novels, but I can relate. It's just like listening to and enjoying a rap single only to find that the catchy hook is nothing more than a sample from a 70's pop tune. You feel a little duped at first, but you realize that the song is still the song and you connect with it. It's no reason to throw Vanilla Ice off a balcony.

2) If a non-fiction memoir is penned by a pathological liar, is it not still non-fiction?

Anyway, I think this whole controversy is comical. After all, it's not like it's the first time Oprah made a guy rich who didn't deserve it. (Note to Daily Show watchers: I realize there was a variation of this joke on last night's episode, but I had this thing written yesterday. Plus this photo includes a puppet.)

Labels: ,



... it's more than a coat factory. In fact, their current throwbacks rack may very well be the most impressive offering in department store history. As I browsed the rack last weekend, I saw:

Lafayette Lever College Jersey
This makes Burlington the #1 jersey source for all Fat Lever fans. I can't imagine that there are any, but a quick look at his career stats and there probably should be - how about his '88/'89 season of 20, 9 & 8?

Fennis Dembo College Jersey
Yes, the same Fennis Dembo that graced a Sports Illustrated cover in the late 80's. That really was his only claim to fame. Unless a Burlington shopper is 6'5", 280+ lbs and has been transplanted from Wyoming to Pennsylvania, this jersey won't leave the rack.

70's Era Julius Erving Sixers Jersey
Probably the greatest jersey on the rack, this style Sixers jersey just looks good. And Doctor J was at his finest in the 70s. They had a ton of these, so there might actually be some normal Med-XL sizes available.

80's Era Moses Malone Sixers Jersey
Moses' arrival to the Sixers in '83 translated into an NBA Championship, the last pro sports championship Philadelphia has won. He only spent 4 years in Philly, but the Burlington throwback rack is about quality, not quantity.

Reebok Throwback Eagles Jerseys - Randall Cunningham and Ron Jaworski
Not that either player ever wore jerseys like these in a game, but they are some cool looking throwbacks. Ol' #12 was more from my era of fandom, so I've always held him a notch or 2 above Jaws. But if you compare these 2 Bird QB's stats, the primes of their careers are strikingly similar. They both had equal numbers of seasons ranked in the NFL's top 10 in Pass Attempts (5), Passing Yards (5), and Passing Touchdowns (6).

Nice work Burlington Coat Factory!

Labels: , ,


NBA Superstars

My take on recent NBA headlines:

Kobe Bryant's 81 point night
A Chris Rock Comedy CD is flat out hilarious. Now, maybe I try to talk it down when discussing it with others, pointing out how crude, explicit and obnoxious it is. Maybe I try to highlight a well-done, less-offensive, still-funny but less-funny disc by another comedian. But ultimately, when I listen to a Chris Rock CD, I laugh uncontrollably.

That's pretty much how the aftermath of Kobe Bryant's 81 point performance played out. Everyone took the negative angle. They downplayed it as a selfish performance, one without regard to any concept of team. Mariotti claimed superstars are supposed to make their teammates better, not score lots of points. Vince said the kids would be ill-effected. Everyone reminded us that the Pistons and Spurs and Suns play quality team-ball, never relying on one player to outperform the opposition.

But the 81 point game had to have been the most exciting, unbelievable basketball display the Staples Center crowd and those watching at home had ever seen in their lives. I got chills just watching the highlights and reading the recap. Those feelings of excitement and chills and fascination are the rare, ultimate result of watching an NBA game.

Kevin Garnett deserves a sidekick
This "Kevin Garnett deserves to play with another star player" storyline is wearing out fast. I think its all just a reaction to the Reebok commercial KG currently stars in. He seems like a decent guy and all, but why single him out? Especially after he has been to the playoffs for 6 straight years and has played on 4 50-win teams? Sure, the team has been mismanaged since the Joe Smith fiasco and just dealt away another first round pick. But "woe is Kevin Garnett" is a tough sell.

Ron Artest being dealt to the Kings
I can't think of anything more obnoxious (within a basketball-realted context) than demanding to be traded and then nixing the trade your current team worked out for you. That's what Artest did initially, only to accept the deal to the Kings after reconsideration. He might fit in well and help them win some games, but who really cares at this point?

An email correspondance
Mark: And if you could choose 1 player to start a team with, who would it be right now?

Me: You might be thinking Steve Nash if you watched the game last night, but I still gotta go with the multi-dimensional talent of LeeeeeeeBron. I'd like to build around a player as versatile in position and skills as King James. You?

Mark: I think right now, I would have to take Kobe as the guy. Nash would be second, Lebron 3rd. I hate Bryant, but how many guys can score 81points? The kicker for me is his clutch shooting.



Wings To Go, Get Out of Here! Scram!

Despite the seating area and single-serving menu options, Wings To Go is not a lunch place. At least that's what they'll tell you if you pay with Credit Card. You see, they accept the plastic, but on orders less than $10, they'll hit you up for an additional $1.50 fee. And while it has been explained to me that this information is clearly posted, it left me in a bit of a bind after ordering a chicken wrap.

Why the fee for using Credit Cards on orders under $10? Well, and maybe this is common knowledge but I had to look it up, it's due to the Transaction Fee. This is a flat fee that is charged for every transaction, usually between 15 and 30 cents according to Ralph F. Wilson. Additionally, a merchant is charged a Discount Rate (usually between 1.5% and 5%) that applies to all transactions as well.

All this means that if the WTG would have accepted CC payment for my $6 lunch without their fee, they would have lost 38 cents on their sale (using a 20 cent Transaction Fee and 3% Discount Rate). Looking at the prices on their menu, my $6 lunch is close to the worst-case scenario for this store. Using the same rates, a $30 Super Bowl order of Suicide wings (which, per Wings To Go, are not as tragic for your mouth as Homicide) would result in a $1.10 loss. Comparing these transactions, the Super Bowl sale is 5 times greater than the lunch sale, while the losses associated with a credit card purchase is only 2.8 times greater.

I'm sure these numbers lead to the thought that you can't really blame the Wing joint for their little rule. Well, I can blame 'em because although they make a great wrap, I can't go there anymore for lunch. And they don't really seem to care.

Additional note: After telling my wife about the WTG CC Rule, she said "that's illegal." I cannot seem to find anything on this world wide web to back her claim, other than this general mention on Wikipedia. I would love to find out for sure.



Blogging the Playoffs: Conference Championships

Broncos vs. Steelers
  • The Steel City Destiny Train rolls on during their 1st offensive series: 2 should-be INTs by the Donkeys and 1 overturned lost fumble.
  • The Broncos performance thus far is painfully reminiscent of the '03 & '04 Birds.
  • Is this game still on? I've found "Ringside" to be more entertaining at this point. Ali's about to fight the Grill Guy.
  • Ahhh... Jake's a gunslinger!
  • Ali's now fighting Chuck Wepner. Apparently, this Wepner fella was the inspiration for Rocky.
  • Pittsburgh wins 34-17.
Seahawks vs. Panthers
  • Engram says "We will win." I sure hope so.
  • Aikman eludes to "those kinds of calls not being made" in Championship games... Panthers fans are familiar with the concept.
  • Hey! That Sean Locklear mug shot looks just like the one I saw 50 times earlier this week.
  • QB Seneca Wallace with the catch? Did Holmgren just do a Belichick team-building thing?
  • Ahhh... Jake's a gunslinger!
  • The officials are at it again. Quick review: An illegal blocker raised his arms immediately after blocking to indicate to the world that he just clipped a player; the clipped player was looking for a flag after tumbling; the ref flew a flag. Result? No penalty.
  • Nice spunk by Hasselbeck, or as my wife calls him, Hasselhoff. No signs of complacency.
  • Eric B. and Rakim back the Shaun Alexander video recap. Wearing #37 still isn't cool.
  • Seahawks win to set up the first AFC vs. AFC Super Bowl. Or the first Franco Harris Bowl.

Labels: ,


I was just thinking...

Maybe this is why I enjoyed seeing Michael Irvin carted off the Vet's turf that cold December afternoon.

Why haven't Chicago Bulls fans universally adopted the "Hook'em Horns" thingy?

Are chefs really important enough to have a surname?



The 5th season of American Idol kicked off last night. Despite the audition show delivering the same-old, same-old, I must admit that I am excited for another season.

Last night's Memorex Clutch Performer: Brandon, the police officer. We should've known we were in for some trouble when he announced he was going to sing the chorus of EPMD's "I Shot The Sheriff", a song with a two line hook. I couldn't help but laugh as he sang the same thing over and over and over.

Looks like we won't be hearing any performances of Kelly Clarkson songs on the show. In a classic case of one-upsmanship, Fantasia announced "Baby Mama" is readily available for any Idol contestant.

Update: After finding her initial decision pitchy at spots, Clarkson changed her tune. For what its worth.

Labels: ,


New Music Tuesday Is Back!

For the first time in months, a New Music Tuesday offered the goods to fill my iTunes Music Cart.

For those that are iPod/iTunes newbies, New Music Tuesday (bka NMT) has been Apple's day of unveiling music's newest arrivals and their latest acquisitions. Quite a buzz was stirred in the early going since Apple was in the process of adding tracks to their ever-expanding catalog, each NMT offered dozens of songs that had not been available up to that point. Lately, since Apple has caught up with much of what is out there, NMT's have been busts, featuring the same tracks week after week.

So what's caught my interest? Well, laugh if you must, but Rick Moranis' Agoraphobic Cowboy CD was on my shortlist and is actually featured on the first slide of New Releases. Also, the new hardest working man in show business, Brian McKnight is back with another single, "Find Myself In You". It's been what - months? - since McKnight dropped something new. He was overdue. And to top it off, a Free Single of the Week by an artist I actually heard of.

And Todd-tastic's main man Matisyahu's live album is in the top 10... NMT delivers!

Labels: ,


Blogging the Playoffs: Divisional Round

Seahawks vs. Redskins (Department store glimpses only)
  • Wow! What a run by Seahawks All-Pro running back... Mack Strong?
  • Could Matt Hasselbeck end up as the Seahawks premier QB ever? He's got some work to do to match Dave Kreig's career numbers. Kreig surprisingly ranks 11th in the NFL's history books in career passing yards and 9th in career passing touchdowns.
  • Santana Moss' near TD-catch in the closing moments was a heartbreaker to gamblers everywhere. The Skins would've covered with those 6 points and Josh would owe me a dollar.
Broncos vs. Patriots
  • Broncos brass favors a fade route over Mike Anderson on 4th and goal. Momentum shifts mightily towards the Patriots.
  • Champ Bailey forgets that Tom Brady hates to lose and picks off his pass in the end zone, returning the interception to Denver's 2.
  • Troy Brown forgets that Bill Belichick is a genious and muffs a punt. Denver's recovery may have sealed a victory.
  • Denver wins, thankfully.
Colts vs. Steelers
  • This is a big one... CBS broke out their top graphic package - a scrolling LED message board! Nearly as impressive as the scrolling LED belt buckle Kirby wore to the New Year's Eve party.
  • What's that about zero first quarter interceptions?
  • Is there a more ridiculous rulebook than the NFL's? And to think the officials have regular jobs and just do this on the side. Do you ever wonder if its a conspiracy? The more points of contention, plus part-time refs equals more challenges and delays and... commercials!
  • The Closer fumbles. I'll never consider experience as a factor in pro sports contests again.
  • Let's all say it together: "He missed it." Denver or Pittsburgh will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Bears vs. Panthers
  • Chicago fans, welcome to the playoffs: single-converage against Steve Smith, 3 incomplete passes to open on offense, and a shank from the punter. Good luck.
  • I think I just saw Urlacher make an actual game-changing play. That's got to be the first since the world went ga-ga over him chasing down Donovan in an '02 playoff game.
  • Just as expected... Bernard Berrian is taking over this game!
  • Some more strange calls. Some more Steve Smith. Some more muggings by Panthers DBs. Carolina wins.

Labels: ,


Friday the 13th

Cubicle neighbor Todd perceives today's day of superstition with fondness, thanks in part to his college baseball jersey number. We began considering famous #13's and came up with only a short list: Dan Marino, Wilt Chamberlain and Maurice Clarett. (Well, he knew of some Cincy Bearcats but they don't count.)

There does not appear to be any quick means of researching all-time players' numbers, so I decided to focus on current NBA players and award this Friday the 13th's recipient of the Wilt Chamberlain award for the Association's finest #13. Here are the candidates:

Delonte West, G, Boston - Refreshing to see a young guard with a FG% over 50%
Matt Carroll, G, Charlotte - 11 mpg for the 2nd worst team in the league
Eddie Basten, G, Chicago - Never heard of him
David Harrison, C, Indiana - I have an '84 Topps football card of his dad Dennis (he was a Bird)
Quinton Ross, G, LA Clippers - He'll get you 5, 3 and either 1 or 2
Malik Rose, F, New York - Only player on the list with a championship ring
Kelvin Cato, C, Orlando - Having worst season of 9 year career
Steve Nash, G, Phoenix - Last season's league MVP is the NBA's only player averaging double-figures in assists
Mike James, G, Toronto - 22 and 8 in his last 5, this journeyman's on fire
Mehmet Okur, C, Utah - The big man leads team in scoring, rebounding, FG% and 3-point%

I thought more players/franchises would be superstitious and there would be fewer #13's to choose from, so it's nice to have a comprehensive list. I'm giving the Wilt to Mehmet Okur because his surprising role of team leader actually has the Jazz in first place in their division right now.

Labels: ,


Hall of Confusion

The Baseball Hall of Fame announced it's 2006 induction class of one this afternoon. Hall of Fame voting always intrigues me because it just isn't easy to figure out. When considering many of the names bandied about today, I came up with the following conclusions:

Albert Belle's stats are better than 7.7% of the vote.
Of the outfielders most being considered, Jim Rice is better positioned to be a Hall of Famer than Andre Dawson. What's more- Albert Belle is even better positioned than Jim Rice. Comparing averages of season's with at least 100 games played, Albert leads this group of three in runs, home runs and total bases per season. Belle was far and away the most productive averaging more than 10 more home runs than Rice and 20 more RBI per season than Rice. Rice leads in hits and batting average. Somehow Jim Rice got 337 votes (53 shy of induction) compared to Belle's 40 (14 fewer and his name would be removed from future consideration).

Distinguishing closers is difficult.
When considering relief pitchers, season ranks in relevant stat categories is extremely important. The role of the closer has changed so much during the past 40 years that comparing a reliever to his peers is key. For instance, while lone 2006 inductee Bruce Sutter has more than 150 fewer career saves than all-time leader Lee Smith, they each have led their league's in that category 5 times. Their ERA's are also similar, with Sutter having 2 seasons with an ERA lower than 2 and a career 2.83 ERA compared to Smith having 1 season with an ERA lower than 2 and a lifetime 3.03 ERA. These comparisons solidify the reasoning for Bruce Sutter's induction, but also point out voting inconsistency as Smith finished 166 votes behind Sutter.

Apparently, sensational single seasons must be backed up with longevity.
My hope that players with inconsistent careers, but dominant single-season performances will somehow slip through the cracks and become Hall of Famers has been dashed again. Is it unreasonable to compare an inconsistent career featuring a season of absolute off-the-chart dominance to a career of better than average consistency without a mind-blowing marquee season? I don't think so...
  • Orel Hershiser (11% of the vote), 1988: Cy Young winner led the NL in innings, wins, complete games and shutouts; finished 3rd in ERA. Pitched a shutout and picked up a save in 4 appearances against the Mets in the NLCS; Pitched 2 complete game victories to lead the Dodgers past the A's in the World Series, notching an ERA of 1.00.
  • Dwight Gooden (3.3% of the vote, removed from future consideration), 1985: Cy Young winner led NL in ERA (1.53!), wins, strikeouts and complete games; finished 2nd in shutouts. Of 35 starts, 24 were wins, 16 were complete games, 8 were shutouts.
  • Bert Blyleven (53.3% of vote, finished 5th on ballot): Never led league in wins or ERA; Led league in strikeouts in '85 (although his 205 in the AL were 63 fewer than NL's leader Gooden); Led league in losses and earned runs allowed in '88; youngest player in baseball in '70 at age 19, 6th oldest in baseball in '92 at age 41.
I'm pretty sure I'd take the Hershiser career if I could pick one, just for that incredible '88 season.

Parting shot...
Jeff Montgomery improbably received 2 Hall of Fame votes in 2005. A quick check on Jeff's career numbers as a closer: 304 saves, 3.27 ERA. Essentially Bruce Sutter's numbers.


They don't call him Flood for nothing...

Travis went with a group to Pascagoula, Mississippi this week and has been blogging his trip. Internet access is not available, so he's been using his cell phone to text in entries, as well as snap photos. It appears that the blog is going well and, more importantly, the relief efforts are going well. Check it out at:

(Click on the "Archives" link to see all of the entries.)



Blogging the Playoffs: Wild Card Round

Redskins vs. Buccaneers (Joined in progress)
  • Is that the Rocket Man, ol' #12 at QB for Tampa? No, that's Chris Simms diving across the goal line. Bonus: The play gave Mike Patrick an opportunity to remind us that the goal line extends to infinity. Isn't that something... so it's really a goal line segment?!?
  • Alstott's leap wasn't so reminiscent of Randall. 4th and short becomes the biggest play of the game for the Bucs O.
  • Two incomplete deep balls to Edell Sheppard, one to the fault of Shep and one to the fault of Phil's kid. Ball game. 17-10 Skins.
Jaguars vs. Patriots
  • The televised endorsements must be taking their toll on Tom Brady. If he would have canned the theatrics on the direct snap trick play, I'm certain Andre Davis would've had a touchdown. Add "cut up American Express cards" to Andre's offseason to-do list.
  • Refreshing to see a short yardage play-fake result in a touchdown to a wide receiver. If Vrabel would've gotten another 3 yard TD catch, I might actually be upset that Jacksonville is getting blown out.
  • This game is boring... looks like the Bulls are leading their game by 25 points too. I think I'll watch Hinrich and Co. finish off the Grizz.
Panthers vs. Giants
  • Nick Goings from? Pitt.
  • Wha??... "I don't disagree with the no-call there." - Troy Aikman
  • Steve Smith's play? Stellar. Steve Smith's TD celebrations? Clumsy. This Panther WR is fast becoming pro sport history's most impressive Steve Smith. Easily more impressive than this one. Toss up compared to this one. Hockey doesn't count. Amazingly enough, there has never been an MLB player named Steve Smith.
  • I thought Eli was going to be a gamer. I guess my fantasy football player evaluation skills have spilled into the playoffs.
Steelers vs. Bengals
  • Cincy's opening drive... the game is forever changed after Kerry and Kevin's long lost brother Kimo Von Erich puts a submission hold on Carson Palmer's leg.
  • The Bengals come out to receive the 2nd half kick-off with a 17-14 lead. The stadium is dead quiet. This can't be good.
  • Steelers win going away. They shouldn't be too satisfied considering the "hit" on Palmer was such a factor. Chad Johnson is crying.
Final Thoughts (Putting the Wild in Wild Card)
  • All four better record teams lost in the Wild Card round.
  • 3 of the 4 home teams lost.
  • 3 of the 4 teams to score first won.
  • The Skins 7 point win was the only contest decided by single digits.
  • All 4 teams I was rooting for lost. However, I won't toss aside my "root for the home team" strategy as I'm pulling for all of the round 2 favorites.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]