Monday, November 27, 2006

Mike Shula Fired From Alabama

So I'm listening to vintage No Doubt ("Don't Speak" and "Spiderwebs" to be specific) and doing homework at two in the morning when I come across this shocker:
Mike Shula has been dismissed as head coach of the University of Alabama football team and will not be back for the 2007 season, according to a report Sunday night from Tuscaloosa News sports editor Cecil Hurt on its web site TideSports.com.
Wow. I guess a college head coach doesn't even get one bad year. I feel bad for Shula, who revived the historic Crimson Tide program with a 10-win season and a victory in the Cotton Bowl last year. But going 2-6 in conference and losing again to rival Auburn was too much to bear. Supposedly Alabama will have South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier at the top of its wish list.

Capgate Resolved

So a few weeks ago I wrote about how the Orlando Magic sent me the wrong freakin' hat. After I didn't get a response for a week I figured it was a lost cause and vowed never again to buy from OrlandoMagicShop.com.

A week later I got a voicemail from an OrlandoMagicShop.com customer rep. He said he would email me later about my incorrect mail order but never did. I figured it was some token gesture by a big business and didn't think much of it. Or the website for that matter.

Two weeks later I went returned home for an extended Thanksgiving break. Much to my surprise, awaiting on my desk was a large package from the Orlando Magic. I opened the box and there, in all its white and navy glory, was the hat I wanted all along. I immediately ripped the hat from its plastic cover and placed it on my head. As soon as I put the hat on it became my favorite. It's a Flex Fit, so it wears comfortably. It looks awesome as well. But best of all the hat was free, free, free!


Two hats for the price of one. Huzzah OrlandoMagicShop.com!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"I Don't Give a Shit."

A classic Shaq moment:



I miss having the Big (fill in the blank) in Los Angeles.

Quick Hits

* The ABC guys agreed that Brady Quinn is a no-brainer for the first pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. As a Raiders fan, I can attest to the fact that Oakland is terrible and a good bet to finish with the league's worst record. And although Oakland badly needs a quarterback and Quinn is an immensely talented and tough player, the Raiders would be damn fools to pass up on Adrian Peterson if he's available.

* The most exciting game on Saturday night was in college basketball, not football. #1 Florida and #12 Kansas had a classic overtime duel at the Las Vegas Invitational, with the Jawhawks upsetting the defending national champions by the score 82-80. Darrell Arthur, along with Texas' Kevin Durant, looks to be the impact freshman player of the year.

* Playing Skins in golf must be freakin' awesome. Playing golf for a living is probably sweet enough, but how cool is it to win money for each hole you win?

College Football's Top Teams and Heisman Hopefuls: Week #13

USC's emphatic win over Notre Dame pushes the Men of Troy to #3 on the Top Ten. With everything on the line next week against UCLA -- their crosstown rival and only remaining obstacle on the road to Glendale -- the Trojans will jump to #2 if they win out. The Fighting Irish drop only one spot, mostly the result of a shakedown of the best teams in the land. West Virginia drops out of the poll after fumbling away today's game against South Florida. Arkansas fell three spots to #9 after losing a hard-fought SEC matchup against LSU, who returns to the Top Ten at #7. Texas A&M's upset over Texas knocked the defending national champions from BCS contention as well as the Top Ten.

Quinn had a great game statistically, but it wasn't memorable nor a winning effort. Troy Smith is this year's Heisman winner, and deservedly so. Colt Brennan had a typical day for him: 400+ yards passing and three TD throws in a come-from-behind victory over Purdue. He deserves a trip to New York for his record-breaking season. Steve Slaton's poor performance, coupled with WVU's home loss, knocks him down a notch. Other candidates for the fifth spot, such as USC QB John David Booty, Texas QB Colt McCoy, Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson and Arkansas RB Darren McFadden either didn't have stellar games and/or their respective teams lost this week.


Top Ten Teams

College Last Week
1) Ohio State 1
2) Michigan 2
3) USC
4
4) Florida
3
5) Louisville
8
6) Wisconsin
10
7) LSU
-
8) Notre Dame
7
9) Arkansas
6
10) Boise State
-

Dropped Out: #3 West Virginia, #9 Texas


Heisman Hopefuls

Name College Position Year Last Week
1) Troy Smith Ohio State QB Sr. 1
2) Brady Quinn Notre Dame QB Sr. 2
3) Michael Hart
Michigan
RB Jr. 3
4) Colt Brennan
Hawaii
QB Jr. 5
5) Steve Slaton
West Virginia
RB
So.
4

Dropped out: none

Saturday, November 25, 2006

10-Second Film Reviews #15

More historic than USC-Notre Dame and more successful than the Utah Jazz; it's my 10-second film reviews!

Movies I've seen this past week, along with my Netflix ratings (out of five stars):

Midnight Cowboy: An odd love story about a male prostitute and a cripple. Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman give fine performances despite the rail-thin plot. The randomness of the story and style helps as well as hurts the movie. A very engaging and intriguing film if for no other reason than its sensational content: love-making, drug-induced fantasies, daydreams and nightmares are on display. (***)

Elf: Will Ferrell as a fish out of water, or rather an elf in New York City. Story's not a strong suit in this film and neither are the special effects. The humor is not much better. There's a lot of predictable gags. Some still end up working, mostly due to Ferrell's on-screen persona and physical comedy. The last few scenes are sentimental yet effective. (**)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Roasted Chicken, Missing Pictures and Baseball Video Gaming

Happy Turkey Day folks. My family is going to enjoy Costco Rostisserie Chicken for dinner Thursday night. No I am not kidding. Hopefully it'll be as good as the Thanksgiving when I had KFC and watched "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers." Once again, I am being completely serious.

I deleted my avatar. Crispy Hexagons gets the boot. I'll put up another pic in the near future.

Anyway, U.S.S. Mariner has a brilliant sendup of Mariners GM Bill Bavasi that channels the good ol' days of text-based adventure games.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Secret Santa Reveals His Identity

Came across this touching story and thought I would share it:
For 26 years, a man known only as Secret Santa has roamed the streets every December quietly giving people money. He started with $5 and $10 bills. As his fortune grew, so did the gifts. In recent years, Secret Santa has been handing out $100 bills, sometimes two or three at a time, to people in thrift stores, diners and parking lots. So far, he's anonymously given out about $1.3 million.

But now, weak from chemotherapy and armed with a desire to pass on his belief in random kindness, Secret Santa has decided it's time to reveal his identity.

He is Larry Stewart, a 58-year-old businessman from the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, Mo., who made his millions in cable television and long-distance telephone service.

Now that's what the holiday season is all about.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

College Football's Top Teams and Heisman Hopefuls: Week #12

The mega-showdown between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan lived up to most of the hype. It was spectacular game filled with big plays and high emotions. The Wolverines stayed in the contest until the very end. Considering it lost by only three points at Columbus only one day after Bo Schembechler passed away, Michigan remains #2 in the rankings. In other news, Rutgers' Cinderella run ended tonight when they were upset by Cincinnati. The Scarlet Knights drop out of the poll, replaced by Wisconsin. The Badgers make their first appearance in the Top Ten.

Troy Smith all but clinched the Heisman this afternoon with a memorable performance. With all of college football watching, Smith passed for 316 yards and threw four touchdowns in a marquee win that propels the Buckeyes into the National Championship game. Brady Quinn also played well in his final home game and remains at #2. Ray Rice strugged and his team loss. The double-whammy knocks him for the list. Rice is replaced by profilic passer Colt Brennan. Colt threw for 402 yards and 5 scores tonight, raising his season stats to a staggering 4,105 passing yards and 48 touchdown completions. Regardless, #3-#5 at this point are basically contending for a trip to NYC. The Heisman will come down to whether Quinn can put together a season-defining game against the Trojans a week from now and supplant Smith as the nation's best player.


Top Ten Teams

College Last Week
1) Ohio State 1
2) Michigan 2
3) West Virginia
3
4) Florida
4
5) USC
6
6) Arkansas
7
7) Notre Dame
8
8) Louisville
9
9) Texas
10
10) Wisconsin
-

Dropped out: #5 Rutgers


Heisman Hopefuls

Name College Position Year Last Week
1) Troy Smith Ohio State QB Sr. 1
2) Brady Quinn Notre Dame QB Sr. 2
3) Michael Hart
Michigan
RB Jr. 4
4) Steve Slaton
West Virginia
RB So. 5
5) Colt Brennan
Hawaii
QB
Jr.
-

Dropped out: #3 Ray Rice

10-Second Film Reviews #14

More anticipated than Ohio State-Michigan and more devastating than an injury to Shaq; it's my 10-second film reviews!

Movies I've seen this past week, along with my Netflix ratings (out of five stars):

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: A brilliant black comedy. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton masterfully play a dysfunctional couple. The dialogue is fast, sharp and biting. There are lines that'll make a viewer laugh, cringe and croak at the same time. The only weak link of the story is in the middle, where the frenetic pace crawls to a halt. (****)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Play of the Year in College Football

In case you need a little something to tide you over until tomorrow's big day, here's the amazing punt return from the Pittsburgh-West Virginia game last night. Wow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

OJ Mayo Signs With Trojans

One of the most-followed recruits in recent years, high school senior PG OJ Mayo, has signed a letter of intent to play for USC in 2007.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Big round of applause, for Jackson Heights' own, Mister Randy Watson! Yes!"

Too bad Sexual Chocolate never took off. That would've been a helluva "Behind the Music" episode.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Label Me, If You Must

The new Blogger beta has a new Labels feature, which basically links posts that have a similar topic. For example, at the bottom of all my 10-Second Film Reviews there is the Label "film review." Click on that and you'll be whisked away to all my film reviews! Useful stuff.

I'm in the process of Labeling all of my posts, which will help streamline like this nickel-and-dime operation.

UPDATE 11/13/06: Finishing labeling, for now anyway. I also added The Big Lead and The Basketball Jones to the Links. Also there's a few more entries in the Not Worst of SoaS section.

There's already been 54 hits to SoaS today. This place doesn't get that much traffic in weeks let alone in one day. I'm not complaining, but where the hell is everyone coming from?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

College Football's Top Teams and Heisman Hopefuls: Week #11

Wow. What a crazy three days in college football. Rutgers rockets into #5 after their historic win over Louisville on Thursday night. Bobby Petrino's team drops to #9. Texas' loss to Kansas State pummets them into the Top Ten cellar. West Virginia is the new #3 almost by default since it seems like no other team wants it. Florida survives another scare, yet move up to #4 thanks to the wild week of upsets. California and Auburn get the boot for biting the bullet against Arizona and Georgia respectively. LSU is kicked out of the Top Ten as well despite winning today. USC's emphatic win over Oregon has them pegged at #6. Arkansas won handily over Tennessee tonight. The Razorbacks debut at #7.

A minor shuffling in the race for the Heisman. Troy Smith and Brady Quinn both had stellar days in short stints. Ray Rice's outstanding play on national television has him leap-frogging Mike Hart. Steve Slaton stays put at #5. A darkhorse contender is Hawaii QB Colt Brennan, who has thrown for 3347 yards and 39 touchdowns already. The Warriors are 7-2 with their two defeats coming against Boise State and Alabama on the road.


Top Ten Teams

College Last Week
1) Ohio State 1
2) Michigan 2
3) West Virginia
6
4) Florida
7
5) Rutgers
-
6) USC
-
7) Arkansas
-
8) Notre Dame
8
9) Louisville
4
10) Texas
3

Dropped out: #5 Auburn, #9 California, #10 LSU


Heisman Hopefuls

Name College Position Year Last Week
1) Troy Smith Ohio State QB Sr. 1
2) Brady Quinn Notre Dame QB Sr. 2
3) Ray Rice
Rutgers
RB So. 4
4) Michael Hart
Michigan
RB Jr. 3
5) Steve Slaton
West Virginia
RB So.
5

Dropped out: None

10-Second Film Reviews #13

More memorable than a Rutgers win and less unusual than a Knicks loss: it's my 10-second film reviews!

Movies I've seen this past week, along with my Netflix ratings (out of five stars):

The Searchers: My favorite movie ever. John Wayne stars as an ex-Confederate soldier on a mission to find his niece. One of the most beautiful pictures ever to be photographed; the landscape, edits and shots are dazzling. That being said, this is not a perfect film by any means. The dialogue and acting are clunky at times, and the racial deceptions are controversial. Regardless, this John Ford classic has a blend of action, drama, romance and comedy that perhaps no other film can match. (*****)

Hello, Dolly!: An uneven musical starring Barbra Streisand. She carries the film with mixed results. Her voice is amazing, yet her character lacks soul. The singing and dance sequences frequently go on far too long; it's opulence that doesn't know when to quit. When the extravagance works, it's exhilirating. When it's not the film falls flat. The costumes, sets and choreography, however, are undoubtedly beautiful works of art. (***)

A Clockwork Orange: A vulgar, violent film that works most of the time. The humor is subverse and imaginative. The visuals are visceral. The story, however, lacks much emotional clout. It's difficult to like, understand or even follow a sadist living in a rather sadistic world. What compounds that problem is that the film goes on long after it should've ended, revolving around in unnecessary circles. (***)

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story: An entertaining story involving, yes, dodgeball and underdogs. Vince Vaughn isn't as captivating or comedic here as he is in other movies (i.e. Wedding Crashers), but he still gives a good performance. Ben Stiller strains too hard for laughs. Most of the characters are underdeveloped. While the plot prods predictably along for the majority of the time, the last sequence is full of big surprises and bigger laughs. (***)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Really, Really Expensive Stocking Stuffer

The Christmas holiday season is just around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about gift ideas. If you're like me and don't give or get gifts, the last two months of the year are solely devoted to massive amounts of football, homework, chocolate and spiritual angst. But most human beings, unlike me, are of the considerate variety. Hard to believe, but some folks actually enjoy giving presents and putting some thought into the process.

A lot of people like to give DVDs as gifts. I know from firsthand experience having worked at Circuit City one holiday season. Whatever the reason, people love giving other people plastic discs with encoded information. And folks especially love getting DVDs, usually to put them on a shelf and show off their collection to friends and relatives. DVDs are the new books I suppose.

Now when buying a DVD typically someone gets either a new blockbuster release (X-Men 3, anyone?) or a season from a TV show. Either would be a good choice and most people should be grateful to receive anything at all. However, if you want to go that extra mile -- the 11 on the amplifier if you will -- for that special someone in your life or that boss who needs a huge ass-kissing, there's a really sweet DVD box set available. I give you the Criterion Collection Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films.

The folks at Criterion make it their mission to create DVDs for great movies; everything from long lost classics to basketball documentaries. This collection is no exception. For a mere $850 (and right now it's only $650) you can give someone fifty of the most-acclaimed movies ever made. Sounds expensive, but that's only $17 a movie. Now I haven't seen most of the films in this 14-lb collection of classics, but the ones I have watched (The 400 Blows, M, Rashomon, The Rules of the Game, Seven Samurai, The Seventh Seal, The Third Man) are some of the best and most enjoyable flicks I've experienced.

This collection would make a great and unique gift for whomever you're thinking about this holiday season. Or hell, keep the movies. Sometimes you just gotta spoil yourself.

Monday, November 06, 2006

"I had the brew she had the chronic..."

Friday was a good day.
Lakers 118, SuperSonics 112

Sunday? Not so much.
SuperSonics 117, Lakers 101

Saturday, November 04, 2006

College Football's Top Teams and Heisman Hopefuls: Week #10

Louisville moves up to #4 after defeating West Virginia on Thursday. The Mountaineers drop to the Cardinals' former spot at #7. Texas got back on track this week and easily handled Oklahoma State. As a result the Longhorns bumped up to third. LSU enters at #10 after its thrilling victory over then-#8 Tennessee, which is now on the outside looking in.

No change in the race for the Heisman. The gap between #1 and #2 has narrowed, with Brady Quinn having a stellar game and Troy Smith giving his worse performance of the year. Mike Hart had another solid day, while Steve Slaton played well in a losing effort on Thursday. Ray Rice and Rutgers prepares to play Louisville later next week.


Top Ten Teams

College Last Week
1) Ohio State 1
2) Michigan 2
3) Texas
4
4) Louisville
7
5) Auburn 5
6) West Virginia
3
7) Florida
6
8) Notre Dame
9
9) California
10
10) LSU
-

Dropped out: #8 Tennessee


Heisman Hopefuls

Name College Position Year Last Week
1) Troy Smith Ohio State QB Sr. 1
2) Brady Quinn Notre Dame QB Sr. 2
3) Mike Hart Michigan RB Jr. 3
4) Ray Rice
Rutgers
RB So. 4
5) Steve Slaton
West Virginia
RB So.
5

Dropped out: None

10-Second Film Reviews #12

Funnier than Borat, jollier than Santa Claus and nastier than sewer rats: it's my 10-second film reviews!

Movies I've seen this past week, along with my Netflix ratings (out of five stars):

Klute: Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda star in this detective story Fonda steals the show in an Oscar-winning role as a hooker who wants to escape from her destructive lifestyle. The story is all over the place; something it's engaging, at other moments the plot droops. There's a few great scenes of suspense, and the mystery is adequate. Unfortunately the ending tails off. (***)

Click: Adam Sandler in a high-concept, high-tech comedy about a universal remote that lives up to its name. Fairly amusing. The story has some logistical holes it never attempts to patch up, which hurts the film's believability. Kate Beckinsale, a very talented and beautiful actress, is given nothing to worth with as the cardboard wife. Christopher Walken is engaging as usual. Near the end it gets emotional, but not sappy. (***)

Bunny Lake Is Missing: A fantastic thriller about a young mother looking for her missing child -- if the child ever existed to begin with. Laurence Olivier and Carolyn Lynley give top-notch performances. Director Otto Preminger gives the film an intense look and pace. A few scenes are truly memorable, chilling relevations. (*****)

Sinbad: Afros and Bellbottoms: A hilarious stand-up performance that has been unfortunately forgotten. IMDB doesn't even have a page for this movie, and the DVD information is all wrong (the film was made in 1993, not 2006, and it runs less than an hour, not 90 minutes). Sinbad doesn't command the stage like Eddie Murphy, but the humor is consistenly laugh-out-loud good, as well as appropriate for all ages.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Save Sheed

Natalie over at Need4Sheed has started a petition asking the NBA to get rid of the new zero-tolerance rule that forbids players (like Rasheed Wallace) from arguing calls with the referees. Frankly, I think the new rule is horrendous and gladly signed. Hope you do the same.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quick Hits

* Every game from here on out involving the Raiders should be a low-scoring affair. First of all, Oakland's offense is atrocious: QB Andrew Walter has thrown only 3 touchdown passes and RB LaMont Jordan has rushed for one score. Secondly, the Raider defense is really good. They've picked off 10 passes and forced 14 sacks already. And finally, special teams. Chris Carr is a dependable kick returner, but he's not a Dante Hall-type gamebreaker. And no one messes with K Shane Lechler and his 50-yard bombs kicks. Oakland will steal a win or two against better teams because it keeps the score low and close.

* After opening night, maybe it's not too late to revamp my NBA Preview. AAU teams could've walloped Miami last night.

* Hopefully my $5 will go a long way toward getting my favorite baseball blog up-and-running once again.

* Paul Rodriguez has got an awesome PowerSong.

* If USC loses to Stanford this Saturday the world will implode.