Thursday, December 31, 2009
As I write this, it's still 2009. For about 53 more minutes. And all that I want to say is good fucking riddance you miserable fucking dung-heap of a year. For you see, despite your best efforts, I'm still here.
I'm broken. I've had the fucking crap beat out of me on multiple occasions. I spent most of the year unemployed. I've lost most of the money in my savings since I had to live off of my 401k. The temp jobs that I got didn't even pay me a third of what I was making at my previous job. My health care's been fucked with. My self-esteem has been shot to hell.
But I'm still fucking here. So fuck you. You got that 2009. Fuck you.
I can think of nothing better -- and I'm not trying hard -- to express my thoughts regarding this year than this old Elton John song from my high school days. So here's "I'm Still Standing."
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Tell you what, Continental, tell the TSA to shove it with the new security procedures and I'll gladly buy a ticket. And while this will might down security lines a bit, I think it'll make people feel safe about flying Continental -- full-body cavity searches of all passengers before being allowed to board a plane. Also, everybody must strip off all clothing before going through the X-Rays -- after all, didn't the last guy have the stuff attached to his clothes and up his rectum? Normal x-ray scanners won't catch that, will they.
I would also like an IQ check -- anybody who thinks any of these security procedures will really help anything are too stupid to breed, much less fly. So do those of who are sane a favor, put them all on the no-fly list.
The first episode, featuring Bono and The Edge was good, but not as good as the shows from season one focusing on Elton John, Dianna Krall, or The Police. The second show was a group thing where he brought out some friends and had them play their favorite songs. That was fine to me as I didn't see the need of devoting an hour to Sheryl Crow or Ron Sexsmith.
But the third show was perhaps the most disappointing one in the two seasons that it's been on the year. Costello decided to form his perfect band, and it was a damn fine band. Levon Helm on drums. Richard Thompson on guitar with Costello. Nick Lowe on base. And Allen Toussaint on piano. But I just felt that putting these guys in a band and having them play one of their songs was a big disappointment.
One of the focuses of the show in the first season was Costello sitting for an hour with his guest and getting from them their musical influences -- an attempt to expand the listening of the viewers -- and just trade stories about the industry. And I can't help but imagine what he could have gotten had he just sat for an hour with some of these guys.
Take Levon Helm. Helm was the drummer and one of the vocalists of The Band. This was Bob Dylan's backing band when he electric. And though most of the band was Canadian, it was the southern influence of Helm that dominated the group's sound. Going into a commercial break, there was a note about how listening to The Band supposedly convinced Eric Clapton to break away from the type of music done by Cream to what he would do with Derek and the Dominoes and in his solo work. And The Band was infamous for its infighting, and I've heard stories about how the band breaking apart and doing The Last Waltz as a way to finish it all was a Robbie Robertson idea and that the rest of the group didn't want to end things.
I don't know how much any of that is true -- well, being Dylan's backing band and Helm being from the South, is real -- but imagine discussing this for an hour and using songs from The Band as a backdrop.
Then there's Nick Lowe. You guys have seen me go on about Lowe before. If anybody's responsible for Elvis Costello, it's Lowe as it was Lowe who produced Costello's first five albums, including This Year's Model, which is considered one of the greatest rock albums ever. There are many people who consider "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" as Costello's best song and biggest hit. It was written by, originally performed by, and produced for Costello by Lowe. At one time, Lowe's father-in-law was Johnny Cash, and he wrote songs for Cash. Lowe was an established performer in England as a solo act and performing with Dave Edmonds. He's had huge hits and still puts out vital, chilling, work today. He was one of the first producers for The Pretenders.
Imagine sitting with this guy for an hour and getting to talk music with him. Last season, that's what Costello did. Hell, Costello gave Rufus Wainwright one more hour than he deserved.
And then there's Toussaint, who has produced Wings, Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, Patti LaBelle, and has recorded on his own while having his work covered by The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The O'Jays, Glenn Campbell, and Otis Redding, among many others. He and Elvis Costello recorded a fantastic album several years ago.
And yet Costello, on a show which is supposed to be about his sitting with great musicians and delving into their art, shoved these three onto one show where they played as part of a band.
You know I'm a huge Costello fan. And nothing's going to change that -- hell, if I could survive his forays into country, crooning, orchestral, and blues, I'll stick with him no matter what. But there's just so much he can do with this show, as he did last season, and this season he just seems to be wasting this potential so he can jam with his friends. There's nothing wrong with that, they all do great work and it's a blast to watch and listen to, but compared to season one, this is a huge disappointment.
Then again, I'm an unemployed loser, so we all know that I don't know anything and that I count for absolutely nothing.
First, one of the throats on 610 yesterday was making fun of the Dolphins for playing a Jimmy Buffett song whenever the team did anything good on Sunday. He forgot to note that Buffett is one of the minority owners, so the song might be played on team orders. He also forgot to note that the Texans will probably be doing that next year as everything they do in-house entertainment-wise they're ripped off from another team. And god knows that the Texans never ever overdue anything -- really, is there anything stupider than that "First DOWN, Texans!" thing they do, and which they ripped off from the Broncos?
And while I'm on 610, I actually received a note from Barry Warner criticizing me for getting the facts wrong about his radio employment history. So Mr. Warner, I apologize. I was going for hyperbole -- something I've learned from Richard Justice -- and I did not intend to hurt your feelings. I'm sorry. I actually enjoy listening to you -- maybe they should actually give you a full-time day slot instead of that Sunday night thing I've heard a few times.
Meanwhile, I was listening to 790 this morning, and the new guy, Dylan Gwinn, who I blasted a couple of weeks ago, still isn't great, but he was on a topic today that I've been on for awhile, making him, me, and Charlie Pallilo the only people in Houston I know of who have addressed this in the media -- I classify this as my stuff through the mothership.
There's a PR effort going on amongst the Chron and most of the local media, to shove the return of Gary Kubiak down our throat not only as a given, but as a good thing. And it's not. In an era where the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets and New Orleans Saints can turn themselves around overnight -- go from god awful to playoffs in one offseason, this we must stick with Gary Kubiak because of the incremental improvement he's brought to the team and it will destroy the team to start all over just doesn't wash.
This is a mediocre football team, and instead of celebrating a possible winning season that is premised on the New England Patriots playing nothing but bench guys on Sunday, we should be dissecting the problems on this team -- the inability to play a complete game, the inability of the team to make adjustments to what other teams are doing, the continuing failure of the running game, the preferential treatment given to some Kubiak favorites over other players, Kubiak's inability to gameplan, Kubiak's continued inability to figure out clock management.
It's not necessarily a bad thing if a new coach is brought in. The whole roster doesn't need to be blown up like it was when Kubiak came in. It is possible for coaches to take another guys players and make them a playoff team -- it happened in Atlanta, Miami, and Baltimore last year. It's happening with the Jets this year -- it's still possible that it will happen with the Broncos. And seriously, if a guys like Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan, coaches who actually accomplished something and won Super Bowls can be fired, then why in the hell is it so important that Gary Kubiak be treated differently. He's yet to actually accomplish anything. At this moment, he's never actually finished with a winning season, and there's nothing to indicate that next year will be any different.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
What I would like to know is why the brats and their parents weren't removed from the flight. I'm sure I can speak for many frequent fliers that the worst thing about any flight is the one that has loud-mouthed brat that won't shut up, won't sit down, and just generally causes hell and havoc for all of those on the plane. You can't sleep, you can't read, you can't even have a conversation because the brat is going nuts and the parents won't do anything.
Flying is bad enough as it -- what with the strip searches, the tarmac delays, the tight seating with no leg room, that asshole in front of you who insists on leaning his seat back into your knees then becomes upset when you're knee, with no place left to go, prevents him from leaning back further -- without the stupid brats ruining everything. And if the airline response is to remove the people bitching about the brats, then you've really got to wonder about the priorities of the airline.
Speaking of which, I hear that as a result of the so-called attempted terrorist attack on Christmas that the TSA is invoking some new rules. Like no getting up from your seat in the last hour of your flight -- good luck with making the stupid brats follow that rule -- no personal items on your lap during that last hour -- and supposedly they're going to start enforcing the one carry-on bag rule. As I understand it, by enforcing, they mean that you'll just get to carry on one bag, not bring on a carry-on bag AND a personal item like a purse or a computer bag. Which implies that this might be an airline bailout rule in that airlines will now get to extort even more people to check their bags.
If they're really going to enforce this, though, here's hoping they do something that will finally stop all of those assholes who bring huge trunks on the plane and either take up all of the overhead bins or get upset that they have no place to put their bags.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Of course, I got (500) Days of Summer, which stars Zooey Deschanel, instead of getting Zooey Deschanel. That just means that next year I've got to be more specific when I make my Christmas gifts wishes, and ask for the real person and not a movie starring that person.
Oh well. Lesson learned.
Friday, December 25, 2009
So, Merry Christmas.
The movie's okay -- it's touches every movie-of-the-week element there is to touch. And it's got a good heaping dose of The White Man coming to save the poor uneducated black man who don't know no better. But here's my main problem with the movie, this is based on a book by Michael Lewis. A non-fiction book. And the book is educational and touching.
Yet John Lee Hancock, the hack who wrote and directed the movie, feels that the truth isn't good enough and does some rather major embellishing.
Short synopsis. Michael Oher is a black kid who lives in the wrong part of Memphis. By almost divine will, he winds up at a Christian Academy in the rich part of Memphis. He winds up here because he's huge, and he's athletic. So what if he can barely read or speak. At some point in the story, he's taken in by a rich white family who become his guardians, make sure he gets an education, and makes sure that he gets into college. A college he can get into because he's a superior football player -- he plays left tackle on the offensive line, one of the most important positions because he's responsible for protecting the blind side of the QB.
Lewis's book is the story of Michael Oher, and it's also the story of the evolution of the the left tackle. An evolution made necessary because of Lawrence Taylor, an almost unstoppable force at linebacker for the New York Giants.
The family who takes in Oher is the Tuohy family. Sean, the husband, is a former point guard for Ole Miss who was a poor kid, made good, owns a ton of Taco Bells and Long John Silvers in the Memphis area, and is radio analyst for the Memphis Grizzlies. Theres's his wife Leigh Anne, and their two kids SJ and Collins. They take in Oher, make him a member of the family, and do everything they can to take care of him. Oher ends up at Ole Miss -- after an NCAA investigation -- and was number one draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens.
It's a great story. It's inspiring. What it wasn't was a story of Sandra Bullock, as Leigh Anne Tuohy, dressing down football coaches, calling plays from the stands, etc. Sean Tuohy played a dominant role in the life of Oher. He was not the comic relief. Leigh Anne didn't lecture people about protecting The Blind Side because she didn't know what The Blind Side was. Sean Tuohy was an actual coach on Oher's high school team. And most important, there was no gigantic gang fight at the end of the film before Oher headed off for college. There was an incident with a teammate of his at Ole Miss that caused some problem, but nothing like this totally invented scene.
I've got nothing against Sandra Bullock's performance. She nailed Leigh Anne Tuohy. And Tim McGraw was good as Sean Tuohy. But the characters they play in the movie aren't the people they are in the movie.
I don't like Hancock didn't just film the book. The book is exceptional. Instead, he made an awful movie of the week. Hack.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
So here's John Lennon with "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."
The Chron's so-called NFL writer, John McClain does his power rankings of all 32 NFL teams each week. This week, he's got the 7-7 Pittsburgh Steelers at number 14 and the 7-7 Tennessee Titans at number 15. He's got the Steelers ranked the highest of all of the 7-7 teams because he liked how they came back to defeat Green Bay last Sunday.
That's nice, I suppose. But I'd factor in something else. Something else like the Steelers having lost five straight games before pulling victory from the jaws of defeat last week. The Titans, meanwhile, after having started the season 0-6, have won seven of their last 8 games, including a streak of six straight wins. Don Banks, who does the same thing for the Sports Illustrated, puts the Titans at 14 and drops the Steelers all of the way to 16.
Personally, I think McClain needs to pack it in and go film another movie or something and give his job to somebody who actually wants to report on the Texans and the NFL.
P.S.: Nice shot by McClain at the Oakland Raiders where he writes about how they're putting on strong end to the season, like last season. I note this because most NFL observers are probably thinking the same thing when it comes to the Texans.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Apparently, Favre thinks he should be allowed to do whatever the hell he wants to do on the field, whenever the hell he wants to do it, and Childress actually believes that he's the coach of the Vikings and that, as coach, he not only gets to call the plays, he gets to bench Favre if he wants.
Anyway, it appears that Childress, like Eric Mangini and Mike McCarthy and countless Green Bay coaches, is losing the fight and Favre will keep doing what he wants, when he wants. But as apparently most people, but not Favre understand, Favre ain't Peyton Manning. There's a reason that Manning does what he wants on the field, and that's because he doesn't go into instant chuck-it-100-yards-downfield-mode at every snap.
Frankly, when a team has Adrian Peterson as its running back, then the offense should be run through Adrian Peterson, not Brett Favre. It took awhile, but the inevitable implosion of the Vikings has begun.
Anyway, I'm just kind of thinking about things, and in some ways, it's kind of amazing. At this time last year I was pulling all-nighters and 20 hour days, and I did so from Thanksgiving until just about this time. It was an emergency document review for the old firm -- my speciality was the emergency document review by the way. I was working under an associate and an attorney who was Of Counsel, but I was essentially running the thing for the Houston office. There were two other staff attorneys working the thing, and a couple of associates, but they were all coming to me for the assignments and with questions. I billed about 250 hours in a three-weeks.
And a little over three months later, they laid me off because there was no work.
I've been working a temp job since the first of November -- and I did one for most of October, as well. I'm not even making half of what I was making last December, but I'm doing the same work -- legal document review. But I'm one of about 30. I'm nowhere near to supervising anybody, and I'm pretty sure most of those I'm working with see me as the old-man-failure and are vowing to never end up like me. And I wish them luck, and I hope that they never end up like I do, either.
Somehow, I've survived this year. I'm almost out of money, though. And I don't know what will happen if I have a long stretch of non-work next year -- and for me, a long stretch is going to be about a week, maybe two. But I'm still healthy -- though the insurance companies would disagree -- and I'm still paying all of my bills on a timely fashion. I was able to get my nieces and nephews some great gifts for Christmas.
I don't know. I just never thought that I would be nearly my 45th birthday and be in a situation like this. But live, and learn, I guess. And I've just got to remind myself that I'm still in better shape than a lot of others who lost their jobs this year.
Thanks again for reading me this year. I hope I've given you some fun and thoughtful material.
You know what? He's right. We might never get a better owner.
But we might get an owner who is everything that Drayton isn't. We might get a great owner. He says that with a new owner we might get another Peter Angelos, who is the owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Or a Daniel Snyder, who is the owner of the Washington Redskins.
But I state for you that Drayton already is a Peter Angelos. Anybody who has been watching baseball for years can recognize this. Angelos brought a team with a great farm system and full of talent. He got a new stadium built and he rode a Hall of Famer as far as he could go while stocking the team with aging free agents and depleting his farm system, all so that the fans could worship at the feet of the aging Hall of Famer. Sure, we're talking about Cal Ripken here, but instead of Ripken, substitute Craig Biggio, and presto, you have the Astros.
So Justice is afraid of some owner turning the Astros into what they already are.
Justice is afraid of the change that might result from a new owner. But it's this fear of change which has doomed the Astros, and which is dooming the Texans. Drayton rode Craig Biggio as far as Biggio could be rode, then he rode him some more. And Drayton's gone for "proven talent" like Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada and Jeff Kent and Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Hampton and on and on and on instead of taking chances on his farm system. And now that he needs to take a chance of his farm system, there's nothing there. He won't put Roy Oswalt on the trade market because it's not a proven thing that the talent we get for Oswalt would be as good as Oswalt.
But if John McMullen wouldn't have taken such chances, then the team purchased by Drayton McLane would have been nothing but aging crap. McMullen dumped Jose Cruz and Alan Ashby so that he could play young kids. And he had aging stars Larry Andersen and Glenn Davis traded for kids with almost no major league experience. As a result, Drayton McLane took over a team that had Ken Caminiti, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Shane Reyonds, Pete Harnisch, Curt Schilling, and Daryl Kile.
This is the kind of change that Richard Justice is afraid of.
It's also the kind of change that they fear with the Texans. Changing coaches, they tell us, will mean that the team has to return to Ground Zero and start all over again. But why is that? Why must things start all over again? The Texans have some actual talent on the team. The Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Baltimore Ravens have proven over the past several years that a new coach can come in right away and get a team into the playoffs without taking five years and by using players already on the team -- and one or two new additions.
Firing Gary Kubiak doesn't mean that it will be another five year rebuilding period. It doesn't mean that the Texans will be an awful team next year. They might be, but maybe a new coach would be just what the team needs.
Change doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I don't normally plug the blogs I link to, but Joda's an old friend, and there's some interesting photography over there. Mr. Fred, you might find it interesting. Like I said, it's brand new, and there's not much there. But I hope you'll pop over and say hi to Joda for me. And do me a favor, please be nicer to her than you are to me. Of course, she's probably not going to be trying to piss you off about anything, either.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I keep hearing about this explosive offense that Shanahan is commanding, but I never see it. Oh sure, the Texans scored a bunch of points in the first quarter against Seattle last week, but then it disappeared. The Texans came out today and got some big gains to start the game by passing the ball, then went promptly to the running game. Need I remind everybody that Shanahan was the genius behind having Chris Brown pass the ball when the Texans were at the Jacksonville goal line several weeks ago?
And somone, anyone, remind me, just what kind of genius has Gibbs worked with this offensive line? It sucks just as bad now as it did when he came into save it for Gary Kubiak several years ago. I know his zone-blocking scheme is supposed to be a scheme of genius, but it's of such genius that very few other teams bother with it.
Here's the thing. Maybe, just maybe, if the Texans were in contention for the playoffs, or for a winning record, and had been doing such for many years, I'd be upset. But the thought of a team that has yet in eight years to have a winning record or get close to the playoffs losing it's offensive coordinator and line coach just doesn't get me upset.
I don't see why this is such a bad thing. In fact, I'd be really happy if Gary Kubiak were to join them in leaving the team.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Like Richard Justice, the author of this post gushes about the greatness of Drayton McLane. And as example of Drayton's greatness, he writes" "It’s the same Drayton McLane that brought in and kept legends like Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, and Roy Oswalt."
Now I'm hoping that you caught the problem with that statement. But in case you didn't, here's a little history lesson. When Drayton purchased this team, the starting first baseman was one Jeff Bagwell, and at second base was a kid named Craig Biggio. Drayton had nothing, nothing to do with bringing in these two guys. In fact, if Drayton would have been running the team, these guys might never have made the team because it would have meant getting rid of a popular veteran, and we all know that Drayton hates to depart with popular but declining veterans in exchange for young, unproven talent.
Alan Ashby was released to make way for Biggio to take over at catcher. I still remember the uproar that came with Ashby with being dumped. Drayton hates uproars like that. And to get Bagwell the Astros traded popular reliever Larry Andersen to the Boston Red Sox. And Bagwell was just a third baseman buried in the Bostom farm system because of some guy named Wade Boggs. He didn't hit for power, and he wasn't that great of a fielder. So there's no way that Drayton would have approved that trade.
Yes, he did pay to keep Biggio and Bagwell once they became free agents. But he kept Biggio only because Biggio and the Rockies finally couldn't agree to terms. And keeping Biggio probably harmed the farm system which didn't produce any second baseman because they wouldn't be able to make the bigs. The Astros produced several first baseman, but because of Bagwell, they ended up in the outfield. Luis Gonzalez played first in the minors but the Astros moved him to left so that he and Bagwell could play at the same time. Daryl Ward and Lance Berkman were first baseman who had to play the outfield because of Bagwell.
So Drayton didn't acquire Biggio and Bagwell. They were here when he arrived, otherwise they might never have made the team. Never. So let's not going giving Drayton credit for something that he didn't do.
I'm sure we all remember Ken Lay. And he's the guy who got to grace the mound and throw out the first pitch before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies that opened up regular season play in Enron Field. It's kind of funny how you don't see him mentioned anywhere at the stadium.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The opening act for The Boss is the Boss. He comes out and he and the band do about three hours of non-stop pulse pounding music. It's an experience that you'll never forget. It's a religious experience. Which brings us to this video. Bruce and the E Street Band doing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," live, in concert. Enjoy.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
So for your video pleasure this morning, here is probably Lowe's best known single, "Cruel To Be Kind."
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
After all, Madonna is in the Hall, and she definitely ain't Rock and Roll either. Once you lower the standards by inducting Madonna into the Hall, you can't suddenly raise them and say that ABBA's not good enough because they were a dance/techno/disco/pop band. After all, Madonna ain't exactly a rocker, and she does mainly dance/techno/disco/pop. So it looks to me like ABBA's a perfect fit.
But seriously, if you want to get angry, get angry about the continued absence of The Cars, Nick Lowe, and The Go-Go's. They were some actual music pioneers.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Who is Jim Crane? Jim Crane is a Houston businessman who nearly bought the Houston Astros following the 2008 season. How close? So close that Drayton thought that he had actually sold the team. He and Crane even shook hands.
Crane. You bastard. How could you do to this? How could you do continue to doom the fans of Houston to this bumpkin?
Monday, December 14, 2009
But personally, I say that this is the work of Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly. A-Rod performed in the clutch and in a major way this postseason, and the faces of Hudson and her "step-dad" Kurt Russell dominated the TV screens. So even though Jeter, who is not even the best shortstop currently on the Yankees, still gets most of the media attention, I just can't help but think that he was jealous of what little positive coverage it was that A-Rod was getting.
And we should be happy because finishing 9-7 really, really, really means a lot to the Texans. I wish making the playoffs meant as much to them as finishing 9-7, but I guess I should be happy that they're a bunch of slaggards who don't really give a damn for winning when it actually counts.
Charlie Pallilo nailed this on the radio today. The Texans have never played a game that mattered in December. And none of the rest of the games are going to matter this year. Yet we're, once again, just supposed to accept what should be unacceptable.
Texans football = mediocrity. And as long as Bob McNair is happy with mediocrity, then that's what we're going to get.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
I generally like Whitlock. He's loud. He's opinionated. And he says some unpopular things at times, but when he does, he tends to find someway to back up those statements.
Then came today.
Jim Rome had him talk about Tiger Woods. And I didn't know this until today, but the real victim of everything that's been going on is Tiger Woods. Not Mrs. Woods. Not any of the (insert number) women with whom he's been screwing around, but Tiger. The problem, you see, is that Tiger is powerless. It's all the fault of the women for making him have sex with them. He was just unable to resist. If they don't talk to him, then nothing happens.
Yeah. One of the supposed Tiger lovers was a waitress at a Denny's-type place down the street from the Tiger house. I'm sure that Tiger just didn't have the ability to withstand her advances.
But Whitlock wasn't done.
The problem wasn't that Tiger was cheating. Whitlock implies that Mrs. Tiger was aware of this. What made her angry was that one of the women was going to go public. Supposedly, Whitlock implied, Tiger and his wife had an agreement where he could fuck anybody that he wanted. She just got angry that it was going public -- she was fine with his unprotected sex with a porn star, but not so fine that his infidelity went public. Right. The problem with this argument is that the woman Tiger called and told to take her name off of her voice mail because Mrs. Tiger was about to call wasn't the one that the TMZ/National Enquirer was doing the story on.
And there's one other thing. Earlier this year, according to what I heard on the show, and which Whitlock didn't dispute, he wrote that Steve McNair had his death coming -- sort of a payback for screwing around with women while he's married. The difference is that Tiger was fucking sane, adult women, whereas McNair was supposedly messing around with a 19-year old Glenn Close. McNair messed up by stepping out on Mrs. McNair. But he didn't deserve to die, and he didn't have murder coming to him. Tiger messed up by stepping out on Mrs. Tiger. He does deserve what is coming to him.
Matt Damon was on Dan Patrick's radio show today. And Patrick went into a movie trailer voice, and he and Damon got to talking about doing the movie trailers. And I heard something that makes perfect, now that I know it, but one of the most used voice actors for the movie trailers is Miguel Ferrer, an actor in numerous TV shows and movies -- and maybe better known as the cousin of George Clooney.
Like I said, except for Dan Patrick, I might be the only one to find that factoid interesting, though, I would have liked to have been around that night when Damon and Ferrer were hanging out and drinking and Damon got Ferrer to do all of the trailers he had done. That might have been some fun listening.
Photo from Google Images/NBC
So here, once again, is my favorite song.
But who cares? Not when Heidi Klum is around. everyone
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I want to like you more than I do. Really. I like Rich Eisen. I like Warren Sapp. I kind of like what you do with game coverage. But I just can't take you seriously when you make Matt Millen one of your commentators and present him as an expert voice. The only thing he is expert at is failing -- I know what he did to the Detroit Lions. So when he says that the coach of the Cleveland Browns deserves more time, why exactly should I believe him? It's almost like Millen is pleading for his job and trying to earn back his reputation.
And it's not going to work.
Shouldn't you actually do something to be inducted into a Hall of Fame, and shouldn't that something be a little something more than just be a rich bastard who scams money of out taxpayers to buy a football team so that he can keep all of the profits? Really, what else, athletically, has he done?
Like I said, I'm just curious. I'd really like to know what he's done.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I say this because one Dylan Gwinn, the new guy who used to do traffic was talking about Tiger Woods and about how Gatorade had dropped its Tiger Woods product because of all of the little issues arising around Tiger. But there was just one problem. You see, Charlie Pallilo, the guy who does the afternoon show -- he's also the best sports guy in Houston -- had talked about this exact same issue the day before. And while talking about it, Pallilo came across an article in an obscure industry journal, dated before Tiger's Thanksgiving adventures, in which it said that Gatorade was dropping the product because it wanted to go in a different direction.
Now it's not uncommon for sports talk hosts to have different opinions on the same issue while applying the same set of facts. But that's a bit different than somebody just ignoring the facts which had been established the day before, then using a new set of non-facts upon which to base a monologue. Of course, maybe if he would actually spend some time listening to his own station, he might have known what actually happened.
You can't be a finalist for the Heisman if you don't know the rules about stopping the clock when you throw a pass. Yes, I'm talking to you Mr. McCoy.
One of the joys of ESPN used to be it's Baseball Tonight program, which would every weeknight of the baseball season. When it started, it was an actual news program with reporters like Gammons and Buster Olney providing actual news and the likes of Harold Reynolds and Buck Showalter providing some actual analysis and know-how. But then it became a joke fest like the rest of their programming, and John Kruk arguing with Steve Phillips was more important than actual baseball information.
The MLB Network programming isn't like that. It's for baseball fans. It treats us as intelligent people who actually know and like the sport we watch. And now, adding one of the deans of baseball reporting in Peter Gammons makes the network even that much better.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
It's not going to happen, but if any of these guys should win, I would really like for it to be Suh. I don't know how many of you saw that Texas/Nebraska game last Saturday, but that performance by Suh was one of the more dominating performances I've seen in years -- it's got to rank up there with Earl Campbell's game on MNF against the Miami Dolphins in 1977, or any game in which Chris Johnson gets to go against the Texans.
But Suh's invite is probably going to just be one of those he's lucky to even be invited thing -- kind of like TCU and Boise State getting invited to play each other in a bowl game instead of getting to play one of the big boy teams. After all, I'm pretty sure the thinking is that there's no way a defensive lineman can be the most outstanding college player. Yet a team with virtually no offense won nine games this season, and they won nine games because Suh so dominated the game. There's no way that Nebraska does what it does this year if Suh's not on the team, not even if McCoy or Tebow there.
Herzog got the Kansas City Royals into the World Series in 1980, and those Royals were a mainstay of the postseason during his tenure as manager. He then moved across the state of Missouri and built a St. Louis Cardinal squad that was one of baseball's best in the 1980s. And there is no umpire in baseball right now who is anywhere near the umpire that Doug Harvey was at his worst. And Doug Harvey wasn't bad very often.
And, in my own fashion, I have a connection to both of them.
For instance, Doug Harvey's last game as an umpire was on October 4, 1992. It was a game inside the Astrodome between the Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reportedly, befor the game, he told the batters to swing at every pitch because he was going to call every pitch a strike. And he did. The Astros got the 3-0 win in a game that lasted a now unheard of one hour and 44 minutes. Pete Harnisch got the win for the Astros, pitching eight innings while giving up just five hits and getting 12 strikeouts.
I was at that game, in my customary spot in the video board booth, looking out over home plate and making sure the graphics and stats were updated and accurate. I used to do a lot of updating between pitches, so that was a tough game because the game moved so quickly. But despite that, I can proudly say that I was there for the last game of the umpire nicknamed "God."
Then there was Memorial Day 1990, and the St. Louis Cardinals were in town. I was working the slo-mo replay that day. We'd been getting in hot water all season for showing close replays. At one point during the game, there was a close play at first base, but I didn't really see it because I was watching the runner score from third -- I had to watch this because I had to manually cut from the camera covering the play at first to the camera covering the runner coming to score. So I waited for the camera to frame the runner and cut to it as he scored.
The director asked if the replay was okay, and I said it was because it wasn't close at home plate. It wasn't until the replay went out for all to see that I discovered that the play at first base was close, and it was questionable as to whether the first base umpire made the correct call. I know that Whitey Herzog had a problem with the call because he can roaring out of the dugout and got in the face of the umpire, pointing up at the DiamondVision. The umpire's response was to walk over to the Astros dugout, pick up a phone and call us, ordering that the DiamondVision be shut down. And the next day I got called into a meeting with the general manager, the director of marketing, and my boss. If the director of marketing would have had his way, I would have been fired. But the general manager thought it was funny, and I lived to screw up another day.
So congrats to Whitey and Doug.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
One of the puzzling things from yesterday's UH/ECU game was an interception thrown by Case Keenum in the 2nd quarter at the ECU goal line when UH was up 13-7. The puzzling aspect was that the Cougars went on the quick snap and caught ECU with too many men on the field. Cougar coach Kevin Sumlin immediately called for a replay review, and as the ESPN announcers speculated, he was challenging the number of players on the field, and ESPN's replay caught 13 ECU defenders on the field at the snap.
The ref informed everybody that Sumlin was challenging the interception and the spot of the ball. The speculation was then that Sumlin didn't know ECU had too many men on the field, and that he would kick himself afterwords when he realized it. Here's the thing. I've been told that he he did know. And that he did try to challenge it. But the officials wouldn't allow a challenge for that.
I'm not sure of all the NCAA rules, so I don't know if that challenge is allowed or not, but it's strange that when the Golden Child Colt McCoy threw the ball out of bounds with the clock hitting zero, ESPN immediately sent the replay booth a replay with the clock superimposed on in that showed one second left, and thus replay overruled the actual clock, but...with verifiable proof that 13 men were on the field, UH was not allowed a challenge.
Kids, this Richard Justice post is reason number one why you shouldn't do drugs? Seriously, Colt McCoy deserves the Heisman despite his blowing the game for Texas last night -- the Horns won, but had some officiating help on a couple of pass interference calls where the receiver wasn't even looking for the ball and couldn't have caught the ball if he wanted, so badly did McCoy misfire.
I've seen all or part of about half of Texas's games this years, and the one word that has stuck in my mind every time is "overrated." They struggled against the Aggies. They "lost" to a Nebraska team that was demolished by Texas Tech. They struggled against Oklahoma -- if Sam Bradford was healthy enough to play that entire game, Texas loses -- and they struggled against Colorado, Wyoming, Texas Tech, and Kansas. I just don't think they're that good. I'd really like to see Texas have to play a team like TCU, but that's not going to happen because there are no playoffs in NCAA Division One football.
And who's with me? Let's see Alabama and TCU play for the title. That would be a good football game. Texas/Alabama, well, if those two teams play next month like they played yesterday, then Texas will be blown out.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
But when you're reading a best seller, that shouldn't be a problem. Especially if it's a best seller that has been turned into a movie. That book should have been proofed, the facts -- if it's non-fiction -- should have been checked hundreds of times by various proofers, editors, publishers, typesetters, etc. So I'm less willing to forgive editing errors in a best selling book than I am with a blog -- there's just not the back-up editing support with the blog.
This preamble leads me to the Michael Lewis book The Blind Side which, from what I understand, has been changed from a so-called scientific study of NFL offensive linemen and the evolution of the passing game into a heartwarming story about the rich white lady who plays savior to a poor black kid. I was watching a Baltimore Ravens game the other day, and the announcers were talking about the book, primarily because Michael Oher, the focus of the book, is now a lineman for the Ravens. So I decided to give it a read.
And what do I discover about 100-some odd pages into the book?
Just that John Gruden is a disciple of Bill Walsh. And of course, like anyone who follows football knows, that's wrong. And it's wrong because John Gruden never coached under Bill Walsh. John Gruden never even coached in the NFL. Jon Gruden did, but not John Gruden.
It's a simple fact-checking thing. You would think an editor or fact-checker for a sports book involving the NFL would make sure that all of the names were correct. Hell, it's an easy thing to Google. At the time the book was published, Gruden was still the high-profile head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He'd even won a Super Bowl, and he did so employing a version of the offense he learned while as a young assistant to Bill Walsh and Mike Holmgren, who left his job as an assistant coach to Bill Walsh to take over the Green Bay Packers.
It's a simple thing. And an easy mistake. But one that should have easily been found and fixed. And, as always, it makes me wonder about what else the book got wrong.
So, J.D. and Turk, take it away.
Friday, December 4, 2009
This first photo is a shot of a courtyard area at the building where I'm currently working, the Lyric Center. There's not much snow sticking to anything, but still, you can see a bit.
I didn't go home upon leaving work. I had to run some errands, so I thought I would get those done before the city went into shutdown mode, and anybody who knows Houston knows this place loves to go into shutdown mode given the slightest excuse.
One thing that I wanted to get done was to vote in the mayoral runoff election. I'm not crazy about either candidate, but I think it's something we all should do, especially if you like to bitch about things like I do. So I went to the city facility near my apartment where they were doing the early voting, and as you can see below, the weather is a bit worse -- you can actually see snow flakes. And sitting under that umbrella on the left is a campaign volunteer who must really, really, really support his candidate.
This picture is from my car right after I've voted. And it's gotten even worse in the few minutes it took to vote.
And finally, we have one of the main walkways at my apartment complex. So yeah, it actually did snow in Houston today. And I photographic evidence because before tonight's out, it's all going to be gone -- actually, it already is as I type.
So that leads me to my next fantastic-never-going-to-happen Christmas wish. I want to watch a college basketball game with Ashley Judd -- even if it means that I do have to watch a Kentucky game -- I'd like to see what she thinks of having the walking NCAA violation that is John Calipari now coaching her school's team. I think her love of Kentucky basketball is well-known, even though they no longer put her face on TV every time she's at a game.
Here's the thing. I cover college basketball now. The Houston Cougars. Just like I cover their football games, I cover their basketball games. Check my twitter feed, you'll see a posting every now and then -- they've only played one home game so far, and the mothership doesn't pay for me to travel with the team.
But it's too late because the Cougars aren't playing Kentucky anymore. Kentucky was on the Cougars schedule a couple of years ago, and the Cougars won -- causing Billy Gillespie to drop the Cougars from the Kentucky schedule. So any legit chance of meeting Ms. Judd at a basketball game is probably now non-existent unless both teams make the tourney and somehow play each other -- and I don't think the mothership will be sending me to cover any NCAA tournament games.
So that's my Christmas wish. Not quite as exotic as meeting Heidi Klum or traveling around the world or hitting every major league stadium in a week. But just the same, it's on my ultimate list.
Photo of Ashley Judd from Redbook.
I couldn't help but notice that South Texas College of Law, my old law school -- the reason that I'm still so damn far in debt -- shut down because of the (chance of) snow today. I'm sure the students who are having their finals screwed around with are thankful. But...
Seriously, come on. They announced this on Thursday. With a strong chance of snow, but with nothing having happened yet. I never had to battle snow to get to class when I was a mere student, but I had to handle iced-over freeways several times, and I had to drive through torrential rains and flooded streets and freeways multiple times because the school wouldn't cancel classes. I remember one time when there was a chance of a hurricane hitting on a Friday that, not only did they still hold class on Thursday night, they refused to cancel classes on Friday because there was a chance that the storm would turn overnight and hit Louisiana -- which it did (Hurricane Andrew if I remember correctly).
But given the chance of snow, and they're shutting the place down tight.
Like I said, I hate to go all Old Man on you, but damn. This is a joke, right? A chance of snow and shut down? If I could drive through flooded streets to get the class, then a little snow shouldn't stop anything.
(I guess they've never noticed the huge number of cops that are always hanging out at the Starbucks just down the street who do nothing all day but hit on the women employees and drink the overpriced coffee.)
The tips are all of the commonplace things you'd expect. Don't leave your iPod sitting in the car -- especially where it can be seen. Always lock your door when you go out. That kind of thing. But I have a crime prevention tip for the complex dolts who leave these memos sticking out of our doors. Don't leave them sticking out of our doors.
Want an easy way to find out if someone's out for the night, then just check the doors. Those with the memos sticking out are the ones that aren't at home because the notices aren't put on the doors of empty apartments and those of who are at home have already thrown ours away. So go to a door with the notice sticking in the door, pick the lock, or kick in, then go to town.
But put them in the mail, or hand them out when we pay rent, and voila, that problem is gone.
So that's my crime prevention tip for the month. Make sure that the people running your apartment complex don't leave clues on your door that indicate that you're not home.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Unless, of course, this was just a mistake and the voters were actually nominating Eric Cartman for his rendition of "Poker Face." If that's the case, then I withdraw my complaint.
As many of you know, I love baseball. And as many of you might, or might not know, I'm in the process of attempting to see a game at every major league ballpark. I had, at one point, made 20 of the 30 ballparks, but thanks to the good people of New York City -- where they built brand new stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets -- and the people of Minnesota, who are opening up a new stadium for the Twins this upcoming season, I've now only been to 17 of the 30 ballparks. And I suppose that at one point I'll get to all of them, but it's a bit difficult with lack of income thing and the New York ballparks are really expensive.
That said, it's been a dream of mine to make all 30 of the ballparks during one season. I see it as a great way of seeing the country, and I see it as a great way of just watching baseball. So dream gift number three would be for somebody to give me the way to see a baseball game at every major league ballpark this upcoming baseball season.
Somehow, I think my dream of Heidi Klum is more realistic, don't you?
Now I might be mistaken, but I could swear it snowed last year, at about this same time. And I remember this because it started as I was leaving my office at the former employer's building. And as I pulled out of the parking garage, these white
Somehow, I survived. Somehow, Houston survived. Yet watching the news and weather, it's like Ike is coming back to get its final revenge.
Get a grip you frigging morons. It's only snow. It's kind of wet and slippery which means that you drive on it the same way you drive when it rains in this city, like frigging idiots who think that you can drive 80 on wet streets just like you can drive 80 on dry streets.
I'm ashamed to be a native Houstonian sometimes. This is one of those times.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I can't help but share. And I can't help but ask if Beck ever actually hears the words that are coming out of his mouth.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|U.S. Army Chain of Command|
Several years ago, I set a goal for myself. Before I turn 45, I was going to make a trip around the world. Of course, then, I had a decent paying job. Which isn't something that I have now. But I turn 45 next October -- that's less than one year. Thus, for my Christmas wish, I'd like to receive a trip around the world.
It doesn't have to be a year-long trip. Or one that takes a month or two. It can be one of those Amazing Race things where I get just a day to see a city. I don't care. I just want to be able say that I've done it. There are a few must-sees on the list. I'd like to finally get to London -- so that I can see Abbey Road -- and Paris. I love Amsterdam, so any excuse to get there is good. I'd like to see St. Petersburg. I don't need to go to Israel or Egypt, but I want to hit the Middle East, and I suppose the United Arab Emirates would work for that -- I think they stop there a lot on the Amazing Race. I'd like to see South Africa. I'd like go to China, and a stop in Tokyo would be nice. I'd also like to see New Zealand and Australia, and then a quick stop in Alaska.
I know it's not going to happen. But this list isn't about possible. It's about what I'd like if my dreams came true. So there you go. I want to meet Heidi Klum and I want to take a trip around the world before I'm 45. And I'm making this list up as I go along, so who knows what will come next.
But being as these are the two that we're stuck with, I'm making an endorsement. I'm endorsing Annise Parker. Not because of anything she's said or done, it's just that I don't trust anybody involved with the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority which I still contend was one of the biggest scams and boondoggles inflicted on Houston taxpayers ever.
But I really wish my local affiliate would have just aired Scrubs 2.0.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
But I'm putting in a lot of work for my coverage on the Cougars and the Aeros, so if you like what you read, leave a comment every now and then. It not only makes me feel better, but it lets the bosses know that you guys actually care enough about those posts to comment. And I don't see the readership numbers, so it lets me know that people are reading.
Of course, feel free to ignore me.
Damn, it's been a hard year for me. I could really use a gift or two or three. Just as a reward for surviving this year, and especially knowing that in a matter of week or two, I will once again be unemployed. So seeing as how I'm not getting anything, I thought I would throw out my dream Christmas list. Things I want, but that I would never, ever, get.
The first item on my list came to mind because I saw a commercial for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and you guys know how I am when it comes to Heidi Klum, who was a big star model for Victoria's Secret. So that's item number one. I'd like to meet Heidi Klum. There's nothing more to that. I'd just like to meet one of the world's most beautiful women, and the star of one of my all-time favorite photos from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.