I really don’t have a structure for this post yet, so I am just going to throw out my random thoughts in no particular order whatsoever.
First, thank you Trevor. I must give credit where credit is due. I know there are several Trevor’s that read this blog, so I will be more specific. Thank you to the Trevor that for the last two years has been telling me to pick up The Shield on DVD because he thinks it is a great show that everyone should see (or we could just say the Trevor that spells his name correctly). And for once Trevor, you know what the hell you are talking about. When I was in Costco a while back and saw the first two seasons packaged together for $49.99, I figured what the hell, I might as well give it a shot. I just wrapped up the first season at 1:40 am Tuesday night which lead to one of my DVD hangovers the next day. I just don’t know when to call it quits sometimes. But trust me, you can’t stop watching The Shield, especially when it comes down the last two episodes. (I watched the first season and a half of The Shield in one sitting) So, what can I say about The Shield? It was nothing like what I expected. First of all, it stars the Commish. (the exact reason I couldn't talk myself into watching the show - but once I started I couldn't stop) So I didn’t have high hopes. I am a pretty big NYPD Blue fan, and I kind of figured it would be similar… a stock police drama. I was expecting the usual solving of crimes where all ends well and everything is kittens and bunnies. NOT The Shield. On the DVD packaging there is a line that reads “The road to justice is twisted”… they are not kidding. The Commish a.k.a Vic Mackey, played by Michael Chiklis, is CRAZY. Seriously, I spent the first few episodes having a moral debate on whether I wanted to root for him or against him. There is some seriously disturbing material in The Shield, but my wife put it best, any show that can make you nauseous with either what is going on, or with anticipation of what is going to happen… is a great show. The Shield is now in my top 5 all time shows… but we will wait to see how season 2 unfolds. So, pick it up if you like to watch your TV on DVD…it is a good one.
Speaking of picking things up at Costco… I just bought a Harmony remote. Logitech has created a miracle in the form of a remote control. It literally blew my mind. While there are a thousand “universal remote controls” out there… this is the ONLY truly universal remote I have ever used. It has replaced 8 of my remote controls (with another 3 planned). I won’t bore you too much with how it works, but basically, with the click of one button (such as “watch tv”) everything involved with watching TV turns on and then it changes all the inputs to the correct setting. It is amazing. I am in love with my remote, and plan on getting a holster for it so that it never leaves my side. (you know - I wish I had something funny to add here, but I've got nothing)
Now to music. Luke recommended I check out Donovan Woods as he had heard him on Radio3, and I am obligated to pass him along to all those that read this, because Donovan Woods is outstanding. Check out his myspace and the tracks He Drinks Gas and My Cousin has a Grey Cup Ring. You may have even seen a CFL montage after the Grey Cup on CBC over which they played My Cousin has a Grey Cup Ring. I tried to find it on YouTube… but wouldn’t you know it, it was nowhere to be found… along with everything else CFL. (he is one Grey's Anatomy-type break from making it big time, we need to make this happen somehow)
Speaking of football, have you seen this clip? I wish all refs would free wheel it like this.
You stay classy Rob Stone
And here are a few clips from the classic vault of YouTube.
The Free Hugs Campaign
David Blaine Parody
Spiders On Drugs
On to movies… Die Hard 4 – Live Free or Die Hard is awesome. I don’t know if there is much more to say about it. I think it is sad that Bruce Willis is the best active action movie star. Everything about this movie is ridiculous and not one bit of it is realistic, but I loved it. It is just Bruce Willis kicking some ass in the most entertaining way possible. I should mention that I didn’t want to like this movie, but I couldn’t help it. There just aren’t any good action movies anymore. If you liked the previous Die Hards, check this one out stat.
Last, I thought I should mention a bit about my experience at the Tool concert in Saskatoon on Tuesday. First, a bit of background. I am a pretty big Tool fan. I am not as big of a fan as I used to be in high school, but I am the owner of 1 Tool Bunnyhug (Hoody for any out of Saskatchewan readers) 1 Tool Toque (knit cap, for any out of Canada readers), and all in all I have probably owned 4 or 5 Tool shirts. As I was a fan of them more in high school then now, I am a fan of their earlier work… mainly the albums Undertow and Ænema. In fact, before the show started, I said “They could come out and play only Ænema and then leave the stage…and that would be worth it for me”. I won’t keep you in suspense, they did not play Ænema… or Sober (no Sober - wow, I'm glad I didn't go now)… or anything pre-Lateralus… except Stinkfist. But, I don’t want to talk a whole lot about the set list, but rather a few observations/notes from the show.
1) Where do all the people at this concert work? I can honestly say, I have no idea where these people exist during the day. They must be the night shift at every 24hr company out there. Seriously, you will only run into many of these Tool fans at a Tool concert. It was a strange crowd. (they hang out at the Cornwall Centre during the day, I can almost guarantee that)
2) Although I am married, if I were single, I would make it a rule to not date any girl who is a Tool fan. I am not saying that the ladies at the show were unattractive, because that isn’t entirely true… there is just something that doesn’t sit right with me about a girl appreciating this type of music… but that is just me. I should mention that the ratio of guys to girls was probably 50:1. (hey - just like Sheldon-Williams Collegiate, Class of '99)
3) The show started great. They rocked my socks off for about an hour…but then they proceeded to leave the stage while the worst sound I have ever heard was playing at full volume. I can’t describe the sound but it was basically feedback with a rhythm. This was the noise for the laser show intermission. Honestly, it felt like 1 hour of torture to me. I appreciate they like to play around with sounds, but it went on forever. This killed the momentum of the show.
4) After the laser show which included all kinds of flashing lights, Maynard (vocals) actually says “no flash photography please”. ? Seriously? They strobe the sanity out of us and then tell us the flashes are bothering them?
5) What is the deal with the four band members being so spread out on stage? Do they not like each other? (reminiscent of the Modest Mouse show)
6) Does Adam Jones (guitar) not like playing anymore? Or does he always stand perfectly still while playing….at least Justin Chancellor (bass) made up for it with his hard rocking style.
7) Danny Carey is the best drummer I have seen…ever. He is amazing. It is like my friend Jeff said “Did you see the third arm sprout from his chest during that solo?”
8) Maynard James Keenan is bizarre. I have never seen a show where the lead singer spent the entire show on a platform next to the drummer without even a spot light on himself. He was so hidden in the dark; it might not even have been him.
9) There were 7 screens in total showing the usual bizarre tool imagery (just checkout any of their videos). I have now seen a life times worth of creepy eyeballs.
10) Summary: The show gets a B from me. The first hour was an A+…but after the 45 minute laser show to the most awful sound my ears have ever heard, it lost a lot of steam. Also the 25 minute slow improv of 10,000 Days after the laser interlude really didn’t help. The second half was just okay.
11) I almost forgot. Would somebody please shut up this screaming girl behind us…please! The girl behind us screamed at the top of her lungs causing us permanent ear damage. I was hoping one of the lasers would hit her in the larynx.
And that is it for this week.
Friday, November 30, 2007
I really don’t have a structure for this post yet, so I am just going to throw out my random thoughts in no particular order whatsoever.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Here's something to read this afternoon instead of looking at the vomit-inducing picture of His Worship's uprooted leg hair on the front page of the Leader-Post. As if it wasn't hard enough to look at that paper at the best of times. You're just lucky I can't find a online picture of this or I assure you, you'd be sharing in my misery.
I should have really written something earlier in the week but there have been a few factors contributing to my lack of posting:
1) The cold. There is no way I can ever get across to you how much I hate the cold. This is compounded by the fact that I wear glasses, which inevitably fog up when I walk outside if my head/face is properly insulated. This results in a tooth-chattering, near-blind, penguin walk to work every morning. And if one more person asks me if it's, "cold enough out for me" I'm going to punch them in the mouth without hesitation. I know it's cold out, you know it's cold out - now can we please find something else to talk about while we pretend we're interested in what one another has to say?
2) The murder of Redskins safety Sean Taylor. This has me really bummed out - not only the actual event (which you can read about here if you don't already know the story) but the entire media fall-out. Whether it's sanctimonious, melodrama written by people in the media who had probably never been within 2,000 miles of Sean Taylor - I think it's all well and good to honour someone and talk about their life but to me things like that should be reserved for people who actually knew the deceased or had at least been influenced in some way by them. And then are those who continually bring up Taylor's past when talking about his murder - as if he was responsible for his own demise. Honestly the whole situation just makes me sad and sick and I'm washing my hands of the whole thing - because it makes me not want to write about sports ever again.
Hey - there's a football game tonight. And it's night's like this that I'm glad I live in Canada, as about 85% of the people in the U.S won't see the game because of the ongoing dispute between cable companies and the NFL. I'm not going into the specifics because... well, I live in Canada and I couldn't care less. I get to see the game so I'm happy. If you're really interested. This is the one situation that doesn't make me want to abolish the CRTC.
And speaking of the CRTC and terrible Canadian channels (cause I'm sure that's what I was talking about, isn't it?) - I was watching College Gameday on the Score last Saturday morning, because that's the only channel that shows it. And the show ran a couple minutes long - but instead of staying with the live show about College Football, the Score - in it's infinite wisdom - decided to cut away to it's regularly scheduled repeat of terrible poker. I think that's actually what it's called. As those familiar with College Gameday - it's in the last 2 minutes that Lee Corso makes his pick for the day and dons the headgear of that team, which is what everybody wants to see. But I'm sure that people would have been up in arms if their 11 o'clock poker hadn't been on right? Nobody in Canada could possibly care about American football - especially American college football. We'd rather watch fat degenerates gamble.
If you're not prepared to stay with live programming for its duration - you should be stripped of the right to broadcast it. Let someone who will show it in its entirety broadcast it.
Anyway, I think I was talking about tonight's Cowboys/Packers game or something wasn't I? These tangents will be the death of me. I followed up my 14-2 effort two weeks ago with 12-4 last week.
Packers @ Cowboys
For some reason I see thing being one of those Brett Favre from 2 years ago games - tons of bad throws and about 4 interceptions. I sure hope not because I really want to see this game live up to its hype - it's not everyday two 10-1 teams play each other. In fact, I just found out that it hasn't happened since 1990 - thank you very much NFL.com. I've had it in my head all year that Dallas has a better chance of beating New England in the Super Bowl than Green Bay does - which is why I wanted them to win tonight. However, it occurs to me that in a game against New England I'm taking Brett Favre over Tony Romo - so now I don't know what to believe. I still think that Dallas is going to win but suddenly I don't want them to... as long as Marion Barber goes off in a losing effort.
Houston @ Tennessee
Vince Young might actually be bad after all. If not for a defence that sort of came out of nowhere this year, Tennessee might have been who we thought they were. If he hadn't gotten hurt, Albert Haynesworth might have been the defensive player of the year. Still might be.
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis
This game is for first place in the AFC South - I kid you not. Indy looked as good as they ever have earlier in the year but have been just killed by injuries. Now they're in danger of getting run all over at home and falling into a tie for the division lead.
San Diego @ Kansas City
If you lose at home to Oakland in Arrowhead Stadium I'm picking against you for the rest of year - that's just the way it is - even if the game is against a team coached by Norv Turner.
Winner: San Diego
Atlanta @ St. Louis
I have nothing to say...
Winner: St. Louis
NY Jets @ Miami
If I had nothing to say about Atlanta/St. Louis, what chance does this game have?
Detroit @ Minnesota
Was it Eli Manning being horrible? Was it Minnesota's defence being fantastic? I have no idea. Have I mentioned lately that I hate Detroit? I hope Adrian Peterson/Chester Taylor run all over them.
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
This should be a really good game - let's hope so anyway. The Saints need this game to get back to within a game of first place in the NFC South. And I need Drew Brees to play like he did last week for Fantasy purposes. Of course I didn't start him last week and he went off - so I'm expecting him to lay an egg this week, simply because I've got him in my starting lineup.
Winner: New Orleans
Seattle @ Philadelphia
It's not a good situation when you're hoping your starting quarterback doesn't play, right? We should probably ask Philly fans.
Buffalo @ Washington
It'll be interesting to see how the Redskins respond to the Sean Taylor murder. They might either pack the season in or decide to win for Sean. I don't think I'd want to be playing them this week though.
San Francisco @ Carolina
Winner: San Francisco
Cleveland @ Arizona
Whoever has the ball last in this game wins. Take the over.
Denver @ Oakland
If Oakland wins this game and San Diego loses, the Raiders will only be 2 games out of first place in the AFC West. And as if that wasn't sad enough, the Raiders will probably finish ahead of Kansas City this year. Oh well, it just means the Chiefs have a better shot at getting Chase Daniel.
NY Giants @ Chicago
Think the Giants will punt to Devin Hester - I'm thinking they probably won't. It's almost a better strategy to just go for it on 4th down and turn the ball over than punt to Hester.
Winner: NY Giants
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
It's funny how that mostly scoreless Monday Night game was as entertaining as it was. I was almost disappointed when Pittsburgh finally scored with 17 seconds left.
New England @ Baltimore
Think the Patriots have a little bit of frustration pent up over last week's less than 30 point win? And now people are questioning whether they are in fact the greatest thing in the history of the world... You mean they might not be as great as electricity or bypass surgery? I suspect the Patriots will be trying to put the hurt on Baltimore.
Winner: New England
Well that's it - it is now 7:50 in the evening and Dallas just kicked a field goal to go ahead 6-3, just in case you thought I was going to fudge that pick. Also, Bryant Gumble is the worst play by play man in the history of sport. I'd rather listen to Rod Black. I don't think Gumble has ever even watched a football game before. And if he has, he clearly doesn't enjoy it. This is unbearable.
Monday, November 26, 2007
In honour of everyone currently at the coldest rally since Stalingrad in '43, here is the expansion of last night's post - now that I have retrieved my car from the clutches of the Rider Nation.
... you know everybody is fired up about the Grey Cup when a woman stops me in my parking lot, asks me what time the game is and then proceeds to rummage through my building's dumpster. Grey Cup Fever - Catch It!
... for me the highlight of CBC's broadcast was Elliotte Friedman claiming that Winnipeg was going to do just fine in the Grey Cup - in fact they were going to be, "Oh-tay" - his exact words, I kid you not. But it got even better when Friedman quickly caught himself and said "okay" but the rest of the studio crew were too fast and all made the hand gesture and said "oh-tay" in unison. Which led me to believe that it was staged but Friedman looked genuinely embarrassed, so it was just quick thinking by the guys at the desk. High comedy.
... it was nice of CBC's Steve Armitage to introduce Roughrider defensive back Airabin Justin as Justin Airabin. I'm fairly certain this happened, although it might have been the muscle relaxants. Justin's parents must have been proud.
... it was also very nice of the Barenaked Ladies to get all dressed up for the occasion. When they came out to sing the national anthem it looked like they had just finished painting a bathroom or maybe whitewashing a fence.
... not to be outdone, Charles Roberts showed respect in his own way by continually drinking and spitting out water during the national anthem.
... can someone explain to me why Troy Westwood is allowed to wear a Velociraptor claw around his neck while on the football field? Is that an eagle talon? Cause that would have been one giant eagle.
... here's the first half summary for you, just in case you missed it - two field goals, some incomplete passes and a couple safety's...
... oh and who could forget the reason I won't be watching the CFL again - after James Johnson ran his interception back for a touchdown, I made the claim that if he (Johnson) won the Grey Cup Most Outstanding Player (M-O-P! M-O-P!) I would never watch a CFL game again. Why John Chick why? Just a couple more plays from you and I wouldn't have to live in a world where James Johnson is the Most Outstanding anything.
... did Ryan Dinwiddie forget to take his contacts out from Halloween or are his eyes just naturally terrifying?
... speaking of eyes, I swear it looked like Kent Austin had pink eye. Ah the horrors of HD.
... why was there a non-Canadian musical act performing during halftime of the Canadian Football League's championship game again? Especially since the Barenaked Ladies were obviously available. We really shouldn't have to continually outsource the Grey Cup Halftime Show.
... there were two nice touchdown passes in the second half - well one nice pass (John-son!) and once nice run after the pass. But to me the second half was totally dominated by what still remains a baffling call. Saskatchewan gambled on 3rd and 1 on Winnipeg's 11 - and initially the officials ruled that Kerry Joseph came up short on the sneak. Kent Austin challenged the play, and rightly so as the spot appeared to be pretty suspect. Saskatchewan won the challenge and was awarded a first down based on the video replay.
Now here's what I don't understand, the officials were so absolutely sure of where the ball should have been placed that they didn't feel the need to re-measure after the challenge? The replays showed that the ball should have been close to the 10, which was where the first down mark was - and that's where the ball was placed. But in a close game of that magnitude how there was no re-measure is just beyond me. It was so far beyond me that I emailed the CFL this morning to get some clarification. I identified myself and why I was emailing, so I feel I'm within my rights to print the response I got from the CFL's head of officiating George Black,
The ball needed to touch the line (we knew that from a measurement after the
previous play. Using replay we could see that the ball did pass that mark, and
Referee Glen Johnson explained that.
If you squint hard enough you can see exactly where he says, "Now get lost." Of course this is also the office that somehow botched the Kerry Joseph/past the line of scrimmage call last week, so I'm not all that concerned by my confusion in this matter.
... related to the point directly above, how come Doug Berry had to throw his challenge flag before he could get an explanation of the above series of events from the officials? Of course it ended up costing him 5 yards as well. But out of that we did get the now classic, "I challenge your challenge!" line (that was Trebor's, I can't take credit). So it wasn't a total waste of time.
... just as Winnipeg was driving at the end of the game and the room was getting a little tense, my comment was, "don't worry - he's going to throw a killer pick right here". And 5 seconds later James Johnson had the ball in his hands and all of Saskatchewan was celebrating.
... and speaking of celebrating, I was pleasantly surprised with how well-behaved the crowds on Albert Street were last night. It was mostly high-fiving and honking. There was also a well-ordered game of Frogger, as people were continually crossing Albert and Victoria - with the walk signs no less. The police were in the spirit as well - high-fiving people and just taking away the alcohol that made its way out into public.
... and I think that's it.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
...If you made it to work that is - or at least in front of a computer.
And I'd love to write a big post right now about the Roughriders winning the Grey Cup tonight but unfortunately my notebook is in my car, which is trapped on the opposite side of Albert Street from where I live. So I'll just go with what I have for now.
Good on the Roughriders for pulling out the win. I can say without any doubt that we won't be seeing that game on ESPN Classic Canada anytime soon. But a win is a win, as they say.
Most of the stuff I'm going to post isn't about the game itself - cause there wasn't a whole lot to talk about there. I'm very glad I didn't do a live blog because it would have been a very dull experience for everyone involved. It was mostly because I decided to run 10 kms earlier in the day and could barely tell you what my name was by the time the game rolled around.
The post to come later will deal with such hot topics as:
- Ryan Dinwiddie's souless eyes
- why I'm not allowed to watch a CFL game again
- why Troy Westwood is allowed to wear a raptor claw around his neck
- how in HD it appeared that Kent Austin was suffering from a nasty case of Pink Eye
- "I challenge your challenge!"
- the transient that asked me what time the game was and then proceeded to rummage through my building's dumpster
- Elliotte Friedman apparently comparing Barrin Simpson to Buckwheat - which ranks as the highlight for me
- the lack of carnage on the Green Mile, at least when I was there
- why CFL referee's can determine if a play results in a first down from a video challenge without re-measuring
- the general milling around on the field during Lenny Kravitz
- why the Barenaked Ladies looked like they had just come from painting a fence
- me perfectly predicting the final, game-clinching interception
And I think that might be it - there might be more but I'll have to consult my notes tomorrow. And remember, rehydration is the key.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I'm phoning in the NFL picks this week cause quite frankly I don't feel like writing 1,500 words today - whaddya want, it's a free site.
And I do realize that I neglected to pick the Thanksgiving games - but I'm taking 3 wins, do you really think I wouldn't have taken Green Bay, Dallas and Indy? After going 14-2 last week I think I can bend the rules a little bit.
The rest of the winners are:
Ok, that's it. Next week the NFL picks are going to move to Thursday's - as there are Thursday and Saturday games the rest of the season.
Also, I don't think anybody reads on the weekend but if you're around a computer tomorrow, I'm going to try and live-blog the Grey Cup game. If I can't live-blog I'm going to write a live recap and post it on Monday.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Here are Cooper's college football picks for this week. There are some marquee matchups missing because for some reason the Wester Canadian Lottery Corportation decided not to include them in available games for Sport Select this week. What follows is the text of the email I received this morning:
Lot of NCAA games this weekend......here is a list of my picks. I got a lot of money riding on the Chippewa's today. Go fighting Central Michigan State!
Ohio (Not "The" Ohio St, just Ohio)
You can take those picks to the bank!
Well I can already give you some results of the Friday games. Central Michigan won - but did not cover - eliciting several profanity-riddled emails from Cooper to myself. Mississippi State has already won this afternoon. Bowling Green is currently leading 16-3 late in the second quarter. And Cooper's own Nebraska Cornhuskers are losing 65-51 to the Colorado Buffaloes, with about 25 seconds left in the game.
I don't wade into college football very often - but tomorrow night's Missouri-Kansas game might be one for the ages. Nevermind that the teams are ranked #4 and #2 respectively and the winner will probably be playing in the BCS National Championship Game. The fact is that these two teams - and states - hate one another. And yeah, we say here that we hate Winnipeg - trust me, Saskatchewan/Winnipeg has nothing on this rivalry.
I don't believe anyone from Regina ever murdered 200 people in Winnipeg and set the city on fire. A group of Missourians called Quantrill's Raiders killed 200 people and burned the town of Lawrence, Kansas to the ground in 1863 - Lawrence just happens to be where the University of Kansas is located by the way. Of course Kansas responded in kind with their own group of Jayhawkers.
Yeah, that was a long time ago - but nobody's really forgotten. With all the history and everything that's at stake - nevermind that the game is being played at night, under the lights of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City - this should be a fantastic game.
Here it is - the much anticipated debut of Jeff K's Sights & Sounds column that will be running every Friday:
As I am a fair weather blogger who briefly dabbled in his own blog but didn’t have the energy to keep it up, Luke and I have come to what I think will be a mutually beneficial arrangement. I will be taking some of the load off of Luke by taking over his posts titled “Artist of the Week” and “The Links”, although the new “Sights & Sounds” posts will cover a bit broader subject matter.
Truth be told, and I am sure Luke would agree, I have been a major contributor to many of the links posted previously on this site (and by major he means nearly all the links came from him). As a “senior researcher” for Sports as Life (that is a self appointed title), it seemed the next logical step was to help free up some of Luke’s time for his other posts and take over the Friday entertainment post. I don’t like using the word “entertainment” as I associate that with Perez Hilton, ET, and E!...which are obviously examples of everything that is wrong with society. In any case, I am sure this will remain a somewhat collaborative effort between myself and Luke as I still probably get a good 50% of my new music referrals from him. So, let’s dig right in.
I recently came across one of the strangest musicians I may have ever heard. He has been around for a few years, but I had never heard of him before…which isn’t surprising as his music is a bit of a departure from my regular musical tastes. However, the catchy Hassidic reggae/ska music of Matisyahu strikes some strange chord with me. I can honestly say I don’t own even one CD that is even remotely reggae. I have always enjoyed Bob Marley, and the next closest band of this style I have listened to would be Sublime. But…when I heard the track “King Without a Crown” I couldn’t help but bob my head in the most reggae way that I know how. (I prefer the Live at Stubbs version myself)
Don’t think that this is a sample of what is to come in the following weeks on this feature…like I said, this not a great example of my musical tastes. However, I thought I would give you a link to the song and let you be the judge. While the lyrics are lost on me, the guitar riff in the chorus of “King without a Crown” is fantastic and the drums have the funk that I always appreciate… I just love funk in my drums. Also, you may also want to checkout the song “Jerusalem”
Next…here are some links to checkout.
If you haven’t checked out these guys before, here are some links to a few of my favorite Barats and Bareta clips.
- The Other Son
- Windward Reports: Cubicle War 2006
- Mother’s Day
- Auto Insurance
- MANtage “Consuming American Soil”...hilarious
Here is a pretty strange Youtube cameo… Elevator – Gravel’s Gamertag
I also wanted to take a second to address something Luke brought up a little while ago in one of his posts. I tried to find the post…but I can’t…so I will paraphrase it the way I remember it. Luke said something to the effect of “I can’t stand that fake guitar has become more popular than real guitar”. This is of course with reference to the greatest video game of all time Guitar Hero. As a player of both the original string-based instrument and the new plastic version…honestly, I completely understand why someone would choose the plastic version over the real thing. You simply can not be blamed. In 30 minutes, even an uncoordinated person can be playing great songs (along with the band) and feel like a rock star. That same person with a real guitar will be making some pretty awful noise. Playing Guitar Hero is ridiculously fun. Also, let’s not forget the cooperative mode where you can play dual guitars. I won’t lie to you; there was a time when I thought that being a grown man playing a small plastic guitar with buttons that remind me of a Fisher Price xylophone was embarrassing. Honestly, when I bought a second wireless guitar at the mall a while back, I couldn’t get out of their fast enough. It felt like everyone was looking at me and judging (they were). However, I have come to grips with the fact that I am a Guitar Hero. I don’t know if Luke has played Guitar Hero or not, but I have to assume he hasn’t…because I haven’t met anyone yet who after 30 minutes of Guitar Hero could put the controller down (He has in fact played it a handful of times - usually between 2 and 5 am in varying states of consciousness. And I will concede it is a ridiculously fun game. However, real guitar being less popular than fake guitar just seems to sum up our entire culture to me - and not in a good way. I could probably write 2,000 words about this. I'm also probably a little bit bitter because I can't get Guitar Hero 3 for the Wii anywhere). So…again, why would you want to play real guitar which is way harder, and way more expensive? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Guitar Hero is better than playing actual guitar. If I had to give one up for the rest of my life, it would be goodbye to Guitar Hero. However, if Guitar Hero had been out when I was in Grade 10, I may not be able to play actual guitar today.
Also, I am one of many who eagerly awaits Rock Band, the new game that includes guitar, base, microphone (for vocals) and the drums. This will no doubt create some hilarious moments of me and my buddies looking ridiculous.
Speaking of looking ridiculous…YYZ on Expert
At least this guy will have something to show for 6 years of college (like a Political Science degree?). This is ridiculous. Unless you have played the game, you have no idea how crazy this is. This is the tops for Guitar Hero skills.
Last, I wanted to touch on one more topic. With Remembrance Day having just passed, I decided to watch Band of Brothers for the 5th time. For those of you who may not have heard of Band of Brothers, it is a 10 episode HBO miniseries that follows Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division from the day they dropped into Normandy all the way to the surrender of the Germans. Why am I bringing up Band of Brothers? Because if you haven’t seen Band of Brothers, you are missing out on the best piece of film making ever. I don’t say that lightly, it really is the best cinematic experience of all time. My favorite feature length movie is probably The Shawshank Redemption… and it is a distant 2nd to Band of Brothers. If you haven’t seen Band of Brothers you should run out and buy it on DVD immediately. You will not regret it. I was going to make the guarantee that if you didn’t like Band of Brothers, I would refund your money…but I am not that bold, so instead, perhaps I will mail you enough money for a 900ml Slurpee as compensation. There really isn’t one flaw in this series. It has an awesome cast and amazing production value. If you have a home theater, when watching Band of Brothers, you will get sucked in to it to the point where when it is all over, you will feel like you were there…so make sure you have seen it.
If there is anything you have any comments or what to hear about something specific, feel free to leave a comment or email Sports as Life.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
American Thanksgiving means no Deadspin, ESPN or Czabe.com today.
And not only that they get to watch football all day. What do we get on our Thanksgiving... probably extra Coronation Street or something.
It also looks like most of the Sports As Life staff, excluding me, decided to take Thanksgiving off.
You know what... I'm taking the rest of the day too.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
First of all – it’s entirely possible that what I’m about to get into is a common theory being screamed across desks all over the television landscape. Generally I can’t stomach talking head shows – unless it’s Max Headroom – so I avoid them like late-night traffic stops. So I’m operating under the impression that my theory is original, or at least not widely held – I know I’ve never heard anyone else make this case. Or maybe this is just common sense, who knows.
As much as it pains me to say (and you have no idea how much it does) - the current incarnation of the New England Patriots and their Vendetta Offence is good for the NFL. In fact, I think the Patriots are in the process of saving the NFL. I realize that it’s going to be very difficult to make a case that the most popular sport in North America is in need of saving, but I think I can try. Let me start by talking about golf.
Do you remember what the PGA tour was like about 12 years ago? Probably not because there wasn’t anything memorable about the Tour. It seemed to operate like an Old Boys club, where a bunch of guys got together four days a week to play some golf. Of course all the players wanted to win every week – but they didn’t need to win every week. From my vantage point (in front of the TV) it never seemed like there was anybody more dominant than anyone else. Players went about their business, week after week, and never felt they had to push themselves.
Then came Tiger Woods.
When Tiger blew the doors off the Masters in ’97 – winning by a ridiculous 12 strokes – the soft and flabby Tour was exposed. Before Tiger came along, the Tour Money List seemed to be what golfers were judged by, but Tiger didn’t care about money. Tiger only wanted to win. And Tiger’s incredible desire to win pushed everybody else to get better and those that couldn’t compete fell away – and while that might seem tragic, this is professional sports, where only the absolute best are able to compete. Because of the way Tiger played, the entire sport of professional golf improved. Players now know that they have to give it absolutely everything they’ve got every week. They know that they can’t take a hole off – every swing always counts. One mental lapse could ruin four days of hard work.
And you know what, that is great for golf – especially fans of golf. When players always have to be at their best, it’s the fans that benefit. I’d much rather watch golfers at the absolute peak of their games than hung-over and hacking it around on a Sunday afternoon. Tiger’s ability to dominate changed the way golfers approached the game – it was now win or go home.
By now I’m sure you’ve guessed where I’m going with this. The Patriots are head and shoulders above every other team in the NFL - and it’s scary - but it's also going to force all the other teams to catch up. And as much as I hate watching them toy with opponents every week, I’ve come to accept that it is a good thing and even necessary for the NFL.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately there have been a lot of below average teams in the NFL. Ok, they’re bad – I admit that I was trying to sugar coat it. It’s the old parity/mediocrity argument. To me parity means a league of talented teams playing at a high level. Parity does not mean a league of mediocre, flawed teams.
The Patriots have exposed just how mediocre the NFL is right now – players, coaches, general managers, and owners alike. New England is playing the game of football as flawlessly as I have ever seen, throughout the organization – and I will grudgingly admit that it is impressive to watch. I will also concede that it is not their fault that opposing teams cannot stop them from scoring. They are out to dominate on every play, not simply going through the motions - and isn't that the way it should be?
So what does this mean for the NFL?
Well I’m hoping that we see a serious improvement in the on-field product. New England is going to be the team to beat for the next 2-3 years, barring any serious injuries – and they are going to have a Rosie O’Donnell-size target on their backs. Any other team in the league that is a contender or wants to be a contender is going to have to be built to beat New England. If owners are committed to winning a championship, they are going to have to make sure the absolute best coaches and general managers are in place. And then the coaches and GM’s have to make sure they find players who are willing to put selfish pursuits aside for the good of the team – and give their all, not just every game but every play.
It’s not just about talent, because there are a lot of talented teams in the NFL, it’s more about accountability. Players and coaches are going to have to be accountable for everything that happens on the field. When Patriots’ linebacker Mike Vrabel is lining up as a tight end near the goal line, I, as a viewer at home, know that there’s high probability of him catching a touchdown pass (he has 2 receptions for 2 touchdowns this year) – or at least there is the possibility of that happening. However, most teams react as if they’d never seen the play before, as Vrabel is usually wide open.
What I’m talking about sounds an awful lot like perfection doesn’t it? And of course everyone says that perfection is an impossibility – but I will counter with this: Have you seen the New England Patriots play this year?
Unlike professional golf, which started Tiger-proofing courses, the NFL is not going to change anything fundamental to the game to slow the Patriots down - defences won't suddenly be able to play one more man than the offence. It’s going to be up to the other teams in the league to step up and answer New England’s challenge. If that happens and a handful of teams can elevate their play (let’s be honest, not every team in the league is going to change overnight – football isn’t an individual sport like golf, there are a lot of moving parts), it’s going to be the fans that benefit.
As much as I enjoy watching teams like Atlanta, Kansas City, Oakland and Cincinnati, et. al. play every week like they're in a meaningless pick-up game – I really, really want to see more teams who know what they’re doing. Even if it means New England dominating for a year or two (or more, if it comes to that). After all, it was a solid 4-5 years before the rest of the Tour even came close to catching up to Tiger - and there's a case to be made that there's still nobody that can hang with Tiger when he's on his game.
If the next few years in the NFL are solely about teams taking shots at New England to see who can knock them down, I'm ok with that. Because that's going to mean intense, furiously contested games - with every player putting everything on the line. And as football fans, isn't that what we want to see?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Yesterday I said that there was no footage of Lex Luger body slamming Yokozuna - but I tried one last time and look what I found. I think it might be a little sad that finding that clip makes me as happy as it does. The Luger/Yokozuna reference has caused quite a bit of feedback, so I'm now considering adding a wrestling feature - maybe every two weeks or something like that. I'm talking about wrestling from the days of yore - nothing after the mid-90's.
Also, Cooper sent me this story today - Neil Diamond admitting that Sweet Caroline was written about Caroline Kennedy. Funny, that's not the story I heard. Now I don't know what to believe.
...Of course the week I say this has been a bad year for the NFL, there was many a good game... well at least close games. I will never buy into the theory that close game always = good game but they're not mutually exclusive either.
...Indy won on a last second field goal - and when did Adam Vinatieri turn into Jose Cortez, sheesh.
...Cleveland and the Jets both won in overtime. The Cleveland game even had a game-tying, Phil Dawson voodoo field goal.
...Oakland had a chance late (sort of), as did San Diego and San Francisco.
...And the Dallas/Washington game was very good - at least from what I saw of it, as the Western Final was on at the same time.
...Oh, and a kicker tackled Devin Hester.
...That's it for now, I need to work on the Patriot's post, which should be up later today if I don't make myself sick first.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I think this Grey Cup story has legs - might as well hitch my wagon to it.
Anyway, everything not in brackets in my title was the title of Stephen Brunt's article in today's Globe and Mail - A Prairie Grey Cup. A more misleading title this could not have been. 2/3rd's of the article dealt with Toronto, 1/3rd dealt with Winnipeg and 0/3rd's dealt with Saskatchewan. I have no desire to get into that old Toronto as the Centre of the Universe argument, the comments on Brunt's article paint a pretty grizzly picture of that whole debate. But I think my title might have been more to the point than Brunt's - and I love Brunt, he's my favorite Canadian sportswriter by far, but not even mentioning one of the two teams in the CFL Championship doesn't seem quite right. However, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that his deadline came before the end of the B.C/Saskatchewan game. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. But enough of all that.
Cooper and I were just discussing what this game would be like if it were held in either Regina or Winnipeg - he actually emailed me about Brunt's column, which I had already read. So I'll give Cooper the story credit but I'll take the writing credit. And if this Saskatchewan/Winnipeg Grey Cup was held in either, well... Saskatchewan or Winnipeg, I think I can sum up what would happen with this quote:
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria - Dr. Peter Venkman
Cooper's thought was that the two cities would be left in total financial ruin - due to a complete lack of productivity during the week leading up to the Big Game. I was leaning towards the host city being left in actual ruin. Not because any specific bad behaviour but just from the sheer collective will of both fan bases. But at least the host city, whichever it might be, would actually care about the game - before it was razed to the ground that is. And then possibly sown with salt for good measure. Just like war on terror jokes, you have to use Carthage jokes whenever you get the opportunity.
I suspect that both Saskatchewan and Winnipeg fans will be well represented in Toronto and will make Grey Cup Week interesting - even if nobody from Toronto actually cares.
More than anything I hope that Winnipeg can find a way to keep the game close and actually make it interesting. But honestly, I don't see that happening. Saskatchewan is riding a wave of good karma and better play and have become a force akin to Lex Luger after he body slammed Yokozuna on the deck of the U.S.S Intrepid - sadly it appears no video of this seminal moment in human history exists.
Is it too early for predictions?
Saskatchewan 28 - Winnipeg 13
Things to read on the least productive workday in the history of Saskatchewan (soon to be surpassed by next Monday):
Michigan - Lost, 14-3
Georgia - Won, 24-13
Notre Dame - Won, 28-7
Penn State - Lost, 35-31
Purdue - Lost, 27-24
Cal - Lost, 37-23
LSU - Won, 41-24
So he was 3-4 this week, bringing his totals for the year to something like 5-126.
Friday, November 16, 2007
The NFL is becoming harder and harder to get excited about - and as such, harder and harder to write about. I mean look at some of the games this week: Tampa Bay @ Atlanta, Arizona @ Cincinnati, Oakland @ Minnesota, St. Louis @ San Francisco. Nothing about those games would make me get out of bed on a Sunday morning to watch - nevermind try to come up with something clever to say about them. But on we press...
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
Apparently Atlanta is the 3rd hottest team in the NFC right now, based on their 2 game winning streak. How terrible is it when stringing 2 wins together puts you on the 3rd best streak in the conference? Very terrible, that's how terrible. But I guess 2 straight wins wasn't enough for Joey Harrington to keep his starting job, as apparently the human statue known as Byron Leftwich is going to start. I want nothing to do with this game.
Winner: Tampa Bay
New England @ Buffalo
If Marshawn Lynch was going to play in this game I would have said that Buffalo had a slim chance... to not get beaten by 35 points. However, Lynch is out - J.P Losman is in - and New England will continue to prove that them getting caught cheating was the fault of everyone else in the league. I know Buffalo has been hot lately but I don't see them getting anything but drubbed.
Winner: New England
Arizona @ Cincinnati
(insert snarky comments here)
Washington @ Dallas
Great day in the morning - a game involving 2 teams over .500 - this might be the best game of the week as well. I might actually watch this game. And this better be the game Fox shows, if I get Carolina/Green Bay I'm going to burn something to the ground.
Carolina @ Green Bay
Hey - speak of the devil. This has the makings of one of those 34-0 blowouts that we were forced to sit through last week in its entirety. Fox couldn't have switched to the Washington game, nooo... because everyone loves Brett Favre. Because of that we had to see Brooks Bollinger attempt to "run" Minnesota's "offence" - which is just a sham. No, clearly I haven't forgotten about this.
Winner: Green Bay
Kansas City @ Indianapolis
Due to the fact that I live in the middle of Western Canada I don't get to see a lot of Chiefs games during the year - and after watching the game last week, I'm very thankful for that. I thought I sort of knew how bad they were - but I had no idea. Their offence is worse than I ever could have imagined. The choice between Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle is like choosing between Beaches and The Prince of Tides - they're both pretty much the same thing and you're going to feel worse about your life after wasting hours watching them.
Oakland @ Minnesota
Oh wow... under no circumstances should I be asked to pick a winner in this game. In fact, they shouldn't even play this game - we'll all be better off for it.
Pittsburgh @ NY Jets
I'm halfway done - and I wish I was all the way done. I bet the Jets feel the same way.
Miami @ Philadelphia
Man, I just read the opening to Bill Simmons' NFL picks - and he's making the case for this to be one of the best seasons in recent memory - as I'm sitting here trying to come up with something to say about 0-9 Miami at 4-5 Philadelphia. I may be the only one, but this has to be one of the worst seasons in recent memory. Yes there are 5 or 6 good teams - then the rest are either mediocre or terrible. Would it be too much to ask for just 10 good teams? Just a little competition would be nice once and a while.
San Diego @ Jacksonville
Last week San Diego gets 6 interceptions and scores twice on special teams and still barely beats Indianapolis. As someone who watched that game, let me tell you - San Diego's offence is terrible, and I'd say it's mostly Phillips Rivers' fault - with a little Norv Turner thrown in there for good measure. Jacksonville, on the other hand, is getting David Garrard back - after surviving the Quinn Grey era - and might be a scary team down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Cleveland @ Baltimore
The only Fantasy advice I'll ever give is that you should start Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow if you own them - even if Chris McAllister is coming back for Baltimore this week. It doesn't even matter that Cleveland doesn't have a defence - neither does Cincinnati and look what they did to Baltimore last week. And did I mention Kyle Boller starts for Baltimore.
New Orleans @ Houston
This is probably one of those games that I think looks really bad on paper - but actually turns out to be pretty decent. At least I hope - New Orleans did lose at home to St. Louis of all teams last week.
Winner: New Orleans
St. Louis @ San Francisco
Hey - speaking of St. Louis, they're going to win this week too. No offence to Miami, but San Fran might give them a run for worst team in the league.
Winner: St. Louis
NY Giants @ Detroit
I have a very strong dislike for both of these teams and I have idea why. It's totally irrational. But I find myself, week after week, hoping that both teams lose. I think that Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress might have something to do with the Giants hating - but I have no idea why I dislike Detroit so much. I know I've said this before, but it probably has something to do with the fact that Detroit did not put much talent around Barry Sanders. Old grudges die hard I guess.
Winner: NY Giants
Chicago @ Seattle
So it's the Resurrection of Rex eh? Just when we thought Rex Grossman was dead and gone, he comes back to valiantly lead the Bears to victory last week. At least Brian Griese is hurt so we didn't have the Grossman/Griese circus all week. Don't worry though - I'm sure it won't be long till we have to go through that again.
Tennessee @ Denver
All I've eaten today is a bag of popcorn, I'm lightheaded and... I've got nothing to say about this game.
There really wasn't any savage goonery in the NHL this week, which on some level actualy disappoints me - as sad as that is. So here's a clip from last night's Boston/Toronto game, in which Boston's Milan Lucic gives Toronto's Mark Bell a couple of pretty good shots to the head. Watch away. Apparently Bell fights as well as he drives drunk... ohhh snap.
I've gotta be honest - I really don't have any Links for you this week. Well, that's not entirely true - I do have one. Be warned, this could potentially give you nightmares - but it's one of the most interesting things I've seen/read in a long time. And I saw it on Deadspin.com first, but I thought I should put it up for everybody here too:
You didn't believe me when I said it would give you nightmares, did you? Now what do you say?
Anyway, Sports As Life is eagerly awaiting Jeff K (from Music, Movies and TV) to come on board here. Sometime in the future he is going to be taking over the Friday "entertainment" columns. And now that I've actually stated it in print, for the record - without him actually confirming this with me - he's definitely on the hook to write for Sports As Life. But hey, it's an unpaid gig and until such time as I can actually compensate everyone for writing on Sports As Life, real life will be coming first.
Since I don't really have any links for you today I thought I might talk about the downside of High Definition TV. Lately have I actually had the chance to watch a few things in glorious HD - and for sports, there's no other way to watch. But seeing close-ups of people in HD can be a terrifying experience. The one I want to talk about in particular is TSN's Jennifer Hedger. Now in standard definition she is a very attractive woman. But in HD... yikes... she looks like a demon falcon with not enough skin. Terrifying.
The Artist of the Week for this week is Mates of State. They're a band I've been listening to for a few years but only recently got back into. I can sum them up like this: husband, wife, drums, keyboards, pop music. But trust me, it's so much better than that sounds.
There is an audio player on www.matesofstate.com which lets you listen to some new songs, as well as some older ones.
And of course there is the old standby, www.myspace.com/matesofstate
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Wow, there were a lot of awful NFL games this past weekend - mostly due to the overwhelming number of awful NFL teams I imagine. So I really didn't have much to say about any of them, except to say thanks to Fox and CBS for sticking with the terrible Green Bay and Kansas City games until the very end - and only switching to the Pittsburgh and Washington games once the early garbage had ended.
I’ll start off by saying I’m out of the playoff hunt for our NFL.com league (I think I was out about halfway through Week 1). The format which you can't change, is stupid - 4 teams make it, and playoffs are played in week 16 and 17. So with that if you believe you’ll be in the final 4 better look at if your team will be… do you have Randy Moss who could sit week 17 just to rest ??? Something to look at.
So today on ESPN radio - that’s 710 on your AM dial if you’ve forgotten - there were a variety of topics but the one that caught my interest was MVP. Brady was at 47%, Favre 27% and then Romo and Big Ben somewhere else. Interesting they are all quarterbacks, in a running back league and note, I’d rather have Favre on my team so he would get my vote for MVP.
Now on to good old research. I’ll look at average since everyone has had their bye week… an injury might slip through the cracks, but I know Andre Johnson’s average of like 25 is misleading cause it was for 2 weeks or whatever it was.
Brady, Romo and Big Ben are the top 3 quarterbacks. But really only Brady is a must have with his average of 26 points per week (ppw). Romo trails at 21 ppw and then you have Big Ben at 18.5, Anderson 18.3, Manning at 17.5, and then a big host of players from 13-15. So really Big Ben isn’t on the list... a mere 3 points above 5-8 others not going to do it.
So Brady or Romo… Is it really that easy….maybe not. Yes the Patriots are doing the eff you to the league, running up the score and being jerks. Does that continue all the way to the end??? New England likely will be playing for the undefeated season, but beyond that they will have home field locked up by week 14. So those last 2 weeks what happens? What happens if a defensive player gets mad about being embarrassed and does something stupid???
Dallas is scoring a ton but it doesn’t seem as bad - it’s within the flow of the game. They also have a running game which means it could steal some points but it will keep defenses honest. Take out the 6 turnovers against Buffalo and they’d be closer. Still, the edge goes to Brady.
Now to running backs... the forgotten foundation of a Fantasy team, probably because most have been hurt for at least part of the season. Westbrook tops everyone with 22 ppw, then Peterson with 20 ppw and third Addai 19.5. Then there’s about 8 at the 12-13.5 ppw. So these three are at the top. Right away I think Peterson and Westbrook put up monster numbers in a couple of weeks, then next to nothing other weeks… Upon looking, Addai has been the same way. Then there’s injury concern, Addai got hurt and let KK (that's Kenton Keith for those scoring at home) step in and he is now stealing touches. Westbrook lives on the injury report and you always run a chance of him not playing and now Adrian is hurt (with an LCL injury? seriously, there's a lateral collateral knee ligament? isn't that redundant?). This is a tough one… where is 2006 LT, or 2005 Alexander? Just because I’m trying to put 1 candidate from all positions I’m going to pick one, but this year there is no sure running back out there. I couldn’t deal with the injury bug of Westbrook, and Peterson plays on a horrible offensive team, which means Addai is the guy I would pick to be my top RB.
... wide receivers *shiver*... they are playing a bigger part this year but the inconsistency still is appalling. Well Moss tops the list with 18 ppw, then a significant drop of for 2-4 Owens, Housh, Edwards all fall between 14.5 and 15 ppw. So not much discussion needed here, though a close #2 is Braylon in my books. Housh is going to suffer with Henry coming back and he already has, look at Week 10. Owens can be inconsistent at times and I think Dallas has too many weapons around the endzone for him to be a top WR. Moss right now is the man, though if he doesn’t get those long balls, if they play against a team with a shut down corner…. If I were to pick one player to be on my team now it would be Braylon…. Gotta love his schedule, but up to this point it would be Moss.
The other positions…. I’m never going to care, even though Defenses have been known to lose games…. You can play waiver wire on a week to week basis and do pretty good. With TE it’s Gates, Witten, Gonzo…. It’s been that way for 2 years now.
So how does this help Fantasy owners heading into the final stretch. Well if you're in the hunt but maybe lack any of these players, well congrats, you’ve done well. (now say you have none of the players on this list and are 2-8, what then?) You probably have a solid team, no bright stars but no dogs. However, to win you need the guy and the players listed off here are guys I’d do a 2 for 1 deal… What I mean is a solid running back and a #2 WR for that top running back. In the NFL.com league if I had something to play for I’d be making offers for one of the running backs… say Little Willie and Brandon Marshall for Addai (what if the guy who owns Addai is the smarmy jackass who also owns Brady?). Yes Willie has done well and on a points basis I’m getting the worse end of the deal, but he would be worth it. Maybe another deal could be something like Favre and Jamal Lewis for Brady (if only it wasn't for that smarmy Brady owner - we'll have to pry Brady from his cold, dead hands). I would never do a deal that upgrades my WR and downgrades my QB or RB, I just don’t think that’s smart.
Thought I’d just mention that Westbrook had a huge game 3 td’s and like 200 yrds against Washington... so I had many reasons to loathe him. One reason is because I was playing against a guy with Westbrook and lost by 2 points, that last minute TD killed me. But more importantly I was booing him was because I was surrounded by 93,000 screaming fans. True it was probably more like 80-85 and probably 10-15 Philly fans but still a ton (should that be tonne?) of people.
I already talked about the good feel of the crowd (see yesterday's comments on Home is Where the Playoff Game Is), but thought I’d thrown in the rest of the experience in Washington. I’m sure regular reader TH could do a better job but he’s not a bum anymore, he has to work and could be busy so….
We started the day off at about 10, wanted it too be sooner but I just couldn’t get my hair in the right place. Anyway hopped on the Tube (I'm envisioning this to be something out of Logan's Run) and headed to the field, there were a number of people heading to the field but nothing too bad… keep in my this is 3 hours before the game. The walk to the stadium was ~ 1 km, but it took a while before FedEx Field came into sight. Once it did, it was big… this is also a new stadium (10 yrs old) and the look just screamed awesome.
While we sauntered around the parking lot the wind wasn’t going the right direction but you could see the smoke well before the aroma hit you. Yes this was tailgating. It may be hard to understand but they allow their fans to drink in the parking lot before the game. In talking to tailgaters they say it’s almost more important than the game. You have vehicles with BBQ’s mounted on to them, tents set up, tables and chairs set up, mini games of football even and anywhere from 5-20 of your closest friends and this is happening like every 2nd parking stall.
We got to the doors where they have 2 lines of defense. First you get frisked. Yes they don’t just look at you and do a quick profile (we're talking to you Taylor Field). They get you to spread your arms and they frisk. Upon finding my camera in my pocket I had to pull it out to show them, there was no way of sneaking anything in. After that you go to the doors where they take your ticket rip it and send you on your way, no scanners involved. (yes, we're still talking to you Taylor Field). They do this for everyone walking in, yes all 90,000 people.
We then found the Redskins store which was packed... just wall to wall people. Lots to chose from in there though. What I was looking for was an old school Theismann jersey (compound fracture included in the purchase price?). Couldn’t find it but I did find the old helmets. You know, the ones made out of leather and fit right over the head…. I wouldn’t really trust it too much but I wore for the entire game and plan on wearing it to touch football games and such (ill advised Saturday trips to WalMart probably should be included in there as well). After we left the store, all with jerseys or memorabilia in hand, we started to wander.
The wandering was why we went to the stadium so early. We had found in Dallas that was the best part, while things were still quiet and such. There were actually a lot of people around but nothing too bad. Also going early allowed us to get to basically field level to see some of the warm up.
Next was some eats. Really there’s only a few stops where you can get food, beer on the other hand... you can’t walk 20 steps between vendors or people with trays… they really promote the beer for $8. We chose a little store off to the side, what the others got ??? but I got a hot dog and a Coke… at a Rider game, what 7-9 bucks? Well the hot dog alone was 8 dollars and the Coke was 4, so 12 dollars later I had breakfast/lunch in hand and ready to go find our seats.
The seats were well……who could have known? When they were bought on StubHub we had seen some with the warning of possible obstruction. Though looking at the pics and at the stadium you couldn’t tell there could be giant pillars in front of you. Turns out the 2nd level of the stadium overhangs the upper 20 rows of the 1st level and of course the level has to be supported by pillars so every 20 feet or so. It’s such that the overhang is right above your head, like 10 feet up, so towards the back standing would cut off half the playing field. Luckily our seats weren’t pillar blocked and we could stand and still see the whole field, though not seeing the whole stadium took a bit from the experience. They were still really close and that always helps. Still the next trip maybe a bit better research will be done, maybe going on a message board or something…
Anyway the game... the game was great, the Skins were doing well everyone was happy - except for maybe the angriest man in the world (hey - I wasn't at the game), who was beside us. He started kicking a pillar to make noise, we were in the stomping zone after all. He then got a kid involved as well… it was hilarious. Also the unison singing of “The Hey Song” (which apparently is just Rock and Roll Pt.2 by Gary Glitter with lyrics. Ah Gary Glitter, everybody's favorite arena rock and child pornography enthusiast). The song apparently started in Syracuse but it has made it’s way all over, but this was a first for me... very impressive. There was also another song but none of us could get the words but the Hey Song was like every 10 minutes or so we figured it out quickly, TH the first go around.
The Redskins had to lose which put everyone in a somber mood as we all left the stadium but it was all good. The tube ride home was standing room only, but nothing that bad, they really might have the largest parking lot ever, we’re talking the size of downtown Regina. All in all the same 3 words come to mind… We did it….We did it. Can’t wait till next years trip… New york, New York I hear it’s a heck of a town.
Do these fools look like they'd last one second in NYC? And seriously, a Santana Moss jersey? Was it on sale or is that actually just his jersey? He sure doesn't need it anymore.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I have a confession to make - I was too busy this afternoon brooding over why the Leader-Post suddenly decided to break out a new shade of Conservative blue for its front page less than a week after a Sask Party election victory to actually write anything about the Roughrider game. Probably just a coincidence. And yes, I know the Sask Party and the Conservatives are not one and the same but as they say, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... And yes, this is how my brain works - blame it on fluoridation or non-fluoridation, whichever it is we have here, I can never remember. It's probably all the fault of the Communists in any case.
I'm not in the best position to tell the story of the first playoff game in the Greater Regina Area since 1988 anyway. When I walked into the establishment where I watched the game, I immediately enquired as to whether we could turn the TV to the Cowboys/Giants game. That idea was not greeted was much enthusiasm I can assure you. But the Roughrider game was enjoyable to watch, even on TV. My personal highlight was Chris Walby heckling the crowd with a live mic right in front of him - this story is made even better by the fact that an acquaintance of mine claims to be the one who started yelling at Walby.
Since I was not at the game, you are in luck because our own Cooper smooth-talked his way into a ticket and filed the following eyewitness account:
Memories of a Roughrider home playoff game, not so different than “Memories of Montreal Steak Spice” from our friends at President's Choice. A game that, like the spice, had some kick - some pizazz, some razzle-dazzle and a lot of tension. I have been to a lot of Roughrider home games in my time, the majority of which were spent in the now long-lost University Section. I thought that with the closure of that legendary section I would never again see the same exuberance and emotion from fans that I had witnessed there. However, the Riders first home playoff game in 19 years gave birth to a new section. One that is twice as loud as the University Section, twice as rowdy, three times as exuberant, and by all estimations, ten to twenty times drunker than anything ever seen in the old University Section.
Our seats were located in Section 205 in the upper deck on the West Side, Row 12. I was in Seat 36, right at the end of the aisle…Perfect! We got to Taylor Field roughly an hour before kickoff and the place was already packed. Getting out of the car you knew that it was going to be a special day. The practice field was jammed packed with fans getting their pre-game drink on. However, our childish glee was temporarily extinguished on our entrance to the stadium after security confiscated our flasks…To the people at “Securitas”, you have made the list! Then there was the walk up to the upper deck. A brutal climb up what has to be a 75 degree grade, which some fans refer to as “The Death March”. After stopping on the 1st level to catch our breath and get our Rider Ryes we continued on our trek to section 205. We got to our seats with 40 minutes to go till kickoff and the stadium was already 2/3’s full and rockin’. Upon our arrival at our seats we were each given complimentary CFL “Thunder Sticks” which were of the cheapest quality. Ours suffered catastrophic blowouts shortly into the first quarter.
5 minutes to kickoff... being with 29,000 people singing the National Anthem literally gives you chills.
Finally it’s kickoff, what we have all been waiting for. A decent return on a short kick leads to Joseph's TD pass to Flick. The place goes insane. I honestly thought the upper deck was going to collapse in on itself and kill everyone below. The playing of the Roughrider fight song after the touchdown and every score thereafter was a beautiful touch, every fan singing along in unison. Then on Calgary’s first possession we recover a Burris fumble, the crowd takes it up a notch even higher. Chants of “Burris Sucks” rained down. A Pilsner can (big surprise) goes flying over my head directed towards the lone Stamps fan 3 rows below…bullseye! The near deafening crowd noise was continuous throughout the majority of the game. A lot of the time I couldn’t hear Scott talking next to me.
With 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter I went down below to get some more refreshments. To my shock - the entire upper deck was out of liquor! Beer, Rye, Vodka, you name it…all gone. I head down a level…same result. So I decide to get a hot dog instead. Wrong! All gone as well. How about a hamburger…at $30.00 a pop who can resist? Well not too many I guess as they are all sold out as well. It is not even halftime yet and the West Side is out of food and drink. Brutal!! Note to management: When holding the biggest game in well, almost ever, you may want to prepare! Anyway, halftime arrives and Trooper is playing in the South end zone to entertain us all. Well unfortunately our section missed out on the performance with the lack of speakers, same thing goes for Captain Tractor at the start of the 4th quarter.
I will fast forward to the end of the 4th quarter because I am pressed for time.
The place is going absolutely apesh*t. I mean crazy! Then it appears Calgary recovers the onside kick and it is like a funeral just broke out. People are in complete shock. Could the Riders being doing it to us again? Thankfully Ken Lazurak confirms the offside call and we recover the subsequent re-kick. With Joseph's kneel-down as time expires, the place goes mental. It really was something special. Hands down the best game I have been too all because of the atmosphere created by us the fans. We were loud as hell, even louder when the Stamps had the ball (as witnessed by many procedure and offside calls) and unbelievably quite while we were on offense. It was fantastic!
I also have to add this tidbit. On the ride home listening to the call in show on CKRM an obviously elderly lady phoned in asking about the upcoming game in BC. Here is what her question/comment was, “Will they allow the BC fans to have those noise making sticks at their game? Cause if they do that is not fair at all. That’s for Rider fans.” Priceless. I love the absolute close-mindedness of some of the brain dead, hick fans we have in this province. Yes I am talking to you Mr. Al-Choholic #32, wearing the Pilsner box as a hat.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Actually before I get to the NFL picks this week, I guess I should do the big game this week.
Saskatchewan vs. Calgary
When the week started I thought this would be a very, very close game. I thought there would be one or two key plays that decided the whole game. And I figured that Calgary had a good chance of coming out on top. But that was before Calgary decided to totally self-destruct just days before the game. It's come out that Tom Higgins is apparently a lame-duck coach, who is out after the season regardless if the Stampeders win or lose. Regardless of whether this is true or not - how oh how could Calgary possibly let a story like this come out days before a playoff game (Calgary ownership/management has denied it). It seems like either a deliberate attempt to torpedo the team or an attempt to get the team to rally around the coach. For some reason I just don't see that rallying cry strategy working here.
Also veteran linebacker Brian Clark won't be playing because of "ratio reasons" from what I read in the Calgary Herald. Apparently there are whispers that this has caused some sort of divide in the Calgary locker room.
When you add it up it looks like big trouble for Calgary. I think this one gets away from them early - even though Wes "Brandenburg" Cates is not going to be playing for Saskatchewan. The Roughriders live and die by Kerry Joseph - as he goes so goes the team. Which might be terrifying, depending on your thought processes.
Initially I wasn't going to pick a winner in this game, only say that it was going to be close. But not picking a winner is actually not all that interesting, so here it is:
Saskatchewan 35 - Calgary 21 - I absolutely think that Calgary is going to melt down.
Ok, on to the NFL. I was 11-3 last week and, as I said in the last post, I don't want to spend hours in front of the computer today - so the NFL picks are going to be quick-hitters.
Here are the Week 10 picks:
Atlanta (they have to win this game don't they? Carolina doesn't have a quarterback - not even Vinny)
Ok, that's it - oh, as much as I hate to do it... Manitoba 21 - Regina 13
I'm going to burn through the rest of the NFC predictions right now - because I don't feel like spending hours in front of the computer today. I'll give you my predictions and the current records and you can draw your own conclusions. This segment really didn't turn out how I anticipated, I should have just left well enough alone.
Dallas... My prediction was 11-5 and they're 7-1
NY Giants... My prediction was 6-10 and they're 6-2
Philadelphia... My prediction was 9-7 and they're 3-5
Washington... My prediction was 7-9 and they're 5-3
Atlanta... My prediction was 6-10 and they're 2-6
Carolina... My prediction was 9-7 and they're 4-4
New Orleans... My prediction was 11-5 and they're 4-4
Tampa Bay... My prediction was 6-10 and they're 5-4
Chicago... My prediction was 9-7 and they're 3-5
Detroit... My prediction was 4-12 and they're 6-2
Green Bay... My prediction was 5-11 and they're 7-1
Minnesota... My prediction was 6-10 and they're 3-5
Arizona... My prediction was 6-10 and they're 3-5
St. Louis... My prediction was 10-6 and they're 0-8
San Francisco... My prediction was 9-7 and they're 2-6
Seattle... My prediction was 9-7 and they're 4-4
Ok, I'll be back in about 5 minutes for this weekends predictions - I must brew me some coffee.
Friday, November 9, 2007
I'd like to thank everyone who keeps me informed of all the goonery around the league. NHL Headshot of the Week is sweeping the nation and it wouldn't be possible without you.
Cooper called me while I was out last night, just to make sure I was aware of this one. Montreal's Francis Bouillon elbowed Boston's Aaron Ward in the head as he was skating past. Apparently there was a stretcher on the ice but Ward was able to get off with some help. This video doesn't really show it - but it's the best I could find. If you've seen a better one let me know.
Here's another great one - it's a compilation video put together by CBC that sums everything up very nicely.
I think I've got enough clips to put together into a Links column today.
...I wanted to put up the beginning of the Conan O'Brien Jub-Jub Saga. But it looks like the clip has been taken down from You Tube. The short version is that Conan agreed to donate $1000 to the charity of Joe Buck's choice if Buck would say Jub Jub during the World Series.
...And here's what happened.
...Ok, here's Conan's follow-up to the World Series Jub Jub - and it actually explains the whole thing.
...And now here's the first part of the new Jub Jub challenge that Conan put out to Charles Barkley.
...Here's part two of the Barkley interview - this actually contains the Jub Jub portion.
And now a couple non-Jub Jub clips for you...
...Here's the 15 laterals play from a couple weeks ago that you might have seen - I still can't believe that nobody could make one tackle or knock the ball down.
...And the CFL on PTI - who knew?