...randomness surrounding Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard, and other great indie rock bands; a quasi objective look at "my" sporting teams; the random horror film; plus other crap as we see fit...all with a Pittsburgh based feel.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Copa America: Round 1 Recap

So if the 1st round of Copa America will be any indication, perhaps this tournament will be a little more wide open than anticipated.

In the opening game, Peru gets the party started beating 14-time champ Uruguay, 3-nil. Maybe not the biggest upset, but the convincing manner in which Peru played and Uruguay's failure to show up had to be a surprise.

Home country Venezuela meanwhile, squanders a fantastic performance from Giancarlo Maldonado, and gives Bolivia a late 2-2 draw. Haven't seen a status report on DC United's Jaime Moreno, who went limping off late, but Bolivia absolutely needs him against Uruguay today.

What was all this talk about Mexico falling apart after the Gold Cup final? There were numerous reports about inner-squad friction, and with injuries to guys like Andres Guardardo, reigning champs Brasil had to have been licking their chops. But Mexico completely shut down the revamped Brasil squad (no Dhino, no Kaka), and the goal by Nery Castillo was amazing.

In the other Group B game, Ecuador completely dominated Chile for most of the match. Then gave up 2 goals in the final 10, the last off a laser from Carlos Villanueva.

Paraquay 5-nil over Colombia. Colombia...thanks for coming (sorry, Carlos). Roque Santa Cruz gets the hat trick, and was probably the top performer of Round 1.

The young U.S. squad played a surprisingly great game for the 1st 70 minutes. The defensive back line completely suffocated and frustrated the likes of Messi and Riquelme the entire 1st half. If not for one lapse on the Riquelme free kick, in which my boy Crespo tied it at 1's, they could've easily had the lead going into half. Eddie Johnson was effective up front, but as expected, the U.S. missed the speed of Donovan and Beasley.

At 2-1, you could've made a case that it was the best game the U.S. may have hoped for. But after getting undressed for 2 more goals in the final 20, 1 of which was an exquisite delivery from Heinze's left foot and equally incredible header from Aimar (my personal "best goal" of the 1st round), the "moral victory" may have even gone out the window.

Sure...there were a lot of positives to be taken from the American side. But I still can't help but think we could've used more help up front to help counter on what was a tremendous defensive effort from Conrad, Demerit, Bornstein, and Wynne. With little offense to supplement, it just seemed like it was a matter of time before the skill of Argentina would shine.

Ray Hudson quote of the 1st round:

With Argentina / U.S. tied at 1 in the 70th minute, and the U.S. playing some suffocating defense, Argentina finally breaks through with the game winner off a beautiful build-up from their front line...

Hudson: "It was a brilliant little goal that opened up the United States...so, it wasn't just a little piece of crap that they'd fallen to. It was tremendous genius by Riquelme and little Messi, and again, the dispatch by Crespo was fantastic."

Here's the hi-lites (the best I could find) from that Argentina / US match:

Group A
  1. Peru 3 pts +3
  2. Venezuela 1 pt 0
  3. Bolivia 1 pt 0
  4. Uruguay 0 pts -3
Group B
  1. Mexico 3 pts +2
  2. Chile 3 pts +1
  3. Ecuador 0 pts -1
  4. Brazil 0 pts -2
Group C
  1. Paraguay 3 pts +5
  2. Argentina 3 pts +3
  3. U.S. 0 pts -3
  4. Colombia 0 pts -5
A look ahead to Round 2, starting today:

From a United States perspective, you need to suck it up and root for your biggest rival Mexico on Sunday. While we've got a good shot at finishing ahead of Colombia with their monstrous 5 goal deficit, the U.S needs to be at least the 2nd best of the 3rd place finishers to advance. That means...we need Mexico to beat Ecuador. Ecuador has potential, making it to the final 16 of the World Cup last year, and they looked impressive against Chile on Wednesday. They dominated the entire match, but lacked a little killer instinct and simply fell apart at the end of the match. They not only squandered the apparent victory, but the 1 point draw as well. And with Brazil on tap in round 3, they've gotta get a win vs. Mexico if they hope to move on.

With a minus 3 goal differential, the U.S. can not afford any more moral victories. With 1 point against Paraguay Monday, they could still advance with a win over Colombia. However, with 3 points on Monday, and Argentina yet to face Paraguay, the U.S. could potentially be looking at a 2nd place finish.

Meanwhile, look for Brasil to get on track against Chile, and climb outta the Group B cellar. And I've got no clue what to expect from Uruguay. Bolivia played inspiring football to the end against the home team Venezuela, so this match may be closer than some think. With a Peru win over Venezuela, they'd have a stranglehold on Group A.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pirates Fans vs. Nuttings

If you haven't heard the news, a savvy group of diehard Buco fans is organizing a protest against Pittsburgh Pirate ownership this Saturday. It sounds similar to the "Free the Birds" protest waged in Baltimore last season (you remember, the one I proudly took part in :). In the 3rd inning, the plan is for participants to rise from their seats, and leave the park in unison.

I believe they plan on wearing green shirts, which is to signify the $$ that fans contribute to the running joke that is Pittsburgh Pirate baseball. I'm not sure if it was part of the grand plan, but the green shirts should also help them stand out from the thousands of people who never sit in their seat long enough to watch any of the game, anyway.

I sincerely applaud this effort. If I hadn't already handed in my Pirates Fan Card a long time ago, I'd join them hand-in-hand Saturday night, and make my way to the turnstiles in the 3rd inning (I mean, it's only the Nationals and I'd already have my Bobblehead in hand ;). I'd chant the chant, and plead with others to see the light and join our cause.

But since I'm no longer a fan...I don't care. And my fear is, for this ambitious group of up-risers, that the majority of fans don't care, either. Which is where the Nuttings have you by the noots.

I grew up one of these diehards. I attended the '79 World Series with my dad, and swung my pennant with pride. I collected thousands of baseball cards as a kid, and always overvalued by beloved Bucos (I think I refused a Dale Murphy rookie for a 1980 Enrique Romo once...yeah, that was stupid). I remained a true Pirates fan during my 17 year stay in Chicago, and I actually claimed Barry Bonds as my favorite player once upon a time (yeah, also stupid).

But after 14 years of futility, and more importantly, absolutely zero end in sight, I have had enough. Yes...it's hard to cut ties after 30+ years of fandom. But sometimes you need to cut your losses. Call those 14 years of misery...a sunk cost. I've got over 1/2 my life to live, and I'm not going to sit around and bask in misery for the fun of it (i.e. Cubs fans). It took the Red Sox close to a century to win...AND THEY'VE GOT MONEY TO SPEND!!! I've got plenty of other interests that are far less boring than sitting around and following a losing baseball team the rest of my life.

Oh...the money. That brings us to the Nuttings.

I understand the complaint. But as a non-fan, and a businessman, I'm not sure all the blame can be placed on ownership. Profit maximization is a theory that Mr. Nutting obviously did not sleep on in class. Why would any smart business owner invest more capital than necessary? I know what you're saying: "they owe it to the fans."

But it's these fans who are in the minority. Next time you go to a Pirates game, take a long look around you. Besides the guy behind you, who "boos" senselessly at every sacrifice bunt or intentional walk (you know, the chubby moron guy who doesn't know when to boo), the majority of people don't care. Last week when Mr. Thome and the Sox were in town, we were fortunate to get some decent seats (thanks, Jim!!) right along the aisle. And this was my view the entire game (these particular pics were taken during a 1/2 inning!!!):

What I'm saying is...at some point, much of the blame has to be placed on the fans (the bad ones, that is). I'm sorry to say it, but we may have to just face the facts: Pittsburgh is a bad baseball town. I know there's a slew of you out there who LOVE your baseball, and LOVE your Bucos...so I mean no offense to yens. If the majority were more like you, perhaps the Nuttings would feel the burn in the pocket book more. And I know 15 seasons of suckage has something to do with that.

But a night at PNC Park is no longer about baseball. It's a night out with the family. It's Kennywood without the rides. It's a summer night out with pals and beers (which is the category I now fall into). The Nuttings have witnessed this culture evolve, and molded the perfect business model. They have taken "baseball" completely out of the equation...AND PEOPLE STILL GO!!! From an outsider's perspective who doesn't care about the Pirates, the Nuttings may even deserve an applause from a business perspective.

Why sign multi million dollar players, when you can get the same effect (attendance wise), with:

- Bobbleheads
- Fireworks
- Pierogi Races
- Cotton Candy
- Family Friendly Jumbo Tron Stuff (i.e. players doing funny paintings, and Etch-a-Sketch's)
- Loud Dorky Guy in stands doing "Let's Play Bucco!"
- A 2nd mascot, called the "Jolly Roger", to mask any misery from losing
- "We Will" promises, to capitalize on blue collar Pittsburgh-er work ethic culture

(actually, I would bet there's a list like this in the front office, sans "loud dorky guy")

Evidence of this culture permeates throughout PNC. Ushers are not allowed to prevent fans from going to their seats in the middle of play, and 95% of the fans don't know any better. Try leaving or entering your seat at Fenway or Yankees Stadium. If you even manage to get by the usher, you and your family will be shamed to no end by the surrounding fans. Try doing it at a Penguins game.

I'm not sure what can be done to change this culture, but until it does, I'm afraid the Nuttings and the Suckos will be here to stay. For those fans protesting this weekend, I sincerely applaud the efforts. I only wish there were more fans like you in this town. If you were the majority, perhaps ownership would be forced to deal with your wrath. And maybe I'd still be aboard.

For those out there who remain on ship...please join these fine people (and real baseball fans). For more information, go here:


Also appears there's a tone of information out there about this protest, and if you do a Google, you'll see it's garnering a bunch of attention.

HOLY CRAP...actually, while writing this, I've discovered that I know one of the organizers...a swell young chap from Duquesne (you go Sean!!!). If I know Sean, and I think I can tell from working with him this past Spring semester, this won't be a half-assed operation.

As said, unlike some of the nay-sayers (i.e. Mark Madden), I applaud the efforts. The only difference is, I would maybe direct a portion of my outrage towards some of the picnic-going population of PNC. Maybe instead of leaving, you stand up from your seat, and turn away from the field. Perhaps this would perturb some of those non-baseball fans sitting around you. And if the usher asks you to sit, peacefully leave your seat and just walk up and down the aisles the whole inning.

So if you're mad as hell, and can't take it anymore...Join the protest! And if anyone out there attends, Empties Crushed would love some pictures. Even though I'm no longer a fan...the EC is down with the cause.



Tuesday, June 26, 2007

for Howie...

this is a request, and a repeater on EC, but a goodie if you haven't heard it yet (read: slackers like Howie who have fallen behind the rest of the class :)

(left click to play; right click to download)
::Frank Caliendo - Jim Rome's Apple Tort::

Also, if you're planning on seeing Frank when he comes to town in a couple of weeks...HURRY!! A few shows are already sold out. Go here for show times / tickets at the Improv.

Oh...while I'm here...let's give out an Ass Hat that's been way overdue:

Some people just flat don't get it.

Supposedly, Mr. Milledge released a rap album that contained multiple "N-words" and sexist terminology towards women in a song called "Bend Ya Knees" (and I apologize b/c this news is about a month old). Anyway...I say "supposedly" because I've never heard it. After Mets GM Omar Minaya had a sh*t fit (and perhaps rightfully so) it's been taken down from the record label's website, one that Lastings founded called Soul-Ja Boi Records.

...crazy...I just saw flashes of Kellen Winslow right there...

Hey...if a respected guy like Ron Artest can do it, I say why not Lastings Milledge? And relatively speaking, perhaps not the biggest deal in today's world of American gangsta /athletes. The Ass Hat's kinda funny, though.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bobby Mo, Beck, Henry, and AMERICA!

Hey kids...just passing this along from the RMU Office of Alumni:

Don't forget to join us for the
RMU Alumni Networking/Social Reception

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 5:00-7:00 p.m.at Primanti Bros. 8651 University Blvd., Moon

Come on out and meet your Alumni Relations staff and enjoy
the company of fellow RMU alumni living and working in the area.

And here's the part you may be interested in:

"Appetizers and 1st beverage are on us"

Unfortunately, I will not be there.


More Bobby Mo...

Not sure why I'm about A YEAR LATE ON THIS (!!!), but just found a great blog covering our beloved Colonials, and I'm not sure there's anyone better suited to do it.

Appears fellow Colonial and CSCer Andrew Chiappazzi has a blog called Colonials Corner, bringing you the inside scoop on all you want to know about Bobby Mo athletics. Andrew's a brilliant, talented young writer who is professional beyond his years. He's been doing play-by-play for the football & hoops teams for 3 years now, so he definitely knows his stuff. I'm expecting big things from him in the future, and I'm extremely jacked to see there's finally a site out there dedicated to Bob. Go visit:

Colonials Corner

From the sad side of sports:

Former relief pitcher for the Cubs, Pads, Giants, & Red Sox was found dead at his home on Saturday at the ripe, young age of 38. Now, before I get called out by people who may remember, I will admit that I never "appreciated" Beck as a player. I thought his curly mullet and stupid arm swing prior to delivery was...well...dorky.

That being said, it was found that during his comeback attempt while he was with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs in 2003, that Beck was a pretty swell dude. He would park his Winnebago (where he lived at the time) right outside the outfield fence, and he would sign autographs and drink beers with fans who would stop by to meet him. That's pretty cool. Even if I thought the guy was a dork at one time, that doesn't mean I'd wish ill will on him. Condolences to his family, and may the arm swing rest in peace.


Thierry Henry, upon passing a physical today, will be the newest member of FC Barcelona.


I suspect this may spell the end of Samuel Eto'o in Camp Nou, but could you imagine:

Ronaldhino, Messi, Eto'o, AND Henry!!! That's some scoring punch right there, kids. And arguably the best players from Brazil, Argentina, Cameroon, and France all on the same squad.

Throw in Deco, Saviola, Iniesta, Zambrotta (Italian!!), Xavi, and Puyol. We want La Liga BACK, DAMMIT!


And finally, in honor of US Soccer taking home their 4th Gold Cup yesterday:

Play it loud, play it proud kids:

(left click to play; right click to download)
Team America - America, F%&k Yeah! ::

Sunday, June 24, 2007

U.S. wins Gold Cup

Great win for the US, coming back from a 1-Nil deficit at Half. All in front of a predominantly Mexican crowd. With the win, the US gets the 2nd automatic berth into the 2009 Confederations Cup. The other auto bid went to the #1 team on the planet, my beloved Italia, for winning the World Cup (Italy, still atop the FIFA rankings, btw, thank you.)

Turd box Donovan notched it at 1 with a PK (credit to Brian Ching for earning the PK), and got his 34th career International goal, tying him with Eric Wynalda. But the big goal came from Benny Feilhaber in the 70th minute...frickin incredible strike from right outside the 18.

Amazing, exciting, end-to-end action throughout. Props to both clubs for the exciting game. Hats off to Nery Castillo, my Man of the Match, who created a slew of chances for Mexico. And kudos to Andres Guardardo (who got carried off on a stretcher afterwards, hope he's OK for Copa America), and a stud performance from Goalkeep Oswaldo Sanchez.

Great game.

Now for the part I don't understand...and I'll claim my naive ignorance as a semi-novice fan here...

WTF is with the squad we're (US) sending to the Copa America

It's obvious the #1 goal for the US team this year was to win CONCACAF. Bob Bradley, whose done an amazing job so far, as so much as said so. But there's no doubt the better competition resides in South America. So...if you're goal as a National team is to compete with the best in the world, why wouldn't you send your best to Venezuela to face the likes of Argentina and Brazil?

No Beasley, no Donovan (whose probably thankful he'll be saved another embarrassment), no Dempsey, no Bocanegra. I understand you need to start prepping some youth for the future, but is throwing them to the wolves, so to speak, the right way to go about it? After a great accomplishment such as winning the Gold Cup, we're going to follow it up with sending a lackluster squad to face Argentina in the opening round Thursday?

If we lose by 5 goals to Argentina, the world's 5th best team according the FIFA rankings, and who isn't holding back any top players, what does that say for US Soccer? I say, instead of sending our B Team, we should be thankful that we're even invited by South America to this event, and at least send our best.

Instead, we're using it as an exhibition for the youth of US Soccer. Again...I'm probably a little naive, here. I understand the EPL is starting training camps soon, and guys like Dempsey and Bocanegra need to report.

Oh, well. I guess I'm just disappointed because I wanted to see my guy Donovan get embarrassed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pens Ink Gary Roberts!!!!


A Big F.U. to you Ottawa! (in a gentlemanly, shake hands at the end of the series type manner, that is). See you in October, Ass Clowns.

U-S-and-A!!! U-S-and-A!!! U-S-and-A!!!

I've got a lot of catching up to do w/in the next week: ASS HATS (including the 1st Ass Hat request), a Jim Thome & Homies visit to the Burgh, Copa America looms, and Pitchfork's only 3 weeks away...but 1st...

Gold Cup Semi's - US Soccer gets some help to get it done vs. our pals from above. If you haven't seen it, Canada had a clear goal taken away for a phantom offsides. It would've tied it at 2-2 four minutes into stoppage.

Whoever saw the game got to see why I loathe Landon Donovan. Minutes after getting a Yellow for an obvious dive (and he was frickin 40 yards away from the goal!!! what's the point!?!), LD takes a PK that DeMarcus Beasley had earned, and once again he goes into that lame-ass little notice-me notice-me routine. KICK the BALL you ASS!!! You're embarrassing us, already!

No doubt Donovan's a quality player, perhaps the best on team USA. But the dude's persona wreaks of turdness. My other problem with Donovan is his propensity to strive against weaker competition, and fail miserably against quality (see: 2006 World Cup or his inability to hack it in Germany), all the while acting like his poop don't stink.

I've got tremendous respect for dudes like Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, Tim Howard, and Carlos Bocanegro...all guys who have played at the highest levels in Europe. And I'd love to see a guy like Eddie Johnson go abroad, just to see what he's made of. But Donovan gets zero props from me, despite the fact that he's 1 goal away from tying my boy Eric Wynalda for most goals ever in International competition.

Don't believe me? Watch the Copa America, which starts next week on GolTV, and see how LD disappears against the likes of Argentina, Paraguay, and Colombia (the rest of Group C).

Anyway...enough of the only soccer player in the world I dislike. For the good guys...my personal Players of the Match:

U.S. - Frankie Hejduk. Any coincidence he looks like my boy Hernan Crespo? Dude scores the 1st goal (off of a nice little lay off from tool box Donovan) right outside the box, and then holds down the back line the rest of the match. Hejduk was all over the place. Quality defending. Bad news - he picks up his 2nd Yellow in 2 games, so he'll sit the Final vs. Mexico.

Honorable mention to the Coach's son, Michael Bradley...all up to the point where he got a Straight Red for burying the back of Julian DeGuzman's legs. Besides that moment...Bravo. Bradley will also miss the final. Oops.

Canada - where the hell did Ian Hume come from?? Hume comes off the bench trailing 2-nil, energizes Canada with some physical play (I believe my fellow Americans would call it thuggery), buries the 1st goal, then plays Goalkeeper by stopping a clear US goal off a Clint Dempsey header.

Mexico beat Guadeloupe 1-Nil in the other semi. Final is scheduled for this Sunday at Soldier Field: 2:30pm on Fox Soccer. Judging from the stands last night, I wouldn't be surprised if Mexico had the home field advantage...at least in terms of fans.

I mentioned Stiffler yesterday...he's all good!! A little groggy with about a 4x4 bald spot and 4 stitches. But he's safe at home, thankfully.


I mentioned that Ray Hudson quote from Saturday's La Liga final round....

For most of the game, whenever possible, the cameras kept catching Posh Spice, Tom Cruise, and Katie Holmes in the stands...cheering on their boy Becks. Clay surface stud Rafael Nadal was also in attendance. After Madrid added an insurance goal to go up 3-1, Hudson was carrying on about the victory, talking about the gutsy performance and year for a lot of the Madrid players, blah, blah, blah. He started praising the play of Goalkeep Iker Casillas. Now if you know what Hudson sounds like, with accent and all, you'll probably find this funny. If not...you may wanna move on:

RH (referring to Casillas): "...beautiful tears of a man whose heart was bursting..."

Phil (interjects as the camera just showed Tom Cruise again): "you mean Tom Cruise..."

RH (almost in a yell): "Will you stop talking about tennis players and stupid Hollywood actors, Phil!!! It's the gladiators out there, man!! Not tennis players...(or) Tom Cruise. Gimme a break!! If he even smelled a soccer jock strap, he'd faint dead away."

Classic! Hands down the best color-guy I've EVER heard. I've searched all over for more Ray Hudson sound bytes, info, and stuff...but it's been a hard find. Check out Hudson's Wikipedia page, and there's a crapload of his quotes. Amazingly, they've already got the Real Madrid / Mallorca match and his quotes on there!!!! If you notice, it appears their version of the quote is different from mine. But I swear mine's the correct version (I rewound the thing 20 times last night). Great stuff:

Ray Hudson Wikipedia page

If you don't have GolTV, you're truly missing out. We've got it with Comcast, but you need to pay an extra $5/month...it includes Fox Soccer, as well as a slew of other regional Fox stations. I also know DirecTV has it, b/c we're getting ready to switch (and I wouldn't without it).

And if you're thinking of subscribing, now's the time. Through July 15th, they'll broadcast EVERY match from the Copa America in Venezuela (I think 26 total matches). And I'm sure Hudson will do his share of games. It gets under way this Tuesday, and USA plays Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Argentina Thursday, at 8:50pm. My DVR is set. Click here for the complete schedule:

Copa America on GolTV

My pick to win: Argentina gets revenge against Brazil. Yeah, I know. That's going out on a limb.


late notice from Tommy Amoeba, but a great show tonight in Wilkinsburg, PA, featuring the cartoon rock n' roll depravity of Amoeba Knievel. Straight from Tommy's e-mail list, here's the scoop:

Mr. Roboto Project; 722 Wood St; Wilkinsburg

Also featuring Joe Jack Talcum of the Dead Milkmen, Ukebox (from Philly), and the Pittsburgh Goof Rock Consortium starring the Weird Paul Rock Band (described as Pittsburgh's loudest, weirdest band). I thought Tommy had the market cornered on "weird," so they must be something special. Can't personally vouch for the others, but Amoeba Knievel is WELL worth the low $6 price for admission.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Crazy Golf Ball Whacker Guy

So Jess and I got to check out a practice round at the U.S. Open last week. Must admit, I'm not the biggest golf guy. Who's kidding who...I actually find it somewhat boring. To me, the greatest contributions that golf has brought us has been Shooter McGavin and Judge Schmales.

Anyway...it ended up being good times. Was a beautiful, sunny day, and a relatively less-crowded gallery. Being a "practice round," we were allowed to bring a camera. So we had that going for us, which was nice. Not quite sure I get the whole "lets cut down all the trees for aesthetic purposes" thingy.

OH...and we got to take a picture with the trophy, compliments of the Lexus tent. We didn't get to see Tiger, but since he appears to be a pompous ass, I didn't really care. We did see Sergio Garcia, Lee Janzen, Jose Maria Olazabul (pronounced "o-la-THAW-bul" as I came to find out), Justin Leonard, Vijay Singh, and a slew of others I could not recognize.

Click here for some more pics:

US Open at Oakmont


TORONTO FC!!! Hell Yeah!! 4-Nil over Dallas on Sunday. I know we're still in only 6th place, but dare I say Playoffs? 4-6-1 after an 0-4 start? I'm crazy enough to say we can win this thing.

This Saturday...huge Eastern match-up at New England, 7:30.

Oh...and Coach Mo Johnston has just started a blog on the official TFC site.Cool.

This is kick ass. My boy Dichio scores as the crazies in the stands chant his name. I believe this is somewhat close to where I'll be sitting. Ned?


Congrats to Roberto Carlos, Becks, and Real Madrid for another come back win Sunday, and winning La Liga. And thanks for an incredibly exciting season. Ray Hudson again was priceless on the GolTV broadcast. I'll try to find the exact quote and come back later.


Gold Cup Semi's tonight kids - U.S.A. vs. Canada - 7:30 Fox Soccer Channel. Can I be a U.S.A. fan even with Landon Donovan on the squad? He's perhaps, just perhaps, the ONLY futbol player I've found that I truly dislike. What's with that dumb ass routine before a PK?

Yes...I live in the good ole U.S. and A., but does that mean my allegiance to a National Futbol team must be with the U.S. as well? Is it sacrilegious or whatnot to say my National team is Italy. Who cares?

VIVA ITALIA!!! (#1 team in the world right now, btw)

But I'll still root for the U.S. tonight, just so I can talk smack with my Canadian pals :)


Did anyone notice that Sammy Sosa did NOT need a translator when talking to the media last night after hitting his 600th HR?

What a douche bag.


And finally, and most importantly...

I know I try to keep it somewhat light-hearted around here...but for those out there who've met Stiffler before, please keep him in your thoughts today...

The little guy went to the vet this morning for surgery to remove a tumor that was on his side. We were told it appears non-cancerous, but we're still getting it removed to be on the safe side. Mom and dad are a nervous wreck right now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kobe Wants a Trade


The only thing worse than NBA tabloid news from the King of NBA tabloid drama, ESPN, is NBA tabloid drama IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE FRICKING SEASON!!!!

I need to hear more about the NBA like I need a shotgun blast in the face.

I'd try to Google you some info on where to find that guerrilla video on Kobe's tyrade about Laker management, but as you can see, I've wasted enough of my time on this subject.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Friday and Stuff

What a beaut of a day...misc stuff....

Bob is BACK!! Robert Pollard will be touring again kids. Sounds like a show at the Southgate House (THE SOUTHGATE HOUSE!!!!!), the Metro, and a show in NY City...late November / early December. We will most definitely be in Newport and Chicago. NY...we will see. HELL YEAH!!!

Not "official" I guess, since nothing's up on the Robert Pollard website just yet, but I'm sure there's been word around Postal Blowfish, which I haven't peeped in quite a while. Maybe it's time to lurk a bit...
Here's the scoop from Paste Magazine: Robert Pollard Announces New Albums, Return to Stage.
How much longer will Bob continue to tour? If you're aware of what happened last fall, there's gotta be some serious doubts. To NOT be at the Southgate House for this show would be just plain dumb. To be there would be pretty much EVERYTHING.

oh..., and if you haven't heard, his 2 new albums will be released on Merge in October. Very nice.

The Thome-ster is town!! Which means I'll be welcoming his "entourage" (well, ok...Clarke and his entourage) in about 3+ hours. More to report on Monday.


Pitchfork Fest in 1 month!!! If you snoozed on tickets for Friday's Sonic Youth show, or the 3 days passes...you're outta luck. Sold Out! Single day Saturday and Sunday passes ARE still available.

confid to Dennis if you're checking in: a lil bird told me yens are "out." that pretty much sucks. COME ON!! LET'S GO!! At least make it out for Sunday's line-up.

Here's the Klaxons (Sunday). They've been playing this track on XMU. Heard their live act is "interesting" and "fun." We will see.

(left click to play; right click to download)
::The Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow::

Check out their myspace page for more

One more note from those 2 La Liga matches last Saturday. I'd heard that Barcelona offered Zaragoza 15,000 pounds/player if they would've beat Real Madrid. And...this is perfectly legal (although you can NOT pay someone to lose, obviously). That's kinda cool. If any of you futbol affectionatos know about this...I'd love to know more.



Sid's the Man. Youngest player since Gretzky to get the Hart Trophy. Maybe more impressive, he was voted the MVP amongst his peers, getting the Pearson Trophy as well. Gino Malkin gets the Calder as the Rookie of the Year. It's a beautiful thing.


and finally...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More Footie

Someone needs to give me a swift kick in the noots. Last week on these pages, I erroneously reported that my beloved Toronto FC was getting ready to take on FC Dallas. Some fan I am. Not sure what schedule I was looking at, but they play FC Dallas THIS WEEK! Sunday, 1:00 pm. Anyway...same story, else wise. Dallas is still atop the West, and we need the 3! Killer road trip looms, including 3 teams immediately above them in the table (NE, KC, Chicago) and wraps up at defending champs Houston.

Oh...and we just added veteran Jamaican defender Tyrone Marshall from LA. Seems with the addition of Cunningham, forward Edson Buddle became expendable. I'll await the official word from my Toronto correspondants :)
and finally, from those aforementioned correspondants:

my boy Dichio "sucked the big one" last week.


On the Spanish front, we had to DVR La Liga action last weekend, as we were absorbing the beautiful mountain air of Potter County (thanks Tirpak and fam...great times!!!). Madrid, Barca, and Sevilla all in huge matches last Saturday. Now I understand, from a competitive standpoint, why the league dictates ko times for the final weeks (any team atop the table plays at the same time, in hopes to reduce any "shenanigans" as Ray Hudson would say). But from a viewer's standpoint, it kinda sucks. I guess it would be the equivalent of playing the AFC and NFC Championships at the same time.

THAT'S were GolTV was supposed to step in. They broadcast the Madrid / Zaragoza game live, to be followed by taped delays of the Barcelona derby, and Sevilla / Mallorca match. But when we tuned into the Madrid match, much to my chagrin, Phil and Ray comment that they will keep us "informed" with updates from the other matches. We thought we'd get to watch all 3 live (not knowing the scores = live to me), but GolTV switches to a split screen to show the Barca/Espanyol goals?!?! Buzzkill. Six hours of "live" footie condensed into two.

Anyway, what happened at the end of both games was absolutely amazing. Up 2-1, and with Madrid trailing 2-1 late, Barca had taken a commanding lead atop the table. Within a span of 20 seconds van Nistelrooy ("Horseface" as Hudson calls him) notches his second of the match, and Espanyol's Tamudo gets the equalizer against Barca. 2 goals in separate games, and Real takes back the league lead in 20 SECONDS!. Incredible drama.

Sucks being a Barcelona fan, but hats off to Real Madrid. Seems like only yesterday Capello was swearing off Beckham, saying he'd never play for Real again. Now he's one of the key reasons they'll be crowned champs after this Sunday. Watching him gimp around on that bum ankle in the final minutes (Capello had used all his subs) was pretty gutsy.

And if you haven't seen Lionel Messi's "Hand of God" goal, the following was pretty crazy. Anyone who remembers my "catch" from Cincinnati a few years ago has probably stopped reading by now, but that's almost what it reminded me of. I don't care what anyone says, I love Messi. And like Hudson was saying, "if you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough." Here goes...

This Sunday, Real takes a step down in competition, and should wrap things up at home vs. Mallorca. Barca gets Ronnie back, and also takes a step down. I'd have to check on Sevilla, but if Kanoute doesn't come back, they're d.u.n. as well.

And finally, no footie update would be complete w/o news from my beloved Internazionale:

LUIS FIGO!!! One More Year!! Confirmed.

David Suazo!!! Welcome Aboard!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Toronto FC, the latest addition to My Teams

The greatest fans of any MLS organization just got 1 stronger. That's right...after taking most of the year to finalize MY 3 Euro teams that I will support until my last days (in this order: Inter, Barca, Liverpool), my insatiable hunger for more footie has forced me take on an MLS team to cheer on during the off-Euro seasons.

After witnessing their 1st home win against Chicago last month, this choice was pretty easy. The one constant element that made me fall in love with this sport is passion. And if you've witnessed any of the craziness at BMO Field in Toronto this year, you know what I'm talking about.

Vid from that 1st win, and 1st goal in Toronto FC's 1st year. It's a long 'en, but the 1st couple minutes are EVERYTHING:

At the end of July, I'll be in attendance, amongst my fellow rabid supporters, for my very first futbol game...ever. SO pumpt!

Tomorrow, the boys take on FC Dallas, who currently are atop the table of the Western Division. With a whopping 6 game road trip that takes them through the end of July, 3 Points at home would be HUGE. Let's go Toronto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

confid to Ned: locked and loaded on those tix, sitting in section 114, row 20. Yeah Ber Ber!!!

more footie stuff... La Liga is coming down to the last two rounds. Easily, the best race in all of Europe this year. 3 big-time matches this Saturday, and perhaps my beloved Barcelona's last chance to catch Real Madrid. All games being broadcast on GolTV:

  1. 3:00pm ET: Real Madrid vs. Zaragoza. Real's tied w/ Barca at 72 points, but Real's got the all-important tie break over both Barca and Sevilla. Zaragoza has already clinched a UEFA Cup spot at 5th place, but with a chance to knock off Fabio Capello and crew, I gotta believe they'll come to play in front of the home crowd. Easily the more likely choice for Real to get knocked off as they finish up round 38 at home.
  2. 5:00pm ET: Barca vs. Espanyol. El Derbi Barceloni!! Espanyol would LUV to knock off their rivals. Barca's playing w/o all-world Ronaldhino as he serves his 1 game suspension. Eto'o, Deco, and Messi need to provide the offense for the beloved. Puyol needs to put the clamps on Tamudo, who loves to score against Barca.
  3. 7:00pm ET. Sevilla vs. Mallorca. UEFA Cup winners Sevilla are 2 pts back of both Barca and Real. If both stumble against quality opponents, a win could give Sevilla the trifecta (they also won the Copa Del Ray). A win over Mallorca should be expected.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

More Vick News

Reportedly, AirTran Airways has dropped Mike Vick as its "pitchman."

I can't believe a company like Air Tran wouldn't want a model citizen like Michael Vick representing their company. Everyone loves Vick, just ask him...


Thanks to Dallas and Rivals.com for this little vid. Apparently, Jerry Rice still has some pep in his step. This kid he smokes, who appears to be a pretty top notch recruit on the West Coast, almost breaks an ankle before he even gets a chance to shine in college:

Jerry Rice Back on the Field

Remember the good ole days when the NFL had class acts like Jerry Rice. Now we've got Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Chris Henry. Maybe I'm just getting old.


More good news about good guys...

Sid the Kid, at age 19, named the youngest captain in NHL history last week. Not only is Sid the best player in the NHL already, he's the epitomy of class off the ice. And he can't even legally booze yet.

Now here's to signing and getting one more year outta Gary Roberts.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Road to Guantanamo (and more WORST)

While I'm still messing around with my Best of 2006, I'm also coming across my Worst. Here's one that makes that dubious list...

While I was pretty jacked to see this Road to Guantanamo, I was equally as disappointed after I saw it. While it's a tragic story that should be told, I've got one major problem with the film itself:

The blend of documentary, or actual footage, with the re-enactment drama stuff. I understand if the filmmakers' didn't have enough actual footage to make a true documentary. But mixing in the dramatization, only when it serves your desired purpose of gaining sympathy for the viewpoint you are trying to convey, seems a bit self-serving to your point.

Plus, the editing between the docu / and the drama comes off pretty cheesy. Other documentaries have been able to pull this off successfully (see: Errol Morris' The Thin Blue Line), but Road fails miserably here.

Most brutal scene of the film shows some high ranking U.S. soldier asking one of the detainees repeatedly, "where's Bin Laden?", while he gets forearmed in the back of the head. Sounds harsh, until you see how terrible the actors are.

I'd rather have seen this story told from a more subjective standpoint, and I think the way the film is manipulated takes away from the tragic journey that these young gentlemen were forced to endure. It's not the filmmakers' fault that actual footage wasn't available, so perhaps this story would be best told as a straight drama.

A little more subjectiveness, ala Jesus Camp, would serve Road better. Of all the films below, it is probably the most critically acclaimed. So others may like it. It's the only one of my WORST that I recommend seeing, because perhaps others will see it differently. I thought it was semi-crap.

OK, for the rest of my WORST of 2006, in no particular order **one note: I try not to waste my time watching bad films, so I'm sure there are a ton out there that are worse than these. I'm not a big blockbuster type-a-guy, hence the reason for the lack of those types of movies (Da Vinci Code, not withstanding):

  • Prairie Home Companion - so bored with this after 30 minutes, I fell asleep. Woke up 20 minutes later, turned it off, sent back to Netflix unwatched. Garbage.

  • Brick - when you go for the artsy-farstiness and fail tragically, it comes off as a contrived pile of shit. That's Brick.

  • Black Dahlia - this one shows I'm not biased. I LUV Brian DePalma. I loathed Dahlia. One of those films where you keep watching the timer on the DVD player because you can't wait for it to end.

  • Art School Confidential - I remember when previews came out, it looked interesting. It sucked.

  • Road to Guantanamo - see above.

  • Da Vinci Code - an expensive pile of junk. May have been a good book, but this was a colossal waste of time.