10/20/2006

My Christmas List Now Complete

Scientists have come up with an invisibility cloak. Well, sort of, anyway. I still want one.

10/18/2006

More Videos! Special One Time Only Display!

Okay, here's some more dumb shit I did in high school. For a Government project, we had to re-enact an important Supreme Court case. My group chose Tinker v. Des Moines, and as you will see, our re-enactment was painstakingly accurate. There are three separate videos: Parts 1 and 2 (YouTube's 10 minute length maximum required me to split it) as well as a blooper reel. Enjoy.





10/08/2006

Torre Fired, to be replaced by Piniella

According to the New York Daily News (via ESPN), Joe Torre will be fired and replaced by Lou Piniella. I don't see this working out to well. Joe Torre does a wonderful job dealing with both the massive egos in the Yankee clubhouse as well as the New York media; his biggest asset seems to be patience. Patience has never been one of Piniella's hallmarks. I honestly cannot see Piniella surviving the year in New York. I just think his temper will cause enough of a problem at some point that Steinbrenner will have no choice but to fire him.

9/20/2006

The 33rd Aniversary of the Most Overrated Sporting Event in History

On this day in 1973, Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the widely hyped Battle of the Sexes in the Houston Astrodome. Almost everyone assumes it was a landmark for women athletes, and it was, to a degree. But the event was not nearly as monumental as it is made out to be.

King was thirty, and the number two ranked player on the women's tour. Riggs was fifty-five, a good twenty-five to thirty years past his prime. If something similar happened today - say, Maria Sharapova or Justine Henin-Hardenne thrashing John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, or Jimmy Connors - would anyone be remotely surprised? Most top-flight female athletes should be better than male athletes, even the best, who are two decades or more removed from their peaks. King's defeat of Riggs was no upset, even if it did pave the way for Title IX and the growing equality of women in sports.

But here is the part that gets consistenly overlooked, even ignored. As I mentioned, King was the number 2 female player in the world. The number one player was Margaret Court, also thirty. On Mother's Day 1973, Riggs played Court in a less-hyped Battle of the Sexes in California. Here's what gets forgotten: Riggs defeated Court that day, and rather handily at that, 6-2, 6-1. In fact, the resultant publicity from that match led to Riggs' much-hyped battle with King, hype which overinflated the importance of the match. While King's win was an important landmark for the acceptance of female athletes, it proved absolutely nothing from a pure sporting standpoint.

8/23/2006

Cats Are Evil

As if I needed another reason not to ever own a cat, I come across this site. Enjoy.

TO News

God, this is getting frustrating. Terrell Owens has apparently reaggravated his hamstring injury, and will likely miss the next preseason game. The Cowboys made two big offseason transactions (TO and Mike Vanderjagt) and so far, both have injury issues. Yippee! This team has the potential to win the Super Bowl, but only if those two guys actually, you know, play. Otherwise, they're a good team, good enough to make the playoffs, but those two guys can (and should) push them over the top.

Henson cut by Cowboys; Romo QB of the future?

In a rather surprising move, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells informed reporters today that Drew Henson will not be on the roster this year. This move signals two things:

1. Drew Henson's NFL career is likely over; at the very least, he will never be a starter

2. The Cowboys are committed to Tony Romo as the quarterback of the future.

Lately, there has been discussion of a possible QB controversy in Dallas between Romo and Drew Bledsoe. Quite frankly, this is ridiculous. Parcells tends to prefer veterans, especially "his guys", and Bledsoe falls into both categories. Barring injury, Drew Bledsoe will start all 16 regular-season games and the playoffs. However, the Cowboys clearly need to start grooming a quarterback for the future, as Bledsoe has three years max left in the tank. Cutting Henson clearly indicates that the Cowboys will sink or swim with Romo. This preseason has shown that, as Romo has played 6 out of a possible 8 quarters so far, with all indications that he will see even more action. Remember, Romo has yet to throw a regular-season pass, so the Cowboys need to know what he can do. We know what Bledsoe can do and that he knows the system, so he doesn't need extensive preseason work. Romo does so the Cowboys and their fans (myself included) can know what the future holds at quarterback for our team.

7/03/2006

Odds and Ends

  • Jacques Villeneuve says he would consider racing in NASCAR if he can't get an F1 contract for next year. Does he really think he could get even a part-time Busch series ride? 35-year-olds with no stock car experience aren't exactly in high demand, even former Indy 500, CART, and F1 champions. The best he can realistically hope for is to be a road course ringer and maybe a couple of other races.

  • Chris Pronger, after requesting a trade from the Edmonton Oilers for "personal reasons" has finally been traded to Anaheim, in a trade that works out well for both teams. Edmonton gets a great young player in Joffrey Lupul (with the added bonus that he's an Edmonton native, so he's probably happy to play there), along with a defensive prospect and draft picks. Meanwhile, Anaheim now has perhaps the two best defensemen in the league with Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, which may well render them Stanley Cup favorites for next year. Of course, given the potential real reason Pronger wanted out, is Anaheim the best destination? I could be wrong, having been to neither city, but I imagine that Anaheim has better-looking female reporters than Edmonton; at the very least, the weather would seem to allow for better display of the available talent. Hopefully, for the Ducks' sake (as well for his own domestic well-being), I would hope Pronger doesn't make impregnating female reporters a habit, or he won't be in Southern California for long.

6/28/2006

How to Make Formula 1 Popular in the United States

Formula 1's lone U.S. driver, Scott Speed, has recently been quoted as saying that it "personally ... doesn't matter" to him if F1 becomes more popular in the U.S. It may not matter to him, but it matters to me, damn it! Anyway, because I would like to see F1 increase in popularity, I humbly present several ideas that could very well accomplish that.

1. Get on ESPN
Look, whatever your opinion on ESPN, in order for a sport (defined very loosely here, by the way) to be popular, it must be embraced by the Worldwide Leader in Hyperbole. If you don't believe me, witness the poker boom. Anyway, F1 needs to leave Speed Channel and migrate over to ESPN and its sister networks, which would guarantee that, at the very least, that F1 highlights would make SportsCenter and thus at least make an imprint on the conciousness of the average sports fan.

If this happens, I would at least like to see the current Speed broadcast crew of Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett make the move as well, as they are both entertaining and informative, which is better than anything that ESPN could currently throw at F1. At the very least, please, please, please for the love of God do not hire Ralph Sheheen or Derek Daly, the broadcast team for CBS's F1 coverage. For the unitiated, Sheheen combines a Kevin-Harlan-on-helium voice with the intellect of Tim McCarver, while Derek Daly is basically an Irish Joe Morgan. Also, never, ever allow Chris Berman anywhere near the F1 coverage. What do I think ESPN would actually do if they got F1? I honestly don't know; probably Paul Page (the former play-by-play guy of ESPN's CART coverage who has been relegated to the NHRA and the X-games) and someone like Danny Sullivan or Bobby Rahal, a recognizable American with F1 experience.

Here's how I envision an F1 TV deal with ESPN working out: have the three American races (the Canadian, U.S., and Brazilian Grands Prix) broadcast live on ABC, on Sunday afternoons. (The Canadian and U.S. Grands Prix are in the summer, so those two, at least, won't go up against football.) The Asian portion of the schedule (Malaysia, Japan, China, and Australia) which start from 10 PM Saturday night to 2 or 3 Sunday morning could be broadcast live on ESPN2, with repeats at 8 AM on ESPN, which is also when live coverage of the European-based Grands Prix could start. Repeats could also air at a more palatable time on Sundays for west-coast viewers and non-morning people on ESPNEWS or ESPN Classic. ESPN Classic could also revive a Speed Channel favorite, F1 Decade, broadcasting the races from 10 years ago, perhaps on, say, Fridays at midnight of race weekends. Qualifying for all races could be live on ESPN2 at the relevant times, and again, with more palatably timed repeats on NEWS or Classic.

2. Either a Second U.S. Grand Prix or Rotate the Current One
Fortunately, most of the grand high pooh-bahs in F1 realize the need for F1 to grow, so at least this issue will be getting attention from all the necessary people. Perhaps most important, the leader of the "Let's grow F1 in America" brigade is Bernie Ecclestone, who controls the commercial rights to F1 and is thus the most powerful man in the sport. Many want a second U.S. Grand Prix, which is a great idea. Not so great is the idea that the second USGP should also have a permanent location. If a second USGP is added to the schedule, it should have no permanent site but instead rotate among the many road courses we have in this country: Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca, Infineon, Mid-Ohio, Road Atlanta, Road America, and many others that I'm sure I'm forgetting. (I would love to see F1 race at the Daytona road course, but considering they complaing about the "steep" banking at Indianapolis [9 degrees], I suppose the thirty-three degree banking at Daytona would cause at least half of them to collapse in fright.) Also worth considering would be street races in large or glamorous locations (Long Beach, Las Vegas, maybe even New York). Why a rotating Grand Prix? Because the U.S. is a large country, and having F1 races rotate around the country increases the sport's availability to the general population.

3. More American Involvement
Right now, the only major American involvement in the on-track world of F1 is the aforementioned driver Scott Speed. Because he drives for Toro Rosso, a back of the pack team, it is hard to root for him. All of the major teams, technical suppliers, and even sponsors are foreign-based. Because of this, it is hard for most Americans to get attached to the sport. This is one area where I have no solution. GM, because of its relationship with FIAT, has a miniscule investment in Ferarri; I do not know if that is a sufficient enough relationship to preclude GM from further involvement in F1. Of course, with GM's current financial state, getting involved in F1 would be the worst thing for them to do. Chrysler, of course, is part of DaimlerChrysler, and thus is the sister company of Mercedes-Benz, which supplys engines to the McLaren team. Ford had been involved, but its Jaguar team was a major disappointment, especially considering the amount of money it threw at it. The best hope for greater American involvement in F1 is through drivers, which is the one area where American interest in F1 looks promising. And if there are multiple American drivers in F1, then American interest in F1 should increase.

Apropos of Absolutely Nothing, Names That Should Be Given to Racehorses

About a month ago, down at the beach, we were all watching the Preakness, when my friend Chip complained that the horses don't have cool names. He proceeded to give three names that are truly awesome: Ernie, Natural Light, and Beer Pong. I like these, but here are some other ones that could also work.

All-Natural Ernie:
Maybe it's just me, but something about this name just sounds so goddmaned cool. I just can't explain it.

Glue Factory or Raw Glue or Future Glue:
Insensitive? Yes. Funny? Even more so. Come on, why not at least have fun with the fact that when these horses die, they become little Timmy's macaroni collage for his kindergarten class Thanksgiving Project.

HUGE in Japan:
Works two ways: implies huge popularity in Japan (which somehow makes the horse seem really, really cool) and refers to another area in which the horse is huge. (Hint: that area makes Bob Costas [not Costas' similar area, but Costas himself] look like even more of a midget than usual.)

Ken Griffey, Jr.:
For any horse whose job it is to set a blistering pace, then drastically slow down on the backstretch, just like Griffey's home run totals!

Why is Frankie Muniz on My Back?:
Symbolic of the question that all racehorses must ask themselves at one point or another.

In Anticipation of Studhood:
Like you wouldn't be.

Inbred:
Because thoroughbreds are, by definition, inbred, and also because horse racing's greatest event is held in Kentucky.