Monday, February 28, 2011

Yankees Adding Liriano?



Rumors picking up that the Yankees and Twins may actually be working out a deal for Francisco Liriano. When some Minnesota papers made mention a couple of weeks ago that the Twins weren't very interested in Liriano longterm, it certainly caught my attention.

Liriano is not the same guy from 2006 who struck out 144 batters in 121 innings while going 12-3 for the Twins, but still can be a towards the top of a rotation guy for any MLB team. Last year he struck out 201 in 191.2 IP while going 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA and he's still only 27! 27 with quite a few injuries, but still young enough where you can talk yourself into him figuring out how to stay healthy. Heck, AJ Burnett did it.

The Yankees need some pitching obviously and if the rumors today are to believed, the asking price may be Joba Chamberlain or Ivan Nova plus some bit parts. While there are still some enamored with Joba (who is competing this spring for the coveted 7th inning spot) and Nova showed something with last year's call-up, neither are deal breakers for the Yankees who all of a sudden seem flush with pitching talent ready to break through to the big leagues (You have to love this time of year when all you read about are the youngsters in camp who all look ready to go).


Projected 2011 Rotation
C.C. Sabathia
Phil Hughes
Francisco Liriano
A.J. Burnett
Freddie Garcia


That's a bit better, no? That looks to me like a rotation that's strong enough to get the Yankees through to at least the All-Star break, when the Yanks can evaluate and target pitchers available at the deadline.

At least by then, Jesus Montero will hopefully be lighting up the AL and the Yankees won't be able to even entertain getting rid of him, right?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baseball Players Root For/Against





Exlcuding the Yanks (and Twins) , I wil be Rooting for this year:

5. Jason Werth - So what , he took the $$ and run. It's easy to say that you wouldn't do such - but he has just achieved generation - changing wealth for his family. Is signing with the Nats really that much worse that signing with the A's, Orioles, or Blue Jays? He went with a big market (albeit not baseball frenzied) with young talent.

4. Michael Young - he went from 2b to SS to 3b and played magnificently. Enough said.

3. Jason Bay - I hate the Mets. Maybe if the team understood that Bay was not the reason the team sucks (see management, coaching, and minor league philosophies) they could understand that Bay is a big time talent. I would welcome him on either of my teams....

2. Buster Posey - the right way to play baseball. What a gem. Anything less than multiple All-Star games will be a disappointment.

1. AJ Burnett - ok i lied, i REALLY want this guy to suceed. Loved his attitude he brought to the Yanks and his overall relatonship with the players. Last year started well but REALLY fell apart. I feel like when he fails, I fail. Maybe he is just not what I hoped to him to be - but is a 15-10 season really out of the question. Can't he be the #3 starter we need?

1a. Ok - if you discount AJ, the #1 guy I will be rooting for is Jason Heyward. Forget the talent, forget the promise - met the guy at spring training and was a very well spoken, respectful, and very appreciative player of the game. Only athlete I ever met that was a more down to earth and "cool" guy was Charles Woodson.

Now the fun stuff, 5 guys I will root against:

5. Cliff Lee - nothing personal, not coming to the Yanks hurt, and beating us hurt more - but ENOUGH of the Bob Gibson comparisons...really?

4. Miguel Cabrera - he has a worse body that me, has always been a prima donna, doesn't respect the game, and I just cannot stand him.

3. Jose Reyes - what a waste. Run out a ground ball, hustle out of the box on a double (for a triple) and hopefully get traded out of NY. Something is up with his legs, bad training, bad rehab, bad something.....

2. Hanley Ramirez - all the talent - but none of the heart. Got his coach (who was GREAT) fired because he thinks he runs the team. This is the MLB, not the NBA - and the owner of the Fish should have understood that. The star leads by example, instead HanRam did his best Lastings Milledge impersonation (a AA guy that doesn't run out a ball in his first 5 games and doesn't get sent down? Wow - that is on the mets - what message did they send?? If Lastings was even remotely a "player" he would be my #1root against guy UNTIL HE IS OUT OF MLB). If my leader and star player did that - I would fire the coach if he did NOT sit the player out and get on him....

1. Dustin Pedroia - Met him in Boston 2 years ago when they clincehd against the twins- a douche that introduced himself to girls as "you know who I am right? (Ellsbury, Buchholz, Varitek, and Papelbon were awesome guys). Then ad the stories about the "laser show" and crap, sounds like a guy I used to play ball with and is one of my best friends - i gues you love him if he is yours and hates him if he is not (like Rex Ryan). Well, he is not one of mine....I never wish for injuries, I just hope he hits .220 and goes on a kingman-esque binge of k's.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

St. John's



Let me start off by saying I am a Syracuse Fan. However how can one not be excited by what the Redmen (never the Red Storm) have excited the city and made the Big East that much better? NYC is a basketball town. Yankees win always, Mets win once when I was in 6th grade, Giants win too much, and the Jets are always, well, exciting. However - when the Knicks are winning - its electric. Look how a .500 season has gotten every into basketball again? Well, I remember the old Redmen team that ALWAYS beat the 'Cuse when it mattered - Walter Berry blocking the Pearl's shot, etc... And it has been too long since the Johnnies have gotten backpage - and after they turned around the season - they might deserve front page. It feels lost thought because the lost decade has created a whole generation of fans that do not appreciate Red Storm basketball.

Its nice to have them back - and I look forward to beating them in the tourney - but rooting for them as a 4 seed in the Tourney.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Movie Superstar!



Charlie Sheen is done with the “idiots” that make Two and a Half Men for CBS and says he’ll move on and “make movies with superstars”.  It sounds like a good plan for good ol’ Chuck, but I’m curious;  Has anyone explained to him that he’s been the weak link of the show this season?

I know that there are a lot of people that would argue that this show has always been garbage and that Sheen has gotten rich playing himself for the last 8 years, but anyone that has watched regularly over the years can tell you that since his life has famously spiraled out of control over the last year or two, his performance as well as his appearance has suffered greatly. 

Part of this also could be attributed to the writers who have had no problem playing up his character’s drinking even more than usual this season.  Maybe they had to because he’s really always drunk?  I can’t say, but the show has definitely been less enjoyable this season for the first time, mostly because Sheen’s true life shenanigans have made the Charlie Harper character sad instead of funny.
All that aside, what’s quite possibly the funniest part of this latest meltdown is the idea that he’s threatening to walk from the show to make movies.  Reading that would almost make you think that he’s had a pretty successful career as a movie actor.

Of course, who didn’t love Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Major League 1989) or Bud Fox (Wall Street 1987)?  Sheen also was part of other hits in the 80’s as well (Platoon, Young Guns, Eight Men Out).  But those were all made over 20 years ago now.  Some of Charlie’s highlights from the past 20 years or so:

Men At Work (1990) – Co-starring brother Emilio Estevez, this is a movie that a lot of us actually liked a lot back in the day, but it’s hard to believe that it would stand up today. 



Hot Shots! (1991) Hot Shots! Per Deux (1993)




Three Musketeers (1993) Here’s Charlie as the legendary Aramis in the Disney adaptation of the classic tale.  Co-Starring another of Hollywood’s seemingly troubled actors, Keifer Sutherland, Disney would definitely consider doing a sequel today.



The Arrival (1996) saw Charlie as an astronomer discovering alien life.


Money Talks (1997) co-stars Chris Tucker in his prime.  Maybe we’re getting closer to the superstars that he’s talking about.


I’m not sure what the future holds for Two and a Half Men or Charlie Sheen, but I’m thinking someone has to get the pipe away from him and quick.  For the sake of the fans of Ricky Vaughn!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Silent Amazon Laughing at Apple?



The news/rumors of how Apple is handling in-app purchases and how they're trying to force companies to offer all subscriptions through the App Store, subjecting them to Apple's 30% Vig, have been all over the place lately.

We've heard comments from quite a few developers/companies complaining about the new guidelines and lamenting how they will have to adapt. One opinion we have been waiting for but still haven't heard yet is the one from Amazon who seem to have a lot riding on this because their iOS apps are a highlight of the App Store and seemingly in the crosshairs of Apple.

Today's rumors have Amazon rolling out their web app soon which would allow users to access and read their books in a web browser, eliminating the need for the Kindle App altogether.


While everything could still blow over, it sure seems like Amazon is operating a step ahead and not really sweating it. Thankfully.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obviously Knicks Fans Are Pumped!



News of Anthony's trade to the Knicks has ignited New York City!


Hello Melo!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Death of Netflix?




Amazon has officially announced what was rumored for some time, that Amazon Prime subscribers will be given access to over 5000 streaming movies and TV shows through their Instant Video program.  There are currently over 200 compatible devices on the market that can view these programs.

Netflix has attempted to transition some of their customers to their streaming product with some success but ultimately have not achieved the level of success they were hoping for due partly to the limited catalog available due to licensing issues.

Amazon's initial offering of titles looks very similar, but where they currently differentiate is that Amazon also has premium titles available for a one time rental fee.  To get the same movies through Netflix you need to go the old school way of having discs mailed out.  Will Netflix get licensing worked out and charge for streaming premium movies?  Do consumers want that?  Will the costs of mailing DVD's over the country bury the company now that  they will have to adjust pricing due to competition in a market where they were operating alone?

The Hollywood Economist had detailed what Netflix was going to be up against just last December.   Now that Amazon has made their move, it will be interesting to see how Netflix adjusts.

Will Carmelo Ride Shotgun To Amare?



Nate Silver has a post on the NY Times' FiveThirtyEight Blog today discussing whether or not the Knicks' deal for Carmelo Anthony last night will limit the upside for the team over the long haul.  It's a pretty interesting read that anyone who likes reading about Estimated Win Shares and Win Values should check out.

Something really stood out to me in the 3 year averaged Estimated Wins Added chart.  Anthony lands at #15 on the list and while it needs to be said that he was injured and missed time in 2008-09 and that definitely had an effect on his stats, listed above him at #'s 11 and 12 were none other than Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire.




If you'll remember, the Knicks were criticized over last summer for taking a chance on Amare, granted for injury problems, but because he wasn't the star to build a team around.  In hindsight it's easy to see how great he's been for the Knicks this season but it's interesting to me, someone who admittedly is not an advanced stats kinda guy when it comes to the NBA, to see that Stoudemire has outperformed Anthony over the last 3 years.


Together, despite a supporting cast which will leave a lot to be desired, there is no doubt that watching Anthony and Stoudemire play together will be very enjoyable.  For months Knicks fans clamored for Carmelo to come in and relegate Amare to his #2, but will he wind up riding shotgun after all?

Oh and Chris Bosh?  Well, all you've been reading about since he signed with Miami is that "The Heat have 2 stars, not 3" and that he's widely overrated.  Well he's ahead of both Amare and Carmelo.  How should that sit with Knicks fans?

My Favorite Tech Advances



From The Top Ten Corner:

I remember thinking as the year 1984 approached how the world was nothing like George Orwell predicted. Similarly, I was really disappointed that there were no wrist TVs (Dick Tracy) or personal rocket packs (Batman) like we were promised! Where was this great technology? Recently I was listening to a diatribe on TV about the global economy and the curse that technology has brought to mankind. I knew there was little reason to give this rant much thought because to me it is self evident the progress technology has brought us. However, as I gave it more thought, I realized how many technological advancements have become completely taken for granted, banished to the background of our everyday life. I also found it amazing that in 1994, not so long ago, that Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble discussed the newfangled “internet” on the Today Show without any clue as to what the internet was. With that said, My favorite advances are:

The Internet - The 800 pound gorilla of tech advances, even if it is going to cause the downfall of mankind according to Hollywood. Since this blog only exists on the internet, the internet has made it possible for you to be underwhelmed by my rambling. Plane tickets? The internet. Train schedule? The internet. Job search? Need a book? Checking e-mail? Checking the weather? Need a recipe? Met score? Population of Bhutan? Location of Bhutan? What the hell is Bhutan? For me, all roads come from the internet. Countless bar arguments are ultimately solved the following morning when either I or my brother Joe gets to surf the net for the answer. It is hard to imagine life today without the internet.

TIVO/DVR - Most of the technologies on this list have had a more profound impact on humankind, but to us sports fans, this is the ultimate technology (and a great help to married couples everywhere). As a Notre Dame and Jet football fan, I often had to pick my poison as to which game would get sacrificed for some weekend marital task. With the advent of TIVO, I could safely tape any sporting event freeing up Saturdays (ND) or Sundays (NYJ) as needed. Fall weddings were no longer cursed! I could safely tape my game and watch it in peace at night. This is really just the tip of the iceberg! No longer would I have to scream at the TV when ESPin or whatever station involved failed to run a replay so that some “celebrity” could be shown in the crowd. I control my own replays now. Need to grab a beer or hit the head? No problem - the game will wait. Another big help to me was that TIVO ended my channel surfing days. There were many a night wasted when I would surf the entire spectrum of channels and have nothing but some odd 10 minute pieces of random programs watched to show for it. With TIVO I taped what I wanted to watch and I watched what I wanted to see.

HDTV - My good buddy Gary Patterson warned me not to watch a football game on HDTV unless I was prepared to fork over the loot to get one. I listened to his wise counsel. Eventually it was unavoidable and I watched a game on HDTV at a pub or a buddy’s house and what an experience! Football on TV would never be the same. This holds true for baseball and hoops and of course your favorite Sci-Fi movies.

The ATM - talk about freedom! As a kid, I remember I had to get to the bank before 3pm to deposit my paper route money. While banks started to offer Saturday morning hours, it was still a real nuisance to get cash in a world dominated by cash and checks. Then in 1984 I had my first ATM experience - what a world! Never a need to call it a night prematurely because we were out of cash!

The Cell/Smart Phone - I was definitely hesitant to take the plunge with a cell phone for fear it would be a trap. Many feared this same curse, but to me, the cell phone proved to be a great liberator. Not only could I call my wife to ask what food items I forgot her requesting, but heading out of the office for an early meeting was not a crucial step any longer because I was available 24-7 on the cell if anyone wanted me. Fortunately, my work rarely intrudes on my off hours. For those of you out there where work (or others) intrude, the cell phone may very well be a curse. Smart phones could have justified a separate entry on this list, but I see this is an extension of the cell phone. Still - what an extension! E-mails, texts, the internet, etc. That’s Dick Tracy stuff!

Google (search engines - Yahoo) - While you obviously can’t have Google without the internet, I was tempted to place Google higher on the list. It is still hard for me to fathom how Google provides such accurate suggestions to random searches instantaneously regardless of the subject matter. Adding to my amazement, Google seems to get what I want right no matter how badly I butcher the spelling in my request!

GPS Navigation - This is one advance that I didn’t remotely appreciate until I had it. I rented a car in another city, popped in the address, and I was off. Food or gas en route? No problem. The days of maps or paper directions were thankfully over. Liberation.

Electronic Banking/Finance (Direct Deposit/Instant Credit Purchases, etc) - An incredibly convenient time saver. Unfortunately, it helped me know exactly how much debt I have and how fast I (or more likely my wife) can increase that debt. Just swipe and your gas is paid for, ticket purchased, and sometimes hopefully bill paid.

Barcodes - I still hate waiting on line at stores, but the speed at checkout counters today has to be 2-3 times faster thanks to this little baby.

Facebook - Like Google, Facebook could warrant inclusion with the internet, but since Facebook is a such phenomenon I think it warrants its own place on the list. After all, who would have thought Egypt would fall thanks in part to Facebook?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome to NY Carmelo!




Hopefully you will make the Garden rock like St Johns did this past Saturday!

Follow updates on Quickish!. I'm going to bed!

Hopefully this won't be another false alarm and force me to delete this post in the morning.

Has Apple Lost Their Collective Skulls?



Over the past couple of weeks anyone who has even a passing interest in Apple's IOS has heard about how Apple is trying to control in-app sales and subscription type services by forcing any company who can sell a subscription online to their app to also make it available in-app where Apple takes a 30% cut.

Just the idea alone that Amazon's Kindle app may be affected is enough to make you believe that they're missing out on what the appeal of their devices is, but now with speculation that companies like Dropbox could be thinking of pulling out, it's time for anyone who cares about the platform to be heard. Let Apple know that "There's an app for that. Wait, not anymore" won't be good enough.

Cult of Mac has a great breakdown that you should check out.

My Ten Most Exciting Sports Wins



Dwight Hardy Sinks Pitt
From The Top Ten Corner:

We’ve all witnessed some exciting sports events over our lifetime. For the most part I’ve witnessed these events through television. Recently, however, I was fortunate enough to be at the World’s Most Famous Arena for a fantastic game of college hoops where my St. John’s Redmen took a huge step in regaining their rightful place among the Big East elite. Knowing full well that this victory may prove fleeting, I give you my favorite top ten sports victories.
 
February 19, 2011 turned out to be one of the most exciting days in my personal sports history. Long dormant and facing a continuing death spiral to permanent mediocrity, The St. John’s Redmen returned to glory with a storybook ending to a 40-minute battle with 4th ranked Pitt. In a season filled with shocking St. John’s wins, most notably blowout wins over Duke and hated UCONN, the piece de resistance was this victory made possible by Dwight Hardy’s no look, over the shoulder, all net, teardrop lay in that give SJU the win with only 1.2 seconds left on the clock.

October 26, 1986 - "Little roller up along first; Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!" I can remember the setting like it was yesterday. I was sitting next to my brother in law at his house in Manhasset. The Mets were facing seemingly unavoidable elimination to the Red Sox as they were down by two with none on and two outs in the ninth. John turned to me and said “sorry Johnny, wanted them to win it for you.” I replied, “it’s not over yet.” While I hadn’t given up hope, doubt was certainly raging inside me. Then Gary Carter hit a flare to left and Kevin Mitchell singled to center. Series MVP Ray Knight singled home Carter with Mitchell moving to third. Mookie Wilson did a world-class limbo move to avoid getting hit by a wild pitch and in the process allowed Mitchell to score. Thus the scene was thus set for the most famous error in baseball history and the permanent tarring of Bill Buckner.
 
Feb. 22, 1980 – The Miracle on Ice: USA over USSR. A real David verses Darth Vader, feel good story. This was after all the original Evil Empire – a well-earned moniker. Of course the good guys verses evil Russians only give the back drop to the greatest Olympic win in US history, this was hockey. In a period when the USSR hockey team routinely bested the NHL’s best, what hope did America’s rag tag bunch of collegians have? With the fresh image of Soviet tanks pouring into Afghanistan and as a result, some real heat in the Cold War, this was definitely an optimal time for the home team to rise up. After a solid opening 2-2 draw against Sweden (which I had to listen to on AM radio), Team USA shocked the Czechs 7-3 en route to a trip to the medal round and the match up against the Evil Empire. Unlike most climatic endings where the good guys win as time is expiring (i.e., SJU over Pitt), the USA took a 4-3 lead with ten minutes left – meaning we had to endure 10 minutes of the worst tension conceivable as USA tried to hold off the rampaging Russians (who undoubtedly were doing everything in their power to win and thus avoid a one way ticket to a Siberian Gulag). Team USA held on for the greatest win in US Olympic history and thankfully the value of this win was preserved when the Americans woke-up in time to beat the Finns in the Gold medal game.

January 26, 1985 - #2 SJU over #1 Georgetown. Long a good team, this St. John’s team had the makings of a great team. St. John’s was led by the best player in basketball, Chris Mullin. There was a super solid number two in recent transfer Walter Berry. They were joined by a very good center in Bill Wennington, high flyer Willie Glass and a good point guard in Mike Moses who was doing his best to keep a great point guard on the bench in Mark Jackson. The only problem for SJU was that for the past 3 years, Patrick Ewing had lead a dominant Georgetown team and they was fixed at the top of the polls at #1. The game was on the road at Landover Maryland and St. John’s increased its ten-point half time lead to 18 with 11 minutes left. It turned out that SJU needed every point of that 18 point lead as Georgetown charged back to cut the lead to 1 with 5 seconds left – but that was it as Chris Mullin held the ball out of bounds as the final seconds ticked off the clock (a move permissible at that time). It was not the prettiest game, but it was a nice birthday present for my 13 year old brother Joe, as the 66-65 victory allowed St. John’s to ascend to #1 in the polls for a fantastic month long stretch.

October 15, 1986 - Mets Game 6 victory over Houston – overshadowed by game 6 of the ’86 World Series, game 6 of the NL playoffs was a far more intense ordeal. It was also the crescendo of one of the greatest series in sports history. I was at Shea for Lenny Dykstra’s 2 run walk off homer to win game 3, but that game paled in comparison to game 6. By the fall of 1986, Houston’s Mike Scott was unhittable. Therefore, it was no surprise that Houston prevailed in game 1 (1-0) and game 4 (3-1) of the playoffs. So while the Mets led 3 games to 2 going into game 6, with Scott set to pitch game 7, the reality was the Mets faced the rarely seen deciding game 6. Down 3-0 in the 9th, the Mets rallied to tie the game at 3. The Mets took a 4-3 lead in the 14th, only to see Houston tie the game with a solo homer off Jesse Orosco. Orosco remained in the game to take the mound after the Mets took a 3 run lead in the 16th. In a move designed to drive all Met fans to drink, Orosco then proceeded to allow Houston to score twice and place the winning runs on base before striking out Kevin Bass to seal the trip to the World Series and avoid a disastrous ending to the 108 win regular season.

May 24, 1980 - the Islanders game 6 OT win over the Philadelphia Flyers for their first Stanley Cup win. To set the table, the Islanders were one of the premiere teams in hockey during that period, but had yet to break through with a championship. Led by Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin, the Islanders finished first in the NHL in points in 1979, only to be vanquished by the hated Rangers in the Stanley Cup semifinals. The fact that the Canadiens sent the Rangers packing in the finals was of little solace. The 1979-1980 season was a disappointing one for Islander fans as the team seemed hung-over from the bitter playoff loss to the Rangers. However, the team hit its peak in the playoffs and reached the finals against the Flyers. Up 3 games to 2 when game 6 reached OT, the Islanders certainly did not want to risk another playoff failure, this time a potential bitter game 7 loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia. Strangers to hockey, the county got to see Bobby Nystrom get the Islanders their first of four straight Stanley Cups with his clutch OT goal live on the CBS Sport Spectacular – the last NHL game on broadcast TV until the 1990 NHL All-star game.

June 23, 2010 – The US soccer team defeats Algeria 1-0. The 2010 World Cup arrived with high hopes for the American team. Those lofty expectations were initially met when the US tied group favorite England on a Bill Buckner type goal allowed by the English goalkeeper. The US appeared to suffer a let down in its next match against Slovenia when they fell down 2-0. However, the Americans stormed back and appeared to take a 3-2 lead only to find out that the go-ahead US goal was disallowed for some unexplained reason. That 2-2 tie set up a must win match against Algeria. A tie would prevent the US from progressing to the medal round. The US would dominate the first half against Algeria, but through more questionable refereeing, the game remaining tied at zero. As the game wound down, the US remained stymied despite the continued domination of Algeria. The tension reached a crescendo when regulation ended and extra time commenced. Then in what seemed like a flash the game was won when Algeria pursued a rare scoring opportunity in the American end. Algeria’s break was easily turned away and a lightning American counter break ensued with Langdon Donovan feeding Jozy Altidore for a hard shot on goal. The Algerian goalkeeper could not control his save, which rolled right to Langdon who calmly popped the ball into the net for an historic American victory. The result was pandemonium in the White Plains NY sports bar where I went for a 10am lunch to watch the game. The entire pub exploded in cheers, hugs and chants of U-S-A! U-S-A! It truly was reminiscent of the miracle in Lake Placid.
 
October 9, 1976 - Chris Chambliss and the Yankees defeat Kansas City in game 5 – one of the biggest home runs in Yankee history ended perhaps the longest stretch of futility in Yankee history. While the Yankees did come up short against the Big Red Machine in the subsequent World Series, the excitement of Chambliss’ home run is hard to overstate. The fact that it was a walk off 9th inning home run to give the Yankees their first pennant in a dozen years was enough to create pandemonium at Yankee Stadium. As Chambliss rounded the bases he became more of a fullback than first basemen. I don’t think anyone knows how close he came to actually touching home plate as the swarm of people leaping from the bleachers and from all over the stadium coverged on the Yankee Stadium infield, turning into Times Square at New Year’s Eve.

October 23, 2000 - Jets over the Dolphins in the Monday Night Miracle. It’s hard to believe that I turned down tickets to that game. On the bright side, I made the pivotal decision to give the Jets one more chance to score and keep me watching when the score was 30-7 late in the third quarter. The Jets proceeded to score 23 unanswered points to tie the game and set up a historic win. But wait, as Lee Corso would say: not so fast sweetheart! The tie game lasted one play from scrimmage as the Dolphins finally responded with a Jay Feeley bomb to retake the lead. The Miracle would not be denied however, as the Jets turned to offensive tackle turned receiver Jumbo Elliott for the TD reception to send the game to OT where a John Hall FG gave the Jets the miraculous 40-37 win. I later heard a sad rumor of fans that left the game early, only to be trapped in the Meadowlands parking lot to hear the drama on the radio.
 
February 3, 2008 - Giants Super Bowl victory over the Patriots – As a Jet fan it is moments like this that I reap the benefit of not hating NY’s second team in whatever sport is at issue. Here it really helped that I hated the Patriots and did not want Bill Belichick to have a perfect season. The Patriots were 12-point favorites to complete only the second perfect season in modern NFL history. It was a pretty pedestrian game until the final two-minute drive that won the game and converted Eli Manning from a potential disappointment at quarterback to a Giant hero. Even within the final drive, to me the entire game will always be remembered for one play – Manning’s unconscious scramble to avoid a sack followed by a bullet high in the air that David Tyree was somehow able to grab and even more amazingly hold onto.

Podcast Recommendation - Steve Gorman Sports!




Looking for a different take on sports than you're getting from your ESPN lineup?  Do you like your sports mixed in with/almost dominated by your music/entertainment?

The best Podcast you're probably not listening to has to be the Steve Gorman Sports Podcast.  An hour-long weekly show, SGS features The Black Crowes' drummer Steve Gorman and his cohorts Mitch Blum and Brandon Gnetz.

A fan's take on the sports world, SGS's strengths lie in the storytelling of Gorman whose decades in the music industry have provided him with a wealth of stories as well as friends who he has been more than happy to share with his listeners.  To date, guests on the podcasts have included;  Bill Burr, Jason Varitek, Chad Smith of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Matt Flynn of Maroon 5 among others.

Check it out, it's well worth the time whether you're a fan of TBC or not.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Top 10 Musical Countries





From The Top 10 Corner:


Music literally spans the earth and is as diverse as is mankind. However, from my little corner of the world much of the planet might as well be playing static. This is not a commentary on the quality of music played and loved in Asia, Africa and Latin America, just a reflection of my personal taste and limited exposure to other styles. With that said, I’ve thought it interesting to consider what countries have most contributed to the music
I love.

1. England - In revenge for Bunker Hill and Yorktown and a clear statement that I love Rock, Rock & Roll and New Wave over other musical styles, I pick England over America. Between The British Invasion and NewWave, pound for pound, you have to be amazed at the work product from Liverpool and London. Starting off with the greatest performers in history - solo or band - The Beatles. Followed up by their friendly rival and undisputed number two, the Rolling Stones. Add in 5 star super bands Led Zeppelin and The Who and you could very well stop there. Why would we do something foolish like that? There is The Police, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, The Kinks, Elton John, The Clash, Coldplay, Genesis/Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Depeche Mode, The Sex Pistols, New Order and the Smiths. Needless to say, the list could go on and on.


2. United States - Similar to England, this list will be but a taste of what the US has to offer, including America. However, most would lead off with the King: Elvis Presley. From there we honor Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, The Doors, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springstein, Billy Joel, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Eagles, Tom Petty, REM, The Talking Heads, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, - and last, but not least, Kiss.


3. Ireland - The land of The Clancy Brothers, The Wolfe Tones and The Chieftains also gave rise to one of the world’s greatest bands: U2. But wait, there’s more! Van Morrison, Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats, Enya, The Cranberries, The Corrs and that ____ SinĂ©ad O'Connor.


4. Canada - Neil Young singlehandedly would land Canada on this list and he is joined by The Guess Who, Gordon Lightfoot, Rush, Men Without Hats, Bryan Adams and Alanis Morissette.


5. Australia - Great music from Down Under led by all star quality bands like AC/DC, INXS and Midnight Oil, add in the Hoodoo Gurus, Men at Work, The Church, Crowded House - and yes - Australia is the home of the Bee Gees.


6. Scotland - We are on the precipice of a big drop off here, but Scotland is still solid, being home to some great pipe and traditional folk music from the Highlands; later we get Donovan, Big Country, The Proclaimers and one of my favorites, Simple Minds.


7. Jamaica - We are officially reaching now, although Bob Marley and Reggae deserve acknowledgment.


8. Sweden - Yikes! Admitting to a guilty pleasure, I do like Abba and some other Swedish pop music.


9. Germany - Bach, Handel and Beethoven share Germany with oompah bands and some contributors to new wave music like Nena


10. Italy - Well it is a top 10 list, so I include out of necessity the land of Andrea Bocelli and the Gregorian Chant.

Top 10 Solo Beatles Songs



From The Top 10 Corner:
Imagine is perhaps the best and most well known song of John Lennon’s solo career. Like most Beatle fans, I’ve often agonized over the break-up of the Beatles (although not at the time, it's hard to get worked up over that at age 4). Like most, I’ve often imagined the great music that would have been created had the Fab Four stuck it out. 
Then one day it hit me: the solo careers of John, Paul, George and Ringo – when viewed as a group, would in my view rank as the best band of the 70’s (not much of a stretch to picture the Beatles together in such fashion as on one hand there was continued collaboration amongst the four on post-Beatles work and on the other hand, the white album really was the compilation of the work of four individuals). So here is my shot at the ten best solo works of the Beatles.

Top 10 Solo Beatles Songs

Photograph
It Don't Come Easy
Band On The Run
Jealous Guy
My Sweet Lord
Maybe I'm Amazed
Live And Let Die
Imagine
Jet
What Is Life

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get Your Go-Go Boots On!



Drive-By Truckers released their 9th studio record Go-Go Boots on Feb 15th.

Rolling Stone gave Go-Go Boots 3 and a half stars, but the Rolling Stone Community voted 5 stars.  Spin Magazine gives it 7 out of 10, and the Chicago Tribune gives 3 out of 4 stars, but Slant Magazine gives it 2 stars out of 5.

Hear-Ya gives it a positive spin.  Crawdaddy Magazine says the "Truckers are still firmly rooted in the rural Southerner’s struggle to put some shine back on the tarnished American dream."

Detroit Metro Times says that "Anyone expecting the same old twang 'n' guitar crunch the band made its name on will be plenty surprised by this album's smoldering country-soul aesthetic."

Junkyard Opera suggests repeated listenings are needed before judging.

Assault It puts Go-Go Boots at the top of the second tier of DBT's records.  Not a bad place to be.  3 Minute Record says that "the Drive-By Truckers do not make a bad album."  Jambands asks you to really listen to the first 4 tracks and call them in the morning.

Just as the band did when releasing last year's The Big To-Do, they put a series of short films online to promote the release of Go-Go Boots.

Check out "Used To Be A Cop":


Definitely check DBT on tour!




Go-Go Boots
Buy CD
Go-Go Boots
Download MP3

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Save Jesus!



Jesus typically saves, but when you're talking NY Yankees baseball, where win now and always is the company mission statement, Jesus is the one who needs saving.

As the Yankes approach the start of Spring Training, the stories will be about what is missing from the team. Cliff Lee, Andy Pettitte, a reasonable option for the 3rd slot in their rotation.

Jesus Montero, the Yankees 21 year old catching prospect from Venezuela, is opening camp with a legit shot at the backup job (if you believe that Russell Martin is assured the starting gig).

At this point, fans know Montero because he has been the rumored chip in many potential trades over the last couple of years that haven't happened. What Yankees fans should focus on is Montero's potential.

Baseball America ranked Montero the 4th best prospect in baseball in 2010 behind Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Stanton. You may have heard of those guys. Ranked behind him? Brian Matusz (5), Desmond Jennings (6), Buster Posey (7) and Neftali Feliz (10). All of whom have made an impact in the majors. Buster Posey caught the World Champions last year!

The major difference in Montero and the rest of those guys? They didn't have Jorge Posada entrenched ahead of them. There's no coincidence that Brian Cashman, Yankees GM, immediately addressed Posada after the completion of last season and made him the full-time DH, opening the catcher spot.

The knock on Montero is that he may not be a good enough defensive catcher to play the position in the majors, and some believe his natural position will be DH.

So what? Nobody is afraid he won't hit. This is a guy who is projected to be an above average power hitter who will hit for average.

When was the last time the Yankees had a legit bopper, a 3-4 hitter, come through their system? Don Mattingly? Bernie Williams hit 4th for World Series champions but was never the prototypical 3-4 hitter. Even if you wanted to count him, we're talking 20 years!

Assuming the worst and Montero can't catch then we have Edgar Martinez or David Ortiz on our hands. At best, we may have Mike Piazza or Jorge Posada II - catching 10 years hitting .320 with 35-40.

You can't trade this guy! Save Jesus!  I think most Yankees fans would agree.

Unless Felix Hernandez becomes available.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wasting My Life Away With Super Stick Golf





Super Stick Golf has simplified the idea of a golf game for iOS and forsaken graphics and realism for puzzles and gameplay.  Forget the idea of Tiger Woods Golf and it's attempt to create a real life simulation or the cartoony simulation of Let's Golf.  This is the most addicting golf game on iOS.

There is really nothing else for me to say - just go download it.  99 cents gets you the universal app which works on IPhone/IPod Touch and IPad.

Disclosure:  I play it on the IPad, so I can't speak for the gameplay on the small screen of the phone.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Steelers lost the %^@$^@$ Super Bowl....oh well? What's wrong with me?



Over the past 3-4 weeks I have had this feeling that I couldn't describe nor could I escape it.  The Pittsburgh Steelers, my Pittsburgh Steelers, were in the midst of a Super Bowl run and I just wasn't as excited as I should have been.

I believed at the time that it stemmed from the fact that the Steelers stood in the way of the New York Jets, my father's Jets, making the Super Bowl for the first time since my dad was a spry 29 years old.  I honestly hated the idea that here were the hapless Jets on the doorstep for the 2nd year in the row and I would be rooting against them getting through.

I can't even begin to imagine not being able to see your team win it all for over 40 years.  That's not to say my teams always win, but I've been more than lucky with the amount of winning my teams have done over the years.  The Steelers have won twice since 2006, the Yankees have won 5 times since 1996.  Heck the NY Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994.

While chants of "1940" from Islanders fans tormented me for what seemed like forever (growing up a Rangers fan on Long Island in the early 80's is not something for the faint of heart), realistically my "suffering" lasted about 15 years or so.  Even then though, the Rangers were always a respectable team.  The Jets, not so much.

Well, the Steelers beat the Jets and were crowned AFC Champions, Pittsburgh was going to the Super Bowl!  Surprisingly enough that feeling was still there.


Leading up to Super Bowl XL and XLIII, I couldn't imagine that they'd lose, I was fired up and wanted to eat and breath the Steelers and Super Bowl hype.  This year, not so much.  Even though I had just watched Chicago stop the Packers in their tracks in the 2nd half of the NFC Championship, and the Packers were the 6th seed, I also knew there was potential for a  decent sized mismatch between the WR's of Green Bay and the DB's of Pittsburgh.  So maybe it was my lack of confidence in them?  That's what I figured it was.  Add in that 80% of the so-called experts out there were picking the Packers, and I started to believe that this had to be it.

It's been about 2 days since the Packers beat the Steelers in Dallas for Super Bowl XLV Championship.  I have avoided reading or watching anything about the game - typical behavior when my team would even lose a regular season game.

I know what I saw Sunday night - the Steelers started slowly as usual, had 2 turnovers which put them in a huge hole.  The second half found them fighting back as they are wont to do.  A fumble killed their momentum and that was really that no matter what happened the rest of the way.  Interestingly enough it wasn't until that fumble that I believed that they weren't going to win.  So I'm thinking that "lack of confidence" was not my problem.

Can a fan see their team win so much that it just doesn't matter anymore?  I never bought into that before, and maybe sports in general aren't as important to me as they used to be (God, I hope not!) but I guess I have to consider it.

The past 2 days I've received emails and calls to "see how I was doing" from more people than you'd imagine.  I don't know whether I should laugh or be embarrassed that people were feigning concern for me.  I've been answering everyone the same way, which while it's meant to be funny, may also underlie all of this;

"I'll be ok, but I'm really bummed for Dylan (my soon to be 1 year old son), he really wanted this one!"

Marky Mark, 80's Hair Metal and Detective McNulty - Revisiting Rock Star



Full disclosure:  Rock Star has been a guilty pleasure of mine since it's release in 2001.  Wow, it's been 10 years.  That's crazy, but that's another story altogether.



For those who aren't familiar with Rock Star, it's a story based loosely (very is my understanding) on the story of Tim "Ripper" Owens.  Owens was the lead singer of the Judas Priest cover band "British Steel" until he was plucked from obscurity to join his idols when Rob Halford left the band in 1996.  Replace Judas Priest with "Steel Dragon" and cast Mark Wahlberg as the lead singer of the local Steel Dragon cover band and slap a classic '80's style hair band wig on him, and what more can you ask for?  Jennifer Aniston as an 80's metal rocker chick?  Check.  Soundtrack of 80's hair band classics supplemented with chessy Steel Dragon "originals"?  Check.  Heck - the fictional Steel Dragon included Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Jeff Pilson (Dokken) and Jason Bonham (Bonham, Led Zeppelin, Foreigner)!

Needless to say, when I was flipping around the channels over the weekend and saw Rock Band was just starting, it was too easy to get sucked in again.  Funny thing happened though.  When Chris Cole (Wahlberg) gets the call from Steel Dragon's guitarist, Kirk Cuddy, I was totally taken out of the movie by a startling jolt caused by a fact that I totally forgot - Kirk Cuddy was Detective Jimmy McNulty from The Wire (Dominic West) with a crazy awful 80's wig!



I guess this was the first time I've seen the movie since becoming totally immersed in The Wire a few years ago and I couldn't stop laughing every time he was on screen.  It's a tribute to how terrific West was in creating a character that defined one of the greatest shows television has ever seen, but I'm not sure how to feel about this.  Has one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures been ruined forever?  I hope not.  I understand that the movie itself is no masterpiece of cinema and isn't meant to threaten to displace one of the AFI's Top 100.




Hopefully over time, this piece of casting will enhance my enjoyment.  I'll have to break out the DVD to find out.

For now - give me Blood Polution!




Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Dynamic Duo Returns!





I can't be the only one a little giddy about this. MTV announced officially that Beavis and Butthead will return to the network this summer with all new episodes!

Seeing how the music industry, pop music in particular, has been in the crapper for years now, the commentary of our favorite losers has been sorely missed! I can't wait until they get a load of Ke$ha!

Now Retiring For The New York Yankees, #46 Andy Pettitte, #46.



I guess it's not shocking that a guy who has been telling everyone since the day that the season ended that they should not rely on him is retiring.

That said, it's pretty surprising that Andy Pettitte is retiring this offseason when a couple of more seasons at the same level he pitched at this past year would put him in serious Hall of Fame discussions, not to mention the sad state he will leave the Yankees starting rotation which desperately needed his dependable arm.



There is some sentiment, and maybe it's correct, that he just doesn't want to be a public figure when he's called to testify in his ol' pal Roger Clemens' Federal Trial.  He will obviously have to rehash their relationship and the fact that Andy himself admittedly used HGH.  It'd be understandable that this could be enough to drive a relatively private man home.

Either way it's the end of a really good career that bordered on great.  I will always remember Andy fondly - Opening Day '96 in the snow, outdueling John Smoltz during Game 5 of the World Series in Atlanta and on and on straight through winning game 6 of the 2009 ALCS and World Series.  Part of me will always wish he never left NY and I'm probably naive to wish that he felt that way too.  The 3 seasons he "lost" in Houston included a World Series appearance as well as an elbow injury that the Yankees staff seemingly predicted was about to come annually as well as 37 wins which if he earned as a Yank, it would rank his 240 wins as the all-time winning Yankee.  It certainly would put his career in a different frame of light.  Oh well.

Cheers Andy!  Thanks for the memories.  Here's hoping the Yankees stand pat and let some youngsters get a shot at spots in the rotation before they inevitably start selling the farm.
UGV646ZTBPS6

North Mississippi Allstars - Keys To The Kingdom





The follow up to 2008's Hernando, Keys To The Kingdom is a record I've been looking forward to for awhile now and it doesn't disappoint.

A lot has happened to the band between records;  The passing of Luther and Cody's father, Jim Dickinson, Luther recording 2 albums with The Black Crowes and supporting them with non-stop touring, including 2010's massive "Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys" tour.

Spinner.com's preview.

The Washington Post points out that while "Producer" Jim Dickinson wasn't in the studio, he certainly wasn't absent.

3 and a half stars from The Republican's Kevin O'Hare

Sample some from yourself:

"Ain't None of Mine"



"Let it Roll"



"New Orleans Walking Dead"



"Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again"



Can't wait to catch them on tour this year!

Social Distortion - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes




Despite only previous album this decade, Mike Ness & Co. have remained on the radar of fans by touring every year regardless of the lack of new material. The shows have never failed to disappoint and after hearing them play one of the new songs last fall, I was cautiously optimistic that Social D was going to deliver what long time fans have been waiting on. The album is here and I'm happy to report that there are some gems on here that will make everyone pretty happy. Overall there are songs that refuse to stand out, and though enjoyable, some of it has been forgettable.

Some reviews:

Social D picks up where they left off.


Social Distortion abides!



Check out a few new tunes:

"California (Hustle and Flow)"



"Machine Gun Blues"



"Still Alive"



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