Hey Michael Phelps, Let’s Party!

Everyone does it.  Well, I didn’t.

I never thought I would be able to say that I could do anything that Michael Phelps could not, but today I realize that I can do something that he can never do.  I can say that I have never done drugs.  He, obviously, cannot.

I have made some mistakes I my life.  I remember drinking a few times when I was in high school.  I remember driving recklessly on some occasions, and regrettably I remember doing both on a couple of occasions.  I remember bullying one kid a little, and I regret that also, but for the most part I was a good kid.

I had lots of friends, and tons of acquaintances.  As a result, during my junior and senior years I was invited to several parties.  At these, there would always be alcohol, and occasionally the stakes were higher.

I remember one night several of my friends did something pretty stupid.  There were five of us.  We had just purchased food at the local Taco Bell, and we were about to get into the car to leave when a car full of hot girls pulled up and started to talk to us.  No lie.  It was like a scene out of Porky’s or something.  They were leaning and yelling out of the windows of the car, “Hey, do you guys want to go to a party?”  As God is my witness, it happened just like that.  Of course, if we had taken just a moment to analyze the situation, we would have noticed that: 1) no of us were the studs of our high school (though we were not horribly disfigured), 2) these girls were really nice looking, 3) and they looked a little older than us.  No, we did not consider any of this, because we were 16 year old boys full of hormones.

So, we hopped in the car and followed them.  We drove to an apartment out by Lewisville Lake, and followed them into it.  Several things were instantly apparent.  First, this was no sorority bash.  All of the girls had boyfriends there, and the boyfriends did look older than us.  Second, we were not prepared for a party in any way.  We had no alcohol of any kind, and the partiers were not offering any.  And third, these people were doing a lot more than drinking.  There were several couples engaging in what was sure to become sex at some point, and the smell of pot was in the air.  I was confused at first, not knowing what to do, then a girl offered me a pill.  It was ecstasy.  I was not prepared, but since I had decided long before that I did not want to ever do drugs, I was able to fall back on my default answer, “No thanks.”  A friend and I sat with our backs near the door for a while watching what was going on and feeling uncomfortable.  Finally I suggested that we leave which we did.  Honestly, these kinds of stupid decisions are how people end up in 55 gallon barrels at the bottom of a lake.  We had no idea where these girls were taking us or what would happen when we got there.

On another occasion, I went to a party with some friends at a house where a member of the quasi-successful local area band ESFM (the Electric Sheep Farming Method- no lie) had the house to himself (no parents) for the weekend.  This time I was in a place where I knew all of the people, and they liked me.  I had brought some alcohol, and was drunk before long.

There were about two dozen people at the party, and after a while, I noticed that they were all taking turns stepping out into the backyard.  They were smoking pot, and after a few minutes, one of my friends asked me if I wanted some.  This was my big opportunity, and it was the situation where most kids fall.  I was with friends, and they were having a good time.  All I had to do was say, ‘yes,’ but I was faced with my own reasons that I had determined long before that day.  I knew that some things could limit you and your future possibilities in life, and pot was one of those things.  Since I did not know exactly what I wanted to be in life, I reasoned that I shouldn’t do anything that would limit my possibilities.  So, I said, “No, that’s OK.”

I was expecting a scene out of Reefer Madness or some after school special to unfold in which they all surrounded me and ritualistically ostracized me from the group while baiting me into taking the drugs at the same time.  It did not happen.  In fact, they were extremely nice about it.  Honestly, at the time I believed that they were actually going outside to smoke for my benefit.  In retrospect, it seems more likely that they did not want pot smell to permeate the house for the parents of the guy who lived there to smell when they returned.  I stayed at the party and enjoyed myself with my friend late into the evening.

These little victories were important in a teen ager’s battle not to partake in what everyone else was doing, and they made me feel good about myself, and stronger if I should have had to face the same thing again.  I thought that I was the only one, but I still have a friend that I met about a year later who also says that he never did drugs, and I’m sure that he had opportunities (being in a band well into his late twenties).

This brings me to the Michael Phelps situation.  It’s a real shame.  Here we had a young man that could have been the poster-boy for clean, positive, American achievement, and he lost it all when he put his mouth on a bong like everyone else at the party was doing.  It can’t be undone, and the pictures can’t be unseen.  In so many ways, Michael Phelps proved how different and stronger he was that the average human being.  His discipline can probably be only matched by a few people in the world.  However, he knew what the consequences of smoking pot were for him.  His handlers had warned him over and over, but he chose to do so anyway.  He chose to be just like everyone else, average.  And now, his incredible Olympic legacy will forever be tainted by a picture of him with dumb-face toking on a bong.  Sad.

Super Bowl XLIII Ads Reviewed

 

Every year, I watch the Super Bowl, as much for the commercials, as for the game.  And, every year a couple of my friends and I get together after the game, and discuss our opinions of the commercials that were shown that year.  This year, I decided to bring these opinions to my blog, and so I have written a list of my favorite and least favorite commercials for the year.

I will try to stay away from commercials that are not new (though I am a big DVR watcher, and it is very possible that I would have simply missed a commercial up to this point), and I will ignore commercials that do not try to be ‘Super Bowl quality’ commercials.  I also will ignore the car commercials for the most part.  To make either list (good or bad), I have to feel like the people who made the commercial were trying, and not just buying time to run the same old commercials for the same old campaign that they always do.

Let’s face it, when it comes to Super Bowl commercials, it’s all about the humor.  Most of the great Super Bowl commercials over the years have had some comedy element to them.  Sometimes there may be one that has good CG that makes it stand out, but CG is so good today that we have become used to it to the point that we just expect it.

Top 5:

5. The Carlos Boozer commercial for Overstock.com where he shows the difference between ‘bling’ and an Olympic gold medal was poignant.

4. The Pepsi Max ‘I’m Good!’ commercial was funny and had a nice use of visual humor; something that is easily abused in a commercial.

3. The Conan O’Brien Bud Light commercial where he does a freaky commercial that is only supposed to be seen in Finland was hilarious.

2. The Pepsi MacGruber/Pepsuber commercial with Will Forte was brilliant.  I loved it.

1. The Bridgestone commercial with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head was brilliant. 

Bottom 5:

5. The obtuse Cheetos commercial with Chester, the pigeons, and the irritating lady on the cell phone was too weird, and the timing was off.

4. The 3D Sobe commercial with the dancing football players was terrible.  They must have spent all of their money on the effect.

3. All three (1, 2, 3) of the boorish, tiresome Budweiser Clydesdale commercials

2. Both, but especially the second of the two Go Daddy commercials with Danika Patrick

1. The horrible Teleflora commercial where the flowers in the box insult the lady reminded me of a horrid Jared Jewelry commercial.  It will be my worst of the Super Bowl simply because of the awful message.  They should be ashamed.

See all the Super Bowl ads here.

Before the Game:

Hit- When I saw the E-Trade commercial with the little kid, I thought, “Not these tired ads again.”  However, by the end of it, I thought it was pretty funny.  I’m sure all of the golfers will be calling each other “Shankapotumus” for the next few months.

Hit- The Samsung commercial where the guy loved the Cowboys so much that he became an usher so that he could sneak out of church an listen to the game was funny also.

Miss- The commercial with Lebron James daydreaming that he was a Cleveland Brown was a good idea but sort of fizzled.

Hit- The McDonalds Charities commercial where the girl gave the pennies out her loafers was nice.

First Quarter:

Hit- The Bud Light commercial where the guy was thrown out the window for suggesting that they could save money by not buying Bud Light for every meeting was sort of funny.

Hit- The Audi commercial that showed car chases moving through the decades was clever.

Hit- The Bob Dylan/Hip Hop commercial for Pepsi was clever and nostalgic.

Miss- The Doritos ‘Snow Globe’ commercial tried to be funny, but it was just bad.

Hit- The Conan O’Brien Bud Light commercial where he does a freaky commercial that is only supposed to be seen in Finland was hilarious.

Hit- The Bridgestone commercial with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head was brilliant.  It was easily my favorite commercial of the first quarter.

Miss- The Castrol Edge commercial featuring a guy who had a group of monkeys become devoted to him after he used the product was weird and unfunny.

Second Quarter:

Miss- The Doritos commercial which had a guy who suddenly had powers that were associated with crunching a Doritos’ chip was better than the first one, but still nothing to write home about.

Miss- The Go Daddy commercial with a showering Danika Patrick was the same old tired thing from them.  They need a new idea.  Guys, Danika was already in Sports Illustrated.  I saw the pics.  They were OK.

Hit- The Pepsi Max ‘I’m Good!’ commercial was funny and had a nice use of visual humor; something that is easily abused in a commercial.

Miss- The Pedigree ‘Maybe you should get a dog was a good try, but a miss.

Miss- It’s time to put the Clydesdales out to pasture.  I just don’t care about them, or the fact that they can fetch.  Not funny.

Miss- Budweiser has a history of staying with a commercial idea until everyone hates it (see the fogs, lizards and the Bud Bowl– I just threw up in my mouth).  The commercial where the Clydesdale follows the white horse that he is in love with was worse than the first one.  It’s time to send this commercial to the glue factory.

Miss- The Gatorade “G” commercial gets an ‘A’ for star power and an ‘F’ for delivery and presentation.  I’ll bet it cost them a mint.

Hit- The cars.com where a guy named David Abernathy is a child prodigy but needs help buying a car was clever.

Hit- The E-Trade commercial featuring the two babies, one of which was singing, “Take These Broken Wings” was a good one.  I did not like these commercials in years past, but they seem to have stepped it up this year.

Miss- The Bud Light Drinkability commercial where the guy used the telestrator was not funny at all.

Miss- I don’t know how you can incorporate Death into a commercial and end up with an unfunny product, but H&R Block was able to do so.

Miss- The horrible Teleflora commercial where the flowers in the box insult the lady reminded me of a horrid Jared Jewelry commercial.  It will be my worst of the Super Bowl simply because of the awful message.  They should be ashamed.

Miss- The obtuse Cheetos commercial with Chester, the pigeons, and the irritating lady on the cell phone was too weird, and the timing was off.

Halftime:

Incomplete- The 3D Monsters vs. Aliens commercial looked good, but I did not have the 3d glasses, so it looked a little fuzzy.  Pixar is always great, though.

Miss- The 3D Sobe commercial with the dancing football players was terrible.  They must have spent all of their money on the effect.

Honorable mention- The Heroes commercial with John Elway was kind of funny.  I’m sure it would have been better if I had watched the show.

Miss- I just do not care about the Toyota Tundra or the commercials that they choose to run for it.

Miss- The Priceline commercial with Shatner as Cyrano De Bergerac was not bad, but the premise is too tired for the Super Bowl.

Hit- The Carlos Boozer commercial for Overstock.com where he shows the difference between ‘bling’ and an Olympic gold medal was poignant.

Hit- The ‘Milosh wants to play for…’ commercial for American Airlines made me smile.

Third Quarter:

Miss- I don’t even know what Coke was trying to do with this commercial, but obviously they spent a lot of money again this year animating a failure.

Miss- The Bridgestone commercial where the tires are stolen off the moon rover was not funny.

Hit- The mob-styled commercial for Denny’s where the guy is contemplating the fate of a rat while the waitress finishes putting a smiley face on his pancakes was surprisingly funny.

Miss- Unfortunately, Monster.com proved that comic timing can be so off, that even a guy sitting under the ass of a moose can fail to be funny.

Miss- Apparently, the only cure for the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials is the cure that is used for most horse ailments, a twelve gauge.  The Scottish one was just as tiring as the rest.

Hit- I found the 60 second Career Builder commercial to be funny, but I expected more since they had this much time to work with.

Hit- I still do not understand why Coke keeps making the Pixar-style commercials that seem to have little purpose.  That all being said, I liked the one with the insects in the third quarter of the game.

Miss- I don’t care that Kellogg’s is rebuilding fields.

Hit- The Usama Young NFL commercial was enjoyable.

Hit- I hate the Jack commercials for Jack in the Box, so I got giddy when I saw Jack’s cracked head on the pavement in front of a bus.  I thought the lines from the lacky talking on the phone were funny too.  If this is Jack in the Box’s way of getting rid of Jack, this may end up as my favorite commercial ever.  However, if this is just the start of a ‘save Jack’ campaign, I may not live through it.  I will reserve judgment.

Fourth Quarter

Hit- I generally hate the Coke Zero commercials, but this modern take on the old Mean Joe Green commercial with Polamalu was funny, except for the Coke Zero guys which, as usual, were a whip.

Hit- The Cash for Gold commercial, though funny, was a little uncomfortable with the references to all of the bankrupt celebrities.  It seemed like they were taking advantage a little.

Miss- I care even less about GE and their ‘eco-savings’ than I did about Kellogg’s building fields.

Hit- The Hulu commercial with Alec Baldwin was a little weird, but they get an ‘A’ for getting their message out and explaining their product.

Miss- GE, I just don’t care about your wind energy.

Hit- The Pepsi MacGruber/Pepsuber commercial with Will Forte was brilliant.  I loved it.

Miss- Someone needs to tell the Bud Light Lime people that the whole ‘walking around and having an effect on the world around me because of the product I am wearing or have with me’ has been done many times before, and recently, and better.

Miss- I thought the first Danika Go Daddy commercial was bad, but this one was terrible.

Jim Rice Polutes the Baseball Hall of Fame

Anyone from outside of the Northeast who likes baseball will eventually get beaten down by the Eastern media bias.  I had some feeling of this growing up, but really had it drilled home with Ken Burns’ Baseball.  You would have thought that there were only three teams in baseball as Burns waited until the last hour of the program to acknowledge the existence of any great player outside of Boston or New York.  I actually think I saw the great Nolan Ryan’s face flash past the screen in a montage, but I was not sure.

The problem is two fold.  Great players from teams outside of the Northeast have to be that much greater to even be considered for the Hall of Fame.  While it seems like Players for that Yankees and Red Sox simply have to be good for a long period, and be likable to make it into the Hall of Fame (see Wade Boggs). 

Today, we are told that Jim Rice will be in the Hall of Fame.  I don’t have any problem with a person saying that Jim Rice was a very good baseball player, but he does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.  Put him in your team’s Ring of Honor if you wan to, but not in the Hall of Fame.

He did not reach any of the ‘benchmarks’.  He did not have 3000 hit.   He did not even have 2500 hits (2452).  He did not have 500 home runs (382).  There is no justification for his inclusion, and it cheapens the Hall of Fame.

I looked at a few other players in comparison.  Reuben Sierra and Al Oliver are two Texas Rangers who have never sniffed the Hall of Fame, and rightly so.  Oliver had a 303 batting average, 2743 hits, 219 home runs, and 1326 RBIs in 18 seasons.  Sierra had a 268 average, 1322 RBIs, 2152 hits and 306 home runs in 20 seasons (he played less than 50 games in 11 of these).  These players are not as good as Jim Rice, but they compare with him, and the point is that they obviously do not belong in the Hall of Fame.

Ricky Henderson obviously does belong in the Hall of Fame.  He hit a benchmark with his 3055 hits while compiling the most stolen bases in history.  That’s it.  He’s in the Hall because he did what it took to get there.  Unfortunately, players like the great Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski will now have to have their names spoken in the same breath with Jim Rice.  Am I the only one that sees the wrongness of this?

New Nicknames for some of the Cowboys

Yesterday, I watched as once again, it was proved that it is more important to have heart than talent.  It was the poorest showing by a Cowboy team in the biggest game that I can remember.  The worst part is that this team is indeed very talented, and this year, the NFL is as wide open as I ever remember it.

As I sat watching the game (if you want to call it that), I cam up with some nicknames that I thought might be appropriate for several of the players that graced the Cowboy’s roster this year.  Enjoy:

Tony Romo– “Intentional Grounding Gump“-  There is so much to consider with this guy.  He can not seem to hit the broad side of a barn, and when ever teams keep him in the pocket, he has no idea what he should do.  The whole ‘golly-gee’ bit was cute at first, but he needs to realize that he is now a $60,000,000 quarterback on the biggest team in sports.  I really wonder about how bright he really is.  I keep expecting him to tell Adrea Kramer that ‘life is like a box of chocolates.’

T.O.- “Big Mouth”–  Shut up and catch the ball every now and then.

Roy Williams- “Big Nothing”- And, that’s exactly what the Cowboys got for their trade with the Lions.

Flozell Adams- “Big Early”- No one commits as many illegal motion penalties as the big guy.

Jason Witten- “Little Early”- No one, that is, except for our starting tight end.

Andre Gurode- “Surprise!”- He has the uncanny ability to surprise defenses as well as his own quarterback with his ill-timed snaps.  And, if Romo looks ready, he’ll just snap it right over his head.

Nick Folk- “90 Degrees”- Possesses the strange quality of being able to kick the ball at a right angle.  This is not so bad for Cowboy fans though, because in this case the opposing team only gets to start on the 40 yard line.

Sam Paulescu- “Minus 20”-  This name refers to the 20 yards that the Cowboys give up in field position because this guy is punting instead of Matt McBriar.

Pacman Jones- “Latitude”- He only runs East/West.

Terrence Newman- “Tunnel Vision”-  This refers to Newman’s innate ability to stick to a receiver like glue. watching his eyes intently as the ball sails over his own should and into the receiver’s arms.

Miles Austin- “What The Hell Were You Thinking On That Pitch!”

Feel free to leave any that you might think of.

A Little More Yankee Hatin’

I don’t know if it is absolutely fair to hate the Yankees for signing CC Sabathia for a record $161,000,000 over the next six years, but just can’t help it.

As a fan of the Texas Rangers, I will always remember how offended the media was when the Rangers offered A-Rod, the best player in baseball at the time, a record $150,000,000 contract.  The media beat the Rangers up and down about how ridiculous the contract was.  Because many people allow their opinions to be determined by the things that knuckleheads in the media say, the outcry was pretty loud.  Eventually, even though he was still the best player in baseball during his tenure with the Rangers, public opinion soured him on the team, and he left (to the Yankees, no less, sticking the Rangers with a good portion of his contract).

Obviously, the best position player in baseball is worth more than the best pitcher in baseball.  Why then is it OK for the Yankees to spend these sums of money, but not the Rangers?

The problem I have is with a sports media which is largely driven and controlled by Eastern press agencies who do little to mask their biases for teams like the Yankees, but never acknowledge these biases.  What I see in all of this is that it is alright for a team such as the Yankees to spend whatever they want on any player, but heaven forbid an upstart, second-tier team like the Rangers even attempt to play ball in the same marketplace that the Yankees play in.  If that were to happen, then perhaps some team other than the Red Sox and Yankees would go to the playoffs every year, and the Eastern media obviously could not deal with that.

So, because the media will not police itself in this manner, I am left with no other option but to wish failure on the Yankees.  And, I do.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I was reading a story today about an 89 year old lady who was arrested this week for keeping a football that had gone into her yard.  Of course, there was the requisite shaking of the head that was prompted by the words in front of me, but as I thought about it, I wondered “What was her motivation for keeping the ball?  What did she get out of it?”

I know some would like to turn this into a property rights issue.  Does she, as owner of the property, have the right to keep the ball when it comes into her yard uninvited?  Do the kids have the right to demand that she allow them onto her property to retrieve it, or do they have the right to compel her to retrieve it for them or give it back to them?  And, I’m sure the police did not go right to her house and arrest her upon receiving a complaint from a bunch of kids.  If any protocols were followed, they would have given her multiple opportunities to return the ball before she was actually arrested.  I’m sure she just refused to listen to reason or cooperate, and they were left with no choice.  Yeah, it’s pretty sad.

But the question of “Why?” still remains.  I think that I actually stumbled upon the answer on the way to work this morning.  It happened while I and everyone else on this particular road were being slowed down by unusually heavy traffic.  When the state authorities redesigned that part of the highway a few years ago, they did so with a view to the future.  There is actually room for four lanes (on each side of the road) to fit easily through this stretch of road, but unfortunately a couple of miles on either side of this stretch, there are areas that are still two lanes wide, and expansion would require massive engineering projects to ever get to the desired four lanes.  As a result, the area of the road that could hold four lanes, still has only two to keep from having a bottle-neck at the other end.  As I sat in traffic this morning, I saw two vehicles pull out into the huge shoulder area and simply drive about a mile down ahead of the other cars.  It was complete sorry-ness, and I found myself wondering “Why?” once again.  Why would they do this?  It shows a complete lack of regard for the law, and the other people who are being forced to wait their turn, and in the end, when they get to the point where they have to join the rest of the pack, they end up slowing traffic even further to let their sorry selves back in.

These people and the old lady from the first story reflect the attitude that they only care about themselves.  They have no regard for others around them or people that they might come into contact with.  Their greatest personal achievements involve elevating themselves above those around them (at least in their own minds). 

The answer is a reflection of the fact that there has been a removal of social mores, and it shows the death of the personal moral compass that has been encouraged by the cultural relativists in our land has begun to bear fruit.  People have been encouraged by schools, society, television, and psychologists to do what feels good to them regardless of how it affects other people.  There is no corporate desire to make our society a better, nicer place, and as result, it is not.

I finally got around to watching HBO’s John Adams this week.  It was great.  I noticed that there was indeed a corporate sense of honor and duty that led men to fight and to give their lives without pay, and without even being ordered or asked to.  During those times, a person could strongly disagree with another person.  He could even say that his ideas were ridiculous in print.  But, I also noticed that when they spoke face to face, they always spoke cordially to one another, and referred to the other person as ‘Sir’ even if they were skewering each other at the time.  They might question the man’s sanity or ability to reason, but they never questioned the motives of the other person because, if they did this, they might end up dead.  See Alexander Hamilton for a good example of what happened when people acted without decorum during this time.

People had expectations of other people during this time, and society reacted negatively when a person failed to live up to those expectations.  A good example of these attitudes could also be found in the Adams series.  In it he, John Adams, refused to help his son-in-law, and disowned his own son because they failed to live up to societal expectations.  Later generations still felt the pull of duty and a sense of corporate responsibility.  You only have to go back to WWII to find a time when Americans offered up their sons and themselves to fight in a war.  This was not a war where there might be a chance of getting killed by an insurgent (please do not think I am taking anything away from the bravery and sacrifices made by servicemen today).  It was a war where, if you were in the military, there was a strong likelihood of you suffering death or serious injury.  If you were able-bodied and you did not serve during WWII, you and your family were stigmatized by this decision.

During the 1940s and 1950s people were still expected to perform up to societal standards, and families that did not were also rightly stigmatized.  This corporate societal expectation motivated people to act in a way that was mutually beneficial to all.  It is not so today.  The adoption of the welfare state in cooperation with the elevation of the individual and the advocating of the ideas espoused by relativists have deprived Americans of the corporate disdain that would beneficially keep us all in line (sometimes literally).

Persons without a religion to assist them in attaining a moral compass today, often have no way of attaining any sense that they have a duty to the rest of the people around them to at least treat these people as they would like to be treated.

On this subject, I have no answers, only complaints.  Popular religions continue to cut off their collective noses to spite their faces (see the Baptists boycotting Disney for a good example, but they are not alone).  They seem to drive more people away with the self-serving rants than they bring in.  I believe many young parents would use a church as a good way to instill good morals and mores in their children if the churches would actually stay on message and not veer off to attack Miley Cyrus, for instance, whenever they get bored.  As far as society getting a handle on itself and reestablishing its own set of social mores to help encourage decorum, this would be impossible at this point.  Not only is that horse out of the barn, but that barn has long since burned down.

In the end, we are left with individual choices to do the right thing or not.  Those of us who choose to act with decorum and respect for others while teaching it to or children will be the ones that keep society from completely falling apart.

You still have a choice.  You can be the mean old lady at the end of the block that keeps the ball, and no one will mourn you when you die, or you can be the old lady who gets the ball for the kids along with a cookie.  Which one of these makes more of a mark?

I’ll bet his lifetime stats are awesome!

This is just funny.  giggle.  It hardly seems fair, though.

Wheels-off Monday Night Football Game

Last night’s Monday Night Football game had some issues.  The problems began before the game even started with Kat Deluna’s atrocious rendition of the National Anthem.  This will go down in history as one of the worst in a long line of terrible renditions of this song.  It was a terrible version filled with growling and runs all over the place.  It was off-key and badly sung in general.  At least she was all into herself instead of the lyrics.  They could have found someone better at the American Idol tryouts.  Thanks to Dallas fans for appropriately booing her sorry ass.

Being on ESPN, we had to put up with the idiot, Tony Kornheiser.  Now that Bryant Gumble is gone, he is, bar none, the worst sports commentator on television.  Last night, as I was frantically and unsuccessfully trying to get “The Ticket” (the Cowboys’ flagship station) to tune in on my radio, I came to the horrible realization that I would rather listen to Brent Musberger.  I never thought I would say that, but sadly it is true.

It is apparent that whatever the ESPN commentators are talking about is much more important than anything else that must be going on, especially the game itself.  At one point Stuart Scott was making some general point about DeSean Jackson after a play where he obviously got hurt.  Since the injury did not do anything to bolster his argument, I guess Scott felt that the injury was not worth mentioning.  Also, it is evident that ESPN is not concerned with providing their audience with a replay even if there is a questionable component to a play.  Thank goodness the refs finally got one right when they reversed the claim that a ball had been tipped (by a phantom, I guess) late in the game.  It was obvious that the ESPN crew was not even watching the game at that point, and it took the refs to point out the play to them.  Thank goodness for Tivo/DVR.  With it, I am able to rewind and review pertinent events of the game on my own, and then fast forward past all of the “blah, blah, blah.  There has to be someone better than this crew out there.  Please find them.

This all being said, the viewers of the game were treated to one of the best Monday Night Football games in history.  What an enjoyable shootout it was.  I make no secret of the fact that I am from the Dallas area, and am a lifelong Dallas fan, and as a result, an Eagles (and Redskins) hater.  This made the game all the better for me.  The rest of the league is lucky that the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants have to play six games against each other this season.  Overall, it was a great game, but it was not perfect on either side of the ball or with the striped shirts.

On this point, I want to say first that I do not consider myself to be a bad fan, one that always complains and finds fault in a game.  There are those guys who would pick apart a victory if their team won 50-0.  I am not like that, but that does not mean that I am blinded by victory either.

One thing that I believe is very hard for players to overcome is a tendency to make bad in-game decisions.  There are those players who perform well, but in certain situations fall apart or make catastrophic mistake.  Usually, this is occurs under pressure.

Monday night’s game had more than its fair share of these moments.  Some times a play simply underscores the fact that a player is a knucklehead in general.  Cowboy fans can thank DeSean Jackson for replacing Leon Lett as the player who made the most boneheaded decision in league history.  Get ready Eagles fans, I’m sure you will have years to enjoy the antics of this idiot if he can survive the Philadelphia media.  There is a great quote from Bull Durham that applies well to this discussion.  Crash Davis says, “Come on, ‘rook, show us that million-dollar arm. ‘Cause I got; oh yeah, I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours.”

Jackson’s folly overshadowed two other brain-dead plays that had a much greater impact on the game.  Late in the game, Donovan McNabb did his best Lucy Van Pelt impersonation when he stuck the ball out for Brian Westbrook, drew is back, and then stuck it back out again just in time to cause a game-changing fumble.  There is really no good explanation for this play, but he was just matching a equally bad decision made by Romo earlier in the game.

In that instance, Romo went to pitch the ball back to Marion Barber III, and had it slip out of his hands in his own end zone. Romo, instead of kicking the ball out of the end zone for a safety, the appropriate play at the time, picked it up.  This allowed him the opportunity to perform a Romo-like play and simply throw the ball away, as he was outside of the pocket when he got to it.  Instead, however, he picked up the ball, and looked for a moment as if he thought he were Barry Sanders, and was going to run it out of the end zone from eight yards deep himself.  Unfortunately, when he looked up there were four Eagles there ready to fustigate him.  Again, instead of making the good decision, and taking the safety, he decided to try to throw the ball away too late, and handed the Eagles a touchdown.

Look, I like Romo, and think he is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the game of football today.  The problem is that I am beginning to worry about his ‘five cent head.’  Tony has shown a propensity for the bonehead play in his career so far, be it the faulty hold against Seattle, untimely interceptions or his highlight play when he scrambled all over the field for a first down (it was still a bad football decision, though it was very entertaining to watch.).  Many people have compared his ‘gunslinger’ mentality to Brett Favre (I hate these nauseous comparisons.).  We are told that ‘when you have a guy like this, you have to take the bad with the good.’  I don’t get this argument.  I just want the good.  I want a player’s great talent and ability to be bolstered by him smart in-game decisions.  That is what wins championships.  I’m starting to be afraid that when the chips are on the line, in a must-win game, that his ‘gunslinger’ mentality will result in Cowboy fans being shot through the heart.  I truly hope I am wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Petty Can a Person Be?

Unfortunately, it is not that much of a surprise to find petty parents involving themselves more in more in their children’s lives, often to the emotional or even physical detriment of other children.  People can be pretty petty.  There are the famous cases of the “cheerleader murdering mom” and the mom who got in a fictitious internet relationship with a teen on line which eventually resulted in her (the teen’s) suicide.

When I started reading this story about a young man who was not being allowed to play baseball because he was too good, I thought that I was going to get to blog about another case where expectations were being lowered and mediocrity encouraged.  This unfortunate trend seems to be the norm in our society at this time.  For a good example, all you have to do is look at the Dallas Independent School District where failure is no longer an option, it’s a feature.  Students no longer get a zero for homework that is not turned in, and failing grades can be reattempted until they are passed.  That’ll get those TAAS scores up (please read this sentence with sarcasm).  This doomed policy will only last until the state threatens to take over the district for low test scores, and they’ll do it.

I expected that this rush to mediocrity was behind the story of a young man in New Haven, Connecticut who was being told he could not play baseball anymore because he pitched too well.  Occasionally a child who is physically larger and stronger that the other kids will be allowed or asked to play a grade-up in football.  This can work out for all involved because the kid who is, say, 50 pounds heavier than his peers will not be able to really hurt them, and he will find a greater challenger and quicker advancement playing with children who are better and more his size.  Baseball is different.  It is mostly a skill-based game where cognitive ability is more important than size and strength.  In the original Foxnews and Google News stories, it was portrayed that this young man was being kicked out of the league because he was too good- specifically, because he threw too hard and the parents were scared of him.

If this were true it would be bad enough, and it would be indefensible, but unfortunately, it appears that the truth is even worse.  Something in the story did not sound right, so I followed the link to the local paper, and therein lay the sad, petty story.

It seems that Jericho Scott is a very good pitcher for a nine year old.  So good, in fact, that Reynaldo Reyes, the president of the league, who also happens to own the barber shop that sponsors the best team in the league, approached Jericho and his parents about joining the league, and his team of ringers.  Jericho was already playing in another league, but decided to take up the invitation.  However, instead of joining Reyes’ team of ringers, he joined another team coached by one of his father’s friends. 

You would think that the league would have been all for this.  Adding a good platyer to a team that was not as good would add to the competitiveness of the overall league.  That just makes sense.  Unfortunately, the team that Jericho joined was not supposed to go 8-0, and be unbeatable this season.  They were supposed to be just another punching bag for the team of ringers whose parents all have thoughts of future professional baseball careers dancing before their eyes.

So, in the grand tradition of parents who become involved in sports everywhere, the parents of the ringer team, and the president of the league decided that Jericho was dangerous (to their winning percentage), and had to be stopped.  They demanded that this child be removed from the league, and not allowed to pitch.  When he took the mound, the umpire forfeited the game for them, and later games have been called-off.  The team has now been ordered to disband, and the coach and Jericho have been kicked out of the league.  Now, of course the court battles will begin, and who knows who will win as the truth will be obscured by feigned parental concern.  In the end, all we are really left with is a nine year old boy crying on a mound wondering why, and a bunch of loser adults who should be ashamed of themselves.

Top 100 Creepy People 31-40

Creepy Person #40- Juliette Lewis

She is creepy in the same way that Courtney love is, except that she looks much, much dirtier.  Yuck.

 

Creepy Person #39- Simcha Jacobovici

This guy is otherwise known as the Naked Archeologist, though he is neither naked (thank, God) or an archaeologist.  He is creepy because he puts forth the most outlandish theories, while simply ignoring the facts and generally accepted theories in archaeology.  His ideas are almost always sensational, and often offensive to certain religions.  He presents one side of the argument, and spends the rest of his time trying every way he can to sway the person watching him, while leaving out any views or facts contrary to his own no matter how valid or strong they are.  You can find some of his handy work in the generally panned production of The Jesus Tomb, but I encourage you not to listen to a thing this creepy bastard has to say.

 

Creepy Person #38- Pauly Shore

Hey Bu-ddy!  He’s pretty much the whole creepy package minus the evil part.  He is the kind of creepy that can ruin a good party the moment he walks in the door.

 

Creepy Person #37- Tonya Harding

Novels could be written about this creepy girl.  She proved you can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of the girl.  The dolled-up girl who went out on the ice was the same girl who had her truck-driver hubby try to break the leg of a fellow competitor, nice.  The next time America heard from her, she was doing the Paris Hilton thing, and not even getting paid for it.  The last time I saw her she was going to be fighting another celebrity on television.  Her life has been one big creepy train-wreck.

 

Creepy Person #36- Kathy Bates

She makes the list for scaring the sh— out of me.  He character, Annie Wilkes, in Misery, is one of the scariest characters to ever grace the screen.  After James Caan’s character hides the knife under the bed, and then wakes up to her obviously unhappy face, I literally jumped.  She definitely deserved the Oscar she received for this roll, and she is the highest rated actress to make this list simply for one roll.  Congratulations, Kathy!

 

Creepy Person #35- Michael Vick

Here the list begins to transition more from people who looked or acted creepy to more people who do creepy things.  What Michael Vick did to those dogs was not funny, but it was definitely creepy, and I wish him all the failure in the world for it.

 

Creepy Person #34- Lorena Bobbitt

In a masterful piece of cosmic irony this crazy woman married a man with the last name of Bobbitt.  Fewer things haunt the recesses of man’s mind like the specter of having a woman do to him what Lorena did to her husband.  And remember guys, she got away with it.  That gives every other woman license to do the same.  I can’t type too much more on this one, because it just makes me too darn nervous.

 

Creepy Person #33- Victor Vernado

Who’s he?  He is a guy who was born with a genetic advantage when it comes to playing the evil villain.  He’s albino.  As unfair and un-PC as it is, albinism is creepy.  Many of the creepiest villains in cinematic history were albinos, and do not get all judgmental, just imagine yourself in a darkened alley on a humid night alone.  You look up and see an albino looking at you.  You’ll feel the creepiness going right up your spine.

 

Creepy Person #32- Marv Albert

The toupee is enough, and may rate its own creepy rating, but he mainly makes it from the sexual assault charges.  It was a sordid and very creepy tale.

 

Creepy Person #31- Paul Ruebens-

The PeeWee Herman character was creepy enough, especially knowing that he geared his comedy toward children, but Reubens had to go and ruin his career in a most creepy manner.  If you don’t remember, he was busted in a porno theatre with his pants around his ankles loving himself as no other could.  And, if you’ve ever seen him without the PeeWee getup, you will see he is just one creepy looking guy.  Finally, having ‘Mr. Rooney’ from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off busted in his house for possessing little boy porn just put him over the creepy edge.

Top 100 Creepy People Criteria

Top 100 Creepy People 10-1

Top 100 Creepy People 21-30

Top 100 Creepy People 31-40

Top 100 Creepy People 41-50

Top 100 Creepy People 51-60

Top 100 Creepy People 61-70

Top 100 Creepy People 71-80

Top 100 Creepy People 81-90

Top 100 Creepy People 91-100

 

 

Lists