Monday, December 31, 2007
Just a quick post today to say happy New Year to all! I hope you have a safe and enjoyable night with whatever you may end up doing!
Just a quick post today to say happy New Year to all! I hope you have a safe and enjoyable night with whatever you may end up doing!
Just a quick post for the weekend picks folks. I'm busy playing Wii in my spare time.
Penn State over Texas A&M (Alamo Bowl)
Wake Forest over #25 Connecticut (Meineke Car Care Bowl)
Colorado over Alabama (Independence Bowl)
Philadelphia Eagles over Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots over New York Giants
Washington Redskins over Dallas Cowboys
2-4 last week. Grr. Finishing off pretty weakly this year. 64-40 overall.
There you have it! I'll be rooting on my Nittany Lions with my good pal Paul, who is coming down to watch the game with us. I hope everybody is having a terrific holiday season and I hope you got what you really wanted!
To those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas! I won't be posting anything new probably the whole week until Friday when I post my weekend picks (I went another awful 2-4 this past weekend)! So I hope you have a safe and happy holiday!
Well folks the final weekend of the NFL regular season is upon us and it is time to start thinking about the playoffs. I extend an invitation to YOU to join my playoff league, hosted by ESPN's Gridiron Challenge.
I have set up a group that is private, but I will provide the sign up necessities right here if you are interested in joining. I am extending an open invitation to everybody I know and everybody who happens to read this blog. There is no prize except for bragging rights and there is no fee to sign up (you just need to set up a registration with ESPN...again, free).
Get in the action now:
Game Front: http://games.espn.go.com/nflpc/frontpage
Group: Ramblings Playoff Fever
I'll be sure to post a recap after each week as well so you can see how glorious you or a friend are doing. Again, it's really easy to set up. It only took me two minutes to set up my team, and everyone can use the same players (that means everyone can use Tom Brady in the division round for their team). Good luck!
This one comes a little earlier than the usual Friday posting, so pardon me while I mess with your regular Ramblings reading schedule! The Christmas holiday is shifting some things around for me so I figured I should get this out before the weekend starts, especially with the return of the college football picks with bowl games starting tonight!
So here is Kevin's Six Pack of Picks for the Weekend - Egg Nog Bowl Edition!
New Orleans Saints over Philadelphia Eagles
Carolina Panthers over Dallas Cowboys
Cleveland Browns over Cincinnati Bengals
Utah over Navy (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia ...whew!...Bowl)
Memphis over Florida Atlantic (Up Up Down Down Left Right R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl)
Cincinatti over Southern Miss (Papajohns.com Bowl...because they couldn't just call it the Papajohns Bowl).
Last week I continued to leap towards the finish line with another abysmal week, although improved over the previous week, with a 2-4 record, putting my season long total at 62-36. C'mon Kevin, finish strong!
In other football picking news, I am currently 58 points behind my dad in his office pool for the year. While I am not mathematically eliminated, for all intents and purposes, I am not going to beat him this year. I don't remember the totals from last year but I imagine I closed the gap some on him this year. I did win as many times as him though this year with two weeks to go.
I am also participating in a couple Bowl Game pick em contests; one with Sports Radio 950AM (click the button to check it out) and the other through ESPN's site. Through ESPN I am taking part in the Black Shoe Diaries pool, as well as the groups "pennsylvania people only" and taking my shot in the biggest pool titled ESPNU College Football Insider.
Here are my picks as they appear on ESPN's pools;
"The bottom line is that they can regulate and they can market these things all they want, but it is up to the parents to keep track of what their kids are playing. If parents did their job the government would not always have to step in."
I saw the new Will Smith movie, I Am Legend, and when I walked back to my car Saturday night I was left in awe. I loved what I had seen and I could not wait to see it again!
Yes, the movie was good and Will Smith was great as usual, but my favorite scene happened before the movie even started. I am referring to the trailer for The Dark Knight, the sequel to the revived Batman franchise due out in 2008.
Observe if you have not yet seen it...
Remember that old ESPN commercial where the guy says he would sell his soul for a national championship? Of course he is talking about his football team. The devil shows up and gives him his national championship, in field hockey I believe.
Well, congrats to the Penn State Women's basketball team...2007 NCAA national champions.
Once again, a little late, but better late than never! Coming off a hugely disappointing 1-5 last week. Ouch!
Dallas Cowboys over Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers over Jacksonville Jaguars
Green Bay Packers over St. Louis Rams
San Diego Chargers over Detroit Lions
#5 Northwest Missouri State over #8 Valdosta State
#1 Mount Union over #2 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Not that Penn State will be getting into this too much in public, but a future opponent has already guaranteed a victory against the Nittany Lions.
Nope, not Texas A&M. Not coach-less Michigan (who don't need to waste their predicting a victory against PSU, it's pretty much a given) or Coastal Carolina.
By now you have probably heard that THE Oregon State University Beavers will visit Beaver Stadium next September, thankfully replacing Arkansas State. OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis is excited and serves up the first guarantee;
“Any time you can play a team of historic proportions and play a team coached by a hall of fame coach (Joe Paterno), you go for it,” De Carolis said. “It’s a great venue to play in. It’s going to be loud and raucous. It will be a great experience for our kids, similar to LSU. But make no mistake; we are going to win the game.”Make no mistake about this; THE Oregon State University is coming to Happy Valley for the payday, but perhaps getting Penn State fired up over the summer and so they can kick your butts all the way back to the west coast will teach De Carolis a lesson. He is just lucky that Dan Connor won't be around because I am sure he would find a way to tackle him to the ground and eat dirt. Of course, Sean Lee should be able to do that just fine.
Corvallis Gazette Times
Well, bad news for Phillies fans; Aaron Rowand is a San Francisco Giant. I'm not sure if it was the money or the five years but I think the Phillies should have given him the same deal.
The Phillies, Jimmy Rollins aside, are killing my enthusiasm much faster than I would have hoped coming off of an NL East championship season.
Now that we are in the downtime between regular season and bowl mania I thought it would be a good opportunity to look back on this crazy football season. In my eyes this was one of the mostunpredictable football seasons I have ever seen. While my Nittany Lions somehow seemed to be the only team who couldn't reach one of the top two spots in the polls this year, there were many story lines throughout the nation. With upset after upset, overtime after overtime, Heisman candidate after Heisman candidate, #1 after #1 and #2 after #2, there was never a shortage of conversation.
Feel free to debate this list as you please, as I am sure with the season the way it was there is a lot of room for suggestions and debates as to which game was most exciting or compelling.
10. Delaware 59, Navy 52 - While this game may not have had the magnitude of an SEC match up, this game was one of the more exciting games of the season. This game was not for the fans of a good defensive game though as the host Navy Midshipmen and visiting Delaware Blue Hens combined for 111 points and 1,087 yards of offense. Delaware struck first and Navy scored the next 14 points in the first quarter. In the second quarter the squads alternated touchdowns with Delaware scoring 21 points and the game was tied at 28 at halftime.
The second half was just about as crazy with both teams scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, but thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco in the third quarter Delaware was able to pull out a hard fought, back and forth game and have the momentum at the end of the game to secure the upset victory on the road. It was the year of the upset after all. Delaware would continue their season, they may appear later on this list as well, and this Friday they will be playing Appalachian State for the national championship on the division 1AA level. A week after this game Navy would go on the road...
9. Navy 46, Notre Dame 44 (3OT) - Let us put aside all criticisms of the Notre Dame football program, its players and of course their coach. Notre Dame was in the thick of their worst season ever, we all know that. Navy was coming off a home upset to Delaware. All of that meant nothing on this day though as Navy snapped an unthinkable 43 game losing streak to the Fighting Irish. Just think about that; forty-three years! With all of that history and heavy metaphorical monkeys on the backs of the Midshipmen, this game had the nerve to go into triple overtime? You have to be kidding me! Of course, Notre Dame should have won this game, but thanks to a bonehead decision by Charlie Weis (see clip below), Navy was able to take the game into overtime.
And let me be clear about this. I didn't just win. I was the the 1972 Dolphins of Week 14 in the football pool as I became the first player this year to have a PERFECT pool! I wanted to call myself the New England Patriots of Week 14 but that would have been silly as there were many contenders this week. Everybody went over 100 points this week, which is very rare from what I have seen.
The sweetest part about the whole thing is that I came from behind to beat out my dad for the overall lead. My dad had a really good week, only missing three points total in two games.
If the New Orleans Saints beat the rival Atlanta Falcons tonight on Monday Night Football, I win the football pool! So let's go Saints! If you watch the game, keep an eye out for Falcons #43, Brent Grimes on special teams.
Sorry for being late with these, but if I get them in before games start it's legit! So just a quick post this week!
Philadelphia Eagles over New York Giants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Houston Texans
New England Patriots over Pittsburgh Steelers
#4 Southern Illinois over #13 Delaware
#7 California (PA) over #8 Valdosta State
#1 Grand Valley State over #5 Northwest Missouri
Stef's dad won the WZZO Best Rack Contest I mentioned a couple posts ago. Thanks to anyone who voted.
Dan Connor, linebacker from Penn State, came up with what many would call an upset last night as he was awarded the Chuck Bedenarik Award for top defensive player in college football. Many believed that Glenn Dorsey, defensive lineman from LSU, was a cinch for the award and James Laurinaitis, linebacker from Ohio State and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year this season, was a possible second choice. Always seemingly overlooked are the Penn State linebackers though by many in the media, as I felt the case for Connor was.
After Connor received the award I let out a big yell of "YEAH!", to which Stef had instructed me to calm down immediately for fear of disturbing our neighbors. I couldn't help it because I was so proud that a Penn State linebacker received the recognition he deserved. Plus the stumped look on the face of Laurinaitis was cool too.
So, when exactly do they rename the Chuck Bednarik Award in honor of Penn State?
It has been over a month since I interviewed with LA Weight Loss for a new position they were organizing for their corporate office. The interview went really well and things seemed to be pretty positive. A while passed and all I had heard is that they were still interviewing for the position but even then things seemed slightly positive.
It is now December so I decided to keep in touch and send the two people I interviewed with an e-mail, just to check up and see if the position had been filled. I received a response this afternoon informing me that the position had not been filled, and that now they were re organizing some things and may not even have the position.
How about that? I'm still interested in the job (VERY INTERESTED) so hopefully it is a position they do end up deciding to keep. I know it's perfect for me, I just know it.
Now that I am back on Bloggger I find myself messing with the settings again. Please be patient as I rework the layout and such. I know you understand! Thanks!
Go out and buy your milk and bread and a bag of salt! It snowed today!
I love how the big story on the news tonight, barring any assassinations of any sort or terrorist attacks, will be the fact that the Philadelphia region received a coating of snow. Make no mistake about it, all of the local news outlets will cover the trace of white stuff for the first ten minutes. One reporter will be in the middle of a town asking people what they think, one person will be by the roads and showing clips of them interviewing drivers and asking about the roads, one video clip will show the salt trucks, and one reporter will be at a grocery store.
People in Buffalo and Denver must laugh at this. Here is how much snow sits outside as I write this:
On this cold, blustery day though I want to share a couple things with you. First off, Joe Paterno's induction speech at the College Hall of Fame from Tuesday. Thanks to Run Up the Score for originally alerting me of this.
As it says on the website, not THAT kind of rack! Just thought I'd throw this plug out there for Stef's dad. If you're reading this then check out the link and send in a vote for Rich Banko (Kintnersville, PA) on WZZO's Best Rack Contest.
I'm just going to make this short and sweet. While I am blogging here on Blogspot I'll still keep my running total going on my WordPress blog, right here until the end of the season.
And while not going to extreme detail about my picks this week, I'll try to get a more in depth preview for next weekend. Seeing as it is a big weekend in an unpredictable football season, I picking only college games plus the Philadelphia Eagles game.
#12 Hawaii over Washington to clinch a spot in a BCS game.
#1 Missouri over #9 Oklahoma to silence the critics in the Big 12 championship.
#6 Virginia Tech over #11 Boston College for revenge form an earlier loss.
#7 LSU over #14 Tennessee because they're peeved.
#2 West Virginia over Pittsburgh to clinch a shot at the championship.
Philadelphia Eagles over Seattle Seahawks because everybody loves AJ Feeley.
I don't really see any upsets happening this weekend, much to the chagrin of the Buckeyes of Ohio State.
BONUS D2 PLAYOFF PICK! #7 California (Pennsylvania) over #12 Shepherd in the Northeast Region Championship game.
Overall record this season: 55-25
Call me old fashioned but I say if there's nothing wrong with it, then don't fix it. Unfortunately just the opposite tends to be the case when it comes to professional sports teams. What more evidence do we need than the alternate jersey?
You see this in every sport now as many teams can not seem to stick to a single identity, two if you count home and away as separate entities. I do not. I don't mean to copy anything in the style of Uniwatch, believe me, but I say that amongst the best jerseys in sports are the classic ones; New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Red Wings, etc. Classics. I hate when I turn on a game and can't tell who is playing because they are both wearing alternate jerseys. Terrible.
The Flyers introduced a black jersey years ago, and now it is the home uniform. The Eagles also brought out a black uniform, which they haven't worn this season. The Sixers now have a red jersey, and in recent years they had a blue uniform.
But the Phillies always kept things simple, something that has run through the entire organization from top to bottom. Why spend extra money? But today they unveiled a new uniform, an alternate uniform that will be worn for day home games.
Observe, if you have not already...
Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels were kind enough to dress up in this garb. They are not bad and a lot better than what I had anticipated. I had heard rumors of the jersey saying "Philadelphia" on the front which would have been ludicrous. The images don't do it justice, but the pin stripes are removed, and the lettering and numbering are outlined in blue, the same shade as the new alternate hat. The blue hats are pretty much the same kind of hat the Phillies tried wearing for day games back in 1994. I was a sucker; I bought one. In 1995 it was back to red hats all the time.
Overall I like the uniform, although I think it looks better on Rollins than it does Hamels. It is also a design that pays homage to the late 1940's teams, an era of Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts. I still do not like alternate uniforms, but I am ok with this design, although now the Phillies are a three hat team; regular red hat, new alternate blue hat, and that god awful "inter league" hat. Hopefully they will ditch the inter league hat and use the blue hat if anything.
So I have tested out Word Press for a while, tried out some new ideas, enjoyed them but now I find myself returning because Word Press seems a little snobby about not accepting some things I'd like added to my blog. Perhaps they just want me to pay for their more advanced software which allows some more freedom. Seriously, I'm not going to pay to express myself and share what I want with my readers. So I have returned to Ramblings on Blogger now and I am staying here...for now. So I ask you to kindly update your links, RSS readers, and bookmarks hopefully for the final time.
Look, I did say it could happen. Here's a quote from my supposed last post on Blogger;
"Or if it doesn't turn out nicely, I'll be back on Blogger in two weeks!"
To celebrate my "return" here is one of my favorite cartoons ever.
Well folks, I have moved my Blog to a new home, leaving behind Ramblings on Blogger. This will be my final entry at Ramblings but I hope you will follow my rants and comments at my new blog site; Ramblings 2.0, hosted by WordPress.
Why the change? Well, I have come to think that the creativity and content management is a step or two above Blogger's. I have been reading some blogs lately hosted by WordPress and I have been impressed with what they have done.
As I am switching hosts for my blog I have come to realize that I need to get rid of some old stuff laying around that simply does not have a home at Ramblings 2.0. So if anybody would like to purchase some old posts off of me feel free to make an offer! There are some great classics to be owned folks, such as my declaration that NASCAR is not a sport (that fueled some comments), my step by step guide to creating a student section, and what I would do as Sports Emperor for a Day. Lots of great stuff here, and I haven't even brought up the numerous posts in which I blast Notre Dame. There are a few of thus spattered through out.
So I hope you update your bookmarks and start checking out the new Ramblings 2.0 as regularly as you check this one. Please be advised, that I am still in the process of modifying the look of the new blog until I get it just right. Comments will be much appreciated as to what you like and don't like at the new blog.
Or if it doesn't turn out nicely, I'll be back on Blogger in two weeks!
I'll be leaving today to spend the weekend in Wildwood, New Jersey for Irish Weekend! So have a good weekend everybody!
Blogged with Flock
Well, I received a response today from Time Inc., responding to my letter to Sports Illustrated from yesterday. It seems to me that I'm getting the usual "We don't have time to read your e-mail but we'll pass it along to the editors" run around. Who knows.
Here is what I received;
"Dear Mr. McGuire:
Thank you for writing. While the editors wish they could reply individually to each person who writes, the volume of mail makes this impossible.
However, we wanted you to know that every letter is read by at least two editors, your views and opinions help shape the content of the magazine, and all editorial letters are considered for publication.
SI Letters Department"
Blogged with Flock
Am I obsessed with football? Possibly. The funny thing is I never regarded it as my favorite sport. That would be baseball. Oddly enough though, football consumes me like no other sport. I watch the Phillies and pay attention to other games in baseball. I do not play in any fantasy leagues, I never know when the draft is, and I'll casually watch the playoffs, unless the Phillies somehow make it in. Football is a different story.
This season I find myself in a pair of fantasy football leagues in addition to two separate football pools and a suicide pool. I have been to more football games this season than I have baseball. I make my football picks every week. I get more into football, but I still think baseball is my favorite sport.
I'm not exactly sure anymore. Am I fooling myself into thinking baseball is still my favorite sport? Am I holding on to sentimental reasons for liking baseball more? I have always said I love the fact that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a baseball game. Football is a lot more stressful and on the edge, clearly. Perhaps it is my laid back style that prefers baseball to football.
Check back for status updates on my baseball vs. football love affair as the month goes (read: as the Phillies playoff door slams shut).
Let's talk football though. I will be away at the shore this weekend in Wildwood, New Jersey for Irish Weekend so I am getting my picks out there today. And because of that, let's pick a Thursday night game, shall we?
The Miami Hurricanes take on #20 Texas A&M tonight in the Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes are obviously on somewhat of a rebuilding level. So is Notre Dame but Charlie Weis won't admit it. But then again, Charlie Weis won't admit a lot of things. Miami enters the ESPN match up at 2-1 after beating cross town rival Florida International. Miami needed a fluff opponent after getting licked by Oklahoma 51-13 the week before. I believe that Miami, as young and inexperienced as they may be, is very capable of knocking off Texas A&M tonight. The ACC is hoping that Miami can do it though, because their conference is in desperate need of a quality win. With their neighbors the SEC soaking up all the buzz lately the ACC is way behind. In fact the Big East, the conference that was supposed to be left for dead after the ACC raided the top teams, has blown past the ACC in many people's views. I'm still a little reserved on the hype of the Big East, but I support the notion that they are better than the ACC op to bottom. The Aggies have a great rushing offense and they could wear down the Hurricanes as the game drags on. Add to that the fact that A&M has all the momentum going for them in this series, winning the last game 70-14 in 1944, and Texas A&M is the obvious pick. Miami will keep it close though. Besides, Miami is caught in a trap game between Florida International and Duke.
The game that has clearly been soaking up my nervous sweat since the week began is the Penn State-Michigan game. The last time Penn State beat Michigan, I was in high school. They should have a couple games since then but that should be another story. But it is the harsh memories of blown games, calls, and lack of talent that cause me to think that the #10 Nittany Lions are about to drop in the rankings while unranked Michigan is about to make believers out of the media again. Mike Hart scares me.
This Penn State defense is really good. Don't discredit them for the teams they have played (Florida International, Buffalo and the worst team in college football, Notre Dame). This defense has talent. What scares me though is the fact that they haven't really been tested. Buffalo put up 24 on them, but that doesn't really concern me either since 21 of those points were 4th quarter scores. Everything should be going Penn State's way heading into this game. But everything should have been going Penn State's way in 1997 (L 8-34), 1999 (L 27-31), 2002 (L 24-27), and 2005 (L 25-27). Penn State has the defense. Michigan has the injured started QB. Penn State has the top ten ranking. Michigan has washed away national title dreams (Let's be honest, all they had before App. State were dreams anyway). Part of me wishes Notre Dame was better so we could maybe better assess both Michigan and Penn State. Both teams destroyed the Irish, leaving us really nothing to determine what kind of teams we have going into this weekend.
My heart says Penn State. Then again, it always says Penn State. At the start of the week I knew Michigan would win this game. But today, Thursday, I'm starting to believe a little more in Joe Paterno's squad. Maybe it's blind faith, maybe it's the fact that all losing streaks have to end at some point, or maybe it's just from reading these two very well put together blogs - MGoBlog, a great Michigan blog, and Run Up the Score!, the Penn State equivalent. While I may be thinking that Penn State is very capable of winning the game against the Wolverines on Saturday, I am not 100% ready to say a poor offensive showing, a bewildered Anthony Morelli, a pair of Austin Scott fumbles, or a lackluster receiving performance won't show up. The defense will play well. Mike Hart will get his yards, and he'll probably notch 100 yards. The key will be making sure he gets those 100 yards in small doses throughout the game. If he gets his 100th yard in the 4th quarter, Penn State wins. If he gets 100th yard early in the third, Michigan wins.
Hate to say it, but I'm picking Michigan. I'll probably pick Michiagn every time until Penn State pulls one out. If ever there was a year to do so, THIS IS THE YEAR!
Whew. all of that Penn State-Michigan talk wore me out. But I still have a few more games to pick! As you know I always pick the Shippensburg game of the week to pay homage to all of my fans in Red Raider Nation. They let me down last week with their second half collapse against Kutztown, and I'm going to have to punish them this week for it. The #20 West Chester University Golden Rams are heading to the Cumberland Valley and I see nothing that tells me the Rams won't pick up their third win of the season while in town. The school and town of Shippensburg are actually taking a page out of the Phillies' playbook and promoting their own "Paint the Town Red" hype. How did that turn out for the Phills? They started the season out 0-3. That wraps up the college games, so let's head to the NFL for a brief look.
Will the Eagles really go 0-3? I don't think so. The Detroit Lions come to Philly with a 2-0 record and something they call a group of "wide receivers". Apparently these wide receivers have the ability to catch footballs thrown their way after they create separation from their defenders. This something we once saw in Philadelphia when the ogre known as Terrell Owens was wearing green. I usually back Donovan McNabb to all the haters, but right now he needs to get healthy. He is clearly not helping the team at this moment in time! The defense has been playing well though, much better than people expected. I don't see this Eagles team going 0-3. I just don't. Maybe 1-4, but not 0-3. Eagles beat the Lions.
My favorite NFL quarterback, Matt Schaub, had a nice article about him written in this week's Sports Illustrated. HE may not have been on the cover, but his 2-0 start is starting to grab some eyes around the league. You think the Indianapolis Colts have realized they are tied at the top of the NFC South with the Texans? After Sunday, Schaub will start leading the Texans to a wild card berth. Colts will win this one, but Schaub will pass for 476 yards, five touchdowns, and run for two more. And the other darling quarterback, Tony Romo, is going to have a very frustrating night in Chicago as the Bears rough him up. Final score; Bears 52, Cowboys -10.
So here's the Week Four Recap for Kevin's Six Pack of Picks for the Weekend...
Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) over Detroit Lions (2-0)
Indianapolis Colts (2-0) over Houston Texans (2-0)
Chicago Bears (1-1) over Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Michigan (1-2) over #10 Penn State (3-0)
#20 West Chester (2-1) over Shippensburg (0-3)
#20 Texas A&M (3-0) over Miami (2-1)
I'll throw in my suicide pool pick too, just for kicks; Baltimore Ravens (home vs. Arizona Cardinals). I have already used Jacksonville (week two) and Dallas (week one)
This is a tough slate on hand. I hope I can turn around my downward slide. Week one I was 6-0. Week two I was 5-1. Week three I was 4-2. As if I wasn't nervous enough...
I have been getting increasingly frustrated with the coverage Sports Illustrated allots to college football. In the "The Week in Sports" section of Sports Illustrated, there is one page given to college football. That is as much as the WNBA receives. Same with soccer. High school football? Try a page and a half!
I wrote Sports Illustrated, much like my grandmother might, to let them know I am displeased with their coverage selection. Here is what I wrote;
"I find it alarming that your issues only feature one page of college football coverage, but one and a half pages of high school football in the “The Week in Sports” section. I understand that high school football is huge in some regions but on a national scale isn’t college football more worthy of the extra coverage? Personally, my interest in high school football starts and ends with my former high school and their league. I can get plenty of coverage on that in my local paper.Kevin McGuire
Blogged with Flock
I rarely, if ever, read the messages Comcast sends me through my cable box. But today I did and learned that Comcast customers are getting a free preview of Showtime On Demand during the last weekend of the month (9/28 - 10/1). In addition I'll also be getting a Showtime Free Preview on digital cable October 19 - October 21!
I'll be sure to load up the DVR that weekend, but when is the HBO preview???
Blogged with Flock
So yesterday I wasted my afternoon with Grand Slam Events, who turned out to be a prospective employer that was nothing like what I thought. I was lead to believe they were a public relations company promoting events such as conventions, fairs, and sports teams. Boy was that ever wrong. Turns out they are one of those pyramid scheme companies in which they fund raise outside of drug and grocery stores, selling t-shirts, mugs, Crayola products in an effort to raise money to fund non-profit groups such as D.A.R.E.
Now, I'm all for supporting D.A.R.E. and other programs such as Toys for Tots, another of the big programs supported through Grand Slam Events. However, if I want to sell Crayola products, I'll stick with my job with Staples.
I didn't sleep very much Sunday night, thanks in part to a mistake 40 minute nap after 7pm. I would have much preferred taking a nap after work on Monday afternoon, knowing that I was going to be up late watching the Eagles on Monday Night Football.
While we are on the topics of valuable time wasted, I watched the entire Eagles game last night and in having opposite feelings I was feeling during the Phillies game in St. Louis, I could have sworn the Eagles were going to pull it out. Meanwhile in St. Louis, once Charlie Manuel got scared that Kyle Kendrick gave up 3 runs, cutting the Phillies lead to a mere 8 runs, he went to his shut down, end-the-game-right-now, automatic bullpen. So much for resting your bullpen.
Final score; Phills - 13, Cardinals - 11.
Aaron Rowand, you are the savior for your likely game saving catch in the 8th and following it up with an insurance home run.
But the Phillies remain in the playoff hunt, but the schedule is not their friend. If only we could play the Mets for the rest of the season...
Comcast DVR is great. Since getting it I have been able to record shows I normally missed. I have now seen shows such as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Joe Paterno press conferences, The Penn State Football Story, Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (the BBC version), as well as saving some movies that I would like to watch when there is time. The best part yet was last night.
In years past if there were two shows on that I like at the same time, the VCR would have to be set to tape one while I watch the other, and I'll watch the taped show the next day or so. Eventually the VCR was replaced by Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition. Last night Windows was replaced by DVR. Prison Break debuted last night, and about a half hour into the show the Eagles would play on Monday Night. Rather than divide my attention and flip back and forth, I recorded the Eagles game with the DVR and watched Prison Break uninterrupted, except for commercials when I would flip to the Phillies. Once Prison Break was over, I would load up my saved recordings and select the Eagles game and start watching it as if it were live. The game was still recording while I was watching the same recording. Thus I could fast forward through commercials and lulls in the broadcast until I caught up to the live action.
As for Prison Break, I am having doubts about how the third season will go. I have been loyal to the show since the beginning but fear that recycling the storyline of having a brother in prison needing to find a way out with his brother's aide may suffer a little bit. Theodore has already put himself in position of prison bitch to the man who seems to be widely considered the leader in the prison, who also has an issue with Michael. Let's face it, Scofield always had problems making friends. But I know his old enemies are soon going to be his strongest allies in the Panama prison. Mahoney saved Scofield once already after giving him fight advice and I'm sure he will be an important asset for Michael as the season unfolds. I kind of feel sorry for Billick, although we were always supposed to not like him. I felt bad for him once before when he was at his mother's house and had just been sent home from Fox River. But then he went and became a bad guy again fast so all sorry feelings went down the drain.
Next week will be interesting when Fernando Sucre returns. I have a feeling that he is going to do something wrong in Panama and become the next inmate at Sona. Maybe not in his first episode, but in the next couple weeks. We all know Michael needs Sucre.
I covered a lot of ground today I think. Time to close this with one final thought.
It is Tuesday and I am already dreading Saturday's Penn State game at Michigan. I am not alone either.
Few divisions in all of sports are as storied as the National Football League's NFC East Division. The Dallas Cowboys. The New York (football) Giants. The Washington Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles. Together they own a quarter of the NFL's Super Bowl championships (ten) and have been the team of many legendary football players. The competition in the division is highly regarded as the toughest not only in the NFL, but in all of sports. Mark Maske took the opportunity to chronicle a year in the life of the NFC East in the book, War Without Death.
War Without Death: A Year of Extreme Competition in Pro Football's NFC East is exactly what the title says it is. The storyline of the 2006 calendar year for the NFC East is divided into three sections. And instead of giving you just the game recaps from the NFL season, the reader is put right in the thick of things from the coach's office, to the owner's box, to the draft rooms, and the player's homes. You start off right in Oakland at the end of the 2005 NFL season, where the New York Giants had clinched the 2005 NFC East division in January. Stories of the legendary Mara family, owners of the Giants, are told and signify how special things were in the organization, as well as documenting the emotions of the Cowboys, Redskins, and Eagles.
Maske tells the story more from the angle of the owners of the clubs than anyone else. Dan Snyder comes off as a rich man who is looking for his next buck. Jerry Jones comes off as a man wanting his Cowboys to be "America's Team". John Mara comes off as a man who wants to respect the history of the Giants and NFL, as well as wanting to ensure the Giants mean something in the league. And Jeffery Lurie comes off as the owner who wants to be successful but wants to do it smartly, rather than being the over spender. Each personality is represented just as they appear to be in real life.
The three sections of the book are "The Planning", "The Build Up", and "The Payoff". Each section progresses through the year starting with the end of the 2005 season. In the first section the reader learns what each club is thinking coming off the end of the 2005 NFL season, coaching changes, free agents, and looking forward to the draft. "The Build Up" is all about the second half of the off season as the reader learns how the draft unfolds, the legacies of the owners and general managers that are defined by free agency and drafts, and the wonderful world of training camps.
"The Payoff" takes the reader through the up and down 2006 season, all of the division lead changes, the national exposure games, and the eventual playoff match-ups.
There are so many plot lines that are followed through out the entire book. One to pay attention too is the story of Adam Archuleta, a free agent who decided to sign with the Redskins for more money as opposed to going to Chicago, where he could play in a system that better suited him and was close to his old home. Archuleta tells Maske just how feels as he makes the decision and how his feelings turn bitter as the season unfolds. By the end you want to feel sorry for Archuleta, but at the same time you may feel like saying "Told ya so!"
Among the other story lines that are detailed more accurately and without bias is the Terrell Owens sage, which moved form Philadelphia to Dallas. Owens' image issues, coach Parcels battles, and overdose episode are discussed, as well as his road from Philadelphia to Dallas. Also detailed throughout the book is what happens above the club level.
A owners' meetings are discussed in an important year for the NFL. A new collective bargaining agreement was put in place, as was a new commissioner. Stadium deals are passed, coaches are scrutinized, and players are revived and dismantled.
Every topic thinkable is covered in War Without Death. I bought it a while ago and finally finished it over the weekend. If you are a football fan, especially of either of the NFC East teams, this is a must read when you get a chance. You will undoubtedly come away with a higher appreciation for the inner workings of the NFL and its teams, owners, general managers, coaches, and players.
Matt Schaub, starting quarterback for the Houston Texans and former quarterback for West Chester East High School, is off to a good start. The first two games have been good to Schaub. Texans are 2-0, but take a glimpse at his stats;
36-50 (72% completion)
Two sacks is more important than you might think. His predecessor in Houston, David Carr (now with the Carolina Panthers) was sacked 249 times in four years in Houston. 41 times in 2005. Now, the offensive line may be improved, or maybe Schaub is just smarter and able to get rid of the ball more effectively. Take your pick.
Houston Texans are 2-0. Next up? The Colts.
Blogged with Flock
I'll warn you that I may ramble in this post more than in others, because I'm not sure how to structure what I'm about to say yet. I hope you understand.
So today was the funeral services for my Aunt Helen, my grandmother's older sister. I was able to rework my schedule to get down to Chester for most of the memorial activities, something I wasn't able to do when my Uncle Vaughn, Aunt Helen's husband, had passed away my freshman year at Shippensburg. Having missed that previous service I felt it necessary to make it down for this one. My cousins Lee and Evan were mourning the loss of another grandparent, and I have been fortunate enough not to have had to deal with such a loss yet.
The last time I went to a viewing was for my Aunt Donna's mother a couple years ago. Before that was for Bill Dean's son. Before that my friend's grandfather. Before that and it starts to get hazy. It's hard not to hate these services, but always remember that the family and close friends are thankful. Even if you just show up, you are showing your support for the family and their loss.
Earlier this week my best friend had gone through a similar situation earlier this week with his fiance's mother. Throw in the anniversary of September 11 and we have on our hands what seems to be a down week. I can't speak for what happened at the services my friend had to go through, and I'm not sure how everybody reacts to September 11 anymore, but what I witnessed at the services for my Aunt Helen was somewhat remarkable.
What I found remarkable was the good spirits many seemed to be in. People laughed as they exchanged stories and I suppose that is also the reason for these services. Remember the good times. I hope I have a long happy life in front of me, but I hope that whenever the day comes that there are many people who will come and share a happy story about me. I'm not a religious person but I can appreciate the symbolism that is demonstrated and the lessons that are taught and the importance they serve in many people's lives. The pastor for today ended his service with an anecdote about a ship.
When a ship goes out to see, one might think that once it disappears on the horizon that it is gone. Gone where? Somebody waiting on the other coast may be saying "Here comes the ship!" When one person passes on, they may be leaving our lives, but there are old friends, family and loved ones waiting for that person on the other side that will be just as happy to see them.
I hope that my Aunt Helen has found her husband and other friends and family as she has now left our lives on this planet.
Blogged with Flock
Just thought I would throw this out there for all of you marching band enthusiasts. My high school, West Chester East, will be hosting their second annual marching band festival as part of the Cavalcade of Bands Association's performance schedule. The date is September 29 and the cost is $8 ($6 for senior citizens and children ten and under). First band performs at 6pm!
Here is the tentative lineup:
Fugett Middle School Band (exhibition)
Burlington City, NJ
Delsea Regional, NJ
Kingsway Regional, NJ
Penns Grove, NJ
Southern Regional, NJ
William Penn, DE
West Chester East High School (exhibition)
I'll be there helping out in some unknown capacity as of yet. Hope to see you there supporting high school bands!
The day started just as every day in the halls of Naugle Hall had for me. It was a Tuesday and I had woken up to my 9am alarm a little more than groggy. Like had happened many nights with my friends at Shippensburg University, we had decided to go to the Late Night meal at the union building. Every night at 11pm, going to get pizza, ice cream, or pepperoni sticks and a soda was about as much as any under 21 year old in college could look forward too. To my friends and I, this was our Happy Hour.
We had gone the night before and stayed there until the building closed at midnight. From there we went back to Naugle Hall for some late night television, but would soon call it a night. Some of our friends went back to their dorm or their rooms, and I went to bed. I had a sociology class to get rested up for the next morning at 9:30 am, my earliest class of the week. And after that I had a psychology class. It was my least favorite day of classes, but it was still early in the semester so I looked forward to going to my new classes.
After climbing down form the top bunk while my roommate kept on sleeping (I believe he was usually up for hours after I went to bed), I went through my morning routine, although slightly abbreviated. I first went to my computer and checked the National League playoff standings as the Phillies were battling with the Atlanta Braves for the National League East division as well as jockeying for position in the wild card spot. I wanted to know what happened on the west coast while I slept. Other than that I was looking forward to Thursday night's game Penn State would be playing down in Virginia against my former high school quarterback, Matt Schaub, and the Virginia Cavaliers. After checking the west coast scores I got my clothes for the day together, as well as my toothbrush and made my way down the hallway towards the bathroom for my morning shower. I saw no need to shave this day, as I was already in a rush to get ready for my class. I wanted to stop by the CUB and grab a breakfast sandwich too.
Normally when I made the walk down the hallway there were a couple people with their doors open. I would typically see a couple people heading back from their 8am classes, or getting ready for their 9:30 classes. Some would have their TVs on, others would just be on their computer. I noticed some more people had their TVs on today but thought nothing of it. I went and showered and got dressed in the bathroom, and brushed my teeth. From there I walked back to my room.
About two doors from my room somebody had greeted me from behind, Jon Rotz, who lived a couple doors down from me. He was coming back form an 8am class. Jon had lived in the same hallway, as I did, last year so we had come to know each other and talked more than some other people in the hallway. I always admired his and his roommates' room too as they had a big screen TV, a slab of marble that they laid across their school provided desks which they used to create a wall long desk for the two of them, and a plethora of lights, as well as the nicest futon in the hallway. He and his roommates were also owners of an original Nintendo so I had something in common with those guys.
"Have you seen it?" Jon asked me.
"Seen what?" I replied. I had no clue what he was talking about. I figured maybe he was talking about some kind of prank somebody pulled in the hallway, but immediately turned that thought down by the look on his face.
"The World Trade Center. It was hit by a couple planes."
"Come here," Jon said and I followed him to his room. His roommate was already up, getting ready for his 9:30 class and he was watching their TV intently with a blank stare on his face. I fixated my eyes on their TV and was amazed as we saw the World Trade Center burning and spewing smoke like I had never seen. It was then that I saw for the first time a video clip of the second plane flying into the tower. The three of us were stunned. We didn't know what to think. Was it an accident? Immediately after seeing the clip of the plane, we knew it was not an accident. I told them I had to get back to my room and excused myself. I entered my room and didn't care that my roommate was sleeping. I turned our TV on as I finished getting ready for class.
I was ready for class, but just had to get my books together. I couldn't though. I was too mesmerized by the news I was watching unfold before my eyes. I don't remember what channel I was watching. It didn't matter though. Everybody I'm sure was showing exactly the same thing. Thoughts about that Phillies game I was excited for that night were an afterthought. Class was an afterthought. I then realized I had five minutes to make a 10 minute walk across campus.
I showed up five minutes late, but it didn't matter. Sociology class had turned into an open forum about what happened. There were classmates hearing the news for the first time. Not everybody turned on a TV as they got ready for their morning, or checked anything more than their e-mail on their computer. Our professor was already there joining in on the open discussion that had nothing to do with sociology. After only five minutes our professor said that holding class today was going to be useless if we weren't going to actually have class and he ended class right there after taking attendance. He urged us all to go back to our rooms and such and watch the news. I bolted out of there and went right back to my room. I had an hour and and fifteen minutes to kill before my next class would start.
That time was spent watching the TV in my room as my roommate was still sleeping. I had the door open because I was so focused on just getting to the TV. I sat there in my folding chair, the staple of dorm furniture, with my bag sitting in the middle of the floor, watching the story develop. Jon had walked by my room again and saw me.
"Did you go to your class?" he asked.
"Sure did. Prof sent us home," I replied.
"I bet," Rotz said as he continued on.
I continued to watch the TV, but started to work my way around the room, removing the sociology book form my bag and back to my self. I started to do the things I would normally do. I grabbed a drink from the fridge, started browsing some websites, checking my e-mail when I turned to watch some more TV. The south tower was collapsing. Unreal.
In a matter of time I would be seeing the clip of the South tower collapsing over and over, and over and over again. Soon enough the North Tower would collapse. Even more unreal. How could that have happened? Two structures that took seven years to construct, had collapsed and been totally demolished in a span of just under 30 minutes. In a sense it reminded me of my Lego building days. I would spend a large chunk of time constructing a large vehicle or building, but when it came time to clean things up it took me five seconds to destroy the item and place it back in the box. And there was still more to come.
Soon I would learn of the news of a plane hitting the Pentagon, and another crashing in Shanksville, PA. Still at this point I had no clue they were all part of a related attack. I was still confused as to what was happening in New York. Yet there I was, in Shippensburg, in the middle of the triangle. I still had fears as to what else could happen.
My thoughts were that I was safe in Shippensburg despite the new uncertainty I was feeling on American soil that I never thought I would feel. I loved the city Philadelphia and knew that something was going to happen there next, if it hadn't happened already. If Philadelphia wasn't next, then surely Boston or Los Angeles would be. To my relief, nothing more happened that day.
I never made it to my psychology class. Sorry Mom and Dad. That day there was no way I was doing anything but watch the news. I could make up a day's worth of psychology. I later learned that the class was canceled anyway so I didn't feel bad. In all honesty, I didn't feel bad anyway. I spent the day watching the news, flipping between all the networks. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOXNews, ESPN, QVC, Home Shopping Network, Univision, Cartoon Network. It didn't matter what channel you turned on, they were all showing the same thing.
Word was spreading about canceled classes for everybody, but word was also spreading about marching band practice. It was still on. I had no problems with that. The feeling around the nation was quickly forming that we a as nation needed to come together and show that we will continue on. That was the message being delivered at band practice that day. We gathered as usual, talked about the news as we met each other. We warmed up and then played Amazing Grace. I couldn't help but break out into tears as we played. I knew a high school friend of mine who was in Washington D.C. as they had just transferred down to American University from Shippensburg that year. I had no idea how she was doing. I had left her a message on AOL's Instant Messenger but eagerly awaited for response. I didn't get a response when I had left for practice. I was sure she was alright but I just wanted to know.
Band practice went smoothly. We all found something to drive our focus away form the attacks as we prepared our show for our weekend game against Millersville. When all was said and done it was dinner time with friends.
That evening was a good time to call home. My dad picked up and we talked about everything that had happened that day. He said his coworkers were all focused on the events of the day just as my classmates and I were. Not much work got done at his office that day. I asked to make sure that nobody we knew was directly affected by the attacks in any of the locations. Thankfully he said no. We talked for a few minutes more before I got off the phone. Everything was safe at home. Why I didn't call earlier is beyond me. I wanted to call home the whole day but never peeled myself away form the TV or computer. While I was on the phone I got a reply on my instant messenger. It was from my friend in D.C. She was safe and OK. She even put the message in her away message. More relief on a day that tore emotions every which way.
Confusion. Sadness. Anger. Relief. Repeat.
That evening our usual group of friends gathered. There would be no late night meals. There would be no watching TV, as every station had the news on. We wanted something to take our mind off of the day's events, and we just wanted to sit, relax, and maybe even laugh a little bit. Too soon? Not for us.
There was nothing better that night than being able to sit and laugh with our friends that night as we watched Spaceballs The DVD. I have watched many movies with my friends and I have seen Spaceballs enough times to recite many of the scenes form memory. But at one point during the Mr. Radar scene, I looked around the room and found myself smiling for the first time since checking the National League playoff race. I was safe, even away from my family. I had some of the best friends in the world surrounding me. Tomorrow I would surely read more about everything that had happened that day, September 11, 2001.
I remember that day, and I will never forget it.
I hope the same holds true for you.