College football reborn

23 Sep

Winning cures all ills

If you win, they will come

There are many different ways to illustrate it in writing.  Some people argue that performing to the best of your ability is all that should matter.  Collegiate presidents and athletic directors may not directly say so but they depend on it.  No matter your personal take, no one can argue that people love a winning college football program.  For the University of Minnesota, traveling the road to success in the last 5 years has been a daunting task.  As I sat within the walls of TCF Bank Stadium last night watching the 2012 Golden Gopher football team gain a 17-10 victory over the Syracuse Orange, I couldn’t help but smile at the vast excitement of the fans around me as our team improved to a 4-0 record.  Last year’s hiring of head coach Jerry Kill away from Northern Illinois University no longer seems like a whim, already eclipsing the 3 win total from 2011.  This year’s team seems to be the most athletic in quite some time, not to mention a defensive effort that seems to make plays every single game.  The biggest change I personally noticed is that Golden Gopher football games are fun again.  Of course, competitive football and a string of victories will do that to a fan.  I know the BigTen is not the SEC, where football is the sole purpose for one’s livlihood.  However, in a town with every major professional sport, they are poised to make this competitive football program the top sports talker.  Funny how simply winning some football games will do that.

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Major League Baseball’s second wildcard confuses even the experts

12 Sep

Chris Singleton from ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” had an interesting Twitter exchange last night as the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies both reached the .500 point record-wise and stood 4 games back of the second wild card team in the National League.  Poor logic? Confusion? Regardless of whichever it is, when you are an “expert” on television you had better figure it out.  In the back of my head, it plays out like an old Doonesbury comic strip 🙂

Everyone standing together

11 Sep

This past Friday night, September 7 2012,  I found myself completely focused on the one-hour telethon which aired on all major networks and probably half of those on cable.  The sponsor?  Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a charity organization started several years ago by media and entertainment leaders.  The unique aspect I like about this organization is that 100% of publicly donated funds go directly to research- none to costs.  That is a bold tenant to declare in general, let alone for a charity program.  You donate money and you immediately know it’s going towards research aimed at finding a cure for cancer.  A power thought for those of us not in the media, entertainment, or philanthropy.  Appearances by celebrities such as Jessica Biel, Samuel Jackson, Tom Hanks, and Julia Roberts helped buoy the somber and supportive broadcast co-produced by Gweneth Paltrow.  I learned that being a cop in Baltimore isn’t nearly as hard as treatment from one survivor and that a certain 3 year old boy won’t ever let cancer take himself away from his Legos, even if he doesn’t win the fight.  Many many words and stories packed together in one short hour.  The most intriguing moment of the evening was recording artist Taylor Swift singing “Ronan”, a song she penned with the mother of a blog who lost her 3 year old son to cancer last year.  A very powerful hour of television aimed at defeating a very powerful disease.  As evidenced by the $81 million raised by the telethon, people seem to think cancer won’t stand a chance much longer.

So long Zack

26 Jul

He was traded for during the off-season before the 2011 MLB season.  Rumor has it he’ll be traded today (certainly by the end of the week before his next scheduled start for Sunday).  Zack, we hardly knew ya.  The Milwaukee Brewers gave up significant assets in order to obtain his services, including starting shortstop Alcides Escobar, center-fielder Lorenzo Cain, pitcher Jake Odorizzi, and (troubled) pitcher Jeremy Jeffress.  Did they get value on this trade?  Hard to say they didn’t.  2011 brought the Brewers a first division title in the National League, not to mention an appearance in the 2011 National League Championship Series.  Of course the objective was to sign Greinke to a contract extension, but I think he’s intent on exploring free agency.  Once such a fact is known, said player becomes the infamous “rental” that contending clubs would like to have to put themselves over the proverbial hump.  In fact, the Brewers know the process well.  Last year during “the run” they obtained Francisco Rodriguez from the New York Mets in July 2011.  And, as they also found out, no one knows how the off-season will play out…K-Rod eventually accepted the Brewers tender offer when his prospects on other clubs weren’t so great.  Maybe Zack will come to the realization that a couple of million (!) won’t make a huge difference on his happiness and wallet.  Maybe the Milwaukee Brewers will be one of his suitors again, this time in free agency before the 2013 season.  Regardless, thanks for being a good ballplayer and teammate Zack, I’m sure you’ll be missed in the Brewer clubhouse.

UPDATE- Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for shortstop Jean Segura, pitcher Ariel Pena, and pitcher Johnny Hellweg on 07/27.  Thanks to John Axford for this picture.

2012 Team USA basketball vs. 1992 ‘Dream Team’: laughter

16 Jul

Yup, that was the exact reaction of one Michael Jordan when told about comments from Kobe Bryant saying this year’s Team USA basketball team could definitely defeat the 1992 team.  Jordan went on to say that there is “no comparison” and that Kobe suggesting the comparison was “not one of the smarter things he ever could have done”.  Bryant began his commentary by saying the Dream Team “wasn’t athletic” and that most of the players were “past their primes”.  Jordan countered those statements by pointing out the fact that “almost everybody was in their twenties” and that they were “very smart (basketball players)”.  In case you forgot, the 1992 Team USA Olympic basketball team contained players such including Jordan’s NBA teammate Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, amongst other superstars.  That team went on to win their games by an average of 44 points en route to the gold medal in Barcelona, Spain.  Prior to 1992, Team USA was made up of college basketball stars, who finished in a disappointing 3rd place finish at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea.  The United States then decided to fill its roster with NBA players after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) opened international competition up to professionals in 1989.

Since that historic shift in international basketball rosters, a better comparison would be the Dream Team vs. current European all-stars now that global basketball proficiency has caught up to the United States (a mere 20 years even).  I think Kobe meant no disrespect, however, he was simply making a statement about his perspective on the NBA competition he faces season to season; a narrow point of view when you consider players of years past.  He feels his teammates on the current Olympic team are the best players in the world.  As a basketball fan his whole life, I’m glad he’s confident as to his team’s ability and nothing makes me happier as a United States citizen who’ll be rooting for them in two weeks.  But the laughable fact still remains…they wouldn’t stand a chance against the Dream Team.  Or could they?

Memo to drivers entering the roundabout: we know you’re turning right

27 Jun

The latest trend in municipal intersections for several years running is the roundabout, due to its cheap construction and maintenance costs.  And because it is an efficient method to merge several roads of different directions.  By design the roundabout intersection allows you a single directional turn- right (in the United States anyway) -therefore, you only need to be concerned with traffic coming from a single direction, the left (again, in the USA).  During daily driving activity, some drivers always signal their turn using the car’s directional indicator (blinker for the layman) when they come to any intersection.  As it happens, the last several days I’ve had drivers directly in front of me indicate their turn prior to entering the roundabout.  Normally I would applaud this behavior as I like knowing where the driver is probably going.  But in this case, what are they trying to say?  “This time i’m turning right as opposed to a day where I feel like causing total destruction turning to the left” ?  Or “maybe next time instead of turning right I’ll try the hazard lights and come to a complete stop” ?  So many choices, i’m glad these drivers didn’t burden me with a guess to their decision-making.  If only they were educated on that downward pointing triangle sign prior to entering the roundabout…

Introducing the new poster-child for wearing sunscreen

8 Jun

Everybody enjoys getting sun in the summer.  I enjoy it, my wife does, the millions of people at pools or on boats do.  It’s also no secret that tan skin is generally perceived as more “attractive” looking.  You see muscle definition better, body curves are more noticeable, skin with a glowing tan hue looks healthier.  For some, this look is desirable year round.  The unfortunately part of living in the United States is if you live in the middle of the country and upward, you don’t have warm, sunny weather year round.  Northerners (“Yankees”- can I still use that term?) must resort to artificial sunlight during the non-summer months.  And so tanning salons were born.  New Jersey resident Patricia Krentcil, who recently made headlines by being charged with bringing her young child into a tanning salon for said artificial sun, evidently fits into the all-year-tan category.  Krentcil, 44, appears well beyond her age in current pictures.  Her face, due to the continuous tanning, resembles what I call a baseball mitt.  She must have missed the memo about how too much ultraviolet ray exposure can cause premature aging in skin and an extremely unhealthy facial appearance.  As shown in the above photo, her appearance was once quite the opposite.  An aspiring model in her 20s, I’ve now dubbed her the poster-child for how not to go about your tanning business.  Coppertone, Banana Boat, stand up and take notice…you have a marketing frenzy on your hands!

“Put the name of the water back up or we’ll sue”

17 May

No, that isn’t the cry of a 12 yr old boy playing “City” in his sandbox with his buddies.  It’s the gist of a statement that the country of Iran made to internet giant Google in response to seeing the name “Persian Gulf” omitted from its mapping service.  In what would make a perfect “Really?!? with Jeff” topic, I’m restrained from posting such satire in the event Iran decided to sue me for libel.  No matter how preposterous a statement that Google face serious damages if the water’s name isn’t returned, I’ve resigned to taking the high road.  It’s not a laughing matter, no it’s not.  This particular slice of the global map has been disrespected wholeheartedly by a corporate juggernaut.  Ocean water molecules need to stand together and demand retribution.  Middle East sea salt shall have their voices heard!

AMC Theaters new concession size: Insanely Large

19 Apr

As I walked up to the concession stand at my local AMC Theater while attending a screening of “21 Jump Street” last weekend, I didn’t have the intention of getting very much food.  Usually the #1 combo for myself & wife is more than sufficient.  First thing I noticed was a price increase- $13.25.  Now I don’t attend many theater screenings, but I have bought this combo enough to note the price used to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 bucks.  I shrugged it off as I waited in line…just like anything else I rationalized, prices always go up.  So I placed my order, paid, and waited for the food.  The concessions gal proceeds to first hand me a giant overflowing bucket of popcorn.  I look at it, then look up at the menu board thinking I screwed up the order.  “That’s not a bag of popcorn.  Did I super size the popcorn?”  Next she hands me a 54oz cup of Diet Coke, a size so big I’ve only seen at my local gas station.  “Did I super size the pop too?”  I waddle over to the butter/napkins/salt area and set everything down.  I’m trying to figure out how can I apply butter to the mammoth popcorn bucket.  Underneath the machine it goes and I press the button…stopping soon after.  “This isn’t gonna work.  Where is the salt?  I just want to go sit back down.”  Next thing to figure out is what do I tell my wife about what I just purchased.  She’ll think i’m crazy for buying so much.  Laughing, I shrug my shoulders again and figure this just must be the new sizing structure at AMC Theaters.  They just haven’t updated the signage yet.  It should now read: “#1 Combo – Insanely Large Popcorn + Insanely Large Drink”.  FYI- we only got through about 1/2 the drink and 1/3 of the popcorn.

Marlins Racing Seafood: Survey says? Buzzzzzz!

6 Apr

Not much to write here, you see the picture. Probably the worst ripoff yet of the Milwaukee Brewers Racing Sausages. Do those “things” even have names? Is one of them ConchMan?