Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Owe You One, Big Guy

Remember this little blast of bad sportsmanship?

There is an ever increasing possibility that the Mets might gag up the division title after leading by seven games with only seventeen games remaining. Please, little baby Jesus, make this happen...and, if it's Your will (and think about it, it'd be awesome), I beseech thee to also make sure Tom Glavine gets shelled in the elimination-clinching loss.

Well, the Mets were indeed eliminated from postseason contention today. Tom Glavine was, in fact, on the mound. And here's his line: one-third of an inning, five hits, seven runs (all earned), two walks, he hit the opposing pitcher with the bases loaded and, just for good measure, he also committed a throwing error that allowed a run to score.

I just got an e-mail from my good friend Herb Urban expressing his sympathy for Tommy. And I've been asked by folks why I root so hard for him to get pounded in the postseason and in big games. It all goes back the day Glav first signed with the Mets and their fathead owner Fred Wilpon crowing at the time that Tommy would win another ring with the Mets, retire a Met, and go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. From that day on, I vowed to root for Tommy to get creamed in every game that mattered for New York. Basically, I wanted Tom Glavine to be known forever as a Brave. I didn't want him to have a Mets legacy.

Guess what? Tom Glavine now has a Mets legacy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Two (Really) Quick Predictions For Tomorrow

And one quick request: Some drama, please!

Japanese Grand Prix - Fuji Speedway

1. Lewis Hamilton - McLaren
2. Fernando Alonso - McLaren
3. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari

LifeLock 400 - Kansas Speedway

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Denny Hamlin

Life Is Good

Say what you will about the 1964 Phillies...but at least they gagged it up on the road, against winning teams. The Mets have dug their own mass grave at home, where they've lost eight straight to the league's bottom-feeders. They've lost to journeyman starters like Joel Pineiro and to perennial punching bags such as last night's winning pitcher for the Marlins, Byung-Hyun Kim. They've blown leads almost every night. Big leads...four/five-run leads. They've made an astonishing number of errors, both physical (hey, it happens) and mental (inexcusable at this time of year). Shortstop Jose Reyes, known for his smiling and showboating when the Mets are winning, is sulking and half-assing it. Their manager, Willie Randolph, has mismanaged an already inept bullpen and benched a promising, multi-tool rookie who might've provided a spark, Lastings Milledge, in favor of washed-up veterans like Shawn Green and Jeff Conine. The fans have turned Shea Stadium into Boobird Central. Basically, it's been just about the greatest week of non-Braves baseball I've ever had the privilege of watching. [Pic courtesy of the New York Daily News]

Edited To Add: Sorry about that, Rockies. Inside straights, man.

Quick Prediction: The Georgia Game

Sure, they're ripe for an emotional letdown and the temptation to look ahead to Tennessee will be great. But Georgia gets a lift from the home crowd and puts a close-at-halftime game away with a couple of unanswered second half scores.

Georgia - 27
Ole Miss- 13

Friday, September 28, 2007

Urine, Sports, Rock And Roll

I'm sure that UGA President Michael Adams is getting roasted on all the Bulldog message boards today for his completely out-of-line, unreasonable suggestion that mature adults ought to be able to go four hours on gameday without showing their asses. Look, you may think that Adams is a strutting, preening, egomaniacal, card-carrying, full-tilt prick on shiny, mag wheels...but when he's right, he's right. That letter to the ABH a couple of weeks ago about football fans breaking into the arts building (and, yes, that's what it's called when you force open a locked door: breaking and entering) and proceeding to urinate into any hollowed-out space they could find was just disgusting. And that list of everything that's bugging me lately about football continues to grow...

I'm still enjoying this Mets meltdown every bit as much as...oh, maybe...five of the taken-for-granted division titles the Braves had in the middle of their run. If you're in the mood for some entertaining reading, head over to Baseball Think Factory and click on some of the game chats for the last few Mets losses. Of course, there have been some happy Braves fans over there living it up...not me, I swear!...and some poor-mouthing Mets fans lamenting, "No baseball fan should so much as even wish this kind of agony on a fellow fan." Boo-hoo. At least nobody's breaking into your house and peeing into your Gary Carter bobblehead.

It took maybe two, three classes...tops...for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to become a Hall of Big-Selling Critics' Darlings. If you're really going to base induction on creativity, longevity, and influence, I only induct three out of this year's nominees: Madonna, Donna Summer, and Chic. Maybe the Beasties. Don't get me wrong, I love Leonard Cohen. Love him. But the only way he gets into something called The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is with a ticket. I have every John Mellencamp CD and I've seen the guy live many times. He put out the hands-down best album of the freaking year ("Scarecrow") the same year that "Purple Rain" and "Born in the U.S.A." came out. But he had only a three-or-four good-album run and then dropped off the charts. Those two guys will still most likely get in, though. My picks for the five top vote-getters: Madonna, Summer, Chic, Mellencamp, and Cohen. Beasties could sneak in there.

Finally...Back later with a Quick Prediction for the Georgia game. Until then...keep it in your pants, people.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Grab Bag Thursday

I take it back. No witty musings about the debate last night. In fact, I dumped it off the TiVo without even watching it. Every pundit, spinner, and intraweb gasbag has declared that it was pretty much "Tenth verse, same as the first." Apparently Edwards advanced the ball down the field a little bit...but it sounds like it was yet another evening of agreeing-more-than-disagreeing and deferring to Hillary. If Edwards, who's strong in Iowa, can outperform expectations in the first few primaries, it could be over for Obama early. And that ever-hardening conventional wisdom from a couple of weeks ago, that the Obama campaign is in big trouble? That toothpaste ain't going back in the tube. Just Google "Obama campaign trouble" and see what I mean. At some point in the nearer-than-he-would-like future, Senator Obama may be forced to start considering an exit scenario that keeps his "rising Democratic star" status intact. In today's political climate, you stay in too long and you're damaged goods. There are no second acts. Just ask John Edwards, a guy who...based on his credentials and national resume...ought to be running neck-and-neck everywhere with Hillary.

Mittens, Rudy, John, Fred...there's still time to do the right thing.

Well, that was fun..for a little over a week, the Braves teased us all. They got, let's say, four cards of that inside straight they needed to draw in order to make the playoffs. But in Seven Card Stud, you have to pull all the the Bravos can go ahead and start making tee-times for next week. In much, much happier news, at least Braves fans still have this to enjoy.

The Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik fight for the undisputed world middleweight championship (this Saturday night) is the best fight HBO has offered up in a decade. HBO usually shows mandatory title defenses. Fights where the champ picks some ham-and-egger from well down the top ten contenders list and pretty much phones it in. Pavlik's no bum. Jermain Taylor hasn't been in the ring with a fighter like Pavlik...a guy who's going to plant his heels in the mat and beat you relentlessly upside your head until you do something fierce to deter him. At the same time, Pavlik's never been in with a fighter as immensely gifted as Taylor. Taylor will be active and in motion...he'll make Pavlik expend energy pursuing him. He should beware, knocking out Edison Miranda last spring, Pavlik showed a willingness to stalk his opponent deep into the fight if that's what it takes in order to start landing his big bombs. It's the oldest boxing cliche in the book: Styles make fights. These two fighters' styles couldn't be in sharper contrast. I can't wait.

I've been lucky enough to have a circle of friends that has racked up some serious accomplishments. I'm proud to say that I personally know a franchise-player NFL defensive end, a former WCW superstar, a Hollywood animator/anime voiceover actor, a WNBA standout, a professional golfer, a Naismith Award-winning basketball coach, and, of course, the deejay at Atlanta's hottest strip club. But, given the fantastic news posted by The Christian Agnostic, now I can finally say that I know a published author. And I have no doubt...none, at all...that I will eventually be able to call her a successful, highly-acclaimed author. Congratulations, Candace!

Finally...While I'm shamelessly dropping names, congratulations also to one of the mack daddies of my blogroll, Griftdrift, on his selection by Atlanta Magazine as the critics' pick for Best Blogger. Read him every day, as I do, and you'll end up living vicariously through I do.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Navy Barracks Buildings, No Less

Maybe pay a little closer attention to the blueprints next time?

My Hair And Other Sexy Things

Let's get this over with first:

Here's the traditional "before-and-after" bit.

Just to clarify...As much as I thoroughly enjoyed watching Tom Glavine get his brains beat out last night and being booed off the mound at Shea Stadium, I'd still give anything if something could be worked out for Glav to come back and finish his career as a Brave. I got seriously burned on this situation over the winter...when everything pointed to Tommy's return for this season. But I know this game is all about business and if The Suspendered One said he couldn't crunch the numbers to make it work, I believe him. Maybe Liberty Media, the new owners, will loosen up the purse strings a little and bring Tommy home. He's family.

Of course, until then...or at least as long as he's a Met...eff him.

How can a story this awesome not be true? Total buzzkill.

Ric Flair was at the Nextel Cup race at Dover over the weekend and he was in full denial mode about reports that he had walked out on WWE because he wasn't happy with his proposed retirement storyline. Of course, like with any wrestler...but especially with never know how much the guy is working the reporter to, in fact, advance said storyline. But the best thing in the interview was Ric's shout-out to Ric Flair Finance, his newest outside-the-ropes venture. I can't wait to tell Lauren when she gets home that we're buying a new house just so we can borrow the money from Ric Flair. WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

"Sprint Cup." I like that name even less than "Nextel Cup." Oh, well, at least it does sound like it could be vaguely racing-related. Just go ahead and rename the damn thing The Richard Petty Cup and let sponsors wrangle over the "presented by" credit every year.

Finally...The Democrats go at it for two hours on MSNBC from New Hampshire. Me? I'll be watching baseball. But I'm TiVo-ing it and I'll have witty musings sometime tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Extreme Makeover

Enjoy a few last, longing looks at that profile picture. In about five hours, the long hair will be on my stylist's floor. I always had a short, succinct answer for my niece whenever she asked me why I wore my hair so long: "Because I'm not supposed to." And that's pretty much it. I was forced to keep it tennis-ball length through fifth grade...and I swore to anyone who listened that, when I grew up, I was going to grow my hair out as long as I wanted it. But it's time. When I was in the hospital for my heart attack, I did a fair amount of what Travis Bickle referred to as "morbid self-examination" and I began to see the long hair and the flabby middle as symptoms of sloth, not rebellion. Of a guy who had basically let himself go. I resolved that, when I got through this health scare, I was going to start running regularly again and that I was going to take control of what I put into my body. Anything to buy a little more time with my wife and kids, you know? we are...five months later, miles and miles of pavement pounded, red meat all but eliminated from my diet, and twenty-plus pounds lighter. The hair is the only visual reminder left of "that guy." So, it's gotta go. Make no'll still be shaggy and not "short" by conventional description. But's it's not going to get in my freaking food anymore...or take hours to dry after running, that's for sure. Watch this space: New profile pic coming soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

57 Channels (And Nothin' On)

Truth is, since we have DirecTV, it's actually more like 157 but, still...I just got through programming the TiVo for the upcoming fall season last night and here's what we're looking at:

Monday - WWE Monday Night RAW, Heroes

Tuesday - House, Dirty Jobs

Wednesday - Kitchen Nightmares, Mythbusters

Thursday - Smallville, Survivor, The Office, 30 Rock

Friday - WWE Friday Night Smackdown!

Saturday - [Nothing]

Sunday - Curb Your Enthusiasm

I know that we'll be adding more stuff that premieres a few months down the road (The Amazing Race, 24, Battlestar Galactica, RENO 911!)...but, wow...I hadn't really realized how few shows we're actually watching these days. Which is just as well, since we can barely make time for what we do watch. Also, I noticed there's only one new fall show in the lineup...though I may end up giving Bionic Woman a look. The point is...I used to consider myself a real TV addict. So I'm surprised to see that the actual number of shows I watch isn't that great. Or is it? How many shows do you guys make a point of not missing? [Smashed TV pic courtesy of a genuine TV Junkie]

In sports, the only thing worse than being bad is being bad and boring. The Falcons are bad and boring. A season that was over before it ever even started is well on its way to becoming a full-blown fiasco. Does the NFL keep records for the number of no-shows?

In light of the heroics of Buford's own Mikey Henderson in the Georgia overtime win at 'Bama over the weekend, it's fitting...and necessary...and not at all point out that the number-one-ranked Wolves have stormed out of the gates to a 5-0 start, outscoring their opposition to the tune of a cumulative 220-19.

If these things really do happen in threes, Shields and Yarnell should probably watch out for falling pianos.

Thinking about cleaning your gutters? Here's a tip: DON'T. Hire somebody. Man...Two days later, I'm still recovering from some ill-advised roof and ladder time. I knew it was a bad idea, too. As soon as my foot hit the first rung, I could almost hear Elmo and the kids screaming, "No, no, Mr. Noodle! Don't climb the ladder!" Roof work and chronic back trouble simply don't play well together.

Finally...This is the 100th post here at HYH. I'd like to send a big "Thank you" out to all of my loyal readers and commenters. You two know who you are.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Alabama Getaway

Georgia - 26, Alabama - 23 [OT]. How 'bout them damn Dawgs? And how 'bout Buford's own Mikey Henderson? There was maturity and poise in the waning moments of this opposed to the stumbling and flop-sweating we saw versus South Carolina. The offense controlled the ball (an almost ten minute advantage in time of possession), doing just enought to win....while the defense held the Tide to a dismal 3-of-15 conversion rate on third down. Best of all, nobody panicked when a long field goal attempt at the end of regulation just went wide. Like I said, poise and maturity...and, I'm sure, a huge dose of confidence for a team still in search of an identity. Around the league, South Carolina lost and Florida looked very mortal against Georgia's next opponent, Ole Miss. I'm telling you, this division is still up for grabs.

One Quick Prediction For Tomorrow

The Cup boys are in Dover this week...a real cheese-grater of a track for tires. A fantastic qualifying performance by Juan Pablo Montoya puts him, surprisingly, on the outside pole. I don't think he'll finish there, though:

Dodge Dealers 400 - Dover International Speedway

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kurt Busch
3. Kevin Harvick

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quick Prediction: The Georgia Game

Simply put, I don't think this Georgia team is ready to win a big game on the road yet. I hope I'm wrong. I see a defensive struggle, with the home crowd lifting the Tide "D" for some crucial late game stops. If this game was in Athens, I'd go with us by a field it is, I say:

Alabama - 17
Georgia - 14

Free Range Friday

I've added my old friend and ex-tag team partner Herb Urban (pictured) to the blogroll. His joint instantly becomes your go-to destination for all things John Oates. It's been a long time since we burnt Memphis to the ground...but Herb's always been there for the hot tag whenever I needed to make it and he gives the absolute best illegal leverage. You haven't lived until you've heard his whiskey-soaked, ragged-but-right throwdown of "If I Could Turn Back Time." Plus, it's his drop by and offer some congratulations for Herb and his hot, thoroughly undemanding wife.

You know things are unraveling for the Red Sox when Curt Schilling can't wait to change the subject to how his Fantasy Football team is doing. And...for the life of me...I can't imagine how I managed to leave Fantasy Football off the list of things that are currently driving up the wall about that particular sport. It's everywhere...jacking threads, derailing on-topic conversation. Everybody...shut up about your Fantasy Football team. Shut up...shut up...SHUT UP.

Oh...and speaking of unraveling...what a couple of games last night in the NL East race. Tonight becomes the biggest game of the year, maybe of the last five years, for the Mets. If Pedro can right the ship against the Marlins, that could be something for New York to rally around and inspire them to close the deal in the division. But if Pedro goes out tonight and gets shelled, the psychological damage could be worse than the hit they'll take in the standings. You know he's not ready to go at some point Pedro will have to come out and they'll turn one more time that overworked and highly combustible bullpen. September baseball, man...not even Dane Cook can spoil it (try hard though he might).

Cycling makes pro-wrestling look like a Straight Edge rave.

Not that it was anywhere near my must-see list...but there is now officially no reason whatsoever to see the "Sex And The City" movie: The only hot chick's character is pregnant and, thus, will most likely not be getting naked.

Who needs Peter? I mean, come on...Was there ever any question that Jan Brady was bi-curious? "Marcia, Marcia....Marciaaaaaa...:

Newt Gingrich has inspired me so much with his selfless plea for Americans to ask...nay, demand...that he run for President by opening up their checkbooks that I'm throwing this out there: You guys raise...tell you what...I'll low-ball it...five thousand bucks, send it to me, and I'll fly out to California and hit on Jennifer Love Hewitt. Same likelihood of raising the money, same likelihood of desired result. Where in the blue hell is Newt getting the idea that anybody wants him to be President, anyway? He's obviously spending way too much time at Peach Pundit.

Finally...Georgia/'Bama Quick Prediction tonight and, as always, watch out for the Yeti!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who's The Most Hated Gagne Ever?

I think Greg may have finally lost that coveted title.

I'm really torn over this one. First and foremost, I don't want the Yankees any closer to the Braves' record for consecutive division titles than they are now (petty, I know...but, with only one World Series win out of the whole deal, one takes what one can get). But on the other hand, anything that makes the "Red Sox Nation" clutch its collective pearls is all right with me. Sure, I rooted for the Sox in 2004...who didn't? But, like any decent citizen, there's only so much Curt Effing Schilling I can take.

So you can imagine my horror when this topic was brought up over at Rowland's Office. At the time, as I said in the comments section, I can't even put into words how much I loathe the idea of Curt Schilling as a Brave. Thirty-plus years as a fan and I can't think of another scenario in which I would find it more difficult to root for my favorite team. I'd rather have a bullpen of Bob Wickman, Dan Kolb, Chris Reitsma, Jim Clancy, and Jeff Reardon.

Finally...The PGA's going to start testing for steroids:

That means the party's OVER, Tim Herron!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nothing But Politics Today

"Scheduling conflicts," my ass. You think for five seconds these guys wouldn't drop everything on their schedule if the NRA wanted them to speak tomorrow? And they can "re-schedule" under pressure/shame if they like...but the damage is already done. They look like they have to be dragged kicking and screaming against their will to talk to black folks. You won't hear me agreeing with Newt Gingrich very often but he flat-out nailed this one. It is baloney...smothered with BS.

Wrong Said Fred: Am I going to have to eat my words about Fred? It was pre-HYH, but I was going around telling everyone that if Fred got into the race, he'd be formidable. Well, he's stumbled out of the gate at a speed of roughly one gaffe-per-minute. He's one more big brain poot away from Dan Quayle "What's this goober going to say next?" territory. Maybe I'll go to one of his town hall meetings here in Georgia and ask about drilling Lake Lanier for oil or mining gold out of Stone Mountain.

Or, maybe not...after all, I wouldn't want to get tasered. Now, I'm as down with civil liberties as the next guy but...guess what?, really....are you sitting down? turns out that Andrew Meyer is an "online prankster" who was there with every intention of showing his ass. I think the saturation video coverage documented by Grift (which, the hell?...was NFL Films shooting this?) more than adequately conveys this guy's asshattery and he seems not a bit worse for wear following his ordeal. I think he's lucky he didn't "accidentally" get tasered right in the jimmy.

Senator Barbara Boxer was on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this week, wearing someone else's pants and throwing up her hands at the government's inability to keep the dry cleaners from accidentally giving your stuff away. Lousy Democrats!

You think they gave Larry Craig a wide berth when he went to the Senate bathroom? Or was the entire GOP delegation in there together, toes tapping like the opening of "My Three Sons"? this is exactly the kind of thing that I was worried about when I posted this. The runaway news monster abhors a vacuum. They are only going to write that you are desperately behind for so long before they start writing you off. And with this culture's addled attention scan, conventional wisdom solidifies almost overnight. Obama's got to start getting some traction, soon...and I'm not sure this is the way to do it. Do "tax plans" inspire anything other than eyerolls anymore?

Finally...since all politics is local...Re-elect Big Jim Mercer Mayor of Winterville!

I Live For This

some gloating around the time of Tom Glavine's 300th win:

"It is quite a ripple. Remove Glavine's 13 wins and 23 quality
starts (tied for third in the NL with Atlanta's Tim Hudson, one
behind Atlanta's John Smoltz) and move them to the Braves,
and Atlanta probably wins the division.

In that scenario, the Mets' 2006 NL East title takes on the tinge of fluke."

Hey? Joel? Any other scenarios where we get that tinge? If the Mets pull off the most epic collapse in MLB history, maybe?

Official "Tinge of Fluke" Watch: 1.5 games.
[Pic credit to AP]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Are You There God? It's Me, Mike

In the midst of another drama-free September as far as the Braves are concerned, the tantalizing possibility of redemption for this baseball season looms: There is an ever increasing possibility that the Mets might gag up the division title after leading by seven games with only seventeen games remaining. Please, little baby Jesus, make this happen...and, if it's Your will (and think about it, it'd be awesome), I beseech thee to also make sure Tom Glavine gets shelled in the elimination-clinching loss.

O.J. Update: There's an old adage in politics that says: "You should never interfere when your opponent is doing his best to destroy himself." The Goldman family should heed those words.

Of course, there's another popular political adage that says: "What's bad for closeted homosexual Republicans is good for Minnesota tourism." Well, there you go.

Watch out, Obama! Alan Keyes is back! And you know he's always had your number. Seriously, aren't voters already unhappy enough with the GOP field without this C-list, two-time loser jumping in to save the day? Oh least Keyes is mean and intolerant enough to possibly accuse Mitt of being hellbound or to call out Rudy on his infidelity at an upcoming debate. So there's that to look forward to...

Truthfully, all the Keyes "buzz" is moot because everybody knows it's all going to come down to either Cap Fendig or Ray McKinney anyway. Who knew that the Georgia Coastal Empire was such a hotbed of presidential candidates?

You know what's the most pathetic aspect of the Falcons bringing back Morten Andersen yet again? The fact that he instantly becomes their most marketable personality. What? Does DeAngelo Hall move season tickets? Would you so much as cross the street to watch Joey Harrington play for free? Maybe they'll designate Morten as their franchise player.

Finally...If there's one charge that Britney's custody battle judge would almost certainly let her skate on, it's hiring a hit man and having K-Fed whacked.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Enjoy Some Scrapple

Just this, that, and the other today (I was up late, last night and working again early this morning on an outside I'm all written-out):

At Unforgiven last night, the big Cena/Orton WWE title match barely made it into the ring before being called a DQ at the eight-minute mark. What a rip-off...glad I didn't shell out forty bucks.

Terrible, snooze-inducing Chase opener yesterday in Nextel Cup. Good on Clint Bowyer, though. He's had this coming for a long time.

I haven't seen officials conspire to give a football game away like the zebras did at Arkanasas/Alabama in a long time. Just an absolutely brutal pass-interference call in the end zone and then the most casual, standing-around-twiddling-thumbs clock restart following a first down ever. EVER. They looked like they were asking the 'Bama players, "You rested now? You okay? Need a little more time? We can give you a little more time. No problem. You need it?" Poor Houston Nutt looked like he was about to vapor-lock on the Razorback sideline. Horrible.

I'm sorry...but I've always thought this woman was a lot more "old pal" to Brian Nichols than "hostage." To the extent that she's got her crap together and improved her lot in life...well, okay...congratulations, I guess. But she still irks.

Finally...In an Appalachian State-like upset, "30 Rock" took home the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy last night over "The Office." I implore you...if you're not watching "30 Rock," give it a shot in a couple of weeks. Jerry Seinfeld is guesting on the season premiere. Go rent the DVDs from this last season. You'll laugh a lot. Promise.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two Quick Predictions For Tomorrow

Formula One is at the historic, magnificent Spa circuit and The Chase for the Nextel Cup begins. Let's get after it:

Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps

You have to figure that morale is way down at McLaren this week after being fined a hundred million bucks and being disqualified from the constructors' championship in the aftermath of the McLaren/Ferrari industrial espionage case. Now they have to contend with Spa, the sort of classic, winding circuit with intense elevation changes that Ferraris have traditionally dominated. Watching Michael Schumacher effortlessly navigate Spa was always one of the high points of any given F1 season. His successors at The Scuderia will carry the day tomorrow.

1. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari
2. Felipe Massa - Ferrari
3. Fernando Alonso - McLaren

Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway

The Chasers finally get serious tomorrow. And nobody gets serious like Tony Stewart.

1. Tony Stewart
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kurt Busch

Catamounts To Nothing

Georgia - 45, Western Carolina - 16. There's so little to say about this glorified scrimmage that I just want to make a quick observation about the Tennessee/Florida game. I thought the guy was a joke, albeit an athletically gifted one, last year when they were just using him in running situations. But after what he's done to start this season...especially today's must be said: Tim Tebow is a freaking phenom. Go ahead and start working him into the Heisman mix right now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quick Prediction: The Georgia Game

Georgia regroups, refocuses, and rolls up on the hopelessly overmatched (but coolly named) Catamounts.

Georgia - 44
Western Carolina - 10

Going Wobbly

When the first President Bush (the good-ish one) was considering a course of retaliation for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, he phoned up then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for counsel. Her famous words were, "Remember, George, this is no time to go wobbly." Guess what? When it comes to my choice for the Democratic nomination for President, I've gone wobbly. I was on the Obama train early on...going all the way back to his stemwinding keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I've hit the streets for the man, participating in the national Walk For Change on a ninety-plus-degree Saturday afternoon in downtown Athens. Still, the seemingly unmovable national poll numbers and Senator Obama's own rhetorical missteps have me, well, wobbling. I've been expressing this wobbliness to my wife in a running percentage based on where my thoughts are regarding Obama and Hillary Clinton on any given day. I love the Clintons. Always have. So right from the beginning, my own inner poll was something like Obama: 70%, Hillary: 30%. Today, I'd say I'm somewhere around...oh...Obama: 54%, Hillary: 46% and rising.

I mean...look at these numbers. It looks like Obama got a bump in the summer...right around the time of the Walk For Change and the announcement of his phenomenal fundraising numbers. But other than that, it's a rock-solid, double-digit lead for Hillary over the course of the last nine months. As a matter of more practical, tangible concern, I worry about Obama's inexperience on the national stage. Not that I don't think he'd be a fine President from day one...I do. But being a new face leaves him open to being defined by the Republicans and their lethal, but effective, opposition research/character assassination apparatus. Say what you will about Hillary, she is already firmly defined in the eyes of the electorate. The good news for Democrats is that her definition is not nearly as dire as the likes of Karl Rove would have you believe.

So, I'll wobble on. Ultimately, this kind of dilemma is far preferable to the one I had in 2004...namely, squinting and cocking my head while perusing the field in hopes of finding somebody I could vote for without twitching uncontrollably. I could walk into the voting booth and yank a handle right now for either Obama or Hillary with enthusiasm and commitment. And the polling numbers could, and in fact probably will, move when we get a few more weeks down the road and Obama opens that huge war chest and starts airing commercials. At any on. And may the best candidate win.

And now, the most ridiculous transition in tone and content I have ever made on this blog: A brief DVD review of The Marine...starring my homeboy and non-sexual mancrush, WWE Heavyweight Champion John Cena. First off? Okay, this is not exactly a Merchant-Ivory production. It's a straight-up homage to the Schwarzenegger/Stallone escapist, implausible, blow-everything-straight-to-Kingdom-Come action/adventure flicks of the eighties. Indestructable hero, impossibly hot love interest, doofus sidekick, wisecracking black guy, angry scowling Latino...they're all here. Plot? Who needs one? But, if you do, Cena plays a Marine one-man-battallion who was unfairly (of course) drummed out of the Corps for going against orders and killing about twenty terrorists with his bare hands. Upon returning home, he discovers he has anger-management issues that come in pretty handy, along with his Marine training, when his wife is kidnapped by jewel thieves. There you go.

Director John Bonito puts it best in the film's making-of feature on the DVD: "If we built it, we blew it up." Plus, the darn thing is over in less than ninety minutes. It's the movie equivalent of a king-sized Snickers bar...tasty, filling, and not a damn bit good for you (a compliment, BTW). Robert Patrick has a field day as the bad guy, furiously chewing up scenery and tossing off one-liners. Yes, there's even a Terminator 2 gag in there...a quick one, but it's a chuckle. As for The Champ? I gotta tell you, Cena acquits himself pretty well. He's always been terrific on the mic in WWE and he has charisma to spare. The problem is that the part of John Triton(!), the titular Marine, is far too serious and somber. It would've been better if the writers would've taken the character's stoney demeanor even farther and played it for camp, like Leslie Nielsen in...well, almost every movie he's made the last two decades. As it is, just enough of Cena's charm and good humor shines through to make you wish there had been a lot more of it on display. Luckily, the DVD has a lengthy bonus feature on John's wrestling career...where he can be seen in his element. With the right scripts, Cena should be able to carve out his own niche of the Hollywood action/adventure market, much like The Rock has done.

The bottom line (Hey! Wrong wrestler!)? Tread extremely lightly if you're not an action buff or wrestling fan. But I thought The Marine was a lot of fun.

Finally, back with a Quick Prediction for the Georgia game tonight. Later, taters.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Throwing A Flag

The lede from this recent John Kaltefleiter piece in the ABH just makes me sick (the "Mike" referred-to is Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo):

The middle-aged man wore glasses and emerged from behind a concrete pillar on the second-level of Sanford Stadium.

His tirade started harmlessly, then escalated into a crescendo of expletive-laced phrases.

"Mike, that was (bleeping) pathetic," he yelled. "What kind of (bleeping) playcalling was that? You suck."

And it's not just because this guy got to write a big-ass check for the privilege of gettting into Sanford Stadium to cuss out a Georgia hero while my brother and I, who sat through every game of the Goff and Donnan eras without emitting so much as a single boo, have been priced out of season tickets. No, this has been eating at me for a while. As thrilling as I still find the game between the lines, I'm starting to hate almost everything else associated with football.

If it's not Mike Bobo getting verbally abused by some stranger, it's a guy almost getting his testicles ripped off for wearing the wrong team's t-shirt. It's Mike Vick and dogfighting. It's the insistence of a huge plurality of fans that the games are unenjoyable, if not pointless, without being practically soaked in alcohol. Hell, it's those idiots who jangle their keys at Michigan games or anyone who still thinks waving a cardboard-cutout "D" and a section of fencing around is still funny or original. Or maybe it's just me. But the football culture in this country is starting to tear my nerves up.

Of all the Steven Spielberg-movie scenarios that could possibly come to pass in real life, I'm not sure how highly I would've rated "A.I." in terms of plausibility. Well, whaddaya know?

You far as I'm concerned, they could build a strip-mall of churches in downtown Jefferson if it would keep the screaming street preachers and their giant, graphic photos of aborted fetuses out of the main square. I'm half convinced that those leather-lunged goobers are the main reason downtown Jefferson got bypassed a few years ago. can't talk about goobers without winding your way back to my former homeland, Gwinnett County, and their tightass attempts at legislating anything remoting resembling the pagan ritual known as "fun" out of existence in their Zod-forsaken, ultraconservative F.U.-topia. Makes a fella appreciate living here...where I can drink a beer, shoot pool, and watch strippers all at the same time. And that's just on campus.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Playing Some Catch-Up Ball

It was dark here at HYH on Sunday as we finally set aside a day to transfer all of our old files over to the new computer. So, no Quick Predictions for the Italian Grand Prix (won by Fernando Alonso, cutting Lewis Hamilton's championship lead to three points) or the IndyCar finale. The IRL race was sensational, coming down to the final corner of the last lap with the two top championship contenders wheel-to-wheel. Dario Franchitti took the race and the championship as Scott Dixon ran out of fuel with the finish line in sight. Just great stuff. Of course, it was straight into buzzkill territory following the race as Dario gave a classic non-denial denial about his potential jump to NASCAR next season. During the pre-race show, Sam Hornish Jr. was equally obvious in his coy response regarding his interest in jumping ship. Bottom line: The last two IRL champs/Indy 500 winners? They're gone. Dario will be teammates with Juan Pablo Montoya for Chip Ganassi next season while Roger Penske will be hooking Sam up with a Cup ride. Great for NASCAR, which gets to force out two of their way-too-many anonymous backmarkers while adding guys with some built-in fan interest and, in Dario's case anyway, significant international appeal. Bad for American open-wheel racing, though. Very, very bad.

Yes, I saw it. The jittery, flashing images of the evil figure...the one who wrought unthinkable mayhem upon these very shores only a few short years ago. As I listened to the now incoherent ramblings of this once highly-sought "evildoer" I observed the clumsy flailings and the rather pathetic attempt at reclaiming long-lost notoriety and relevance....all I could think was: Welcome Back, Britney!

As for the other blast-from-the-past who put out a video last week, the White House has officially labeled him as "impotent." Suck on that, all you America-haters and traitors who mocked Bush for not making bin Laden's capture a high priority. Our six-year plan of allowing him to gradually fade into obscurity is working!

So...basically...I have a better shot running for President as a Muslim than I do as an atheist. We get the politicians we deserve, people. We really do. And, given all the excellent reasons for keeping a ditzy empty suit like Mitt Romney out of the White House, his goofy religion shouldn't even enter into the equation. Still, if he wants some religious/political cover, maybe Mitt should consider converting to a slightly more plausible religion (cough!peopleturningintopillarsofsalt!cough!) or one not quite so divisive (cough!cough!thecrusades!).

Yeah, "fiasco" works for me.

Speaking of unpopular opinions...and weren't we?...mark me down as one of the few women's college basketball fans who think that ending the regular season series between Connecticut and Tennessee isn't such a bad thing. I just got tired of ESPN attempting to convince the world that those two programs are the only ones in the nation that matter. Ugh. Isn't one overblown, tiresome Yankees/Red Sox rivalry enough for that network?

Finally, because it's going to be a rough week for Mike Bobo...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Yeah, Here Comes The Rooster

Right about now, I'm glad that nobody actually reads this blog.

South Carolina - 16, Georgia - 12. The Gamecocks made all the big defensive stands when they needed them. They held Georgia to four field goals when cashing even one of those opportunities in for a touchdown would've meant a whole new ballgame. It reminded me of Georgia's own "bend-but-don't break" defense from 1997-98. They sure kept Matthew Stafford rattled...zinging rushed pass after rushed pass off the fingertips of leaping receivers. Georgia's biggest challenge now will be blocking out the inevitable gloom and doom that always settles in around here after an early loss. I mean, it's not like this particular bunch of Bulldogs was going to compete for a national title this season. They need to just keep their eyes on the attainable prize...the division race is far, far from over. Still, it's never any fun to lose to Spurrier...

Oh, Wow...There's A Race Tonight

Richmond. The last race before The Chase. I guess I'll be flipping back-and-forth between the race and the Georgia game. Richmond's a blast. A short track with delusions of being a superspeedway. Unfortunately, there probably (again) won't be much drama because so many drivers are locked in for The Chase. Look for all 25 ABC/ESPN announcers to be on full-tilt Junior Watch since all Dale Jr. has to do in order to make The Chase is win the race outright and then have every other car in the field fail to finish. Anyway, here's your Quick Prediction:

Chevy Rock & Roll 400 - Richmond International Raceway

1. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
3. Jimmie Johnson

Friday, September 7, 2007

Quick Prediction: The Georgia Game

If last week's game against Oklahoma State convinced the Bulldogs that they're as good as they think they are, they'll roll against the Gamecocks. On the other hand, if they're now convinced that they're actually better than they really are, it'll be a tussle. I'm going with the former. Yeah, yeah...Carolina's fired up. They've had this game circled for a year. Blah, blah, blah. Who says we don't have it circled, too? Gamecocks score late to make it look a little closer than it really was...but it's another red and black night between the hedges.

Georgia - 30
South Carolina - 17


Sorry about no update yesterday. One of those days. Chased my own tail from the time I woke up until I finally hit the sack. The worst part? I never caught it. On to today:

I could really get carried away talking about Ric Flair (pictured). The
man, simply put, is one of my all-time sports idols. When I was a kid, I made no distinction between The Nature Boy and Hank Aaron or Muhammad Ali. I was watching five or six wrestling shows a week and Ric was the recognized world champion on four of them (Georgia Championship Wrestling, Florida Championship Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and World-Class Wrestling). Hulk Hogan, on his best day, couldn't lace Ric Flair's boots...and, deep down, he knows it. So I was incredibly bummed earlier this week to learn that Ric, dissatisfied with the current booking direction of his character, had abruptly given his notice to WWE and was talking retirement. Well...the good news is that, looking at a depleted talent roster due to injuries and suspensions, WWE has apparently reached a deal with Flair that will involve him in a major, main event storyline leading up to a farewell match at next year's Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. Given Flair's age (58...amazing, isn't it?), I doubt it will be a title match against the likes of a John Cena or Triple H. But there is still a "money" match out there for Ric Flair. It's against another living legend. Two guys who've minced no words in their respective books about their disdain for each other. My prediction? WrestleMania 2008, Farewell Match: Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley. And, please...for these last few months? Let Flair be Flair. No more of the emo, fan-friendly, crying-at-the-drop-of-a-hat living statue that he's been for the last couple of years. Ric Flair absolutely must go out as the cocky, arrogant, stylin' and profilin', kiss stealin', wheelin' dealin', jet flyin', limousine ridin' son of a gun that we all grew up with. Whether you like it...or you don't...get used to it. 'Cause it's the best thing going today. Diamonds are forever...and so is Ric Flair. YOU KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, FAT BOY! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I get the mental image of Fred Thompson levitating these poor campaign staffers and then Force-choking them out like Darth Vader. "Now YOU are in charge, Mr. Harris. Bring me the liberals...I want them alive!" Seriously, what is up with all the turnover in this guy's campaign operation?

Missed the Republican debate from a couple of nights ago but I did read the accounts of Mitt Romney smiling like an idiot as he got lit up by the father of some kids serving in Iraq over his comments about his five sons' valiant service in his campaign. This egotistical, preening dullard can't get winnowed out of this field fast enough to suit me.

Remember that terrific, inspiring Rick Ankiel story? Never mind.

Finally...Back with an official Quick Prediction for the Georgia game later on tonight. I will tell you right now, though...I've got a feeling we're rolling up on those Gamecocks tomorrow night. So make sure you're a good Bulldog by assisting our friends from Columbia with their post-game directions home: "High-way twen-ty! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap) High-way twen-ty! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap)"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Case Against Fred Thompson

That's pretty much a dealbreaker for me, folks.

The Intimidator Rides Again

Despite wearing its good intentions on its sleeve and receiving a ton of fawning reviews, I didn't think ESPN's production of 3 had much going for it other than Barry Pepper's excellent performance. The film's budget was too low and its production values too shoddy to properly portray the culture of big-time stock car racing. Anybody really interested in what Dale Earnhardt was all about would be much better served by catching CMT's terrific new documentary, Dale, either tonight or tomorrow night at 8:00. Narrated by Paul Newman and featuring interviews with family, friends, coworkers, and competitors, Dale strikes the perfect balance between sentiment and celebration. No heavenly choirs on the soundtrack and no little "3"s with angel wings. Best of all, lots and lots of racing highlights. And, dude, I can't get enough of that "back in the day" footage. Long hair and mustaches, Monte Carlos that look like Monte Carlos, pit crews in blue jeans and sneakers...I know I've said that NASCAR's on-track product has never been better than it is now but Earnhardt's era is hard to beat in terms of larger-than-life personalities. The only guy out there on the grid still keeping that particular flag flying is Tony Stewart. In fact, it's downright uncanny how so many of the testimonials...and, yes, so much of the criticism...from those interviewed in Dale sound like they could be talking about Tony. Anyway, I saw it last night and can't wait for the DVD. Required viewing for NASCAR fans.

Man, Chipper went off on the umpires in the Atlanta paper. It's probably going to cost him a couple of games. Not that it'll matter much at this point of the season. I know it's the frustration of a second straight year of missing the playoffs coming to a boil...but Chipper's tendency to pout has always bugged me. Don't get me wrong, now. He's our MVP this season or, as I like to say on Braves' message boards, our MVFP. A no-brainer Braves Hall-of-Famer and a guy who, if he can stay relatively injury-free for another 4-5 productive seasons (and, by Chipper standards, "relatively injury-free" means missing no more than 15-20 games), is probably bound for Cooperstown. But he's also ESPN and FOX's favorite go-to guy in losing postseason games for arms-crossed, staring-into-the-distance moping. Bottom line, I'm just not sure how much Chipper enjoys playing the game anymore. I hope I'm wrong.

Say what you will about Fred Thompson, but the guy's got a set on him for running a campaign ad during a debate he plans on skipping. I like the unsubtle message: "Don't see anything you like so far? Check me out." Personally, I'm looking forward to watching Fred go after Giuliani and Romney. There could be real fireworks between Thompson and Rudy, who gives as good as he gets...but Romney's going to end up flailing around like the hapless straight man in a Marx Brothers movie.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Be True To Your School

My lifelong friend and fellow too-cool-for-schooler The Christian Agnostic is probably going to light me up as a flip-flopper for this...but, looking back some twenty-plus years, my time at good old Buford High School is pretty special to me. I was lucky enough to be part of a generation of Buford kids who attended classes with the same bunch of classmates for twelve years. And this was back in the seventies...back when Buford was just some place you passed through on the way to Lake Lanier or Atlanta. There were only about sixty kids in our 1979 graduating class. A tight-knit bunch. Surprisingly clique-free, by high school standards. I've had the pleasure of attending five, ten, and twenty-five year reunions with those guys and I've come to cherish them not just as the kids I went to school with, but as the kids I grew up with.

Anyway, what's triggered this sudden wave of nostalgia and navel-gazing is the fact that Buford's number-one-ranked football team made the trip up to Canton, Ohio to play in one of those big "preseason classics" and outdrew their opponent...who hailed from only three hours down the road. Oh, by the way, they also won the game in a blowout, 34-7. Go Big Green!

It wasn't Sunday afternoon at a major...but Lefty finally stared down Tiger and snatched one from him. I assume this must've had some impact on the FedEx Cup standings. I don't know because I haven't felt any great need to verse myself on how the whole FedEx Cup thing is supposed to work...and I'm a golf nut. But I guess it must be working on some level simply by virtue of the fact that Phil was out there playing after the majors have been wrapped up. It's a no-win, really. Give Tiger the Cup and everybody yawns...give it to, say, Aaron Baddeley and everybody laughs. If you want to pump up star power and interest in the post-major tournaments, simply up the number of tournaments the guys have to compete in for Player Of The Year eligibility. I promise you that would get Tiger's attention more effectively than yet another oversized check.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor's Love Lost

When I think of every way the modern GOP has hoodwinked so many good people in this country...of every way they've conspired to mollycoddle CEOs and corporate interests at the expense of hard-working men and women...maybe the one thing that chaps me the most is how they actually convinced folks that workers banding together to protect their collective interests is some kind of bad thing. I'm hoping that when we finally have a Democrat back in the White House, he or she will bring back the tradition of a national address on Labor Day paying tribute to the great American workforce. Meanwhile...enjoy your forty-hour work week, your right to be safe at work, your right to bargain collectively, your minimum wage...all paid for with the sweat and blood of organized labor. Just a little something to think on while you're slamming that last Labor Day cookout burger. Me? I was heart-healthy and had a gigantic grilled chicken breast.

Speaking of labor, John Edwards is coming on strong in terms of union support. The man does a fine Eugene Debs impersonation...but it remains to be seen whether or not fire-breathing populism can convincingly play in today's highly cynical political atmosphere.

It should be a very interesting Monday Night RAW tonight. RAW's General Manager (William Regal) and the number-one contender for the world title (Randy Orton) both got suspended last week for being on the juice. The no-brainer move would be to simply shuffle the newly returned Triple H into Orton's number-one contender's hoping they come up with something a little more creative. [Edited later to add: The Torch is now reporting that the list of suspended wrestlers is not accurate and, sure enough, RAW has just started with an announcement that Randy Orton is in fact on the show tonight. So...who knows?]

I hate the Mets with every fiber of my being. But, you know what? Good on Pedro.

Michael Andretti? STFU. Seriously. This just isn't even funny anymore. This guy has got the racing equivalent of The Four Horsemen out championship leader and three other drivers running interference...and he still thinks every IRL team in the paddock is out to get him and that he's a helpless victim. Shut up. Shut up...shut up...shut up...shut UP. Dario, get out of there while you can. While your reputation is still intact.

I'm bagging it a little early today to enjoy what's left of the holiday with the family. Y'all be good.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Two Quick Predictions For Today

I can't believe I totally forgot about this morning's Champ Car race in the Netherlands. Well, truth is...between yesterday's five football games, two baseball games, golf, and a west coast Busch race that ended after 1:00 A.M., getting up at seven to watch a Champ Car race isn't exactly dangling a carrot. Besides, I would've tanked the prediction. Someone besides Sebastien Bourdais won (congratulations to Justin Wilson, a very fine driver in his own right and a guy who'll contend for the championship next year). On to today...

The largely untried and refurbished Belle Isle circuit will be the big x-factor today as the Indy Cars take to the streets in Detroit. Promoters love street races because you can throw a big party, schedule a concert, and turn out a gigantic crowd that will look good on TV. However, the racing itself usually pretty much sucks. On the opposite end of the scale, the Nextel Cup guys will be racing on one of their favorite tracks. California lends itself to side-by-side racing with plenty of room in the middle. It's a great track to play it safe on...and with so many guys trying to protect their positions in the Chase, I'm not expecting a great show. Coming down to crunch time in the point standings I'm going with the hot hands (or, in this case, hot shoes) in each series:

Detroit Indy Grand Prix at Bell Isle

1. Scott Dixon
2. Dario Franchitti
3. Tony Kanaan

Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway

1. Kurt Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jeff Gordon

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

Georgia - 35, Oklahoma State - 14. It's always great to win on opening day. Even better is doing so in a fashion that makes fans around the nation think you might be a little bit better than advertised. I didn't make it out to G-Day or to any practices so I was not quite prepared for the team speed Georgia displayed tonight. This may be the fastest team Mark Richt has ever coached between the hedges...particularly on the defensive side of the ball. I thought there were several plays where the sheer quickness and athleticism of the defenders made up for some pretty pedestrian scheming. As for the offense...Matthew Stafford lived up to the old coaching adage that the peak of a collegiate player's improvement comes between their freshman and sophomore seasons. Great poise and decision-making. Thomas Brown looks like he's all the way back, 'Shon Moreno is a highlight waiting to happen, and Sean Bailey looks like a go-to possession receiver. Of course, being a fellow Bufordite, I loved the idea of getting Mikey Henderson a few extra touches on offense.

The Visor is in town next week...along with about 15,000 of his trashy, no-account friends. So we strut for just a couple of days and then get back to the grind. Around the rest of the conference, K-State rolled over and gagged one up for Auburn while Tennessee gave up 40-plus points and got the "Fire Phil" movement energized early. Up in South Bend, Tech got revenge for the Rudy game and Michigan found a way to lose at home to Appalachian State. Week Two, you've got a lot to live up to.