Monday, December 31, 2007
Both Lewis and Carson Palmer have made comments that they think the team needs an attitude change, which leads to wonder what will happen to some players who are not free agents. Will Henry be cut loose if they decide that keeping him isn't worth the risk after he never got completely up to speed in 2007 after being suspended the first half of the season?
What about Chad Johnson? I don't think Marvin Lewis likes having him around with his occasional emotional baggage, and I think Chad is more disgruntled with Cincinnati after being burned by the media this year. I think if it was left up to Lewis, he'd look to trade Chad, but since Mike Brown has said that Chad won't be leaving then nothing will happen unless Brown changes his mind. I think getting rid of Chad would be a mistake; as good as T.J. Houshmanzadeh has been, I still don't think he could be as effective as a first wide receiver.
There could be some changes on the offensive line, although considering how long it took the line to get a rhythm going this year after some injuries and losing Eric Steinbach to free agency, they might not want to tamper to with it. If they do, I think Levi Jones might be one to go. He had his own attitude problems early in the season and I wouldn't be surprised if that, along with his injury problems and expensive contract, led him to being dismissed. It's not likely, but it could happen depending on how much Marvin wants to clean house. Willie Anderson also may not be back after being injured much of this past year, although if he leaves it will be on his own terms through retirement.
Then comes the problem with the running backs. There are five potential running backs--Rudi Johnson, Kenny Watson, DeDe Dorsey, Kenny Irons, and Chris Perry--and it is likely the Bengals will only keep three (I'm not counting fullback Jeremi Johnson). Rudi Johnson was hampered by injuries for most of 2007 and played poorly most of the time. Do you dump him after one bad year and hope that Kenny Watson handle being the lead back all season? If both Chris Perry and Kenny Irons are healthy, I would think they'd have to go with Irons over Perry. You'd have to hope that Irons' injury was simply a fluke, so you have to keep him over the injury-prone bust that Perry has become. DeDe Dorsey showed too much potential to simply cut him, but it's doubtful you could get anything in a trade for him. The only back that has any trade value would be Rudi, but even that might be hindered by his injuries this year. It will be interesting to see what they do.
Looking ahead to the 2008 season, the good news is that the Bengals have the ninth pick overall in the draft, so they should be set to get a good defensive lineman or linebacker. The bad news is that the Bengals likely face a tougher schedule than they did in 2007. They play eight games against playoff teams (counting Pittsburgh twice) and the two toughest divisions in football: the AFC South, where the worst team (Houston) was 8-8 and three teams made the playoffs, and the NFC East, where once again no team had a losing record and three teams made the playoffs (Philadelphia came in last with an 8-8 record). The Bengals only play three teams with losing records in 2007, including the 5-11 Baltimore Ravens twice, as well as the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs, both of whom went 4-12 in 2007. The combined record from 2007 for the Bengals 2008 opponents is 115-93.
Unfortunately, next season could be another long one. If Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown decide to really shake things up, next year could be more of a rebuilding year than a competitive one, especially with such a daunting schedule.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
- It seems that Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee's son has aspirations to become Michael Vick. In 1998, at the age of 18, David Huckabee and another boy were kicked out of the Boy Scouts for killing a dog by hanging it, slitting its throat, and stoning it to death. Thanks to his father's connections, David "The Dog Killer" never faced any charges. I don't know about you, but I'm fairly sure I don't want the father of a budding serial killer running our nation, especially if Daddy's just going to bail him out every time. Disgusting.
- Six states-New Hampshire, Montana, Maine, Washington, South Carolina, and Oklahoma-are opposing a federal law to create new national id cards, claiming that the new cards are too expensive and, more importantly, are an invasion of privacy. New Hampshire State Representative Neil Kurk defended his opposition to the id cards, saying, "The people of New Hampshire are adamantly opposed to any kind of 'papers-please' society reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. This is another effort of the federal government to keep track of all its citizens."
- The RIAA would like to inform you that those mp3s on your computer--the ones you copied from CDs you paid for with your own hard-earned money--are still unauthorized and illegal. In fact, if you even listen to the music you pay for, you're probably still a criminal, and should be sued for ridiculous sums of money. Let this be a lesson to you kids: it's okay to drive your business into the ground by alienating all of your customers, as long as you can find ways to sue them in order to make up for the profits you're continually losing.
- It seems that Senator Joe Lieberman will endorse Arizona Senator John McCain as the Republican Presidential nominee. It's nice to see that old, irrelevant, has-been politicians stick up for one another.
- The official poster for Indiana Jones IV, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been released. Neato.
- And finally, I'll leave you with an interview of Ron Paul on Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" show. I know you didn't think I could post all these random stories without throwing in one about Congressman Paul...
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
The guys over at Penny-Arcade are once again running their fantastic Child's Play charity drive this year. The purpose of Child's Play is to provide numerous children's hospitals with money, games, books, movies, and toys. It has blossomed into a huge affair over the past few years; what began as a fund raiser for their local children's hospital in Washington now includes dozens of hospitals in six different countries. Last year the charity raised over a million dollars. I suggest you check it out and consider donating.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Looks like John McCain needs a history lesson. And a dictionary so he can learn the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism.
I took some time to watch the CNN/Youtube Republican debates online, and they didn't seem like an enormous waste of time. There were some decent questions and most of the candidates had me either rolling my eyes or shaking my head in disgust most of the time, but there was some worthwhile information to be had.
Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney have been the two top-tier candidates (according to the mainstream media), and both look like huge sleezeballs. These men are fantastic politicians; giving actual answers to questions is unimportant, as long as you can create a good sound bite. Everything out of Giuliani's mouth either relates back to New York or 9/11, and it looks like he's content to try riding his popularity from those into the White House. Romney also avoided answering most of the questions directed his way; the worst example of this came when he was questioned about waterboarding. He made it clear that he was against torture, but then refused to classify whether tactics like waterboarding are or are not torture. Kinda hard to stop torture if it isn't clearly defined, isn't it, Mitt?
I'm surprised that Mike Huckabee isn't the Republican front-runner. I don't trust him one bit, but he does a decent job of sounding sincere. He says all the right things to win the support of most Republicans: he makes sure to throw out the religion card, he still supports the war in Iraq, and he promised to cut taxes. I think he gives off the impression of being the most electable candidate and I'm surprised that the Republican Party and the media aren't pushing him more. I don't actually believe most of what he says, but I think he's great at playing the political game.
Fred Thompson seems like a scumbag as well. His attitude and swagger just oozes the stereotypical figure of the old Southern aristocrat sitting on his porch in a clean white suit, sipping whiskey while plotting his way into political office, not really caring about average people at all. I'll admit that the man has a good sense of humor, but I could never take him seriously enough to want him leading our country.
McCain is the saddest figure in the run for the Republican nomination. I used to like the way he refused to follow the typical Republican mantra and simply follow what he thinks is right. Now I feel that he's invested his reputation far too strongly into the Iraq war and has lost of lot of his renegade spirit. He split his time at the debate between sniping at Ron Paul, giving a passionate and well-spoken thrashing to Romney over the use of torture, and looking depressed and defeated the rest of the time.
Ron Paul was fantastic, in my opinion (not that I'm biased or anything). Obviously an audience full of war supporters and people who still think Bush is a good president booed half of what Paul had to say, but there was still a surprising number of supporters cheering very loudly for him. One of the things that most stood out to me is that Paul may have been the only one in the debate who didn't take shots at the other candidates. He was there to argue his point, not to sling mud at his rivals. The amount of time given to Paul over some of the other candidates was very limited--Paul himself pointed out to CNN in their post-debate interview that almost thirty-five minutes went by without any questions being directed his way. Despite this, he had a strong finish at the end and he got his message across well in the limited time he had.
To be fair, I'll mention two other candidates on the far right and far left of the stage. I admit I didn't remember either of their names without going back and looking them up, and both got about as much time to talk as Ron Paul. Neither made much of an impression, although I thought Lefty (Tom Tancredo) was dead-on when he criticized Huckabee for promising to cut government spending while also promising to fund a NASA mission to Mars. Righty (Duncan Hunter) had a great smirk and spent too much time talking about his father's old rifle that he used to own instead of saying something important.
I wanted to end this with the clip of Ron Paul on the Daily Show (to quote Jon Stewart on Ron Paul, "You appear to have consistent, principled integrity... Americans don't usually go for that") but I couldn't find a good clip online. Paul's visit to the Colbert Report wasn't quite as good at getting his message across, but it's still entertaining. I suppose I should watch the Democratic debates from a couple months ago as well, although watching that much Hillary will be difficult.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
New photos are up again. I went out to Mt. Airy today and ended up with some really nice pictures from an area with a pond. I was really happy with how they turned out. I also went to Mt. Echo to try taking some picture of downtown from up there, but most of the shots ended up looking like rubbish thanks to the glaring sun. I may still throw them online for the heck of it, but that remains to be seen. Most of my photos of St. William Church in Price Hill didn't end up as well as I'd like either. A few more random photos have been added to that section as well. As usual, feedback is always welcome.
edit: I've gone ahead and thrown a collection of black and white photos online as well. They're a hodge-podge of pictures that I have online already and some ones I haven't posted before. I tried to include as few repeats as possible. You can see them here.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I went over to St. Joseph's Cemetery today and spent some time walking around and taking pictures with my camera. I went ahead and threw the best of the bunch into a flickr album. Anyone who is interested can check them out there.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The following passage is a rant I sent to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com:
How glaringly obvious is Roger Goodell's anti-Bengals bias after today's announcement that Ricky Williams would be reinstated to the NFL, while Odell Thurman still sits suspended? Goodell has now reinstated Williams and Koren Robinson, two players who had many more offenses than Thurman, but only Odell has been singled out for extra punishment. Goodell has done nothing but play favorites when it comes to punishing players and coaches. His punishments have been arbitrary and inconsistent. There's no logical explanation why Thurman would be denied reinstate while players with similar cases are allowed to play again.
On a similar note, there's the NFL Player Association's announcement that it would appeal Goodell's decision not to shorten Pacman Jone's suspension, but the NFLPA has left Thurman--who has had far fewer run-ins with the law than Jones--to fend for him self. Is there any other conclusion we can come to other than that Thurman is being treated this way because he is a Bengal?
I have said it before and I will say it again: the NFL's system is broken. One man cannot make these kind of decisions. There needs to be some kind of panel that doles out punishment and rules on suspensions and fines. I'm sick of Goodell waking up on the wrong side of the bed and deciding to lash out at a Bengals player--like with the completely unfounded one game suspension of Jonathan Joseph earlier in the season.
Mike Brown needs to start making some noise. As the owner, he's the only one with any real pull with the commissioner, and the only chance the Bengals have of defending their players. I want to make it perfectly clear: I think Bengals players who break the rules should be punished. But they need to be punished to the same degree as everyone else. My problem isn't that Williams was reinstated, it's that Williams was reinstated while Thurman was not. The bad news is that Goodell is only a couple years into his tenure as commissioner, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him turn the NFL into the kind of disaster that other major leagues like the NBA and MLB have become. He's done little to uphold the integrity of the game by giving cheaters mere slaps on the wrists, issuing cease-and-desist letters over petty issues like church Super Bowl parties, and trying to take away the contribution of fans at home games. I think the next few years will result with the continued alienation of fans, sending the NFL down a slippery slope of mediocrity.
Monday, November 05, 2007
- The Defense - You could write a book on all the problems with this defense. While some positions have been hit hard by injury, the performance by those on the field is inexcusable. Terrible pass coverage. No pass rush. Unable to stop the run. Countless missed tackles. The list could go on and on. The defense is constantly giving up big plays and allowing mediocre players to look like superstars against them. Things hit their lowest point yesterday when the Bills, who had scored only six touchdowns on offense in their first seven games, scored three yesterday as rookie running back Marshawn Linch had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season with 153, topped by a 56-yard touchdown run where Linch shrugged off his would-be tacklers two yards behind the line of scrimmage and ran free to the end zone. This horrible crew is on pace to allow the most yards and points ever for a Bengals defense, and the third most points allowed by any defense in NFL history.
- The Offensive Line - Also hit by a few injuries, the offensive line has had a terrible year. They've been unable to open holes for the running game all season, another stat that reached rock bottom yesterday when the Bengals accumulated the fewest rushing yards even with Lewis as coach--only 28 yards against the NFL's 24th ranked rush defense. The unit also needs to do a better job protecting Carson Palmer and giving him time to throw. Although Palmer's sack total is low, I attribute most of that to Palmer getting rid of the ball under pressure.
- Chad Johnson - Johnson has been a shell of his former self this year. After scoring three touchdowns in the first two games, he has been held scoreless ever since. He is currently still second in the NFL in total yards, although yesterday's total of 45 yards was a season low. Johnson has also dropped far too many crucial passes, including four yesterday, one of which would have gone for a 73-yard touchdown. Worst of all, his attitude still seems unstable and fragile when emotions are running high.
- Marvin Lewis - The one thing Lewis has succeeded in doing this year is losing the support of most Bengal fans. Lewis seems to have no answer for his team's problems. His controversial call on 4th-and-1 against Pittsburgh exposed his lack of confidence in his players. His flip-flopping response to his decision after the game leaves many questions as to how competent a leader he can be anymore. Mike Brown has expressed his support for Lewis, so it's highly unlikely he'll be fired after this season, but one has to believe that next season will be his last chance.
- Mike Brown - The question is how much things would change if Lewis was gone, as long as Mike Brown continues to own the team. I think that ultimately, Brown is at the root of most of the team's problems. He refuses to hire someone else to act as General Manager of the team, and does everything he can to avoid spending money. For example, the Bengals have one of the smallest staffs in the league when it comes scouts for new recruits, which has to inhibit the team's ability to get the best information possible on all potential draft picks. Little wonder why the team has had so few true standout players from their past few drafts (or why the team had so many high-profile draft busts in the 1990s). With all the injuries the Bengals have suffered, one also has to wonder if it isn't due in some part to Brown refusing to pay for the highest quality training and medical staff possible. The man is so stingy that in an NFL owners meeting, he voted against the use of high-definition video for referee challenge reviews, because he did not want to pay to replace the equipment at Paul Brown Stadium.
- T.J. Houshmanzadeh - T.J. is having a Pro Bowl year, with at least one touchdown in the first eight games of the season, he is second in the NFL with ten receiving TDs. He is also on course to break the Bengals' single season reception record of 100 catches.
- Glenn Holt - A personal favorite ever since Jess, Rob, Jen, and I met him at training camp in 2006, Holt has blossomed in his second year as an excellent special teamer and a reliable wide receiver. Despite a crucial fumble in the Seattle game, Holt has been huge on kick returns, culminating in yesterday's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Chris Henry's return will limit his use in the passing game (assuming Chad Johnson is healthy), but that should allow him to focus all his energy on special teams.
- Kenny Watson - Giving some chances to start do to Rudi Johnson's lingering hamstring injury, Watson has looked impressive. Considering the poor job by the offensive line in getting the running game going, Watson has made some terrific plays. The game yesterday showed how dangerous he can also be catching passes out of the backfield, which makes you wonder why we've thrown away two high draft picks on running backs Chris Perry and Kenny Irons when we've had a weapon like Watson all along.
- Carson Palmer - While this hasn't been his best year, Palmer is still putting up impressive numbers. He still ranks as one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and has continued to be a voice of reason during a turbulent season. His interception numbers are high, but you can attribute that to the Bengals offense constantly playing from behind, forcing Palmer to take risks when trying to make big plays. The bad news is that a quarterback as skilled as Palmer doesn't come around often, and his chance to become a Hall-of-Fame quarterback are being sabotaged. The next few years should be the pinnacle of Palmer's career; let's hope the rest of his team can bring their game up to his level.
- Chad Johnson - Yes, he hasn't been playing at his usual high level this year, but don't let that take away from what he still brings to the team. First of all, anyone who thinks T.J.'s numbers would be nearly as impressive if he were the first wide receiver is a fool. Chad gets double-covered, opening up Houshmanzadeh. Secondly, despite all this talk of his immaturity and the criticism over his poor performance and showboating ways, Johnson is proving that he has at least matured in some respects--by keeping silent in the face of all this adversity. This "selfish" player seems to understand that the spotlight shouldn't be on him right now. Hopefully his injury from this past weekend is nothing serious, and the return of Chris Henry can get his game back on track.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We quickly decided that we weren't going to let this trip go to waste and just go home, and since I knew Austin was in nearby Circleville for the annual Pumpkin Show, I decided to give him a call. After confirming that we could spend the night at Jon Brown's house there, we set off for Circleville. The problem was that the timing of our departure had us passing right down the center of Columbus at the same time that the Ohio State football game was ending, meaning that the streets were packed. What should have been a forty-five minute drive was doubled by all the traffic. It was nice to hang out with Austin, Dan Ebert, CJ, and Jon, but we were hardly in a mood to enjoy the Pumpkin Show after all the driving and the uncertainty over the concert's status. Jon's parents were very gracious in letting us stay over, and while the attic we slept in was actually fairly comfortable, I can't say I got much sleep that night.
Daniel and I headed back into Columbus on Sunday morning, but not before we had a brief scare leaving Circleville: when I got in my car, I realized that the headlights were still switched on from the previous night. The strange thing was that the headlights weren't visibly on from the outside and the car started just fine (I wonder if locking the car with my key chain remote turned the lights off, but I really don't know).
Not having eaten that morning, we decided to drive back into Columbus and eat there. Once again the trip was no where near as simple as it should have been. When we got back into town we discovered that there was a marathon being staged exactly where we needed to be. The entire downtown area that we were trying to get to was one huge cluster of traffic jams, cops poorly directing said traffic, and very slow runners. After spending over an hour literally going in circles around the same five-mile radius of town trying to get to the parking lot for the show, we finally found a way there. Once again, what should have been a simple trip ended up taking over two long, hungry hours.
Having finally parked, and after learning that the status of the show was still up in the air for the night, we decided to finally get something to eat. It just so happened that the cursed marathon would continue to haunt us, as the area we were in was serving as the finish line for the race, and thus was inundated with a flood of runners and their families. [On a side note, can someone tell me why runners wrap themselves in sheets of reflective tinfoil-looking stuff after they finish?] Nevertheless, we waded through the horde to the nearest restaurant, which was inexplicably closed at one o'clock on a Sunday. As was the next one. And the next. And the next (lousy Chipotle). Finally we found some German beer garden to collapse in (which actually turned out to be pretty good). We returned to the concert venue again, where they finally gave us confirmation that the band was on their way in. To make an already too long story a little shorter, we killed the next five or six hours walking around Columbus, exploring their children's museum, and watching football.
Since I'm getting tired of being so long-winded, and I need to catch up on some more lost sleep, I'll cut to the chase: in the end, the concert was still worth the hassle. It turned out to be a very good, solid show. We arrived in line early, and actually ended up in the front row on the left side (actually, Daniel was in the front on the rail and I was right behind him). I'm not sure what Josh Homme's "illness" was, but he seemed just fine. The band played a fantastic set. Even the two opening bands were pretty entertaining. They apologized for the delay and played a slightly longer set. The pit got a little rough, and there were some very annoying people in it, but nothing bad enough to detract from the overall experience. I wish I hadn't been so worn out by the time it started, but there was nothing to do about that. This was also the first concert I've worn earplugs at, and I think it is something I will continue to do. After it ended, we managed to make it home somehow, completely exhausted, smelly, dirty, and hungry. It felt great to get out of the same clothes I'd been wearing for two days, remove my contacts for the first time since Saturday morning, shower, and sleep. It was a very bizarre weekend, but we were treated to a great show.
Burn the Witch
In My Head
Into The Hollow
Run Pig Run
Leg of Lamb
In the Fade
Turning on the Screw
Make It Wit Chu
Sick Sick Sick
Do It Again
3s & 7s
Go With the Flow
You Can't Quit Me, Baby
No One Knows
No One Knows (reprise)
Song For the Dead
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Actually, we all know it's because Roger Goodell hates the Bengals. Who wants to bet he doesn't reinstate Henry after his eight game suspension?
And the Bearcats are upset again for the second week in a row. *sigh* Why does Cincinnati football have to always be disappointing?
Since we couldn't get tickets for tonight's UFC event, Daniel and I are headed up to Columbus tonight to see Queens of the Stone Age. Should be a blast. I hope Franklin can pull off the upset tonight, but I won't hold my breath.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The ruling stems from Joseph's arrest in Kentucky back in January for marijuana possession. The case had been dismissed back in the spring after Joseph went into a diversionary program and complied with what the Bengals say is all league and law-enforcement obligations.
Traditionally a first offense of the substance abuse policy had meant a fine and no suspension. But Goodell is going right to the suspension even though it appears to Joseph's only brush with the law and the case has been resolved.
If Goodell even reinstates Ricky Williams after suspending Odell Thurman for another year, I'm going to go crazy.
First-quarter report card
The Bengals are 1-3 at the end of the first quarter of the season. The grades:
Pass offense: A-minus --With the running game sputtering at 83.3 yards a game, the Bengals are relying heavily on the pass. The team has 10 passing touchdowns but just one on the ground. Chad Johnson is second in the NFL with 495 yards, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh leads with 39 receptions. True, Palmer is forcing some balls, but it’s out of necessity. The Bengals are imbalanced offensively. The NFL average for pass plays is 56 percent. The Bengals are throwing the ball 64 percent of the time through four games (165 drop backs, 94 runs).
Run offense: D -- The stated preseason goal of improving the run game has not materialized. The Bengals are 26th in league, exactly where they were at the end of 2006. An injury to rookie Kenny Irons hurt, and it’s a fair question to ask if Rudi Johnson is finally wearing down. The offensive line is not blocking as well in the run game as it is for the pass.
Pass defense: F -- The Bengals have allowed 11 passing touchdowns, second most in the NFL to Cleveland’s 12. Cincinnati is 26th in pass defense at 251 yards a game and 28th in sacks per play with just four. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph appears to be playing hurt with the lingering effects of the foot stress fracture. Fellow corner Deltha O’Neal looks more like the 2006 model than the 2005 Pro Bowler.
Run defense: D -- With the inordinate number of injuries at linebacker, the Bengals are forced to play with safeties and ends as outside linebackers and a cast newcomers who were signed after training camp, a problem partially created by the front office. Despite the big number of yards and points allowed – 30th in yards at 403 and 31st in points at 31.7 – the Bengals are doing better on third down (tied for 17th at 42 percent).
Special teams: D (or I, for incomplete) -- The defensive injuries have devastated the coverage units, and special teams coach Darrin Simmons has been forced to work in new players every week. The coverage units – 24th against punt returns and 30th against kickoffs – played their best game in Week 4 against New England. But the week before in Seattle, the kicking game made three major mistakes that cost the game.
Coaching: D -- The Bengals needed six takeaways to win the opener against Baltimore. But the defense and special teams could not make one positive stop or big play at Cleveland. Marvin Lewis and Chuck Bresnahan’s defense shows no improvement in the past couple of seasons, though they would not use the injuries this year as an excuse, it is a partial explanation. The desired fast start did not happen, and the ultimate responsibility rest with Lewis for both game preparation and personnel decisions.
I also agree with Mark that the Bengals should win the next two games at Kansas City and at home against the New York Jets, putting them at 3-3 when they face their first showdown of the season against Pittsburgh.
On a side note, does anyone else find it ironic that I received the following nugget of wisdom from a Wok of China fortune cookie: "A diet is a selection of food that makes someone else rich."
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
...It looks like the starting price for tickets is $57. That probably kills that idea. :(
edit: Looks like Bob Dylan will be at the Taft Theater on October 15. Tickets also start at $57 for that.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
The whole thing was made worse by Bisping continuing his cocky Brit act in the post-fight interviews. His comment after getting dominated for three rounds on his feet was that Hamill should go "back to wrestling". The man has instantly jumped to the top of my list of fighters I want to see get destroyed. Hamill, meanwhile, was nothing but gracious in defeat. I cannot wait for Bisping to get pitted against some real competition like Chuck Liddell or even the up-an-coming Houston Alexander and see him get completely destroyed, both to spite the UFC and to put him back in his place. Or better yet, give us Bisping-Hamill II, but put it in Cincinnati this time.
I don't know whether to attribute last night's travesty to the incompetence of the judges, or if something more sinister is at work, with the heads of Zuffa--the owners of UFC--doing everything they can to make sure their hyped-up, big name moneymaker fighters don't suffer any setbacks in their rise to the top. It's obvious already that they build up guys like Bisping and Roger Huerta by spoon-feeding them easy opponents; considering questionable actions from referees and judges in the past, culminating in that debacle last night. For the first time, I find myself questioning the integrity of the UFC. I know one thing: I won't be buying any Pay-Per-View events for awhile, and I'll be contacting the UFC to let them know what I thought of that garbage last night. I'm sure it won't do any good... although since money seems to be the only thing that matters to the UFC now, and with all the outraged fans, who knows...
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Surrender Should Not Be an Option
Faced with dwindling support of the Iraq War, the warhawks are redoubling their efforts. They imply we are in Iraq attacking those who attacked us, and yet this is not the case. As we know, Saddam Hussein, though not a particularly savory character, had nothing to do with 9/11. The neo-cons claim surrender should not be an option. In the same breath they claim we were attacked because of our freedoms. Why then, are they so anxious to surrender our freedoms with legislation like the Patriot Act, a repeal of our 4th amendment rights, executive orders, and presidential signing statements? With politicians like these, who needs terrorists? Do they think if we destroy our freedoms for the terrorists they will no longer have a reason to attack us? This seems the epitome of cowardice coming from those who claim a monopoly on patriotic courage.
In any case, we have achieved the goals specified in the initial authorization. Saddam Hussein has been removed. An elected government is now in place in Iraq that meets with US approval. The only weapon of mass destruction in Iraq is our military presence. Why are we still over there? Conventional wisdom would dictate that when the "mission is accomplished", the victor goes home, and that is not considered a retreat.
They claim progress is being made and we are fighting a winnable war, but this is not a view connected with reality. We can't be sure when we kill someone over there if they were truly an insurgent or an innocent Iraqi civilian. There are as many as 650,000 deaths since the war began. The anger we incite by killing innocents creates more new insurgents than our bullets can keep up with. There are no measurable goals to be achieved at this point.
The best congressional leadership can come up with is the concept of strategic redeployment, or moving our troops around, possibly into Saudi Arabia or even, alarmingly enough, into Iran. Rather than ending this war, we could be starting another one.
The American people voted for a humble foreign policy in 2000. They voted for an end to the war in 2006. Instead of recognizing the wisdom and desire of the voters, they are chided as cowards, unwilling to defend themselves. Americans are fiercely willing to defend themselves. However, we have no stomach for indiscriminate bombing in foreign lands when our actual attackers either killed themselves on 9/11 or are still at large somewhere in a country that is neither Iraq nor Iran. Defense of our homeland is one thing. Offensive tactics overseas are quite another. Worse yet, when our newly minted enemies find their way over here, where will our troops be to defend us?
The American people have NOT gotten the government they deserve. They asked for a stronger America and peace through nonintervention, yet we have a government of deceit, inaction and one that puts us in grave danger on the international front. The American People deserve much better than this. They deserve foreign and domestic policy that doesn't require they surrender their liberties.
As you can see, I've made another change to the layout of my blog. I wasn't satisfied with the new theme, but I'm not sure how I feel about this one either. Feel free to comment.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Hopefully Austin and I will be out of The Asylum and into his new house Saturday (are you happy, Austin, I called it your house?). I don't enjoy packing but I really need to get busy doing it.
The Aqua Teen movie was pretty bad. There were a handful of amusing parts, but too few, which says a lot for a movie under an hour and a half in length. 2 out of 5 Davies. Superbad was very crude (actually, crude may be putting it mildly), but fairly funny film. Not worth seeing in theaters, though. 3 out of 5 Davies.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The Simpsons Movie was a funny and mostly satisfying experience. It certainly wasn't on par with some of the classic seasons of the TV show, but considering the current hit or miss writing of the past few seasons, I was happy with the outcome. 4 out of 5 Davies.
All of Pixar's movies have been entertaining so far, and Ratatouille was no exception. Visually the animation looks amazing at times. It wasn't on the same level as The Incredibles or Toy Story, but it was a cute little movie. 4 out of 5 Davies.
Sunshine was a fairly entertaining sci-fi film. The movie looked beautiful with some fantastic visuals and the acting was done well. The story was very tense and moody throughout, and did a fine job keeping me in anticipation. Although the plot fell a little flat the end, overall it was an enjoyable movie. 3 out of 5 Davies.
28 Weeks Later started out as a promising sequel to 28 Days Later but went downhill fast. It turned out to be one of those movies where every character makes the dumbest, most irrational choices possible. The plot ranged from frustrating to downright ridiculous at times; it was the type of film that I could find something to nit-pick about in every scene. Very disappointing. 1 & 1/2 out of 5 Davies.
I'll repost the information for the two fantasy football Pick'em leagues that I posted earlier, along with the information for the new Survival fantasy league:
Survival football: league id - 1782 password - cincinnati
College Football Pick'em: league id - 10305 password - buckeye
Pro Football Pick'em: league id - 16554 password - bengals
Sunday, August 05, 2007
College Football Pick'em: league id - 10305 password - buckeye
Pro Football Pick'em: league id - 16554 password - bengals
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I was going to complain about Goodell's inconsistent enforcement of the policy, where players like Chris Henry and Pacman Jones get suspended for having multiple problems (as they should be), but higher profile players like Michael Vick and Joey Porter get preferential treatment. By preferential treatment, I mean that while Goodell was more than happy to suspend Pacman Jones for multiple run-ins with the law--even though Jones had never actually been charged with anything--but when a big moneymaker like Vick gets in trouble, Goodell is content to let things play out in the legal system first. Saying that Vick isn't a repeat offender like Jones is just downright not true; Vick has had more than his share of run-ins with legal authorities and the NFL itself for poor behavior in the past. The only difference is that Vick brings in a lot more money.
Then you have Joey Porter, who assaulted and robbed a fellow NFL player at a casino and merely gets fined for it and is not suspended a single game. Contrast that with today's news that Odell Thurman's request to be reinstated by Goodell after reportedly complying with all the requirements of the league's substance abuse policy was denied by Goodell with no explanation! Thurman is automatically suspended for another entire season. Apparently when you're the NFL Commissioner, you can just wake up in the morning and make decisions that affect the rest of someone's career on a whim. The only possible reason Bengals.com could come up with at this time was an alleged assault in the spring involving Thurman, but since no police were called and no charges were filed, Goodell would simply be looking for any excuse at all to punish Thurman if that was his reason. There may be a good reason for denying Thurman's request, but not releasing that reason at the same time the denial was announced is simply lazy and irresponsible, and Goodell deserves all the criticism he gets because of it, even if he announces a legitimate reason at a later date.
The NFL's morale of the story: someone suffering from substance abuse problems deserves to be repeatedly punished for it for the rest of his life (or at least suspended two entire seasons), while a thug who--along with six or seven of his cronies--decides to mug a fellow NFL employee outside of a casino doesn't get suspended for a single game.
Monday, July 23, 2007
I'm realistic enough to know that it will take an incredible turn of events for Paul to receive the Republican nomination, which I why I firmly believe the presidential primaries are going to be far more important to vote in than the actual presidential election.
Friday, July 20, 2007
3 out of 5 Davies
I watched Velvet Goldmine the other night-- a weird, trippy glam-rock fairy tale loosely based on David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Wasn't anything spectacular, but it did make me overcome my skepticism that Ewan McGregor would not make a good Kurt Cobain if (or more likely, when) they make a biopic about him. McGregor, who played the Iggy-based character, ended up looking just like Cobain for most of the film, making him and Brad Pitt the only two actors I'd like to see play the part.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned. [link]Well, it looks like the tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of lives lost and the billions of dollars spent, not to mention two countries invaded, for the "war on terror" has done nothing more than set al-Qaeda back six years. I'd hate to see what we'd have to do to achieve and real long-term results.
And my faith in the current administration's ability to handle anything plummets even further...
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Austin and I walked down to watch the fire on West McMicken this evening. There was a ton of smoke and the whole building was mostly destroyed.
I watched Letters From Iwo Jima the other day. It was a really good--but very somber--film. Not the movie to watch if you're looking for something to brighten your day. Next on my list are Flags of Our Fathers, The Bourne Supremacy, Blade Runner (never seen the whole thing), and Dr. Strangelove. Pixar's new movie, Ratatouille, has received great reviews, so I'd like to see that soon too. Despite the good things I've heard about Transformers from most people, I'm still indifferent about seeing it.
The new Smashing Pumpkins album did not disappoint. Zeitgeist can't measure up to most of their older albums, but most of the songs are surprisingly good. It's a very aggressive album; at times it is reminiscent of Machina and the heavier parts of Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie. Worth picking up if you're a fan.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
This is the kind of show where you can't help but be a little disappointed by the set list, because no matter how awesome the show is, there's no way the band can possibly play all the songs you want to hear. That said, there wasn't a bad song out of the entire, massive twenty-seven song show. They played most of the classics like "Today," "Zero," an up-tempo version of "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," acoustic versions of "1979" and "Rocket," and a heavier "Tonight, Tonight". There were some reworked older songs like extended versions of a couple Machina tracks, some rare songs like an acoustic "Daydream" from Gish, "Lucky 13" and "Home" off of Machina II, "Translucent" (which I believe was played live for the first time ever), and what may have been my favorite song from the whole show, "Starla" from Pisces Iscariot. They also threw in a good number of songs from the upcoming Zeitgeist album which were all impressive, and further increasing my hope that the new album will be quality (although I'd really like to know who I should be angry at for being a bunch of greedy jerks--the band or their record label--for releasing the album in a regular version, special edition, and with three different exclusive tracks available at Best Buy, Target, and iTunes [link]). During the solo acoustic set, Billy also introduced an untitled song that he had just written the night before. It took him a couple tries to get it going, but I think everyone enjoyed being the first ones to ever hear it.
As for the band themselves, I have to believe that the pre-reunion Pumpkins would have had their work cut out for them to top this performance. Some naysayers may claim this isn't a true reunion since James Iha and D'Arcy Wretsky are missing, but I think many people will agree that the Pumpkins have always been about Billy Corgan. As long as he has Jimmy Chamberlin to back him up on drums, I really don't think it matters who else is playing. I should give Iha some credit since he is responsible for co-writing a few classic Pumpkins songs like "Mayonnaise" (of course, he's also responsible for crap like "Take Me Down") and he's a decent guitarist, but he clearly is not an essential part of the band when it comes to live shows. Billy Corgan's vocals were spot on, he played spectacular lead guitar, Jimmy confirmed my belief that he is the best drummer of the past twenty years... after Dave Grohl, and the rest of the band (guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Ginger and sometimes-present touring keyboardist Lisa Harrington) filled their roles just fine. Obviously the stars of the show were Billy and Jimmy--in that order-- with Billy both playing his heart out and hamming it up with the audience in between songs and Jimmy taking some short solos throughout the show to impress the crowd.
By the time everything was said and done, the band had played an epic concert nearly three hours in length. I think it is safe to say that no one was left wanting more after this show. Had the band played longer, we would have stayed and loved every minute of it, but after an amazing two hours and forty-five minutes, we were exhausted and happy. One of the coolest things about the show is that the band openly encouraged people to bring in cameras, camcorders, and audio recorders (which Rob and I did not take advantage of). I've found some cool pictures so far and I hope some good recordings surface online soon. Thanks to Mom and Dad for letting us use their Marriott reward points to get a hotel room. Rob and I decided that trying to come home after the show would have been both impossible and border-line suicidal on the mountain roads.
(full band set one)
Bleeding the Orchid
Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Glass and the Ghost Children
Come On Let's Go
Blue Skies Bring Tears
(mostly solo acoustic set)
For God and Country
unnamed new song
(full band set two)
With Every Light
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
All Events are open to the public.
Friday, June 8th 7 to 9 PM Shane speaks on "Creating Community"
Saturday, June 9th 2 to 4 PM Shane speaks on "Living Simply So Others May Simply Live"
Saturday, 4 to 7 PM "Ministry Fair & Music Fest" Various local, national, & international service opportunities will be represented. Food and drink, live Christian music from various local artists, along with clowns, jugglers and more!
Saturday, 7 to 9 PM Shane speaks on "Lighting the World on Fire"
Sunday, June 10th 10:00 - 10:45 AM Catholic Mass. We?re an intimate little community. We like to say, ?We?re a Small Place Where God?s Love is Made Big!? Please join us for our liturgy.
Sunday, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Following Mass we will hold an Ecumenical Worship Service with speaker Shane Claiborne.
Sunday, 12:00 to 1:30 PM Pancake Breakfast. Q&A with Shane Claiborne.
Address / Directions: 740 Circle Ave. Spring Grove Village, 45232. Traveling I-75 South, take the MITCHELL AVE exit- EXIT 6- toward ST BERNARD. Turn RIGHT onto W MITCHELL AVE. (0.26 miles). Turn LEFT onto SPRING GROVE AVE. (0.41 miles). Turn RIGHT onto WINTON RD. (0.34 miles). Turn RIGHT on either Circle or Derby Ave. (one block up). Church can be accessed from both streets.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Justin and I were pretty far back in the crowd, but Bogart's is small enough that it didn't matter. They played through a bunch of Soundgarden hits, which were obviously the highlight of the show. Throw in a good selection of Audioslave songs, "Hunger Strike," a couple of his old solo hits and a few too many of the new songs--although not as many as you would think since he has a new album out. All in all, it was a fantastic set list. More songs from Temple of the Dog or Euphoria Morning, or anything from Down On the Upside would have been nice, but they played "Slaves and Bulldozers" so I won't be complaining. The band backing Cornell was fairly impressive, as well. He's has played with some great musicians in the past--Kim Thayil, Tom Morello--so filling those shoes is no easy feat, but the band pulled it off well.
The crowd could have been better. I guess I should have known not to expect much when I entered Bogart's bathroom to find some guy peeing in the sink. There were too many people who seemed to be there to hear "Black Hole Sun" and Audioslave songs, like the guys in front of us who seemed to just be drinking Miller Lite and text messaging on their cell phones all night. The worst part was probably the constant noise; I don't think I've ever heard a concert with so many people chatting the whole time. It was funny when everyone started leaving right after "Black Hole Sun" assuming the show was over.
Let Me Drown
Show Me How To Live
No Such Thing
What You Are
Can't Change Me (solo acoustic)
I Am The Highway (solo acoustic)
Scar On The Sky (solo acoustic)
All Night Thing (solo acoustic)
Doesn't Remind Me
You Know My Name
Like A Stone
Jesus Christ Pose
Black Hole Sun
She'll Never Be Your Man
Slaves and Bulldozers
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Fresh off Bush's signing of a directive that would give him nearly unlimited powers in the case of a "catastrophic emergency," it has been announced that the Department of Homeland Security has contracted Halliburton's former engineering division to construct detention facilities inside the United States in case of a national emergency. The purpose of the these camps would be to house civilians in the case of a massive terrorist attack or natural disaster. Apparently the official excuse to build these camps is blame illegal immigrants: ' "The idea of the KBR contract is to support the Army Corp of Engineers in case we experienced a sudden mass immigration and we had to respond quickly," she said. "We would need immediate detention facilities in the form of temporary housing that would enable us to determine if the large numbers of illegal immigrants were political or economically motivated, or if they were criminals or terrorists." ' Once again, my information is from a conservative source, not a liberal one.
Have "illegal immigrants" become our nations' Jews? They seem to be a popular scapegoat right now. My guess is that these new concentration camps (that's exactly what they sound like) would make a perfect place to stick any dissenters that they round up once we experience some kind of terrorist attack (one either created by the powers that be or one that they have foreknowledge about and allow to happen) and the powers of that new presidential directive are enacted.
I hope I'm wrong. I pray I'm being paranoid. This all sounds absurd, but each day there is more and more evidence that makes the absurd seem believable.
edit: From some other things I've read, I'm not sure that this is actually a brand new development, but even if the contract is a few months old, its no less alarming.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I'd really hoped Carry On would be a good album, just like I hope the new Smashing Pumpkins album will be good. As a fan I want the albums to be good because I want to hear more quality music, but I also hate to see artists I enjoy become washed up and uninspired. But Carry On shows few moments of inspiration. The cover of "Billie Jean" really isn't that bad, and the decent Casino Royale theme song is on the album too. I guess it's not any worse than I assumed it probably would be. Not terrible, just bland. Still can't wait to see him in concert, though.
Speaking of the Pumpkins, I was very happily surprised with how much I like "Tarantula," the first single for Zeitgeist. There may be hope yet. And I really can't wait for that concert.
Am I dreaming? Is this the newest Star Wars trilogy, with Senator Palpatine carefully plotting and manipulating his way towards galactic domination? This is complete lunacy! The entire Constitutional basis for our democratic republic has just been flushed down the drain. Our founding fathers probably aren't just rolling in their graves; I'll bet they're rising from the graves to escape to Canada or back to England.
I've said before that, despite his unapologetic tramping of civil rights, I believe Bush has still had the best interests of the country in mind. He's just been misguided in how he goes about it. From here on out, I'm throwing that opinion out the window. There is no reason anyone can give me that would justify such a move as this. Maybe Bush decided that eight years won't been enough and he'd like to keep his position. In my mind, the only explanation is pure greed, plain and simple.
If you want to dismiss this all as a bunch of liberal hyperbole, check out this summary of the story, from a conservative news source. See how much it resembles this liberal source.
To stick with the Star Wars theme: I have a bad feeling about this.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Edit: Thankfully it seems that Henry did not fail his test after all. Someone should reprimand those prosecutors for jumping the gun on that one.
Friday, May 18, 2007
I still think Ron Paul looks the best out of the Republican candidates, but I really don't see him getting the nomination with the way the news media, especially on television, is trying to ignore him and only focus on Giuliani and McCain.
Posted on [05_13_2007]
As the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more. A couple of examples that quickly come to mind:
* The ABSURD retail pricing of Year Zero in Australia. Shame on you, UMG. Year Zero is selling for $34.99 Australian dollars ($29.10 US). No wonder people steal music. Avril Lavigne's record in the same store was $21.99 ($18.21 US).
By the way, when I asked a label rep about this his response was: "It's because we know you have a real core audience that will pay whatever it costs when you put something out - you know, true fans. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy."
So... I guess as a reward for being a "true fan" you get ripped off.
* The dreaded EURO Maxi-single. Nothing but a consumer rip-off that I've been talked into my whole career. No more.
The point is, I am trying my best to make sure the music and items NIN puts in the marketplace have value, substance and are worth you considering purchasing. I am not allowing Capital G to be repackaged into several configurations that result in you getting ripped off.
We are planning a full-length remix collection of substance that will be announced soon.
This outburst has since been reported by a number of different news sites, including a decent article from Rolling Stone. He's also recently stated that he only has one or two more albums left on his current contract before it is fulfilled that will leave him free to do all kinds of things that his label is too short-sighted to do (live soundboard recordings of each live show on a tour being on possible example). I think it's fantastic to see him taking on the current climate of stupidity that surrounds record labels. He's absolute right about "self-inflicted" wounds, as the RIAA's strategy of aggressive lawsuits has done nothing but alienate consumers as sales continue to fall. Of course, the large number of absolutely horrible bands out now probably has something to do with that.