Friday, August 05, 2005

Here Come the Judge vol. II

In an interesting turn of events, it appears that Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, helped gay rights activist win a landmark Supreme Court decision. I can't imagine that this will sit well with the religious fanatics. Add this to the story he is possibly anti-abortion which irritated the fanatics faction of the Democratic Party should make for an interesting conformation hearing. Now if only they can link Roberts to Long Dong Silver. And since I'm a big fan of pissing off fanatics on both sides, I'm beginning to like Roberts more everyday. Now if only I can find out his stance on Eminent Domain. For more on this story check out:

In private practices, Robert's record is mixed
Court NomineeAdvised Group on Group Rights
And my original take -
Here Comes the Judge

Thursday, August 04, 2005

What's My Name?

Back when it was the GundThere was a sports story this week that was drowned out by the Rafael Palmeiro story (see pervious post for my view). A problem that is almost as devastating to sports as steroids, if not worse. This problem is the renaming of stadiums/arenas. For years I could laugh at sports fans in other cities that had to go to places like Petco Park, Heinz Field, McAfee Coliseum, Safeco Field, 3Com Park just to name a few of the lamer ones. But here in Cleveland, we haven’t sold out to the highest bidders because our owners were such egomaniacs that they named the stadiums after themselves; Gund Arena, Jacobs Field, and Browns Stadium. Now Dan Gilbert, the new owner of the Cavs has gone and ruined it renaming the Gund to Quicken Loans Arena. Already trying to diffuse the backlash, they already have a marketing scheme to nickname it the “Q.” Quicken Loans, The Q, I don’t care, I’m boycotting it. I’ll much sooner travel up to the Palace at Auburn Hill before stepping one foot in The “Q.”

I have no idea why owners sell their souls to give naming rights to a company. First of all, we, the consumer, do not get the discount on the ticket prices, if anything, ticket prices have gone way up since the renaming boom of the 90’s. And it doesn’t seem very good investment for the companies either. It may seem like a good marketing move, but does anyone know what Qualcomm, Safeco, or Comerica do? No one knew what Enron did because they named the Astros’ ballpark. People only became aware that it was an energy firm until it ruined its employees’ lives. And the Astros might as well kept the Enron moniker because what they replaced it with is the silliest of all the names, Minute Maid Park. Do people in Houston say, “Hey, wanna go to the Maid tonight?” Is the divorce rate in Houston gone up because husbands have spent too much time with the Maid?

Going back to Cleveland, Gilbert should have done is stick with the city’s tradition and renamed it the Gilbert Arena. How funny would that be? (For those who don’t follow the NBA, there is a player named Gilbert Arenas.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Big Head Rafael and the Monsters

Big Head RafaelOkay, that title doesn’t have the same ring as Big Head Barry, because Rafael’s dome isn’t so big that it looks like it will topple off his neck at any given moment like Barry's. But one thing that Barry can say that Rafael can’t is that he has never tested positive for steroids, well unless you count allegedly admitting he took steroids in front of a federal grand jury. And I am just that Big Head Barry announcement that he will not play this season came just hours after Palmeiro’s test result came out. Bonds want to defect any negative attention he can. Of course Barry, the best way to defect attention is just retire, do everyone a favor and announce that as soon as possible.

My biggest problem of this whole Palmeiro situation is how long this has taken. Reportedly, the failed test came back in May and it has taken this long for his suspension came out. I mention last week about how slow it took for Kenny “The Gambler” Rogers to finally start his suspension, and Palmeiro took even longer. And I’m not the only one, Rep. Cristopher Shays of Connecticut, the No. 2 Republican on the Government Reform Committee said,
“I find it pretty amazing if this was a test that was scored months and months and months ago. Why take so long is beyond me. It's just another example of how the players rule. If someone tests positive, the determination should be much quicker and the punishment should be much more severe.”
My suggestion to fix this is that the sports league needs to set up their suspensions like the US Courts system where you sit in jail until your trial. In terms of the major leagues, you serve your suspension the day it comes down, and if you want an appeal, you better hurry to the commissioner’s office to get it overturned before you miss too many games. And in both cases, if they were wrong, they will give you a hardy “Sorry” on your way out. But while mulling the suspension, Palmeiro just happened to get his 3000 hit, to which MLB openly celebrated even though it knew that he had tested positive for steroids.

It turned out today the steroid found in Palmeiro’s test was Winstrol, which was made famous by Ben Johnson at the 1988 Olympics. Not so ironically, Johnson also did not knowingly take the substance and suggested some one spiked his drink. Not very likely as my source said that is something that is injected into the bloodstream nor is something you would find at your local GMC. This drug doesn’t really sound like something that you could take unintentionally unless Palmeiro is a diabetic and his doctor told him it was insulin.

It also looks like Joseph McCarthy and his cronies are back on the case too as Palmeiro has agreed to release documents regarding his positive test to Congress. Like he really had a choice, he had as much of a choice to go before the Congressional Hearing in the first place. You remember back in March when Palmeiro waged his finger at Congress like the chick from and read a paper that said he has never done steroids. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va said,
“As a practical matter, perjury referrals are uncommon. Prosecutions are rare. But this is a high-profile case, so I think it will get an honest look-see. I don't think anyone can avoid it. If we did nothing I think we'd look like idiots, don't you?”
Well, yeah, but you do nothing for most of the year, looking like idiots and yet you politicians have been doing that for year. And let’s not forget the last time you brought up perjury charges on some one. You had all the in the evidence right down to a stained dress and couldn’t get a conviction.

The biggest question here is should Palmeiro be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The answer is quite easy: no. Here we have a proven cheater. And this is not cheating like Sosa’s corked bat or pitchers scuffing the ball. Palmeiro, and any other steroid user, chemically alter their body. A corked bat can affect a play; steroids affect whole seasons and more. This should be considered much worse than what Pete Rose did and should keep any known steroid users out of the Hall and any suspected users should have a long look taken at them before they are let in. If that means a whole generation is left out, then so be it. Just induct managers, broadcasters, and journalist for the next fifteen years unless you are positive they are clean.

As a result of all this, it looks like Jose Cansaco is going to write yet another naming even more name. It is really sad when Cansaco is one of the few guys in baseball today that you can trust to tell the truth these days. I’m not sure who read the last book or who will read the next one as he is one the most excruciatingly painful dude to listen to on The Surreal Life. The guy could barely form sentences on the show.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Wish You Couldn't Take Your Eyes Off of Me

Twentythree - Tristan Prettyman

This year, there has been an influx of female singer-songwriters. Most of them have yet to make a major impact on the charts or on the radio but have built a cult following (to which I drink the Kool-Aid for some of them). It may be wise is these ladies to pester Sarah McLaughlin to restart the Lilith Fair to help break the monotony of the overproduced girls that are clogging up the radio waves. The latest Lilith ready singer is Tristan Prettyman.

Prettyman makes breezy music than gives you visions of sitting on a beach at night around a bonfire with friends around as one leisurely strums an acoustic guitar. This description quickly brings to mind a comparison to another surfer turned rocker, Jack Johnson. Prettyman’s debut album Twentythree, which alludes to her age, starts off with a breezy acoustic guitar that turns into the bouncy first single, Love, Love, Love. The song should not be confused with Natasha Bedingfield's, These Words where she repeats “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Tristan’s song sets the beach mood with lyrics like, “When the summer’s here, the waves are crashing, no time for thinking, don’t even ask me” which make the album a great addition to any beach party or barbeque this summer.

Tristan also puts her mark on what seems to be the new female singer-songwriting staple, Breathe (also see Anna Nalick, Michelle Branch, and Faith Hill for other songs on the subject or if you want to go way back, and male, try Pink Floyd). But as the others are tranquil songs, Prettyman makes it into a song of longing, “I wish I could breathe. I wish you couldn’t take your eyes off of me. Oh, but it’s never as easy as it seems.”

Jason Mraz, recovering from a poor sophomore album (read my review - It Takes a Thought to Make a Sound), makes an appearance on the coy Shy That Way. The two singers trade verses about the pining that is usually reserved Middle School dances but somehow avoid making the song sound childish. Tristan starts off, “If you were more daring maybe you'd stop staring and come over and talk to me.” To which Jason responds, “The way she keeps her distance keepin’ my interest so I’ll keep it consistent.”

Song to Download – Love Love Love

Twentythree gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Are You Ready for Some Football?

To some males, August is the greatest month of the year for one reason and one reason only: the release of the latest Madden game. There will be plenty of guys next week who will spend all day going through five years in dynasty mode. Personally, I’m not that obsessed, as I typically go with an every other year approach. But the franchise is defiantly warranted a spot into the Scooter Hall of Fame as the August inductee.

Back in the 80’s, I bought all the sports games Atari had to offer even though the players were basically dashes and the balls typically were just squares. As I moved to the Nintendo, I really didn’t play that many sports games since I was young and was more mesmerized by all the cute characters the company pumped out at the time. Then, after I got the Super Nintendo, a buddy and I were out shopping and stopped into the local Toys R Us to look at he games when we spotted Madden 95. We didn’t even have to say anything, we just looked at it, then each other, and both shook our heads simultaneously. Madden quickly overtook Mario Cart as the game that was constantly on. And, of course like most of the early Madden games, it was all offense all the time: on-side kicks, going for it on 4th and long with the QB Waggle, and no one would run the clock out at the end of the game because everyone would rather risk losing just to run up the score. And if there was no one around, you could always go with the season mode and guide your own team to the Super Bowl.

Madden quickly went off my radar for a couple years because I refuse to acknowledge that there was any football if the Browns were not involved, so I primarily stuck to Triple Play, FIFA, and NHL for my sports fix.

By the time the Browns were back, so was my obsession with Madden, but now it had moved to the Playstation. And with the newer system, the game with better graphics, actual commentary by Madden and Summerall, and to make sure no males between the ages of 13-30 would get any work done, a franchise mode. Here you could play multiple seasons where people would retire and you would replace them with your own draft picks.

Everything got even more in depth with the jump to the Playstation 2. A soundtrack was added. This wasn’t always a good thing as my hatred of Good Charlotte comes from hearing The Anthem contently for six months straight. Mini camps were also added so you can build-up the quality of your players. And the franchise was expanded exponentially to when you could set the prices specific to the city like tickets prices of the Dawg Pound in Cleveland. You can relocate you team to almost any city in North America. On the last Madden, I move the Baltimore Raven (because they don’t deserve to exist) to Hartford and had a Whalers’ football team.

It’s doubtful that will pick up this year’s edition as I have last year which I really enjoyed the hit stick. Also the pitiful Browns will have a horrible rating, so it would hard to win a fair game against Steeler fans. Although once the game goes into the discount bin, I may change my mind.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Best of INXS

One show you will not catch me watching this year is Karaoke Star: INXS for the same reason I don’t watch American Karaoke: if these singers had any real talent at all, they would have a record contract already. And here are 20 other reasons why that chronicle the best INXS, with the irreplaceable Michael Hutchence, had to offer. This album clocks in at 75:46.

1. The One Thing - Shabooh Shoobah
2. What You Need – Listen Like Thieves
3. Need You Tonight – Kick
4. Mediate – Kick
5. New Sensation – Kick
6. Devil Inside – Kick
7. Never Tear Us Apart – Kick
8. The Stairs – X
9. Disappear – X
10. Bitter Tears – X
11. Suicide Blonde – X
12. Heaven Sent - Welcome to Wherever You Are
13. Baby Don’t Cry – Welcome to Wherever You Are
14. Beautiful Girl - Welcome to Wherever You Are
15. Not Enough Time - Welcome to Wherever You Are
16. Never Tear Us Apart – Live Baby Live
17. This Time – Live Baby Live
18. The Stairs – Live Baby Live
19. It Takes a New Sensation – INXS vs. Rob Base
20. Intergalactic (Soulwax Remix) – Beastie Boys vs. Herbie Hancock vs. INXS vs. AC/DC