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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in bigirish's LiveJournal:

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Monday, July 2nd, 2007
10:49 pm
Corruption extraordinaire
As if we need any more proof that this administration has no respect for the rule of law, we get this:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/02/libby.sentence/index.html


Poor immigrants get arbitrarily labeled as 'enemy combatants', get locked up indefinitely and denied due process. Yet, a rich member of Bush's inner circle gets convicted of crime which compromised national security (ironic, isn't it). He is convicted through the very system of due process denied others, and yet he gets to walk free courtesy of a presidential pardon from his good buddy.

Current Mood: pissed off
Monday, June 11th, 2007
1:15 am
Final Episode of the Sopranos
SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE LAST EPISODE OF THE SOPRANOS, READ NO FURTHER



Now that I have the legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way, let me just say that this final episode of "The Sopranos" stunk! Check that, it sucked! No, that's too kind. It blew! It blew chunks! Hell is blew chunks of monkey nuts. It was that bad. For nearly a decade, fans and critics, alike, have held up the series finale of "Seinfeld" as the standard bearer of disappointing endings. "Sopranos" has now surpassed that.
The whole series of "Seinfeld" was built on the premise that it was a 'show about nothing'. So, while the final show was a big disappointment, it does not detract from the series as a whole. This is because nothing went into building up the final episode. It just was. "Sopranos", obviously, was very different. There were so many interweaving story lines and character threads, not too mention profound symbolism, that this show was the antithesis of "Seinfeld". It was a show about 'everything'.
With all that went into the entire run of the "Sopranos", especially the several episodes leading up to the finale, it was not unreasonable for fans to expect a final show that blew us away. Instead, after getting plots that 'ended' Bobby Bacala and Christopher (and incapacitated Silvio), and those beginnings of a brutal war with Phil, we are left nothing to excite us.
Are we supposed to be moved by a very weak (though, macabre-ly funny) assassination of Phil? This gang war that was so gripping in the penultimate show was quickly defused by a very incredulously turn where Phil's associates betrayed him to Tony because Phil was annoyed at their lack of progress in 'offing' Tony. After the foreboding imagery of the final scene last week, we get Phil's crushed head this week.
Many of my 'associates' and I thought that there would still be a crushing end where Tony's actions over his life finally come home to roost and cost him something very dear, such as a family member like Meadow or AJ. Instead, we get a very very ambiguous final scene where we are lead to believe that something terrible may still happen, only to have NOTHING happen. The show, and the series, fade to black (don't even get me started on the thread of Carlo flipping for the FBI). We are left like Jack Nicholson's Melvin Udall character uttering, "Is this as good as it gets?!"
After the many years of dealing with the hi's and low's of the "Sopranos", the fans deserved better. After the exciting first two seasons, we have endured inconsistent storylines, inexplicably dropped characters, 'filler' episodes, and (of course) those ridiculous and inexcusably long breaks between seasons. Yet, it the moments of greatness this show was so noted for that made us keep coming back.
In the end, the series finale felt more like series creator, David Chase, wanted to keep all his options open (such as for a movie), and did not want to bring closure of any kind to the series. This is a damn cop-out move. Chase owed it the fans to end it a profound way.
Despite what some apologists may say about this episode, like this moron from CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/06/10/sopranos.finale.ap/index.html

the vast majority of fans are going to feel let down. After all we put up with, we deserved so much more.

Current Mood: pissed off
Sunday, June 3rd, 2007
6:28 pm
Apatow gets a knock out with 'Knocked Up'
While I will not be using this space to write a full review of the movie 'Knocked Up', I will say it is a very funny and endearing film. It's definitely worth seeing in theaters. If you saw "40-year old Virgin" and loved it (I sure did), then you absolutely must see 'Knocked Up' because it is even better.

This offers a segue into my brief synopsis of the film's director, Judd Apatow. "Knocked Up" is only his second feature film ("40 year old Virgin" being the first) and he has managed to his box office gold two out of two times. Prior to become a feature film director, Apatow had a huge cult following courtesy of his short-lived, but critically loved tv show, "Freaks and Geeks" (which also starred two 'knocked up' actors, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel) and, to a lesser, degree his short-lived sophomore show "Undeclared".
Now, I never saw "Freaks and Geeks", so I cannot comment on its quality. But, I did see a couple of episodes of "Undeclared" and found it to be an incredibly underwhelming show. My impressions of that show left me thinking that Apatow was a tremendously over-hyped director whose reputation was far outweighing his actual achievements.
However, "40-year old Virgin" began to turn my opinion and, now, with the release of "Knocked Up", I'm convinced that Apatow truly has the talent to back up his reputation. Flawed, yet charming characters; hilarious dialogue; and situations we can sympathize with create a winning formula that makes Judd Apatow one of the new must-watch directors in the movie business.

Current Mood: cheerful
Friday, June 1st, 2007
1:54 am
Lebron and Billy D
Tonight's two big NBA stories have prompted me to revisit my Livejournal for the first time in a while.

Story #1: Lebron has Arrived!

After Lebron's failure late in last year's playoffs against the Pistons, followed by two completely underwhelming performances (including passing up the last shot in game one) in the first two games of this year's Eastern Conference finals certainly lent credence to the idea that maybe Lebron wasn't the second coming of MJ. He began to redeem himself in Cleveland's following two wins in the series. But, it was tonight's Game 5 that announced that Lebron James IS a 'Ready for Prime Time Player'. In a must win game, on the road, Lebron delivered a performance that harkens back to (and probably surpasses) an early playoff performance by another # 23 (Remember MJ's 63 points on Boston in 1986?). With Cleveland needing every single point it could get to steal a road victory and return home with a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference, Lebron got EVERY SINGLE ONE of those points. On a night where he finished with 48 points, in the final 16 minutes, he scores 29 out Cleveland's last 30 points, including the last 25. When they needed shots to stay alive in the first overtime and pull even in the second, Lebron delivered. He didn't flinch when it came to pulling a killer crossover to hit a shot at the top of the key or hit a stone-cold 3 pointer with a man in his face to the tie the game. And, of course, with time running down, Lebron drove the lane like he did in game 1, but this time said 'this is MY game' and made a stunning move to hit the winning shot with 2 seconds left.
Performances like these are talked about decades afterwards. This could, most likely, signal the true evolution of player so special that the NBA will get what it has desparately been waiting 10 years for. Now, Lebron could choke in games 6 and 7 and undo what tonight accomplished, but I don't think that will happen.


Billy Donovan... What the HELL are you thinking?!?!
I guess there is just no getting around the alure of having an obscene amount of money shoved in one's face. 'Former' Florida coach, Billy Donovan, fell victim to the big green monster and took Orlando's offer to jump to the NBA and coach the Magic. This is one of the most mind-numbingly bad moves that any coach has made in the last 25 years (possibly longer). The only one that could have topped it would have been if Coach K left Duke to take over the Lakers in 2004. If NBA history has taught us anything, it's that no college coach who is well-established at one school (a school they have made a perennial contender), should ever fall for the trap of a large contract and jump to the pros.
The NBA has a long history of chewing up and spitting out college coaches. College coaches, even those who have excelled at the very peak of Division 1-A, are poorly equipped to deal with the shock of coaching NBA players and dealing with NBA owners. NBA players don't care who or what you were in college. It means nothing to them and they show it in how they treat coaches. Even the prima donnas at the college level can be reigned in to some degree because there are many other players on the college team who embrace teamwork and can buffer the selfish tendencies of a star. In the NBA, every player thinks they are the star and these coaches have a hard time dealing with that.
Impatient owners will not put up with a rebuilding plan the way college athletic directors will, no matter how bad the team is they are taking over. Two recent examples come to mind:
1.) Lon Kruger (Donovan's predecessor at Florida) left a perennial Elite 8 team at Illinois to take on an atrocious Atlanta Hawks team that had little talent and little room for improvement. Even with these constraints, Hawks management decided Kruger wasn't winning fast enough and canned him halfway into his second season. It took him 2 1/2 seasons get back in the college game with UNLV and only this season has he started to return to some kind of prominence.
2.) Mike Montgomery similarly left Elite 8 power Stanford in 2004 for the big bucks with the NBA's atrocious Golden State Warriors. He lasted two mediocre seasons before being tossed to the curb. He has not yet returned to coaching.
Bonus.) Oh, and let's not forget Rick Pitino leaving perennial national title contender Kentucky for the woebegon Boston Celtics. It's true that McHale, Bird, and Parish were not coming through 'that' door, but Pitino was soon exiting through it.
Billy Donovan faces a similar future because he is trying take a mediocre Orlando team to the next level and, if he doesn't soon, he will be gone in no more than 3 seasons. In the meantime, he will have thrown away one of the best situations ever for a coach who has turned an historically middle-of-road school into a two-time NCAA champion. When his NBA experiment fails, he won't be able to go back to Florida. He will have to try and build his resume again. And this experiment will fail. Let's not forget that he is going to the Eastern Conference where, just three years ago, in the span of 12 months, EVERY SINGLE HEAD COACH WAS FIRED!
The money is always enticing and the amounts are ridiculous, but it's fool's gold. With the short time these college coaches spend in the league, they only see a fraction of what the contract is worth. Yet, at the college level, even though the salaries aren't nearly as high, the tremendous local and regional endorsement deals and the long-term job security make those jobs infinitely more valuable than a professional contract.
Billy, I hope you wake up tomorrow and realize what a huge mistake this was and decide to go back to Florida. Trust me when I say that is a bad, bad, BAD IDEA!

Current Mood: cynical
Monday, February 19th, 2007
6:10 pm
Norv Turner as the new Chargers' coach?
I have to say, I feel really sorry for the San Diego Chargers. I don't bear that team any ill will, but they have now totally screwed themselves and ruined whatever chances they had to get a Super Bowl title with their current talent.

Hiring Norv Turner is a tremendous joke. Of all the possible coaching candidates out there, Norv is the least qualified, despite having two previous stints as a head coach. Actually, it is because of those stints (and a few others as offensive coordinator) that he has proven to be uniquely unqualified.

Suffice to say, Norv should be sending Dan Snyder a huge thank you gift, because, if it wasn't for 'the Danny', Turner would not be the most over-employed coach in the NFL right now. Snyder's somewhat ham-handed way of firing Turner late in the 2000 season (after Turner had lost control of the team and the season), generated a tremendous amount of sympathy for Norv. This has lead him to subsequently get hired as: Offensive coordinator in San Diego, Offensive coordinator Miami, Head Coach in Oakland, Offensive coordinator in San Francisco, and Head Coach in San Diego. He only did a passable job in San Fran and that had more to do with the emergence of Frank Gore as a power runner than anything Turner did. San Diego went 5-11 with him as the OC. Miami went from 5 straight years in the playoffs to missing them both years with Turner as the OC. This would WITH pre-ganja Ricky Williams at running back. He won 9 games in two years with Oakland.

San Diego, I'm so sorry.
Saturday, February 3rd, 2007
3:05 pm
F&*(-ing Hall of Fame
I'm and just so exhausted and sick and tired of this on-going annual embarrasment where the Pro Football Hall of Fame keeps screwing Art Monk out of his rightful place in Canton. FUCK THE HALL OF FAME WRITERS! This year, I can't even blame Peter King for this travesty, because he has said he was supporting the Monk candidacy this year. Apparently their are still enough other callous, biased voters who use the selection process as a person pulpit from which to strike at players they didn't like.

I'm not going to sit here and go over Monk's overwhelmingly obvious credentials for selection, because I have done that many times previously in this LiveJournal. But, I will address the selections of the 6 players who did get elected:

1.) Michael Irvin - Dallas Cowboys WR: Should never have been elected before Monk. The outcry over Irvin's 'snub' last season was a complete joke and clearly demonstrates a Dallas bias. Monk was a better player and a much better person than Irvin. Irvin deserved to be in eventually but not before Monk.

2.) Thurman Thomas - Buffalo Bills RB: Similar to Irvin (though at a different position). A stellar player who had a few true standout seasons and a number of good ones. Deserves to be in, but Monk should be in before him too. I have less of an issue with Thomas, though, than Irvin.

3.) Bruce Matthews - Houston/Tennessee OL: A true standout on the offensive line who can play any position asked of him and do so at a very high level. Lineman don't get enough HOF love and I have no objection to his election.

4.) Roger Wehrli - St. Louis Cardinals DB: The first 'WTF?' selection. No doubt Wehrli was a good player in his time (the 70's), but he's been retired since 1982 and eligible for 20 years and was only a finalist once before. Why this sudden need to put him in this season over much more deserving candidate?

5.) Charlie Sanders - Detroit Lions TE: The first of the Veteran's Committee picks (I'll address this in a minute). Solid player, but he's been retired since 1977 and he was never a finalist for the Hall of Fame during his eligibility period. There is no reason he should have been elected before Monk. It just seems like a player they put in as an excuse to exclude Monk.

6.) Gene Hickerson - Cleveland Browns OL: Career has been over since 1973. He has not been a finalist since 1983. Why choose now to pluck him from obscurity and put him in the Hall of Fame? He's just another place holder to create an excuse to keep Monk out.

Picks 4-6 make aobut as much sense as similar players who have gotten the call instead of Monk during his eligibility: Elvin Bethea and Joe DeLamiellure (in '03), Bob Brown (in '04), Benny Friedman (in '05), and Rayfield Wright (in '06). There's just no excuse.


Now, let's address what is so wrong about the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting process:

1.) The Senior's Committee: This is a small group of the total voting body who get to choose players whose eligibility has expired and move them right to the finals of the Hall of Fame voting, bypassing the regular layers of selection. Given that there are only 40 votes in total, these 9 committee members have undue influence in getting their selections put through. They also have personal bias because these are 'their' picks. As there are only 6 slots total in any given election cycle, these candidates deny election to more deserving current players. If they weren't good enough to be elected when they were elegible, why penalize recent, more deserving players by putting them in now?
Suggestion: Make the Senior candidates still be subject to 80% voting threshold, but do not count their election as part of the maximum of 6 candidates to be elected.

2.) The Voting Committee: The Pro Football Hall of Fame Voting Committee is simply too small to provide an accurate determination of who is Hall of Fame worthy. With only 40 electors (1 from the cities of each of the 32 NFL teams, 1 representing Pro Football Writers of America, and 7 At-Large), it provides too great an opportunity for personal agendas and regional biases to penalize truly deserving candidates [witness Peter King's campaign prior to this year].
Suggestion: What truly needs to happen is the committee needs to be increased in size. There need to be more At-large slots (preferably 15-20 in total... or perhaps one at large slot to match the number of teams, 32). Then, it needs to be further expanded to include all living members of the Hall of Fame (like baseball). This will not dilute the results. It will enhance it by ensuring that a more accurate representation of the football community determines who achieves the highest personal honor in the sport.

I hope that maybe the Monk will get in next year, but I've just about given up hope. Of course, I will be back here next year doing the same thing.

Current Mood: angry
Monday, January 29th, 2007
9:11 pm
People completely missing the point. Today's Example: Yoga
Take a quick read of this article first:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/01/29/yoga.in.schools.ap/index.html

Providing yoga classes for students is a wonderfully good idea because it is a very relaxing activity which teaches one to learn postures and stretches that increase body health, while also teaching one to be calm. Of course, anything that makes this much sense will have critics who completely and totally miss the point when bashing something they don't attempt to understand.

I could go point-by-point through this article and challenge each criticism launched at teaching Yoga, but I really feel I only need to show this one paragraph to illustrate the blatant hypocrisy and ignorance of these contrarians:

====
But when she asked a public elementary school in Aspen, Colorado, to teach yoga in 2002, Christian fundamentalists and even some secular parents lobbied the school board. They argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflicted with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation of church and state.
====

So, Christian fundamentalists protest the fact that yoga's Hindu roots conflict with Christian teachings AND also violate separation of church and state?!?!?! Come again!!?? If there is any separation of church and state, then arguing and yoga's roots run contrary to Christian teachings is a baseless argument, since Christian teachings should not be the basis for any public school instruction.

That's the hypocrisy. The cluelessness comes from the beliefs that participating in such an exercise will cause Christian children to be unduly influenced by Hindu teachings. For starters, I take yoga and I have never had any 'mysticism' or Hindu teachings brought into the class. Second, this claim expresses the belief that everything that we do in America has been and should be based on Christian teachings.
Well, sorry to pour ice water on these critics, much of what society participates in is not based on Christianity alone. It draws from many different teachings and influences, secular and religious. Even Christianity isn't based on Christianity. It's only 2000 years old and found its creation and development based on other, much older philosophies.

Not a sermon.. just a thought!
Thursday, December 21st, 2006
9:33 am
God Bless America.. :-)

This story is why America is great.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/gossip/story/480614p-404432c.html

Enjoy!



Current Mood: amused
Wednesday, December 13th, 2006
8:44 pm
Opinions Welcome: Another case of people address a symptom instead of dealing core problem
Read this article first:

http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=171617&srvc=news

The decision to stop publishing honor roll results because some students committed suicide when this did make it is an absurd one.  It clearly demonstrates another example where people (the school administration, in this case) is unwilling or unable to address the root cause of a very serious problem and instead focus on a smaller symptom so they can act like they are taking proactives measures.   This is akin to banning certain music or videos games because of Columbine or other similar tragedy.

The core problem is how these students dealt with the overwhelming pressures these particular students are facing from colleges, teachers, and, especially, parents.  There is no disputing how difficult and competitive academia has become now.  But, it is a fact of life for the millions of high school students all over the country.  There is not a nationwide epidemic of students who failed to make the honor roll committing suicide.  One major problem is the individual pressures these specific students were under.  Another, perhaps larger, problem is the failure of all concerned parties observe the warning signs in the emotional states of these students.  

No one goes from leading a perfect, well-adjusted, life one day to committing suicide the next, just because of poor grades or failing to make the honor roll.   There were much greater problems at play here that were ignored or unobserved until it was too late.  Now, a community paralyzed by these tragedies choose this half-assed solution that would not have made these children any less likely to commit suicide and it also penalizes students who do achieve the honor roll by denying them the recognition they earned.

It is daunting, but everyone needs to make a effort to get the root the problem (ALL problems) instead of trying to make themselves feel better by putting for ineffective half-measures.

I would be most interested to know your opinions.
Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
10:25 pm
DEMS HAVE THE HOUSE BACK!!!!
Tuesday, June 20th, 2006
10:09 pm
All the President's Men
So, I'm reading a book by Bob Woodward called "The Secret Man", a brief memoir dealing with his relationship with W. Mark Felt, after Mark Felt was revealed to be 'Deep Throat' of Watergate notoriety.


While reading it, I decided to check the IMDB for information about the fabulous movie dealing with Watergate, "All the President's Men" (starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman). In the process, I stumbled upon some interesting trivia. "All the President's Men" was released in 1976 (the year I was born! YAY!) and was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It didn't win, but it was part of what is arguably the strongest group of Best Picture nominees in the history of the Academy Awards. The only film among the five nominees I don't know is "Bound for Glory", a biopic about Woody Guthrie. Take a look at the other 4 nominees: Obviously, "All the President's Men", but there was also, "Taxi Driver", "Network", and the winner of the Oscar, "Rocky"!! 3 of these films are on the AFI top 100 list... and "All the President's Men" should be!. It's pretty impressive.
Saturday, May 27th, 2006
6:00 pm
Where's 5-25-77?
Hey, PRJ, since you seem to have a direct link to my journal, answer me the subject question: Where's 5-25-77? The IMDB says it will be released in May 2006. It doesn't say when, just that it will be released in May. Well, May has just 4 days left in it. I suspect the release date will get pushed back again, possibly to November 2006. Or maybe even July 2007. Once again, no reason to believe this is an actual movie.
Thursday, April 13th, 2006
11:20 pm
Ovechkin for Rookie of the Year!
Ok Boys and Girls! Now's the time to get on the Alexander Ovechkin bandwagon! Tonight, the Capital's stellar rookie scored his 50th goal. Combined with 52 assists, Ovechkin is only the second rookie in NHL history to top 50 goals and 100 points as a rookie. He joins Winnipeg's Teemu Selanne as the only 1st year player to reach the 50/100 plateau. That's right, Ovechkin has achieved something that none of the other greats in NHL history have achieved. Mario Lemieux didn't do it. Neither did Jaromir Jagr. Did the 'Great One' Wayne Gretzky do it? Nope! What about the legendary Gordie Howe? He didn't either. Maybe Hull did... wrongo! (neither Brett nor Bobby did). Even the great Bobby Orr didn't accomplish this. You can also be damn sure that Sport Illustrated and ESPN appointed NHL 'Savior' Sidney Crosby won't be joining that club either.

Maybe now people will really start to see that Alexander Ovechkin is the future of the NHL and truly has the marks of greatness being stamped on his resume and highlight films. If, at the year end awards, the Calder Trophy bears any name other than Alexander Ovechkin, it will be the greatest miscarriage of justice in sports voting outside of the annual snub of Art Monk for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If Ovechkin's name IS on that trophy, then we know the league still has it's soul.
Sunday, March 26th, 2006
11:18 pm
George Freakin' Mason in the Final Four!!
Damn! I wish I had enough 'cajones' to pick George Mason to make it all the way to the Final Four. I take so much pride in having the foresight to pick them to reach the Elite 8. Alas, I sold them short. However, it was nowhere near as short as all the rest of the people in the nation who either a.) don't live within 5 miles of Fairfax, VA or b.) are not "Phil the Showkiller's" mom. This is possibly the most shocking, stunning, and important run that has been seen in major college basketball since Villanova's miracle championship in 1985. In fact, it's even more impressive. The aftershocks of George Mason's improbable run will be felt for years down the road and have likely created a complete paradigm shift in Division I basketball.

The day of the mid-major and small conference teams has come. No longer are they just a nice little story as they get to the Sweet 16, get their 15 minutes of fame, and then get unceremoniously swept with nothing more than lovely parting gifts. They are now legitimate contenders. Now, when Tournament Selection time comes around, you are going to see more of the mid-major and smaller conference bubble teams get in, instead of the 5th, 6th, or 7th place teams in the ACC or Big Ten. And it's right that that is happening now. This year's tournament selection committee took so much heat for putting 4 teams from the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) in the field of the 64 (er... 65), and even greater heat, at least from blowhard Billy Packer, for letting George Mason make the field. Well two of the MVC teams made the Sweet 16 and George Mason is in the Final Four.

This true run to mid-major and small conference respectability began with Gonzaga back in 1999 when the ran all the way to the Elite 8 before barely losing eventual champion Connecticut. Gonzaga becamse a fixture in the tournament and the legitimate threat to make a run every year. Eventually they got enough respect to start pulling down top seeds at selection time. Unfortunately, that was when they started underachieving and flaming out early, slowing the march to credibility of smaller schools, but in no way stopping in. It cannot be stopped. The smaller conference schools are more likely to have 4-year players, more team cohesiveness, and a greater desire to make the best of this opportunity. If University of Maryland had gotten in ahead of George Mason, they would have groused about their seeding, been bounced in the first round, and been an outright disappointment. George Mason was the right choice. This will now pave the way for the right choice being made for others like them.

Who's going to sit here and say that George Mason has had a nice run, but has no legitimate chance to win the National Title? The Patriots (an auspicious name to have if ever there was one) are a complete team and have made it this far just by the simple fact that they were the better team than the squads that opposed them. They have no fluke victories courtesy of last second shots, or a lucky breaks courtesy of the other team's star player getting injured. They did not benefit from a lighter bracket courtesy of heavyweight teams being knocked out. The out-hustled, out-shot, out-rebounded, and flat-out out-played the class of college basketball. George Mason took down three teams that, among them, have won 4 out of the last 7 National Titles! Heck, their 'pleasant little story' victories to reach the Sweet 16 were over Michigan State and North Carolina, both of whom were Final Four teams last year (with Carolina winning it all). They beat an excellent Wichita State team (from the MVC) and then out-class the best team in the tournament, Connecticut, in what will go down as one of the greatest tournament games ever played. I don't think it's too out there to say this ranks right up there with the Duke-Kentucky masterpiece from 1992. It wasn't just dramatic, it was also expertly played. This was just flat-out good basketball. And this victory is more remarkable than any other so-called upsets (Villanova in 1985, NC State in 1983, 11th seed LSU in 1986 just making the Final Four), because those other 'upsets' were accomplished by teams from Major conferences. These teams have had high seeds in other seasons and were just having mediocre regular seasons before making a great runs in the tournament. George Mason had so much more to overcome.

Now, George Mason has proven their worthiness. All that is left is for them to stake their claim to greatness in Indianapolis in one week. You would be hard-pressed to come up with reasons why they won't. Cinderella isn't wearing a glass slipper anymore. Her's is green and gold.

Current Mood: ecstatic
Wednesday, March 1st, 2006
12:22 am
Conspiracy Theorists of the World UNTIE!....er... I mean UNITE!
Well, it would appear that my comments last night about "5-25-77" seemed to have generated a greater response in a shorter period of time than even I could expect. One quick perusal of the comments laid at the foot of my journal entry would make it appear that the actual writer/director of "5-25-77", Patrick Read Johnson (a REAL director who was behind such films as "Space Invaders" and "Angus"), actually managed to discover and read my naysaying entry. Then he took me to task because, I'm certain, he "found my lack of faith disturbing".

In these replies, I was invited to provide any additional 'conspiracy theories' I may have. Well, here's a good one: I don't think those comments were posted by Patrick Read Johnson at all. I think one of my LJ buddies (or one of their buddies) is having a good laugh right now after getting my goat. As with any consipiracy theories, none are worth speaking of unless you have facts to back it up:

FACT: I wrote my entry at 2 am. There responses alleged to be credited to Patrick Read Johnson appeared less than 8 hours later. The relevance will be come clearer with my subsequent evidence:

FACT: You can Google or Yahoo "5-25-77"; "5-25-77 fact"; "5-25-77 fraud"; or "5-25-77 fact or fraud" and not be able to come up with my Livejournal or that specific entry. That would make it pretty hard to believe that anyone not on my LJ Buddy, let alone this film's creator, would be able to find this in less than 8 hours (much of that time occurring during sleeping hours).

FACT: I do not belong to any Livejournal communities or interests at all. Thus, the chances of someone 'stumbling' upon my entry who actually knows PRJ is pretty remote. [This also ties into to how unlikely this could be responded to in less than 8 hours]

FACT: Unless there is anyone among my LJ buddy list that has stronger connections to Hollywood than I know about (and I think I know these people pretty well), my doubt continues to grow.

FINAL FACT: Why on Earth would a film director, even one of a movie does not appear is ever going to happen, give a crap about about the piss-ant opinion of a blogger (OMG!!! That is the first time I ever used "BLOG" in it's intended form. See what you made me do PRJ!!!)

Addendum to the Conspiracy Theory: I still have no reason to be "5-25-77" is a real movie.


Well, whoever it was, you played your part really well. Will the Real PRJ Please Stand Up! When whoever pulled the little stunt reveals themself, I've got a bottle of Red Label with your name on it.

CHEERS!

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, February 28th, 2006
2:06 am
5-25-77: Fact or Fraud?
I'd like to try out your opinions about this. The link listed below:

http://imdb.com/title/tt0326716/

is a listing for a movie on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) called "5-25-77" which ostensibly is about one sci-fi fan boy's quest to see "Star Wars" on opening night (which was, shocking, May 25th, 1977).

However, this listing says the movie will be released in 2006. Yet, I have seen this listing on the IMDB since "Attack of Clones" came out in 2002, and each successive year, it says this is the year it will be released. This sounds like it could be an enjoyable movie that just happens to be beset by a slew of production problems. However, a closer look reveals, to me at least, that this is actually a hoax. Take a look:

-.) Except for some relatively big names, like Christopher Lloyd, the cast is basically unknowns, most with no other credits except this film. Yet, the cast is ever-changing. This alone is not enough to convict, but let me continue.

-.) Take a look at the official site for this movie. While it has improved slightly in the four+ years (don't be fooled by alleged 2004 publish date) it's been up, it is nothing more than a collection of shots that could be garnered from stock footage, film production class, and basic computer animation. You will also notice it is shockingly lacking of any substantive information at all.

-.) The supposed legitimate links supporting this movie under the miscellaneous link just lead the film websites that will post any and everything that gets submitted about possible movies. Yet, these sites only have the bare bones about this movie that can be determine from its main page on the IMDB.

-.) Finally, just review the message boards on the IMDB for this movie. 10 pages worth of discussion threads would make this seem like a real buzzworthy movie that Star Wars fans would be real excited about. However, the tone and substance of all the threads reveal these discussions to be nothing more than a veiled attempt by personal friends and acquaintances of the this listing's creator (who I even doubt would be Patrick Read Johnson). The threads are full of personal references and conversations that friends would have with each other; it is full of unverifiable screenings of this film; it has unsubstantiated production 'updates'; AND it apparently has been shown and received awards at film festivals that are too small and too obscure to be authenticated.


This whole setup harkens back to 1944, when the Allied Army created a wholly fictional army group commanded by General Patton to trick the Germans in to thinking the invasion of Europe was happening in Calais, France instead of Normandy. It made sense when the Allies used smoke and mirrors. I don't quite understand why it's being done with this film. [YES!, The Analogy is extreme, but it makes my point].

It is my firm opinion that this movie is a fraud and will never come into existence. Eventually, someone will tip off the IMDB or the webmasters of the IMDB will tire of it being there and remove it from their pages.

I'm quite curious to know your opinions.
Saturday, February 4th, 2006
2:32 pm
The Shameful Art Monk Hall of Fame Travesty continues for the 6 straight year
It Happens Again!!
Super Bowl Saturday recently has guaranteed two things, frantic preparation for the game and party the next day, and the annual disappointment of Redskins wide receiver Art Monk failing to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For the sixth straight year, Art Monk's election, a seeming forgone conclusion when he retired in 1995, has failed to come to pass. This year the electees are Troy Aikman, Reggie White, John Madden, Harry Carson, Warren Moon, and Rayfield Wright. Aikman and White were never in doubt (although, I suspect if Aikman has played in Washington, he wouldn't get nearly the same love that the NFL media throws towards Dallas). It's hard to argue against John Madden, either, whose enormous success in 10 years as the Raiders coach has been overlooked by his more than quarter century of broadcast work. Harry Carson is probably long overdue. He had only two more chances left, and has already been left so embittered by the voting process that he didn't even want to be considered this year. I have no idea why Rayfield Wright was elected, but he just seems to be part of the electors policy to put one old-time player each year even though they are not required to. Warren Moon getting in on the first ballot is a joke. He was a fine quarterback who had some very good, some may even consider great, seasons. But, he was also the beneficiary of an offense designed to inflate statistics and his teams never accomplished anything of note in his time as quarterback, except for a string of infamous playoff collapses. I do think that Moon should have eventually been elected, but not before some other much more deserving candidates, such as Art Monk!!

Monk in comparison to other Wide Receivers in the HOF
I still am flabbergasted at how a player who held the single season, career, and consecutive games records for receptions can continually fail to be inducted in the fraternity of the game's greatest players. No one is claiming that Art Monk is THE BEST to ever play, certainly Jerry Rice has that category all to himself. But, among the receivers already in the Hall of Fame, Art Monk's accomplishments equal or superior to those currently enshrined. Yet, it seems to be that because Monk played for a team in a city that the biased NFL media is predisposed to marginalize, and because he was not a showboat, it seems as those the HOF electors think his accomplishments were lesser than other players.

NFL Media consistently overlooking the Washington Redskin
Monk is just the poster child for the oversight that the entire Washington franchise, a team that, in the 80's and early 90's, established a run that puts them in the Top 5 dynasties in NFL history. Yet, the only members of the franchise that went to four Super Bowls and won three that are currently in the Hall of Fame are coach Joe Gibbs and Super Bowl XVII MVP John Riggins. The Packers of the 60's of the sixties have 10 members enshrined. The 70's Steelers have 12. The Colt's of the 50's and 60's have 10. The Cowboys of the 70's have 11. So, how is the Redskins only have TWO!!!? Art Monk should have been in long ago. How can that legendary offensive line, "The Hogs", not have any representatives. Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby should both have long since been enshrined. What about that defense that was a terror in the NFL for a decade, but overshadowed by the flashier Bears and Giants? Darrell Green is probably the only defensive player who will get elected when he's eligible. Although, his automatic candidacy is in doubt given how Art Monk has been stonewalled. For crying out loud, with Moon's election, the sorry, no-account, profoundly underachieving Houston Oilers have as many Hall of Fame members as the three-time World Champions from D.C.!!!

Peter King
It may be a tired old refrain, but once again, I hold Sport Illustrated's Peter King responsible for crushing Art Monk's Hall of Fame chances year after year. While King has been less vocal in his opposition to Monk in his columns this year, he has already established the conditions for Monk not getting in with his disgraceful column 4 years ago where King made an impassioned argument of Monk only belonging in the Hall of Very Good. He followed it up last year, after being taking to task by ESPN's Sean Salisbury on this matter, with an embarrassing column where he actually used the stats of modern players as a way to downplay Monk's accomplishments. See his column below:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/peter_king/01/17/mmqb.divisional/

The game has changed so much since Monk was in his prime. Offensive receiving numbers are enormously inflated in the past dozen seasons. Comparing Monk's receiving numbers in the 80's to the numbers of current receivers is akin to comparing Reggie Jackson's homerun totals to that of players who have thrived in the juiced-ball, juiced-ballpark, juiced-player era. It's an apples and oranges comparison.

Peter King plays innocent and claims that he is just one voter and he cannot influence how others vote. That's a complete falsehood. He is the senior NFL writer at Sports Illustrated, which would essentially make him the most knowledgeable journalist when it comes to the NFL. That position, in itself, can hold sway over other voters who may be undecided. He is also one of three New York writers who have votes, imposing the heavy anti-Washington bias that New York writers employ. This is more than enough to regularly undermine Art Monk's candidacy. For Peter King to claim that he is merely one vote in the Hall of Fame is(was) like Tom DeLay saying that all is in one vote in the House of Representatives.

Michael Irvin vs. Art Monk
Ironically, Peter King has come saying he will always vote for Dallas Cowboys' Michael Irvin for the Hall of Fame every year until Irvin's elected or King no longer has a vote. Yet, King will never vote for Monk. Irvin was the beneficiary of the inflated numbers era and played for a media darling team in Dallas. He was also very vocal and controversial, which always attracted attention (giving credence to the maxim that there is no such thing as 'bad publicity'). Irvin's career is inferior to Monk's. Interestingly enough, Irvin's career and season numbers are much closer to Gary Clark's, another Redskins receiver from that era who has never gotten a whiff of the Hall of Fame. Clark has no prayer of ever being elected despite being an identical player to Irvin, yet King and many other's are committed to getting Irvin in. Monk is still waiting.

I vent and rant each year and will continue to do so until Monk is finally enshrined in the Hall of Fame. So, look forward to many more years of this. Art Monk not being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a disgrace and one that needs to be rectified. Revoking Peter King's HOF voting privileges would be a good start.

Thank you.




Post-Script to the rant
The Cowboy's Emmitt Smith recently ranted about Michael Irvin being overlooked for the Hall of Fame because of his off-the-field problems:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/football/nfl/02/03/hof.advance.ap/index.html

This is ridiculous. Smith's rant took place before this year's voting. So, at the time, Irvin had only been passed over once. Secondly, off the field problems do not prevent a player from being inducted. Few had more off the field problems than Lawrence Taylor, but he was elected on the first ballot in 1999. Irvin hasn't been elected yet because he's not the great receiver people make him out to be. He will eventually get it, but it should not be before many other much more deserving candidates... LIKE ART MONK!!!!!

Current Mood: angry
Tuesday, January 24th, 2006
9:20 am
Tired of the same Super Bowl Cliche
I gotta tell ya, I'm really getting worn out by the same tired cliche that keeps getting brought out at Super Bowl time by hack columnists with a Madison Avenue mentality who are completely incapable of coming up with an original thought. Of course, that cliche is, "This Super Bowl should be called a Super Bore". Why? Because the teams in it are Pittsburgh and Seattle, squads that don't have a tremendous national fan following. So, we must ABSOLUTELY get on the bandwagon and condemn this game because HELL! there is no way this could be a remotely interesting championship with two teams so lacking in Q rating. Here's the latest column to make that claim:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/quickie?date=060123 [look on the left hand side]

This is ridiculous! The whole idea that the Super Bowl is an overhyped dud may have been true throughout the 80's to the mid-90's when the NFC was destroying the AFC every January, but starting with Super Bowl 30 (yeah, it's XXX) the games have been damn good. Of the 10 Super Bowls to transpire starting with 30, only 3 have been blowouts. The other 7 have been very close games where each team had a legitimate chance to win. Hell! 4 of those games rank among the Top 6 Greatest Super Bowls of All Time. So, the quality of the game is not the issue.

So, it must be a bore because the teams are 'exciting' and 'sexy'. Once again, this is idiotic. This is not the damn NBA, where the whole image has been built around a few marquee players and teams. The NBA has built itself so that if a player with mass appeal or a team (basically meaning the Lakers) with a lot of hype doesn't make it to the NBA Finals, nobody cares to watch it. Frequently the series is terrible, too. The NFL Product is so much better and has been designed and marketed for nationwide fan appeal. Pittsburgh and Seattle may not have large national followings, but then again, neither did New England before it started winning all those Super Bowls. The St. Louis-Tennessee Super Bowl had, outside of the Kurt Warner story, about as much commercial appeal as this one. Yet, it became aruably the greatest Super Bowl ever and is still talked about with wonder today.

Maybe this Super Bowl will be a 30-point or maybe it will come down to a last second field goal or go to overtime for the first time. Who knows? But, the bottom line is it will still be an entertaining event and quite likely a very good game. This type of shoddy journalism and poor commentary really needs to be reigned in. Editors should do a better a job of challenging their writers to come up with something new and original. Writers shouldn't embarrass themselves with the same BORING cliche writing. If I come across a writer that cloyingly says, "I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials", I'm really gonna show them what 'the five fingers said to the face'.
Thursday, January 19th, 2006
4:12 am
Stupid NHL Bias
Y'know, I think it's become quite clear this season that the media that covers the NHL has a major 'wet dream' bias where the Pittsburgh Penguins are concerned. It rivals any of the major media orgies found in others sports; such as the LA Lakers in the NBA, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, and the New York Yankees in Baseball. The hockey media's orgasmic attraction to Pittsburgh dates back to when Mario Lemieux was (or most times, though he was) the best thing ever to lace up the skates. Mario, combined with Jaromir "put me down for two dimes on the Final Four" Jagr, gave the media a good excuse to be lazy at their jobs and not focus on the other 20-30+ teams (depending on the year) teams in the league. It's become apparent that even with an entire season already lost, and with players and owners realizing they will have to change their habits and philosophies, the media is coasting the same as they did before.

So, what is it that is spurning this tirade? It's the hockey media's embarrassing campaign to crown Pittsburgh rookie, Sidney Crosby, as the savior of the NHL and the second coming of Wayne Gretzky. Listen, Crosby may very well be a good player and could potentially be one of the greats, but for crying out loud, unless he's already got 55 goals and 47 assists at this point in the season (Gretzy-like numbers, which as of this writing, with only has 22 goals and 29 assists, he's not even close to).

What's galling about this is that it is making almost all casual and some die-hard fans overlook the other standout rookies that are getting this league back on it's feet, most notably the Washington Capitals, Alexander Ovechkin. He WAS Sidney Crosby for the 2004-2005 season, but because there was no 2004-2005 season, he had to wait a year to begin his career. Outside of the D.C. area, Ovechkin's name is hardly ever mentioned. Is this because Crosby is over-shadowing him in perfomance? Nope, because Ovechkin has 32 goals and 26 assists, a full 7 points more than the 'golden child'. Oh, wait, maybe it's because Crosby's performance has lead Pittsburgh back to contender status while Mr. Ovechkin just racks up personal stats on a bottom feeder team. Hmmm... nope... that ain't it either. While Washington is at the bottom of the Southeast Division with 35 points, Pittsburgh is bringing up the rear of the Atlantic Division with 31 points. Now, my math skills aren't as sharp as they once were, but it would appear to me that Washington HAS A BETTER RECORD!!!!!!

I've observed this type of garbage year in and year out as a die hard fan of the NFL (and the Washington Redskins). The blatant bias that writers have towards the Giants or the Cowboys (or seemingly anyone who has ever worn a Steeler uniform) is embarrassing and seriously damaging to the credibility of these allegedly impartial writers (and trust me, you will see a rant about this in a little over two weeks when Hall of Fame voting comes up). But, this is really the first time I have noticed it this glaringly in the NHL. This is doing a disservice to everyone involved. It hurts Crosby because it creates expectations that may be to high live up to (Eric Lindros anyone?); It hurts Ovechkin because he's being criminally overlooked during a great first season in what could become a great career; It hurts the fans because they do not get a clear picture of what is really happening in the league; and, it hurts the media, because it compromises its credibility.

Unfortunately, the media will not change on its own. It's simply to sloth-like and ignorant to do so. However, with the power of the internet and the newfound influential power of weblogs like this one, true fans can start to right the ship that this myopic media steered badly off course. JOIN WITH ME!

I will be back in two weeks to make a similar entreaty about the NFL.

Thank you.

Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, January 10th, 2006
12:40 am
Love the Redskins!
Hey, they may not have much offense, but it was a hell of a win, nonetheless. Every moment we have coach Gibbs is a real treat. And now that we have Gregg Williams locked up a little while longer, it's even better. Plus, there's pretty good money on him taking over for Gibbs when Coach Joe decides he's no longer up for it.

Side Note: Freakin' great Wild Card party this past Saturday for the Redskins game. It really sucks that I can't get off work this week for the Seattle game. Well, I'm confident they'll beat Seattle and the only two games after that are on Sundays, when I don't have to work. Rock On!!

Current Mood: happy
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