Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My 'retirement'

In the past few weeks, there have been several points in time when I had something I had strong feelings about and thought I might opine in this space. Among them is my increasing frustration with Tom Crean and the manner in which he deals with the media (not mistreating media, but instead making stupid claims like Georgia is going to win over 20 games, making excuses for his players or whining about officiating) and, of course, Survivor.

It's just that every time I had a day off with time to spare, I never felt like blogging. I always feel like I'd rather read or watch TV, do something around the house or actually get out of the house. And that's when the kids aren't home. When they are, I wanna do things with them instead of blogging.

It makes sense. Writing is my day job. When I'm not working, why would I want to be essentially doing my job for free? Snee doesn't go home and cold call people to ask if they're interested in products he doesn't sell. At least I sure as hell hope he doesn't.

And in that vein, there isn't a circumstance I can envision where I 100% will need to get on here instead of either tweeting, posting on Facebook or emailing my friends. It's just gotten to the point in my life where I feel like this blog would be an unnecessary burden.

So we're packing up shop here for good.

As always, continue to check out my work -- and those of my outstanding colleagues C. Trent Rosecrans and Dayn Perry -- at our Eye on Baseball blog. We'll continue to churn out great Hall of Fame content the next few weeks.

Thank you to the very few of you who will actually care about this.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mouthin' Off: Enjoy your team, Lloyd Braun, pet peeves, more

It's the format dozens (if that) love. Time to dive in ...

- Jamaal Charles asks for Peyton Manning's autograph

So apparently Charles asked for Manning's autograph after the Chiefs lost to the Broncos and said autograph was for Charles' mom. This being the NFL and all, this topic had to dominate ESPN's airwaves while I was on the treadmill both Monday and Tuesday morning. And while this might seem like a situation where I'm bound to say something like "everyone settle down and get a life," I'm actually going to surprise you.

I think this is utterly ridiculous.

Jamaal Charles isn't a scrub. His team just lost. And after a loss he approaches a peer about a freaking autograph? Have some professional pride, even if it's for your mother. Get Peyton to do it in the offseason -- you can't tell me they have zero mutual acquaintances. Do something better than this.

And if you want to say something like "Peyton is an all-time great," OK, fine. Let me ask you this: What would you think of me if I went up to Peter Gammons next week and asked for his autograph? I love Gammons, but that would be embarrassing. And I'm on a scale a billion times lower than an NFL running back.

I also think it pretty well sums up how fans have a pre-determined mindset as to how they will react to situations based upon the player involved in a situation, because evidently there was a poll among Chiefs fans and the overwhelming majority were OK with Charles getting the autograph. Interesting. I wonder if it were Matt Cassel asking for the autograph? Hmmmm ...

- Please, just enjoy your team

After IU stomped UNC Tuesday night, I hopped on Twitter for a second. Now, those who know me well know how little I understand about fans who sit on Twitter and comment every few seconds about a game with their favorite team instead of just enjoying said team. Personally, I'd just rather enjoy my team without distraction. You'll never see me tweet my favorite team live unless it's halftime or a blowout (and probably not even then).

That being said, I have no problem with it. To each his own. During the MLB games I quite enjoy interacting with our loyal and polite fans about their favorite teams. I could even name several off the top of my head that I quite like. But that's not why I'm here right now.

The reason I hopped on to Twitter that night was to see the reaction of national CBB writers. Basically, I was pumped up and just wanted to see a Hoosiers drool-fest from non-biased parties. And I got it for the most part. What bothered me was that the timelines of CBSSports.com national CBB writers Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman were flooded with some loser IU fans attacking Parrish and Goodman for having the audacity to rank IU No. 2 after Duke in their Top 25 and 1. At the time, considering Duke's neutral court wins over Minnesota, Kentucky and Louisville, it was pretty hard to blame my colleagues. In fact, I'd still have no issue with anyone ranking Duke ahead of IU, especially after that comeback against Ohio State. But that's beside the point.

Here's the real point:

If you are watching your favorite team wax the floor with a highly-regarded (at least at the time) opponent and the best you can do is go onto Twitter to attack a national writer for his unbiased opinion (OPINION!!!), you probably are in serious need of some fresh air.

For the love of God, enjoy your team. Who cares what anyone else says if you are enjoying your team? Isn't that the point of being a fan? To enjoy when your favorite team is No. 1? Not try to pick fights and expose faux-biases? And, really, I can come full circle here. That's one of the many reasons I avoid Twitter while watching my favorite teams. Why bother with what anyone else thinks? Just watch the game and enjoy your team, right?

I know, I know. I'm asking too much.

- LOL UK fan overreacting

Link of the night right here. Notre Dame beat Kentucky in basketball. Notre Dame is pretty good, by the way, so it's not like Kentucky lost to Wofford. UK also has lost to No. 2 Duke this year. I present to you an outstanding thread topic from the Kentucky rivals site. Classic!

- Lloyd Braun is a real man!

Seinfeld junkies like myself have long loved the name Lloyd Braun. He was George Costanza's childhood nemesis and the cause of one of the most Larry David storylines of all-time (George claiming an involuntary spasm made his arm move to the side -- and refusing to let go of the lie even through a medical examination).

Anyway (this will match soon, just wait), commenter Snee (who also happens to be my brother), sent me this Grantland excerpt on LOST (from a book on recent, outstanding TV series that I'm gonna buy now after reading this) and something immediately caught my eye. The ABC exec who came up with the basic idea for LOST was named Lloyd Braun.

Obviously right away I emailed Snee dying laughing without even thinking about how it couldn't be a coincidence. And Snee aptly replied that the Seinfeld Braun character had to be named after this dude. So I went to google and, sure enough, real-life Braun was Larry David's entertainment lawyer during the Seinfeld years. Wow.

The more you know ...

- Pet Peeve: Quarterbacks ...

I blame this one on Colin Cowherd. He may not be solely responsible for it, but I never heard it so mainstreamed before he went nuts with it.

Have you ever heard someone say something like "Josh McCown beat Peyton Manning?"

Obviously I made that up, but it was to make a point. Yes, the best quarterbacks win a lot of games and, yes, the worst quarterbacks lose a lot of games, but the NFL is a team sport where it's offense vs. defense and special teams also factors in. I do believe the quarterback is the most important position in all of sports but that doesn't render his teammates obsolete like it's a game of one-on-one.

I bring this up because earlier this week I heard that "Colin Kaepernick beat Drew Brees."

Um, no. The 49ers beat the Saints. Kaepernick generated two touchdowns while Brees generated three. Of course, Brees threw a pick-six to the 49ers, but it wasn't to Kaepernick. A defensive player -- or two, or three, or four or ... ELEVEN -- had to make a play.

If you think Kaepernick outplayed Brees, that's fine. I didn't watch the game nor do I care one iota which QB played better. I care about which team won. It's a team sport.

Then again, Cowherd spent all of the 2010 season lecturing fans about how Aaron Rodgers wasn't a great quarterback because he'd never won a playoff game. You see, Rodgers' Packers lost 51-45 in the previous season's playoffs. Rodgers threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns. But he's not a good enough quarterback because ... he didn't play defense? The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, too, so I guess he magically transformed into great. I don't know what Cowherd says anymore because I stopped listening.

- Pet Peeve: Making a singular store name either possessive or plural

Why does this always happen with supermarkets, but somehow not Wal-Mart? It's not "Meijer's." It's Meijer. It's not "Kroger's." It's Kroger. It's not "Marsh's," it's Marsh. Where are all the idiots saying Wal-Mart's (or would it be Wals-Mart?)?

Regardless, it's horrible. Please cease and desist. 

- Pet Peeve: Messing up easy celeb names

Speaking of, last night at "Meijer's," I was in line to check out and had a non-attractive (it matters, just stay with me) girl behind me in line with her boyfriend/husband/male companion/whatever. As I'm putting my items on that conveyor belt thing, I get to hear her say basically every single female on the magazine shelves is ugly. This girl didn't like any of them at all. It was over and over, stuff like: "Do you think she's hot? Ugh, I hate her. She's not even good looking." A variety of stuff like that, non-stop. And then the dude actually, finally sticks up for one of them, "I actually think she's not that bad."

Non-attractive girl (and I'm being nice, trust me): "Jennifer Gardener?"

Yes, THIS GIRL is ugly. LOL.

Anyway, I was more annoyed with the butchering of the last name. I'd like to be able to sit here and say that if this girl only threw a "D" in there I'd be OK with it (Jennifer Gardner), but no, I wouldn't. This is elementary school stuff. The name is right there. "Garner." Sound it out. It's like when someone sees "Liam Neeson" and thinks he's part of the body that measures TV ratings.

This offense was even more egregious than those examples, though. This girl was saying it like the actress was actually outside tending to your tomato plants. We should all strive to be better than this.


I think that'll do for now. I'm guessing things will be slow here on this blog for a bit, as the Winter Meetings are next week (meaning you should be living HERE, as usual). But after that I'll be trying to hit this blog two to four times a week until spring training starts.

Have a good one and, please, park within the lines. If you don't succeed on your first try, fix it. It only takes an additional 15 seconds and it's pretty easy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Survivor thoughts for the week

I took a break for Thanksgiving, so I'll do my usual name-by-name breakdown and attempt to discuss the past two episodes. We'll obviously be heavy on this past episode, though.

Pete - I feel like he's a good game player and just ended up with the wrong alliance. Specifically, aligning himself with the loose cannon that was Abi-Maria did him in. They lost Lisa's vote because Abi-Maria has no self-awareness as to when she's treating someone like crap. Yes, Pete seemed rude at times, but I don't think it hurt him in the game as much as Abi hurt him. He also made a hell of a run at flipping things up before being voted out and was a class act in his exit.

Penner - Man, what an interesting dude. I'm past all the annoyances and dislike and respect the hell out of him. I think I could watch him play the game about two more times just because it's so intriguing on how he's going to respond to different situations. His approach to the conversation with Abi-Maria was vintage Penner. His downfall was himself. If someone wants to make a final four alliance with you when there are eight people left, you say yes. I don't care if you hate the other three and want them gone next, you say yes. When he was aggravated with Lisa (I'll get to her ... ) and said something like "You wanted empty promises?" By God, the answer is YES. Jonathan, man, it's your third season playing. Millions of people have never played and know that, YES, you damn well make empty promises when someone asks you to be in an alliance. Now, you don't pull a Zane and outwardly search to make an alliance with every person, but if you turn one down, that says to the offering player, "I'm against you," whether it's true or not. That was fatal error and he's a three-time Survivor. You gotta be better than that if you want to win, no matter a rookie or veteran. He knew it and admitted it, I just can't believe in his third time around he made the error.

Also, wasn't it a huge tactical error to yell out "Denise" when he was voting? I mean, it was funny and seems cool, but what if Skupin had turned and Malcolm sniffed it out? He could have given Denise his idol and buried Penner.

Malcolm - Still my boy. Climbing fast into top 10 favorite players ever territory. He still has some navigating to do, but doesn't this feel like his game to lose right now? Even Abi-Maria has no ill will toward him. In terms of the previews for next week, I think that was the production/editing crew trying to make us think his brother cost him something. Outside of telling people he's a billionaire (and Malcolm isn't rich), I'm not sure what his brother could possibly do with words to hurt him. I think something happens, people's jaws drop, Malcolm expresses concern to the camera and then it is forgotten.

Abi-Maria - I'm so annoyed she's still around but I don't think she can exploit the situation any further. Since we know Lisa won't turn on Malcolm and Denise now -- meaning, if she didn't for Penner, she sure as hell won't for Abi -- there aren't really any options. Even if Abi convinced Skupin to turn on Lisa (fat chance), it's still three on three in the vote. Abi is buried and surviving one vote doesn't change that.

Skupin - Here's what is so interesting about this game. If Skupin found a way to get Lisa to turn on Malcolm and Denise and could sit in the finals against Abi-Maria and Lisa, he should win it. Then again, Skupin would have pissed off almost the entire jury in the process and might get screwed over and have an unworthy contestant beat him out (yes, I believe both Lisa and Abi would be unworthy winners). It happens. Sandra beat Russell and Parvati in a horrible vote in Heroes vs. Villains and that was with returning players. There are plenty more examples where that came from, too.

Denise - Like Malcolm, I'm still a huge fan of hers. Hopefully these two find a way to get to the finals. Also, how great is her "shrug" face after giving a matter-of-fact answer to Probst? It's like a shoulder shrug but with her face.

Lisa - She's a good person at heart so it's difficult to go after her much, but I'm very annoyed watching how this transpires and I can see why people like Jeff Kent get so bitter after being voted out sometimes. This is probably way off base, but I feel like Lisa going and telling Penner about the four-person alliance because she feels guilty is against the spirit of the game. If she were posing as a mole to gather information the entire time, I'd love it. But just doing things and then whining and crying later about how you aren't cut out for the game -- and yet refusing to change your vote -- is just amazingly annoying. I wish she would have just quit and let Penner move forward. To reiterate, she's a very nice person. But if you aren't cut out for the game, quit whining about it and just leave. Let the real players play the game.

Carter - He hasn't made a strategic decision without either Kent or Penner the entire game, as far as us TV viewers can tell. He could probably try some maneuvering with the votes and make some noise, but the best bet is he pulls a Terry (remember him from Exile Island?) or Ozzy and only tries to just win immunity every week. Unfortunately, I don't think you can win the game this way. Even the winners who were studs in challenges made strategic decisions, too.

Prediction for next week: Lisa whines about how much she hates the game but still gets by. Abi-Maria continues to believe that everyone else is just mean and she's only "honest," which is such a cop-out by people who treat others like crap. Carter does absolutely nothing to try and advance his place in the game, strategically, instead content to just move on to the final five without any allies. Abi-Maria goes home.

Prediction for rest of season: The Skupin-Malcolm-Denise-Lisa foursome makes the final four with ease. From there, the winner of the final challenge is paramount. If Malcolm or Denise wins, Skupin goes home and Malcolm wins the game with Denise coming in second. If Skupin wins the challenge, he goes with Denise and Lisa to the finals and wins a close vote over Denise. Lisa won't win the challenge, so no need to predict that.

I'll go with Malcolm coming through and winning.

My guess as to how good a chance each player has to win, in order:

1. Malcolm
2. Skupin
3. Denise
4. Carter
5. Lisa
6. Abi-Maria

I still believe Abi-Maria has zero chance to win. I can't figure a scenario where Lisa wins either, actually, but I think it's possible. Hard to see how Carter can win without some strategy, but it's certainly possible. I'm not sure Denise could beat Malcolm or Skupin and she won't get to the final three without at least one of them, so it's hard to see her winning. Again, though, it's definitely possible.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mouthin' Off: Movies, Jerk coaches, football, Santo

Bringing back my old "Mouthin' Off" format, which stemmed from my old blog being call "The Loud Mouth of Show." Basically, it's a mish-mash of items that aren't really worth a stand-alone blog.

- My reaction to this letter from former Minnesota wideout A.J. Barker? 

A college sports coach is a jerk? The hell you say! And, seriously, what's egregious in there? He got cussed at. His coach basically called him a sissy for being hurt. He doesn't have a scholarship and his coach screamed he'd never earn one. How is that "abuse?" Nothing physical happened. There wasn't excessive punishment like making him run until he collapsed from exhaustion. Kill is a probably a grade-A prick, sure, but I can't imagine getting screamed at like this is anything that opposing players will look at and gasp. In fact, I'm guessing the reaction of most current and former collegiate athletes is a collective yawn. I've heard much worse directed at yours truly and it barely caused me to bat an eye and I bet there are thousands of others who can say the same.

Now, I'm not saying any of this is right, I'm just saying that this is pretty run-of-the-mill and it's causing a mild stir. 

- Gronkowski injury

Considering the risk of injury on every single play of a football game, I generally think NFL teams leave in stars far too long during blowouts. A few times this season I've lamented Jay Cutler still being in during the fourth quarter of a Bears blowout (and no, I don't think he's necessarily a star, but we saw the difference he makes last season after he was injured).

Rob Gronkowski breaking his arm should have never happened. You can defend him still being in by saying it was an extra point and injuries rarely happen on those (as Peter King said) or note the Colts still had in their starters (as my boy Will Brinson said), but both of those arguments are beside the point for me. Protect your investments when the game is in hand. No Pro Bowlers or starting quarterbacks should have still been in the game at that point. It was a five-touchdown  margin with four minutes to play.

Also, I would never, ever whine about "running up the score," because this isn't high school or even a major college program against an FCS foe. There's a professional defense opposing the offense. If you are getting embarrassed, buckle down and make a stop.

But the injury risks are very real and when a jerk of a head coach still has in every single starter and his star tight end breaks his arm with 3:55 left in a 59-24 victory, of course everyone is going to say things like "karma" regarding Bill Belichick. Frankly, on some level, it serves him right.

- Brilliant acting

Within the past week and a half, I've seen a murderer's row of acting performances in one-word movies. As previously mentioned in this space, Denzel Washington was brilliant in "Flight." The movie, however, was the third-best I saw -- not that it's a huge knock in saying so.

"Argo" was one of the best dramas I've seen in some time and might be a top-10 all-time movie for me. Note that I separate out comedies in saying so, because it just doesn't feel like apples vs. apples. Ben Affleck was outstanding, though probably third-best lead actor of the three movies I saw.

"Lincoln" was awesome, but not as good as Argo. But Daniel-Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, good lord. We don't have a context for which to judge the performance as authentic, considering there aren't video or audio recordings of our greatest president, but you actually believe you are watching the real Lincoln for every minute of that movie. I was in awe.

I didn't even realize it, but he's only been in five movies since 1997. He's easily going to have his third best actor nomination from those five, and I'm guessing he'll add a second win.

I actually firmly believe all three of these actors will be nominated for best actor and that at least two (Argo and Lincoln) will be nominated for best picture. Judging from all the reviews I've seen, I'll be surprised if Argo doesn't win. Affleck probably has a shot at best director, too.

And though I'm not even close to a movie reviewer, I couldn't possibly give a higher recommendation to Argo. Incredible movie.

- On Jerry Maguire

Wait, what? Yeah, in the offseason there are a lot of times I have a movie on my TV while I'm working. Sports talk shows on TV make me want to kill someone and I have a good amount of movie channels. So I usually put it on a movie I like but have seen before. Thus, when I'm actually working hard on something, it doesn't matter that I miss something. I can look up and pay attention if it's slow, but I don't need to.

Anyway, Jerry Maguire was on this week at one point and I had a thought. I get why they were trying to establish how much Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) loves his wife, but the excessive lovey-dovey PDA was just pitiful. If that were real life, it would be completely embarrassing. It was like Seinfeld in the Soup Nazi episode with "Schmoopy." In fact, if any of my friends did that he would be mocked for the rest of his life.

Not that it matters, but if I ever do anything like that in public, please punch me in the gut. If Mrs. Show doesn't beat you to it.

- Fun with actors

While Ransom was on during the week (same scenario as Maguire), I found myself chuckling at the cast of actors playing the villains. Like if we could switch characters out of who the actor has played (or is in real life), how scary would they actually be?

The bad guys could have been Lt. Dan, a New Kid on the Block, the dude who marries Charlotte (the second time) in Sex and the City, a woman who must weigh about 105 pounds and whatever godforsaken character Liev Schreiber has sucked at playing.

Even if Lt. Dan was in his bad-ass version before the war claimed his legs, William Wallace would have his son back by lunch -- with all of the villains impaled.

- On a college football playoff

I'm starting to see more and more of the argument that a college football playoff would eliminate the fun of the regular season because of things like "that (Oregon or Kansas State) upset, that wouldn't have meant anything in a playoff format."

I'm not so sure. What if a playoff is limited to four teams. We're really gonna say those games wouldn't have mattered? What about eight teams? Both Kansas State and Oregon would now have their backs against a wall.

Plus, what about the jockeying for position to make the top 4 or 8 or 16? It's not like they are letting everyone in. It's still going to be a select, elite group where only a few losses would end the season for most teams.

And to those "the regular season is the playoff" people, you really need to shut up until every eligible team that is undefeated has a chance at the championship. You can't say the regular season is the playoff when it's possible for a team to go 13-0 and not have a shot at a championship. As long as that is possible, the argument is pretty trite and meaningless, much like Peter Gibbons' life once was.

- Ron Santo's plaque and OBP

Cubs fans, here is Ron Santo's far-too-long-overdue Hall of Fame plaque, via ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla.

It's pretty awesome to see, but after reading it, I was particularly annoyed with one part. Sure, the "grit and glue" part is kind of stupid, but it wasn't all that surprising. I am, of course, honing in on "batted .277." Coincidentally, this comes right after I made an impassioned argument for on-base percentage being a more mainstream stat than batting average.

My problem is that some fan could look at the "batted .277" part and go, "what? He only  hit .277? That's not a Hall of Famer." While in and of itself, that isn't a bad mark and obviously shouldn't disqualify someone from Hall contention, it's not exactly highlighting Santo's strengths at the plate, which were hitting for power and, yes, getting on base.

It's one of the reasons Santo didn't make the Hall for so long, actually, the adoration of batting average. Santo led the NL in walks four times and on-base percentage twice. He finished in the top five of OBP three times; the top 10 seven times. He only finished in the top 10 in average three times (7th, 9th and 10th, respectively). His .362 career on-base percentage is very solid and dwarfs Andre Dawson's .323 mark, to name one.

But the mainstream love for batting average lives on.

And on that note, I believe I'm done. Just remember, do not ever, under any circumstances, beg a public figure for a retweet. Man, I hate those.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Belated Survivor roundup

A few days late this time around, as the MLB BBWAA awards were revealed Monday through Thursday so I actually had a busy week.

Still, I was able to watch Survivor Wednesday and it was yet another awesome episode. There's now hope for the "good guys" to win over the "bad guys," but it's still going to be largely dependent on Lisa and Skupin. Anyway, let's get to it, in my usual format.

Artis: I have to say, in the past few weeks he's grown on me a bit, and his exit speech was very classy. I always have the utmost respect for people who get blindsided -- especially so late in the game -- and still go out on a note like that. Kudos to Artis. I'm also starting to think that of the three people I said I hated a few weeks back that I really only actually hate one of them.

Malcolm: My boy! Masterful of him to not go off on Lisa and instead tell her everything was OK. I don't think he's made a major mistake to this point.

Abi-Maria: Her lack of self-awareness just astounds me. The exchange at tribal council between Lisa, Abi-Maria and Jeff Probst couldn't have been a better illustration of why I dislike Abi. She actually, seriously believes that she was being nice to Lisa. Note to Abi-Maria: When you are berating someone and she says "can I just say one thing" and you keep yelling over her and then conclude with, "but I guess I know what you're saying," without having ever actually listened to what she wanted to say, you might be the world's worst listener. And on top of that, you are playing a game where social alliances matter. What an utter embarrassment.

Penner: Alright, I'm all in. I love him. That discussion with Lisa toward the beginning of the episode was masterful. Not only was Penner being completely sincere in cutting to Lisa's core, but he was also gaining points in the game of Survivor. Against many odds, he may damn well win this thing.

Skupin: Great job on the flip vote, but now I'm interested to see what his plan is for next week. It seems like he's ready to get with Lisa back on Pete and Abi's side. In all honesty -- as much as I'd rather see the other side advance -- this is probably the best game move for Mike. He can beat Abi-Maria and Lisa rather handily in a vote. He'd just have to find a way to get Pete out. Also, how perfect was it that Abi-Maria basically threw a coconut against a tree and it ricocheted off Skupin's head? And he said he wasn't going to die when she asked if he was OK! So we have:

1. Abi-Maria's incompetence at life
2. Skupin's knack for always getting injured/hurt
3. Abi-Maria's lack of remorse for anything
4. Skupin making fun of himself, kind of, for the injury issue

Denise: Still a badass, still one of my favorites. Her idea for Artis as the target was the correct rationale, given the status of Abi's idol. Also, how hilarious is this? It was a ridiculously stupid game play for Abi to reveal she had an immunity idol. She basically did it to show off and gain attention. And yet, it's probably the reason she did not get voted out this week. I guess stupidity pays sometimes. Back to Denise, though. She's one of the toughest women to ever play this game and I believe an intriguing personality to watch, too. I do fear that her and Malcolm becomes targets quite soon, due to being such a strong alliance and being so strong in individual challenges.

Lisa: I understand and empathize with her inner turmoil. As a writer on a much, much, MUCH lower scale than something she was exposed to, I get always trying to please everyone. It's hard to get out of that mindset and, frankly, I still haven't even come close. But I also wish she would have more respect for herself. Abi-Maria treats her like absolute garbage. Pete and Artis never treated her as more than a vote. Meanwhile, everyone on the other side -- especially Penner -- have been overly nice and accepting of her. Malcolm had a chance to go nuts on her, instead immediately forgave her. After she sold Malcolm out, Malcolm wasn't angry but Abi-Maria went off on her. And Lisa STILL voted with Abi-Maria. If Lisa is justifying this as a better game move, in that she has a better chance of winning by playing against Pete and Abi-Maria in the finals, I understand the move.  Unfortunately, I don't think that's what she's doing. I think she's just sticking with them because she feels like she has to out of loyalty. That's the mark of a terrible player. Sorry.

Carter: Feels like a classic fourth-place finisher, no? Maybe he surprises us, but I doubt it.

Pete: Like Artis, I feel like the last few weeks we've seen that Pete isn't as much a jerk as I believed. It seems like Abi-Maria is the only real villain and Pete only has slight villain tendencies (like the planted idol clue, which was actually brilliant). If he sheds her, I think I'd be OK with Pete continuing to advance. He is also a serious threat to win this game.


- Malcolm/Denise
- Abi-Maria/Pete
- Skupin/Lisa? They didn't vote together, but still seem close
- Penner/Carter? They kind of have to be, right?

Major power alliance? 

As of what we saw through the vote, it's Malcolm, Denise, Penner, Carter, Skupin. However, that appears to be changing already next week.

Prediction for next week: I have no freaking clue. If Skupin and Lisa went with Pete and Abi-Maria, it's a split vote, 4-4, and they go to either a fire-building challenge or draw rocks. I don't think anyone from Malcolm, Denise, Penner, Carter could be flipped and I don't think Pete or Lisa could feasibly be flipped to the benefit of Skupin, either, so I have no idea what's up his sleeve. I also don't think anyone wants to chance a fire-building challenge or rock-drawing tie-breaker, so the idols may come into play. My "go crazy" prediction is Penner gets screwed. My conservative prediction is Pete. The idols will matter, but there's no realistic way to predict what happens with those. 

Prediction for rest of season: This is where I'll take the opportunity to again note how awesome this season has been and will be. Predict a winner right now and feel confident about it ... GO! 

Not much luck, huh?

My heart says Malcolm (with Denise as runner-up), but my head says they are screwed eventually as an obvious twosome threat. Unbelievably, I'm actually deciding between the two returning players. I'll go Skupin, though I'm not confident in the pick at all.

Does anyone left have zero chance to win? Yep, still Abi-Maria. I'm also starting to think Lisa will have a very tall order to win the game no matter what she does the rest of the way. The people she's trying to stay loyal to don't like her, don't respect her and also think she's cost them votes. The people she's against won't like the fact that she is so reluctant to turn on people who treat her like crap.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12: The best day on the calendar

In the matter of a few minutes this afternoon I came to the realization that November 12 is my new favorite day of the year.

First of all, it's the day that lightning struck the Hill Valley clocktower back in 1955. Not only that, but it was also the day that old Biff chose to go back and give young Biff Grey's Sports Almanac in addition to being the night of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, when George and Lorraine McFly fall in love -- after George punches out Biff. So it's clearly a pivotal date in history.

But I also realized that the real life Moonlight Graham was born on November 12, 1877, a mere 78 years before the clock tower gets struck! Check out my Eye on Baseball post on Moonlight.

Anyway, that's all I've got for today. Clearly I'm gonna have to celebrate both the clock tower anniversary and the birth of Moonlight.

Note: If you think I actually think Back to the Future is real, get a life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Is 'Gimme Shelter' best movie trailer song ever?

The day after Election Day, I knew social media was going to be insufferable no matter who won, so I scheduled myself for an off-day and went to a movie while the kids were at school. I chose "Flight." Here's the trailer:

Saying much about the movie would be a quasi-spoiler, so I won't do that there. Plus, I'm not a movie critic. So I'll just say it was very good but not incredible (the imdb.com rating of 7.7 feels about right). Denzel was incredible, though. More than anything, though, I think I was more excited after watching the trailer than the movie.

It got me thinking: Is there a song better suited to make someone excited about seeing a movie than "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones?

Check this:

And this:

I started trying to think if there was a song out there better suited to get people excited to see a movie in less than three minutes like that. I thought about "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix (and since I'm white, I can only listen to Jimi, I can't hear him), but that seems more like a song that's awesome during the movie, not necessarily in the trailer. And, actually, after watching the trailer for The Departed, "Shipping up to Boston" is pretty awesome, though it has to be limited to films set in Boston. Otherwise I've got nothing.

I'll go with YES, Gimme Shelter is the best movie trailer song ever. 

So if you want me to spend my money on your movie, set the trailer to Gimme Shelter. It's a sure bet to suck me in, no matter the subject of the movie.