b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

News: Michael Moore Isn't the Only America-Hater 

It's a few days old, but I loved this post at Ace of Spades about my [sarcasm]favorite[/sarcasm] former professor, Robert Jensen.

Ol' Bob makes me proud to be a Longhorn, folks.


News: A True Hero 

Ollie North's latest column focuses (the last half anyway) on the story of Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a United States Marine in Iraq.

I had not heard of Sgt. Peralta before North's piece. After reading it, I, along with North, wonder why I haven't. It's a tragic tale of heroism not usually seen outside of a motion picture dramatization.

I urge you to go read it right now, and afterward, to say a prayer for Peralta, his brothers-in-arms, and his family.


Monday, December 20, 2004

Personal: I Officially Feel Old Today 

From today's e-mail:

From: (names deleted)
Subject: THS 10 Year Reunion!
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 16:49:38 -0600

Hi Everyone!

(Name deleted) and I are planning our 10 year reunion! We are going to have a picnic for everyone and their kids on the morning of Saturday, May 7, and a party for the adults that evening. I am hoping to reach as many people as possible via email. Please forward this to everyone you keep in touch with from our class and copy me (e-mail deleted) on the emails so that I can compile a list of the addresses. I will update everyone in about a month with more details. Thanks so much for your help and hope to see you all very soon!


(name deleted)
Ten years already?

I can't possibly go to this deal. Let's take a look at the most significant things I've done since high school:

Attend college- Yes, this sets me apart from a lot of my classmates, but is it meaningful?

Graduate college- Again... a dime a dozen.

Start a blog- Yay, I'm one of millions.

So I don't make a lot of money, I don't work in an exciting job, and I don't lead an even remotely interesting life, short of writing pedestrian movie reviews and the occasional witty blog entry about the Longhorns or my latest clash with annoying liberals.

Oh, and I'm not married, unlike, it seems, almost everyone else from my graduating class. Though that part doesn't bother me (most of them will be divorced and miserable by our 20th reunuion, I imagine), it means a serious lack of single girls to talk to, which when combined with a lack of high school friends that I still talk to, could result in extreme boredom. Not surprisingly, that sounds a lot like my actual high school days.

Yes, I'm seeing little reason to attend this picnic and party, short of getting piss-drunk and making a fool out of myself, which I can do just fine here in Austin with people that comprise my real base of friends.


Friday, December 17, 2004

Sports: Taking to the Airwaves 

I calld into a talk show yesterday for the third time ever. As I left work my radio was tuned to the local ESPN affiliate here and the hosts were discussing baseball and gambling, in part because of Vegas' desire to secure a major league team.

Their concerns for foul play led to a discussion on betting baseball games. So one yahoo says to the other, "I can't figure out these baseball lines. How do you gamble baseball?" Yahoo number two, in his dopiest voice, replies that it's too complicated, and no one knows how to do it. Of course they turn to the audience for help.

For whatever reason, I called in. Now it should say something about the popularity of your station that on a drive-time show, someone can call in and be on the air in less the 30 seconds, but that's what happened.

I explained that betting baseball isn't hard at all. You have two numbers -- each corresponds with the bet and the payout for the respective teams. Take, for example, the following line:

Houston 5.5 - 6.5 St. Louis
This line use a $5 bet/payout as the example (most Vegas lines use a $100 system), and in the newspaper it's usually explained as a $5 system. It means that if you bet the underdog (in this case Houston), you win $5.50 on a $5 bet. If you bet the favorite (St. Louis), you have to wager $6.50 to win $5.

The hosts contended that football gambling was much more popular than baseball gambling because point spreads are less confusing than money lines. I should point out that in Vegas, and I'm guessing on most online sports books, you can find casinos or sites that allow you to do spreads on baseball games as well as money lines on football.

Football gambling is more popular than baseball gambling because (a) football is more popular than baseball overall, and (b) NFL Sundays are an event -- you get the NFL Ticket or go to a sportsbar because you can kill an entire day watching ten or twelve games at the same time. Baseball staggers its schedule over 162 games and one day of games is no more of a big deal than any other.

Besides, there are plenty of people that bet baseball all the time. In a given season I wouldn't if NFL gambling and MLB gambling were roughly equal. Last time I was in Vegas I bet a few games, and matt and I even met one guy that said he makes his living betting baseball games. He had a bet down for $9G on a Red Sox-Braves game, which he won.

Long story short (too late, I know), but if this doesn't prove yet again how bad Austin sports radio is, then I don't know what it would take. I thought that 1300 The Zone's afternoon show was horrid, but at least Chad Hastings and Kevin Dunn don't rely on being ignorant to try and induce listeners to call in and hand-hold their way through simple concepts.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sports: f the Statesman 

My alma mater, the fightin' Temple Wildcats, are off to a 14-2 start in basketball this season, yet the AAS deems them unworthy of a spot in their weekly area poll.

Maybe Temple coach Bruce Etheridge should pull a Mack Brown and campaign.


Christmas: Keep On Dreaming? 

It's never snowed in Austin on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. And as far as I know, it's never snowed in my hometown of Temple on those days, either. So when Central Texans sing "White Chistmas" during the Holidays, they aren't lying about it being a dream.

Might dreams come true this year? At least one weather model shows a possibility of that, according to an article in Sunday's AAS.

"On Wednesday, interpreting the possible atmospheric dynamics across the United States coming together in the week before Christmas, the computer predicted that all of Texas west of Interstate 35, as well as the part of the state south of Interstate 10, would be under a 3- to 6-inch blanket of snow and sleet, with noontime temperatures on Dec. 24 only in the 20s from Houston to San Antonio."
That model is now a week old, and normally I'd dismiss it as a fluke. But the model has repeated that forecast at least once, if not a few times, since then. It's still unlikely, but so was Texas' chances of going to the Rose Bowl up until the day it happened.

Here's hoping for a Christmas miracle. For what it's worth, the current eight-day forecast shows a chance of rain and 61/42 on Dec. 22, so I'm not getting the coal and carrot ready just yet.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Christmas: Finding the Perfect Gift Vol. 1 

I'm seriously considering buying this for my dad.

Is that sad? And is it worse that I think I want one for myself?


Monday, December 13, 2004

Movie Review: Finding Neverland 

A century's worth of children have grown up hearing the tale about Peter Pan, the boy that unlike them, refused to grow up. Finding Neverland tells the story of J.M. Barrie, the man behind the boy, who like his most famous character, also shunned adulthood.

Johnny Depp plays the role of Barrie, delivering as fine a performance as I've seen from him. Depp brings life, not just to Barrie's work, but to Barrie himself. Who is this man that authored one of literature's most magical characters? Depp shows us.

Finding Neverland is the story behind the story, yes, but it's really the story behind the man. It's Barrie that dares us to dream. It's Barrie that unlocks our imagination. And it's Depp that unlocks the Peter Pan inside of Barrie.

Kate Winslet, as you might expect, helps a great deal. As Sylvia Llewellyn-Davies, she acts as Barrie's muse, along with her four children, and their willingness to submit to Barrie's imaginative encouragement helps set the stage for Neverland, both literally and figuratively.

It's a simple story, really. A chance encounter in the park leads Barrie to Sylvia and her boys. Before long he fills in a father-figure in their lives, yet he chooses to live vicariously through them, as his own life has drifted far from the care-free path he had envisioned. Feeding off of their youthful vigor he finds himself, so to speak, and with that a legend is born.

Yes, it's a simple story. A film needn't be complex, though, to be great. Depp and Winslet bring a level of emotion to Finding Neverland that, when combined with a surreal style of filmmaking that often folds fantasy into reality, results in an experience almost as magical as the exploits of Peter Pan himself. It will make you laugh and bring you to tears. Most importantly, it might just inspire you to dream.



Personal: A Cold Night in Texas 

The thermometer reads a crisp 39 degrees, which comes as a pleasant change of pace for this Texas boy. Now 39 might not be cold to some of you Yankees out there, but 99 ain't hot to me, so save your frosted breath.

Now there's a convenience factor to 80-degree temps in December, but it just feels wrong wearing shots and flip flops two weeks before Christmas. Besides, cold weather means that I get to eat some of my favorite dishes.

Sitting atop my cold-weather favorites list is chili. I make some kick-ass chili. No, it doesn't have beans, because that's how we do it in Texas. Once you put beans into that pot, you're officially making a stew. That doesn't mean it doesn't taste good; it just means you're not eating chili.

ANyway, as I'm moving this week and much of my kitchenware has already made the trip to my new apartment, chili isn't an option tonight. It wouldn't actiually be an option no matter, as chili requires a minimum of three to four hours before it's properly cooked, and I'm not waiting til 10:00 to eat. No, I went for the next best thing: Frito Pie.

So I made the trip down to the HEB for the ingredients. Two minutes later I'm in the express line with five items on the conveyor:

1 can Wolf Brand Hot chili (no beans)
1 jar Pace Picante Sauce
1 bag Frito-Lay fritos
2 two-liters Mountain Dew
Rule No. 1 with Frito Pie: don't skimp on the ingredients. You don't really save money and generic fritos taste like crap, as does Hormel chili. Pace picante sauce actually kind of sucks, but as long as you're using it as a condiment and not a dip you're good.

SO I'm in line and waiting to check out when the guy in front of me notices my items.

Man: Yo man, now that's a meal right there.
Me: Hell yeah.
Man: That's a man's meal, brotha. That's how you do it.
Me Hell yeah.
Man: You got everything you need right there.
Me: Hell yeah. It's perfect with the cold weather.
Man: Now that's what I was about to say. That's a cold weather meal.
A cold-weather meal indeed. My man in front of me in line knew. That wasn't all he knew. "You don't need to cuddle with anyone after that meal," he told me. "In fact, you probably don't want to." Like the chili, thatisn't really an option either, but thanks for bringing it up, bro. Between that and the Heineken quart (I mean c'mon... just because it's cold doesn't mean we have to drink Yankee beer) he was purchasing, his approval of my cold-weather meal loses a few points.

No matter, because I don't need approval. All I need is some tasty Frito Pie and a microwave to heat it in. Open the patio door to let some of that crisp fresh air in and set the TV to the Titans-Chiefs game, and it's the kind of relaxing night I need. Cold weather, football and Frito Pie... all I need now is 17 fantasy points from Drew Bennett and tonight will be perfect.


Football: Roy Williams Wouldn't Complain 

Yesterday's horrifying loss to New Orleans signaled the unofficial official end to the Dallas Cowboys' underwhelming 2004 season. At 5-8, they have virtually no chance to make the playoffs, even in the pathetic NFC.

They'll likely finish with too poor of a record to advance to the postseason, but with too good of a record to garner a prime draft spot. Thus, 2004 will prove to be a wasted year by any account.

Aside from Julius Jones' promising run of late, Cowboys fans have seen little this year that gives hope for the franchise's immediate future. Even the prospect of having Bill Parcells at the helm does little to inspire confidence that this team will contend in the near future.

So what's the answer? Scott Chaffin has an idea: hire Bob Stoops.

"Therefore, let me be the first to get out of the gate on this one: fire Parcells so he and Vinnie can have plenty of quality time together, and hire Mr. Bob Stoops. As much as it pains me to admit Okie superiority at anything short of double-wide landscaping, the Boomer Sooners have been untouchable for a half-decade. I want that kind of football mind at the helm of my beloved hometown gridironers. Give Stoops the same leeway that Parcells enjoys today, and I'm convinced that we're in the Super Bowl in 5 years or less.

Crazy? Sure -- but Jerry Jones fired Tom Landry, the greatest football coach in the history of football. If you can fire Cowboy Tom and bring in that fat-cheeked, nacho-eating, Heineken-drinking, boat-loving, Miami-living, hairspray-using, sooooie-pig Jimmy Johnson...well, Bob Stoops ain't no thing."
It's a helluvan idea, I admit. Stoops' mentor didn't fare so well in Washington, but maybe that was because the ol' ball coach didn't have his best assistant with him anymore.

Jerry Jones won a Super Bowl with one former OU coach, and at this point, it's not like there are too many Texas Longhorn fans left (save for myself and Matt) that still care enough about Dallas to be run off by yet another rival taking charge at Valley Ranch. Besides, getting Stoops out of Norman might just spark renewed interest in the Silver and Blue among Orangebloods.

You know, I think Chaffin has something here. Let's give the Tuna a pat on the back, a leather recliner and a year's supply of manziers, and get Reebok started on a whole new line of Blue Star visors.


Movie Review: Closer 

Closer is a strange film. It teases you from the outset, and just when it starts to draw you in, it pushes you away, only to beckon you back again.

Closer tells the story of four individuals, though there's no real story. The film both charms and alarms with an intriguing stew of attraction, ego, jealousy and deceit. Its characters lead intertwined lives, as they lead each other on in search of greener grass.

At its heart the film explores the depth of love as it relates to sexual attraction and truth. The truth, though, is not always easy to find, especially when you deal with four complex characters that intentionally blur it.

Closer is at times hard to watch. It's coarse language could make a sailor blush, and its raw sexuality will smack you in the face more than a few times, which is somewhat surprising given its lack of nudity (sorry fellas, you don't get to see Natalie Portman in her birthday suit).

With no significant plot to speak of, Closer relies on snappy banter to tell its story -- that and the characters' personalities. It's a mostly linear film, but the timeline is still skewed, because the story glosses over large chunks of time -- it's more of a series of vignettes than a fluid story. Sometimes that results in a disjointed viewing experience, but it seemed to work in this case. Because Closer preys on the characters' flaws, the negative aspects of their respective relationships (i.e., the parts that get shown), are infinitely more important than the "good times" that are omitted.

I assume that it will draw comparisons with both Garden State and Eternal Sunshine for the similarities among the three, in regard to love and relationships. I can see some of those bonds, but this is a wholy different film than either of those. In some ways it does "work" better, but it's not nearly as optimistic as they are. Closer is a bleak film with bleak characters, and whether or not you like it will probably depend on whether or not you like the players.

Portman radiates in her bleakness. You could describe her character as a more world-wary version of the wise-beyond-her-years girl that she portrayed in Beautiful Girls. She complements her whiny beau, played by Jude Law, who in turn complement his foil, both in personality and plot, portayed by Clive Owen, Julia Roberts' character completes the foursome, and is, in my opinion, the movie's one flaw. She's a wretched character, played by a wretched actress, with no feeling or depth whatsoever. In a character-driven film that's dependent on, wait for it, the characters, Closer suffers a bit. But the numbers don't lie: three our of four ain't bad.



Saturday, December 11, 2004

Austin: Know When to Fold'em 

Know when to walk away, and know when to RUN.

Austin poker players might want to keep that last line in mind. Last night a home game in North Austin saw armed men in masks bust in and make off with a significant amount of cash.

Among the victims were two friends of mine. Neither were seriously hurt, but one was kicked in the head while lying face down on the floor, and the other had a gun put to the back of his head.

The sad thing is that it's not an isolated incident. I know of at least one other armed robbery of a home poker game in recent weeks, and for all I know there could have been more.

ESPN execs obviously aren't the only people looking to capitalize on the poker boom. Gamblers here in the Capitol City might want to think twice about playing in elaborate home tournaments and poker clubs.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Sports: Setting the Sportswriter Straight 

Will Collier, over at VodkaPundit, perfectly articluates why I choose not to pursue a career as a sportswriter:

Got that? Quick translation: If you didn't waste four years of your life getting a journalism degree, and ten more covering junior-high track meets, you aren't worthy of having any say on an issue that you follow on a day-by-day basis--and you're certainly below the notice of any Very Important Sportswriter For A Mid-Market Newspaper.
I'd like to note that Collier's deliciously sarcastic lambasting also applies to small-market sportswriters. In fact, they might be even worse. Some of them anyway.


Politics: The Jewish Vote 

I don't normally pimp LST (I would hope you're reading it at least periodically anyway), but David Benzion's piece today on post-election therapy for Jewish Kerry supporters made me chortle just a bit, particularly with his visual aids.

I've never understood the connection between most Jews and the Left (i.e., the Democratic Party), since a significant portion of liberals seem ready to sell out Israel at a moment's notice. The GOP, on the other hand, maintains steadfast support for our Israeli brethren as they struggle for survival in the volatile Middle East.

Make sure you check out the links at the bottom.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Politics: Social Security 

I'm by no means an economist, or even a semi-expert when it comes to fiscal policy, but...

What is the problem with upping the retirement age by a year or three?

People are living longer. It's a fact. So how could it hurt to work an extra year or two? Sure most of us hate our jobs, but in the grand scheme of things, it's like tacking on an extra ten or fifteen minutes at the end of the work day.

I'm intrigued by the personal savings account idea, but let's face it -- this problem doesn't have an easy solution, and total privatization of Social Security likely isn't the single fix.

I bring this up because one of the networks aired a story about Social Security during their evening news tonight, and it caught my attention during a round of channel surfing. It seems as though a large percentage of people -- is it along partisan lines? -- refuse to accept any solution that raises the retirement age. I'd just like to know why?


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Longhorns: All I Want For Christmas... 

...is a monetary miracle.

A piece in today's AA-S will no doubt hit close to home with many Texas fans, like myself, that are still trying to figure out the least expensive way to get to Pasadena.

I imagine that our search is akin to MLB general managers, who hope to find the "least expensive" route to signing prized free agent Carlos Beltran.

"At the Austin Ticket Co., manager Andrew Hentrich said he expected to sell all his tickets for $225 to $550 each. Internet scalpers were asking as much as $1,100 a seat.

UT supporters lucky enough to land tickets to the New Year's Day bowl game face an equal challenge finding transportation and hotel rooms.

By Monday afternoon, several airlines were sold out or close to it for reasonably priced tickets.

Southwest Airlines had a few seats left for Dec. 31 travelers from Austin to Burbank, Calif., but no return seats until Jan. 3.

On other airlines, roundtrips started at about $477 for people willing to spend nearly eight hours, including layovers, to get to California and to take a two-stop red-eye back Jan. 2, according to orbitz.com.

A less grueling schedule on American Airlines, with flights leaving both days in the afternoon, was a stiff $1,776."
Yep, that's been my life for the past 36 hours. Well, than and laughing at all of the Texas haters nationwide that are still pissed off about the Horns making it to the Rose Bowl.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Blog: Bear With Me 

No pun intended, Cal fans.

As I scramble the next day or so to figure out the financial feasibility of spending New Year's Day in Pasadena, blogging will be light-to-non-existant.

Did I mention that the Horns ARE GOING TO THE ROSE BOWL!?!?!?


Sunday, December 05, 2004

Longhorns: Smelling Roses! 

Texas v. Michigan on New Year's Day in Pasadena.

Ah yeah.

Sorry, Cal fans. Your team deserves a BCS Bowl. But take out your frustration on Utah, not Texas.

Now let's see how I'm going to pay for this trip.


Friday, December 03, 2004

Random: Eight-Year-Olds, Dude... 

Nobody f's with the Jesus, except apparently the Lake County, IL, Sheriff's office.

When he gets out, he and Liam plan to f people up.

(link via Hornfans.com)


Football: Meyer to Florida 

Utah coach Urban Meyer will be the next head coach at Florida.

I'd link to the carnage over at the Utah message board, but they've shut it off to all non-registered viewing. Enjoy your bowl game next month, ladies. It'll be your last for... well let's be honest... for a long, long time.


Christmas: The Airing of Grievances Vol. 1 

Okay, this isn't technically Christmas-related. But since Festivus coincides with the holidays, I figured I'd use the header anyway.

Festivus, as many of you know, begins with the airing of grievances. And like Frank Costanza, I've got a lot of problems with you people!

My friends: Not all of you... just the 90% that never read my blog (and especially the 20% of those that think it's funny to ridicule it).

The guy that ran over our tent pole in the tailgating lot: Thanks, jackass. Now every tailgate set-up and dismantling is that much more of a hassle. But hey, you offered us a beer, so that makes up for it, right?

My roommate: yes, I think your Indian cooking is repugnant.

People that voted for Kerry: I laugh at all of you.

The Rest of the World: Kiss my conservative ass. I don't care how you do it in your country, or if you think America is a bully.

Jim Edmonds: If you're going to single-handedly beat keep the Astros out of the World Series, it'd be nice if you helped your team win at least a game while you're in it.

Bill O'Reilly: You run an entertaining show, and I agree with a lot of your views. But stop being so smug and acting like you're the conscience of America.

Dell: If I wanted to get strung along for six months, I'd target a girl, not a potential employer.

Austin American-Statesman: Your registration system sucks.

Austin Parks and Recreation softball umpires: Some of you should be ashamed of the blantant reverse discrimination that you practice.

1300 The Zone: Memo to Chad Hastings: your character shtick is not funny. The Scottish Guy is painful to listen to, and Strip Club DJ is just bad. And for the love of God, stop doing the Austin Powers-ish "Oh Yeah" every time you come back from commerical break.

Longhorn Hellraisers: Embarrassing.

Metrosexuals: Why must every bar downtown cater to this crowd of shiny-shirt cheeseballs?

More to come (possibly)...


INsite: The Pregame Tailgate (December 2004) 

(The December INsite hits stand this week.)

The Pregame Tailgate
By Andrew Fox

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time for my yearly Christmas list – no, not for me, of course. This list targets what I’d like to give to my favorite (and least favorite) sports personalities and entities.

The Texas Longhorns and Houston Astros: My sincerest appreciation. In a lifetime of following these two teams, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a given year where the ups outweighed the downs as much as they did in 2004. From dancing in the end zone after watching Texas beat Arkansas to dancing in my living room after Jeff Kent’s walk-off homer in Game Five of the NLCS, thanks for the memories!

Mack Brown: A poisoned banana. I’ve had my issues with Coach Brown in the past, but he stepped things up this season. Still, he has an OU monkey on his back that he just can’t shake. Perhaps a cyanide-laced Chiquita might do the trick.

Jeff Bagwell: A new shoulder. It pains me to watch Baggy play through his arthritic shoulder, though not nearly as much as it pains him. He intends to adjust his swing this offseason to lessen its affect, but then he still can’t throw twenty feet. Five-hundred homers isn’t the lock that is once was, but as long as Bags thinks he can play, I’m behind him.

Craig Biggio: A Fountain of Youth. Bidge might not be an everyday player in 2005, but he’s still King Astro to me, and I think he can duplicate the renewed vigor he showed last season. Here’s to one more year in the sun, Craig!

Andy Pettitte: Increased powers of persuasion. You brought us The Rocket last season. Think maybe you can convince him to stick around for one more run?

Baseball’s Hall of Fame: A Houston phone directory. You’ll need it in about six or seven years.

Cedric Benson and Derrick Johnson: Newly tailored suits. This dynamic burnt orange duo will need new duds for when they hear their name called early in April’s NFL Draft.

Utah: A Fiesta Bowl ass-kicking. It won’t come, of course, because the Utes will get to play some pathetic pretender like Pittsburgh or Syracuse, but if any team needs a rude introduction to big-time college football, it’s Utah.

Greg Davis: A promotion. Don’t want to fire someone? Move them out by moving them up. The strategy worked for Elaine Benes during her tenure at the helm of the J. Peterman catalogue. Special Assistant to the AD sounds like a winner.

Greg Robinson: Keys to the city of Austin. Seriously, take whatever you want. The Texas defense this season was infinitely better than it has been in recent years. You deserve whatever you want this Holiday season. A new car? Red McCombs has you covered. A new pad? Mack Brown’s wife Sally can handle it. Booze and women? I’m sure DeLoss Dodds still has Gary Barnett’s number on file.

LaMarcus Aldridge: GNC Weight Gainer 2200. As soon as Aldridge puts on twenty pounds, this guy may as well set up a cot in the lane at the Erwin Center, because he’s going to make it his home.

The NCAA: Congressional hearings. Isn’t it about time that someone came forward and investigated the level of corruption in this organization?

Detroit: A lifetime supply of O’Douls. You people obviously can’t hold your alcohol.

Anheuser-Busch and Miller: Increased advertising budgets. Just when Miller’s referee ad campaign had started to become stale, Budweiser started in with their spoof ads. Keep it going guys, so that America has a reason to watch the Super Bowl.

Dallas Cowboys fans: Patience. I get the feeling that things are going to get worse before they start to get better, but this team will eventually re-emerge among the NFL’s elite.

Terrell Owens: A scorching case of gonorrhea. Maybe that’s not harsh enough. Isn’t syphilis fatal?

Vince Young: Reinforced shoulder pads. It’s your team now, Vince. The weight of the Longhorn world is on your shoulders. Keep making us proud.

Texas Ranger fans: A top starting pitcher. Y’all had a fun team to watch this past season, and I’d love to see you get a real ace, just so I don’t have to hear the tired complaints from Rangers detractors.

David Carr: An apology. I scoffed when the Texans took the Fresno State signal-caller a few years ago, but I was wrong. Carr might not be the best QB in the NFL, but he’s one of the toughest. I like his fire and his poise, and I’d take on my team any day.

The INsite crew and all of the TPT Readers: A great big hug. I’m now entering year number five on the INsite staff, and I hope y’all enjoy reading the TPT as much as I enjoy writing it. God bless and have a Happy Holiday season!
Email TPT at drewfox@alumni.utexas.net


News: No GTA for Convicts? 

Prisoners at maximum-security centers in Missouri will no longer be allowed to play violent video games.

The Star reported Thursday the state's new maximum-security prison pulled dozens of violent Sony PlayStation 2 games from its recreation center on Wednesday, after officials were alerted to their content by a reporter. Inmates had been using them for months.

In fact, the prison's PlayStation offerings included one of the most violent games on the market, "Hitman: Contracts," in which players use everything from meat hooks to silencer-equipped pistols to carry out brutal contract killings.

In all, 35 of the facility's more than 80 games were removed. Others remain, including science fiction and sports games.
My initial reaction this story was to ask: why are inmates playing video games anyway? It turns out that the games were purchased from prisoner-created proceeds at the canteen, so at least the state isn't footing the bill. The more I think about it, though, I don't think I care where the games came from. Inmates don't deserve state-of-the-art entertainment. They don't deserve fun diversions that take their minds away from the heinous crimes that landed them in maximum-security lock-up.

Pump iron. Read books. Make license plates. Think about how you can make an actual contribution to society if and when you get released.

Besides, if prison officials think that merely removing the violent games will curb potential violent behavior, then they underestimate the affects of most sports titles. I recall many a heated situation arising over Madden Football back in college, and my friends and I weren't legitimately homicidal.

(Link via WorldMagBlog)


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Random: Here's an Idea 

Y'all know that I occasionally link to The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. I like his non-basketball stuff, even though some of the shtick is starting to show signs of aging. His TV column yesterday was pretty good, though I'm pissed off that his best stuff -- found deep in the ESPN.com archives -- is now only available to premium ESPN Insider members.

Anyway, I mention Simmons because yesterday I also ventured over to Tucker Max's site for the first time in ages, and I saw that he now has a blog. Most of it is the typical Tucker Max content, but way down the page I found this.

"In the pantheon of notable internet humor writers, there is me, Maddox, Mil Millington, Cliff Yablonski and a few others, but to be honest one stands above all of us in terms of notoriety and traffic, if for no other reason than he's on ESPN.com: The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons."
He then proceeds to rip Simmons a new one, mainly for being a "pussy." Truth be told, Tucker makes a few good points in his rant. But none are better than this idea:

"If he put up his own site, charged 1 or 2$ a month for membership, set it up like mine where he could still make just about everything free but members get stuff early and some other things, he would clear 50,000 - 100,000 A MONTH on subscriptions alone. I would even pay 2$ a month for his 3-4 pieces a week, and I'm not sure if I like him. There is such a paucity of good content on the internet, he could make a bundle. None of this even considers ads, which would bring him another 20-50,000 a month. AND with own site, he wouldn't have to censor himself about ESPN. His writing would increase in quality by like 2 fold."
Now that's a damn good idea. I'd fork over a few bucks a month to read unedited TSG columns -- maybe even the NBA ones. I understand that Simmons used to have his own site (interesting side story) and abandoned it to join ESPN, but he got his readership bump from the ESPN stage already. Honestly, staying with them can only hurt. Why be associated with Stuart Scott and Chris Berman, AND have to tone done your stuff? It's an idea that sounds viable to me. Go out on your own, Bill!

BTW, Tucker Max has pictures up from his trip to the Cal-Stanford game. In this snapshot, I swear it looks like a Cal fan is giving a "Hook'Em Horns" sign. I wonder if he'll do that if and when we pass them in the BCS this Saturday?


Christmas: The Most Wonderful Time of Year 

So I had a long post typed up about the holidays, and how excited I always get on December 1, when the holidays officially start. Then I deleted it. I often do that with things that I write, but decide that I don't like.

Anyway, in short, I love the holidays. I love Christmas music and Christmas movies, spending time with my friends and family, the candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and when people's faces light up at the sight of a perfect gift. Tonight I'll go home and lie on the couch with my headphones on, listening to carols and holiday songs on my laptop. Maybe I'll even pop in a DVD -- Christmas Vacation, perhaps.

It's Christmastime, folks. Enjoy it.


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