Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Going Back to Jersey in 12 days

HBO has teamed with Google Maps(it's the best; true that, double true) to give us a unique trip down memory lane. They're showing us via Google Maps what happened where on the last season of The Sopranos. This is useful for those who haven't kept up with the show since it had its year-plus hiatus. For someone like me, this is simply a cool little feature, since I've been following the repeats on HBO for weeks now.

Also, here's the promo poster for Season 6. Most of them have clues for the season, and this seems no different, with Dr. Melfi looking almost ghost-like, and only Tony and Bobby Bacala sitting down. From this and previews, it seems a power-play might come from within the family. Sunday March 12th, 2006!!!!

Governor Rendell says no to 'fixing' non-problem

In a turn of events, Governor Rendell had to veto a bill which would have taken a non-problem, such as the non-problem of people voting and not showing identification, and pre-emptively solved it. Thing is, solving a non-problem is as easy as not doing anything, but the state Republican legislature, led by Chip Brightbill, didn't seem to realize that. Instead, they wanted to make people produce ID, which many people can't easily produce. Also, there were smaller provisions which would have affected urban districts GREATLY, such as Philadelphia and even Reading. They would have eliminated polling places in businesses and homes, which are the only reasonable places that some can walk to in urban neighborhoods. It would have basically ensured that many Democratic voters couldn't get to the polls, and when the got there, couldn't even vote.

But maybe that was the point.


Monday, February 27, 2006

What you talkin' 'bout Stephen?

To Stephen A. Smith: What the hell are you talking about?!?! Learn to make some goddamn sense once in a while, or quit one of your 85 jobs. How about quitting all of them? This column is simply an unreadable mess, and the premise behind it completely misses the point. Mo's problem is not that he's a black coach that needed to instill some discipline, Mo's problem is he's a shitty coach with no clue on how to get a team to play defense, how to coach defense, or how to put a defensive set together other than to say 'we gotta play some defense'. I will say he's pretty good at making appearances on local radio. He excels there. Yaysports! made the pic below, BTW.

Quick Updates

Here's one comparing ESPN to old Nickelodeon, noting that both had no competition in their respective markets.

Philadelphia Will Do writes about Ted Nugent exposing liberals and their anti-tree agenda.

Yeah, the Inquirer is pretty shitty right now.

Interesting entry from Marc Stier on why Ed Rendell has tried to govern from the center and why it's failing.

Philling Station
updates everyone on the status of a couple minor leaguers like Jason Jaramillo and Mike Costanzo(both skipping leagues!). They also mention some spring training notes, namely that Ryan Franklin 'looked sharp'. We already posted earlier doubting the potential of Ryan Franklin to help the Phillies in any real capacity, and it's still doubtful the man will last longer than 2 months. However, it's a decent sign.

Let It Ride

Early in poker tournaments, people are usually met with a chance to double-up and set themselves up pretty well for the rest of the tourney. The catch is that they also risk all their chips, and have a slightly better than 50% chance to win. Matt Matros says to let it ride, because there are only so many chances one has in a large tourney to double-up:

"Some say calling with the queens would amount to a good player letting his skill go to waste. Here’s the thing about poker — the skill is about finding edges. And edges are precious. Think about it; on most hands, we fold before the flop. It’s very hard to find a way to get our chips in profitably. And here, we have a known edge. We know that in the long run, we’ll earn $810 by calling with the Q-Q. That’s not a small edge. Folding here would be akin to flushing an hour’s work down the toilet. Calling here doesn’t negate our skill over the field. Calling here is our skill over the field."

If you don't have the balls to do this, don't be in the tourney. You are over your head, money and skill-wise.. Period.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Touching sports story

A high school basketball team let the autistic team manager play in their last game of the season, and he ended up scoring 20 points at the end of the game. 700 Level has the footage.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sanity returns

So, we already talked several days ago about how Bobby Abreu was bashed in the media for acting like a professional, if the rumors about him being traded were even true. Now, according to Philling Station, Steve Phillips has joined into the fray by asking the question 'Have the Phillies lost Abreu?'. Besides the incredibly stupid opinions of the above, Philling Station, as well as Swing and a Miss bring some levity to the discussion, recognizing that Abreu has done nothing but act the way a grown man should. Shame on Bobby for not being mad!

Everyone loves a good rant

Check out the front-page of Philly Skyline for a high-quality rant on SEPTA, NIMBYs who don't like children, and Dan 'Geraldo' Cuellar. Also make sure to check out some photos. A high-quality example is below:

Padding his doubles stats

John Marzano is padding his stats. First, he got on Phillies Post Game Live, 'analyzing' the Phils games. Then he started making appearances on Daily News Live, repeating the same old-school small-ball things he said on Post Game Live. Then, sometime around July of last year, he started making guest spots on 610 WIP, completely changing his views on guys like Bobby Abreu, who he formerly loved as a player(even calling him a 'star'). Finally, he's now gotten his own half-hour program, ALL to his own, called Around the Bases with John Marzano. Ironic title, because announcers rarely had the chance to say that Johnny boy was going 'around the bases'. Check out his stellar stats.

Once the 2006 season officially begins, Marzano will have about 20 times a week to spout his horrible, incorrect views on the game of baseball, the Phillies, and Bobby Abreu. Why have I brought up Abreu's name twice? Well, Marzano used to love the way the guy hit, until Bobby decided to get hurt. Then, Marzano felt like a spurned lover, and started to say that Bobby was 'padding his doubles stats', and other gems that most people can't get anywhere else. He refuses to actually look at any important stats, and just assumes that since he 'watches the games' his eyes can't can't decieve him. Well, guess what Johnny? People remember what they want to remember, one way or another. People are biased. They are their own filters. You certainly are one, and you need to realize that and look at a couple stats once in a while to make sure that what you 'feel' you've seen is actually true.

Padding his doubles stats. Expect more of this genius throughout the season.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Buck up kiddo

Don't kill yourself Larry. We all love you, we really do. Except Isaiah, that dude must HATE you, giving you a backcourt of Stephan Marbury, Steve Francis, and Jamal Crawford. Ouch. (picture via Deadspin)

Saved Arrested Development

Nothing creative. Nothing fancy. Just save the best comedy in years. Please. There's rumors of an acceptance of a 12 episode season from Showtime, but nothing definitive. Don't let the networks make a huge tiny mistake(zing).

Please save it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Well, no

On second thought, what Bobby Abreu just said is wrong, and he's lying. At least that's what Jim Salisbury would have us believe, writing in his most recent piece about how the Phils and Abreu are covering up the trade rumors that had Bobby going to every team but the Royals. Well guess what Jim? Trade rumors have historically been false, and have taken a life of their own. One of the more recent trades was a COMPLETE fabrication created by a message board prankster(Manny Ramirez for Bobby Abreu). It had no basis in reality, and yet several sportswriters actually picked up the story as a legit rumor. The club, Charlie Manuel, and Bobby all said nothing was ever discussed. Who is to say any of the previous rumors had any other validity?

So, the rumors might have been false to begin with, and there's no reason to think that Bobby will be dealt, other than people WANT something to happen. Why would Bobby be hurt by rumors if he says he's not? If one actually SAW Bobby being interviewed, he didn't seem hurt(of course, it's hard to read body language, but that goes BOTH ways). Jayson Stark didn't go quite as hard as Salisbury did in his stance that Bobby lied by saying: "Friends say he was initially hurt, but got over it." Whether this is even true or not is suspect, because who are 'friends'. So many rumors, time after time, are flat-out wrong.

Even if the rumors were true, why should anyone care if Bobby wants to say he didn't take it personally and he didn't think they were true? Would people rather he say he was hurt? Look at what has happened to Donovan McNabb since he came out saying he was hurt that some of his teammates sided with Terrell Owens. He's been crucified by many fans, and his ability to play has been questioned. Is there any reason to think that people would understand if Bobby said he was hurt by the rumors? So many Phillies fans almost have a sick enjoyment in bashing their own, especially Bobby. This would just be another piece of meat thrown to the wolves, another slam on an all-star player and one of hte best outfielders in the game. Bobby is constantly in a no-win situation, to the point that actual columnists say he is lying and that is somehow wrong. No doubt many of them would take a 180 if Bobby said their 'truth'.

disclaimer: Bobby Abreu is my favorite player. The man knows how to hit. Period.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dissing Harry the K????

There has been no love between Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler for some time, with Kalas feeling that Wheeler wanted Whitey Ashburn, deceased former Phils announcer, out. I'm not sure of other possible reasons for their dislike, but the feud comes through in the end of games when they are together broadcasting, with Harry almost completely ignoring what 'Wheels' has to say. Now, according to Paul Hagen, we're going to have to slog through three more innings of this uncomfortable mess, and we're going to completely see the casting off of Larry Andersen to radio. While the Phils have not said this is going to happen, Scott Palmer(new PR head of the Phils) said on 610 WIP that nothing is set in stone, essentially a no-answer answer.

Why would the Phils risk the negative PR of this, and why would they try to ruffle the feathers of a legend like Harry Kalas? Why would they drop Andersen from the TV broadcast, and keep Wheels on TV? Well, they're stupid. Harry's contract is up after this season and doesn't know his plans. Wheels is a company man, through and through, as evidenced by his verbal backrubs of David Bell's weak hitting and his constant praise heaped upon former scrubs such as Kevin Jordan. The man hasn't known a Phillie he hasn't liked except for Vicente Padilla, who he constantly berated for whatever reason. Andersen, on the other hand, points out the mistakes of Phillies players, and sometimes wonders out loud why a pitcher threw a certain pitch. Kalas also has been a decidely less decisive homer, pointing out the flaws of everyone on the field, including Phils players.

It should be noted that Dave Montgomery is saying all the right things about keeping Kalas and is 'keenly aware' of the announcer's popularity. However, if he were so keenly aware, why would the Phils have SO MANY announcers(I count Kalas, Andersen, Wheeler, Scott Graham, and newly hired Scott Franzke), and give a very visible role to a universally disliked announcer such as Chris Wheeler? I'm actually asking a question, please tell me.

From Philliesphans.com: Save our Broadcasts!

Email Scott Palmer and tell him your thoughts

Monday, February 20, 2006

Can't get nothing

The 700 Level already talked about how Andre Iguodala got ROBBED in the dunk contest on Saturday, but here's AIs reaction just in case you thought it was just the fans that saw it:

Not so Innocent

Yeah, so uh Kristen Bell(Veronica Mars) posed for Maxim. Very nice.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Open for Business

Spring Training is open for business!!! Pitchers and catchers have reported to Clearwater, Florida. The time of year is upon us where every team is tied for first place, every team has potential, and every player has the possiblity to have a great year!!! Except Ryan Franklin, this guy is going to completely suck eggs.

"Why not us?" said (Ryan) Howard. "We could have been playing in the World Series last season. That's what we have to shoot for."

Well, Gillick has not improved the starting rotation by downgrading from Vicente Padilla to Ryan Franklin and opening up 'competition'(codeword so Robinson Tejeda and Gavin Floyd don't get mad when they get thrown to the curb for a bum like Franklin and an average at best pitcher like Cory Lidle). He didn't improve the bullpen by getting some old farts(Tom Gordon and Arthur Rhodes), basically ensuring that Yoel Hernandez, Aquilino Lopez, and Eude Brito will have to go elsewhere to find jobs. But he did get a guy to play an already overloaded centerfield(Aaron Rowand) who had a down year last year. Sure, he could bounce back and player stellar defense AND good offense, but why not trade a chip like this which would be worth a good amount on the open market, and free Shane Victorino, Chris Roberson, Michael Bourn, and Greg Golson??? The Phils are so overloaded at CF that if handled correctly it could be a boon for the rotation or 3B or another position, but somehow I doubt anything good will come of it.

But I will try to be positive. The hitting is there, the lineup is going to score some runs, same as last year. The pitching though... I love the Phils, and I love baseball. I will root for this team, and if they prove me wrong, I will be happy as hell. I guess I just don't see anything more than 85 wins, which is not enough to win the NL East.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Newsflash: John Street Fucking Up

John Street, the mayor of our fair city, doesn't want to lower business taxes to help draw in new business, ever. Tom Ferrick blasts Street in his usual somewhat fun way, showing that his current budget proposals include spending INCREASES:

"On June 30, the city will end its budget year with a surplus of $175 million-plus. The mayor proposes to spend it all. Whoopee!

No more layoffs. In fact, we're going to hire 450 employees. No more cutbacks. The budget of many city departments get a generous boost. There's a new multimillion-dollar program for pothole repair. There's a new $150 million bond issue, with half going to arts and cultural projects, half for commercial corridor projects. There's even $10 million for police overtime to do a mini-Safe Streets called - how's this for phrase-making? - Safer Streets."

So, uh, why? Perhaps because he wants Chaka Fattah's job in the US Congress, who wants Street's job in the mayor's office? Or perhaps there has been a body snatching, and the current John Street double has lost the only good quality the old Street had, fiscal discipline. Either way, the city is back to its big-spending ways when there's no reason to think that this big spending on personnel and proven failed programs(Safe Streets) will help the city prosper. Can we just put Michael Nutter in as mayor NOW, instead of letting Street damage the city for another year and a half or so?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Swann's Platform

Lynn Swann's opinion on the big issues in Pennsylvania:

So, Swanny, got any opinion on this?
Oh, OK Swanny. Go score another touchdown, and hope the Steelers win will coast you into the governorship. Governor Rendell must be shaking in his boots at the thought of debating you.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Only the Strong Survive

For those of you intent on dealing Allen Iverson, or those of you who think the Sixers have no other choice, I suggest viewing this video. It epitomizes the work ethic of AI, whether people choose to believe he has one or not. The guy gives 100% on the court, is shooting better than he ever has, and has never been a great defender, but his physical limitations prevent him from being one. If we are to be blowing up the Sixers, let's at least remember WHY we loved Allen in the first place, why we cheered when he owned Michael Jordan, why we came out 20,000 strong at the Wachovia Center to see him dribble some leather, why we tuned into the 2001 NBA Finals to see them steal game 1 IN LOS ANGELES from one of the best two-man combos(Shaq and Kobe) ever, and almost take game 2. Let's remember, and if we want to give that up, so be it. However, this person wants to see Allen's story played out to the end, as a Sixer.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dr. Funke's 100 Percent Natural Good Time Family Band Solution

It's time. Let's all mourn the premature loss of the namesake of this blog, and one of the greatest TV comedies ever written, Arrested Development. FOX just ended the 53 episode run of one of the most intelligent, witty, and self-mocking shows of all-time, and did so by playing a 4 episode bloc on a Friday night against the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. One last kick in the balls from the good folks who also previously cancelled Firefly, Futurama, and Family Guy. They eventually saw the light with Family Guy, because of DVD sales, and may bring Futurama back. However, cartoons are always easier to bring back, because age rarely comes into play.

Sure, ratings play a role in what stays and what goes, but let's be realistic and realize that advertising and consistent time slots play a huge role in the success of a show, and all of the above shows were constantly flipped around, with little promotion from the network. Other networks do the same thing, but FOX has been particularly mean to the fine folks who produce Arrested Development.

Showtime reportedly offered a deal for 26 episodes(spread over 2 seasons) to creator Mitch Hurwitz, while ABC reportedly offered 13 episodes. Let's hope he decides to continue the show, but if he doesn't, thanks for 53 great moments in television. Thanks for making huge mistakes over and over again(even the tiny ones), and thanks for ridiculous double entendres, seal attacks, literally jumping the shark, black puppets with attitudes, segways, Happy Days actors, narraration that was just utter crap, analrapists, cousins that just may be cousins, drunk mothers, Oscar not being George, hot cops, lessons, the Alliance of Magicians, banana stand wars, Home Builders Organization(HBO), and hook hands. Thanks a bunch!

Save The Bluths

Last Supper with the Bluths


Jesus Christ

God lives in Reading, PA:

"A self-employed bond enforcement agent, “God” said he began using the signature because fugitives always preface their comments with, “Oh, ‘God',” when he captures them. His co-workers thought that was funny and started calling him “God.”"

Paul Sewell, aka God, has been told he has to sign his given name if he doesn't want his vote to be challenged. Ah, Berks County, another story packed full of fun! God has said he will fight this, and has also appealed losing his driver's license. There was no stated reason as to why he lost his license other than naming himself God. No one is revoking Jesus' licenses.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Philly Bible

Philly has long been a great city to picture-taking. I've even tried it myself. However, one man's site has almost perfected the art. From Manayunk to Mantua(by Steve Ives) to the Forgotten Bottom, there is scarcely a spot in Philly that has gone unseen or unsearched. There's also tons of photo essays that are themed, but the best part of the site are probably the building essays, such as the PSFS Building. Brad, the owner of the site, isn't even originally from Philly(he is from Tyrone PA, which shines through in his most recent update about the Steelers), but he sees the city in a way that connects people to the neighborhoods they live in. Other photographers also grace the site with their impressions of Philly, all of them good, and all of them with a slightly different take on the same city.

For anyone that truly loves Philly or photography, this site should be a weekly, if not daily, viewing.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Great idea! What's it about?

NBC is stpuid(ha). They cancel an OK show in Book of Daniel because of feigned outrage over it(and loss of sponsors as a result of said outrage) and is unsure about granting a 2nd season to a fun, campy sci-fi show like Surface? For a differing, and fairly narrow, view on Surface, see USA Today's review. Well, that's just fine, because all of their hit shows and their #1 network status makes it OK! They'll surely just another great show to fill the Monday 8pm slot. Oh right, they're the #4 network now and they haven't had a true hit besides My Name Is Earl since Friends ended. The massace of Scrubs is another story, as it's been jerked around and delayed over the past year so much that people forgot about the show. The obvious perfect fit with My Name Is Earl and The Office on Thursdays doesn't seem to be coming up on NBC's radar, even though the quirky humor of all three shows targets similar viewers. Instead, the utterly forgettable Four Kings has a primo timeslot and tremendous advertising. They had the foresight to move Earl and Office to Thursdays, but brought Scrubs back 3 months late around no other comedy. It's a move similar to what was done with Newsradio, another great show killed by NBCs meddling.

Great decisions make great networks. Does NBC sound like they are making the right ones?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

La Cosa Flyers

Rick Tocchet, one of the fan favorites of two separate stints with the Flyers, has been tied to a national gambling ring out of Jersey. A state trooper was also indicated as being involved....which is huge. A trooper being noted is extremely rare in anything, so this must really have some legs. Once again the stain of Italians on this great nation has struck...OK, I kid. Still, Tocchet's impending arrest IS probably going to greatly stain the NHL, as one of the guys in the ring stated that other players were involved and Tocchet is a coach for the Phoenix Coyotes. Sheesh.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Get those bastards, whoever they are!

Stephen Colbert's star is rising. MSNBC recently did an article on the show, 'truthiness', and Stephen himself, extolling the virtues of the man known at the truthiness teller. Basically, his fake persona has created a real word and a real reaction to the use of it. It's quite hilarious that this has been picked up by people, and this just shows how great a satirist Colbert is of O'Reilly, Scarbourough, etc. To actually compete with them on a trend-setting level is an astounding accomplishment for a comedian.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ref Bill Leavy Named Super Bowl XL MVP

In a Super Bowl first, a ref has been named the Most Valuable Player of the game. With his influential and unabashed Steeler love, he threw his Terrible Towel with grace and pride. You go Mr. Leavy! Way to make Stiller Nation proud!

The champ in action!

His weapon of choice!

can't win 'em all

So I went to my first live Sixers games this past Tuesday, and I took some pics. Click on the blowout score below to check out a few of my favorites. They didn't have AI, they didn't pass well, and they didn't play D, but I still enjoyed seeing them live.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mitch Buchanan Serenades the Ladies

This just proves Norm MacDonald's theory: Germans love David Hasselhoff:

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Detroit Native Jerome "From Detroit" Bettis to Play Super Bowl in Detroit (His Hometown)

ESPN.com has the story:

In a story that ESPN's writers are calling the biggest Super Bowl scoop ever, ESPN reports that veteran Steelers RB Jerome Bettis is a native of Detroit. That’s right – the same city that’s hosting Super Bowl XL. The very same Super Bowl in which Bettis is playing! Is this an amazing story or what?! We're not grasping at straws! READ MORE

Pasquarelli: It’s true, he is from Detroit. I checked | Clayton: If so, why is no one reporting on this?
Vote: Should we run this story into the ground?
Does he actually like Detroit? | Is he insane?!
Also, Jerome Bettis is obese and he's playing in Super Bowl XL | Get it? Like the size extra large? | It's funny because, you know, he's a big guy