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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Greatest Commercial Ever?

Well, maybe that's overstating it a bit. But I do love this Snickers commercial:

Of course, I allowed my 4-year-old to watch it with me, over and over, despite my lovely wife Summer's comments that this probably wasn't a good influence on a 4-year-old. So I made sure to instruct Jacob that this was just a silly commercial, and how silly this guy is, and we would never do that in real life, right? Right, says Jacob. So I sit back, smirk at Summer as if to say, "Check out the parenting skills on this guy."

That smugness disappeared when Jacob was spotted several times hurling objects across the room, while bellowing "NOOOOOOOOOOOO."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Erm... Under Construction?

TWICE now my blog entries have been freakishly deleted. (Since when does Shift-Bottom Arrow, used to select text to justify, mean DELETE?) And TWICE now Blogger's "auto-save" feature--which is being stupidly advertised at the bottom of the screen--has failed to auto-save anything other than "'<>< /div >'." As if that is something that I really needed to be saved.
Teach me seventy-six times, shame on you. Teach me seventy-seven times...
So my brilliant post will have to wait until tomorrow, I suppose. HATE.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What a Country!

So it's been announced that the Astros have avoided arbitration with Adam Everett and Jason Lane by giving both significant raises. Everett, the best defensive shortstop in the majors, was deserving of such a raise.

Jason Lane? Not so much. After a ridiculously bad season in which he "hit" only .201 and had to be demoted to AAA, Jason's salary was more than doubled, from $450,000 to $1.05 million (plus incentives). Just call him Yakov:

"What a Country!"

Conspicuously absent in this list is Morgan Ensberg, who is also off a lousy season and who has spent most of the offseason in the "Trade Bait" list; Mo and the Astros have still not agreed on a contract.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Seven Things I Hate About Cougar High

It seems fitting that I would have missed out on last night's 76-71 come-from-behind win for Rice, one of the great games in the Rice-UH rivalry. I couldn't find it on the telly at the gym, and then enjoyed trekking out to the grocery store located in the blighted areas that were just devastated by the supposed "ice storm" that the local media had been trumpeting for the better part of a week now. I managed to catch Rice's comeback on the radio, though.

From the Chronicle's various reports, though, it sounds like I missed the best parts of the game, including (1) the Coog players preening for their fans and taunting Morris Almond; (2) two of the Coog thugs trying to pick fights with the Rice players; (3) the ever-classless Tom Penders sprinting off the court after the game to yell obscenities at the referees; (4) TP's assistant coach throwing a trash can against the wall; (5) TP's and his assistant's having to be restrained; and (6) the Coogs--taking an example in poor sportsmanship from their coach--refusing to shake the Owls's hands after the game.

Which reminds me: if I was going to make fun of coaches' haircuts, how could I have given TP a free pass?

Now that's a handsome mug!

Anyways... to celebrate the occasion, I thought I'd compile a list of a few of the things about Cougar High that just annoy me. In no particular order, they include:

  1. Tom Penders. While we're on the topic, this guy chaps me off. He's a chump, he recruits punks, his teams play undisciplined ball, and he blames the refs when his teams choke:

    Oh, and he's given too much credit for the fact that he can never seem to win the games that really count. And I'll not comment on the circumstances under which his tenure at Texas ended.

  2. Old Alums. You can pick 'em out by their hideous red blazers (which, naturally, I couldn't find a great picture of):

    They may look like sweet old people,
    but I hate them nonetheless.

    Either from senility or some other unspoken reason, they think that it's still 1983-84 Phi Slamma Jamma era, and they have nothing but utter contempt for your school.

  3. John Jenkins. Even TP's antics pale in comparison to the King of Acting Classless, John Jenkins. His "run and shoot" teams of the early '90s heroically vanquished such mighty opponents as Louisiana Tech (73-3), Eastern Washington (84-21), and SMU (95-0). The Eastern Washington game is deserving of a few more details:

    With soon-to-be-NFL-bust QB David Klingler, Jenkins’s teams went wild, each touchdown pass in the Astrodome marked by an air-raid siren that was supposed to enliven the game-day experience for those fans who showed up.

    UH scheduled Division 1-AA opponent Eastern Washington in 1990, and Jenkins kept Klingler in as he threw 11, yes, 11 TD passes. And even on the 11th, as the 4,000 or so fans remaining in the yawningly empty and quiet Dome embarrassedly clapped their hands, that goddamn siren went off, its silly, supposedly intimidating blast echoing forlornly off the walls.

    Klingler played three and a half quarters – you never know when EWU might come back! – and killed any chance he had of winning the Heisman because voters assumed his stats were tainted. Klingler later tried to salvage his chances by saying at the end of the year:

    “If we’d been trying to run up the score on Eastern Washington, it would have been 160-21.”

    The vote-getting strategy failed.
    Not to mention the various NCAA violations he managed to commit, dooming his team to suffer sanctions and miss the post-season at least once.

  4. Big 12 Envy. Get over the bitterness from your omission from the Big 12 when the SWC broke up. They didn't want you then, and they don't want you now.

  5. Cougar High. Notwithstanding Robertson Field (which, by the way, I very much enjoyed during the Dynamos' games last year), Cougar High is a commuter school that--I hate to say it--just looks like a high school. It's not the academics; I know (and work with) some very smart folks who went to UH, and their law school's terrific in many areas. But the school just looks like a big high school, particularly on the inside of the buildings. When we (well, I can speak only for myself) refer to UH as "Cougar High," it's primarily because it's a stupid-looking commuter school.

  6. Rice Baseball Envy. Every year, I have to hear about how "this is the year that UH is going to beat Rice at baseball." Before last year, it was about the Silver Slugger series--they may as well bolt the trophy down at Rice, because it's stayed there forever--and the regionals or super-regionals. Rice won every time. Now it's about the C-USA conference. We won it in our first year last year, and guess what? We're going to win it again this year.

    You have a nice little baseball program (run by a guy who was one of Wayne Graham's former assistants, although I'd disagree with UH's claim that Noble "helped rebuild" Rice's program). But quit talking smack about beating Rice until you... well, you know... actually do it.

  7. Cowbell/Air Siren/Whatever. With Jenkins's teams, it was an air siren that they played after every score. Before him, it was a cowbell or some crap where they'd ring it out for every point they'd scored, after every score. So if they scored to make it 7-0, they'd count to seven. At 21, they'd count to twenty-one (even though they'd already counted up to whatever their previous score was.) I remember attending a Rice-UH football game in the Astrodome in the last 80's--one that the Owls actually won, which was a bit of an upset--and having to sit among red-clad idiots all game long. After UH scored to get up to like thirteen or something, my father quipped, "Well, at least it shows they know how to count." That prompted one of those red-blazered chumps in front of us to turn around, glare at him, and talk some smack about UH's then-lead over Rice. Sure enough, after Rice took the lead and won, Red Blazer stormed out of the Dome without saying a word.
There are a few positive qualities about UH that I feel compelled to mention:

  • I like Art Briles, and I love seeing him rejuvenate UH football. He's a class act.

  • And, as I said earlier, I like--and envy--Robertson Stadium.

  • And I like most of UH's alumni, just not the old guys with the red blazers.

  • And the breadth of their curriculum offerings.

  • And the quality of their law school.
But just about everything else about them sucks.

Friday, January 12, 2007

By the way, Fraud...

Your haircut really sucks. Seriously, pal--find a barber to fix that disaster that perches atop your melon. You'd be much better off shaving that mess off and starting over.

Kind of like what Rice has to do now.

Of freaking sport a hat, or something. Good God, you look awful.

How Blind We Were

Explain to me how, in all of my fervor and unwavering support for Rice football this year, I managed to miss such glaringly obvious signs as a pair of devil horns sticking out of this fraud's head?

And that he had fangs for teeth?

And the blood dripping out of his eyes?

And his blood-red eyes?

And that clear-as-day message tattooed on his forehead?

Now I see Fraud for who he really is: a hack who realized he couldn't follow up on his 2006 success with his bright young offensive mind headed for Tuscaloosa... so he bolted, two days after signing a long-term commitment to Rice, for the "greener pastures" of Tulsa.

Without having the class to explain himself to his players, or even say goodbye. Without offering any explanation to Rice, its alums, or fans, as to why he emphasized commitment and teamwork all year long... then left for more money only a year after signing on.

Looking forward to that Tulsa game, we are.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm Almost Too Scared to Write About This

Those who know me well know that I have suffered my fair share of sports heartaches. After all, I am an Astros fan, and was an Oilers fan. Someday I might become a Texans fan, if somebody can ever state a plausible argument why the Texans are deserving of fan[atical] support.

I'm also a huge fan of Rice baseball and football. It hasn't been terribly tough to support their baseball program, which has developed into one of the best in the nation, year in and year out. Their football program, though? Well, not so much.

My father has held season tickets to the Rice football games for something like two decades, and even has one of those special assigned parking spaces. (You should see how enraged he gets when he arrives at the game and finds somebody else parked in his space, but that--and the impotence of the Rice Campos to deal with such an event--is a story for another day.) I sat through my fair share of terrible Rice football.

I also had the good fortune of being a student at Rice during the nationally-televised upset of Texas. The monsoon-like weather was some of the worst one could imagine for a football game, but we didn't care. We stormed the field and tore down the goalposts nonetheless.

In 1996, my idealism died. The Owls went 7-4, and yet were not invited to a bowl game. I furiously fired off letters to the bowls that had WAC tie-ins, including the bowl that chose Utah (whom Rice had annihilated 51-10) over Rice. I also watched a whole host of teams with lesser records get to enjoy the postseason. I learned a very hard lesson about college sports and money. I wasn't surprised, then, when the Owls finished 7-4 a year later and were still unrewarded with a bowl game, or in 2001--when we finished 8-4 and still stayed at home. The answer, quite simply, is that the only way Rice can get into a bowl game is to win the conference title outright so that bowls have no choice but to invite them.

Well, we know that isn't going to happen this year; Cougar High will clinch the C-USA West title with a win today. (Oh, but for a few breaks here and there in the UH game, and the Owls not taking Tulane lightly...) Yet I continue to see references to Rice and "bowl game" in the same sentence together. I've also seen that both ESPN and have picked Rice to appear in the Armed Forces Fort Worth Bowl.

I'd like to believe that it could come true. That a bowl game could look past a school's historically terrible (at least in the last 50 years) program and poor attendance records. What a story this could be: a new coach comes in and turns around a one-win team with essentially the same personnel as in the year before. A woeful offense responds to a brilliant young offensive coordinator by posting 40+ points a game.

We can't hope that our "story" will get us to a bowl game, though, if we don't first take care of business against ECU and SMU, though. We need to win both of these.

And then hope that somebody gives these kids a chance.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

At Least It Wasn't the Cubs.

This could have... nay, should have been us. When we entered the Atlanta series, we trailed the Cardinals by only a half-game. We proceeded to lose two of three.

Of course, if we hadn't sucked for pretty much all of May, June, July, and August, we wouldn't have had to pull off a late-season miracle just to make things interesting. After all, it's not like an eighty-two win team deserves to make the playoffs. Any more than an eighty-three win team deserves to win the playoffs.

This isn't sour grapes, mind you. I'm happy for the Cardinals and their fans, who hadn't won the World Series in twenty-four years (despite appearances in 1985, 1987, and 2004). I'm very hesitant to agree with their self-proclaimed "best fans in baseball" moniker but, hey, twenty-four years is a long time to wait.

I'm also delighted that the Cardinals were able to put to rest this year-long bullcrap about how the American League was just so much better than the National League, and how the NLCS winner was just playing for the right to lose in the World Series. And as for the much-maligned NL Central... which division has represented the National League in the last three World Series?

So congratulations, Cardinals. Now the Astros need to put together a solid offseason to knock you losers off your perches.