Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Humor

After opening with acknowledgments of first responders on Wednesday night, The Daily Show shifted to "reports" from downtown Manhattan and Times Square. If you are not familiar with The Daily Show, these segments originate from a green screen inside the studio, in front of which the news team members stand (I do not know where they get the camera shots that show up on the green screens). Al Madrigal, Jessica Williams, and John Oliver combined to make light of the situation in Manhattan after Sandy.

I think this segment of The Daily Show was in bad taste; however, based on a Twitter search, I was not joined in this opinion. Madrigal joked that he was only alive because he had a machete, and Oliver described a real crisis in Times Square as Serendipity was out of mocha sprinkles. While I don't believe there are any Sandy-related deaths in Manhattan, it was out of line to make it seem like downtown was under martial law when there are much bigger problems and actual deaths throughout the region. I understand that one can make fun of people who never lost power or a loved one and are complaining about trivial matters, a la John Oliver, but I don't think that sentiment is out there right now.

When you have a dangerous situation that doesn't take lives, such as the failed Times Square and Federal Reserve bombings, it is fine to make fun of those because the terrorists failed. The Colbert Report did a great job on Wednesday sticking to what these shows do best: satirizing politicians and the news media that cover them, including two pleas to donate to the Red Cross.

On another angle, stores in the areas affected by Sandy tried to capitalize on the event and make up lost business by offering sales in Sandy's wake. American Apparel (image via Forbes) offered 20% off in nine states (what, no Washington, D.C.?) "in case you're bored during the storm" while their competitor, Urban Outfitters, offered free shipping with the coupon code "ALL SOGGY." The two companies were coming from a good place, but the execution was horrible. It is a great idea to give a price break to those who might need it, but their choice of words made them seem callous. In addition, American Apparel could have given a longer time frame than 36 hours to take advantage of the sale, so people have a chance to clean up from the storm before they go shopping. These companies would be better off trying to use the excuse that their websites were hacked. When in doubt, use language that does not relate to the storm at all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


There are a lot of talking heads filled with hot air talking about where Peyton Manning is going to sign. This has finally become a real issue due to his release from the Colts and apparent health as shown in the Zapruder film cell phone video of his practice at Duke. From my perspective, after listening to many of the arguments, there are less than five locations that actually make sense. Let's go team by team, starting with the easy ones.

The Giants, Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Falcons, Lions, and Ravens all went to the playoffs this past season and are comfortable with their quarterbacks. The Saints could be added to that group if they signed Drew Brees to a long-term contract, but they used the franchise tag on him and will not go for Peyton. The Panthers and Bengals had great performances from their rookie quarterbacks. The Bears, Chargers, Cowboys, and Eagles had underperforming and injured quarterbacks last season that are all entrenched in their positions and are stars of their teams. And, of course, the Colts released Peyton and will most likely be drafting Andrew Luck.

The next tier of teams could be benefitted by signing Peyton, but it's not going to happen. The Rams play their home games in a dome like the Colts, but Sam Bradford is a good player and deserves the chance that they will be giving him by trading the number two pick. Ryan Fitzpatrick received a big contract extension from the Bills, and Peyton will not want to play in those elements. The Titans have Jake Locker waiting in the wings, possibly to start at the beginning of this upcoming season. And let's get this one out of the way: the Jets talk is out of control, and despite Woody Johnson's infatuation with the star quarterback (see: Favre, Brett), Mark Sanchez is a capable quarterback and Rex Ryan would not want the spotlight off of him. Kevin Kolb was injured last season and has a lot of guaranteed money still coming to him, so it will not be easy for the Cardinals to cut or trade him. The Browns would be better off with a young quarterback through the draft or Matt Flynn in their rebuild, and the Vikings will be going with second-year player Christian Ponder. The Raiders should probably try to get something out of Carson Palmer to justify that huge mid-season trade.

Another group of teams could create openings at their starting quarterback position even more easily, but will not be seeing Peyton play for them. The Texans and 49ers both have decent quarterbacks, but Matt Schaub has only one year left on his contract and Alex Smith is a free agent who had his only good season in this past one. While they will seemingly be in the running, they are focused on their defensive prowess which is complimented by decent quarterback play, meaning Peyton will not fit as a star. The Chiefs will be holding a competition between Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel, and the Buccaneers will likely want to keep developing Josh Freeman with a head coach new to the NFL. The Broncos are an interesting case, with noted lightning rod Tim Tebow at the helm, but this is not an ideal location for Peyton in the elements of Denver. Another team that the media is pushing as a favorite for Peyton is the Redskins, especially due to Dan Snyder's deep pockets. However, if the Manning brothers do not want to play in the same conference to supposedly block one from the playoffs or Super Bowl, they were certainly not be playing in the NFC East together. The Redskins should spend their time trying to trade up for Robert Griffin III instead.

That leaves three teams that will be in the running for Manning's services. The Dolphins appear to be the favorite with an owner that has shown to be crazy and willing to throw around money, but he may not be able to woo Peyton as was the case with potential head coach Jeff Fisher. The two Chads, Henne and Pennington, are not inspiring much confidence in Miami, but Pennington would be a serviceable backup. CBS would be foaming at the mouth to air at least one Peyton Manning-Tom Brady matchup, with the other likely being taken by NBC or ESPN. The Dolphins played the Giants last season, so they will not be facing each other again for four more years, in case the Mannings do not want a showdown. The Seahawks have no viable options at quarterback, but they do play in the NFC, which would make Peyton a closer competitor to Eli. Pete Carroll would love to have a star quarterback to coach in the NFL since he saw many of them during his time at USC. The Seahawks are not guaranteed to face the Giants until 2014, but could play them in 2013 if they finish in the same standings position as the Giants in this upcoming season; they are not scheduled to play each other in 2012. The Jaguars are a big dark horse candidate with a new owner who wants to sell enough tickets to prevent local blackouts even without tarps covering much of the upper-level seating. Their rookie quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, did not show much last season, and there is familiarity being in the same division as the Colts for the last several seasons. It's hard to say whether Peyton would relish the chance to play against the Colts twice per season as Brett Favre did against the Packers, but it probably doesn't make a difference to Peyton either way as the parting with the Colts was pleasant. As another AFC team candidate, this will be one to watch. Their next game against the Giants will be in 2014.

After all is said and done, I expect Peyton Manning to in fact be taking his talents to South Beach for the 2012 NFL season.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Derek Jeter's 3,000th Hit

I was thinking last night about how only regular season statistics count for a player's career numbers, and rightly so. But what if you included Derek Jeter's hits from the postseason and All-Star Games, since they count and all that nonsense, to come to the time when he really recorded hit number 3,000 as a major leaguer? We can figure that out thanks to

Jeter has 185(!) career postseason hits and ten hits in his 11 All-Star Game appearances, including those that "didn't count" before the 11-inning tie in 2002. That means we would have to subtract 195 from his current total of 2,998 to find the true 3,000th hit in Jeter's career. This would have occurred on his 2,805th regular season hit, which was a double against Francisco Liriano in the fifth inning of a 3-2 Yankees win at Target Field on May 26, 2010. If you don't want to include the ten hits from All-Star Games, it was a single in the fifth inning against Mitch Talbot in an 11-2 Yankees win against the Indians at Yankee Stadium on May 31. Both of these hits came in games in which Andy Pettitte was the Yankees starter.

Congratulations to those of you who were there! And congratulations to Jeter on his upcoming 3,000th regular season hit.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

American Idol 10 predictions

I thought I was gonna do this for the top ten, but there's shockingly a second week of the top eleven.

11 - Thia Megia - kind of boring and finally in the bottom three last week
10 - Stefano Langone - already saved once as a wild card pick but didn't come back as strong as I thought he would
9 - Haley Reinhart - sounds like she's trying too hard and not that good
8 - Paul McDonald - getting tired of his oddly raspy voice
7 - Scotty McCreery - more like McDreary, the country singer always goes too far for my taste
6 - Naima Adedapo - has some talent but doesn't put it to great use
5 - Casey Abrams - good save used by the judges, but he doesn't have mainstream appeal
4 - Lauren Alaina - shows that she can do country and pop and can be the second place woman
3 - Jacob Lusk - could win, but a little too much on the feminine side
2 - James Durbin - falls short just like his gay doppelganger Adam Lambert
1 - Pia Toscano - provided she does more than ballads, since she has the best voice

It's tough to judge after a week of songs all by the same person, but they are all strong singers. It's a matter of appealing to the crowd and what is popular today. Pia and James have got it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 13 Football picks

Texans (+8.5) @ Eagles: figured their offense would be good enough and just missed
Saints (-6.5) @ Bengals: time to overpower a weak AFC opponent
Bears (-3.5) @ Lions: the Bears look real and Stanton is starting for the Lions
49ers (+9.5) @ Packers: enough talent on the 49ers to keep it close enough
Jaguars (+3.5) @ Titans: don't understand this line at all, but Collins is back for the Titans
Broncos (+8.5) @ Chiefs: keeping my policy of expecting close divisional games
Dolphins (-4.5) vs. Browns: the Browns' quarterback committee lands on Delhomme again
Bills (+6.5) @ Vikings: a one-week burst for the Vikings under the new coach last week
Redskins (+7.5) @ Giants: the Giants are like the Chargers, good on both sides, but turnovers
Raiders (+12.5) @ Chargers: I guess they forgot that the Raiders are playing well this season
Buccaneers (+3.5) vs. Falcons: a test on the road for the Falcons
Seahawks (-5.5) vs. Panthers: a long lonely journey for the Panthers
Rams (-3.5) @ Cardinals: time for the Rams to make a statement on the road and keep up with the Seahawks
Colts (-5.5) vs. Cowboys: the Colts could win by 20 or 3, probably not in between
Steelers (+3.5) @ Ravens: I think the Ravens will win outright by a field goal
Jets (+3.5) @ Patriots: the Jets are undefeated in five games on the road this season

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Week 12 Football picks

Three games on Thanksgiving. Lucky us!

Patriots (-6.5) @ Lions: of course Brady is playing, forget that questionable tag
Saints (-3.5) @ Cowboys: it's time to stop the Cowboys roll
Jets (-9.5) vs. Bengals: too bad this won't be a heated rematch of last year's playoffs
Falcons (-2.5) vs. Packers: the Falcons are 5-0 at home, last two against good teams
Steelers (-6.5) @ Bills: this could have the feeling of a Steelers home game as fans travel well
Panthers (+10.5) @ Browns: I like the large spread even though the Panthers are pathetic
Jaguars (+7.5) @ Giants: strange spread with the Giants missing key wide receivers
Redskins (-2.5) vs. Vikings: watch out for the Vikings energy under new coach
Titans (+6.5) @ Texans: third QB starting for the Titans, but not against the best of defenses
Seahawks (+1.5) vs. Chiefs: two surprising division leaders at 5-5 and 6-4
Raiders (-3.5) vs. Dolphins: Thigpen did not impress in his start last week
Bears (+3.5) vs. Eagles: home team getting a lot of points for having the same records
Buccaneers (+7.5) @ Ravens: the Buccaneers are surprising but should get more respect
Rams (+3.5) @ Broncos: the Broncos laid down to a divisional rival on Monday night
Colts (-3.5) vs. Chargers: should be a fun, interesting game
49ers (-1.5) @ Cardinals: these could have been the two best teams in the division

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 11 Football picks

I'm not feeling too good about this week, and already have a loss from Thursday. A lot of even matchups in my mind in this crazy season.

Dolphins (-1.5) vs. Bears: thought the Dolphins could hold on at home using wildcat
Bengals (-5.5) vs. Bills: similar records, but a lot more talent on the Bengals
Lions (+6.5) @ Cowboys: the Cowboys should get a close first win at home
Ravens (-10.5) @ Panthers: Brian St. Pierre will be on his back for most of the game
Browns (+1.5) @ Jaguars: Colt McCoy has been impressive, but so have the Jaguars
Steelers (-7.5) vs. Raiders: bouncing back with another home game
Redskins (+7.5) @ Titans: Vick made the Redskins look worse than they are
Chiefs (-7.5) vs. Cardinals: Cassel and Charles lead the Chiefs to victory
Vikings (+3.5) vs. Packers: I'll take Favre and the home points against his old team
Texans (+6.5) @ Jets: the Jets have just been getting by recently
Rams (+3.5) vs. Falcons: both teams are better at home and this game is in St. Louis
Buccaneers (+3.5) @ 49ers: a long cross-country trip won't slow down the Buccaneers
Seahawks (+11.5) @ Saints: too many points not to take a division leader
Colts (+3.5) @ Patriots: the Colts could break Brady's home winning streak
Giants (+3.5) @ Eagles: maybe sticking with my heart too much but it should be close
Broncos (+9.5) @ Chargers: another close divisional matchup