Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Damage is Done...Fix Up Job Underway

The life of my basement for the past month.
As you can see below, my life has been a disaster since my basement was destroyed. I have put up new studs, new drywall and will have a new floor laid. Hopefully this will all be over soon. Looking forward to entertaining again in the near future. Hell, I just want my TiVo back!

Sorry Iggy...I can't have you over for beer and poker until this room is normal again. Plus, the TiVo has the WSOP episode you have still be dying to watch.

My basement...running full length of the wall.

New drain system that had to be put the other room.

Go Muskies! Go Cats!

Xavier played their best game of the season tonight. Completely balanced on offense. Let's hope that Brian Thorton stays healthy for the remainder of the season. I won't count XU out of the NCAA tournament yet. They won the A10 Championship last year before the Elite Eight run. Keep it up Muskies!

Also, one of the best freshmen in the country resides on the Victory Parkway campus. Stanley Burrell, no, not MC Hammer from the Super Bowl commercials, is one hell of a ball player. He isn't a traditional freshman per se, since he spent last year at a prep school to get him prepared for the college speed.

UK is holding their own in a less than spectacular SEC this year. Still, only three losses on the season for such a young team is incredible. I was at the game on Saturday against Mississippi State. There isn't a better atmosphere in the country to watch a ballgame. Got in a little trouble for chanting "Digger Sucks" so went with the back up chant, "4 and 12." That was his record coaching in Rupp Arena. If you couldn't figure it out, I hate Digger Phelps.

KAZ (Kelenna Azubuike) the best game of his career tonight. Wished he started doing that a little earlier this season, but if he and the Cats get things going now, that will make me happy.

Sorry to see Travis Diener's career is over at Marquette. Tough kid. One hell of a ballplayer. He will make some NBA team very happy. Much like Kirk Hinrich.

Huge Deal Made Today

The land of the NFL will still be the main attraction on and for quite some time, at least for me. Since I'm not a huge baseball fan, especially after the wonderful and hilarious press conference by Barry Bonds, seeing that Randy Moss will more than likely be suiting up in the silver and black next year will be a huge step up for the Raiders. I think it is a shrewd move for the Raiders. Let's see if they can keep Moss in check. Huge move!

Speaking of Bonds...has there been a more laughable comment than, "I don't know what cheating is." Hell, first thing I thought about was Clinton's BJ in the Oval Office, "That depends on what your definition of is is."

Monday, February 14, 2005

Creative Zen Micro

Anyone have one of these? If so, let me know. I like what I've read about them. Really like the idea of a voice recorder, FM radio, and syncing to my Outlook calendar and contacts. Of course the music is good too. Let me know. Thanks.

Hanging with the WWE

So tonight I'm headed to WWE Monday Night RAW. I'm not a big wrestling fan, although I did grow up watching it and was a huge fan of Jerry "The King" Lawler when we would watch in Louisville every Tuesday night. Along with a couple of friends, we scored free tickets to a VIP suite for the event. I don't know how good our seats will actually be, but I'm looking forward to the people watching. Anyone know who the big stars are anymore? Looking at the website, I understand Triple H is the main guy. Guess The Rock is too busy doing movies. I have done a little research into the women. Man they look good. In my latest issue of Playboy, a preview to next month show new WWE RAW Diva, Christy Hemme, will pose. Hope she makes an appearance tonight. She was a former Juggy Girl on "The Man Show."

I'll let her check my pipes.

Juiced: No Shit?

Jose Canseco needs the money. He isn't a credible person....unless you are talking about steroids. He knows a thing or two about 'roids. Will I buy his book? No. Do I believe his story. Absolutely. I never really doubted that the likes of McGwire, Pudge, Juan Gone, Giambi, and Bonds used steroids. The people that should really jump out at you are Brady Anderson's 1996 season and Brett Boone since 2001. Their "seasons" were a farce. The last few years of baseball are a farce. I'm going back to recognizing Roger Maris as the all-time HR leader. Not Bonds and not McGwire.

Oh yeah. And I believe that Sammy Sosa only used a corked bat once.

Great Column by Rick Reilly

I'm a big fan of, in my opinion, the best sports writer out there. His columns are always the first thing I read when I get my latest issue of Sports Illustrated. He tells it like it is and I hardly ever disagree with his sentiments.

This week about Deion Branch calling his coaches throughout his career from Pop Warner to the NFL and thanking them for making him the player he is today. It is great to see him highlighted for being a true, down-to-earth player. He knows he didn't do it on his own. There was help and guidance and teaching involved. Great column! If you can't read the link about (because it is exclusive content), here is the story.

Making the Right Calls

Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch understands that being a great athlete is the work of dozens of people, not one

In the final hours before the Super Bowl, NFL players have been known to go and get, say, a $40 hooker. Or go to Tijuana and get muy smashed. Or try to set the coke-snorting world record.

But before this Super Bowl, wide receiver Deion Branch of the Patriots did something even stranger.

He picked up his cellphone and called every coach in his life who meant something to him. He called Pee Wee coaches. He called his high school receivers coach. He called his junior college offensive coordinator. He called his college head coach. He called 13 coaches in all.

And do you know what he told them? Thank you.

Thank you for caring about me when I could've gone south. Thank you for making me run stairs. Thank you for believing I could do this.

He thanked his coach at Louisville for not giving up on him when his grades were lousy. He thanked his high school coach for believing he wasn't too puny. He thanked one coach for being there for him when his infant son was near death.

He got so emotional while thanking them that "I was crying half the time," says Branch, 25. "It's hard, but I don't want them to think I've left them behind. I want them to know I'm thinking about them all the time."

And when he was done calling -- about two hours later -- he got on the team bus, put on his number 83 and made the Patriots thank God they had drafted him.

Branch caught 11 passes -- tying the Super Bowl record co-owned by his hero, Jerry Rice -- for 133 yards. He was named the MVP of New England's 24-21 win over the Eagles.

If you're counting, that's two Super Bowls, 21 catches, 276 yards, one MVP, two rings and maybe the one example of a pro who understands that being a great athlete is the work of dozens of people, not one.

"He called this afternoon [Super Bowl Sunday] about three and said, 'Coach, I'm calling to say thank you for the many ways you helped me,'" says Vernorris Bradley, who was Branch's receivers coach at Monroe High in Albany, Ga. "He said, 'Thanks for all the ways you influenced me. I just want you to know how much I appreciate all you did.'"

Usually, the response to these calls is something like, "Am I being Punk'd?"

"I mean, I was just floored," says Bradley, who retired after the 2003 season. "A guy that famous and successful can think about a guy who coached him so long ago? On the day of the Super Bowl? Man, that's somebody who hasn't forgotten where he came from."

Branch even called the coach who cut him from the middle school team. "He kicked me off the bus," remembers Branch, who at 5'9" is hardly bigger than the MVP trophy he was lugging around Jacksonville late Sunday night. "He said I was too small and I'd get hurt. I was so mad."

Of course, Branch has heard that Short People song his whole life. "The 49ers said that, too. [Before the draft] they said I was a good player but too small for this league."

Wonder if they still think that after watching Branch tear through the Eagles' secondary -- the one with (cough, cough) three Pro Bowl players -- like a minibike through a herd of drugged elephants. It was as if they didn't even see him. And he broke them for good in the fourth quarter when he just flat picked the pocket of cornerback Sheldon Brown, turning a sure interception into a 19-yard gain that set up the field goal that gave the Pats a 10-point lead.

Oh, and don't forget, it was Branch who double-handedly killed the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. I mean, Tom Brady is good, but he isn't throwing them to himself.

Of course, after Branch won the MVP, he thanked God, his blockers, his coaches -- everyone but his dental hygienist and his own marvelous Velcro hands.

O.K., so Branch is a gratitude freak. So sue. Four years ago he nearly lost one of his newborn twin sons, Deiondre, to spinal meningitis. The baby was in a hospital being kept alive by machines. "I think [Deion] was having to decide whether it was time to unplug," says Bradley, when a "miracle" occurred. The infant suddenly responded to treatment.

On Sunday, Deiondre was chasing his brother, Deiontey, around a Super Bowl field of confetti. Now his father holds on tightly to anything that comes his way -- spirals and sons.

After the game some corporate suit told Branch that as the MVP he could pick any Cadillac he wanted, not just the red coupe that had been rolled to the 50-yard line after the game to show it off.

"Well," Branch grinned, "that little one on the field looked pretty sweet."

He sure did.

Issue date: February 14, 2005

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Still Playing Pacific Poker

What can I say? I hate the software as much as the next poker player, but you cannot deny yourself the opportunity of easy money! I hadn’t played on Pacific in quite some time; I am mainly used it to teach the Wife how to play.

Saturday night, after returning home from a friends wedding, I decided to hang with my friends staying at the house and fire up Pacific Poker. Luckily for me, I wasn’t too inebriated because I videotaped the wedding and reception. That was the other reason for staying up…drink some beer.

We fired up Pacific and started out playing Omaha Hi. I’m not a big fan of Omaha Hi/Lo. We were a little faded, so we didn’t want to worry too much about the money we were playing. Nothing on the $.50/1 tables. Not a single person. Found one table at $1/2. Sat down and played for a while until that table began to break up. Moved up to $2/4 and made a nice profit. Should have made quite a bit more, but two of my full houses lost to higher full houses, on the river both times no less, costing me $80 pots in both situations.

isn’t the greatest software, but the fish are incredible out there.

Crosstown Shootout – Let’s Go Muskies!

Tonight marks the 72nd Crosstown Shootout between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. Be sure to watch on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. The game could very well get away from XU, but if history holds true for this great rivalry, it will be a close game and the winner may very well win at the buzzer. UC is a 15½ point favorite. I think that is a little much given the history of the series, but I won’t be placing any money on XU to cover. Can’t bet the heart in this game.

Now, I know most of you out there are thinking, “Who cares about this rivalry?” I understand. We XU fans don’t expect the rest of the country to get as excited about this game as we do here in the ‘Nati. The national scene gets pumped up when talking about the Duke-UNC rivalry (and rightfully so) and how close in proximity they are to one another. We are a matter of minutes apart. Roughly 10 minutes separates these two universities. Roughly eight miles! That is all!

The story here lately is how UC might not keep the rivalry going because it doesn’t mean anything to them anymore. What a crock of shit! Could it be because they have be dominated the past eight years? XU has won 6 of the last 8 and 7 of the last 11. To say this “our championship” is bullshit. What has UC won the past several years, being the elitists and all?
Several C-USA Championships. I know they are moving into the Big East and yes, that will be one of the top three basketball conferences next year, but for UC to try to disrespect XU like this continues to show the lack of class coming from that University.

Catholics vs. Convicts! That’s the way it is and the way it always will be, unless UC is too scared to play lowly XU since it offers them nothing.

My prediction: UC – 72, XU – 69. I just can’t pick my beloved Musketeers because they are so young and inexperienced. Plus, if Brian Thornton doesn’t play, XU has nobody to bang inside with the much taller, experienced, and mature Bearcats.

Comparison of Two Hall of Fame Quarterbacks?

I asked a question before the Super Bowl about Tom Brady. If he won his third Super Bowl and his third Super Bowl MVP, would he be a lock for the Hall of Fame? Well, we now know that he did win his third Super Bowl, but not his third Super Bowl MVP. I asked that question to a group of friends that night and everyone said “Yes. He’s a lock.”

So, I got to thinking about a comparison between Brady and another quarterback. Here is the breakdown below of the two quarterback’s best four years (since that is all Brady has played).

Tom Brady:
  • Games played – 63
  • Completions – 1,242
  • Attempts – 2,015
  • Completion Percentage – 61.6%
  • Passing Yards – 13,919
  • Touchdowns – 97
  • Interceptions – 52
  • Average QB Rating – 87.7
  • Rushing Attempts – 163
  • Rushing Yards – 244
  • Rushing Yards/Attempt – 1.5
  • Rushing Touchdowns – 2
  • Passing Yards/Attempt – 6.9
  • Passing Yards/Completion – 11.3
  • Super Bowl Wins – 3
  • Super Bowl MVPs – 2
  • NFL MVP – 0
  • 2-time NFL Pro Bowler
  • Regular Season Wins – 48
  • Regular Season Losses – 15
  • Post Season Wins - 9
  • Post Season Losses - 0

Quarterback A:
  • Games played – 52
  • Completions – 1,109
  • Attempts – 1,669
  • Completion Percentage – 66.4%
  • Passing Yards – 14,666
  • Touchdowns – 104
  • Interceptions – 57
  • Average QB Rating – 98.8
  • Rushing Attempts – 82
  • Rushing Yards – 199
  • Rushing Yards/Attempt – 2.4
  • Rushing Touchdowns – 2
  • Passing Yards/Attempt – 8.7
  • Passing Yards/Completion – 12.1
  • Super Bowl Wins – 1
  • Super Bowl MVPs – 1
  • NFL MVP – 2
  • 3-time NFL Pro Bowler
  • Regular Season Wins – 40
  • Regular Season Losses – 12
  • Post Season Wins - 5
  • Post Season Losses - 2

Now, Quarterback A has better numbers over the four year comparison than Brady, except for the Super Bowl victories. Brady has him 3 to 1 in SB victories and 2 to 1 in the SB MVPs. QB A has Brady 2 to 0 in the NFL MVPs. Would you say QB A is a Hall of Famer? Would you say Kurt Warner is a Hall of Fame quarterback?

Looking at those comparisons and numbers, I don’t see how we can say that Tom Brady is a Hall of Fame quarterback based on a 9-0 play-off record and three Super Bowl victories. I’m not trying to take anything away from Brady, but he shouldn’t have a bust waiting for him at Canton right now.

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say Kurt Warner is a Hall of Fame quarterback after watching his fall the past few years. He technically only had three good years, but this past season was the most he has played since 2001. His four seasons used in the average were 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2004.

Does this change anyone’s opinion now? Are you still convinced that Tom Brady, if he retired tomorrow would be a Hall of Famer? Would Kurt Warner be enshrined in the Hall if he retired tomorrow?

I think Brady will be in the Hall of Fame after his career is long over, only because of his postseason record. People will always talk about the Super Bowl victories, and I’m sure he will get several more rings in his day. Warner, you can’t say the same for.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

“The theory of probability has no idea what game you are playing. The odds of being dealt any specific poker hand (any combination of fiver cards) is 1 in 2,598,960. You have the same chances of being dealt a royal straight flush in spaces as you do the 7 of hearts, 6 of spades, 5 of diamonds, 3 of clubs, and 2 of hearts.” – Poker Wisdom from my poker desk calendar

If you read the previous post you know I finished 9th in my 2nd Cincinnati Series of Poker championship this past weekend. Had 29 people play this year; one more than last year. It was a pretty tight tournament from the onset. We were a good 30 minutes in before the first all-in bet. The one that I remember the best, even though it wasn’t at my table, was the AA vs. 88. AA went all-in after the flop, but I’m not sure what was on the board. The 88 called the bet, actually putting himself all-in and caught an 8 on the river. That table erupted at that beat.

Play continued for about 7 hours until the winner was decided. There were a couple of people upset at the final two because they thought they were in cahoots with one another. Now both people are good friends of mine and they did make a deal early on that if they made it to the final two with equal chips, they would split the money. If one player had more chips than the other, they would play until a winner was determined. I was fine with that deal, because I said it was allowed in the rules. Now maybe they didn’t play many pots against one another, but they both played plenty of pots against the rest of the table to get where they were at.

There wasn’t quite the afterparty this year compared to last. It was certainly more tame. We drank whatever beer was left, went to a few bars, and ate some sliders from White Castle. Anyone who knows the WC Lounge, especially from the classic movie Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, knows how good they taste while drunk, not so good the next morning.

There aren’t too many of my hands to talk about. Looking back on my notes, I didn’t play out of position too much at all and really only played to the showdown four times. I was able to steal a lot of blinds, but never able to scoop any big pots. I did play the hammer one time and bluffed the guy off the flop to scoop a small pot. I just had to play it. I think it may have been the alcohol working.

Anyway, so the Super Bowl is this weekend. Hey, does anyone know if T.O. is going to play? I can’t seem to find anything about his status? I can’t believe this isn’t a huge topic of discussion in Jacksonville?

I was watching Sports Center a couple nights back when some reporter posed a question to D. McNabb about T.O. “Did T.O. make you a better quarterback?” What? Now, I realize T.O. gave McNabb a better option to throw too, but he certainly didn’t make him a better quarterback. McNabb was a great quarterback before and an incredible team leader. Anyway, McNabb basically said, “No, he didn’t make me a better quarterback. If he did, then I guess you can say I made him a better wide receiver.” Stuart “One Eye” Scott went nuts on the answer along with Michael Irvin. Only Steve Young exercised some intelligence in the matter saying, McNabb basically said he was a good quarterback before and will be after. It wasn’t a reflection on T.O. I can’t stand how the media feels they must only cater to controversial issues and try to cause a rift between teammates.

As much as I wanted an All-Pennsylvania Super Bowl, it wasn’t to be. I ultimately think that New England will win yet another Super Bowl. They just don’t make mistakes. I hope Philly wins and McNabb gets his ring. My prediction: NE – 26, Philly – 17. Brady will earn his third Super Bowl MVP in four years.

Poll Question – If Brady leads NE to their 3rd Super Bowl in four years and earns his 3rd Super Bowl MVP, will this make him a lock for the Hall of Fame?

I was reading the other morning that Barry Bonds will miss most of spring training because of arthritis in his knee. Now, tell me if I’m wrong or not, but when you go off the juice, aren’t your knees one of the first things to go and show signs of arthritis? I could be wrong, but come on. My prediction: Barry will report and of course will be lighter (see Jason Giambi last year) and will say that it is a result of the knee surgery. He realized he needed to take some of the pressure off his knee, so he changed his diet and dropped a few extra pounds. Barry Bonds is a fraud. He is a great ballplayer, but in my eyes, he has cheated to get where he is today.
His numbers are fraudulent and when he does break Ruth’s record and ultimately Aaron’s record, there should be an asterisk next to his name.

A prime example of why women shouldn’t own sports teams. ABA owner fires woman coach because she wouldn’t bench best player. Makes sense right? This Sally Anthony chick is nuts. Check out her website. (Funny, just brought the link back is now "Under Construction.") It is good to see that the coach was reinstated. Plus the coach is kinda hot. Am I right?

Anyone watching the Grinnell v. Beloit basketball game? This game is awesome. I should have went to Grinnell and played basketball. That would have been fun. Wonder what the over/under was on the game? Anyone know?