Saturday, April 24, 2010

If Bob Dylan were still coherent

and and modern indie rock sensibilities, this is what he'd sound like (from a great new album by The Tallest Man on Earth, and a live version):

Monday, April 19, 2010

NFL Draft

I've been a huge NFL draft fan since I was in middle school, which as you might guess earned a reputation as a huge ladies' man.

Thursday marks the first time the NFL draft will be broadcast in primetime. Packers GM Ted Thompson will seize the moment of having tens of millions of fans watching by trading down to the top of the second round. Riveting.

Anyhow, here are some tame NFL draft predictions:

Rams take Bradford, Lions take McCoy, Bucs take Suh. Best player in the NFL draft, safety Eric Berry, goes No. 5 to Chiefs. I don't understand why so many mock drafts have Berry going lower, but I'm even more puzzled why any team would pass on him in the first place.

Players who surprisingly fall: Bulaga, Spiller, earl thomas and JP Paul.

Players who go surprisingly high: Tebow to Jaguars, Campbell to Raiders, Dan Williams to Dolphins.

Players I'd like the Packers to take: Jerry Hughes, Kyle Wilson and especially Thomas if he slips to No. 23.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A future cheesehead?

Growing up, my best friend Freddy and I rooted for all the same teams, except in football where he was a Bears fan and I was a Packers fan. During high school, when teenage boys derive a vast majority of their self esteem based on the success of their favorite teams, the Packers went 8-0 against the Bears and won the Super Bowl.

This gave me bragging rights that stayed on my side during most of Brett Favre's 16-year career in Green Bay. The Bears won their share recently though, and that has given Freddy the right to come back at me.

But, all this time I've been plotting to take this rivalry to the next level. On Thursday, Freddy's better half gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl. In due time, I will be buying my 'niece' Packers apparel. Perchance a cheesehead to adorn her cute little head.

In your face Freddy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today, a group of friends and I gathered to celebrate the birth of an arts and entertainment editor at a local newspaper where I was employed. Libations. Intelligent conversation. A toast. Semi-intelligent conversation. "Guard the bathroom door for me?" Chunky conversation linked together like a bridge connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan.

A year later, post-resurrection. Happiness, more hope.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The NCAA is insanely out of touch

The NCAA is greedily on the verge of challenging the timeless altruism 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' A bunch of fat, rich white guys are ready to expand the beloved NCAA tournament from 65 to 96 teams. Why? Well, the logic hasn't really come yet. "Because we expanded the postseason tournaments for most our sports," was one weird answer, which strangely neglects to take notice of NCAA Division I football. The highest grossing NCAA sport hasn't expanded its postseason to have a tournament of any sort.

The real reason is money, we all know that. Poor CBS is on its way out, the Disney family is on its way in. Gone will be the drama of figuring out which bubble teams make it, since every half-decent college basketball team will now have the honor of going 'dancing.' Making the tournament used to be such an accomplishment. I know. I grew up watching Valpo, and when the team finally made the tournament in 1996, it was a huge deal. Starting next year? Welcome to the Big Dance Mississippi State, Northwestern and even North Carolina. Mediocrity will reign supreme.

The end result will be to squeeze out the mid-major programs, which make the NCAA tournament so universally beloved. Teams like Northern Iowa and Ohio, whose upsets made this year's March Madness exciting, will see their odds of such successes trimmed next year. Why? Because both teams would have had to win a play-in game before reaching the normal field of 64. Their upset victims, Kansas and Georgetown, would be rewarded with first round byes.

There's never been a 16 seed to win an NCAA tournament game, and only four No. 15 seeds have pulled off the feat. Next year we'll be starting the exciting new statistic of how many No. 24 seeds have ever won a tournament game. The answer? Who gives a shit?

I used to be annoyed by bitter old men who explained how the designated hitter, expansion and interleague play had sapped their love of baseball. Now, I AM one of those bitter old men. Change for the sake of change is one thing, but change for the sake of making the rich richer is another. I'm not anti-change. I actually think the NBA will be even more exciting when it inevitably expands to Asia, Europe and maybe even South America in the next decade.

But, the NCAA tournament is the one American sporting tradition that is loved for its format as much as anything else. Watching the underdogs upset perennial powerhouses was the reason even non-basketball fans are all abuzz during March. Filling out brackets is something virtually everyone, including President Obama, does. You didn't have that No. 19 seed advancing to the round of 64? You fool!!

The weirdest aspect of this is how these same powerbrokers can't figure out a way to give fans what they really want most from college sports -- a football playoff. Oh wait, there's an NCAA football playoff at the Division I-AA level.

In the real-life brackets of NCAA leadership, logic loses to profit in the first round every time.