May 19, 2010

Phoenix Suns vs. San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center

POST #    3027

Even before I drove down to Texas with Neil, I was thinking of things to do outside our eventual arrival in Austin. Austin has a ton to offer, but seeing that it was maybe my second time in Texas ever, I was hoping to do some things besides just eating tacos and BBQ.

Luckily for me, the San Antonio Spurs advanced past the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Also lucky was the fact that I could actually make one of their home games in their series with the Phoenix Suns. Seats for were plentiful on Stubhub, but as you can see they were super high up (not to mention expensive). So high up, in fact, that we were on the same level as the guy controlling the spotlights.

The game itself was close for two quarters — the 2nd and 3rd. The Spurs jumped out to a 9 point lead after the 1st quarter and the Suns chipped and chipped away that lead until they trailed by just one point after three quarters.. Then the Goran Dragic of the Suns exploded for 23 points in the 4th quarter (!!) to give the Suns the 110-96 win and a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Phoenix went on to a 4-0 series sweep, the first time they beat San Antonio in the playoffs since 2000. The Suns lost four playoff matchups in a row to the Spurs before finally winning this year.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports, Travel at 2:20 PM

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March 17, 2010

Kobayashi Likes the Meatballs

POST #    3023

Takeru Kobayashi really likes eating. Last Monday, he set the Guinness Record for most meatballs eaten in one minute when he devoured 29 meatballs. I was lucky enough to be there in person, but if you're curious what that meatball eating pace looks like, I have video below. It seems like he had to swallow each meatball and show the judge before moving on. I suspect that's the reason for the low count.

Takeru Kobayashi Sets Meatball-Eating Record from tienmao on Vimeo.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, NYC, Photos, Sports at 6:10 PM

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February 8, 2010

Here's Why The Saints Won Super Bowl XLIV

POST #    3017

Because lots of people jumped on their bandwagon! But really, congrats to their fans and the city of New Orleans. I think it's fair to say that anyone who wasn't a Colts fan (or had money on the Colts) was pulling for them. It's kind of a shame that the 'Aints nickname will have to be abandoned.

Or maybe they won because of the excellent play by Drew Brees, the interception return for touchdown by Tracy Porter or Garrett Hartley's kicking abilities.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, Photos, Sports at 12:21 PM

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December 29, 2009

Timberwolves vs. Blazers: Rip City Goes Crazy for Chalupas

POST #    3006

How do you get 20,000 (mostly white) people on their feet in Portland, Oregon? Offer them a free Chalupa from Taco Bell if they cheer their team on to more than 100 points, that's how.

Back in November, we went to the Timberwolves vs. Trail Blazers game in Portland, a game the Blazers won 116-93. The people in Portland love their basketball team.

But to sum up the experience of a Trail Blazers game, I refer you to this Bill Simmons column: "First, that's the whitest NBA experience you can have that doesn't involve the words "Salt," "Lake" and City." They didn't play hip-hop either before the game or during the game, each team seemed to have more African-Americans than the entire crowd and the pregame video right before the introduction of Portland's starting lineup was a local grunge band singing "Ballroom Blitz." And second, during a second-quarter timeout, my buddy House and I ran into the concourse to grab beers and noticed there was NOBODY else in line for anything. We felt like Will Smith in "I Am Legend." There was no sign of human life other than the workers. Everyone else stays in their seats. At halftime, those same people pour into the concourse like it's halftime of a football game. I've never seen anything like it. I don't know whether the Blazers have the most loyal, passionate, dutiful fans in the NBA, but at the very least, we can say nobody else tops them."

Search "Rose Garden" in the article for the whole question/answer about Sports Guy's stop in Portland.

Posted by tien mao in Oregon, Photos, Sports, Travel at 3:31 PM

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November 2, 2009

Halloween and the 2009 NYC Marathon

POST #    2991

For Halloween, which I really hate dressing up for (as an adult), Shannan made us some bobble heads. They both came out really, well and actually bobbled. Somewhat creepy though, were the eyes that were painted onto the head.

The day after Halloween was the 2009 NYC Marathon and event with almost 44,000 people from around the world running in the streets of New York. I love the marathon, but I don't think I would ever run it. So maybe I should say "I love watching the marathon."

In the 1st marathon photo, you can see eventual women's winner Derartu Tulu (blue top on the right). Leading the men at mile 12 was eventual winner Meb Keflezighi, the first American to win the NYC Marathon in 27 years. Does that guy in the 3rd marathon photo look familiar? That's because it's Anthony Edwards! You may recognize him from such movies as Top Gun and Revenge of the Nerds and TV shows like ER. If you're wondering, he does respond to people (me) yelling "Go Goose!" Edwards was running for the charity Shoe4Africa, which is raising money to build a public children's hospital in Kenya. And, yes, that last photo is of a guy carrying an Eiffel Tower replica.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, NYC, Photos, Sports at 8:48 AM

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October 12, 2009

Last Mets Game of the Long, Long 2009 Season at Citi Field

POST #    2988

Last Sunday finally brought and end to the miserable 2009 Mets season. A season where I went to entirely too many games (curses to that season ticket). But through a stroke of luck, we ended up in the front row on the field level for the final out of the stadium's inaugural season. Following the game was the Mr. Met Dash on the field for season ticket holders (not that they actually checked). Also, the word dash is very generous for the event. You're really just walking around the field as the people tell you not to stop. But at least we got to step on three bases (2nd, 3rd, and home).

If you're wondering what's going on in the 3rd photo, it's David robbing a home run with his newspaper.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 3:51 PM

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August 3, 2009

Friday's Rainbow Over CitiField

POST #    2981

I was thinking that the gold at the end of it would be a Wild Card, but then they lost 2 of 3 to the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks. And yes, the Wild Card is a case of extreme optimism, but I guess you gotta believe?

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 5:57 PM

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June 8, 2009

The 2009 Belmont Stakes

POST #    2971

This year's Belmont Stakes wasn't nearly as crowded as years past. I guess the lack of a Triple Crown possibility will do that. But the weather was perfect and the favorite didn't win the 141st running of the stakes. Summer Bird (pictured before the race in picture #2) won pretty easily after it passed Dunkirk and Mine That Bird.

More photos over at flickr.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 12:49 PM

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April 16, 2009

More From Opening Day at Citi Field

POST #    2959

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 12:25 PM

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April 15, 2009

Panorama of Citi Field on Opening Day

POST #    2958

Monday night, I headed out to Flushing for the first official Mets game at their new stadium, Citi Field. It's a very nice stadium (especially in comparison to Shea), but there are some quirks: I can't see the whole field from my seats, the food lines (for the really good stuff) are insanely long, and I found the seats kind of uncomfortable.

I'm sure I'll learn to love the stadium though, just like I loved Shea.

And if you want, you can click on the image for a much larger version.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 12:47 PM

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February 17, 2009

Red Bull Snowscrapers Panorama

POST #    2944

Here's a panorama (click for larger image) from the top of that 90-foot snowboard ramp that Red Bull constructed in East River Park.

Sorry updates have been so sporadic. Ever since finishing up last year's project of taking at least a photo a day for a year, it's been hard to get motivated to take photos. I usually only break it out when I have a specific event/item to take a photo of and not to fulfill a daily need to use it. Not sure if that makes sense at all.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 3:57 PM

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February 9, 2009

On Top of Mt. Red Bull

POST #    2940

Last Thursday, the Red Bull Snowscrapers competition took place in NYC on a man-made 9-story ramp in East River Park. The morning before the event, I went down to East River Park to take some photos for Gothamist. It was cold and windy — and that's before I walked up the stairs to the top of the 90-foot ramp.

But the views from the top were pretty ridiculous. I'm not terrified of heights or anything, but I'm happy that I didn't look straight down over the edge of the platform.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 11:44 AM

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January 29, 2009

Panorama of Madison Square Garden

POST #    2935

You can see this larger on flickr.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 6:08 PM

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January 27, 2009

Madison Square Garden on Chinese New Year

POST #    2934

It was the Knicks versus the Houston Rockets, but on the first day of the New Year, there was no Yao Ming to be found! Despite all the Chinese New Year themed activities and pre-game warmups, Yao left all the Chinese people in the stands disappointed as he sat out another game to rest his knee.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 1:49 PM

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January 6, 2009

My Year in Photos / Project 365 For 2008

POST #    2925

On January 1st, 2008, I started out on an insane project that many other people have done: taking at least one photo every day for the entire year. After taking the photo, I eventually (usually not the next day) put them onto flickr. Some, but not all, of the photos have appeared here. But the photos are all in one set on flickr.

You may think taking a photo every day for 365 days is easy, but I actually found it really, really hard. It was extra hard in 2008 because there were 366 days.

I encourage you to take a look at the photo set that turned out. It's an interesting capsule into one year of my life.

Posted by tien mao in Film, Food/Drink, Friends/Family, Illinois, Mortimer, NYC, Photos, Randolph, Sports, Travel at 12:08 PM

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November 3, 2008

The 2008 New York City Marathon (Congrats Calvin and Maggie!!)

POST #    2890

Sunday was the best sporting yearly sports event in the city, the 2008 New York City Marathon. Almost 40,000 people from around the world participated - top-notch athletes, wheelchair athletes, blind athletes, and regular people. Even entering a marathon and running is impressive, but finishing it? I can't even imagine doing that.

Paula Radcliffe (right in the first picture) won the women's race for the second year in a row and third time overall in a time of 2:23:56. Marilson Gomes dos Santos (yellow shirt in the second photo), not leading at mile 12 where I was, won his second NYC Marathon title in a time of 2:08:43. Very impressive on both parts.

More impressive? Calvin and Maggie both ran the marathon...and finished. Calvin finished in 4:15:28, beating his goal of 4:30 despite a leg injury that almost kept him from running. I suspect he finished early because he didn't stop to pee. Maggie, who had lots of energy at mile 12, finished with a time of 4:26:17. Congratulations to both and all the people that competed (and finished) yesterday. To celebrate, Calvin had some White Castle.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 9:46 AM

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October 8, 2008

Photographers LOVE Michael Phelps

POST #    2873

From Bowlmor Lanes' 70th Anniversary Party last night.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 6:25 PM

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October 6, 2008

"Bum Rush The Show" - Chuck D

POST #    2871

Guess who won the Chuck D Cup in Brooklyn Kickball yesterday? The Bacon Bits! We beat the John Cougar Mellencamps in thrilling fashion, 8-7. It was a tense 9-inning game that featured a few lead changes and several ties.

The other side of the ball features Hillary Duff's signature. Cool, I suppose, but she's no Chuck D.

The Bacon Bits have come a long, long way in three seasons. Congrats to all the other people on the team.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 3:54 PM

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September 29, 2008

Panorama of Michigan vs Wisconsin at Michigan Stadium

POST #    2866

This weekend, we took the annual trip to Ann Arbor to watch Michigan Football. The weather on Friday was a little daunting and I wasn't sure we would make it out of NYC at all, but to my surprise, we were only delayed about 45 minutes.

The game was great, and a tale of two halves for Michigan. In the first half, Michigan turned it over 5 times and had only 63 feet of total offense. Yes, that's right, they only had 21 yards! By the end of the half, Wisconsin was winning 19-0, a margin that should have been much, much larger. But the second half, Michigan finally got things going offensively. They managed to piece together the biggest comeback in Michigan Stadium history, fittingly on the day they played the 500th game at the Big House.

It was yet another awesome game that I've witnessed at Michigan Stadium. Ahh, memories.

Much larger version of the photo here on flickr.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports, Travel at 5:39 PM

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September 25, 2008

The Sun Sets on Shea Stadium

POST #    2865

I've been a Mets fan for 20+ years and this week (maybe early next week) the final regular season game will be played out at Shea Stadium. I think most Mets fans will agree that they won't be missing the stadium, but it's still the place the Mets have called home since 1964. Next year, the team will move into the sparkling Citi Field (cost, $610 million) leaving their $28.5 million stadium to become a parking lot.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 2:30 PM

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August 26, 2008

Somebody Loves Roger Federer!

POST #    2844

And it's not me. Besides, it's not really my shade of lipstick.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 6:03 PM

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August 20, 2008

Two New Pairs of Nike Air Force 1

POST #    2840

The Mowabb Edition (top) and the Air Max '95 Edition (bottom).

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 6:28 PM

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July 29, 2008

Jonas Eats Cotton Candy at Mets Game

POST #    2824

After Jonas finished (what could have been his first cotton candy ever), he was a sticky mess. Just brushing against me left a sugar stain! Longtime readers will know that I too love cotton candy at baseball games!

And it should be pointed out that I was using a wide angle lens. Really, really wide angle.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Friends/Family, NYC, Photos, Sports at 6:34 PM

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June 30, 2008

Mr. Met Hangs His Head

POST #    2805

I think the only way Mr. Met can show sadness is by dropping his head, slumping his shoulders and looking at the ground. I guess that's what happens when you have a permanent smile on your face.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 8:02 AM

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June 26, 2008

Soccer Fans Go Nuts for Showdown in Chinatown

POST #    2803

Apprently, soccer stars + NBA stars = big crowds. At least that's my assumption based on yesterday's Showdown in Chinatown. NBA players included Jason Kidd and Baron Davis, while soccer stars included Thierry Henry (with freetime after that Euro 2008 showing by France), Jozy Altidore, Juan Pablo Ángel and Claudio Reyna.

I couldn't see any action, but people were excited!

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 7:29 PM

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June 12, 2008

Wide Angle at Shea's Field Level

POST #    2793

The outcome of last night's game took a while, but at least they won in extra innings after a blown save by Billy Wagner. This afternoon, Wagner blew yet another two-run lead, but the Mets lost when Aaron Heilman decided he had enough of this extra inning stuff and gave up a run in the top of the 10th.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 5:12 PM

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June 9, 2008

The 2008 Belmont Stakes

POST #    2790

Horse racing will go at least one more year without a Triple Crown winner. Saturday, I went out to Belmont with a bunch of people in Adam's annual trip. Big Brown was the heavy favorite (1-4 with almost $7 million bet on him to win), but he finished dead last. Winning the race was Da' Tara, the biggest longshot, who went off at 38-1 (you would win $38 if you placed a $1 bet).

While I would have loved to witness history, I'm kind of happy Big Brown didn't win.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:41 AM

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May 27, 2008

Sign Doesn't Help Marco Andretti Win Indy 500

POST #    2782

But his mom tried, at least. He did come in 3rd though, but that's not going to break that Andretti luck.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:03 PM

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May 19, 2008

Shea Stadium with the Holga

POST #    2777


Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 8:02 AM

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February 11, 2008

Union Square Street Sessions

POST #    2713

If I ever tried to pull the things the competitors do at the Union Square Street Sessions, I would break a few bones.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 9:00 AM

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February 6, 2008

Super Bowl XLII Champs New York Giants Honored With Ticker Tape Parade

POST #    2710

Did someone say ticker tape parade? Oh yeah! The last ticker tape parade I witnessed was way back in 1994 when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. While there have been parades since, I'm not a fan of the team that was feted.

And even though the Giants have won Super Bowls before, this was their first parade in New York City. As you can probably imagine, it was a pretty awesome experience.

Maybe in late October or November, I'll be at another parade. This time for the Mets!

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 11:57 AM

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October 3, 2007

The Gutter in Brooklyn

POST #    2619

In the long-standing tienmao.com tradition of putting things up way after I take the pictures, here are some pictures from The Gutter - a new bar/bowling alley in Greenpoint/Williamsburg (it's really right on the border). Almost the entire bowling alley is made of old lanes, which gives the place a nice look. The best part about The Gutter? It's conveniently located to my apartment.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, NYC, Photos, Sports at 12:28 PM

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September 27, 2007

The Harvest Moon Over Citi Field

POST #    2615

The harvest moon from last night that rose over Citi Field didn't do much to help the Mets make their way towards the post-season. In fact, they seem to be doing everything they can to miss it entirely. Sigh.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Sports at 1:29 PM

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September 24, 2007

Michigan vs Penn State at Michigan Stadium

POST #    2612

This weekend, we made our annual trip back to Michigan for a football game. Like 2 years ago, it was against Penn State. And like the previous 8 games spanning 10 years, Michigan beat Penn State 14-9, making it 9 straight games and 11 straight years.

While the season certainly has lost some luster because of a loss to Appalachian State and Oregon, the season seems to be picking up for Michigan.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:05 AM

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August 27, 2007

Red Bulls vs. Galaxy at Giants Stadium

POST #    2588

I didn't get to these last week, but they are from after Calvin's 4 in 3 hot dog moment. We actually missed the first three goals of the game because of crazy traffic, but it turned out fine because there were an astronomical 9 goals scored.

And it was obviously the David Beckham show. There were a ton of "Galaxy fans" that had Beckham shirts and there was even a group of girls that painted his name across their bellies. Those girls must have been happy when he took his shirt off after the game.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:57 AM

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August 22, 2007

Calvin Eats 4 Hot Dogs in 3 Minutes

POST #    2584

Calvin has always been a fast eater and drinker. And he's always loved hot dogs. So one drunken night, he told Adam that he could eat 10 hot dogs in 5 minutes and really thought he could do it. We had our doubts, but on Saturday we did an abbreviated version of that bet - 4 dogs in 4 minutes. Miraculously, he finished in 3 minutes, but not without the shakes from eating so fast. AND he didn't have a reversal of fortune.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Photos, Sports at 9:09 AM

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June 29, 2007

Wiimbledon at Barcade

POST #    2535

I keep forgetting to put these pictures up from last Saturday's Wiimbledon at Barcade. Shockingly, I did not play.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Sports, Tech at 3:17 PM

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June 16, 2007

Mets vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (Game 4 of the 2007 Subway Series)

POST #    2519

Neil and I were on hand last night for the 4th game of this year's Subway Series. It was a great game, and that's not just because the Mets won 2-0. Oliver Perez pitched a phenomenal game, shutting out the Yankees for 7 1/3 innings. Since they didn't welcome Billy Wagner with Enter Sandman, I had to improvise a little. It was just like Shea Stadium. Well, kind of.

Because of my travel earlier this year, I missed two games at Shea that I had tickets for.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 3:07 PM

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June 11, 2007

History Made at the 2007 Belmont

POST #    2513

Those that went to this year's Belmont Stakes witnessed history. Rags to Rices, a filly won the race for the first time since 1905 and for only the 3rd time in the race's history. That's her leading down the stretch in the 1st photo. I went again with Adam's Helmont trip (not as many wild photos taken as last year), which was great. While there were many great outfits - Adam and his brother dressed as jockeys - I think the best outfit has to go to Henry. Anybody willing to go all out with an ascot wins in my book.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 9:08 AM

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February 26, 2007

Proof of My Best Bowling Game Ever!

POST #    2403

Unfortunately, it's on the Wii. Also sad is that in real life I didn't manage to break 100 in three games this week. I'm so bad at real bowling. No photographic evidence of that, but why would I make something like that up?

But 10 strikes in a game and 9 in a row is pretty good, no? Of course I said I was going to go for 300 in the next game but fell short of the score pictured here.

And there's no way I can do this ridiculous feat (via Kottke).

Posted by tien mao in Sports, Tech at 7:48 AM

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February 12, 2007

Union Square Street Sessions - Snowboarding in NYC

POST #    2387

Last Thursday, some top snowboarders came here for New York City's first snowboard competition - Union Square Street Sessions. There was no need for a mountain as the riders were just doing tricks on the rail and they were coming down a manmade "hill." I tried to catch the actual competition in the evening, but it was just too crowded. These pictures are from the early morning preview. It looked as if the competition would be much better if it were on an actual mountain.

More pictures in my flickr photoset.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 8:54 AM

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January 29, 2007

The 2007 Idiotarod

POST #    2379

When Calvin was telling people that he ran in Saturday's Idiotarod, the explanation that I would tell people is that it's like the Iditarod in Alaska, except with idiots replacing dogs. That and they're using shopping carts instead of sleds and dressed in ridiculous outfits. Conveniently for me, the race started in Greenpoint. I decided not to follow it to Long Island City (it was too far to run) or risk getting pelted with any projectiles from the participants.

And if you're wondering, it was cold on Saturday.

There are a couple of more photos in my flickr set.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 8:37 AM

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December 28, 2006

Shannan and Her Brother Throw Down in Wii Boxing

POST #    2349

If there's one thing that's more amusing than actually playing the Nintendo Wii, it's watching people play the Nintendo Wii. It's like any other video game (facial expressions, sounds of joy/frustration) except amplified and exaggerated due to the nature of the motion sensitive controller design. In the Wii Sports title, boxing is pretty amusing to watch. Shannan defeated most challengers in the ring, except for one match where she lost to her brother. She even managed to K.O. someone on their first knockdown. The key to Shannan's success seemed to be punching as frantically as humanly possible without breathing until knocking someone down, being knocked down, or the end of a round.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, Sports, Tech at 7:53 AM

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December 19, 2006

Knicks vs. Jazz at Madison Square Garden

POST #    2343

Last night at the Knicks game, New York could only dress 8 players because of the suspension of 5 of their players. Matty and I had tickets to last night's Knicks prior to Saturday's little rumble at The Garden, but I was curious to see how the Knicks would perform under adverse conditions. While the Knicks trailed by double digets at times, they managed to get an overtime victory. In a truly Knickerbocker fashion though, they almost gave the game away and needed last second heroics by Stephon Marbury in the overtime to win.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:15 AM

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November 15, 2006

Just in Time for the Big Game

POST #    2308

Michigan vs. Ohio State. Saturday. And if you don't understand the rivalry, you can watch three games from the storied rivalry on iTunes.

And it's hard to believe, but this guy is very close to becoming a lawyer now. Crazy, right?

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:56 AM

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November 6, 2006

The 2006 New York City Marathon

POST #    2299

Yesterday was the running of the 37th edition of the New York City Marathon. We watched from a couple of places (4th Ave in Park Slope and in Greenpoint), mainly looking for Christina who was running her first (of many, I'm sure) marathon. There were some crazy outfits people wore. At least two male fairies, two rhinos, a Smurf, and plenty more that I missed or that aren't pictured here. There was also a guy who was juggling (5th picture) when we saw him on 4th Ave. and still when we saw him in Greenpoint. Perhaps the strangest thing was the German man in the 8th photo who was puffing away on a cigarette as he ran.

Congratulations to Christina and all the people who ran in the 2006 Marathon.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:07 AM

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October 19, 2006

Mets vs Cardinals - Game 6 of the National League Championship Series

POST #    2284

You gotta love baseball in October. Especially when Mets win! Woo hoo! Let's go Mets!

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:59 AM

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October 5, 2006

Mets vs Dodgers - Game 1 of the National League Division Series

POST #    2267

Wow. Last night's game at Shea Stadium was amazin'. Simply amazin'. It was the loudest crowd I've ever been in at Shea, including regular season Subway Series games. And the seats I had via lottery were awesome. I can't believe I got Section 10 in the Loge. Oh yeah, the Mets won 6-5.

The 3rd photo is Carlos Delgado hitting his home run in the 4th inning, the 4th is him celebrating as he enters the dugout and the 5th photo is after Cliff Floyd's home run in the same inning.

Some additional photos on flickr.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:14 AM

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September 21, 2006

Cubs vs. Reds at Wrigley Field - My First Game at Wrigley

POST #    2251

While I've witnessed the Cubs play the Mets (and defeat them) at Shea Stadium, I've never seen the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. There's certainly a lot of charm to the stadium, with its manual scoreboard, ivy covered brick outfield walls, and what's probably the best rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," but there are a couple other stadiums I've been to that I liked better. That said, Wrigley is a gem compared to the dump that is Shea. I loved the wide concourses and the views of the field as I walked up the ramps to the upper deck. Perhaps my biggest regret is that I didn't get a hot dog at the game. Not a total loss as I had two chardogs the night before. And for my beverage selection, I had to have Old Style.

The Cubs won the game, 4-0 and it was Chicago's first complete game this season.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports, Travel at 8:00 AM

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August 17, 2006

Air Max 360 - Rejuvenation Pack Edition

POST #    2226

I'm traveling to Oregon for about 10 days, so posting will be light or non-existant. But I leave you with one of my newest sneaker purchases - the Air Max 360 Rejuvenation Pack Edition. Perhaps the coolest aspect of the shoe is that the whole thing is covered in reflective material. I wasn't able to reproduce the image that was on PickYourShoes.com though.

And if you want to see travel pictures, I'm sure I'll be flickring.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 6:38 AM

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August 8, 2006

Weekend Baseball 2

POST #    2216

From Saturday's Cyclones game against the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:58 AM

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August 7, 2006

Weekend Baseball 1

POST #    2215

The beautiful sunset from Friday night's Mets game against the Phillies.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:08 AM

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July 27, 2006

Another Trip to the Gotham Girls Roller Derby

POST #    2205

Because going once to watch the Gotham Girls Roller Derby just isn't enough fun, Shannan and I went again this past weekend. The match this time was between the Brooklyn Bombshells, who won the last match we watched, against the Bronx Gridlock. Surely the Bombshells would win, right? After all, the Gridlock was a brand new team. Nope. The Gridlock only led by 5 at the half, but ran away with it by the end of the match.

- A lot more photos in my Flickr photo set of the match

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:17 AM

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July 25, 2006

Mets vs Cubs at Shea Stadium - 2006, Game 49

POST #    2203

Last night, the Mets lost 8-7 to the lowly Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium, something that made all those annoying Cubs fans very happy. But when you're a Cubs fan, there's really not all that much to live for this season anyway. Including last night's win, the hapless Cubbies are 38-60 (that's a .388 winning percentage). The Mets are a nice 59-40 (that's a .596 winning percentage). Life is good for the Mets, not so much for the Cubs. At least they have next year to look forward to when they'll promptly lose any chance of winning their first World Series since...1908. Next year though, they will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their 1907 World Series.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:53 AM

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July 19, 2006

With Nike+, I Am a Running Machine!

POST #    2197

Immediately after hearing about Nike+, I knew that I would have to get it and try it out. The only problem is that I absolutely hate running. But, I also knew that if anything would get me to try and run, this would be it. After pre-ordering the shoes and kit you need, I finally got them yesterday. The biggest problem with getting them yesterday though was the insane heat and humidity. Nevertheless, I braved the weather and stepped outside after 9 p.m. when it was still 90°. While that might not have been the best idea, my goals were set pretty low. After all, I hate running and try to avoid distance running at all times.

So I ran one mile. Just one mile. While I wasn't dying or anything, I can't say that it was a pleasant experience. I think the heat and humidity played a big role in that as well as my obvious lack of fitness (though, that's improved a lot with kickball). My best mile pace was at the very end when I was on pace for a 8'45" mile. My worst was about 3/4 of a mile into the run when I had a pace of 9'42"/mile. Click on the image above for a very compact graph of my run.

I finished my mile in about 12'11" After further examination, it seems like I finished in 9'19" (with the nice voice telling me that I was half way done, had 400m left, 300m, 200m, and 100m left. If I only ended my workout before I stopped running, I might have had a more accurate idea of my time.

I also found that I need to refine my playlist for running. The same songs for walking around doesn't quite work for running.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, Tech at 7:36 AM

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July 6, 2006

From the Brooklyn Kickball North American Invitational

POST #    2179

Over the weekend, I competed in the Brooklyn Kickball's North American Invitational. Unfortunately, the team I was on didn't make the playoffs after a last minute change in the number of teams that made the playoffs and being shortchanged one run in our first victory. It's unfortunate that we didn't advance because of that recording error. Providence Kickball came to play and they had the most unique uniforms - not just t-shirts - but whole outfits. And when you're in Brooklyn, you definitely want to write "Fuck You Brooklyn" on you belly.

And for some even more disturbing imagery, I recommend you click here and here.

It should be noted that I took none of these pictures. I'm not sure I would want to get that close.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Sports at 7:49 AM

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June 19, 2006

Clearly, The Mets Are #1

POST #    2164

That's what the big foam finger is telling us.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:59 AM

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June 15, 2006

Belmont Stakes 2006/Hellmont '06

POST #    2160

Last Saturday, I went on a little trip out to Belmont Park to catch the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. With no possibility of a Triple Crown and none of the horses that won the previous two legs (Barbaro was injured and Bernardini was resting), so there wasn't too big a crowd on hand. In 2004, the last time I went, there were about 120,000 people on hand. This year, the crowd was a little more than 60,000. After boarding a bus of 56 people at 10 in the morning and being suffeciently drunk by noon, I threw away less than $30 on the ponies (a number I'm kind of proud of) coming close to winning bets a couple of times.

For a much better summary of the day, be sure to read Arash Markazi's account on SI.com (he was on the same bus I was).

Also, some more photos in my Belmont photoset on Flickr.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Photos, Sports at 7:56 AM

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June 8, 2006

Gotham Girls Roller Derby; Food Diary Redux, Day 2

POST #    2152

Last Friday, I went to my first roller derby bout ever. The Gotham Girls Roller Derby match was between the Queens of Pain and the Brooklyn Bombshells (their other two teams are the Bronx Gridlock and the Manhattan Mayhem - clearly no love for Staten Island). It was really a lot of fun. I sat rinkside, which got me insanely close to the action, which proved to be a bad idea (or good, depending on how you look at it) when Raggedy Animal got shoved into me. Picture 7 of 8 happened right before I was flattened. My camera and I didn't seem to be damaged either, which is probably the most important thing. In the end, the Bombshells won the close match making their home Brooklyn crowd quite happy.

- More photos from Bombshells vs Pain in my Gotham Girls Roller Derby set on Flickr

2006 Food Diary, Day 2
12:26 a.m. - Home, one glass water. Really needed that glass of water after 64 oz of Bud Light.
9:04 - Work, 32 oz of water. Finished at 12:02.
12:46 p.m. - McDonald's medium #1 meal (that's a BigMac and fries) with a Coke. For some ungodly reason, they were selling an extra Big Mac for only $1 more. Of course, I had to buy and eat it.
3:07 - 30 oz of water. Finished at 5:54.
8:02 - Home, pasta with clams and garlic, one glass white wine.
8:20 - Water, one pint.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Photos, Sports at 7:48 AM

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June 1, 2006

Bacon is So Tasty that We're the Bacon Bits

POST #    2145

I've been playing kickball in McCarren Park for a little bit now with some friends. Our team is the Bacon Bits. These are our shirts which will be worn for the first time this Sunday. A lot of work went into them and most of them turned out really well. There's also a front to the shirt, which most on the team will see Sunday, but the fat is on the back.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:17 PM

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May 29, 2006

2006 Schnack Stahl-Meyer Hot Dog Eating Contest

POST #    2142

Today in Red Hook was the 2nd Annual Schnack Stahl-Meyer Hot Dog Eating Contest at Schnack. I've always considered myself a pretty good eater, after all, I did win a small cheesecake eating competition. But this was insane. "Gentleman" Joe Menchetti finished a custom made 30" Stahl-Meyer hot dog in under two minutes. 1:53 to be precise. He just blew away the competition. A man amongst boys in this competition. He won't be in the Nathan's competition though as he's an independent eater and that's an IFOCE event.

- More photos from the Schnack Stahl-Meyer Hot Dog Eating Contest in my set on flickr
- Jesse has more photos in his flickr photoset as well

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Photos, Sports at 4:15 PM

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May 24, 2006

Nike and Apple Combine to Unveil Nike+iPod

POST #    2136

Yesterday Nike and Apple unveiled a new product which they're calling Nike+iPod. It allows you track your running via a chip in your shoe as well as help use your iPod Nano to track your progress with a push of a button. The demo had a voice come on and say something to the effect of "you've run 6.2 miles in the last 49 minutes." Pretty neat device. Unfortunately, it only works with the Nano because apparently that's what people use when they run. Not those big clunky regular iPods. One of the best features of this new Nike+ project is the website that goes along with it. Maybe I'll have to start running.

Also, they came up with a nice little sneaker/iPod image for the product.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:53 AM

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May 22, 2006

Mets vs Yankees at Shea Stadium - 2006, Game 22

POST #    2132

Last night's Subway Series game at Shea was freezing - with all the wind, garbage was blowing everywhere and people were signing up for credit cards just to get the free blankets. Someone said that they actually ran out of hot water by the 6th inning. Most importantly tough, the Mets won.

- A few more photos in my Flickr set (which I should add more to)

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:07 AM

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April 18, 2006

Mets vs Braves at Shea Stadium - 2006, Game 10

POST #    2104

Last night, I went to the Mets game (by myself) and witnessed Pedro Martinez's 200th career victory. As it was my first game of the season, I had to have my first hot dog of the season. I resisted having my second hot dog. The number of people there was insane for an April game. Besides opening day, I can't remember the last time there were so many people at a Mets game in April. Seems like these Mets have a lot of new fans.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:40 AM

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April 3, 2006

Opening Day, T Minus 24 Hours (When I Took the Photos)

POST #    2084

Yesterday, I headed over to Shea Stadium for the the Mets Workout Day. I was surprised by the turnout - especially since the 7 train wasn't running into Manhattan. It was the first ever "Workout Day" that the Mets had at Shea. With tickets given to select ticketholders, those on hand essentially witnessed a pre-game workout with stretching, jogging, fielding and batting-practice. Nothing too exciting, but the concession stands were open, providing more revenue for these new and even more expensive Mets.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:52 AM

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March 31, 2006

Michigan vs South Carolina for the NIT Title at Madison Square Garden

POST #    2082

Fittingly during last night's NIT finals, the Michigan pep-band played "Respect," as both Michigan and South Carolina were looking for some after being left out of the NCAA Tournament. I think to make it all the way to New York to play in the finals garners respect for both teams, but only the Gamecocks emerged victorious. USC jumped out to an early lead, never trailed, and only occasionally let Michigan gain a glimmer of hope. Each time the Wolverines had a shot to come back, they would allow easy lay ups, take some bad shots, or get shut down by USC's defense.

Not quite the same result as 2004 when I also went to Madison Square Garden. And I tell you, if there's any arena that can kill the emotion of a college basketball game, it's Madison Square Garden.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:17 AM

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March 8, 2006

Nike Air Epic Suede AP

POST #    1971

I bought these shoes back in December (I think) but I still haven't worn them at all. Or even re-laced them for that matter. Then again, I haven't worn the Waffle Racers or the Air Zoom FCs that I bought last year. I think I'll be breaking these out once the weather becomes nice though.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:54 AM

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March 6, 2006

2 Megapixel Birthday Paintball Goodness!

POST #    2061

Yesterday I headed over to NYC Paintball in LIC for some awesome paintball fun. With 14 of my more courageous friends, we enjoyed three really fun hours. And we all left covered in oily paint and at least a couple of bruises or welts. Luckily I only escaped with a few bruises, but I did get hit in the same hand several times.

And how can you not love the fine quality photos from my old Canon S200 which was plenty damaged before I brought with me to paintball. Now it's covered with a nice layer of paint, giving the photos a nice haze to them.

Next time, Skirmish, perhaps? But tonight, I'll be numbing the pain at Barcade!

Posted by tien mao in Birthdays, Sports at 8:09 AM

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February 14, 2006

Nike's Joga Bonito Demonstration

POST #    2046

Saturday night, in the midst of the blizzard of '06, Shannan and I went to Chelsea to watch Nike's exhibition of Joga Bonito, what they are calling the movement play 3 on 3 Futsal - an indoor version of soccer. The game emphasizes ball control, skill and passion, not the power that you sometimes see in traditional soccer.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:01 AM

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February 8, 2006

The Captain

POST #    2036

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:43 AM

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February 1, 2006

Knicks vs Lakers at MSG

POST #    2035

Going into last night's Lakers/Knicks game, I was hoping that Kobe Bryant would drop 101 on the Knicks. Then I would be a witness to sports history. Obviously it was unlikely, but with the way the Knicks are playing, anything was possible. Alas, Kobe only had 40 points, including a ridiculous 23 of 26 from the charity stripe.

And don't you hate it when you get good seats to a game, but all you have is a 50mm lens?

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:56 AM

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January 17, 2006

Madcap Marathon - A Game of My Youth

POST #    2018

There's nothing quite like finding a game made in 1982 because you get a cover image that is just too funny looking. Madcap Marathon comes with a family of four that all seem to have red hair (I guess that was the cool thing in 1982) and a father and son combo that both have obscenely dated frames.

Besides the box, you also get an awesome game that is so much fun and that I still play really well. There's Bumpin' Basketball, Maniac Maize, High Hurdles, and Wavy Waters, each testing a different finger skill while being timed. My favorites have to be Maniac Maize and Wavy Waters. Clearly I need to break out this game and maybe Uno at the next sock party.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:54 AM

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November 17, 2005

Nike & Sole Collector Magazine Shoe Competition at Niketown

POST #    1954

Last night, much to the surprise of some people I know, I went over to Niketown for a sneaker contest hosted by Nike & Sole Collector. I'm not sure if the sneaker part was surprising, or if it was the fact that it was a sneaker contest that was surprising. Essentially, it was 20 people showing off their sneaker collections to win a pair of sneakers. Niketown was packed with people, some who waited in lines since Monday morning to get a chance to purchase one of three limited edition Nike Dunks (first three pictures).

It was a totally different event than the Sneaker Pimps show that I went to (photos here and here) in the shoes last night weren't custom designed and "pimped" but just collections of sneaker enthusiasts. Some had shoes that were really small, others had shoes that were really large. In a way, that's just too easy. I want to see shoes that are hard to come by and in a popular size. I'm not sure if that was something that was taken into account by people voting.

Perhaps the coolest shoes on display were Marty McFly's Nike Air Mags from Back to the Future 2 though. Not necessarily the prettiest shoes, but definitely the coolest.

- A few more photos on flickr

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:16 AM

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November 8, 2005

2005 New York City Marathon - Some Outfits

POST #    1944

When you're racing with 36,000 people, it's probably good to stand out in the crowd. While most people just went with comfortable looking athletic gear, some went over the top.

Funny story about the first photo. The runner continued to look at me as he ran and eventually ran into someone else. So if you are running in the marathon, it might be a good idea to at least have a view of those in front of you.

All my marathon photos that were even semi-decent are now in a gigantic flickr set.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 7:55 AM

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November 7, 2005

2005 New York City Marathon - Wheelchair Athletes

POST #    1942

I'm impressed by everyone that finishes the marathon, but there are just some people that look like they have a harder time of it. People like this are the heroes of the New York City Marathon.

- NYC Marathon flickr set (I've got more to add tomorrow)

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 7:48 AM

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November 6, 2005

2005 New York City Marathon - Lead Pack

POST #    1941

Adam had some people over to watch the 2005 New York City Marathon, which truly is a great event. I would never run, but that doesn't detract from how great it is. Pictured here are the lead packs of both the women and men at around mile 7. In both lead packs, the eventual winners are in at least one of the pictures.

More photos tomorrow.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Photos, Sports at 6:18 PM

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November 1, 2005

Lehigh Gap on the Appalachian Trail

POST #    1936

Sunday morning, I actually did something a little active. I hiked a short little bit of the Appalachian Trail called Lehigh Gap. Activity? Me? Totally insane, I know. The weather was perfect for the hike, sunny and a little cool. The only problem was that at the top of the climb and on the other side of the mountain, it was very windy. Not ideal when you're walking on rocks.

Longtime readers might recognize Lehigh Gap because I was there in 2003.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:52 AM

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October 25, 2005

Lloyd Carr's Bizarre Post-Game Interview

POST #    1930

So I was watching the Michigan-Iowa game this past Saturday on ABC. Michigan won the game in overtime and as the winning coach, Lloyd Carr had a post-game interview with ABC's sideline reporter, Suzy Shuster. She asked the typical questions, "what does this win mean to you?" and crap like that, but after the interview, there was an odd moment caught on camera. Lloyd and Suzy exchanged a hug! I can't say I've ever seen something so cozy between a reporter and someone that they cover. It seemed like the hug was okay with Suzy and okay with Lloyd, but still strange, right?

Perhaps I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but it was the most bizarre reporter/subject interaction I've seen since that whole Joe Namath/Suzy Kolber interview. But the most reasonable explanation for this is that Suzy is married to Rich Eisen and Eisen went to Michigan, so Suzy and Lloyd are friendly.

- View the interview (1.65 mb .mov file)

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:05 AM

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October 24, 2005

Giants vs Broncos at Giants Stadium

POST #    1929

Last week, it was the Michigan game, this week, the Giants game. Both games were decided in the final moments as Michigan won on the last play of the game and the Giants won it with only a few seconds left. Both games were awesome (at least for me, since I was cheering for the winners).

The Giants were struggling to move the ball since their first touchdown (picture #4) and struggling to stop the Broncos offense. With the Giants down 20-10 at the end of the 3rd, some fans started to leave Giants Stadium. Who could blame them? All they did was miss out on a great ending.

- Giants vs Broncos set on flickr

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:11 AM

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October 22, 2005

Tailgating a Week Ago

POST #    1923

From one week ago when I was in Michigan. Yes, that is a huge match lighter. It was actually pretty awesome. And yes, that's a gummy worm hanging out of Andrew's mouth while he's drinking beer.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Friends/Family, Sports at 9:48 AM

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October 18, 2005

Michigan vs Penn State at Michigan Stadium

POST #    1918

This past weekend, I made my annual trip to Michigan for a football game at my alma mater. The football season started with such promise, but it's been largely disappointing. Saturday's match-up was between a top-10 ranked Penn State team and an unranked, .500, 3-loss Michigan team. With 111,248 other people in attendance (including a few thousand Penn State fans), I witnessed my best game at Michigan Stadium ever. Our tickets in the South end zone were pretty good as far as endzone tickets go, but much of the first half action was at the far end of the field. Lucky for us, and unfortunately for Penn State, the deciding play took place in front of us.

The first half was mostly uneventful. A couple of missed field goals by Penn State, one by Michigan and a field goal in the 1st that gave Michigan a 3-0 lead that lasted into the 3rd quarter. In the 4th quarter, things got exciting as the two teams combined to score 39 points. Towards the beginning of the 4th quarter, Penn State scored 14 points in 17 seconds. The first was on a Michael Robinson rushing TD (he was virtually unstoppable) and the second on a fumble return for touchdown. At this point, the Michigan crowd was pretty stunned. And if that wasn't bad enough, Penn State picked up 2 points on a botched PAT. At this point, the visiting crowd was going crazy.

Luckily, Michigan answered with a touchdown of its own as Chad Henne threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham. Michigan added another field goal to go up by 3 with 3:45 remaining in the game. Way too much time for Penn State. Especially considering Michigan's obscenely soft prevent defense. Robinson scored another touchdown that put them up 4 with 53 seconds remaining in the game.

At this point, there were some Michigan fans leaving, but with 2 timeouts, it the game was hardly over. Those that stayed witnessed one hell of an ending. After a huge kickoff return by Steve Breaston, Michigan drove 53 yards and used all 53 seconds on the clock to get to pay dirt. The game was won on a last second (literally) pass from Henne to Manningham that left Penn State fans and players devastated (their undefeated season gone) and Michigan fans and players going crazy. Final score, Michigan 27, Penn State 25.

The victory was Michigan's 7th in a row against the Nittany Lions and led to chants of, "We own Penn State!" (Penn State fans chant "We are Penn State!" all the time, which is clearly necessary because their uniforms and helmets don't say anything.)

- Michigan vs Penn State set on flickr, which has a lot more photos from the game

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, Photos, Sports, Travel at 8:07 AM

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October 13, 2005

If I Had More Than $200 Million...

POST #    1912

I would buy me a lot of these shirts! Well, maybe not. But they must be on sale now. Looks like the Yankees had lots of bargains on their roster.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:14 AM

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October 8, 2005

Sneaker Pimps 2

POST #    1903

Here are some more photos from the Sneaker Pimps show. So the funniest thing about it was that everybody was looking at your feet to see what kind of sneakers they were wearing. I kind of do this a lot in my everyday life. It was Nike Dunk here, Nike Dunk there, Nike Dunk almost everywhere! Little ole me, I just had my green Epics on. Nothing special.

- Sneaker Pimps 1
- Sneaker Pimps set on flickr

Posted by tien mao in Culture, Photos, Sports at 8:56 AM

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October 7, 2005

Sneaker Pimps 1

POST #    1902

You might have noticed that I have a slight obsession with sneakers. Well, last night was kind of like a dream. I was surrounded by tons of sneakers and with like-minded people at the Sneaker Pimps show. The only problem was, I couldn't really walk away with a pair of my own.

- Sneaker Pimps 2
- Sneaker Pimps set on flickr

Posted by tien mao in Culture, Photos, Sports at 12:39 PM

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October 4, 2005

The Stihl Timbersports Series - Virginia Beach

POST #    1893

While down in Virginia a couple of weekends ago, I was quite pleased to find out that the Stihl Timbersports series was making a stop in Virginia Beach that weekend. Thrilled with the news (really, no sarcasm at all), I thought this would be a perfect way to kill some time before the wedding. It really was. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to see my favorite event, the springboard. Pictured are the events that we did see, the standing block chop, the underhand chop, the single buck, and the hot saw. It was a very enjoyable event that is very fan and family friendly. Besides, it's not everyday that you get to see a timbersports event in person.

More information:
- Results from the weekend's events
- Stihl's gallery from the weekend's events
- The Virginian-Pilot: "Lumberjack athletes show their mettle in competition at Beach"

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports, Travel at 8:04 AM

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September 29, 2005

Nike Zoom Air FC 10/2 (Futura and Lance Armstrong FC)

POST #    1879

Back in July during the Tour de France, I saw a pair of Nike FCs on Freshness. They weren't your ordinary FCs, but a special Lance Armstrong FC that featured icons designed by Futura and Nike designer Mark Smith. As there were only 500 pairs released to the public through colette in Paris, I didn't really have my hopes set too high. Low and behold, that's where the girlfriend comes in. Despite the fact that I have way too many pairs of sneakers already, Shannan remembered when I showed the shoes to her and bought a pair off of eBay for me.

Each laser etched icon is symbolic of an element of Armstrong's life. From his fight with cancer, to his home state of Texas, to his relationship with Sheryl Crow. An awesome pair of sneakers to add to my already unnecessary collection. I wonder if these will ever make it out of the house, or even onto my feet.

More information:
- Futura and Armstrong on Nike Cycling (go to Features, 2nd item down)
- Futura x Lance Air Zoom FC on Freshness
- Meanings of the Symbols on Freshness

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:05 AM

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September 19, 2005

Nike Dunk Low NL

POST #    1878

Here I am whoring it up shoe-wise again with a pair of Nike Dunk Low NL. The NL stands for no liner because there is nothing between your foot and the leather in these shoes. The Dunk NLs are part of the Nike Considered line and are supposedly made in a more environmentally friendly way. According to Nike, the line has two long term goals - to eliminate waste and toxic substances.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:58 AM

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September 18, 2005

Metrostars vs New England Revolution at Giants Stadium

POST #    1883

There's nothing quite like going to a soccer game on a football field. Or is that a football game on an American football field. But for the announcers, I suppose they can go "He's down to the 30, the 20, the 10, he shoots! GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!" And last night's game had plenty of goals with the two teams combining to score 7, which is a virtual offensive explosion.

More of that goal, as well as a small skirmish, on Flickr.

Also, a perfectly timed picture by Mike of a goal celebration.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:23 PM

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August 29, 2005

Cyclones vs Yankees at Keyspan Park

POST #    1864

Sunday night was the last Cyclones ticket in my weekend package, so it might be the last time I head to Coney Island this year. The last trip to Nathan's, the last ride on The Cyclone, the last time to hear the PC Richards jingle, to hear the "We Deliver" song for a local car dealership. Okay, maybe another trip to Coney Island has to happen. If not for a baseball game, then at least for rollercoaster fun and eating.

The game against the Staten Island Yankees wasn't pretty. The Yankees started with two quick runs in the 1st inning, hitting balls that had eyes and proceeded to shut the Cyclones out. In fact, Brooklyn failed to get a hit until the seventh inning.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, NYC, Sports at 7:53 AM

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August 20, 2005

Jets vs. Vikings at Giants Stadium

POST #    1852

Last night, Mike hooked up some tickets to the Jets game in Giants Stadium. There's nothing quite like meaningless pre-season football. It was a good time, but my only complaint (besides the Draconian security policies at the stadium) was that they didn't do the "J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!" chant. What a letdown.

I think the last time I went to a Jets game was in either 1992 or in 1986. All I remember is that I was in elementary school and it was against the New Orleans Saints.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:02 PM

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August 15, 2005

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York

POST #    1843

I didn't row in the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York last year, which considering how I feel after two days of races, was likely a good thing. My whole body is sore and regretting the sloth-like lifestyle that I've led in recent months. I think I'll be sore the rest of the week. This year's dragon boat festival was insanely hot. Saturday, I thought I was going to throw up after my first race. I'm not sure if it was from the exertion or the heat, but it wasn't pleasant. Sunday was much better, but still unpleasantly hot. How did we do? Not good. In the four races I was in, we came in last, last, last and...last.

It's interesting, competing in a boat where you know there's no chance of winning, in a boat where, people aren't even trying to win, a boat with a loser's mentality. Now, I'm not a really competitive person, but being in a boat like that sucks. I'm sure Calvin can attest to that. I think that when other teams saw one of our boats in their heat, they knew it would be that much easier. They would have a bigger chance of advancing out of our heat. When you've got four teams in a heat and the top two advance, everyone knows there are really only three boats competing.

So Calvin and I rowed in 4 races and we were in dead last each time. There might have been one race when we crossed the finish line within a boat length of the winner. Imagine how frustrating that is. Then again, some our competitors actually practice. Not for a few hours twice before race day, but for half a year. They take racing seriously. While it's cool to have fun while you're rowing - after all, that's what it's about in the end (so say the losers) - it's also good to be disciplined and professional. Discipline and professionalism, two more things our boats lacked.

But better luck next year, right? Maybe next year, if we row, Calvin can stock a boat full of his friends. People with an ounce (I think I have at least an ounce) of athleticism and competitive sprit. People that understand that winning is okay and coming in last isn't always mandatory.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:29 AM

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August 10, 2005

Deep Sea Fishing in Cancun

POST #    1832

Early Friday morning (as in 6 in the morning early), half of us headed out for some deep sea fishing. I actually got about 4 hours of sleep, so I wasn't too bad on the boat. Most of the other people though, were up all night and somewhat drunk when we got on Stuff It, our boat. Just as we left the harbor, we were experiencing some engine troubles. Thankfully, we turned around because I was envisioning the whole Jaws scenario - we're out on the water, engine starts smoking, shark comes over back of boat - you get the idea.

The water was not calm. Even though I took Dramamine, I was a tad queasy. I'm just glad that I wasn't drunk, nauseous, or napping when we were heading out to deeper waters. I think I saw a fare share of green-looking Asians on the boat that morning.

Our captain, Orlando, said that barracudas were the most common fish that people caught while fishing. Sure enough, we caught four barracudas as well as several fish for bait, including tuna. Too bad we couldn't keep the tuna.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, Travel at 7:43 AM

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July 25, 2005

Cyclones vs Jammers at Keyspan Park

POST #    1812

There was no cheesecake eating contest at Sunday's Cyclones game. I found this very upsetting as I wanted to see how I matched up to other cheesecake eaters. I was thinking that I might have singlehandedly consumed their cheesecake budget, but I was told that there was a competition at Saturday's game.

Also upsetting was the sudden appearance of "God Bless America." I don't recall hearing it last weekend or at any Mets games this season. Have they re-instituted this pointless song? The MLB All-Star game?

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:44 AM

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July 21, 2005

Nike Run Hit Wonder

POST #    1808

Last night was the Nike Run Hit Wonder race in Central Park, which I headed over to check out. I'm sure you're thinking, "wait, you went to run?!?" No, no. Moral support and to check out the scene. The 5 mile run featured warm up music by The Donnas, and music along the course by Chingy, Nina Sky, the Fountains of Wayne, and Z-Trip. Joan Jett was the post race performer, which is actually the only musical act I saw.

I really wanted to check out Z-Trip, but he was all the way at the bottom of the course and I probably would have missed him had I gone to check him out. It's almost as if I had to run to go listen to him spin. So unreasonable.

Posted by tien mao in Concerts/Music, Sports at 7:49 AM

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July 17, 2005

Bow Down Before Me, For I AM Your Cheesecake Eating Champion

POST #    1801


(I believe I'm on slice 3 in the first picture and 4 in the second. Note the amusement of the crowd and the visiting team. Photos by Kim)

Yesterday I went to my first Brooklyn Cyclones game of the season after missing the first ticket in my weekend ticket package. While waiting for the game to start, I was presented with a unique opportunity, a cheesecake eating competition. Despite some hesitation and some questions to the Cyclones marketing rep, I agreed to the contest and signed my waiver. I was told that the slices of cheesecake were not that big, my competition was bigger than me, and that the record was five slices of cheesecake. Sounds pretty easy, except it's a 30 second competition.

While waiting for the end of the 3rd inning (when I was to report for the competition), my mind was going crazy. What kind of cheesecake will it be? Thick? Fluffy? Will there be water? Do I drink the water? How much bigger is this guy than me? Is he old? Young? How much chewing should I actually do? Would three cheesecakes be enough to win?

My competition, while technically bigger than me, was not very intimidating at all. He was probably in his 50s, about 5'5", but he had a belly like he knew how to pack away a cheesecake. I was happy to hear that he had never participated in an eating competition before, but dismayed to hear that he usually gets a cheesecake when he goes to a Cyclones game. Little did he know that I could pack away a decent amount of food and that cheesecake is my favorite cake.

Around comes the end of the 4th inning and it's showtime. The MC decides to introduce us by last names. To his left is Edison and to his right, me. "...Mao. He claims no relation to the Communist dictator." Nice. Before us is a table of 18 cheesecakes, 9 for each of us. No forks allowed and we were told that the messier, the better. Of course. 30 seconds, here we go...

I move to pick up the first piece and it's a disaster. The cheesecake breaks in half. It's warm and humid, and the cheesecakes have become soft, making them easy to shove into your mouth, but difficult to pick up. A cheesy mess. I shove the first piece (now two pieces) into my mouth and go with the natural, but unnecessary, instinct to chew before swallowing. As I start on my second piece, the MC says I'm actually behind with Edison at 1.5 slices. I look over and it seems like he's on his second too. This was probably about 10 seconds into it. Time to focus.

The beauty of eating the soft cheesecake is that it was very easy to cram into your mouth. So I proceed to cram, chew, swallow through the second piece, then the third. "Mao is now in the lead!" The fourth goes in, and finally piece number five as time expires. While I didn't really swallow #5, I'm going to go with what I see during IFOCE competitions - if it's in the mouth, it counts. Lets ignore the fact that at least half a slice was on my hands and face. I had vanquished Edison who probably only ate 2.5-3 slices. Easy as pie. My arm was raised in victory. As we walked off the field, I proceeded to eat the cake off my hand. Why waste it, right?

My prize was a hand that smelled like cheese the rest of the night and a $50 gift certificate for more cheesecake. Now, pass the Lipitor and sign me up for that angioplasty.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Sports at 11:25 AM

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July 12, 2005

Kill Me With Papercuts Now!

POST #    1795

Because while I love baseball and to some degrees love America, but I hate "God Bless America" and I hate "God Bless America" at baseball games even more. Not that I expected anything different from Fox on such a high profile game, but I really could have done without it. And where did Take Me Out to the Ball Game" go? That deserves to be on TV.

And I thought God loves all his/her children. Not very democratic of God to just bless America.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:44 PM

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June 29, 2005

At the 2005 NBA Draft

POST #    1778

Thanks to Calvin's parents, I scored some last minute tickets to the 2005 NBA Draft last night. There weren't too many insane moments last night, but the Knicks did have two first round picks which is always cause for excitement at Madison Square Garden and the best part of the draft. No, not because I'm a Knicks fan, but because of the reaction of the Knicks fans to the picks.

Possibly the most excitement in the night came when ESPN reported that a trade was in the works involving Kurt Thomas of the Knicks for Quentin Richardson and Phoenix's 1st round pick Nate Robinson. The crowd seemed pretty excited by that. After reading a Q&A with Brandy in Inside Stuff, I wonder how this will affect their Q's wedding plans.

As you can see, Tyson Chandler was at the draft. He's let himself go.

And unlike the 2003 Draft, Anthony Kiedis was not around. Well, not that I know of.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:57 AM

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June 22, 2005

The New York Yankees Mustang

POST #    1769

Behold! The world's ugliest Ford Mustang, brought to you by your Tri-State Area Ford dealers and the New York Yankees. These pictures of this television ad I saw before last night's basketball game don't quite do the ugly car any justice because you can't see quite how ugly it is. As if driving a white car wasn't bad enough, it's got pinstripes on it and a Yankee logo on the side doors, the hood, and it says Yankees on the door.

I think I would be too ashamed to drive this car even I were a diehard Yankee fan that wore rings, gold chains, warmups and a leather jacket. I think the best you could do if you won this and $10,000 (they come together) is take the car to your local car shop and have them paint it over. They could at least have an option to get a blue Mustang with white logos and no pinstripes. That would have been much better looking.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:55 AM

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June 11, 2005

A Shamelss Synergy Between Fox Sports and The Post?

POST #    1755

I'm sitting here with the Yankees Cardinals game on in the background and the talking heads of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are discussing Joe Torre's job security. While discussing, Buck casually mentioned an online poll on the New York Post's website:

Buck: "If you go online to the NYP, every article has the poll question 'Should Joe Torre be fired?' right at the top.

McCarver : "Yup."

Buck: "So it is an issue, it is something that is being talked about. 80% said no by the weight of that question. But there are a lot of things hanging out there for this Yankee team."

I wonder how many people nationwide have since gone to the site to vote. Then again, they would have to go through that painful registration process. Nothing like a national network plugging their owner's New York rag.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, TV at 4:41 PM

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June 9, 2005

Michigan Softball Wins Title

POST #    1751

msoftball.jpg

For the first time in the history of the program, Michigan's softball team won the National Championship. Not only was it Michigan's first Championship, but it was also a first for a team east of the Mississippi River and the first for a team from the Eastern time zone. Michigan defeated UCLA, 4-1 in 10 innings. UCLA was going for the threepeat, but was denied when Samantha Findlay hit a three-run homer in the top of the 10th. Findlay, a freshman, drove in all three runs for Michigan in the win.

I can't say that I watch college softball very much, but I found myself watching many of the games in this year's World Series. Sure, I had a vested interest in seeing Michigan win as an alumnus, but it was something more than that. I think it was the emotion that all the players were showing. From the smiles when things were going well, to the looks of despair when they weren't. It's something that doesn't seem to happen enough in Major League Baseball, or any other professional sports for that matter. Then again, I was watching the equivalent of game 7 in the World Series or the Super Bowl.

Michigan finished the season with a record of 65-7 and Jennie Ritter, who won both games for Michigan in the Championship series, finished the season at 38-4.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:06 AM

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June 7, 2005

New Shoe Tuesday: Nike iD - Waffle Racer II

POST #    1749

Three weeks ago, I went to the Nike iD Design Lab and designed myself some sneakers. Of course, when I left, I walked away thinking, "I designed an awesome pair of sneakers." When I opened them last night, I wasn't quite as pleased with my design. I figure there is at least one reason for that. I'm no professional (although I suppose I look at sneakers enough) designer.

Despite the fact that I didn't love the shoes from the get go, they are slowly growing on me. I love the clementine (orange), but I was hoping that the granite would be darker. Instead, it's pretty much white. And the front of the shoe is black, like I chose, but it's leather, making for a somewhat awkward look. If I had it to do over again, I would probably darken the body of the shoe and/or lighten the front.

At least I can still take comfort in the fact that very few people, if any, will have the same shoe as me.

- New Shoe Tuesday, Part 1

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:28 PM

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New Shoe Tuesday: Lava Dome, Air Epic, Air Zoom FC

POST #    1747

Apple's got "new music Tuesdays," I've got new shoe tuesday, where I unveil four new pairs of shoes that I've gotten in the past two weeks. It's probably not something I'll ever do again as sneakers are considerably more expensive than $1 iTunes tracks. Why do I say four when only three are pictured? Well, because I have another post for you in the afternoon. I know, crazy stuff.

All three pairs that are pictured were bought on eBay, all three new. The first pair is the Lava Dome, which I already had two pairs of - the first in an all grey with red, and the other all black with orange. The second pair is the Air Epic, which I have another pair of in grey, blue, and orange. The last pair is the Air Zoom FC, which I actually didn't have any of before now. They are supposedly skateboarding sneakers, but since I haven't skateboarded since sometime during elementary school, I probably won't be using them for that.

- New Shoe Tuesday, Part 2

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:03 AM

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June 5, 2005

Mets vs Giants at Shea Stadium

POST #    1744


(click image to enlarge)

It took three games, but the Mets have finally won a game when I was in attendance. Sure, they beat the Giants, who are haven't won in more than a week, but I'll take it. I even got to watch the home run apple after Mike Cameron hit a home run. That and a great pitching performance by Tom Glavine. If those two things weren't good enough, the weather was also great.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:18 AM

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May 17, 2005

Designing Shoes at the Nike iD Store

POST #    1708

Anybody that knows me knows that I love me some sneakers, so when the opportunity to visit the secretive and exclusive Nike iD store Design Lab in SoHo came about, I was naturally pretty excited. Or should I say very excited. I was going to get the chance to design my own shoe at a store that is by invite only. And by design, I mean pick one of 7 shoes and choose among various colors for each item on the shoes.

Designing your shoe at the store is exactly like the one on the Nike iD website, but there are colors at the store that are not available online. The sneakers available to design in the store change every now and then but Friday's selections included the Nike Free, Air Presto, FC Futebol, Air Rift, Air 180, Dunk Low, and the Waffle Racer. The Waffle is a shoe that is only available for "individual design" at the Nike iD store. Since the whole store is about exclusivity, I had to go with the Waffle.

After a few clicks of the mouse and some discussion with the design consultant, I came up with a Waffle that is granite, black, and clementine. Clementine is one of the colors that was only available at the store (others I remember included ice, a pink, and hyacinth) and I was warned that the orange of clementine really popped. Perfect.

If you don't know what size Nike you might have to go with, don't worry. At the store, they have each shoe in every size they make of it in a grey sample shoe that look so good by themselves that you want to design your own pair. Unfortunately, they don't have the options to design your grey on grey shoes.

This is going to sound quite cheezy, but the store is really more than a store (since you don't walk out with a pair of sneakers). It's an experience and clearly a brand building piece. It seems like every element was designed down to a tee. The wallpaper has sneakers in the design (no, it's not for sale...yet) as do the coasters and the cocktail napkins. Coasters and cocktail napkins, you ask? People walk around offering hors devours and drinks. While some might be put off by a store like this, they have to realize the store isn't meant for them. Sneakerheads know that there are shoes that are only released in limited numbers and Nike is doing the same thing with the store because it is by appointment only as the bouncer will tell you.

Supposedly, there is a lottery for an appointment to the store that started sometime Sunday on Nike's site, but I didn't find any info. To say I enjoyed myself would be a mild understatement. I hope I have the chance to go back again.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Sports at 7:55 AM

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May 15, 2005

Mets vs Cardinals at Shea Stadium

POST #    1707


(click to enlarge)

Yesterday, I went with a bunch of people to the Mets-Cardinals game at Shea to watch Pedro vs Mulder. What I witnessed was another so-so performance by Pedro and another Mets loss. Despite a rally in the 6th inning which included a bases loaded triple by Kaz Matsui, there was no win for Pedro. The frustrating bullpen blew the game in the 8th inning when the Cards scored two to take the lead. Maybe I'll have better luck with some other pitcher on the Mets.

- Previously: "Mets vs Braves at Shea Stadium"

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:13 AM

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April 27, 2005

Mets vs Braves at Shea Stadium

POST #    1672


(click image for larger version)

Last night, I headed over to Shea Stadium, hoping to catch a great game between the Braves and the Mets. Pitching for the Braves was John Smoltz against Pedro Martinez for the Mets. Pedro didn't exactly hold up his end of the deal, giving up 3 runs in the top of the 1st. Smoltz did well, giving up only 1 run and was bailed out of a potential jam in the 7th inning. The Mets eventually lost 4-3, making it exciting in the 9th.

It was my first game of the season and we all sat in the upper deck with tickets bought before the game. The wait at the game day sales booths were soo long. It seemed like all 31,511 people were buying tickets at the same time. Okay, only 10,000, but that's still a lot.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:05 AM

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April 13, 2005

Nudge Me When Someone Says, "I did it."

POST #    1648

Performance enhancing drugs in baseball are bad. But when the baseball players are testing positive for steroids and give a crummy reason, it's kind of expected. What I want is a player to test positive and say, "That's right mother fuckers, I've been cheating all this time and you've loved my performance. Now give me some more money!" Of course, that will never happen.

Players will just go on saying, "Oh, I was taking some meds." "I bought some nutritional supplements." "I thought it was flaxseed oil." Uh huh, really, really expensive flaxseed oil. Maybe these puny players like Alex Sanchez don't hit for power, but what's to say they don't want to.

To all those people that test positive for anything - alcohol, drugs, etc - I say you just tell the testing authorities that the substances ended up in your system through a simple mistake. "Sorry occifer, I'm drunk because I thought I was drinking water that I bought over the counter." "Boss, I'm sorry, I thought I was smoking oregano. And it's medicinal at that!"

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:49 AM

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April 9, 2005

Knicks vs Bulls at MSG

POST #    1643

Won by the Bulls. And that's a bad picture of Lindsay Lohan. No "singing" involved.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 2:48 PM

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March 16, 2005

Oh Wagon, I Hardly Knew Ye

POST #    1610

Last week, I spent a little time on eBay looking at sneakers. I haven't done that in a while and it didn't turn out so hot. I saw one pair of shoes that I really liked, but was too busy to actually purchase them before the auction ended (yes, I know about proxy bidding), so I took a look at some other places that I might find a pair of the sneakers I wanted. Thanks to the devil that is Google, I found PickYourShoes.com. Bad, bad, bad. So many pairs of sneakers. Obviously, I wouldn't buy all of them, but I did see the pair that I wanted - the Air Max 180 - as well as finding another pair that I wanted, the Dunk Low Muppet Pack (no Muppet included). Unfortunately, they didn't have the Dunks in my size.

Since I didn't want to give up on the Dunks, I was quite happy when I saw them at the Luxury Shoe Corp. on Canal Street for $30 less. They didn't have my exact size either, but I can do a size 11. Must. Not. Buy. More.

Two more pairs onto what seems like an ever growing collection.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:36 AM

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March 14, 2005

Those Creepy Nike Ads

POST #    1609

Has anyone else seen the Nike advertisements for Nike Pro Brand Apparel? If so, please tell me you find it really creepy too. The ad, which you can watch and download from their site, features six athletes - Albert Pujols, Mariano Rivera, Ladainian Tomlinson, Brian Urlacher, Tori Hunter, and Ben Roethlisberger - who are all wearing the various Nike Pro apparel while in some room with creepy music on in the background. Add that to strange masks that they are wearing and you get a pretty scary advertisement.

Effective though, since it got my attention, but I'm not sure that I'll make a purchase as I don't really have a need for form fitting athletic wear right now.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, TV at 7:51 AM

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February 28, 2005

Things Learned from Skiing on Saturday

POST #    1592

Saturday morning, I went skiing at Camelback in Pennsylvania. Since I couldn't interest anyone in going with me, I ended up skiing by myself. I love skiing, but it was my first time skiing since the April or May of 2003, which is sad because I love it so much. Not only have I not been skiing much, but I haven't exactly been exercising much either. Obviously, this served to be semi-problematic.

This problem was evident immediately as I was out of breath after just carrying my skis to the bottom of the trails. I chalk that up to adrenaline causing my heart to race. After the first run, however, I was out of breath when I got to the bottom of the "mountain." I blame that on forgetting to breathe. This got better at the end, but there were a few times when I was out of breath, mostly from using the poles and attempting to move on a flat surface with heavy ass equipment.

In the 5 hours that I was at Camelback, I think I got in at least 25 runs, which to me is a bit insane. It was pretty much, up and down the whole first 4.5 hours. I remember this one instance when I looked at the clock at the base at 1 p.m. and when I got back down, it was 1:10. Camelback isn't the tallest mountain (a mere 800' vertical), but I still thought it was absurdly quick.

After my lunch break, I just couldn't ski anymore. I was so physically exhausted that I just needed to go home. At this point, my calves were in serious pain from the boots, the rest of my muscles were not being very responsive, and the snow conditions were deteriorating.

Now, I'm just a wreck. My calves still hurt a lot, my hands hurt from gripping the poles, my back is really sore, and it just hurts to walk. I guess that's what months of inactivity and two years off from skiing will do to you.

So the lessons I learned:
- Ski boots are quite possibly an instrument of the devil
- Do not ski for 4.5 hours straight without a break
- Bring someone with you, so you can bitch about how much your boots hurt
- Teenage snowboarders who cut the lift line and don't respect the "rules" are punks
- After skiing, stretch, stretch, stretch (that's if you can walk)
- Ski boots are quite possibly an instrument of the devil

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:54 AM

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February 15, 2005

The Times Pronounces, "The NBA Blows", Confirming My Suspicions

POST #    1569

It's something that I went into detail on long ago, but Jen brought my attention to an article in this past Sunday's NY Times Magazine. Michael Sokolove actually goes as far as to say that he believes the dunk should be banished from basketball. I won't go as far as to argue that, but as he points out, it could be a step in the right direction.

When I wrote my basketball manifesto, I wrote, "NBA game has declined because of the proliferation of the 3 pointer and the dunk as well as the deterioration of the mid-range jumper." While I analyzed that statement with a set of statistics, I was never able to solidly reach my conclusion, but I did uncover some interesting facts and statistical trends.

Examining stats from the 1988-89 season through the 2001-02 season, I found:

3 point percentage has actually increased about 2.3% in 10 years and 2 point percentage has decreased about 2%. The most difference between these two years is the number of 3 point shots attempted. The number attempted has more than doubled! When hearing this initially, officials at the NBA offices would surely be pleased because this would obviously mean an increase in scoring. The truth is that scoring has fallen drastically since the 91-92 season where each team averaged 105.4 points per game. In the 01-02 season, teams averaged 95.48 points per game. During this 10 year period, the percentage of total shots that were 3 point attempts has also ballooned. In the 91-92 season, only 8.73% of the shots were 3's while in 01-02 18.15% of the shots were 3 point attempts. (During this period, percentages of 18.78, 20.01, and 21.17 were recorded for the 94-95, 95-96, and 96-97 seasons when the 3 point line was closer to the basket).

Obviously, I need to update the data. Sokolove doesn't take much of a statistical approach to his article, but it's still an interesting read and in line with much of my thinking on the matter.

Side Note #1:
At one point, about midway through the article, Sokolove has to explain what an assist is. Sokolove writes, "A dazzling ball handler, utterly fearless about driving to the hoop against bigger defenders, he has compiled high scoring averages and high assist totals (an assist is a pass that leads directly to a basket) in the pros while at the same time often leaving the strong impression that he does not play well with others." I find this somewhat surprising, yet not entirely shocking. One would think that a reader of the Sunday Times Magazine would have a base level of knowledge of most things. Then again, are all members of that segment going to have basic knowledge of basketball? Probably not. Furthermore, are those people that have no knowledge going to read this article at all? Is it assumed that readers of the magazine will read every article despite not knowing/having any interest in the sport at all?

Side Note #2:
I think this is the longest entry that I've done in quite a while. It's almost like this blog has become a shell of itself. Lots more photos (they are easier to put up with little thought in my case), not much more random thought. And where did those photos of me eating go? I'll try to bring back at least one of those soon.

- NY Times: "Clang!"

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:07 AM

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February 10, 2005

Knicks vs Heat at MSG

POST #    1562

Before last night's game even started, it was assumed the Heat would defeat the Knicks. The Knicks were in the Atlantic Division cellar and the Heat were atop the Southeast Division. Nevertheless, the Knicks somehow managed to force overtime by going on a 17-3 run in the 4th quarter. The Garden was the loudest that I've experienced since playoff games in 90's when the Knicks were actually good. It seems like the Heat still manage to bring the best out of the Knicks when they come to MSG, but that's just not enough to beat the Heat this year. The Knicks fell apart in overtime and eventually lost by 6.

With my photo pass in hand, I made it onto the court before the game. I don't think I could have stayed during the game as I heard they kick people out who don't have cameras that are nice enough.

And if you're single and male, you should check out this promotion.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 8:00 AM

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January 31, 2005

MSG Panorama

POST #    1544


(click image for larger version)

A panorama from Friday night's Knicks game. I'm not quite Photoshop savvy or patient enough with Photoshop to actually put together my own panorama, so I used Canon's software. It seems kind of okay. Not the easiest condition to take that sort of picture though.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 7:57 AM

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January 29, 2005

Knicks vs Cavs at MSG

POST #    1542

Last night, Jen and I headed to Madison Square Garden for the Knicks game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James didn't play because of a high ankle sprain, which seemed to make the teams just about even, considering the Knicks won 99-96. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of the NBA, but last night's game was pretty entertaining.

We also got to see some of the inner workings at The Garden - the press room and the booth with the organ and DJ - as we're working on a little project with details to be revealed later.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Sports at 11:25 AM

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November 8, 2004

NYC Marathon 2004

POST #    1397

Yesterday, I went to Park Slope to check out the New York City Marathon. Why Park Slope if the marathon also passes through Greenpoint? Because Adam was cool enough to host a small gathering of people. Despite living in New York my whole life, it's the first time I've actually watched the marathon. The number of runners - 36,000 - is pure insanity.

The crazy thing is that I actually saw my friend Yvan (finished in 3:59:22) running in Park Slope. All I knew was that he would be wearing a yellow shirt and was in the orange lane. At one point, I look up and there he was. I'm not sure if me yelling his name helped at all though, since that was only around mile 7.

Pictured in the 3rd photo above are the eventual 2nd and 3rd place men's finishers in the middle of the photo, Meb Keflezighi (bib #2, 2nd place) and Timothy Cherigat (bib #8, 3rd place). In the 4th photo, #17 on the left is the eventual men's winner, Hendrik Ramaala.

More information:
- Youngna's series on yesterday's events (including two pictures of yours truly)
- Gothamist on the marathon
- Corie's thoughts on actually running the race
- Janelle's take on the drunken events

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Sports at 7:48 AM

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September 27, 2004

A Weekend at Michigan

POST #    1314

Over the weekend, I headed west to Michigan to visit the old college haunts and attend a football game. There was loads of food, great company and good times had by all - especially since Michigan beat Iowa. 30-17.

The weekend started with some flight delays because of some airplane issues. Typical Northwest airlines. After a brief pit-stop at the hotel, we went to Leopold Brothers, "the world's first environmentally sustainable brewery."

Saturday, there was much fun had. Sleeping later because of the late game time and lots of tailgating. Food, drink, food, drink. Not to mention, some gummy objects in between. The game was excellent. There's nothing quite like a Michigan football game. The band, the team, the stadium. Spending time with 111,000+ like-minded people.

I've got a few more photos from the weekend that I'll post tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who helped make it a great time.

- Last year's trip to Michigan

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, Sports at 6:49 AM

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September 21, 2004

Struck Down By the Video Game Gods

POST #    1301

Hmm, is there something about adding a last second field goal in NCAA 2005 that is against the rules? You would think not. But if you're already up 52-10, with four seconds to go in your version of NCAA 2005, you might not want to kick that figgie. I would normally say that I didn't deserve to have the game freeze on me, but I was thumping my opponent. Since Michigan is rather "eh" this year, I've got to live vicariously through my game. I was close to setting the single game rushing record for Michigan and kept my first team in. Padding stats to remain the Heisman favorite. All for naught.

I was so close to breaking Ron Johnson's single game rushing record of 348 yards and already broke Tshimanga Biakabutuka's 317 yard record. Again, all for naught. Oh that poor Penn State defense - shifting one way as I run the other. Fools! All for naught. Why was I running up the score? Because their damn offense kicked a field goal on me. And they returned an interception for a TD (that was actually my fault). In all fairness, PSU was ranked #10, so it's not like I was beating up a bad team. That said, I definitely need to increase the level of difficulty for next season.

Mental note for when I play that game again, run, run, run. I'm so going for that record.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:39 AM

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September 13, 2004

The Perfect NFL Sunday

POST #    1278

Why was yesterday the perfect NFL Sunday? Don't know really. Maybe it was the homemade Buffalo wings, or the homemade pizza. But the biggest thing was probably the NFL Sunday Ticket package from Direct TV. Sure the Giants played poorly, but at least we could chose between the two other games on TV. The early slot had many games to choose from, but that's where the two TV setup was most beneficial. It's a minor detail that both of my TVs are kind of small, so I should buy a larger one, but I don't really have the money.

One classic moment came when a game and a Cialis commercial overlapped. Almost a subliminal message about football and the need to combat ED. There was the image of a smiling man - presumably a Cialis user - that was right next to the goalpost as they were lining up for a field goal.

As far as the pizza goes (if you must know), it turned out pretty good. Buying dough from the local pizza place makes things so much easier. I made it thicker this time, and when finished, the crust was a firm and chewy. It was kind of bland, which I must investigate, but the sauce was excellent. I used the tomato sauce that I made a little while back that had two hot peppers in it, so there was a nice little kick. Next time, I might have to try a topping.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Sports at 8:00 AM

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August 26, 2004

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania

POST #    1242

Last night, I went to check out a SEC Alumni Association of NY gathering and a celebration of Warren St. John's new book, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. RJYH is a book about Warren's experience following the University of Alabama football team through the 1999-2000 season. Expectations for the season weren't good for Bama, but it turned out to be a very good season for them. I actually remember that season because Michigan ended up playing Alabama in an exciting Orange Bowl.

In the book, St. John sets out trying to go to all the games in one season - in someone else's RV. As the season unfolds, the ups and downs that he went through were something that any fan can relate to - Bama or not.

The book, while obviously sports centric, is much more than that. It sounds clich, but it's about people who just love one team and hate several others. The people in his book really come alive and you can imagine the people as they are described. One couple, Chris and Paula Bice, virtually take Warren under their wing, welcoming him into their RV. The Bices also have this little invention that they call "Bama Bombs", which are maraschino cherries marinated for months in pure grain alcohol.

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Bice last night and trying two of his Bama Bombs. They were quite delicious, but I love maraschino cherries. They were a mild batch, but I can see myself getting by eating several of the them anyway.

Also at the event were some people who came up with some creative Bama nametagging. I guess that's what happens when you get so many rival schools together.

Now, it's rare that I read a book - I don't even have a books category - but I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this.

- Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer (official site)
- Buy RJYH on Amazon
- Gothamist on RJYH - including an interview

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:47 AM

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August 25, 2004

Olympic Beach Volleyball - Best...Sport...Ever!!

POST #    1240

Sure, these are world class athletes and sure, they are celebrating one of the greatest things in sport, but is it wrong to sexualize their joy? I think not! Sure the men went through many of the same reactions and emotions, but I've kindly sifted through all that for you, the reader.

Thank you Nike, thank you for skimpy uniforms. And to think that these are just Kerri Walsh and Misty May. I'm just not sure why beach volleyball isn't more popular in the United States.

Oh, yes, I don't know Photoshop very well. And it's right click, save as.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:56 AM

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August 13, 2004

Boom! Madden 2005

POST #    1217

Because I just love video games so much, I had to have Madden 2005 and NCAA 2005. They are two very similar games, and both awesome.

I pre-ordered the game from Amazon and it arrived today. Good to know that I got it on it's official release date too. The only problem is that I just saw EA's National Madden Vacation Day forms. With a choice of either chicken pox or a regular sick day, I probably would have gone with the sick day. Although, if I said I had chicken pox, then I could take even longer off.

Bill Simmons pretty much covered why it's an awesome game, which is true of pretty much every Madden. I've gotten through only one pre-season game and that was a 31-10 victory over the Chiefs, who the Giants actually play tonight.

My defense was suspect in the beginning, but then I got a little better. If the game is anything like real life, the Giants passing game should be pretty good. The only thing is, I was playing the Chiefs who have a porous defense - true to real life.

Some details I've enjoyed and noticed already in one game:
- Kate of the Indianapolis Colts welcomed me to my first session with Madden 2005. There was some torso shaking going on, so I'm hoping I see Kate a few more times.
- The game is detailed enough that you can see tattoos. I'm not sure if this was in last year's version. I guess I don't remember.
- The hip-hop soundtrack that Simmons enjoyed so much also has some non hip-hop stuff. One of those is a song by Franz Ferdinand. Something Grambo would surely find displeasure in.

The only problem is that I don't know what I want to play more, NCAA 2005 or Madden 2005. Why do I feel like I might not see the sun this weekend.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, Tech at 7:10 AM

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August 10, 2004

Doubleheader with the AAA Norfolk Tides

POST #    1211

Saturday night, I took the chance to catch a Norfolk Tides game while I was in southern Virginia. Naturally, it was a great time. The Tides played a doubleheader with the Louisville Bats (I suppose they would be sued if they were the Sluggers). Unfortunately, the Mets called David Wright late last month, so I didn't get to see the phenom from five rows back.

This is my first "real" experience with minor league baseball, because for some reason, the Brooklyn Cyclones don't feel that minor league. Everything at Harbor Park seemed cheaper and had that small town, small team feel. While I initially thought the beers were the same cost as the bigs, it turned out that a 32 oz. beer was only $6.

There were also things like fried dough, pretzels that were warmed on a grill and then dipped in cheese, and fried twinkies. Much like the Mets, the Tides went on to split the games.

- Panorama of Harbor Park

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:35 AM

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July 31, 2004

Damn, Video Games Have Come a Long Way

POST #    1188

I was just playing NCAA 2005 and blowing out the Washington Huskies. With little time left, I scored another touchdown to run up the score (hey, the called time outs), they did a "shot" of the UW crowd. Four Husky fans together and three that decided to leave the game. They made gestures like, "forget about it" and patted their other friend on the back.

Nevermind the graphics, but games have really made some progress. We've come a long way from Tecmo Bowl and it's 12 teams. From four plays on offense and four on defense. Guess correctly and you stop the play. That is unless you're playing with San Francisco and hit the end on the crossing play. And Lawrence Taylor with his uncanny ability to block any kick. And if you had the NES Advantage - forget about it. You could break any tackle in about 2 seconds.

I suppose progress is expected, but I want my next video game console to have some mind controlled action. Just slap on some helmet and I can transmit what I want the game to do. All this for $300 or less.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, Tech at 10:38 AM

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July 29, 2004

Pump It Up

POST #    1186

Last night, pre-wings, I went to Paragon to get a pump for my bike tires. I tried to borrow Halo's pump, but unbeknownst to us, I had a Presta valve and not a Schrader valve. It's good to have my own pump, but I had no idea there were different valves. Good to know though. I bought the Serfas Little Stick, which isn't the best way to put a stick, but hey, it's light and it's compatible with both valves.

Semi-related, have you seen Paragon's new site? I don't even recognize it anymore. It's so snazzy and non-Paragon like. Their old logo is all the way at the bottom. I actually thought I was on the wrong page. Furthermore, can you believe that I didn't even look at their shoe section?

And yes, behind the pump are the bottles from Saturday.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:37 PM

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July 23, 2004

Wolverine Nesting Dolls

POST #    1173

About two months ago, Kim went to Russia and she brought me back a souvenir - Michigan Football Nesting Dolls, or matryoshka if you're Russian. How well does she know this Michigan alum? Quite possibly the perfect gift for me from that nation. Woo! Thanks, Kim.

Oh, and if you're wondering, that's John Navarre (16), Marlin Jackson (3), Chris Perry (23), Adam Stenavich (79), and Braylon Edwards (1).

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:15 AM

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July 5, 2004

Subway Series 2004 - Game 6; Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!

POST #    1138

The popular way to celebrate July 4th might be to go to a barbecue, which I did Saturday at Mike's new place, but an even better way to celebrate is to watch a baseball game. The Mets played the Yankees again on Sunday to wrap up the Subway Series for the weekend. Unlike Saturday's game, there wasn't an offensive explosion by the two teams, but it was still a very close game.

The Mets beat the Yankees again, sweeping the series at Shea Stadium, winning the season series, and giving George Steinbrenner a nice birthday gift. It was the first time that the Mets won the season series or swept the Yankees since interleague play began eight years ago. Last year, the Yankees swept the series. I wonder what's going through Steinbrenner's mind right now. "Let's see, we have a payroll that's two times bigger than theirs and we lost?!? Quick, go get me another starting pitcher, some bullpen help, and some more bats!"

The game was won in the 8th inning when Ty Wiggington hit his second home run of the game, giving the Mets a one run lead that would prove to be the difference. Braden Looper came in to close the game out in the 9th inning, giving up one hit during his save. As the game got closer to ending, Mets fans chanted "Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!" and Yankee fans could do nothing. Sure the Subway Series means little to the players and the games have lost some of their allure, but a sweep of the Yankees is still a monumental feat. Hopefully for the Mets, this will propel them to bigger and better things.

They are now two games over .500, a mark that isn't that impressive, but something they have reached for the first time this season. The Mets play a series against the Phillies with their two best pitchers. After a series like this, the players must be thinking good things.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:42 AM

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July 4, 2004

Subway Series 2004 - Game 5

POST #    1137

At dinner Friday night, I was lucky enough to come upon tickets to the Mets/Yankee game at Shea Stadium for Saturday afternoon. Despite plans to go on Sunday, I wasn't about to turn down free tickets to the best, and only game in town. It was a beautiful day for baseball, but a tad sunny, resulting in some redness on the left side.

Awesome, awesome game. Back and forth between the Yankees and Mets. Big hits to in the top half of the innings, bigger hits in the bottom half. It was as if each team was taunting the other by scoring more and more runs and the fans ate it up. Chants of "Lets go Yankees!" followed by either "Lets go Mets!" or "Yankees suck!" Great stuff. A constant battle down to the 9th inning.

After the Mets went ahead in the 7th on a Shane Spencer double (they played that damn Venga Boys song), the Yankees tied it in the 8th inning. With two outs in the top of the 9th inning, the score tied and the bases loaded, Jorge Posada was facing John Franco. Franco ran the count to 3-0 before fighting back to strike Posada out.

In the bottom of the 9th, the Mets looked to put it away. After loading the bases themselves, Spencer, the former Yankee, came to bat with one out. Spencer knocked a slow dribbler to the first base side. It was too far for Posada to get and too close for Tony Clark to get. Tanyon Sturtze, the pitcher, grabbed the ball and threw it over Posada's head allowing Kaz Matsui to score. There's nothing quite like a walk-off dribbler.

The Mets have at least tied the season-series (they're still losing the all-time series by a lot) and have already won the home stand. All they need to do now is win tomorrow and they can claim a sweep and a series victory for the season. Important bragging rights for a team that is fighting to stay above .500 and move into first in the NL (l)East. Not bad progress for a team that was swept by the Yankees last year.

Lucky for me, I get to do it again this afternoon.

- Panorama of Shea Stadium during the top of the 1st inning. (440 k)

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:08 AM

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July 1, 2004

It's Just Not Possible

POST #    1130

I'm ready to say that it's simply not possible for me to bike to work every day. Tuesday and Wednesday were the first two days I rode my bike on consecutive days, and three times that I rode to work in all. It's not that I don't want to ride everyday, but more that I can't. If I have plans after work, I'm not at the stage where I'm ready to ride to said plans.

Example - if I'm going to dinner in Manhattan, do I ride my bike all the way from work? I suppose it's possible for the experienced rider, but I'm just getting back on the proverbial horse. It's a mere 2 miles to work, but my thighs get sore from the 16 minute ride. That's right, I'm in poor shape to be riding around. While the solution may be to ride more and for longer distances, I also feel I would run into something if I rode for a longer time or in more crowded situations. And if were riding to said dinner, I would show up sweaty and exhausted.

So the real question is if I can go one week, biking every day to and from work. It will have to be a week where I have no after work activities. I think I can do it, but the over/under for consecutive days riding has to be 3.5.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:26 AM

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June 17, 2004

Woo - "New" Bike

POST #    1110

After much talk about getting a bike, I finally bought one last night - the Trek Bruiser One. I looked at a few models online a while ago and then looked at some used bikes. Mike was saying how you get better value with used bikes, so used it was (really, I know very little about bikes). The bike turned out to be a little out of my price range, but not enough to deter me from buying it. It also has some components (see, catching on) that were replaced. Those components are better than the ones I would get on any stock bike in my price range.

Halo was nice enough to come with me to check it out and make sure everything was sound and in good condition. He talked shop with the previous owner, took it for a little spin and later declared that I got a good deal. Well, at least on the frame.

After he left, I took the bike for a short ride and riding a bike is like...riding a bike. You really never forget. That doesn't mean that I was ever good at riding a bike, just that I didn't forget. All I need now is a lock and a helmet and maybe a new seat too because my ass was hurting after five minutes.

- Reviews of the Bruiser One at MTBReview.com

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:01 AM

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June 14, 2004

Alumni Softball in Central Park

POST #    1104

Yesterday, I played my first softball game of the season and I can honestly say that it wasn't the prettiest exhibition of sport. Last year, I played many, many games with my alumni association, but because of my whole moving thing (and sheer laziness), I didn't play again until yesterday. I went 2-4 with two singles and two strikeouts, which is never good in softball. That's what I get for turning down batting practice and not swinging a bat for over a year. Whoops. In the outfield, I made several catches, but I also overthrew the cutoff man a couple of times. Whoops again. I'm sure hope I'll do better next time. One day after the game, I'm sore. Sadly, that speaks to the sorry state of my fitness. My hip, my calves, quads, and my throwing shoulder are all in some mild state of discomfort.

Next year, if there is a game on the same day as the Puerto Rican day parade, I'm not going to play. It was a huge pain in the ass getting to the great lawn. Got off the train at 86th and Lex and was told that I couldn't go across on 86th and was diverted to 85th, then to 91st, then to 96th. After finally getting across, I had to walk all the way back down to about 86th before I could get to the fields. Maybe I should blame my poor play on the parade.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:05 AM

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June 6, 2004

Blow Smarty Blow!

POST #    1087

Yesterday, I organized a bunch of people to take a trip to Belmont Racetrack for a fun filled day of horse-racing action. Of course, the big event was the Belmont Stakes, which had Smarty Jones vying for the first Triple Crown in 26 years.

We got a later start that I had hoped, leaving midtown at 9 a.m., with stops at Costco for food and another stop for beer. After hitting some traffic, we finally parked the car at made it to the track. First beer - 11:30. I didn't have too much to drink because I was being the "responsible adult", renting the van, driving people to the racetrack, and generally being the "mastermind" behind the whole operation. Yes, responsible adult, brining people to the racetrack where they would wager their hard-earned money and ingest many, many libations.

More than eight hours later, we finally left the track, with most of us down money and slightly intoxicated. Thankfully, mother nature held off, providing the record Belmont crowd with decent weather to witness a disappointing 136th running of the Belmont Stakes. Birdstone came out of nowhere to defeat the 1/5 favorite, Smarty Jones in the "Test of the Champion."

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 6:20 PM

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May 28, 2004

Looks Like My Sundays Are Booked

POST #    1070

Well, now with DirectTV installed, I had to order Sunday Ticket. It's just too good an offer to refuse. I can now watch every game that is on during the NFL season. Mmm...I'm itching with anticipation already and the season doesn't start for another three months! I can picture it now...Sundays, with beer, chips and football. So when the Giants are playing a crappy, meaningless game (I anticipate many) or when I would otherwise be forced to watch the Jets, I can now watch other games involving two teams that I may not care about, but are infinitely more interesting.

I also noticed briefly last night that with DirectTV, I get west coast channels as well as east coast ones. So if I miss something at 8, I can watch it at 11. But since I have TiVO and everything, I'm not quite sure when this would come up. (Yes, I know that if I don't normally watch something or record it, I can go watch the west coast channel.) It should be noted that I think this only applies to network television.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, TV at 8:42 AM

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May 22, 2004

First Mets Game of Season

POST #    1054

Sadly, last night was my first Mets game of the season, which I went to with Shannan, Dahlia and Sam. I guess first games come in late May when you no longer have season tickets. No matter, it was fun anyway. And...the Mets won 9-7. There were multiple hot dogs consumed by all and it was a grand ole time. I might have had the most fun when I stepped on my peanut shells though. Damn, I love that.

Braden Looper, the Mets closer, gave up his first runs of the year, as he blew the save opportunity in the 9th.

- Dahlia on "Travelling on Subways"

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:26 AM

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May 7, 2004

Spidey's Retractable Web - Baseball Changes Stance on Spider-Man

POST #    1007

One day after announcing a unique parnership with Columbia Pictures, Major League Baseball and Columbia turned around and changed their agreement. During the weekend of June 11-13, MLB agreed to promote Columbia's new movie, Spider-Man 2. The idea was to cross-promote the two and hopefully lure some kids back into the ballpark (not sure why they didn't just use the creepy chocolate man). The deal was thought up by McCann Erickson, the ad agency that represents both Sony (Columbia's parent company) and MLB. The deal had multiple promotional items for Spider-Man 2: webs and logos adorning the three bases and a ceremonial home plate for the ceremonial first pitch, Spidey on-deck circles, previews during the innings, and giveaways for the children. There was even some talk about putting something on the protective netting behind home plate, but that was nixed before the deal was announced. The revised deal will not have logos on the bases.

The deal was worth a reported $2.5 million for baseball, with $50,000 going to most of the participating home teams. The Red Sox and Yankees were to get $100,000 for the weekend promotion. Hmm...rich get richer? Granted, not that much richer, but should they really have been pushing that envelope too?

Baseball set two dangerous precedents, that on field marketing can be bought and that teams with high payroll with get more money from baseball. When does marketing interfere with "purity" the game. Drugs are semi-accepted, despite drug testing, but do we really need to move towards more advertising or marketing on the field or on the players? Do we want the players to look like a stock car or like pro athletes in Europe? Baseball, despite all its misgivings, is a great game. Let's not muck it up by putting ads all over the place.

There is no doubt that parents would have brought their kids to the park to get free stuff, but where would their seats have been? Murray Chass wondered if the kids could they even have seen the bases, let alone the logo. It's a good thing they decided to change the promotion. Please, let the fields and the uniform remain uniform.

More information:
- MLB.com: Major League Baseball, Columbia Pictures statement regarding Spider-Man 2
- MLB.com: Spider-Man 2 swings into ballparks
- NY Times: Movie Symbol to Adorn Bases, Causing Gasps From the Purists
- NY Times: Advertising Casting Its Web Over Young Fans at the Park
- NY Times: Spider-Man Web of Ads Unravels

Posted by tien mao in Movies, Sports at 7:49 AM

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May 6, 2004

The Adidas 1

POST #    1006

Adidas is set to launch a new high-tech shoe in December. The Adidas 1 is a running shoe that is built around a 20-megahertz computer, a motor, a stainless steel cord, and a battery. All this allows for the cushioning of the shoe to adjust while a person is running, changing depending on conditions and how a person is using them. Additionally, the shoes will come with instructions on a CD and push button controls with light-emitting diodes. The 1 is set to retail for a hefty $250.

The shoe whore in me really wants a pair of these, but the common sense in me knows that I have no need for these since I don't run. Who knows which will win out come December when they come out. I'm also not quite sure the last time I bought a pair of new sneakers over $100. That may sound insane, but again, I'm a recovering sneakerholic.

- NY Times: The Bionic Running Shoe

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:02 PM

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April 2, 2004

Woo, Michigan Wins the NIT!

POST #    911

Last night, Justin, my dad, and a couple of people from work went to the NIT finals at Madison Square Garden. It was great. It was so loud, so red, so pro-Rutgers, but Michigan pulled it out for the win. Sure, some people might say Michigan is #66 with their win last night, but they would be wrong. They didn't make the NCAAs, but that doesn't mean they are the 66th best team, it just means they didn't get an automatic bid or an at-large bid.

I must say that I missed watching college basketball in person and after tonight, I want to hit up some games next year. Maybe the pre-season NIT (which Michigan will be in) and the Big East tournament.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:49 AM

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March 29, 2004

Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby

POST #    901

Ah, another year of wasted summer nights, watching Baseball Tonight and playing fantasy baseball. It's exciting just typing about it, even though I'm not as into it as I was in the past. It's something to pass the time and make things more interesting in the baseball season.

My team has some good pitching, but the offense is suspect. The New York Chairmen in order of draft: K. Wood, R. Halladay, R. Johnson, K. Foulke, J. Posada, L. Gonzlez, J. Vidro, P. Nevin, J. Borowski, E. Alfonzo, K. Lofton, R. Winn, J. Peavy, J. Dye, D. Kolb, R. Harden, R. Aurilia, R. Mondes, R. Clayton, R. Franklin, E. Munson.

Not a great team by any means, but I hope to ride them to a 6th place finish. That's what I get for doing last minute research.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:47 PM

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March 26, 2004

Random Thoughts from NCAA Watching

POST #    892

Thought #1:
I'm sitting here watching the Texas/Xavier game, it's close, it's great. Did the NCAA really need to mark their court with a huge blue dot that says NCAA? I'm almost positive that everyone watching is aware that the NCAA tournament involves the NCAA. Watch out, we might get the product confused with the NBA, since players are paid...wait, that wasn't the thought process the NCAA wanted us to go through, right? And if they were going with the dot, couldn't they tune down the brighness of the dot? It's almost glowing. Maybe a navy blue dot instead? Where are those Queer Eye guys when you need them?

Thought #2:
I love how in the regional quarterfinals (aka the sweet sixteen), there are four groups of fans representing the four schools that play in one night. In the Texas/Xavier game, it seems like there are plenty of Duke fans present who are cheering for Xavier, since that would give them an easier game in the next round (assuming they win their game). Gotta love that.

Thought #3:
If I have to watch and listen to one more Capital One ad, I'm going to hurt someone. Lucky for them, I'm watching alone. I mean, how is an advertisement with the theme from Dirty Dancing supposed to connect to the viewers that are watching this programming? I assume it's mostly men, and I don't personally identify with the ad that much. It's semi-amusing the first time you watch it, but after about 1000 times, it's rather painful. You know the ad - it's the one where the guy says he'll be right back to his new flame, but hs doesn't come back for several years and she shoves him in the water. What ever happened to the ads where there is something that's about to kill the person with the high interest credit card? Needless to say, I won't ever be signing up for a Capital One card. I wonder how many people actually change the channel when these ads come on.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:11 PM

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March 21, 2004

My Bracket is Officially Screwed

POST #    876

Okay, I knew it might be a problem with picking the highest ranked team in the NCAA tournament. I said I was just jumping on the bandwagon. I probably should have thought it through a bit. Oh well, I had a nice three day run. Today just killed all hopes of me winning. My winner lost (Kentucky) and another of my final four teams lost (Cincinnati). Bummer.

One redeeming factor is the fact that Stanford and Gonzaga lost. Those were the two most garbage teams in the whole tournament. Never have I heard more bitching about not getting enough respect than with those two teams. Well, now there looks like there was a reason. Stanford gets more respect than Gonzaga, but in five of the past six years, Stanford has lost in the second round. It's impressive to make the tournament, but maybe they should just reserve the spot for someone else since Stanford is going home early anyway. The Cardinal (what's with the singular mascot) and the Zags do well in the regular season but don't seem to handle the pressure as top-seeded teams in the tournament. It should be noted that I had Stanford losing to Alabama in the second round and I had Gonzaga losing in the next round to Georgia Tech.

All I want now is for the rest of the tournament to be as exciting has been so far. So great.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:51 PM

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March 20, 2004

Friday Night at the PACC with the NCAA

POST #    872

Last night, I went to the Park Avenue Country Club, which really isn't as swanky as it sounds, to watch some NCAA tourney action. While I had little interest in the outcome of the games, things were made more interesting with some side bets - for pride only, of course. Others at the PACC had interest in the outcomes of the game. There were contingents of fans for Pacific, for Providence, for Wisconsin, and for Kansas. Every game televised nationwide was televised at the PACC. You just have to love it when a place has 16 big screens and 50 TVs. It was great fun and there was plenty of food and drink. Seven pitchers of beer, $240 later, and one morning later, it's good that I can say that.

I can also say that at the end of the night, I left with more pride than other people.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:53 AM

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March 18, 2004

NCAA Picks - Not Too Late to Copy

POST #    862

***Copy this bracket at your own risk. Really, I know nothing. I'm no expert, but these are my picks. For entertainment purposes only, of course.***


For full bracket, click here.

I've made picks. They might be bad, but I'll live with them. What do I care, it's for entertainment only, right? Please feel free to discuss, debate. I don't stand by my picks that much, but I did make them. I have no allegiance to any of the teams, and I'm just looking for an exciting tournament.

You'll see that my Final Four teams are still the same as the post I made over at Gothamist. I know it already, my teams will lose in the Sweet Sixteen. Oh well.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:34 AM

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March 15, 2004

Sports on Gothamist

POST #    850

Starting today (or yesterday), I'm helping out over at Gothamist, a website about New York. I'm writing the Gothamist sports beat. Well, something like that. What makes me qualified to do this? I have no clue. Personal blog, plus interest in sports, plus interest in a few local teams, and some interaction with Jen and Jake. I guess that's it.

Gothamist readers (or my 10 readers) might wonder what teams I follow, well, here goes. College sports wise, I am loyal to the Univ. of Michigan. I tend to make a yearly trip back to catch a football game (see here for last year's). Locally, I am a Mets and Giants fan. I've followed the Mets and Giants since the mid-80s, when both teams were at their peak. While you may call this "front running", I would say that I'm not a front runner, since I've stuck with them since. They were just the good teams in my formative years. I am also a Rangers fan by default. I generally dislike pro-basketball (see here) and I used to despise the Knicks, but I've eased off on them.

Teams I despise include all the rivals of my teams. Well, not all the rivals. Here is the short list: Notre Dame, Yankees, Ohio St. To a lesser extent, I also dislike Duke. That pretty much sums it up.

My first entry is on the NCAA tourney, complete with a PDF bracket. I worked pretty hard on the bracket and had a good deal of help, so please feel free to use it. I actually made some picks in the entry, so check it out.

Yes, I am aware the Mets suck. But I have hope. Hopefully, they can climb out of the NL East cellar and finish 3rd this year (I'm also a realist) and hopefully Gothamist Sports will turn out great.

Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome.

Hopefully, this doesn't affect this site too much, but I'll probably cut back a little, but will have at least one post a day, which is pretty much what I've been doing anyway. So I guess this site won't change too much. The big loser here? My sleep and sanity. But at least one of those was missing already.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:35 AM

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March 4, 2004

Oh Those Silly Harricks

POST #    810


Jim Sr. and Jim Junior - both idiots.

The Harrick family has got to make some better judgment calls. NCAA violations follow Harrick Sr. wherever he goes, and Harrick Jr. was dismissed from his job at the University of Georgia last year. Now, it seems Junior gave all his students an A in his Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball in 2001. He gave them A's despite the students not going to class, despite absurdly easy tests that Junior gave.

Questions included:
- How many goals are on a basketball court?
- How many halves are in a college basketball game?
- How many quarters are in a high school basketball game?
- How many points does a 3-point field goal account for in a basketball game?

Yikes, those are some easy questions. I'll admit, there are some harder ones that only someone that follows college sports would know, but still...these people attend the school in the questions and are in a class about sports.

Some of the "harder" questions:
- In what league do the Georgia Bulldogs compete?
- What is the name of the coliseum where the Georgia Bulldogs play?

I sure wish I took a class like this in college. Take the test and see how you do.

Thanks to JK for pointing out this article to me.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:55 PM

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March 2, 2004

Steroids! Baseball! No!!

POST #    802

Clearly, there are some stupid baseball players - players that take steroids even though they know when they will get tested. Now, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and three other players received steroids. Idiots. Besides irreparable harm to their bodies, these idiots have now tarnished their professional accomplishments. Obviously, they all deny the report from the Chronicle.

The players allegedly obtained steroids from Barry Bonds' personal trainer and friend Greg Anderson. Bonds also reportedly received human growth hormone. Federal investigators stumbled upon all the information when they were investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO). In the information provided, there is no evidence of the players taking the drugs.

Is it wrong of me to declare these players guilty, despite no concrete evidence? Sure, but that's not going to stop me from judging them. I hope there is some evidence that comes out that shows that they used the steroids. There is no place for steroid use in professional sports. Do I care if the product on the field changes? Not really. I couldn't care less if there were no 70 home run hitters in baseball because as much as people love home runs, that's not what the game is about. Nor is it about juiced up meatheads trotting around the base paths.

**UPDATE**
George Vecsey also hates cheaters. Olympics or baseball, cheaters ruin sports. Vecsey writes, "I don't necessarily believe any athlete who proclaims abstinence from performance-enhancing drugs. Paper cups all around, I say." Here, here.

- SF Chronicle: Bonds got steroids, feds were told Slugger's trainer said to have given substances to several athletes
- NY Times: Athletes Who Use Drugs Are Cheating the Fans

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:00 AM

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February 27, 2004

Strange Mascot Happenings

POST #    794


Big Red and Gabibbo

In a strange story, Western Kentucky's mascot, Big Red, has apparently been copied. WKU is suing an Italian TV station for copying their mascot. You be the judge. To me, it looks like they are exactly the same. Then again, how creative do you have to be to come up with a big blob as a mascot.

The Italian TV station denies copying Big Red, but they have apparently made some pretty incriminating statements in the past. A manger at the station said in an interview that Gabibbo was based off of Big Red. Of course, he now says that he was joking. Western Kentucky is looking for $250 million in damages.

- NY Times: Are Origins of Italian Star Found in Hills of Kentucky?


In other mascot news, a wolverine was spotted in Michigan. The wolverine, the mascot of my alma mater was last seen in Michigan in the early 1800s. They were even taken off the endangered list for the state because they simply don't live there anymore. Wolverines still inhabit northern Canada, Idaho, and Alaska. The article says that the "best-known Wolverines are athletes at the University of Michigan." Thanks for Justin for sending this my way.

Actually, Justin is very similar to the Wolverine. He's often times at the University of Michigan and is quite ferocious as well - well, at least around steak and wings.

- Yahoo News: 1st Mich. Wolverine Spotted in 200 Years

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:50 PM

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February 24, 2004

SI Swimsuit Issue: Nipple, Nipple, and More Nipple

POST #    783


Veronica Varekova and many other beauties at your local newsstand.

I just got my copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (my first copy mysteriously vanished) and I just have to say, "wow!" I mean, why were people making such a big deal about Janet Jackson's nipple, but nothing about SI's Swimsuit Edition?

I don't have an issue with either one, but shouldn't people be even-handed in their criticism? To me, it seems like SI is more racy with its painted bodies, barely covered bosoms, and suggestive poses. Is the fact that CBS uses the public spectrum the only issue people have? Or is it that nipples on the pages of a magazine are okay, but nipples on TV aren't. Personally, I'm for an equal-opportunity nipple society.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:25 AM

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February 23, 2004

I've Found a New Reality Show: ESPN's Dream Job

POST #    781


Contestant, Mike Hall and Barry Sanders (the one with the ugly shirt).

Damn the SportsCenter lead-in. Last night, when I should have gone to bed, I got caught up watching the re-broadcast of Dream Job. It's reality television and sports in the same program, how can you go wrong?!? Dream Job takes 12 finalists that want to be the next SportsCenter anchor. They compete in what I'm sure will be various tasks, but tonight they presented some highlights for a SportsCenter segment. They all wrote their own segments and were critiqued by the panelists.

I have two problems with the show (what would a post be without me bitching about something?) - Stuart Scott and LaVar Arrington. I'm not sure I can take much more of Stuart saying "Your SportsCenter begins in 3!...2!...1!" or, "Hugs and hand-pounds." And what the hell is LaVar Arrington doing on the show? His comments seem to be the same as all the other judges. He keeps saying, "I agree," can't he come up with some of his own opinions? Surely there must have been another athlete that could have contributed to this program.

I think I have to pull for the Asian-Jew, Aaron Levine. Oh, so smooth. But seriously, Aaron, Mike Hall, and Nick Stevens have been the standouts so far.

Posted by tien mao in Sports, TV at 8:56 AM

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February 16, 2004

Throwing Money at a World Series Trophy

POST #    768

The Evil Empire is at it again. With the impending acquisition of Alex Rodriguez, baseball's best player, baseball's richest team is trying to buy their 27th World Series. There is no doubt that A-Rod is the best player in baseball, but despite the fact that he was the AL MVP last year, he couldn't lift the Rangers out of the cellar. My feeling is that A-Rod won't be getting that ring with the Yankees this year.

Did the Yankees even need another player like A-Rod, probably not. But they went out and got him, raising their payroll to about $190 million. That's an insane amount of money and almost seven times as high as the Devil Rays. I'm guessing that Yankee payroll goes up to $210 million by the end of the season, add luxury taxes and revenue sharing, and that figure goes up to around $300 million. Mark my words, heads will roll at the end of the season. Lucky for Joe Torre, he is retiring at the end of the season.

The Yankee's potential lineup is insane. Not just in hitting prowess, but in salary. Assuming Kenny Lofton is in center, Bernie Williams is at DH, Miguel Cairo is at 2nd, and Kevin Brown is pitching, the team's per inning salary will be a healthy $72,013. $72,013...per inning!!

It should be noted that A-Rod has never played 3rd base. Cal Ripkin, the hall of fame shortstop/3rd basemen said of the two positions, "I used to get hit in the cup all the time at third. Then I moved to shortstop, and didn't get hit there for 15 years. Then I moved back to third, and got hit again." Here's to seeing A-Rod take a few in the cup.

Oh, and a final note from Tim Kurkjian "They now have four players -- Rodriguez, Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi and Derek Jeter -- who have $100 million contracts. No team has ever won a World Series with a player who has a $100 million contract. No team has ever had four such guys."

- ESPN.com: A-Rod's move to NY awaits Selig's Approval
- ESPN.com: A-Rod trade winners, losers
- ESPN.com: Fantasy Spin: A-Rod to Yankees
- Gothamist on the A-Rod deal and on A-Rod wanting to know NY

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:20 AM

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February 6, 2004

My Basketball Manifesto

POST #    749


Download full spreadsheet (zip file - right click, save as)

I am one of many people who think that the NBA is in decline and the game itself has actually deteriorated. So during the holiday season of 2002, I had a little time on my hands and I decided to test out my theory for the decline of the game (not only my theory, but the one I believed in). I contended that the NBA game has declined because of the proliferation of the 3 pointer and the dunk as well as the deterioration of the mid-range jumper.

Naturally, with time on my hands, I had to try and prove this theory correct. I searched around on the internet and found Doug's NBA & MLB Stats Home Page, which gave me all sorts of juicy basketball stats to look at. With these stats, I did some work in Excel and it churned out some tables, I looked at the numbers, and did a write up.

I was recently clearing out my e-mail and stumbled upon my research, and thought that I would share it with you (don't you feel so lucky?). I should update it with the stats from the 2002-2003 season, but that would take work.

What follows is my analysis, which may have some critical flaws in it, but that's why I'm not an analyst.

The two seasons that I will draw my main comparison from are the 1991-1992 season and the 2001-2002 season, a period of 10 years that saw tremendous changing in the way the game is played and who plays it. It was my original contention that the NBA game has declined because of the proliferation of the 3 pointer and the dunk as well as the deterioration of the mid-range jumper. The increased popularity of these two methods of scoring might be linked to several reasons - cable television becoming more popular and beaming SportsCenter highlights into the home, "street-style" ball making it to the NBA, etc. This analysis, however does not look to find why the 3 and dunk are becoming more popular, but seeks to show that they are more popular now than they were in the past. While this can not lead us to the conclusion that the game is worse off, the statistics will show that the game certainly has not improved under the current trend.

First, the statistics...
1991-1992
FG%: 47.244
FG att: 193,631
3pt%: 33.063
3pt att: 16,898
2pt%: 48.599
2pt att: 176,733

2001-2002

FG%: 44.505
FG att: 193,263
3pt%: 35.361
3pt att: 35,075
2pt%: 46.533
2pt att: 147,218

Looking at these numbers, one can see that FG percentage is down about 2.7% in 10 years with a very small decrease in FGs attempted. 3 point percentage has actually increased about 2.3% in 10 years and 2 point percentage has decreased about 2%. The most difference between these two years is the number of 3 point shots attempted. The number attempted has more than doubled! When hearing this initially, officials at the NBA offices would surely be pleased because this would obviously mean an increase in scoring. The truth is that scoring has fallen drastically since the 91-92 season where each team averaged 105.4 points per game. In the 01-02 season, teams averaged 95.48 points per game. During this 10 year period, the percentage of total shots that were 3 point attempts has also ballooned. In the 91-92 season, only 8.73% of the shots were 3's while in 01-02 18.15% of the shots were 3 point attempts. (During this period, percentages of 18.78, 20.01, and 21.17 were recorded for the 94-95, 95-96, and 96-97 seasons when the 3 point line was closer to the basket).

From the statistics above, it is obvious that the 3 point shot has become more popular and frequent in the professional game today. One would be hard pressed to find a person that says that dunking has not also increased or remained at the same levels which leads to the conclusion that the increase in 3 point attempts has decreased the number of mid-range jump shots for there would be no other type of shot to decrease.

While those attempting the 3 pointer today are on the whole making them at a higher rate than their peers ten years ago, what is this costing the game? Is a 3 pointer with a 35% chance of going in better than a 2 with at 45% chance of going it? If one were to totally eliminate the 3, scoring would actually go down about 2 points. If it were possible to combine seasons by taking the 2 point percentage of 91-92 and the 3 point percentage of 01-02, scoring would have actually been higher by about 3 points.

By looking at these numbers, it is apparent that overall, NBA players are shooting more poorly than they were in the past. Three point percentage has improved, but we see in the statistics that 2 point percentage has decreased. It is my contention that because of various factors, players do not practice the mid-range jumper anymore.

Has this been the sole reason for the decline in the product the NBA puts forth, probably not. There has been a steady trend of scoring decreases since the late 80s. Factors that might influence this include improved defenses and league expansion. The change in the rules for the 3 point did not even increase scoring when it took effect in the 94-95 season. That season witnessed an increase of about 12,000 attempts with only a 2.5% increase in accuracy. 3 point accuracy now is only 1.3% less than it was during the 95-96 season. While scoring is also down from the period with the shortened 3 point line, scoring also decreased within that three year period. The percentage of total shots that were three point shots in 01-02 neared the percentage of 94-95, which was the first season with the shortened line.

Further analysis of this decline in scoring in the NBA is needed to truly determine the cause, but it does seem that because of the 3 point shot and the dunk, there are less mid-range jump shots taken. While this difference cannot and is not the only reason for the decline, it is likely a contributing factor.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:30 AM

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February 1, 2004

A Sporting Lag

POST #    728

Announcer: "Tien Mao, you just finished watching the New England Patriots win the Superbowl, what are you going to do now?"

Me: "Uh, wait until spring training?"

So I've just spent a lot of time in front of the TV, watching football, eating, playing Madden, and now it's over. No more football for a long, long time. There are two lulls in sports, when football season ends and when basketball season ends. For me, this one is more painful. After the final ticks of the clock in tonight's game, I am left with nothing but basketall and hockey. I think I'm going to puke. Thankfully, spring training is about two weeks away. With spring training, hope is renewed for my New York Mets. Hopes will be surely be dashed by May, but I'll still follow the season. There is also March Madness, which happens in...March.

For those of you that have no interest in baseball, basketball, or hockey, rest assured, the Summer Olympics are only 194 days away.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:27 PM

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January 23, 2004

"Do you Have a Race Card?" "Go Fish!"

POST #    719

So, I saw this article on ESPN.com about how Kobe Bryant's lawyers "played the race card" at his hearing today, and I thought, "what is the origin of that term?" I did a little research and one site says it's a phrase that originates from 1960's England. It referred to a candidate's attempts "to gain advantage in an election by pandering to the electorate's racism." For the full origin, check out the definition (I don't really want to write all the words here). The BBC has a much more detailed description of the meaning and origin.

I just thought it would be a fun game - "Race Card - The Game." "Man, I've got white." "My yellow beats your white!" "Oh yeah, I have black, my card trumps you all! I win!" Hmm, maybe not as fun as I initially though, but if it didn't involve race, it would kind of be like UNO.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:56 PM

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January 14, 2004

Knicks Headed in the Right Direction?

POST #    699

I'm not a Knicks fan, never have been, never will be. I don't really like pro-basketball. But, I'm looking at some of the recent moves by the Knicks and I can't say that they are moving in the right direction. First, they hired Isiah Thomas, which while better than Scott Layden, he's no GM. This is the man that drove the CBA into insolvency. Smooth decision on that one. Next, they trade for Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway, bogging down their payroll even more. Good luck having some cap room in the near future. Now, they fire their head coach, Don Chaney, and hire Lenny Wilkens.

Lenny Wilkens is an old, old man. Some might say he has lost touch with today's players because of his age. Wilkens is the NBA's all time winningest coach at 1,292-1114. Sounds good to have the all-time winningest coach, but not if his winning percentage is a measly 53.7% and if he is the all time losingest coach. Combine Thomas, Wilkens, and the salary cap woes of the Knicks and Wilkens will be there in 7 years, if he lasts that long. Just because you're making splashes in the pool, it doesn't mean the lifeguard will start paying attention.

***UPDATE***
ESPN's Mark Stein also agrees with me (at least on Wilkens anyway). Stein writes, "Wilkens has been away only a few months. He comes home to the Knicks after a Toronto tenure that ended in the spring, with Wilkens on the hot seat for half of his three seasons there. Among the criticisms of his Raptors stint: Wilkens couldn't motivate his players, lagged behind the times strategically and proved sensitive to criticism. In Canada." What was Thomas thinking? He also considered himself, Chuck Daly, and Mike Fratello. How do you choose Wilkens over Daly and Fratello?!?

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:23 PM

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January 9, 2004

Final 2003 tienmao.com Top 10

POST #    689

Now that the college football season (sadly!) is over, it's time for the final rankings:

1. USC - after seeing them in person - great team - watch out in 2004!
2. LSU - dominating defense, just enough offense
(note: big drop-off after top 2!)
3. Oklahoma - Jason White is either badly injured or a fraud - possibly both!
4. Miami - not a vintage Miami team, but ranked here by default
5. Michigan - are they as bad as they looked, or is USC just that good? Most years would drop lower, but not many worthy teams below them this year. Overall, a good season but could and should have been better.
6. Ohio St. - not pretty, but generally got the job done - favorable schedule though
7. Georgia - probably wish they didn't have to play LSU twice!
8. Iowa - very well coached - Ferentz is a rising star
9. Florida St. - rebounded nicely from 2002 - just can't beat Miami!
10. Washington St. - good, not great team, but parity gets them into top 10

Obviously the BCS failed this year (again), but that is a topic for another day. USC and LSU each deserve a share of the title, and it's a shame they can't decide it on the field. Since I had to pick someone as #1, I went with USC because I think they'd beat LSU on a neutral field. But since we'll never know, it's only fair that we have a split national championship.

(Posted by Justin, even though it says posted by Tien below!)

Posted by Justin in Sports at 11:32 AM

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January 7, 2004

The 90th Rose Bowl Game

POST #    685


The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA


The inside of the Rose Bowl


Michigan's band forms an "M"


USC's band forms the letters "USC"


During The National Anthem, people in the crowd formed the Stars and Stripes with designated signs.

January 1st brought Justin and I to the Rose Bowl for the game between the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California. 93,849 people were in attendance and watched USC roll to victory, 28-14. While the game didn't turn out quite as we had hoped, it was cool being there. The two teams, the two fight songs, the two bands, the USC Song Girls.

- ofoto album with more photos (registration required)
- ESPN.com coverage on the Rose Bowl

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 4:00 AM

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January 3, 2004

U-C-L-A! Fight! Fight! Fight!

POST #    679

Last night, to add to my sporting experience here in Los Angeles, I went to the UCLA basketball game. The Bruins took on the Oregon State Beavers and defeated them 77-66. I can't say that we went for the scintillating match-up, but more to take in the atmosphere in Westwood, the legendary home of the Bruins. Despite the less than capacity turnout, it was a cool experience. We got to see Pauley Pavilion, the newly dedicated Nell & John Wooden Court, and of course the Spirit Squad.

My one complaint was their band. Granted, they are not blessed with the best fight song in the land (not even the best in L.A. for that matter), but there is no excuse for wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Please, spare us. You're not in Hawaii and your blue and gold mishmash of a shirt isn't cool.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:13 PM

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January 1, 2004

New Year Spoiled by USC, But Song Girls Make Everything Alright

POST #    677

Oh those University of Southern California Song Girls. What is there to say? They are tan, buxom, and wear tight, tight, tight white sweaters. Makes a man want to go to USC. My personal favorite is Michelle (see the whole squad here).

Today was the event that I came out to California for - The Rose Bowl, the Granddaddy of them all. I got to watch my University of Michigan Wolverines lose to The University of Southern California Trojans. The "Men of Troy" bested us today. Their team was just superior to ours. I'm not too distraught about the loss, but it obviously would have been nice to win. The Rose Bowl is a great bowl to play in and just coming here was worth it. Congrats to USC, the better team won today.

Overall, I must admit, I like USC a lot. They are similar to Michigan in many ways. They both have great academics, great sports, great fight songs, and great bands. They, however, have Song Girls. Michigan can't match that with its cheerleaders. I might have to make USC my west coast team.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:29 PM

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December 28, 2003

So It Comes Down to This

POST #    672

***note: I (Tien Mao) do not gamble for money, I merely pick games against the spread for entertainment purposes and to see how I would do if I gambled for money.***

In early November, I nealry made the football pick'em pantheon, but was foiled by the Monday Night Football game. That week vaulted me into first place in the friendly non-money wagering pool I am in. Now, in the final weekend, my lead is a measly 3 games. I have 136 games picked correctly against the spread, which is 57% of the games. 1st place comes down to 6 games - Jets/Dolphins, Bears/Chiefs, Colts/Texans, Panthers/Giants, Raiders/Chargers, Steelers/Ravens.

All games are against the spread. My picks are as follows (home teams in caps, my picks in bold):
- Jets vs. DOLPHINS (-3.5)
- Bears (+9.5) vs. CHIEFS
- Colts vs. TEXANS (-6.5)
- Panthers (+5.5) vs. GIANTS
- Raiders vs. CHARGERS (-3.5)
- Steelers (+7.5) vs. RAVENS

Wish me luck.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:25 PM

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December 27, 2003

$184.5 million for 2nd Place - Suckers!

POST #    669

The final tab for the evil empire and their 2003 season was $184.5 million, a number that includes the luxury tax, revenue sharing, benefits, and payroll. I just love how they spent so much money for nothing but an AL Championship. (Yes, the Mets spent a lot for last place, I know.) The $48.8 million is more than the opening day payroll of five teams, one of which was the Florida Marlins. The Yankees were also the only team to pay the luxury tax that kicked in after $117 million. One can only hope that next year, they spend their $180 million and don't even win the AL East. That would be sweet.

- USA Today: Yankees get another tax bill: $48.8M

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:43 AM

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December 23, 2003

NJ Should Keep the Nets

POST #    664

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about the New Jersey Nets and their possible move to Brooklyn. Without concerning ourselves with the economics of the move, which is a catalyst for many moves and almost impossible to ignore, we debated the merits of the Nets moving to Brooklyn. Now, I have a fair amount of city-pride and have done my fair share of New Jersey bashing, but I think the Nets should remain in The Garden State.

My friend's reasons that she is pro-move: the Knicks stink, there would be a natural rivalry between the Knicks and Nets, the Nets would provide an alternative choice, and plenty of cities have multiple baseball teams.

While it's true that the Knicks stink, that's no reason to move another team into the city. My Mets suck, but I'm not asking for the Expos (a team with monetary woes as well) to move to New York. Knick fans should not abandon their team just because it sucks, they should expect changes to improve their team. On that note, the Knicks fired much maligned Scott Layden and replaced him with Isiah Thomas, the man who drove the CBA into the ground. Smooth hiring decision.

While my friend makes a good point on a rivalry being formed, the Knicks and Nets should have a rivalry right now too, since they are so close geographically. One could argue that the Knicks have bigger rivalries with the Bulls, Pacers, or Heat. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that those old rivalries are mostly over for various reasons. The most important thing in a rivalry is competition, which has not existed in recent years between the two teams. When the Knicks were good in the 90's, the Nets were bad. The Nets are now good and the Knicks are bad.

The Nets as an alternative choice to the Knicks? Alternative choice?!? You shouldn't need an alternative choice! I'm not a Knick fan, but if I were, I wouldn't want you as a Knick fan (see rant here). Please refer to Sports Guy's Rules for being a true fan, rule 18, paragraph 2. You can't switch teams right now! Now, if the Knicks moved to a different city, then I would be in favor of the Nets moving. I know, nonsensical, but must I make sense all the time?

As far as the multiple baseball teams, it's true; there are some cities that support more than one baseball team. Technically, that only happens in two cities, New York and Chicago. In football, it technically doesn't happen at all. The Cubs and the White Sox are both teams with rich histories of their own, which is the case with the Yankees as well. The Mets, however, are a replacement team compensating for the loss of the Giants and Dodgers. The Knicks and Nets also have rich histories...but in their respective locations, not as New York teams.

I say, keep the Nets in New Jersey, New York doesn't really need them and what happens when the Nets start sucking and the Knicks start sucking? Maybe we can lure the Lakers to New York. They moved once, lets see if they'll move again.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:20 AM

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December 18, 2003

Pay Athletes? Nah, Just Send Them to Bowl Games

POST #    655


Just one of the gifts for Sugar Bowl participants - a Nokia N-Gage.

In August, Jeremy Bloom clamored about how college athletes should be paid, but who needs money if you get a free education and "gifts" for playing? ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reports on the gifts that players get for just getting to the bowls and it's quite a list. Players aren't just getting parting gifts like t-shirts and hats, but are getting hundred dollar watches, mp3 players, cell phones, video game consoles, rings, and the list goes on. Now, it's no easy task to get there, but is getting $300 worth in goodies not just a form of payment? Sounds like it to me. What's even more crazy is that the gift giving isn't something that the bowls do out of generosity, but it is an NCAA requirement that they hand out about $300 in gifts to bowl participants. I guess that free education just isn't enough.

- ESPN.com: Schwag bags always loaded with treats

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:14 PM

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December 10, 2003

Asian 'Evel Knievel' dies at age 50

POST #    629

***Another entry brought to you by guest writer, Justin.***

Sadly, Ko Shou-Liang, known as the 'Asian Evel Knievel', has passed away in Taiwan. Called Xiao Hei by his many followers, he died after an all-night drinking binge - the official cause of death was an alcohol induced asthma attack.' Like Evel Knievel, Shou-Liang was famous for his motorcycle stunts, and his greatest achievement was jumping a motorcycle across the Yellow River in China in 1990.

While heavy drinking is obviously a prerequisite for performing death-defying stunts, alcohol poisoning is certainly not the way that any daredevil wants to go. At this time, it is unknown if Shou-Liang was drinking from a diamond-encrusted walking stick filled with Sake on the night of his death (Evel Knievel is famous for his wild-turkey filled walking stick).

Obviously, this is a tragic loss for Asia and the entire daredevil community, and our thoughts go out to all of Shou-Liang's fans, friends, and family.

Our thanks go out to Jim Rome for breaking this terrible story.

Posted by Justin in Sports at 5:57 PM

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Ahh, the Sweet Smell of Rose Bowl Tickets

POST #    628

While I reserved my airplane ticket to Los Angeles on Sunday, I did not know if I had tickets to the Rose Bowl game on January 1st. This morning, that all changed. With no idea if we (Justin, Andy, and I) got tickets through the U of M Alumni Association yet, we purchased tickets through Ticketmaster (those bastards) just in case. Now, there is no way we will miss out on going to the game. If we also get tickets through the alumni association, then we can sell our extra tickets. There was plenty of demand for these tickets since USC is right there in L.A.

I can now sleep better knowing where I'll be on January 1st, 2004 at 1:30 pacific time.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:12 PM

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December 8, 2003

Mat-sue-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

POST #    621


Mets - My first Matsui

The New York Mets, my team, made a free agent signing today, by inking Japanese star shortstop Kazuo Matsui to a 3-year, $23 million contact. This gives the Mets a dynamic duo at shortstop and 2nd, with Jose Reyes moving to second base to accommodate Matsui. While, I'm not sure that this will move the Mets out of the NL East cellar (where they have dwelled for the past two years), it will certainly bring some excitement to Shea. Some people are saying that Kazuo is faster than Ichiro of the Seattle Mariners. Despite the signing, I don't think I'll be dropping $2600 for another season ticket.

The arrival of Matsui gives me hope, that when I turn 28, I'll be able to sign up with a Major League Baseball team. Not entirely unrealistic, since Kazuo stands tall at 5'9", which, according to my drivers license, is my height as well.

I welcome him to the Mets and hope that people don't start calling me Matsui because I really hate shit like that. I think the next time that happens, I'm going to call that white person Billy Bob or something. Maybe I'll just say "fuck you" because that shit ain't funny.

- NY Times: Japan's Top Shortstop Signs With the Mets
- ESPN: 'Little Matsui' accepts 3-year deal from Mets
- MLB.com: Matsui declares himself Amazin'

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:14 AM

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December 7, 2003

The Inaugural tienmao.com Top 15

POST #    615

***This is the first college football top 15 ranking here on the "little read book," with another one to follow at the end of the season. There should be more starting with next season. Justin (self-professed football junkie) has been gracious enough to write it, so I hope you will read it.***

As a new feature for tienmao.com, I've been asked to compile a ranking system for college football. Hey, if computer nerds and newspapers can have their own rankings, then so can I! I'm no expert or anything, just a college football junkie who watches basically every televised game during the season, as well as every Michigan home game in person. Naturally, these rankings are for entertainment purposes only, and have no impact on the BCS formula unfortunately!

12/07/03 Top 15

1. LSU - most impressive team overall this season - awesome D, improving O
2. USC - Great offense, good defense, but easier schedule than LSU
3. Oklahoma - overrated? Perhaps should be lower after yesterday's debacle
4. Michigan - Like USC last year, playing great but undone by early losses
5. Kansas State - early losses due to injuries - looked unstoppable vs. Oklahoma
6. Ohio St. - Good D, Bad O, won ugly but won, parity keeps them this high
7. Tennessee - won in Gainesville and Coral Gables (Miami)
8. Miami - like every 2 loss team, some big wins and some bad losses
9. Florida State - see above
10. Texas - finished strong, but not a tough team and was annihilated by Ok.
11. Georgia - lots of injuries, tough having to play LSU twice
12. Purdue - good enough to beat most teams, but not UM and OSU
13. Iowa - overachieved this year - ugly team but got the job done
14. Ole Miss - Give Eli credit - he was a one man team and almost won SEC
15. Miami (OH) - Great QB, underrated team, but not BCS material
15. (tie) West Virginia - rough start, but blew out VT and Pitt and should have beaten Miami - another very hot team

- ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
- AP Poll

Posted by Justin in Sports at 2:36 PM

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December 4, 2003

College Football and Computers

POST #    608

College football is one of the few sports that incorporates computers into a ranking system for its participants. Starting in 1998, the Bowl Championship Series has been used to determine the match-ups for the most prestigious bowls. The NY Times has an article about the various computer rankings used. It's a nice primer for those that don't know too much about what the B.C.S. rankings entail. It doesn't get too in depth about each poll's formulas, but it does mention what the polls look at and emphasize. The Times also looks at some of the people behind the polls and their credentials.

I wonder if Justin and I could start our own rankings. His college football knowledge and my computer. I think we would need a statistician too.

- NY Times: In the College Bowl Race, the Crucial Players Are the Programmers

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:36 AM

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November 26, 2003

Thanksgiving, Not the Same without Turducken

POST #    594

Damn, I just realized that Thanksgiving, which is tomorrow, won't be the same as it has in the previous years. After reading this Lycos Top 50 column, I realized that John Madden (BOOM!) won't be broadcasting on Thanksgiving Day since he is on ABC now. That also means, he won't be handing out 8 turkey legs to the outstanding players of the game. What a disappointment. That also means, there won't be any mention of Turducken. If I remember correctly, he actually had on in the booth last year and used his hands to open it up. For those of you who don't know, Turducken is chicken inside a duck inside a turkey...yum yum (actually, it sounds pretty nasty). If that's not enough bird for you, I don't know what is.

- Madden on turkey day games this year and in the past

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:40 AM

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November 25, 2003

TMQ to move to NFL.com

POST #    590


TMQ - Now with new logo!

TMQ has finally found a home, NFL.com - The Football Gods Rejoice. Yes, quite a shock, but it's good to know that Gregg has found a home period. Just a little surprising that it is with the NFL. I wonder if that means he gets more access to cheerbabes and maybe a Direct TV connection.

Football Outsiders was the home for TMQ while it was homeless - the shelter, if you will. Everyone should continue to check out The Outsiders for their interesting take on all things football. There is also a link on the right side of this page under "sites you should read/use" that has been there for a long long time.


- The new TMQ article on NFL.com

- Gregg's announcement on Football Outsiders
- The Buffalo News on the announcement
- More about TMQ on this site

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:20 AM

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November 23, 2003

A Big House Party

POST #    586

***Entry and photos (except one) by Michigan überfan Justin Spitzer, special to the "little read book." Thanks to Justin for the coverage.***


Final score - Michigan 35, Ohio St. 21.

As the clock struck 0:00 Saturday at Michigan Stadium, Wolverine players and staff stormed the field in celebration, followed quickly by a large contingent of the student section. Not since 1997 had Michigan played such a meaningful home football game, and while the National Title was likely not on the line this time, the victory was nearly as sweet as that epic win over Ohio State six years ago. I was fortunate to be among the record crowd of 112,000+ in Michigan Stadium to witness Michigans thrilling 35-21 victory over the hated Buckeyes, experiencing a combination of jubilation and relief as the Wolverines held off OSUs comeback attempt and ended a painful two game losing streak in the series. U of M clinched the Big Ten Championship with the win, and will likely head to the Rose Bowl to ring in the New Year.

The pre-game festivities were certainly fitting for a game of such magnitude, including a send-off for each of Michigans Seniors, the presence of 700 former UM football players, a taped message from former President and UM Alum Gerald Ford, and a flyover by four Air Force jets. As you would expect from members of the student section in such a big game, many fans went all-out with their appearance. Kilts, maize and blue camouflage, and plenty of face paint could be found among the crazies, as well as my personal favorite: a hairy, shirtless guy who shaved a block M on his chest!! (Sorry, no picture!) Unfortunately, there was a buckeye fan in front of me who proceeded to act very buckeye-like by chewing tobacco throughout the game and spitting the residue in a cup seemingly every 10 seconds! Very nasty.

Those of you of have attended big Michigan games with me in the past realize that I am a very vocal and passionate fan, to the point that I can become mosh pit-like violent after a big Michigan play! Saturday was no exception of course, but fortunately there were some equally rowdy (and also drunk) Michigan students next to me who shared my enthusiasm, so I fit right in. As the game ended, and despite the laughably pathetic pleas from the P.A. announcer to stay off the field, the 20,000 strong student section began flowing in that direction. This part is always interesting, for there is a 7-foot drop-off from the stands to the field, and some care must be taken to avoid injury when jumping down. Naturally, this causes the fans to get backed up as they near the wall, which leads to a lot of pushing. Now I know what its like to be crushed during a riot at a European soccer game! I wisely found a spot behind a rather large guy who helped clear the way through the masses, and eventually found my way down to the field to join in with the celebration.

All in all, a great day and a great win! Nothing beats being in the Big House (as Michigan Stadium is called) for a big victory, especially when the Big 10 title is clinched with a win over OSU. The sad part is that Michigan will not play again until January, but at least the regular season ended on a high note. Its great to be a Michigan Wolverine!

More on the game:
- MGoBlue game summary
- AP game recap (via ESPN.com)
- Navarre goes out in style
- NY Times coverage of the game


Justin, facepaint and all, before the game.


Justin, after the game, before after storming the field.


Ohio State's Shane Olivea - HAHA!

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:06 PM

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November 22, 2003

Hail To the Victors - The Sweet Smell of Roses Awaits

POST #    583

Moments ago, Michigan defeated OSU to win the Big 10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Ahh. Pasadena, here we come.

A NCAA record 112,118 people were at the game at the "Big House."

More tomorrow, now to go eat! Woo!!!

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:35 PM

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November 21, 2003

U of M vs. OSU - It's On

POST #    581


"This is the biggest UM game since the 1998 Rose Bowl, and quite possibly the 3rd biggest UM game of our lifetimes." - Justin Spitzer

With a quote like that, how can you not be excited about tomorrow's 100th meeting of the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes. In less than 24 hours, these two storied football programs will take the field to determine who wins the Big 10 title. For Michigan, a trip to the Rose Bowl (at least) is on the line and Ohio State has a trip to the Sugar Bowl on the line. Number 4 vs. Number 5. Final regular season game for both teams. I get excited just thinking about this.

The game is on tomorrow at noon on ABC, with kickoff at 12:10. Even if you're not interested in it, tune in until 12:20 to see the energy in the two teams, the energy in Michigan Stadium, and the pageantry of the whole event. More than 111,000 people are expected to be in the stadium. It will be the largest crowd to watch a football game anywhere in America tomorrow and probably the largest crowd to watch a game all season.

- Previous entry on the shadow of Bo
- ESPN game preview
- Ivan Maisel on the game
- The Quarterbacks: Krenzel and Navarre
- History of the Rivalry
- Ten Year War
- Bo on the game
- Border battles
- Game Notes (.pdf file)

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:10 PM

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TCU - BCS Posers

POST #    580

TCU lost yesterday to Southern Miss, ending their chance to play in a BCS bowl. I think it's a joke that they were considered one of the best teams in the nation. Sure, they we undefeated and that's an impressive task, but when your hardest game is Louisville or Southern Miss, you don't deserve to play with the big boys. Sure, those are tough games, but they also played Army, Navy, Vanderbilt, and a slew of crappy teams in Conference USA. I guess they only have themselves to blame...themselves and god. Good thing they are a Texas Christian University, because all that faith really pulled through for them.

I'm happy they loss and aren't going to go to a BCS Bowl. Now that they are 2nd in Conference USA, looks like they go to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. I wonder how far they will fall in the polls. From 9 to...? 20s? Out of the poll?

- ESPN.com game recap
- Ivan Maisel on the game

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:07 AM

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November 20, 2003

The Shadow of Bo

POST #    576

Today, The Times takes a brief look at Lloyd Carr and his coaching in the shadow of the great Bo Schembechler. Carr has coached Michigan for 8 years and gone to a bowl in each of his seasons, which is considered a success in most places. His rsum, however, is lacking in Rose Bowl appearances, which can be improved this Saturday (ABC, noon) against the much hated Buckeyes. This is arguably the best rivalry in college football (see poll on ESPN Page2), if not all sports. More on the game and rivalry tomorrow.

- The NY Times article: Coaching in the Shadow of Schembechler

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:25 AM

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November 17, 2003

Uh...Man Love on the "little read book."

POST #    570


Bill and Bill...together at last.

The Tuna (right) apparently wants some love. There is background to the photo. The two are student and teacher. Last night, the student did the teaching.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:14 AM

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November 16, 2003

Reggie Miller - Basketball God/Basketball Devil

POST #    568


Spike and Reggie.

Reggie Miller is great. Reggie Miller is clutch. Reggie Miller kills the New York Knicks. Lucky for me, I don't like The Knicks or professional basketball for that matter. Sure, Reggie is old and past his prime, but last night, Reggie and the Indiana Pacers came into The Garden and dropped 31 points and 3 straight 3-pointers to down the pitiful Knicks (let the chants of, "Fire Layden!" begin).

Of course, every Knicks fan remembers Reggie's masterful performances at The Garden. 1994 - 25 points in the 4th quarter. 1995 - 8 points in 8.9 seconds. 1998 - A series-turning three in front of Spike Lee. 2000 - 17 points in the 4th quarter to finish off The Knicks and advance to the NBA Finals.

Regie may be old, but Regie can still kill The Knicks, which works out just fine for me.

- AP game recap on ESPN

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:08 AM

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November 14, 2003

"There must be a lot of stupid baseball players."

POST #    567

"There must be a lot of stupid baseball players."
- Dr. Charles Yesalis - Penn State University expert on steroids steroid expert.

Major League Baseball released the results of their 2003 steroid testing yesterday, and to the surprise of some people, there were more than 5% of the players that tested positive. Under the labor agreement that the players and owners just signed, after a season of 5% or more, testing with penalties starts.

This season, there were 1,198 players tested in spring training and 240 tested at random during the season. Of the 1,438 players tested, 5-7% of them tested positive. They disagree on how to interpret the results, hence the range in the percentage.

Dr. Gary I. Wadler equated failing the drug test to failing an IQ test. The players were told that they should expect testing during spring training, giving them enough time to shoot up during the off season and add muscle mass before cleansing their systems before spring training.

For those of you that don't know about baseball's drug testing rules, you may be scratching your head and asking, "why do they get to know when they are tested ahead of time?" Well, that's because the testing policy called for testing of everyone before the season followed with few random tests during the season. This is different from the NFL, the NBA, and the NCAA, which ban the use of several drugs and test at random. Steroids in baseball aren't technically banned, just "tested" for. For the next two seasons, there will be stricter testing, with mandatory random testing starting in spring training. Nice of the players union to allow their members juice during the off season.

As a fan, it is clear that are some players are on some performance enhancing drug. Sure it could just be dietary supplements and hard work, but you don’t go from hitting 10 home runs one season to hitting 50 the next. You don't go from being a skinny and fast outfielder that steals bases like it's your job to a hulking and slow outfielder with a huge head that hits home runs like it's your job without some kind of help, do you? Whether it's steroids, ephedra, human growth hormone, or the designer steroid THG (tetrahydrogestrinone), performance enhancing drugs can't be in sports. It ruins the game. I can't imagine any fan would disagree with that. While we love seeing home runs, we don't want players that cheat to hit those home runs (even though baseball doesn't consider drugs cheating). Screw the players union view that drug testing is an invasion of their privacy, employers make their employees test for drugs all the time in the real world, I don't see how baseball players should be any different.

- ESPN coverage
- NY Times coverage
- Major League Baseball's press release
- The Commissioner's Statement

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:36 AM

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November 5, 2003

It's Like Chinatown In New Jersey

POST #    547


Yao, taking it to the hole.

Last night, Rachelle and I went to the Nets vs. Rockets game at the Continental Airlines Arena. On Chinese Night, a paltry 11,784 fans turned out (20,049 capacity) to watch the Rockets beat the Nets 86-75. They did give away some noise makers though. All in all, not a bad night. Especially after I had my foot-long hot dog. Mmm mmm.

- Rachelle's entry on last night (you can see the little drawing she did on the noise maker).


Rachelle, peeling off the sticker on the giveaway.


Rachelle, doing her best Chinese impression on Chinese Night.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:05 AM

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November 4, 2003

Near Entry Into The Football Pick'Em Pantheon

POST #    543

***note: I (Tien Mao) do not gamble for money, I merely pick games against the spread for entertainment purposes and to see how I would do if I gambled for money.***

I am in two football pools (for recreational and bragging purposes only) where I have to pick the winners of each game against the spread. For those of you who don't know, the spread is a handicap given to even the odds of something happening - in this case, a sporting event. A team has the points either added or subtracted to its score to determine a winner. Betting 101 lesson complete.

In one of the recreational pools I am in, I was already in first place entering the weekend, with 60% of the games right and a one game lead over my nearest competitor. I did my picks Friday morning, with about a 50-50 chance for each game, I take a look Sunday night to see how I'm doing and I'm a whopping 13 for 13!! Now, I've gotten 11 right for a week and even 12 right when there are 16 games on a weekend, but 13 for 13?!? So, I went into Monday Night Football with a chance to go 14 for 14 if Denver won by more than 1.5 points. I decided not to watch the game, just in case I would jinx it (yeah, illogical, I know). I'm sitting at home, and my friend Johnny calls me and asks why I'm not watching the game. After some talking, I turn on the game, and watch the rest of it. Denver does not pull through in the final moments, giving up a TD to New England to blow my chance at a perfect week. 92.86% though, not bad. It's all downhill from here.

I blame Johnny for this.

***IRS stop reading here. If anyone believes the previous note, then I have a bridge to sell you.***

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:08 AM

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November 3, 2003

College Football Not Dead in NYC

POST #    541


Some Clemson alums watch the Tigers at Brother Jimmy's.

With several professional teams in New York City, college sports often gets overlooked. This is understandable, considering that St. John's Basketball might be the most high profile college team in the entire city. When it comes to football, the picture gets even uglier. The Columbia Lions are the city's pride and joy for football, and their profile might be lower nationally than the Rutgers football team.

The NY Times reports that college football is still alive in the sports bars of New York. Places like the Park Avenue Country Club (not as fancy as it sounds), which shows the Michigan games, host the alumni of schools from conferences around the nation, including the Big 10, the Big 12, and the SEC. These establishments provide a place for fans in NYC to follow their teams in a friendly environment.

I've been to the PACC a few times, and it certainly does get crazy and wild. There's nothing like a rabid pro-Michigan crowd when you're outside of Michigan. Not really something you come across too often. But, watching the game on the TV still doesn't beat watching a game in person.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:29 PM

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October 25, 2003

Beckett Rode on Their Shoulders...ON THREE DAYS REST!!!

POST #    505


Josh Beckett - Looks like he got some rest.

***My friend John(ny) is writing this post. He is a true Yankee fan, and has a lot to get off his chest. I'm very happy though. Down with the Evil Empire!***

The worst part of watching the Marlins win -- owned by that fat fuck Loria, who would still be ruining the Expos if MLB hadn't given him a sweetheart deal -- is that Josh Beckett made the last out -- ON THREE DAYS REST!!! Seriously, is there anyone north of the South Pole who isn't aware that Beckett pitched on three days rest? Jesus, give the fucker a profile in courage, for the love of God. To listen to the media, you would think that throwing a fucking baseball was worthy of a Nobel Prize.

(HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY!!)

I'd also like to thank David Wells for being a fat fuck and blowing Game 5.

Seriously, I hope it's not so, but this feels like the end of the run. Zimmer is most likely gone, and who would blame Torre if he goes after the shit Steinbrenner has given him. If that's the case, damn it's been an amazing run. I remember going crazy in my freshman dorm room after Jim Leyritz homered in Game 4 of the 1996 series -- it seems like ages ago. That first one meant so much; the excitement of them winning that year far exceeds the disappointment from this one.

Anyway, I'd like to thank Tien for the guest-blogging opportunity, and maybe he'll give me another chance -- after I rest up for, say, three days.

Gothamist on the game.


With three days rest, I'll be able to give more piggyback rides.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:10 PM

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October 22, 2003

2 Days Late, $2 Short

POST #    468

Since the fiasco last Thursday involving the Evil Empire and his cherished Red Sox, Bill Simmons (a.k.a. Sports Guy) has written three articles covering the game. It's classic Sports Guy, re-living every mistake that his team made in their epic collapse. I only got around to reading them today, but if you haven't read them yet, you should take a read. I delayed reading because of my disgust over how ESPN dealt with TMQ. But I've found that reading three Sports Guy articles in a row just about adds up to the length of one TMQ column.

- Reliving the game, written that night.
- Four days later, still wondering what went wrong.
- Readers respond to the game that never happened.

Oh, and as Adam Morrow from L.A. said, "Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the house in blackjack."

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:20 PM

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Evil Empire vs. Marlins - 7 Games?

POST #    467

A study by the American Institute of Physics found that the World Series is extended to 7 games more often than probability would suggest. The study, released last Friday, found that in the last 50 years, 48% of Fall Classics went to 7 games. When extending their research to 1905, they found 37.2% occurrence for a 7 game series. According to their research, however, in an even match-up, the 7th game should only occur 31.25% of the time.

But how often does the even match-up ever happen? If teams are uneven, then there would be a less likely chance that the World Series goes down to the final game and lowering the frequency. The study looks at two factors that might have an effect on going the distance - home-field advantage and baseball strategy. The study says, "the 6th game is played in the stadium of the team that has been on the road 60% of the time. This means that the home team may have a better chance of winning the sixth game--and bringing the series to game 7." On baseball strategy, the study contends that a team that is trailing 3-2 will do everything it can to get to game 7, since they don't have to hold anything back.

I think the AIP might have too much time on their hands, but it's kind of interesting. Why do I only write about it now if the study was released Friday? Because the NY Times just wrote about it today, and we all know that if it isn't covered in The Times, then it's not real news (there was a thick layer of sarcasm on that). Since the study was done Friday, it says nothing about Florida's chances when down 2-1, but the Evil Empire did reclaim home-field advantage.

- The full AIP report
- The NY Times article on the report

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:55 AM

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October 21, 2003

Scandal Rocks Page 2's Uniform Bracket - Hail to the Victors

POST #    465

Last week, I posted about the uniform contest that ESPN had going on their Page 2 section. The Denver Broncos seemed well on their way to drubbing Michigan's football uniforms. Anyone that has seen the two uniforms side by side must have wondered how the Broncos could be beating Michigan by so much. Apparently, the Broncos had some help. Someone in California (Cal-eeee-for-knee-ah) devised a code that stuffed the ballot in favor of Denver for at least 71,465 votes. Page 2 has made right (they did wrong just last week with the whole "Easter-gate" thing) and crowned the Wolverines as champions this year.

Read about the ballot stuffing here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:13 PM

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October 16, 2003

univ. of michigan vs. denver broncos

POST #    458
espn's page 2 has been doing a uniform tournament for about two weeks now, and they are down to the finals. it's the michigan football uniform versus the denver broncos uniform. i'm partial to the michigan uniform myself, but you can all decide for yourselves here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:20 AM

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October 15, 2003

get of the freaking fence!!

POST #    456

***note: there will be many uses of fuck or its variants in this post, but we all know, that it's okay. i might use shit though, which was not covered in the ruling. oh well.***

you know what i'm sick of? people not having one sports team they follow. take new york for example. we're in the middle of the major league playoffs and the evil empire is playing the boston red sox. now, as a mets fan, i cannot like the team in pinstripes. in my case, i actually hate them. i don't like any of this, "oh, well, i'm from new york, i'm going to cheer for the yankees," bullshit if you're a mets fan. i don't believe in loyalties extended to rivals in city sports. i would like nothing more than the evil empire losing to the red sox tomorrow. it would make my day actually. and if the red sox went on to win the world series after that? even fucking better. the enemy of my enemy is my friend. and to all those people that are on the fence about cheering for teams? "oh, i just cheer for new york." fuck that. i don't want you cheering for my team. just cheer for the other teams, i don't want you supporting my team, i don't want you sporting my team's merchandise, or buying my team's tickets. take your fucking money and go elsewhere. so i might bitter might be because the mets are lousy, but i'm not going to change my allegiances because of that. i don't want glory for a rival just because i have something in common with them. if it were college football, i don't cheer for ohio state because they are in the big 10, i don't cheer for michigan state because they are in michigan too.

also, fair weather fans are the fucking worst. if you don't admit your a fan of a team when they are lousy, you don't deserve to be a fan of them when they are good. where were the yankee fans in the 80's? non existent. on a similar note, if you don't follow the team at all for the whole season, don't fucking come out of the closet and start cheering towards the end of the season. if you don't really follow sports in the regular season and watch the playoffs, fine, but don't say, oh yeah, i'm a fan of so and so just because they are in the playoffs.

takeaway lesson...pick one fucking team and cheer for them and against the other team. when your team is out of contention, cheer against your rivals no matter how much you might love the city you and your rival team are in.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:32 PM

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don't hate the player, hate the game

POST #    455


jan's got cans.

so i'm borrowing a line from ice-t's song, but my first initial is "t" so it's okay. anyway...

yesterday, jeannette passed along this article about jan stephenson and some of the things she said over the weekend:

"This is probably going to get me in trouble, but the Asians are killing our tour. Absolutely killing it. Their lack of emotion, their refusal to speak English when they can speak English. They rarely speak.

We have two-day pro-ams where people are paying a lot of money to play with us and they say, 'Hello and goodbye.' Our tour is predominantly international and the majority of them are Asian. They've taken it over.

If I were commissioner, I would have a quota on international players and that would include a quota on Asian players. As it is, they're taking American money. American sponsors are picking up the bill. There should be a qualifying school for Americans and a qualifying school for international players. I'm Australian, an international player, but I say America has to come first. Sixty per cent of the tour should be American, 40 per cent international."

hmm...i'm not sure where to start. first, it should be noted that 4 of the top 10 players on the lpga money list are asian right now (and 3 out of the top 6 and if you're looking for jan, she's at 141). how can she actually say that she thinks that there needs to be restrictions on people in the lpga tour? is she nuts? probably. that's like rush limbaugh saying, "there needs to be a restriction on black people playing quarterback in the nfl, they're ruining the game." hmm, that actually doesn't sound too far from what the druggie might say. the lpga tour, like any other sport is competitive, and you play your way onto the tour. if the asian players are better than you, then you're just going to have to accept it and suck it up. maybe they could make a better effort to interact with sponsors, but don't think that there should be a limit on how many good players should be on the tour. and if you really wanted the tour to be 60/40 u.s. to international players, you probably woudn't make the tour. in fact, you're no spring chicken since you're playing on the senior tour.

stephenson also mentioned how they have to promote some sex appeal. okay, sex appeal doesn't seem to be on the top of the lpga's agenda, but a lot of those asian players are actually kind of cute for athletes. maybe not se ri pak or hee-won han, but grace park and candie kung. and is it me, or do they actually look better in their action shots than their glamour photos?

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:05 AM

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October 6, 2003

throw the ball

POST #    434

espn.com's page 2 has a nice article today on throwing like a girl. they define the girl throw as "slightly-spasmodic, gawky, elbow-first, same-footed." something that i've witnessed in many a girl, and some guys. it's actually not that hard to throw a ball, i think it just takes some practice. the writer of the article also shows off her arm in a video clip, and she has a gun.


whitney casey - is that gun of yours licensed?

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 4:37 PM

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October 3, 2003

as seen in sports illustrated

POST #    428

every issue of sports illustrated has three photos in the front that they call "leading off." this week, one of the photos was of the bleacher bums at wrigley field celebrating the cubs' division title. i think this one guy is flipping the bird. i wonder who he's mad at. maybe he is a astros or cards fan?

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:50 PM

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September 28, 2003

futility avoided!

POST #    411

the detroit tigers avoided the mark of futility today with their second win in a row!! they proved me wrong. la de freaking da. they only lost 119 times and didn't get the 120th loss, which would have tied the record set by the 1962 mets. earlier this week, the tigers won three in a row, and their last two wins were both come from behind wins. last night, the tigers had their biggest comeback of 38 years when they won after trailing by 8 runs. today, they had a 7 run 6th inning to get the win. the winning pitcher was mike maroth, who happens to be the first 20 game loser since 1980. i guess one mark of futility is enough for the tigers.

read more about the game from espn, and all my '03 tigers/'62 mets coverage.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:02 PM

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September 27, 2003

one game away

POST #    408

last night, the detroit tigers lost for the 119th time, which puts them one game away from tying the modern era's record for losses. that record was set by the lovable 1962 mets, not a bumbling team of AA and AAA players. the new york times has an article on the loss from last night.

they note in the article that there are a few things that are working in detriot's favor. earlier this week, they won three straight, and now they are playing the playoff bound twins. since the twins have already clinched their spot and more wins won't help their situation any, they are resting their regular players. the weather is also cooperating with them. rain is scheduled for the detroit area, which might cause a rain out of games tonight or tomorrow. if that happens, they won't be making them up since they won't change the post season landscape.

we'll see if the tigers can hold off loss number 120.

i've written about this many times.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:32 PM

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September 25, 2003

murph, the mike, a bratty child, and stripping...all at shea stadium

POST #    404


sorry to see you go murph.

tonight was the last home game of the season for the new york mets. it was a strange, strange night.

the game tonight was bob murphy's last game before calling it a career. he was an original met, calling his first game when the mets debuted in 1962. in all, murphy called more than 6000 games, is a member of the hall of fame, and had a bobblehead doll. before the game, there was a touching tribute that brought tears to many of the people in the stadium. he really will be missed. read more about his career.

tonight was also the debut of mike piazza at first base. sure, it was the last game of the season, and in the 9th inning, but it happened. immediately after entering the game, a line drive was hit right to him, which he fielded cleanly. there were even talks about the gold glove. it was a good start for him, but i think i'll just hold off on the gold glove talk.

earlier in the game, a ball was tossed into the crowd. after one guy picked up the ball to give to his autistic child, another kid who was probably about 8 was yelling, "can i have the ball?!? it's my birthday!!" after no response, he continued to yell, "it's my birthday! but it's my birthday!" when the guy who picked up the ball didn't respond, the kid proceeded to walk over to the man to ask for the ball. if i had the ball, i would have thrown the ball back onto the field before giving him the ball. just because you're a kid (even if it is your birthday), you're not entitled to the ball. if an adult gives the ball to you, that's a good deed, but not your entitlement. that kid needs a swift kick in the ass.

finally, there was also some stripping going on at the game. no, it wasn't me, but a strange woman that was wearing some sort of american flag mask the whole game and carrying a lady liberty torch. it was the strangest thing i have ever seen at a baseball game. she actually got up on her seat and started to take her shirt off, exposing her less than shapely body and her bra-covered chest. it wasn't a pretty site. some people were yelling, "take it off," which is sometimes funny, but i was thinking "no, please keep it on!"

a strange night at shea to end the season. sad to say, it took away from bob murphy's night.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:51 AM

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"Field of Screams"

POST #    403

vs.
stengel vs. howe, which manager's team would win?

i've posted about how the '62 mets and the '03 tigers are neck and neck for the worst record in the history of baseball, but in today's times, harvey araton wonders if the mets of yesteryear would beat the mets of today. i must admit that this year's mets are pretty damn bad. if you consider the money they spend, they might be worse and more hapless than this year's tigers.

he's got the 1962 mets winning a series between the two, which sadly, isn't that unbelievable. read the article.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:31 AM

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September 24, 2003

'62 mets vs. '03 tigers - update

POST #    400

it looks like espn.com's page 2 has finally jumped on the bandwagon in the race for mediocrity. jeff merron examines some of the feats the two teams have gone through.

in case you were wondering, the 1962 mets were the worst team in the modern era of baseball, with a record of 40-120. the tigers are 39-118 with 5 games left. i think they will end the season 40-122, which will make them the worst team ever. detroit's loss monday, set an AL record for losses.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:02 PM

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September 18, 2003

shhh...

POST #    383

i know, i know, how many times can you post about michigan's football team? what can i say? it reflects how much i love the team.

don't tell anyone, but there is an article about michigan in this week's sports illustrated. unfortunately, you can't read it online. fortunately, michigan is not on the cover. the article discusses how this michigan team is something to be excited about, which any fan of the wolverines will agree with. apparently, "comparisons are flying between this squad and the 1997 national champions." if all goes well this weekend, i will truly believe that this team can be as special as the 1997 team. that was a great year. defensive end, larry stevens said, "i came here to win a championship. i haven't been successful. yet." lets hope larry is right. give me a victory at oregon and i'll be a true believer.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:06 AM

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September 16, 2003

hapless tigers

POST #    375

with their loss last night, the detroit tigers became the first american league team to lose 111 games since the 1939 st. louis browns. their record currently stands at 38-111, which is also the most losses in the majors since the 1965 mets, who lost 112 times. after their loss on sunday, the tigers became the first team in 34 years to lose 110 games. with 13 games to play, they need 5 wins to avoid matching the record of 120 set by the 1962 mets, an expansion team. it's going to be close.

'03 tigers vs. '62 mets in a simulated world series and more on how bad they really are.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 4:35 PM

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September 15, 2003

post-game coverage

POST #    376

and the praise of michigan continues with post-game coverage of the big win over notre dame on saturday. hopefully, lloyd carr is telling his players right now that the win on saturday was nothing except one game on a quest to their final destination. they need to get the game out of their heads and focus on playing oregon at autzen stadium this weekend. it's going to be a tough road game against a good pac-10 team, two things that have troubled michigan in recent years.

ivan maisel on the win and on the 12-steps.


uh, i think the headline could have been written a little better. all we need to do is associate college with alcoholism.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:37 AM

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September 13, 2003

michigan 38, notre dame 0

POST #    371


chris perry, 4 touchdowns. ap recap in the times.

the big game is over and michigan played like nobody expected. apparently, they were double digit favorites though, something that brent musberger mentioned several times. i think he has some money on the game. i went to my friend johnny's place to watch the game. a relatively friendly venue for watching the most important game of the season for me.

we decided to do a running diary of the game, similar to the sports guy, but nowhere near as funny. but as johnny said, "screw them," when referring to the people who don't find it funny. so we're just going to go with that. anyway, read on for our "ode to sports guy."

4:15: points scored, 17. points seen, 0. damn osu game going into overtime. you would think that at least osu could lose. no such luck.

4:28: dog food disguised as mexican food arrives. this can't be good.

4:46: brent musberger just said, "perry who wears number 23, jordan's number, catches it like jordan." uh, okay brent, whatever you say...jackass.

4:48: blog just starts, cris perry fumbles. not a good sign.

4:52: aflack quiz is retarded. the answer was "none of the above," which wasn't even an option. johnny says, "why did we get that food? man, people who read your blog and don't know me must think i'm a freak." i think people that read my blog and know him still think he's a freak.

4:58: carr's shirt has a waffle pattern making it look like thermal underwear. michigan unleashes a deadly 15 yard punt.

4:59: the university of michigan - ugliest cheerleaders in the big 10. "9 out of 10 women in the big 10 are hot, the 10th goes to michigan."

5:01: johnny realizes i'm a jackass. there are those cheerleaders again.

5:02: michigan 17, notre dame 0. do they really need these on field interviews of the coaches? they never reveal anything. michigan is playing really well. but i still have yet to see a live touchdown. damn osu.

5:25: 2nd half starts. vontez duff, what a jackass. the stutter step 5 yards deep in your own end zone always fools the oncoming kick team.

5:26: johnny makes a joke about latex.

5:28: johnny wonders why punters always catch the ball on the snap. i give him a bewildered look as i sit dumbfounded.

5:29: perry for the touchdown!! hail to the victors! finally, the first points scored while i've been watching.

5:31: commercial break. playmakers? wow! that's a lot of moaning for 5 in the afternoon and network tv. i might have to tune in.

5:37: gary danielson says, "brady quinn is the only other scholarship quarterback on the team...playing quarterback." uh...okay gary.

5:42: 111,726 people at the game. a new ncaa record. wow. capacity is 107,501.

5:52: michigan cheerleader to dad - "dad, did you see me on tv? i was the one with the crotch to the camera."

5:54: navarre on the run...just great. i believe he has a 5.4 second 40 time.

6:01: 1:30 left in the 3rd quarter. the overrated chants start. counter-intuitive don't you think? ideally, you would want your opponent's rating to be accurate as you are trouncing them. i remember my friend dan constantly saying this in college.

6:04: i maintain: band cool, band members not so cool.

6:08: mexican dog food kicks in, johnny pounds the tums.

6:10: 4th and goal on the 2. michigan actually goes for it! perry runs it in! michigan 31, notre dame 0. oh yeah.

6:15: all the memories coming back. the "gooo...bluuuueeee" cheer is in effect.

6:26: game over. scrubs in, johnny uses jive.

6:30: johnny's note to outback steakhouse - the blimp should be named the bloomin onone, not the bloomin onion one.

6:35: october 18, 1902 - the last michigan shutout against notre dame. michigan won 23-0.

6:36: another michigan touchdown. johnny's jive talkin' continues.

6:50: game over. michigan wins 38-0. wow, what a game. i don't think in my wildest dreams i would have envisioned this. well, my wildest dream about this game. not dreams in general. anyway...you get the point.

check out the boxscore on espn.com. see photos from the game here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:46 PM

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trouble

POST #    370

uh oh...corso and herbstreit both picked michigan to win today's big game. i'm not sure if both of them have ever picked michigan at the same time. i guess we'll see at 3:30. go blue!

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:00 PM

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September 12, 2003

more on the big game

POST #    369


how many times has navarre been on espn.com?

i'll just keep writing about this until the game. if michigan loses, i won't mention the game again, but if they win...there will totally be a post. and if michigan wins, there will be more posts and more and more. hmm, i think i'm a fan. earlier in the week, i had another entry on the game, which is the biggest test so far this season for the wolverines.

the three articles above:
curry's gameplan
maisel on navarre
herbstreit's viewer's guide

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:56 PM

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September 11, 2003

big weekend game

POST #    366


if chris perry gets 208 yards, we should be in good shape.

this weekend is a huge weekend for michigan's football team. the last two weeks, they beat two soft teams, but this week, michigan takes on notre dame. the new york times even has coverage on it. in the times article, michigan quarterback john navarre has a great quote, "growing up, you always hear the michigan and notre dame fight songs, the two most recognized fight songs in the country." there are other things besides the songs, navarre continues, "the signature helmets. the blue uniforms. the gold pants. it's two of the winningest programs in the nation, two of the most storied football traditions in the nation. this is one of those great games. this is one of the reasons why you come to michigan." awesome! i really wish i could go to the big house for the game.

espn.com has the gameplan for the two teams.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:09 PM

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September 10, 2003

international exhibition

POST #    363

last night, i ventured to new jersey to watch the ny/nj metrostars (i think they actually got rid of the ny/nj part) take on the chinese national team in an exhibition match at giants stadium. we (sas, tom, and their friends, mike and amanda) arrived quite late to the match, so we missed the whole first half. ny/nj is in the middle of their major league soccer season, so many of the good players came out after the first half to give some younger players some game time. it was a cool night, and the attendance was low, really low. low like 7,611 low (capacity of giants stadium is 77,716). it seemed like 80% of the crowd was chinese, which makes sense, because who else would want to watch the chinese national team take on the metrostars. the metrostars won the game 2-1, you can read the recap here.


game action from last night. look at all those fans disguised as red seats. what a tribute to china's colors.


sas, amanda - apparently, sas loves popcorn. note amanda's reactions as well.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:41 AM

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September 9, 2003

Highlights, lowlights and ugly unis

POST #    484

Highlights, lowlights and ugly unis
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist


Players' uniforms just keep getting uglier, and I have a solution.

Tennessee lowered the bar a few years back, with its high-school-inspired look. Denver went rollerball. Last year, Buffalo abandoned red, white and blue -- not to put too fine a point on it, but the single most successful color scheme in world history -- for duds featuring 19th Century Rusting Russian Dreadnaught Aft Bulkhead Cynic. Seattle adopted unis that make its men appear to have just fallen into a pot of finger paint. Cleveland went all-orange, Jacksonville went all-black with uniforms that looked like a newspaper printing-press error.


And now this Sunday, the Bengals rolled out all-dark-brown uniforms that result in TMQ calling them the Cincinnati Fudgsicles from here on.


I propose a Uniform Amnesty Program. All teams which have gone out of their way to make their uniforms look worse -- which, at this point, is half the league -- may return to wearing their previous livery, no questions asked!

All-brown uniforms? Just the latest mistake for the Bengals.


Slowest Touchdown of the Week: Ticonderoga-class DT Sam Adams returned an interception 37 yards for a Bills touchdown; his run took seven seconds. That's the equivalent of a 7.6 40-yard dash.


Best High-School Play: Game scoreless in the first, Tennessee faced second-and-six on the Long Johns 11. The Titans line up heavy right. On the snap, Steve McNair faked a pitch right, while the line pulled right. Then he sprinted back left and threw for the touchdown to Tyrone Calico, who had dragged from the heavy right side back across the formation. This play is High School Football 101, and the Raiders' defense looked like they'd never seen it.


Best Blocks:Will Shields pulled from right guard and turned the left corner fast enough to clean out two Bolts' defenders, springing Priest Holmes for the 24-yard touchdown run that established the tone in Kansas City's rout of San Diego. And TMQ counted one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, one-thousand four, one-thousand five, one-thousand six, one-thousand seven as Tommy Maddox waited for Plaxico Burress to get open deep for a 47-yard go-route completion in the second quarter.


Drive of the Week: Houston, last year's last-ranked offense, staged a 14-play, 76-yard, fourth-quarter drive for the field goal that made it Dolphins 20, Texans 18, and set the stage for Houston's late heroics. On the drive, the Texans converted three third-and-longs.


TMQ MEETS THE EAGLES CHEER-BABES!

Say it ain't so! It's so! TMQ hung out with the Philadelphia Eagles' cheerleaders during the Monday Night Football opener. You won't want to miss his report on meeting the cheer-babes up close.


'Tis Better to Have Rushed and Lost Than Never to Have Rushed at All, No. 1: As TMQ has bemoaned, the Marine Mammals' 2002 season went down in flames when, needing to kill the clock and holding a three-point lead in the closing moments against New England with a series of Ricky Williams slams up the middle, Miami went incompletion, incompletion, incompletion. Leading Houston by two with 4:47 left, Miami had first down on its 31. Slam Williams up the middle to grind the clock? No. Pass, pass -- the second one intercepted to set up Houston's win. A reader laments in haiku,


Fiedler or Griese?
Neither leads to Super Bowl:
hand ball to Ricky


-- Brian Carraway

Stat of the Week: Stretching back to last season, the Eagles have lost two consecutive games to Tampa Bay, both in Philadelphia.


Stat of the Week, No. 2: Stretching back to last season, Jersey/A has fumbled 12 times in its last two home games.


Stat of the Week, No. 3: Stretching back to last season, both teams combined have fumbled 19 times in the last two games at Giants Stadium.


Stat of the Week, No. 4: Stretching back to last season, the Dolphins have lost three consecutive games on last-second field goals.


Stat of the Week, No. 5: Stretching back to last season, the Packers have lost three consecutive games and been outscored 109-49.


Stat of the Week, No. 6: Denver, Detroit and Seattle won by a combined 55 points, despite being outgained by a combined 268 yards.


Stat of the Week, No. 7: The Bears had more turnovers and punts (13) than first downs (8).

The Dolphins passed on giving the ball to Ricky, leading to this game-winning FG by Houston's Kris Brown.


Next, Police Officers Will Receive Tactical Boxers: New York City has begun issuing its police officers cargo pants, whose pockets come in handy for all the clips, cuffs and other stuff a cop must carry. But the NYPD won't call them cargoes: They are "patrol tactical pants."


Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! When you block a blitz, good things happen; when TMQ sees a blitz picked up, he looks up because a big play is coming. Trailing 7-3, Atlanta faced second-and-long on its own 22. Dallas blitzed six, including a safety. Atlanta blockers picked up all six. Doug Johnson threw for 35 yards to Brian Finneran, who was singled; Finneran made a perfect catch looking back into the sun and just as he had crossed the infamous Stonehenge Line caused by the half-roof at Texas Stadium. The play began the turning of the tide for a Falcons' victory. And Atlanta's tactics were sharp. Assuming that all Dallas eyes would be on the debut of speed merchant Peerless Price, the Falcons threw deep several times to Finneran, who was always single-covered.


After Release, Many Return to a Life of Going Up and Down: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the subway system of the nation's capital, has announced an "elevator rehabilitation program." Don't you hate it when elevators go bad?


Worst Crowd Response: At opening night for their long-awaited new field, Philadelphia fans booed long, loud and hard against their own team. The booing started just four minutes into the game! Philadelphia lined up to receive a punt, and Lito Sheppard went back, replacing the departed crowd favorite Brian Mitchell. The stadium rocked with boos. Booing your own team in a brand-new stadium with the game scoreless against the defending Super Bowl champs! When it was Bucs 3, Eagles 0 at halftime, the crowd booed lustily -- booing your team trailing the Super Bowl champ by a field goal! Philadelphia fans, please get a grip.


Where Was the Defense? With eight seconds left in the first half, Jacksonville had the ball on the Carolina 33, leading 7-0. Jax was out of time-outs and it was third-and-eight, meaning the Jags couldn't throw a short pass, then spike the ball for a field goal attempt. So where, oh where, oh where, is the pass going to go? Maybe to the end zone! Yet the safeties allowed Jaguars receiver Matthew Hatchette to get behind them for the touchdown as the half expired; not a single one of the 11 Carolina defenders was in the end zone.

Would America really elect a president named Wesley?


Though Several of the Democratic Contenders Are Pretty Obviously 4-F: Backers of a presidential run by retired General Wesley Clark are touting a poll that appears to show him leading all 2004 contenders, including George W. Bush. Fine print: It's a "blind bio" poll, meaning respondents are read only people's resumes, not told their names. Those who hope he'll run have a website, DraftWesleyClark.com. But wait, now it's an all-volunteer military. Wouldn't he have to enlist?


'Tis Better to Have Rushed and Lost Than Never to Have Rushed at All, No. 2: Tampa 3, Philadelphia 0, with three minutes left in the first half. The Eagles faced third-and-1. Earlier on a third-and-1, they had gone three-wide and passed, incomplete, but been saved by a penalty. On this down, again they went three-wide and tried to pass, but Donovan McNabb was sacked to end the drive. Neither pass was an attempt for a home run, just everybody on short dodge routes. Ye gods.


Eagles-Bucs sidelight. Three times in the game, Warren Sapp came in for Tampa as an extra tight end on third-and-short. With a few minutes left and Tampa leading 10-0, Sapp came in on second-and-long. What the hey? TMQ knew it had to be a pass to Sapp, complete for a first down. Sapp trotted off, gesticulating; the purpose of this play seemed to be to raise the Bucs' collective middle finger to the Eagles. Yes, the inability to beat Philadelphia cost Tony Dungy his Tampa job, and now Philadelphia can't beat Tampa. But kicking them when they're down is never cool. The football gods will exactly a vengeance on Tampa for this play.


Plus, When We Finally See the Woman, She's Fully Clothed: Last year, TMQ did an item on how the air shafts of spaceships in sci-fi movies are always preposterously large -- big enough for people to crawl around in, when real-world air shafts are rarely more than a few inches across.


Comes now Budweiser, running a commercial in which a guy in an apartment hears, through the air vent, the sultry come-hither voice of the woman next door. She's saying, "you've been bad -- you'll have to be punished -- get down on your knees and beg." The guy assumes some hot dominatrix session is in progress, so what does he do? Crawls through the air shaft, which is large enough to host a Grand Prix rally, and then crashes into her apartment, where he finds her talking to a dog. Is there any apartment building anywhere in the world where the air shafts between flats are large enough to crawl through?

We're running this photo just to tick off Raiders fans.


Football Gods Repay Raiders: During the Oakland-New England Snow Bowl, Tom Brady fumbled and everyone knew it. But the zebras apparently called it right based on the obscure "tuck rule." Here is an excerpt from the league's January 2002 formal statement explaining the rule:


"Citing Rule 3, Section 21, Article 2 of the NFL rulebook, [Chief of officials] Mike Pereira noted that whenever the quarterback moves his arm forward to pass and the ball ends up coming out, it is a forward pass and not a fumble."


Comes now the Sunday night Raiders-Flaming Thumbtacks game. Steve McNair starts his arm forward, tries to pull the ball back, is hit before he can tuck it; referee Ron Blum's call is fumble and Oakland ball. Blum explains, "The tuck rule does not apply because the quarterback had the ball under control." But wait, in the league's 2002 Snow Bowl statement, fans were told, "Whenever the quarterback moves his arm forward to pass and the ball ends up coming out, it is a forward pass and not a fumble." McNair moved his arm forward to pass and the ball ended up coming out. So why wasn't it "a forward pass and not a fumble"?


The First Four Months Were Pretty Frustrating, But In the Fifth Month, Our Team of Crack Specialists Found the Forklift: PBS TV's "Newshour" recently reported on the management scandal at Los Alamos National Laboratory, including hundreds of government computers taken home by employees and numerous pieces of heavy equipment that could not be accounted for. Correspondent Spencer Michels interviewed new Los Alamos director G. Peter Nanos, who had these reassuring comments:

Why does TMQ's computer have "Los Alamos" stamped on its hard drive?


NANOS: We've proven that we're not a bunch of crooks here at this laboratory, but it took us five months to find it out and that was because our business processes and systems were not up to snuff. The forklift that was missing was being repaired in Albuquerque. The two-ton magnet was in a facility and found in inventory.


Oh great -- it took them five months to find a two-ton object. Remember, this is supposed to be an advanced laboratory at the cutting edge of top-secret technology.


Leaps of the Week: Trailing 21-0, the Patriots faced fourth-and-inches on the Buffalo 43 in the third. New England jumped offsides, and punted on fourth-and-six. On the next possession, the Patriots faced third-and-goal at the Buffalo 3. New England jumped offsides, and failed on fourth-and-goal from the 8.


Sominex Presents the NFL Game of the Week: Indianapolis 9, Cleveland 6.


You Do Not Want to Be This Man When It's Time to Watch the Game Film: Defending champ Bucs at Eagles, game scoreless in the first, Philadelphia had first-and-goal at the 1 and threw to an open L.J. Smith in the corner of the end zone. Smith dropped the ball like it was a live ferret. Just to prove it was no fluke, when the Eagles went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1, they threw again to Smith in the same corner. He dropped the ball like it was an anthrax sample.


Weird Al Jankovitch Hosting SportsCenter Is Just a Rumor So Far: First it was comedian Dennis Miller on MNF; now it's political commentator Rush Limbaugh on ESPN. (Note that their respective politics roughly cancel each other out, leaving a net of Pat Summerall.) If notables from all walks of life are going to get into football announcing, who's next?

Arnold Schwarzenegger. He could promise total, sweeping reforms of all football rules and tactics, but refuse to give specifics.

Imagine Britney making out with one of the Eagles cheerleaders ...

Britney Spears. Before each game she'd pick a cheerleader to kiss.

Howard Dean. HE CAN SHOUT EVEN LOUDER THAN REGULAR ANNOUNCERS!

Henry Kissinger. He would peer over his glasses, look grave, and say, "Fudboll is veedy, veedy complex." Kissinger would declare that offenses must project power and defenses must engage in a show of force.

Bill Gates: "You know, if we acquired the entire NFC West and merged it with the AFC South, and forced them all to wear the same uniforms, then centralized all play-calling based on proprietary software that only I could control . . . "

Cameron Diaz. As long as she wore the "Full Throttle" bikini, it would make no difference what she said.

Postmodernist Stanley Fish. He would object to the use of rules, yardage markers and "socially imposed norms, such as most points wins."


Note: on ESPN's Sunday pregame show, Limbaugh declared that his pick of the week was New England over Buffalo; the Pats lost 31-0. Presumably, this means that if Rush picks Arnold Schwarzenegger in the California race, Arianna Huffington will be the next governor.


Wormtail: Apparate to the County Clerk's Office and Kill Them All! According to Washingtonian magazine, Lord Voldemort (Dan Snyder) is building himself a 30,000-square-foot mansion with 17 cedar closets, enclosed parking for 12 cars, a movie theater and a marbled-floored wine cellar. TMQ thinks the ballroom atop the garage is a particularly elegant touch.


According to the Washington Post, Voldemort is furious that details of his runaway-ego mansion have been revealed. Wanting such things kept quiet -- a 30,000-square-foot home with 17 cedar closets may be awkward the next time Snyder asks for a tax break for his team -- the Persons' owner made his architect and builder sign confidentiality agreements. But this canny business genius forgot to take into account that floor plans for construction must be filed with the county permit office. Such filings are public record, and Washingtonian simply looked 'em up.


Nation's capital sociology: Why did the supposedly hard-hitting Washington Post have to pick up a magazine to find out what's going on with the Washington rich and powerful? One reason is that Post coverage of Snyder is slavishly favorable; because Post management adores the Persons and wants insider access to Snyder's team events, the best seats at FedEx Field and so on. More generally, many Washington Post officials and editors having joined the city's social-set elite. The days when the Post criticized the rich of the capital are long past.


Washingtonian, on the other hand, has been on the outs with Washington's elite ever since it started running exterior photographs of their homes, along with the property values (also found in public tax-assessment records). Having nothing to lose with the Washington wealthy anyway, Washingtonian magazine will criticize them.


Don't get the item subhead? Ask any 10-year-old.


The Kurse of Kordell: Trailing the Squared Sevens, 23-7, with 44 seconds left in the half, Chicago had second-and-9 at the San Francisco 34. A score here gives the Daxiongmao (see below) something to work with at halftime. Instead, Kordell Stewart throws an interception that is returned by Ahmed Plummer for a touchdown. Now it's third-and-10 at the Bears' 31 with 25 seconds left in the half. Kordell's going to kneel, right? Another interception, San Francisco field goal as the clock expires, 33-7 at halftime. TMQ writes the words "game over" in his notebook.


Ashcroft: Let's Add a Clause About "Freedom of Speech, Where Appropriate." The Immigration and Naturalization Service -- which recently became the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the sweeping bureaucratic letterhead change that is the Department of Homeland Security -- is about to rewrite the Oath of Allegiance recited by naturalized U.S. citizens. The proposed change of the existing oath, which was standardized in 1929, is somewhat spooky.


Here is the current Oath of Allegiance that new American citizens must recite at naturalization ceremonies:

"I pledge to always agree with John Ashcroft and submit to implanting that homing device in my brain."


"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, or whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or a citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of United States when required by law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."


Here is the proposed new Oath of Allegiance, written by the lawyers at the Department of Homeland Security:


"Solemnly, freely, and without any mental reservation, I hereby renounce under oath all allegiance to any foreign state. My fidelity and allegiance from this day forward is to the United States of America. I pledge to support, honor, and be loyal to the United States, its Constitution and laws. Where and if lawfully required, I further commit myself to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, either by military, noncombatant, or civilian service. This I do solemnly swear, so help me God."


This language is a little cleaner, but check that weird new qualifier: A citizen will defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States "where and if lawfully required." Is Homeland Security trying to suggest there is some circumstance when it is not lawful to defend the Constitution, or times when the laws of the United States should be ignored? Why shouldn't the vow to defend the Constitution be absolute? It seems more than a little unsettling that with the Justice Department already essentially insisting, under the Patriot Act, that it can selectively interpret the Bill of Rights, to find now that the Department of Homeland Security thinks new citizens should vow to defend the Constitution only sometimes. Well -- at least that means they'll be instantly qualified to be John Ashcroft aides!

TMQ does not believe in conspiracies.


The Trilateral Commission Ordered Me to Write This Item:You probably think the August blackout was some kind of infrastructure failure. Ha! Dr. Matthias Rath, "the physician and scientist who led the breakthrough discoveries in the natural control of cancer," knows better. Rath has been spending almost $75,000 a pop to place a series of full-page advertisements in the New York Times. The ads claim that all world events are a conspiracy to repress the theories of -- Dr. Matthias Rath.


It turns out that Aug. 14, the day of the blackout, was the day one of his ads ran! Yet the power failed, so people in New York City couldn't read the newspaper. Do you think that's a coincidence? Rath's latest ad claims the "political and corporate special interests" staged the entire blackout to divert attention from Rath's ad. What was the shocking content, the message that had to be stopped? The unseen ad "called upon the United Nations to hold politicians and the corporate interests they represent responsible for their actions."


My God, if anyone had seen those words, there would have been revolution in the streets! No wonder the special interests staged a blackout!


For a trip to an alternate universe, check Rath's website. Rath asserts that the pharmaceutical industry is guilty of "the greatest crimes ever committed in the course of human history," that drug makers are staging a "deliberate expansion of disease" in order to perpetrate "genocide" against all humanity. How wiping out humanity would help the drug companies' customer base is never explained. Nor is it explained why, if pharmaceutical companies are secretly working to spread disease, global life expectancy doubled from 32 years of age at the beginning of the 20th century to 66 years at the beginning of the 21st.


Rath believes he has discovered techniques that could eliminate two-thirds of the world's disease -- though, strangely, he declines to share the details of such vital knowledge. About all he will say is that people should know about "the benefits of non-patentable micronutrients, in particular the amino acid arginine and magnesium," and that "it is a scientific fact" that lysine cures all cancers. But huge numbers of people already take magnesium in vitamin pills, and most people already consume lysine in dairy products, meats, potatoes or lima beans. So if lysine naturally cures cancer, why is there cancer? Of his medical theories, Rath declares it mysterious that "Hardly any of this information can be found on the World Health Organization website."


Rath further believes the United States assault against Iraq was staged in order to divert attention from the fantastic discoveries he refuses to specify. He has published demented ads in African newspapers urging African citizens not to accept AIDS drugs from the West, and believes the global master plan is being run by the Council on Foreign Relations and, yes, the Trilateral Commission. TMQ didn't even realize the Trilateral Commission still existed. But then I guess that's what they want me to think!

This one's for you, Mrs. TMQ.


Wife-Requested Beefcake: Readers often send notes lauding the Official Wife of TMQ for putting up with my gawking at cheerleaders and their swimsuit calendars. She puts up because she's a great woman, because we have a good marriage and because the Official Wife is a fun-loving person with an open-minded outlook on life. She's also a United States government official, which is why she asked me to stop putting her name in the column. But the Official Wife's revenge is to join the female chorus requesting more equal-time beefcake. Her specific request: Liam Neeson, shirtless. Here he is. According to his cheerleading bio, Liam likes fuzzy bunny rabbits, candlelit dinners, long walks in the park and ... I can't go on. Ladies, gawk away.


Cincinnati Fudgsicles Play of the Week: Cincinnati trailing Denver, 20-3, at the start of the second half, the Fudgsicles faced third-and-long on their own 10. Quasi-quarterback Jon Kitna was surrounded by Broncos rushers, and going down under the tackle. He shot-put the ball forward with both hands directly to Denver's Ian Gold, who returned it for the touchdown that made the game into a laugher.


But then, since it was Cincinnati, you knew the game would become a laugher.


Shameless Madden Plug: Recently, TMQ his ownself played the Official Firstborn of TMQ, 14-year-old Grant, at the 2004 version of EA Madden NFL. (Note: Madden works for ABC, which has the same corporate parent as ESPN.com; TMQ shamelessly sucks up to ESPN's corporate parent and considers this fine so long as it is disclosed. Buy Madden NFL 2004 today!) In last year's game, Grant demonstrated that the little electronic Michael Vick was faster than any of the other players -- totally realistic.


This year, I played as Buffalo and Grant played as Miami. The electronic Bills' front seven could not stop the electronic Ricky Williams -- how realistic! My Buffalo offense gained 330 yards passing and 23 yards rushing -- how realistic! But the best part was that my electronic Travis Henry fumbled three times on 13 carries. The real Travis Henry fumbled 15 times during the 2001 and 2002 seasons, by far the most fumbles of any NFL non-quarterback through that period. Henry fumbled again on Sunday. So Madden's little electronic Travis Henry is, realistically, a fumbler! I kept trying to find a button that would take Henry out of the game and bring in Willis McGahee. Apparently, Buffalo management has been thinking along the same lines.


Hidden Indicator: Every team that scored a return touchdown Sunday won. This is the kind of hidden indicator that is essential to an insider's understanding of the game. In this case, it means that when you work, work, work for each yard of field position, then suddenly behold some gentlemen sprinting in the opposite direction unopposed, your goose is cooked.

Running Items Department

Obscure College Score of the Week: Rockford 105, Trinity Bible 0. Marcus Howard rushed for 334 yards as Rockford built a 63-0 halftime lead and continued to play its starters into the third quarter in beating up on Trinity Bible. Rockford's 105 points was the most ever in Division III; the school outgained Trinity Bible 556 yards to 14. Postgame speech of Trinity Bible coach Rusty Bentley:


"Well, boys, you held them under 110."


Located in Ellendale, North Dakota, Trinity Bible College is an evangelical school that bills itself as "the smallest Division III football team in America." Its sports claim to fame is Maureen Reimiller, a Division II women's basketball All-American.


Bonus Obscure College Score: Indiana of Pennsylvania 28, Nebraska-Omaha 26. With 4,903 on hand at George P. Miller Stadium, TMQ's favorite obscure school, Indiana of Pennsylvania, kicked a field with three seconds remaining to pull out a win in its opener. Buy your own copy of the Indiana of Pennsylvania 2003 football media guide here.


Obscure College Stat of the Week: Carson-Newman, Concordia of Wisconsin, C.W Post, Georgia Southern, Greensboro, Illinois College, John Carroll, Lafayette, Lenoir-Rhyne, North Dakota, Northeastern and Wisconsin-La Crosse beat Albany, Apprentice, Assumption, Blackburn, Carroll of Wisconsin, Guilford, Howard Payne, Jacksonville, Marist, Minnesota-Crookston, Savannah State and Thiel by a combined 435-0. Note that this does not include the Rockford-Trinity Bible tally.


New York Times Final-Score Score: Once again, the Paper of Guesses goes 0-16 in its quixotic quest to predict exact final NFL scores, bringing the New York Times Final-Score Score to a record of 1-849 since TMQ began tracking.


Let's pause to quote this inaccurate past prediction from the same pages, submitted by reader Jodi Lamela of Chicago. In its Oct. 19, 1967, edition, the New York Times predicted, "By the year 2000, people will work no more than four days a week and less than eight hours a day. With legal holidays and long vacations, this could result in an annual working period of 147 days worked and 218 days off."


TMQ his ownself almost inadvertently predicted an exact final score last week. Thursday afternoon, before the NFL opener on the Mall in Washington, I was yakking on WTOP, the newsradio of the nation's capital. Asked about Steve Spurrier, I yakked, "Last year, Spurrier thought he was going to win every game 58-3, like in college. Now he has come down to Earth. Tonight, he'll be happy if he wins 16-14 on a field goal on the final play." A few hours later, Spurrier's charges won 16-13 on a field goal on the final play.

After seeing this photo from New Zealand, TMQ is considering a new column: TMS (Tuesday Morning Scrum).


Globalization Cheerleader of the Week: Reader Neville Giles of Auckland wrote in praise of the cheer-babes of New Zealand's Vodafone Panthers, a rugby club. Here is the exotically named Trilby of the Warriors, a dancer and dance teacher who has run a triathlon. The team's cheerleaders are "presented by" -- they are the FAI Finance Cheerleaders -- so it looks like rugby on the opposite side of the world was way ahead of the NFL in this regard.


Cincinnati Never Gets Onerous MNF appearances, Jon: Last week's TMQ discoursed on how all NFL coaches complain about their schedules, yet how can it be that everybody got a killer schedule? A few days later, USA Today ran this story in which Jon "I Was Teenaged Coach" Gruden complained bitterly about the Bucs' killer schedule. Night games! Opening on the road! A Saturday date! Jon, just stop winning and you'll no longer have any worries about night games.


Reader Animadversion: Peter Sagal of Chicago was among many readers to note, apropos the item on the Patriots' cheerleader who is a West Point graduate, that Army types don't say "sir, yes sir!" Double sirs is a Marine Corps mannerism; the Army just says "sir," or, increasingly, "huuuuuuah." Note to all al Qaeda, Taliban and fayadeen remnants: If it's dark out, you hear movement in the distance and then someone yelling "huuuuuuah," immediately throw down your weapons and place your hands behind your neck.


Many readers noted this about last week's item on Laetitia Casta, the lingerie model who currently poses for French national hero Marianne: When it debuted on Tuesday, it had a link to Casta's personal website, and then the link vanished. A reader laments in haiku,


We have no shame: we admit we just wanted to run another photo of Laetitia.


Site de Laetitia:
Poof! Link quickly disappeared.
Repost s'il vous plait.

-- Matt Gelb


Now, the only way you could have noticed this is if you opened TMQ when it first was posted that day, and then came back to re-read again later. A wise use of time! The problem was that Casta, in the revolutionary spirit, posts many nude photos of herself. They are artsy black-and-whites, and I'd certainly rather that teenaged boys ponder artsy black-and-white nudes than any of the violence and racism on the Internet. But owing to the 14-year-old-boys factor, ESPN corporate decided the link had to go. An enterprising person with a search engine ought to be able to find the site. Meanwhile, here is Casta's modeling portfolio, in which she's severely overdressed.


Reader Tom Kolodziej of Memphis, Tennessee, a Bears fans, wrote in to protest that Chicago has no TMQ cognomen. His proposal? "The giant panda, a type of bear, sleeps 10 hours per day, usually in two four-hour increments. The Bears offense is often seen on the field as if asleep, usually in two four-play increments. In Chinese, the giant panda is referred to as Daxiongmao. So I give you, the Chicago Daxiongmao." Maybe other readers have suggested that the sluggish Bears become the Pandas to TMQ, but it never quite worked for me. The Chicago Daxiongmao, on the other hand -- make it so!


Last week, TMQ asserted, after the nationally-televised Britney-Madonna make-out session, that given current world politics, Americans should stop French kissing. Many readers, including Margo Chambers of Los Angeles, suggested instead that the back seats of cars and back rows of movie theaters across this great nation should become scenes of Freedom kissing! Rafi Berkson added, "If Britney and Madonna don't kiss, then the terrorists have already won."


True: During World War I, Sauerkraut Was Renamed "Liberty Cabbage" So the Word "Kraut" Need Not Pass Anyone's Lips. The current project at Chez TMQ is a sunroom addition; and this spring, during the assault on Iraq, the architect arrived for her look-see. The Official Wife of TMQ explained that she wished for French doors opening from the dining room into the new sunroom. "Excuse me," TMQ said to the architect. "They must be Freedom doors."


It's An Insult! TMQ chronicles those precious moments when an NFL player is made a generous offer, denounces the deal as an insult, and ends up signing for less.


Comes now tackle Walter Jones of the Blue Men Group. Last summer, he said "it's an insult" when offered a $13 million bonus to resign; the deal would have paid him about $15 million over 2002 and 2003, the first two years being the only part of modern NFL contracts that can be believed. Instead, Jones cried "insult!" and performed last year at the tackle's franchise-player level of $4.3 million; after rejecting the latest Seattle offer as another insult, he will perform this season at the tackle's new franchise-player level of $5.9 million. Hardly small bills, but consider -- instead of about $15 million for 2002 and 2003, as Seattle management offered, Jones shrewdly bargained his take down to about $10 million.


In a rare case of an athlete coming out ahead by crying "it's an insult," Pro Bowl gentleman Lawyer Milloy was given an ultimatum by New England (an "ultimatoe," as Amos and Andy used to say) to cut his scheduled take this season from $4.4 million to $3 million. He cried "insult!" and asked to be released. A bidding war ensued in which many teams made offers. Milloy ended up with Buffalo and $7 million for this season -- $4 million more than the Pats offered.

Hey, if TMQ knew the Pats were going to release Lawyer Milloy, he would have predicted very bad things.


This Headline Contains No Lawyer Puns: Tuesday Morning Quarterback certainly would not have forecast the Patriots to finish 12-4 if he'd known they were about to jettison the leader of their defense. New England brass spent the week scoffing that Milloy was washed up; Sunday, he sacked Tom Brady. The whole mess is in keeping with recent New England oddity. A mere 18 months removed from winning the Super Bowl, the franchise has been banking draft choices rather than spending them, and now cuts a top veteran. Don't the Pats want to make a second run? A reader laments in haiku,

Release L. Milloy?
Pats' chances quickly nosedive.
And the Sox suck too.


-- Brian Itzkowitz, Boston


Keep in mind as the season progresses that from a salary-cap standpoint, New England in effect traded the 29-year-old, conditioning-buff Milloy for the 35-year-old, embonpoint Ted Washington. It was the August acquisition of Washington's big contract that put the Patriots into cap trouble, setting in motion the chain of events that led to Milloy being thrown overboard to lighten the ship. TMQ thinks well of the Ticonderoga-class Washington, and believes the Bears should have kept him. But could one year of Ted Washington have been worth it for New England if this meant losing several years of Lawyer Milloy? The transaction could turn out to hurt both teams, New England and Chicago. Note both were pounded on Sunday.


As for the Bills, here's a wrong turn down memory lane. Just before the start of the 1988 season -- when Buffalo had lots of talent but a hole at safety -- the Bills got Pro Bowl safety Leonard Smith from the hapless Cardinals, who, engaged in one of their perennial efforts to make the team bad, had declared Smith expendable. Buffalo went on to reach five of the next six AFC championships, winning four. ("Super Bowl? That some kind of college game?" is the Bills' fans official position about the rest.) The football gods may find a parallel here.


Shameless ESPN Plug: There are many reasons to subscribe to ESPN The Magazine ("Published on Earth The Planet"), or to sign up for ESPN Insider. Insider includes, among other features, access to the ever-changing Mel Kiper mock drafts -- the tireless Kiper already has a 2004 mock draft posted, and it's guaranteed inaccurate! As for ESPN The Mag, the current number offers an excellent piece by Seth Wickersham on what Cover 2 really is. The article is a must for serious football fans.


TMQ's only objection to the Wickersham treatment is that he does not make clear the most basic fact of Cover 2: It is not some exotic scheme, as announcers and sportswriters like to imply, nor some trade secret known only to insiders. Cover 2 also goes by the name "zone defense." The corners play short, the safeties play deep, the linebackers drop into the slant areas. That's a "zone." It is the essence of Cover 2, and it's the look most NFL quarterbacks see on most snaps.

Bucs' safety John Lynch plays a mean Cover 2 -- and sometimes blitzes the QB as well.


Ah, but City of Tampa plays Cover 2 really well. And as Wickersham notes, in the Tampa defense, "blitzing is rare." Tampa was No. 1 in defense in 2002 by playing a low-blitz, conservative, position-oriented game. Pittsburgh was No. 1 in defense in 2001 by playing a low-blitz, conservative, position-oriented game. (The Steelers use a 3-4 base and almost always rush a linebacker, which causes announcers to cry "blitz," but a total of four rushing is not a blitz.) Baltimore was No. 1 in defense in 2000 by playing a low-blitz, conservative, position-oriented game. Buffalo was No. 1 in defense in 1999 by playing a low-blitz, conservative, position-oriented game. When is the rest of the league going to catch on to this carefully-hidden tip?


Reader Haiku Regarding TMQ's worry that Mars will end up sponsored by Pepsi Vanilla, a reader countered,


You were way off base.
Mars is red spot: natural
sponsor, Seven-Up.


-- Enrique Gomez


Carey Hopkins reports that because her boyfriend and TMQ devotee, John Nash, recently endured a surgery whose effects prevent him reading, she has been pressed into service reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback aloud. Feel better, John! Carey laments in haiku,


I am going hoarse.
Sixteen pages is too much.
Audio column?


-- Carey Hopkins, San Diego


Referring to TMQ's current book, one reader offered,


I'll buy "The Here and
Now" if you say Jersey-A
will win Super Bowl.


-- Hugh Forde, New York City


Hugh, the Giants are a shoo-in! Guaranteed Super Bowl victors, they'll win before the game even starts! Now, keep your promise and place that order. "The Here and Now" is pretty darn good -- "moving," the New York Times; "exceptionally moving," the Los Angeles Times. But it sells in sufficiently small numbers that I'll be able to tell if Hugh follows through -- "this one's not moving," Barnes and Noble. Just think, Hugh, by owning "The Here and Now," you will be joining a small, highly-select elite!


Note: "The Here and Now" has nothing to do with football, mega-babes or alien starcruisers. Maybe that's why it is getting great reviews but not selling. C'mon TMQistas, buy a few! Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Powells.com all have it.


Last Week's Challenge: Was to compose a haiku on a favorite team. Among the entrants:

"Please, God, let me appear in TMQ haiku poetry every week."


Mark Brunell is old,
Jimmy Smith is on the bench.
At least it's sunny.


-- Tom Lynch, Jacksonville

Dateline a curse for
New Zealand readers. No
TMQ till Wednesday!


-- Neville Giles, Auckland, NZ


A new Bengals year.
No, I won't watch this time, no!
Well, maybe one game.


-- Don Moorhead

Tampa stopped Vick, Favre,
McNabb, Gannon, Garcia.
and they can again.


-- Randy Hunt, Clearwater, Fla.

Kick is up -- no good
Now good kicker isn't up
either. Giants? Help!


-- Jeff Burns, Boston

Tuna irony:
Parcells preaches training, yet
marshmallow is he.


-- Brian Cooke, Plano, Texas

I was a Boys fan
Till they sent Emmitt away.
Football gods, smite them!


-- Ted O'Connor, Dayton Ohio

Release 2.1
Cut too many linebackers
Six and 10 this year


-- Brent L. Hasseman, Cleveland


And the winner of this week's Challenge is Patricia Brailey of Sunnyvale, Calif., who engenders great envy in TMQ by boasting of her access to NFL Sunday Ticket freedom-of-viewer choice:


Thank football gods for
NFL Ticket. No Sk*ns
in California!


This Week's Challenge: Has any reader -- in any apartment building, super-secret military complex or aboard a starcruiser -- ever actually crawled through an air shaft?

Send your amusing experience to this address: tmqespn@yahoo.com.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:48 PM

1
Comments

 
 

Hangin' with the cheer-babes

POST #    479

Hangin' with the cheer-babes
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

Entry in the Tuesday Morning Quarterback dictionary:
gawk (gk): verb, intransitive. To stare slack-jawed or gape stupidly.

Derivation: Possible alteration from dialectal gaulic, "gaque," clumsy; possibly from obsolete "gaw," to gaze transfixed; possibly from the Middle English "gawen," meaning to stand next to a Philadelphia Eagles' cheer-babe.

TMQ has been unable to speak since this photo was taken.

Last night, TMQ his ownself attended the Bucs at Eagles contest on Monday Night Football, far more importantly, got to hang out with the Eagles' cheer-babes. You know what goes through your mind standing next to a near-naked mega-babe in dazzling lights, in a public arena with 67,771 other people? I have no idea, because mine went blank.

Also, I was in the Eagles' cheerleaders' locker room. But the women made me promise never, ever to tell the truth about what happened there. OK: nothing.

In a moment I'll offer a philosophical defense of men gawking at cheer-babes; and also admit that, yes, this all means that inevitably, female fans should have shirtless cheer-hunks to gawk at. First let us praise famous women by declaring that the Eagles' cheerleading squad has advanced to No. 1 in the NFL. Brianne Salzano, cover model of this year's Eagles' lingerie calendar, is just one indicator. Salzano is an industrial engineer! And men of America, she looks better in person. In fact, standing next to her made me think -- I can't remember what.

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders started the cheer-babe fade, and deserve the thanks of a grateful nation. But the Dallas cheerleaders have slipped in both aesthetics and pizzazz in recent years; of course, everything about the Cowboys is in a cycle of decline. If Texas women were going to be bested for the No. 1 designation, you'd figure they'd be passed by a cheer squad from California or Florida, right? Well, the Miami Dolphins cheer-babes are high up in both aesthetics and dance quality, as are the San Diego and Oakland squads, so that upholds the California-Florida theory. The Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders round out the current NFL elite.

Brianne, this year's calendar cover girl, shows off the new uniforms.

But the Eagles cheer-babes are now tops, and almost all are local Pennsylvania products, not flown in. Here's more proof: Lauren S., an eighth-grade science teacher! And she looks even better in person, especially almost naked. The Eagles' signature touch was advancing the state of the art from swimsuit calendars to lingerie. In the 2004 number, several Eagles cheer-babes pose just a couple of ounces of fabric shy of nude.

Barbara Zaun, a former Ravens' cheerleader with an interest in marketing, took over the Eagles squad a few years ago and decided, "The goal was to become No. 1. We wanted to be the most sexy and the most glamorous and also to put on the best show, since it's all about entertainment. We wanted to become more distinctive and more eye-catching than Dallas, and we wanted national exposure." These objectives have now been achieved. Eagles cheerleaders have leap-frogged all others in media coverage -- cover of ESPN The Magazine ("Published on Earth the Planet"), spread in the current Maxim, and the summit, of course: praise in TMQ. The Cowboys cheerleaders are now off the map, which Philadelphia has redrawn.

THE COMPLETE TMQ

TMQ's report on Week 1 of the NFL season include Cincinnati's fudge-like uniforms (not good), the Marine Mammals not running Ricky Williams (not good), Eagles fans (not good) and Lawyer Milloy (good for Bills, not good for Pats).

Last night, the Eagles unveiled their new stadium, their old offense (from the 1940s, apparently) and new cheerleader outfits by Vera Wang. Zaun says the goal of the outfits was to make the Eagles' look as visually distinctive as the Dallas look. Wang, who calls herself "a jock at heart," having played on her college tennis team and just back from the U.S. Open -- high-end brides, bear in mind that your $20,000 Wang bridal gown was designed by a jock -- designed a variety of new Eagles' cheer-babe outfits for various weather conditions. "I wanted the outfits to be sexy and very revealing," Wang told me, "but also give lots of athletic support, so the women could really perform."

Last night's hot-weather outfits certainly achieved, on Monday Night Football, Zaun's goal of "national exposure" -- cleavage and cheeks! And I didn't hear a single rude remark from any Eagles fans, who were, after all, confronted with the spectacle of 32 near-naked mega-babes dancing directly before them. But then, Eagles fans were totally preoccupied with booing their own team.

Click here for a Forbes article on NFL cheerleader economics. The main points are that the 25 (of 32) teams that have cheerleading squads add about $1 million annually in revenue from calendar sales, appearance fees and the like; but cheerleaders are underpaid, averaging less than $1,000 per month despite a demanding practice schedule.

After finally meeting Kelly T., TMQ insists he's giving up his writing gig to enroll in the Penn State engineering program.

Aside to regular TMQ readers -- I met Kelly T.! Regular readers know that for two years TMQ has been joking about Kelly T., an engineering student at Penn State, whose lingerie poses ESPN can link to, but not show "for thong-based reasons." TMQ has argued with ESPN that we should show Kelly T.'s new thong pose since it does, after all, appear in a calendar published by an NFL club. The counter argument was, "14-year-old boys can't handle that picture." I've been very happily married for longer than such boys have been alive, and I can't handle that picture! At any rate, Kelly T. is very charming, I think; it's hard to remember because my mind went blank. About the Eagles' all-out approach to cheerleader sex appeal, Kelly told me, "They wanted to push the envelope, and that was fine with us." In this sense "push the envelope" means "wear less."

Now the philosophical defense of cheer-babe gawking:

First, professional sports are fundamentally a form of entertainment. The objective is to have fun and be diverted from reality. Beautiful women performing great dance routines while wearing very little is certainly fun, adding to the sense of entertainment and excitement. Half the men in America -- OK, at this point in history, somewhat less than half, but it's still a huge number -- like watching beautiful women dancing with hardly anything on. And though cheerleaders are sexy, there's nothing even vaguely erotic about standing in front of 67,772 people in blinding lights. (Sexy is what you can do in public, erotic is what you do in private.) In entertainment, sexy is good, fun is good. Given that the NFL is head and shoulders above all other sports in the big three of ratings, attendance and revenues, the entertainment part of its formula does seem to be working, doesn't it?

Next, bear in mind, you're supposed to look at the cheerleaders. In daily life, women's privacy and gender-neutral treatment are essential concerns. But cheerleaders choose to go on display, and train for it elaborately. The French say that if a woman decides to wear something revealing, it's an insult if men don't look. Yes, oppressive socially constructed stereotypes create -- I can't go on with that line of thought, because the whole business is about having fun. Besides, you can't watch the dance routines if you don't look.

Can eighth-grade boys focus well in Lauren's science classes?

Third, consider how the typical NFL game is telecast, since most perceive the league via the tube. We see endless sideline shots of neck veins bulging on the faces of angry, screaming coaches. We see endless sideline shots of players pouring water over their heads or slapping each other's pads. These shots are tedious and visually dull. Yet we don't see anywhere near enough of the cheerleaders, who are pleasant to look at! Cheerleaders work hard all year to prepare: the dedication and professionalism of the modern cheer-babe is one of the great untold stories of our time. Network cameras should show the cheerleaders much more often! Especially at games involving Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, Minnesota or San Diego.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback is moved to phrase the shameless gawk-adoration of the modern cheer-babe in this haiku triptych:

The cheerleaders' skirts
can never be short enough.
Please, another gust.

The cheerleaders' tops
can never be low enough.
Please, lean forward soon.

Great dance routines, too.
Your professionalism
we also admire.

And now female readers interject: given that the NFL is rising in popularity among women, doesn't everything you've said pertain to the male form as well? It does, and TMQ thinks it is both fair and, inevitable, that cheer-hunks flexing their biceps join cheer-babes on the sidelines. To date only the Ravens and Titans have male cheer-hunk squads, but more are sure to join. And ladies, it is only a matter of time until the shirts come off.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:30 PM

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September 8, 2003

pnc park - #1

POST #    360


pnc park - at least they can say the pirates are #1 at something.

espn.com's summerlong tour of the 30 major league baseball parks in the nation came to an end today with pnc park in pittsburgh coming in first. i must say that from what i've seen, the park is beautiful, but the product they put on the field is just horrible (trust me, i can recognize a horrible team when i see one). pnc beat out gems like pac bell and camden yards.

read the review of the park here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:41 PM

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September 7, 2003

week 1 of football...finally

POST #    355

with my favorite baseball team waaaaay out of the pennant and wild card race since may (i'm not sure if they're actually eliminated yet), i have eagerly been awaiting the football season (both college and pro). today is the first weekend of professional football, with 28 of the 32 teams in action today! that's the 2nd most games on one day during the season (next week has the most). if i only had direct tv and sunday ticket.

and, we're playing video games at the same time. now for some football action. go big blue!

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:06 PM

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September 6, 2003

yellow...interesting choice

POST #    350


i think they can use these for inmates too.

i was just watching college game day on espn, the network, and they had a fashion critic from us magazine talk about which uniforms are ugly. one that was mentioned is the new look for oregon. they went with all yellow, which is pretty damn ugly. but i think if they went with the yellow jerseys and the green pants, it wouldn't look too bad.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:49 AM

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September 5, 2003

top gun and the nfl

POST #    347

my love of sports guy is well established, but not known to some of you is my love for top gun. quite possibly my favorite movie of all time. sure, its not the best movie ever, but it's my favorite.

anyway, since the nfl season just started, sports guy just did an nfl preview using top gun as a method of commentary (or something like that).

read the two articles: part 1, part 2.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:16 PM

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September 2, 2003

Most accurate NFL predictions anywhere

POST #    481

Most accurate NFL predictions anywhere
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

It finally happened: Everybody got a killer schedule!

Each year when NFL schedules are released, coaches moan. A lot of the dissatisfaction boils down to this: "They're making us play half our games on the road!" Complaints about consecutive away games are never balanced by the recognition that this means there must be consecutive home dates. Road games in December are always the subject of moaning; but so far as TMQ can tell, exactly one-half of December pairings must be away teams.

A night game followed by an away game makes coaches weep, though nobody ever complains about getting night home dates, where the odds strongly favor the host. Flying to the opposite coast, it's grueling, you have no idea. And those games within our conference -- why, there's no avoiding them! What a killer schedule!

This year, the Packers are complaining that they drew consecutive-week West Coast trips in December. Kansas City is complaining about three of its final five on the road, not mentioning that the Chiefs also get a highly favorable string of four of five at home. The Raiders are complaining about two away night games in the first three weeks. The Giants are complaining that two of their first three dates are within the division. The Chargers are complaining about six trips east of the Rockies. The Dolphins are complaining about a third straight year going to Buffalo after Thanksgiving. According to ESPN.com's Greg Garber, even the lowly Lions are complaining that they have Denver and St. Louis on their sked -- though neither of these made the playoffs last season.

"I'm tired of getting screwed by the refs and the schedule-makers!"

Scratch any NFL coach or GM and you will hear a complaint about the sked. Incredibly, everybody got a killer schedule! The reason for endless schedule complaints is expectations. Set them low. Present the season as an impossible challenge, a conspiracy by the league office against your team. Then if the team plays well, the coach and GM have essentially patted themselves on the back for their genius in overcoming the impossible schedule. If the team plays poorly, well, everyone knows we had a killer schedule.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback advises ignoring the "strength of schedule" comparisons and complaints. Coming into last season, the strength meter rated Chicago and St. Louis as power teams, the Browns and Falcons as weak sisters. This season, several squads that rate as power teams for strength-of-schedule purposes will turn out to be pushovers, while several squads with weak-sister ratings will turn out fearsome. Strength-of-schedule is always a phony barometer; where you travel in what week tells more.

For what it's worth, TMQ thinks the 2003 NFL schedule is among of the fairest ever. Only one team, Pittsburgh, faces an away Monday Night appearance followed by an away date. Playing away on MNF, then another away game, is a legitimate cause for grievance. The league insured that all teams playing away on Monday night in 2003 -- except Pittsburgh -- get a home date or a bye the next week. Why this courtesy couldn't have been extended to the Steelers isn't clear.

Two teams genuinely are screwed by the 2003 schedule: Green Bay and Miami. They're the unlucky ducks who drew the Thanksgiving Day trips to Dallas and Detroit. Each has to play on Sunday, get just three days of rest, then board a plane. Miami is even stuck with a night game Sunday, then the short Thanksgiving week plus travel.

As TMQ has written before and will surely write again, the league's system of allowing Dallas and Detroit to host on Thanksgiving every year is one-sided. Hosting every Turkey Day both confers an annual half-game advantage on the Cowboys and the Lions in the standings, and totally screws whatever team is sent on the road with just three days' rest. It is past time the league began rotating the Thanksgiving hosting slots among all teams; and, as well, manipulating the schedule so that the two away Thanksgiving teams have a bye the Sunday before.

Now to TMQ's annual all-haiku season predictions. Still America's only all-poetry pro football forecast!

A note on methodology. One year, in the parity spirit, I forecast that every team would finish 8-8. Another year, I forecast records that, sharp-eyed readers noticed, were identical to the teams' finishes from the prior year. Another year, I forecast records that did not add up to the total number of possible wins and loses. Last year, under intense pressure from ESPN corporate management, I made a genuine attempt to predict records, and ended up either exactly correct or within one game of correct for 18 of the league's 32 teams. My secret? Blind luck.

Regarding the Super Bowl, for four years running I have made the generic prediction that "the team goin' to DisneyWorld would come from among the group that did not appear on Monday Night Football." Three straight years correct -- Rams, Ravens and Patriots -- and last year wrong, as the Bucs were a Monday Night baby. If I could call three of four long shots like that at Vegas or the track, I'd be riding around in a stretch white with at least two mega-babes from whatever is the most expensive internet-based escort service.

This year, I am sticking to my guns: The team goin' to DisneyWorld will come from among the group that did not make the cut for Monday Night Football. Scanning the MNF sked, we find that the teams shut out are Arizona, Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Jax, Minnesota, New Orleans and Seattle. That's a sorry, shaggy list, but if the league braintrust, reflected in the MNF taps, thinks none of these will amount to much, TMQ feels certain there's a gem in the group. (And yes, the Bears and Cowboys made Monday Night despite a combined 9-23 finish last season.)

If those unis weren't so damn ugly, the Bills would win 12 games instead of 10.

As always, this column's motto is: All Predictions Wrong Or Your Money Back. TMQ is free, get it? So if somehow a prediction isn't wrong, then you would receive -- oh, never mind.

AFC East

League's worst uniforms:
football gods cover their eyes.
The Buffalo Bills.

Forecast record: 10-6

Invincible till
Halloween. Don't ask Dolphins
about December.

Forecast record: 10-6

Bill Belichick pass
on ev'ry down? Hell hath froze.
The New England Pats.

Forecast record: 12-4

Play in stadium
named after a different team!
The Jersey/B Jets.

Forecast record: 6-10

TMQ was unable to write for two days after watching the MTV Music Video Awards.

Or, Alternatively, Britney Just Came Back Seeing from the Movie "Thirteen": Days before she was to headline the NFL's presumably family-oriented opening-night show, Britney Spears played some serious tongue hockey with Madonna on MTV. An obvious attempt to pander to the gay Canadian market!

Set aside what it says about 21st-century culture that the fantasy of sexual contact between two beautiful women, once a preserve of sophisticated adult erotica, is now being mass-marketed by corporate-sponsored babes on national television. TMQ thinks that in keeping with the current world political situation, Americans should stop French kissing. Or, at least, the name of this form of recreation should be changed to reflect a nation that supported United States policy on Iraq. That would make the possibilities:

British kissing.

Polish kissing.

Danish kissing.

Australian kissing.

Albania kissing.

Spanish kissing.

Jordanian kissing.

Singaporean kissing.

Danish kissing evokes pleasant thoughts of tall blondes; but Spain, a romantic destination, has probably inspired more actual kissing than standoffish Denmark. British kissing sounds deathly boring. Kissing, along with everything else, is forbidden in Singapore. Australia is developing a reputation for having a healthy, highly pro-sex viewpoint -- it boasts the world's best nude dancer clubs, and men stripping for women is as socially acceptable there as women stripping for men. But Australia is just too far away. Since Jordan and Albania were the two mainly Muslim countries that supported United States policy on Iraq, TMQ proposes that the practice in question be renamed Jordanio-Albanian kissing.

What, you wanted a photo of the Cowboys cheerleaders instead?

NFC East

Team? Awful! But thanks
for starting the cheer-babe fad.
The Dallas Cowboys

Forecast record: 4-12

Only team that calls
fair catch on its own kick snaps.
Jersey/A Giants.

Forecast record: 9-7

Team? Great! And thanks for
cheerleaders who wear still less.
The Philly Eagles.

Forecast record: 12-4

Compared to owner,
team name is inoffensive.
"Washington" R*dsk*ns.

Forecast record: 6-10

Rumor has it the NFL wants to rent out billboard space on Mars.

Even Worse, the Martians Get DirecTV: I don't know about you, but I think Mars has gotten a little too close for comfort. Just 34,647,420 miles away -- come one mile closer and we'll open fire! Look very carefully at this Hubble Space Telescope image and you will see, etched into one of the canals, the phrase "The Red Planet Presented by Bank One."

Welcome to TMQ Humor Presented by Quizno's: Thursday's NFL opening night event is "presented by Pepsi Vanilla." This makes it a huge relief Chicago is not on the card, else we would have heard, "Welcome to Bears football presented by Bank One presented by Pepsi Vanilla."

TMQ's position on Pepsi Vanilla: The stuff would taste pretty good if they took the vanilla out.

TMQ has hired Miss Belgium as its director of public relations.

La Belgique: Terre des P.R. Bbs de Swimsuit et des Serveurs Hautains: Reader Sylvia Dominique of Brussels wrote to protest TMQ's declaring the Belgian national motto is, We May Be Small But We're Annoying. "Belgium is among the few modern nations that has never invaded a neighboring state," Dominique noted, while allowing that, "our waiters may be annoying, but at this point diners would almost be disappointed if they were not." TMQ stands by his assertion, and translates the Belgian national motto into French: Nous Pouvons tre Petits, Mais Nous Sommes Ennuyants. And this letter creates an excellent flimsy excuse for the ESPN.com art department to show a swimsuit photo of the current reigning Miss Belgium, Julie Taton, a college student who is studying public relations. Julie, please improve Belgium's image!

AFC North

QB-a-rama.
Step right up and try your luck!
The Bal'mer Ravens.

Forecast record: 6-10

Worst in league, worst in
the hearts of their countrymen.
The Cincy Bungles.

Forecast record: 9-7

Gone. Back. Now back in
postseason. The Cleveland Browns
Release 2.1.

Forecast record: 9-7

Moved from field where four
titles forged: Ketchup bests rings.
The Pittsburgh Steelers.

Forecast record: 10-6

Don't let the neighbors know, but TMQ secretly keeps a fridge stocked full of PBR.

Andecker: The Official Extinct Beer of TMQ: Pabst Blue Ribbon ("PBR" to those in the know) has inexplicably become the hit beer of the year. TMQ once spent a summer in Wisconsin and quaffed his share of this pleasant, mild beverage, which arose when transplanted German brewers adapted their craft to American tastes. I thought the Pabst company had gone out of business, to much recrimination among Milwaukee brewery workers. Turns out the brewery itself disappeared, but PBR has re-emerged with the help of a San Antonio firm whose goal is to keep alive the traditional local labels that are vanishing in an age of Bud-Miller-Coors megabrewing.

Pabst Brewing Company now produces, among other local favorites, PBR, Lone Star, Olympia, Heileman's Special Export, Stroh's, Rainer Ale, Carling Black Label, Ballentine Ale, Blatz, Schlitz, Old Style, Old Milwaukee, McSorley's and Schaefer, after which the place where the New England Patriots once played was once named. Only some of these brews (Heileman's, Ballentine, Rainer) evoke pleasant memories for TMQ; a few simply weren't as good as mainline Bud or Coors. But someone ought to kept Blatz in production if only for its name.

Turns out that although Pabst Brewing Company sells PBR with a Milwaukee PO box on the can, as if it had revived the original, today's version is actually brewed on contract by Miller. Same, it seems, for the other labels as well -- Pabst is mainly a virtual brewery, though Heileman's still comes from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Lone Star still is brewed in Texas. Regardless of origin, all brews on the PRB company's list hold wonderful associations of places and times that will never return, but whose beers might stick around a while longer.

Read the saga of Frederick Pabst himself here. Read about High Falls Brewing, a Rochester, New York company that has managed to stay in business as a local independent making Genesee Cream Ale and other nostalgic place-and-time labels, here.

If TMQ could have one beer-based wish granted, it would be the revival of Andecker, the old Pabst premium brand. Back in the days when men were manly men, women didn't feel up other women on national television and all Milwaukee reeked of factory soot, Andecker was the brew devised by Pabst to counter Budweiser's Michelob. This beer was delicious and sold in one of the best-looking bottles ever. How about it, PBR brass? Bring back Andecker!

NFC North

Famous field rebuilt
to make it more expensive.
The Chicago Bears.

Forecast record: 5-11

Random thought: Would Kordell Stewart be better at composing haiku than composing touchdown drives?

Bonus: reader's prediction haiku!

Kordell of fleet feet
will spend much time on his seat.
Bears: seven and nine.

-- David Davy Jr.

Eisenhower was prez
last time they took home the ring.
The Detroit Peugeots.

Forecast record: 4-12

Say it ain't so! Soon,
Kraft Cheez-Whiz Field at Lambeau.
The Green Bay Packers.

Forecast record: 10-6

The franchise that fields
not a team but an ego:
The MN Randys.

Forecast record: 6-10

Doesn't Jeri seem a little overqualified to be a cheerleader?

Cheerleader of the Week: Reader John Twomey, West Point '73, writes to note that Patriots cheer-babe Jeri Colbert is both a West Point graduate and attending Harvard Law School. "Ask yourself," Twomey writes, "would you wish to confront a product of the world's premier leadership institution, a trained warrior and a soon-to-be Harvard lawyer?" TMQ's reply: "Sir, no sir!" Colbert, a distance runner and weight-trainer, says her life goals are to "run for Congress, own a health club and write books." Presumably, this would make her the only healthy member of Congress, which would be well worth writing about.

AFC South

From president's state,
offense shows big deficit.
The Houston Texans.

Forecast record: 4-12

Have Dungy, Big Three:
don't have postseason W.
Indy Lucky Charms.

Forecast record: 10-6

Once fresh, popular.
Now aged, wearing out welcome.
The Jax Jaguars.

Forecast record: 6-10

Wandered searching for
a home. Now, search for cap space.
The Flaming Thumbtacks.

Forecast record: 11-5

Finally, Someone Worse Than Ryan Leaf: Carolina quarterback Randy Fasani gave up on football last week, "retiring" if that's the right verb for a young sprout in his twenties. Under the NFL's cryptic formula, if every pass a gentleman throws clangs to the ground incomplete, 39.6 is his rating. Fasani departs with a career passer rating of 8.8.

Hillary: I Did Not Have Professional Relations With That Woman, My Ghostwriter: An earlier TMQ noted that while Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to lie about being the author of "Living History," increasingly authors receiving assistance take the high road and admit to the aid of a ghostwriter. The latest example is "A Mighty Heart," the upcoming book about the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. This volume is being honestly marketed as "by Mariane Pearl and Sarah Crichton." Pearl is the dead man's widow and Crichton, former publisher of Little-Brown, did most of the writing.

That Mariane Pearl is being honest about receiving writing help is just one of the many things TMQ admires about this gallant woman. And there's a phrase with a nice ring, "being honest." Senator Clinton, why not give it a try?

NFC South

Can't run a 4.3
40 in a cast, Michael.
Atlanta Falcons.

Forecast record: 9-7

Picking the Saints to actually win a playoff game this season? Not to burst your balloon, but it's not going to happen.

Real panthers once thought
extinct, now coming back. Can
football Panthers too?

Forecast record: 9-7

Yearly, balloon bursts:
try Hindenburg as logo?
The New Orleans Saints.

Forecast record: 8-8

Pirate-themed franchise
steals its first ring. Yo ho ho!
The Tampa Bay Bucs.

Forecast record: 12-4

Though If Her Views Are Anti-American, She'll Fit Right In at Harvard: Miss America has renovated its website, which gives TMQ some hope that, after the upcoming pageant, the organization will finally post photos of the swimsuit competition. Meanwhile let's check in with the current Miss America, Erika Harold, who is about to hand over her crown.

Like Jeri Colbert, Howard is Harvard Law: She'll attend as soon as her Miss America stint is up. Two gorgeous women attending Harvard Law School -- that's twice as many as in all previous classes combined! Now consider Erika Harold's weird "platform" statement:

Just what America needs: another Harvard Law student with an agenda.

"As Miss America 2003, I am issuing a national call to action, challenging every segment of American society to take a proactive, comprehensive approach to eradicating the culture of violence and harassment that is pervasive."

What -- Miss America thinks America is based on "a culture of violence and harassment?" Isn't that sort of an anti-American view? Crime, including hate crime, is in a decade-long cycle of decline, while ever-stricter workplace, school and other rules have made the nation, if anything, hyper-sensitive to harassment. The chance of being murdered in New York City is now lower than it was in the 1950s, while harassment is so tightly policed that people lose their jobs just for sending emails that the recipient finds offensive. Yet Miss America thinks the United States is grounded in a "culture of violence and harassment that is pervasive." Maybe when you get to Harvard Law, Erika, they'll teach you a little perspective about what used to be common, vs. today.

AFC West

Fans sigh with relief;
now Bills' unis uglier.
The Denver Broncos.

Forecast record: 8-8

The NBA in
cleats; nobody plays defense.
Those let-'em-score Chiefs.

Forecast record: 7-9

Coming off blown Bowl:
who will Davis sue for that?
The Oakland Long Johns.

Forecast record: 9-7

Vie with Dolphins for
best babes in crowd. The beach-based
San Diego Bolts.

Forecast record: 8-8

"Then Jesus Looked At His Followers and Said, 'How Hard It Will Be for the Rich to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven!'" The New York Stock Exchange is giving Richard Grasso, its CEO, a $139.5 million payday. Reward for a job well-done! Grasso has presided over the worst corporate scandals in American history, mostly having to do with stock manipulation which, mysteriously, the NYSE never noticed. During Grasso's tenure the big Wall Street trading houses have paid record fines to the Securities and Exchange Commission for engaging in stock-market fraud -- which, mysteriously, the NYSE never noticed. Under Grasso's watch the whole notion of corporate stock has become synonymous in the public mind with three-card monte. Great job, Dick!

This overpayment is especially grotesque given that the NYSE is a quasi-public institution, supervised by the SEC and operated under a charter that essentially exempts its management from market risk. And bear in mind that like all grotesque CEO overpayments, this money is not popping out of the air -- it is popping out of your pocket. Corporations pay a fee to have their stocks listed on the NYSE. That fee reduces the funds they could otherwise issue as dividends to stockholders, which reduces your mutual-fund and retirement income so that Dick Grasso has more money than he could possibly need. A check for $139.5 million handed to a man for sitting in a government-protected leather chair, who will now cackle as he counts his gold and millions of Americans go to bed crying in anxiety over small sums. (One American in eight lives below the poverty line.) Grasso ought be ashamed. But then, that assumes American CEOs are capable of feeling shame.

NFC West

Good seats are always
available: The unwatched
Arizona Cards.

Forecast record: 3-13

Kurt Warner is back, but TMQ doesn't think that means the Rams will return to the playoffs.

Bummed by football rule:
can only pass once per play.
The St. Louis Rams.

Forecast record: 7-9

Wins big playoff game:
Coach, that's a firing offense!
The S.F. Niners.

Forecast record: 9-7

Still work to wash off
that Seattle fishy smell.
Who? The Blue Men Group.

Forecast record: 8-8

And Exactly Why Weren't You One of His Favorite Persons?After being let go by Pittsburgh a year ago, former lottery pick Troy Edwards denounced the Steelers as "a bunch of punks" and said the coaching staff had no idea how to use his magnificent talents. Last week, after being let go by the Rams, Edwards denounced the receivers who made the squad ahead of him ("I just don't see what the people they kept did that was so great"), called Rams coach Mike Martz prejudiced ("It was nothing about my abilities, I just wasn't one of his favorite persons") and said the St. Louis coaching staff had no idea how to use his magnificent talents. Edwards concluded, "I'm not going kiss up to nobody just to have a job." Troy, the unemployed never have to kiss up.

The Rams also waived OL Travis Scott, whom you've never heard of. A year ago, TMQ noted that Martz, who once coached at Arizona State, weirdly insisted on using a 2002 fourth-round draft pick on this ASU gentleman even though Scott didn't start in college. The situation was so ridiculous that the ASU booster club issued a statement expressing "shock" that a college nonentity would be a high NFL draft pick.

Immediately after arriving in St. Louis, Scott was put on IR so that Martz didn't have to cut him right away. TMQ wrote, "Scott will be quietly waived after everyone's forgotten who he is. Scott takes home almost $500,000 for participating in this charade, so he's happy. But what gives with Martz? Martz also insisted on using his fifth pick in the 2002 draft on QB conversion project Steve Bellisari, who's also vanished to IR." Bellisari was also waived last week. This means the Rams spent 2002 fourth-round and fifth-round picks on guys who never played a snap, and easily could have been brought in for tryouts as undrafted free agents. It's nutty personnel decisions like these that are draining the Rams' talent pool, and Martz's insistence on calling all shots is the root problem. Bear in mind TMQ's immutable laws of football, Either a Coach or a Manager Be -- and its corollary, Neither a Scout Nor a Negotiator Coaches Be.

Dare You Doubt My Immutable Laws? The league just suspended Blue Men Group tackle Chris Terry, for violating the drug rule. This is further proof of the immutable law, Either a Coach or a Manager Be. Last November, the Panthers waived Terry after he failed to report for a court hearing on his wife's charge against him of assault. Mike Holmgren, then acting both as the Hawks' coach and GM, rapidly signed Terry, handing him a $5 million bonus. Pretty good pay for laughing at the law! Now Terry is laughing at Holmgren; Terry has the five mil and the Hawks have a missing tackle, a big cap charge and a serious problem. How could Holmgren not have known that Terry is a bad apple? The entire rest of the league knew; no one but Seattle even made an offer.

Running Items Department

Obscure College Score of the Week: Item returns! Eastern Illinois beat Obscure College favorite California of Pennsylvania, 27-0. Located in Charleston, Illinois, Eastern Illinois offers dorm rooms with loft spaces but sternly cautions, "The university assumes no responsibility for any personal or property damage resulting from the use of lofts or student-built bunk beds." The mission statement of the Division of Student Affairs declares, "It is the mission of the Division of Student Affairs to guide students toward understanding and attending to those aspects of their lives which enhance their total educational experiences." Besides this being psychobabble gibberish, when TMQ was in college, the goal of Student Affairs was to have lots of them!

Obscure College Stat: Bethune-Cookman, Eastern Illinois, McNeese State, New Hampshire, Northeastern, North Carolina State and The Citadel defeated California of Pennsylvania, Central Connecticut, Charleston Southern, Henderson State, Savannah State, Stonehill and West Carolina by a combined 402-68.

New York Times Final-Score Score: Item returns next week! In the meantime, check this actual quote from a recent news story in the New York Times: "Psychically, metaphorically, evolutionarily, teeth go way down and way back and carry multiple, paradoxical meanings. The tale of teeth is the ultimate oral history, and if it is only by coincidence that tooth rhymes with truth, the words still make a pretty good team." Maybe the editors had the day off.

The Car Alarms Echoing Off the Pastoral Hills Always Chokes Me Up: The Obscure College running item arises from the pleasure TMQ receives, each Sunday in the fall, picking up the paper and simply reading scores of the Indiana of Pennsylvania and Pittsburg of Kansas and Chadron State and similar obscure games. All across our great nation on autumn afternoons, ill-tempered gentlemen in plastic armor are slamming into each other in small stadiums at leafy idyllic campuses that, Brigadoon-like, are pleasantly removed from the normal world. TMQ finds it reassuring to think that long after you and I have departed this mortal coil and are trying to scalp tickets to meet the football gods, people in plastic will still be slamming into each other in stadiums at idyllic small campuses, while guys in the stands try to get girls' phone numbers and car alarms go off in the parking lot.
Ian, we'll put you in the TMQ Hall of Fame.

But as the Obscure College Score item returns in fine mettle, TMQ is sad to report that a player who will be a first-ballot entrant to the Obscure College Hall of Fame, tailback Ian Smart of C.W. Post, was cut by the Jets.

Smart left C.W. Post last season as college football's all-time leading scorer (570 points), all-time leading touchdown-maker (95) and fourth all-time in rushing (6,647 yards). C.W. Post, located on an idyllic wooded campus on the peaceful northern shore of Long Island, offers students a chance to stroll through the mansion owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress of the Post Cereal fortune and once one of the world's richest women, and her husband E.F. Hutton, founder of the investment banking house. Hillwood, completed in 1931 and now used for university administration, actually has seven gables, the mansion signature touch of the era. The gables depict flowers, animals, mythology and adoration of wine -- surely that last has not escaped students' attention. Students called to Hillwood for disciplinary violations are told that by school rules they can have an advisor, but only if the advisor is not a lawyer.

Reader Animadversion: Item returns! Got a comment or a deeply felt grievance? Register it at tmqespn@yahoo.com.

Reader Jon Wallace numbered among several protesting TMQ's contention that Kenyon Martin has only himself to blame for his thug look causing him to get the short end of numerous calls in the NBA championship. TMQ wrote that Martin "cultivates the thug look -- excessive tattoos, cloaking his head on the bench -- and so the refs treat him as a thug and presume guilt. Tim Duncan, by contrast, cultivates the look of a guy you'd want your daughter to marry, so the refs give Duncan the benefit of the doubt." Generally, TMQ noted, thug-look guys like Martin and Allen Iverson have been frustrated in the NBA playoffs, while the rings go to clean-cut, winning-smile gents like Duncan, Michael Jordan and Shaq. Wallace countered that such thinking "imposes a white middle-class standard of appearance on African American expression."

Yes it does, and those are the breaks. Despite basketball's cultural standing as a black sport, the majority of NBA ticket-buyers are white, simply because the majority of Americans are white. This being the case, a black NBA player who likes the thug look faces a choice: Express himself and be misunderstood by the majority, or conform and be popular. (We're assuming here that the thug look is just a look, that is, tells us nothing about a person's inner worth, in the same way that a clean-cut look hardly assures us a person is honorable. Ollie North was pretty clean-cut.) If an African-American player decides that looking the way he wants to look is more important than making a good impression on the fans, who are his employers, or on the referees, who help determine his success, that's his choice. But he must be a grown-up regarding the consequences.

As legal scholars say about the First Amendment, just because speech is free doesn't mean it has no cost: When you speak freely, you may pay a cost in causing others to think you're a nutcase. When an NBA player freely opts for the thug look, he may pay a cost by causing others to think he's a bad person. Most men and women who labor in the public spotlight choose to conform in things that don't matter (haircuts, clothes) so that they can follow their convictions in things that do matter. Kenyon Martin has made his choice, and pays the cost.

Is being a third-string kicker for New Mexico a good thing?

It's Up -- and It's Not Good: Katie Hnida of the University of New Mexico, a history major, became the first woman to score in a Division 1-A game, kicking two PATs as the Lobos pounded on cupcake opponent Texas State-San Marcos. Hnida's kicks came with 5:05 and 1:21 left in a blowout -- that is, after New Mexico's real kicker handled the real chores. Actually, after the team's two real kickers. Hnida is third-string, and trotted onto the field only when it was 64-8 and even the second-stringers had finished for day.

There's a word for all this, and the word is stunt. As TMQ has written before, if a woman can make a football team based on the same criteria used for men -- performance -- then of course she must play. (And, as noted before, TMQ hopes never to meet that woman.) But what are the odds Hnida, who shanked her only previous PAT attempt, made the New Mexico squad solely on merit?

TMQ bets Kate Hnida has athletic talent, and might excel on a women's team in some sport. In football, the sport most keyed to muscular strength, the best a woman can aspire to is being below average -- and this is Hnida's achievement, becoming a below-average player who appears in the closing moments of blowouts. If Hnida's two kicks fulfilled some childhood goal, then more power to her. But given the pumped-up arms race that is sports -- women are getting more athletically proficient as women's sports become ubiquitous, but male athletes grow bigger and stronger every year too -- even ever-more-adept female athletes have scant hope of catching men at football.

Now think of the downsides to Hnida's achievement. First: Girls or women who try out for boys' or men's football team are chasing the dream of being below average, when they might excel in a sport not keyed to bicep size. Second: By college age and probably sooner, it's hard to believe there is any girl or woman who can win a spot on a football team based solely on performance; the girl or woman who tries out is essentially claiming a special privilege with the implied threat of a lawsuit. When men claim special privileges it's cheesy, and the shoe looks no better on the female foot. Third: Once you drag the courts into this, if women can demand to play on men's teams, how long until men threaten lawsuits to play on teams set aside for women? If the end result is some judge ordering that the distinction between men's and women's college athletics be dissolved, women who play sports will be the losers by a significant margin.

Fourth and finally, under the college Title IX criteria, football is classed as a men's sport which must, in almost every case, be balanced by the school sponsoring a women's sport. Scatter a few stunt-category women around the nation's collegiate football teams, and some smart athletic director will assert that football is no longer a "men's" sport that must be balanced by a women's sport. Mark TMQ's words.

Why are there always plot loopholes when the Borg enter the picture?

This Week's Star Trek Complaint: Item returns! Or soon will with the new television season. For now, TMQ throws out a leftover complaint from last season.

In an Enterprise episode in which three Starfleet researchers travel from their base in San Francisco to a site in the Arctic Circle in order to examine frozen Borg drones from an ancient crash, the Starfleet gang arrives in a spaceship. Why is it necessary to use a spaceship to go from California to Canada? This absurd detail is inserted only so that the Borg, once reanimated, can steal the spaceship and threaten the galaxy.

The stolen ship is pursued by our heroes aboard the Enterprise, who catch up in deep space one day after the Borg flee Earth. We see the stolen ship, which has become substantially larger. How? "They've added Borg technology," explains an Enterprise crewmember. Set aside that, according to the chronology previously told to viewers in the earlier serial "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Earth will not have its first encounter with Borg technology for 200 years after the period being depicted. TMQ simply asks, Where did the materials come from? The Borg have inserted some technology into the stolen spacecraft and supposedly this technology causes the spacecraft to grow, adding larger engines, more weapons and so on. Regardless of Borg science, the spacecraft could not grow without adding materials. Where did the materials come from?

Similarly, in the "Spiderman" movie, Tobey Maguire constantly shoots webbing in such amounts that he can swing from the tops of skyscrapers or along the length of Fifth Avenue. Where does the material come from? As the Official Eight-Year-Old of TMQ, Spenser, remarked on seeing this movie, "Dad, for every pound of webbing Spiderman shoots, wouldn't he have to eat a pound of food?" Well spoken, Spensey. It's like in the "Alien" movies, where the snake-sized alien larva turns into an enormous razor-jawed beast in just a few minutes, without eating anything! Spontaneous appearance of material is becoming, to special-effects creators, the equivalent of movie guns that can blaze away firing hundreds of rounds, without anyone pausing to reload. (Warning: Logical flaws in Hollywood special effects is going to be a TMQ theme this season.)

Note that in the original Spidey comix, the radioactive bite gives Peter Parker a spider's disproportionate strength and enhanced senses; but our hero, a chemist by profession, designs the web-shooter and its fluids on his own. In the movie, webs simply emanate from Parker's wrists. Why this plot change? Partly so that, for movie marketing reasons, Peter can be dumbed down from an adult chemist to a gawking high-school student. And partly so that there need never be any explanation of where the web material comes from, enabling those scenes of Parker swinging down Fifth Avenue. In the original comix, Spiderman rarely used his webs, because running out of fluid was a constant problem. In the movie, Spidey's webs operate in defiance of physical law -- one of the reasons special effects are becoming so stupid, another theme TMQ will develop this season.

This Week's Challenge: Item returns! Write a clever haiku encapsulating your favorite team, and submit it to tmqespn@yahoo.com. The best may be mentioned in next week's column, and the authors may receive some worthless ESPN trinket. Bear in mind that this is a challenge, not a contest. We promise nothing, the rules are kept secret even from the judges and the final decision will be completely arbitrary.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:46 PM

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shea stadium? not last?

POST #    341

on espn.com's page 2, they are reviewing all 30 major league ballparks, and their most recent review was for shea stadium. since i am a season ticket holder (sad, i know), i've been to shea about a hundred times in the past few years (including many times as a child) and thought that shea stadium would actually rank really really really low (as in bottom three), but i was pleasantly surprised at their review. shea didn't even rank in the bottom 5. how impressive.

read the whole review here.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Sports at 3:47 PM

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sad tigers

POST #    338

i've reported on the detroit tigers and how much they suck a couple of times (here and here), but with their loss monday, their record dropped to 34-102 (that's a stellar 25% win percentage). they are 38.5 games back of the cleveland indians in the al central, and the indians are in 4th!! the 2003 tigers are the fastest team to clinch last place in the modern era. sad, so sad.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:34 AM

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September 1, 2003

why bother exercising?

POST #    337

during the past two days, i went to the gym for kickboxing class and played softball, making my last two days more active than the past two months. i haven't been able to go to the gym in more than a month and the class was harder than any activity that i remember doing since college. i thought i was going to pass out at one point.

wisely, i decided to play some alumni softball in central park yesterday. several different alumni associations gathered to play in the final game (michigan, u chicago, unc, and vassar), and we still didn't have enough people, so we picked up some stragglers. one of them was actor chad lowe. in the outfield, was his wife, hilary swank, watching everyone play. it was a great time, 3 hours of softball on a beautiful day. the only problem was that i was baking in the outfield and the right side of my body got much more exposure to the sun than my left side. on the plus side, i found my swing again (on the last game of the season) and made a couple of nice defensive plays.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:48 PM

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August 31, 2003

math? a real world application?

POST #    335

i'm sitting here doing some nfl reading on football outsiders and they are doing predictions for the year to come. in their predictions, they mention pythagorean theorem and how it can predict win/loss records. of course, this peaked my interest, so i clicked on their link. they obviously discuss how it relates to football, but they also give a nice summary of how it works. essentially, the theorem is that when you square of runs scored and divide by the square of runs scored plus points allowed, you can predict a team's wins. the actual factors are different for every sport and have been refined, but i still think it's pretty cool how it works out.

read more about it on football outsiders or for a full blown analysis of the theorem, read baseball prospectus.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:40 AM

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us open, session 12

POST #    334

satuday night, i went to the us open with my cousin janice, my 2nd trip in this week (see first trip here). thanks to julius who's working at the open, we were hooked up with some free tickets. thanks to mother nature, we were hooked up with some matches that were postponed from earlier in the afternoon. thanks to heineken, we were hooked up with some free hats that are actually pretty nice.

and just like last time - "little read book, your source for us open scores and photos!"

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:06 AM

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August 30, 2003

oh, the rites of fall

POST #    332

the end of summer means two great things...the start of football season and it's that much closer to ski season.

sitting here watching michigan take on central michigan in the first game of the season makes me so excited. i can't wait to go back and catch the game on saturday, october 18th. woo! go blue!

the new playing surface also looks great. gotta love fieldturf. just cost a mere $620,000.

update:
michigan won the game 45-7. game recap here.

also, john navarre became only the 2nd player in school history to start 4 straight season openers.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:53 PM

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August 26, 2003

NFC preview: Pass the potatoes

POST #    488

NFC preview: Pass the potatoes
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

Best news TMQ has heard in weeks: Federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is expected to rule soon in the marathon 11-year lawsuit against the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons and their "R*dsk*ns" trademark.


To recap a running point, TMQ objects to both ends of the "Washington" R*dsk*ns name. The front end: This club practices in Virginia and performs in Maryland, lacking the decency to so much as maintain an office in Washington. The back end: R*dsk*ns is a slur. Fans don't mean to denigrate anyone, of course; fans view the name as mere tradition. A slur it is, nonetheless. What if the mere traditional name were the Washington Darkies?


As for the litigation, a 1946 law says businesses cannot trademark or otherwise register terms intended to disparage; litigants assert that since R*dsk*ns is disparaging, the team should lose protected commercial right to this word and related images. If the Persons lose such protection, the team could still call itself the R*dsk*ns and still sport that Heap Big Injun helmet logo -- it's just that then anyone could market products bearing the same look. This would deprive the Persons of an estimated $5 million annually in merchandising fees and, hence, lead within seconds to a new team name that is eligible for legal protection.


What to do once the team finally loses the lawsuit? TMQ thinks it would be fine for them to continue being the Redskins so long as they change their logo to a bowl of potatoes.

TMQ's simple solution: keep the nickname, change the logo to a bowl of potatoes!


Alternatively, the team could adopt a genuine native name. Cho nnee means "large people" in Apache -- the Washington Cho Nnee would be quite a cool name. In Navajo, dzeel means the strength that comes from courage -- the Washington Dzeel has a very nice ring. Replacing the disparaging R*dsk*ns name with a very cool native word would not only be a nice way for the franchise to say "sorry," but instantly place Dan Snyder's team at marketing's cutting edge. It could even still work in the team song:


Hail to the Dzeel,
Hail, victory!
Braves on the warpath,
Cut taxes in old DC!

Note that TMQ does not object to Chiefs or Braves as team names, since chief and brave are terms of respect. R*dsk*n is "offensive slang," according to the American Heritage Dictionary. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has already ruled that R*dsk*ns is offensive and the club should lose trademark protection; what's at issue now is the team's appeal of that ruling. Go, Judge Kollar-Kotelly! Right this wrong!


In other NFL news, with preseason injuries having taken down the two most interesting quarterbacks for the 2003 season, Michael Vick and Chad Pennington, there are calls for reducing the number of preseason games. TMQ thinks it won't happen; or if it does, it won't matter in injury terms.


Don't get me wrong, I dread the preseason. In haiku,


Vanilla tactics,
who-dat rookies. Yet they charge
for preseason games!

-- TMQ, 2003

Despite injuries to stars like Mike Vick, don't expect the NFL to cut back on preseason games (or ticket prices).


Preseason NFL games are both meaningless and tedious -- quite a combination. The whole concept of presenting gentlemen about to be waived, and only letting them run half the playbook, would be ridiculous if it weren't that August heat allows the cheerleaders to wear their skimpiest outfits. No one would pay to see a preseason Shakespeare performance in which Claudius and Ophelia are performed by novice actors who will be waived the next day. No one would pay to see a preseason opera in which tenors deliberately hit false notes to confuse scouts from other operas. No one would pay to see a preseason ballet in which dancers disguise the true choreography by leaping into the air but refusing to come down.


But suppose preseason games were cut from four to two. That would only mean that a team's starters, who now play the first quarter of the first two games and the first half of the second two (total of six quarters) would instead play the first three quarters of two games (total of six quarters). Time exposed to injury would be about the same for the starters, while time for little-known players to develop would be dramatically cut.


TMQ sees the four-game preseason as a necessary evil. They just shouldn't charge fans to attend.


Now the TMQ NFC preview:


Arizona (caution: may contain football-like substance) Cardinals: The Cards have $14.6 million in salary-cap space, tops in the league. Why so much cap space? No one wants to play for the Arizona Cardinals. The team waved money at numerous up-and-coming gentlemen in the offseason, and all said "no thanks." The only quarterback they were able to sign was the vagabond Jeff Blake, who showed his true colors in the final game of 2002, joking and clowning around just seconds after throwing the late-game interception that knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs. Arizona is the last stop for a guy like that.


Would you want to play for a team with a 61-101 record over the last decade? That is perennially dead-last in home attendance? Average house last season, 40,910; NFL average, 65,755. (Big bonus about attending a game at Sun Devils Stadium: There's always an empty seat to put your stuff on.) To perform before a crowd, the Cardinals must go on the road, where last season they played in front of, on average, 29,387 more people than they did at their home games.


Would you want to play for a team that has appeared in four postseason games in the past half-century? That's a playoff game once every dozen years. Would you want to play for a team that last won a championship in 1947? Harry Truman was president the last time the Cardinals won a championship. Alaska and Hawaii were not states. The transistor radio had not been invented. Twinkies were in stores, though.


This year, the Arizona focus will be on the final bow of the great Emmitt Smith. Like Franco Harris with the Seahawks or Thurman Thomas with the Dolphins, Smith will play one empty year away from his true home -- earning a few extra bucks, marginally padding his stats, letting his true team know how mad he is that it pushed him out a season too soon. Whatever Emmitt does in the desert won't be about the Cardinals; it will be about sending an emissive back to Dallas. To top it all off, the Cardinals-Cowboys game this season is at Dallas, depriving the Cardinals of the only pairing that, since the move from St. Louis, has filled their house.


Last season, the Cardinals were outgained 6,020 yards to 4,563 yards, outscored 417 points to 262 points, gave up 335 first downs to 274 first downs ... no, I can't go on. Only pleasant thing about this franchise: Southwest babes in halter tops. If only some of them came to the stadium.


Cheerleader honesty: Check the opening page of the cheerleaders' section of the team website, where a high-aesthetic-appeal Southwestern babe seems to be saying, "You've got to be nuts to attend a Cardinals game."

TMQ spent the offseason studying art history to use in his column.


Emmitt honesty: Smith got into trouble by telling Sports Illustrated that last year in Dallas he felt like "a diamond surrounded by trash." As to his new Arizona situation? Cubic zirconium surrounded by recycled paperboard.


Dear France, You Can Keep Your Politicians, But Marianne Is Welcome Anytime: Marianne, traditional symbol of French womanhood -- best-known as a topless warrior in Delacroix's mural Liberty Leading the People -- is now being posed for by Laetitia Casta, a lingerie model. Only in France could a lingerie model be a national patriotic symbol!


Casta was chosen by a vote of France's 35,000 mayors; the French population is 61 million, which means France has one mayor for every 1,750 people. Prior to the vote, many mayors pored over photos of the candidates sans shirts. Only in France could looking at bare-chested babes be a patriotic duty! Le Monde writer Debra Ollivier has said that the essence of Marianne is her exposed breasts -- "flush, freewheeling, insolently raised in protest or subdued in a state of heraldic order." TMQ never dated a woman with flush, freewheeling, insolent breasts. Apparently I missed something.

TMQ should have spent the offseason vacationing in France.


Laetitia Casta's personal website informs us that Casta has a black belt in judo, that her "breasts are made in Normandy, nourished with fresh cream and butter" and that "obviously, many assume she is stupid [but] unless we know her personally, we cannot let ourselves assess her IQ. Neither would I say that Laetitia is a hidden genius ... this is obviously not the case. Nevertheless, Miss Casta states: 'I make an effort to keep my mind active.'" Remember, this is what she posts about herself.


Check here for an article about the recent exhibit, at the French National Assembly building, of "Mariannes of Today," beautiful African migrs photographed in Marianne regalia but not, sadly, bare-chested.


Atlanta Falcons: An injury, of course, can happen to anybody. But are we sure it's a total coincidence that Mike Vick skipped the Falcons' offseason training program, then got hurt pretty much as soon as he walked out on the field? Vick also stood up Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, not showing for a joint appearance they were supposed to make. Last season, everything about Vick was propitious: great performance; highlight-reel play after highlight-reel play; leading the Falcons to fifth overall in scoring despite mediocre teammates; an unthinkable road playoff victory at Green Bay, where no visitor had won in the postseason. Then Vick starts to get the idea that the rules don't apply to him. Oh ye mortals, trifle not with the football gods.


Last season, the Falcons were one of the few NFL teams to rush more than pass, running 52 percent of the time against a league average of 57 percent passing. That Atlanta mostly ran and yet scored well was both a testament to Vick's terror-inducing impact on defenses, and to TMQ's longstanding contention that the NFL should retreat from pass-wacky. Everyone assumes the Falcons will pass more this season when Vick returns, considering the arrival of Peerless Price. But Price, like many before him, might celebrate his mega-contract by taking the year off.


Atlanta's retread-staffed defense has improved under Wade Phillips, who stumbled in his two tries as a head coach but always does good work when he runs a defense. But the Falcons were schizophrenic: they were eighth overall in scoring defense with two shutouts recorded, yet they surrendered 30-plus points on five occasions. Both shutouts came against the inept Panthers, which leads TMQ to suspect that the team's good overall scoring defense stat was an artifact of playing in the same division as Carolina.


Carolina Panthers: No coach got more performance out of less talent last season than John Fox. With a train wreck on offense -- 31st overall, terrible blocking, no running back, average receivers, quarterbacks who couldn't make it as backups for most other teams -- Fox nevertheless coaxed the Panthers to a 7-9 finish. Most impressive, at the end of November the team had lost eight straight and been eliminated; it seemed time for yet another Carolina phone-in. Fox rallied the Panthers to win four of their last five. To get an eliminated team excited and playing well in December is an impressive coaching feat.


The key was defense; Carolina had the second-best in the league. Defense leading indicator: Carolina jumped from last in the league in sacks in 2001 to second-best. Top defense was impressive because demulcent offense meant the Panthers defense was constantly being summoned back to the field -- the Panthers averaged just 15 first downs per game. Carolina defensive performance was double-extra impressive -- double-extra is the kind of milkshake TMQ likes -- because three of the four season-ending wins came with Panthers star Julius Peppers on suspension.


Tuesday Morning Quarterback's conclusion: John Fox, him heap big good coach. But he still fields an assortment of career backups at quarterback -- Jake Delhomme, to whom the team has committed for the moment, has 86 career pass attempts -- and average talent at other positions.


Fun fact: "Delhomme" means "of the man" in French.

Female readers of TMQ: please write to your team so more male beefcake shots appear on official team web sites!


Warning -- Beefcake! Tuesday Morning Quarterback plans soon to present a full, philosophical defense of his cheer-babe cheesecake obsession: the short version is, You're supposed to look at the cheerleaders. For the moment, in response to many equal-time arguments from female readers -- regrettably, logical arguments -- there will be a countervailing increase in beefcake.


The Tennessee Titans are one of the few NFL squads to employ cheer-hunks as well as cheer-babes. Of equal importance to female and nontraditional male readers, the Titans publish photos of their cheer-hunks shirtless. Here's Michael, the TMQ NFL Cheer-Stud of the Week. Michael runs a Nashville pool maintenance firm, sells Infiniti cars and is married to a former Titans' cheerleader. (A female former cheerleader; the marriage did not take place in Canada.) From his bio: "Best part: I think it is my butt, but my wife thinks it is my legs." It must be the 21st century if wives sit around debating whether a male cheerleader's best feature is his butt or legs.


Chicago Bears: "This Bears fumble presented by Bank One!" Lots of teams have corporate affiliations -- the Cowboys once signed with Pepsi as a sponsor of Texas Stadium -- but the football gods winced when, in June, Chicago became the first NFL squad formally to attach a corporate name to its name, in the phrase "Bears football presented by Bank One." Things got so bad that the Bears had to issue a statement denying that they had sold their very name -- that is, they weren't going to be called the Bank One Bears. No, they're just "Bears football presented by Bank One." Or, in the coming season, "this Bears punt presented by Bank One" or "this Bears loss of six presented by Bank One."

Only Refrigerator Perry and this ship are bigger than Ted Washington.


The Bears were a cover-your-eyes team in 2002, losing 12 of their final 14. True, the team was beset by injuries, and many of the losses were close. But these appear the only personal flotation devices for Bears fans to cling to as the ship sinks. (A few years ago, riding the Cape May-Lewes ferry across Delaware Bay, TMQ spied a large box labeled 50 ADULT LIFE PRESERVERS. The juvenile life preservers must not have hatched yet.)


Coming off a 4-12 season, all offseason news for the Bears was bad. Roosevelt Colvin left, and worse, Kordell Stewart arrived. Last week, the Bears traded Ticonderoga-class DT Ted Washington to the Patriots for an insignificant draft pick. Washington's injury last year is what started the Chicago slide, and his return might have improved fortunes. Why was the team so anxious to get rid of one of its best players? Washington was a favorite of Bears coach Dick Jauron; his unloading suggests team management doesn't listen to its own coach, which in turn suggests another cover-your-eyes season for 2003.


Fun team management fact: During negotiations with Stewart, Chicago promised him that it wouldn't use its No. 1 draft pick on a quarterback. The Bears then drafted quarterback Rex Grossman in the first round. But aha! The pick was obtained in a last-minute trade with the Jets. So we didn't use our first-round choice on a quarterback, we used somebody else's, Chicago management told Stewart. Talk about getting off on the right foot with a new player.


Check out the stats of the 9,600-ton Ticonderoga-class cruisers here.

The Bears should have used their Bassmater credit card to purchase a better QB than Kordell Stewart.


Bank One fun fact: The bank offers hundreds of credit cards, including a Bassmaster card ("Enjoy impressive purchasing power while helping bass anglers across the nation" and a Grand Ole Opry card ("the only card that helps you earn points toward FREE Grand Ole Opry tickets."


Dallas Cowboys: Bill Parcells, tuna salad subs -- TMQ suspects you've heard enough on these subjects already.


So let's talk Dallas details, and they are grim. The team led the league in bad run blocking in 2002, with 16 percent of its rushing plays resulting in negative yards. (Emmitt Smith was, of course, slowing down, but still ran for 975 yards -- so get rid of him!) At 14.8 first downs per game, the team's ability to move the chains was worse than Carolina's. The Dallas defense plummeted from fourth-ranked in 2001 to 18th-ranked. Dallas quarterbacks combined for a rating of 69.1 -- which, if Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson were one person, would have represented the league's 29th-ranked quarterback. Dallas scored a lachrymose 13.6 points per game, five times failing to break double digits.


But now they've got Bill Parcells, tuna salad subs and are scheduled for two prime-time games owing to Parcells obsession. You might want to set aside those nights to read global-warming studies. TMQ fears that the 90 percent of Americans who can't or don't get DirecTV -- have I mentioned lately that the evil DirecTV monopoly over NFL Sunday Ticket should be investigated by the Federal Communications Commission? -- will be force-fed a lot of bad Dallas games on their tubes this year, owing to Parcells obsession.


Seemingly content with a third straight year out of contention, Dallas owner Jerry Jones brought in Parcells but no players; there wasn't a significant free-agent signing. But there was the weird trade for Terry Glenn, whom Parcells didn't want to draft when with the Pats. Glenn got run out of New England on a rail. Glenn got run out of Green Bay on a rail. Why will Dallas be any different? Last year, Glenn showed up at the Packers training camp declaring that he hoped to be "normal, basically," then went out and caught two touchdown passes on the season.


Maybe Glenn is the perfect running mate for Joey Galloway, who since coming to Dallas in exchange for two first-round draft picks has not recorded a 1,000-yard season. Galloway and Glenn are pretty much a matched set, both lottery-picky draft choices from Ohio State, both perennially disappointing. Now they are together; the results might not be pretty.


Jones continues to remind TMQ of vacuum-cleaner impresario Dave Oreck. A recent comparison test of vacuums rated Oreck's line dead-last, calling them "95-percent promotion and 5-percent product." Another way in which Dave Oreck and Jerry Jones are alike! What came in first in the comparison test? The Dyson Cyclone, developed from 5,000 prototypes, the vacuum of the future here today. Apparently nothing sucks harder. I got to the end of that sentence without even attempting a Jennifer Lopez joke.

TMQ is already nominating Champ Bailey for the 2004 Pro Bowl.


Duce Staley Is Kicking Himself, Thinking, "Why Didn't I Pay Her $135,000 to Wear a Green No. 22?" Champ Bailey of the Persons, just offered a megabucks contract extension, should give Britney Spears a commission on the bonus.


In television ads for the upcoming Persons-Jersey/B NFL season opener, she wears a (tight and abbreviated, of course) version of Bailey's No. 24 jersey. The ads began to air the week Bailey entered negotiations on his new deal. Britney letting Bailey's number, at least, touch her key marketing assets started people thinking of Bailey as a star. TMQ isn't convinced -- I'm old-school and feel that, while Champ is a good corner, first you have to do something, then you can become a star. (Career stats: one touchdown.) But Britney's opinion might be all that matters. Just free associating here, any ties between their agents?


Detroit Lions "Since Matt Millen's arrival in Detroit, he has re-structured the organization to have a positive impact on the team's strive to claim a Super Bowl crown." So declares the official Lions' website of the team's not-just-president, not-just-CEO, but "president and CEO." This brings to TMQ's mind the scene in the novel "1984" in which Winston Smith is ordered to write Big Brother's announcement that the chocorat -- chocolate ration -- has been increased from 30 grams per week to 25 grams per week. That's right, increased from 30 to 25. In the two years before Millen took the Detroit helm, the Lions were 17-15; in the two years since, 5-27. Millen has "re-structured the organization to have a positive impact," and victories have increased from 17 to 5!


When Millen took over, the Lions had been to the playoffs six of the previous 10 years, and missed the postseason only when an opponent hit an improbable 54-yard field goal on the final snap of the final regular-season game. Inheriting an almost-playoff club, Millen declared that he would clean house. He did. The house was completely cleaned of anyone remotely capable of putting a team into the postseason.


How does Millen keep his job? He works for the Ford family, during whose 40-year reign over the Lions, the team has never won a championship. In 40 years, the Ford family has celebrated a grand total of one postseason victory. Lions failure is the norm to the Ford family, so Millen's track record looks normal.

Did Steve Mariucci take the Harley or the Ford Focus when he signed up with the Lions?


Lions' norm: When Marty Mornihnweg arrived in 2001, Bill Ford held a welcoming ceremony in which he presented the coach with a Harley Davidson. Ford's company makes cars, not motorcycles, or didn't Bill Ford know that? Harleys are a product of Wisconsin, not Michigan, and Wisconsin is home to the Lions' ultra-rival Packers. Or didn't Bill Ford know that?


(Harleys were manufactured in Milwaukee from the founding of the company 'til 1972; today the engines are built in Milwaukee and the frames in York, Pa. Check here for the event schedule for this week's 100th anniversary of the Harley Davidson, being held in Milwaukee.)


Now Steve Mariucci takes over, and brings his lifetime 60-43 coaching record to the task. He'll need it. As ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli has pointed out, the last 10 masters of the Lions, once dismissed, have never worked as NFL head coaches again -- Gary Moeller, Bobby Ross, Wayne Fontes, Daryl Rogers, Monte Clark, Tommy Hudspeth, Rock Forzano, Don McCafferty, Joe Schmidt, Harry Gilmer. What an honor roll! Mornhinweg may make it 11 straight.


As for the Lions players, expect the team to have 53 of them this season.


Fun fact: At 67-71, Wayne Fontes was both the winning-est and losing-est head coach in Lions history.


Imagine When It's Only 800: The Detroit Free Press has begun running a countdown box to the 2006 Super Bowl, which the city will host. Current: 893 days left.


Green Bay Packers: TMQ loves Brett Favre. This guy could wake up from a knee operation and fire a touchdown pass before yanking out the IV line. It's going to be a sad day when he cuts the tape off his ankles for the final time. And it's wonderful that Favre has played his entire (meaningful) career in the same place, honoring sports lore and appeasing the football gods, never demanding a trade to a more glamorous media market.


But even as someone who loves Favre, TMQ thinks his Hamlet act on retirement has worn thin. Favre keeps planting, and then denying, rumors that he is about to hang it up. He calls sportswriters saying he might quit, causing them to write stories about how everyone wants him to stay; then he calls more sportswriters denying that he will quit, causing them to write stories repeating how everyone wants him to stay. Maybe Favre needs to join a publicity-addiction recovery group. The retire/unretire stuff got pretty old with Frank Sinatra and Michael Jordan; it's getting old with Favre.

The Packers look strong on paper ... but so did the Russian ship Suvorov.


Last year on Christmas morning, the Packers looked like the team to beat in the NFC with a 12-3 record, at least one home playoff game, inside track for home-field advantage throughout and the sparkling knowledge that the franchise had never lost a postseason contest at home. Less than two weeks later, the Packers were rolling on their sides in flames like the Russian battleship Suvorov at the battle of Tsuhima Strait. Green Bay got clobbered in its final regular-season game and then clobbered at Lambeau for its first-ever home-field playoff loss, honking these two appearances by a combined 69-24. Ay caramba.


This season, the Packers look strong again, plus the team has all but one starter under contract through 2004, an auspicious sign in the free-agency age. But TMQ thinks the Packers' year will come down to whether the Pack and the city of Green Bay decide to sell naming rights to Lambeau Field, currently in dispute.


Sell this storied name? Send it down the memory hole along with Mile High and Three Rivers? A thousand times no! TMQ feels that if the storied name Lambeau Field remains, the football gods will reward the Packers with a great season. If the vote is for lucre and the venue renamed something like the Kraft Cheez-Whiz Field at Lambeau, the football gods will wax wroth; there will be rending of garments and gnashing of teeth in Green Bay as the Packers suffer. Ominous sign: polls show that 53 percent of Green Bay residents want to sell the name.


Fun fact: What did the Falcons receive from Green Bay when they made the canny decision to trade Brett Favre? A draft pick used to select the legendary Tony Smith, a running back who gained 329 yards for Atlanta before being waived OOF -- out of football.


Warning -- Serious Item! Judge Roy Moore, the publicity-seeker who put the 2.5-ton Ten Commandments in the Alabama state courthouse, declared Monday that he could disobey the direct order of a federal judge because "judges do not make laws, they interpret them." Since, Moore continued, an interpretation can be wrong, therefore he may defy a judicial order. So presumably Judge Moore also thinks that if he sentences a man to prison, the man can declare that the interpretation might be wrong and walk free? It's exactly the same logic.

Thou shalt worship Bear Bryant ...


Moore further said that the First Amendment precept, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion," does not apply to him because "I am not Congress." Drag this incompetent lunatic out of the court quickly, please. Anyone with entry-level knowledge of Constitutional law knows that the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, was intended to extend the Bill of Rights to state governments; that a 1937 Supreme Court decision specifically declared that the First Amendment binds state officials like Judge Moore.


As a church-going Christian -- TMQ was in this church on Sunday -- I find it deeply embarrassing when Christianity is associated, in the public eye, with hucksters like Moore. I find it embarrassing, too, when Christians supporting Moore's hunk of stone suggest that a big object in a public square is what matters, rather than the power of God's message itself. Anyone who needs to look at a big object in order to believe, doesn't really believe.


And consider that in the same state, Alabama, where the Judge Moore sideshow is getting nonstop media attention, Republican Gov. Bob Riley is risking his political neck to campaign for tax-law changes that would increase taxes on the well-off while exempting everyone who makes less than $17,000 annually. Gov. Riley phrases the campaign in religious terms, saying, "According to our Christian ethics, we're supposed to love God, love each other and help take care of the poor." How come this pure and admirable Christian sentiment gets no media attention while the egomaniac with the hunk of stone in the same state's courthouse enjoys round-the-clock coverage?


Minnesota Vikings: Ever so quietly, the Vikes were the league's top-rushing team in 2002. While attention focused on turnovers by Daunte Culpepper and the Randy Moss ego-a-rama -- "If they put the leadership role on me my rookie year, the Vikings would have a ring by now" Moss modestly told ESPN.com's John Clayton last year -- Minnesota runners were picking up 2,507 yards. Sound running, and the sound blocking that makes sound running possible, is what gives the Vikings hope to rebound in 2003.

Tight end Jim Kleinsasser is key to Minnesota's underrated running game.


In this regard, it's revealing that many sports pundits ridiculed Minnesota for making tight end Jim Kleinsasser, who's average at catching the ball, its "franchise" player. When absolutely forced to mention blocking, sportswriters and various touts tend to hype left tackles but not understand that very few running backs have ever been good at blocking for themselves. For a running game to work, everybody has to block well -- all the linemen and all the receivers. Right now Kleinsasser is the best-blocking tight end in the league. It doesn't matter if he's average at catching the ball.


Some believe Minnesota's apparent screw-up in this year's draft -- passing on its seventh overall pick, not writing anything on the card 'til the ninth overall -- was deliberate. The Vikings took the player they would have taken anyway, but by dropping down two notches, saved about $1 million in bonus money under the NFL's slotting system for draft choices. Will such deliberate "mistakes" become common? After the first few picks, each rung down the first-round ladder means about $500,000 less in bonus -- which, in turn, represents enough cap space to add a veteran player.


Two years ago, TMQ wrote about how the fifth pick in the 2001 draft was actually more attractive than the second pick -- prospect quality was expected to be the same, but bonuses would be much lower. In recent years, many teams attempting to trade down in the first round have found no takers: Holders of lower picks are content to sit tight and spend less. If the smaller bonus translates into cap space for more veterans, this might be smart management.


The logic is especially strong at the last pick in the first round. Last April, Oakland would have been better off passing on that pick and using the first selection of the second round, rather than the last pick of the first, to take Tyler Brayton: Being a No. 2 rather than a No. 1 would have meant he'd cost millions less over the length of a contract. Tuesday Morning Quarterback looks forward to that moment in the 2004 draft when several teams in a row are all trying to pass, the commissioner orders that someone choose, and all refuse.


And We Promise Never to Sell It, Unless the Price Is Right: In Bethesda, Md., Official Town of TMQ, my favorite rapid-food place is a Cal-Mex joint called California Tortilla. California Tortilla asks customers for their email and promises, "We will not give your email address to anyone." Well of course they won't give it away.


New Orleans Boy Scouts: Twice the Saints faced eventual Super Bowl champion City of Tampa in 2002 and twice prevailed. But the rest of the year was cover-your-eyes. Another late-season collapse: from 7-2, New Orleans lost five of its final seven to miss the postseason. Worst, on the final regular-season Sunday, the Boy Scouts honked at home to the Carolina Panthers, who'd been eliminated since Thanksgiving. That day the goin'-nowhere Panthers played with more fire than the very highly favored home Saints team. Over the past two seasons, the Saints have started a combined 14-7 and finished a combined 2-9.

New Orleans' struggles are more proof of one of TMQ's immutable laws of football, Either a Coach or a Manager Be. Jim Haslett has veto power over football decisions, making him effectively the general manager - and you can be a headset-wearing coach, or a suit-wearing GM, but not both. Show me somebody trying to do both jobs, and I'll show you a franchise making personnel mistakes.

After the 2001 season, Haslett ripped up the squad, unloading players left and right; after the 2002 season, Haslett ripped up the squad, unloading players left and right. Going into the 2003 season, a mere three starters remain from the 22 who, in January 2001, recorded the sole postseason victory in the history of the franchise. They had to go -- they had violated team policy by winning! The constant roster turmoil means no continuity, and no ability to win down the stretch when we are separating the men from the individuals who merely have XY chromosome pairs.

Jersey/A: This April, the Giants became the first NFL team to use its No. 1 draft choice on a long snapper. Well -- not really, but they might have after the way last season ended. Jersey/A fans are right to still be steaming over the blown no-call that allowed their playoff game in San Francisco to end, rather than letting the Giants re-kick for the win. But bear in mind, Jersey/A kicking was so bollixed last season, the team might merely have missed the re-kick, too.

Giants fanfaronade came back to haunt in the playoff fiasco at San Francisco, where the team blew a 24-point second-half lead. All-me-first Michael Strahan was invisible in the second half; all-tirade Jeremy Shockey dropped a touchdown pass that would have sealed it for Jersey/A; a season's worth of strutting and self-praise showed in the team's inability to stay composed when the Niners' comeback charge began. For years, the interaction between the New York media and the Giants' desire to admire themselves in the mirror has been holding the squad back: consider that Ron Dayne, a benchwarmer, in New York gets more air time than star performers in other cities. This year, will Jersey/A gentlemen please just shut up and play?

Philadelphia Eagles: "The Eagles' biggest problem was no depth behind RB Duce Staley; he went down hurt, the offense became McNabb 24/7. Yet the Eagles acquired no RB help and go into the season once again gambling that Staley won't get hurt. Philadelphia finished free agency with a near league-high in unspent salary cap space -- which could have been used for the extra players that might put the team into the Super Bowl, but will instead be, what, donated to charity?"

That's what TMQ wrote about the Eagles in his 2002 preseason preview; I'm just quoting. That's also what TMQ wrote about the Eagles in his 2001 preseason preview; my 2002 preview merely quoted my 2001 preview.

For two summers running, I've simply clipped-and-pasted the same comment, because nothing at Philadelphia is changed. By mid-August, the Eagles had $12 million in unspent cap space, second-most in the league, trailing only the woeful Arizona Cardinals. The Cards have cap space because no one wants to play for them; players long to sign with Philadelphia, because the Eagles are a force. Yet they're holding themselves back from the Super Bowl by not spending their cap space and, weirdly, year after year showing complacency on the tailback problem.

If a franchise goal is to remain in contention season upon season, hoarding cap space might make sense. But Donovan McNabb is in his prime right now; why not spend every dime and try for the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl win? Two years running, the Eagles have been doorlined at the NFC Championship Game; two years running, they've made no major move in the offseason. Time and tide wait for no man.

Tip to Eagles opponents: Philadelphia onside kicked in unexpected situations in each of its last two opening-day games.


No wonder Duce Staley ended his holdout.


Eagles Cheer-Babe Lingerie Update: Once again this season, the Eagles' cheerleaders posed for a lingerie calendar. Once again it's so hot the calendar is warm to the touch. Once again, this column will show every lingerie pose that decorum will allow. But for all the shameless flak-ing of the last lingerie calendar TMQ engaged in last year, did the Eagles cheer-babes invite me to the recent "VIP reception and lingerie fashion show" at which they modeled their new numbers? No sir. (Please don't tell me Page 2's Jason Whitlock got this invite too, after being the one invited to the Playboy mansion Super Bowl party. The whole business puts TMQ in such a bad mood I hardly even want to provide the link you can use to buy the calendar.)

In fact, if the Eagles cheerleaders won't invite me to their little party, I'm definitely not going to provide the link you can use to buy the calendar. I will, however, offer this year's first sample, of Eagles cheer-babe Natalie, a college student majoring in criminal justice. Natalie, cuff me! Her image alone is reason enough to put down $12.99 for the calendar, but I am not going to provide the link you can use to buy it.

Meanwhile a quick browse of the new Eagles' lingerie edition reveals, as it were, an item of interest. Last season, TMQ often linked to but never actually showed the smoldering photo of cheer-babe and Penn State engineering major Kelly T., explaining that even libertine Page 2 could not display Kelly's pictorial "for thong-based reasons." This year Kelly T. is back in a pose even warmer to the touch. Once again, we can link to Kelly but not show her image and once again -- for thong-based reasons! Kelly, it's good to see that you stick to what you believe in. But because my feelings were hurt, I will not provide the link to buy the calendar.

St. Louis Mouflons: A Super Bowl win, another Super Bowl appearance and then last season the Rams opened by losing five straight and rebounded by winning five straight. It's always a party in St. Louis! What will the Mouflons do in 2003 to top that?

Last season, St. Louis threw on 66 percent of its snaps, most of any NFL team. But the bottom line, 20 points per game - the league average was 22 -- shows that heave-ho alone does not guarantee a flashing scoreboard. As the Rams wheezed out down the stretch, they failed to score more than 10 points in three of their final five games. A 4,154-yard passing offense doesn't amount to much if passing is all a team can do.


St. Louis is on a down cycle regarding talent, partly because Mike Martz insists on choosing high draft picks. A corollary of TMQ's law, Either a Coach or a Manager Be, is: Neither a Scout Nor a Negotiator Coaches Be. Two years ago Martz insisted on using No. 1 picks on DTs Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis, when there were higher-rated gentlemen available. Martz said he had a feeling about this pair: bookies rub their hands happily when marks "have a feeling" about a bet. Neither Pickett nor Lewis have become steady starters, and in this year's draft Martz insisted on spending a No. 1 on Jimmy Kennedy, though there were higher-rated gentlemen available.


When Kennedy dragged himself into camp, Rams DL coach Bill Kollar gave him this endorsement: "He's definitely not in great condition (but) he is not as bad as Ryan Pickett was when he was a rookie."


So he's ugly, but not as ugly as my last date!


Fun fact: the St. Louis colors are "Rams millennium blue and Rams century gold."

Truth be told: macho ESPN types were just trying to impress TMQ with their choice of restaurant.


Wacky Food of the Week: Recently TMQ his ownself dined with a pod of ESPN.com honchos in New York, greatest city in the world. The honchos chose the restaurant. I expected steak; or maybe ultra-trendy; or maybe very-large-portion Italian; or maybe, considering the oeuvre of Tuesday Morning Quarterback, they'd take me to one of those elegant, high-end stripper establishments for which Manhattan is renowned. No: the choice was a sushi restaurant, Mi, run by "noted Asian/Fusion chef Gary Robins." Actually the food was fabulous, as was the company. But now the shocking truth is revealed: macho ESPN.com types secretly eat sushi.


Next week: TMQ explains "elegant, high-end strippers."

San Francisco Squared Sevens: San Francisco reaches the second round of the playoffs and then fires its coach. He'd only gone 60-43 and taken the team to the playoffs four of six years -- get rid of the bum! The new coach, Dennis Erickson, had a losing record in his sole pro stint. So you cashier a proven winner for a guy who got run out of town on a rail at his last job. What are these, the San Francisco Bengals?


In management terms, as of 2003, yes. This offseason, Denise DeBartolo York completed buying her brother Eddie out of the franchise they jointly inherited from their father, who died in 1994. The wing of the DeBartolo family that oversaw five Super Bowl titles is now gone from Niners management. In its place is Denise, who fired a winning coach, hired a losing coach and appointed her husband John to the team's top executive position.


Of course, it might be countered that Niners coach George Seifert went 108-35, best NFL winning percentage ever, won a Super Bowl, and was eased out by Eddie. In its last two coaching transactions, San Francisco has ditched gentlemen with a combined 168-78 mark, numerous playoff appearances and a garish diamond-encrusted ring. But in this instance, what was the real reason Mariucci was fired? He was hired by Eddie, and Denise wants all trace of her brother's existence erased from the franchise. (Eddie has had his troubles with the law, but in 2002 got on the right side of history by testifying against corrupt former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, who was convicted.) Ye Niners faithful, spoiled by endless winning seasons -- you might be about to become un-spoiled.


The San Francisco defense, carpet-bombed with high draft choices in recent years, remains unimpressive. Last season, the Niners allowed a league-worst 46.9 percent third-down conversion rate. It doesn't matter how good your offense is if your defense can't get anyone off the field.


Seattle Blue Men Group: Guru Genius Mike Holmgren is now 31-34 with the Hawks, slightly worse than the record in the same place of Dennis Erickson. Erickson's mark was considered horrifying, and he was jettisoned; the Guru Genius is viewed as untouchable. What does Holmgren have on Hawks owner and mega-billionaire Paul Allen?


Like Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Holmgren's actual title -- something he negotiated when taking the Seattle job -- is "executive vice president of football operations/head coach." As in,
HOLMGREN: Hey you, No. 49! Show a little hustle.


NO. 49: Yes sir, executive vice president of football operations/head coach, sir.


In Holmgren's defense, it can be said that he saw something in Matt Hasselbeck. In the second half of 2002, Hasselbeck was seriously hot: 449 passing yards in one game, 427 in another. Blue Men faithful hope this carries over to 2003. It might, but bear in mind that Hasselbeck's hot finish came against some of the league's worst pass defenses -- San Diego, Kansas City, San Francisco.

A disappointment with the Cardinals, Simeon Rice terrorized opposing QBs last season with the Bucs.


City of Tampa Buccaneers: There isn't any doubt about who deserved last year's championship. Tampa capped a solid season by pasting San Francisco at home, pasting Philadelphia on the road and pasting Oakland in the Super Bowl, at one point leading 34-3. The last three champs (Baltimore, New England and Tampa) have featured power defense that peaked in the season's second half, getting better each game while saving the best for last. Neither of the first two could sustain its momentum the following season, though. Will Tampa?


Draftnik purists would say Tampa can't be a champ: recently it has invested five No. 1 picks and three No. 2s in just three gentlemen, Jon "I Was A Teenaged Coach" Gruden, Keyshawn Johnson and Kenyatta Walker. Yet the team has combined drafted stars (Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp) with who-dats (Greg Spires) and retreads (Brad Johnson, Simeon Rice) to sound effect. Arizona spent a lottery pick on Rice and let him go as a disappointment; for City of Tampa of he has been stellar. Will the next Bucs retread be Thomas Jones? Arizona spent a lottery pick on Jones and let him go as a disappointment. Now he's in Tampa.


Financial note: Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin got a big raise. At $1.5 million for 2003, he will earn more than several head coaches elsewhere. Average salaries of coordinators have skyrocketed in recent years from $200,000 to $400,000 as teams seek the latest magic formula for victory. What next, bidding wars for cheerleaders? TMQ volunteers to scout.


This Week's Anti-Canada Item: TMQ recently bought a new Honda Accord, built in Marysville, Ohio. It's a dark red five-speed with leather, making it a sex machine by the standards of Hondas. (Of course, this is like saying TMQ is a sex machine by the standards of Page 2 columnists.) Near the dash is a coin bin. Inside the bin a bright stamp announces, NOT AN ASHTRAY. Honda since the early 1990s has boasted of being the first no-smoking car company.


As a car, the Accord seems near-perfect, with one maddening exception: no heated side mirrors. Can't get 'em even if you're willing to pay extra, though in addition to being convenient, heated side mirrors are a safety item when driving in cold or rain. Extra maddeningly, while red-blooded Americans cannot get heated side mirrors on Hondas for love nor money, this feature is standard on Accords sold in Canada. Still more proof of the Canadian conspiracy!


Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons: And so begins Year Five in the evil reign of Lord Voldemort (Dan Synder). Entering the fifth year of his evil reign, Voldemort is on his fourth head coach, fifth defensive coordinator, fourth offensive coordinator, sixth starting quarterback and 11th placekicker. The Persons are 23-26 under Voldemort. They had a winning record in the comparable period before Snyder arrived and put his canny management principles into effect.


Take for example John Hall, Snyder kicker No. 11 in five years. All his predecessors were ordered waived by Snyder after missing a kick. In 2000 alone, Snyder went through five placekickers, ending the season by bringing back the first one he'd cut. That same year, the Persons lost two games on last-minute field-goal honks, and just missed the playoffs: had Lord Voldemort simply kept his nose out of football operations, the Persons might have been in the postseason. This year Snyder personally picked Hall as his new guy, perhaps unaware that Hall had four placement kicks blocked in 2002. How long 'til Hall clangs one off a lineman's backside and feels Voldemort's wrath?


The Persons spent freely in the offseason, bringing in more free agents than any other team. But did they spend wisely? Snyder made most of the personnel selections, and seemed to have a knack for offers to gentlemen their original teams did not fight to keep.

For his part Dobby the Elf (Steve Spurrier) prepared for his 2002 inaugural season the way he prepared for a year at Florida -- by fussing with the skill players and simply assuming the upfront beef would be overpowering. At football factory schools there is always an unlimited crew of 300-pound-plus genetic mutants to do the blocking; Dobby seemed to assume it would be that way in the NFL too, and last year obsessed over receivers and other flashy skinny types while ignoring the Persons' emergency paucity of guards. The 2002 offense was awful in part owing to awful interior blocking.


This offseason, Spurrier dealt with the guard problem but seemed to make the same foolish assumption about unlimited large mutants on defense, waiving both the Persons' starting defensive tackles as if this wouldn't cause a huge hole. It's not even clear what waiving both starting DTs accomplished. Freeing up funds to sign DE Regan Upshaw? Snyder cannily gave him a $2 million bonus, when the Raiders didn't even want Upshaw back. That bonus works out to $1 million per sack Upshaw recorded in 2002.


Rare redeeming quality of Persons: Snyder's is the only NFL team with African Americans at both the offensive and defensive coordinator posts.


Kiss of death: Lord Voldemort said on the 2001 day he hired Spurrier, "I'm fully committed to him, no matter what. He is the head coach for five years at a minimum. I'm going to stand by him through hard times. I will stand by Coach Spurrier for however long it takes."

Next Week: Still America's only all-haiku NFL season forecast.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:02 PM

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August 25, 2003

us open championships, day 1

POST #    321

in what seems like a yearly tradition since 2000, i went to day one of the us open. this year, however, i went with mark and not amy. it was a beautiful day for tennis, the sun was out, it was in the mid 80's, and the humidity was low. mark and i would curse the sun later, but it seemed like it was our friend earlier in the day.


the only way to travel, the redbird to flushing. has the commercialization of the city begun?


foreground - naked statue of arthur ashe, background - 1964 world's fair unisphere.

i guess if you want to see more photos, you can go to the us open's site and if you want more results, you can check out their site again.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:23 PM

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August 24, 2003

how do they do it?

POST #    320

this afternoon, i played a little softball in central park and now i am disturbingly sore. a couple of muscles in my legs and my right arm, resulting in pain when i lift my arm. why disturbing? because the hardest running i did was in the outfield chasing a ball that went over the heads of the rightfielder. and the arm soreness came from only 3 hard throws.

all this makes me wonder how the kids in the little league world series (watching as i type) can play so many games in such a short time (hmm, harold reynolds just mentioned that at 12, they bounce back quicker from soreness), while i'm here at the age of 25 and sore only a few hours after playing. and major leaguers? they play even more. craziness. i guess at 12 though, i didn't get sore from little baseball either.

just great, brent musberger just said he liked michigan this year in college football. what next? lee corso picking michigan? not good, not good at all.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:03 PM

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August 22, 2003

great expectations

POST #    316


sugar? i like sugar.

okay, as if there wasn't enough pressure on john navarre, now there seems to be even more. last week, in the associated press poll, michigan was ranked 4th (they are ranked 7th in the usa today/espn poll). of course pre-season polls mean nothing, which is what lloyd carr is telling his players right now, but do predictions mean anything? 5 out of 9 espn "experts" picked michigan to win the big 10. two of them also picked michigan to go to the sugar bowl.

ivan maisel didn't pick michigan to go to new orleans, but he did pick them to go to the rose bowl, which would also be fine by me.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 4:47 PM

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August 20, 2003

'62 mets vs. '03 tigers

POST #    310

as if reading my mind, espn has simulated a 7 game series (i would say "world series," but can a competition to see who has the worst record really be called that?) between the 1962 expansion mets and the 2003 double A looking tigers. as a preface, read my previous post about the fiasco in detroit.

in jayson stark's article, rod kanehl, a member of the '62 mets, notes that his team "didn't have any farm system. We didn't have 100 years of background. And we didn't have any pitching. The only people we had were people other teams didn't want." i think that's a pretty sad indictment on this year's tigers.

see the results of the series here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:42 PM

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August 19, 2003

AFC preview: not blacked out

POST #    490

AFC preview: not blacked out
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

Who caused the Blackout of 2003? Tuesday Morning Quarterback doesn't know, but suggests this: Regardless, blame Canada.


It's about time Canada became America's universal scapegoat, as the United States is already and has been for decades the scapegoat for anything Canada doesn't like.


Canada is a threat to all we hold dear. Consider that millions of Americans cannot subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket -- the product TMQ desires more than anything in life -- because they cannot or do not get the satellite signal of the Rupert Murdoch-owned DirecTV, which holds a monopoly over Sunday Ticket. Yet in Canada, anyone may subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket over cable. That's right, Canadians have much better access to the viewing of NFL games than Americans do.

We apologize for making Rupert your first photo in this week's TMQ.


Plus in Canada, marijuana is close to legal. Same-gender marriage is recognized. So all these gay married Canadians are sitting around smoking pot and watching NFL Sunday Ticket -- enjoying total access to games made possible by the tax dollars of Americans! -- while in the United States, you can only drink beer, marry someone of the opposite sex and watch whatever awful woofer game your local network affiliate has chosen for you.


How long are Americans going to stand for this? If I were you, Canada, I'd drop the smug routine. The Army has to come home from Iraq someday, and it's going to be looking for something to do.


Plus, here is the news that absolutely made TMQ's week. During the blackout, there was looting in Toronto and Ottawa, while in New York City and Detroit, civic order was maintained. New Yorkers and Detroiters patiently abided by the law while Canadians engaged in pillaging! Time for our neighbor to the north to take a look in the mirror, it would seem.


Debate continues to swirl regarding what actually triggered the mysterious backward movement of electricity in those Ohio power lines where the blackout cascade seems to have originated. TMQ knows: Circuits were overloaded by a shower of muon neutrinos from the drive system of the starcruiser that, last Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern, departed Earth to return "Kurt Warner" to his homeworld. Reports from the Rams camp are that Warner looks human again. Maybe, finally, he actually is a human.


(Technical note: A spaceship lifting off from the Rams' camp at Western Illinois University would pass over Ohio, since all spacecraft launch eastward to take advantage of momentum from Earth's west-to-east rotation. View photos of the Cathy E. Early Women's Locker Room Suite at Western Illinois here. This is a locker room? It looks nicer than my house!)

Now for the Tuesday Morning Quarterback AFC preview.

Since Boller went to Cal, he can probably do the math: nine QBs in five years is not a good ratio.


Baltimore Ravens: Assuming Kyle Boller buckles his chinstrap this year, the Ravens will debut their ninth starting quarterback - Scott Mitchell, Stoney Case, Tony Banks, Trent Dilfer, Elvis Grbac, Randall Cunningham, Chris Redman, Jeff Blake and now Boller - in the five years of Brian Billick. Billick is supposed to be a Guru Genius with quarterbacks: How come he can't keep one on the field? And the sole quarterback who was a success in purple and black - Dilfer, now what did he do, oh yeah, won the Super Bowl - Billick immediately showed the door.


Bonus Billick defect: With Tom Coughlin now hawking Medigap policies or whatever he's doing, the foul-mouthed, insult-spewing Billick takes over the crown of league's worst-sport coach.


While attention has focused on the team's endless offensive disarray, Baltimore's storied Super Bowl defense has quietly declined to below-average: 22nd-ranked last year. The injury to Ray Lewis was a factor, but defensive play dropped off uniformly after coordinator Marvin Lewis departed. Free agency, injuries and retirements have taken their toll as well. The Ravens have just three defensive starters remaining from the unit that won the Super Bowl such a short time ago. Fans may still think of the Baltimore defense as dominant, but most of the gentlemen who made it so aren't there anymore.


Where will you find No. 1 choice Terrell Suggs this year? Getting suckered by the "under" draw play. In what seems to TMQ a terrible move, the Ravens gave Suggs a contract heavy with incentives based on sack totals. This insures he will go all-out for sacks - that is, for personal glory - while ignoring the run. Watch for draw after draw underneath this glory-boy as he charges up the field and out of the picture.


Baltimore fun fact: Last week, the Baltimore Sun ran its first-ever same-sex ceremony notice, for a lesbian nuptials. But the announcement did not appear in the weddings section of the paper - rather, it was buried amid lost-pet classified ads. Why? "We're just not ready to talk about that right now," said John F. Patinella, The Sun's general manager. This is what the Sun's general manager told a Sun reporter covering his own paper's decision!

Who says the CFL plays an inferior game of football?


Canadian Cheerleader of the Week: Real NFL games are still a few weeks away, but the CFL is already deep into its season. Surely it's too cold up in Canada for cheer-babes in revealing outfits. But no! The Edmonton Eskimos (whom TMQ, if he tracked the CFL, would call the Edmonton Inuits) boast a squad of impressive aesthetic appeal. A reader notes in haiku,


TMQ, did you
know? CFL's Eskimos:
have hot cheerbabes too.
-- Louis B., Edmonton


So in the interest of Canadio-American friendship, the TMQ ESPN Cheerleader of the Week is Roison of the Edmonton Eskimos. Roison has attended the National Ballet School in Toronto, where "the dancers are impeccably trained," according to the Toronto Globe & Mail. Now she's pursuing a degree in political science, and hopes to attend law school. Roison, please sue me!


The Edmonton Inuits pep unit also has cheer-hunks, and in the cross-border beefcake, here's Sean, a college student from Edmonton who hopes to become an actor. Overall, on the Inuits' cheerleading squad the women show significantly more skin than the men. This may be unfair to female and nontraditional male fans, but is fine with TMQ.

MORE STUFF ABOUT THE NFL

Don't miss ESPN.com's NFL preview, which rolls out on Monday with all the info you need from Len Pasquarelli, John Clayton and ESPN's host of NFL experts.


In the meantime, check out all the coverage from NFL training camps.


Buffalo Bills: For three seasons, the football gods have been punishing the Buffalo Bills: first for waiving Bruce Smith, a unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer and best player in franchise annals, then for abandoning their handsome uniforms for cover-your-eyes duds a high-school kid would be embarrassed to wear. Not only did Buffalo toss out a good-looking uniform and bring in an ugly one, the Bills abandoned the colors of the American flag - not to put too fine a point on it, the single most successful color scheme in world history - for a look based on a color that appears to be Nineteenth Century Rusting Russian Dreadnaught Aft Bulkhead Cyanic.


Oh, the football gods gnashed their teeth when they beheld the hideousness of the new Bills uniforms. Verily, the punishment might continue even unto the seventh quarterback of the seventh head coach.


Buffalo's defense, underachieving since Smith was tossed out like the wrapper on a Snapple, came together in the second half last season. In the first half, the defense was 30th-ranked; by the end of the season, the defense had risen to 15th-ranked, which means it was one of the league's top units in the 2002 second half. Important free agents have been added, while no one was lost. This augurs well.


Yet offense, No. 1 in the first half of the 2002 season, finished 11th, which means it went out stumbling. During last year's first eight games, Drew Bledsoe threw 16 touchdown passes and only five interceptions, as the team averaged 30 points; during the second eight games, Bledsoe declined to eight touchdown passes vs. 10 interceptions, as the team averaged 17 points. Pundits (including TMQ) blamed this on pass-wacky play calling, but predictability was as much an issue.


Last year Bledsoe and his receivers started off hot by endlessly working the same few routes - intermediate outs and deep fades. By midseason, defenses were stacking against these routes, which meant other areas of the field had to be open. But Bills offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, archbishop in the Church of Pass-Wacky, never adjusted. Endlessly in the second half of the season, Buffalo receivers ran deep fades and intermediate outs: no crossing patterns, posts or tight-end routes for variation. When asked late last season why his offense was bogging down, Gilbride would testily snap that his plays were No. 1 in yardage earlier in the season and he wasn't about to change them now. That is a formula for wheeze-out.

Bengals president Mike Brown is aiming for worst executive in the history of sports.


Cincinnati Bengals: When Mike Brown's father died in 1991 and left him the Bengals, Brown inherited a perennial contender that had recently been within 20 seconds of winning the Super Bowl. Since the moment Mike Brown took over, the Bengals have become the laughingstock of professional sports. They're 55-137 under Mike: .286, worst record of any major sports franchise, worse even than the Los Angeles Clippers through the period. They change quarterbacks annually: Carson Palmer will be the sixth opening-day starter in as many years. They blow high draft choices annually: David Klingler, Dan Wilkinson, Peter Warrick, Akili Smith all lottery picks, all nonentities. (Ki-Jana Carter, often added to this list, was an injury casualty, a separate category.) The Bengals under Mike Brown are so pathetic they place clauses in contracts forbidding Cincinnati players from criticizing team management. And, of course, last year they had the worst record in the NFL.


Could this possibly have anything to do with the fact that the team's president is Mike Brown, its senior vice president is Pete Brown (Mike's brother), its executive vice president is Katie Blackburn (Mike's daughter), its vice president is Paul Brown (Mike's son) and its director of business development is Troy Blackburn (Katie's husband)? Imagine being Eric Brown, manager of Paul Brown Stadium, where the team plays. Eric Brown is actually not related to Mike Brown, the only one in this carnival of nepotism and incompetence who can say that. And note that, while the team constantly founders, the stadium is a fine, well-run venue!


Now Marvin Lewis takes the reigns, and brings with him high expectations: His Baltimore defense was fabulous, and his one-year stint at the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons upped that squad's defense from languid to fifth-ranked. Nobody's ever brought better credentials to his first head-coaching job than Lewis. But does Lewis have his brother, his son, his daughter and his daughter's husband on the payroll? He'll never fit in with the Mike Brown family, which is comfortable only with incompetence. TMQ expects Lewis to do well at his next head-coaching job, however.


Cleveland Browns Release 2.1: First there were the Browns of yore, and then no Browns, and then the Browns (Release 2.0). Now, having returned to the postseason, TMQ will dub them the Browns (Release 2.1).


The Browns (Release 2.1) have a quarterback controversy, with many asserting that since Tim Couch will make $6.2 million this season and Kelly Holcomb $825,000, team management must privately plan to hand the job back to Couch. But the Browns will be out the $6.2 million whether Couch is on the field or molders on the bench playing Donkey-Kong on his cell phone. All that matters is who makes the team likely to win, and Holcomb appears to be that gentlemen. Also, though some touts will blast the Browns for blowing the draft's first pick if Couch fades, by the same token, the Browns deserve credit for finding a gem unknown in Holcomb. All that matters is who makes the team likely to win.


Browns quandary: Two seasons ago, there was the weird "time travel" game where officials went backward on the clock to reverse a prior play, costing the Browns a last-second defeat at home; and one season ago was the weird Dwayne Rudd helmet hurl that cost the Browns a last-second defeat at home. What bizarre thing will happen in the stadium this year? Maybe the lights will fail just as a game-winning pass is sailing toward a Browns player's hands.


Denver Broncos: What is it lately with Denver and defensive linemen? Two years ago they hugely overpaid for run-of-the-mill free-agent DE Kavika Pittman, who has since departed. Last offseason, they gave a $3 million bonus to free-agent DT Lionel Dalton, who didn't even start for his own previous team, and now are offering him around as trade bait; the Broncos will take a $2.8 million cap penalty on the day Dalton departs. Denver reeled in and then tossed back into the lake the fading Chester McGlockton. Four years ago, they threw a second-round pick out the window on low-rated who-dat DT Montae Reagor, who has since departed. Two years ago, they threw a second-round pick out the window on low-rated who-dat DE Paul Toviessi, who is already OOF -- out of football. And now they drag in Daryl Gardener, giving him $5 million. How long until that money turns into a cap penalty that must be written off?


Here's a reason Miami let Gardener go, and it rhymes with quirk. There's a reason the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons let this guy go, too. When Gardener was released by the Marine Mammals, he immediately took to the papers to rip his former teammates. Gardener then visited the Houston Texans for a tryout, and upon meeting his prospective new coaches, complained bitterly that the team had only sent a car service, not a limo, to pick him up at the airport. The Texans said "no thanks" in record time. Arriving at the Persons' camp, Gardener declared, on his first day, "They love me up here." He wore out his welcome in just one season. And now he's in Denver where he will do the same.


TMQ thinks the Broncos have average talent, but playing in the depleted oxygen of Please Don't Buy From Invesco Field essentially gives them an automatic one-game lead in the standings. Denver has the best home record in the AFC in the last decade, and though John Elway might have been a factor in that, the air was the key. Also, the football gods seem to favor the Broncos because of their high-aesthetic-appeal, outdoorsy-babe cheerleaders.

For some reason, TMQ thinks the Broncos should be making more MNF appearances this season.


Why do Denver cheer-babes seems so healthful and appealing? Possibly, radiation. Owing to altitude, Denver is exposed to a higher natural "background radiation" than other U.S. cities; high altitude means more zap in cosmic rays arriving from space. And although big doses of radiation are obviously dangerous, very low doses appear beneficial, for reasons that are not understood. Denver residents live longer than Americans as a whole, despite being exposed to higher background radiation; could it be that a constant low dose of radiation actually is good for Colorado residents?


Check out Colorado native and Broncs cheerleader Renee Herlocker; cosmic rays have certainly had a beneficial effect on her. A college student, Herlocker says the two people she would most like to have dinner with are the Dalai Lama and Madonna. Let's hope not together!


TMQ Insider Exclusive! Daryl Gardener is currently recuperating from a wrist injury sustained in a brawl at an International House of Pancakes in Colorado. You want to watch your step in those cowboy pancake joints. The boys get a little maple syrup in them, and hell breaks loose.


Tuesday Morning Quarterback has learned on an exclusive basis that at the IHOP, Gardener ordered two steak-and-cheese Super Stackers with extra mushrooms, a side salad and a cookies-and-cream shake. He left a $5 tip on a $20.64 bill, sat at a four-top in the northeast corner of the restaurant reading the Denver Post, and asked the waitress twice for water. Remember, this is a Tuesday Morning Quarterback exclusive. No other sports website has this information!


Houston Texans: David Carr was sacked a record 76 times last year, almost five sacks per game. The run blocking was cover-your-eyes, too: Houston was second-to-last in yards gained rushing, last in average per rush. So what did the Texans do in the offseason? Brought in one second-tier offensive line free agent and waited till the third round in the draft to take an OL. Ye gods.


According to ESPN's John Clayton, Carr has manfully declared, "I told the guys on the offensive line if I can put my foot on the ground and step up, that's all I need." Wait -- Carr thinks the blocking is so bad he can't even step up? That takes about one second in the shotgun. Carr apparently is reduced to pleading with his blockers not to let the pass rush beat the snap into the backfield. Ye gods.


Houston -- call us back when you get an offensive line.


TMQ Would Like to Inspect Those Tongues Personally Decide for yourself if you believe the actresses in the movie "Thirteen," which opens tomorrow, are actually 14 years old, as the production company claims. True, in today's Hollywood, the majority of 25-year-old performers make their livings pretending to be teens, so having 14-year-olds play 13-year-olds is verisimilitude by comparison. But the "14-year-olds" of Thirteen look awfully like 17- or maybe 22-year-olds. And if you believe for one single instant the production company's claim that an actual 13-year-old wrote the movie's script, then TMQ has some Enron stock he'd like to sell you.

These two don't appear to be from the Mary-Kate and Ashley school of personal expression.


TMQ asks that you look closely at the movie's main publicity photo, which shows two gorgeous "13-year-old" girls sticking out their alluring pierced tongues. At first glance, this picture is erotic and provocative; at second glance, phony. Examine closely the "13-year-old" on the left. Not only does her tongue cast no shadow, the front is disproportionately larger than the back (actual human tongues taper toward the front) while the back seems to have been cut-and-pasted directly onto the girl's incisors.


So it's a highly realistic movie about being thirteen, starring girls who aren't 13 and who have digitally-superimposed tongues.


Think tank note: "Thirteen" is being hyped by the New America Foundation , a rising Washington, D.C., think tank devoted to advancing "new voices and new ideas to the fore of our nation's public discourse." The foundation hosted a special preview of "Thirteen" for Washington journalists, and foretold that the movie will "trigger much public policy discussion about the state of real families today." Real families whose daughters are actresses with digital tongues?


Indianapolis Lucky Charms: Jim Mora was given a ride to the airport because he couldn't win in January, and now Tony Dungy has lost with the Colts in the playoffs, too. Dungy is eerily like Mora - successful in the regular season (Dungy .571 regular season, Mora .541), a washout in the postseason (Mora 0-6, Dungy 2-5). And the Colts didn't just lose their playoff game last January with Jersey/B, they stunk. No effort, no enthusiasm, no game plan, a final of 41-0 -- and no emotion from Dungy on the sideline.


TMQ thought the Colts' lay-down in that game was the worst NFL performance all year; Cincinnati tried harder down the stretch than Indianapolis did in the playoffs. Dungy barely seemed awake on the sidelines during that non-game, to say nothing of not blowing his stack, as he should have. Dungy's a great guy, and his arrival in towel-land amped up a bottom-quartile defense to eighth overall. But, Tony, how can you stand by listlessly as your extremely overpaid team lays down?


Bad sign: This offseason, the Colts gave $2.5 million upfront to acquire the legendary Montae Reagor, one of the countless Denver bust defensive linemen. Reagor has one career start in four seasons. One start in four years despite playing on a weak line. Yumpin yiminy.


In My Crystal Ball I See -- Wait -- I See No. 22 Having a Bad Season and Ending Up With Much Less Money: You can follow the Duce Staley saga at the back's own website, http://ducestaley.com. Instead of just admitting he is engaged in a ploy for a raise, Staley asserts that he is boycotting camp because he is "just interested to know how I fit into the team's plans;" and yet, shockingly, "not one person in the Eagles front office has given me any idea of what the future holds for me as a player." What the future holds? Duce, you can hire your own fortune teller. As for being informed of the team's plans:


The phone rings.

Word has it Duce is quitting football to become a NASA engineer.


DUCE. Hello.


ANDY REID. This is Andy Reid, head coach/executive vice president of football operations. (Note: his actual title.)


DUCE. Hi.


REID. I just wanted to let you know we are planning to use you at running back. That's where you fit into our plans.


DUCE. Oh! Well, that clears it up. Why didn't you say so in the first place?


When a player or draft choice is unsigned, it's up to him to decide how to handle the business-end question of whether to report. But Staley has a contract. No one put a gun to his head to make him sign it. Both by law and word of honor, the contract commits Staley to report to the Eagles and do his job. Time to keep your word, Duce.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Three seasons have now passed since the most disastrous event in Jax franchise history, the Jags' 62-7 victory over Miami in the divisional round of the 2000 playoffs.


Up until the moment of that disastrous 62-7 win, Jax had been everyone's plucky sentimental favorite. Barely removed from expansion status, the Jaguars had gone 38-14 in the three years to that point, including two playoff wins, and seemed poise for the Super Bowl. But after the disastrous 62-7 victory, Jacksonville players bragged, bragged, bragged about how they were No. 1. The football gods dictate that in the NFL, only one team per season can boast and brag, and such strutting cannot begin until the end zone clock shows double-zeros at the Super Bowl. After the disastrous 62-7 victory, insult-spewing coach Tom Coughlin, the league's worst sport, snapped and snarled and acted like a vain, arrogant fool. If only it had been a 16-13 win rather than a disastrous 62-7 victory!


Verily, the football gods exacted vengeance on Jacksonville for its rodomontade. The following week, Jax lost the AFC Championship Game at home to the Titans, fumbling repeatedly. Since the moment of the disastrous 62-7 victory, the franchise has gone 19-29 with no postseason appearances. Oh ye mortals, trifle not with the football gods.


But three years of punishment might be enough. Jax had a stout defense in 2002, and many near-misses, losing five games by a field goal or less. Jacksonville has offloaded the insult-spewing Coughlin for Jack Del Rio, whom TMQ has a good feeling about. It's added Byron Leftwich, whom TMQ has a good feeling about. A more modest, less boastful Jacksonville could be a force this season.


Danger sign, since we're on bad DL deals: Jax gave Hugh Douglas $6 million up front to come south from Philly, and Del Rio says Douglas has been "very average" so far. This is a good sign for Del Rio's coaching instinct -- he is calling out a high-paid player, as he should. But Douglas was very average throughout 2002; and if he was on the field for the Eagles during the NFC Championship Game against Tampa Bay, TMQ certainly did not notice. Douglas is over the hill, and now that he has his six million, where is his incentive to put out?


Harvard Should Give Him His Money Back: Last night's MNF warm-up included a charming United Way commercial (watch it here) in which Vikings center Matt Birk, a Harvard graduate, amazes a little boy with knowledge. Standing at a blackboard, Birk explains that the nucleus of an atom is composed of positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons, and that "this dynamic is called the electromagnetic force." The voice-over then boasts of Birk, "He's from Harvard."

TMQ's reaction: "aaaiiiiiiiiyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Birk has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Apparently, neither does anyone at the United Way. Electromagnetism is the force that mediates radiation and waves: radio, electricity, light and other energies propagate via electromagnetism. Because "electromagnetism acts between all particles possessed of electric charge" -- see basic definitions of physical forces at the University of Hertfordshire physics page -- electromagnetism has no effect on neutrons, which carry no charge. Further, electromagnetism doesn't govern the nucleus of the atom. That is done by the strong force, which holds nuclei together by overcoming the tendency of positively charged protons to repel each other.

Memo to Matt Birk: if you're going to go on national television to brag about being from Harvard, don't sound like an illiterate, OK? Mumbling fancy-sounding gibberish does not make one educated.

Memo to United Way: we know you've had all kinds of financial scandals, but set a little cash aside for a fact-checker, OK?

Memo to ABC, which ran the ad: no one at the network knew enough elementary physics to catch this science illiteracy?


We predict that if Priest Holmes isn't 100 percent Dick Vermeil will be shedding plenty of tears.


Kansas City Chiefs: Last year, Kansas City tied Jax for the league-low in turnovers -- 15, less than one per game -- yet neither team made the playoffs. In Jacksonville's case, this was because the football gods intervened to exact more punishment on the team for rodomontade. In Kansas City's case, having the NFL's worst defense pretty much explains it.


The Chiefs didn't do much to change that in the offseason. The plan still seems to be to score lots of points, allow lots of points and win the game with a last-second free throw. Being fifth in offense and last in defense, Kansas City was the mirror image of Carolina, which was second in defense, 31st in offense. Neither formula spelled postseason.


With public crying in vogue for men, TMQ considers it only a matter of time until Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil cries at a postgame press conference, if not on the sideline after a bad call. Vermeil cried at the Rams' press conference to announce he was "retiring" from coaching, then cried again at the Chiefs' press conference to announce his inevitable "surprise" comeback. All those tears seem to have worked; Kansas City gave him $3.3 million per year. Maybe every coach should cry at press conferences.


But It's a Reality Show. And the Reality Is, Big Corporations Lie: Last year, a West Virginia man supposedly won "$315 million" in Powerball; but as TMQ noted, the actual prize was $170 million -- heady enough. The ersatz larger figure was arrived at by expressing the $170 million as a long-term annuity. Any amount can appear to be roughly doubled by expressing it as a long-term annuity; all that matters is the "present value" of money. TMQ found it annoying that news reports all hyped the total as "$315 million" when it was really $170 million.

This is Erin. In case you were wondering.


Now it turns out that Erin Brodie, the hot-chick software developer who supposedly just turned down $1 million on the reality show "For Love or Money," actually turned down $465,000. NBC was projecting out its prize as an annuity making small payments for 40 years; if she'd taken the money up front, Brodie would have received the smaller figure. Now Brodie is supposedly playing for "$2 million" on the show's sequel, but that's an annuity projection. The real figure she's now playing for -- the present value of the money -- is less than half of the figure NBC is claiming. In this year of Jayson Blair and the phony British government Iraq report, wouldn't it be a nice gesture if NBC told the truth about this?


Miami Marine Mammals: Last year seemed like the year the Dolphins finally cured their generation-long fault, lack of a running game, as Ricky Williams led the NFL in rushing. And it was classic power running, the kind that saves the bacon in big games, especially late in the season in cold weather.


So what did Miami's 2002 run come down to? Ahead by three in New England in the final game of the season, a victory puts them into the postseason and a loss tosses them out, Miami takes over at its own four with 2:46 remaining. On the road, cold weather, own 4-yard line, almost to the two-minute warning, the Marine Mammals are going to grind the clock, right? Incompletion, incompletion, incompletion. The Patriots get the ball back with plenty of time for the field goal that forces overtime; the Patriots win in overtime, and Miami steals off into the desert for the season. Ye gods. Had the Dolphins simply handed the ball to Williams on that drive, even if he'd been stuffed three times for no gain, the clock would have kept moving and Miami might have prevailed. Instead three incompletions, three clock stops. Miami took just 24 seconds off before kicking the ball back to New England. Ye, ye gods.


Fun fact: Opposing teams missed only two field-goal attempts against the Dolphins last season, going 28-for-30. Miami's consecutive season-ending losses, which denied the team the playoffs, both came on last-second field goals. The football gods were punishing the Marine Mammals for their midseason decision to bring in the me-first whiner Cris Carter, who contributed nothing -- eight receptions -- while spreading the me-first whining virus into the previously team-spirited Dolphins' locker room.


Warning! Serious Comment! In the hours after the blackout, Toronto's mayor Mel Lastman declared that the problem must have started in America but, "Have you ever seen the United States take blame for anything?" Mel, we've taken the blame for more awful errors than anyone can count -- the bomb that hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and the destruction of the Iranian Airbus among many others. Just a few months ago, in a case that every Canadian except, apparently, the mayor of Toronto knows, America took the blame for the four noble Canadian soldiers whom United States forces killed with friendly fire in Afghanistan. America accepts lots of blame because we are out defending the free world: and equally important, defending the notion of freedom. Year after year, liberal democracy spreads and tyranny continues its retreat, because year after year the United States surrenders blood and treasure in this vital fight. Canada sleeps well, with very small defense expenditures and thus more money to spend on itself, because the United States stands guard.


Canada's recent track record at taking the blame? In 1993, a Canadian commando unit in Somalia tortured a civilian to death. The Canadian military and the Ottawa federal government denied responsibility, then engaged in a three-year cover-up. Here is a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation summary of the cover-up and investigation, plus CBC's lament that "The government's decision to cut the inquiry short left many questions unanswered." So people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, eh? Regardless of whether the power is on in the glass house.


Some fine Canadians do believe in Canadio-American friendship it. Here's their web site. Among other things, it reports on a huge pro-American rally staged in Toronto in April. Toronto's mayor appears not to have attended.

Tom Brady threw for 3,764 yards and 28 TDs last season. Wait, that's a totally straight sports caption. What's it doing in TMQ?


New England Patriots: A mere season and a half ago, the Patriots shut down the league's No. 1 rush offense (Pittsburgh) one week and the No. 1 pass offense (St. Louis) the following week to win the Super Bowl. Last season, New England slipped to the bottom third on defense, and at times seemed uninspired, especially when surrendering 30 points to the low-voltage offense of the Bears. Possibly, the team's return to the 3-4 alignment it used in its Super Bowl year, supplanting the 4-3 of last season, will help.


The Patriots went into the 2003 draft with two first-rounders plus several extra middle-round picks, and seemed likely to invest this surplus in top defensive talent. Instead, on draft day New England executed a series of deals that essentially banked first- and second-round selections until 2004. True, the draft class is expected to be stronger in 2004 than it was in 2003, but so shortly removed from a Super Bowl win, shouldn't New England have spent everything trying to stockpile talent now and make a second run?


Hmm -- the New England entry is a totally straight sports item. What's it doing in TMQ?


Jersey/B: Last year, the Jets were the league's best slow team, superseding the best slow team of 2001, Chicago, and the best slow team of 2000, Jersey/A. With those high-top black shoes and Eisenhower-era uniforms, at times it looked like Jets players were churning their feet through excelsior as they tried to run. But somehow it added up to a playoff appearance, courtesy of the Jets' magnificent season-ending thrashing of Green Bay. Jersey/B's performance against the Packers was the best pure-effort game TMQ saw last year, other than City of Tampa's Super Bowl win.


Chad Pennington, in his first year as a starter, quietly was the league's highest-rated quarterback -- the only one to finish above 100. Pennington's first-year stats included 22 touchdown passes vs. just six interceptions. Wow.


Will Jersey/B be undone by offseason losses? Owing to personnel depletion the offensive line looks thin, while it's hard to believe the Jets are better off with green rookies Dewayne Robertson and Derek Pagel than with Pro Bowl-quality veterans Laveranues Coles and Chad Morton, plus a first-round draft pick -- which is essentially the choice Jersey/B made in all of its bungled dealings with "Washington." Derek Pagel, whom the Jets took in the fifth round with the pick they obtained for Morton, better have a big year, because Morton certainly just had one. Last season Jersey/B enjoyed the best average drive start in the league, the 32-yard-line, owing largely to Morton's explosive kickoff returns. Now, instead of Morton, the Jersey/B dresses Derek Pagel. Ay caramba.


Fun fact: When the Jets traveled to Oakland last January for the playoffs, it was the team's fourth appearance at Not Bankrupt Yet Coliseum in just 53 weeks; Jersey/B played at Oakland in the 2001 and 2002 regular seasons, and was sent there both for the 2002 and 2003 playoffs. Where do the Jets play this Nov. 9? At Oakland. That will be the fifth Jersey/B trip to Not Bankrupt Yet in less than two years. The Raiders, for their part, have not had to play at the Jets since 1997.


SI Jinx Spreads to Kids' Edition: Michael Vick got injured immediately after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids.


Note to accountant: This mention just made my son's subscription tax-deductible.


Oakland Long Johns: Sometimes a team will have a wonderful season, reach the big event with legitimate high hopes, and afterward fans end up saying, "Super Bowl? Sorry, I'm not familiar with any Super Bowl. That some kind of college game?" The Bills of 1991 come to mind, as do the Broncos of 1987 and the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons of 1983. Now the Raiders of 2002 join this group, whose collective motto might be: What Just Hit Us?


Everything went wrong for Oakland. The offensive line, best in the league in 2002 -- the Raiders' passing attack was premised on plenty of time for Rich Gannon to wait while those annoying Oakland "rub" routes developed -- was horrifying. Barret Robbins going Section Eight (military personnel will know what that means) was one factor, but everybody on the Raiders' front played his worst game of the year; worst of them all was Lincoln Kennedy, who had just been named TMQ NFL Non-QB/Non-RB MVP.


Gannon, in turn, didn't take the pressure well. During 16 regular-season contests, he threw 10 interceptions (one per 62 attempts); in the Super Bowl he threw five interceptions (one per nine attempts). Afterward, Gannon said he forgot to look to see where the safeties were before the snap, which is rather like a pilot saying he forgot to lower the landing gear. The farther one advances in the postseason, the better defensive game-plans become - and quarterbacks who don't look at the defensive set, just assuming everything will work as usual, pay the price. In the 1992 Super Bowl, Jim Kelly threw four interceptions. "Washington" defenders were moving around in an usual way just before the snap, and Kelly didn't look.


The coaching letdown was as bad as the players' letdown. Though Oakland was playing its prior-year leader in Jon "I Was a Teenaged Coach" Gruden, incredibly the Raiders did not change their audible codes for the game: Tampa defenders were calling out many plays before they started. (Oakland did change its audibles by the second quarter.) At the start of the second half, Raiders coach Bill Callahan made one of the worst buck-buck-brawckkkkkkk calls ever. Trailing 20-3, Oakland faced fourth-and-2 on its 35; Callahan sent in the punting unit. Why are you punting? Trailing big, Oakland's league-leading offense has got to be able to gain two yards with the season on the line. Instead the Raiders punted, Tampa drove for a touchdown and the game became a yawner. TMQ foresees a dark season for Oakland; the football gods will not smile upon a team that punts on fourth-and-2 with the Super Bowl in the balance.


Legal note: Al Davis, whose hobby is to attempt to destroy professional football through litigation, is already suing the league and Los Angeles, and now he's even suing his own city, Oakland. It's only a matter of time till Al Davis sues the Raiders. Meanwhile with the Bears having the first-ever NFL corporate sponsor, TMQ suggests that the Raiders be sponsored by the American Trial Lawyers Association.

One last time: Crop circles are not made by aliens.


Mysteriously, the Aliens Left Simulated Human Footprints: Four teenaged boys confessed to making crop circles on a farm near Travis Air Force Base in California in July. When the circles appeared, one "Nancy Talbott, of BLT Research Team (which is) based out of Cambridge, Mass., and has hundreds of people worldwide who investigate crop circle sites for authenticity" told the Fairfield, California Daily Republic that the mysterious shape of the main circle "strongly indicates it's not man made." Strictly speaking, the hard-hitting Nancy Talbott might be right; the circles were boy-made.


Last year, TMQ noted that supposedly eerie crop circles, which supposedly cannot be caused by any known technology, are easily made by teenagers using common tools and instructions provided by this website. What TMQ loved about the crop circles near the Air Force base (read the Travis Air Force Base privacy policy here) is that they were connected by mysterious crop pathways about the size of two teenagers walking abreast. Advanced aliens in hovering spaceships are making crop circles, yet they mysteriously have to clear a footpath from one circle to the next. Mysterious!


Check here for the home of BLT Research, whose "primary goal is the discovery and scientific documentation of physical changes induced in plants, soils and other materials at crop circle sites by the energy (or energy system) responsible for creating them." Read a hard-hitting Nancy Talbott "eyewitness account of crop circles being formed." She reports joining forces with "Dr. William Roll, whose work with recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis (RSPK) phenomena had led him to question whether there might be a human consciousness element involved in the crop circle process."


They traveled to a Netherlands farm where, it was claimed, "flash photos at night inside crop circles, when developed, show single or multiple strange semi-opaque orbs and other light phenomena not usually visible to the naked eye." At 3:15 a.m., from her bed Nancy observes "a brilliant, intense white column, or tube, of light -- about 8 inches to 1 foot in diameter from my vantage point -- flashed down from the sky to the ground, illuminating my bedroom and the sky as brilliantly as if from helicopter searchlights." Mysteriously she got no pictures -- what on the website appears to be a picture of the alien light tube is labeled "computer simulation" in tiny letters -- but a companion "reported that he had heard the dog next door barking furiously just prior to the appearance of the light-tubes." Barking: That's pretty mysterious. The following evening, Nancy inspected the field, and sure enough some of the crops were slightly yellowed, just as if they'd been in summer sun! Or, perhaps, impacted by "energy-forms or life-forms currently unknown to us."


Pittsburgh Steelers:The Steelers gave corners Chad Scott and Dewayne Washington fat contracts before the 2002 season, and these gentlemen celebrated by taking the season off. Pittsburgh's pass defense was shaky all year, and vanished during the team's home playoff game, as Kelly Holcomb threw for 426 yards at Ketchup Field. But the karma-enhanced effect of finally getting Kordell Stewart out from under center enabled Pittsburgh to have a good season; and with Stewart finally a time zone away, the Steelers should be strong again.


At this point, TMQ will give up saying that Stewart could have been a great wide receiver instead of a crummy quarterback. From Stewart's standpoint, he made a ton of money and got to play quarterback in the NFL; he has nothing to apologize for, except those two home AFC Championship opportunities he honked. But probably Stewart had nothing to do with the dam breaking on African-Americans playing quarterback in the league. That was inevitable anyway -- and if anything, Stewart's struggles were a minus in the cause.


San Diego Chargers: Recently, the football gods have not been kind to teams that send a fading great player into exile. The Bills were punished for two years for cutting Bruce Smith; the Niners won the year after waiving Jerry Rice, but internal dissent began, the coach ultimately fired; verily, in Dallas this year there will be rending of garments and gnashing of teeth as the Cowboys are punished for waiving Emmitt Smith. What could Bolts management have been thinking by discarding Junior Seau?


Like the Bills, Niners and Cowboys in similar situations, San Diego seemed actively anxious to get rid of its most accomplished player. Sure, Seau is reaching the end of the line, just as Rice and both Smiths were in the similar situations; none of them when waived was playing near his peak. But are San Diego fans going to be psyched about watching Zeke Moreno, Seau's replacement? A Hall of Fame athlete in twilight is more interesting and entertaining than a who-dat in his prime, and the NFL is, fundamentally, a form of entertainment. San Diego just discarded its most entertaining performer. Woe unto the Bolts!


Last year the San Diego pass defense was among the league's worst. Now the Bolts have two No. 1 picks, a second-round pick and two third-rounders, all recent, at that position. If there's any relationship at all between drafting and NFL success, the San Diego pass defense must improve.


In our era of garish cover-your-eyes bad uniforms, the Chargers continue to sit on the sharpest-looking uni of all time, their 1960s-era powder-blue edition. No uniform in any sport has ever looked so sweet, and the powder blues sell well on the merchandising market, which proves popularity. Why, oh why, don't the Chargers just switch back to this design? They'll wear their powder blues for a September home date against the Rams, but that's it. What a waste. Plus, TMQ continues to like the fantasy of a Charger cheer-babe in a 1960s powder-blue jersey, and nothing else: hemmed extra-short, please!

For now on, we'll call the Chargers the "men of Troy."


Speaking of Chargers' cheerleaders, here is Troy, who has played bit parts in the movies "Titanic" and "Traffic," and whose favorite food is "anything from Pat & Oscar's."

Tennessee Flaming Thumbtacks: Assuming Jevon Kearse is really back, and assuming Eddie George has been cybernetically re-engineered, and assuming Steve McNair sustains fewer than 10 injuries per quarter, Tennessee could be the team that nobody wants to play. Last season, the Titans lost four of their first five and were written off; they ended up 11-5 and playing into the divisional round. Returning to the power-defense, power-running formula that put them in the 2000 Super Bowl was the key to the team's rebound, and there's no reason this cannot continue -- assuming the three things above.


TMQ has always liked level-headed Titans coach Jeff Fisher who, entering his 10th season with the same club, is now practically a Supreme Court justice by NFL coaching standards. (They never leave, get it?) Fisher is the sort that the football gods should single out with a ring. Plus his team wandered in the desert, and the gods are supposed to reward that sort of thing.


For financial reasons, the Flaming Thumbtacks had better make this season count: Their cap accounting, perilous for three years running, has WorldCom potential. For 2004, a mere 10 Tennessee players will generate $68 million in cap charges, with the cap expected to be about $80 million. Since the 2000 Super Bowl, this franchise has remained a contender by delaying cap charges: a tactic that works for a while, but always, ultimately, causes a roster purge. Tennessee fans, enjoy your favorites while they are still on the team.


The Parable of the Pushed Knee: Verily, take heed from the football gods of the parable of Matt, son of Stevens.


Verily, in the year 1996 was a college corner, Matt, son of Stevens, expected to be a No. 1 pick. Then Stevens ripped a knee at the end of the college season, verily his ligaments were like unto ox entrails at an altar sacrifice. He slipped till the end of the third round, where the Buffalo Bills drafted him. "Wisely will they red-shirt Matt, son of Stevens, this year and have themselves a player following the next harvest," prophesied the touts in the marketplace.


But lo, Stevens did make an astonishing recovery. He threw away his aluminum crutch, rose up and walked! By late summer 1996, Stevens was practicing; on opening day he was in the lineup. Those who beheld called it a miracle, or the result of advanced surgery. Only nine months after lying on the table for a serious knee zipper, Stevens played, and well. Verily, the touts spoke of a rising star.


But by October, the knee that had only been swollen a bit after each September game was swelling up for a few days. And lo, by November the swelling wasn't subsiding. By December, Matt, son of Stevens, was skipping practices and saving his knee for games. And with each game throughout the season, his performance declined. Gentlemen he could stay with in September blew past him by Thanksgiving. Stevens began visibly shying from hits. "Give us Barabus!" cried the home crowd, or might have cried; that is to say, the rabble wanted anybody but him. Stevens was lustily booed as a bum, and at the end of the 1996 season, was waived.


Since then he hath wandered the NFL desert to many and multiple clubs, drawing the league minimum, toiling upon punt-coverage units and trying to recover his lost promise. But verily the promise is lost, for Matt, son of Stevens, came back too soon. Sometimes an injury can seem already mended, and an athlete can play on it awhile. But stress a knee that isn't finished healing, and yea, verily, you wreck it for good.


Which brings us to Willis McGahee. He says he feels great and has made a miraculous recovery. He wants to prove himself right now. But it's barley eight months since the surgery. McGahee should take a seat at least 'til Thanksgiving; the Bills might be wise to stamp "IR" next to his name for 2003. Next year could be McGahee's first as a great NFL back. Trying to play too soon is a road that leads to dashed promise, disappointed fans, recriminations all around and a young man bitter about a great career that never happened.

Fox is also suing Al for no longer being funny.


Rupert Murdoch Demands That Foxes Stop Calling Themselves That: Fox News has sued the comedian Al Franken, Fox asserting it has exclusive trademark right to the expression "fair and balanced." What next, Fox -- Rupert Murdoch trademarks the expression "hot enough for you?" How Fox or any company could possibly have registered a common figure of speech is beyond TMQ. And Fox, have you registered the phrases "Bill of Rights" and "First Amendment?" Perhaps Murdoch will claim that he owns the Bill of Rights, and anyone who wishes to express an opinion must first give him a royalty payment.


As for the concept of "fair and balanced," in practice this means, "whatever supports my views." Conservatives don't like CNN or the New York Times because they are mainly liberal; Fox News is mainly conservative, which seems to conservatives fair and balanced. National Public Radio, which is mainly liberal, seems fair and balanced to liberals. If there were a revanchist krypto-Trotskyite anti-cosmopolitan news channel, and it ran a report saying that secret councils of European bankers ruled the world, all revanchist krypto-Trotskyite anti-cosmopolitan viewers would consider that fair and balanced.


As for me, I'm comfortable with the news in Tuesday Morning Quarterback. It's fair and balanced.

Next Week: NFC preview.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:04 AM

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August 17, 2003

"welcome to the sg, bitch."

POST #    302

so my love for sports guy columns is well known, and friday's was great. it was the classic sports guy mailbag column. anyone that likes sports or pop-culture should probably read the column. basically, if you have any soul whatsoever, you should enjoy this column. i would have commented about it friday, i hear there was some sort of power outage...

there are so many good questions and answers, but here are some shorter ones:

Q: Besides Rusty Kuntz, has anyone in Major League Baseball had a more enjoyable name than Oddibe McDowell? -- Tom Gass, Beverly, Mass.

SG: Are you trying to rip Coco Crisp's heart out? Doesn't he deserve at least a token mention? And what about Dick Pole? By the way, I love the fact that somebody named "Tom Gass" asked this question.

Q: It's that time of year again. "Madden '04" is going to arrive very shortly. Being the fabulous Sports Gal that I am to my boyfriend, he gets it as a birthday gift. What can we expect from "Madden '04" that will give me more "Sarah Time" then I'll know what to do with? -- Sarah W., Tewksbury, Mass.

SG: Two words: Owner mode. Maybe the greatest football game invention since that glorious year in "Madden" when you could break people's legs after the whistle, and it made that sick crunching sound. I'm not even ready to start talking about "Owner Mode" yet. Might warrant its own column.
[note: the bone crunching hits after the whistle really was the greatest feature ever.]

Q: What types of non-sporting events do you bet on? We recently attended a wedding in Atlantic City, and had the following lines in play:

1. Number of bridesmaids: +/- 6
2. Number of ice sculptures: +/- 3
3. Length of church service: +/- 45 minutes
4. Time when first drunk guest makes a fool out of themselves: +/- 9.30 p.m.

Any ideas for other events? -- Mike K., Philadelphia

SG:
3. Groom's horny friend starts grinding on the dance floor with somebody's attractive cousin who isn't 21 yet (even odds): And somebody's mother is always horrified. You can usually see this one coming. As an aside, I was delighted when this exact scenario happened at my wedding. It was a dream come true.

5. Token slutty bridesmaid goes after a waiter, band member, or any friend of the groom attending the wedding without his girlfriend (wager $400 to win $100): Easy money. When you mix the emotions of "I'm sad because my friend's getting married and I'm still single" with "I'm horny and drunk" and "Everyone looks good because we're all dressed up," just about anything's possible. They probably can't make these odds high enough.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:07 AM

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August 13, 2003

who would have thunk it?

POST #    297


navarre? not 4 years ago.

i don't think any michigan fan would have thought john navarre would still be leading the football team after one year, let alone four years. he has come quite a long way, but still needs some work. i remember cursing him several times during his career.

this is the article in the image about navarre and this is about the big 10.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:25 PM

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tuesday morning quarterback

POST #    296

***update: TMQ is no more. read more here***

okay, so posting something about TMQ on wednesday mid-morning, makes me a day late and probably about a dollar short, but i figured i would bring some attention to it. i'm a big fan of page 2 on espn (especially caple and simmons), but easterbrook is often overlooked. this week marks the return of tuesday morning quarterback (TMQ), since football season is about to start and all. covered in this week's article is the california situation and some off season highlights.

some samples:

Further Proof of the Decline of Western Civilization: The new College Sports Television cable channel announced it would broadcast the spring practices of college football teams.

Beginning of the Decline of Eastern Civilization: MTV started broadcasting in China.

For the Psychics Licensing Exam, Wouldn't They Know the Answers in Advance?: The city of Boston set off a furor among fortune-tellers by declaring that to obtain a psychics' license, they must show proof of local residency. And the psychics didn't see this coming? The Washington Post said an assault on the ordinance was being run by "Boston attorney Alfred Farese, who represents 45 psychics." Obviously they have not foreseen his bill.

In a related development, Sydney Omarr, the world's leading astrology columnist, died of complications from a heart attack. Apparently Omarr didn't see that one coming.

Heinz Assumes That Scooby Has a Higher IQ Than the Company's Customer Base: Heinz unveiled Scooby-brand dog snacks. Boxes are adorned by pictures of the dog, and stamped with the trademarks of Heinz, Cartoon Network and the WB. The treats are shaped like Scooby movie characters. Packages offer a Scooby scavenger hunt puzzle game. But -- do dogs shop? Is a dog wandering through the supermarket aisles supposed to spot the box and say, "Ro! Rook at rat! Rate! Rets ruy rum!"

read the full column here.

***update: TMQ is no more. read more here***

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:15 AM

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August 12, 2003

just great

POST #    294

as if today's 90% humidity and 90 degree temperatures for the next two days aren't torture enough, last night, i received two magazines on skiing, ski magazine and skiing (yes, from the same publisher). with thoughts of gliding down the mountains, i had a brief reprieve from the heat. i can't wait until it starts getting cooler and the snow starts coming down.


a little of this please.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:58 PM

3
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I am back with offseason highlights

POST #    482

I am back with offseason highlights
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor of California, and Jennifer Lopez isn't: In terms of the pictures we will have to look at in the news between now and October, where's the justice in that?


All current Hollywood mega-babes are passing on the gubernatorial run, which is a terrible development. We could be gawking at Cameron Diaz or Gina Gershon in every morning's paper instead of AHH-nold and Cruz Bustamante. TMQ's advice to Californians: start preparing the recall petitions for Schwarzenegger now! Give him two, three weeks and then yank him out of office, too.


Of course, Democratic operatives will be looking for Schwarzenegger's dirty laundry. TMQ has already found it: three shirts, one cyborg costume (slightly used) and several sets of boxers with cute little bunny rabbits on them.


Forget that Schwarzenegger has vowed to solve California's runaway budget deficit, and then Monday made his first campaign promise -- calling for a dramatic expansion of government spending! AHH-nold endorsed state-sponsored after-school programs, declaring that "three to six in the afternoon is the danger zone, when children are unsupervised and might do inappropriate things." Like watch an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie!


Tuesday Morning Quarterback hopes Schwarzenegger loses in a close race; that way he can stand on the California statehouse steps and declare, "I'll be back." And TMQ has discovered these movie proposals already circulating among Hollywood machers:

Yes, California, this man could be your next governor!


TERMINATOR 4: RECOUNT DAY: Just as Schwarzenegger is about to be sworn in, another governor appears from 30 years in the future. It seems that in 30 years, California has been totally taken over by Santa Monica liberals: religion is forbidden, homosexuality is mandatory and anyone caught speaking English is sent to a re-education camp. The governor from the future has come backward in time to stop Arnold from leading Californians against this liberal tyranny. The showdown begins!


LENO THE BARBARIAN: On a windswept, primitive backdrop, Arnold Schwarzenegger must fight off limitless barbarian hordes of gubernatorial contenders. There's the sinister wizard Davis the Gray, flanked by character assassins. There's the cunning enchantress Arianna, who switches sides when you least expect it. The uncontrollable beasts Bustamante and Ueberroth roam the landscape. Competing for Arnold's attention are dozens of beautiful, scantily clad wenches who will do anything for a part. He must constantly deny to the press that he is fooling around with them, or else Princess Maria will vow vengeance! "I vant to hear the lamentations of your campaign consultants and get the phone numbers of your women," Arnold declares.


TOTAL RECALL: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a simple, mild-mannered bodybuilder, going about his business, when he begins to experience strange dreams that he is an actor. Next he experiences strange dreams that he is a great leader. Which is the dream and which the reality? In a shocker ending, California finds out the hard way.


In NFL news, Jersey/A tight end Jeremy Shockey says he was misquoted by a magazine that asserts he called Dallas coach Bill Parcells a "homo." In an exclusive interview with Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Shockey explained, "What I called him was a 'homo sapiens.'" Saying he did not wish to offend anyone, the Giants' star added, "To make me look bad, the queers at the magazine edited out the 'sapiens' part." Remember, this is a Tuesday Morning Quarterback exclusive.


And in the most important national news, Tuesday Morning Quarterback resumed on ESPN.com for the 2003 season. From now 'til the Super Bowl, this column will appear every - well, if you can't figure it out, we're not going to tell you. Next week TMQ gets down to business with its annual preseason previews. For today, here are the annual Offseason Highlights:


Further Proof of the Decline of Western Civilization: The new College Sports Television cable channel announced it would broadcast the spring practices of college football teams.

There's nothing like that new-helicopter smell.


That Helicopter Won't Fit in the Overhead Rack, You're Going to Have to Check It: The Army used an enormous cellophane-applying machine to shrink-wrap helicopters for shipment to the Persian Gulf. Did pilots have to show a baggage claim check to pick up their aircraft? Please check carefully, many helicopters look alike!


Beginning of the Decline of Eastern Civilization: MTV started broadcasting in China.


Best Movie Title: "Final Destination II." Next up, "End of the World: the Sequel."


Scientists Said They Would Need Millions More in Tax Funding to Determine Whether the Sky Is Blue: Researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, a $365 million government mega-project consisting of two buried four-kilometer-long lasers in Louisiana and Washington state, announced that so far, the device has been unable to detect the existence of gravity.


Jeff Fisher Was Trying to Purchase a Gas Grill at Home Depot When an NFL Lawyer Called to Say That Would Put the Titans Over the Cap: On March 29, 2003, the Tennessee Titans had $1,178 in salary cap space.


Next Budget: Bloomberg Offers Trading in Parking-Ticket Futures: New York City's first budget under new Mayor Michael Bloomberg specified that parking enforcement officers must write 1.7 million more tickets than the previous year - finally, officially, putting ticket writers on quota.


According to the San Francisco Chronicle, that city's meter maids and meter muffins have also gone on commission. In early May, the San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic ordered them to write an extra 40,000 tickets in the next 45 days. California law prohibits ticket quotas, so the 40,000 extra citations were officially a "goal," not a quota.

The vote is in: 40-year-old Demi upsets the younger Cameron in the swimsuit competition!


Waiter, I'll have What Ashton Is Having: The mega-babe of the offseason was Demi Moore, whose cheesecake scenes were the best part of the incomprehensible "Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle." See this article in which fashion writer Robin Givhan (her 1998 book "Runway Madness" is a lot of fun) rhapsodizes about Moore's bod and declares the 40-year-old actress the winner of the bikini showdown scene with 30-year-old Cameron Diaz.


The tabs rediscovered Moore, too. "Us Weekly" ran a cheesecake shot with the headline, ASHTON AND DEMI IS GETTING SO HOT - MIDNIGHT ROMPS, SEXY DINNERS OUT. What's a "sexy dinner out," did she go to the restaurant topless?


To Prevent the Scouts from Fainting, They Were Told Not to Watch Any Bengals Games: New coach Marvin Lewis finally hired a scouting department for the Cincinnati Bengals.


One of Tuesday Morning Quarterback's favorite things about the Bengals is that the team posts press-conference transcripts, as if these events were United Nations meetings. Here, asked about the Bengals being the sole NFL team that does not send agents to watch prospective draftees, former head coach Dick LeBeau dryly noted, "We haven't scouted a lot in recent years, but we do look at a lot of video." Here, after the Bengals dropped yet another contest last season, a transcripted exchange between LeBeau and a sportswriter:


Q.: After the game, (quarterback) Jon Kitna said that there's an absence of a winning attitude, and the organization doesn't have a winning attitude. Do you have any reaction?


A.: I wish Jon wouldn't say that.


During the offseason, when linebacker Takeo Spikes rejected a team offer and departed for Buffalo, the Bengals website posted a news release (in the news archives area of the team site http://www.bengals.com, scan for "Lewis' New Deal Doesn't Include Relieved Spikes," March 10, 2003) that described Spikes as "relieved not to be coming back to Cincinnati."


And It's Free, Except Where Charges Apply:TMQ signed up for broadband from Comcast. The service advertised the ability to access email from "anywhere in the world!" Then in fine print added, "Check availability in your area."


Why Is This Item in My Offseason Roundup? To Create a Flimsy Excuse for Page 2 to Re-Use Previously Obtained Cheesecake Photos: During the offseason, Page 2 readers developed a puppy-love crush on softball bombshell Jennie Finch, voting her "hottest female athlete", besting Anna Kournikova.

Rumor has it that Jennie is demanding a trade to a network with higher ratings.
The distinction of male hottest athlete went to Alex Rodriguez, who had the largest contract in a group of 16 nominees. Assuming the voters for the hot-male poll were female, this just confirms once again that to women, a man's sex organ is his wallet.


In the Next Movie, "Harry Potter and the Global Marketing Campaign of Doom," Dan Snyder's Face Will Be the Model for Peter Pettigrew: Russian lawyers threatened to sue Warner Brothers when rumors circulated that the face of Vladimir Putin was used as the model for Dobby the Elf in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." (Headline explanation for non-Potter fans: Pettigrew is a sniveling brat who gets turned into a rat.)


Making It the Second Bubble to Burst in the New York Area in This Century: The practice bubble used by the Giants collapsed during a snowstorm.


Euphemism Watch: NASA declared the disintegration of space shuttle Columbia an "off-nominal event." Supporters of war on Iraq called the action not an invasion but a "forced disarmament." The New York Times ("All the News That Might Be True") called the dozens of fabricated stories it published by Jayson Blair a "breakdown of communications and oversight."


He Dressed As the Third Quarterback, But Can Only Play If All the Other Justices Leave the Court: When Justice Antonin Scalia had shoulder surgery, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said he would be "out for a few days."


For the Psychics Licensing Exam, Wouldn't They Know the Answers in Advance?: The city of Boston set off a furor among fortune-tellers by declaring that to obtain a psychics' license, they must show proof of local residency. And the psychics didn't see this coming? The Washington Post said an assault on the ordinance was being run by "Boston attorney Alfred Farese, who represents 45 psychics." Obviously they have not foreseen his bill.

Putin? We thought Dobby looks more like Steve Spurrier.


In a related development, Sydney Omarr, the world's leading astrology columnist, died of complications from a heart attack. Apparently Omarr didn't see that one coming.


Isn't This Like a Woman Saying You Can Pay for Her Dinner But Not Take Her Out?: Starbucks issued a card that allows customers to pay for coffee before entering the store.


Ads for Snyder's Football Team Actually Show the Packers, Digitally Altered: Bermuda's Board of Tourism ran ads displaying beautiful, inviting beaches - but the photos actually showed Hawaii. The ads were created by a subsidiary of Havas, the international public-relations firm that made Dan Snyder rich by purchasing his advertising company.


Dressing Like a Homeless Person Has Always Been in Fashion Around the ESPN Office: Dressing like a homeless person became a fad in Hong Kong. "The homeless make creative clothing choices, like putting interesting tops with different wraps," a Hong Kong fashion designer told CNN.

Nicole Kidman could manage the Yankees with a nose like that.


The Reason Virginia Woolf Killed Herself Is That She Found Out She Would One Day Be Played by Nicole Kidman: Newsweek described the movie "The Hours" as a "celebration of life as it is meant to be lived." The movie is about people committing suicide.


Statistically, This Should Happen Again in Just 10,000 Days: Actual winning number in the Washington, DC, March 14 pick-four lottery: 7777.


Nice Little Cable Channel You've Got. Too Bad If Anything Should Happen to It: "Sopranos" actor James Gandolfini sued HBO, expressing outrage that the network proposed to pay him a mere $11 million for the 13 weeks of work required to film the next season. Note to scriptwriters: Bump Tony off.


This Bird Won't Take No for An Answer. Plus He's a Closer, He Never Lets a Deal Walk: Atlanta unveiled a new logo featuring an "aggressive" falcon.


You Can Have Any Facemask You Want, So Long As It's Black: Detroit unveiled a helmet with black facemask, team officials saying the facemasks look "menacing."


Two Regimes Diverged in a Yellow Wood: Pandeli Majko, the Defense Minister of Albania - a mainly Muslim country that announced "unreserved support" for the U.S. attack on Iraq - wrote a poem ridiculing Saddam Hussein. It began,

Oh Saddam, you bum.

Where will you go?


In place of gratuitous cheesecake photo depicting stripping aerobic dancers, we instead give you this.


Seriously, ESPN, There's a Legitimate Reason for These Expense- Account Receipts from Topless Dance Clubs. I Needed to Research How the Pros Remove Their Clothes. Plus, Tricia Wouldn't Let Me Into Her Cardio Strip Tease Class: Fitness clubs in New York, Los Angeles and other trendy places began offering Cardio Strip Tease workouts for women; participants use stripper moves and tear off clothes as they exercise. Tricia Murphy, owner of Urban Fitness in Seattle, told Julia Sommerfield of the Seattle Times she started a Cardio Strip Tease class because "We've all had our boyfriends beg us to put on a show for them this teaches women how to be stripper-hot." Murphy said she choreographed the class after visiting topless dance establishments to research how "the pros" remove their clothes.


At Least It Wasn't Alcatel Using Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech to Promote Cell-Phone Calling Plans: In a deeply grating television commercial designed for the NCAA men's basketball tournament, Allstate used the "no man is an island" writings of John Donne, 16th century theologian, to promote auto insurance. For good measure, Allstate got the meaning of Donne's work wrong. The commercial implied that Donne believed rich, privileged people should make friends with other rich, privileged people. What the "no man is an island" poem actually means is that Christians have an obligation to give to the poor and to come to the aid of strangers.


Note: Alcatel, sponsor of those tasteless Martin Luther King Jr. ads, is a French company. Alcatel executives probably chortled over their decision to make a mockery of an American national hero; imagine the French reaction if McDonald's hawked cheeseburgers using a digitally altered image of DeGaulle leading the Resistance! Just keep repeating to yourself, "France, once great, is now a nation of pastry chefs."


Never Meant It: Seven-Up - which for 20 years has advertised itself as caffeine-free, declaring "never had it, never will" - introduced a caffeinated version.


Are You Saying Testosterone Is Leaking Through My Skin?: Old Spice High Endurance Body Wash advertises, "Won't Wash Away Testosterone!"


TMQ Was Born Too Soon: Arvada High School, outside Denver, sent 40 girls home for wearing extremely skimpy outfits. Female apparel should not be "distracting," principal Robert Lopez declared. The school's dress code bars display of "midriff, cleavage, back or buttocks" and specifies that "the majority of your back must be covered."


Never Meant It No. 2:Ford announced it would not honor its much- ballyhooed corporate pledge to raise SUV fuel efficiency. Note to potential Ford buyers: Now the warranty says, "Good for three years or 36,000 miles, unless we renege."


Hi, This Is AT&T Telemarketing. We're Calling at 2 A.M. Because We Thought We Might Catch You at Home: AT&T won a multimillion dollar government contract to run the "do not call" anti-telemarketing system - though AT&T's telemarketing division is No. 1 for most federal complaints about telemarketing intrusions.


Arnold Also Lost $68,534 On Global Crossing Stock, But That Hasn't Stopped Him from Using the Phone: Arnold Schwarzenegger appears on the cover of this week's Time. He seems to have forgiven AOL Time Warner, on whose stock he lost $16,122 in 2000 .

Carty Immediately Took a Front-Office Job with the Bengals : Donald Carty was fired as CEO of American Airlines after he approved roughly $50 million in undisclosed payments to executives at the same time as he was negotiating $1.6 billion in emergency labor concessions to keep the airline out of bankruptcy.


Some of the millions were "retention bonuses," which in theory are justified as needed to keep executives from leaving a company to accept other lucrative offers. Other lucrative offers in the airline industry? United and USAir are bankrupt, America West is charging for on-board meals, the industry is barely aloft financially - what, exactly, lucrative offers might American Airlines executives be jumping to? Carty and his cronies simply wanted to make sure they reached into the till before the company collapsed. Perhaps the bonuses were in small, unmarked bills.


* * * * *

We're Bilking Our Clients One At A Time: Several large Wall Street brokerage houses agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint that they had deceived investors about stock ratings. Every piece of paper you sign with a stock broker includes a warning about assumption of risk; now it turns out the risk they were warning about is that Wall Street brokers are actively trying to defraud you.

But they've turned over a new leaf and are telling the truth now, right? Shortly after signing the SEC agreement, Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell declared that his company had done "not one thing" the typical investor should be worried about. Morgan Stanley had just admitted to the SEC that it in order to obtain investment banking business, it promised favorable research reports about firms regardless of the firms' financial prospects. What is the purpose of such reports? To defraud investors. Presumably, Morgan Stanley brokers are trained to cover the warning statements with their hands as they say, "Just sign here, grandma." See the firm's web site for item headline explanation.


At Least We're Realizing Our Financial Goals: Merrill Lynch paid a $100 million fine to New York State over allegations that former tech-stock shill Henry Blodget defrauded clients into buying stocks he knew were stinkers; Merrill Lynch also agreed to participate in the $1.4 billion settlement with the SEC. Blodget was permanently barred from the securities industry by the National Association of Securities Dealers. So Merrill Lynch has learned its lesson and turned over a new leaf, right? For 2002, a year in which the name Merrill Lynch became synonymous with stock fraud, Merrill Lynch CEO E. Stanley O'Neal paid himself $14.3 million.

Check this now-hilarious 2000 article from TheStreet.com, which ranked Blodget the top analyst for tech stocks: "Henry has a realistic assessment of growth rates in emerging tech companies." See the Merrill Lynch web site for item headline explanation. Check Merrill Lynch's incredibly phony Guidelines for Business Contact, which as far as TMQ can see authorizes analysts to rob customers blind, but sternly cautions, "All Merrill Lynch persons are required to notify and receive the approval of the Office of General Counsel before committing to a candidacy for elective office."


Married couples aren't having enough sex? That's only because Winona is still single.


A Couple Years Ago the Newsmags Said the Big Trend Was Not Enough Sleep. So If People Have Stopped Having Sex, They Should Be Getting More Sleep: Newsweek declared in a cover story by Kathleen Deveny that Americans with children have lost interest in having sex. The mag's hard-hitting evidence? "Judging from the conversation of the young moms at the next table at Starbucks, it sounds like we're in the midst of a long dry spell." Later the article allowed that it is "difficult to say" how many married Americans "are too exhausted or too grumpy to get it on," but that psychologists estimate "15 to 20 percent" of married couples don't have sex.

Wait a minute: that statistic means 80 to 85 percent of married Americans are indeed getting busy. Considering senior citizens -- a huge cohort of the married are above Medicare age -- TMQ would have guessed that the non-lovemaking fraction of the couples population would be significantly higher than 15 to 20 percent. The very figure Newsweek uses to buttress a claim of a national anti-sex outbreak sounds, to TMQ, like an indication of a healthy pace of married-couple nooky.

Then Newsweek has to squirm out of statistics suggesting that married people as a group actually have more sex than singles. (SINGLES: NOT SCORING ENOUGH! apparently is the newsmag cover waiting to be written.) Indeed, TMQ commends to readers the book "The Case for Marriage," by the University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite, which asserts in part that the married as a group have sex more often, and report higher satisfaction during sex, than swinging singles. So how did Newsweek squirm out of that complication? The mag opined, "People aren't very candid about how often they have sex."

Wait -- how could Newsweek possibly know that people aren't being candid to Newsweek? Are we to believe that if married people say they're not having enough sex they must be telling the truth (thus supporting the Newsweek story) but if they say they are satisfied with their sex lives they must be lying (thus not contradicting Newsweek)? This requires the author to find people's testimony persuasive when it supports her theory and phony when it does not: Get this woman a job in the White House! Though it sure sounds like the staff of Newsweek needs to have more frequent sex. Maybe Newsweek should light some scented candles around the office. For a thoughtful view of the same subject, see this Atlantic Monthly article by Caitlan Flanagan, which preceded the Newsweek account by months.


There's Something Cheesy About Those Mouldings. But in Green Bay, There's Something Cheesy About Everything: Brett Favre offered his house for sale through eBay. The offer read in part,
Absolutely exquisite all brick 2 story walkout on private cul-de-sac lot. This wooded setting offers 2.77 acres of beauty and serenty with extensive decking and landscaping. Interior amenities include 5 bdrms, 5 full baths, 2 half baths, a formal living and dining room, master suite with Jacuzzi, private guest suite, office, sunroom and a full racquetball court. The walkout lower level is finished with a bar and recreational room. Attention to detail throughout includes hardwood floors, leaded French doors, crown mouldings, 3 woodburning fireplaces, vaulted and beamed ceilings and plantation shuttered windows.


Yes, Favre's ad said "serenty" and "mouldings." Haven't you always dreamed of achieving serenty in a wooded setting? Favre also allowed the street address to be published on eBay. Presumably in a town as small as Green Bay, everybody already knows where he lives.


Further Proof of the Decline of Western Civilization: ESPN.com conducted a fantasy mock draft.


Somebody's Head Was Swimming All Right: A critic for the New York Times swooned that "movies as we knew them changed" because of "The Matrix" and declared that its "inspirations" could "make your head swim." Matrix inspirations included, supposedly, "video games, Hong Kong sword-fighting ghost epics, Japanese anime, William Gibson cyberpunk, Philip K. Dick dystopian science fiction, druggy Alice-in-Wonderland surrealism, the bio-mechanical designs of the artists H. R. Giger and Geoff Barlow, David Cronenberg's visions of cybernetically enhanced flesh and Terminator-like battles of man vs. runaway machine (with a nod to the writer Harlan Ellison and the father of robotics, Hans Moravec), the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism, which in this case overlaps with Jean Baudrillard's postmodern book Simulacra and Simulation (which makes a cameo in "The Matrix"), messianic Christianity and even Zen Buddhism. (Also) a philosophy essential to many Eastern martial arts, that the material world is secondary."

The review further declared, "A science-fiction screenwriter I know said he'd been stewing over his own simulated-universe project for years when "The Matrix" came out. 'What I didn't think of,' he said sadly, 'was the martial-arts angle.' And that's the crux of it." So - Gnosticism, Jean Baudrillard and H.R. Giger, but what was missing was fist fights! Talk about a great breakthrough by The Matrix's producers. Coming soon to a theater near you: Catharism, Andre Malraux and Lo Spagna, plus naked women!

A mere one week after penning the above love poem to the "Matrix" series, the same critic wrote on Slate that Matrix Revisited was "messy and flat-footed ... ugly, bloated, repetitive ... the disposable feel of a video game ... fake." The same critic complained that "Matrix Reloaded" was bad because it's a bunch of pretentious mumbo-jumbo tied together with obviously staged kung-fu fights: exactly what the same critic had praised as inspirational just one week before.


Heinz Assumes That Scooby Has a Higher IQ Than the Company's Customer Base: Heinz unveiled Scooby-brand dog snacks. Boxes are adorned by pictures of the dog, and stamped with the trademarks of Heinz, Cartoon Network and the WB. The treats are shaped like Scooby movie characters. Packages offer a Scooby scavenger hunt puzzle game. But -- do dogs shop? Is a dog wandering through the supermarket aisles supposed to spot the box and say, "Ro! Rook at rat! Rate! Rets ruy rum!"


Thousands of Fans in Attendance Were, Actually, Glad: Barry Sanders skipped his own induction into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

A book only Jayson Blair would know how to write.


Jayson Blair Read This Book at a Young Age: Penguin reissued the 3-million-copy bestseller "Coffee, Tea or Me?" from 1967. This book was supposedly the shocking true-fact revelations of two sex-crazed flight attendants (in the days they were called stewardesses), living out their insatiable desires for airborne quickies with middle-aged total strangers.

In reissuing the book, the publisher admitted this account was actually a fabrication written by one Donald Bain. Bain was, as well, actual author of the "Murder She Wrote" series, books marketed as "by" the nonexistent Jessica Fletcher. See the oeuvre of Bain's ghostwriting at his own website.

"Coffee, Tea or Me?" was supposedly by "Trudy Baker" and "Rachel Jones," two hot babes who appeared on television shows to talk breezily -- by the standards of the time -- about their insatiable cravings for quickie sex during flight. Turns out Donald Bain wrote the book from whole cloth, while "Baker" and "Jones" were actresses hired to impersonate sex-crazed stews at promotional events. Nobody questioned who they really were, perhaps because middle-aged male interviewers did not want to spoil their chance to talk sex with a couple of young tomatoes -- or spoil the illusion that hot babes lust for sex with middle-aged men.

Of course, in 1967, an airline flight was considered romantic. Try to imagine anything sexy on a commercial airplane today! The seats are so close together you can't even move your elbows, let alone engage in any form of nooky. The flight attendants are scowling, ill-tempered wage slaves whose keenest desire is never to see another middle-aged man again.


Arnold Schwarzenegger Said He Dreams of "An America That Shoots Everybody": Speaking at a black-tie dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy group, Democratic presidential contender John Edwards declared that he wants "an America that embraces everybody." Wait, didn't Bill Clinton already personally try that?


First Tip: At a Lesbian Wedding Don't Ask, "Who's the Best Man?": Bride magazine became the first of the major bridal periodicals to run an article on etiquette for same-sex weddings. No doubt Bride hopes to lock up the lucrative Canadian gay marriage market!

Can't wait for the next issue of Bride? Check out the Dear Abby of the nontraditional lifestyle -- the Human Rights Campaign page of advice for gays and lesbians on home-life issues, handling breakups, etc. Here, a discourse on whether two women getting married should wear the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand.


"All the News That Might Be True": Months before Jayson Blair, now-disgraced New York Times editor Howell Raines showed his canny acumen by running an obituary of scum mobster John Gotti that, at 3,086 words, was 50 percent longer than the obit the Times once ran for one of the great human beings of the 20th century, Jonas Salk.

And exactly why was Gotti the "Teflon don," when he spent 10 years of his worthless existence in prison, then died young at 61? That sounds to TMQ like a crummy life, though by all accounts his cufflinks were quite nice. TMQ's favorite line from the Times obit: "Mr. Gotti is survived by his wife, the former Victoria DiGiorgio, his son John A., and his brothers, Gene, who is serving a 50-year sentence for heroin trafficking, and Peter." In death, the convicted murderer became "Mr. Gotti."


Arthur Andersen Approved the Accounting : "Matrix Reloaded" claimed to be the all-time top-grossing first-day film by selling $42.5 million worth of tickets on its opening day. The "first-day" record included millions in box-office receipts from 2,700 theaters that actually began showing the movie the night before.


At Least Something in the Economy Is Still Booming: Americans lost $68 billion gambling in 2002 -- a $239 loss per capita and about twice as much, in inflation-adjusted terms, as Americans lost on average a decade ago. This was reported by Christiansen Capital Advisors, which "provides unparalleled professional gambling and entertainment industry analysis and management services."

The only consultant's insight TMQ would like about the gambling world is how to meet Las Vegas showgirls of easy virtue. But think about that $239 annual loss per capita. It's not William Bennett gambling away his latest virtue-book advance, or Michael Jordan dropping a month's shoe royalties -- that's average working people blowing part of their Friday paycheck on various rigged rackets.

Increasingly, the lottos are run by states, and studies show that state-run gaming pays back far less to gamblers than Vegas gaming or even local numbers runners. It is now state governments -- through OTB in New York, Powerball in Illinois and dozens of others -- that take advantage of the dreams of the poor to bilk them $5 or $10 at a time.


Next Year, the Basketball Draft Will Be a Reality Show in Which Slinky Women in Evening Gowns Compete to Pick High-School Sophomores: ABC broadcast the NBA draft lottery in national prime time, implicitly saying that the basketball draft is more important than the NFL draft. ESPN: you gonna let that pass?


The Game Was Decided by a Last-Second Free Throw: Highest scoring Arena League football game: Arizona Rattlers 82, Grand Rapids Rampage 81. This contest saw 22 touchdowns and five missed extra-point attempts, featured 72 passes and 12 rushes. TMQ's favorite scoring play: a 10-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.


ESPN Offers TMQ $4.5 Million; TMQ Cries, "It's An Insult!": Each NFL offseason there is an entertaining "it's an insult!" moment in which a player angrily rejects a contract offer from his employer, then ends up signing for less.

A prominent "it's an insult!" involves receiver Oronde Gadsen. Last fall the Dolphins offered him a $750,000 bonus to autograph a contract extension; not bad for a 32-year-old, run-of-the-mill player who at the time was recovering from a severe injury. Gadsen cried "it's an insult!" and bad-mouthed the Marine Mammals in the papers, the negative vibes thus created one reason Miami's promising season went downhill.

Later, Gadsen ended up re-signing with the Dolphins for the league minimum, and zero bonus. (Note: the Gadsen situation went negative almost immediately after Miami made its disastrous midseason signing of the me-first Cris Carter, who brought bad karma into the previously team-spirited organization. The football gods chortled.)

This year's "it's an insult!" winner is defensive end Brad Scioli of Colts. In February, Indianapolis offered him a $4.5 million bonus; Scioli cried, "it's an insult!" A month later, having received no better offers, Scioli resigned with Indianapolis for a bonus of about $2.5 million.


Enjoy 'Em, Studs: Author Studs Terkel declared that at age 91, "I still have two martinis and smoke two cigars every day." TMQ hopes he can still do that at the age of 91. TMQ hopes he can still do that next year!


Worst Movie of the New Century: "Gigli," without peer. But it's stupid-bad as opposed to funny-bad, meaning it won't become a cult classic of low quality - the sort of movie you play at parties for laughs, like "Showgirls." So unrelentingly bad is "Gigli" that even a scantily attired Jennifer Lopez doesn't help. One critic wrote, "Unfathomable as it sounds, I got tired of looking at her."

Maybe there will be some badness-highlight-reel value to Lopez's loopy monologue about how she loves performing certain unnatural "acts" on other women. Yet "Gigli" is sufficiently awful it even manages to make the fantasy image of J-Lo going at it with another babe seem uninteresting.

Hidden psychological motive in Lopez playing a gay character: when she ends up in bed with Ben Affleck, this is supposed to tell the world that her beau has such astonishing animal magnetism, not even a lesbian could resist him. The whole cinematic disaster, TMQ feels, was set in motion to boost Affleck's ego.


Haga Una Pausa Por Favor: In California, voters became furious at Governor Gray Davis for budgetary -- [Note to Bristol: TMQ is experiencing technical difficulties. Please ask the staff at ESPN Deportes to complete this item.]


Plus, She Never Suspects That the Cyborg Plans to Run for Governor: The Warner Brothers press kit for "Terminator 3" described the role played by Claire Danes, the movie's love interest, as that of "unsuspecting veterinarian Kate Brewster." What? She doesn't suspect that invincible robots from the future are after her boyfriend?


Enron Economics Comes to Sports: The highlight of NBA trading season was competition to obtain the services of Terrell Brandon, an injured guard who will never play again. Atlanta gave up a star, Glenn Robinson, to get Brandon, fending off other clubs that were suitors. Why did teams lust after a player with career-ending injury? Because Brandon represents $11 million in salary cap space. That's how much he makes annually, and that amount will now vanish from Atlanta's cap in January 2004 when his retirement takes effect. Teams wanted Brandon because they could get rid of him -- unlike the majority of guaranteed-contract NBA players.

In another Enron-like swap, Sacramento traded Keon Clark and two second-round draft choices to Utah for one second-round choice. Got that? Utah nets a player and a draft pick in exchange for surrendering absolutely nothing. The motive for the trade is that Sacramento has salary-cap problems, and Clark gets $5 million per annum guaranteed. Now the Jazz are stuck with the bill, while the Kings gladly paid compensation to be unstuck.


Worst Offseason Idea: The Trio cable channel is producing "Good Clean Porn," excerpts from famous porn movies in which the hot stuff is spliced out, leaving only the dramatic tension and dialogue. Here is Trio's description of the shows:

The subtlety of acting in adult films is explored in three half-hour specials featuring the unforgettable dramatic scenes from such perennial favorites as DEBBIE DOES DALLAS and I DREAM OF JENNA. With the distracting action sequences edited out, these programs allow the viewer to focus on those moments which best illustrate the skills of the writers, directors and most importantly, the performers who set the plot in motion.

Subtlety of acting in adult films? Skills of the writers? Most porn dialogue boils down to:

LUCIOUS-LOOKING WOMAN: Hi, my name is Jill.

THREE OTHER LUCIOUS-LOOKING WOMEN: Want to have sex on the kitchen countertop?


JILL: Sure!


Perhaps the "Good Clean Porn" is project some kind of postmodern joke intended to amuse college students and bar patrons. But watching porn with "the distracting action sequences edited out" makes about as much sense as reading the Bush Administration 9-11 report with the distracting references to Saudi Arabia deleted.


The New ESPN Draft Dartboard Feature Will Pit NFL General Managers Against Darts to Select Players: The Wall Street Journal ended one of the TMQ's favorite things about that storied newspaper -- its Dartboard feature. The Dartboard pitted highly paid Wall Street investment bankers against darts thrown at a board, to see which did better picking stocks. Over 14 years and 142 contests, the highly paid professionals won 61 percent of the time, which is the same as saying the darts won 39 percent of the time.

TMQ imagines Wall Street types were relieved to see the Dartboard feature end. Possibly they took up a collection and paid the Wall Street Journal to stop running it.


The Media's Finest Hour: An estimated 500 journalists, backed by 30 large satellite-uplink vans, covered the seven-minute Kobe Bryant pre-trial hearing in Eagle, Colo.


The Government's Finest Hour: Why were tens of thousands of dollars in Colorado taxpayer funds wasted on Bryant's meaningless seven-minute appearance, during which he was simply read the charge that not only he but everyone in the entire world already knew? There was no need whatsoever for this staged event, other than to provide media footage and air time for the prosecutor.

Set aside dragging a defendant -- defendants are presumed innocent -- halfway across the country for a seven-minute staged media event. Finding himself in the national spotlight, prosecutor Mark Hurlbert appears planning to milk his air time for all it's worth. After the meaningless event covered by 500 reporters backed by 30 television trucks, Hurlbert told a news conference the Bryant legal proceedings would take a long time because "sexual assault cases are extremely complex."

No they're not. One of the problems of proving rape is that there is often relatively little evidence - two people's words, sometimes bruises, sometimes statements made to others, that's about it. Witnesses are rare; rape shield laws have eliminated most detours into the accuser's past; sexual evidence shouldn't be a factor in this instance since Bryant has already acknowledged there was intercourse. Cases with little evidence, few witnesses and no controversial new interpretations of law aren't "extremely complex" and need not be drawn out. But drawn-out proceedings may be what Hurlbert has in mind, to maximize his national media exposure.

We know what you're thinking: Next time, please give us the photo of the female streaker.


If a local prosecutor wants to stage courtroom theater to order to give cable-news channels something to cover and for his own career advancement, then the national media -- and the prosecutor's book publisher and movie agent -- should foot the tab, not the Colorado taxpayer.


As If Anyone Was Looking at Her Back!: The Golden Palace online casino promo-ed itself at the U.S. Open by hiring a babe to walk around topless with goldenpalace.com written on her back. This cheap, cynical publicity gimmick worked since, after all, here we are mentioning the Golden Palace site. Though not linking to it -- TMQ is pro-topless but anti-gambling.

The casino also has been hiring a hunk to streak naked across the field at soccer matches, with the same message written on his back. In the war of the bods, this represents a rare instance where the man is expected to show more than the woman.

When, oh when, will ESPN corporate hire a mega-babe to flash the crowd at an NFL game with "READ TMQ" written on her back? Or just to flash me at my office?


Next Week: The Tuesday Morning Quarterback AFC preview.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:50 PM

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August 10, 2003

gone boating, dragon boating.

POST #    287

for the past two weeks (week 1, week 2), i have had dragon boat practice for the hong kong dragon boat festival in new york, but this weekend was the real thing. two days of fun in flushing meadows corona park, where the water is green and with garbage on the shore. there is nothing quite like two days of racing for a person that is sorely (plenty of soreness to follow as well) out of shape.


2001 philly worlds - photo from the philadelphia dragon boat team, arguably the best in the nation.

day 1:
with two races, saturday was not the most pleasant of days. the waking up early didn't help. i blame myself for watching drumline the night before, but i digress. the first race was the 250-meter sponsor's race where with 3 other boats. without a decent drummer, this race didn't turn out too well, but we didn't do much worse than we expected. we placed 3rd.

race two was the 500m open, which is twice as long, but arguably more than twice as hard. with a last minute change in the drummer, we took the water to face two other boats. from the start, the race was head to head, with each boat going stroke for stroke. it's possible that we even had a lead in the beginning (calvin and i picked up some good starting techniques when we rowed in college). all three teams gave everything they had for about 2:30 minutes. the final result was 3rd place, which again was expected. the surprising part was that the whole race was close with all three boats finishing within 10 seconds of each other. even more surprising was that my team, the multicultural radio broadcasting inc. (mrbi), had the 3rd best time in the division (the three boats in our heat had better times than everyone else). quite an exciting day of racing for us with a great performance giving us hope for sunday.

day 2:
day two did not go quite as easily as expected. despite having only one race and having the race in the afternoon, a night of partying resulted in a hangover that was less than desirable. with a healthy intake of fluids (water, cane sugar juice, coke, capri sun) and some food, i was ready to race (well, as ready as i could be). the team did some rudimentary stretching, which didn't help my sore back or arms at all. both of these were remedied with the warm up on the water, which were lead by our third drummer in three races, jessica.

this race was the 250m media race that involved 3 other teams. again, with the fast start, the mrbi boat jumped out to the lead. this time, we held onto it for about half the race before the wnbc team started to turn it on (i think they had outside help, although i guess that's what i am too). in the far lane, they pulled even with us and then past us to take the lead. the other boats, directly to our left and right) pulled even with us too, with each boat going stroke for stroke, with the teams jumping around between 2nd and 4th place. each good stroke had the ability to push a boat into 2nd. each bad stoke could drop a team to 4th. the three boats stayed neck and neck for last 100m, moving towards the finish line at a high stroke count and a dizzying pace (especially for those with a hangover). the race for 2nd place was a photo finish, with a difference between 2nd and 4th of 0.19 seconds. wnbc won by a relatively comfortable 3 seconds, we came in 2nd, and 3rd place was 0.03 seconds behind us.

overall, it was a good two days of racing, and surprisingly fun, but i'm not sure that i would do it next year unless we had control of one of the boats (i think i said this last year too). post race events included more eating, race watching, and water fights with sas.

a brief blurb about the event on gothamist (we all know that's when an even is really news).

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Sports at 6:27 PM

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August 6, 2003

plan ruined!

POST #    279

my master plan involving the evil empire and armando benitez has been derailed. tonight, the yankees and mariners swapped players in the form of armando and jeff nelson.

joe torrie said of the trade:
"Nellie's a better fit for what we're trying to do, getting to Mo. That doesn't mean that Benitez isn't as good as Nellie, they just serve different roles. We won with him before, so there are a lot of questions already answered. Nellie's been tough to replace.''

reading between the lines:
"nellie doesn't blow the lead like armando. armando is clearly not as good as nellie, since he loses games, and nellie can keep a game close. we won with him before, and with armando, we've already lost some. i'm glad we got rid of him before it was too late."

reliving good memories...in this game, armando had the type of game that i hoped he would have for the for rest of the season and for the playoffs. oh well, the evil empire will still fall...and maybe still at the hands of armando.

read more about the trade here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:05 PM

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the race for mediocrity

POST #    277

with the baseball season well into the second half of the year, teams and fans are thinking about the postseason and maybe a trip to the series. one can make an argument for 11 teams in the national league and 10 teams in the american league. that's a little more than 2/3 of the teams in all of baseball. with races like these, the final months of the season should be exciting to watch.

another race is also being closely watched, that between the 2003 detroit tigers and the 1962 new york mets. the '62 mets have the worst record in the history of modern baseball, with 120 losses in their season (their record that year was 40-120). in fact, no team has lost more than 112 games since those pitiful '62 mets. the mets had an excuse though, they were an expansion team, the tigers are not. they have been around since 1901 and are just really really bad. since 1988, the tigers have only had 2 winning seasons and they have not finished above .500 since 1993. as of today, their record (29-81) is the same record as the mets had in 1962 at this point in the season. the detroit news also reports that with their schedule in the final two months of the season, it should be a cakewalk to obtain the record for losses.

jayson stark also points out some interesting things about the tigers:
- they were the 4th team in history to be 50 games under .500 before august.
- in the past two seasons, they have been swept by all the teams in the AL and four in the NL.
- they have had losing streaks from 1 to 9 all before playing 100 games.

for more of his crazy facts on the season thus far, read here (the tigers info is on the right). and read more about the tigers' situation here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:46 AM

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August 3, 2003

practice again

POST #    271

today was the 2nd attempt at practicing for next week's dragonboat race. last week was our first practice which went horribly, with so few people that it was almost impossible to practice. what happens this week? totally different people, some of who have never seen the inside of the boat and some who have apparently rowed in the old country. one would think that the people last week would have a desire to improve, but i guess their "skills" are good enough in their minds. someone today also seemed to think that drinking a beer before working out at 10 in the morning was a good idea too. next week is going to suck.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Rants, Sports at 4:46 PM

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August 2, 2003

(m)expos?

POST #    268

just said on espn...the montreal expos new name: the mexpos. i think that's a great name, too bad they are talking about playing next season in puerto rico and not mexico. (yes, they were joking.)

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:51 PM

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August 1, 2003

NCAA hypocracy?

POST #    266

in today's new york times ("all the news that might be true"), jeremy bloom had an op-ed piece about the ncaa and their policies towards student-athletes. some of you may or may not recall how jeremy bloom was on the olympic ski team and is one of the best mogul skiers in the world. he is also a football player at the university of colorado.

he discusses how the ncaa prohibits student-athletes from having jobs and how unfair that rule is because of the money that the ncaa makes from tv rights fees. while i agree that the ncaa rule is unfair, there are reasons that it is in place. it's to ensure that there is no abuse of the system with athletes getting "special treatment" from universities or boosters (this is especially the case in football and basketball). i also agree that the ncaa rules need changing in regards to jeremy bloom's case.

in his piece, he mentions how athletes are essentially paid less than minimum wage if their tuition were to count as salaries. i'm going to have to call "bullshit" on that one. minimum wage in colorado (like most of the country) is $5.15 an hour. one semester of the most expensive major at u of c at boulder is $2,382 for a state resident and $10,816 a semester for out of state students. assuming, you take at least two semesters of classes, that's $4,764 or $21,632 a year. ncaa rules only allow 20 hours of practice a week for 132 days a year. after some calculations, one finds that he is "paid" $12.63/hour or $57.36/hour, which is clearly more than minimum wage. i'm sure all athletes put in more work than just what is allowed by the ncaa, but they also get more than what a typical student gets with their tuition, like free sneakers, uniforms, clothes, not to mention training table for football players.

all things considered, i think that jeremy makes some good points, and it is hard for athletes to be at school and make no money, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that they aren't getting anything out of it. the universities and the ncaa make out like bandits, the student-athletes get a free ride, and sometimes a chance to make a career out of sports.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:17 PM

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July 31, 2003

NFL team slogans

POST #    264

i can't wait until football season starts. the "america bowl" is this saturday in japan, but for now, here is a list of nfl team slogans from espn.com's page 2.

highlights include:
Indianapolis Colts: "Remember: You Can't Spell Indianapolis Without 'No D.'"
Jacksonville Jaguars: "A Refreshing Break From Watching The Underarm Wattles Of Elderly Floridians Flail About As They Wave Their Bingo Cards."
Kansas City Chiefs: "Come See A Priest Run Wild -- Without All The Catholic Guilt."
New England Patriots: "75 Rushing Yards Allowed The First Minute, 25 Rushing Yards Allowed Each Additional Minute."

read the rest of their names here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:51 PM

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July 29, 2003

random sports things on tv

POST #    258

last night, was the lincoln financial "battle at the bridges," a made for tv golf competition which pitted tiger woods and ernie els against phil mickelson and sergio garcia. by bringing golf to prime-time, the exhibition can draw a higher audience while remaining competitive because of the high caliber of players invited. earlier this year, mickelson said that tiger played with inferior equipment by using nike clubs and drivers, something woods and nike vehemently denied, which made for a nice source of underlying conflict (as if $600,000 per winner wasn't enough). mickelson and garcia beat woods and els 3 and 1. in the interview after the match, phil was interviewed and said, "i just want to thank tiger for making this all possible. without him, we would never be playing in prime-time." obviously true, but tiger didn't acknowledge this complement, but just stood there looking angry. i thought it was pretty amusing.

later in the night, on espn's baseball tonight, peter gammons noted an interesting fact about bob hope and the ny yankees. i'm usually loathe to report anything nice or good about the yankees, but this is a cool fact. since the yankees moved to new york from baltimore (they were originally the baltimore orioles) in 1903, they played 15,651 games. only 30 of those games happened without bob hope being alive. tonight's game will be the 31st.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:14 PM

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July 28, 2003

spotted at the ballpark

POST #    256

i'm not sure why i didn't mention this yesterday, but shea stadium has two new food vendors. i think i was reminded by espn.com - page 2's baseball tour of america, which recently stopped at edison field. anyway, at shea, they now have burritoville and ice cream from cold stone creamery (well, this is actually an assumption). burritoville replaces caliente cab co and i believe cold stone replaces baskin-robbins (i say i believe because there was an actual announcement for burritoville, but cold stone only had a sponsorship and replaced ads by baskin-robbins). the actual vendors that walk around in the stands also got a spiffy makeover - fluorescent yellow uniforms to replace their old yellow ones. these changes come with many other changes at shea before the season - improved lighting, bathrooms, signage, usher and security uniforms - and many changes to the players during the season.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Sports at 5:01 PM

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July 27, 2003

bob(ble)-a-licious

POST #    255

at today's met game, the first 35,000 fans were given ralph kiner and bob murphy bobble heads (paid attendance was only around 31,000). both broadcasters are members of the national baseball hall of fame. bob murphy also announced his retirement today, effective after the season. he's been with the mets since day 1, worked over 6,000 mets games, and has been in broadcasting over 50 years. those who have never listened to bob should turn their AM dials to 660 on gameday before it's too late. the voice of the mets will surely be missed.

read more about this news here.


kiner & murphy bobbin' to their own beats

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 6:22 PM

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July 26, 2003

practice makes...far from perfect

POST #    254

today, i had practice for the "hong kong dragonboat festival in new york" (you would think they could come up with a better name) race which takes place on august 9th and 10th. it doesn't help that you only have 7 people at practice. in a typical boat, you have at least 14 people - 12 rowers, 1 drummer, and 1 steerer. we had 6 rowers and were lacking a drummer. so sad.

check out the hkdbf site for more info on the actual race. if you want to read more about the history of dragonboat racing, read here.


not our boat, but at least they have a drummer. (there are better photos on the hkdbf site.)

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:12 PM

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haha, suckers!

POST #    253

red sox vs yankees, bottom of the 9th inning, tie game, jesse orosco retires the first batter, armando benitez comes into the game. his pitching line for the game?

A. Benitez (L, 3-4) IP-0.2 H-2 R-1 ER-1 BB-1 K-1 HR-0

thanks for taking him off the mets hands. this article from the times ("all the news that might be true") sums it up perfectly.

more on the game here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:17 PM

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one scary mofo

POST #    252

today i found out that one of my kickboxing instructors at nysc, chris, is a bad ass (not that he wasn't totally intimidating before). last week, he won the national championship in the muay thai style of kickboxing. with the title, he makes the us national team and will be going to the world championships to take on the world's best. in the three bouts he was in, two were ended in the first round with knee kicks, and one went the distance.

read more about his feat here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:46 PM

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guilty pleasures

POST #    251

i have discovered a new guilty pleasure...the espn great outdoor games. while i love a lot of things on espn (baseball tonight, sportscenter, bodyshaping, etc.), the great outdoors is now a guilty pleasure. it's strange, because i don't really identify with any of the participants since i'm not exactly a hunter or a lumberjack. the only events that i like are the "timber events." my favorite event is the springboard.


with saws this size, how can you go wrong?


"as long as i keep running, i won't bust my face on the next log."

Posted by tien mao in Sports, Sports, TV at 1:53 AM

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guilty pleasures

POST #    251

i have discovered a new guilty pleasure...the espn great outdoor games. while i love a lot of things on espn (baseball tonight, sportscenter, bodyshaping, etc.), the great outdoors is now a guilty pleasure. it's strange, because i don't really identify with any of the participants since i'm not exactly a hunter or a lumberjack. the only events that i like are the "timber events." my favorite event is the springboard.


with saws this size, how can you go wrong?


"as long as i keep running, i won't bust my face on the next log."

Posted by tien mao in Sports, Sports, TV at 1:53 AM

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July 25, 2003

maybe the funniest guy on the internet

POST #    249

today, on espn.com's page 2, there was another sports guy article. this man is quite possibly one of the funniest if not the funniest writers on the internet. his article today was responding to some reader questions in his mailbag.

highlights include: #8 from the question about the all-star game, the question about get wasted events (JK, we should do the two games in one day thing), the real world moments, and his tribute to reggie lewis.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:05 PM

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July 22, 2003

international man of mystery he is not

POST #    245

alas, he is just my dad. as per your requests, here are a couple of photos of my dad...


justin looking over my dad.


dad, with the lehigh river in the background.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:31 PM

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i'll take a little action on that

POST #    242

i never got into sports betting too much for some reason. i mean, i did the ncaa pools, some pick 'em leagues for football, roto wagering, and betting on the occasional horse race (my betting in vegas doesn't count b/c things that happen in vegas never really happen), but betting on specific games was never for me. i'm not sure why i never got into it, because i have always had plenty of disposable income to drop a wager. but, i can totally understand the allure of the bet though. and it totally makes lousy games more exciting. you can see this at any sports book in las vegas or even in some bars during football season.

to read the sports guy's humorous take on his gambling experiences, read here.

despite my not betting on games, i remember the things i win, just like sports guy does. notable victories: 1993 ncaa pool, 2001-02 football pool, 2002-03 football pool. i mean, that's 3 pools that probably put me up in my overall sports bets in my life. not bad.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:39 PM

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July 21, 2003

photos of the AT

POST #    241

i'm too lazy to make a special page or anything, so i'm just going to throw up some select photos here.


trail signage, justin has through-hiked, but saturday, we only went about 1 mile.


justin and me, halfway up the trail.


pops, scaling some rocks.


justin, on those same rocks.


me, up top, listening to some tunes and trying not to fall down.


me and justin resting and enjoying some skittles.


dad waiving adieu as he begins his decent.


um...which way was home again?

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:54 PM

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July 20, 2003

hiking the AT

POST #    239

this afternoon, my dad and i met up with my friend justin to hike the part of the appalachian trail called lehigh gap, which is about a mile long. armed with my bottle of water, sunscreen, camera, iPod, and trusty in-N-out burger hat, we climbed to the top in about 45 minutes. there were parts that were flat and parts that were challenging which justin said are probably about a 4 rating. for those parts, we grabbed a hold of some rocks and made our way up, rock by rock. once atop the mountain, we had a clear view of the surrounding area and plenty of sun exposure. after spending 20 minutes on top of the lehigh gap re-hydrating ourselves and enjoying some skittles, we cautiously made our way down, which was much harder than the climb up. overall, it wasn't too difficult of a trail, despite me being out of shape, but it was still challenging, and a good time.

pictures tomorrow.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, Photos, Sports at 9:59 PM

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July 17, 2003

mmm...sausage...

POST #    228

an excerpt from jim caple's article on racing in the sausage race:

And can you picture Simon had he gone to trial and actually been sentenced to prison?

FELON 1: "Hey, buddy, what are you in for?"

FELON 2: "Armed robbery and aggravated assault. What about you?"

FELON 1: "First-degree murder. How about you, new guy?"

SIMON: "Errr, ummmmmm, well, it's a little embarrassing. ... I beat the sausage."

[Long uncomfortable pause.]

FELON 2: "Didn't the Supreme Court just rule that that wasn't illegal anymore?"

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 4:23 PM

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good riddance

POST #    227

last night, the mets traded armando benitez to the cross-town evil empire for some low level minor leaguers. while armando has the most saves in the majors since 2000, he also has meltdowns when it counts, and leads the national league in blown saves this year with seven. so he heads to the bronx for a different role - setting up games for their closer. here is to him blowing every chance at that. how perfect would it be? yankees vs. red sox playing for the al east (or any situation really - just one that counts), top of the 8th inning, armando comes in to pitch the inning. no one on base, no outs, yankees up by one. he gives up a walk followed by a first pitch home run to manny ramirez. yankees go home. no playoffs, no nothing. sorry. if he does well? not as fun, but still okay, since the mets unloaded his salary.


squats, giving up a home run in the 9th, or an impending problem in his pants?

for jack curry's take on the trade, read here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:48 AM

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July 14, 2003

similar, but not the same

POST #    218

epsn.com's page 2 is doing a rating of all the major league ball parks this summer. they are rating pretty much anything you can think of. from transportation to tickets, beers to bathrooms, you name it, they rate it. my personal vote is for "the safe" (safeco field) in seattle, which is currently rated at #2. the pizza page isn't as chock full o'ratings as these articles, but it gets its job done.

click here to see the intro article with links to the completed ratings.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:45 AM

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July 13, 2003

another hot day at the ballpark

POST #    217

today was the last day of baseball for all teams before the all-star break with the mets wrapping up a four game series against the phillies. going into the day, the mets lost six in a row, sinking deeper into the nl east cellar and the phillies won five straight, vaulting into the nl wild card slot (its a little to early to talk wild card, but they are the 3rd best team in the nl right now). today's game was also a celebration of the 1973 pennant winning team, with replica 1973 yearbooks given to the fans as souvenirs, members of the '73 mets taking the field before the game, and tug mcgraw throwing out the first pitch. like yesterday, it was a hot day with the sun beaming down on the stadium. unlike yesterday, there were less clouds and the mets actually won. at the game with rachelle, we both needed breaks from the scorching sun. we gladly went to the concession stands shelling out money for overpriced soda as well as some carvel ice cream. i had a coke (pepsi, actually) float because they were out of root beer, that didn't look too appetizing, but it was still enjoyable. the mets took a one run lead late in the game and "all-star" pitcher armando "blow the save/i choke like its my job" benitez came into the game to close it, but ended up blowing the save. fortunately, the mets scored in the bottom of the 9th to win it, ending a painful first half of baseball.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:54 PM

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July 12, 2003

long day

POST #    216

after getting way to little sleep following the concert last night, today was not the easiest day to get through. i talked to my friend lauren this morning, which is always fun, and then went to the mets game...which is where, due to the heat and mediocrity of the mets, the fun slowed down. at the game with kim, which more than made up for the heat and the poor play on the field, there was plenty of sun. i think my hair and brain were slowly being baked by the powerful sun. thankfully, there was a slight breeze and some cloud cover that provided moments of relief. with the need of sleep and the sun draining my energy, what do i decide to do? what else...take a nap. as if the sun wasn't harsh enough, the game went into extra innings. the hapless mets went on to lose the game (could there be any other result?) in the 11th inning. sigh...

later in the night, i had the chance to catch up with my friend amy over some mexican food and girly drinks. since i was able to become familiar with girly drinks on wednesday, i was more than happy to order my strawberry margarita (which is about 10 times more "manly" than my drink on wednesday. i also got some gmat books from her. oh, how i loathe to look through those!

now, i am home to watch some boxing and pass out.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:45 PM

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July 11, 2003

sausage gate

POST #    213

okay, so this is kind of old news, but i have to comment on it. i'm sure most people know that on wednesday, randall simon of the pittsburgh pirates struck the "italian sausage" on the head with his bat. this got him arrested, a fine, and many enemies. so he is an idiot, but it was amusing. i wonder how much coverage this would have gotten if there were any other sports besides baseball going on.

the real thing to look forward to is the match up on august 15th and august 22nd (from the washington post):
"brewers executive vice president rick schlessinger said two scheduled races between the brewers 'racing sausages and the pirates' team of racing pirogis were still on. the mascot challenges are set for aug. 15 in pittsburgh and aug. 22 in milwaukee."

how fun does that sound!?! i look forward to the espn highlights.

for more on the whole thing, you can read the times ("all the news that might be true") article, the espn game summary, or the washington post article.

for more on the existence of the pirogi, check out this old espn.com article.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:46 PM

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July 10, 2003

oh the hapless mets

POST #    210

i don't even know what to say...but here is the article. thanks to rachelle for the sad but true article.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:32 AM

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July 8, 2003

darth vader

POST #    207

at tonight's mets game, james earl jones was in attendance. he performed the national anthem which was different. too bad he had to look at his notes. it's okay though because hes pretty cool and he is a univ. of michigan alumni (just like me!). also at the game were jeannette's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, some hot dogs, and some lemon ice. yum!

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:42 PM

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July 7, 2003

also at the game...

POST #    204

also at tonight's mets game was my favorite hot dog vendor. why is he my favorite? because he can get a hot dog ready in under 10 seconds without touching any of the actual food with his hands which touch the money. it's really a work of art.

and this jackass that ran onto the field. a short blurb about him here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:01 PM

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this DJ he gets down mixing records while they go round...

POST #    203

everyone that has ever gone to a mets game will know who the shea DJ is and should check out this link. link from eleanor via jeannette.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:22 PM

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July 1, 2003

Divine intervention

POST #    478

Divine intervention
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

This week, former quarterback Frank Reich, architect of the two greatest comebacks in football annals -- the greatest college comeback, the University of Maryland from a 31-0 deficit to defeat the University of Miami; and the greatest pro comeback, Buffalo from a 35-3 deficit in the playoffs to defeat Houston -- dons a robe as head of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N.C. Reich, a committed Christian and frequent speaker on religious issues, had enrolled with the intent of becoming ordained; now he's the boss. If the Reformed Theological Seminary is behind in any membership or fundraising goals, expect a big comeback!

The three-campus Reformed Theological Seminary is the academic branch of Reformed Protestant theology, which traces its origins to John Calvin, by way of the English Puritans and the Presbyterian movement. To be ordained by the Reformed Theological Seminary, you must affirm the Westminster Confession, a 1646 statement of mainly Calvinist belief that includes the notions of Biblical inerrancy, predestination, salvation by grace alone (good works won't save you) and of "the elect." This latter is the belief that before the creation of the universe, God determined which souls would go to heaven and which to hell and there is nothing anyone can do to change this. If you are born predestined for hell, that's where you will go, even if you live an exemplary life.

Some of the views Reich is embracing sound pretty silly to me. Predestination -- before the beginning of time, God foreordained that Buffalo would lose four consecutive Super Bowls? Of course, if you saw those games, it did look like a giant foot was stepping on the Bills the entire time.

But then, I also believe things that can sound pretty silly. For instance, as a churchgoing Christian, I believe Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead. There's not much point in being a Christian if you don't believe this -- as the apostle Paul wrote in First Corinthians, "If Christ has not been raised then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain" -- and I see a lot of points in being a Christian. I fully believe that on the most important morning in human history, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, went to Jesus's tomb to anoint his body and there met an angel who casually told them, "He is risen, He is not here."

But a lot of people think that believing in the resurrection is silly, and I can't prove them wrong. And though the Reformed Theological Seminary asking ministers to vow a belief in predestination and an "elect" seems silly to me, I can't prove these things are wrong, either. For all I know, it was foreordained before the beginning of time that I would write this column. All faiths involve convictions that are chuckled at by those who hold other views.

Which brings us to the real question that ought to be raised when an athlete enters the ministry: Does God care about sporting events?

At the press conference following that greatest-ever 32-point comeback against the Oilers, Reich began by reciting the lyrics to the hymn "In Christ Alone:"

In every victory
let it be said of me:
My source of strength,
my source of hope
is Christ alone.

Needless to say, God didn't answer the beep for Reich and the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
The following morning, appearing on the "Today" show, Reich called the 32-point comeback "a miracle." Last month, discussing that game, Reich told the Charlotte Observer that his victory "honored God's name." Generally, it has become common for athletes, interviewed after big games, to declare "the glory goes to God" or "all praise to Jesus" or "thanks be to God." For some, such sentiments are a way of expressing that they are grateful to God for making them strong or swift. But statements like these also imply that the divine is interested in the outcome of our little rituals involving balls and whistles. How should we take this?

First, the word "miracle." Sportscasters bat this around a lot -- halfcourt baskets are miracles, grand slams in the bottom of the ninth are miracles. There are even the Miracle Mets and a famed playoff game that ended on the Music City Miracle.

In theology, "miracle" carries two meaning -- an event transcending physical law, and the direct intervention of the divine on Earth. A basket from 50 feet, three hits by the same guy in the same inning (as occurred the other night), any such striking sports moment surely does not transcend physical law. These things may be unlikely, but that's a separate issue. Enough men and women playing enough games, and statistically, every once in a while something really unlikely will happen. True, people use "it's a miracle" as a figure of speech, not in the theological sense, because it's more fun than crying out, "That was highly improbable!" We like to think that miracles happen around us. As regards the overlap of sports and physical law, they do not.

Let me pause here to note that as a modern skeptic and Brookings Institution scholar, I believe that supernatural power actually exists and that scripture records its influence; more on that below. I just think miracles happen on subjects of greater importance than the Mets.

Then there's the second sense of the word miracle, the one that implies divine intervention. Frank Reich has said that "God controls all outcomes for His purposes," which would include the outcomes of sporting events. Assume for the sake of argument that there might be a divine purpose, hidden from us, in having the Lakers beat the Kings in the playoffs on that improbable last-second long-range three last season, or in any sports outcome. Here we're in sticky territory in terms of theology, because if God really does control all outcomes, then God dictates that evil occur, that the innocent be killed by bombs and diseases and so on.

Music City Miracle? Don't tell the special teams coach that.
Whether Christians should believe that God controls earthly events is a complex topic; at the end of this column I'll recommend a brilliant book that devotes 100 pages to the pros and cons of the argument. Short version: if God is actually in control of sports events, the human prospect is in far worse shape than previously feared. Consider that just a few weeks after looking so marvelous in the 32-point comeback game, Frank Reich looked awful in the Super Bowl, committing five turnovers as the Bills were blown off the field by Dallas. So what divine message to humanity was encoded in that sequence of events? Beats me. If God actually intervenes in football games to send us sports-encoded messages that we can't understand, woe be unto us.

Next is the notion that performance in sport gives honor to God. People who say this usually have good intent; they are trying to set a good example for the positive effects that faith can have in a person's life. George W. Bush tells anyone who will listen that he was once a pretty crummy guy, until Jesus took his hand and gave him the strength to face things about himself he was too weak to face alone. If faith caused George W. Bush to change from crummy guy to decent man -- personally, let's leave politics out of this -- then honor is given to God, and people should know.

But this is delicate, especially in the superficial context of the sports interview. Maybe faith made Reich a better athlete or Bush a better person, but forces that have nothing to do with higher power can make you a better athlete or a better person, too. There are some terrific athletes who are unprincipled, contemptible human beings; Nautilus machines and Nike shoes made them better athletes, not God. At the same time there are some saintly, soulful human beings who believe in no divinity; ethical philosophy made them better people. To praise God when things go well for you does not necessary mean much, since things might just as easily go poorly for you, or might go well without any involvement of the divine.

Praising God for success in sports can be not only grating but a form of self-flattery. When an athlete says, in effect, "God helped me catch that touchdown pass," he's saying that in a world of poverty, inequality and war, higher powers thought his touchdown catch so vastly important that God intervened on Earth to make sure that both feet came down inbounds, while doing nothing to prevent slaughter in Africa or the Middle East. Though meant to suggest humility, praising God for success in sports often becomes a form of vanity: God wanted me to catch that pass! When I hear athletes imply that this is what the divine is like, I think: No thanks.

Finally, does God show favor or disapproval by causing us to perform well or poorly in sports? Maybe, but it seems unlikely. Could Frank Reich really have been a fine, admirable human being worthy of God's favor on Jan. 3, 1993, day of the 35-3 comeback, and then have become a despicable person deserving of divine retribution by Jan. 31, 1993, day of Reich's embarrassment in the Super Bowl? It seems a lot more likely he just had a really good outing in one game and a really bad outing in another.

God has a lot to do with our lives and hopes; God has nothing to do with who wins games, or throws or catches touchdowns. God is neither honored by good performances nor dishonored by poor ones. It's just sports, a very minor concern compared to faith, a major concern.

Credentials note: according to statisticians at the Elias Sports Bureau, I'm the only current ESPN writer who has published a book on Christian theology. Sadly it just went out of print, though most libraries have it; and according to Amazon.com, first editions are selling for $70 and up, which came as a surprise to me. If you're dying to acquire a copy, e-mail me and I'll sell you one for the cover price.

Among other things, this book maintains that accounts of resurrection or walking on water should not put any rationalist off from faith, since who can say what is possible from the standpoint of higher knowledge? Rationalists of previous centuries would have considered the Boeing 747 forbidden by physical law, or declared reports of heart transplants to be absurd superstition. Claims of supernatural events are the easy part of faith to get your head around, as history is full of things that appear supernatural from one perspective and explicable from another. The hard part of faith to get your head around is believing God exists. The rest is arguments over the details.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 7:25 PM

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June 29, 2003

u of m 20, uva 6

POST #    7

so it was a tad one sided and we only had one girl and they had four that rotated batting...minor detail. i went 2 for 4 (or 3 for 4, if you want to exclude error-like plays in the outfield) with 3 runs scored. no sliding this time and no balls hit to me at all. the ball was carrying today though, so at least i can say nothing was hit over my head.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:08 PM

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June 27, 2003

NBA draft 2003

POST #    12

last night, a bunch of teenagers from high school, college, and europe, as well as some guys in their early 20s were selected to play in the NBA. while success is not guaranteed, signing bonuses are. players like lebron james, darko milicic, and carmelo anthony are already collecting on checks from their shoe companies, while others stand to get some shoe money along with those pesky nba salaries as well.


the draft board before selections begin.


for some reason, anthony kiedis of the red hot chili peppers was at the draft.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:17 AM

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June 26, 2003

mets 6 - marlins 3, calories? countless...

POST #    16

last night, i went to the mets game with carolina. it was quite hot out, but not as bad as i expected. at least i wasn't on the field running around or dressed in a huge baseball head like mr. met was. speaking of mr. met, i finally got to take some pictures of him. unfortunately, i was unable to have my picture taken with him because of the throng of children. with that crowd, you would think a new harry potter book was just released or something.


(yes, i have an unhealthy obsession with mr. met, but he just makes me laugh)

here are some photos of what we ate and carolina working off the calories by waiving her free hat...

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:39 AM

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June 21, 2003

i dont know my own strength

POST #    26

today in kickboxing class, i accidentally kicked a bag into the mirror, shattering part of it. oops.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:22 PM

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June 20, 2003

subway series

POST #    27

tonight, i went to the mets game where they played the cross-town evil empire team.

the mets lost, but the highlight of the game were two plays by tsuyoshi shinjo. the first was an assist as he threw out a runner at 3rd and the other play was a home run robbing grab at the wall. for now, you can see the play on the mets web site.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:35 PM

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June 19, 2003

yikes, 16 home games in 24 days

POST #    31

starting friday, the mets play 16 games at home until the all star break. thats insanity. how do they expect me to go to so many baseball games. if anyone is interested in going with me for the games after this weekend, please let me know!

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:23 PM

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June 17, 2003

michigan 17, duke 12

POST #    33

man, softball is a high scoring sport. if only michigan could always beat duke in sports. damn that school. if you're wondering how i did, i went 1-3 with a single and a run scored. the run was pretty sweet if i do say so myself. i was on second and there was a hit and i was waived home. the throw from the cut-off man was coming and i slid...head first, to come in safe! woo. and i barely skinned my knee. today, i am paying for my efforts last night. the all out sprinting from home to first has left my quads and hamstrings very sore.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:04 PM

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a beautiful day for baseball, i mean softball

POST #    35

at least thats what weather underground says. tonight is my first alumni softball game this season. michigan vs duke, what a classic matchup. i hope i play well and dont mess up. that would suck. great lawn, field 1, 7pm if anybody wants to watch me...not sure why you would though.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 1:43 PM

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June 14, 2003

at the stadium to watch the evil empire

POST #    37

last night, some college friends of mine (dan, john and katie) came into town for the weekend. we went to peter luger for dinner which was good as always.

today we went to evil empire stadium in the bronx to watch the evil empire play the st. louis cardinals (two of my friends are from the lou).

there was also a mullet a the game...

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:03 PM

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June 13, 2003

basketball rant

POST #    39

back in december while at work, i was bored and i was looking to entertain myself for a little while. earlier that month, i had a discussion about why the nba is so crappy and i said it was because of the lack of bball fundamentals and the drastic decline of the mid-range jumper and the players' love of the 3 pointer and the dunk. this past week, gregg easterbrook discussed how the nba is an ugly ugly league. here is an excerpt from the column:
"Adoration of the three-point shot also contributes to NBA decline. Every NBA gentleman now wants to drain a trey and then dance around pointing at himself; most seem willing to clang quite a few silly attempts in order to get that one moment of self-pointing. Announcers and sportswriters are complicit -- they wildly praise the three-pointer that falls, rarely criticize the silly long attempt. Players know they will be wildly praised if they hit a big three, while no one will say anything if they miss threes that should have been twos. So, responding to the incentive structure, players launch crazy shots that go clang, and offensive quality erodes.

Then there's slam-dunk psychology. Announcers and, especially, marketers extol the slam. Yet the most exciting play in basketball is the layup -- because layups don't happen unless at least two players are working together. The best and most exciting play in Sunday's Spurs-Nets game was a first-quarter fast-break layup by New Jersey, the layup coming after two very sharp, coordinated passes. Slam-dunks don't require coordinated play. Slam-dunks don't require practice. They just happen. What do we see in the current Nike commercials? Basketball players going one-on-one and slam-dunking. We don't see coordinated action being extolled; we see immature, pointing-at-myself strutting."

(for those that are interested, i can forward you my analysis with statistics included.)

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:04 PM

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June 10, 2003

The Rust Age of the NBA

POST #    483

The Rust Age of the NBA
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

Each year around this time, Tuesday Morning Quarterback journeys alone to a distant wilderness, fasts, meditates, gawks at the Philadelphia Eagles' cheerleaders' lingerie calendar and offers a prayer of thanks to the football gods that the NFL has not become the NBA. Herewith the prayer:

Oh football gods, on thine couch above
Copyrighted be thy names.
Give us each fall some mojo sport
And reverse our bad calls,
As we reverse the ball calls of others.
Deliver us from the NFL turning into the NBA!
For thine is the gold standard, the buzz and the ratings
Now and forever, at least till the next network contract.

Thanks be to the football gods that the NFL does not become the NBA! There is a reason why the National Football League is America's No. 1 sport by every measure -- attendance, ratings, merchandising -- as the once-hot NBA continues its downward slip-slide in popularity. The reason is the decline of NBA play, which every season seems to become more simplified, less coordinated and more immature. Every year the NBA becomes less mature by about one tree-ring. During the Magic-Bird-MJ Golden Age, it was a sport of mental 30-year-olds, then 29-year-olds, then 28-year-olds and so on. Currently the NBA is a sport of mental 19-year-olds.


If the NFL turned into the NBA, there would be no plays on offense; 11 guys would just run around doing whatever they felt like, calling for the ball. Each person who actually got the ball would immediately throw a 60-yard pass, then turn to the officials to scream for a foul. Players would refuse to speak to each other, and cover their ears when coaches spoke. Players would put tattoos on their helmets. Fans would start leaving while the game was still on the line, as the home fans did Sunday night in the Meadowlands. With a minute remaining and the Nets down three, there were already hundreds of empty seats throughout Continental Airlines Arena, while those moving up the aisles to exit blocked the view of those staying for the quaint reason of finding out who wins. Home fans streaming out in the final minute of a close championship game. Ye gods. You've got to have a pretty troubled sport to achieve that. Welcome to the NBA.


But don't take my word for it, take the people's plebiscite. NBA attendance is down, while NFL attendance sets a new record almost annually. NBA ratings have fallen almost 45 percent in the past decade, while NFL ratings remain tops in sports and have been rising mildly in recent years. For a decade the quality of the NBA product has been going downhill. The NBA's attitude is that fans are too stupid to notice. But fans know about the decline and are paying steadily less attention. Please, oh football gods, don't let this spread to the NFL!


The central measure of NBA quality decline is the ever-more-awful performance of teams on offense. The clich is that NBA gentlemen play no defense, but the reverse is the problem. It's the offensive game where the awfulness is, and this was true long before the Nets and Spurs played the lowest-scoring NBA Finals quarter in history on Sunday night; was true long before the Nets and Mavericks, two teams in conference championship series, each turned in embarrassing sub-double-digit quarters in key games.

We present you with Miss Universe, because Jason Kidd is just not pretty.
NBA defense has been pretty decent in recent years, because defense principally requires exertion, and most NBA players are giving fans their money's worth there. Check those bald heads -- they're dappled with sweat from effort. And with the expansion of NBA rules to allow both zone and man defenses, some defensive schemes now actually exhibit planning, the Spurs 3-2, which they have switched in and out of to bedevil the Nets, being an example.


Offense, on the other hand -- cover your eyes! Offense requires coordination between players. Offense requires players listening to coaches and following their instructions. Offense requires team spirit and unselfishness. Offense requires knowledge of fundamentals, the kind of knowledge you get by playing several years in college. On coordination, coaching, unselfishness and knowledge of fundamentals, nearly every NBA offense has gone south. This is why the game has become ugly, aesthetically. Fans know it and are responding by watching less.


Almost any NBA contest provides examples, but take the most recent -- Sunday night's Spurs-Nets collision. It was not unusual defense that made for 63 combined points in the first half, or for a New Jersey nine-point quarter; it was appalling offense. If the Nets ran any coordinated play at any point Sunday, I missed it. Every possession was a high screen followed by someone going one-on-one while his teammates watched. Give-and-go? Pick-and-roll? Baseline rubs? If New Jersey ran even these simple plays, let alone anything requiring practice or coordination, I missed it. The Nets on offense looked like a bunch of guys who had just met a few minutes before and just chosen up sides for a pickup game.


The nadir came when the Spurs led by five and New Jersey took possession with 43 seconds remaining. Did the Nets run a play -- do anything that required planning or thinking? Kenyon Martin grabbed the ball and went one-on-one as everyone else watched; his shot clanged and the game was effectively over. Yumpin' jiminy. The farther into the postseason the Nets progress, the worse their offense becomes. New Jersey averaged 102.2 points per game in its first playoff series, 101.3 in its second, 90.8 in its third, and is down to just 85 points per game in the championship round. The farther New Jersey progresses, the more often its offensive possessions become one guy grabbing the ball, going one-on-one and heaving up a bad shot that clangs.


The Spurs, in turn, aren't exactly the 1966 Celtics on offense. But at least they run plays, mainly the inside-out action, instead of just going one-on-one. Merely running plays, rather than running around at random, may be what hands San Antonio this year's title.


While the NBA is purportedly a flashy offense-dominated league, overall offensive proficiency is in long-term decline. The Spurs, the likely champions, are shooting just .447 percent in the playoffs. Boston, which got to the conference semifinals, shot just .422 in the playoffs. Detroit, which got to the conference finals, shot just .410 percent in the playoffs. Dallas, promoted as the exemplar of 21st-century offense, averaged just .450 percent in the playoffs. Imagine what would be happening to NFL popularity if runners averaged 2.9 yards a carry and passers averaged 4.7 yards per attempt.


Shooting numbers are so poor because NBA teams spend much of their time launching low-percentage shots. Anyone can go one-on-one and then heave up a low-percentage prayer. Getting into position for high-percentage shots requires tactics, set plays and coordination among players. In the ego-is-everything contemporary NBA, plays and coordination don't happen. Low-percentage shots happen. Clang happens.

Ladies and gentlemen -- here is your NBA leader of tomorrow.
One reason for the erosion in NBA quality is the ever-earlier age at which players join the league. Jumping from high school, or after one or two years of college, means players arrive with insufficient coaching in fundamentals -- equally important, with insufficient repetitions of the fundamentals. Callow, lightly-coached players arriving in the NBA must choose between patiently learning fundamentals, or going one-on-one and then jumping around pointing at themselves. Which option would the typical teenager be expected to select? TMQ's big argument against letting anyone below the age of 20 play in the NBA is that this is bad for basketball, killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Every year there are more younger, unpolished players and fewer golden eggs. Think about it.


Adoration of the three-point shot also contributes to NBA decline. Every NBA gentleman now wants to drain a trey and then dance around pointing at himself; most seem willing to clang quite a few silly attempts in order to get that one moment of self-pointing. Announcers and sportswriters are complicit -- they wildly praise the three-pointer that falls, rarely criticize the silly long attempt. Players know they will be wildly praised if they hit a big three, while no one will say anything if they miss threes that should have been twos. So, responding to the incentive structure, players launch crazy shots that go clang, and offensive quality erodes.


Then there's slam-dunk psychology. Announcers and, especially, marketers extol the slam. Yet the most exciting play in basketball is the layup -- because layups don't happen unless at least two players are working together. The best and most exciting play in Sunday's Spurs-Nets game was a first-quarter fast-break layup by New Jersey, the layup coming after two very sharp, coordinated passes. Slam-dunks don't require coordinated play. Slam-dunks don't require practice. They just happen. What do we see in the current Nike commercials? Basketball players going one-on-one and slam-dunking. We don't see coordinated action being extolled; we see immature, pointing-at-myself strutting.


The Nike commercials don't even depict games. They depict one guy trying to jump over or blow past one other guy -- the least challenging, least interesting aspect of basketball -- one-on-one being the form of basketball that requires no thinking whatsoever. Nike may believe that emphasizing low-percentage immature strutting is a way to sell shoes; perhaps Nike calculates that its typical customer is a low-percentage, immature sort of individual. But this race to the bottom surely is not selling the NBA. Every year there are fewer golden eggs.

Readers Asked, As a Public Service, to Inspect Swimsuit Photos: Congratulations to 6-foot-1 Amelia Vega of the Dominican Republic, Miss Universe 2003 -- though, as TMQ annually complains, if it's really a Miss Universe competition, why were there no contestants from other worlds? The whole thing is rigged so that Earth always wins.

International women in swimsuits. Thank you, Donald.
Last year the form you had to fill out to apply for the Miss Universe competition mysteriously asked "gender M/F?" Presumably the male applicants didn't progress far. This year the gender question goes unstated, but the form restricts birth years to 1976-1985 -- that is, to an age of 18 to 27.


TMQ perennially complains that the Miss America website posts nothing regarding the single most important aspect of the event -- pictures from the swimming competition. No such problem for the Miss Universe pageant, which is owned by Donald Trump and, in the spirit of The Donald, cheesecake-friendly. Just go here, pick a country under "select a delegate," then click photo and then swimsuit. Alternatively, for fun, click "national costume."


Through some rapid clicking, TMQ discovered that the delegates from Australia, Costa Rica, Finland and the Netherlands were among those making a mega-babe impression in swimsuits. Many are athletic -- hey, there's a flimsy excuse that would justify cheesecake photos! Anna Stromberg of Finland participates in snow skiing, ice skating, soccer and judo; Ashley Talbot of Australia favors gymnastics, snow and water skiing, martial arts and mountain climbing; Andrea Ovares of Costa Rica does gymnastics and spinning, in addition to playing soccer and basketball. The national costume photo of Malayka Rasmijn of Aruba was quite something, as was the fact that she speaks four languages and races dragsters for a living. What might the national costume of the United States be? According to Susie Castillo, Miss USA, it's a Wonder Woman outfit. TMQ would have thought business attire, Kate Spade bag and sneakers.


Owing to time, I only skimmed a few Miss Universe delegate portfolios. This week's Reader Challenge is to gawk at the Miss Universe contestants and call to TMQ's attention others who are either mega-babes, deserving of a swimsuit appearance in the column, or whose national costume is entertaining. Propose your nominees and reasoning (must be printable) here.


The Three-Pointer At Its Worst: Last season, Robert Horry of the Lakers won a key playoff game against the Kings with a trey at the buzzer. Los Angeles trailed by two with seconds left; the Lakers played it smart and went for the tie to force overtime; the sphere bounced around; Vlade Divac of Sacramento hurled it away from the basket thinking to win the game; Horry, standing at the three line, caught the ball and drilled a three. TMQ wrote at the time -- see this column for many more examples of declining NBA offense -- "Horry was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders, but he should have been taken away by the CIA for questioning." With his team down by two in the final seconds, what on Earth was Horry, a power forward, doing 25 feet from the basketball, blowing on his fingernails, rather than down in the paint trying to tie the game? But he took a zany three, got lucky and was praised. It was, TMQ wrote at the time, "a spectacularly successful bad offensive play that will have pernicious effects for years to come."

Hey, Robert ... the Daddy is open.
Now the chickens have come home to roost. Detroit trailed by two with seconds to play in a conference final game against New Jersey. Did the Pistons do the smart thing and try for a two to force overtime? Chauncey Billups stepped back for the three to win, clang. Somehow Detroit considered Billups from three-land the right move in a need-two situation, though Chauncey shot just .310 percent from the arc (and a cover-your-eyes .374 overall) in the playoffs. San Antonio trailed by two with seconds left in Game 2 of the finals. Did the Spurs do the smart thing and try for a regular basket to force overtime? Stephen Jackson, shooting .337 from the arc in the playoffs, stepped back for the three to win, clang.


These are the pernicious effect of the Horry play. Remembering how Horry was praised for blind luck while playing poor tactics, NBA players now want to fire up a three to win when tactics dictate a two to tie.


The Customary Five Steps: At this point, traveling has become so common in the NBA that it might as well be legalized. Four and five steps are standard; unlimited steps seem to be allowed so long as you dunk the ball. Announcers don't even bother to mention traveling anymore. Purists like TMQ think one reason for the decline of NBA quality is the lower standards on this rule. But if traveling is going to be legal, let's make it official and change the rule.


This year, up-and-down has become legal as well. On Sunday night, Jason Kidd drove the lane, took the customary four or five steps, leapt into the air, came down on both feet, paused, then jumped for a basket. No whistle, no comment from the announcers. Kobe Bryant and other NBA players have used this up-and-down lane drive this season -- to my knowledge, no whistle has sounded. In the Lakers-Spurs series, Shaq drove the lane, took the customary four or five steps, jumped up to fake, came back down with both feet, paused, then jumped to slam. "What a shot!" Marv Alpert thundered, not mentioning that what made it so distinctive was being illegal. In the Philadelphia-Detroit series, on the final Pistons' possession of regulation, Tayshaun Prince drove the lane, took the customary five steps, stopped, jumped with both feet, came down with both feet, took another three steps and scored the basket that forced overtime, which Detroit won. "I've never seen a move like that!" TMQ heard one highlight-reel type rave. TMQ hopes you've never seen a move like that, and hopes you never see it again.


Up-and-down seems even to have been decriminalized in the NCAA. In the Duke-Kansas tourney game, Sheldon White at one point spun into the lane, leapt, came down on both feet, looked around, then took two more steps and shot to score. No whistle.


So if up-and-down is now going to be legal, along with traveling, might as well make both these new rules official. Just bear in mind that every time standards are lowered, the number of golden eggs declines.

So Sammy cheated! Don't you know that it's all the rage right now?
Investigators X-Rayed TMQ's Sentences and Found Banned Gerunds: Allegations that Sammy Sosa has been using corked bats have been hotly denied by his press spokesman, Jayson Blair. His agent, Jack Grubman, swears that all 4,000 of Sosa's previous home runs were genuine, while Arthur Andersen is conducting a no-holds-barred audit. WorldCom is tracing Sosa's cell phone calls to make sure that none were to cork dealers, while Adelphia promises to review tapes of his previous games. Following a meeting at the offices of Enron -- no, I can't go on with this joke.


Here is what you see if you go to the Arthur Andersen website -- a single screen that connects to nothing. But then, we now know Arthur Andersen was always just a screen!


Proposed: Swap Sparkids for Chippendales: Lisa Leslie of the LA Sparks recently was praised for becoming the first woman to dunk in a WNBA contest. (Georgeann Wells of West Virginia University was the first woman to dunk in any competition event, an NCAA contest in 1984.) This made TMQ wonder, if NBA teams have scantily clad mega-babe dance teams, shouldn't WNBA teams have shirtless ultra-hunk cheer studs? The Los Angeles Sparks instead have Sparkids, the low-rent answer to courtside animation.


But No Warning About Sex, Which Means It Is A Realistic Portrayal of the Typical Wedding: Disclaimers for the movie "The In-Laws" caution viewers of "action violence." The movie is a comedy about a wedding.


Maybe They Should Be the Bergen County Nets: With NHL and NBA finals events in the Meadowlands on consecutive nights, ABC showed a graphic of the number of times in sports lore that two major championships have been won in the same year by "the same city." But it's the New Jersey Devils and the New Jersey Nets going down to the wire. In what sense, exactly, is "New Jersey" a "city?"


Non-Cheerleader of the Week: WNBA teams have no cheer-hunks and NBA teams do not have cheerleaders, they have "dancers". This distinction surely can't be because basketball is more sophisticated than football, considering that a typical NFL playbook is hundreds of pages thick, whereas in the NBA the playbook consists of an erasable marker and a diagram of the court. TMQ is always aghast, during timeouts, to see NBA coaches furiously scribbling a play on their little diagrams and showing it to their charges, as if extremely highly paid professional basketball gentlemen had never seen a designed play before. Of course, maybe they never have.

Welcome to the party, Isamari.
Anyway, the NBA has "dancers," not cheerleaders, in part because the court environment allows basketball babes to perform more rigorously choreographed routines than is possible on a football sideline. So TMQ's Non-Cheerleader of the Week is Isamari of the Spurs' Silver Dancers. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Texas, Isamari is a nursing student whose goal is to become a nurse-anesthetist -- presumably, just looking at her makes some guys pass out -- and who would like to visit "Tibet, to learn about a culture that is so peaceful." Isamari, since Tibet's failed 1959 rebellion against Chinese occupation, the country has been a culture of dictatorship. The current Department of State Human Rights Report calls Tibet's human rights record "poor," documents general repression -- including the torture of Buddhist nuns -- and cautions travelers that movement of foreigners within Tibet is "tightly controlled." Unhappy conditions in the country are China's doing, of course, but for the moment the Riverwalk is a lot more peaceful than Tibet.


That's Like Passing Huge Tax Cuts and Pretending No Deficit Will Someday Come Due. Who Would Ever Do Anything So Foolish?: Though Memphis was awful this year, it won't have the second-overall pick in the NBA draft, because the Grizzlies traded their 2003 selection to Detroit six years ago. Several badly fouled-up NBA franchises, including the Grizzlies and Wizards, have in the last decade traded No. 1 choices far in the future in order to acquire has-beens and who-dats today. Since the typical NBA general manager knows he won't be around in six years, why should he care? But the league should impose a time limit on such transactions.


What Memphis Needs Is a 2,1-High Center to Clog the Lane: As European, Mexican and South American performers continue their influx into the NBA (cartography note: Mexico is in North America, not South, as is commonly said), the league now lists player statistics not only in metric numbers, but using the European convention of commas where the U.S. system places decimal points. For instance, did you know that Mehmet Okur is 112,9

We give you the Laker Girls, because we felt it was too soon for a picture of Hillary.
It Takes a Village to Write a Hillary Book: Last year, TMQ pointed out that Hillary Rodham Clinton was lying when she claimed to be the author of "It Takes a Village," which was actually penned by a ghostwriter named Barbara Feinman Todd. Specifically, TMQ noted last year, "Hillary's official U.S. Senate biography states, 'In 1997, she wrote the best-selling book It Takes a Village.' This is an outright lie. Wouldn't it be a nice gesture if official Senate biographies did not contain lies?" Clinton's current Senate biography repeats the lie that she wrote "It Takes a Village," while going on to assert that Clinton "also wrote 'Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids Letters to the First Pets.' Her latest book, 'An Invitation to the White House' was an immediate best seller in addition, the Senator has authored numerous magazine and journal articles as well as op-ed pieces." All these statements are outright lies, as the other Hillary books were also ghosted, while staff members penned the "numerous magazine and journal articles" for which Clinton now claims authorship.


Comes now "Living History," another book "by" Hillary Clinton. Set aside whether this much-hyped marketing vehicle contains so much as a single sentence that rises above the level of statements of the obvious regarding events that have already been reported in excruciating detail. Once again, Clinton is presented as the author of what is actually a ghosted book. The world learned that Barbara Feinman Todd wrote "It Takes a Village," because the publisher inadvertently issued a press release announcing the true author; Hillary threw an ego fit and demanded that all reference to Todd's existence be removed from the book and its press materials, which was presented to the world as if it were the product solely of Clinton's late-night labors. This time around, the pages of "Living History" thank three people -- the much-admired former White House speech writer Alison Muscatine, veteran ghost Maryanne Vollers and researcher Ruby Shamir -- who are assumed to be the actual authors. But the cover and the frontispiece still boldly state, "by Hillary Rodham Clinton."


"Living History" is a 562-page book. A work of that length would take an average writer perhaps four years to produce; a highly proficient writer might finish in two years, if working on nothing else. Clinton signed the contract to "write" the book about two years ago. About the same time, she also was sworn in as a member of the United States Senate. Clinton took an oath to protect the Constitution and to serve the citizens of New York. So in the last two years Clinton has either been neglecting her duties as a United States Senator -- that is, violating her oath -- in order to be the true author of "Living History," or she is claiming authorship of someone else's work. Considering that Clinton has made almost daily public appearances during the period when she was supposedly feverishly "writing" her book, let's make a wild guess which explanation pertains.


If you didn't write something, and claimed to the world that you did, what you would be doing is lying. Wouldn't it be a nice gesture if United States senators did not lie?


Perhaps you're thinking, "But all people who reach the limelight lie about being authors." No, they don't. Consider that the previous book project of Maryanne Vollers, one of Hillary's ghosts, was about Jerri Nielsen, the doctor who had to be airlifted out of Antarctica. How was that book presented? As "Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole" by Jerri Nielsen with Maryanne Vollers. No lying about the true author.

TMQ wonders how Sen. Clinton found the time to write a 562-page book.
Consider that John McCain's autobiographical work, "Faith of My Fathers," proclaims on its cover "by Mark Salter, with John McCain." The true author's name is there for everyone to see, and this neither detracts from sales ("Faith of My Fathers" was a commercial success) nor causes anyone to think any less of McCain. Famous people who care about their honor, like McCain, freely acknowledge using ghostwriters -- this is called "honesty." Famous people with serious ego problems, or who don't care about their honor, lie about being authors.


Now suppose you were a college student, hired someone to write a thesis paper for you, then submitted the work as your own. Suppose, when caught, rather than confess, you indignantly insisted you were the true author. What would happen to you is that you'd be expelled. For you to lie about having written something would be considered inexcusable.


As for Hillary's presidential aspirations, voters have on occasion elected presidents who turned out to be liars, such as Richard Nixon, and lived to regret it. If voters choose a president whom they know in advance to be liar, woe onto the voters. And what is it that the jacket of Hillary Clinton's new book proclaims to all the world?


Her Exact Words Were, "Tonight I Am Having Dinner With You Exclusively": One reason the establishment press won't point out Hillary's lies about authorship is that it is engaged in a symbiotic relationship with her. Sunday, the senator gave a prime-time "exclusive" interview about her book to Barbara Walters of ABC; Monday, the cover of Time magazine was an interview with Hillary; Tuesday, she gives a prime-time "exclusive" interview to Larry King of CNN; "exclusives" with NBC, CBS, Fox, UPN, MSNBC, CNBC, ESPN/2 and the Food Channel can't be far behind. Any news organizations that noted Clinton is lying when she claims to be an author would be frozen out of this game.


And didn't "exclusive" once mean, "to this news organization only?" Now "exclusive" seems to mean, "I am only talking to this news organization at this particular moment." By such a definition, virtually all interviews are exclusives. Hmm, when TMQ began dating the Official Wife of TMQ, she assured me she was seeing me "exclusively."


The Clerk Will Now Call the Roll on the Hillary Clinton Deception About Authorship Act of 2003: President Bush's hydrogen-research funding request, made during his State of the Union address, emerged from Congress as the "George E. Brown and Robert S. Walker Hydrogen Future Act of 2003," amending the "Spark M. Matsunaga Hydrogen Research Act of 1990."


Now members of Congress are even naming elements after themselves! And Tuesday Morning Quarterback loves that spurious use of middle initials for members of Congress -- Senator Spark M. Matsunaga, as if to say, "Oh, you mean that Spark Matsunaga."


Note That I'm Tastefully Leaving Out Other Comparisons Involving Harnesses and Riding Crops: As the Triple Crown season concludes, TMQ is moved to the following comparison regarding horseracing. Vast expense, months of planning, emphasis on appearance, emphasis on stud performance, all building up to about two minutes of action -- hey, horseracing is just like dating!

Undercover Brother: Mindless movie or conspiracy expos? You decide.
In "Undercover Brother II," We Learn the Sinister Truth About Field-Goal Kickers: In 2002, "Undercover Brother" declared that the 3-point shot was introduced into the NBA to help whites. TMQ was dubious of this conspiracy theory, as all players of all colors, creeds, religions and national heritages seemed to be making the same unpleasant clang sound with their trey attempts.


But then Mehmet Okur from Turkey, who looks like he should be bagging leaves for a lawn service, went 7-for-13 from the 3-line in the playoffs for Detroit, helping advance the Pistons to the semifinals. Then the Canadian antiwar protestor Steve Nash, whose hair makes him look like he's just taken a quick, refreshing dip in a pool of transmission fluid, went 37-for-74 from 3-land in the playoffs, almost pulling out a championship appearance for the shorthanded Mavs. Then Steve Kerr had his rapid-fire four-straight-treys outburst that left jaws hanging and put the Spurs into the NBA Finals.


Could it be that "Undercover Brother" was actually right about something?


Just the Words "Cherry Vanilla" Brighten Up My Day: Probably readers assume that mega-babes rush up to TMQ everywhere and write their phone numbers in lipstick on my arm, or at least, Mercedes and Acura provide free cars. Actually, as this column has noted many times before, the only tangible benefit I have ever sought is a bag of ESPN Zone tokens for my kids, and Disney corporate headquarters still hasn't sent same. I was, however, delighted to receive from reader Joe Rancatore, Jr., a dry-ice-packed shipment of the yummy specialty ice cream he makes at Ranc's Ice Cream and Yogurt in Belmont Massachusetts. If you stop by his store, TMQ suggests a cone of one scoop cherry vanilla, one scoop bittersweet chocolate. But not even Ranc's makes the Official Flavor of TMQ: blueberry almond martini. Just as well, perhaps.


TMQ Perfect Moment: Gawk at Cheerleader Calendar While Eating Ice Cream: Besides ice cream, the other tangible object of value that TMQ has received is a Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders' lingerie calendar with each month autographed in gold Sharpie by the cheer-babe in the picture. This was sent my way unsolicited by the Eagles' PR department, and has become a treasured TMQ possession. When the calendar runs out in December, I plan to donate it directly to the Smithsonian Institution.


Eagles cheer-babes, please tell us you have something spectacular planned for this year's calendar edition. Elegant, tasteful, artistic and revealing, OK?


Signature Dish at Salvatore's: T-Bone Steak. Get Two and You Have to Leave the Restaurant: Working the refs almost always backfires, and never was this better displayed than in a Sixers-Pistons playoff game in Philadelphia. Bennett Salvatore called a terrible game, as he so often does. Larry Brown and the Sixer players responded by jawing at him endlessly, while Rick Carlisle remained stone-faced and cautioned his charges not to engages in ref-baiting. The result was that the Pistons went to the line 38 times and the Sixers 22 times, in a four-point game played on the Sixers' home court. Yes, Salvatore is a terrible ref. But some refs are terrible, and dealing with them is one aspect of being a professional. Philadelphia exited the playoffs partly through its childishness in dealing with the officials.

How can we forget the Eagles cheerleaders?
Click here for a review of the "elegant atmosphere" at Bennett's Steak and Fish House in Stamford, Connecticut. Does Salvatore, who is notorious for calling technicals whenever coaches so much as look at him cross-eyed, throw diners out if they complain about the fish sauce?


Coaching careers note: Carlisle's Pistons just bested Brown's Sixers in a playoff series. What happened a week later? The Pistons fired Carlisle in order to replace him with Brown. Yea, verily, the basketball gods will exact vengeance on Detroit.


The Trenchcoat Is Lovely for Perp Walks, And You'll Want Something Casually Formal During Testimony: Martha Stewart has now been indicted on criminal charges of obstruction of justice, and faces a civil complaint of insider trading. Read Martha's reaction in her own words.


The main charges involve accusations of altering evidence about trading that, in itself, appears to have been legal. This makes the whole situation puzzling, to say the least: Why perjure yourself about your innocence? Calling the situation "bizarre," Stewart's own lawyers offer no explanation of why she would be dishonest regarding legal acts. Here's a possible explanation: Stewart knew there was something fishy about what she'd done, and tried to doctor the evidence in hopes of denying everything. Only after an anti-Martha backlash started did she focus on the fact that her trades, while unethical, had not been against the law. By then, she had doctored evidence and was, in the classic sense, hoisted on her own petard.


Seen "in the light most favorable" to her, as lawyers say, Stewart through no initiative of her own received indirect insider information suggesting stocks she owned were about to plummet in value -- her broker called to say the company's president was unloading all his personal shares. That probably means something bad is about to happen to the stock, but you can't be sure this is what it means; it might mean the company president needs to pay off his mistress. At any rate, tipped that the shares probably though not definitely were about to nose-dive, Stewart immediately sold her entire position. The next day the shares nose-dived.


Embarrassed by having suffered a greed attack, the "best light" interpretation continues, Stewart later tried to alter records to make it seem her decision to sell that day had just been an amazing coincidence. Simultaneously, she was unjustly accused, in the press and by a publicity-seeking congressional committee, of engaging in a much worse form of insider trading -- of knowing "material nonpublic" information, in this case that a company had learned a primary product was about to be denied government approval. Upset at being accused of doing worse than she actually did, Stewart lost her poise and made devious statements to investigators. There ought to be some sympathy for the bundle of nerves you, too, would become if you knew that federal investigators were poring over the minutiae of your affairs, hoping to find a way to ruin your life.

If you're worth a billion, you're a special kind of stupid when you get in this mess over $47,000.
But don't fall for the notion, advanced by pro-Martha commentators, that her sale of the ImClone stock was a victimless crime. Stewart does not dispute that by using privileged information to sell her ImClone shares just before their value dropped, she avoided a loss of about $46,000. That's the same as saying she swindled the stock buyers out of $46,000, and if someone swindled you out of $46,000, you would want government agents to knock on that person's door. Swindles are not very tasteful, Martha!


Martha's handcuffs create an excuse for Tuesday Morning Quarterback to repeat its Stewart jokes of a year ago. Herewith,


The Stewart empire is based on the magazines Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Baby and Martha Stewart Weddings, plus her "everyday" and "signature" product lines. Tuesday Morning Quarterback suggests her new publications will be:


Martha Stewart's Minimum Security Living


Martha Stewart's Gang Colors Guide


Martha Stewart's Markin' Time


New "signature" products will include decorative electronic ankle bracelets, pure Scotland wool orange jumpsuits with hidden shiv pocket and Early American lacework wall-hangings perfect for steel bars. In the "everyday" category, tips on how to dress for jury sympathy, plus the most fabulous recipe for bundt cake with fresh raspberries, peaches, crme Anglais and baked-in key! For an actual Martha Stewart bundt cake recipe, click here.


Now, Having Taken Shots at Martha and Hillary, Let's Take a Shot at a White Male: "In a crisis, don't hide behind anything or anybody. They're going to find you anyway." Thus said Paul "Bear" Bryant, legendary football coach admired by Alabama native Howell Raines, who resigned last week as editor of the New York Times ("All the News That Might Be True").

The N.Y. Times editors should have stuck to their Bear Bryant approach.
Raines was renown for quoting Bryant around the newsroom, but when crisis arrived for Raines, he ignored the Bear's counsel. Though a newspaper editor, Raines spent a month refusing to give interviews about the Jayson Blair fiasco and hiding behind the claim that he, as editor, could not possibly have known that writers were fabricating material! Raines also worked furiously to shift blame, though Bryant cautioned against leaders trying to shift blame, saying a leader's philosophy should be, "If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes okay, you did it. If anything goes really well, the team did it."


The Bear knew whereof he spoke; Raines tried to hide, and they found him anyway.


NBA Low Point of the Year: The Celtics, a playoff team, recorded the worst two defeats in franchise history, losing to the Pistons by 52 points and to the cover-your-eyes Wizards by 45 points.


Next Week: Tuesday Morning Quarterback's advice for surviving the grueling final weeks till the NFL returns.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:43 PM

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June 8, 2003

a nice day to take in a baseball game, or two

POST #    49

i went all out baseball-wise today since the mets will be away for about two weeks. the game yesterday was cancelled due to the rain so they played a doubleheader against the mariners today.


mr. met on the bigboard leading the 7th inning stretch.


me in the 2nd game. clearly all stretched out.

oh, for those who care, the mets lost both games. 13-1 and 7-0. the mets also lost both games to ichiro: 2-1 and 1-0. a sad state of affairs in flushing.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:20 PM

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June 7, 2003

the quest for the triple crown

POST #    50

saturday at the belmont, funny cide attempted to become the first triple crown winner in 25 years. for those that are not familiar with the triple crown, it is composed of three races over 5 weeks: the kentucky derby, the preakness, and the belmont stakes. the belmont is the true test of a thoroughbred though because the race is 1.5 miles. races started at noon with the stakes running at about 6:30, so there was plenty of race action and opportunities to bet. the weather was horrible with rain all day which came down very hard at times. by the 11th race (the stakes), the track was rated at "sloppy".


the clydesdales were there to sell some beer.


horses are so cool.



my eyes, two times the normal size.



calvin and me on the rail before the stakes. (check out psycho woman over my shoulder)



empire maker coming down the stretch to spoil funny cide's hopes for a triple crown.



audrey learns how they make glue.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:23 PM

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June 6, 2003

friday night baseball

POST #    51

nobody could make it to the mets game tonight, so i went all alone. while there, i read the paper and took a nap. the mets were playing the seattle mariners in baseball's interleague play. that means that ichiro was in town. woo. hes ichi-rific. the mets won 3-2.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:28 PM

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May 28, 2003

great rant on roger clemens(yankee fans beware)

POST #    194

there are actually two: here is the first one. the second is linked in the article, but you can also click here.
an excerpt: "This was like watching that same "Baywatch" girlfriend marry your archenemy from high school -- the guy who graduated from an Ivy League school, made millions and gives you that sardonic smirk every time you see him -- then send you dirty pictures from the wedding night."

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 11:26 AM

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April 28, 2003

more mr met

POST #    157

so at friday's game, i got mr mets signature again! now you might wonder why i needed his signature again, but i'm convinced that there are multiple mr mets. so lets look at the signatures to determine...looks the same to me, but i'm still convinced there is more than one.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:57 AM

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April 26, 2003

mmm...corn...

POST #    154

after only hearing the baseball term "can of corn" recently and not knowing why the hell that would mean a lazy fly ball, i decided to look up the origin. you can find out here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:51 PM

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April 25, 2003

woo! two games, two wins, and a series win

POST #    148

i wonder how many times the mets have done that this season.
two wins in a row: 3
series victories: 4

i guess that doesnt seem too bad, but lets compare that to losses in a row and series losses.
two+ losses in a row: 1
series losses: 3

that actually doesnt look too bad, right? but the 2+ losses in a row is deceptive because that was actually 6 losses in a row.

anyway, moving along, i think i am still dehydrated from the game last night. for those of you who like salt, you should try the popcorn at shea stadium. that is some salty salty stuff. i think my blood pressure has got to be through the roof today.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 10:38 AM

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April 24, 2003

mr. met

POST #    147

so, i'm thinking that mr. met is the best mascot ever, maybe not ever, but hes great. he has such a cheery disposition. in fact, yesterday at the mets game (the mets actually won and armando actually got a save and it was really really cold) i got mr. met's signature.

mr. met's sig in the month of october (yes, the fact that the mets probably wont be playing in october hasnt escaped me)

here are some other images of the loveable mascot...

gettin' jiggy (or wiggy as the mets would say) wit it

is that a rug on your head?

this is how he sleeps

someone just kicked him in the groin and all he can do is smile...

some things are better left unsead

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 2:39 PM

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April 22, 2003

Making a mockery

POST #    487

Making a mockery
By Gregg Easterbrook
Page 2 columnist

With the NFL college selection a few days away, everybody's got a mock draft. Mock drafts are all over the Web and newspapers. Mock drafts are being broadcast by the GPS system to smart bombs in Iraq. (And hey, if those bombs are so smart, how come some of them picked Arizona in the office basketball pool?) NASA is beaming mock drafts to the outer planets.


But mock drafts never actually mock the draft. Enter Tuesday Morning Quarterback with its annual mocking mock draft.


1. Cincinnati Bengals. PFC. JESSICA LYNCH, 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company. If the sculpted, testosterone-pumped Bengals displayed half the heart and courage of this 130-pound woman, Cincinnati would be a Super Bowl lock.


2. Detroit Lions. DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER, Belle Springs Creamery, Abilene, Kan. Eisenhower was president, Taiwan was called Formosa, and Algeria and Vietnam were under French rule the last time the Lions won everything. Think about it.


3. Houston Texans. JENNA AND BARBARA BUSH, regulars, Pink Pony Pub, actual site of recent twins spotting. The fun-loving twins would liven up Texans' tailgate parties. Also, perhaps they will run for the White House in 2016, their first years of Constitutional eligibility, as a combined ticket.


4. Chicago Bears. BILL O'REILLY, loudmouth, Fox News. Since the Bears lack offense, why not nab someone offensive? Note to Bill's mom: At some point, you should have mentioned the concept of "manners" to him.

The Bush Twins are excited to go where "everybody knows your name."
5. Dallas Cowboys. DAVE ORECK, vacuum cleaner salesman, New Orleans. TMQ has long been struck by the physical resemblance between 'Boys owner Jerry Jones and late-night vacuum cleaner huckster Dave Oreck -- that's where the resemblances end, since Oreck has a respectable line of work. Check out the incredible all-new Oreck XL two-speed upright, offered now with "free annual tune-ups for seven years." A vacuum cleaner that needs a tune-up -- someone in greasy overalls comes to your house?


6. Arizona (CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN FOOTBALL-LIKE SUBSTANCE) Cardinals. HANS BLIX, United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. Since the Cards are perennially dead-last in NFL attendance, if Blix and his inspectors fanned out across Sun Devil Stadium, perhaps they could discover a paying customer. Note: in the second round of the draft, Arizona hopes to tab Blix's seeing-eye dog.


7. Minnesota Vikings. DR. PHIL, shiny talking object, the 24-Hour Dr. Phil Channel. Here's the deal: if Randy Moss doesn't shape up, he has to get in touch with his feelings on the Dr. Phil show. If that doesn't bring Moss around, nothing will.


Check out Dr. Phil's sage views on dating, including, "Don't restrict your thinking by considering sex to be something that only consists of the actual physical act." His profound advice on women who can't find a guy to marry? "If what you're doing isn't working, change it. Do something different." Dr. TMQ's advice to women seeking men? Start thinking of sex as a physical act!


8. Carolina Panthers.* MICHAEL JORDAN, wide receiver, University of North Carolina. What have they got to lose?


* Projected trade. Carolina sends Jacksonville its first and third picks in 2003, sixth pick in 2004, fourth pick in 2005 and several priceless Mesopotamian artifacts looted from Baghdad for the Jaguars' first and fifth picks in 2003, the option of exchanging fifth rounds picks in 2007, any compensatory picks the team might receive in 2008 and a complete list of all swear words used by insult-spewing former Jax coach Tom Coughlin. Carolina then trades the list of swear words to Bill O'Reilly.


9. Jacksonville Jaguars. BYRON LEFTWICH, quarterback, Marshall. Actual possible pick thrown in for variety. TMQ's favorite Leftwich stat: against the University of Buffalo in October, Leftwich threw for 447 yards in the first half.

Attention movie people! This is what we want to see.
10. Baltimore Ravens. A VOLUNTEER FROM THE AUDIENCE, quarterback. In just four years of coaching the Ravens, insult-spewing Brian Billick -- who now takes over from the cashiered Coughlin as the league's worst-sport coach -- has rolled out eight different starting quarterbacks, while cutting the one who won the Super Bowl! Yea, verily, the football gods doth wince.


11. Seattle Seahawks. JACK GRUBMAN, former Vice President for Client Fraud, Merrill Lynch. In addition to touting various Seattle-area tech stocks, Grubman forecast the Seahawks to go 45-2 during the 2002 season and win the Super Bowl six times in the same year.


12. St. Louis Rams. MYSTIQUE, blue-skinned mega-babe, the X-Men. St. Louis won a trophy using alien-in-human-form "Kurt Warner" behind center, but, last season, NASA telemetry devices must have located Warner's starcruiser and jammed its emissions, because Warner sure looked normal. If aliens aren't working now for the Rams, why not switch to mutants?


Tinseltown note: in the X-Man movies, Mystique is played by the luscious supermodel Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. But since Mystique's power is to change herself into other forms, Romijn-Stamos is almost never on screen; Mystique always appears transformed into some boring, balding guy. So the producers hire an incredibly good-looking babe, strip her naked, paint her blue and, then, rather than flash viewers some blue skin, keep her off camera for the entire movie. Ye gods.


13. Jersey/B Jets. VERA WANG, couturire, Manhattan. Seriously, Jets, it's now 2003; do something about those uniforms.


Vera Wang note: her consumer feedback page helpfully asks, "How much would you spend on a wedding dress?"


Cartography note: a transaction ostensibly sent this pick from "Washington" to "New York." But since the trading team's stadium is in Maryland, while the receiving team's field is in New Jersey, how did the Fed Ex driver know where to deliver the package?


14. New England Patriots. ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY-SIX GALLANT MEN AND WOMEN, United States and United Kingdom armed forces. That's how many died in the liberation of Iraq. True patriots know there is a price for freedom.

Hope you aren't planning on surfing the Chargers' site any time soon.
15. San Diego Chargers. SARAH REICHERT, cheerleader, San Diego Chargers. Reichert was last year's most-clicked-on cheer-babe in TMQ; the appearance in the column of her swimsuit photo crashed the Charger's main server both times it ran. Realistically, the high-aesthetic-appeal Chargers cheerleaders are likely to be more pleasant to look at this season than the low-aesthetic-appeal Chargers themselves.


16. Kansas City Chiefs. BEER MAN, any brand. At $3.50 a cup, Arrowhead Stadium offers the lowest-priced beer in the NFL.


17. Washington Wizards (projected trade from New Orleans Saints). KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, LARRY BIRD, MAGIC JOHNSON, BILL RUSSELL, JERRY WEST, WILLIS REED, ELGIN BAYLOR, ADRIAN DANTLEY, BOB McADOO, DAVE COWENS, SPENCER HAYWOOD, DENNIS JOHNSON, WALT FRAZIER, BOB LANIER, ELVIN HAYES, JOE CALDWELL, JOHN HAVLICEK, BILL WALTON, CHARLES BARKLEY, TINY ARCHIBALD, BILLY KNIGHT, CALVIN MURPHY, ROBERT PARISH, PEARL MONROE, WALT BELLAMY AND KEVIN McHALE. All these guys could come back and the Wizards would still be cover-your-eyes awful.


18. Los Angeles Clippers (projected trade from New Orleans Saints). It makes absolutely no difference whom the Clippers draft, and it never will.


19. New England Patriots. SHANE STAFFORD, quarterback, University of Connecticut. Stafford goes into training camp listed fourth on the Pats depth chart and thus, by New England logic, is likely to become a Super Bowl hero.


20. Denver Broncos. WILLIAM OF ORANGE, king of England, Scotland and Ireland. An obvious fit for the Broncos' program.

All the little vampires with the crimson lips say Cleveland rocks!
21. Cleveland Browns. BUFFY SUMMERS, vampire slayer, University of California at Sunnydale. According to the bootleg script of the upcoming "Buffy" series finale episode now making the rounds on the Internet, our heroine succeeds in sealing the hellmouth under Sunnydale, only to discover there is a second opening to hell -- in Cleveland. Ah, Cleveland: All that gentrification, the trendy downtown restaurants, Drew Carey, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and you're still getting pasted with Cleveland jokes.


22. Jersey/B Jets. RUDY GULIANI, former district attorney, Manhattan. Jets, if you want to stop losing players to "Washington," hire someone who really knows how to lock 'em up.


23. Buffalo Bills. JOSH WHEDON, producer and chief writer, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Civic fathers want to thank Whedon for not making the final joke a Buffalo joke.



24. Indianapolis Colts. "JULIE," artificial voice, Amtrak. Call 1-800-USA-RAIL. Talk to "Julie." Try to get "Julie" to connect you with a real person who sells train tickets. Ask "Julie" out. Read her the GPS coordinates of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons depots. You might as well shout at the wall. If the Colts broadcast "Julie's" voice in their dome, opposing teams would run from the stadium screaming.


25. Jersey/B Giants. JACK NICHOLSON, actor, "Anger Management." Assign him to live with Jeremy Shockey, whom TMQ views as one pass interference no-call away from striking a ref and sitting out a season.


26. San Francisco Forty-Niners. DEION SANDERS, motor mouth, Florida State. The Niners will then give Sanders as a gift to whomever looks dangerous in the NFC West. Can any team seriously be thinking about bringing back this me-first has-been? Doesn't anyone remember how he single-handedly ruined an entire season for "Washington" the last time he had on cleats? Me-first has-been nightmare matchup: Sanders covering Cris Carter.


27. Pittsburgh Steelers. KENNY PETERSON, defensive end, Ohio State. Planning, of course, to convert him to quarterback.

Guess who's takin' a ride on the political sin wagon?
28. Tennessee Titans. NATALIE MAINES, country singer, Dixie Chicks. "One of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view," Maines said after declaring herself "ashamed" of the president of the United States. And it's true, one of the privileges of being an American is saying whatever damn-fool thing you please. Another privilege of being an American is ignoring damn fools, for example by refusing to play the Dixie Chicks.



29. Green Bay Packers. CURLY LAMBEAU, ghost. The Packers are selling the naming rights to Lambeau Field -- say it ain't so! What's it going to be, the Kraft Cheez-Whiz Field at Lambeau?


30. Philadelphia Eagles. ANDREW CARNEGIE, financier and noted advocate of thrift. Right now the Eagles have the second-most unused cap space in the league, trailing only the woeful Cards. For three consecutive offseasons, Philadelphia has been a couple players away from the Super Bowl, but refused to use its cap space. Attention owner Jeff Lurie: there's a word for this, and it rhymes with "asleep."


31. Oakland Raiders. DAVID BOIES, lead attorney, Boies, Shiller & Flexner. In Los Angeles, Al Davis sued L.A.. Now in Oakland, he's suing Oakland. Davis has repeatedly sued the NFL, as part of his hobby, which is attempting to drive professional football out of business. This month Davis began suing individual NFL teams, suing the Bucs for having a pirate theme and the Panthers for using silver and black in their logo. Hey, and aren't these teams both using letters from the alphabet in their names? Sue!


32. Oakland Raiders. DR. ROBERT STERNBERG, president, American Psychological Association. Perhaps he could explain what Barret Robbins is still doing on the Raiders' roster.


Another Charger cheerleading success story.
Cheerleader of the Week: NFL teams have not yet revealed their 2003 squads, so the football gods advise patience. In Chargers cheerleader news, former Bolts cheer-babe and now actress Charisma Carpenter has come back from another dimension to rejoin the cast of the plodding Buffy spinoff "Angel." Unfortunately, now she plays a somber role that requires her to be fully clothed.


Saddam Hussein Double Museum to Open Soon at Two Locations: Traveling the Chesapeake Bay? Take in the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. But -- where's the real museum?


Draft Timing Watch: When ESPN began broadcasting the NFL draft, it was held on Tuesday; the network knew it had a hit on its hands when factories and businesses started reporting an inexplicable outbreak of absenteeism each year on late-April Tuesdays. So the draft was switched to the weekend, allowing millions to watch without getting docked a day's pay. What TMQ wants to know is, why not prime time? The draft is a lot more interesting than reality shows. Actually, it is a reality show. Unscripted, embarrassing moments, self-humiliation, everything except women in bikinis -- and marketing, please tell us you're working on that.


If The Bomb Was Really Smart, It Would Refuse to Blow Itself Up: Speaking of smart bombs, TMQ's favorite is the AGM-142, which comes in versions codenamed Have Nap and Have Lite. Bombs don't often make one think of having a nap. As for the Have Lite, maybe the Air Force can do a recruiting commercial starring the Miller Lite "catfight" babes. ("More destructive!" "Less collateral damage!")

What? You don't have a favorite piece from the U.S. military arsenal?
Reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback May Make You More Attractive to the Opposite Sex, or the Same Sex, as the Case May Be: Boxes of Quaker Oats now exclaim, MAY HELP REDUCE RISK OF HEART DISEASE. The boxes might as well say, MAY CAUSE WORLD PEACE.


MJ Sign Off: Last week TMQ was teaching at Colorado College -- TMQ is believed to be the only ESPN.com columnist to teach collegiate-level political science, in addition to previously being the sole ESPN.com columnist ever interviewed about sustainable development on PBS-TV "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" -- and so missed the Page 2 Michael Jordan sendoff.


Of course, I was sad to see Jordan go, but wish he hadn't come back in the first place. Not because he diluted his greatness; not because he padded his records, including his record, shared with Frank Sinatra, for most lifetime retirement ceremonies. No, TMQ was mad about the Michael comeback because he forced us to watch the Washington Wizards.


Ye gods, the Wizards are awful. This team numbers among the most excruciatingly bad -- consistently excruciatingly bad -- in the history of sports. No matter the players, no matter the coaches, don a Wizards' uniform and you are instantly a sight to offend any eye; even Jordan looked horrible in a Wizzy shirt. The Bullets-Wizards have not won a playoff series in almost 20 years. In the grade-inflated NBA, where teams with losing records make the postseason, the Wizards have only appeared in a couple playoff games in the living memory of many fans. Check the team's own official history page. Basically, there are no positive entries since the late 1970s.


Not only do the Wizards lose, lose, lose, they look bad by the standards of losing. TMQ has never seen a professional team in any sport that tries less, hustles less or cares less. Jordan might be 40 years old, but during much of this season he was the sole Wizard on the court who was, technically speaking, moving. Four guys standing around thinking about their guaranteed no-cut contracts, watching MJ, watching the courtside dancers, or just staring off into space. And if the Wizards ran a back-door or pick-and-roll this year -- if they ran any play at all -- TMQ missed it.

You didn't think we'd forget the Miller Lite girls did you?
Bad enough that Michael himself made the calamitous decision to throw away the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft on high school kid Kwame Brown, who would be a collegiate star by now if he'd gone to school, but instead at this point can aspire to nothing more than a forgotten career as a nameless NBA journeyman. Michael deserves further blame for the awfulness of the Wizards, since one of MJ's first moves as an executive was to grant a long-term contract to general manager Wes Unseld.


Unseld was a great player, and has consistently been one of the dumbest front-office people in sports. Unseld cannily traded Chris Webber, among the league's elite players, for the aging, creaking Mitch Richmond, who's now glued to a couch somewhere while Webber played in the Western Conference Finals last year. Unseld cannily traded Rasheed Wallace, a young All-Star, for the beyond-worthless Rod Strickland -- the sort of player who makes everyone around him worse, and at any rate didn't last long with the Wizards, while Wallace has been attending conference championships. Unseld cannily traded Ben Wallace, a young all-star, for the out-of-shape, me-first, walking-negativity-projector Ike Austin, who not only ended up never starting for the Wizards, wasn't even starting for the team Unseld cannily got him from. Austin, of course, is now nailed to a couch somewhere, while Ben Wallace has been Defensive Player of the Year and looked fine in this year's All-Star Game.


If Wes Unseld had simply done nothing at all with the Wizard's roster, by the time Jordan arrived, there would have been sufficient talent for a title run. Instead Unseld screwed up again and again and again, and was rewarded a long-term contract. But after all, failure is what the Wizards' organization is all about! And Michael Jordan, in his final act in basketball, forced us to watch this cover-your-eyes "team." Give me the Clippers anytime.


TMQ Watch: There will be a post-draft Tuesday Morning Quarterback next Tuesday. And be of good cheer, for the draft means the long, lonely NFL offseason is half-expired.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 8:58 PM

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April 18, 2003

baseball tonight

POST #    138

so i was getting ready to go to sleep, but i had to post this because its that good. they were re-capping the way baseball players dress when its cold out, as it has been a lot this baseball season. so karl ravech says that harold reynolds wouldnt play in the cold weather and he says, "man, how many brothers like the cold?!?" thats one reason bbtn is the best show on espn.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:30 AM

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April 1, 2003

MIA

POST #    129

so i've been a tad behind on my postings. i have some excuses for you. well, i tried to post on sunday night, but the site was down. anyway, i guess i'll post now.

sports galore...
so my day of sports, while fun, wasn't as exciting as planned. the mets game was ugly. the mets lost 15-2...15-2!!! at least the sun was on me most of the game.

then i went to the nets rockets game and it wasn't as exciting as anticipated. yao was pretty good...even scoring the first 12 rockets points, but the game got ugly in the 2nd half. the final score - NJ 110, HOU 86. Like I said, ugly. Not quite 15-2 baseball ugly, but ugly. Oh and if you want to know, Yao led his team with 24 points in 31 minutes of play with 2 whole rebounds and 1 block. If you want the whole box score, click here. oh, and the crowd was very very asian...maybe half the people were asian. no joke.

matisse picasso...

sunday was matisse picasso and it was quite excellent. the juxtaposition of all the pieces was right on. my only issue with the exhibit was that it was really crowded, but i knew it was going to be like that going in. all of you should make the effort to go out and see it.

and in other news...
michigan hockey is back in the frozen four. that is now 3 years in a row that they have gone. they didnt win in the last two years, but maybe this year will be different? (if they lose, dont expect a post.)

okay, you may notice that it is a very pro michigan crowd...well, thats because they played the game at yost ice arena which happens to be michigan's home ice. gotta love ncaa site selection!

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:55 AM

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March 29, 2003

wet, wet, wet

POST #    128

today i went up to hunter mountain for some spring skiing and a few final runs before hanging up the skis for the season. well, the weather was less than perfect. when i left the city at 8 am, it was beautiful out. as we drove towards hunter, the cloud cover increased and once we pulled off the highway, it started to drizzle. by the time we got to the ski area, it was raining pretty hard. in addition to the poor weather, the conditions on the mountain werent that great. it was very icy, but i didnt mind that. the conditions were quite variable. patch of ice, slush, bump, dirt, grass. although it was obviously less than ideal, i still had a great time and worked on some technique in the bumps. by the last few runs, i was pretty much soaked to the skin. my boots were filled with water. the feeling was similar to that when you go to the beach with sneakers on and are walking around.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:43 PM

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March 27, 2003

oh to be skiing again

POST #    124

that was me at mont sainte anne in january. it was piss cold. i also have a cool image of quebec city if anybody wants to look at that.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:00 PM

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March 19, 2003

fantasy

POST #    113

had my fantasy baseball draft tonight. lasted about 2 hours. check out the draft results.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:34 AM

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March 13, 2003

6 of 6

POST #    104

well, today was my last day of skiing here in vail and it wasn't the conditions were not the best that i've experienced. it was sooo wet. oh, and i sweat a fair amount too. it was quite tiring. i also went down one of the hardest trails that i have gone down. all because of laziness. there was this t-bar like "lift" that i could have taken to get to where i wanted to go, but i also thought that i could cut across underneath it...but it turns out that i could not. i ended up taking this trail with a clif on top and bumps all the way down. needless to say, that drained most of my energy. i suppose this is my last ski update from vail, hopefully not my last ski day this season though.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:28 PM

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March 11, 2003

the hump

POST #    98

so today was pretty much hump day for me here in vail. i cant say that it helped that we took a really icy trail right in the beginning of the day. only did 16 runs today...what a shame. it was also one of the colder days since getting here. i even spotted some snow flurries in the morning. when we started, the sun was not to be found, but by afternoon the sun was out in force melting everything in site.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 6:47 PM

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March 10, 2003

45 degrees and sweaty

POST #    97

so today was another warm day here in vail. i think its going to be warm the whole time i am here. at night it drops down to the 20s but while that causes icy trails in the northeast, for some reason, they arent icy here. i think its because i go on the groomed trails for the most part. they groom a select number of trails a day. not the whole mountain thought, because it is just absurdly big. it seems that the temperature here is actually warmer than it is in nyc. this warm temperature has caused me to sweat a fair amount. i mean, i usually sweat when skiing, but not quite as much as i have. hmm, it just occurred to me that this might be a tad disgusting for you guys to read. anyway, its good that i have my hydration pack. too bad i cant put other stuff in there. i managed to cram a sandwich in today, although it was quite compact after i removed it.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 6:15 PM

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March 9, 2003

day 2

POST #    95

day two, still warm but only a mere 43 at 3 in the afternoon. it was windy today though. i had the pitzips open for most of the day, but there were times where i had to close them up lest those pits get too cold. i skied with my mom's friends today and they ski at a much more rapid pace than both my parents. its pretty much take the lift, ski down without stopping at all, and repeat. we did this 20 times today which might not sound like a lot, but at more than 8,120 feet and and 5,289 skiable acres, believe me, its a lot
(no, vail isnt paying me, but i eat plenty of saltines with honey - if you havent tried this, i highly recommend this - so i figure we are even).

if you want some more facts about vail, click here.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 5:25 PM

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March 8, 2003

one down, five to go

POST #    94

finished day one of skiing not so long ago and it was awesome. there is soooo much snow here. the only problem is that it might be too warm. i saw one source that said it was 52 degrees out at like 4pm. thats insane. hopefully it wont be too icey tomorrow. i really wish i had a camera so i could show you all how beautiful it is. today there wasn't a cloud in the sky. i have some images from last year that i'll try to put up when i get back to nyc. now to go nurse my sore muscles.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 9:33 PM

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March 5, 2003

d'oh!

POST #    84

snow report from vail - 18 inches of snow overnight!! sucks that i'm missing the fresh powder, but at least i can still get into town, because it would suck if this happened friday.

i mean, look at this!!

damn, look at the powder tracks.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 3:22 PM

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March 3, 2003

woo!! 5 days!

POST #    78

five days from now, i will be in the cold of vail, colorado and hitting the slopes. i am so excited. i went last year, but only for 2 or 3 days. in that short amount of time, i managed to getting a goggle tan that many people get when they ski for a week. this time, it will probably get worse, but i also bought this ski balm that has spf 30 in it, who will win? mother nature, or the ski balm? we shall see...

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:13 PM

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holy crap!

POST #    77

so espn.com's page 2 is doing this non-scientific poll of who the hottest female athelete is and one would clearly think anna, right? well, shes not even close to winning with almost 163k votes at press time, she is trailing softball player jennie finch by a rather hefty margin. anna has only 37.7% while jennie has 62.2%. you can check out the poll here and decide for yourself. i must admit, it does seem like a tough choice, especially if you consider athletic achievement, of which anna has none.

Posted by tien mao in Sports at 12:06 PM

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