Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards is out--Good news for Obama?

Last week, while talking to Mrs. Hoagie Central, I said that if Edwards dropped out before Super Tuesday, it would swing the whole thing to Obama. But that if he did it afterwards, Hillary might win Super Tuesday and carry that momentum to the nomination.

My wife didn't think that he would drop out before then, that he would at least test he waters and see if there was anything left. Well, we didn't anticipate the Obama beatdown of Edwards in his home state. And now Edwards is out.

With the Democratic race down to two horses, it would appear that Obama would pick up more of Edwards' voters than Clinton. Will that be the case? And does this move set the table for an Obama/Edwards ticket?

Monday, January 28, 2008

AAFL - Beutjer for Heisman!

Well, I heard they recently held the draft for the All-American Football League--the half-NCAA, half-NFL, pro football league that will play on Saturdays from April 12th to July 5th. Basically, as soon as March Madness is over, there will be a legitimate form of pro football on.

The league is currently only 6 teams, which allows for a home and away schedule of 10 games. (The home/away schedule is a fantastic thing, utilized in soccer leagues, and NFL division rivals.)
Apparently, the playoffs will feature the top 3 teams, with the top team getting a bye into the Championship game.

The teams are currently just states, with no nicknames announced. They are college football hotbeds, trying to capitalize on the rivalries of college with a pro game. There are 4 states from the SEC: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee/ 1 from the Big 12: Texas / 1 from the Big Ten: Michigan.

Despite being anti-Michigan, I decided that if I was going to root for anybody, it would be the Big Ten school. And then I looked at their roster for Illinois players: Derrick Strong (DLE) and Jon Beutjer!

In fact, Michigan currently has only 3 QB's on their roster (no idea what order their depth chart is):

Shawn Bell (Baylor)
Jon Buetjer (Illinois)
David Koral (UCLA)

So there's a 1 in 3 chance that Beutjer is leading the Michigan squad down the field.

(For the record, the only other Illini in the league, is Michael Gomez (LS) on Tennessee.

In case you can't wait to wear a Michigan AAFL Jon Beutjer jersey, this is what their team jerseys will look like:



Furthermore, a quick search for beutjer for heisman yields the following results:


And adding in the quotes, gives even more interesting results.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

who is tony sinclair?

and why is he so good at making me want to Tanqueray?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

political playoffs

"vote for clinton or giuliani on february 5th. obama is awful. he's all talk and no experience. maybe in 4 or 8 years i could get behind him." - Mark 1.24.08

After Mark opened the floodgates with that quote, I wanted a chance to respond to it, by writing about all the candidates in general, and then Mark's specific quote.

- - -

(click to view larger)


Based solely on their positions, Kucinich is my preferred candidate. In fact, I've seen polls just based on isses that had about 50% of the country leaning towards Kucinich, while the next candidate had around 15%. But of course, we don't elect presidents just based on the issues. I have concerns about how effective he would be as a world leader. But the main problem with Kucinich is our two-party system, combined with a chicken and egg media coverage problem--he doesn't get much coverage, presumably because he's polling so low. But being excluded from debates and stories hurts his presence. But the election isn't until November. If he got fair coverage now, he might have a chance to actually compete. (Even in the initial debates that he was included in, the vast majority of questions were for Clinton/Obama/Edwards)

All that said, it's obvious that Kucinich will not be our next president.

And even though I consider our two parties to be a lot closer together politically than is generally accepted (and not in a good way--it would be great if there was a true reform party that was actually pushing for real change), the differences that do exist are enough for me to not consider any Republicans. By the 2006 election, the rest of the country had come around to that same feeling, that's why it was such a shame that the newly elected Democratic Congress couldn't do anything to get us out of Iraq and turn this country around. But still, when you compare the country that Bush inherited, with the country he's leaving behind...there's no way I'm voting for a candidate that supported Bush, the war, or the opinions that lead to our current situation. (Although, I will touch on Guiliani later since Mark brought him up).

(click to view larger)


Which means that I'm down to Clinton/Obama/Edwards. I'd support any of them in the real election, but this is America! I get to choose from this wide variety of candidates. Look they even threw in a token women and token black guy (joke). Anywho, the three are virtually the same on the issues, except for timetables on Iraq withdrawal--the latest thing I read was that Obama and Edwards are committed to a withdrawal within their first year, whereas Clinton was saying 2013. Not to mention that she cribbed her healthcare plan from Edwards.

I'm not here to bash Clinton, but the things that concern me are the idea of a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton regime and that her foreign policy might not be that dissimilar from Bush. But on the subject of experience, there is a fantastic Slate piece that shows that her expereince claim isn't justified. Furthermore, experience is important because it can prepare you for certain situations. But take Bush's presidency for example--his defining event was 9/11. Now imagine Clinton and Obama were President in 2001. Would more years in the Senate prepare someone for handling our country being attacked? I think you're prepared just based on who you are--and I think Obama and Clinton would have been able to do a lot better than what Bush did.

There's nothing wrong with Edwards, but I prefer Obama for his ideals and speaking ability. After watching Bush stutter and stumble through 8 sad years, I think it's time for our president to at least sound like he know what he's talking about. And I think Obama does anyways.

And as for Giuliani, he's no longer a serious candidate anyways. He put all his eggs i the Florida basket and he's not going to win there. But putting that aside, he's a terrible choice for president. He's run solely on the platform that he can protect his country, because he happened to be the mayor of New York during 9/11. Many problems there, first, I don't want a president who supports torture and thinks that the biggest threat facing the US is terrorism. That's how we got where we are now. Plus, there's lots of evidence that Rudy wasn't that great after 9/11 anyways. Furthermore, there's evidence that he's worse than Bush, an authoritarian narcissist who wants to keep this country at war. (If I had to vote for a Republican, it would be Ron Paul--but he's got more problems than his fans are willing to admit.)


My Favorite Tickets in order

Obama/Edwards
Obama/Kucinich
Obama/Clinton
Clinton/Obama
Edwards/Obama
Clinton/Edwards

One more thing, while it's not a reason to vote for Obama or Clinton, I am excited about the possibility we won't have yet another white male president. When our generations of children open their history books and look at those faces, I want them to see that our country has changed, that it is changing, and that anything is possible. I've also seen some articles-I think from Australia, France and Germany-that they would view the election of Obama as a definite sign that America is changing for the better. Again, not a justification for voting for either Obama or Clinton, but a nice little bonus.

- - -

That's my $.02. I respect Mark and his opinions and encourage him any anyone else to respond.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NFL Monopoly

We've been playing Monopoly, and recently I just came across the My NFL Edition, where you get to customize the board the way you want it. I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to see how I could set up the board. Of course, there are 8 groups of properties, ranging from the least valuable to most.


By Divisions

Purple
Saints
Panthers

Light Blue
49ers
Rams
Seahawks

Fuschia
Chiefs
Raiders
Broncos

Orange
Steelers
Browns
Bengals

Red
Cowboys
Eagles
Giants

Yellow
Packers
Lions
Bears

Green
Dolphins
Jets
Patriots

Blue
Jaguars
Colts

This board allows you to own a division and build it up, and it keeps the conferences neatly aligned on the sides of the board.

By Colors

Purple
Ravens
Vikings

Light Blue
Lions
Titans
Seahawks

Fuschia
Cardinals
Texans
Bucs

Orange
Dolphins
Browns
Bengals

Red
Chiefs
Redskins
49ers

Yellow
Packers
Chargers
Saints

Green
Eagles
Jets
Jaguars

Blue
Colts
Patriots

Although not as neatly arranged as the divisions, the colors allow teams to retain their own identity. It works out pretty well, except there arent' enough spots for good blue teams, so Cowboys and Giants get left off.

By Subjective Rank

Purple
Texans
Cardinals

Light Blue
Browns
Bengals
Bills

Fuschia
Lions
Vikings
Saints

Orange
Chiefs
Raiders
Broncos

Red
Eagles
Redskins
Giants

Yellow
Colts
Bears
Dolphins

Green
Packers
Steelers
49ers

Blue
Patriots
Cowboys

This system most closely matches the spirit of the game, ranging from the worst properties to the best. I tried to keep divisions and colors where I could, but this was based mostly on value.


Unfortunately, although the game is customizable, I think it's permanent when you do so. I'm not sure what is the best way to do it. What do you think?

Friday, January 18, 2008

last picks before the super bowl

AFC
Chargers +14 over Pats
47 over

NFC

Packers -7 over Giants
40.5 over

This Playoffs: 4-4

Thursday, January 17, 2008

BREAKING: Bill Simmons accuses 2007 Colts and 1986 Lakers of Cheating


"Look, I'm not saying the '07 Colts or '86 Lakers openly chose to lose. They just took the easy way out. Subconsciously, they were probably thinking, "Deep down, we know we're not winning the title this year," and responded in crisis with the appropriate amount of urgency. In the process, they cheated two unforgettable teams of punctuating unforgettable seasons by topping their natural rivals."

There you have it. Bill Simmons knows cheating and that my friends, is cheating. The Colts' cheated! Where's the national outrage? Where's the lost draft picks? Can't they suspend Manning or something! They CHEATED!

I just can't help but imagine what the article would look like if the teams were reversed. If the Colts were 17-0 and punished for cheating in week 1, and the Patriots just flamed out in the playoffs--would he consider the Patriots cheaters for losing to the Chargers?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Top Ten of 2007

2007 was a big year for Hoagie Central, including 516 posts and a new layout. Here's the best I had to offer last year:

Honorable Mentions:

Actual Ebay Feedback

Jewish New Year

Moliest Post Ever



10. Moving Day
This was a precursor to what would become the NFL Bonerjams.

9. Fantasy Sleeper of the Week
It was really the comment that made this post so memorable.

8. KC Barbecue
Nothing better than high-res shots of barbecued meats.

7. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burnsy
Funny every time you read it.

6. Softball Playoffs
A great underdog story.

5. My Graphic Weight Loss
Not really a great post, but just a great achievement.

4. How SI ruined their covers
A well-document point that I haven't heard anyone else make.

3. Live Hoagie Central Chat
This was a "best of" while it was going on.

2. The complete collection of NFL Bonerjams
My most time consuming and favorite articles to write and reread later.

and Number One!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

a good walk spoiled

Here are the golf scores from back in the day. We missed 06 and 07. But not 08.

Editor's Note: Yep, we missed 08 too! But not 09 or 2010.

Also, notice that we played on longer tees the second time around.


work from Draftfcb

"DSRL" by Draftfcb New York


"Prevent-it.ca" by Draftfcb Toronto



"Weeds" by Draftfcb New Zealand (NZ Billboard of the Year - 2006)


"Dow" by Draftfcb Chicago

How'd I do?

Here were my preseason, regular season picks: 4 of 8 division winners, 5 of 12 playoff teams.

Based on this sampling gathered at the Fanhouse, I'm good enough to have a blog or work for SI, but not good enough for ESPN or Field Gulls:

We Are the Postmen (two recent college graduates who also write for MLB FanHouse) -- 3 of 8 division winners, no playoff picks

Don Banks (SI.com NFL columnist) -- 3 of 8 division winners, 5 of 12 playoff teams

Football Outsiders (collection of statheads who use a system of unusual metrics to more efficiently and effectively analyze football) -- 3 of 8 division winners, 7 of 12 playoff teams

Bill Simmons (popular ESPN.com columnist, writing from a fan's perspective) -- 4 of 8 division winners, 6 of 12 playoff teams

Field Gulls (Analysis-heavy Seahawks blog cut from the Football Outsiders cloth ) -- 5 of 8 division winners, 8 of 12 playoff teams

- - -

But how did I do on the records?

Correct: Bills, Steelers, Chargers
Off by 1: Raiders, Redskins, Lions
Off by 2: Jags, Texans, Broncos, Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles, Bears, Vikings, Panthers, Seahawks, Cardinals
Off by 3: Dolphins, Bengals, Browns, Colts, Falcons, Bucs
Off by 4: Pats, 49ers
Off by 5: Giants, Saints
Off by 6: Jets, Ravens, Titans, Rams
Off by 7: Packers

Summary: Eh. What you might expect.

- - -

Here were the teams that I had in the right position:

Pats (1st)
Dolphins (4th)
Bengals (3rd)
Colts (1st)
Jags (2nd)
Chargers (1st)
Broncos (2nd)
Chiefs (3rd)
Raiders (4th)
Cowboys (1st)
Redskins (3rd)
Lions (3rd)
Panthers (2nd)

So 13 of 32 teams I predicted where in the division they would be. I think that's good, but I have no idea. I did get the entire AFC West right, which I don't think is a coincidence.

- - -

In my playoff picks I did have the Pats beating the Chargers in the AFC title game, and I have the Pats winning it all. Could be two years in a row predicting the Super Bowl winner in the preseason.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Detroit Lions are a Better Football Team than the Kansas City Chiefs

On August 7, Mark and I made a little wager. The Lions finished 7-9. The Chiefs finished 4-12. I am a man of my word.


- - -

The Lions finished with a net points total of -98; the Chiefs -109. How did Detroit finish .188 above Kansas City, by only having an 11 point advantage? They played smart. They saved up their points for close games, making sure to get blown out by 30 points or more 4 times, not to mention a 21-point loss to Green Bay in week 17 when the game meant nothing to the Packers.

They started off 6-2 and it looked as they would get to their infamous 10 wins. But the second half of the season was not as kind. They would have lost 8 in a row if it wasn’t for their cupcake opponent in week 16.

I’m only at 117 words? Fuck.

Let’s see, the Lions went 1-6 against playoff teams. The Chiefs went 1-5. Hmm. The Lions beat the Bears twice, while the Chiefs couldn’t overcome the power of the Sex Cannon.

The Lions were 9th in passing yards, which I’m sure had nothing to do with the fact that they were 31st in rushing. 32nd, you ask? Why the Kansas City Chiefs, of course!

The also happened to be next to last in both yards and points, so you consider “offense” a weak point on the Chiefs.

The Chiefs employed a risky strategy of neither run blocking nor pass blocking. It didn’t pay off as much as you might have thought it would.

Since I’m not even halfway, here’s a sample transcript of me watching a Chiefs game:

Throw the ball! Throw it!

(interception)

Not to him! Damnit!

(2yd loss on run play on 3rd down)

How come every other fucking team in the fucking league can run the ball for a fucking yard?! Piece of shit team. Come on!

Come on please, miss that kick. Please miss it. Miss it! Miss it!

(opposing team makes field goal)

So that’s how you make a fucking field goal! I wouldn’t know because our piece of shit kicker is shanking 27-yarders! Fuck me!

(crappy running back runs right through the Chiefs defense)

You have GOT to be kidding me! We’re getting run on Cedric Fucking Benson! Oh my god. Oh my God!

Come on. Let the kid play. Let’s see what’s he worth. He deserves a shot. He’s the future of the franchise!

(Croyle gets sacked, fumbles the ball, opposing team runs it in for the touchdown, on the return Croyle tries to make a tackle, gets called for a penalty, and injured himself in the process)

That’s just about right.

For the record, that play actually happened against the Lions, the Chiefs went on to lose by 5. Which just about sums up why the Lions are better than the Chiefs.

46 words left, huh? Well how about this? One of the Chiefs key free agent signings was Eddie Drummond, former kickoff returner for the Detroit Lions. Guess what, he sucked. When trash from the Lions is good enough to make your roster, that’s when you know, this is a “rebuilding” year.

- - -

Well, I got my 500 words. And the photoshop job. So I guess all that's left is for me to buy Mark a burger:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

playoff picks open thread


Manning, Peyton QB IND 71
Grant, Ryan RB GB 33
Maroney, Laurence RB NE 28
Moss, Randy WR NE 60
Harrison, Marvin WR IND 16
Witten, Jason TE DAL 32
Vinatieri, Adam K IND 25
Patriots, DST DST NE 33
Team Units 298

post your team in the comments

Friday, January 11, 2008

playoff picks, round 2

Seattle +7.5
Jags +13
Colts -9
Cowboys -7.5


Last Week: 3-1

I really would have loved to post more this week, but work was beyond bananas.

I think the Wild Card games worked out perfectly, to set up the best matchups. I also think it's funny that no one is giving a team with Tomlinson a chance. Also, doesn't 13 seem a little high for the Jags? Down the stretch, all the Pats games were close. Now all of a sudden they're back to blowing teams out?

For what it's worth I think all the home teams will win.

Sights from TA

I finally have a phone with a camera in it, so I've been taking a few pictures around town. I thought I would share a few that might be relevant.

These are "KKK" brand lighters. I guess here we burn large Stars of David and throw them in the lawns of Arabs.



I see this guy frequently on the bus. He really reminds me of Kevin Spacey, circa 'The Usual Suspects' because this guy also walks with a limp.




This is a street sign by one of the families that I teach. The first letter faded/was scratched off and now the Hebrew reads "nigger". They might want to fix that.



And now, for my coup de grace. . .
Yes, that's right. It's 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' in Hebrew. This poster is all over the city now and I even saw it in the theater. What a date. We spent the whole time easily predicting the next thing to happen in the story. We knew it was going to be a bad, but entertaining movie and it delivered. But seriously, this poster is over so many of the street signs it's ridiculous, especially when considering how much the Earl of Sandwich talked about the first movie in the series.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The 2008 Rose Bowl: A First Hand Account

Ah, the 2008 Rose Bowl. 9-3 Illinois vs 10-2 USC. Could Illinois shock the world, or would it a be deja vu of the 2002 Sugar Bowl, where an underdog Illini team loses to a national program on their home turf?


My pregame prediction: USC 34, Illinois 17.

I thought Illinois could keep it close, but USC would be too much to handle.

We stayed in Burbank on New Year's Eve, skipped the parade, and walked to the Rose Bowl from Brittany's Aunt's house in Pasadena. We arrived at the game at 12:30, hungry. Kickoff was scheduled for 2:10 pacific.

We got a $3 bottle of water, $5.25 medium soda, and the $6 macho nachos that consisted of just your typical rounded tortilla chips and nacho cheese sauce (not exactly macho, per se) but was filling enough for the two of us.


Our seats were facing the mountains, in a corner near the USC endzone. I've marked the student sections above. The entire east side was mostly USC fans, with the west side, including where we were, mostly mixed. The stadium itself was incredibly tight, especially in the legroom department, which was a mixed blessing. It was a pain in the ass when anyone was trying to leave or get to their seats, but row 40 felt really close.

Here's the view of the Illinois section to my left.


The USC fans in our section were overwhelmingly respectful and nice. Whatever.

The pregame festivities were nice, including 4 parachuters (that had stayed at our Burbank hotel). They flew in flying a Rose Bowl flag, Illinois flag, USC flag, and American flag.

The game started and it was 14-0 before we knew what happened. Then USC got the ball back with 7 minutes left in the first, and I was afraid that my worst fear was about to come true: this was going to be a blowout.

But then, Illinois intercepted a Booty pass and returned it to the 20. A first down got it to the 10, and this was Illinois' first chance to make it a game. Reda missed a 29 yard field goal. Ugh.

USC made it 21-0 late in the first half, and it seemed the game was slipping away. We needed a touchdown to get back in this before halftime. With under a minute remaining, Illinois drove the length of the field, but had to settle for a field goal.

Halftime: USC 21, Illinois 3

At this point I wanted to use the restroom and eat, but the lines for both were too long. Longest lines I've ever seen. I did get Adam to come over from the Illinois section to sit with us for a little bit.

I joked with Adam, that he was a good luck charm, and that Illinois was about to turn it around in the 2nd half.

Illinois forced a punt and then on their 2nd play, Mendenhall took it 79 yards to the house. It was an 11-point game. Of course, if we had converted our previous red zone trips to touchdowns, it would already have been 21-21.

It was at this point that Adam, had to go to the bathroom.

Illinois forced another point, and Mendenhall broke tackles turning a short pass into a 55 yard game. Illinois was on the 23 yardline, only down 11 in the 3rd quarter. This was not a blowout. This was a few plays away from a one possession game!

And then it happened.

In an instant, Illinois caught a pass inside the 10, and then had it popped out. Fumble. USC recovered. And that was the game.

Well, if it wasn't then, it was when USC fumbled a lateral that turned into a 65-yard run. And then converted a pass interference call into a touchdown. 28-10.

It was at this point that Adam returned from the bathroom.

The game was over. Of course Illinois would go on to get 17 points, just as I predicted. Unfortunately, USC already had 49 at that point, including a record 633 yards.

It was a great experience and I was glad I got to go. Plus, I've kept my Illinois bowl streak intact--6 years and counting! Although, next time, it would be nice, if Illinois, could, you know, win.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

foodasfuel2.0: this time, for serious


I mean, there's a new logo and everything! I'm starting out about 30 pounds lighter than I was last January, and I'm totally serious.

Friday, January 04, 2008

LA pics

Here's a panorama I stitched together using 4 pictures. And here's the link to the entire gallery, including the Rose Bowl pictures.

playoff picks

Seahawks -3.5 over Redskins
Steelers +2.5 over Jags
Bucs -2.5 over Giants
Chargers -10 over Titans

Construda Super Bowl I Gear

front

back

nfl 07 picks recap

Week 17
Dave: 7-9 = Down $40
Mark: 10-6 = Up $80
Sports Guy: 8-8 = Even
Sports Gal: 10-6 = Up $80

2007 Season
Dave: 116-127-11 = Down $220
Mark: 100-114-10 = Down $280
Sports Guy: 117-129-10 = Down $240
Sports Gal: 135-111-9 = Up $480

Yet again, Sports Gal reigns supreme. Even when Bill laughs at her picks, she still does better:


Also, Mark was able to hold steady (going 67-67-1 since TOM took over) while I kept slipping, finishing only marginally better than Mark and the Sports Guy.

week 16 picks

Week 16
Dave: 6-8-1 = Down $40
Mark: 1-0 = Up $20
Sports Guy: 7-8-1 = Down $20
Sports Gal: 7-8-1 = Down $20

On the Season
Dave: 109-118-11 = Down $180
Mark: 90-108-10 = Down $360
Sports Guy: 109-121-10 = Down $240
Sports Gal: 125-105-9 = Up $400

no such thing as a lock

After starting 7-1, my locks ending up going 9-8.

Also my sportsbook theory that I might not do well on every game, but that I would do better on just the games I felt confident about...didn't pan out at all.

Now it's time to add up week 16 and 17 and see how the picks did for the year...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hoagies wins Home Team!


Congratulations are in order for Hoagies, winner of the Home Team 2007 Challenge. Leading from the 2nd week until the end, Hoagies definitely deserved the title. Making his picks every week and averaging more than 100 points a week for the season, nobody in the end could catch up. Taking the lead behind Carson Palmer's week 2 performance and never looking back, Hoagies was the true champion.