Friday, February 29, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

the sad tale of dee brown

While Deron is making 4 million a year on a championship contender, Dee is playing in the Turkish League. It looks as if he spends his time blogging and posting on his own forum, where he posts answers like these:

Dee: The Turkish league is the second best league in Europe to me, it is full with talent and I love Galatasaray basketball club and my teammates. I'm so glad I came over here to play in Turkey.

Dee: I really do miss (Champaign) and wish I had another 4 years to play and attend school. Thanks for the great message and question I hope and pray I'm back in the NBA next season!

He's also got his own "mixtape." And it's just about like you'd imagine.

As for Turkish highlights, this about sums it up.

Monday, February 25, 2008

If you've got 76 minutes to kill

I saw a short version of this, but figured I'd post the long version so you can watch as little or as much of it if you want, it's good stuff...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

political monty hall

Oh and here's a lenghty read comparing obama's and hillary's record: I refuse to buy into the Obama hype. Although to be clear, I was never against Hillary. Just for Obama. I'm against McCain.

If you gave me two options:

Option A: Hillary is the next president.

Option B: A coin flip will decide between Obama and McCain.

I would choose option A. I think there's a parallel between this and the Sports Guy and the 2007 Pats.

"If you asked any Patriots fan to pick between two doors that determined the rest of the season -- behind Door No. 1, the team would lose once but have a 100 percent chance to win the Super Bowl, and behind Door No. 2, there would be two-in-three chance at a 19-0 season or a one-in-three chance that the team would lose in the playoffs -- a surprising number of fans would roll the dice with that second door. Including me." (11/9/07 - Bill Simmons)

Any Democrat winning the election is equivalent of winning the championship. But Obama is the 19-0. Luckily, I don't have to make that choice.


Here's a look at what we're up against. And remember, their vote counts. Not in the sense that it's important, but in the sense that their vote isn't disqualified.




And yet, the lastest polls say "McCain Beats Clinton, Obama Beats McCain"

It's time for one of my favorite segments, "Racist Cartoon Update!"

I don't read Jew, so I'm limited in my understanding of the cartoon on this page.

Here are two takes on it.

Factual

Accusatory

I'm counting on Hoagie Middle East to set me straight on this one.

so obviously, hoagie central has moved

hopefully it's not too much of a pain in the ass. i think it's better, except for that all my self-referential links are broken. oh well.

let me know what you think.

and keep an eye on the davefymbo homepage, because i don't think i'm finished with that yet either.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

what inspires you?

"The most important obligation of the next President is to protect Americans from the threat posed by violent extremists who despise us, our values and modernity itself. They are moral monsters, but they are also a disciplined, dedicated movement driven by an apocalyptic zeal, which celebrates murder, has access to science, technology and mass communications, and is determined to acquire and use against us weapons of mass destruction. The institutions and doctrines we relied on in the Cold War are no longer adequate to protect us in a struggle where suicide bombers might obtain the world's most terrifying weapons."

"My job will be to keep you safe. And I will not hesitate to strike against any who would do us harm. I will do whatever is required. But part of keeping you safe is maintaining the finest military in the world, and that means providing our troops with the proper equipment and the proper training and the proper rotations. And it means caring for our troops when they come home, not forgetting about our troops. No more homeless veterans; no more begging for disability payments; no more waiting in line for the V.A. We have a solemn obligation to honor those who have served on our behalf. But part of keeping you safe is also deploying our military wisely. And the war in Iraq was unwise. It distracted us from the fight that needed to be fought in Afghanistan against Al Qaida. They're the ones who killed 3,000 Americans. It fanned the flames of anti-American sentiment. It has cost us dearly in blood and in treasure. I opposed this war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home. But I don't want to just end the war; I want to end the mindset that got us into war. I want to end a politics based on fear that uses 9/11 as a way to scare up votes instead of a way to bring the country together against a common enemy."

"to help Americans without health insurance acquire it without bankrupting the country, and ruining the quality of American health care that is the envy of the world;"

"If you are ready for change, Houston, then we can stop talking about the outrage of 47 million people without health insurance and start doing something about it. I put forward a plan that says everybody will be able to get health insurance that is at least as good as the plan I've got as a member of Congress. And if you already have health insurance, we will lower your premiums by $2,500 per family, per year. And if you can't afford it, we will subsidize your care, and we will emphasize prevention so we have a health care system instead of a disease-care system. And we won't do this 20 years from now or 10 years from now. We will do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America."

"to make our public schools more accountable to parents and better able to meet the critical responsibility they have to prepare our children for the challenges they'll face in the world they'll lead."

... every child needs to be nurtured and embraced. And so we are going to invest in early childhood education to close the achievement gap. And I won't just talk about how great teachers are; I will reward them for their greatness by giving them higher salaries and giving them more support. And I want the highest standards in our schools. We have to have high standards, standards of excellence in order to compete in this global economy. But I don't want our standards measured just by a single high-stakes standardized test, because I don't want our teachers teaching to the tests. I want our students learning art, and music, and science, and literature, and social studies. And I don't know about you, but I think it's about time we made college affordable for every young person in America. So we're going to provide a $4,000 tuition credit, every student, every year, but, students, you're going to have to give back something in return. You're going to have to participate in community service. You're going to have to work in a homeless shelter, or a veteran's home, or an underserved school, or join the Peace Corps."


Excerpts taken from speeches on 2/19/08. Of course, one of these candidates is known for just giving empty speeches, rhetoric without details. The other, a maverick who has the experience to lead. And it's so obvious which one is which, isn't it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

food as fun

Not to say that I'm off foodasfuel, but it's nice to go out to some fun places.

First up, a Valentine's Day fondue dinner at Geja's Cafe.

(all photos found online, not taken by me)


We ordered the cheese and chocolate courses for two. First up, the cheese. Although you can't really see it, the cheese is a rich gruyere sauce, with a taste of wine. I enjoyed dipping the bread and apples, and we also had some mushrooms, onions and peppers.


We were pretty full after that, but here comes the chocolate. It's topped with a orange liqueur that you can't taste, but is there so it can be lit and you can roast a marshmallow. Which turned into a beat the clock, as the flame is only there for a minute. We both got our marshmallow's on fire once and didn't really get a good roast, but that's okay. The chocolate sauce was even better than the cheese. Here I dipped pound cake and apples, while Mrs. Hoagie Central loved the strawberries covered in chocolate.

Valentines' Day dinner at one of Chicago's most romantic restaurants, with tax and tip: $50.

Why so affordable? We went on the 13th. If you go on the 14th, it's at least $200, although you do get more food. (But we were both pleasantly full afterwards anyways.)

Next up: A President's Day Brunch at Bongo Room in Wicker Park.

We decided to get two orders of pancakes and split them. But these aren't any old pancakes. I ordered the pumpkin pancakes covered in a maple/white anglaise. Very good and very rich. Tasted more like cinnamon than pumpkin, which pleased me very much.




Mrs. Hoagie Central opted for the banana pancakes made with toffee bits covered in a white anglaise and more bananas. I enjoyed the toffee bits but found it was too banana-y for my tastes. She enjoyed them.




We both enjoyed our orders. An order of pancakes was 9.25, but considering that we could only eat two, and had the third for dinner, I consider it a good value. With a hot chocolate, tax and tip, brunch for 2 was $31. Of course the secret here was going on a weekday and avoiding the 2 hour wait that is there on the weekends.

Although, after looking through flickr, I saw some pancakes that weren't on the menu today that sounded even better (oreo, smores). Perhaps they are at the other location, or more likely they change the menu often. Hmmm. Oh well.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

BREAKING - D-Will Sets Skills Challenge Record


Deron Williams beat out Jason Kidd, Dwayne Wade, and rival, hometown favorite Chris Paul in the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge. In the process he set a new record, besting the previous mark from Steve Nash.

When asked how he was able to do it, he said, "It's gotta be the smooth hands!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a novel idea

Although I let the cat of the bag last July 30, this is the first official word that I am in fact writing a novel that will hopefully come out in Summer/Fall 2008.

Since this is a Hoagie Central exclusive, I'm offering a special promotion to loyal HC readers. If you submit some content, whether it's a personal story, something made-up, or just a funny thought or whatever, I'll try and work it in to the novel.

Note: this does not apply to just saying some stupid inside joke like "toast" or "hershey highway" as that is quite lame. cough mark cough.

So if you have an idea, you can be a part of the next great American novel. Just don't be lame.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NO QUIT


I just ran my first 5k since June 24, 2007. Clocking in at 36:46. This was after running 1.5 miles once in January, and running 2.5 miles on Sunday.

It feels really good. There were so many times, especially early on, when I didn't really know if I was going to be able to do it.

On Sunday my goal was just to run 2 miles, and I ended up going 2.5 because I was waiting for a specific song. But I did it just fine without any water while running...

Well today, going in with the goal of doing 5k, my whole mindset was different. The first quarter-mile felt much harder. My legs felt tired immediately, and I drank about 14 ounces of water during the run. It was probably a combination of actually being tired from Sunday's run and knowing that I'm in it for the long haul. But I was able to pull it out, and one of the things that helped get me through, was knowing that I would be able to post this, make my achievement public.



5k times:
2.12.08 -- 36:46
6.24.07 -- 34:15
6.3.07 -- 36:55
5.15.07 -- 37:15

sometimes, it's too easy

(from 2/11 links)

That begs the question: What would make readers think his post from Friday was a real mailbag?


hamper dump



Saturday, February 09, 2008

Fixing the Pro Bowl

Last year, I toyed with the idea of hosting a 3rd place game in the offweek before the Super Bowl.

Well, I've cooled on that idea a little and have come with a better solution: Fixing the Pro Bowl.

The problems are obvious, but I'll state them so we can address how to fix them:

1. It's after the Super Bowl, so no one cares.
2. The players don't want to get hurt, so they don't bother showing up.
3. A 3-hour game where people aren't playing hard isn't exciting.

So here's the plan: The Pro Bowl is now the week before the Super Bowl, at the Super Bowl site. Thus, filling the gap in which everyone is ready for football.

And instead of having it being just one boring game, it will be a series of skills events. I think that when they are done well, every fan likes them, and it would work well among All-Stars. Here are some examples:

Fastest Players: (I really like this one)
There can be multiple heats and what not but the concept is:
A team consists of a WR/RB/CB on the 0, a TE/LB on the 20, and a lineman on the 40. They are all facing the same direction, and start at the same time, running with a ball towards the endzone. The team time is complete when the last person crosses the goal line. (Thus, a lineman is running 60 yards, te/lb 80, and wr/rb 100.) I think that would be really fun.

QB Read and Recognition event from old QB challenge
Kickers playing HORSE and Punters aiming for coffin corners
A one-on-one competition between a WR and a CB to catch a deep pass.
A strength competition for lineman to push sleds or something
Flag football using only trick plays or something
A competition for receivers to catch sideline passes! - (ooh I love that one)

you get the idea...

The whole thing would be a lot of fun, and it would feature the best players, doing real football moves (not kayaking or bowling like that off-season show) and it would be before the Super Bowl.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fantasy Playoffs Analysis


In this epic fantasy playoffs, here were the standings going into the Super Bowl:

Mark 267
Kirat 258
Dave 253

Here were the lineups, excluding common players:

Mark
Brady
Jacobs
Burress
Toomer

Kirat
Brady
Jacobs
Burress
Giants D

Dave
Eli
Moss
Welker
Pats D


Here's the scoring timeline:

In the case of Kirat vs. Mark, Kirat needed the Giants D to outscore Toomer by 9. Around the 4th quarter mark, Toomer had 5 points and Giants D was holding somewhere around 15. But the Pats scored, dropping the defense to 13, and Toomer caught 4th quarter passes to get his total up to 8. Once Moss caught the TD, Kirat didn't have much hope of passing Mark. Although a Brady INT would have give Kirat 2 more points at the end.

As for me vs. Mark...I initially guessed that I was relying on that last Eli touchdown for the win--but that's not the case. In fact, since Mark had Burress and I had the Pats D, that last score actually hurt my score. The key was that Brady was throwing to Welker, while Eli was throwing to Boss and Tyree. At halftime, Welker only had 3 points, but he came up with big catches in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Those last 70 yards for him, were only 3 points for Brady, but 7 for Welker, which turned out to be the difference.

How ironic, that my quarterback almost cost me the game by throwing a touchdown (by hurting my defense's score).

Sunday, February 03, 2008

how things outside of your control affect your life

If the Patriots defense stops Jacobs on 4th and 1 with 1:34 left, or they sack Manning with 1:15 left, or they intercept the ball with :51 left, or if they don't let them score that touchdown with :39 left...then Tom Brady is having a completely different night right now.

He's probably the MVP, just for engineering that touchdown drive that wins the game 14-10. He's 15-2 lifetime in the playoffs, 4 super bowl wins, 3 super bowl mvp trophies--the youngest to do all that, compares favorably in the best QB all-time discussion because of that 19-0 thing...all in all a pretty darn good day. He wouldn't have had a great game, but he took them down the field when it mattered, and he'll be remembered as the winning clutch QB.

But his defense let him down. They couldn't stop the unnatural force that is Eli Manning. If Samuel holds onto that ball, or if Harrison pops that ball out of Tyree's hands, then Brady is a hero. Now, who knows what happens...with Moss likely leaving, and the difficulty of trying to bounce back from 18-1. The Buffalo Bills are remembered for being notorious losers, even though they accomplished a great thing in reaching 4 straight Super Bowls. Now, Brady and the Pats face that same fate, but ratcheted up because of that perfect season on the line.

Things I've learned after all this? It's really hard to go undefeated and maybe Mercury Morris does deserve the right to pop off his champagne every year. And that defense still wins Championships. Peyton only won his ring after Bob Sanders and company started playing like a top 3 unit.

Also, Eli looks went from shaky QB in December to hero in the making. After 4 years, he's been to the playoffs 3 years in a row. He's 4-2 in the playoffs, including a MVP performance in an upset Super Bowl featuring one of the best Super Bowl plays ever.

Oh and one last note about how things outside of your control affect your life--if Tynes doesn't make that record-setting 47-yard field goal on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in overtime...Eli Manning is no hero.

XLII Ultimate Multi-Meat Crockpot


(you really owe it to yourself to click for high-res meat detail)

Super Bowl XLII Picks Recap

And the winner is...


Kirat!

The tiebreaker was total points scored, with 31 being the correct answer.

Kirat = 14 (tiebreaker off by 16)
Katie = 14 (tiebreaker off by 25)
Dan = 12 (tiebreaker off by 9)
Chrissy = 12 (blank)
Brittany = 11
Rishi = 10 (tiebreaker exactly right!)
Dave = 10 (tiebreaker off by 20)
Eve = 8
Matt = 7
Burnsy = 6
Mark = 4

Kirat won the grand prize...a pumpkin pie!
Mark won the low prize...a can of black beans!

On the lighter side, Eve beat Mark, Niraj and Matt despite not answering the coin toss question and answering "who?" on the Maroney question. Mark, Burnsy, Matt, and Rishi all wagered that the Pats would cover the spread. And this is the 2nd time in 3 years that the winner has been decided by the tiebreaker, and both times the total score was 31. Rishi got the tie breaker correctly, so if he would have wagered on the Giants, he would have won.

Previously:
XLI Winner: Brittany
XL Winner: Niraj

Friday, February 01, 2008

If only all Pats fans were like this

XLII


Let's take a break from politics, and discuss something that really matters...the Super Bowl.

Since I have affiliations with neither team, I have to figure out who to root for. I'm generally not a big fan of "rooting for your conference"--mainly because the NFL doesn't have conference identities the way that that college sports, or even baseball has with American/National. In fact, I'm definitely for rooting against your division rivals, so that cuts down on the AFC teams I would root for anyways.

Of course, this year is a special year, what with the Patriots trying to become the 2nd best team ever, behind the 1972 Miami Dolphins (stat provided by the insufferable Mercury Morris).

If the Pats win, they cement their standing as the best single-season team in NFL history. (Side note: After reading this note, I'm instantly more forgiving about Spygate.) So the larger question here, is that something that NFL fans should want to see.

There are a couple things to look at.

The most pressing on my mind, is which douchebag would I love to shut up more? Mercury Morris and the rest of the 72 Fins, or Bill Simmons and the rest of the arrogant Massholes? After tossing and turning on this issue for 2 weeks, I've realized that Morris will never, ever shut up. However, Bill will be forced to eat crow, and live with the fact that he jinxed his team.
Edge: Giants

On the larger issue of perfection, I looked deep into myself, and knew that, even though everyone respects the 60's Packers, 70's Steelers, 80's Niners, 90's Cowboys--I probably would have been rooting against them too. I 'm a Chiefs fan. And the only team that I want to see go undefeated is the red and gold. Now when the Chiefs go 19-0 in 2009 (Spoiler Alert!), it won't be as impressive.
Edge: Giants

And finally, when you never know who to root for, isn't it better to root for the underdog? Rooting for the Pats to win this game, is like rooting for Tom Brady to get laid. I'd much rather root for Eli to get some action. Everyone knows the Pats are going to win, so what's the fun in rooting for them?
Edge: Giants


Of course, it's all moot. The Patriots win in a game that's close in the first half (Pats 21 - 17), but close it out in a not so interesting fashion: Final: 38 - 23.

Who ya got?
Who are you rooting for and what's your prediction?