Wednesday, October 7, 2009

it may come as a shock to you, but i hate the 24-hour news cycle

As a proud liberal/progressive/fascistcommiewhosupportscrazysocialistthingslikepeoplebeinghealthy, it's always easy for me to say that the discourse in this country is full of crap and then point to Fox News as an example. But really, they aren't the only ones. This was actually on TV:

CNN, a news network, was fact-checking Saturday Night Live, a comedy show. I find it odd they they take the time to bring in non-partisan fact-checkers when a comedy show runs with what an emerging perception of the President is, but go ahead and just rebroadcast and debate talking points like "death panels" as if they were somehow valid.

I get that CNN has 24 hours to fill. I get that they're being spanked by more sensationalist and less news-oriented competitors. So they want to jazz it up a little bit. I even understand that what's happening with the political sketches on SNL is usually a pretty good indicator of what's resonating with the American people. I'll even support a little analysis in the 24-hour period about what those sketches may mean in terms of where public opinion is. CNN is still in the business of attracting viewers.

Still, I'd rather you interview a fact checker when an elected official makes a baseless claim about what health care reform is and then let Screamy McOpinion and Yelly McViewpoint go after each other about whether or not the cold opening on SNL is indicative of the actual job President Obama is doing.

When you do it this way around though, you're holding comedy shows to a higher standard of truthfulness than you are Congresspeople or even your own reporters. I stopped wondering why the American people seemed so ill-informed a long time ago.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

big american nfl preview '09: NFC North

Look, I get to this division each year and have to pick with either my brain or my...whatever it is that causes me to love and overestimate the Bears' chances each year. So last year, I went with my brain and that didn't work out so hot. Guess where I'm going this year...

4. Detroit - They're starting a rookie at quarterback. They're still the team that went 0-fer last season, and even with a new front office and pretty capable running back they're not going to have a Dolphin-like turnaround. Sorry Lions. I'll watch you on Thanksgiving.

3. Green Bay - The Rogers kid went ahead and lit some teams up last season, making himself a fantasy darling. Too bad there was no running game. And very little defense to speak of. The Packers did basically nothing to address these problems, so there's not a lot to like except for a guy who will probably have 4,000 more passing yards in an otherwise fruitless season.

2. Minnesota - When the Favre experiment goes wrong, and it will (after looking really good for a few weeks), you'll have Rosenfels and Jackson waiting in the wings after the Vikings went out of their way to say that they'd rather have a ghost behind center than either of them. Adrian Peterson and the defensive line are still going to be beastly, but I don't have faith in a team coached by a guy who spent the entire off-season ignoring his team to flirt with an overrated, past his prime, interception machine.

1. Chicago - Okay. Hear me out. The team's biggest strength has always been its defense. The core group of that defense can probably feel the window shutting for them. I think they have one more great season in them before they fade as a group. They know how much the Bears mortgaged the future to get Jay Cutler now. They will step up one more time. I worry more about the secondary, which will be young and unproven. On the other side of the ball, they improved the offensive line to go with their bona fide quarterback and one of the best rushers in football (who is also a credible threat as a receiver). There isn't a lot to speak of where the wideouts are concerned, but Olson is still a phenomenal tight end and Devin Hester can still run fast enough to make teams sweat (if the Devin Hester experiment fails with Cutler at QB, we have no one to blame but Devin Hester). Call me crazy, but I like the Bears' chances.

big american nfl preview '09: NFC East

If it doesn't get done this morning, I'll never make my deadline. So let's hit the NFC East. These teams all have plenty going for them, but some pretty solid negatives as well. All I know for sure is that the defenses will be fun to watch.

4. Washington - I hate picking the Redskins to notch last place here. Albert Haynesworth can't carry the defense by himself, though. And if I'm going to let the way the Cardinals finished the season be good news for Arizona, then the 2-6 limp to the finish for the Redskins probably doesn't bode well for Washington.

3. Dallas - Defense will be stifling, but their offensive line is old. That might leave Romo in some trouble (especially with the "2" part of the 1-2 punch running game having skipped town), and I just don't buy him as that good a quarterback. Roy Williams is not T.O., as much as I don't like to admit that any team would ever miss that guy. The offense won't have to go far, or score much to win games. I think the Cowboys will be very good. Possibly a playoff team. All said, though, the rest of this division is better.

2. Philadelphia - The Eagles are going to be better where they need to be. They shored up the O-line, will have some good (if young) receivers, potentially have some schemes that will make defensive coordinators' heads explode with the addition of Vick, and will boast a pretty strong defensive line. There are some questions in the secondary, but nothing to make me start a playoff prediction without including the Eagles.

1. New York - So they didn't replace the threat that Plaxico "Boom Boom" Burress posed to other teams at wideout. They're still the nasty team that had a strong 2008 before a playoff flameout, only with some additions that will make the defense even more intimidating. The team has proven that they're winners, and I'm not going against them here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

big american nfl preview '09: NFC West

One more before bed. I'll make it an easy(ish) one.

4. St. Louis - The Rams are in bad shape, still waiting on Marc Bulger to get healthy and hoping that will fix everything on a 2-14 team rather than blowing it all up and starting from scratch. And that's going to land them with the number one pick on prime time on a Thursday night.

3. Seattle - Everyone is picking them to win the West, but they're doing it by starting all of their justifications with "if." "If Hasselbeck stays healthy...", "If Julius Jones can emerge as a true star in the league...", or "If the rookies pan out..." are a lot of ifs that I don't believe in.

2. San Francisco - They're going to surprise a lot of people and, if I'm wrong about the Cardinals, could even be playoff-bound this year behind Alex Smith and Frank Gore. By the end of last season, Coach Singletary seemed to be onto something with this crew and it could end up being huge.

1. Arizona - Were the playoffs for real last season? I like the talent and the coaching for The Cardinals too much to say no. I'm even a believer in an 100-year-old Kurt Warner...but that's more based on his targets. I have to think that the playoff run and legitimate shot at actually winning the Super Bowl meant that they found what they needed to get things going. They won't sneak up on anyone, but they'll be a fun team to watch win games as favorites this season.

big american nfl preview '09: NFC South

Let's keep this train rolling, shall we?

4. Tampa Bay - The Bucs trying really hard to do "fresh start" without doing "rebuild," but they're doing "rebuild." Freeman will start the season behind center, but Leftwich will finish it there; once again the quarterback of a sub par team instead of what he could have been.

3. Carolina - This is where I have no clue. The Panthers have a good but not great defense and a good but not great offense. The Panthers, when I think about their chances this year, could go 14-2 just as easily as they could go 6-10. Ultimately, I'm putting them here because the only people left who still believe in the Legend of Jake Delhomme are Jake himself and the Panthers front office. And if that's what they're building the team around, it isn't going to happen for them.

2. New Orleans - New Orleans has a good offense. Moving along, I really like Darren Sharper, Jabir Green, and Malcolm Jenkins coming onto the defense to take down Drew Breeze's pass count and slow down other teams in a shoot-out. They don't make the Saints an intimidating defense, but they make enough improvement for some flirtation with the playoffs before ultimately falling short.

1. Atlanta - I can't help but think that last year wasn't a fluke. Matt Ryan is far more likely than Flacco to give a repeat performance of his rookie season since he has a better running back and better receivers than ol' Joe will have. The defense here is iffy, but I'm trusting that they'll be good enough in a division where all of the other teams lack "good enough" at every position.

big american nfl preview '09: AFC East

I stopped doing these for a while because of the way NC State decided to go ahead and lay a huge egg in their opener against South Carolina, therefore making it hard to think about football without sadness, pain, or both. But I'm back, and determined to get everything in before Thursday night. This probably means multiple entries tomorrow. Maybe even two tonight.

4. Buffalo - The Bills might be able to put it together and surprise people. Maybe we'll get enough "good T.O." to figure out what kind of quarterback they really have behind center. Maybe some of the underrated pieces that Buffalo has on defense will become something greater when they gel together. The problem is that there are too many maybes for a team coached by Dick Jauron.

3. Miami - Miami had a remarkable turnaround season last year and made us all talk about the possibilities of the "Wildcat" offense endlessly. I respect the talent they have, but I'm not convinced that a repeat performance is going to be lined up. Seriously, Pennington only gives you one good season at a time.

2. New York - I like the Jets more than I should. I like Thomas Jones, I like their receiving corps, and I like what Rex Ryan brings to their defense as head coach. None of these things are absolute and game-proven things to like as much as I do, but I see the Jets in the playoffs.

1. New England - This isn't a vote of confidence in the Patriots as much as a vote of no-confidence in my confidence in the Jets. Get that? Yes, Brady is back. Yes, they're coming off of an 11-5 season which could have easily been a playoff year with a mere handful of different things that didn't involve the guy taking the snaps. I just don't see the Patriots as the juggernaut people are touting them as. They'll start out strong, but it's an old and aching team; and that won't last into the winter. Especially given that they've lost a whopping 6 starters on the defensive side of the ball. I'm only picking them to win the East because the Jets are determined to start a rookie (thanks a lot Flacco and Ryan) at quarterback.

Monday, August 31, 2009

big american nfl preview '09: AFC North

I need to go ahead and let you all know that if you're not following Chad Ochocinco's Twitter feed, you're missing some of the most hilarious stuff on the internet. Onto the AFC North preview...

4. Cleveland - In theory, the Browns have a lot of good pieces. But that's only if everyone is playing the part of what they should be rather than what they are. Edwards, Anderson(or even Quinn, failing that), Jackson, Rodgers, and Lewis are all names that should push Cleveland into some serious football discussions. They're not. This team isn't going places. Their one win this season won't even put them into Detroit's 0-16 club.

3. Cincinnati - Hilarity aside, Ochocinco is in a lot of trouble. TJ Houshmanzada isn't on the other side of the field, I don't have any faith in the run game, and Carson Palmer looks like he's going to end up joining Grant Hill in the "how great would have have been if not for the being injured all the time?" hall of fame. Carson might put together a full season, and the Bengals have a young defense that could make a difference and give the Bengals a good finish to the season, but I don't like their chances on the whole.

2. Baltimore - Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan can't both have the kind of season they did last year, and my money is on Ryan repeating before Flacco. That said, this is still Baltimore. The Ravens are another year older on that defense, but that's still a defense that can get things done (and it still has Terrell Suggs...and that man is frightening). I like McGahee even if he can't finish a season, and I hear good things about Rice. They'll be in the playoff discussion, either as the last team in or the first team out.

1. Pittsburgh - Put simply, all the parts of a team that was big and scary and awesome last year have returned. Well, at least, a defense that was big and scary and awesome last year. If the offense can improve itself at all, there's a better than average chance that we'll follow the blueprint this season. We'll jump on a team that gets hot or has a flashy offense or makes a sexy highlight reel until the next thing you know, Pittsburgh is the runaway favorite to win the AFC.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

big american nfl preview '09: AFC West

From what might be the most competitive division in the AFC to the least...

4. Oakland - Even in this from this league of losers, the Raiders stand out. They've got coaches (probably) breaking each others' jaws, players having to tell other players that you might want to go to sleep at a reasonable hour before game day, and the culture of futility that's been brewing ever since Tampa Bay chased them out of the Super Bowl however many years ago. It doesn't look good.

3. Kansas City - The Chiefs weren't going to be good before the next Derek Anderson went down with an injury. Now? Well, at least their coaches aren't punching each other.

2. Denver - I've been told by television commentators that we have yet to see Kyle Orton throw the ball down field, as if it's going to happen at any moment. I saw him play in Chicago and also "have yet" to see it. There are pieces of this team that just aren't there, but I'm mostly happy that I no longer have to sell myself on Kyle Orton.

1. San Diego - Default winners of the AFC West. The interesting thing is going to be that we won't really know what the Chargers are made of for sure until we're well into the season because of the rest of the West will be so lousy. But if Tomlinson is as healthy as he claims (or even close), Rivers has another great year, and the defense does their job (and, honestly, there's not very many reasons to think they won't); the sky's the limit for this team. Still, they'll have to make it happen come playoff time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

big american nfl preview '09: AFC South

Alright, political discussions are important. But so is the way I distract myself from the need for political discussion. Football is coming back soon, and I'm here to handicap the upcoming NFL season for you division-by-division just so a record of how little I actually know exists. They're talking about the NFC North on ESPN as I type this, and I hate the idea of letting them color my opinion, so I'll go complete opposite today: The AFC South.

I expect a seriously competitive division, possibly even the closest one week-in-and-week-out in football. We've got two teams coming off of playoff appearances and strong seasons, a team that I like a lot as a football team, and another one that's almost universally been touted as a team that will have arrived by the time it's all said and done. But something is going to have to give somewhere.

4. Jacksonville - I wanted to like Jacksonville more than this. On paper, they have a serviceable quarterback who can maneuver himself and Torry Holt, who gives them the kind of receiver I don't remember them having on top of being a smart player that will come back to the ball when Garrard gets to scrambling. Add to that one of the best running backs in the game in Jones-Drew, and I could maybe even talk myself into calling the Jaguars a playoff team. But the window seems to have shut on what was once an intimidating defense, even with Del Rio's mind behind them. And that offense is good, but not the kind of good that puts you in a position to win shootout-style games. Jacksonville could surprise, but I don't see it.

3. Tennessee - They had a helluva season last season. And Jeff Fisher is a great coach. But I still think that last season was a flash-in-the-pan sort of season that's going to only serve to unfairly raise expectations. No Albert Haynesworth means that the defense lacks not only their biggest difference-maker but also their biggest distraction when opposing teams map out the offense. I don't think Collins-to-nobody makes for an especially dangerous passing threat, meaning that other teams can put the world in the box to stop the run.

2. Houston - A lot of people have been declaring this to be the year that The Texans break through and see the playoffs. And they're certainly going to do a lot of things very well. Matt Schaub-to-Andre Johnson should be one of the biggest connections in the game this year, they'll have a reliable if not surprisingly good rushing game, and they have a beast of a defensive line headlined by Mario Williams. They could even win this division. Could. But I don't think they will quite yet.

1. Indianapolis - They don't have the offense they used to. The receivers aren't as sexy (football sexy, not sexy sexy) and running game doesn't appear as dominant. They have a guy whose name might as well be "Not Tony Dungy" as their coach. What they do have is a defense that was very quietly among the best last season. What they do have is Peyton Manning. They won't be the Colts like we're used to seeing the Colts, but they're still contenders until they prove they aren't.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

we lost one of the good ones, and there weren't that many of them left

Ted Kennedy is gone. He did the good fight proud more often than anyone else who's been elected to national office in my lifetime. He didn't get to see a United States where everyone had access to health care. And that's sad.

Monday, August 24, 2009

what would Jesus damand as a co-pay?

I had wanted my glorious return to semi-regular blogging to be ushered in with football predictions, but I have something else on my mind at the moment and it won't go away until I share it with a wide and largely anonymous audience. There's this little debate going on around these here United States of America where health care is concerned. I'm certainly not going to be the first person in access to the internet to weigh in on this, so there are a few things I'm going to skip over for your sake.

The misdirection, misinformation, and outright lies coming from the right, for example, are documented by my heroes over at Media Matters in a far more thorough fashion than I'd be able to muster all by my lonesome.* I'll also skip my rallying cry to do whatever it takes to get the "blue dogs" out of office via their next primaries if they don't feel like health care should be accessible to everyone. For good measure, I'll even move on past the part where I lay out the reasons that anything less than the single-payer, universal health care we're all supposed to be afraid of is a cop out.

No, what's annoying me the most in this debate is the silence. A deafening silence coming from the Church. Now, to be fair, there is some good stuff being done quietly. There's The 10:10 Challenge, for example, which I think is fantastic. However, there isn't one loud voice coming from the big, honkin', capitol "C" Church.

This wouldn't be such a big deal, but apparently the Christian faith has pockets that can get bent out of shape over the need for legislation to remove the rights of gay folks. Heck, there's even a very vocal group of Christians who scream and contort their faces in front of anyone with a camera because they hate the idea that evolution is being taught in science classes. These two issues are things that the Church is divided on, though, as we disagree over the interpretation and study of the surrounding scripture.

So certainly on this issue, where there is absolutely no reading of any scripture that would translate to Jesus being of the opinion that there are people who don't deserve access to health care, the Church should easily rise up and in one unison voice demand that health care be treated as a human right. On this issue, shouldn't the side the Church takes on this issue - and we're talking the entire Church, lunatic fringe and all - be a slam dunk? Shouldn't this be the modern Church's finest hour, where we put aside the issues that divide our faith and rally behind the teachings that tell us, unequvically, to take care of those who need it?

Apparently, the Church is afraid of what compassion would look like on our pay stubs underneath Social Security. Apparently, the Church is too busy letting Dobson scream bloody murder over fictional "death panels." Apparently the Church, after being told for so long that only one political party has any of our interests in mind and seeing that party work so hard to deny people the right to proper care, is just too confused to get together and push the government to do the right thing in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets (only probably without the pillars of least, I'd hope so).

The Church in America has its share of failings. This silence, especially relative to some of the noise parts of it have been allowed to make at other times, is probably our biggest.

*For example much of their information gathering comes from folks who, bless their hearts, can watch far more Fox News and listen to far more talk radio than I could stomach.

Friday, August 14, 2009

the stick from which all future sticks shall be judged

I just want you to know that this is going to change my life for the better. Details soonish. Blog posts also to follow in a relatively soonish fashion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

pardon the dust on your web browser

So you may have noticed a lack of activity here. You may have also noticed a lack of activity over at How RDU Doin'? In both cases, it's due to the combination of restructuring and my impending move to Carrboro.

Look for How RDU Doin'? to get some seriously great new content in the coming weeks (especially after Scott gets himself married and local again).

As for the stuff I'm changing here, you may have noticed certain posts are missing. How you feel about those posts is basically the reason for the shift. In talking to the people who still read my little rambly thoughts, I discovered two camps:

One, mostly my friends and such, said "I like the site, but what's with all the comic book stuff?"

The other, mostly other comic nerds I've met through various online involvements, said "I like the comic book stuff, but what's up with all that other crap?"

So to satisfy both parties, I've removed the "Funnybook of the Week" posts from here and given them their own space. You can find those at the new and improved Funnybook of the Week, which now gives me more room to geek out to a specific audience. Act today, and you'll even find my especially nerdy thoughts on Captain America #600.

You'll still be able to read me talk about all the other stuff I like to talk about right here. So it's okay. Posting with some frequency shall resume in the coming weeks. It'll be great.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the reasons that brett favre must come back

Of late, every breath of the hated Brett Favre has been reported upon by all sports media. Nationally and locally. Television, internet, radio, smoke can't get away from hearing about Favre. We're just shy of a story where people speculate upon the meaning of Favre's breakfast:

"The key isn't so much that he had pancakes, but that he had blueberry pancakes - once again indicating a strong intrest in playing quarterback for the Vikings."

"How's that?"

"Well, blueberries - especially when cooked into a pancake - are actually more purple in color than blue. Naturally, since the Minnesota Vikings wear purple..."


But an end to the inane speculation isn't why I want Favre in a Vikings uniform as soon as possible. After all, if Favre does decide to play football again this season, it mearly means we'll have to play "will he/won't he" in the next NFL offseason as well. Here are the actual reasons for Favre to get back on the field:

1) Consider the record. As you may have heard me point out before once or twice, Brett Favre has thrown more interceptions than any other quarterback in the NFL's history. That said, I wouldn't mind him padding that stat just to make sure that a player I have absolutely no love, admiration, or even basic human respect for always has that distinction. And if he's throwing the ball to the other team a lot in a Vikings uniform? Well, that only helps the Bears, doesn't it?

2) On the field means not in the booth. I hadn't considered this, but I heard on the ol' radio this morning that Brett Favre would consider a broadcast job. His only reluctance to get into the booth is that he doesn't want to wear a tie (they apparently don't go with his Wranglers), which the Monday Night gig he was apparently rumored to be considered for would require. Still, there's no shortage of people bending over backwards for this guy, so allowing him to drop the tie wouldn't be that big a deal. This guy mustn't...HE. MUST. allowed anywhere near an NFL broadcast with a live mic. Between the accent, the almost certain constant self-promotion, and the awkard transitions (a man with this many INT's in his career would probably mess up "throwing it down to the field" so a sideline reporter can ask a horrid and obvious question); it could cripple the NFL's broadcasting.

3) I want to record the reaction he gets the first time he steps on to The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field wearing purple and watch it over and over and over again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

scott walker figuratively punched boston in the eye, and i loved it

The second-best thing about this series going seven games is that I found a way over the course of it to give the Bruins the same amount of hateful ire that I can throw the way of the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and whatever Major League Lacrosse team Boston my have. That is to say that, while I will always hate other teams more and wish more misery upon their players and fans, I have a principal that allows me to give them just enough hate to enjoy their downfall on most occasions.

The best thing is that, after achieving that kind of hatred, it feels extra nice to have Scott Walker rip their hearts out in a game seven overtime.

It also doesn't hurt to know that this sends the 'Canes back to the Easter Conference Finals. Oh, NHL playoffs, I wish you could last forever. Or at least until the start of football season.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

i kind of hate that i'm aging

The upcoming 30th birthday. Not excited about it. There's a desperation about me as I evaluate where I am that I suppose isn't entirely unlike a midlife crisis. Except this isn't that, because it's way too early for this to be a midlife crisis. Also, how could I have a midlife crisis when I can't even come close to affording the sports car?

When I worked at Camp Rockfish, my favorite co-worker (other than Laul Peeland) was a girl who would hang onto my every word and laugh at my every joke. Sometimes, she'd even look at me and say "you're going to be famous."

Not too incredibly long ago, I ran into one of the counselors at my high school. She asked me what I'd been up to. After telling her, she seemed profoundly disappointed and threw in a quick "I thought you'd be famous by now."

My mom is an avid How RDU Doin'? reader, and recently sent me an email telling me how witty I am and how I've clearly missed a golden opportunity if I can't find a way to get someone from the Daily Show to take a look at it.

I tell you all of this, in the sort of "woe is me" style post that I kind of hoped never to feel compelled towards ever again, to say one thing. For my 30th birthday, I'd like to be as talented as people think I am. And I'd like the stones to do something with that talent.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

oh, but to be a fly on the wall in the new jersey locker room....

For all that Buffalo has become the new rival and for all that I still pretty much can't stand any of the other teams in the Southeast Division, New Jersey still sits atop my list of teams I enjoy seeing the Hurricanes beat. If we eliminate them in the playoffs? Even sweeter. If the Hurricanes manage to do everything but stand over them and rip their hearts out just as they were tuning up the celebratory horn? Excuse me, I'll have to collect myself.

While I do that, why don't we let the Devils explain what the 'Canes did to them in this series.
"I really don't know what to say. I am shocked, stunned," Devils coach Brent Sutter said.

Zach Parise sat in front of his locker with his hands in his face. Most players spoke in very low voices, and none could recall a more gut-wrenching loss.

"These guys do a lot of those things against us," Brodeur said. "They beat us with two-tenths of a second to play and now this, it's stunning."

"They scored two goals in the final two minutes of a hockey game to win it," Devils center John Madden said. "I will never forget it."

Yeah. Good, good times.

Now let's go beat Boston, yes?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

i agree with this video

It's long been Andi's opinion that we should give Texas back to Mexico, but this will do just as well.

Friday, April 24, 2009

for the sake of clarification and directed towards someone who probably has never read anything i've posted here

You think that, based on your reading of the Bible, that God hates gay people. You also think that - and I'm assuming you somehow also have scripture to back this up - God is okay with torture.

Yeah, we can't be friends anymore. Not even on facebook.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

a few super-late thoughts on the tea bagging of america

No, not this tea bagging of America, but the little parties that made the news rounds last week. You know, the gatherings of people who are protesting...something...maybe taxes?...because guys like Limbaugh have been screaming that the sky is falling.

Because I sometimes spend a few minutes listening to right wing talk radio (as I've said many times, it's important to know what they're saying no matter how crazy/asinine/evil it happens to be), I know that Hannity thinks that no one except the people at these little parties understands what they were about. He offered no explanation, just that the mainstream media missed the point. So what was the point?

- People are out protesting "tax hikes." I put "tax hikes" in quotes because, as you no doubt know if you've been keeping up with the pesky little facts out there, most people will end up paying less in taxes. These "tax hikes" they're protesting are largely the rolling back of Bush's massive tax cuts. Even if that weren't true, none of these people are being taxed into the poor house...or even the middle class house...or even out of their summer house on the I have a hard time seeing the problem.

- Some are upset because their perception of taxes is President Obama taking their money from them and giving it to deadbeats who are too lazy to pay their mortgages. Maybe none of them noticed the economy tanking, but there are people out there losing their homes right not largely because of the whole "suddenly not having a job" thing. There is absolutely nothing that infuriates me than the assertion the poor are only poor because they want to be/are too lazy to get rich. And it's being perpetuated when Limbaugh goes on the air and actually says that people who can are going to look around and stop paying their mortgages and just assume that the government will take it over for them. This is stupid. Of course people want to achieve on their own. Of course it stings when they have to have help, especially when it comes right after having their job and life pulled out from under them. The idea that this is suddenly going to create a "welfare state" (Hannity again) full of lazy people just waiting for President Obama to come and help them out is one that's being put out there to frighten people who don't know to think about things for a second. Guess who showed up at the tea parties...

- Some aren't protesting taxes so much as the notion that Obama is deficit spending. For the record, these are largely the same people who were okay with Bush the W borrowing tons of money for an ill-advised war that was sold to the American people based on the repetition of a lie...but they're mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore when President Obama is spending money to, you know, help people live their lives and take care of that basic "pursuit of happiness" thing.

- But hey, maybe, just maybe there are people out there who opposed both the spending on the Iraq fiasco AND the spending on fighting off a depression. If someone truly believes that people need to be thrown to the wolves to fend for themselves in a sort of economic darwinism where only the people lucky enough to work for companies that aren't having to make massive cuts survive...I have nothing for you. We believe different things and your beliefs actually make me sad.

- What, in the end, I think most of these people were protesting - if they really knew what they were protesting at all - was a Democratic president.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Playoffs. Wednesday. Who's ready for some fun?

Let's go 'Canes!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

now here's a context in which i'll accept "carolina wins" as good news

A 9-0 Hurricanes win over the Islanders to keep things rolling even after clinching a playoff spot and keep my hopes for that 4th seed alive has me thinking a bit.

I didn't write what went through my head about the hiring of Paul Maurice. I didn't write what went through my head when the 'Canes biggest trade deadline move was bringing Cole back into the fold. But with a 9 game winning streak at a really great time for a hockey team to be peaking and Cole having collected 15 points in 15 games back with the team, I'm glad there's no record of what was going through my head in those moments.

I eagerly await the playoffs.

Monday, April 6, 2009

SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE sunday morning recap on a monday

Season Two is done. Fun was had, Lisa P came in and nailed the part of the former Mrs. Aquarius, and Brian Thacker was crowned the new SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE champion. Once again, the majority of the thanks go out to JMatt. The poor guy spent another six weeks making things run while the rest of us dicked around.

Honestly, if you haven't been coming to the show, you're missing out. Food for thought when I bring back the big pink banner after the summer and start sending you facebook invites to Season Three.

hey, who's not tired of hearing me talk about jay cutler?

Since the talking heads on ESPN think that somehow it's a good idea for the Broncos to ditch a top-five quarterback in a league where great play behind center has become the exception rather than the rule, I had to go to their website to find someone that made an ounce of sense. And it turned out to be Rick Reilly.

How many Broncos fans -- when they first heard that Josh McDaniels was taking over -- thought to themselves, "Boy, I sure hope we can somehow dump Pro Bowl QB Jay Cutler and start Kyle Orton this season! That would be swell!" And it all stemmed from McDaniels' ham-handed style and his Macy's-balloon ego. Years from now, the Cutler Catastrophe will go down as the dumbest thing in Boy Blunder's very short coaching career. I have a buddy who honestly believes McDaniels thinks this is fantasy football; that he gets a whole team to play with and screw over in his own image and what the hell, if his moves don't work out, his league has a special "mulligan" rule and he can start over. Only there's no "oops" rule in the NFL. This deal -- and McDaniels' Belichick wanna-be act -- will haunt Denver for years.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

it's a tad premature, right?

Economy is bad. I don't make much money. Must. Resist. Urge. To. Spend. Eighty. Dollars.

Friday, April 3, 2009


A defining moment in the history of my sports watching came during a Bears game with Jim Miller behind center. On 3rd-and-10, John Madden announces "I don't think the Bears have a play that goes 10 yards in the playbook." Sure enough, the play that was called and it was a 7 yard pass. This was not a check down. This was the play as drawn up. This is the moment I've gone back to when it comes to Bears quarterbacks ever since.

Then something wonderful happened yesterday.

The Bears went and grabbed themselves a quarterback. Seriously, an honest to goodness quarterback. Not a flash-in-the pan who will settle to awfulness, not a "game manager," and not Cade McNown, but a real live quarterback!

The naysayers will say that two first rounders and Kyle Orton is a pretty high price for Jay Cutler. But look at the excitement this move has created. I do think the Bears will need a bona fide wideout for this to work. Greg Olson is great, but he's a great Tight End. Brandon Lloyd showed flashes of brilliance last season, but just flashes. I will say that, if nothing else, the acquisition of Jay Cutler makes the Devin Hester experiment about one million times more interesting as we go into the 2009 season. If Jay Cutler doesn't make that happen, it just isn't meant to be.

I do think the Bears are going to do what it takes to make this a good deal, now that we've made it. After we lost both offensive tackles, I was afraid the season was alredy a write-off, but Angelo actually addressed some of the upcoming offensive line problems so that this shiny new quarterback will have some protection. Spending money and trading draft picks is not how we typically roll. This is amazing.

Did we need the draft picks to fix the O-Line and find ourselves some secondary help? Absolutely we did. But I think grabbing Orlando Pace shows that the front office is committed to making a run at things next season, and maybe we're not done wheeling and dealing just yet.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

how do you avoid getting on a roll?

I'm making a sincere effort to leave well enough alone. This evening, I got a text message from Scott. He had an idea. An idea so perfect and obvious that I kind of hated myself for not coming up with it. We bounced a few idea back and forth and got ourselves to work. The result is big, dumb fun on the internet that you might want to take a peek at come tomorrow.

So I've officially made my contributions and shut things down for the night, eager to go to bed with Andi. Once I was there, though, I couldn't even begin to sleep. If you know me, then you know I'm in a pretty unsatisfying rut in a lot of aspects of the ol' life. So little things like the exchange between Scott and me and the results thereof end up keeping me awake. It's why I don't sleep after the SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE or a great show at The Worx. When I remember what it's like to actually do something I'm a little proud of, I want to do more.

So I'm trying hard to leave it be. Let what I've done sit so I can settle down and get a good night's rest. But it's awfully hard, because these moments aren't part of the daily routine.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

so, um, i need to update this thing...

...but not today. In the meantime, this is still happening tonight:

Monday, March 16, 2009

on my failings to properly cover basketball on this blog

So I was going to go down the results of the ACC tourney one game at a time. That didn't work out, but I did manage to liveblog a pair of the games for How RDU Doin'? Then I thought I'd reprise my NCAA burning questions gimmick from last season. Then I filled out my first set of brackets and found that I had all four #1 seeds in the Final Four. So I'm going to grow a pair and then fill them out again. I'll let you know if I have anything worth reporting on before games start on Thursday.

March. Madness.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ACC tourney - virginia tech 65, miami 47

I am distraught by the inclusion of David Cook to the ACC festivities, specifically, how hard the Raycom gang is trying to pimp his album. This is not what I want from my basketball. Also, I wanted Miami to show up for this game for my entertainment. Instead, they'll be rockin' the NIT after one of the most disappointing seasons I've ever seen from a team that isn't NC State.

That said, Virginia Tech played pretty outstanding "team defense," which they'll need again tomorrow when they have the tall order of trying to catch UNC on an off day. I doubt they'll have it in them, but I wouldn't mind if they made Carolina work harder than they want to.

In the meantime, I have only to survive Georgia Tech vs. Clemson and then a break before sneaking a radio into work tonight so I can hear NC State take on Maryland. If State is going to win this thing, my boys will have to take down Maryland, Wake Forest, (probably) Duke, and then (probably) Carolina in consecutive days. I don't like our chances. And now I have to worry about the possibility of the Wolfpack getting stuck in one of the two tournaments that sit below the NIT. Bad season. Bad, bad season.

March. Madness.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE sunday morning recap on a tuesday

We'll just go ahead and cop to week 2 being the part of the show where the contestants begin to figure out what they do that works and what they do that doesn't. I had some quality banter with PT scheduled for the lulls between acts, but JMatt finally managed to put some good old fashioned fear of God into the contestants and their changes happened pretty quickly and smoothly for once.

Not as good a show as week one, but Phil definitely improved from last week to this one, coming home with the night's best performance.

The rest of the videos for the SHOWCASE can be found here. Next week, it's the Broadway...which will present a pretty big challenge to more than half of this cast unless I miss my guess. So show up this Saturday at 10:30 to Comedy Worx and try to figure out if our six intrepid performers can make Broadway SPARKLE!

i'm not looking forward to obsolescence

Hey, CNN has announced that America is becoming less Christian at a pretty quick rate. I mean, that's how the headline reads and everything. So what gives?

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League said he thinks a radical shift towards individualism over the last quarter-century has a lot to do it.

"The three most dreaded words are thou shalt not," he told Lou Dobbs. "Notice they are not atheists -- they are saying I don't want to be told what to do with my life."

Well, that's a simple answer. It's that pesky individualism that's got people giving faith a miss. We don't care for your rules. We're all rebels. We're all rockers.

But if you actually read the article, there's something else at play. Something that I find a little more disturbing.

The survey also found that "born-again" or "evangelical" Christianity is on the rise, while the percentage who belong to "mainline" congregations such as the Episcopal or Lutheran churches has fallen.

One in three Americans consider themselves evangelical, and the number of people associated with mega-churches has skyrocketed from less than 200,000 in 1990 to more than 8 million in the latest survey.

Right there, folks. I don't at all think it's a coincidence that as "'born-again' or 'evangelical' Christianity is on the rise," a larger number of people are being turned off by the idea of faith altogether. Really, I'm surprised that these fundamentalist, anti-intellectual, harshly judgmental, and (in the case of the mega-churches) impersonal versions of Christianity haven't chased off more people.

Especially as, more and more, this is the version of the Church most people are seeing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

i'm just sayin'...the dark knight was better

I saw Watchmen yesterday, and I'll be short about it. It was as good and as faithful an adaptation as a fan of the original story could possibly hope for. For those of you out there, who think that Alan Moore should justifiably be shaking his many-ringed fists in the air and screaming drug-addled obscenities to the heavens, I have two examples of how it could have been worse. Hilarious examples:

"Will you sign my copy of Watchmen Babies?"

Or, instead of a pretty faithful feature-length film, it could have been optioned into the kind of toy-pimping cartoon I grew up watching.

In short, it was enjoyable and carried a pretty fair amount of the themes and events from the comic. Oh, and it had blue wangs all over it. Lots of blue wangs.

UPDATE: Slate has a few other ways this thing could have ended up mangled, depending on which directors could have gotten the job. The Judd Apatow one is dead on and hilarious.

Monday, March 2, 2009

SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE sunday morning recap on a monday

So the dancing competition for week one of season two of the SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE was a lot of fun, with the contestants cross-dressing, cross-undressing, going psycho, dry humping stuffed animals, and in some cases actually dancing. There there was plenty of in-between. We're going to need to see some of the contestants separate themselves from each other in the next weeks, but I think it'll happen eventually.

The night came to a pretty horrific finish for Brice Powers, who finally got a measure of comeuppance when he was chosen to dance in the judges challenge. What happened to him was not for the faint of heart, are alluded to on his facebook page, which should be visited to get the total SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE experience.

However, I really thought the show belonged to PT and Chris, whose performances as Jason Aquarius and Ricky Dean Del Fuego really upped themselves from the first season. So, you know, good job guys.


funnybook of last week: New Avengers #50

Well, the ending to issue #49 and the cover to this issue seemed to promise a big, fat showdown between the New Avengers and the brand new Dark Avengers. Did it deliver that?

Nope. But what we did get was a great look at how Norman Osborn's Dark Reign in the Marvel Universe is going to work. What we did get was Clint Barton going after Osborn through the media in a pretty rockin' monologue. What we did get was Bendis extending a middle finger to his many critics who claim there isn't a difference between the voices he gives characters. What we did get was a pretty epic throwdown between the New Avengers and a different squad. What we did get, was the funnybook of the week.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

just in case you're not tired of the big pink letters yet...

This Saturday. February 28th. 10:30 PM. Comedy Worx. SUPER. SPARKLE. SHOWCASE.

i feel like i'm being rope-a-doped

I'm having a hard time believing that the Republican Party is actually imploding this hard. I'm a little late to the party for making fun of Bobby Jindal's hilariously and/or infuriatingly awful response to Obama's not State of the Union (which I'm also too late to the party to really get into).

What I can offer up, though, is that I'm baffled that no one in the Republican Party has come up with something other than what clearly lost them control of the government. Heck, the party that brought us misleading terms in order to frame issues to their favor ("death tax" and "pro life," for example) can't even bother to put a clever new name on their same old ideas.

I always think it's smart to keep track of what's going on with the other side of my political beliefs. That's why I will, from time-to-time, tune into talk radio. So yesterday, I spent a few of my lunch minutes with Rush Limbaugh to hear his response to Obama's speech. This is the man who masterfully and carefully (it doesn't matter that he used misinformation to do it, it just matters that he was good at it) undermined Bill Clinton at every turn. Even he was flailing. Just spewing bile and coming up with nothing more than to call President Obama a lying, power-grabbing, socialist. That's it. And when it came time to defend Bobby Jindal? He had even less. Just a vague promise that Jindal is "the real deal?"

I find that a machine that was once so careful and deliberate can suddenly be spinning out of control this way is too good to be true. Don't get me wrong. They're still out there enough that going to the misinformation playbook managed to neuter a good chunk of the passed economic bill. It just may not seem like it with all of the wild swings they political right seems to have been taking.

Maybe that's it. Maybe they're just playing possum. Undermining things where they can (see: stimulus) to make sure that just enough stays wrong so they can score the big comeback. I'm just a little bit scared right now that a party that used to seem a few steps ahead is suddenly eating it, and wonder what - if anything - they have for the long term.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

be careful what you wish for, you just might get larry the cable guy

Last time Comedy Central did a roast, we got the hilarious roasting of Bob Saget. Previously, they'd taken to showing embarrassing broadcasts where some of the meanest comedians out there took pot shots at easy targets like Flavor Flav and Pam Anderson. They weren't fun, and were only funny in an uncomfortable sort of way. The Bob Saget roast, on the other hand, was clearly a bunch of people who clearly cared about the guy making fun of him in a way that showed it. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of stuff that was over the line, but the spirit behind it wasn't so - and I hate to sound like an 8-year-old - mean.

So anyone who listened would hear from me that Comedy Central needed to follow the Bob Saget roast pattern again. Find a comedian that had a lot of friends who also happened to be funny and let them go after each other in a good-natured, but still no holds barred, roast.

Unfortunately, I'll bet Larry the Cable Guy fits that mold. They'll bring in Foxworthy and the rest of the Blue Collar crew, and I'm sure they think the world of each other...but c'mon. Next time, I'll be more specific in my requests to Comedy Central.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

there were a lot of crotch punches

I'm going to be honest. Putting together a second run of the SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE is pretty scary. Trying to root through the first season and repeat what worked, cast off what didn't work, and find a few new twists while relying on a new cast of contestants leaves me nervous.*

Last night - in the midst of trying to find what will work for my character to separate him from an American Idol** judge, worrying that all of our contestants this time came from inside the Worx, and hoping that the audience we built will continue to follow the show this time around - we got together to do a photo shoot to get some publicity for the show running.

You know what? I had a blast. It's kind of nice to stop worrying about the how the show will go and remember why we do the things we do in that building. To put together something entertaining while getting to goof off with our friends? That's what it's all about.

* JMatt, the brains and major force behind the SHOWCASE, is likely somewhere so far beyond nervous that he wet himself laughing at how nervous I am for this show.

** Go Anoop! No, seriously, I'm kind of on the bandwagon this time around.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

you know what? i like pork. pork is delicious.

Well, it doesn't have the glitz of people hurling insults at each other in an election season, but the stimulus bill has at least generated some conversation. Whether it's because of an actual attempt towards bipartisanship or because we need a handful of Republican votes in the Senate, what would have been a pretty awesome piece of legislation has watered down because of accusations of too much pork.

For example, family planning. One of the provisions in the House version of the stimulus bill was for the expansion of Medicaid for birth control.

Medicaid is already the single largest source of public funding for family planning nationwide, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The stimulus provision would have made it easier for states to cover family planning for low-income women who currently make slightly too much to qualify for regular Medicaid.

Seems pretty striaght forward to me, but is it stimulus?

The birth control expansion would simply have simply made it easier for states to relax the eligibility criteria to cover more women. Providing more services, to more people, with more money supplied by the federal government is textbook economic stimulus.

Then why haven't we heard about this wonderful textbook economic stimulus that is going to help more people? Oh, we have. My apologies for linking to the admittedly politically biased Daily Kos, but it's the first hit after four pages of sifting through Google News results that didn't refer to this provision as "giving out free condoms." Oh, what's that? You have heard about the cutting of the free condoms from the stimulus bill and that's all you heard about it? Must be that liberal media.

Of course, health care and family planning aren't the only "pet projects" that have been stripped from the House's version of the bill. There are also frivolities like...oh, I don't know...let's say education? Good thing we took care of that:

Gone entirely is funding for higher education construction, which, under the House-passed version, could have meant up to $242 million for the University at Buffalo.

Silly job-creating, education-friendly construction has no place in a serious bill aimed at helping Americans. Especially when it's aimed at an area that was in a bad economic way even before the sky started falling.

Similarly, the Senate eliminated funding for school construction. The House bill would have provided $31.9 million for the district of Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.

Oh, and who needs schools?

For the love of all things holy, the Democrats need spines now more than ever. "Hey, jerk, you don't get to cut health care and education...especially health care and education that will help the economy." No one?

"Hey jerk, you don't get to frame an entire bill aimed at doing something to get us out of the mess that your side created as 'free condoms for deadbeats.' Oh, and while we're at it, come with something stronger than 'tax cuts' or please just shut up and vote for the nice, helpful stimulus bill." Anyone at all on the Democratic side?

No? Crap.

So this thing might not work like it's supposed to. And it will be the fault of the Republicans who led the charge to make sure it didn't. And in 2010, when people go to vote, will they remember that? Nope. By then this whole thing will have been framed as the first major failure of a President Obama who went unchecked by the Democratic Congress. I think I'm going to be sick now.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

all it does is say "buy my book! buy my book!..."

There's a store. Buy some stuff from there. Wear it to the SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE season 2 premiere on February 28th at 10:30 pm at Comedy Worx. You'll be glad you did.

Coming soon(ish)...Brice Powers t-shirts.

Monday, February 2, 2009

things occasionally get changed forever

Remember when we used to go around saying that a certain date changed everything? We were chastised by certain politicians for thinking about the world as it was before that event. Well, that's the past now. "Why is that the past?" you ask? Because during last night's Super Bowl, this happened:

To quote one Ben Roberts: "Bruce Springsteen just teabagged America."

February 1st, 2009. Remember that day. Never forget that day. Everything that happens from here on out is a thing that must be viewed in a new light. We've all been teabagged as a nation, and we must band together and move on. And always, always remember.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the parade lasted about a year-and-a-half

So I've had a while to digest the big Inauguration day hoopla. Leading up to Obama's speech, commentators were preparing for a soundbite on par with "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" or "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." Instead, we got a President Obama who was very matter-of-fact about what we were facing. Instead, we got a speech whose tone wasn't looking to cap off the historic moment but rather focused on the task at hand. And that's what I'm always going to remember about the speech. Not any of the words, not even the subtle jabs at the Bush administration. I'll remember that Obama's Inauguration speech could be summed up simply with "Okay America, let's get to work."

Monday, January 19, 2009

i'm sure there's something in the revelation about this

Zack, my little brother, is in his second semester of Divinity School. So I'm certain that, by now, he's well trained in identifying the end times. I mean, that's got to be the very first thing they cover there. You know, just in case the signs start showing up in a time and manner that suggest you might not need to take exams seriously. All I'm saying is that if the end is near, Zack knows it.

After yesterday's NFC Championship game, I got the following text:

The Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. This is an unmistakable sign. Get your ass to church.

So, if you guys need me, I'll be getting right with Jesus. Zack thinks it's a good idea.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

you know how hard it is to find a graphic that stays still?

By now, boys and girls, you should be checking How RDU Doin'? on an obsessive basis. But on the off chance you're not, behold my first stab at video editing since I was an undergraduate messing with Media 100 in my field production class. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.

Special thanks to Chris Mayo, who encouraged me when it was at first difficult getting strangers to speak into a camera about a store that sells "sex helpers."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

nothing is more american than jamming a pencil under somone's finger nails

As far as I'm concerned, the politics of 24 have never really gone down smooth. I always tune in for the over-the-top badassery and things that blow up, but there's always been this creepy little undertone to each season. Last season's lesson was that if you hit enough brown people, eventually one of them will be a terrorist. This year, after having seen roughly 45 minutes of the season, I can already tell that this is going to be a great big love-in for the virtues of torture.

The "do whatever it takes to keep people safe" message, delivered from a heroic Jack Bower to a smug Senate that wants him to know the US doesn't torture, has already been echoed three times either directly or indirectly. It's clear what they're driving at, and it's making my stomach a little queezy. Then again, it's on FOX.

Really and truly, it's the return of Tony Almeida that has me intrigued enough to keep going...but if that payoff isn't huge, I may finally be done with 24.

Monday, January 12, 2009

come join me, why don't you?

Just a little something to remind you folks that I do more than blog about comics. If you laugh, it's okay. I'll save a seat for you next to me in hell.

Heh heh..."freak accident."

If this turns out to be less than authentic, I don't know if I'll be more disappointed or relieved.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

hey, talented should audition and SPARKLE!!!

From the Facebook page...

Hello SPARKLE fans!

As previously announced, SUPER SPARKLE SHOWCASE will be returning this February for its second season. The show will premiere on Saturday, February 28th and run for six weeks.

We'll be making the "official" audition announcement on Facebook in the next day or two. But since several people have expressed interest in auditions, we wanted to go ahead and get some of the details out there.

Auditions are scheduled for Saturday, January 24th from 12 noon to 3 PM at the Worx Comedy Theater.

To audition, you'll need: a completed application form, a non-returnable headshot of yourself, a performance piece of no longer than two minutes.

More details will be posted soon on Facebook including a F.A.Q. and the necessary forms. So if you or someone you know would be interested in auditioning, please pass along this info to them

If you have any questions, please don't hesistate to ask.


Monday, January 5, 2009

the worst of everything, all in one little bottle

This is apparently a real thing. I'll be weeping in the corner.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

i am going to rock the face off of 2009

I am going to rock the face off of 2009. I don't know exactly what that means and therefore I don't know how I'm going to achieve it, but it's going to happen. 2008 kind of sucked. 2009 is my time. And I know this because I rocked 2009 in while in the POWER STANCE!!!