Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Rival to the NFL?

Just read a report that some billionaires want to create a "United Football League" to try and fill the professional football gap in cities that do not have an NFL squad. The owner says he doesn't plan to poach NFL players, but rather use players that get cut by the NFL (claiming that most of the final cut players are interchangeable with those who do make the team).

Hmmm, a league that relies on the scrubs who can't make the grade in the NFL. Umm, hasn't that been tried before? I think it was called the XFL. A renegade league that tried to be the "fun" alternative to the No Fun sputtered and collapsed...there already aren't enough players to fill 32 rosters with top-notch talent...but we're supposed to believe there are enough player to outfit another league? Doubtful. I mean there's already Arena Football, NFL Europa, and the CFL to employ guys who can't make the NFL. Why pretend to have a comparable product in other cities?

The UFL wants to put teams in Vegas, LA and Mexico City....better sign that deal with Unovision or ESPN Espanol it NFL Mexicana....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mid-Week Considerations

Tired of having posts with "thoughts" in the title, so here are a few, uh, things swirling around in my head as I peruse the Internet after a long day at work.

Man, sure didn't take the Phillies that long to sink back down to .500 did it? Consider this: The Phillies needed 49 games in 55 days to finally surpass .500. They needed just two games in two days to return there. They took a pounding early and late tonight in an 11-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils need to beat the Diamondbacks in the series finale Wednesday or dip back below .500. Sigh.

Michael Vick has now dipped to sub-human dick-wad status in my book. Hmmm, I wonder what the ink-black houses in the woods were for? Hmmm....perhaps to hide an illegal dog-fights at night? Fucking jack-ass. Read this story from SI, and if you don't think the same way, find a lost and found and ask them if anyone has turned in a soul recently.

I'm glad I'm not a taxpayer in Illinois....why would a state adopt and then spend mega-bucks to defend legislation that has already been ruled unconstitutional? And raiding unspent money for social services to go to court about video-game legislation? That's ridiculous.

You think your HDTV is impressive? Your HDTV sucks. Sorry, I don't mean to be a jerk, but it's no longer cutting edge. 1920x1080? Please. Japanese broadcaster NHK has come up with what they call Super Hi-Vision, and it puts HD to shame with an insane resolution of 7680x4320. Yeah, that's the equivalent of 16 HDTVs crammed into one. Like I said, your HDTV sucks.

Romo, oh Romo, where fore art thou hands?

And a genius re-enactment

Heck, someone online was saying Romo was a guest judge at the Miss Universe pageant (unconfirmed rumor). Looks like he was coaching Miss USA on how to handle pressure least she had the poise not to cry.

Quick Thoughts for Tuesday

Wow, talk about being busy...really putting a crimp in the blog.
(hmm, funny how having a JOB sucks down time)

Some quick hit thoughts: The Venezuelans are about to learn about the socialist fairy tale and a harsh lesson in reality: freedoms given away usually must be earned back with blood. Hmmm, elect some Chavez cronies and watch them hand-over all the power to Chavez, shocking. Guess all those cheers are turning to frowns about now. Know what else is hilarious, all the Hollywood shitheads (Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, etc) who did everything but suck Chavez's cock in public look real fucking stupid right now (of course, they did originally, but now, its even better).
But obviously, the biased U.S. media is lying.

I also fell out of my chair laughing at the dumb hicks in Kentucky who opened us a "Creationism museum" that has dinosaurs co-existing with native-american looking primitives. Raptors no less! Why not just give the Indians some fucking leashes and show them domesticating some T-Rexes while your at it....jackasses....

Look out iPod, the Zune is catching up...(Cough, well maybe not)

Once again, months of "diplomacy" achieves next to nothing (except the continue slaughter of the helpless) and its up to the United States to actually hold some dipshit to account. This time in the Sudan. I wonder if Clooney & Co. are going to give the administration any credit, or what they think of the continuing failure of the E.U., U.N. et al to stem the genocide going on in Darfur.

well that's all I have time for right now. I hold to get some more Eagles stuff up soon.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Eagles Thoughts This Week

As another mini-camp opens the Eagles announced the signing of the pair of 3rd rd draft choices they had, coming to terms with RB Tony Hunt and LB Stewart Bradley on 4-year deals. Now I know the Eagles generally like to sign rookies to 5-year deals, but changes to the collective bargaining agreement prevent that now, with the exception I think of 1st round draft choices, who can sign 5 year deals. This is, I imagine, designed to protect unsuspecting rookies from being pressured into signing longer deals and then missing out on unrestricted free agency (for which both Hunt and Bradley will be eligible if they are still in the NFL in 4 years).

Isn't that what agents are supposed to do? Protect their clients?

You know a lot people bag on Dave Spadaro, the primary "correspondent", who covers the Eagles for their website, Philadelphia And to be totally fair, "Spuds" as he is known to Iggles fans, can be a bit grating with his "rah-rah-ness." I think many would prefer a bit more cynicism (they claim to want objectivity), but let's face it. He's a paid cheerleader for the Eagles...I would LOVE to have this guys job. Hang out at NovaCare, go to a few PCs, and deliver a write up about the Birds a few times a week.

This isn't about bashing Spuds, its about defending him, cause some folks love to pick on him. Look, the man is being paid by the Eagles! He's paid to be optimistic, not caustic. And in all fairness to him, the does occasionally loosen the leash and let him write a few topics from a more general-fan perspective and question a few of the moves (such as not re-signing Jeff Garcia and Donte' Stallworth earlier this off-season). I will admit, that such articles always also contain the: F.O.-has-done-this-before-and-its-worked-out caveat that calls for fans to trust that the Eagles know what they're doing....but isn't that sort-of to be expected? It is the Eagles website we're talking about after all.

And yes, he's not exactly a great writer (I like to think I'd be much more entertaining, even if I'd last about two articles with the way I fucking interject foul language) but he's "Sunshine Dave" and there almost no where else to go besides the medicine cabinet if one is looking for the silver lining about almost any aspect of the Birds. And sometimes, I admit. I need that.
So thanks Dave.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Random Thoughts Day

Well, I've had a little bit of time to relax and got to blast a bunch of bad guys in my latest shooter game: F.E.A.R. Combat is fun when you have a reset button....

Now for a few things I think I think:
A) I think Blake had the best individual performance with his first song, but the Jordin was clearly the better singer after the 3 songs....I wonder if Blake's kick-ass rendition of the Bon Jovi song will be enough? If I had to bet money: Jordin returns even money 1:1, Blake 5:1....

B) I think Clinton Portis is a fucking Jackass....the league won't do anything about it - and nor should it - you can't fix stupid....
B-1: I hope Spikes and Trotter plant Portis into Linc turf like a cross-dressing petunia this fall.

C) I'll bet Arthur Blank's representatives are doing everything they possibly can to keep Vick from getting charged, cause if not Mr Pencil moustache has got to be wringing his hands...his new coach just traded away the Falcons primary back-up - skunking the Texans in the process - but also putting all their eggs in the Michael Vick basket for the foreseeable future.

D) Personally, I think its only a matter of time before Vick gets charged. Animals are a touchy subject with many in America...I've never really cared for Vick as a QB, but before this I've never had a reason to build up a distaste for Vick the person...As a dog-lover, oh you can be sure, that distaste is very strong right now.

E) How can this do anything but distract from the Falcons focus? (personally, I say fuck 'em, I've never liked the Dirty Birds...)

F) Does anyone outside of their respective cities care one-whit about the Stanley Cup Finals between the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Ottawa Senators? Didn't think so.

G) Yes, I know they're not the Mighty Ducks anymore, but if you're going to change your name, you should do it completely...Mighty Ducks might've been childish and slightly gay, but plain old Ducks? That is just lame....

H) Now that they've made a spectacle of the Lottery of Losers in the NBA, has everyone forgotten about how all the teams at the bottom basically DELIBERATELY sought to lose games or otherwise tank the season so they could get the top pick?? Where's the angst and/or indignation at that? I guess its only fitting that the three biggest losers all got hosed by the lottery balls and none of them scored a top-two pick...HA HA HA HA

I) I think its safer to pick second in this year's NBA know you're going to get a young phenom (Most likely Kevin Durant), but you don't have the pressure of choosing which one. If either winds up being a bust, you're fairly safe in saying, that the guy we had to take..........

J) Everytime the Phillies have a chance to be better than strictly average (.500) they lose. Why am I not surprised? Why do I see this pattern of mediocrity creeping into yet another season?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nothing Special Today

Man, this working every day thing is beating me down....
I've got about 5 1/2 weeks left....whew...

well not really, its just odd that I'm back to the old ways so quickly...prepare the coffee the night before, get up, get dressed, drink coffee, perk up, make sure everything it set for the day (lunch - check, id & keys - check, cover (that's HAT to normal folks) - check, etc, etc, etc) and get the heck out the door.

Today we had PT after work and then we went to the commissary (that's supermarket for the rest of you) and finally stocked up on food (all that and we forgot eggs, jeez). Got home, made dinner, put the food away (most of it anyway), cleaned up, did the dishes (hey, isn't the wife supposed to frickin' help with some of that shit??? Well she did brown the taco meat and slice up a tomato...) ate, and all of a sudden its well past 8pm...dang....

Heck I had to come in here and basically stop watching the movie we rented tonight (Fay Grim with Parker Posey) so I could catch up on today's email and check out some sports news, a sliver of world news, etc....

So Tuesday's about gone in the books.

Eventually I'll bet around to lambasting that retard Michael Vick and this whole dog-fighting scandal....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Busy Week(s) Ahead

Man, here I was, getting comfy, arising in the morning to watch a little prime-time TV from the East Coast, and taking care of the myriad small things that cropped up in the week I've had since the end of my last project. Life just seems to pile up in a hurry between vet visit, PT test, finding a spare dry day to do the lawn, laundry, etc, etc, etc....

Well, I'm going on order for a little while, so I am going to be even busier, working a fairly routine schedule instead of the flex time I had been doing. (Heck most folks probably didn't even know I was working, just figured I was another unemployed blogger)...

SO, while I will be keeping up with the Birds and watching as some local TV when the opportunity arises, I do not know if I will be blogging daily.

So why not take this time to get a little Eagles talk in...(many, hold on, I had to tune in some ESPN...god I love this Slingbox)...there was some talk today on about whether or not so folks are getting a little ahead of themselves in their exuberance about the Birds. Specifically, the Eagles still have a lot of question marks (some defense (at DT, LB) and special teams (who's going to be the return man))...some of the same questions we had last year! and should we getting overly excited about Bunkley, Ramsey, Bradley and Gocong potentially being called on to be prime-time producers....

I will say this: No team can be 100% sure that the players it has on the roster are going to perform to their peak ability, but relying on younger players to seize their opportunity, step-up and take charge is a way of life in the NFL. I mean, take a look at the defending Champs....they lost a slew of defensive players, yet some pundits are still fawning over the Colts off-season because they added some more offensive weapons...Heck, ESPN's Len Pasquarelli just did a piece on the Colts relying on "in-house" replacements this year - yet that hasn't squelched talk of the Colts pulling a Superbowl two-fer.

For the Eagles, there is cause for optimism. Why? Because they have clearly improved their team. Part of the problem last year was a lack of play-making on D, an inability to keep their D-Line rotation going, etc. So lets take a look at what they've done.

A) They've gotten BIGGER. JJ admitted that the Birds were too small last year - something he's never really done before. Did they get massively larger on the D-Line, not really, but the replace some up-n-down players (Walker and Rayburn) with vets who've performed steadier (Reagor and Scott) with their former teams. Factor in the return of Jevon Kearse and the D-Line has a chance to be very good. Remember in the Summer of 2006. A lot of us thought the Eagles D-line would be the strength of the team, perhaps the best they'd assembled since the heyday of Buddy Ryan's Gang Green D. Oops, were we wrong.

B) Then there are the Linebackers...gone is scrub Dhani Jones, and last year's opening day WILL Matt McCoy is definitely on the roster bubble at this point. In comes Takeo Spikes, who simply LOOKS like a LB, and a plan to reduce the pressure on Trotter but getting play-making LB Omar Gaither to sub for him regularly. As far as the SAM LB goes, new guys Stewart Bradley and Chris Gocong may or may not be stars-in-waiting. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Jones did nothing last year. Not a single memorable play (but that didn't stop the annoying air banjo'ing). Gocong and Bradley simply cannot do any worse. They're bigger, and while I expect that they'll struggle if called on to play too much coverage, both have the size to help in run support.

More on a reason to be optimistic about the Special Teams later (but I will preface it this way: the improvement has something to do like the lack of player named Mahe...:) jK Reno, we love ya!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Donovan Feeds the Vultures

On Friday, Eagles QB and subject of a stupendous amount of media rumination, Donovan McNabb hosted a barbeque for local media members at RiverCrest Golf Club in Phoenixville, which will serve as the site for the Donovan McNabb Foundation Golf Classic on June 15.

Although DMac did meet a few select reporters just before mini-camp at the Flyers practice facility in Vorhees, N.J. (which made the buzzards all "a-twitter" with McNabb-is-mad-at-the-FO rumors), this was the first time since the injury that he's been available to anyone and everyone with a pen and notepad, micro-recorder, cam-corder, webcam, digital camera, spy-cam, blackberry, iPhones, what have you.

The best news to come out the event, this news about his knee:
McNabb has been rehabbing the knee four times a week, while still participating in general conditioning workouts five days a week. McNabb said his exercises include weight-lifting, running on the treadmill and certain agility drills. "It's really similar to my workouts in Arizona, just not as extensive."

And of the rampant speculation that his relationship with Head Coach Andy Reid "must be deteriorating because AR drafted a QB in the second round and then there was no reports of them talking until the next Tuesday" (two whole days I tell you). Read on:

McNabb said the events of the offseason have done anything but weaken his connection with his Reid, who drafted McNabb in the first round back in 1999. "My relationship is probably better than it was before because we were able to talk about a lot of different issues," McNabb said. "Obviously there's the issue we're faced with now with drafting a quarterback, but there was also the situation with him and what his family was faced with, and I was there for him. I called him and talked to him, texted him, whatever to let him know that I was there for him if he needed anything...People again look too far into it. We talk all the time."

You mean people read too much into something? Nah, I don't believe it...
Of course, some folks won't let this rest. There's papers to be sold and rating to score and website hits to accumulate between now and training camp in July (when such thing are basically guaranteed). So no matter what Donovan says or does, certain elements of the media will continue to view every action and parse every utterance through the "theres-a-problem-here-somewhere" lens.

I, for one, will be keeping track. And those repeat offenders. Get put on the shit list...

Friday Follies

Its actually Saturday for me, but I think this will officially post for Friday back in the States, so....a few random funnies I've stumbled across recently.

Odd and End thought for the day:
As I "enjoy" a Phillies game via my new Slingbox (ok, now that I've had a minute to think about that statement I really need to change the channel), I just watched the Phillies #5 hitter, Pat Burrell, strike out on 3 straight pitches...what the hell? Stand there twice taking strikes and whiff badly on a slider...wasn't he nicknamed Pat the Bat not that long ago? More like Pat went splat, now.

Notable stories:
DUDE, your getting ripped off by Dell. (at least NY thinks so and is suing Dell for Fraud)

In Ottawa, Illinois one McD's employee took the happy meal to a whole new level. The employee is a 17 year-old high school senior, he's been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia (ed., how about possession with intent to be retarded?) See the local Fox coverage here. Man, I bet late night Happy Meal sales soared at McDonald's located near college campuses....

Taking the PS in Playstation the wrong way:
This blurb from E.D. Hill at FoxNews about a dude who celebrated his new PS3 by pissing on his old PS2 console, which happened to still be plugged in the wall. He was electrocuted and fell to the floor unconscious. As Kotaku adds, "After coming to about ten seconds later, the student was rushed to the hospital where a doctor's prognosis confirmed he was in fact an idiot." In related news Nintendo trumped Sony again by announcing their Wii game console--which is currently thumping the uber-expensive PS3 in sales--will now be waterproofed. (ed., not really, but if you want to try and win a Darwin award, by all mean, repeat the feat).

Ok, so when do they apologize?
Police in the U.K. responded swiftly when they say a shadowy armed gunman lurking in the front room of a suburban home. Armed officers burst into the house, shouted at the owner to lie on the floor, and ordered him to surrender his weapon. But efficiency turned to embarrassment when the "gunman" turned out to be a life-sized model of the video game character Lara Croft, complete with trademark outsized pistols.

Computer shop owner David Williams, 42, had taken the dummy home in Dukinfield, near Manchester, to put it up for sale on auction site eBay. What the know the kicker? They still arrested him, and he awaits gotta be shittin' me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This New Slingbox is AWESOME

Hoo-hoo webmates, yours truly is no longer bound by the measly 6 channels of programming the Armed Forces Network pipes out to off-base residents here in Japan (via a very sketchy satellite by the way.).

The Reason? This little puppy:
The Slingbox Pro. I had my dad in Delaware go to the local Best Buy and buy all the necessary gear (Slingbox and a router). Then Comcast provided an extra HD Set-top Tuner (for use in the den, where the folks don't have a TV, but you don't need a TV for Slingbox to work!), just the cable, tuner, slingbox and way to connect to the internet (high-speed connection highly recommended).

Well anyway, I don't my dad, Don't muck with it, just hire the guys from Geek Squad to come out and hook everything up and get it running like it should. It may have cost me a little more up front, but it was SO worth the hassle-free installation and set-up, which no doubt would've derailed the experiment for a several hours (The folks aren't too tech-savvy).

Well anyway, got back from the PT test this morning and had a message on our Vonage (got a stateside number for easy access...god I love the Internet). It was the 'rents. The Slingbox was hooked up and ready to stream.

And the best part: all I needed to do was go to, click the support tab and download the SlingPlayer! I figured I'd need the disk mailed out to me or something weird like that. I was NOT expecting it to be this EASY. And our timing couldn't have better. Sling now support Macs, so Christina can (and did) download the player and watch on her laptop (heck she had is up and running faster than I did).

In less than a minute. A minute: I had the program installed (ok, it took about 3-4 minutes to download over the Fiber Optic line) and has tuned in the Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia and was watching Harry Kalas call the 7th inning of the Phillies 6-2 win over the Brewers.

Hell, it was so cool I forgot all about my general disdain for baseball. This was HARRY KALAS, you know how long its been since I've heard Harry Kalas call a Phillies game??? Has to be 10 frickin' thing is sweet! There plenty of features on here as well, favorite channels (which helps, because Comcast streams hundreds of channels). '

So what about the quality? Its pretty damn good, let me tell you that. Its got great quality at a relatively small size (say 640 x 480 size screen)....I mean its just like having a TV on about a quarter of my monitor screen. I can blow it all the up and show it over my rather large 26" widescreen monitor, but the quality degrades quite a bit. Still on any size, I can read the tickers along the bottom of the screen and all that jazz.

IF you want a taste of hometown TV, or just want to be able to keep up with your team on the road. The Slingbox is SO simple...its simply unbeatable....go get one!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mini-Camp is Over. So What did we learn?

This would've been posted yesterday, but Misawa lost its Internet access last night. Man, nothing is more frustrating that having your lifeline severed. Onto el blog: As most writers have taken care to remind us, we didn't learn much from seeing a bunch of grown men pretend to push each other around on a grassy field in shorts and no pads...but Eagles mini-camp did provide some positive signs for us Birdwatchers.

The Eagles managed to flood the rookies' and 2nd-year players' (like Ramsey, Bunkley, Gocong and Bloom) heads with a bunch of plays. This is a good thing. Confuse the hell out of them now, and maybe by August some of this stuff will click.

Garry Cobb, the ex-Eagles LB who follows the team quite closely has been doing an excellent job tracking mini-camp, in my opinion. This article saying the team is continuing to push the younger offensive guys. Of course, instant fan-favorite Nate Ilaoa, the Rumblin' Hawaiian, made his first appearance in Philly. Man, more than just having a "hometown" bradda on the team, I really want to see him make the team.
This is what GCobb had to say: "The Hawaiian kid Nate Ilaoa doesn't look like a football player but he's a good athlete who has quick feet without much speed. The other thing you see is that this kid can catch. The kid seems to be very comfortable running screens. (well, duh, he only did that about 20 times/game at UH). I could see him being hard to tackle because he's built low to the ground and there's not a lot there to hit."

What else did we learn?

Jevon Kearse needs to gain weight. 240 is WAY too light Jevon, start hitting the weight and lay off the bike. Note to NovaCare staff, open up catering service with Pats Steaks. Actually, the best part is the Kearse looks ready to go, knee-wise. And that is an encouraging sign. He needs to have some dedicated to him to make sure he's got the necessary weight to make it through the season.

Speaking of weight, it looks like perhaps defensive coordinator finally has wised up and realized that having a little heft to the front seven isn't such a bad thing, saying "I just felt at times we were small at tackle and linebacker, especially." You don't say? Was it the screams and heckling from the fans? or the pleas and cries from the some of the munchkins we rolled out on D last year who got roasted game after game. Yeah giving up 208 yards rushing in a playoff game sort of takes the mustard out of the "well-Indy-did-it" argument.

All I can is, its about goddamn time.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The New Robotech Doesn't Suck - and there was much rejoicing

Imagine my surprise when wandering through the base exchange the other day and coming across a brand new full length animated Robotech feature film...ROBOTECH!!?? You're kidding me? Right. That ended (for all intents and purposes in the 80s)...I've got a decent start on collecting the DVD series (managed to score a few in Hawaii a few years back, but haven't seriously collected them)....

Well, lo and behold, I guess there's a whole new generation of stories coming our way. And guess what? If the new movie, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, is any indication - it won't suck. Matter of fact, it'll be pretty damn good.
And here's the thing. It picks up right where the original "Invid Invasion" series ended (thus, ending the original 85 episode run of Robotech cartoons that aired in the U.S. when I was a teenager). For someone like me who is not a fan-boy, but just fondly remembers the cartoons and the Palladium-based role-playing game, its great. It's very well-made but harkens back to the classic Japanime style that marked the originals. (ed. not a fanboy eh? You're blogging about freakin' Robotech, when there's Eagles stuff to talk about...[ alright, don't believe me. This is fanboy site]...hoo, you're right, that is a fanboy site...not sure I'm convinced about you...but this third person talk-to-yourself shit is beginning to creep me out, so I will let it rest for now).

So what about the movie? Funny you ask. Well Harmony Gold brought back all the old voice-talent, which is a really nice touch, and added some excellent new voices, like Mark Hamill (um, you remember Luke Skywalker don'tcha?) and Chase Masterson (YOWZA! hot space babe from Deep Space 9). You can really tell they like the originals and while they aren't 100% locked-in faithful to the precise ending depicted in the 84-85th episodes, there is no radical departure (Shit, I wouldn't have remember even if they did). They actually do something cool (I watched the special features on the DVD) and approach tell the story of the final episode from a different point of view, and then go full into the new story-line. I won't spoil it. If you want to do that, click here, Wikipedia has a full rundown of the plot/story-line.

Well, one last thing before I turn to football. A cool graphic of one of my favorite mecha from Robotech. The Excalibur. Anyone who is into Battletech, should instantly recognize the Warhammer. I always did like the walking gun platforms....kinda like my affinity for tanks...
That's it for now. I've got some Eagles stuff to digest. Mini-camp is almost over!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Turning 30 the Navy Way

Well the better half turned the big three-oh yesterday. It turned out to be an entertaining Friday night. Here are some of the highlights: The First Corona of the night - things would degrade rapidly from there (or improve depending on one's perspective, ed.)
Keeping in mind that we've eaten food, and had just 1 full beer: This is the reaction I get an hour later from a cheesy "Tom Servo" joke (MST3K reference as one of her airman has the last name Crow). Can you say lightweight?
Still, it was a responsible night. I drove and didn't have a drop, so we set a proper example: no gettin' falling down stupid, just a few social drinks, nobody getting belligerent, just lots of laughs and a good time was had by all.

Of course, somehow I screwed up setting the alarm clock when we got home, and we wound up sleeping-in...bad news cause we missed our tour bus (it was going to be a cave tours, and I am out $40/seat...dammit)...sigh....oh well. We managed to have a decent Saturday nonetheless. We took the boys to the vet, and they have a dental cleaning scheduled for next week.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Truckdriver loses his license

The Eagles cut DT Sam Rayburn, who did the equivalent of walking on to the squad a few years ago as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2003. Rayburn earned the nickname "truck driver" and Philly fans' respect for his hard-working, get-your-nose-dirty style in the middle. Alas, since signing a contract extension in 2005 he hadn't really shown the form/grit that got the brass to approach him with the extension.

Don't get me wrong, he tried, but had to fight through some injury problems during the 6-10 "lost season of 2005" and was pretty much a non-factor last year, losing playing time to rookie 6th round pick LaJuan Ramsey. For whatever reason, he never regained the bull-in-a-china-shop ability he flashed during the Eagles great 2004 campaign.

The front office obviously went into the off-season looking to upgrade the DT position. Result, two new FA signings (Montae Reagor from the Colts, and Ian Scott from the Bears), Darwin Walker traded for Takeo Spikes and now Rayburn simply released. I'm a little surprised they weren't able to move him during the draft. I have no doubt they tried. I also figured that since he didn't move, he'd be given a chance to regain a role on the team during training camp, or at least be kept around as injury insurance.

The Eagles must be pretty happy with both returning second-year man Ramsey and the rookie FA Clark who they signed after the draft. (things come full circle)....actually there is a little extra tidbit in this article on ESPN, which says Ramsey has reported to mini-camp a full 20 pounds heavier than last year! 20lbs. Whoa. He was a high 280s-low 290s DT, and even though the roster listed him at 300. An extra 20 means more around the 310 range, which is pretty cool, cause that gives us a little girth up front, and is a hopeful sign that defensive coordinator realizes a little more beef up front ain't such a bad thing.

Well, I guess there is only one thing left to say. So Long Sam, thanks for the hard work, hope things work out for you elsewhere.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fantasy Fans Rejoice again - a Dragonlance Movie will be out in 2007!

Ok, for those of your looking for football news, scroll down...cause what I want to talk about right now if the rekindling of a beloved series of books. The world of Dragonlance is due to be released as an animated movie, featuring the voices of Kiefer Sutherland and Lucy Lawless (among others).

The website for the movie is here.

Well anyway, for those of you who don't know the story, it story is set over 300 years after the Cataclysm, an event in which the gods grow angry at the Kingpriest's arrogance, drop a fiery mountain (truly a meteor) onto the nation of Istar, which rearranges the face of the planet Krynn, and appear to depart from the world.

The first book, Dragons of Autumn Twilight (which is the basis for the first film in the trilogy) begins with the return of a group of friends consisting of Tanis Half-Elven, Sturm Brightblade, Caramon Majere, Raistlin Majere, Flint Fireforge, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, and Kitiara Uth Matar. They had separated five years previously to pursue their own quests. This original cover (artwork by Larry Elmore) evokes some serious memories for an old D&D gamer like myself.
Well Kitiara never shows and on the eve of their reunion, the Companions discover that Solace, the village where many of them made their home, is very different from the peaceful village they had left five years previous. Solace has been taken over by a religious order called the Seekers. They are collaborating with the Dragon Highlords who are preparing for the conquest of the continent of Ansalon. Well, the story takes off from the Solace setting as the companions come to the aid of two Plainsfolk, a beautiful woman, Goldmoon, who carries a mysterious healing staff and her bodyguard/love Riverwind. I won't provide a synopsis of the entire story. A) that'd be tedious, B) news of the movie has rekindled an interest to read the books again. So why try and rehash something and ruin the fun of reading the dang book??

Guess its time to wander over to Amazon and plunk down an order....
You know, I've pretty much given up gaming, except for the computer and a few board games of course....better to say I've given up role-playing games like D&D. Dragonlance, though, hmmm. I really do wish I still had the old Dragonlance modules, or any of my old D&D modules...goddamn, those would be worth some cash.....Just the covers bring back another rush of good memories. Saturday afternoons full of deck hockey, ordering pizza, guzzling soda and having a good time with friends until the wee-hours rolling twenty-sided dice and "killing" draconians...God, I was such a geek. But I didn't care.
Interested in seeing the rest of the covers of the famous DL-series modules? I was too, so go here and check out this place. You just HAVE to love the Internet.
Finally another Elmore piece, the Companions of the Lance: (from left to right) Raistlin & Caramon Majere, Tanis Half-Elven (seated), Tasselhoff Burrfoot & Flint (in back), Goldmoon & Riverwind (directly behind the fire), Sturm Brightblade, Tika Waylan, Laurana (standing).
That's all for now.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Eagles Thoughts This Week

Its been a few days since I've posted, been working. I figured now was as good a time as any to chime in about the Eagles.

In case you missed it. Donovan spoke to the media on Wednesday. And the Philly press went ga-ga. You see the man can't buy a break. When he didn't talk, speculation ran rampant. McNabb was pissed, wrote some (actually he was out getting ice cream with his kids, though he does admit that the selection of a QB as the Birds first pick in the draft was a bit shocking); other chimed in that he was mad and didn't talk to head coach Andy Reid for days. I'll admit this much, the two didn't talk until the Tuesday after the draft. Big whoop. There were days at work when I never say my boss, let alone spoke a peep to him. However, in this environment, where every word is parsed for meaning and gesture broken down for greater meaning, the LACK of talk somehow took on a life of its own. (and I can damn well guarantee you, that if AR and Donovan had had a pow-wow first thing Monday morning, the Philly press would've run with that as well).

Now that he HAS talked, every bit of minutae about it has been dissected. The rundown:
- The Birds have LOST CONTROL of their star.
- Donovan has flown the nest.
The gists: McNabb chose to a venue outside the NovaCare facility, and used a former Eagles employee (recently let go, but who handled McNabb's public appearance for 8 years) to set up interviews at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, N.J.

This is a sign of the coming apocalypse according to the pundits. The Eagles brass will undoubtedly be "fuming" at McNabb for "snubbing" them. And this story won't die - even if (or maybe especially if) no one comments - because the press will just KEEP writing about it, regardless. There is NO other story in Philadelphia, barring the Phillies trading Ryan Howard, that is guaranteed to sell papers like a QB-saga, trumped up or real. So they'll keep flogging the horse until its glue.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are left in the cold, waiting for someone to write about something truly noteworthy. The mini-camp should provide some temporary relief, I hope.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"Bonk" gets a Bath

Time for a cutesy post. We gave the boyos a bath the other night, and while Zaar doesn't look much different when wet (short hair), D.J. looks so pathetic and bedraggled that I had to break out the camera.

(Ed.: Ok dude, stupid question time, if the dogs' names are Zaar and D.J., why is the entry titled Bonk gets a bath?)

Oh yeah, maybe I should explain. You see, D.J. (pictured below) has a pretty big snout for a miniature dachshund...and a by-product of his over-sized schnoz (besides a humungous schlong) is fairly poor depth perception. This can produce some fairly comical events, especially when D.J. "bonks" into stuff....It's also hazardous at times (like when you come home, open the door and lean down to pick up an excited-to-see-you-come-home dachshund and he jumps up and "bonks" you in the eye or the much-less humorous excit-o "bonk" in the family jewels, for instance, not fun). But it is definitely all-D.J. and "bonk" is an apt nickname.

Here in Japan, houses are quite literally equipped with a water closet. The door of the laundry room opens right into the shower (we've never used the tub).

This first shot, show them silhouetted against the shower door (not lovin' life)
Here is the "aftermath" as he scooted into one of his "safe areas" the kennel:
another shot, after chasing him out into the living room
Finally, as always, the first and last thing on that dog's mind is the treat cabinet (upper right). Here he is, giving me the "haven't-I-been-a-good-boy, isn't-it-time-for-a-reward look" (he also looks rather benevolently demonic, cause the light receptors in his eyes reflect red, Zaar's reflect blue, btw)
Later on, he's quite insistent about seeing what the heck I do at my desk. (kudos to anyone who recognizes the screenshot in the background) Doesn't everyone need a "desk dachshund?"

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Definitely a Random Thoughts Day

I've got some work to do, so its definitely not a day for a long drawn out entry..

News and Notables:

- Raiders DT Warren Sapp has apparently really slimmed down in the off-season. I've run hot-n-cold about Sapp in the past. I didn't like the Bucs, never really have, and wanted him to shut up a lot, but he was good, and I enjoyed his banter with Brett Favre, that was just two competitors out there on the field having a good time. I will tell you two things that strike me about the story: 1) he knows he's a leader for the Raiders D and they have a brand new coach. What better way to lead by example than to work hard in the off-season, buy-in to the new regime (especially when you had a pow-wow with the owner about the problems with the old one), and visibly dedicate yourself to the team (shedding 50 lbs is a big deal for a DT).
2) Maybe its the distance or the fact that I don't follow the Raiders that closely, but consider the contrast between Sapp and prima donna malcontent WR Randy Moss. Both played for a NFL-Worst 2-14 franchise, but they might as well have been on separate planets. Sapp anchored (ed.: almost literally, playing at 334 lbs) a defense that kept the Raiders competitive in the majority of the games, and provided the lone glimmer-of-hope for a wretched team. Moss anchored (ed.: as in literally dragging to the depths) a offense that produced a beyond-anemic 12 touchdowns (ed.: are you joking Micc? 12 TDs in 16 games??? That is mind-bogglingly pathetic, someone call Matt Saracen and Smash Williams from the Dillon Panthers those boys need help). And all the while Moss bitched and griped and whined and pouted and occasionally ran a route and caught a pass, finding the endzone 3 times I think (hey, that's 25% of the offense, ed.). You know what? I never heard Sapp complain. He just worked. I never saw the Raiders D openly rip into the offense (maybe they did, and I am wrong, but I never heard of it) and for that I credit the leadership on the Raiders D, and Sapp is a part of that.

Hmmm, so much for the short entries....

Ok short and sweet (ed.: let's see how this works....)

The Phillies crumbled again. Sigh...I envision this happening all summer long, spurts of good/decent play followed by just enough losses to keep the Phillies from ever actually catching up to the leaders in the NL East....sorta like the road-map the Phils have followed for a the last 3 seasons.

The French have a conservative President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who says that his "American friends that they can rely on our friendship ... France will always be next to them when they need us." What sort of alternate reality did I wake up in this morning? Do we have to like the French now? (well maybe not, he did say friends can think differently and called for the U.S. to lead the fight against global warming, btw you're getting better at keeping things short, I'm impressed). Better him than some socialist turd who wants to turn France into a welfare state. (oops, already there, ed.)

Don't fuck with the Scots: A funny story from the UK as a Scottish wife puts dog poop in her hubbies' curry - talk about "Bone appetit" (lame, ed.)

Clemens the mercenary is returning to the Yankees. Yea - so he can be a big hero and try and save New York, am I the only one who doesn't care?

Goodbye, Don Ho.


Friday, May 04, 2007

When is a Chair worth 50,000 Yen?

The answer is:
- when you work from home and have to park your ass in it all day;
- when sitting in your old chair would cause you get these fantastically balled up knots between your shoulder blades;
- and when you finally find a chair that provides an unparalleled (in my humble experience) level of total back support (not just some lumbar hump).

You see I spend quite a bit of time in front the computer nowadays (blogging, working, reading about the Birds, and just staying in touch with the world). Well lately, I've been getting significant back pain (mostly between the shoulder blades, which had me rubbing against doorjams and such like a bear scratching itself in the wild). The problem? Sitting up! My office chair simply wasn't designed to provide true back support. A little bit of lumbar support maybe, but the rest of the time, if I sat straight, zero support for the rest of my back. Well I went on base last week, and they had NO office chairs in stock (and even the ones they did carry were a couple of chintzy Office Depot rejects)....

So yesterday we checked out the Nogawa Furniture store, which is right down the street. We were looking for something else (small couch) and I saw this weird office chair, with a day-glo orange back pad (turns out it a floating, contoured back to the chair that provides phenomenal support for the entire back!) and this goofy split seat (odd to sit in a seat that provides a cushion for each cheek). After one trial sit, I was hooked, and the winner of the 2007 stop-the-F'ing-back-pain-already-and-buy-a-new-friggin'-chair-you-lousy-cheapskate contest is:
The Zenon Hara Chair - a Japanese competitor to the Aeron Chair (which I simply could not afford to have shipped to Japan).
Now you may notice a few oddities about this chair. Not the least of which is the fact that the seat is split in two (each cheek gets its own cushion). These are actually hinged, and respond to pressure, adjusting the armrests naturally. Its not nearly as difficult to get used to as you might think. I was skeptical at first.
And my "workspace" where the aforementioned ass is routinely parked.
You know, HD Widescreens make AWESOME computer monitors! So long you have a computer equipped with the good video card that had DVI outputs (doesn't work very well with S-video jacks)Just for reference, this is the back corner the home office/Eagles shrine. I keep my trusty old Blue Alienware Area 51 rig up and running, mostly for downloads.
I'll introduce you to more of the house later. That's all for now folks. I should probably get back to work.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Best Blurbs from Sports Today and a Pet Peeve about Spiderman 3

First, let me say that I quite enjoyed Spiderman 3. The wife and I trekked to Shimoda Mall and checked out the local Japanese cinema (a Toho multiplex), instead of trying to score "special screening" tickets that were being handed out on base (they were free and drew large crowds).

Spiderman 3 is good, but not spectacular. It plods in places, and chimes in at a hefty 2 hours and 20 minutes (at least that's how long we were in our seats from opening to ending credits). The problem: it feels know how certain movies zip right along, or have a pacing that makes you sort of forget how long you've been in the seat? Spiderman 3 does not have that feel. It starts slow and builds.

Now for something that's been bothering me with recent movies. The over-the-top, whirlie-bird, faster-than-the-human-eye-can-discern CGI-enabled action sequences. Spiderman 3 has several, but its really the first one that was annoying. Its the first big sequence, a night battle between Spidey and his best friend Harry (who's taken up his father's mantle as the Green Goblin). I mean it flashes all over the damned screen. My hats off to anyone with the visual acuity to follow the entire sequence....but it strikes me as showing off with the director trying so hard to wow the audience with how he spent the studios millions....look, I'd be a whole lot more impressed if you let me FOLLOW THE DAMN ACTION. These guys are flipping around and changing the visual perspective with their jump cuts so fast, its impossible to actually appreciate the scene. That might appeal to some, but when I've just paid 2,700 Yen (~25 bucks or so) for two tickets to traipse into the theater, I'd kinda like to be able to track what the fuck is happening on the screen. It does improve, the sequences that follow are paced much more thoughtfully, and let viewers take in what's going on. I just see that sorta zip-zap-zoom crap happening more and more, and needed to get that off my chest. Now onto FOOTBALL:

Some of the best/interesting bits about football I ran across today:
A couple of Garry Cobb's articles (no, not the best writing, but he's a former Eagles, who really studies the Birds)
This one whether or not McNabb out to feed in the self-stirring press frenzy about new QB Kolb or continue to quietly rehab his knee. (if you need to ask, you are on the wrong page); and this article that basically says the jig is up for stalwart MLB Jeremiah Trotter.

ESPN's TMQ commenting on Takeo Spikes: "Buffalo: TMQ doesn't understand the trade that sent Takeo Spikes to Philadelphia for Darwin Walker. Walker is a respectable player, but the Eagles were likely to waive him for salary-cap reasons, as they have two recent No. 1 draft picks at his position. The puzzler in the transaction is Spikes, who was the best defensive performer in the NFL in 2004. Then he missed 2005 with a bad injury, and last season he struggled early. Spikes didn't begin to show his old form until the second half of 2006 -- and in that period, the Bills had several big wins while losing to Indianapolis and San Diego, the league's hottest teams, by a combined four points. In the second half of 2006, when you watched the Bills' defense you thought, "Takeo Spikes is back." Now he's been unloaded for a journeyman. Either Spikes' health remains an issue -- in which case why did Philadelphia want him? -- or Spikes has recovered, in which case why in blazes did Buffalo practically give him away?"

and this about our draft: "Philadelphia: TMQ complains ad infinitum (Latin for "by using my AutoText") that the Eagles under Andy Reid simply refuse, as a matter of principle, to build a running game. Year in, year out, Philadelphia lacks a premier power back and does nothing about it. Why should this year be any different? The Eagles did not acquire any of the power backs who changed hands this offseason, and waited till the late third round to tab a tailback."

I like TMQ, but Easterbook is not infallible...two things about his very enjoyable column. I don't think the Eagles were going to cut D. Walker for salary cap reasons. His pay this year was modest. The having-spent-two-high-draft-picks is drive-by logic. It'll make perfect sense to readers who don't have an in-depth understanding of the team. But for us fans, who know better, not so much.

Secondly, young master Gregg, not matter how tastefully named, fails to recognize that the Eagles DID select one of the premier (if not the top) "big backs" in the draft. They had their choice of Tony Hunt, Antonio Pittman and/or Michael Bush with their 3rd round selection (90th overall). They did pass-up an opportunity to select Brian Leonard or Chris Henry, but they did not "fail" to address the position- they waited until Rd 3 and made a good pick. Then they took a flier on Nate "Big Nasti" Ilaoa (scroll down) out of Hawaii in the 7th round (admittedly much more of a longshot). We'll have to see if it works out, but the Eagles could have a punishing ground attack this year.

This is why I love Ray Didinger's writing. He sums up my thought about the Eagles early day 1 "strategy" perfectly:
"If I had been in the Eagles chair, I would have gone in a different direction and tried to address some immediate needs.

First of all, I’m not sure I would have traded out of the No. 26 spot. I would have been content to stay there and take Anthony Spencer...But for the sake of argument, let’s take the trade down to No. 36. At that point, the Eagles had their choice of: Eric Weddle, a safety from Utah; Chris Houston, the best one-on-one cover cornerback in the draft; David Harris, a tough inside linebacker from Michigan, and Brian Leonard, the do-it-all running back from Rutgers. There also were three intriguing wide receivers: Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith from Southern Cal and Sidney Rice of South Carolina.

I would have rather seen the Eagles take any of the first four players because they would have played – and helped the team – right away. Weddle would have competed for a starting safety position. Houston would have stepped into Rod Hood’s role as the third cornerback. Harris would have pushed Jeremiah Trotter at middle linebacker and played a major role on special teams. Leonard, with his superb receiving skills, would have been an ideal fit in Reid’s offense.

I’m sure the Eagles will disagree, but I think they could have made that pick at No. 36 and still landed Kolb with their next selection at No. 57. I don’t think any other team would have taken Kolb before the third round, I really don’t. If they did, oh well, life goes on. You still have McNabb, A.J. Feeley and Kelly Holcomb for this season. You can go looking for that next quarterback some other time."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Spiderman Swings into Japan

Well folks, I guess the international release of Spiderman 3 is taking place a few days before its released in the states. Its a holiday week here in the Land of the Rising Sun (that probably has something to do with pushing ahead its release date here). So the wife and I are going to see if we can brave the Japanese theater and go see the first big movie of the summer at Shimoda Mall.

In other football-related news. I guess it really IS good to be Rich Eisen. I wonder how you explain that to the wifey?

Next, more stuff from FanNation's Truth and Rumors page.
The Boston Globe is ooo'ing and aah'ing about what a great guy Tom Brady is. "Tom Brady has yet to publicly comment on the Patriots' acquisition of receiver Randy Moss, (hmm, yet in Philadelphia, a QB's lack of comment means McNabb is pouting - odd). but his actions speak volumes. Brady agreed to restructure his present contract that runs through 2010 to create salary cap space." Wow, Brady agreed to restructure....what a team guy. Um fellas, excuse me if I'm ready to beatify Brady for this one. Why? The Globe quotes Brady's agent as saying "Tom does what he can in order to win", making it seem like Brady offered up some sort of personal sacrifice to ensure the Randy Moss trade went through, but restructuring a contract DOES NOT mean Tom agreed to take a pay cut to bring Moss on board. It means he agreed to let the Pats convert some of his 2007 base-salary (non-guaranteed) into a signing bonus (guaranteed money, btw), that way the Pats can use an accounting shuffle and pro-rate the amount restructured into the future. So Tomboy gets a nice check from Mr. Kraft and the Pats get the cap space for Moss this year and create an even bigger Brady cap-number down-the-line. Hoo-boy...We should all be so lucky to have our employers ask to cut a nice fat check.

Its only been a day and already the St. Petersburg Times is wondering about a holdout by Bucs #1 pick Gaines Adams??? Wow, and we thought honeymoon's were short in Philly....