Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! It's 2009!

Lots of stuff I've wanted to blog about but haven't found the time as Christina's iTouch transfers songs so my computer, I figured I'd take the time to type some stuff out.

First off, it's already 2009? That is mind-boggling.

New Year's Resolution: Lose weight and be a better husband

...are we supposed to make this stuff known? oh well, who cares.

Anyway, I need to do a better job balancing work, play and home....and it can be tougher than one might think since I do them all in the same place. Work out more, aye aye....should be THAT hard to do (right?)...the other part - concerted efforts are already underway.

Been away for little bit, (not that you'd know, since this is a static post....)...I just bought my nephew R2D2 for his birthday, which is January 5th. I sure hope he likes it, but I have a feeling that a voice activated Artoo will be a hit. Especially since Zack got Clone Wars Light-saber battles for the Wii for Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The '08 Christmas "Haul"

Well, once again Santa was quite generous to the Miccarelli household.

The "Boys" probably got more treats than any other canine in Japan. Plus they made themselves right at home in the new throws and blankets we got for Christmas:

Meanwhile, I had quite a haul: a personalized Eagles jersey, a robe, slippers, Eagles blanket, a bunch of news TV series DVDs (Christina always goes overboard on those), a couple of Phillies t-shirts! (HA, I think I got more Phillies stuff for Christmas than Eagles stuff - that'd be a first!), and some Alaska stuff (incuding a sweet cutting board).

The "biggie" was the new 120Gb hard drive for my XBox 360 and Christina getting a copy of Fable II for both of us. I also got Resistance 2 for the PS3 and we got each a decent amount of new Blu-ray movies, including all the "superhero" ones: Iron Man, Hulk, Batman: Dark Knight, and Hancock.

After all the gifts were opened up, we had a LOT of "stuff" laying about, as you can see here:

So we got all that cleaned up, and then made the Christmas ham, and Christina made a great bread pudding, and we had "too good" a meal and watched Wall-E, which is yet another awesome Pixar movie. Neither of us had seen it before, so that was nice.

I also transferred all my stuff to the new Xbox harddrive, and began installing my favorite games directly to it, which should save on some wear-n-tear on the system. Then we went and saw "Four Christmases" at the base theater, came home, and I started uploading videos and that sorta thing, while Christina watches another movie I got her: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. That sorta bring this blog right into the here and now....
So I will embed another cute video from this morning

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eagles Stay Alive in Playoff Race

Well the Birds didn't get that much help this weekend. Atlanta beat the Bucs and Dallas man-handled the the Eagles' path to the playoffs is officially out of their hands. They have to win-out (That means beat the Redskins in Washington and Dallas in Philly -- no small task) and get help in the form of either a Falcons loss or a loss by Tampa Bay....because if the Bucs and Falcons both win-out, they'll be 11-5 (imagine that, three 11+ wins in a single division, and would squeeze out the Birds, as their best possible record in 10-5-1 (oh damn that Tie with Cincy!!)

The good news? The Redskins blew their season on Sunday by losing 20-13 to the aforementioned Bungles...and the Saints? They got toasted by Chicago last Thursday night, so they're out as well...

The bad news? A little strife in "mi casa" because I will rooting for the Vikings beat the Falcons next weekend, which would devastate the division hopes of the Chicago Bears (hometown team of Mrs. Ranter....). I don't like "rooting" for something to happen that would screw with the Bears, but its pretty much how it has to be...The Eagles need some help and I will take it anywhere we can get it.

But what about the Eagles games versus the Cleveland Browns???
They squashed the Brownies 30-10, but it wasn't a complete white-washing. The Eagles scored just 2 TD in 7 trips to the red zone, so its no joke to say the Eagles could (or even SHOULD) have scored 40+ in this game.

The KEY play to the game though came on yet another end-of-half gaffe by the Eagles. Twice this season the Eagles have executed an excellent two-minute drill and gotten within scoring position for a FG. TWICE the opposing team (first the 49ers, then the Giants) have blocked said FG and returned it for the TD. Now the Eagles have some survived those huge momentum swings and won both games, but its an ugly, ugly, disheartening thing.

This game shaped up to have a similarly devastating end: The Eagles drove the ball on the Browns and were looking to add to a 17-3 lead....Westbrook just barely missed the end zone on a run and the Eagles were forced to take their final timeout with :09 left in the half. So on a 2nd and a foot the Eagles tried a fade route to Hank Basket...the problem, it wasn't much of a fade, and the CB snatched the underthrown pass and started streaking up the sideline...the O-Linemen missed him and there was only one man with a shot at preventing another late-half blunder-turned-TD: Westbrook...#36 had the angle and chased the Brown Db down the sideline and made him slow up...the Db gave Westie a pretty decent stiff-arm and broke free inside in the Eagles 30 yard-line, but it gave Basket and TE Brent Celek time to catch up and shove the guy out-of-bounds at the 5-yard line and saved a sure TD.

Why was that important? It kept the score 17-3 for one thing, and with the Browns getting the ball to start the second half, the last thing the Eagles needed was the Brownies going into the half-time only down 17-10 and feeling like they were right in the thick of a game that has no business being in.

Well Westbrook prevented that from happening.

My other star players:
McNabb - precise from the get-go, Dononvan may have thrown that one bad pass, but overall, he threaded some serious needles last night, including an awesome strike to Kevin Curtis for a TD on the Eagles first drive of the game.
Stewart Bradley - he made some key stops in the run game and finally nabbed an INT this season, after closing real close earlier on
B. Dawk. - He played another solid game and my favorite Eagle of all-Time recorded his 181st game played for the Birds - breaking the team record of Harold Carmichael.
Jason Avant - Had a record day for him and he came up with big 3rd down catches all game long.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Birds Still Have Life

I got up at 01:30 Monday morning to "prepare" for the Eagles-Giants tilt today/yesterday. That may seem absurd until you realize it is just 90 minutes before game time here in Japan. Hey, I need time to make some friggin' coffee and wake the hell up, ya know.

Well I am very happy to report that unlike the past few early Monday morning, the Eagles did not play like I feel getting up in the middle ass-crack of the night. They played with a calm, methodical "let's get it done" attitude with a surprisingly patient, and ultimately effective balanced offensive attacks that managed to squeeze out 20 points in a wind-blown Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands. By contrast, the defense played agitated and pissed off, a stark turn around from the relatively meek front that allowed the Giants 400+yards and 36 points just a month ago.

Heck, it is wasn't for a garbage time drive and late TD that made the final 20-14 score seem a lot closer contest that it really was, the Eagles D would've pitched a shut-out. Heck they did for the first 59:45 of the game -- the lone Giants score prior to the last second TD was a blocked FG returned for TD.

And as the game rolled along, I saw some things I haven't seen in a long time: The Eagles give another team a dose of its own medicine - balance offense and stingy D. The Offense was really the key. They actually played an effective, ball control game against one of the better defenses in the league. Case in point: The Giants' blocked FG at the very end of the first half gave them a huge momentum boost going into the locker-room. But the Eagles had played it smart, and would be getting the ball to start the 3rd quarter. The kicker (pun intended): The Birds would have to go against the wind in the 3rd qtr and play with the wind in the 4th...So the Eagles needed to keep the ball away from Eli Manning and the Giants O in quarter number three to prevent NY from capitalizing on its blocked FG and using the good wind to engineer a drive and seize control of the game.

So I, nay we, finally got to see what I am sure many of us wished for countless times this season - The Eagles showing they have to ability to DRIVE the ball when they really need to. The situation didn't call for McNabb to come out slingin' it against the wind, and I was preparing myself mentally for the big let-down and watching 5 throw a flutterball or watching the Eagles simply unable to get that all important first down. And boy, was I happy to be disappointed!!! The Eagles came out and controlled the clock, ramming the ball down the Giants collective throats...YES the initial drive ended in another failed FG attempt against the wind, but it chewed over 7 minutes off the clock and served notice that the Eagles weren't about to let the Giants keep the wind in their sails.

The Giants got the ball at 7:57 (there's that time again) and held onto it for a whopping 3:18 over the course of 6 plays before a punt. Whoop-de-doo. The Eagles took the ball back and kept in the 13-minute mark of the 4th qtr, because that was when Westbrook put a big "fuck you" stamp on the game for the Giants with a back-breaking 40 yards TD reception on a 3rd and 11 play.

The Giants would have one more chance, and it came on their next possession. They drove the ball a little , held onto to for little bit going against the wind in the 4th, but blundered to their 3rd failed 4th down conversion attempt to hand the ball back to the Eagles 4 minutes later. And what happened then. Eagles leading by 10, 17-7, with 9 minutes left in a critical ball game? Well, the way this season has generally gone, I think most of us wouldn't have been surprised to see the Eagles try 3 straight passes and then punt the ball back with something like 7:30 left on the clock and Eli readying the troops for another run at the Eagles D.

But lo' and behold, something miraculous happened. The Eagles RAN THE BALL, actually it was a nice balanced mix, but the Eagles ground out the clock, churning 7 of the final 9 minutes off the clock with the sort of punishing ground game most of us would normally credit the Giants with having and scoff when mentioning the Eagles offense. The drive ended with another Akers FG, giving the Birds a 20-7 cushion.

The Eagles then gave the Giants 70 garbage time yards playing prevent D...yeah it skewed the yardages stats (but heck even with the final 70 the Giants only amassed 211 yards *only 8 more than Brian Westbrook had all by himself!), but it was sacrifice the Eagles were willing to make because they played a yards for time game with the Giants O. The Eagles gave up the middle of the field because it ragged the clock down and refused to allow the quick score. By the time the Giants O managed its first points of the game there were just :15 ticks left on the clock. So while I HATE the prevent D. It did the job today.

So now the Eagles stand at 7-5-1, and you know the strangest thing of all, they are back in the NFC hunt. Sure the Giants won the division by virtue of the Cowboys woeful come-from-ahead loss to the Steelers later in the afternoon, but the Eagles are by no means as out of it as they looked just two weeks ago. Losses by the Falcons (8-5), Cowboys (8-5), Redskins (7-6 and now a half game back of Philly) have created a veritable log-jam. Toss in the 7-6 Bears and 7-6 Saints, and the loser the Carolina-Bucs game on Monday night, and there will be at least 7 teams vying for two spots down the stretch. Whew...holy crap, and the Eagles play two teams they'll have to beat the NFC will be playing each we'll see who can stand the heat as the weather gets colder.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The "Gold Standard" More Like Bronze

The Eagles have achieved something I've wished very hard would not happen: after years of being an elite team, and the past several kind-of on the cusp of being good but not the record reflect it so much because of various reasons, it is now undeniable: MEDIOCRITY has nested in the Linc.

When the Eagles were first sputtering to start games, I thought, its just a passing phase (pardon the pun - I know how the Eagles complete and total abandonment of the run game is galling to most fans). You know, it happens on occasion. We've all been witness to McNabb having a slow start and then warming up...but this is near constant folks. EVERY FUCKING GAME starts the same way, with the Eagles offense looking like a bunch of guys who just getting together for their first practice at the Eddystone bar league. I mean sleepwalk is not an apt description because I've watched enough HOUSE to know that sleepwalkers occasionally DO THINGS while they're walking around as if they are awake.

The Eagles offense is like a lump.

Today was particularly egregious. I've lamented for a little while to my Dad that the Eagles don't call those easy plays early on to give McNabb a few simply completions, get his confidence up, gain a few yards and get into a rhthym. Marty Mornhinweg tried that today. IT FAILED. Miserably. Easy pass out to the flat...D'oh, Flanker hitch completion for no-yards-gained, check, then another badly missed incompletion, and BOOM went the punt, and out came the groans.

The rest of the quarter was no better. The Eagles piled up all of something like 5 FUCKING YARDS in the entire first quarter, yet after the game McNabb professed confidence. After settling for a 13-13 tie with the short-handed 1-8(and-1) Bengals, having the QB be all like "we did some good things out there", "we have some things to iron out", or "we'll go back to the film room and see where we have to improve" (try everywhere fucktard) is insulting. I think I have a pretty good idea now what that queer, something-is-not-right feeling guests aboard the Titanic must've felt when they keep hearing the announcements from the captain that everything was ok.

Everything is NOT OK. The Eagles stand at 5-4-1. Not disastrous, no. But in LAST PLACE to be sure, and unable to summon even a shred of willpower on offense to make enough plays to beat a team that was begging to get beat. You know how the Eagles offense responded, but rattlin' its own cup along the cell bars, demanding an early execution. By my recollection, the Eagles defense got the ball back for the Eagles offense 4 times after the Eagles tied the game 13-13 with about 5:00 minutes left in the 4th quarter. At least 4.

The Birds did nothing. Unless you count embarassing themselves as doing something. (I Don't)

I could go on.
Failure to convert on 3rd and short - Check (one exception being a 4-down QB sneak)
Drive/momentum killing dropped passes - gotta have me some of those in there!
300+yard passing game for the QB, but no running attack whatsoever - Woohoo - right on schedule!
The Offense not realizing the game has started and begin playing until the 2nd quarter - yup, all too common now.

Fuck the Eagles are a frustrating team to watch right now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Phillies WIN the World Series!!!!

The Phillies won the WORLD SERIES.

or as Chase Utley put it during the parade: WORLD FUCKING CHAMPIONS!!!

OMG, what a load off the shoulders of Phillies fans everywhere....

I shoulda blogged about this weeks ago, but the euphoria still hasn't worn off

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Phillies Does Their Part and Cap Off an Incredible Sports Weekend in Philadelphia

What more can I say? ::


wow....what a way to end an incredible sports weekend for Philly fans...

Above: Whoddathunkit?? Phils pitcher Joe Blanton has more home runs, hell, more hits, than the Rays #3 and #4 (Carlos Pena and Eva Longoria respectively) hitters combined. Hee hee...

First the Flyers get off their season-opening schnied by waxing the Devils in a home-and-home on Friday and Saturday night...then as the Flyers are polishing off the Devils for the second time in 24 hours, the Phillies are just starting their assault against the Tampa Bay Rays....going long into the Saturday evening and early Sunday (Game 3 ended at 01:47) and securing a 5-4 win.

Then the Eagles come off their bye and handle a very game Falcons team 27-14...and as Ashley Fox, an almost unheard phenomena struck the Linc: Phillies chants at an Eagles game!!!

Brett Myers said this of the pre-game warm-up: "I went out to throw a bullpen today," said pitcher Brett Myers, a man who has dreamed of this night for seven seasons. "And I heard one of the greatest things I've heard in a long time. "It's 4:15 in the afternoon. The Eagles are playing across the street. There's 2 minutes left. And I'm hearing Phillies chants. And that's weird, man. I'm used to hearing Eagles chants all these years. So to hear that, it gave me chills. It told me, 'These people are ready to go.' "

Then the Phils step-up in the hot glare of prime time and lay a whuppin' on the Rays 10-2....fed by Ryan Howard's two towering home runs (a three-run and a two-run shot), the first of which ripped open a close 2-1 game in the 4th inning and gave starter Joe Blanton a nice cushy 5-1 edge. He quickly gave up a solo shot to the Rays in the top of the 5th, but then right in the bottom of the inning he got it right back, and "Joltin' Joe k.o.'d a 93mph heater from Ray's pitcher, I can't remember who...what I can remember is that a hefty pitcher in Phillies pinstrips jacked a non-doubter in the 5th inning of Game 4 of the World fucking Series!!

As Sam Donnellon writes: Blanton did his usual thing last night: Six innings, two runs allowed on four hits. He worked quickly. He threw strikes, he struck out seven and walked two. He created a pace that finally loosened the grips on the Phillies' bats, or at least created the unfamiliar sights of consecutive hits, and a home run to leftfield off the bat of Ryan Howard.He also hit a home run, the first by a pitcher in a World Series in 34 years. And when he walked off, it wasn't yawns."My job is not to go out there and hit home runs," Blanton said. "My job is to go out there and throw the ball well and give my team a chance to win. And when you hear that applause coming off the mound after pitching, you kind of get that sense you did your job."

This is a guy most everyone groaned about when GM Pat Gillick picked him up at the trade deadline in July. Hell, it barely registered on my radar...I don't pay much attention to baseball. The season is too long for me to get emotionally invested like I do with the Eagles....I just figured the Phils had a chance to go get a real top-of-the-rotation stopper and decided to go for the cheaper alternative...I was wrong...the Phillies went for a competitor. Blanton competes when goes out to the mound, and the Phils responded, and going 12-4 (counting post-season) in games he's started since coming here from the A's.

Well all he did was win the biggest game in the past 15 years for the Phillies...hopefully it will soon be remember as only the 2nd biggest game in the past 15 years, as Cole Hamels goes to the mound tonight to try and close out the series...

I mean, Philly hasn't been this close, fuck...I can't even tell you when...The Eagles SuperBowl run was awesome, but it was a single game, and the Eagles squandered early chances to score TDs in the first quarter, and we Iggles fans got that all-too-familiar creeping feeling of dread deep in our gut that we'd pay for it (and we did).

So it is not without some trepidation that we await the start of Game is scripted just as we'd want it...Staff ace Cole Hamels is our best pitcher, and we can close out the World Series at HOME! How perfect would that be....but first things first...we need to pitch, hit, run, and catch better than the Rays for 9 more innings. Now is NOT the time for celebration....I know we can't help but anticipate it....leading 3-1 in the World Series is certainly better than the alternative (we could be using our rosaries to pray for an improbably 3-game comeback by the Phillies instead of anticipating a trip down Broad Street.)

Come on fellas, bring it home...and if you do, you might just hear me cheering all the way from Japan!

Eagles Do Their Part, Polish Off the Falcons 27-14

Well folks, the Eagles did their part to secure a Sunday to be all we need is for the Phillies to take care of business and cap Sunday night with another victory in the World Series.

Quick thoughts about the Eagles-Falcons tilt:
- OMG did the referees bone that muffed-punt call with 2:22 left...Replay would've overturned the call, but new Atl coach learned a valuable lesson - SAVE on of your timeouts...he really had no reason to call the 3rd time defensively...he could've just let the clock tick to the 2:00 warning and still had plenty of time and a timeout. Instead he burned it to save :22...and wound up losing the game because of it.
- OK, how does Westbrook torch the Falcons for 167 yards rushing and 2 TDs, yet we can't score from the 2, or gain 2 yards to salt the game away and get that critical first down (just prior to the Eagles punt that the ref's blew the call on
- BTW, I am not in a generous mood. I am not giving the call back. I'll take a win any which way.
- Matt Ryan is the real deal. Most rookie QBs are befuddled by Jim Johnson's defense, but Ryan was pretty collected. Did he make mistakes? Sure...but he was not lost out there, and he battled through the tough times. Atlanta is a door-mat no longer.

Did you see?
- The whiplash/concussion hit Lawyer Milloy laid on LJ Smith? Mr. Milloy should expect to be writing a decent size check to the NFL later this week.
- Part time FB/Part time DT Dan Klecko trying to block in the first half. He tried to help Jon Runyan with a chip block, and basically chipped the Atl DE away from Runyan and allowed the guy to dive to the inside and sack McNabb...oopsie....
- Lito giveth and Lito taketh away - Lito was both Goat and Hero on the same drive...first he committed a pass interference that set up the Falcons for a potential score...then he comes up with a huge pick on ATL QB Matt Ryan who fluttered a jump ball.
- Then Lito made three straight plays to try and prevent the Falcons from scoring late in the 4th qtr...I believe the Falcons eventually converted the 4th down Lito's play forced, and then scored, but it wasn't his fault. Lito played his ass off in the second half.
- The absolutely HORRENDOUS roughing the passer call against DE Trent Cole in the first quarter. Cole busted inside, didn't really leave his feet, and planted his face in Ryan's chest just a Ryan let go of the ball and took him to the ground....TWEET, out comes the yellow helmet-to-helmet...none of the that shit, just a solid, football tackle...You know if defenders cannot even do that to the QB, they might as well just redshirt the QB and put two flags on their hips....

More later

Phillies Win Game 3 - and an Epic Sunday is on the Table

The Phillies won one heckuva baseball game last night. I really thought that blown call by the umpire in the 7th inning was going to be one of those "talk about it forever" calls, because it really looked like the Rays were going to ride that gift to an improbable comeback.

The Phillies had just taken a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning off back-to-back jacks by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. And the ageless Jamie Moyer comes to the mound in the top of the 7th and the first batter bunts down the first base line...Moyer flies towards it, dives and scoops the ball with his glove directly to Ryan Howard at first who snatches it bare-handed about a quarter-step before the running touches first....and the umpire calls his SAFE!!! Citizens Bank Ballpark about exploded in rage....Then the next batter doubles, and the Rays have 2nd and 3rd no outs....Two groundouts score the runners and instead of going into the 8th with a 3-run cushion like they should've, its a one-run ball game. The Rays manufactured another run in the 8th, and suddenly, there is no Brad Lidge coming in to hammer down the save in the 9th, rather its J.C. Romero looking to make sure the Phils don't have to score to tie the ball game in the bottom half of the inning.

Well he did his job
And the 9th inning went something like this: Rays reliever J.P. Howell hit Bruntlett with a pitch to start the inning. Enter Grant Balfour , who threw a wild pitch that caromed off the backstop to catcher Dioner Navarro , whose throw trying to get Bruntlett skipped into center field. With Bruntlett on third, the Rays issued two intentional walks and brought in right fielder Ben Zobrist for a five-man infield.''It looked like they were about to blitz,'' quipped Howard. Ruiz followed with a 22-bounce dribbler down the line and third baseman Evan Longoria charged. He dived for the ball, and rushed an underhanded flip home that sailed over Navarro's head. The single was just the Phils' second hit in 33 chances with runners in scoring position this Series. The Phillies rushed from the dugout to congratulate Bruntlett at the plate and Ruiz at first base.

And chaos ensued across the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. I mean this is the first World Series win in Philly in 15 years. And it gives the Phils a 2-1 lead in the series...a series Phillies fans hope never returns to Tampa Bay. If we can take care of business tomorrow, er, later today, then hoo-boy, we could have Cole Hamels coming into start game 5 with a chance to clinch the World Series in Philly!!!??? OMG...that would be awesome...

But before we get ahead of ourselves, there's some business to take care of. Game 4. And does Sunday ever have the potential to be a great day for Philly fans.

The Eagles take on the Atlanta Falcons at home at 1pm EST
The Phils place next door a few hours after the conclusion of the game at 8:22EST

South Philly is going to be rockin' ALL DAY LONG! I wish I was there. But I'll take a couple of Ws tomorrow that for sure. Bring it home fellas!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Be thankful for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them.

Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without the critters.

~Now please pass this on to other pet owners. We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be

surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NOOOOO!!!! Rudy Ray Moore Passed

It is a sad, sad day as the living legend and creator of Dolemite, Rudy Ray Moore, passed away.

Rudy Ray is probably the grandfather of rap, but I grew to love his blaxploitation flicks, like Avenging Disco Father:
and Dolemite:
My friends and I would go grab some "forties" of Olde English 800 or Colt .45 and get down with the King of Action and hilarity....

Nothing and I mean nothing beats watches Dolemite tumble out of a rich white guys bedroom window (After bangin' his wife) and go tumbling down a steep hill, only to get to the bottom and have Rudy Ray "check out dis good shit" and rewind the film back to the top so you can watch it again in slo-mo. Its little touches like that which made Dolemite II: The Human Tornado (pronounced Ter-nada) such a classic as a "one man disaster."

Ah, "one man disaster" - never has a movie poster been more appropriate to the content of its film.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Phillies are Going to the World Series, and other odds and ends during an Eagles Bye Week

Wow folks, the Phillies have phinally done it...15 years after the beloved Summer of '93, when the likes of John Kruk, Darren "Dutch" Daulton, Curt Schilling, Jim Eisenreich, Pete Incaviglia and Lenny Dykstra captured the hearts of Philadelphia fans everywhere, the Phils are going back to the World Series.

I fully admit...the baseball season is way too long for me to invest myself emotionally in the Phillies. And I've derided them for years about not being interested in truly putting a winning product out on the field...but it was really great to tune in Comcast the other night on my Slingbox and see the city going nuts after the Phillies clinched the NLCS 5-1 against the Dodgers.

I mean the sense that this team has a real chance just pervades a Philadelphia sports fan senses right now. We can't think of anything else right. This is the perfect week for the Eagles BYE....well maybe not weekend, when the Phillies are actually playing the game would be better, but...with no football to take our collective minds off the upcoming Series...the city is just going to be bubbling with baseball phever.

This team has a lot in common with the 1993 squad. Plenty of power, clutch hitting, and ability to comeback from any deficit...and you know what...our pitching is probably better than that team. How long has it been since our bullpen has been this rock solid? I dunno...1980, maybe?

Now I am not going to get too excited, but with the Philadelphia Soul winning the Arena football crown earlier this year, maybe they broke the ice for the big boys to breakthrough.

Other thoughts:
- I agree with some the Philly writers and Comcast analyst Brian Baldinger that the Eagles even thinking about trading for Kansas City TE Tony Gonzalez is a bad sign. I mean, didn't we put the franchise tag on L.J. Smith? Where the fuck has this guy been? I remember reading an article defending his play, saying the Eagles were keeping him into block and not throwing his way that often. Hmmm, I wonder why that is? Perhaps because any throw to LJ has about a 50/50 chance of clattering to the ground...Still, if you're going to inquire and admit the position needs help, you might as well go through with it and bust a move to get the guy in here.

- Good thing for the Flyers the Phillies are doing so well. I don't think Philly fans are even aware that the NHL season has started, let alone the fact that the Flyers are winless in their first four games. Hey fellas, your grace period has two, three weeks, tops!! That third week is only going to be there if the city is still embraced in the euphoria resulting from a World Series win...If not, look for a very harsh eye be cast upon you if you're still bumbling around in mid-November.

- I am not all that concerned that the Cowboys traded for Lions WR Roy Williams, a player we coveted in the off season. Why? Because there is a thing as having too many #1 guys on a team. A team with Owens needs stable, #2 type wideouts...guys who are comfortable not being "da man." That is exactly what Roy Williams was in Detroit. And guess what, he's getting paid like it in Dallas now as well...more than MEO in fact...hee hee...I can't wait to see how THAT plays out over the rest of the season and into February....but the simple fact is...the Cowboys couldn't satisfy Owens greed for the football when they were he was the #1 target in the pass pattern 20+ times a game, with maybe 15-18 chances going his way...They already have the best TE in football in Jason Witten taking away some of MEO's they have a big-time, big-dollar second WR, and you don't pay a guy $9mill/year to not throw him the ball....I mean how many times are the Cowboys going to throw the ball per game? 50? Maybe...they might have to in order to keep the ball going to all their pass-catchers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Eagles Finally Finish a Game

and guess what? They actually win the game. Its amazing what happens when you don't sleep for half the game...though to be truthful, the Eagles did once again fall into a swoon just before the half and it extended through about 12:00 of the 3rd qtr, when the Birds gave up 20 straight points.

You know, as the 49ers held onto the ball for like 12+ minutes in the 3rd quarter, (sandwiching a rather ineffectual, 1 first-down then punt Eagles drive), I got to thinking: The Defense can't always depend on the offense to hold onto the ball for it -- sometimes the D needs to make a play and help themselves out. And to be blunt: the Eagles D for through the first three quarters of this game (and all four quarters of the Redskins game) pretty much was a suckiful replay of the 2007 defense (no turnovers, no big plays, no momentum changers, no sacks, no nothing).

That all changed in the 4th quarter. The Eagles finally got a couple of hits on the young QB J.T. O'Sullivan; and lo' and behold: he started playing a lot worse. Gee, I wonder why? Dirty up the QB's jersey a little, put some heat on him and suddenly the opponents' passing game is a little less crisp. Well anyway, a couple of sacks really got the D pumping, and the Eagles wound up recording 3 sacks and getting three turnovers, the first two of which the Eagles could only use to pad their 1pt- 27-26 lead to 33-26....the final interception, by DE Juqua Parker no less, was a Pick-6. Guess the D got tired of seeing the O not convert and figured they'd do it themselves.

Well thank you very much Gang Green, for finally showing up and helping secure the win.

Some other thoughts about Week 6:
- I can't believe how in-the-bag the referees seemed for the Dallas Cowturds today...I saw the Cardinals get absolutely boned by the refs on an early-whistle (which negating a Romo fumble deep in Dallas territory) and on some gay-ass Tuck-rule bullshit, which negated another Romo fumble (This one was recovered by the Cards in the end zone, so instead of of 14-0 lead, the Cowboys actually went onto score and made it a 7-7 game. God I wanted to PUKE)
- The Football Gods must've been watching and angered at the referees, because they finally gave the Cowboys their comeuppance in the form of a blocked punt in OT that gave the Cards a 30-24 OT Win
- How ironic, two weeks ago versus the Eagles, its a Bears goal-line stand that secures a victory. Sunday, an Atlanta stand against the Bears keeps 7 points off the board in a game the Falcons won by having a 1-play :06 scoring drive (The Bears had scored the go-ahead TD with :11 left, squib kicked, then let the Falcons secure a 25-play pass along the sidelines in just :05....a literally-last-second-FG from 49 yards out sinks the Bears...oh how rich
- Goddamn! The Patriots suck dick with Tom Brady...the Chargers stomped their ass into the ground
- What's wrong with Seattle? They are getting toasted week-in, week-out....
- Hey Redskins' fans: how does it feel to have your team not show up at home? A week after watching the Eagles blow a game to Washington because they just didn't seem to care enough to actually play for half the game, he St. Louis Rams return the favor to Washington. Hee hee. Good. That helped reel in the Redskins....just like the Cards upending the Cowboys

Sunday, October 05, 2008

An Open Letter to LucasArts IRT Star Wars Force Unleased

I just started playing the new Star Wars game: Force Unleashed yesterday - and wow does it make a great first impression, but I really regret to say this: it has some significant enough flaws that make me realize it deserve the OK-to-Good reviews I read online. I mean, as a pretty big Star Wars fan I figured that was either b.s. or that the game would be awesome enough for me overlooking some petty flaws.

For the most part - I was right. Playing as the Sith named Starkiller can be profoundly satisfying. But for every ultra-cool "it will never get old 'force-gripping' Jawas and flinging them through the air moment, there is an equally frustrating wonky-camera, stealthy fungi warrior stabbing you in the back because said camera doesn't track so well and flat-out GAY insta-death as your Sith/Jedi-hunter plunges into some bottomless ravine.

So developers, I have a question: who the fuck play-tested this game? Do you have any idea how frustrating it is be fighting stormtroopers on some catwalk above some bottomless abyss only to watch your hero/anti-hero Sith bad-ass walk himself off the fucking ledge because you pressed the X button (to attack the fucking goddamn stormtrooper standing right in front of you, and so he doesn't whale away at with his blaster rifle) and watch this moron Sith do some fuck-ass attack flourish that carries him over the edge and to his insta-doom???

I mean seriously?? Come the fuck on already. He's Darth FUCKING Vader's padawan, who can double-flip 30 feet in the air and jet around like he is equipped with rocket-shoes, but he can't grab onto a fucking ledge or something to keep himself from falling to his death?

This is a simple fix LucasArts: Just don't let people walk off ledges that lead to to instant death!!! I'm not saying put up some invisible wall so you can even jump all means if you want to see Starkiller flutter about in mid-air for a brief second before dying, go right ahead and press the A button, jump on out. But goddamn...It totally fucking ruins a player's sense of controlling this force-pumping, wookie/stormtrooper stomping bad-ass when you go to attack an enemy by pushing X and then wind up watching what I am sure the developers intended as a sweet finishing flourish that results in Starkiller's momentum carrying him off to a quick, falling death and an annoyingly long respawn.

I mean this morning I went from feeling like I had this ultra-bass with maxed out Force Push and Force Lightning just running around roastin' fools to feeling like I was in charge of Robbie the Down Syndrome Jedi....

IT REALLY TAKES AWAY from this game. I swear, if I had kids, they'd think Jesus' middle name was Butt-fuckin', because certain levels just have these tortuous areas where wonky camera angles and Robbie Banana-peel Shoes Starkiller combine to send waves of frustration pulsating around me. Getting back to my question about play-testing: don't you think maybe should let some normal people play-test this game every once in a while??? I mean, I in my thirties now, I don't have all day to perfect some platforming technique, I wanna control my dude, and now have to worry about what friggin' angle I'm attacking the enemy from because it might accidentally cause my own demise. These instances are not that common in the game, but when they do occur, whoa-nelly, it make one wonder about the decision-making process that applied a Vader "cannot walk off the edge of the cliff and kill himself" safety net during the Kashyyyk prologue, but then go, yeah, Starkiller? ah fuck him, if he starts an attack too close to the edge that's tough shit for him...Because a Sith warrior couldn't possibly have even self-awareness to not blunder off the side of a catwalk, could he/she? Nope, I guess not. I mean would it have been so difficult to code out a little "teeter" or a Starkiller will automatically grab the edge if he walks/does a finishing move off the edge. I mean seriously, how hard is that?

Bottom Line: The game is still pretty bad-ass, but it not as bad-ass as it SHOULD be, and you've left some stupid, correctable mistakes mar what is otherwise an extremely entertaining product.

Why Is It.....

That the Eagles can look like absolute house-o-fire gangbusters on the opening drive of games, and then just peter away and look like an over-matched Interboro squad getting its ass-handed to it on Ridley's homecoming day (little Delco reference for y'all)?

The Eagles started awesome, taking a 14-0 lead and looked like they might blow the foreskins out of the Linc....then inexplicably, the Birds absolutely snoozed through the next 2 1/2 quarters of the game. There was no sense of urgency, no zip, precious little energy except on certain defensive plays...but that energy was never carried over into a series of defensive stops. They'd get a decent play, but then let the Redskins convert a first down and be right back where they started. On offense they went from crisp to limp...folks dropping passes, next to no blocking for the run attempts. I don't have any answers.

I just can't take this shit....
Needless to say: they lost 23-17...jbfmfin'hc...and they deserve boo-hoos...they didn't make enough plays to win...hell, they barely made enough plays to compete.

What I do know: the Eagles better get their fucking heads out of their asses and beat the 49ers next week so they can enter the BYE week with a salvageable 3-3 record. I just wonder it is that the Eagles seem to annually put themselves in this sorta position?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eagles Show some D!

Wow...after getting torched for 41 points by the Dallas Cowboys, basically losing a game because they just couldn't get off the field, the Eagles ABSOLUTELY DOMINATED the Pittsburgh Steelers today at the Linc. The score wasn't impressive -- 15-6. But the scoreboard did not reflect the dominance the Birds' defense put on display.

9 sacks (and hell the only reason it wasn't 12 or 13 was because Big Ben managed to scramble forward for a 1 or 2 gain a few times, plus two sacks were wiped out by penalties)
3 turnovers, including another pick by Asante Samuel, and a classic flying-Wolverine Dawkins leaping sack/forced fumble/fumble recovery with put the Eagles in position to kick the final FG and put the game truly out of reach.
1 Safety - just some insurance points, but helped pushed the overall lead to 9 pts by the end.
33 yards rushing! Against the Steelers???? you gotta be kidding me.
2/13 for 3rd down conversions allowed. The funny part is - there were no punts in the first half.

Pressure all day long, and when the Steelers did try some of Pitt's bread-and-butter running plays, blam! Stewart Bradley would knife in from him MIKE position and kill the play. No running game = no balance for the Steelers = JJ teeing off on Big Ben.

The biggest worry: the status of Brian Westbrooks right foot. Not much information came from the post-game press conferences except the X-rays were negative, so his ankle/foot does not have broken bones....could still be a bad sprain though, and we might be w/o #36 for a while. I hope not.

Both McNabb and RB Tony Hunt were also banged up. Hunt got clocked in the head from behind on the opening drive (he fumbled of course to add some insult to the injury), just when it looks like the Eagles would start with an awesome, ram-it-down-the-Steelers-throat drive to begin the game. 5 had three Steelers collapse on top of him during an ill-called flea-flicker to end the first quarter.

Woohoo - I get to watch the Eagles Game

Its been a while, I missed all of the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season because of Chief's Induction for the Navy. But now I finally get to see the game....

Steelers at Eagles (Time of game 4:15 EST, 05:15 Monday Morning Misawa Time).

First Half impressions: Please, please, please let Westbrook be alright. He was running left and jumped up and landed half on Tra Thomas and got his right foot twisted up. He limped into the locker room....ok...sprain ok....break...that'd be bad...very bad....

Holy crapola - Talk about a pass rush! The Eagles are swarming Roethlisberger! 6 pass attempts and 5 sacks!....then 9 pass attempts with 6 sacks, 1 INT and 2 incompletions....yet the Birds are only ahead 10-6 at the half. Of course, the fucking Steelers FG kicker sets a personal record at the end of the first half with a 53-yard FG...asshole.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This is funny

An actual letter to the passport office --------------------------
Dear Sir, I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this. How is it that Radio Shack has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a t.v. cable from them back in 1997, and yet, the Federal Government is still asking me where I was born and on what date.
For Christ sakes, do you guys do this by hand? My birth date you have on my social security card, and it is on all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30 years. It is on my health insurance card, my driver's license, on the last eight goddamn passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the planes over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that are done at election times.
Would somebody please take note, once and for all, that my mother's name is Maryanne, my father's name is Robert and I'd be absolutely astounded if that ever changed between now and when I die!!!!!! SHIT!
I apologize, I'm really pissed off this morning. Between you and me, I've had enough of this bullshit! You send the application to my house, then you ask me for my address. What is going on? You have a gang of Neanderthal assholes working there??? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to dig up Yasser Arafat, for shit sakes. I just want to go and park my ass on a sandy beach.
And would someone please tell me, why would you give a shit whether I plan on visiting a farm in the next 15 days? If I ever got the urge to do something weird to a chicken or a goat, believe you me, I'd sure as hell not want to tell anyone!
Well, I have to go now, 'cause I have to go to the other end of the city and get another copy of my birth certificate, to the tune of $60. Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day?? Nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe makes sense. You'd rather have us running all over the place like chickens with our heads cut off, then find some asshole to confirm that it's really me on the goddamn picture - you know, the one where we're not allowed to smile?! (you stupid morons)
Hey, you know why we can't smile? We're totally pissed off! Signed - An Irate U.S. Citizen.
P.S. Remember what I said above about the picture and getting someone to confirm that it's me? Well, my family has been in this country since 1776 . I have served in the military for something over 30 years and have had security clearances up the yingyang. However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am - you know, someone like my doctor WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED IN COMMUNIST CHINA !

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Being "The Chief"

The six weeks of Chief's Induction is finally OVER!

It has been a long, time-consuming, but extremely worthwhile process. It culminated yesterday (for me), 16 September, with the time-honored tradition of the pinning ceremony.

I won't go into what went on, but the final day/night is truly unforgettable. Its difficult, trying, but very rewarding once you get through the crucible.

So without further ado, here are a few photos of me, "The Chief":

This one shows Christina and I right after the pinning. That's Senior Chief Russell Girard to my right, along with my sponsor for this whole process, Chief David Spates - to whom I owe a lot. A WHOLE LOT.
Above it my first "real" moment as The CHIEF, when all the new Chiefs get rung aboard the Mess.

After getting rung aboard, we posted in front of the audience to sing "Anchor's Aweigh". I didn't have much of a voice left, but I belted out as loud as I could. Pictured are four of my new brothers: Chief Michael Wang, Chief Anibal Garza, Chief David Baker and Chief William Vue.

Sorry about the head in the way, our photographer was in the second row. This photo was taken as Senior Chief Jeff Chandler read the Chief's Creed.

Finally below: I've finally caught up! Now when folks ask for Chief Miccarelli, we'll have to ask, which one?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Taking in some Rookie Ball in Utah: Or When Do Owls Eat Raptors?

Well in my last night here in lovely Ogden, my classmates and I decided to take in a ballgame. What? Baseball in Ogden? That is what I asked. But when we got here a few weeks ago, we say construction workers putting the finishing touches on the local Lindquist Field.

We looked it up and lo' and behold: The local team, named the Raptors, opened their season tonight in the newly remodeled stadium. Here is the good news. There isn't a bad seat in the house, and the cost? Heck I thought I was 8 years old and going to the Vet to see a Phillies game. Tickets were $9.

The bad news...the Raptors sucked balls, and I got exposed to some knowledge I had no idea of: that beyond Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A minor league systems, there exists another layer of development: Rookie Ball. Ogden plays in an 8-team Pioneer League (with teams located in Utah, Idaho and Montana). These teams have major-league affiliations -- Ogden is the bastard red-headed step-child of the L.A. Dodgers' organization.

I do have to say though, despite a laughable product on the field, the experience was pretty enjoyable. The owner of the team moonlights as the stadium announcer, and they really did try to put on a good show for the crowd. There were sky-divers, and raffles, and good concessions (I haven't been to a MLB baseball game in a while, can someone tell me if $3 hotdogs, $3-4 beer, $3 nachos or $3 soft pretzels is a good deal) and an after-game fireworks displays. And with 6,400 in paid attendance, I can only come to one conclusion: The Raptors truly are the only game in town.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Backyard Jungle

Thought I'd share a couple of photos of the our current backyard jungle. I am not at home right now (scroll down - I'm in Utah) so don't blame me for our poor neglected dachshunds current potty plight.

jeez-louise! That dog needs a fedora and whip to go take a dump. I half expect Zaar to play Dr. Livingstone and DJ to go out and try and find him, like the explorer HM Stanley....
All that hunting for a ball...gotta love the dedication (or the stupidity for taking it out into that jungle)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Trials and Travails in what I like to call: A Passage to Ogden

Well folks, after some 18+ months living in Japan, I have returned to the good ole U.S. of A. for what I consider (prior to the trip) to be an imposing three-week "business" trip. Actually, I am doing my Navy Reserve active duty training here in the states, but that is all you need know about that.

And where oh where is this illustrious training being conducted you ask? Why, where else would a Navy training facility be: Ogden, Utah.

Yes, that is right folks. Nary a stream in sight, and the largest body of water being a lake in which nothing could possibly sink. As a Hawaiian might ask: "Wha' betta place?"

The journey began yesterday, about 0830 local time, when my ride to the tiny Misawa City Airport (and its one whopping gate) showed up at the door. It sent the boys into a tizzy, and they got real, real anxious when daddy started moving the luggage outside and they realized they weren't coming. But after a few quick hugs, I left the tail-waggers behind and snap, a couple minutes later I was at Misawa Airport (small town), only to realize, d'oh...that I'd gotten to the airport at like 0840 for a flight that left at 1000. This isn't the states folks, there were no lines, no waiting. Nope the efficient Japanese has me all set in minutes. So I waited. And it wouldn't be the first time for the trip. Its drizzling and overcast and generally crappy outside, and I wonder if the plane will be on time. HA! No delays here.

The flight to Tokyo's domestic airport, Haneda, was uneventful, I was snoozing most of the way. Got off the plane, our bags showed up in minutes, and then we (I am traveling with another service member, he's active duty and his name is Seth) hit up the little automated machine for our bus pass to Japan's international airport - Narita. Of course, it is about 40 or so minutes away. And guess what? It's raining here too. The weather is even crappier than in Misawa.

Well, we get to Narita and it is between 1300-1400....I forget the exact time, forgive me. So I glance at our itinerary. Oh, good lord. the Flight to San Fran doesn't leave until 1800! So its a 6+ hour lay-over, from start to finish. what to do? What else? Go to McDonalds! It is easily the busiest food joint in the airport. In retrospect, it was not the greatest decision, as I don't often eat greasy fast food. The burger and fries tasted great going down, but that "full feeling" sorta expanded into that "bloated" feeling after a little while. Anyway, washed the McD's down with a white vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks (the second busiest stop in Narita).

What's that you ask? don't I like to sleep on planes. Hell yeah I do. So why drink coffee before a flight? Because the GD flight was over 4 hours away from commencing. That's why. So we make our way through security, again, fast, efficient and perhaps most important: informative, with little placards and announcements running to inform travelers what they needed to do: have passport ready, take out laptops, etc - that sorta thing.

And things couldn't have been more different after we landed at San Francisco International. Granted I don't think San Fran should really be the first city for someone to visit when returning to the states from a long absence. Why is that? Because like many cross-Ocean passengers the first place I wanted to visit after clearing customs was the restroom...and to my unmitigated surprise, what little facility is available for fellas inside the men's room?

A bio-waste hazard needle recycle bin. What else?

I mean what the fuck? Little bins for the intravenous drug-users on travel? First off how the fuck does a heroin addict afford a plane ticket. Second...why the hell is the local government providing tacit assistance to this shit? I figure it has to do with the anti-A.I.D.S. efforts, but you know what, if you're using a needle in your drug're way beyond what I might condone. This isn't for the dude who occasional smokes some dope on the weekend. This is assistance to hard-core drug addicts.

But that is a rather minor quibble compared to the wonders that awaits travelers as the TSA Security Checkpoints. First off, nothing makes a U.S. citizen feel more at home than being sneered at as they make their way through the security line. Returning servicemember, businessman or housewife on vacation; everyone got the same look from the TSA folks. It is hard to describe...but I think the most apt description is that TSA agents looked at travelers the same way you or I might look at our bottom of our shoes after stepping in dogshit.

Gee how I love America.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Digesting the Eagles Draft Haul

No grades folks, that is a useless endeavor. This is draft definitely is a mixed bag for Eagles fans, there are some really good highlights and some real puzzlers. Then again, it wouldn't be an Eagles draft is everyone thought it was great or if AR & Co didn't select some guy out of left field that leave us all scratching our heads.

Here are some the implications as I see them
- Plucking Carolina's 1st rounder next year was just awesome. Given the state of the NFC South, this pick will probably range somewhere from 12-21. (yeah thanks, why not just guess 1-32?). I don't think it will be a top 10 might be...especially if the injury bug bites the Panthers again this year. Giving up the #19 pick is never easy, but having two #1s for 2009 provides the Eagles with some decent ammunition if, as I expect, they continue their pursuit of a veteran WR.

- Getting some guys who should be able to come right in and contribute. I'm talking to you: DT Trevor Laws, WR DeSean Jackson, RB Lorenzo Booker.

First Laws. Ok, beyond the inevitable Berman "I fought the Laws" line we'll hear on ESPN once this dude tallies a sack, I see a guy with a strong wrestling background as a great foundation for a NFL defensive tackle. Moreover, this guy should be in on-time and I can see him working right into the DT rotation. As the DTs stand right now, there is Patterson and Bunkley starting, with some combination of Laws, Montae Reagor and Lajuan Ramsey....those five might be the actual guys...but I actually expect DT/DE Darren Howard to take up one these roster spots, because Howard can play all along the line and if the Eagles cut him, they'll incur a cap hit...something they don't like to do. Howard has been a huge disappointment, but if Laws shows anything in preseason, expect him to be worked into the regular rotation.

Next is DeSean Jackson. First off, anything is better than Reno Mahe. The dependable hard-working Mahe scared nobody, and really he was only on the team last year because they didn't have anybody could field kicks. Jackson's speed provides an instant threat. I am not predicting he'll be the second-coming of Dante Hall, but the man has football talent. They can help him put on some muscle, but like the adage goes, you can't coach speed. I see the Eagles spoon-feeding him some select routes, and running him out there in special packages designed to create mis-matches. Think about it...Flank Westbrook and Curtis on the other a team try and post a safety on this guy....Jackson flies right by and McNabb hits him in stride...that only needs to happen once my friends, and the threat will be established. I'd also like to see him running some of these reverses they tried with Reggie Brown...While I believe him impact on the offensive side of the ball will be limited, if only because that the Eagles' style with rookies, I do expect him to be able to improve our special teams. If he can provide a 5-10 yard difference in field position on punt returns, that is a tangible contribution. If he can be a threat that forces bad punts and helps tilt field position in the Eagles favor...that is going to pay dividends.
- As for the Roster, an interesting question came up on the forums, with Jackson on board, who goes??? Greg Lewis...seems like every year we wonder if this the year he doesn't make the cut. Hank Baskett...that potential flashed in 2006 seems like good news, from long, long time ago doesn't it? Jason Avant, if he going to get used in this offense or not??? Look I think the 4 roster locks right now are Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson. Why am I so gracious to Avant right now - because I think he showed he can be a decent slot possession receiver in this league, the Eagles just don't dial his # very often. Would the Eagles carry 6 WR on the roster? Good question. In the past they have not done so, but then again, none of the WR were PR/KR either...Mahe had those duties for the most part, and he was part of the Backfield.
With Mahe a goner and his slot open, that doesn't necessarily translate into another slot open for running backs on this team.

As for Booker, well I dunno what his addition to the team means. A third-down change of pace kinda guy. Since he can catch out the backfield that is a big, big plus. But the backfield, she be a bit crowded right now. Not exactly brimming with talent behind Westbrook, but crowded. Ever-dependable Correll Buckhalter is the top back-up, with Ryan Moats, Tony Hunt, Jason Davis and Dan Klecko filling out the HB/FB slots...figure 3 RB, 1 FB, unless some really flashes that "you gotta keep me on the roster" skill. I won't even venture a guess what that means for the roster at this point...Just say this: Westbrook and Booker will be two names on the final list, unless Lorenzo comes in and proceeds to take a dump on Andy Reid's desk during training camp/preseason.

Other guys they picked up:
3rd rounder DE Bryan Smith...oh great, another fastball tweener you say. And I am tempted to agree. It seems like every year the Eagles dupe themselves into believing some small-school project is being coveted by a bunch of teams, so they "reach" early....3rd round??? For a guy from McNeese State? AIYA! Anyway, unless this guy is a real, true and honest no-shit surprise play-maker, I fully expect him to get the red-shirt treatment from AR & pals. The DE rotation is fairly set at this stage, with Trent Cole, Juqua Parker, newcomer Chris Clemons, and 2nd year man Victor Abiamiri looking to make that almost traditional, OK-I've-been-around-for-a-season-now-let's-see-if-I-can-play bid for the Birds. I think he will contribute. Smith though? He is Gocong-esque project, unless I miss my guess, so I wouldn't expect to see him swooping into opposing backfields until 2010, if we're lucky.

4th rounders: OG Mike McGlynn. A self-described "lunch-pail" guy. His biggest asset is going to be the fact that's he has played all along the O-Line. Kinda like Nick Cole, who can be a back-up Center and Guard. One potential bonus...he has long-snapped in the past. I don't know of any particular plan in place, but right now the Eagles have a pure long-snapper on the roster in Jon Dorenbos....coughing up a roster slot for LS who does nothing else could turn into a luxury Andy decides he just can't indulge....I know the Eagles signed him to deal last year, and they won't want to upset the critical special teams chemistry between JD and Akers and Sav Rocca. But if McGlynn shows ability and develops a feel for it with those out.

Safety Quintin Demps - OK in there a limit on the number of guys in the defensive backfield that can named Quintin?? The guy has a little mouth on him too, but confidence is something to be appreciated in a DB, so long as they can back it up on the field. Is this guy going to replace anyone? Dawkins and Mikell as there...baring injury that is set in stone. I think JR Reed showed he can play, and play well last year and he knows the special teams...if Demps flashes some talent, then erstwhile, can't-seem-to-stay-healthy S Sean Considine could find himself on the outside looking in. As a 4th rounder - I expect him to make the roster.

CB Jack Ikegwuonu - I had the same reaction when I heard about this pick...didn't this mofo jack up his ACL prior to the draft?? Yup same guy, he's an automatic redshirt, er I mean placed on IR. Lots of folks have panned the pick - some because of the guys off-the-field legal troubles. The guy probably would've been one of the top 2 or 3 CB in the draft is he'd stayed healthy. Period. So the talent is/was there. Here is what I think might've been going through the minds of the Eagles' FO folks regarding Ikegwuonu:
1) We know he's injured, but some team could take a flier on this guy before we pick again. He was the Eagles compensatory 4th round pick, #131. The Eagles didn't have another choice on the board until the 6th round, #184. That's 53 selections, so there is a chance that some team, thinking long-term, might take a flier on a guy like Ikegwuonu in the 5th or 6th round.
2) We have a shit-ton picks, and they all can't make the roster. Taking a flier on this guy give us future potential but guarantees that we won't have to worry about cutting a 4th round guy in August.

As for the rest, If OG Mike Gibson, LBRs Mays and Studebaker (both small school guys) or OT King Dunlop make the team, consider that gravy....I expect one the LBR and one of the OL to make the practice squad, but that's about it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Another Good Day to be a Philly Fan

WOW, folks, by almost any measure Saturday was a damn fine day to be sports fan in Philly.

The Phillies stomped the Pirates to take their road-trip to a 5-1.

The Flyers rebounded strong from a disheartening OT loss in Game 1 to even up their best-of-seven series, beating the Canadiens 4-2 and wresting home-ice advantage for the hometown boys on Broad Street.

And did the Eagles ever make some waves on Day 1 of the NFL Draft. Did they have the best day? No, it hard to make the best impression when some other teams (Carolina, KC, Dallas) came away with multiple first rounds picks. That said, the Eagles scored themselves some DT depth with ND Trevor Laws and go themselves a KR/PR and a potential contributor, match-up nightmare guy in Cal WR DeSean Jackson.

Its not the players themselves that have Eagles fans buzzing, it's how we got there. The Eagles FO swung 3 draft-day trades on Saturday.

First they got a sweet-offer for their first-round pick, #19, from Carolina. You see, Carolina wanted an OT. There were five certifiable blue-chippers this year (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you, two, maybe three of them will pan out and live up to expectations, but all five are considered really good). Well the top 4 prospects were gone by pick 15 (when KC moved up to take Branden Albert), and hell, even Detroit got into the act and picked up a non-Top 5 OT at Pick 17. So Carolina was desperate. They wanted them at OT, and there was NO CHANCE that a guy like Jeff Otah from Pitt (shout out to my old alma mater) was going to linger around until the second round.

So Carolina forks over a #2 and #4 pick this year, and next year's #1 selection to for Philly's #19 this year. Lo' and behold, they select Otah. Just to show how this tumbled even more teams to fall all over themselves. It helped the Washington Redskins too, because then Atlanta panicked, and seeing 6 of the Top 8 OL gone, they traded with Washington for the Redskins pick at #21, and they selected an OT as well.

So they then had two #2, one #3 and three #4 picks (along with 1-5th, 4-6th and a 7th).

Then the Eagles ship their own #4 (not Carolina's, it was higher, and they can't trade the comp pick) to Miami for scatback Lorenzo Booker. Evidently, a guy they wanted to draft last year but didn't get the chance.

However, this left the Eagles without a first round selection, and the fans, well, they were a-howling. We want to see picks! We want to debate the selection and all that fun shit. And here the Eagles are, trading down, amassing more picks in a draft were we already have 11!!

So finally, after HOURS of waiting it the Eagles turn again in round 2, and there are still a TON of quality players out there...they lost out on WR Devin Thomas, who the Redskins snagged with the second rounder they got from Atlanta, but NO wide receivers went in the first round, and Eagles were sitting there at #43 (overall) with their choice of a bevy of Wideouts...

and what do the Eagles do??

THEY TRADE DOWN AGAIN!!!!! Augh, the howls got louder. Dave Spadaro and Merrill Reese on Philadelphia are going looney...

They trade with Minnesota....Minnesota gets the Eagles #43 pick and Eagles lone 5th round pick (#152). The Eagles get Minnesota #47 pick and Minnesota's 4th round (#117).

So, for moving down 4 slots, the Eagles get to move back up into the 4th round (essentially moving a pick "up" 35 slots....) Here is the thinking folks...the next teams on the board following the Eagles were the Bears, Lions and Bengals. They were probably assured by the Viking that they wouldn't take a player the Eagles were targeting....So the Vikings take a safety (T Johnson), the Bears reach for a RB (M. Forte), the Lions reach for a LB (J Dizion) and the Bengals go for a hella-reach and chose some WR few people outside of the draftniks have even of and pluck some dude from Coastal Carolina (yeah, watch this dude rock). So the Eagles, still have their choice of some top-tier WRs.....and now its #47, followed, quickly by #49. THe only team in between - WASHINGTON. And the Redskins already picked a WR.

So I think this was the Eagles thinking - the Reskins need to shore up their OL and DL, so lets chose our DL first, and heck there is no way the Skins can chose all the WRs, so we're still sitting pretty. With #47 - The Eagles select Trevor Laws, DT Notre Dame. Then the Redskins go TE, and the Eagles pluck a guy many suspected they pick (if he was still around) at the #19 position - Cal WR Desean Jackson.

So to summarize: the Eagles got a 3rd down back from Miami, their 3rd DT and some much needed depth at DT, and their KR/PR+potential slot WR threat in Jackson.

I see potential immediate help from both players. Laws should be able to step in and join Bunkley and Patterson in the DT rotation. The DE are pretty much set with Cole, J. Thomas, Clemons and Abiamiri. Jackson can flat out fly. So I'd hope that in addition to return duties, the Eagles O-minds could come up with some personnel packages designed to isolate Jackson on a safety or 4th CB and just see if the young guy can blow by them.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Some Pre-Draft Thoughts

Well as good as the other day wasn't a good day for Philly fans...the Sixers came out flat and got stomped by the Pistons and the Phillies blew a late game lead and lose to the Brewers...ugh...

Been a lot of talk on the boards about who the Eagles are going to draft this weekend.

A few thoughts about my take on it all. There won't be any predictions about who I think they'll take (that is useless) but rather what positions they'll go after:

1 - lots of talks about the Eagles wanting to move up in the draft. They sit at #19. Some folks think they'll use Lito as trade bait to move up, but I don't see the worth in that....especially if the choice is a young CB like McKelvin or that dude with the ultra-long name...sure those guys can return kicks, but why would you trade a ProBowl caliber CB for the chance to move up and take a young unknown at the same position. Makes no sense. Perhaps they use some picks to move up and snag someone they like...

2 - whether or not they draft an OL. Looks if its the right guy at the time they pick...fine, I have no trouble with drafting linemen, the Eagles have been pretty good at getting decent linemen on Day 1. I would NOT like they to trade up and take a OL. If you're going to sacrifice whatever it takes to trade up - get a player who is going to contribute in 2008. Be it a young WR who can return kicks or whomever.

3 - What do the Eagles need? They need a safety, so that suggests Kenny Phillips from Miami, but he's about the only decent safety this year, so I dunno if the Eagles reach for him at #19. Maybe they trade down, bank another #2 and take Phillips later in the 1st round.

4 - I'd like to see the Eagles secure another Day 1 pick (just the first two rounds, btw). But I don't see how they do it unless they trade Lito. And whilst I'd rather see the Eagles get a WR in return for Sheppard (if he's dealt), I guess the market for someone of his caliber is what the Atlanta Falcons got for Deangelo Hall (a "2" and a "5")...perhaps on draft day they get more (or less). Who knows?

5 - Back to what the Eagles need - A few linemen (at least 1 OL and perhaps 2 for depth, 2 DL, 2 DBs, 1 WR, and maybe 2 Backs (Full, Running or otherwise). That's 9 picks, the Eagles have 11 I can see the Eagles trading for some future picks as well. I mean lets face it. They aren't going to keep 11 guys...they need to package the picks that they can (the non-compensatory ones) to either a) move up in various rounds or b) bank future picks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Good Time to be a Sports Fan in Philly

Well there is something on tap for all sorts of sports fan in Philly.

The Flyers won GAME 7 versus the Capitals. IN OVERTIME no less! What a game, what a gritty up, the Canadiens...oof...that's going to be a stern test for John Stevens' team.

Chase Utley is kicking much ass in Major League Baseball and the Phillies, for the first time in a while, they haven't fallen on their face in April.

In the basketball arena, the 76ers stunned the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 on the road, and they're just about ready for tip-off in Game 2. Now, I don't care about the NBA at all, but I do hope the 76ers give basketball fans in Philly something to cheer and get excited about...its been too long for them.

And finally, there is the NFL Draft, the primary off-season moment of excitement (outside of training camp and preseason games). Come this weekend, fans around the country will be debating their team moves...who they drafted, yada yada yada....Its fun, but its a completely useless exercise to be perfectly honest.

Put it this way - this year is really the first year that we can legitimately judge a team's performance in the 2005 Draft. Those players have had three years to make an impact. That accounts for any long time to injury, etc, etc. These guys should be established young pros, and if they aren't....well then....perhaps a sterner evaluation or the removal of rose-colored glasses is in order.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Getting your Vader on

Ok, so I checked out looking for something on Grand Theft Auto IV and what do I find, this little puppy about getting to play as Darth Vader in the opening level of the Star Wars, The Force Unleashed - due out at very end of this summer (think September).

Here is the problem -- I like Wookies! I don't wanna kill Chewie's family....That said, anyone who has ever wanted to force-choke someone simply by clenching their fist at some idiot will probably forget all about this and start tossing hapless wookies around with abandon. If only just to their Vader on.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You May be Taliban IF....


1. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.
2. You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can't afford shoes.
3. You have more wives than teeth.
4. You wipe your butt with your bare left hand, but consider bacon "unclean."
5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6. You can't think of anyone you HAVEN'T declared Jihad against.
7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.
8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
9. You've ever uttered the phrase, "I love what you've done with your cave."
10. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least Two.
11. You bathe at least monthly whether necessary or not.
12. You've ever had a crush on your neighbor's goat.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

XBox 360 Vs Playstation 3

Well folks, there is a reason this blog has suffered from a limited amount of post in recent months. The culprits: HALO3, Call of Duty 4 and Mass Effect. (soon to be joined by Grand Theft Auto IV, I'm sure.)

And there is just one console on which I play them: the XBox 360.

Now, hold on, Playstation lovers and PC Gamers. I am avid gamer. Here is a little background on me before you go judging:
- I didn't own a single next-gen console prior to July 2007. I'd owned nearly everything that had come out previously, gotten burned numerous times by Sega (Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast...grrr), even 3DO and absolutely LOVED my original Playstation (Final Fantasy VII, Worms, et al). Got a Playstation 2, but to be honest, it mostly just collected dust. Why? the PC had entered the scene as my rig of choice. And a high-powered ALIENWARE gaming rig blows away any console. Hands down.

- Said Windows-based Gaming Monster PC took a shit on me about a year ago after a certain someone filled up my hard drive with crap, and hasn't been the same ever since. So over the Summer of 2007, a friend shows me XBox Live Arcade, and I could see that the strategy game CATAN was available for download and online or offline play. I was hooked. I hit the local Base exchange, and lo' and behold, they had a military appreciation package. Got the 360, wired controller, 3 games, and 1-yr subscription to XBox Live Gold for about $450.

- By the end of the year, my wife and I would go on to hunt and track down a Wii (thanks to the parents back in Delaware) and also get a Playstation 3.

- So this review comes from someone who owns all the next-gen systems.

- Moreover, this review also comes at a time when the dreaded "red ring of death" problem appears to have been addressed to a significant extent. I understand the frustrations many would have if their 360 crapped out for no reason other than poor-quality control on the internal thermal paste, but I don't know too many people who've had that probably with new 360s.

So enough intro, let's get to it:

Why do I prefer the XBox 360 to the Playstation 3? Four B-I-G reasons:

1. The 360 is the place to be for Online Gaming.
- I've got 50+ friends on XBox Live...on the Playstation? Two, 2, dos, zwei, er.... This will increase when some PS3 exclusive games come out, like Resistance 2 or Killzone 2 (scroll down for more on that), but right now, there is just no real comparison between the online experience between the consoles. The XBox 360 beats the piss out of the PS3. Hands down, don't even try and argue the point.

2. Ease of navigation. The XBox has 5 total "pages" to navigate through. The entry page, gives you a quick glimpse at whether you have messages and how many friends you have online? The information is present is an intuitive, visual way that is impossible to sit here and describe. Suffice it to say that all the info you need (plus some advertisements). What to see which friends are playing, the info is a click away. What to download a new Rock Band song, a game demo, a Live Arcade game? A few clicks and you'll be playing in minutes (provided you have enough MS points...) - As for the Playstation? Everything is present along a linear horizontal line and choices pop-up in a vertical fashion when you scroll over them....In other words: NOT AS EASY. and ease and intuitiveness are key here folks. Want to see if any friends on PS3? Scroll all the way to the right....and up and down...there's no instant look. Hopefully that changes when Playstation rolls out their HOME.

3. Gamerscore and Achievements - a.k.a. Gamer-crack. It may have seemed like a throw away thing in the beginning...give the players "points" for doing certain things in games. I think there was even some discussion about folks who racked up high gamerscore being able to "cash" them in for free stuff from Microsoft (guess that isn't going to happen anytime soon). But I tell you what. Part of each game now is looking at what the designers set as Achievements. A lot of games are fairly standard, finish the game on different difficulties, get so many kills, fly this far, run this far...but others can drive you to do some odd things in games. Like running around with a shotgun in Rainbow Six Vegas 2 until you've gotten the "I like the sound it makes" achievement for shotgun kills, or running down zombies with your jalopy in Half Life 2 Episode 2 or starting a third play-through on a game like Mass Effect in an epic quest to the Extreme Gamer achievement for having a 60th level character (the Max level you can get in the game I just found out.) Of course, it has already been mocked to perfection by the Simpsons game, which unlocked a 5gp achievement just for pressing start at the beginning of the game. The inclusion of this simply, addictive add-on to games is hard to ignore. Perfect example: I have both a PS3 and a 360. Given a choice between getting the "next big thing" like Grand Theft Auto IV on PS3 or 360, and I will choose the XBox 360 version. EVERY TIME. Why? Not because of downloadable content or any difference in graphics performance. But because of Gamerscore and the thrill of pursuing those dastardly achievements!

4. Lack of Must-Have Content on the PS3! What killer game is on the PS3 that isn't also on the XBox, thus wrecking my choice and forcing me to get the game for PS3 and not for 360 so I can wrack up gamer point and achievements? The quick answer: NONE. Okay, okay, I've got Resistance (picked up a used copy) but I haven't played it yet....Its not about the 360 having better games or more exclusive ones, its that there isn't any game out there that MADE me get a PS3....The wife bought our PS3 from a friend who sold it because of this very reason, he was bored with it, used his XBox way more and wanted to recoup some of the money he plunged into the system. We bought it primarily as a Blu-ray player, and hopefully, there will be some cool games out for it soon.

Is it all doom and gloom for the PS3? HELL NO! First off, I think its the best Blu-Ray bargain there is, and Sony's Online is free, even if it is crappy right now. As Sony gets its online bandwagon rolling, it may actually force the XBox to rethink its $50/year charge for XBox Live Gold. Moreover, some exclusive games are on the way that will probably be prompting quite a few friends to get a PS3: Resistance 2, Killzone 2, and the new Metal Gear game, to say nothing of new Final Fantasy chapter. I think an 8-player co-op campaign for Resistance 2 will be killer, I just hope I have 8 friends who own PS3 to play with! As it stands right now, I may be a little hard pressed to find companions to help me right the Earth of alien invaders this fall.