Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cavs destroying teams with ease, all people want to talk about is LeBron playing for the loser Knicks in two years
Hello, World. It's Cleveland, the home of the best player and team in the NBA. When LeBron gets his trophy in June, the first question had better not be about where he'll play the season after next.

Brian Windhorst put it in perspective for all of us with his latest. Bottom line: Cavs are beating people up and taking names. For Cleveland fans, let's just enjoy it. It may not last long, but who cares. One title is better than none.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Phil's NFL Picks

Texans (3-7) @ Browns (4-6)
Brady Quinn has been cleared to play Sunday after x-rays revealed he suffered a broken finger Monday night.
Zach's thought: Browns are so inconsistent. Texans.

49ers (3-7) @ Cowboys (6-4)
Tony Romo and Terence Newman are both back in action for Dallas.
Zach's thought: Cowboys have a much better defense. Cowboys.

Buccaneers (7-3) @ Lions (0-10)
Memo to Detroit: Cut your losses now and just play Drew Stanton.
Zach's thought: One of these will go to Detroit. Buccaneers.

Jets (7-3) @ Titans (10-0)
I keep thinking Tennessee is not going to run the table, but Tennessee keeps winning.
Zach's thought: Jets really aren't that good, right? Titans.

Bills (5-5) @ Chiefs (1-9)
Upset special: The Bills are finding new ways to lose each week and are on the road.
Zach's thought: Chiefs can't finish. Bills.

Bears (5-5) @ Rams (2-8)
Fast Fact: In their last three games, the Rams have been outscored 99-10 in the first half.
Zach's thought: Rams have wasted any good will they had early in the season. Bears.

Patriots (6-4) @ Dolphins (6-4)
Smart money says New England is not fooled by the Wildcat formation a second time.
Zach's thought: Patriots had 10 days to prepare. Patriots.

Vikings (5-5) @ Jaguars (4-6)
Welcome to the Troy Williamson Bowl.
Zach's thought: Ehhh ... Jaguars.

Eagles (5-4-1) @ Ravens (6-4)
Last week's tie may have been the beginning of the end for Philadelphia's season.
Zach's thought: Both teams need this one. Baltimore is at home. Ravens.

Raiders (2-8) @ Broncos (6-4)
The rumor: Jim Fassel is interested in Oakland's head coaching position. The question: Is he really that desperate to be a head coach again?
Zach's thought: The Raiders are bad. Period. Broncos.

Panthers (8-2) @ Falcons (6-4)
Atlanta is at home and needs the win more.
Zach's thought: Panthers are the second-best team in the NFC. Panthers.

Giants (9-1) @ Cardinals (7-3)
A win here and some help would crown Arizona as the NFC West Champs.
Zach's thought: An intriguing game. Maybe more Giants fans in the stands? Giants.

Redskins (6-4) @ Seahawks (2-8)
Jason Campbell can get back on track this week.
Zach's thought: Redskins are a better team. Redskins.

Colts (6-4) @ Chargers (4-6)
The Chargers are at home, and this is basically a must win game for them.
Zach's thought: The Colts have been finding ways to win. Colts.

Packers (5-5) @ Saints (5-5)
Start Aaron Rodgers on your fantasy football team if you have him.
Zach's thought: The Packers will take this one.

LAST WEEK: 11-4-1
OVERALL: 95-63-1


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Andy Barch Interview

1. Right now, who is the best team in the NFL -- Giants or Titans?

AB: It's hard to argue with a team that is unbeaten, simply because they've beaten teams in different ways. We know they can plow you with their running game, but in recent weeks, Kerry Collins has proven he can beat teams with his arm, and that team plays GREAT team defense. The Giants are an extremely close second, but right now, I'd say the best team is the team that hasn't lost yet, and hasn't had any lapses on the road.

2. Everyone loves Jim Zorn. But what happens if the Redskins miss the playoffs?

AB: Nothing happens to Jim Zorn or the Redskins if they miss the playoffs. He brought a new system into the nation's capital, and after just a few weeks they picked it up rather easily. For a guy that was never even a coordinator, he's done a great job in one of the toughest divisions in football (if not the toughest). On defense, they have lost a lot of key players in key games, yet they've remained competitive and strong. It cant be viewed as a disappointment with this team if they don't make the playoffs a year after they didnt make it, and also lost a Hall of Fame head coach. They also have a great stong safety in rookie Chris Horton, who is very quietly putting together a nice season, and he may be named the defensive rookie of the year if he keeps it up.

3. Should people be afraid of the Panthers?
AB: Absolutely. Jake Delhomme hasn't had the greatest stretch the last few weeks, but he hasn't had to because their running game has taken over. I think Delhomme will turn it on when he has to. They've got a good set of receivers, a great offensive line, which has paved the way for a great running game, and their defense has been up to the task this season. Even if they don't win the division, they'll be a real tough matchup for someone in the first round of the playoffs. This team is almost as good as the Super Bowl team they had a few years ago. If they can continue to run the ball with that two-headed monster, look out.

4. Who is smarter now : The Jets for getting Brett Favre or the Packers for getting rid of him?

AB: In the short term, the Jets because they have a Hall of Fame QB that has re-energized that offense and he has them at the top of the division. In the long term, the Packers because next season they wont have to answer the "will he or wont he" retirement questions and they have a great quarterback locked up for a lot of years. If they had stuck with Favre, they probably would have lost Aaron Rodgers after this season, and then they'd have all kinds of questions at that position. Few people want to talk about them, but in reality, they're in first place in the NFC North, and he's been a BIG reason for their success. In two years, this question becomes very easy because the Packers will be in a much better situation with their quarterback.

-Remember to check out Pigskin Podcast for more AB stuff, as well as from other friends of this blog.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The next time someone tries to take Bill Maher seriously
Remind them of the time he had Ashton Kutcher on as a panelist on Real Time.

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Thoughts in Arrested Development format
It's hard to accept that a football team, specifically one you root for, is heading for oblivion, at least this season. Everyone had high hopes before the Browns first game, so it's more frustrating now that they are 3-6.

Narrator: In fact, Zach, due to a long-standing tendency to negative thoughts, was always pessimistic about the Browns. He feared the coach he liked, Romeo Crennel, would get fired and all the goodwill of the 2007 season would vanish faster than a Christian Slater series.

-President Elect Barack Obama is supposedly considering Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state. I suppose there could be worse candidates.

Narrator: He can't think of one now, but there probably are.

Besides, as we all know, Sen. Clinton has done some great things.

(Footage not found)

-The Twins are are making an offer to former Indian Casey Blake. This probably will hurt the Indians' offseason plans.

Narrator: In fact, Indians' general manager Mark Shapiro had been planning to sign Blake, to make him the Indians' big move of the offseason. The move also was to appease manager Eric Wedge, who had been complaining to Shapiro that he had "lost his smile" and didn't really want to manage if Blake wasn't with him on the bench. With Blake possibly going elswhere, Shapiro is now forced to pursue other Wedge favorites -- Jason Michaels, Lou Merloni, and the entire cast of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother."

- The Cavaliers are on the rise, as this may be the best Cavs' team we have seen in our lifetime. Aside from LeBron's brilliance, Ben Wallace is starting to play back to form and Mo Williams looks to be the true compliment LeBron has always needed.

It's times like these I'm glad I firmly supported the franchise during the early part of this decade.

(Footage not found)

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boogie Man
There was this documentary I had wanted to see since the moment I heard about it.

To me, Lee Atwater was one of the most interesting characters in politics. He was a scoundrel, a dark and tragic figure. But he was ridiculously effective in what he was doing.

He also was a blues musician, and a pretty decent one. He hung out with B.B. King, James Brown and played with David Letterman's band.

He died of brain cancer at 40. Had he lived, many believe Bill Clinton never would have been elected president. But before he died, he sought redemption and forgiveness for his career.

This is all discussed in the documentary Boogie Man. Like all documentaries, it is slanted. George H.W. Bush really comes across as a win-at-all-costs, cold hearted soul. George W. Bush is shown as a traditional southern politician, playing it dumb and racing by his opponents.

But here are some general thoughts:

- Lee Atwater didn't seem to care about policy. The film makes it seem like he chose being a Republican out of a hat and then played hard for his team. Maybe the film should have been called "Politics as Sport."

He liked to win. He wanted to win and did everything he could to help his side achieve that end.

- The documentary also made it appear Michael Dukakis would have and should have won in 1988, if not for Atwater's tactics. That's the first time I have ever heard that. In every class I took in college on the subject, Dukakis was portrayed as a weak candidate who really couldn't connect with people and thus, didn't have a real shot.

- Funny to see Terry McAuliffe going on and on about how the Republicans "destroyed" Dukakis, considering what an unscrupulous family the former's career is owed to. His criticisms of Atwater and the Republicans come off as shallow, since he's just as much of a party hack as anyone on the other side.

- You can see, quite clearly though, why Bob Dole didn't (and probably still doesn't) care for the Bushs. Like John McCain, Dole got his turn after a nasty primary campaign eight years later. Like McCain, he lost.

- Redemption was pushed at the end of the documentary, with a hint of cynicism tossed in. Atwater wrote apoligies and found religion at the end of his life, but some didn't believe it to be genuine. I don't know and it didn't seem like many did.

The film was on PBS. I assume it was edited in some form. But I think anyone interested in poltics should see the film. No matter what your side is, I think it is worth seeing. Atwater was many things. Boring was not one of them.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There probably aren't many Indians fans that don't have a favorite Herb Score moment.

He was the voice of the Indians radio for more than 30 years. He was not a Hall of Fame caliber broadcaster, but for most of the years he called games, the Indians weren't a Hall of Fame caliber team.

He was good for us. He fit us. Herb made mistakes, but so did the Indians. He had the voice of someone you wanted in your backyard, in your office, in your home.

In 12 years of listening to him, I don't ever remember a harsh word towards anyone. He always sounded happy to be watching a baseball game, even if the Indians were getting pounded.

His optimism was such that he seemed to rein in Tom Hamilton, who since Score's departure has been prone to long, negative rants about umpires, cities and teams.

I knew he had been ill. I saw him a few years ago at an Indians Hall of Fame celebration, and he could not talk.

So, I knew I'd be writing this one day, though I was not looking forward to it.

I mentioned everyone has a favorite Herb moments. I have a few:

"The Indians are in the World Series .... Maybe."-- After Tony Fernandez's game-winning homer in Baltimore, which did come in the top of the inning, so the Orioles still had to bat.

"Is it fair? Is it foul? It is!"

My personal favorite Herb line:

"Swing and a miss, called strike three!"

But my favorite moment came in 1995. The Indians won the American League pennant, and Herb seemed stunned.

"The Indians win the pennant. How about that? Look at that display on the field! The Indians charging out on the field! They have won the American League Pennant!"

God bless you, Herb.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

CNN: The most trusted name in T-shirt sales
CNN is cashing in on its candidate, and in the process, abandoning any sense of its role in the electoral process by selling Obama victory T-shirts.

I bet Paul Begala and James Carville and Jack Cafferty will be wearing these under their suits for the next six months.

No one at CNN thought this was a bad idea? Scary.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton dies
About two years ago, a person at work put a book on my desk.

There were no words, no explanation. It was Michael Crichton's State of Fear.

I read the 600-page book in four days. It was fiction, but it was also an attack. An attack on environmentalists, jet-stream liberals and the media.

I couldn't put it down.

After years of T-shirts, public-school inspired fear, rap songs, Al Gore and a NFL pre-show done with the lights off, Crichton said everything I wanted to say. It's something so few have said, but so many more need to.

Global warming is treated like fact. Crichton went after the notion with a fire I have only seen from the brilliant Matt Markey of the Toledo Blade.

I'm not sure about global warming. But I appreciated someone finally taking it on.

Today Michael Crichton died at 66. I never read Jurassic Park, never saw the movie. But I became a huge fan of his for taking on the status quo. His dissenting voice will be missed.