Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Other News

NHT Cobblers make their EPL debut in the fake universe.

And US can't get past Paraguay in the real world.

Columbus Crew will be on FSC Friday. 7:30pm.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Notes from Cynthia Baker

My Grandmother! I went home this weekend to Northern VA to visit family and had a great time.

Among all the wonderful things we were celebrating I had a few moments to take in part of the England v. Wales and Scotland v. Brazil soccer matches. I've always enjoyed talking with my Nana about anything and everything. Especially her thoughts on her homeland; England. She is of their own greatest generation, although, they don't refer to it as that as we do because their history goes a tad bit further back then ours.

I was not able to wrangle her up for the England game. She was too busy getting ready for the baby shower that was happening later that day. She did check in a couple times though just to verify with me that England was winning. When I told her the score she just said "of course" and "naturally" as if it were predetermined result and wondered back to baby stuff.

Sunday was a little different as the baby shower was over. I gathered my dad, nana and my mother to watch the first half. Scotland had no chance and even my father and mother could see that after a few minutes. My mom knows soccer, she coached it back in the days when it was just catching on in Northern VA. Many consider that is the area that propelled youth soccer in the area up to the levels it is today (late 70s early 80s). It was pretty neat to hear my mom recognizing positions, formations and even building actions.

I could tell my nana had little interest in the tactics. She has made it clear that, in her youth; "soccer is a sport played by barbarians and watched by gentlemen and rugby is a sport played by gentlemen and watched by barbarians".

Right around that comment I got a story on her and her sister going up to Scotland shortly after it was voted that women could go into pubs there (must have been early 1940s). She pointed to a small closet and said... "we went in and they put us in a back room the size of that".

During the game I educated my dad on how players were sold. He had a hard time grasping (as I and many Americans do) how teams get a transfer fee and all) but my nana got it right away. "When they can perform anymore, they aren't worth anything to the owners". I didn't take it as a derogatory thing at all and she didn't mean it as that but my dad understood it after the comment. Our own domestic sports have similar things in common only, it is the player that wins the spoils over here.

She also pegged one of the announcers as uneducated because of his pronunciation of "little".

Only other thing she mentioned that was directly about the game on TV was said with a great deal of English pride... "this game must be in England, look how wonderfully green the pitch is." English as you like it.

It was really fun getting to watch with her. She always finds time to criticize basketball and football for the all the starts, stops and TV commercials. My dad and I were reminded of this as she sat by us watching college bball tournament games. Sitting there watching the Scotland match? Not a single criticism. It's as if the game was made for her temperament, intellect and common sense.

Indeed... it probably was.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NHT update

Wrapped up the Championship League in Mid March. Woohoo.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Can't take it anymore, GM

I don't wish it upon anyone to loose their jobs, especially in this economic climate, but I have a message for GM designers.

Shitcan all of them. I just saw this concept design for the next Colorado and I'm writing this in haste.

After what I saw at the auto show... GM is out of ideas. Bring back the Fisher Body Craftsman Guild.

Get rid of the people creating and approving this design.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 Auto Show

Took my time this year pacing around the best new car lot I can find. Lots of good cars. Too many Camaros there. Made it seem cheap. Maybe that was on purpose. It was interesting to see how many kids were over there playing on them like a jungle gym.

Best cars of the show? Keep in mind this is just kicking tires and observing design.

Mazda 6
Kia Koup
Buick Regal
Lincoln MK S

I was impressed with the Kia Forte Koup. I fit in it better then the other cars on my list. Just that little fact is a big deal for me. My 6'5" frame eliminates a lot of cars from contention. I don't get how tiny and cramped the Caddilac interiors are. Same goes with Fords, save for the Taurus.

Over all the VW CC was the best car there, for me at least.

If I were in the market for a new car it would be the Forte Koup. Inexpensive. Really inexpensive (19k with everything).

Now for who stunk. Toyota, boring and cheap looking. Hyundia, tired and even cheaper looking then Toyota.

How was Chevy and Ford? Okay. Ford has better looking cars though. The Malibu hurts the Chevy line up. Cruze actually helps it. Who the heck would ever buy a Malibu. It's in no man's land. Literally. Nobody was looking at it.

Folks were looking at the Volt. I put a side by side image up there with Honda's CR-Z. It's amazing how many tacked on design frills the Volt has. CR-Z is a good looking car.

Finally... Chrysler. Oh boy. I was excited to see the 200. You know the one featured in the commercial I liked so much? They had five there. 5! I couldn't fit in any of them. It's not a bad looking car, but it pisses me off it's made for someone the size of a rap star. The front end is also a rip off of years old Hyundai's. There it was though. The Challenger was missing. Sorry Chrysler.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Taken Back

Reading The Truth About Cars tonight whilst enjoying NCAA games. Came across a random comment that took me back.

"This Cadillac reminds me of those paper cups that have a little folded handle pasted to their sides so that you can pretend to have a Royal Dalton porceline tea cup from which to sip.

It is wonderful when the average guy can purchase faux luxury. It helps keep down the cost of luxury itself and forces it to continually refine itself in order to justify it’s price. What is completely wicked is when the average guy doesn’t recognize faux luxury as faux. He begins to devalue items around him when they do not appear to be elegant and can end up mopeing around spending money he doesn’t have in pursuit of costly goods.

How many tweens do we see schlepping around in $40 t-shirts that appear so wretched their own assembly-line working grandfathers won’t have cleaned the garage floor with it? Faux luxury can be enjoyed, but like anything else, it can lead to McMansions, $30,000 Hondas, $300 Levis, bankrupsy and striking public employees with salaries over $80,000."

Well said. And on the eve of my annual Columbus Auto Show visit. Glad I caught it.

Read it again before you move on to the rest of the internets.

It reminds me of something I was once told about luxury and convenience. "What difference does electric light have when you have servants to light the candles for you?". We have a lot of folks pretending out there... and spending way too much to pretend they have things they really don't.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CBS Online Coverage

CBS has done a pretty good job with there online live streaming coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball coverage. But, as usual, I want more. That next revolution in sports viewing is still coming and it's not 3D (sorry Dubious Quality).The change will be in choosing what is on our TV screens within the realm of the game you are watching.

CBS is using 'boxes', but I think allowing the viewer to choose what is coming through on top of the broadcast is the future. Want a "clean feed"? Choose it. Want the leading scorers layered on top of the full screen action? Done.

It's getting there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2011 Columbus Crew

Tom Heinemann, Crew

Lookin' the Part, but can he play? We'll find out. FIFA 11 says he can. Paid his dues at Charleston Battery (and Carolina RailHawks... WakeMed!).

Anybody who did their time with The Battery is good enough for me. I noticed him on a created team a few months ago and now he is with the Crew. Sho'nuff, he was part of the roster update.

Am I really getting pumped for the MLS season?? What have I gotten myself into?!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

XII. Only interesting to me...

1. March Madness
It's that time of year. Good. But I haven't been watching much college bb this year. In fact, my college bb cup has been rather empty since I've been up here in Ohio. But every time March rolls around I get all pumped up.

1a. It's an interesting feeling to sit down and watch a couple basketball games. It feels like... like... going outside and noticing your car isn't frozen in ice and snow. Now that's a good feeling.

1b. Sports Reference online now has extensive college basketball stats. Today is "selection Sunday" so I'll be digging into them to help fill out my bracket. Of course I will be giving the "mascot" bracket to a friend of mine to fill out at well. She just pits the mascots against each other in a fight in the wild. She has beaten my bracket about 5 years running.

2. Stoke City, F.A. Cup
On right now. Can't find it live so following the "match cast" 1-1 right now. I really think Stoke is going for broke on the F.A. Cup this year. They have their A team in. Anyone familiar with the brutal Premier League schedule knows that this takes planning weeks out to make this happen. Good to see Sorensen in goal. I hope it pays off.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets.
Not going to make the playoffs again this year. They are celebrating 10 years. Only one playoff appearance. Got to go to a game last week and sit on the Club Level. Loge Level to be exact. It was a great time. Never seen any sporting event like that before. I could get use to it.

1a.1. Time of year weather gets all wonky in Columbus. In the 40s one day... car covered in ice the next. Yesterday is was around 50. I opened my windows.

4. FIFA 11 Career Mode.
I've taken the Northampton Town Cobblers up to the Champions League as a Player / Manager. Having a great time doing it. Making transfers, shuffling line ups. Also learning a lot about how the business side works, even if it may be on a remedial level. It's a good feature. After it is all said and done I'll probably do a larger write up on it. Wish list of sorts. I'm earning it. Playing every game.

5. OSU not going away
The lawyer that leaked the information to Coach Tressel is now making the rounds in the media. The long this goes on, the more it reminds me of the NC State stuff that got Jim Valvano ousted way back in the late 80s. I was a kid then, but remember it well. No internet back then, so it was a book that lead to the Valvano resigning. A crappy book written by Peter Golenbock with the help of a former punk kid manager (an others looking for a quick buck).

5a. Good first hand account of things HERE by John Feinstein.

5b. I was going to NC State basketball camps during that time. I remember the near rock star status of Jim Valvano the first years I attended them. The camp was packed, people would come and sit in the stands just waiting for Valvano and watch him speak to us. My age group had enough kids to have a league! I remember we played a couple games a day and my team lost every game during the week. The last day we had an all day tournament and we won that sucker. Jim Valvano himself noticed this feat and came down to talk to us about it. He said that we were the kind of team he loved. Underdog. I still have the ribbon I won from that day. I get emotional just thinking about it.

It was probably one of the most exciting events in my life being there. I attended after Valvano resigned too. I remember the place being dead. Not even enough kids in my age group to get a game of 5 on 5. It must have been around 1991. The year that NC State hit rock bottom with their basketball program.

This event is why I get concerned about the future of the OSU program.

2a. Stoke....

F.A. Cup WIN. off to Wembley for the final four! wow! It's been 39 years since that for the club?!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For the Lawyer Out There

Enjoy THIS.

It's from The Off Tackle Empire and the post is about the OSU mess. Always enjoy reading what our friends in law think during relaxed moments.

May favorite tid-bit of the morning?

“WWJD – 1”: What Would Jesus Do? Minus one. Basically, take whichever answer is the most squeaky-clean, proactive answer to being ethical and eliminate it. Then pick the next most ethical choice, more often than not that’s the correct answer."

NFL and tOSU

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Other Shoe? OSU.

"Young People"

Heard that a lot this evening from the characters involved in the drama that is going on at Ohio State. Jim Tressel, coach of the Buckeyes has stepped in it, or did step in it when he found out about players on his team being involved with a tattoo parlor being investigated by the feds. The problem here is that he found out 7 months before anyone else and said nothing.

I like Tressel. He is a good man. He has earned a lot of clout over the past decade coaching and that will serve him over the next year. He is right in the middle of a high-holy-shitstorm right now and I wish him the best. I do not think he was covering up for his players just to play them to win. I think he was genuinely trying to protect them. Them being: "young people".

Now... the rest of the University? Then NCAA infractions committee will not be as kind. I think it will result in vacated wins, loss of scholarships and no relaxing on the suspensions of the players involved (5 games). Anything the NCAA can smack on the University, they will.

Is this 'the other shoe' I wrote about back on December 18th?:

"Mark my words... Another shoe has yet to fall and it will be ugly. This school's reputation has taken a major hit. I'm not that old, but old enough to know that when this happens... you are done for years."

No. It is not. Imagine the shoe just getting let go. I know it will hit a some point for sure now. I still think the players have a bigger story that will come back to bite them. The feds ain't done with this one yet. If they come back, knocking on Jim's door about why he didn't say anything earlier? not good.

My last thought for now on this is on AD Gene Smith. I think his is arrogant and a lot of other nasty things. His hands are all over this. The road will lead to him.

Mark my words.

Monday, March 7, 2011


As a newish fan to the English Premier League combined with my nervousness about Stoke falling fast - I decided to dig into the table a bit and see what the numbers tell me.

Based on performance this year (2011 only) on top of the points earned last year I've found the following teams out "for sure":

19th: Wolverhampton
20th: Wigan

Now, here is where it gets tricky. Statistically, there is a group at the bottom that are almost too close to call.

Blackburn Rovers
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wndrs
Wigan Athletic

Out of that group; West Ham have increased their pts p/game significantly. West Ham pulled only .95 pre-January... Now they are at 1.38. But there are only 9 games left. Is it enough?

West Brom is also pulling their weight gaining 1.11 pts p/game this year. That is flat over pre-Jan (1.10).

So... West Brom is setting themselves up to be safe as well with that consistancy because Blackburn and Blackpool are falling fast. Blackpool is set up to fall the most. They are currently sitting at 15th. Safe right? Nope. I'm actually calling their current fall all the way down.

It's going to be tight, but hat leaves our relegation friends to be:

18: Blackpool
19: Wolverhampton Wndrs
20: Wigan Athletic

If Blackpool can get out of their funk they can land at 16. The trend, looking at the full year, puts them there above West Ham. But I just don't see it.

Billy Sasquatch see it this way by season end:

Manchester United
Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur
Bolton Wanderers
Newcastle United
Aston Villa
Stoke City
Birmingham City
Blackburn Rovers
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wndrs
Wigan Athletic

It's going to be mildly interesting at the top between Arsenal and Man U. I'd rather see neither but it is what it is. Arsenal has a chance.

Soccer Stats and You

By 'you' I mean Europe and the UK. EPL Talk put up a couple good posts about soccer stats today. They didn't necessarily go into the stats themselves but made some very good points about the direction of Premier League Soccer. I know I mention EPL Talk more then I should here, but I find their posts and way of writing approachable. I do find error in the way they analysed cards today but really appreciate the fact that they went out and dug into it themselves and hope they do it more in the future.

It is interesting to me because a little bit ago I went into the cleanest and dirtiest teams in the league this year in a similar way and found Stoke to be the one of the "cleanest". They found them, by looking at cards over a couple decades, to be the dirtiest. I thought about looking at only yellow and red cards but found that a small but significant percentage of them come from descent, time wasting or other non-rough play. Example would be Man U's goalie over the weekend. His disagreement with the ref was certainly not dirty or rough play. I found, in looking at fouls, that sort of thing happening in the case of 'cards' too often.

Anyway, this gets me motivated on picking apart the table again. Last time I did a pretty good job at pulling out the trip down the table for Blackpool and the trip up for Liverpool.

Oh, and got another good Stoke comment from EPL Talk:

"This confirms what i already knew, that Stoke were a bunch of dirty ****s and should as Arseblogger said “been beaten to death with there mothers arms by a gang of angry warlocks”."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

XI. Only Interesting to Me

1. Dirk Kuyt!

Takes down Manchester United. Liverpool was dominate most of the game and Nani is a punk. It's pretty amazing when Liverpool decides to put on the pressure. The game was played in Man U's half most of the game.

2. Update on The Jimmer

Still doing his thing. The powers that be at BYU suspended his go too guy last week for premarital sex though. Being that the team is mostly just Jimmer... they will do just fine.

2a. BYU got lots of respect for the suspension of Davies from the media. I saw that they let him cut down part of the net after winning the conference, but he will have such a hard time recovering from this. It was interesting to see the story develop in the news. It went from "BYU gains respect" to "Davies suspended for "relations"" to "What is the BYU Honor Code" to "The honor code includes whaaaa and comes from whaaaa?" to, well, where we are now. Which is; just drop the whole thing.

3. MK Dons FC logo sucks.

Played this team in my career stuff in FIFA. I wanted to beat the snot out of them because of their logo.

4. 45 degrees yesterday.

Snow and ice this morning. OHIO.

5. Dang it Stoke

Are you going for the FA cup and only the Cup? You need to be careful. You aren't that far from the bottom. Snap out of it! You are making me nervous. The way you are playing right now makes me believe that you have no business in the EPL.

So there.

Friday, March 4, 2011


The greatest CPU goal you will ever see in FIFA 11 for Xbox360. Well... at least in League I.


What am I gonna do against that!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NHT Cobblers (the not real one)

In deep with the "Career Mode" for FIFA. I know reading about this sort of thing is about as exciting as reading about someones fantasy football league so I'll keep it short.

I committed to taking Northampton from nPower League 2 to the top, baby. I've already taken them out of League 2 by taking the top spot and am currently 7 games into League 1. At the top again right now with three pick ups from the Bundesliga (lower division). I pulled off the J. Paint Trophy my first season as well (lost bad in both the League Cup and FA).