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That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind...
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NASA Neil Armstrong Buzz Aldrin

In case anyone has forgot, today is the 45th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon.

I which NASA would restart the Apollo program.

NASCAR Update And Other Fast Stuff 7-20-14
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: New Hampshire Tony Stewart 10 worst in customer satisfaction NASCAR Chase Stuff

                          

Hey hey hey neighbors, friends, Gabbers and others. Welcome to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. This week is an off week. No Cup race. Nationwide drivers were at Chicagoland. Bill Elliot's son Chase won again & has taken over the points lead. 

I just got back from Maryland. Took my son & #1 grandson to see the Monster Truck Jam. Red neck heaven. Was an awesome show. Grave Digger Legend did a jump into a wheelie and held the wheelie going down the front stretch over the bumps. He was so vertical there was mud on his rear bumper. He got the prize for the free style part of the competition hands down. The free style is my favorite because these guys get some wicked air going over the bumps. There were only like 7 trucks there. Really expected to see at least 10. Both Grave Diggers were there, Hot Wheels, Monster Energy, Strait Jacket and 2 others that I can't remember the names of. Great show. Worth the drive. Grandson was happy and thanked me for taking him. 

STEWART BACK IN THE WINGED SPRINT CAR SADDLE

This week Stewart did just what he said he would. He snuck into the Crystal Motor Speedway in Michigan and got into a winged sprint car. Not only did he race but he won it too. 

On Wednesday, July 23rd Stewart will host the 2nd NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at his track Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Last years winner Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson plan to return.  You can watch it on FOX Sports 1 @ 9pm.

RACE TEAM ALLIANCE UPDATE

NASCAR says they will communicate with the newly formed RTA through lawyers. Now that's starting things out on the right foot. NASCAR still says they hold no animosity towards this group. They're just covering their butts.

Scared much?

SPECIAL CHASE PAINT FEATURES INTRODUCED

When the Chase starts besides the winner decals above the drivers door for every win they'll be some more Chase type markings. The front splitter, roof number, windshield viser where the driver name is and a Chase decal on the drivers door all will be in yellow. As the drivers get eliminated from the Chase they will lose the yellow markings. I wonder if they get a horn too. Get out of my way. I'm a Chase contender.

TOP 10 COMPANIES WITH THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE

In light of the recent Comcast scandal where a customer tried to cancel their Comcast cable and the customer service rep drag the poor guy through the wringer, I found an article on customer service.

1. Bank Of America

2. Comcast

3. Sprint Corporation

4. Dish Network

5. Direct TV

6. Time Warner Cable

7. AOL

8. AT&T

9. Wells Fargo

10. Citigroup

So Comcast is 2nd. They're planning to merge with Time Warner Cable. Charlie Ergen, CEO of Dish Network went to the FCC to tell them his thoughts on that merger which pretty much added up to things are gonna suck if you let those 2 monopolies merge. The FCC says that they're taking all comments on this merger till August 25th. So if you're not happy and want to comment on it then you best get your comments into the FCC before the decision is made.

I find it interesting that all these entities are banks, phone companies & tv service providers. They all can make up their rules as they go along and not much we can do about it.

NEW HAMPSHIRE RECAP

So last week was Ky Bu on the pole to start the race. Off we go and 7 laps in Johnson is in the pits with a flat left rear. Then lap 13 Caution is out because Johnson is in the wall. Done

Lots of Twitter back & forth between the #48 team and Goodyear about who's fault it is. Team #48 saying it's bad tires and Goodyear saying it's too low air pressure.

Ky Bu leads till lap 63 when Hamlin takes over. Gordon has fallen to 26th. Says car is undrivable.

Lap 90 sees Keselowski to the lead. Top 5 : Keselowski - Hamlin - Ky Bu - Kenseth - Harvick

Lap 127 Kenseth takes the lead but has trash on his grill. On lap 139 Keselowski takes it back and Kenseth uses him to get the trash off the grill.

Pretty much Keselowski is dominating this race. On lap 212 Morgan Shepherd loses control of his car and drifts up into Logano as he's passing by. Logano's day is done.

With 4 to go Allgaier is in the wall. We're going into a green/white checker. Gordon is on the apron. He needs fuel. Hamlin pits for fuel. And Harvick tries to restart but his car runs out. 

Top 15 Finish - Keselowski - Ky Bu - Larson - Kenseth - Newman - Bowyer - Stewart - Hamlin - Stenhouse - Dale Jr - Kahne - Edwards - Dillon - Biffle 

Next week is The Brickyard at Indianapolis. I'll post a review next Sunday.

                  

So I leave you with this gem. Have an awesome and safe weekend. 

And I'm outta here.....

 

 

Sunday Musings #156
Category: User Showcase
Tags: YouthSports NFL BostonCollegeWomensBasketball MLB WNBA NewYorkLiberty WarehamGatemen

 

 

While ticked off that the car brakes went out on me on Wednesday but tickled pink because the rest of the week was a series of awesomness that I haven't experienced in quite a while. Yes, overall I had a GREAT week...

 

YOUTH SPORTS FOLLOW UP

My friend Brian attended the wake for our mutual former player Ryan last week. He told me that another player caught up to him after he left the building and told him how much Ryan thought of Brian as a coach and from playing for him. Kind of a nice thing to be told despite the sad circumstances that led to the information being given.

MLB ALL-STAR GAME

While my mother watched the All-Star Game this week, I ended up skipping it. But I caught the highlights. I have to say that if Adam Wainwright grooved the pitches to Derek Jeter, he didn't honor Jeter, he dishonored both the player and the game.

As a Red Sox fan, I fully wrap myself in the sports hatred of the Yankees. But I've always thought Jeter carried himself with a huge degree of class. A role model of the game. So his departure from the game will be a big loss.

And while seeing him get a hit in his final All-Star appearance was something any appreciative baseball fan would want to happen, knowing that it was basically served up to him cheapens those hits in my mind. That's not a knock on Jeter, but rather an insult to Wainwright.

I know he tried to back off his statements, but no one really believes his retraction do they?

WNBA

Thanks to a Cappie Pondexter (pictured below) game winning shot with 0.4 seconds left in the game, the New York Liberty hit the All-Star break with a 77-75 victory over the Atlanta Dream. They are 8-13 on the season.

By the way, Pondexter was selected as a starter for the All-Star Game while another Liberty player Tina Charles was added to the squad as a reserve.

Oh and no WNBA subsection here at Sunday Musings would be complete without some form of mention of Katie Smith, this week brought another of the WNBA trading cards that she is featured on into my collection. This time it was the 2006 League Leaders in Free Throw Pct%.

NFL

The MMQB.com had a lengthy article this past Wednesday on former Packers and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren as he finds his way into retirement. You can check it out HERE.

BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

While the team continues their offseason preparations, which you can get updates from all over their Facebook and Twitter pages, you can get to know soon to be sophomore Emilee Daley (pictured below) via this interview.

COLLEGE BASEBALL SUMMER LEAGUE

This past Monday evening I ended up at the Wareham Gatemen game against the Brewster Whitecaps. It was a home game for Wareham in their Cape Cod Baseball League schedule. Unfortunately, despite a close game, the Gatemen ended up losing 3-2.

I was there because I was having a mini reunion of sorts with a friend of mine from high school. I haven't actually seen Rachael since her graduation party 25 years ago. We reconnected via Facebook and when she told me she'd be here for a week we made plans to meet up. It was great to see her and meet her husband and kids. I also met (or met all over again as the case may be) one of Rachael's best friends, Julie. All in all, just a good way for a week to go where I wasn't totally glued to the TV. It was almost like I had a "real" life or something.

Here's a photo of the group of us at the game:

From R-L: Julie, Rachael, Nick (Rachael's husband) and me. Julie's daughter Sydney is in front of her mother. 

MISCELLANEOUS

TV - The lights out fantastic season finale of 24: Live Another Day aired on Monday night. You can read my rather extensive recap of the episode HERE.

For those of you who might be a fan of the Showtime series Homeland, the first look trailer for Season 4 is below.

And let us not forget that the new season of Doctor Who starts August 23rd. You can check out the first trailer for the new season below.

Comics - The world's largest comic convention, the San Diego Comic Con, is being held next week. There's bound to be a ton of huge announcements in relation to comics, movies, TV and gaming.  

Movies - On Thursday, I logged into my Twitter account (don't forget to follow me @TheOneTrueJay) and I had received a message from the guy who sent me that book I Am Pilgrim to review. It turns out they have now signed a deal to make the book into a movie. I'm psyched about that! And the fact that the guy took the time to keep me in the loop about it. You can read the article about the movie announcement HERE.

Also, I watched the documentary film Life Itself last week. It is about the life and career of film critic Roger Ebert. While parts of it were tough to watch, overall this was a fantastic look at the good and bad of Ebert, pretty much the only movie critic I relied on to form at least a basic foundation on whether or not I was going to see a movie.

Books - Speaking of prose storytelling, this week conspired against me in regards to completing any books. But yesterday afternoon as I made my appointed rounds, I ended up picking up the brand new Daniel Silva hardcover The Heist. It is the latest in his Gabriel Allon series. While I typically don't buy hardcovers, when it comes to this series, I tend to grab the book when it hits the shelves because invariably I'lll find myself immersed in a story do deeply I don't want to put the book down.

Music - Ever wonder what became of the woman who played the title role in the video for the Night Ranger song "Sister Christian"? Well, someone tracked her down and you can read this article to find out.

Rat Pak Records will be releasing the first solo album from Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar in August. The CD is called One For The Road. You can check out the video for the song "No Strings" below.

Oh and "Weird Al" Yankovic has a new parody video out called "Word Crimes". You can check it out below.

Oh No Johnny
Category: FEATURED

 

What do you write about for sports on July 20? Let's see... tennis? Nah. Bicycle racing? I think not. Baseball? That won't get interesting for a while yet. Hockey? Gone. Basketball? If you want to write about LeBron, be my guest. NASCAR? I don't know much about it, but we have someone who does. Soccer? I think we've had our fill. What's that leave? Football isn't even in preseason camp yet.

All of this leaves us with dribs and drabs. Stuff like Richard Sherman on Twitter. A reformed Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson playing out his career in Canada. The Rangers suddenly the worst team in baseball. And Johnny Football.... now there's the germ of an idea!

The icon of Texas college ball for the past few years, Johnny Manziel is a newsmaker. Clearly wanting to play pro ball in his home state, he instead slipped enough for the Cleveland Browns to snag him. He rode into town on a white horse, garnering LeBron James like attention from the declining, victory-starved city.

Once the Metropolis of the Western Reserve, now the Mistake by the Lake, Cleveland has seen better times. In the industrially charged postwar era, the city seemed to spawn winners. Bill Veeck came to town and immediately the Indians were in enormous Municipal Stadium, filling it to the brim and winning a pennant and a World Series. Paul Brown, fresh out of WWII tactical planning (something a lot of football coaches did during the war), founded the Browns franchise in the AAFC and drove the NFL Rams (a good team) out of town to a waiting LA. The Browns went to the title game for ten straight years, winning seven, all four in the AAFC and three out of six in the NFL.

Even after Bill Veeck was forced to sell his Indians interests to fund a divorce and leave town, the Indians continued to prosper. The 1954 Yankees won 102 games, more than they had won in any of their prior five seasons, all of them Series winning campaigns --- and finished 9 games behind the Indians who went 111-43. Even when the Tribe and the Brownies weren't winning championships they were elite contenders with big stars.

How things can change. Last year's Indians gave hope for the future though, and the Indians have had a couple of contending runs in the past two decades. The Browns were contenders too --- until they weren't the Browns anymore. The Ravens have continued to win at a decent pace, but few in Cleveland care.

Give them credit. The city managed to pressure the stone cold NFL into getting them a new team, one replete with all the paperwork to make them appear a continuation of the departed heroes.

One problem: so far they're not, and it's been a while. A couple of times they've risen with a promising season, only to inexplicably sink back into the quagmire. Few teams have had such a wealth of picks in the draft year after year. Most have been squandered.

Front office and coaching chaos have played the major role. Drafts have been the brain child of a different regime marching to a different drummer over and over. This year's was the first of the latest such regime, as the incompetent Holmgren organization faded away finally. Remember them? They traded UP from 4th to 3rd to get Trent Richardson. This year, the new guys got Johnny.

To be sure, the Browns drafted plenty more. And to be sure, they've been in need of a franchise quarterback since day one of the great reawakening. Brian Hoyer may have been the best-looking thing they saw for a long time, but he played about six quarters of football before the tidal wave of pass rushers finally ran him down. No wonder Manziel was welcomed.

But Manziel's triumphant entry into the city wasn't without its flaws. Media types proclaimed him arrogant for not cueing into their leading questions. The Browns instantly began a campaign to quell enthusiasm by proclaiming from the highest team sources that he wasn't the starter, nor deserved to be from his workout performances. All of it rolled off him seemingly, perhaps a sign that the kid had the stuff to shrug off the torrent of attention, good and bad, that follows him. Or not.

More recent weeks have seen the media opining on his choice of weekend venues. Seems all that money has him in Vegas a lot. But the media opining has generally been of the 'so what, let him enjoy himself for a while' bent. What's so bad about a kid (and he is a kid) wanting to splurge a little before getting down to business?

No one comes to mind more in all this than Joe Namath, the Alabama whiz who took the pro football world by storm by signing with the recently-renamed Jets for then-absurd money after the 1964 college football season. He liked to party, and immediately became Broadway Joe. Was he shy? Nope. Flamboyant? Yup. Good? You bet he was.

There's the rub. Namath was a true can't-miss, and even he spent a couple of seasons with training wheels on. No quarterback in this year's draft is a can't miss. The past several drafts had been inundated with can't-misses. How're they doing?

Wilson and Kaepernick are doing ok out west. Luck has been a Godsend for a dismantled Colts powerhouse. The rest?

Newton finally had a winning season, and did it by sublimating the idiot 'Superman' routine in favor of managing his team. But when the playoffs came around Superman returned and ate kryptonite. Sam Bradford and the Rams have had ups and downs so far, mostly downs. Tannehill looks good in Miami. Then he doesn't. Guys like Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert... fading away. Griffin was dynamic his first season, used his legs like he was at Baylor, and got crushed. Last year he was a shadow of his former self. Geno Smith? EJ Manuel? Others? Many of these guys would be on the practice squad if not for the high picks spent on them.

Is Johnny different? Maybe. His college heroics seem to show that certain something everyone, especially Cleveland, wants. Those intangibles. That winning way.

How good he is will uniquely determine how long he lasts in the NFL, though. Namath was very very good and knew it. That attitude spawns not just adoration but revulsion, and he had legions of non-fans waiting for him to slip up. Once he was no longer at the top of his game, mostly by virtue of the knees he'd ruined scrambling at Bama, he was a goner. But it took Namath years to burn his political capital. Johnny has been torching his from day one.

It's a different world. Namath was hounded by cameras, but most of them were huge affairs carried by professionals. If someone on the street managed to snap a Kodak, it wasn't just a matter of emailing it to the local scandal sheet.

Today, every Tom, Dick and Harriet is armed with an HD videocam, an HD still cam, and a sound recorder. They're called 'software apps', and all fit into a pocket. Ah, the wonders of the microprocessor and its peripherals. And you can bet, with someone as allergic to anonymity as Manziel, that everywhere he goes he has several dozen of the things aimed at him.

How then does somebody already roundly criticized for hanging out in Vegas instead of cramming for his pro football career (hardly a trivial matter these days, especially for a quarterback), manage to get himself videoed rolling up a $20 in a public restroom? All of that 'so what, give the kid a break' sports media wagon-circling just went out the window.

The past week has been full of condescending commentary about proof, fairness... you name it. And there's nothing illegal about rolling up a twenty. But unless you're from a much older generation (even that's a maybe), there's not much doubt about what that means 99.9% of the time. And it's not origami.

What he was clearly doing is disturbing enough to an employer paying millions (to an athlete no less). But what is just as disturbing is the stupidity required to do such a thing, even if it was just rolling up a bill (which it wasn't). In front of others? With smartphones? Who instantly publicized the scene? "Manziel Snorts Up" is news on the calibre of "Man Bites Dog."

NFL damage control will try to hold this down, and has been doing so with moderate success. But sheez, Louise, those counting on a dedicated team contributor (if not much more) for all that money must be having second thoughts.... like maybe, "how often does he do this when there's no camera around?" or "is this guy capable of thinking at all?" Perhaps "is his health in question?"

I was on this guy's bandwagon as a pick for the Texans, his natural landing spot. It is telling to me that Houston passed him up (for a defensive end?) despite having traded their veteran quarterback to Oakland. I don't think their plan was to bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick to replace Matt Schaub. I doubt that plan A for the team that couldn't score last year was to get another bookend to go with JJ Watt. That smells like Plan B --- get the best player available. I also don't think the plan was to just hand the keys to Case Keenum.

I have a feeling they may have found something out about Johnny that confirmed their worst suspicions at some point, and acted accordingly. Hopefully it wasn't what it sure looks like.

Golf for Breakfast, Anyone? Anyone?
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: British Open Tiger Rory McIlroy

I have to apologize for not publishing last Saturday - I was in a remote location that was supposed to have Internet but it turned out to be DSL and bad DSL at that.  Hopefully with football season just around the corner, my travels will not include further Internet connectivity issues.

So we cannot have a discussion about Golf without talking about Tiger Woods.  Every time Tiger steps on to the golf course, it is news.  Whether it is because he is a compelling story, a compelling train wreck or some combination of the two. I can't say but especially with major championships, it becomes All Tiger All of the Time coverage.  I have to admit to following the train wreck angle yesterday as a promising opening round devolved into what has become typical Tiger championship golf...he just unravels.  One has to wonder if Tiger realizes that he does not have the game to compete with the dominant young players who are emerging on the game today.   Back in the day when Tiger was Great, his mere presence caused the competition to wilt, yielding titles with barely a whimper.  Those days are over.  While I do think Tiger will press on with his quest to catch Jack Nicklaus' major record - and he may even win one or two more - he will be more of a celebrity golfer than a tour d'force on the course.  Seeing this pose again in my mind is unlikely...

 

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