Paul Newman 1925 - 2008

September 30, 2008 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

"Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

Damn. I guess this is growing up, huh? I've been trying to think if there's ever been an actor that I truly enjoyed who has died in the last 30 years. Maybe River Phoenix, he was the bomb in Explorers and piqued my interest as the possible heir to the Indiana Jones throne, but he wasted his life away on speedballs, so he's out. Paul Newman is the only one I can think of.

My mancrush on Paul Newman most certainly happened the first time I saw Cool Hand Luke. In this movie, he plays the role of the anti-hero brilliantly, defying authority at will, being brutally sarcastic, smug, shrewd, and playing coy like he invented the word. (what impressionable Junior High kid wouldn't get behind that?) He was the guy that got ahead, but not with his fists. He schemed, tricked, and robbed his way to win the movie, but never in a way that caused people to despise him. It was a role that Newman became known for throughout his career.

It wasn't always so easy for Newman. When he was coming in to the acting profession, he initially got some roles based on his good looks. It definitely got his foot in the door, but he was determined to be labeled as just a heart throb. (His first major motion picture, The Silver Chalice, was not a favorite of Newman's. He called it the worst film done in the 50's, and took out an ad in the LA Times to apologize for it even happening.) I can't remember where I saw it, but during an interview someone asked him about his looks, particularly his striking blue eyes. Newman stated that he purposely sought roles that were about the character, not his good looks. He said, "No one would pay money to see such a beautiful man win the woman and save the day." He even went so far as to purposely not be a Hollywood icon. He made his residence away from California, choosing to live in Connecticut, wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes, and even his bottle-opener-necklace that he wore in Cool Hand Luke, all to break the stigma of a "Hollywood Star".

In typical Paul Newman fashion, he wasn't known as just an actor. After starring in the 1969 open wheel racing movie, Winning, Newman took up racing as a hobby, until his passion with the sport grew so much that he entered into the professional ranks, eventually winning the 1979 "24 Hours of LeMans" road race. Newman continued racing professionally well into his 70's.

Racing was not the only diversion from acting. In addition to his racing career, Newman was a well known philanthropist, most notably for starting Newman's Own food products with author A.E. Hotchner. For over 25 years, Newman's Own has sold salad dressings, salsas, popcorn and other snack products, donating 100% of all profits to different charitable organizations. It is estimated that to date, Newman's Own has raised over $250,000,000. Newman referred to the project as "a joke that got out of control" and liked to point out that his salad dressings grossed more than his movies did. Newman also started charitable organizations himself, most notably The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, a camp for terminally ill children, and the Scott Newman Center for alcohol and drug abuse, named after his son, who died of an accidental drug overdose. Newman also co-founded The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), an organization committed to raising awareness and participation for philanthropy in the corporate environment.

Don't Miss: The Hustler, Hud, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, Slapshot, The Color of Money

Also of note: Newman, known as an outspoken liberal activist, was #19 on President Nixon's list of enemies in the late 1960's, after he campaigned loudly for Senator Eugene McCarthy.

4 points awarded to Gray Davis in the Fantasy Death League.

RIP, Paul

Daft Funk's Magical Playoff Mystery Tour

September 30, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

If there's one thing bloggers love more than an election year, it's making playoff predictions. If you're right, you can rub your superior guessing prediction skills in the face of everyone you run across. If you're wrong, there's a good chance that your post was pushed off the front page and into the oblivion of internet hell anyway, never to be seen again.

So with that in mind, I've got a guest here with me today to get my MLB playoff predictions started. It's a Magic 8 Ball. It's magic because it can give me answers from the cosmos, not because it's 3.5 grams of cocaine. Don't ask how I know that. I don't want to get in trouble. Buzanis runs a tight ship.

But enough about my 23rd birthday...on to the picks!

Phillies over Brewers, 3-1

To be honest with you, I think I'm giving the Brewers a lot of credit thinking they'll take 1 game. The Brewers just don't scare me anymore. Ben Sheets is gone, they can't pitch Sabathia every time out (Can they?). And they suck balls at hitting with men in scoring position. Oh, and they strike out way too much. And they don't play defense. did they get here? They really are nothing but Braun, Fielder, Sabathia and 22 other guys.

Magic 8 Ball, do the Phillies come out on top in this series? Answer: YES

Cubs over Dodgers, 3-1

With this series, I almost went with the Cubs in 5. But the more I think about it, they should be able to get it done in 4. Sure, they've got Manny, but Cubs pitchers had to face Albert Pujols all year and still did a pretty good job against the Cards. Derek Lowe does scare me a bit, but I like the Cubs 2-4 pitchers much more than the LA playoff rotation. Dempster + Wrigley = Money.

Magic 8 Ball, will the Cubs dispose of the Dodgers in the NLDS? Answer: ABSOLUTELY!

Red Sox over Angels, 3-2

Yeah, the Angels won 100 games, but honestly, does anyone in their lineup scare you? The presence of John Lackey helps out the Halos a bit, but when you're staring down Lester, Dice-K and Josh Beckett v.Playoffs, you're in for a loooong week.

Magic 8 Ball, will the Red Sox continue to annoy 90% of sports fans by moving on to the ALCS? Answer: My Sources Say No

Rays over Twins/White Sox

At the time of this writing, the Tigers and White Sox are still playing. At the time of you reading this, the White Sox and Twins may still be slugging it out for the AL Central. It doesn't matter. I like the Rays over both. They can pitch like the Twins and mash like the Sox. They have a spectacular bullpen and a fantastic manager. Done deal.

Magic 8 Ball, will the Rays win their first ever playoff series in franchise history? Answer: ABSOLUTELY!

So there you have it. If the 8 Ball is correct, I may just bring it back for the next round. If it's wrong (especially about the Cubs), I'll most likely smash it on the ground and drink its insides. I assume it tastes much like the blue liquid inside the comb jar at the barbershop.

Speaking of the Cubs, I'd just like to go on record and say that I'm not afraid of a repeat performance of last year's playoff pile of crap. A lot of the same guys are here, but somehow this year is different. Instead of getting owned by the Brandon Webbs of the world, the 2008 Cubs actually showed some life against the better pitchers in the NL. Hell, they got the unknown rookie/soft-tossing lefty monkey off their back toward the end of the season too!

But this Cubs team has everything that you would want in a World Series winning team. Not only does a team have to be good, but they have to have "those guys" that you remember years later looking back. The 2004 Red Sox had Manny and Papi, Schilling and Pedro (and Pedro's weird midget). the 2003 Marlins had a team full of guys that didn't seem old enough to drink and a manager that seemed like he didn't give a crap what you did as long as you went out there and played. This 2008 team is loaded with players that I'll tell my kids about one day. We've got Kerry Wood as the elder statesman who finally got his ring. We've got Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds as the improbable scrap-heap guys that will inevitibly come up big in the late innings of these playoff games. We've got Rich Harden, the prize pickup at the deadline that really jump-started the team. And who wouldn't pick up Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot and squeeze the ever loving crap out of them because they're so darn cute? What about Mark DeRosa? Derrek Lee? Aramis? Ted Lilly? Hell, the Cubs roster is full of guys who, if they win the World Series, you'd look at and say "I'm really glad that guy got to win one." There are no Jeff Kent's or Sammy Sosa's on this team. No selfish players. Just a bunch of dudes that will steamroll you if you cross them.

Monday Afternoon Hangover: Week 4

September 29, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Back for the 2008 NFL season, it's the Monday Afternoon Hangover. We'll be recapping all the action from this weekend in the NFL, so pop a couple Excedrin and fight off those beer shits as we get things underway.

Stupid NFL...if you had to pick 5 games this week to bet your life on, you probably would have gotten 3 of them wrong and almost had a heart attack watching the other two. Not that I would actually gamble on a sporting event...

Don't judge me...

Cleveland 20
Cincinnati 12

What a difference a year makes. In Week 2 of 2007, the Browns beat the Bengals 51-45, more like a Big Ten basketball score than a football result. So what did they do for an early-season encore this year? Try to imagine the exact opposite. Carson Palmer didn't even play (Injured? Ineffective? Scientologist?), and his backup Ryan Fitzpatrick led both teams with a whopping 156 yards passing. It was Fitzpatrick's first start since he was with St. Louis in 2005. I was impressed with Fitzpatrick's ability to step in at a moment's notice and play just like he was a member of the 2008 Rams.

Tennessee 30
Minnesota 17

The Titans blast the Vikings, proving that the team with more double consonants in their name shall reign supreme. The game really came down to the receivers on each side of the ball, with Justin Gage/Justin McCareins in for the Titans and Bobby Wade/Bernard Berrian in for the Vikings. Two guys named Justin will always trump two ex-Bears receivers. Hell, two guys named Percy would take any 2 ex-Bears receivers to school.

Kansas City 33
Denver 19

This was one of the games this week that probably lost a lot of people their rent money for next month. Mike Shanahan is now 3-11 in 14 regular-season games at Arrowhead in his career. Fun Fact: the Chiefs are still only 2-12 over their last 14 games going back to last year.

New Orleans 31
San Francisco 17

The Niners and the Saints seem to be different sides of the same coin. Coming into this week, when one of them lost, the other one won. In no week did they both win, and in no week did they both lose. As early as last Monday, I predicted that this pattern would hold for at least another week, and I was right. God, I'm so fucking awesome (Flexes in mirror, hurts self).

Arizona 35
New York Jets 56

How awesome is Kurt Warner? Brett Favre is so in awe of him, he felt that he had to throw 6 touchdowns just to get even the slightest amount of attention from the Bearded Jesus. While Favre may have won the game, Warner beat both Brett and his own teammate Matt Leinart in the war of "Who Wears Stubble Best?"

Green Bay 21
Tampa Bay 30

The Bucs win over the Packers in the Battle of the Bay's. Aaron Rodgers may have separated his shoulder. Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia offered to let Rodgers use his hands for "anything he needs while he's hurt. Anything." Tampa Bay receiver Michael Clayton had 3 catches for 28 yards. That George Clooney is a good-ass actor.

Atlanta 9
Carolina 29

The Falcons have a strange pattern this season where they'll win a game and immediately follow it up by losing their next game 29-9. I don't really have any joke here. I just thought it was bizarre. In regards to the pattern of 29-9 losses, it's like Morgan Freeman said in the movie Seven: "You can expect more of these."

Houston 27
Jacksonville 30

Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, the best two-headed running back in the league, only combined for 57 yards rushing. But a few trick plays and some timely running by David Garrard allowed the Jags to send the Texans packing. The Texans are now 0-3 for the 3rd time in 4 years, challenging the Cardinals for the "Most Cocktease Seasons" crown.

San Diego 28
Oakland 18

Leave it to the Raiders to actually get a surprising 15-0 lead, and then find a way to blow it to one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league. Being able to see the Chargers play every week, I know they're a team that will pretty much give up ("LIGHTS OUT!") if they're trailing after halftime, so Oakland must have really tried hard to blow this one.

Buffalo 31
St. Louis 14

The Rams were actually leading this game for a while, but then Trent Green remembered that it was 2008 and not 2000. The pride of Cedar Rapids chucked a costly INT that was returned for a touchdown and things quickly went the way that they have been going for the Rams for the last 2 years.

Washington 26
Dallas 24

Is it possible that all 4 teams in the NFC East could win 11 games? The Redskins have now won 5 off their last 7 games against the Cowboys. What does this tell us? Mildly racist mascots are the key to beating the top teams in the NFC. Expect the New York Crackers to dominate the conference next season.

Philadelphia 20
Chicago 24

The Bears should play every one of their games on Sunday night. A great win. I just hope this isn't another in the long list of Chicago teams that play great against great competition, and then crap the bed every time they play a shitty team.

The Golden Nutcup Team
Wear it with pride fellas!

QB - Brett Favre, NYJ (289 yards, 6 TD)
RB - Larry Johnson, KC (198 yards rushing, 2 TD)
WR - Mushin Muhammad, CAR (8 catches, 147 rec yards, 1 TD)
WR - Santana Moss, WAS (8 catches, 145 rec yards)
TE - Jason Witten, DAL (7 catches, 90 rec yards, 1 TD)
DEF - Carolina (9 points allowed)

The Flaming Bag Team
Poop on the shoes, man!

QB - Brian Griese, TB (15-30, 149 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT)
RB - Darren McFadden, OAK (20 yards)
WR - Brandon Lloyd, CHI (2 catches, 33 yards)
WR - Andre Johnson, TEX (2 catches, 38 yards)
TE - Tony Scheffler, DEN (1 catch, 26 yards)
DEF - Arizona (56 points allowed)

Monday Night Pick
Ravens over Steelers

E-Claire's Kollege Kegger

September 29, 2008 | Comments (0) | by ,

Crack open a beer...Because college football season is officially underway! So each week, I will (attempt) to recap the best - and the worst - games for you in quick and easy fashion...Much like your girlfriend at a frat party...Zing!

Premium games on tap...(The upset edition):

Ole Miss def. No. 4 Florida 31-30: Ole Miss seems to have Florida's number at The Swamp. I think I saw on ESPN that for the past 7 years, the Gators have lost at least one home game to an unranked team, and 4 of those losses were to Ole Miss, including Saturday's loss. A few things went wrong for Florida in this game - including a blocked extra point in the 4th quarter that would've tied the game, and Tim Tebow failing to convert a 4th and inches at the Ole Miss 32 with under a minute remaining. This is only Florida's second loss at home under Urban Meyer.

Michigan def. No. 9 Wisconsin 27-25: What a difference a half makes. In the first half of this game, Michigan committed a bunch of turnovers, picked up only one first down, and were losing 19-0 when they got booed off the field at halftime. The Big House was an Angry House. However, Michigan came back, and scored 20 points in the 4th quarter to get the win. Wisconsin had actually tied the game on their final possession with a 2-point conversion, but it was negated by a penalty, and the Badgers failed to convert on the re-try. If Michigan had lost this game, it would've been the first time they'd lost a Big Ten home opener since 1967.

No. 8 Alabama def. No. 3 Georgia 41-30: Wasn't there some hype about the jerseys Georgia was going to wear during this game? Well, whatever it was, it didn't seem to help, because Alabama pretty much owned Georgia in this game - especially in the first half. The Tide scored on its first 5 possessions, and were leading 31-0 at halftime. Georgia made a bit of a comeback in the second half, but it was pretty much Alabama's game from the start. I hear Nick Saban is now interested in taking over if Lane Kiffin gets fired...

Oregon State def. No. 1 USC 27-21: Trojans...Beavers...Tight ends...Slot receivers...TOO MANY JOKES!!!! So as a UCLA fan, I'll just say this about the loss: Hahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Honorable mention:
Navy def. No. 16 Wake Forest 24-17 (this was Navy's first win over a ranked team in over 20 years); Maryland def. No. 20 Clemson 20-17 (the Terrapins scored the winning touchdown in the 4th quarter); North Carolina def. Miami (FL) 28-24 (UNC scored the winning touchdown with under a minute remaining).

Games that resembled the foam at the end of a keg of Natty Light:

No. 2 Oklahoma def. No. 24 TCU 35-10: Um...Oklahoma...Didn't you get the memo? You were supposed to get upset this weekend.

No. 7 Texas def. Arkansas 52-10: Crap. If Bobby Petrino was gonna lose like that, he should've just stayed with the Falcons.

TMS Alma Mater roundup
(schools attended by TMS bartenders highlighted in green):

No. 12 Penn State def. No. 22 Illinois 38-24: Penn State remains undefeated, and knocked Illinois out of the top 25 with this victory.

Northwestern def.
Iowa 22-17: I don't care for Northwestern. They rejected me when I applied to attend college there.

Florida State def. Colorado 39-21: Florida State handed Colorado its first loss of the season.

Notre Dame def. Purdue 38-21: This was the hotly anticipated battle of teams with gold helmets.

Southern Illinois def. Northern Iowa 27-24: Southern Illinois kicked the winning field goal on the final play of the game.

No. 25 Fresno State def. UCLA 36-31: UCLA only lost by 5 points this week! That's not too terrible!

Westminster College def. Euerka College 42-25: This was the first meeting between the two new conference rivals. This time last year, Eureka was 0-3. This year, they're 1-2. So improvement is being made...

San Diego State def. Idaho 45-17: SDSU routs Idaho to get its first win of the year.

Illinois Wesleyan University - DNP this week.

DrunkBlog: First Presidential Debate

September 26, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

What's that? We're a baseball blog?

Tonight TMS brings you what we hope is the first out of four presidential and vice presidential debates, naturally in live (drunk) blog format. Now, calm down, do not make assumptions of left or right leanings on TMS. With the exception of Lingering Bursitis's Super Tuesday coverage, we have been nothing but bipartisan on our blog. But the smells of autumn are filling our nostrils; the leaves are changing, post-season baseball is upon us, and yes, the first Tuesday in November actually means something this year.

And guess what? The Cubs-Brewers matchup is also on ESPN tonight. We'll start with a little Cubs commentary and then switch over to the debate at 8:00 pm CST.

Obviously the economy will weigh heavily on the proceedings tonight. Not sure where you stand yet between Obama and McCain? If your pocketbook is your guide, check out, where accounting professor Jeffrey Gramlich of the University of Southern Maine and his team have put together model where you can estimate how Obama and McCain's tax proposals will affect you.

(Too lazy for time stamps)

Why do the Brewers keep hitting walk-off homers? Hopefully we can suppress them this weekend so the Mets win the Wild Card. Surely those words will come back to bite me in the ass.

Back to back singles by Fontenot come and go without punishing the Brewers in the top of the first. Not sure how long I can really keep tabs on the Cubs. Too much drama in Mississippi.

Pre-Presidential Debate
(Again, too lazy for timestamps)

I've teased enough with the Cubs coverage. Time for the politics. So, after the debate, Biden is the guest commentator on MSNBC. Alright, I'm not breaking any new ground saying that MSNBC leans to the left. Of course, then I flip to Fox News and Karl Rove is on, so that might as well be a wash. I wonder if Sarah Palin is hitting any of the news channels afterwards, or if they have her bound and gagged in Joe Lieberman's basement.

Cubs Note: Home run by Edmonds puts the Cubs up 1-0. So is he still secretly working for the Cardinals?

So Palin is now being hammered even by conservative columnists. Will she bail off the ticket? It's possible. Two weeks ago, the Democrats were probably praying for her exit. Now however, the Republicans may be looking for an exit strategy. Both sides of the aisle can agree: Sarah Palin does not perform well in interviews, or probably any facet of campaigning that isn't entirely scripted. No one would cry foul if she bowed out for family reasons.

Cubs Note: Wow, Fukudome just doesn't play anymore. Is he happy in the U.S.? I have a sinking feeling that both sides could work on voiding his contract so he can go back to Japan. Am I reading too much into this? RBI double for Jason Kendall, and the Brewers have tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second.

Back to the debate. Ten minutes till game time. The punditry is rabid.

So apparently the McCain campaign put an ad on the Wall Street Journal website that said: McCain Wins Debate. Note that this ad was put on the site before McCain had even committed to going to Mississippi. Seriously? Who's running this campaign? Sarah Palin?

Enough of the preamble. Game time.

First Presidential Debate
(Time stamps? Stop it, no)

Jim Lehrer is our moderator.

The financial recovery plan is the first question. Obama goes first. Wait, is he African American? He's rattling off the four criteria which Congress must meet with the recovery bill. He states, as usual that the crisis we are in is due to the last eight years and McCain's willingness to go along with those economic policies.

McCain starts by talking about how great it is that both sides of the table are coming together to negotiate the recovery bill. Honestly, he just talks about how Congress is working together. He provides no suggestions as to what the bill should consist of, and tells Americans that this is the beginning of the end. He adds at the end that we need to break our reliance on foreign oil. Interesting.

Each candidate has a little discussion time on the topic. Both discuss accountability in this economic train wreck. McCain assures us that those irresponsible will be held accountable. Obama breaks out the Wall St./Main St. differential, appealing to those in the bottom rungs of the ladder. McCain obviously agrees, and stresses again that the workers are the fundamentals of the economy.

Possible slight edge to Obama for being a little more specific on this question.

The follow up by Lehrer is "what will you do specifically as president regarding the economy".

McCain begins by rehashing the earmarks and government spending. Keep in mind that earmarks account for less than 1% of federal spending (taxpayer dollars), though it has tripled in the past five years. McCain also says that he will veto every spending bill and make their names famous.

Obama agrees on earmarks and lobbyists and special interests. Obama sharpens the criticisms by saying that $300 billion in tax cuts will happen for the rich in McCain's administration, as opposed to the $18 billion saved in squashing earmarks. McCain comes back with the fact that Obama requested nearly $1 billion in earmarks himself over three years before running for president. Obama reiterates that earmarks are of course a problem, but they are not the key problem that will save money for working class America.

McCain discusses his intent to cut the business tax that is currently 35% in the U.S., compared to a contry like Ireland where it is 11%. He wants tax cuts, and challenges Obama's definition of the word "rich". Obama says that if you make less than $250,000 per year, you will see not a dime of raised taxes under his plan, and that 95% of Americans will receive a tax cut.

Again, to this, McCain brings up spending and earmarks, my friends.

Honestly, Obama is being fairly direct, with examples, and McCain is smirking a lot and using awkward analogies. We're also being told that McCain's pen doesn't work.

Lehrer asks what plan Obama and McCain would have for meeting the goals of the bailout. Obama tallies off health care, education, renewable energy. McCain focuses on cutting government spending, by examining every agency, yet boosting military spending.

Lehrer is to the point, criticizing each candidate for not giving specifics. Kudos to Lehrer for pressing the candidates.

McCain has cut spending during his time in the Senate. As Huell Howser would say, "that's amazing!"

Ah, Obama makes his first reference to McCain voting with Bush 90% of the time. Everyone take a drink!

McCain tells us for the second time that he has "never been voted Miss Congeniality" on the Hill. He also reminds us that he's a Maverick, and is proud to have a Mrs. Maverick along his side (Palin).

The next question is over what we have learned from the Iraq War. McCain begins by assuring that we are winning in Iraq and the surge has obviously worked. Obama's rebuttal begins with his vote to not begin the war in Iraq. We are spending $10 billion per month in Iraq. Hey, two months of that would pay for all of our Bridges to Nowhere!

Obama praises the surge and its success, but reminds McCain that the war started in 2003, not 2007, and that the surge cannot make up for the mistakes of the last five years. McCain takes Obama to task for not believing in the surge strategy, and accuses Obama of cutting funding for troops. Obama, after McCain settles down, clarifies that he voted for funding for troops on the bill that included a timetable, but would not vote on the bill that did not include the timetable. McCain, not interested in leaving Iraq, naturally voted for spending along with Bush without a timetable.

Lehrer moves on to Afghanistan. Obama says we need more troops on the ground there, turning McCain's "strategic" comment back at him. McCain admits that they left Afghanistan too early and it serves as a lesson for history. McCain is not ready to threaten Pakistan, yet wants the people of Pakistan to assist in the same type of surge that was successful in Iraq.

McCain likes to tell stories. He's filibustering by telling stories of military families he's met on the campaign trail. That was his reply on what to do with Iran.

Some mothers of fallen soldiers say, "please make sure my son didn't die in vain", while other mothers say, "please don't let another mother go through this". It works both ways. Drop the canned shtick please.

Specifically from Lehrer: the threat from Iran to the U.S.

McCain: it is a threat to Israel and the region for Iran to have nuclear weapons. He wants to prevent another Holocaust, and promotes his fabled League of Democracies. A "second Holocaust". Ahmadinejad has had harsh words for Israel, but invoking his nonsense is a scare tactic.

Obama: there would be an arms race in the Middle East. Tougher sanctions are needed, but we will need the support of countries that trade with Iran, like Russia. Hard diplomacy is needed. Isolationist efforts have increased efforts by these countries to acquire nuclear weapons.

McCain says that Obama will legitimize the actions of dictators by not setting conditions before talking to them. Obama says that direct diplomacy must be attempted, and points out that Henry Kissinger, one of McCain's advisors, agrees that . He stresses the difference between pre-conditions and preparations in these discussions.

The topic of Russia.

Obama: Russia is a threat to the peace and stability of the region, naturally. The next president needs to face Russia with a unified alliance and reaffirm the fledgling democcracies in that region. We can't return to a Cold War structure with Russia. They deserve a sharp response from the world community.

McCain: Russia's agression is not acceptable and we will not see another Cold War. He recognizes that the energy pipeline had a lot to do with the conflict in Georgia, though he needs to acknowledge that our false support led to Tskitishvili provoking the military attack in South Ossetia. Both sides really agree on the matter of Georgia/Russia, it's just a nitpicking "who denounced the attack first" debate.

Obama brings this topic back to energy independence for our national security. McCain thinks drilling offshore is a temporary relief. Note to all: you will not see that oil for 10 years.

Last quesiton: Will there be another 9/11?

McCain: We are safer now, but not entirely safe. He has worked across the aisle on 9/11, which he damned well should have. We still need to do a better job in interrogation and never torture again. We need to work closely with our allies and he can work with them better than Obama.

Obama: Naturally we are much safer in many respects. We can do better, and we need to rebuild America's respect across the globe. He gives props to McCain for tackling torture.

McCain once again goes back to the Iraq well and says that Obama does not understand what is at stake in that war. He says we cannot have a timetable for withdrawl of our troops.

Obama pulls bin Laden out of his hat. Too much focus on Iraq, not enough on China, our domestic economics, health care, etc.

McCain ends with a fairly convincing tone regarding Obama's lack of experience, and errors in judgment, and that McCain himself is ready to lead. Obama paints a rosier picture of America and closes with a more fanciful picture of where he came from and what he might do for America.

The advantage has to go to McCain. Obama conceded way too much to McCain, saying that the senior senator was right on numerous occasions. The McCain camp will take advantage of that. McCain was a bit of an asshole, a curmudgeon and condescending toward Obama. It remains to be seen how Independents will react to that. In the end, I think McCain closed the debate stronger, putting Obama's leadership into question more in the last five minutes than he did in the rest of the 90 minutes. Obama may have looked more professional and presidential, but McCain, with all that he's been through this week, came across as well as he could have hoped for. Tie goes to the runner?

Link Bulimia

September 25, 2008 | Comments (0) | by White Chili

Welcome to Link Bulimia, where purging never felt so good. This is your one stop shop for all the stupid, violent, and horrifying links that I stumble across during my weekly laps around the internets. If you happen to find something particularly jarring to where you'll never be able to "un-see" it, please pass it right along to Enjoy and make sure to wash your hands afterward.

Just because they captured a hand in this picture of Shawn Johnson doesn't necessarily mean it was my hand. That would be wrong. (SI)

I don't see what the big deal is. The guy clearly owns a broom and an ironing board. (Houston Imports)

“We just got informed by Mirko Cro Cop’s corner that his right testicle is inside.” No thank you. (MMA Mania)

A huge pig trapped a woman in her home in Australia. The pig was just doing his part in keeping those criminals under control. (BBC News)

Sarah Palin said some things. (The Anonymous LIberal)

Dude, you had a monobrow right in the middle of your forehead. (Funny or Die)

Sometimes SFW porn is much better than NSFW porn. (Break)

Holy Crap (Washington Times)

Discover what you would look like as a pudgy chinaman, dreamy prom date, or dirty hippie. (Yearbook Yourself)

9 Life Lessons Every Guy Can Learn From Goodfellas. (Screen Junkies)

It looks like the Cubs are set to play the wild card. (YouTube)

This crappy economy is even having an effect on girls just trying to earn some money to pay for school. God bless 'em. (Wall$treet Fighter)

Celebrity NFL Picks Week 4 with John Mark Karr

September 25, 2008 | Comments (1) | by Governor X

The 2008 NFL season is finally upon us and in the tradition of the Wrigley 7th inning stretch, TMS will bring in B-list celebrities none of you have heard of to provide NFL picks. Sarah Palin went 11-5 last week, bringing our celebrities to a total of 29-18 on the year. Curious as to how he might improve his record going forward, Week 2's Bono met with Week 3's Sarah Palin to discuss her strategy. Huell Howser was not present, but we can assume he is amazed. This week, the guy who lied about killing Jon Benet Ramsey to get a free ticket back to the states, John Mark Karr, does the picks.

Gentlemen...thanks for having me. I've long been a football fan so its a real honor to pick these games. I'm also a fan of ice creamy treats. Also, I am required to inform you that in spite of the fact he isn't playing this week, Peyton Manning is a douche.

Cleveland at Cincinnati
Toilet Bowl 2008. Can we finally put Carson Palmer in his rightful place with other esteemed Pac-10 quarterbacks like Akili Smith and Cade McNown?

Pick: Bengals 6 Browns 3

Houston at Jacksonville
Picking Houston to do something this year was almost as trendy as confessing to a murder you didn't commit or the stylish high-waist slacks I enjoy. Throw them in the shitter with the Browns and Bengals. The Texans, not my slacks.

Pick: Jags 28 Texans 9

Atlanta at Carolina
Jake Delhomme is a little too creepy even for my taste. You can just tell by his prominent brow that he's a man who likes things not spoken of in polite society. Now, keep in mind, I'm willing to discuss murder in polite society, so you know where my standards lie. You didn't hear it from me, but others have hinted at snuff porn. I can neither confirm nor deny this, but all that said, the Panthers will probably win this one.

Pick: Panthers 23 Falcons 17

Denver at Kansas City
My god...Jay Cutler looks so young. Like he's 15 or 16. I...uh..would you excuse me for a few minutes?

Pick: Broncos 42 Chiefs 13

San Francisco at New Orleans
WHEW! OK, I'm back. The '9ers have been surprisingly strong this year, but playing the Seahags and Lions doesn't impress John Mark Karr. New Orleans traditionally plays well when their city is hit by a hurricane.

Pick: Saints 30 49ers 21

Arizona at NY Jets
Kurt Warner wears number 13. Incidentally, that's how old my first wife was when I married her.

Pick: Cardinals 38 Jets 31

Green Bay at Tampa Bay
Have you ever been to the Tampa area? The entire region smells like a block of moldy Velveeta "cheese". I have no regard for that product anymore. Its let me down one too many times.

Pick: Packers 27 Bucs 20

Minnesota at Tennessee
Vince Young is about three weeks from moving to Thailand for undisclosed reasons. Trust me, I know these things. Who the devil is their quarterback anyway? Oh yes, Kerry Collins. Didn't he rape someone? We all make mistakes...

Pick: Titans 31 Vikings 17

San Diego at Oakland
Al Davis has quite possibly the best fashion sense of any man I've ever known, save for Raul.

Pick: Chargers 35 Raiders 20

Buffalo at St. Louis
I think Jon Benet was still alive the last time the Rams were any good. Can you believe they're already talking about moving again? Just change their name to the Carpetbaggers! LOLZ!

Pick: Buffalo 56 Rams 9

Washington at Dallas
Why is Dallas America's team? I hate those guys. Tony Romo makes me want to stick my dick in a vice. And can Jerry Jones please promise to stop getting face lifts? You're never going to have the supple skin of a pre-teen again, so why try?

Pick: Cowboys 34 Redskins 18

Philadelphia at Chicago
The Bears should be a lot worse than they are. I really have no explanation for this. Kyle Orton couldn't throw a birthday party for a 2 year old.

Pick: Eagles 17 Bears 10

Baltimore at Pittsburgh
The TMS guys told me that the other three folks they asked to pick games always struggled coming up with comments about the Steelers. Add me to that list. They're the most wretchedly boring thing since buying socks at a Sears outlet store on the interstate. Can you imagine how boring that makes them? God I love feet though.

Pick: Steelers 16 Ravens 8

This woman clearly has low self esteem.

A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

September 25, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Lots of 'just ok' movies to get to, so let's get right to it:

Burn After Reading

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it.

Review: Fresh off the success of their 'dick in the dirt' masterpiece No Country For Old Men, the Coen Brothers return to their roots with a whimsical spy farce that stars, among others, everyone who has ever been named People Magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive'*. One might expect me to throw out a bunch of interchangeable superlatives (Coen Brothers, Skeet Skeet!) in an effort to live up to my carefully crafted 'pretentious bastard' persona. Unfortunately, if I were to do that I would be lying to our readers (all 4 of you that don't already write for the site) and dammit if I don't have principles.

BAF is an enjoyable enough, if fairly slight film that speeds through its 90 minute run time like Daft Funk inhaling a Carl's Jr. Value Meal. It can't decide if it wants to be The Big Lebowski or Fargo and in the end, achieves neither.

You can't fault the actors, who are all in top form here. You have Brad Pitt chewing scenery like a gay roadrunner, George Clooney sweating and eating Chinese food, John Malkovich delivering his lines (most of which consist of him yelling, 'What the fuck?') with the zest of someone half his age and J.K. Simmons stealing scenes as if no one told him that they weren't filming Juno anymore.

Unfortunately the story can't live up to the heft of the acting. That said, it's still better than 90% of your other cinematic options. It's like driving off the lot in a bright red Ferrri only to find out that it has the engine of a Prius. Oh well, at least you'll save on gas.

Thunder Matt Rating: 3.5 'What the Fucks' Out of 5

*Except me.


Release Date: September 26

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: A sex-addicted con-man pays for his mother's hospital bills by playing on the sympathies of those who rescue him from choking to death.

Review: Based on the Chuck Palahniuk ('Fight Club') book of the same name, Choke is a naughty little minx, choc full of nudity, anal beads, dementia and Godspeak. Kind of like Poker Night at The Hundley's house.

This film isn't for the faint of heart or easily offended (then again, if you're a reader of this site, you probably don't fall into that category) and is probably an acquired taste, but I imagine that if you've read the book (or any Chuck P books for that matter) you know what you're getting into. It's never funny enough or poignant enough to qualify as a 'must see', but there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes than to watch Sam Rockwell tear into this sex-addled, avant garde morality play set to Radiohead.*

Thunder Matt Rating: 3 Anal Beads Out of 5

*Bonus point for our Iowa readers: Maple Lanes in Waterloo gets a shout out.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Release Date: October 3

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: High school student Nick O'Leary, member of the Queercore band The Jerk Offs, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg and she asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes.

Review: Taking place over the course of one wild night in the Big Apple, Nick and Nora follows the escapades of Nick (Michael Cera) and Nora (Kat Dennings) along with their friends, as they traipse from one venue to the next, looking for a secret show by their favorite band, Fluffy. Nick has just had his heart broken and Nora is in a relationship of convenience when fate throws them together. Teen shenanigans ensue.

N&N isn't reinventing the wheel by any means. It's pretty standard teen angst fare, propped up by the stellar performances of the two leads, the always great Cera and the surprisingly charming Dennings. Michael Cera channels...well, Michael Cera, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's Dennings that really steals the show.

That said, like any angsty, pubescent teen, this movie is hairy in weird places and not without a few skin blemishes. All of the teen movie cliches and archtypes are in abundance. The bitchy, cheerleader ex-girlfriend. The douchebag ex-boyfriend. The zany best friends. The ending is predictable at best and way too saccharine sweet for it's own good. It will no doubt try to cater to the Juno crowd, but lacks any of the depth that made it's older sister a breakout hit.

In then end, it's cute, it's trite and it's perfectly watchable. Why reinvent the wheel if the one that you have works just fine?

Thunder Matt Rating: 3 Dry Humps Out of 5

Lightning Round

Righteous Kill

Review: What waste. You finally get the band back together (Pacino and DeNiro) only to have them sing a capella, with no instruments. The script feels like it was written for a CSI spinoff (CSI: Hoo-Ah!),with a plot twist so obvious that even the Houston Astros (dumb) could probably figure it out from the trailer. Oddly, Pacino (and his hair) gives his most understated performance in years, save for the end, when he destroys all the goodwill that he had just built up. The one thing that keeps things interesting is the subplot about Carla Gugino (hot) being into rough sex; although that probably would have worked out better in Choke.

Thunder Matt Rating: 2 Shells of Their Former Selves Out of 5

Tropic Thunder

Review: Rent it for Downey Jr, but keep your expectations in check. For every funny Downey riff, fake movie trailer (they're great) or oddly amusing 'Tom Cruise in a fat suit, cursing and dancing to Ludacris' moment, you have to sit through a one-joke Jack Black character and some painfully unfunny Ben Stiller scenes, which derail any momentum faster than a Downey relapse.

Thunder Matt Rating: 2.5 Judd Apatows out of 5

CD Roundup

Sure, this is a movie column, but what the hell? Here are a few quick thoughts on some recent releases:

Metallica, Death Magnetic - I didn't start listening to Metallica until the Black Album, so I'm not too familiar with their 'old school' sound, but this album is pretty solid, if not utterly exhausting. Most of the songs clock in at Freebird-esque lengths and oddly, Kirk Hammet's guitar solos are usually more catchy than anything in the choruses. Sometimes it sounds like they're trying too hard and other times they hit it out of the park. Best enjoyed in small spurts, like me in bed. Funk did a more in depth review. 3 Stars Out of 5
Download: "That Was Just Your Life", "All Nightmare Long"; Skip: "The Unforgiven III"

Extreme, Saudades de Rock - Wow, remember these guys? They were the ones that crooned 'More Than Words' over the loudspeakers at your junior high dance when you got your first boner. They're known for that song (and having the lead singer who helmed the disastrous 3rd incarnation of Van Halen), but really have always really been a sort of weird hard rock/funk/prog rock hybrid, and their guitarist Nuno Bettencourt is actually pretty revered amongst guitar players (aka, 'big in Japan!'). Their latest effort, which I simply refer to as 'Sausages of Rock' is a solid effort filled with chunky guitar riffs, fancy guitar work and cigarette lighter love songs. 3 Stars Out of 5
Download: "Last Hour", "Run" "Interface" (if you want to relive your Jr. High boner); Skip: "Flower Man"

What Made Milwaukee Famous, What Doesn't Kill Us- But they're not from Milwaukee, they're from Austin. Hmmm....either way these are some of the catchiest rock songs you'll hear all year. No shoe gazing allowed. 4 Stars Out of 5
Download: "Sultan", "Cheap Wine"; Skip: "To Each His Own"

Buckcherry, Black Butterfly - After 3 solid, underrated glam rock albums, Buckcherry rushes out to capitalize on the success of 'Crazy Bitch' and releases a crazy bad album. The grit, swagger and bluesy overtones of their prior releases have been replaced with a neutered, radio pandering, and wholly generic sound. Two good songs remind me of what could have been. The rest smell like b.o. 2 Stars Out of 5
Download: "A Child Called It", "Rescue Me"; Skip: "Talk to Me"

*Speaking of shameless pandering, the wife and I (along with Camella the cat) have launched a personal homepage/blog called The Handfelt Happy Hour, located here. It's all pretty harmless, mundane stuff, intended as a way of getting out of calling my mother as much. But where else can you delve deep into the life of 'the real Chaim Witz' and find out what I ate for dinner last weekend, or what our cat has to say about the latest trends in squirrel watching? Fascinating stuff for sure.

Cubs Destroy Mets As Economy Collapses

September 25, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

The Cubs won again tonight, 9-6 over the flailing Mets (who are "pulling an economy") in extra innings. There is a bit of cause for concern though, as Fat Z got roughed up again to the tune of 5 innings in 4 2/3 sweaty innings. Not enough calcium? Possibly. Still reeling from the TMS exclusive on him that we published yesterday? An interesting thought. Whatever the cause, that shit won't fly come playoff time on TBS. Neither Dane Cook nor Frank Caliendo will stand for such offenses.

On the other hand, the offense seems to be heating up, hitting it's sexual peak at just the right time. But lets not totally blow our load fellas. Lou is doing a good job of of resting some of the regulars (usually a couple each game) and getting the young guys some face time, while still keeping everyone limber and ready to go. I was fearing our remaining games would look like glorified split squad affairs, but luckily that hasn't been the case.

Meanwhile, the Mets look pretty terrible, don't they? Their offense is passable, but once you get past Johan Santana you can pretty much tee off like Josh Hamilton in the Home Run Derby.

Of note: I secured tickets to Game 1 of the NLDS next Wednesday. So, judging by my past history, you can expect to see a thrilling account of that experience right around the conclusion of the World Series.

Child Falls into Well at McCain Home

September 24, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Presidential candidate claims not to have been to that property "in years"

RALEIGH, N.C. - Tragedy was narrowly averted yesterday at the Prescott, Ariz. home of Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Yavapai County sheriff Alan Hendricks has confirmed that a six-year-old male Mexican immigrant, whose name is being withheld due to his status as a minor, fell into an abandoned well on the McCain property. The child's cries were heard by employees of the McCain's, and after a six and a half hour ordeal, he was lifted to safety.

This unfortunate event appears to have been an accident, though one ranch hand, who insisted on not being named, said he watched as the boy ran from the house, screaming. Witnesses state that the child, clearly shaken after being rescued, kept repeating, "¡la bruja blanca me tomó de mi familia!" while being whisked away in an ambulance.

Questions have naturally arisen as to why the boy, who had no family members with him at the McCain home, was there in the first place. Another McCain employee, again requesting anonymity, stated that Mrs. McCain had returned from a spontaneous trip to Mexico the previous night. The employee added in a fairly sarcastic tone that " wouldn't be surprising if the McCain's were adding to their brood".

A Prescott General Hospital spokeswoman said that the child was doing well, having suffered only scrapes and bruises. She added, however, that due to the boy's illegal status, he would be returned to Mexico in two days. Authorities have connected with an uncle who has agreed to take the boy in.

The house where the incident occurred sits on sixteen acres just south of Prescott, and is one of the seven properties that McCain staffers have verified the senior senator and his wife own.

McCain was in Raleigh this morning on a campaign stop. Addressing the media's questions concerning the events that had transpired, Mr. McCain claimed to know nothing of the incident, adding that he did not think he had been to that particular home "in years". He then added, "What does this have to do with earmarks?"

Weighing in on the situation was McCain's running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Holding her first press conference of the campaign in Sarasota, Fla., the vice presidential candidate expressed her deepest sympathies for the child, whom she claimed unwittingly spoke in tongues after being safely extracted from the well. When informed by a reporter that the child was not speaking in tongues, but merely Spanish, Palin decried the "liberal witch hunt" against people of faith, and enforced that the United States in a "...Palin-McCain administration would retaliate against our Latin American enemies such as Spain, if necessary". She then declared her intention to file papers in Alaska to adopt the Mexican child, at which point Steve Schmidt, chief strategist of the McCain campaign, covered Palin's mouth with a dirty rag soaked in ether and abruptly ended the conference.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh also took the opportunity to stake his claim in the matter, chastising Mexican officials by saying, "The problem lies in the incompetence of the stupid Mexican government. They cannot foster a stable economy, and until they do so, their citizens will continue jumping our border to find honest work to support their families."

Just hours after Mr. Limbaugh's show was broadcast on national airwaves, the Obama campaign released a new television ad which attempted to tie the immigration policies of John McCain to the controversial stances commonly attributed to Limbaugh. In the ad, a black and white photo of McCain shaking hands with Limbaugh at a fundraiser is shown, while the parsed out quotes "...stupid Mexican..." and "...jumping our border..." are displayed underneath.

Republican groups and the McCain campaign moved swiftly to denounce the ad. Reached for comment at a Bank of America branch in downtown Chicago this afternoon, Barack Obama reinforced his position and was quoted as saying, "...the issue clearly shows that John McCain and the Republican establishment are out of touch with middle class America". Mr. Obama then proceeded to cash a check for six million dollars which was presented to him at an exclusive dinner in Beverly Hills over the weekend.

The McCain camp released a statement shortly thereafter, sending best wishes to the child and extending an offer for him to return to the United States when his back is a little stronger and he can lift fifty pounds. Within that statement, Cindy McCain assured the media and potential voters that she did not know how the child ended up on the McCain property, and insisted that she has the proper paperwork for all of her children.

Neither Elián González nor Baby Jessica could be reached for comment.

Zambrano Wants More Than Just WS Ring

September 24, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Thunder Matt's Saloon is pleased to bring you an exclusive interview with Carlos Zambrano. Our own Arcturus caught up with El Toro Loco in the workout room a few days after the Cubs clinched the division.

Carlos Zambrano is standing in the workout room pumping iron clad only in a pair of leopard-skin Speedos. His naked upper torso glistens with sweat and I feel a sudden urge to sing "It's Raining Men." Thankfully, that urge passes. He sees me and nods, doing a few more reps before setting the barbell down. Tossing on some sweats and a gray 2008 Central Division Champions T-shirt, he comes over to greet me. A furious flurry of dap is exchanged before we get down to business.

Arcturus: Congratulations on clinching the division and on your no-hitter, Carlos. That was very impressive.

El Toro Loco: (shrugs): It wasn't that hard, amigo. It was the Astros after all.

A: True. Have you heard any of the talk coming out of Houston about how the scheduling was unfair, that the games should have been played at the end of the season?

ETL: Makes no difference to me. Minute Maid, Miller Park, Wrigley Field. Last week, next week. They still wouldn't be able to touch me, amigo.

A: What about your last start? You went from a no-hitter to coughing up eight runs in less than two innings. What happened?

ETL (scratches his head): Honestly, I've been feeling a little distracted lately. I've always wanted to pitch a no-hitter and I did it, so I'm sort of feeling like 'What's next?', you know?

A: Uh, Carlos, you know the season isn't over, right? What about the playoffs, the World Series?

ETL: Yeah, I'm not too worried about that. I mean, I'll pitch and everything, but baseball is so easy to me. I want a real challenge.

A: You're freaking me out here a little, Carlos. This could be the year and we need you to have your head in the game.

ETL (snorts): What are you worried about? The Mets? The Dodgers? (laughs) The Brewers? Come on, amigo, we got this. I'm thinking about what comes next for me.

A: What do you mean?

ETL (stands and walks over to his locker, opening the door. There are pictures of Michael Phelps and Brian Clay, the decathlon gold medal winner, tacked up. Carlos gestures at them): This is what I'm talking about. The Olympics, amigo.

A (joining him): The Olympics? Are you fucking nuts? What makes you think you can compete in the Olympics?

ETL (taps Phelps's picture): Look at this skinny muchacho. He won eight gold medals, think how many I could win. I'm the Bull, man. (thumps chest proudly, then points at Clay's picture) And this guy says he's the greatest athlete in the world. Bullshit. Carlos Zambrano is the best athlete in the world. I can pitch, I can hit. I can even pitch left-handed. I could have been a soccer star. I even made the other guys look like pussies at Kerry's charity bowling tournament. Fuck Brian Clay.

I notice that there's a certificate in Spanish, printed in gaudy colors hanging just above the pictures of the two Olympians.

A (pointing): What's that?

ETL (Beams with pride): That certificate says I have the biggest polla in Venezuela.

A (frowns): Polla, what's polla?

ETL: Polla. You know, cock, dick, rod, pole, wang?

A: Oh. (frowns again) I thought Ozzie Gullien was the biggest polla in Venezuela.

ETL (laughs, slaps Arcturus on the back): You're fucking funny, amigo.

A: Okay, back to the Olympic thing. You're just joking, right? It's 'Have Fun with the gringo Day', right?

ETL: It's always have fun with the gringo day, but this ain't no joke hermano. I've already agreed to represent Venezuela in 2012.

A: They're as crazy as you are. You know there's no baseball in 2012, right? What events could you possibly be thinking of entering?

ETL: I've got 'em all picked out. Ten events, ten gold medals. First of all, soccer. With me on the team, Venezuela can't lose. I can play striker, I can be the goalie, mid-field, defense you name it. When I play soccer, I'm known as the Zambrano. No first name. Just like Pele, baby.

A: Okay, okay, soccer I can see. But-

ETL (interrupts): Then there's the pommel horse.

A: (stares incredulously): Carlos, they don't make a pommel horse strong enough to support your beefy ass.

ETL (ignoring A): Then there's boxing, shotput, badminton-

A: Badminton? Isn't that a little pussy sport?

ETL: Hey, to be fair most of the Olympic sports are little pussy sports. That's why I, a real athlete, will dominate. Then there's diving-

A: I hate to break it to you, but cannonballs aren't dives.

ETL: We'll see about that, amigo. Then there's kayaking-

A: You kayak? With what, a fucking battleship? You're huge, dude!

ETL: That's what Mrs. Arcturus says about Derrek Lee. (winks)

A: Cheap shot, buddy.

ETL: Couldn't help myself. Seriously, I have a custom kayak. It's got the Venezuelan flag painted on it already, so it's good to go. I may have to cover up the airbrushed portrait of Ismae, though. Although it is the Olympics, they did used to go naked, so maybe it won't be a problem.

A (hiding face in hands): England ain't gonna know what hit it. Go ahead, tell me what else.

ETL: Well, then there's equestrian.

A: Jesus Christ. You're gonna kill some poor horse just so you can win a medal?

ETL: Si. You remember Mo (former teammate Moises Alou) right? He said I can have one of his horses.

A: Carlos, Moises breeds racing horses.

ETL (stares blankly): What difference does it make?

A: You can't use a racing horse for-oh, never mind. Holy shit. That's eight events.

ETL (points at Phelps's picture): I'm taking that skinny punk down in the 200 meter individual medley.

A: Carlos, that's just crazy. There are world class swimmers who couldn't beat Phelps.

ETL: Yeah, but they didn't have my calves of steel, amigo. (slaps his thighs emphatically)

A (sighs): And let me guess, the last event is the decathlon, right?

ETL: You got it. I'm gonna show that punk Clay that I'm the best athlete in the world.

A: I'd rather you just worry about getting a World Series ring.

ETL (claps A on back): You worry too much, amigo. Come on, let's go grab a steak. All this training is making me hungry. I'll buy you an Escalade.

A (perks up): With rims?

ETL: Is there any other kind of Escalade?

Workingman's War Hero: Marion Barber III

September 23, 2008 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Look, if you're a Cowboys fan, I probably don't have much time for you. It's bad enough that you're a Midwesterner (or Californian) rooting for a Dallas team in football. Even worse is that the odds say you also cheer for the Lakers or Celtics in basketball, and the Red Sox or Yankees in baseball. Yeah, you're Bandwagon Boy.

I hate the Cowboys almost as much as Chaim Witz hates prophylactics, and that's saying something. But goddamnit, I saw something a few nights ago that made me respect them - well, that made me respect a player of their's. No, it wasn't Tony Romo. Sure, he's got a great story - small town boy goes undrafted and makes it big in the NFL, scores huge endorsement deals, and bangs celebrity gash that I could only dream about. Sorry Mr. Fancypants, it's not you. It's someone who talks quietly and carries a big stick, someone who knows what it's like to grow up with a chip on his shoulder. After all, life ain't easy for a boy named Marion.

Marion Barber III, MB3, The Barbarian. Jesus H. Christ, watching him run against Green Bay on Sunday evening made "it" move, it made a few drops of pee come out. Day-um, I hadn't see a dude bowl over defenders like that since Christian Okoye "made popcorn" out of hapless little men in Tecmo Super Bowl.

When the hell did this happen? Being a Hawkeye alum, I remember him killing us as a Minnesota Golden Gopher, splitting time with Larry Maroney. After leaving UM early to go pro, Barber was picked up in the 4th round by Dallas and was relegated to the role of a 3rd down back, or best case scenario, splitting carries with Julius Jones. Finally in 2007, Barber started seeing more carries and suddenly started leaving a trail of defenders in his wake, truly earning his nickname The Barbarian.

The amazing thing about his style is that he checks in at 6-0, 220 pounds, big for sure, but certainly no Brandon Jacobs or Jerome Bettis style behemoth bruiser relying on overwhelming size. As great as it is to watch (and there are plenty of highlights on YouTube), it's not just highlight tapes. Says Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, "He's one of the toughest backs in the league to bring down even though he's nowhere near being the biggest. You can't tackle that guy high because he'll run you over and he has that great stiff arm.''

Yeah, about that stiff arm. Can you really classify it as a stiff arm, or should you call it an open palm kung fu punch? Who said the facemask doesn't protect? Barber's stiff arm is so brutal, that the NFL has cracked down on using it as a weapon, loosely dubbed 'The Marion Barber Rule'. What did Marion have to say about it?
"I didn't even know. I'm going to have to read up on it. So you can't stiff arm at all? What about the throat?"
Do quotes get much better than that?

Honestly, the dude is strangely similar to Walter Payton. Both are/were not big backs, but played physically to the point where they were administering the hit, both possess amazing strength, both do the little things like pass blocking that contribute to the offense, and both have gone about their business in a workmanlike manner. Somehow Payton was able to play at that breakneck pace for a long career. Barber is just coming in to his own and is only now getting the bulk of the carries in Dallas. Whether or not his body can hold up to years of punishment is obviously yet to be seen. Yet for myself, and fans of the NFL, we'd certainly love to see him be more of a Payton-type runner than a tragic figure like Earl Campbell, who made so many great plays, but was used like a rented pack mule and burnt out too quickly. Thankfully for Barber, he has a solid backup in Felix Jones to take some of the workload, which should allow for us to see Barber plow through defenses for years to come.

It's just too bad he plays for Dallas.

Can we make an exception to The Marion Barber Rule when it's used on defenders like Guy LeDouche?

Houston Astros: Just Stop It

September 23, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

I try to be an objective person. I always attempt to look at a situation and put all bias aside.

When someone presents me with a new vegetable dish, I will try it despite the fact that for the first 24 years of my life, vegetables and I were mortal enemies. Much like Cuba and the United States, things have cooled off in the past few years, but to this day if I find myself alone on an elevator with a tomato, I will automatically assume an attempt is about to be made on my life.

When I hear a new song by 50 Cent on the radio, I try not to change it immediately just because I don't care for rap as a whole. I'll always give it at least 4 seconds of my time before judging it and then standing by that judgement for the rest of my life. I am a man of strong principles after all.

Those are just two recent examples. I also listen to both democrats and republicans even though I don't believe you should vote until you own land, I donate money to charities even though I don't believe in the concept of currency, and I still listen to Thriller even though I'm pretty sure that Michael Jackson is something parents made up to scare their children into behaving.

So when the Houston Astros started complaining about having to recently play 2 "home" games against the Cubs at Miller Park, I didn't immediately fire off hate-mail to everyone in their organization or slash any tires. I was mad, but I thought it was because they were the Astros, a division rival, and I've hated them for the last 167 years. Yes, I wasn't alive that long ago and yes, they weren't even a team in the year 1841. I am aware of both these facts. But who's asking the questions here? Also, let's not forget, let's not forget, Dude, that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know, within the city...that aint legal either.

Moving on.

Today, ESPN ran a story about how the Astros continue to be butthurt about the entire thing. Lance Berkman and the rest of the Astros organization blame Bud Selig, saying that the Cubs and Astros could have made up their games at the end of the season before the playoffs started. Berkman took a few shots at the Commish and MLB itself, saying "Major League Baseball has always valued the dollar more than they do the individual, the players and their families." Reliever and relative no-name Doug Brocail chimed in with "The thing is we had days at the end of the season that we could have played a single game plus a doubleheader if need be. And to make us go up and play at North Wrigley like we had to on no sleep, it was absolutely ridiculous. If it was New York or Boston, it would have been played at the end of the season. I truly believe that, and I think 99.9 percent of our teammates believe that. But no, we’re the Houston Astros."

The 0.01% that doesn't believe is rumored to be the Astros dignity, which seems to have gone AWOL over the last week.

Let's play a little game. I call it "What The Astros Believe".

What The Astros Believe: Greed is alive and well in MLB, which is why Bud Selig scheduled the games in his own backyard, in a stadium where the team he used to partially own plays.

The Truf: Yes, greed is alive and well in baseball, but Berkman is looking at the wrong wrinkly old man. The greedy one here is Drayton McClane, the Astros owner. About a week before Hurricane Ike hit Houston, Selig contacted McLane and said that the series between the Astros and Cubs may have to be moved to another location. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh were given as potential places. Hell, they could have moved to Arlington and played there while the Rangers were in Oakland!

McLane, who I assume looks like the Monopoly Guy, said no. He thought that the Astros and Cubs would be able to get all three games in that weekend. His proposed solution? Have the Cubs fly in extra early on Friday (into the hurricane) and play real early before the hurricane got to Houston, and play a doubleheader on Sunday. Obviously, McLane thought that even after one of the worst hurricanes in history, his ballpark would be ready to play on the very next day.

What McLane didn't say, but showed in his actions, was "I'm not moving the games from Houston to anywhere else. If I do, I'll have to refund the ticket money for 3 sellout games and I'd much rather have the cash and risk the health and safety of the actual players on both teams."

What The Astros Believe: Playing 2 games in Milwaukee is like giving the Cubs 2 home games. It's totally unfair, dude!

The Truf: Yeah, games in Milwaukee are basically home games for the Cubs, but again, the 'Stros should look to their own owner. When the days went by and the hurricane got closer and closer, Bud Selig knew they had to get at least 2 games in because of the scheduling. McLane still didn't budge, insisting the games would still be able to played in Houston. When Friday came and McLane was still being a prick, Selig had to find a place that had both Sunday and Monday open, and had a roof. That left Milwaukee, Minnesota, Toronto and Seattle. Seattle was too far for both teams to travel. Same with Toronto (plus, hangups at the border would have slowed things down). Minnesota had football going on. So the only choice was Milwaukee.

What The Astros Believe: The 3 games could have been played after the last day of the season and before the playoffs start.

The Truf: There are 2 days between the end of the regular season and the start of the NL playoffs, so technically this was an option. And of course the Astros would suggest it. Knowing that the Cubs were going to win the NL Central, the Astros would love nothing more than to play their way into the Wild Card by facing the scrub players on the Cubs for 3 games, knowing all of their starters would be getting those days off.

The other problem with this scenario, Mr. Brocail? What happens in the event of a tie? With the Brewers, Mets and Phillies fighting for 2 playoff spots, there's already a chance there may be a tie for the Wild Card or for the NL East. Throw the Astros in there, and it's a pretty sure thing that there's going to be at least one tie.

What happens if the last day of the season is over, and the Astros are 1 game out of the Wild Card. Say they split a doubleheader with the Cubs on the 29th and then win their game on the 30th, tying for the Wild Card. Then what? Do the Astros get on a plane and fly to New York and play a game that night for the Wild Card spot? That's much easier than playing a few games in Milwaukee! Never mind the fact that leaving those 3 games for the end of the season would prevent road teams from traveling to whatever city they need to go to for their first round games until the Astros played their games.

Sorry Doug, but MLB needs those two days off. Last year they needed it for the Rockies/Padres playoff game to decide the Wild Card winner. What happens if the Brewers, Phillies and Mets all end the season with the same record? It could happen. Monday would be needed to have the Mets and Phils play for the NL East crown. The loser would have to play the Brewers on Tuesday for the Wild Card. None of that could happen if the Cubs and Astros had to play 3 games on the 29th and 30th. But thanks for taking the time to think it through before opening up your goddamn mouth.

What The Astros Believe: This never would have happened to the Red Sox and Yankees.

The Truf: No shit. The Red Sox are good enough to be in the playoffs already. And the Yankees have had the decency to get themselves eliminated by now.

Look, what happened to the city of Houston was terrible. I felt bad for the Astros because they had to go on the road and play baseball when they were probably tired and worried about their homes and city. But have the decency and spine to not complain about it. If Berkman and Co. would have come out and said "Look, wherever the games were played, we didn't win them and that's all that matters" then I would have all the respect in the world for them. If the Astros were really a playoff team, they would have found a way to win those games, regardless of their opponent or location. That's what winners do. They don't make excuses and they play hard, whether it be in Houston, Milwaukee or on the freakin' moon.

Guess what, Astros? You guys got 1 hit over 2 games. Zambrano and Lilly owned you so completely that you wouldn't have had a chance even if you played in Houston and were allowed to use aluminum bats.

Your city got wrecked by a terrible force of nature and all you can think about is how you may have gotten screwed out of 2 games where you could only come up with 1 measly hit?

You lost. Get over it.