Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Don't make him angry......

You wouldn't like him when he's angry....

I believe this was taken right before he drilled some holes in the press corps with FRIGGIN LASER BEAMS from his eyes.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Built for SPEED

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!

You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Oooohh, yeah.

H/t to Voluntary Redneck

Observing Memorial Day

Take some time to read about the origins of Memorial Day and remember those who have come before us and those who have fallen in this war and in previous battles.

Here's a nice post courtesy of Confederate Yankee.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Timewaster for the weekend

I ended with a high score of 906.

I would write more, but I just saw a clip of Stone Philips singing to Katie Couric, and I need to go light myself on fire.

H/t to Right Hand of God.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Photoblogging N'Awlins

What a weekend. Jam-packed, non-stop, and mostly fun.

Left town Saturday and headed down to I-10. I've been there since but this was my first time driving into Louisiana and seeing how bad it was on lower Mississippi and SE Louisiana.

We arrived around 5:30 and went to Alex's cousin's 5th birthday party. It was at one of these kiddie party places, so Alex got to run around a little and get some pent-up energy out.

We got to the Hilton Riverside just at sundown. They've done an amazing job getting it back to being even better than it was a year ago. After a quiet dinner, I decided to make my initial trip to the Harrah's across the street.

I stop along the way at the mayoral victory party for Mitch Landrieu, as it is also taking place at the Riverside. At the moment there are only about 100 votes separating Landrieu and Nagin.

As planned, I enter my satellite and we begin around 11:30 PM. As feared, I did not win, finishing 6th out of 10 when getting knocked out when my Q-10 loses to a Q-J owned by the bullying big stack.

During the satellite, it gets broadcast that Nagin has been re-elected by about 5500 votes. I've never heard an entire room of people gasp and curse simultaneously. I'm thinking the party upstairs just died.

I decide to go ahead and activate my Total Rewards card after I'm knocked out by playing on the slots for a little while - since I'll be spending a lot more time in other Harrah's casinos over the next few months. Thankfully, my luck changes, and after about 90 minutes of hitting slot after slot after slot I've now got a pretty good size pot to enter the hold-em ring games. I figure, even if I lose, it's house money anyway.

I start playing around 2 AM at a $3-$6 Hold 'Em table. About two hours later, I decide that it is time to sleep. So, I go to cash out - having doubled my chip stack. A very nice start!

On Sunday, we went back uptown to visit Kim's cousin's family. It went mostly well, aside from Alex picking up lots of little rocks in the backyard and throwing them everywhere. He's at the point where throwing things is quite fun.

After walking a little bit we head up to Audubon Zoo. Trekking through many leftover signs...

we get to the best sign we see during the entire trip. Gotta start early for November. It's about time they started electing people with common sense.

At the zoo, Alex has quite a bit of fun. A staring contest with a turtle...

...chasing peacocks....

...and trying to get the attention of alligators. Who think he's probably just the right snack size.

Since it's nearby, we go to Loyola University & Loyola Church. It took a bit of damage but is still in OK shape.

Sunday night, back to the casino. I take my seat at the same table, same game, and proceed to TRIPLE my stack from the beginning (after taking some of the previous night's winnings and banking it so I don't lose it back). I start losing a bit, and try to enter another satellite. However, they are done for the night (this is about 1:30 AM). So, instead of going back to the poker table and grinding for another two hours to get up to having enough for the entire WSOP buy-in without a satellite, I decide to try my hand at blackjack. I figure I'm only about $150 away at this point. I'm really wanting to get in since the first prize in Monday's tournament is a lot of money (around $66,000). But I don't want to be up half the night trying to grind it out, then be wiped out before it begins.

I sit down - and karma slaps me in the face as a new dealer takes over. She should have worn the name tag saying Mariano Rivera. $125 later, I run from the table, screaming. I think the run of good luck is over.

Monday morning, it's time to start heading around town. We take Alex down to the Riverwalk, which is right underneath the hotel, so that he can see the paddle boats and river.

Next up, the Quarter. Definitely different walking through there with a two-year old. We walk to the Gumbo Shop on St. Peters and get to taste some great po' boys.

We follow that up with the part of the trip Alex probably loved the most....Cafe Du Monde and BEIGNETS. Mmmm....sugar.

One big difference between this visit to the French Quarter and others in the past - there's no people. Even on a Monday, it was normally fairly crowded. Not this Monday. It was crowded over the weekend, but there is NO ONE in the Quarter. Everyone left. That is not normal. Even driving through later that night, we are able to drive ON Bourbon St. That never happens. Ever. Not whenever I've been there. It is eerie.

We go back to Grandma's house Monday afternoon and evening, and then I head to the casino again Monday night. I go back to the $3-$6 table, but I was right, my luck is gone. I leave after about an hour. I'm not as well off gambling-wise as I was midway Sunday, but I did end up winning enough to cover the hotel cost and I left better than when I first came into Harrah's. So that's something. A nice warm-up for next month.

We head out of town Tuesday morning and, because we have not been down that way, we turn off at I-510 towards Chalmette and St. Bernard's Parish. This is where we see a lot more of the damage. Honestly, I don't know if this area will come back, given there was flooding not just from water, but from oil lines as well. Few businesses have returned, except for the port and refinery. No stores, eateries or much else is open. It's a sobering reminder of how much more is still left, despite the progress we've seen downtown in rebuilding.

We head out of town and finally get back around 11:30 PM. Just in time for a few hours sleep before going back to work Wednesday morning.

I'm glad we went. I'm glad Alex got to go to New Orleans. And I can't wait to go back for next year's WSOP. I also can't wait for more building to be done and more people to return, whether it's to live, work, or visit. I saw a lot of people Saturday and Sunday, but they disappeared Monday. I think they will come back, in time.

Now we just have to avoid another Category 3 until they do....

The plan?

Up for some reading?

"Rebuilding New Orleans"

The six main points:
1. Providing flood and storm water protection for all neighborhoods;
2. Helping residents to rebuild their neighborhoods by providing the information and expertise needed to plan community rebuilding;
3. Investing in neighborhoods that residents want to return to and rebuild;
4. Ensuring that residents in heavily flooded areas that don’t want to rebuild get 100% of the pre-Katrina market value of their homes;
5. Connecting the New Orleans neighborhoods with bus routes, street cars and light rail; and
6. Commitment to no less than 25% of CDBG funds for development of affordable housing and potentially as much as 33%.

Five of the points are not too crazy. Point #4 ought to scare the bejesus out of anyone, however it could actually work depending on the splitting of drilling rights described.

With regards to rebuilding, it's hard to say out loud what is being inferred here - that some neighborhoods are not coming back, and most people who lived there won't want to. With referring to greenspace and flood protection, you would have a good idea of the area being described based on the damage received and the news reported - has to mean the Lower 9th Ward at a minimum, and other parts of New Orleans East. Despite what is said on p. 6 about connecting those neighborhoods to the CBD and downtown with light rail. It won't make sense if folks won't live there.

A dam at the Industrial Canal would help avoid the problems of water being shoved into the canal from the Lake, and spilling over and through the banks.

Tourism/Culture: I find it very funny that the amount being requested here for a whole bunch of facilities will probably cost less than the Nationals' new ballpark ends up costing. This would be an important investment given the city's unique atmosphere. Tourism drives the local economy more than anything else and it's vital that this area is re-established - without people coming into the city, there is no tourism. With no tourism, there's no money for city taxes, businesses, employees, etc.

Anyway, it's an interesting read, at least.

More later from a more personal viewpoint from the past weekend...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Now this is a nice way to return from vacation!

Congratulations. You have been accepted for fall semester 2006 to the MBA program. Your admission reflects our belief in your potential to become a valuable member of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

We are excited that you have decided to join us. Please be aware that we are currently updating our New Student Packet, which you will receive in the mail shortly.

Welcome to Georgia State University. We look forward to your success in the program.

Looks like that score was enough after all.

Now I just have to start juggling my time a lot better. And fit sleep in somewhere.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Outta here

Well, once again, no posts for a few days. We'll see how well this trip goes.

I've got plenty of sticker books, music, and coloring items to last Alex throughout all the time in the car.

Hopefully it will be a very therapeutic trip - and hopefully, when I get back, I'll be willing to sit up here and do the photoblogging of this and other trips I've been procrastinating.

But let's not get our hopes up. Heck, it could be miserable and I end up here Monday night:

Of course, if it goes well, I may end up here instead.

In the meantime, here's a link to a fairly busy street.

If I wasn't so tired, I'd throw out more links, but getting some rest is probably important before hitting the road.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!


Long Island Express?

Still seems like Katrina was too damn recent. Then I read this article.

12 days to 2007 Hurricane season. Yippee.

Remember Hurricane Gloria? It just seemed like a lot of rain blowing through, even though it was still hurricane-force strength at a Category 1. It beat the crap more out of North Carolina than NY.

A major hurricane hitting Long Island and Connecticut? Oh what fun. The LIE is a bad enough parking lot as is during rush hour. It would not be pretty in the lead-up to a category 2 or 3. Not to mention the damage to lower NYC. Last time a major one hit was 1954. There's been a bit of building up, out, and around in 53 years. Oh, and a few million more people.

Title references a 1938 hurricane that blew through Long Island and ripped up a lot on Long Island and in CT and MA.

Well, at least New York's above sea-level. By about 1 foot. This isn't a fun prediction:

Sure, the low-lying southern end of Manhattan could be submerged as far north as Canal Street. The Holland Tunnel and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel could fill with water. Outside Manhattan, huge swaths of Brooklyn and Queens, including the sites of the city's two airports, could flood in a major hurricane.

In a worst-case scenario, emergency managers expect 2 million of New York City's 8 million residents will have to leave their homes. City officials plan to suggest that people in low-lying areas leave their homes 96 hours ahead of a potentially dangerous hurricane.

Odds right now are about 13 to 1 (7%) of a major hurricane hitting the NE this summer.

"We're not evacuating New York City in any way," said Joseph Bruno, commissioner of the city's department of emergency management.

Thanks for planning ahead, Joey.

Somehow, I think if something were to hit, a lot more would be done a lot quicker to aid than was done last year. As for why - well, leave your comments as to why. I've ranted long enough.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Time to lighten up a bit

here's a change from my normal type of post.....

This story's been making the rounds the last few days.

In all fairness, it's quite easy to trip, stumble, etc. while carrying around a wiggling, squirming baby.

I think at this point the profiling of Britney and baby are getting just a bit too far out of hand. A lot of the things that have been reported are quite common for a LOT of parents.

Either we or people we know, at one time or another, have done all of the things Britney is getting called out for. And no, we haven't done them all ourselves. Just saying they're more common than thought.

  • Car seat installed incorrectly? Check. A car seat facing backwards/forwards depends not just on age but weight as well. Some babies are too big to be in a backwards-facing carseat when they get past 8-9 months.
  • Not fastened in correctly? Check. Did this myself at one point, but Alex reminded me at the end of the driveway that I missed a strap on his car seat. Oops.
  • Stumbling while holding a baby? Check. EVERYONE I know with kids has done this. I've done it more times than I can count.
  • Child falling from high chair and hitting head on floor? Check. Especially if they wiggle. A lot.

About the only one that none of us have ever seen is driving with the child in the lap. Though, under certain circumstances (such as, I don't know, being hounded by stalkers i.e. paparazzi), I could understand it. Not condone it, but understand it.

I promise this will be the last Britney Spears post I ever write. She's going through a lot of the things young parents go through. I'm just saying that perhaps, in this situation, perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on her parenting skills.

Heh, heh.....hard.

Are we done yet?

Last week, the Dow was almost at an all-time high, briefly breaking 11,700.

Sine then? THe last 7 days of trading have dropped the major indices approximately 5% each.


Now, instead of talking about roaring economic numbers, we get to hear talk of a market crash, the return of skyrocketing inflation, billions of people out of work, and ManBearPig ruining the world, with women and minorities hardest hit.


Things are not as bad as it seems to be. Many stocks were due for corrections anyway, and while it's tough to see that at the time you watch your favorite stocks drop 10-15%, it's a fact that it happens, especially at this time of year. I don't like it or enjoy it much either but it happens.

Of course, to hear it being told, we're experiencing 1929 and 1987 all over again.

Which is not true at all.

The economy continues to run at full employment (i.e. an unemployment rate below 5%). Interest rates do not appear to be going much over 5%. Inflation indices read at fractions of a percentage point, not double-digit percentiles like the late 70's. And GDP still is running close to a 5% rate of annual increase.

Add the extension of tax cuts to the mix, and it's obvious we're not entering a stock crash anytime soon, or begin experiencing any other recessionary traits.

Which is bad news for candidates running against incumbents in November. Folks aren't too convinced to vote someone out without a big push from an empty pocketbook.

OK, end of the rant for now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don't look now......

Cards def. Mets, 1-0.
Brewers def. Phillies, 7-5.
Braves def. Marlins, 6-4.

Yep, the last entry thanks to another game-winning shot, this time thanks to Chipper Jones.

Wait a minute - who's that at .500?

Who's that now only 4 games back of he Mets in the NL East, after making up the easy games the Mets had in April?

Hmmmmm.......they may not be ready to die just yet. (They may die later, but as I wrote 11 days ago in the "Uh-oh" post, they needed to win that last game against the Mets and win a bunch against Florida and Washington.

They won that last game, and so far are 7-2 against FLA and WSH.

I told you so :)

Next up, a 10-game trip to Phoenix, San Diego, and Chicago. If they can go 6-4, it will become a VERY interesting race.

Then again, at only 4 games back, I'd say it already is pretty damn interesting.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing

Broadcasting live from the Oval Office

8:01: "Tonight, I will make it clear where I stand." Gee, that would be nice.

8:02: Illegals are nice. Really. At least that's what W is saying.

8:02: "They lead responsible lives"...."They are beyond to reach of the law" Um, SLIGHT contradiction here.

8:04: "We are a nation of immigrants..." I wish I had posted Drinking game rules for this speech.

8:05: Increase Border Patrol by 6000 - BY 2008! Good to know they are urgently tackling the problem.

8:05: Fences, cameras, aerial vehicles - well, at least Halliburton and Lockheed Martin will get a lot of business. Good thing I have stock in them. (I'll have to post tomorrow about the efect on our markets and international markets - I probably have a 2000 word column on that just dying to get out)

8:06: Immediately deploy 6000 National Guard Troops for at least one year. As Border Patrol steps up, they will step down (Wait...I've heard that before.....let me think...)

8:07: Obvious statement of the day: Over 85% caught at the southern border are Mexican. Wow. I could have never figured that out. Thanks Captain Obvious.

8:08: Point #1: No catch and release. "We have ended catch and release for illegal immigrants from some countries." Some? That's nice. Some.

8:09: Point #2: Temporary Worker Program. Talks about jobs Americans won't do. AAARRGH. How is this different than current policy?

8:12: Point #3: Hold employers accountable, have National ID cards for every foreign worker, incorporating digital fingerprints.

WTF? We know exactly where this program will go if incorporated. Every single American. Asking "Papers, please" is about three steps after this plan. I'm not enjoying this one damn bit.

8:14: Point #4: To become legal, those who are here illegally should pay their taxes, learn English, and have a job. So much for not lowering requirements - you know, learning about our country's history, laws, etc.

8:15: Point #5: We're a melting pot, we are common Americans - you know what, he doesn't have a point here. He's throwing out cliches.

8:15: House has passed legislation, Senate should do the same. Yeah, that'll happen.

8:17: Story of wounded soldier from Iraq.

8:18: The end. That was shorter than I thought.

All in all, not too impressive. And he is already near the bottom on approval, popularity, etc. Anyone up for a 25% approval rating?

Seriously, this keeps up, not only will Democrats take both houses of Congress, and not only will they push for impeachment like crazy people, but because this President is getting so reviled, it could actually WORK.

We are seeing a repeat of 1994 happen before our very eyes. The catalysts are falling into place. It will get worse from there.

I'm feeling sick. I'm going to bed early.


Live-Blogging Alert

I think based on everything I've been writing so far, I'll be live-blogging tonight's speech until such time as Alex demands to go to sleep.

Normally, that's 9:00, but since he was chasing butterflies, owls, and eagles yesterday (and trying not to get carried away by the latter two), he may be tired.

Check back later tonight for more snark.

This is a joke, right?

U.S. to restore relations with Libya

"We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the United States and other members of the international community in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since September 11, 2001," said a statement from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In related news, Pan Am Flight 103 has not managed to get back into the air, and there are still 270 murders unaccounted for.

Between immigration, the negative publicity of the G.W.O.T. (I'm not arguing success/failure, just where-do-we-go-from-here), looking like schmucks on domestic policy, soaring budget deficits and runaway government spending, and now, CODDLING DICTATORS LIKE MOAMMAR QADDAFI, I don't think the party of W has any strengths left to fall back on.

I now have to agree with other commenters to this site - both houses of Congress will flip to the Democrats in November.

And yes, typing that last sentence made me throw up in my mouth. But it's true, because it's the default situation.

The days of serious third- and fourth-party movements can't come soon enough. If there is no other force to push the two major parties to real, meaningful, positive action their activists want to see, then alternative options are needed on both the right AND the left.

Or, for that matter, something to arise from in between the two parties to push them both out towards their party base.

Isn't inertia fun?

UPDATE 2:30 PM: One other note - there are much better ways that I would like to see the U.S. address energy problems that wrapping its arms around a heavy oil-producing nation who just happens to kill a bunch of people, many of which are/were American citizens.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Immigration Reform?

8:00: President Bush delivers a speech on revising immigration policies and what will be done to carry it out.

9:00: Jack Bauer begins implementing it on an all-new 24.

Yeah, right.

Sorry, I'm not too excited about the "reforms" devised by W and his "good friend" Vicente Fox. You'll forgive me if I'm a bit cranky and not expecting very much substance in his Monday-night speech. It is an election year, after all.

If anyone really thinks that anything substantive will be implemented or changed this year, in ANY direction, they will be in for a major disappointment.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Will Anyone Ever Get 300 Wins?

Tom Glavine just notched his 280th win. Assuming he ends up with 13 wins this year and next year, he will pass 300 wins next year.

That could be the last one we see for a very long time. Who else might be able to scale the mountain to 300?

Here's some possible candidates:

1) Randy Johnson (268) - He's 42 years old and 32 wins away. If he stops posting a 5 ERA, he could hit the mark in 2008, maybe late 2007. Considering how he has been lately, though, I'm starting to think it may be harder than it sounds. VOTE: NO

2) Mike Mussina (230) - Was 37 when the season started and had 224 wins - he's notched six more this year. He's looking pretty strong this year, and with at least three more years in pinstripes, he'll be really close when it's time for his next deal. He's not a traditional power pitcher, so he can eke some more time out of his arsenal unlike Johnson. VOTE: YES

3) Pedro Martinez (202) - Injuries can knock him out any time. He hasn't been as durable as the first two guys. He is only 35, but he's got to stay healthy and his prior history doesn't' lead me to think he will. VOTE: NO

4) Andy Pettitte (174) - 33 years old, so he may have 8-10 seasons left. But injury threats and ballpark factors lead me to think it isn't happening. VOTE: NO

5) Curt Schilling (197) - I had to drop down this far on the all-time listing to find him. While others have more wins, they are almost or have already passed 40 and have no chance (Smoltz, Rogers, Moyer). I really thought he had more wins, but I guess not. Why do I mention this? Because Curt will turn 40 in November. VOTE: NO

Any young pitchers that are possibilities? Figure if they have 50 wins by 27 or 100 wins by 30, they have a chance. Let's see:

1) Tim Hudson, ATL: 30 years old, 109 wins. If he stays a Brave for the next 12 years, it's quite possible. If he wants to pitch that long. VOTE: NO

2) Johan Santana, MIN: 27 years old, 63 wins. I don't think it matters where he pitches as long as he stays healthy, not with his repertoire - he'll get to 300 before the heat disappears. VOTE: YES

3) Bartolo Colon, LAA: 32 years old, 139 wins. He will not avoid injuries or buffet tables long enough to get there. VOTE: NO

4) Barry Zito, OAK: 27 years old, 88 wins. If he keeps pitching in pitchers' parks, that will help. He doesn't throw hard so he could hang on for a while like Glavine has. VOTE: YES

5) Roy Oswalt, HOU: 28 years old, 88 wins. He may be doing OK now, but no one is winning 20 games consistently in Houston's ballpark to get to this mark. VOTE: NO

6) Mark Mulder, STL: 28 years old, 101 wins. He may have 150 before he turns 30. Even with missing the equivalent of a whole season, he would have plenty of time to recover. With a perennially strong Cardinals team supporting him, and a good ballpark to pitch in, this might be the easiest call of the young pitchers. VOTE: YES

It seems a bit early to lament about the demise of the 300-win pitcher. Considering one comes about every 5-10 years, and there are several possibilities to get there over the next 15 years, I'm pretty sure we'll see one, and probably more.

Things I never thought I would see

Baylor wins NBA executive of the year

In related news, Satan is reporting a strong cold front with possible precipitation.

Later on, a breaking story about airborne porcine activity.

Friday, May 12, 2006

TV Time

If you happen to watch CNBC, you should tune into "Mad Money" which airs weeknights on CNBC at 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM, and 12:00 AM.

When you see a caller by the name of Mike in Atlanta or Georgia (however they list it, and assuming I don't get edited out).....well, you know who it is :)


UPDATE: The Lightning Round ended while I was still holding. Major bummer. Oh well. My question was about AIG. I probably won't buy it - I'll wait for it to drop below 60. It's at 63 now after cresting at 71 a couple months ago.

Well, this sucks

I'm going to make sure to enjoy my time in N'Awlins next week:

Floodgates will not be ready by June 1

Let's see if I can adequately phrase my first reaction to this news:

!&*%^!$@^$">%^!$@^$;;)&@*!^@!(^&;!)*^#@*&;@!^# *!#@#@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nope, that didn't make me feel better.

It's not fun to think that, even once in a while, someone could, you know, GET SOMETHING DONE THAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO GET DONE!!!!!!

9 months after Katrina - and the Army Corps of Engineers states today that the levee walls which were breached will not be able to hold back a Category 3 hurricane, if that. Anything that strong or even remotely approaching it, especially before mid-July, will wipe everything out again.

The most important thing, more than anything else, is to get the gates and walls remotely close to working pre-hurricane capacity (i.e. Level 3). Even Level 2 levee strength would suffice in the short-term. This statement leads me to think that ANY hurricane that hits will overwhelm the levees. Again.

Another sign of New Orleans' and Louisiana's failed leadership and their outright stupidity, and in bureaucratic breakdown that CONTINUES to plague everything in the area. At least now I'll be there when Nagin gets thrown out.

Last word for a while to my Cajun readers - if summer rolls around and ANY hurricane makes its way into the Gulf, and you're in Louisiana - GET OUT AND GO NORTH. Heck, write me if you need a place. Hurricanes aren't hurricanes any more when they come up here. Just some rain and wind, but nothing too bad.

If any hurricane-force winds enter the Gulf, just pack a bag or two and get the first thing you can out of the area. It will not be good until at LEAST Labor Day to stick around with any incoming storm. Seriously, GET OUT.

Hopefully from now on I can do some happy New Orleans posts. Hopefully in two weeks I can put up something nice going on. I'm sure I'll see something good over four days.

When I'm not in a casino.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Can Albert Pujols pass Barry Bonds?

To follow up on the last post, let's look at another one:

Albert Pujols, through 34 games and 147 plate appearances so far this year, has already hit 18 home runs.

Given all the hoopla over Barry Bonds pass a number that is NOT a record, is he in danger of losing the one home run record he does hold?

Pujols is on pace for 150 walks this year, which one could say would be a fair approximation for the year. You can't just walk him and deal with everyone else in the lineup - with Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds providing protection, you can't walk him 200 times because the other guys will crush what they see.

But will his power pace keep up?

Well, the new Busch is more favorable for hitters than the old Busch. 8-9 games each in Enron, PNC, Miller Park, Wrigley Field, and Great American Ballpark. Wrigley may be the most difficult to put the ball in the seats! So far in the division there have been road games at the Reds and Astros (2) and PNC and Wrigley (3). Nothing at Miller Park yet.

No trips yet to Coors Field.

No chances yet to pick on the Royals.

Already got a Miami trip out of the way.

Basically, you have a lot of home games in friendly confines, and LOTS of opportunities on the road, in favorable conditions due to climate (domes, altitude or friggin hot) or the crappiness of the team (looking at you, AL Central). Most of their opponents so far have been above-average. Their only opponents so far that could be considered sub-par are 6 Pirate games, 4 National games, and 3 Marlin games. Only 13 out of 34. So it will get easier.

Can he do it? Well, no one's had this many homers this early in the season. Not Ruth. Not McGwire. Not Sosa. Not Bonds. And it hasn't gotten too warm yet.

What better way the end a year that begins with merciless booing of an alleged steroid user, than with the breaking of a record held by said suspicious person by someone who can safely be considered above the fray in baseball's recent drug troubles?

Pujols has been through more rigorous drug-testing programs during his years in the minors. As of this year, half of his career in the majors has had a drug policy. There is no dropoff from previous years such as happened to those who have seen a drop (Giambi?)

Plus, he is entering his prime. He is just 26 years old, so a natural breakout is reasonably expected at this age.

Top it off with the fact that, well, he's a nice guy, very personable, outgoing, and likeable, which is a lot more than can be said for the current record-holder.

Baseball needs an attention-grabber? How about someone in a baseball stronghold trying to sweep away the drug stigma with each crack of the bat?

I wouldn't mind seeing that. Even if it means the Cardinals beat the Braves out of a wild-card spot. I don't think anyone would have a problem with Pujols breaking Bonds' single-season record.

Last chapter of the trilogy to come Saturday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Could Derek Jeter pass Pete Rose?

Been thinking about this one lately, since hearing a quesstion about whether Derek Jeter was overrated on my PTI Podcast.

His career stats, as of now, stand at 172 HR, 786 RBI, 217 SB, and most importantly, a .314 average from 1976 career hits.

Within the next couple weeks, he will pass 2000 hits, while still only 31 years old.

Does he have a chance to do it, which would mean he's not really "overrated"?

Well, for the last ten seasons, he has averaged 196 hits per year. Take out 2003, where he missed 40 games, and he averages 201 hits a year (Even in 2003, pro-rated to a full season, would have meant 210 hits).

Say he continues getting 200-210 hits this year and the next five years - in this lineup, a strong possibility.

Say he starts to decline a little beyond that - 180-190 hits for the next five years.

He's now 42. He now stands at:

1976 (currently)
160 (the rest of this year)
1025 (205 * ages 32-36)
925 (185 * ages 37-41)

He would stand jsut past 4000 hits - or a little more than two seasons away from Pete Rose, who played until he was 45 and had 4256 hits. Given his other numbers, he may be close to or over 300 HR, 300 SB, and 1500 RBI as well.

So, there's a good chance that if he continues to stay healthy, he could be the new all-time Hit King. I don't really like to say it about this Yankee who seems to have everything handed to him on a silver platter, but the numbers, so far, do speak for themselves.

Just avoid the ponies and the bookies.

One horrible thought - what if he and A-Rod are still teammates in 10 years, Jeter's going for the hits record, and A-Rod is gunning for Hank Aaron's HR record?

I shudder at the thought of that publicity machine.

Monday, May 08, 2006

On the Road Again

In a little less than two weeks, we will probably head to lovely New Orleans - we're about 95% sure. A lot of reasons:

1) Watch Willy Wonka get thrown out of office in the mayoral runoff.
2) Have Alex play with his three cousins.
3) Go play poker.
4) All of the above.

If you guessed #4, then congratuations on your keen sense of the obvious.

Yep, it will be Alex's first trip down to the Big Easy, ever. It'll be the first time he sees his cousins, and the first time he sees his Grandma's house.

It'll also be my first live poker tournament, and will be at the recently re-opened Harrah's New Orleans - not dealing with online avatars, but actual people.

I'll be trying my hand in the satellites to start, as I'd rather not throw away too much money. Besides, you never know what might happen in a sit-n-go satellite. And what better place to do it than one of my favorite cities?

Besides, it's a good reason to get out of work.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Porter Goss, Junior Senator from Florida?

Rumors are circulating about why Porter Goss left his position as CIA head:

  • Forced out by W to concentrate more power in Homeland Security
  • Embarrassment over leaks
  • "Personal" reasons
  • Hookers and poker with Duke Cunningham (as the MSM seems to want to paint it)

Well, a whole new solution may be coming into play. Porter Goss served several terms in the House representing Florida. The current GOP candidate, Katherine Harris, has gone over as well as a lead balloon and is trailing Bill Nelson horribly.

The deadline for any other GOP candidates to file for the race is around May 15 - about a week away.

Porter Goss, if he were throwing his hat into the ring, would be an ideal candidate. Hailing from the Tampa area, which is very heavily GOP. Name recognition from his Congressional service and CIA tenure. And not nearly as much baggage as Harris.

Porter Goss could take this seat from Bill Nelson. If he runs for it.

Perhaps some encouragement to make this a reality would help....?

The phone number for the Florida Republican Party is 850.222.7920 and here is the link to their website.

Fire away.

UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only one who thought this. NRO beat me to the punch but I didn't realize it until today (Monday).

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Uh oh

Last night: a 14-inning Braves loss to the Mets.

Today: a 6-5 loss with a lead squandered by Tim Hudson, in a game where the Mets' starter, Victor Zambrano, left in the 2nd inning.

9 games back heading into tomorrow, which must be serious. John Smoltz will start on three days rest....against recent AAA-callup Jose Lima.

Will the Braves make a stand to keep the lead decent, or will Lima time throw the Braves into a double-digit deficit?

And are we SURE that McDowell isn't just screwing with the Braves' staff to help out his former team?

I said I was worried about McDowell but I was hoping it wouldn't be too severe a dropoff. I think with a loss tomorrow, it will be time to worry. I don't really call May games must-wins very often, but....tomorrow IS a must-win. 10 games back in the division after a potential sweep would make it extremely difficult to recover.

Not to mention, 8-9 games back in the wild-card chase.

At this point, only 6 teams have a worse record, so now might be a good time to get it together.

I miss Leo.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Woof, woof....

Historians have long puzzled over the secrets of the nearly mythic organization, Prior de Dogbone, a secret society that predates even the Illuminati. The Prior has had—reportedly—numerous masters in its shadowy past, most famously the famed artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (1844?-1934).

Art historians have long marveled at the arcane symbols said to be hidden in Coolidge's painting, glyphs said to point to whispered revelations of Prior de Dogbone and—it is said—to the worship of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Click through for more. Because when you start thinking about it, the similarities between Jesus Christ and Lassie are startling.

H/t to Catholic & Enjoying It! (Mark Shea) for linking to this first.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dick Durbin: Moron of the Year

I hate stupid people. Really. They drive me NUTS.

As a follow up to the oil post I did a few days ago, here comes a quote for you, courtesy of Meet the Press:

SEN. DURBIN: Am I the only one of your guests here that think that profit taking is a problem?

I hope so. Profits are kinda important to a continuing, successful business. No profits, no business.

I mean, I understand the basic laws of supply and demand. I understand that if the input costs have gone up, it's going to reduce your, your profitability.

A shifting supply curve will cause a change in the equilibrium of a model. There have been a whole LOT of items that have shifted the supply curve (laid out here by me and in commentary) while also increasing demand. Apparently the dear Senator does not understand an equilibrium point, and thusly, said "basic" laws.

But here we have the most enormous profits in the history of the United States of America in business. The equivalent of $1,000 per household in America for profits.

Let's see: $1000 in profits a year. A little under $20 per week per household. The profit margins based on current prices, supply costs, are not too much higher than before. It may seem exacerbated based on many other factors which ol' Dickie really doesn't want to think may be serious factors. Why worry about Nigeria, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Iran when you have Chimpy McBushitler? Everything would just be rosy and peachy keen without all dem evil Republikans.

All of the market factors you described may suggest that the product is going to be more expensive to sell, but they don't forgive what I think is an outrageous profit taking by this industry.

Translation: You may be right, but I don't care. La la la la la la. The Senator is entitiled to have his opinion - even if it is an extremely stupid one. Not to mention his last sentence contradicts his first sentence, talking about how profitability will be reduced.

Damn moonbat.

(BTW, nice job to Illinois for sending this douchebag to the Senate, Then again, after so many Daley terms, what can you expect?)

Anyway, back to the lecture at hand. I don't think these numbers, from the first quarter of 2006 for ExxonMobil (one of the most reviled lately), help Dickie's argument (thanks to here):

US Revenue: $8.4 Billion
US Earnings (profits): $2.3 Billion
US Taxes Paid: $3.7 Billion

Also, Year-to Year EPS was up about 17%. Gas prices, however, have risen about 30%. That's just a bit contradictory to passing on ALL the costs as Sen. Durbin tried to state. Whaddaya know, XOM's profitability went down.


Might be a little difficult to invest in alternative energy, or in increasing oil supply, if all your profits, and then some, go to the IRS and the states. 44% in taxes is just a bit much. Once again it may very well be that In this present crisis, government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem!

Heaven forbid anyone suggest cutting or eliminating federal and state gas taxes, or corporate income taxes. Oh no, that would just help the wealthy. Not like those would be trickled down to customers or anything. It's not like a lower price would, you know, encourage people to use MORE of the product and thus INCREASE the company's margins.

Yeah, it's easy to pile onto the oil companies, and yes, income has gone up. In this company's case, though, a good amount of the cost increases are actually NOT being passed on to customers. And this is the "worst" company of the Big Oil lot.

I'm not trying to apologize for them, or even let them off based on what I wrote before. Just saying - there are a lot of factors at work. Somehow, I'm pretty sure if the tax burden were decreased somewhat, it would help for 1) passing savings on partially to customers, and 2) allowing investment in oil search/drilling or in refining alternative sources to use down the line.

A word for Sen. Durbin: It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool, rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt. Please, JUST SHUT UP.

I'm just glad I was able to find a way to link to this site.

Maybe it's time we started thinking about why we got put in charge of everything in the first place, before this government turned into a bloated, new-age Nixonian bureaucracy and we actually had to consider the possibility of a moron such as Dick Durbin becoming a Majority Party Leader.

Happy Cinco de Mayo....Now BOYCOTT

Let's see how well a lot of these businesses, who have tacitly supported marches such as Monday's across the country, react when they find themselves on the receiving end of a boycott.

It's Cinco de Mayo. A high-revenue day for many eateries, bars, etc.

How about this: in returning the favor for massive strikes on Monday, let's go ahead and lock them out of business Friday.

No quesadillas, nachos, etc. No usage of labor, as a lot of them took pride in not doing on Monday. No mass drinking and partying at El Azteca or other Mexican businesses, as a show of support for LEGAL immigration.

Fight fire with fire.

Being Friday and all, don't down margaritas and Coronas. Drink, eat, and party somewhere else. Sports bar, fancy restaurant, hole in the wall, doesn't matter so long as it's American-owned.

What the heck? It's so crazy it may just have a point.

Cousins to sell Atlanta's tallest building

Atlanta's tallest building is for sale.

Cousins Properties, the Atlanta-based developer, said Thursday it will put the 55-story Bank of America Plaza skyscraper on the market and use the proceeds from the sale for new projects.

The Peachtree Street tower, at 1,023 feet, is the tallest building in the United States outside of New York or Chicago.

Cousins built the building for C&S bank in 1992, which was later acquired by Bank of America, the tower's leading tenant.

For the full story, click here.

I only post on this because, well, it's a really tall building, and I happen to spend about 45-50 hours per week in the building.

Ever since you got hit by that laser at that Blue Öyster Cult show you've been acting like a pussy!

I don't think it's possible to count how many times we watched this.......but I found this Wikipedia entry and had to post about it. Of course those of you who have also seen it a thousand times get the subject line.

:Once upon a time

:In a land called Suburbia

:there lived a noble breed of men.

:Men who spent their lives
:on a never-ending quest

:for Honor...


:and Fine Chicks...

About. Frigging. Time.

Nationals break ground on stadium

So, after three-plus years of no ownership and several dozen thousand miles of travel between home stadia, things sure seem to be moving this week!

Yesterday: an ownership group is finally chosen. Of course, the owner is 80 years old, but at least it isn't a consortium of 29 competitors. Cost: $450 million.

Today: ground broken on a new stadium to be completed in 2008. Cost $611 million (which I'm sure will grow despite early promises).

This month: Voting on the sale by the other major league owners when they meet May 17-18. The Rev. Al Sharpton said Thursday he is considering attending those meetings "to press the case as to when, and how, the color line in baseball franchise ownership will be broken." Cost: dignity (but Al doesn't have any to begin with).

A few years from now: a competitive team that could be a flagship franchise of Major League Baseball, with close rivalries to the Phillies and Mets along that NE Corridor and decent revenue streams from corporate shillings, plus top management thanks to former Braves honcho Stan Kasten.

Cost: Priceless? Maybe not, but at least the long National nightmare is over.

Talking bulls?

An interesting thing happened today - I got to be a caller on a radio show.

Not a political one, for a change.

I got to call into RealMoney, a syndicated show hosted by Jim Cramer of TheStreet.com to ask a question regarding the recent slide in Microsoft's stock. It has dropped almost 20% in the last week based on revised earnings estimates and delays of VISTA and XBOX rollouts.

My opinion - the pullback might reverse itself, given the stock has been anchored around 28 for so long and it may revert to that once the initial worrisome news blows off, given it's still anticipating 12% growth.

Its price target may be as high as 35, so getting in at 23 or 23.4 would be a good 50% gain. So, it might be a good buy while it's down low at 23.

Of course, in contrast to my recent Big Oil post, you know what other companies popped up as the most likely quick-growth companies on popular screens?

Halliiburton and Nabors Industries (deep-sea oil driller) - both looking at possible doubles in the stock price. (HAL jumped $2 just today). And no, just because I'm critical of practices over the last several months doesn't mean I wouldn't buy it if I could.

Anyway, that's the interesting item and thought of the day, while I try to put off touching this pile of work on my desk.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Quick funny note for today

I'm trying to get Alex dressed this morning, and he's happy and smiling as most two-year olds tend to be.

Lately, he's also been a parrot, repeating the last word or two of anything that comes out of our mouths.

Kim comes into the room and sees Alex's messy hair, and remarks that it looks a bit funky.

Alex, being a parrot, tries to repeat "funky".

He doesn't say "funky", but rather, a word very close to it that shouldn't really be said by any young person.

Thankfully, it was very easy to change the topic for him - we just asked him to start picking up his stuffed animals.

It was pretty funny, since he didn't start saying it over and over and over....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Now THAT is a return on investment!

Courtesy of ESPN.com:

Alex Gordon has yet to play a single game in the major leagues and yet his rookie card is the hottest in all of baseball, selling for as much as $2,550 in recent weeks.

Is Gordon the Kansas City Royals' next great player? Could be. But that isn't why his card, which is No. 297 in Topps' 2006 set, is worth that kind of money.

The piece of cardboard is worth that much only because it never should have been produced in the first place.

Last year, in part to reduce confusion in the marketplace, the Major League Baseball Players Association ruled that card manufacturers could make rookie cards only of players who either made the 25-man roster or played in a major league game the season before. Gordon didn't qualify either way. After he led Nebraska into the College World Series, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft didn't sign his contract -- including a $4 million signing bonus -- until late September.

"At the last second, we realized we had made a mistake, so we pulled the cards, destroyed them by cutting out the photo and then destroyed the plates," said Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi.

But a fan named Jeremy Troutman pulled five of Gordon's cards on a shopping trip in his hometown of Wichita, where, coincidentally, Gordon is playing Double-A ball for the Wranglers this season.

"I went to Wal-Mart, bought two boxes, and got two in the same pack," Troutman said. "So I bought seven more boxes and got another three in the same pack."

Troutman, whose story first appeared in the Wichita Eagle, opened 1,000 packs to find his five cards. He sold all five of them to different collectors for a total of $5,761.79.

Troutman had the right idea. The Gordon cards are believed to exist only in the earliest shipped packs, many of which went to Wal-Marts across the country.

When I was a lot younger, I collected baseball cards. A LOT of cards. They are now sitting in my sister's attic. The closest I even came to getting a sought-after error print was an 1988 Topps Al Leiter Future Stars card (which is mentioned in the sidebar of the story). I think the card was eventually worth about $5.00 a few years ago.

If he bought 1000 packs of cards, that's dropping about $1500. He turned the five error cards around, and sold them at a 275% short-term profit. Very nice. I hope Home Depot's and Nokia's stock does that in the next few months!

Imagine what the cards would be worth if Gordon develops his full potential as the #2 overall pick? Yikes. Of course, he plays for the Royals, so he'll probably be jinxed once he gets to Kansas City from Wichita.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Draft Recap, Part 2 (NFC)

On we go:


Arizona Cardinals:
Selected: 10) Matt Leinart, QB, USC; 41) Deuce Lutui, OG, USC; 72) Leonard Pope, TE, UGA; 107) Gabe Watson, DT, Michigan; 142) Brandon Johnson, LB Louisville; 177) Jonathon Lewis, DT, Va. Tech; 218) Todd Watkins, WR, BYU
Opinion: Hit the jackpot with Leinart and Pope. Also grabbed a couple of defensize tackles who slipped down, but could contribute. Lutui has experience blocking for Leinart so that’ll help his learning curve. An absolute home run by the Cardinals, who will probably score 25 a game with Leinart, Edge, Pope, Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin. This team may be in the playoffs this year. Grade: A.

San Francisco 49ers:
Selected: 6) Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland; 22) Manny Lawson, DE, NC State; 84) Brandon Williams, WR, Wisconsin; 100) Michael Robinson, WR/RB, Penn State; 140) Parys Haralson, DE, Tennessee; 175) Delanie Walker, WR, Central Missouri; 192) Marcus Hudson, S, NC State; 197) Melvin Oliver, DE, LSU; 254) Vickiel Vaughn, S, Arkansas
Opinion: For a team with so many holes on both sides of the ball, the 49ers acquitted themselves well. Davis, Williams, and even Michael Robinson will help Alex Smith greatly this season. Hudson will beef up the secondary to some extent – I don’t know about Vaughn. Lawson and Haralson will beef up the line as well. Well done, Mike Nolan.
Grade: A-

Seattle Seahawks:
Selected: 31) Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami (FL); 63) Darryl Tapp, DE, Va. Tech; 128) Rob Sims, G, Ohio State; 163) David Kirtman, FB, USC; 139) Ryan Plackemeier, P, Wake Forest; 249) Ben Obomano, WR, Auburn
Opinion: They didn’t really need anything, so most of their picks were for depth. Jennings and Marcus Trufant at CB is a nice combo.
Grade: B

St. Louis Rams:
Selected: 15) Tye Hill, CB, Clemson; 46) Joe Klopfenstien, TE, Colorado; 68) Claude Wroten, DT, LSU; 77) Jon Alston, LB, Stanford; 93) Dominique Byrd, TE, USC; 113) Victor Adeyanju, DE, Indiana; 144) Marques Hagans, WR, Virginia; 221) Tim McGarigle, LB, Northwestern; 242) Mark Setterstrom, G, Minnesota; 243) Tony Palmer, G, Missouri
Opinion: Could have used a QB late, but can’t fault them much for building the line. Wonder why they would draft 2 TE’s, not to mention Claude Wroten, who failed a drug test. Odd.
Grade: C+


Chicago Bears:
Selected: 42) Danieal Manning, S, Abilene Christian; 57) Devin Hester, WR/PR, Miami (FL); 73) Dusty Dvoracek, DT, Oklahoma; 120) Jamar Williams, LB, Arizona St.; 159) Mark Abraham, DE, Alabama; 195) J. D. Runnels, FB, Oklahoma; 200) Tyler Reed, G, Penn State
Opinion: Nice job getting Manning after trading downwards from the mid-20’s and still getting their guy. Aside from that, nothing that seems great.
Grade: C+

Detroit Lions:
Selected: 9) Ernie Sims, LB, Florida St.; 40) Daniel Bullocks, S, Nebraska; 74) Brian Calhoun, RB, Wisconsin; 141) Jonathon Scott, T, Texas; 179) Alton McCann, CB, West Virginia; 217) Fred Matua, G, USC; 247) Anthony Cannon, LB, Tulane
Opinion: At least they didn’t take a WR in the first round. They left Leinart on the board and reached a little for Sims. Considering Sims on one side and Boss Bailey on the other side, though, is a nice set of bookends. I don’t like the Bullocks selection, but the OL picks on Day 2 will help. Matua was a steal.
Grade: B+

Green Bay Packers:
Selected: 5) A. J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State; 47) Daryn Colledge, T, Boise St.; 52) Greg Jennings, WR, Western Michigan; 67) Abdul Hodge, LB, Iowa; 75) Jason Spitz, C, Louisville; 104) Cory Rodgers, WR, LSU; 112) Isaac Sowells, T, Indiana; 115) Will Blackmon, WR, Boston College; 148) Ingle Martin, QB, Furman; 165) Tony Moll, T, Nevada; 183) Johnny Jolly, DT, Texas A & M; 185) Tyrone Culver, S, Fresno St.; 253) Dave Tollefson, DE, NW Missouri State
Opinion: Lots of draft-day deals, resulting in a lot of players. Rodgers and Blackmon were good round 4 picks to replace Javon Walker. Trading down and getting their man in Jennings gave them a couple more picks. Hawk gives instant credibility to the D as a Favre-type player on the defensive line, except he isn’t over the hill. A lot of offensive lineman taken here, so maybe Favre will have better pass protection so he doesn’t throw 29 picks again.
Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings:
Selected: 17) Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa; 48) Cedric Griffin, CB, Texas; 51) Ryan Cook, C, New Mexico; 64) Tavaris Jackson, QB, Alabama St.; 127) Ray Edwards, DE, Purdue; 149, Greg Blue, S, UGA
Opinion: Took Tavaris Jackson when they could have taken Brodie Croyle or Charlie Whitehurst - bad move. Blue is a nice late-round pick. They needed a RB, didn’t take one. At least their picks got in on time, but that's one of the few nice things to say.
Grade: D+


Atlanta Falcons:
Selected: 37) Jimmy Williams, CB, Va. Tech; 79) Jerious Norwood, RB, Miss. St.; 139) Quinn Ojennaka, OG, Syracuse; 184) Adam Jennings, WR, Fresno St.; 223) D. J. Shockley, QB, UGA
Opinion: Not great selections. Did not have a first-rounder since they traded it for John Abraham to bulk up their defensive front. Aside from Jimmy Williams falling from the sky to team up with fellow Hokie DeAngelo Hall, these are not great selections.
Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers:
Selected: 27) DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis; 58) Richard Marshall, CB, Fresno St.; 88) James Anderson, LB, Va. Tech; 89) Rashad Butler, T, Miami (FL); 121) Nate Salley, S, Ohio State; 155) Jeff King, TE, Va. Tech; 234) William Montgomery, C, Va. Tech; 237) Stanley McClover, DE, Auburn
Opinion: What’s with all the Hokies? Seriously though, mostly good selections, and nabbing Williams at the end of the first round means DeShaun Foster is running out of chances. Not bad picks, though. Solid.
Grade: B-

New Orleans/San Antonio/Los Angeles Saints:
Selected: 2) Reggie Bush, RB, USC; 43) Roman Harper, S, Alabama; 108) Jahri Evans, G, Bloomsburg; 135) Rob Ninkovich, DE, Purdue; 171) Mike Hass, WR, Ohio State; 174) Bernard Lay, CB, Pittsburgh; 210) Zach Strief, T, Northwestern; 252) Marques Colston, WR, Hofstra
Opinion: Got a gift from heaven. Bush and McAllister in the backfield, Brees at QB, and Horn/Stallworth ouside is a NICE setup. Filled some needs in the secondary with Harper and Lay. Combined with an actual home field, they could return to .500 next year - assuming they play their games at the Superdome.
Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Selected: 23) Davin Joseph, G, Oklahoma; 59) Jeremy Trueblood, T, Boston College; 90) Maurice Stovall, WR, Notre Dame; 122) Alan Zemaitis, CB, Penn St.; 156) Julian Jenkins, DE, Stanford; 194) Bruce Gadkowski, QB, Toledo; 202) T. J. Williams, TE, NC State; 235) Justin Phinisee, CB, Oregon; 241) Charles Bennett, DE, Clemson; 244) Tim Massaquoi, TE, Michigan
Opinion: Reaches with their first two picks. Not a strong QB pick. Two below-par TE’s. Not good. Chucky was off his game.
Grade: D+


Dallas Cowboys:
Selected: 18) Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio State; 53) Anthony Fasano, TE, Notre Dame; 92) Jason Hatcher, DE, Grambling; 125) Skyler Green, WR, LSU; 138) Patrick Watkins, S, Florida St.; 182) Montavious Stanley, DT, Louisville; 211) Pat McQuistan, G, Weber St.; 224) E. J. Whitley, T, Texas Tech
Opinion: Bill Parcells got a whole bunch of Parcells guys. Skyler Green is an amazing catch in the 4th round and will complement T. O. very well. Carpenter is another great pick. Tuna also has his new Bavaro in getting Fasano. Great moves throughout. Definitely gunning for a Super Bowl right now.
Grade: A

New York Giants:
Selected: 32) Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College; 44) Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami (FL); 96) Gerris Wilkinson, LB, Georgia Tech; 124) Barry Cofield, DT, Northwestern; 129) Guy Whimper, T, East Carolina; 158) Charlie Peprah, S, Alabama; 232) Gerrick McPherson, CB, Maryland
Opinion: They got Moss in the second round, about 20 picks later than he should have gone. They made some nice defensive picks. Solid but not spectacular.
Grade: B

Philadelphia Eagles:
Selected: 14) Broderick Bunkley, DT, Florida St.; 39) Winston Justice, T, USC; 71) Chris Gocong, DE, Cal Poly; 99) Max Jean-Gilles, G, UGA; 109) Jason Avant, WR, Michigan; 147) Jeremy Bloom, WR/KR, Colorado; 168) Omar Gaither, LB, Tennessee; 204) LaJuan Ramsey, DT, USC
Opinion: Solid defensive picks throughout. Not really sure if Avant or Bloom will help much (unless it's snowing). Jean-Gilles in Round 4 was an absolute steal.
Grade: B

Washington Redskins:
Selected: 35) Rocky McIntosh, LB, Miami (FL); 153) Anthony Montgomery, DT, Minnesota; 173) Reed Doughty, S, Northern Colorado; 196) Kedrick Golston, DT, Georgia; 230) Kili Lefotu, G, Arizona; 250) Kevin Simon, LB, Tennessee
Opinion: Aside from nabbing McIntosh in the second round nothing stands out. Then again, Washington hasn’t really cared about building through the draft anyway.
Grade: C

Draft Recap, Part 1 (AFC)

After 255 picks, 17 hours, and probably five pounds gained from all the food I ate, here is one self-proclaimed non-expert's grades of the recently-concluded draft.


Denver Broncos:
Selected: 11) Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt; 61) Tony Scheffer, TE, Western Michigan; 119) Brandon Marshall, WR, UCF; 126) Elvis Dumervil, DE, Louisville; 130) Domeink Hixon, WR, Akron; 161) Chris Kuper, G, North Dakota; 198) Greg Elsinger, C, Minnesota
Opinion: Interesting move to trade up for Cutler when they still have Jake Plummer. The other moves aren’t too sexy…until you factor in that the second-round pick was sent to Green Bay for Javon Walker. If healthy, that’s a nice, big improvement. A good draft. At least they didn’t draft this year’s equivalent of Maurice Clarett…Marcus Vick.
Grade: B- (B+ if Walker is completely healthy)

Kansas City Chiefs:
Selected: 20) Tamba Hall, DE, Penn St.; 54) Bernard Pollard, S, Purdue; 85) Brodie Croyle, QB, Alabama; 154) Marcus Maxey, CB, Miami (FL); 186) Tre’ Stallings, G, Mississippi; 190) Jeff Webb, WR, San Diego St.; 228) Jarrod Page, S, UCLA
Opinion: Nice defensive picks to go along with, essentially, their other draft choice, new coach Herman Edwards. Brodie Croyle in the third round is a good developmental pick for a year or two down the road.
Grade: B

Oakland Raiders:
Selected: 7) Michael Huff, S, Texas; 38) Thomas Howard, LB, UTEP; 69) Paul McQuistan, T, Weber St.; 101) Darnell Bing, S, USC; 176) Kevin Boothe, G, Cornell; 214) Chris Morris, C, Michigan St.; 255) Kevin McMahan, WR, Maine
Opinion: Two good safeties for Oakland to shore up an awful secondary. Lots of offensive line help taken, but once again, who will they block for? At least the defense got better.
Grade: B-

San Diego Chargers:
Selected: 19) Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida St.; 50) Marcus McNeil, T, Auburn; 81) Charlie Whitehurst, QB, Clemson; 151) Tim Dobbins, LB, Iowa State; 187) Jeromey Clary, T, Kansas State; 188) Kurt Smith, K, Virginia; 225) Chase Page, DT, North Carolina; 227) Jimmy Martin, T, Virginia Tech
Opinion: Cromartie was hurt for most of last year, so that is a risky pick. Did not get a lot of receiving help for new starting QB Phil Rivers. These picks were puzzling at best.
Grade: C-


Baltimore Ravens:
Selected: 12) Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon; 56) Chris Chester, T, Oklahoma; 87) David Pittman, CB, Northwestern St.; 111) Demetrius Williams, WR, Oregon; 132) P. J. Daniels, RB, Georgia Tech; 146) Dawan Landry, S, Georgia Tech; 166) Quinn Sypniewski, TE, Colorado; 203) Sam Koch, P, Nebraska; 208) Derrick Martin, CB, Wyoming; 219) Ryan Lacasse, DE, Syracuse
Opinion: Ngata should shut Ray Lewis up for a few minutes. Williams could be a decent second or third receiver but is not a bust-out playmaker. None of the other picks impress me, but with this volume, some needs are filled. Not very impressive, though.
Grade: C

Cincinnati Bengals:
Selected: 24) Johnathon Joseph, CB, South Carolina; 55) Andrew Whitworth, OT, LSU; 91) Frostee Rucker, DE, USC; 123) Domata Peko, DT, Michigan St.; 157) A. J. Nicholson, LB, Florida State; 193) Reggie McNeal, QB, Texas A & M; 209) Ethan Kilmer, WR, Penn State; 231) Bennie Brazell, WR, LSU
Opinion: Immediate upgrade from Tory James at CB. Whitworth, Rucker, and Nicholson are great picks in those positions, as they should have all gone earlier. McNeal could be a good backup should Palmer have trouble returning from his injury in the playoffs.
Grade: B

Cleveland Browns:
Selected: 13) Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida St.; 34) D-Qwell Jackson, LB, Maryland; 78) Travis Wilson, WR, Oklahoma; 110) Leon Williams, LB, Miami (FL); 145) Jerome Harrison, RB, Washington St.; 152) DeMario Minter, CB, Georgia; 180) Lawrence Vickers, FB, Colorado; 181) Babatunde Oshinowo, DT, Stanford; 222) Justin Hamilton, S, Va. Tech
Opinion: They needed defense. They got a whole bunch of defensive playmakers. A pretty good haul.
Grade: B+.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
Selected: 25) Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State; 83) Anthony Smith, S, Syracuse; 95) Willie Reid, WR/KR, T, Florida St.; 131) Willie Colon, T, Hofstra; 133) Orien Harris, DT, Miami (FL);
164) Omar Jacobs, QB, Bowling Green; 167) Charles Davis, TE, Purdue; 201) Marvin Philip, C, California; 240) Cedric Humes, RB, Va. Tech
Opinion: Most pressing need: a WR and KR to take Antwaan Randle-El’s place. So they make a trade and get the best WR in the draft with Holmes and Reid from Florida State. They also steal Orien Harris on Day 2. Wow.
Grade: A


Houston Texans:
Selected: 1) Mario Williams, DE, NC State; 33) DeMeco Ryans, LB, Alabama; 65) Charles Spencer, G, Pitttsburgh; 66) Eric Winston, T, Miami (FL); 98) Owen Daniels, TE, Wisconsin; 170) Wali Lundy, RB, Virginia; 251) David Anderson, WR, Colorado St.
Opinion: They got a lot of line help, so we don’t have to hear any more about Carr having no protection and the defense being god-awful. That being said, they passed up the most dynamic quarterback and the most dynamic running back to be available in a long time. Hope Charley Casserly enjoyed this draft. It’s probably his last.
Grade: D (only because Spencer and Winston help the OL)

Indianapolis Colts:
Selected: 30) Joseph Addai, RB, LSU; 62) Tim Jennings, CB, UGA; 94) Freddie Keiaho, LB, San Diego St.; 162) Michael Toudouze, T, TCU; 199) Charlie Johnson, T, Oklahoma St.; 207) Antoine Bethea, S, Howard; 238: T. J. Rushing, WR/KR, Stanford
Opinion: Addai is a good pick at 30. Is he as good as Edge? No. Will he do enough in this offensive system? Probably so. Colts drafting mostly for depth and did a decent job.
Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars:
Selected: 28) Marcedes Lewis, TE, UCLA; 60) Maurice Drew, RB, UCLA; 80) Clint Ingram, LB, Oklahoma; 160) Brent Hawkins, DE, Illinois St.; 213) James Wyche, DE, Syracuse; 236) Dee Webb, CB, Florida
Opinion: Took Marcedes Lewis when better tight ends were still on the board. Drew is an OK pick to spell Fred Taylor and his groin but better RB's were available. Not sure about the DE picks, either.
Grade: C

Tennessee Titans:
Selected: 3) Vince Young, QB, Texas; 45) LenDale White, RB, USC; 102) Calvin Lowry, S, Penn State; 116) Stephen Tulloch, LB, NC State; 137) Terna Nande, LB, Miami (OH); 169) Jesse Mahelona, DT, Tennessee; 172) Jonathon Orr, WR, Wisconsin; 215) Cortland Finnegan, WR/KR, Stanford; 245) Spencer Toone, LB, Utah; 246) Quinton Ganther, RB, Utah
Opinion: Young and White will be a major improvement over McNair and Chris Brown. A nice batch of linebackers, too. Later picks seem weak but it is still a good total haul.
Grade: B

AFC EAST (a.k.a. the WTF? division):

Buffalo Bills:
Selected: 8) Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State; 26) John McCargo, DT, NC State; 70) Ashton Youboty, CB, Ohio State; 105) Ko Simpson, S, South Carolina; 134) Kyle Williams, DT, LSU; 143) Brad Butler, OT, Virginia; 178) Keith Ellison, LB, Oregon St.; 216) Terrence Pennington, OT, New Mexico; 248) Aaron Merz, G, California
Opinion: Whitner and McCargo were not good selections for those spots. Youboty and Simpson will help significantly. Butler, Merz, and Pennington will help the beleagured offensive line a little. I am surprised they did not select a receiver, though. Both their lines will improve, but there are still a lot of needs. Apparently the draft confuses Ralph Wilson as much as the new CBA.
Grade: C-

Miami Dolphins:
Selected: 16) Jason Allen, S, Tennessee; 82) Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona St.; 114) Joe Toledo, T, Washington; 212) Frederick Evans, DT, SW Texas St.; 226) Rodrique Wright, DT, Texas; 233) Devin Aromashodu, WR, Auburn
Opinion: Also used picks to get Daunte Culpepper from the Vikings, but he is still hurt and may miss half of this year too. Allen was one of the first round picks that made me go “what?????” Also, no offensive line help at all. Ugh.
Grade: D+.

New England Patriots:
Selected: 21) Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota; 36) Chad Jackson, WR, Florida; 86) David Thomas, TE, Texas; 106) Garrett Mills, FB, Tulsa; 118) Stephen Gostkowski, K, Memphis; 136) Ryan O’Callaghan, T, California; 191) Jeremy Mincey, DE, Florida; 205) Dan Stevenson, G, Notre Dame; 206) Le Kevin Smith, DT, Nebraska; 229) Willie Andrews, WR/KR, Baylor
Opinion: Chad Jackson is a good receiver, but why are they drafting running backs and tight ends when they STILL have no secondary? Will Jackson be the new shut-down corcner? Someone explain this to me. Please.
Grade: D

New York Jets:
Selected: 4) D’Brickashaw Ferguson, T, Virginia; 29) Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State; 49) Kellen Clemons, QB, Oregon; 76) Anthony Schiegel, LB, Ohio State; 97) Eric Smith, S, Michigan State; 103) Brad Smith, QB/WR, Missouri; 117) Leon Washington, RB, Florida State; 150) Jason Posciak, TE, Wisconsin; 189) Drew Coleman, CB, TCU; 220) Titus Adams, DT, Nebraska
Opinion: Anytime the picks make me come off the couch and scream in horror, it can't be good. Look at those first three picks. Instead of who they got, they could have had Matt Leinart, LenDale White, and Winston Justice. Nope. Then, add in Brad Smith, who does not want to move from QB to WR, and Criminole RB Leon Washington, and you get the lowest grade of the draft. On the bright side, they will have the QB of their choice…next year, when they draft #1 overall. What a mess.
Grade: F.

Part two tomorrow night, with the NFC. Just re-counting the Jets' picks is getting me angry. Did you know that burning Jets' parapherneliz does not let off a green glow. Me neither...until yesterday.