Saturday, February 24, 2007

Oscar Picks

I often tell people that I am obsessed and amazed by the concept of story-telling. That is one of the reasons that I was a student of literature in college. Story-telling is something that is capable of engrossing our minds in such a way that we forget where we are and what we are doing.

With Oscar Night almost upon us, I’d like to officially announce my picks for the 15 categories that I find most intriguing (keep in mind that this includes most of the awards that will be given on Sunday evening).

Actor in a Leading Role: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
--I think that Forest Whitaker is great. The fact that he has a nice body of work behind him makes him the favorite in this category. Everyone else, minus Peter O’Toole, is fairly young as well…they’ll get their chance.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
--Well, it looks like Axel Foley will finally get his Oscar nod. Plus, Murphy did exactly what a falling star should do – cling on to a decent supporting role and knock it out of the park.

Actress in a Leading Role: Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
--I’ll be honest, I actually DID see this movie. I don’t remember hating a character this much in along time. Plus, at the end she actually makes you rethink hating her. Her performance was so good that I might even dislike Streep in her next role by principle…even if she plays Mother Theresa.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Cate Blanchet, Notes On A Scandal
--I really like Cate. I think that she is a fine actress and I’m pulling for her. The only problem is that Jennifer Hudson of Dreamgirls might take it from her. But how awesome would it be to hear Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) give an acceptance speech

Animated Feature: Cars
--I‘m actually picking a movie that features Larry the Cable Guy to win an Oscar?! I understand it’s only his voice…but seriously! Someone please come punch me in the face when this category is being shown on TV.

Cinematography: Pan’s Labyrinth
--I haven’t seen this movie but everything that I hear is unbelievable. They say that if this movie had been made in the United States, it would be flirting with the Best Picture category.

Costume Design: The Devil Wears Prada
--This movie was based on clothing. The costumes were better than Anne Hathaway’s acting, that’s for sure. How could TDWP not win this category.

Directing: Martin Scorsese, The Departed
--Clint Eastwood is lurking over his shoulder…that being said, someone needs to tell the Academy that Martin Scorsese probably doesn’t have that many great films left in him. If he doesn’t win this year, they may have to chalk him up for that “honorary Oscar.” That would be a real shame.

Foreign Language Film: Pan’s Labyrinth
--Like I said before, this film should have been made in the States with a bigger budget. That does not negate the fact, though, that it is the best foreign language film.

Music (Score): The Queen
Essentially, I don’t like any of these and don’t know enough about this category so I am throwing The Queen a bone.

Music (Song): “Our Town” from Cars, Music and Lyircs by Randy Newman
--If you don’t like Randy Newman then you don’t like America. Plus, I am sick of the Dreamgirls songs.

Best Picture: Babel
--Babel is probably the favorite here and I think that this year may just be a “weaker” year for the Best Picture category. There just isn’t an overwhelming favorite out there. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Little Miss Sunshine win though?

Short (Animated): The Little Match Girl
--I watched all of these animated shorts. I watch the m all every year. After I whipped the tears from my eyes at the end of The Little Match Girl, I remember saying to myself, “well, there’s your winner”…and I hadn’t even seen the other nominees. Watch out for Maestro, however, I thought that this was very clever.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): The Departed
--If Scorsese loses out for the 34th time, I definitely see an Oscar here as a makeup call.

Writing (Original Screenplay): Little Miss Sunshine
--This will be where Little Miss Sunshine gets her do. Just like Matt and Ben got their Oscars here for Good Will Hunting.

Enjoy the night on the Red Carpet, everyone!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Winners and Losers

Originally posted to on February 21, 2007

This weekend’s headlines told us of how NASCAR’s Mark Martin fell short at the Daytona 500 and that Phil Mickelson is back to his old ways after collapsing at the Nissan Open.

I understand that stories of hardship and failure sell newspapers and intrigue readers but how about we give credit where credit is do? What’s wrong with saying that Kevin Harvick came back and ran a great race to take the checkered flag? What’s wrong with saying that Charles Howell III’s final-round 65 was a great round and that he deserved to take the title at the Nissan?

Martin, one of NASCAR’s elder statesman and resident “nice guy,” didn’t deserve to win the Great American Race. When you’re swinging into turn three and it’s you and another guy racing home for the win you don’t get out of the way and let him win. You trade paint and beat him. That’s what made Booby Allison, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt so great. If it came down to you and one of them at the end of the day, odds are, you would lose.

Harvick did what he had to do to win on Sunday. He wanted it more, he drove harder and to the victor go the spoils. Now don’t get me wrong. Martin is a great driver. He’ll go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame one day. However, at the end of the day, Harvick just flat-out beat him.

The same can be said for Mickelson. He’s a great player just like Martin is a great driver. He’s had wins, big wins and monumental wins. He’s also had some tough losses and some collapses. He didn’t collapse on Sunday though. He was beaten by a surging Charles Howell. Howell shot a final-round 65, caught up to Phil and then capitalized on the third playoff hole. Why should we automatically call it a “Classic Phil-collapse”?

All I’m saying is let’s give credit where credit is do. Howell out played Mickelson and Harvick out drove Martin – plain and simple. I hope that Harvick and Howell enjoy their victories.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hawks' Blog Night

Originally posted to on February 5, 2007

First of all, big thanks need to go out to my boy Micah over at the Hawks, who hooked us up and made us feel important for a couple hours. I’m actually really looking forward to this. It’s Monday night and I’m missing 24 and Heroes (Thank God I have a DV-R!), so that can tell you how stoked I am for this. I’ve had a tour of the facilities, a bunch of free food and drink and I’m in a private box at the top of Philips Arena (I’m actually closer to the rafters than I am to the floor right now). But Philips is a great place to watch a sporting event so I’m not upset at all.

Pre-game thoughts:
This is my first Kobe Bryant-experience…he’ll probably go for 80 tonight. This is my first Hawks experience. I’m electric right now. The Hawks’ starters were just announced. Is the NBA the only place where a grown man can actually be announced to the public as “J-Smoove” and everyone in the room will take him completely seriously? Apparently so.

First Quarter Begins:
– Alley-oop dunk! This place really is The Highlight Factory! Thank goodness basketball games have announcers, though, because if I had been relying on the fans “roar” I would have never known that we scored.

6:13 – Another alley-up dunk. The fans liked it this time…and now we have six points! Whoo hoo! We’re scoring a point a minute.

5:31 – First official timeout…a sideline reporter? You know how I feel about them. Unfortunately, the in-arena sideline reporters are even worse than the TV sideline reporters. This is just painful to watch.

But hey, Bow Wow makes a cameo at tonight’s game. Other celebs in attendance include Martin Lawrence, Ludacris and…Tim Allen??? Every blogger in this box just looks terribly confused right now.

3:38 – Laker’s timeout…first A-Town Dancers sighting. If your hair doesn’t touch your lower back then you can’t be on the team. Bonus points go to those girls whose hair is more than one color.

Josh Childress hits his free-throws to post the Hawks’ 7th and 8th points. We’re nine minutes in.

2:27 – Hawks’ tie it at 10 on a ZaZa Pachulia lay-up. If you can’t get excited about routing for a guy named “Zaza” then you might as well go home.

End of 1st Q: Laker 16 – Hawks 14…this is “professional basketball,” right?

Second Quarter Begins:
11:22 – We open up with, what else? An alley-oop dunk. Six of our sixteen have come via alley-oops. HIGHLIGHT FACTORY!!!

7:31 – Sheldon Williams is at the line and he just doesn’t look the same when he’s not wearing the Duke blue. Plus, he’s got to get rid of the armor he’s wearing on his right arm. He looks ridiculous.

Okay, I just spotted Tim Allen down at courtside. Let me just jump out there and let you know how much I enjoyed Home Improvement back in its hay-day. The fact that you can catch reruns of this show during the mid-day TBS schedule speaks volumes.

Hawks’ scratch to within three after Childress hits his free-throws. Childress has spent more time at the line than Tim Allen…what?...too soon? Lakers 28-25.

2:42 – A Hawks’ time-out yields the classic montage of home-made videos of people getting cracked in the groin…it doesn’t get any better than this.

1:24 – The mega-tron suggests the crowd “scream,” “shout,” and “get loud.” The crowd responds with their overwhelming silence.

:43.3 – The 13 year-olds can’t understand how Childress misses a lay-up. They are astonished.

:00 HALFTIME; Lakers 40 – 31. Wow. We’re on pace to score 62. I don’t know what to say.

The Halftime show? None other than “Rubber Boy.” You know, the guy that can stuff himself into the 1-foot by 2-foot glass box...this is disturbing on so many levels. I think I need a break anyway.

Note: I’m taking the second half off from the diary to make some general observations and to just sit back and enjoy the game.

This city simply amazes me sometimes. Joe Johnson and Kobe Bryant just went back-and-forth exchanging three-pointers and the crowd roared each time the ball went through the basket. I have now decided that the average NBA fan simply routes for whoever is playing well at the time. That being said, the only thing that I hate about Atlanta (and I mean it, this is the ONLY thing that I hate) is that it seems like almost everyone is a fan of the “other team.” Maybe everyone is from another city originally or maybe it’s just “fashionable” to cheer for the Lakers. Either way, it disgusts me. We live in Atlanta, people!

Anyhow, the game just came to an end. Lakers take it, 90-83. I’ll tell you what – the people for Atlanta Spirit put on a darn good show. It’s a shame that the fans don’t appreciate it. I’d say at least (and I really don’t think that this is an exaggeration) 50% of the evening’s crowd showed up AFTER the tip. Maybe it’s because the Hawks aren’t finished putting together their product like the Thrashers are. Maybe in a few years the Hawks will be making a playoff run and the fans will show up to support the team. Until then…consider me an NBA fan now. I am going to have to start doing my homework and keeping up with the NBA.

The team may not have been able to handle Kobe and the boys but my Hawks’ Night was a winner.

The Super Bowl Holiday

Originally posted to on February 2, 2007

People have been asking me this for two weeks. All I hear are variations on, “Who ya got?” So, what’s better to talk about on the day that Brett Favre announces that he will return for his 48th season of professional football than just that – professional football. Plus, it’s the Super Bowl. It’s a national holiday for crying out loud.

I don’t care what people say – in America, Super Bowl Sunday is probably one of the most celebrated days of the year. Besides Christmas, Thanksgiving and sometimes New Year’s Eve, there isn’t another day on my calendar that I look at and know exactly what I am doing. I spend my Super Sundays at my buddy Bodner’s house. He has been throwing his annual Super Bowl Party for 14 years (he’s only 30 years old) which just goes to show how serious people, kids included, take this day.

The game starts at 6:25 p.m. this year – which means that I will start stuffing myself with seven-layer dip and chicken wings sometime around five o’clock. I should be on my third cocktail by 6:00, out $20 on the game’s pool by 6:15 and ready for a nap by the end of the first quarter. If this doesn’t scream holiday fun, then I don’t know what does.

As far as the game goes: It might actually be a good one. Both teams are good. The Colts are a little better on offense but the Bears are little better on defense. If you look at the way they have been treated, the Bears really have nothing to lose. They are a seven-point underdog with Brian Urlacher, arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, suiting up for them at linebacker. However, the Colts have Peyton Manning – the prodigal son and golden boy of the NFL, as well as one of the most talented quarterbacks the league has ever seen. It’s like all these factors just cancel each other out.

As far as routing interest: I’m pulling for the Colts. I like Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy. I don’t have a problem with the Bears but I’d like to see the Colts hoist the Lombardi Trophy. I think that they are also a nice story. It’s refreshing to look at two stars in the league (in Manning and Harrison) and see two guys that work hard, stay out of trouble and genuinely respect their fellow competitors like they do.

As far as my pick: Colts 27 - Bears 21. I think that Manning puts together a nice outing. He’ll throw for 278 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Joseph Addai rushes for just under 100 yards but gets a score. Adam Vinatieri, the greatest clutch kicker in NFL history, will drive home a pair of field goals. The Bears will only have one offensive touchdown, the other two will come via a Devin Hester special teams moment and a return off of some sort of turnover (maybe that Peyton interception).

I think that there will be a light drizzle late in the game but that it won’t affect anything. I think that the blockbuster commercial of the day will be produced by Pepsi. I think that my buddy Billy will be able to fit eight pigs-in-blankets in his mouth at once and that half of the people who go to the Super Bowl in person will leave feeling like they just wasted a LOT of money. All in all, it should be a fine day.

Have a Happy Super Bowl everyone!

The Best Around

Originally posted to on January 30, 2007

I think that my good friend, Joe Esposito, said it best in the classic film The Karate Kid, “You’re the best around…nothing’s ever going to keep you down!”

He may not have been writing the song about them but the sentiments ring true when you watch Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. These two athletes are going to be the players that I tell my kids about. If they ever come up to me and ask me who was the most dominate player of their sport during my lifetime I will have to say Federer and Woods.

Federer is 25 years old and has captured 10 grand slam titles (3 at the Australian Open, 3 U.S. Open titles, and 4 wins at Wimbledon). Pete Sampras, the best player of my childhood, captured 14 grand slams – including seven at Wimbledon. Federer is, without a doubt in my mind, going to shatter this record. He hasn’t won at the French Open but there is no reason to believe that he won’t. He is so much better than everyone else that steps on the court with him that it is ridiculous. I mean, Federer didn’t lose a single set in the Aussie Open. Not a single one. Plus, he dominated the only match that people thought might be half way decent when he destroyed Andy Roddick (6-4, 6-0, 6-2).

Woods dominates his sport the same way. This past weekend, Tiger entered the final round of the Buick Invitational two shots off the lead. My buddy O.C. and I were flipping between college hoops and Tiger’s attempt to win his seventh straight PGA Tour victory when we saw the leader board. When they mentioned who the third round leader was, Australian Andrew Buckle, we actually laughed out loud. This kid didn’t stand a chance. And then when Tiger closed to within a stroke at the turn we were betting on how much Tiger would win by.

That’s what is different about these guys. When they walk out onto the court and course, people don’t say to themselves, “You know? They could win today.” People say things like, “You know? I don’t think anyone else stands a chance today.”

I’m actually going out there and calling this right now so that we can all look back and know that I am the prognosticator of prognosticators. Woods will win TWO majors this year (I’m picking The Masters and the U.S. Open). I don’t think Tiger will win the PGA Championship this year. And he won’t win the British Open – mainly because he won’t be playing in it (his wife is due to give birth to their first child that week and with Tiger having his priorities so ridiculously IN order I can’t pick him to win there).

I am actually going to pick Federer to do the unheard of and sweep the Grand Slam of tennis. He’s already virtually unbeatable at Wimbledon and I think that he breaks through in the French this year. He’ll win the U.S. Open but that could be a good test because there are a lot of good hard court players out there. The only trouble he will run into is if he plays Rafael Nadal in the French. Nadal is a great clay player and has beaten Federer there already. But he’s just too good.

I feel pretty good hitching my wagon to these guys. They ARE the best around.

Clap Your Hands Say TIDBITS

Originally posted to on January 24, 2007

--Well, Michael Vick is innocent. The Miami authorities said that they could not determine that there was marijuana in the “contraption” that was confiscated at the Miami airport. Vick’s stupidity did lead to one of my favorite Saturday Night Live moments of the year though. Really!

--Fox’s 24 is back. I have come to the conclusion that if my house was burning down during an episode of 24, I would probably just stay on the couch until the commercial break. Only then would I try to grab the television (without disconnecting the cable) and pull it outside so I could finish watching.

--The Phoenix Suns, my pick to win the NBA title, have won 14-straight games and show no signs of slowing down at this point. In other NBA news: The Hawks still stink. But hey, they're not the worst team in the
League. My buddy Trey works for the Memphis Grizzlies. I just can’t bear to make fun of him any more than that…

--Tuesday night, Tennessee mean’s basketball head coach Bruce Pearl painted his body and went to the women’s hoops game to sit in the student section. My stock in “OrangePaint, Inc.” just plummeted.

--David Beckham recently signed with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy for a reported $250 million over five years. Where is the Galaxy getting this money? The only way that I would buy a ticket to an MLS game is if I was assured that I would be sitting next to
Ms. Beckham.

--Last night, Brit Hume of Fox News said that you couldn’t “swing a cat on Capital Hill without hitting a Presidential Candidate.” He chuckled to himself. I love it when people use ridiculous phrases that make little to no sense…therefore, I decided to watch Senator Jim Webb’s (D, Virginia) reaction to President Bush’s State of the Union address.

--Michelle Wie did not make the cut at her annual “Fall-On-My-Face” Sony Open. She finished tied for
139th. In three attempts she has finished 80th, 128th, and 139th. She and, Master P.R. Man/father, B.J. Wie claim that she may not play next year because it would interfere with her start to the spring semester at college. Is that really it or is she afraid of finishing DEAD LAST?

--The Braves have been
building up the bullpen this off-season – picking up Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. They, along with Closer Bob Wickman, will essentially turn the games into 7-inning affairs. John Smoltz may win 60 games next year.

--The people at NBC have lined up their hit show Heroes against 24 in the Monday 9pm time slot. This is borderline evil. This is, however, just another reason why I truly feel that the DV-R is one of the top five inventions of my lifetime.

--The Academy Awards nominations were announced Tuesday morning. One of my favorite categories is Best Animated Short Film. If you get the chance I recommend these two: No Time For Nuts and, my personal favorite and pick to take home the statue, The Little Matchgirl.

Heroes To The Hall

Originally posted to on January 12, 2007

Cooperstown made room for its two newest members this past Tuesday. Cal Ripken Jr., the consummate professional, and Tony Gwynn, the best pure hitter of last half century, join the great fraternity of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Ripken was an underrated hitter who tallied 431 homeruns, 1,695 RBI and batted a career .276. The Iron Man was a 19-time All-Star who played in 2,632 consecutive games and basically revolutionized the position of shortstop. Gwynn, a 15-time All-Star who collected 3,141 career hits, was the greatest wielder of a Louisville Slugger that I have seen in my lifetime. He hit .300 or better in 19 straight seasons including seven seasons where he hit over .350.

I watched Ripken and Gwynn play in their primes. I don’t remember watching a Mid-Summer Classic when I was a kid where they weren’t in the starting lineup. The unfortunate thing for me is that I took these guys for granted as “decent players.” The really unfortunate thing is that the 10-year olds hitting the sandlots today won’t get a chance to see these guys play baseball.

It wasn’t the stats that made them worth watching though. It was how they played the game. Ripken played in 2,632 straight games. Think about that. Consider yourself not missing a day at the office for the next 20 years. Kids, you wouldn’t be allowed to miss a day of school. Period. There are stories of how Gwynn taped and studied his own swing for years. Tweaking it. Improving it. Perfecting it. Both of these guys had work ethics that were unmatched by their peers yet they played the game with a boyish enthusiasm.

One of my favorite parts of their resumes is there off-the-field stories: this part of the resume is relatively empty. Neither one was a drug-user or beat his wife. Neither had run-ins with the media or shouted profanities at fans. Terrell Owens has spent more time on SportsCenter over the past year (for his off-the-field tirades) than either of them did in their entire careers. They are both great family men and have each started successful youth-driven charitable foundations. But that’s not really “news-worthy” to a lot today’s sports media.

In an era plagued with steroid and drug allegations, it’s hard to find players that we can look up to. I hope that today’s youth will stop for a few seconds and study their history books (although it isn’t ancient history) and learn about these two players. If there is anyone out there that they should try to emulate, it’s these two. I know that one day I’ll tell my kids how great these guys were in their playing days. I hope that you will too.

Congratulations, Cal and Tony!

Champs Chomp In Glendale

Originally posted to on January 9, 2007

My buddy O.C. and I watched the Florida Gators absolutely dismantle the Ohio State Buckeyes last night. It was ridiculous. Ohio State scored on the opening kick-off and then Florida took over. It wasn’t even a decent game. Even Pope High School could have blasted Ohio State out of the stadium last night.

I don’t have many friends among Gator-Nation – and the one’s that I do have were NOT in any sort of shape to comment on the game’s outcome this morning – so I have no idea what is going through their minds. Is Florida the best team in the nation? I don’t think one game can say that.

Let’s all remember how the Gators slid into this game. If Southern Cal beats UCLA this year (which they do nine times out of ten), then Florida doesn’t even play in this game. And let us not forget that if Louisville had properly handled their business in November against Rutgers then we would have had two undefeated teams in the Championship Game and the BCS would have been looking pretty good. Then, if the same outcome had taken place, would we have felt comfortable anointing Louisville as the best team in the land? I doubt it.

And no one is going to forget what Boise State did to Oklahoma anytime soon.

So after all that, this year’s bowl games may have only showed us one thing. Among the maybe ten to twelve teams that legitimately deserve a shot at winning the national title, they are all fairly equal. Sure, some teams are faster than others. Some have better passing attacks or running attacks than others. But if you put them all into a playoff system and ran it ten times, you might get ten different winners.

I’m not about to jump onto the Playoff Bandwagon but maybe it’s something that we should all start thinking about. I’m also not going to be calling the Florida Gators the “best team” in the nation but they did earn the right to be called National Champions.

Hoop Dreams

Originally posted to on December 21, 2006

This past Tuesday the college basketball season officially started for me. I understand that each team has played roughly ten games and that there have even been some big games played but it just didn’t officially start for me until Tuesday when I was hanging out with my buddy D.C. and we watched Duke dismantle Kent State.

D.C. went to Duke and is, for obvious reasons, a big Duke basketball fan. I have come to realize that fans of Coach K and the Blue Devils are some of the most enthusiastic fans in all of sports. His enthusiasm was terribly contagious. Thank goodness the Georgia Bulldogs are off to the start that they are because I wouldn’t have been able to join in the conversation otherwise.

Coming off six straight wins, including notable wins at Wake Forest and against Gonzaga last Saturday night at the Gwinnett Arena, the Dogs hosted Jacksonville on Tuesday night. This was one of those games that everyone knew the Bulldogs would win…I mean, Georgia isn’t going to lose to a team whose mascot is a dolphin. Georgia ended up winning the game 93-77. Senior point guard Levi Stukes scored 27 points and was 7-for-9 from three-point range. Sophomore Mike Mercer, a Snellville-native, recorded 21 points and leads the team in minutes and scoring (17.8 ppg).

We saw the score roll along the bottom of the ESPN screen and D.C., without taking his eyes off the Duke game said to me, “So, Coach Felton has the Dogs playing pretty well.” When a Duke-guy tells you that your team is playing well, especially considering Georgia’s history of late, you just say, “Thank you” and move on. It’s like Martin Scorsese coming up to an unknown actor and saying, “I like the way you did that scene.” Don’t try to expound upon it; just say thanks and walk away.

Tomorrow night Georgia (8-1) comes into Atlanta to face-off against Georgia Tech (7-3) at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Jackets had lost three of their last four before completely destroying Centenary, 92-52, this past Monday. However, the Jackets are a solid team and the Bulldogs have their work cut out for them.

Tech, much like its Georgia counterpart, throws a lot of young talent out on the court. Paul Hewitt’s squad boasts three true-freshman starters in forwards Thaddeus Young and Zach Peacock and point guard Javaris Crittenton (who by some publications was the top ranked recruit in the nation last year). They are a fast group and can put a lot of points on the board in a hurry. They do, however, lack a true big man to play the post. The three forwards that record the majority of the minutes for Tech each chart 6’8”.

Dennis Felton’s Bulldog-crew does a lot of rotating through the bench. Fresh legs is a key for the quick “run-til-they-can’t-catch-ya” style that Felton has in place. Stukes, one of only two seniors on the team, plays the point and essentially sets the offensive table. He’ll rely on fellow guard Sundiata Gaines to distribute the ball to him and Mercer. The guards make this team. Steve Newman, Terrance Woodbury, Southeastern Illinois College-transfer Takais Brown and 7-footer Rashaad Singleton will rotate through as the role players. They don't pull down a lot of rebounds but with the Dogs shooting 54% from the field, they don't have to.

This rivalry has shaped itself into one that we will be able to watch for a few years without a lot of change to the major players. If Tech can successfully right the ship and make a solid run in the ACC then I see them lacing up their dancing shoes come March. With Georgia’s youth, the pundits were talking about Georgia being just one more year away from turning a few heads. I’m here to say that they may already be there. A win at Georgia tech would push them into the nation’s Top 25 and if they can scratch together anything better than a .500-record in the SEC then I would prepare for Georgia tourney-berth.

Dreaming of a white Christmas is not exactly a reality for us in Atlanta…especially since it is mid-December and I wish I was on the golf course enjoying the 60-degree weather. However, dreaming of a red and black March might not be out of the question.

The Reggie Ball – Shot of the Week: Are you serious? Academically ineligible? Nobody goes ineligible at the end of their senior season! What kind of classes is he taking? Matt Leinart took Ballroom Dancing his last semester. My last semester of college consisted of Basket-Weaving 101 and Beginners Lawn-Mowing. Reggie, you have got to quit giving me so much material, bro. Thank goodness you’re not going to be around next year…my computer might blow up.

Pick me out a winner, TIDBITS.

Originally posted to on December 13, 2006

The Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-3) have each gotten off to decent starts to open the hoops season. Georgia had a thrilling win at Wake Forest this past week and the Jackets’ only stumbles have come to top-ranked UCLA, a tough Miami squad in their ACC opener, and a better-than-they-seem Vanderbilt. It’s still hard to get too excited about college hoops before January though. With college football on hiatus for the next few weeks, it’s a good thing that we have a couple tidbits to tide us over…

--The Dogs and Jackets meet up on December 22 for the second edition of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate. Both teams are young, fast and playing good basketball. Okay, maybe I’m allowed to get a LITTLE excited about basketball…

--Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson won the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate receiver, linking him forever with Tech QB Reggie Ball. People won’t be saying that Calvin won the trophy WHILE playing with Reggie but DESPITE playing with Reggie.

--We put the Christmas tree up at the Cheek Mansion this past weekend. Nothing says “Christmas” quite like the smell of a freshly cut pinetree in your living room…except maybe the sound of the vacuum cleaner roaring to life every half hour to clean up the thousands upon thousands of needles that keep falling from said pinetree.

--Ohio State’s Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy. I think that Brady Quinn is still walking around the streets of New York saying, “But I play for Notre Dame…but I play for Notre Dame.”

--The Atlanta Braves made a
deal to move pitcher Horacio “Keep It On the D.L.” Ramirez to the Seattle Mariners for set-up man Rafael Soriano. Seattle, be real careful with Horacio. He’s fragile. And for heaven’s sake, do not make fun of him…you could hurt his feelings then he’d be out for another two weeks.

--In other Braves news:
Marcus Giles won’t be back next year. The “Baby Braves” from the past couple years may be looking a little more “baby-like” for the next couple. However, when you have a coach like Bobby Cox and a GM like John Schuerholz, the playoffs are never out of reach.

--I usually like to reserve my Monday’s for “intense television” watching – shows filled with murder, suspense and thrilling moments. With
Heroes and 24 on hold until January, I opted for the Bears and Rams on Monday Night Football this week. At least I got to see a murder

--It’s been reported that not only has Britney Spears been partying to much with Paris Hilton but that she has stopped production on her new album…and oh yeah, Britney, you have a one-month old baby at home.

--The thought process of a Falcon’s fan:
Week 1: This is our year! Super Bowl here we come!
Week 3: We lost to New Orleans? Do we stink?
Week 6: A 3-2 record?! We stink!
Week 8: Michael Vick is the greatest quarterback that has ever played football!
Week 10: We stink.
Week 12: I hate Vick! We should cut him! I want to punch myself in the face!
Week 14: The Falcons are amazing and so is Vick! He’s going to the Hall of Fame!

--This past Friday marked the 26th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. There may not be anyone in the musical world that has spanned (and will continue to span) the generations quite like him. I think it’s safe to say that everyone out there has a favorite Beatles’ tune. If you don’t know about The Beatles new album
Love, I suggest you take a gander.

Same Ol' Song and Dance

Originally posted to Atlanta on November 28, 2006

The Dance? The Georgia-Georgia Tech football game. The Song? Georgia’s Hairy Dawg ringing the Chapel Bell on North Campus.

I walked around the Georgia campus this past Saturday afternoon and there was just a feeling in the air. It was a feeling that absorbs the state of Georgia each year – the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

It can only be summed up by the words of a friend of mine: Georgia still has the talent and the athletes and Georgia Tech still has Reggie Ball. Georgia is still the big brother and Georgia Tech is still the little kid. Georgia is still Georgia and Georgia Tech is still Georgia Tech.

The crazy thing is that my friend is not the only person who holds these sentiments. It seems to be a very common conception among Bulldog fans. It even seems to be a thought that almost haunts the minds of Georgia Tech fans.

As I went about my day on Saturday I spoke with people who claimed allegiance on both sides. The Bulldogs walked about with an air of confidence about them. Yellow Jacket fans, while having a good time socializing among the masses, couldn’t help but feel as though their season was about to be pulled out from under them. Georgia fans laughed to one another and spoke about how the season (as well as the play of young QB Matthew Stafford) had taken a turn for the better. Tech fans staggered about wondering if this would be the year that they ended the losing streak. The Georgia faithful knew that this would not be that year.

When the Rambling Wreck drove down the field in the fourth quarter and took a 12-7 lead, Georgia fans didn’t get discouraged. I don’t think that I have ever seen anything like it. I’ve seen teams give up touchdowns late in the game and the wind is completely taken out of the fans’ sails. That didn’t happen to Georgia. Fans looked at each other and started clapping and saying, “Here we go. All we need is a score. Let’s get it right here.”

The same mentality could be seen resonating from the Bulldog sideline. Matthew Stafford was confident. Mark Richt was confident. The receivers were confident. The running backs were confident. The fans were, without question, confident.

In my mind this will be a moment to remember. Georgia fans should look at this drive as the true beginning of a new era in Richt’s reign. This is the moment when Stafford came of age – when Mohamed Massaquoi became the receiver that all of the Bulldog Nation knew he could become – when Georgia stood up and said in one collective voice that they would not go quietly into the night.

Georgia fans, I suggest that we sit back and enjoy the ride.

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

Originally posted at on November 22, 2006

I know that we are overdue for some “Tidbits” but there are more important things at hand – namely, the livelihood of the great state of Georgia. We are embarking on one of the most important days of the year in our state. A day when we find out who will lead and who will follow in the wake. A day where we draw a line in the sand and everyone chooses a side.

Georigia vs. Georgia Tech.

Yellow Jacket players, Reggie Ball and Calvin Johnson will be trying to win the first Georgia game of their careers. If they want to live in Georgia after their NFL careers, they have got to win this game. Little Reggie Ball Jr. won't stand a chance when he takes on Little Johnny Georgia-Fan in the playground kickball game. Mentally, he'll know he's going to lose.

I've heard a lot of debate over the past couple days about how this game will turn out. Some people say that the Bulldogs have set themselves up for a let down (coming off a huge win at a then-ranked #5 Auburn). Others say that the Jackets may be focusing too much on their ACC-title berth (which will be played in Jacksonville on December 2nd). I say that you can throw all that stuff out the window at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Those players will be playing for pride. Records don’t matter. Polls don’t matter. Only one thing matters: The score at the end of 60 minutes.

But don't think for a second that the fans are going to wait until 3:30 to start their "game." Starting Saturday morning, fans from around the state will flood the Athens area in anticipation of the two teams teeing it up between the hedges. The Bulldogs are 23-13-1 all-time when playing the Yellow Jackets in the Classic City but that won’t stop the Tech-faithful from hurling out their insults. They’ll yell at the “rednecks” at Georgia about their “backwoods ways” and poor academics.

Georgia fans will simply brush off those insults and hurl their taunts back about how “unattractive” the women of Georgia Tech are and then the chant will start…it will start of low and then it will grow… “Nerds…Nerds…Nerds…NERDS…NERDS…NERDS!!!”

My buddy Hilley even told me about how his own family members wouldn't even share tickets to this weekend's game because some were Georgia fans and others were Tech fans.
There’s just no better way to describe it. Clean, old-fashioned hate. That’s what this game is.

So choose your side. But choose wisely. Odds are it will determine how well the next year of your life goes.