Jan 22, 2007

Manning Does NOT Win the Big One

I just wanted to weigh in really quick on the whole Super Bowl thing. First of all, I am supremely disappointed that the Saints did not make it. I have never been a Saints fan, but I loved to see something from New Orleans doing well. Second, the Bears are the worst good team I've ever seen. I watched most of the game, and the reason that the Bears were winning at first was because New Orleans kept shooting themselves in the foot. Actually, that is why Chicago won. The Bears did a pretty good job on defense, but the Saints played horrendous - four fumbles?!? If Brees and N.O. could have got their heads out of their rear ends for ONE DRIVE in the first quarter, Rex Grossman would have done his typical deconstruction job. Instead, they let him get his confidence back.

Now to the AFC. I can't stand either team - I'm glad that the Patriots and their arrogant fans will finally have to deal with the fact that their superior, genetically bred superheroes choked. Yes, the Patriots and Tom Brady choked. Now I'm sure Patriots apologists like ESPN's Bill Simmons will come up with hundreds of reasons why this is not the case. But when you have a team down 21-3, at home, in the first half -- well there is no reason you should lose. Case closed. And when Brady came out to lead the triumphant charge, he threw a bad INT. The only two people on those two teams I wanted to do well was Heath Evans - the N.E. running back who I knew in high school - and Tony Dungy. I loved Dungy at Tampa and thought he got rooked. I think he is a great man and a great coach. And I am excited for the significance of Dungy and Lovie Smith (the first two African-American head coaches in the Super Bowl) being in the big game - not excited about the countless times we will hear that in the next two weeks.

The biggest thing is Peyton Manning. I think he is funny and a great player - I don't like him though. Don't ask me why - probably due to the fawning he has always received for stats that ultimately don't mean anything. Already, I have heard or read at LEAST ten times that he "finally won the big one." Did I miss something? Isn't the Super Bowl in two weeks? What did he win? He won an AFC title game - nothing more. If that is the "Big One" and worth all of this "Manning finally overcame the monkey on his back" hoopla, then that means the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s are the greatest team ever. No, he GOT TO the Big One. That is one step further than he ever got in the NFL. But it is also a bigger stage for him to choke on. That should get the Manning-lover all worked up.

Jan 21, 2007

Worth the Rent: Quiz Show

I have decided to start a new feature on the blog. Every so often I will post a "Worth the Rent" column - recommending an older movie that is already out on video. I thought that would be a way to get some other posts up, since I love doing movie reviews and don't get to see as many as I would like. To start off, I am going to address Quiz Show. This 1994 film never really got its due - largely since it was part of what could be argued to be the strongest slate of movies released in one year. The Oscar nominations for Best Picture alone read like a "Must See List." Forrest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction and the out of place Four Weddings and a Funeral. But here are some other films that came out in 1994: Nobody's Fool (an amazing and underrated movie with a tour de force for Paul Newman), The Lion King, Legends of the Fall, Interview with the Vampire, Bullets over Broadway, Ed Wood, Little Women, The Client, Nell, Speed, True Lies, The Mask, Maverick, and Hoop Dreams. The thing is, in any other year, (especially a weak year like 2005), Quiz Show could have walked away with the Oscar.

The film was directed by Robert Redford, and stars Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro, Christopher McDonald, Rob Morrow, David Paymer, Hank Azaria, Mira Sorvino, Paul Scoffield, Martin Scorcese, and a ton of "was that just?" cameos. It is based on the quiz show scandals in the 1950s, especially on the show Twenty-One. Fiennes plays contestant Charles Van Doren, the most popular contestant on the show - and the one least likely to get invovled in the whole mess. He was a member of one of the most prominent intellectual families in America. He was a professor at Columbia, as was his father. His mom, dad, and uncle were all authors. After his stint on the show, he went on to work for NBC on several shows. But, he indeed was involved. Contestans were given the answers to questions, told when to take a dive, and had the outcomes scripted. All of this was defended by the producers as "good entertainment" and "good for ratings." The fledgling industry of television nearly lost its life to the scandal, due to its "violation of the public trust."

What Redford crafts is a wonderful examination of class, entertainment, ethics, race, and knowledge. We watched it again last night, and I was stunned about how relevent the movie is now. It may, perhaps, be more worth a view now than it was in 1994. If you remember, there was not the glut of reality television then that there is now. And we have seen the same questions that plagued the quiz shows of the 1950s. Where is the line between entertainment and reality? How do the producers edit the shows to give us a false view of reality, to form heroes and villains, to create drama? Why do shows like American Idol even let the horrible auditions get through to the judge rounds? Are they lying to constestants in early rounds to keep them singing badly? Every reality show and game show posts a disclaimer similar to the following: "Portions of this show not affecting the outcome have been edited." Who determines what "affects the outcome?"

As I watched the movie, I again wondered what could lead to an investigation of modern television - where even the news seems edited and manufactured. Where is the line of ratings, entertainment, and profitability? And what happens when it crosses the line of truth? And in this postmodern society, does the issue of truth and television even matter - or does that no longer bear concern since "everyone's truth is equally valid?" Then you have shows like 24 that faces protests because Muslim-American are afraid that viewers will blur the line between reality and fantasy - when that is exactly what every show on television does. Those are all interesting questions - and you have to love a movie that can raise that many issue 13 years later.

Jan 10, 2007

KING SIZED BLOGS 2006 Year in Review: Movies

It is time for my finale of this episode of King Sized Blogs. From what I have seen, it has been popular - so maybe Greg and I will try this before next January. If you want to read the past editions of my blog, feel free to browse. If you want to read Greg's go ahead and click here. So this is my favorite item to review - movies. Well, that and restaurants. This year, I am getting back into the swing of movie viewing. And they weren't all animated! Between the theater and DVD, I saw 20 new movies this year, so I feel better than last year when I saw 7. Of course, 2007 I may pass that 20 before the summer is out. If you want to read my full review of any of these films, just click on the title. It will take you to my Rotten Tomatoes Movie Review Journal. So, here is my list of Most Enjoyable, Most Disappointing, and Other Movie News.

The Good Shepherd: I have not seen all of the main contenders for the Oscars, and I may see some more of them as they come out on video. But, to me, this was the film of the year. Matt Damon led an amazing cast of actors in a gripping story of the birth of CIA. Instead of it being just a criticism of the government and the secrets it holds, it was more an examination of how far one man will go to uphold what he believes to be right. Matt Damon's portrayal of Edward Wilson was haunting in its simplicity. He was a man who sacrificed everything for the "greater good" - only to discover that perhaps the cost was too much. I think this movie is getting wronged in how it is overlooked for awards. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Cars: Pixar has made a habit of creating amazing stories and films. There isn't a rotten one in the bunch. While Cars may not be the most exciting or the most funny, it was the most beautiful. The entire film was a work of art. There were so many points that I just shook my head and couldn't believe that the film was animated. Sure, the story at some points sounded like it was ripped off from Doc Hollywood. But the characters were rich, the landscape was richer, and the movie just made you feel good. My son would have voted this film number one by a landslide.
Casino Royale: Bond returns, or should I say Bond Begins. This reboot of the series was just about as successful as the new Batman film, and just about as good. Daniel Craig was absolutely riveting as the new Bond. The story still had breath-taking action sequences, but it was not one extended special effect or explosion. The stripped down approach let us see Bond the way most people fell in love with him - as a master SPY first, and a action hero second. I couldn't get over how good Craig was - and the final scene was just about the coolest thing I've seen all year.
The Holiday: Sure, let the sissy jokes started in the music issue continue. Yes, this is classified as a "chick flick." But it was good - and funny. And Kate Winslet was in it. Winslet and Eli Wallach put out their standard awesome performances. And hit and miss actors Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and Rufus Sewell all nailed their roles - toning down what makes them so annoying. This movie was far from the best movie, but it was certainly enjoyable.

Miami Vice: The show was a televsion benchmark. The movie was absolutely forgettable. It was too dark to see, too muddled to understand (accent-wise), and too stupid to enjoy. I could say that it wasn't disappointing because I didn't expect much. But I was disappointed that I wasted three hours of my life. Absolute trash.
The Break Up: This movie was a true disappointment. First of all, it wasn't funny ... at ... all. Vince Vaughn's character wasn't endearing in his obnoxiousness or funloving. He was just a big doofus. I couldn't stand watching him - or this film. Every person in this movie gets a permanent black mark on their record.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Hold your fire, mateys. Yes, this movie took in more money than Luxembourg. But I expected so much more. It tried to trump the last film by making everything bigger and crazier and uglier and wilder and more explosive. Instead, it was such a drain. There was no time to ever let anything sit and rest. Even a roller coaster has flat parts. Each scene tried to be more over the top than the last. At the end, I just sat there and stared at the screen, wondering what the heck happened. Most disappointing highly-anticipated sequel since Matrix Reloaded.
Little Miss Sunshine: They could have called this Little Miss Depression. It is hillarious, everyone said. It is uproarious, everyone said. It is Oscar worthy, everyone said. It was stupid and depressing, I said. Ridiculous.

RV: This movie was so stupid that I can't believe that these actors used to be good. When singer Jo Jo is the one who appears to be working the hardest, you have problems. What happened to Robin Williams' Oscar bait roles? You can't call this disappointing because I knew it would suck.
Superman Returns, XMen: The Last Stand: Each of these movies was enjoyable and disappointing in their own rights. Superman was better than people made it out to be, and could have been great if Kate Bosworth had not wandered into the casting office. XMen was nowhere near as bad as people made it out to be. But it could have been better if Bryan Singer had not bolted to Superman. In the end, there was just much potential in both, with too little realization of it. Neither were bad. Neither were great. Typical comic book movies.

If you want to see what else I though about the 2006 movies, just go to the Rotten Tomatoes Journal. I can't wait to see what gets nominated, so I can see which "great" movies I didn't get around to seeing - and have no desire to see. I will post my response to that when it happens. So Greg, what do you think?

Jan 9, 2007

KING SIZED BLOGS 2006 Year in Review: Music

Well, my friend, you have gone there. You went into music land. I was hoping to avoid that because of the sheer embarassment that it will bring to my being. I am far from a well-versed music expert. I have my niches and pretty much stay there. This year, I did branch out, but not as much as some will think I should have. So, I will attempt to enter this fray.

To respond to Greg, I will not criticize you for ranking Jars of Clay so highly. I really like them, and have greatly enjoyed their last three albums. I will, however, criticize you for liking that big pansy John Mayer. Just the sound of him makes me spasm into a involuntary motion towards the radio dial - to switch the station. It is going to be a looooooooong time before I am won over to THAT Dark Side. Of course, just ask some of our mutual friends in Tampa. I also used to feel that way about Caedmon's Call. Here's my list for this year.

Back to Basics by Christina Aguillera: I figured I might as well get this humiliation started right. I don't think you can really find someone who will argue about the amazing voice. But, I dare you to sit and listen to the music on this album and try to convince me that she is not an amazing artist. Like the Hall of Fame, I am not going to judge musical talent based on her personality. Fortunately, she decided to adopt this more glamorous style and abandon that nauseating hooker one she had been sporting. She absolutely tears up this double disc - you may have to skip some songs for content. But the ones that are real throwbacks to the classics are incredible.
Daughtry by Daughtry: Oh no, my friend, the humiliation train is not through. I am an American Idol junkie (see the May 2006 Archives of this blog). And I made no secret of who I thought should have won last year. And I am proven right with this rocking album. Lots of great songs. Rock is a rare breed now. It is either way too hard, or way too Nickelback. I thought that Daughtry did a great job of finding a balance. And "What I Want" - song number seven - with Slash on guitar is just rad.
Chaotic Resolve by Plumb: I one time made a comment about how I didn't like very many female singers. I had not heard Plumb. iTunes put the first single off this album up as a "Song of the Week." I immediately went and got all four of her albums. The songwriting is amazing - and very deep. She has songs about cutting and sexual abuse. And the tempo swings from the haunting "Cut" to the dance cut "Motion" to sweet "Real Life Fairytale." There are not many artists willing to be this deep in their music.
Good Monsters by Jars of Clay: See, Greg, I am not going to rip you on this one. It is just that good. I think Jars has gotten better as they have gotten older. And their stuff is deep and convicting and inspiring. I have always like Jars of Clay (I realized how badly I wish I could find their album Much Afraid). This album is definitely one of the best. Good call, Ramer.
Crazy by Gnarls Barkley: I don't care that I have heard it a million times. I still love the song. Awesome stuff.

Daniel Powter by Daniel Powter: The first song was great, but then it got played to death - and then some. When I first heard it, I though that Powter could be the next Elton John. That would only be true if Elton John was a horrible musician and made your head explode.
The Rest of the Gnarls Barkley Album: Although I am going to be in a small minority here, I thought most of the album was awful. A couple songs were good - but the rest were just bizarre. I guess that was the point. (Remember people - I hated Napoleon Dynamite - so I am far from an expert of modern culture.)
Faith: A Hymn Collection by Avalon: Don't get me wrong, this is not a horrible album. It is just disappointing. But, then again, so has been each of Avalon's last few albums. Actually, since Greg Long joined the group, there has not been the same feel or quality. You would think bringing in a singer with a successful career in his own right (and husband of one of the women in the group) would be a good thing. You would be wrong. I don't know if it is that the two main voices (Jody and Jana) now must compete for lead time or what. But this group finally has had the massive switch of members catch up to it. This album should have been a slam dunk -- with all the hymn albums out there, this group should have been able to absolutely tear it up. Instead, it just seemed like a tepid rip off.
Clay Aiken: Everything this man did was a disappointment -- from his hair to his album to his interviews to his annoying personality. I had tried to be supportive of my wife's affinity for Clay, but this year officially made him beyond hope to me. Fortunately, Heather can't stand him either. :)

The Grammys are still ridiculous. They did better on some categories, but on some, there was no explanation. Every critic on this planet and three other said Bob Dylan's new album was one of the best things they ever heard. He got one nomination for Folk Album. Timbaland produced some of the biggest songs of the year ("SexyBack," "Promiscuous") and was not nominated for Producer of the Year. Mary J Blige got like nine nominations. The only song I heard on that album was her massacre of U2's "One." That alone should have gotten her banished from the ceremony.

I finally got on board the Passion/David Crowder/Chris Tomlin wagon this year. I had always been angry about how churches treated their music like official canon. David Crowder was like the poet laureate of the Southern Baptist Convention. But then I realized I was missing out on some great stuff. Tomlin's song "Party" alone won me over to his stuff. Well, that and "Indescribable." Maybe I should have led off with the second one. More respectable.

I plan on posting my movie opinions tomorrow. I am going out of town for a vacation with my wife on Thursday and won't be back until Monday. So, be looking for that hotly anticipated post. I know that Oscar voters are waiting to see the King Sized Blogs list, so they can more accurately vote.

Jan 8, 2007

KING SIZED BLOGS 2006 Year in Review: Sports 2 & Books

Greg once again did a great job on his sports comments. But I am confused. How can a dyed in the wool, bleeding garnet and gold FSU fan cheer for Florida tonight? You can check out the travesty of Greg's comments here. I know that whoever wins tonight will win the title. Which is why, as much as I cannot stand Jim Tressell and Ohio State, I am cheering for them. Why? Because I don't want to listen to Florida fans bragging about how awesome they are. Gator fans are THE MOST annoying fans in college football. Even if they lose, they will spend the next year trying to convince everyone why they were robbed. So, we have to hear them yap anyway, but at least they will be miserable. As for Ohio State, Tressell is like the second coming of Saint Bobby Bowden - the loveable coach how somehow knows nothing going on with his players. If there are any more Ohio State player incidents, they will have to require their players to all purue the same degree for them to choose: Bachelors of Science in Criminal Science (with practicum)

Also, yesterday something happened in the sports world that reminded me of something I forgot to include. I absolutely cannot stand when college football (or basketball) coaches pull this "I am not going anywhere" stuff. The latest was Bobby Petrino of Louisville. Here's his stats. In his four years at Louisville, Petrino went 9-4, 11-1, 9-3, and 12-1. He had two bowl wins, including this year's Orange Bowl with its big fat BCS payout. And in four years, he had TWO contract extensions and/or raises. The latest was signed this LAST AUGUST for 10 years and $25 million. This was accompanied by the standard "I am in Louisville for the long haul." So now, he is the coach of the Atlanta Falcons, with a 5 year, $24 million contract.

Now, if Louisville was to want to get rid of Petrino, they would have had to BUY OUT his contract. So, even if he pulled a George O'Leary and his team went into the toilet, they would still have to pay him $22.5 million (unless they could negotiate a different set of terms). They couldn't cut his salary to reflect his poor performance. But, Petrino (and his ilk - Nick Saban, Pete Carroll, Charlie Weis, Kirk Ferentz) will use the vultures of the NFL as reason to demand raises and extensions. So, what does Louisville get for Petrino breaking his word? Well, the normal stipulation is a buyout clause - where the coach is on the hook for some figure (in Petrino's case, probably $5-8 million). But he won't pay that. Arthur Blank, owner of Atlanta will. So, Petrino got extra money each year, KNOWING that he was going to screw Louisville as soon as he could.

Instead of Louisville going for the national championship next year, their top juniors (Brohm, Bush) will bolt for the NFL. And the college will have to go raid some other school (probably Tulsa) for their coach. And the dominoes continue. This is why teams like USF have put enormouse buyout clauses into their coach's contract - just so they get SOMETHING back for getting the shaft. And after Mike Vick won't listen to Petrino, and gets all uppity, and the Falcons have another couple of last season explosions, Petrino will get fired, get the money left in his deal, and then go back to college and coach someone like Cal when their coach bolts.

That is why I admire guys like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden and Coach K - they have had other chances over the years. But they would rather stay for the long term and build a legacy instead of build a bank account. And don't feel bad for them, they make plenty of money. Paterno has made so much over the years that he is one of the biggest donors to the school. The modern coach just sees their job as a stepping stone and resume builder. Look at the list. Urban Meyer shafted Bowling Green AND Utah before coming to Florida. And don't think he won't do the same thing to the Gators after another couple seasons when the Houston Texans or Cleveland Browns or Tampa Bay Bucs come calling. Nick Saban has screwed over Michigan State, LSU, and the Miami Dolphins. And there are many more - we probably will see several this year. It just makes me angry. Even George O'Leary pulled this at UCF. He rode the wave of excitement over UCF's first bowl game and scored a 10 year extension. He promptly followed that up with a stunning 4-8 season. My only hope is that the Falcons and Petrino get exactly what they deserve - each other.

As for my 2006 Best Books, I have not read like I normally do this year. There has been so much going on in my life that reading has gotten pushed out. I am tried to rectify this now - I'm reading a few different books now and have others on deck. Since I am pretty careful about what I read, I don't have a lot of disappointing books - although I do have one this year. So, here is the unabridged book review.

Pornified by Pamela Paul: Well, I don't think I can call this ENJOYABLE. But it was the best book I read this year. It was extremely enlightening. It also gave Defender Ministries (my company) some real ammo in its battle to equip people struggling with internet pornography. The book examines the "pornification of America." It has stats, stories, and info about how heavy use of this stuff severely affects people. It is also not a book for the weak of heart or easily offended. It was not a Christian book, but I think every pastor should read it. It is just that important to see what is going on. Plus, Pamela Paul seems really cool. I wrote her to tell her how much the book meant to us, and she actually wrote back to encourage us to do well. She loved our ministry and helped us get some breaks on book purchases. Can't beat that.
Hood by Stephen Lawhead: I read one of Lawhead's series before, but that was it. This is a retelling of the Robin Hood saga, except with the characters and settings reflected in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. He even argues in the postlogue how he feels that is entirely possible. Absolutely engrossing book. It was the best book of fiction I have read in years. Of course, now I have to wait for the other two books of the trilogy. Dang.
Prayer by Phillip Yancey: I don't think I can have a year end review of books without a Yancey book on it. This may be his most personal book yet - really looking at the hard questions about prayer. No matter what he writes, Yancey always makes you think. And you are usually better for that examination.
The Shepherd, The Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry: I read the book in about an hour. It was short, fast paced, nostalgic, and hillarious. I haven't laughed at loud at a book for a while like that. I have always love Barry's stuff. This was a "novella" - which I am sure will get turned into a movie soon. I will rush to see it.

The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer: I am being kind of harsh on this book. It is the latest to try to capitalize on the DaVinci Code craziness. There were some cool sections, and I loved sitting there they whole time knowing every location - since it was set in West Palm Beach, FL. I kept going, "I know where that cemetery is. I remember that quote. That is right by my old house." What really bugged me was that the book promised to be a big story of a Masonic cover up. That is what it was pushed as. That is what everything promoting it said (website, ads, cover summary). It turns out that was just a sub-story. And one that didn't make any sense. Mostly it was due to some crazy guy's delusions. So, instead of it being a real nail-biter with an edge, it was just a rather ordinary political thriller. I was really hoping that it would have the climax at the West Palm Beach Masonic Temple (instead of at Woodlawn Cemetery). I really wanted to go, "I know where that it. My grandfather used to go there." Boo.

After Greg's response, I think we'll do the last entry - movies. That is unless Greg wants to cover something else like music, politics, food. I didn't think I had enough to justify a whole entry on those areas. We could do a catch all if he wants. If not, movies will be next.

Jan 7, 2007

KING SIZED BLOGS 2006 Year in Review: Sports

Greg got back from huntin' and posted his response to the television article. You can check out his here. He pointed out a genre of television I completely forgot - commercials. Now that we have DVR, it is easy to forget about commercials. I was glad that he brought them up. GEICO is consistently humorous. The other group I enjoy (and hate to admit it) is anything invovling Peyton Manning. As much of a punk as he is on the field, he is funny on screen. Good catch, Greg. Well, I really don't want this to run into February, so let's get moving with the other categories. We'll, uh, kick it off, hmmm, with sports. Again, I am not going to try to do some comprehensive list of anything. I am going to do three categories: MOST ENJOYED, MOST DISAPPOINTING, and OTHER NEWS OF NOTE.

2006 Rose Bowl: Having spent the better part of 27 years watching sports, I have learned that few games live up to the hype. But this game did. I honestly don't care about either team (USC, Texas). In fact, I usually root against both of them. But as someone who loves football, I couldn't help but eat the game up. There was drama, great performances, and guts. You saw the big names coming through when it counted, and they left it all on the field. And we saw at least four players who are going to affect the NFL for years (Leinart, Bush, Young, White). And, for once, the champion was completely decided on the field.
Andre Agassi's Final US Open: I have loved Andre Agassi as a tennis player since his early years. There was the rebellious crazy unproven talent stage. Then there was the quality disciplined tennis stud stage. And then there was the seasoned professional aging veteran stage. I don't think anyone who can remember Andre with his long bleached hair and multi-colored outfit could have imagined that he would retire as the most dignified of professionals. The fact that he still was competitive to the very last tournament, and got to leave with his head held high was incredible. It was sad that his body gave out before his spirit. I have watched him at Wimbleton for years - from the times he just overpowered his foes to the times he knew that he would outlast and outgut them. It is a shame that tennis has lost such a personality and player.
Tiger Woods' Dominance: Unlike my fellow blogger Greg, I hate golf. I can't stand watching it or playing it. But when Tiger is involved on the last day, I will watch. It is like when Jordan was on the basketball court or when Barry Sanders got handed the football. You knew something amazing could happen. So to answer all of his critics, those people who said he was in a slump, those people who said he would lose focus after getting married and seeing his dad die - to deal with that, Tiger destroyed the rest of golf. He is so much better than anyone else, it is not even funny. The only way he can lose is if he screws up. It is that simple. You have to love that kind of dominance.
The Return of New Orleans: I don't know about you, but I got goose bumps the entire game when they reopened the Superdome. From the awesome U2/Green Day appearance (with Bono changing the words in "Beautiful Day" to reflect Big Easy landmarks) to the Saints kicked Mike Vick's Falcons all over the field. It was great. And the Saints kept it up all year. It was weird. I have always hated the Saints, but in one year they became a team I rooted for every week (even against the Bucs). The combination of likeable players, good message, the town's story all made for an immensely attractive team. Drew Brees, Marcus Colston, Reggie Bush, Joe Horn, Coach Sean Payton. There is so much to like and to root for. I hope they continue this story deep into 2007.
Honorable Mention: Steelers winning Super Bowl, Rutgers & Boise State football, Dwight Howard's immergence

Terrell Owens: This is like a "no duh" moment. But I can't stand T.O. - and I hate that the Cowboys signed him - not surprised though. This guy is a cancer to any team he comes in contact with. And Dallas watched him destroy two teams they are around all the time (Philly & San Fran), but they were dumb enough to sign him anyway. Instead of being different, T.O. just got even worse and more annoying. I hope he gets his walking papers in 2007.
Steroids: A few years back, Jim Rome pointed out on his radio show that the BALCO controversy wouuld rock sports forever. And it has. Now we are debating if Mark McGwire should get into the Hall due to his suspected use. We want to know if Bonds will have enough knee cartlidge to make it around the bases if he breaks Hank Aaron's record - and if we should let the new number stand. We see San Diego Charger Shawn Merriman spoil his amazing season with a four game suspension. Surprise Tour de France winner American Floyd Landis gets busted for steroids. American sprinter and World Record Holder Justin Gatlin gets suspended for four years for it. We know that things are only going to get worse. I hate watching sports and wondering which athletes are doped.
Miami Heat Winning Title: It isn't enough that Shaq was involved with this title. But Miami as a city is the worst sports city in America (look for that article in June's archives). The fans don't even know what to cheer for. They have empty seats for playoff games. And they collected some of the most arrogant and unlikeable players in the NBA (Jason Williams, Gary Payton, Shaq, Antoinne Walker, Pat Riley). That doesn't even take into account that they would have lost to Dallas had the refs not swung two of the games in the Heat's favor.
Dishonorable Mention: In-game brawls, the NFC teams, guns and sports, Bode Miller, new NFL sissy quarterback rules

Winter Olympics: Until the networks realize that the face of the Olympics has changed, it will continue to be a fiasco. Starting with the 2000 Olympics, the Internet made it easier for fans to keep up with the outcomes. So, insisting on showing tape delays of matches and games that we have known the outcomes of for hours is not going to get ratings to go up. In addition, NBC insists on these stupid fluff portfolio pieces - trying to generate breakthrough stars instead of letting them happen naturally. So we have stuff like Bode Miller happen, where the media pushes him and he tanks. At the end of the Games, stars were made out of Joey Cheek and The Flying Tomato - because of their performances - not because of their publicists. NBC needs to get on the ball.
The BCS sucks: Another "no duh" point. It has become a joke that the college football world will not create a playoff system. So each year we have teams get screwed by the polls. This year it was Michigan, Boise State, Louisville. Other years it has been Auburn or Utah or TCU. Hopefully the 2007 Fiesta Bowl will help make a change, but I doubt it.