Friday, September 10, 2010

Remembering 9-11, 9 years later

September 11, 2001 is a day that changed everything.  An event that will forever be remembered by those of us who witnessed the video footage, and those who lost someone on that dark day.  I remember the way it impacted me, so I figured I'd share it with whomever reads this.

I had just started my junior year of High School two weeks before September 11, and I woke up at 5:45 AM to get in the shower, and get ready for school.  I looked at myself in the mirror, and felt a tickle in my throat.  I also had a headache, so I used these ailments as an excuse to stay home from school.  Since I got good grades, and stayed out of trouble most of the time, my Mom let me stay home, so I crawled back into bed.  I grabbed my remote, and decided to watch a little television, before taking another trip to slumber land.

I flipped around the dial, and stumbled upon the news.  It was right after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, and the news treated it as if it wasn't a big deal.  They even went back to their regular programming.  I was a bit confused as to why a plane was flying into a giant skyscraper, but since the news blew it off, I did too, and I went back to sleep.

I woke up around 9:30 AM and turned back on the television to watch a Family Matters rerun, when it was preempted by the news.  This time the report was a second plane hit the World Trade Center, killing many.  The air was full of smoke, and chaos was all over New York.  Bodies fell from the giant building, Firefighters were trying to prevent the fire from spreading.  I couldn't believe what i was seeing.  It was like something out of Hollywood.

As more news and information came forward, we learned it was an effort of Islamic extremists.  I became enraged as footage of Tehran, Iran showed people dancing in the streets, celebrating the deaths of thousands of Americans.  People from all countries of the world perished in that horrific attack, not just Americans. Celebrating the deaths of thousands of individuals is psychotic, no matter where your from.

It was as if the entire world stopped.  Television was wall-to-wall news coverage.  Radio stations stopped playing music, there were no children playing outside, no smiles or laughter to be found anywhere.  Everyone didn't know whether to weep, or lash out, or just disconnect.  I don't think I spoke at all that night.  I just remembered laying in my room, trying to wrap my brain around what just happened.  It felt like these terrorists punched America right in the gut.  It was truly one of the worst days I can remember.

The next day at school was more of the same.  No joking around, no trivial banter about the latest gossip, just awkward silence.  No one knew what to do, or say, or how to act.  We didn't do anything involving education, we all sat in silence as the teacher asked for our thoughts on the subject.  What can you really say in that situation?  Words can't express the feelings that I had.

Much time has passed since September 11, 2001.  The thought of that day isn't something that we often think about, but its something we must never forget.  Tomorrow make sure you pay your respects to those who lost their lives because of this tragedy.  Think of the brave individuals who sacrificed their lives on United 93.  Think of the firefighters, and police who saved lives, and those who lost their lives.  Thank our military, and keep the victims on your minds and in your hearts.  I will never forget that day.

Douchebags of the Week: Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran

It was an interesting week for douchebags.  I searched all over the Internet, looking for potential candidates, and found several worthy of my illustrious distinction.  I decided to give the award to three New York Mets, who are very deserving.

For those of you who haven't heard, the Mets were in Washington DC, to play the Nationals.  While there, the Mets visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a place where wounded American soldiers recover from their injuries.  These American heroes endured many horrific sights, and many of them are missing limbs, and have been through pure hell.  Most of the New York Mets were there to show support, guys like R.A Dickey, David Wright and Ike Davis.  The three aforementioned douchebags however, were no shows.

The New York Times has a great article, which talks about the importance of the Mets making this trip.  R.A. Dickey said in the article:  "It's a big deal, and I take it very personally.  I have not spoken to guys that didn't go, but I do have thoughts about it."

Clearly the visit is completely voluntary, but not going on this trip tells me two things about the trio of no-shows.  1)  They are clearly not part of the team.  They have been disgruntled much of the year, Perez and Castillo for playing time, and Beltran has missed much of the last two years with a knee injury.  No matter how unhappy you are with the team, you sure aren't going to develop support in the clubhouse by boycotting a team activity of such importance.  2)  Obviously these guys don't understand the importance of what the military means to America.  These three idiots play in New York, the very city that received the worst terrorist attack in the history of our country.  Being that tomorrow is the nine year anniversary of one of the worst days in our countries history, you would think these guys would have enough sense to honor the military in the country they live in.

None of these guys are "American," Perez hails from Mexico, Beltran from Puerto Rico, Castillo from the Dominican Republic, however all of them maintain at least part-time residence in the US.  Since all three players are from nations that aren't as privileged as us, its safe to say the United States has changed their lives.  The three players make a ton of money, $36 million combined in 2010 and 2011.  Because of the efforts like the soldiers who are at the Walter Reed hospital, these guys are able to enjoy the freedom they have in our country, and the ability to make ridiculous money playing baseball.

Beltran claimed that he had a "prior engagement" involving the building of a school in his native Puerto Rico.  Castillo claimed he couldn't "handle" seeing the sights of the hospital, and naturally Oliver "the bitch" Perez had no comment.  Hey Ollie, if your going to blow off this meeting and count your money, at least have the balls to tell everyone why.  The other two excuses were just as lame, Castillo needs to just nut up and go, and Beltran should have the sense to rearrange his schedule.

Perhaps I am biased being that I was born and raised in a huge military town.  I have the utmost respect for anyone who has served it the military, they give me the freedom to write this article, and make fun of the President.  In my opinion, blowing off a visit to this hospital, is slapping everyone who served or has served in the military.  To me, this three douchebags told me that there own personal endeavors and "phobias" were greater than paying respect to those who have been wounded in defending us.  To me, its a slight form of treason, and if I were Mets management, I'd release all three of them now, and eat their contracts.  They are worthless as baseball players, and as people.

So let's here it for our douchebags of the week.  Hopefully this award will put things in perspective, while these three dopes count all the American money they have stolen from the Mets' ownership and all of their fans.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFL preview!!!

Lord football is back everyone!  Just in time for the big game tonight, I bring you my NFL preview and predictions.  See how my picks compare to yours.  I have division winners, Super Bowl teams, and individual award winners.  Check it out!

AFC East (projected standings)
 *(wild card winner)
Patriots(11-5)
Jets(10-6)*
Dolphins(9-7)
Bills(4-12)

Kevin Says:  With the offensive weapons the Patriots have, I still have them taking the East.  Their defense is suspect, but Brady and Co. are always dynamic.  The Jets have a big question mark, and his name is Sanchez.  If he doesn't improve, the Jets are going nowhere.  The Dolphins should be very good as well, but how good, falls on the young shoulders of Chad Henne.  The Bills are awful, but C.J. Spiller should be fun to watch.

AFC North
Ravens(12-4)
Steelers(10-6)*
Bengals(10-6)
Browns(4-12)

Kevin Says:  The Ravens are going to be a dangerous team.  They always have a tough, physical defense, and Boldin gives Joe Flacco a good downfield weapon.  If the Steelers can survive without Big Ben, they will be in the mix as well.  A healthy Polamalu will go a long way.  The Bengals will be competitive, but I give a slight edge to the Steelers.  T.O. and Ochocinco will be fun at least.  The Browns are still rebuilding, but Delhomme is done as a starter in the league.  Bring on Colt Mccoy.

AFC South
Colts(12-4)
Titans(9-7)
Texans(8-8)
Jaguars(6-10)

Kevin Says:  It's so hard to bet against Peyton Manning.  He has a ton of weapons, and their defense is good enough to get by.  The Titans have Chris Johnson, but I don't buy Vince Young as a legitimate starting QB.  The Texans will be explosive on offense, but have question marks on defense, and the kicking game.  The Jaguars don't have enough talent to make an impact on this division.

AFC West
Chargers(11-5)
Raiders(7-9)
Chiefs(6-10)
Broncos(6-10)

Kevin Says:  The Chargers, despite not having Marcus Mcneill and Vincent Jackson in camp, have the best team in the west.  Philip Rivers will be an MVP candidate, and Malcolm Floyd will emerge.  The Raiders will be better, but Jason Campbell isn't Ken Stabler.  The Chiefs are improving as well, but their front seven is still brutal.  The Broncos don't have enough weapons on offense to compete.

NFC East
Cowboys(12-4)
Giants(10-6)*
Eagles(9-7)
Redskins(6-10)

The Cowboys have a lot of firepower, and on paper, have the best team in the NFC.  Romo has plenty of weapons, and Demarcus Ware is a beast on defense.  The Giants are still solid upfront on defense, and Eli Manning is a good QB.  The Eagles could be better, that depends on what Kevin Kolb ends up doing.  The Redskins brought in Donovan Mcnabb, but they don't have enough receivers for him to throw to.

NFC North
Packers(13-3)
Vikings(11-5)*
Bears(6-10)
Lions(5-11)

Kevin Says:  The Packers are legit.  Aaron Rodgers is one of the top QB's in the league, and they have a solid, albeit vulnerable defense.  The Vikings still have Favre and Adrian Peterson, and a great run defense.  The Bears will struggle, Cutler will throw a ton of picks.  The Lions are getting better, but still are fighting an uphill battle.  Matt Stafford looks like a keeper though.

AFC South
Saints(13-3)
Falcons(10-6)
Panthers(7-9)
Buccanners(4-12)

Kevin Says:  The Saints are the defending champs, and they have a ton of weapons on offense.  Drew Brees will continue his assault on the NFL.  Matt Ryan and the Falcons will be good, but not good enough.  The Panthers don't have a legitimate QB, and their record will reflect that.  The Bucs are rebuilding, and Raheem Morris might be the first coach of the year.

NFC West
49'ers(9-7)
Seahawks(7-9)
Cardinals(6-10)
Rams(4-12)

The 49'ers win the worst division in football.  Frank Gore will lead the way for San Francisco.  The Seahawks start 65 year old Matt Hasselbeck, apparently Charile Whitehurst isn't the guy there.  The Cardinals will miss Kurt Warner, Derek Anderson is garbage.  The Rams have no one for Sam Bradford to throw to, especially since Donnie Avery is gone for the year.

Wild-Card Round:  Chargers over Steelers
                               Patriots over Jets
                                Cowboys over Giants
                                 Vikings over 49'ers

Divisional Round:  Ravens over Chargers
                             Colts over Patriots
                              Packers over Vikings
                               Cowboys over Saints

Championship Round:  Packers over Cowboys
                                    Colts over Ravens
   
Super Bowl:                    Packers over Colts

MVP:  Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Defensive MVP:  Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49'ers
Offensive Rookie of the Year:  Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Defensive Rookie of the Year:  Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
Coach of the Year:  John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

Radio Update

I did a radio show yesterday, and I have plans for another one Friday, at 5:30 Eastern, and 2:30 Pacific.  Thanks to Money Evans, Craig in Rockland, and Guy from San Antonio for calling in, and talking with me.  I would like to see more of you guys call in with your reactions to stories on this blog, as well as anything you want.  We can talk sports, movies, or random tidbits from the world.

Thanks to all of you who have listened, and lets get some new blood on Friday.  Keep spreading the word about what I do here, I appreciate anyone who has given me kind words, and support.  It means a lot to me that you support my little hobby.  You guys are awesome!  Also, big thanks to Justin in Quincy, and my personal friend Mike Carson for the support.  See you here and online!

-Kevin

Mat Latos: 2010 NL Cy Young Award Winner?

As most of you guys know, I am a die hard Padre fan.  I love this team like I'm related to it, however i do try to remain objective in what I write.  I believe that the 22 year old ace of the first place Padres, should be a legitimate candidate for the Cy Young Award.  I am not making this case to be a "homer," but to shed some light on a player who hasn't received a lot of national recognition. 

During the Spring, Latos was the favorite to win the 5th spot in the Padres rotation, behind Jon Garland, Chris Young, Clayton Richard, and Kevin Correia.  Latos showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie campaign, going 4-5, with an ERA of 4.62.  This season however, Latos has been the ace of a stellar Padres staff, putting up numbers not often seen from a 22 year old.

Latos currently leads all of Major League Baseball in ERA with a microscopic mark of 2.21.  He also leads baseball in WHIP, with a disgusting 0.95, and allows just slightly over six hits per nine innings.  His 14 wins place him 7th in the NL, although behind a better offense, Latos could easily have more.  He has shown he has the ability to be dominant, as his 170 K's in 162 innings can can confirm.  He also became the first pitcher in the modern era to have 15 straight starts of at 5 innings, giving up two runs or less.  Think of all the great names that have pitched since then, and the only pitcher to achieve this fate is Mat Latos.  Impressive work for a 22 year old.
 
Mat reminds me of last year's AL Cy Young Award winner, Zack Grienke of the Royals.  Both play in small markets, and both had terrible run support.  Grienke won the award despite having only 16 wins.  Grienke's overall body of the work was just too good to ignore.  Latos may fall into the same category.

Of Course Latos is not the frontrunner in the chase for the award.  Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Josh Johnson are all worthwhile choices.  However, at the end of the season, Latos may be too good to ignore.

Band of the Week: Go Radio

Go Radio, a pop-punk outfit from Tallahassee Florida, formed after lead vocalist and guitarist Jason Lancaster left his previous band, the highly successful Mayday Parade.

Lancaster and the rest of the band recorded their debut EP, Welcome to Life in 2008, which the band released independently.   Then in early 2010, Go Radio signed with Fearless Records, the same label that Mayday Parade is currently signed to.

Then in April, Go Radio released their first recording for Fearless Records, titled Do Overs and Second Chances.  The release is the best in the genre, featuring the catchy choruses, and the heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics.  The EP is a mix of fast songs, and features a great ballad in the track, Goodnight Moon.  If you are into bands like New Found Glory, All Time Low, or Something Corporate, this band is for you.  Do Overs and Second Chances has been in heavy rotation in my Ipod, and if you check it out, I'm sure you will feel the same.
Goodnight Moon:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL28PP1lyJs
In Our Final Hour:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir3CvS3m6Us&annotation_id=annotation_641915&feature=iv

Monday, September 6, 2010

Is San Diego a cursed sports town?

Padres Ace Mat Latos tries to end the streak on Monday
Two weeks ago the San Diego Padres were the toast of baseball.  They were sitting up in the National League West by six games, and were just a game back of the Yankees for the best record in all of baseball.  Fast forward, and the Padres have lost ten straight, and sit one game on top of the San Francisco Giants.  It seems like everytime a San Diego team looks poised for greatness, they fall flat on their face.  Is it just the teams, or could it be something deeper and more spiritual?  Could there be a curse in the vain of Chicago's "curse of the Billy Goat, or perhaps Boston's famed "Curse of the Bambino."  There are may instances to take a look at.

The Chargers have been close to the Super Bowl many times, but have only reached the big game once.  I remember 1994 quite fondly.  Stan Humphries to Alfred Pupunu and Tony Martin.  Natrone Means bowling over defenders, and the ball that Dennis Gibson knocked away from Barry Foster at the goal line.  What a game!  The Chargers somehow beat the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, and earned their first Super Bowl berth.  Of course, the Chargers got blown out, losing 49-26, in a game that wasn't even that close.  That was the first of many letdowns.

The 1998 Padres were a great, veteran team that I felt had the talent to win it all.  The lineup had a still productive Tony Gwynn, a 50 HR guy in Greg Vaughn, and solid veterans like Steve Finley, Ken Caminati, Wally Joyner and others.  Kevin Brown led a solid rotation, and Trevor Hoffman was a hammer, saving 53 out of 54 games.  This team ran through the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves, on their way to a meeting with the dominant Yankees.  Naturally, the Yankees swept out the Padres, and that was that.  The rest of my life has been filled with disappointment after disappointment.

The '07 Chargers losing to New England in the AFC championship game, the '05 and '06 Padres getting beat down by Albert Pujols and the Cards.  I didn't even mention the '81 and '82 Charger teams that lost consecutive AFC championships, including the famed "Freezer Bowl" in Cincinnati.  No matter what, San Diego teams just can't get over the hump.

According to several sites I found San Diego has the longest Championship drought with cities with a population of over 1 million.  The last major San Diego team to win a championship was the AFL Chargers in 1963.  Both the Chargers and the Padres have come close a few times, the Clippers came and went, and the Rockets moved to Houston, only to win two championships.

Is the Padres current streak just bad luck, an indication that they weren't very good to begin with, or perhaps something else all together?  I am not necessarily the superstitious type, but something weird is going on here.  A team has the best team in the NL for four months, then all of a sudden forgets that they are a good team?  A huge collapse, or the beginning of the curse of San Diego showing it's face?  Perhaps one of our teams can end it this year. Or maybe pigs will fly out my ass?  Right now, the latter seems more likely.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Random Thoughts: Scrambled Porn

If you are in your 20's or older, I'm sure you remember watching scrambled porn.  I, like many of you wasted much of my childhood staring at this colorful blur, in hopes a stray nipple might flash across the screen.  You had to really concentrate and focus if you wanted to see the female form  Thanks to the Internet, the new generation has it way too easy.  They can find porn and naked girls within seconds.  Let's take a trip back in time shall we?

I started noticing that I was attracted to girls back in 1996, when I was an eleven-year-old 7th grade student.  I used to watch Baywatch everytime it popped on the screen, and developed my first celebrity crush on Pamela Anderson.  Nicole Eggert and Yasmine Bleeth also tickled my fancy, and things like my older sisters Cosmo's and Sports Illustrated became my first "drug" of choice.  Right then and there I knew I was hooked on boobies.

Later on that year, I discovered my first Playboy, with no other lady on the cover than the aforementioned Pamela Anderson.  I traded 3 Spiderman comics, a Steve Finley baseball card, and five dollars.  The things young men will do to see some boobies.  I must have looked at that magazine at least 6 times a day.  If my apartment had caught fire, it probably would have been the one item I tried to save.

From there, I discovered a new "drug" Hustler.  This magazine was like nothing I had ever seen before.  This magazine had full on nudity, and this is where I saw my first vagina.  I also was disturbed with Larry Flynt obsession with girls peeing.  I then decided i wanted to see more than just pictures, I wanted to see people doing the deed.

I didn't have direct access to actual porn movies.  But i did know that at 10PM every night that channel 99 Pay-Per-View showed porn videos all night.  However, surely my mother would kill me if I charged fifteen dollars to her cable bill, and if she knew I was watching cinematic masterpieces like "Schindler's Fist, and "Tittie, Tittie, Bang, Bang.  What was a horny 12 year old to do?  I toughed it out and watched it all scrambled.  I'd sit there for an hour at a time, hearing the sound cut in and out, hoping to see a random boob or possibly a vagina. 

The excitement would rise as a stray, blue boob popped up.  I would move my eyes back in forth, scanning the screen looking for more.  Yes!  A yellow and green bush!  More I say, more!  Looking back on it now, it was slightly disturbing, but what male in their 20's didn't experience this.  I wonder what kids in the 50's and 60's did? 

Kids today are spoiled.  They can find porn so easily.  Google, spankwire, and other porn sites made finding porn as easy as picking their little noses.  Guys like me, and like you had to struggle, and search for pictures of naked girls.  We appreciated it, the hunt for a stray Penthouse was almost as rewarding as finding that magazine in the first place.  Perhaps that's why kids today are so soft, they didn't have to struggle for pornography.  Ah, to go back in time.