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29 November, 2011

Darth Vader as The Grinch

   fun rendition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas using Darth Vader as the Grinch
http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/2011/11/star-wars-grinch-movie-the-sith-who-stole-christmas.html

Behind the Scenes in Iraq

   a Twitter friend of mine, CPT Parker Hahn, shared these links with me shot and edited by his sister who, in his words,  is a public affairs officer (PAO) for the Kentucky National Guard and is the photographer for the unit and the videographer. She is doing all their shooting, producing, and editing of their film. Their unit is tasked with "shutting down iraq" and she gets to film it.
possibly will be on the last convoy in the last vehicle out of Iraq.

   He shared these clips with me and ok'd me to share them with you. It's an interesting look behind the scenes from Iraq.





Thanks so much to Parker and his sister for sharing these. She is expected home in time for Christmas. We obviously wish her, and her unit, safe travels home.

28 November, 2011

25 November, 2011

Black Friday Alert

   If you like jerseys and other sports apparel, check out http://mitchellandness.com/Default.aspx
today. All jerseys $100. Lots of great deals.

18 November, 2011

The Tebow Clause

   by Gus Ramsey

   In the movie The Santa Clause, Scott Calvin spends a large chunk of the movie trying to convince his ex-wife and her husband, Neil, that he is, in fact, Santa Claus.  Scott's son, Charlie, believes all along but despite Scott putting on 100 pounds, growing the big, white beard and taking on the complete physical appearance of Santa Claus, his ex and Neil aren't buying it. Then, late in the movie, Neil looks deep into Scott's eyes and it hits him. "Santa?" he says in total bewilderment. After a few moments of confusion, Scott talks himself back into his rational state of disbelief. But a little later, when Neil sees Scott fly off in a sleigh, he finally believes. He turns to his stepson and says, "Charlie, I'm sorry," to which Charlie responds, "that's OK, you were just denying your inner child."
   And that's where we are with Tim Tebow and John Fox. Tim Tebow has been telling everyone he is a quarterback, but no one believed him. He lined up under center, yelled "Blue 90!! Blue 90!!" and even completed some passes. But no one believed. He made reindeer fly and pulled off a Christmas miracle of a comeback against the Dolphins. Then he spearheaded wins over the Raiders and Cheifs, but Fox was still skeptical. His rational coaching voice talked him back to reality. But last night, after that 95-yard, game-winning drive,  Fox finally looked Tebow in the eyes and said "Santa?" Fox is no longer denying his inner child. He's ready to let everything he thought to be true about succeeding in the NFL go and is willing to hop aboard the Tebow sleigh ride.
   According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, who was in the locker room talking to Tebow's teammates after the game, they all made the leap last night too. They went from thinking the "Tebow thing" could work, with a healthy dose of "yeah, but..." to true believers. They're not alone. When Eddie Royal fair caught the punt on the 5-yard line, 95% of me said "We have no chance," but 5% of me said, "We have Tim Tebow." And for now, that seems to be a good thing. A really good thing.

   ***other Tebow thoughts***
   Speaking of Christmas, I'm guessing Tebow jerseys will be the most popular gift under the trees in Denver this year.

    I'm not buying the "John Elway is mad that Tebow is winning" stuff. John Elway is all about winning. I don't see any circumstance where he goes home happy if the Broncos lose. Is he conflicted? Maybe. Would he rather have Andrew Luck as his QB next season? Probably. Is he happy if the Broncos lose? No chance. That's not how winners think.

  Speaking of "winners," Tebow is redefining what it means to be a winner right before our very eyes. Sounds weird, I know. Winners win. What's so complicated about that? But when I think of the biggest winners of the last 25 years (Charlie Sheen doesn't count), three names come to mind: Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods. MJ didn't stink for 3 1/2 quarters, going 2-17 from the floor, and then suddenly get hot and hit game winning shots. Derek Jeter wasn't a .225 hitter who always seemed to get the game winning hit. Tiger Woods wasn't barely making the cut and then miraculously winning tournaments. Those guys were great, consistent performers who also won. When people say about Tebow, "All he does is win," I think they mean literally.

   I love how Broncos victories have become like UFO crop circles, people see them, but can't really explain them. Analysts on all the networks are "dumbfounded," "amazed," and "bewildered." No one can explain how a guy can look so bad and then throw the switch and win. I suggested on Twitter he's like Teen Wolf, totally generic until he becomes "The Wolf" and then he can't be stopped. A Twitter follower said he's like Buzz Lightyear, he can't really fly but he does spectacular stunts that make you believe he can.

   I'm excited to see what Denver will do with 10 days to practice. Most of the players are still learning to run this offense. It will be fun to see what they add to it and how it looks after they've honed their skills over the next week and a half.

   I wonder if we'll hear some "good free agent wide receivers won't want to sign in Denver" talk if this keeps up.

   So far Tebow has done a great job of avoiding big shots. Bart Scott got him on the second play of the game (which made me wonder if that was partly the reason Tebow didn't run the ball once in the first quarter), but he is not getting drilled. The concern with this offense is that Tebow can't handle the sustained beating this offense is sure to provide. If he gets hurt, Denver would be stuck with Brady Quinn trying to run read-option. So far, so good.

   Before the game yesterday I was at the gym and saw a 60ish year old man wearing a Broncs t-shirt. That's not common in central Connecticut,  so I asked him if he was a Broncos fan and he said, "Actually, I'm a Tim Tebow fan."
   I didn't ask him if he still believed in Santa.

15 November, 2011

John Fox adapting to Tebow

   good read here from Jeff Darlington on how Fox and the Broncos are installing a Tebow offense.
One interesting thing is the assumption that defenses will figure out how to stop it, but no one is really talking about the fact that the Broncos players are still learning it. They will get better at running it. Does it guarantee success? Of course not, but it should be fun to see how it plays out.

http://tinyurl.com/7e48sel

09 November, 2011

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

   By Gus Ramsey

   Dot your I, go right ahead. Want to chuck that octopus on the ice? Let 'er rip! Throw that home run ball back on the field.  Indy winners, drink your milk. Packers players, leap away at Lambeau. If you have a tradition, I'm in. I love 'em. I love them so much, I have one of my own and I want to share it with you.
(***insert flashback effects and music here***)

   Thanksgiving, 1978. I am eleven years old. I have already taken in part in some Turkey Day staples, watching March of the Wooden Soldiers on WPIX and the Macy's parade on NBC. The Broncos played the Lions that day, losing 17-14. As a newly, emotionally invested Broncos fan, this national TV loss by my AFC championship team to the generic Lions was tough to take, so I decided to go for a walk before dinner was served. For no reason other than the fact I always feel better about life with some kind of sports ball in my hands, I took a football with me.
   It was a classic "New England Grey" day, with a cloud filled sky blanketing the chill in the air. A good day for a walk, just not a long one.
   We lived on a school campus, so it wasn't too long before I found myself on the school football field. At this moment, my love of Charlie Brown kicked in (I have a lot of loves.) and I decided to start kicking some field goals. Thankfully none of my four sisters were near by to play Lucy and yank the ball out from under me. It was just me, the football, the goalposts and the solitary moment.
   A friend of mine said recently that the best traditions are the ones born organically. He was speaking of the Lee Corso headgear prediction segment at the end of College Gameday. No one involved that day said, "Hey Lee, put on the Ohio State mascot's head to make your pick and we'll do this every week for as long as you are on the show." It just happened.
   So here I am, alone on the football field and a tradition is about to just happen.
   Using my heel, I kick backwards into the ground to dig a little divot. Angled slightly back towards me, I place the football in the divot to hold it in place as I prepare to kick it. Once the ball is placed, I look up at the goalposts to focus on my target. I am on the 20-yard line, so it is a 30-yard attempt. I decide I will kick it with a Jim Turner-like, straight on approach. Having not played soccer, it didn't seem like soccer-style was a good way to go. So I take three big steps back and do one practice run, just to make sure it's a good distance for the approach. Kind of like when Evil Knievel would do a fly-by on the jump ramp. This seems simple enough. I reset my position, look up at the goalposts and start my approach...
   As my right foot strikes the ball, the bulk of the impact is on the outer three toes. Not good. I look up to see the ball swirling off to the right, looking like a top that had been spun too hard, spinning, tumbling and  dying well short and well right of the goalposts.
   It takes a few more tries, but eventually, the moment comes. The ball strike is clean, the end over end is perfect and the ball sails majestically over the cross bar and between the uprights. It would have been good from 35, I just know it! A moment of pure joy. I try a few more, making a few too, before scurrying back home in time for one of the best traditions ever, the Thanksgiving dinner.
   Every year since that day 33 years ago, I have kicked a field goal on Thanksgiving. I did it with my college buddies, Koes, Coach and Bobby on a local high school field in Winter Park, Florida. One year my sister, Heather, and I were staying at friend of hers house in Jacksonville. I didn't know anything about where we were, so finding a local field was out of the question. In the backyard of this house were the remnants of a tree house, a piece of wood connected to two trees. I found a Nerf football in the garage and managed to keep the tradition alive. I made a field goal one year kicking in the near dark, in my dress shoes, at a local school in Monterey, Ca. I've kicked in the rain. I've kicked off of two feet of frozen snow with my friend, Pete. And in recent years I've begun dragging my two older boys down to the football field near my house to pass (or kick, as it were) the tradition down to them.
   Each year I start with a 30-yard attempt and kick until I make. The goal of the tradition is to put one through. Distance is a bonus. My career long is 45 yards. Up until last year I had been able to make at least one attempt from 40 yards every year since I was probably 18 years old. (The Elias Sports Bureau didn't start tracking my Distance Made From stats until 1998.) Last year I tried five attempts from 40 and missed them all. It was a chilly day and my 9-year old was running out of patience and sensation in his extremities, so we came home. I would have stayed for another hour, but so be it. I'm not gonna lie, it was a little sad.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. I'm giving everyone some notice so you have time to get a football, a kicking tee if you'd like, and get your legs in kicking shape.  If you take part, report back to me on how you did. I'll post people's comments and I'll even put up pictures too, if you send them to me.
   The Thanksgiving Day Field Goal, it's a tradition unlike any other.

02 November, 2011

Mets autograph collection

   My dad has put his 3x5 collection up for sale on EBay. It's a collection of 3x5 index cards signed by every player who has ever played for the Mets.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130595850286

  for more on the collection, this was written on ESPN NY.com this summer.

http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/29278/a-most-amazin-collection

01 November, 2011

Change is Good? Not Always

   by Gus Ramsey

   The Mets unveiled their new dimensions for the outfield walls at Citi Field this week. Gotta say, I'm not a fan. You can see the changes here
http://tinyurl.com/6afkfbz
   In citing the reasons for the change, the team said they were trying to make it a fairer ballpark for the hitters. They said under the new dimensions, over the last three years, the Mets would have hit an additional 81 homers and allowed 70, for whatever that's worth. No one loves a good home run robbery more than me, so the lower fences will put that back into play. If the park plays fairer and eases the mental punishment suffered by Mets bats, and maybe makes the Mets a more appealing team to future free agents, so be it. These all seem like valid reasons for change.
   As Stephen A. Smith says, Howwww-evvv-uhhhh!

   When Citi Field opened, I remember telling my friends there were two cool things the ballpark was going to produce on a consistent basis for the fans; exciting Jose Reyes triples and jaw-dropping blasts by Carlos Delgado and other sluggers into the Pepsi Porch.
   When it came to the triples, Reyes legged out 20 in 153 home games the last three seasons. This past year he put on a triples clinic, with 12 in 62 games at Citi. In 378 games at Shea Stadium, Reyes hit 31 triples. So, that's one triple every 7.6 games at Citi and one triple every 12.1 games at Shea. Something tells me with the fences lower, the power alleys tightened up and a few of the nooks and crannies gone, Reyes will return to Shea like numbers (assuming he returns to the Mets). I think that's a shame. Growing up, among the best moments for for me as a Mets fans was watching Mookie Wilson leg out a triple. Reyes brought that thrill back to Mets fans. These fence alterations will rob of us of that, at least a little.
   Now for the power hitters. Here is what everyone seems to be overlooking; In the time since Citi Field opened, the Mets best power hitters have missed a significant amount of playing time due to injury. Take a look.

2009- the premiere power hitter coming into the season was Carlos Delgado. He hit 38 HRs in 2008, the last year at Shea. In '09 he only played in 26 games. He hit 4 homers, 3 of them at Citi Field. Carlos Beltran was coming off a 27 HR season. He missed exactly half the season and managed to hit 10 homers, 3 at home. The biggest issue was David Wright, who hit 33 homers in '08 and plummeted to just 10 in 144 games. There's no doubt Citi Field was in his head.
    
2010- Once again Beltran missed significant time, playing in just 64 games. Jason Bay came to the Mets with some big power numbers and a big contract. He hit just 6 home runs in 95 games and his season ended with concussion symptoms. Wright seemed to find his swing again and belted 29 bombs in a full season. While only 12 of his homers were at home, the overall improvement suggests to me that when Wright finds his swing, it doesn't matter what park he plays in. And then there was Ike Davis, a sweet swinging rookie with legit pop. He smashed 19 homers (8 at home) in 147 games (73 at home), finding the Pepsi Porch and the Shea Bridge along the way.

2011- It began with high hopes for a 40 HR season from Ike Davis, but the sophomore slugger only played in 36 games because of an ankle injury. He hit 7 homers (5 at home) in 36 games (19 at home) and showed no signs of being squeezed by Citi's confines. Jason Bay and David Wright managed just 12 and 14 homers, respectively. They also combined to miss 99 games last year.

   There's clearly an argument to be made on both sides. Obviously the Mets want Wright, the face of the franchise, to feel better about his home field. I get it. I just think had Delgado, Beltran, Davis, and to a lesser degree Wright and Bay, been on the field for 160 games a season, no one would be talking about the fences being too high or too far. It's a beautiful new park. The change of the color of outfield walls from soot to Mets blue is like a nice dash of eyeliner. As for the rest of it, it seems a little soon for a face lift.