Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lowering the Drinking Age

The president of Johns Hopkins University, one of many top college officials who supports lowering the drinking age to 18, makes some great points here:
"Kids are going to drink whether it's legal or illegal," said Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody, who supports lowering the drinking age to 18. "We'd at least be able to have a more open dialogue with students about drinking as opposed to this sham where people don't want to talk about it because it's a violation of the law."

Will a change in the drinking age ever take place in this country? Other nations with less stringent drinking laws seem to have far fewer issues with binge drinking and alcoholism. But perhaps that's just a cultural thing.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Behind Enemy Lines

When reports first began to materialize that Brett Favre was considering coming out of retirement and returning to the NFL (for the 15th time) but was had been told that he was not welcome to return to the Packers, many Vikings fans chuckled at the outrageous thought of their long-time rival coming to play in Minnesota.

For a while, the idea was nothing but a silly rumor. Yet, recently, it has moved beyond that stage, with Star Tribune beat writer Judd Zulgad reporting that the Packers would now consider trading Favre to an NFC North rival such as the Bears or Vikings "if backed into a corner by the National Football League and public sentiment."

This is a weird situation for Vikings fans. They've spent the better part of the last two decades criticizing Favre and cheering for him to fail, and now the 38-year-old quarterback might represent the team's best opportunity to upgrade at its weakest position. Reports indicate that Favre wants to come to Minnesota, and it stands to reason that the Vikes would happily send a draft pick to Green Bay in order to acquire the future Hall-of-Famer.

My thoughts? I've always found Favre to be an extremely overrated player, and that's not going to change anytime soon. I hate watching announcers and analysts drool over him, and the idea that he's the quintessential team player is nothing short of absurd when you consider all the shenanigans he pulls to put the spotlight on himself every offseason. As a player, Favre is creative and sometimes entertaining, but also reckless to a fault.

With that said, he showed last year that he's still got something left in the tank and there's little question that he provides a significant upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson. Quarterback is really the only position that remains a question mark on this stacked Vikings roster, and adding an experienced veteran like Favre would round out the roster and make the Vikes an easy Super Bowl favorite. His presence would also make the Vikings a hot story and would draw tons of media attention, which would be nice. And of course, for all those Vikings fans who have had to deal with Packer-backers goading over Favre's greatness for so long, it would be fun to stick it to the Green Bay crowd in a major way.

I still think it's pretty unlikely that Favre ends up playing in Vikings uniform this season, but the notion is becoming more and more realistic by the day. And as much as Favre continues to bother me, I can't sit here and say that his addition wouldn't make the Vikings a better team.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bayless Does It Again

Skip Bayless, a zany blowhard who spews worthless and idiotic opinions each day on ESPN, was debating the topic of Batman today with the almost equally moronic Stephen A. Smith.

Bayless' argument: Jack Nicholson played a better Joker than Heath Ledger, and Aaron Eckhart is more deserving of an Oscar nomination for his role in The Dark Knight than is Ledger.

The sports-related arguments produced by Bayless are bad enough, but it is now painfully clear that the lunacy is even worse when he wanders onto other topics.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Reviewing the Wolves Draft

I sit groggily at work here at 7:30 on a Friday morning, I figured I would come on here and write up a few quick thoughts on the Wolves' draft last night. Then I came on only to learn that Devin has already written up a post this morning offering his thoughts. (See below.)

I half-expected an angry rant, which is what I've been hearing from just about every basketball fan in the state of Minnesota so far. Instead, Devin said that he is "pleased" with Kevin McHale's draft, only furthering my suspicion that Devin is smarter than most earthlings.

For those who are unaware, the Wolves owned the third overall pick in the draft and used it to select O.J. Mayo, a guard out of USC. This year's draft class was considered to have two surefire guys in Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, and most people considered Mayo to be the third best player and a lock to be picked third. The Wolves did indeed select Mayo, but shortly thereafter they packaged him with Marco Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner in a trade with the Grizzlies that brought back Kevin Love (the fifth overall selection in the draft), Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.

This move was met with much outrage. Mayo, who has drawn extensive media coverage since he was in seventh grade, was surrounded by huge hype and many were excited to see what he could do in the pros. Love is a bit of an undersized white power forward who doesn't have nearly the "wow" factor that you'd like to see in a lottery draft pick. Yet, prior to the draft I was in favor of the Wolves trading down to get someone like Love, so I'm quite satisfied that they were able to tab him while also adding a very nice player in the form of Mike Miller.

Here's what I see when I look at O.J. Mayo:

I see a guy who is a good jump shooter, especially from three-point range. I see a guy who is probably going to be a decent defender. But I also see a guy who is a prima donna of the Sebastian Telfair ilk. I see a guy with poor ball skills who last year posted one of the worst turnover-to-assist ratios I've ever seen from a hyped college guard. I see a guy who will never play point guard adequately in the pros and would have provided the Wolves with another 6'4" shooting guard. I see a bust. I'll say it right now and go on record: I think O.J. Mayo will be an outright bust in the NBA and frankly I'm glad that the Wolves dumped him off on another organization.

I'm really not as high on Kevin Love as Devin seems to be. I think he's got a very good chance to be a serviceable player, but I sincerely doubt he'll develop into a star. At 6'9", it'd really be nice if he were a couple inches taller. He's only an option at power forward, which will force Al Jefferson to play out of position at center when both are on the court. That's unfortunate, but I really don't know which player I would have rather seen the Wolves get short of Rose or Beasley.

I'm not fan of McHale, but I really think he made a savvy decision last night. Even though the pundits around the country are sure to lambast him for it. We'll see how Mayo turns out. Those who have ever gone to a Subway restaurant with me know I like to load up my sandwiches with a considerable amount of mayonnaise, but this is one instance where I most definitely did not want "plenty of Mayo."

T-Wolves Drafted Correctly??

Did the Timberwolves actually just have a good draft night? I'm not even too concerned about the players we got (though I think Love could be solid for us, and it will be nice to have the scoring of Mike Miller to balance out the floor), getting rid of Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker is enough for me to call this a successful draft night. Marko Jaric was one of the biggest disasters in a team with a series of big disasters. It will be so nice to not have to yell relentlessly at the TV anymore, at least not at him. And I am actually really excited about the prospect of Love and Jefferson in the post game together. I think Love will be a surprise and could easily turn into a Carlos Boozer type NBA player (I am a huge Duke fan and I thought Boozer would flop in the NBA - too small and not a great shooter. Of course I was dead wrong, and even though Love went early in the first round and Boozer in the second round, I think Love will be surprisingly good). I am really excited to have Miller's 15-20 points every night. We were like 15-2 when we scored over 100 points last year, so anything to boost our scoring is going to help. I mean, we gave up maybe 7 points a game in Jaric and the same in Walker, and got 15-20 in one player out on the floor instead of two. Good trade to me. I am pleased.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Three Random Annoyances - Vol. 3

1) Street hustlers.
Every day I walk down Washington Ave. to go to work (and back) and there are these people in green shirts with clipboards that ask me, "Do you have a minute for the environment?" I love the environment, it kicks ass... but I have no desire to be hustled for money while I'm trying to get to work. Yet EVERY TIME I walk by these people approach me, along with everyone else. I have to come up with different ways to look busy so that they won't pester me. Sometimes I pretend to be on my cell phone. Sometimes I act like I'm intently fidgeting with a button on my shirt. Sometimes I walk up and just punch them directly in the face before they can say anything to me. (OK, I haven't tried the last one yet, but it's next on my list.) Obnoxious.

2) Disappointing summer movies.
Let me preface this by making note of something else that annoys me -- then the theater shows previews for a movie that doesn't come out for like two years. They'll show some badass preview of like giant robots blowing up retirement homes with Hugo Weaving doing the voice of a missile-launching mechanical wizard, and you'll be like, "This movie looks awesome, I can't wait!" Then at the end it goes, "Coming in Summer 2013." WTF. I'll be sure to mark that on the calendar. Anyway, sometimes you'll see these previews and spend like two years building anticipation for the movie, and when it comes out it absolutely sucks. It happened with The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan rules, but the movie is currently registering like 19% on RottenTomatoes.com). It looks like it's happened with Get Smart (haven't seen it yet, but the initial preview I saw like a year ago looked hilarious and now it's getting mediocre reviews across the board). If it happens with The Dark Knight (sequel to Batman Begins), I'm going to start blowing things up.

3) The moon.
Most things in the universe serve a purpose. The sun provides us with light and heat. Trees create oxygen. Garbage cans dispose of waste. Devin makes me laugh. But what exactly is the point of the moon? It's just a big stupid rock floating around in space. It has no water, no gravity and no Sonic Drive-Thru's. Why would anyone want to go there? Every nation should combine all their nuclear powers and aim every weapon at the moon, hopefully destroying it and ridding the night sky of its worthlessness.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The World's Worst-Kept Secret

Every day when I walk to work, I go past a big sign on the side of one of those bus stop waiting booths. It's an ad for Killian's Irish Red beer, and above a picture of a bottle of the beer is the following phrase: "The Secret? Slow Roasted Caramelized Malt." And I always think to myself, that has to be the absolute worst secret of all time.

I mean, really, if you felt like this secret brewing strategy was putting your product a notch above all the competitors, would you truly want to share it with absolutely anybody who walks down a busy street? It would make sense if the ad said that, "The Key Ingredient? Slow Roasted Caramelized Malt," or "You Know What's Delicious? Some Slow Roasted Caramelized Malt." But the usage of the word "secret" is patently false in this instance. I'm pretty sure printing an ingredient in large letters on a billboard makes it the exact opposite of a secret.