Monday, June 29, 2009

You Have to Believe Me... I'm Batman!

Just a normal day at the park for Long Beach Armada outfielder Josh Womack as he shows off a few fancy tricks with his bat.

Wether or not this kid makes it to "The Show" he at least has his 15 seconds (technically 2 minutes and 15 seconds from the first video below) of fame.

Note to any aspiring future Major Leaguers - even though your teammates would shower you with praise I doubt you'd ever win the heart of your manager/coach by attempting a feat like this during an actual at-bat.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ducks Fly Together!

In case you hadn't heard there's something in the water up in Eugene, Oregon. The birthplace of Nike shoes (R.I.P Steve Prefontaine) continues to use the Ducks as the testing platform for new athletic innovations.

Earlier this week the Ducks announced a new uniform design that gives players a 25% weight reduction in their jerseys.

On top of that, I've also heard rumblings of a 90% reduction in masculinity. Feathers on a football jersey? They might as well change their name to the Oregon Angels or Oregon Fighting Tinker-bells.

It's not like the Ducks present new, innovative uniforms each year to draw attention to an otherwise lousy program. They finished ranked 9th last season and finished in the top 25 three out of the past four seasons. Not too shabby.

But who honestly needs 80 different combinations? What ever happened to two uniform choices - 1 home, 1 road?

Times are changing and those days are long gone. Almost every sports team in the nation, whether it be high school, collegiate, or professional, has alternate jerseys. I can actually live with that, though, because most of them only have 1 or 2 alternates. Some of them are quite nice. Others are off the mark but for the most part I like what I have seen.

Will Oregon continue to win football games? Yes. Undoubtedly. Will they also continue to make fools of themselves? Without question.

The players, alumni, and fans do not care what the public says about them, though. They take pride in their uniqueness (read a sampling of comments here).

I guess as they say, "Ducks fly together."

PS - If you were wondering, football isn't the only sport at Oregon to think outside the box.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Song Of The Day- Michael Jackson

The day after, I'm sure everyone is aware of the passing of the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson.

A bizarre individual in his later years, Jackson seemed always to be chasing the childhood he was never afforded. He debuted as a professional musician at age 11 with the Jackson 5 in 1969. Two years later he began an incredibly successful solo career, one that would garner him his famous nickname.

The biggest and most successful of his releases was of course the album Thriller in 1982. The album was in the top ten of Billboard's Hot 100 chart for 80 consecutive weeks (including 37 at number 1) and went on to sell over 109 million copies, making it the highest-selling album of all time.

While deeply troubled and suffering from strange diseases as well as from a number of weird accidents throughout his life, Jackson's music, dancing and vocal abilities all drastically changed the music industry and left an indelible mark on the world and his profession.

Embedding is disabled on his videos, but you should go check them out. Especially the great "Thriller" video, arguably the greatest music video of all time.

The first one is a couple of his moonwalks. I had trouble locating the original performance featuring the move which took place during the 1983 television special celebrating Motown's 25th anniversary. The New York Times summed up the moonwalk quite nicely:

The moonwalk that he made famous is an apt metaphor for his dance style. How does he do it? As a technician, he is a great illusionist, a genuine mime. His ability to keep one leg straight as he glides while the other bends and seems to walk requires perfect timing.


Beat It

Smooth Criminal

Billie Jean

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Song Of The Day- David Bowie

This is my favorite cut by Bowie, and it's absolutely on my personal list of top ten songs of all-time.

This song was written as a tribute to Lou Reed, and in true Bowie style, it's largely about homosexual's and a strange feeling of being jilted.

I first heard this song like many in the closing credits of A Life Aquatic. That filthy distorted riff that kicks in over acoustic guitar is just absolutely phenomenal. Granted, it's lifted from a 1960 song by Eddie Cochran called "Three Steps To Heaven". Still, this supercharged version rocks much harder.

Included is the original Bowie cut from his 1971 album Hunky Dory. Also below is a special 1997 performance for Bowie's 50th birthday at Madison Square Garden featuring Lou Reed himself.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Black Clouds & Silver Linings - June 23 Release

There is no doubt a future song of the day post will be rendered from Dream Theater's tenth studio album due out in stores tomorrow called "Black Clouds & Silver Linings."

Expect to see a full album review within the next week or so but until then enjoy the following sneak preview.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Anti-Song of the Day: Worst Video In YouTube History

Not that I need to add any additional commentary, but how can I resist?

Below is the worst video in YouTube history. No debating - voting is closed. I apologize for making you dumber for viewing this clip...

What makes this video suck so bad?
  • Bad singing
  • Great song, ruined
  • USC
  • Pete Carroll
  • Imitating Pete Carroll
  • 'So Cal dudes'
  • The white sunglasses only a diva would wear
  • Fake guitar playing
  • USC
  • Horrible audio/stereo effects
  • Atrocious synchronized dancing
  • Trojans
  • Countless offenses and transgressions to Neil Diamond
  • Disgrace to Fenway faithful
  • USC
  • Choose your own journey ______________

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Assassin's Creed 2

Assassin's Creed was probably the best game I've played for the PS3. We played it to the point in college that we would actually have to stay away from the gaming system for fear of being tempted to play more.

The sequel should be no different. Visually amazing, this game really takes advantage of the system's graphic capabilities. It's just incredibly lifelike the way people act and move. The AI appears to be improved now and there are a number of Da Vinci's inventions to play with (such as the flying machine).

The whole thing takes place in a completely different time period so the environment is brand new. It looks pretty damn cool and could be in the running for game of the year.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Max-ime-mum Effort As Pens Win 3rd Stanley Cup

Pardon me for being a few days late as I've been away from my computer for quite some time, but Go Pens!!!

Maxime Talbot provided all the offense needed for the Penguins to claim their 3rd Stanley Cup trophy and first since winning back-to-back in '91 and '92. Talbot scored two goals in the 2nd period that proved to be the only scores the Pens needed to eclipse the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1.

Whether or not the Penguins would make the playoffs was in serious jeopardy earlier in the season when they fired head coach Michel Therrien after a 27-25-5 start to the year.

Dan Bylsma, of relative anonymity prior to taking over, filled in as interim head coach for the remainder of the season and earned himself an official "head coach" tag and multi-year extension after his squad disposed of the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It's safe to say that few saw this kind of a run coming but the Penguins played truly inspired hockey under Bylsma's direction.

With their 2-1 victory on Friday night in Detroit the Penguins became the first professional team since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB) to win a championship Game 7 on the road. And oh how sweet it was to exact revenge on the very team that eliminated the Pens a year ago on their home ice.

Congratulations to the entire Pittsburgh Penguins organization, to Sidney Crosby (youngest captain - 21 - to hoist the Cup), Evgeni Malkin (first Russian-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy), Marc-Andre Fleury (goat of the first 3 games in Detroit where he surrendered 11 goals) and the entire city of Pittsburgh for not giving up on the franchise and letting it move to another city just a few short years ago.

One more thing - I want to add that this is a particularly sweet victory given the lack of faith bestowed from one Stars and Slights' long-time readers.

A friendly wager was placed on the series and now the one who ran his mouth (not me) has to pay the consequences. He of all people should have known better, too, as a lifelong Red Sox fan. Remember this? It's not over 'til it's over... don't ever forget that!

Stanley Cup and Super Bowl champions in the same year? Oh how sweet it is!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Song Of The Day- Mott The Hoople

So the movie Juno has practically been on loop on HBO this month, so despite having seen it several times I've watched all or part of it many times again. I've been paying more attention to the music selections and the smaller details recently.

This particular song, "All The Young Dudes" by Mott The Hoople plays during what starts off as a fairly innocent scene towards the end and turns into an emotional turning point in the film.

I remember thinking when I first heard it that it sounded like a David Bowie song. Well, it turns out that's because Bowie wrote the tune for the band in an effort to keep them together. He was a big fan apparently and originally offered them his song "Sufragette City" from his then unreleased Ziggy Stardust album.

On this performance, Bowie accompanies the band live at the 1992 concert honoring Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A.J. Pollock drafted 17th overall by Diamondbacks

Photo Credit/

Congratulations are in order for Notre Dame Junior OF A.J. Pollock, who was drafted today with the number 17 overall pick in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Pollock's selection matches the highest that a Notre Dame player has been drafted, tying Ken Plesha (1965, Chicago White Sox) and Brad Lidge (1998, Houston Astros).

For a more detailed run-down of Pollack's career check out this write up from

Monday, June 8, 2009

Colbert Heads To Iraq

Stephen Colbert is taking his show on the road this week, where he will be broadcasting the Colbert Report from Iraq.

Playfully referred to as "Operation Iraqi Stephen", Colbert will entertain the troops this week as well as those of us watching on comedy Central at 11:30 pm.

Tonight's guest is General Raymond Odierno who will no doubt talk about the ongoing efforts by U.S. troops in Iraq, and reportedly will help Stephen fit in better with a very special haircut.

Here's hoping Stephen will give the troops the "Colbert Bump"!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Tetris

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Tetris- the most successful video game franchise of all time.

I'm feeling a little too lazy to type up a full blurb about the extremely simple, yet addicting game. There's a nice little write up from Time that you should look into.

Of course the important thing here is playing it. So if you've misplaced your Gameboy or don't have your Nintendo hooked up, you can play online here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Old Kentucky Slime

When someone says they hate the coach of a team, someone like Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, it really means they fear and respect them. When I say I hate John Calipari, I really mean I hate him.

Calipari is quite possibly the slimiest, shadiest character in the slimiest and shadiest of all collegiate sports, men's basketball.

Recent allegations about NBA Rookie of the year Derrick Rose's SAT scores and improper benefits to Rose's brother are just the tip of the iceberg.

Now, new allegations of impropriety have come forth regarding the SAT scores of another player on the 2007-2008 Memphis team, Robert Dozier.

It is now being reported that he was denied admission at the University of Georgia based on inconsistencies in his SAT scores. Dozier's initial SAT score was invalidated by the company that grades them (something that in and of itself is very rare) after he scored 540 points lower the second time he took the test.

Dozier initially committed to Memphis in high school, then changed his pledge to Georgia, where admissions officials were immediately concerned with his SAT scores.

In a letter to university president Michael Adams, the faculty admissions review board issued a "strong deny" is this case.

"Of greatest concern is the gross inconsistency in his testing record," the committee wrote in its report. "His [SAT verbal score of 590] would place him in the 76th percentile nationally, while his [SAT math score of 670] places him in the 89th percentile. This raises a serious red flag, since his PSAT from October 2000 places him in the 4th percentile nationally in both areas. Such a remarkable improvement in testing abilities in the span of nine months is highly improbable, particularly for a student with a C-minus record in average college prep courses in high school."

That doesn't sound good at all. The NCAA will meet with Memphis officials Saturday regarding the Derrick Rose case, while the Dozier matter will not be included in those particular hearings.

Some might be shocked at all of these allegations swirling around the Memphis program, but they shouldn't be. If the NCAA chooses to vacate Memphis' 2008 record 38 wins and National Championship game appearance, it will be the second Calipari-led program to be punished in that fashion.

In 1996, the NCAA vacated Calipari's Final Four appearance at UMass (the school's first) after it was revealed that Naismith player of the year Marcus Camby was found to have received roughly $28,000 from sports agents. Calipari was of course cleared of any wrongdoing.

The latest rash of allegations at Memphis are far from shocking. Calipari isn't just one of the best recruiters in college hoops because he's a nice guy, it's because he's willing to play the games respectable coaches aren't.

Case in point, recent high profile commitment John Wall will play at Kentucky where he will battle for playing time with the other handful of high-major prospects Calipari brought in. The smart choice for Wall would seem to be attending North Carolina, where there was a scholarship open and an open slot at point guard with Ty Lawson going to the NBA.

It makes sense to go to the best program in the country where your position is available right? Well, john Wall has a handler who said, "I would absolutely not support Wall going to North Carolina."


Because Roy Williams has a reputation of not dealing with people like him and the handler knew he'd get cut out of the deal.

Clearly, I've been railing against John Calipari, but what I'm really angry about is the state of college basketball recruiting. Are there programs that do things the right way out there? Certainly. But when as a head coach you KNOW there are guys doing this (and trust me they know) you've got to ask yourself why even bother doing things the right way?

The NCAA needs to get it together and crack down on the handlers and the AAU garbage and start letting these young punks who are only in it for the money start going pro straight out of high school again. Of course they'll need the NBA's help on that, but this forced amateurism will only continue to lead to dirty programs and even dirtier coaches.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Geno + Sid = 2-2

AP Photo Credit/ Gene J. Puskar

A good friend of mine and Justin's and longtime follower of Stars and Slights told me, during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, that the Red Wings would win that game 4-1 and the Wings would sweep the series. He even offered that the cup would probably start being engraved later that night after the victory.

He was almost entirely right... but completely wrong at the same time. The Red Wings won Game 2 3-1 and looked to be in commanding lead of the series. They lucked out by scoring two cheap goals in Game 1 off of dumps into the Pittsburgh zone - not real shots on goal!

Pittsburgh rebounded in Game 3, though, as Pens won 4-2 off of a strong performance from it's supporting cast and, of course, Evgeni "Geno" Malkin who had 3 assists.

Tonight's Game 4 was no different than the prior game, as the Penguins eclipsed the Red Wings 4-2.

This game was much more exciting than the prior, though. Malkin put the Penguins ahead 1-0 after he drew a penalty early in the 1st period and then capitalized on a rebound to score the game's first goal.

From there, Detroit actually claimed a 2-1 lead. But the Penguins were not discouraged - scoring 3 goals in less than 6 minutes during the 2nd period.

Jordan Staal, in fact, scored a short-handed goal during a 4-minute span where the Red Wings were unable to score on the man-advantage.

Aside from Malkin's 2 point performance, Captain Sidney Crosby finally ended his Stanley Cup frustration by scoring on a fantastic feed from Malkin at 10:34 into the 2nd period.

Needless to say, this series is far from over as the two teams head back to Detroit for Game 5 tied at 2-2.

Take a look at the highlights from Game 4 and enjoy. So much for a 4-game sweep. Let's Go Pens!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Day, Another Broken NCAA Record as Seminoles Embarrass Buckeyes 37-6

Jim Tressell's boys were no match for Bobby Bowden's men yesterday as the Florida State Seminoles eclipsed the Ohio State Buckeyes 37-6.

The Seminoles scored 8 points in the first quarter followed by a field goal in the second before adding three more field goals in the third.

In know what you're thinking: "Wait a second... football in June? What are you talking about Brian?"

So you got me, the Seminoles did beat the buckeyes this past Sunday but it wasn't on the gridiron - it was on a diamond.

For the second straight day an NCAA baseball record was broken as the Seminoles scored enough runs to mimic a football final score. Watch the video below to learn about the record- setting offensive display by the mighty Seminoles.

This comes a day late only because my computer froze up last night while trying to post. It's true - not even Macs are invincible.

Song Of The Day- Janis Joplin

This video comes from the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival. There is much debate as to which performance was bigger for the artist, Janis Joplin's or Jimi Hendrix's. Both launched themselves to American fame as it was their first big American gig. The same goes for The Who and Otis Redding.

The camera crews actually weren't filming when Joplin first performed so they made her and the group she was then still a part of, Big Brother and The Holding Company play again with the cameras rolling.

One of the coolest moments is towards the end when they show Cass Elliot (of The Mamas and The Papas) clearly impressed and she says, "Wow! That's really heavy!"

This song is Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain". Janis really owns it though. And to think she was seen swigging bourbon prior to this...and that was a standard

Also, just in case you were wondering what the bill was like this day:

Ravi Shankar
The Blues Project
Big Brother and the Holding Company
The Group With No Name
Buffalo Springfield
The Who
Grateful Dead
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Scott McKenzie
The Mamas & the Papas

-of note, The Who's Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix both refused to go on after the other (a sign of much respect presumably) so the order they played in was determined by a coin flip. Then they said, "Oh let's put the Dead on in between to be safe." WOW!


Related Posts with Thumbnails