Fuck-Up Stickers

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Consider Ohio State, Florida State, and Georgia.

These three college football programs share a common bond besides their uncanny abilities to be perennially overrated.

If you are ever unfortunate enough to watch a contest of grit on the gridiron between any of these schools and their opponents – or, God forbid, between two of the three – then you would bear witness to the single greatest folly in the entire world of sports.

Yes, that’s even still considering you, futbol.

Attached to the super overinflated heads of these “student”-athletes is constant reminder of how awesome quarterbacks, halfbacks, and wide receivers are and how incomprehensibly worthless linemen and those skinny white guys (read: kickers and punters) can so perfectly be.  Well, it’s about time everyone found out what I’ve known all along.

Pride Stickers are stupid.

I would go into a detailed argument, covering all premises and steering clear of any fallacies, but I’ve decided to spare you the barrage of syllogisms.  Instead, please accept this picture of Pride Stickers being enjoyed thoroughly by a bunch of Mormons as proof of my previous statement.


If there is one principle which every man from every faith can embrace, it is that if the Mormons like it, it must be badEven the Mormons believe this.

So, pray tell, what is the antidote to this plague on my precious pigskin? I introduce to you Fuck-Up Stickers.

I am adamantly in favor of a system which publicly points out the flaws of these high profile college students.  Humility does not come in a more sobering form than public embarrassment.  Instead of receiving a sticker for making an outstanding play, I propose a system that rewards failure with stickers that emphasize the fact that a player has made mistakes that will not be accepted.  Since these players are getting paid under the table anyways, I do not think it is too unreasonable to ask them not to fuck up, even if it is in such a way that could be viewed as a metaphorical exclamation mark.

The system is simple.

If a player does something wrong, they receive one Fuck-Up Sticker.  These faults can include penalties, dropped passes, missed blocks, or anything else a coach would really like point out as being important not to do in the future.  Once a player has accumulated a sum of these stickers, the only way to get rid of them is to play fundamental team football.  The amount of stickers removed and for what is left up to the coach’s discretion.

Picture this:

A college football team is seconds away from taking the field.  As the players are huddled in the tunnels waiting to run the Cheerleader’s Gauntlet of Death, they are all on a search to find the most sticker ridden helmets in order to give words of encouragement to their most struggling teammates.

“Pay close attention the snap count changes. Catch the ball first, then turn and run with it.  Keep the ball to the outside.”

Now, imagine the overwhelming motivation a player would receive from looking at his own helmet and seeing 15 Fuck-Up Stickers.  He would remember what he has done wrong in the past and would realize how important fundamentals are in the game of football. Thoughts of teamwork would echo inside of his head, and as he took the field being welcomed by the roar of his home team crowd, one thought would linger.

“Man, I really gotta quit fucking up!”

2009 MLB Awards

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Starting November 16th, Major League Baseball began naming the winners of the four major awards in MLB: Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young Award, and Most Valuable Player.  Aside from the fact I feel baseball waits too long to name winners, over 2 weeks from the last World Series Game, the awards always stir debate year after year.  Today, I’m going to rate how the awards were handed out compared to how I thought they should have been handed out!

American League Rookie of the Year (November 16th)
Andrew Bailey RHP, Oakland Athletics

This race, to me, came down to Elvis Andrus SS – TEX, Rick Porcello SP – DET, and Oakland pitchers Brett Anderson and Andrew Bailey.  Before the season began many felt Matt Wieters C – BAL was going to have this award claimed easily, but after waiting over a month to join the big league club, and then underperforming he fell out of contention early.  Bailey had more K’s than IP, finished in the top 10 in saves, and was the only rookie named to the All Star team.  Anderson tossed 145 Ks in 170.1 IP and fanned nearly 3 times more batters than he walked.  Porcello led all rookies with 14 wins and emerged as a top starter for the contending Tigers.  Still, I feel that the award belonged to Andrus.  He’s already regarded as one of the best defensive short stops in the bigs, and also led all AL rookies in hits, triples and stolen bases.
My Predicted Winner: Elvis Andrus

National League Rookie of the Year (Novemer 16th)
Chris Coughlan LF, Florida Marlins

Even with impressive performences by Randy Wells SP – CHI(N) and Andrew McCutchen OF – PIT, this race was based in the NL East.  Chris Coghlan OF – FLA, Tommy Hanson SP – ATL, and J.A. Happ P – PHI were the top contenders in my mind.  While Coghlan batted an impressive .321 avg (NL rookie lead) and also led NL rookies in OBP, hits, and runs, I felt that he gets shadowed by Hansons hype and Happs impressive performances in Phillies playoff run.  Happ was a diamond in the rough early in the year when the Phillies staff was struggling. He also had a sub 3.00 era in a hitters park, combined with 12 wins and 119 K’s.  Hanson, who joined the team later in the season, also threw over 115 K’s with 11 wins and a sub 3.00 era.  Hanson did so with almost 40 less innings than Happ, and I really thought his preseason hype would win him the award.
My Predicted Winner: Tommy Hanson

AL & NL Manager of the Year (November 18th)
Mike Scioscia, Anaheim Angels
Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies

This award almost always lands in the hands of a Playoff team, which should almost always be the case. Nonetheless, Texan Rangers manager Ron Washington impressed a lot of people with his club this season.  He kept his Rangers in the race until the last week of the year, and greatly improved his teams pitching staff.  No doubt though, the AL award belongs to Mike Scioscia, manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.   The Angels used 14 different starting pitchers throughout the year.  In addition to the normal ups and downs of a season , he was able to manage his players through the emotional loss of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart.  For the National League, even thought Charlie Manuel delt well with bullpen problems and Jimmy Rollins early season slup, Jim Tracy moved from bench coach to manager mid-season and got him team to finish 22 games over .500.
My Predicted Winners: AL – Scioscia, NL – Tracy

American League Cy Young (November 17th)
Zack Greinke RHP, Kansas City Royals

CC Sabathia SP – NY(A) finished the season with 19 wins and 197 K’s while leading his team into the post season.  Felix Hernandez SP – SEA also finished with 19 wins and 217 strike outs while posting an amazing 2.49 era.  Wins aside though, Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke deserves the AL Cy Young for his impressive start to finish season.  An 0.84 ERA in his first 10 starts, and 0.75 ERA in his last 8 outings going into baseballs final week, showed that he threw well from start to finish.  Greinke ended the season with a 2.16 ERA along with 16 wins and 242 Ks.  The only debate here was being on a losing team, though Clemens 1997 and Webb 2007 showed that it could be done. 
My Predicted Winner: Zack Greinke

National League Cy Young ( November 19th)
Tim Lincecum RHP, San Francisco Giants

With a lower ERA and WHIP than his winning season in 2008, and only 4 fewer strikeouts, Tim Lincecum SP – SF did great to defend his title.  St. Louis will most likely be home to the winner though, with aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.  Carpenter had an impressive season after throwing only 21 innings total in 2007 and 2008, and had a 2.24 ERA along with 144 K’s in 192 innings and 17 wins.  Wainwright matched Carpenter’s effort with a 2.61 ERA and 212 K’s in 233 innings and 19 wins.  Interesting note: Wainwright’s August 30th birthday matches last year’s AL C Young winner Cliff Lee, though the coincidence may not be impressive enough to match Carpenters comeback in the eyes of the voters.
My Predicted Winner: Adam Wainwright

American League Most Valuable Player (November 23rd)
Joe Mauer C, Minnesota Twins

Everyone loves Yankee captain Derek Jeter, and he has all of the intangibles that scream “valuable”.  His .334 average with 18 homers and 30 stolen bases are some of the best numbers of his career.  Obviously, everyone knows that he’s the heart of the Yankees.  Putting my anti-Yankees bias aside, Jeter has surely deserved this award.  Except Joe Mauer is also having one of his best seasons ever.  The Twins backstop finished with a .365 avg after flirting with .400 most of the season and long out did his 9 homeruns from 2008 by finishing with 28 and almost 100 RBIs.  The Yankees would still be a great team without Jeter, but the Twins would be lost without Mauer. The 26 year old Mauer should win more in the future.
My Predicted Winner: Joe Mauer

National League Most Valuable Player (November 24th)
Albert Pujols 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

They might as well just call this the PNAPA, the Players Named Albert Pujols Award.  His perennially puts the “P” in MVP, and had Barry Bonds not put up the numbers he did in the beginning of Pujols’ career,  Albert would have even more than the 8 he now has.  Pujols hit .327 with a career high 47 homeruns and tied a career best with 16 stolen bases.  The only question here is whether it will be unanimous.  To give other recognition, Hanley Ramirez SS – FLA lead the league in batting average and topped 100 rbs for the first time in his career, and Prince Fielder 1B – MIL ousted Pujols in rbis with 141.  Unfortunately, all they really managed to do was keep Albert from the Triple Crown. 
My Predicted Winner: Albert Pujols

In general, I agreed with the award recipients this year. Specifically, MLB awarded 5 out of the 8 awards to the players/coaches I thought they should. Since we can’t award 5/8 X‘s on theXsection, I’ll translate that to a 5 X scale.

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Cheese Beer Bread Mix

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While curiously browsing through Wal-Mart’s Christmas shopping specials of snacks and gift bundles, I stumbled across a small box on the bottom shelf.  The box was left lonely in the corner, the only one of its kind.  It was shyly shoved toward the back with no other matches in sight, set as an outcast amongst the groups of Budweiser BBQ sauce sets, Ritz crackers, and tin packages of cookies.  However, seeing “Beer Bread” on the label was enough to make me to stop and investigate.

The bottle was an Amber Harvest Mills Baking product, a Cheese Beer Bread Mix!  I had never seen such a creation, so I rotated the bottle to learn what was included inside and how it was made.  What I had in my hand was a bread mix that lacked one key ingredient: Beer.  Apparently, this 16 oz bottle, and 12 ounces of your favorite beer is enough to bake delicious cheese-bread. It did mention, though, that light beer is not recommended and that ginger ale can be used as a substitute to create a lighter flavor.  The price was advertised for $5.00, but after adding beer and tax, the cost for the bread ends up being closer to 6 bucks.

The directions were simple:

  1. Empty bread mix into a bowl, and add beer (or ginger ale)
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon until moist (*Do not over-mix)
  3. Pour into a greased and floured 9” x 5” loaf pan
  4. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 45-50 minutes, or until done

I followed said directions by adding a 12 oz can of my favorite beer (Milwaukee’s Best Ice) and anxiously wait 45 excruciating minutes for the concoction to bake.  After taking it out of the oven, I gave it some time to cool off, then sliced up my cheese bread and found that I enjoyed this delicious treat quite a bit!

The convenience of this all-included, simple, mix was a huge plus to the rating of this product.  The taste also had a huge positive influence on my overall opinion.  I will, however, stress that the “greased and floured pan” step of the instructions needs to be followed.  Unfortunately, I ignored this step and suffered through a hard crust that was difficult to remove from the pan.  Other than that though, there were no problems with the mix!  I greatly enjoyed the product and plan on purchasing another in the upcoming week.

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Standard Time

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It has now been almost three days since I was forced to turn my clocks back an hour, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time (DST) and the beginning of Standard Time (ST) . The old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” definitely applies in this case.  As I mentioned, it has been only 68 hours since the transition, and I’ve already slipped into a mild case of (self-diagnosed) seasonal depression!

If you’re not familiar, Standard Time is actually pretty inefficient in maximizing useful sunlight.  The concept of Daylight Savings was instituted “to adjust daylight hours to when most people are awake and about.” In other words, Daylight Savings Time = More Evening Daylight.  I realize that obviously there just isn’t as much sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months (especially the further North you are) as there is during the summer, but that is NO excuse for the sunset to occur at 5:20 PM!  The only people I can see enjoying this arrangement are ugly people, people wearing night vision goggles, prostitutes, and ugly prostitutes wearing night vision goggles.

In fact, people claim that the benefits of DST’s extra afternoon sunlight include increased retail sales, reduction of traffic fatalities, and a reduced need for artificial light.  Wouldn’t it then make the most sense to do away with Standard Time in favor of DST  in the winter months, when daylight hours are at a premium?  Luckily, there are a handful of communities around the world full of intelligent people that have done away with Standard Time and observe Daylight Savings Time year-round. For the next 4 months, I’ve pretty much decided I will be spending my time figuring out how to move to one of these magical places. Namely, Pickle Lake, Ontario.


Manu Ginobili’s Bat-Hunting Skills

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Unable to establish a working relationship between man and beast (like the Raiders’ special teams pigeon), a fed up San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili reminded a bat flying around AT&T Center Saturday night that it was not in the current lineup and needed to GTFO.  Not much is known about the bat itself, except that it marks the first time* an NBA game has been delayed due to a bat playing the 6th man of a box-and-one zone.  Is it just coincidence then, that the bat chose to take part in the Spurs’ Halloween home game?  It seems pretty obvious to me.  That was definitely no bat.  It was a stone cold vampire!

Manu knocked out that little rodent with such skill, I was tempted to double-check his NBA profile to make sure that Ginobili wasn’s just a nickname disguising his birth-name of Manu Van Helsing!  Despite his lack of an established vampire-killing name, I can only assume that his Argentinian upbringing gives him some super-vampire-hunting-skills that us Americans just don’t have.  After recognizing this fact, I took the time to compile a list for him of several more annoying vampires that I wouldn’t mind if he “took care of” next.

I feel like my hands are tied here.  I pretty much have to hand the man 5 X‘s for his effort.  His bat-hunting technique was close to flawless, though as professional entertainer, he should’ve gone a little Ozzy Osbourne-esque and bit the head off the bat, right at the free throw line.  PETA would’ve gone even more crazy than they already did, and that would’ve earned Manu full marks.

*completely uncited

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