Dec 28 2006

Should Shawne Merriman Be Honored? Jason Taylor Doesn’t Think So

Category: Pro SportsTim @ 9:44 am

Shawne Merriman is a “stud” linebacker from the Chargers who, in his second year, is making a case as the best defensive player in the league. There is just one problem, he was suspended for 4 games this season for violating the league’s drug policy and according to the Dolphin’s Jason Taylor:

“You really shouldn’t be able to fail a test like that and play in this league, to begin with,” Taylor said Wednesday. “To make the Pro Bowl and all the other awards, I think you’re walking a fine line of sending the wrong message.”

I can't believe I'm saying something to make this guy mad.

Taylor and Merriman are the leading candidates for NFL defensive player of the year. Taylor has a healthy dose of respect for Merriman:

“He’s always making plays,” Taylor said. “He’s one of the best young talents we have in this game right now as far as defensively, and he has had an unbelievable year. With that being said, there are certain rules and guidelines we have to abide by to play in this game.”

Merriman responded to Taylor’s statements:

“If I wasn’t having the kind of season I’m having, this wouldn’t even be a conversation,” Merriman said. “The NFL will always have the level of integrity. That’s what makes the NFL. In my situation, everything happened in an appropriate way. I sat out my four games, my money was taken away from me, my four games were taken away from me, and I came back and played my rear off.”

True, but you could also say if it wasn’t for the stuff that caused your positive test, you wouldn’t be having the season you are having.

In my opinion, the issue here is simple. When someone cheats, they should not be rewarded. Merriman tested positive for performance enhancing substances and his enhanced performance cannot be honored. Peroid.

Can’t Stop the Bleeding: Despite having missed more than a quarter of the Chargers’ games due to suspension, OLB Shawne Merriman is a leading contender for juiced menace man of the year honors. None of this sits well with the saintly Jason Taylor (above), who demonstrated for the AP’s Steve Wine that he doesn’t need to wait for retirement or an ESPN commentary gig to become a self-righteous blowhard.

Season Ticket: I don’t think Merriman should be disqualified from the DPOY award because of his failed test. I do, however, think he should suffer some consequences. In this case, the consequence is that he had four fewer games to prove his value than Taylor did. Maybe Merriman would have done as much as Taylor if he played the full 16. He can’t, and so Taylor’s impact was greater.

Dec 28 2006

Steroids & Baseball: The Feds Target Barry Bonds

Category: Health,Pro SportsTim @ 8:52 am

Bad news for Barry Bonds and Major League Baseball on Wednesday:

With Barry Bonds still in their sights, federal investigators probing steroids in sports can now use the names and urine samples of about 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, following a ruling Wednesday from a federal appeals court.

The 2-1 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned three lower court decisions and could help authorities pinpoint the source of steroids in baseball. It could also bolster the perjury case against the star outfielder, who is under investigation for telling a grand jury he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

Barry's Breakfast

The timing of this decision could be huge for baseball. The primary target appears to be Bonds and his chase of the all-time home run record as he drags his ever-deteriorating body onto the field for a final season. Funny how age has suddenly noticed Bonds again. I wonder why the dramatic changes. Perhaps something in his diet has changed..

This is also the first year that Mark McGwire is eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Eight-time batting champion Tony Gwynn, four-time home run leader Mark McGwire and two-time Most Valuable Player Cal Ripken, Jr., are among 17 first-year candidates on the 2007 Hall of Fame ballot that will be mailed out later this week to approximately 575 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Get ready baseball fans for the most intensive round of steroid talk yet. This is just the opening shot in what will undoubtedly be an ugly war that could seriously hurt baseball.

Baseball Musings: Along with the leaking of the BALCO grand jury testimony, it is going to become extremely difficult for federal officials to get cooperation from athletes in the future. Twice now players have been promised anonymity or privacy in exchange for their cooperation, and twice that’s been violated. Law enforcement just keeps making their own job more difficult.

Say Anything: This baseball fan is literally giddy at the idea of Bonds going down with a perjury charge. I’m not sure there’s anyone on this planet that I loathe more than Barry Bonds.

Jeff Kaplan: That grey pall on Barry Bonds’ name is one step closer to becoming a black mark, if his name is among those 100 samples that tested positive in 2003. Not that anybody seriously doubts his steroid use.

WBRS Sports Blog: This could be catastrophic for baseball. Selig & co have to be hoping that a majority of players tested have since retired or are fringe players at best. If a star gets taken down, this will have huge ramifications. If these names get out, the effect on baseball could be close to the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Dec 27 2006

Former President Gerald Ford Dead at 93

Category: History,PoliticsTim @ 9:21 am

Former President Gerald Ford died last night at the age of 93. As a kid, Ford was really the first president I remember. He came into office following the Watergate scandle and the Nixion resignation at a time when this country was in great turmoil. That was the part I knew and remember. What I didn’t know about for was his athletic past:


From 1931 to 1935 Ford attended The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he majored in economics and political science. He graduated with a B.A. degree in June 1935. He held various part-time jobs to supplement his scholarship. A gifted athlete, Ford played on the University’s national championship football teams in 1932 and 1933. He was voted the Wolverine’s most valuable player in 1934 and on January 1, 1935, played in the annual East-West College All-Star game in San Francisco, for the benefit of the Shrine Crippled Children’s Hospital. In August 1935 he played in the Chicago Tribune College All-Star football game at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.

He received offers from two professional football teams, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, but chose instead to take a position as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale hoping to attend law school there.

He could have been a professional football player, but elected for Yale Law. Clearly a sign of an intelligent man.

When Ford took office, this country was a mess, and the presidency a disgrace. Ford took charge and demonstrated his level of character immediately:

Former President Carter described him Wednesday as “one of the most admirable public servants and human beings I have ever known.”

Ford took office moments after Nixon resigned in disgrace over Watergate.

“My fellow Americans,” Ford said, “our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.”

And, true to his reputation as unassuming Jerry, he added: “I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots. So I ask you to confirm me with your prayers.”

In the end, Ford issued a pardon for Nixon and that act likely prevented his reelection.

“I simply was not convinced that the country wanted to see an ex-president behind bars,” he wrote. “We are not a vengeful people; forgiveness is one of the roots of the American tradition. And Nixon, in my opinion, had already suffered enormously.”

Ford took a job that he knew would be temporary and did what he could to restore our faith in the office of president:

Taking the oath of office in the East Room of the White House moments after seeing the Nixon family off to exile in San Clemente, Calif., Ford observed: “I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad. … In all my private and public acts as your president, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.”


Over the next 30 days, the United States will morn the passing of Ford and we will learn more about the man and the true impact of his presidency. I think it’s time the man receives the credit he is due.

Dec 27 2006

More Trouble For MySpace – Identity Theft

Category: Kids & Technology,ParentingTim @ 8:41 am

MySpace has had its share of trouble in 2006, but now a fresh round of identity theft is again raging through MySpace:

MySpace bills itself as a “place for friends.” Increasingly, it is also a place for unfriendly attacks from digital miscreants on the prowl, luring users to sexually explicit Web sites, clogging mailboxes with spam messages and playing on the trust users have when speaking to “friends” to obtain passwords that could lead to identity theft.

Identity theft is the Darwinism of the 21st century. Someone asks you for your information and we provide it. Why does it seem so easy on MySpace?

A key reason behind the popularity is its ease. Simply by adding a few lines of computer code, users can create elaborate profiles and personalize them with photos, music and video. A host of communication tools makes it easy to send messages to one person or a whole list of friends, who number into the thousands for some of the more popular MySpace users.

Those same tools can be used by vandals to make it look like an innocent user has sent spam to the same long list of “friends.”

Programmers are writing scripts that take advantage of specific features on MySpace, including “friend request,” where one user asks to be added to another user’s list of buddies.

I’m wondering again if having a MySpace account is really worth the potential trouble. It’s probably the same story we’ve heard time and time again; criminal prey on the vulnerable or uneducated. Please educate your kids and make them less vulnerable.

MySpace needs to get their act together pretty quickly according to BUZZscreen:

Other popular social networking sites such as Facebook do not have issues like MySpace does. If MySpace doesn’t fix the existing problems in short order, it’s popularity peak may be reached.

And we all know what happens after anything peaks.

It’s all downhill from there.

I couldn’t agree more.

Dec 24 2006

Houston Christmas Present: Texans 27, Colts 24

Category: Houston,Pro SportsTim @ 4:08 pm

I got my Christmas wish, the Houston Texas beat the Indianapolis Colts 27 – 24 today thanks to some serious running by Ron Dayne. Dayne gained 153 yards and really put the Colts defense on their heals.

Ron Freight Dayne

Congratulations to the Texans and to Dayne. Your Deep Steel Blue Christmas just made me very happy!

Dec 22 2006

A Wii Bit More Trouble

Category: Kids & TechnologyTim @ 8:27 am

The Nintendo Wii has been an incredible sales success that is rapidly turning into a Nintendo Nightmare. On top of a recall of 3.2 million remotes, now Nintendo is facing a class action lawsuit:

A law firm has filed a class action suit against Nintendo Latest News about Nintendo on behalf of owners of the new Wii gaming console for selling remotes with inadequate wrist straps.

San Francisco-based Green Welling filed the lawsuit against Nintendo of America in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington just days after Nintendo pledged to replace all defective parts through a recall of 3.2 million of the straps.

The law firm said Nintendo’s “failure to include a remote that is free from defects is in breach of its own product warranty.” The action seeks an injunction requiring Nintendo to correct the defect in the Wii remotes and provide those who bought the console the option of a refund or replacement.

Basically, you interact with the Wii by moving a remote and some users really get into the games

Does this mean big bucks for Nintendo? doesn’t thing so:

Considering how fast Nintendo responded to complaints about the straps with A.) more stringent warnings, and B.) replacement straps, I have to wonder how far this suit will go. It seems like the company did cover its bases when overzealous gamers started reporting issues, but now it’s ultimately up to a judge to decide whether there’s a real claim here or people are chasing a cash cow.

I would have to agree. This appears to be little more than an opportunistic lawyer who can’t run after ambulances as fast as he/she once did.

Dec 22 2006

Rosie “Rocky” O’Donnell vs. Donald Trump in Rosie III

Category: HumorTim @ 8:01 am

You know the old adage, there is no such thing as bad press? Well, Rosie O’Donnell must believe that with all of her being. Over the past month, she has gathered more negative press than OJ Simpson. In a way, it’s almost like she is paying homage to Sylvester Stallone and his resurrection of the Rocky franchise. In that storyline, Rocky fights a more unbelievable opponent each movie until he gets brain damage.

With that in mind, this is how the Rosie movies are going so far.


Rosie I: Rosie vs. Kelly Ripa – Ripa was on her show and Clay Aiken placed his hand over her mouth so he could talk. Ripa said that was not allowed and “I don’t know where it’s been.” Rosie perks-up feeling someone has been insulted and responds:

“If that had been Mario Lopez doing that, she wouldn’t have said that. As a gay woman, it seems to me, that was a homophobic gesture.”

The response is what you might expect. Ripa calls Rosie while she is still on the air and tells her she is completely off-base. Ripa explains she is a mother of small children and she worries about germs. The public clearly sides with Ripa and Rosie looses the fight.

Rosie II: Rosie vs. Asian Americans – Not deterred by the first loss, Rosie presses on by mocking Asian newscasters with her “ching chang chong” routine on her show. The response does not go well for Rosie:

Rosie O’Donnell has no problem relentlessly slamming anyone she suspects of even the slightest act of discrimination. However, in typical Leftist fashion she imagines herself floating, much like a Macy’s Day Parade Balloon, far above the commoners and their PC restrictions.

Rosie attempts to apologize:

“I do a lot of accents, (but) this apparently was offensive to a lot of Asian people,” O’Donnell said in a skeptical tone.

“Some Asian people have told me it’s as bad as the ‘N-word,’” she continued, to groans from the audience. “You know, it was never (my) intent to mock, and I’m sorry for those people who felt hurt or were teased on the playground.”

Many Asian Americans, however, were not satisfied with O’Donnell’s response.

Rosie scores another loss and stands 0-2.

Rosie III: Rosie vs. Mr. Donald Trump – Not deterred in the slightest, Rosie steps into the ring again; this time versus her own version of Mr. T. Rosie is upset that Trump allows the current Miss USA, Tara Conner, to keep her crown.

Opening jab from Rosie to Trump:

Trump’s news conference with Tara Conner had annoyed her “on a multitude of levels.”

“Left the first wife, had an affair, left the second wife, had an affair. Had kids both times, but he’s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America,” the comedian and actress said to roars of audience laughter. “Donald, sit and spin, my friend.”

Going for the uppercut, she continued:

“He inherited a lot of money. wait a minute, and he’s been bankrupt so many times where he didn’t have to pay. … I just think that this man is sort of like one of those, you know, snake oil salesmen in ‘Little House on the Prairie.'”

Trump, shakes off the first two blows, fires back with a strong left jab:

“Rosie O’Donnell is disgusting, I mean both inside and out,” Trump shot back on the syndicated entertainment show “The Insider.” “Take a look at her, she’s a slob. She talks like a truck driver. … Her show failed when it was a talk show, she failed on that. The ratings went very, very low and very bad and she got essentially thrown off television. Her magazine was a total catastrophe, she got sued. …

“I never went bankrupt, but she said I went bankrupt. So probably I’ll sue her because it would be fun. I’d like to take some money out of her fat-ass pockets,” he said.

Then another, jab to the face:

Rosie is somebody out of control who really just doesn’t have it. And she ought to be careful cause I’ll send one of my friends to pick up her girlfriend, and I think it would be very easy.

Rosie staggers under the first two blows: I’m going to sue you and take away your girlfriend…Trump goes for the knock-out:

“Maybe she wanted to put the crown back on Miss USA’s head,” the real-estate mogul said of the openly gay O’Donnell, who has four children with her partner, Kelli. “I think she’s very attracted to Miss USA so she probably wanted to put the crown on her head herself.”

Insult No. 2: “She is a very, very unattractive woman who really is a bully.”

Insult No. 3: “Ultimately, Rosie is a loser, and ultimately (The View) will fail because of Rosie. … Barbara (Walters) made a mistake and let me tell you something, Barbara’s a good friend of mine.

“She cannot stand Rosie O’Donnell.”

This doesn’t look good for Rosie again. I’m sure she is already planning her sequel, Rosie IV: This Time It’s Personal.

What are others saying?

Cao’s Blog: All in all, they’re slinging mud at each other. Overall, it seems to me that Rosie has exceeded the limits of good taste, and her one-year-contract with the View might not be renewed, because she’s just ‘offended’ too many people. I could be wrong, if ratings are what Barbara Walters values most about that show, over content. But I personally think that Rosie might well have ching-chonged her way out of a job.

Damn I’m Cute: I wonder… In a case like this, where both people in the argument are equally annoying and wrong, does the whole thing just cancel out?

Beyond the Punchline: Lately, it seems that both Trump and O’Donnell are experiencing difficulties playing nice with other celebrities. In a way, they both remind me of those kids at school who were always getting into trouble and had to sit next to the teacher during class, to stop them from attacking the other children; however in this case, they’re all grown up and filthy rich. Ironically, instead of being rewarded for “good behavior” with a gold sticker at the end of the day, these “problem celebrities” are celebrated for disrupting the class, with as little “class” as possible 😉

There Are No Feminists on a Sinking Ship: The surprise wedding announcement of the year was released today, Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump. The happy couple announced that they will go by the joint name Rosie O’Donald.

Dec 21 2006

Obesity Study: Bacteria May Make You Fat

Category: HealthTim @ 8:12 am

Some new information is coming out today about the role bacteria may have on obesity:

The guts of obese people are teeming with a distinctive mix of bacteria that seem to make them prone to gaining weight, a startling discovery that could lead to new ways to fight the obesity epidemic, researchers reported today.

Obese people have more gut microbes that are especially efficient at extracting calories from food, the researchers said, and the proportion of these super-digesting organisms ebbs as they lose weight. Moreover, when the scientists transplanted gut microbes from obese mice into lean mice, the thin animals start getting fat, providing more support for the provocative theory that the bacteria that populate the gut play an important role in regulating weight.

The study was published in today’s issue of Nature and has some interesting findings:

”We are getting more and more evidence to show that obesity isn’t what we thought it used to be,” [Louisiana State University’s Nikhil] Dhurandhar said. ”It isn’t just, you’re eating too much and you’re lazy.”

This could be a major step forward in understanding and treating obesity. The question on my mind is, how does one get bacterial in their gut?

People are born germ-free, but within days they have a gut blooming with microbes. The microbes come from first foods _ either breast milk or formula _ the exterior environment, and the way the babies are born, said Stanford University medicine and microbiology professor David Relman, who was not part of the study.

For decades, doctors have treated bacteria in a “warlike” manner, yet recent research shows that “most encounters we have with microbes are very beneficial,” Gordon said.

So, all the sterilizing we do of bottles, formula, pacifiers, baby food, etc. may actually be preventing the proper bacterial from entering the body? That’s irony for you!

FuturePundit: There’s an obvious opening here for yogurt makers? Can bacterial blends for yogurt get formulated to encourage the flourishing of bacteria that keep the weight off?

: Well, for crying out loud, get that bacteria isolated and let’s ALL lose that ‘gut’, I guess I’ve had the bacteria all my life, even when I was in TOP physical condition I had a bit of a ‘pot belly’… Some folks just call it ’seniority’…

Innocent Bystanders: We need some more research to find out if a diet of Jack Daniels and Marlboro Lights actually promotes the right kind of bugs.

Irregular Times: I’m not suggesting that people go out and live on a diet of pure candy, or stop exercising. I am suggesting, however, that the diet and exercise evangelists might want to lay off on the moral judgment of those whose bodies don’t measure up to their standards, at least until additional research comes along to refine our ideas of what microbial communities in our guts have to do with the shape of our guts.

Dec 20 2006

Pro Bowl 2006: Chargers 9, Eli Manning 0

Category: Pro SportsTim @ 8:18 am

Remember the 2004 NFL Draft? The San Diego Chargers had the first pick. The top player in the draft was considered to be Eli Manning and his dad Archie felt his son was bigger than the game and deserved better than the Chargers:

The San Diego Chargers, who have had four winning seasons the last two decades, made a rather self-defeating decision when they revealed that Archie Manning, son Eli and agent Tom Condon had told the team not to draft the quarterback. The elder Manning, whose NFL career was ruined in New Orleans, was visibly upset Thursday that secret discussions were divulged by San Diego general manager A.J. Smith— particularly after the Chargers called him.

“I’m sorry about this,” Archie told reporters.

I bet you are. As you know, the Chargers took Manning anyway and to see Eli standing there holding that Chargers jersey with a little tear in his eye…priceless:

From the look on Manning’s face, the commish might as well have said, “With the first choice, Eli Manning is sentenced to the San Diego Chargers State Penitentiary.”

The Chargers worked a deal with the Giants and based on this year’s Pro Bowl selections, clearly received the better end of the deal:

The Chargers are sending an NFL-high nine players to the all-star game on Feb. 10 — and three of them came to San Diego in the 2004 blockbuster trade which sent Manning to the New York Giants.

Quarterback Philip Rivers, linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding, all parties in the Manning transaction, are bound for the Pro Bowl. They’re joined by running back LaDainian Tomlinson, fullback Lorenzo Neal, center Nick Hardwick, tight end Antonio Gates, defensive tackle Jamal Williams and special teams standout Kassim Osgood.

The Chargers have never had as many players bound for the Pro Bowl.


Isn’t it funny how life works out.

The Phanatic: Albeit a bit premature, it’s time to take a look at the trade the made Eli Manning the franchise quarterback of the New York Giants. Yes, it’s still too soon to say that Eli will never become the leader Giants GM Ernie Accorsi thought he was getting on Draft Day 2004, but early returns show that years from now we will most likely look at this deal and compare it to “The Trade.”

Fox Sports: The first thing I noticed was that Giants quarterback Eli Manning wasn’t selected, but the three players (or draft selections) which were traded for him did. How remarkable is that? The Chargers ought to give GM A.J. Smith a raise.

Hock Show: You know what Eli Manning‘s problem is? He‘s not nearly personable enough to be a poor man‘s version of his brother. What he needs to do is go out, get some endorsement deals for lesser, knockoff products and scream and yell about how horrible his punter is. That‘s got to be worth at least two more wins.

House of Sports Blab
: If the Chargers do make it to the Super Bowl, can CBS please have a camera fixed on Eli Manning’s face during the whole game? I don’t ask for much.

Dec 20 2006

iPhone Arives But Not From Apple

Category: Sci/TechTim @ 7:52 am

iPods have set the standard for digital music players; incredible interface, incredibly cool. It seemed only a matter of time before Apple launched itself into the mobile phone market with an iPod/mobile phone of their own. On Tuesday, the iPhone was announced:

The iPhone has arrived, but it’s not made by Apple Computer Inc., which was widely rumored to be working a cell phone-iPod combination of the same name.

Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems Inc. that makes networking equipment for the home and small businesses, unveiled the new line of Internet-enabled phones this week.

The phones use the increasingly popular Voice over Internet Protocol, better known as VoIP, and also allow users to switch over for traditional landline calling.

They also can search the Web and allow users to see when friends are online and ready to accept calls. Several other companies have similar offerings.


Linksys? They make great wireless stuff, but I though Apple had the iPhone name in their pockets:

Turns out Cisco’s had the name since 2000, when it bought InfoGear Technology, which had the rights to the iPhone name.

It’s unclear if Apple will be able to challenge Cisco’s right to the name, which is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. More likely, Apple is gonna have to come up with a snazzy name for its product.

Cisco is capitalizing on a tremendous buzz generated by bloggers around the world on a product that exists only in rumors. ZDNet wonders:

How many people will buy the Linksys iPhone thinking they are getting an iPod cousin? You just can’t buy that buzz–and spark more Christmas giggles for folks following technology companies.

What is Apple to do? I guess we will find out in January. In the mean time, you can read more about the iPhone which looks like a pretty cool product. For more on the Apple phone, check out O’Grady’s PowerPage for some interesting marketing artwork that may or may not be from Apple.

bloggingstocks: This might deter some investors who are with Apple solely for the iPod surge, but it still looks likely that some hardware will still come out. What is likely is that Apple will have to do a last minute name change. But what will that be? The iCellphone? The iCell? What do you think Apple will name it?

Lost Remote: In hindsight, not locking in the trademark on iPhone seems like quite the misstep on Apple’s part.’’

Telecommunications Industry News: if Apple decides to follow through on alleged plans to launch an iTunes-enabled cell phone, it will undoubtedly need to come up with a catchy new brand name that isn’t already registered by another company.

Gen X at 40: Are we that dense that sticking an “i” in front of a noun makes it hipper than eight years ago when everything had an “e” and a dash before it. So what are the opportunities? Some of my favorites in the old era were “e-legal” and “e-literate”. I remember my grade five teacher used to say “iTaly” but that was just sorta sad.

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