Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Trickle Down "Millen-nomics"

I'll tell you what makes my day, it's to read more news from the Detroit Lions camp. After choosing a WR in the draft for the 4th time in 5 years - boldly sticking to their losing philosophy, you would think the players and fans had had enough and would be angry, oozing with pecimism. If you thought that, your accidentally mistaking them with SF 49er fans.

Matt Millen's "Kramerica-industries" philosophy has bled down into the very souls of Lion's organization. They are convinced that they are on the right track. So much so, that QB John Kitna (I can't believe that guy is even still in the league - I think Reebok is even ashamed to print him a Jersey) came out and said that the Lions are going to win 10 games next year, something they havn't done since 1995.

But after "seeing the schedule", he changed his mind. He humbly now says:

"I'll keep to myself what I think we actually will win. But it's more than 10 games,".

The report says the large part of his optimism is the recent draft choice of Calvin Johnson. Kitna, who now apparently has been certified by Millen to evaluate talent, says this about Johnson:

"I don't like putting a lot of pressure on people, but Calvin Johnson, to me, will have about the same impact that Reggie Bush had in New Orleans,"

I love that Kitna says "to me". Forget that they don't have an offensive line, a stable RB, a defensive line, LB's, or a shut down CB - Kitna believes that they now have the winning formula in another golden WR -- "Ketchup and Mustard in the same bottle....oooh, I like that." I read this and don't know whether to laugh or be sympathetic. I can just hear Kitna calling Millen after the Lions wasted their pick on another WR again "Just when I think you can't get any dumber, you go and do something like this....and totally redeem yourself!!!!!"

Dear John Kitna: If you win more than 6 games next year - Sweet Emotion will pay enormous homage to you and devote a week of posts to your honor. I also personally promise to paint a lion on my bear chest and wear it for a day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Zebra Hunt

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tecmo Bowl and other comments

Sorry, I'm going to go ahead and admit this is a lame blog. However, this guy writing about the lessons learned in Tecmo Bowl is beautiful. If you were a child of the 80's, you'll appreciate his thoughts on Christian Okoye, Barry Word and the rest of the Tecmo Bowl gang.

Secondly, saw where Tennessee Titan's Pac-Man Jones is involved in another strip club shooting investigation. This is all post telling the Titans that he is a new man. Just a suggestion....probably want to stay away from strip clubs. Don't think much good is going to come from being within 300 yards of one.

Thirdly, Bob Barker's microphone sold for something like $17,000 on E-Bay. I'm waiting for the wheel to be auctioned off before I get into the bidding. Have not decided, but thinking about taking a second mortgage on our house to increase our chances at winning the ole wheel. (Let's not even talk about what I would do for a PLINKO board).

Fourthly, Prediction: Senator Fred Thompson will be the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee. Cmon, he is friends with Die Hard's very own John Mclain

Lastly, my wife and I will be in Cajamarca, Peru beginning on Saturday for about 10 days. I will be out of the Sweet Emotion world, but am sure I'll discover some local Sweet Emotion readers in Peru.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

#8 Game Show of All Time

I'm sure everyone has anxiously been awaiting the return of the game show rankings. Without going into the excitement of game shows, I continue the rankings. Video Power and $25,000 pyramid came in at 10 and 9 respectively. At #8.....

8) Wheel of Fortune - It's the second longest current running syndicated game show in the U.S. The hangmanesque puzzle game stormed on the nightly scene in 1983 and has not looked back.
Host: Pat Sajak (rating - 7). Pat is strong. With a recognizable face and a quick wit, he's become a household name. He always has a few humorous comments as he banters with his contestants. His only weakness is his stature. I would guess he measures in around 5'5 but hides his age well.
Vanna White (rating - 4). While Wheel of Fortune does have a famous duo, let's be honest, Vanna is bringing Pat down. Maybe in the early 80's she was still needed, but I think something called technology has erased her need.

Game Format: (rating - 6.5) The wheel is a good gimmick. Any great game show has a marquee gimmick to build around. Spinning the wheel (though probably stolen from Price is Right) adds suspense and the much hated "bankrupt" slot can always level the competition. The incessant clapping while the wheel goes around can get annoying, but overall it's good. On a side note: I've always wanted to see just how big the wheel is.
The word game itself is one a viewer can play at home, but with no change throughout the rounds it can get boring.

Another plus for a game show is anytime a line from the show makes its way into the home. Wheel of Fortune got one of these with: "I'd like to buy a vowel please." Come on, whose never used that line at a party to grab a chuckle or two?

Grand Finale: Bonus Round (5) - Nothing special here. The contestant chooses three additional consonants and one vowel to go along with R,S,T,L,N and E. The contestant then has 10 seconds to guess the word. The suspense was nice with the constant ticking in the background, but there just needed to be a little more. However, Pat did the best with what he had and frequently pulls a Bob Barker to draw out the suspense when revealing the prize. Here is a side note fact: one puzzle, "Baby", was actually solved with no letters showing at all. I didn't see that one, but I'm sure Pat went crazy.

Overall: 6.3 - The show lives and dies with Pat's nightly performance. Good set, good gameplay, but lacking in some creativity and action. Maybe they could add a dueling round where one contestant "word dueled" with another for a jackpot prized.
Fun Fact: Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak pulled a switch on April Fool's day in 1997. I'm guessing Pat was more comfortable with the switch than Alex. Alex seems like a guy that doesn't like change. All the bells and whistles of the Wheel of Fortune set probably ensured it was a one time gig for Trebek.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pretenders and Contenders

The Masters will always have it's southern prestige and charm - the white Caddie suits, heavenly landscaping, green Jacket, Butler Cabin, Amen Corner, ect....but the grind, pressure, and excitement of the US Open makes it my favorite. The golf season is beginning to peak and find it's most exciting time of the year, what better place and time than at our Nation's national championship at one of the most prestiges courses - Oakmont Country Club. The U.S. Open is not for everyone - you have to hit every fairway, the greens are ridiculously fast, the course is long, and the gallery is bit more on the tipsy wild side than at anal-retentive Augusta. The selection of courses would make any golfer drool at the opportunity to play Oakmont, Winged Foot, Pinehurst, Shinnecock, Bethpage, Southern Hills, or Pebble Beach. It is a long grind, and on Sunday pretenders fade into the ranks of 'wanna-bees'.

Shockingly, the U.S. Open has provided some lousy winners in the recent past - nothing compared to the embarrassment of the British Open - but some flukes have prevailed. Michael Campbell's fortunes at Pinehurst in 2005 quickly come to mind, he benefited Retief Goosen's melt-down and Tiger's inability to keep the ball in the fairway. Last year, while Geoff Olgivy was not by any means a joke, he certainly rode the fortune of his competitors mistakes. I hate when tournaments end like that, there is nothing more anticlimactic and lame than watching some guy survive other people's melt-downs. I want someone to win it, like Payne Stewart in 99' or Goosen in 04' - 2 or 3 guys dualing it out and one guy coming through.

The question for this week then, is who are the pretenders and who are the contenders?? NBC (network broadcast for the tournament) had an article about Woody Austin as a possible contender b/c of his win last weekend. Ha! I've also read people wondering "Is it Sergio's time?" No it's not. Here are some clues to picking winners:

1) Guy's wearing Hawaiian shirts and being sponsored by things like Wal-Mart, Hooters, Cheverolet, Cleveland ...these guys are pretenders. They don't wear Nike and Callaway for a reason. Sorry Woody Austin

2) Angry Europeans, while they may play well thurs-Sat, don't count on their "pissed at the world" attitude to take you only so far. Even Superman belt buckles see the cryptonite on Sunday.....

3) South Africa, these guys just know how to play this tournament - it fits there game. Goosen and Els have won 4 and should have had more than that - the others always are true potential contenders.

4) If the U.S. Open were 70 holes, Phil Mickelson would be a 4 time winner - sadly it's 72 holes. I'm sure we'll see some 180 yard flop shop out of the thickest rough imaginable through 5 trees attempting to stop the ball on the fastest green on the course on Sunday at the 18th with a one shot lead---again, somehow creatively blowing it. ....also, Phil's hand still is in pain so he may not even get to this stage.

5) If Tiger can hit the fairway on thursday and Friday, he will win on saturday and Sunday ---- that Simple. Though, the knowledge of his wife being close to her due date and the Junior prodigy child on the way - difficult to know if he will be all there.

Since we do not condone betting on here, "choose" a guy who will hit fairways and greens - he will be there on Sunday. Experts say that the scoring could be tougher than ever - watch for #8, a 288 yard par 3. I'm sure Adam Scott will try to hit about a 7 iron. On a sad note, when I googled "U.S. Open" - that pathetically boring Tennis tournament came up first. Tennis may be one of the most "anti- sweet emotion" sports.

Friday, June 08, 2007

No more Paris Hilton News Please

It's amazing to watch our culture. Paris Hilton's jail cycle is consuming the news. Let's think about that. With all the things going on in the world, it's a young, wealthy blonde's DUI consequences that is consuming the U.S. I don't necessarily blame the news. Simple economics (supply/demand) means the news will show what people watch. We must confess that as a nation, we are consumed with the meaningless. Far from saying I am above this (Bob Barker's retirement still hurts), instead, I am critiquing myself as well. But I do not care what Paris Hilton ate for breakfast today.

What do we say about a culture that for the most part is more concerned with "celebrity" hookups and party scenes than war, abortion, divorce, and God? It is just evidence of the "gods" our culture worships. Entertainment, popularity, fame, and money are the gods of our culture. I am not bashing American Idol, but when more people are interested in electing the next American Idol than the next president....something is awry. In high school and college, we live for the next fun party or weekend road trip. It is no surprise that post-college, entertainment and popularity continue to be the driving force of culture. We have truly made a god of the entertainment industry.

C.S. Lewis once said "Just like the Nazis, by valuing too highly a real, but subordinate good, we have come near to losing that good itself." The arts, entertainment, enjoyment of company, and celebrities are all good things. However, they are subordinate goods that are to be enjoyed under and in subordination to the ultimate good. We've made a "subordinate good" THE GOOD.

It should remind us of the wisdom of Ecclesiastes. Anytime wealth, approval or sex is treated as an ultimate good....its declaration is "vanity." Why, because one day it will all vanish. Its why Paul's statement if Philippians seems so foreign sometimes. "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Only when all of life is realized as being subordinate to life with King Jesus can culture be enjoyed for what it truly is. For Paul the removal of popularity or wealth by death meant nothing. No, his ultimate meaning in life came from a relationship with the King. No weekend party or worldly achievement was better than that. For Paul, death doesn't end life, instead it ushers in a more glorious experience of his ultimate life (A life serving Christ).

In conclusion, I'm reminded of a newspaper article I once heard about. A lady wrote for a New York newspaper and was constantly around celebrities. She knew plenty struggling actors and actresses while they waited tables trying to "make it" in the Hollywood world. She specifically knew 3 celebrities when they were struggling and looking up saying "if only I can make it, then I would be fine." But when they finally found fame in the entertainment world, instead of being fulfilled they were unhappier than before. She said this: "I pity celebrities, no I do, celebrities were once perfectly pleasant human beings, but now their wrath is awful, you see they wanted fame, they worked, they pushed, and the morning after each one was made famous, however, they wanted to take an overdose. Because that giant thing they were striving for, that thing that was going to make everything ok, that thing that was going to provide them with personal fulfillment.....(when they finally got it)....the disillusionment turned them howling and insufferable."

Christians should be leading the way in meaningful culture. Which means keeping first things first and everything else secondary. As Lewis states, "at least the suggestion is worth a thought. To be sure, if it were true that civilization will never be safe till it is put second, that immediately raises the question, second to what? What is the first thing? The only reply I can offer here is that if we do not know, then the first and only truly practical thing is to set about finding out."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The definition of greatness

I had a conversation with a guy on monday that is certain that Lebron James is now the greatest player in the NBA and one of the best 5 of all time. My friend (who is a Spurs fan) strongly objected that he is even the greatest in the game now. Certainly Lebron's performance in the last four games of the conference finals was amazing - but he still seems to have some lapses that seem to keep him from being the best. He's only 22, but it made me wonder how we define true greatness in sports. I really think Lebron has to lead the Cavs to the NBA title in order to assert himself as the greatest in the league. He's certainly one of the best, but being the best in the NBA is doing what Bird, Magic, and Jordan did - time and time again when it counted most. Each sport seems to define itself differently. In 2005 Vince Young had a great season, but his Rose Bowl performance was unquestionably the greatest performance ever in a college football game. I think from that game on that stage it is legit to call him great and one of the greatest of all time. I think some of Joe Montana's, Tom Brady's, ect Super Bowl performances is substantial evidence to declare them as all-time greats. Because the season is shorter and individual games/performances are more crucial (there are no "series"), single game performances in football can declare someone as great. While in Basketball, it cannot be affirmed from one game or even one series. I think to be declared great, there must be the unspoken statistic of consistency and deliverance when it counts. While Karl Malone was a good player, no one is prepared to call him one of the greats of all time - no consistent greatness when it mattered. Baseball seems to be even more difficult, we have seen numerous "fluke" seasons over the years where someone seemed to be great and then followed the next season in the doghouse. Remember Brady Anderson?? Sure you don't, he had one year as the best slugger in the league -no one calls him great or has even thought of nominating him for the Hall of Fame. The varied difficulties of acceptance each sports Hall of Fame speak volumes for how we should think of greatness in each sport. In Baseball, how many "rookie of the years" end up as a joke. I remember refusing to trade my Walt Weiss baseball card after the 1988 season - sure he was on his way...now it's worth 15 cents. Golf may be even more difficult. Everyone was raving about Phil this time last year, 2 majors in a row - but after Winged Foot, the jokes kept coming.

So how do we know when we have seen greatness? You just know. You see something, you have to call somebody, you never forget where you were when you saw it, you have conversations with friends that don't even have words - all it takes is "did you see"...."yeah I saw"....There is nothing like seeing greatness unfold before you, especially in person. Watching something you know will be show again and again - highlights forever. I'll watch the NBA finals, not b/c i love the NBA or the teams involved - but b/c i don't want to miss out on possible greatness. I don't want to miss a star become great. He's not quite there yet - but there are 7 games left.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekend Ramblings

With the utmost of humility I always enjoy pointing out the influence Sweet Emotion has on the world today. Just Friday, Billy Donavan announced that he was leaving the Florida Gators for the Orlando Magic and sealed the deal in ink. Sweet Emotion shortly thereafter proceeded to post an analysis of his decision. We called his decision poor and counted Billy as the next college coach to get frustrated with the NBA. Later that night, rumor has it that Mr. Donavan perused his usual blogs. Upon reading Sweet Emotion's analysis, he reconsidered his decision and is now clawing his way back to Florida. We wish you the best. It feels good to continually make our mark on the world.

Speaking of making your mark on the world. Jackson, Mississippi's very own Mississippi Braves (AA- organization) made quite a stir this weekend. The manager was tossed from the game and turned in the performance of a century following his ejection. Yes, that is a professional manager doing an army crawl to the pitcher's mound. Props to Phillip Wellman for making the most of your time. I've never seen anyone exit the stadium via the bullpen with second AND third base in hand.

And finally, need a little proof that the cubs will always be the cubs. Carlos Zambrano promised a World Series appearance and a Cy Young award this year! This is how he leads the team. He better pitch better than he hits....was that a slap?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Three Point Discussion on the NBA

I know many of you out there are wondering, "what am I supposed to do with all these NBA headlines?" Have no fear, Sweet Emotion will help you intelligently think through the recent NBA situations.

Question: What am I to think about Billy Donavan going to coach the Orlando Magic?
Answer: Billy Donavan has just joined the ranks of a long list of college coaches that will end up hating their job. Five things Donavan had at Florida: Influence over his players, great recruiting, the disparity of college sports (a.k.a. no salary cap, no draft, you can get as much talent as you can recruit), quite a lenient window for some bumps in the road (if one wins back to back national championships he can do no wrong for at least a couple of seasons....see Coach Rod Barnes), and sole possession of the slick backed hair look. He has now thrown those things out the window for an extra three million and a house near Disney World. Don't get me wrong, the proximity to Disney World might get me to Orlando as well. However, I think he will have the same experience as Rick Pitino and John Calipari. The NBA is a players run league, coaches are marginalized, and Pat Riley is king of the slicked back hair.

Question: How good is Lebron James
Answer: Ridiculous! He scored 29 of his teams final 30 points...25 of those points coming in a row. And oh yea, he is 22. Lebron is amazing. I don't think they have much of a chance against the Spurs, but that was Jordanesque last night.

Question: What am I to think of this Kobe Bryant Trade/Jerry West demand.
Answer: Kobe needs to settle down. He needs to remember two things. First of all, he is the employee. Sure his team might have made some less than wise moves. However, they pay you millions to play basketball, and you are the employee....not the reverse. Second of all, how quickly Kobe turns his back on the Lakers. Remember just a few years ago with the rape scandal in Colorado. The Lakers incessantly backed their star player amidst shaky times. What does Kobe pay them back with? He pays them back with trade talks, management demands and other whiny pleas.

Glad Sweet Emotion can help your day. Feel free to disagree and we'll continue the game show rankings next week.