Archive | August, 2013

My Man Crush

28 Aug

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There was once a time where I was embarrassed to admit this crush, when I would listen to “Senorita” or “Rock Your Body” in the solitary confines of my room and no where else. This was a secret love, one that other men wouldn’t understand.

But somewhere along the line, something changed. Maybe it was that Justin Timberlake evolved from a baby faced kid with a beach blonde afro and not an ounce of masculinity on him into a man who so perfectly symbolizes the axiom woman want to be with him, men want to be him. Or maybe it’s that we, the generation of now mid-20-year-olds who grew up listening to N’SYNC, Backstreet Boys and the like, have gotten older, meaning that Justin Timberlake is now performing for a bunch of professional working men and woman—although these days, maybe not—and no longer claques of screaming little girls. Or maybe it’s just that his music has gotten really good.

Whatever it is, I no longer have to keep my crush a secret. Which is pretty awesome. And liberating. I think. It may also backfire.

For those who didn’t see, or don’t realize that Miley Cyrus* wasn’t the only one at the MTV’s VMAs earlier this week, Justin Timberlake was given some sort of Michael Jackson lifetime achievement award. Before accepting it, though, he performed a medley of nearly every one of his hits. Simply put: it was fucking awesome.

*I’m too lazy to look up it up, but let’s just say that the VMAs have been going on for 20 years. Well then for the past 20 years people have been spending the day after the VMAs discussing that Crazy Thing that happened the night before, and “Can you believe it?” and “Oh my God, will somebody please think about the children that watched this crazy thing happen?!?” THE CHILDREN. It gets annoying. Yes, the VMAs push certain boundaries. That’s what they do. Who gives a shit?!?

Though I have to say, I like this medley that he did for Jimmy Fallon a bit more.

Pop music is something that everyone, for the most part, loves. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t be pop. That’s the basic definition of it. The problem is that, over the years, the genre has changed. Pop music is now mostly synonymous with bad music. Generally, the explanation you’ll hear from someone for why they “like” a certain pop song is that they don’t like it, but rather they just find it fun and/or catchy. Becoming a guilty pleasure is often the highest compliment a pop song can hope to achieve.

So what makes Timberlake—or JT, as some of us like to call him— different? For one, he’s actually, you know, a musician. With talent. Who can sing. For real. Even when he’s performing. That latter point, at least for me, is the difference, and at the heart of what makes Timberlake the rare modern pop star who you can actually envision one day being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He actually sings. In those two videos above, every word that’s sung during his performances either comes from his mouth or from those of his band members. There’s no lip-synching. No dubbing. Just his voice. And he hits his notes. I don’t think you can count on one hand how many pop singers even attempt to do that today, let alone can do it.

Oh, AND HE HAS A BAND! And it’s not just for eye candy; you can hear the difference between his live songs and the recorded ones. The live ones take on a different feel, a different form. Sometimes, such as in the “Cry Me a River” from above, they sound more like rock and less like pop. Combined with his stage presence and seemingly innate feel and ability to just entertain people, and what you have is a performer who is actually able to turn his live acts into, you know, those crazy unicorn-like things called performances. This is something that, maybe, five other modern pop singers can do. And honestly I think that number might be too high.

Pop music doesn’t have to be shitty remixes, cheap knockoffs of whatever band is currently “making it” (I’m looking at you Lumineers, Philip Phillips, and every other Mumford and Sons copycat), or annoying hypnotizing and brain erasing beats. It’s allowed to have some sort of substance. Once upon a time it did. I’m not a music critic (shocking, I know), so I’m not going to pretend to offer up an explanation for all this. All I will say is that modern pop music is godawful. And that’s when you hear it on the radio over and over and over. Live it’s usually even worse.

Timberlake is the exception to all those complaints. You may not like his music or lyrics or persona—I happen to, but that opinion, like all music except Bruce Springsteen, can be subjective—but you have to respect his talents and the fact that he is a musician who seems to understand what music can be, and what it should be.

Oh, and then there’s this!

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Rex Ryan

27 Aug

Wrote a quick little something about Rex Ryan over at TDdaily. Not going to repeat the whole thing here—if curious about my thoughts, give that link a click—but basically, I think Ryan is a good coach who’s going to, deservedly and undeservedly, be ran out of town. There are a few NFL coaches who are better than Sexy Rexy. There are a ton much worse than him. That’s the equation I’m looking.

Breaking Down My Fantasy Draft Just Because

23 Aug

Using this space to have some fun with my fantasy league. Others are welcomed to read, but I don’t really see why you’d want to. And yeah, things didn’t exactly go the way I planned.

No. 1 Commish

QB: Peyton Manning ($58)

RB:  CJ Spiller ($40)

RB: Bryce Brown ($1)

WR: Randall Cobb ($30)

WR:  Reggie Wayne ($16)

WR: Kenbrell Thompkins ($1)

TE: Fred Davis ($1)

Flex: Tom Brady ($40)

K: NA

DEF: GB ($1)

Bench: Bernard Pierce ($1); Zach Sudfeld ($1); Geno Smith ($1); Percy Harvin ($5); Jonathan Dwyer ($1); Cordaellere Patterson ($1); Rueben Randle ($1); Isaiah Pead ($1)

Best Pick: Tom Brady. Considering Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers each went for 58 dollars, and Drew Brees went for 56, this is a steal. Brady is the fourth QB in that top tier, and, despite seemingly every receiver he’s ever thrown a ball to deciding to migrate to some other team, or commit heinous crimes—allegedly—Brady, should still be able to put up monster numbers. He’s also really, really good looking.

Worst Pick:  Tie between Peyton manning for 58 dollars and Reggie Wayne for 16. I expect Manning to be the top fantasy QB this year—the addition of Welker, plus being another year removed from those neck surgeries, plus the chance of being in lots of shootouts while playing with the Elvis Dummervil and now Von Miller-less, and possibly Champ Bailey-less defense—but this is still a huge cap hit. Wayne, at $16, is not bad value. The reason he’s in this category, though, is because he killed my budget; Wayne was the last player I was able to spend more than a dollar on, and using all my money up on him forced me to fill out my roster with 1 dollar players. I would have been much better off waiting and getting guys like Cecil Shorts and Erik Decker (a combined 8 dollars), and then maybe a running back like Chris Ivory and/or Ahmad Bradshaw. Oh well. You live and learn. And now I can name my team Making it Wayne, which might make it worth it.

Outlook: Everyone else seems to think I’m fucked, but I’m not so sure. Yes, I’m top heavy, but if I can hit on one sleeper (a guy like Thompkins), or get one injury to Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy, or pick up a starting running back early on in the season, I’ll be fine. Then again, that’s a lot of Ifs. What people are forgetting, though, is that I’m the Commish. Don’t be surprised if one day you wake up to find yourselves playing in a 2 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR league.

The King of Kings

QB: RG3 ($37)

RB: Reggie Bush ($13)

RB: Darren Sproles ($8)

WR: Victor Cruz ($24)

WR:  Tavon Austin ($14)

WR: TY Hilton ($4)

TE: Jimmy Graham ($44)

Flex: Colin Kaepernick ($35)

K: NA

DEF: St. Louis ($1)

Bench: Ryan Mathews ($4); Eric Decker ($5); DeAnre Hopkins ($3); Chris Ivory ($2); Le’Veon Bell ($1); Alshon Jeffrey ($1); Rueben Randle ($1); Den ($1)

Best Pick: Darren Sproles ($8). This is a tough one here—Moshe’s got a lot of good value guys—but I’ll go with Sproles. In a PPR league he could be a top-25 player, and to pay less than eight dollars for that is a nice “signing.”

Worst Pick:  Tavon Austin ($14). Rookie wide receivers don’t often do well, and Austin’s game is too hard to project. It’s not that $14 is a lot for him; it’s that it was unnecessary. Some if this isn’t Moshe’s fault; like the rest of us, he was thrown off a bit by the way the average auction prices quickly fell. But still: The Good Steve Smith, Dwayne Bowe and Jordy Nelson all went for $14 and less (which, thinking about it now, is fucking insane. What a weird/messed up auction. Well done boys). Moshe would have been better off taking one of those guys, or someone else for less, and then investing the extra dollars in a better running back than Bush (who I like, but is an injury risk), or a real No. 1 wide receiver.

Outlook: Moshe’s investing in the Read-Option and hoping that defenses don’t figure something out. If they do, he can be in trouble. Same goes for if RG3 decides to keep throwing himself in front of lunatic behemoths charging at him. This is a good team, but it seems like it’s missing a little something something, especially at wide receiver. But don’t worry, Mosh, you’re still a King of Kings.

Mr. Fessel

QB: Eli Manning ($13)

RB: LeSean McCoy ($47)

RB: Chris Johnson ($17)

WR: AJ Green ($52)

WR:  Julio Jones ($36)

WR: Greg Jennings ($4)

TE: Jermichael Finley ($3)

Flex: Andy Dalton ($3)

K: Phil Dawson ($1)

DEF: Seattle ($4)

Bench: Eddie Lacy ($3); Cecil Shorts ($3); Ahmad Bradshaw ($3); Denarius Moore ($2); The Law Firm, ($2); Antonio Gates ($1); EJ Manuel ($2);

Best Pick: Eli Manning (13$). Eli is a legitimate starting QB—probably a low tier No. 1 borderline No. 2—and Elan got him for 12 dollars less than Matt Stafford, and just five dollars more than Alex Smith. There are also a bunch of good valued-bench guys here, such as Shorts, Lacy, Bradshaw, and even EJ Manuel—who takes on more value in a keeper league.

Worst Pick:  Ok, where to start. AJ Green for 52 dollars is insane. That’s a dollar more than Calvin Johnson. Also, if you’re going to spend that much on McCoy, you need to get Bryce Brown, too.

Outlook: The flex position here is going to be a problem. Unless EJ Manuel plays like the rookie QBs did last year, or a guy like Eddie Lacy explodes, you’re going to be going in a guy short, but with not enough star power, either. Again, AJ Green for $52 was not a good idea. Also, you lose points for having your lady IM Steiner in the middle of the draft because she couldn’t reach you, and then balking on going down to the ATM because you had to make a phone call. Where are the priorities?!? Though me calling you out on this sorta reminds me of this video.

Ivan Drago

QB: Drew Brees ($56)

RB: Steven Jackson ($21)

RB: Maurice Jones-Drew ($14)

WR: Calvin Johnson ($51)

WR: Dwayne Bowe ($12)

WR: Torrey Smith ($7)

TE: Tony Gonzalez ($18)

Flex: DeMarco Murray ($9)

K: Sebastian Janikowski ($1)

DEF: New England $1)

Bench: Sam Bradford ($1); Golden Tate ($3); Derius Heyward-Bey ($1); Jake Locker ($1); Aaron Dobson ($1); Ryan Broyels ($1)

Best Pick: Dwyane Bowe ($12). Alex Smith may not be great, or as good as he’s looked in Jim Harbaugh’s offense the past couple of years, but he’s still probably better than any of the QBs Bowe has played with in his career. The same can be said for Andy Reid and the coaches/offensive coordinators Bowe has had. 12 dollars here is incredible.

Worst Pick:  DeMarco Murray ($9). For the first time in, like, ever, my Russian deputy commish seems to have a pretty good team. The strategy—going for a couple of stars, and then filling out the rest of the roster—was a good one. The problem was some of the execution. If you’re going to go that route, you can’t spend 9 dollars on a player as fragile as an unmarried 27-year-old Jewish girl’s self esteem. The move here, especially since you got Murray after already having two running back’s on the team, should have been to put in a little more and get a guy like Eli or Romo.

Outlook: He’s got a lot riding on Torrey Smith. I’m not a fan, but someone in Baltimore has to catch balls. If Smith can be a real No. 1, this could be a very dangerous team.

Someone Named Cousin Bob

QB: Philip Rivers ($9)

RB: Adrian Peterson ($49)

RB: Doug Martin ($49)

WR: James Jones ($10)

WR: Hakeen Nicks ($8)

WR: Steve Smith  ($9)

TE: Greg Olson ($2)

Flex: Darren McFadden ($8)

K: Stephen Gostkowski ($1)

DEF: Baltimore ($4)

Bench: Mike Wallace ($6); Josh Freeman ($3); Matt Schaub ($6); Daryl Richardson ($3); Lamar Miller ($3); Miles Austin ($5); Brian Hartline,

Best Pick: Steve Smith ($9) and Hakeem Nicks($8). To get these two receivers for a combined 17 dollars is pretty incredible. The problem is what was done with the leftovers. For example…

Worst Pick: All the QBs… If you’re going to save that much on wide receiver, at least invest in one legit QB. Schaub is a one dollar player in a 10-team, Flex-Can-Be-QB league. Rivers stinks. Freeman is OK fantasy wise, but if all those resources had been combined, Somebody Named Cousin Bob could have had Luck, Romo or Eli, easily. Or even turned James Jones into someone who’s not coming off an anomaly of a season and due for a crazy regression.

Outlook: There was lots of potential here, but I don’t expect much from our King of King’s employer. The running backs are great, and the strategy was sound. The execution, however, was not. McFadden, someone who makes DeMarco Murray look like an iron man, Rivers and Schaub were all misses, and those empty roster spots are going to bite Somebody Named Cousin Bob in the ass.

Jon’s Brother

QB: Andrew Luck ($13)

RB: Arian Foster ($51)

RB: Trent Richardson ($39)

WR: Larry Fitzgerald ($30)

WR: Roddy White ($20)

WR: Wes Welker ($19)

TE: Jared Cook ($2)

Flex: Ben Roethlisberger ($5)

K: Greg Zuerlein ($2)

DEF: Houston ($2)

Bench: Frank Gore ($8); Nick Foles ($1); Lance Moore ($64; Vick Ballard ($1); Santana Moss ($1); Dallas ($1); Dennis Pitta ($1)

Best Pick: Andrew Luck ($13). Might be the only “good pick” for Senor Cream Cheese, too. Luck at $13 may turn out to be one of the best picks in the draft, or auction—reuniting with Pep Hamilton, his O. coordinator from Stanford, should make Luck even better this year, especially since he won’t be OK with Luck constantly taking a deep drop with no extra protection—and he’ll probably be on Ron’s team next year, too. As for the rest of the team…

Worst Pick: Too many to list. Nick Foles isn’t starting and there’s a slight chance he’ll be cut; two dollars for a kicker; Dennis Pitta is most likely out for the season; 30 dollars on a wide receiver who has Carson Palmer throwing him the ball; TWO, that’s right, two defenses; and 51 dollars on a running back who is having back issues that are now affecting his legs and forcing him to get shots to alleviate the pain. Aside from all that, though, I think things are looking pretty good for Ronald.

Outlook: See above.

Nachum’s Roommate

QB: Matt Ryan ($39)

RB: Marshawn Lynch ($47)

RB: Montee Ball ($11)

WR: Vincent Jackson ($22)

WR: Demaryius Thomas ($30)

WR: Anquan Boldin ($2)

TE: Owen Daniels ($2)

Flex: Tony Romo ($15)

K: Matt Bryant ($1)

DEF: Tampa Bay ($2)

Bench: Jay Cutler ($9); Justin Blackmon ($1); Mark Ingram (1); Brandon Myers ($1); Rashard Mendenhall ($1); Vincent Brown ($1)

Best Pick: Tony Romo ($15). I’m repeating myself on this one, but I think Luck, Romo and Eli going for what they did is crazy. The teams who “signed” these guys pulled off steals. Romo is a good QB with a unwarranted slightly-negative reputation. And he’s throwing to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.

Worst Pick: Demaryius Thomas ($30). That’s a lot of money for a receiver who’s going to have to compete with other other guys for catches. This isn’t a knock on Thomas—he’s a stud. But fantasy is a whole different game, and Thomas is going to end up having a similar statistical season to some guys who went for more than ten dollars less than him.

Outlook: Nachum’s Roommate’s team is the definition of a “bleh” one. Some good guys, nothing special. Romo is a good steal, but other than that, no great ones here, which would be OK, if the stars/top-tier players were a tad better. So with that I say, Mosh, thanks for inviting this guy to the league. Can anyone else say, “Free Money!!!”?

Ari Zanger’s Roommate

QB: Aaron Rodgers ($58)

RB: Ray Rice ($54)

RB: Govani Bedard ($7)

WR: Brandon Marshall ($45)

WR: Pierre Garcon ($7)

WR: Anquan Boldin ($2)

TE: Jason Witten ($15)

Flex: Joe Flacco ($2)

K: Matt Prater ($1)

DEF: San Fran ($3)

Bench: Sidney Rice ($1); Emmanuel Sanders ($1); Mike Leshoure (1); Matt Flynn ($1); Kendall Wright ($1); Jonathan Stewart ($1); Malcom Floyd ($1)

Best Pick: Brandon Marshall ($45). Marshall is probably the second best fantasy wide receiver, given how much Jay Cutler pops to him and how often he throws to him, and Ari Zanger’s Roommate/Deuce/McBone got him for less than AJ Green. Smart money here.

Worst Pick: Ray Rice ($54). It’s not that Rice isn’t good, but that’s a lot of money to spend on a guy who’s going to be losing some carries, possibly even around the goal line, to playoff “hero” Bernard Pierce. Rice is probably a better football player than fantasy player. That is not a good description to hear about a guy who had a team spend 25 percent of its budget on him. Then again, Rice is from the 9-1-41!! so I take this all back.

Outlook: Rodgers and Marshall are studs. Rice, while perhaps not as good fantasy-wise as some think, is still one of the five best running backs in the league. Witten is great, especially in a PPR. Garcon could be a breakout performer. Is the weak flex player (Joe Flacco) going to cause an issue? I say…I have no effing idea.

The Hot Dog Man

QB: Matthew Staffod ($25)

RB: Jamal Charles ($38)

RB: Alfred Morris ($23)

WR: Danny Amendola ($23)

WR: Stevie Johnson ($5)

WR: Dez Bryant

TE: Vernon Davis ($8)

Flex: Steven Ridley ($15)

K: Blair Walsh ($1)

DEF: Cin ($1)

Bench: Josh Gordon ($3); Alex Smith ($8); Aaron Hernandez ($1); Ben Tate (1); Matt Flynn ($1); Chris Givens ($1); Kenny Britt ($1).

Best Pick: Steven Ridley ($15). That’s a crazy amount for a guy who’s going to be the No. 1 back on a high powered offense that, contrary to popular belief, has, in the past, liked to run the football. That doesn’t even take into account the belief that the Patriots may run the ball a ton more this year given all their problems at receiver. Morris was also good value.

Worst Pick: Alex Smith ($8). That’s eight dollars for an average-at-best QB who is going to be sitting on the Hot Dog Man’s bench. Big waste. Could have basically had Cam instead of Stafford, and his screwy mechanics, and Alex Smith.

Outlook: Not a fan of this team. Some really good running backs that could possibly carry him, but too many sleeper wide receiver chances, and not enough production from Ilan’s QB spots. Props, though, for taking Aaron Hernandez. Always good to have a guy on your team that makes you want to root against justice for murder victims. Allegedly.

Judah

QB: Cam Newton ($36)

RB: Matt Forte ($33)

RB: David Wilson ($8)

WR: Andre Johnson ($29)

WR: Marques Colston ($16)

WR: Antonio Brown ($10)

TE: Rob Gronkowski ($10)

Flex: Russell Wilson ($27)

K: NA

DEF: Chicago ($1)

Bench: Michael Vick ($10); Mike Williams ($4); DeSean Jackson ($5); Shane Vereen ($1); DeAngelo Williams ($4); Michael Floyd ($2; Carson Palmer ($1); Jordan Cameron ($1)

Best Pick: Antonio Brown ($10). A No. 1 receiver on a team that likes to throw the ball, for just 10 dollars?!? Don’t care about Brown’s lackluster season last year. If Big Ben can play at least 13 games, Juffy has a steal here.

Worst Pick: Matt Forte ($33). Matt Forte is just not a very good running back. Judah spent money on him as if he was a very good running back. That is usually not a great plan. Look at Forte’s career stats. He averaged less than four yards a carry last season.

Outlook: Honestly, I don’t really care anymore. I’ve been doing this for too long and am losing steam and am getting hungry, so instead I think I’ll take Josh and Elan’s favorite answer—7.

Pre-Season Power Rankings That I’m Sure Will Be Horribly Wrong

1. Bouaziz

2. Steiner

3. Moshe

4. Judah

5. Yaron

6. Bob

7. Ilan

8. Zanger

9. Gil

10. Ron