April 15, 2009

Ovechkin Playoff Goal #1

New York Rangers, welcome to Verizon Center for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals tonight. For a brief taste of what the atmosphere is likely to be like, skip ahead 52 seconds into this video. This ain't your Jaromir Jagr Verizon Center anymore, blueshirts. It's so loud, you won't even believe it. Game on, bitches, and UNLEASH THE FURY!!!

Former Ravens DB Daren Stone Suspended

Former Ravens DB and special teamer Daren Stone has been suspended four games by the league. Stone is probably the most-hated Raven among fans after he inexplicably threw Steeler CB Anthony Madison out of bounds just prior to the Ravens' last possession in the AFC Championship Game this past January.

The league refused to comment, but a source overheard Roger Goodell say, "Did you see that play? He has to be on drugs."

The Only Suitable Replacement for Brett Favre?

By now you may have heard that the Green Bay Packers have invited Duke guard Greg Paulus to a workout.  Paulus was a football and basketball star in high school, and had offers to play QB from Notre Dame and Miami but chose to play basketball at Duke instead.

Really?  This guy who hasn’t played competitive football in 4 years is a better option for a workout than any other college quarterback?  Paulus was supposed to be a can’t-miss prospect in either sport, but ended up riding the bench as a senior.  I’m willing to attribute some of that to Coach K’s poor player development, but Paulus doesn’t seem like a guy who deserves a shot in the NFL.

Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and Paulus will turn out to be a great NFL quarterback.  Or maybe the Packers just made a mistake inviting him to a workout and wasted a couple hours of their time.  But it seems crazy to me that an NFL team would be working out an undersized point guard who hasn’t played competitive football since high school.

National Economy 8, Nationals 1

The O's picked up 4 in the tenth to win their third series this year. The Nationals, who have yet to win, lost late last night at the old Kosmo Kramer game of guessing which plane arrives first. They're now 0-7, and 0-43 in Puddle Jumper Roulette. The Nats' owners, the Lerner family, would sell the team, but nothing has turned up on Craig's List and they've yet to meet an actual Nats fan.

Perhaps the Washington Post is keeping spirits up? I counted 202 clickable links before the first Nationals story, and it was about hot young player Lastings Milledge being optioned to AAA. He was hitting .167...as a leadoff man...on a National League team.

At least the Nats have a new stadium, opening it's second year. The team was proud to sell out the near new (brand new if you agree with the Lerners) arena out, even if GM Stan Kasten had to literally go out and beg Philly fans to come.

But alas they lost again. As the headline on ESPN.com's Page 2 stated, the 1988 (0-21) Baltimore Orioles are icing the bubbly. Only D.C. can routinely make the Charm City feel better and better.

April 14, 2009

Idol Recap 4/14/09

Greetings again everyone. I'm back from my foray across the ocean just in time to catch this week's version of Idol.

So I wasn't around last week to see what spurred Idol to make their drastic change this week to only have 2 out of the 4 judges critique each contestant. I will say that I think it's an incredible mistake. Say what you will about Simon, but the fact that he isn't critiquing each contestant is a really bad thing - he delivers the most candid and honest assessment of any of the four of them. Kara DioGuardi may end up being the worst thing to ever happen to Idol. Not to mention the fact that I'm really not sure Simon's ego will be able to sustain not being able to critique each contestant. Silence is not his strong suit.

Now, can we all agree that Quentin Tarantino may be about the most interesting mentor ever? That would be like me mentoring contestants in a literary contest. Sure, I use words as tools in my job as a lawyer every day, but that doesn't qualify me to tell writers how to perform their craft and write a book. Hell, at least he seemed like he wanted to be there though, which is more than we can say for other mentors who were just there to plug upcoming albums.

Now, on to the reviews, this week not live blogging, but instead going back to my stream of consciousness memory of the various performances now that we're only down to 7 contestants.

Allison started us off with I Don't Want To Miss A Thing. It was a pretty damn good performance of a really hard song to sing. But she's proven to not have that huge of a voting bloc, going first will really hurt her, I think, given that her performance was completely overshadowed by later performances, and while she's certainly the more talented of the two remaining female contestants, she's probably at best the 4th or 5th most talented contestant remaining.

Anoop knocked his version of Bryan Adams' Everything I Do (I Do It For You) right out of the park. He did a tremendous job of inflecting a drippy, sugary, syrupy song with the necessary punch to make it memorable. And his voice was dead on tonight. One of his best performances yet. I do hope he gave a shoutout last week to his National Champion Tar Heels.

Adam to me is the contestant who I find actually agonizing to watch, yet at the end of his performances, I find myself sitting back and thinking how good of a performance it was. Tonight was much more about the stage performance than it was about the singing. I mean, the kid knows how to entertain, that's for damn sure. As Simon would say, I'm not sure the performance was quite as good as Adam thought it was, but Adam pretty much has his finals card already punched. I do give him the same credit I gave David Cook last year for effectively changing up well-known songs and truly making them his own.

Matt then gave us our second Bryan Adams song of the night and gave a pretty weak performance. Matt and Anoop are truly the wild cards every single week. More so than any other contestant, you never know if you're going to get brilliance or mediocrity (that being relative at this stage of the competition) out of them. This week Matt just didn't deliver and I think he could be in some serious trouble.

Danny was up next and performed Lionel Richie's Endless Love which is what I'd bet $10 was his wedding song, and we all know by now that his wife died an early and recent death. Danny looked like he was going to burst into tears at least a few times during the course of the performance. I thought that the end was delivered well, but I think that Danny pretty much screamed the middle third of the performance instead of singing. That said, if he's going to have a not-so-great performance, now is the time to get it out of his system, as he'll be around until close to the very end, as well. Nice switch to contacts, by the way.

Kris came to the stage and performed a song that I'd never heard before. It was a pretty song. It was also entirely forgettable. It doesn't really matter though - he put on the big brown puppy dog eyes, sang a ballad about love, and will get through with no problem. He's not going to be in any trouble until he actually has to start competing vocally with Danny and Adam.

Lil finished off the show by getting into one of the most angry and bitter verbal throwdowns with a judge I've seen by any contestant in a few years of watching this show when Simon had the audacity to criticize her for being somewhat mediocre. Look, the truth hurts. Lil has floundered the past couple of weeks and I think the pressure is really starting to get to her as her veneer cracked wide open tonight. She either needed to do Bette or do gospel, but trying to do a two-sided version of The Rose just altogether did not work. I think the judges would honestly just be happy if she found a Mary J Blige song to do every week, since that's about the only thing she could possibly do that they wouldn't critique her for. Actually, then they'd critique her for singing the song too close to the original and making it karaoke. I guess I do feel bad for Lil, but she is just totally lost in this competition, and I think the only thing that will save her from going home is maybe going last.

Predicted Bottom Three:
Allison Iraheta
Matt Giraud
Lil Rounds