July 30, 2004

DNC Wrap

Well, now we have seen the big two. Both speeches were okay, not great, but okay. I don’t like John Edwards. Every time I see him, I can’t help but think of Eddie Haskell. Everyone seems to consider him this great communicator, but I am repulsed by his smarminess. It doesn’t help that I didn’t like a large chunk of his speech. I’m really concerned about the Dems sharp veer towards protectionism. As I have mentioned previously, NAFTA was the crowing achievement of the Clinton/Gore years, and it is sad to see how quickly the party runs away from it. I also have to chuckle about the Democrats sudden desire to see unity amongst Americans. Isn’t this the same party of affirmative action and racial quotas?

I thought Kerry’s speech was better, though his delivery seemed shaky in the beginning, and he raced through large portions of it. Editing out some of the middle “laundry-list” section would have been advisable. This would have allowed Kerry to slow down, and luxuriate in the applause that the crowd wanted to give. The content was much the same as Edward’s speech, with a giant dose of Vietnam added. The best news came from both concerning terrorism. The language was tough and uncompromising. It makes for good rhetoric; whether they would keep to it is the question.

David Broder has a very interesting article concerning the divide between the largely DLC-oriented candidates and the old-school liberal delegates. It is a fascinating read, and makes me question whether a victorious Kerry would be able to govern as he says he will.

Top Five Speeches
1-Barack Obama
2-Bill Clinton
3-Al Sharpton
4-John Edwards
5-John Kerry

My lovely wife took umbrage with my dismissal of Teresa Heinz Kerry here, and I want to clarify something: I wouldn’t want to seem sexist any way; I would be equally uninterested in a presidential husband. I also agree with her that it would have been nice had the Democrats found a woman not related to a candidate for a major speech. I was optimistic about Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, but what I saw of her speech seemed like a bad SNL sketch. Not the content, but the bizarre contortions she seemed to take. I could not tell if she was a Kucinich-style hand talker or having serious spasms.

Fred expounds on my Obama/Pujols comparison, complimenting me in the process (thanks Fred) and mentions Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, who was the Great Hope for the Future in 2000. I liked Ford, but the “Not Ready for Prime Time” vibe was easy to see.

Last on the convention: I usually stuck with MSNBC and Hardball for my coverage. I like Chris Matthews, he irritates me sometimes, but his passion for politics is infections. Howard Fineman is good, Willie Brown is always fun, and Joe Scarborough is really growing on me. He is not the automatic Republican he used to be. He doesn’t seem like a FOX news refuge, either. I did check out Larry King on CNN a few times. He seemed to come up with his oddest panels ever this time around. Ben Affleck and Gideon Yago? Seriously? Featuring Mo Rocca didn’t help. He grows unfunnier every day.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004

San Diego just can't get enough of Leaf

When I moved to San Diego, I learned real quick how much everyone here hated Ryan Leaf. It is not dislike either; it is a visceral, seething hatred, which everyone seems to have. They treat him here as if he went around killing children, instead of being a lousy pro quarterback. Today, the San Diego Union Tribune felt the need to point out he’s moving away, and getting a divorce. C’mon, does it really matter? The Chargers have been terrible since he left; they have a bright shiny new QB of the future. Let us just get on with our lives. I won’t ever defend him as a person; he’s a jerk and always has been. I will say this though: Ryan Leaf was the best college quarterback I have ever seen. He did what was thought to be impossible: took the Cougars to their first Rose Bowl in 67 years! As a Coug, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Ryan Leaf. So please people, just move on.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:03 PM | Comments (3)

DNC day 2 thoughts

Beyond the phenomenal Barack Obama, the second day of the DNC was pretty lackluster. Ted Kennedy gave a windy speech that I certainly didn’t pay attention too. I understand the desire to honor Teddy. He has managed to survive the ravages of time and self-inflicted wounds to turn himself into an old lion of the Senate, as well as one of the few old-school liberals. The convention is also on his turf. The Democrats had to give him a slot. They’re just lucky no one was paying attention.

Hey, Howard Dean, will you just go away?

Ron Reagan had an impossible task: a speech on an emotional, yet absurdly technical issue. He did fairly well. It was watchable, and there were moments that you could see the old man up there. He does the little head tilt thing.

Teresa Heinz Kerry’s speech was pretty awful: Boring, preachy, and overly long. When did first ladies become so damned important? Did everyone vote for Roslyn Carter and not tell me? I tune into these damned conventions (beyond the neurotic compulsion) to see where the party is and what it stands for. Are Teresa Kerry and Laura Bush really the best choice for that? Don’t give me crap about “humanizing” Kerry. Everyone should realize by now that those few who actually run for this office are essentially inhuman, dealing with insane pressure, stress and intrusion into their lives. I don’t care if Bush likes dogs (well, actually I do, the plight of abandoned animals is very important to me) or that Kerry likes to kayak or fly-fish. I would have no problem whatsoever with Presidential spouses fading back into the shadows.

Now to the Big Deal: There is something essentially thrilling (especially to us wonk types) to hear a new fusion of American politics. That is what Barack Obama did last night. I did not notice the specifics until I listed to the speech again, and checked out Andrew Sullivan’s posts on the subject, but this was a fusion of essentially conservative values (personal freedom and responsibility) with a traditionally liberal social conscience. If the name weren’t taken already, this would be “compassionate conservatism”. Perhaps “responsible liberalism” would be more appropriate. Add to that exciting fusion his undeniably American background (son of a Kenyan immigrant and Kansas farm girl), polished speaking style and willingness to confront scary issues, and you have the Next Big Thing in politics.

To use a sports metaphor, this was Albert Pujols. Do you remember when he came up? The Cardinals were excited about him, but trying hard to keep him concealed, fully expecting him to spend at least a half-season in the minors. Baseball people, both old-school scouts and modern-day SABR types were excited, too. Pujols had a good spring, and he broke camp with the Cards. Pujols faced high, but not excessive expectations. He did not meet them, he did not exceed them; Albert Pujols destroyed his expectations.

That is what Obama did last night. If you’re a politically connected person, you’ve heard of Barack Obama before last night, regardless of your party affiliation. Maybe it is because you’ve read blogs or websites. Maybe someone you knew heard him speak, and gave you a nudge, “You really need to hear this guy.” Whatever it was, you would have heard the name. Last night he came out with a thrilling, magnetic speech, topping everyone on the card so far, even Bill Clinton. He destroyed expectations. Now, he has a lot more of them. I don’t know what happens to him from here. I sincerely hope, as an American, that he doesn’t sell out, or get fat. Last night on Larry King, David Gergen said he’d be the first African American President. He may be right. A Democrat’s dream: Kerry/Edwards win in ’04 and ’08, and Edwards/Obama in 2012

Posted by Frinklin at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

Barack Obama

I'll probably post more on the astonishing debut of Barack Obama on the national stage, but I just need to mention how refreshing he was. A moderate, reasonable, multi-cultural (in a good way), and very well spoken up-and-comer. Andrew Sullivan is right: the GOP doesn't have anyone close.

Posted by Frinklin at 12:32 AM | Comments (1)

Random Quiz for no apparent reason

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
nicknamed Jeeves.
What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

First seen at Sheila A-Stray

Posted by Frinklin at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2004

KotOR II Trailer

The first Knights of the Old Republic II trailer is up at the official site. Very cool...

Posted by Frinklin at 07:50 PM | Comments (1)

DNC day 1 thoughts

Wow, I thought I was watching a Republican convention. Tight, on-message, extolling such virtues as military service, self-sacrifice and personal responsibility; what happened to the moonbats we all know and love? It seems the Democrats, including the Clintons, really DO want to win this thing. Monday was an exceptional convention day, and the highlights were numerous:

-The opening tribute to the victims of 9/11 was incredibly moving (I teared up during the violinist, and I bet you did too) and politically savvy as well. By putting the RNC in New York, the Bushies have made it very clear they’re planning making this a very 9/11 focused event; expect to see innumerable shots of the President amidst the rubble of the WTC. The Democrats have blunted that, claimed a bit of the tragedy and the heroism for themselves.

-Al Gore gave a fine speech, self-effacing and effective. Yesterday I advised the Democrats to ignore both the 2000 election and the former Vice-President. Obviously, this was in jest, as the two are far too important to the party. Well, they covered the bases as effectively as possible. Gore gave a fine speech; his line about “growing up and winning the popular vote” will play well, as will the moment where he asked 2000 Bush voters if they got what they wanted. According to Tim Russert, Gore wanted to give one of his barnburner partisan screeds. Calmer heads prevailed. This was effective and understated. Had Gore gone out there and screamed, that would be all you saw today. The Clintons would be ignored. Good, good move by the Kerry campaign.

-Jimmy Carter’s speech was dull, but since Carter is pretty dull, that’s to be expected. It was also a little more partisan than I would have liked, especially for an ex-president. It does not really matter though; Gore and the Clintons are the story today, not Jimmy Carter.

-Hillary gave a turgid, mechanical speech, but Hillary is a turgid, mechanical person. The Mrs. Frinklin came out of the shower this morning just in time to see the Today Show’s Hillary Highlights. My wife, a nominal Hillary fan, merely said, “She sounds so programmed.” This is very true. Reason #235 why Hillary Clinton will never be President: She is awful public speaker. She did the job though, the crowd loved her, she slipped in a very un-Democratic note about expanding the military, and introduced the Big Man.

-Over the last four years, I’d forgotten what it was like to have a President who could actually sound Presidential. When he is good, he’s great: when he is bad, he’s really bad. Like say, 1988 when his convention speech was the worst in modern political history. Last night though was gold though, a masterpiece, regardless of party or affiliation. The moment where he compared GW Bush and Kerry’s Vietnam record, while lumping himself in was masterful.

If the Democrats can do this well all week, Kerry may well win. Tonight is Ted Kennedy, Barak Obama, and Teresa Heinz Kerry. Ted is Ted, a shadow of both his former self and his brothers. I’m interested in Obama, who seems to excite every Dem who’s heard him. I want to like THK, I love that she doesn’t take herself seriously all the time, but she kinda creeps me out. I don’t know why. Might be the accent.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2004

A very comic book weekend Part 2

Well, I survived SDCC, and in far better shape than last year. We arrived early, went straight to the pre-registered line, and were inside the convention within 30 minutes. Pre-reg is the only way to go. Since we arrived early, the con only seemed very crowded, instead of frighteningly so. The crowding increased quickly though, reaching claustrophobia levels just after noon. We didn’t see as many costumes, but that was more likely due to the time of day. Costumed folk are usually late arrivals on Saturday, since the masquerade doesn’t begin until 7:00, and really, who wants to spend that long in a costume? We did see an excellent Aragorn, a fine John Stewart Green Lantern, innumerable Jedi, and dozens of contestants in our favorite game: Costume or Bad Fashion Choice? Since neither of us know much about manga, who knows if we got any right.

If you read the Mrs. F’s Blog, (and if you aren’t, why the heck not?) you’d know she and I have somewhat different tastes when it comes to comics. She always heads for the indie-ghetto and picks up all sorts of mini-comics and self-published stuff. I’m a pretty straightforward superhero guy. I check out the mammoth (and poorly designed) DC booth, and the miniscule Marvel presence, and then wander with her. I did pick up five mini-comics featuring Teen Boat (The angst of being a teen, the thrill of being a boat), a series from the guys who do the excellent Quicken Forbidden, now published by AIT/Planet Lar. Oddly enough, the best series I found was at the convention, but I never saw it. I was checking on one of the Mrs. Frinklin’s finds, the cute and funny Martin’s Misdirection. Navigating through his site, I came across TotallyClips. These are clip-art based comics, very funny and often disturbed, such as this Mother Penguin’s reaction to her baby. Apparently, I missed this guy’s booth at the convention, because he was supposedly there. It is worth checking out. Heck, I even permalinked it.

Other random convention thoughts:

* I hate how DC designs their booth. I cannot ever get anywhere inside it, unless in line for a signing. The wall hangings, many Jim Lee-illustrated, were very cool though.
- It was in the DC booth where I found my first purchase I could have made then instantly regretted: the Green Lantern ring collection. Retailing for $100.00, it would have made a very cool collectors item and paperweight.

*Marvel was actually at San Diego, a nice change from the last few years. There were not there in force though, just a small section of the larger Activision booth. They did make some interesting announcements though including:
-Chuck Austen is off X-Men, replaced by Peter Milligan. As much as I dislike Austen, this strikes me as a lateral move. Milligan is terrific when allowed to be totally oddball, like on Shade the Changing Man and X-Statix, less so when reined in and asked to do stuff that is more traditional. I would have much rather seen Brian K. Vaughn or Robert Kirkman take over.
-The new post-Disassembled Avengers title is Young Avengers, written by some guy from The OC. Supposedly inspired by Geoff John’s recent Teen Titans run. Ummmm... Okay
-Warren Ellis and Robert Kirkman are now Marvel exclusive, but that won’t affect Planetary or Invincible. Speaking of which, I picked up an autographed copy of the first Invincible trade, and I’m kicking myself I didn’t get the second one too. Terrific book.
-Activision showed of the new X-Men: Legends game that I’ve been looking forward too, but I wasn’t very impressed. It seemed to have weaker graphics than both KotOR 2 and Lord of the Rings: The Third Age.

* As I mentioned in my breathless bit on playing the KotOR 2 demo, the Lucas exhibit was massive, easily the biggest on the floor. Everything you could possibly think of from Star Wars was there, including a life-size X-Wing fighter for pictures.
-The second possible regrettable purchase was at the Lucas booth. Master Replicas was there selling these spiffy lightsabers for only $100.00. I briefly lusted after one for a few minutes, but never pulled the trigger. Not that the Mrs. Frinklin would have let me buy it anyway.
-LucasArts brought playable demos of KotOR 2, Battlefront, and Republic Commando. I didn’t get the opportunity to play either Battlefront or RC, but both looked sweet. My rapture over The Sith Lords is available here.
-As if to underscore what an event this has become, Lucasfilms used the con to announce the official name of Episode III. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith has a nice ring too it, certainly better than either Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones.

*Mild celebrity sightings: at the LOTR booth, David Wenham (Faramir), Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan were signing autographs. The Mrs. and I nearly were caught up in the wake of the line. In a nice use of space, the LOTR line wrapped around the display featuring costumes from the films. We also saw Marlon and Shawn Wayans signing autographs with no waiting whatsoever. That is what White Chicks will do to you. Not much else on the celebrity front, just a smattering of ex-Playboy Playmates, one with preposterous fake boobs. And Catherine (Daisy Duke) Bach, still looking good. Of course, there was the Annual Leonardo DiCaprio rumor, this year from a vendor who told us that Leo had been over looking at his copy of Marvel Comics #1.

*Speaking of Lord of the Rings, there was a much less of a presence this year. Understandably, other than the ROTK special edition, the series is done. We did see the ROTK Special Edition packaging, with your choice of incredibly cool miniatures of either Minas Morgul or the White City. EA brought both the Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth PC Game and the multi-console Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. Both looked good, Battle for Middle-Earth is a very complex strategy game, and Third Age is an RPG. It is hard not to think of Final Fantasy when looking at Third Age. It features the same delayed combat system, where after choosing an action, the player looses control until the action is complete. The graphics are stunning though.

Great time had by all. Can’t wait until next year.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

That OTHER, slightly more important convention

Woe to the citizens of Boston for the liberals have invaded. Yep, the Democratic National Convention begins today, a 4-day John Kerry infomercial. Of course, I’ll watch it. Not due to any love for Democrats, certainly not for either Kerry or Edwards. No, I’ll watch because I’m enough of a political junkie that I can’t not watch. The opening tonight is going to be good, because the Clintons are in town. Hillary and Bill both are up, and it will be very interesting to see how Pro-Kerry they will be. Because, now let us be honest, the Clintons don’t want Kerry to win. If he does, Hillary’s presidential hopes go down the tubes. Kerry runs again in 2008, and wins or loses; the 2012 nomination belongs to Edwards. Worse case scenario, its 16 years (and trust me, that is worse case scenario for all of us) of Kerry or Edwards, and Hilary is 72 before she gets a chance to run. Yeah, I’m sure the Clintons will be just effusive on the joys of John Kerry.

The way I see it, the DC this year will pivot on one thing. How much will Democrats hold back on Bush-Bashing and focus on Kerry and Edwards? On the anti-Bush front, it would fire up the party, but it is unnecessary. The undecided out there are very much aware how much ya’ll hate W. We honestly don’t care; we want to know just who the hell your guys are. For Edwards it’s natural, the man hasn’t been in public life for long, but Kerry has been in the public arena for 30 years now, and people still don’t know much about him. Do not forget that. Oh, and the giant click you hear after the first person to mention the 2000 election in Florida? That would be every non-Democrat in the country changing the channel. We don’t care how aggrieved you still are. Concentrate on what Kerry would do, not what should have happened.

Oh, and keep Al Gore away from the convention. As far away as possible.

Posted by Frinklin at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2004

I played KotOR 2

Yep, the E3 playable demo is featured at the gargantuan Lucasarts exhibit at SDCC. I was lucky, I got to it early, and the wait was only 20 minutes. The KOTOR demo was only on 1 system, compared to 6 running Star Wars: Battlefronts and 4 running Republic Commando. The E3 demo, a walkthrough is available here at the official site, doesn't actually represent the storyline, it's just to show off gameplay. It's long though, about 30 playable minutes. You can imagine how long the lines got as the afternoon progressed.

To put it bluntly, the demo rocks. You play as a ridiculously overpowered character, either a level 14 Jedi Weapons Master or Sith Marauder, which allows access to a lot of the new Force Powers and upgraded feats. Also means you don’t have to worry about getting killed. The demo is on Telos, starting underground at a mining complex, going aboveground, then into a Sith temple. Underground the only enemies are droids, but they are more effective then the ones in KotOR 1. You have to find and rescue Mira, though if playing darkside, you can kill her instead. You then get to a shuttle, are shot down, have to fight your way through more droids, mercenaries, and beasts on the way to a Sith Temple. Once there, the enemies are the old reliable Sith troopers, both basic silver and Elite red ones, plus some reworked Dark Jedi. The Dark Jedi look much better in this game. So what’s it like?

-Anyone who’s played the previous game can play the sequel. Gameplay is unchanged, the button layout for the XBOX is the same, and the menus, while tweaked, look pretty much the same. Even the icons for returning feats and powers are the same.

-Graphics are improved. The player faces look better; the long flowing robes look a lot more like those from the movies, and look very natural. Also, the weather effects are excellent, the rain and lighting on Telos work very well.

-The voice acting, what little is heard on the demo, is up to the excellent level of the first game. Mira seems to be a pretty cool character, too.

-Another graphics improvement comes in the fighting. The moves are much less repetitive than KotOR 1. I saw at least 2 different moves for all three combat feats. New powers are cool too, especially force sight and force rage.

The demo made me go from “looking forward” to “totally obsessed”. Hell, the guy behind me hadn’t played the first game, but others in line convinced him to buy it.

Posted by Frinklin at 05:29 PM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2004

The things we do as geeks

This is Comic-Con weekend in San Diego, the premier event in the comic/anime/fantasy world, turning my adopted hometown into Geek Mecca. Of course the Mrs.F and I attend, don’t be silly. This will be our third time together; we went last year and in 2001. We skipped 2002. I can’t honestly remember why. It may have been one of those times where I try and pretend I’m not a great big geek, that I’m some sort of cool person. They don’t last long. In 2001 we had a great time, I actually bought her birthday present there. It was a painting up for auction. The painting was of a lion with wings. Yes, a lion with wings, that’s how geeky we can be.

Last year was not so successful. In 2001, we had no problem getting in. We didn’t pre-order or pre-pay for tickets. We waited in line for about 30 minutes and in we went. We stupidly thought that we could do the same thing last year. Somehow, in 2002, the SDCC went from mildly overcrowded to something resembling the fall of Saigon. We had it all planned, the show opened at 10:00 AM, there was a panel I wanted to see at 11:00 (I can’t even remember what it was). We arrived at just after 10:00, and had to park pretty far away from the convention center. In 2001 we were about 3-4 blocks away; in 2003 we ended about 10 blocks away. Not an auspicious start. The Mrs. Frinklin and I saw a line just outside the center and we joined it. The uber-geek in front us sneered a bit and told us that this line was for ticket holders only. We needed to be in the ticket buying line. No big deal, we walked a little farther and found the head of the ticket buying line. Now we just need to find the end. We went past the end of the convention center, down the stairs past that, under the parking garage, around the back, down the waterfront, and eventually ended at the farthest edge of Seaport Village. For those not acquainted with the general layout of the city of San Diego, let me but this as succinctly as possible: It was so fucking far away that we couldn’t even SEE the convention center. The giant, two-story cylindrical StarTrek set-looking convention center: Could not see it.

Suffice to say, I didn’t make my panel. We got in line at about 10:30. We got inside the con after 1:00. That is right; we spent 3 hours in line, in 85-degree sun. The amazing thing about this was nobody left. I mean NOBODY. It was either the convention or death: the Bataan Comic March. Even the guy wearing the Scream suit never left. I’m pretty sure he died on the way, but he didn’t get out of line. We eventually all became friends, comrades in a noble but foolish effort. That was especially true of the two in front of us; geeky, shaggy young men who looked disturbingly like a cross between the lead singer of the Spin Doctors circa 1993 and slightly more svelte version of the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy. One guy was there for art, lots and lots of art. He had this giant box to keep said art flat. That struck me as being even more cumbersome than the Scream suit. The other guy tried hard to seem interested in art and toys, but it seemed to be as if he was mostly there to ogle girls dressed up as anime characters. Nothing wrong with that, but really… three hours in the sun for it?

Eventually we did get inside, but after 3 hours in the blazing sun, we were… umm…kinda gross. At least I was; chunky, pale-skinned lads such me aren’t meant for such things. Let me tell you, there isn’t anything more fun than being in an incredibly crowded claustrophobia-inducing area, unless you’re there at your sweatiest and stinkiest too. Of course, me being who I am, it did get a little less fun.

We had just come inside the con, and the entrance is one of the few areas not packed with people, we actually had 6-8 inches to ourselves. We were deciding where to go first when someone called to my then girlfriend, a high feminine voice very excited to see her. I turned to see the source of the voice. It was a tall, thin, strikingly pretty young woman with short black hair. Ensie introduced her as her friend Stacy…. Now where had I heard that name? Oh yes, beautiful but flighty, and someone who had a massive crush on my future wife for a long time. Now, just so everyone understands, I don’t worry about Ensie ever leaving me. I trust her with all my heart, unless Orlando Bloom or Eliza Dushku shows some unforeseen interest, and in that case, she has my blessing. Still, it is really embarrassing to meet your significant other’s former person of possible romantic interest while looking as I did. To make matters worse, she, as beautiful women usually are, was completely at ease, certainly not sweaty, stinky and altogether unappealing as I. We exchanged some meaningless chitchat, and moved on.

Yes, it does get worse. We decided to head for the food court to get some lunch. While standing in line for the privilege of spending 24.00 for hotdogs and small cokes, I ran into my boss. Well, not my direct boss, but the Director of Training, and since I was training coordinator for my unit, so I worked with him a lot. Fortunately, for me, Erik, who has since left our company, wasn’t as preternaturally calm and collected as Stacy was. We talked for a while, he was REALLY excited about some goofy anime stuff, and then he moved on. I was rather stunned to find him married to a woman and with several children. As my wife very succinctly asked, “Does he know how gay he is?”

At this point, I was worried about who might show up next. Fourth-grade teacher I had a crush on? High School guidance counselor? College Sweetheart? The mind boggles. Thankfully, very thankfully, we didn’t run into anyone else. I did compound the badness of the day by making some questionable purchases, topped by my Rob Liefield-signed copy of Youngblood: Bloodsport #1.

Yet, we’re all set to go again tomorrow. We did learn our lesson and bought tickets ahead of time. Well, sorta, we waited to last possible day to buy the damned things, but we get to head for the short line this time. I will be back, either Sunday or Monday and give a report on what we saw and did.

Oh, and I know Eliza Dushku is appearing on Saturday. Do NOT EVEN THINK of it, Mrs. Frinklin!

Posted by Frinklin at 06:06 PM | Comments (5)

July 22, 2004

In case you were wondering...

Gary Barnett is STILL an asshole.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2004

Frinklin’s Fashion Show: Best of CFB uniforms

With all the painstaking research I’ve been doing for my college football previews, I got to thinking about uniforms. Specifically, who looks good and who doesn’t. So here it is, my best of each conference.

Best: Virginia -everything works for me except the truncated stripes on the helmet. Love the logo and color scheme.
Honorable Mention: Florida State- better when they stick to the basics. North Carolina-bad team, great colors. Clemson- one of the great things about college football: it makes people believe that orange and purple look good together.

Worst: Miami-awful colors, and the princes of needless stripes. Stay tuned, they’ve updated again; it is going to get worse
Dishonorable Mention: Duke-dark blue uniforms with black numbers and black pants? Aren’t Dukies supposed to be smart? Virginia Tech-Orange and Maroon? Seriously? Nothing can be done when you start at that point. Another team with way too many different looks.

Big East
Best: Pittsburgh- best of a weak conference, the Panthers lost some distinctiveness when they moved away from the mustard yellow and PITT emblem, but this will work.
Honorable Mention: Nobody

Worst: Temple-the Owls don’t do anything right. The fierce Owl logo is goofy, and again with the black on red look.
Dishonorable Mention: Nobody really, but Rutgers went way to far towards the bland when they canceled this cool lookin’ helmet.

Big 10
Best: Michigan-like the New York Yankees; UM is simple, classy and memorable. The best uniforms in college football, easily.
Honorable Mention: Ohio State-Same sort of feel as Michigan. I once met a man who claimed he would sell his soul for a buckeye sticker. Michigan State-One of the better recent changes, they should have been using the Spartan head logo for a long time now.

Worst: Penn State-I know I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think the Lions should get any credit for wearing the practice unis on Saturday. I also dislike them for being such purists they leave off a logo, player name and oftentimes a bowl logo, but the Nike swoosh is all over the damned things.
Dishonorable Mention: Northwestern-I have no idea what they’re doing here. Purple, black and white with weird shapes and stripes, plus the worst numbers in the game; it’s just awful.

Big 12
Best: TIE, Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska-I know it’s a cop-out, but these are three of the best traditional looks in college football, and all three have done will with some occasional tweaking.
Honorable Mention: Kansas- A very nice recent change, nothing fancy, but very effective. Of course, the new darker blue doesn’t look anything like the actual school colors. That’s a mistake.

Worst: Iowa State-just plain dreadfull.
Dishonorable Mention: Texas Tech- I hate the black pants and solid color jerseys with a passion.

Conference USA
Best: Memphis- yeah, they should still be Memphis State, but the blue and silver color scheme is nicely understated, and the Tiger logo is good.
Honorable Mention: Louisville-a little overbaked, but distinctive.

Worst: TIE, Cincinnati and TCU- dammit, as I told you before, no black pants with solid color tops. I don’t know what is worse, TCU’s sickly purple or UC’s red.
Dishonorable Mention: South Florida-Black and Gold? Such original colors you have. Also loses points for South Florida meaning Tampa.

Mid-American Conference
Best: Bowling Green- you have to love it; a university with the word green in it goes with bright orange. Toss in that hideous 70’s throwback logo, and it becomes bad taste heaven.
Honorable Mention: Toledo-not very pretty, but always adventurous, which is something in a conference filled with rip-offs.

Worst: the NFL swipes, Akron (seen many St. Louis Ram games?), Western Michigan (we’ll be the Denver Broncos, only browner) and Kent State (the Chargers, but uglier)
Dishonorable Mention: Buffalo- perfectly serviceable, but what the hell is that shape on the helmet supposed to be?

Mountain West
Best: Colorado State-it isn’t easy to get Green and Gold right, but the Rams do it well. Great road unis.
Honorable Mention: Air Force-lighting bolts are always cool. Same with the Falcon logo

Worst: Wyoming- Brown, white and…I dunno, urine? The gold-yellow-khaki color is atrocious, and perfectly complements the shit brown jerseys.
Dishonorable Mention: San Diego State- lots and lots of black thank you very much. Add some mustard yellow and orangeish red, top it with awful “airbrushed” helmets and Viola… hideous uniforms.

Best: UCLA-the powder blue and gold perfectly encapsulate west coast sports. It’s not usually something football players aspire too, but the Bruins can only be described as pretty.
Honorable Mention: Washington- a great look nearly ruined by over-tweaking. Get rid of the damned shoulder stripes and rounded off numbers. It can’t be just coincidence that the Huskies started playing like sick nuns after adopting this stuff. Washington State-it’s too heavy on the stripes, and I wish the Grey in Crimson in Grey got paid attention too, but the Cougar head logo is just perfect. Can you believe it took these people 50 years to put in on the helmet? USC-I hate ‘em, but they’ve done nothing but win since they went to the 70’s Trojan throwbacks.

Worst: Oregon-where do we start with these guys? It got slightly better with the green and black bodysuits going away, but the Highlighter uniforms? Does the world really need this? The white uniforms still look oddly feminine too.
Dishonorable Mention: Oregon State-what on earth is wrong with the state of Oregon? Black on black on black or black on orange, take your pick, it’s ugly all around.

Alabama-simple, old-school uniforms, and the best shade of red in the land.
Honorable Mention: Ole Miss-once you get past the whole Confederacy fixation, the Rebels uniforms are pretty sweet, especially the red jersey variant. Tennessee-love it or hate it, this orange might be the most recognizable look in the sport.

Worst: Arkansas-what is with these pants? The stripes change shape on the way down the leg. Why? The Hogs also get props for not matching the red in the jerseys with the red on their helmets. Classy….
Dishonorable Mention: Florida-just too many damn choices; blue jerseys, white jerseys, white pants, blue pants, orange pants.. Pick a scheme people.

Sun Belt
Best: Middle Tennessee-or is that Middle Tennessee State? Anyway, while a little too blue for my taste, this is the best of a weak class.
Honorable Mention:None
Worst: Utah State-almost as boring as Penn State, and the Lions are actually trying.
Dishonorable Mention:None

Best: Boise State-garish, but in a good way. It is especially fun when the blue-clad Broncos blend in with the field.
Honorable Mention: UTEP-another nice mix of blue and orange. I especially like the shoulder stripes.

Worst: San Jose State-this is what happens when blind people design uniforms. Really, there are no words for this.
Dishonorable Mention: Hawaii-they dropped the lovely green uniforms and “rainbow” portion of their name so no one confused them with gays. Cuz, everybody knows that there are no gays in football or Hawaii. To complete this stupidity, they let Nike design the uniforms, which is the kiss of death. Black and green, with a goofy garter around the right thigh: it may be ugly, but it’s not gay!

Posted by Frinklin at 10:28 PM | Comments (2)

Sandy Berger did not stuff classified documents in his pants! He stole them in his briefcase

This Sandy Berger deal is almost laughable. For those of you living under a rock, the former Clinton Administration National Security Advisor has been accused of illegally removing classified documents from the National Archives while researching for his then pending visit to the 9/11 commission. He has admitted as such, but with the caveat that this was not done on purpose, but inadvertently. I certainly hope that is true, not because I’m a big believer in Sandy Berger or his honesty, but because I don’t want to think that the NSA was such a chizzlewit. See, the document he took, which is supposedly hard on the Clinton administration and their handling of Al-Queda, was merely a copy. A copy of a document the commission had already seen, and was readily available to them. Think this out in your head: Sandy either accidentally put classified documents in his briefcase and took them home with him, where he later destroyed them, or he saw the document and thought to himself, “This is a copy of document that makes me look bad” and decides to steal and destroy it. He is either an absentminded dolt or a plain dolt.

What makes me laugh is the whole political spectrum and their reaction to this. Republicans are trying to make Berger out as some sort of evil genius, destroying the only document that would have proven their contention that 9/11 was entirely Clinton’s fault. The Democrats portray Sandy has someone who made a simple mistake, fessed up to it and is now being shredded by the legendary Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. How dare the Republicans leak this before the commission report comes out? As is usually the case, both sides are wrong. Sorry GOP, but Clinton didn’t cause 9/11, it’s everyone’s fault. And if you believe some reputable aides in the Clinton administration (I know, reputable Clinton aid is kind of an oxymoron), Berger himself gave a last minute briefing to Condi Rice where he told her that Al-Queda will be the biggest thing they dealt with. As for you Dems…. Look, the new iron rule of politics is that if you something stupid, evil or both, it WILL be found out, and it WILL be released at the worst possible moment. Easy way to get around that is not to do stupid, evil things. Don’t worry, people will still pay far more attention to the commission report on Thursday.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:16 PM | Comments (2)

July 20, 2004

Let's play some Football! Big 10 Version

The Big 10 is down a bit this year, especially at the QB position, as only Purdue’s Kyle Orton is totally secure in his starting position. The other contenders, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin all will be breaking in new starters, and only OSU has a definite favorite. It could be a strong year for runners though, lead by Minnesota’s dynamite combination of Marion Barber and Lawrence Maloney. Several of these teams, OSU and Michigan State among them, seem to be building towards big 2005 seasons.

1. Michigan Wolverines
The Blue would be a serious national title contender, if it weren’t for the lack of a starting QB or RB. John Navarre, who started for three years, is gone, and Michigan fans were never able to forgive him for not being Drew Henson. Soph Matt Gutierrez is the favorite, but don’t count out RS frosh Clayton Richard or even true freshman Chad Henne. Whomever wins the job will get to throw to the best receiver corps in the nation, led by senior Braylon Edwards, and exciting sophomore Steve Breaston. The defense is a bit thin, but very talented, with a bona fide star at each group. Sophomore Lamarr Woodley leads the line, giant Pierre Woods the linebackers, and Marlin Jackson should have a fine senior year at corner, after spending a year out-of-place at safety.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes
THE Ohio State University, after a national championship and back-to-back Fiesta Bowl wins, is going to keep playing the same way: dull, grind-it-out offense, strong defense, and many wins. This is the year Buckeye fans were looking forward to, RS Sophomore Justin Zwick, an Ohio schoolboy legend, finally is the man at QB. Zwick isn’t stepping into the best situation though, the line lost three quality starters, and sophomore Santonio Holmes, while exciting, leads an inexperienced group of receivers. The backs, Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall are competent, but nothing special. Defensively the Bucks will be exciting, even after losing end Will Smith. Not many teams that can lose 2/3 of their starting linebackers and improve, but that’s what the Buckeyes may do. AJ Hawk returns as MLB, he should be an All-American. Add transfers Anthony Schlegel (Air Force) and John Kerr (Indiana) joining talented holdovers Mike D’Andrea and Bobby Carpenter, and you have five starters for three spots.

3. Purdue Boilermakers

Finally, a team that does return a quarterback and a very good one at that: Kyle Orton made great strides last year and should be an NFL first-rounder next year, leads a loaded offense. After a couple years being led by the defense, expect the Boilers to outscore people this year. Orton, most of the offensive line, star receiver Taylor Stubblefield and up-and-coming RB Jerod Void all return. Defensively Purdue lost seven NFL draftees, and will have to depend on youth and coordinator Brock Spack’s schemes. This is a team that could finish anywhere from first to sixth.

4. Wisconsin Badgers

After a series of mediocre years, Barry Alvarez’s team could be a sleeper. As with most of the conference, no is quite sure who will play QB, possibly sophomore John Stocco. There is talent on the offense though, led by Anthony Davis, who returns after an injury-truncated 2003. All five OL starters return, they were uneven game-to-game last year, but should improve with experience. The defense should be improved with a new coordinator; Bret Bielema arrives from Kansas State, installing more attacking schemes than the Badgers had been running under Kevin Cosgrove. There is some talent too: Anttaj Hawthorne leads the line, and Jim Leonhard and Scott Starks lead the backfield.

5. Iowa Hawkeyes
Every year I think Iowa will finish about sixth and win 6-7 games. Every year, under Kirk Ferentz anyway, they finish second or third and win 10 games. I’m still not ready to jump on board, not with questions at quarterback and along the line. Jemelle Lewis takes over from Fred Russell at tailback, and the Hawkeyes have only two returning starters on offense. The defense is in better shape, led by borderline psychotic DE Matt Roth and steady linebacker Scott Greenway.

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Another team without a quarterback, but that isn’t as important as with other teams. The Gophers love to run, and with Barber and Maloney, they should. Minnesota does need to keep pressure off the running attack, which means probable starter Brian Cupito needs to be at least decent. The Gophers, as is Glen Mason’s wont, will fatten up on an easy non-conference schedule.

7. Michigan State Spartans
What a difference a year makes. John L. Smith has completely turned around this program, and the Spartans are on the way up again. Jeff Smoker departs after an uneven career that ended on an upswing. There are two candidates to replace him. Drew Stanton, last years back up, and Stephen Reaves. The redshirt freshman Reaves, a lefty, is the guy everyone is talking about. Look for him to get the job. This team, with Smith recruiting well, could be on the verge of something big.

8. Northwestern Wildcats

The Wildcats went bowling last year, despite having no passing attack whatsoever. Brett Basanez had a horrific sophomore slump, throwing only 4 TD passes compared with 12 interceptions. What makes it even worse is that those were the only TD passes for the entire team. Basanez should be better this season; he cannot be much worse. Beyond him, the ‘Cats feature some fine line play on both sides, and a nice 1-2 punch at tailback with Noah Herron and Terrell Jordan. They do need help at receiver though. Defensively they return 10 starters. They weren’t all that great last year, but should improve with experience.

9. Penn State Nittany Lions

Fran Gantner, the longtime PSU offensive coordinator finally gave up this year. He realized that JoePa isn’t moving out of the big chair anytime soon. Gantner moved up to the AD office, and was replaced by former Florida head coach Galen Hall. Make no mistake; Paterno is still in charge of the offense. It will be lead by senior QB Zack Mills, who hasn’t ever really lived up to his big freshman season. He does not have much to throw to; in fact, his best receiver is probably his backup, Michael Richardson. Sophomore Austin Scott is a promising tailback. They will need him to come through. On defense the Lions are okay, but not much about them is special, beyond CB Alan Zemaitis, a big (6-2) future pro. Remember when Penn State joined the Big 10 and everyone thought they would dominate? That certainly has not happened.

10. Illinois Illini
Three seasons ago, this was a BCS team. What happened? Illini fans are still wondering. They went from next big thing in the Big 10 to road kill. This season they should be better. How much better will determine Coach Ron Turner’s fate. The offense returns some tools, primarily tailback EG Halsey. The quarterback situation is unsettled, but this is the Big 10, everyone has questions this year. The Illini return Jon Beutjer, granted a sixth year of eligibility, but not guaranteed a job. Sophomore Chris Pazan has shown talent, and will get a long look this fall. On defense, there is nothing uglier than a 46 that isn’t working, and that is exactly what happened last year. It cost Mike Cassity his job as coordinator, and cost the offense some players, as the defense was allowed to draft players to fill holes. One, WR turned CB Kelvin Hayden could turn into a fine player.

11. Indiana Hoosiers
Gerry DiNardo is slowly improving the Hoosiers. After the Cam Cameron disaster, it will take some time. On offense, Indiana wants to run a quick-passing West Coast offense, but they don’t have the horses. QB Matt LoVecchio was adequate in his first year after transferring from Notre Dame, but he isn’t a threat to take over a game. Nor do the Hoosiers have the receivers to run the West Coast, though they do have a talented tight end in Aaron Halterman. They do have an excellent young tailback in BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and handing him the ball 35 times a game seems the best chance they have. Defensively, Indiana features two fine ends in Kenny Kendel and Victor Adeyanju, but little else. The best news for the Hoosiers is that they finally have 85 scholarship players, and that rival coaches admire DiNardo’s staff enough to steal from it. Both coordinators, Al Borges the offensive (left for Auburn) and Tim Kish the defensive (Arizona) left for better things. DiNardo promoted from inside to replace both.

Previously: ACC, Big East

Posted by Frinklin at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2004

Tiny Geeky Comic Bit

Not much of intrest in Rich Johnston today, unless the idea of an Ultimate Ant-Man series gets you all hot and bothered.

Ultimate Ant-Man? WTF?

Posted by Frinklin at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

Support the Reborn Grays!

Thanks to Steve over at the Wheelhouse and Rob at 6-4-2, I've been alerted to this fine site honoring the Homestead Grays. The Grays, one of the great Negro League teams, were based in Washington, and this site has the wonderful idea of naming any Washington/NoVa Expos after the Grays. There is an online petition, I've signed it and you should too

Update:Fixed the link, and added a direct link to the Petition. Now go sign it!

Posted by Frinklin at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

The Purple Shirt

I was adventurous this morning. I wore my purple shirt. This is a lovely pale lilac shirt the Mrs. Frink gave to me early in our relationship; she figured out quickly I was style-challenged. When I first wore the shirt I got tons of compliments, mostly from females. I’d stopped wearing it a few months ago, due to the fact the damned thing didn’t fit anymore. Anyway, due to some vastly improved dietary habits, I’m again able to wear it. Again, I received many compliments, all from girls or non-traditional males.

Moral of the Story: If your wife/girlfriend/what-have-you suggests you wear something you wonder about; wear the damned thing; they’re much smarter than we are.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

The Curious Case of Charles Robert Jenkins...

This morning’s Los Angeles Times features a fascinating article on Sgt. Charles Jenkins. In 1965, while patrolling the DMZ between North and South Korea, Sgt. Jenkins claimed to hear a noise, which he went off to investigate. A couple days later he was heard over a North Korean loudspeaker, claiming he found the “workers paradise”. He’s been appearing in high-quality North Korean propaganda ever since. There hasn’t ever been any question: Sgt. Jenkins defected of his own accord. He’s been living in Pyongyang ever since. He married in 1980, to Hitomi Soga a Japanese woman who was kidnapped, along with her mother, as a teenager, and sent to the workers paradise to teach NoKo spies to speak Japanese. Her mother was never seen or heard of again. She met Jenkins when he was assigned to teach her English. They married, and now have two grown daughters. In 2002, she and her daughters were allowed to visit her family in Japan. They did so, and never left. It was then where she found out about her mother, 24 years after the fact.

In the two years since then, Soga has become a bit of a national hero in Japan, mostly due to her struggles to keep her fractured family together. This has spread to the rest of her family, including Sgt. Jenkins, who is now seriously ill with an unknown stomach condition. This national feeling has forced the Japanese government to welcome Jenkins to its soil, to receive medical treatment from Japanese doctors. Now, the US, from the Bush administration on down, has made it crystal-clear they wish to prosecute Jenkins, for, ya know, being a traitor and all, but they’re worried about adversely affecting US sentiment in Japan. The Japanese, like most countries other than us, are not at all pleased about the war in Iraq. Still, they are our most trusted, and considering how crazy the South Koreans can be, perhaps ONLY ally in Asia. So, the sickly traitor flew from Pyongyang to Jakarta and then on to Tokyo. The Americans have made it clear they won’t be requesting extradition of Jenkins until his health situation solidifies somewhat.

Where do I stand on all this? Well, if we existed in a vacuum, it would be easy: demand extradition, pull him off life support and line up against the wall. Unfortunately, that cannot happen, due to the Japanese inexplicably caring for him. I can understand the feeling for Soga; she was kidnapped and sent to North Korea against her will. Her mere survival is something to marvel at, but Jenkins deserves no such good feeling. He betrayed his uniform, his fellow soldiers and his country. The most prudent course of action would be to let nature dictate. If Jenkins dies, as is expected, that’s fine and dandy. If he lives, then we move to the extradition process. Considering the Bush Administration’s predilection for ignoring the feelings of allies (sometimes very justifiably), look to see the extradition order tomorrow.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2004

Finally, some GOOD comic-book movie news

Accoring to Ain't it Cool, Superman Returns has been greenlighted under director Brian Singer with a script by Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty. This would be the same team that did X-Men and X2. Now what does this mean for X-Men? Well, according to the article, Superman Returns will take precedence over both the Logan's Run remake and X3. This could cause Fox to pull the project from Singer and move to a different director. I can see why, no one at Fox wants to wait any longer than they have to for X3, though it would be a shame if Singer didn't get the helm. And does anyone really need a Logan's Run update? Still, after the flirtations with McG and Michael Bay, it's good to see someone wih a clue on Superman.

Now, if we just get the damned Green Lantern project switched around.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2004

Richard is REALLY gonna hate this..

Ain't It Cool on the Jack Black/Green Lantern movie:

All Those Rumors About GREEN LANTERN... They’re True! Dear God, They’re True!! Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab... Jack Black has closed his deal. He will be playing Green Lantern in a film that has been described as a “zany comedy version a la THE MASK.” All rights to the DC comic have been worked out as well, so you can expect to start hearing more about this project in the months ahead. As I understand it, DC Comics tried desperately to dodge this bullet, but ultimately, they don’t have the right to veto something if Warner Bros. really wants to make it happen. This is the problem with the way DC’s deal with their corporate overlords is structured. Their hands are tied. As much as they are aware of the problem with this approach to the material, they just have to sit back and watch it happen along with fans of the character and the rich mythology that has been established over the long run of the various GREEN LANTERN titles.

Either way, this one just passed from “rumor” to “confirmed news,” so brace yourselves, comic fans. It’s coming...

Well, this is just intolerable.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:47 PM | Comments (1)

July 15, 2004


Justin Leone cranked his first major-league homer tonight. Someone go check on Jeff and make sure he's still breathing, k?

Posted by Frinklin at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

Johnny Oh!

Well, the Mariners were expected to make a move, just not this one. I can understand why the move, it allows Sandfrog to play first, gives a chance to Justin Leone, but this is pretty damned drastic. I would have kept Olerud on the roster and platooned him with Speizio at 1B. Still, at least this means the Mariners have come to the realization that this season is over, and we might as well see what's available in Tacoma. Villone is next to go, for anyone they can get for him.

Oh, and an incredibly class move by John to show up for tonights game and his promotion for kids with disabilities.

Damned shame it came to this.

Posted by Frinklin at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004

Kotor II: Darth Sion

LucasArts has confirmed the Darth Sion rumors. He is the second KotOR 2 character to be announced. This is what they say about him:

Darth Sion A twisted wreck, Darth Sion is a Sith Lord held together only by sheer force of will. Every bone in his body has been shattered and rebuilt, turning his skeleton and his flesh into a patchwork mass of bruises and scraping bone. He is in constant pain, and only his hatred and the power of the Dark Side keeps him alive.

There is also a picture. While he's not this creepy fellow, he might actually be creepier looking.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:13 PM | Comments (63)

Let's play some Football! Big East Version

This is part two of my possibly massive, possibly forgotten college football preview. This time we check out the not-so Big East. After the defection of Miami and Virginia Tech, and the pending departure of Boston College, this conference is on life-support in football. One good team (WVU) is left, with a couple maybes and many also-rans. Next year Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida will join, but this conference is not anything close to what it was. Right now, other than the Mountaineers, none of the remaining BE teams would be the favorite in conferences like the MWC or MAC.

1. West Virginia Mountaineers
This good, but not great team will almost inevitably be overrated. I’ve seen them as high as 5th in preview magazines. They might end up with a top-5 record, but not a top-5 team. The team is doubtlessly talented, led by Rasheed Marshall, a dynamic run-oriented quarterback and many returning starters, but Marshall hasn’t shown much ability in the passing game, and the fact that WVU has gotten stomped its past 2 bowl games doesn’t bode well.

2. Boston College Eagles
Well, this should be a fun year for the Eagles, huh? Two experienced but not terribly effective quarterbacks, and no running back, plus the fact that everyone in the conference hates them. Still, there is talent here, certainly more than the other non-West Virginia teams in the conference. Somebody has to finish second. As I mentioned though, BC would be a 2nd or 3rd place team in the MWC or MAC. The move to the suddenly awesome ACC could be ugly.

3. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
It might well be these guys. Rutgers? Seriously? Yes, it is a long shot, but Greg Schiano has recruited pretty well, far better than any other Scarlet Knight coach in the last, well….ever. Ryan Hart leads eight returning starters from the best offense is school history, including do-it-all RB Brian Leonard. The defense will have to improve a bunch, but the young talent is there.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers
So Walt Harris, all you need to do is replace your starting QB and WR, and a Heisman runner-up WR. The offense featured four returning starters, but that should really be listed as three, since the two returning WR split time across from Larry Fitzgerald last year. Walt also fired a couple assistants and moved a few others around, all under the lingering suspicion from Panther fans that he isn’t as good a coach as they might have thought. No pressure, Coach, no pressure.

5. Connecticut Huskies

UConn moves into the Big East a year quicker than expected. After two independent seasons of 6-6 and 9-3 and still no bowl invites, the Huskies are ready for the move. This quickly improving program could make some noise in the downsized Big East starting this year. Dan Orlovsky is pro prospect at QB, and Terry Caulley was leading the nation in rushing before getting hurt last year. This team has as much upside as any in the bottom six.

6. Syracuse Orange

The Paul Pasqualoni deathwatch begins in earnest. The main question among Orange fans is if he will be fired during the season or after. Syracuse features an All-American tailback in Walter Reyes and not much else. Reyes, who deserves better than the team around him, has a good chance at setting the school all-time rushing mark. Considering the backs to come out of Syracuse, that’s impressive.

7. Temple Owls

The Owls are the Montreal Expos of college football. Nobody seems to want them, or even know why they exist. Starting next year, the Owls will play as an Independent, and I’ll be damned why they don’t just drop down to Division II. Anyway, this is more of the same for Owl Fans (perhaps that should be singular): Too small, too slow, but with heart and at least one exciting player. Walter Washington, the Owls injury plagued QB, would compare favorably to WVU’s Marshall if he played on a better team.

ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12 ,Non-BCS Conferences, PAC-10, SEC

Posted by Frinklin at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

The All-Star Game... that I didn't watch much of.

I’ll be honest, I don’t care nearly as much about the All-Star game as I used too. I’m not sure why this is. I certainly love baseball as much as I ever have, but this year I nearly forgot it was on. I did watch part of it though, and I do have a few quick comments.

Please, for the love of all that is Holy, don’t ever let the American Idol winner sing the national anthem again. Fantazia whatsername’s rendition was AWFUL, a stupid, showy atrocity against man and God. Halfway through I began to pray, pray that God would end my torment and smite her, but God abandoned me, and allowed her to finish.

The Jay Leno-style invitations running through the crowd? Don’t ever do that again.

Ichiro hits a double and I-Rod a triple, good to see that dynamic top of the order didn’t happen in Seattle. In fact, the whole festival was a who’s who of guys the M’s gave away or didn’t sign. Tejada, Carlos Guiilen, I-Rod, Jason Schmidt, Vlad Guerrero, it was a smorgasbord of woulda-coulda-shoulda been Mariners.

Ya think after Clemens was rocked in the first inning anyone at MLB thought of maybe NOT stopping the game in the fifth for his award?

Minute Maid Park looks like an eight-year-old designed it. Toy trains and hills in the outfield? Please…

Posted by Frinklin at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

Howdy Redux Redux

I faked out the Howdy Man this morning. As I saw him this morning, I made the first move, firing a “howdy-howdy-howdy” of my own. He stood there, boggle-eyed for about 10 seconds, and then mumbled, “Mornin.”

Victory is MINE!

Posted by Frinklin at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

And Another Thing!

One of the perils of watching long stretches of basic cable programming is the selection of commercials. The stuff on this one is terrible, starting with that series of commercials about the no-shave shaving lotion. I don’t know the name of it, and they don’t deserve the exposure anyway. All I know is that overly cute boy ties up overly cute girl and non-shaves her. After this odd bit of light bondage, he presses his cheek against her chemical covered legs. Nice, nothing better than coating someone’s body parts with abrasives and rubbing your face in it. Even worse is the new series of Taco Bell commercials, these “I’m full” dipshits. Easily the worst is the two delivery boy/warehouse worker types. The geekier of the two wheels his hand truck past the moderately cool one and exclaims, “I got FULL this weekend!” The Mrs. Frinklin and I immediately turned to each other with the same thought: Does Taco Bell realize this guy sounds like he took it up the ass? Maybe he should hook with the creepy fat guy who loves his “girthy” hot dogs. They would make a lovely couple.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

I love the (Insert Decade Here)

As you pop culture monkeys must know, VH1’s latest snark-filled look at pop culture history, I Love the 90s, premiered last night. As a fan of both snark and pop culture, not to mention previous opuses I Love the 80s, I Love the 80s Strikes Back and I Love the 70s, I was pretty disappointed. The reason for this, as I see it, is threefold.

First, the overall snark talent level is down. No more Donal Logue, too much Michael Ian Black, “Uncensored” as they put it. Unfunny too. It is nice to see Beth Littleford again, Hal Sparks is reliably entertaining, and Daphne Zuniga (of all people) seems to revel in her bad taste, but Wendy the Snapple Lady? MC Hammer? Michael Bolton attempting to fill the shoes of Lionel Richie as the Creepy Ballad Singer? Not up to par people, though it is better than 75% of the cast of Best Week Ever. You get Kevin Smith to be on, excellent! You put him as the second banana in awful Jay and Silent Bob bits, not so excellent. The Jay and Silent Bob thing is just over enough not to have ANY nostalgia appeal, and Jay while hilarious at 21, is just dumb at 35. Oh, and Bill Simmons, ESPN’s Sports Guy, has practically begged to be on these shows, why the hell isn’t he? The inventor of the Unintentional Comedy Scale would automatically become the funniest person on this show.

Secondly, the show seems even more frenetic and ADD-oriented than the 80s versions did. The bits are even shorter, and the graphics are everywhere. That damned Dancing Baby wasn’t funny on Ally McBeal; it sure isn’t funny here either. It seems to be on every other segment so far.

Finally, it’s just too early for this. We’re only 5 years removed from the 90’s and there isn’t any reason to revisit them. I’ll still watch the show, unless the All-Star game runs late, but I will admit to dreading tonight’s look at 1992. This means Bill Clinton and his foibles. Slick Willie may be the most over-reported person in modern America, and I’m still sick of him. In addition, none of the “didn’t inhale” or “Bilary” or womanizer jokes has been funny in about 8 years. And if someone mentions how Gennifer Flowers didn’t know how to spell her name right, I will throw my shoe through the TV.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

Howdy Redux

The Howdy-Howdy-Howdy guy threw me a curve today. His initial greeting was “mornin’-mornin’-mornin’. If you think about that, it’s impressive to be able to say that clearly and quickly.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2004

Home Run Derby

Just watched Miguel Tejada hit 15 HR in one round of the HR Derby. Yeah it's just an exhibition, but it sure shows the Mariner's wisdom and foresight in not signing him.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)

To any random MuNus that might stop by...

Check out Ellis Island, I've nominated the super-groovy Mediocre Fred. You'll be glad you did.

And, after some stops and starts, the Great and Terrible Emperor Pixy has set up the Mrs. Frinklin's own Moo knoo site. It is the very new and soon to be improved Both Hands. Now, it's up to us get her moved over. Get crackin' Honey.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

Damnit... (also geeky)

According to Rich Johnston, the upcoming Green Lantern move is going to be a comedy.

Starring Jack Black

Excuse me, I need to throw up.

Okay, I'm back now. Can someone tell me why, with the might of Warner Bros behind them, DC can't make a good movie to save its life? Admittedly, Batman Begins is looking cool so far, but everything I see about Catwoman is laughably, Gigli-like bad.You get names like Michael Bay and McG in the running for the Superman movie, with persistant rumors of Vin-Freakin'-Diesel as Lex Luthor? And now this. What the hell is wrong with these people?

As for the GL movie, it's currently planned on being the Kyle Rayner version. I have no problem with a serious-minded Kyle movie. I'd prefer John Stewart, who always seemed so much cooler, but I'm okay with that. I'm certainly not one of those HEAT cretins. Hal Jordan bores me to tears.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)

KotOR II quick update

Since the below entry started this nerdiness-on-parade thing with my blog, I figured I qive a quick update on The Sith Lords. RPG Vault has a 2-part interview with some of the developers. Part 1 here, part 2 here. Not much is new, but they do mention some cool stuff about the initial level, the Peragus mining colony. Also, they confirm that while your party maxes out 10 characters, their are more available, and will depend on your character's sex and dark/light side affilation. That's just cool.

Also, TheForce.net has an unconfirmed loook at another character, possibly a villian, possibly not. Darth Sion, who may or may not be this creepy looking fellow, is a Sith Lord who's kept alive only by his power and his hate.

Posted by Frinklin at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

I owe the Mrs. Frinklin a lot.

I did the inexplicable this weekend. As any reader, or in this case skimmer-overer, of this blog knows, I'm rather obsessed with the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I've owned the original on XBOX for just about a year now, and I've played more or less since. Now, there have been times I've not played it, KotOR hasn't always been the game sitting in the XBOX, but most of the time it is. About 7 months ago, KotOR came out for PC too. At the time we didn't have nearly enough computer to run the game, so I kinda forgot about it. Three months ago, we did upgrade our computer, buying a nice, not top of the line, but certainly capable new machine. Many of you see where this is going.

At first I laughed off the idea about buying the game on PC, but lately, probably because the sequel has been annnounced (more on that in a sec), I've been considering it. It came down in price recently, so this weekend I went out and bought it. So I now have the same game on two different platforms. Yes there are a few differences, mostly in graphic quality and an additional level that you can get on XBOX Live, but really, it's the same damned thing. The best part of using the PC Version are gamer-created mods, like those you can find here. KotOR is a very flexible game, and people come up with new characters, new looks, weapons and such.

So, as the name of this post states, I owe the Mrs. F a lot, both for her understanding and her humor. Oddly enough, this whole mess can be traced back to her. Last year when I decided to get a new XBOX game, it was either going to be Knights of the Old Republic or NCAA Football 2004. I had hemmed and hawed, but pretty much decided on NCAA. The Mrs. calls me at work on a Friday afternoon and lets me know she's made the decision for me and picked up Star Wars. This was probably due to her wanting to play the game herself, as well as putting a lid on my ludicrous collection of sports game. Oh well...

Last thing: As my readers know, the Mrs. Frinklin does take great pleasure at pointing out how nerdy I can be. I'm sure this makes up for the $30.00. Right hun?

Posted by Frinklin at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2004

Roll Tide

As readers of the Mrs. Frinklin's blog know, she has connections. Exactly what or who they are I can't devlulge but suffice it to say, she often gets galleys, pre-release versions of upcoming books. She found one today that she thought I might like. Goodness was she right. The book, coming out in August is Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey into Fan Mania, and anyone who really loves sports and the crazy things we fans do should get it.

The author is Warren St. John, a native Alabaman and Crimson Tide fan who went on to Columbia, and eventually the New York Times. He's still a diehard Tide fan, and he decided to find out what makes the truely freakish fan tick.To do so he bought himself an RV and followed the Tide around. His book is frequently funny, often touching, and I am devouring it. Even better, come August St. John will be blogging at RammerJammerYellowHammer.com, following the 2004 version of the Tide. Again, if you're a true fan of any team in any sport, you'll understand this book. These are our people.

Posted by Frinklin at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2004

Stark on Garcia for Reed and Olivo

In his weekly Rumblings and Grumblings, Jayson Stark has an interesting bit on the Freddy for Reed, Olivo and Morse trade.

Virtually every baseball person we've surveyed about the Freddy Garcia trade thinks the Mariners made a great deal.

Jeremy Reed was viewed as a can't-miss, everyday centerfielder in the big leagues who might not put up star numbers but "can be a Mike Cameron or Steve Finley-type defender."

Double-A prospect Michael Morse "can really swing the bat," said one scout. And Miguel Olivo should solve the Mariners' catching problems for the next five years.

Huh, how come this is the first I hear of Reed's great defense? David at USS Mariner seems pretty convinced he's a Rusty Greer type corner outfielder. Oh well, Greer would be terrific, Finley even better.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

Let's play some Football! ACC Version

With the college football season approaching, I’d thought I’d start giving my CFB predictions. I may eventually do the NFL too, but I am a college guy all the way. First conference up: the ACC. This conference is now the best in college football, no other is as strong top-to-bottom. The lead dogs, Florida State and Miami, should compete for the national championship every year and great coaching hires at NC State, Clemson, Maryland, and Virginia have put these programs on the cusp of joining them. Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina should eventually compete as well, but it may take a coaching change for the Tar Heels.

1) Florida State Seminoles
Chris Rix gets one last shot to prove him something other than a bust. Rix will start the year as the first 4-year starting quarterback of Bobby Bowden’s career, but that’s due to the lack of a quality replacement more than his talents. He’s perfectly capable of being an All-American, but he’s never shown the leadership or intelligence on the field necessary. If Rix can get it together, the ‘Noles have enough young talent to challenge for the national championship. It’s a big if though.

2) Miami (FLA) Hurricanes
The Hurricanes make the move from the Big East following a disastrous season that saw them only win 11games, an Orange Bowl championship and finish in the top 5 nationally. Life must be rough, huh? Miami still lacks an answer at quarterback, as neither Brock Berlin (who sounds a Stan Lee superhero) nor Derrick Crudup performed up to Miami expectations last year. The answer might be hyped redshirt freshman Kyle Wright, and the future may begin in August.

3) Virginia Cavaliers
If Matt Schaub had an additional year of eligibility, UVa would be a contender for the BCS championship. As it stands, this is an impressively talented young team with a question mark under center. Currently junior Marques Hagans is listed atop the depth chart, but sophomore Christian Olson is pushing him. Olson, a heralded transfer from Notre Dame, may be the answer at two positions. Having him under center would free Hagans up to play at receiver, where he was effective at times last year. This team is loaded otherwise, with NFL-quality players along both lines, at running back, and a fleet of talented young linebackers.

4) Clemson Tigers

Finally, an ACC team with no questions at QB; Charlie Whitehurst entrenched himself enough last year to move his backup, Chansi Stuckey, to receiver. The junior and the rest of the Tigers finished strong last year, saving Coach Tommy Bowden’s job with a win over FSU and a crushing defeat of Tennessee in the Peach Bowl. The Tigers are strong contender to be overrated this year, as they lost more talent than people think. Whitehurst doesn’t have much experience to throw too, and the lines need work.

5) Maryland Terrapins
Considering the Terps have won 30 games in the 3 years of Ralph Friegen’s tenure, it really isn’t fair any to call them a sleeper team anymore. They have lost a lot, especially at the skill positions, with QB Scott McBrien and RB Bruce Perry having exhausted eligibility. The Fridge has recruited well, and with the best coaching staff in the conference, they should reload quickly. The defense should carry the team at first, with such talented players as LB D’Qwell Jackson and DB Domonique Foxworth.

6) North Carolina State Wolf Pack
This is TA McLendon’s team now, as Philip Rivers leaves as the best QB in ACC history. Jay Davis has first crack at replacing Rivers, but Marcus Stone has the physical tools to succeed. Provided McLendon stays healthy, this will be a run-based team. This could be a down year for the Wolf Pack, but with Chuck Amato recruiting, it should be the foundation for a big 2005.

7) Virginia Tech Hokies

While the move from the Big East will eventually be a good one for the Hokies, it won’t be at first. They go from a clear #2 to a middle-of-the-pack team in this new superconference. The Hokies, who collapsed last November for the 3rd year in a row, lost a lot of talent, with RB Kevin Jones, WR Ernest Wilford, C Jake Grove and CB DeAngelo Hall were all high NFL draft picks. The team wasn’t helped by the simmering quarterback controversy all year, as all Hokie fans not in his immediate family wanted Bryan Randall replaced by Vick the Younger (Marcus). This was despite the fact that Randall played very well up until the loss at West Virginia, and Marcus Vick is still a very raw talent. Considering Vick’s legal troubles in the off-season, expect to see Randall play the majority of the time.

8) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
For an offensive coach known for his work with quarterbacks, Chan Gailey has adapted to an option run attack quick. The Yellow Jackets return former walk-on PJ Daniels, the nation’s leading rusher, and ACC Freshman of the Year Reggie Ball, a slippery run-oriented QB. GT is still behind most ACC schools in terms of talent, but Gailey, an understated type, seems to be changing that, despite being in a recruiting war zone with both SEC and ACC schools. He certainly has built an excellent staff, as both coordinators, Patrick Nix on offense and John Tenuta on defense, should be head coaches before too long.

9) Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Jim Grobe has done an excellent job with the Deacs since coming over from Ohio, turning this perennial doormat into a gritty team that everyone hates to play. Still, his team does the overall talent of the bigger conference schools, though redshirt Freshman QB Ben Mauk was heavily recruited. Playing Mauk could change the Deacons to more of a passing team.

10) North Carolina Tar Heels

The John Bunting Era seems to be sputtering to a close. After Mack Brown left UNC for Texas, neither Carl Torbush nor Bunting has been able to come close to duplicating his success. While the Heels have a few nice players, like QB Darian Durant and WR Jawarski Pollock, the overall talent level is far below that of upper-echelon ACC teams. That, and success of cross-state rival NC State, have Bunting on a very short leash.

11) Duke Blue Devils

From 1999 until mid 2003, Carl Franks was 2-21 against ACC opponents. In his first five games as Duke coach, Ted Roof is 2-3, with both wins against conference foes. Now, much of this is due to Franks’ upgrading of the teams talent level, it is also a testament to Roof’s fiery nature, and how his team reacted to it. The Devils will always be primarily remain a basketball school, and perhaps never again attain the heights it did under Steve Spurrier, but Roof could be the man to establish Wake Forest –like credibility to the program.

ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12 ,Non-BCS Conferences, PAC-10, SEC

Posted by Frinklin at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004

Does this mean I'm going to hell?

I’ve been working on this huge and awful project at work right now. I’m reviewing accounts that are really, really horribly old. Between bureaucratic inertia and outright stupidity, our clients haven’t actually informed many of the customers that they owe them money. Well, I was working this account from several years ago, where our client had helpfully remembered to bill the customer. In this case, the customer had the fairly valid complaint that he never got the stuff we’re billing him for. Our client started the internal complaint process and… well, then it just stopped. Until they send the damned thing to us with a post-it note attached saying, “FIX IT.” Well, I looked at the account and noticed this guy was pretty old. So I thought to myself, “If he was old then, maybe he’s dead now.” Furthermore, I thought that it would be okay that he was dead, so I didn’t have to deal with this any further. I called up our skiptracing tool and found that, yep, he died shortly after filing the complaint. So I sent it on over to Legal.

Does this little episode, my wishing harm to a fellow human being so that I could be spared some trouble, make me a bad person?

Posted by Frinklin at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2004

Freddy and the ChiSox

Sounds like a mediocre do-wop group doesn’t it? Yesterday the Sox announced they resigned Freddy Garcia to a 3-year, $27-million dollar extension. This makes the trade a little better on both ends. Chicago now knows that they didn’t send Reed and Olivo for a rent-a-player, and the M’s know that Freddy signed for more than they would have paid him. Whether or not he’s worth it, that’s the kicker. Technically, he’s worth whatever somebody will pay him, and it is less than he demanded from the M’s during the off-season. Still, $9 million a year for a guy who is not an ace is a whole lotta money. That $9 million would better serve Seattle as 2/3 of Carlos Beltran

Posted by Frinklin at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

Do the Firemen hate me?

Today was “Boot the Burn” day in San Diego County. It may have been so in other communities, but I don’t know and it’s beside the point. What it means here is that at every major intersection, firefighters are standing out with boots, collecting donations for burn research. Considering my commute is about half surface streets, I encountered no fewer than 827 of them, each with a boot, each looking at me expectantly. Well, I am a good person; I gave at the very first boot I encountered, less than a mile from my house. Still, every other firefighter looked at me, as if sending invisible rays that asked, “Why don’t you give the burn victims? Is it because you’re a greedy fuck, or do you just hate people?”

No, of course I don’t, I just don’t want to donate money to every freaking firefighter in the county! They need to give you a sign the first time you give money, so you can hold it up as you pass others. It should say something like, “I AM NOT A GREEDY FUCK! I DON’T HATE BURN VICTIMS! I ALREADY DONATED!”

Seriously, folks, the suffering of burn victims are nothing to make fun of, and if you see a firefighter holding a boot, put some money in it.

And if ya don’t, you’re a greedy fuck.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:06 PM | Comments (1)

Learn While You Drive

My boss at work (compared with the Mrs. Frinklin, who is my boss at home) recently attended one of these management conferences. You know what I’m talking about: 2-3 days of managers sitting around talking about being managers, how cool it is to be managers, and how they can better manage the lives of their underlings. Well, mine came back with the suggestion of a lifetime. Everyone wastes so much time during a commute, why not use that time productively? Try taking a book on CD or tapes that will instruct you on how to improve yourself at performing your chosen career for instance.

Good Lord People, does anyone do this? My commute, and oh my is it a fun one, is about an hour. This isn’t terrible by San Diego standards, but it is longer than some. My commute isn’t a time for learning; it is a time for forgetting. I forget work-Frinklin and try my damnedest to remember real-Frinklin. Sometimes I forget and still talk in cubicle-ese around the house. Besides, any stray brainpower that could possibly be used to learn is needed to scream and rant at other drivers. Learn while on the commute, whatever…

Posted by Frinklin at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2004

Two Wealthy White Guys Named John!

Well, the Democratic ticket is set, a dynamic double-shot of John that at least 20% of America was waiting to see. Look, when John Kerry is at the top of the ticket there is only so much than can be done. Considering both John McCain and Hilary Clinton have decided to wait until 2008, Edwards was the only guy left who, in Charles Cook’s phrase, “moves the needle”. How much that is the case is questionable, especially in the South. Still, as I’ve mentioned before, the Dems bench is pretty thin. People like Gephardt, Vilsack and Biden wouldn’t have helped at all.

Unfortunately, I do not like either of these two. Kerry is just a cretin, an arrogant, pandering, politically vapid empty suit with a nice resume. And for all of Edwards’ supposed charm, every time I see him he’s the same; a slightly slimy Eddie Haskell-ish character spouting shopworn I feel your pain-isms and good old fashioned American Protectionism. It’s really disturbing to see the party abandon free trade so soon after Clinton. The finest moment of Clinton’s presidency was the passing of NAFTA, and Al Gore’s shining political moment was in 1994 when he and Ross Perot debated on Larry King. Gore demolished him, solidifying support for NAFTA, and exposing Perot as the clueless charlatan he is. Now you half expect Edwards to start stumping for Hawley-Smoot.

What really ticks me off? I wanted to vote against George Bush. Yep, I am among the 8% or so of our party who doesn’t like GW. I did four years ago. I didn’t like him as much as I did John McCain, but I knew John couldn’t ever win in the primaries. He still can’t. I did not see Reagan Redux in Bush like some GOPers, but I saw enough of a glimmer to believe. I voted for Bush because he would inject some Republican sanity to what had become an insane White House. I voted for him because Gore decided not to run as Clinton without the sex scandals, but instead as some counterfeit Huey Long railing against the Power and for the People. I voted for Bush because he seemed a decent enough guy, maybe not brilliant, but smart enough to surround himself with grownups like Colin Powell, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. After 9/11, I was happy to have him. He had the same reaction to terrorist horrors as I did: Who did this, and how do we kill them?

After Afghanistan though, my feelings started to change. The unmitigated arrogance and gall shown by the administration, and the vindictiveness felt when dealing with those who disagree got to me. I began to realize this administration has a lot more Nixon than Reagan in it. Top that off with the self-described “compassionate conservative” backing the FMA, and I couldn’t take it. I looked at the Democratic field. Most were easy to dismiss. Howard Dean? Perfectly acceptable centrist governor turned lunatic on the campaign trail. Kucinich? No way in hell. Sharpton? A very bad joke. Carol Moseley Braun? In what universe does scandal-ridden 1-term Senator and ambassador to New Zealand equal President? Dick Gephardt? Is anyone, in or out of the Democratic Party really for Dick Gephardt? Joe Lieberman? Let me see: pro-war, pro-Israel, anti-Hollywood, Joe might well be a Republican if he weren’t so worried about our more Pro-Jesus members forcibly converting him. Wesley Clark? Now, I liked him at first, really liked him. Both the Mrs. Frinklin and I saw him as moderate alternative, going as far as ordering what we termed “Clark Junk”, including my Republican for Clark button. Our stuff was supposed to arrive in 5-7 days. It took 3 ½ weeks. In that time, General Clark had inconveniently lost his mind. In his attempt to prove his Democratic bona fides, he ended up out-Deaning Dean, cumulating with an endorsement from a ranting, incoherent Michael Moore.

So, we’re left with John 1 and John 2, now running together. Neither of them has come up with anything beyond the not-Bush issue. In case you were wondering, this is going to be an exceptionally nasty campaign. Witness the popularity of Fahrenheit 9/11, MoveOn.org calling for the President to be censured if not impeached. Check out the Bush/Cheney’s Ohio ad, which links Kerry to the MoveOn.org goofball who compared Bush and Hitler. My personal favorite? I’ve seen “Kerry’s supposed Vietnam service” mentioned on rightist blogs and “news” sites. This one is the worst, and the most patently dishonest. Look fellas, their guy was off being shot in the jungle, while ours was off getting drunk in the swamps. No matter how self-serving he gets with it, Kerry speaks the truth in this matter. Not many others, but that is not the point.

So whom do I choose? The cretin I know or the cretin I don’t?

Posted by Frinklin at 06:10 PM | Comments (1)

X-Review, late once again

Quiet week last week, with Ultimate X-Men the only book that came out.

Ultimate X-Men #49

This is part 3 of The Tempest, the Ultimate version of the Mutant Massacre. This Mr. Sinister is far more believable, if any mutant can be, than the over the top version found in the old X-Men. Apocalypse is also re-introduced here, well somewhat anyway. The X-Men find a giant stuffed version of him in all his goofy glory in Sinister’s apartment. Now, there are two directions where this can go. Either Apocalypse does not exist at all, and he’s merely a product of Sinister’s twisted imagination, or he does exist and he’s using Sinister in the silliest manner possible. The former alternative is the smart move, as Apocalypse has never really worked right; the latter is most likely the way Marvel will take this.

I want to like this storyline more than I do. I think Brian Vaughn is a terrific writer, both Ex Machina and Runaways are terrific books. Hell, I even read a few of his Mystique, and I do not like the character at all. He shows a very nice feel for team books, making sure every character gets a moment or two. He also seems to know the characters too, especially Colossus and Nightcrawler. He’s rumored to be the guy after the Chuck Austen Era mercifully ends on X-Men, and I hope he gets it. I am just not sold on this story though. It’s been a little slow, and the twist at the end (not the Apocalypse moment) is straight out of every hackneyed horror-movie cliché. It is the old “Calls are coming from inside the house” stuff. He can do better. The art is okay. I’ve never been a huge Brandon Peterson fan, and this proves it. His figures seem a little off sometimes, and the texture of Peter’s steel doesn’t seem right. Moreover, the giant crotch shot cover of Iceman is ridiculous. God, I am so tired of Marvel’s Bland Cover Rule.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2004

Padres make a couple moves

Padre Move, Stunningly Unimportant Version: They've optioned Kerry Robinson out, finally. I can't see why they'd want to do that, he's a terrible hitter (.317 OPB), and lousy fielder. Don't let the Mariners find out this guy is available, they have enough of that. Of course if you listen to Finnegan, they need the speed! To replace Kerry, San Diego purchased Darren Bragg from the Yankees, who must be 75 years old by now. He isn't, he's a child of 34. Hey, M's fans, remember when he was going to solve the LF problem? The next Lenny Dykstra, remember?

Padre Move, Stunningly Important Version: Phil Nevin has surgery on his right knee and will miss 2-6 weeks. This is a big deal, as Nevin going down has been the death-knell for this team the last couple years. This time it is serious, as the Padres are in contention, and really need a productive righthanded power bat. Without Nevin they're down to Jay Payton, who certainly isn't in Coors Field anymore, and Xavier Nady. What Nady is, I don't know, and the Padres certainly don't either.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:08 PM | Comments (1)

No Trade Madness

According to John Hickey, Olerud has refused to waive his no-trade clause, as his name was considered in trade talks with Boston and another, unnamed team. On a human level, I can understand this, as his son Garrett is about to start school in Seattle. On the other hand, it drives me nuts.

Other Mariners with no-trade clauses are Eddie Guardado and Scott Speizio. Can anyone with more than 3 brain cells give me a good reason why Sandfrog has a no-trade??

Posted by Frinklin at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2004

A day of celebration, remembrance and renewal


Posted by Frinklin at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

How I changed history

I altered the space-time continuum on Saturday night. I didn't mean too, but I did. After a somewhat relaxing day at the movies (Spider-Man 2 with the Mrs. 13 & 12 year old siblings) I sat down to watch the well-liked Padres take on the Royals. It was a terrific game, but I blew it. See, Adam Eaton was dominant for most of the night, in fact he took a no-hitter into the 8th. Which I ruined. I came into the study, where the Mrs. Frinklin was playing Zoo Tycoon, and casually mentioned, "Honey, Adam Eaton is 6 outs away from the first no-hitter in Padre history, you want to watch?"

She thought for a second, and replied, "No, that's not really important, but aren't you supposed to not say it out loud?" Damn, I thought to myself, she's right. How could I be so foolish? Five seconds after I returned to the game, Eaton gave up his first hit, a ringing double to Dee Brown of all people. Frinklin had ruined it, and Eaton came apart, lost the no-no, lost the shutout, and damned near lost the game. Eventually San Diego won on Khalil Green's sac-fly in the ninth, but Eaton didn't figure in the decision.

Somewhere, in an alternate universe, a smarter Frinklin merely mentioned to his beautiful and talented wife that something cool was happening. In that other, happier world, Adam Eaton pitched the first no hitter in the Padres 35-year history. Not in this one though.

Posted by Frinklin at 01:31 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2004

IE vs. Firefox

In a snippet you might have missed last week, depending on how computer literate you are, the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team advised people to switch browsers away from Internet Explorer. This was due to a fairly nasty Russian virus that attacked the numerous flaws inherent in Internet Explorer. Slate's Paul Boutin wrote a column suggesting to switch to Mozilla Firefox. Remember, he wrote this on a Microsoft-owed website. I made the switch a few weeks ago, and I love Firefox. As Boutin mentions, on occasion a website will block you from entering because it can't recognize the browser, but that is really rare. It's happened to me a grand total of once. Other than that, I love Firefox. It's more secure, and it looks slicker to boot.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2004

Yes, yes I do, and that makes me better than you

Good. You know your music. You should be able to
work at Championship Vinyl with Rob, Dick and

Do You Know Your Music (Sorry MTV Generation I Doubt You Can Handle This One)
brought to you by Quizilla

First seen at Ringwood

UPDATE: On second thought, maybe I ain't so damned special, as everyone who takes this quiz seems to get the same score. Oh well, I shall prove my trivial genius some other way.

Posted by Frinklin at 06:59 PM | Comments (3)

Mariner Roster Tweaking

Yeah, I'm a little behind the curve on this, but the M's made a few interesting changes:

Travis Blackely was called up and made his first MLB start yesterday, beating the Texas Rangers. I really like this kid, and I hope they keep him up the rest of the season. It's a lost cause, why not get him ready for next year, when he'll be an integral part of the rotation.

Now after I say that, watch the idiots trade him.

Olivo goes down with kidney stones, and Jeff Sullivan's Holy Grail, Justin Leone is called up for a cup of coffee. As someone who's had kidney stones before, I wish Miguel the best of luck, the damned things seem to come back with some regularity. As for Leone, he's not going to get much of a chance, though he certainly deserves it.

In that same notes column, it is suggested the Red Sox are looking at John Olerud and perhaps a reliever as well. I'm down with that, Olerud is certainly at the end of the line, and deserves to go out better than this. It could clear up a small chunk of salary, and give Leone a place to play. Shift Sandfrog to 1B and give Justin the shot at a half-season with the big club. I'd love to see Speez on the list to leave, but he's shot his value pretty well.

Finally, Tui 2 signed with the M's. I'm assuming this will preclude his playing QB for the Huskies anytime soon. As with any HS draftee, who knows what will come of this? He's certainly a better bet than Michael Garciaparra though.

Oh, and eventually I'll explain my convoluted college-football loyalties, but to put it quickly I'm a lifelong Husky fan who ended up at WSU. Late Novembers are hell for me, you can imagine.

Posted by Frinklin at 05:36 PM | Comments (1)