Saturday, March 23, 2013

The greatest home field advantage of all time?

In a World Cup qualifying match yesterday, the U.S. beat Costa Rica 1-0; in this:

The game was played in Commerce City, Colorado, just outside of Denver.  And while I doubt many of the Americans are used to playing soccer in snow, there's a good chance most of the Costa Rican team has never even seen snow.  Costa Rica is about 15 feet north of the equator.  Tomorrow's forecast for its capital, San Jose, is a high of 84, and a low of 67.  They don't even have summer or winter, just the rainy season and the dry season.  I remember when I went there in February a few years back the ocean water felt just as warm as the air.  So nicely done U.S.A. Soccer; hosting a mid-March game vs a tropical nation in the heart of ski country.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Madut Bol, Bol Bol, and overrated Gonzaga

Manute Bol & Spud Webb
The big story from day one of the NCAA Tournament is 14th seeded Harvard knocking off a #3 seed, New Mexico.  But I want to talk about an upset that didn't happen.  Before I get to that however, I'm going to go off on a brief tangent on the late Manute Bol.  I met him once at a casino in Connecticut, he loved to gamble.  Manute had 10 children; one of which is named Bol Bol (seriously), who's 6'5" in 7th grade and considered to be one of the best basketball players his age in the country.  Another of Manute's sons is named Madut, and he's a 6'9" backup center on the Southern University Jaguars basketball team.

Southern earned a ticket to the big dance by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference (known as the SWAC) tournament.  They did this with a 45-44 victory over the mighty Prairie View A&M Panthers in the final.  During the course of the season Southern lost games to such national powerhouses as North Carolina Central, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Alcorn St.  This resume earned Southern a #16 seed, and a first round matchup with #1 Gonzaga.

Yesterday with 3:47 left, that game was tied 56-56 (for comparison, in the other 1 vs 16 matchup last night Louisville beat North Carolina A&T 79-48).  Gonzaga ended up winning 64-58, but as I said a few weeks ago, there is no possible way they should be ranked #1 in the country.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Far Behind" by Candlebox

I remember playing this song repeatedly on my discman while sitting in the back of my parent's mini-van on a long trip to look at colleges in 1994.  The Candlebox album had a couple other "listen-to-able" songs on it, but Far Behind was the best by a mile.  As great as it was, it really deteriorates after the 3:00 minute mark.  The :45 second guitar solo is OK, but then the angry 1:15 at the end is kind of hard to listen to.  It made me glad for the invention of CD's to replace cassettes, because I could just press the >>| button and skip to the next track (or |<< and go back to the beginning) without having to fast forward and guess when it was over.

I think the band would have been a lot better off ending this song after about three and a half minutes, but in the grunge-rock era of the early 90's they were probably worried about it coming off as too "poppy."  You can never sound too poppy in my book.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How come men use cash and women don't?

This is something I have noticed time and time again while working behind a bar.  If a man walks up and buys a single drink, 9 out of 10 times he'll hand me a $20 bill to pay for it.  Conversely, if a women does the same thing, she will almost always use a credit card.  Why is this?

It's not because it's too difficult to carry; I'm not talking about college girls on "club night" who go out in a tight dress carrying nothing but their phone, ID, and a credit card.  This is men with a wallet in their pockets compared to women with a bag hanging from their forearm.  If anything the men have less room for the cash.  I assume it's not a fear of getting mugged, isn't the trauma of that scenario far worse than worrying about losing $50-$100 in cash?

Is this conundrum related in some way to great-grandmothers who always write a check when buying groceries?  I don't understand what it is about cash that is just more manly; or at least perceived that way by men, women, or both.  If you have any theories on this please let me know.  Either via comment below, tweet, or the facebook.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Boston Celtics Daily News from Around the Web

This is a feature that I do 4 days a week for CLNS Radio.  Normally I publish it around 10:30 in the morning.  Unfortunately the site has been down all day, so rather than let my work go to waste, I'm posting it here:

Heat 105, Celtics 103
Other News:
Boston Globe
Green Couldn't carry Celtics past Heat - Gary Washburn reflects on Jeff Green's 43 point evening.
Boston Herald
No Silver Lining for C's - Mark Murphy discusses the difficult loss.
Green means go - Steve Bulpett examines Jeff Green's career night.
Miami savoring growth spurt - Tom Layman says this was the type of game the Heat used to lose.
Jeff Green on his Celtics performance for the ages: 'I didn't pay attention' to 43 points - Mike Petraglia shares some post game quotes from Green.
Jason Terry still bitter about the Heat: Loss was 'self inflicted' - Terry was not pleased with the way Boston let the lead slip away.
Heat riding high on confidence after win over Celtics - Jessica Camerato reports on the post game attitude in the visitor's locker room.
Fans let Ray Allen hear it in second return to Boston - The former Celtic scored just 6 points, and had some harsh critics in the Garden crowd.
Source: Celtics to sign White for remainder of season - DJ White's 10-day contract will be extended for the rest of the year.
ESPN Boston
Celtics put scare into Heat - Peter May takes an optimistic look at yesterday's defeat.
Breaking down Green's 43-point night
Pierce has trouble seeing bright side - The Captain was unimpressed with a "moral victory," Greg Payne has the story.
Celtics Hub
Jeff Green did more than score 43 points last night against the Heat - For much of the game he outplayed the best player in the world on a big stage.
Dime Magazine
Watch Jeff Green's 43 point explosion on the Miami Heat - Full highlights of Green's outburst (video).
Miami Herald
Sports Illustrated
Heat, Celtics mutually thrive off NBA's most-heated rivalry - Ian Thomsen is a big fan of the mutual dislike these two teams share.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Celtics have a good shot at winning the division, despite Bill Simmons jinxing the Heat game tonight

On Friday I wrote a piece for Celtics Life breaking down how the Celtics could still end up winning the Atlantic Division title, their 6th in a row.  They Knicks are in a free fall; 3 of their best players are hurt and they've lost the first 4 games of their current west coast trip.  The Nets did Boston a favor by unexpectedly losing at home to Atlanta last night, and they are about to head out on a tough 8 game road trip themselves.  Boston now trails New York by just 2.5 games, and Brooklyn by only one and a half.  Luckily for the Celtics, they don't need to win tonight (I projected them to win 13 of the final 18, but that included a loss to Miami this evening) to win the division, but if they do it would go a long way towards increasing their odds.

Kevin Garnett isn't going to play, but I honestly don't think that hurts their chances of beating Miami too much.  You can read more about this in my game preview for CLNS Radio.  What I don't like though is this ridiculous coincidence of the Celtics ending the Rockets 2nd-best-in-NBA-history 22 game winning streak exactly 5 years ago today, March 18th, 2008.  Now that everybody's aware of that stat I feels like it's ruined some of Boston's underdog mojo/karma.  Similarly, I hate the fact that Bill Simmons went on ABC yesterday and guaranteed the C's would end the Heat's 22 game winning streak tonight:

About a minute later Simmons did say he wasn't really guaranteeing a Celtics victory, but still the damage was done.  I'm about to head off to the Garden.  This game could be huge, or totally insignificant; but either way I think it's a no-lose situation for Boston.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Recycle Sunday, Volume 8: "No working on St. Patrick's Day Edition"

Since I'm headed to the St. Patrick's Day parade and various parties in South Boston all day, it seems like a good time for another "Recycle Sunday."

Remembering "choose your own adventure" books during Hurricane Sandy.

Do you know the difference between "less" and "fewer?"

I have a theory that TV commercials don't work. Here's why.

Rajon Rondo's spectacular 10+ assists per game streak prompted me to suggest an NBA rule change: Assists on made free throws.

"Transformers" toys are somehow worse than they were 25 years ago.

My experience sitting courtside in the front row at an NBA game.

A kid scored 138 points in a college basketball game, but the major new outlets failed to report why.

The "Gummi Bears" theme song; and Alicia Keys' version of it.

Did you know that Dee Brown Reebok Pumps are still for sale?

Every single sports team has obnoxious fans. ESPN made a great commercial illustrating this.

Memo to young women in bars: Part II

The movie "Almost Famous" has several actors in it who were at the time almost famous themselves.


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