Monthly Archives: November 2012

Random Songs for Random Cities

In an occasional feature, we select an appropriate song based on the weather of a random city in America. Through the use of a random number generator, making sure of course the result is an actual zip code, we’ve selected zip code 82071:

The forecast today for Laramie, Wyoming is 50 degrees and partly cloudy, well above the average high for November of 41. At 30,816 (the third largest city in Wyoming), Laramie was voted by Money Magazine to be one of the best places to retire in 2011. It is the home of the University of Wyoming, where the Cowboys compete in Division I athletics as part of the Mountain West Conference. Notable people from Laramie include…um…Sheridan H. Downey? US Senator from 1939-1951. Laramie boasts 14 city parks, so get out and enjoy this weather Laramie, you’ve earned it!

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Word of Todd: Miller’s Time

This week, the baseball community lost labor champion Marvin Miller at the age of 95.  I do not consider myself a baseball scholar by any means, but I had long associated Miller’s name with baseball’s labor revolution in the 1960s.  There have been calls for his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game, arguments that said contributions have done more for the game than those of many executives who populate Cooperstown.  Marvin Miller undoubtedly changed the game.  Forgive me if I am not so quick to see these changes as ultimately positive.

Miller was integral in establishing free agency and ending baseball’s reserve clause that essentially bound a player to their original club until which time they were released.  He helped make the Major League Baseball Player’s Association a true union with bargaining rights, and in turn brought about things like arbitration, and sent player salaries skyrocketing.  In essence, these principles he fought for were just, and what one would expect out of any employer/employee relationship.  After all, any romantic notions of team loyalty in the early days of baseball are fallacies, the players had no say.  However, are we now too far in the other direction?

Sportswriters in their obituaries of Marvin Miller often compare his achievements in a before and after sense.  Jayson Stark of ESPN, for example, writes:

The average salary back then, in 1966, was $6,000. Alex Rodriguez collected $6,000 every THIRD of an inning this year.

We’re supposed to treat this as a good thing?  Adjusted for inflation, $6,000 is worth a little over $41,000 in 2011 dollars.  Player salaries have increased at a rate so far beyond that of the average worker that it is almost incalculable.  It is hard to say baseball has just been keeping up with other sports, as in sports history the three other major leagues have followed baseball’s lead on just about everything, from playoffs to building new stadiums.  Major League Baseball was the dominant league at the time.

So for me the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  Going back to the average salary in 1966, I will allow that $41,000 is a little low for a Major League Baseball player.  However the average salary today is $3.4 million, that is an increase in average salary (in inflation adjusted dollars) of over 7558%.  So do players deserve that much more?  I think not.  Who suffers at the cost of these higher salaries?  The fans do.  Owners, of course, are not blameless, and are greedy themselves, but that is another issue.

I believe that these are unintended consequences of doing what was right back then.  The money is out of control.  Baseball has been thankfully free of a labor stoppage since 1995, but between then and the start of Miller’s tenure there were eight.  Nobody had ever heard of a strike in professional sports before Miller came about.  It is the right of a union to strike.  But a player’s union is less a union than a club of rich guys.

A baseball team is not a business in the classic sense.  The reason baseball teams are called clubs is because that’s what they originally were, a group of guys playing a game.  Somewhere along the line that was co-opted for profit.  For better or worse, the game would not be the same if not for Marvin Miller.  The state of the game is strong.  But by what metric do we measure that?

Wonderings by Kyle

“I get my news from the Daily Show.” For a lot of us, this is a true statement. Comedy Central’s longest running show is a prime example of intelligence and humor coming together to create something truly magnificent.

How many of us really knew who Jon Stewart was before he took over the Daily Show in 1999? Really I knew him from was his brief role in Half Baked and his role as Kevin Gerrity in Adam Sandler’s last mediocrely funny film, Big Daddy. However, when Comedy Central decided to shift the show from pop culture to politics, it took a significant risk. Did the executives behind that decision honestly think that it’d win 18 Primetime Emmy awards and create an almost equally successful spin-off series The Colbert Report? I highly doubt it but boy has it.

The show’s writers and correspondents are hilarious and so many have gone onto bigger and more well-known things. Steve Carrell went on to star as the lovable Michael Scott on The Office and he was EVAN effing ALMIGHTY! Ed Helms also went on to star as Andy Bernard on The Office. Rob Riggle was the guy that yelled “Pow!” in Step Brothers and “Shut that baby up!” in the Hangover. Finally, Stephen Colbert starred in quite a few Goodwrench/Sears commercials before setting up shop behind a desk of his own on The Colbert Report.

In a time where politics seems to be getting more in-your-face with Twitter, Facebook, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, etc. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report offer their own 30 minute perspectives with the pure brilliance that only Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (Stephen! Stephen! Stephen! Stephen!) could deliver. There has never been a time where I’ve seen an episode of either show where I haven’t laughed out loud or been brought to tears. That won’t change no matter how many times I see Jon give the camera his “wtf” face after a news clip.

That is my moment of zen.

Jeff’s Week 11 NFL Picks

I can’t believe I didn’t foresee that tie last week between the 49ers and Seahawks! I will make amends this week by still not picking any ties in the NFL… I guess that makes sense… PICKS!

Home team in CAPS

BILLS over Dolphins

This is a matchup between two teams that aren’t good, and are building for next year. I think each team has significant issues to hold them back this year. However Ryan Fitzpatrick should be able to put up enough for a 3 point win over the Dolphins.

FALCONS over Cardinals

This would be a bad week to be a Cardinals fan, player, coach, janitor, anyone that has anything to do with this team. The Falcons are going to come out of their first loss on fire. They are awake now after losing to the Saints last week (a Saints team that is better than their record). Look for Matt Ryan to throw up MVP numbers, and Atlanta’s defense to be scary good against whoever the Cards throw to the wolves at quarterback.

COWBOYS over Browns

This matchup is as simple as this, the Boys are still holding out hope for a playoff birth, if not a division championship this year. The Browns are curious as to which QB they get tin the draft next year. Cowboys win by 14.

Packers over LIONS

I foolishly made a bet before the season that the Lions would win at least 9 games this year. Needless to say, I have paid on that bet already. This is a flawed team that hasn’t gotten the deep ball going yet this season. Rogers is going to discount double check dance all over the Lions. Packers by 10.

Bengals over CHIEFS

I’m not sure the Chiefs can win another game this year. Sure, they made it competitive against the banged up Steelers on Monday night football. But that was in poor weather, and half the game played with Byron Leftwich throwing the ball (first pass attempt was so bad, it looked like a fumble [and was ruled one]). I also took the Chiefs nine games into the season before they got a regulation lead… Bengals by 9.

RAMS over Jets

The Jets are another team that is going to have to win before I pick them again this year. Unless they are playing a really horrible team (I’m looking at you Kansas City and Jacksonville). I think Jeff Fisher is finally getting the team to think like winners instead of losers, and it’s starting to show. This Rams team will be pretty good next year, and look to challenge for the playoffs. However, this week, they win by 7.

REDSKINS over Eagles

Sure, the Redskins defense is banged up. But so was the Saints when the Eagles got embarrassed and couldn’t move the ball enough against a historically bad defense. Will it get better with Nick Foles in for the injured Mike Vick? I doubt it. Eagles have enough talent to keep up with RGIII, but not enough. Skins by 3.

Buccaneers over PANTHERS

Doug Martin is making a case for rookie of the year for the Bucs right now. The Panthers won’t do anything until they get a new coach. Bucs by 10.

TEXANS over Jaguars

Read directly above ^^. Texans by 24.

Saints over RAIDERS

The Saints offense is humming along on all cylinders right now. And the Raiders just don’t have the manpower on defense to keep up (few teams do). And Carson Palmer and co. don’t have enough to keep pace either. Saints by 10.

BRONCOS over Chargers

Peyton Manning is looking for another MVP to add to his resume. And the Broncos can essentially lock up the AFC West this week. Unless Philip Rivers remembers how to throw a football to the players in the right uniforms, it’s not gonna be close. Broncos by 14.

Colts over PATRIOTS

Upset special of the week! I got it right last week, so I might as well keep picking an upset each week. This one isn’t as much of a reach as last week. But this could be the birth of Luck vs. Brady being the new Manning/Brady. I think the Colts will squeak out of New England with a 1 point win.

Ravens over STEELERS

I bet when the NFL made this weeks schedule, they weren’t picturing three of the 4 starting quarterbacks in their Sunday/Monday night games going down with injuries. The last one standing is Joe Flacco. Without Big Ben, the Steelers will struggle to keep this one from getting out of hand. Ravens run over the Steelers by 20.

49ERS over Bears

This game came down to home field advantage and which starting quarterback was more of a loss to which team. I don’t think anyone will disagree with me when I say that Jay Cutler is far more valuable to his team’s success than Alex Smith is to the Niners. Both teams field extremely tough defenses. However, Arian Foster showed that it is possible to wear down the Bears. So, like last Sunday night, I pick the home team by 1.

Season record: 39-21

 

Word of Todd: Random Songs for Random Cities

In an occasional feature, we select an appropriate song based on the weather of a random city in America.  Through the use of a random number generator, making sure of course the result is an actual zip code, we’ve selected zip code 87505.

The weather today for Santa Fe, New Mexico is 44 and sunny.

The sun is a liar.  You might look out your window and think it looks nice outside, but it’s cold.  The sun warms up your car, so it feels like summer until you open the door and get it hit with that cold air.  This doubly sucks because you’re bundled up for the cold but you get in the car and start sweating.  The sun is an asshole sometimes.  Therefore, a song that sounds happy but isn’t.  I L U by School of Seven Bells.  Happy Monday, Santa Fe.

Skyfall: Helping Us Forget Quantum of Solace

Greetings SOUC Nation, Kyle here to bring you my thoughts on the latest chapter of our favorite MI6 agent: Bond, James Bond.

I’ve been a fan of 007 since Goldeneye. When it was released I was 9 years old and the video game was the sole focus around many childhood sleepovers. Since then I’ve seen quite a few of the Connery classics and enough to love the iconic Ian Flemming character.

Now I have been awaiting the release of Skyfall for quite some time now. Not so much Skyfall in particular but whatever could make me forget about the latest film Quantum of Solace. I judge most movies mainly around the lasting desire to watch them over and over again. I saw Casino Royale in the theaters 4 times and own it on DVD. As far as Quantum of Solace goes, I saw it once in the theater and that was it. Completely left with a one-time-only grade from Kyle.

Skyfall captures the attention right off the bat much like Casino Royale did with an overseas chase pre-credits. Nothing could’ve made me happier than to see that. I’m not going to spoil the film for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet but please go see this movie. Even if you haven’t seen any of the previous 22 Bond films and have no firsthand knowledge of his escapades, see this film. I went with my girlfriend who had no desire to see it and had never seen any other Bond movies and went with me basically because I paid for the tickets and the popcorn and she thought it was just a great movie alone.

The cast and everyone who worked on this film did an amazing job. Martin Bendes (director of American Beauty) does a fabulous job with the cinematography and the lighting. Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) was brilliant as the villain. Daniel Craig is a terrific James Bond once again and hope he continues the role for at least two more films. The personality he gives to the character makes Pierce Brosnan’s version look just cheesy and laughable. Even the main score by Adele was good and I hate Adele! 

I have the burning desire to see this movie in theaters at least once more and I have a strong feeling that we will have many more stories from our favorite Agent 007 to come.

Unconscious Blogging: The Un-American Dream

Welcome back to another stream of unconscious blog entry by the one, the only, Jeff. What brought me here this evening with you all is a revelation I’ve had. I was watching a documentery (of which you will have to tune into our next radio show) which made me realize what I want to do with me life. I came to the realization that I am not living my life to my full potential. I’m not happy with where I am in life. A lot of which is just probably self conscious bullshit. BUT! I now know where I need to go to be truely happy. I am convinced that one day I will disappear from everyone I currently know in my life. This may sound depressing to some. But I know that this will lead to enlightenment. I have become so complaicent in my current situation, that I have no motivation to go out and be the person I know I can be. I don’t know when or where, but my dream is to now start saving up some start up money. Start up money for a brand new life. I envision that one day I will be gone from anyone that knows me. I will be gone from the state of Minnesota. The state which I have called home for my entire life. I will relocate to a coastal town or city. I will find a place to live and work. And from there, I will dictate who I really want to be. I decided that I will bring no earthly possesions. I will pack maybe a few changes of clothes. Otherwise, everything will be left in a storage garage. All of those possesions will be left behind, along with who my old self used to be. Is there a chance that I will go back to being who I currently am? Of course there is. However, I believe that the risk of change is worth that leap of faith. I just dream of a new beginning. A new chance to meet my full potential. A life void of depression, drinking and smoking. I dream of living a minimalistic life. Free of needing possesions and the newest greatest technology. I dream of being free of restraint. Is this all a pipe dream? Maybe. But I know that I intend to disappear. I know that I need to chase a dream. I know that I need to chase freedom. I know that I need to evolve who I am. I dream of being a better person. I dream of a better life. In the end, I dream of happiness. Something I have yet to fully experience in my current life.

Howling for the Masses

Hey SOUC folk, Kyle here! Since there was no show this week due to the United State Presidential Election, I figured I would contribute in blog form on something amazing that happened!

Due to the NHL-PA enforced lockout, I’ve been struggling with what to do with my time. Typically when the World Series is over I officially turn into a hockey zombie. I mark on my calendar when the Blackhawks and Wild are playing on National TV throughout the season, my clothing attire turns from Twins shirts to Blackhawks and Wild shirts and hoodies, and anything else geekily related to being an obsessed NHL fan. So you can clearly see that I’m having a weird withdrawl-related self discovery period right now. I’ve decided to try and fill that void by following the Barclay’s Premier League and the NBA. Desperately hoping that having two sports can take my mind off of it. So far it’s been going okay but there was a huge breakthrough this past Monday night that will be etched in my brain of sports memories for years.

A day after losing to the Toronto Raptors, the Minnesota Timberwolves traveled to Brooklyn to take on the Nets at their new home. With the way they lost to Toronto and without the services of stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, the Timberwolves seemed to be in for a long night against Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and the rest of the Nets.

The Wolves were down pretty much from the get-go and the deficit grew to 22 points. However, the squad comprised of Nikola Pekovic, Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Dante Cunningham, JJ Barea, & Andrei Kirilenko kept fighting. Creating 3-point chances and working as a full unit, they clawed their way back and then some defeating Jay-Z’s squad by 11 points.

This new-look group is exciting to watch, there’s no doubting that. One can only wait and dream about what will happen when Kevin Love comes back from injury within the next few weeks. I think that’s enough for me to not care about missing the NHL for a while at least.

– Kyle

Jeff’s NFL Week 10 Picks

Just going to hop right into it this week. Here they are, PICKS!

Home team in CAPS

Colts over JAGUARS

The Colts are looking to make the playoffs this year. Andrew Luck has been everything as advertised and probably even more. This is the most surprising team this year. Jaguars are terrible as they always are. Colts by 6.

Giants over BENGALS

The Giants were looking like one of the top teams in the NFL, and despite a bad loss last week, I think they bounce back this week against an inferior Bengals team. The Giants pass rush is just too intimidating for the Bengals line to handle. Giants by 10.

DOLPHINS over Titans

The Titans are terrible this year. They don’t have a true quarterback to lead this team, and Chris Johnson is mediocre at best. Johnson has gone from the top running back in the league down to maybe top 15 in just a season and a half. I like what the Dolphins have, and next year they may be able to contend for a playoff spot. Their defense is good, Tannehill looks like he could be a good QB and their running game is bordering elite levels. Dolphins win by 7.

Lions over VIKINGS

Ugh, I don’t like either of these teams. How Calvin Johnson only has one touchdown halfway through the year is baffeling. But I can’t even think of picking the Vikings until Ponder can throw for 250 yards and 60% completion. He has fallen off the face of the Earth. Because it is at Mall of America Field, Lions win by 2.

PATRIOTS over Bills

Not wasting time here. Patriots by 21.

SAINTS over Falcons

Upset of the week! The Saints are on a roll, and Brees seems to be determined to not let his defense lose anymore games. He is hanging in the pocket and placing the ball perfectly in his receivers hands. The Falcons still haven’t really had any signature wins this year. I think the streak is over this week. Saints win a close one, 28-27.

BUCCANEERS over Chargers

Coming into the season if somebody told me that Josh Freeman would have more touchdowns and yards than Philip Rivers midway through the season, I would never have believed them. The Bucs offense is starting to click. Rivers is having a terrible year, and Norv is starting to look where he can coach next year (You stay away from my Eagles Norv!). Bucs win by 7.

Broncos over PANTHERS

After looking at the Broncos schedule the rest of the way, the Broncos only have two losable games left. This is not one of them. Peyton and co. are clicking. The scary part, I think Manning is still not even peaking yet. He will only get better the rest of the way. Broncos by 10.

RAVENS over Raiders

Not worth it. Ravens by 14.

SEAHAWKS over Jets

You want to know when you have a bad veteran quarterback? When rookie Russel Wilson is better than him. The Hawks may not lose a game at home this year. They have the best homefield advantage in the league, and it’s not even close. Especially when they play bad teams. Seattle pulls it out by 6.

EAGLES over Cowboys

Andy Reid is coaching for his job. Michael Vick is playing for the rest of his $100 million contract. I think they overcome being down 4 offensive line starters to manage a 3 point victory against the boys. (might be a biased pick)

49ERS over Rams

Whenever I think it’s a lock that the Rams are going to lose, they manage to make me look foolish. BUT! I think this game is a lock. The Niners are a team that has only really beaten themselves this year. And as long as they aren’t overlooking the Rams, they should win by 10.

BEARS over Tex….. Texans over BEA….. BEARS over Texans!

I have no IDEA! This is going to be a damn good game. Two great defenses going against each other. I think the Bears win by 2. And only because they are at home. Get some, Peanuts!

STEELERS over Chiefs

The Chiefs are TERRIBLE! Steelers ROLL over the Chiefs by 20.

Season record: 31-15

Jeff’s Week 9 NFL Picks

Welcome to the only post on the blog! My week nine NFL picks segment! Again, posting this really late, work in the morning into the late evening, so I will not be going into depth on my picks. I skipped the Thursday night game, because it was the Chiefs against the Chargers. Nobody outside of Kansas City or San Diego cared (excpet for maybe Todd, in that case I wanted to pick the Chiefs). Without further ado, PICKS!

Home team in CAPS

Broncos over BENGALS

Ravens over BROWNS

PACKERS over Cardinals

Bears over TITANS

COLTS over Dolphins

REDSKINS over Panthers

Lions over Jaguars

TEXANS over Bills

RAIDERS over Bucs

SEAHAWKS over Vikings

Steelers over GIANTS

Cowboys over FALCONS (upset pick of the week)

Eagles over SAINTS

Record so far: 23-10