Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Can This Man Make Undude Care About the NBA Again?

Quite possible the most self-explanatory DudeSpin post of all time! Undude has been silent during all of the NBA talk since this blog launched, probably because the Celtics were, in a word, woeful.

Now, the arrival of the man pictured here may make Undude follow the NBA. Three or four years ago, if you would have put Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett on the same squad, I would have told you to size them for championship rings post haste. Now? Not so much, but in the still pretty weak East, Boston fans have to be thinking NBA Finals or bust (assuming good health, that is). That's a big change in thinking from just two months ago.

How about it Undude? Are you back on the roller coaster ride that has been the Celtics' off-season?

The Final Frontier for DudeSpin

What's this picture of, you might be asking? Some see it as the most easy-to-ignore continent on the planet. A place to feel sorry for twice a year, and then go back about your business. To DudeSpin, though, it's the only spot on the globe yet to grace our pages with its presence.
So it's on that note that I remind all that I'll be making a pilgrimmage to Kenya and Tanzania on Thursday in a quest to bring DudeSpin to its people. Can it solve all of Africa's ills? Probably not, but you never know until you try! Needless to say, if there's a computer in Nairobi, I'll be sure and visit, to add a dot on our readership map that's never before been seen.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Better Know a Book: Freakonomics

Thankfully, a friend was thoughtful enough to send this book to me not too long ago. This eye-opener, told through the lense of unconvention U of Chicago economic Steven Levitt, explored some ordinary phenomenon in a very extraordinary way. Sure, some of Levitt's conclusions will bring about a "no duh" reaction from the dudes, i.e., people sometime cheat and take advantage of other people. But some of his conclusions are breathtakingly out of left field and provokes much thought and discussion.
Of course, economics as a field is ordinarily so boring that I can't even stand listening to Jon Huntley explain its finer points, but Levitt and Dubner's gift is to be able to explain economic phenomena in such a easy-to-understand and politically-neutral manner. For that reason, the book reads so much more like a story than a treatise. And after getting through the drudgery of Assault on Reason, this book was a welcome change of pace.

Friday, July 27, 2007

HERSHEYPARK: Home of Underage Drinking?

Apparently, John Mayer + HERSHEYPARK = a lot of police action on a Thursday night. Franchise, where were you to put a stop to all of this?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

RIP: Skip Prosser

What has already been a horrible week for sports got even worse this afternoon with news that Wake Forest head men's basketball coach Skip Prosser has died of a heart attack at the age of 56. Condolences to the Prosser family and the extended Wake Forest family from your friends from the even more extended triangle family. You will be missed Coach Prosser.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

YouTube Dems Debate Review

Stodgy old CNN met upstart media vanguard YouTube last night in a debate far more entertaining than any of the previous ones thus far. For starters, I was relieved to see Andersen Cooper hosting this debate - it would have taken way too long to explain YouTube to Larry King! One caveat before starting the review though: I set the DVR for 2 hours and the debate ran over that time, so I missed the last round of questioning.

Although the format was designed to allow a more direct connection between the voters and the candidates, each of the candidates were as deft as usual in dodging questions they didn't want to answer and redirecting their answers to questions that weren't asked. Try as Andersen might in keeping the candidates to responsive answers, one must remember that he's dealing with professional politicians!

Speaking of question-dodging and professional politicians, I was floored that so few of the politicians answered the real question when two black voters submitted a question on whether the candidates would work as President for minimum wage. Fabulous non-answers Hillary and John - of course you would work for minimum wage considering the personal wealth that you have both amassed over your lifetimes. The question behind the question was, of course, that should anyone have to work for $5.85 an hour (new MW starting today, that almost seem like teachers' wages to me)? The answer to that should have been a resounding No! Mike Gravel answered that question; Barack answered that question, but Clinton and Edwards both hid behind their wealth.

Overall, I found myself nodding my head to Kunicich's answers quite often. I detected a slight change in strategy from camp Barack as he played more the role of front-runner than in previous debates by seeking consensus among other debates a bit more frequently. He differed from Hillary on one major point that I can recall - whether he would personally meet with leaders from North Korea, Venezuela, Iran & Cuba. He said yes; Hillary said she would send envoys. Though it might only be a small difference , I think the answers signal why Barack would be a much more dramatic agent for change than Hillary. On tough issues, Hillary resorts to political protocol; Barack is willing to be more of a trailblazer when common sense dictates.

Given that this is already debate No. 4, I imagine voters might start to get wary soon - that is why I'd like to see Barack start making up that lingering gap in the polls. This debate might help some, but it isn't quite enough.

Monday, July 23, 2007

ESPN Backs Off

Apparently running out of Arena League games, poker, eating contests, and Rock-Paper-Scissors programing, ESPN finally decided to roll out its college football preview package on its website. But judging from its debut column, Bristol would have been better served just to keep rerunning the Spelling Bee.

ESPN ranked Airborne 115th among 119 Division I teams for 2007. Apparently, someone is going to have egg on their faces come November when Airborne trounces Notre Dame in South Bend to remain undefeated. Chris Berman, you're with me atrocious prediction.

Franchise's Fantasy Football Rankings - Tight Ends

Undaunted by The Dude selling me out for some clown on YouTube, I'm pressing ahead with rankings for tight ends. I have mixed feelings about tight ends in fantasy football - part of me wishes leagues would do away with the need to start them because so few can make a difference; the other part of me thinks squeezing a few extra points out of the TE spot can separate great fantasy owners from the rest of the pack.

Without further ado, here's the top 25 TEs as of July 23 for three different scoring systems: PPR (TDs + yardage + 1 pt. per reception), Performance (TDs + yardage) and Basic (TDs only).

TE Rankings - PPR
  1. Antonio Gates, SD
  2. Tony Gonzalez, KC
  3. Kellen Winslow, CLE
  4. Jeremy Shockey, NYG
  5. Todd Heap, BAL
  6. Chris Cooley, WAS
  7. Alge Crumpler, ATL
  8. Randy McMichael, STL
  9. L.J. Smith, PHI
  10. Jason Witten, DAL
  11. Ben Watson, NE
  12. Vernon Davis, SF
  13. Heath Miller, PIT
  14. Owen Daniels, HOU
  15. Daniel Graham, DEN
  16. Dallas Clark, IND
  17. Greg Olsen, CHI
  18. Jerramy Stevens, TB
  19. Bo Scaife, TEN
  20. Tony Scheffler, DEN
  21. Chris Baker, NYJ
  22. Marcus Pollard, SEA
  23. Ben Troupe, TEN
  24. Desmond Clark, CHI
  25. David Martin, MIA
TE Rankings - Performance
  1. Antonio Gates, SD
  2. Tony Gonzalez, KC
  3. Jeremy Shockey, NYG
  4. Alge Crumpler, ATL
  5. Todd Heap, BAL
  6. Chris Cooley, WAS
  7. Kellen Winslow, CLE
  8. Vernon Davis, SF
  9. L.J. Smith, PHI
  10. Ben Watson, NE
  11. Jason Witten, DAL
  12. Randy McMichael, STL
  13. Heath Miller, PIT
  14. Daniel Graham, DEN
  15. Dallas Clark, IND
  16. Owen Daniels, HOU
  17. Tony Scheffler, DEN
  18. Jerramy Stevens, TB
  19. Greg Olsen, CHI
  20. Bo Scaife, TEN
  21. Chris Baker, NYJ
  22. Ben Troupe, TEN
  23. Desmond Clark, CHI
  24. Marcus Pollard, SEA
  25. David Martin, MIA
TE Rankings - Basic
  1. Antonio Gates, SD
  2. Jeremy Shockey, NYG
  3. Chris Cooley, WAS
  4. Vernon Davis, SF
  5. Todd Heap, BAL
  6. Alge Crumpler, ATL
  7. Heath Miller, PIT
  8. Tony Scheffler, DEN
  9. Tony Gonzalez, KC
  10. L.J. Smith, PHI
  11. Daniel Graham, DEN
  12. Dallas Clark, IND
  13. Owen Daniels, HOU
  14. Jerramy Stevens, SEA
  15. Ben Watson, NE
  16. Randy McMichael, STL
  17. Chris Baker, NYJ
  18. Kellen Winslow, CLE
  19. Jason Witten, DAL
  20. Bo Scaife, TEN
  21. Ben Troupe, TEN
  22. Dan Campbell, DET
  23. Greg Olsen, CHI
  24. Desmond Clark, CHI
  25. David Martin, MIA

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Rival to the Franchise?

I've been a fan of Kige Ramsey from YouTube Sports ever since he broke onto the scene about a month ago. I was going to use Tylwalk's rankings as my crutch during my drafts - until Kige convinced me otherwise. Can't get enough of Kige? See more of Kige's expert analysis here.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hilarious Stuff

I'm sure the Dude already saw this, but this exchange between Colbert and Michael Moore was hilarious. Go to the bottom of the link to watch the video -- well worth it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Return of the Franchise!!

The other Franchise of course. Welcome back Stevie!! When you left, you temporarily slipped from the top spot on my list of "Favorite Alums of Montgomery Blair High School." With your return, you are back at that familiar No. 1 spot on that list!!

Only at Duke...

I saw a headline that didn't name the school, but said "University wireless system hampered by iPhones on campus." Even during the summer, I knew where a $600 phone was likely to run rampant.

Now There's a Baby With a Future!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Franchise's Fantasy Football Rankings - Wide Receivers

Ignoring the Michael Vick indictment controversy, which could make me go back and re-do the QB rankings, I'm plunging ahead with WR rankings. Receiver is the most likely place for people to come out of nowhere to post big numbers (like Marques Colston and Mike Furrey last season) or for usually dependable guys to fall flat on their faces. With that in mind, it's the position you could deviate the most from my lists and play hunches without me making fun of you... unless you do what a gentleman did in one of my leagues a few years back and take David Boston No. 1 overall! He's still trying to live that down.

Also, once you get beyond the top 25 wideouts, you reach a point where there's not much difference between, say, No. 36 and 42. I like to go for younger players with more upside in these situations, but if you're more risk averse, you may want to go with the older, more reliable producers. Both strategies can work.

As with the running backs, the three lists are for three different scoring systems: PPR (TDs + yardage + a point for each pass reception), Performance (TDs + yardage) and Basic (TDs only, possibly with some bonuses).

WR Rankings - PPR
  1. Steve Smith, CAR
  2. Marvin Harrison, IND
  3. Torry Holt, STL
  4. Chad Johnson, CIN
  5. Reggie Wayne, IND
  6. Donald Driver, GB
  7. Marques Colston, NO
  8. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
  9. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN
  10. Terrell Owens, DAL
  11. Anquan Boldin, ARI
  12. Roy Williams, DET
  13. Lee Evans, BUF
  14. Andre Johnson, HOU
  15. Javon Walker, DEN
  16. Lavernues Coles, NYJ
  17. Hines Ward, PIT
  18. Randy Moss, NE
  19. Plaxico Burress, NYG
  20. Darrell Jackson, SF
  21. Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ
  22. Terry Glenn, DAL
  23. Joey Galloway, TB
  24. Santana Moss, WAS
  25. Chris Chambers, MIA
  26. Reggie Brown, PHI
  27. Deion Branch, SEA
  28. Braylon Edwards, CLE
  29. Mark Clayton, BAL
  30. Isaac Bruce, STL
  31. Mike Furrey, DET
  32. Bernard Berrian, CHI
  33. Matt Jones, JAC
  34. Greg Jennings, GB
  35. Donte Stallworth, NE
  36. Derrick Mason, BAL
  37. Vincent Jackson, SD
  38. Ronald Curry, OAK
  39. Kevin Curtis, PHI
  40. Santonio Holmes, PIT
  41. Muhsin Muhammad, CHI
  42. D.J. Hackett, SEA
  43. Jerry Porter, OAK
  44. Eddie Kennison, KC
  45. Reggie Williams, JAC
  46. Eric Parker, SD
  47. Joe Horn, ATL
  48. Wes Welker, NE
  49. Joe Jurevicius, CLE
  50. Calvin Johnson, DET

WR Rankings - Performance

  1. Steve Smith, CAR
  2. Marvin Harrison, IND
  3. Torry Holt, STL
  4. Chad Johnson, CIN
  5. Reggie Wayne, IND
  6. Terrell Owens, DAL
  7. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
  8. Marques Colston, NO
  9. Donald Driver, GB
  10. Roy Williams, DET
  11. Lee Evans, BUF
  12. Javon Walker, DEN
  13. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN
  14. Anquan Boldin, ARI
  15. Randy Moss, NE
  16. Plaxico Burress, NYG
  17. Andre Johnson, HOU
  18. Darrell Jackson, SF
  19. Hines Ward, PIT
  20. Santana Moss, WAS
  21. Lavernues Coles, NYJ
  22. Joey Galloway, TB
  23. Reggie Brown, PHI
  24. Terry Glenn, DAL
  25. Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ
  26. Chris Chambers, MIA
  27. Braylon Edwards, CLE
  28. Deion Branch, SEA
  29. Isaac Bruce, STL
  30. Vincent Jackson, SD
  31. Bernard Berrian, CHI
  32. Donte Stallworth, NE
  33. Mark Clayton, BAL
  34. Matt Jones, JAC
  35. Greg Jennings, GB
  36. Mike Furrey, DET
  37. Kevin Curtis, PHI
  38. Devery Henderson, NO
  39. D.J. Hackett, SEA
  40. Santonio Holmes, PIT
  41. Jerry Porter, OAK
  42. Muhsin Muhammad, CHI
  43. Joe Horn, ATL
  44. Eddie Kennison, KC
  45. Calvin Johnson, DET
  46. Derrick Mason, BAL
  47. Joe Jurevicius, CLE
  48. Ronald Curry, OAK
  49. Reggie Williams, JAC
  50. Ernest Wilford, JAC

WR Rankings - Basic

  1. Marvin Harrison, IND
  2. Steve Smith, CAR
  3. Terrell Owens, DAL
  4. Torry Holt, STL
  5. Randy Moss, NE
  6. Reggie Wayne, IND
  7. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
  8. Marques Colston, NO
  9. Lee Evans, BUF
  10. Roy Williams, DET
  11. Chad Johnson, CIN
  12. Javon Walker, DEN
  13. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN
  14. Plaxico Burress, NYG
  15. Darrell Jackson, SF
  16. Donald Driver, GB
  17. Hines Ward, PIT
  18. Reggie Brown, PHI
  19. Joey Galloway, TB
  20. Santana Moss, WAS
  21. Chris Chambers, MIA
  22. Vincent Jackson, SD
  23. Matt Jones, JAC
  24. Andre Johnson, HOU
  25. Lavernues Coles, NYJ
  26. Terry Glenn, DAL
  27. Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ
  28. Braylon Edwards, CLE
  29. Deion Branch, SEA
  30. Donte Stallworth, NE
  31. Bernard Berrian, CHI
  32. Kevin Curtis, PHI
  33. Devery Henderson, NO
  34. Michael Jenkins, ATL
  35. Anquan Boldin, ARI
  36. Mark Clayton, BAL
  37. Greg Jennings, GB
  38. D.J. Hackett, SEA
  39. Joe Jurevicius, CLE
  40. Ernest Wilford, JAC
  41. Drew Carter, CAR
  42. Brandon Marshall, DEN
  43. Amani Toomer, NYG
  44. Brandon Jones, TEN
  45. Chris Henry, CIN
  46. Isaac Bruce, STL
  47. Mike Furrey, DET
  48. Jerry Porter, OAK
  49. Joe Horn, ATL
  50. Calvin Johnson, DET

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Can We Remove Vick from Your Fantasy List?

Proving to potentially be no better of a human being than his brother, Michael Vick was indicted today, and if you read these allegations, you're not going to come away with too good of an impression of the guy. I realize we all saw what happened with the lacrosse team, but there's a difference between federal prosecutors and a Durham DA. Apparently most of America agrees. If it's true, he's obviously finished.

Franchise's Fantasy Football Rankings - Running Backs

Here's where fantasy football leagues are often won - or lost. Getting points from your running back positions is always important, even in the current climate where running back by committee is all the rage. If you can't get a true workhorse like LT or LJ, you can still find backs who split time and score you points, as evidenced by Reggie Bush/Deuce McAllister and Maurice Jones-Drew/Fred Taylor last season.

That being said, here's a word of caution about this season's rookie runners: don't overdraft them. Even though Adrian Peterson is a stud and Marshawn Lynch looks like the real deal, both figure to be splitting time and no 2007 rookies look like they will receive 20+ carries a game. Don't be afraid to add them for depth, but make sure you do it at the appropriate spot in your draft.

As with the QB rankings, I'm giving you the top players under three different scoring systems: PPR (yardage + TDs + a point for each pass reception), Performance (yardage + TDs) and Basic (primarily TDs only).

RB Rankings - PPR
  1. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD
  2. Steven Jackson, STL
  3. Larry Johnson, KC
  4. Frank Gore, SF
  5. Brian Westbrook, PHI
  6. Joseph Addai, IND
  7. Reggie Bush, NO
  8. Willie Parker, PIT
  9. Shaun Alexander, SEA
  10. Laurence Maroney, NE
  11. Rudi Johnson, CIN
  12. Ronnie Brown, MIA
  13. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
  14. Willis McGahee, BAL
  15. Deuce McAllister, NO
  16. Thomas Jones, NYJ
  17. Travis Henry, DEN
  18. Clinton Portis, WAS
  19. Edgerrin James, ARI
  20. Ahman Green, HOU
  21. Chester Taylor, MIN
  22. Marion Barber, DAL
  23. DeAngelo Williams, CAR
  24. Marshawn Lynch, BUF
  25. Cedric Benson, CHI
  26. Ladell Betts, WAS
  27. LaMont Jordan, OAK
  28. Cadillac Williams, TB
  29. Kevin Jones, DET
  30. Jamal Lewis, CLE
  31. Fred Taylor, JAC
  32. Warrick Dunn, ATL
  33. DeShaun Foster, CAR
  34. Julius Jones, DAL
  35. Brandon Jacobs, NYG
  36. Vernand Morency, GB
  37. Adrian Peterson, MIN
  38. Jerious Norwood, ATL
  39. Brandon Jackson, GB
  40. Mike Bell, DEN
  41. Reuben Droughns, NYG
  42. LenDale White, TEN
  43. Dominic Rhodes, OAK
  44. Anthony Thomas, BUF
  45. Leon Washington, NYJ
  46. Michael Turner, SD
  47. Tatum Bell, DET
  48. Chris Henry, TEN
  49. Michael Pittman, TB
  50. Adrian Peterson, CHI
RB Rankings - Performance
  1. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD
  2. Steven Jackson, STL
  3. Larry Johnson, KC
  4. Frank Gore, SF
  5. Shaun Alexander, SEA
  6. Joseph Addai, IND
  7. Willie Parker, PIT
  8. Brian Westbrook, PHI
  9. Rudi Johnson, CIN
  10. Laurence Maroney, NE
  11. Ronnie Brown, MIA
  12. Willis McGahee, BAL
  13. Reggie Bush, NO
  14. Travis Henry, DEN
  15. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
  16. Deuce McAllister, NO
  17. Thomas Jones, NYJ
  18. Cedric Benson, CHI
  19. Clinton Portis, WAS
  20. Edgerrin James, ARI
  21. Marion Barber, DAL
  22. Ahman Green, HOU
  23. Brandon Jacobs, NYG
  24. Jamal Lewis, CLE
  25. Marshawn Lynch, BUF
  26. Chester Taylor, MIN
  27. Cadillac Williams, TB
  28. Warrick Dunn, ATL
  29. Ladell Betts, WAS
  30. LaMont Jordan, OAK
  31. DeAngelo Williams, CAR
  32. Fred Taylor, JAC
  33. Julius Jones, DAL
  34. Adrian Peterson, MIN
  35. Kevin Jones, DET
  36. Jerious Norwood, ATL
  37. Vernand Morency, GB
  38. DeShaun Foster, CAR
  39. Mike Bell, DEN
  40. LenDale White, TEN
  41. Michael Turner, SD
  42. Brandon Jackson, GB
  43. Dominic Rhodes, OAK
  44. Reuben Droughns, NYG
  45. Chris Henry, TEN
  46. Anthony Thomas, BUF
  47. Tatum Bell, DET
  48. Leon Washington, NYJ
  49. Adrian Peterson, CHI
  50. Ron Dayne, HOU
RB Rankings - Basic
  1. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD
  2. Larry Johnson, KC
  3. Steven Jackson, STL
  4. Shaun Alexander, SEA
  5. Willie Parker, PIT
  6. Rudi Johnson, CIN
  7. Brandon Jacobs, NYG
  8. Laurence Maroney, NE
  9. Joseph Addai, IND
  10. Frank Gore, SF
  11. Brian Westbrook, PHI
  12. Willis McGahee, BAL
  13. Deuce McAllister, NO
  14. Marion Barber, DAL
  15. Reggie Bush, NO
  16. Travis Henry, DEN
  17. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
  18. Cedric Benson, CHI
  19. Ronnie Brown, MIA
  20. Clinton Portis, WAS
  21. Thomas Jones, NYJ
  22. Jamal Lewis, CLE
  23. Marshawn Lynch, BUF
  24. Adrian Peterson, MIN
  25. Mike Bell, DEN
  26. Dominic Rhodes, OAK
  27. Edgerrin James, ARI
  28. LaMont Jordan, OAK
  29. Kevin Jones, DET
  30. Vernand Morency, GB
  31. Michael Turner, SD
  32. Marcel Shipp, ARI
  33. Ahman Green, HOU
  34. Cadillac Williams, TB
  35. Ladell Betts, WAS
  36. Fred Taylor, JAC
  37. DeAngelo Williams, CAR
  38. Julius Jones, DAL
  39. LenDale White, TEN
  40. Brandon Jackson, GB
  41. Chris Henry, TEN
  42. Chester Taylor, MIN
  43. Warrick Dunn, ATL
  44. Jerious Norwood, ATL
  45. DeShaun Foster, CAR
  46. Anthony Thomas, BUF
  47. Tatum Bell, DET
  48. Adrian Peterson, CHI
  49. Ron Dayne, HOU
  50. Kevan Barlow, PIT

Franchise's Fantasy Football Rankings - Quarterbacks

It's almost that time of year again - fantasy football time! As a service to DudeSpin readers, I'll be bringing you my exclusive rankings. Yes, you could buy a magazine or subscribe to a website that makes you pay for these, but I'm assuming at least part of our readership is either too lazy or cheap to do so, and I want to give you a fighting chance too.

Why should you listen to me? Because I've been playing fantasy football since before you were born! Okay, maybe not quite that long, but I've been organizing, running and playing in leagues for over 15 years, and consistently finishing in the money... uh, if playing for money was legal, of course. Feel free to ignore these rankings, but don't come crying to me when you are out of contention in your league by Week Six.

Today I'm starting with my Top 25 Quarterbacks. Unless you play in an extremely large league, you probably want to get your starter and backup from this list, and you'll be taking a big chance on anyone ranked lower than 25th. Since the scoring system your league uses is very important (a fact people sometimes overlook), I'm actually giving you three Top 25 lists for different scoring systems: performance leagues (points for yardage and TDs) with no penalty for INTs, performance leagues with a penalty for INTs and basic (points primarily for TDs).

Quarterback Rankings - Performance, No INT Penalty
  1. Peyton Manning, IND
  2. Carson Palmer, CIN
  3. Tom Brady, NE
  4. Drew Brees, NO
  5. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
  6. Marc Bulger, STL
  7. Donovan McNabb, PHI
  8. Michael Vick, ATL
  9. Eli Manning, NYG
  10. Tony Romo, DAL
  11. Vince Young, TEN
  12. Philip Rivers, SD
  13. Matt Leinart, ARI
  14. Jon Kitna, DET
  15. Jay Cutler, DEN
  16. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
  17. Brett Favre, GB
  18. Jake Delhomme, CAR
  19. J.P. Losman, BUF
  20. Alex Smith, SF
  21. Chad Pennington, NYJ
  22. Jason Campbell, WAS
  23. Rex Grossman, CHI
  24. JaMarcus Russell, OAK
  25. Matt Schaub, HOU
QB Rankings - Performance, With INT Penalty
  1. Peyton Manning, IND
  2. Carson Palmer, CIN
  3. Drew Brees, NO
  4. Tom Brady, NE
  5. Donovan McNabb, PHI
  6. Michael Vick, ATL
  7. Marc Bulger, STL
  8. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
  9. Vince Young, TEN
  10. Philip Rivers, SD
  11. Tony Romo, DAL
  12. Eli Manning, NYG
  13. Matt Leinart, ARI
  14. Jon Kitna, DET
  15. Jay Cutler, DEN
  16. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
  17. Brett Favre, GB
  18. Jake Delhomme, CAR
  19. Chad Pennington, NYJ
  20. J.P. Losman, BUF
  21. Alex Smith, SF
  22. Jason Campbell, WAS
  23. Rex Grossman, CHI
  24. Matt Schaub, HOU
  25. Jeff Garcia, TB
QB Rankings - Basic
  1. Peyton Manning, IND
  2. Carson Palmer, CIN
  3. Donovan McNabb, PHI
  4. Tom Brady, NE
  5. Drew Brees, NO
  6. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
  7. Marc Bulger, STL
  8. Eli Manning, NYG
  9. Jay Cutler, DEN
  10. Philip Rivers, SD
  11. Vince Young, TEN
  12. Matt Leinart, ARI
  13. Tony Romo, DAL
  14. Michael Vick, ATL
  15. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
  16. Jon Kitna, DET
  17. Jake Delhomme, CAR
  18. Alex Smith, SF
  19. Jason Campbell, WAS
  20. Brett Favre, GB
  21. J.P. Losman, BUF
  22. Rex Grossman, CHI
  23. Matt Schaub, HOU
  24. Jeff Garcia, TB
  25. Chad Pennington, NYJ

Get Over Yourself Yi!

Reports surface today that Guanddong Tigers, the former employer of Yi Jianlian, will seek to prevent Yi from playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.


Are you kidding me?

I know the Chinese are pretty used to manipulating things to get their way, but this is just plain ridiculous. Yi - you entered yourself in the NBA draft, and you go to the team that picked you. Who do you think you are? Steve Francis? Eli Manning? Look how the careers of those two losers ended up!

The Chinese official is quoted as saying - "This is not - as media reports have said - because Milwaukee, as a city with very few Chinese people, is not good for Yi's commercial development. Rather we want to find a team suitable for Yi's growth. That's the root of the problem."

Whatever. I'll believe that the day I believe that the Great Leap Forward was actually a good idea. Nice try - I guess the Iraqi Information Minister found himself a new job in the Chinese Basketball ranks.

If you are really concerned about him not being able to beat out potential PF candidates Damir Markota, Brian Skinner and Charlie Villanueva (setting aside for the moment that Villanueva is hardly a true four), then you've got much bigger problems to worry about with Yi.

Get your butt to Milwaukee Yi!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Highlights from Central PA DudeSpin Mini-Editorial Conference

As requested from other members of the DudeSpin staff, here are some highlights from the recent Undude-Franchise mini-editorial conference held in Hummelstown, PA:

  • Undude made sweet time driving from North Carolina, but transposed the digits to The Franchise's house number and ended up looking for a house that did not exist. He also failed to record The Franchise's new cellphone number, leading to him making several fruitless phone calls to an unidentified female. He did arrive relatively unscathed a short time later after a self-guided tour of scenic Hummelstown - recently voted the 61st best town in the USA!
  • Undude became the first DudeSpin staffer to meet the Little Franchisette, and it was discovered that he can communicate with her in her own language.
  • Dinner was held at a local Damon's in celebration of a longtime Committee tradition, with Undude picking up the tab over The Franchise's protests.
  • More tradition was observed as a round of mini golf was played at nearby Willowood. Despite its proximity to The Franchise's house (about two minutes by car), he has played the course sparingly and held little advantage. The challenging 21-hole course tested Undude early, and after 10 holes, he was standing at an even par 33 while The Franchise was sitting pretty with a sizzling nine-under 24. Determined to undo his reputation for late-round choking, Undude mounted a fearsome charge that left him just one stroke back with two holes to play. Alas, he couldn't finish the rally, and the final scores looked like this: Franchise 62 (-8), Undude 65 (-5).
  • A possible new Dude tradition began in the Willowood arcade as the battle was joined in air hockey and skeeball. Franchise swept the best-of-three air hockey series and won the lone game of skeeball, leaving the Undude still in search of a 'W.'
  • The final competitive moments of the evening proved equally frustrating for Undude, as NHL 2006 on GameCube led to another string of defeats. He was able to force a shootout in the final game of the night, but lost 2-1 to wrap up his winless night.
Despite the seemingly lopsided competition, a good time was had during the reunion of Team Handsome. It was resolved to continue to add the common man's perspective to DudeSpin content, leaving the more highbrow intellectual fare to the Lawyer Dudes. Look for more reviews of big-budget flicks, cartoons and random sports content from the East Coast DudeSpin contingent.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Better Know a Movie: So Goes the Nation

Much like Undude disclosing that he wasn't particularly looking forward to Transformers, I had been reluctant to watch this film and kept pushing it back in my Netflix cue. The reason is fairly easy to guess - the night of November 2, 2004 won't bring back too many fond memories for me, or, as I imagine, any of my fellow bleeding hearts. In fact, I still bitterly recall the bottles of champagne my roommate and I purchased for the occasion sitting unopened as we watched the final unfriendly vote tallies roll in from Ohio with despair.
Made by the same guys behind The Year of Yao, So Goes the Nation chronicles the last two weeks of ground campaign warfare in that decisive bellweather state of Ohio before the 2004 election. Although produced by two democratic filmmakers, the film achieves a plausible sense of neutrality - interspersing footage centering around 3 passionate volunteers (2 D, 1 R) with interviews of several top figures in both campaigns. Strategists who agreed to be interviewed for this film include Mark McKinnon, Ed Gillespie, and Ken Mehlman from the Republican Party; and Paul Begala, Mary Beth Cahill, and Terry McAuliffe from the Democratic side. These subjects, except a very sterile Cahill, offer provacative insights into how Bush won the election despite a stacked political landscape - and the footage of the ground campaigns offer vivid illustrations of what the strategists meant.
The film is a thinking-person's film in that it forces the viewer to consider - if you can somehow calm your liberal rage - the reasons why Bush won the election in a state where he had no business of winning. Obviously, I won't give away the a-ha! moment in the film because that's something you'll have to explore on your own. But watching the film and reconsidering my experiences of phone banking for Kerry-Edwards only confirmed what I suspected all along - John Kerry and his campaign staff had no idea what they were doing.
Hurry up Barack!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mini-DudeSpin Editorial Conference in the Works?

Could it be that the long-awaited reunion of Team Handsome is in the cards for the otherwise ominous day of Friday the 13th? Early reports have the Undude possibly stopping in Central PA on his way to Beantown. That would constitute a meeting of the two members of the Committee who see each other the least, with nary a lawyer in sight!

More on this story as it develops...

Welcome to the Worst Day on the Sports Calendar

The day after the MLB All-Star Game: for sports fans, that means the deadest day on the calendar. Given that there are no sporting events of any consequence today, I'm sensing that I'll get a chance to finish The Assault On Reason tonight. So DudeSpin fans, look for another Better Know review coming shortly!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yet Another Reason to <3 Agent Zero

Like you needed another one!

Anyway, a couple months ago I made a $100 donation to Gilbert Arenas' Zero Two Hero Foundation in exchange for a couple of items autographed by Gil. About three weeks ago, $75 of it was refunded to my PayPal account, so I wasn't sure what was going on.

Yesterday, I got a package in the mail that contained the items pictured above. It's an Arenas Swingman jersey (kind of halfway between a replica and an authentic) and a Gil Zero shoe, both signed by Agent Zero himself. That's over $100 worth of stuff for a $25 donation - and that's without the autographs.

Say what you want about him, but he's definitely the gunner who gives back!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Better Know a Movie: Street Fight

Much to the chagrin of the Undude, I am taking a break from watching arthouse documentaries and reading political biographies by watching a political documentary. But there is something to be said about keeping to a reliable genre for a films that I know I'll probably enjoy. Street Fight was an exception - it wasn't a movie that i merely enjoyed, it was one that thoroughly captivated me. This film retells the 2002 Newark mayoral campaign that pitted Cory Booker, a rising black political star in the P.B. (Pre-Barack) era against incumbent black mayor Sharpe James.
Filmmaker Marshall Curry follows Booker's upstart campaign, which eventually gained the endorsement of Bill Bradley, Spike Lee and Cornel West, and shows the raw emotions of the campaign - both on the trail and in the war room. Both Booker, a Stanford All-American football player turned Rhodes Scholar turned Yale Law School graduate, and James, a candidate from the old school, are compelling figures, for different reasons. I won't ruin the ending for folks (though a simple Wikipedia search would reveal the ending - an Achilles Heel for all political documentaries I suppose), because the film is extraordinarily sublime in the way it vests the viewer in the outcome of an election held half a decade ago.
Because DudeSpin's Better Know series only touts movies that it recommends, I find giving out ratings to be a bit superfluous and self-defeating. Nevertheless, I am comfortable in saying that this film is nearly on par with State of Mind in its entertainment, educational, and aesthetic qualities - and that is no small compliment.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Better Know A Movie: Transformers

Warning: this movie is about giant robots from outer space that transform into various vehicles and machines. It's also based on a line of toys from the 80's. If either one of those things bother you, please stop reading now!

While I'm firmly aware that Transformers is probably too low-brow for the lawyer Dudes (and honestly, The Dude probably helped make the toys when he was a kid and Head Dude probably made money selling them to other kids), I still have hope that Undude will love this movie. I've always considered myself the Committee's man of the people at any rate, and this is entertainment for the masses at its finest.

The setup is fairly similar to the 80's cartoon: the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons have been waging a long war that eventually devastated their home world of Cybertron. Their attention has turned to Earth because the All-Spark, the one thing that can turn the tide of their war, crashed here years ago. Armed with ridiculous amounts of firepower and the ability to blend in by changing forms to mimic human technology, the next stage of their battle is about to begin here, much to the initial dismay of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) - a descendant of the first human to make contact with the mechanical aliens.

That's really all you need to know, as this is not a film aiming for the Oscar crowd. It's a popcorn movie for the current generation, brimming with eye-popping visuals but unencumbered by the baggage that the summer's early big-money flicks (Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3, POTC: At World's End) brought to the table. It strikes just the right balance between action, suspense and humor, doesn't take itself too seriously, and even manages not to overplay the obligatory romantic subplot. And love him or hate him, director Michael Bay was born to helm this movie.

If you need to be entertained and don't mind giving your brain a little bit of a rest, go see this movie immediately, because there won't be another one that succeeds in the same way for a while.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Better Know a Book: Dreams From My Father

Dreams From My Father is to Audacity of Hope what Julio Franco is to Scott Fletcher - that is to say, Dreams is a much much book. Written before Barack fully dove into the political theater, Dreams lacks the political assiduousness and the abstract policy-wonking in Audacity - and that is a good thing. The memoir traces remembrances of Barack's youth from Indonesia to Hawaii, where he first learns to struggle with his multi-racial identity among the well-to-do students of Punahou. The story then moves to New York where he begins to assert his individuality during his final year at Columbia College and a stint as a financial writer. The heart and soul of the book, however, resides in the retelling of Barack's time as a community organizer in the notoriously improverished south side of Chicago and his first trip back to Kenya - the homeland of his mostly absent father, also named Barack. In the brief DudeSpin review format, I could not begin to do justice to the prose of Dreams - at once lively, reflective, hopeful, and achingly honest. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend picking it up at your local bookstore.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Benoit's Story Takes a Turn

TMZ reports that Daniel Benoit might not have been afflicted with Fragile X Syndrome. So what does this mean now? Franchise, DudeSpin readers anxiously await your take.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Dude Celebration

Straight from the New York Times on the heels of this weekend's wedding in Pittsburgh...

Mazel Tov to the Rabbi!