About Small Arms McGee

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‘Twas the Night Before Krzyzmas

‘Twas the night before Krzyzmas, (though we didn’t know that)
And not a creature was stirring, not even a rat.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

But with its little old driver so angry and gay,
I knew in a moment it must be Coach K.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he shouted and cursed them, and called them by name!

“Now Wojo! Now, Singler! now, Redick and Curry!
On, Paulus! On, Shavlik! Melchionni, please hurry!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now flop away! Flop away! Flop away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of douchebags, and their Leader too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the ceiling
Their prancing and pawing and loud girlish squealing
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Coach K came in with a bound.

He was dressed like a pallbearer, from his head to his feet,
And his haircut was tidy, his dark suit was neat
A sack full of cheese he had flung on his back,
Likely Gouda, Romano, and Monterey Jack

His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples had merit!
His cheeks were like roses, His nose like a ferret!
His smug little mouth was drawn up and droll,
And the hair on his head was dyed blacker than coal.

He was sickly and gaunt, a right creepy old elf,
And I gasped when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A snarl of his lip and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to worry I had something to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And took all our presents, the rotten old jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
Blew out a big wad of snot on my clothes!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as they sang “Hark the Herald”,
“Remember the real victim in all this is Gerald!”

2011-2012 College Basketball Preview Series – Duke Blue Devils

(EJSIC is previewing several college basketball teams.  Check out Michael Street’s Memphis preview here.)

One of the most fascinating teams in college basketball to watch this season will be the Duke Blue Devils.  Replacing four year stars Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, as well as one-third-and-done Kyrie Irving would seem a nearly overwhelming challenge for many coaches.  However, when you’re an all-time great coach, like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, it’s hard to get rattled.

Last season’s results:
32-5
ACC Runner-Up
ACC Tournament Champion
Lost 93-77 to Arizona in Sweet 16

Key departures:
Kyle Singler  (34.8 mpg, 16.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Nolan Smith (34.0 mpg, 20.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.2TO, 35% 3PT)
Kyrie Irving (27.5 mpg, 11 gps, 17.5 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.5 TO, 47% 3PT)

59% of scoring, 39% of rebounding, 63% of assists

Key returnees:
Mason Plumlee (25.6 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg)
Seth Curry (25.0 ppg, 9.0 ppg, 2 apg, .9TO)
Ryan Kelly (20.1 mpg, 6.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

Notable non-conference matchups:
Michigan State (likely to be the game in which Mike Krzyzewski breaks Bob Knight’s all-time wins record)
at Ohio State (a true road game!)
Maui Invitational (possible matchups with Memphis and Kansas or UCLA)

Before we go much further, I should mention that as a lifelong Tar Heel fan, a hint of subtle bias may occasionally creep into this analysis.  But I’ll try to keep my personal feelings out of this entry as much as possible.  I’ll let you watch Duke play, and you can form your own opinions about the way Coach K and his staff approach the game. Continue reading

NFL Media Blitz: Where to Read About Your Favorite QBs

Earlier this week, Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers criticized Mark Sanchez’s recent spread in GQ, calling it “embarrassing.”  While it’s likely that Rodgers is simply jealous of Sanchez’s Latin flair and boyish good looks, it reminded us that many NFL stars are currently featured in the glossy pages of a variety of publications, as we get set to start the much-anticipated 2011-2012 NFL campaign.

EJSIC, with its numerous news and entertainment contacts, has obtained a list of upcoming magazine stories, covers or photo spreads featuring some of your favorite NFL quarterbacks.

While we are unable to share the cover images with you at this time due to legal concerns, we can at least shed some light on what you may look forward to finding on a newsstand near you.

Carson Palmer

The former Cincinnati Bengal invites AARP the Magazine reporter Meredith Jensen into his luxury Winnebago for an intimate interview, as well as an early bird dinner.  The article includes beautiful panoramic views of his new ranch-style home in Boca Raton (“we recently decided to downsize and get things all on one level”, Palmer explained), as well as postcards from his recent visits to the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.

Jay Cutler

The Chicago Bears field general opens up to Redbook on a wide range of topics, including dealing with emotional fatigue, finding life/career balance, and clearing up those troublesome yeast infections.

Terrelle Pryor

The Oakland Raider rookie and controversial former Ohio State Buckeye talks with Inked writers about the value (both emotional and economic) of a finely-crafted piece of custom body art.  The high-res photos are a must-see.  (Editor’s note: we are hearing rumors about a similar piece forthcoming in Motor Trend.  Check back with EJSIC later this season.)

Michael Vick 

In an unusual joint effort, Dog Fancy and KO editors sit down with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick for an eye-opening look at the parallels between purebred dog ownership and competitive fighting. 

Ben Roethlisberger

Sure, he’s led his team to two Super Bowl victories, but Ben Roethlisberger is also quite accomplished off the field.  As evidence of his many various hobbies and interests, he is featured in two very different publications in coming weeks.  Roethlisberger has contributed a very illuminative motorcycle safety piece for Cycle World.  Additionally, he has also revisited one of his favorite topics: impressionable young sluts.  Barely Legal will be introducing its new guest column “Big Ben Strikes Again” in November.

Philip Rivers

I bet you already knew Philip Rivers was one of the league’s most highly-paid quarterbacks, leading the San Diego Chargers to several impressive regular season records.  But what you might not know is he is also an avid snow sports enthusiast.  Rivers recently told Snowboard Magazine, “The NFL season usually ends in early January – at the latest – so I typically am able to get in a good eight or nine weeks of shredding.  It really helps re-balance me and get me ready for another great fifteen or sixteen weeks of football.”

Tim Tebow

In easily the most awkward interview of this young NFL season, Denver Broncos backup quarterback and two-time college champ Tim Tebow was interviewed by Perfect 10.  “I’ll be honest; I thought this was some sort of magazine aimed at perfectionists and those who seek to be the best they can be,” an embarrassed Tebow said a couple of minutes into his interview with Chesty Gobblecock.  Tebow joked that he “might need a new publicist after [the interview].”  Ever a trooper, the good-natured Tebow went through with the interview, eventually convincing Gobblecock to reconsider her chosen profession, and even inspiring her to enroll in a local paralegal program.

Cam Newton

The Carolina Panthers rookie recently sat down with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance to share investment advice.  Kiplinger’s investment editor Charles Pendleton told EJSIC, “Mr. Newton was inspiring, and I think our subscribers will derive immense value from his advice.  This remarkable young man was able to turn $200,000 into $22 million in less than a year.  Simply outstanding.”

 

 

 

 

 

Small Arms McGee’s Tournament Predictions

East:
As I said in my Selection Sunday Reaction post, Ohio State didn’t get much of a reward for being the best team all season. Kentucky is certainly better than a 4-seed, and Syracuse is battle-tested. I have Syracuse beating Carolina, who won’t be able to shoot well enough to exploit that zone. I think John Calipari has plenty of ammunition to work his “they don’t respect us” angle that worked so well at Memphis, and will knock off Ohio State early. Syracuse beats Kentucky to advance to Houston.

West:
I had been mentally preparing myself for Duke to be set up with another weak bracket, disguised by playing out west. I was right that they’d get San Diego State, but wrong that their bracket would be weak. If Texas can get out of its own way in the first two games, they could be a challenge for Duke. And if UConn gets there, Nolan vs. Kemba would be fit for pay-per-view. I have K finally getting some revenge against Calhoun for 1999 and 2004, and getting the Lubed Evils back to the Final Four. If Duke gets there, people like me won’t be able to say they got a cakewalk this time.

Southwest:
The committee doesn’t set up made-for-TV moments huh? Right.  We all look forward to Bill Self vs. Illinois in the second round (assuming Kansas finally exorcises its “first-round opponent that start with B” demons).  I have Kansas beating Louisville to get to the Elite Eight and Purdue slipping by Notre Dame. (As an aside, I have a rule these days that requires me to never trust Vanderbilt or Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament. If my predicting ability in the past is any guide, you’ll see Vandy and Notre Dame square off in the Elite Eight.) Anyway, Kansas skates by Purdue relatively easily to get to the Final Four.

Southeast:
The committee thought they had put together a bracket even Pitt couldn’t screw up.  Clearly, they underestimate Pitt’s abilities to avoid the Final Four. This region is the home to my biggest upsets – which are relatively few and far between in my bracket this season. I have Belmont beating defense-averse Wisconsin, then beating Utah State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen where Pitt finishes them off. On the other side I have Florida taking out BYU. (Upset alert: Gonzaga upsets a dinged-up St. John’s team before falling to the Stormin’ Mormons.) Florida edges Pitt to reach its first Final Four since 2007, and more importantly, denying Pitt its first Final Four since the FDR administration.

Final Four
Duke hits its threes and beats Syracuse.  Kansas races past Florida.  Kansas’ frontcourt proves too much for the Plumlees in an intriguing matchup between Coach Hair Dye and  Coach Toupee.  Kansas is your 2011 national champion, and Carolina fans won’t give a shit about Roy Williams wearing a Jayhawk sticker this time.

Enjoy the tournament.  And remember:  never, under any circumstances, pick an ACC team not named Duke or UNC to advance past the second round.

 

Selection Sunday: Small-Armed Reaction

The NCAA Tournament field was unveiled last night.  Thank God Charles Barkley was there, because his lack of professionalism and preparation made the committee look a little closer to competent by comparison.  Look,  I know TNT and TBS are carrying some games this week – and I’m happy about the additional coverage – but why do we need Chuck talking about “that Jimmer kid out west” and making it painfully obvious that he did zero prepwork for his One Shining Moment?  I don’t have a problem with Ted Turner wedging himself into the March Madness mix.  Just swap Chuck out for Ernie Johnson and things might be okay.  He was turr’ble last night.

Anyway, on to the field itself.  Obviously, there are some much-discussed head-scratchers like UAB and VCU.  Maybe you can make a case to say Colorado deserved a spot.  But I don’t get too hung up on “who’s in, who’s out” because the bubble was simply awful, so trying to field a group of 68 teams this year must have been a real challenge.  This was clearly not the year for expansion.  If anything, last night made the case for contraction.

The bigger problem I have with the committee is similar to what we saw last year.   Teams continue to be poorly seeded (this year more than last) and regions are wildly unbalanced (not quite as bad as last year).  Last year, you’ll recall the outrage about the supposed third 1-seed Duke being given a very advantageous bracket, while overall 1-seed Kansas received the most challenging region.  When Duke cut down the nets in Indianapolis after squeaking by a feisty Butler team, many pointed to their relatively easy path as being a major reason for their title run.  Similarly, Pittsburgh (again, the third 1-seed) seems to have received the rock-star treatment this season.  Pitt’s draw may not be quite as ridiculous as what 2010 Duke received, but it’s still pretty remarkable when you look at it beside the other three regions.

Seeding was the real story this year.  Kentucky trounced their opponents in the SEC tournament and finished their season on a very strong note.  Their struggles on the road during the heart of the season were well-documented, but it seemed the Wildcats were putting it together at the right time, closing the season at a very high level.  The committee saw it differently, as Kentucky received a 4-seed in the toughest region of all, the East.   (Oh, and as a bonus, they face the Ivy League again, so get your “hicks vs. pricks” jokes ready, my fellow Elitist Jerks!)

To make it to the Final Four, Kentucky would have to go through #1 overall seed Ohio State and possibly Syracuse or North Carolina.  Compare that to Florida, the team Kentucky boatraced Sunday afternoon to take the SEC tournament title.  The Gators received a 2-seed in the aforementioned and relatively soft Southeast region.  Kentucky ended the season #7 in the Pomeroy ratings, while Florida was #19.  Both are quality teams, but the seeding gap (especially factoring in regional strength, location, etc.) is hard to overlook.

Texas is another team who ended up a 4-seed despite having a very strong season.  Granted, they may be the anti-Kentucky, peaking in the middle of the season and closing meekly.  But still, they had a quality resume and finished #4 in the Pomeroy ratings.  Their path?  A match-up with Duke in the Sweet 16, followed by (if chalk holds up) San Diego State or UConn.

Or how about Washington?  They end the season #15 in the Pomeroy ratings and draw a 7 seed, potentially playing recently-red-hot-but-now-entirely-uncertain North Carolina in Charlotte in the second round.  It almost makes you believe that “east coast bias” crap those crunchy hippie nutjobs talk about.  Almost.

Oh, and while we’re in the East, how about the reward Ohio State received for being the best and most complete team in college basketball all season.  32-2, #1 in Pomeroy, and they get North Carolina, Syracuse, and Kentucky.  And let’s not overlook a potential matchup with a legit George Mason team in the second round.  If the Buckeyes make the Final Four, they will look back and know they fought for it.

Speaking of Big Ten teams, how in the world did some of these squads receive such inflated seeding?   Penn State and Michigan State as 10 seeds?  Illinois as a 9?  I’m starting to wish Jim Tressel would fire Gordon Gee and Gene Smith.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to laugh at Seth Greenberg.  He routinely schedules  a quilted Northern® soft non-conference slate, hangs around .500 in the ACC, and then cries on the second Sunday night of March.  Back in the day, 8-8 or 9-7 in the ACC would be certainly good enough.  But that was when the ACC had more than three really good coaches.  Look, I know the Hokies had some really terrible injuries and without them Virginia Tech would probably be safely in the Big Dance.  But stuff happens, and you have to adapt.  His team fell short yet again, and we all expected Seth to complain.  The difference this year was that Greenberg didn’t stop at hoarse-voiced whining.  He essentially floated the theory of some sort of anti-Virginia Tech conspiracy.  Greenberg said:

“Just disappointed. You almost wonder if someone in that room has their own agenda and that agenda doesn’t include Virginia Tech. Just plain and simple. I totally wonder it, if someone in that room has an agenda. The explanation was so inconsistent with the result that it was almost mind-boggling. I guess they even brought up our non-conference schedule. Kansas State, Purdue, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Penn State, St. Bonaventure that was supposed to be big and Mississippi State that was projected to win the SEC. I’d say that’s a pretty significant slate and challenge. So they must not have looked at it very closely. But I guess they did. I feel for these kids. Doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year … but it’s extremely disheartening. You would hate to think that politics would be involved, but it makes you wonder.”

First of all, Seth, if you think the committee is capable of organizing and carrying out a conspiracy, you’re giving them too much credit.  Second, play somebody.  Third, get your guys motivated for games against teams NOT from the Triangle.  Fourth, there’s a phrase you need to become familiar with: “Man’s game, bitch.”

When play starts this week, most of what you have just read will no longer matter.  As I’ve said before, the NCAA tournament is the greatest event in sports, and no matter how hard they try, the committee just can’t ruin it.  So, call in sick Thursday and Friday, crack open a beer at 11 a.m., and root for your favorite team and your Cinderella pick.  And by all means, check in at EJSIC for more tourney coverage (from the other guys) and nonsensical, self-absorbed drivel (from me).

 

McGee’s Podcast Corner

Hey folks,

First, allow me to apologize for my posts being as unreliable and infrequent as Bob Dole’s erections.  I’ll try to do better.

The topic of this entry is to discuss podcasts.  I’ve become a total podcast nerd lately.  In fact, I pretty much never listen to the radio these days, so if something happens in Egypt, or Taylor Swift’s new single drops, or Duke schedules a road game against a quality opponent, please email me so I can make timely and sarcastic tweets about it.

But yeah.  Podcasts are where it’s at for me these days.  Oh, and most of the best ones (and all the ones I subscribe to) are free.

Check out some of the ones I’ve been checking out, along with my very sophisticated rating system:

NPR’s Fresh Air: About 65% of the time, it’s really, really good, which might make it the most successful venture ever funded by the government.   And then there’s Terry Gross who is fascinatingly annoying to listen to, because you’re left wondering if she practices that NPR-voice or if it’s just how she sounds.  Then you wonder what it would sound like to hear her talk dirty.  Oh, that’s just me?  Sorry.  But anyway, Fresh Air does a nice job covering a mix of music, film, current events, politics, etc.   One and a half arms

Sklarbro Country: Other than the fact that the name of the podcast is about five years too late to really be considered clever, the Sklar Brothers’ weekly podcast is a solid winner for sports, comedy, and indie music fans.  Their podcast features weekly guests discussing funny or strange items in the world of sport, as well as some solid impression work by Chris Cox and others.  (I really like his Sam Elliott and his Matthew McConaughey impressions.)  As always, they feature music from (mostly) good and interesting bands.  Check out the Jon Dore episode and join me in a “HENDERSON!!!!”  Two arms and a baby

Mike Detective: Rob Huebel’s weekly five-to-seven minute podcast is a spoof of the old-time radio detective shows.  It’s hilariously ridiculous and awesomely stupid in its never ending lame wordplay.  It would probably be tiresome in its entirety, so the weekly episode length was a good idea.  One and three-quarter arms

Doug Loves Movies: Doug Benson (of Super High Me and Best Week Ever semi-fame) does a weekly podcast with two or three guests from the worlds of comedy/movies/television.  After some witty banter about movies, the guests play the Leonard Maltin Game, which is basically Name that Tune with movies instead of tunes.  Consistently entertaining, and just long enough.  Kinda reminds me of my penis, other than the fact that it comes out every week.  Two arms, a girl, and a pizza place

Comedy Death Ray Radio: Hosted by Scott Aukerman, CDR Radio is a weekly comedy program featuring comedians and actors.  It’s usually very funny, but really depends on the guests/characters, some of whom are annoying.  Check out the recent episode with Patton Oswalt and Rob Huebel (or the one with Andy Richter) for some good laughs.   The arms of Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen, but only one and a half of my own

Pod F. Tomcast: Hosted by Paul F. Tompkins.  Haven’t listened to a single episode yet, but Tompkins is a funny guy and I downloaded some episodes that I’ll get to at some point.   I’ll issue a grade later, but as it stands: One arm based on the podcast name alone

Mike and Tom Eat Snacks: Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh discuss (ad nauseam) one snack food item per week.  I can’t decide if I really like this one that much, but it does have some funny back-and-forth, and Michael Ian Black is one of the funniest people anywhere.  I’ll have to listen to a few more “eps”  before issuing a final ruling, but right now I’d give it: Two wrists and an elbow