Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thoughts on Ralph Wilson's Passing

I took a trip last to San Diego a couple weeks ago, and it threw me way off my planned posting schedule. Really took a lot out of me flying back and forth across the country. Even if I did get stuck in SD for an extra day and have spend a day working frhom a friend of mine's porch which located right on the water on Coronado Island - Well, I have to admit that part was pretty sweet.

Headed to Orlando this week. Not really one of my favorite places for a conference - too sterile - same event was held last year in New Orleans, which was a great location.  But anyhow, to catch up on a few things.

Obviously Bills owner Ralph Wilson has died. And while that's certainly sad, he was 95, and unfortunatley was probably as responsible as anyone for the Bills not making the playoffs for the past 15 years. He had a bad habit of hiring really old GMs like Marv Levy and Buddy Nix -perhaps because he could relate to them - but those guys couldn't compete in today's NFL. There were certianly a lot of positive stories on Mr. Wilson's passing- and derservedly so. I really liked this Peter King tribute (King is a great writer.) There was another article I read that pretty much served to remind people that Wilson certainly wasn't a saint and that be got very rich leveraging public funding (as many NFL ownsers have) for a stadium named after him. I won't even get into the fact that he couldn't get along well enough with Bill Polian to keep the architect of our greaterst era of success on board.

A former Bills writer used to refer to the stadium as "Negligiant Owner Stadium," which probably sounds pretty bad now that Wilson has passed and everyone has these great memories of him, but still...On the plus side, Wilson did apparently feel loyalty to Buffalo, which many owners don't feel toward their home cities. He seemed to understand the concept of a team as a public trust. We may not be so lucky now that new owners are on the horizon. That said, it's apparently unrealistic (due to lease obligations) to expect the Bills to move before 2020, so Buffalo certainly has time to get a plan together to keep the team there. Heck, maybe it would be more profitable someplace else, but I don't think it does badly in Buffalo. We're not Jacksonville.

That's probably plenty to chew on for now. Hope to have more to post on other stuff soon.


Friday, March 07, 2014

We're the Millers

Finally watched this fairly entertaining comedy yesterday. Not that it was on my list of things to do, but my wife and I both like fairly raunchy obnoxious (think Hangover - which this was compared to on the box, so how could I not get it) comedies and this definitely qualifies. I had rented the Blu-ray from Family Video on Saturday along with a kids/family movie. We had managed to watch the intriguing but somewhat didactic  Khubma the night we got it, but had We're the Millers sitting around for a few days until we got rid of the kids long enough (which basically meant until we stayed up late enough) to watch it. Glad we waited because it was certainly not appropriate for kids - or at least it made me uncomfortable to watch it with them - although I'm certain my 15-year-old watches/has watched worse with his friends.

This was the second straight movie I've watched where Jennifer Aniston plays kind of a bad girl role, and I find her very entertaining in this mode. Maybe it has to do with her playing against the caricature of her that is often portrayed in the media - remember how she was pitted as the good girl against Jon Voight's daughter in the whole Brad Pitt sage? Anyhow, Aniston delivers these off color roles with a solid deadpan that may just be lack of acting ability - but I find her style kind of funny. Plus, she is still hot for someone close to my age.

The previous funny role I saw her in was the perverted dentist in Horrible Bosses, where I thought she held up pretty well next to Oscar winners like Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey, who were also in that underrated comedy. Apparently there is a Horrible Bosses 2 coming out this year which I'm kind of excited about. SNL veteran Jason Sudeikis is in the Horrible Bosses movies and also plays a solid lead in We're the Millers. He's like a Peter Pan pot dealer that is forced to grow up through his tribulations with this fake family - Aniston is a stripper he hires to play his wife in order to help him cross the border with an RV full of weed. Yes, it's a ridiculous premise, but they kind of pull it off and there are genuinely funny lines and scenes and that enable you to suspend your disbelief long enough to enjoy the flick - I think.

Anyhow, have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Congrats to Clippers on Big Win

over Phoenix who they have had some trouble with so far this year. Matt Barnes had a big game 28 points, including 18 in red-hot third quarter when the Clippers took the lead by scoring 37 points. Blake Griffin also had another huge night, including clutch turnaround jumper after Suns had pulled within three with a couple minutes to go. He banked it in - reminded me of Tim Duncan. Speaking of clutch and turnaround, DeAndre Jordan continued his amazing turnaround season with 17 boards. He's averaging 14 rebounds per game, after averaging just over 7 last year. Doc Rivers is being given credit for turning him around. Jordan was also clutch last night, with a big block of an attempted lay-in with less than a minute to go and Phoenix down by 5. He then grabbed the rebound and made both free throws (he's a career 43% shooter from the line) at the other end to ice the game. Chris Paul had kind of an off night, although he did have 9 assists. Jamaal Crawford and J.J. Reddick both sat out.

Anyhow, that's my Clippers report. Remember, they used to be the Buffalo Braves! Cheers.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Milbury Blasts LaFontaine

So, I guess it's nothing new, but last night, I'm watching the Stars beat the Sabres (not surprising) and between periods NHL NBC commentator Mike Milbury goes off on Pat LaFontaine for resigning from his position as president of hockey operations for the Sabres after less than three months. Apparently LaFontaine was upset that the Sabres traded star goalie Ryan Miller, which doesn't make too much sense (for LaFontaine to be upset over) because everyone assumed Miller was going to walk at the end of the year anyhow - when his contract was up. Maybe he had told LaFontaine something else.

Either way, LaFontaine is now gone, as well as Miller, as well as former captain Steve Ott, and Sabres are in full rebuilding mode, which I thought was the plan anyhow. Of course this all leaves my favorite coach Ted Nolan somewhat in limbo. The Sabres were supposed to announce a contract extension for him, but then called off the press conference where that was supposed to be announced. LaFontaine and Nolan had been friends from LaFontaine's days as a player.

At least the Sabres under Lafontaine brought in an apparently competent GM in Tim Murray - who executed the Ott and Miller trades to fairly favorable reviews.

Milbury, who has a reputation for being bombastic, went off on LaFontaine for running away when things got tough, which apparently Milbury also accused him of doing in a former job with the Islanders. It doesn't help that Milbury apparently had something to do with the Islanders front office at the time. Milbury also basically accused Nolan of disloyalty by not coming out 100% in favor of the organization and instead moping, and maybe drawing back on his contract extension agreement, in the wake of LaFontaine's exit. Get 100% behind the organization or get out, was the effect of what Milbury said.

Of course, Nolan's (who also has some history with the Islanders) stock is sky high after his impressive work with the Latvian team at the recent Winter Olypmpics (and it all comes back to that). Anyhow, that's my report for Sabre-land, which is now in full soap opera mode. At least they are entertaining off the ice!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Another Reason to Love Olympic Hockey: Tuukka Rask Hangover

Tuukka Rask denies hangover caused him to miss Olympic semifinal: That was a headline that moved like a week ago - I can't believe I missed it. You have the Stanley Cup-winning goalie missing a semifinal game against his country's (Finland's) arch-rival (Sweden), because he had been out too late the night before. Although he denies it, it makes sense. He was able to bounce back the next day and shut out the U.S. in the bronze medal game, which might be tougher to do with the flu.

And from what I read, the Olympics can be a very big party. And the games were played in Sochi, which, from all accounts seemed like a good place to tip a few after hours. And, a friend of mine who spent some time in France once told me that Fins like to tip more than some other nationalities...

So, there are clearly reasons to believe that Rask may have enjoyed a few too many the night before the scheduled semi-final game. Could Finland have beaten Sweden with him in goal? Tough to say as the back-up, from what I recall played pretty well - but we will never know. And Canada may have been the ultimate beneficiary as they then got to play a depleted Swedish team in the final - due to injuries and an untimely suspension for the use of an allergy medication. Oh well, if anyone knows about drinking and hockey it's Canadians, so they probably deserved to win. Maybe it was even Rask's Canadian friends from the NHL who took him out that night to "soften him up," - a strategy Dominique Wilkins apparently employed in his days with the Hawks and discusses on this episode of the Bill Simmons' B.S. Report.

Yet another potentially great Olympic memory.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Early Yankees Spring Training Game Observations

What does this all mean? Likely not much. But it is spring, and as they say about hope and enternal.