Just when I was beginning to lose all faith in the TV-viewing public, there's this: No one is watching Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith. This development pleases me on a number of levels, not the least of which is the fact that ESPN poured what appeared to be an extraordinary amount of money into promoting a person and a show that is, in many ways, the epitome of what is wrong with the network.
ESPN often defends their dumbed-down content and annoying on-air talent by pointing to increasingly high ratings, but it's nice to know that they can't always get people to buy every kind of crap they decide to sell. No, what they've got now is a guy whose entire act is essentially yelling nonsensical things into the camera while people turn their televisions off.
Over at his excellent blog, Minor League Ball, John Sickels had a nice post earlier this week about the career and non-development of Luis Rivas. I won't spoil the main points, but I will point out that John brilliantly calls Oh-For-ThRivas "the Venezuelan Warren Morris."
I don't really have anything to add to this story about various Vikings doing questionable things on a boat last week, especially since it has been perhaps the biggest story here locally all week and is getting an insane amount of media coverage. However, I just wanted to point out that I correctly pegged cornerback Fred Smoot as the (alleged) ringleader long before I had heard any names mentioned.
I was telling my boss at Rotoworld, Rick Cordella, about the story earlier this week and he asked, "Do you have any idea which players were involved?" I didn't, of course, since the reports weren't naming any names. But just for the hell of it I tried to think of a random, somewhat prominent player and said, "My guess is that it's Fred Smoot, just because."
And then what did I read just a couple days later?
Stephen Doyle, the cruise company's lawyer, said cornerback Fred Smoot was one of the players who arranged the event.
Incidentally, the above is excerpted from a Minneapolis Star Tribune story that was written by one of my journalistic idols, Paul McEnroe, whom I talked about in this space yesterday.
By the way, my favorite part of reading about the "sex party" allegations and details is the following quote from running back Mewelde Moore:
Yeah, I was on the boat. But I don't know exactly what the problem is because nothing happened. Sex? What are you talking about? That's crazy. Look, I'm engaged. So none of that. That will put me in trouble.
If someone has uttered a more amusing string of sentences in the last month, I'd sure like to see it.
Wired had an interesting article about the few people who are actually making good money from this blogging thing. I remain convinced that a decent living can be scratched out solely from blogging if it's done right, although I have about a dozen too many other writing gigs (and not nearly enough money in the bank) to find out if I'm right.
If you've watched Rounders as many times as I have and you also know a little bit about playing Pot-Limit Omaha, this parody is extremely funny and well done. If not, you'll probably be confused.
The Week in Waffle Crappers:
* There have been few moments in my life when I've felt as proud as I did yesterday, when I discovered that this site is now Google's #1 search result for the phrase "Waffle Crapper." Seriously, go look.
* Jessica Alba reenacted some scantily clad scenes from her favorite movies in Esquire. Is it odd that I was disappointed by Alba's pictures, mainly because I have only seen two of the movies in question? Something tells me that in 20 years no one will be reenacting any scenes from Alba's new movie, Into the Blue, although -- and this may come as a huge shock -- I haven't seen it yet.
* Only the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com, Elisha Cuthbert, could make a hat this ridiculous look good.
* Eva Longoria and Spurs point guard Tony Parker went scuba diving together recently. And if you can't spot Parker, he's the guy swimming head first into Longoria's butt in this picture. (Don't worry, it's "safe for work.")
* When the Looks Department opened for business, Keira Knightley was clearly there bright and early, at the front of the line. Meanwhile, Ron Jeremy was clearly busy doing something else, like say eating a sandwich or having sex with someone on film, and showed up too late to claim anything good. You could not find two people further apart on the physical spectrum, yet here they are mere inches apart.
By the way, if you have several hours to kill, go take a look at Ron Jeremy's filmography over at the Internet Movie Database. And here I was, thinking Jeremy Piven has been in a lot of films.
Kirstie Alley, who is more of a waffle eater than a Waffle Crapper at this point, has some scary looking ankles. Actually, they are more like cankles.
My "Playing for Keeps" column for this week is posted over at Rotoworld. After ranking the long-term fantasy value of catchers last week (with Joe Mauer checking in at #2), I look at first basemen this week.
I used to give frequent updates on how many people stop by here each day, despite the fact that no one but me really cared. Somewhere along the line that stopped, although I can't quite pinpoint when. I guess the more readers someone has the less they care about the specific numbers. I mean, when this site went from having 25 readers per day to 50 readers per day it was a big deal for me, yet the move from 1,000 readers to 2,000 readers wasn't.
Anyway, the counter that tracks visitor totals rolled past 1.5 million this week. In the early days this blog often had a single-digit readership, so the visitor count has long since passed the point of shocking me. I want to thank everyone who has accounted for one of those 1.5 million ticks on the counter. And a special thanks goes out to my mom, who if my calculations are correct has been responsible for approximately 1.4 million of the visits.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Fall From Grace (by John Brattain)
- The Call (by Craig Burley)
Today's Picks (119-104, +$1,480):
Chicago (Garland) +145 over Los Angeles (Lackey)
Northwestern +8 (-110) over Purdue
Penn State +3.5 (-110) over Michigan
UCLA -5 (-110) over Washington State
Wisconsin +3 (-110) over Minnesota