Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Super Bowl Bog Poll

Actually, I got nothing on the Super Bowl, except that we were almost going to be on a plane at kickoff. See, the Doc has a conference this weekend in Orlando, and we are taking the kids so they can do the Disney/Universal thing, and when she originally booked the flight, take off was at just about kickoff. Seeing as how my sons would rather go to an Orlando Magic game than Magic Kingdom, this could not stand. So we changed our flight arrangements and should be safely parked in front of the TV for the big game on Sunday. As far as a prediction, boy, it's hard for me to muster up any tender feelings for either team. Give me a 10-9 borefest of a defensive battle with Brady failing on fourth down to end the game on his knees wishing he had accepted the marriage proposal from the reporter at Media Day.

As far as the poll, Georgetown absolutely stole the game in West Virginia, a brazen act considering the Mountaineers are usually the larcenous party on their home court. VCU still strong atop the CAA, but losing to Mason last night will hurt them in next week's rankings. Virginia Tech is a tough, ugly team with an ugly record, but the Hokies have every right to their spot in the poll. Mason dropped a bad one to UNCW, Maryland should have beaten Duke, and Virginia could find itself cozying up to Morgan State at the bottom of the poll next week if the Cavaliers lose at Maryland. Very likely to see two MEAC teams next week and Richmond has its work cut out against URI coming up.

1. Georgetown
I haven’t seen such an obvious Patrick Ewing goaltending call since the 1982 National Championship game against North Carolina.
2. VCU
Rams have won their last five games against Drexel, making them the best Dragonslayers since Peter MacNicol.
3. Virginia Tech
After the Hokies win in overtime at Boston College, the first question to Seth Greenberg from the Boston media is whether he has any information on the status of Tom Brady’s ankle.
4. Maryland
Not surprisingly, Landon Millbourne is the Terrapins’ team champion in Milles Bournes, the internationally acclaimed French card game of road racing.
5. George Mason
Patriots lose to a UNC-Wilmington team led by two guys named Vlad and Chad, who also host a drive-time morning radio show that is the #1 Arbitron-rated program in the Greater Cape Fear media market.
6. Virginia
Virginia correctly went to a box-and-one defense in overtime against Georgia Tech, but mistakenly guarded Matt Causey with the “one” instead of the “box.”
Retrievers get their Alpha Dog swag back against Boston University, marking the Case Gym as their territory in a 62-40 win.
8. Hampton
Pirates have righted the ship that strayed off course in December, set sail for March Madness.
9. Richmond
Richmond forward Oumar Sylla is a terror in the lane, but he was tiwce as effective with his high school teammate, Joe Charybdis.
10. William & Mary
Contrary to widely held belief, William and Mary’s Kaplan Arena is not named for standardized testing guru Stanley Kaplan, but rather, Gabe Kaplan, who won the arena in a high-stakes poker game from College President, Gene Nichol.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Slow and Steady Bog Poll

Georgetown loses for the second time, so if wind conditions were perfect, the other teams in the poll could get a whiff of the Hoyas, but they still can't see them. VCU stays strong atop the CAA. Virginia Tech pushes ahead with a win at Virginia, but it's a weak statement when combined with a bad loss at Georgia Tech. Mason still stalking VCU, squeezes ahead of UVA, who could have made a bid for #2 by beating BC. Maryland moves up two spots with the big win at #1 UNC. Voters in Big Stein's poll moved the Terps all the way to #3, but I still have memories of American to temper my enthusiasm. Put it this way, if Maryland beats Duke this week, they are #3, probably #2. If they don't, 5 or 6 is about right. Big moves by Hampton (undefeated in the MEAC) and William & Mary (third place in the CAA).

1. Georgetown
Georgetown PR Office trying to squelch the announcement that New Jack has been voted Best New Mascot by NAMFLA, the North American Man Furry Love Association.

2. VCU
Temperatures dropped to 15 degrees during Rams win at Old Dominion. Fortunately, the game was being played indoors.

3. Virginia Tech
In his apology following his two-game suspension, Hokies’ Jeff Allen promises that he “ain’t gonna bump no more with no big fat referee.”

4. George Mason
James Madison’s scouting report identified the Patriots’ primary scoring threats, but they forgot about Dre.

5. Virginia
Cavaliers’ Mamadi Diane attributes his inspired play against Boston College to the outrageous hilarity of the student section cheer sheets.

6. Maryland
When the smoke clears over College Park, Terps disappointed to find that they are still in seventh place in the ACC.

Retrievers try to turn the corner against Binghamton, but lose their footing on the Events Center’s freshly waxed hardwood floor.

8. James Madison
If this keeps up, Tom Petty will dedicate “Free Fallin” to the Dukes at halftime of the Super Bowl.

9. Hampton
Five-game win streak has the Pirates feeling “zestangicy.”

10. William & Mary
Linus Pauling > Linus Kiselius > Linus van Pelt > Scott Van Pelt

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flickerish Whips

Ahh, Cloverfield. It sounds so pretty, so peaceful, so like something you'd just want to lie down in for a nice, sweet-smelling nap, so of couse it's an action horror flick about an alien that attacks Manhattan and beheads the Statue of Liberty (Metaphor alert! Metaphor alert!). Superstar TV producer J.J. Abrams, sooo hip with "Lost", "Alias", and "Felicity", is back to the big screen where his product has had mixed results ("Mission Impossible III", "Armageddon", "The Pallbearer", "Forever Young"). Director Matt Reeves combines twitchy, Blair Witchy camera angles and off-screen shouting with lighting seemingly provided solely by blinding explosions and flickering fluorescents. At least that's what I gathered from the trailer, which tries to add to the suspense by not letting you see the monster (hint: I don't think it's the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man). Rejected alternate titles included Dangerfield, Bloombergfield, Sallyfield, and Lambeaufield.

Mad Money
Any movie theater owner with half a brain would be offering Ladies' Night ticket specials this Sunday for "Mad Money" showtimes that go up against the NFL playoffs. Director Callie Khouri helped bring us "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and "Thelma and Louise", and with a cast that features Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes, "Mad Money" looks like the frontrunner for what women will really be talking about at their next book club meeting when they realize that none of them actually read a book this month. "Mad Max", "Mad Men", "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," heck even "Mad TV" and "Mad About You" before "Mad Money." What's it about? I dunno, a bunch of chicks steal government money that was headed for the shredder. Then they blow it all on shoes and and sea salt scrub pedicures.

27 Dresses
Am I the only person who hoped this was a documentary about former Redskin great Ken Houston's pregame routine? Yeah, I thought so. Double-dose of chick flick this weekend as we go from formulaic man-hating feminist empowerment power trip to paint-by-number romantic comedy wedding fantasy. You may have come to love Katherine Heigl as the blonde bombshell of "Gray's Anantomy" and "Knocked Up," but I'll always treasure her as the redheaded heroine of "Bride of Chucky," which perfectly employed Jennifer Tilly's acting skils by casting her as a wooden doll. Seriously, we need another wedding movie like we need another James Bond movie, but if you people keep throwing money away on these things, Hollywood will keep churning them out.

Thankfully in limited release, "Teeth" can be summarized by a phrase that strikes fear, loathing and nausea into the hearts, minds and souls of all heterosexual men: vagina dentata. there, I typed it. Now I need to go throw up. I'd really have to question the director, Mitchell Lichtenstein, regarding his motive for making this his feature film debut, but I guess when your dad is Roy Lichtenstein, you might be able to come up with some pretty wacky stuff. If I ever see this one, be assured I'll wear a cup.

Cassandra's Dream
Speaking of discomforting sexual imagery, there's a new Woody Allen movie coming out this weekend. Still in exile in London, Allen puts Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell and a bunch of Brits you've never heard of in yet another crime thriller, a dully recurring theme of late for him. You know, "Match Play" was okay, but it was no "Take the Money and Run." Here, the title makes obvious classical inferences, but unless Allen reprises the hilarious Greek chorus of "Mighty Aphrodite," I'm betting we won't be able to figure this one out. Worse yet, we won't care.

Taxi to the Dark Side
And, finally, your weekly anti-Iraq War movie. And it's a documentary. Doesn't that just set you all agiggle? Alex Gibney, the Oscar-nominated director of "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," studies the case of an innocent Afghan taxi driver who was tortured and killed in 2002 to examine the larger issues of the war and torture. We should all probably see this movie and become enlightened and enraged. But, we probably won't.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bog Poll: No Rhymes, Not Much Reason

Okay, here we go: Georgetown still Number One by leaps, bounds and pirouettes. When you win a game on a Roy Hibbert three-pointer, it's a good day to play the lottery, too. VCU might not be better than Virginia, but the Rams did not lose their last two games by 60 points either. Virginia Tech grabbed a win against something called Charleston Southern and shoved Maryland back down to the bowels of the ACC and the Bog Poll. George Mason, James Madison, and UMBC all had nondescript losses but paired them with at least one unimpressive win, so not much change there. Splits for the bottom three also with Richmond feeling like John Edwards hanging on to the #10 spot with a triple-overtime win against LaSalle. Lots of teams waiting in the wings including Hampton at 7-6, GW at 5-6 with a 49-20 (!) win over St. Louis, and if VMI (9-6)can get two straight wins over teams I have heard of, they might get in.

1. Georgetown
Georgetown radio man Rich Chvotkin’s summary of the season thus far: “Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas lose, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win.
2. VCU
Rams move up in the rankings with wins over Georgia State and Hofstra, a.k.a. the Maryland and Georgia Tech of the CAA.
3. Virginia
10 days after losing by 38, the Cavaliers lost by 22; if they can just continue to improve at this rate, they’ll get their next win on January 27 and go on to win the national championship game on April 7 by 104.4 points.
4. Virginia Tech
Seth Greenberg throws up when his team loses close games? So that’s how he keeps so trim.
5. George Mason
On the minus side, the Patriots lost at Delaware. On the plus side, they stayed overnight and had a whole day of sales tax-free shopping.
Retrievers roll over and play dead against the Maine Black Bears, an excellent survival tactic in the wild, not so good on the basketball court.
7. James Madison
Dukes cannot overcome William and Mary’s dramatic homecourt advantage in Williamsburg, the town where CAA title dreams go to die.
8. Maryland
After Terps lose to Virginia Tech, Gary Williams takes away sneakers, forces players to practice in Birkenstocks
9. American
Winning at Lehigh about as impressive as winning the Wyoming primary.
10. Richmond
Spiders need three overtimes to score 75 points against LaSalle. Over-under for total score in Richmond’s game against St. Louis University currently hovering at 50.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Relentlessly Unbalanced Bog Poll

Happy Monday, everybody! Today's post title comes courtesy of an enthusiastically loquacious (or is it loquaciously enthusiastic) Associated Press writer whose coverage of the Xavier-UVA blowout provided me with some chuckles as I reviewed last week's play of the Bog Poll teams. Of course, I had to laugh because the only other reasonable reaction would have been to cry as the losses piled up. Georgetown's season is becoming more monotonous than the USC Fight Song, Virginia got crushed but stayed at #2 because VCU could only manage a split. Virginia Tech swapped with JMU and I'm probably not giving UMBC enough credit at #7. Richmond is back in for the first time since my initial poll, and American forced me to rethink one of my basic rules about the Bog Poll after Old Dominion and Morgan State dropped below .500.

1. Georgetown
Next week, Robbie Madison will attempt to best his New Year’s Eve world record motorcycle jump of 322 feet by jumping the gap between the Hoyas and the Number 2 Bog Poll team.
2. Virginia
The Associated Press article on UVA’s 108-70 loss to Xavier described Sean Singletary’s 14 points in this game as “harmless.” Apparently, Singletary is pre-med and has already taken the Hippocratic Oath and figured that scoring more points would be a violation of Virginia’s honor code. The article also made note of Xavier’s “relentlessly balanced offense.”
3. VCU
Rams relentlessly balanced their week’s record with a win at UNC-Wilmington after losing to James Madison.
4. George Mason
After watching the season premier of “The Wire,” Jim Larranaga decides that his team’s loss to Georgia State was definitely the fault of the Baltimore Sun.
5. James Madison
Dean Smith > Dean Keener > Dean Wormer
6. Virginia Tech
Saturday’s game against the Terps will be the thrilling conclusion of ESPN’s “I can’t believe these are major Division I programs Week.”
If college basketball were politics, UMBC’s win at New Hampshire would force American and VMI to drop their programs until next season.
8. Maryland
After beating Charlotte, Gary Williams puts names back on players’ lockers but uses erasable ink so they don’t get cocky.
9. Richmond
Tied with Georgetown for longest active Bog Poll win streak of three games. Also like the Hoyas, they play five men on the court at a time. There the similarities end.
10. American
Losing to an Ivy League opponent not starting with the letter P used to be grounds for a minimum two-week suspension from the Bog Poll. Beating one in your next game should not make up for it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Groovy Movie Friday

Okay, maybe not groovy, but what else rhymes with movie? Exactly. So, we have a couple opening today, so let's take a look. As always, I have not seen these fine cinematic achievements, and I almost certainly never will. But if an uniformed public can choose a president, I see no reason not to talk about movies I'll never see.

One Missed Call
Japanese horror film remake, a tactic I am generally against as American studios usually glam the interesting originality right out, but the success of films like "The Grudge" and "The Ring" means Hollywood will keep churning these out like greasy imitation popcorn butter. Shannyn Sossamon stars and she was pretty spooky as the ghost in "Dirt" on F/X, so this could be okay except that we also get Edward Burns, whose smug mug has to rank at the top of most guys' list of actors they'd like to slap silly. The credit line he generated with "The Brothers McMullen" was overdrawn about a decade ago. Also featured is Azura Skye who was born named Azura Dawn Storozynski. I understand why she wanted a name change, but why not just go with Azura Dawn? Surely she can't hope to displace Ione Skye, femme fatale of the indy 90s. Also, Margaret Cho fulfills the "Asian in a Japanese remake" role required by the Japanese Ministry of Culture; just guessing here, but her character probably provides exposition, explaining to the ignorant Americans the ancient Eastern origins of whatever horror is terrorizing them. Or she plays a comedian. It's a tossup.

The Killing of John Lennon
So, we go from nasty suspense thriller to a character study of the man who shot to death one of the iconic figures of rock music and modern pop culture. Wow, I think I'll go rent "The House of Sand and Fog" to cheer myself up. Press materials from the official website for this movie insist that it is "entirely factual," which is a welcome change from the "based on a true story" explanation that allows filmmakers to propagandize to their bleeding hearts' content. Jonas Ball makes his feature film debut as Mark David Chapman; his previous credits are all in television, including voice work for the Japanese cartoon series translated by IMDB as "I My Me! Strawberry Eggs." Could be worse. He could have worked on a Japanese game show. I am surprised to say that I might actually want to see "The Killing of John Lennon," although I think I'd rather see "The Assassination of Richard Nixon" or, even better, "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year, New Bog Poll

Happy New Year, and if the greeting is almost two days late, well, hey, so is this week's Bog Poll, which by the way Big Stein didn't even run this week. But I promised limericks, so limericks ye shall have:

1. Georgetown
Final Four looks to be within reach
For the Hoyas again if they each
Learn how best to convert
At a rate like Hibbert
Best we’ve seen since the baskets held peach?

2. Virginia
The jumpshot of Sean Singletary
Can at times his entire team carry
But if no one else helps
The Cavs look like whelps
Worse than Swordfish sans Halle Berry

3. VCU
VCU can’t wait for more madness
So Maynor can show off his badness
And they hope to repeat
The improbable feat
That filled the Duke fans’ hearts with sadness

4. George Mason
The team from the city of Fairfax
Made the nation’s media make tracks
To their Final Four game
Which brought them much more fame
Than their namesake’s assault on stamp tax

5. Virginia Tech
It’s sad that a once brilliant Hokie
Is serving hard time in the pokey
But the basketball team
Is still living the dream
Let’s give them a break, okey–dokey?

6. James Madison
The Dukes’ fans might get the sensation
They’ll get a Big Dance invitation
Their win total is high
But a bad RPI
Will end their joyous celebration

Some people might call the Retrievers
Scrappy, gutty overachievers
But come tournament time
Bet a nickel and dime
They’ll turn doubters into believers

8. American
There once was a team called the Eagles
Opponents kicked them like Jeff Feagles
But one night at Comcast
The offense turned full blast
And made the Terps heel just like beagles

9. Maryland
There once was a team coached by Gary
Whose perimeter shooting was scary
If a player named Greivis
Keeps acting mischievous
In March they’ll be in the library

10. Morgan State
For a team that has not ever been
To the Tournament for a quick spin
’08 could be the year
They break into a cheer
I just hope they avoid the play-in