Friday, October 29, 2004

Friday Big Ten Picks

Last week against the spread: 2-1
Pick of the week: 1-0
Last week straight up: 4-1

YTD against the spread: 8-1
YTD Pick of the week: 3-0
YTD straight up: 10-4

My unbeaten streak came to an end last week as Michigan upset Purdue. Of the three games I picked, that was the game I was least confident about. Oh well, I can live with 2 out of 3 each week. Iowa squeaked out a win at Penn St. and Ohio State routed Indiana. Like I said, the Buckeyes aren't that good this year, but Indiana is still Indiana.

I have three more picks against the spread this week. I'll start by taking Michigan State and 11 points against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. I'm ready to admit that Michigan is good. They were impressive last week and I think they'll win on Saturday. But 11 points seems a bit too much to give a big rival and an improving State team.

Next, I'll take Ohio State (-6.5) against Penn State. Last week's route of Indiana should give the Buckeyes some confidence. And their defense shouldn't have much trouble with the Penn State offense. If this was away I wouldn't be comfortable picking the Buckeyes. But they should safely win by +7 at home.

My pick of the week is Iowa (-11) over Illinois down in Champaign. This goes against my usual rule of not picking against huge home underdogs. But after last week's humiliating loss against the Gophers and rumors of Ron Turner being fired (about time) I can't see Illinois putting together much of a challenge. Iowa by 20.

I'm tempted to take Minnesota (-17) over Indiana, but I don't want to violate my rule twice in the same week. I'll just take them straight up along with Purdue over Northwestern.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


I thought last night’s Smallville, where Clark and Lionel Luther switched bodies, was the best episode so far this year. I always find it entertaining when actors switch characters. Last night reminded me of my college days when I watched David Canary play both the rich, manipulative Adam on All My Children, as well as his dim-witted twin brother Stuart. Don’t even get me started on David Canary portraying Adam pretending to be Stewart. Classic stuff.

Anyway, I thought both the Tom Welling (Clark) and John Glover (Lionel) did a great job of picking up the mannerisms of each character. It was especially funny watching Lionel (in Clark’s body) hit on all the pretty young high school girls. But the highlight was him asking Clark’s mom for a hug.

My wife was not as enthused by the episode, as she found it disgusting watching this old man lusting after Smallville’s teen population. But given the fact the he just went from the body of a dying old man in prison to a buff young stud, I think you can cut the guy some slack. Hell, if you put me back in high school in Tom Welling’s body and I ---- well, I better not go there seeing as I have in-laws that read this site.

But I’ll just say that I thought old Lionel was quite restrained in chasing after the girls. I mean all this guy could think about was trying to get his hands on his $57 million. Come on Lionel, you are supposed to be a criminal genius/businessman and you can’t figure some way to turn your new found superhuman powers into unending riches? You had to have the $57 million that was sitting in your bank account?

But that’s a minor quibble. I don’t watch the show for it’s compelling logic.


Friday, October 22, 2004

The Bear's Offense Sure Looks Sick

But I don't that qualifies them to receive flu shots.

Friday Big Ten Picks

Last week against the spread: 2-0
Pick of the week: 1-0
Last week straight up: 2-2

YTD against the spread: 6-0
YTD Pick of the week: 2-0
YTD straight up: 6-3

My streak continued last week as both Wisconsin and Iowa covered the spread. I lost the Wisconsin-Purdue game straight up as I thought Purdue would pull it out. But hey, I said it would be close and it was. I think Michigan State routing Minnesota surprised everyone.

My pick of the week is Iowa over Penn St. Penn State is favored by 2.5 at home but I see them as a 3 point underdog. I think bettors are paying too much attention to the fact that the Nittany Lions played Purdue close and not enough attention to the beating Iowa gave Ohio State last week. Iowa should win straight up and against the spread.

I’ll also look for Purdue to cover this week as they are 4.5 points favorites over Michigan at home. Michigan is better than I gave them credit for a couple of weeks ago but I still think Purdue is the better team. Michigan also had trouble against the passing game of San Diego St. Given that fact, Purdue shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the ball through the air. Boilermakers by 7.

After going against Ohio State twice in the last two weeks (and winning), I expect them to cover against Indiana at home (13 points). Ohio State is not very good this year, but come one, were talking about Indiana. Ohio State by 20.

Straight up I’ll go with Wisconsin over Northwestern but I think it might be closer than the 12 point spread. I’m not sure what to think of Minnesota. But they shouldn’t have many problems beating Illinois. By 17 points? Like I said, I’m not sure what to think.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Comparing Netflix and Blockbuster

A few months back I decided to switch my DVD service from Netflix to Blockbuster. Netflix had raised their rates to 21.99 while Blockbuster monthly rates stayed at 19.99.

I figured that they were both basically the same service competing on price. So switching seemed to be the rational thing to do.

But I have to warn you that it is not the same service.

First, most of the new releases at Blockbuster are not immediately available. Now, I ran into this problem a few times at Netflix (although not in the last six months), but most of the movies in my queue at BB say either short wait, long wait, or very long wait.

In addition, the turnaround time in receiving movies through the mail seems to take a little bit longer with BB. I've noticed that Netflix had a Chicago mailing address while BB is out of state. Does Netflix have warehouses set up at different locations to speed delivery? I don't know, but they are definitely quicker than BB.

Finally, Netflix has a more user-friendly web-site. The difference in quality isn't that great, but enough to be noticeable.

I was actually quite surprised to find that BB's service was inferior as I thought a company with the resources of Blockbuster would be able to match the service of an upstart like Netflix.

Now I'm not sure if I made the right decision as the hassle of waiting for movies probably isn't worth the two bucks I save.

But just now I received an e-mail from Blockbuster notifying me that they are reducing their rate to $17.49 a month. I believe that's pretty much an admission that their service basically sucks. Now the question is whether I want to pay an extra $4.50 for the quality of Netflix.

One last note. Some people claim that each service is able to hold onto to customers by letting them rate movies that the service then uses to recommend future titles. While it is true I have spent more time than I like to admit on Netflix rating movies, I always found their recommendations of little use. I'm not sure this will too great of an effect in preventing users from switching.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Friday Big Ten Picks

Last week against the spread: 4-0
Pick of the week: 1-0
Last week straight up: 4-1

I only have two picks against the spread this week. Ohio State goes on the road to play Iowa. This will be a battle between two teams that thus far have had disappointing seasons. The Buckeyes are favored by 2 on the road. After losing on the road in Evanston and at home against the Badgers, I just don’t see them as favorites in a Big Ten road game. Well maybe against Indiana, but not Iowa. Iowa should cover and win.

The big game this week will be down in West Lafayette as the Big Ten’s last two undefeated team, Wisconsin and Purdue, face off. I think it will be a close game. A great Badger defense vs. a great Boilermaker offense. I think a 7 point spread is too high so put your money on the Badgers. You should at least be able to walk away with a push so I’ll make this my pick of the week. As for straight, I think Purdue will pull this one out.

Michigan takes on the Illini down in Champaign and arrive as a 18.5 point favorites. Now that seems like a huge spread to give a Big Ten team playing at home and I’m tempted to go with the Illini. But Illinois is a pretty bad team. And bad teams are unpredictable. They can sometimes stay close in home games but are just as likely to give up hope and lose by 30. Stay away from this one.

The final game has Minnesota going into East Lansing as 9.5 point favorites. Like last year, the Gophers took on the Spartans after a tough loss to Michigan. I think the Gophers will at least split the two games this year, but I’m not comfortable with 9.5 point spread. Minnesota straight up, no prediction against the spread.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Election Season

I'm in agreement with the Democratic Party on a number of issues (mainly social). But I find it terribly difficult to vote for anyone on the Democratic side.

There are many reasons, and Stephen Green nails one of them. Here's his response to the lefts latest tactic of falsely claiming voter fraud and intimidation so they can lay the groundwork of litigating the results of this election if things don't go their way:

Now, I know this is an angry essay. However, I don't mean to imply that all Democrats are evil and all Republicans are sweetness and light. Far from it. But for the first time in 16 years, I'm going to vote Republican straight down the line. If I have to punish a couple of local Democrats I'm fond of, then so be it, but I have to try to get a point across: The national Democratic Party is bad for this country.

I don't say that because of their policies, which I probably agree with more than I do the Republicans. But because their tactics would cause more harm to this country than the Federal Marriage Amendment, the Republican budget deficit, and Congress's corporate tax giveaways, combined.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Now this latest election tactic is one of many things that I find repugnant about the Democratic Party. But it's only an extension of what infects the party at its core: the belief that the other side is evil. When a party becomes completed seeped in self-righteousness, continually demonizes those that disagree with them, and sees itself as a victim of everything under sun, it is only a matter of time before they start believing it's okay to grab power by any means necessary. I guess that time has arrived.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Has anyone else been the least be perturbed by how racy Smallville has been this season?

It started with the introduction of the Lois Lane character. For a while I thought the character was in her mid-20's. She's pretty hot, but not in the cute high school girl sort of way.

(hot pic via Devoted to Smallville)

So it was very surprising to find out she will be spending a fifth year in high school this season! She's supposed to be 18?

But I guess grown women playing high school girls on TV is a pretty common phenomenon. But hot and heavy shower scenes, like the one on last week's episode, probably shouldn't be on a 7pm family show. The girl on girl kiss was a bit more innocent (it wasn't sexually motivated - she just needed to deliver a hallucinogen through a fluid secretion. Good Stuff!).

I don't even want to get into the storyline of a school employee having a relationship with a student.

Now this week's episode is based on all the kids taking some sort of an aphrodisiac and getting all hot and horny.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude. But everything has its time and place. I just think it would be nice to have a show that's interesting enough for adults to watch and wholesome enough to be seen in front of children. That's what Smallville used to be. But if the last few episodes are any indication, the show is no longer suitable for kids under 13.

Hot Streak

Wow, I've been on a roll with my college football predictions. Two weeks ago I predicted Northwestern would upset Ohio State which they did. That inflated my ego so I thought I would go ahead and predict all the Big Ten games last week. I finished 4-0 against the spread, correctly predicting Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, and Michigan State to cover.

I went 4-1 overall as I also predicted the Gophers to win straight up, which they failed to do, losing by 3.

So I guess I'll post my predictions earlier this week to give all you gambling types a heads up.

Speaking of gambling types, Aaron Gleeman is complaining about how tired he is today because he stayed up watching the Yankees-Red Sox game. Poor boy had to get up and go to class. Well, I managed to stay up to watch the game last night and it ended by 11.

Now when I was in college I also struggled to make morning classes but it was rarely from staying awake to 11 watching baseball. It was usually because I was staying up to 4 in the morning doing an assortment of activities, most of them legal.

So if Gleeman was tired this morning it means either:
a. he had other things going on, like downing a six pack, that he failed to mention.
b. he's a girlie man.

Now I know how they grow these Paul Bunyon types of up in Minnesota and Wisconsin so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and guess a.

But if he's tired now I don't suggest working full time, going to school part time, and having a baby at age 30.

And speaking of school, Kellogg was just again rated the number 1 b-school by Businessweek. The Wall Street Journal rated us sixth in the nation last month but the Businessweek rating seems to be the one that gets all the headlines. Anyway, for the price of tuition, we damn well better be number 1!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Big Games in the Big Ten

Well it's October. There's no baseball in Chicago and there Bears have a bye
week. But the Big Ten has some interesting games. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Purdue all go into enemy territory this weekend with spotless records.

Wisconsin goes into the horseshoe this weekend to take on the Buckeyes. Ohio State will try to bounce back from their overtime loss to Northwestern last weekend (which I predicted)but I don't see it happening. Ohio State is favored by 3.5. Since I don't think they will score more than 10, put your money on the Badgers.

Minnesota goes into Ann Arbor this weekend as a 3.5 point underdog just like Wisconsin. Minnesota should have beaten the Wolverines last year and will this year. Ohio State and Michigan versions 2004 just aren't every good It's just a matter of time before the oddsmakers start believing it.

Purdue goes to Happy Valley as 11 point favorites.

Did you hear that sound? I think Penn State just hit bottom. I actually feel sorry for old Joe. This is one of the few instances where the school would have shown more compassion by firing the coach. Put the old man out of his misery!

Anyway, while I expect Purdue to win I don't think they will cover. So take the line on the Lions.

No pick on the Northwestern-Indiana game. Northwestern will win but I'm not sure about making up 11.5 points.

I'll end it with my pick of the week. Illinois is a 7 point underdog against Michigan State. Take the Spartans, the money, and run.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

When Does College Basketball Start?

Thanks to the Cubs final week meltdown Wrigleyville should be much quieter this October. Unfortunately, the Bears have been decimated by injuries (yes they have lost exactly 1/10th of their players) and the college teams range from bad (Illinois) to mediocre (Northern, Northwestern).

I guess I should do some type of post mortem on the Sox. But really, the season has been over for a couple of months and I'm not sure I'm up for it. We'll see.

I will say that most things that I hear coming from writers and other pundits is borderline ridiculous. One of the big arguments I hear is that the Sox need some more players who can play "small-ball".

Now you don't have to be a stat-head to realize the Sox do not have a problem with offense. Playing without their two best offensive players for more than half of the season the finished third in the AL in runs scored. They also outscored the first place Twins by 85 runs (865-780).

So, when I hear Ozzie Guillen say the Sox offense will be better next year because they are planning on getting players who can bunt and execute the hit and run, I feel like bashing my head against a brick wall.

The Sox do need another quality starter and some bullpen help. I would like for them to make a run at Matt Clement, whose market value may have been hurt by his late season injuries.

But I hold out no hope that Kenny Williams can identify the problems this team has or find any solutions.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Friday Again?

Maybe I should call this ChiSox Weekly? Anyway, another rundown.

What a difference a week makes. Last Friday I wrote how good the Cubs were looking. They have gone 2-5 since and now have only a small chance of tying for the wildcard and extending their season.

Boo-hoo, I'm all torn up. Good luck trying to trade Sammy (as ESPN radio is reporting). I don't think any team is going to take on that salary for a guy hitting .250 with less than 40 homers on the downside of his career.

Anyway, I hope my nephew's birthday party Sunday doesn't turn into a wake (would you believe I'm the only Sox fan in the family). Hopefully, all the giddiness will be out of my system by then and I can feign sympathy.

the Sox will in fact finish with at least a .500 record for the 5th year in a row. That's only impressive when you consider the fact that this is the first time the Cubs have had back to back winning seasons in my 30 years on this Earth.

The Bears were able to move the ball last week against the Vikings but weren't able to score TD's in the red zone. That, and the fact that the officials had some real BS calls and non-calls, prevented the Bears from pulling off the upset.

It wasn't a bad effort at all considering the Bears were without Urlacher, Brown, Tillman, Azumah, Gray and Boone on defense.

Unfortunately, Rex Grossman is now out for the season, along with Brown, while Urlacher and Tillman will not play this week against the Eagles. I don't think they'll be keeping this one close.

Okay, the Wildcats have an absolutely horrible defense. So I don't think it makes much sense to rile up the Buckeyes by calling their offense mediocre. With that said, OSU has not looked good. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict a big upset in Evanston tomorrow.

The Illini did fare better than I predicted last week but still lost at home to Purdue 38-30. This week they face Wisconsin and will not be putting 30 points. I predict Illinois going down by a score resembling 28-17.

Have a great weekend!