4.26.2008

I saw this . . .


On Aunt Jemima's Revenge and just had to post on it.

Hilarious!

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Watching the draft, covering my eyes

After thinking the draft was still coming on at around 10, 11 o'clock and subsequently wading through the 4+ hours over pre-coverage. The actual event is under way. I wouldn't call this a live blog of the draft though, just me posting while I'm watching. Strictly gut reactions, I'll leave the in depth analysis to Boomer and crew. Couple of thoughts so far.

Brandon Albert, an offensive tackle out of Virginia, looked really nervous all the way up til he was picked 15th. If I knew who he was I might sympathize with him more.

Chicago and Detroit both drafted offensive linemen. I appreciate the wisdom of building from the inside out but they are not scaring me with those picks.

Cowboys pick up Felix Jones. I think Jones has as much potential as any of the top 10 picks to make an immediate major impact. In fact I will be so bold as to say when we look back 2 years from now this will be the steal of the first round (a'la Randy Moss without the baggage).

Even though he played at Illinois, I like Rashard Mendenhall. From the live home feed he just looks like a really unassuming down to earth guy, not like a prima donna athlete.

Jordy Nelson, Ted? Really? Don't we already have like 4 or 5 really good receivers? What about Carlson from ND or the safety from Ark. State? Those are need positions aren't they?!! I know K.C. took our pick again (seems like they are always the team right before us in every round of every draft) but can you think outside of the box a little?

Looks like the Redskins are trying a different approach to stocking up on receivers, Malcolm Kelly, Fred Davis, and Devin Thomas. Maybe Campbell has been complaining about the relatively diminutive receivers they have now.

Ok. I have been watching draft related programming for almost 10 hours. The rest of my life demands my attention . . .

. . . but first!

Aaron Rodgers (shouts from the kitchen): "Hey Scoob! I'm still making the Scooby Snack casserole, who did we pick?"

Scooby Doo: "Ruh Roh"!!

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One more loss. . .


I wasn't even going to write a post on the acquittal of the three NYPD police officers accused in the shooting death of Sean Bell. So many other blogs and sites have done a great job analyzing this whole thing. But the picture of this little girl, same age as my daughter (and we were going to name her Jada too until a last minute change of mind by her mom) compelled me to add my two cents thru my forum. In case you may have missed this national news story or may have forgotten about the events that occurred in November 2006, Bell was killed the night before his wedding as him and some friends were wrapping up his bachelor party at a Queens strip club. He and several of his friends were killed in a hail of about 50 shots fired by undercover NYPD officers who were staking out the club trying to bust someone for reported drug activity or prostitution. The officers story goes that at the same time Bell and his party exited the club there was a violent altercation. The cops mistook Bell to be the party involved and when he tried to leave the scene in a vehicle mistook that as an attempt to run the officers down (without knowing any specifics of the trial I wonder how the officers could reasonably assume that Bell knew these were police officers if they were undercover and Bell had no prior interaction with them). The cops sprayed the car and all occupants were killed. No firearms were ever found on Bell or his companions. Now they have been acquitted. I read the representative for the police union said something like "there were no winners and no losers today", well that's wrong. A little girl has lost her daddy and no one will ever be able to point to a responsible party or explain to her why.

Know one will ever be made to pay for the horrible mistake of taking this brother's life in innocence. Without over analyzing it my simple viewpoint is that people make criminally wrong mistake everyday that they are still held accountable for. Drunk drivers who kill someone in an accident, two kids are playing with a gun and one accidentally shoots the other, I see no difference between these incidents and a cop jumping to the wrong conclusion and destroying an innocent man with excessive use of force.

The name Sean Bell shall now be synonymous in history with names like Amadou Diallo, Ernest Lacy, and (unfortunately) countless other otherwise innocent bystanders who just happened to meet the wrong cops at the wrong time.

I'd like to end this post on a positive note, but just like life there aren't always happy endings.

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4.24.2008

Weekly Wisconsin Sports Wank


Man it's been a long week folks. Not really much new going on in the Wisconsin sport scene this week, so this will probably be a pretty short wank. Plus I'm feeling lazy this week as I have finally taken the first extended vacation from my job in almost 3 years (not really much of a vacation though when you have two kids under the age of 3, but that is a digression for another blog). Let's see Pack misses out on the highest paid drunk in the NFL, are D. Turnbow and Ned Yost fucking?, and the guy who indirectly spearheaded the lengthening of shorts in the NBA is the Bucks new head coach. These things and more commented on in this episode of "The Wank".

Packers.
Slow week as far as any real news goes. I think fans are just sort of hanging out now, waiting for the draft this weekend. Here's a link to a good JSO run down of which draft prospects the Packers have interviewed so far. As a fan to me it's almost like the feeling a kid gets around Christmas or your birthday. You've been a good supportive fan all year and now it's time to get some new toys for your favorite team. The Pack have I think 9 picks and they are about to load up, so over the weekend we'll see what jolly St. Ted will have in his sack for us. And we've been pretty good this year so it shouldn't be a sack of Ahmad Carrolls or Justin Harrells. Speaking of failed draft choices I guess I should put my two cents in about who the Pack should pick in the first round like every other sports blog guy. Their's is the last pick in the first round, with not really a whole lot of options to move up, so it's most likely my guy won't be there (at least according to the buzz) but if he should happen to fall Thompson should pick up Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Now a good %50 of my opinion is based on the fact that he hails from my alma mater, Tennessee State University, but he does have a pedigree. It's common knowledge Woodson and Harris are getting older and less effective so this would be a solid pick, despite the Packers well documented past failures with drafting cornerbacks. In other blurbs the Pack "missed out" on Jared Allen when he signed with the Vikings (I think we'll live, but curious that there isn't an outcry like when we could have had Moss), Dante Culpepper paid a free agent visit to Green Bay (smart move for the 3rd stringer or backup QB, but I think Dante still thinks he can start which is of course laughable), and Donald Driver will be picking up the torch to make sure the Packers annual offseason celebrity charity softball game that Brett started will carry on. And Favre made his appearance on Letterman last night and got everyone all hot and bothered about "something's bound to happen". I mean really he's retired, stop letting him yank our chain. It's like he's the hot girl that dumped us and we can't let it go, I understand it but let's move on.

Brewers. C+
As of this writing the Crew stands in third place in the NL central, 5-5 in their last 10. The giant that was supposed to be the Brewers offense has been caught snoozing at times this season (like last night against the Phils) and they have shown a little bit of inconsistency but we have to pace ourselves. The MLB season is marathon, not a race right? And even though we aren't leading the division right away there is a good aura about this team, like don't sleep 'cuz they are capable of beating any team at any time with whatever on the line. And I really like Prince Fielder's development as a leader in the lockeroom (as well as management's commitment to not let our young talent walk in free agency) he's come a long way since his draft prospect projections. They really are starting to starting to draw the attention of this extremely casual baseball fan. But enough of the mushy sentiment what's up with Derrick Turnbow and Ned Yost? As I understand it one of the knocks on Yost is that he leans towards sentiment and personal relationships to much when it comes to roster decisions. Turnbow could turn into the posterboy for that critique with his sub mediocre performance so far this season. (Could relief pitching turn into the Brewer's Achilles heel late in the season?) And we traded Gabe Gross to Tampa for a 6'-5" pitcher name Josh Butler. Gross still has potential to turn into a real good player, it's sad to see him go from that aspect, but it's nice when your team is stocked with enough talent (Tony Gwynn Jr.) that they can afford to just trade players with pretty good "upside". Maybe Butler can be the next Papelbon?

Bucks. B+
For the hire of Scott Skiles as coach. Yes I think he (along with Hammond) will get the franchise back on the right track and in the playoffs again, but I don't think he's the guy to get this team over the hump, meaning championship contention. They say on every level of basketball that the way a team plays is a reflection of the personality of their coach. Skiles was a very servicable point guard for ten years in the league, drafted by the Bucks in the first round (over Mark Price and Kevin Duckworth among others) pretty solid on team defense but not too flashy offensively. A real good backup. Isn't that kind of how the Bulls were under Skiles, even with talent like Ben Gordon? I just don't think he could coach a team to the Finals. I think Carlise would have been the better fit, but here's to proving me wrong. On a side note mock drafters please stop having the Bucks taking Eric Gordon/Russell Westbrook. Both of these guys will be busts. I'm witholding comment on who they should take until they pull the cards out of the envelopes. They could wind up in position to draft one of the Big Three (Beasley, Rose, Mayo).

University of Wisconsin football.
Been reading around about spring ball over in Madison as the Badgers continue to beat up on each other. The latest casualty was DE Matt Shaughnessy who broke his leg in practice. So even though the running game/offensive line is still tight there are still enough casualties to affect expectations for this season (at least the first part, which will be a bitch). No one expects them to tank but they may not be at full strength until the start of the Big Ten schedule which starts with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. Heal fast guys.

Marquette University men's basketball.
There are rumors floating that Kelvin Sampson is headed up here to join Scott Skiles staff as an assistant. I guess that's a fairly solid hire, no recruiting in the NBA. What's really intriguing is the suggestion I read on a blog somewhere (I can't remember the link) that this put Sampson in a real good position to compete for another college head coaching position, possibly in the Midwest. Say maybe in a couple of years if a certain newly hired coach shows he can't cut it in the Big East. I don't think Marquette's immediate fan base would take kindly to him though. They are not used to negative attention like that. Former MU recruit Nick Williams signed with Crean at Indiana. Can't really call him a traitor but I hope he gets beasted with regularity when they play UW (if he even turns out to be any good). See UW and MU fans do have a lot of common interests.

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4.16.2008

Weekly Wisconsin Sports Wank

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Marquette University men's basketball.
Regarding Marquette let me first start off by publicly stating a very belated congratulations to the Marquette women's team for winning the NIT Championship. Yeah I know women's basketball but hey there is no chauvinism here during The Rogue Hour. Besides I must say cautiously that I am starting to feel a little more positive about the onset of the 'Buzz Williams era' at Marqeutte. He has been fortunate enough to have a few good things occur so far during his tenure. For one it appears that much hyped sophomore-to-be Trevor Mabakwe will not be leaving the program (which Buzz may or may not have had a hand in though Mabakwe says it was never even an issue), although Tyshawn Taylor definitely is (Marquette sent the release form). Class of '09 recruit Erik William publicly reaffirmed his commitment to Marquette and also let us know that one of his fellow recruits, Chris Otule, will also honor his commit. And Cracked Sidewalks confirms that Buzz has his first recruit, honorable mention JUCO All-American Jimmy Butler. Now that sounds like a name I will get used to hearing on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Williams's sideline skills have not been tested yet, but at least there is an indication that if he does flame out after a 3-4 year effort, he might leave the program well stocked for his succesor.

University of Wisconsin mens basketball/football.
Well while people in certain neighboring Midwest states may continue to belittle UW's athletic successes in the past decade, the world of college basketball continues to indirectly validate our success with speculation that yet another one of our bright assistant coaches will be plucked from Bo Ryan's staff to be some struggling programs messiah. Always nice to see the tree of Wisconsin excellence spreading. Switching sports for a look at how the Badgers are progressing this spring, the news is mediocre. There have been a rash of injuries, including the two projected starting cornerbacks (too bad Ike chose to leave, he would have been in a good position to have a real break out year nationally and solidified himself as a first rounder) but in the spring that just means that good depth is being developed with second and third stringers getting more reps. The offensive line, even with the loss of Joe Thomas, has the potentaial to develop into one of the most effective units since Joe Panos and Co. Back to basketball, Brian Butch got an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational and is making the best of it. Here's to hoping he (and Michael Flowers) can at least catch a deal overseas (realistically speaking). Oh and UW might finally win their game in the BigTen/ACC Challenge next season: we play Virginia Tech (but Tech's guards are much slept on).

Green Bay Packers.
So the other day I happen to surf by the world wide leader is sports and see a feature with the line 'Where Is Titletown U.S.A.?'. My first reaction is 'WTF!!!' How are they just going to take the city of Green Bay's history and heritage and offer it up for grabs?! The more I think about it the more I start to agree with the Deadspin types who constantly berate ESPN for their oft times ham-handed coverage of sports. I mean seriously who had the audacity to just decide yeah they could take the town's nickname away. Like a featured commenter said "that's like just saying Chicago isn't The Windy City anymore and offering the nickname up for grabs". We earned that title by being World Champions 12 times (pre and post Super Bowl era) more than any other team in National Football League history. A league that would not exist if not for the Green Bay Packers. The championship trophy that your favorite team lusts for every fall is named after our legendary Hall of Fame coach, the epitome of excellence and success. I think that is quite enough said and will not even stoop to the level of a rant for such a back page hackneyed piece of journalism. And I like the schedule for the upcoming season. I compare the Pack right now to the latest NBA scoring sensation. Eventually teams start playing him tougher, bodying up to see if he can take the physicality. I look for the Pack to respond to the physicality of a tougher schedule with a dunk in traffic. By the way the NFL draft is coming up next week. The Packers have 9 picks don't fuck it up Ted:)

Milwaukee Bucks.
We have mercifully reached the end of the season. A long, long season. Is Yi still a rookie? Anyway at least it ended on a positive note with the hiring of Pistons VP John Hammonds to be the Bucks new GM. The senator finally got one right. Even though the other cogs in the Bucks flawed front office machine (Steinmueller and Walter) are still in place and we don't know for sure how much real power will be at his disposal, Hammonds doesn't figure to be the type of guy to leave a good situation in Detroit to be the Senator's lackey. If even half this guy's reputation is true I think the Bucks might have found "their Ron Wolf". Now let the speculation begin about who the new coach will be. Front runners in rumors are Rick Carlise (good choice but in demand) and Scott Skiles (don't think he's quite the right fit if you are looking for conference titles and Finals runs. If you are looking for a consistent, slightly underachieving team he's your guy). I feel sorry for the guy lost in all of this though, good ol' Krysto. Larry Krystowiak has had the deck stacked against him from the start but has always played his cards in a professional manner. Most thing people recall of his playing days is his practice fight with Shaq, but he was a consitent, dependable scorer on the last of Milwaukee's late '80's/early '90's era playoff teams and was always much appreciated by the fan base. It would have been great to see a guy like that succeed as the head coach but it wasn't in the cards this time. Good luck Larry and thanks for stopping thru again.

Milwaukee Brewers.
What can I say the Crew has to came down from it's high horse a little this week, falling to third in the NL Central. This illustrates part of why I am such a casual baseball fan. The standings seem to matter so much more week to week in baseball, even more so than in a 16 game NFL seasons. A lot of Brewer's fans I know are all depressed now cause they're not in first anymore and I'm like aren't there like 169 games left? But some people just need something to bitch about I guess. Crew just signed Jeff Weaver, I did not know he was still in the league, lost track of him after his stint with the Yankees and Cards. I guess the rest of the league did too because he signed to a minor league contract. Could be a useful call up down the end stretch of the season though I assume he will be getting a big league look before then. Lastly I would just like to go on record now as saying that I think Ned Yost has done a great job overall so far in his tenure as Brewers manager. I think his greatest skill asset is his ability to know and manage his players (note: I'm not saying that is the same as being Mr. Popular). A little sitdown might have been just the right thing Ryan Braun needed at the right time.

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4.12.2008

By the grace of God . . .


The Bucks have made a competent decision. After being initially rebuffed the Senator redoubled his efforts and convinced John Hammond, Joey D's number 2 guy in Detroit, to sign on to be the Bucks new GM!! This is great, excellent, unexpected news in the wake of rumors about Billy Knight and John Gabriel. A couple of weeks ago Bucks Diary succinctly summed up the solution to the Bucks problem in one phrase "the Bucks need to find their Ron Wolf". If Hammond lives up to his reputation, I think we found him.

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4.09.2008

Weekly Wisconsin Sports Wank



Marquette University men's basketball.
If you are a Warrior it has been a tough week. First the coach who returned the basketball program to national prominence some 25+ years after they won their first and only national championship jumped ship . . . for Indiana of all places. After the initial shock had time to sink in you began to rationalize, and you start thinking this could actually turn into a positive thing. You were beginning to have doubts about what's-his-name anyway. Sure he took you to the Final Four but what coach couldn't with D. Wade, and until this year he hadn't won a NCAA tournament game since then. And what about all the indications that he wasn't the greatest bench coach, the seeming lack of ability to make in-game adjustments, failure to recruit or develop any decent low post player since he's been here. Come to think of it maybe it wasn't going to be too long before this guy was out the door anyway, you know the whole 'he's-gone-as-far-as-he-can-go-here' kind of thing. Besides we're a top tier team in the Big East now, the conference all college b-ball fans look to in awe of their power. We can have our pick of big time coaches who will take us even farther than Crean did and we'll play for national championships, forget about conference titles! Yep, no worries here. Just gonna sit back and wait for Marquette's extremely competent athletic administrators to take their time and make a good selec . . . huh?! Are you serious!!!? But it's only been like 5 days!!? WTF!!! Who the hell is Buzz Williams??!! I wonder how the players feel about this.

Oh, and one more piece of dubious news to round it out (dramatic pause) promising sophomore-to-be Trevor Mbakwe who might have finally been the athletic, skilled inside player Marquette needed will most likely not be playing for Buzz next season. From Todd Rosiak's MJS blog:

-- It appears as though freshman forward Trevor Mbakwe is leaning toward transferring following the end of the semester due to family concerns in his hometown of St. Paul, Minn. Apparently this was a situation that has been in place, and coach Tom Crean's departure will have little if anything to do with it.

University of Wisconsin men's basketball.
Badgers picked up a new recruit they other day, one Ryan Evans from Chandler, AZ; 6'-6" and still growing. Another typically vanilla recruit for Bo. Little to no mention of his ranking on Scout.com or Rivals. This guy's scholarship kicks in for the 2009 season which could mean that the Badgers have given up on getting one of the best players in state, Racine's Jamil Wilson (don't scoff non-Wisconsinites. Racine has produced NBA-caliber players like Nick Van Exel and more recently Caron Butler) because UW is out of scholarships for that class. I have great faith in the Bo Ryan Way but I don't know how long you can have a consistent top notch program when the top recruits in the state constantly slip thru UW's recruiting efforts like a sieve. There's not one super athletic kid in the state that will fit into his style of play? Bo deserves a lot of credit though for building the program up to a level to where we all expect excellence. That's why he won the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. He probably would have won the AP award also if not for all the Drakes, Davidsons and Purdues this year. Keep toiling in obscurity Bo but with much appreciation, we know you'll never pull a Crean on us.

Milwaukee Brewers.
Brewers have started off the season a lot like last year. Tied for the best record in baseball. Alone in first place in the NL Central (with St. Louis right on our ass). The infamous Four Blocks to Miller Park blog best describes what it feels like to be a Brewers fan right now. And it also helps to partially explain why I am such a casual baseball fan. Didn't use to be that way. When the Brewers went to the '82 series I was posted up in front of the tv, notebook in hand, recording every strike, ball, and out of every game (might seem lame but I was like 9). Eventually the perennial disappointment got to me and I came to be the fan I am today. A solid supporter, but you're not going to get me overly excited about playoff hopes until they actually make the playoffs. Yes things are different now with new management, new talent, new contracts. But that was the sell last year and I was almost sold when the Crew promptly blew a double digit game division lead in the last month and missed the playoffs after being one of the top teams all season long. So you'll forgive me if I just jog alongside the bandwagon for now.

Green Bay Packers.
An aquaintance of mine who has an iGoogle account with a Packer themed home page just told me that Brett Favre's retirement is officially official today because Google has removed his image from the theme and replaced it with one of Aaron Rodgers. While I don't doubt that Google has it's fingers on the pulse of the sports world and the rest of society, I think for fans it was official for us once the words came from #4 himself. Lots of people have claimed that Favre is more shrewd media manipulator than good 'ol country boy who shoots from the hip. I think maybe he might be a little bit of both, but I don't think he would go thru all the machinations of retiring simply to try to sneak off to another team as SI's Peter King suggested last week. Favre himself has called BS on the notion that he would ever unretire . . . unless the Packers really needed him. I think someone who can start 250 some games in a row as a QB in the NFL is pretty much a guy who has some discipline, holds himself to a certain standard, and is a man of his word. That said I think we all can forget this foolishness and continue to wish Brett happy retirement without having nightmares of seeing him in a Dolphins uniform (or worse Bears!). No real recent news in free agency. I'm waiting to see what comes of these 9 draft picks and if Thompson can shut the haters up and prove he deserved that NFL Executive of the Year award.

Milwaukee Bucks.
And so we come once again to the most depressing topic of the Wank, your Milwaukee Bucks. Didn't use to be like this for the Bucks either. Once upon a time the Bucks were Wisconsin's most stable professional sports franchise, on and off the court. For perspective I was born in '72 the year they one their only NBA Championship with Kareem and Oscar. In the world I grew up in the Bucks were always one of the upper tier teams in the league. They always went to the playoffs, so much so that for a while I wasn't aware that there were teams that didn't make the playoffs. They never went to the NBA Finals but look at the teams that were in their way, Bird's Celtics, Dr. J's Sixers, Isiah's Pistons, Cavs when they had Price, Daughtery, and Nance. The rest of the state's professional teams were kind of in a state of flux. The Crew went to the Series in '82 but never really made any noise for the rest of the decade. Packers had head coaches like Forrest Gregg and Lindy Infante and drafted guys like Brent Fulwood in the first round. So thankfully we could always head down to the Mecca for a dose of consistency from Sidney Moncrief and Paul Pressey. To bad those guys couldn't play forever because look at us now. It's been a long time since the Bucks have been respected like that. I hope somewhere in this state or this country there is a Milwaukee/Wisconsin/Midwest native who is seriously well off and remembers those days who will soon call Herb Kohl and say "What will it take to get this done?" The senator has served his constituents and fan base well over these years. Who knows how many times his loyalty to this state deflected attempts to rip this franchise away from our community. But it's time for a new direction now, new blood, new perspective, new ideas building on the old values. Especially after reading about the tired ass candidates being linked to rumors about the Bucks GM job.

P.S. Shot out to the Wisconsin Sports Bar blog where I got the lead pic. They have a bunch of others check 'em out.

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4.02.2008

The one and only . . .


I am African-American by descent, native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had a very sheltered childhood. Thru high school most of my closest friends were white. I attended college at Tennessee State University, a HBCU in Nashville, Tennessee. Those were some very formative years for me. The people I met and things I experienced during my time (about 10 years) in the Dirty Bend did a lot to shape and influence the opinions I have today. From the day long blunt smoking to the from-dusk-to-dawn debates with my roommates about politics, religion, and world history. Just a little personal background that might help you understand my first impressions when I, as a last minute whim, attended a lecture at Fisk University given by a Mr. Steve Cokely. I remember the title of the lecture was what grabbed my little clique's attention, something like Black America and The Boule' (Servants to the King). We sat down in the back and proceeded to be blown away by the volume of information flowing out of this brother's mouth as he broke down the society we have been born into, the government that we serve (yeah you read right), and the world's history that has been destroyed, forgotten or intentionally altered. As I left the scene that night I wondered how long the establishment might let someone who knew what he knew continue to do what he was doing.

Well I personally haven't really heard anything from Cokely since that lecture (apparently he has taken his message to the airwaves now), but I ran across a link to his series of lectures on the Boule' on YouTube the other day, of which I have posted the first 3 parts (that should be enough to wet your appetite for more research on your own). Like the warning in the introduction reads this info is not to be taken lightly and could be quite shocking to some people, but they are facts that any person of color searching for the truth in this life should be aware of. As always, enjoy.







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