Friday, November 30, 2007

L.A.Carrie Underwood/Keith Urban Date Announced!

After much anticipation, I can finally tell you when the 2008 Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour is going to hit the Los Angeles area!!! The date is March 13, 2008 at the Honda Center (formerly known as the Pond of Anaheim). Tickets will go on sale to the general public on December 8th at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster. Those in both Carrie's and Keith's fanclubs will have access to tickets via a pre-sale on Ticketmaster from December 4th, beginning at 10 a.m. through December 6th... What a show this shall be!!!


Phil Jackson Gets 2 Year Extension!

This is definitely yet another victory for those of us on the anti-T.J. Simers and anti-Bill Plaschke bandwagons... As those of us in the Los Angeles area know very well, these two "sportswriters" for the Los Angeles Times have been trying to run Kobe Bryant out of town for several years now. Guess what "guys," you have failed! The Kobester is going nowhere, and now, neither is his coach! Yesterday, Phil Jackson signed a two year, $24 million dollar extension to remain with the Lakers through the 2009-2010 season. Already the highest paid coach in the league, this marks a $2 million per year annual raise. The Lakers are starting to grow and develop as a team with a 9-6 record so far this year. Young talents such as Luke Walton, Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar along with veterans like Bryant, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher have given Jackson reassurance that this team is going in the right direction and have given Lakers fans hope for the future!

For more on this, go to this article on Yahoo's NBA blog


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cowboys-Packers Tonight!

For those of you that have DirecTV or certain cable providers, you'll be able to watch this battle of 10-1 titans starting at 8:15 ET/5:15 PT. Brett Favre, Donald Driver and the rest of the Packers visit Dallas to take on Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and the Cowboys. The Packers only loss this year came at the hands of the Chicago Bears by a 27-20 score - a game the Packers led 17-7 at halftime. Three costly turnovers - two Favre interceptions and a Charles Woodson fumble on a punt return resulted in 10 Bears points and proved to be the final margin of victory. The Cowboys lone loss this year came at the hands of the undefeated New England Patriots by a 48-27 score. The Cowboys actually led that game 24-21 with five minutes to play in the third quarter, only to see the Patriots score 27 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes of the game on two Tom Brady touchdown passes, a 1-yard Kyle Eckel run and two Stephen Gostkowski field goals. It should be an exciting game as each claim stakes it's claim to who is the best team in the NFC!


A Sad Wednesday...

During the past week, baseball player Joe Kennedy and football star Sean Taylor both passed away. Although both of these deaths were tragic and sad, they didn't hit me as hard as a couple more passings I found out about yesterday.

Early yesterday afternoon, I found out one of my co-workers, Patricia "Patty" Rubio succumbed to the effects of cancer. She was only 44 years old. Patty had beaten cancer once, and was in remission, but the cancer returned a few years ago. Patty was someone you instantly liked when you met her. Her kind heart, bubbly spirit and wonderful smile would always brighten anyone's day. The last time I saw Patty was about a year ago. She still seemed as cheery and determined as ever to beat the cancer. Sadly, she lost that battle on Monday. Patty, you will be missed!

Later in the afternoon, I received an eMail from my church, Cornerstone Community. A couple of months ago, my pastor, Frances Chan announced to the congregation that his beautiful wife Lisa was expecting another child. I even remember seeing Lisa after that Sunday morning 9 a.m. service and telling her congratulations. They were so full of joy. Sadly, they found out on Monday when she was having an ultrasound that the child had died a couple of weeks ago. Francis and Lisa are two great examples of people of integrity - they truly walk the walk and live the life. They are genuine and authentic. I truly feel for them, because they are family to all of us that are part of the congregation.

Please keep the Rubios and the Chans, their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers...


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Week 12 NFL Rankings

The New England Patriots came thisclose to losing this past week in spite of being 22 point favorites to the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Pittsburgh Steelers nearly lost in the muck at Heinz Field to a winless Miami Dolphins team. A miraculous comeback by the Chicago Bears, and HUGE lost oppotunites by both the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals highlighted week 12's games... Lastly, "Ocho Cinco" was back doing his thing for the Cincinnati Bengals, scoring three TD's and even manning the TV camera after one of his scores. It's nice to see him having fun again! It would be good for the league if the officials let the players be a little more free to celebrate like they used to - the fans both at the game and watching the game on TV usually get a big kick out of the post TD antics as long as they're in good taste...

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (11-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (9-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (10-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (10-1)
5.(5) Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3)
6.(6) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
7.(8) Cleveland Browns (7-4)
8.(9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)
9.(11) San Diego Chargers (6-5)
10.(7) New York Giants (7-4)
11.(15) Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
12.(16) New Orleans Saints (5-6)
13.(12) Washington Redskins (5-6)
14.(13) Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
15.(14) Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
16.(10) Tennessee Titans (6-5)
17.(18) Buffalo Bills (5-6)
18.(17) Houston Texans (5-6)
19.(21) Chicago Bears (5-6)
20.(19) Detroit Lions (6-5)
21.(20) Denver Broncos (5-6)
22.(26) Cincinnati Bengals (4-7)
23.(25) Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
24.(23) Kansas City Chiefs (4-7)
25.(24) Baltimore Ravens (4-7)
26.(22) Carolina Panthers (4-7)
27.(27) St. Louis Rams (2-9)
28.(28) Atlanta Falcons (3-8)
29.(30) Oakland Raiders (3-8)
30.(31) San Francisco 49ers (3-8)
31.(29) New York Jets (2-9)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (0-11)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor & Joe Kennedy R.I.P.

... after watching perhaps the ugliest football game ever Monday night - a 3-0 win by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the still winless Miami Dolphins - my thoughts quickly returned to Washington Redskin safety Sean Taylor who had been critically injured by a gunshot wound earlier yesterday evening at his home in Miami. When I woke up this morning a little after 4:15 am, and put on Fox News Channel, I saw the news of Taylor's passing come across the newsscroll on the bottom of my TV screen. So sad, and so tragic. Why??? He was only 24 years old... his whole life was still ahead of him. His 1 1/2 year old daughter is now fatherless... He also left a girlfriend behind. Taylor had just made his first Pro Bowl last year. This year he was tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with five despite missing the past two games due to a knee injury. He was one of the NFL's brightest young stars and now he's gone...

Just four days ago, pitcher Joe Kennedy of the Toronto Blue Jays died suddenly. He was actually to be going to a wedding and serving as best man the following day. Unlike Taylor, Kennedy was more of a journeyman, pitching for three teams last year after compiling a nifty 2.31 ERA in 2006. Like Taylor, he died way too young - he was only 28 years of age... His wife and young son are now left to mourn and wonder why... The cause of death is still not known, though reportedly he may have had an enlarged heart.


A lot of times, athletes feel like family. You almost feel like you personally know them. You watch them play, you cheer for them, you cheer against them... they entertain and bring emotions to those watching... They almost seem like they are bigger than life when you watch them perform. In just five days, two of those who were living out every American kid's dream of becoming a professional athlete are now no longer with us. Think a moment about the families and friends of the late Sean Taylor and Joe Kennedy. Keep them in thought and prayer... they say everything happens for a reason. Often times though, you really wonder what that reason is, especially when it involves professional athletes who seem to have everything going for them... Yes, athletes are human too - as mortal as the rest of us.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kate Michael Shines at Miss DC USA!

All I can say is what a GREAT Thanksgiving weekend I had! Personally, it really could not have gone better... Then again, what could be better than watching my friend, Kate Michael, compete in a beauty pageant? Not too many things.

A little after 1 p.m. on Saturday, I made my way from my hotel to the Foggy Bottom Metro station en route to the Federal Triangle station. A short walk up Pennsylvania Avenue took me to my destination at the JW Marriott Hotel Grand Ballroom where the 2008 Miss DC USA and Miss Teen DC USA pageant was to take place. I arrived a little after 1:30 p.m. At first I didn't see anyone I really knew, but that soon would change as Kate's parents and brother came down from their hotel room - they were very smart to stay at the same hotel as where the pageant was being held. Kate's Mom gave me a wave and I was soon chatting away with them.

The doors to the Grand Ballroom opened just before the scheduled 2 p.m. start time and we found some seats in the second row on the right side of the stage. Kate's boyfriend, Bill Dean, soon joined us and then we waited... and waited. This turned out to be the theme for the day... A little after 2:30 p.m. the preliminary portion of the pageant started... Kate looked beautiful as always in her swimsuit and self-designed evening gown... I soon would find the lighting was not nearly as good as at the Miss DC (America) pageant four months ago. Also, microphones and balloons were in the way practically every shot it seemed, so getting good pictures would prove to be a HUGE challenge all afternoon and evening...

Over 20 girls were competing for the Miss DC crown along with Kate, while six girls were competing for the Teen crown. The prelimaries lasted only an hour and a half, so by 4 p.m. we were all outside the ballroom making plans for the finals, and also making sure we would have enough seats for "Team Kate."

Originally, I had thought about heading back to my hotel between the prelims and the finals and posting some pictures from the event, but that didn't end up happening. Instead, I ended up getting to hang out with Kate and her family. Not at all surprisingly, that was a lot of fun - we ended up in the food court area of the hotel, chatting about just about everything you could think of and, of course, eating.

Around 5:30 p.m., we made our way back down to the area in front of the ballroom. We chatted some more and then another of Kate's biggest fans made his way - photographer Joe Whiteko from the website! Though I had never met Joe before, I was very familiar with his outstanding work. Kate had to make her way backstage and her parents had to change into their night attire, so left me and Joe to talk. It was fun getting to talk about some of his work, most especially the photo shoot and the props for the outstanding Kate's New Clout article he did earlier this year.

By 6:30, we were all back in line and ready for the finals. Joe was there with us, waiting to get his photographer's seat. In the meantime, 2006 Miss Virginia (America), Adrianna Sgarlata - Kate's friend and travel companion for the 2007 Miss America pageant - came over to Kate's family and reacquantied herself. Adriana was very gracious and friendly. Joe then got his credential and front-row seat. The doors opened for the rest of us about 15 minutes later. Kate's family and I quickly grabbed seats in a couple of rows just behind the judges in front of the stage... Bill and several of Kate's other friends would be arriving there right around 7 p.m...

The finals began a little before 7:30 p.m. Although we were all pretty certain Kate would make the final 10, we didn't want to just assume anything. We were all relieved when Kate's name was called for the final 10, and again when she had made the final five.

A little before 9:30 p.m., the finalists finished up with the question of why each of them should be the new Miss DC USA. Quite honestly, I really thought Kate won the pageant with her answer as it was easily the best, and most original one. The other four contestants all gave pretty similiar, almost rehearsed answers, mostly talking about how they deserved to be the winner based on the person that they were, not really elaborating on what they would do as Miss DC USA. Kate talked about making DC a "sexy, sophisticated city" and what she would do to make it just that.

So then we waited for the judges final decisions... we were all pretty nervous at that point, and as the first two names were called, we collectively breathed sighs of relief. We were now down to just three finalists. And then it happened - Kate's name got called. Bill and I especially were both a little shocked - we REALLY thought Kate had it won, but it just wasn't meant to be. Still, 2nd runner-up at the Miss DC USA pageant - in a completely new format and system - is something to be VERY proud of. Kate did her absolute best and looked simply incredible - that's all we could ask for.

After the pageant, I reacquainted with 1988 Miss DC (America), Tricia Morrin-Lloyd, who was quick to put things in perspective. Kate will always be number one in our eyes, and that's all that really matters... She still is Miss District of Columbia 2006, and got to be in the Miss America pageant this year. How many people can say that???

I was actually planning on heading to my hotel after it was all over, but instead Kate invited me up to spend some time celebrating with Bill and her friends Tony, Mike and his girlfriend Colleen. Mike is better known to those in DC as Michael Kosmides, the owner of the very hip and happening Play Lounge. I had a fun time with them, telling stories, watching football and, of course, having some drinks.

A little before midnight, it was time for all of us to go - Colleen offered me some "must see" places and things for future trips to DC... we said our goodbyes, and then I headed back to my hotel. It was just a terrific and priceless experience getting to hang out at the pageant and spend time with Kate's family and friends... I very look forward to my next trip out to DC, whenever that may be.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Safe & Sound In DC!

Hey all:

Just a quick note to everyone that I made it safely into Washington, D.C. The plane ride from LAX to St. Louis went smoothly - I was there just long enough to watch #1 ranked LSU go down to the Arkansas Razorbacks by a 50-48 score in triple overtime. That just throws another monkey wrench into the whole BCS this year. Is there going to be a #1 that can hang on to the ranking for ANY length of time??? Well, not in 2007 it seems! I grabbed a quick bite at the Chili's in the airport and then we took off a little before 7 p.m local time. Our plane made it into Reagan National about an hour and a half later at just about 9:30 pm (we changed one time zone)... Unfortunately, I missed the Metro from Reagan National to Fargo by about two minutes, so I had to suffer through the barely above-freezing temperatures outside the airport for a little over 15 minutes - good thing for me I brought plenty of warm clothes... Was it really 76 here yesterday???!!! But alas, I am now safe, sound and warm and ready to do some cheering for Kate tomorrow at Miss DC USA after a good night of sleep!

As for tomorrow and the pageant, I'm not exactly sure how everything is going to work. I know the preliminaries are at 2pm, and the finals are at 7pm. If there's some down time in between, I may try to sneak in a blog entry and maybe some pictures...


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Off to the Miss DC USA Pageant!

So are you all ready for Black Friday??? I for one am not. Then again, I've never really been one to partake in that little tradition... I'm one of those who most years would rather just sit back, enjoy the day off from work, catch up on my sleep a little and then watch all of the news reports of the people shopping and spending lots of money that they probably don't have!

As most you reading this probably know, I'll be doing something a little different for this year's Black Friday - I'm gonna take to the air! I'll head to LAX mid-morning to fly out to DC... After a plane change in St. Louis, I should arrive at Reagan Airport a little before 10pm EST. Lord, Metro & weather willing, I should be in my hotel room at the Best Western in Georgetown a little before 10:30pm... On Saturday afternoon, I'll be heading off to the JW Marriott hotel for the 2008 Miss DC USA pageant to support my friend Kate Michael as she competes. I'm sure hoping that Kate can complete that double of winning both the the Miss DC America and the Miss DC USA pageants... Two nights from now, about this time we should be close to knowing if she pulls it off! GO KATE!!!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone here gets to spend some quality time with friends and family and that you all get your fill of turkey, stuffing and of course, football!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gilbert Arenas To Miss 3 Months! :(

I knew something was wrong when I saw him play for all of six minutes 2 1/2 weeks ago on TV when the Washington Wizards took on the Orlando Magic at the Verizon Center. The explosiveness that I've grown accustomed to seeing along with the deadly outside shot of his were missing... It did appear that "Agent Zero" was starting to finally get it back together last week as he tallied 57 points in impressive Wizards wins against the Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves... However, Gilbert felt pain after the Timberwolves game and missed the last two games against the Portland Traliblazers and Philadelphia 76ers as a result. Today, Gilbert got the bad news - a torn meniscus and a microfracture on his surgically-repaired left knee. He will miss three months! For the complete story, go to Gilbert's Blog.

Needless to say, this puts a HUGE damper on the Wizards and their high hopes for the 2007 season. After starting the year 0-5, the Wizards have won five straight games. Last year, the Wizards made a nice surge near the end of the season, only to see Gilbert and Caron Butler go down with injuries within games of each other. The Wizards literally limped into the playoffs and were swept in four games by the eventual 2006-07 NBA runner-up Cleveland Cavaliers. One can only hope that Butler and others can pick up the slack and keep the Wizards respectable while their star is down.


Week 11 NFL Rankings

Coming into last week, one of the NFL's hottest teams was the Buffalo Bills. Winners of four straight games, they had the unenviable task of a home date with the juggernaut known as the New England Patriots this past Sunday. In case you missed it, the Patriots scored a season-high 56 points in beating the Bills by 46 points!

The most bizarre finish to any game this season happened in Baltimore where the Ravens took on the Cleveland Browns. The Browns took a 27-14 lead into the fourth quarter before the Ravens rallied to tie the score and then take a 30-27 lead on a Matt Stover 47 yard field goal with just 26 seconds to play. The Browns returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 43. After two Derek Anderson completions, Phil Dawson had a chance to send the game into overtime with a 51 yard field goal. Dawson's kick had plenty of leg, but was hooking toward the left goalpost as it made it's way. The ball glanced off the inside of the left goalpost and then kicked down over the crossbar and through the uprights, striking the support bar and then bouncing back onto the field of play. At first, the officials incorrectly ruled that the kick was no good. But after conferencing and looking at some replays, the oficials corrected the call and the game went into overtime. The Ravens, who had come off the field and were celebrating an apparent victory, had to come back out of the locker room to play the extra period. The Browns won the toss and quickly drove the ball down to Baltimore 16 yard line. Dawson's 33 yard field goal 5 minutes and 50 seconds into the sudden death period split the uprights to give the Browns a thrilling 33-30 win.

The Washington Redskins suffered a tough 28-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys this past weekend, making it their 8th game decided by eight points or less this year. In week five the Redskins beat up on the Detroit Lions by a 34-3 score. Three weeks later, the Patriots pounded the Redskins 52-7. In other words, the 5-5 Redskins could just as easily be a 9-1 team or a 1-9 team... Speaking of the Lions, they are predictably now facing reality. Who amongst you thought that 6-2 record of theirs was legit?? Losses to Arizona and the Giants have brought them back down to the pack... and they get to face Brett Favre and the red-hot Green Bay Packers tomorrow... expect the Lions to slip to 6-5 with tomorrow's game.

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (10-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (8-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (9-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (9-1)
5.(6) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)
6.(5) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
7.(7) New York Giants (7-3)
8.(8) Cleveland Browns (6-4)
9.(11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)
10.(10) Tennessee Titans (6-4)
11.(9) San Diego Chargers (5-5)
12.(13) Washington Redskins (5-5)
13.(15) Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
14.(16) Arizona Cardinals (5-5)
15.(17) Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
16.(12) New Orleans Saints (4-6)
17.(18) Houston Texans (5-5)
18.(14) Buffalo Bills (5-5)
19.(19) Detroit Lions (6-4)
20.(22) Denver Broncos (5-5)
21.(20) Chicago Bears (4-6)
22.(21) Carolina Panthers (4-6)
23.(23) Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)
24.(24) Baltimore Ravens (4-6)
25.(27) Minnesota Vikings (4-6)
26.(26) Cincinnati Bengals (3-7)
27.(29) St. Louis Rams (2-8)
28.(25) Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
29.(30) New York Jets (2-8)
30.(28) Oakland Raiders (2-8)
31.(31) San Francisco 49ers (2-8)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (0-10)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jimmy Rollins Wins NL MVP

In the closest race in 16 years, Jimmy Rollins was today named the Most Valuable Player in the National League. Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies finished second, only 17 points behind Rollins. Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees took the American League MVP award with a near unanimous vote - most people had conceded A-Rod the award long before the season was over... Congratulations to both Jimmy and A-Rod on their amazing 2007 seasons and their MVP awards!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Pats Get To Double Digits...

After a week off to heal from their close call against the Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots were back at it against the Bills in Buffalo last night. The Bills actually were one of the NFL's hottest teams, winning four straight games. Did that matter to the Pats? Hardly. Four quarters later, the Bills were just left in a cloud of dust as the Patriots beat them every possible way by a final score of 56-10. Tom Brady had ANOTHER nearly perfect day, going 31 of 39 for 373 yards and five touchdown passes, four of which went to Randy Moss. By my count, only one of the Moss TD's last night should have been called back for offensive pass interference... Gotta love the "Randy rules"... Why Moss is routinely allowed to get away with pushing off defenders (especially in the end zone) is beyond me. I guess if the referees are going to let you get away with it, you just keep on doing it until they start pulling out those yellow flags. Somehow though, I don't think that's going to happen... as even the zebras seem to be caught up in the hype of the Pats now 10-0 start to the 2007 season.

Regardless of how you feel about Moss, Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots, there is little doubt that this team is amongst the best ever assembled. They have scored 411 points in 10 games - a ridiculous 41.1 point per game pace... Brady's got 38 touchdown passes now... he's back on pace for 61! Moss has 16 of those 38 TD receptions himself... Can anyone beat them??? I don't see the Philadelphia Eagles playing with them with or without QB Donovan McNabb next Sunday, and they should make mincemeat of the Baltimore Ravens the following Monday night to get to 12-0. In week 14, they do face the 7-3 Pittsburgh Steelers - a team which at times this year has looked brilliant. At other times though, the Steelers have looked a little inept such as yesterday when they lost in overtime 19-16 to the hapless New York Jets... Will Big Ben and company be able to keep up and end the Patriots streak??? Time will tell...


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jimmy Johnson Wins NEXTEL Championship

Six years ago when Jeff Gordon recruited Jimmie Johnson to race for Hendrick Motorsports, he probably had no idea just what kind success was ahead for his protege. This afternoon, Johnson clinched his second consecutive Nextel Cup championship with a seventh place finish tonight in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon himself came in fourth place, and finished second in the cup standings, 77 points behind Johnson. In winning back-to-back titles, Johnson becomes the first driver to do so since Gordon himself did it in 1998. Congratulations to Jimmie & everyone at Hendrick Motorsports on an outstanding season. With the addition of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the team in 2008, who knows just how much more dominant team Hendrick will be next year????


Saturday, November 17, 2007

More Carrie Crazyness...

I'm really thinking of purchasing that lotto ticket now... those of you that read my earlier blog entry for today probably know where this is leading. I slept in this morning (if you call 7:30 am sleeping in) and decided to go to the gym late in the morning about 11:40am. While on the freeway, you guessed it, I heard Carrie Underwood on the radio again with "I'll Stand By You" on MY FM 104.3 for a third time in three consecutive road trips... so now the streak is at six! Amazingly, I also hit every single light green on the way (all five of them) to get there in only five minutes. It usually takes me about eight minutes to get there...

I finished my full workout about an hour and a half later at 1:15pm, and decided to get gas with as my yellow gas light had been on the past ten miles or so. The 435.8 miles I went on this last tank is a pretty good run in my 2001 Honda Accord EX, though I have actually gone 500 miles on a tank before... After putting in 14.600 gallons and spending $49.63 (gasp!!! - yes gas is $3.399/gallon out here), I turn on the engine and guess who is on MY FM 104.3 two minutes later???... yup, it's Carrie AGAIN... this time with "Before He Cheats"... I got home about five minutes later...

Seven trips and now seven straight times of hearing a Carrie song on the radio... I have to hit the road later this afternoon, so I wonder if the streak will continue... I probably should be on the road now as "So Small" is now playing on KHAY again... Maybe I'm being followed! ;)


A "Carrific" Friday!

As I went about my normal business yesterday morning of getting up around 4:15am and posting the latest music chart information on Carrie Underwood's official site, I had little idea of what an odds-defying day it would turn out to be - and there would be a lot of Carrie involved in those odds. After some pancakes and a couple of cups of coffee, I headed off to the 24 Hour Fitness for 30 minutes of cardio. Those of you that know me well know that I love to listen to the radio in the car and I'm a compulsive "button puncher"... I'm always looking for the best song on the radio - my 12 presets get A LOT of work in my typical day... Anyways, I take the short drive to the gym and much to my surprise, Carrie's new song "Ever After" from the Enchanted movie soundtrack is playing on one of my two country stations, KKGO a little after 6:30 am. It's the first time I'd ever heard it on the radio. I got out of the gym right about 7:10 am, and I flip on the radio and turn to my other country station, KHAY and Carrie's current #2 hit "So Small" starts playing.

After getting home, showering, making lunch and getting ready for work and my 9-6 shift, I hit the road again at 8:30 am and sure enough, not even 10 minutes later, another Carrie song, "Wasted," is playing on KHAY...

I decided not to venture out anywhere during my lunch hour from 1-2 pm, instead opting to hang out with some friends in the computer room and then watching my friend Kate Michael and company in the latest edition of Just Another Sports Show...

After that very enjoyable experience, it was back to work for me... I got off at 6 pm sharp, got to the car two minutes later and what do you know, but Carrie's on the radio again with her remake of the Pretender's "I'll Stand By You" playing on the new 104.3 MY FM.

The half hour drive from work in Oxnard to the Stornetta home in Moorpark took the typical 30 minutes... It was another Friday night of poker for me, Ken & Bethany (the Stornettas) and my other longtime friend Chris Silvester... and for the first time in quite a while, I ended up coming in first! What was really odd about the night (in addition to me getting an inordinate number of good hands for once), was that on one hand Ken and I both were dealt "pocket 10's"... of course, there was no way to pair up with anything else on the table and since Chris and Bethany were both long out of the hand it was just between Ken and me... Needless to say, we were all a little shocked when we flipped our cards to show our matching pairs of 10's! I won't even try to get into the odds of that one, all I know is I've never seen it happen in all of the nights I've been playing poker over the years with my friends...

Our night of poker ended right about 11pm, and after parting ways, Chris and I hit the road to go our separate ways to head home... I hit the road about 11:10, and around 11:20 I'm flipping through the stations on the radio again and guess who I hear? Yes, it's Carrie again and "I'll Stand By You" is on 104.3 MY FM again!

So lets sum this all up... five different road excursions, total time driving about 1 1/2 hours, and I hear exactly one Carrie song on the radio each time... you throw in those dueling "pocket 10's" that Ken & I had during poker and it makes me wonder if it's time for me to purchase a lottery ticket??? Hey, the Lakers actually beat the Detroit Pistons last night too, so I guess anything's possible these days!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Peavy Wins NL Cy Young

Although the 2007 season didn't quite end the way Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres had hoped - with a controversial 9-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies in their one game playoff on October 1, there is little doubt that Peavy was baseball's most consistent and dominant pitcher from April through September. He led the majors with a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts, and won an NL-high 19 times, winning the pitching equivalent of the "triple crown." Yesterday, he was awarded for his efforts, becoming the 12th unianimous choice for the National League's Cy Young award. Congratulations to Jake on winning this award for the first time! At only 26 years of age, there's little doubt that there may be more of these Cy's in his future!


In other news, it looks like A-Rod is not coming to the Dodgers, the Angels or anyone not named the New York Yankees. :( The free agent thirdbaseman apparently is about to sign (get this) a 10 year, 275 million dollar contract to come back to the Yankees... I guess for those of us not in the Big Apple, this is definitely a "worse case scenario."

Speaking of worse case scenarios, Barry Bonds was indicted yesterday by a grand jury in the steroids scandal... The 10-page indictment is mostly made up of excerpts from Bonds' December 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO). 19 occasions are referenced in which Bonds allegedly lied under oath. Will Bonds ever play baseball again? There's a good chance that the 762nd home run he hit on September 5th at Coors Field against the Rockies may have been his last. If convicted, Bonds faces up to 30 years in prison. What will become of his records if he's found guilty? None of us know for sure, but with several others such as Jason Giambi and Troy Glaus already being acknowledged as taking and/or buying steroids illegally, there are a lot of numbers that could someday be erased from the books.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Politically Incorrect...

Sometimes you watch the news or you hear about what's happening, and it really makes you wonder what this world is coming to... This morning I was instant messaging with one of my good friends on the east coast and she tells me that in Sydney, Australia that Santas have been warned not to say "ho ho ho" there because it may be offensive to women... Seriously!!! And it gets better - they've been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead! No sooner do I hear about this then I'm watching America's Newsroom on Fox News Channel and see them doing a story on a hugging ban at a Colorado middle school. I can't believe these people are being serious!!!

You would think that people would have better things to do with their time than this. It's quite obvious to me that some people in this world have WAY too much time on their hands... It was nice to see the hosts of America's Newsroom, Megyn Kelly and Bill Hemmer embrace in a hug at the end of the story to make a mockery of the latter one.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Week 10 NFL Rankings

I had a nightmare last night that Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts threw six interceptions in a game against the San Diego Chargers. Thankfully, that kind of thing could never happen to Peyton... I mean after all, he had only thrown five interceptions in his previous 12 regular season games. Maybe I could see his brother Eli on the New York Giants throwing six pics, but not Peyton. Not in a million years, right? Never ever... Hmmm... someone has just informed me that it really did happen!!! Yes, I'm still in shock about it two days later. Peyton Manning six interceptions in one game. It still doesn't compute! Perhaps even more amazing is that the Colts actually had a chance to win that game in spite of Manning's interceptions, only losing when the best clutch kicker in NFL history, Adam Vinatieri, missed a chip shot 29 yard field-goal in the closing seconds of the game. The Chargers managed a 23-21 "win" over the Colts, but I doubt any of them are celebrating.

One team doing a lot of celebrating this week are the St. Louis Rams as they managed a 37-29 win over the New Orleans Saints for their first win of 2007. The Miami Dolphins managed to lose their ninth straight game this past weekend and now are the only winless team in the NFL. They also manage to take over the #32 spot in my rankings.

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (9-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (7-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (8-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (8-1)
5.(5) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)
6.(8) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)
7.(6) New York Giants (6-3)
8.(9) Cleveland Browns (6-3)
9.(10) San Diego Chargers (5-4)
10.(7) Tennessee Titans (6-3)
11.(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4)
12.(11) New Orleans Saints (4-5)
13.(12) Washington Redskins (5-4)
14.(14) Buffalo Bills (5-4)
15.(17) Seattle Seahawks (5-4)
16.(20) Arizona Cardinals (4-5)
17.(22) Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
18.(19) Houston Texans (4-5)
19.(15) Detroit Lions (6-3)
20.(24) Chicago Bears (4-5)
21.(16) Carolina Panthers (4-5)
22.(25) Denver Broncos (4-5)
23.(21) Kansas City Chiefs (4-5)
24.(18) Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
25.(26) Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
26.(27) Cincinnati Bengals (3-6)
27.(23) Minnesota Vikings (3-6)
28.(28) Oakland Raiders (2-7)
29.(32) St. Louis Rams (1-8)
30.(30) New York Jets (1-8)
31.(29) San Francisco 49ers (2-7)
32.(31) Miami Dolphins (0-9)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Carnival Ride...

... kind of sounds like the theme to my life this year or something like that, doesn't it? Actually, it's just what they are calling the new tour featuring Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, which begins early next year. Since Carrie and Keith are two of my favorite artists, this is like a dream concert for me! 24 dates have been announced... and one of those is near me - Anaheim, CA... Looks like I may also have another excuse to make a trip out to DC next year as they're also touring in Baltimore, Maryland! Here's a full list of the tour stops - no dates announced yet.

Uncasville, CT
New York City, NY
Atlantic City, NJ
Tallahassee, FL
Biloxi, MS
Kansas City, MO
Omaha, NE
San Jose, CA
Baltimore, MD
State College, PA
Charlotte, NC
Gwinnett, GA
Rochester, NY
Hershey, PA
Roanoke, VA
Charleston, WV
Bossier City, LA
Wichita, KS
Denver, CO
Anaheim, CA
Charlottesville, VA
N Charleston, SC
Raleigh, NC
Lexington, KY


Monday, November 12, 2007

Celebrating Our Veterans

I just want to say thanks to everyone who has given selflessly to fight for our country and our freedom. Know that you are thought of often and that every one of us is very thankful for all you've given. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Veteran's Day!


Friday, November 9, 2007

Finally Traveling Again!

After four months of not as much as even driving outside of the state of California, I'm very anxious to be taking to the air again and flying off to Washington D.C. again two weeks from today. As some of you probably already know, I'm specifically going to D.C. on Thanksgiving weekend to help support my friend Kate Michael as she competes in the 2008 Miss District of Columbia U.S.A. pageant on Saturday, November 24th. If you are interested in attending either the preliminaries or the finals, you may purchase tickets through Kate directly through her website. For frequent pageant updates, please check out Kate's blog. And of course I'll be bringing my camera with me to the pageant, so you all know what that means... lots of pictures, and hopefully one of Kate wearing another crown at the end of the night!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Carrie, Flatts win 2 CMA's!

I just wanted to give a quick shout out and congratulations to both Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts for the two CMA awards they each won last night. Two of my absolute favorite Country acts and so deserving of their wins!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Baseball GM's Recommend Replay!

All I can say is it's about time!!! Now it's not a certainty that commissioner Bud Selig will pass some form of replay, but finally this is a long-awaited step in the right direction. With as many blown home run and foul ball calls as I've seen over the past several years, it's good to know that the GM's want to do what is in the best interests of the game. I hope that the commissioner will feel the same way and that replay will exist in some form in MLB in 2008.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Week 9 NFL Rankings

Of course, the marquee game last weekend was the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. The only good thing I have to say about that game is at least the Colts covered that 5 1/2 spread, losing only by four.

What else was notable about last weekend? Well, neither the St. Louis Rams or the Miami Dolphins lost! Then again, they didn't win either as both teams mercifully had a bye. As the battle for #32 rages on this weekend, the Rams (aka: "Lambs" - this is a vestige left over from their days here in L.A.) go to New Orleans to take on the red-hot New Orleans Saints, while the Dolphins host a hot and underrated 4-4 Buffalo Bills team. Who will finish the year with the NFL's worst record and the #1 overall draft pick? While there's been a lot of talk about the now 9-0 Patriots trying to become the second NFL team to have a perfect season - the 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team to go undefeated in a season, people are now starting to talk about the current versions of the Rams and Dolphins equalling and/or surpassing the 0-14 record that the expansion Tampa Bay Buccanneers put up during the 1976 season. Feast or famine? What an interesting season this has been so far!

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (9-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (7-1)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (7-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (7-1)
5.(7) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)
6.(8) New York Giants (6-2)
7.(9) Tennessee Titans (6-2)
8.(6) Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)
9.(12) Cleveland Browns (5-3)
10.(5) San Diego Chargers (4-4)
11.(13) New Orleans Saints (4-4)
12.(10) Washington Redskins (5-3)
13.(16) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4)
14.(21) Buffalo Bills (4-4)
15.(18) Detroit Lions (6-2)
16.(11) Carolina Panthers (4-4)
17.(15) Seattle Seahawks (4-4)
18.(14) Baltimore Ravens (4-4)
19.(23) Houston Texans (4-5)
20.(17) Arizona Cardinals (3-5)
21.(19) Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)
22.(20) Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
23.(28) Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
24.(22) Chicago Bears (3-5)
25.(25) Denver Broncos (3-5)
26.(29) Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
27.(26) Cincinnati Bengals (2-6)
28.(24) Oakland Raiders (2-6)
29.(27) San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
30.(30) New York Jets (1-8)
31.(31) Miami Dolphins (0-8)
32.(32) St. Louis Rams (0-8)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Big Ben Rings Up Ravens

When Ben Roethlisberger and the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers began the 2006 season losing six of their first eight games, many doubted that the Steelers would rise back to prominence. Roethlisberger mirrored his team's bad start last year, tossing 14 interceptions and only seven touchdown passes in the first seven seven games he started. At midseason though, Roethlisberger and his Steeler teammates only had one thing left to play for: pride. The Steelers won six of their final eight games, and Roethlisberger had a huge role in those wins, tossing 10 touchdown passes (and also rushing for two), while only being intercepted five times. Those two losses though were both blowouts to the Baltimore Ravens. In those two games, the Ravens outscored the Steelers 58-7, and Big Ben threw only one touchdown pass to go along with four interceptions. On Monday night, Big Ben and the Steelers would have a chance to exact revenge on the Ravens. And that's exactly what they did!

From the moment the game started, you could sense there was something special in the air. Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Joe Greene and many others from the incredible Steeler teams of the late 1970's were on hand to celebrate the Steelers 75th season... and celebrate they did pretty much ALL NIGHT LONG!

The Steelers punted on their first possession, but quickly found their mojo on defense and special teams, forcing the Ravens to turn the ball over three times in their first four possessions. James Harrison sacked Raven QB Steve McNair on their opening possession, forcing and recovering a fumble for the Steelers at the Baltimore 20 yard line. Three plays later Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller with a 17 yard pass to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead. The Ravens went three-and-out with their next possession as would the Steelers - or so we thought. Harrison would force his second fumble of the game on special teams, using his helmet to knock the ball out of the Ravens' Ed Reed on the ensuing punt return. Lionel Timmons recovered the ball for the Steelers at Baltimore's 33 yard-line. Two Raven penalties gave the Steelers a first down at the 20 yard-line. Two player, Big Ben would strike again, hitting Santonio Holmes in the end zone for a 15 yard score. As the first quarter wound down, the Ravens gave the ball away again. This time it was Willis McGahee getting into the act, fumbling the ball away on a third down play. The Steelers recovered the ball at the Ravens 36-yard line and took their 14-0 lead into the second quarter.

Things would quickly go from bad to worse for the Ravens. On the second play of the second quarter, Big Ben hit Nate Robinson on a 30 yard strike to make it a 21-0 Steelers lead. Later in the quarter, Roethlisberger threw his fourth TD pass of the game - a 35 yarder to Holmes to make it a 28-0 lead with 5:40 to play in the first half. The ubiquitious Harrison would strike again on defense, intercepting McNair on the Ravens ensuing possession. Five plays later, Big Ben tolled again, hitting Robinson with a seven yard pass to give the Steelers a 35-0 lead. Five touchdown passes in the first half. With that, Roethlisberger tied the Steelers record for TD passes in a game in one half!

Needless to say, the game was over at that point. The Steelers went on to win 38-7, to go to a 6-2 record. On the season, Big Ben has tossed 20 touchdown passes against only six interceptions. Those are numbers that fellow AFC quarterbacks named Manning and Brady are pretty familiar with. No, Big Ben's not on their level yet, but he's certainly is playing smart football and making the decisions necessary to make sure the Steelers remain one of the contenders for the AFC Championship this year.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

At Least The Redskins Won...

... but barely against a horrible New York Jets team. Hey, a win is a win. And after what happened last Sunday in New England, us Redskins fans will gladly take it!

As for the other two NFL teams I really care about, well they both lost today... My San Diego Chargers got blown out 35-17 to the Minnesota Vikings in a game where not one, but TWO NFL records were set... the other was the marquee matchup of the season, and it looked really good for my team about 3 1/3 quarters as my Colts led the Patriots 20-10... those last nine minutes though just hurt to watch - A LOT!!! Final score: Patriots 24, Colts 20. :(

OK... so, I'll just talk about the good game. I want to get those other two out of mind as quickly as possible! The Washington Redskins faced a 1-7 Jets team in one of the early games... It got off to a very rough start for the good guys... Leon Washington returned the game-opening kickoff 86 yards to give the Jets a quick 7-0 lead. The teams exchanged field goals and the Jets took a 10-3 lead after one period.

The Jets then drove 80 yards in 10 plays with their first possession of the second quarter, culiminating in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Clemens to Joe Kowalewski to give the underdogs a 17-3 lead. The Redskins were able to run to ball effectively pretty much the entire game, but had to settle for field goal attempts a lot. Shane Suisham added field goals of 40 and 22 yards to draw the Redskins to within 17-9 at halftime.

Suisham added another 40 yard field goal early in the third quarter to cut the Jets lead to just five points. The quarter ended with the Jets still up 17-12, but driving toward a score.

The Jets faced a third and 15 from the Redskins 25 with 14:13 to play in the fourth quarter. Clemens completed a short pass to Jerricho Cotchery who was immediately hit by Pierson Prioleau and Shawn Springs, forcing a fumble. LaRon Landry recovered the ball for the Redskins at the 21 and took it 15 yards to their own 36 yard line.

Finally, in a very short six play sequence, the Redskins were able to string together an actual drive which ended in a touchdown. Jason Campbell hit Santana Moss with a nine yard pass. Clinton Portis then broke off a huge 32 yard run to take the ball to the Jets 23. LaDell Betts then gave Portis a rest, and took full advantage, rushing the ball 22 yards on the next three plays. Portis then came in and scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge to give the Redskins their first lead of the day with 11:06 to play. Campbell hit Antwaan Randle El with a pass for a 2-point conversion. The Redskins now led 20-17.

With a little more than five minutes to play, the Jets took over at their own 25. The Redskins defense could not stop them as they drove the ball 64 yards to their 11 yard line. With 10 seconds to play, Mike Nugent made a 30-yard field goal to tie the game 20-20. With that we were headed to overtime...

The Jets won the overtime coin-toss, and Clemens promptly hit Cotchery with a 39-yard pass to take the ball to the Redskin 42 yard line to open it. The Redskins defense would buckle down after that though, allowing Thomas Jones to rush for three yards and then forcing two incomplete passes from Clemens. A 57-yard field goal was outside of Nugent's range, so the Jets punted the ball away and the Redskins would take over at their own 10.

The Redskins decided to give the Jets a big dosage of Portis and smaller ones of Betts and Campbell with their overtime possession. Portis rushed twice for six yards, before Campbell hit Chris Cooley with a huge 17 yard gain on third down. After a Campbell incompletion, Portis rushed the ball the next three plays, gaining 29 yards and two first downs to take the ball to the Jets 38 yard line - almost inside Suisham's range for a game-winning field goal. Betts gave Portis a breather and gained seven crucial yards on the next two plays to take it to the Jets 31. Portis then ran left, and appeared to get the three yards needed for the first down, but a horrible spot left the Redskins about a foot short. Suisham was brought in to attempt the 46-yard field goal, and it was true, splitting the uprights, but clearing the crossbar by only a few yards. If it had been a 50-yard field-goal it would have been short! But it wasn't... and with it the Redskins had a hard-fought 23-20 road win.

You could definitely call Portis and Suisham the co-MVP's of the day. All Portis did was carry the ball 36 times for 196 yards and a touchdown. What a day!! Suisham was a perfect 5-for-5 in his field goal attempts... At 5-3, the Redskins are now a game behind the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions for the two NFC wild-card spots, and more than likely two games behind the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East lead (the Cowboys lead the Philadelphia Eagles 35-10 in the third quarter as I type this and will likely go to 7-1 with a victory.)


As I mentioned earlier, a couple of NFL records were set in the Vikings-Chargers game today. San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie returned a missed 57-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Longwell 109 yards for a touchdown as the first half ended - the longest play in NFL history. The previous record was 108 yards, and was shared by three players: Chicago Bears teammates Devin Hester and Nathan Vasher on missed field goal attempts and a kickoff return by New England's Ellis Hobbs.

As for the other record set in that game, one Adrian Peterson of the Vikings took care of that honor. All Peterson did in his 30 rushes was run the ball for 296 yards, breaking the 5-year old record of Jamal Lewis (who ran for 295 yards as a Baltimore Raven). Peterson broke the record with a three yard run with 1:04 to play in the Vikings win.

Kudos to both Cromartie and Peterson on setting these new standards!


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Wizards Lose Home Opener

Our cable TV provider is giving us a free preview of the NBA League Pass this week, so I've been afforded the opportunity to catch some out of town games that I wouldn't ordinarily see. Of course, I didn't happen to figure that one out until tonight, just as the Washington Wizards had pulled to within a point of the Orlando Magic, 76-75 in their home opener in the Verizon Center. My cousin Melinda happened to be working the game tonight, and I actually got a chance to talk to her while she was there.

The Wizards actually led 67-64 going into the fourth quarter tonight, but just completely folded in the final period, shooting only 20 percent (5-for-25) from the field in losing to the Magic 94-82... From what I saw those final six minutes or so, the Wizards kind of looked like they were VERY rushed. They were forcing shots and committing silly fouls. Most appalling though was the play of Gilbert Arenas. Quite honestly, he just didn't like himself at all out there. That guy who dropped 60 on the Lakers last year in an overtime win? M.I.A. The explosiveness he normally has just isn't there, and his outside shot looks like it's still on summer vacation. Agent Zero made only five of his 15 shots from the field tonight. His surgically repaired right knee is obviously not well. Apparently there is a fluid build-up on the knee which he is soon going to get drained.

There were a couple of bright spots for the Wizards tonight. Caron Butler had a nice night, scoring 23 points and securing nine rebounds. After turning the ball over 15 times in the WIzards first two games, he only gave it away twice tonight... Brendan Haywood scored 10 points and grabbed 16 boards for his third consecutive double-double - the first time in his career he's accomplished that feat.

Coming into the season, this Wizard team was one that was expected to contend for the Eastern Conference championship. If Agent Zero is not 100% or close to 100%, it will be very difficult for the Wizards to live up to their pre-season billing. One can only help that Gilbert will soon recover from this injury and start playing like the all-star he is!


Friday, November 2, 2007

Lakers Eclipse Suns!

Kobe Bryant only scored 16 points for the Lakers as they played the Suns in Pheonix tonight. Ordinarily, such a low point output from #24 would mean a sure Laker loss, but not tonight... Actually, the Lakers did so well that they could have gotten ZERO from him and still come out five points ahead! Lakers 119, Suns 98. And it wasn't even that close...

As I met up with a few of my close friends tonight for some pizza, sports on the big screens, and comraderie at BJ's, I told them "the Suns are gonna kill the Lakers tonight." And with that, the reverse jinx was put into full effect!!! All was going according to plan the first few minutes of the game - the Suns got an early 8-2 lead... but after that, it was ALL Lakers! It was 33-20 Lakers after one quarter, 63-50 at halftime and 95-67 after three quarters. The lead reached as many as 33 points midway through the fourth quarter before the Suns hit a few shots late to make the score somewhat more respectable... Bryant added 11 rebounds to his 16 points. Derek Fisher was an efficient 7-for-9 for 14 points, while Andrew Bynum added 14 points and 13 rebounds. The victory was a total team effort as no Laker played more than Bryant's 27 minutes, and everyone but Brian Cook (who only played eight minutes) scored at least six points.

The end-game stats also told a story - the Lakers outrebounded the Suns 54-34, and shot 56.5%. It could have REALLY been a lot worse for the Suns as the Lakers committed 20 turnovers to the Suns 13. Steve Nash was a non-factor, contributing only three assists for the home team. Raja Bell was 1-for-8 from the field and Amare Stoudemire was an equally dreadful 2-for-10 - combined they only totalled 12 points!


Torre New Dodgers Manager!

Grady Little's resignation on Tuesday set the stage for what all of us here in the L.A. area knew was inevitable - the signing of former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre to manage the Dodgers. Torre was signed to a three year, $13 million contract on Thursday. It is expected that Don Mattingly will follow Torre from the Yankees and become the new Dodgers hitting coach.

Needless to say, Torre brings an incredible resume' with him to the Dodgers. His 2,067 victories are eighth on the all-time list, and he also led the Yankees to four championships. Hopefully, he can revitalize the Dodgers and continue his winning ways here! Is it 2008 yet???!!!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Carrie Underwood's First #1 Album!

In a few hours, the new Billboard Top 200 album chart will be out for everyone to see... Given there were no other releases expected to sell even 100,000 units in their first week, it was a foregone conclusion last week that Carrie Underwood's new album Carnival Ride would debut this week at number on the chart. The sales figures are in, and the numbers are pretty astounding. The original estimates had Carrie's sophomore CD selling in the 400-450,000 unit range this first week. Well, Carrie blew those numbers out of the water with over 527,000 units sold! Not only that, but the album shipped approximately 1.4 million copies! Needless to say, Carrie will get her RIAA platinum certification for this album just as soon as it's eligible. In fact, that first certification she gets may even be a double platinum one! Congratulations to Carrie on her first ever #1 album!