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New Site :: Upgrades Already… November 30, 2006

Posted by j-dub in General.
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Well, I’m introducing another wrinkle to the site already.  This will make the website more fully functional and allow for a more comprehensive solution.

Please bear with me.  I will hopefully have these latest upgrades completed over the weekend.

Please check in frequently to get the latest update!

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New Site Critique :: Your Feedback November 29, 2006

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Well, I’ve been using the new site for a week so far.  I know this a slow time of year, but I’m hoping all my wonderful readers have at least checked the new site out.

For those of you who have done so…Please tell me what you think.  For those of you who haven’t, scoot on over to www.jdub217.com and check it out.

Here are some questions to help guide your critique: 

  • Do you like the fact that the site is now hosted on its own domain?
  • Do you like the new format of a bulletin board/message board better than the blog format?  If not, what type of format would you like to see (wordpress, blogger, etc)?  Or more specifically, exactly which system would you like to see used?
  • How does the site appear visually?  Do you like the colors, fonts, font size, etc?  If not, what improvements could be made to those aspects of the site?
  • What else could be improved and/or changed to help make the site a more welcome place for participation?

Please be as critical as you want.  I’m a big person and I can take it.  The only way to make this a better site is to provide feedback.  Your help is greatly appreciated!!!

I’m still alive… November 29, 2006

Posted by j-dub in News - Local, News - National.
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I’ve just been posting over at my new space….  www.jdub217.com

Feel free to check it out.

Here’s my latest post on the current AIDS epidemic… 

www.jdub217.com :: Site Feeds November 28, 2006

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I’ve got feeds up on the new site.

Go here to check out the post with the feed links in it.

Movin’ on up…. November 26, 2006

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As I sing this tune from the Jeffersons, I’m really just indicating that I’ve got most of the work done on my NEW universe.

Click here to check it out….

Or copy and paste this:

http://www.jdub217.com

into your address bar.

I’m keeping this space up for awhile before I completely move to my NEW home.

Let me know what you think…

UPDATE: Please read the Adminstrative board for the quick rundown on the new space. 

2006-2007 NFL – Week 12 November 26, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Pro Football, Sports.
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Week 12 brings us the biggest challenge to date for the Chicago Bears. They face the Patriots of New England in Foxboro where the Patriots actually have a losing record this year (2-3). Which is unusual considering the Pats have been one of the best home teams in the league the past few years.

This is a HUGE test for Grossman. If he can “halfway” handle a bluffing, blitzing, and scheming Belichick defense; that bodes well for the Bears. If not, he can expect to encounter similar scenarios the rest of the season until he figures it out.

Here are the games I’m picking:

Pittsburgh at Baltimore
New Orleans at Atlanta
San Francisco at St. Louis
Chicago at New England
Philadelphia at Indianapolis

Monday Night Football:

Green Bay at Seattle

My Picks:

Baltimore, New Orleans, San Francisco, New England, Indianapolis, and Seattle

If the Pats can confuse Peyton Manning, they’ll confuse Grossman into a few mistakes. The Pats offense will dink and dunk the Bears defense into a few touchdowns, and the Pats D will hold on. I’m thinking 17-7 New England.

Illini 51 Miami (OH) 49 November 24, 2006

Posted by j-dub in College Basketball, Sports.
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The Illini escape with a win while playing without Jamar Smith and Brian Randle.  You know it’s been a bad game when the coach says “I don’t think we deserved to win”, which is exactly what Weber said after the game.

In a game, dubbed as a “meat grinder” by the commentators, the Illini trailed all game; yet pulled out the victory.  Carter makes his first basket with less than a minute in the game and Fraser makes a tough left handed layup in traffic to seal the deal.  Fraser is tough player and is just a sophomore.  And boy is McBride terrible off the dribble.  I’ve never seen someone so one-dimensional on the Illini in a very long time.  He’s catch and shoot and that’s about it.

Oh well, they pulled off the win.  Their next two games are against ranked foes, and hopefully they’ll bring their A game.  The 28th they play #24 Maryland and on Dec 2nd they play at #15 Arizona.  These are what I’d call “statement games” for the Illini.  Even if Randle and Smith are still out, which I think they will be, the Illini have to show something in these two games.

2006-2007 College Football – Week 13 November 24, 2006

Posted by j-dub in College Football, Sports.
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We are coming down to the wire in the College Football season.

This week should be the week which determines who will play Ohio State in the National Championship. If USC beats Notre Dame, and wins next week against UCLA; they’re in. They lose, they’re out, and it’s anybody’s guess who will be in; probably Michigan or Florida (if they win out).

Arkansas, Texas, and Boston College were all upset Friday. Arkansas lost to LSU, Texas lost to Texas A & M, and BC lost to Miami. Miami then proceeded to fire Larry Coker after a 6-6 season.

Games I’m picking this week:

#4 Florida at Florida State
Virginia at #17 Virginia Tech
South Carolina at #24 Clemson
#13 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
#8 Louisville at Pittsburgh
#16 Georgia Tech at Georgia
#6 Notre Dame at #3 USC

My Picks:

Florida State, VT, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisville, Georgia, and USC

Upset Alert: Florida – in a rivalry game anything goes, and I’m picking the Seminoles. In case you can’t tell, I don’t care for Florida or Urban Meyer. I think they are the most overrated team in college football, and Meyer is the most overrated coach in college football.

Black Friday November 24, 2006

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This is the busiest shopping day of the year, and if you were one of the brave souls out shopping early this morning; tell your war stories here.  Or brag about the great deals you were rewarded with for being an early bird.

Some of the brave female members of my family were out, and their descriptions of the situations were absolutely hilarious.

The only way I would have been out that early would be to get a deal high-definition TV.  However, I could have gotten those online on Thanksgiving day and beat the lines.

Feel free to detail your Black Friday shopping adventures here.

Give Thanks… November 23, 2006

Posted by j-dub in General.
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…for everything in your life that you are thankful for.

Remember what this day is all about, and enjoy the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world and have the freedom to do as we please.

My Pigskin Picks for Turkey Day:

Dallas and San Diego, I missed the start of the Miami/Detroit game so I didn’t pick that one.

Site Changes November 21, 2006

Posted by j-dub in General.
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I’m going to be changing the format of the site over the holiday weekend.  I’ll release more details here about the changes.

Also, I’ve had a domain name reserved for the site, and if everything goes okay, I’ll transition over to the new domain as well.

Thanks!

Cubbies Going Hog Wild… November 20, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Pro Baseball, Sports.
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Yes, thats right sports fans. The Cubs are spending money….and lots of it.

The question is, is it money well spent?

Here are the key transactions so far:

Alfonso Soriano (IF, OF) – 8 years, $136 million (5th largest deal in MLB history)

Mark DeRosa (IF, OF) – 3 years, $13 million

Re-signed Aramis Ramirez (3B) – 5 years, $75 million

Re-signed Kerry Wood (SP/RP) – 1 year, $1.75 million

Re-signed Wade Miller (SP) – 1 year, $1.5 million

Re-signed Henry Blanco (C) – 2 years, $5.25 million

Acquired (LHP/RP) Neal Cotts from the White Sox in exchange for RP David Aardsma and Minor-leaguer Carlos Vasquez

The Breakdown:

The re-signing of Ramirez, Wood, Miller, and Blanco is fine with me. I think Ramirez is slightly overpaid at $15 million per year. That’s more than Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Carlos Beltran, Eric Chavez, and a cast of other better players get paid. But hey, if they lose him, they’d really be hurting for power in their lineup; so I guess I can see the reasoning.

I also think they are overpaying DeRosa, a career utility man, a little much.

This Soriano move is going to mark the Cub franchise for years to come. Hopefully, for them, in a good way. With memories of Cub’s past, I won’t hold my breath just yet. I sure hope they can live with his AWFUL defense in return for 40 homers and 20-40 stolen bases. To me, offense has never been the Cub’s problem. Recently it’s been pitching and defense. These moves don’t seem to address any of these concerns so far, unless they just plan to win games by softball scores of 12-10, 16-14, etc.

Cotts was awesome in 2005, but in 2006 his ERA was worse than Aardsma’s.

Supposedly the Cubs are still looking to strengthen their rotation this off-season. However, I’m guessing they aren’t players in the big name free agent pitchers, hence the Soriano signing. Plus, all the really smart teams like the Mets, Yankees, and Redsox are gobbling up the pitching as fast as possible. They’ve got $25 million (1/4 of their 2006 payroll) already wrapped up in the first six players I just listed above. Unless they’re going to exceed the luxury tax limit, I don’t see a whole lot of pitching help coming their way. My bet is they can’t find enough starting pitching so Wood ends up back in the rotation; again. And we all know how that story goes.

I could talk about this until I’m blue in the face, but that wouldn’t be any fun; so why don’t you offer up some opinions…

2006-2007 NFL – Week 11 November 19, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Pro Football, Sports.
2 comments

Games I’m picking this week:

St. Louis at Carolina
Cincinnati at New Orleans
Chicago at NY Jets
New England at Green Bay
Atlanta at Baltimore
Indianapolis at Dallas
San Diego at Denver

Monday Night Football:

NY Giants at Jacksonville

My Picks:

Carolina, New Orleans, Chicago, New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis, San Diego, and NY Giants

Well, after calling the Bears out last week, they made me pay. This week, I’ll pick em’. A couple of really good showdowns this week with Indy/Dallas, SD/Denver, and Atl/Baltimore. Should be a good week of NFL action.

2006-2007 College Football – Week 12 November 17, 2006

Posted by j-dub in College Football, Sports.
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After last week’s BCS Shake-Up, this week brings up two pivotal games.  Those two games are Michigan at Ohio State, and Cal at USC.  Both games have major national title implications.  The Michigan/OSU game comes a day after Bo Schembechler, the Michigan/College Football coaching legend, passes away.  See the ESPN story here.

Games I’m pickin’:

#21 Maryland at #20 Boston College
Illinois at Northwestern
#5 Arkansas at Mississippi State
Army at #6 Notre Dame
#2 Michigan at #1 Ohio State
#15 Auburn at Alabama
#19 Virginia Tech at #14 Wake Forest
#17 California at #4 USC

My Picks:

Maryland, Illinois, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Michigan, Auburn, Virginia Tech, and USC.

Upset Alert: USC – Cal will be gunning for USC, but now that Cal’s title hopes are toast; USC will pull this one out.  I’d like to pick Miss. St. in an upset, but they are pretty bad.  I think Arkansas is ripe for an upset after beating Tennessee and having to play LSU next week.  This week is a definite trap game, but I don’t think Miss. St. has enough to pull it off.

What can I do…. November 17, 2006

Posted by j-dub in General.
2 comments

…to make this blog better?

Change the template?  Make it easier to comment? Moreauthors/posters?

Please enlighten me to make this blog a better experience.  Your feedback is extremely important!

Open Thread November 15, 2006

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You talk about something today…

Green-Day November 14, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Local, National, Politics.
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Is this the beginning of something meaningful, or just an oasis of change?

Read this article to find out what I’m talking about…

The recent election was a strong performance for the Green party on a State and Local level.  The Green candidate for Governor, Rich Whitney, garnered significant support in his bid this November, and local candidates Futrelle and Yfantis were able to grab over 20% of the votes in their respective county board races.

I find this to be very interesting.  I’m not sure if this is a long term trend or just a temporary displeasure with the two major parties.  Personally, I think the Green party is very promising.  I just don’t know if enough other people feel the same way.

Another interesting topic in the article was instant runoff voting.  I’m not sure I get the whole gist of it from the article, but it sounds like an interesting option.  I think primaries are a joke anyway.

Hopefully the Green party continues to make improved showings, because until the two major parties start losing votes, they’ll never change.

Oh, by the way, here was my favorite quote from the article:

The Republican leadership is being “held accountable for some of its failed policies in Iraq,” while Democrats are not proving an alternative to corporate sponsorship of politics, he said.  (quoting Futrelle)

That is a dead money quote.  It couldn’t be more accurate in my opinion.

What do you think of the Green party?  They’re staying power?

Monday Night Football November 13, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Pro Football, Sports.
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Does MNF even interest anybody these days?

I don’t think so.  I’m not sure if the ratings agree with me, but I think they might.

The network doesn’t matter, the broadcast team doesn’t matter, and I’m beginning to wonder if the teams playing the game even matter.

They switched things from ABC to ESPN this year, and I can honestly say I haven’t watched a complete MNF game so far this season.  Most of the games have sucked, but hopefully with the flex schedule coming up, they’ll get better.

Here are my possible reasons for the lack of interest:

  • The start time is too late – an 8PM start time in the midwest is way too late for a 3 hour football game.  This is obviously geared towards the eastern time zones, and that is a shame.
  • Football overload – Yes, I believe there is so much emphasis on College Football Saturday and NFL Sunday that Monday people want a break from football.
  • ESPN – Why stay up past your bedtime for a usually non-interesting, non-meaningful game when you can watch the 1 minute worth of highlights the next morning?

Why do you think MNF is such a non-factor these days?

MLB Hot Stove: Edition #1 November 13, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Pro Baseball, Sports.
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Well, the Cubbies resigned Aramis Ramirez to a 5-yr deal worth $73 million and they also resigned Kerry Wood to a 1 year deal worth $1.75 million with bonuses that could make it worth $6 million.

Here’s the full article. 

Personally, I think Ramirez is one of the least clutch players in the NL.  He’s the A-Rod of the national league in my eyes.  He hits all sorts of home runs when it doesn’t matter, but strikes out when it does matter.  That said, the guy is a good player and I wouldn’t mind having him on my team.   Another thing that bothers me is that he can get real lazy at times.  I’m sure Pinella will like that.

Wood mystifies me.  I’m surprised the Cubs didn’t give him more of a base salary.  They’ve had Kerry Wood fever for so many years now, I’m surprised they didn’t pony up more money.  Even though I don’t like this signing, I think they should trade him while he’s got some value left, it might work out IF he stays healthy and IF he actually pitches out of the bullpen.  Good relievers are consistent and Kerry Wood is anything but that, so we’ll see how well he pans out in the bullpen.

Let me know what you think about these signings….

2006-2007 NFL – Week 10 November 12, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Uncategorized.
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I’m a little late picking, so I’ll do the late games only.

Week 10 games I’m picking:

Dallas at Arizona
St. Louis at Seattle
New Orleans at Pittsburgh
Chicago at NY Giants
MNF:

Tampa Bay at Carolina

My Picks:

Dallas, St. Louis, New Orleans, NY Giants, and Carolina

I think the Bears have been struggling (should be 1-2 in their last 3 games) and NY is playing with some added motivation.  Also, we’ll find out a lot about the Bears over the next month or so.  They play the Giants, Jets, Patriots, Minnesota, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay in their next 6 games.  The only two teams they’ve played so far with MORE than 3 wins are Seattle (5-3) and Minnesota (4-4).  Minnesota fumbled with a lead late, giving the Bears a W on opening weekend, and Seattle was without the reigning league MVP in Shaun Alexander.

I was a believer in the Bears for one week, and now I’m back to my previous stance….they look good in a weak NFC, but wouldn’t stand a chance against a really good team from the AFC.  Couple that with the fact that Berrian (their only deep threat) is questionable and Grossman has thrown 7 INTs his last 3 games, they’re not looking real hot.  If they go 3-3 or better over the next 6 weeks, including today, then maybe I’ll believe.